Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Salted Caramel Macaroons ♥

Hello Friends! How was your Easter weekend? I'll tell you about our day in a minute, but first I want to share with you this recipe for salted caramel macaroons.  I just can't wait!
My plan was to make a coconut cake for Easter and then I saw this recipe.  It was the first time I've ever made salted caramel anything. I'm officially hooked!  I think I could drizzle this stuff on just about anything and it would taste good. No joke!

I got the recipe from one of my Favorite blogs:  Tracy has the most amazing recipes! They are easy to follow and everything I've ever made from her blog always comes out great. Her blog is beautiful! She has a little of everything you are looking for - from delicious salads to the most decadent deserts.  She's super funny too and has an adorable little boy. She's pretty much got it all as far as I'm concerned ♥
Here's how to make Tracy's macaroons:
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 14oz. bag sweetened shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix the sweetened condensed milk, coconut, and vanilla.  Slowly stir in the coconut and mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until very stiff peaks form (about 2 minutes).
Gently fold in the egg whites.


Using a spoon or 1 1/2 ice cream scoop (that's what I used) form mixture into balls and place them about 1 inch apart on baking sheet.  Bake 20 - 25 minutes.

Keep a close eye on them after 20 minutes.  They will turn golden brown and the edges will get nice and crispy!

Remove from the oven and let rest for about three minutes.  After that transfer to a cooling rack.  I slid the entire sheet of parchment right from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack so I would not disturb the cookies. 
While the cookies are cooling you can make the caramel.  Place sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and do not touch until sugar starts to melt. It will turn clear to pale yellow and then start to darken. When it starts to boil stir rapidly until it gets nice and smooth & there are no lumps.  When the sugar turns a copper color (above) add the butter and sea salt.  Remove from heat. 

Working quickly, drizzle the caramel over the cooled macaroons.  When you look at Tracy's blog you will see that her caramel was drizzled nice and neatly.  Mine didn't come out as pretty, but thankfully, no one seemed to mind ♥

These macaroons are slightly crispy on the outside and chewy and delicious on the inside! I couldn't resist sampling one (or two) while the caramel was still hot. YUM!

I left a few plain (without caramel) just in case anyone preferred it.  They are just as good!
We had a beautiful day for Easter! The sun was shining brightly on our Egg Tree! My little one woke up at 6:30 am and found all the eggs the Easter Bunny hid before I even finished my first cup of coffee! He tore through his Easter basket like you wouldn't believe. It was so fast I didn't even get a picture! After inhaling a package of Peeps its amazing how fast a six year old can move! Lightning speed!
We got dressed, went to Church, and then off we went to our family celebration.
My Mom made a delicious turkey dinner for our family.  I enjoyed it with a glass of rosé wine ♥ 

Followed by another egg hunt and lots of candy and chocolate!  
We ended the day with a walk around the neighborhood to digest. John road his new scooter he got from the Easter Bunny. It felt really good to breathe in the fresh Spring air and see the pretty flowers blooming all around us.  Not a snowflake in sight! Spring has finally arrived! We made it ♥
I hope you had a lovely Easter holiday too! I'm still knee deep in Cadbury Mini Eggs! I keep eating them but they won't seem to go away. Every day there are more and more.  I have a serious problem on my hands (and thighs!). 
Bye! xo

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar pita chips

Hello Friends! I hope you are all having a wonderful week.  I'm so happy it's Friday and the weekend is finally here!!! : ) 
With this burst of Spring weather we're having I'm getting motivated to eat lighter and healthier.  I hate to say it, but bathing suit weather is right around the corner!! eek!!!  With all of my winter eating I can hardly bare the thought of it. 
For a treat this week, instead of my usual chips and dip, I opted for something a little more refreshing.  I gathered up some of my favorite fruits, mixed them with lime juice, cinnamon & sugar, and made a fruit salsa. The sweetness of the fruit hit the spot.  I also made cinnamon sugar pita chips to scoop it up with! It was a good idea.
This fruit salsa is so delicious you won't be able to stop eating it.  It's the perfect appetizer for Easter or your first outdoor gathering of the season!  Kids will love it and its looks very pretty on the table ♥

You can use any fruit that you want, but here is how I like to make it:

1 apple - cored and diced (I left the skin on)
1 pint (2 cups) strawberries, sliced
3 kiwis, peeled and diced
1/2 cup mango or pineapple chunks (I used mango)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl combine chopped fruit, lime juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 20 minutes.  I left mine overnight. 

The fruit will get sweet and delicious.  You can see bits of cinnamon and nutmeg on the fruit.  It's soooo good! ♥

For the pita chips - preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut pita rounds (I used whole wheat ones) into triangles.  Arrange in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Brush each triangle with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake for 5 minutes.  Let cool.  (You could also season them with sea salt and pepper - click here for more ideas : )

Now you have your salsa and your chips. Get dippin'!

Leftover salsa is  yummy stirred into plain yogurt, on top of ice cream, on top of pancakes, or just dump it all into the blender and make a smoothie! So many possibilities!
The weather was so beautiful this week that I was able to take these photos outside on my deck!  My hubby set up the patio table and we had our first cup of coffee outdoors yesterday.  I hope to be able to take my book out there this weekend and enjoy a little fresh air while I read. It's the little things that make me happy : )  
I hope you all have a great weekend! Happy Friday! ♥

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello April ♥

Happy April! We've finally made it and April has come in like a lamb!  The sun is shining and there is a comforting warmth in the air.  I'm wearing a short sleeve shirt today for the first time in months! Flowers are popping up all over the place and all of a sudden there is COLOR in the world again.  I am loving April! Here is a quick list of what life has been like for me lately.


Watching: Flowers blooming! There is life after winter!
Reading: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Listening To: My son reading! Every night he reads to me. I never want to forget his little first grade voice.  I love it! : )
Making:  Home! I did Spring cleaning yesterday and boy did this house need it.  I put out some Easter decorations and even emptied out our china cabinet and shined up all the glass.  The air feels cleaner already.  Dust-be-gone!
Feeling: More motivated that I have in a while.  Thinking about bringing my bike out of hibernation and start riding it again. I need to get a cute helmet
Planning: New blogs posts! Yesterday I went to the library and came home with a stack of books I'm using for research.  I'm thinking about taking my blog in a new direction. I have lots planned for the Spring!
Loving: Eating avocados! My recent obsession is avocado mashed on toast in the morning.  Yum!

I hope your April is off to a wonderful start! I'm off to get more coffee and then dive into these books while I have the chance.  Happy Monday, friends!!