Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eggnog Fudge

Jeffrey's Eggnog Fudge
It's been a nice break from work, spending more than a week at home with my family.  Unfortunately, I've been sick much of this week, and my computer  has been behaving badly, so I am not able to get on and post whenever I'd like.  I tried this morning, and so far so good, though it may shut down without any warning.  I'll just keep going until I can't! - Update - it shut down as I wrote this - it's now a day later and after many attempts, I'm back on!  Oops - and back off.  This post has taken  HOURS to complete!

So, as I was saying...

This past week has been one of abundance in so many ways - time with my family, great food, time to relax, read, and even knit!  As I look back upon all of the terrific foods that have been served and available all of this week, there's one in particular that I am eager to share with you.  Fudge.  But not your run-of-the-mill, chocolate fudge.  Eggnog fudge.  My son Jeff's contribution to Christmas dinner was home-made eggnog fudge.  It was such a wonderful dessert, with a silken creaminess that you hope to find in a piece of fudge, and the subtle yet distinct flavors of eggnog.  I asked him for the recipe and am very happy to post it here for you.  But first, some photos of our Christmas morning - as magical as a Christmas morning could be, finding the season's first blanketing of snow as day broke.  I made my way downstairs to my daughter's home before the boys came down.  What a joy to be there as Henry shouted to Peter, "He DID come, Peter.  He did come!  Santa was here!"

A very happy 2013 to all of you!

made by my son Jeffrey from a recipe
he found at


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup eggnog (full-fat will make it creamier)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10-12 ounces chopped white chocolate (chips are fine)
  • 7 ounces marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Line a 9x9 pan (or 8x8 depending on your desired thickness) with wax paper or foil.  Set aside.
  • Combine butter, eggnog, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.  Once boiling, reduce heat a bit.  Using a candy thermometer, continue cooking until temperature reaches 234 degrees (soft ball stage). NOTE:  I constantly stir with a wire whisk during this time, but this recipe does not call for that. Personal preference, and it does get hot!
  • Remove from heat and stir in white chocolate.  Continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted and blended in.  Add in marshmallow creme, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.  
  • Spread into prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top with a bit more nutmeg if desired.  
  • Let cool at room temperature completely before removingfrom pan and cutting into squares.
  • Store at room temperature for up to a week or in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas in the Country

Tonight we traveled over the river and through the woods to Grandfather's house (my children's Dad Gene and his wife Kathryn's home) for a Christmas party in Fort Edward.  The river is the Hudson, and their home overlooks a particularly beautiful stretch, north of Schuylerville.  The woods are here, there, and everywhere between the 45-minute ride eastward from our home in Middle Grove to Gene's and Kathryn's house.  Pete was in awe of the Christmas lights he saw out the car window on our drive east.  There were 7 of us packed into Katie's car -- Kate, Bill, Richard and Sydney, Henry, Pete, and me.  When two of the occupants are in child safety seats, it makes for a cozy, sardine-like packing of people into the otherwise roomy car.  But it was a happy ride, with Christmas carols playing on the radio, and a light dusting of snow covering the ground.

We arrived to see the Barn illuminated in bright light, a huge wreath welcoming us in, a path of luminarias guiding us from the road to the door.

This was an especially happy party, and the guests were a lot of Eddy relatives as well as friends and neighbors of Gene and Kathryn.  In abundance, there was food, children, drinks, children, beautiful decorations, children, neices, nephews, sons- and daughters-in law, children, and a little baby (great nephew).  Mary Lou Eddy, the matriarch of the whole clan, was there.  Sometimes I think she must look around at all the kids and grandkids and great-grandchildren and think, "Wow, I did this!"  Yes, she did, and in the most amazing way!

Everything was lovely.  The food was abundant, along with good cheer.  There were pots of chili, sweet and sour meatballs, platters of cheeses, chips and layered dips, everything.  Kathryn made two beautiful cakes.  Carol made her famous Snickers brownies.  I brought a veggie ziti bake and a platter of cookies.  I'll post the recipe for one of the cookies tomorrow, a sugar cookie sandwiched with melted chocolate mint and drizzled with white chocolate, then sprinkled with crushed candy canes.

I think pictures can describe this evening better than I can...  Thanks so much to Gene and Kathryn for such a warm welcome on a cold winters eve!

You could feel the Christmas spirit in the air!

There was a lot of real food, too.  I just didn't take a photo of any of it!

That's Grammy Eddy with Claira (middle right)...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday and My Mother's Meatloaf

I just put a 3 lb. meatloaf in the oven for Sunday dinner.  I was out with Katie and the boys this afternoon for a routine Target run, and a ride through the car wash.  You should have seen Pete's eyes popping out of his head as the car was engulfed in suds and brushes!  Our trip to Target was a quick one, and with Henry and Peter securely buckled into the double cart, we were able to cruise through the toy aisle without incident (if they were loose, it'd have been a different story!).  Henry said, a number of times, "That's on my list to Santa."  It is a LONG list and Santa will be doing some extreme editing, no doubt!  Pete's just happy to see anything and, at just two years old, doesn't have the same perspective as  Henry about Santa, toys, time, and repurcussions (!). We had a good time.  The boys conked out on the ride home!

The car ride always knocks them out!

So, to give Katie a bit of a break, since she makes a real dinner for all of us almost every night of the week, I offered to cook tonight.  Usually, I'm the baker, but today I decided it would be nice to make a meat loaf, and a big one, which will provide for tonight's dinner as well as really good brown-bag lunches during the coming work week.

