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A Special Tea Party- Happy Mother’s Day!

Having a little person in our home reminded me of how much I love little squeals, sweet voices that grow a smile ear to ear on even the grumpiest soul. Little feet, little features, little everything. How it brings back memories from when mine were “the littles” now our eldest is taking care of “the littles”, life moves so quickly but it’s these moments that I cherish as a Mother.


Everyone enjoying the party…

sweet tea…

Even Bunny…

Tea Time

Tea Time

Photos are my friend, I thought I would remember all the special moments but what I recollect are the feelings of that time. Photos are those feelings captured as they really happened and wonderful to look back on, as time slips by.

Mint Tea made with love from seed to teacup;

A few small mint seeds, soil, water, light, patience, and a little love.

~Pick the newest leaves, they have the most flavor from the mint plant.
~ 1 Tablespoon of fresh leaves torn or 1 teaspoon for dried
~ Fill a tea ball and add hot water (herb steeps best @ 212 degrees Fahrenheit)~ Add cream or milk if you like.
(remember to let tea cool to tepid for the wee ones).
~ A small dollop of local honey to sweeten it to taste.





Friday’s with Dorie- Dieter’s Tartine


Tomato and Cucumber Tartine rachellekweymuller

Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table is not small nor is it a featherweight book. It has heft and substance and her work speaks for itself.

I was introduced to Dorie’s recipes a few years ago but didn’t realize just what I had stumbled upon.  I am a happy Friday’s with Dorie member, which is just a lovely way to discuss and share kitchen experiences while eating our way through Dorie’s cookbook with other food lovers from afar via the Internet.

This is such a great lunch option. There’s only one way to make it better and that would be to have the garden brimming with fresh tomatoes and cucumber…I guess a little more patience and that wish will come true, it’s only a matter of time!

Tomato and Cucumber Tartine rachellekweymuller


If you are curious about this recipe you can find it on page 38 & 39 of Around My French Table, it is super easy, quick to assemble and will transport you to summer in Paris.





Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel, and Community


Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars | BCM | Tuesdays with Dorie

Who knew these would be so easy to make. I had four pages of information set before me and two recipes to make and I was done in a little over half an hour. I could make these little treats anytime on a whim because the ingredient list calls for items I regularly keep in stock in my pantry: chocolate, butter, flour, salt, vanilla, baking powder. There is just one item I may not have but will most likely add to the grocery list now to have for the “just in case” needs and sweet cravings.

A simple shortbread, then a layer of chocolate, and finally topped with… caramelized rice crispy treats. This may be my new “happy place” a buttery shortbread- gooey chocolatey middle- and crispy topping with caramel balances taste and texture.

You may need to find this sweet little treat and make some yourself!

Caramelized Crispy Bars

Buttery shortbread, Chocolate, and Caramelized Rice Crispies = Taste & Texture Balance Achieved!



During the hot summer months here in the Methow Valley we make it a priority to carve out time at the end of the day, for a cooling dip in the river and seek out friends, who are never too far away,  to enjoy a relaxing evening where we share a meal and catch up.

Golden Hour



We were doing just that very thing when the light turned golden, a photographer’s dream time of day, and my husband E.A caught the glowing fence line a few feet away. A true sign of a dedicated photographer is that, they are willing to leave a cold beer and fresh appetizers for one and two that they have their camera at the ready, always. For that, I am grateful and I continue to learn.

We wish you a wonderful weekend full of fun and laughter especially to all those wonderful Dads out there!


Rachelle K. Weymuller head shot


Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Thoughts on Mom…From a Dad’s Perspective

“Hey Mom, where’s my…”

“Mommy, will you…”

“Mom, when do we go…”

“Mama, my throat hurts…”

“Mom, what’s for…”

“Mom? MOM? MOM!….I forgot what I was going to ask.”

“Mom, how do I…”


Mom. It’s probably the first word I ever said, the first word I ever even thought to say, and more than likely it emerged in a demanding tone. From there, the endless barrage of questions, requests, demands, expectations and needs ensued.





Fast forward a few decades and I now witness this age old pattern unfold first hand, from the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong; my head is (almost) always in the game, but sometimes I feel like a 3rd string rookie, just waiting for my opportunity to contribute while my wife is not only the starting quarterback, linebacker, and safety, but the head coach as well. Everything goes through her…through Mom.


We have two wonderful daughters, each of whom are well over a decade into their lives. Yes; they are far more self sufficient than they once were. Yes; the things they need from Mom are generally less pressing and occur more infrequently than in their younger years. But the time and energy required on Mom’s part to address these issues seems to be ratcheted up exponentially now. Morning, noon and night there are always multiple needs that Mom is juggling. It never ceases, and hopefully it never will. As the moments blend into weeks and then into decades, the questions, demands and needs have congealed into one long stream of MOMOMOMOMOMOMOMOMOMOMOM… it has become so ever present, such a ubiquitous constant that the sound has become part of the fabric of our lives.



