Friday, November 30, 2012

Wholesome Wednesday: Roasted Garlic Rosemary Focaccia

This week's Wholesome Wednesday is really, really late.  The only excuse I have is the holiday weekend was exhausting, Miss Rosie's 12th birthday was Tuesday and I made a blogging work space for all my stuff this week.  Those are mostly good excuses.  You'll be seeing something about Miss Rosie's birthday soon.

I'm also incredibly excited to have a space for all my blogging stuff.  I cleaned out a space in the basement so I could put together our huge Ethan Allen trestle table.  I still have to rig up part of the table for photos, but its incredibly great to have all my stuff in one spot and not spread all over the house.  :)  We'll see if that keeps me more organized.

Anyway back to the post.  I recently came across Stanley Tucci's new cookbook.  I love, love, love the recipes in it.  Earlier this week I tried my hand at the rosemary focaccia.  While it was good, it wasn't great and the directions were a little off.  I've changed it up by adding 2 (that's right two!) whole heads of roasted garlic and letting my bread machine do most of the work.  I also changed up the milk, I used a cup of water with 5 tablespoons of dry milk.  Totally could not tell the difference.

Roasted Garlic Rosemary Focaccia
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups flour
2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 package dry yeast
2 heads garlic
olive oil for drizzling
1 5 inch sprig of fresh rosemary

Place ingredients in bread machine following the guidelines for your machine.  Mine has me put them in this order: water, milk, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, flours, sugar and yeast.  Set your bread machine to the dough cycle and let it work its magic.

While the bread machine is going, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Find a small loaf pan and coat the bottom with olive oil.  Slice the tops of two heads of garlic, so the tops are cut off each clove.  Place in loaf pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover loaf pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  When done, remove from oven and let cool.  Squeeze cloves out of garlic heads and roughly chop.

When bread machine is done mixing dough, turn out onto a well floured surface.  Flatten dough a little, the sprinkle with half of the roasted garlic.  Knead dough 6-8 turns or until garlic seems evenly incorporated.  Allow dough to rest for about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, grease a 10 x 15 inch rimmed cookie sheet.

After dough has rested, use a rolling pin to roll out to a 10 x 15 inch rectangle.  Place on greased cookie sheet.  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Then sprinkle with rest of roasted garlic and rosemary leaves.  Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wholesome Wednesday: Snicker Doodles

Earlier last week I was looking for a cookie recipe that would go well with Starbucks Holiday Blend coffee. I ended up getting some for the women at the prayer shawl group and thought they might like some cookies to go with it.  I'd actually never made snickerdoodles before, I'm not quite sure why though.  I mean we love cinnamon and sugar, but I've never had them in a snickerdoodle.  I've always loved Mexican wedding cookies, which are also cinnamon and sugar, so I've always made those.

Let me tell you, if you've never had a snickerdoodle before that they're awesome.  Snickerdoodles are actually a soft, chewy, craggy-looking cookie that go great with holiday coffee blends.  Or just with some milk.  :)

This recipe comes from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.  I've changed the size of the cookies as their recipe made bake shop sized cookies.  I prefer mine smaller


1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.  Combine 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon together in a shallow dish.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

In a large bowl, beat together rest of sugar, butter and shortening until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each to incorporate.  Reduce mixer speed and slowly add flour, mixing till combined.  Give the dough a few final stirs with the spatula to make sure the flour is fully incorporated.

Using a single tablespoon scoop, scoop out a ball of dough and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place on cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes until the edges are set and cookies have cracks.  Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Susie Savors: Let me say, we love Snicker Doodles.  It's hard to resist fresh out of the oven cookies, but a Snicker Doodle is one step up from that.  Warm and soft but with that sugar cinnamon coating that melts in your mouth.  They do pair well with coffee, but honestly who can wait that long?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Indie Craft Galore

So many things going on in Chicago this weekend.  There's the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show, the opening of the recently moved Old Navy in the Loop, and the indie craft show: The DIY Trunk Show.