My meatloaf recipe is very basic, and more a visual memory than anything I've ever seen written down anywhere.  My mom used to make a great, simple meatloaf.  She used ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, minced onion, salt, pepper, ketchup, and a little mustard.  I do that as well, but with seasoned bread crumbs, and the addition of steak sauce.  Like my mother, I bake mine free-form, hand-molded in the pan, and lay thin rings of onion on top.  Unlike my mother, I glaze the top with a mixture of ketchup and steak sauce and the onion rings go on top.  (A happy memory is that my mom saved the ends for me.  She knew how much I loved the end of the meatloaf.)

Another difference is that my mom mixed the whole thing up in a big bowl and shaped her meatloaf in the pan.  I use my Kitchen Aid for mixing, since anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike handling raw meat of any kid (just ask my kids about me and chicken!).  So, all the ingredients went into the mixing bowl, I gave it a few whirls, and all that work was done, sans hands!  Still, I did dump the mixture into the roasting pan and shaped it, just like my mother would, freestyle like a long submarine!  I can't help but think of my mom when I cook things she used to make, like tuna casserole, meatloaf, or even when I make a tuna sandwich.  She had a way that made it seem so generous, so caring, and though she really didn't relish making dinner every night for nine people (!), we loved everything she made for us.  We really did.

So, as a tribute to my mom's recipe, here's my rendition of Virginia O'Farrell's meatloaf.  It's simple, delicous, and wonderful, with the bonus of sandwiches to enjoy after Sunday night's dinner.  The sandwiches, if you're interested, are a stacking of thin slices of meatloaf on lightly buttered toast, with a bit of ketchup, salt and pepper.  (My bit of ketchup is more like your generous serving! - what can I say, I love the stuff!  Maybe the meatloaf is just an excuse for more ketchup!).

(as best I can remember, with my own touches added)
Baking or roasting pan, bottom sprayed with cooking spray
Preheated Oven - 325 degrees Fareneheit

3 lb. 85% freshly ground beef
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1/4 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons steak sauce (I used Stonewall Kitchens Roadhouse Steak Sauce)
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

In large mixer bowl, combine all ingredients until completely incorporated.
Dump into roasting pan, and with your hands form into a log about 4 inches wide and 3 inches high.
Neatly shape the ends and top surface to close up any gaps.

Make glaze:

Mix together
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons steak sauce

With a spoon, spread glaze over top of meatloaf.
Slice more of the onion into 3 rings.  Break apart and arrange on top of glazed meatloaf.

Bake for an hour and a half or two hours until juices run clear.

Let sit, covered in foil, for about 15 minutes before slicing.

Like my mom, I'm serving mine with mashed potatoes and green beans.  It's like having her here in the kitchen with me (I wish!).


(PS - this can be made into meatballs as well.  I'd add a splash of milk, a good 1/4 cup or more of grated Parmesan cheese and a half teaspoon of garlic powder for meatballs.  Bake or fry as you normally would.)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Cookie Platter

This morning I delivered the first of more than a few Christmas cookie platters that I'll be putting together over the next few weeks.  A couple of friends had asked if I planned to bake again this year, and at first I said no, that I wanted time to relax and enjoy the season.  Then I started thinking about cookies, and recipes, and more cookies, and what I could do and the impulse to make cookie platters took over and here we are!  These are some of my standards, and seem well-loved by my friends.  My personal favorite are the jam thumbprints, made with Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe, rolled in coconut, and baked with my friend Catherine Golden's jam.  For this batch, I used her pineapple apricot jam (amazing) and some strawberry jam as well.  Rounding out the cookie platter are gingerbread men, brownie bites (with melted chocolate drizzle and crushed candy canes on top), sugar cookie snowflakes, and peanut butter kisses.

Linked here is the recipe for the sugar cookies,   I rolled the dough (not chilled) into1-inch balls which were then rolled in an egg white wash (one egg white beaten with a tablespoon of water) and then into coconut.  I flattened them a bit, made a good dent with my thumb (thus the name) and filled the indentations with about 1/4 tsp. jam each.  I baked them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the coconut was nice and toasty.  You can see by the photo how they look when they're done.

Now I'm uspstairs (my house) with Henry who's testing a gingerbread man - 2 thumbs up!

Hope you enjoy your weekend.  We'll be baking more cookies today!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lemon Dessert Crepes

If you've followed this blog for a while, you know I love everything lemon.  This morning, I was inspired to make a lemon-filled crepe, using a simple recipe (based on a Weight Watchers recipe) and lemon curd which can be made at home but can also be purchased in the jams/jellies section of your favorite market.

This is a not-so-guilty pleasure dessert.  The crepe itself has very little fat, and while there is no sugar in the crepe (and sans the vanilla extract could lend itself as a dinner option using savory fillings), the curd is plenty sweet.  It would be fine for breakfast, but would be equally as fitting as a  light and sweet ending to any dinner.

This recipe comes together in a flash, and I could see it as the foundation for a great Girls Night In (GNI).   You could make dinner crepes with your favorite protein and veggies, and then create your own dessert crepes.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  Hmmm.  I think I have to send out some long-overdue invitations!

Here are photos; recipe follows...

makes 2+ servings
10" non-stick sautee pan, spritzed with cooking spray

Lemon Curd

1 egg
2 egg whites
pinch salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whipped cream for garnish

Make crepes:

In bowl of electric mixer or with whisk, beat egg, egg whites, and salt until light and frothy.  Whisk in flour and combine thoroughly, making sure any lumps are broken up and batter is smooth.  Add milk and blend thoroughly.

Pour 1/2 cup of batter into hot saute pan that's been spritzed with vegetable spray, and immediately reduce heat to low.  Tilt pan  to cover entire bottom with a nice circle of batter.  Cook about 2 minutes or until golden brown on bottom.  Using a wide spatula, carefully flip crepe over and cook an additional 2 minutes or until it is nicely golden as well.  Remove from pan to a plate and repeat with remaining batter.  You may have enough for 3 crepes (I did) but you'll get at least 2.  (Double the recipe if you want 4+ crepes.)

In the center of each crepe, spread two generous tablespoons of lemon curd.  Roll up.  Cut in half. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with a side of whipped cream.

Prepare yourself for rave reviews.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nestle Toll House Oatmeal Scotchies!

I just put the first pan of Nestle's Oatmeal Scotchies cookies in the oven, and already the warm aroma of these classic cookies is wafting through my kitchen!  My plan, this Christmas season, is to post a number of tried-and-oh-so-true recipes that your family would be so happy to enjoy, because they bring with them memories of cookies that many of us remember as favorites.

It's hard to beat Nestle's Toll House's other star, the chocolate chip cookie, but as I was mixing this scotchie batter, I realize why this recipe has also stood the test of time.  This is one delicious cookie dough, before it even thinks of becoming a cookie.  The simple flavorings of vanilla and a bit of cinnamon are all that are needed to accompany the smooth and flavorful butterscotch morsels.  Oatmeal adds body (and whole grains - I used "old fashioned") so this cookies is a well-rounded dessert by any means.  It stands on its own, but would be happy to be in the company of an icy cold glass of milk!

The timer is ringing for the first batch.  Can't wait!

And here they are! (recipe follows)

Nestle Oatmeal Scotchies
Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Farenheit

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange (I used vanilla)
3 coups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 2/3 cups (11 oz. package) Nestle Toll House Butterscotch morsels

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Beat butter, granulates sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in oats and morsels.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet (I always use parchment paper).  Bake 7-8 minutes* for chewy cookies or 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*NOTE:  I made larger cookies using a scoop, and baked them for a longer time.  Mine took 12-13 minutes to be done.  Watch to make sure they are no longer wet on top but don't start to get too brown on the bottom.  Ovens vary, you need to know how yours will do so start watching at 8 minutes and keep them in there a while longer if you need to, especially if you make bigger cookies like I did.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

And for "just because," here's today's photo of my buddies!

Henry and Pete,  visiting this morning.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Commenting Made Easier (I hope)

I've heard from a number of people that they'd like to leave a comment on a blog post, but can't.  It's not as easy as it should be, and they give up.  Well, I'm here to try to make it easier, because nothing makes my day more than your comments on my blog!  And I want  you to be able to win a monthly comment contest, I really do!

So, here's what you do:  Click on the comment tab at the bottom of the post.  Then...

  1. Type your comment in the comment box.
  2. Select your identity.  If you have a google account, check that and enter your user name and password.
  3. If you do not have a google account, click on Name/URL and just type your name.  If you happen to have a Web site, you can enter that.  Just make sure you leave some sort of identifying info in the body of your comment so that if you win, I can let you know.
  4. If you want to comment as "Anonymous" choose that, but I might not be able to find you if you win, unless you choose anonymous but leave a little identifying info in the comment.

I am working on making the process smoother and adopting a more user-friendly format, but for now, give this a try, and let me know what you think.  For those of  you who have been able to comment successfully, a few pointers would be very helpful in the comment section to this post (which, by the way, could earn you that prize on December 1st!).

Thanks so much for following along all this time.

aka, The Adirondack Baker

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Babies' Baptism

Very early this morning I got in my car and drove about 45 minutes north to deliver a Baptism cake (and scones) to the cutest little almost-8-month-old twins, Penelope and Carter.  I work with their mom, Cassie, and we've become very good friends in the two and a half years we've worked together.  When Cassie asked me if I'd bake this special cake for the babies, I was so honored.  This cake has been a long time coming, and Cassie and her husband Jeremy, along with their families, have so much to celebrate with the arrival of little P and C.

The cake was a 2-layer, 14" inch diameter marble cake (black and white), filled and frosted with my standard buttercream, and decorated fairly subtly with the palest shades of pink, blue, and green. (It was BIG and acutally the size of the bottom tier of a wedding cake!)  Along with the simple decorating, I like to write "white on white" on such cakes, to show respect for the occasion.

It was pretty late last night when I made the quadruple batch of buttercream frosting and started to put this cake together.  The cake has a bit of a rustic finish -- I was going for a somewhat "lovingly made for you" appearance, and I'm glad I went with that, because Cassie so loved it when she saw it.

I left as they were getting ready to head to church, and  I trust that all went very well, and that they came home to enjoy a luscious buffet and a slice of cake!

God Bless little Penelope and Carter.  You are indeed little angels.


