Tag Archives: Desserts

TGIFB

Thank Goodness It’s Fall Break!

The long weekend away from school could not have come at a more wonderful time.

Sometime around 10 o’clock, I pulled my lazy self away from the comfort of my bed to get started on the day.

And, by “get started,” I mean, “continue being lazy in another location.”

And, after a while of that, I decided to “get started with getting more started.” By that I mean, “bake some biscotti.” Naturally.

Double Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1/3 C unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chips
  • 2 T milled flax seeds
  • 9 T water
  • 1 t vanilla

Directions:

  • Whisk together ingredients whole-wheat flour through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl, beat together milled flax seeds, water and vanilla.
  • Hollow out a well in the middle of flour mixture. Pour flax seed mix into well and mix thoroughly. Mixture will be crumbly—may need to use hands to knead into dough.
  • Form into two rectangles on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Remove from oven and slice rectangles into long, thin slices. Rearrange on cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.

Although I would have been more than happy to polish off the entire batch myself, I actually made it as a gift to Dan’s mom.

Fun fact: The first time I was going home with Dan to meet his parents, I wanted to bring his mom a gift. Dan told me she liked coffee, so I intentionally learned to make biscotti to bring to her as a gift.

I guess now that’s just becoming tradition!

Another fun fact: Dan’s mom is a fan of the blog! She even has one of my mantras hung on her fridge!

With an oven-fresh batch of biscotti, Dan and I had no choice but to go back to his house for a visit. There, we were greeted by a pack of cats.

There was no need to worry, though. We managed to scare the cats up a tree…

Which freed us up for an impromptu photo shoot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without a doubt, the best picture came last…

As sad as I was to see the first full day of break come to an end, there is still a lot of excitement to come. On the list: Pick pumpkins, navigate a corn maze, get a pre-race dinner, run a half-marathon and go to the Maple Leaf Festival.

Questions: What fall-time activities did you do growing up? Do you still do those things?

My family used to visit “Uncle John’s Pumpkin Patch” every year. I loved running through hay, picking pumpkin and eating cider doughnuts. This year, I talked Dan and his sister into going along with me to a nearby pumpkin patch!


Travel Log: Switzerland

It really doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just give me a couple of mountains, some source of water and a little bit of charm, and I am good to go.

That being said, these past few weeks in Germany have been absolutely magical. Every day has been filled with new sights and experiences.

Just when I was beginning to think it couldn’t get any better, it did.

So begins my story in Switzerland…

Nearly six weeks ago, when Rebecca first invited me along to Switzerland to visit one of her old au pairs, it all seemed so far away.

I said I would go, and then swiftly put off figuring out any details for, uhm, approximately five and a half weeks.

By last Monday, the distant future of “going to Switzerland” wasn’t actually so distant.

I was a little worried about six-hours each way on the train, the money and the energy I was sure to expend… But I eventually rationalized that the experience of going to Switzerland was worth all of those costs.

With everything straightened out, Rebecca and I boarded the train last Friday night.

The ride didn’t seem as long as some others. Rebecca and I kept occupied with pictures, sack-dinners and trading some magazines back and forth.

We crossed the border from Germany to Switzerland just as the sun was setting over a beautiful lake.

With the sun down and scenery gone, the next few hours seemed to drag on a bit. By the time we got to our destination of Luzern, I was pretty exhausted and ready to crawl into bed. However, with the peak of the national Swiss celebration in full swing, the party was just picking up by the time Rebecca and I arrived.

We were greeted at the train station by Rebecca’s au pair, Carolina, and Carolina’s boyfriend, Rolly. Eager to serve as tour guides, Carolina and Rolly led us through the festivities.

Food, games, music… Guess what most attracted my attention? Chocolate covered happiness strawberries!

Having satisfied both my sweet tooth my party energy, we did actually decide to call it a night at that point.

Besides, there was much more to do in the next day’s light.

We began not so bright and early by walking down to a local bakery. I opted for the light buffet, which ended up including bread, bread and butter.

But really, what more does a girl need (other than a cup of coffee)?

Rebecca and I quickly put that good carby-energy to use by exploring the town. We spent the morning shopping, perusing chocolatiers and swooning over the architecture.

By mid-day, we decided it was time to balance out our breakfast with a little fruit. This vibrant medley of blueberries, blackberries and red raspberries was just calling my name.

The sugar kick was just what we needed to continue on with our sight-seeing.

For as much as I complained about the dreary weather last week, it was definitely made up for this weekend. The skies were blue, the temperatures were mild and the humidity was low.

It was absolutely ideal for walking around town…

Admiring all the old bridges and…

Making some new friends!

One of the things that I found to be best about Luzern is that, while it is filled with all the amenities of city-life, it is small enough to easily navigate.

This was particularly fortunate, since I’m pretty certain that neither Rebecca nor I were in attendance for “navigation day” in the Boy Scouts (or even in the Boy Scouts, for that matter).

Even with our lack of direction, we were still able to find our way back to the apartment, grab our swim suits and head down to the river.

As far as views for an afternoon swim go, this one wasn’t too shabby.

