The Wonderful World of Pi(e)

Circumference? Diameter?  Who cares–

We’re talking’ about pie here!

Forget all that Math stuff – THIS is my idea of Pi(e)!! 

Wonderful World of Pi(e) Thanks to  The Dish by Restaurant.com for this wonderful and delightful view of today’s Pi Day and

THE WORLD OF PI(E):

The Wonderful World of Pi(e) March 14th is National Pi Day. For those of you who can’t remember that junior high math lesson, here’s a refresher.  It has to do with circles, and lines, and distances and lengths. For our purposes, all you need to know is Pi (?) = 3.14 aka March 14.   So in celebration of all things nerdy and delicious, we’re celebrating this circular holiday with a few delectable circles of our own, and diving into the wonderful world of PIE!The Wonderful World of Pi(e)

Let’s start with the foundation. THE CRUST. First you have your flaky varieties, some are sweet, some are salty, some are made with butter. Others use shortening, some rely on cold COLD water, while still more call for distilled vinegar as the secret ingredient to achieve that perfect, tender, flaky base. Then there are the butter-crumb crusts. Smashed cookie or graham bits, mixed with sugar and melted butter that are then pressed into a perfect pie crust shape. THEN you add ooey, gooey, sweet or creamy fillings; perhaps you want to get wild and crazy and fill these shells with a savory mixture and call it…dinner. However you roll (get it, dough…rolling…), it’s clear that pies, in all their many forms, are awesome. Here are a few of our favorites:

Fruit Pie – Fruit is one of the most classic pie fillings and the possibilities are limitless. Wonderful World of Pi(e)Some people love berry pies, while others prefer pitted varieties like peach. Every fall, stores and counter tops are overrun with a plethora of apple pies with various and sundry toppings. Then there’s that crazy faction that recommends combining different kinds of fruit for a truly spectacular taste experience. No matter what fruit you’re using, a sugary filling of tender fruit and juices makes for a darn good slice. We’ll take ours a la mode! Custard Pie – Who knew combining sugar, cream and eggs and baking it in a shell could produce so much deliciousness. Well friends, that’s exactly what a custard pie is. Add a plethora of other ingredients like chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin, caramel or liquors and end up with a delicate slip of flavor that melts in your mouth (and probably your hand, too). The Wonderful World of Pi(e)Savory Pies – The savory pie is a popular European dish and is served as an actual meal, rather than for dessert. Most combinations include a mixture of meat (beef or lamb) and vegetables, like potatoes and onions. A more Americanized example of a savory pie is the chicken pot pie. This traditionally southern meal has the outside appearance of a pie, and the inside flavor of Thanksgiving dinner. 

Of course, you could combine all three and end up with something like this.

Mini pies – It seems like these days you can find anything and everything in mini form. Pies are no exception. We happen to love mini pies. They’re bite-sized and portable with all our favorite pie flavors still intact. We like to pretend that their small stature makes them a relatively healthy snack. Please don’t ruin it for us.

Pie on a stick – Everything tastes better on a stick. Enough said.

Pie in a cake – For our grand finale, we give you the turducken of desserts, the pie cake:

(really??)

The Wonderful World of Pi(e)Yes, someone somewhere decided that since pie is delicious, and cake is delicious, putting one inside the other and baking them together would be even more delicious. We’ve never been lucky (aka brave) enough to try a slice, but this mythical dessert is definitely on our foodie bucket list.

Okay…this one is a bit weird. Otherwise, it’s all good fun and yummy prospects!!

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day!

Today is the most magical day of the year:

Pi Day

Happy Pi Day!A most auspicious holiday for math (and pie) enthusiasts to celebrate their love of numbers while eating pie.  It is a worldwide celebration (at least in the USA and a few other countries that write dates the same way) held on this day – March 14th every year. Traditionally, Pi Day is celebrated on 3/14 at 1:59. This year is also the most magical year of the century for Pi Lovers. THIS year marks a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence to celebrate 10 digits of Pi. Today, 3/14/15 at precisely 9:26:53 the date and time will read: 3.14.15 9:26:53

Happy Pi Day!

 

The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around. Pi (Greek letter “?”)  is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same.  Pi is approximately 3.141592653, but it continues at random to infinity. No matter how many numbers after the decimal place you use, the only way to get it exactly is to use the symbol pi.

 

HISTORY OF PI

By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “?”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of ? became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits past its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

This all sounds mostly Greek to me! However after reading about Pi Day and all the different descriptions, explanations, and celebrations of Pi, I will admit that I finally have a better understanding of the sacred ‘Pi’

And now ….in honor of Pi

Let’s Eat PIE!

Happy Pi Day!

