Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flight of Ice Cream

Have you ever had a flight of wine? A flight is a small sampling of wine or liquor for the purpose of comparison. I had my first ice cream flight at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream! I chose an all-white flight:
  • Kahlua White Chocolate
  • Sherry Raisin
  • Ginger
  • Coconut
Each flavor was better than the last. If you are planning an adventure to Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park, you must schedule some ice cream time.

On that note, you can skip the "Lobster Ice Cream" (yes, it is true) at Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium. I "took one for the team" and tried a sample on your behalf. All I can say is, you guys owe me big! I tried to erase the taste by having a scoop of their "Pecan Pie" ice cream - vanilla ice cream studded with chunks of flaky crust and sticky sweet pecans. It worked. Yum.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Acadia National Park

The day we designated for exploring Acadia National Park turned out to be damp, chilly and gray.

My "to go" cup of English Breakfast tea from the Bar Harbor Tea Company tasted particularly good that afternoon.  The shop is beautiful and I could have browsed all afternoon.  But it was our first Fall weather day, and we needed to get on with our drive through the park despite the damp weather.  When we pulled off the road to take photographs, we really felt a sense of calm.

A few days before this, we went inside the park to have dinner at the famous Jordan Pond House. Tea & popovers have been a tradition here since the late 1800's.

Angie knows how much I love popovers and insisted that our plans included dinner (and popovers) at this historic restaurant.

Yum! Before dinner, we walked out onto the lawn that stretches down to Jordan Pond and looked at the view. We could clearly see "The Bubbles" (hills) in the distance - I have never been anywhere so quiet.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Little Cranberry Island

(This photo is of our arrival at the Islesford Dock.)

One of our adventures was to take the Mail Boat out to Little Cranberry Island. Since I am not particularly "sea worthy," I was really worried about being motion sick on the rough ocean waters.

Can you believe it? The water was like glass the whole way. It was such a beautiful ride and I loved every second of it.
The Mail Boat is just that - the Captain, a few passengers and the day's bin of mail. It was really neat to be a part of their daily routine. At one point I called over the wind to the Captain, "Where's Martha Stewart's house?" and he pointed out the long narrow roofline within the trees on the opposite shore.

We stayed on the island a few hours after the last mail boat run, so we hired a water taxi (the boat was named "Delight!") to take us back to northeast harbor. We ripped through the dark open waters on a gorgeous starry night - it is an evening I will never forget.

I've enlarged a portion of the main picture so that you can see the "Delight" tied up at the dock.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lobster Roll

I don't know if you have ever had a lobster roll, but the pictures I had seen in the magazines pale in comparison to this!

Having a lobster roll was at the top of my list when I traveled to Maine. I had heard about this indulgent sandwich many many times over the years and I was ready to try it at the source! Fresh Maine lobster (look at how perfectly they extracted the meat from the claws!) with a light mayonnaise or butter dressing, piled high on a hot dog bun.

My requirements were as follows: I wanted to eat it outside, near the coast, from a place recommended by the townspeople.

I stood on the harbor docks and got two of my new friends to agree that Docksiders was where I should have lunch. Take Sea Street up from Northeast Harbor and you can't miss it. I ordered at the window, "paid dearly" for the best lobster roll around and ate it on a picnic table in the sunshine. (Sigh) Fresh, rich and delicious. Thank you, Maine!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bar Harbor, Maine

Last week, I had the most glorious time in Bar Harbor, Maine. My dear friend, Angie was going on a trip to "Where America's Day Begins" (as the furthest state East, that is the slogan on their driver's licenses) and she let me come along on her adventure!

Apart from a family trip when I was four-years-old, I had never been to Maine. However, my maternal great-grandparents were from Bethel, Maine and my paternal grandparents loved Bar Harbor so much that they often d-r-o-v-e there from Michigan for vacation.

So I knew, genetically speaking, that Maine would be my kind of place. It was wonderful to photograph (everything!) and imagine it through the eyes of my ancestors. I loved it all, really. Over the next few days, I will tell you some stories and show you what brought me delight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ice Cream & Black Olives in Ohio

Yes, all in one trip! The Black Olive reference is to a wonderful restaurant of the same name in the Short North district of Columbus, Ohio. 

