Steeped in Southern Tradition – Tea

Today my choice of tea is a Raspberry Tea by Celestial Seasonings served in a pretty blue and white china cup and saucer.

You can’t go wrong with fruit teas.

 

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A Southern Tradition – Tea

Today’s tea is Lady Grey Tea served in a beautiful pink floral tea-cup that I came across in a little shop I visited year’s ago.

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What are you drinking today?

From Louisiana to Walnut Mountain – It’s vacation time! Part 1

We’ve been on vacation this past week. It started off with a bang – literally, and not in a good way. We were only about twenty miles from home and were going through a school zone when a man came running through the traffic waving his arms shouting, “Stop. A cop’s been shot!”

IMG_3010We were just moments behind the flying bullets which took down a deputy. He was shot in the eye, arm, and chest. Even with these injuries, he managed to get off a few shots at the assailant. When traffic was finally released and we passed the scene, five shots were noticeable in the truck’s windshield.

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While we sat in the middle of the highway only a few hundred yards away, but still in range of bullets, police and first responders swarmed in. We had a front row seat to the assailant being taken down by the police.

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What made the scene even more eerily, is this happened in a small town where I attended school as a child and the bus I rode turned in to the school in this very spot. Back then, this was unheard of. When crossing guards motioned for you to stop, you stopped. You didn’t get mad, flee the scene and return with a gun.

After an hour delay, we were on our way to New Orleans. We had just cleared New Orleans East when we came upon two company trucks, pulling road warning signs of all things. I say this because the driver of the second truck was busy texting and in the process wasn’t paying too much attention to how close he was getting to the truck in front of him. Although they were hauling road caution signs, they were not displaying much caution.

People texting while driving really irks me. While hubby drove along side the truck, I looked up the company name on my phone. Once we had the truck number, I phoned in to speak to the safety manager. He was a little surprised at the information we were able to provide. He asked what the driver looked like so he could be sure he spoke to the correct person. We not only provided a description of the driver, but the mile post, direction, time, and truck information.

The safety manager said that he was sure that the driver would deny the accusation, but also remarked that where there was smoke, there was normally fire and with the information we provided, he wouldn’t be able to easily weasel out of the problem. I guess when the driver decided to text, he wasn’t expecting a trooper to be watching. The safety manager thanked us for the information and told us he was glad we had called in.

I think we were heading through Alabama (from Louisiana) when we came across this on the interstate. I couldn’t resist clicking a picture.

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It’s not often you see this!

Our trip originated in Southern Louisiana and we traveled through Mississippi, Alabama, and then Georgia on this trip on our way to the Smokey Mountains in Northern Georgia. You see a lot of strange things out there on the interstate!

We headed through a rainstorm that insisted on following us part of the way north.

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With the morning delay, by the time we made it to Atlanta, we hit work traffic. It was a mess. I’ll never forget the first time I experienced Atlanta traffic. It was years ago. We came off of an overpass and around a curve and saw eight lanes of stalled traffic.

This was only six lanes wide.

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North of Atlanta, we ran into more rain as we headed into the mountains.

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Even with all the delays and weather, we still ended up arriving at Walnut Mountain before dark – just! These photos were taken on the mile drive up to the top of the mountain. This is actually a very steep incline.

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The fog rolled in as we reached the top.

I invite you to stay tuned for more of our adventures!

*Update – On the trip home as I was checking on the condition of the deputy that was shot, I stumbled across the name of the shooter. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that it was someone that I attended school with for five years. It is hard to reconcile the individual who picked up a gun and shot at another human being with someone I knew so long ago. Proves once again, it’s a small, small world.

The Southern Chocolatier – How to package those delicoius cupcakes

Cupcakes are my most FAVORITE thing in the whole world. I think I may have mentioned a time or two just how much I love them; little bits of cake that you don’t have to share! I was looking around on the internet and came across this post on the way I package cupcakes. It makes a wonderful treat to take home or as a presentation at a party.

an easy way to package cupcakes for parties

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All the materials you’ll need are readily available at your local craft store.

How To Package Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place cooked and cooled cupcakes into plastic cups. If your liners happened to fade during the baking process, add another liner to each cupcake to make the design brighter and more visible.

2. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

3. Gently place cups into cellophane bags. Add your tags to the twine or ribbon and tie the top of the bag.

NOTES:

– If you are using a soft frosting such as cream cheese, meringue, or Italian buttercream, I would recommend attaching a spoon to your cup.

Borrowed from – http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/

A Southern Tradition – Tea

Today’s tea is Celestial Black Cherry Tea in a Mary Englebriet cup and saucer from my collection. This is the cup and saucer that started my collection. Those are also my cousin’s Koloches in the background. Yummy!

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What’s in your cup today?

The Southern Chocolatier – Did someone say Oreo?

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake!

