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High School Wisdom For My Teenager

October 30, 2017

The post is sponsored by OLLY, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

There are so many things that I feel like a need to teach my daughter before she leaves us for college. And that day is quickly approaching. I teamed up with OLLY to share a couple fun life lessons that I could share with my daughter Denali. When I look back on my high school years there are a couple pieces of wisdom I think I can pass on to her. There are lot of things I would probably do definitely now, but I have a couple nuggets that I think will help her. Of course, the hope is by now we have raised a pretty kind, generous, and hardworking human being. These are just a few bonus tips to get you through these High School years just a little more smoothly.

Here are my 3 pieces of High School wisdom:

  1. Don’t bother with a boyfriend, stick with friends only. Life is so much easier and my High School experience was boy-drama free.
  2. Eat breakfast, even when you are in a hurry, it’s the most important meal of the day.
  3. Learn to love thrifting, you will always have be able to find unique, fun outfits, even when your budget is super tight.

Really this is totally up to Denali, but I have really recommended not wasting her time with the whole boyfriend game while in High School. Boyfriends often bring drama and stress. I watched my friends with boyfriends, and was happy that I just had lot of guy friends instead. It was easier and I really didn’t feel like a was missing out. High School already has so much stress, with activities and academics. It just one less thing to worry about. These things can wait. Friendship, now that’s definitely important. I also think it’s important to learn how to have friends with the opposite sex at a young age.

In my early teens I was not a breakfast eater. I just wasn’t a morning person and having to figure out what to eat and fuel my body with felt overwhelming. But, then I was crabby and worn out until lunch hit. I attended boarding school my last two years of high school. My boarding house parents were from Texas and they made BIG breakfasts everyday! Having that fuel first thing in the morning definitely helped give my body and mind what it needed. I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors skipping this meal. Denali’s day starts early with 7 am classes and usually ends pretty late. By the time she finishes cross country practice and puts in a solid 3 hours or more of homework, often she’s crawling into bed around 11 pm. We try to have grab-and-go breakfast options on hand. She doesn’t have time to sit and eat breakfast at the table. So, a hearty breakfast burrito and a OLLY Girl Multivitamins is a great way to give her fuel for the day and she can eat it on the walk to school. Lately we have been making Green Chili + Corn Breakfast Burritos (see the recipe at the end of the post). It’s one of our favorite combinations when we are camping. Now, I make a dozen and then wrap them up and freeze them so that the kids can just grab them, warm them and then hit the road.

OLLY Girl Multivitamins have quickly become a part of our morning routine. These yummy, chewables are made especially for girls 12-17 years old. OLLY Girl Multivitamins support strong bodies and bones, immune system health, and energy production. They are formulated with biotin to help with hair and nail growth and work for the inside to support clear, healthy skin. Denali is working and playing hard these days and OLLY Girl Multivitamins are helping her maintain a healthy body.

As a high schooler I was an avid thrifter. As I’ve shared before, I grew up overseas in Papua New Guinea. Really there was no other shopping to be found, so I really perfected the art of finding a great outfit for just a couple dollars. I even bought more Junior formal dress for just $2. It was a white flapper dress, and definitely no one else was wearing one in 1994. There something really fun about wearing something you know no one else will ever have. Over the years I’ve taken my kids to many a thrift store, but only recently has Denali realized how great the hunt of thrifting is. She sees that with $20 you can find a whole outfit and often if you shop at the mall, you can’t find a single piece of clothing under $20. It’s fun to see Denali’s style develop. And I love that she wants to do something different and not look like everyone else her age.

I have a few tips of thrifting clothing like a pro. Here what I’m teaching Denali:

  • Accessories –  these are items that are often overlooked. But, a great leather belt can be very expensive to buy brand new. And really, can you have too many scarves?
  • Jeans – with vintage styles always making  a come back, why would you ever pay $50 for a pair?
  • Out of Season – even if it’s Summer, still sift through the sweaters. Shopping out of Season when thrifting can often reveal some hidden gems.
  • Special Occasions – shop for formals and dances. Often these dresses are only worn once, so consignment stores usually have a lot of formal wear that is in great condition. I hate the idea of spending $100 or more on a dress you will only wear once, it feels so wasteful.

Ok, here’s the recipe, as promised.

