Monday, December 31, 2012

Reminiscing 2012 & Vanilla Macarons

Well I don't know if you have heard, but we survived the end of the world and a new year is coming in less than 2 hours...And WOAH! Let me tell you, this year has certainly been a mixture of emotions. But summed up, I have realized how incredibly dang blessed I am. I have lost friends, I have gained many. I have lost many pounds, I have gained a few pounds. But everything is pretty balanced in where I am with life right at this moment. I am content, yet anxious for what 2013 will hold--there are many things I want to accomplish this coming year and feel that I have the capability to do so. God has given me undying love and strength this year, that has in return made me an incredibly strong woman living through Christ himself. I am blessed, very blessed. Thank you to my readers of my blog, (even if there aren't that many) hopefully someday it will make something of itself and can inspire people. I hope you have a blessed New Year and here, I will leave you with a few answered questions that are passed around my family at the dinner table tonight:

What was your favorite song of 2012? Well my favorite song of this year actually came out in 2011, but I discovered it in 2012. It is incredible. 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman & of course I love We Are Young by Fun.

What was your favorite movie released 2012? This is a tough questions, so I'll just say whatever is off the top of my head that I really enjoyed this year: Pitch Perfect, The Lorax, The Hobbit, & Brave (I am missing so many more!)

Favorite meal you have eaten in 2012? My most favorite meal I have probably ever eaten was at Fig and Olive in NYC on 5th avenue. We ate lunch here and it was crowded with local moms lunching together while the nannies were at the opposite side of the room with the babies. I ordered the Fig & Olive salad that was DIVINE. I seriously have never eaten a salad this good and I am a salad connoisseur! It consisted of fig, apple, manchego, gorgonzola dolce tomato, walnut, olive, romaine, mesculin scallion, fig balsamic--Arbequina olive oil. Delicious!

Best sweet treat you have eaten in 2012? This, once again was in my beloved city of NYC. It was a Pistachio Macaron at this French bakery between 3rd & Bleecker St, right next to the NYU bookstore called Mille-Feuille Bakery. It was a tiny little bakery/cafe that was super chic and cozy and you could actually watch them make macarons!

After my mouth watered for 30 minutes after writing this post and thinking about that dang macaron, I decided to whip some up myself. So I made vanilla macarons tonight after attempting it two times. So I must leave you with vanilla macaron recipe:

This makes 14 normal sized macarons.

Ingredients for cookies:

3/4 cup sliced and blanched almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup extra fine sugar (just regular Imperial granulated sugar is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for filling:

4 tbsp unsalted butter (softened<---this is very important)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions for cookies: Place the almond slices and powdered sugar in a food processor and process for about 1 minute, until every thing is nice and grounded. Sift the mixture into a bowl to make sure it is super fine texture. After doing this, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

Place the egg whites in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until it is holding soft, white peaks. Slowly incorporate the extra fine sugar to make a firm and glossy meringue and then whip in the vanilla extract.

Using a spatula, fold the almond and powdered sugar mixture into the meringue one-third at a time. DO NOT MIX WITH MIXER. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until if forms a shiny thick batter.

Pour this thick batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1 cm plain tip. Pipe 32 small-ish circles onto the baking sheets. Make sure you don't have many air bubbles. Let stand at room temp. for about 30 minutes until dry and shiny. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes and then cool for 10. After that carefully peel the macaron cookies off of the parchment paper and let them cool completely.

To make the filling beat the very soft butter and vanilla in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Use to sandwich pairs of macarons together.

Bon Appetit!

Everyone have a safe and happy new year! 
Eat your cabbage and black-eyed peas!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Power Salad--Kale Style

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a blessed holiday! Sorry I have been MIA for a while, I have been spending time with my family and...trying to perfect bread baking. Let me tell you, bread baking is TOUGH! I still have yet to succeed, although I made this rustic Italian chocolate raisin bread that was divine on the inside, but I unfortunately burned the crust (that was hard as a brick, I might add). But anyway, my family and I made a trek up to Houston yesterday and of course, had to stop at Central Market. Mother and I are absolutely in love with this place and their turkey meatloaf and kale salad. We always tend to stop and get the same thing as always: turkey meatloaf, kale salad, & organic Asian yams, plus some new things that we find on our adventure every time we go! But anyway, this kale salad I talk about is incredible--Mom and I devoured two boxes of it in one sitting (oops). So I was thinking, kale is such a POWER FOOD and a lot of people's new year's resolutions will be to watch their weight and be healthy! So of course, I thought there is no better way to start the new year than without a kale salad! So I created my own version of a kale salad that to be honest, I'm eating it right now with my turkey meatloaf...But anyway here we go! I didn't do precise measurements on the dry stuff, so just do what you like! :)

Ingredients for Salad:

  • Chopped Kale
  • Tamarin roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Sliced, Blanched Almonds
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Gorgonzola Cheese

Recipe for dressing (serves 1-2 people):
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice from concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Just dump these ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until it is all blended. And then pour over salad with all dry ingredients, toss and then serve! 