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake - this simple recipe makes an absolutely drool-worthy cheesecake without a lot of work time or ingredients

And oh my goodness, the recipe I came up with is incredible!  It is very rich and delicious.  And just the right amount of sweet and tart like any good cheesecake is.  And the best part is that it only took about 10 minutes to prepare!  The bad news is that it had to refrigerate for 4 hours before I could dig into it.  But let me tell you, it was well worth the wait!

This No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake is incredibly delicious and is sure to wow any guests!  This recipe is a keeper!

No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

NO-BAKE OREO CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Beat approximately half of the milk with the cream cheese in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Add remaining milk and dry pudding mix and beat with a wisk for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Gently fold in crushed OREO’s and Cool Whip until combined.
  4. Spread into prepared OREO pie crust.
  5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until firm and leave in fridge until ready to serve.
  6. Can garnish with whipped cream and more OREO’s if desired.

Borrowed from – http://www.simplydesigning.net/

 

Southern Traditions – Tea

Today my choice of tea is Celestial Country Peach served in a beautiful china teacup and saucer that I picked up on a trip. The cup has magnolia flowers on it.

I am really enjoying the fruit teas by Celestial Seasonings.

 

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Southern Traditions – Tea

Today, my choice of tea is an English Breakfast Tea by Twinings served in a Mary Engelbreit teaset.

 

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The Southern Chocolatier – Sinful Triple Chocolate Poke Cake – Need I say more?

When the name of a chocolate recipe has the word “sin” in it, does it really need any more explanation? Not in my book!

 

The Sinful Triple Chocolate Poke Cake combines a fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate pudding and chocolate whipped cream. Instead of using your typical sweetened condensed milk, I used a jar of hot fudge that I drizzle over the warm cake and then filled in the holes with a chocolate pudding. Then to top it off, I made a chocolate whipped cream. Whipped cream is SO easy to make. My favorite one to make around the holidays is Hot Chocolate Whipped Cream, which I used for this cake. Or, you can substitute the hot chocolate powder for cocoa powder. You really can’t go wrong with a cake like this.

 

Triple Chocolate Poke Cake
Prep time:  30 mins
Cook time:  20 mins
Total time:  50 mins
Serves: 16-20 pieces
Ingredients
  • 1 Box Chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1 Box Hershey’s dark chocolate instant pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C Milk
  • ½ C Vegetable oil
  • ½ C Light sour cream
For the topping
  • 1 Jar Hot fudge sauce (12.8oz)
  • 1 box Hersey’s Dark Chocolate instant pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 2 C Milk
For the Whipped Cream:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine cake mix and dry pudding mix with eggs, vanilla extract, milk, vegetable oil and sour cream. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Bake cake in 9×13” for 20-22 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you cake is done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. While the cake is still warm, take the end of a wooden spoon or another round object and poke holes all over the top of your cake.
  5. Heat the jar of hot fudge sauce in the microwave for about 30 seconds until you can stir it and thin it out. You may need an additional 30 seconds. Pour the entire jar of hot fudge sauce on the top of cake and allow it to absorb in the cake until cake is cooled. Let set until completely cooled.
  6. When the cake has cooled, prepare the pudding layer by mixing a package of instant dark chocolate pudding with 2 cups of cold milk. Before the pudding sets, pour it over the top of the cake and put the cake in the fridge to let the pudding set, about 15 minutes.
  7. Prepare the whipped cream. Put the bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to get them really cold (this step is optional, but a common practice I use.). In cold mixing bowl, pour in heavy whipping cream and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add hot chocolate mix and increase speed to medium high. Beat until stiff peak form.
  8. Spread whipped cream over the top of cake. You can top you cake with a chocolate drizzle and some crushed white and milk chocolate chips, or any of your favorite chocolate goodies.

Borrowed from and many, MANY thanks to – http://beyondfrosting.com/

Steeped in Southern Tradition – A cup o’Tea

Today, my choice of tea is an Irish Breakfast Tea. I hope you’ll grab a cup and join me with your favorite tea.

 

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The tea is Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea. My cup and sauce is by Mary Engelbreit.

 

 

The Southern Chocolatier – Did I mention how much I LOVE Malt?

The recipe caught my attention simply by the word “Malted” in the title. The word simply makes my heart palpitate!

This Malted Chocolate Mousse Tart is everything you want in a chocolate dessert. It is the most light and airy mousse atop a chocolate cookie crust.

The BEST Chocolate Malted Mousse Tart. An Oreo crust is filled with a light, chocolate mousse.

 

Satisfy your chocolate cravings with his Malted Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse.

This Malted Chocolate Mousse Tart needs to be next up on your baking agenda. It is a simple Oreo cookie crust filled with a light chocolate cheesecake mousse.

This was my first experience making a tart. I am not so sure what I was worried about! It was so easy and it released from the pan so smoothly. Just don’t carry it by the middle of the pan!

