Lemon Pots de Crème

Lemon Pots de Crème

Lemon Pots de Crème

I will now join the club.. I’m ready for Spring to be here. I want to go out and have adult dirt playtime, otherwise known as gardening. I want to see my Hyacinths bloom as well as put in all of my yearly herbs, flower bulbs and seeds. I want to see leaves on our fruit trees and smell the scent of freshly cut grass. I want to hear the crickets and frog serenade me in the evening.

But… what I want doesn’t mean squat to mean old Mother Nature. She is a harridan who does things on her own schedule and this Winter, she has been in a really really bad mood. Kentucky (the part I live in at least) has seen more snow and ice than I recall seeing here in over a decade. But compared to what other parts of the country have endured, it’s been a cake walk here. I don’t know anyone at this point who isn’t ready for a little warmth. I feel like an aging cat who wants nothing more than to find the nearest sunbeam and let it soak into my body lol.

Spring isn’t going to be here for a while though, even here in the south, so I have to content myself with making foods that make me feel like it is almost here. This Lemon Pots de Crème is definitely one of those foods. This is smooth, ultra creamy and rich and intensely tangy; very much a taste of Spring. The recipe is straight from FineCooking.com. The only change I made was to add 1/4 cup of Limoncello to the lemon syrup mixture, but you can always omit that if you don’t want to bother with it. The Mascarpone Cream is also my own touch. I adore having an excuse to make it and use it and it adds so much to a tangy dessert like this one. This is also a touch more involved than some recipes I post, but nothing you can’t handle. Like I’ve said before, just remember to get your ingredients ready beforehand and it makes putting this together a lot quicker and easier. Prep in cooking is SOOOO important.

What is a  Pots de Crème btw for those of you who may not know? Simply a fancy name for a rich baked pudding/custard. This is egg yolk and cream rich so bakes up very smooth if you don’t overcook it.

You know the drill… 🙂

Lemon Pots de Crème With Mascarpone Cream

  • zest of 4 lemons
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Limoncello Liquor (optional)
  • 3 1/2 heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (hold onto the pod; you’ll use it too) or 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract (but the sight of the speckles form the beans in there adds some visual appeal)
  • 10 egg yolks (save those whites and make some meringue cookies or egg white omelets!)
  • Boiling water for the water bath
  • For the mascarpone cream-
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place 8 6 ounce ramekins inside a large baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the Limoncello (if using). Simmer the mix until it has reduced down to about 1/2 cup. This will take about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, combine the 3 1/2 cups cream, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla beans and reserved pod (if using extract instead, you’ll add it later) and bring the mixture to just below boiling over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Gently whisk the egg yolks with the last 1/4 cup of sugar, just until smooth. Don’t make it airy, just smooth.
  5. Add a ladleful of the hot cream into the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Do this one more time to temper your yolks. Whisk the egg yolk mix into the rest of the cream mixture.
  6. Cook slowly, stirring constantly (wooden spoons or silicone spatulas work best to make sure you hit all edges of the pot), until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Stir in the reserved lemon syrup, then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the lemon zest and vanilla pod. Add your vanilla extract now if that’s what you’re using.
  7. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and carefully transfer the whole baking dish to the 325 degree oven.
  8. Gently pour in boiling water, using enough to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful here, it’s easy to splash it into the puddings and you don’t want to do that. Cover the pan with a large sheet of foil. Don’t tighten it, just lay it over the top. This holds in the steam and also prevents browning.
  9. Bake at 325 for 25 to 45 minutes (start checking it at the 25 minute mark), until the  Pots de Crèmes  are set at just about 1/4 inch in from the edges. You’re not making a firm pudding here; these are looser. If you insert an instant read thermometer in the center, the temp should be between 150 to 155. If so, they’re ready to come out. If you’ve made other baked puddings or custards, you’ll think “no way are these done”. They ARE. They will firm up to the perfect texture as they cool. Take them one at a time out of the baking pan and let cool for about an hour at room temp, then transfer to the fridge to finish chilling and firm up.
  10. When ready to serve, combine all the ingredients for the mascarpone cream and beat at high speed until it forms nice creamy semi firm peaks.
  11. Garnish the Pots de Crème with lemon zest and the mascarpone cream. I also used some sliced Kumquats because I love them. They’re so darn cute!