"Fairy Godmother"  Jeannie

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Morning After -- Stuffing Cakes

What a wonderful Thanksgiving Day we had yesterday.  It started with Henry and Peter watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so excited to see the big balloons and a really great Santa at the end.  It was a gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky, and Russ and I really enjoyed the beautiful and scenic ride to Fort Edward for dinner with my ex-husband Gene, his wife Kathryn, and our assorted kids and in-laws, including newlyweds Tricia and Jeff and his parents, Norman and Carol.  (This year, I am especially grateful to have Meghan back in our midst - she's been so missed for the last three years.)  Gene and Kathryn have hosted Thanksgiving the last few years, and we always look forward to it.  They make it seem easy, but I know it's a lot of work to host 17 people!

In addition to the amazing turkey and side-dishes (Katie made her mashed potato casserole!), Kathryn made her delicious pumpkin cake, which I've now come to expect (!).  There were pies, cookies (gluten-free chocolate chip, my son Jeff's contribution), Carol's decadent Snickers brownies, and as much good cheer as there was food.  Couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving.

early in the day...

A hostess gift of assorted scones, the dining room, the newlyweds,
beautiful setting, and my little buddies.  A lovely Thanksgiving.
(Click to enlarge)

And now, on the morning after, like many people I'm caught between the Thanksgiving food hangover and inspiration as to "what to do?" with all those left-overs.  My leftovers are actually intentional - eventhough I didn't have to host and we were guests yesterday, I bought a turkey to cook after Thanksgiving to extend those flavors well into the weekend.  I brought home a bowl-full of stuffing from our dinner.  This morning I was thinking that it would be a really good idea to shape some of that stuffing into patties to fry up like crab cakes.  How versatile could this be?  It could be served for breakfast along side an egg, or take its place next to a big dinner salad with shredded left-over turkey, maybe with a cranberry vinaigrette.  Mmmmm.  So, I took a cup of stuffing, shaped it into two patties, fried it up in a little canola oil, and served it with an egg alongside.  I like mine over easy.  My eggs always have a little bit of ketchup on the side, but cranberry sauce could kick the ketchup to the curb for this one!  I brought a test-plate down to my son-in-law Bill and he really liked it.  I had my own, with my egg over-easy, and it was DELISH!  If you have left-over stuffing and are wondering what to do with it, try making stuffing cakes.  Make sure you get them nice and hot, especially if your stuffing was cooked in the bird.  

Try these.  You'll be very happy you did!

click to enlarge

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Campbell's Green Bean Casserole
This is one of those iconic American recipes that many, many families enjoy during the holidays.  It's so easy to make, and so delicious, it's no wonder it has found an honored place on dinner tables for Thanksgiving. There are ways to gourmet-it-up, and you can do that, using fresh green beans, your own roux, freshly sliced mushrooms, and just-breaded onion slices, but really, why?  It's not necessary if what you are going for is the memory of this favorite from holidays past.  In honor of my mother's generation, when convenience foods first made their presence known, I defer to this recipe from Campbell's.  For all its manufactured sentimentality, I will always love it.

straight from Campbell's kitchens


1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request®)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions


1.  Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
2.  Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.  Stir the bean mixture.     Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
3.  Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

This single recipe would never be enough for me my family, so doubling is always a good idea.

Original recipe: 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Monkey Boy Cake

Today I delivered a 3-tiered cake for baby Aiden's first birthday.  His mom Jen works at Skidmore, in another office, and we met a few weeks ago for lunch to talk about the cake.  She envisioned three tiers and gave me one of his party invitations for inspiration.  I would be using it as a reference for color and design.

Aiden is a beautiful little boy, and it was a pleasure to make this cake for his special day.  Jen requested almond cake for the bottom tier, chocolate cake for the middle, and white cake for the top tier.  I have good recipes for chocolate and white cakes, but hadn't made an almond cake in years, if ever (can't remember one!).  I searched the internet for good recipes and found a highly-rated one on  It uses a cake mix as a base, but there's much more added, so I consider it more scratch than not.  I didn't adapt it at all, since I trusted the reviews.  The cake baked high and firm, and when I trimmed the tops to level, realized that it was an incredibly moist cake, probably because of the addition of sour cream.  The almond flavor was obvious but subtle and not at all overpowering.  It had the classic flavor of a white wedding cake, when wedding cakes were all white and flavored with almond (the '60s?)...  Anyway, with the addition of my buttercream frosting and some artsy fondant work, Monkey Boy came together nicely, I think!

Henry was my assistant today, and he had his own ball of fondant to play with as I made my creations.  He came along as we took the 1/2 hour drive to deliver the cake to Aiden.  I was driving as if I had a 3-tiered cake in the back of my car (which I did), slow and steady, which lulled Henry.  He was sound asleep as I pulled into the driveway.  Still, it was nice having him come along.  He's an excellent assistant, even if it means clean-up time, upon returning home, takes twice as long!

Oven 325 degrees Farenheit


1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour an 11x13 inch cake pan.
2. Stir together the white cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Pour in the water, sour cream, vegetable oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg whites, and beat with an electric mix on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain, 4 minutes.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jody Shepson's Make-Ahead Gravy, just in time!

You can't go wrong with this make-ahead gravy recipe, in fact you will go all right according to Jody Shepson.  It's from Woman's Day, and she found the recipe in a magazine at her dentist's office many years ago.

The story and recipe are linked here:

So, get the gravy out of the way and relax just a bit this Thanksgiving!