The BEST Chocolate Malted Mousse Tart. An Oreo crust is filled with a light, chocolate mousse.

The filling is prepared with a little bit of cream cheese, melted chocolate, malt powder, sugar and heavy cream. First you need to beat the heck out of the cream cheese until it is really light. I always start with cold cream cheese because I think that it helps keep the integrity of the mousse.

Sink your teeth into this Malted Chocolate Mousse Tart. Creamy, airy and full of flavor.

You can usually find malt powder with the ice cream toppings or the chocolate milk mix-ins. I like to keep it on hand to add to milkshakes, frostings and desserts like the mousse tart. I used a chocolate malt for this dessert, but a vanilla or “plain” malt powder would work too.

Easy Chocolate Mousse Tart

For the pan, I used a 7” by 11” rectangle pan, but I am certain that my recipe will work in a 9” or 10” round as well. If you don’t have a tart pan, you could even use a spring-form pan too. The nice thing about the tart pan is that it has the scalloped edges, and the bottom is easily removed.

The BEST Chocolate Malted Mousse Tart. An Oreo crust is filled with a light, chocolate mousse.

This no-bake recipe can be prepared in advance, and doesn’t require any baking. It’s great for summer and holidays! If there is one message to take away; it’s don’t fear the tart!

The BEST Chocolate Malted Mousse Tart. An Oreo crust is filled with a light, chocolate mousse.

 

Malted Chocolate Mousse Tart
Author: Julianne Bayer
Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  2 hours
Total time:  2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 12-16 slices
This Malted Chocolate Mousse Tart is everything you want in a chocolate dessert. It is the most light and airy mousse atop a chocolate cookie crust.
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg Oreos
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • For the filling
  • 1 pkg Cream cheese, 8oz (cold)
  • 2 oz Chocolate chips (milk or dark)
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • ½ C Chocolate malt powder
  • ½ C Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Heavy whipping cream
  • For the topping
  • 1¼ C Heavy whipping cream
  • ½ C Powdered sugar
  • 2-4 oz Chocolate bar, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, grind up Oreos into a fine crumb. Pour crumbs in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 6 tablespoons unsalted butter. Microwave for 30-45 seconds until butter is melted. Stir to coat crumbs with butter.
  2. Pour Oreo crumbs in the tart pan and use a spatula to press into the pan. Refrigerate crust until filling is ready.
  3. Remove cream cheese from refrigerator and beat on medium speed for two minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. In a small, microwave-safe dish, combine chocolate chips and butter. Melt for 30-60 seconds and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate over cream cheese and mix to combine.
  5. Add malt powder and sugar to the cream cheese mix, beat on medium speed until well incorporate. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping and beat on high speed for 2 minutes to incorporated additional air into the mousse. Pour filling into prepared tart shell. Refrigerate until mousse sets, 2-4 hours.
  6. Before serving, prepare whipped cream. Whip heavy cream on medium high speed for several minutes until bubbly.
  7. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium high until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto tart.
  8. Use a sharp knife and chop chocolate bar into slivers. Sprinkle over tart.
Notes
“Cook Time” is resting time for the tart to set in the refrigerator.
Borrowed from – http://beyondfrosting.com/

 

Steeped in Southern tradition – afternoon tea

For many more years than anyone can possible remember, Southerners have enjoyed their afternoon tea. For me, this afternoon’s tea was Celestial Seasoning’s Blueberry Tea. Once you smell the heavenly aroma, you’ll be hooked!

This teacup is another from my Mary Engelbreit collection (I have a few!)

 

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Have a Happy Day!

 

 

The Southern Chocolatier – A simple American treat turned into a decadent dessert!

I love Petit Fours! Actually I love anything chocolate that I don’t have to share!  Petit Fours were made for people like me. I want my cake and I want to eat it – ALL – too. This is a perfect treat! Enjoy!

S’MORES PETIT FOURS

 

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 The dark chocolate ganache topped with a sweet toasted meringue is just the right amount of richness to pair perfectly with any cocktail and is small enough to eat in just one or two bites!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 125 g butter
  • 60 g sugar
  • vanilla
  • 10 g egg yolk (half a yolk)
  • 172 g flour
  • For the dark chocolate ganache:
  • 425 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 225 g cream
  • 50 g butter
  • For the meringue topping:
  • 125 g egg whites (about 4)
  • 225 g sugar
  • 150 g powdered sugar, sifted
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 180 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit and prepare a rectangular baking frame on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Add the egg yolk and finally the flour. Form into a smooth dough.
  3. Press the dough into the baking frame, making sure to get all corners and to make it as even as possible.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, bring the cream and butter to a boil in a pot over the stove.
  6. Place the chopped chocolate in a separate bowl. Once boiling, pour the cream and butter over the chocolate. Stir until all chocolate has melted and you have a smooth ganache.
  7. Pour the ganache over the baked crust and smooth evenly.
  8. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to speed things along.
  9. The consistency should be hard enough to cut out with a cookie cutter, but not completely frozen.
  10. Using the desired cookie cutter, I love using a small, round cookie cutter (appx. 4.5 cm) so the S’mores are the size of Petit Fours (basically 2 bites), cut out the S’mores being careful to clean the cookie cutter as you go to get a clean form.
  11. Once cut out you can begin to make the meringue.
  12. Place the egg whites in your mixer and begin beating on high. Once the egg whites have become bubbly, slowly add the sugar. Let beat until stiff peaks form and for the last 3 minutes, beat in the powdered sugar.
  13. Fill into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe out evenly onto each S’more.
  14. Toast with a small handheld kitchen flame gun.

