Yesterday was my parent’s 35th anniversary and we celebrated at a place called Marina Cafe, one of my families favorite restaurants in Destin, FL. The food is superb and the view of the harbor tops it all off. We surprised my parents with two amazing desserts, White Chocolate Macadamia Cheesecake and Rum Raisin Bread Pudding Souffle with Caramelized Bananas. They were two of the best desserts I have ever had. If you’re ever in Destin, be sure and put this on your list of must-go-to restaurants.
It was a special night, with two of the best parents in the world. Love you mom and dad…happy anniversary!
I had heard about a new bakery in Hollister, MO, The Catering Divas Divalicious Bake Shoppe (what a name!) and got my chance to stop in and visit a couple weekends ago after a trip to White Water in Branson with my sister and her husband. I felt a little bad dragging them along for my “research” but they didn’t seem to mind. After a short little drive right down into the heart of downtown Hollister, we arrived at our destination. I was a little shocked to learn the bakery was just a tiny room off of a bar, so that was a little off-putting at first but the space was cute inside. On the small countertop were a few pieces of pineapple upside down cake, cookies, brownies, a couple of pastries, a few cake pops, zucchini bread, some quick breads and rolls and a few chocolate cupcakes in the refrigerator. I thought they’d have more to choose from because they supposedly stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday so they might have had a rush that day, but we still managed to choose quite the selection between the four of us.
The things we chose were cupcakes (chocolate with peanut butter buttercream and chocolate with vanilla buttercream), red velvet cake pops, a brownie and a slice of pineapple upside down cake. The pineapple upside down cake was good but I probably wouldn’t get it again (only because everything else we got was way better). The brownie was really yummy, more cake-like with a chocolate glaze, drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with pecans. The red velvet cake pops were also really, really good and not sickeningly sweet like a lot of cake pops I’ve tried. Possibly the best cake pops I’ve had yet!
And finally, the cupcakes were delicious. They only had a few chocolate varieties left (I typically like to try white cake with vanilla buttercream). The chocolate cake part was very moist and had a mild chocolate taste and both the peanut butter and vanilla buttercreams were amazingly smooth and not too sweet…I think the frosting might have actually been an Italian or Swiss buttercream because it definitely did not taste like a typical powder sugar buttercream.
As for the prices, they were very good, if not even a little low on some things. Jeremy and I got four items and only spent $7. Overall, we liked the treats very much–you can definitely tell that the owner knows her cake! I’m already thinking about stopping by for a cupcake the next time I’m in Branson. Let me know if you’ve been there or plan to stop by sometime soon–I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Since Valentine’s Day is only four short days away, I thought I’d throw out a few more ideas just in case you’re still stumped on what to make, bake or buy for that special someone. And even if you loathe Valentine’s Day with a passion, these can still be inspiration for another celebration! So, to start things off right, I’d like to begin with more from Amy Atlas. She’s just put up an awesome v-day spread on her blog and I urge you to go check it out IMMEDIATELY. Part I and Part II. It will make you happy.
You might even start liking Valentine’s Day. She’s that good.
Next, I absolutely LOVE these cards by MadeByGirl. You’ll find a lot of unique, fun stuff that is relatively inexpensive and earth friendly. She also has prints and posters that are definitely worth checking out.
Finally, I came across this adorable Sweetheart Cupcake on allrecipes.com and had to share the recipe! It’s so simple and fun! And feel free to go a bit more gourmet if you’d like and make a cake from scratch.
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 egg whites
- 8 drops red food coloring
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
- Beat the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites together until smooth. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with white batter; set aside.
- Stir 4 drops of red food coloring into the remaining bowl of batter to make the batter pink. Pour 1/3 of pink batter into a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
- Mix more food coloring into the remaining bowl of pink batter until it is an orange/red color and pour the batter into a resealable plastic bag. Cut a corner off the bag, stick the open tip into the center of each cup of white batter and squeeze in about two tablespoons of red batter.
- Cut the corner off the bag with the pink batter, stick the open tip into the center of the red batter and squeeze about 1 tablespoon pink batter into each cup.
- Bake the layered cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.]
Ok, now you have no excuses! Ditch the red roses and box of chocolates and go for something a little more creative this Sunday!
Chocolate is good. Certain chocolate (ahem, dark) can even be divine. But sometimes it tastes even better when it’s FREE. Which is why the Godiva Chocolate Rewards Club is so sweet! (Lame, I know.) If you’ve never heard of the program, I am here to bring a little extra joy to your life once a month.
All you need to do is head into your local Godiva boutique, hand over some non-intrusive personal info (name, address, email) and you’re in! It’s fairly quick and painless to sign up and definitely worth it. So, once a month you can go in, flash your Godiva Chocolate Rewards card and snag a piece of free chocolate bliss. It’s a nice little no-cost pick me up after you’ve spent all your money shopping at the mall and are having a slight case of buyer’s remorse. Not that I would know anything about that.
There are also lots of other perks that you can check out here. The only downside of the club that I’ve found thus far is that you are limited to one piece of chocolate. I end up standing in front of the display case for at least five minutes, drooling over the selection and agonizing over which one I want while the salesperson looks at me like I’m crazy. This typically results in me cracking under the pressure and purchasing at least one chocolate in addition to my free piece. Sigh.
I’m sure it’s all part of Godiva’s evilly delicious plan and I’m playing right into their hands.
Oh and in case you are wondering, the chocolates above (from back left to right) are the Almond Marzipan, Macadamia Mosaic, Strawberry White Chocolate Truffle, Praline Crescent and Dark Ganache Heart.