Valentine’s Day Edition: Ladurée French Macarons

Ladurée French Macarons
A few years ago, I posted a recipe for Ladurée macarons that seemed to be a big hit with readers. I thought making a special Valentine’s Day edition would be fun. Same recipe with a cute Valentine’s Day Twist. Just grab some edible markets from Amazon and turn these classic treats into a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

This is a macaron shell recipe from Ladurée — the crème de la crème of macarons in the world! And I whipped up the filling recipe myself…

Makes approximately 50 macarons
Bake at 300F
Macaron Shell Ingredients
2 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp (275 g) fine almond flour
2 cups + 1 tbsp (250 g) confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
6 +1/2 egg whites (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp (210g) granulated white sugar
3 drops of whatever food coloring you desire
Directions for Macaron Shells:
1. Combine the ground almond flour and the confectioners sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a fine powder {do not over mix or you will end up with paste! Nooo!}. Sift through a sieve to remove any lumps.
2. In a large bowl {I use my KitchenAid}, whisk 6 egg whites until foamy. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar {precisely 83.3 oz}. Whip until the sugar has dissolved. Add another third of the sugar. Whip for 1 minute. Add the last third of the sugar and whip for one minute. Egg whites should be glossy and hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, delicately fold the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add it to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the macaron batter.
3. If you only want to make one color of macarons, then add your desired food coloring to the batter bowl. If you want multiple colors, divide your batter into separate bowls and add coloring to each. Try not to over mix.
4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag {you can also use zip lock bags with a cut corner}. Pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a  lined baking sheet. I like to line mine with a silpat or this fancy macaron mat. Parchment paper will also do. Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release any air pockets. Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes, so a thin dry coat forms on the top {you should be able to gently touch them without the batter sticking to your finger}. Now they are ready for the oven. Only bake one tray at a time. Bake at 300F for approximately 15 minutes or until they form a smooth shell and little foot.
*You can prepare the next tray while you wait for the first batch to bake.
5. Ok here is where you’ll need to be extra patient. Wait until the macarons have completely cooled before peeling them off the mat. If they stick, they are not ready. * My method {because I’m impatient} to speed things up, try placing the hot baking sheet on top of cold damp dishtowels. This can cut your waiting time in half!
Macaroon Filling Ingredients
8 tbsp jam
4 tbsp soft butter
splash of whipping cream
Fills approximately 50 macarons
{If you want to make different flavors on a smaller scale just measure 2:1 ratio for jam and butter}
Macaron Filling Instructions
Easy part!
1. You can use any flavor you want. For these macarons, I made different flavors for each color — peach, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. Mmmmm. My friend gave me some amazing homemade jams that I mixed with butter and a splash of whipping cream.  Your measurements will vary depending on how much filling you want for each flavor. Just mix jelly, butter and whipping cream until you reach a semi-solid consistency at room temp. This one is pretty hard to mess up.
*I used Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut filling.
Good luck my friends!
Ladurée French Macarons
Ladurée French Macarons

Fiddle Leaf Fig Inspiration and 15 Pretty Planters

Fiddle Leaf Fig
I have a love/hate relationship with these green beauties. I love them and they hate me. 😉 No really. I’ve had three plants now and they keep dying, despite my tender loving care – scheduled waterings, a sunny spot next to the window and a gentle leaf polishing with coconut oil. I’ve tried everything. Maybe it’s my house…maybe it’s not enough sun. Who knows? Some day I’ll figure it out, until then these pictures will keep me dreaming.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig

And here are some fun potting ideas too! I stick mine inside a ceramic pot and woven grass basket at home. These cute planters extend beyond the fiddle leaf fig…think snake plant, cacti, rubber trees, palms etc. There are lots of indoor plant options that would look stunning in these pretty planters.
Pretty Planters
1. palazzo marbleized planter / 2. glisan hanging planter / 3.fiddle leaf fig ceramic planter / 4.cement planter / 5.brass planter /  6.riviera pineapple copper planter / 7.mamba basket / 8.drum white planter/  9.blue swirl planter  / 10.drip pottery / 11.zen white planter / 12.napa round planter / 13.conway basket /14.Joya Basket / 15.danube planter grey marble

Pictures: grancedore, theinspiredroom,  dominoheatherkincaiddomino 2


Oregon – Over the River and Through the Woods

A few weeks ago, my mom, brother and and I flew to Oregon to spend a long weekend with my Grandmother. We arrived in Medford and drove through the redwoods to Brookings where my Grandma lives on the coast. We spent most of the time talking, watching her favorite shows and looking through old pictures of when she was young. Brookings is a bit of sleepy town, but the slower pace was welcomed break from life at home. My brother and I went for a morning run everyday. It was nice to spend some quality sibling time together…even if he ran ahead of me (too cool to run with his little sis). We watched the waves, drove out to Lobe Park to skip rocks in the calm river, ate burgers at Fely’s Cafe and spent some time at the public library. It felt like a weekend from the 90’s and I loved it.