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Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Cakes

Coconut Tres Leches Cakes

It’s been an interesting few weeks. The weather practically nationwide has been astonishingly cold. We even got noticeable snow (like 6 inches) of snow here in Kentucky. More mass chaos world wide, politics still suck donkey toes and I STILL haven’t won the lottery. Go figure. Plus, I had surgery and surgery when you’re an old fogey like me is just not quite as easy as when you’re a young pup.

Today was the first day I had cooked since having the surgery. I stood and wobbled over the stove making dinner as my field of vision got smaller and smaller and things got gray while I tried not to pass out lol…. I have this really really bad habit of overdoing things.

I did finally manage to make the cake I mentioned wanting to make a few days ago on my facebook page. Wow, that sentence was awkward grammatically. Sorry… moving on… cake, facebook, yada yada… I said days ago that I was gong to make a Tres Leches Cake. Well, here it is. This was my first time ever having Tres Leche cake and I’m going to be 100% honest with you….. I know this cake is a favorite dessert of many people and quite a popular recipe with many variations if you google it. But…. it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I am, of course, still posting it, because it isn’t always about what I like. Sure, most of what I blog about I enjoy but sometimes I will post things that I didn’t care for just because I know some of you WILL enjoy it. This was a nice moist cake and the way I flavored it, it was wonderfully flavored. But the whole sauce soaked into cake thing didn’t work for me. But again, I know some of you will love this…. soft cake, creamy coconut flavored sauce, and not difficult to make.

The original recipe for this came from Bon Appetit. I made only minor changes, those being the use of coconut extract and coconut milk as well as the lime zest.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Coconut Tres Leche Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13×9 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and lime zest.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add in the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating just to blend after each one. Beat in the 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring.
  5. Alternately add in the flour and the 1/2 cup half and half,  starting with and ending with the flour (flour, half and half, flour, half and half, flour), beating well after each addition.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Lower heat to 325 and continue to bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched on top.
  7. While cake is baking, in a large measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then poke holes all over it with a wooden skewer or fork.  Slowly pour about half of the cream topping over the cake, smoothing it to get it down in the holes. Let that soak in for a few minutes, then pour about half of what is left on it, again letting it soak in. The rest can be used to pour over individual slices of cake (or just eaten with a spoon…hey, i said I liked the topping! 😛 )
  9. Serve the cake with extra topping poured over it, if desired.

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Silky Cheesecake Flan

Silky Cheesecake Flan

Do you ever have those moments when you see something become a trend and you can only think to yourself “mannnn, I’ve been doing that/making that/going there/whatever for years now. WAY before it became trendy. Then you’re torn between feeling ahead of the game and wanting to make sure everyone knows you did it first so you don’t seem like a follower. There are a ton of foods I feel like that with. It’s like “no fair! I was making that way before any of you did it!!”

Flan is one of those foods. I was making it way back in the early 80’s, long before it became trendy restaurant food. WHY was I making it? Like duhhhh man; it’s made with high fat heavy cream and this is me. Need I say more? 😛 As a variation of the “If you build it, they will come”, with me, it’s always been “add cream and I will eat it”. Hey, we all have our weak spots. Cream is one of mine.

For years, I used a flan recipe I found in one of those old Pillsbury paperback cookbooks they sold monthly. I still do periodically when I’m feeling like a purist.  But sometimes I like to change it up and make a cheesecake flan. It’s called that because you use cream cheese in it. The cream cheese contributes a silkiness you don’t get with regular flan (though the regular stuff is pretty damned amazing texture wise itself) and a subtle tang. That flavor mixed with the caramel sauce is outstanding.

Word of note- when I make flan, I do NOT do the whole invert and let the caramel run down it, yada yada yada. I want to get to eating and half the time, it droops when inverted and doesn’t look nearly as pretty as it does just spooning it out of the dish and drizzling (or in my case, pouring on by the quart) the caramel sauce on top of each serving. If you want to invert, go for it. But I promise you, no one will care if you don’t.  This is smooth, creamy, just melts in your mouth. The flan itself isn’t overly sweet and the burnt sugar taste of the caramel just sets it off so well, you will find yourself eating and eating…and eating…and cursing me…and eating..and cursing more.