Facebook user Kay Sweet will be celebrating Pi Day, and her birthday. Photo courtesy of Kay Sweet

References:

Vox.com

pbs.org

Time.com

Washingtonpost.com

 

Castle in the Trees

Tree Top Tree House Castle

Castle in the Trees

Castle in the Trees

Always a symbol of creativity and imagination, Tree Houses are traditionally a few planks of wood secured in the branches of a tree. Now, they are being elevated to new heights of luxurious accommodations and designed as Castles.

Castle in the Trees

These delightful Tree House Castles, are complete with turrets and towers, suspension bridges, secret trap doors  and climbing walls.

Castle in the Trees

Castle in the Trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castle in the Trees

 

 

A Castle in the Trees offer a place where you can enjoy the freedom of space and proximity to nature without sacrificing the comforts of home –a luxurious home!

 

Castle in the Trees

Castle in the Trees

BlueForest Tree House and Design is leading the way creating fantasy play areas, romantic hideaways, exclusive accommodations for hotels, and inspiring eco-classrooms. You can have one built or find one for a vacation stay! Contact BlueForest

Let’s Eat CAKE! – mmm…CHOCOLATE!

 February – the month of LOVE – of Hearts…Flowers…Valentines and….

mmmm…. CHOCOLATE! 

Let’s Eat CAKE! 

A beautiful Chocolate Cake for this month of LOVE and Hearts and Flowers and Valentines and — mmmm…CHOCOLATE! This basic chocolate cake with sour cream fudge frosting is easy and also elegant — perfect for anytime: simple Sunday dinners or extra special occasions!Let's Eat CAKE! - mmm...CHOCOLATE!

Starting as a recipe titled ‘Top Tier” Devils Food cake, this is anything but ‘devils food’ … the flavor is a bit light,  lacking the dark  richness one expects of a ‘Devil’s Food’ cake.

The ‘Top Tier” aspect apparently is to offer that delightfully sized ‘top’ of a wedding cake. We chose, instead to go full-on with three 9″ layers of chocolate goodness.  Let's Eat CAKE! - mmm...CHOCOLATE! Doubling the cake recipe didn’t quiet fill  the larger pans, allowing the cake to become more torte-like.   To frost the entire cake including the sides, the frosting recipe, should also be doubled. As written, it is the perfect amount to finish off the “torte” look.

Overall, the flavor of the cake seems mild. Expecting a rich ‘Devils Food’,  we are disappointed. However, the recipe does call for ‘milk’ chocolate bars and only 1/4 cup of cocoa, so it is not going to be dark or rich flavored.  It IS an easy cake to make….so ‘top’ it with a lovely fresh rose, and ‘Voila?! Very Elegant!Let's Eat CAKE! - mmm...CHOCOLATE!

 

Get the Recipe

 

Images: A. Perkins

 

It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Girls Scouts cookies are here!

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Girl Scout Cookie Time is a fun annual tradition that many of us look forward to, if for no other reason than our own bit of nostalgia. remembering our own efforts at sales — or getting to eat them!

My first memory of Girl Scout cookies and still a favorite of mine, is the shortbread Trefoils. I don’t remember which came first:  eating them or selling them.   Our Granddaughter – a Brownie Scout this year and yes – selling cookies! – announced that the Samoas are 40 years old this year. I was shocked! …and prompted to look into the Girl Scout Cookie History.It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

An icon of American culture for nearly 100 years, the tradition, efforts and experiences offered to the Girl Scouts  through cookie sales has provided valuable life skills in leadership, personal development, confidence, and community involvement.

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!As early as 1917, just five years after Girl Scouting in America was started by Juliette Gordon Low, the sale of cookies has been  a way for troops to finance activities. During the 1920′s and 1930′s, Girl Scouts across the country, in partnership with their mothers, baked simple sugar cookies, and sold them door-to-door, packaged by the dozen in waxed paper bags sealed with a sticker. Get the Recipe below! It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

The Greater Philadelphia Council was the first to sell commercially baked cookies (1934) and the Girl Scout Federation of New York purchased a die in the shape of Trefoil and used the words, “Girl Scout Cookies” on the boxes being sold (1935). The very next year, (1936) the  national Girl Scout association began the process to license the first commercial baker to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by girls in Girl Scout councils. And the rest, we might say is “History”!

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Cookies were replaced with calendars during World War II with shortages of the key ingredients of Sugar, Flour and Butter. After the war, the sale of cookies resumed and three varieties were offered: Shortbread, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Chocolate Mint.

A few year later, the flavors had evolved to a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled cookie, shortbread, and the chocolate mint. Since the mid-1960s, a few more varieties have been offered, with the most popular and best sellers still the Shortbread, Chocolate Mint , and the Peanut Butter Sandwich. Now known as Trefoils, Thin Mints, and Do-si-dos, these continue to be the top sellers with the Samoas catching up in popularity!

