Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lemon Lime Gelato

My family and I continually count our blessings that we live in the neighborhood we do. With the summer sunshine bringing us all out of our houses, spontaneous gatherings and wine with friends on the porch is always a treat.  Greg, my neighbor across the street, has positively spoiled us all with his new found love of gelato.  Luckily he's found the need to experiment, and we are all happy taste testers to his dazzling frozen creations.

Yesterday's cheesecake post highlighting our recent foodie event, a Progressive Dinner Party, has me thankful once again for our neighborhood.  Not only was I surrounded by close friends, but fantastic food filled our tables.  With our dinner party theme of "summer travels" I was treated to the tastes of Spain and France for appetizers, the Caribbean and local San Diego goodness for the main course, and Greg's brilliant Italian Lemon Lime Gelato for dessert.

Greg has kindly offered to share his foray into the world of Gelato with us all as a Guest Poster here on Liv Life.  Our fingers are crossed that he will return soon with a new flavor... I've heard through the grapevine that he has a bag of Blood Oranges waiting for treatment!  Without further ado, I give you Greg...   


You know you're approaching citrus groves long before you arrive at the  hardscrabble hillsides of Italy's Amalfi Coast.  Just follow your nose!  Springtime, the fragrant lemon blossoms announce the orchard kilometers before you see their delicate white flowers.  And as the summer takes hold, plump yellow fruit hangs from every branch, clustered against an unspeakably green canopy of leaves.  You have arrived at the renowned orchards that feed the world's appetite for Limoncello.  The lemons are bright and heavy.  And, oh yes, incredibly delicious.

Italian Geletaria - Florence, Italy
A year ago I traveled through Italy and fell in love with the country, its people, and most importantly, its food!  Textures, subtleties, flavor and color... all of the wonderful and delicious nuances of Italian cuisine transformed my visit into a journey of discovery.  And one passion I couldn't shake, even when I'd been Stateside for months, was my newfound love for gelato.

Cold, light, bursting with flavor.  Not the heavy notes of ice cream.  Not the icy smoothness of sherbet.  No, gelato has a life of its own.  Barely below the freezing point and lighter than other frozen confections, gelato is the Prince of Desserts.  The perfect complement to cake, cookies, and anything else you want to class up with a frozen treat.  Or simply pile it high in an icy bowl and have at it!

And my favorite recipe is a challenge to any palette looking for a citrus bouquet with a crisp, tart finish.   My Lemon Lime Gelato combines a chorus of sweet icy delight with the honest simplicity of this citric pairing.  Expect "Bold" and enjoy the tracings of zest and fresh juices that give this gelato its character!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Heavenly Sinful...  Luscious.  Creamy and scrumptious.  Exquisite.  All apt descriptions of the "plain ole" cheesecake.  I truly believe whoever first decided to mix the simple ingredients of cream cheese, sugar and eggs together then bake for an hour or so deserves Sainthood status.

A good cheesecake, or even an "only OK" cheesecake usually garners overwhelming oooohhhs and aaaahhhs when served for dessert.  A veritable blank palette, the creamy base can easily be used as a jumping point to nearly any direction you can think of.  Fruit, of course always pairs well, but the addition of coffee and Kahlua brings a Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake that will bring you to your knees.  Lime and Tequila can turn your cheesecake into a Margarita while a zesty basil pesto can take your cheesecake into the savory arena bringing the ideal appetizer.

The biggest secret of all??  Cheesecake is really fairly easy to make.  But, sssshhhh... don't tell anyone!  With a simple blending of the ingredients, a bake in the oven and a chill in the fridge you have a dessert or appetizer fit for any gathering.  Dressed up with garnishments or served unadorned you will be praised time and again and frequently asked for a recipe.

Memorial Day Weekend, 2011, brought my husband and I together with a special group of friends.  Some 10 years prior and all new to our neighborhood we were drawn together somewhat by proximity, but more by our love of good food and the similarities of life.  Over the years our friendships have grown into some of the closest I've ever had.  We've traveled together, welcomed new babies, struggled through the difficult times and celebrated the good ones.  As new friends we enjoyed a Progressive Dinner Party, appetizers and cocktails across the street, the main course down the street and desserts and drinks up the street.  Amazingly, we've not repeated this wonderful evening... until last night.

