Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Holiday Fun and Haagen-Dazs Gelato

Good morning! I hope that you had a wonderful  holiday weekend! The weather here was beautiful, hot and sunny, in fact we actually had record heat. The perfect weather to celebrate the last weekend of summer. 

We were out on our paddle boards everyday and it was so peaceful gliding through the river and into the grass lined inlets. Unfortunately Saturday, we forgot the check the tides and on our return trip the tide was going out, a trip that should have taken 25 minutes took over an hour. At times we were literally going backwards if we didn't paddle fast enough, it goes without saying that my arms were exhausted after finally making it home. We will not make that mistake again. 

The rest of the weekend was spend relaxing and barbecuing. My husband loves to barbecue and to make sauces and rubs, the hotter the better. So we tested a few of his creations on ribs, chicken and pork tenderloin; they we all delicious and very hot.

Fortunately, this past week Haagen-Dazs sent me a few pints of their new Pistachio and Pomegranate Swirl Gelato and I was able to cool off from the food as well as the heat.

Typically I shy away from store bought gelato, a.) because I live near an excellent gelato store and b.) because I do not want to ruin my memories of exceptional gelato bowls from my trips to Italy. I would rather wait to have "the real thing" than a cheap imitation. Luckily Haagen-Dazs has created an excellent substitute to tide me over between my trips to Italy. Their gelato is smooth, creamy, light and delicious.

The back of the pistachio pint reads: "Haagen-Dazs pistachio gelato is rich and buttery, delivering a lightly roasted pistachio taste, creating an exceptionally smooth indulgence that is light on your palate."

I love pistachios and this rich and creamy gelato is delicious, it tastes exactly like pistachios! It reminds me of the gelato in Italy, smooth, silky with little bits of pistachio mixed in. 

The other gelato I tried was the Pomegranet Swirl. It reads: " A strikingly beautiful duo, Haagen-Dazs blends tart pomegranate gelato with elegant vanilla gelato, creating and exceptionally smooth indulgence that is light on your palate."

I have to be honest I was a bit skeptical of this gelato simply because I thought the pomegranate would be too tart. In fact the combination of sweet creamy vanilla with a slightly tangy pomegranate swirl is delicious and refreshing. If you are a fan of gelato I highly recommend the new flavors from Haagen-Dazs.

I hope that you enjoy the rest of your week!

NOTE: I was supplied with gelato samples from Haagen-Dazs but all of my opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday Favorites from The Paris Apartment, Manger, Lil Luna, Traditional Home and More

Good morning! This weekend is Labor Day, the "unofficial" end to summer vacation. I honestly cannot believe that summer has come and gone and that Fall and then the holidays are just around the corner. Honestly, where does the time go?

Image The Paris Apartment

If you would like to have one last hurrah before the winter chill sets in you may want to visit The Paris Apartment to see The Perfect Paris Apartment that is for rent for the next three months. Can you imagine spending Fall whiling away your days visiting museums, sitting in cafes sipping chocolat chaud or a Kir Royale and then going back to this absolutely lovely place to spend quite evenings with your friends or just your sweetheart? It looks and sounds perfect to me. 

Image Traditional Home

While you are fantasizing about the gorgeous apartment in Paris check out this simply elegant house in Long Island. It belongs to the CEO of Anny Taylor and Loft and is featured in Traditional Home this month. It is one of my favorite houses that they have featured lately because it actually looks like a place a family lives and not just a show house. 

Image from Lil Luna

I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, OK I like the dough more than the cookies, but I love making chocolate chip cookies and bars. I think they are the perfect treat to take to a party or to drop off at a friends. This recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from Lil Luna looks like a delicious recipe to take to your Labor Day barbecue. I cannot wait to make these.

Image Manger

If you are like me, than you have been anxiously waiting for the the release of A Kitchen in France written by the incredibly talented blogger Mimi Thorisson. This week Mimi announced on her blog that if you pre-order the book you will receive one of three stunning prints. I do not know what is going to be the most beautiful about this book, the stunning photos, the recipes or the stories. Visit Manger to pre-order your copy today!

Photo Amazon

From the publisher:

He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem—ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. 
She is an astute young Housekeeper—with a ten-year-old son—who is hired to care for the Professor. 
And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor's mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities—like the Housekeeper's shoe size—and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.
Yoko Ogawa's The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.

I read this book at the beach this week and loved it! Have you read it? Or any other books by Yoko Ogawa?

I hope that you have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy 10th Anniversary

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”

Bob Marley

My husband and I have been together for 20 years and married for 10, today is our anniversary. As I was contemplating this post I remembered this quote from Bob Marley and I think it says better than I can just how I feel about my relationship with my husband. 

