Tag Archives | Valentines Day

Man-Catchin Beignets

“…the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  – Tiana, Princess and The Frog

Man-Catchin Beignets

If the quickest way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach, then some Man-Catchin Beignets should be on the menu this Valentine’s Day.  And, if my man doesn’t love them, at least I know I will.  When I visit Disneyland, it’s a ritual for me to stop by the late-night snack stand in Orleans Square to get some hot beignets with bechamel sauce- oh, my mouth waters just thinking of them.

Man-Catchin Beignets

Man-Catchin Beignets

I do have a homemade beignet recipe that I’ve used and love.  But this year I ran into this handy mixture at Cost Plus World Market.

beignet mix

Cafe Du Monde beignet mix from Cost Plus World Market


  1. Cafe du Monde Beignet Mixture
  2. Canola oil
  3. Powdered Sugar

And for the sauce?  Homemade bechamel sauce would be nice, n’est ce pas?  But what would be even nicer (for moi), is an easier version using Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding mixed with a dash of pink… hot pink food coloring that is.

beignet recipe dipping sauce

beignet dipping sauce

beignet recipe

electric pink food coloring from Duff




  1. Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  2. milk
  3. hot pink food coloring



beignet recipe

after mixing the dough, roll it out on a floured surface

beignet recipe

use a cooke cutter to cut dough into squares

beignet recipe

fry in hot oil 380 degrees

how to make homemade beignets

until golden brown on both sides

beignet recipe

mix together pudding mix, milk and a few drops of food coloring

serve and let the man-catchin begin!

One of my best friends, Noelle, just relocated to Nice, France for a few months in search of love.  So, I dedicate this recipe to her….. let the man-catchin begin!

man-catching beignets


My kids gobbled down half the batch of beignets while they were still hot.  While you enjoy your Man-Catchin Beignets, (be sure to save some for your man), you can watch the Disney movie clip that inspired the recipe.


Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 1 }

4 Ways to Show Your Family Love on Valentine’s Day

“All You Need Is Love” -John Lennon

What exactly are we celebrating on Valentine’s Day?  Spiritual experts, artists and sages will agree that love is the universal purpose for our existence and the only thing we need to sustain us.  Lenny Kravitz is my personal guru of choice, and if he ever decides to build an ashram on his beautiful Bahama beach, I’ll be the first student…. I digress.   “…’cause it’s all just a game, we just want to be loved…”, says Kravitz; and I agree.

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, and here are four ways I show that love to the people I love most.

4 Tips For Showing Your Family Love on Valentine’s Day


Tip #1- Decorate

After the mad rush of decorating for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m always so relieved to have my house “back” in January.  And just as I begin the new year feeling organized with decorations neatly packed away in the garage, February arrives with it’s question of, “Whatcha gonna do?”  The truth is, the last thing I want to do is decorate for another holiday.

Then I remind myself of how short a window of time with my kids this is.  When I look at the time span of my entire life, I realize these precious few years when the kids are no longer babies, and too young to kick mom and dad to the curb on Valentine’s Day for school dances and dates.  I want to make this time memorable, especially on a day when love is celebrated.  As Life Management Expert, Kimberly Friedmutter, explains, “your personal surroundings should be a true sanctuary for your family and a reflection of you.”  “Your home creates an emotional response to each person who enters”, says Kimberly,” so the question is what you want that emotional response to be.”

For Valentine’s Day and every day, I want my home to evoke and project love.  I quickly realize that it’s not too time-consuming or expensive to bring some Valentine cheer to Casa Spilsbury.  A trip to HomeGoods, Michaels or Target can give some inspiration and bring home the love for less than $50.


Silk roses are pulled from the stems to fill vases.


Simple hanging hearts welcome guests and family at the front door with an entry table full of roses and vintage Valentine’s decor.

Heart Hangers from Michaels

Heart Hangers from Michaels


The Smell of Love

Scents also elicit an emotional response from family and guests, so filling your home with “pink” auromas add to your loving Valentine’s Day decor.  My Scentsy warmer gives off sugary smells like “Love Story”, “Garden of Love”, “Lucky in Love, “Linger” and “Quiver”.  If you don’t have a Scentsy candle warmer, you’re missing out on filling your home with scents to match the seasons and holidays by simply changing out the wax.  If you don’t know what “Lucky in Love” smells like, you’ll be delightfully surprised to discover how much the smell matches the name.  I just can’t wait to smell “Quiver”.


For a more naturally seductive smell, I love these hand-crafted Aromatherapy Essential Oils from Shangri-Las Vegas.  Each scent is made by hand with organic oils and natural flowers and herbs.  Scents like sandlewood, lavender and rose create a lovely aroma.  I simply choose my oil and place in this warmer and within minutes my house is filled with a wonderful fragrant aura.  There are many diffusers and oils to choose from on Shangri-Las Vegas.

Diffuser from Shangri-Las Vegas pours all-natural scents into the room

Diffuser from Shangri-Las Vegas pours all-natural scents into the room


Love & Light Scent from Shangri-Las Vegas


 Tip #2- Cook

Recently I watched an episode of Long Island Medium.  It was entertaining to watch this gifted lady with her Long Island accent and big hair touch people with her messages from the other side.  In this particular episode, I couldn’t help but notice another story playing out as her family talked about how she never cooks for them.  It’s obvious she’s a great mom who loves her family.  So why does her daughter appear almost hurt as she says, “I can’t remember the last time my mom cooked me a meal..”.

