May 29, 2015

A day at the Orchards

We went to our favorite spot on a sunny afternoon to Lyman Orchards for a long walk and lunch on the patio. I love going to the Orchards to pick up in-season fruit and walk around the fields. I disconnect from technology and I am one with the water, the trees, the land, sky, and the fresh air. We all need that. I work in technology, so during my free time I do as much as I can off the computer, whether I am in the dojo practicing Taekwondo (my black belt test is in just a few weeks) playing basketball, making jewelry, or just walking around the beautiful nature we have all around us.

Have a beautiful weekend!

May 26, 2015

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made some bite size chocolate chip cookies, because who doesn't love a reason to eat more of these and they are adorable. For comparison, I made a full size cookie to show you the normal size I usually make, and on the right is the mini cookie. I used a mini scooper to scoop out the cookie dough.

These bite size cookies are so easy to make. Here is my favorite recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies 


May 25, 2015

Weekend Recap

We had a wonderful weekend of hiking, a classic car show, grilling hot dogs and burgers, and lots of ice cream. First stop, the annual Memorial Day weekend classic car show. We have been wanting to go this annual classic car show for a few years now, but we usually celebrate Yanni's birthday on the same day. Here is his Fiesta party from two years ago and his last year Diner themed party. But this year we have to plan it for another time, most likely in June.

My favorite classic car is a Dodge Charger, and I was not disappointed with the beautiful Chargers and Challengers I saw. There were so many beautiful classics.  I love hearing the owners/restorers tell their stories of how they first got the car and all the work they have put into making it a beautiful classic. I especially like when they have an album of photos showing how the car looked before and all the steps they took to restore it. We look at these beauties and have no idea how many hours they have put into making these cars look this way.

I have never seen so many men in one place taking photos. I finally felt like I belonged, because usually I am the odd one out pulling my camera out to take a picture every few seconds.

After the car show we enjoyed some yummy burgers and hotdogs and then went for a long and challenging hike in the woods and then up the rocky hills to Castle Craig, which is a tower on the very top which has been around since 1900 in Meriden, Connecticut.

We hiked for a few hours using paths that were mostly clear and well traveled, but then we decided to climb up the rocky and steep hills, which had some serious cliffs. This blue blazed trail was not well traveled. The rocks are not very stable and one wrong move you  could fall off the cliff on your right. I just kept looking upward and forward, jumping from one rock to another, feeling like Rambo in the woods. I couldn't take pictures of it, because instead of holding the camera I was holding to my dear life and any rock I could grab.

So happy when we finally reached the top. As soon as I got up there, I found a warning sign from the trail I just came from, and it says "Stop-Proceed with Caution - This section of the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail traverses a portion of the Metacomet Range, a series of high traprock ridges that drop precipitously at the cliff edge. A fall from the ridge will result in serious injury or death." I was like great, I wish I had that warning before I came up this way.

The Castle Craig Tower stands 32 feet high on 976-foot east peak in Meriden's Hubbard Park. It has the distinction of being the highest point within 25 miles of the coast from Maine to Florida. Meriden, Connecticut industrialist Walter Hubbard donated the tower and the surrounding park. Thanks, Walter!

The view from the tower is breathtaking, literally breathtaking. It was so high and I got a little scared. It was so small up on the tower, maybe 5 people can be up there are the same time, but there were so many people trying to squeeze up at the top, and it was so windy, I just felt like I could be picked up by the wind and blown off this thing.

Besides, all the cliff hanging experiences and the feeling of almost falling off this tower, it was a beautiful experience. The view of Connecticut from up there was worth the long hike.

Hiking up the steep rocky hills were a challenge, we were so glad we did it, but our legs, on the other hand, might not be so glad in the morning. When we got up there we realized that most people simply drive up to Castle Craig. A hike can take hours and a drive can take minutes.  I am so glad that we challenged ourselves and hiked it.

I hope you had a beautiful weekend!!

May 23, 2015

Extra Blueberry Pancakes

It is officially blueberry season and I can't help myself by snack on them all day. I decided to make some extra blueberry pancakes with my favorite organic blueberry agave syrup, which I get from Madhava. They also make a cinnamon agave syrup and it's the only syrup I use. 

To make these quick and easy blue blueberry pancakes all you need is:

1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 tablespoons of butter (optional)
1-2 cups of blueberries (you can also use organic frozen blueberries)

Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients. It may not seem like the right thing to do, but there should be some mini lumps in the batter and leave it sitting while you warm up the griddle. Brush the griddle with a bit of butter.

Pour the batter on the griddle for about 1 minute, you will see tiny bubbles appear, that's when you flip them over and then an extra minute on the other side.


May 17, 2015

Weekend Recap


It was such a beautiful weekend. It definitely feels like we jumped from winter and right into summer. We went to the beach for the day to relax under an umbrella, catch up on some new read, and we ate lots of greek food. These are the days I love and live for. I hope you had a beautiful weekend too!!

May 12, 2015

What I've Been Reading

I have been a busy little reader. Most recently, I finished three books. I read Carlos Santana's biography "The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light". And what a story he has! I have always been a fan of his music. It is rock, jazz, african, latin, and just a mix of different styles and cultures. He is very open in his biography and you learn lots about his childhood, born and raised in Mexico and then his move to San Francisco, California and how both cultures shaped who he and his music have become. He really takes the reader into his life and shares so many details that you easily imagine just standing by his side. I was fascinated to learn so much about him and what has influenced his music and his being.

I have been a big fan of Martin Short for a very long time. I think he is the sweetest and so funny. He's quick, witty, and adorable. I loved hearing about his childhood and how he got into show business. His book surprised me in many ways and some of you might know about his personal life, but I did not know, so at the end of the book I was very surprised about a very personal and tragic event in his life. 

I also just finished Brooke Sheilds' biography, "There Was A Little Girl", about her and her mother's relationship. Many people have heard and have opinions about her childhood, acting, and modeling. And Brooke doesn't hold anything back about their relationship and her other relationships. She started in the limelight when she was just a baby and has grown into a very wise woman. And, like all of us, she has learned from experiences. And many of the experiences she has encountered as a child were things she should not have had to experience, such as caring for her alcoholic mother. But these were the cards she was dealt with and she played them the best way she knew how. It was a very interesting book full of heartache, laughs, and memories.

Next on my list of biographies is Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin's biographies.

May 5, 2015

Lemon Poppy Muffins

I have been craving lemon poppy seed muffins ever since my mom and I had an extra large one at Peet's Coffee & Tea shop. It had some hints of orange zest too and tasted magnificent. That was about 2 years ago and I haven't gotten my mind off of them and I was finally able to remember to make them while I had all the ingredients in the house. These taste devine. I may have already stuffed myself with about 4 of them.

2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
1 lemon for its zest and juice
3/4 milk or buttermilk
6 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
2 eggs

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place muffin liners in muffin pan. This recipe will make 12 muffins.

I washed and dried 1 lemon and then using a small cheese grader I grinded the lemon. Combine the sugar with the lemon zest.

Next, combine all the dry ingredients, except the poppy seeds. Now add all the wet ingredients. Lastly add the poppy seeds.

Fill each muffin liner equally and put in the over for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

I took mine out about a minute early, and stuck a butter knife in each to ensure they come out dry. I let them cool for a bit and then moved them over to a wire rack.

These have the perfect taste of lemon, not too overpowering, it's just right. These make a great addition to breakfast or a brunch, or put them in a basket and deliver them to a sweet family member or friend, just make sure you keep one.