A Valentine Treat Recap

In our home, we love celebrating Valentine’s Day!  But not for the reasons that you think; if you missed yesterday’s posting, stop by and check it out.  In our home, the kids and I make the sweets instead of buying them – that is – unless I’m having a lazy type of holiday.  I had fun researching what types of projects I had worked on in the years past, and it made me appreciate why I keep my blog running, even if I don’t find enough time these days to do so.  This year, I believe I’m going to make scones and somehow dress them up to make it fitting for the day, but that remains to be seen on “how.”  Why scones?  Why not?  Actually, I made a batch for a group of people and the reviews came back that they were heavenly.  Some people even said they were the best scones they had ever had, so that must be saying something!  Truth be told, my family was so jealous when I walked out the door with this beautiful batch of scones, and didn’t even get one bite.  So I owe it to them to make a batch.

Enough rambling – break out the recap!!  Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!!

Goat Cheese TrufflesGoat Cheese Truffles – what better way to say, “hey honey, I love you, and I know you love goat cheese! And chocolate!”  True story, I made these for a dinner party, and found my husband eating the leftovers (straight from the bowl, not even rolled up!) and thought, hmmm, there must be something to these little devilishly amazing bites!  These chocolates keep you coming back for more.  Great for a “la-tee-da” type of person, or someone you just want to impress. 🙂  You’re welcome.

 

Red Velvet MadeleinesRed Velvet Madeleines – Need a Valentine Day breakfast that will impress?  Try these little delights!  Perfect compliment with a nice cup of tea, or hot chocolate.  You and your sweet other will enjoy this as a nice change of pace.  Also great for a dessert at the end of the day, especially after a heavy dinner.  Want to jazz it up?  Serve it with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

Chocolate Strawberry ShortcakeChocolate heart shortcakeChocolate Waffles with Strawberries – Seriously, words cannot describe how amazing this breakfast can be.  Or dinner, should you decide to mix it up.  I have two pictures here because I made it the shortcut method with pre-made chocolate waffles, while my lovely blogging friend in Oklahoma showed an even better way to make them if you have the time and equipment.  Here is her link to make her fancy waffles.

 

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries – a classic, and yet people still buy these rather than try to make them.  Friends, they are not difficult.  Plus your loved one will love you for trying to make them instead of buying them.  Trust me.  If you don’t believe me, look at who is making them in my pictures of that particular blog post.  My kids, when they were tiny!  Don’t like strawberries, roll some raspberries instead, they are a true delight as well.

 

Finished CakeHidden Hearts Cake – Remember when hiding pictures in a cake was all the rage?  Is it still a thing? I’m not sure, but it’s still fun to create, especially for your kids.  Enjoy the tale of my crazy adventure with making this cake. You will definitely get a laugh.

 

 

 

DIY Valentine Bracelet – This is a fun little project that you can create with the kids.  I definitely recommend following the instructions to make it work.  Seems simple enough, but can be a bit tricky if not careful.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Valentine Cake Pops – I have found myself rolling into a Starbucks buying my kids these sweet bites, and each time I think, “ridiculous what I am paying for these when I know how much it costs to make them!! TONS of them.”  Are they difficult to make? Not if you follow the rules.  And your freezer is your friend when it comes to setting up the cake with the frosting.  I recommend making a red velvet cake with a dark chocolate outer coating – the best!

That’s it for now!  You can search my site for more delights, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Roses for Mother’s Day

White chocolate roses The Secret Chocolatier

Chocolate.  What is not to love?  This Mother’s Day, my favorite chocolatier in South Charlotte is creating the most unique gift!  Delicate chocolate roses.  Not just any style either.  Read the details below, (and how to order!)

This is not your ordinary rose. It’s chocolate and flowers all in one that are in full bloom at The Secret Chocolatier. Offered for Mother’s Day in white, yellow and brown hues, each petal is hand formed and brought together to create a fully chocolate, edible rose. Each rose is sold as a single long-stem, 1/2 dozen, or full dozen, and wrapped and packaged as a real rose would be. Cost: $15 a stem.

To order, contact The Secret Chocolatier at 704-323-8178, visit http://www.thesecretchocolatier.com/ for online orders, or stop by their retail stores in Cotswold or Ballantyne.

Did you all catch that?  Each PETAL is hand formed… This is no simple stem rose mold they use.  It takes time to create these pretty treats!  I know. I’ve seen them in the store.

Now… to convince my husband to buy me one. 🙂Secret Chocolatier Roses

 

Disclaimer: The opinions of this post are my own. I was not given any compensation to review this company.  I just LOVE their products and stand by them. 

DIY Valentine Bracelet

Valentine bracelet

Last week we had a few snow days, and found ourselves with too much time on our hands! Good problem to have, except my daughter was getting a little stir crazy. Some of the roads were no good to drive on, but the ones to the local craft store was, so off we went! Sometimes I can truly be a fool and literally walk for an hour around the store looking for a craft, but this time I came prepared knowing what we were going to make. Of course we found it on Pinterest, where else??

