Would you like to make some Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies with me today? Hello, it’s Liz from Liz & Jewels with another episode of Food in Motion for decor8. I’ve been longing for strawberry season, and am SO happy it’s now on! My picky 4-year-old daughter happens to love them too, so we share a passion for the little sweet & red fruit. We started planting our own strawberry plants a few weeks ago in our greenhouse and it’s so much fun seeing how their pretty blossoms come out, then produce the fruit and turn into these delicous red berries. It’s even more fun to see my daughter’s eyes light up when she discovered the first berries. It was obvious we should bake something this time using our strawberries. I opted for an easy and child-friendly chocolate cookie recipe, filled with cream and strawberries and topped with a second cookie. These little delicious stacks were devoured in no time!
While I was working on the little film, I was also negotiating with a girl in California named Taylor, wrapping up the deal that she would come visit us this summer to be our AuPair for two months. We were emailing and talking through our summer plans when she told me that she was also a musician and songwriter. I asked her if she would send me some of her music, and she sent me her song „home“! I listened to it and really liked Taylor’s music! The song fit in with the theme of my film perfectly because that is exactly what I felt filming my daughter in the greenhouse and baking with me. These small things make me feel ‘home’!
Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies (makes 10)
1 cup of butter
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat the butter and sift in the sugar and salt. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and cocoa and mix with the electric mixer. Chop the chocolate into little pieces and add to the dough. Knead with hands, form a ball and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to 1/6 inches thickness. Use a round cookie cutter (approx. 3 inches diameter) and cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to baking sheets, bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool.
Beat the cream into whip cream and put a dollop onto half of the cookies. Cut the strawberries in small pieces and place them on top of the cream. Assemble a second cookie on top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
(images/text/video: Liz & Jewels)
Hello everyone. I want to first say Happy Mother’s Day to those of you who read this blog and have beautiful children that you cherish enormously, make huge sacrifices for, and do everything you can to make happy. You rock. As a new mother, I can relate to being a mom finally and it feels really, really good. It is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life to give birth to my little boy. But this post is also to other ladies out there who maybe had children and lost them (miscarriage, stillbirth, health problems, accidents, etc.) and to those other wonderful ladies who want children so badly but cannot have them due to health issues – of course you can adopt which is actually the most beautiful thing a woman can do in addition to having her own child, but some of you cannot adopt either because you aren’t financially in that space or it is taking forever to find a child to adopt. In any case, I want to give you all a huge hug, tons of support and love, and much faith that things somehow work out in the long run, in some way, some how. I want to wish you all a happy mother’s day. Let me introduce to you two sisters, one is my mother and the other, my aunt. One is a mother, one never could be.
This is my mother in her graduation photo taken in the 1960s. Beautiful, right? She is flying here to see us and meet her first grandchild, Aidan our son, in less than two weeks. We can’t wait to welcome her! My mother only had me – she may have had more children but her marriage to my father wasn’t a strong or loving one. In fact, I was born right after they separated (and got back together) when she was 24 years old. Within a few months after they jump started their marriage again, she was pregnant with me and then, I was born. If they’d hadn’t gotten back together, I wouldn’t be here today. So I’m grateful they gave it a second change. I’m an only child and though I would have loved to have had a brother, it just wasn’t possible. I respected my mother’s decision to just have me and grew up feeling very honored and happy to have her all to myself in many ways. She was and still is a wonderful mother. I can’t wait to introduce her to my son!
See this lady above? This is my mother’s sister. She passed away from cancer in her early 40’s. She always wanted children, so very badly in fact, but her health wouldn’t allow for it. Instead of letting it destroy her (she was so in love with kids!), she used her talent as a fine artist to also teach her methods to children and adults alike. She had her own school! When she died, her young students attended her services and made her beautiful goodbye gifts. She also treated me like gold and as her own daughter. She sent me lovely handmade gifts growing up from her travels, including things she made for me – art, a dollhouse, clothing, bears, dolls, etc. She and my mother put art, craft and a love for decorating and flowers into my heart as a wee little girl and today, my career is based around the very things she and my mother helped grow in me. I put her photo somewhere in all of my books, in fact – not in obvious places but I know they’re there. She is always with me. I will always love her. She may not have been my mother, or anyone else’s mother, but she was a born mother in any case – tender, loving, warm, giving and completely in love with little ones.
Again, I wish all of you ladies a beautiful mother’s day. ALL of you, in whatever circumstances you are in. I say this because I remember when mother’s day came and went each year and I still didn’t have a baby to call my own. Sometimes I would sit on my bed huddled up in a ball and just sob in my pillow – I didn’t understand how I’d ever have time to have a family, if I even could get pregnant once I did try, I wanted a little one so badly but the years rolled by and I thought I had plenty of time. Last year I realized I didn’t and decided it was now or never and I very luckily, almost miraculously, got pregnant for the first time with no help. And now my son is 3 months old and purring nearby sleeping as I type this. I never felt so much love in my life.
So to all of you ladies out there: Happy Mother’s Day.
