Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A lemonade kind of day.

I apologize for not updating more often lately...I just haven't felt up to it but for some reason, knowing that I have promised a recipe on Wednesdays helps me at least once a week. But I'm hoping to be better soon. I promise :)

I just ate the yummiest pecan pie-ish bar except more crumbly than gooey from Chef's Table a little restaurant here in town that I love. And I wish I had a recipe for it because I would share it with's really good. I am not in a sweet mood very much (a total shock, I know!) during the first few months of pregnancy...but the pecans were just calling to me...and I gave in!

I am feeling the best today that I have in a few weeks now; I'm hoping that this is a new trend! Cause I was spoiled with Hadleigh and Nathanael not being sick all day...but as someone told me, sometimes baby #3 has to make sure you know that they are their own unique little person too...and not just #3! Tomorrow is my first doctor's appointment...but I still have to wait a few weeks before they do the first ultrasound...darn. I love ultrasounds. Can't wait.

Okay, so since it is 81 degrees today, yes 81 on the last day of February (and poor Hadleigh was talking about wanting to build a snowman at her house this morning!) here is a recipe for one of my favorite lemonade recipes...yup, I have several...but this is a good one. (Photo courtesy of Martha...but not her recipe!) Enjoy! (And if it's not warm enough where you are for ice-cold lemonade...try warming it up! Hot lemonade tastes yummy too and is great for fighting a sore throat and cold!)

Southern Lemonade
4 lemons*
4 oranges*
4 limes*
1.5 to 2 cups sugar, depending on your taste
1 gallon water
Squeeze juice from fruit and combine juices in a one-gallon container.
Add sugar and water; mix to dissolve sugar.
Refrigerate until chilled.
*I like to have a few extra to slice and float in the pretty!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting warm here

The last two days have been in the 70's, which is amazing since we had snow exactly one week ago...but I digress.

I do love the feel of the approach of makes me want to go on picnics, take long walks, and buy lots of fresh fruit. So, since fruit sounds good right now (and Hilary mentioned I post lots of desserts), here is an old favorite (acquired from Pampered Chef) I look forward to making know when I am feeling like cooking again :) It is light and delicious and addicting! (and you can substitute some with the fruit selection to suit your taste.)

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

1 Tbsp. sugar plus 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, combined
4 flour tortillas

1 cup frozen (or fresh) raspberries
2 peaches, peeled and chopped
2 kiwi, peeled, sliced, and quartered
1 tsp. lime zest
2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray tortillas with water; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cut each tortilla into eight wedges. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.

2. Combine all salsa ingredients and mix gently.

Yield: 2 cups salsa and 32 chips.

Enjoy--I'm off to make a snack...popcorn maybe...because I'm getting hungry and that isn't good for this mommy-to-be! Thanks for all the well-wishes for this sweet baby...we are so very excited to meet her/him...and very anxious for this first trimester to be over...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!

It is a cold and snowy Valentines Day here...well, flurries, but that counts!

This is a recipe that I have wanted to make for a long time...since February 2003 when it appeared in Martha Stewart Living as the Dessert of the Month (one of my favorite features of the magazine, by the way!) And I would probably be making it tonight if I felt much like cooking...but I don't...due to our tiny, little Valentine who will make their arrival in October :)
I hope that all of you have a wonderful day today...and enjoy this!

Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
All-purpose flour, for pan
1 cup hazelnuts (about 4 ounces)
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
6 large whole eggs, separated, plus 4 large egg whites
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled, plus 4 ounces roughly chopped (1 cup)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-3-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment, and sprinkle with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.
2. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and skins start to crack, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; rub vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to take off skins. Let cool; roughly chop. Set aside.
3. Make cake batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, and rum, if using; beat until combined. Set aside.
4. In a clean mixer bowl, combine 6 egg whites and salt; using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining beaten egg whites just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, make meringue: Combine hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, and cornstarch in a small bowl, and set aside. Place remaining 4 egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean mixer bowl; using a clean whisk attachment, beat on high speed until frothy. With mixer running, slowly add superfine sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Fold in hazelnut mixture.
6. Remove cake from oven. Using an offset spatula, spread meringue mixture on top of cake, and return to oven. Bake until meringue is lightly browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let stand 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and release sides of pan. Let cool, about 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.
Makes one 9-inch cake
Note: Use the largest spatula you own and as few strokes as possible to maintain the egg white mixture's light, airy consistency when folding it into the chocolate batter. Hazelnut skins will come right off when you toast the nuts; rub them vigorously inside a folded kitchen towel while they're still warm. 3 An offset spatula lets you reach easily into the springform pan to gently coax the meringue over the half-baked cake layer.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Peppermint Clouds

The wait is over! Here is the recipe I tempted you with before Christmas, thanks to my sweet Mom for emailing it today!

This is really so yummy and can be made somewhat ahead of time. You could use store-bought hot fudge if you must, but really, this is the best hot fudge EVER. And while we always have this at Christmas, if you can still find Peppermint ice cream, it would make a great Valentines dessert too!

I wish I had a picture to share with you...because they are so pretty! Enjoy!

