Friday, January 16, 2015

Homemade hot chocolate for a rainy afteroon

Simply a sinful and decadent drink, this hot chocolate hits the spot.  Especially on a rainy, winter day.  This recipe is from Joy the Baker and I found it in her cookbook a couple of years ago.   It uses both white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate, milk, a pinch of salt and a little bit of instant coffee.  The chocolate went down smooth and was very rich.  It was simple to whip up on the stove and it also makes two cups. 

The Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 heaping tablespoons white chocolate chips
2 cups milk
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

Melt chocolate either in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted or over two inches of water into a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When the water comes to a simmer, place the bowl or water on top but not touching the water.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  In a small saucepan, heat milk until almost boiling.  Whisk the melted chocolate, coffee powder, and salt into the heating milk and whisk until smooth.  Pour into two cups and serve immediately. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lunch at Geraldine's Counter

I've never seen such a busy lunch spot on a weekday like I did at Geraldine's Counter.  Every table was taken and my family even had to wait a minute.  On a Thursday, no less.  So I was expecting to be blown away by the service and the food.  Turns out it was just standard breakfast and lunch fare, small portions and kind of high prices.  I've heard nice things about the French toast and it was good but I didn't go crazy over it.  I was surprised they chose strawberries in January to top it with.  I would have gone with something seasonal to make it pop.  They did have a nice kid's menu with everything being five bucks and the plates a pretty good size.  My boys had the Kid's Counter with eggs, hash browns and wheat toast.  I got the half order of French toast along with a side of chicken sausage and my husband ate the chicken pot pie.  All in all, kind of a pricey lunch out but we finally got to check it out.  Geraldine's Counter is located in Columbia City and we've driven by it countless time and I've always been curious.  They serve breakfast all day and are family friendly.  I liked how bright and airy the space was and the art gracing the walls. 

Geraldine's Counter on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I can't think of too many things better than sipping a Margarita at lunchtime, eating chips and salsa and chowing down on a Shrimp Enchilada all while being about ten steps from the mall.  Southcenter Mall just keeps adding these restaurants around its entrance and enticing those of us with kids with its free parking, all those family restrooms and kids menu's, how dare they make it so nice and easy for us?  I'm not complaining, I'm dining and loving it and I'm glad they keep making nice places like Moctezuma's for us. 

This Mexican restaurant and Tequilla Bar is conveniently located right by one of the malls many entrances and the family parking spots.  But all that aside and most importantly the food and service was spot on.  The flavors were fresh and pretty standard for Mexican.  The kids menu was decent with pretty big portions for around six bucks.  My boys shared a chicken burrito and almost finished it.  My twins can eat!  For sixteen months old, they seem to have three legs and our server even commented that most five year olds can barely eat it all.  The hubs and I started with a Cadillac Margarita and being a Thursday, they were two dollars off.  I ate the Shrimp Enchilada with rice and beans.  They portion was large so this girl ate some for dinner, too.  He had the shredded beef Chimichanga which he thought was tasty and that the beef was nice and tender.

We enjoyed the ambiance with the dim lighting, chandeliers and fire places.  It almost felt like a nighttime date but with the kids, too.  Yes, sometimes you can have it all.

The chicken burrito with rice and beans for the kids menu.  Good value and tasty, too.

The shredded beef Chimichanga from the lunch menu- only $9.99.

My Shrimp Enchilada with avocado plus rice and beans on the side. Now that's a good lunch.

Moctezuma's Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 21, 2014


My husband and I recently had a date night at Loulay in downtown Seattle.  Loulay is Chef Thierry Rautureau’s new restaurant which is named after his hometown of Saint Hilaire de Loulay in France.  He's referred to as The Chef in The Hat and also owns Luc in Madison Valley.  He came over to our table and chatted with us which was a nice touch and added an exciting element to our dinner.   I was happy to see how friendly and good natured he is.  He's well known in the Seattle restaurant scene and hearing about his humble beginnings is inspiring.  He has a passion for food and cooking and his menu reflects that. 

I started off with a glass of Bordeaux which was full flavored and had a nice, oaky finish.  My husband had an Orange Capone which resembled an Old Fashioned.  The amuse bouche was some sort of orange porridge, just a couple of bites to whet our appetite.   Then we had bread and butter topped with sea salt and the house salad.  We also tried the duck confit slides, the seared foie gras and the beef burger.  The only downside to the meal was that all the food came at once.  Sadly our server did not pace the dishes and we barely had room on our table.  Next time I go out I will only order one dish at a time.  But we enjoyed all the food and were pleasantly full.  Our favorites were the foie gras and the burger.  We indulged in the French fries with aioli that came with it.  It was nice to share all the dishes because we were able to try a variety of things.  Finally, to end our meal, we shared a festive chocolate cocktail with Chocolate Stout and Eggnog. 

