whee!

Chocolate Mousse with Berries – Quick Valentine’s Dessert

February 14, 2011 - Written by Diana

Here’s a Chocolate Mousse recipe that’s so quick, easy, delicious and perfect for Valentine’s Day. For the Superbowl I made vegan cupcakes that were delish.  I thought the glaze tasted like pudding, but it was thick and sweet.  I took that recipe and changed it into a mousse.    This dessert is pretty fast and easy to make.

The microwave was used to melt the chocolate and goat cheese together before putting it into the magic bullet to combine it and add air (to moussify).  That’s really all it takes, pour the mousse  red raspberries and sliced strawberries in ramekins and then decoratively top with one of each and refrigerate.  This is a dessert you can make after work and cool while dinner is being devoured. I loved it and so did my husband.  One for us tonight, and another for tomorrow (no kids, oh well).

Ingredients:

Use a paper towel or cloth to drain and pat dry the tofu – blend it until smooth.  In a microwave, melt the semi-sweet chocolate for a minute, stir, place back in for another thirty seconds, stir.  Crumble in goat cheese, stir to make smooth, then place in microwave for another thirty seconds.

Pour chocolate mixture, in with the tofu, add the agave and vanilla and blend until smooth.  I used a magic bullet because it will do small amounts.  A blender would work, but may be too big for the job.

Place a couple of red raspberries on the bottom of 4 ramekins and slice one half of a strawberry for the bottom of the ramekin also.  Pour the mousse over top of the berries and place the second half  of the strawberry on top along with a red raspberry.  Cool in fridge.

Simple, Easy, Fast Delicious.

Fun Valentines Ideas!

February 13, 2010 - Written by Diana

I saw a commercial that showed a man in a grocery store picking out a Valentines card for his wife.  She passes by and asks what he’s doing, and he says – nothing.  Then they mention the store and say fast, cheap and easy.  Well, maybe fast, cheap and easy, but imaginative?  Thoughtful? Creative?  Depends on what you expect.  My husband does buy me flowers because I just love to see blooms on my kitchen table in the middle of winter.  I like to make my husband some Chocolate Covered Almonds.  They’re so delicious and he’s a lover of nuts, especially those. For my kids I make chocolate bars with fruit or nuts, or in fun shapes.  I have lots of ideas and most are quick and easy (though not as easy as running into the store to pick up a card) and they know that I do it because they’re worth the effort and that there’s love involved.

 

Host a Wine and Chocolate Tasting:

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

You can tell by my posts that I am a wine lover.  I still don’t know a lot about wine, other than I like what I like because it tastes good.  At one of our wine tastings we were getting ready to taste raspberry wine when the server gave us some dark chocolate chips and told us to take a sip and then eat the chips.  The combination was fantastic.  I have an online friend, who regularly snacks on a few chocolate chips with her wine (Andrea, you need a search for your site). Turning Leaf sent us suggestions for pairing chocolate with wine for Valentines Day.

Dark Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

   o  The richest of all the reds, this wine boasts notes of vanilla and brown that perfectly complement the bitterness in darker chocolates.

Milk Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Merlot

    o  The fruitier character in this Merlot brings out the natural, bright flavors in classic milk chocolate.

White Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Chardonnay

    o  A twist on the common red wine & chocolate pairing, the acidity level in drier whites, such as Chardonnay, cuts through the sweetness of white chocolate making for a more balanced bite.

I’ve tried these pairings and they’re terrific.  Instead of chips, I like to do squares, arranged on a platter or a plate.  You could place a separate glass for each person by each wine.  Then fill small plates with Chocolate squares, some nuts, maybe some fruit and pour a little wine into the glasses for the tasting.  This is great for a gathering of friends.  I really liked Turning Leaf’s 2008 Chardonnay paired with some Hazelnut Milk Chocolates. That was my favorite pairing.

Fondue:

Pairing the wine with chocolate fondue is great too.  Fondue is basically heavy cream and chocolate melted over a sterno – or it can be an electric fondue.  Add a little liqueur for flavoring.  Then use strawberries, pineapple, pound cake, apple slices, pretzels, etc for dipping.  Reserve some cream to thin the fondue as it thickens. Great with wine or for your wine tasting instead of squares. 

