Have a Happy Day!

“It’s not happy people who are thankful.
It is thankful people who are happy.”


Wishing you a day filled with Joy, Love,
and lots of Thankful People!

Oh yes … and Great Food and Fun Times!


Have a Happy Day!

Thanksgiving with Julia & Friends

Thanksgiving with Julia Child…& Friends

– what could be more fun?

Thanksgiving with Julia

This cute illustration by Adriana Gallo along with the list of ‘greats’  caught my attention.  This suggestion hooked me right in:

 “IF – Julia Child, James Beard, and Mollie Katzen threw a potluck Thanksgiving, you’d want to go, right?”  

Of course I’d want to go!

Attempting to “honor the forefathers and mothers of American cooking” here is a menu full of favorite recipes from the Food52 community and staff, and blogosphere at large.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Julia

Among other ‘greats’ here are a few recipes to tempt you:

Julia Child’s Brussels Sprouts with Braised Chestnuts

James Beard’s  Rich Pumpkin Pie

Mollie Katzen’s Mushroom Yogurt Pie with Spinach Crust

Who are your favorite forefathers and mothers of American Cooking?

What are your favorite recipes?



More Than A Recipe

More than a recipe from Orange Peel Bakery

As usual – the photo caught my attention – a delicious, mouthwatering baked something or other – This one looks berry, juicy and baked brown nutty … some sort of tart – oh yum!

Berry - Nutty Tart

Curious (and hungry!) –  I checked out the article hoping for a recipe. Lucky me – it was there! Then, I read the accompanying article and got more than a recipe.  The article is a great read and offers a fascinating profile and insight of an interesting baker with an intriguing bakery to investigate – wood fired oven – Martha’s Vineyard…and an honorable mission, as well as.

Orange Peel Bakery is definitely on my list of places to visit– Not just to sample the baked goods which sound (and look)  amazing – but to experience the setting and support the admirable mission of the baker, Juli Vanderhoop.

Read the article  for yourself and learn more of what I am referring to:

Trained by a Medicine Man on Martha’s Vineyard, One Baker Gives Rise to an Honest Community

More than a recipe More than a recipe










More than a recipe

Let me know if you have a chance to visit Orange Peel Bakery – located at 22 State Rd, Aquinnah Martha’s Vineyard, and share your experience with us!

Here is the recipe.  BEWARE:  it is enough for a Bakery production– it makes EIGHT tarts!  Looks easy to reduce. I’ll let you know if I manage it.

Raspberry Bars with Almond Crust

Yield: Recipe is for EIGHT 8" TARTS


  • 2 ½ cups slivered almonds, divided
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 tablespoon and one teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups (four sticks) cold butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups raspberry jam


  1. 1. Sauté ½ cup of the almonds in a pan until golden brown and set aside.
  2. 2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, oats, remaining almonds, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. 3. In another bowl combine the butter and brown sugar. Add the almond extract and eggs and blend.
  4. 4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, and mix until well blended. Press the mixture into eight 8? tart pans, onto the bottom and up the sides, leaving enough room for filling.
  5. 5. Bake the tarts at 360 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove them from oven and when cool, fill the shells with raspberry jam and top with the reserved toasted almonds. Bake the tarts for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, until the crusts are a rich, golden color.
  6. 6. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut each tart into pieces and serve.



Summer ‘Fruit Platter’ Bouquet

This colorful fruit platter is truly a Summer Bouquet!

Fruit Platter Bouquet

 Fresh fruits artistically arranged and presented

in a lovely garden bouquet of floral shapes and colors

also provides an opportunity to

‘Eat” through the colors of the rainbow’

This fun fruit platter offers a mouthwatering arrangement especially on a hot summer day.

Make it with any variety of fruits in season.

What are some of your favorite fruits and how do you present them? 


It’s A WINNER!! Let’s Eat CAKE!

Yes! A Winner! Finally!!

Let’s Eat CAKE!!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting


The cake batter went together super easy – and once the sour cream and mashed bananas were mixed in it was one of the Best tasting cake batters I’ve ever snitched at!

The peanut butter frosting was also very easy, and actually ended up like it was supposed to –  very light and whipped.  With a super good flavor!

To be honest I’m not a great peanut butter fan when it comes to peanut butter cookies, cakes, frosting, etc.  (I LOVE peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, however!!)

And I certainly wasn’t sure about the flavor of banana and peanut butter.

So, I hedged a little, and instead of frosting between the layers with the peanut butter frosting (although there was certainly enough of it) I made a light, whipped chocolate frosting.  We Have A WINNE! Let's Eat CAKE!

The cake batter has mini chocolate chips in it, but other than using chocolate chips/candy for decorating the top, that’s the only chocolate called for in the recipe.  So I wanted a little more chocolate and a little less peanut butter.

I also made the recipe in three 9″ cake pans rather than two 8″ pans as the recipe calls for  – well, actually they say to use two 8″ square pans, which I don’t have, anyway.  The recipe makes a Lot of batter, and heeding Julie’s experience with her disaster cake I thought it best to use three pans instead of two.  Good thing I did – all three pans were close but not quite over the edges of the pans when the cake was done baking.

The cake itself was nicely moist and very flavorful.

The recipe suggests using chocolate chips and chocolate candy such as Hershey’s Kisses to decorate the top (see their photo).  I didn’t want to buy a whole bag of kisses – and a whole bag of chocolate chips, for that matter – just to use a few on the cake, so I scoured through the store to see what else was available.

