Eat & Watch: Architect Birthday Cake & Three Men and a Baby

3 Men and a Baby Birthday Architect Cake

3men 3



Ever since I personalized my Netflix account, the movie suggestions have been on point. One of these suggestions was Three Men and a Baby, a classic and one of the movies I used to watch when I was younger (though at the time I definitely didn’t get the drug storyline). At Peter’s birthday party, he was presented with this amazing cake, which was appropriate for him since he is an architect. I thought this themed birthday cake was such a fun idea, and it would not only be a great cake for the architect in your life, but it would be the perfect thing to eat while watching this movie. Hang Batman from this crane, and then put them on top of this double layer chocolate cake. Don’t forget extra long candles to place near the base of the crane!

Image via Three Men and a Baby


Eat & Watch: Pasta with Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce & Diana (2013)

diana sauce inspired

Apart from random tidbits here and there, I didn’t know much about the life of Princess Diana. I was too young to follow her in the news or really understand what her death meant in 1997.  When I saw Diana (2013) on Netflix Instant, I was intrigued. I knew nothing about her secret romance with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, or about the timeline of events between her divorce and final days. I thought Diana could have been a stronger film if it had more depth, a clearer depiction of what allegedly happened, and more insight into why Princess Diana was incredibly beloved by the world. However, the romance between Diana and Hasnat was moving, and I enjoyed the cinematography of the film, with many close-ups and quick jumps and zooms in and out.

During an early scene when Diana and Hasnat are on their first date, Diana has her friend come over to make them dinner. Diana’s friend tells her that all she has to do is “boil the pasta for 8 minutes and drain.” We see Diana escape to the kitchen to microwave the homemade tomato sauce and serve dinner as if she had prepared everything. On the plates we see shell pasta with a chunky tomato sauce, which I have recreated (my recipe below). Diana confronts Hasnat when he picks at his food, and he tells her that he wants a hamburger. I do have to say, though, that this homemade tomato sauce is so good that you won’t be craving a Burger King hamburger.

Diana 1

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Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce


3 tomatoes (diced)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 large sweet onion (chopped)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
Basil for garnish


1. Heat olive oil in sauce pan on medium heat.
2. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Heat until soft and onions are translucent (5-6 minutes).
3. Add tomatoes and thyme; simmer for 25-30 minutes while stirring occasionally.
4. Boil shell pasta for 8 minutes, drain, and serve with sauce on top.








{Food photos by Lauren; Diana photos via Ecosse Films}

Eat & Watch: Lavender Scones & Ladies in Lavender

inspired by ladies in lavender

If you’ve seen my ‘All Things Lavender’ post, you are well aware that I love lavender. While lavender is useful for relaxation and for curing bites and cuts, lavender is also amazing in food. During a trip to the farmer’s market, I picked up some cooking lavender with a couple of recipes in mind. I’ve never made scones before, so that was the first recipe I wanted to try using this freshly picked lavender. These lavender scones would be enjoyable with the film, Ladies in Lavender, a British drama film set in a Cornish seaside village. Ladies in Lavender is about two sisters (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith – two greats!) who befriend a mysterious man who washes up on their beach after a storm. Set in the 1930s, this film was inspired by a short story by William J. Locke. Even though this film is a drama, I found it to be peaceful, and the performances by Dench and Smith are magnetic.

While scones originate from Scotland, we often associate scones with Britain, so I figured these scones with a British film were a great match. Not only that, but in the film, the two sisters are seen enjoying tea with what looks like scones (though they could be crumpets). I followed Bon Appetit’s Sweet Lavender Scones recipe (without the lemon curd and sanding sugar for personal taste preferences), which was simple to follow and a breeze to make. Drizzled in honey or syrup, these scones are great for breakfast or a midday snack.









{Scone photos by Lauren; film photo}

Eat & Watch: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes & the Nutcracker


Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the Nutcracker, a stunning ballet that is perfect for the holidays. In honor of the show, I made Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes in an adorable Nutcracker Cupcake Set (on sale!). I wanted to do a nut recipe for obvious reasons, and these cupcakes (which are more like brownies in a cup) have a great flavor and texture due to the brownie mix and walnuts. Instead of the cream cheese frosting, I made my own chocolate frosting and sprinkled mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and finely chopped walnuts on top.