You know the drill….

Silky Cheesecake Flan

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups boiling water
  1. Take a 3 quart baking dish and place it inside of another larger (a 13×9 pan or bigger works well) and set near the stove. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pot.
  3. Over medium high heat, let the sugar mixture cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the color is a dark reddish brown. When it gets to that, even if there are still some sugar lumps, remove from the heat. If you keep swirling for a few seconds, the lumps will melt and even if they don’t, it’s not a big deal.
  4. Immediately pour the caramel into the waiting pan.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low until creamy. Add in the eggs and egg yolk and using a whisk, gently mix with the cream cheese. You’re trying to make as little foam as possible here because the air bubbles won’t dissipate and will leave unattractive pock marks all over the flan, though they obviously don’t effect the taste.
  6. Gently beat in the condensed milk, then the heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  7. Carefully pour the custard into the prepared pan. Put the pan into the oven and then carefully pour the boiling water around the baking dish with the custard in it, being careful not to splash any water into the pan. Lightly cover the pan with foil.
  8. Immediately turn the heat down to 325 degrees and bake the flan for 45 to 60 minutes, until just the center third of the flan is slightly jiggly (not liquidy, just rather like half set jello). Carefully remove the flan pan from the other pan. I’ve found that the best way to do this without burning your fingers with the water is to use a baster to drain out most of the water, then lift the pan out. Let the flan cool for about an hour at room temp, then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours more.
  9. If you want to invert it, you run a butter knife all around the edges and then lay a large serving plate over the top. Quickly but carefully flip the dish and pan over and the flan should slide out. Spoon the caramel sauce remaining in the pan over the flan. But, as I said, I rarely bother with the inversion. It tastes just as good and is far less work, if not as dramatic looking.

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Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

I think we’ve all learned how bad I am at following recipes, right? Well, today, I just threw the cookbooks out the window. Sorry, darlin… I’ll call a glass repair guy tomorrow.

I had a pound of very rare in our household (both because of cost and because my husband hates it so I rarely make it) jumbo shrimp. I had spent two days trying to figure out what to do with them. Batter fried? Tasty, but it doesn’t stretch far and since this is a rare treat, I wanted it to seem like more. Heck, give me an hour and I can finish a pound of fried shrimp myself. Gumbo? Too much trouble and I always use Andouille in my gumbo which I don’t have right now. So I started looking at recipes for Shrimp Alfredo. I didn’t like any of them lol. So I just went into the kitchen and started throwing Cajunish and Alfredoish (yes, those are now both official words) ingredients together. Those and bacon. Bacon makes everything better. I mean… it’s BACON!

I must say; this sauce turned out wonderfully. Spicy, creamy, shrimpy :-p Seriously, it’s quite good. Not too spicy but has a nice bite for the heat seekers like myself. The green peppers and onions and garlic make their presence known. Add in the bacon and shrimp and oh my… seafood (bacony) Heaven on a plate. Ok, so the pic is of it in a bowl. Work with me here.

Note… I had no fettuccine , linguine or other traditional pastas here so I used Penne. I actually think I prefer it now. The shape helps it catch more sauce then you can on a flat noodle shape. But use what makes YOU happy.

You know the drill…

Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

  • 1 pound shrimp (I used jumbo but you could use large or extra large too. Just don’t go smaller or you could end up with overcooked shrimp. Save the smaller shrimp for something where it’s not sitting in a hot sauce)
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled, 4 tablespoons of drippings reserved
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons salt free Cajun seasoning (it can be hard to find but it’s worth it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (if you use that canned dried stuff, I’ll cry)
  • 8 ounces of Mascarpone cheese (could sub cream cheese)
  1. Start a large pot of water boiling. When water comes to a boil, cook your pasta to desired doneness. Drain and set aside in a covered bowl.
  2. While it heats, pour your reserved bacon droppings in a large skillet. Add in the green pepper, onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the veggies are soft and tender.
  3. Pat your shrimp dry then add into the veggie mix. Also add in the Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes Saute just until the shrimp start firming up and turning pink. They will finish cooking as the sauce heats.
  4. Pour the cream into the shrimp mixture. Pour in the hot sauce also if using.
  5. Turn heat down to low and simmer for five minutes or until sauce starts to simmer (don’t boil it), stirring frequently. Add in the mascarpone and stir until smooth and melted Add in the crumbled bacon and serve the sauce over the warm pasta.
  6. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese. Because you can never have too much cheese.