The original plan was to make this bracelet for everyone in her class at school as a gift, but after making just one, we had had it. It’s not that the craft is too difficult, but it’s just plain sticky, and I found myself washing the needle many times just to keep it workable. BIG TIP: Microwave the jelly beans for 15 seconds just to soften enough to work with. 

BTW… did anyone notice the one odd shaped looking heart?  My daughter wanted to bite before I got my camera out in time. 🙂

Tools:

  • Heart shaped jelly beans
  • Tapestry Needles
  • Transparent Stretch Cord

Method: I am passing this amazing tutorial over to the original designer, Stuff Parents Need.  Thank you!!

Paleo Almond Brownie Bites

Paleo Almond Brownie Bites

Day 9 of Paleo… And?  Great news, no issues with the big changes!  I am loving the energy, and the lack of bloating that comes after each meal.  Not to mention, I’m not walking around saying, “Great! Now I have guilt!”  (Thank you Rex, for that lovely quote – Toy Story.)

I have learned how much our taste buds can adapt in such a short amount of time.  By eating salads, lean meats, and low sugar food, it’s easy to see how much is really in our processed foods.  But the sweet tooth that is hardwired in my mind still craves for that flavor at times.  So how do I work with this?  One great recipe is my Paleo Chocolate Chip cookies.  They are so delicious and park that sweet tooth to the curb!  But if you are looking for a simple alternative, try these brownie bites.  They are naturally sweet from the dates, combined with almonds, coconut, vanilla and cocoa.  Great for an on-the-go treat, and no guilt.  I tested them out on my kids, and they came back for more!  Enjoy!

Paleo Almond Brownie Bites

  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  1. Get your frustrations out.  Place raw almonds into a baggie, close and bang into bits with a rolling pin.  Feel better?
  2. Dig the food processor out of the back of your closet, blow the dust off of it. 🙂  Toss in the pitted dates, vanilla and cocoa into the processor and mix until a paste forms.
  3. Add almond bits to the mix and blend together.
  4. When the batch starts to cluster together, it’s ready.
  5. Take coconut and place into a separate bowl.
  6. Roll bites into 1/2 inch or larger depending on your sweet tooth!  Then roll the bites into the coconut if you wish.
  7. Eat!  Or place in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Bark

Spicy Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Bark

While I was busy slow cooking a pumpkin today, I cleaned up the pumpkin seeds and began to roast them in the oven.  It makes my family happy to nibble on them when fresh out of the oven.

Let me ask you this… what happens when they cool and the seeds lose their appeal?  They sit in a bowl, looking helpless.  Not this year!  This year I’m coating them in rich dark chocolate (of course) and giving the chocolate a kick in flavor!  Not spicy, so the kids wouldn’t touch it, (though, that sounds great!)  I’m doing the pie spices.  All-Spice, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and a hit of ginger.  Mix that up in some melted dark chocolate, add in the roasted (salty) pumpkin seeds, and pour to cool on a covered baking tray.  Delicious!

What do you like to do to mix it up?

Ingredients:Raw Pumpkin Seeds

  • Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
  • Dark Chocolate (bar, not chips)
  • All Spice
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger

Directions:

Roast and salt fresh pumpkin seeds (though I’m sure a bag of already roasted will do fine.)  Melt dark chocolate either via microwave (1 minute at a time on 1/2 power – and stir) or double boiler. (Don’t use chocolate chips, as it will not be the correct texture.)  Sprinkle spices into dark chocolate and swirl.  Add pumpkin seeds and stir.  On a covered baking sheet (parchment paper or waxed) pour mixture on top.  Let the chocolate set up at room temperature or if you’re like me and impatient, pop the sheet in the fridge for a faster cooling time.  Break chocolate bark into irregular chunks to get the look.

*Want more salt? When chocolate is cooling, crack sea salt on top of bark.

Easy Easter Bark

Easter Bark

Today I braved the Spring Break crowds at the stores… though I’m not sure why I waited?!  It was crazy traffic and people traffic as well.  Not fun.  I think I’m spoiled, because I’m used to low crowd levels.  I shop when kids are at school, when everyone is working; so it’s me…and the crowd leftover. 🙂  Just the way I like it!!

I picked up some Easter candy today.  I’m sure you’re shocked that I didn’t make my own, yes?  It’s been a hectic “season,” so simple is better right now.  I bought a bag of Reese’s Pieces Pastel Eggs, and a bag of Cadbury’s mini eggs.  Also grabbed a bag of pretzels and set off home!

I am not hitting the social networks the next few days, as I’d like to actually ENJOY Easter, and the break shortly after.  So, I’m wishing you all a very HOPPY EASTER!!!

Blessings to you and your loved ones. 🙂

  • Bag of Reese’s Pieces pastel eggs
  • Bag of Cadbury mini eggs
  • Pretzels – stick style
  • Wilton Dark Chocolate Melting chocolate

Melt down the Wilton Candies.  Crush in a bag the mini eggs.  Break apart a few handfuls of pretzel sticks.  Stir in chocolate, and flatten chocolate down on waxed paper covered baking sheet.  Chill in fridge.  Break apart!

