Floating In Donut Dreamland

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Chocolate Iced Glazed, Chocolate Iced Cake, Chocolate Iced with Kreme Filling, Chocolate Iced Custard Filled, Apple Fritters, and Original Glazed

Have you ever seen a herd of 2,000 or so donuts pass before your very eyes before?  Not in a dream—but in real life?!  Well, I’m here to tell you—it’s a real vision.

As I stood and watched the production of these Krispy Kreme donuts, my eyes couldn’t help but get bigger and bigger.  I suddenly had visions of a massive swimming pool being filled to the rim with donuts specifically so I could dive right into the dead center of it.  I wouldn’t even have minded the stickiness of it all if I could surround myself with love like that.

At the front counter, I studied the many different types of donut choices I had to choose from.  Do you have any idea how many different kinds of donuts they were selling?  I mean, talk about the important decisions one needs to make in life!  But you would be right in asking, “How does one actually choose from amongst the masses?”

Continue reading “Floating In Donut Dreamland”

Heaven Or Torture?

Where in the WORLD was I even supposed to start in a place like this?!  Chocolaty heavenly loveliness was right before my eyes.   Well, you know how I usually roll—this is where my rule of thumb usually comes into play.

The hard part is reigning yourself back in from buying too many because—let’s face it—this is one of those stores where they price the chocolates as if they’re pure gold.  So the torture starts to kick in because you can’t really afford to get them all like you really want to.

And could it be more uncomfortable and torturous than when I had to ask for the chocolates by name?!  “Yeah, give me a Loco-Moco-Choco and a Choco-Rock and two Cocoa-My-Chocos, a Java High Mountain Toffee, a Milk Lover, a Mocha Radiance Blitz Bar, and a Luscious Caramello Butterscotch Marble Swirl Sensation.”  Are you kidding me??

So, if you have nothing else to do today, love on some chocolate goodness and let some chocolate goodness love on you.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Giant dark sunglasses can always help if you want to remain a tad inconspicuous while choosing and saying your chocolate names out loud in a public forum.

My Rule Of Thumb
Chocolate Love In A Furniture Store?!

Cookies & Cupcakes From Love

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made with Pillsbury Big Deluxe Chocolate Chip cookie dough and Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie dough; with sprinkles on top.

I had a beautiful and fun day today with my 5-year-old niece who spent the entire day with me baking her little heart out.  I must say, this is all her handiwork.  And we’re talking almost 50 cookies!

Though all she had to do was tear the pre-cut cookie dough from the package—she DID put the sprinkles on all by herself!  This is a talent in and of itself.  You’re either born with it or you’re not.  After all, sprinkling is an art form.

She also had a tub of cookie dough which required using the mini-scoop, squeezing the scoop—which took all the strength she could muster from both of her tiny hands, and then dropping the balls onto the baking sheet.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Made with Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge cake mix, eggs, canola oil, and water; with sprinkles on top.

Here is more of her handiwork in these bite-sized mini-cupcakes.  She whirled the cake beater till the batter was good and smooth, put the liners in the cupcake tin, poured the batter from a measuring cup into each individual paper liner, then strategically placed each individual sprinkle by hand one-by-one exactly where she wanted them to go.

And that’s three batches of 24—THREE!  For a minimum of 72 mini-cupcakes that needed sprinkles.

So, if you have nothing else to do today, do some baking with your little nieces, nephews, or some random kids.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Allow a minimum of 13 hours for strategically placing sprinkles one-by-one for each round of cupcakes and cookies.

Chocolate Love In A Furniture Store?!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow

Who knew I could find bloody good chocolate in a furniture store!  We have a really nice, ginormous furniture store here where I live that I absolutely love.  So I decided to go ‘window shopping’ briefly for a white, glass dining table.

But when I first opened the door to the store, I could smell chocolate wafting through the store.  OOHHH, MY!  (You can probably guess where this story is gonna go.)  So I look around intently and follow my nose wondering what kind of furniture could possibly smell like chocolate!

AAHHH—THAR SHE BLOWS!!!—just a stone’s throw away from where I was standing.  It’s not furniture, it’s actual chocolate!  I never knew I’d find chocolate goodness inside a furniture store, but I’m not complaining.