 

Make your own hearts:

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA           GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA           GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

I have Cookie cutters from Ann Clark.  They really are sturdy and sized nicely.  I’ve used my heart shaped cookie cutter to make iced birthday cookies for my mother in law, heart shaped pancakes for my daughter, and now heart shaped chocolates for my husband and son.  I melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour it into the heart mold on a flat pan . You can top with nuts, raisins, pieces of candy, then place it into the fridge to harden. It’s difficult to wait for it to be totally cool, but you have to do it.

 

Play a Game:

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

The most appropriate adult game (kid friendly house, no nudity involved) for Valentines Day is Wine Wars. It’s a trivia game for wine experts and lovers of wine information, but if you’re new to the wine world, or not an expert, you can still attempt the questions.  You’ll definitely learn as you go.  The game gets better with glasses of wine though, so be ready to sniff, swirl and sip (no spitting- we’re not wasting any of the good stuff).

The game comes with trivia cards, small boards to place little colored wine bottles into as you get an answer correct, a colored die and a wine map, all packed in a small box.  This is a very packable game if you are going to a cabin for the weekend or to have fun with friends.

The categories are:

Vino to Vino – Growing grapes, making wine, and world production.

Grapeosphere – Grape varieties, their wines, and their geography.

Wine Cellar – Selecting, storing and tasting wine.

Cork Culture – Wine people, business, arts and sciences, and trivia. 

 

I’m still a learner, not a geek – this is a cool way for me to do it and I’m definitely one of those sip and learn types.  We had fun guessing at the answers, and sometimes we even got it right.

 

 

In the interest of full disclosure  – I was sent some of the items for review, ie.  Wine Wars, Turning Leaf 2008 Chardonnay and Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon, also the Ann Clark cookie cutters.  The chocolate, pancakes and cookie dough was all mine.  I was totally sober when writing this review  and the thoughts are all mine, though I did have to put down my wine glass in order to type with both hands.

Cranberry Raisinets: “Like Regular Raisinets, But Different”

October 31, 2009 - Written by Deb Ng

Cranberry Raisinets

I received a package in the mail today filled with goodies to review containing, among other things, several packages of Cranberry Raisinets. The timing was good as they came at snack time and I had two seven year olds standing by to give their opinion – The Boy and his friend who, for this study, we will call “The Friend.”

I gave each boy a package of Raisinets and stepped back to catch their honest assessment:

The Boy: Tasty!

The Friend: It’s good. What are they called again?

Me: Cranberry Raisents.

The Boy: They’re like regular Raisinets but different.

The Friend: That doesn’t make sense. How can they be Cranberry Raininets?

The Boy: The should call them “Cranberryets.”

The friend: “Cranberets.”

The Boy: “Cranboogers.”

The Boy and The Friend: “EWWWWWW!!! Gross!!”

The Friend: I wouldn’t eat them if they’re Cranboogers.

The Boy: Me either. We can give them to Matthew. He has peanut allergies. He can eat boogers.

The Friend: EWWWWW!!!!

Me: So what do we think guys, do we like them?

The Friend: Yes. They’re good. You should buy more and give them to me when I visit. My mom won’t buy chocolate because she says it makes me crazy.

Me: I can totally see that.

The Boy: Are they going to make them in big boxes for the movies?

The Friend: No they can sell Cranboogers at the movies for the allergy kids.

The Boy and The Friend: EWWWWWW!!!!!

As you can see, I don’t ask my son and his friend to do product reviews very often. However, the Cranberry Raisinets people sent me some samples, and it’s my duty to give you my honest opinion. They’re good. They’re just what you’d expect. They don’t taste like boogers and they’re healthy-ish. They’ll make a good lunch box snack for The Boy, and they’re in hundred calorie bags for me. They’re tart and sweet and the flavors work well together. If they had a dark chocolate variety, they’d totally rock. They’re like regular Raisinets but different.

My family would totally eat them again.

Full disclosure: Reps for Nestle/Cranberry Raisinets sent me this product so I can do a review. This is my honest opinion.

Chocolate Covered Almonds For My Husband

February 14, 2009 - Written by Diana

Tomorrow, my husband will work, but I will be working in a different way.  I’m going to make one of his all time favorite treats, Chocolate Covered Almonds.  The recipe can be found on MarthaStewart.com  and is wonderful.  The nuts smell great when you toast them and it brings out the flavor more.  Then a sugar coating and a chocolate coating and finally a cinnamon cocoa powder coat to top it off.  The cinnamon cocoa helps to cut down on the sweetness some.  It does take a while to make, so be sure to have some free time.  I’ve also done this recipe with pecans instead of almonds with great results.