If you don’t want to brave the cold to see the Nutcracker this season, add the movie-version, Nutcracker (1986), to your list of ‘Christmas Movies to Watch.’ While it might not compare to seeing the show live, you can watch it while wearing your pajamas and stuffing your face with cupcakes. Whether you see the live show or movie, you can’t go wrong!

the nutcracker 2012 1






Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes

(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)

• 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
• 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
• 1 (21-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge)
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup water


* Special equipment: 12 paper cupcake liners, a 12-cup muffin pan.
* For the cupcakes: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

1. In a small bowl combine the walnuts, 1 cup mini chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the brownie mix. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl mix together the remaining brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Stir for 20 seconds until blended.

3. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan (cupcake liners will be full). Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the cupcakes comes out with moist fudgy crumbs.

5. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting:
(Recipe courtesy Cathy Lowe)
• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 1 stick butter, softened
• 3 – 4 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Sift sugar and cocoa together into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon cream, beating until smooth.
3. Add another cup of sugar and another tablespoon of cream, beating well.
4. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
5. Spread frosting on cupcakes when cool.


{Photos by Lauren}

Eat & Watch: French Toast and Kramer vs. Kramer

When I first watched Kramer vs. Kramer, I was moved by the heartfelt story and the father and son relationship. There is a certain scene where the father, played by Dustin Hoffman, and his son are making breakfast after the mother leaves the family. The father is making french toast, or as he calls it, “Folded French Toast,” for his son, and he has to fold the bread in half because he mixes the eggs and milk together in a coffee mug. While this would be a creative (yet messy) way to make breakfast, there is a much simpler and cleaner way to achieve the same delicious result. At the end of the movie (this is not a spoiler alert), the father and son duo are pros at making french toast the correct way (shallow bowl and all!), demonstrating how far they have progressed from their messy and frustrating beginning.

Check out the scene below:

You will need
8 slices of bread
7 eggs
3 tablespoons of 1/2 & 1/2 milk

1. In a shallow bowl, use a fork or whisk to lightly beat the eggs and milk together.

2. Add cinnamon (as much as you prefer) to the egg and milk mixture.

3. Dip the slices of bread into batter (on both sides). Let the egg mixture soak into the bread, but be careful not to soak the bread too long as it might get soggy and fall apart.

4. Place battered bread on a hot, buttered skillet until the bread is brown on both sides.

5. Lightly sprinkle extra cinnamon, butter, and warm maple syrup on top of your french toast. Enjoy!

{photos by a dash of cinema} {kramer via}

Eat & Watch: Apple Crisps & Snow White and the Huntsman

In just a few days, Snow White and the Huntsman will be released in theaters. While I am not really a Kristen Stewart fan (Team Theron all the way), this movie has admittedly caught my attention. I was not planning on seeing this movie in theaters, but as the release date nears, I may have to make a trip to see it after all. The cast seems to have great chemistry and I am interested in how this classic story is retold. In honor of Snow White and the Huntsman, I thought apple crisps would be a fun snack to pair the movie with since there is a poisonous apple included in the original fairy tale. However, unlike the fruit in the story, this snack will pose no danger to your health. The only downside: it takes a couple of hours until the apples become dry and crispy, so have patience!


· 2 apples
· 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
· 3/4 cup sugar
· Aluminum foil or parchment paper
· Paper Towels

Pre-heat the oven to 210 degrees F. Wash your apples and core them. If you don’t have an apple corer, take a tall, thin knife and carefully cut around the core of the apple until and use your thumb to push the core through.

Slice the apples using a mandolin or a knife. Try to make your slices as thin as possible.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Rub each apple slice (on both sides) in this mixture until coated in the sweet sugar and cinnamon combination.

Place the slices on aluminum foil or parchment paper and blot the slices with paper towels until they are dry. Heat in the oven for about 2-3 hours, flipping the apple slices every hour. Don’t turn up the heat in the oven – allow the slices to slowly crisp.