It just… is.






Om. ॐ


The sound of consciousness.

The sound of love.

The sound of Mom.



“Making Life a Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”


When was the last time you remembered to do this?

I took time out to nurture myself. It can take me awhile to realize that I need to refill my cup and a little longer to act on that realization.

I joke that life is either moving at warp speeds or trudging along. As I write this, the cartoon bubble pops up within my mind and I’m visualizing myself as a stick figure pushing and pulling at a life-size round clock with the large roman numeral numbers painted on it. By the time the clock begins to roll, gaining momentum it’s moving too fast and I can’t keep up!  That’s typically when I realize I need to reassess my life strategies and take some time to nurture my being. So, I can keep up with all that life throws at me… sometimes I  just need to go get a new pair of running shoes other times more is needed.


stick person and clock art

This (stick figure) is the limit of my artistic ability!

So, when three separate weekend opportunities popped up, I said YES to all of them! Then, it hit me that all three were right in a row and that was going to take some planning, help from friends and forgiveness on my family’s part.

How did I chose to refresh?

First, I sought out a way to feed my creative side. I did this by surrounding myself with others who are also passionate about writing, photography and food. This was  an extended weekend of excursions, workshops and inspiring speakers who were only a short drive away in emerald city of Seattle at the International Food Bloggers Convention. A creative stay-cation of sorts.

ifbc 2015 badge

Then, to nurture my adventurous spirit I couldn’t pass up a chance to road trip with girlfriends and celebrate a close friend’s 60th birthday in Canadian Kootenay Rockies of Nelson B.C .
Lakeside in Nelson B.C 

Finally to squeeze it all in before my luck ran out, I packed a bag (a rather too large and heavy one) and hit the trail with a couple of friends, where we immersed ourselves in nature. This wasn’t hard to do with the technicolor views of the North Cascades Mountains framed with fiery berry bushes and golden rods of high alpine larch trees. This delight for the eyes combined with the indian summer temperatures we couldn’t have been more lucky.
Tamerack and Bonanza

So, if you are feeling like you could use a refill go ahead and hit refresh. Feed your creative side, nurture your relationships, follow your adventurous side and immerse yourself in nature. Start daydreaming it’s your gateway to adventure!

Caramelize life when you can and take time to nurture yourself.




“Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community”


Lemon Madeleines | BCM | Tuesdays with Dorie

My youngest walked into the kitchen while I was prepping my work station for the latests Tuesdays with Dorie scheduled treat from her book Baking Chez Moi. Curious, she wanted to know what I was  going to make. “Madeleines!” I said with excitement.  I’ve never made these tasty little treats and I was looking forward to trying something new. I could see she was searching for the image to fit the name in her mind. Then she said, “You know Mom, the name Madeleine is so similar to the name of the character Madeline, the lute Mandolin and the slicer Mandoline I didn’t know at first what it was you were making.”  Now, each time I think of these little shell shaped cakes, my mind scrolls through each of those images and I giggle.


A petite Madeline mold buttered and ready for batter

A buttered petite Madeleine mold awaiting the batter…

Later, when she sat down to taste one of the Madeleines, she said she remembered eating these after school for goûter when we lived in France. I am amazed at how our senses bring back memories so vividly. “The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it.” ~ Remembrance of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu), Marcel Proust

My youngest was on to something. Indeed those little Madeleines did have a lineage. Historically these little cakes were believed to be named after a young maid, Madeleine, who worked for the Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leczinski in the late 1700s from the French town of Commercy. Once these petite cakes were introduced to the court at Versailles they found their place in the heart of the French.

Mother and daughter strolling the Green Carpet- Versailles

The Green Carpet- Versailles

With my first batch of Madeleines, I didn’t notice the “bump” that Dorie described in her recipe but I specifically looked for it on my second batch. The “bump” is the gold seal symbol or as she equates it to the holy grail, that one has decidedly mastered the Madeleine and there it was, a large bump on my petite Madeleines. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered them but I do thank Dorie for spilling her learned secret with me and the rest of the BCM bakers.  Her long history of making these and then learning the holy grail secrets from Phillippe Conticini of Patisserie des Reves and Fabrice Le Bourdat of Bel Sucre in Paris makes all of us feel great from the start!

Madeleine's with a "bosse/ bump"

Madeleine’s with a “bosse/ bump”

If you would like to try your hand at making Madeleines at home so you may enjoy a little afternoon goûter, here is the recipe. Alternately, she has shared her Lemon Madeleine recipe here.

Tuesdays with Dorie and Baking Chez Moi is an open group of bloggers having fun baking their way through Dorie Greenspan’s books. Go check out what the other Doristas are doing!