Peppermint Clouds

Meringue Clouds (recipe follows)
Heavenly Hot Fudge Sauce(recipe follows)
Peppermint Ice Cream (my favorites are Blue Bell and Braums, but Mayfield is good too!)

1. Place each meringue cloud on a serving plate. Top each cloud with 2-3 small scoops of peppermint ice cream. Top with homemade hot fudge sauce and serve immediately. (You can garnish the tops with a few pieces of crushed peppermint candy, if you like.)

Meringue Clouds

3 egg whites (room temperature)
Red food coloring ( a few drops- you want it pink not red)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Dash of salt
Parchment paper

1.Beat egg whites until stiff. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring. You want a pink color.
2. Add sugar slowly; then add the rest of the ingredients.Beat until well blended. 3. Cut parchment paper the size of your cookie sheet. Take a glass or coffee cup and trace circles on the parchment paper. This recipe makes 7-8 meringue cups.
4. Take 1-2 spoonfuls of meringue and place on each circle. Build up the sides of each cloud. It will look like a nest.
5. Bake at 275 degrees for one hour. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven for 2 more hours. (Keep the door closed.) Using a spatula, gently remove the meringue off of the parchment paper. Store in an airtight container until serving. (We sometimes make these the day before serving.)

Heavenly Hot Fudge Sauce

1/4 lb butter
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate squares
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup evaporated milk

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until melted.
2. Stir in sugar 4 Tbsp. at a time. Sugar mixture will be thick and dry. Add salt and slowly stir in evaporated milk. Stir until smooth and satiny.
3. Fudge sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Yields 5 cups of sauce. You can make the hot fudge while cooking the clouds or ahead of time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Technically, that picture is just espresso...but it's the only shot of coffee I have at the moment, so I think it will do. (Besides, it was taken in France and you just can't beat a cup of cafe or chocolat, or vin for that matter, in France! Right, Hilary?)

About two months before Christmas (you know, when you should be putting things you want on Christmas lists instead of just buying them) Brent came upon a great sale at Starbucks for their Barista espresso machines. And so he researched it...talked to the manager at our store...talked to some managers at stores in Asheville...talked me into it :) And even got an upgrade with the sale!

My parents gave me a capresso machine as a first-apartment-warming-gift my sophomore year in college. We used it probably 3 times in college. Then I married Brent, and he was so excited about this machine...he used it a lot. But it just wasn't performing as well in the last few years. And so he had resorted back to the normal coffee maker. So, knowing how much he likes to make cappuccinos and lattes and the like (and I enjoy drinking them) I was very happy to be able to get this great and easy to use machine! (And I was very happy to send our old one back to Baylor for my sister Katy and her roommates to enjoy...and they do...a lot more than we did in college!)

And just how easy is it to use? Well, Hadleigh helps him. For a long time she would help Daddy make "Super coff-coff" as she called it. A few weeks ago, Brent taught her to say cappuccino, hence the title of this post. It is really cute to hear her say it. And to see her get so excited to make it with Daddy...just so you're not scared she might be scalded, she just pushes the buttons...but she knows the order of the buttons and when to wait and when to run to the other side of the kitchen while Daddy tests the I said, it's just so cute.

I have a request...does anyone know of a good source to buy frosted mint syrup...the kind that you add to coffee drinks? Brent had it over Christmas and I'd love to surprise him with some!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Things to be happy about.

I have this book.

I don't remember where (or why, even) I got it. Sometime in highschool. It begins "A stream of consciousness list" and includes a 612 page list of little things in life that are happy moments. I thoroughly enjoyed going through this book, entry by entry highlighting things happy things that I shared with Barbara Ann Kipfer. I went through it again a few years later, this time dotting and starring entries that caught my eye and smile. It has been awhile since I picked it up (probably college), and I probably owe the book another read-through, as I am now married and a mommy and will probably apppreciate new, happy things.

I thought I would share a few of these happy moments from my book with you:

the "snuggle right in" feeling
seeing the moon rise
brand new notebooks
uneven parallel bars
getting carried away
braking for rainbows
the brisk dusk of a late October evening
when friends drop in
the moon on the snow
the smell of the sea
cold hands
saving almost everything
letters from close friends in far places
being a night person
the last crumpled leaf quivering on the oak
Prince Edward Island
rain at night, if you're safe in bed
cobblestone streets
lighthouses and piers
wanting your teddy bear
the silence of close friendship
memory lane
two-handed backhands
lip glosses
laughing til you cry

For those of you who didn't know I was a romantic, now you know! I think the author and I might be kindred spirits...I really need to read through that book's a great exercise for the heart and mind!

And here are a few things (of my own) that are making me happy today:

Nutella and graham crackers
cloudy and cold
a kiss of encouragement from my all-of-a-sudden wise three year old baby girl
a cuddly head on my shoulder
seeing my baby boy suck his thumb and hold his blankie
three days of emails from Marianne that make me laugh and smile
a scrapbook project waiting for me on my desk
a new Pottery Barn catalog
new shampoo
anticipating the arrival of Shannon tomorrow night for a weekend visit
planning on getting into an exercise routine with the help of a friend
the promise of a fire and movie tonight with Brent

What is making you happy today?

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