The restaurant's glass walls swing open, so my friends and I enjoyed dinner in the night air. I loved everything about it - the super nice staff, my delicious entree (steak with a plum reduction sauce) and the overall vibe of the restaurant. The perfect choice for relaxing after a big day at the fair.

Just across the street is Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. An imperative stop on any trip to or thru Columbus.

Can I describe ice cream as gorgeous?
I think Jeni's unusual flavors, generous use of core ingredients and overall delight provided warrants the description.

We shared 2 Trios and ranked their deliciousness as follows:
#1 Bourbon Butter Pecan
#2 Pistachio Honey
#3 Sweet Corn with Black Raspberry Swirl
#4 Backyard Mint
#5 Dark Chocolate

#6 Carrot Cake

Mind you, the first four are so good, I would eat them every day for a month if I could. Honorable Mention goes to Red Beets with Lemon and Poppy Seeds - it was pink & delicious!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Country Living Fair 2009, Part 3

I was lucky enough to get a seat front & center for a "Seasonal Wreath" presentation at the Country Living magazine's Country Fair.

The hour-long seminar was hosted by famous design team, Richard Kollath (left) and Ed McCann (right).

Richard used an Oasis wreath base (which, once soaked in water, provides moisture to the flowers/leaves allowing the arrangement to last up to a week!) to make a fresh flower arrangement bursting with Fall colors. It had a beautiful combination of mums, cockscomb, mini gourds, hypericum and bittersweet. So pretty!

Meanwhile, Ed gave suggestions for making in-home arrangements last longer. For example, he recommended "Butchers Wax" as the perfect medium to rub on clean gourds & pumpkins to improve and seal them for an indoor display. Remember when I bought my white pumpkin here?

This weekend I am going to the farmer's market to get a white pumpkin for my front table...and I have added Butchers Wax to my shopping list!

Thank you, Richard & Ed! I had a delightful time.

Country Living Fair 2009, Part 2

Yum! Country Living contributing Food Editor, Cheryl Slocum, was all about the pumpkin at this year's Country Living Fair. She worked her magic with three recipes from the October issue: Pumpkin Bread, Curried Pumpkin & Peas and Pumpkin Cannelloni with Sage Brown Butter Sauce (above).

The genius in the cannelloni recipe is the Barilla "Oven Ready" lasagna sheets. Give them a minute or two in boiling water and they become soft enough to fill and roll! Ricotta, pumpkin, salt & sage made the filling for this delicious entree.

I have started using this magic pasta myself for quick dinners and they work like a dream.

Thanks, Cheryl, for an excellent and entertaining Fall food demonstration!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Country Living Fair 2009, Part 1

How do you maximize your fun when you go to a Country Fair? Have a plan. There was so much going on at the 2009 Country Living magazine's Country Fair, I had to be organized.

10 AM: Gates open. First on my list? Find my Aunt Carol's booth! She has an amazing eye and brought her fine silver, transfer ware, and pink lustre to Columbus to participate as an antiques dealer in this huge Country Living event.

11-12 PM: Cooking Demonstration with Country Living contributing Food Editor, Cheryl Slocum

12:15: Casual Lunch - BBQ

1-2 PM: Country Living Editor-In-Chief, Sarah Gray Miller discusses the 30 year history of Country Living magazine

2-3 PM: Eat Jeni's ice cream (Salty Carmel, Honey Vanilla & Belgian Chocolate) and concentrate on photographing the event

3-4 PM: Seasonal Wreath presentation by Country Living contributors, Richard Kollath and Ed McCann.

4-5 PM: Shop until the gates close at five o'clock.

It worked! I was able to do it all and "see" the entire fair. A favorite moment? When I found a darling square sugar bowl & lid for $10!

Now that you have a general sense of the event, I will be posting highlights over the next few days. My advice? Mark your calendars for next September in Columbus. This Country Fair is worth the trip!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Today I am attending the Country Living Magazine Country Fair in Columbus, Ohio.

Cooking demonstrations, shopping for antiques and sampling lots of unusual ice cream flavors at Jeni's ice cream! The forecast is clear skies and 74 degrees - my photos should be amazing.

I will tell you all about it when I get back!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Angelina's in Paris

Was I having a good day or what? This is a little something I ordered (and inhaled!) at Angelina's in Paris. My favorite pastry is "Millefeuille" (often called a "Napoleon" in America) and I ate them all over Paris in the name of research. In my opinion, Angelina's on Rue de Rivoli has the best!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Souvenir Teaspoons

Did you gasp too? I saw this hanging in the visitor center at Mount Vernon and my delight was audible.

