This and that

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day...

I hope everyone is having a great Valentine's Day!
Take time to reflect on the things that are important to you ~ your loved ones.
Valentines isn't about how many gifts you receive or even that you receive anything,
But is a time to do  something special for the one's that you love the most,
or to do something special for someone be it a stranger, acquaintance or that special someone. 

Happy Valentine's Day  

My day didn't go as quite planned
 Hubby decided that he would stay late at school today and study.
We did have a wonderful morning together
I made one of his favorite breakfast ~ Oven Pancakes
I cut them in heart shapes
and we had our breakfast by candle light...
So it was a prefect start to our day.

Candle Light Breakfast

Heart Shaped Oven Pancakes

I even received a  box of chocolates
Now I wonder if I should go out and buy something for hubby
Or is my Valentine's Breakfast enough?

For our late dinner we are having Moussaka
Do you have any Valentine's plans...

Ϡ₡✻   Marlys

✻✿*.¸.* Enjoy your day....`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.*

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

African Toffee

A couple of nights ago, hubby was craving the toffee that he could get when he was at home in Togo, West Africa.  So, he called his mom to find out how to make it.  After making it I have a new respect for African women.  I knew that they are tough, but I have no idea how they rolled these candies without burning their hands and how they are able to make them small and smooth.  Mine were large and rough, but they still tasted good.  Tonight I decided to make them again and this time I decided to make them into heart shape for Valentines.  Let me tell you this wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  The toffee hardens very fast and my heart shapes were a bit distorted... But they tasted good and that is all that matters.  Right?

African Toffee

1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar - you can use more if you want them sweeter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp anise
oil for area you will be making toffee and your hands

Combine coconut milk and sugar in saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until boiling.  Add lemon juice and anise.  Stirring fairly frequently, continue to cook over medium until candy begins to thicken and turn a brownish colour.  Takes about 15-20 minutes.  Take off heat.  Pour onto a clean surface that has been covered with oil.  Oil your hands and using spoon cut into small pieces and roll in your hands until toffee is smooth.  The second batch I spread the toffee out and used a heart shape cookie cutter, cut into hearts.
*** Please note toffee is very hot and if you are rolling it out by hand it may burn your hands.

Hubby told me that when I rolled mine, I rolled them to big in Togo the women and girls would roll them very small and sell them for 5 CFA each (about a penny).  The would roll enough of them to make some money... So the can of coconut milk was about $1.50.  I should have had more then 150 candies, I had about 40 the first time I rolled them... But maybe I could have sold them for more.


Ϡ₡✻   Marlys

✻✿*.¸.* Enjoy your day....`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.*

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day... What it means to me.

 This past weekend I was listening to Heather Tallman of Basilmomma  on her radio program Around the Kitchen Sink as I was folding clothes ( romantic Huh).  She had on Sandy Fowler of Heart Filled Holidays  and they  were talking about Valentine's Day.  Now mind you, Valentine's Day has never been one of my favorite holidays to celebrate and I am not even sure why not.  This program got me thinking, what does Valentine's mean to me.

Valentine's and what it means to me

As I listened to the program one of the things that one of them said was that Valentine's doesn't just have to be for couples, just because you are not a couple doesn't mean that you can't celebrate Valentines.  Now, why didn't I think about that before.     I have  been single for a lot more years then I have been married and to me Valentine's Day was just for couples.  Now that I am married, it has a different meaning altogether to me.
When Mags and I first started courting and then got married, we lived in different countries, on different continents.  Valentines was just another day that we spent on the phone, talking to each other and wishing that we were together.  Now, we are together and it is just another day... 
So, this year it is going to change.  No I don't think I need a special day of the year to let him know that I love him or give him gifts, but it should be a day that we do things together.  Or that is what I thought we would do... we could spend some time just the two of us, together, eating a nice meal and being a couple.  With my work and his school, spending time together is hit or miss...   Well, I am not sure anything will happen this year, today as we sat down for a quick dinner together, Mags informed me that he has an exam on Friday morning, so guess what he will be doing... Yes, studying... But I hope that we will still have time to sit down and have a nice dinner together between the time that his classes are completed for the day and his studying begins.  We will see.

Trio of Fancy Hearts

Along with the love that we feel for our spouses, families or friend, we have a greater love and that is for our Heavenly Father.  For without this love we have nothing, we would not have the love that we would share with those that are close to us.
Just because you are not a couple doesn't mean that you don't have someone to spend the day with.  Spend it with your friends or family and if by chance there isn't anyone at this time, you can have a wonderful Valentine's Day by yourself.  Splurge, buy your something nice, be nice to yourself and love your self.  Valentine's is also a great day to Pay it Forward, buy the person behind you a cup of coffee, or something that doesn't cost anything, smile at a stranger it may just make their day a little more brighter.

Valentine's Day doesn't mean great gifts, flowers or even chocolates, but it is a day to remind us of the great love that we have to all ~ our loved ones, the people who hold a special place in our hearts.  We don't have to spend lots of money to do this but with simple things to let them know that they are special to us and that we do love them.  So, I think this year I will get out of my comfy sweatpants, take a shower, do my hair and dress up.  I will also set a nice table with candles and have a great dinner waiting for my hubby so that we can spend a few moments together before we need to get back to our busy life of work and studying and 

That is  What Valentine's Means to Me.