Easter Bark

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Hey everyone!  Hope you are all having a lovely Saturday!  Today as you know is Dr. Seuss’s Birthday!  This morning I’m just doing a recap of some items I have made over  past two years for his “holiday.”  Later today, I plan on sharing a little time with the girls making something special for Horton Hears a Who theme. (Look for that post either tonight or tomorrow!)

Wishing you well!

Thing One and Thing Two (Chocolate Covered Oreos!)

Thing One and Thing Two

Cat in the Hat Hat’s (Chocolate dipped marshmallows on a cookie)

Cat in the Hat Hats

Cat in the Hat Chocolate Bark

Cat in the Hat Chocolate Bark

Pink Ink and Hop on Pop Popcorn
Pink InkHop on Pop Popcorn

Happy {Belated} Nutella Day!

Nutella Nanaimo bars

Gosh… who knew Nutella would have a day dedicated to it?  Or website of the many MANY recipes that people have created with it??  I did a quick search on my concepts, and wanted to put them in a bulk post just for you!  Keep it simple…

And there you have it!!  Enjoy!

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries – Santa Hats

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  My family and I drove up to Pittsburgh, and stayed with my Hubby’s family and had a great time!  Did you know that is where my Jim and I met?  Some years ago, I had asked Jim out when we were both in college, and the rest is history… I know, super vague, but when it’s our anniversary, I’ll share our story.
Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Today I’m sharing with you the recipe for Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries… and if that isn’t enough, I had to dip them in chocolate, and drizzle the outside with what else?  More chocolate.  The end result was fabulous, and the empty tray was left to prove it.
Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Best part about this recipe?  It’s SO simple, so much so, that I had my 8 yr old fill the berries up and dip them in chocolate.   I also had let her core out some berries as well, but I was a tad bit impatient, so I took over eventually.  (Bad Mom!!)  When they were finished, I had people telling me they almost looked like Santa Hats!  I think that was pretty accurate description too. 🙂

Recipe: (courtesy of Tami’s Kitchen Table Talk)

  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Chocolate (I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet)
  • Philadelphia Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling

Method:

Wipe strawberries gently with a damp paper towel to clean.  Cut the tops off the berries, and then with a small knife or strawberry huller, hull the middles of the strawberries out.  Place cheesecake filling into a baggie, cut the tip, and pipe filling into the berries.  (Use a high quality baggie, as the cheap ones will break in this process, leaving a fun mess on the fingers, which you must lap up!) Melt the chocolate in the microwave at half power 1-2 minutes.  (Start with just a minute and add time accordingly.)  You will need to stir the chocolate to check it’s consistency before dipping.  Dip strawberry ends in the chocolate and place on waxed paper to dry.  (You can chill in the freezer if you want to have them quickly set up.)  Add a chocolate drizzle for a finale (optional.)
Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Foodie Review: Hey Sugar Shop

Hey everyone!  I know my blog posts seem scattered, but there is a good reason for that.  Time.  I have found my time being stretched to the limit between teaching cooking classes, being a chauffeur to my kids, making dedicated time for my family, keeping a tidy home, and oh… trying to really start up a business.  No big deal. One thing I ALWAYS make time for is to try out new foods and flavors for the local Charlotte and Upstate South Carolina areas.  (Ok.  Charleston fits in the mix too when we get a chance to travel!)

Yesterday, I finally had a chance to meet a new Foodie and Truffle Cake creator (and cookie master), Mary Kate from Hey Sugar Shop!  She had contacted me a few months ago regarding that Brownie Challenge, and I had been eagerly waiting to have a chance to try out the confections she creates.  Not too many times have I heard of a “Cake Truffle,” so she had my attention.

Especially… because she said she had a new cake truffle of the “boozy” variety, called the Skyy Vanilla Pumpkin Spice.  If you don’t follow my Twitter feeds, you miss out on my fondness for anything Pumpkin Spice.  In fact… I just had myself a Pumpkin Spice Latte this AM, thanks to Starbucks.

Vanilla Skyy Pumpkin Cake Truffles

So, here is my scoop on the Cake Truffle.  At first bite, I was thinking, “eh, just ok.” I was a tad confused on the flavor, and thought it had been missing something chocolatey.  BUT! I did fairly so give it a chance again today.  Realizing that I am the fool here.  I was wrong!  Yes, we foodies can get it wrong, and incorrectly judge something.  First of all, I faltered when I was assuming this was a pumpkin infused chocolate truffle.  I hit her website today thinking, maybe I’m missing something.  And it hit me that I actually missed the key word on her adorable packaging.  *Smack my forehead.*  It is a CAKE truffle, not a chocolate truffle.

So, my dear Mary Kate – please forgive me!  Dear friends, these cake truffles rock.  It is like kicked up PUMPKIN PIE in the mouth! *Kicked up!*  Key words. 🙂 And if you are like me, and like a little more Vanilla Skyy, then she will provide!  She makes these truffles custom order, and you won’t be disappointed.  As I had mentioned earlier, the packaging is really well done, and they come in a box wrapped up like old fashioned candies.  Melt my heart.

Thanks to the Sugar Shop for giving me a chance to try out your new holiday product!

Oh yea… better order fast, as these won’t be in season for long.

Cheers!