Loulay Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 14, 2014

14 Fabulous Food and Drinks from 2014

Here's some delicious and memorable things I ate or drank this year and where you can find them to try yourself! From the great city of Seattle, where I reside, to the Oregon Coast or visiting family in Montana, there was good food and drink around every corner.  I found classic dishes with unique and delicious twists, I rediscovered some and found some downright tasty and unforgettable.  I also tried some food and drinks for the first time and figured out what's been missing from my life.  Read: Italian Prosecco and cheese curds, where've you been all my life?  Here's my recap, in photos of no particular order, of fourteen fabulous food and drinks from 2014. 
Pepperoni Pizza from Delancey.  Oh so good and unforgettable.  If Ballard wasn't so far, with traffic, and the wait for a table wasn't so long, I'd be a regular. 

This unique and tart dessert is from Pioneer Square's Laika Lounge.  I loved the shortbread and lemon curd. 

This basket of fried yumminess comes from The Back Room in Columbia Falls, Montana.  This is my go to place to eat when I go home.  I adore the fry bread, especially with honey butter, and I never pass up the fried chicken. 

These pork sliders come from Marination Mai Kai on Seattle's Alki Beach.  This Hawaiian style eatery is the place to dine, especially in the summertime.  These sliders were so tender and the crunch and texture from the coleslaw didn't hurt either.  Don't forget to try the Mai Tai's and the Hawaiian shaved ice with vanilla ice cream.  I can't wait for more next summer when the weather's hot.

Seattle has many bakeries and I've yet to find a bad one.  Macrina Bakery is one that stands out.  This upside down cake with nectarines was light, sweet and unique.  The only problem at Macrina is deciding what to order. 

This year I celebrated at Duke's Chowder House.  I wanted some bubbles and I got them.  This Italian Prosecco was crisp, refreshing and sweet. 

For my birthday dessert I chose a chocolate éclair from Duke's.  I loved the touch of orange zest and the raspberry sauce.  It was the best éclair, ever.

In the beach town of Seaside, OR I found this tasty cocktail at the Boardwalk Restaurant and Lounge.  Named 'At the Pool' it had pineapple, Vodka and the rest is a mystery.  All I know is that is was delicious and I enjoyed it while looking at the ocean.  

Beer Battered Cheese Curds.  Do I need to say more? Quite possibly one of the best things I've ever ate, they came with a red pepper dipping sauce and the cheese tasted so yummy.  I want more.  You can find them in Astoria, OR at Buoy Beer Co.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake from Buoy Beer Co.  Some of the best cheesecake ever.  I want more of that, too.

The salmon crepes from Crepe De France were memorable because the salmon was so fresh.  That's because this adorable crepe restaurant is located inside Pike Place Market so the fish is straight from the source. 

Ok, so these Jalapeño Poppers are from The Shooter Café in Whitefish, MT and I need to get some more.  I loved the bacon and cheddar cheese inside that made them so unique.  I loved the raspberry jam to dip them in.  I can't wait until I'm back in Whitefish.   

This Asian salad is from Montana Coffee Traders in Columbia Falls.  They turn out some good food from a place you'd think was just a coffee shop from its name.  I had a sandwich there in the past that was also high quality and above your usual lunch fare.   

Goat Cheese has got to be one of the tastiest things on God's green earth.  This seared goat cheese with Champagne grapes from the Harvest Vine didn't disappoint and I couldn't stop eating it.  My son loved it too, and now he is also a goat cheese fan. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cake Batter Truffles

To continue my Christmas baking I made Cake Batter Truffles.  These are dangerous to have around so I recommend whipping them up for friends or to take to a party.  I froze half of mine and then I will take them to my family's house Christmas Day.  They were relatively easy to make.  The extra effort with melting the white chocolate and dipping each one was worth it because the end result was festive and pretty.  And melt in your mouth rich and sweet, too...

Christmas Funfetti Cake Batter Truffles


1 cup white cake mix
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon Christmas sprinkles + more for decoration
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or vanilla almond bark


In a large bowl, whisk cake mix, flour and sugar. Stir in melted butter, vanilla, milk and sprinkles. Mixture should be moist and be able to hold its shape easily when formed. Using a cookie scoop, form mixture into even balls and refrigerate 20-30 minutes.
In the mean time, melt chocolate in a double boiler or slowly in the microwave. Using a fork, drop one of the cake batter truffles into the chocolate and roll around to coat. Tap off the excess gently and transfer to cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top with more sprinkles, if desired. 

Since the truffles contain milk its best to store them in the fridge.  They set up pretty quickly in the fridge after coating them in the white chocolate. This makes 24 truffles.  I found the recipe for these on   Enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

It's Christmas time again. Time to bake lots of goodies to fill our tummies and warm our hearts.  Every year I make my chocolate walnut fudge and then I try at least two new recipes.  So yesterday I baked Snowball cookies with mini chocolate chips.  These are unique because they usually have nuts so this recipe caught my attention.  Anything with melted chocolate is never a bad idea.  And they were delicious.  Especially right out of the oven.  Two years ago I made the traditional ones.  I found the recipe for the chocolate chip ones here.   Happy baking!

Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar, for rolling


Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.  Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown.  Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them.  Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated.  Place on a rack to cool.  (Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more powdered sugar.)  Makes four dozen cookies.