With our travels spanning the world over the next few months our Progressive Dinner Theme included our travel destinations.  Arriving at the Jones' we were transported to Spain and France with appetizers and drinks.  Spanish Olives, cheeses and meats and an exquisite Tomato Peach Gazpacho were waiting along with Absinthe spirited French cocktails.  French and Spanish wines completed the experience and had all of us gushing with pleasure.

Our next stop continued the Spanish flair and treated us to Waleska's exemplary Sangria, but also moved us to the Caribbean with a Ceviche recipe handed down for generations.  Dan, of Becky's Football Stromboli fame, worked the "Steak-cation" and further showed his aptitude for man-food with a savory rubbed steak that he has promised he will write about soon.  Finished off with Becky's delectable asparagus and a flavorful Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad we were ready to head to our next stop for cocktails and dessert. 

The Roberts' had the bar set with nearly everything you could imagine to continue our evening, and the desserts brought plenty of oohs and ahhhs.  Starting with Greg's homemade Italian Lemon Lime Gelato the group was transported to the Italian countryside with enticing flavors and textures.  I'm so excited that he has agreed to share his recipe and write even a post for us.  Stay tuned... Lemon Lime Gelato is up in a day or two!

With Liv Life headed to San Francisco this summer, chocolate seemed to be in order for the second dessert offering of the evening.  Adding a dose of the dark confection to our cheesecake brought the basic blank palette up to another level.  The addition of raspberries enhanced the flavor even more garnering my favorite comment ever... "Heavenly Sinful".

Light and creamy, the cake still brought forth a richness and mouth-feel that was capable of making one weak at the knees.  Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's combined with brown sugar creating a slightly crunchy crust which we topped with a basic vanilla cream cheese layer.  Interspersed into the vanilla layer we dropped raspberry enhanced chocolate cream cheese dollops and then for the finale spread a decadent chocolate ganache over the top of it all.  An ideal finish for one of our most special evenings ever.

Totally satiated and content, the evening was an absolute hit.  Counting myself lucky to live where I do and be surrounded with the wonderful friends I have, we have created a most memorable holiday weekend.  As I write this post I remember and give thanks for those who have fallen for this country and who have made it possible for me to live the life I do.  Thank you.

6/11/11 - edited to note:  My original post omitted the sugar!  Ouch!  As noted below, not amount of any other ingredient would make up for that omission.  The post has been corrected to include the correct sugar amount, please accept my apologies!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Honey Pistachio Biscotti

My husband frequently laughs at me, but I could spend an entire afternoon flitting around our backyard shooting photos of flowers, better yet, macro shots of the stamens of said flowers or even the sharp ruffled edges of a rose petal.  While he has always been supportive of my photography "habit" we do seem to have a few creative differences.
Some 30 years ago my Dad gave me my first SLR, a film Nikon that I still have and will never part with.  I've spent more money than I care to know on film and developing and pushed my husband years later to the cutting edge of the digital era in order to keep a roof over our heads.  Buying me a Sony digital camera shortly after our son was born  had the camera shortly paying for itself as I gave up my film habit and entered the digital world with thousands of those must have photos of my adorable toddler.

Surprising me years later with a gorgeous Canon DSLR, my husband sent me further into the realms of exposure and aperture and I invested in a few inexpensive lenses to play with.  Fast forward a few years more and he upgraded my DSLR once again to my current Canon.  But until today I've never really had really "good glass".

Spider Lily
The Amazon Delivery Guy was at my doorstep early, and with trembling hands I soon held my new 60mm f/2.8 Macro glass.  While this is admittedly only a mid-level lens, it's the best I've personally ever owned and I'm pretty darn excited.  Without delay the pups and I mounted the lens and headed outside to test shoot a few of our blooming flowers.  A quick review on the LCD screen had me giddy, but loading the shots onto the computer for a full scale intense review had me positively intoxicated with glee!!

As luck would have it, Ellie Krieger's Honey Pistachio Biscotti was on my afternoon docket and my new lens and I got to work.  With the ingredients mixing together quickly, the pistachio filled "logs" were ready for the oven in no time.  Within less than a quarter of an hour the kitchen was filled with the heavenly aroma that comes with baking biscotti and we were soon slicing the logs into individual cookies.  A second trip to the oven had the Italian-bred cookies crisped and ready for tasting.

