Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cherrie Tassies

I was invited to my first Holiday Cookie Exchange and I fretted over which cookies to bring!  I wanted to impress my fellow cookie exchangers and decided it was a bad time to try a new recipe.

I made these for my first Holiday Tea Party many years ago.  They were a huge hit and I do not remember them sticking to the pan.  A Pam and all stickiness was gone!

Cherry Tassies
adapted from BHG recipe

1 1/4 cups butter, softened              1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar             1    tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder                        1 egg
1/2 tsp salt                                       2 1/2  cups flour

Preheat oven to 360 F.  In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Gradually, beat in the powdered sugar, the baking powder and salt.  Beat in extracts and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can; stir in remaining flour.

Spray a small muffin cup pan with Pam, shape dough into one inch balls and lay each ball into a muffin cup.  Poke each ball gently with your finger and then stick a cherry in the hole.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then carefully pry the tassies out of the cups.  Makes 48 tassies, unless they don’t come out of the pan right, then it makes 10.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chefs De France

We spent an amazing day exploring EPCOT and I didn't expect to eat at such a fancy place.  I fully expected to just get something quick and easy and maybe a glass of wine somewhere.

My husband had a plan.  Which so rare of him.   I love being surprised and was shocked to learn that he had made reservations for our family to eat dinner at Chefs De France in France!

The restaurant is beautiful with golden walls and I felt transported.  Our wait staff spoken to us in french and I tried out my rusty high school french and realized it was too long ago and gave up.

My husband ordered a bottle of wine!  Oh...I felt so fancy!

I could not wait to order and started with Bisque de Homard (Lobster Bisque).  I had this soup once before when iKeith and I were dating and I was anxious to have it again.  It was delicious and creamy...with a mound of fresh lobster in the center.  I could have just eaten this and been very happy!

For my main course, I went with the Plat de cote de boeuf au cabernet avec pates - Beef short ribs braised in Cabernet with pasta, pearl onions and mushrooms.  It was served over noodles.  The ribs were so tender and seasoned so well!  I loved every single bite.

For dessert, I enjoyed Creme Brulee.  By this point I was so full that I decided to share with my husband.  Normally, I wouldn't let him touch my favorite dessert but I was feeling generous.

My husband enjoyed the Coquille St Jacques et crevette. gnocchis Provencales - Seared scallops and shrimps served with gnocchis, provencales (tomato, peppers and fresh herbs. - and my kids each had a flat bread pizza.

At the end of our meal, we were surprised by a visit from Ratatouille!

Click here for Chefs De France Menu. Les Chefs de France on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Army-Navy Game Beer Flight

iKeith is a West Point Graduate.  I've always been very proud of this and I've learned all of the lingo.  Earlier this year, some of my husband's classmates friended me on facebook and I became more interested in the game. 

The football game.

It takes a special kind of person to be a Rabbel Rouser for Army.  They don't win many games and their outfits are kind of ugly.  But I made a point of watching most of the games and not being too disappointed when they lost.

Ironically, the only game I didn't see, against Air Force....they won.

We had big plans for this year's Army-Navy Game!  We'd been invited to watch the game with other alumni at a country club in Aurora and we really wanted to go.  Then the Brazilian babysitter I had lined up left the country without permission and we didn't know if she'd be able to come back so we didn't buy the tickets.  (she's back...everything's fine)

We also failed to order shirts to wear so we changed our plans and just watched the beginning of the game at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Man,  I love hot wings!

iKeith had this and it was really good!  I love judging tasting small amounts of beer.

Sadly, Army lost for the 11th year in a row.

Better luck next year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

How To Judge a Cake Competition

A month or so ago, my friend Jenny Ford asked if I'd be interested in judging a chocolate competition.  I thought about it for about 15 seconds and said YES!

This is the first time I've judged anything professionally (I'm totally putting this experience on Linked In) but iKeith and I judge things all the time.  People's outfits, people's children and beer.  We've judged many glasses of beer.

I was happy that someone finally saw my potential for judging people things!

This was fourth year for the Holiday Chocolate Festival at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.  You will find over 60 vendors available for all of your holiday needs.  Do you need a truffle that is infused with Rosemary for your dear foodie friend?  How about a beautiful belt buckle or pair of earrings?  Have you always wanted to see a dress made out of candy wrappers?  They have so many unique gifts that you're sure to find something you're loved one will adore.

But that's not all!  They also have entertainment.  Next year, I'm leaving my family at home so that I can enjoy wine/beer and chocolate pairing classes and live singing. I'm also going to stay at The Broadmoor ALL BY MYSELF.

There is also a competition.  The catagories are as follows:

  • Cakes and Cupcake: Top 'Holiday Themed' Cake
  • Chocolate and Sweets: Top Sweets Item, Top Chocolate (non-truffle item)
  • Truffles: Grand Champion Truffle, Best Tradition Truffle, and Best Non-Traditional

I judged the Cakes and Cupcake division and let me tell you....tasting and judging eight cakes is hard work.  It is not for the faint of heart or the diabetic!  I will never eat cake again without thinking about the layers of flavor, the consistency of the frosting and the moisture level of the cake.

The cake that I loved the very most, was the Baileys Hot Chocolate Cupcake. It had the most delicious marshmallow-like filling and it even smelled like Hot Chocolate with a shot of Irish Creme.  And the presentation was adorable!

Things you need to judge cake:

  • A clipboard and score card
  • A pencil (instead of a pen) so you can erase when you make mistakes
  • Wine Water to cleanse your palate between cakes
  • Detailed description of the cakes you are tasting
  • Pictures of the cakes you are tasting 
  • Non-drapey clothes so that you don't get frosting on your jacket
  • Good friends with discerning palates to taste with

Whatever you do, no matter how much you love the cake.  Do not hug the cake.

About the judge:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Deliciousness yummicakes trufflefantastic is what the Holiday Chocolate Festival will be.

Tastes of literally hundreds of chocolates?  A stage packed full of entertainment?  A handmade dress made from Godiva Chocolates walking the floor?  Holiday shopping.  All at the Broadmoor on Sunday, December 9.

Entertainment Schedule:

11:00 a.m.          Cookies and Milk with Santa; Pictures using your own camera

12:30 p.m.          Teresa Farney from the Colorado Springs Gazette interviews Jenny Ford from Sugar Loco

1:00 p.m.            Wine and Chocolate Pairings with Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist

1:30 p.m.            Acapella Group, Room 46, from Colorado College

2:30 p.m.            Beer and Chocolate Pairings with Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist

3:00 p.m.            Acapella Group, Room 46, from Colorado College

4:00 p.m.            Wine and Chocolate Pairings with Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist – (Different Wine and Chocolate than the 1:00 class)

4:30 p.m.            Cupcake decorating tips and decorating your own cupcake with owners   from The Dessert Stand

5:00 p.m.            Announcement of Chocolate Contest Winners