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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Alina Gersib

Honey Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate Sauce Taste Test


Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


This dessert is absolutely spectacular. The poached pear and chocolate blend together in a marvelous way to create a dish that pairs perfectly with the Sauvignon Blanc. The wine adds a crisp balance to the sweetness of the dish. On the more decadent side, my fiancé and I split one pear, and it was the perfect amount.


Make sure you read through the recipe before you begin as there are a few steps you will want to complete before starting. The pears need to chill for 2 hours before topping with chocolate so account for this extra sitting time. When it comes to making a double boiler one website suggested you can use two pots stacked, however, I would recommend a glass bowl on top of a pot so you can see how hot the water is below. I used a pot and my chocolate got a bit too hot and overly thick.



Honey Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate
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Download • 2.42MB

Makes 6 servings

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes + 2 Hours for chilling

Cook Time: 45 Minutes


Ingredients for Pears:

*6 Bosc pears, firm, with stem still attached (buy these firm and 3 days before you need them so they can ripen during this time).

*1 (750-ml) bottle dry vermouth

*1 cup water

*6 tablespoons honey

*1 pinch flaky salt, plus more to finish (Flaky salt is different than regular salt. You need flaky. Maldon is a good brand.)


Preparation for Pears:

*Find a pot that comfortably fits the 6 pears in a standing position (3-quart saucepan). Don’t add the pears, yet.

*Add the vermouth, water, honey and a pinch of salt to the pot.

*Set on the stove over medium heat to bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves.

*Peel the pears in big, long strips from the top to almost the bottom. Stem stays attached to the pear.

*Carefully add the pears to the simmering poaching liquid. Cover the pears with a lid that’s one size too small for the pot, so it helps to keep the pears submerged.

*Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer (boiling is too harsh for the fragile fruit).

*Simmer the pears, covered, for 10 to 25 minutes. (Mine took about 20 minutes)

*Turn them every so often so they cook evenly.

*After 10 minutes, start checking them often so they don’t overcook.

*To check: Pierce the bottom of the pear with a cake tester or toothpick; it should meet little resistance. Since the pears will continue to cook off the heat (thanks to carry-over cooking), you want them slightly less tender than you’d like to serve them.

*After you’ve removed the pears, raise the heat under the pot and bring sauce to a boil.

*Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened into a syrupy consistency.

*Pour the syrup over the pears.

*Refrigerate until totally chilled, at least 2 hours.


Ingredients for Chocolate Sauce:

*8 ounces chopped dark semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

*7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

*1/2 cup sugar

*1/2 cup almond milk

*1/4 cup hot water

*1 teaspoon vanilla

*1 pinch salt


Preparation for Chocolate Sauce:

*Combine the first five ingredients in the top of a double boiler.

*Simmer on a medium low heat and stir until chocolate is smooth, about 5 minutes.

*Remove from heat and add vanilla and pinch of salt.


To Serve the Pears:

*Add each whole pear to a shallow bowl.

*Pour an even amount of syrup on top of each pear.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib