Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentines Treats: Citrus Truffles

Are you looking for something easy and memorable to do for the special person in your life on Valentine's Day?
These White Chocolate Citrus Truffles will be a gift to remember. I entered these in the State Fair of Texas this year and they were a huge hit.
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
Zest of 1 Orange
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 lbs. White Chocolate
1 Tablespoon Shortening
Combine zests and heavy cream in a small saucepan - simmer until bubbles appear.
Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, warm up again until bubbles appear.
Melt 1 lb. white chocolate, strain cream mixture and add to chocolate. Stir gently and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Roll ganache into 1 inch round balls, then put in freezer to set at least 2 hours.
Melt remaining white chocolate, and stir in shortening. Dip centers into chocolate, then garnish with orange zest.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gifts From The Heart

Valentines Day is almost here! I love making gifts for my family, friends and clients, and this is the goodie they always ask for.
At the recent IBS Show in Orlando I had my granddaughter help me make up some cookies and candy that I brought to the NAHB staff and to my favorite clients - it was a huge success. That is one of the important parts of being a Lifestylist® to me - using my talents to bring joy to others.
I've been entering variations of this toffee in the State Fair of Texas for years and this is the version that everyone asks for.
The key to candy making is having a good thermometer, and when I invested in a digital one it made all of the difference in the world. As soon as the temperature gets up to around 250 degrees start watching very closely - it will get to the optimum temperature quickly and if it heats to even 5 degrees more than it should it will burn. Enjoy!
Texas Butter Pecan Toffee
Ingredients:
1 lb Texas pecans
1 lb butter + 2 tablespoons butter for pecans
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light Karo syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb chocolate chips
Directions:
In a skillet, stir butter and pecans together - cook over a low heat until lightly toasted. Remove from heat.
In a medium saucepan combine the rest of the butter, sugar, water and Karo syrup. Stir until mixture comes to a boil, then continue to cook without stirring until mixture reaches a temperature of 290 degrees. Stir in half of the pecans to mixture and turn out onto a 12” x 18” baking sheet. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and spread after they melt - then sprinkle rest of pecans on top and allow to cool. Break into bite sized pieces.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Staying Warm During Super Bowl XLV: It's Always 72 Degrees at The Gaylord Texan

This Lifestylist® got a lovely thank-you note the other day from a reader. I had recommended The Gaylord Texan as the place to stay during Super Bowl XLV, and they couldn't agree more! With North Texas having the coldest weather we've had in years, being in the wonderful atmosphere of The Gaylord Texan with all of it's attractions, shopping and dining under one roof is definitely the place to be.
We have had the wonderful opportunity to meet with John Imaizumi - Senior Vice President and General Manager. It is obvious from the moment that you meet him why his "Stars" (what the employees are considered) and guests love him so much. His honest compassion and love for this group shines through, and you can see his attention to detail everywhere you turn.
Even if you aren't staying at this hotel, it's the perfect place to just go spend the day during your Super Bowl XLV visit. The Gaylord Texan is the official hotel for The Dallas Cowboys and is close to the stadium and DFW airport. There is great shopping for those Texas themed items, and coffee shops for you to just sit and people watch from.
The Old Hickory Steakhouse is our favorite restaurant in North Texas, and not only is the food spectacular, the staff knows how to make everyone feel important as well.  Executive Chef Joanne Bondy prepares her signature dishes including her Habanero Cream Corn that I can't get enough of! They also have tableside service for their artisanal cheeses and desserts.
If you want to get some lighter fare and focus on a wine tasting, be sure and visit Old Hickory's upstairs wine bar and veranda. It features an Enomatic wine system, and you can get flights of wines that you have always wanted to try in as little as a one ounce pour.
Ready to kick up your heels? The Glass Cactus Nightclub that is also part of the Gaylord Texan is the place to be. It boasts 39,000 sq. ft. of indoor floor space and has 13,000 sq. ft. of outdoor decks overlooking Lake Grapevine. They'll be having a special "Big Game" viewing and After-Party on the 6th.
We'd love to hear about your experiences at the places we recommend - feel free to let us know at: answers@lifestylist.com
Make sure and let people know that The Lifestylist® sent you - we love sharing our favorite destinations.