Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cranberry Torte

Good morning! How was your weekend? I hope it was relaxing. I find that as I age that is my number one goal for the weekend, it doesn't have to be the whole weekend, but I like to have a few hours to just do nothing. Maybe to read, learn something new or just take a nap. Are you the same or do you find yourself to busy to relax?

I did manage to find the time to bake a few of these little cranberry tortes, mainly because I had an industrial sized bag of cranberries from Costco and this was a new to me dessert that looked easy and tasty. This little cake is perfect anytime, for breakfast, with a cup of tea or even for dessert. It is sweet and tart at the same time and has a hint of almond. Delicious if I do say so myself.

Cranberry Torte

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons for topping
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" Springform Pan then line the bottom with parchment paper and butter that as well or use cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. 
In the bowl of a Stand Mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs one at a time, then add the almond extract. Add the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until just combined.

Spread the batter into prepared pan and top with the cranberries. Arrange them in an even layer and then sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven, let cool. Use a sharp pairing knife to loosen the edges of the cake before unbuckling and removing the ring.

Slice and Enjoy.

I hope that you have a great week! 

Linking to:
A Stroll Thru Life


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Silent Sunday 1-30-2017

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Friday Favorites from Fabulously French, Velvet and Linen, Once Upon a Chocolate Life and More

Good morning! Did you have a good week?  I wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU! Your thoughtful and insightful comments about Wednesday's "just curious" left me smiling, not only because you took the time to comment but also because all of the comments were so positive. I was very nervous writing that post as I was not sure that I wanted to open myself up to possible ridicule but I am happy that I trusted my instincts to hit publish.

Image from Here

I love pasta and I am always looking for a new recipe to try, this week I will be making the famous Marcella Hazan's Bolognese Sauce. Have you made it? They say it is a classic.

Feast your eyes on this easy Salted Caramel Sauce from Leeann at Fabulously French. This scrumptious caramel can be eaten right from the jar, or used in desserts, drinks and more.

You could even use a little of the caramel above and drizzle it on this delicious Bailey's Chocolate Caramel Brownie Terrine. This recipe is fabulous if I do say so myself.

Brooke and Steve Giannetti will be at the Nashville Home and Garden show in February if you will be in the area,  but even more exciting, they are launching  a clothing line this spring! Classic, casual and chic. 

I recently listened to the audio book Cooking for Picasso and I loved it. If you are looking for an entertaining, beautifully written and detailed book that features France, food, art and more than this is the book for you. Part romance, part history, part intrigue, this book has it all. Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray tells the story of two women,  Ondine who cooks in her parents cafe and ends up cooking for Picasso and Celine, her granddaughter, who travels to France to find a long lost treasure of her grandmothers. 

I am not sure how I missed THIS Movie featuring Audrey Tautou but I have it on my list of things to do this weekend. Have you seen the movie Priceless? Did you like it?

Check out THIS French Chateau makeover? What do you think?

Did you watch, read or cook anything interesting this week? If so please share, I would love to hear about it.

Have a great weekend and be safe.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just Curious...Are You Tired of the Negativity in the World?

Good morning! How are you? Frankly, I am overwhelmed by the vitriolic and negativity that seemed to envelop not only the US but the world in the last few years.

I am tired of the negativity that has bombarded our country on every social media platform, every news station and news platform for the last 18 months, but mostly the last 10 days. 

We live in a crazy world, and these are uncertain times. I know that everyone wants to blame the current president for this but lets stop and think for a minute.

Here are a few facts.

We live in a world where it is commonplace to rape women. In 2014 there were 37,000 reported cases, in India, keep in mind that many cases go unreported because the women will be ostracized or even killed if they report it. Every 2 minutes in India a crime is committed against a woman.

We live in a world where gay men are thrown off the rooftops by terrorists. 

We live in a world where little kids are made to blow themselves up all in the name of a cause or religion. 

We live in a world where a girl and her young friends were shot in the head because they wanted an education. Thankfully Malala Yousafzai survived and is doing what she can to further her cause, that all kids deserve an education, especially girls. If you would like to learn more about her, CLICK HERE.

We live in a world where it is "OK" for adults to make fun of a 10 year old boy, call him a future serial killer, to speculate if he is "retarded" or Autistic, just because you do not like his dad?

