Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Favorites from The Hip Paris Blog, Quintessence, Everyday Occasions and More

Good morning! I am sure that after the crazy weather this week  all of us could use a few days of rest, relaxation and a minute to regroup. I know that I will be doing just that as we are in for another weekend of snow and cold. 

To say that I LOVE Paris would be an understatement and this week several of my favorite posts were about Paris or France.

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

Many people go to Paris to shop, visit museums or to sample the wine but would you believe another reason is for beer?  The Hip Paris Blog has written a post this week featuring the places to go to sample the best craft beers in Paris. If you are a micro brew fan this is a great article to file away for your next trip to Paris.

Over Twenty years ago Claudia Strasser wrote the book The Paris Apartment which I read cover to cover and imagined myself living in each romantic space, then awaking each morning to go out for my croissant and chocolate chaud  before I was off to work and then back to my perfect little pied a terre. Luckily Claudia writes a daily blog and published Paris Flea Market Style  last year where I can get my fix of all things Parisian. This week she posted the first chapter in what I hope turns into a novel about Madame de Florian's Abandoned Apartment

Image Stacey of Quintessence Blog

Not far from Paris is the beautiful Normandy and this week Stacey of Quintessence posted about the stunning Chateau de Champ de Bataille, lovingly restored and filled with a lifetime of collections by Jacques Garcias.

Image Jenny of Everyday Occasions

Valentines Day will be here before you know it and if you would like to bake your Valentine an easy little treat than visit Everyday Occasions where Jenny shares some great tips for making cinnamon rolls, love bird sugar cookies and floral arrangements. 

Image Better Homes and Gardens

Or if chocolates are more your style Better Homes and Gardens magazine has several great recipes to whip up before the holiday. 

Love knows no bounds not even impending death. A Virginia dad spends what could be his last days making sure that his precious daughter knows how special she is; writing her 800 Notes one for everyday of  school  until she graduates high school. Get out your tissue for this story.

Chocolate Banana Cake made by me!

Will you be watching the Super Bowl? If you need some ideas for tasty snacks and chocolaty treats click  HERE for my post yesterday featuring 15 snack ideas. The skillet nachos are excellent, I made them for dinner last night because I couldn't wait to try the recipe.

I hope that you have a great weekend. Stay safe and enjoy!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

15 Superbowl Dips and Snacks

Good morning! I hope that you survived the "big freeze", the "polar vortex" or "Winter Storm Leon". The last few days it seems as if many of us were in a mess with the weather with no end in sight. I was home working for two days and to be honest I think I baked and cooked more than I worked. 

Chocolate Brownie Cookies from Once Upon A Chocolate Life

Today I still have food on my mind because I am trying to find something to make for the Superbowl. I am still undecided as to whether or not I want to go to a party or have a few people over and what would the big game be without snacks? I personally love dips and chips, hot or cold, and the more cheesy the better.

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon from Coastal Living photo by Jonny Valiant

Artichoke Dip From Martha Stewart

Blue Cheese Hot Wing Dip From Southern Living

Onion Dip from Country Living

Muffalata Dip from Southern Living

Bean Burrito Dip from Never Enough Thyme Blog

Spicy Queso Dip from Southern Living

Caramelized Onion Dip from Martha Stewart

Guacamole Dip from Country Living

Skillet Nachos from Heather Cristo Blog

Lemon Goat Cheese Dip from Country Living

White Bean Dip from Martha Stewart

Asiago Cheese Dip from BHG

Warm Blue Cheese Dip

Mediterranean Bean Dip from Midwest Living

I realize that pizza is not a dip but is is another of my favorite things to eat and not just on game day and I thought this one looked festive. 

Football Pizza Via Babble

Are you a football fan?  I watch the game for the commercials and the entertainment.  Will you be attending the big game? I understand that because of the cold and the location that the ticket prices are the least expensive they have been in 10 years. Will you be having or attending a party? What will you be eating? Please share your recipes, I love a good dip or snack recipe!

For those of you that like sweet, chocolaty snacks here are a few favorites.

Image and Recipe from The Baker Chic via Pinterest

Oreo Bars from Once Upon a Chocolate Life Blog

Chocolate Cake from Once Upon a Chocolate Life Blog

"Puppy Chow" Cereal Treats from Once Upon A Chocolate Life

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Once Upon a Chocolate Life

I hope that you have a great day. Stay safe and warm!

