Soup and the love for dishes

 If you are in the mood for a earthy and creamy soup,

this recipe will captivate your taste buds and entice you to go for seconds.

Creamy mushrooms, shallots, garlic, chicken broth, creme fraiche and thyme are perfect compliments.

I added pappardelle pasta(flat wide noodle) for my children’s bowls.

I found this recipe on a beautiful online food magazine called thespoonmagazine.com.

Recipe at the bottom of post.

I had so much fun in the kitchen today making this soup because it is chilly and overcast.

Those are two weather conditions that don’t last long here in Austin.

While I was taking pics of my food today, I realized what an obsession I had for dishes.

Would you like to take a peek inside my cabinets?

It’s pretty ridiculous but we all have our favorite collections don’t we?

While most women ogle over the clothing at Anthropologie, you will find me in the kitchen section every time.

I can spend hours looking at linens, bowls, pie plates, cookbooks…oh don’t even get me started on cookbooks!

My husband is always asking why we need so many bowls.  I reply “why do you need so many golf clubs?”

It’s my thing…..

You know what I love about blogging?  It makes you see the little ordinary things in your world as truly special things.

I am constantly taking pictures of little pieces of my world and journaling about them.

Oh yes, there is more in the dining room.

So here’s my little love affair with dishes.  Please share with me your little obsessions.

I hope I’m not the only one out there taking pictures of my china! Even if I am, I still LOVE it!

Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 shallot onion

2 cloves of garlic

4 cups of mushrooms

32 ounces chicken stock(or vegetable)

8 ounces creme fraiche

2 thyme sprigs

Heat butter  in a saucepan over medium heat.  Saute’ onion and garlic then add mushrooms and continue cooking until softened.  Add stock, thyme sprigs and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the pasta after about 5 minutes of cooking.  Remove from heat, season to taste and stir in creme fraiche.  Serve with hot toasted bread.  Enjoy and stay warm.

Rainy Comfort Food

It was a cold and rainy day today so we stayed in and baked up a storm!

We watched Sweet Genius and Food Network and had a craving immediately for something sweet.

We raided the pantry for whatever we had on hand so this is what we came up with!

I love this kind of baking…on a whim without a recipe.  I especially love it when the recipes turn out delicious!

We used gingersnap cookies, lady finger cookies, nutella, maraschino cherries, cream cheese and whipped cream.

We will lovingly call these cherry chocolate tartlets.

We also threw together some ultimate comfort food for a cold day: Chocolate Rice Pudding.

We used the nutella-cherry mixture we made for the tartlets.

I separated some of the rice pudding mixture and added pineapple coconut juice and topped it with a blueberry puree’.

Honestly this one was ok…but our fav was definitely the chocolate.  My family we will eat anything chocolate!

For the tartlets:

Crush up 10 gingersnap cookies and 10 ladyfinger cookies(anything really with a vanilla flavor will work).

Add 3 tablespoons melted butter to the cookie mixture.  Press mixture into tartlet pan and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

In a mixing bowl cream a cup of nutella and 1/4 block of cream cheese.  Add a jar of maraschino cherries.  Mash the cherries in with a fork.  Reserve the cherry liquid  and add 1 tablespoon to the chocolate mixture or else it will be too thick.  Reserve the rest for the chocolate rice pudding.

In a stand mixer, add 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Mix on high until stiff peaks form.

Once the tartlet shells are cool, add a dollop of chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream.  Don’t forget to top it with a cherry!

For the Rice Pudding:
Bring 2 1/2 cups of whole milk to a boil.  Once boiling turn down to low and add 1/2 cup of arboro rice.  Simmer for 30 minutes until rice is tender.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar and let rice cool.

For the Pina Colada rice pudding:  add 1/4 cup of pineapple coconut juice, add 1/4 cup of the whipped cream and fold in. Add more sugar if you want yours a little sweeter. Boil 1 cup of blueberries, 1/4 cup of water and 2 teaspoons sugar.  Mash blueberries with a fork.  When all mashed, take off the stove.  You can either strain the mixture so you just have liquid but we wanted the chunks of blueberries in it.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry.