 

Borrowed from – http://www.bakingmywaythroughgermany.com/

 

Steeped in Southern Tradition – A cup of tea

While some rise and shine each morning to a cup of coffee, I say to them, “Make mine tea, please.” This morning I enjoyed a cup of Lipton Mixed Berry Green Tea. I’ve become a little obsessed with berry teas as of late. There are so many and they are so good.

My teacup of choice this morning was a cup from my Mary Engelbreit collection. How about you – are you a coffee person or a tea person?

 

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Have a Happy Day!

 

Steeped in Southern tradition – Tea

I love a good cup of tea, whether by myself while curled up with a good book, or sharing conversation with good friends. Today I enjoyed a cup of Yogi Blueberry Green Tea in a teacup by Mary Engelbreit.

Throughout the days ahead, I’ll hope you’ll fix your own cup of tea and come back here to share a little Southern tradition with me. Until then, have a Happy Day!

 

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The Southern Chocolatier – Chocolate Mousse Pie

Yes! That is exactly what I said! Chocolate Mousse Pie!  If you love Chocolate Mousse (and I do!) then this is a slice of Heaven.

Sugar Wafer Chocolate Mousse Pie

Sugar Wafer Chocolate Mousse Pie...a creamy dreamy pie with a deliciously sweet crust!

 

NO BAKE! Sugar Wafer Chocolate Mousse Pie...a creamy dreamy pie with a deliciously sweet crust!

 

The filling is a super easy Chocolate Mousse. It’s a chocolate ganache mixed with whipped cream.

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Stir it until the chocolate is melted and smooth and then let it chill.

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While the ganache is chilling make your crust.

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Pulse up the chocolate wafers until they are coarse crumb…

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Mix them with some melted butter and press into a springform pan!

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Next whip up some heavy cream until stiff peaks form and fold it into the chilled ganache.

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Spread that over the crust…

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And top with a little more whipped cream! I dusted cocoa powder on top just to be fancy.

No Bake Sugar Wafer Chocolate Mousse Pie...a creamy dreamy pie with a deliciously sweet crust!

 

Ingredients
Mousse
Crust
  • 32 Chocolate Sugar Wafer Cookies (about 8 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
Whipped topped
Instructions
Mousse
  1. Chop chocolate and transfer to a medium sized glass bowl. Add in salt and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan heat ¾ cup of heavy cream until it starts steaming. Don’t bring to a full boil. Pour hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for one minute to soften the chocolate. Immediately start stirring the chocolate until it’s completely melted with the cream. Place bowl in refrigerator and allow to cool for just 30 minute until it’s cooled. DOn’t forget about it, because you don’t want it to get solid. Just cool, but still “stirrable”.
  3. Whip remaining 1½ cups heavy cream in mixer with whisk attachment on medium high speed for 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Crust
  1. Grease a 9″ springform pan with butter, set aside.
  2. While the mousse is chilling place chocolate sugar wafer cookies in blender or food processor. Pulse until they are a fine crumb. The pulsed cookies will be slightly sticky, because of the filling. This is ok! Mix cookie crumbs with melted butter and press into prepared pan. Mixture can get sticky, I used my fingers to press in pan.
  3. Cover and chill this until ready to fill.
Assembly
  1. When chocolate is cooled remove it from the refrigerator and fold the extra whipped cream into the chocolate carefully. Continue stirring gently until mixed completely and there are no more chocolate streaks. Spread this into crust.
Topping
  1. Whip remaining 1½ cups heavy cream with powdered sugar with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and spread over the chocolate mousse. If desired dust with powdered sugar right before serving.
Notes
store airtight and chilled for up to 3 days
Borrowed from – http://cookiesandcups.com/

 

The Southern Chocolatier – Mississippi Mud – just doesn’t get any more Southern than that!

Mississippi Mud Pie

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Oreo/pecan base:

  • 1 packet Oreos
  • 2 1/2 oz. (75 g) pecans
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) butter

Melt the butter and grind or finely crush the pecans and the oreos. Mix and stir until well blended.

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Tip into a greased pie dish and press the mixture down and up the sides.

Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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Bake the pie crust in a 350 ˚F (180 ˚C) oven for about 15 minutes, then leave to cool.

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Chocolate pudding

  • 3/4 cup (170 g) regular sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) pure unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
  • 3 tablespoons (30 g) corn starch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cup (500 ml) whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 oz. (100 g) dark chocolate (60% or 70% cocoa solids)

Put the sugar, corn starch, cocoa powder and egg yolks into a saucepan, stir well and add the milk little by little. .

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Place the pan on a medium heat. Stir constantly until bubbles appear, then boil for 30 seconds and take the pan off the heat.

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Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

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Add the chocolate, butter and vanilla extract, and stir well until melted into the mixture.

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Leave to cool slightly, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes.

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Pour the chocolate pudding mixture into the cooled pie crust.

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Place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.

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Whip about 1 – 1 1/2 cup (200-300 ml) heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar.

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Cover the pie with a generous layer of whipped cream.

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Sprinkle some pecan nuts on top…

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The perfect pie for Valentine’s day…  pale-pink

I hope I was able to tempt you, have a wonderful day everyone.

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Hugs from me to you.

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Borrowed from – http://en.passionforbaking.com/

 

The Southern Chocolatier – Chocolate and Coffee

Chocolate and Coffee Mousse

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon gelatin powder

2 tablespoons cold water

3 tablespoons hot water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder pinch of salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions In a bowl, mix gelatin with cold water and let it stand for a minute. Then, mix hot water to it and let it cool to room temperature. In a mixing bowl, add sugar, salt and sift cocoa powder plus coffee powder to it. Add whipping cream to the bowl and using an electric mixer, whisk at medium high until it’s stiff. Scrape in between to make sure everything is mixed well. Pour the gelatin mixture, vanilla extract and whisk to mix everything together. Spoon it to individual containers, cover it and refrigerate it for a few hours. Serve it plain or add a dollop of whipped cream on top.

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Borrowed from – http://www.playfulcooking.com/

The Southern Chocolatier – Dreamy, Creamy Fudgesicles!

What could be better than just plain ole chocolate? Frozen chocolate on a stick!

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Ingredients

2 cups milk or cream

2 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoon sugar

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

1. In microwave safe bowl, or a large measuring cup, heat milk on high until hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes.

2. Remove from microwave and whisk in cocoa and sugar until completely blended.

3. Pour milk mixture over chocolate chips and stir until chips are completely melted. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes then pour into popsicle molds.

Place popsicle sticks in each compartment. Freeze until completely frozen. About 6-8 hours. Notes If using wooden sticks or paper straws, you will need to let your popsicles freeze for about 1-2 hours before placing the sticks so they stay in place.

Borrowed from – ChocolateChocolateandmore.com

 

 

The Southern Chocolatier – Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake. So delicious you wont want to share! recipe at TidyMom.net

 

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake. So delicious you wont want to share! recipe at TidyMom.net

If you aren’t familiar with gooey butter cake, it’s a St. Louis tradition that has spread nation wide. The original gooey butter cake version had a sweet yeast dough topped with a gooey butter filling that was sweet gooey.  The modern recipe is simplified by using a cake mix, which becomes the crust and is topped with a sweet creamy filling made of cream cheese, butter and sugar.  SUPER easy!

So, this time I decided to combine elements from our two favorite gooey butter cakes, and use a chocolate cake/crust and add chocolate chips to the ooey gooey filling for a Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake!

This cake actually resemble a bar-type dessert instead of what we know as a traditional cake, so feel free to eat it with your hands, like a bar or brownie!

A St. Louis specialty that couldn’t be easier to make and  everyone is sure to love it!

This St. Louis specialty with a chocolate twist couldn’t be easier to make and everyone is sure to love it! Perfect for your next party or pot-luck, everyone will be begging for the recipe.

Ingredients

1 (18-1/4 ounce) Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix

1 large Egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs beaten

2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the Cake For Filling

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 325° F and lightly grease 13×9-inch pan

2. Using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter until well incorporated. Press into bottom of greased pan with fingers.

3. Using an electric mixer, blend, cream cheese, 2 beaten eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Then slowly and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Spread filling over cake batter, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are brown. (Do not over-bake, the center should be a little gooey)

5. Dust with powdered sugar on top after cake has cooled and garnish with chocolate chips.

Notes This cake is even better the next day and can be prepared up to three days in advance. If you can not find the Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake mix, any 18-1/4 ounce dark chocolate cake mix will do.

 

Borrowed from – http://tidymom.net/

Yep! It’s Monday – ALL. DAY. LONG.

Don’t know what your Monday’s are like, but I try never to schedule absolute things because it all gets shot to the swamp!

