Thursday, July 28, 2011

Organic Chocolate Truffles

My daughter asked me to make chocolate truffles for her birthday last week. Actually she asked for "those chocolate ball things you make". Since I am moving to more and more organic foods I decided to get organic chocolate for this dessert. You can find organic chocolate at Safeway, Raley's or your local health food store. You can also find the organic heavy whipping cream, and organic butter to go all organic; although I just used what I already had.

These pair well with fresh organic strawberries and whipped cream. Another request from my youngest daughter.

Organic Chocolate Truffles

8 oz. organic semi-sweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate broken into smaller pieces.
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Brandy (or other alcohol if)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
Cocoa powder

I melt and mix the chocolate and buter, pour in the cream, let boil. Let it sit for about 2 minutes and pour in brandy and mix well. Place in covered bowl and let set in the fridge unitl firm enough to form into balls. Using my hands (this does get messy so I normally powder my hands with the cocoa powder first) I form small balls and roll them in cocoa powder. Place them on a tray or plate and chill in fridge before serving.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Favorite Latest Shopping Finds and Wants

What I am shopping for: 

Effortless, Classy Shorts

 J. Crew Shorts. $49.50; LC Lauren Conrad shorts. Kohls $33.00

Classic and Comfy Espadrilles

Espadrilles $112.00

Franco Sarto Kashmir  $49.50

A Breezy Chambray Summer Dress 
The Dupont Dress. $110.00 

Target is also carrying a lovely chambray dress but I was not able to locate it online so I took a picture of it in the store!  I believe it is $24.99.

Simple White Jeans

Paige Premium Denim 'Hidden Hills' Bootcut Stretch Jeans (Optic White Wash) (Petite) $119.00 sale price.

An Academic-Minded Bag

Fine-Ruled Satchel by Anthropologie. $268.00.

Sneak Peak of Craft Room

So here is a sneak peak of my craft room. No surprise the walls are green! I chose a lighter green for my side and a darker green for my husbands side of the room.  It is still bursting at the seams (just a little sewing humor lol..) but I am slowly unpacking the boxes and finding my lost things from the big move. I am sharing this little room with my husband so his side is very business like (that is the way my daughter has described it) with all the computers and files and my side is well kind of a mess right now but you can see more of my personality shining through each day. I was able to hang all of my husbands frames and the shelves on his side of the room today (I got tired of tripping over boxes trying to get to my desk).  My sewing machines are up and that makes me feel like making stuff. Soon this will all be organized and I will post more pictures!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Giddy Over Organic

I picked up my share of organic vegetables and fruit from Lucero Organic Farms. I met some wonderful people like Karen (owner) who greeted me with a warm hug! I was welcomed as a new member and I was eager to see how they pack the boxes. Lucero Organic Farms is only located a few miles away from our home here in Lodi, Ca. I actually ran by it a few weeks ago with my husband and did not reailze it was an organic farm. I received a beautiful array of zucchini, squash, cucumbers, red leaf lettuce, gourmet strawberries, peaches, and the cutest little carrots!!! I set up a scheduled pick up once a week and I am so excited to get all this fresh and delicious food! I was just giddy when I arrived home with my box. It was overflowing with color! I made a refreshing salad with cucumbers, strawberries and the lettuce, and steamed squash last night to accompany our dinner. If you have a chance to get local organic food you should really give it a try. Hmmm.. think I will go make dessert now (writing about strawberries makes me hungry). ;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Healthy and Delicious Banana Bread Recipe

My kids love Banana Bread and I love this recipe! A few weeks ago we went camping near Yosemite National Park. I told my husband I would bake my Banana Bread the morning before we had to leave and it would be ready to go by the time he arrived from work. I was so busy packing the car I forgot to bake the banana bread!! It was 4:20 pm and he was going to be leaving work by 4:30 so I quickly got everything out of the pantry and literally threw it together in 5 minutes!! I threw both loaf pans in the oven and set the timer on my iphone! When my husband pulled up the drive way I told him the bread was still baking but it would be ready by the time we finished packing the last minute items in the ice chest. I was the last one in the house carefully taking my hot loaves out of the oven. I did not have time to cool on a rack, so I just pulled out the tin foil and carefully removed the loaves and placed onto the tin foil and wrapped them in several layers. I placed them into brown paper lunch bags, locked up the house and jumped into the car (everyone was already waiting in car). I rode with two hot loaves in my lap most of the way up to Yosemite! Except for when we got to our destination we arrived with only one loaf! The aroma took over my husband and kids and one of the loaves ended up looking like it was attacked by ravenous wolves! We still managed to have one loaf to share with our friends while camping and it made an excellent addition to our camp breakfast.

I have been getting requests for this recipe from family and friends, so I happily share my recipe for you to share as well.

Hatzin’s Banana Bread

1 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
6 ripe organic mashed bananas
4 eggs- well beaten
1 cup organic whole wheat flour*
1 ½ cup spelt flour*
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup ground organic flaxseeds, plus a little more for topping
½ cup of raw unsalted pumpkin seeds

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream sugar, vanilla and butter until fluffy, add bananas, eggs and beat until mixed. Sift together dry ingredients. Blend with wet ingredients. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle a little extra ground flaxseeds on top. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool pans on rack. 

*You may substitute the above flour for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour if you are gluten intolerant. I recommend this brand because I have used this particular gluten free flour before with this recipe and it turned out great.

Makes two loaves.

-Hatzin Escalante 2011

Portland Treasures....

Things are finally starting to settle here at the new (old) house. We made a trip to Portland for work and fun a few weeks ago. I love Portland!!! I went boutique shopping with my wonderful friend Erin and found this awesome little green succulent! I love succulents and terrariums! I have been wanting to make one forever so this was such a fun and inexpensive little project and it reminds me of our lovely visit to Portland! I bought this succulent at Ink and Peat in Portland and found this glass jar/planter at Ikea for $12.00. I used a few cuttings from other plants I had on the porch and figured they would make a nice little addition to my kitchen window sill. Looks so delicate next to my little pretty green mister from Lowes. I have so many other projects like getting the molding and baseboards installed but this really makes me happy every time I look at it on the sill. If you ever go to Portland you must visit Ink and Peat, and Pistils Nursery (even if you just look at the awesome airplants and chickens). Another beautiful and whimsical place to visit is Flutter. Make fun of me if you want but I will want to buy it or make it if you put a bird on it! I found an awesome present for my step-son believe it not. It was a bull dog bottle opener! This is a great place to find inexpensive bird prints too!

Stay tuned for my fireplace makeover and my sewing craft room makeover.....