Green Chili + Corn Breakfast Burritos

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 small can of diced mild green chilis
  • 1 cup of frozen corn or canned corn
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 dozen flour tortillas
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • foil and parchment paper

Start by beating the eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a non stick fry pan. Scramble the eggs, cooking on a low heat. When the eggs are almost done, add the corn, green chilis, and cheese. Stir and continue to cook until the the cheese is melted. If the eggs seam a little wet or undercooked slightly, that is ok. These burritos will be reheated in the microwave and this will prevent them from being over cooked and tough.

Divide out the egg mixture to make 12 burritos. Add a dash of hot sauce if you like a little kick. Roll the tortillas and toast both sides in a pan with a little butter. Allow the burritos to cool, then wrap in parchment paper and then foil. Store in the fridge for a couple days or in the freezer.

When you are ready to eat one, remove from the freezer and peel off the foil wrapping. Leave the burrito wrapped in the parchment paper and microwave on defrost for 2 mins and then on high for 30 secs. Wrap the burrito back in the foil to keep it warm and make it easy for eating on the go.

As parents, we definitely don’t have this teenager stage of life all figured out, but we are doing our best to give our kids a healthy start and some life tools to help them be happy and successful.

 

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Camp Chlorophyll

October 11, 2017

This is for all my Bakersfield friends! Do you know about Second Saturday? Second Saturday is Downtown Bakersfield’s monthly weekend gathering that brings the community and businesses together. The goal for Second Saturday is to provide an atmosphere of excitement for what’s good in our city. Each month downtown business owners are highlighted to curate a monthly gathering that is family friendly, fun, and inspired by the seasons.

This Saturday from 10am – 2pm I’m teaming up with the Bakersfield High School Ecology Club to host Camp Chlorophyll. This is a FREE event for kids aged 2-10. There will be fun art and Science activities at the Chlorophyll Wall.  It’s going to hands-on and lots of learning. So, bring your kiddos downtown for Second Saturday.

Come on downtown and let’s hang out. There’s really so much to see and do. Here’s a map and a list of all the businesses that are participating. For more information, you can follow Second Saturday on Facebook + Instagram.

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The Week’s End

September 22, 2017

Well, it feels good to have one more “room” done in our house. If you missed yesterday’s post, my little home office is DONE! I’m ready for the weekend. This week was tough. I felt tired, probably because it was non-stop work, but I also felt like I was getting absolutely nothing done at all. Can you relate? Anyways lots of feelings and worries come along with being exhausted and having a long list of things you just can’t seem to get done. But, I’m looking forward to the weekend, even though I’ll still be working. My parents and brother are in town. So, at least I can put them to work as well, tee hee. And it’s guaranteed that I will not have to cook and my mom will make lots of really yummy food. She’s already make 3 loaves of Caramel Apple Monkey Break and is working on a yummy pork chop and wild rice dinner for tonight. 

The weather is kind of a boring topic, but this week has been soooo lovely. It reminds me how much a love living in Bakersfield this time of year. I’m so excited for Fall. After a very hard Summer, temps in the 70s and 80s are so welcome. Granted, it’s supposed to be back up to 95 F this week again. But, I’ll take this break from the heat happily. And the best part is that we haven’t had our AC on all week long. Just for some perspective, our electricity bill last month was $600 and we don’t even turn the AC on upstairs. The kids have been camping out in the living room most of the Summer. Well, Denali actually has slept upstairs without an AC all Summer, sometimes her room is 98 F. Ya she’s a tough kid.

My brother and I will be building things this weekend. It’s a really fun local project that we are working on. He’s super talented and I always learn things when I work with him. You can follow along on IG stories for lots of behind the scenes.

Anyways, thats the update on my life lately, whether you wanted it or not. I hope you have a great weekend. And if you have a second, here’s a few things I think you should check out on the internet this weekend:

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Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

September 14, 2017

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

It’s been a doozy of a week. I could definitely use a mid-week mocktail! How about you? This Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa is the perfect drink to get you in the mood for some Fall weather and the those yummy familiar flavors of the holidays. Yep, I said it, holidays. Does that stress you out and get you excited? Fall always feels like the busiest time of year for us. So, I’m currently bracing myself for an even more hectic season. But, today the high is only supposed to be 86 F and that sounds AMAZING!  When I took kids to school this morning it was in the 60s, YIPPEEEEE! When we are in the dead of Summer, it feels like cooler weather will never come. I’m excited for a change in Season.

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

I really do enjoy cooking, especially when it isn’t making dinner on a crazy busy week night. For example, making this candied orange peel for the garnish was actually a really fun process and the results are super pretty.

This drink would be great as a classic mimosa with champagne, or you can make it family friendly and use ginger ale. And if you are hosting a big party, this would be great served in a big punch bowl.

