Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PTI Blog Hop July Challenge

Here is my entry for the Papertrey Ink July Blog Hop Challenge.  The inspiration photo had a lovely bouquet of roses in beautiful coral, pink and yellow tones.  I tried to come up with something to show off all those elements.  I love the Garden Variety set and seed packet frames, but I must say I find them very very challenging to use on a card front without everything being so boxy and linear.  Help!!  Then in trying to keep the design simple but not so flat, I hope I didn't overdo the subtle patterns and texture with the embossing on the front.  I had an idea in mind, but it didn't go in the direction I had hoped.

Anyway, I plan on sending one of these cards to my dear sweet friend who is battling Breast Cancer.  She has been in this fight for over 2 years now and the whole family is feeling a bit sad and down.  She has just started a new round of experimental chemo and is feeling pretty sick.  She has two sweet young boys and my heart just breaks for all of them.  I will say the whole family has been a beacon of hope and grace, showing the mercy and joy of their heavenly Father, the Lord God Almighty, who I know sustains them daily and is intimately involved in their daily struggles.

Didn't mean to talk so much.  Just wanted to post my entry.  I sure wish I could have participated in the Stamp-a-faire activities this past weekend.  I need to catch up on those challenges.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Kick in the Pants

Do you ever feel relieved to get the proverbial kick in the pants every once in awhile? Most of us don't like to face reality, especially when it flies in the face with what we perceive to be what is best for us. I have been getting a lot of kicks in the pants lately from my conscious aka the Holy Spirit. I am happy to say that I am finally going to try to be obedient and listen. I realize that most of my malaise here lately is precisely because I have chosen to not listen in the hopes that the next day will somehow prove Him wrong and me right. I have been trying to live by two different standards, and it just doesn't work. Romans 12:2 talks about not being conformed to the world, but being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Well, as much as I love that verse and I agree with it, I have not been living by it so much. Hence my misery of late. I keep wondering why I feel so overwhelmed, depressed, lethargic, unfullfilled, and just plain unhappy with who I am and what I have been overwhelmingly blessed with, and I realize that I can sum it all up with the above verse.

I have been too busy comparing myself to what the world defines as a successful woman, mom, whatever, and guess what, I don't measure up. I am not a Super Mom. I don't have it all together. I can't be a career woman and be a good homeschool teacher, wife and mother. In fact, if I am completely honest. I wouldn't need to feel like our budget was stretched thin, if I would quit spending money on my own interests and hobbies, which I don't really have time to do a lot with anyway, and on potentiality. I buy lots of things with great potential, whether it is crafty potential or meal/food potential. However, the potentials never actually materialize into actual completed projects. That slew of cards I bought a stamp set to make just doesn't get made. Those ingredients for those bagels I wanted to bake have yet to be baked. So I am surrounded by a lot of potential, but no actual progress. Guilt is what I produce from my impulsive selfishness and lack of listening to God and realizing I don't need more.
I have started home based direct sales businesses or posted things in my store in the hopes of making a little extra money, but they have all been bigger money pits than money producers. In reality, if I would just be content and focus on what God really wants me to spend my time doing, He will provide all our needs. I don't trust Him very well. Thus I feel impatient, greedy, and like I have to have something now. Guilt usually follows, or the need to hide my purchases.

I see all these other paper crafters making such pretty things and I want to be like them. I see blogs and Pinterest and Facebook posts about people doing amazing things in their kitchens and baking all sorts of yummy gourmet things. I want to be like them. Well, I am not. While God has equipped me with creative and pastry abilities, He wants me to put them aside in those endeavors and be creative with teaching my children. He wants me to quit wanting what everyone else seems to have and focus on what He has given me, which is a lot. My problems with this have been a life long struggle. I always wanted to get to the next life stage or age so I could do what I saw other people being able to do. I got to that stage and guess what, it never materialized like I imagined it. I am always asking God what am I here for. Daily he tries to show me in my family and through his word that He is what I am here for. I am not here to have stuff. I am not here to make stuff. I am not here to achieve fans and followers online. I am not here to have people say what a great mom I am. Aren't my children just so good. Nope, I AM here to bring renown and glory to my God and saviour.

