Archive for the ‘Life is Delicious’ Category

They’re All Mine

June 23, 2009


Because I don’t have to share!



January 15, 2009

Store brand Nutella?!  Get.  Out!

nutellaI think I let out a little squeal when I came across this in the peanut-butter-and-jelly aisle the other day.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather save money on my indulgences than give them up all together.  Store brand pretzels, too!  It tastes just the same as the real thing (the real Americanized version of the real Italian original, that is!)  

nutellasockThis is sock number two of a pair that was supposed to be finished for Christmas.  I’m pretty sure it’s Socks That Rock but I can’t find the colorway (heaven knows where the band is), and it’s definitely Queen Kahuna‘s easy lace pattern. Luckily, the recipient’s birthday is in February.  I’m going to be ready–if I can keep my fingers out of the chocolate long enough to knit!

How’s My Ganache, Vianne?

November 24, 2008

If the North Wind blew Vianne Rocher, Anouk and Pantoufle into my little French Provincial town, I would welcome them with open arms, beg to be Vianne’s apprentice in her magical chocolaterie,  and hope that she had size 10 feet so I could borrow her red shoes!


Well, with or without Vianne’s help, it’s high time I learned how to make my own truffles!   I’ve been mulling the idea over for a long time and it always boils down (heh!) to the fact that I fear tempering.  All those lovely, perfect truffles in the world and I was afraid that I just couldn’t achieve that glistening, glossy glow.

And then I discovered the hottest thing in truffles on the West Coast (I swear!  It always takes years for trends to reach The Midwest!) I know, I know.  The French have been doing it this way for centuries.  That doesn’t change the fact that I have had the Platonic form of the perfect truffle in my head blocking my ability to actually pursue making them myself.


Five Star Truffles--I talked him into selling me a staff t-shirt!


XOX Truffles on Columbus in North Beach


XOX truffles and their apprentice’s newly opened shop, 5 Star Truffles and Coffee. The truffles are phenomenal!  Oddly shaped little hunks of bliss, coated in cocoa powder, cacao nibs, nuts and other yummies–and not a shine on the bunch!  The flavors are the best!  Red wine, Earl Grey, lemon, dark roast, and the list goes on–my kind of truffles.





So I’ve done my usual librarian-ly research and decided to experiment with Fran Bigelow’s basic truffle recipe.  And I was hoping to go buy some large hunks of my favorite Scharffen Berger chocolate from my local gourmet kitchen store, only to discover that the owner had recently changed his allegiances to Callebaut chocolate.  I trust his judgement and I’m impressed so far.  It’s delicious stuff!






truffles1My taste-tester baristas at Starbucks approve, the kids approve, my husband approves, but most importantly, I approve–and on Wednesday I’ll be taking some to The Other Mrs. Schmenkman to see if she likes them!  We Schmenkmans have quite the history with truffles.    

Now it’s time to make another batch and try some flavors.  Espresso, bergamot (Earl Grey), raspberry . . . . and if I can perfect a green tea or a lavender truffle, I’ll be a very happy little amateur chocolatiere!  

IKEA Quilt Hack Idea

August 25, 2008

Two weeks, two cities, two IKEAs.  Life is good.  If you’ve never seen IKEA Hacker, it’s worth taking a gander.  I look at things a little differently now when I’m in the store.  

I love the colors IKEA is showing right now in their sheets, bedding, and fabric.  

The bright Bibbi Snurr duvet sets are 100% cotton and I think they will make great quilt backing.  And the price is especially nice since you can get two backs from each cover.  With a pillowcase to spare!  The twin set was $19.95 and the Full/Queen was $29.95.

Too bad I can’t hack fabric with chocolate, other than just eating it while I quilt.  I have another minor hack that I’m working on.  I’ll post it when it’s done.

Summer Inspiration

July 25, 2008

This morning I went looking for color and texture inspiration around my house and gardens, and this is what I came up with.

What’s inspiring you today?

We Have That in Common

June 28, 2008

It’s a good thing I didn’t know that Hershey’s made this chocolate before trying it for the first time, or I might not have given it a chance.

