Colorful Cactus Flowers

Cactus Flowers are brilliant and give amazing color to the muted shades of the desert.

Colorful Cactus Flowers

 

These bright blossoms of the Cactus flower less than a dayColorful Cactus FlowersColorful Cactus Flowers

but are beautiful when they are blooming.

 

 

Colorful Cactus Flowers
Colorful Cactus Flowers

 

 

 

 

Colorful Cactus Flowers

Arizona Cactus Sales is a fun  nursery that offers  an abundance of variety in color choices, sizes, and types of cactus: 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorful Cactus Flowers

 

 

A close inspection shows a unique design in these pretty flowers

Colorful Cactus Flowers

The Desert Botanical Gardens is another fun place to visit,

especially when the cactus are blooming! 

 

A Fractured Prune

Fractured Prune . . . Whaaaat?

Fractured Prune

While eating a delicious brunch ‘al fresco’ one morning, we had a lively discussion about a nearby shop called the Fractured Prune.  Fractured PruneBefore wandering back to our car we stopped to see what this intriguing shop was all about  Discovering a curiously creative doughnut shop, we HAD to go in – add a dessert on top of brunch!

Similar to the fun of watching my  Krispy Kreme “comfort-food” doughnuts formed, raised, and cooked, the Fractured Prune offers an entertaining view of the doughnuts being made and cooked.Fractured Prune

Fractured PruneBut then – it all goes different!!

Once these light and airy ‘cake’ style doughnuts are cooked (which occurs much faster than the raised Krispy Kreme doughnuts) they are custom frosted and decorated to order. Fractured Prune Fractured Prune
“Nobody else is doing what we’re doing. Where others offer rows of preconceived doughnut flavors, we’re offering infinite choices.  Why? Because we believe in the individual and that there’s no wrong way to make your delicious.”
You may create an exotic taste like the VooDoo doughnuts (bacon-maple or cereal-sprinkles) or remain conservative. Fractured Prune
Initially, I was really conservative and had a plain one – no fancy fixings because … I LIKE plain cake doughnuts!  Oh my goodness …. the freshness and ‘plainness’ brought back fond memories of eating fresh cooked ‘plain’ cake doughnuts at the top of Pikes Peak.  (I hope they are still selling fresh cooked doughnuts up there – it makes the experience at that oxygen-deprived altitude even more fun!)

Fractured PruneFractured PruneThe Fractured Prune® Doughnuts were SO fresh the box was almost too HOT to hold! We had to wait for the doughnuts to cool off enough just to pick one up, let alone eat it. The wait was worth it! Just plain is just Fine!

 

 

And the choices beyond the ‘plain’ seem almost infinite:Fractured Prune

” there are 155,648 different combinations of doughnut awesomeness available at stores offering 19 glazes and 13 toppings – and that doesn’t even include our limited time offer glazes and toppings! Bottom line, Fractured Prune offers some tasty possibilities.”

Fractured Prune

 

Fractured Prune® Doughnuts originated in Ocean City (Maryland) and is named after the spunky Prunella Shriek, known as “Fractured Prunella” for the broken bones she suffered competing in traditionally men’s sports even into her 70s. Fractured Prune® Doughnuts celebrates her legacy with a doughnut as individual as the person ordering it!

Fractured Prune® Doughnuts are expanding their market with franchise stores. Watch for one near you!!

Celebrate Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day at Frey Winery – America’s first organic and biodynamic winery.

Enjoy a farm tour, demonstrations, wine tasting, and organic appetizers. The guided farm tour will take you on a walk to the barn to visit baby lambs, goats, and calves, then on to the farm garden to ‘mingle’ with the organic veggies, flowers, and herbs and observe demonstrations about biodynamic gardening. Stroll back to the winery and continue the day’s celebration with wine tasting accompanied by appetizers.

 Located at 14000 Tomki Rd, just off Highway 101 North, in Redwood Valley, California, Frey Winery is a third-generation family owned and operated winery and has been producing award-winning vegan, and gluten free wines with no added sulfites since 1980.

Reservations are requested. Tickets are $20 for the general public and complementary for  Wine Club members and children 12 and under. Contact Frey Winery for availability

Please call 800.760.3739 or email:  wineclub@freywine.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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/

 

 

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

 

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

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

Stumptown Coffee Celebration

STUMPTOWN COFFEE

Portland, Oregon

Celebrating 14 years of serving coffee

 

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