At this very moment you might call what I’m doing, multi-tasking. This is how my Monday is shaping up:

I am writing this blog post, stopping to upload photos, communicating by email with one of the admins at Southern Charm Planners on Facebook (we are sending an Excel spreadsheet back and forth tweaking it), checking Facebook for adds and responses needed in the group, completing Etsy orders for my shop, listening for the dogs to bark telling me UPS is here to deliver a package, talking by speaker phone on my computer to my brother, responding via My Chart app on my phone with my doctor, and I stopped somewhere in the middle to brush my teeth. I am sort of dressed – if you call yoga pants and my pajama shirt and bare feet dressed. Yep! It’s Monday alright.

It’s been a busy past week. My goal is walk three miles three times a week. Last week, it was Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. NEVER. AGAIN. It just worked out that way; normally I walk Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but with it being Holy Week and loads of church activities going on, we (my walking partners) walked when we could.

Friends of mine who homeschool brought their children over to plant their tomato plants that they had been growing for the last few weeks at home. The first lesson (Hubby is teaching gardening this semester) consisted of plowing and cultivating and planting potatoes in the garden. They also learned about composting.

This past week, they got to see how big the potato plants are getting and then they planted their tomato plants.

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The little ones were fascinated with the chickens and Hubby took them in to play and check for eggs. The littlest child (2 years) threw a fit when he was taken out of the coop. We had to let him go back in to play for a while. The chickens were so kind to him. He would gently put his hand on the chicken‘s back and the chicken would sit and then he’d pet the chicken’s back. Each time the chicken stood, he would repeat his little gesture and the chicken would sit back down. It was so cute to watch.

The next youngest three were another treat. This little boy (5) came up to me and told me since there wasn’t any food at my house for them to eat, the fruit from the kumquat tree would be their food. He told me this in such ernst that I asked his maw maw if he was hungry. Turns out, he loves to eat. He was so serious about the tree being his food. You just never know what their little imaginations are going to come up with.

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I am taking advantage of the opportunity to socialize Calypso and Ryka when the kids come over. Ryka is good and I let her run around and I normally put Calypso on a leash. Turns out, this time I should have done the opposite. Calypso stood so still while the little ones (who stand face level with her) petted and loved her.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to Ryka because I was so surprised at how well Calypso was behaving (she’s the wild child) until I heard a scream (not a bad scream). I turned around and Ryka was trying to nuzzle and kiss one of the little girls and she had knocked her down. The little sweetheart was not hurt and wasn’t afraid that Ryka had been a little playful with her. I love to see children when they are not afraid of dogs and want to love them. My dogs, being shepherds, love the kids. It will take a little while until they learn to be more gentle. They were really good and seemed to have remembered some of their manners because it’s been a month since the children were over and they were much calmer than I anticipated.

I am a very organized person – just ask anyone. When someone needs organizing, my name usually comes up in conversations! I came across a book a short time ago quite by accident. It is a book I highly recommend and now that I am writing this, I guess I should also write a book review on it. The name of the book is the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.

I have read way more organizing books than anyone ever need read and this book, to me, is revolutionary. It offers something that no other book has offered. When we organize, we tend to get rid of a good bit of items, and then we organize what is left – still retaining way too much stuff; stuff that doesn’t bring joy into our lives. The KonMari Method offers a different strategy. Her method of decluttering has you pulling all of your clothes from the closet, drawers, bins, etc. and placing it all on the floor around you. She repeats this process with other items using categories.

The idea behind her decluttering method is to keep only those items that bring you joy. The process may be difficult in the beginning – as a blouse had to be pried out of my hands even though I felt no joy when I held it, but long before the end, you find yourself filling up with joy over the items you have chosen to keep.

I will explain the clothing option. As you pick up each article of clothing, you will find that either it brings you joy or it doesn’t. The item may have brought joy to you when you first purchased it, but if you no longer wear it or the size is wrong, then you’ll find that it doesn’t have that same feeling. This means it no longer brings joy into your life – out it goes. Let that blouse or scarf bring joy to someone else.

I love white and pastels and yet, I find myself buying an odd color or just something with color in hopes of a little change. Then, it sits there in the closet and when I look at it, I feel remorse. I should have just purchased another white shirt! (laughing at myself) I passed these items along to someone who loves the color. What a load off of my shoulders! There were other items that brought joy into my life along the way, but I no longer reached for them, but past them in favor of other shirts or slacks or jackets. I felt joy when I folded them and placed them in my donate pile. More load off!

The hangars have a little more room to move on the rod and my closet is actually a little brighter due to less items on the shelves. I kept only the items that I actually wear and that bring me joy.

I began applying this technique to my bookshelves. Although I donated at least 100 books or more to a local school last year, there are still more that I have been hanging onto. I sat down and thumbed through each of my baking and cooking books. With arthritis in my hands, I am no longer able to do the cookie and cake decorating that I once enjoyed, so I pulled those books out that had once given me so much joy and passed them along to a good friend who’s life they will bring joy into. She was excited to received them and I felt joy on both ends – divesting myself of so many books and giving them to someone who will love them as much as I did. I cleaned out four feet of bookshelf space! I’ll be working on other sections this week and next.