We live in a world where we have the ability to protest and have free speech. But my question to you is why does that now give us the "right" to destroy peoples stores, cars, shops and businesses, to run off with the stock from these businesses and to take away the livelihood of the people who work there?

We live in a world where it seems to be acceptable that 762 people were killed this year in Chicago and 4, 368 people were shot!

We live in a world where 2800 people lost their jobs because they were made to create duplicate bank accounts to make their bank look more profitable, then said bank charged the customers fees, ruined and their credit. The woman who came up with this plan did not get fired, she will make 145 million dollars, her boss, the CEO was in line for a $30 million dollar golden parachute. Thank God that did not happen. Where is the outrage for the 2800 people who lost their jobs?

We live in a world where intelligent people have completely lost their mind over the election. Educated people are now spewing violence, hate and crazy retoric on every type of social media they use and cutting off their family and friends if they do not share their opinions. People are accosting people on the street for their choice of clothing. 

You are not me, I am not you. You do not know my life, my stories, my struggles.  I do not know yours. I am a free thinker, as are you. We are allowed to have different opinions that have been shaped by our upbringing, our lives, experiences, etc. We are not clones or automaton's. Why would we want to be?

Why do we seem to suddenly live in a world where if I do not share your opinion, you belittle me and discount my opinion? I am referring here not just to the election but so many social issues and problems. 

I don't care who you voted for and I hope you don't care who I voted for. I hope that if you are a friend or family member that I am worth more than what you believe my beliefs are.

If your candidate didn't win get out and do something about it, don't just sit and whine and bully people. 

For instance if you are passionate about arts and education and don't want to funding cut then figure out a way to help. I have a friend who is an art teacher, her district cannot afford any field trips, so she and her students make items and sell them to earn the money. Obviously this is a small time solution, but guess what, her students go on 5 trips a year.

One person can make a difference in the world, especially in their little world.

The phenomenal March on Washington on Sunday, which spilled over into a world wide call for action was a start, but it will not accomplish anything if we do not follow through with more, much more. We all need to do our part to fight for change. 

There is always something that you can do to make a change, stand up for what you believe, get out there and do something, anything! But don't spew negative, violent and ridiculous comments. Offer a solution instead of being part of the problem.

What do you think? Do you see too much negativity in the world lately? Are you tired of it?

Do you support a cause that you would like us to know about or have some information that we might find interesting about making a change and a difference in the world?

Thank you for reading and participating. It has been so nice to have a dialog with people that care about little things and big things, trivial things and important things. I appreciate your time reading and responding.

Image Maria Shriver

On that note I think this piece written by Sister Joan Chittister and posted on Maria Shrivers webpage is fabulous and offers us all something to think about. 

Have a great day!

P.S. I am putting myself out here on a ledge asking for opinions, and speaking my mind, but if you are going to be nasty, crazy and call me names, please don't comment. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Chocolate Ganache Rice Pudding Tart

Good morning! How are you? How was your weekend? I am happy to start a new week and am hopping to see a little sun. 

I made a Chocolate Ganache Rice Pudding tart several years ago that was fabulous and I realize that I never shared it with you. I was reminded of it a few weeks ago when I made rice pudding. This tart cannot get any easier, you make the pudding, crust and ganache and combine. Then you try to let it cool for a bit before you have a slice or two. 

Chocolate Ganache Rice Pudding Pie

Oreo Crust
25 Oreo Cookies
5 Tablespoons of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Finely crush oreo cookies using a bender or food processor, then pour into a bowl. Add the melted butter and stir. Pour into an 8" Tart Pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool. 

Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces of chopped 60% dark chocolate
4 ounces of heavy cream

Add the chopped chocolate to a bowl. Heat the cream  until hot, you do not need to boil it you just want it hot. Once hot pour over the chocolate, stir to distribute, then let it sit for a minute of two to melt the chocolate. Then stir until the chocolate comes together and is glossy and creamy. Set aside. 