– Holly xo
I found a new blog to love this week called Fantas-tisch. It’s in German so for those of you who cannot read it I have good news – you can still drool over the lovely photos and recipes. Fantas-tisch is a word play which is why it’s hyphenated. “Fantastisch” meaning fantastic and “Tisch” which means table. The blog is about food and table settings, parties, etc. so Fantas-tisch is quite a sweet and fun name for it I think! Here are some of my favorite posts from this gorgeous blog written by Anke.
How did I find this gorgeous blog? She reviewed our Decorate With Flowers book (in German it is called Wohnen mit Blumen) and I noticed a few click throughs! In fact, the flowers shown above floating in the white bowl were inspired by the cover of our book! I loved seeing that – it made my day (thank you Anke!).
Have a nice weekend everyone – see you next week!
I want to quickly tell you about a few things that have inspired me lately. I think you guys care about this stuff, because I know when you tell me what’s on your radar I find it quite interesting. But in addition to the inspiring stuff I need your travel trips on how to deal with a mom who is terrified to fly. So terrified that she could possibly have a full blown panic attack on the flight and I’m not even kidding. But first… I’m inspired by:
MY STUDENTS + MY BLOG REDESIGN
Okay my first inspiration of the moment, other than my baby, are my current students in my Blogging Your Way e-course. I’m so inspired by these wonderful men and women! In fact, before class began I decided to map out my own blog redesign, which I’m currently tackling like a bull charging towards its goal. I’m so excited to soon have this blog made over! It needs updated and I have some surprises with those updates, so decor8 will be a little different in a few months from now… You guys will love it though and I’m happy to say that I’m going in a bit of a different direction with it so it will be much more interesting to us all in just a few months from now.
I think all of our local friends have been by to visit us since the baby arrived. We are so happy and feel so loved and supported by this! I was also inspired by our friends who visited us from afar – well not too afar but still, they flew in from London just to meet little Aidan and spend time with us. It was very loving of them, a most caring gesture. Sania, Mark and their beautiful children Leila and Luke, came for a four day visit. This was a very beautiful gift for us – and being parents to older children, they really helped us with advice and also showed me how to loosen up a bit and encouraged me to go out with the baby more and do stuff with him just as I would if I were still living without a child. I was terrified to take the bus or subway with the baby. But Sania quickly got me out of that and told me we will do it together and so we did and now I’m on the train with Aidan frequently. I feel free! While they were here, we took Aidan to the art museum, zoo, flea market, shopping, out to dinner, to the beer garden, for a forest walk… He was a busy baby! Here is their son Luke with an ice cream that just happened to have a heart show up in the center. The moment I saw it I asked my husband to snap a photo because I like unexpected surprises like this but also since I felt so much love having them with us at such a special part of our life. Thank you Sania, Mark, Leila and Luke. We love you guys!
DOING A LITTLE OF NOTHING
And below, here we are at the beer garden in the forest behind my house. Doing a bit of nothing, really. We sat on the outskirts of the beer garden so we could be close to the playground (not shown), not because we’re anti-social! It was a chilly day, this was taken 3 weeks ago, but it was really nice to be huddled together around that table with our children doing nothing in particular. Too bad Mark isn’t in the photo, he took it so… But yes, time spent with visitors are cherished times indeed. That’s me, Sania, Leila, Luke and my husband Thorsten. In the stroller was a sleeping Aidan.
THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
Speaking of visitors, my mother is leaving the country for the first time in her life to fly over here to meet Aidan in less than two weeks! This takes tremendous courage, especially at 65 years old with very few flights under her belt. She lives in Boston and the moment I had Aidan, she decided to put her fear aside and fly over. I’m excited to soon see her again and to hand her Aidan, her first grandchild, and watch her eyes light up. She is so anxious to fly but her excitement to meet Aidan is helping calm her nerves. She’ll be here until July so we’ll get plenty of time to catch up and do fun things like drive up to the coast and show the baby the beach for the first time. By the way – any good advice for me to give to my mom who is terrified to take an international flight? I upgraded her seat and booked her on a day flight so she’s not half asleep when she lands in London (I’m flying to London to meet her and she’ll fly here with me), but other than that I’m not sure what else to do to make her less fearful. I love to fly and always have. It’s hard for someone like me to give advice in this case.
YOUR AMAZING REVIEWS
And finally, I have to thank EVERYONE who has been spreading the love about our book, Decorate With Flowers. In fact, I’m linking every review HERE so if yours isn’t listed, please comment below and let us know! Leslie and I are so proud of it and how well it’s doing. Tonight in Vancouver at The Cross, Leslie will be signing books and sharing some beautiful floral arrangements she has made for guests. In the Fall, we’ll be doing a little book tour in Europe during the month of September. It’s been really fun to read all of the gorgeous reviews in magazines, on websites and those that have been blogged by some pretty wonderful people. The only thing we’d like to ask is that if you blogged about our book or bought it and have a few moments, if you could leave a review on Amazon. We’d be truly grateful for that! Oh and the book is going to be released in Dutch, Japanese, Italian and French in addition to the two English language versions and the German edition – 7 editions total so far!
(images: 1/holly becker 2/thorsten becker 3/mark wilson 4/leslie shewring)