For the Chocolate rice pudding: add 1/2 cup of the chocolate cherry mixture and fold in 1/4 cup of whipped cream.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a shake of cinnamon.

This was so much fun to make and my kids joined in the recipe development!  I would love to hear about a recipe you have created with or without your kids!

White Christmas 2012

We had such a beautiful and white Christmas this year.

We spent Christmas day in Dallas with my inlaws and I wanted to share our fun pictures.

If you don’t live in Texas you won’t understand what a big deal it is to actually see snow in the Winter.

Below are my girls and our sweet cousin Kyleigh who is turning 14.

Time goes so fast…seems like just yesterday they were little girls with bows in their hair.

Now they escape to the bathroom to put on makeup when they are together.

The picture of Brock below is showing his two front teeth.

Later that day I pulled one and he pulled the other!

He said he sure hopes the tooth fairy brings him ten bucks!  When your child pulls his own teeth…

that is definitely worth ten bucks on Christmas!

We were so excited to be able to make a snowman.

My baseball husband said Wow…that’s great form when he saw this picture.

Looks like we used all the snow on the ground for this snowman!

Happy Holidays..2012

Egg Nog French Macarons

Cinnamon

Egg Nog

&

Creaminess Bliss in little pink packages!

With this recipe you can feel like you are transported to France for the holidays.

Pull out your fancy china, pour some milky coffee and treat yourself for all of your hardwork this holiday season.

Egg Nog French Macarons

Ingredients

  • One cup confectioners' sugar
  • (Three fourths) 3/4 cup almond flour(I use Bob's Mill Almond Flour)
  • Two large egg whites, room temperature (let sit out for two days,covered with plastic wrap)
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • (One fourth) 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • Eggnog Buttercream
  • Bright Pink Americolor food coloring

Instructions

  1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture once and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. ( I found it only took about 3-4 minutes for me)
  3. Sift flour mixture over whites(for a second sifting), and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny. Fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon.
  4. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
  5. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macaroons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
  6. Let macaroons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
  7. Sandwich 2 same-size macaroons with 1 teaspoon eggnog buttercream. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months
  8. If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds.
  9. EggNog Buttercream
  10. 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  11. 4 cups confectioners sugar
  12. 1/2 cup eggnog
  13. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  14. Beat butter until pale and light. Add sugar one cup at a time and mix well. Add the eggnog and cinnamon and mix well. Add one teaspoon of the buttercream to the macaron shells and sandwich them together. Enjoy!
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Don’t these little cookies look like something from Hansel and Gretel?

I have had so much fun with pink, red and torquoise this holiday season!

My girls have been watching Food Network’s show called cupcake wars and decided to have their own challenge:

They made gingerbread cupcakes with eggnog icing.

The snowman is a melted snowman!  How funny is that!

The girls made me judge their cupcakes…they both won of course!!!!

Bake with your kids this holiday season…they are memories you will cherish forever.

Happy Baking!

Peppermint Oreo Fudge

What makes you think of holiday bliss?  I think of putting on a holiday apron,

playing old Christmas songs and smelling something delicious baking in the kitchen.

Every year I like to find a new recipe to make and share with family and friends.

I think this one is the winner!I found this amazing recipe on Pinterest via somethingswanky.com and have to share it!

Isn’t it fun to receive a food gift wrapped in a unique way?

World Market has the cutest polka dot parchment paper right now.

Wrap the fudge with the parchment and tie with kitchen twine.

Happy Holiday Baking!

Peppermint Oreo Fudge

Ingredients

  • One bag Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
  • One cup Chocolate Chips or chocolate almond bark
  • One bag Candy Cane Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
  • One cup white chocolate chips or white almond bark
  • Two cups crushed Oreos
  • Two 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with Pam Baking Spray and then lining with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses, Almond Bark and 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk.
  3. Stir over Low heat until melted and smooth(the mixture will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan) Fold in 1 cup of crushed Oreos into mixture.
  4. Pour Chocolate mixture into prepared 9x13 dish.
  5. Rinse out pan and wipe dry.
  6. Add the Candy Cane Kisses, white almond bark and 1 can sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Stir over LOW heat until smooth and completely melted(the mixture will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan).
  8. Pour the (pink)white chocolate mixture over the chocolate oreo mixture, and spread evenly.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Oreo crumbs over the top and press into the fudge slightly.
  10. Let cool for several hours. I like to speed up the process by placing the dish in the refrigerator.
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Being Thankful

After having the flu for a week and now pneumonia,

I am thankful for big things and some silly little things too….

