Books, Babies, and Bling

Sorry, no cute pictures of babies for you to swoon over  – at least, not yet!  Although I can’t wait, because my precious little baby girl is currently making her opinions known from inside my body – as in, every morsel of food I put in my body causes me agony, even a sip of water can bring on heartburn, and her kickboxing practice appears to be focused on my kidneys and bladder.  With remarkably good aim, especially at 3am.  Five weeks to go, five weeks to go, five weeks to go, sigh. 

Instead, I bring you pictures of baby books – specifically, the mound-o-books I received at my baby shower recently.  I’m at an avid reader – well, when I have the time, anyway – so a book themed baby shower was a no-brainer.  Also because the hubster and I are the very last of all of our friends to have kids, which means we have scored big time in the hand-me-down department.  Leaving hardly an item to be purchased by us or gifted on us.  Except books!

Amazingly, in all the books received (filling the two shelves of the bookcase pictured above!) from more than a dozen friends and family, there were only two duplicates!  The best part was hearing why each person chose the books they did – whether it was a favorite book from childhood, or one of their child’s favorites, or one that they loved to read to their child.  The range of books was also impressive – everything from high contrast black and white books for the smallest of babes, to ABC’s and animal picture books, to Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein, totally awesome) and Of Thee I Sing, written by Barack Obama for his two girls (also totally awesome).  There were many that I was familiar with, like Goodnight Moon and Goodnight Gorilla, Moo Baa La La La and of course all things Richard Scarry.  There were mini books for traveling, books with cords for attaching to the stroller, and big padded block shaped books.  And from my stepmom, there was this amazing thing:

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Quick and Easy Easter

Chocolate Truffle Bunny, from Truffle!

I know, I’m late to the Easter planning party!  Most of you have probably already made all your plans, picked your menus, and dyed your eggs.  I’m always a little behind with holidays like Easter, since the chocolate biz is crazy for a couple weeks before the big day – I never seem to have time to do any of my own stuff in advance!  But, if you are behind the eight ball, like I am, the least I can do is share some links and ideas with you.  Most of these things are right up my alley – as in, not a ton of ingredients, simple to make/do, not a lot of time or prep involved.  That’s how I roll.  Otherwise, I’d never get anything done!  Wait, actually . . . I don’t get much done.  Never mind.

Ideas for eating:

Easter definitely means pastries, don’t you think?  From the Chocolate & Toast archives, I’m eye-ing these babies:

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St. Patty’s Recipe Round Up

It's raining shamrocks! Or, in Portland, just raining.

When I first moved to Portland, oh, umpteen million years ago, I worked at a downtown shop called Kathleen’s of Dublin.  (Oh look, it still exists!) The shop sells all kinds of Irish goods, from clothing to ceramics to food – all of it on the upscale end of things, not the usual trinkets and toys.  It was fun to work there, and I ended up with a love of all things Irish.  In fact, my husband and I – though neither of us have any Irish heritage to speak of – ended up with wedding rings featuring a Celtic knotwork design.  I’m pretty sure we bought our bands at Kathleen’s – but to be honest, I’m pregnant and the baby ate my brain, so I can’t swear that anything I say has a basis in fact at this point.

At any rate, I still love Irish music and Irish food and oh, the beer . . .

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Gourmet Chocolate Advent Calendars!

Peppermint Bark

Just a quick post to let you know that my biz, Truffle, has a special pre-order going for our chocolate filled Advent Calendars – now through August 15th.  Check it out over at the Truffle blog!

Back soon with more berry recipes – my garden is overflowing!

Links, for lack of time!

springerle cookies unbaked

This week is practically gone and not a recipe in hand to post . . . but so many I have my eye on!  The picture above is a batch of cookies that I’ve been messing around with, not ready to post yet, but I started with Pioneer Woman’s shortbread cookie recipe, which is spectacular as is, of course, I highly recommend it.  Other stuff I’ve bookmarked and hope to get to sometime soon:

This ridiculously yummy cake at Sugar Plum – layers of chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookie, cookie dough ice cream, topped off with chocolate ganache.  I’m doing my birthday over this year, just for this cake!

I’m taking this week off of sugar (so wrong), but I really want to be stuffing my face with this buttery thing from Cake Spy.  Seems like I remember something like this from childhood, but I’m going to have to test it out, you know, just to be sure.

If I had these Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies from Joy the Baker in hand right now, my life would be complete.  And maybe I would get enough of a caffeine kick to bust through my to do list today.  It’s getting me down, man!

I’m going to need some good huckleberry recipes soon, my single huckleberry bush in the garden is completely weighed down with berries this year.  Now I just have to find the time to pick those little buggers . . . sigh.  I can’t believe it is September already.

Easter and Passover Links

easter-collage

Its Friday, it’s 5pm, and I am officially done with the Easter chocolate biz for this year–phew!!  Now I’m ready to actually think about my own Easter, and all the things I would like to be doing but probably will not have time for . . .

Like dying Easter eggs the natural way . . .

Or decorating some super cute cupcakes . . .

Or whipping up some swoon worthy chocolate draped macaroons . . .

Or waking up to the only kind of hot cross buns that might be worth the effort, if only someone would bake them for me.

However, I think I’m going to have to make some matzo crack(ers), because it’s Deb, and because they really are that good.  And if I do it tomorrow, I won’t even have to share, since my husband will be gone all day.  Maybe, if I have the energy, I’ll make him these as a consolation prize.  Or maybe I won’t share those either.

Time to pour the wine and ponder what a Saturday off, with no husband, and a clean kitchen, might bring me . . . pure bliss!