Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Friday, May 24, 2013

Crazy Purple Flowers

 I love these crazy purple flowers.

I don't know what they are called - maybe someone can tell me the comments? I love that they look like purple powder puffs. 

These over sized dandelion looking flowers tower over the other early spring arrivals in Chicago, swaying around in the breeze & seemingly really enjoying their short lived lives.

Goodness knows I enjoy them!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keeping in touch....and an apology

I love staying in touch & keeping in touch with friends & family.

So I need to issue an apology to those of you who are kind enough to reach out to me in the comments on my blog! I am really embarrassed that virtually all of your kind comments went rude can I be??

I hope you keep commenting & I promise I will start responding more quickly (because I just responded to a comment that was OVER A YEAR OLD).

Within 1 week - that is my new promise for any comments to Lizzard Loves.

Sorry again everybody! I want you to know that your comments make me smile, they feel to me like a quick digital postcard (& you all know how much I love mail!), they help me feel like people are connecting to this little project, & they help me to stay in touch with you all. Keep the comments coming & I promise I will reply promptly.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cashew Coconut Cups

I love chocolate.
Lizzard Loves. Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Cashew Coconut Cups
It seems like the most obvious thing you could love, right? As much as I am tempted to be suspicious of those who do not like chocolate.....I can't fault my best friend in the world just because she & all things chocolate do not play nice :) I will admit I am thoroughly surprised when a friend (new or old) admits that they just don't love chocolate. They may as well be speaking to me in Chinese; it is incomprehensible! 
Lizzard Loves  filling like a blob :)

Lizzard Loves...Making the filling
As an indication of my intense love of chocolate, I currently have the following in my pantry milk chocolate, dark chocolate, 72% dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, baking chocolate, cocoa powder, white chocolate, and in my mom's delicious homemade chocolate sauce. What? I told you I love chocolate!

Lizzard Loves cups waiting for the 2nd layer of chocolate

I have been cultivating my love of Pinterest lately too and the recipe I am sharing is adapted from one I found through Pinterest! I made the recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups from Sprouted Kitchen's blog & I really enjoyed their recipe- but I figured there were a few ways I could tweak it & make it better for me! These made a perfect Easter gift for my Dad - who has the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know personally. I put 6 in a clear plastic gift bag & tied it shut with baker's twine. Delicious & cute - which is perfect for me (my Dad probably didn't care or notice the cute part.....but whatever :)

I hope you enjoy it the recipe below, let me know in the comments what you think of it- or if you have any additions/adjustments or questions!


Dark Chocolate Cashew Coconut Cups
18 oz dark chocolate (i used 9oz Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate & 9oz Trader Joe's 72% cocoa Dark Chocolate)
1/2 cup natural cashew nut butter (feel 100% free to sub in peanut butter, almond butter, soy nut butter- whatever you like best!)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut 
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon fine grain/table salt
1/2 teaspoon (or to tastes) fancy schmancy salt - for sprinkling on top *see note below*
24 toasted cashews (approximately 1/2 cup) for topping

1. Break/chop the chocolate into pieces that will fit into your favorite microwave safe bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 1 minute increments at 50% power until it is totally smooth. Stir in between each burst in the microwave to ensure it is smooth.
3. Line a mini muffin tin with 24 paper liners (don't worry - you don't bake these- the pan is there to ensure a nice shaped candy :)
4. Spoon a generous teaspoon of the chocolate into 3 of the paper liners, then tilt/rock the pan back & forth/around in a circle to help the chocolate coat the sides of the paper. Repeat until you've filled all the cups.
5. Now its time to make the delicious filling! Combine the cashew butter, shredded coconut, honey, powdered sugar, vanilla & coconut extracts, & fine grain salt in a bowl until well mixed.
6. Scoop out a generous teaspoon of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make a little ball. Press down slightly to form a disc & place one in each paper liner (that is now lined with dark chocolate!) Repeat until each cup has a flattened ball of the filling in it.
7. At this stage, you may need to give your chocolate another 1 minute blast in the microwave at 50% power. Do so if the chocolate is not easy to scoop/pour.
8. Time to cover the filling with more chocolate! Another generous teaspoon of teh chocolate should be enough to cover your filling completely- but add more chocolate if you need to!
9. Sprinkle your fancy schmancy salt over the top of your pan, so each chocolate has just a smattering on it.
10. Press 1 cashew into the top of each candy before the chocolate has time to firm up!
11. Allow the chocolates 20-30 minutes to harden, and then enjoy the homemade chocolates!
Lizzard Loves the almost finished product!

