Get 'The Chocolate Bomb' before it’s too late!
The pastry chef at Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta has created a "Chocolate Bomb."
For Charles Barrett, pastry chef at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, a simple bowl of ice cream during National Ice Cream Month will never do. His creation, "The Chocolate Bomb," is a dessert that’s sure to wow anyone who’s lucky enough to try it. And even though July is almost over, there are still a few days for you to indulge in this treat.
Perfect for any day or special night, the spherical delight arrives at the table as if it were meant for a special occasion like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Once centered on the table, with two separate bowls containing a brownie placed before each guest, as well as a table full of sundae fixin's, it's all hands on deck as the chef prepares to drizzle piping-hot caramel sauce over the top of this mound of milk chocolate.
Immediately, the chocolate begins to cave slowly, before there's an eventual collapse. Seconds later, before your very eyes, the top of the bowl (which was clearly cast from a thinner layer of milk chocolate than the bottom), reveals scoops upon scoops of house-made rich vanilla ice cream now lying in a puddle of sauces — chocolate and caramel — to be combined with a rich and buttery, oh-so-chocolaty brownie. If just one word could be used, "sensational" is the only one that would do!
Whether it's for a couple or a small family seeking something out of the ordinary, The Chocolate Bomb is, quite literally, "THE BOMB!" Best of all, if you've got the time, it's not that difficult to make at home, thanks to chef Barrett, who makes the recipe and instructions available on the Four Seasons' website. And if you do make it at home, make sure you invite some friends to stop by and help you to devour it!
Let’s Mull it Over
There have been many crickets chirping on this blog since I last posted, we have lots of catching up to do in the coming year.
But for now, I’m just gonna leave this here because, well, this Mulled Jalapeno Wine thing has become a THING! Which is honestly quite thrilling for me because it all started as a little Crystal recipe I made because it sounded good to me on a crisp Fall day in 2014. I was probably deep into the one-year-old chasing and three-year-old sassing phase. What kind of winemaker’s wife would I be if I didn’t use that experience to craft a warm cocktail recipe we could some day turn into a product itself? A lazy one!
So fast-forward to present day and here you have it folks – the Mulled Jalapeno Wine that started in our kitchen and is now selling out at the Saturday markets faster than I can make it.
So much seasonal love packaged in a 1.5L pouch!
There’s cinnamon, there’s clove, there’s star anise (it’s completely ok if you have no idea what that last item is). There’s apple cider, there’s dry white wine, and there’s – you guessed it – jalapeno wine. Stir a spoonful of honey in there and call it a season, friends. I hope yours is served warm with minimal whining from your in-laws…
The me who is now dodging footballs thrown by a four-year-old, making school lunches for a first grader, keeping up with clients in the studio and diligently organizing the chaos involved with opening a tasting room. (Remember how I mentioned we have some catching up to do?) Let’s do that soon…
(Psst – If you’re local you can find us and this mulled wine situation at the Indoor Farmer’s Market at 8th & Fulton in downtown Boise every Saturday until Dec. 23rd [9am – 2pm], as well as at the Capital City Holiday Market on the Grove every Saturday until Dec. 16th [10:30am – 2:30pm].)
Roast Harlequin Squash, Cauliflower and Mature Cheddar Soup
Some weeks ago the lovely people at Proware sent me a selection of tri-ply copper pans to try out. Launched in 2012, ProWare have developed a range of cookware available exclusively from Lakeland. Their three layer structure consists of a copper exterior, an aluminium core second layer and a thin layer of stainless steel inside the pans. Both copper and aluminium are very efficient conductors of heat and the stainless steel interior is durable, hygienic and resists corrosion.
My first impression when I opened the parcel containing this fantastic selection of cookware was one of awe. I arranged the pans in the corner of my kitchen and left them there for a few days, gazing at their shining beauty like one would a pile of glittering treasure.
I’ve been using these pots in favour of my old stainless steel pots (pictured hanging above my head in my blog banner above) now for a few weeks and I must say I am officially in love. I have a very temperamental cooker with hobs that don’t heat evenly. Using my old pans I would have to arrange the food so that most of it cooked on one side of the pan over the other, but when I started using these tri-ply pots this changed.
