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        LEAH CUCINA BLOG

        California Snack Board

        California Snack Board

        The perfect board for when you're wanting fresh colors and produce with your happy hour snack.

        Keep these photos and tips for inspiration the next time you're entertaining guests! Everyone wins with this board, because there's something for everyone (even the health nuts! )

        I made this board TWICE while I was on my California trip and both times it was a great hit. 

        Here's the general layout: 

        Fruits: blueberries, blackberries, kumquats/ manquats/ clementines/ cherries (or whatever fruits look great and in-season)

        Cheese: Cream cheese, feta, white aged cheddar, havarti

        Dips: Half Cream Cheese/ Half Blackberry Jam spread, Hummus

        Chips: Pita Chips, Baguette slices, walnuts would be nice

        Garnish: Micro greens! Get ones that taste good to you. 

        And if you see any pretty flowers, add those as a non -edible garnish!


        This is my favorite part: 

        It's a simple ramekin bowl filled with 1/2 cream cheese and 1/2 blackberry preserve jam. 

        I added a few berries on top for garnish with a little mint too. 

        This is so tasty on the board!

        How to Keep Orchids Alive...Tips from the Orchid Lady

        How to Keep Orchids Alive...Tips from the Orchid Lady

        She told me exactly how to keep my orchids alive and have them re-bloom.

        This is the orchid lady. I have met her twice now at different farmers markets in San Diego. And boy does she have some beautiful orchids! I HAD to buy one, but my question to her was, 'How do I keep this thing alive?' I always want to but swear it's a lost cause.

        Here's what she said..."Listen carefully..."

        1) House your orchids about 2-3 feet away from a sunny window. 

        They like strong, indirect sun.

         If you want to display them for company you can move them, but always make sure they end up back by their window!

        2) Watering them is easy. Saturate the clear plastic pot in the kitchen sink every two to three weeks. 

        After you soak them, leave them in the sink to drain just a bit before putting them back in their permanent planter. 


        Not exactly sure when to water? The bottom roots should be totally dry. No sign of humidity/ droplets of water left at the bottom. Apparently they like to go from soaked to dry, then be soaked again after several weeks.

        3) Don't re-pot them in garden soil! 

        I was making this mistake thinking this would help them stay alive longer. Apparently not! They have everything they need in their original container, they just need proper sunlight and water. 


        And that's all, apparently! I'm going to start using this method and hope it prolongs the life of my orchids. Let me know if you do too, or if you have any other tips for our Leah Cucina community! 

        Love, Leah


        P.S.--LEAH HAS ORCHID PLANTERS!

        Check these out or use the search function on Leah Cucina to shop for other planters. 

        Decorative Brass Bowl 

        Love this one as a planter too! Orchids not your thing? Plant succulents for a stunning centerpiece.


        Short Periwinkle Planter

        Perfect for an arrangement of mini orchids or one medium sized orchid. 


        Buy Now

         Pink Chinois Planter

        Leah loves this one! Such a great planter for an arrangement. And such a great deal for this authentic, valuable piece. 

        Rosey Ice Bucket Tutorial

        Rosey Ice Bucket Tutorial

        Create something beautiful (for yourself, or someone special!)

        When life seems to be moving so fast, it feels great to be able to slow down and create something that makes you and those around you feel great and well taken- care of.

         Some may call me a little "extra," but for me it's not about the fanciest champagne, the best recipe, or the perfect picture. It's about creating moments in life that bring me and those around me more joy. And isn't that what we're all here for? 

        For this look, a bunch of spray roses that cost $4.99 quickly elevated my $12 bottle of champs for a memorable occasion.

        Of course if pink's not your thing, choose another small flower! The cubes look gorgeous no matter if you get it "right" on the first try or not. If you don't have much time to prepare, simply adding fresh flowers to your ice bucket will do trick. You can also use a regular bowl if you don't have a champagne bucket! 

        There is no doubt that you (and maybe even a special someone!) are going to feel amazing pouring a little bubbly with this set up. I assure you that your efforts won't go unnoticed. 

        Enjoy!