What I do everyday in the little things in teaching my children, listening to them, walking in God's ways with them, smiling and spending time with them, loving them, accepting them, and giving them my time is enough if I do it as unto God. Being a loving satisfied wife, who appreciates her husband and respects him, is what will bring God glory. Living within our means and being a good steward of what God has given us will bring Him the most glory and trusting him to provide for all our needs. I am always asking God for wisdom, what to do, and He keeps giving me billboards in his word that I have been ignoring. It hasn't been what I wanted to see, so I have doubted it. Well, I think it's time to look at them and SEE.

I don't need to sell chocolate. I don't need to sell cards. I don't need to have people follow me on Facebook or this blog. I don't need fame or acclaim. I don't need to prove my worth to anyone. God has already said I am worthy.... worthy of his love and acceptance through His son Jesus Christ. I don't need more potential ideas. I don't need to be like that homeschool mom, or that career woman. I need to be me. I don't even know who that is anymore. I just know I haven't been her in a really long time. I need to live in contentment. I need to live in faith. I want to do that. Lord, please let me live that. Please let me give up all this stuff that so easily encumbers me. I want to be FREE.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Papertrey Ink 5th Anniversary Contest: Moving cards

This is my small attempt to make a moving card in honor of Papertrey Ink's 5th Anniversary celebration and their reveal today of their new Movers and Shakers dies for making interactive cards. Love love love the new dies and possibilities. This is my attempt to enter the contest to hopefully win those dies and the stamps to make some fabulous cards for my boys and my nephew.

This card uses the Limitless layers 2.5 dies, cupcake dies and cupcake stamps from PTI as well as Think Big Favorites #12. I glittered up the cupcake and suspended it in the circle opening. Now it spins if the recipient wants to make it spin. Pretty fun. I haven't tried this technique since my Stampin' UP! days at least 4 or 5 years ago. Can't wait to try those new Movers and Shakers dies from PTI. Oooh, it is going to be such fun! Maybe it will motivate my boys to get their school work done so we can play and make cards.

I haven't been crafty since before Christmas. I had a very busy January doing 6 chocolate tasting parties for my Dove Chocolate Discoveries business. This month I have had no parties, but I have had lots of catching up to do personally at home. A busy homeschool mom is always catching up it seems. It was fun to get the crafting goodies out and play. One of the things I like the most about Papertrey Ink's stamps is that they are so timeless. I will be using their stamps for years and they will still be in style.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Truffle Times Dove Chocolate newsletter

The Truffle Times…
Deliciously Sweet News
Melissa Sibert, Independent Chocolatier
Dove Chocolate Discoveries
New Catalog Products and Information:
We have some fantastic new products coming for Spring/Summer starting February 1st. I am so excited about these new products. They are going to be so fabulous to show to your and your guests at an upcoming Chocolate Tasting party.
The new products are:
· Cocoa Tequila Lime Brittle (brittle with cocoa powder, crunchy tortilla chips, and toasted pumpkin seeds, flavored with a splash of tequila and lime for a tropical and fresh flavor. Yum!)
· Sweet and Tangy Chocolate Mole Sauce (Authentic Mexican flavors for your tacos, enchiladas, and Mexican dishes.)
· White Chocolate Raspberry Vinaigrette (I can’t wait for this one.)
· White Chocolate Mango Mojito mix (I can see this making some scrumptious cheesecake or whipped cream pies, salad dressing and popsicles.)
· Choco-Granola Fruit Crunch (crunchy cocoa and cinnamon dusted granola with dark chocolate covered blueberries and cranberries, almonds and pecans. Great for yogurt parfaits, late afternoon snacking, and ice cream!)
· And we have a new Entertaining Guide with fresh new recipes like a cool and creamy Key Lime pie/tart using our choco-toffee cookie mix and creamy white chocolate.

