Friday, February 26, 2010

With My Eyes Shut

I have made truffles so many times now that I am pretty sure that I could make them with my eye shut.  If you are under the impression that they are difficult to make – you are mistaken.  If you know how to melt chocolate (this can be done in the microwave), then you can make truffles.  I follow a very basic recipe – chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, heavy cream, liqueur (this ingredient is optional) and if I am coating the little gems in chocolate then I buy an extra bar (or bag) to do so.  The quality of chocolate you buy really does make the difference.  Go for a good brand, it is worth it. 

This is just how simple it is. 

I start with the heavy cream.



Put the entire 8 oz into a small saucepan.  Heat until it boils (tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan).




While waiting for the cream to heat up, place your bag of chocolate chips into a glass bowl. 




Once the cream is boiling, immediately pour it over the chocolate chips.  Let stand for 5 minutes – this allows the chocolate  to melt.  After 5 minutes, stir till smooth.  If you have any lumps after stirring, then you can warm it in the microwave or place the bowl over a double boiler to get the mixture completely smooth.  If the cream is hot enough you should not have any lumps.  One time I was worried about curdling the cream so mine was not warm enough.  All was good in the end with a quick zap in the nuke. 




Then I add 2 tablespoons of liqueur to the smooth chocolate & cream mix.  The new favorite of my husbands is Godiva but I’ve used Whiskey and Grand Marnier before too. 





Now I spread the ganache into a 8 inch glass baking dish.  Some recipes say to just leave the ganache in the bowl but I find the shallow dish allows even cooling and makes scooping so much easier.  Into the fridge it goes to chill for a few hours.  You can actually make this a day ahead of time.  On the day you are going to form the truffles, remember to take it out 20 minutes before scooping. 





When I scoop the ganache, I use the 2 spoon method.  I try to not handle the ganache with my hands as it melts very easily and makes a huge mess. 





I put the formed truffle balls back into the fridge to firm up a bit before dipping into chocolate.  If you just wanted to cover your truffles with cocoa powder, nuts or shredded coconut, you would do it right after rolling into balls.  Since they are warm your coatings will stick.  If you tried to do it after chilling in the fridge the toppings would just fall off. 

For the chocolate coating, I melt a bag of chips over a double boiler.





Once the chocolate is melted I start dipping the balls into it.  It is not a clean process but the end result is so pretty.  Sometimes I even melt a little white chocolate (in the microwave), place it in a plastic bag, snip off the tip and drizzle over the truffles. 





So there you have it.  It really is that easy.  And everyone will adore them.  I have yet to meet someone who does not like the truffles that I make. 

In other news, my race is on Sunday.  I am really looking forward to it, just not the fact that it is supposed to snow.  Lets hope that there are minimal flakes falling when it is race time. 

Time to get my butt in gear, I am working at the book fair at D’s school toady.  Happy Friday!!! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Warrior

When my bag of Jay Robb Vanilla Rice Protein Powder ran out, I contemplated back and forth for a while on whether I wanted to try something new.  Jay Robb has been my go to powder for so long now.  The taste and texture of his product has blown away all the other brands I have tried.  One protein powder that I had yet to try was the Sun Warrior Protein powder.  I’ve seen so many other bloggers rave how amazing it is so I just had to see for myself.   




Now the Sun Warrior is a bit more pricey but you get double the servings than you do in the JR bag (and any other protein powder that I have purchased).  I usually use 1/2 a scoop of powder so this stuff should last me a good long while. 

I made a bowl of oats to try it out for the first time.  It tastes amazing!!  Jay Robb has some stiff competition.  I’m pretty sure the Warrior is here to stay. 





 Have you tried Sun Warrior?  What is your favorite protein powder?  Or are you just not into the powdered stuff? 

Have a great day. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

His Surprise

Over a month of preparing finally paid off.  I threw Charlie a surprise 40th birthday party on Saturday night at Fireflies BBQ (one of his favorite restaurants).




Sorry the photos of his entrance are blurry.  For some reason the flash was not going off and it was not one of those moments where I could do a retake. 






He had no clue that we were all going to be there.  He thought that he was just having dinner with 2 of his buds. 





I was able to wrangle up a decent group of friends and family to celebrate Charlie’s entrance into the big

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Here is D with Charlie’s dad and sister.





Some friends that attended Charlie had not seen for quite some time.  I know it really meant a lot to him that they were there. 





The D man ate a burger and also tried some of Daddy’s ribs – which he LOVED.  He told me that he wants to have his next birthday party there so he can get the ribs.  Too funny!!!!  Daddy now has another BBQ buddy. 





I had to give my little sweet tart a big high five for keeping the big secret.  He overheard me talking about the party to my sis so I let him in on the details.  I was really nervous that he would spill the beans but he didn’t. Everything went just as I had planned. 

I hope you had a great weekend. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Corner Grill

For Valentine’s Day my two lovies took me out to lunch for my favorite meal – PIZZA!!!  We ventured into Worcester to The Corner Grill.  It is a very quaint shop with simple yet funky decor.




The D man was pretty famished when we arrived.  He was a little impatient while we waited for our pizza to be delivered to the table. 





We started with one of the most amazing salads that I have ever tasted.

Fatoush Salad
Chopped romaine ♦ tomato ♦onion ♦ cucumber ♦ feta ♦ calamata olives ♦ lemon-mint dressing ♦ toasted pita chips

I am pretty sure I ate way more of this than Charlie – it was so good I couldn’t resist.




