Tag Archives: chocolate

An Indulgent Treat That’s Both Salty & Sweet

The holiday season is in full swing, and at this point your calendar is bursting with fun, festive activities: the Nutcracker, a friend’s Ugly Sweater Party, holiday gatherings at the Hotel Roanoke, you name it! If you need an easy recipe for a holiday treat that is guaranteed to impress your guests without much fuss, we have the perfect fix for you: Country Crack!

You will need:
Cooking spray
35-40 saltine crackers
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter (For crunchier crackers, just use one stick!)
8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F. The ingredients being used have been proven to be sticky, so make sure to line the pan with aluminum foil and non-stick spray.
Step 2: Arrange the saltines in a single layer, placing them salt-side down. As you do this, you can melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan. As it comes to a boil, it will turn a caramel color. From here you will pour the mixture over the crackers.
Step 3: Bake for 3-5 minutes, or just until bubbly, but make sure that they don’t burn! After you remove the crackers from the oven, next you will pour the chocolate chips on the crackers. As they begin to soften, then you can gently smooth them over with a knife.
Step 4: Transfer the pan to the freezer. Leave them sit for 15-20 minutes, or until they become cold. The last step is to break the crackers into pieces.

This is a great time to add toppings. This recipe originated from Trisha Yearwood’s Sweet & Saltines. The secret to Country Crack is the sea salt that is grinded on top. That’s the kicker! Other good toppings could include crushed peppermint or even bacon.
If you’re at a loss for time, don’t stress! This recipe can be made in 35 minutes tops. It’s simple and delicious, and your dessert will be the talk of the night.

Enjoy!

 

Written by Lani Maddox

Product Spotlight: Eos Chocolates

Catherine von Ruden, the creator of Eos Chocolates, integrates her passion for all things sweet into her chocolate creations. She grew up in Switzerland and developed an interest in Greek Mythology. This interest inspired Catherine to name her company Eos, after the Goddess of Dawn, which is fitting because the product is meant to satisfy chocolate lovers bite-by-bite. She describes her brand as “guiltless pleasure,” which sets her apart from the rest, since dark chocolate is typically the only type of chocolate consumers consider to be healthy.

IMG_1011_B_CROP_largeEos Chocolates represent four different lines of indulgence, including Chocolate Spreads ($11.5), Energy Bars ($2.5), Nibbles ($8), and their signature piece Eos Chocolate Man ($7-10). Each is fair-trade, organic or contains sustainably farmed ingredients.

Nibbles and spreads are made of 70% cocoa to ensure the perfect amount of sweetness while leaving out the unneeded sugar, which leaves you UN-satisfied post indulgence. Energy bars are sweetened with honey and coconut sugar, and also contain organic rolled oats, 100% cocoa nibs, and hemp seeds, which is not only good, but also good for you! As far as the Chocolate Man goes, he comes in dark, milk, and white; and also, he can be enjoyed solid, filled with fruit or creamy ganache. Yum!

Visit www.eoschocolates.com for more information on Catherine and her delightful creations!

Written by Lani Maddox

Ten Days of Mom: Baylee’s Best Chocolates Gift Basket!

Ten Days of Mom: DAY SIX!!!

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CHOCOLATE!! Enter to win a delicious gift basket from Baylee’s Best Chocolates! All of their chocolates are handmade at their shop in Roanoke’s West Village– and chocolate is the PERFECT way to show mom you care on Mother’s Day!

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win!

Serve It Up Sassy: Color Splash!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

color splash  1Splashes of color set the stage for a simple dessert garden party. Polk-a-dots and clay pots bring to life the bright colors of this spring composition. The color-rich palate includes hot pink, purple, yellow, terra cotta, lime and tangerine.
This sunny celebration takes the party outdoors where the flowers are beginning to bloom and the smell of fresh rain still lingers in the air. A natural rock wall lends the perfect background for the flower-filled and garden themed table- setting. The centerpiece of this garden landscape features clean hand trowels, garden gloves, early blooming grape hyacinths and terra cotta pots. A child’s pair of polka-dot rain boots stake out a planted position on the table.
color splash mousse closeupDesserts for this garden party are Lemon Cupcakes and decadent Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cakes. The Lemon Cupcakes are color-splashed with hot pink, orange or yellow butter-cream flowers. Serve these cute little flowers in a decorative small flower vase that coordinates with your overall color scheme. Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cakes are made with chocolate mousse, brownies and covered with chocolate ganache. The secret baking tool is a silicone baking mold. For recipe go to www.lizbushong.com
Shop now for cute rain boots and gather new colorful gardening tools to host an impromptu garden dessert party. Color-splash your friends with bright colors of spring from the garden to the table. 