The first thing I noticed was how quickly the pans heat up and the heat is evenly distributed. I can now cook using the whole base of the pan! I can also use a lower heat setting to achieve the same results as before. I’ve also learned that the handles heat up too, something which didn’t happen with my old glass pan lids, so oven gloves are essential when removing the lid from a hot pan.
Immediately after using the pans for the first time the copper colour started to change, and this is a natural part of the product which appeals to me immensely. My copper pans have turned from shades of copper to orange, red and yellow, like the Autumnal changing of the leaves. Eventually these pans will turn to a tarnished copper penny colour but they can be brought back to their shining new appearance with Brasso.
There’s a wide range of pots and pans to choose from, and for this meal I used the 10 cm casserole dish, the 12 cm mini frying pan and the 24 cm stock pot. It took some convincing of the children for them to understand that these miniature pans were not children’s toys just because they were small. Yes, they are Mummy’s to cook with!
The following recipe was inspired by a Cauliflower and Vintage Cheddar soup found in the New Covent Garden Food Co. Soup for All Seasons recipe book which I significantly adapted by including roasted garlic, a leek, single cream, roast pumpkin and spiced pumpkin seeds. If you don’t have a harlequin squash available just omit that step, or you could use butternut squash and shop-bought pumpkin seeds.
To make the mini harlequin squash bowl, cut off the top where it will cut flat under the stem. Remove and save as much flesh as you can for roasting and reserve the seeds. Although I only had one squash to work with, it would be ideal to use one per person.
Our daughter was delighted to be presented with her soup in the harlequin squash and I have quite the sense of satisfaction knowing I kept it alive long enough to fruit!
Ogwumike chose Stanford over Baylor, Duke, Connecticut, Tennessee andNotre Dame. She was a member of USA Under 18 Team that won gold in Argentina on July 23–27, 2008. Nneka tallied 20 points and 15 rebounds in the championship game of the Under-18 FIBA Americas. She led team USA to a 5-0 record while leading the team in scoring and rebounding. She was named MVP of this tournament in Argentina.
Nneka had also played with her sister, Chiney Ogwumike in Stanford.
On January 23, 2010, Ogwumike broke the Cardinal record for rebounds in a game with 23 to go along with 30 points in a 100-80 win at Oregon.
On December 20, 2011, Ogwumike scored a career-high 42 points on 19 for 27 shooting while also grabbing 17 rebounds in a 97-80 win over the sixth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols.
On January 7, 2012, Ogwumike surpassed both the 2,000 point and the 1,000 rebound thresholds for her career with a 33-point, 16 rebound performance against Oregon State.
Ogwumike left the Stanford Cardinal as the second all-time leading scorer for the women’s basketball program behind only Candice Wiggins.
There is was. The "plus sign" we'd been praying for. I can't believe it has been three years since we first found out about our Sweet P.
With that plus sign came a whole new slew of questions. What can I eat? What positions can I sleep in safely? . Do you mean to tell me I can't have coffee AT ALL.
And with those questions came the advice. Oh, you know what I'm talking about. It's like now that you're pregnant, you have lost all ability to think for yourself. Friends, family, even strangers in the grocery store parking lot feel like they need to tell you the whats, whens, whys, and hows of being pregnant. And the "stranger in the grocery store parking lot?" That actually happened. "You know you shouldn't eat deli meat, right?" yelled Stranger-Danger from across the aisle as I was loading my groceries into my car. Thanks for your concern, ma'am.
But with each passing month, you become more and more aware. You're going to be a mom. Those motherly instincts kick in way before the due date, let me tell you. Trust your gut. You will be fine.
But if you're like me, you're still going to scour the internet for all things pregnancy. Amid all the uncertainty, all the "new," it can be difficult to simply rest and enjoy those 40 weeks. They may seem to be dragging by, but soon, your own little sweet one will be out in the big world.
For me, each month brought with it a new challenge. Here are my tips and tricks for staying healthy and sane for the next nine months.
