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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images:

Organic Baobab Fruit

Wikipedia

 

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!

HAPPY  EASTER!

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

HAPPY HOPPY EASTER!

Easter Bunny Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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