It's October!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
and I made...Chocolate Rose Meringue Cookies
The reason October National Breast Cancer Month is so important is because I think everyone has been  affected my this monster in one way or another. I actually lost my grandmother, "Edna Evangeline",  to breast cancer when I was eleven. It was difficult for me and a long battle for her that breaks my heart to this day.
And now I have heard of and known people who are breast cancer survivers, which is awesome!
I have a sister-in-law who lives on the east coast and I don't see very often but, she is fighting breast cancer right now and I have seen how strong she has been through this season in her life. I am sooo, for a lack of a better word, blown away by her and admirer her character and faith.

I actually wish I was a better person who had my act more together to raise some money but, this year, all I can do is give you links to supporting sites. Oh, and buy some products to benefit breast cancer research and make these cookies in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. :)

-Article: Seven Ways you can help support  Breast Cancer Research

I think Next year, I want to organize a bake sale/craft sale where all the profits can be donated to Breast Cancer research. Why don't I think of these things earlier? I am putting it on my calendar to plan for next October.
So, every time I make these meringues, I REALLY enjoy making them. You can do so much with them. They are simple to make, and they look really messy but cool. You have seen them HERE and before that, HERE. But I am giving you the full recipe again. I swear it's easy-you must try at least once. :)

This version was inspired by my mother. Awe, I know. :) She gave me a tin of this beautiful tea that inspired me to do a rose chocolate meringue cookies.


-Prepare a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 275 F.
-Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cut up chunks in a small bowl over a 1/2 cup of simmering water in a pot. (AKA-homemade version of a double-boiler which you could buy HERE for lots of money if you wish.)
Set aside.
Also note that for the chocolate you could use any of your favorite chocolate bars too or even butterscotch chips. One of my favorites is this raspberry chocolate bar that would be awesome in these meringue cookies.
 -In another larger bowl, heat 4 egg whites and 1 cup of sugar in a bowl over a homemade version of a double boiler. :)
-Whisk this mixture for about 7 minutes until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is quite hot.
-Take the egg whites off the heat and beat with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until you have soft peaks.

(If it takes you longer than 15 minutes to whip theses into a meringue-something went wrong and you should start over. :( I know.
-Then add 1-2 Tbs of your flavoring...Vanilla, Rose extract and chocolate rose tea leaves in this case, peppermint, almond extract etc...
-Continue to whip a couple more minutes until you have stiff meringue peeks.
 -Then separate the meringue if you want a couple different color ribbons in your cookies. Dye one batch of meringue with a couple drops of food coloring, in this case, red.
 -Then gently fold your chocolate and color meringue together leaving ribbons of your chocolate and color.
 -With two large spoons, spoon the meringue into fun and messy clumps that are about 3 tbs onto your parchment paper and about an inch or so away from each other. Sprinkle anything you like to decorate them before baking. In this case I used pearl dragees and the Chocolate Rose Tea from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
-Bake at 275 for 20-45 minutes depending on how big your cookies are. You want them to be crispy on the outside and a bit chewy on the inside. I did minis this time and baked them for 20 minutes.


We all have those ripe bananas that are too brown to eat but, we feel bad trashing them, right?And it's always good to have good banana bread recipe on hand, right? I made this a couple weeks and ago and it was really yummy to have with tea for breakfast. Not too sweet. And you can choose to make it with chocolate or without.

Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, room temp
3 bananas, ripe and mashed up with a fork
1 "normal" banana, slice into 1/2 inch thickness for top of bread.
2 eggs, room temp
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Sugar in the Raw

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
-Butter a 9x9 baking pan or bread pans.
-Melt chocolate chips in a bowl over a pot of 1/4 to 1/2 cup simmering water. Take off heat and set aside.
-Mix flour, salt, and baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon into a bowl. Set aside.
-Beat sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl.
-Add egg, yogurt, and banana. Mix to blend, then add flour mixture. Blend until fully combined.
-Take 1/3 of the batter and mix in a separate bowl with melted chocolate. *optional
-Pour into baking pan and swirl around
-Place cut banana slices on top, slightly pushing them into the batter.
-Place whole pecans as well if you want.
-Sprinkle with Sugar in the raw.
-Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
-Let cool, Sprinkle some more sugar on the banana and brulee them if you have a culinary torch.
-Then slice on cutting board and serve warm with tea.


