Monday, May 31, 2010

Part 1 - Back From The Sweet Life

I had a great time laying around the pool all day drinking pina coladas on my lounge chair, but don't start getting jealous yet things weren't all sunshine and sunscreen. 
Early Thursday morning we started our extra long weekend vacation. As soon as we pull up to the casita the kids are ready for the pool and we are ready to relax. 90 degrees, a slight ocean breeze, drinks handed to you before you're even finish with your last, ahh this is the life. So we think.
Friday morning around 12:00am I woke up to a swollen lip. Another case of idiopathic angioedema (unknown cause of swelling). I was officially diagnosed with this last summer, unknown allergic swelling popping up in random places and have somewhat have learned to deal with it. As I watched the sunrise over the sea from my bed I thought it might be a good idea to go to town and get an epinephrine pen, just in case I needed one.(Medicine is cheaper in Mexico than in the States.) Once I was up and dressed I didn't think about it again, and by the afternoon the swelling was gone along with a few pina coladas and a margarita.
Saturday started like any other day in paradise. We woke up early and headed off to the beach. Once the tide started coming in we headed back for another day at the pool. As I was relaxing on my lounge chair I turned to put some newly purchased earrings in my beach bag and WACK. I smacked my elbow on the arm of the chair. Since I'm not just any normal person it turned out to be more than just hitting my funny bone. As I went to readjust myself back into the chair I was hit with a jolt of pain through my arm. The only way I could describe it is like the dentist hitting a nerve. It continued to hurt with the slightest bend or pressure, until my husband came to my rescue. He leans over me and tells me, "You just have to move it." then grabs my wrist and yanks my arm back and forth. Shockingly that made it hurt worse, and tears started rolling down from behind my sunglasses. He felt bad, probably not as bad as me, and he went to the bar to get me ice. Only I can find a way to hurt myself laying in a lounge chair. (I couldn't even get dressed for dinner without assistance.) As of today it still hurts.
Early Sunday morning rolls around 12:00am again and......

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Am On Vacation

This is a cake I made a few years ago. A white cake with vanilla butter cream. Caramel starfish and white chocolate coral and shells.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pie

Chocolate Chip Pie is one of my favorite desserts. It's always a crowded pleaser and is super easy to make. This time I added a tropical twist.

Tropical Chocolate Chip Pie

2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup melted butter (cooled to room temperature)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 9" pie shell

Preheat oven to 325. In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add flour, sugar and brown sugar beat until well blended. Blend in butter. Stir in chips, coconut, and macadamia nuts. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with ice cream or I like it from the refrigerator.
(I never said it was healthy.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Last Of My Woodhouse

I am still eating my Woodhouse chocolates, but I am reaching the end. Up first is Fresh Mint,  a cute little chocolate in the shape of a leaf. I love chocolate and mint whether its ice cream, cookies, or candies. This is not like any of the mints I have mentioned. When you bite into this chocolate you are in for a surprise. First it doesn't have an artificial white filling, instead you find a smooth chocolate hidden inside. Within that smooth dark chocolate you can taste the mint, and not the kind of mint most people are familiar with, but a fresh mint leaf mint. You can taste the green it's so fresh. (I have a great and easy fresh mint chocolate recipe I will post some time in the future.)  Woodhouse's description is "A ganache of milk and dark chocolates is infused with garden fresh mint and covered in dark chocolate."
My other chocolate was Champagne Truffle. The first time I tried this was also my first time I had Woodhouse. It was so cute in its little cork shape I was so excited to bite in and taste the luxury.  Their description is "A white chocolate ganache with a splash of Grande Champagne Cognac, surrounded by white chocolate". So I pick it up and after a little baby talk I put it in my mouth for my first taste. Immediately I spit it out into my hand with drool hanging from my mouth, I ran to get a drink of water and wipe my tongue off with a paper towel. (Yes sometimes I can be that dramatic.) It was awful, and I was so disappointed. My husband took a bite of the leftover carcass of white chocolate cork and said he didn't think it was bad. I eventually gave in and took another cautious bite and waited for my gag reflexes to kick in, but this time my taste buds had a different reaction. I liked it, I liked it a lot. It has now become one of my favorites.  Looking back I think it is my dislike of alcohol that caused my first reaction. So why did I get an alcohol flavored chocolate you ask, because it was cute, and I expected a more artificial flavor. So cheers to me expanding my champagne palate, but I'm still not drinking it, unless it comes from a chocolate glass.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mystery Chocolate