I've found that these freeze perfectly well. Put them in a tupperware (or double bag in a ziploc) and freeze for up to 2 months (this is as long as I've been able to wait to eat them....they may keep longer.....but not in my house!). If you're going to eat them within 5-7 days, leave them in a tupperware/ziploc at room temp.

*A note about salt: OK, I realize that sounds so silly- but use whatever the nicest salt you have in your pantry.......I was lucky & received a gift set 2 Christmases ago of 6 different specialty salt- so I use Maldon - a deliciously flaky salt- but sea salt, kosher salt, gray salt, pink salt, in a pinch use the regular table salt- but the texture is vastly improved with your fancy schmancy salts - I promise! You can often find fancy schmancy salts at Homegoods & TJ Maxx at a serious discount.....and since salt by its very nature isn't perishable- I often do that!) 

Lizzard Loves - the final product! Sneak attack- I also tested an almond version!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sara Bareilles

I love Sara Bareilles.
This is a new found love- born out of a ridiculously fun & entertaining show she put on earlier this month at the Park West.

Lizzard Loves....Sara Bareilles playing piano
Things that I completely dug (in no particular order):
~her low key interaction with the audience
~her tour/album called "Brave" - we could all use some encouragement to be more brave
~the 100+ f-bombs she dropped throughout the show 
~her silly quirky self deprecating sense of humor
~the ridiculously awesome songs
~a strange table top accordion like instrument she played while she sang 1 song
~the cover she sang of "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" - she knocked it out of the park & made us all laugh at ourselves for our collective inability to whistle
~the facial expressions she made while she sang- like her emotions were drawn onto her face by a cartoonist!

Lizzard Loves....Sara Bareilles singing & joking around
My friend went to the concert venue 2.5 hours before the sold out show started to try to scalp tickets for us. I love the dedication she showed to this concert going effort!! (She had seen Sara Bareilles in concert before- so was far more in love with her/her music than I was). I loved our 4th row center seats & the friendly crowd that made it possible for my friend to save seats for us while still trying to buy a ticket for me!

 I was so happy to be there with a friend, seeing a new found love :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Donut Day

I love donut day.

Not "National Donut Day" (which, thanks to Wikipedia I now know is celebrated annually on the 1st Friday in June......National Donut Day ). Just donut day. As in "its Wednesday & we 
all deserve a delicious treat" day. 

  If possible- I recommend buying your donuts from an old school bakery who makes them fresh each will probably be greeted with a "Hi honey, what can I get you?" and a smile. The fact that the donuts may still be warm with melting icing on top is, well, just icing on top of an already lovely experience. (I love puns too).
Lizzard Loves....Donut Day
I have waxed poetic about my love of the morning (in case you missed it, here is the post Waking Up Early ) so really what could be more perfect than a treat in the morning??My little nephews are all about donuts - something about the sprinkles & frosting in the morning really makes their hearts race! So bringing donuts to the little guys is a double dose of happiness. They shared some donut with their Dad; another satisfied donut lover! Add to that my husband's fondness for the treat I sneaked into his work bag & we really are talking major morning happiness all around!

If only I could figure out how to avoid the inevitable sugar crash.........

Happy Wednesday everyone- hope you have your own donut day soon!