A family of six and their fearless journey through life, love and the pursuit of all things yummy

French Meringue Cake – Just for Dad! June 20, 2012

It’s was Father’s Day and Lonnie requested “something French-ie” for his dessert. I found this recipe, courtesy of Laura Calder, and decided to give it a whirl. You can flavour your meringue and your French buttercream with a million different combinations. Go crazy!!!


  • For the meringue
  • 4 ounces ground almonds or hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • For the buttercream
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks butter, very soft
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • For the top
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 6peaches, sliced


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and draw on 2 (9-inch) circles. Cook’s Note: You could also do rectangles.

In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, cornstarch, and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks, and then beat in the remaining sugar to make a stiff meringue. Fold in the almond mixture in 3 batches to combine thoroughly. Using a piping bag with a large tip, pipe the meringue onto the circles on the parchment. Bake until crisp and dry, about 1 1/2 hours.

To make the buttercream: Heat the sugar with 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water to dissolve, then boil to soft-ball stage, which is just before the syrup changes color (235 to 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Beat the egg yolks in a stand-up mixer, then, with the beaters running, quickly add the hot syrup in a thin stream. Continue beating until the mixture is cool and forms and thick mousse, about 5 minutes. Beat in the butter, gradually, and finally add the vanilla.

To assemble the cake: Set a round of meringue on a serving plate. Spread over a quarter of the buttercream. Lay in a layer of sliced peaches. Spread the top layer with buttercream and set it on top of the first. Spread the remaining butter cream over the sides of the cake. Press the toasted almonds all around the sides. Arrange another layer of peach slices on top.



Salt Water Pool – Mini Mediterranean June 11, 2012

Filed under: Stuff for the House — Brandi @ 4:41 pm
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I love a pool, especially a salt-water one. It’s as close to a sea or ocean we’re going to get. Some great friends sold us the pool for a song and we embarked on yet another wild endeavor – pool for The Wild Six!

I have a small backyard and other than my baby grape vines, I’m not planning on gardening. I want the space to be used for entertaining and that’s exactly what’s happening. We stained the concrete patio, put in a river pebble bed with planters, an outdoor fireplace, new patio furniture, grape vines and a POOL! I decided that trying to take Alberta and Beatrice to the public pool this year would be a nightmare and Lonnie and I decided to put in a pool.

We WISELY hired John Marr of to dig up the hole and level everything out. He did an amazing job and saved us about three full weekends of digging. Once the sand was down, we assembled the pool, filled it, dumped in the salt, fired up the sand filter and salt water pump and have been having a ball ever since. The kids and I love being able to stuff ourselves with breakie in the morning and just roll on in to the pool! Med in heaven! Like I said – the closest to the sea that we’re going to get right now.

I’ll post more photos of the kids frolicking later.


Our Hairiest Edition to The Wild Six

Filed under: Story of the Wild Six — Brandi @ 2:07 pm
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Okay, I finally broke down. The kids decided they would rather have a dog than go on a little family holiday this summer. They promised to look after it and they’ve been true to their word. I’ve had many friends ask me what made me change my mind. I had always been adamant about not having pets. I told myself that we needed to wait; wait until we had more money, wait until the twins were older, wait until our schedules weren’t so crazy. But then I realized that there really are no perfect moments in our lives. Things are always in flux but that doesn’t mean we shut out an opportunity to expand our horizons and Grinch-ey hearts. So to those who want to give me the business for getting a dog, bring it – The Wild Six have now become seven and there’s plenty of love to go ’round.

p.s. I named him Rollie Fingers after the famous baseball pitcher with a HUGE stash!

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Lemon Blueberry Muffin Madness June 6, 2012

Filed under: Food, Wine, and Nummies — Brandi @ 6:58 pm
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This is a KILLER recipe. It originally called for a 1/2 cup melted butter, but I’m trying to cut down on the calories, so I substituted plain Greek yogurt. Turned out amazing! Give it a try. Anything with a berry is pure heaven. p.s. They work out to be about 155 calories per muffin. HALLELUJAH!

2 c. flour

1/2 – 3/4 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

zest and juice of one lemon

1 egg

1 c. skim milk

1/2 c. plain yogurt

1 – 2 cups fresh blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat you egg, lemon juice, zest, milk and yogurt together. Using a wooden spoon, mix in your dry ingredients. Don’t over mix! Stir in blueberries and put in greased muffin tin in a preheated 375 oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Make 12 FULL muffins.