Month one: Confirming the Plus Sign
Yay! We're pregnant. Now what? First things first: call your doctor. Actually, call your mom. Then call your doctor. My doctor waited to do the ultrasound until I was eight weeks along. A friend's doctor did her ultrasound at five-six weeks along. It's really up to the discretion of your doctor. Be sure you love your doctor, by the way. The two of you are about to get really close. In the few weeks before my ultrasound, I started a prenatal vitamin, watched what I ate, and counted down the minutes until I would see that tiny jellybean of a baby growing inside me. Any questions, call your nurse. That's what she's there for!
This was the picture my husband and I posted to social media to announce that Sweet P was on the way. My tip for this? Make it fun. Make it special. You only get to announce your first pregnancy once, so go all out. Feel like shouting it from the roof tops the second you find out? Do it! Want to wait until the first ultrasound (like me)? That's fine, too. Or even after the first trimester. It's whatever you choose. I just probably wouldn't wait until delivery. That could be a little too late )
Month three: Morning Sickness
Month four: Maternity Clothes
Month five: The Gender Reveal.
Finally! The month you've been waiting for! At least, if you plan on finding out the gender of your baby. For me, that was the only thing I could think of. I HAD to know. If there had been a pregnancy test available to buy that said "You're pregnant. It's a girl," right away, I would have paid I don't even know how much money to buy that stick. The waiting drove me insane. And just like the pregnancy announcement, the gender announcement should be as special as you want. If you want it to be just you and your spouse in the doctor's office, that is just as good as a color-coordinate cake or a box of balloons, which by the way is what we did. Our ultrasound tech wrote the gender on a slip of paper in an envelope. We gave the envelope to a friend who met us at our house with a box of either blue or pink balloons. We counted to three and opened the box.
Finally knowing that our Sweet P was a girl was the best part. We got to call her by her name and pick out tiny dresses. For me, that made it even more real. My DAUGHTER was growing week by week.
Another thing that starts to happen this month. sleeping becomes a real issue. I couldn't get comfortable. If I laid on my back, I felt like I was suffocating. Laying on my stomach was not an option anymore. So, side-sleeping it was. My recommendation: get a BODY PILLOW!! Seriously, it was my best friend. It gave my growing stomach the support it needed so I could be as comfortable as possible.
Month six: Pregnancy Brain
Oh, its real, folks. Very real.
You always hear pregnant women blaming things on "pregnancy brain." Yeah, like that's even a thing. IT IS. One night, I had made a giant pot of broccoli soup (remember those cravings I was telling you about?). I was so excited. I was going to put it in individual containers to carry to work for lunch the rest of the week. Did you catch that? I was going to. Instead, I left the whole darn thing sitting on the kitchen counter all night, ruining it. Combine that fact with the crazy-pregnant-lady hormones, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a meltdown that would rival 2007 Britney Spears. Advice for dealing with pregnancy brain: make lists, get organized, and learn to say "no." There are things you have to do write those down on a list. Meal-prepping should have gone on my list. It did not, and there I was, soup-less. But you do not have to do everything! Say no to the unnecessary things. Use that time to relax. Goodness knows, you won't get to for much longer.
Month seven: Maternity Photos
|PS- I got this entire outfit at a consignment store!|
Month eight: Packing the hospital bag
As if you couldn't tell from my pictures, by the eighth month, I was ready to pop. Literally. My doctor had said baby could come at any time, so for the next few weeks we waited for "any time" to come. We made sure hospital bags were packed and ready to go. Looking back, there are so many things I should not have bothered packing and so many other things I wish I had. The adorable set of pajamas I bought to wear in the hospital? The magazines? They stayed in the bag. Some things I highly recommend bringing? Two big, fluffy, dark brown towels. The white hospital towels were awful for postpartum. Not to mention scratchy and small. Another item is toilet paper. That one-ply nonsense the hospital supplied was not gonna cut it.
At month eight, I was so uncomfortable. My back hurt 24/7 my ankles were a thing of the past. To help with the back pain, I would stand under the shower and let the hot water hit directly on my lower back. It felt amazing. For my swollen feet, I propped them up on pillows. Not only did it make me feel like a princess, but it helped alleviate some of the swelling. That was also the month I went for a pre-delivery pedicure. If my feet were going to be hoisted up for all to see, I wanted my toes to at least look cute. I got pink polish in honor of baby girl. And the pedicurist doing it was so sweet. She gave me an extra long leg and foot massage before painting my tootsies. She was an angel! I highly recommend this little treat. You've earned it!