I am so excited to attend The DIY Trunk Show tomorrow!  I've recently moved to Chicago for graduate school and have begun to explore the city and attend indie craft events.  In September, I attended the Randolph Street Market, which had an indie craft section.  I'm lucky because this show is only 10 minutes on the Redline from my apartment!  I love craft shows that are comprised of indie designers because it's fun to meet people my age and see what they're making.  Of course, the shopping aspect also counts!  

I bought these pages of illustrations that were $1.00 each at the Randolph Street Market and did a quick and cheap DIY to hang them in my kitchen.  I went to Michaels and bought jewelry wire, mini clothes pins from the kids craft section, and I already had these plant hanger hooks.  I have a ton of these pages that I plan to hang up when I live in a larger apartment.

I plan to check out the Trunk Show tomorrow morning and hope to find more decorative art.  I am also meeting my fellow Rosie Discovers bloggers for lunch at Navy Pier while they take a break from tasting chocolates at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show.  

Chicago Fine Chocolate Show - Friday Nov 16th, 2012

Today was finally THE day for the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show!  Talk about excitement.  We saw most of it!  You can check out all our awesome (yet-unedited) photos in the slideshow below!  So much to look at and taste.

Google+ album

Starbucks at Sam's Club #DeliciousPairings

Alison:Did you know that its Starbucks Holiday Coffee Season?

Susie: No...I didn't know there was a coffee season.

Alison:Well it is!  We absolutely love all things coffee at my house, so we headed out to Sam's to see if they had some.  Even though we use lots of coupons when shopping, coffee is typically something you never find a great deal on.

Susie:I think you mean never.

Alison:For this reason we try to find coffee brands we love at stores like Sam's because they're a much better deal.  I mean where else can you pick up a 28 oz. bag of Starbucks coffee for $18.98?

Susie: I can't think of anywhere.  Unless of course you travel straight to the source.  But that would include airfare and most likely a strange journey with donkeys or some other stinky animal.

Alison: Uhhh...I think you over thought that one.

Susie: Says the person who'll end up on a donkey.

Alison: That will never happen. Another reason I wanted to pick up the Starbucks holiday blend was to use it as a little treat for the Prayer Shawl group over at Our Lady of the Wayside since November 15th was National Philanthropy day.  They knit and crochet shawls for those in need.  Their annual bazaar is coming up this weekend, November 17th, and I wanted them to have a little treat for all their hard work.

Susie: It's true.  They are quite amazing.  I mean, not many people knit and crochet in such quantities.

Alison:I expected to see a huge holiday Starbucks display, but there was only this sad little box of holiday coffee in the coffee aisle.

Susie: I know, it's more of a sad shelf.

Alison:I didn't see any other holiday coffee displays either.

Susie: Giant goose egg.

Alison:I also picked up some pumpkin and cinnamon muffins to make it more of a #DeliciousPairings coffee klatch for the volunteers.

Susie: Muffins.  They remind me of puffins, except you know with a P instead of an M.  Puffins are so cute!

Alison: I suppose they are...

Susie: Plus puffins remind me of all sorts of holiday decorations and cartoons!

Alison:As you can see, I'm not the only one who loves a great holiday blend! Seven decided to love the bag while I was setting up my Starbucks Holiday coffee spread. 

Susie: He is well trained.  There's a reason he's the favorite.  He has great taste!

Alison:No one can resist coffee in our house. The proof is in the sniffing.

Susie: *deep inhale* I don't smell any coffee.

Alison: It's not coffee time.  You had coffee this morning!

Susie: What?  I can't have more?

Alison: Not right now! While I do love lattes, I also love a great cup of coffee at home.  I tend to pick artisan roasted coffees as I love all the flavors you get in a cup.

Susie: More accurately a whole pot.  One cup is not enough.

Alison: I do love a holiday blend as it has great flavor notes such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Picking up a bag this size is always a great idea if you love to brew your coffee at home like we do.

Susie: We almost always use a french press to make coffee as it allows all the great tasting oils to shine through flavor-wise.

Alison: I typically find Starbucks coffee to be a little strong tasting.

Susie:That's one way of putting it.  Dark might be another.

Alison: But the holiday blend was surprisingly tasty with a little cream and sugar added.  First, we tried the coffee alone.

Susie: Then we quickly mixed until our lips no longer puckered.

