My Attempt at French Baking + Cookbook Review

So it is well known around here that kitchen is my spot. I do not even have to tell any of you that. It makes me happy, relieves my stress, and is a way I can create things for others and shower them with love through food. It is my favorite place in the house.

In the past year or so I have really worked hard to become better in the kitchen. I have worked on simple technique. Such as how to hold a knife, cut veggies, roast meats, sear chicken, saute onions, and stir fry noodles. I have learned how to make the perfect cheese grits and a mean pot roast. I have tried, tried, and tried again to learn new things and how to do things the right way! 

I even created a board on Pinterest full of my bucketlist recipes. I filled/am filling it with recipes that kinda intimidate me. Recipes like homemade puff pastry dough, clotted cream, Italian buttercream, real Indian curry...and so on. Well, one of the items on my foodie bucketlist is French Macarons.

Seriously only the hardest recipe in the world. I think if you breathe wrong you may mess them up...not really. BUT these jokers are not easy. You have to be so precise which is not my cup of tea. However, I am determined to make these little cookies just so I can have the satisfaction of success due to perseverance! I don't want to quit! 

You may have picked up on this, but my first attempt at these confections was not a home run. They were edible, but turned brown, cracked, and never developed yeah, not a success quite yet. 

Here they are. So it could be worse I know...but you guys just wait! I am going to make these guys right...and it literally may only happen once! But I will! I am not a quitter. 

In other news, I have found myself quite in love with French cuisine as of late. The French have such pure food. They use whole and seasonal ingredients to make honest dishes...and I am all about that. So when I happened upon this

A Kitchen in France 

cookbook on

Blogging for Books

I knew I had to get my hands on it. 

To begin with, the cookbook is just beautiful. The pictures are breathtaking and really pay tribute to what I mentioned above. They are honest, raw, and simple. Most of the recipes in the book seem to be ones that would make it to my bucket list. Primarily because they are all scary and use ingredients I do not have easy access to but would DIE to cook with on a regular basis. I am hoping to first try my hand at these fabulous looking chocolate meringues. I have a huge thing for meringue (maybe why I love macarons) and these just look divine. 

I cannot wait to try more of the recipes inside this cookbook and really stretch myself as a home cook. This is one of those cookbooks that everyone wants to have (because it is so darn pretty) and is the perfect cookbook to whip out on a lazy Saturday and make a mess in your kitchen while creating something you have never tried before. I am just so excited to work my way through these recipes! 

What recipes are on your bucket list?

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Fabulous Foodie Swap (For Bloggers & Non Bloggers alike!!)

There are few things in life that get me as excited as a new jar of some kind of exotic spice, a bag of organic coffee, or something as special as black truffle oil...I have a mild obsession with food. But before you judge me and label me as a total weirdo/fatty, hear me out...

My reason for loving food is not because I just have insane cravings to eat ALL THE TIME. No, I love food because of the mystery of it all. Thousands of flavor combinations, textures, colors, and varieties are out there to be tried. These are all things that come from the Earth, which our Heavenly Father created (with his voice). Food fascinates me, and it really brings me to worship. 

Now feel free to judge me and label my as a psycho now, but it is true. The complex flavor of curry married with coconut, lime, cilantro and chicken moves me y'all. I am amazed that the Lord gifted so many wonderful things for us to eat and enjoy. We get to use our own creativity and come up with whatever we can dream in our kitchens with the elements the Lord placed here on earth. 

That. is. amazing. 

So I am not a foodie for the sake of being snobby about food. I am a foodie because food is just plain amazing!

For Christmas my little brother gave me an amazing box of goodies. Inside the box I found, wild berry honey, pink Himalayan salt, cinnamon sticks, rosemary and garlic spice rub, and black truffle oil. I squealed. I was so excited about this simple but thoughtful gift. Later I found myself in TJMaxx with some Christmas money and before I knew it I was checking out with a bag of gourmet organic espresso coffee (whole bean of course), roasted red peppers, whole lavender buds, Vietnamese cinnamon and sweet Spanish paprika...I was like a giddy 5 year old in a candy shop. 

So this got my wheels so turning. I loved that sweet little food box from my brother, and I wanted to create some kind of way for other people to get to enjoy that happy feeling! So thus was born the fabulous foodie swap! 

This is a simple food swap in which you will be paired with another participant, receive info on your partners likes and dislikes, and then send them goodies right to their door. The spending limit is $15, so it is affordable but still enough to really get some great items for your partner! 