Swedish Rice Pudding
Recipe from Just a Smidgen 

1 cup of rice
11/4 cup of water
1 tbsp. butter
pinch of salt
1 small cinnamon stick
3 cups of milk
2 eggs
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 heavy whipping cream
berries for garnish 

Measure rice into a colander and rinse under cold water to remove all starch, basically until the water runs clear. Add the rice, water, butter, pinch of salt and one small cinnamon stick to a medium-sized sauce-pan and cook on high heat. Once the rice mixture boils, turn to the heat down so that the mixture continues to simmer and finish cooking until all the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the milk and eggs and whisk together. Add and in sugar, vanilla and salt to blend. 
Once rice is cooked, pour the milk mixture into the pot. Bring the mixture back to a simmer then cook for an additional 40 minute or so, until the rice pudding is thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick. Once the rice is cooked, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream, and mix well. Let cool a bit. 

To assemble the pie, take the cooled crust and pour the ganache over the crust. Place in the refrigerator to firm up, about 5 minutes. Then spread the cooled rice pudding over the top and smooth. Place pie into the refrigerator to cool. 

Slice and enjoy. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday Favorites from French Essence, Chocolate & Zucchini, Teggy French, Rumbly Tumbly and More

Good morning! Happy Friday and a happy weekend! Have you had a great week? I have, the weather has been beautiful, I finished a lot of work, did a lot around the house and now I am ready to relax. 

If you are looking for a little relaxation and winter entertainment, Vicki from French Essence posted about the 10 Best Winter Wonderland Movies on Netflix this week. There is something for everyone.

Image from Elle Decor via Simply Smitten

If you prefer perusing blog sfor relaxation check out this house owned by Cynthia Frank from Elle Decor that Simply Smitten  featured this week. I love it!

I discovered a fun new fashion blog this week called Teggy French, if you like fun frocks, and glamorous destinations I think you will enjoy it too.

Image from Chocolate and Zucchini

Chocolate & Zucchini was one of the first blogs that I ever read and I have loved following along on the adventures of Clotilde. Recently, she married her long-time love and this bread bouquet made by the famous Polaine bakery is one of my favorite parts of her beautiful day. Seriously, a bread bouquet! I wish I had had one!

Are you fascinated by France and the beautiful Chateau Versailles? Then you will love this new blog that I discovered called This is Versailles it is filled with interesting articles about the kings, queens, etiquette, fashion and more.

If you need a little treat this weekend, whip up a batch of these fabulous, fudgy, Classic Brownies from Once Upon a Chocolate Life.

Image from Rumbly Tumbly

I will be making this over the top Moist chocolate Cake from Rumbly Tumbly because I haven't had a piece of cake in a long while and this looks delicious!

Image from Pip and Ebby

By the way, I made the Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese I features last week in my Friday favorites post, made by Pip & Ebby. It was so easy and so good!

What about you? Dis you discover a good movie, book, recipe, article or interesting tid bit this week? If so please share with me!

I hope that you have a happy and safe weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just Curious...What Do You Collect?

Good morning! How is your week going so far? Hopefully it has been a short one and you were off for Martin Luther King day. Everything is going well here, I am looking forward to the weekend though.

With the start of the new year everyone seems to be cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering and has tips to help you accomplish these tasks. I have managed to get rid of a few things but then again I do that frequently. As I was filling up another sack to donate I though perhaps I should "thin" out some of my collections. That of course got me curious about what other people collect. 

I collect old wooden spoons and utensils, chocolat pots, books about the Louis XIV and the mistresses of the French Court, white ironstone pitchers, art, and Limoges snuff boxes.

Are you a collector? Or are you a minimalist? If you collect please share what exactly do you collect?  How did you get started collecting your favorite items?

I have always loved Versailles and as it is where the kings and mistresses of France lived I became fascinated by their lives. I began collecting books about them as a teenager.

The chocolat pots came from my love of chocolat chaud which I drink all of the time. I began first with the wooden molinillo(traditional Mexican tool for mixing hot chocolate) and then evolved into chocolat pots. I recently paired down my collection to my 10 favorites. 

In college I went to school for the summer in Limoges and fell in love with the intricate details of the little snuff boxes and so a collection began. 

As for the art, I collect what speaks to me. I love impressionist paintings of waves, trees, and pears. But I also like abstract paintings. My collections are eclectic and although there are some that hang all the time there is a stack that rotates with the seasons.

So tell me about your collections. I would love to hear your stories and perhaps even see your treasures.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One Pan Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Basil Pasta Sauce

Good morning! Did you have a good weekend? Mine was busy but relaxing, all in all, it was good. I found time to read a book, bake a cake and roast a bunch of vegetables for a few recipes I want to try this week and even putter around on the Internet. 

