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

Happy 4th Anniversary Dan!

Happy Anniversary
To my superman, HAPPY 4th Anniversary and 14th year of life together! You truly are my best friend. You amaze me in all the things you do…from building the houses these past few years, to planning the details of a surprise b-day party. There is no task too big or small that goes unnoticed by you. You are a selfless man, always thinking of others and I love your acts of kindness – the way you love me and all of our friends and family. Thank you for holding my hand on walks around Balboa, the late night talks, the homemade breakfast burritos, for re-washing the laundry I forget about (all the time), for forehead kisses, silly names, fun trips, lazy nights, long hugs and for all the ways you make me feel safe, loved and cherished! I am one lucky lady to have found such an incredible hub. Every year with you is the best I’ve ever had. Cheers to you and cheers to us. I can’t wait for all the years of happiness to come.

Javiers

Excited for dinner at Javier’s tonight! Woot woot! What a treat!


Happy Anniversary Babe

IMG_5616

Here come the feelings! Dear sweet, handsome, charming husband of mine… Happy 3rd Anniversary and 13th year of doing life together. I am grateful for every second in your arms and every day I get to spend watching you make this world a better place with your lending hand and gorgeous heart. This lifetime will never be long enough with you, oh sweet man I love you beyond this world.

On a less mushy note, D and I got a reservation at the Blue Bayou inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. My childhood dream is now complete! Such a fun night out with my love. I was very tempted to throw hungry riders dinner rolls as they floated by.

FullSizeRender-113FullSizeRender-104FullSizeRender-107FullSizeRender-111View from Tarzan’s tree house ^^^IMG_5620A spectacular sunset and fireworks to end the night.FullSizeRender-109


50 Ways to Celebrate Life

Happiness

1. Surround yourself with positive people.
2. Get involved in a charity or volunteer work. Do something good for your community.
3. Breathe deeply. Deep, slow belly breaths are good for reducing stress levels.
4. Eat healthy food. Your body will thank you immensely!
5. Laugh, laugh, laugh everyday!
6. Dance! Turn up the tunes and shake it!
7. Have a yard sale. Declutter your home while making some money or you can also donate it!
8. Redecorate a room. Change can be a good thing, even if it’s just rearranging the furniture.
9. Go to your local farmers market for fresh produce. Support your local farmers.
10. Go out to dinner with friends and try new exotic cuisine.
11. Indulge in a piece of dark chocolate cake and cup of coffee while watching your favorite show, reading a book or sitting on the porch etc.
12. Travel as often a possible. See new places and learn about different cultures. Be humble and open to different ways of life when visiting other countries.
13. Take a slow walk with someone you love. Hold their hand.
14. Grow your own garden. Plant flowers, fruits, veggies and herbs that you like to smell and eat!
15. Clean the house while listening to your favorite music. It’s nice to feel organized.
16. Treat yourself to an item that you’ve been wanting for a long time. You’re worth it…you work hard. It’s OK to get something nice for yourself once in a while.
17. Spend time with your family.
18. Play a classic board game ex: Monopoly, Pictionary or Scrabble. Have a game night with your family and friends.
19. Drink red wine…one glass a day is great for your heart
20. Go on a date with your spouse, bf/gf or a lovely friend.
21. Write your letters by hand — it’s becoming a lost art and handwritten letters are beautiful and personal. Someone will definitely cherish your effort.
22. Learn something new {outside of the box}…Latin Dance, Trapeze or Karate. It may just be the greatest thing ever!
23. Keep a journal. Write down your thoughts, ideas or feelings.
24. Go for a bike ride. Bring picnic supplies.
25. If you’re tired, take a nap. You need it.
26. Exercise and establish healthy habits.
27. Take a mental health day.
28. Sleep in on the weekends. If you have little ones, take turns with your spouse. “You take Saturday, I’ll take Sunday.”
29. Get a massage, take care of your body…it’s got to last you a lifetime
30. Wear sunscreen, protect your beautiful skin!
31. Literally “smell the roses” when you take a walk. Enjoy them.
32. Have a technology-free day, weekend, or week {this is a hard one}. Go and spend a day outside at the beach, hiking, riding bikes etc.
33. Spend quality alone-time with yourself.
34. Call someone just to tell them how much you love them.
35. Snuggle and kiss babies as often as possible.
36. Have a spontaneous day. No schedules allowed. Follow your heart.
37. Reminisce with friends over old pictures.
38. Stay in your PJ’s all day.
39. Smile more.
40. Read a book. A real book. With pages.
41. Close your eyes, get in a quiet space, meditate, pray or reflect on your day and the people you love.
42. Once in a while be sure to take a leap – a big giant leap- do something that’s scary and watch how life supports you! You’ll never what will happen if you’re too afraid to make a move.
43. Write love notes.
44. Tune into the fact that there is only one you and you are here for a special reason. Leave every place better than you found it.
45. Do something nice for someone else. Share your gifts.
46. Forgive. Grudges weigh on your heart…life is too precious to spend it unhappy
47. Host a party and cook an outrageous meal to share with the people you love.
48. Give long hugs.
49. Follow the path that matters most. What makes you happy? If you’re happy, the people around you will be happy too.
50. Be grateful for EVERYTHING that has been brought into your life. Even challenging times can shape us into stronger, wiser people.

