All is Quiet…

Happy 2013, folks! It’s New Year’s Day – time for reflections, reorganization, and resolutions. I always believed that the tone of New Year’s Day laid the groundwork for the tone of the coming year. It could very well be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but either way, it does seem to hold some truth. So if this day, today, is in fact any indication of the coming year, I’ve got some things to look forward to! 2012 was a good year – a learning year; full of positive changes and some real quality time getting to know myself (allow myself, to introduce…myself).

It’s funny, but the first half of last year seems like a lifetime ago. The year really seemed to take shape for the good around mid-summer (which I aptly have nicknamed “Summer New Year’s), right after my return from the Paris Patisserie Tour. The trip changed me. It showed me that I can wander around a foreign city and be perfectly fine; it showed me that I don’t need my cell phone/laptop/facebook nearly as much as I thought; it showed me that I would be good whether with or without someone; it showed me that I really do have some actual writing and photography skills and that maybe the dream of being a writer was not so far-fetched after all; and most of all, it showed me that the world is a beautiful place and we are all in this together.

I went to Paris looking for pastries, and found myself.

I went to Paris looking for pastries, and found myself.

After I returned, I wound up facing three of my biggest fears before the year’s end: two by choice, and one by force of nature (enter Hurricane Sandy). I’d say that 2012 was a benchmark year.

Last New Year’s Day, I danced around the house and sang raucously along with “You Get What You Give” and vowed to make that my intention for the year. Today, I didn’t dance quite so raucously, but I did get a little groove going, and thought about the pure and simple things in life, and how they are really what makes it all worthwhile.

dreams come bouncing in your head...

dreams come bouncing in your head…

So here’s to a peaceful and harmonious 2013, full of love and greatness, pure and simple every time.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recipe Sunday (New Year’s Day Edition): Orange Coconut Mousse.

Happy New Year!! This is my first post of 2012, and it also happens to be a Recipe Sunday! This is what happens when worlds collide, folks. Anyway, I thought I’d keep with a theme that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue right now: New Year’s Resolutions; the most common being some sort of combination of eat right/lose weight. Well, I can help! After all the over-indulging we’ve done over the holidays (notice I said “we”), and all the heavy food and rich desserts we’ve consumed, I thought I’d offer a light, less-fattening, yet equally delish dish for your resolution-laden desserting pleasure: Orange Coconut Mousse.

I had actually decided on the theme for this post before the recipe itself – I knew I wanted to do a light, airy, lower calorie dessert, however I couldn’t think of a single one. So, I went into the kitchen and started poking around. I came across an almost full carton of orange juice, and an equally almost full carton of heavy cream. It was a true “aha” moment: and Orange Coconut Mousse was born, and even whipped on my brand new KitchenAid Mixer!

Anyway, good luck with your resolutions, and I wish you all a positive, powerful, passionate, and pastry-filled 2012! I hope you enjoy the mousse.

if you like pina coladas…

Orange Coconut Mousse.

What you’ll need:

.25 oz powdered gelatin

8 oz orange juice

.66 oz lemon juice

1 oz sugar

.66 oz coconut rum

8 oz heavy cream (whipped)

What you’ll do:

In a pot on the stove, heat about 1/3 of the orange juice until it reaches 140 F (about 5 minutes). Add the gelatin and stir until it dissolves. Add the lemon juice and the sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the orange juice, stir, and add the rum, stir. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then fold in the whipped heavy cream (should be whipped to medium/stiff peaks). Pour into desired molds (I used little ramekins) and chill. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top and enjoy a bit of the tropics in January. 🙂