You can find the full recipe over on Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. And if you don’t have access to their super yummy juice, equal parts 100 % cranberry juice and orange juice can be used for this recipe.

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosas garnished with fresh rosemary and candied orange peel.

 

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The Week’s End

September 2, 2017

Happy Long Weekend Friends!

We are escaping the heat and heading to San Diego to spend a couple days with my brother’s family. Hoping for some beach time and a just a break from the 110 F weather of Bakersfield. It’s really quite handy to have a brother who lives so close to the beach. Can you say FREE VACAY?

In other news, I thought I should mention that I’m bringing back my newsletter. It’s a great way to get all your favorite O+P content right to your inbox. I’ll be sharing all kinds of exclusive content their, so you won’t want to miss out.

And now, here’s a few fun things I think you should check out:

  • If you are looking for a fun Instagram feed to follow, I’ve got a REALLY good one for you. Pretty colors, plants, vintage, and from the Netherlands – ya, it’s a pretty great combo.
  • This digital wallpaper is super timely with all the eclipse buzz of the last couple of weeks.
  • Yep, totally digging this color for Fall.
  • You know I love a Mocktail, and if it involves rhubarb, I’m all in. Be sure to check out this Rhubarb Collins Mocktail.
  • I wear a neckercheif, scarf, or bandana at least twice a week. Just look at this rainbow of dyed bandanas. I’ve actually dyed and bleached bandanas in the past, but just didn’t share it as a DIY on the blog. Now that I see all the color options that are out there, I’m better stock up on a whole bunch more.
  • This pretty workspace has be wanting to paint another half wall!

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Samsung The Frame TV

June 26, 2017

Ok, let’s play dress up, with my living room. I’m not ready to redecorate the whole space, but I do love changing things up a bit.

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

I don’t know about you, but one of my least favorite things to try to decorate around is a TV. I’d rather not have ours on display, but the truth is, TVs happen. We don’t watch a lot of television, but once the kids are in bed and my brain is dead from the day’s tasks, I need an episode of one of my favorite Netflix shows. To try to give our TV a little less focus in the living room, I’ve hung a gallery wall around it. My hope is that it will blend in and your eye will be caught by an interesting piece of art instead. While we love our current Samsung TV, we have been wanting to upgrade but haven’t found anything to help elevate the style of our room.

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

But, I think there is a solution, a really pretty, stylish solution. Let me introduce you to The Frame by SamsungDesigned in collaboration with designer Yves Béhar, Samsung’s The Frame is the most beautiful TV you’ve never seen. The Frame challenges the traditional black box TV, by integrating a beautiful design with high-quality display technology. The Frame hangs flush to the wall, like a real picture with it’s revolutionary wall-flush mount, and it’s easy to install. And with its single, Invisible Connection The Frame connects to the One Connect Box, eliminating unsightly cables and uncluttered unnecessary clutter, and leaving your space beautifully curated. And don’t worry The Frame is not all beauty, it’s got brains as well. It offers 4K UHD viewing. 

Here’s my living room now:

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

So, I decided to play a little in our living room. I took out our current Samsung TV and styled and redecorated the gallery wall over our credenza a few different ways. Then I digitally added in The Frame to see how it would work in our space. And, no surprise, I LOVE it. With The Frame I don’t feel like I’m making design compromises because it fits in with any style of decor. It’s just like playing with another piece of art. 

I played around with 8 different looks and layouts. What do you think?

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

The Frame really is another piece of art for your home. The Frame transforms into a beautiful work of art when you are not watching TV. There are 100 curated pieces of art that you can choose from or you can also upload and display your personal photographs of family and friends as well. This feels like a total game changer for me. As someone who likes to change up things in my home, really often, I would love having the flexibility of being able to change the art in the Frame when I decide I want to play with a new color palette or when I want to change with the season. 

This might be my favorite look, with a framed piece of Tapa Cloth from Papua New Guinea and the stunning redwood tree wood veneer piece my brother made.

Samsung The Frame TV seamlessly works in any room with any design aesthetic.

The Frame also has customizable frames that have the flexibility to perfectly complement your home décor, with three additional bezel options in wood, white or metal. I played with the white frame and this fun architectural image from the curated art that comes with the frame. 

When I’m in the market for a new TV, The Frame will definitely be my first choice. And then all the re-styling and re-decorating of my living room can be made super easy. I get a little giddy thinking about being able to change out art to match the season, color palette or just my mood.

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

The Frame just launched and is available in 65” for $2,799 and 55” for $1,999 starting 6/18 on Samsung.com and retailers nationwide.

