Monday, May 31, 2010

Fruit and Veggie Florals & The Clients Fury

I had a centerpiece for this Wednesday but.....I just went to a picnic in the park
with our Relief Society (a women's group in our church) and our darling activities
people, Jeremy Bird and her mom, Edna Neighbor put together these amazing
centerpieces made from fruit and veggies. Can you believe it?
The basket in the foreground is made with fruit.
These are the vegetables and they are just sensational!

Not only are they gorgeous but they are edible, but who would
have the heart to eat anything so lovely.

My centerpiece couldn't hold a candle to these beautiful bouquets.
Wish we had taken the pictures when the sun was
shinning so you could see the wonderful colors of the edible flowers.
Jeremy had never made these before but had seen them on the
Internet and knew she could make them. This girl can do anything, and I
mean anything! Talk about talent. WOW Gets it from her Mom I am sure.

And now on with my story and ........

The Clients Fury

We were so pleased with ourselves, we had actually created 5,000 beautiful golf ball truffles that we felt any chocolatier could be proud of. It had been an excruciating experience. But I have come to learn that the the most painful experiences are where we learn the most. I felt at this time that I could produce any truffle perfectly and I could compete with the best of them.

The truffles were delivered one day before the Dinah Shore Open, a very impressive golf tournament held in Palm Springs, exactly when they had requested delivery. We had done it and done it well.

One hour after they had been delivered the phone rang. With great anticipation I answered the phone, expecting to hear cheers and great accolades. What I heard was not anything like I had dreamt about. The person on the other end of the line sounded as if he were being choked. I could hear the strain in his vocal cords as if they were being stretched to their limit. He strained to get the words out. "What in the *@#@* are these things that you have sent me?" I could barely make out what he was saying. I said, "I'm sorry, what is the problem?" He reiterated the same statement, "What in the *$#@* are these things that you have sent me?" Only this time the words were quite legible and several decibels higher. I believe we sent you exactly what you ordered, 5,000 golf ball truffles. Is that not what you ordered?" I asked.

Yes, I ordered 5,000 golf ball truffles and I expected them to look like golf balls, THESE LOOK

LIKE RANGE BALLS!" By this time his voice was probably audible without the phone from his place of business in Palm Springs to our place in Newport Beach.

I was horror stricken. "What do you mean, they look like range balls? Are they damaged?"

I knew they were in perfect condition, not a mark on them and the "seams" were barely visible, they were perfect in my estimation. I would have put them up against Joseph Schmidt or anyone else for that matter. And our ganache was exquisite.

"These #@$*# golf balls are yellow not white, they look like RANGE BALLS." At that moment I knew exactly what he meant. For those of you who are not familiar with fine white chocolate, the color is off white and has a tinge of yellow where white chocolate coating is pure white, but not nearly the quality of fine white chocolate. We had assumed that the truffles we had purchased from our fabulous chocolatier had been created with fine white chocolate, not so. I tried to soothe the savage beast by explaining that these were far more delicious (which of course they were) and worth much more than those made with white chocolate coating but he would have nothing to do with me or my explanation.

Had all of our effort been for not? Would we have to eat (not literally, that much chocolate could probably kill you at one sitting) all 5,000 truffles? I meekly asked if he wanted us to pick them up and once again his voice was like the sound of air coming out of a balloon when you stretch the sides out to make a high shrill type of sound. "NO, I have no choice but to use them, but this will be my last order from you!!!!" My hear was broken, my pride was dashed. How could I continue with this Chocolate business? Should I go back to doing manicures, selling wigs, or jewelry or providing plants for restaurants? Maybe the antique store in Laguna Beach would be the place I needed to go back to. No, no, no, I had changed my occupation for the last time, this is where I wanted to be and I would be successful. One little irate man and a few, few? mistakes was not going to deter me. I would continue with my dream.

Next Chapter............The Business Continues to grow

I am participating in Centerpiece Wednesday

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Centerpiece Wednesday

Getting ready for Memorial Day Celebration
I made this table cloth out of a J Crew sheetThis is my Christmas Berry Wreath that I stuck my Christmas
cake plate in and I placed the red berry napkin rings
around the base of the glass apothocary jar.

I love these oval white dishes that I found at Tai Pan several years ago

And of course, since I am in the chocolate business I had
to have some yummies in there somewhere. I filled this
apothocary jar with Holland mints and stuck a bunch
of American Flags around the mouth of the jar.

And......if you are looking for something clever to put around
a bowl or whatever you can order these wonderful napkin
rings from The Style Sisters.

I am participating in Centerpiece Wednesday

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Herb Tablescape & Cat in The Refer

I have used the same centerpiece that I placed
on Centerpiece Wednesday cause I ran short on
time. Today a precious lady in our church came
by with her clippers and shovel and gloves to
inform me she was going to help me weed. How
sweet is that? She helped so much and it was so
greatly appreciated. My husband and I decided we needed to go to our Daughter-in-laws and help her with her yard, so it is now almost 10:00 p.m. and time for a little respite. Hope to do better next week.