My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

I hate boxes of assorted chocolates because of the uncertainty. You either have to poke your finger in the bottom or take a cautious bite and spit it out if it has chunks of fruit inside. I always had an advantage when it came to Sees Candy because I have their chocolates memorized.
When I opened my Woodhouse box today and saw this little guy I wasn't sure what it was. How could I not know what it is if I hand picked all of them. I looked in my Woodhouse dictionary and it wasn't in there, and there was no way I was going to destroy this pretty little chocolate by poking it. It looked just like the Passion Fruit only it was covered in dark chocolate, so it couldn't be Passion Fruit. I was wrong, it was Passion Fruit. It wasn't as bad as it sounds, white chocolate ganache with passion fruit flavor covered in silky dark chocolate, but it wasn't as good as the white chocolate Passion Fruit. Of coarse I didn't just have this one chocolate, I had 2 Sur del Lago's too one dark and one milk.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

Today's chocolates were Heart of Darkness and Toasted Coconut.(OK you got me I also had another Sur del Lago.)
The Heart of Darkness is not for the weak. "Dark chocolate covers a rich filling of dark chocolate ganache and crunchy cocoa nibs." When they say rich they mean RICH, it's almost bitter. What adds to it's richness is the cocoa nibs. I love cocoa nibs. If you have never had them go out and get some. I use them in my cookies and brownies all the time. They are crushed and roasted cacao beans that add crunchiness like nuts but with a chocolate taste. All this nib talk, now I want to make some cookies.
Toasted Coconut was yummy too. I love coconut. I love it on my cakes, in my cookies, in my brownies, and on my marshmallows. But I hate it fresh, I am a sugartarian not a vegetarian. These chocolates aren't like coconut candy you get at the supper market. These have a more subtle coconut flavor, being a coconut lover I could use a little more. They get there coconut flavor from the actual coconut, not a coconut flavor center. The description from my Woodhouse dictionary says "A dark chocolate shell holds a creamy ganache of white chocolate and crunchy bits of toasted coconut." The good thing about the light coconut flavor means you can eat a lot more before you make yourself sick.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Box Of Chocolates

I forgot to show off the adorable box Woodhouse Chocolate's come in. I love the elephant ribbon, but I wonder if it's a warning? Today's chocolates were Sur del Lago and Passion Fruit.
Out of my box of 24 chocolates 12 of them are Sur del Lago. They are the best. I could order an entire box of just Sur del Lago, if it went for those other pesky delicious chocolates tempting me. The Sur del Lago description is "Dark chocolate surrounds a dark chocolate ganache. Made exclusively of chocolate from Western Venezuela." Do you know what that means? It means we need to start planing our next vacation to South America. :) Honestly it doesn't get better than these little nuggets of joy. They have the best chocolate flavor I have ever tasted.
This is a first for me, Passion Fruit. I recently discovered passion fruit desserts through Bouchon Bakery in the Napa Valley, with their passion fruit macaroons and donuts. The Passion Fruit chocolate tastes a lot like the passion fruit donut, a mix of creamy and slightly tart. The Woodhouse description is "A white chocolate ganache exploding with passion fruit, covered in white chocolate."(They didn't mention it has a pretty pink shimmer on it too.)  Considering I don't like fruit this was pretty good, I couldn't eat a bunch of them but thrown in every once in a while it's refreshing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raspberry Chambord

Woodhouse Chocolate's are my favorite chocolates in the world. Today's treat was their Raspberry Chambord chocolate. The description they give is "a Chambord scented fresh cream sweetened with raspberry puree, in a white chocolate shell." It is yummy and cute,  but one of my least favorite out of all of their chocolates. I think it's the raspberry I am not fond of, but I wouldn't turn one down.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Congo Bars