I found the perfect things!  One was a a Nestle Toll House chip called “DelightFuls” – I’d never heard of them but maybe you guys have?  They are basically regular-sized chips that are filled with peanut butter – they also have ones that are filled with mint, or raspberry, etc. – and they come in a small bag.

We Have A WINNE! Let's Eat CAKE!

The other thing I found was Reese’s Pieces “Mini” peanut butter cups – they are unwrapped and only about a half-inch tall, and also come in a small bag.

So those are what I decorated the cake with!  Turned out really good!








Like most of these kinds of cakes that we’re making, this one is Very rich.  

We Have A WINNE! Let's Eat CAKE!

Finally –  a cake good enough to share with neighbors! And I’ll also take some into work on Monday!  YAY!!





Earth Day: The Tree of Life

In honor of Earth Day ….

The Tree of Life

Earth Day: Tree of Life

This giant Baobab Tree in South Africa is believed to be 2,000 years old.

Baobab Trees boast Longevity…Some are believed to be thousands of years old.

Known as the Tree of Life, they also provide sustenance and support for longevity of people, providing shelter, clothing, food, and water for the animal and human inhabitants.  Hollowed out trunks have provided shelter to as many as 40 people. 

The cork-like bark and huge stem are fire resistant and are used for making cloth and rope. The leaves are used as condiments and eaten to boost the immune system.

A Baobab tree stores thousands of liters of water in its trunk to endure harsh drought conditions particular to the the regions in which they are found.

The fruit, called “monkey bread”, is edible, and full of vitamin C.

Earth Day - Tree of Life It has a velvety shell and is about the size of a coconut, weighing about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb). It has an acidic, tart flavor, described as “somewhere between grapefruit, pear, and vanilla”. The baobab fruit has medicinal and nutritional properties. Some reports say the fruit provides 3 times as much Vitamin C as an orange, 50% more Calcium and 66%  more iron than spinach, more Magnesium than Coconut Water, more Potassium than Bananas, 50% Heart healthy Fiber per serving and is a plentiful source of antioxidants (disease fighting molecules credited with helping reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease).

Earth Day: Tree of Life

Baobab is the common name for each of the nine species of tree in the genus Adansonia.

  All varieties of the Baobab tree occur in seasonally arid     areas, and are deciduous, shedding their leaves during the dry season. Of the nine species, six are native to Madagascar, two are native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and one is native to Australia

 Learn more about Baobab Trees and Fruits









Organic Baobab Fruit



Earth Day at Frey Vineyards

Celebrate Earth Day at Frey Vineyards!

Organic wine with no sulfites added, from America’s pioneering organic winery

Earth Day at Frey Vineyards

We’re planning a splendid party to celebrate the Earth and we hope you can join us! We’ll be touring Frey Ranch with walks to the animal barns, the bounteous Biodynamic gardens, and the vineyards. We’ll finish off the afternoon with a delicious picnic-syle lunch and wine tasting under the oaks. We’ve switched up the agenda this year and we’ve added workshops in organic composting and soil amendments. RSVP is a must – please call us at the winery, 1-800-760-3739, to reserve your spot or follow the link to learn more…


Plan NOW to enjoy Earth Day celebrations at Frey Vineyards

Nestled on the slopes of Redwood Valley in  Mendocino County, California

Saturday, April 25, 10am-2pm


Earth Day at Frey's


Hippity Hoppin’ Easter Fun

Have Hippity Hoppin’ Happy Easter FUN!

Natural Dye-d Eggs and Tie-Dyed Eggs, Bunny Buns, Deviled Chicks, and Bunny Cake


 And All I Need to Know…

. . . I Learned from the Easter Bunny!


Easter Bunny Cake

Let’s Eat CAKE!

Easter Bunny Cake

 Perfect for Easter:

Bunny Cake


Make this adorable Bunny Cake for Easter dessert.


What you will need:

1 layer of an 8 or 9 inch cake
White frosting
Shredded coconut
Green Food Coloring
Assorted Jelly Beans
1 sheet of plain white paper
Pink Colored Marker
2 toothpicks


Here are step-by-step directions for this Easy-to-make Easter Bunny Cake:

Bake a two layer cake using your favorite recipe. We like Chocolate but it could be a white or yellow cake if preferred.  You will use only one layer, so wrap the other layer a freeze for a quick dessert another time.

  Using a single layer of a baked cake slice in half diagonally.Easter Bunny Cake

Stand the two halves upright on a platter, cut sides down.Easter Bunny Cake

 About 2 inches up from one end, make a 2 inch wedge cut.

Easter Bunny Cake

Place this ‘wedge’ piece at the opposite side for the tail.Easter Bunny Cake

Slather frosting between the layers, including the tail and head pieces; then frost generously all over, giving a nice thick coating. We like a gooey boiled frosting such as Betty Crocker’s Fluffy Frosting but any butter cream, marshmallow, or egg white frosting will work. Easter Bunny Cake

Place shredded or finely flaked coconut in a medium sized mixing bowl. Using a fork, mix the coconut with a few drops of green food coloring.Easter Bunny Cake

Sprinkle, shake and pat plain white shredded coconut all over cake. Add the green ‘grass’ around the edges of the cake. Easter Bunny Cake

 Add dark jelly beans for eyes and a pink jelly bean for a nose.

Scatter additional jelly beans around in the grassEaster Bunny Cake

 Cut ‘ears’ from plain white paper and color in the centers with a marker. Poke a toothpick gently through the bottom edges of each of the ears

Easter Bunny Cake

 Insert toothpick into the ‘wedge’ cut behind the head

Easter Bunny Cake


Easter Bunny Cake