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Peaches And Cream Jello Salad

Peaches And Cream Jello Salad

Peaches And Cream Jello Salad

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m old! Yep, compared to many bloggers, I’m old. I have six kids, three grown and married and have 7 grandchildren. The bulk of food bloggers are working on their first child, if that.

Why do I mention my old fart status? Jello. That’s why. Back in the stone age, when I was a kid who played with T-Rex bones for fun and dodged falling pterodactyl poop, jello was the dessert of choice. That and canned fruit, though that may have just been my mother who bought that…every…single…payday. Lots of canned fruit. LOTS. I still don’t care for canned fruit. Jello however, I still like. Though I have this bad habit of stockpiling it like there’s going to be a run on jello and then I end up with, no lie, about 50 boxes of jello. And we won’t mention how many boxes of pudding mix that I buy thinking it would be a quick dessert and then never make. And brownie mixes. And…and…never mind. Just suffice it to say that I hope you aren’t wanting to buy gummy candies anywhere anytime soon.

This started out as a creamsicle salad, which, while yummy, isn’t what I wanted. I hate being a conformist. EVERYONE makes it with orange jello. I’m a rebel.

Or something.

I made it with peach jello. And cheesecake flavored pudding mix.

It’s yummy. You need this. This is creamy and peachy and jello-ey (yes, that is now a word) and very refreshing after you’ve spent an hour or so watching your body shrink as you drip sweat over a red hot grill. It’s also so easy that anyone can do it, even my husband.  Ok, maybe I’m stretching the truth there.

Peaches And Cream Jello Salad

  • 2 3 ounce packages cheesecake flavored instant pudding mix (you can sub vanilla or maybe white chocolate if you want to)
  • 1 3 ounce package peach jello
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped fresh peaches
  • 16 ounces cool whip
  1. In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and jello. Pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth and well blended.
  2. Stir in the heavy cream and stir until combined.
  3. Fold in the peaches.
  4. Fold in the cool whip.
  5. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  6. Serve. Eat. Burp. Ok, you don’t have to burp if you don’t want to.

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Sometimes Simple Is Best- Even When It Has A Touch Of Fancy

Some of these with a glass of Shiraz and it was a wonderful meal

I’ve never been a fancy person. I mean, for heavens sake, I openly admit that two of my favorite foods are Cheetos and Twinkies. I’d say that qualifies as simple tastes. I also like Liverwurst, pickled herring and ham and cheese sandwiches (those rare times I even eat sandwiches that aren’t hot and gooey) on smooshy white bread spread with butter. Not sure if I just qualified myself as having simple tastes or just never having progressed past age six in my eating habits. 😛

But I do prefer simple foods for the most part. I have the worlds worst appetite especially for a heavy woman and forget to eat half the time. Were it not for my husbands prodding, I would probably live on tea, yogurt and the occasional lean cuisine meal. Give me some cheese, some bread, (a bottle of wine and thou? sorry; tangent) fruit and I’ll be happy unless it’s one of those times when I have a craving for a 20 inch thick ribeye steak cooked to a perfect medium rare.

So what I’ve made today appeals to me a lot on both the simple level and the not too much level and I hope it does to you also. Like the post title says, it has a bit of fancy to it. This comes with goat cheese which unless one owns a goat and makes it oneself is fancy based on price alone if nothing else (thank God for finding it on sale!). But otherwise, this is a simple homey meal (or appetizer) that is fairly quick to throw together and yet fancy enough to serve to guests. That goat cheese thing does that. Makes people think it’s fancy when in reality goat cheese has been a source of food for many many centuries.

Give this a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂 The creamy slightly salty cheese with the fresh Spinach and the sweet caramelized tomatoes all atop of piece of crusty French bread is pure Heaven.

