Archive for ‘Traditions’

May 25, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 2

You Are Special – dinner, but no plate….

One of my favorite dinners to make for Drake is my variation of Souvlaki.  He loves this meal and so do I.  There’s a fabulous little Greek restaurant near St.Anthony Main, were I used to work, in Minneapolis.  Garden’s of Selonica is a family run, authentic Greek cafe which makes indescribably amazing food.  My employer was this lovely & gracious woman of French descent who took me under her wings and treated me more like a daughter than an employee.  She knew I loved Souvlaki and Cafe Mochas, and would take me to that special little cafe just on a whim. Afterward, inevitably she would by me a some beauties such a parrot tulips or brilliant purples iris from Fiori’s to grace my desk – I was indeed spoiled-rotten!

So, to spoil my son, I try to replicate that delicious meal consisting of fresh pita, tsaziki sauce with real yogurt & chunky cucumber bits, marinated and grilled chicken, tomatoes, and hand-cut french fries.  I’ve the added benefit of having a brother-in-law who is Greek who shared his family’s tsaziki recipe with me years ago.

Dining Alfresco…

We dined alfresco that evening at Ravencroft Farm, my parent’s organic wonderland established in 1999.  The weather was just perfect and the food was dreamy.

Oh, my! I’m craving Garden’s of Selonica!!

No cake & candle pictures, but the Mother’s Day Chocolate Roulade with chocolate mousse did make an encore appearance:) Happy Birthday to my crazy-wonderful son!!

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. Romans 1:14

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May 23, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 1

I really, really love family celebrations!  My mother and sisters and I share this passion so our family events range from very large gatherings (family of 23) to over-the-top themed-parties complete with bouncy castles and fondue fountains.

So, for my immediate family, I like to keep it simple. A birthday box is filled with supplies including a birthday banner, birthday lights, birthday plate and candles which come out for each birthday.  The decorations adorn walls and table the night before (0r just before dawn) in preparation for our morning celebration.  Birthdays begin with a sleepily-sung birthday song, candles to blow out and the traditional cupcakes.  For dinner, the guest of honor chooses a special meal & cake (usually carrot cake or strawberry pound cake) served for them on our traditional “You Are Special Today” plate.

Of course, this is a rough draft and each birthday writes it’s own unique script…

Drake’s 16th

Some more of my birthday presents (aren’t the silicone teacups just plain fun?), slated to be transformed into birthday cupcakes for Drake….

Graeme, my baking companion, doing a little taste testing…

Red Velvet ala Sprinkles!!

Yummy cream cheese frosting…

You Are Special Today and every day in my heart!!

You have a special place in my heart. Philippians 4:17a

February 14, 2011

Be Mine

These doughnuts are simply DIVINE….

Way too many became MINE…

Happy VALENTINE’s!

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7

May 10, 2010

My Mom and Hostess Cupcakes

Hostess cupcakes aren’t simply a tempting treat. For me, they are a nostalgic reminder of childhood and of my mother. As a child, I was awakened each year on my birthdays at precisely 7:58 am with a Hostess cupcake and a festively burning birthday candle (she may have only done this a handful of times, but it’s etched in my memory now as if it were every year. It’s funny how children’s memories work). Because of this I gleaned three significant facts.  One – From an early age, I knew exactly what time I was born. Two – I knew that my birth was an important event to my mother. Three – A hostess cupcake for breakfast, I knew it was a very special day.

Growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s, we didn’t eat a lot of store bought sweets. In our family, there were huge gardens from which we produced much of our food. Hostess cupcakes were a major treat in our family. My mother did have a knack for procuring some of the best sweets when she was inclined. One such treat was the rare Orange Hostess Cupcake which was available (and still are) in limited quantities at significant times.

Hostess cupcakes are nostalgia food for me. They remind me of my early morning birthday surprises, and my mom teaching us to savor and celebrate special moments with special treats.

So…  For Mother’s Day this year, my goal was to duplicate those precious gems to reflect how precious and rare it is to have a Mother like I have.

First, I found an orange cupcake recipe….

Then, I made a filling ala Organic & Chic Filled the cupcakes…

Improvised an orange-flavored white chocolate ganache with white chocolate chips and orange juice concentrate…

Spread the ganache….

Used left over white chocolate chips to create the signature seven Hostess swirls…


Handmade cupcake cards from me and my creative boys, a new cake-carrier with a spiffy ribbon and…

It was a Happy Mother’s Day with lots of Hostess Cupcake LOVE!