I wish you all a wonderful Valentine's Day.  
You all hold a special place in my heart.

A Valentine's Printable for you.
To print click here
Printable will also be shared on Daily Dish Magazine

Ϡ₡✻   Marlys

✻✿*.¸.* Enjoy your day....`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.*

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Ideas for Valentines

Ideas for Valentines

Valentine's is coming fast ~ Less then a week.
I am off this year, so I am sure that I will make something special for Dinner and maybe for Breakfast
I wrote an article over at the Daily Dish Magazine with meal ideas that could be used.
If you need some ideas head over there.
Last year I made BBQ ribs, boiled smashed potatoes and a Caesar salad

I also made some Valentine Chocolate Caramels and Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries.

 Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries
1 lb strawberries, washed, hulled and bottom of strawberries trimmed so they will stand
1/2 lb cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
chocolate for melting
toffee bits for garnish

Wash, hull, (taking a little more of the strawberry out to leave a hole) and cut the bottoms of the strawberries slightly so that they will stand.  Set aside. Once the strawberries are dry, melt chocolate and dip the bottom half of the strawberry in the chocolate.  Let chocolate harden.   Whip Cream Cheese and powdered sugar together, place in decorator bag. Pipe cream cheese mixture in the hulled part of the strawberry.  Sprinkle toffee bits over the top of the cream cheese.  Serve and enjoy.

I had a Valentine's Party on my Facebook page, a couple of weeks ago and got many great ideas to share that could be made for this occasion.  Or any occasion for that matter. 
I hope you enjoy this wonderful array of goodies to make.
Photo credit goes to the owner of the blog from which the recipe is from ~ see descriptions below

Starting from the top and going across:
Black Bean Brownie Cupcakes from Nom Eat Nom ~ I have always wanted to try baking with black beans and these sound so good.  Maybe these will get me started on my Wheat Free Diet.
Princess Cupcakes from My Foodie Universe ~ These cupcakes are vegan and use beet puree or raspberry puree for the colouring instead of food dye.  Perfect for those that don't want their children to be hyper.
Truffles from Sandi's Allergy Free Recipes ~ Truffles that are gluten free and milk free using coconut milk and dairy free dark chocolate.  I am going to have to try these.
Brown Butter Snickerdoodles from Couponing & Cooking ~ Snickerdoodles with a Valentine twist.. I am going to have to go out and find some Heart Dove chocolate.
Madeline's Paris Apple Cake from Cozycakes Cottages ~ Anything with Paris in must be for Valentines... as isn't Paris the city of Love.
Candy Heart Chocolate Cupcakes from Just Dip It in Chocolate ~ I love anything chocolate and the stained glass appearance of the candy hearts makes them beautiful.
Cheesecake Balls from Real Housemoms ~ Another one of my favorite things cheesecakes and decorating them with valentine sprinkles make them oh so special.
Truffle Tart from The Baking Fairy ~ This tart is describe as a buttery short crisp shortbread filled with a chocolate filling that tastes like a Lindt truffle.  Heavenly.
Chocolate Cake Hearts with Cream Cheese Frosting from Who Needs A Cape ~ No one will be able to resist these cute heart cupcakes.
 Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Sandi's Allergy Free Recipes ~ I don't think Valentine's can be complete without chocolate covered Strawberries and they are even more perfect if you make them yourself.
Old Fashion Fudge from Yesteryears ~ I know that I would be putty in your hands if you gave me a piece of this melt- in - you mouth fudge..
Black Forest Brownies from Bibi's Culinary Journey ~Black Forest in a brownie shaped as a Valentine, now this would be perfect.
Almond Toffee Bites from Sandi's Allergy Free Recipes ~This would be perfect in our house as it is made with Almond Butter instead of Peanut Butter.
Mini Chocolate Cups with Strawberries from I Like to Bake and Cook ~ An easy dessert made of chocolate and strawberries
Red Velvet Cupcakes from Feeding Big ~Red velvet a perfect Valentine's treat
Chocolate Raspberry Shortbread from The Rowdy Baker ~ I am a big shortbread fan and combine it with chocolate... YUM!

So many ideas, so little time.  They are all so perfect, I am going to have a hard time to pick out something for my Valentine as I would like to make them all.
What have you made for Valentine's Dinner? I would love to know.

Ϡ₡✻   Marlys

✻✿*.¸.* Enjoy your day....`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.*

 , Links Foodie Friends Friday, Iron Chef Mom,  In and out of the kitchen 
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party ~ February 7/13

It is getting close to the weekend and you know what that means...

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party

I am excited to see what everyone will bring!
But first head over to the Daily Dish and see who's recipes
Caught our Attention from last week.
Each week we will feature the host favorites over at the Daily Dish..
Is your recipe one of them?

Welcome to Foodie Friends Friday!

Please take a moment to read through the rules before getting started, Thank You!