The pizza’s that we ordered were:

Sweet Tomato & Basil Pie
Red sauce ♦ tomatoes ♦ sweet fresh basil ♦ cheese


Oh man the sauce on this one was out of this world.  Check out the super thin crust – that is a sure winner in my book.  In my opinion, the thinner the better.  I really do not think that they could get the crust any thinner without it turning into a floppy mess – which this was not.   




The other pie we ordered was:

Baked Potato Pie
Potatoes ♦ caramelized onions ♦ bacon ♦ scallions ♦ garlic butter ♦ cheese


We had them leave the onions and bacon off of half so that I could try it out.  I am not a fan of bacon and onions and me are not friends – they cause extreme tummy issues.  This one was good but not as good as the Sweet Basil.  Charlie thought this one was just as yummy – but that is his opinion and he does love anything that contains bacon.   I did like that the potatoes still had a bit of firmness to them. 




The Corner Grill earns an A+ in my book.  That fabulous crispy crust will definitely have me going back for more. 

After lunch we headed to the mall to walk off some of the fullness.  While were we there D spotted this crazy activity that he really wanted to try – JUST NOT ALONE.  It was called Euro Bobbles.  The video is not us but it shows just how zany these things are.

That is me in the bubble getting inflated and D already rolling around in his.




Moving around in the bubble is not as easy as it looks.







It was really difficult to stand up.  Is D taking a nap???  I think we pooped him out. 





  I fell A LOT!!! 







I am pretty sure that I made a fool of myself in front of all the spectators. 






It was all for my little man.  He felt much more comfy in his bubble with mommy by his side. 





We actually walked away from it on our first attempt because he chicken out.  He thought about it a little more and decided he really wanted to try it.  As long as I was in one too, of course.  We both had a lot of fun and he even wants to go back and try it again. 

Not sure if I will be posting tomorrow.  My sis and I are taking the boys to an exhibit out of state and I am not sure when we will be back.  I will take lots of photos – well, as long as its allowed. 

Have a great night.   

Monday, February 15, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Bars

Today was the first day of D’s vacation – he has the entire week off.  The poor little doobie woke up with a bit of a cough.  Any time he gets stuffy he gets that croupy sounding cough.  Thankfully as the day went he started to sound better.  We have lots of fun times planned for this week so he needs to get better ASAP.  

I ventured away from my typical salad for dinner and actually ate a hot meal.  I did end up having to throw the bowl into the micro as I was interrupted one too many times.  Mommy never gets to sit down and eat her dinner without distractions. 

I roasted zucchini, turnip and snap peas in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  I then added a Quorn Chik’n Cutlet and marinara sauce. 




I also had a Rudy’s Organic Spelt English muffin with peanut butter. 





I was itching to do a little baking since I have a couple very ripe bananas.  I finally settled on making a batch of Kath’s Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars only I made some changes. 





My tummy does not do too well with too much dried fruit and whole nuts so I left them out.  I used almond milk in place of the skim milk, I added 2 tbsp NuNaturals NuStevia Sweetener Baking Blend and 1 mashed banana.  I also left out the vanilla.




When they were baking my kitchen smelled amazing.  Even Charlie commented on how yummy they smelled.  I cut my bars into 6 and had to try one while they were still warm.  Definitely moist, not your typical granola bar but I actually like that about them.  They are more of a cakey texture which for dessert was perfect.  The banana flavor is mild and not overpowering.  These are a keeper in my collection of recipes. 

Time to go put on my pj’s and maybe whip up a cup of my favorite nightcap.  I hope you have a great night. 

American Heritage Chocolate Celebration

On Saturday we decided to go on a road trip to celebrate the holiday of love a day early.  What better way to enjoy Valentine’s Day than with a Chocolate Celebration?




We started with a sample of the most scrumptious hot cocoa.




American Heritage Chocolate contains a unique blend of spices that really sets it apart from any other chocolate beverage that I have tasted.  It was slightly sweet and very rich.  It had depth and layers of flavor that I have never tasted in a drinking chocolate before – so yummy!!!  It is definitely a drink for those who adore dark chocolate .  I just happened to be accompanied by two such gents – my guys love their dark chocolate.    And lucky for me it is soy free and made with water.




D checked out the process that the cacao beans go through on their way to becoming a chocolate bar. 




We peeked in on the demonstration on cacao roasting.  It was very brief as you can imagine the D man was not into lengthy lectures.  Sorry the photo is blurry.  I was afraid to use a flash – I’m not sure if I was supposed to be taking photos since we were not allowed to photograph the interiors of the houses we toured.





I love the time period attire. Can you even imagine dressing like that every day?  The women really did wear many layers – for warmth, I presume. 




We go to take a ride on a horse drawn carriage.  D did not enjoy the odor of riding behind horses.  He really has a sensitive sniffer – he always has.





We walked through the Museum Store and few homes.  I really wish that I could have taken pictures – the furniture was just gorgeous.  When I was in college I took a course on the history of furniture so I was in awe by many of the pieces that they have on display. 





Charlie thought the Post Office was really neat.  Compared to the Post Offices we have now this place is teeny. 





Even thought it was a frigid day to be walking around outside, we all had a great time.  We are going to plan a trip back to historic Deerfield when the weather is warmer and hopefully see more of the houses.  Maybe mommy and daddy will try to plan an overnight and stay at the Deerfield Inn.  I can only imagine the rooms to be absolutely breathtaking from the looks of the lobby. 

I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day.