Friday, October 14, 2016

National Dessert Day

It's National Dessert Day so here are seven mouthwatering desserts I tried this year.  They each left a lasting impression and I'm still thinking about how good they tasted.  So, happy National Dessert Day and I hope you get a chance to sample something sweet today!
A slice of cake from La Medusa in Seattle, called the Cassita cake from the bakery next door-the Columbia City Bakery.  You can read the full post here about the cake and our dinner at La Medusa.

Also from Columbia City Bakery is the Frangipane Tart, a real treat with cherries and almonds and a perfectly flaky crust.  You can read the post from my visit to the bakery here and see the other goodies I tried.   
At Pop Bar in Vancouver, BC I devoured, I did share though, a peanut butter gelato on a stick.  It was also dipped in chocolate and caramel corn pieces.  I loved it and I want to go back to Canada and find me another one.  See the full post here

The Canadian Whiskey Bacon Doughnut at Cartems in Vancouver, BC was another pleasant surprise.  Who would have thought bacon on a doughnut would be good?  Duh, I knew, as I've had this combination many times before and love it.  It just tastes so good and sometimes calories can go you know where.  You can see my post from Cartems here

Ah, Bouchon, you impressed me with your Salted Caramel Macaron, darn you.  I'm still thinking about that thing and I live nowhere close to a Bouchon Bakey.  While in Las Vegas, I visited the location inside the Venetian Hotel and enjoyed every last bite of my Macaron while I walked around.  I didn't even share this time and I didn't even sit down.  Twice as big as regular Macarons with the best Salted Caramel I've ever tasted, it's a shame I didn't buy more.  To read more about my experience at Bouchon and other dessert spots in Vegas, click here.

Walking around Pike Place Market in Seattle and have an ice cream craving?  Check out Shug's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream.  My family shared this special banana split and it was the best one we'd ever had.  Read more here if you want and then go check it out for yourself!

Located in Whistler, BC, Crepe Montange is the place for crepes.  This dessert crepe with lemon curd was fantastic and had the perfect amount of tart and sweetness.  For more about Crepe Montange and where else I ate in Whistler, click here.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Thirty Something Candles

Last week I celebrated my birthday with my family.  We took two days to celebrate and my parents  visited from Montana.  I felt special and blessed to have them here on my birthday, because if it weren't for my parents, I would never have been born, right? Birthdays are a perfect time to reflect on one's life and we should feel grateful to get the chance to celebrate another year.  Growing older isn't such a bad thing, it means you've survived hardships and they've made you stronger.  But what do I know?  I'm still only thirty something. 
My mom brought me flowers from my aunt's house in Montana.  The Glad flowers were lovely and looked great in my dining room.

For breakfast on my birthday, and the day before, we ate this cinnamon roll coffee cake from Borracchini's Bakery.  One must have a special and delicious breakfast to start their BD off right. 

It being October and everything, my mom brought a pumpkin from Montana that she grew herself.  Then along with my sons, we carved this Jack-O-Lantern. 

Time for a Margarita!  We had a group of ten people at a Mexican restaurant, Puerto Vallarta.  It was so much fun and I loved when they surprised me by placing a huge Sombrero on my head and singing to me in Spanish!

I had a Chicken Chimichanga along with my Margarita.  

I've always wanted a Hello Kitty cake for my BD and this year I got it!  We took it to the restaurant and shared it with the staff who funnily enough, one of them was also celebrating their BD the next day and he was the same age as me, too. 

The next day, my actual birthday, my mom baked us an apple pie.  There's nothing like her apple pie.  Ahh, what could be better than an October BD, carving pumpkins and eating apple pie?

Then that night, we went out again for dinner.  This time to the Harvest Vine for some Spanish Tapas.  Our group of five started with some cheese, Bleu Cheese and Goat Cheese. 

One of the dishes we tried were the Prawns with a Remesco sauce, a sauce with red peppers.  We all loved the prawns and could have eaten them all night. 

Another highlight from our dinner was the Oxtail wrapped in Puff Pastry.  The Oxtail was so tender and finely shredded, it was a must try. 

And finally, a piece of chocolate cake with a candle to end my BD celebration off right!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Italian desserts for a little bit of la dolce vita- part II

It's Friday and I think we all need a little la dolce vita about now.  There's nothing wrong with having a little bit of sweet to start the weekend.  Back in March I wrote about Italian desserts and decided I just had to create another post featuring more Italian desserts I've tried since.  Of course, there are still more I've yet to try so look for a part III in the future!
Zeppoles are an Italian pastry consisting of a deep-fried dough ball.  I think of them as Italian doughnuts and they're usually covered in powdered sugar.  These are from Giada in Las Vegas and were plated with Giada's signature "G" in chocolate sauce for dipping.  They were even delicious several hours later back at our hotel.

