Tuesday, March 31, 2015

French Press Inspired Coffee Drinks

Source: Francois et Mimi

There are so many ways you can use a french press for really, really good coffee, and really, really good tea! But not just coffee and tea - see more recipe ideas below.

I was sent two different styles of french presses to try out recently and I have so many drinks I want to make with these two beauties, but my oh my do the weekend hours disappear way too quickly.

I just love the way the Francois et Mimi french press looks - it's so pretty, and perfect for serving up your coffee or tea next to some scones or muffins on a lazy weekend morning. This is definitely pretty enough to pull out for guests at a get together, and generously holds 34-oz of liquid to easily serve 4 people at a time (or 2 thirsty coffee drinkers!).

Awesome recipe ideas for delicious drinks made using a french press:

Source: Kitchen Supreme

The Kitchen Supreme bundle is awesome - this would be a terrific gift idea for the coffee or tea lover in your life. The french press holds 1 liter of liquid and it includes both a coffee scoop and a spoon for stirring.

Product Information for the Kitchen Supreme French Press for Coffee and Tea:
  • SUPERIOR BUNDLE: The Kitchen Supreme French Press for Coffee, Espresso and Tea Maker 1 Liter (about 8 small coffee cups or 4 coffee mugs) + 1 SPOON made from thick stainless steel for honey, sugar and desert + 4 FILTER screens (The only Coffee Maker with 4 Screens System for no more grounds in your coffee) + 1 Coffee/Tea SCOOP + HARD COPY Instructions and Barista Secrets + the latest special type of packaging: Amazon Frustration Free Packaging.
  • HELPS YOU TO: DELIGHT YOUR SENSES starting the morning with the smell of essential oils from coffee beans and tea leaves; With the 4 screen system of the French Press Coffee Machine you will OBTAIN a CREAMY, FOAMY, VELVETY and PURE coffee and tea. This is the best Coffee Maker Machine for your delicate mornings.
  • SAVE TIME: This is the best choice for busy people! You will obtain an appetizing cup of coffee or tea in a few moments having only coarse coffee ground or tea leaves and water. VARIETY OF USES: The French Press can be used as a Coffee or Tea Press Pot, Cafetiere, Coffee Plunger, Tea Infuser, French Press Travel Mug, Espresso Machine and Milk Frother.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY, NOTHING LESS: DOUBLE BOROSILICATE GLASS - The strong carafe is constructed from a heat resistant and durable glass to be present at all the special moments with those you love; What's so special about this Borosilicate Glass? This is the only type of glass conceived to resist at thermal shocks, it will never crack! 4 FILTER SCREENS - The French Coffee Press comes with 4 filter screens for truly pure coffee and tea drinkers who know to appreciate the purity, flavor, consistency and quality; This Tea Infuser has components like STAINLESS STEEL Plunger, Frame and Filters because you deserve the best. The materials (glass and stainless steel) are completely taste-free so nothing comes between your ground coffee beans.

Product Information for the Francois et Mimi Vintage Double Wall French Press:
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Holds 1000ml, or 34oz
  • Double wall feature keeps liquids hot longer
  • Dribble-proof spout

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Francois et Mimi and Kitchen Supreme for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.

Gestational Surrogacy ~ Transfer Update!

Transfer was last Friday! It went awesome - super smooth, and the embryo was beautiful. I had prepared for our transfer day with lots of green and yellow items. Eating pineapple around transfer is a tradition for me, as are painting my toenails green!

I had my "Me Lucky Shirt" ready to go the morning of as well.

Our RE did the transfer, everything went super smoothly and looked great, he said a little elvish magic blessing and then the timer was set for 5 minutes and I was tilted backwards to rest until the timer went off.

 My agency coordinator, Eloise, came to join me and be there for support which was so sweet!

We are now in the "Torturous Two Week Wait" anxiously awaiting that second beautiful line on a pregnancy test. My IPs prefer to wait for the blood test results, but you can bet I have already been testing away the past couple days! Our blood test is on April 6th - just 6 more days! Fingers and toes crossed for a successful cycle and full term healthy pregnancy for my IPs!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

Have you been to Vegas lately? I sure haven't... the last time I was in Vegas was for a Marine Corps ball when Kenneth was still active duty, many, many years ago! If you are like me and aren't able to make the trip to Vegas as often as you might like, at least you can recreate some of the dishes from the fine dining available there!

I was sent the vegetarian sample menu items below from some of the Wynn Resort restaurants, and I chose to recreate the Wild Mushroom Risotto from SW Steakhouse. There were many delicious looking and sounding recipes to choose from as you can see - I'm pretty sure I'll be attempting the Peach Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, and the Pot Pie in the near future.

