This Is Living

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday Simple Pleasures

Sorry this isn't being posted until Sunday. I was too busy enjoying all my simple pleasures yesterday! :)

Simple. Little things that brought a smile to face and pleasure to my day today:

Perfect way to start the day.....baking one of my (and Justin's) favorites; my chocolate mayonnaise Bundt cake with homemade chocolate butter cream frosting with chocolate shavings.
(I am also a proud member of the Bundt Cake Club!)

Which brings me to another pleasure of the day: My Aunt Audrey and Step-Mother Bonnie sending me all the below links for Crock-Pot recipes (remember my Crock-Pot Club Membership)


Crock Pot - Beef

Crock Pot - Pork

Cupcake tasting for an upcoming wedding (08/01/09): Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache frosting, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, red velvet with cream cheese or butter cream frosting; any combination of those and variety of fillings.

Groom-to-be who knows what he wants out of a cupcake.

The heavenly aroma and tantalizing sights of fresh oven baked breads and savory pastries of my favorite bakery.

Complimentary goodies from the owner of the bakery who is a vendor of mine. Fresh baked Parmesan Onion and Cobb with rye and flax breads and delectable chocolate cream cheese brownies.

The exit ramp to go to New Richmond after I forgot to get gas in Stillwater and my car's gas tank was sooooooo on empty and screaming at me by this point!

Gifts from Hawaii. For those of you that drink coffee. Stop on by.....I got some great stuff now!

Thanks Bill!

Getting Gregory a new hat to put his two pins in from his two pins!

Is there anything better than a small town house of God?

God is SO good!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Amazing Day in American History

United States of America.

We are second to no one.

Those of you that know me know, I did not support or vote for Barack Obama. I support and vote for the individual I feel is best qualified to be the leader of our great nation, and in this election I did not feel that to be him.

HOWEVER, I am American and I love and support our country. Barack Obama was chosen as our President. The verdict came in and I accept it and will support him, stand behind him, pray for his safety, guidance in his journey and his success. Because I love our country I wish great things for him and my desire is for him to succeed beyond imagination for the United States of America.

It is overwhelming and a great joy to see the excitement and hope he has inspired throughout the world. The interest in the political process that is being shown by our youth and individuals that are typically not interested or excited about our politics. This is amazing. The pride that is pouring out from the neighborhoods, businesses, churches, schools, factories. The sea of red, white and blue. Happy, smiling, shining people. Glowing in pride and accomplishment. This is amazing. Hope. Pride. Joy. Achievement. Excitement. Interest. Faith. America. Amazing.

In celebration of all that above, we also need to be excited, grateful and extremely proud to be Americans, not because we all believe the same things or vote for the same person, because we don't, but when the votes have been counted and once again, the verdict in, we allow, and should take great pride in, our ability to provide a peaceful transition of power.
This is so rare in our conflict-torn world today. We should celebrate and embrace this ability. Our Constitution has stood the test of time. We transition peacefully, without tanks and water trucks, without confrontation, without war and deaths. We are the United States of America.

What an Amazing Day in American History.

Being the event planner, I cannot allow the ceremonies of the day to go unmentioned. (I am still awaiting my invitation by the way. It must have got sent to my old address :( )

Events of the Day:

Morning Worship Service

The tradition of attending a morning worship service on Inauguration Day began with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

Processional to the Capitol

By tradition, the outgoing President accompanies the President-elect to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony.

Vice President's Swearing-In Ceremony

Until 1937, the Vice President was sworn into office in the Senate chamber.

President's Swearing-In Ceremony

There have been 54 formal Presidential Inaugural ceremonies, held at over 10 different locations.

Inaugural Address

Since George Washington in 1789, every President has delivered an Inaugural address, ranging from 8,445 words, to just 135.

Departure of the Outgoing President

Following the inaugural ceremony on the west front of the U.S. Capitol, the outgoing President and First Lady leave the Capitol to begin their post-presidential lives.

Inaugural Luncheon

Food............this is where we are going to spend some time! I assume most of you reading this probably didn't receive your invitation either. We will go together..............

Often featuring cuisine reflecting the home states of the new President and Vice President, as well as the theme of the Inauguration, the Luncheon program includes speeches, gift presentations and toasts to the new administration. While this tradition dates as far back as 1897, when the Senate Committee on Arrangements first gave a luncheon for President McKinley and several other guests at the U.S. Capitol, it did not begin in its current form until 1953.

Today's particular luncheon was THEME related. I love themes!! The theme they used for the Inauguration; Abraham Lincoln.

They're going to party like it's 1861!

Although President Lincoln was not much of an eater, he loved seafood! The Seafood Stew they served consisted of lobsters, scallops, shrimp and cod.

Of course, as always, the dessert is worth special mention.

Apple Cinnamon Sponge Cake and Sweet Cream Glace

Lincoln loved apples. As do I, and I love dessert and this looks quite yummy!

This is not a complicated recipe and I have included it at the end of this post.

The first course was served on replicas of the china from the Lincoln Presidency, which was selected by Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband's term in office. The china features the American bald eagle standing above the U. S. Coat of Arms, surrounded by a wide border of "solferino," a purple-red hue popular among the fashionable hosts of the day. (Please note all guests were seated on Chivari chairs that were in the same purple-red hue as the border of the plates).

