Thursday, December 31, 2009


What I've learned from 2009
Butter is ALWAYS better
Breakfast at home is a simple pleasure that I can't get enough of
I love COFFEE... enough said
Blogging makes me happy
FAMILY is always there... even at 2AM
Puddle Jumping is free as long as it rains
Friends are like good books... I can't get enough of them
A good travel buddy is KEY
Walking is glorious
Mark Twain is my man (other than my husband)
It is never too late to learn something NEW
Life's simple GOODNESS is key to living LIFE

may 2010 be filled with LOVE

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home Sweet Home

After a whirlwind of visiting with family, celebrating Christmas and a trip to the snow... I am HOME and it feels great!!! 
Here is a little recipe from Julia Child that I know all of you will love, Potage Parmentier (potato leek soup)
I made this the week before Christmas and gobbled every last bit down. 
The only ingredients I used, to my amazement, were: 
Leeks, Potato, Water, Salt, Whipping Cream, Chives
Yes... can you believe it, it's that simple!!! I hope everyone's Holiday was wonderful and I am glad to be back... 
I have missed all of you!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

I am taking a little vacation and won't be blogging for a bit.. but... I want to wish all of you 
The Happiest of Holidays!!! 
Thank you for brightening my day with your comments and your wonderful blogs

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies

Here is a  cookie for any chocolate lover, peppermint lover and cookie lover ... Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies. I had so much fun making these heavenly morsels featured in my picture above. The recipe for the cookie itself... Chocolate Decadence... I found in SUNSET MAGAZINE and then chose to do the peppermint patty version. I loved making the peppermint filling... 4 tablespoons of milk, 3 cups of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of Peppermint Extract and presto... PEPPERMINT FILLING. Then, after sandwiching the DECADENCE COOKIES TOGETHER WITH THE PEPPERMINT FILLING you get to dip the cookie in CRUSHED CANDY CANES!!! This will definitely be a cookie I will make again!!! Hope you enjoy...  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! xo

The recipe can be found "here" with other tantalizing cookie recipes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Drinks

I am off to go get a warm holiday drink for the evening. Why is it all I crave are warm holiday drinks? I hope everyone has a delightful weekend.... Christmas is almost here!!! Ahh.. I love the holidays. xo
From the center to the right: Spicy Hot Chocolate, Spicy Mocha, Latte and another Spicy Mocha
Don't worry I shared!! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Diet

Here is my Holiday Diet just for you:
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. 
-Jim Davis

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

look what was waiting for me....

When I got home today, I had this little guy waiting for me..... his teeth scared me a bit, BUT inside of this little monster was an ANTHROPOLOGIE CARD!! My heart is pitter pattering and I must thank my husband... MERCI, HUSBAND!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good BOOKS and Good COFFEE

Now that my schedule has opened up I can actually read for PURE ENJOYMENT!! I started and finished Lovely Bones last night... the book was attached to my hip and pillow. I couldn't put it down!! My sister brought up the fact that I may have given all of you the wrong idea. That I only care about good food BUT let me clear this up I LOVE GOOD BOOKS :) What are you reading this holiday? Are there any books you would recommend? Here is my list of Holiday must reads:
and.... anything else that finds me while I scour the shelves in bookshops
Hip Hip to Good Books and Good Coffee!! 

Monday, December 14, 2009


I am craving nothing more than a coconut popsicle from my mom's favorite popsicle shop, Michoacana Natrual Ice Cream. It may be cold outside, but these POPS are just too good to pass up. I hope all of you had a lovely Monday!! 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sisterly Love

My sister made these for me while I was studying for finals... ahhh sisterly love!!! Usually, I am the one making chocolate chip cookies when family comes over, so it was a real treat when my sister made cookies for me. She used the recipe on the back of all purpose flour and when we compared recipes her recipe asked for a cup more of flour.  At first, we thought YIKES that is way too much flour but... they turned out MONSTROUSLY YUMMY!! A secret to perfect chocolate chip cookies is melting the butter first before mixing it in. What are your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes? 
Also, hop on over to see a family story I shared about Christmas time here... 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yahoo for Friday