Photo credit:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New York Style Marble Crumb Cake

This past weekend I joined a group from Skidmore College on a bus trip to New York City, about 3 hours south of Saratoga Springs.  The Honors Forum, headed by my friend, Professor Catherine Golden, along with Skidmore Staff member Idalia Sepulveda, coordinated a trip to the city that not only provided students with a day of museums, shopping, and a Broadway play, but also the charitable component of donating relief items to the Staten Island and Far Rockaway areas of New York City.  These areas were particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy just two weeks ago, and our contribution is a mere drop in the bucket toward assisting victims in their newly uprooted lives.  Still, it was meaningful.

The Bounty

Arriving in New York, just outside Bryant Park, our bus was met by Idalia's relatives who were coordinating donation efforts with the Legacy Foundation.  Our bus's cargo hold was packed to capacity with bottled water, paper goods, disposable diapers, towels, baby formula, flashlights, and other truly basic necessities.  A New York City policeman, who was patrolling the area where our bus stopped to let us off, assisted us in the unloading, and even directed us into forming two "conveyor" lines to facilitate the transfer of materials.  He was amazing, and so very helpful.  I got a picture of him with our crew, and his smile was as broad as anyone's. He was heard to say, more than once,  "This is great!" with such sincerity.  It was a privilege to witness this whole process, and it made our trip to the city, as Catherine said, more than a day of indulgence.  It really made the whole day much more significant for the students and the rest of us who joined the trip.

Idalia Sepulveda and Catherine Golden, center
(and that amazing NYC policeman!)

After the Legacy truck was on its way, we all went our separate ways and agreed to meet at the Snapple Theater at 2:45 pm, for the 3:00 show of The Fantasticks starring Aaron Carter (former teen heart-throb).  It was a great musical play, one of the oldest running on Broadway, and a real joy to see.  Before the show, Catherine and I trekked over to the Pierpont Morgan Museum for the Beatrix Potter exhibit, which was lovely, followed by a quick lunch in the museum's cafe.  Catherine's cousin Karen, who lives in the city, joined us for lunch, as did her former student Phoebe, also a resident, so it was a very social time at the Pierpont Morgan!

As we walked to and from the museum, we were able follow the sidewalk along the Veteran's Day Parade up 5th Avenue.  The parade went from 10 am to 3 pm, five hours long!  It was a beautiful day, and humbling as young and old military men and women marched in uniform down the avenue.  There were bands, flags, and balloons, and you could feel the patriotic spirit of not only those marching but the crowd as well.  I'm so glad I got to be there for that.

When the day was almost done and we were about to meet our bus for the ride home, Catherine and I had a little time to relax so we walked around Bryant Park, checking out the merchandise of many of the kiosks that line the walks of that beautiful park.  I always check out the baking shops, because it provides inspiration and I get to see what other people are baking.  What caught my eye, at more than one, were cellophane-wrapped bricks of New York Style chocolate marble crumb cake.  I really stopped to study it, because it's not anything I would ever have thought to do.  Crumb cake on its own is almost sacred.  Why fool with it?  Well, it was a beautiful thing, and I was inspired to make it for myself.  That's what I did last night.  Here's the recipe I used, based on America's Test Kitchen's highly-rated version with just slight adaptations, and a few photos of the finished product:

based on America's Test Kitchen's recipe

Oven 326 degrees Farenheit

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk

1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablepsoon milk

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
more water

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

4. Transfer 3/4 of the batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. To the remaining batter, mix in 1 tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 tbsp. milk.  Drop over plain batter in pan.  To combine batters, gently lift and drop batter in pan with a circular motion with a spoon.  Then pull a knife through in both directions to marble.  Smooth top very gently with a spatula.  Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar after it's cooled a while.  Drizzle with glazes.

Make glaze:

Mix enough water (just a bit at a time) with the confectioners sugar to create a smooth flowing glaze, the consistency of Elmer's glue.  Use half the glaze to drizzle over dusted crumb cake.  To the rest of the glaze, add 1 tbsp. cocoa powder and enough water to get it back to drizzling consistency.  Drizzle that over the cake.  Let glazes firm up before cutting the cake.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Whipped Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

In my oven today are cupcakes.  Pumpkin pie cupcakes with whipped cinnamon cream cheese frosting because I'm still longing for a piece of my daughter Tricia's wedding cake!  I'm using the same recipe I used for the wedding cake -- the pumpkin layer, at least (which, on her wedding cake, was alternated with dark chocolate cake).  Rather than a cinnamon buttercream, though, these are topped with a whipped cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  The cupcakes were barely cool enough to frost, but I was so anxious to see how it would all come together so they are frosted now, just 20 minutes out of the oven.  That's the good thing about cupcakes.  You don't have to wait around all day to frost them (or try one!).  Happy Saturday, my friends!

And, here's the recipe!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
Line standard size muffin tins (12-wells each) with cupcake liners, or spray well with cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, mix the following:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To the egg mixture, add the following ingredients, sifted together and added all at once, and mix thoroughly:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a combination of cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg to equal 2.5 teaspoons)

Then add in and mix well:  2 cups mashed pumpkin (canned is great). 

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full (I use a standard levered ice cream scoop, level) and bake for 20-22 minutes or until cupcakes test done with toothpick, or are completely dry on top and bounce back when lightly pressed with your finger. 

Cool in tins on wire racks for 20 minutes. 

