Sunday, December 1, 2019

Traveling Tote #21 and a Giveaway

Hope my American friends had a good Thanksgiving. Our table was filled with a bounty of food and blessings. We are so fortunate to never be hungry.

My favorite place to visit is New York City, and this trip we attended the New York City Wine and Food Festival at Pier 94. We had tickets for almost a year, and it was a SOLD OUT event. Each October, the Food Network holds a  fundraiser for the Food Bank of New York City and the No Kid Hungry Foundation.Approximately 500 celebrity chefs and local chefs donate their time and talent to put on one of the biggest wine and food festivals in the country.We went on a Saturday, but it is four days of food-related events....the Grand Tasting and culinary demos were amazing.
We were the first group to enter the event when the doors opened. This allowed easy navigation and access to any vendor. As time went on, we noticed the volume of people and access to vendors became more challenging.If you are a fan of culinary personalities and celebrity chefs, you will be in your glory. Access to shows was easy. We are “Foodies” and enjoyed this event very much.I took some photos during the Cookbook signings, and it was the best spot to meet the chefs and culinary personalities.  The highlights for me were being in the audience for Geoffrey Zakarian (Judge on Food Network’s Chopped) and Valerie Bertinelli (the next Betty White) We left with our bellies full, a swag bag of foodie items and a celebrity chef high.

In October, the gals and I traveled to the Sap Bush Hollow Farm Café for a tasty birthday lunch and to meet Shannon from the Radical Homemaker Blog. On our way home, we made a quick stop at Beekman 1802 so I could introduce them to the wonderful goat milk products. I can't wait to start using the Beekman Advent calendar. 
We had a lot of fun picking apples this year, it was a perfect fall until Halloween. Then the unwanted weather began with flooding and then cold temperatures. Speaking of flooding, I hope they can protect Venice from rising sea levels. 
In November, we enjoyed a trip to the Finger Lakes for the MacKenzie-Childs warehouse sale. We're very lucky to live two hours from MC and to be able to enjoy all the sales they have. I only bought housewarming and Christmas gifts, with the exception of a magnifying mirror for the bathroom. We also made a stop at the retail store where they had a limited amount of Christmas decor at that time. 
This is the beautiful view when leaving the warehouse sale. Union Springs Park. 

An adorable tote and tassel came home with me. The tote will most likely be a Christmas gift for a lucky lady in our family. They don't read my blog...who has time for that with littles. 

Drum roll.... we have a special giveaway for our wonderful readers. Please visit The French Hutch and leave a comment to be entered for this giveaway. 
The Traveling Totes would love you to stop by for a visit.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

Thank you very much for your visit! Wishing everyone a cozy holiday season. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes for this time of year. 

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”  ― Lewis Carroll

In my tote is something VERY special. A Surprise That Touches My Heart. Something I can't wait to share with you in A SPECIAL POST with giveaway details on January 15, 2020.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Country Apple Fritter Bread

Our local newspaper alerted me to this bread, and this is truly the best apple bread I have ever had. When I googled for the recipe I found this. I read quite a few of the reviews which were very positive. I'll admit that I am sometimes skeptical when seeing a recipe on Pinterest but I knew this would be a winner and it is. 

This Awesome Country Apple Fritter Bread is the Most Popular Apple Recipe on Pinterest on Food Network

It’s been pinned over a million times and has also been featured on Food Network’s ‘The Kitchen’ Show.  
Savoring fall tastes is my weakness. I hope you try this....I give a 100% satisfaction guarantee :-)

Country Apple Fritter Bread recipe (this recipe makes one loaf) 9 x 5 loaf pan...or you can make muffins. 

I'm going into Thanksgiving mode this weekend. We are hosting between 10-16 people, and I've decorated the upstairs bannister for the photo shoot that Xavier enjoys doing. He is three and a half years old and doesn't forget anything. I wish I had his brain.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Dirt Bombs {Duffins}

The grand finale of the weekend was making Dirt Bombs. A cross between a cinnamon sugar doughnut and a muffin!! Mr. Mountain Breaths calls them "Duffins". Dust off your muffin tins folks, and start thinking of who you'd like to share these muffins with. The dough can be refrigerated for up to three days if you don't want to bake all 12 muffins at the same time. 
I have made these several times, and they are Joe's favorite. He only has two favorite sweets. Dirt Bombs and chocolate chip cookies. If you have weekend guests during the holiday season, the dirt bombs can be made ahead and you can store them in a Ziploc bag and successfully reheat them. I wrap them individually in a paper towel, and microwave at full power for 15 seconds. They're perfect like that. I think it's the cardamon that appeals to me. Yum!

