“name” chocolates – personalized valentine’s day gifting (part 2).

My oldest two are now old enough that I feel like we can fulfill the necessary chocolate gifting that seems to be a Valentine’s Day requirement. I wanted to do something that felt special and personal. After all, isn’t that what the day is all about (and chocolate)!

I have hopes that the things handmade by me for them will be memories they can take with them. AND even on the days where I’m not at my best, they still know they are special to me partially because of these times and small gestures I did for them on my better days! In other words, may the good outweigh the bad in their beautiful minds. 🙂

For making the name chocolates, I have this silicone letter mold and I used dark and white chocolate ghirardelli melting wafers (the ones I used did not need tempering). Place the mold on a baking sheet (so that you can move it without the chocolate shifting in the mold). Melt the wafers over a double boiler and then with the help of a small spoon pour or drizzle the completely melted chocolate into the letters you prefer (or use a plastic squeeze bottle with a small tip/ opening for a cleaner approach). Next, use a toothpick to stir and even out the chocolate once it is in the molds. I then used my dough cutter to scrape over the letters to create a nice flat bottom. After you’ve evened out your letters, place the mold (still on the baking sheet) in the fridge or leave on the counter until completely cool or dry. When moving the mold, be sure to keep it as level as possible. Once completely dry, pop the letters out of the molds and put them in any sort of packaging you wish. I placed mine in a haphazardly sewn pocket that I made out of parchment paper (it just happened to be what I had on hand). The end! Enjoy!

Happy Heart Day!

P.S. – Speaking of chocolates. Check out all of this cuteness!

saturday morn. popovers & lemon curd.

(Meyer lemons)

Even Saturday mornings come early with a one year old in the house. However, I found myself laying awake anyway with anticipation of the possibilities of a slow Saturday that involves no extra curricular activities and no certain plans – perhaps just coffee with a friend this afternoon. The sun is beaming this morning (despite it being very cold) but increasing clouds and a wintry mix are supposed to take over the afternoon and night.

Speaking of Spring (my last post), I’ve been craving a lot of citrus and lemon these days. So with having plenty of time this morning, I thought I’d make one of my favorites – popovers. And in the early morning light, try my hand at making lemon curd to tag along with them for something different. The finished curd tasted rather good but I definitely need more tries to get this one right. Mine was far from spectacular when it came to thickness. It was more the consistency of a heavy cream vs a jelly. I’m blaming it on the little guy I had on my hip the whole time. 😉

Both of the popover and lemon curd recipes were from the Joy of Cooking cookbooks.

The Lemon Curd recipe was from the newer 75th Anniversary edition.

The Popover recipe was from the 1964 edition and is slightly different than the newer 75th edition’s Popover recipe (just in case you were wondering 🙂 ).

Joy of Cooking – Popover recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450°. Beat together all ingredients except the eggs just until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time. Do not overbeat.

The batter should be no heavier than whipping cream. Fill the buttered muffin cups about 3/4 full. Do not overfill. Bake at once. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350° and bake 15-20 minutes longer. Don’t open the oven when lowering the temp. You can test for doneness by removing one of the popovers – make sure the walls are firm. If they are not cooked long enough, the popovers will collapse. (Joy of Cooking – 1964 edition)

*Serve immediately with a variety of toppings. You can make them savory or sweet depending on your cravings. The kids enjoy just a little powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Happy Saturday!

L O V E + T A C O S – a “spicy” valentine.

I was trying to come up with something simple yet useful to give to a few of my favorite gal pals for Valentine’s Day. As I was making some taco seasoning for our family one day last week, I thought why not “spice things up” for them as well. Smile. It’s something that can be put to good use and oh how I love anything that I can put in a small jar.

I’m sure most taco seasoning recipes are fairly similar but I’ve used the one in Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain – Meals Made Simple cookbook for the past couple of years now. I love the authentic taste of it so much more than the prepackaged seasonings I used to buy.

Danielle’s Taco Seasoning Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and store in a jar for up to 6 months. Makes about 1/2 cup.

XOXO!