Crocus the First Flowers of Spring

Spring is here!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller


Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community



Marquise au Chocolat | TWD |Baking Chez Moi

Last week I left the grocery store with a stack of thin chocolate bars, for the Marquise recipe, and they felt like what I image little gold bars to be. While prepping for the desert each time I peel open the shiny foil wrapper of the chocolate bar, I fell back into the excitement I felt as kid, reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
Ronald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor 

 This time the excitement for me was trying a new recipe and hoping for the chance that it turns out because I’ve gone and decided to make a new recipe for a special birthday dinner, and I don’t have a back up in the freezer! So, I do believe in luck when executed correctly ;0)  And thank goodness Dorie Greenspan writes beautiful recipes that will make me look like a rock star on the first try.

A frozen chocolate birthday mousse

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”. ~Buddy Valastro

Making this cake was a snap. It has six ingredients; butter, bittersweet chocolate, fresh room temp eggs, sugar, fleur de sel and cold heavy cream. For a chocolate lover one can’t go wrong with this combination and for those of us who enjoy baking or in this case freezing, because you don’t bake this cake, folding the whipped egg and cream mixture into the chocolate creates a decadent marbled effect that makes me smile.

Chicken had shot

Happy Chicken

There was some chatter of concern on the Tuesdays with Dorie site by fellow Dorista’s about the use of room temperature eggs and making a cake that has raw eggs in it. Dorie makes a highlighted note in her recipe to use” very fresh eggs, preferably organic and/or from a trusted local source.”  We were lucky here, since our local source lives in the hen house out back and is named Clucky. Along with her friends they provided the four eggs I needed for my Marquise au Chocolat, bright and early the morning of my cake making. That’s as fresh as you get. Coop to Cake!

Backyard chicken eggs fresh today

From clucky with love

However, if you are pregnant, a young child, have a compromised immune system or if you are concerned about eating anything with raw eggs, you can still make this recipe by using pasteurized eggs or bringing the eggs to 160º. Do this while mixing the eggs to keep from scrambling, in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Another idea I saw that Peggy from Pantry Revisited substituted greek yogurt for the eggs and was happy with the results.

Chicken tucked into bed

not all hens have a clean coop like clucky

Once you’ve made your decision on which way to proceed with the egg choice it’s as simple as mixing and pouring everything into a loaf pan to freeze. While the cake was freezing I searched for a fun topping option. Dorie made me laugh with her side column “Bonne Idée” where one line reads “Crack Chocolate Sauce” as a good idea to drizzle over the marquise. It’s the way the type was set and those three words stand out as one line but of course the real name of the sauce is Hard-Crack Chocolate Sauce. Think ice cream sundae chocolate sauce that goes from liquid to solid once poured atop a bowl of ice cream. This is exactly the sauce I had to make, mainly because the name, it must be that good!


coconut oil in a glass dish for Hard Crack Chocolate Sauce

coconut oil + chocolate = happiness

Again her recipe for the sauce was straight forward and easy. With two ingredients; bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil mixed and melted together in a heat proof bowl then poured over the marquise. The cake, just went from two stars of decadence to four. Add a bit of Whipped Cream to top it off  and I confirm it was that good!

No bake Chocolate Cake

It’s all about the cake…


This rich no bake chocolate cake can be made ahead of time, kept in the freezer and pulled out ready for serving. Or it can be made in individual ramekins and dressed up with fresh berries. There are so many creative ideas to tweak this chocolate cake that I’ll need to make it again and again to test them out. I’m sure my family won’t complain.




From our kitchen to yours!

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

How To Grow Year-Round Indoor|Outdoor Potted Citrus Trees

Oh, the fragrance of a citrus tree in bloom is about as dreamy as a sandy beach in the middle of a long winter.

Last month I walked by one of our lemon trees that was in full bloom. It stopped me mid-stride; the colorful aroma of citrus cemented my feet and my thoughts traveled to warmer climates as I breathed in deeply, keeping my tropical daydream going just a little longer. Ahhhh… a bit of paradise.

Lemon tree in bloom on

I wish this was a scratch ‘n sniff image…

Then I got a little idea and moved it from the hallway to my office so I could take in as much of the aroma as possible while I worked.  It is so lovely during the middle of winter when the ground is covered in a blanket of snow and everything outside is an Ansel Adams image.

Blooming potted indoor lemon tree

I can still smell the intoxicating fragrance of the lemon buds.

We live in the north and it gets cold up here and as I mentioned there is a white layer of snow covering all horizontal surfaces right out my door. It’s not the citrus trees of Sunnyvale, CA where I plucked lemons, from my grandparents trees, at whim as a child. I now take pride in growing my lemons carefully here in the  mountains. I’ve had good luck but also some great advice from seasoned gardeners and I’ve learned a bit by trial and error.