Alison:My sister and I definitely noticed a holiday spice taste.

Susie: Which is a good thing, or else that'd be one lame holiday blend.

Alison:Next we tried the muffins, I had the cinnamon.

Susie: I had the pumpkin.

Alison:Then, it was time to see if they brought out extra flavor notes in the coffee.

Susie: Surprisingly, they did!  After tasting a treat containing similar flavors brought out the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger notes in the Starbucks holiday blend.

Alison:This afternoon I brought the coffee and muffins over to the Prayer Shawl group.  The ladies over there love coffee and treats.

Susie: Heck, who doesn't love coffee and treats?  Probably that donkey carrying all that coffee.

Alison:They were excited to get to try them.  Most commented how much better the coffee tasted after they'd tried the treats.  The huge bag of Starbucks holiday coffee will last them well into the new year!

Susie: They like to savor their coffee.

Alison:Sam's Club will open at 7 am on Black Friday and will greet members with free Starbucks Holiday Blend coffee and Artisan Fresh pastries (while supplies last).

Susie: Coffee?  Can I have some coffee now?

Alison: I don't see why not!

Susie: Wooo! *slurp* Mmmmm.

“I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric.  All opinions are my own."

Asian Lean Cuisine #FrozenFavorites

Alison:Today I headed out to Sam's to see if I could find some healthy, tasty and quick frozen meals.  Lately I haven't had much time to make sure I'm eating a healthy lunch.  When I get pressed for time I'm most likely to pick up a latte for lunch as opposed to finding time to make a healthy meal.

Susie: It's true.  She substitutes warmth for nutrition.

Alison:I know this isn't the best choice, but at least I'm getting protein and calcium in
my lunch as opposed to a meal of junk food.

Susie: At least you admit it!

Alison:At Sam's I got caught up in some of the holiday displays on my way back to check out the frozen meals.  Aren't these trifle bowls adorable?

Susie: It's hard to resist a penguin you can fill with sugar!

Alison:I also loved these holiday cookie jars!  So cute!

Susie: Except that the penguins have hats.  That's just wrong.  When have you ever seen a penguin with a hat?

Alison: I haven't?

Susie: Exactly!  Santa has a hat.  Snowmen have hats.  Penguins do not have hats!

Alison: But it's cute not a real penguin!

Susie: Think of the children!  We're teaching them that penguins wear hats.  When is that bit of knowledge ever going to be useful!

Alison:My Sam's didn't have a huge healthy selection of frozen meals, but they did have these Asian Lean Cuisines.

Susie: You can't expect them to have everything.

Alison:I love most Asian flavors so these were an easy choice!

Susie: I love easy choices.

Alison:Eleven dollars isn't too bad a price point for six healthy frozen meals.  I mean if I were buying tall lattes, I'd spend about $4 a piece.  Three of those a week would pay for these six meals!  That's a two for one savings right there!

Susie: If you were buying that many lattes, which you don't.  Because the coffee you make is better and cheaper.

Alison:You can check out my shopping trip on Google+.

Susie:It's great that we've got these in the freezer, ready to go whenever we need a quick lunch.

Alison:But I thought what healthy side dish could I make with them?  Baked Egg Rolls!  I love egg rolls, but always feel guilty when I eat the fried ones.  It's a conundrum because that's what makes them taste so yummy too.

Susie: I know, but sitting over a pot of oil isn't exactly my idea of a good time.

Alison: Baked egg rolls is the perfect compromise because you get the yummy egg roll taste without all of the fat.  The trick to a great baked egg roll is pre-cooking your filling and brushing oil on the outside before baking to get that crunch.

Susie: A little oil goes a long way for a crispy crunch.

Baked Egg Rolls

1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 (8 oz.) package mushrooms, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (20 ct.) package egg roll wrappers
1 tablespoon flour + 1 tablespoon water (mixed to make a paste)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Clean and shred the cabbage.  Place in a 9x13 inch pan and roast for 10 minutes.  Remove cabbage from oven, toss and top with grated carrots and onions.  Roast for 5 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool, 10-15 minutes.  When cool, blot with paper towels to remove moisture.

