Tag Archives: chocolate

Friday Friends With a Side of Chocolate 

27 Jun

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.

Katharine Hepburn


A gloomy rainy day in Elgin. I was able to get my walk in this morning with only a slight mist. I was looking forward to a lovely lunch and lovely visit with my lovely friend Lin. (Too many L’s?)

We went the the Arboretum Shopping Mall and had a leisurely lunch at Mago, a very nice Mexican restaurant. Then we walked around a bit, but it was still raining. So, where is a perfect place to park on a dreary day? A chocolate place, of course. Anna Shea Chocolates. 

Well, they “had me at hello.” When we walked in, they had samples of their decadent handmade chocolates. Yikes! Lin ordered a cup of coffee to warm up from the gloomy chill, and we sat by the large glass window where they made the chocolates. Want to talk about torture and restraint!


We asked one of the chocolatiers to pose for a photo op. Very obliging. 

On our way out, the gal at the front counter asked if we’d like to try a sample. I hesitated and said, “I cannot tell a lie. We already had one.” 

The very sweet girl said,  “You can have another if you like. ”

Lin and I looked at each other with mischievous smiles and replied,  ” O.K.”

Grace was kind enough to pose with me for a picture, not to mention so I could have something to write about today. 

A wonderful  lunch, my best friend, and yummy chocolate. What else could you ask for?


Tuesday Tips: Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

12 Jun

When I bake, I always double my recipe. (This is a good tip.) This way, I can put something in the freezer to use in a pinch. Today was a pinch. I made brownies yesterday for our tennis party and didn’t feeling like baking again today for McKinney Creative Community pot luck.

A few weeks ago, I made mini cheesecakes and had extra batter. I baked the batter without a crust and popped it in the freezer. It’s pretty easy to cut when it’s frozen. So, I removed it from the freezer, melted some chocolate chips and poured over the crust. (Tip: next time I’ll cut pieces first, then dip in chocolate.)


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you chocolate, lick your fingers.(Best tip ever!)


Wednesday: Words of Wisdom…Chocolate

15 May

The quote, “Life is short, eat dessert first,” has been attributed to a couple different 20th Century authors. (I, personally take full credit, as I have stolen it and used it as my mantra for decades.) I also like to take credit for, “Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt,” but upon further investigation on Wikepedia, I think it was some ancient Mayan or Aztec ruler dude who said it first.


[The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 BC.
Chocolate played a special role in both Maya and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.] (See what I mean!)

So really, it doesn’t matter who said it first, it still rings true today, “CHOCOLATE RULES!”

This was given to me years ago by a dear friend who knows me very well.

Now, I’ll paraphrase/combine my own creative quote. “Hold your friends close, and your chocolate even closer.” Those darn friends won’t think twice about stealing your chocolate. Feel free to steal it any time…the quote…not my chocolate.

Tuesday Tips from Toni: Take Time

14 May

Tip Número Uno: Take time out to enjoy each day, even if it’s five minutes on the phone, an hour in front of the TV, or lunch with a friend. Today, I had lunch with my talented artist friend, Ed Hernandez. We met at El Juarez Mexican Restaurant off the Square. I’d never been there, and it was yummy, home cooked food. I tried something new, and that’s not like me. Progress! (Notice the Spanish influence in my numbers?)

Tip Número Dos: Take time to celebrate life. Today was Sandra’s birthday, (owner of Snug) and her parents surprised her with a visit. Happy Birthday, Sandra! Glad I was able to share the day.


Tip Número Tres: Take time to play with your food. I always make funny faces with my brownie mix, and today, I was making brownies. (So, what else os new?) Yes, I’m a bit crazy, but that’s what makes me…ME.

Tip Número Cuatro: Take time to see the beauty in all things. I was spooning out some melted chocolate to drizzle over afore mentioned brownies, when I saw a beautiful rose taking shape. As I scraped out the liquid brown gold with a spoon, delicate petals created a chocolate rose. (Fancy way of saying I was licking the bowl) Art is everywhere! Mmmmm, chocolate good! (Say that in your Cookie Monster voice!)

Tip Número Cinco: Take time to share with others. I have been so blessed. It seems like every day is a wonderful adventure and I want to crow about it to the whole world. Caw…caw…caw! I feel that when I recount my adventures and share my thoughts, it’s like everyone gets to share my joy. Hope so! Here’s hoping you have a joyful day!


Sunday: The Domino Effect

29 Apr


You know how one thing leads to another…and another…and another? It’s the domino effect. Last week, when I went for my weekly trip to the grocery store, I found some pretty great sales. There were some super in-store coupons and a few can’t pass up specials. I had bought a couple of packages of cream cheese at regular price the week before, but this week the eight ounce package was only fifty cents! What? I had paid $1.99 earlier. So naturally, I bought eight of them. I’m always baking and making dips, so this was too good to pass up. Glancing at the sale flyer, I noticed eggs were on sale 99 cents a dozen. My inner karma was saying, “Cheesecake.”

Friday, I had made a bazillion little mini cheesecakes, and had left over batter that I used to make a 9×12 slab of plain old cheesecake filling. I still had about 10 mini cheesecakes and the slab leftover after Friday’s tea party. So, today I cut the mini’s into quarters and dipped them in chocolate, of course. Then, I cut the slab in half, put strawberry jam on one half, topped with the other half and froze it. Once frozen, I cut into tiny squares and dipped those in chocolate. All of the dipped bite-sized chocolate delights were then frozen and popped onto many small ziplock bags to be used for emergency chocolate fixes and functions. They freeze very well, and I can sneak into one of the bags and take out one little bite and not feel to guilty. It’s when I take out five or six that I feel guilty.

Thus, the domino effect. Cream cheese and eggs on sale leads to cheesecake, which leads to left-overs, which leads to little dipped chocolate bites, which leads to… well, I guess leads to having to go to the gym and work overtime at Zumba class. Down go the dominoes!