Monday, April 15, 2013

Chocolate Covered Jalapeño Stuffed Olives

Lindsay Olives and Kitchen Play partnered together for the Lindsay Olives Wild Card Progressive Party. As soon as I read about it, I knew I wanted to participate. Five food bloggers came up with 5 courses of a six-course meal leaving the sixth course up to us to create. There was no beverage and no dessert so I started there. There are many beverages which incorporate olives and I love them all, but not very many desserts, although it seems to be gaining in popularity.

I really wanted to do a chocolate covered olive, but figured that it had probably been done a thousand times over. I looked around on the web and to my surprise, there really were not any recipes or articles mentioning chocolate covered olives. So...I knew I had to make them because I couldn't get them out of my head.

Lindsay Olives provided the olives, thank you Lindsay Olives! By the way, have any of you tried the Naturals line of olives yet? I had not yet, but thought they would be perfect to dip in chocolate. Look at how lovely these olives are:

Just like the can says, they are Smooth & Buttery. They are packed in water and sea salt and nothing else. Best of all, they are not stuffed with anything so you can stuff them with anything your heart desires! I chose to stuff mine with jalapeños from my mother's garden.

Here the little beauties are waiting for their chocolate bath:

Speaking of chocolate.

In my favorite little pot, we melted the chocolate with 1 tablespoon of shortening (I used Earth Balance).

After dipping the olives, we sprinkled them with kosher salt. The Naturals olives are not terribly salty as most pickled olives are, so they needed a salty component. Place them in the refrigerator to let the chocolate solidify prior to serving.

We dipped the rest of the olives without the jalapeño so that my little ones could enjoy as well. I had plenty of volunteers to be taste testers. I found these to be a delightful little bite of dessert with a good balance between sweetness and saltiness.

Chocolate Covered Jalapeno Stuffed Olives

  • 1 can of Lindsay Naturals California Green Ripe Olives
  • Enough pickled jalapeños to stuff the olives
  • 12 squares of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight Chocolate (or any other quality chocolate that you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon of shortening, I used Earth Balance
  • Cocktail toothpicks, enough for how ever many olives you are dipping
  • Kosher salt, enough for sprinkling the finished olives

  1. Stuff the olives and then stick the toothpick through.
  2. Slowly melt the chocolate and shortening over low heat, in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Stir frequently to prevent scorching or sticking.
  3. Once chocolate is melted and smooth, dip each olive in the chocolate, gently shaking off excess chocolate. Place each olive on a parchment paper covered tray. Once all olives are dipped, sprinkle with kosher salt and place tray in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: All Things New by Lynn Austin

This was my first time reading anything written by author Lynn Austin and I was delighted with her style and the story.

All Things New is set during the time right after the Civil War. Ms. Austin does a wonderful job showing the difficult time of adjustment for each character in the book: the mistress and daughters of the plantation who have lost so much, the returning soldiers (Confederate as well as Union) and of course the Negro slaves suddenly turned freemen.

I especially appreciated the part of the story where main character Jo must decide to which authority she will submit: family, Southern culture or God. I enjoyed watching Jo's journey "back to God".

My favorite part of the story is the end where God's grace and mercy is shown through human hands and the Gospel is lived out and displayed to the lost son. I never tire of being reminded of God's grace and forgiveness.

Bravo, Ms. Austin. I would gladly read more of Lynn Austin's books.

A copy of All Things New was provided by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review, of which is entirely my own.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

It's been a while since I've read a book that I just could not put down, but Jen Turano's novel was one of those kinds of books for me. I think it took me all of 5 days to read the book.

The main character Lady Eliza Sumner is hard not to like. The book is full of intrigue, adventure and action. By the second page, I knew it would be hard to put down.

If you have any interest in European aristocracy, you should like this book. Although I'll warn you that it is not set in Europe, but rather New York City when social standing was of the utmost importance.

The main characters fall into many mishaps while trying to reclaim Eliza's fortune, which had me giggling and thinking of them as a sort of sophisticated "Apple-Dumpling Gang". There is a very definite charm to the main characters.

I enjoyed this novel very much and highly recommend it.

Bethany House Publishers provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Relentless Pursuit by Ken Gire

I received another book from Bethany House Publishers. I always love seeing that manila envelope in the mailbox! It means another book for me to read and review.

This time it was a Christian Living book by author Ken Gire:

Relentless Pursuit, God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider In All of Us was intriguing to me. Don't we all feel like an outsider from time to time? I know that I do.

The book started out well with many examples from famous writers lives, including the life of C.S. Lewis. The author demonstrated well how God pursues us at a personalized pace perfect for each individual. Somewhere around the fourth chapter, the book seemed to shift it's direction and it threw my interest off course. I did manage to finally finish the book, but it felt like a little bit of a struggle for me.

One part that stuck is that I should look at the part of me that is far from God and allow God to capture and save it.

Overall, a nice book that takes a little persistence to stick with to the end.

This book was provided to me for free from Bethany House to review. The content of the review is entirely my own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson

I have been enjoying a steady stream of new books to read from Bethany House Publishers and I'd like to share the opportunity with you. You too can receive review copies by visiting: HERE.

Now on to the review.

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Tracie Peterson's Touching The Sky. This novel is set in the Civil War era which is of particular interest to me and my family. I have a nine-year-old son that knows more about that war than most adults, including me.

Tracie Peterson did a fantastic job of showing the strong feelings on both the Union and the Confederate side of the war. I was intensely attached to the characters and even felt compassion for those characters that don't hold the same political view as I do of the Civil War. It really was a tragic war and the author conveyed that very well through her characters. I especially appreciate how the main male character stood strong in his biblical convictions throughout the whole story.

I really do not like book reviews that spoil the story for future readers, so I do try to refrain from revealing too much. This is the second book in a series. I have not read the first book, but the second book certainly makes me want to read the first!

Very well done Ms. Peterson!

I was given a copy of this book to review by Bethany House Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Unstuck

I'm finally back! This time, no food, but a book review instead.

Bethany House Publishers sent me the following book to review.

I was skeptical of this book. I don't normally read "self-help" books and I abhor what I call "psycho-babble". For the record, this is NOT a "self-help" book and I was terribly mistaken by thinking so. As for the "psycho-babble", it uses surveys and real-life stories from real people to make it's conclusions.

The most interesting thing is that the authors used surveys to compile data and they did a great job of keeping it lively, not dry as toast as so many "carefully researched" books are. I was able to relate to the authors and the people they interviewed.

This book offers more than a good read that inspires you to grow in your faith. They actually give you tools in which to do so. All the while, they never fail to keep God's word preeminent. That alone was refreshing to say the least!

I highly recommend Unstuck. Your Life. God's Design. Real Change.