Whole wheat flour lends a slightly nutty flavor to these not so sweet biscotti while the pistachios bring an antioxidant punch that eased my guilt as I reached for thirds.  I can personally vouch that these crunchy little guys pair wonderfully with a glass of red wine.  Tomorrow I will do a taste test to check on their pairing with my morning coffee, though I can say without a doubt that the pairing will be just fine...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mushroom Broccoli Quisotto (Quinoa!) and Egg White Omelette with Avocado

In just shy of 3 months I'll be boarding a jet plane and winging my way across the country to the Caribbean.  A quick visit to the Bahamas with friends has been planned for over half a year, but unfortunately my waistline is not quite bikini ready.  Power walks with my husband and trips to the gym have risen in priority as has a diet with reduced carbs and increased veggies and proteins.  Quinoa fits that bill.

The inside cover of my most recent cookbook find, Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood, lists a few of quinoa's amazing qualities as:
  • A great source of protein
  • Containing all eight essential amino acids
  • Helps build muscle, promote weight loss and stabilize blood sugar
Throw in the fact that this ancient grain is high on my "I love it" list and we have a winner.  Once considered more valuable than gold, this seed with cultivation dating back thousands of years is classified as a complete protein.  High in vitamin and mineral content (including vitamins E, B2 and B6, folic acid, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium), quinoa makes an excellent dietary choice.  Versatility is key with quinoa working well in salads, main dishes and even baked goods.

Quinoa 365, written by sisters Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming, features magnificent photography along with their more than creative quinoa recipes.  From Quinoa Crepes to Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (using quinoa flour) to today's Mushroom Broccoli Quisotto, the book has recipes for every meal and occasion.  The authors kindly take the time to introduce readers to the benefits and mystery of the seed, giving history, health benefits, descriptions and tips in a well written introduction.  With today's Quisotto hitting the spot for my healthy lunch, I'm eager to peruse and try more of the recipes in the book.  I have a feeling that Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood will be well used for my summer cooking.

Mushroom Broccoli Quisotto brings a risotto-like quality to the quinoa with the addition of my ever favorite Parmesean cheese.  Mushrooms lend a hearty flavor to the dish and the broccoli gives a lovely color contrast in addition to a veggie flavor boost.  I couldn't resist adding a bit of extra garlic, and had my mouth watering as I was sauteeing the vegetables and cooking the quinoa.

Preparing an egg white and spinach omelette to go with the quinoa I was thrilled when the doorbell rang and a delivery man passed over a box of California Avocados from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.  Opening the box to find a handful of beautifully packed and nearly ripe avocados, I couldn't resist dicing a half that I had left over the top of my eggs.  Topping the omelette with a bit of Mediterranean Feta from Trader Joe's, serving a side of grilled zucchini and a good portion of my Mushroom Broccoli Quisoto I'll be in that swim suit in no time!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops

My recent foray into the Macaron world has my family craving the light and airy cookie treats.  Time, however, is not always on our side.  With a true Macaron taking a bit of planning ahead and our life not always conducive to said planning, my discovery of Eating Well's Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops gave us a similar egg white treat without the filling, but with a chocolate infusion intense enough to curb any chocolate craving.

Having completed a successful dance recital weekend, Liv and I were excited to have a Sunday with no demands other than a Harry Potter marathon on the tv, a fire in the fire place (our annual May Grey marine layer has chilled our temps) and time to play in the kitchen.  

2008 - Mary Poppins
Bringing excitement each year, the annual studio dance recital ends up taking a lot out of the participants.  While I live for watching Liv and her friends dance at their competitions, recital holds a special place in my heart as she and her dad participate in the annual Father/Daughter number.  Two years ago, Liv talked my non-dancing husband into joining her in a montage of Mary Poppins songs, bringing me to tears as I watched them dance onstage together.

