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sweetly sinful

It’s been since November since I last posted on this blog — a lot has happened since that last post not the least of which was moving from Austin to Chicago. The Austin Cook With a View kitchen has been retired and is now surely filled with the aromas and foods of India — the buyers of our home were from Southern India and they love to cook so I am glad that the kitchen will remain busy and productive.

As for a new Cook With a View kitchen, we’re in a transition period while Patrick and I explore the Chicago area and decide where to buy our next home. What comes with that however is an exploration of Chicago’s culinary assets — and let me tell you they are bountiful. But before I get to that I wanted to share with you an interview with a friend and former colleague who has recently turned her creative force into a new candy business called Sweetly Sinful Candy Company.

Just in time for valentines day I encourage you to RUN not walk to your computer peruse her website and either call (208-315-3634) or email YUM@SWEETLYSINFULCANDYCO.COM to order your Sweet some sinful sweets and see what kind of trouble you get into!

here’s what Suzann had to say about making candy

CK: So Suzann you are one of the most creative people I know. Is making candy a creative endeavor for you?

SK: It is! Every chocolate I make is a design project, from flavors to color and shape, along with the final sheen and presentation in the box. I love that I can use all my experience as a graphic designer in this business!

CK: Have you been making candy all your life?

SK: I started making candy at 15 – it was my first job! Stirring caramel over a huge kettle, wrapping chocolates and the like. Then it became a holiday tradition making caramels, hard candy, truffles, etc. After a few years of giving them to local friends, they finally talked me into making them for resale!

CK: What is the most surprising thing you have learned about making candy?

SK: Patience is a virtue! And chocolate is as complex and varied as wine. Try one bar made from beans in coastal Ecuador, and it will taste completely different than a bar made from cacao beans grown in the Ecuadoran mountains.

CK: What are your most popular candies? Are these your favorite?

SK: Caramels, no doubt about it. They are my favorite as well, and I really love the fleur de sel caramels dipped in dark Belgian chocolate. They are sublime, and quite addictive.


CK: Ill never forget your stories of working with the Bee Professor in Montana. Have you considered collaborating with him or creating a line of honey candy in honor of his work and that time in your life?

SK: Ahhh…..Dr. Bromenshenk. I love that you remembered that! The bee man with his buzzing behavior. I had not thought of that concept, but it’s sure a cool idea! I may have to process that a little more and come up with something. I do have a ton of honey from my dad’s Montana farmland, and have been conceptualizing something with honey and milk chocolate. Or a lemon, lavender and honey flavored truffle.

CK: Have you found that men and women have different flavor favorites?

SK: Surprisingly, no. Just when you think you can predict something, it becomes the opposite! A big, burly guy loving a white chocolate and plum heart, and his tiny girlfriend going for the super dark chocolate with espresso and whiskey!

CK: Is your family supportive? What advice have they given you on this endeavor?

SK: My family, and most of all my husband, have been behind me 100%! I could not do this without them and their encouragement. They all want me to go for it and make this a full-time endeavor.

CK: Are you interested in your company growing?

SK: Right now, I would like to see slow growth and make a living as a full-time chocolatier, then eventually add an employee or two until I am ready to open a retail chocolate shop. That’s a few years down the road, and I don’t want to get too big. I don’t want to lose sight of my original principles of small batches of hand-crafted artisan confections. No big machines or robot arms here!


yoga moves ~ half moon pose

Half Moon Pose (Arda Chandrasana)

Half moon pose is another great standing balance pose (are you seeing a theme here)? It helps to strengthen the ankles and thighs. Both Lisa and I use a block  prop to help us reach the ground. Using props in yoga is a great way to gently train your body to reach or achieve the full expression of a pose. Using props should not be considered cheating, or a negative reflection of your ability. Do yourself a favor and buy some blocks, they will help you align properly and when you are aligned properly you receive the full benefits of the pose. Some other great props to invest in are belts or straps, a bolster and a yoga blanket. I was recently in Chicago (a new food for the soul post is coming soon) and had the pleasure of using a rope wall for body alignment. The studio – Yoga Among Friends – is in Downers Grove, Il. I enjoyed lots of great Inyengar practice while I was there. Love, loved, loved the studio, and I can’t wait to go back.

Its easy to see where I need to place my focus when doing this pose by comparing my photo below to Lisa’s photo above.  My extended leg and upward reaching arm both need to be more active – stretching, rotating etc… The extended leg should be reaching and my foot should be fully engaged in a flexed position. My arm also needs to be reaching upward with my fingers bright and spread apart. It’s always great to have something to work toward! Let me know how your yoga practice is going.  ~ nameste, catherine

oh what fun we had!

Last Sunday I launched my first cooking class for Cook With a View in my home kitchen to a full house of seven students. We filled our heads with new recipes and cooking tips, filled our bellies with platefuls of beans and grains and filled the air with continuous laughter. I can’t thank all of these women enough for spending their Sunday with me and gracing my kitchen.

I felt like a comedian on stage trying out new material. It was less scary than I thought it would be, but I wasn’t staring into a black smoke filled room of people who were waiting to pounce if I didn’t meet their expectations. I learned so much about pacing, the necessity of practicing (a new phenomenon to me since I like the thrill of flying by the seat of my pants), the value of a sous chef, and how to sleep when its all over so I don’t take my tired thoughts too seriously.  I feel like the class was a huge success and I received the kind of feedback I really needed and wanted – honest praise and suggestions. Also a huge thank you goes to Paige Thurgood my sous chef and class photographer. Without her help this class could not have been possible.

So this leads me to invite any of you on the fence about taking a class to consider the next class on March 18 from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. I will help students learn how to build a whole foods pantry; one that can support healthy food preparation. Check out the information on the classes and events tab of the website.  More classes will be added soon. Look for a healthy Mexican food class in early April.

With the success of this first class I would like to introduce the following new offerings ~ frequent cooker cards and one-on-one classes. The frequent cooker card is available to students who take group classes. After taking 5 of my classes you receive the 6th class free.  In addition to this incentive card, I am offering one-on-one cooking classes for students who want more in depth instruction for general or specific cooking ~ we will work together to tailor this instruction to your needs.  Students who have taken group classes with me are offered a discounted rate for one-on-one classes. Please contact at me catherine@cookwithaview for pricing and other information.

~cheers, cat