Meanwhile in a skillet, brown pork.  When mostly cooked through, add mushrooms and cook till lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

Add pork mixture and roasted veggies to a large bowl.  Add soy sauce, ground ginger and garlic powder and toss well.  Lay egg roll wrappers out one at a time with a corner facing you.  Place 1/3 cup of filling in the center.  Fold corners in this order: right, bottom then place some paste on top, left, then place some paste on remaining corner and roll up to make an egg roll.  Repeat with remaining wrappers.

Place each egg roll on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush each egg roll with canola oil (if you don't use the oil, they won't brown).  Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, flipping them half way through.  If not brown enough, you can broil them for 1-2 minutes.

Susie Savors: This recipe of egg rolls is better than our last.  This time we knew to add more flavor.  The red cabbage and bean sprouts enhance the recipe instead of the filling being mushy there is texture with a crunch.  Plus instead of frying you can get that outside to crisp with much less oil.

“I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Nestle Lean Cuisine #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions are my own."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kylie The Abbey Road Sessions

We received a copy of Kylie Minogue's new album, #Abbey Road Sessions .  She is celebrating her K25.  Her 25th anniversary in music this year.  She spent some time reworking some songs.  The orchestra is quite ephemeral.  It adds an extra boost of gravity and emotional resonance. There's nothing like a section of violins to add some weight to the melody.

This is a major change to her sound.  Kylie Minogue sounds vastly different stripped of pop.  The songs are much more focused on emotion and expression through the lyrics.  You may not like her new album if you prefer the polished sounds of pop.  Our favorite songs are the reworked versions of 'The Locomotion' and 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'.  

The Abbey Road Sessions features sixteen tracks, all radically reworked, spanning Kylie's incredible twenty-five-year career.  It was recorded not surprisingly in London's legendary Abbey Road Studios with Kylie's band a full orchestra.  The album features many of her best-known hits and previously unreleased tracks.  

It includes her newest single "Flower" is a song she wrote several years ago following her battle with breast cancer, to the child she wishes she might one day still have.  This is definitely different from her usual range and is an interesting picture of her beyond her career in music.

I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot Review

I have to say I like cool electronic gadgets as much as the next person, but I rarely have the newest toys.  I haven't yet made the jump to a smart phone or a tablet.

That said, I thought long and hard when asked if I'd like to review the NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband Hotspot.  For me it was a question of if I'd actually use it enough to justify having it.  I finally decided it was worth having because it will be an awesome blogging asset.  With the NetZero hot spot I'll be able to blog or use my bloggie virtually anywhere.  Since I don't have a smart phone, this will allow me to instantly post photos and video on my site and other social media networks.

I officially got to try it out this weekend.  I attended the Chicago Cooking Expo at Arlington Park.  While I was kinda disappointed (it was incredibly small!!), I did use my hot spot at the Google+ booth.  The local Google+ office was there asking people to review restaurants in exchange for swag.  But they were having issues with their wifi.  It just wasn't working fast enough for people to post reviews.  That wasn't a problem for me.  I got out my NetZero hot spot and instantly was able to connect quickly and easily.  I will say the Google+ girls were impressed and possibly envious that I had my own 4G hot spot.

Even if you're not a blogger, this is an incredibly helpful gadget that anyone tech savvy will love.  Not only is the hot spot incredibly fast, you can also connect up to 8 devices at a time.  You'll also love not needing a contract, so its ready to use right out of the box.

*I was sent this product and a year's worth of platinum service for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chocolate Shop (Precept Wines) - Chicago Fine Chocolate Show

I've got another Chicago Fine Chocolate Show preview for you!  This one is a little different as its not a chocolate candy, but a chocolate alcohol!  Chocolate Shop, produced by Precept Wines, has a variety of chocolate wine choices.  They were kind enough to send me a couple bottles to sip on before the show.

First I have to say I've only ever tasted one chocolate wine before and it wasn't that spectacular.  I'm also not a huge fan of red wines in particular as I prefer sweeter ones.  But these are incredibly sweet with just the right amount of chocolate.

The Chocolate Lover's Wine is a very sweet red that truly tastes like you're drinking chocolate!  It doesn't have that flat red wine taste at all.