118Flower Pot Cupcakes  

1-16 oz. pkg. lemon cake mix
1-3oz pkg. lemon instant pudding/pie mix-dry
1-1/3 cups water
½ -cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups White buttercream frosting-purchased or homemade

Buttercream Frosting
½ cup butter, no substitutes
½ cup shortening
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon clear vanilla
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except frosting. Beat on medium speed. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cake batter into cupcake liners 1/2 full.
Bake 22-28 minutes. Cool cupcakes.
Frosting: Beat softened butter and shortening together in mixing bowl. Add salt, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar along with cream. Mix until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes with white buttercream frosting. Divide white frosting into four bowls, tint with desired colors, hot pink, orange, yellow and green. Fill 3 disposable pastry bags with tip 104- orange, yellow, hot pink frosting and green frosting-leaf tip 352. Pipe green leaves on top of each cupcake and tip 104 pipe flowers in desired colors. Flower instructions on www.wilton.com

Liz Circle 2013 small (2)Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. In 2009, 2010, 13, 14 she was entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday. Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-Cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS Affiliate for the Tri- Cities Area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, Daytime Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia and Daytime Tampa, Tampa Florida. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She is also a contributing writer for the regional magazine VIP Seen and Lovely Bella magazine in Roanoke, Virginia. Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™
To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.comor blog, www.lizbushong.com
Like and Share Liz on Facebook, tweet @lizbushong and pin on pinterest.com/lizbushong.

Serve it up Sassy!®: Dining on a Dime!

placesetting 1A - CopyRECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

Winter may bring cold winds and snow showers, but there’s a bright spot in all of this wintery bliss, a healthy meal with a pretty table ushering in the promise of spring and dining on a dime. Hope you are hungry!

Here is a budget-friendly menu for light supper at home. Melt away the icy chill with a hearty tomato bacon soup, triple cheese “spoons” and for dessert, a mouthwatering chocolate meringue brownie with cashew caramel sauce.

If the past season has left you money hungry, this menu will help you stretch-a- dollar. Purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost-effective way to approach menu planning and shopping. Grocery stores tend to purchase in-bulk seasonal items because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale. Vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic and carrots are just a few seasonal foods that were used in this menu. There are many other vegetables to select from ranging from arugula to turnip greens. Ask your produce manager what items are seasonal and they should be able to help you.

Our menu has five seasonal items including the vegetables in the centerpiece. The onions, garlic and carrots were cooked in the savory tomato soup along with canned tomatoes. The triple cheese spoons and chocolate meringue brownies were baked to perfection using basics from a well -stocked pantry. If you don’t have a stocked pantry, begin to add one or two extra items each time you shop to keep your pantry ready for those impromptu meals. A good resource for stocking your pantry is budgetbytes.com.

lenton rose centerpieceBlooming in the midst of a cold winter and reaching toward the warmth of the sun, white Lenten roses are the welcomed centerpiece for this light supper. The roses were not purchased but cut from the backyard. The base of a green head of cabbage provided an interesting vase and the Brussels sprouts compliment the dark green leaves of the Lenten roses. The cabbage is hollowed in the center and holds a small glass container for water. After the flowers are spent, you can use the cabbage and Brussels sprouts for another meal or two. A great way to save money is to use vegetables and fruits as part of your centerpiece.

Decorate your table with what you have, begin with the white dinner plate and add colorful salad plates or bowls to the setting. Fold a pretty napkin and tuck it under the salad plate. In this sassyscape, the $3.00 centerpiece set the tone for this green, white and black color scheme. The napkin is a tea towel. Be creative and make your table your own by using what you already have available. Perhaps you have extra lemons or limes around; you could create a scheme from those two colors.  Inspiration is all around you. Take the time to find it.

February may indeed bring cold winds and snow showers, but there is always a bright spot in each and every day no matter what the season brings. A pretty table, a fulfilling meal and the satisfaction knowing you didn’t over spend makes every day a little bit brighter and less stressful. Dining on a Dime can help you usher in the promise of spring with a big smile on your face and money in your pocket.

tomato soupSavory Bacon Tomato Soup with Avocado Sauce

2 strips of market fresh bacon
½ cup chopped yellow onion
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup canned tomato sauce
2-12 ounce can diced tomatoes basil, garlic and oregano
3 cups chicken broth
Garnish
Avocado Sauce
½ cup bacon bits-divided
8-10 Chive stems

Avocado Sauce
¼ cup yogurt or sour cream
1-tablespoons water
½-avocado, mashed

In large saucepan, fry bacon. Remove bacon but reserve oil. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots in the bacon oil on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir until onions are transparent and soft.
Add tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes. Add broth, salt and pepper.
Simmer for 45 minutes.
In blender or using hand emulsifier, puree the soup in batches until smooth, return to saucepan over medium heat. Serve soup in individual bowls.
Make avocado sauce; mix all ingredients together until smooth.
Top each bowl with avocado sauce, crumbled bacon bits and chive stems.
Serve with Three Cheese Cheddar Spoons.
Yield: 4-6 Servings