Picture:art


Our Wedding

I can’t believe it’s been one year since we said “I do”. Thank you for being the greatest husband I could ever imagine. Being married to you has been the best year yet. You make my heart melt every day. We have so many exciting years to come. I am thankful for every moment we have together and I look forward to experiencing all that life will bring our way. I’ll love you forever Danny. Cheers to our 1st year! Here’s our story and some pictures from when we first fell in L-O-V-E!
To all of you who read A Bit Of Bees Knees, this past year has been a busy one… we got married, honeymooned in Europe {awww so amazing}, settled into our little rental house, tore down our own house and started building 2, I traveled to Israel, switched jobs from nannying to manufacturing medical devices {how does that happen?} and tried to find time to write in-between the craziness. We were so busy that I never found time to share pictures from our wedding or honeymoon! Here are some of our favorite moments from our wedding day. We hope to share  some pictures from our honeymoon in the months to come…10 countries and 17 cities in 30 days! We’ve got pictures galore! What a wonderful year. We have so much to be thankful for.

 

{My lovely Bridesmaids}
My bridesmaids arrived at my parents home for makeup and hair at 6:00AM! Wow that was early, but we used every bit of time. My Dad made us breakfast and a few of our groomsmen surprised us with coffee…how sweet was that!? These girls are my support system. They make my day. I’ve known some of them since I was 3 years old! I can count on them for anything. I love these ladies.
{A pile of bridal essentials!}
Makeup, camera, cellphone and chargers, garter, perfume, letter for the Pastor and Wedding Planner, sunglasses, Family Bible with fake rings for the Ring Bearer, signs for pictures, fancy wedding shoes and my ballet flats for some seriously groovy dancing. Check and Check!

{My Dress}
My Mom, Grandma and bridesmaids helped me get ready.
{The Studly Groomsmen}
Meanwhile, the guys got suited-up at our little house. Apparently they only needed 30 minutes to get ready. I heard there was a lot of relaxing, video games and food involved. Nice.

{It’s almost time!}

{Here we go!}
{Bring on the tears!}
I was so excited that my heart felt like it was going to explode. I had waited for this exact moment for so long and it was finally happening! Many brides had told me that they didn’t remember walking down the aisle — they were so excited and nervous that it all seemed foggy when they tried to remember details. I used the last 3 minutes before I walked down the aisle to pray. I wanted to collect my thoughts and be thankful for all those years that had led up to this special moment. I wanted to remember every detail; the way Danny looked at me, all our friends and family in the church and holding on to my Dads arm. I wanted to be present. And I was. It was a really beautiful moment. Sure, I was crying…and it wasn’t the pretty kind either {it involved a red face}, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
{Our First Look}
 
{We do!}

{The whole crew}
All the littles in our wedding were kids that I have nannied over the years. I love these babies!

{While we were taking pictures, our guests were at the cocktail hour}
So many neighbors, friends and family helped decorate our wedding. It was a team effort!

{My Mom used baby pictures of Daniel and me on our table numbers. Too Cute Mom.}

{Getting ready to make our entrance with our wedding party}
Our Wedding Day

{Our First Dance and Mother Son and Father Daughter Dance}

{Our beautiful cake made by a beautiful friend}

{White Sangria and Tea}

{Cutting the cake! Proceeded by smashing the cake into each others face. Real classy. But that’s how we roll…we try not to take life too seriously}

{I made wooden silhouettes of us on the band saw. They came in handy as décor  for our wedding table}

{We made an horsd’oeuvres display with the picnic basket that Dan used when he proposed to me.}

{And we used my late Grandparents military suitcases as a card box and placed a picture of them next to the table}

{Some of our funny friends and family}
 
{Time to dance!}

{Someone looks really happy}


{Some of my sassy nanny babies on the dance floor}

{Bouquet toss!}


{Too much fun}

{The Garter Toss!}





Photography: Dennis Tom | Invitations: Christina Pecora | Church: St. Andrews Presbyterian Church  | Venue: The Oasis Center | Catering: Stonefire Grill |  Cake: Katie Wahrenbrock  Floral Design: “Flowers by Becky” and my neighbor Ernesto | Linens & China: Baker Party Rentals | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero {Beatrice} | Veil: Handmade by my Aunt Cheryl Ohlhaver | Tux Rentals: Friar Tux |  Hair & Makeup: Kenya Haynes   |Videography: Riley Hayes, Connor Luckey and Jake Carroll.