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Texas Tumbleweeds, A Holiday Treat!

Well I got a call from my grandfather last night and he told me that he had eaten the most delicious thing he has ever put in his mouth yesterday. And I was like "TELL ME ABOUT IT!", turns out it was a good ol' Texas Tumbleweed! Sweet, little bit salty, and TOTALLY delish! He will be arriving tomorrow for Christmas so I decided that I would surprise him by making a batch, (BIG BATCH--4 dozen to be exact) for him to munch on throughout the upcoming Christmas festivities! Not only are they absolutely delicious, they are also extremely easy and incredibly quick to make! So here we go!


1lb Chocolate Almond Bark
13 oz Peanut Butter Chips (they come in 10 oz bags, so I measured the last 3 ounces with my eyes!)
16 oz Dry Roasted Peanuts
12 oz Potato Sticks (I used three 4 ounce bags of potato sticks)

 In a microwave safe bowl, combine almond bark and peanut butter chips.

Microwave on 50% for 4 minutes (my microwave does not have the option to reduce power so I just eyed it until it melted) Once melted, mix together:

Then stir in peanuts and potato sticks (don't worry too much about crunching the potato sticks) Stir until EVERYTHING is coated (I had to transfer to a bigger bowl because everything together was bigger than I had anticipated!):

Then drop on parchment paper or foil (make sure to spray a tiny bit of Pam on it if you are using foil) take a large spoon and one hand (clean, preferably) and drop onto foil or paper, make sure all parts are connected so they will dry as a whole.

And then let dry for about 20 minutes or until they harden (to speed up this process, pop them in the refrigerator!) And then last but not least, ENJOY! :)


Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Tea Cake Cookies

So in the post before this, you found out that I was rummaging through my grandmother's recipe collection. I have pulled out so many great old recipes of hers that I will be so incredibly full by the time Christmas is over that I will be in a food coma going into the new year. But anyway, I found this tiny, stained, scratch piece of paper with a recipe I could barely read. It looked so incredibly USED that I just had to make whatever was on this tiny piece of paper. Well turns out it was "my friend Mable's tea cake cookies"! They are cakey, fluffy, not too sweet and just delicious! I've never really tasted anything like them before. They are perfect for a cup of hot chocolate by the fire, because the cookie isn't so overpoweringly sweet that the cookie and hot chocolate balance it out to a perfect medium. So here we go "My Friend Mable's Tea Cake Cookies":


5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs

First preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.

then I creamed the shortening and sugar and then added in the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. This worked beautifully thanks to my Mom's KitchenAid Stand Mixer (secretly wish it was mine). Then slowly add in the flour and keep mixing until dough is formed.

Roll out on floured parchment/wax paper and cut with cookie cutters or roll into small balls to make normal cookies :)

Then pop them in the oven on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 10-11 minutes until they have risen and look cakey and not sticky. I made icing and drizzled it on top...but I think I seriously joined the ugly Christmas cookie club. Actually, I think I'm the president of it. They taste delicious though! All that counts! 

bon appetit!

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Every year my Dad and I get in the kitchen and make homemade Chex Mix (aka trash, I honestly do not know why it is called Trash but hmm, something to ponder) and Peanut Brittle right around Christmas time! It is great father-daughter bonding time and I look forward to it every year! This year we had trouble finding raw peanuts at the local grocers (did you know raw peanuts are usually in the produce section in the grocery store? Yeah, me neither) but eventually found some just as fresh in our freezer from earlier this year. Since before I could remember, homemade peanut brittle has been a holiday staple in my house and I can't imagine this time of year without it. This easy, microwave peanut brittle recipe is my grandmother's recipe. Last night I had the pleasure of looking through her old recipe collection with her cursive scribble on scraps of paper that I could barely read, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside just looking at the incredible recipes that had been passed down through generations. So anyway, this makes one batch of peanut brittle, my dad and I made about 5 batches last night for all of the fun festivities coming up!