So I decided to trek upstairs first to check out the dining table goods.  And, might I say, I found a couple of tables that were totally GORG, totally me!  And I was there all of 5-10 minutes when I trekked back downstairs—and there’s that smell again.  So, obviously, I check out the chocolate candy store.

And, BOY, did I find me some chocolate-covered marshmallow lovin’ where I least expected it—amongst furniture madness.  ‘See’s Candies’ is what it’s called.  I’d never heard of it before, but I just HAD to get at least one chocolate something or other.  And, BOY, that sucker didn’t even make it out of the parking lot/car park!

So, if you have nothing else to do today, go to the biggest furniture store you can find and order yourself massive amounts of chocolate.  And if you don’t smell any tempting flavors as you’re strolling through the store—go ahead and do some furniture ‘window shopping’ and get a wish list going for your future self.  It’s always fun to dream!

Take-Away Life Lesson:  Apparently chocolate melts fast in your hands in 90 degree weather.  Keep a stash of handwipes on standby.

Heaven Or Torture?

I Could Live On Desserts Foreveeeeerrr!

Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding

Made with Arborio rice, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, ground allspice, and salt; topped with sliced bananas sautéed in brown sugar and butter.

This rice pudding was soooooo delish I, naturally, couldn’t just eat one serving.  This was also where I first discovered the vanilla bean, people.  I absolutely love the vanilla bean!  It’s an expensive sucker, but it’s so worth it.

Why use vanilla extract (unless you’re just trying to save time) when you can split open the vanilla bean, scrape out those seeds, and have that real deep vanilla flavor ooze out.  Throw the seeds and the bean into the milk, warm it, and wait for that smell to go wafting through the kitchen—mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm, I tell you!

Recipe for—Rice Pudding

Strawberry Soup
Strawberry Soup

Oh, this strawberry soup was so nice, refreshing, and cooling.  All I can say is “ahhhhh.”  I actually got this recipe from Colin Cowie back when he had recipes on his website (but I can no longer find the recipe part of his site—bummed by that).  This is actually made up of:

  • frozen strawberries
  • sugar
  • lemon juice
  • fresh strawberries
  • mint
  • lime sorbet
  • champagne

It’s so easy to imagine how this tasted.

Espresso & Chocolate Jellies
Espresso & Chocolate Jellies

Made with semisweet chocolate chips, heavy cream, espresso powder, coffee liqueur, sugar, gelatin, and vanilla extract.

Boy!  It was a hunt I’ll never forget.  Who knew it was so hard to find some espresso powder in this city?  I couldn’t believe all the phone calls I had to make just to track some down to make this recipe.

The average grocery store doesn’t have it, coffeehouses don’t carry it—let alone know what it is.  That was a big surprise to me.  So who in the world does???  I had called hundreds of logical places and I was getting shot down left and right.

I was finally referred to my local city farmers’ market but there was still no guarantee there either.  Then one grocer tells me to try a “kitchen store.”  So after many, many calls and scavenger hunts later—ta da—I landed at Sur La Table.

Thanks, guys, for having the nerve to sell espresso powder since it’s apparently against the law everywhere else.  I can finally make my dessert now!

Recipe for—Espresso & Chocolate Jellies

Strawberries with Marsala & Lemon Sauce
Strawberries with Marsala & Lemon Sauce

Made with French vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries; sauce made with Marsala wine, sugar, lemon zest, juice of a lemon, nutmeg, and topped with crumbled sunflower seed cookies.

Oh, this stuff was SO good.  The Marsala wine in it flavors it just perfectly.  Just a bowlful of strawberry luschiousness.

Recipe for—Strawberries with Marsala & Lemon Sauce

So, if you have nothing else to do today, buy and experience the vanilla bean—find a recipe you can use it in then sit back and enjoy that fabulous smell and taste.  Also—open an espresso powder store, please.

Take-Away Life Lesson:  If no one who works in a coffeehouse even knows what espresso powder is to the point where you’re giving a mini training session about it to them, be very concerned where you’re buying your coffee from.

Bananas Foster—My Favorite Topping Ever