Tag Archives: chocolate

Counting Down to Christmas


by Lillian Csernica on December 20th, 2015

to-do-list

If I didn’t keep a running To Do list, I don’t know how I’d get anything done.  When I’m stressed out I tend to lose my long range focus and the ability to structure my time effectively.  I’ve done a lot of my shopping online this year.  The rain coming down in buckets outside my window makes me very happy for that option.

This year has been such an ordeal for our family.  I decided back in November to pay attention to all those articles on managing holiday stress and choose the activities most important and meaningful for both me and the boys.

Here’s what got checked off the To Do list this weekend:

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On Saturday night I took John to “The Nutcracker.”  He’s been asking to go tothe ballet for a month or two now.  We know he enjoys seeing and hearing a live orchestra perform.  I think the main attraction of the ballet was A) the costumes for this particular show and B) the emphasis on all those pretty girls with their long legs.

The Santa Cruz Ballet Theater put on a marvelous performance.  Hearing Tchaikovsky played live was a treat in itself.  The production values and the special effects left both me and John wide-eyed with wonder.  As for the dancing….  Wow.  The Snow Queen and her Cavalier made it seem like gravity had no power over them at all.  This was the first of John’s Christmas presents.  He kept saying it was “Amazing!”

John and I had dinner on Pacific Avenue after the show, talking about our favorite parts of the show.  Despite the 40+ degree weather, we stopped in at Cold Stone Creamery for some dark chocolate peppermint ice cream.   Oh my stars and garters.  That was heaven on a spoon!

large-christmas-tree

Today Chris and John got our Christmas tree.  It’s become a tradition for the two of them to go to a tree farm and cut down a fresh tree.  I had to admire their determination.  Soon after they left, the skies darkened and it started raining.  They did return victorious, if a little damp.

John has graduated to stringing the lights on the tree himself.  He loves the colored lights that blink on and off and change colors in varying patterns.  Out came all the boxes from the garage with our wide variety of Christmas ornaments, table linens, and John’s personal treasure, his Peanuts cuckoo clock.  On the hour, Snoopy comes out where the cuckoo would be and the Peanuts theme song plays.  We put this up only during the holiday season.

Once the lights and gold tinsel garlands were in place, Michael sat in his wheelchair to help choose ornaments and where they should go.  As each of us pulled the tissue off an ornament, we’d hold it up for Michael to see and ask him if that one should hang on the tree.  Once he gave us his yes or no, then he’d pick the right spot on the tree.  After spending two months watching Michael lying there in his ICU bed, I cannot tell you the joy I felt seeing him sitting there happy and smiling, reaching out to touch an ornament or grab John’s shirt and make him laugh.  Michael’s R.N., a wonderful lady named Joan, had a good time helping with the ornaments.  They were all new to her, so I shared some of the stories attached to them.

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Here it is, courtesy of Michael and John!

As for me, I put on a Christmas jazz CD and drank eggnog.  All of a sudden, there it was.  Our family gathered around the Christmas tree, breathing in the fresh pine scent, joking about hanging the good ornaments up where our three cats can’t get at them.  My mother is visiting my brother right now, but she’ll be back for Christmas Eve.  My sister is down in Southern California, but she’ll be back for New Year’s.  It’s good to have time with just us and the boys.

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In my family we party a lot during the holidays.  My birthday is December 29.  My sister’s is on January 1st, and my mother’s on January 3rd.  I keep careful track of who gave who this or that Christmas present, along with who gave who that birthday gift.  Lists!  More lists!  One of the traditions I consider most important is writing thank-you notes.  Michael likes to create his own stationery, and John will add little drawings to his cards.

We have so much to be grateful for, and so many people to whom we owe our thanks.

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Filed under autism, birthday, cats, chocolate, Christmas, classics, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Food, hospital, mother, neurodiversity, parenting, special education, Special needs, Writing

Z is for Zymurgy


by Lillian Csernica on April 30, 2014

ZYMURGY

From Dictionary.com: 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!

spoki.tvnet.lv

 

 

chow.com

 

maletis.com

 

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!

 

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

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!

 

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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.

glazedbakery.blogspot.com

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

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V is for Violin


by Lillian Csernica on April 25, 2014

 

 

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

smosh.com

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?

 

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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:

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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!

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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!

charlinda.com

 

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

delawarewildflowers.org

 

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 nowimhungry.com, “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?

 

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R is for Roller Rink


by Lillian Csernica on April 20, 2014

 

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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.

 

From http://daveswworld.blogspot.com/2011/09/cross-country-travel-day-5.html:

” 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!

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

Q is for Quesadilla


by Lillian Csernica on April 19, 2014

 

Q

That’s right, I said quesadilla.  Q-U-E-S-A-D-I-L-L-A!  Some of you will be asking yourselves, “How in the world can you possibly make a quesadilla with chocolate?”  I’m glad you asked.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Here we have chocolate and cranberries for a delightful mix of sweetness with a little tart zing to set it off.

You can go wild with your own list of ingredients, everything from fresh fruit such as bananas and strawberries to hot fudge, regular chocolate syrup, or that divine foodstuff, Nutella.  Add tiny marshmallows.  Drop a scoop of ice cream on top.  Whatever satisfies your sweet tooth!

© Dessert Quesadilla 2013

If you need a little guidance as you explore the wonders awaiting you in the world of this exquisite treat, head on over to Dessert Quesadilla for ideas, recipes, and some photography so gorgeous it will make your mouth water.

 What would YOU put on your chocolate quesadilla?

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