Chihuly in Denver

Glass Sculptures grace the Denver Botanical Gardens.

A lovely display of exquisite glass sculptures by world renowned artist Dale Chihuly are dramatic and yet peaceful in Denver exhibition.

Vibrant colors, whimsical shapes — some flamboyant, some subtle — entertain, amuse, and impress visitors. The exhibition just closed, but the effect lingers in the minds, memories and photos of those fortunate enough to experience it.

It is fun to see some different sculptures in the Denver Botanical Gardens that were not in Desert Botanical Gardens exhibit in Phoenix. It is equally fun seeing familiar shapes from the Phoenix gardens in the Denver setting.

ENJOY!

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

 

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in DenverChihuly in DenverChihuly in Denver

Chihuly in DenverChihuly in DenverChihuly in Denver
Chihuly in Denver Chihuly in Denver
Chihuly in Denver

 

 

Chihuly in Denver Chihuly in Denver Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver Chihuly in DenverChihuly in Denver

Chihuly in DenverChihuly in DenverChihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

 

Chihuly in Denver Chihuly in Denver

 

 

 

 

 

Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver Chihuly in Denver

Chihuly in Denver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credits: Darian J, Devon J, Bradley P, Tyler P

Easy & Fun Egg Muffins

Easy…& Fun…to Make   Easy…& Fun…to Eat

Healthy TOO!

 

EGG MUFFIINS

A Great Breakfast-by-the-Hand Recipe

Easy & Fun Egg Muffins

Delicious and healthy egg muffins are a great alternative to the usual breakfast-by-the-hand options that we often grab as we head out the door (think muffins, bagels, donuts, and other carb and sugar filled choices here) .  Great to throw in your bag to take to school or work or even headed out for fun excursion, Egg Muffins are a healthy and hearty snack for anytime and can be made in advance – ready to go!

The variations are endless.  Any combination of omelet, scramble or quiche fillings, meat, cheese and vegetables. I’m thinking Chili Rellenos s bake (green chilis & cheese), Spinach Ricotta Pie, (with a tasty salami added), Quiche Lorraine (Swiss Cheese & Bacon); Or the iconic Denver Omelet (ham, bell peppers, & cheese)

Easy Fun Egg Muffins

Ingredients

  • Green onions
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Bell peppers
  • Cheese
  • Green chillies
  • Fresh cilantro
  • You can add chicken or other lean meats, spinach, ricotta cheese, bell peppers, and lots more as per your taste.
  • Eggs 6 beaten with 2 tbsp milk, black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 400ºF
  2. Grease your muffin tin
  3. Add vegetables of your choice along with cheese (if you choose), pour beaten egg mixture on it.
  4. Place muffin pan on the center rack of a preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are light brown, puffy, and the eggs are set.
  5. Let muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the muffin pan or cups. Loosen gently with knife if they seem to be sticking. Eat immediately or let cool completely and store in plastic bag in refrigerator or freezer. The Egg Muffins can be reheated in the microwave.
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Adapted from SignatureWeddings

‘Christmas Tree’ Salad

Christmas is Coming!

 

Welcome to December – Christmas is just around the corner!  Here is a colorful Christmas Tree salad to add to your festivities

 

Christmas Tree Salad

'Christmas Tree' Salad

A healthy delicious salad filled with colorful ingredients becomes a healthy, delicious and colorful Holiday salad topped with a toasted Star!

From Healthy. Happy. Life.

I had no intentions of making this raw chard ribbon salad a “Christmas Tree” Salad. It was just going to be a holiday salad. Until I piled it into my bowl and watched as it formed a peaked tower that resembled a decked out holiday tree. 

Complete with shiny red pomegranate “lights” – glossy grape bulbs – twinkly satsuma ornaments – and then I needed a star on top…

 ..sprouted grain toast star it was!

 So my holiday salad turned into an edible tree..

 

Read the full post and get the recipe here:  Happy. Healthy. Life. from lunchboxbunch.com

 

Turkey Treat?

Turkey Treat?

For the non-Turkey lovers and others who might want an alternative, this is an interesting option!

Turkey Treat?

Then again, could it just be considered Edible Food Art?

 

Rice Crispy Treats, artfully formed into a turkey roasted turkey shape and stuffed with M&Ms providing a sweet alternative to the real deal or at least a turkey-themed dessert.

Tag this to use next Thanksgiving or for those who like turkey for Christmas dinner- use it this year!

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you Great Food and Fun Times

With Great Friends in Fun Places

 

Pumpkin Spice Cake- Let’s Eat CAKE!

 Let’s Eat CAKE!

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Let's Eat CAKE! - Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

Just in time for Thanksgiving, this delicious Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting is quick and easy to make.

The aroma of this Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake while baking filled the house with that lovely scent of the season - cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The pumpkin gives it a nice moist consistency and blends nicely with pineapple, coconut, and currants. The batter seemed a bit stiff, similar to a muffin mixture, but the cooled cake layers were so tender, they started to break when handled (wrapping it for the refrigerator overnight).Let's Eat CAKE! - Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

The Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting is lovely with a dollop of pumpkin giving it a light off-white color and delicate – almost imperceptible – pumpkin flavor. I especially like this frosting recipe for being less sweet than most cream cheese frostings. It has only 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar for the 1 cup each of butter and cream cheese and doesn’t overpower or dominate the rich cake. Let's Eat CAKE! - Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

Too rich for large slices, the moist density allows for smaller slivers of slices to be served.