Goat Cheese, Spinach & Oven Roasted Tomatoes Bruschetta

  • 1 loaf French Baguette
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 pound oven roasted cherry or grape tomatoes (the store bought ones in oil are fine if you prefer)
  • 1 6 ounce bag prewashed baby spinach leaves, stems removed and thoroughly dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil if roasting your tomatoes yourself
  1. If roasting the tomatoes yourself, preheat oven to 325. Slice the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with salt, pepper (and I also use McCormick Garlic/Onion Grill mix. It has nice pieces of both the onion and the garlic and adds both flavor and a wonderful aroma to the roasting tomatoes.) and drizzle with a good quality olive oil. Toss to coat the tomatoes well.
  2. Roast at 325 until the tomatoes are nicely caramelized and softened. You’re not trying for the texture of sun dried tomatoes here; just browned and soft.  Let cool somewhat.
  3. Slice your baguette into thin slices. Toast if you prefer it crunchier. I heated mine up in the oven but didn’t toast it.  Spread with the goat cheese and top with a spinach leaf or two and a little bit of the tomatoes.
  4. Eat and enjoy the simple things.

To Die For??? :P


Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows how much I hate that phrase. I have joked before that as much of a foodie as I am (albeit a foodie with a crappy appetite who has to be forced to eat half the time lol) I can’t think of any foods that I would be willing to die for. Not even a medium rare ribeye with potato wedges and roasted brussel sprouts, which is my all time favorite meal (what btw, is YOUR favorite meal??? Tell me in comments section? 🙂 ). I may be willing to be seriously wounded for it (so long as my knife and fork skills aren’t ruined) but no dying. I just can’t think of any food worth dying for.

But there are some foods that I love enough (when I bother to eat 😛 ) to consider using the phrase. Twinkies and Cheetos of course. You didn’t know THAT was coming I bet did you? Hehe. Sushi is another; I LOVE sushi though if anyone ever tries to get me to eat the kind with raw eel in it, they are, as my dad would have said, “cruisin’ for a bruisin’. EWWWW!!!!! GOOD chocolate (we’re not talking Hershey bars here though there is a time and a place for them too) is something to think about using silly phrases for. Buy me a pound of Godiva (or twelve) and I’ll think about it. Buy me more and I may ask you to marry me. Just don’t tell my husband. He can be a bit touchy about that for some reason. Silly man. I’d share the Godiva. Maybe.

But this following recipe is so utterly delicious, so supremely satisfying and so summery (even with the use of canned tomatoes) that I actually thought about using the phrase “to die for”. I didn’t of course; I have my standards but I THOUGHT about it! That right there should tell you how wonderful this is.

I have only been to the restaurant this soup is purported to have been cloned from two times and I thought the food was passable but nothing worth writing home about. I had not however had this soup. I have made this a couple of times for my family and even my picky kids love it. This is creamy and tomatoey (again; now a word 😛 ), bursting with the flavor of fresh Basil with a mild sweet edge that helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Summer or Winter, this is a winner. So give it a try. Even in this hot weather, this is SO good!

This is adapted from a recipe on top secret recipes.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used considerably more of this and the onion)
  • 2 28 ounce cans (good quality) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups (good quality) chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh basil (you can sub the pureed basil that comes in tubes in the produce section)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley (I omitted this because I didn’t have any & I saw no difference)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional. The original recipe didn’t have this but I added it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 3 to 4 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn heat off and let cool for up to an hour.
  3. Pour half the mixture in a blender (hold lid down with a towel if the soup is at all hot so the lid doesn’t fly off). Blend on high speed for about a minute and pour into a large bowl. Do the same with the second half (I actually don’t do that because I like a little bit of texture in the soup). Add all the soup back to the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the soup back up to a low bubble then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with desired toppings. I use Parmesan cheese and some julienned basil.