Liv and her dad dance "Ole!"
This year my husband's schedule allowed for him to participate again and he eagerly began his rehearsals last January.  Attending weekly sessions they progressed in the dance, but unfortunately the last two weekends found him unable to attend and he missed the rehearsals where the class "put the whole thing together", those ever important on and off stage instructions as well as the transitions.  After a not so pretty dress rehearsal last Tuesday mild panic set in as he felt he didn't know what to do.  Luckily, Liv is a pro.  An animated practice session last Friday had him working the dance like he works his airline check-lists with with a vivacious Latin style!  The Latin-style number filled with shaking hips, shouts of "Ole!" and dad's and daughters dancing together had the moms in the audience smiling, once again through their tears, and the teenaged sons hooting with laughter.

Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops proved to be the ideal post-recital treat, bringing a low fat yet intensely chocolate finale to our weekend.  Filled with 3 types of chocolate (melted dark, cocoa and nibs), the egg whites and sugar worked their magic bringing a light cookie treat that had our entire family reaching for thirds.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chili Espresso Pork Tenderloin with Mango Cucumber Salsa

The warm sunny days of spring have worked their magic and filled our Farmer's Markets with an eagerly anticipated bounty of produce.  Baskets overflowing with everything from fresh herbs and greens to carrots and beets and my favorite snap peas fill table after table.  Aromas of sweet strawberries permeate the area while children walk around with red stained chins from sampling the juicy treats.

Considering myself extraordinarily lucky, I have no less than 3 favorite markets to attend each week.  If I were to stretch my mile radius the options would become even more bountiful, however I'm satisfied (for the moment) with my 3 favorites.  Wednesdays offer a lovely afternoon market in downtown Carlsbad where my favorite local heirloom pesticide free tomatoes are just starting to make a most welcomed appearance.  Saturday mornings get and early start in Vista where vendors of all sorts arrive and are ready to sell by 8 AM.  Here I find my favored Herbed Olive Oils and local orange blossom honeys along with the best organic strawberries I've yet to find.  And then we have Sunday, a more leisurely market in Leucadia starting mid morning and featuring an entire row organic produce in addition to numerous prepared hot food offerings.

A recent new discovery at the Leucadia Market had me earnestly perusing the Salt Farm Gourmet Salt table.  Filled with over 20 types of salts and salt blends packaged in attractive little bottles I had a difficult time choosing only three to bring home.  After much discussion and back and forth decision making, my husband and I decided on a smoky salt, espresso salt and an Asian Salt blend.

Arriving home my planned Pork Tenderloin with a Chili Espresso Rub seemed to be the perfect way to try out my new salt finds!  Mixing a few pinches of the smoky and espresso infused salts into the rub brought a new depth of flavor to the table.  Adding ground espresso directly to the rub along with cumin, chili powder, ginger and coriander gave our pork a mouthwatering flavor and topping the grilled slices with a sweet mango salsa completed the package.  Tender and bursting with flavor the meal was finished off with grilled asparagus, a salad of market fresh tossed greens and veggies and of course, Liv's chocolate dipped strawberries.  Welcome spring!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Outstanding in the Field - Temecula, CA - 2011

A year ago my neighbor attended the Outstanding in the Field Event in Temecula, CA and I was positively green with envy.  This year, though, she is the green with envy girl and I am the one with a truely wonderful evening spent in the valley and filled with "outstanding" food, wine, views and friends!

Since 1999, Outstanding in the Field has been reconnecting diners to the land and bringing us closer to the origins of our food.  Held literally in a field, or on a beach, or for us in an apple orchard on a farm, an extraordinarily long dining table is dressed with linens and ready to receive the local delicacies of the day.  Using as many local ingredients as possible noted Chef Paul McCabe, of Del Mar's Kitchen 1540, dictated a menu featuring the bounty of Crows Pass Farm in Temecula, CA.

Nick Palumbo
Wines from the Palumbo Family Vineyard and Winery greeted us as we stepped off the shuttle deep into the heart of the farm.  Nick Palumbo paired the wines with the courses of the meal starting with a light '09 Rosato Secco as we perused the grounds while the rest of the guests arrived.  Light winds chilled the air, however the sun shone brightly and our first sips of the wine were fully enjoyed surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Temecula hills and valley.