Flying over Mt. Shasta in all its glory.

I went for a morning run on the beach infront of Grandma’s house. She had a big storm roll in few weeks prior and massive waves brought giant logs onto the beach….just a 100ft or so from the houses along the beach.

OR Run
Morning runs with my brother. That tiny black figure on the road in-between the trees is Bran. I can’t keep up with the speed demon (or I’m not cool enough to run with). He amazes me how fast and far he can run without taking a break. He showed me McVay Rock, a place he would run to when he live up here. I loved this moment… me and my bro running on that long stretch of road – cows and grassy fields on one side and the foggy Oregon coast on the other.
Brookings, Oregon
Red pyracantha
Brookings OR coffee shop
The Bell & Whistle Coffee House
We picked up some coffee-to-go before we drove out to Loeb Park. It’s a cute little coffee house near the docks in Brooking harbor. I tried the toasted coconut mocha and Grandma had the kahlua latte. Both were fantastic.

Loeb Park ^^^The park is nestled in a grove of myrtlewoods and evergreens, many of which are well over 200 years old.  The icy blue Chetco River run through it – crystal clear and prefect for skipping stones with Grandma 😉

^^^Back to Grandma’s beach to enjoy a sunset walk with mom.

^^^My mom admiring the view of the mossiest tree we ever did see. We were on our way back to Medford, when we pulled over to check out a little trail leading to the river. We found this beauty at the bottom of it.


Blood Orange & Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta
Blood orange and passion fruit panna cotta with no refined sugars, a little less fat than the traditional method and more protein! Oh yeah! And it’s sexy enough to be the star of your Valentine’s Day dessert – guilt free! Happy almost Valentine’s Day friends. I hope you have some special plans with the one you love, whether is be a night out on the town or snuggled up at home watching your favorite shows…it’s all good.

Makes 6 4oz servings
Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1 cup non fat greek yogurt
1 cup half & half
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 tbsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Directions
In a small dish, mix gelatin powder and water together. Set aside

In a small saucepan, combine half & half with honey and simmer until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and greek yogurt into the half & half – honey mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and blood orange juice. Whisk again.

Pour into silicon molds or small jars. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Serve with passion fruit and blood oranges.
Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta


