Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Magnifiques Macarons Fran├žais or Magnificent French Macarons!

I just happened to see on FB that the Pioneer Woman was hosting an amazing contest to visit her lodge, stay there, meet her, and the amazing Helene of Tartlette, so for the heck of it I entered the contest with this response and thought I would share it with all of you.  Enjoy!

I love, love, love macarons. My 29 year old daughter introduced me to the delicate little gems when she made them for Easter last year. They were gorgeous, precious, pink, little love filled heart songs…and they were tasty. I didn’t have another one until I got up the nerve to try my hand at them myself two weeks ago. My husband went to France on a business trip in mid May and told me about the religious experience he had just had with this delicate little filled chocolate cookie. When he described it to me, I knew what it was but he couldn’t remember the name. Also knowing I probably couldn’t compete with a “real” French macaron, I opted to try it in a lemon version. I ruined my first batch by beating in the almond flour (wasn’t paying attn), but the second batch….yum. I filled them with a zesty lemon mascarpone and lemon curd...and they were (to my surprise) delicious. Now, they still probably don’t compare to the macaron that gave hubs the OMG moment, but I held my own, for a non-baker. I am looking forward to trying some fun combinations, though I don’t know how long it will take for me to work up the nerve to try that chocolate in chocolate version he had in France.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

A little peek from our St. Patrick's Day gathering 2010. We had the most fun little gathering last year. Brandi made her delicious cake pops, green rice krispy treats, pesto ravioli and I supplied the green cheese!

St. Patrick's Day 2010
And an Irish Blessing for you!

Wishing you all a safe and fun celebration! ~Blessings, Janet

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sophisticated Jello? You bet!

My husband loves Jello. I'm almost embarrassed to say it, much less print it for the whole world to see. His tastes are simple and old-fashioned. Give him chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, or Jello and he's a happy man. Me, on the other hand...not so much, that is, until I discovered this sophisticated version of the cool, wiggly, flavor bursting treat. I found this gorgeous little presentation at Home Confetti.

Which reminded me that I had come across the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen some months ago. This Jello ain't for kids. Beautiful enough to serve at the most elegant of affairs, the creators come up with recipes that resemble the original cocktail. Take a look at just a few of my favorites.
White Wine Sangria Jelly Shot
Mimosa Jelly Shots with an edible flower
Don't they look just so very juicy...and delicious? If you want to see more...and there's lots more to see, click on over to their website and check it out. Then see what fun you can get your wiggle on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Contain Yourself

My friend, Candace and I are off to The Container Store today to replenish our supply of 12 oz. spray bottles. A couple of years ago, I decided to start making my own cleaning supplies. Initially I used the big 32 oz bottles I found at Home Depot, and then...I discovered The Container Store.

I placed one of these cleaning kits in each bathroom cabinet, under the kitchen and one in the laundry room. That way, I don't have to carry the stuff from one room to the next. If I want a quick clean up in the master bath, everything I need is right there.
Mini Bathroom Cleaning Kit
There is white vinegar in the clear spray bottle with the white top, disinfectant (water, alcohol, lavender essential oil in the clear spray bottle with the black top, peroxide in the silver bottle (I emptied a bottle of Method stainless steel cleaner), baking soda in the parmesan cheese container, white bar mops, micro cloths, and gloves.

I love the sizes of these because they fit just right in my hand and in the basket and I'm not lugging these big awkward 32 oz bottles around. When I'm done, I just toss the cleaning cloths in the laundry and refill the basket with fresh ones. I can be assured that the baths are cleaned, disinfected, and free from harmful chemicals. Oh, oh, oh and it saves a ton of money too. ☺

Monday, February 14, 2011

♥ Happy Valentine's Day ♥

Wishing you love, happiness and everything fabulous!
♥ Happy Valentine's Day ♥

It is always interesting to hear what people think about Valentine's Day. My mom says that every day should be like Valentine's Day. Some of my single friends dread the day because they feel they don't have anyone to celebrate with and they're feeling left out. I have always thought of the day as a great opportunity to celebrate the loves you cherish, whether they are husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, best friends, children, parents, co-workers. I love pink, red, and hearts. I love chocolate and Sweetarts and Valentine's Day is a great time to enjoy those things. So whether you are single or otherwise...enjoy the day. You Deserve It!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Heart Warming Soup ~ And Date Night Update

I love how momentum in one area just seems to be contagious and spreads to other areas. I had a great meeting with a new "branding expert" who will be supporting me as I update my company brand. Her name is Dorothy Wolden and she owns Creative Intuition. That's not what this particular post is about though ☺ It is about gaining momentum in healthier eating and I am continuing to connect with other wonderful bloggers who are on the same journey. One of the main purposes of this blog is to share the idea that we can still celebrate in grand style and yet do it in more healthy ways. That is why when I make desserts, I make them with the highest quality and yes, full fat ingredients, but do them in mini versions. My guests always feel satisfied and special. Nothing like a little gold flake on that mini sundae ☺to make you feel like a star! And so I digress...again.