Whipped Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes more than enough for 24 cupcakes)

4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or combination of similar spices to equal 1/2 tsp.)
1 1/2 lbs. confectioners sugar
tablespoons of milk (to desired consistency)

In large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add vanilla and spice.  Beat well.  Add sugar, all at once, and beat slowly, adding a tablespoon of milk at a time, until it all comes together and continue adding a little bit of milk very sparingly, until the frosting reaches the desired consistency (firm peaks, but soft enough to spread).

Frost cupcakes.  I like to use a pastry bag.  After frosting, sprinkle with a little more of the pumpkin pie spice.  

Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli with Wonton Wrappers!

My friend Katie Kane is part of an early-morning "boot camp" exercise program.  Even on work-day mornings, when the rest of us are just thinking about getting up and going, she's out there doing military-style calisthentics and putting the rest of us me to shame!  When she arrives at work at 8:30 in the morning, she's already put in half a day!

Katie's exercise instructor, Jodi, often shares healthy, interesting, and delicious recipes with her students.  Katie then shares them with us, her co-workers.  This latest recipe from Katie, which I've adapted just a bit from, particularly intrigues me because, a) I love pumpkin, b) I love ravioli, and c) it seems so simple! 

Often times, ravioli is a menu item listed either as an appetizer or an entree.  I never order it because I think it's too substantial as an appetizer yet not quite enough for dinner (does that make sense?).  Personally, I like a bowl-full of ravioli, and seeing a scant few artfully placed upon a small plate with a drizzle of sauce is just a tease, in my opinion.  Now I have a chance to make my own, and a lot of them, knowing that these little pockets of pasta are filled with the goodness of pumpkin.  This rendition is a pretty healthy alternative to the meat-or-cheese stuffed version I typically buy in the frozen food section of my grocery store (and which sit, for many months, in my freezer, never seeming to be the right option whenever I'm deciding what to make for dinner).  The thought of freshly-made ravioli, though, created just minutes before eating, seems very elegant as opposed to the stuff in my freezer!  I'm making them tonight, and will add photos to this post as I go along.  Meanwhile, here's how:

PUMPKIN RAVIOLI with wonton wrappers

Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil

Make ravioli:

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (use the good stuff, if you can)
1egg yolk (my addition)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (again, me)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour (yep, again)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (ditto)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
24 wonton wrappers (found mine in the produce section - very inexpensive)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chicken broth (I'm using vegetable broth)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chopped parsley

Combine 1 cup pumpkin, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (and my additions of egg yolk, brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice).  *Spoon about 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper.  Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges together to seal.  (I'm going to crimp edges with fork to make sure the filling stays in place.)  Place half the ravioli inot a large pot of gently boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt; cook 5 minutes or until they bob to the top; remove with slotted spoon and place in bowl while you cook the rest of the ravioli and make the sauce.

*If you want to make larger ravioli, use entire squares of wonton wrappers for top and bottom; brush one side of each with water, fill wet side of one with 1 tablespoon pumpkin mixture, top with wet side down of other wonton wrapper.  Crimp edges with fork.

Place 1/2 cup broth and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in pan.  Bring to a boil.  (Here - I made a change - I let it boil for a few mintues to reduce into a thicker, more intense sauce.)  Add ravioli, toss to coat.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and more Parmesan cheese.  (Good idea -- double the sauce recipe for lots of ravioli and to drizzle on the steamed veggies you can serve on the side.)


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Cookies for My Little Pumpkins

It's been a very good week here in Middle Grove, New York.  First of all, Hurricane Sandy came and went with hardly any interference in our lives, and given her devastating impact on other areas, we are indeed fortunate.  Secondly, I got to spend the weekend with my grandsons Henry and Peter (heard of 'em?  Sure you have!).  Their parents went away to the Maine coast for a kid-free weekend with their friends.  And thirdly, I get to make their Halloween special by baking cookies just for my little guys - I'm making Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe into Jack-o-lanterns (just half a recipe).  I LOVE this recipe because it is so simple, and so very good.  The buttery dough rolls so easily into a silky sheet that just invites your cutters to make an impression.  No chilling necessary even though the recipe calls for it.  Mine rolled beautifully right out of the mixing bowl.  I used a circular cutter today, because I was too lazy to dig into my treasure-trove of a gazillion cookie cutters to find the pumpkin.  Pumpkins are round, I had a round lid at the ready, so, wah-lah!  Well, a little true confession here -- I did buy a bag of Halloween candy, of those bite-sized Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars, but it's the night before Halloween and the candy seems to be missing...  Wonder how that happened?  So, instead of manufactured, impersonal bites of chocolately goodness, my boys are getting home-baked cookies from Grandma ("Meena" as Pete calls me), and it's kind of a happy accident, right?

H and P at B and J's!
(That's chocolate ice cream smeared on Pete's cheek!)

So, about Halloween -- we live in the middle of a sparsely populated forest here in MG, and it is more a home here and a home way over there than a typical neighborhood, so the boys will trick-or-treat tomorrow at Skidmore College where Henry goes to pre-school (and where I work in Admissions).  Pete will join him and, as Darth Vader and Yoda, the duo will go with their Mom and Henry's class office-to-office, building-to-building, in what will be their primary trick-or-treating experience.  I'll try to sneak out to run an errand at just the right time, and maybe catch my little Star Warriors as they parade around campus.  I can't wait to see them all decked out!

To top it all off, I won a raffle (I seldom win contests!) and will pick up pizza, beverages, and cupcakes for Halloween dinner at Mama Mia's in Saratoga Springs.  I was one of four lucky winners, and so was my friend Karen.  The funny thing is, we both went to MM's for lunch with our friend Liz, on different occasions, and we both won, but Liz didn't!  I'll make it up to her.  She's a winner in my book of very best friends!

