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  • Sprucing up the living room? A fireplace adds approximately 12% value to a home.
  • read all shaktoids!
    June 18, 2014
    Stacking Up

    These hand-painted tiffin carriers from The New Domestic would make a pretty addition to any picnic. $75 each.


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    June 2, 2014
    Shot of Class

    Summer is picnic season. And during picnic season, a flask can come in handy. Personally, I hate metal flasks. They make everything taste like metal to me. So I love this ceramic option from Urban Outfitters ($90). Available online only.


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    May 19, 2014
    Etsy Find: Case of the Mondays

    Somebody has a case of the Mondays, and that somebody is me. I could really use one of these right about now. Spiky Coffee Mug, $35 from Symmetrical Pottery.


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    May 14, 2014
    In Vino Veritas

    Wine and its accouterments can seem a little inaccessible at times.  But this carafe makes it seem just a teensy bit more down to earth. $14 at Urban Outfitters.


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    May 5, 2014
    Summer Days

    I love retro coolers. For years, I picked them up from garage sales in Texas for $10 or less a piece. Now that I live in a tiny apartment, my vintage coolers have gone to live with my parents. But that doesn’t mean I can’t admire this lovely retro-look cherry red cooler from World Market ($50). It’s perfect for a day at the beach and pretty enough to store in plain view.


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    April 23, 2014
    Coasting Into Spring

    Pretty, springy stoneware coasters from Anthropologie. These would be perfect for margaritas on the porch. Paloma Coasters, $6 each.


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    April 4, 2014
    Weekend Test Kitchen: Lemon Rosemary Cake

    A good friend and colleague of mine recently left our office for a fantastic new job. I decided to bake a cake for her going away party (nothing beats homemade), and knowing lemon is one of her favorites, I hunted down a lemon buttermilk cake recipe from Martha Stewart.

    I decided to make a few adjustments – 1) I added rosemary to both the batter and the lemon syrup; and 2) I used cream cheese frosting instead of the whipped frosting recommended.

    Now, I don’t usually go in for fruit-flavored cakes, but this is one of my new favorites. Here’s the recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Lemon Layer Cake):

    Lemon Rosemary Cake:

    For the Cake:

    Ingredients:
    1.5 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
    3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
    3/4  teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1.5 teaspoons salt
    1.5 tablespoons lemon zest
    3 cups sugar
    3 large eggs plus 4.5 large egg yolks
    1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
    1.5 cups low-fat buttermilk
    1 sprig rosemary (or more if you want strong rosemary flavor)
    1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded

    STEP 1
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chopped rosemary, and lemon zest.

    STEP 2
    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 2 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

    STEP 3
    Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.

    STEP 4
    While cakes are baking, bring remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and rosemary sprig and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices and rosemary to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.

    STEP 5
    Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup (add several layers). Let cool completely. Prepare frosting (see below). Frost cooled cakes and top with candied lemon slices.

     

    For the Frosting:

    Ingredients:
    3/4 cup of butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
    12 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
    3 – 4 cups of powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons of lemon juice

    STEP 1
    With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

    STEP 2
    Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness.

     


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    January 17, 2014
    Cats!

    Like 99% of the internet, I’m just a little bit obsessed with cats. I usually prefer mine in funny-video form, but these Utopia Cat Mugs – $26 each from Jonathan Adler – are pretty tempting.


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    December 19, 2013
    Can’t Wait to Try it

    I’m getting a jump on finding ways to finish off those holiday leftovers with this delicious-looking recipe for green bean casserole stuffed mushrooms from A Beautiful Mess. It never hurts to plan ahead.


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    December 16, 2013
    Easy No-Bake Holiday Treats

    I have to admit that I’ve always thought that nothing good can come from a no-bake dessert recipe (except possibly ice cream), but this Peppermint Oreo Ball recipe has me rethinking that position. You can get the whole recipe here.


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