P.S. If you would like a few more dip ideas Southern LivingCoastal LivingBetter Homes and Gardens and Midwest Living. For chocolate dessert recipes visit Once Upon a Chocolate Life Blog

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Walk in the Park

Good morning! I like many am off work today because of the cold and snow. According to the local news the last time it was this cold was 1888; I cannot even imagine how the people stayed warm or should I say as warm and toasty as I like to be on days that it is -45 with the windchill. 

Today you will find me "snug as a bug in a rug" working from home and possibly testing a few recipes that I want to make for a little get together I will be having.  Although I would love to go out to take a walk the weather is not going to cooperate so I will have to take a virtual one. These are a few of the photos I took while out Saturday. 

I hope that you stay warm and safe from the snow and cold. Be careful if you are out traveling.

By the way, yesterday was National Chocolate Cake Day. If you are home and looking for something to bake this Chocolate Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is scrumptious!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Downtown Abbey Updates

Good morning! I hope that you had a nice weekend. Mine was busy and yet very relaxing. Lunch with my dad, lunch with a friend, the ballet, drinks with family, errands and more all capped off with my favorite shows Downton Abbey and Sherlock. Oh, and more snow...

 For those of you who have yet to watch, stop reading now.

 Daisy gave Alfred a little help with his French cooking and off  he went to London to test for a position at the Ritz. Though he did well he was not chosen and will remain at the Abbey for now. Although Daisy is a bit sad for Alfred she still has high hopes that she has a chance with him. Mr.Mosley who has had a year of ups and downs received another blow to his pocket book and ego as Alfred's post as footman which was offered to him by Mr. Carson has been rescinded.

 Frustrated that Anna is obviously upset and will not share her problems with him Mr. Bates comes to the conclusion that Anna does not love him anymore. He confronts Mrs. Hughes after he catches she and Anna discussing the incident in the hall and tells her that he is tending his resignation as Anna hates him. Conflicted about betraying Anna and loosing another servant she confesses the attack on Anna. Mr. Bates guesses that the attacker is Mr.Green although Mrs. Hughes swears it was a stranger, for now Bates pretends to believe her.

Later Bates confronts Anna in the boot room and tells her that he knows everything.  Anna, relieved confesses that "she feels spoiled for him". Mr. Bates comforts and hugs her and tells her that she could never be spoiled for him, that it wasn't her fault and that he loves her more now than ever. Anna decides to return to the cottage with Mr. Bates and we are lulled into believing that everything has returned to normal until Mrs. Hughes tells Mr. Bates that she hopes the couple can put everything behind them. "Hardly" replies Bates, "nothing is over and nothing is finished." Although I would love to see some justice for Anna I do not want it to be meted at the hands of Bates, I would love for these two to have a little peace in their lives.

Edith...where to begin. The last episode Edith shared a farewell evening with Michael only to be confronted the next morning by Aunt Rosamund about the consequences of her actions. Can this girl ever get a break? One failed romance after the other, and now a missing boyfriend and a secret visit to a London doctor? Could this be what I think?

Lady Mary seems to have a tinge of regret about the engagement of Lord Gillingham and Mable Lane but not for long with the reintroduction of Evelyn Napier. If you do not remember him he was the companion of the Turkish diplomat in season one. Evelyn still holds a torch for Mary and as she invited both he and his boss to stay at the Abbey I think we will see a few more suitors vying for her hand.

Tom ever the restless soul contemplates movie with baby Sibbie to America. What do you think about that? I am not sure that that is a story going anywhere.

A new ladies maid, Mrs. Baxter arrives on the scene to tend to Cora and if she seems to good to be true it  is probably because she is. Surprise, she seems to owe something to Thomas and now he would like her to spy upstairs and downstairs.

Of course there was a lot more that happened but these are the highlights for me. What did you think of the episode? Did you like it? We you disappointed? I am looking forward to more and know as always that I will be disappointed to have to wait another year to see the family, lets hope that a deal is struck between PBS and the BBC so that we do not have to wait. 

I hope that you have a great day! It is FREEZING here, I believe it is currently -6 and -27 with the windchill. Stay warm, stay safe.

P.S: For those of you who like potatoes, leeks and cheese you might want to try this recipe(here) of the side dish that my friend served at lunch, it was so good that I could have eaten the entire pan and nothing else.