1 cup sugar
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon  butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a 1 1/2 quart bowl than can be used in a microwave, stir together peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

Cook for 4 minutes, and then stir well and then cook 4 more minutes. After cooking a total of 8 minutes, add butter and vanilla and cook 2 more minutes. At the end of the last 2 minutes, take out of microwave and then add the baking soda, then stir REALLY fast until light and foamy/bubbly. 

Immediately pour onto a lightly buttered foil and spread out. When cool, break into small pieces.

(Set microwave on high. If this setting should burn the peanuts, reduce setting)
OH! & if you want to add shredded coconut to this peanut brittle, add it after cooking the FIRST 4 minutes! :) 

bon appetit!
Have a great Friday everyone! I will be spending mine baking, listening to Martha Stewart Radio, watching Food Network by the fire, and drinking hot coffee! I LOVE this cold weather!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sean's AMAZING Gumbo

So, my good friend Sean has been wanting me to try his gumbo recipe! And I kept putting it off because it just wasn't cold enough outside for gumbo. Well finally, we got a cold front in and it was chilly enough outside to have something warm and soupy in our tummies (that sounded really gross, my apologies). But anyway he sent me this recipe through text message photo and told me how to tweak it to make it perfect! I also added a few twiks and tweaks of my own. So here it goes:

2 links of venison Slovacek sausage
1 tsp Cajun spices
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth, defatted
2 tsp onion flakes
2 cups frozen, cut okra
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 cups water
1 cup instant rice
1/2 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Dash of seasoned salt

In large skillet put a few drops of water and then place both links of pre-cooked sausage in skillet and let warm. Warm until
both sides have dark marks on them.

Next, I cut the sausage into small pieces and tossed it into a large pot. Along with literally EVERYTHING else except the rice. I brought everything to a hard boil and let it stay there for about 3 minutes. Next, I added the rice and mixed it in, turned it down to low/simmer and put the lid on it and let it simmer for about 6 minutes, occasionally scraping the bottom and stirring. This way, it well cook the rice and condense and make it less soupy and more gumbo-y! After that, it's pretty much done. SUPER DUPER DUPER DUPER easy!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

OKA b. Ballet Flats Review & Giveaway--CLOSED

Hello everyone! WOW! It has been too long! I have been busy with taking finals and just wrapping up the fall semester. But anyway, I have a treat for you! I was generously sent a pair of OKA b. ballet flats to review them. I was like “okay! This is awesome!” So I received them and put them on and wasn’t expecting much but O-M-G, let me tell you! They are like walking in marshmallows—not even kidding! I wore them all day while MOVING out of my apartment, yes ladies—MOVING and no yucky blisters (not too fond of that word, my apologies) or anything, just pure comfort and support! These shoes scream "LET'S TRAVEL IN COMFORT". I will be doing lots of traveling over the Holiday break and these will most definitely be my "go-to" travel shoe! And...they come in an awesome box that is collapsable! I paired my Florence ballet fats in Orchid with black leggings and an oversized white cable knit sweater! PERFECTION! My next purchase will most certainly be the Taylor in Kelly Green!

Let me tell you a little bit more about OKA b.! OKA b. is one of the leading U.S. manufacturers of eco-chic and recyclable footwear. These fabulous shoes are made right here at home—in Buford, GA, which makes it even more amazing! The ballet flat collection is bacteria resistant, durable, washable, and 100% non-slip (trust me there!). Okay everyone, hold on to your seats this is one of the best parts; OKA b. ballet flats retail for less than $50—not kidding. To wrap this post up, OKA b. has teamed up with Moccasins & Macarons to put on a giveaway. They are kindly giving away a pair of these fabulous, eco-friendly, non-slip ballet flats to one lucky reader!
Now, on to what you all have been waiting for...THE GIVEAWAY! The Giveaway will start at 2:00pm, December 18th and run through December 19th 11:59 PM CST unless noted otherwise. GOOD LUCK!

To Enter--

1. Follow Moccasins & Macarons via Google Friend Connect
2.  Visit OKA b. and then comment what style and size of ballet flats you would like.

Extra Entries:
1. Follow Moccasins & Macarons & OKA b. on Facebook
2. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram
(leave an ADDITIONAL comment for EACH thing you do)
(You can have up to 3 total entries aka 3 comments)

the winner will be chosen randomly via a random number generator, OKA b. is sponsoring this giveaway but my opinions are my own. This is opened to US residents only.


Natalie S. 
Please contact me within 48 hours with your shipping information.