 

cheesespoonsThree- Cheese Spoons (Straws)

16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 stick butter- land a lakes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more as desired
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
Garnish:   white sesame seeds-optional

In food processor with steel blade, or with a mixer, cream the butter and cheeses until fluffy and smooth. Add cayenne, salt and flour and process the dough until the dough gathers inside the bowl.
Preheat oven to 325.
Remove dough and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 25 minutes or longer. When ready to roll out, the dough should be pliable and easy to roll. You might need to knead the dough to make it pliable and easier to roll.
Roll dough on flour surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick – these will puff slightly during baking. (¼ inch is to thick, unless you want a thicker spoon)
Cut desired shapes using cookie cutters or a spoon cut out.
On a parchment lined double baking sheet space each spoon 1/4 inch apart. Brush spoon with water then sprinkle with sesame seeds or other grain. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and brown. Allow to cool on pan before removing to avoid breakage.
Store in airtight container after cooled.
Yield: about 40 spoons (These freeze well. Serve with soups, salads or as appetizer mini’s.)

chocolatemeringueChocolate Meringue Brownies with Cashew Caramel Sauce

1-8×8 inch square pan full of baked brownies- use favorite mix or recipe
1 cup chocolate frosting, purchased or home-made

Chocolate Meringue

½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened special dark cocoa
2 egg whites, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar

Cashew Caramel Sauce

½ cup purchased caramel sauce
½ cup whole cashews

Instructions for Meringue and Cashew Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace 8- 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter size on to parchment paper. Turn paper over. Set aside.
In small bowl, sift confectioners sugar with cocoa, set aside.
In large mixing bowl, using wire wisk, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add granulated sugar to egg whites, beat until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add confectioners and cocoa mixture, beat to blend. Peaks will be lost.
Spoon mixture into zip lock bag, close bag, clip one end to 1/8 inch, pipe circles onto parchment paper.
Bake meringues in oven for 20- 25 minutes or until firm. Open oven door slightly and cool completely.
In small bowl, combine cashews with caramel sauce. Set aside.

To Assemble:
Cut brownies into 4 -2 ½ inch circles using cutter for meringues. Frost each brownie top with chocolate frosting. On serving plate, layer one meringue upright, brownie round, top with meringue. With spoon drizzle cashew caramel sauce over meringue brownie dessert.
Yield: 4 servings

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Your’s.®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010, and 13, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 100 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.
Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-Cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS Affiliate for the Tri- Cities Area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Daytime Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia and Daytime Tampa, Tampa Florida. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She is also a contributing writer for the regional magazine VIP Seen and Lovely Bella magazine in Roanoke, Virginia.
She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer and Family Sciences from Purdue University and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fashion Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is also certified in Decorative Finishes and has been trained as a volunteer Master Gardener.
Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook. Liz turns dessert into the fifth basic food group and features recipes for her signature specialty, delicious “mini-desserts and appetizers.”
Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee. She continues to perfect her sassy approach to turning simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments.
Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™
To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.com.

 

Bella Loves You!

Did you miss our Valentine’s Day recommendations? That’s ok, because these products are still a great way to spoil yourself during these harsh winter days. Check out some of our favorite new things, and pick up the February issue of Bella while you still can!

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 A Fitting Kit from Commodity Goods: First, you order a kit. From that kit you choose your favorite scent and order a bottle. Warning: Choosing one favorite is hard!

 

 

 

 

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Zuny Classic Series Elephant Pink Animal Bookend:
Ok, so we are just a little obsessed with how cute this is–and there are tons of animals to choose from!

 

 

 

 

 

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Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate by Liz Pearson:
The title says it all. Get healthy and ENJOY it! This book is full of advice and great recipes that will change your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

bellamarchprodAnd, a special sneak peek to our favorite March things:
Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for your Sassy Side by Julie Jackson– released February 17! Copies available now!

P.S. Stay tuned to our Facebook page during the next two weeks for chances to win some of these awesome finds!

14 Days of Love: VA is for Lovers Gift Basket from chocolatepaper!

14 Days of Love: DAY SIX!!

Assorted_Chocola_4cc87e64d1ba2_358x358Chocolatepaper is giving away every chocolate lover’s dream prize: a VA is for Lovers Gift Basket ($75 retail value) AND an annual membership to their Free Truffle of the Month Club.

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to enter, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the February issue for a complete list of this month’s giveaways!

WIN a Gift Basket from Baylee’s Best Chocolates

New Image24 Days of Prizes: DAY TWENTY-ONE!

CHOCOLATE!! Enter to win a delicious gift basket from Baylee’s Best Chocolates! All of their chocolates are handmade at their shop in Roanoke’s West Village– and we all know chocolate and the holidays go hand in hand!

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the December issue for more information on all of the fantastic prizes you can win this month!