Wednesday, May 17, 2017

tiramisu macarons

I had a little bit of time on Sunday to whip up some  Macarons. I decided to go with a Tiramisu version just because it sounded good. And, oh my goodness, were they good.  The shell has a little bit of espresso powder mixed in and the filling is marscapone and heavy cream. It's hard to go wrong with that combination.

So many people want to try macarons, but are too scared of failure. I say go for it.  I'm certainly no expert, but I've made them four times now and they've turned out each time.  My batter has looked different enough each time that I'm sure it's my fail batch, but I'm still four for four.  And a friend paid me the best compliment I could have asked for and said these tasted just as good as the macrons she ate in Paris. Just WOW to hearing that.

For these tiramisu macarons, I used this recipe.  If you decide to try macarons for the first time, here's my advice.

// Read several macaron recipes to find the one that makes the most sense to you. Even though the ingredients are basically the same, the writing style of the directions can make a difference in how competent you feel trying these out.  

// Use a food scale.

I hope you'll give macarons a try. They are so worth it!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

five on friday

Hooray for Friday! It's my birthday weekend (Sunday) and we're leaving for vacation later next week.  I'm excited to get this weekend started. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's jump right in.

We're grilling out at my sister's house tomorrow evening. We're going to have hot dogs, a few yummy sides and my birthday dessert. My mom is fixing my favorite strawberry pretzel jello dessert. I LOVE the combination of salty and sweet. I don't know exactly which recipe she uses, but if you Google the name, lots of recipes/versions will come up.  Back to the hot dogs for a moment - we like ours with chili, slaw and onion. That's a true WV Dog. What's your favorite hot dog fixins'?

This little guy lost his fourth tooth yesterday. His teeth have been slow to fall out and he was so excited to finally loose a front tooth. How funny is that face?! Oh, he melts this momma's heart.

I treated myself to a little early birthday gift today. My go-to bag is my Vera Bradley Betsy in Very Berry Paisley. I wanted a small wallet to take on vacation instead of my larger one, so I found this cute little matching tri-fold on eBay. Brand new with tags and under $20.  I love a good deal!

I was in Target earlier this week picking up a few things we need for our upcoming beach trip. Besides our usual sunblock, I also picked up a bottle of Sun Bum.  It smells so good! I'll let you know how it works.

And now in book news... 
I like to use vacations as a time to read some old favorites and catch up on my magazines. Vacation is all about relaxing after all. That means my stack of beach books may look something like the picture above.   Book news will be back on May 12th with my top summer picks. 
Have a great weekend!!
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

blueberry bread pudding

I need a t-shirt that says "I Heart Bread Pudding". Seriously, I would wear it. I really do love bread pudding and this blueberry version does not disappoint. It's amazingly good. If you're looking for something for your Easter breakfast buffet or need the perfect dish to take along to your Sunrise Service Breakfast, this is it. You can make it the night before so there's no early morning fuss. I like it with a bit of whipped cream, but I bet a bit of warm maple syrup would be good too.

Blueberry Bread Pudding
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound Italian or sturdy white bread, 1" cubes
2 cups fresh blueberries

Butter a 3-quart baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs slightly with whisk. Add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg. Fold in bread and berries. Pour into baking dish - cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350. Bake pudding uncovered until golden and puffy (start checking after one hour). Don't overbake - center will be custardy. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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Friday, April 7, 2017

five on friday

Happy Friday! We're kicking off spring break this afternoon....with snow. We're having the craziest mix of weather I've ever seen.  I can do without the snow, but I would like a thunderstorm that lasts for hours instead of a few minutes.  If only mother nature took requests.   I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Here's what's going on for us right now...

I'm a little obsessed with I've been researching my dad's side of the family and it's truly amazing to go back and see records and stories about people you never got a chance to know, but still feel that connection to. The more you find, the deeper you want to dig.  If you've been thinking about researching your own tree, I definitely recommend it. Mike even has me doing a tree of his family. It really is interesting. 

I've been looking for an area rug for our living room.  I saw this allen + roth Kincora Beige woven area rug at Lowes and it's absolutely gorgeous. I think the colors would  work well in our room and the pattern is not too busy.  The price isn't too bad for an 8x10 size. I'm going to move our furniture around tomorrow to see if it could work. 


