New Giveaway!

Mikey and Jenifer will see their haul in the mail soon.  I’m waiting on a backordered item, then I’ll be mailing out their win from the Subscriber Giveaway.  In the meantime, I have a new giveaway ready to go.  All you need to do is “Like” my Pure Romance Facebook page.  Once it gets to 50 “likes”, I will give some lucky someone (drawn at random from those who have “liked” the page) 20% off anything in my store.

Click here to like the Facebook page:  Pure Romance by Lane

It's pink.  It's fluffy.  It's adorable.  What's not to love?
It’s pink. It’s fluffy. It’s adorable. What’s not to love?

Days of Christmas: Holiday Must Make–Truffles, Cake Balls, and Jars of Cake

I get 90% of my sweet recipes from Jamie over at A Dash of Domestic, including the idea for Jars of Cake and Cake Balls.  I saw this Holiday Truffles recipe on Facebook, and had to try it.  I figured it was a dessert I couldn’t bake to death or ruin in some other way.

I picked up the following at the grocery store, then Thor and I got to work tonight.

  • 2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 bag of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 14oz can of condensed milk
  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 2 things of Duncan Hines frosting (1 cream cheese, 1 chocolate)
  • 1 half gallon of whole milk
  • Assorted Sprinkles
  • 1 tin of cocoa
  • 12 4oz jelly jars with lids

Following the Holiday Truffles recipe, I melted up the chips and condensed milk, let Thor do the stirring, then popped it in the fridge to chill while I went to work on the cake.  Once everything was cool, I rolled up my truffle balls and then covered them in the assorted sprinkles.  I found it worked better to warm the chocolate in my hands a little before sprinkle dousing, and I found it worked really well to just roll the balls around inside a bowl of cocoa to cover them with that.  Now they are sitting in the freezer, waiting to go to a Christmas party.

Holiday Truffles

I made the red velvet cake batter as directed, then poured in 2 cups of chocolate chips (1 semi-sweet, 1 dark) at Thor’s behest.  Half the batter I poured into the tiny jars (situated on top of my Pampered Chef stone baking sheet–I love that thing so much!  Thank you Emily Reese!), filling the jars about halfway, then baked for 26 minutes at 350.  I used a teaspoon to scoop off the muffin-y tops of the cakes, then stuffed my cream cheese frosting into a ziplock baggie and cut a tiny pinch from a corner for a makeshift decorating tip.

After the cakes were cooled, I frosted them, screwed the jar lids on, and decorated one for you to see.  Those are now refrigerated, waiting to be delivered to their lucky owners.

Cakes cooling. I set them in warm water to help cool them down without breaking the glass. Ask me about my glass breaking story sometime.
Icing on the cake.
When is a door not a door? When it's ajar. Ahahahahaha! This is a cake in a jar.
Festive, non?

I baked the other half of the batter as a sheet, then mixed it up with about a quarter of the chocolate frosting (and the cake muffin tops I had cut from the jars) and formed cake balls with that.  I rolled the balls in cocoa, and have them in the freezer with the truffles, chilling and hanging out until it is time to be eaten.  Soon, my sweets, soon.

I did melt down some chocolate chips and mixed with whole milk, then dipped about 6 of the cake balls into that.  I caught Thor sneaking them from the platter where they were cooling.  The cake-faced grin would have given it away if the chocolate soul patch he was sporting had not.  Or the stomach ache he ended up with later.

We had fun.  Next up is the gingerbread train kit we’re putting together tomorrow.  Woo-woo!

On the topic of cooking, remember that if you leave a comment on ANY blog entry between now and December 30, like The Outside Lane on Facebook, or leave a comment on The Outside Lane on Facebook, you can win a month-long Premium Membership to my favorite Personal Chef’s website:

Days of Christmas: Holiday Have to WIN!!! Jewelry by June Bijou

As part of today’s Holiday Guide, Win These Earrings!

The Gaby Earrings by June Bijou

June is one of those unforgettable people. You meet her and she makes an indelible impact on your life. Then you see her jewelry. Oh my word, the jewelry. For several years, June designed for brands and for her own June Bijou line in major department and apparel stores, but after having her first baby in 2008, she decided to scale back the operation to better suit her lifestyle as a mother. “Having it all” meant maintaining her art, but changing the way she did business to open up the time she wanted to spend with her growing family.

Now, with two little boys (and one big man!) at home, June has reinvented herself as a boutique jeweler, selling her meticulously crafted art directly to individuals, through her website and trunk shows.  You can “like” her on Facebook here.

When June and I reconnected (in a Barnes & Noble parking lot) last January, and she told me she was making jewelry, I expected to see pretty, Etsy-style crafts on her website. I did not expect to find fine metals and gemstones. I didn’t even know you could do what she does by hand! My first sight of her jewelry took my breath away. The collection features a variety of semi-precious, faceted gemstones and beads such as different types of quartz, jade, and various kinds of pearls. The metals, wire & chain used to craft this special jewelry include 14K gold filled, sterling silver, and vermeil.