Semifredo is a dessert meaning "half cold" or "half frozen" in Italian.  In Italy they use gelato for their filling but a mousse is also common.  This Semifredo, from Mbar in Seattle, had coconut, black cherry, and chocolate .  Every bite was as rich and decadent as the last. 

Italian Cream Horns, called Cornetti de Crema, are pastries made with puff pastry and filled with a cream filling.  This Hazelnut Cream Horn from Borracchini's Bakery in Seattle hit the spot.  Every bite of the pastry was filled with cream and the tasty hazelnut icing.  Borracchini's is the place for anything Italian and has been since 1922.  Seems like they have every kind of Italian pastry and I felt like a child in wonder again as my eyes roamed the long displays of treats.  The rest of the pastries and cookies featured below are from there.

Ahh, who doesn't love a good cream puff?  Cream puffs in Italian are called "Bocconcini con Crema" and this Chocolate Cream Puff from Borracchini's was a good representation of the traditional one.

These fried desserts called Rossettes are made using a rosette iron and are then coated in cinnamon and sugar.  They were a little plain for me and not really sweet, but their pretty to look at with their unique shape.

Angel cookies are really sweet and they melt in your mouth.  They are typically white but you can add food coloring to get your desired look.  They are a cross between a shortbread cookie and a sugar cookie and they'd be the perfect thing to bake at Christmastime.

Another traditional Italian cookie is a Florentine.  They are very thin, nutty, and buttrery.  The one I tried from Borracchini's was addictive and sweet. 

And finally, the last Italian dessert I tried was a Spritz butter cookie.  They're small and buttery and have a hint of almond.  They usually have sprinkles on top to look festive.  I think these Spritz cookies from Borracchini's are done in Seahawk colors!

Looking for more about Italian desserts? You can see my first post, Italian desserts for a little bit of la dolce vita, here.

Remo Borracchini's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Giada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato MBar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Fun Filled 3rd Birthday: A Cars Cake and A Visit To The Fair

My twins turned three and I wanted to do something fun for their birthday.  Their favorite movie is Cars so we got them a cake, balloons, plates, and t-shirts with the Cars theme.  They liked the cake the most and may or may not have had two pieces.  I think they may have inherited my sweet tooth...then it was time to hit the fair!  The Washington State Fair is held every September and this year was held from September 2nd until the 25th.  I think they enjoyed themselves!  Turning three was a blast for my boys!
Vroom, vroom-start your engines and get dressed.  Your Cars shirt is ready to wear!

Balloons are so much fun and are always appealing for the little ones.  Kids can be entertained for some time just throwing balloons around the living room.

It's Lightening and his best pal Mater, plus Guido and Luigi!  The Cars gang make everything great!

Speaking of great, we love bakery birthday cake and can't get enough.  Goodie, because my BD's coming up and that means more cake!

Rides, Rides, Rides!  Welcome to the state's biggest fair.  The Washington State Fair is the place to be.

The area near the kiddie rides is where we spent the most time.  Our sons love rides and would probably have kept riding until the sun went down. 

You've gotta love fair food, right?  Well, we may have chosen hastily because we were hungry.  Can you say unhealthy?  I think we have our fill of nacho cheese for a while.  At least this was for all four of us!

The animals at the fair is another fun part, especially these little piglets.  Can you say adorable?

This pretty hen was inside the kid's petting zoo area. 

This little sheep was also wandering around the petting zoo for the kids.  How cool that the little kids get a chance to touch the animals and learn more about them.

We also tried a Fisher scone for the first time.  We really enjoyed the raspberry filling.  Ok, I understand why everyone at the fair always had a bag of these...

Chicken and Waffles, what we should have eaten for dinner.  Live and learn.  There's always next time. 

Goodnight, Washington State Fair.  It's been a good one.  And Happy Birthday to my little ones! 

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Syrup

When I have a birthday or someone in my family does, I love to make a special breakfast.  Nothing's better than starting your day with some good eats.  My boys just had their third birthday and I wanted to make them French toast, their favorite breakfast food.  To shake things up and make it "birthday breakfast special", I made a strawberry syrup to pour over the French toast.  I found an easy recipe with four ingredients here and then I got to work.  The best part about making the syrup was the scrumptious scent of the strawberries cooking.  Before I knew it, the syrup was done.  Then I bottled it up to use the next morning for our breakfast.   The strawberry syrup was sweet and had the perfect consistency.  It went well with the French toast and as I ate mine, I daydreamed all the ways I could use the syrup.  Poured over pancakes, waffles, strawberry shortcake, get the idea. 

Fresh Strawberry Syrup


3 cups strawberries, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1/4. t. vanilla extract


Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a gentle simmer until the strawberries are soft and the syrup is thickened and reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 in volume, about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.  Syrup will thicken upon standing so simply whisk in more water to reached consistency if needed. 

You can click here for the recipe I use when making French toast.