A display of antique souvenir spoons from George Washington's day. My favorite ones (shown up close) have Washington's entire torso depicted on the handle. Neat, huh?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Fox Brothers

One afternoon, my nephew (a born naturalist) and I were combing the property looking for signs of our foxes. We had watched all three foxes play in the yard the day before by standing inside our screened porch. We were perfectly still and after a few moments of hesitation, the fox brothers decided that we were not a threat and played for a long time within our view.

We laughed to ourselves later when we imagined the young foxes telling their mother that they seen people out in broad daylight! At which point, we were sure the Fox Mother would have had a fit. "People are dangerous and unpredictable!"

To which the fox brothers would reply, "It's okay, Mom, they were in a cage."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

City Series: Washington D.C: The Steps of Lincoln Memorial

I wanted to show you this picture I took from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a gorgeous day and I went up there by myself to see what I could see. I rubbed elbows with boy scouts, families and tourists as we all took turns having our picture taken with Abe.

I rode the elevator down with an older gentleman from Italy. I don't speak Italian and he didn't speak English, but we chatted none the less with gestures, smiles and by showing off our digital pictures.

Little moments like that are why I love people so much. We weren't going to let a little thing like
language slow down our enthusiasm for the experience we had just had. That is delight.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer Sunsets

I love a Summer sunset. With bright blue still in the sky, pinks and apricots mix it up along the horizon. I am known for "stopping everything" to dedicate time to watch the sun go down. I relax with a cup of decaf coffee (loaded with milk) and appreciate every minute. Have you been stopping to watch the sunset?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tiny Tomatoes with Balsamic Glaze

Cute and delicious! What more could a girl want? I bought a quart of these beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes at the farmer's market. If only I had brought a pen with me, I could tell you their names. When I expressed interest in them, the women that grew them started rattling off every variety. So cute! The only name that I can remember is "Jelly Bean."

I served these tiny tomatoes (whole & halved) with mini mozzarella balls and a drizzle of Blaze balsamic glaze. Dinner was grilled salmon with a sesame ginger crust, sticky rice and fresh green beans. Yum!

Friday, September 11, 2009

End-of-Summer Party

The sound of live music lead me to this picture perfect scene. It was Labor Day in Leland and a huge end-of-summer party was happening at The Cove. I walked out on the footbridge over the waterfall and stood in the sun for quite a while just enjoying the scene. Can you see the people who came by kayak?

As you look down the river, you can see historic Fishtown, charter fishing boats and Lake Michigan in the distance. What a glorious day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Country Living magazine's Country Fair 2009

On September 19th, I am heading to Country Living magazine's Country Fair at the Ohio Historical Society's Ohio Village (a 22 building replica of a mid 19th century town).

Country Living brings the little village to life with seminars & demos and 150 vendors (selling everything from antiques & linens to beautiful hand-crafted accessories) There will be live music, icy lemonade and Country Living tote bags for sale - the perfect country fair.

I had a wonderful time last year - remember my posts? You can see all of the details for this year's fair here. Join me?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Salt Collection

I have bought so many beautiful packages of salt over the last few years that it practically constitutes a collection, don't you think?

I keep them grouped on the counter as a type of culinary art. My kitchen has aqua and white striped wallpaper with sea shell-colored cabinets (I call my decorating style "Swedish Beach House") and the pastel packaging of these salts looks just beautiful! Plus, I always have the proper salt on hand when I am cooking. A few that you can see are Bella Cucina, Cerulean Seas, and Le Saunier de Camargue.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Study in Nasturtiums

My mom did the coolest thing this Summer. She decided to do her own "scientific research" and grow every variety of nasturtium (that she could find) from seed. She arranged 17 pots on the driveway - each one dedicated to a different color.
She actually took a Sharpie marker and wrote (on the rim of the pot) the name of the seeds planted within. Most of her seeds were from Renee's Garden and had names like "Whirly Bird" and "Cherries Jubilee."

She even made a chart to log which colors she liked, who bloomed first etc. She kept it on a legal pad and walked around the yard with it. Who would think that such a simple thing would take on a life of its own. Lots of people knew about her research and I often heard people ask her, "How are the nasturtiums?"