The Chocolate Strawberry wine literally tastes like strawberries that were picked at their peak and then dipped in chocolate.  But its a wine, how incredible is that!

The Creme De Cocoa is wonderful treat.  The chocolate and mint are perfectly blended.  This wine is great poured over some ice.  It doesn't need anything else to make it special.

All of these wines were a delight to try.  If you're a wine and chocolate lover on the lookout for something new this holiday season, these are for you!  Definitely head down to the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show this weekend to give them a try.

*Precept Wines sent me these wines for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Flying Noir - Chicago Fine Chocolate Show

Flying Noir is one of the amazing chocolatiers who is going to be at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show this weekend.  While they aren't local to the Chicago area, they're out in California, they did offer to send us a sampling of chocolate they'll have at the show.

Karen sent us two packages of drinking chocolate passionata and kerala d.c..  Both were quite different.  The passionata has a fruity flavor due to the banana, mango and guava.  While the kerala d.c. is a more classic hot chocolate with bite.  Either flavor is a definite treat for chocolate lovers.

Karen also included a gorgeous box of her handmade, hand-painted chocolates.  I absolutely loved that they sparkled!  But it made them a little difficult to photograph.  My fave was the roo, with its creamy rooibus white chocolate ganache center.  I also loved the details used to make the boxes special.  From the printed rubber band to the black tissue paper inside they were a visual delight.

A lot of the chocolates had an interesting bite to them.  I'd definitely recommend these to anyone who loves spicy food.  That added bite isn't something I've encountered often in chocolates.  It was definitely a change of pace.

*Flying Noir sent me these chocolates for review.  All opinions are my own.*

ChocoPerfection - Chicago Fine Chocolate Show

ChocoPerfection is another of the wonderful chocolates you'll encounter this weekend at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show.  They're a little different from the rest as their entire line of chocolates are sugar free!  ChocoPerfection bars also contain prebiotic fiber in every bar which helps to keep you feeling full.  So not only are these chocolate bars healthy, they'll also help you stick to your diet!  I can't think of another chocolate that can make that claim.

When I think of sugar-free chocolate it just makes me shudder.  It almost always makes me think of something fake and chalky tasting.  ChocoPerfection bars are nothing like that.  They taste like a regular high quality chocolate bar.

ChocoPerfection was kind enough to send us a selection of bars to try.  I have to say the dark chocolate mint was definitely a huge fave.  It actually reminded me of a frango mint.  They were that good!

If you're on the lookout for a great high quality sugar-free chocolate bar, definitely check out the ChocoPerfection booth at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show this weekend!

*ChocoPerfection supplied me with the product for this review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wholesome Wednesday: Individual S'more Cheesecakes

I love s'mores!  But its hard to have them all year around as it gets pretty cold here in Chicago.  It's currently pretty cold here now, brr!

That made me think what if I could have a s'more any time of the year.  Also what if it could be healthy too?

Well this recipe combines all those things.  You get a decadently rich tasting s'more in the form of a healthy mini cheesecake!  That's right, I said healthy cheesecake.  No, it's not a trick.  You can easily have a healthy cheesecake if you use greek yogurt to replace some of the cream cheese.  Greek yogurt is awesome in this regard because it bakes the same as cream cheese would.

The s'mores flavors in this recipe come from Capella Flavor Drops.  With Capella flavor drops you get intense flavor with none of the extra calories.  I also added food coloring to the layers to highlight the flavors.

Individual S'mores Cheesecakes

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cup  chobani greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
14 Double Chocolate Capella Flavor Drops
12 Marshmallow Capella Flavor Drops
18 Graham Cracker Capella Flavor Drops

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, combine together crust ingredients.  Using a tablespoon sized scoop, measure a heaping tablespoon into the bottom of each muffin cup.  Press crust down and slightly up the sides of the cup.  Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, chobani yogurt and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and flour.  Mix well.  Beat in eggs one at a time.