Last weekend I made the easiest and best, roasted tomato, garlic and basil pasta sauce. I love this sauce so much that I make a few batches at a time and then let it cool and freeze it for a later date when I just don't feel like cooking. If is a great base for soup, pasta, and more.

For this recipe, I don't even know if you can call it a recipe, you just "eyeball" the ingredient amounts,  put them all on a pan, roast them, puree them, serve, and enjoy. 

Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil Sauce

2 lbs small or medium tomatoes, washed, stems removed. cut in half
4-6 cloves of garlic, skin removed
salt and pepper
olive oil
bunch of fresh basil


Preheat oven to 250. Cut tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet, add whole cloves of garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, handful of basil and then drizzle with olive oil, mix to coat. 

Bake for 1-1/12 hours depending on the size tomatoes that you are using, until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkly.  Once the tomatoes get soft remove pan from oven and let cool a bit. Spoon mixture into blender and put on the lid, do not put in the stopper(otherwise you will have a huge mess). Cover the top hole with a kitchen towel and then pulse the mixture until the sauce is the texture that you like.

Serve with your favorite pasta or let cool and freeze.

If you like simple, flavorful pasta sauce then you will love this recipe. If you would like an easy Cheesy Twisted Breadstick to accompany your pasta then check out the rolls that I made or the Rhodes blog.

Have a great week!

Side note: Has anyone seen Brights Lights: Staring Carrie Fischer and Debbie Reynolds? I watched it last night between watching the Packers (my home state team) win and the Chiefs (my husband's home state team). What an interesting and fascinating look at Carrie Fischer and her family, you have not seen it I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday Favorites from Rough Luxe, Collage of Life, Pip and Ebby, Laura's Sweet Spot, Once Upon a Chocolate Life, PBS and More

Good morning! Happy Friday and a very happy weekend to you. Did you have a good week? I had a great week, mainly because I was snowbound. After the big snowstorm last weekend I was pretty much "stuck" at home until late Tuesday afternoon. I am sure that if I really wanted to I could have ventured out on to icy, treacherous roads but I thought why? Take this timer to relax, regroup, read, relax and catch-up. So that is exactly what I did.

After bitter 10 degree days this past week it was 70, yes 70 degrees and I was out wearing shorts yesterday. I am sure that soon we will be back to winter but for now I am savoring it. 

Last weekend while I was a shut in, I was a baking and cooking fiend, partly worried my electricity would go out and partly relaxing and making things I don't typically make. Everything came out great, if I do say so myself and I will share the recipes soon. 

One of the things I made and loved were these Cheesy Twisted Garlic Breadsticks, to accompany the homemade pasta I made and devoured. All in the name of storing winter carbs, lest my power go out, and I couldn't cook for a day. It may also be one of the reasons that I looked like a chipmunk for a few days after.

Image from Laura's Sweet Spot Blog

For those of you who are following a mostly low carb diet this Crock Pot Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork from Laura's Sweet Spot is FABULOUS! I made it last night for dinner and loved it, as did my husband.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Skillet

I will be making this scrumptious looking Cauliflower Mac and Cheese from Pip and Ebby in the near future.

Another of my favorite things that I made this past snowbound weekend was this Irish Hot Chocolate. It is the perfect drink to keep you warm and toasty on a cold evening while snuggled by the fire. 

Image Rough Luxe Cindy

One of my favorite things to do it tour show houses and holiday houses and if I cannot do it in person what could be better than seeing it through the eyes of a favorite blogger? This week on Rough Luxe Lifestyle, Cindy toured the Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse.

Image from Dwellings

If you like home tours here is another great house for you that Cindy at Dwellings posted this week, it is for sale if you are feeling like a move to the South.

Image from Collage of Life

I know that many of you follow my friend Jeanne at Collage of Life but if you missed her recent updates and Winter book list, click here! By the way, her dear Tika, the family dog who has been a faithful friend, family member and travel companion for the last 15 years passed away this past week in case you did not know. I was so sad to hear of his passing, after reading Jeannes' blog for so long  he felt like a member of my own family.

Are you a fan of PBS Sherlock? If so you may want to enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win an autograph copy of a script from the show!

Did you find any interesting recipes, houses, books, movies are articles this week to share? If so please do!

I hope that you have a happy and safe weekend.