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Last-Minute Luxury Gifts for Her

We are getting down to the wire here, with just a little over a week before Christmas. It can be hard to find the perfect gift, but it doesn't have to be. With online shopping, you can find some really great items she'll love, and ones that  don't cost a fortune either.

Etsy can be a great place to find something beautiful and unique. Some items on Etsy have a longer processing time, but some, particularly the jewelry and candle shops, tend to have things ready-made. Thus you're bound to find some very beautiful and unique gifts. You just have to check the deadline for Christmas in each shop's announcements. Some will even work with you on rush orders, so it never hurts to ask! Pictured above: Chevron Kite Dangle EarringsModern Chevron Kite Laser Cut Earrings



First up on today's gift guide for women is a jewelry shop on Etsy calledLucky Tree Studio. At Lucky Tree, you can find gorgeous, one of a kind bamboo jewelry. With intricate laser-cut designs, this isn&#…

Espresso Romano Mocha Cakes

http://www.krisztinaclifton.com/2014/03/espresso-romano-mocha-cakes-recipe.html

I like to get inspiration for my new dessert recipes from cocktails and coffee drinks. Espresso Romano is a traditional cup of espresso garnished with lemon peel. I don't typically pair chocolate with citrus, but with spring upon us, I was in the mood to experiment. I started with this easy one-bowl chocolate cake recipe then made a few changes to incorporate the lemon zest and espresso. The result was quite heavenly. It was slightly bitter from the espresso, but the lemon added just the right amount of zing, and of course the chocolate part makes anything better. Even my young children loved them! I knew I would, but they tend to prefer super-sweet frosted cakes. I don't think I have to tell you that these mini cakes are best served with coffee.


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (or dairy-free option)
  • juice from 2 medium to large size lemons (should equal 1/2 cup)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly-brewed espresso (must be very finely-ground and dark like Italian or French roast)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two 6-cake mini bundt pans. You could also use cupcake pans or two 9-inch rounds - whatever you have on hand.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. Then add in all of the remaining wet ingredients, adding the espresso last, and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Bake about 35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test and let cool before removing from the pans. *If you aren't skilled at layer cakes or inverted cakes, simply make them in cupcake liners in a cupcake pan, frost with chocolate butter cream, and garnish with lemon peel.
Optional: I topped it with a chocolate lemon sauce I made by whisking cocoa powder into a lemon simple syrup and garnished each cake with a piece of candied lemon peel. Though you could enjoy this cake on its own, with a chocolate ganache topping, or you could make it into a layer cake and frost it with chocolate frosting.


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