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This friend and her youngest daughter enjoy having tea parties so I gifted them a set of cups and saucers and while I was visiting, we had a tea party. I was also lucky enough to be there when her older daughter was cooking pancakes. I couldn’t help but give her a few pointers that it took me years to hone – especially since she was making chocolate chip pancakes! We dubbed her the Pancake Queen, a title she loves! She has decided that she will make every kind of pancake that she can think of now that she has perfected the pancake flip.

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I spent a little time straightening up my desk this week. The top of my desk is the only messy place in the house. Haven’t figured out why except that I tend to procrastinate with some things. Please don’t let my secret out of the bag!

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Hubby has fussed at Ryka and Calypso so many times for chasing the chickens, including one time when Calypso pouted in her house for two hours (he finally had to go and coax her out). I looked out the back door a couple of days ago and they had taken up residence outside of the chicken coop. All seemed well and they seemed to be content just observing the chickens. Well, one decided to go to the water bucket, which is attached to the inside corner of the coop to keep it from bring spilled, and Ryka jumped up to chase with Calypso not far behind.

That is all it took for Hubby to fuss at them again. They came running to the house and I told them to “go around” which either means go around to the back of the house or go around to the front of the house. They are so funny when they take off. They are always waiting by the time I make it through the house to the other door. I let them come on the porch where they love to sit at the front door and watch me inside. At least it keeps them out of trouble for a while!

They eventually lay down for a nap and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos of them. The door is full of nose prints as they spend a lot of time there with their noses pressed to the glass.

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Now, I ask you – does that look like two dogs who would chase chickens? They are so sweet and sound asleep!

We are Catholic and we attended Holy Thursday’s Last Supper Mass. Hubby is part of the music ministry (that’s him to the right). On Friday, we attended the Way of the Cross in the morning and in the afternoon, the Seven Last Words of Jesus and the Benediction. It was a great remembrance of what Jesus went through and a time to reflect.

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We attended the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. We witnessed two Baptisms and eight Confirmations done by the Bishop.

Sunday was Easter and we enjoyed a peaceful day. Hubby and I prepared a Barbque and fixings for dinner Sunday night, which we enjoyed with family, and our two parish priests. Father John is so darn funny! We were discussing all the different meats involved in our meal and he dubbed it “Bar-b-que gone wild!”  We had beef, deer, and pork meat in the beans and burgers, turkey sausage, chicken, hot dogs, and shrimp kabobs.

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That concludes my week. I hope you had an enjoyable week and a Happy Easter.

The Southern Chocolatier – Ever bite into fudge and think just kill me now?

Easy 3-Ingredient Fudge Bites – Gluten Free, Paleo, And Vegan Friendly

fudge-close

Ingredients:

3-Ingredient Fudge Bites

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free, if needed)
3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Optional Toppings

Sea salt
Salted Caramel
Chopped nuts
Flaked coconut

Directions:

Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl.
Combine the coconut milk and coconut oil in a small pan, and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to ensure the coconut oil melts fully, and the milk warms evenly.
Pour the hot coconut milk/oil mixture over the chips, and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until totally smooth.
Line a mini muffin pan with liners, and grease (the liners) liberally. Fill each liner to the top (a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate).

Sprinkle sea salt on top (or any of the other toppings listed above). If using caramel, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon on each fudge bite, and use a toothpick to swirl.
Freeze (1 hour) or refrigerate (2-3 hours) until set.
You can store your finished fudge bites in the fridge or freezer. As you may guess, storing them in the fridge makes them a little softer, and the freezer makes them slightly firmer. They never freeze solid, which is a scientific mystery to me. They WILL melt if left out on the countertop, so don’t do it! :)

The chocolate chips are key to the quality of the fudge, so I recommend not skimping on the brand. I like Ghirardelli or Guittard (if not vegan), or Enjoy Life (if vegan).

Borrowed from – veggieandthebeastfeast.com

The Southern Chocolatier – Bananas + Chocolate = Yum!

Chocolate-Banana-Milkshake-and-Cookies-41


Dad’s Best Ever Chocolate Banana Milkshake

Serves: 2

Ingredients

¼ cup homemade chocolate syrup, plus more for garnish

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

⅓ cup milk

1 ripe banana, sliced

Whipped cream

Instructions

1. Blend together chocolate syrup, ice cream, milk and banana until smooth.

2. Pour shake into glass, top with whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate syrup drizzle, banana slice and 1 chocolate wafer cookie.

Borrowed from – http://www.whitelightsonwednesday.com/sugar­coated­sundays­chocolate­banana­milkshakecookies/

The Southern Chocolatier – What could be better than a banana? Why, a banana dipped in chocolate!