Here are all the important dates- 

January 5th-10th

 - Sign Ups are open

January 12th

 - Partners will be emailed out! 

January 19th

 - Deadline for mailing out your goodies! 

January 27th

 - Swap Link Up on Oh Simple Thoughts!

I hope you will join in on this fun little swap and help me spread the word! Feel free to use the graphic below on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on! Use #fabulousfoodieswap so we can all follow along! 


Foodie Favorites / Pasta, Chocolate, and Soup!

It is time for some foodie favorites! I just LOVE this series, and I have loved getting so much positive feedback from you all about it as well...seems to be a crowd favorite around these parts! Today's foodie that will be joining me is none other than my precious Influence Network Community Group Leader, Leia of Leia Bryn. Leia has a passion for storytelling, and let me tell ya, she is good at it. Her blog is one of my favorites to read daily because of the simple, captivating storytelling. 

Here are Leia's Picks for this week...

I'm Leia, and I write over at Leia Bryn. I'm a storyteller at heart and my blog reflects my passion for documenting our families everyday moments, scattered with my passions for design, fashion, urban living, food, and most predominantly my faith. While I don't always blog about the recipes my family is currently adoring, we are food people through and through. Recently we've been working to eliminate processed ingredients and excess sugars from our cooking. The challenge has been one of my favorite seasons of cooking, especially when I see my husband passionate alongside me. Before I scare you away with recipes that have 2,000 ingredients, we've found some delicious, simple, whole food meals and those are the recipes I'm excited to share with you today!

Rice (or creative Burrito) Bowls - It doesn't get any simpler than rice bowls for dinner. We always have brown rice, vegetables, eggs, meat, and various spices and oils to whip together a delicious meal in no time!

Whole Wheat Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Vegetables - Another fantastic weeknight meal with simple ingredients already in your home. We discovered this recipe this summer and it became a staple in our rotating meal plan.

Dinner: A LoveStory Homemade Pizza (Crust & Sauce) - Friday night pizza has become a sweet ritual to finish our week together. I usually make a double batch of pizza crust (makes 4 rolls of dough) and a double batch of pizza sauce (makes 4 servings) at the beginning of the month and freeze. Every Friday night dinner is as simple as thawing, allowing the dough to rise, and getting creative with the toppings...we LOVE ricotta cheese on our pizza!

French Onion Soup - Hello comfort food perfection. There is simply nothing better than caramlized onions...for real. They are like melt in your mouth goodness, and they take awhile to make so it forces you to slow down and you know how I feel about that...LOVE! 

Homemade Pasta, No Machine apparently - I will admit, I am quite skeptical of not needed a machine to make pasta...but I am willing to try anything and this just looks AMAZING. I am a carb lover to the extreme so pasta and breads are my weakness...oh and chocolate, but you could figure that out from the picture above huh?! 

Spicy Hot Chocolate Mocha - MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE. Ask anyone, I have been on a Mexican chocoalte kick lately. From Mexican chcolate creamer, to pies and pots de cream...this flavor combo makes me all weak in the knees. It is so so good. So naturally as the weather is getting cooler and cooler I am dying to test this yummy drink out! 

Don't you just love food? The Lord could have given us one type of food with no taste to sustain us, but instead he gave us so many delicious foods that have endless combinations...that is worth being in awe of. Just stop and think about that. The Lord is good y'all!

Meet my sweet sponsor this month, Meg of Rivers and Roads! I got to meet Meg at the Renew Retreat and she is just as sweet as she seems on her blog! So worth following along with, and reading! 

What is your favorite part of Fall?
I love the cooler temperatures and the leaves changing colors!

What is your favorite cookbook?
I actually don't have a favorite! I just received The Blender Girl from Blogging for Books, and I'm so excited to try out some recipes.

Cooks in the Kitchen // Strawberry Chimichangas

So I have never linked up for this before, BUT I am today, and I could not be more excited to be jumping in with Samantha and Christina for Cooks in the Kitchen. I love being in the kitchen, and though I am not a pro, I really enjoy learning and trying new things when it comes to food! So when I found out that this month's food was strawberries I was pumped! 

I tried to make strawberry chimichangas...and by try I mean that I successfully made them...but there is a funny story behind goes like this...

I was prepping everything for the recipe, heating my oil, made my filling and was filling my tortillas...well sometime along the way as I was frying my chimichangas I noticed that the thermometer was dropping...weird? 