So, the Tis the Season Series has wrapped up and I just want to personally thank 
for contributing to Coeur de La

Today is a big day for me; I have an orientation at UCSC
Last year, I made a big switch in majors from Nursing to English
and since then so many doors have opened up
I took a leap of faith
switched majors
started this little blog in the midst of it all
and wahlllah 
I am now a slug... a big and yellow BANANA SLUG
Yahooooo, for Friday!!!
I hope all of you have a very merry weekend!! 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dianne's Tis the Season for: Le Coeur de Noel from Petit Soleil

Le Coeur de Noel

The Heart of Christmas.  El Corazon de Navidad.  Das Herz von Weinachten.  
When Caroline invited me to share a little something special about Christmas, I was thrilled!  I mean, I have celebrated fifty- three Christmases – some joyous, some painful, some I don’t remember, some clever, some disappointing. From a handful of the best Christmases we have created our own joyous Christmas traditions that I hope will be celebrated for generations to come.
My paternal grandfather was a Lutheran Pastor that immigrated from Germany in the late 1800’s.  He married a German girl from Iowa and they settled in Santa Rosa, CA. and parented ten children. My father was the youngest of the ten children. 
My mother immigrated from Scotland to New York when she was five years old. Her family struggled to make ends meet the years before and during the Depression.  My mom left New York at seventeen and joined the Navy as a Wave – a medical assistant, if you will, during WWII.  My dad, a doctor met my mom at Treasure Island (San Francisco), they fell in love and married.  They settled on the San Francisco peninsula.
Needless to say, my earliest Christmases were filled with plaid ribbons, tablecloths and napkins traditionally from Scotland and with the scents, sounds and flavors of Germany.  
My Grandpa had passed on long before I was born, but all his children respected and carried on the traditions he brought from Germany:  big family gatherings, German Christmas music, lebkuchen, pfeffernusse, stollen, Advent Calendars with a treat each day leading up to Christmas Eve, and of course, Christmas Eve midnight Mass.  My grandma and my aunts loved to bake all the traditional cookies and breads – their passion inspired me!  My aunts learned baking from my grandma, and Grammy learned from her mom.   I scoured cookbooks and found my own recipes using the scents and flavors I remembered.
Christmas morning, after church, we ALWAYS had scrambled eggs with scallions and cream cheese, bacon and stollen and whole wheat bread sandwich stuck together with a healthy slathering of butter.  Tradition!  
At about fourteen I was baking!!!  Whole wheat breads, rolls, muffins, cookies and stollen!  I found a recipe in a Sunset Magazine cookbook, it passed the test of my German father and I will always use this recipe for our “traditional” German Christmas morning.  
At fourteen I had the opportunity to study in Mexico and everything Mexican became my new passion – the language, the food, the culture, the music, the colors. A traditional Mexican Christmas features La Posada, (the Inn), a procession that takes place every day from December 13 through December 24th.  The story replicates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, begging for refuge and finally settling in a stable for Jesus’ birth.  There are traditional songs and foods and it is a festive time.  On Christmas Eve there is pozole and TAMALES, among other amazing delicacies.  I hooked on to the tamale tradition, and every Christmas Eve we have tamales!  
And so it goes….in the 80’s I traveled to France and became a Francophile. It wasn’t the French Christmas repast that caught my fancy, but the beautiful Christmas décor and the word “noel”.   And I love Pere Noel, the French rendition of Santa Claus or Father Christmas.  He is quite slim, with a long crimson hooded robe.  We have Pere Noel and Joyeux Noel always incorporated into our holiday décor.
Today, our Christmas includes beautiful plaids and Pere Noel and European Christmas music, lots of fragrant gingerbread, lebkuchen and pfeffernusse and gluhwein (red wine warmed and spiced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves). We always have tamales for Christmas Eve, but this year we are going to make them with new flavors….chevre and pesto and pine nuts, and turkey and sun dried tomatoes …sans lard.  And although we, (my husband, son and daughter) all work every Christmas morning at our little French country bed and breakfast, Petit Soleil, we will come home to a brunch with champagne, scrambled eggs with cream cheese and scallions and stollen.  
I look forward to what new Christmas traditions our children Andrew and Annie will make with their families one day.
Merry Christmas!
Dianne Conner