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!The cookie boxes have also undergone a steady transformation. Now, bright and colorful, they depict scenes of Girl Scouts in action: hiking, canoeing, biking and promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.

As early as the 1950s, and with the growth of suburbia, Girl Scout Cookies began being sold by girls at tables in shopping malls.

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

 

Images and information from Girl Scout.org

 

GIRL SCOUT COOKIE RECIPE

An article  by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois, was published in The American Girl magazine in July 1922, by Girl Scout nationeal headquarters. In the article, Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout Cookie, circa 1922

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • additional sugar for topping (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • • 1 teaspoon salt
  • • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired.
  2. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.
http://greatfoodfunplaces.com/2015/02/01/girl-scout-cookie-time/

Fun Football Food

Ready for the Big Game?

… here is some Fun FOOTBALL Food for any game time!

How fun is this?? A simple ‘football’ shaped meatloaf cleverly decorated with cheese is perfect for any  game day but especially Super Bowl!

Not a meat eater?  This great idea and simple presentation can even be adapted to yummy veggie-based loafs and burgers.

Fun Football Food

 

 

Get the Meatloaf recipe here

Get a non-meat loft recipe here

Sleep under the Northern Lights!

More beauty from the North – Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights

Sleep Under the Northern LightsYou can view the Northern Lights from the comfort of a bed in a rented Glass Igloo at Kakslauttanen, Finland.

The Northern Lights are one of the most magnificent natural phenomena and are visible in the night sky between late August and late April.Sleep Under the Northern Lights

An Arctic Resort in the wilderness of Lapland Finland, Kakslauttanen is a family hotel offers unique accommodations such as the Glass Igloos, as well as Snow Igloos, Log Cabins, Gold Diggers Cabin, a Traditional House and even Santa’s Home!

Sleep Under the Northern Lights

In addition to viewing the Northern Lights at Kakslauttanen, a variety of other experiences include winter and summer activities such as reindeer safaris, husky safaris, ice fishing, gold panning, mountain biking and skiing and snow boarding.

Located about 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, Kakslauttanen is easy to reach. It is only a 30 minute bus ride from the nearest airport at Ivalo, Finland  and not far from northern Norway or Murmansk, Russia.

 

 

Images from Kakslauttanen

 

Let there be SUNSHINE!

Let there be SUNSHINE!

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine, almost always, makes me high   (John Denver)

Let there be SUNSHINE!

Sunshine is a precious sight this time of year  - especially in the northern countries!

Celebrating the shorter days and longer nights of winter with festivals of light (St Lucia, Christmas Trees, Chanukkah, New Year’s fireworks), many areas also welcome the brief light of Sunshine!

Soft sunlight contrasts with the snowy white of frosty landscapes creating scenes of peace and serenity!

Let there be Light

Let there be Light

Let there be Light

Let there be SUNSHINE!

Images: M Viukari; Walter Rodriguez; Luka Esenko; Anton Shvain

Happy New Year from Russia

Russians welcome the New Year by saying

“S Novim Godom!”

Happy New Year from Russia

Happy New Year from Russia

 Most Russians consider the New Year as their main holiday of the year 

and celebrate it in a BIG way!

My friend, Lyudmila K., from Moscow, enjoys observing her country’s traditional New Years celebration of late dinners, family fun, and gift giving, with other family members and friends from Russia even after being here in the United States about 15 years.

Family and friends gather for late night dinners, sparkling wine, and fireworks at midnight. Games are played, gifts are exchanged, and toasts are made. Festivities also include decorated fir trees, and visits and gifts from Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost -the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus) who is sometimes accompanied by his granddaughter, Snegurochka (The Snow Girl or Snow Maiden).

Preparations begin early in the day on December 31 for their late night feasts of traditional foods such as Russian salads, herring ,cheese and breads, pickles and marinades. Happy New Year from Russia

Russian salads are significantly different from their European counterparts – many of them are made from the boiled vegetables and mayonnaise. The favorite salad of Russians and the main dish on New Year’s table is, of course, Olivier. This salad is made with boiled beef or chicken, with boiled potatoes, carrots, onions, pickles, boiled egg, green peas and mayonnaise. Sometimes sausage or ham are used in place of meat.

Just before midnight, a speech is given by the President of the Russian Federation in which he briefly sums up the results of the year and congratulates the the country with the holiday. Precisely at midnight, all TV channels broadcast the Kremlin chimes heralding the beginning of the New Year at midnight.  Then come the fireworks and the traditional drink of Champagne at Midnight.

 

This ornate giant Christmas ball is part of the Holiday Season decorations in central  Moscow.

IMG_0267

 

Read more about New Years and Christmas Traditions in Russia

Image Credits: tourspb.com; themoscowtimes.com;

Stumptown Coffee Celebration

STUMPTOWN COFFEE

Portland, Oregon

Celebrating 14 years of serving coffee

 

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