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Me Want Honeycomb!

I remember being very small, perhaps four or five, and watching an episode of Sesame Street that showed a beekeeper demonstrating where honey comes from. Near the end of the segment, the beekeeper and his children pulled out big chunks of honeycomb and began eating them straight from the comb. I still remember the way my mouth watered, wondering what it must taste like and being certain that it was delicious.

Fast forward about twenty years to a local Farmer’s Market ad on Facebook: “Homegrown Wildflower Honey in the Halfcomb.” Naturally, I pounced on the chance to fulfill a childhood craving.honeycombUpon opening the box, an overwhelmingly pleasant smell is released. Think beeswax blended with a faint, flowery aroma. I love the smell of beeswax candles – it is an intoxicatingly pleasant, natural scent. The comb is made of soft wax, and while it is a texture that not everybody cares for, it’s all natural, and entirely edible. Personally, I enjoyed the way the honeycomb melted in my mouth in a mixture of silky-sweet nectar. Honey in this form can be eaten any way you like. I personally enjoy it with either tea or simply hot water and lemon, but it can be spread on bread or scones, or quickly melted to become entirely liquid. One thing is for certain – my five-year-old self was right – honeycomb is nothing less than delightful!honeycomb2teaattached signature

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000JAIME_edited-1Last Sunday, my friends and I threw a brunch-time bridal shower for our sweet friend, and soon-to-be-bride, Jaime. It was a beautiful morning of sunshine,  tulips, and stuffed french toast! It’s not every day that the girls and I have an excuse to dress up and drink mimosas, so we welcomed the opportunity to indulge in a little elegance while celebrating the upcoming wedding of our friend.DSC_0018_edited-1

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DSC_0016_edited-1We borrowed from Jaime’s wedding color scheme, which was perfect for a sunny morning in April. A turkey platter doubled as guest book and I turned a decorative banner into a fun afternoon DIY project. The finishing touches were a custom-designed canvas with one of her favorite quotes and thick slices of french toast stuffed with strawberries and cream! The best part of all, however, was spending time with some of my favorite girls – cheers!

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Chocolate Ever After

This past Christmas, my friend Jaime and I decided to go into business together – as chocolatiers!truffle platter I have always enjoyed making truffles because they are just as beautiful as they are delicious, and Jaime had perfected the art of making traditional Ohio Buckeye’s – peanut butter centers dipped in milk chocolate. We thought the holiday season might be a good time to try things out, since candy-making is time consuming and not everyone has the patience to do it. We decided to call ourselves Chocolate Ever After, specializing in handcrafted chocolates and candy that are made-to-order. belgian truffles

My favorite truffles include Oreo, Thin Mint, and Cake Batter, but the best and most decadent of all are the Belgian truffles…a dark chocolate ganache rolled in cocoa-powder. So simple and yet profoundly delicious. They literally melt in your mouth! Even though I was “chocolated-out” by the end of our endeavor, I had to later make a batch of Belgian truffles to enjoy for myself!

One of our most popular truffles, the Oreo, is super simple to make! All you need is: one package of Oreos (crushed), one 8 oz. package of cream cheese, and almond bark or milk chocolate for dipping. Just be careful – they are addicting!

As fun as they were to make, they were equally fun to photograph! We made a bit of Christmas cash too, so all-in-all, it was a fun experience! People in the area can look for our fliers during upcoming holidays. You’ve haven’t seen the last of these chocolate-girls!

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Sunday Morning Brunch

I love weekend mornings. Lingering in our pajamas, watching HGTV, and best of all – brunch! During the week, my busy schedule doesn’t allow me time to cook breakfast (well it could, but that would involve getting up another hour earlier) so the first meal of the day usually consists of a quick smoothie or a mug of oatmeal at my desk. But on the weekends I love to whip up something special and delicious, and today it was quiche! quicheThe best part about quiche is that you can make it with whatever you have on hand. Today it was ham, onions, broccoli, and shredded cheddar.  There’s a super easy  and delicious recipe here! Charlie never did say if he liked it, but after watching him scarf down four pieces, I was pretty confident it was a hit!