Split cheesecake filling into 3 separate bowls.  Make one bowl for each flavor, one chocolate, one marshmallow and one graham cracker, mix well.  If you want use food coloring on the layers so they stand out.  I did this to show that there were layers.  Layer the flavors starting with chocolate, then marshmallow and ending with graham cracker on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until centers are set.  Cool to room temperature.  Either refrigerate or serve warm.

Susie Savors:  These mini cheesecakes are the perfect size.  Just enough of a treat to satisfy your cravings, yet as a dessert they are not going straight to your hips.  Using flavor drops allows you to have the same flavors without all the same calories.  The best part is that you can have a s'more without a campfire.

*Capella Flavor Drops provided me with their product for this recipe.  All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Terry's Toffee - Chicago Fine Chocolate Show

This week we stopped by Terry's Toffee here in the city.  They were our second stop for the Chicago Fine Chocolate show.  It was easy to find, not too far off the expressway.  The atmosphere was inviting when you walked in the door.  The decorations in the entry way show how much Terry's Toffee is loved by their visitors.  

The best part has to be the smell.  You can tell right away when you open the door that you are entering a toffee wonderland.  They sell a variety of toffee treats.  From their McCall's Classic (their original recipe) to popcorn coated in toffee or ice cream with toffee.

Their flavors can please any palette.  The McCall's Classic is a traditional English toffee, while they have flavors such as Koffee Toffee (with espresso) or Chai-cago Spice (with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cardmom & pepper) or Lavenilla (with lavendar and vanilla).  Their toffee is paired with a multitude of ingredients to combine into combinations that pop.  With 14 flavors of toffee, you are bound to find one to become your own personal favorite.

If you know a toffee lover like us, then you may have just stumbled upon the perfect gift.  They have a variety of gift options.  Or like us, we bought a small sampler for our Mom since it was her birthday, they wrapped it up for us.

Did you know that they are the sweet treat at the Oscars since 2005?  Well they are.  They've also been gifted to a variety of celebrities including the Queen and also current and former Presidents.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Cake Martini Recipe- Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails

I love all kinds of chocolate martinis!  Have you noticed that yet?  I'm not huge on actually eating chocolate, but drinking it is another matter.  This one only has 3, that's right three, ingredients!

Right before Halloween I was scrambling to find a rebate hang tag for UV Vodka.  I swear I checked every single liquor section at every store we went to.  I finally found a single one late in the afternoon on Halloween, the very last day it was valid.  It was a great rebate as it was good for $10 off one bottle of chocolate cake, cake or whipped cream flavored UV Vodka.  I bought the cake flavor as I thought it would pair perfectly with Lulu B.'s Chocolate Martini.  I can gladly tell you that it does!

Chocolate Coconut Cake Martini
1 ounce Lulu B Chocolate Martini
1 ounce UV Cake Vodka
1/2 ounce cream of coconut

Add all three ingredients to a cocktail shaker, plus 5-6 ice cubes.  Put the lid on and shake for approximately 30 seconds.  Strain and pour into martini glass.  Serves 1.

Someone else wanted to name this drink the ghost martini as we made it on Halloween and due to its ghostly appearance.  What do you think?

Susie Savors: This tastes just like a slice of cake.  It's sweet and sultry with that touch of coconut to make it better.  The chocolate melds with the cake and you have a dessert that you can drink!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Asian Flavors Diabetes Cookbook

Who doesn't love teriyaki chicken?  It's one our favorite things that has been sorely missed since we moved here from Seattle.  Teriyaki chicken is to Seattle what Italian beef is to Chicago.  You find it everywhere and its insanely popular.

I was thrilled to see a healthy teriyaki recipe in Corinne Trang's Asian Flavors Diabetes Cookbook. While we're not diabetic, healthy recipes are always welcome in our house.  Especially ones that are favorites.

Actually the entire cookbook is great.  It's filled with healthy versions of your favorite Asian dishes.  I love that Corinne utilizes low sodium and alternative sweeteners in her recipes.  Also her recipes are easy to follow and well written.

Not only did I get to check out this great cookbook, I also have two (2) copies to giveaway to lucky readers.  Contest open to US readers.

To enter the contest leave me a comment telling me what your favorite Asian dish is?

Contest will run from November 8th - November 18th.