What luncheon party would be complete without checking out the centerpieces:

The floral arrangements were designed by JLB Floral of Alexandria, Virginia. (Although they are fine, Kathy could have done better). They consisted of Red Charlotte roses, Rouge Basier roses, Hot Lady roses, a floribunda rose called Hot Majolica, hydrangea in shades of blues and purples, and light blue delphinium in a footed brass compote. After the luncheon, the floral arrangements were given to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Wasn't that luncheon just delightful! Feel like you were there? No, me neither.

The luncheon is followed by the Inaugural Parade

and several Inaugural Balls.

President Obama will attend 10 Inaugural Balls, with his last expected time of arrival at 2:35 a.m.

It's good to have a President that can party like a rock star!

An Amazing Day. I am honored to have shared it with you.

Apple Cinnamon Sponge Cake and Sweet Cream Glace

Apple Filling

4 lbs. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bread Crust
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melt 10 of tablespoons
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
34 slices brioche bread (or white bread)

10 ceramic baking ramekins or metal molds (3" diameter)

2 cups caramel sauce (store bought)
2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, diced small
Pinch sugar
Pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Ice Cream
1 quart vanilla ice cream



  1. Melt butter in 6 quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples and caramelize, add water, cook, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are completely soft. Remove cover and add sugar, nutmeg and salt. Increase heat to medium high and continue to cook, stirring apples frequently, until liquid has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, apple sauce and vanilla. Set aside to cool while making crust. The filling can be made one day ahead.
Making crust and assembly
  1. Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425. Grease 8 ceramic dishes with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle sugar in dish and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Tap out excess sugar and set aside.
  2. Using a bread knife, remove crusts from bread. Center the bottom of mold over one of the bread squares. Cut around mold to form circle to use as the top. Make a total of 20 of these round pieces. Ten will be for the bottom and 10 will be used for the top. Dip each one in melted butter and place at the bottom of mold.
  3. Cut each of the 15 remaining slices of bread into four rectangular pieces. Dip one side of each strip in the melted butter and arrange strips, upright around the inside of molds, buttered sides against mold and overlapping by about 1/2 inch to completely line mold. Use 6 rectangles to line the mold.
  4. Spoon the apple filling into bread lined molds, mounding it slightly in the center.
  5. Take the remaining ten rounds of bread and dip pieces of bread into the melted butter and place on top of filling, buttered sides up. Press down slightly.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes then cover top loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until top is deep golden brown and side slices are golden brown (slide a thin bladed knife between bread and pan to check). Remove from oven, uncover, and let rest for 15 minutes on wire rack. Run thin bladed knife around edges of molds to be able to flip the mold out onto serving plates.
  7. For the apple cinnamon caramel sauce, sate 1 cup of peeled and diced Granny Smith apples in butter, add a pinch of sugar and cinnamon. Allow to cook until apples are lightly browned and all sugars have dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 cups caramel sauce to the apples and stir to coat apples.
Pour caramel apple sauce over warmed apple cakes and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream (or if you don't eat ice cream, as I don' with whipped cream).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Secret Sauce

Ice fishing is upon us.

The crunch of the frozen snow underneath your feet. The fog of your breath in the air. The miniature cities of ice houses that develop among the snowplowed paths of Lake Mille Lacs, all with at least 5 things in common;
  1. Holes in the ice
  2. Poles
  3. Grill
  4. Playing Cards
  5. Beer
I absolutely adore ice fishing. Although, Dave and I do it quite differently and I adore my way, not his.

Dave's Way

My Way

Please note: That is carpet around that hole!

Don't get me wrong........I will do it Dave's way, if absolutely necessary and it is above zero, and the wind isn't blowing, and the sun is shining :)

Dave will also do it my way.........if absolutely necessary :)

Since we are all out there for one thing and one thing only (other than listening to music, playing games, eating snacks, watching football games (obviously taken from my way); and that is to catch fish.........Walleye fish..........we are going to share with you the Secret Sauce.

Good Luck and let us know how you do!

The Bait Recipe for a Freezer Full of Walleyes
by Andrew Martinsen

I thought you'd like to read this special report. This is an ultra-secret sauce that is the result of a lot of testing and tweaking.

It's a simple and easy ingredient mix to put together, and best of all it guarantees you to catch walleyes fast.

The Recipe:
One Tablespoon, Garlic Powder
One Teaspoon, Ground Parsley
One Cup, Vegetable Oil

1/2 Teaspoon, Salt

Mix the ingredients together in a small container. This recipe works best with live minnows. Dip the minnow into the sauce for one minute before throwing out your line.

Note: The recipe will make the minnow extremely sluggish, and since the smell of it makes ME hungry, why would a walleye like it? It truly is a mystery as to why this secret recipe works-those of us who use it religiously only know that it does.

Like so many things in walleye fishing, you can often be astonished at the level to which your success can skyrocket when you hit the water with a dramatically different approach than that taken by everybody else.

Try it yourself and see..........

Best of all, this bait recipe is simple to put together at the last minute before you head out the door to do some fishin'.

To catching the BIG ones!

Not a Walleye

Not working hard

Not Amused