Citrus varieties that don’t mind pots and moving in and out-of-doors: Meyer Lemons, Kaffir Limes and Calamondin Oranges
Think about all the Marmalade, Limoncello and desserts your oranges and lemons will produce. Maybe you love Thai curry… imagine adding your homegrown lime to this dish. Perfection!

Choose a dwarf  tree that is 2-3 years old, for instant gratification of bloom- don’t worry you will still have to wait 6-9 months for the fruit to ripen.  I found my trees at my Local 98856 garden center.

Pick a deep pot that is either terra-cotta or plastic and has more than one hole at the bottom for drainage. Keep the pot on the smaller side- just a bit larger than the root ball, this will keep your tree smaller and more manageable to move with the seasons. The deeper pot will keep it grounded and less top-heavy as your citrus tree grows. Here are some simple steps to take:

1. Line the bottom of the pot with pebbles to help with good drainage, citrus trees do not like“wet feet”. If the pebbles make the pot too heavy, exchange it for environmentally friendly packing peanuts.

2. Add soil that is specifically made for citrus and/or cactus plants. If you can’t locate this type of soil, choose one that has good organic matter so that the soil is less apt to compact over time from watering. This will help the roots grow and prevent fungal infections and root rot.

3. Place rocks in the drainage tray to create a space for moisture to collect and help with humidity.  Citrus plants like moist air so feel free to give them some love and mist their leaves, especially if your home is on the drier side.

4. Location, Location, Location; place your citrus tree preferably in a south facing window or a spot that will receive up to 12 hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t have a sunny spot you can improvise and add a grow light to help give more “sunlight” hours.
65ºF is the ideal temperature, but the citrus trees can handle a range of 55º-85ºF.

During the winter/indoor months I find my lemon trees like to be watered once a week, drying out in between watering. Then, once back outside, the trees are watered everyday. In the hot summer months I use a watering system on a timer which is great for potted plants and a huge time saver. I found mine on a gardening website.

Harvesting the fruits of your labor, the first time I noticed a lemon on my potted lemon tree it was green, not yellow as one would expect. Everyone who saw it asked if I was sure I had purchased a lemon and not a lime tree, even I had my doubts about it. However, I learned that it will take 6-9 months for the fruit to mature and over that time it changes color. At this moment I have one that is half and half, and no, it is not a lemon/lime tree ;0). Once the fruit has reached its full color and has a slight “give” when gently squeezed it is ready to be picked and enjoyed.

Caramelize Life grows indoor lemon trees

Lemons are considered a superfood full of vitamin C and antioxidants


Happy winter gardening to you!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller



Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Sesame Flax Crackers|Vegan Secret Supper


These are as quick to make as they are to snap, break and eat. Wafer thin, these crackers are packed full of health benefits that come from the fact that the flaxseed is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, that’s a double win in my book.

Organic Flax Seeds

Flax is a healthy source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids

This recipe is just six ingredients(sesame seeds & oil, ground flax, water, tamari and salt) mixed together, left for three hours (or overnight) and then dehydrated for about 15 hours. It is so simple and easy I can’t, not make these. If you looking for healthy snacking options these tasty crackers are a must.

Ground flax seeds, sesame seeds, water, tamari, salt and sesame oil on

Ground flax seeds, sesame seeds, water, tamari, salt and sesame oil

Ground Flax Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Water, Tamari Salt and Sesame oil Marinating.

Sesame flax crackers in the making…

I wanted to know a little bit more about why flaxseeds are considered healthy so I did my favorite thing and dug deeper and researched some of their qualities.

1. Flaxseeds improve digestive health (that’s the fiber talking).
2. Flax aids to relieve constipation.
3. They “may help to lower total blood cholesterol which may help reduce the risk of heart disease” []
4. Flaxseeds are high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium and manganese
5. Flaxseeds are considered low in carbohydrates which makes it ideal for people who want to limit their intake of starches and sugars.

In further research, I learned that flaxseeds are so minuscule they will just pass on through,so they need to be ground or crushed in order for our bodies to absorb their nutrients.

healthy sesame flax seed crackers rolled out on non-stick dehydrator mat

Rolled out and ready for the dehydrator…

In Merida Anderson’s Vegan Secret Supper cookbook she gets it right.  She calls for ground brown flaxseeds in her sesame flax cracker recipe, it’s no wonder she is internationally celebrated for her thoughtful, healthy and well balanced recipes. I am looking forward to trying out more of her creative and “out of the box” ideas written up and shared in her latest recipe book.

plated healthy snacks made by

Ready to be dipped and eaten.

Now, I need to find some dipping recipes to go with my new favorite snack, somehow I don’t think that will be too difficult ;0)


Happy snacking!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller



Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community



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