I just can't live without my herbs. They give a simple meal a burst of flavor.
This is a pretty simple tablescape but I am pretty simple
myself I love all kinds of bread with fresh veggies and herbs, maybe a little
olive oil and sea salt too. And don't forget the cheese.

I found this little cheese keeper at
where else.....TJ Maxx

I'm sad that it is too cold for my basil to be doing it's thing yet.

That would be the crowning glory for my herb basket.

There is a wonderful store in St George...

Urban Renewal , and that is where I found

this wonderful tray or basket. They

always seem to have just what I am looking for.


I finally found out that the cat in the refrigerator was alive and that there was no product in the refrigerator at the time. But so what, who wants to buy anything from someone who keeps a cat in the area of food? My husband was right, we could no longer buy from this wonderful Chocolatier. And now the fun would begin.

Did I say fun? Let me tell you this was the most stressful, well almost the most stressful time in my life. As I mentioned before we had to produce about 5,000 golfball truffles for the "Dinah Shore Open" in less than two weeks and we had no commercial kitchen to work in and no experience in making truffles. What to do?

First we had to obtain an aproved kitchen, find a supplier of fine chocolate and figure out how to mold 10,000 golfballl halves. You see you have to make two seperate pieces, fill them with ganache and close them to look like a seams.

We found the kitchen HOORAY! We found the chocolate suplier, YEAH! and now we had to learn how to temper the white chocolate quickly. STRESS PERSONIFIED!

We assumed, being the novice chocolatiers that we were, that our former supplier of truffles used fine white chocolate that had to be tempered. Well he didn't and we did.

The first batch, because the room temperature was all wrong and we had tempered the chocolate incorrectly stuck to the molds, oh yes, (we had to find molds also). When the chocolate is not tempered it can cause one or all to lose their tempers. We had to beat the chocolate out of the molds. We had to contain ourselves to not beat one another during this trial.

And then we started all over again molding the chocolate.

By the third day we had figured it out. It was now about 3 days before delivery time and we only had about 2,000 truffles to go.

By the end of the third day, day? it was way late at night, maybe
it was early day, 4:00 a.m. I literally crawled out of the kitchen
into the van. I am not kidding, I crawled. We had been working
about 18 hours a day, standing on our feet the whole time. Not
only did we have to make the truffles but we had to clean up
the place after we finished. But we had accomplished our goal,
5,000 beautiful golfball truffles and no seams.

We could hardly wait to hear from our client. We knew he would be thrilled. Guess what? You don't always get what you anticipate.

Next week: The clients fury!
I am participating in Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Herbs for Centerpiece Wednesday

Since the sun doesn't want to shine
and help the posies bloom I resorted
to my little herb garden for my Centerpiece

I used all my favorite little vases and filled them with
parsley, chives, sage, purple sage,
oregano and mint and placed them in this
wonderful metal tray.

I love the scent of the fresh herbs!!!

I think I would serve sliced fresh tomatoes, cuumbers and avacados

with provolone cheese, goat cheese and an assortment

of fresh breads. Everyone could clip a little

of their favorite herb to season their veggies.

I adore this litttle bird nestled in the basket.

I found him on sale for $1.25. What a deal!

I am so excited to see all the ideas for
Centerpiece Wednesday. I think it is such a great idea.

Everything begins with the centerpiece

since it is the focal point of any table.

I am participating in Centerpiece Wednsesday

Herbs in my Centerpiece Wednesday

Friday, May 14, 2010

The New Centerpiece Wednesday

I am so excited for the new Centerpiece Wednesday. I like the idea of not having to come up with a whole table setting, although I do love doing that too but sometimes I seem to run out of time to do it very well. Hope every one jumps in!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I WON THE COOKIES and ....The Trials of Developing a CHOCOLATE BUSINESS

I was the very lucky lady that won
this Sweet Cheeks Bakery giveaway! on Nancy's Daily Dish.

Thank you - Thank you - Thank you!
You just can't imagine how delicious these
cookies from Sweet Cheeks Bakery are!!
They are oatmeal with almonds, cranberries and white chocolate and
Oh MY GOODNESS they are sensational. They absolutley melt in your mouth.
And they shipped beautifully too.
I can't wait to try some of the other cookies they offer.
You need to order some right away.
Just click on Sweet Cheeks Bakery and order up.
We get together on Monday nights with a group to study the
Scriptures and then we have a little snack afterwards.
Some of those that come are diabetic so we have to be
certain we provide something they can enjoy too.

So we offered fresh pears and yogurt
with berries and home made granola.

But of course I always have to provide a little chocolate from
Continental Chocolatier.
These are the Petite Tortoise (turtles in the vernacular of the public)
and Tortoise Shells - Dark or Milk Chocolate w/dried fruit and nuts.
Oh so very yummy!Check every now and then at our website to order your favorites.
Each year I harvest enough grapes
from our yard to bottle 50 or 60 quarts of juice. Some times I add
a little Sparkling Juice for more interest. Tonight it is Sparkling Pear.
I love the beautiful pink color of the juice. It really is delcious.