  • 14 ounces unblanched whole almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  •  

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.Watch carefully, because it can go from nicely toasted to burned quickly.  Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Top two of the baking sheets with cooling racks; set aside.
    2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, toasted almonds, and cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar becomes golden, then starts to crystallize, and almonds are completely coated, about 8 minutes. Pour the almond mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the freezer or refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
    3. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water(I have a double boiler – you can do this in the microwave if you watch it closely). Stir until melted. Add the chilled almond mixture, stirring until nuts are thoroughly coated. Divide between the two cooling rack-lined baking sheets. Separate almonds with a fork. Place baking sheets in refrigerator until chocolate is set, 3 to 4 minutes.
    4. Place cocoa powder in a large bowl and add the almond mixture. Toss to coat, shaking off excess cocoa powder. (I put mine into a bowl with a lid and shake it, then shake the excess off).  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month(a cookie tin, or candy tin works nicely).

    Valentine Present For My Son’s Girlfriend

    February 14, 2009 - Written by Diana

    Valentines Chocolate Roses Earlier in the week I mentioned to my son that I had the ingredients for him to make chocolate roses for his girlfriend and if he wanted me to help him I would.  Thursday(close to Valentines deadline time), he let me know that when he came home from the meeting, he would like help with the roses. So, I dropped my son and his friend off (after they cooked an awesome dinner while I worked) at the meeting and came home.  I set out the ingredients and the equipment because I was excited to help my son do this.  I’m never allowed to help and he definitely doesn’t ask to do anything in the kitchen if he doesn’t need to.  When he walked in the door, I told him I was ready and started the explanation.  Part way through, he took over the explanation and said -" Mom, I know how to do this, I’ve watched you do it before, I’m okay."  Wow, my heart swelled up with pride.  My son is 16 but until this year, when I forced him to cook, he had little or no interest or desire to do anything in the kitchen.  So my dear friends if my son can do this, so can you with your kids.

    Chocolate treats are an easy fun thing to do, you can use regular chips, or a really good chocolate bar for this depending on how much you want to spend.  The expensive part is the mold, but I’ve used my molds so many times  over the years and they aren’t really expensive.  He said his girlfriend was surprised and loved the gift – and he proudly told her he made it.  Excuse the chocolate on the sticks, we had a talk about overloading the roses and leaking chocolate.  Not bad for a first try. 

    Valentines – Chocolate

    February 11, 2009 - Written by Diana

    Today, I have chocolate – well, I have chocolate ideas to share anyway.  I am a chocoholic – there isn’t a cure, I’ll just have to live with my demons.  I have some last minute chocolate ordering ideas for you.  If you suspect your spouse or significant other hasn’t gotten on the ball yet, send them a link to the site and maybe that will help.  Or print it out and staple it to the front of the tv or pillow, that might do it too.

    Chocolate.com – the be all end all of chocolate – and according to them, the world’s largest chocolate marketplace.

    It features products by the country’s best artisan chocolate and candy makers – over 2,000 unique products made by over 90 carefully selected vendors. For the buyer, Chocolate.com makes shopping easy, offering a huge selection of gourmet chocolates and convections from across U.S. For the small chocolate business owner, the site provides a national presence

    Some under 30.00 gift suggestions 6_VDfrom Chocolate.com

     

     

     Godiva Tin 

    Godiva.com  - More expensive chocolate, but my favorite gift one year was the Godiva tin filled with chocolate candies.

     

    Raspberry TrufflesHarry & David – Their truffles are awesome.  I usually buy them in a bag at the store in the mall or the outlet.  Don’t worry about the wrapping here, just go for the exquisite taste of their truffles.  I once introduced my friend to them, and she ate a whole bag of peanut butter truffles in one night and went back the next day to get another, they are so good.  My favorites, the nut flavors, or raspberry.  Divine.

    bloomsberry chocolate Bloomsberry Chocolate - hate their website, love their chocolate.  It’s chocolate wrapped up in a message.  My son took their emergency chocolate hiking with the boyscouts, so really there is a message to make everyone happy.