        Tips for getting started:

        1. I used spray roses because they last a long time, they're a great small size, and they were only $4.99 for a big bunch. If you'd like to use your ice cubes inside a cocktail instead, choose an edible flower like snapdragon. 

        2. Boil the water first in a tea kettle, then let it cool before using it. This should help create "clearer" ice cubes. (Mine didn't turn out very clear, but they still look beautiful anyway!) 

        3. Give yourself time. Start making the ice cubes at least the night before (and up to a week in advance for your event if you'd prefer!) 

        4. You can use any shape ice mold, just make sure it's large enough to fit your flower of choice. 

        Instructions:

        1. Fill the ice tray 1/4 the way up. Add flowers face down. Freeze until fully solid. 

        2.  Add more water to fill the tray up 1/2 way. Freeze again until solid. 

        3. Fill the tray all the way up, and freeze again. 

        Voila! Rosey Ice Cubes. 

        Enjoy!

        Shop the look with Leah Cucina

        Rose Glass Ice Bucket


        Vintage Mini Art- Deco Parisian Style Ice Bucket


        Pink Rose Glassware (Set of 6)


        Chicago Holiday Local Shopping Guide

        Chicago Holiday Local Shopping Guide

        Hi Chicago friends! Here is my holiday shopping guide if you're looking to support local businesses and #shopsmall this holiday season. 

        From grocery stores to home decor to florals... I've got you covered!

        Sprout is the best place to go if you're looking for a gift for your wannabe house-plant parent friends. 

        They also have amazing specialty greens for your holiday tablescapes. From magnolia leaves to eucalyptus wreaths, they've got what you're looking for!

        DA BEST! If you're looking for a special cut of meat for the holidays, Paulina is always my recommendation. I'm lucky enough to live down the street, so I get to go all the time! Not only is it an experience, but their meat is truly top quality. It's not cheap, but it's worth it. 

        At Christmas, our favorite party appetizer is Paulina's smoked kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces, pan-roasted, and served with horseradish or mustard. 

        I first came across Cookie Cuts Kitchen because they were donating a portion of their proceeds to One Tail At A Time Animal Rescue. I ordered two pies and  custom cookies and they were just fabulous! 

        So this Thanksgiving our pie was from ... Cookie Cuts Kitchen! 

        From pies, to cakes, to custom frosted sugar cookies, you have to check her out! 15% of all sales go to charity.

        Moth Chicago (mothchicago.com)

        My cousins own  this shop! Located in Bucktown  on Damen Ave., Catherine sources clothing, home decor, and art from around the world. Her style showcases clean lines that embody the feeling  of Scandanavia and Japan. My cousin Louie built their website... meaning you can  shop from the comfort of your own home!

        Bari Zaki is a sweet little shop on North Lincoln Ave, great for finding gifts for stationary and calligraphy lovers! 

        Visit their site to shop too!

        You can also check out their neighbors. There are a bunch of really cute shops right next door!


        For those of you who have "littles" in your life, Twinkle Twinkle Little One is one of my favorite shops for buying gifts for friends with babies (and kids up to about 5 years old). They can even custom design the nursery of your dreams. It's a wonderful shop!


        My cousins own  this shop! Located in Bucktown  on Damen Ave., Catherine sources clothing, home decor, and art from around the world. Her style showcases clean lines that embody the feeling  of Scandanavia and Japan. My cousin Louie built their website... meaning you can  shop from the comfort of your own home!

        Book Club: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

        Book Club: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

        Book Club: The Gifts of Imperfection

        One of my goals for Leah Cucina is to start a book club! I might sneak a few cookbooks in once in awhile, but I mostly like to read non-fiction and self- help sort of books. (But open to suggestions!)

        Brené Brown has become one of my favorite authors and TED Talk speakers in the last year or so. I am currently reading her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection.” I would recommend it to just about anyone, especially if you’re like me and fall somewhere on the perfectionism scale. 

        If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think! 

        If you'd like to buy it locally, I bought mine at a great bookshop in Roscoe Village called Roscoe Books.

        Here is a link to Amazon: The Gifts of Imperfection