These beauties bloomed all Summer long and brought her a lot of happiness (and bouquets!). She made little arrangements for the house and often gave people San Pellegrino cans full of orange and yellow blooms. What a wonderful project for the Summer.

P.S. "Copper Sunset" bloomed first.

Monday, September 7, 2009


This weekend we rented a slip in the harbor and kept our boat on Lake Michigan all weekend! Normally, our area of Lake Michigan is quite choppy and a bit more challenging to boat on, but this weekend the water was like glass and we were able to cruise the shoreline each day and relax relax relax.

Remember when I first showed you Whaleback? This is it up close! I have never seen it from this vantage point and loved photographing the sandy shore and rugged pines that grow right down to the water. And look at the water - clear as a bell. We drifted here for a while and ate a picnic lunch of sandwiches and pop. What a glorious September day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Be Adventurous

Are you too "safe" when ordering lunch? When the waitress said that the soup of the day was Spicy Watermelon, I jumped at the chance to try it.
  1. I knew it would be pink and I love pink.
  2. We were eating lunch outside and it sounded refreshing.
  3. When is the next time I am going to be able to try fresh Spicy Watermelon soup?
I tell you I made the right decision. It was so pretty (and delicious) - the perfect balance with my panini. And as other customers entered the patio and saw my plate, they were hooked too. I think I sold a lot of pink soup that day.

Oh, and when you have a pretty lunch, take a picture of it.

To try my Watermelon Gazpacho recipe, click here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spontaneous Breakfast

I want to share a "spontaneous breakfast" recipe with you. It requires little effort and is made from 4 ingredients that I always have on hand.

Add the following to a blender (or smoothie maker for extra froth) and give it a whirl.

1 frozen banana, peeled (whenever my bananas are past their prime, I stick them in the freezer whole. Just cut the peel off when you are ready for breakfast)
1 cup skim milk
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I keep it on hand for making tiramisu or to enrich brownies)
a splash of vanilla extract

Honestly, I've made this once a week all Summer long and this morning I thought, I really need to share this. Enjoy!

(Photo: The roses & nasturtiums are in a little Danon yogurt jar I brought back from France.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

45th Parallel

If I had to pick, the 45th Parallel is the latitude to be on. It runs right through my beloved Leelanau Country in northern Michigan.

I have been driving by this sign for years (an "official" marker that somehow validates my favorite area) and thought it would be fun to show you.

Foodies know that this latitude is optimal for growing the "stone fruits" (cherries, peaches etc.). Stone fruits are grown on the 45th parallel all across the globe. My part of the world specializes in cherries. Neat, huh? Normally this latitude principle is associated with grapes and vineyards, but now you know it applies to certain fruits too.

What I can't believe is that I am heading to Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine this month. While preparing for the trip, I noticed a "45th Parallel Picnic Area." No way!

I will still be photographing on the 45th - just 1,000 miles East!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Edible Flowers

This is what happens when I am left alone in the kitchen - an edible flower collage! This particular day, I had been to a farm stand called "The Ugly Tomato" (a.k.a. heirloom tomatoes) and found a salad mix of fresh greens and a Ziploc baggie full of flowers for $3.75. Sold!

That night I made a farmer's market dinner: fresh corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, baby fingerling potatoes and a big salad loaded with the edible flowers and herbs above (okay, not the big orange one second down from the left). The flowers were so pretty (and there were so many varieties!), I decided to lay them all out to see what I had. This is the result.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to eat my dinner or frame it, seriously.

Some of the flowers shown here are:

  • Pansy
  • Nasturtium
  • Bachelor Button
  • Violas
  • Cosmos
  • Calendulas
You can see a fabulous chart of edible flowers here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lavender, Eggplant & Amethyst

The color purple (in every glorious incarnation) is featured prominently this Fall. Chunky gray necklaces with lavender ribbon ties, big plum plaid blankets to take to the football game and natural touches, like a bunch of fresh lavender displayed on a family room table.

This month, House Beautiful magazine has dedicated an entire section to amethyst-colored accessories for the home. So pretty!

I have always liked lavender fabrics. In fact, my guest room has a lavender & cream stripe love seat covered with a collection of toile, plaid and lavender print pillows. It is such a pretty place to read my book club book.

Are you thinking about adding some lavender, eggplant or amethyst touches to your home?