Author Archives: Valerie

Travel Tuesday: Colorado by Instagram

Posted on

I went to Denver for a long weekend in October to visit college friends & had a blast!  Just a few pics from my phone, will share more eventually!

View while hiking Mt. Sanitas


Denver while stuck in traffic

Downtown Boulder

Pike's Peak

Picking pumpkins at the Happy Apple Tree Farm

Travel Tuesday: Kaffee and Kuchen

Posted on

Last week I talked about my love for European cafes.  It was on my trip to Germany that I fell in love with the mid-afternoon coffee and cake break.  Pretty much Kaffee and Kuchen was my and Danae’s lunch every day while we were there.  It was great!  We ate and drank our way through the northern half of the country so here is our daily coffee break.

In Hamburg we didn’t get cake, but we did make a stop for Balzac Coffee.  We needed coffee, but mostly we just wanted to giggle over the name Balzac.

In Gottingen we stopped at Cron & Lanz.  This is where we started ordering kaffee mit baileys, which just improved the experience.  We both agreed these were the best desserts of the trip!  Their chocolates were incredible as well, it was very upsetting when I finished my last one a few weeks after we got home!

The next day in Gottingen we had an hour to kill before our train left.  So of course we found an outdoor cafe in the city center and ordered a round of kaffee mit baileys to enjoy while we people watched.  German fashion and German daddies (we were amazed that they took their kids places) were the main topics of conversation.

In Sababurg we stopped at the biergarten inside Tierpark Sababurg.  There was cake involved, but we got beer instead of coffee.  And it was a good thing we did with the whole getting attacked by a baby donkey thing.

Paulaner-our fave!

Our first day in Kassel we stopped for another round of kaffee mit baileys and kuchen.  Well, atleast Danae did.  I decided to get real food but somehow ended up ordered soggy toast with tomatoes.  Life lesson learned-always order cake!!

On our last day we were at the Bergpark Wilhelmshohe waiting for the Hercules fountain to be run.  We sadly took one last afternoon break for beer and cake.

Just a small sampling of our unofficial food & drink tour of Germany!!

Browned Butter and Caper Tilapia

Posted on

I ate at Paris Club a few months ago and I ordered the skate wing with lemon, capers, and brown butter.  I didn’t even really know what skate wing was, but it was on the seafood menu and I was feeling adventurous so I just ordered it.  And oh my goodness was it delicious!  Sadly I didn’t take any pictures that night, but I knew I would have to recreate the flavors later on from home.

Trader Joe’s carries a good selection of frozen, individually packaged fish-perfect for cooking for one!  This became one of my go-to recipes for cooking tilapia over the summer.  Just add some veggies and it is a quick, delicious meal!

Browned Butter Tilapia

Brown a few tablespoons of butter.  Pour over tilapia fillet in small ramekins or foil pouch.  Add a tablespoon or so of capers and squeeze lemon on top.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until flaky, or a little longer if the fish is frozen.  Enjoy!

Travel Tuesday: Patisserie Valerie

Posted on

I spent an awesome week in London and Paris over Thanksgiving!  One of my favorite parts of Europe is the little cafes they have everywhere.  It is so relaxing to sit and enjoy a coffee and dessert.  It’s even more relaxing with if you add Baileys to the coffee, but that is a story for a different day.  Europeans really do understand leisure better than Americans, and this is the perfect example.  There is no feeling of being rushed.  In fact, it is usually hard to flag someone down when you do want to leave!

I was excited to discover Patisserie Valerie in London!!  Valerie must be a more common name in Europe because I saw another store that included it in the name.  I passed it on the way to Piccadilly to shop with my whole (huge) family so clearly I had to go back.  My sisters and I went for coffee and dessert a few days later and it was delicious!  We tried the chocolate mousse and the eclair, both were amazing!!  If only America would pick up this tradition!


Chocolate mousse with cream puff on top

Pumpkin Pie

Posted on

I absolutely love pumpkin pie!  Actually pretty much anything with pumpkin. In the fall I made it my mission to make a pumpkin pie completely from scratch, which I had never done before.  This was only my second time making homemade pie crust so it was a good challenge.

The crust tasted good but I didn’t roll it out enough so it was too thick.  Eventually I will make a perfect pie crust!!  But it didn’t matter that the crust wasn’t the best because the inside of this pie was heavenly!  Seriously the best pumpkin pie I have ever had.  And I have eaten a lot of them.  I think roasting my own pumpkin made a huge difference in flavor compared to the canned stuff.  I may never go back!

I looked up a lot of recipes but none of them seemed quite right to me, so I just combined them all and the result was amazing!

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups roasted pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Make or buy pie crust.  I suck at it so can’t give any good directions.  Combine ingredients.  Don’t worry if it is super watery compared to pie from canned puree.  Bake for 50 minutes at 375.  Enjoy!

Chile Rellenos

Posted on

I made dinner for the family last night and they all loved it!  Pleasing seven people, some of whom aren’t very adventurous eaters isn’t always easy!  I made chile rellenos, acorn squash, and guac.

Lemon Bars

Posted on

I was craving lemon bars the other day and remembered that I have had this post bookmarked for well over a year.  Grain free/sugar free treats usually aren’t quite as good as the originals so I was unsure if I was going to like them.

I really had no reason to be concerned-they were amazing!!  Seriously may have been better than the original recipe I used to make.  The bottom layer is a little more crumbly and a little less like shortbread, but I really liked it.  And the lemon topping was perfectly tart and lemon-ey!

I didn’t change a thing so click here for the recipe!