Well I kept on frying my little heart out. Finished all the chimichangas, let them cool, and then tore into one! It was delicious. They were the perfect texture inside, creamy and smooth, with a little tang from the lemon and strawberry. 

Well I began cleaning up and pulled the thermometer out of the pot of oil...only to see that it has shattered in the pot. PANIC then ensued. I began to freak out that I had consumed some type of toxic liquid, so I called Ben crying...he called poison control. And turns out it is totally okay, and I was not going to die...but was advised to throw out the rest of the food for safety reasons...

So...there ya have it. I made these pretty little guys, ate half of one, and then threw the rest away. So so so sad. But I promise you they are worth making if you are not careless like me, and allow your thermometer to shatter inside while frying them!


1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
6 (8-inch) soft flour tortillas
1 3/4 cups sliced strawberries, divided
1 tablespoon cinnamon
vegetable oil, for frying

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in 3/4 cup of the sliced strawberries.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tortillas, slathering each portion in the lower third of each tortilla. Next, fold the two sides of each tortilla toward the center and then roll the tortilla up like a burrito and secure it with a toothpick. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining tortillas.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set it aside. Line a large plate with paper towels.
Add 3 inches of oil to a large, deep saucepan, leaving a minimum of 2 inches from the top of the oil to the top of the saucepan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360ºF on a deep-fry thermometer.
Working in batches, fry the chimichangas until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes, flipping them as needed. Transfer the chimichangas to the paper towel-lined plate to drain for 1 minute, and then roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Repeat the frying and rolling process with the remaining chimichangas, returning the oil to 360ºF between batches.
Remove all toothpicks from the chimichangas and transfer them to serving plates. Top each with a portion of the remaining 1 cup of sliced strawberries and serve immediately.

The Bread & Wine Project Link Up

Happy Monday dear ones!! After a whirlwind of a weekend with two weddings in two different states, a trip to see grandparents, and now some much needed recharge time at the beach with Ben's family! So I am blogging from afar today, and I could not wait until our return to share this exciting news with you all! I am trying something new and sharing a video today about my heart behind this link up! Check it out above!

I hope you all join me on Wednesday, July 9th with some awesome recipes! 

The link up will always be the second Wednesday of each month, and every time there will be some food for thought for us to discuss in our posts! 

So for the first link up here is the little tidbit to think on, and write about. 

"God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. We make think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not; He inventing eating. He likes matter. He invented it." - C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

How does this quote strike you? 

What are the implications of this quote? 

"At the very beginning, and all through the Bible, all through the the stories of God and his people, there are stories about food, about life changing with the bite of an apple, about trading an inheritance for a bowl of stew, about waking up to find the land littered with bread, God's way of caring for his people; about a wedding where water turned to wine, Jesus' first miracle; about the very first Last Supper, the humble bread and wine becoming for all time, indelibly linked to the very body of Christ, the center point for thousands of years of tradition and belief. It matters. It mattered then, and it matters now, possibly even more so, because it's a way of reclaiming some of the things we may have lost along the way." -Shauna Niequiest, Bread & Wine

Why is food important to you?

What is the significance of gathering around a meal?

Cannot wait to link up with you all in July! Use #breadandwineproject in your cooking, recipe/meal planning, and posts on social media so we can all follow along with out intentionality in our kitchens!

ALSO, I will be having co hosts with this link up, and the first 5 people to sign up can use promo code BREADANDWINE for 50% off! 

I am really excited to be co hosting today with sweet Beth of Oak and Oats for her Weeks End Link Up. It is a place for you to link up your favorite post from the week and meet new bloggers. If you are wanting to join the co-host line up, you can sign up here and use code: WEEKSEND for 25% off any Oak + Oats packages.

1. Link up ANY POST from last week!

2. Make sure it is a POST and not your BLOG URL. We love your blog but we want you to share a post.

3. Click on one, two, three, or more posts and LEAVE ENCOURAGING COMMENTS. The whole point of this is to find new blogs, make new friends, and all that good stuff! You MUST read the post right before yours and comment.

4. Follow Oak + Oats and Oh Simple Thoughts

Also, don't forget, I am launching a NEWSLETTER next month to keep you all updated, give you the inside scoop, and some freebies from time to time! Make sure you sign up, you won't want to miss this!

A Harvest of Blessing
Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do!