for ye choco lovers

If you’re a faithful follower here you know that there aren’t many things I’m not a big fan of when it comes to food, and you also know that one of the items that falls in that “not much like” category is chocolate.  So imagine my surprise when I asked a friend what kind of dessert she would like for me to make her for her birthday and she says, “choco flan”.  First off, this crazy Latina  had never heard of it, secondly you’re thinking “she must be living in a cave to not know what that is”, then I’m thinking…chocolate-really?  Of all things.

Then she says, “it’s the only thing I asked my family for last year and I didn’t get it”, ahh man!  Now I just had to figure that one out cause the guilt trip worked.  That night I got on my computer and researched choco flan and it was ALL over the place.  How difficult can it be???  Here’s the result.

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I came upon two recipes that I thought would work and I ended up combining them. One:  I didn’t have the time to do the cake batter from scratch (so I chose this new DH flavor)

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Two: I went with my gut feeling on the complexity of the recipes.

I also have to tell you that I hardly ever like making anything chocolate because I can’t tell you if it’s any good cause it’s highLY likely that I didn’t try it, (especially after being nauseated by smelling it bake).  What if it’s crappy tasting?  But enough of that!  If you want to try it, grab my revised recipe HERE.  It actually wasn’t difficult and most importantly– it got rave reviews.


More pics–

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Even my biggest critic-Boo, liked it!

I was so excited about this one!  Hardest part was having to wait til the next day to get the thumbs up.

If you’re a choco lover and into flan…then this is a gotta try for ya!

CHOCO FLAN RECIPE

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AWESOME teacher appreciation ideas

It’s that time of year, if you have a child in school – more than likely you are  trying to figure out some really neat gift to give their teacher.  Right?  Well, here are some ideas that won’t break the bank, someone will love getting them, and they are precious—or at least I think so!  I was asked to find some cute gifts for some special people.  What do you think?

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Cute?  My daughter gets the credit for the saying on the tag.  Me, I walked around the store for several minutes and then I happened upon these metal graters and thought of how awesome they would look cool filled with treats.

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In this case  mini cokes and giant candy bars!

What you’ll need:

supps

  • graters
  • cardboard
  • packaging tape
  • sharp knife
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • shredded fillers
  • treat to put inside
  • cellophane wrapping
  • tags
  • ribbon

Trace the bottom of grater onto the cardboard and cut 1/2″ outside of those lines, then score (not all the way through) enough to make it easy to bend (but cutting corners off at an angle).  Check to see fit (as shown).

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Before taping the bottom to the grater, fill the inside with the goodies…

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Now you’re ready to tape the cardboard with packaging tape, turn right side up and fill with the shredded filler.  Wrap in the cellophane, tie ribbon and tag.

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Click HERE for the free printable tag!

Voila!

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Easy, simple & adorable!

Now for a few more ideas…

gift a cute hole puncher & cute tag or decorate a  mini clipboard and pair up with some cute coordinating smaller gifts, tie together and there you have it!

puncher

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If you come across a cool or unusual item and want some ideas, holler- I might be able to offer some free ideas! Now go show your appreciation for someone~
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berry sweet memories

A berry sweet memory short story about growing up in the South.  I mean way down South.  Growing up we had a huge tree in our backyard that we loved to climb on but we especially loved when it gave us delicious berries–moras (mulberries)!

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This was the same tree that housed my sisters and I for most part of the spring and summer months during our outdoor escapades.  I used to love eating those berries sometimes so much I thought I would spew ’em out- but I don’t recall that ever happening.  This weekend as I was going to my car, I happened to glance down the sidewalk and noticed that two houses down I could see the neighbors mulberry tree shedding berries all over his sidewalk (what brilliant person decided it was a good idea to plant a mulberry tree right by a sidewalk?).  That was just ridiculous!  As you can see.

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So poor neighbor-guy despises the tree and the mess it has created (I don’t blame him) but I certainly can’t stand the thought of him chopping that fruit bearing tree down, (which is what he plans to do).  Obviously he doesn’t know what fond memories those trees and berries hold for me!  I don’t hesitate on asking random strangers for fruit from their trees if I see it’s going to waste.  I hate waste!!!  [Several years ago I drove past this house almost everyday and finally decided to stop and ask them if I could collect the persimmons that were just dropping on the ground and going bad.  I moped when she told me they ate them – when I knew full well she didn’t and she just wouldn’t share.  Shame on her!  Well, that wasn’t the case with my neighbor…so off I went.

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After collecting some and indulging on several on my way back home, I popped several of ’em!

