Friday, August 5, 2011


Woah! It's been a while guys! 

So, how are you? How's the family?

I'm good. Things are crazy busy around here. I have a JOB! Working here

Our church, and several other Orthodox parishes in the area, are working together to open a not for profit coffee house in downtown Harrisburg. Each quarter a local charity will be selected to receive all of the proceeds from the shop. I am VERY excited to be a part of such a cool opportunity that actually lines up perfectly with what I want to do long term- open a coffee shop and bakery. 

Pastry school starts on the 22nd. Next week is orientation. Look at what I got in the mail this week!

And, modeling the whole ensemble...

Something I learned- chef coats and pants are not so flattering but are very comfortable.

I am also developing some recipes for the coffee shop so I will probably be sharing those soon. One that's a big hit right now- double chocolate espresso cookies. They are gooooood.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lost my Filter

Everyone, ok, almost everyone; has a built-in "filter" of what to say, what not to say, and who not to say it to.

I lost mine.

For two years, I lived somewhere that most people couldn't understand a word I said unless I wanted them to. Then, when I was saying something that should be filtered, I said it to my husband who knows me so well that we can filter each other and understand the meaning even if it didn't come out right.

Now that we are in the states, I walk out of just about every conversation going... "oh, man....... why did I SAY that?? I didn't MEAN it to sound like that." And then I have to go back... and apologize.... and explain what I MEANT to say. In a sense, I have not only lost my filter, I have lost my English.

So, to anyone who might be reading this.. I didn't mean it. I am attempting to re-grow my filter. I will think before I speak and if something sounds harsh, it wasn't supposed to. Feel free to call me out.

Side note: I made cookies and cream cupcakes. You should come visit and eat one because WOW are they yummy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Last Day of X-mas in July!

Last stop on the Christmas in July roadtrip is  Switzerland! This is on the way to Interlaken, which was our home base.

Don't stay there. It's not so cute and sooooo stinkin expensive. Fondue is around $100 for two- and that's just bread and cheese. BUT they have a Hooter's. Poor girls- it was snowing out and absolutely freezing and they still had on those crazy "uniforms". 

Anyways, the views from the villages are much better. And the food probably is too.

 When we got into town, it was snowing... so if you see little white patches in the photos it's not the photographer. Promise.

Waiting on the train. Even if we didn't want to stay in Interlaken, our B&B was great and really helped us get an idea of what we wanted to do. (Hotel Rugenpark) They talked us through several different options for our visit and we landed on a hike. Since dogs can go anywhere in Europe, Sadie hopped on the train with us and off we went! And, I am pretty sure she got a few pictures taken while on the train. Tourists ;)

The village of Lauterbrunnen is the first village in the mountains and where I really WANTED to stay but the holidays made things just a little crowded. Sadly, the b&b I wanted had a view of this waterfall. *sigh. Break my heart. All of the white at the base of the falls is not water- it's ice. Glimmering, super thick ice. 

Waiting for the tram!

So.. where we started hiking. Grutschalp- 1489m. And, we went to Murren. The trail is on the opposite ridge from Jungfrau, one of the highest peaks of the Bernese Alps. We hiked on the opposite ridge because to actually reach the summit of Jungfrau would cost over $200 per person. HA! That is more than our hotel cost for 2 nights. 

Cheap travelers.

5,361 Feet.

 Now, that's a hill. Jungfrau. 13,642 feet. 

There is a glacier on the opposite side of Jungfrau that we wanted to visit. Next time!! 

If you would like to see the rest of the pictures from the trip- the facebook album has plenty.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Part 3

After the excitement of the castles we decided to spend a day around Reutte and went on a hike. So, we left from our hotel, went through the village, and out of town. And then I spent the next 2 hours wishing I had snowshoes. 

Our hike 2nd one down, Ruine Ehrenberg. Basically we walked through someone's backyard, up a service road, onto a trail, and straight up a hill. I lost a glove.... but it was still one of the best hikes I've ever gone on. 

We started down there. That little bitty village...