Sunset Magazine’s Favorite Recipes

2 ½ c flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp mace
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¾ c. ground almonds
½ c. cold butter
1 c. cottage cheese, whirled smooth in a blender)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
2 TBS rum
½ c. currants
½ c. golden raisins
¼ c. candied chopped candied lemon peel
3 TBS melted butter
2 TBS vanilla sugar (bury split vanilla bean in 1 cup of sugar, cover and let stand 3 days)
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, almonds and spices.  Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Blend cottage cheese, egg, extracts, rum and fruits.  Stir into flour mixture only until all ingredients are moistened. Gather dough into a ball and knead on floured board 2 to three times.
With a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll out dough to an oval that is about 8” x 10 “.  Brush with half of the melted butter and half of the vanilla sugar. Fold dough in an uneven half. Carefully transfer the dough to an ungreased cookie sheet that has been covered with brown paper (or parchment).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.  When still warm brush top with remaining butter and sugar.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lily's Tis the Season for...Recession-Appropriate Gifts For Muggles

Happy Friday, quailettes! My name is Lily and I'm a painter living in the bohemian desert outpost of Joshua Tree, CA. I keep a blog called bigBANG studio, and I'm *delighted* to be guest-blogging at Coeur de La today! Here's a wee list of recession-appropriate gift ideas to help you creative lassies brainstorm for the holidays. Ready? Go:

For: Your Best Friend Penelope and Her Brand-New Huz Ephraim

Gift: Vintage glass Christmas ornaments.

Why it Rocks: It's their first Christmas together and you can bet they don't have a box of old-school bulbs for their Charlie Brown tree.

Find Them: Your local thrift shop. (I got this box for $1 at our local thrifty. Circa 1960 and made in the USofA, and still a lil' tinsel caught in there!)

For: Your Cerebral Friend Chloë Who Used to Live in New York But Recently Took a Job in Hicksville

Gift: A subscription to the New Yorker for a year

Why it Rocks: You can skip the babble on CNN and wait until the feature article comes out in the New Yorker, no matter what the big story of the week might be. Now dear Chloë can keep abreast of the goings-on in her favorite city and the world at large. Also, she will learn what diaeresis is, if she didn't already know (what with her name being Chloë and all).

Find ItHere. 12 months/ 47 issues for $39.95.

For: Your Crafty Friend Jane Who Runs a Letterpress Business in Silverlake

Gift: Sumptuous, soft-as-down angora rabbit yarn (don't worry, no bunnies kilt; they just get a haircut).

Why it Rocks: Have you ever felt the stuff? It's like crack for knitters.

Find It: On a tiny island north of Scotland in the Orkney Isles (I can say this with authority because, dear reader, I have actually SEENthis place with my own eyeballs. Just a tiny treeless island with giant fuzzy white rabbits hopping about. I'm not making this up.) If you don't have time to visit Orkney try one of the many Etsy options, like this marvelous periwinkle blue skein for $20.

For: Your Patrician Friend Elizabeth Who Happens to Be Out of Work

Gift: An antique sterling spoon

Why it Rocks: Because Lizzie loves the finer things in life, and she will use her silver spoon to stir her coffee every morning whilst she cruises

Find It: Any multitude of online antique silver dealers, or if you're in the Big Apple, try every debutante's secret weapon: Jean's, near the diamond district in midtown. Don't let the low-fi website deter you; this place is a cave of wonders, and they sell silver by the pound. That means a delightful 18th century Danish teaspoon might run you a mere $15. Sweet, unemployed Lizzie. She deserves it. And why don't you treat yourself to a little something there while you're at it?


xo lily at bigBANG studio

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Carol's Tis the Season for... Holiday Treats

Happy holidays!  I’m Carol from Everyday Delights and am so excited Caroline asked me to do a guest post today. I love the holiday season for so many reasons: the music, decorations and of course all the yummy treats!