The “pool” was actually an offset area of the lake with a two-story wooden sun bathing area.

We cooled off in the water for a bit, by goofing around on some “rolling logs.” I make the claim that it was really hard to balance…

After our swim, we dried off on the deck for a while. Then we continued our mission to cool off from the hot summer day.

That called for nothing other than a good scoop of ice cream.

I went for tiramisu. Although it isn’t usually my favorite flavor, it was the only kind with texture in it. Therefore, it was the obvious winner. Plus, it was actually better than I expected. Funny how gelato always seems to have that effect…

Since we hadn’t really been doing much with our day (note sarcasm), Rebecca and I decided to go for a run. Up a couple hundred stairs. No big deal.

With a little less energy and a lot less breath, we made it to the top of an old tower in Luzern. We could see past all of the city into the mountains and surrounding lakes.

We spent a little while admiring the view and catching our breath, before running back. Thank goodness that for every uphill, there is a downhill.

When we got back to the apartment, Carolina and Rolly were hard at work on dinner. They wanted to treat us to Raclette, a traditional Swiss cheese.

To prepare Raclette, each dinner gets a little pan. Then they take a thin square of cheese, top it with various vegetables and spices and then heat it all under a mini-grill.

The Raclette is then scraped off the pan, and is usually eaten atop potatoes.

I always enjoy an interactive dinner, especially since I haven’t been able to get my hands as dirty in the kitchen lately.

After dinner, we rested around for a little bit and then went back downtown to engage in some more of the celebrations. It was dark and I was pretty tired, so there are no pictures to document.

The next day, we woke up (actually) early and drove out to the nearby Mt. Pilatus to go hiking.

There has been a lot of rain the past few weeks, so we had to use a series of cable cars to actually get to the top of the mountain.

If I was a modest person, I would say the view of the Alps was pretty decent. If I was myself, I would say it was absolutely breathtaking.

From one side, we overlooked some of the tallest mountains of the Alps.

From the other side, we could see over the valley to the surrounding towns and glistening, blue lakes.

I could have spent all day enjoying the view, but unfortunately Rebecca and I had a train back to Germany to catch.

Of course there was time for one last treat…

Six hours later, I was exhausted, but home.

The trip to Switzerland was more than I even anticipated. It was beautiful, it was peaceful and it was the perfect way to wrap up my time in Europe.

Now, if only I didn’t have three more days of classes and a couple of finals…

Question: What is your favorite place you’ve travelled to?

I love the city vibe of San Francisco and the natural wonder of Alaska. However, my heart belongs in northern Michigan.


A biscotti love ballad

I am not a singer. In fact, I wasn’t blessed with musical talent of any type.

That is why it is so remarkable that I wrote a song. It took a great deal of inspiration, but upon meeting my muse, the words just organically flew from my mouth…

“Biscot-tah, you make my heart sing. Oh, you make ev-rah-thing, groovy. Biscot-tah!”

I may have borrowed the tune from Jimi Hendrix. However, after taking a bite of my first batch of homemade biscotti, I couldn’t help but sing.

I’m not too worried. Had Hendrix tried the biscotti, I’m sure he would be singing, too.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Biscotti

Recipe adapted from Steph Chows.

Ingredients:

•    ¾ C whole-wheat flour
•    ½ C all-purpose flour
•    ½ dry-roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
•    1 t baking powder
•    1/3 C sugar
•    2 T brown sugar
•    ½ C chocolate chips
•    2 T milled flax seeds
•    6 T water
•    1 t vanilla

Directions:

•    Whisk together ingredients whole-wheat flour through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.
•    In a small bowl, beat together milled flax seeds, water and vanilla.
•    Hollow out a well in the middle of flour mixture. Pour flax seed mix into well and mix thoroughly. Mixture will be crumbly—may need to use hands to knead into dough.
•    Form into two rectangles on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
•    Remove from oven and slice rectangles into long, thin slices. Rearrange on cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.

Whole-Wheat Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Paired with a steaming cup of coffee, biscotti is the perfect way to start off the morning.

Ingredients:

•    ¾ C whole-wheat flour
•    ½ C all-purpose flour
•    ½ C chopped raw almonds
•    1 t baking powder
•    1/3 C sugar
•    2 T brown sugar
•    ½ C chocolate chips
•    ½ C crasins
•    2 T milled flax seeds
•    4 T water
•    2 T fresh squeezed orange juice (zest before juicing)
•    1 t vanilla (or could use orange or almond extract)
•    Orange zest

Directions:

•    Whisk together ingredients whole-wheat flour through crasins in large mixing bowl.
•    In a small bowl, beat together milled flax seeds, water, orange juice, vanilla and orange zest.
•    Hollow out a well in the middle of flour mixture. Pour flax seed mix into well and mix thoroughly. Mixture will be crumbly—may need to use hands to knead into dough.
•    Form into two rectangles on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
•    Remove from oven and slice rectangles into long, thin slices. Rearrange on cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.

These biscotti are so good that I want to eat them all day, every day…

On second thought, since a bite of biscotti seems linked to an inexplicable desire to sing, maybe I should wait until no one is around.

I still have a bit of stage fright.