Archives for February 2012


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope your day is filled with lots of smiles and laughter. And if you’re lamenting that you still don’t have that ‘perfect’ gift for your someone special, hopefully these ideas will inspire you. And they are all homemadeable (like my new word???) so its not a problem if you’re running out of time!

Write and frame a heart felt poem – this doesn’t have to rhyme or be catchy – and if you get stuck, you could always type up an old school romantic poem and frame.

Give them a box of Goldfish crackers with a note saying…”Of all this fish in the sea, I’m glad I caught you”

Make a bookmark for them with a romantic quote on one side and a sweet sentiment on the other. An office supply store can help you laminate it.

Have a special libation made for them when they walk in the door. This could be a pink concoction or something as simple as sweet tea. On our first Valentines I made my husband a gallon of homemade sweet tea, just because.

Make a special homemade Valentines card. Hopefully, my husband is not reading this…but this year I’m getting crafty with Cherokee and Danish languages since I’m got native american blood and he’s pure Scandinavian.

Or get crafty and make them an old school Valentine showing how much you love them with your hand prints and an a piece of paper folded accordain style. (Our best ever babysitter handcrafted this the other day for us as a sweet surprise from our son!)

And remember, there is no ‘perfect’ gift. Its simply about finding little ways to show you care.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Valentine’s Day Decorations

I’m sure by now, you’re asking yourself….how can one girl love Valentines this much? Not sure…But I DO! Its the second best holiday of the year….right behind my Birthday!

So here’s an idea for decorating your table on Tuesday.

On white craft paper, write quotes on love and romance in various shades of red and pink.

Then sprinkle on those little conversation hearts, Valentine’s confetti, and rose petals.

Happy Valentines!



Cupid’s Arrows

Boxed Valentines just not doing it for you this year? Wanta get a little creative with your kids Valentine’s?  Here’s a cute project you and your kiddos can do together!

From Disney’s Family Fun Magazine

You just need heart shaped gum drops and pretzel sticks. The heart gum drops were hard to find but I finally found at CVS. So I’d suggest trying a drug store first.

Insert pretzel into the top of a gumdrop. Then for the arrow, cut the top off a second gumdrop, as shown, and insert other pretzel end into the uncut part of gumdrop.

Decorate one side of folded cardstock and then fold over the cellophane and staple. Around the card stock side we wrote “Happy Valentine’s…use caution…be careful…Cupid’s Arrows”

Happy Crafting!



My New Year’s Resolution for Life

Yes, I know its February (and perhaps a little late for a resolution). Yes, I know most of you kept your New Year’s Resolution a total of 3 days, 16 hours, 42 minutes, and 38 seconds, but really, who’s counting? And yes, I realize the flu season is almost over. But here is my New Year’s Resolution for 2012 and for every year in the future.


Can you guess why I’m writing this? Cause I’m sick in the bed with a 103 fever. I know, cry me a river, right? I live near a CVS with a flu shot clinic. I drive by the local health department every time I go to the grocery store but can never ‘make the time’ to get that flu shot they are always advertising. Well I’m finally putting my foot down. Not because I was smart enough to be proactive but because sometimes reactive is better than nada.

There may be only less than 2 months left of the flu virus but that is still 62 (60 to be exact) days that I could contract this thing they call a virus again. So, as soon as this body is up and able – we’ll be trotting over to the CVS. And this coming September….you guessed right…we’ll be first in line (camped outside) anxiously awaiting that flu vaccination!

Hope you & yours are healthy and well! Jess


Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce


I’m a huge Barefoot Contessa fan and for year’s I’ve wanted to make Ina’s Coeur a la Creme from Barefoot in Paris but I was afraid it would be too hard to reproduce this beautiful dessert. Luckily, I was wrong! This is probably one of the best desserts I have ever eaten and it was also one of the simplest to make. I think this is what I’ll be making for my birthday in the years to come. It truly tastes amazing and I hope you will try making this at home yourself.

It’s also the ultimate Valentines dessert, so WOW your significant other this year!

I thought I’d do a photo recipe first since this is such a neat dessert to make and then I’ll have the actual recipe listed out.

*Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature. If not, your mold may not drain very well. I allowed mine to sit out for about 2 hours.
*This makes a lot but don’t be tempted to overfill the mold. You’ll want the cream to come to a flat top so you can maintain the heart shape once you invert it.
*You can find a heart shaped sieve and cheesecloth at your local cooking store. I got mine from Coastal Cupboard here in Mount Pleasant.

The ingredients are pretty simple…cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, grated lemon zest, whole cream (just go for it and use the heavy full of calories stuff, some things you shouldn’t skimp on!), vanilla beans, and pure vanilla extract.