Serving a scrumptious Heavenly Nectar cocktail as an alternative to the wine brought smiles to the lips all those who partook.  With chandler strawberries ripening on the berry plants at Crows Pass the cocktail was indeed heavenly with an infusion of crushed berries combined with sweet Chartreuse, gin and homemade bitters.  Word on the farm had the bitters containing some 20+ herbs in an infusion of its own.  Passed appetizers and bowls of farm fresh snap peas worked as nibbles before we headed out on a farm tour with Crows Pass Farm owner Tina Barnes.

Heavenly Nectar!
"Named for the crows that pass over each autumn evening as they travel between vineyards to roost, the farm began in 1991 with a fistful of strawberry plants, a few carrots, peas and a dependable truck," began Tina Barnes.  Since its inception, the organic farm has grown incredibly in size and currently rotates some 15 fields (planning up to 40 in the future) and specializes in chef-direct relationships with area restaurants.  Touring a few of these fields we were treated to the views and aromas of produce on the farm.  A field of spring onions, warm and fragrant from the sun, tantalized our senses as Tina spoke of the types of onions growing and the sustainable practices they use to keep the fields healthy.  

Heading to the top of the farm little doubt was left in our minds as to what was growing as the scent of sweet, ripe strawberries greeted us on the knoll.  Shiny, red berries dotted the field, and with urging from Tina many of us took the rare opportunity to pluck a juicy berry (or two!) to taste warm from the field.  Fresh strawberries just don't get any better than that!

Thomas Curry and Temecula Olive Oil
Arriving to the apple orchard our elegantly dressed and seemingly endless table awaited.  Wine, an '09 Viognier, was eagerly poured for us and complemented the awaiting breads and olives to perfection.  Soft bread with flavors of garlic swirled through was my favorite, though the crusty loaf dipped into the Temecula Olive Oil Company olive oil was definitely a treat.  Introducing ourselves to our immediate tablemates we settled in for an evening of deliciousness.

Compressed Fruit and Vegetable Salad
A Compressed Fruit and Vegetable Salad including strawberries, jicama, cucumber, pineapple and purple basil simply burst with intense flavors.  At first most of us thought the white "crumbles" on top were some sort of cheese, but with delight we tasted the airy concoction and were informed that it was actually dehydrated olive oil.  Positively divine!

Next up the local white Sea Bass topped with verde and chorizo sauces had me at the edge of my seat.  Surrounded by Cross Pass baby new potatoes and snap peas, the fish and sauces melted in my mouth.  My favorite course of the evening, I was lucky enough to score seconds from the family style serving platter.  Cooked to perfection on the outside grill, the fish was tender and flavorful, but it was the verde sauce that held my full attention.  Bright and tantalizing with flavors somewhat reminiscent of pesto, my inquiry discovered the main ingredient was parsley and not the basil I had imagined.  Again, pleasure washed over us as we awaited the next course and polished off what was left of our Palumbo '07 Mourverde/Syrah.

Sea Bass with Verde and Chorizo Sauces, Snap Peas and Baby New Potatoes
Nathan Rakov, of Alpine, CA, supplied the hog which became the most tender and scrumptious slow braised, smoked pork I've ever had.  Topped with a savory romesco sauce and surrounded by grilled Crows Pass Temecula honey onions the dish was nearly complete.  Fresh cherimoya sweetened the plate mixed in amongst the other ingredients and had our entire table groaning with pleasure and soon holding our filled stomachs.  The '08 Brunello di Mantalcino Sangiovese was an ideal pairing to the flavorful pork and zesty sauces.

Alpine hog, slow braised with smoked Romesco, Temecula Honey Onions and Cherimoya
As the sun set, the chill set in.  Candles were lit along the table and my friend Debby and I found ourselves grasping the mason jar holders to warm our chilly fingers.  Pulling our coats a bit tighter around us we were somehow able to muster the willpower to partake in the Strawberry Shortcake and Brown Butter Ice Cream.  Not being much of an ice cream fan I spooned only a small dollop of the chilled confection onto my berries.  However, my first bite taught me that I had indeed made a mistake and luckily the plate was still being passed with a more generous portion still to be had.  Flaky, tender biscuits topped with generous sprinkles of raw sugar sopped up the sweet strawberry sauces and the slightly melty ice cream bringing this dessert to its peak.

