Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Favorite Photos

Let me share some of my favorite photos.
Some of this pictures were taken from a compact digital camera,
and I am so happy how these shots came out.
I will be posting some recipes soon,
this is just a crazy few weeks for me.
Thanksgiving & Black Friday just passed,
my Husband and my daughter's birthdays
are coming up very soon,
so that means I am a bit overwhelmed right now.
I have more favorite photos,
 but I can only share what I can access easily.
So I hope you enjoy the following photos I have taken the past year.
I promise,
I'll be back in the kitchen soon.
Black Swan at Kalahari, Ohio
Gone Fishing
Lily Pond
Fall 2012
Boat dock, Kensington Park, Michigan

Chicago Skyline

Pritzker Pavilion, Millenium Park, Chicago
Orchid, at Plantera Conservatory

Fallsview, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Waterplay, Sandusky
Golden Gate, San Francico


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cranberry Cornbread Muffins


We are always ask at dinner what we are most thankful for.
The following is what I am most thankful for:

 1. My Family - it may not be perfect for others but it is just PERFECT for us.

 2. The Comfortable way of living we have.
We don't have much, but we have what we need.

3.The abundance of great friends.

4. Thankful for people who have charitable hearts
and constantly helping those in need.
5. And most of all ... I am thankful Thanksgiving Dinner is not at my house
and I don't have to fuss on preparation.
All I'm making is my Eggplant Spinach Lasagna as requested.
What are you most Thankful for?


I was never a fan of cornbread,
until my cousin Pam shared her cornbread recipe to me.
To change it up a bit,
to my taste,
 I added sweetcorn kernels,
and since I love dried cranberries 
I thought I'd add that too
 it's a perfect pair .

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs, mix well.
  • Mix in cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add milk and flour, alternate amounts. Blend well.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Makes about 18 muffins.
  • You can use a 9x13 pan if you prefer.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spiced Antique Apple Pancake


I woke up craving for banana pancake with Nutella.
But of course, all the bananas have been eaten.
Most of our bananas end up turning brown here at my house,
but on the day you need it, there's none left.
Go Figure!
Looking at the fruit basket,
there are still some Antique Apples left from the Christmas Cove Farm
we visited up North.
The owner John "The Apple Man" Kilcherman,
a sweet, funny, soft spoken man,
grew these Antique Apples as a hobby 25 years ago,
 today this hobby grew from 10 varieties to 200 varieties of Antique apples.
John and his wife Phyllis owns the 85-acre Apple and Cherry orchard
at the Leelanau Peninsula about 4 miles north of the Village of Northport. 
What are Antique Apples?
They are different varieties of apples that were grown by the first settlers in America, 
which were brought in from foreign countries way back in the 1600's. 
Some of these apples are extremely rare.
Before this apples goes to waste,
why not make some apple and cinnamon pancake
using this delicious apples.
And this will be a great excuse to use my
Gold Medal winner Light Maple Syrup
that I stumbled upon in Canada.
Don't ask me the brand name of the maple syrup, there's no name just that logo
in front of the bottle, the paper that came with it, 
Taz manage to rip it off
a while ago. 
This is one happy accident recipe.
Everyone loved it.
Aiden had seconds and I didn't hear any comments from my 12 year old picky eater.
No comment means ... the pancake was good.

1 cup English Golden Russet & Ozark Gold apples, shredded
1/4 sugar
1/2 tbsp ground Saigon cinnamon
Basic Pancake Batter:
     2 cups  all-purposed flour, spooned and leveled
     4 tbsp(s) sugar
     2 tsp(s) baking powder
     1 tsp salt
     2 cups milk
     2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
     2 large eggs
     2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • In a medium bowl, mix shredded apples, cinnamon and sugar. Blend well.
  • In small skillet cook apple mixture for about 5 minutes until apples are soft. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter, and vegetable oil. 
  • Add all dry ingredients to milk mixture, stir until large lumps disappear.
  • Let stand for 1-2 minutes.
  • Heat lightly greased skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
  • Sprinkle the apple cinnamon mixture on top of pancake batter.
  • Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown.

  • For soft fluffy pancakes, avoid over mixing and avoid turning them more than once.
  • Do not put apple mixture first on the skillet and pouring batter over it, this will cause your apple mixture to burn and this will not give you the perfect round shape you want.
  • If you don't want to fuss with the pancake batter and just want to use a boxed pancake mix, I suggest Aunt Jemima Original. I have tried all pancake mixes and Aunt Jemima delivered. ;)
  • Serves 8

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend with my Mommy Friends @ Northport

Still recovering from a fun Kids Free weekend at Northport, 
with my dear Mommy friends.
It was a weekend filled with laughter,
great company,
delicious food and lots of wine.
 Lots of wine!!!

I do apologize for the poor quality of some photo images,
I forgot to charge the battery of my DSLR camera,
so I had to use my iPhone.