First of all my husband has been a trooper.  Not only was I sick but all of my kids were home sick too.

You are never really prepared for something like this to happen but God blessed us by sparing JoJo’s health so he could take over.

I am thankful for my friends and family who have checked in on me daily!

Also for my children who through it all kept bobbing in my bedroom to let me see their smiling faces.

My son came in yesterday when JoJo told him I now had a more serious condition so he came to the side of my bed and prayed for me.  How about that?  I had my own personal little angel visit me yesterday.

My daughters brought me a candle and some roses from the backyard yesterday to brighten my tomb of a room!

Okay for the silly things…..my laptop which has allowed me to shop stress free for the holidays.

I am thankful for my little pink bankie which covered me through it all.  I am thankful for all the movies that are on during the holidays which got me through my days in bed.  Especially the movie The Holiday.  If you haven’t seen it you must!

Last, I am so thankful for the ministry Tricia and I started because I am blessed to get to peek into their meetings of sparkle.  Christie and Courtney held one on Sunday which was supposed to be our big Whimsy party. These pictures brightened my day seeing all of the girls smiling faces. Check out her post on their day:

Whimsy Girl Christmas

We had a sweet and sparkly Whimsy Girl day
yesterday!  We missed our friends, Ava & Hannah,
but there will be  even more Whimsy Girl fun to
be had very soon!

Here is our group of Little Posies showing off
the festive mason jar snow globes that we made. 
They remind us of the snow that God creates to
add sparkle to the Christmas season.

Even if we don’t get snow in Texas, we can still
dream of a white Christmas : )
In the kitchen, the Little Posies dipped pretzel
rods in melted chocolate and made them festive and sparkly with
sprinkles!
Of course, we had to eat some, and then we
packaged up some to take home and share.
We also took some time to
reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
We took turns reading a book about the birth of
Jesus, since he is the BEST Christmas present of all!
Then we wrote in our reflection journals about
what makes Christmas special to each of us.
We are all so blessed, and we are thankful for
our friends & family… plus a few other cute & silly things mentioned
in the journals : )
To all the Little
Posies & their families -
Have a blessed & beautiful Christmas
& let your little light shine!!!!
From Christie & Courtney
This beautiful painting is from my dear friend Tricia.
Thank you everyone for your love and support during this difficult week!  We love you.

Holiday Sparkle 2012

Faux snow is all over my house this year!

I think I am trying to trick my brain into thinking it is actually winter time eventhough it is still 75 here!

Do you have a favorite room in your house?  Mine is definitely my dining room.

My favorite felt manger scene is from Wisteria.com

This is a little terrarium I picked up from HEB and filled with snow.

Like I said….snow EVERYWHERE!

I LOVE my bottle brush animal ornaments from TJMaXX Homegoods.

My favorite natural trees are from West Elm.

Add some softness to your mantel with gauze and lights.

Doesn’t this little home look like something from a fairytale?

I would love to live in a little house like this…not sure my husband would go for it though…ha ha

My kitty cat messes with the tree every day so the star keeps falling over.

Time to get back to baking cookies!

Stay tuned for Whimsy Girl Christmas.

Our three beautiful groups here in Austin are coming together

December 9th to celebrate the holiday season with cookie decorating.

Whimsy Fundraising Day!

What an amazing day we had Saturday!

The girls sold over 600 dollars worth of their crafts to raise money for Helping Hand Home.

We have more orders coming in for Holiday gifts too!  Our overall goal just might be 1000 dollars!!!

Watching the girls talk about their purpose and what it means to them to be a part of our club was such a gift.

It was really amazing to see the girls shine and share about how much they enjoyed creating these goodies to make a difference!