Our Outstanding in the Field experience was indeed truly an outstanding evening.  From the food to the wines to the service and the most wonderful company (thanks Deb and Keith!), the evening is one I won't soon forget. The guys don't know it yet, but Deb and I have already planned next years experience.  We'll have to surprise them with the location as the time draws near...

Outstanding in the Field

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Everyone loves a bake sale!! Bake Sale tips and ideas.

Doesn't everyone love a good bake sale??  I know I do.  Resisting the temptation to load up on the attractively packaged, colorfully decorated and chocolate chip studded baked goods is hard for me to do.  I've baked for sales for years, however my baked goods are often not shown to their full potential with my lack of packaging ability.  For this sale we sat down and thought about some of the details that would make the sale more fun, and definitely more successful.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in the San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale to benefit Share Our Strength, and knowing that bloggers with more flair than I would be there with gorgeous goods in hand, I tried to step up my game.  A little internet research proved to be a valuable time saver (isn't it always??) and had me wrapping my Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats in simple and inexpensive plastic wrap, but dressing the treats with colorful ribbons and labels for a much nicer look!  A trip to a party supply store found colored "goodie" bags which worked ideally for my biscotti, highlighing our lemon flavors with a bright yellow bag.  Tying with another ribbon dressed up the bag and a label once again finished it off for a darn decent look.

Simple packaging seems to be best with uncluttered labels.  Kelsey, of Happy Yolks, had wonderful packaging for her Pumpkin Granola (which my husband has proclaimed better than any granola that I've ever made!) with a simple clear bag tied with a ribbon and labels identifying her product, her site and the price.  The little stick on labels identifying her web site added an adorable touch!

In years past, I've not really thought about what to place the baked goods on and just plopped them directly on the table.  This year, though, so many of our bloggers had such wonderful baskets and platters, cupcake trees and boxes - everything looked so nice and the tables were indeed festive.  Lori, The Recipe Girl, made the most adorable baseball cookies, wrapped beautifully in clear wrappers and tied with matching colorful curling ribbon.  Placed in a basket the cookies were featured on the table and kept neatly so that they were not damaged.

Cupcakes area always popular at bake sales!  With colorful frostings and tempting flavors these little guys always seem to catch your eye.  However, getting them to the bake sale without damaging the frosting is many times near impossible.  However!!  Jenny, of Jenny Wenny Cakes had the most wonderful idea to transport her cupcakes absolutely damage free in clear plastic beverage cups, providing the perfect "container" in an attractive package.  Nicely done!

Signs and samples were also part of our successful bake sale.  Got kids??  Then you've got signs!!  Toss them a few poster boards and some sharpie pens or paints and you will have creative, colorful signs in no time.  I took advantage of the creativity from some of Liv's dance friends during an hour break between dance classes and the girls did a fantastic job creating signs for our event.

And samples... to put them out or not?  We decided to place a plate of samples from our Peanut Butter Krispie Treats as well as the Lemon Limoncello Biscotti and a number of customers reached for a bag to purchase after taking a quick taste.  I have to admit that our favorite "sampler" of the day was the adorable Indigo, of Indigo's Sugar Spectrum.  She brought smiles all around with her adorable curls and personality, binging along an engaging smile of her own!

Indigo of Indigo's Sugar Spectrum samples the treats!

All in all, it was a wonderful day... not only did I discover that packaging can look good without costing a fortune and that yes, even I can make treats that look good, but I had the pleasure of finally meeting many of our local San Diego Bloggers.  Marie, of Meandering Eats, was our tireless organizer and had the entire event running flawlessly.  Not only did she set up the event, but she somehow scored us a spot on a local San Diego new show where Liv enjoyed a moment of "stardom" on tv along with 5 other Bloggers.  (Video below... taped on my husband's handheld camera let me apologize in advance for our less than perfect audio!)

San Diego truly has a thriving community of bloggers and I was lucky enough to meet many of them.  From Jenny of Vintage Sugarcube, to high school student Rachel of Bakerita to little Indigo of Indigo's Sugar Spectru, the pleasure was all mine!

Clockwise from the top left, we have the adorable Rachel, from Bakerita, Mr. and Mrs. Meandering Eats (Marie and Dan!), Me and Jenny (Vintage Sugarcube) and Kelly and Stephanie, from Sass and Veracity and Recipe Renovator.