Month nine: Make Room for BABY!
A tiny, perfect, eight-pound, 20-inch-long bundle of joy.
I hope my tips and tricks work for you and your pregnancy. If not, you will find what does. Trust your "mama-instincts," and enjoy every moment of those beautiful 40 weeks! Time will fly by! And, trust me, it will never slow down again.
158 days, 3792 hours, or 227,520 minutes
That’s how long it’s been since I moved from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Boston, Massachusetts. I told myself I’d reflect about my move to Boston at some point – what made sense, a month? 3 months? 6 months? Nevertheless, you’re getting a 5.5 month recap. For those who know my background, I moved around a ton growing up – mainly every few years along the southern states. I went to one elementary school in China and three elementary schools in the US, and thankfully just one middle school and one high school within the same school district thereafter. I don’t remember the moving aspect being hard, mainly because my parents are my best friends and we just went through the changes together.
I admitted that college was a hard move. I share (a lot) that Arkansas was one of the easiest moves. I’m about to divulge that Boston is the most emotionally raw and scarring move I’ve made.
Rewind to February/March 2016, when the first thoughts of moving to the northeast starting brewing in my head, I was curious. I was excited. I’d never lived anywhere north of Northwest Arkansas, and I figured I should explore different areas of the US while I’m young, single, and unattached. I played around with the idea of moving to San Francisco in my late college years, I even tossed around with the idea of Seattle. When the decision came around the last Thursday of April, I started mentally preparing my journey ahead.
Come first week of June, I was shifting in my seat, getting ready to leave Arkansas. Slowly, as the days crept to June 17, I realized I didn’t want to leave the Natural State. With some coaxing and reassuring by my dear friends, I somehow boarded the two flights and found myself at Boston Logan Airport on a cool, summer Friday night. All of a sudden, I didn’t know what to do. Other than the fact that my apartment was furnished and the concierge kindly showed me the ropes, I was with 2 luggage bags in hand, first hungry, then lonely.
I’ll separate the next couple of milestones to give you the best idea of how the last
First month: truly a blur. I was getting settled in my new role, and we had pre-planned travels that needed to happen, from Neenah to Schenectady, I was scrambling to get acquainted with my new team, my new office, and my new customer. I barely had time to eat, let alone think and reflect.
Second month, more exactly, week six: WOW I HATE BOSTON. I finally let myself come up for a breath and never had I felt more lonely, frustrated, stressed, and tired in my life. I frantically called old co-workers, mentors, and friends, asking them why I felt this way and pointedly told them the northeast is not for me, and I’m moving back to the south the first chance I get. My new small group (from church) probably thought to themselves, who is this crazy southern girl that can’t stand the new city? I couldn’t handle it either. It wasn’t until a new friend did not hesitate to reprimand me that I was making the judgment way too quickly and needed to give Boston a chance. Not sure if it was the alcohol and oyster happy hour talking, or if he was just being an honest brother in Christ. I listened.
September: After a few days in the White Mountains with my parents, a few days in Austin for on-campus recruiting, finishing my first planning meeting with the customer, and a long weekend in Minneapolis with my best gal pal… I oddly felt happy to be back in Boston. I missed my small group. I missed my apartment. I missed cannoli and pasta. Wait, am I starting to feel at home? What?
October: I wish I wrote down the specific days that I felt really good about my new life. Because they were so instrumental to my growth. I spent every weekend of October in a different city, and that alone probably gave me enough room to give Boston a true reflection. That was it. I had multiple birthday plans (yes, that’s one measurement I use), I had options on the weekends, and I was being invited to social outings other than bachata socials. I looked forward to seeing individuals and I was opening up about my struggles (the true ones, not the I wish I had more sleep ones). This was it. Month four was a transformative one.