The only time our dog laid down the entire day. She loves the snow more than we do. 
If you like this hike..... wait until you see the next one....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Christmas in July, part Deux


There is a road leading up to Neuschwanstien, winding it's way up the side of the hill from the village. Some people walk, some people carry their kids on sleds (for a quick trip back down), and others take horse drawn sleighs to the top. No matter what you decide, be prepared for a stroll through a Currier and Ives painting.

Ludwig, also know as the Fairy Tale king,  built this castle from his own fortune, just because he wanted to. Instead of starting with an architect and drawing up blue prints, he had an artist paint a picture of the castle he desired and then said- build it. (As only kings can.) There were a lot of problems that arose because of this methodology and the castle has actually never been completed. The family, after his mysterious death, ended construction and opened it to tours.

We weren't allowed to take pictures of the interior but if you would like to see some, here is a link to their website. It's really a great site that tells much of the history, the problems with the way it was built, and shows the jaw-dropping interior. For example, his master suit had four carpenters working for 8 years, full time, just to complete the Tristan and Isolde woodworking on the walls and bed.

Next up- Switzerland! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Christmas in July

Joyeux Noel!

I just realized that I didn't really blog our last Europe trip... which was Christmas. Sometimes, photo editing becomes such a task that by the end of it all I am so tired of looking at them that I just quit. Not a good excuse, but it happens. So, here I am in PA with some of the craziest humidity I have ever experienced, and I am going to talk about snow. YEH! 

This is where the trip started. We stayed in the little town of Ruette, about 15 minutes from the German border. It is the most beautiful Christmas that I have ever had. A tiny town, blanketed in snow; perfectly picturesque. 

Our hotel, the Hotel Goldener Hierch, is still family own and operated after 500 years. Amazing. The walls are covered in their family pictures and the family tree. And, we met the owner. Gruff old guy who always has a pipe or cigar in his mouth. Every dinner was spent in the restaurant, complete with homemade noodles. Wish I was munching on some of those right now! We loved it every minute we spent there.
The first real day of this trip was spent in Germany at the castles of King Ludwig the 2nd of Bavaria. There are a lot of mysteries surrounding him and his death but the real reason we wanted to visit is this: Walt Disney based Cinderella castle on Neuschwanstien. 

 That's right. I've seen the REAL Cinderella castle. 

Anyways, the area also has the castle where King Ludwig grew up. It is much less impressive than Neuschwanstien, but it's always good to start at the beginning. (And, how can you really complain about a castle?) Our day began at Hohenschwangau. 

 Taken on our way up the hill. 

Can you imagine this being the view from your house? Amazing. Just almost more than I can stand. All those snow covered trees, fields, and houses. 

Look like anything you know? More on that tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tasty Surprises

I love surprises. Ok, no I don't. I am a planner, but this kind of surprise is always welcome. One of John's coworkers brought him two pints of black raspberries yesterday. YEH!  

John wanted muffins. I wanted cake....Tony Horton (p90x) wanted us to have neither. So, as with all good marriages, we had to come to a compromise. Black Raspberry Coffee Cake. Cake that tastes a lot like a muffin.Sorry Tony, but you are out-voted. We'll do an extra workout to make up for it. 

ahahahah... That was a lie.

(If you are wondering why I cropped the picture this way; the cake is sitting beside the kitchen sink. My sink was full of dirty dishes. I like to keep my mess to myself... )

I actually didn't change the recipe very much at all, so, Thank You Saveur for this lovely gift. And, if anyone else wants to surprise me with berries... or peaches.... or really anything.. I promise I will share whatever I make with it. 

Black Raspberry Coffee Cake
For the topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp chilled butter 
1/3 cup Dark Chocolate chocolate chips

For the Cake:
1 cup All purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled (I used salted butter... because I like it better... )
1 1/4 cups fresh black (or red) raspberries

1. Topping: In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and butter. Using a fork, mix throughly, butter will be crumbly, and then add chocolate. Stir well to combine. 

2. Cake: Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.In a seperate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. 
3. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8" spring form pan. Sprinkle raspberries over cake and then cover with the topping. Bake until well browned, around 40 minutes. Serve Warm. Or cold. With coffee. Or chocolate milk. Or, don't serve it at all and keep it for yourself.