Free shipping through December 15th.

Her collection is light and airy, and evokes white sand beaches as frequently as white powder slopes. What I am trying to say is that June’s jewelry would be perfectly at home on a sarong wearing supermodel in Ibiza, or a fox-furred socialite in Aspen, and you–at work, at play, at that glittering holiday party. It is amazingly beautiful and accessible.

These are a few of my favorites:

Green Garnet Almond Shaped Vermeil Rings
Vermeil Trio Disc Necklace. Look for the gorgeous matching earrings.
Bohemian Chic Earrings.
The Hope and Love Bangle. Would you ever guess that was handmade? So beautiful!

From now, through December 15, there is free shipping on any order, AND, June has offered The Outside Lane, the chance to give away a pair of her gorgeous Gabby earrings. Leave a comment about your favorite piece of personal jewelry here or at The Outside Lane on Facebook, and be entered to win!  “Like” The Outside Lane on Facebook for another chance to win.

Days of Christmas: Holiday Have to Have–GIVEAWAY! Membership to

You all know how much I love Julie Anne Rhodes and her Personal Chef Approach to meal preparation.  Since joining her website as a Premium Member, in just under a year, I’ve gone from a woman who (not in)frequently set her kitchen on fire, and whose son would beg to go out to eat rather than attempt a mouthful of my Better Off Dead culinary offerings to a fairly decent cook, if I do say so myself.  I’m even venturing out and sharing my own little recipes in a fitness community–to nice results.  I give Julie Anne a lot of that credit.

Why?  Because her Personal Chef Approach to cooking took a weight of stress out of meal planning and preparation, so I could just get down to the business of food.  I also give her site and recipes a lot of credit for me being able to lose 15lbs since this summer.  With my foods prepped ahead of time (especially my lunches!) it’s been easier to eat healthy meals–and tasty meals, too.  It doesn’t hurt that she is fantastically funny, and shares more than just how-tos for cooking on her site.  Premium Members have direct daily access to her in the Forums–worth the membership when you have a question!

As part of the Holiday Shopping Guide, Julie Anne has offered up a gift certificate for a month-long Premium Membership.  One lucky The Outside Lane reader will win an all-access pass to for a full month.

The winner will be selected from all the comments received on The Outside Lane through the month December 30th, with the prize being announced on December 31st–so you can opt to start your membership as part of your New Year Resolutions to get fit, eat better, learn to cook/cook better, get to know interesting people, or just try something new.

Like The Outside Lane on Facebook, and that will count as an entry into the contest, too!

Share The Outside Lane with friends on Facebook, or share individual blog entries, and those will also count as entries.  Lots of ways to stuff the ballot box in your own favor 😉

Here’s what you could get (from Julie Anne herself):

Premium Members enjoy all-access privileges to The PCA™ and receive insider-only tips, exclusive recipes (including archived info), and a weekly menu plan. The menu plan alone is worth more than the price of membership in time, ease, and effort saved! Premium Member benefits include:

WEEKLY MENU PLAN Eliminate any guesswork and save time with an entire week’s worth of meal ideas. Easily tailored to your family’s specific tastes, detailed menu plans come with easy recipes, ready-to-go grocery shopping lists, and heat-to-eat instructions.

PREMIUM RECIPE LIBRARY ACCESS Access a much larger variety of original recipes. Every recipe is one I created (not borrowed from another source) and each has been tested and approved by the clients of my multi-award winning Personal Chef Service. Many recipes also offer variations to accommodate specific tastes and are so easy that, “if you can read, you can cook!”

HOW-TO VIDEOS Some people learn easier when shown than told, which is why Premium Members can view simple step-by-step slideshows for some of the site’s most popular recipes.

ONLINE FORUM Gain a sense of community by joining others and myself as they share their experiences in the kitchen – whether they’re cooking for the very first time or professionally. It’s a G-rated space where you can ask questions, share your successes, and personal cooking challenges. Plus, you’ll gain the secret tips, tricks, and good advice I’ve learned in more than a decade as an award-winning personal chef.

  • CYBER LIVING ROOM An easy way to stay in touch and make friends with other members with your interests. Share thoughts, questions, reviews of local restaurants, events you’ve attended, or family and pet photos. Popular topics include the current week’s menu plan and The PCA™.
  • RECIPE SHARING Have a tried-and-true recipe? Here’s your opportunity to tell everyone about it and discover fellow member’s favorite dishes.
  • MEMBER PROFILES Give your postings a personal touch with the ability to upload a profile pic, your interests, talents, or any other information you want to share.

Inside Dish A monthly e-newsletter with tips on applying The PCA™, advice on safe-food handling, and advance notice of upcoming products, shows, and news! (Premium Members also gain access to archived issues of the newsletter.)

 Our version of “Dear Abby,” only with kitchen woes instead of those of the heart. Send in any cooking desires, queries, or catastrophes, and each month two member’s questions and answers will be featured in the Inside Dish newsletter.

So start commenting, sharing and liking, friends!  Can’t wait to see you in the Forums on!