November: Still riding on the wave of October, I’m realizing that I like Boston. (gasp, you didn’t see this coming a few paragraphs ago, right?) I had two sets of friends visit, I had a weekend to myself, and I’m writing this as I’m on my way home to Houston for the week. I love where I live, I love the friends I’ve made, and I love the church I go to, love on, and serve in. I went to a Friendsgiving event where a friend from church hosted 60+ people in her house. At the bottom of it all, it’s about the people. It always has been. The cannoli I consume are just bonus.
It took five whole months. Five long months for me to put down shallow roots, probably a couple more months to let them flourish and hopefully not die in the snow. At the end of it all, I was just so impatient with myself. I relied on my past experiences and my ‘adaptability’ (yes, that is a strength I refer to often). I thought I was so set because I’d moved X number of times growing up. I completely forgot that God was the provider of it all – He gave me the community I had in college, in Arkansas, and the community I go home to every time in Houston for support. I relied on God more than ever in these trying months – there were days I’d come home from a 10-hour day at work, making dinner, catching on my shows, and truly wondered…why did I move here?
There were many factors I couldn’t control – the timing of the move, the unfortunate loss of Fitz, and how the new role came to me, but I could control my judgment of the city, the people, and the daily choice to try to love Boston. Quite a few people will tell you that they worried for me, because they’d never see me so low/upset in a consistent time frame, but I also closed myself off from old friends. It was all to protect myself from having to explain why I hated the city and it was easier just to deal with it alone.
In the past couple weeks, certain individuals have asked me how long I think I’ll be in Boston for and where the next destination is. For the first time, I don’t know, and I don’t have a plan (shocking. ). I will say I’ve become less Type A since moving here (a few of you will say your hallelujahs), and that’s totally okay for me. I’ll see if I survive my first true winter – apparently 3 snow flurries in Arkansas didn’t count. I love my job. That hasn’t changed. I’m in the process of bringing home a cat. I’m dying for you all to meet him. At the end of the day, I’m so grateful for the process, and I will always stand by the statement that I will never regret this move. Here’s a first dab at Thanksgiving vibes for ya.
- Ally Rednour,6, a first grader from Louisville , Kentucky was dragged by a bus after getting her backpack stuck in the door Friday
- The bus driver did not stop until a car following the bus pulled up and started beeping
- Ally was taken to a local hospital with road rash and released on Sunday after being held for observation
- Police and the school district are both investigating the incident
Published: 17:58 BST, 18 May 2015 | Updated: 23:58 BST, 18 May 2015
A young girl suffered a horrible accident on Friday afternoon.
Ally Rednour, 6, a first grader at Wilkerson Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky was getting off the bus at around 4pm when her backpack got stuck in the door.
The bus driver then took off, dragging the girl alongside the bus.
Horrifying: A young girl in Louisville , Kentucky was dragged by a bus (above) after getting her backpack stuck in the door Friday
Brave girl: Ally Rednour was treated for road rash and severe abrasions at the hospital after the incident (above) and released on Sunday
Thankful: 'I just wanted to say thank u for all the support & concerns & prayers but please keep them coming as it is going to be a long road for her & myself!' said Ally's mother Amy (right) on Facebook
Police tell NBC 3 that Ally was dragged for almost 100 feet, though neighbors believe it was more like 100 yards, before the driver of a red Chevy Camaro that was following the bus raced ahead and beeped at the driver until they finally stopped the vehicle.
'I seen the kid dragging that way,' Matthew Lundergan, the driver of the car, told The Indianapolis Star.
'People were all yelling, trying to hit the bus, and the bus just kept going. And I just jumped in the car and went chasing after it.'
July Is National Ice Cream Month at Four Seasons, Atlanta - Recipes
This post could quite rightly be a follow up to my original quince paste post.
I do believe I have found an easier way to make quince paste! Which is a good thing, considering how much time is invested in stirring a pot (cauldron?) of bubbling, lava mass.
|Quinces from our neighbour's tree|
Quinces cooking away gently while sleeping? Fantastic!
The following day, they were whizzed in the food processor until they were as smooth as they were going to get..with the addition of a little of the cooking water to help thin them down.
After all the flesh and water had been whizzed, the puree was added to my largest, favourite pot and 3/4 of the puree weight was added in sugar (for this batch I had 3.6kg of puree and added 2.7kg of sugar..which only just squeezed into my pot - phew!)