I just wanted to talk about today's lunch. After my meeting this morning, I drove over to Whole Foods to pick up some organic, free range, chicken eggs and tart cherry juice for hubs (recommended by Dr. Oz for all manner of things, inflammation, sleep, cholesterol) and I was feeling like it was getting to be lunch time. As I perused the store, I came across a fresh soup bar and this delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup caught my eye...and nose.

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Multi-Grain chips & Prickly Pear Lemonade
I enjoy trying different versions of soups and this one is pretty good. When I got it home, I garnished it with a little dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro, and pared it with a handful of multi-grain tortilla chips. A refreshing glass of iced prickly pear lemonade was the perfect beverage. Who knew? And I feel really good about it. Admittedly, there should be a salad here, but that will come at dinner, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm doing well to stay away from the cream soups. Cream of Broccoli has got to be my favorite, with New England Clam Chowder a close second. Corn Chowder is pretty good too ☺ Do you have a favorite soup?

~~Date Night Update~~

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Date Nights have been getting better. Two weeks ago we enjoyed a very nice dinner at PF Chang's. Food was wonderful and I introduced hubs to Moo Shu Pork. Joel, our waiter, was extraordinary, not only in his attentiveness, but in his technique as well. Watching him prepare our sauces and later, the pork rolls was like watching a mini show. Of course, there was the 30 minute wait prior to show time, which in itself was its own entertainment. Three little tarts (had to have been barely 16), strutted in wearing teeny tiny short short (did I say short?) black tight, tight, (I said tight, right?) black dresses and stilty spikey 6 1/2 inch tall shoes. They all had gorgeous straight long hair and carried over sized bags. It really was the funniest thing to watch them standing there trying to keep their balance in those shoes. Wobble, wobble...I'm glad no one bumped into them. It would have had a domino effect on the whole tiny group of them. I feel for moms raising kids today.

Date Night Success
Last week, hubs suggested Mimi's Cafe and, oh boy I thought...Isn't that for the golden oldies? Okay, so it is, a little. No teeny tiny girlies, no ER sickroom, just a few of our Arizona Snow Bird crowd, whom we truly love (seriously)...but wait, there wasn't really a crowd, and the wait was only about 20 minutes. Food again, really surprisingly good. I had a wonderful Dijon salmon over a bed of deliciously prepared spinach (a fav), real mashed potatoes, and the best...really, the best asparagus I have ever, ever, ever tasted. Mimi's is known for their bakery and they did not disappoint us. My meal came with a salad and a mini (of course) dessert. I went for the Lemon Mousse (Don't do it, Yuck...this was like hospital mousse...gross) Rick went for the mini brownie and loved every 571 calorie bite. Our waiter, hmmmm, we'll call him Chris?, was awesome! So much so, Rick left an extra big tip.

Not sure what we are up to this evening...you? Have a great one. ~Blessings, Janet

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Sweet Love

Truly, I've never met a fruit or vegetable I didn't like. Like people, they are so colorful, have wonderful unique textures and personalities. They literally come in every color of the rainbow. Red tomatoes and apples, cherries, and strawberries, green spinach, limes and lettuces, blueberries and blackberries, yellow lemons, orange pumpkins and oranges, purple grapes and plums. The list seems endless. My new blogging friend, Manzanita of Wanna Buy a Duck (I mentioned her yesterday) got me to thinking about the healthier eating goals I have.

When I thought about what I might have for lunch today, I spied a perfectly ripe avocado sitting in the fruit bowl. I l.o.v.e avocados...and my favorite sandwich just happens to be an avocado, tomato, cheese, sprout sandwich on multi-grain bread.

I ate my before I got a picture of it...but this one taken by Divina of Sense and Serindipity of her delicious sandwich looks pretty close. My plate was a green paper plate left over from Super Bowl though. ☺Do you have a favorite sandwich?

Have a beautiful and healthy day! ~Blessings, Janet