Friday, April 11, 2014

Italian Sunday Supper

Every Sunday night my family does a big homestyle dinner. But every few weeks all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and second cousins get together to have game night and an even bigger family dinner. On a good night there are about 15 of us getting together. We play games, laugh with the babies, and of course we eat.

This past Sunday we had a true Italian feast –everything was scratch made. Spenser made veal Bolognese; mom made marinara and stuffed cheese shells and an Italian salad with garbanzo beans, garlic vinaigrette, red onion, and tomatoes; Holly and James made garlic bread and peas with prosciutto; Aunt Lindsey made tiramisu; Erika and Mike put together an anti-pasta board with prosciutto and salami roll ups with goat cheese and walnut filling; the Comeauxs brought over cannoli’s; and I made fresh spaghetti and pasta ribbons – do you think we had enough food?

Oh yeah and Erika fixed us up some Peach Bellini’s. So yummy.

While the babies ran around and played, the adults played a game of our own! This is a great family game. It’s easy to understand and the source of so many laughs. A quick overview of it is there are 5 possible modes to get your team to guess a clue: clay, charades, letter dice, humming, and drawing. The opposing team ranks the modes in order from most hard to least – the harder the mode the more tokens your team wins if they correctly guess the clue. You then choose your mode and go from there! I couldn’t believe the answers people were able to guess. My clues were “rabbit” and “supply” and Holly immediately answered “Energizer Bunny” . One mind I tell ya.

Recipes to follow from our family night!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Remember when I said that there were Seasons to Baking well, it's been winter then spring then winter again down here in Georgia which means I still have time to fill my tum with rich, decadent desserts that are full of indulgent chocolate!

This pie is best made with 2 pairs of hands in the kitchen, it takes a lot of bowls, a lot of whisks and spatulas, and a little patience - but it's the best there is.

To make the pie in the traditional way you'll need to have a 10" spring form pan and a few deep mixing bowls. This time though I made one heart shaped pie, since I was making it for my honey, and one small pie for my family. (The directions below are for the traditional 10", modify crust amounts for heart shaped and other shaped pans accordingly)

To make it extra special, cut a few canola leaves or waxy leaves from a bush outside - we'll use these to make chocolate leaves for a beautiful topping.

Because this pie does have a lot more steps than most, I decided to use as many step by step pictures as possible. If anything isn't clear don't hesitate to ask for clarification!


1 box Famous Chocolate Waffers (1 ½ boxes for a larger pie)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (add a tablespoon extra if needed)
1 pound semisweet chocolate
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
6 Tablespoons powdered sugar
4 egg whites, room temperature
Chocolate Leaves:
8 ounces (about) semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon (scant) vegetable shortening
Camellia or other waxy leaves
Whipped Topping:
2 cups whipping cream
Powdered Sugar

For Crust:
Combine crumbs and butter in Cuisinart. Pour roughly half of the crumb mix into a 10-inch springform pan. Shape the sides, then pour the other half into the pan and shape the base of the crust. Refrigerate 30 minutes (or chill in freezer).

For Filing:
Soften chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water. Let cool to lukewarm. Add whole eggs and mix well. Add yolks and mix until thoroughly blended. 
Whip cream with powdered sugar in a new bowl until soft peaks form. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff but not dry
Stir a little of the cream and whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining cream and whites until completely incorporated. 

Turn into crust and chill at least six hours, or preferably, overnight.

--Do not proceed to next steps until at least 6 hours have expired ---

For leaves:
Melt chocolate and shortening in top of double boiler. Using spoon, generously coat underside of leaves. Chill or freeze until firm.

For Whipped Topping:
Whip remaining 2 cups cream with sugar to taste until quite stiff. 
**Baking Tip: Before whipping the whip cream I place the bowl and blade into the freezer. The whip cream always whips better that way.

Loosen crust on all sides using sharp knife; remove from springform. Spread whip cream over pie. Separate chocolate from leaves, starting at stem end of leaf. Arrange in overlapping pattern. Cut pie into wedge with thin sharp knife. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator, can also freeze pie for up to 4 months. 

Last step, practice self-control. You may find that it disappears in the presence of this pie. 

Monday, March 17, 2014


When most people think of Lent they think about what they’re going to be giving up – sodas, cupcakes, beer. And while that’s definitely one important part of Lent, often people are surprised to hear that Lent actually requires 3 tasks of you - Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving. I know, giving up cupcakes just isn’t enough!

Take it or leave it, but I like to think of Lent as a Master Cleanse. We’ve been indulging in material items, maybe even straying away from Church, and our focuses aren’t truly aligned with what God has planned for us. So we engage in Lent to cleanse ourselves of attachment to material goods, to reenact Jesus’s trials thereby growing closer to Him, and also to shift our focus to others – fulfilling their needs before our wants. In truth, setting yourself to perform all 3 tasks rejuvenates your soul and helps prepare you for the Pascal Miracle. Like I said, a Master Cleanse :)

While we’re already 12 days into Lent, it’s not too late to ask yourself you are committed to all 3 tasks. It’s never too late to start. Below are some little ideas for each part of Lent if you’re need of some inspiration.

Strive to give a little bit of yourself to another – either through donations, time, or even a friendly conversation
Donate clothes
Buy a stranger lunch
Volunteer at a local food bank
Start a coin collection and donate it at the end of Lent
Write a letter to the troops

Strive to improve the times in which you say thank you to God for all that He’s blessed you with
Say grace before each meal
Pray in the mornings to set your intention for the day
For each car accident say a prayer for those affected instead of being upset by the traffic
Pray for 3 other people beside yourself

Strive to ride yourself of unnecessary habits and attachments that may unknowingly have hold of you
Give up ‘snoozing’ – starting each day with purpose
An hour a day without your phone – instead be alone with God or your family or friends
Non-essential shopping
Grudges – intentionally forgive those who’ve hurt you and who will upset you without any fuss

Hope your Lenten season is going great! Feel free to comment with any ideas of your own or advice.

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