*I was given this cookbook to review and host a giveaway.  All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mayana Chocolate - Chicago Chocolate Show Preview

Alison: Here at Rosie Discovers we're all about going the extra mile for our readers.

Susie: In this case it means a little bit of driving.

Alison: Right.  Not only are we going to attend and review the Chicago Chocolate show, we're also going to bring you previews of what you'll find at the show.  Some of the previews will be local and others will be not so local.

Susie: Most of them we aren't actually visiting in person, because they are busy making chocolate for all the lovely people going to the Chicago Chocolate show.

Alison:Let me tell you, it's going to be a horrible trial to have to sample all this chocolate.  NOT!

Susie: You're right, I'll need to take precautions.

Alison: What precautions? You're not actually going to be in danger!

No, I mean Mom-precautions. I need a better place to hide all this chocolate.  Is that your phone ringing? *Slides box of chocolate into a drawer*

Alison: You need to work on that, maybe you should wait for me to leave next time.

Alison: Our first stop on the Chicago Chocolate show preview is Mayana Chocolate.  Mayana Chocolate is local to the Chicago area and available by online purchase.

This is where the driving part comes in; we live in that magical Chicago area.

Alison: Exactly. Sunday, the two of us headed out to meet Chef Daniel of Mayana Chocolate.  He was hard at work packing up a chocolate order in these snazzy new boxes for a shipment.  Aren't they just gorgeous?

Yes, the colors are striking and snazzy.  Plus the best gifts come in pretty boxes.

Alison: After showing us the new packaging he offered to let us sample his wares. Let me tell you these are the most amazing chocolates we've tasted in a long long time.

Susie: By far!  He sets the bar really high.  I am having trouble imagining there is better chocolate out there to be found.

Alison: Probably because Chef Daniel doesn't use any artificial ingredients or extracts in his chocolates and you can definitely taste that.

Alison: For example, the Mint-Dark Chocolate gets its amazing mint flavor from actual mint leaves.  There is such a crisp, fresh mint taste.

Susie: I thought I was eating a mint leaf I picked myself.  If only we could make our mint plants taste that good, then life would be good.

Alison: Or we'd never leave the house again.

Susie: So, my plan has flaws.  I just need time to tweak a few elements.

Alison: Right...Well, the Toasted Coconut actually uses fresh coconut milk and toasted coconut to get its flavor.

Susie: Except better, because coconuts do not come with a chocolate coating.

Alison: All the chocolates we tasted had such intense flavor in them.  If you were to slice most of the chocolates in half you'd see the layers of flavor that make up these chocolates.

Susie: We did see them!  

Alison: Only it would have been difficult to photograph that.

Susie: I suppose, but you can taste the layers.  The textures add another dimension.  Not only stunning flavor combinations and good looks, but also complex texture profiles.

Alison: The whole package in one bite!

 I still can't believe that each one we tried was better than the one before it.

Alison: I know, I was in the car on the ride home.  You wouldn't stop raving about them.

Susie: ... *points* Did you see that?

Alison: *Turns to look*

Susie:  You must have missed it.

Alison: Where did the chocolate go?

Susie:  I don't know what you're talking about.  

*All opinions are our own.  Chef Daniel supplied our chocolate samples.*

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beautiful Beasties Winner!

We've got a winner in the Beautiful Beasties contest, Susan!  Be on the lookout for an email from!

8th Continent Soy Milk Review and Giveaway

Does anyone like soy milk?  What about 8th Continent Soy Milk?  Really, you do?  Well it's your lucky day then!

We love 8th Continent soy milk!  It's got a great taste and we love the vanilla flavor.  If you're looking for a great milk alternative this is it.  I just wish it was available at more retailers in the area besides Whole Foods and Mariano's.  

See all those free product coupons!?!?  Well 8th Continent sent me some to giveaway.  That's right all the coupons in this photo are going to find new homes.  Hopefully with you!

On to the contest, 5 lucky readers will each win two (2) free 8th Continent Soy milk coupons!

To enter leave a comment telling me what you love about 8th Continent Soy milk.

Contest will run from November 2nd - November 12th.  Contest open to US only.

*All opinion are my own.  This is a sponsored post.*