We displayed our ornaments on branches and they were a hit!

Brandie and Abby are greeting customers with big smiles!

It was so fun watching a tiny little girl walking away holding Abby’s Angel painting.  I wonder where it will hang?

 More art and snowglobes.  If you want to make these snow scenes for yourself, click here for tutorial.

My favorite were the little glitter houses! We sold out of just about everything!!!

Sweet neighbor Andrea buying an Abby Painting and Madi boxing up her sweets!

What an amazing day girls!!!

Thank you to the community who came out to support us.

And of course thank you to the Whimsy Girls who worked so hard creating these beautiful treats and raising money for Children.

Little Posie Halloween Cookie Decorating

Yesterday Valerie Avery and Jessica Gunther’s Little Posie club joined my club for Spider Web Cookie decorating.

Seeing  our two clubs come together for a devotional and creative fun was so sweet and exciting.

Whimsy Girls(formerly Creative Girls), led the prayer, talked with the girls about how important it is to talk to God everyday and helped them with their cookies. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing the light of God in your girls shine out on their own.  They were such incredible leaders to the Little Posies! The bible verse we shared with our Posies:

God your thoughts are precious to me.

They are so many!  If I could count them, they would be more
than all the grains of sand.

When I wake up, I am still with YOU.

Psalm 139:17-18

Check out the sparkle in all of these sweet girls:

(painting below is an amazing gift Tricia gave me for my 40th birthday! She included paper from Rosemary beach, book paper for the three dresses from Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and Jane Austen) The garland posies on their heads are made out of paper too! She also has our favorite club verse: Zephaniah 3:17.

Little Posie Mummy Pumpkin Cake Lollies and Candy Corn Popcorn

My son(little Mario) and our sweet neighbor Paige joined us for the cookie fun!

Abby opened up our spider tea with a prayer.

Valerie’s daughter is precious with her little pig tails.  Val told me a trick she came up with to get the pig tails to stick out:

use pipe cleaners!! Love it!

Yummy apple spritzers(apple juice/sprite) with gummy worm ice cubes(simply add worms to your ice cube tray)

I was excited to dress up too!  Posie Fairy!  I am showing the girls how to make the spider web cookies.

Little Black Kitty, Avery, is doing a great job with flooding her icing!

Madi was a wonderful Posie helper.  This is one of her favorite things to help teach.  She was definitely in her element here.

How good is this cookie by the way?  Little Adly make this spider web by herself.

I love seeing the shock on the kids’ faces when they see that they can actually use a piping bag and work with fondant.

Little Avery and Jessica are listening to the big whimsy girls talk about their favorite club meeting we had last year.

It was hands down the day we got to take our art up to Helping Hand Home for Children.  It made such a big impact on their hearts to see how wonderful the home was and all the fun activities the children get to participate in.

Any age can use a piping bag…just put one in the hands and let the imagination flow.


Thank you Little Posies for sharing your sparkle with us!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Mason Jar Snow Scene Tutorial

These pretty pale colored glitter trees are super easy and a fun craft for your family around the holidays.

This is just one of the sweet suprises you will find at our Holiday Sale on November 10th.

If you are unable to make it but would like to purchase to benefit Helping Hand Home, please contact me.

Here are some simple steps to creating your own Mason Jar Snow scenes:

First buy your miniature trees from a craft store and grab your bleach!

Soak your trees for about 10 minutes.

Make sure to wear gloves because you will want to rub the trees to get the green off of the middle.

Next, let them dry for an hour.

Pick out your favorite color to dye your trees and simply dip them.

For the pale pink color I took a couple of quick dips and that was it.

Next you will want to use a spray adhesive to add the finishing touches with glitter.

Hot glue the lid together so the trees will stay in place when you flip the jar over.

Once you hot glue the trees to the lid, you can add little pearls to look like fancy ornaments.

The girls loved this part the most!

Add some faux snow or glitter to the bottom of the mason jar and add the lid.

Flip the jar over and you have a special sparkly snow scene.

Add vintage ribbon and your favorite bible verse for a special holiday gift.

Have a wonderful season of glitter and sparkle with your family!

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