LEMON BUTTER TOPPING (when you don’t care about the calories!)

1/4 c. melted butter

2 T. lemon juice (or more to your liking)

1/2 cup sugar

Mix together until smooth and drizzle over slightly cooled muffins. Hello delicious.


The Art of Maceration June 2, 2012

Filed under: Food, Wine, and Nummies — Brandi @ 10:21 pm
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Okay, there really is no art. In fact, it’s kind of up to you. The definition of maceration (in the culinary world) is to soak fruit in some sort of liquid. Any liquid. It’s basically marinating fruit. I started on this maceration kick because I wanted to cut down on the fat and calories that I use in my sweets. I am of German decent and of course, we put cream on EVERYTHING, so I started macerating fruits. This is what I tried last night with my low-cal baked custard: Macerated Blackberries with Sweet Vermouth. To quote a 13 year old, “O-M-G!” It’s delicious. And the great thing about using alcohol, it PRESERVES your fruit! Here are some other ideas what to do to macerate various fruits. Go crazy. Have fun. Name it after yourself. Life is too short to be humble. Slather your fruit over low-cal frozen yogurt or on top of angel food cake. Unreal. Thank you God for berries. And booze.

INSTRUCTIONS: Take any fruit (and I do mean any), sprinkle 1 T. of sugar/honey over fruit and add in whatever proportion any of the following (it’s to taste people!)

  • Liquors and liqueurs with a fruity, herbal or spicy profile
  • Vinegars such as balsamic, cider, red wine or champagne
  • Honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
  • Ground or whole spices including cinnamon, black pepper and star anise
  • Citrus juice and zest
  • Fresh, chopped herbs
  • Ginger
  • Fresh and dried chiles
  • Extracts like vanilla or almond

The Ultimate Breakfast Dinner June 1, 2012

Filed under: Food, Wine, and Nummies — Brandi @ 12:50 am
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I whipped this up tonight because I was really crammed for time. We just got a puppy and I forgot COMPLETELY what it means to have to take care of an infant!

The dinner consisted of Egg Cups, Roasted Potatoes and Hot Tomato Salad. Here’s what to do. Remember – keep it simple and with the egg cups, use what you have in the fridge. And trust me when I say that this meal will take a whopping 30 minutes. Voila! Manger!

EGG CUPS (you can adjust the amount)

Grease a 12-count muffin tin. Heat your oven to 375.

6 pieces of bread, cut in half

12 eggs

Shredded cheddar cheese

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Take a rolling pin and roll your bread flat. Cut in half and lay into the muffin tins. Pinch closed any spaces in the bread. Sprinkle in the amount of cheese you want. If you have some leftover meat (I had cooked ground turkey). Crack an egg into each bread cup. Put one tsp. of olive oil on top of each egg and use a little salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes.


Mini yellow potatoes

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Fresh dill

Toss all ingredients together and place on a cookie sheet and throw ‘er in the oven! Cook until fork tender.


4 tomatoes

One clove of garlic, minced

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Fresh parsley and basil

Take a non-stick pan and heat to med/high. Add 2 T. olive oil and heat up. Cut tomatoes in half and add salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add your tomatoes face down into the oil. WATCH OUT! They splatter! Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and basil and serve warm. Yummmm!


The Wild Six Goes on a Red Rooibos Tea Rampage May 31, 2012

A dear friend of mine introduced me to this tea forever ago and to be truthful, I forgot all about it. Since my horrific habit of smoking is now done, I’ve been trying to find tasty things to help my bod get back on track and I again returned for a look at Red Rooibos tea.

I already knew that it wasn’t technically a tea and that it’s from South Africa, but I had NO idea the level of healing properties this bad boy had. I’m borrowing my information from various websites, but found a fantastic short-list of health benefits. It looks amazing, but I just started drinking it because it was naturally caffeine free but didn’t taste like dishwater. I would highly recommend this tea – it’s yummm, caffeine free and tastes amazing cold and hot.  See for yourself and down about 8 cups per day. I do this when I need some “flushing” (not a laxative!) and I’m beyond tired of water! Let me know what you think of the Rooibos tea.


Nutritional Value: Red rooibos tea has no oxalic acid and therefore, it can also be consumed by those people who have kidney stones. Rooibos tea is rich in many mineral contents such as ironcalcium,potassiumcopper, fluoride, manganesezincmagnesium and alpha hydroxy.