Trials in Developing a Chocolate Business

We found a fabulous Chocolaier in Los Angeles and we were ready to give it a go. It seemed like there were several hotels interested in my ideas for their guests but none had ordered as yet. I had called on about 25 hotels (it seemed like thousands) but none had ordered and I was beginning to think I was mistaken about the interest I thought I had created. I came home one night ready to call it quits and look for a job selling wigs or something. (I had done that before and it was the one of the worst experiences of my life....and that is another chapter in my book)

There was a message on the answer phone from one of the upper class hotels in NewportBeach. He WANTED 500 boxes of our chocolates. I could hardly believe my ears. I met with him the next day and he gave me the order. I only had about 2 weeks to put the order together. Now this could present a serious problem. He wanted a specific box that was not readily available and I had to get it fast. I had to look for a space where we could package the product.

Can you believe I would start a business and not have a work place? Well I did, and it caused me great tribulation. To the rescue came my daughter Karin, (The Style Sisters,) and her boss offered us space in his building. Yeah! Of course we had no employees at this time so what does one do in that event, call on family. My darling children Tiffany, (The Childrens Nest), my darling son Tim and his wife Liz, all came to my rescue.

We ordered the chocolate from our chocolatier and received the boxes one day before we had to deliver them. Our chocolatier had shorted us on the chocolates and we had to buy 1/4 pound from Sees to finish the boxes. That was great. After I had convinced our client that European chocolate was extremely superior to American chocolate (which it is) I added Sees?

Don't get me wrong, I like Sees product a lot, but I love and adore European chocolate. There is no comparison. Fortunately for us they never noticed and reordered many times after that. We never had to resort to our former subtrufuge.

We were now getting serious about this chocolate business and knew we needed a space where we could have a legitimate kitchen with refrigerators, sinks and stainless steel tables , etc., and an office. We were really uptown now.

We were offering an assortment of bon-bons and truffles that were exquite and we could hardly keep up with the orders. I should say our Chocolatier could hardly keep up. We really needed a space of our own. He made them, we sold and delivered them. Pretty slick.

One day as my husband was waiting at the Chocolatier's place of business to place an order he happend to notice that inside one of the large commercial refrigerators that had a glass door, a live cat sitting inside on one of the shelves. He left without ordering and returned to our place of business to inform me that from now on we would be making our own products.
WHAT?!!!!! We had an order for about 5,000 golfball truffles for the Dinah Shore Open in Palm Springs.
What in the world was he thinking?
We had taken a course in chocolate making but we had not done anything with it, as of yet. I had always loved to cook and experiment with chocolate but..........

Stay tuned for the next frightening episode.

I am participating in Thursday Tablescape

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hands dripping in chocolate and Lost Phone

No time to take pics this week, lots of orders to fill and much to do, but thought I would share a little humor with you.

Do any of you ever lose something? As the years go by it seems to happen to me all too often. Yesterday was the ultimate challenge. Our chocolate factory is in a building behind our house which most times is very convenient because it allows me to to do what we women do best and that is multi-tasking. I was in the middle of working with a new tempering machine and it was giving me fits when my husband arrived home in the middle of the day with either the flu or food poisoning or perhaps maybe just eating too much of a good thing. Anyhow he went to bed.

After a short time after his arrival I thought perhaps I should check on him but in the meantime his boss called and asked if he might talk with him if he were able. Men do commiserate with one another. I left the chocolate shop to give him the message and check on him and found him sound (really sound and making sounds) asleep. I started back to the chocolate factory and realized I didn't have the phone with me so back I went to find the missing instrument. I searched the entire house but it was no where to be found. Back to the chocolate shop to search for the silly thing. After looking in every nook and corner and even in the bowls of chocolate I was certain an alien had entered the building while I was away and stole my phone.

But then, being the wise woman that I am, a thought came to me. Call the missing phone from the company phone. I was in the office at the time (a very small office that needs a little TLC) when I heard the phone ring. It sounded as if it were behind me, I turned and looked for it but no phone, and then when it rang again it was behind me, again. Each time it rang it came from behind. How could this be, it was ringing so it had to be in the office somewhere but never could I find from whence the ringing came. I was literally moving from one end of the office to the other. This little dance I was doing continued for some time until the answer phone came on. So, I dialed me up again and again it rang from behind me and so the dance continued.

The Lord watches over fools and idiots. The realization finally hit. When I am working in the yard, the house or the chocolate factory I clip the phone on my back pocket because of the many phone calls that come in from those in need. You Got it! It was right there all the time. So now it all made sense; of course when it rang it would be behind me, and each time I turned around to find it, it continued to ring behind me. You might say I have a numb behind, didn't feel a thing. Too bad someone wasn't taking pics for the show "Funniest Home Movies".

Now don't you feel good about yourselves knowing you have it all together and that there are some really challenged women out there living and breathing and convincing the world that they are all right. Most days go much better for me, how about you? It's good to laugh at oneself. I laugh a lot!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And The Winner IS.....

The winner of the 1 lb box of Continental Chocolatiers Chocolates is Yvonne at Stone Gable! Congratulations! Have a happy Chocolate day. Please email me at with your address so I can ship them off to you the first of next week.