The post is sponsored by Samsung, thank you for supporting the fantastic companies that help make this blog possible. 

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Looking for a Studio Mate

June 20, 2017

This post really is for local folks only, or anyone who would love to move to Bakersfield. You guys, I have this fantastic studio space downtown Bakersfield. It’s 650 bright, white, light-filled square feet. I’ve had folks share this space with me this last year, but some have or are moving on. So, I’m looking for a new studio mate. Who wants to share this creative space with me?

If you are interested, send me an email at oleanderandpalm@gmail.com with Studio Rental in the subject.

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10 Actions to Take Right Now to Boost Your Creativity

May 25, 2017

I try to be as honest and authentic as I can be here. Just enough, but not too much to be a totally downer all the time. Really, most of the time I love life and really am enjoying this season. But, it’s really far from perfect. I know I post pretty pictures of yummy drinks, flowers, and a clean house – but, that’s not always the case. I just don’t think folks want to see pictures of my cluttered bathroom counters and my unmade bed today. There’s nothing inspiring about that. Believe me, it sucks all the creativity out of me.

So, without sounding like someone who wants sympathy or attention, I just wanted to say that the last couple of weeks have been hard. I’ve felt drained, anxious, unmotivated and just blahhh about my job life in general. I share this here so that hopefully someone else doesn’t feel alone.

When you feel like this, creativity is GONE. I don’t know where it goes. I think I’m an idea person, I usually have a few good ideas brewing at anytime.  But, lately I’m totally tapped out. I’m not one to wait for something to happen or change in my life. I’m a door knocker, I’m knocking on all the doors and hoping someone answers and says yes. Over the last couple of weeks, I’m trying a bunch of things to try to kick start my creative juices.  So, I thought I’d share with you what is working. I’m not a self-help guru and definitely don’t have everything figured out. But, maybe some of these ideas will resonate with you and maybe help you out of a creative slump.

  1. Rest – this probably seems obvious. But, if you are a do-er and go-er like I am, rest can feel like a waste of valuable time. Listening to your body and taking a nap can actually be a good place to start. For me, I had no choice, I stopped for about 10 mins a Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago and fell sound asleep for 4 hours. For someone who naps about once a year, this is a big deal. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been conscience to go to bed at a reasonable time and try to give my body what it needs.
  2. Make Healthy Eating Choices – I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. We cook most of our meals at home and yes, I do bake treats, but actually I rarely eat any of it. But, when I feel burnt out though, I let me guard down and I don’t pay attention to the things I’m putting into my body. So, I’ve cut back the amount of coffee I drink and I’m trying to pack as many fruits and veggies into my meals as possible. Thinking about food more as fuel always helps me. Right now I’m in the middle of a Juice Cleanse. It may feel a little drastic, but I felt like I needed to hit restart and flush my body of toxins. Whether it’s taking a simple step like making an effort to drink more water or taking on something more intense like a Juice Cleanse, a change in nutrition can help boost creativity.
  3. Hunt for Inspiration – sometimes you have to seek out a creative spark. My spark was definitely gone, like a bucket of water had been dumped on it. I’m trying to make time to do the things I love, like walk through an antique mall or actually flip through the beautiful design magazines that sit on my coffee table but I never have time to read. I also have a trip to downtown LA in my sites. I need a little time in a big city from time to time. The energy of a city, the hustle and bustle, the people, the traffic, the food, the art, the mess – all help my mood. Sometimes life feelings to hectic or busy to make time for just being inspired. It can seem a frivolous, but usually stepping away can be really helpful.
  4. Clean and De-clutter – clean out your purse, your car, your closet. I always feel like my home is a refection of my state of mind and schedule. If it’s messy and cluttered, usually my life is too hectic and I’m feeling stressed out. So, this week I took a whole day to just clean and put away all the junk that collects around a house with 3 busy kids. Honestly, seeing a clean space can instantly give my mind room for creativity. The mess definitely hinders me taking on a new project or idea.
  5. Get Dressed – well, I do wear clothes everyday, but some days it’s just a tank top and some yoga pants. Getting dresses in something that makes you feel confident and pretty in can really change the way your day starts. For me, putting on mascara and some big earrings can boost my moral. Maybe a hair cut or getting your nails done can be a breath of fresh air.
  6. Exercise – This might be the most important one for me. I need to burn off all those endorphins. Ya, I’d like to be a little skinnier, but mostly I exercise for my mental health. For the last couple of months, I have been swimming laps at my local pool. An hour of swimming back and forth gives me a lot of time to think and process my day. I’ve rediscovered how much I love swimming. Being weightless and submerged in water has a restorative power. I’ve also been riding my bike a lot. I never regret a bike ride. A bike ride always takes me back to my childhood and simpler times.
  7. Make Something – even though your creativity might feel totally tapped out, sometimes the act of starting a project can spur on something new and interesting. For me taking my camera for a walk around my neighborhood can help. I use my camera almost daily for my job, but taking pictures of flowers that are in full bloom and just taking pictures for no purpose at all is fun. I also picked up my water color paints this last week and painted for 3 hours straight. And yesterday I decided I’d finally make the swings that I wanted on our porch. So, I headed to the hardware store with absolutely no plan at all. It was fun to make something with a little trial and error, not know if the outcome would be good or not.
  8. A Change of Scenery – today I’m writing this post from my favorite coffee shop. but, I also editing a big batch of pictures from my front porch this week as well. Often I get stuck at my kitchen table trying to work. But, from my kitchen table, I can see my basement, which is where my laundry room is, I can also see my kitchen sink and all the dishes that need to be done or the dinner that needs to be started. Finding a new location to work can really help eliminate distractions and give you fresh eyes for the task ahead.
  9. Do Something New – for me, this kind of long, wordy post is not my usual type of blog post. I tend to rely on pretty images for the foundation of my posts. So, I type this post with a little bit of fear of failure. But, it also feels good to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes you discover something that you are good at, sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that writing is something I’m good at, but a little exploration of something different can be refreshing.
  10. Get Outside – I’m an outdoors kind of girl, but I do believe there is some power in being in nature for everyone. If I can’t make it to the desert, beach or the mountains, a little time weeding in my yard can be really helpful. I walk is also always a good idea. Right now our river has a lot of water (which hasn’t had any water for 7 years), so even though it’s still in the middle of the city, it’s good to walk along the water and listen to birds and crickets. As a christian, nothing makes me feel more connected to my Creator then being in his handy work. It always brings me so much peace.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there. Obviously there are no perfect formulas or answers for getting out of a rut. But, my thought is that change isn’t going to happen unless you take the first step. So, I’m taking all kinds of steps forward and hoping that something works. Here’s to finding my creativity again.