I have never made risotto before so I was excited to find a good recipe and give this a try and see how it would come out for me.

This risotto recipe is wonderful!! Cooked slow and low to give you tender, but slightly firm risotto infused with delicious baby portobellos and a Mediterranean flavored Parmesan cheese. Absolutely wonderful! I loved how creamy the final dish was, and the flavor of the mushrooms was so, so good. My husband in particular really liked this one - he probably ate over half the finished recipe on his own! We ate this dish by itself the first night, and then alongside some gorgeous steaks the next night. Absolutely wonderful as an entree or a side dish. You can't go wrong with this one!

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto adapted from MYLEEN on AllRecipes

6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 TBS olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced (I used half a large onion, diced)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives (optional)
4 TBS butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used a Mediterranean Parmesan)


  1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 30 - 45 minutes (I cooked mine on a slightly lower temp for just over an hour).
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#PartyLikeAMadMan ~ Mad Men Inspired Lunch for Two

The authors of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook have invited bloggers from all over to send the Mad Men series out with just a little extra style; they are hosting a virtual party to feature shared food and drinks inspired by the show. Check out the Mad Men Finale Virtual Party details here!

I received the cook book and Lindsey thought she would help me work on my menu. The days were ticking by and the finale approaching and I knew I wanted to do a complete meal but couldn't narrow down my menu choices. Then with the weekend approaching, and the spring sunshine inspiring me - I decided a picnic-style lunch would be perfect.

So on a Saturday late morning I got started on my recipes! Chocolate chip cookies came together and went into the oven, eggs and potatoes went into water to boil and lots of mayonnaise was added to things.

We ended up with delicious tuna fish sandwiches, creamy potato salad, tasty deviled eggs, some raw veggies and dip, and chocolate chip cookies to finish the meal with .

It was a wonderful lunch, and so fun to pull together and serve!

Tuna Fish Sandwich from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook website
(makes 2 large sandwiches)

7-oz tuna, drained weight
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Chopped sweet pickles or relish, to taste
Bread slices, for serving
Toppings: pickle slices, lettuce, tomato (if desired)

  1. In a small bowl, flake tuna fish. Add mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  2. Mix in chopped sweet pickles or relish to taste and serve on slices of bread.

Deviled Eggs from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

6 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup mayonnaise, more for a creamier filling
1/4 tsp dry mustard, more to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Paprika, for sprinkling

  1. Hard boil the eggs; place eggs in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to keep water at a low simmer and boil for 12 minutes. Move eggs to cold water to cool.
  2. When eggs are chilled, peel and cut eggs in half lengthwise. Gently remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash the yolks until fine and crumbly. Add mayonnaise and stir until the desired consistency is achieved, add seasonings, taste and adjust if needed.
  3. Refill the hollow of the egg whites with the filling and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate; serve chilled.

Potato Salad from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 TBS yellow mustard
2 TBS sour cream
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS vinegar
1 tsp sugar
ground black pepper
1 grated onion (optional)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup minced parsley (I only used about 1 - 2 TBS)
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 cups diced, cooked, potatoes

  1. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, lemon juice and vinegar in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste, onion, celery, parsley and eggs. Stir until well combined. Add cooked potatoes and toss gently to combine.
  2. Cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6-oz (1 cup) semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium sized mixing bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, both sugars, egg, and vanilla; cream together until fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes).
  2. Add the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring slowly just until combined. Add in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand.
  3. Roll into walnut sized balls and place 2 - 3 inches apart on a silpat / baking sheet lined cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes until set, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Argan Oil-Infused Facial Care Series: Bonne Nuit #Review

This is a very lovely night cream I was sent to review - I received a 1-oz tub of the Bonne Nuit lavender infused night cream and oh the smell is so heavenly. I am a huge fan of lavender, and this cream really reminds me of the essential oil infused creams I've been massaged with at a spa before - so very relaxing!

The cream goes on easily and smoothly - the texture is very soft and silky. It absorbs quickly into your skin, and will leave a light residue only for a short time after application. My skin feels very refreshed, hydrated, and moisturized the mornings after I use this cream.

Product Information:
  • Each luxurious cream is infused with a full 10% pure organic Argan Oil
  • Bonne Nuit Night Facial Cream scented with Lavender Essential Oil to help you relax into a peaceful night of sweet dreams
  • While you sleep our super rich blend of natural oils, butters and vitamins will be working to soften, rehydrate skin cells, help rebuild collagen and reduce fine wrinkles and lines and restore your skin toy a supple, healthful appearance and feel.
  • As always, our creams are hypo-allergenic and Paraben-Free, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Alcohol-Free and Cruelty-Free (No animal testing ever), and include no genetically-modified ingredients.