 I am not sure where the recipe originated from, but when I did a Google search, it appears that a bakery in Cape Cod is flaunting this delicious muffin on the menu. 

Here's the recipe I use:

Yield: 12 muffins

3 cups AP flour, minus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamon

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk


¾ cups unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400º F. Place the rack in the center position. Generously grease a 12-cup standard muffin pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cardamon into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down half way through. Mix in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk in two additions, mixing gently by hand to incorporate all the flour. The batter will be on the stiff side, but airy. Don’t over mix or beat the batter as this will make the muffins tough. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, without smoothing the tops. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, turn them out onto a wire rack.

Add the melted butter to a bowl. In another bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the muffins (top, sides and bottom) in the butter, using a pastry brush -if necessary- to cover areas not buttered by dipping. Immediately roll the muffins in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thank you for stopping by! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Beauty of October Days

 "The trees are in their autumn beauty. The woodland paths are dry. Under October twilight the water mirrors a still sky". W.B. Yeats
Fall at our camp
My granddog Chase
My cousin Howard Okusko. I just love this photo. 
Xavier and Bryon :-)

I can't get enough of these alpacas.
 Witch's Butter (fungi) on a log in the woods. 
 My friend Joan squeezing a handful of Sphagnum Moss (peat moss). This moss can store water, since both living and dead plants can hold large quantities of water inside their cells. Plants can hold 16 times as much water as their dry weight.  Here is what the moss looks like in red.

We fed the donkeys apples, and the baby donkey was eating leaves :-)

 October also added weight to my thighs. I have been wanting to try this sandwich at home after having it in France. Wow just wow. Barefoot Contessa's recipe. 

 If you've been with me over the years, you will recall that Halloween was one of my mom's favorite times of the year. We are ready to start enjoying Halloween again, and looking forward to a Halloween party next year at my camp in the woods :-)  It will be in September on a warm sunny day. 

Thanks for stopping by! Time to talk turkey next month.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Double Apple Bundt Cake

We loved this cake, and our week has been about apples, apples and apples. You may have seen my shenigans on IG and FB. We picked 1.5 bushels of Cortland, Empire and Northern Spy apples on Saturday, and made apple butter, apple pie, apple sauce and apple cake. We also put several peeled apple slices in the freezer to use this winter. You freeze them individually on a cookie sheet for two hours, and then slip them in a freezer bag. 

Makes 12 servings

    For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons; 5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup apple butter, spiced or plain
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped
  • 1/2 cup plump, moist raisins
    For the icing, optional:
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • About 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- to 10-inch (about 12-cup) bundt pan. If your pan is not nonstick, dust the interior of the pan with flour, then tap out the excess. Do not place the pan on a baking sheet – you want the oven’s heat to come up through the bundt’s open core.Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt and keep nearby.
Working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed, for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth, thick and pale. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for about 1 minute after each addition; you’ll have a light and fluffy batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the apple butter – don’t worry if it curdles the batter. Still on low, add the grated apples and mix to completely blend. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter, then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins.
Turn the batter into the pan, level the top of the batter and slide the pan into the oven. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and allowing the cake to come to room temperature.
To make the icing: The cake is fine served with just a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, but it’s even nicer with a simple confectioners’ sugar icing. Put the sugar in a small bowl and stir in a squirt two of either the orange or lemon juice. Keep adding the juice, a little at a time, until you have an icing that falls easily from the tip of a spoon. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, letting it slide down the curves of the cake in whatever pattern it makes. Set the cake aside until the icing dries, a matter of minutes.
Serving: If you have the time, don’t ice or dust the cake, instead, wrap it well in plastic film and let it sit at room temperature overnight. This little rest will give the flavors time to fully blend. If you can’t wait – and waiting is hard, since the fragrance of this cake is so alluring – either ice or dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, cut the cake into slices about 1/4-inch thick and serve, figuring two slices per person, as is, with cream or ice cream, or, better yet, with homemade applesauce.
Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature and for up to 2 months in the freezer.


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