Hot Polka Dot
7Mar/14

Rise And Shine.

Sunrise Smoothie for those mornings that require a little extra motivation via @hotpolkadotSunrise Smoothie for those mornings that require a little extra motivation via @hotpolkadot

I'm not a morning person. Not in the least. 7am and I go together like oil and water, fire and ice, toothpaste and ice cream, the Wicked Witch of the West and a bucket of water...

...you get the idea.

Some people need a bit of motivation to wake before the sun. Most turn to a hot cup of coffee to put some pep in their step. Others slip into their runners and hop on the treadmill or onto the pavement to get their blood and brains moving. I haven't really warmed to coffee that isn't bathed in sugar and doused with vanilla or chocolate and it's best I don't consume all that on a daily basis. As for running, I'm not altogether sure where my running shoes are and, if given the opportunity, I'd trip you in a zombie apocalypse because I quite literally can't run to save my life.

So, given that I've started getting up earlier than I'm used to the last few weeks, I need an alternate source of motivation. When you're half asleep, you're sporting a pillow-creased face and your slippers are on the wrong feet, I find that smoothies are a quick and easy thing to make. They don't take much thought, which is good because I'm pretty sure my grey matter is solar-powered.

So there you have it: Sunrise Smoothie. It's packed with creamy banana, tart strawberries, sweet pineapple and bright orange, all good vitamins and cheerful fruit to jump start your thinking thingy.

Pineapple beauty shot via @hotpolkadotPineapple beauty shot via @hotpolkadot

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26Feb/13

How To Tuesday: Petal To The Metal.

How to achieve the petal frosting technique via @hotpolkadot

You know that picture in your head, the impossibly perfect one? You see it when you're imagining how that royal icing flood will turn out. You see it in the back of your mind when attempting a side dutch braid. You see it clearly when you're trying to match that DIY project you saw on Pinterest. Then suddenly your flood fails, your braid is broken and your DIY is a major don't.

We probably set ridiculously high expectations for ourselves. I know I do. I'm pretty sure I can count the number of times reality matched my imagination on one hand. This is one of those times.

I'll admit I was terrified to try this frosting technique. It's trendy, it's cute and it looks super complicated. For a perfectionist like myself, I was certain it would be a flop. I was worried the consistency of the frosting would be too thick, too dry and just not friendly. I was worried my rows would start slanting and look crooked. I was worried I wouldn't have enough frosting to finish.

All my worrying was for nothing. This technique is deceptively easy to pull off and very forgiving. The recipe I used was the perfect consistency and even the exact amount.

You want to make a petal cake of your own? Sure you do!

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21Feb/13

Wordsmith.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

I'm a huge fan of the written word. I love reading it, I love writing it and, above all, I love learning more about it. I'm one of those people that, when encountering a new word in a book, I immediately look up the definition. I can't read on without it. It's like stepping out your door with only one shoe on. You feel incomplete, imbalanced and unsure. You can stumble upon misconception just like a rusty nail.

I use my dictionary app more than my angry birds app. I probably google the origin of words and phrases at least five times a day. I just hunger for words, for knowledge, for understanding. I'm the sort of person that can't be content in knowing a thing, I have to know why and how and sometimes when and where too.

It fascinates me that, in the grand scheme of things, English is a relatively new language and therefore borrows from other European languages. There are few English words that you can bring to mind today that aren't influenced by another language either loosely or literally. Decimation comes from the Latin word decimatio, a punishment practice implemented by Roman generals whereby a legion would be separated into groups of ten and made to draw lots to determine the tenth to be executed. We even use words on a daily basis that are completely in another language like entrepreneur, kindergarten and chocolate.

English is this inconstant creature forever in a state of flux. It's constantly absorbing information, always influenced by culture and changing to meet our needs. We've gone from Beowulf to Romeo and Juliet to Great Expectations to Harry Potter. Fedex, dance-off and muggle are in the dictionary for crying out loud!

While it's easy to take the low road and subscribe to the opinion that popular acronyms like OMG, YOLO and LOL are somehow the architects of the English language's demise, I prefer another theory. We're just entering a different stage of evolution. Do you think Shakespeare and Dickens could carry on a coherent conversation without cliff's notes? We might resist at first, but eventually the transition will come naturally.