Northport is at the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan.
A Beautiful, quaint, quiet town
with hills filled with apple and cherry orchards.
Northport lies near the 45th Parallel.
And Yes,
our friend Sandi made us raise our feet and arms.
Until now, I have no idea why. Hahaha!

The drive after the recent rain was a lively scenery,
Lush forests and fields,
one would say,
lends an air of enchantment.
It was a scenery you would see in movies,
thousands of trees,
some with golden leaves formed a canopy over the roadside,
deers on the field,
rays from the sun behind heavy clouds peeking through.
Yes, Mother Nature
surely has it's awesome way with special effects.


Just learned today,
we just missed IRON CHEF MARIO BATALI.
He is spending Thanksgiving at his house at his summer home in Northport.
It would have been so awesome running into him in town
or the local grocer where he frequents.


Stayed at our friend Sandi's parents Bed & Breakfast.
Days Gone By 
is a Victorian Country home and was built in 1868.
 It is less than a quarter mile walk to town shops and the Marina.
And a hike away to this panoramic hilltop view of Grand Traverse.

Each room has it's own theme, comfortable beds,
and of course spotlessly clean bathrooms.
My room had a great view of the Copper Beech Tree.
The smell of coffee, and baked yummies woke us up every morning.
The mouth-watering breakfast filled our hungry bellies before we left for the days mini adventures.
Jane is the Best Host ever,
she made sure our stay was very comfortable.
Stone Fence borders the Large property
A Large Outdoor Fireplace
The Copper Beech Tree outside my Bedroom window.
Our trip was perfect timing for the
Taste of The Season.

Yes, like I said before, there are wineries in Michigan. 
My friends and I are not wine experts,
but we are Mommies that have a taste for good wine. 
California still has some of the best wines in the world, 
but Michigan has a few good tasting wines as well.
There's a couple of wines that I happen to like from this wine region.
But there is one that really stands out.
Black Star Farms full-bodied Arcturos Cabernet Franc
 is smooth and rich. 
A hint of forest floor earthiness and spicy toasty oak 
is in perfect harmony with the blackberry and raspberry aromas.
The delicate but good structured tannins anchors the finish. 
It is well-balanced, but complex.
I would say this is the "Best Michigan Wine."
Best paired with any hearty rustic meals.
The high ceiling and wooden beams felt like I was in a California Winery,
I immediately knew that I will have good tasting here.
My puffy eyed face from only 3 hrs. of sleep with lovely Veronica
whose father 17 years ago planted the grapevines the Cabernet Franc is made from.
 She helped us with her expertise in choosing the best wine.

We visited a few more wineries, 
and encountered some quite happy and very tipsy older couples,
 with their car hitting and scraping every boulder on the side of the parking lot.
The poor car!
No traffic enforcer was in sight that weekend.
Maybe they were at the wine tasting too.

Car on the left, The Tipsy driver hitting the boulders in front and back of the car.
At Leelanau Cellars

 we went to get some Antique Apples at the Christmas Cove Farm.
It's about less than 5 miles from the B&B.
John the owner,
had some interesting bottle collections that filled the entire wall of the barn.
And his tin can collections filled the ceiling as well.
As you approach the barn you are welcomed with the sweet aroma of the apples.
Different varieties of Antique Apples
were at the table, and it was our lucky day,
everything was 1/2 off.


John showing me his new addition, a  Rare bottle with the print of the Capitol.

Looks like my husband and I. LOL!

After the farm we were off to see the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.


He turned to face me as I was taking his picture.
 Aimee found a cute friend.
Remembering all the Heroes who protected and kept us safe.
Veteran's Day 2012.

After the Lighthouse, we went back to town.
a gift shop with a variety of beautiful things including the Vera Bradley Collection.
Got myself a beautiful scarf and some christmas ornaments.
Every year I get a few to add to my collection.
It was a day of deals,
first we got 50% off at the Antique Apples farm
and here we got everything at 25% off.

They had an array of  yummies for their customers. A very nice gesture.
We then strolled to the Marina.
A Perfect day for it,
the sun decided to grace us with its presence.
The Marina was empty, and so was the beach next to it.
No one in sight, not even the seagulls.
It was just a few days ago when I was missing the beach.
And here I am, what a beautiful sight!
The breeze touching my face was a kiss of relaxation.
Hearing the ocean crashing, waves hitting sand, then pulling back to the bay.
The sound of the waves in the morning is just refreshing.
The water in different shades of blue.
The water was crystal clear
you can see everything living below it,
  the soft powdery sand cool to the touch. 
Ahhh ... life at the beach is what I want.


This has been a fun weekend with great friends.
We all deserved the break from our busy everyday life.
Thanks to our wonderful husbands who gifted us this luxurious weekend.
Who unselfishly stayed behind taking good care of our precious ones at home.

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