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

 

 

May 8, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Color Burst

Breakfast in Bed this year should be a BURST of COLOR! Color makes me delirious with happiness. I love the British spelling of colour (a little random, I know). I delight in reading paint-chip colors. I dream in color – brilliant blueberries, vibrant violets to rosy red roses. I stare in child-like wonder at brand new boxes of crayola crayons imagining all the possibilities….

(This fantastically fun photo is from flicker.) Breakfast in Bed Color Burst should include the basic elements: a pretty teacup, cloth napkins, a serving tray, and, of course, breakfast.A full spectrum of pretty teacups from The Teapot Shoppe….a colorful array of red tea options from The Republic of Tea

a rainbow of cloth napkins from Jupiter’s Child….

How about a plateful of technicolor pancakes inspired by Every Food Fits?

Or duplicate this edible masterpiece from Whisk Kid….

Breakfast in Bed wouldn’t be complete without a brightly colored serving tray from Crate and Barrel.

But the piece de resistance would be brilliantly painted artwork made with LOVE for Mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day to my gorgeous and colorful Mom. As I age, I hope to be as generous and confident and creative as you (and pretty, too). You live with your arms open wider than anyone I know. To my spectacular sisters, each a dramatic and independent color, you remind me of our mother with your humongous hearts and bold beauty – you inspire me like no one else. To my mother-in-law, a veritable rainbow, you have loved me as your own – I’m truly blessed. And, to my jazzy friends, who are incredible mums and exceptional women, you encourage me and teach me and challenge me. Wishing you all a full-spectrum of blessings and joy on Mother’s Day and beyond!!

May 6, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Green Style

Perhaps Breakfast in Bed this year should be a bit more…. green….

I just love Zen tea by Tazo – a tasty green tea with a touch of spearment which soothes the tummy and calms the nerves (hence the name)….

And these pretty, potted tea cups from Holy Mountain… I also have a beautiful hand-potted, green tea set. Asian inspired, it includes a bamboo handled pot and a whimsical twist – all the pieces are little green turtles. It’s stunning and a cherished wedding present from a dear friend/mentor. This image also reminds me of my niece who also makes stunning and award-winning handcrafted pottery (she’s incredible!).

These pretty napkins from Etsy completely tie everything together…

And a bamboo tray from Target….

Breakfast in Bed Green-style would not be complete without a yummy asparagus dish. Reminiscent of bamboo, this irresistible green veggie completes the Asian motif. Buy organic asparagus and heighten the greenness (is that even a word?) of this gift.  The perfect recipe is the Asparagus and Leek with Gruyere Quiche from Martha Stewart – delicious! Make it the day before in little tart pans, plate and reheat – it’s that simple (plus you can freeze some for later…).

Add some flowers with simple lines (a single lily or a bunch of tulips), some Green & Black chocolate (organic and fair-trade certified), some exotic fruit, a little yogurt and you’ve a divine celebration of MOM!

For a special hand-made Mother’s Day card, how about an acronym:

G – Gorgeous, You’re make everything gorgeous because…

R – Regal, Our home is a regal palace because…

E – Every, Every day you make me happy because…

E – Each, Each day I thank God for you because…

N – Near, I love when you’re near because…

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

May 4, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: A Mother’s Day tradition

Breakfast in Bed is a Mother’s Day tradition. My children started blessing me when they were still wee guys with Breakfast in Bed usually consisting of buttered toast with jam, Earl Grey tea, and lovely handwritten notes. Whatever the fare and presentation, I felt lavished with love on those special mornings.

With Mother’s Day approaching, here are some images and thoughts on what Breakfast in Bed might just look like this year…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme:

Tiffany Blue Teacup (not mine, but a girl can dream…)A Silver Tray (mine is similar)White RosesTiffany Blue Cloth Napkins from Etsy

Sweet decadence in Tiffany blue

With a presentation this stunning, a simple muffin and banana would appear haute cuisine. Add a little more elegance and authenticity, and place a pain au chocolat on a plain white plate. And the icing on the cake…. A well-written love note to Mother expressing love and devotion – You make me smile because… My favorite memory with you… You inspire me because…

Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. James 1:!7

 

 

May 2, 2010

Nana’s Cake

Poppies make my Nana’s heart sing so I made this sweet delight for her 84th birthday party! Organic & Chic continues to inspire…