To me, a chocolate lover, there is only one thing better than a banana. That is a banana dipped in melted chocolate! My only dilemma?  Is there some way I can call this breakfast?

Meet today’s chocolate –

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

Joy the Baker Peanut Butter Banana Bonbons

makes about 24 bonbons

3 ripe and large bananas

about 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jiffy)

10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/3 cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts

small popsicle sticks (or pretzel sticks)

Peel bananas and slice into medium-thick round slices. I sliced my bananas about 1/3-inch thick.

Spoon peanut butter into a piping bag fitted with a small star tip attachment. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter onto half of the banana slices.

Top each peanut butter topped banana with a plain banana slice and press down just slightly. It’s like a banana sandwich!

To insert the popsicle sticks (or pretzel sticks) into the banana sandwich, place your thumb and index finger over and around the banana sandwich. firmly press the stick into and through the banana slices, but use your thumb and index finger to hold the top banana slice in place during the pressing. This will help ensure that all of the peanut butter doesn’t smush out of the sides.

Place peanut butter pops on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes.

While the pops harden, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Place 2 inches of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a medium heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and stir together chocolate and coconut oil as it melts. Stir until completely melted.

Transfer melted chocolate mixture to a glass with a mouth wide enough to dunk the banana sandwiches. I used a small tumbler glass. A shallow bowl will make the banana sandwiches hard to dip and completely cover.

Dip the slightly hardened banana sandwiches completely in chocolate. Return them to the parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with honey roasted peanuts.

After dipping all of the bananas, return to the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. Bananas will last for a week or two in the freezer. You can also wrap them individually for storage in the freezer.

Borrowed from – http://joythebaker.com/

The Southern Chocolatier – Did someone mention fudge and brownies in the same breath?!

Before you delve into this post, I have to warn you. You will be entering the den of sin. The pictures alone will send you to confession – and the taste? Mortal sin! But, there is redemption – every good Catholic knows the confessional is a block away!

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate

Fudge Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Brownies

Prep Time:20 Min Cook Time:30 Min
Yields 9
Ingredients
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small handful pecan halves, walnut halves, and roasted hazelnuts
Instructions
  • 1    Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8×8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment paper. Set aside.
  • 2    Place chocolates and butter in a small, heat-proof bowl. Place bowl over a small pot of simmering water (creating a double boiler), or microwave the mixture at 50% for 30 seconds at a time, stirring until glossy and completely melted. Stir in cocoa powder.
  • 3    In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla extract. Add the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  • 4    Add the salt, baking soda, and flour. Stir until thoroughly combined and spoon into prepared pan. Top with nuts.
  • 5    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the brownies are slightly puffed, the nuts are golden brown, and the top is no longer glossy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and removing from the pan.
borrowed from – joy the baker http://joythebaker.com/

The Southern Chocolatier – Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe

I find myself always craving a bit of chocolate in the afternoons, as it goes rather nicely with a hot cup of coffee and the hour of stillness I have while my son is in quiet time. Some days just a little square will do, but other times something more extravagant is needed. I have found these chocolate sugar cookies to do just the trick; they are soft and delicious without being overly rich and sweet. They are a perfect afternoon indulgence.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 3 half sheet pans with parchment paper. Put ½ cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe

Step 2
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe

Step 3
Using a standing mixer, cream the butter and 2 cups sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until completely combined.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe

Step 4
Shape the cookie dough into 24 balls, and roll each ball in the set-aside sugar. Place cookies on the prepared sheet pans (8 can fit on each) and bake for 11-13 minutes, until the edges have set and the centers are puffed and starting to crackle. Remove from the oven and move the pan to a wire rack, letting the cookies cool.

 

Borrowed from – http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/

 

The Southern Chocolatier – Did someone say Hershey’s?

HERSHEY’S Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

I will personally vouch for this recipe. It’s a tried and true love at my house!

HERSHEY'S Chocolate Cheesecake
Prep Time:
15 Minutes
Skill Level:
Beginner

    Ingredients

    • CHOCOLATE CRUMB CRUST (recipe follows)
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    • 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

      Directions

      1. Prepare CHOCOLATE CRUMB CRUST. Heat oven to 300°F.

      2. Place butter in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Stir in cocoa until smooth; set aside.

      3. Beat cream cheese in large bowl. Add cocoa mixture; beat well. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan.

      4. Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes or until set. (Center will be soft.) Remove pan from oven to wire rack; loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. To serve, garnish as desired. Cover; refrigerate leftover cheesecake. Garnish as desired. Makes 12 servings.

      CHOCOLATE CRUMB CRUST: Place 6 tablespoons butter or margarine in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in 1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed), 6 tablespoons powdered sugar and 6 tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa; blend well. Press mixture onto bottom and 1/2 inch to 1-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.

      Borrowed from – www.hersheys.com