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Each juicy little bite had me remembering so many sweet memories and the fact I hadn’t had mulberries in ages.  So what do you do with several cups of fresh berries?

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How about mulberry pies?  My kitchen soon turned into a mini-pie heaven.


MULBERRY PIES 

(adapted from an old blackberry turnover recipe)

Dough:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 Tbs.  sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 6 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Filling:

  • 1-1/4 cups mulberries, washed and drained
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1.5 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Assembly:

  • 1 large egg yolk  mixed with 1/2 t. Mexican vanilla for a tasty little egg wash
  • Sugar crystals

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 pulses.

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Add the cream and pulse, pausing to scrape the bowl once or twice, just until the dough starts to come together, 8 to 10 pulses more. Do not over-process. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, gather it together, and pat it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Filling:

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the berries, apple, brown sugar, flour, allspice, and salt until combined. 

filling

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the vanilla and 1/2 tsp. water.

eggwash

press

I used my handy little pie press (as shown above)! Spoon 2 rounded Tbs. of the filling into the center of each before pressing and sealing.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Lightly brush the top of each pie with egg wash and sprinkle with a scant 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar. With the tip of a paring knife, cut a steam vent in the center of each one.

Bake until pies are browned and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes, swapping and rotating the baking sheets’ positions about halfway through baking. (Don’t worry if juice leaks out.)

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Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then loosen the pies with a spatula and cool completely on the sheets. These pies are best the day they’re made…just sayin’!


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I had Boo go over and take neighbor-(I wanna chop the tree down)-guy,  some mini pies in hopes that he would love them and say he wouldn’t be choppin’ down the mulberry tree after all but he was still cursing the tree :(

I decided to just thank the good Lord for my 4 cups of fresh moras and it turned out that reminiscing with every bite of this goodness was good for my soul~

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what’s up

home
Wish I could tell you that we finally found my dream home and I can’t wait to start restoring it…

but I’d be telling a fib!  We only came across this little charmer on our way to a new restaurant we wanted to go try out.  It is my dream to someday buy an awesome old home and do restoration work on it…who knows.  But anyway, this is what’s up… the hubs and I wanted to find a new place to dine and we drove about 30 minutes southeast of town to try the Cottonseed Cafe in Martindale, TX–sal-ute!
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We were not disappointed!  Everything we took a bite of was delicious!  I had to try out the meatloaf (one of my faves) and they prepared it with finely chopped veges in it which made it moist and delicious!  If you happen upon that way, think about stopping—fab food folks!

meatloaf

Anyway, we have been pretty busy around the home-front.  With a new grand baby, a couple of trips to go visit him, our son’s new album release, shows, and upcoming graduations, etc.  time is flying by so quickly.  Hence my short synopsis of what’s happening ’round here.

So onward with the short story… we were out and about town & towns this past week.  Jacob had a show at a cool-cool venue in Austin and it was fabulous getting out and visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile and enjoying the tunes.

show
Dan took me to an amusing little nursery on Austin’s west side.  This nursery was quite interactive and they have such a huge variety of native plants and trees.  It’s beautiful!

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The rest of the weekend was home projects, cleaning, yard work and repairs…like the fridge ice-maker repair job! Thank God for the handy man that lives with me cause this girl loves her ICE!

repairs

The weather (other than a few showers here and there), was quite nice so some grillin’ took place.  You wouldn’t be in Texas if there wasn’t.  Grillin’ that is!

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Worked on some wonderful graduation invitations for my sweet Angela’s upcoming party celebration and got to spend time with the other niece Jacq as she filled me in on her weekend trip back home.  Then it was on to preparing for another busy week…but first,

what Southern Belle could resist this cuteness?  Well surely not this Southern Belle!

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Got my outfit ready for this weeks concert at Gruene Hall!  Pics to come I’m sure of it!


Before I go, I couldn’t resist this enticing site.  A lonely but very inviting swing  tucked away in the garden at the nursery we visited.  (You can bet, I took my seat in it).  I love swings but I especially love what they remind me of.  My beautiful kids.   Especially my daughter when she was a child.  She loved swings and she LOVED going full speed ahead.  Always telling her daddy… “higher daddy-higher” and he would respond with “eat leaves sweetie pie.”
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That’s what’s up around here folks—blessed week to y’all!  Stay tuned for a sweet tooth treat in my next post~
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weekend haps

So let it begin, I love weekends ♥♥♥! And I love when I have a weekend where I will have not only time to spend with the peeps I love but get to lounge or getting caught up on things at home!  My weekend started with my Friday date night.  Dinner in San Marcos and a movie.  If you haven’t seen the Woman in Gold, you should. I loved it and am so sad that while we know some of history we don’t know the whole truth because our stupid history books in school never-ever told the whole story.  That’s a whole other post!  But you should see it.