Following are photos of my time with H and P this weekend, as well as pics of the cookies that I'm in the middle of making right now.  In fact, you can't see it, but I have flour all over my navy blue cardigan, since I always think of wearing an apron, but a little too late.

Happy Halloween everyone.  Maybe I'll dress up as a baker! That'd be a stretch!   I hope you capture the spirit of little goblins and have a wonderful fright night!

Click to have fun with us...
(and that's Hank and Pete's friend Lynn DiMenna in the center pic)

Cookies for my lil punkins...


3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough  (I use flour)

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I didn't refrigerate - used it right after mixing, and it was great.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar (I used flour). Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice* as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

*Use Royal Icing to ice cookies (any good recipe will do - here's one from Joy of Baking:

Original recipe:,1946,FOOD_9936_25187_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Post from Last Year - About Irene

We're busy battening down the hatches and taking care of pre-storm preparations just in case Hurricane Sandy lives up to the reputation that proceeds her arrival.  Like Governor Cuomo advises, "Hope for the best but plan for the worst."  It makes sense to be more prepared than less. Couldn't hurt.  I don't think we're going to be as affected as we were (in this area) by last year's Hurricane Irene (by then, "tropical storm") but still, we're working to make sure we've done everything we can to be ready for not only the storm but a potential long-term power outage.  So, while I am too busy to create a new blog post today, I did go "back to the future" to dig this one out.  You might enjoy reading it again.

Enjoy this calm before the storm, and if it does hit us, and hard, remember, we're in it together.  Take good care!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Revisiting Home, Again

Every now and then, I go back to read early blog posts.  Some seem brand new to me -- as if I had never seen them before, as if someone else had written them.  The post that follows is one I do remember, and well, because it is rooted in recollections of the first  home I remember.  The posts from 2009, 2010 and even into 2011 almost have no comments left, at all.  I wrote almost every day as if writing to the universe, hoping that someone might read and enjoy.  (Kind of a "Field of Dreams" mentality).  If nothing else, I can go back and enjoy the early posts, because they trigger my life's memories, capture moments in time, and serve as a record or diary of life on a specific day.

Please follow the link below to a post I wrote over three years ago, about Home, and what it means to me, decades later:  My friend Lynn DiMenna found this post just a week ago, and commented, which was a little treasure as I was cruising back in time.  Thank you, Lynn, for reminding me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crescent Roll Mini Cheese Danishes!

As I write this, a small pot of blueberries and sugar is bubbling on my stove, reducing in volume to become a thick sauce to crown the cheese danish that are about to be made.  I was inspired by a Pillsbury recipe for a short-cut, home-made danish made from crescent rolls. There are many bloggers who've covered this, but I wanted to fancy up the basic recipe a bit.  I'm baking mine in muffin tins.  I'm glazing them with an egg wash, and I'm using not only a delicious cheesecake filling, but also the blueberries.  All will be drizzled with a glaze of confectioners sugar, vanilla, and butter.  This is a complete experiment on my part, but something tells me that my bad-kitchen-karma of late has passed, and it's time for a successful project.  Last weekend's fallen coffee cake and those burnt apple pie muffins will banish from memory once these little gems come out of the oven (I'm hoping!).

So, here's the recipe, along with photos, so you can make your own mini-danish in a flash!

makes about 17
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

1 roll Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 egg, beaten
1/4 lb. cream cheese, room temperature (1/2 an 8 oz. block)
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons flour
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream

Fruit preserves or sauce*

*Blueberry sauce
Place 1 cup frozen blueberries in a small sauce pan.  Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water.  Bring to boil.  Let bubble on a low flame until thickened, about 10 minutes until it thickens up and coats a spoon well. Watch carefully.  The sugar in it can burn if you let it go too long.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 1/2 hour.  It should be nice and thick.

Cheesecake filling:

Beat cream cheese with sugar and extracts, 1/2 of the beaten egg (about 2 tbsp.), flour, and sour cream until very smooth and creamy, scraping sides a couple of times.  Set aside.

Open crescent roll package and don't unroll the dough. On cutting board, slice the intact roll into 1/4" or so slices.  I got 17.

Press each slice into the bottom of a standard muffin cup in a 12-cup muffin tin and spray enough cups of an additional tin to accommodate the rest of your slices.

With your fingers, spread dough to cover bottom of muffin cup, and with your thumb, make a good indent in the middle, just about down to the bottom, to hold the filling.

Using the rest of the beaten egg, with pastry brush lightly brush surface of dough.  This will give a nice, shiny surface.

Using 2 spoons, drop a generous teaspoonful of cheesecake batter in the center of each danish.  Swirl it a bit to make a dip for the blueberry sauce, but make sure the edges are visible.  You want a dollop in the middle, not a spread of batter to the edges.  The drop about 1/2 teaspoon of your preserves, or my blueberry sauce (with blueberries) in the center of that.  It will flow down and around a little bit, that's OK.

Bake at 350 for 18 - 21 minutes or until crescent dough has puffed and taken on a golden color.  Watch carefully to make sure crescent dough doesn't get too dark. (Mine went for 21 minutes and probably would have been better at 19/20 - they got a little dark.)

