Monthly Archives: April 2014

Z is for Zymurgy

by Lillian Csernica on April 30, 2014


From the branch of applied chemistry dealing with fermentation, as in winemaking, brewing, the preparation of yeast, etc. Origin: 1865–70; zym- + -urgy.

As the grand finale of the A to Z Challenge, I have located an item that I’m sure will make many of you very happy.  It is indeed possible to get chocolate beer!


Thank you to everybody who joined me for this year’s A to Z Challenge.  I look forward to chatting further with my new friends and continuing to entertain the folks who pop in often.  Best wishes to you all!



Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Food, Goals, Humor, Small business

A Day of Celebration

by Lillian Csernica on April 29, 2014


Michael in Stander

Today my son Michael turns 18.  My little boy, born at just 23 weeks, has fought the good fight every day for 18 years.

For those of you who may not know, 24 weeks is the threshold of viability.  That’s when the lungs are mature enough to function outside the womb.  The doctors did not expect Michael to live.  They gave us the option of turning off life support.  Chris and I decided we could not do that.  It was one thing if Michael died due to his fragility.  It was another to deprive him of any chance to live.

Michael spent his third trimester in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and later the Pediatric Ward, hooked up to so many monitors and breathing machinery and undergoing constant testing to make sure everything was developing properly.  I remember the first night I was allowed to feed him 8cc of my milk through a gastrostomy tube.  On Memorial Day Weekend of that year, Monday evening, I held Michael for the first time up against my chest, his delicate skin against mine.

Our parish priest came to pray over Michael what may well have been every day.  On the 8th day Fr. Basil baptized him and gave him his name.  We still didn’t know what might happen, so we couldn’t wait for a formal baptism and chrismation at church.  Fr. Jonah, a monk and Michael’s future godfather, joined Fr. Basil as often as he could.  The doctors granted us permission to put paper icons of Christ, the Mother of God, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. John Maximovich in the isolette where Michael lay wired up to all the machines.  His official diagnosis was spastic quadriplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy.  (Later, when Michael was 2 years old, he developed seizure disorder.)  I’ve never prayed as hard as I prayed in those months of surgeries and tests and discouraging prognosis.

Michael was released on August 14th.  The next day was the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.  Fr. Basil draped his stole over Michael while I carried him into the nave, then set him on the festal icon.  When the day came for his chrismation, I think the whole parish was there with us.  At one point in the service Fr. Basil took Michael into the altar and carried him around it three times.  Waiting to receive him, I stood there with tears running down my face.  The people in the choir could see me.  Their voices faltered because they started crying too.

Michael’s survival is considered a miracle attributed to St. John Maximovich, Archibishop of Shanghai and San Francisco.  We anointed Michael with holy oil from the eternal lamp that burns at St. John’s shrine in the Holy Virgin Cathedral on Geary St. in San Francisco.  That lamp is burning now.  Go to the cathedral and you can receive a small bottle of the oil.

There have been many surgeries, many procedures, many medications, many setbacks, and many tears.  There have also been triumphs and progress and quiet moments of joy as the person whom my son is has found ways of shining through the physical difficulties that keep him from walking, talking, and eating on his own.  Michael is a smart boy, good at art, with a wicked sense of humor.  He loves Wii Sports, especially baseball.  Even more so, he loves to go bowling in a real alley.  In June, he will graduate from high school.

My baby is now a legal adult, with the whole world wide open before him.


Filed under birthday, charity, Depression, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Family, Goals, history, love, Special needs

Y is for Yoda

by Lillian Csernica on April 28, 2014


As we near the finish line of this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge, I am compelled to present the chocolate version of one of speculative media’s most highly revered sages.

From Coco Paloma Desserts:

Yoda’s head. In order to get as much detail as possible, I made the head out of rice cereal treats and carved it into the general shape. I then sculpted with white modeling chocolate. Once it dried over night, I covered it with fondant.

 Here’s the final Yoda. His ears were by far the trickiest part! The hands and feet were also made from fondant. As with any complex cake, a lot of time is spent figuring out how to construct the cake and what media to use.

What SF/F character would you like to see molded in chocolate?

I’d have to go with Lt. Sulu from that original “Star Trek” episode where he was running around shirtless with the fencing epee!



Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Conventions, fantasy, Fiction, Food, Humor, Japan, science fiction

X is for Xiphoid

by Lillian Csernica on April 27, 2014



Before you reach for your Scrabble Dictionaries, I’ll give you a hint.  This is a xiphoid cake.

A chocolate, sword-shaped cake!  How’s that for X Day?  Only the best for you!


Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, Goals, history, Humor, romance, Writing

W is for Wombat

by Lillian Csernica on April 26, 2014



How better to celebrate Wombat Day (October 22) than with realistic, detailed party favors of the creature made of chocolate?