Congo Bars are basically Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. I am not a fan of chocolate chip cookies other than cookies and pie, but the pictures I saw of these looked so yummy I had to try them. 
The only real difference I found with the Congo Bars and regular Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars is the sugar. Congo Bars use all brown sugar instead of a mix of brown and white sugars
So the verdict is... edible but not so great. Remember, I don't like Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and that is exactly what these tasted like. If you like cookie bars than by all means try these. The recipe is easy and it doesn't take much time, but Chocolate Chip Pie is even easier and tastes soooo much better.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I'm so excited. Yesterday when I came home there was a package on my front door step. I had no idea what it could be, and when I saw it was addressed to me I was even more excited. What could it be? Then as I opened it I saw the cute little bags inside and I realized it was something that I just ordered on Wednesday. (She must have the best postal service in the US.)  Unfortunately I can't say what's in the bag until June. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010


My daughter had a school project on Peru, and needed to bring in Peruvian food. She searched the Internet and found Alfajores. Alfajores are made with two cookies filled with dulce de leche and covered in powdered sugar. (I covered my own in coconut.)
My daughter choose a recipe from Martha Stewart's website The cookies have a consistency more of cake than of a cookie. Even the batter is thin like cake batter. It reminds me of the tops of cupcakes. They were good by themselves, but I think they would be delicious with butter cream frosting sandwiched in between.
The filling of dulce de leche was a little strange to me. It is very similar to caramel but sweeter. The  recipe I used was from my new cookbook Chocolates & Confections, and it was ridiculously easy. Basically you use a can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and poke holes in the top with a can opener. Then you cook the can in water for a few hours. After the cans have cooled you open them and... Ta Da, you have dulce de leche. Next time I try this I am going to add a little salt and maybe some vanilla when I scoop it out into a bow,l to give it more of a caramel flavor.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chocolate And More Chocolate

Today my afternoon snack was a small box of Woodhouse chocolates from mothers day. Woodhouse Chocolate's have to be the best chocolates ever, and this box was no exception. The letters are dark chocolate ganache and the heart was white chocolate with a silky smooth citrus filling that I couldn't exactly make out. It definitely had a lemon taste but it was subtle and there was a hint of something I couldn't put my finger on. So after further investigating it turns out it was a lavender lemon infusion. It was absolutely decadent. There chocolates are perfection. I am so glad I still have a box of 24 chocolates still left.

My other snack was a peanut butter cup from Bouchon. These things are huge, about 3 inches in diameter, 1 inch thick and weights 3.6 oz. They are more of a hockey puck than a cup. It takes me a few days to eat one, as I savor every morsel. These aren't your average peanut butter cups. They have a nice chocolate shell filled with a soft, not necessarily peanut butter filling. I just can't figure it out. Its not the dry chalky peanut butter, no not these. These have smooth creamy adult flavored filling with a slight crunch coming from a mystery source. I can't try to hard to find the secret to these monsters, or I will be making them everyday. The price for these peanut butter paperweights are somewhere between $6-$10 (As a frequent visitor to this bakery it's best not to know prices.), and worth every penny.
Sweet Dreams,


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A sugartarian is a person who follows a strict sugar based diet.
I was brought up sugartarian by my parents starting at a young age. Our kitchen had a junk drawer which unlike other houses was actually full of junk food. As a child I wasn't really over indulgent, my parents made me eat "regular" food and my dad even made me eat "irregular" food. (Aligator, wild boar, rattlesnake, bear, deer, elk and who knows what else.) My diet changed drastically around high school. My dad would take me to school and we would have breakfast together, a Coke and a Snickers. (He use to make me waffles, 2 Eggos, 1 scoop ice cream, & chocolate syrup.) At school I would eat candy from some fundraiser or another and a Sprite, or when we would sneak out for Chinese food and I would order a BAG of fortune cookies. Then my mom would make dinner and after dinner was dessert.
My strict diet is very easy for me to follow because I am a very picky eater. I don't like fruit. The only vegatables I would think of eating are carrots, peas, corn and potatoes. I don't eat meat in the shape of an animal.(Ground beef is ok, but not steak, ribs, or chicken legs.) Although I am trying to eat better now, I think I will always be a sugartarian.


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