Let's Eat CAKE! - Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lovely Pumpkin Spice Cake was served at our pre-Thanksgiving family dinner and was the hit of the dessert options!

 

Get the Epicurious.com recipe here

Beignets & Coffee

Beignets & Coffee at World Famous Cafe du Monde

Are THE BEST in New Orleans

 

Beignets & Coffee Having Beignets & Coffee at Cafe Du Monde is a MUST when in New Orleans! Beignets & Coffee

 A traditional coffee shop in the French Market of New Orleans, the Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand is World Famous for its Beignets and Cafe’ au Lait…. and in my opinion, they offer the BEST in New Orleans! The Cafe, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week — closing only on Christmas Day and  “on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans” –Beignets & Coffee also offers the  opportunity to people watch and is a wonderful spot for the entertainment of the iconic street musicians.

Beignets & Coffee

 Beignets are square French-style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar. The square pieces of dough are fried then dusted with powdered sugar. Coming from the Southwest, they remind me of Mexican Sopapilla’s served with honey or cinnamon/sugar.

As a youngster, I enjoyed ‘Fry Babies’ as a treat on the days my mother made bread.  Saving aside small pieces of dough, she patted and stretched them into circles, then deep-fried them. But ‘Fry Babies’ were more like the Indian Fry Bread of the Southwest than Mexican Sopapillas or the French Beignets. Sapapillas are more of a ‘quick’ bread using a leavening agent like baking powder rather than yeast. Beignets have a unique flavor of their own and the dough itself is a ‘choux pastry’, containing only butter, water, flour, and eggs. Instead of a raising agent, it employs high moisture content to create steam during cooking to puff the pastry.   

Beignets & CoffeeJust as Sopapillas with honey are sticky eating, the Beignets –buried under a mountain of snowy white powdered sugar– are fun to eat, with the  super fine powder poofing off into the air and getting everywhere!

Beignets and COFFEE

Beignets & Coffee The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand has been serving dark roasted coffee with chicory since 1862.  The rich dark coffee is served ‘black ‘ or ‘au Lait’  (mixed half and half with warm milk).

 Nothing goes better with Beignets than cafe’ au lait! And of course, they both taste BEST when eaten IN New Orleans AT Cafe’ du Monde!

Images: Gail H; Vicki L; Great Food Fun Places

de’Medici Cucina Italiana

de’Medici Cucina Italiana

“Fine Italian Dining”

in San Diego’s Downtown Gaslamp District

Out on the town for an evening of dinner and a concert, we chose a restaurant in the Gaslamp district of San Diego.  de’Medici Cucina Italiana is only a couple blocks from the Balboa Theater, the Lyceum Theater and a parking garage near Horton Plaza in the Gaslamp District. Great location and SO easy to get to!!

de' Medici Cucina ItalianaThe owner, Salvatore Vitale – “just call me Sal!” – posed for a photo.  Very friendly and very solicitous, Sal went around to the tables several times checking on his patrons, all the time keeping an absolute eagle eye on the servers and the kitchen.

de' Medici Cucina Italiana

de’Medici offers alfresco dining and on this  beautiful balmy evening their alfresco area was packed!    The interior has a lovely ambiance and we want to eat in there next time, but this evening was too beautiful to be eating inside and we joined the others dining in the open air – alfresco!

 

First, we were served a kind of garlic bread that had a kind of pesto spread on it (really delicious). Sorry, I didn’t think to find out more about it, nor did I think to take a picture!

de' Medici Cucina Italiana

Our Caesar salad (Fabulous!) was made table-side by our delightful waiter, Antonio.

de' Medici Cucina Italiana

In between the salad and the entree we were served lime sorbet — to cleanse our palate!

Even though it’s fine “Italian” dining – and we do want to go back and eat our way through the Pasta list! – we both ended up getting the filet mignon and lobster tail combo.  Wow! The filet mignon had a port wine-reduction sauce and cut like butter. The lobster tail was done to absolute perfection.

And for dessert? Tempting choices of  Tiramisu, Cannoli, Profiterolls, Gelato Berries, Cream Brulee, Floating Island….the list goes on…  Sadly, we weren’t able to sample (or even get a look at) any of these delectable desserts as we had to leave for the concert. Another return engagement is required to eat our way through the desserts along with the Pasta List

de' Medici Cucina Italianade’Medici Cucina Italiana has an “Excellent” rating from Zagat. I never thought I’d ever have the chance to eat in a Zagat “Excellent” rated restaurant – that’s heady stuff!    And yet, we found de’ Medici to be very reasonably priced for such a fancy restaurant.

“From the Spaghetti al Pomodoro Fresco to the award winning Sole Portofino, de’Medici signature dishes are a feast to be remembered.”