I have some Hilda cookie dough in the freezer, left over from Christmas. I'm going to use it next week for some fun Easter cookies.  I got these cute little Easter cookie cutters from Amazon last month and I can't wait to use them. Hilda cookies are very similar to Linzer cookies, but the dough has a cream cheese and butter base and it is so good and rich. My aunt's German mother-in-law passed down the recipe from her mom.  I like to use peach, apricot or blackberry jam. Check back next week to see the finished cookies. I'll share my dough recipe too. 

Landon can't get enough of watching "Sing".  He watched it at school last week and we purchased it on Amazon Instant Video that same afternoon. He loves singing along and performing.  Last night we downloaded the soundtrack. It's so cute to hear him sing along. He has such a good voice and some really good dance moves. We may just have to put him in dance class. My little Sinatra.


And now in book news...  I found a new cozy mystery series to try. The first book is Murder on Bainbridge Island by Dianne Harman.  It was a suggested title on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try.  The book is set in the pacific northwest and the main character has a catering business.  It's my first time reading this author and I'm hoping I enjoy the series.  I'll let you know!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Easter Basket Ideas

Easter is fast-approaching, which means it's time to start thinking about Easter baskets. I love picking out fun stuff for Landon's basket. We got him a few things that I think he'll enjoy this year, along with the usual bubbles, sidewalk chalk and, of course, chocolate.
I always include books on any gift-giving occasion. I actually ordered him a few books to go in his basket, but these are two of my favorites.  I talked about some of our other favorite Easter books here.

:: If Jesus Came to Visit Me

:: I Prayed for You

I love this Alphabet Go Fish Letter Matching Card Game from Peaceful Kingdom. Landon is really into playing card games lately and anything that helps with his letters and reading skills is fine with me!

I ended up ordering another fun Go Fish game just because I liked these cards too.  The design is adorable and I couldn't pass them up. Besides, can you really have too many card games?

Landon loves telling jokes, ESPECIALLY knock-knock jokes. I'm going to let him have this
Easter Crack-Ups: Knock-Knock Jokes Funny-Side Up book on Easter Eve so he'll be ready to entertain the family on Easter day. I'm sure they will be delighted! I'm nice like that. *wink

We saw a commercial on TV for this Wobbly Worm game and Landon asked for it specifically. It looks like a lot of fun and I think I'll enjoy playing  too.  

So that's a peek at what our little guy will find in his Easter basket on Easter morning. Nothing too over-the-top or extravagant, but still fun.  

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Friday, March 31, 2017

five on friday

Happy Friday guys. We've made it through another week. We've got a busy weekend planned and I'm looking forward to spending time with some family I don't see very often. Life just gets too busy doesn't it?!  I'm linking up with Five on Friday again. Let's jump right in.

Yesterday I tried a new lotion a friend had from Bath & Body Works - A Thousand Wishes. I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to order some.  I looked at the right time because yesterday only you could get any travel size items for $2.95.  I ordered a few things in the A Thousand Wishes line and also a few things from the At the Beach line to take along on vacation next month.

I've decided I need want a pair of short rain boots for spring. I really like this short pair, but think I'd prefer it in a matte navy. I do kind of like this succulent color too though. Since my birthday month is coming up, I'll have to let Mike know about these.  I like the idea of wearing these with shorts, but wonder if I should go with the tall for that.
I've been adding this new Kool-Aid Liquid Tropical Punch concentrate to one of my water servings every day. It's really soooo good.  I do limit myself to one use a day because I don't like drinking too much artificial sweetener, but it's a nice change from plain water.


We need a new storage building for the back yard. Mike likes this one from Lowes and I've had it in the back of my mind to surprise him for Father's Day. It's on sale now, so it may need to be an early gift.  It will look nice in our back yard and also add a bit more privacy. 


And now in book news... Another fun mystery series I love is the Jaine Austen Mystery series by Laura Levine.  It's always a fun, light read and the interaction between Jaine and her parents is hilarious.  Death of a Bachelorette is coming out in June and I was lucky enough to get an advance copy.  I'll be doing a giveaway later next month, so be sure to check back here and follow along on Instagram (I'm ToniaTHC) for details.

Have a great weekend.  Check back in next week for my Easter Basket post and a delicious recipe for roasted carrots. 
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday

I'm sharing a few pictures from Landon's first Easter today for Throwback Thursday. I remember so well the day I took these pictures and how much I  enjoyed those precious baby days. It seems like I blinked and now he's 7 years old. Time truly does fly by. I wish I could still stuff him in these small clothes and his little footed sleepers. I don't think he'd enjoy it though...

Have a great day y'all! I'll be back tomorrow linking up for Five on Friday and sharing a few Easter favorites. 

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