People say that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach- maybe this saying is true for everyone.  Oprah calls it her “Love Sandwich” as she describes a special treat she whips up for her man.  I know that cooking for my family every day is one of the ways I show my love for them.  Cooking is a big deal in my home and my girls love to jump in and help.  Cassidy recently created her first recipe, starting at the grocery store as she picked out Portabella mushrooms, fresh green beans and shrimp to saute and toss with brown rice.  And my Brooke loves making her “special salad” as an appetizer.

For Valentine’s Day I make a heart-shaped turkey meatloaf.  I know it sounds corny, but they love it.

Heart-Shaped Turkey Meatloaf recipe here from Toni Spilsbury

Heart-Shaped Turkey Meatloaf recipe here from Toni Spilsbury


Last year we made some Man-Catchin Beignets inspired by Disney’s Princess and the Frog movie.

Homemade Beignets Recipe

Man-Catchin Beignets recipe here inspired by Disney’s “Princess and the Frog” movie

Tip #3- Help Them Show The Love

Kids have people in their lives who are special to them as well, from teachers and coaches to friends, and they’re so proud of the treats we send them.  My hope is that all those years of baking Valentine’s cupcakes and placing them in specially decorated boxes for school will be something my oldest daughter thinks about each year of her adult life.

Taking the time out to help my kids show love for people in their life, like “BFF’s” is another way I show my love for them.  Whether it’s a homemade treat like my Heart-Healthy Granola, or simple homemade cards, my home becomes “Valentine’s Central” every February 13th.  Last year, the kids and I made “I Heart Home Granola” and packaged it for heart-healthy Valentine’s gifts.

Homemade Granola

I Heart Homemade Granola recipe and tutorial here from Toni Spilsbury


There are tons of free online printables to help make your kids Valentine’s Day treats fun.  This year, my favorite printables are from Tatertots and Jello:


Tip #4- Make It From The Heart

Christmas was just 50 days ago, so there’s no need to go all out with gifts for the kids on Valentine’s Day.  Sometimes a simple homemade gesture can beat any store-bought card.  I like to incorporate photos of Valentine’s Days past in my cards.  “With a little glitter and glue, you can make magic.” – me… just now.

If your “glitter and glue” skills aren’t up to par, using online printable cards is another option.  There are also lots of free online printables that make adorable Valentine’s Day cards.   Here’s my favorite this year from Living Locurto:

My favorite this year are from Living Locurto



For More Valentine Fun

For more Valentine treats and ideas, check out some of our tutorial and recipes here from Toni Spilsbury:

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe Skip The Frosting Marshmallow

Skip The Frosting Cupcake by Toni Spilsbury, 2011


White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn- Ooh La La! Recipe here from Toni Spilsbury



Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 1 }

Heart Shaped Turkey Meatloaf

Heart Shaped Family Dinner

Give your family a little heart for dinner this Valentine’s Day with this simple heart-healthy Spinach Turkey Meatloaf.

Turkey Meatloaf RecipeSpinach Turkey Meatloaf Recipe


  1. ground turkey- 1 ½ -2 lbs
  2. baby spinach lettuce- 12 oz.


  1. seasoned bread crumbs- 1 cup
  2. eggs- 2
  3. seasoned salt- 2 tbspns


  1. Preheat oven to 375⁰
  2. In mixing bowl, combine turkey, spinach, breadcrumbs and eggsSpinach Turkey Meatloaf Recipe
  3. Transfer turkey mixture to baking sheet and hand-form loaf into a heart
  4. For a crispy exterior, brush meatloaf with an egg wash before baking (egg white and 1 tablespoon of water)
  5. Bake until cooked thoroughly, approximately 45 minutes



Spinach Turkey Meatloaf is delicious served with these simple side dishes:


Avocado Teacup Bistro Salad:

remove cups before serving- Voila!.. or Voici!


Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 1 }

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn- Ooh La La!

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn

The secret to making amazing chocolate-covered popcorn is this- butter.  The salty butter is the perfect contrast to sweet chocolate; so the more butter- the better!  This mouth-watering recipe is super simple, and I’m making a platter of it this year for Valentine’s Day.  Although, it can be made anytime of the year.

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn

White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn Recipe


  1. buttered popcorn- 10-12 cups popped
  2. white chocolate- 16 oz.
  3. canola oil- 3 tablespoons
  4. pink food coloring


  1. melt chocolate with oil in a double-boiler, fondue pot, or small pan over a medium-sized pan of boiling water.
  2. In small batches, drizzle chocolate over popcorn and loosely toss with big spoons or hands, then transfer to a platter
  3. once all the popcorn is on the platter, the chocolate will begin to dry and form the mold that was made with the popcorn while it was still melted
  4. take half of the remaining melted chocolate on a spoon and drizzle over the top of the popcorn using swift motion
  5. add a few drops of food coloring to the remaining melted chocolate; if it begins to harden, add more oil
  6. drizzle pink chocolate over the top using the same motion
  7. let dry

ooh la la!


Looking for a healthier Valentine’s Day recipe?  Try my “I Heart Homemade Granola”, for a heart-healthy treat.


I Heart Homemade Granola

I Heart Homemade Granola



Email this to a Friend Email this to a Friend
Comments { 0 }