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Showing posts from December, 2011

Visiting California

I just got back from a trip to the Los Angeles area last night and I must say that I had a wonderful time visiting friends & family.  Having lived and gone to school there, I have a lot of fond memories of Southern California.  Although I had planned on visiting with several people and family members during my stay, I wasn't able to see everyone.  The ones I did meet with managed to make my vacation extra special.  Going to cafes and chatting or having a cocktail party with long time friends are among my favorite things to do, but spending quiet moments with my family is what it's all about. Having quality time with my dear mother and father, along with my brother's family, is what I look forward to whenever I visit Los Angeles.  Picking lemons from dad's many citrus trees and bringing home a suitcase full of them is always a pleasure, because I get to use them as soon as I return to Pennsylvania.  Cooking Christmas dinner with mother and recounting the many times

Ryan J. Greenheck

It's not everyday you come across great works of art while traveling through an airport.  On a recent trip I decided to take a stroll through the international terminal at Philadelphia International Airport while waiting for my flight.  Much to my surprise I discovered a wonderful exhibit of ceramic artwork.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that I was looking at unique vessels with some very compelling glazes & styling.  I love ceramics of all types, but the ones that caught my complete attention were those of artist, Ryan J. Greenheck.  Take a closer look at these magnificent pieces or art.    This is his exhibit at the airport.  A small portion of his oeuvre. The brief artist bio states: Ryan J. Greenheck uses the potter's wheel to create extremely precise forms that are both functional and beautiful.  His repertoire includes vases, jars and teapots along with complete dinner sets - plates, bowls and cups.  Greenheck received his Master of Fine Arts from New York St

Lentil Soup

I love the earthy taste of lentils in soups, salads, pilafs & as a main dish.  When I was a strict vegetarian many years ago, I developed a taste for these nutritional legumes and came to rely on them quite often.  Packed with a lot of fiber and protein, among other beneficial good things, lentils make a most comforting & delicious soup during the colder months. Lentil Soup is among my favorite things to eat for meatless dinners and it always manages to get devoured by everyone.  This particular soup gets its flavor and texture from 4 different types of lentils, but you can get away with using just 2 types and still make it delicious.  I've given you several optional ingredients to add to the soup, so pick & choose according to your preferences.  The best thing about this soup, other than the taste, is that it can be made with a minimum of fuss in the kitchen.  Let me show you. My Lentil Soup The lentils, clockwise from top left.  Le Puy French Lentils are smal

Merry Christmas

I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope that you all find yourselves surrounded by loved ones, good food & good cheer.  This beautiful and whimsical gingerbread house was constructed by my adorable niece Audrey & nephew Andrew this Christmas Eve; to hear their laughter & see their bright smiles while constructing it was priceless for this proud uncle.  I vow to make it a tradition for my little ones from this day forth.   Best Wishes & Cheers! ~David              

Holiday Treat Packages

Giving loved ones homemade baked goods during the holidays is such a pleasure for me.  It isn't something I do haphazardly at the last minute when there is so much else that needs to get done.  Weeks before, I begin to make lists of what I want to bake and what I want to try, then I check my pantry for items I need to stock.  If something needs to be bought or special ordered, I do it in advance.  Old favorites are baked every single year, but I always try to include something new or different.  If I get requests for a special treat, I try to oblige because I know it's going to make someone happy (my niece always gets her Cranberry Coins !).  Let me show you what I usually do. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ My dough counter in the kitchen is filled with baked cookies, breads & packaging materials.  I like to assemble everything in one place to make my packaging go a lot quicker.  I try very hard to give everyone the same amount of treats. Here's a closeup of t

Pumpkin Bread

I'm in the middle of getting ready for a trip, so I thought I'd repost this delicious recipe for Pumpkin Bread .  Enjoy! ~ David ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ Pumpkin bread is something I like to start baking a few weeks leading into the holidays.  It's wonderful to give as a gift to loved ones, but it's also great to have on hand because it is so tasty.  Don't think, however, that I limit myself to baking this delicious bread only around this time of the year.  I've been known to whip up a batch of these loaves well into March if the mood strikes me.  Although the original recipe I use is a classic, I've changed bits here and there over the years and I think that this final version is my favorite.  The recipe makes 4 large 9x5x3" loaves, but can be cut in half if you wish to only make 2 loaves.  Let me show you how I make them. Large bowls from my yellowware collection. The Ingredients: 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cups granulated sugar 1

Martha by Mail ~ Tree & House Cookie Cutters

Imagine a charming little house surrounded by an evergreen forest of trees, all in delicious cookie form.  These copper cutters from Martha by Mail feature a House & Tree that can be adapted any number of ways.  The facade of the little, quaint cottage can be adorned with a welcoming doorway, a set of whimsical windows and a sweet, snowy rooftop.  The giant evergreen tree can be festooned with lovely multi-colored lights or Christmas ornaments in royal icing.  Whatever design or style you choose, make sure to bake plenty of cookies because everyone is going to want one. ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵ As you can see, every facade of these tiny homes is unique.  A doorway invites everyone to take a big bite and the rooftops are heavily covered in either snowy royal icing or sugary icicles.  You can even add a wreath & several "ornaments" if you like. The tree on the left is flooded in white royal icing, suggesting a recent snowfall, and is festooned with multicolore

Martha by Mail ~ Nutcracker & Mouse King Cookie Cutters

Plucked right out of the ballet that is performed the world over, the iconic Nutcracker & Mouse King are perfect for Christmas.  These images are just the thing for the little ones in your life.  How clever of the Martha by Mail catalog to have produced these beautiful cookie cutters for customers and aficionados of the ballet.  One of the things that I truly love about this particular pair is the sheer size of the cookies; plenty of room to express your creativity.  If you're thinking of attending a Nutcracker production this season, bake a set of these lovely cookies to share with the children (make a few extra for the adults!).  They will be just as enchanting and sweet as the characters in The Land of Sweets .  Merry Christmas!   ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ Martha by Mail Decorating Card.  A pair of gingerbread cookies are iced in various shades of royal icing.  The gallant Nutcracker is given such a wonderful hat & a most intricately designed coat.  The charming Mouse King