Got to spend my Saturday with my niece Jacq as I took her on a trip to Wimberely for lunch @ the Leaning Pear (one of my faves) and some window shopping.

The rest of the weekend haps went like this…


 the haps~

  • dinner at Herbert’s Taco Hut in SM (delicious and authentic Mexi food- especially their tortillas)!
  • Woman in Gold movie (fab)
  • Saturday in Wimberely
  • the Leaning Pear for lunch with my niece Jacq
  • lunch was the leaning pear salad & black currant tuna salad (yum)!
  • Sunday – were lots of “to-do’s”

the pics~

Beautiful blue bonnets that creep out even in an old sidewalk-can brighten any day!

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photo courtesy of Boo J.

Yeah, let’s not send the wife to shop for your favorite cigar- not a good thing!

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And why wouldn’t we have Texas shaped pavers? This goes in my “things I ♥  about Texas” memoirs!

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the hap-happy’s~

Some of the other LOVES…well, if you know me, you know I can’t or choose not to drink without a straw. (I know I have issues.)  My daughter gave me “stainless steel” straws…(how awesome is that?) for Christmas.  Well I finally got to using them and I gotta tell you, I’ve had plastic and even glass straws but this is like the “cherry on top” kinda deal!  And they’ll last forever

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Got one in my office, at home, in my car and an extra on backup!  Thanks lovie doll!

Some of my other happy’s were being able to make a most difficult dessert and it turned out! YAY!

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Seeing a street named after me…well, not exactly, but I loved seeing it anyway!!!

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The awesome custom fabric I had made for my sweet baby boy. I know my daughter will make something awesome with it for the little guy!

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And the best “CHERRY ON TOP” big dealiO…getting pics like this one to brighten my day!

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My sweet reward!

Hope y’all have an awesome week, we’ll be attending another one of our son’s shows this week and excited about my brother coming for a visit~
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mirror mirror

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On a recent trip a few months ago, I found this nice- big mirror at my favorite antique store.  Mirror Mirror…it’s huge, it’s heavy and it’s old!  I loved it but I also loved the price, especially when I asked for a better price.  My niece moved into her own place a few months ago and I remember her sifting thru a catalog and pointing out how much she wanted a large -cool mirror for her place.  Well…

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ended up buying it and hauling it home to get it cleaned up, painted and looking pretty perky!  (In all honestly I was pretty freaked that during the 13 hour drive home, somehow it would crash into a million pieces.) Thank God it didn’t- I’d have been heartbroken!

I started with removing the backing on it because it was brittle and had some water damage (as you can see),

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I found this cute little dead ms. ladybug—kinda vintage,

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cause I’m assuming she’s been trapped in there a long-long time. Anyhow, finally got it cleaned off and repaired and painted.  Here are some closeups

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I chose a sunflower yellow to go with her decor and highlighted some areas with antiquing!

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Can’t wait to get her hung up, once we do – I will post a better picture.  I hope Jacq loves her house warming gift as much as I do–or it’s coming back home with me ;)

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musical journey

babe
I know I shouldn’t brag… BUT, a few weeks ago was our son’s album release.  (Another highlight in his musical journey.)   This album is a compilation of his own written material for the passed three years.  A lot of hard work, sweat and tears over this one.  And I have to tell you that this album is fantastic!  Not only because it’s my babies work but because every lyric and every note is beautifully written and composed.  His debut was at the legendary Cactus Cafe in Austin, he chose the location not only because of it’s history or the acoustics in the room but because of it’s uniqueness to cater to an audience that’s there to listen.  What a concept right?  Music artists find that it’s becoming more difficult to demand the attention of the audience because most patrons now are there to socialize, (not a bad thing either, but…), very discouraging to musicians that really want you to listen to their material.

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The place was packed, standing room only and the audience not only listened, they loved what they heard.  Jacob had a fantastic night and he absolutely entertained as I have never seen him do.  He delivered.

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There’s no denying that he loves what he does and it was evident in his enthusiasm.  His dad and I sat there in awe, but we were drawn in just like everyone else in the place.  We were so thankful for our family, friends and neighbors that came out in support.  It was a brilliant show, so much that he got a standing ovation.  I know he was humbled and we of course, are so very proud.

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The album is titled “Wineskin” and the artist, Jacob A. Jaeger.  Click on the album name or artist to instantly purchase & download.

You’ll enjoy it but don’t take this mother’s word for it~

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