Remove pans to cool on wire rack.  Remove from pans using small spatula, and cool completely on wire rack set over a piece of wax paper (or something else useful) to catch the glaze.

Make the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon very soft or melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
UP TO 1 tablespoon milk or more.

Thoroughly combine, in small bowl with fork, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.  A bit at a time, add milk until it is the perfect drizzle consistency (flows slowly off a fork).  Drizzle over cooled danish.

Taste test result:  OMG!!!!  They are SOOO good! (and little).  Delish!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fairy Tales Can Come True

Photo by Ronnie Betor
The day after my daughter Tricia was married (last Sunday, October 14th) one of the guests of the wedding (friend, Pete Valenti) sent me a slideshow of photos he shot, set to Jimmy Durante's "Young at Heart."  It precisely reflected moments of that special day, which I will treasure forever.  To capture time that way is a wonderful thing. You can follow this link to the video, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

We woke Sunday morning, the wedding day, to rain.  It wasn't just rain, it was a downpour.  My friend Annie, aware days ahead of my concern for the forecast, hung a rosary in her Vermont window to bless the upcoming day and clear the skies.  I was hopeful, saying to myself, "c'mon Annie, hope it works!"  From 10 days out, I continually checked for the extended forecast, and reluctantly decided that we were going to be dealing with rain.  Resigned, that Sunday morning I backed my car up to the garage door so I could put all the parts of the wedding cake in the cargo section of my Jeep.  Each tier was in its own box, but I didn't dare to try walking in the rain to my car.  This cake was too important, too special, to take any risks at all.  The move from my kitchen to the car was all done under cover.

I had planned to be at Jimbo's, at Point of Pines (the location of the wedding, about an hour north, on Brant Lake) by noon, and to leave home around 11 am.  Katie, Bill, my son Jeff, and the little boys were leaving in a separate car at the same time.  Russ planned to head up later in the day, closer to the time of the ceremony.  I couldn't imagine him waiting while I did all the cake set up, got myself dressed, and helped the girls with make-up, hair, gowns, etc. -- all the lovely moments women share preparing for the ceremony and reception.  So, it was just Meghan and me, which provided a bonding hour for the two of us, something we haven't really had enough of since she moved back from California, and I loved that. We, of course, solved all the world's problems on the way, and chatted excitedly about the pending wedding, since we can both talk!  Still, it was raining so hard I was losing hope for a lovely day, weather-wise, but also thought, que sera, sera.  We'd make the best of it.  But on our way north on I-87 toward exit 25, I sensed a brightening of the skies ahead, gold tones were visible beyond the grey clouds, even though it was still raining, and hard, I just knew it was going to be OK.  By the time we arrived at Jimbo's, the rain had stopped (thank you, Annie, for arranging the divine intervention!).

There were so many special moments on Sunday, starting with waking and the awareness "Today's the day!," to the preparations, to the ceremony, to the happy hour, to the first dance, the father/daughter and mother/son dances, the anniversary dance, and toasts by the best man and maid of honor.  I cried through most of it, but happy tears, which are understandable. There was so much emotion and visual stimulation to process.  The venue was so beautiful in its Adirondack glory, with wood, and stone, and lights, and rustic decor.  I savored the vision of the room; the ambiance was so perfect, it was almost overwhelming.  October 14, 2012 is a day now engraved in my heart and memory.  In addition to witnessing the marriage of my daughter and the love of her life, I was able to spend time with my kids, my siblings from near and far, and in-laws (even though we've been divorced for years, the relationships still flourish, even with my ex-husband Gene and his lovely wife Kathryn - we're unusual, I know!), all Tricia's and Jeff's good friends, cousins, and now new family members.  Together, we all shared the joy of their day.  (Photos at the end of the post can relay the day's story better than my words, so please check them out.)

And then there was the cake - my major project of the previous week.  The wedding cake was so well received, most importantly, by Tricia and Jeff, but also by wedding guests who took many photos and seemed to love the flavor combination (pumpkin and dark chocolate cake layers joined by cinnamon buttercream).  Before cake, we all enjoyed a fantastic dinner of chipotle barbequed chicken, gourmet macaroni and cheese, sweet and savory baked beans, potato wedges, salad, and rolls. The food, served buffet style, was incredible!  Once Tricia and Jeff chose the chicken dish, everything else seemed to fall into place, culminating in a simple yet elegant presentation of basic, wonderful food.  Everyone seemed very happy with their meals.  (I payed attention!).

At 9:30 sharp, the party moved outside to a campfire on the beach, where a double ring of Adirondack chairs encircled the fire pit.  It was damp and chilly, and while all the young people had energy and enthusiasm to keep going, I was fading fast, and soon retreated to my room (on-site) where I slept like a log until the sun streaming in the window woke me to a beautiful new Monday, and it wasn't long before I said "good morning" to Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Ayers!

Here are some "Kodak moments" of that very special day!:

Henry and his bevy of beauties!

...and all the king's men (!)

Looking up 

Little men

The Vows

Just married!...


Tricia and Caitlin, her maid-of-honor

My loves...
My baby and me xoxox

The parents

Anniversary Dance

My gift...

The glorious morning after....

There are so many more happy memories, in my mind and also in photos, that I may add to this post at another time, but for now, these are the few I want to share with you before too much time has passed.  Thanks for following along on my family's wedding adventure.  It's been great having you here with me!

Pete Valenti
Jeannie Eddy
Ronnie Betor (photographer extraordinaire!)