Happy Anniversary to my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my closest confidant and the love of my life. I love you William.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teeny's Tour of Pie: A Cookbook + A Giveaway

If you have follow me for a bit than you know I love cookbooks and I love to bake. Recently I was sent a copy of Teeny's Tour of Pie: Mastering the Art of Pie in 67 Recipes written by Teeny Lamothe, owner of Teeny Pies in Washington, D.C., to review and to also to give away a copy to one of my readers. 

Pies have never been my strong point, the crust always eludes me, that is unless it is a graham cracker crust. Teeny Lamothe changed all that with this book. I made my first successful and I might add fabulous pie crust by following the recipe for Buttery All Purpose crust(recipe below). 

Mastering the the Art of Pie is a wonderful book chronicling the adventures of Teeny who wanted to learn the art of pie making. She decided to forgo pastry school and instead wrote an email to bakers around the country asking to come and be an apprentice. After several weeks with either no answer or a sincere apology declining her offer, Dani Cone owner of Seattle's High 5 Pies said yes, and then adventure began. 

The book is divided by season and filled with recipes for 10 no-fail pie crusts, and 67 sweet, savory, traditional and a few unexpected pie recipes too! I think you will love the recipes, profiles of other pie makers and the beautiful photography.

I made the Banana Cream Pie and Food Lion graciously provided my with all of the ingredients to make my perfect pie. The crust is flaky, and buttery and the perfect compliment to the sweet custard filling and bananas.

Banana Cream Pie
Recipe from Teeny Lamothe

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups while milk
4 medium egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bananas

1 Batch Homemade whipping cream

1 Buttery All Purpose Crust Pre-baked


Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan with a wire whisk. Add the milk and the egg yolks, whisk again until there are no lumps.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a low simmer and begins to thicken, about 7 minutes. Continue cooking and whisking, careful not to let the mixture scorch the bottom of the pan, for another 2 minutes, until the mixture begins to boil, Then boil and stirring for another minute.

Remove from heat, add the butter and whisk until butter is melted.

Either mix the bananas into the mixture or pour mixture into the pre baked pie shell and place bananas on top.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Then top with whipped cream.

Buttery All Purpose Crust
Recipe from Teeny Lamothe

21/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cups of cold butter cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup of cold shortening
1/4 cup of cold vodka
6 tablespoons cold water, extra as needed

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, salt,and sugar until combined. Add the butter and the shortening and cut the mixture together using a pastry blender of two knives, until the mixture resembles small pea-sized crumbs coated in flour.

Pour the vodka over the ingredients a few tablespoons at a time while using a rubber spatula to press the dough together. Add the water, and continue to press the dough together to form a large ball. The dough should be wet and sticky, if it needs additional water add it a tablespoons at a time. Be careful not to work the dough too much or the crust will become tough. 

If you would like to win a copy of this beautiful book, leave me a comment with your favorite pie and I will pick the winner at random on Friday.

I hope that you have a great day!

Note: I was given a copy of the book by Workman Publishing  and the ingredients by Food Lion. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Friday Favorites from Seven Spoons, Pure Joy Home, The Good Life and More

Good morning! Happy Friday! It has been a fabulous few days here, the sun has finally made an appearance. In fact it has been so scarce lately that I even took a few hours off work to go sit at the beach and enjoy the sun, sand and the breeze. 

This weekend I am taking it easy, my husband wants to relax, do a little grilling and read on the beach. If we can muster the energy we will take our our paddle boards. This week while trolling the web I found some "new to me" blogs, recipes and facts, these are a few of my favorites. 

Image Seven Spoons

My sister LOVES Morning Buns so I have been in search of a recipe that I can make when I see her over the holidays and I think I found it at Seven Spoons. Morning Buns for those of you who are not familiar are almost like a flaky croissant filled with sugar and spice, in fact the dough is very similar to croissant dough. 

Although summer is nearing the end I know that many have a plethora of vegetables from their gardens. If you happen to have a bunch of cucumbers then you should try this soup posted by Pure Joy Home. It is easy and delicious, I loved it!

Are you an ice cream fan? This week Buzz Feed posted 27 Ice Cream Shops You Need To Visit Before You Die. How many of these shops have you been to? I was actually surprised how many I had already visited!

Image The Good Life

I am always curious as to how other blog writers organize their posts. Do your write them ahead of time? Do you write them the night or the day before? Or are you incredibly organized and use an editorial calender? I have attended a few blogging classes and they all say a calendar is essential, after reading Why and How to Use an Editorial Calendar by the Good Life I may have to give it another try. 

I always enjoy reading Dumb Little Man and this weeks article 50 Ways to Strive for Excellence in Your Life is one of my favorite posts!

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

For all you Francophiles here are 30 Facts About France that you may or may not know. There were a few I did not know even after studying and visiting France for over 30 years. 

I hope that you found something new to you while visiting today and as always, if you have something to share I would love to hear about it!

Enjoy your weekend!
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