Chocolate Is Our Friend

This is creamy, silky, chocolately and as rich as a good quality piece of candy...but cold 😛

Well, it’s my friend anyway. Maybe it hates you. I don’t really know. But if it does, can you send it over to my house? I’ll buy it dinner and roses, say sweet things to it, then nibble at it’s silky neck. Man, why does every post I write lately have sexual undertones? What is UP with that? Maybe I just need more chocolate. Yeah, that’s it; more chocolate. Silky, sweet, creamy chocolate *stops to get a towel to wipe up the drool from the keyboard*

I’ve been told that I am a good albeit very random and tangential sort of a writer. I just can’t understand that. You mean all the careful hours of planning I put into each and every painstaking word doesn’t show? The care and love, the blood sweat and tears (and chocolate) I pour into every post I lovingly create for all of you isn’t immediately apparent? Me? Random?

Oooo, shiny thing!!! I’ll be right back.

I’m back. I still don’t understand that random tangential thing though. Hmmpphhh.

My husband, while he likes chocolate as much as any male, jokes (at least he tries to play it off as a joke; I know better.) that men simply don’t have the same hormonal response to chocolate that women do. I have often wondered but have been too lazy to research whether or not there may be some basis in fact for that. I mean, we all know that chocolate is considered a mood lifter due to the phenylephylamine in it which is the same hormone your body releases during those early “omg, I just have to see him! I haven’t seen him for seventeen minutes!” times of being in love. Not that I’m tangential but has anyone but me ever thought that while it might be interesting, it would also be extremely emotionally and physically tiring to stay in that initial “I’m in love and giddy and my heart is racing” phase forever? I think there are valid physiological and psychological reasons that dies down after a while and love becomes quieter.

Where was I? Oh yeah… chocolate and womens response to it. I can’t help but feel my husbands theory has some validity. Most women I know, when we’re having a bad day, we reach for a piece or twelve of chocolate. Men however reach for a beer and the remote (or go hide in the bathroom for half an hour under the guise of bodily functions. Ok, maybe that’s just my husband.) and would rarely if ever think of grabbing some chocolate to self sooth and relax. Oh well, future research territory here when I have another chocolate post 😛

Try this one. I can’t express how much your mood will be lifted. Especially if you just stick your face in it and inhale. What? Think of it as dessert and a facial at the same time. This is a bittersweet chocolate mousse that has been frozen. I added a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper to it but you can omit those if you must. I’ll try to forgive you. It looked naked however so I sliced up some strawberries, added a generous amount of honey and some fresh mint leaves and added those to serve with this heavenly chocolate delight. And whipped cream. Gotta have whipped cream. It’s the LAW. this dessert is beyond awesome and perfect for a dinner party or when you just want to be nice to your family (I.E. you spent too much money at Amazon or Bath & Body Works)

Frozen Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse


Honey Mint Strawberries & Whipped Cream

  • 7 ounces (approximately 1 1/4 cups) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon or brandy
  • cocoa and powdered sugar for dusting
  • whipped cream
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, capped and sliced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  1. Put the chocolate into a large bowl and set aside
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and cayenne to a gentle simmer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and one tablespoon sugar. SLOWLY whisk in half the hot cream mixture. Return it all to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about five minutes. Do NOT boil.
  4. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate. let sit for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the butter, a little bit at a time and then add the vanilla and the bourbon. Whisk until the mixture is very smooth. If you can’t get all the chocolate to melt, you can heat it in 30 second increments on half power in the microwave to melt the chocolate more. Just do this with caution so you don’t burn the mixture.
  5. Spray a 8 or 9 inch bread pan with cooking spray then line it with plastic wrap.  Scrape the mixture from the bowl into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze for at least six hours. This can be made well ahead of time and left frozen and well wrapped.
  6. Meanwhile, make your honeyed strawberries. All that entails is mixing the ingredients together and letting it sit for about 2 hours.
  7. To serve, uncover and invert the mousse onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Dust with cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar. Garnish with the honeyed strawberries and whipped cream.
  8. Do that face sticking thing I mentioned. Remember… facial.

Literally melt in your mouth good

Who Says This Flavor Combo Is Just For Christmas?