Visit the website of de’Medici Cucina italiana 

 Thanks, Alice P, for this fun post!

It’s NOVEMBER – Pie Time!

Get Ready for PIE – It’s NOVEMBER!

And That means: Pie Time!

Anytime is Pie Time … but especially as we head into November with Thanksgiving plans being made, thoughts of Pies – lots of pies – fill our heads!!

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Traditional is good . . . but little change-ups are fun.

Here are some simple and easy ways to ‘fancy up’ your favorite pies:

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Leaves: Roll your top crust to 1/4-inch thick. Use a real leaf as a guide, or freehand it, to cut out leaf shapes. With a toothpick or skewer, lightly etch a vein design into the top of each leaf. Starting from the outside edge of the pie, layer your leaves (overlapping them slightly) over the pie filling in concentric circles.(above-center)

Lattice: If you want to tackle lattice, roll out your top crust to 1/4-inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut long, even strips of dough (I like to make mine about 1/2-inch wide). Continue until you’re out of dough. Place half of the strips horizontally across your pie filling with a 1/2 inch between each strip. Fold back every other strip halfway, and place a strip vertically down the pie (right up against where you’ve folded the strips back). Then swap the horizontal strips: unfold the folded ones, and fold back the others. Repeat, placing down another vertical strip, leaving 1/2 inch between each vertical strip, and fold and unfold the horizontal strips in the same way. Repeat, working outwards, until 1/2 of the pie is latticed. Then rotate your pie and do the same on the other half. Trim the edges of the crust. (above -lower left)

 Circles: Roll your top crust to 1/4-inch thick. Using the a pastry tip (substitute with a small cup or round object), cut holes all over the crust. Place the crust on top of the pie and seal the edges. (above-lower right)

Cut Out Double Crust Pie: Roll out pie dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes from the dough. Working from the outside edge to the center, layer the dough pieces on top of the the pie filling, overlapping slightly. This is a simple and eye catching alternative to a standard double crust pie — and is far easier than lattice work. (not shown)

 Ruffled Phyllo Crust: Place a piece of phyllo onto a work surface. Brush with melted butter, and top with another piece of phyllo. Place the second piece slightly off kilter, so the edges don’t match up, and the points of the dough are askew from the first piece. Repeat until you’ve layered 7 pieces of dough. Transfer the dough to a pie plate, and crumple the overhang around the edge. From here, the crust can be blind baked or paired with a filling and baked. (center- top photo)

 Fancy, Fun, & EASY Edges:

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Braided Edge: Roll out pie dough scraps to 1/4-inch thick — it’s best to keep the piece of dough as long as possible. A standard pie 9″ pie pan is slightly more than 28 inches in circumference, so either go for it and roll out your dough to be about 29 inches long and make a single braid, or take a more sensible route and roll it out in two 15-inch sections to make two braids. Cut three long, thin strips (about 1/4 inch wide) using a chef’s knife or pastry wheel. Pinch three strips together at the top, and braid together. (above -top left)

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

When the pieces are almost fully braided, pinch the ends together to seal. Hold the strand at both ends and stretch gently. Brush the edge of the crust lightly with water and press the braid (or braids) into the edge (if you made two braids, overlap the pieces slightly to achieve a seamless effect). This technique also works well with just two pieces of dough, twisted together.

Rounded Crimped Edge: You’ve mastered the classic crimped edge, which makes a fluted edge with points. With this new technique, the bowl of a spoon guides the finishing of the edge, making a slightly rounded, more fluid edge. (above-lower center)

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

The larger the bowl of the spoon, the bigger the waves will be. Dip the bowl of the spoon lightly into flour and press it gently into the crust, moving outward and using your fingers to guide the outer edge. Repeat all the way around the crust.

Dotted Edge: Roll out pie dough scraps to 1/4-inch thick. Lightly flour a small circular cookie cutter (in a pinch, you can use a shot glass or even a bottle cap), and cut out enough circles to cover the entire edge of the pie. (above-top right)It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Brush the edge of the crust with water, and lay the circles around the edge, overlapping slightly. Any shape can be used, just remember to keep the dough pieces small. Pieces that are too large are more likely to become misshapen in the oven.It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

and My Favorite change-up?

Toasted Marshmallow:  Try an easy (and delicious) alternative to meringue — marshmallow topping! Cook 1 1/3 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a small saucepan until it reaches 250 degrees (measure with a candy thermometer). In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the cooked sugar and water to the stand mixer, and whip the heck out of it until it gets fluffy and triples in size. From there? Mound it on the top of your favorite pie and toast to perfection in the oven or with a torch. (top photo- lower left) .

Make it a  “S’Mores Pie” –  Use a graham cracker crust with the chocolate filling and Toasted Marshmallow ‘meringue’!

 

 

Adapted from Food52: 9 Ways to Fancy Up Your Pies

Easy-to-Eat Pumpkins and Ghosts

Happy Halloween!

These Easy-to-Eat Pumpkins and Ghosts are perfect for anytime during Halloween Fun. Easy-to-make and Healthy, too!

Easy-Eat Pumpkins and Ghosts