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Mother’s Day Flower Giveaway

May 10, 2017

Today’s post is just a friendly reminder that Mother’s Day is just around the corner and maybe I can help you with a really pretty last minute gift idea. But first, head over to instagram and enter to win a really pretty bouquet of flowers to send to a special mom in your life. Over Easter break, while we in Northern California at my parent’s place, we got to visit and tour Stargazer Barn.  It was a super rainy, cold day, but we stayed dry walking through their huge green houses filled with tulips and lilies. These are American Grown flowers. Did you know that a lot of the flowers you buy at your local supermarket are shipped in from all over the world. Not only do they ship fresh flowers all over the country, but Stargazer Barn also delivers unique gifts paired with these gorgeous fresh flowers. They pair local artisan products with their lovely blooms for an perfect gift for someone you love. Wine, chocolate, coffee and even jewelry with fresh flowers – a match made in heaven. This gift set of tulips, chocolate and coffee is my favorite. Oh and these Queensland Tulips are AMAZING!Stargazer Barn has a special discount for Oleander + Palm readers. You can get 20% your total purchase from now till Mother’s Day with this code: FLWRS4MOM20. And be sure to head over to instagram and enter the GIVEAWAY! 

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Rosemary Shortbread with Strawberries, Ice Cream and a Balsamic Reduction

May 9, 2017

Rosemary Shortbread

Shortbread cookies have always had my heart. I love these little buttery treats so much. I also love to play with interesting flavor combinations. These herby cookies hit all the right notes for me. Earthy rosemary, paired with sweet strawberries and tangy balsamic reduction make for an unforgettable sundae.

Rosemary Shortbread

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • a pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, beat the butter on high for a minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat again until smooth. Add the rosemary a mix until it is incorporated evenly.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out 1 inch by 3 inch rectangles. Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cookies in the freezer for at least 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake the cookies until just golden brown on the edges, about 12 mins.

Rosemary Shortbread

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, fresh strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Balsamic reduction sounds super fancy, but it’s one of the easiest things to make. Simply bring 1/2 cup of good balsamic vinegar to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the vinegar reduces to 1/4 cup of liquid. Allow to cool completely and you have a rich, think sauce to serve with meat, veggies or in this case – ICE CREAM!

Rosemary Shortbread