First off, you’ll want to scrape the vanilla bean so you’ll cut through one side of the bean, lengthwise. Then scrape with a spoon down the middle and sides.

Next, start mixing the cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar…and make sure you start on low speed before going faster.  I started out on high speed and oh, the mess I got to clean up!

After beating for two minutes, change out the paddle attachment for the whisk (I forgot to do this) and beat in all the remaining ingredients until it looks like really thick whipping cream. Delish!!

Now place your sieve dish onto a plate (to catch the drainage) and drape the cheesecloth over the sieve and plate. Pour the cream mixture into the sieve dish and level off so that you have a straight edge. Cover with the cheesecloth on top and refrigerate overnight.

And don’t worry if you’re thinking…how will I keep from eating it now? It makes a lot of cream so you’ll have plenty to taste even before it has set overnight! Trust me, there was a lot when I made it.

So the next day…you’ll make the raspberry sauce which is delightful all by itself.

You’ll combine raspberries (I used frozen instead of fresh and it turned out just fine), water, and sugar and then boil to reduce.

For the jam, I used a homemade berry jam instead of just raspberry jam. I think any jam or preserve that is a berry will work fine. You’ll combine the reduced berries, berry jam, and grand marnier together in a food processor. Also, it makes a lot of sauce. You could half this raspberry sauce and still have plenty for the dessert. Or you could just make the whole amount and drink what you don’t use. I’m not kidding…the sauce is really tasty!

Once the sauce is made, you can chill it or you can just go ahead and plate the dessert…who cares if it gets a little warmed from the sauce?

I was nervous to invert it, but it really came out fairly easy. Choose a plate with a curved lip so it will hold your sauce and after removing the cheesecloth on top, turn the mold over on top of the plate and slowly lift up. The creme will slide out and you’ll have a beautiful heart impression.

Now pour the sauce around the side, scatter some raspberries on top….and ENJOY!!!

Here is Ina’s Garten’s official recipe.

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce
Copyright 2004, Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa in Paris Cookbook and Food Network


12 ozs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce, recipe follows


Place the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment.  With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla bean seeds and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream,

Line a 7” sieve with cheesecloth so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that these is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain.  Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce around the base.  Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

For the Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce:

  • 1 half-pint raspberries
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1 c. seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 T. orange-flavored liqueur

Place raspberries, sugar, and ¼ c. water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes.  Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and orange liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.  Chill.


Valentines Wreaths


What is not to love about this holiday???  There is no dress requirement….none of the… you need matching outfits for your kids or you need to create some crazy costume that will be worn for a whopping 5 minutes. And, there is no hosting a huge elaborate meal at your house. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love having people over to my house, but sometimes wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one holiday where it wasn’t a requirement??? Oh wait, there is a holiday like that……..Valentines Day!

Some of you may be thinking….but I don’t have anyone special to spend the day with…that’s not true…you have yourself. You are special just being you and you don’t need anyone else to make you special. And, if you don’t have a ‘love’ in your life this year, I bet you do have some friends who would love to receive a note in the mail saying how much you appreciate their friendship.

I really cannot explain how giddy I get talking and thinking about Valentines Day. I wish ya’ll could see my smile. It is exuberant.

So to the point of this post…

My son was lamenting that we didn’t have a wreath on our door since we had taken down the Christmas decorations, so we got crafty and made a Valentines wreath. (I have learned since having kids or at least a boy that craft time really means a chance for me to cut and glue as my son’s attention span for crafts lasts about 30 seconds!)

So here is a handy dandy tutorial that I hope will get your crafty senses flowing!

Gather up all your craft supplies and try to keep your child from sniffing the rubber cement!

Tie the ribbon on first.

Then cover with felt for a background, using rubber cement to glue the felt together. I had planned to glue the hearts directly onto the felt but I couldn’t find a glue that would work for that, not even rubber cement. So we improvised and glued strips of paper together.

Now, cut out some hearts in any shape, size, and color you want and glue to your hearts content! We added glittery pom poms on because they were too fun and cute not too.

For the second wreath, it is pretty standard with just cut out hearts and stamps but I have these two tips…
1….Lay out the hearts in the desired shape on your table first. This helps position everything when ready to glue.
2….Use the old school Elmer’s glue, not glue sticks, for glueing the hearts together. You don’t have to move the hearts around so much with the old school stuff.

I hope these wreaths give you some inspiration for craft time at your house!

And…Do you enjoi Valentines Day or think it’s just another Hallmark Holiday?

Have a great night!