Apparently the folks in Australia enjoy chocolate wombats and as well as bilbys for their versions of the more common chocolate Easter bunny.  Still, if you want to celebrate Wombat Day in the proper traditional manner, that calls for a Wombat Cake.


If that’s a little too much realism for you, let’s go to the other end of the spectrum for pure fantasy:

For the benefit of people like me who hadn’t the faintest idea what an actual wombat really looks like, allow me to provide you with a glimpse of the adorable critter au naturel.

Which animal would you like to see modeled in chocolate? 


Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, fantasy, Food, Humor, Writing

V is for Violin

by Lillian Csernica on April 25, 2014



A tribute to one of the finest musical instruments in the strings family.

I regret that I have been unable to discover more about the maker, the amount of chocolate, and the occasion for which this wonderful figure was created.

What song would be played on a chocolate violin?



Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, history

U is for Unicorn

by Lillian Csernica on April 24, 2014



Yes, this one might seem obvious, but just wait.  First I must share with you this lovely example of the baker’s art:


If you’re looking for something simpler, perhaps in the party favor line, here’s a little cutie:


But wait!  There’s more!  Apparently somebody has invented this silly game called “Chocolate Unicorn” where people do their best to stack six chocolate snack cakes on their foreheads within one minute and keep them there!  That’s the tricky part.

There must be more chocolate games out there.  Come on, tell me what you’re up to!  You have a “Buffy” marathon and every time Xander does something stupid and dangerous, you have to slam a handful of M&Ms!  It’s “Firefly” night for the Browncoats and they’re slamming Dove bites every time somebody swears in Cantonese!  I know you’re doing things like this!  You can’t fool me!


Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, Goals, Humor, romance, Writing

T is for Tools

by Lillian Csernica on April 23, 2014


Chocolate is so much fun.  Fun to eat, fun to play with, fun to make into all kinds of shapes.  Ideal for the DIY person in your household, I have found some excellent gifts in the form of chocolate Tools.

How classy is this?  A tool box in milk or dark chocolate, with tools in milk or dark.  Mix and match, or go with one flavor for the chocolate purist!


For a bit more whimsy, smaller chocolate tools on the top of cupcakes in favorite flavors of cake and frosting.


I had to include this cake because it is so fantastic.  For the contractor, the woodworker, the handyman/woman, this will make any celebration really special.


What’s your favorite tool?  Can you imagine a chocolate chainsaw?  Maybe a nail gun that shoots chocolate nails?


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Filed under birthday, Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, fantasy, Food, Humor, Small business, Writing

S is for Sea Dragon

by Lillian Csernica on April 21, 2014



Apologies for the delay in posting my entry for this letter.  Russian Easter is a lot of work and a lot of fun.  Somewhere along the line I came down with some kind of illness which kept me in bed today.  Nevertheless, I bring you today’s chocolate wonder:

From, “Jean-Phillipe Maury’s Dragon Sculpture in Chocolate. The tree, dragon and large flowers are dark, white and light chocolate. The pearls and small flowers are sugar, and lanterns are pulled fondant.”


Next comes a marvel from Black Mountain Gold, Fine Artisan Chocolate.  This company has an entire page of Dragon Bars.

Sea Salt Dragon


Last but far from least, a marvelous Chinese Dragon from the Highland Bakery.  No, strictly speaking it’s not a sea dragon, but it’s just so fabulous I had to include it here:

From the Highland Bakery Blog: “Chinese Dragon head, made by Karen out of fondant and modeling chocolate. The bride used to work at Highland Bakery and instead of a traditional tiered cake, she made little individual cakes that snaked back behind the dragon to mimic the shape of its body. ”

What’s your favorite breed of dragon?  How would you like to see it rendered in chocolate?



Filed under birthday, Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, romance, Small business

R is for Roller Rink

by Lillian Csernica on April 20, 2014



By now you’re thinking, “She’s got to be running out of ideas.  Soon she’ll have to just start making things up!”  Well, that day is NOT today!  There is in fact a chocolate roller rink, and it’s located in Canela, Brazil.



” We stop at a cute shop and I quickly fill boxes with chocolate of all kinds for my American friends.  The cashier tells us to make sure we head upstairs to see what is up there before retreating to our car.  Of course our curiosity is heightened and we head up past

the chocolate waterfall and life size chocolate figures.  We come to a room with music playing.  After further investigation,  we see two kids ice skating, but this is no regular rink – the kids are skating on chocolate.  Yes chocolate.  I watch a while and think of putting on a pair of skates myself,  but it is a small rink and we have more of Canela to see.”

Yes, folks, the Brazilians are so cool they have even created a skating rink for kids where the floor is pure chocolate.  I ask you, did you ever think you’d see something this cool?

Now tell me this:  if you could build an entertainment location out of chocolate, what would it be?  Miniature golf?  Bowling?  The kind of games you play on the midway at the State Fair?  Come on!  Let’s hear some ideas!


Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, Food, history, Humor, science fiction, Writing