Starbucks/Hershey\'s Chocolate

It’s not quite as good as Ghirardelli’s Espresso Escape, but definitely worthy of a spot on the chocolate shelf!

Color Dissonance

April 14, 2008

I passed the display of soup several times before finally giving in and purchasing them.

Green Soup

I’ve eaten my fair share of this stuff in younger days–especially when Lenten traditions were enforced in my childhood home.  Add a grilled cheese sandwich and we had dinner.  Vegetables be damned–we had souls to protect!  I can no longer handle the sodium overload–thank heavens!

Nostalgia not withstanding, my color sense was thrown into a whirl when I saw these.  They are certainly more appealing than those horrid colored ketchups that were available a few years ago.  And they  fit quite nicely into my current blitz of green fabric accumulation.  I have no cognitive dissonance about that, I can assure you!

All Grown Up and Needing a Nap

January 14, 2008

I’m not feeling very creative lately, but at the same time, I’d like to feel like I’m accomplishing something. The best I can do in the realm of quilting is making some nondescript quilted place mats. As far as cookery is concerned, nothing but an old reliable recipe will do.

I love Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian. One of my favorite recipes within is Grown-Up Granola. With plenty of grains, nuts, brans and dried fruits and other yummies, it’s irresistible. And I’ve made it so many times, it’s definitely reliable.


It even has its very own special roasting pan. Lucky recipe!

Finished Granola Crescent Dragonwagon Grown-Up

It appears that all of my Furry Ones are also lacking in creative motivation today.

Herbie Snoozing Sleeping Corgi Millie Snooze

Maybe I should set my sights on accomplishing a nap. It sure looks delicious.


January 5, 2008

It’s about frakkin’ time that I actually finished a quilt! It landed on the wall just this afternoon. The quilting on the blue fabric is a bit disappointing because it’s only visible when you have your nose pressed up against it. I really should have used a contrasting color to make all that time spent quilting it worthwhile.

It’s beginning to look a lot more like a quilter lives here, though! Onward . . . SEW!

Anybody want this last piece of homemade Christmas caramel? Anybody?

Oooh, sorry. Too late [nom, nom, nom, nom] !

Haaaaaaave You Met Mrs. Schmenkman?

December 19, 2007

Gather round, kids, and I’ll tell you the story of how I met The Other Mrs. Schmenkman.

It was late in 1994, the internet was still new to most people and social networking (like my oldest son) was in its infancy. Quilters were beginning to meet at the corner listserv for coffee and conversation. Of course, where there are quilters and coffee talk, there is also chocolate. One innocent mention of Gayles Chocolates in Royal Oak, Michigan, and a head popped up in cyberspace and said, “That’s in my neck of the woods. Where are you?”

Gayles Chocolate Video Mix

We chatted some more and agreed to meet for coffee and truffles. This was a scary proposition in 1994, and we didn’t dare tell our mothers we were doing such a thing! There were ax murderers on the internet posing as quilters and just waiting for the right moment to lure us into chocolate shops! But, alas, Mrs. Schmenkman was harmless.


Many good times have been spent over Gayles wonderful coffee, truffles, Michigan cherry pecan candy bars, nut clusters, and especially (at least for me) Video Mix.

I liked Mrs. Schmenkman from the start. Turns out we grew up just miles apart, both attended the same university and worked in the library while we were there. Two strong Hoosier women living in suburban Detroit!

And then I moved away. It was one of the most difficult things I ever did. Luckily, friendship transcends space and time and the internet has worked its magic in keeping us close. I miss our late-night Sundays spent quilting, eating Key Lime tarts and chocolate, though.

And B to the W, Mrs. Schmenkman. . . . have you tried this yet?

Gayles Chocolates

I couldn’t resist ordering it when I bought my staff a box of Video Mix pretzels (Yumlicious, Everyguys!!!) I’m thinking spinach salad and some roasted root vegetables.

Miss you! The Other Mrs. Schmenkman

p.s. The only legitimate(ly goofy) picture of us online .