I think it has already become obvious that I like drinks. No no not alcoholic drinks though I have been known to imbibe at times. On a side note related to that, the women my husband works with (he is an R.N. so mainly works with women) told him recently when I was talking to him at work and said for him to tell them that I would have a beer for them (they were working late) that I “didn’t look like a drinker”.  Huh? Now I love these ladies to death so if you’re reading this, know that it tickled me to no end to hear that but…. HUH???? What does a drinker look like anyway? 😛 I feel like next time I want to have a drink (tonight) I need to get on a wife beater t-shirt, lots of eye make up and burp and cuss a lot. Wait… I know people like that. Never mind. 😀 But seriously, what does a drinker look like anyway? Obviously not middle aged and middle income with long hair that has more gray than I like to admit to and a really laid back way of dressing (translate- jeans and t shirts or nightgowns if I can get away with it). I have always gotten the “sweet” label but darn it, I can cuss and drink with the best of them!!! So long as they don’t say anything stronger than darn it and don’t drink anything too high of a proof or I’ll end up on the floor…or giggling madly because my hand looks funny. I’m really ruining my own case here aren’t I? Sigh.

Moving on…or back…or sideways, whichever it was, I like drinks. Cold drinks, hot drinks, warm drinks, room temp drinks (am I the only one who prefers my pop room temp?). I am a very poor eater at the best of times but I am a fairly big drinker (now that sounds bad. I can see it later… “Yeah Janet said right there in her blog that she has a drinking problem! No, really, she did! She said she is a big drinker!”) and like most people, I am even more so in hot weather. I still drink my hot tea but I like to shake it up a bit. Hmmm, now that I’ve said shake, I can move onto the recipe. Wow, was that a lame segue or what!?

I have never been much on the you can/should/must/it’s the law/only eat some things during certain times of the year idea. When I want something, other than seasonal berries that cost more than a house payment during the Winter, I want it now. I don’t want to wait six months for it to be the “right” time to eat it. Today, I wanted chocolate mint. That is typically a combo one sees the most during the holidays and I’m not sure why. Especially when you can be having it in this delicious shake. And boy, do I mean delicious. Being the poor eater that I am, I will probably not eat dinner tonight because I am too busy slurping this shake down as I type this. But I think it’s worth it 😀 Frosty mint, vanilla ice cream and sweet chocolate . Oh my. This is yummy. So get out the blender; go buy some York Peppermint Patties and vanilla ice cream (and some peppermint schnapps and creme de cacao if you want an adult version) and get to blending this one. Enjoy!

York Peppermint Pattie Milk Shake

  • 3 snack sized York peppermint Patties (plus one more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 2/3 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • a few drops mint extract (optional)
  • 1/2 shot each peppermint schnapps and creme de cacao if making an adult version
  1. Put it all in the blender.
  2. Blend.
  3. Garnish with the extra peppermint pattie, whipped cream and more chocolate syrup
  4. Drink.
  5. Wasn’t that easy?


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Sometimes We All Need A Little Comfort


Mmmmm; chocolate and...well...chocolate. What more could I want?


And that can take different forms. The best comfort in my life is God and my family. A hug from my kids or my husband can cure many an ill; most of them in fact. Making people laugh also comforts me. I have been a ham all my life and if I can get a laugh, even at my own expense, it makes my day.

Sometimes, even though the “experts” tell us it’s wrong, food and drink can be a comfort. A nice warm soothing drink can make a bad day better.

I wanted to make a drink tonight but didn’t know what I wanted so I played Thomas Edison and went into invention mode. This is what I came up with. It’s sweet and creamy with a potency from the brandy and the schnapps and a subtle orange flavor that blends well with both the butterscotch and the chocolate. In other words, just about perfect for a night time drink 😀


The chocolate flavor is mild in this. I didn’t want it to be overpowering. You could always add more chocolate if you want but it will drastically change the balance of flavors.

  1. 1 1/2 cups whole milk (I suppose you could use low fat or skim but my feelings will be hurt 😛 )
  2. 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon orange extract
  5. 1 tablespoon sugar
  6. 2 shots brandy (whiskey can be subbed if you don’t have brandy on hand)
  7. 1 shot butterscotch schnapps
  8. 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped  with 1 teaspoon sugar (or just use the whipped cream in a can)
  • Mix everything together in a large measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high until hot. Stir well to melt the chocolate.
  • Top with whipped cream. Eat with lots of chocolate on the side. 😀
  • Makes two servings (maybe)