Coupon Giveaway: for a FREE Bottle of Lea&Perrins Worcestershire sauce!
So, I got a little surprise in the mail today. Coupons for a free bottle of Lea&Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I know, exciting right!
Lea&Perrins and the Food Network are doing a "Shine at Dinnertime" Video Recipe Challenge. You can get more info and rule details by CLICKING THIS LINK. To enter you make a video making a mealtime recipe that features Lea&Perrins Worcestershire sauce. Sounds really fun huh!? The prizes sound really great though.You could win TEN-thousand dollars and five runners-up will win ONE-thousand dollars.

I found out about this contest through a "spread-the-word-through-food-bloggers" campaign that FoodBuzz and Lea&Perrins is doing. Food Buzz is actually also giving food bloggers a chance to win $500 for spreading the word about the Shine at Dinnertime video contest.

I actually do use Worcestershire sauce all the time to flavor my meats. And Sean practically drowns his steak in the stuff and would drink it straight if I let him.What a Crazy!
Thinking of a unique and yummy way to use Worcestershire sauce will be a fun challenge. And I thought you may want to join in too. So I am giving away TWO of my three coupons. I love sharing. :)

These are some of the ideas I can think of right now:
Lea&Perrins, Gruyere potatoes Gratin with dill
Lea&Perrins Stuffed Peppers with mushrooms
Lea&Perrins Pot roast with Potatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, celery etc...
I am thinking of doing these is the form of a dinner cupcake?

TO WIN! a coupon for a free bottle of Lea&Perrins just do the following:
1. Make sure you are a follower or subscribe to to my blog posts
2. Leave a comment by October 31st answering ... How you would make a Worcestershire cupcake.
3. And/Or tell me from my list of ideas above what sounds most appealing.
4. Don't forget to leave an e-mail in case you win so I can send you the coupon.
Good Luck! :)


You make me love you long time
So, Haupia is A delightfully refreshing Hawaiian coconut treat.
Thaaaaat...if you couldn't tell, I looooove. I may have had it as a kid, while living on the big island of Hawaii or when on Maui but, the first time I remember eating it was the day after my wedding day. My Seanie and I..in love...went to dinner at Mama's Fish House while on our honeymoon. AND, I have GOT to tell YOU! It was the best meal I have ever had! Aside from one at Mattie's Taven in Los Olivos, CA. But anyway, our really good friends who actually set me and my lovely hubby up, Tony and Heather, treated us to this dinner and it was an amazing moment for sure. IF you are ever on Maui, You must eat at Mama's Fish House or even stay at the Inn there. It's totally worth it!
Oohhhh*sigh* sweet memories. :)

So, traditionally served in little bite-size cubes after a Luau or big dinner feast.
You can read a little bit about it HERE on Wikipedia.
But, really, I could eat haupia all day and any time of day. That's how good is is.
I mean, it's so good that people who DON'T even LIIIIIKE coconut, eat it all up like it was going out of style.
No, um... it's so good that my whole batch was eaten up so fast that I couldn't get a picture of the finished product fast enough.
Actually, it's so good that, honestly, I was really only worried about eating it, not taking any finished-product blog pictures.

I need to make it again though. Everyone really liked how I made it but, I want to try making it again with homemade coconut milk and not coconut milk from the can. I think it will make a world of difference.

You can do a ton of stuff with haupia and you can make it as simple or as complex and gourmet as you like, either way... it's going to be good.

Coconut Milk-from scratch:
8 oz pckg unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup boiling water

-Blend coconut and water
-Let mixture cool
-Place a sieve with cheese cloth over a large bowl
-Squeeze the mixture once poured n the cloth to extract as much liquid as possible
-Use right away or store for a couple days.

Coconut Milk from Scratch Scratch:
1 matured coconut with only hard brown shell exposed
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot water
sieve and cheese cloth

-Drain the coco water from the coconut by piercing the "eyes" with a clean nail and hammer
-Put coconut with shell in oven and bake for 30 minutes at 325 F.
-After cooled, crack the shell open and get all the meat out.
-Peel the inner brown layer, and chop coconut into small pieces.
-Place coco meat in blender or food processor and add hot water, enough to cover the meat. Puree
-Place the mesh sieve with cheese cloth over a large bowl
-Pour the puree through the sieve, squeezing to extract the juice from the meat
-Discard meat or use for something else.
P.S. You should use the fresh milk right away but, if you need to, store it in fridge for 1-2 days covered tightly.