This part still takes some time. The enormous mass was heated gently until boiling, removing any scum that rose to the surface and stirring from time to time. I allowed the puree (lava?) to bubble gently for 2 hours while I was busy pottering, doing other things in the kitchen..
Soft, fresh quince paste for cheese and crackers. Or perhaps that should be..cheese and crackers for the sole purpose of carrying quince paste to waiting mouth?
July Is National Ice Cream Month at Four Seasons, Atlanta - Recipes
Here are my butternut squash. I cut off the stem end, halved them, scooped out the seeds, and turned them upside down on a cookie sheet that was covered in aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. I poured a half a cup of water around them and put them in an oven at 350 degrees. It took about 1 hour and 20 minutes when my fork could go throught the skin and flesh easily. This is what they looked like pulled out from the oven.This is the finished product. I found that using an ice cream scoop was pretty effective in getting the flesh from the skin. I mashed the flesh and whipped it with a beater until it was smooth. I measured it into 2 cup servings, put it in a Ziploc freezer bag, squeezed out the air, and stuck it in the freezer. Finished!
Did you wonder if I tried any of this? The answer is yes. It was nothing like I thought it would be. Of course, there was no other flavors or sugar on it, so I could get a true assessment. It tasted like a sweet potato -minus the sweet with a touch of stewed pumpkin -minus the sweeteners. I can see why this squash has been used in so many recipes to fill in for pumpkin. The taste is so very similar. It will be interesting to experiment with in the kitchen!Here are the acorn squash. To keep them nice and mashable, I cut them in half, scooped out the seeds, put the flesh side down (flipped them over for the pic to cool), poured a half a cup of water around them, and baked them at 375 degrees for about an hour on a cookie sheet that was lined in foil and sprayed with cooking spray. I must say, these were very small in size, so I think that is the reason for the quick baking time.
Some of these little gems had a very tough skin, so thanks to a tip from the Internet, I scored a line from stem to tip on both sides, where my cut would be, and microwaved for 1 1/2 minutes. It heated them up enough to make for an easier cut. A word of caution, they are hot when they come out of the microwave, so be careful!Here is the cooked product. With the rind being so tough, it was a whole lot quicker to use the ice cream scoop. It went faster than the butternut. Then, I proceeded to mash and blend until smooth. (I read a tip that a blender will pull any stringy pieces out if you didn't get the squash scooped out correctly before baking.) One could also use a hand puree blender, but my squash seemed to do well with the regular hand mixer. I packed them the same as the butternut for freezing.
I read in more than one article that the more orange color on the acorn squash the sweeter the taste. Hmmm. I will have to test that info next year. I am sure all of these veggies (and squash are considered fruits as well due to their seeds) will be in my garden.
Here are a few bags of my frozen squash getting transferred to the deep freeze. The camera does not do the beautiful colors justice. Like I said in an earlier post, I want to go 'greener' in my life and more natural. It's time to open the door to some new flavors!
July Is National Ice Cream Month at Four Seasons, Atlanta - Recipes
The next day, we ordered room service for breakfast and drank mimosa we hit up the spa for most of the day and it was so incredible. Oh my gosh! We were so relaxed! We had this awesome two hour treatment and then we had the entire nail suite to ourselves while we received Moroccan oil manicures and pedicures and listened to the nail girl talk to us about all the famous people she has worked on. After we left the spa we went back to the room and ordered more room service for snacks and crawled into our beds and watched a movie. We are total moms because laying in bed and watching a movie is a vacation! That night we went out for a delicious dinner and came back to get into bed. Ha! It truly was an amazing weekend spent with a friend and I we both said we were ready to go home and be mommies again!
I came home Sunday and the coming up week Elle was going to be out for Spring Break so Kenny and I decided at the last minute to take a trip down to the beach! The weather has been so cold and gloomy we desperately needed some sunshine. Although the forecast wasn't looking so hot for the beach either!
We decided to leave Monday afternoon and stop halfway which gave me a small amount of time to pack but I managed to get it all done! While we were loading the car my friend Kelly drove by with some of the girls in the neighborhood and Elle hopped on and went cruising!