Luxe Lumineux Argan Oil-Infused Facial Care Series:

This luxurious blend of oils, butters, vitamins and botanical extracts is enriched even more with pure organic cold-pressed Silken Gold Argan Oil, and is designed to protect, nourish and support your delicate facial skin. It comes in three different forms:

  • Grand Jour is our Day Facial Cream, designed to engage your senses as you awaken to the light scent of Honeysuckle. 
  • Bonne Nuit Night Facial Cream is scented with Lavender Essential Oils for relaxation while it nourishes.  
  • Luxe de Soie with added Vitamin E is unscented and is designed for both face and body. It entices you to luxuriate in the silken feel of our anytime cream, filled with anti-aging and anti-oxidant power.
Experience the anti-aging and replenishing benefits of top quality ingredients. Your face will love the difference

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Now This Life for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Yorkshire Mayfair Soft Silky Sheet Set #Review

I was sent a set of the Yorkshire Mayfair's Super Silky Soft Luxury Bed Sheet Set 100% Highest Quality Brushed Microfiber 1800 Series Bedding, Queen sized in Green.

We are really enjoying this sheet set! It has a very unique texture / quality to the fabric, slightly silky without actually being slippery or slick. The color is a nice green, and the set washed very well and was easy to put on our mattress - which is saying a lot since we have a nice sized pillow topper on our mattress, and it can be difficult to get fitted sheets to go all the way on, on all four corners, often times! The deep pockets are great for our mattress and accommodates the pillow topper easily.

Product Information:
Made of the highest quality heavy-weight, high-gram luxury microfiber
4 piece sheet set includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two pillowcases
More durable than cotton,Hypoallergenic and wrinkle resistant!
Extra Deep Pocket Fit
Lifetime Guarantee- If you don't love it, send it back!

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Yorkshire Mayfair for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.

Cakes Under The Influence ~ No Bake Boozy Bites

I was given the option to review some "No Bake Boozy Bites" by Cakes Under the Influence! What a fun product to keep for quick, tasty, and easy treats, or a fun gift idea. There are five great flavors to choose from and you can mix and match your liquid add-ins for different flavor options.

I made a batch of the "drunken monkey" no bake bites which have banana chips and coconut flakes too - yumm!

The no-bake batter comes together quickly and easily. Just roll the formed balls in some powdered sugar (or dip / drizzle with melted chocolate!) and store in a tupperware in the refrigerator.

See my youtube video assembling a batch of these yummy bites here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ7hwUkQT6I

Find Cakes Under the Influence:
Website: http://www.cakesundertheinfluence.com/
No Bake Boozy Bites: http://www.cakesundertheinfluence.com/Baking-mixes/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CUIBakery
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cuibakery/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CUIBakery
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CakesUnderTheInfluence

Product Information: 
No Bake Boozy Bites are fun, delicious and so EASY to make!  No baking required.  Just add 2 or 2.5 oz of rum, tequila, brandy, whisky or other liquid flavoring to the mix, form into 1/2 inch balls, toss with powdered sugar and refrigerate.

The final bites come out rich, moist and delicious.  They are like the old 'rum balls' but with some modern flavors.

There are five flavors to choose from:

  • Margarita (Lime, Orange and a hint of Vanilla).  Use Tequila, Rum or Orange Juice
  • Pina Colada (Pineapple and Coconut).  Use Rum, Whiskey or Coconut Water
  • Drunken Monkey (Banana, Chocolate and a hint of coffee).  Use Dark Rum, Whiskey or Chocolate Milkk
  • Cranberry Cocoa (Cranberry, Cocoa, and a bit of vanilla cream).  Use Brandy, Vodka or Cosmo Mix
  • Peppermint Cream (Peppermint, Cocoa and a bit of cream).  Use Brandy, Rum or Chocolate Milk.

Each packet makes about 24 1/2 inch size bites.  These make a nice addition to a home party, a BBQ, and as a hostess gift.

For a fun option consider coating each Bite with Melted Chocolate.  Just melt 1/2 C chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle on top of each ball.  We suggest you place each ball on parchment paper.  Then cool and enjoy.

Keep finished balls in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ingredients include (Margarita Version as a representative example):
Sweet Crumb (enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, whole wheat flour, vegetable oil), sugar, diced citron (citron, pineapple, corn syrup, citric acid), corn starch, natural flavorings, honey, vanilla, xantham gum.

Mix was made in a facility with wheat, nut, dairy allergens.

Nutritional Information:
Serving size 38 grams (6 per package).  Amount per serving:  Calories 145, calories from fat 16, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 1g, Trans fat 0g, Cholestoral 0g, Sodium 0g, Total Carbs 31g, dietary fiber 1g, Sugars 15g, Protein 1g.