Here are some ideas for a themed chocolate tasting party of your own:
· Mexican Fiesta Party: Chicken mole pizza, Mango mojitos, cinnamon dusted almonds, lime tequila brittle, Mexican truffles (spiced with a little chipotle spice)
· Come for Breakfast/Brunch: We will try our Saigon cinnamon rolls, chocolate and fruit granola, spiced chai tea/dip, sweet and spicy bacon, and some yummy pancakes or muffins using some of our Instant gratification items and peanut butter baking bits.
· Happy Hour party: We can sample some of our favorite and best selling beverage mixes with or without alcohol, paired with some of our instant gratification items and chocolate fondue.
· Eating healthy with chocolate: We will sample some yummy salad with our Chocolate Fig and White chocolate Raspberry vinaigrette dressings, sweet and spicy grilled chicken with our Chocolate BBQ sauce or Chocolate Mole sauce, cinnamon dusted dark chocolate almonds, chocolate graham crackers, sugar free chocolates, chocolate granola yogurt parfaits, and some cool and creamy, lowfat, chai fruit dip.
· Cheesecake/mousse dessert mania: We will use a few of our smoothie and daiquiri mixes to make some easy, cool and creamy no bake desserts to chill out with when the warmer weather hits. Anyone up for peanut butter cheesecake trifles, java chip cream pie, mango mojito mousse pie, white chocolate key lime pie, or coconut pineapple cheesecake pie?
Healthy Eating with DCD Chocolate in 2012:
Did you know that Dove Chocolate Discoveries products can help you on your way to eating healthy, but still get to indulge in rich flavors and even a little chocolate? Try these healthy products and ideas on for size in February.
· Choco-Granola Fruit Crunch: Use this granola as a sweet topping for a creamy low-fat yogurt parfait for breakfast or snack. Simply take a 1/4 -1/3 cup of Greek style non-fat yogurt and layer in a glass or bowl with some blueberries, strawberries, bananas, or a combo of your favorite fruit, and sprinkle some of our Choco-Granola Fruit Crunch on top. Or simply grab a handful of our granola and eat as a snack for a little energy pick me up during the day.
· Chai Tea ($18) Our chai tea is great for making a low-fat dip using an 8oz. container of lite or fat free whipped topping and one packet of our chai tea mix. Simply stir together and eat with sliced apples, bananas, strawberries, rice cakes, or low-cal treat of your choice. Better yet, sprinkle some granola on top of dipped fruit.
· Sweet n’ spicy rub ($10) This little culinary gem is great for making lean meats taste a little zippy. Simply rub your lean cut of meat (chicken or pork) with some of our rub, which has just a bit of brown sugar in it and roast or grill it. Or add a little spice to those veggies you are trying to eat. This rub goes great with sweet potatoes, corn, and regular potatoes. Simply toss in a little olive oil and some rub. Roast, bake or grill to perfection.
· White Chocolate Raspberry or Chocolate Fig Balsamic Dressings ($12 each) If we are going to eat salad, why not put a little chocolate and fruit spin on it. Grab you a plate and load it with healthy spinach and mixed baby lettuces, some feta crumbles or a slice of goat cheese, some dried cranberries, mandarin orange slices, some diced or thin sliced turkey meat, some strawberries, whatever you like on your salad, and then drizzle to perfection with our sumptuous and decadent salad dressings that have real white chocolate in them. You know that only a tsp. or two will pack a lot of flavor and make it a little easier for all those veggies to go down. J
· Sweet and Tangy Chocolate Mole or BBQ sauce ($12 each). These saucy gems are the key to a quick and easy healthy meal. Simply grill or roast some chicken or pork tenderloin. Toss the meat in some of these sauces and warm it up. Now you can use this flavorful meat to top any of the following: baked potatoes, salad topped with some black bean, corn and mango salsa, or salad mixed with a little coleslaw mix and some fresh/frozen corn and red onion, or on a pizza crust with some cheese to make a Mexican or BBQ pizza.
· Cinnamon Dusted Dark Chocolate Almonds or our Dark chocolate Almond and Milk Chocolate Cashew Blend ($20) If we want a little indulgence, why not reach for a sweet snack that packs some healthy benefits. Almonds are universally touted as a very healthy nut. Cinnamon is a spice with added benefits of aiding in digestion and circulation. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants and other healthy properties. You get all three in our Cinnamon dusted Dark almonds. So grab a small handful and enjoy without the guilt.
· Dark Chocolate Dried Fruit collection ($20) Add some of these little gems to your favorite granola (store bought or homemade) and give your snack a little something extra. Our fruit collection contains super healthy fruits like dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries. So go ahead and indulge just a little. Total deprivation on a diet is not always a good thing. ;)
Now for an added benefit and our little secret. All our products are a natural product. DCD does not use a lot of artificial ingredients, fillers, or preservatives in any of their products. From our chocolates and baking mixes to our savory sauces and rubs, when you read our labels you won’t find any surprises or yucky stuff you wouldn’t want to feed your body. You will find regular natural ingredients you would cook or mix together to make your own mix. Only you don’t have to spend all that time cooking and gathering those ingredients together. That isn’t something you can say for any equivalent product you might find on the grocery store shelf. So really you get what you pay for. You want a simple, gourmet, premium product, then look no further. Dove Chocolate Discoveries has that and the added benefit of your own personal Independent Chocolatier to give you recipes, tips and tricks for using them to their full advantage. Now that is what I call a healthy value!!!
Lite and Easy Lemon Blueberry Trifle
1 box of DCD White Chocolate Meyer Lemon baking mix prepared as a cake or cupcakes: reserve the frosting mix for another use later.
1 8 oz. container of lite or fat free whipped topping
1 packet of DCD white chocolate smoothie mix
1 tsp. lemon zest (finely grated)
1-2 cups of frozen thawed or fresh blueberries
Bake cake as directed on package and let cool. Cut into cubes or cut up cupcakes into pieces.
Gently stir together the smoothie mix, whipped topping, and lemon zest.
Layer cake, blueberries and whipped topping in small dessert glasses or in a trifle bowl. Make about 2 layers ending with whipped topping. Garnish with a fresh blueberry and a small shaving of lemon zest for color. Enjoy!!