Benefits: Red rooibos tea is one of the best health drink or beverage for all those who care for their health and fitness. Some of the beneficial factors related to red rooibos tea are as follows:

  • Polyphenols: Rooibos contains polyphenols that has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-mutagenic qualities.
  • No Caffeine: Rooibos tea is totally caffeine-free, therefore it is recommended by doctors for insomniacs. A cup of rooibos beverage just before going to bed can help you sleep better.
  • Good for Bones: Red tea is rich in calcium,manganese and fluoride minerals that assist in good bone structure and stronger teeth.
  • Infant Relief: It can be useful for little infants who suffer from colic or stomach pains. You may add some sweetened milk to the tea for added taste.
  • Good for Skin: The alpha hydroxyl acid and zinc contents in red tea are best for skin. You can also try applying some red tea powder directly to the skin to relieve acne, pimples, sunburns or related skin conditions.
  • Kidney Stones: Even people with stone problem can drink as much red rooibos tea as they want as there is no oxalic acid in the beverage.
  • Hypertension: Rooibos tea is said to bring relief to stress, nervous tensions and hypertension conditions.
  • Anti-spasmodic Agents: The tea is rich in anti-spasmodic agents, which eases severe stomach cramps and abdominal pains.
  • Allergies: In many parts of South Africa, red tea is used as an effective curative to treat allergies likeeczema, hay fever and allergic bronchitis.
  • Slows Aging: The anti-oxidants present in rooibos tea slows down human aging process and also boost the immunity levels of human body.
  • Great Beverage: Red rooibos tea is an excellent thirst quencher and does wonders for active people such as sportsmen, hyper active children and constant travelers. Most people love to drink rooibos tea in its natural form without any sweeteners.
  • Rare Nutrients: Rooibos tea is said to contain rare nutrient contents such as Quercetin and Bioflavanoid that assists in good blood circulation and obstructs hemorrhaging. (Information from

Getting Wild With a Papaya Mask May 27, 2012

Filed under: Stuff for your Face & Bod — Brandi @ 2:10 am
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Anytime I can get my hands on a ripe papaya (that doesn’t cost a King’s ransom), I snatch it up and take it home, slice it and put it in the fridge. Between using the seeds in salad dressings and putting the flesh in salads and smoothies, I also use it on my face. Papaya is insanely rich in anti-oxidants and vitamin C. It has a knack for getting rid of those McNasty free radicals. Since I quit smoking and just turned 40, Mumsy needs all the help she can get! Don’t use it everyday, but this recipe will last three days out of the week.

For this mask, I used:

3 cubes of papaya (mashed)

1 T. fresh plain yogurt

2 T. ground almonds (or raw oatmeal)

1 T. honey (SUPER moisturizer)

Mix thoroughly and smear on your face, avoiding eye area. Let sit for 10 minutes and then rinse off with tepid water. Your skin feels radiant. No joke. Sweet papaya lovin’!


Update on Using Soap Berries/Nuts May 26, 2012

Okay, gave my natural soap a try as a bug repellent on my plants in the yard. I had a pot of annuals come back to life. Now, there is SOME nibbling going on, but I’ve managed to keep my pots, grape vines AND veg on the right track. Just cook down a batch of 5 soap berries in about 5 cups of water. Let cool and put into a clean spray bottle. Spray the leaves AND underneath. Yeah! No chemicals! Oh, and I’ve been spraying the elixir on my body and the twins…no bug bites yet. I love stuff that has a million uses. Thank you mother nature…you truly are the bees knees. Here’s the link to get your own soap berries:

p.s. Here’s a shot of my stainless steel fridge – the soap cleaned it beautifully and prevents greasy finger prints and my house is full of greasy little fingers.


Beef at Its Best – “Bollito” May 25, 2012

Filed under: Food, Wine, and Nummies — Brandi @ 1:49 pm
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I snagged this beauty from David Rocco. It is truly one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever tried. Next time, I’m going to do some crusty French rolls so we can really soak up the broth! As my daughter Alberta says, “Tummy yummy!”

Bollito with Salsa Verde and Chili Sauce

8 cups (2 L) water
2 lb (1 kg) stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 carrots, halved
2 celery stalks, halved
1 onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, crushed
salsa verde*
chili sauce*


To start your Bollito w/ Salsa Verde & Chili Sauce:

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add beef, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for 2 hours or until meat becomes tender. Remove meat from the pot.
Serve the boiled meat with the salsa verde and chili sauce or on a bun as a sandwich.
*See David Rocco’s Dolce Vita recipe for ‘Salsa Verde Sauce’ and ‘Chili Sauce.’