Our Trip to Nashville, Tennessee

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Dan and I hopped on a plane a few weeks ago to visit our friend Evan for his White Coat Ceremony. Evan just got into Pharmacy school and we’ve been dying to visit him…so this was our opportunity to support Ev and check out his new town. We had so much fun, eating, drinking and partying our way through the city!
Here we go
^^^Taking-off from SNA our local John Wayne Airport. It had been raining all week – we flew above those grey clouds and burst into a gold n’ pink fluffy sunset. It’s fun to get a bird’s-eye view of your neighborhood. We even spotted our house!
Nashville Lights
We arrived in NASHVILLE! Poor Ev had to wait at the airport all evening…first picking up Dany and then us a few hours later. We all spent the night in his apartment and then woke up early the next day to explore the city, search for good coffee and peruse through antique shops.
Coffee TN
Headquarters Coffee & Tea
4902 Charlotte Pike
Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 386-6757
It may be small, but this Charlotte Avenue shop acts as a caffeine oasis in the West Nashville coffee desert. It also offers baked goods from locals such as Dozen Bakery and Vegan Vee. The coffee is superb! Smooth as silk. I ordered a cortado and Dan got a honey latte. Both were fantastic.
Coffee
FullSizeRender (37)
Cool Stuff Weird Things
4900 Charlotte Pike
Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 460-1112
Coffee and antiquing…right up my alley! We stopped at Cool Stuff Weird Things to look at antiques and vintage items. They have lots of jewelry, signs, records and clothes. Dan found a funky plaid jacket. Score. It’s right next-door to Headquarters Coffee & Tea! You can grad a cup of joe and walk over to the vintage shop to be entertained while you sip.
antiquing
Danny
Antique Archaeology
1300 Clinton St., Suite 130
(Marathon Village),
Nashville, TN 37203
Dan is obsessed with the American Picker’s TV show, so we had to stop at Antique Archaeology. Danny loves finding old things and making them useful again. You should see this man flip stuff on Craig’s List. It should be his job. Any who… this place is one of the locations where Mike Wolfe stores and sells some of his American Picker’s items. It’s located just a few blocks away from downtown Nashville, you can find them in the old Marathon Automobile car factory dated from the early 1900’s right along I-40.
Antiquing in NashvilleBritt Bryce Dan
^Our adopted son.
Nashville TN Home
The houses here are ri-dic-ul-ous. Huge, gorgeous houses on acres of land. Open lawns, friendly neighbors and trees for days! I would love to dig up this land and transplant it back at home. All of our friends and family can pick a house to live in 😉 wishful thinking. Ev drove us around a few beautiful neighborhoods so we could creep on the houses. Would it be weird if I knocked on a door and asked for a tour?
TN houses
1734688-residential-1mrperg-m TN Houses
Broadway Night Life
Later that evening we headed down to Broadway…because that’s what all the first timers in Nashville do. It’s like Vegas…but country themed and no gambling. Haha. The people watching is fantastic. At one point we saw a tractor pulling a trailer-full of boozed-up-bachelorettes and a few sidewalk squabbles between lovers. Perfect country music lyrics in the making…
Acme Feed and Seed
Acme Feed & Seed
101 BROADWAY
NASHVILLE, TN 37201
615.915.0888
Way happenin’! It’s located towards the end of Boradway a 3 story – cocktail, culinary and music venue with an open rooftop bar. The first floor at Acme plays classic honkytonk. The second floor has a lounge and bar and the third floor is home to The Hatchery, the largest one-level event and music venue on Broadway. Their open-air rooftop bar overlooks the entire downtown area. I really liked the concept of a multi-level bar and music venue…if you don’t like the vibes on one level, head to the next. It was the perfect place to spend our night out with friends.
Acme  Broadway Nashville
^^^These ones are classic too!
Friends
^^^Evan’s support team during his White Coat Ceremony – sitting quietly in the balcony. Go Bogard!
Pharm Ev
^^^The Next day we had lunch at The Pharmacy. It seemed most appropriate to celebrate the new pharmacist at The Pharmacy…we should have made him wear his jacket!
pharm
The Pharmacy
731 Mcferrin Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden serves 100% Tennessee-raised beef for their legendary burgers. It’s located in a residential area 10 minutes from downtown. They have a fabulous selection of beers that you can enjoy while sitting in their beautiful biergarten.
Jeni's Ice Cream
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
2312 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
I first heard of Jeni’s in Los Angeles (although I think it started in Ohio) and made it’s way to Nashville. Gawwwww this ice cream is the best. Dan and I ordered a scoop of Bangkok Peanut and Bramble Berry. I love their creative flavors. It’s by far my favorite ice cream shop. All natural, no synthetic flavorings, dyes, or off-the-shelf mixes, stabilizers and emulsifiers. Some of their fun flavors include gooey butter cake, sweet potato eclair, juniper and lemon curd, goat cheese with red cherries, brown butter almond brittle, whiskey and pecan, wildberry lavender, hot toddy and pink grapefruit buttermilk etc. the list goes on and on!
Jenis Ice Cream
Urban Grub
2506 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
After Ev’s ceremony, we celebrated with a fancy dinner at the Urban Grub. Wowza this place is amazing! Their menu is a combination of southern traditions with a “flavored up tweak,” fresh fish, seafood and smoked meats.
Urban Grub
Urban Grub
^^^Miss Thor and I shared an order of their famous shrimp and grits with tasso cream and smoked gouda and Dan had a braised Andouille pork shank with celery root puree, smoked creamed mustard greens, chili butter. Their popover biscuits and strawberry honey butter were a crowd please too!
Over OC
Home again home again. So much fun and so much foooood! OK roll me back to the gym 😉

Here are few other spots for eats, drinks and sight seeing that were on my list:
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art
Fido
Grand Ole Opry
Colts Chocolates

Epice
Old Glory
Pinewood Social
Two Ten Jack
Holland House Bar & Refuge
The Crying Wolf
LA Jackson
Frothy Monkey
Crema
Bastion
Biscuit Love
Sunflower Cafe
Belmont Mansion