Edamame is not what comes to mind when you think about vanilla! Beautiful lemon coconut raspberry cakes, fresh fruit tarts smothered in rich custard fillings, and gooey chocolate fudge brownies seem much more suited to the vanilla bean, but I'm here to inform you that vanilla and savory are a match made in heaven.
Each species of vanilla bean has a unique flavor profile; for instance, the Ugandan vanilla bean has rich chocolate undertones that enhance any mole. Indonesian vanilla beans are sweet with a smoky undertone perfect for barbecue sauces and grilling. Tahitian vanilla beans have a rich floral and fruity undertone that pairs beautifully with demi glace for rich savory sauces. As you can see, the vanilla bean is very versatile and does not need to be limited to sweet applications.
There is nothing quite as bright and cheerful as a lemon. I often buy a bag of lemons as a centerpiece for the breakfast table. The addition of these bright little fruits can cheer up even the grayest day! They are also one of the most versatile fruits; they can be used in both savory and sweet applications. The lemon's bright and tangy flavor can liven up just about any dish from roasted chicken to a beautiful fresh lemon curd tart.
The palmier is a quintessential French dessert. A sweet and buttery pastry that resembles a cookie, made from puff pastry and homemade vanilla bean sugar.
I am surrounded by runners -- not just your every-day-I-think-I-will-go-out-for-a-leisurely-jog runner, but hardcore I-think-I-will-run-a-marathon runners! I am not a runner. I try to get out there and run a few miles, but my boredom gets the best of me. I know there are many people who love the freedom it gives them to be able to put on a pair of shoes and leave the stress of family, work and financial obligations behind. I know the health and weight benefits that running provides, but as much as I want to be one of those people, I just can’t get past the monotony and boredom of a long run. But….. I live with a family of runners, and I am their biggest supporter. You will always find me on the sidelines cheering for them at their next big race. I will always be there with a water bottle of Gatorade and a Clif bar to congratulate them on their accomplishment. I will always be their biggest fan.
As a child, I spent a good amount of time at my grandparents’ home. One of my most vivid memories of my days spent with them was the crisp fall mornings and afternoons my grandmother spent canning. She would can dozens of quarts of home grown tomatoes, corn and grape jelly. The grape jelly was always my favorite, made from huge silver skin grapes that grew on vines along the back row of the garden. Not all of the grapes made it into the jars that lined her kitchen counter. A few were eaten by my brothers and I, and more than a few were used as projectiles.
It’s cold here!! Not quite Iowa cold (those of you who live or have lived in Iowa know what I am talking about), but it is still cold here! This is our first winter back in the Midwest after three very sunny and warm years in Southern California, and I just simply can’t get warm!
So, I have been making a ton of hot chocolate; warm, creamy, delicious hot chocolate. I think I’m finally thawing out!
It's cold here in Michigan, but that won’t stop me from bringing a bit of sunshine inside! Last year at this time, we were on our way from sunny southern California to live in snowy Western Michigan. Although I love living closer to family and friends, there are parts of California that I do miss, especially when the snow falls here and the temperatures hover near freezing.
Living in Southern California bring days full of sun and warmth, palm trees, the smell of the ocean and shaved ice! Shaved ice carts are abundant near the boardwalks of the ocean. You can choose from a multitude of syrups and holding the snow cone in your hand brings you back to the days of the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.
What is your new year’s resolution this year? Maybe you want to find love, a new job, make more money, build your business or perhaps you are one of the many who resolve to find and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maybe you would like to lose weight or perhaps you just want more energy. While I can’t find you love or make you more money, I can certainly help you on the path to a healthy lifestyle with a simple, but delicious, recipe.
There is nothing that makes me happier than to have a hot breakfast ready for my family in the morning. While this doesn’t always happen due to hectic schedules and busy lives, when I do have the time, Belgium waffles are at the top of the list. Easily prepared in 10 minutes, the batter can even be made the night before and stored in the fridge for simple preparation in the morning.
Beanilla carries a large selection of extracts and flavorings that any chef or home cook would love. From almond to lavender the choices are extensive! Cool, refreshing and a perfect complement to rich chocolate; Peppermint, one of my personal favorites!
Peppermint brownie tarts begin with a base of chocolate fudge brownie, a middle layer of cool peppermint filling and a top layer of rich dark chocolate ganache. They are a small but decadent dessert that is easy to make and guaranteed to disappear faster than you can make them.
Whoopie pies are a classic lunch box treat. Growing up it was always a treat to find whoppie pies, swiss cake rolls or oatmeal crème pies in our lunch nestled amongst the frozen juice boxes and the flattened tuna sandwich! (Courtesy of the frozen juice box)
Times have changed; the classics are delicious and bring back happy memories of child hood but parents these days are much more aware and concerned about what their children are consuming. Highly processed snacks and treats are being replaced with whole foods and nutritous snacks. Baking from scratch allows parents and health conscious persons to regulate the amount of refined flour, sugar and fats we introduce into our diets.
Warm, soft, buttery snickerdoodles are one cookie my husband just can't resist! I have his recipe written in the front of an address book, although I'm sure he knows it by heart by now. My children love the recipe so much that I have finally transferred it to a digital recipe book for them to take with them when they leave and have families of their own. This year we were able to enhance his cookie by rolling it in a mixture of cinnamon and vanilla sugar.
Some days there is nothing quite as nice as cuddling up with a warm blanket, a good movie and a big bowl of freshly made popcorn! I'm not talking about the kind you pop in the microwave with the fake butter substance, no. But, I am talking about good old fashioned cook-on-the-stovetop popcorn. The kind that pops up light and fluffy, begging for a drizzle of real melted butter and perhaps a sprinkle of vanilla fleur de sel.
When I think of raspberries, I think of my in-laws. In the early to late fall, there is a beautiful "u-pick" raspberry farm close to their home that has the most delectable raspberries known to man. My mother-in-law introduced me to them a few years ago on one of our visits back home. Picture a long winding drive, a couple of dogs greeting you with excited barks and a middle-aged woman smiling as she tends to her stand. The stand is stocked full of treasures such as homemade breads, jams and the most exquisite raspberry flower honey I have ever tasted. She greets you with a smile and a basket to collect the berries, points you in the direction of the most plentiful bushes and sends you on your way. Once you arrive at the raspberry bushes, you notice how peaceful it is and you begin to collect the sweet red berries. Most of the berries make it into the basket, but a few are so beautiful and ripe, they beg to be eaten right then!
A few weeks ago, I posted a homemade Kahlua recipe that was perfect for gift giving! I know that you have put aside a small amount for yourself, so I have created a special drink just for you. So, sit down, wrap a few presents and pour yourself a glass of deliciousness!