*By linking up you agree that you read these rules and all photos/recipes are original and belong to you. You agree to allow Foodie Friends Friday and any of it's affiliated websites or publications (Social Girls Media, LLC) to use photos, links, and recipes for reprint and/or republishing and distribution without monetary compensation to you. If photos & recipes are used, proper link backs to you will be included.
foodie friends friday, rules
Adding Links back to Foodie Friends Friday and our Button is our only form of advertising to bring in more people to see YOUR recipes.
Please remember to do this. It benefits you! To thank you, we will continue to feature those with links throughout the year on various outlets.

Foodie Friends Friday
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Foodie Friends Friday" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Foodie Friends Friday" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Meet our Co-Hosts at Foodie Friends Friday:

Now Let's meet our sponsor this week!

*Giveaway Disclaimer: Facebook is in no way associated with this website or giveaway and holds no liability for this giveaway. "Liking" facebook pages is optional, not mandatory for entry. Sponsors will be responsible for shipping- if there is a delay or problem with prize, you must communicate directly with sponsor.

This week one lucky winner will win a set of Hand Painted Wine Glasses
 from Barbara ~ Mature Spring Chick
etsy store ~ Little Bits of Lacy 

Little Bits of Lacy 
Aren't they beautiful... 
Make sure you fill out the rafflecopter for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now onto the Party!

Last Week's Winners:

Sponsor Winner

Voted Top 3
Puppy Dog Cupcakes ~ Lemon Drops and Cupcakes
Hortobagyi palacsinta ~ Lemon Drops and Cupcakes
Cherry Cordial Mocha ~ This and That
Most Clicks
Cherry Cordial Mocha ~ This and That
Snicker's Cake ~ Winnish
Puppy Dog Cupcakes ~ Lemon Drops and Cupcakes
Host Favorite
Foodie Friends Friday
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Foodie Friends Friday"><img src="" alt="Foodie Friends Friday" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
This week my host favorite goes to Morsels of Life for Taco Stuffed Peppers
I love anything tacos but alas... hubby does not so either I make these and let him suffer
or I drool over the pictures from Morsels of Life, or make them when he is not at home...
And another great thing about these is that you can make them in your slow cooker

Morsels of Life - Taco Stuffed Peppers
Taco Stuffed Peppers
picture credit Morsels of Life
If you want to be feature you will need to link back to either Foodie Friends Friday or 
the host blog that you linked up with
and maybe this week your recipe will be on Recipes that Caught our Attention
Also I have been pinning some recipes, to see if yours
is pinned checked here.

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Three Bean Chili

Every time that I make chili, I think that I make it different.  This week I had received an article from  my healthcare insurance company and in it was a recipe for chili that sounded very good..  I decided to make.  The recipe called for no meat but as I love meat in my chili I thought I would make it with ground beef this time.  I usually use ground turkey as I feel that turkey is healthier then beef, but I wanted ground beef... After making it and eating it, I think it would be better without the meat.  Next time I make it, I will do it as the recipe suggests.. Maybe :)

Three Bean Chili

2 tbsp oil - I used EVOO
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced mushrooms
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cans diced tomatoes - 1 used only one as that is all I bought, but would be better with 2
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 lb ground beef (cooked) I used ground sirloin - optional, don't add if you would like this to be vegetarian.

Cook ground beef and set aside.  In large saucepan heat oil on medium until hot, add onions, celery and mushrooms, saute until translucence. Add beans, tomatoes, spices and ground beef if using.  Bring mixture to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15- 20 minutes.
Garnish with cheese, sour cream.


I enjoyed this recipe.  My husband thought my other chili was better.  The only big difference with this recipe and with what I normally do is that I add a small can of tomato sauce and garlic.  I think garlic would be great in this recipe too.
Ϡ₡✻   Marlys


`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.* Enjoy your day....`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.*

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine Printables

Do you give out Valentine's or decorate your house for the day?
I have never really been one to do either.
I usually set out a few candles and maybe a few glass hearts around the candles and call it done.
I think if I did anymore, my husband would think I was crazy...
Maybe I will do something a little more this year, but before I can decorate I will need to..
You guessed it, have time to clean my house.

I have done a few things to make it easier for you to do your decorating.
Here are some Valentine Printables for you to use

Valentine Printables

Valentine's Card -  Four valentine's Cards to print out.

I also did a few more Valentine's printables that I posted on the Daily Dish.  You can go here to check them out. All of these printables are free for you to use.  All I ask is that you will not use them to make a profit and if you do use them and post what you have made with them, that you give credit to me. I would love to see what you come up with.  All the sayings in the pictures I found on line and are not my own.

Aunt B has many other creative ideas to use do for Valentine's.  Her post Creative Ways to show "I am nuts about you" has many wonderful ideas that include a photobox, cards and heart shaped foods.  If you need some help in the creativity department, head over to Aunt B's post for some help... I think I might even try some of her ideas, especially the breakfast one.  No I am not going to tell you.. You need to go over and take a look yourself.
Do you have any special Valentine's Tradition? I would love to hear about them.

Ϡ₡✻   Marlys


`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.* Enjoy your day....`*.¸.*✻✿*.¸.*

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