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Tripe, It’s What’s For Dinner

Being polite is an admirable quality to possess, and here in the Midwest, we make it our life’s mission not to offend. But on occasion, being deeply polite can put you at a disadvantage. Take for example, the night I was invited to a family dinner in Italy…

When my friend’s father invited us to join them, he told me we would be having Tripe – otherwise known as cow stomach. Honestly, I wasn’t all that afraid. I grew up on a cattle ranch and I’ve eaten liver and heart; I assumed this would be just another tasty organ. But, as is so often the case, I was dead wrong. It was nothing like I expected. Nothing at all. Tripe is thick chunks of stomach lining; dense, with the consistency of what I imagine it would be like to chew on a garden hose. The worst part is the sight of it. It looks like something that should be in a jar in a science lab, not on the dinner table.

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Hungry yet?

The taste of it wasn’t SO bad but I couldn’t get past the consistency and the feel of the suction cup-like folds on one side. Someone passed around a chunk of Parmesan and I began grating cheese into my bowl with the kind of desperation usually reserved for people who are trying to out-swim an angry shark. I covered my food with as much cheese as was socially acceptable before passing it on to the next person.

Earlier, on the drive over, my friend had said to me,“Now, if you don’t like it, just tell them and they can make you a chicken breast or something.” I told him, “I could never say that, it would be so rude to insult their cooking when I am a guest!”

So there I sat, at the Rossetti family table, an angry inner voice screaming Tell them! Tell them you don’t like it and this could all be over! But I couldn’t do it. Years upon years of hearing “Eat what’s on your plate” and careful schooling on being a polite dinner guest prevented me from voicing my opinion, It was as though I were being held by some paralyzing force of courteousness.

Across the table, someone asked if I liked it,“Beth, tu piace tripe?”

“Si! Grazie!” my affirmative reply burst out reflexively before I even had a chance to think. Nice one, idiot, that was your opportunity and you blew it! There was no turning back. It was like the old saying “You made your bed, now eat that bowl of cow stomach.” So, that’s exactly what I very politely did.attached signature

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Blend it, Baby!

This year, I made the choice to take on some healthy habits in order to improve my overall health. One such endeavor involves eating way more raw, natural, and unrefined food. I really believe that processed food is the reason the health of our country is in turmoil. In an effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet, I’ve turned to smoothies, and I have to say – I’m getting pretty good at it!

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that I’ve come up with – enjoy!

Sweet Cucumber Refresher
This smoothie is so light and sweet that whenever I drink it, I immediately feel alert and awake!

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  • Half a ripe banana
  • ¼ – ½ a peeled cucumber
  • A handful of frozen grapes (freezing your grapes makes them sweeter and keeps your smoothie cold!)
  • ¼ cup frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flax seed
  • 1 ½ cups of cold water

Blend in smoothie maker, blender, or however you prefer. I have a Magic Bullet which is the same thing as a Nutri Bullet and it’s very easy and convenient. This smoothie is great at any time of the day!

Choco-Banana-Peanut Smoothie
This one is a real crowd-pleaser! Your first instinct will be to feel very guilty about drinking this, but don’t be! You’ll think you’re indulging in a chocolatey-milkshake but in reality it’s a much healthier version! This one is protein-packed and makes for a very satisfying and nutritious breakfast! In fact, it’s so good that I couldn’t stop myself from drinking most of it before I snapped a picture!

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(I know – this one is not quite as pretty. But I assure that what it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste!)

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 4 Tablespoons dry, organic peanut butter powder (you may substitute with 2 T of regular peanut butter, but be advised that this will make your calorie/sugar count go up!)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic cocoa powder (the higher % the cacao the higher the benefits)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flax seed or chia seed
  • ¼ cup frozen, chopped spinach (if you aren’t used to “healthy-tasting” smoothies, you may want to omit this the first time you make it!)
  • 1 ½ cups soy milk (or almond, coconut, or rice milk! If you’re not avoiding dairy, go ahead and use skim)
  • *Optional: if the cocoa powder is too bitter for your taste, go ahead and sweeten it up to your liking with a bit of truvia or other natural sweeteners. I advise you to use moderation when dealing with artificial sweeteners though!

Now, BLEND! Delicious, right?attached signaturebrunch quichehoneycombchocolate