HAUPIA Crust  RECIPE *optional
*Usually haupia is just by itself but I found this recipe that made a bottom crust and it was really good)
1/2 cup butter, room temp
3 Tbs sugar
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans or Macadamia nuts(they sell honey roasted that are A-Mazing!)
Zest of 1 lime (If you want...it's what I did)
-Preheat oven to 350 F.
-Whip all ingredients together
-Line your haupia pan with parchment paper and little parchment tabs to help pull out your completed, chilled desert later.
-Spread the crust dough smooth and flat in the bottom of your haupia pan ( I an used 8x8 square cake pan)
-Bake for 15 to 10 minutes at 350 F.
4 cups coconut milk
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean(optional)

-In a medium saucepan, combine coco milk, and whisk until smooth and turn on medium heat
-In a medium mixing bowl, whisk sugar and cornstarch
-Slowly whisk in sugar mix, occasionally whisking.
-Turn to medium low heat and cook until you have a thick, shiny consistency.
- Taste to make sure your mix is not grainy. If it is than cook for longer until the coco fat is melted and smooth.
-Pour into a square pan depending on how thick you want your haupia squares. And if doing the crust thing, make sure your crust is cooled.
-Sooth out and place a parchment sheet over top-make sure there are no wrinkles.
-Seal with plastic wrap.
-Chill for 5 hours or overnight.
-Invert onto baking sheet, and then invert again onto another baking sheet so you have a clock of haupia with crust on bottom.
-With a large, thick knike, slice even haupia squares and transfer to a serving plate.
-You can serve with...
whipped cream
chocolate whipped cream
drizzled plain coconut milk
drizzled coconut rum
or sprinkled toasted coconut
But, really, by itself, it's just fine. :)


Stuffed Dates for Fall
October One, Twenty-Ten. WOW! The pumpkin patches are sprouting, crab apples are overflowing, the sweet aroma of caramel is in the air, and we had our first rainy down pour earlier this week. It was actually 113 degrees on Monday and then by Wednesday, we had a freakish warm rain sweep through. We were at the park with Buddy and the rain just dumped on us, accompanied by a beautiful tropical sky and rainbows jumping everywhere in and out of these fluffy hot pink clouds. CRAZY huh. :)

So, dates are fallish right? Aside from that summery date shake that you can get in Palm Springs, CA or Arizona. Dates are a rich heavy fall thing. You know, they're in Christmas fruit cakes and such.

Anyway, these are *special * Medjool dates filled with cream cheese, lavender, bacon,
and then coated in chocolate.
Medjool dates are really yummy and moist but very sweeeet. The cream cheese really counters their sweetness, and the salty bacon and dark chocolate make this a perfect fall treat.

For a dinner-garnish, I cut them in half *but not all the way through* took out their pit, and put some cream cheese in the middle. They were really good and got me thinking to make...these devilish desserts with the chocolate and bacon.
I am also thinking, dates sliced over melted brie and crackers would also be really delish.

Here's what I did for:
Ivy's Chocolate Covered Dates
12 Medjool Dates
1 container cream cheese, whipped or not.
6 cooked and crispy bacon strips, I used the pre-cooked bacon from Oscar Meyer because it's easier.
1/4 cup lavender sugar for sprinkling

-Slice dated open, almost in half but not all the way.
-take out the pit
 -Fill 1/4 tsp cream cheese.
-Sprinkle with lavender sugar.
 -Stuff with some medium size bacon pieces. Set them aside until ready to coat with chocolate.
Chocolate coating recipe:
4 tbs bitter-sweet chocolate or whatever chocolate you like. I used bitter-sweet to counter some of the dates sweetness.
2 tbs butter
-Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water
-Stir so they are combined and take off heat.
-Dip dates until coated with chocolate and place on a flat plate lined with parchment paper.
 -Chill in fridge for an hour or so and up to a week. Or for quick chilling, place in freezer for 10 mins.
-Sprinkle with bacon bits and sugar for looks if you want.