Want more info. or want to book a chocolate party contact me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Here is a cake I made for my mom for her birthday. It is her favorite cake that I have ever made. I got the recipe from an old issue of Chocolatier magazine. I don't make this cake often, but it is so good. The only problem I have ever had with this cake is the walnut genoise. The recipe seems like it is right, but every time I bake it, the cake sinks in the middle even while it is in the oven. About 2/3 rds of the way done, it sinks. The cake layer is supposed to be split into two layers for the cake, but since it sinks, you loose about 1/2 of the cake itself, and, therefore, you only get one layer. So frustrating. That means I have to make the cake recipe twice, which seems like a waste. I have researched all my other pastry cookbooks for alternate recipes, tips, tricks or other advice on genoise and nut genoise and have found nothing to explain or fix this. I make the recipe following all the directions, but alas, it always does this.
Anyone who might come across this, if you know how to fix this or have a walnut genoise recipe that never sinks on you, then please leave a comment. I would love to know what to do here.

Anyway, the recipe is for a Mocha Orange Walnut Torte. You have two layers of walnut orange genoise, which get brushed with a Grand Marnier sugar syrup. They are layered with a wonderfully smooth and creamy white chocolate mocha orange ganache/mousse. I make this by boiling heavy cream with whole coffee beans and orange zest. Once it comes to a boil, you take it off heat, cover the cream and let it steep for 10 min. Then you bring it back up to a boil and pour it over your chopped white chocolate. You chill this mixture for 6 hours or overnight then whip it to soft peaks. When you chill it, you leave some of the coffee beans and zest in it to concentrate their flavor. What you get is this lovely mocha and orange flavor to the white chocolate ganache. It is heavenly. So you layer that in between and on top of the walnut genoise. You chill that, then the cake gets a coating of chopped toasted walnuts around the sides. You pipe some rosettes of ganache on the top, and I usually put a piece of orange and a chocolate covered coffee bean on those to make it pretty.

I wish I was a good photographer so I could take food pictures to really do the cakes justice. My black countertops don't make for a good backdrop. But alas, here is the cake. Yumm!!