The Christmas Season Begins!

The Christmas season begins in Aachen, Germany, with Weihnachtsmarkt – the annual Christmas Market.The Christmas Season Begins

Visiting this ancient town during Weihnactsmarkt is the perfect way to get into the Christmas Spirit!

This year, a quiet walk through town before crowds arrive for the market provides a peaceful visit to some parts of town previously unseen or possibly overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the the shops. The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

 

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

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The Christmas Season Begins

The Christmas Season Begins

One of my favorite ancient towns in a lovely part of Europe, Aachen is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands. It was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, is associated with first emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation)and was later the place of coronation of the German kings.

Aachen’s charming historic old town provides the perfect backdrop to the German Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt) which is concentrated on the large public squares around the cathedral (Dom) and Rathaus in the old town area.

The Christmas Season Begins

Special thanks to my friend, Agnes, who takes me back to this special place and helps begin the Christmas season with her photos and visits to this delightful market.

Other photo credits: http://aachenweihnachtsmarkt.de

 

 

 

 

Have a Happy Day!

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

Have A Happy Day

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

Oh yes … and Great Food and Fun Times!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING !

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
http://greatfoodfunplaces.com/2015/09/06/more-than-a-recipe/

 

 

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? 

Image from LOVELIEGREENIE

It’s A WINNER!! Let’s Eat CAKE!

Yes! A Winner! Finally!!

Let’s Eat CAKE!!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

DSCN1132

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!!

 

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/banana-chocolate-chip-cake-with-peanut-butter-frosting-51117350

 

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!