Words are magical. Words can frighten you, delight you, thrill you and definitely inspire you. With words I can't paint beautiful pictures before your mind's eye. With just a few words you can be saddened, overjoyed or enraged.

For example, I could tell you that this cake is the perfect balance of chocolate and orange, bitter and sweet, rich and light, dark and bright. I could tell you that beneath waves of velvety Dark Chocolate Frosting lies a cake striped with ribbons of deep chocolate and fruity orange surrounding and thick layer of aromatic Orange Curd. Each bite is so tantalizing to all five senses we may need to define a sixth or seventh. Immediately you should begin to feel the physiological effects of these few choice words. Your pupils start to dilate, your eyes widen, your mouth waters, your stomach growls and suddenly that cookie you're about to stuff in your face doesn't seem good enough.

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake via @hotpolkadot

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25Jan/12

Tea Time.


Recently I tried to take up tea drinking. Ever since the great teatastophe of '97 I made the informed decision to henceforth swear off tea in all its guises. Iced tea. Green tea ice cream. Long Island iced tea. Matcha cake. It was just awful. I sipped a bit of my mom's green tea and made a funny face. I was traumatized.

Despite my tainted past with tea, over the years I have acquired a handsome collection of tea related things. Tea towels, tea cups, saucers, tea spoons, cream and sugar sets, cute napkins. It got me thinking, maybe I like tea after all.

I was going to give tea another chance. Maybe we could get reacquainted and become fast friends. I'm sure we just got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it was high time for some high tea.

I had it in my head I was going to throw tea parties with all my civilized tiny hat wearing buddies. We were going to sit in my dining room all prim and proper with our ankles delicately crossed. We were going to sip fancy earl grey and chamomile out of dainty pink cups with our pinkies out. We were going to gossip and giggle and nibble on petit fours.

I mean what better place to show off my Royal Wedding worthy feather fascinator right?

Alas it was not meant to be. Tea and I just don't get along. I made the face again. It wasn't pretty.

There is one part of tea time I think we can all agree is the very best part. The treats. The tiny individual cakes, the gooey squares, the cute cookies, the powdery truffles, the glazed tarts. Because if you take away the tea isn't a tea party just a swanky buffet?

And none of that roast beef and shrimp crap. The good stuff. The end of the buffet we all save ourselves for. Let's all just admit it. You might have stuffed yourself with more than your money's worth, but you just can't refuse that spread of sugary bliss on top of everything. Even if it means that you don't feel physically capable of eating another bite for at least another week.

Here's my contribution to tea time. The best part. The star. The crowd pleaser. The treat. Cardamom Clementine Cookies. They're light and airy with the floral scent of cardamom and the subtle brightness of citrus. I'm guessing they'd go well with a steaming cup of chai tea, but I'm certainly no expert. You'll have to let me know!

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5Aug/11

Antique Silver Spoon Ring Giveaway.

I have something super special for you today! I've recently been gushing about the anticipated arrival of my lovely antique silver spoon ring on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I am happy to say that it arrived today from Dan at Dank Artistry in Ames, Iowa. It came a long way to fit perfectly and prettily on my thumb.

Dan is a talented artist that turns his immense silverware collection into beautiful pieces of jewelry including bracelets, earrings, necklaces and, of course, rings. He carries countless designs from all over the world and some centuries old! Each piece has a story to tell and would turn more than a few heads at your next cocktail party.

I decided I would share my experience with you all and, when I asked, Dan was thrilled to offer one of his most popular rings for a generous giveaway! I thought since antique spoons are so trendy in food photography right now it seemed only fitting to wear one on my finger and why not yours too!

The ring for this giveaway is a breathtaking Orange Blossom pattern from 1910. The design is incredibly detailed with gorgeous orange blossoms that wrap all the way around the ring. What's even better is Dan has been kind enough to size the ring to fit your finger perfectly! Orange blossom is one of my favourite scents and reminds me of vacationing in Florida with my family as a teenager.

Perhaps you're a spoon collector, jewelry connoisseur, avid gardener, or a fan of the delicious fruit. Whatever the reason, this ring is for you! Perfect for attending parties, going antiquing or a lifetime!

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