{food photos by a dash of cinema} {snow white via}

Eat & Watch: Palmiers & Water for Elephants

Palmiers are a sweet and delicate pastry that are a great compliment to a large cappuccino. These French pastries are best when soft and flaky, but I have frequently tasted a hard and crunchy palmier which just aren’t as enjoyable. Inspired by Water for Elephants (2011) because palmiers sort of resemble elephant ears, I attempted to make my own palmiers using store-bought pastry puffs, and they turned out better than I had hoped for. Pastry puffs from the grocery store are delicious and great if you don’t have the time and patience to make the dough on your own. Palmiers don’t take too long to make and are a sweet and fun treat to eat!

Evenly distribute 1/8 cup of sugar over one side of the puff pastry. Flip the puff pastry over and spread another 1/8 cup of sugar over the other side. Follow the guide above to create the shape of the palmier.

Cut the pressed puff pastry into 1/2 inch pieces.
Tip: If the 2 sides aren’t sticking together, run a drop of water along the pastry to keep it from spreading apart when baking.

Arrange the puff pastry on a non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper, giving them a couple of inches between one another to expand in the oven.

After baking for 15 minutes, set the oven to broil for no more than a minute – this will brown the top of the palmier and make it a bit more crisp.


1 pastry puff sheet
· 1/4 cup of sugar (you’ll use this in halves)

1. Thaw the pastry puff
2. Sprinkle 1/8 cup of sugar over one side of the pastry puff; distribute the other 1/8 cup of sugar on the other side of the pastry puff
3. Fold the pastry puff from the sides in towards the center until the 2 sides meet
4. Make another fold (on top of the first fold) until the 2 sides meet in the center
5. Make one last fold until the 2 sides meet in the center – press the puff pastry together
6. Cut the pressed pastry puff into 1/2 inch pieces
7. Arrange the puff pastries onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-16 minutes
8. (optional) Set the oven to broil for no more than 1 minute until the top of the palmiers are a golden brown

{food photos by a dash of cinema} {water for elephants}

Eat & Watch: Monkey Bread and Monkeybone

Monkey Bread || Monkeybone (2001)

With all the different types of bread available, it can often be hard to choose just one. Monkey Bread is more of a sticky, baked dough with the consistency of a cinnamon roll instead of the type of bread you would normally think of, like French bread or a baguette. The fun in Monkey Bread is that you get to pull apart each bite, which has the taste of cinnamon, sugar, and butter all in one. Be sure not to over-bake Monkey Bread because it tastes better when it is chewy and soft.

Pair your freshly baked Monkey Bread with the movie Monkeybone. I haven’t seen Monkeybone in a long time, but from what I do remember, it is so weird and quirky in one of the best ways. I also think that for the most part, you can’t go wrong with anything that involves monkeys.

Eat & Watch: Chocolate Truffles and Legally Blonde

Chocolate Truffles | Legally Blonde (2001)

Over the years, I have found that romantic comedies are best paired with chocolate. The scene where Elle yells “Liar!” at the romance movie on her T.V. while eating chocolate truffles in bed inspired me for this post. Elle has just been broken up with and is clearly trying to heal through the power of chocolate…something that many of us can probably (read: definitely) relate to. The next time you crave chocolate, try these truffles and pop in Legally Blonde for a seriously satisfying and comforting evening. Also, check out the post I wrote about the lessons I’ve learned from this movie.

Here is the scene for your viewing pleasure:

Eat & Watch: Devil’s Food Cake and The Devil Wears Prada

Devil’s Food Cake / The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

[Eat devil’s food cake in Prada] When I first saw The Devil Wears Prada, I became intrigued with the fashion industry. I was mesmerized by the beautiful clothes, fast-paced lifestyle, and New York City. After having seen firsthand (I interned at Seventeen Magazine for a summer) how much work goes into putting together a magazine, I now, more than ever, appreciate the magazines I read. The Devil Wears Prada was one of many inspirations to find out more about this world. Pair this movie with devil’s food cake and you’re in for one wickedly good evening.