I love to bake, and especially during the holidays, so here are a few of my favorites I wanted to share:


Traditional sugar cookies

 Always a classic!  I love these because they are so easy to make and then you can have fun decorating them anyway you want.  This is Martha Stewart’s recipe (link:

kies?backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/traditional-christmas-cookies#slide_1) for her sugar cookies.


Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps


My mom makes a similar cookie so I especially love these because I have been eating them for years around this time of the year. They just look like the holidays which are why I love them so much!  Here is the recipe (, also from Martha.


Holiday fudge


I love chocolate so this is the ultimate indulgence for me.  And I love the look of the crushed peppermint on top, it really makes it look (and taste) like a holiday treat.   The recipe can be found here (

Peppermint bark


You can definitely buy peppermint bark, but this is so easy to make, you can quickly make a batch of your own.  I think it really is a holiday treat staple and also the perfect, easy treat to bring to a holiday party. Martha’s version is here (

Thanks so much for reading about all my holiday treats and please come visit me at Everyday Delights. Happy Baking!
All image: Martha Stewart (



Monday, December 7, 2009

Kelly's Tis the Season for... Traditions

Tis the season...what a wonderful idea, sweet Caroline! I think it is a great idea to remember the things that make Christmas Christmasy! For me, Tis the season for: traditions. Because let's face it, that is what holidays are all about and give the holidays the holiday feel.

Baking day with my sisters.

every year my 3 sisters and I get together and make dozens and dozens of treats for other families.  We start early-ish in the morning {9am} and watch Christmas movies all day and have a fire going in the fireplace.

sugar cookies.

chocolate kiss cookies.

peanut brittle.

chocolate covered pretzels.

We take all the goodies, wrap them up in little containers & tins and deliver them the next day. Then that evening the whole family gets together for chili and cornbread. Christmas wouldn't be the same without the annual baking day.

The search f0r a Christmas Tree.

My family and I all get bundled up, usually on a school/work night and head on out to the tree lot close to my dad's house.

My little sisters always look their best due to the cute Christmas Tree lot boys that work there {haha we all did it}.

My dad is on a mission to find the fullest and tallest tree.

Once of us always wants a baby tree for our room, but are denied.

Sometimes we end up playing hide-and-go-seek among all of the trees.

We then go home, decorate the tree with lights and have some kind of tasty and warm dinner {need to warm up after being chilled to the bone}.

Tree Trimming Party

Every year, my parents would host a tree trimming party. We would invite all of our closest and dearest friends over and decorate our tree!

My mom would make a ton of beautiful and tasty food {she was quite the hostess. always throwing dinner parties and entertaining.}.

We would all get dressed up in our holiday party dresses and have a blast!

I love that the holidays are doubled with the party season!

other Christmas traditions:

my little sister Lindsey blasting Christmas music 24/7 the day after Thanksgiving until New Years. 

church on Christmas eve.

opening one present on Christmas eve {always pajamas even though my dad tries his absolute hardest to make us believe we were getting something different}

going to the movies Christmas night.

shopping the day after Christmas followed by ice skating at Mission Inn 

& then spending the night there.

New Years Eve party :)

New Years day Parade.

Traditions are the best part of holidays!! 

What are some of your traditions??

Thanks Caroline for including me! I feel so special!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

afternoon walks

I am headed out on another afternoon walk and I can't help but admire..... WINTER!!! I love the crisp air, trees with or without leaves, the smell of someone using their chimney for the first time this year, and grabbing a warm chocolat chaud to keep me nice and toasty. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

little things

It's the little things that brighten my day and one little thing I can't live without happens to be.... flowers!! What are the little things that add cheer to your day?  I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!!!
Here's my list of little things, enjoy!! 
coffee in the morning 
crisp winter air
a good book
all of your comments.. they instantly add cheer to my day
 reading your blogs 
a conversation with a friend
scarves and mittens
long afternoon jogs
evening walks discovering my new neighborhood

Happy Friday!!! xo