[Bye bye 2015]: myFavorite 12

  • January – Massachusetts dream
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So far I have lived in 3 countries, 5 states and 8 cities
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Red Rock Canyon – Pink Jeep Tours, Nevada
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Two trips to SLC in 2015 – highlights as always meeting old friends and visiting my favorite restaurants!
  • April – Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers (&spring)!
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Love watching live games – the energy is fabulous (and LeBron James)
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Such a beautiful city – cable car ride, view, seafood and more
  • June – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Our “real” vacation in 2015. Mango, plantains, fresh coconut water, tamarind, waves, forts…..felt so close to home even though we do not share the same language! Hope to be back soon PR.
  • July – Red Sox game at Fenway;  NYC and Phoenix, AZ
  • August – Newport, RI and Cape Cod, MA
  • September – Broadway show and Labor weekend in Western Massachusetts with family

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  • November – Took baking to the next level!
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White wine cake and blueberry white chocolate pie
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myFavorite Fish Pollichathu at Kokum, NYC

Looking forward to (even) more travel foodie explorations in 2016!

Happy Near Year everyone — from myfoodsquare.

V for Vermont

 

These are a few of my favorite things

Baking croissants, Yoga, sing-along, charades

Pictionary, Sound of Music

Austrian food, Vermont

von Trapp lodge, mountains, with my wonderful team

My most memorable travel work week so far!

The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT is owned and run by the family whose story inspired the famous Hollywood classic, Sound of Music.

It was truly an Austrian getaway – the lodge is nestled in the mountains and still managed by the Trapp Family.

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Trapp Family Lodge
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The hills are alive with the sound of music….

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My first snow of 2015.

The drive up there was gloomy, rainy and a little scary (driving in heavy rains with trucks and mountainous roads can be intimidating to say the least) — but I made it just in time for our team baking class!  Croissants baking to be specific. We learnt it takes 3-days to make buttery, flaky, heavenly croissants . Our instructor had graciously prepped the dough so we were able to “fast-forward” certain steps.

They baked it for us and we were able to enjoy them for breakfast the next day — after our relaxing team Yoga class (overlooking the mountains)! I have heard, read benefits of doing Yoga in a group — but I experienced it as well.

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Croissants baking class – whole wheat maple (mine remind me of crabs?!)
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View from the Yoga class.
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Majestic Scotch Highland Cattle – beware!

We enjoyed most meals onsite except one night we tried a local wood-fire grill place called The Bench in Stowe. The menu at the lodge has Austrian/European influence including homemade sausages, speciality cheeses and finally, desserts – apfelstrudel and black forest cake (from the bakery where we learnt to make croissants).

There was live piano music, Sound of Music sing-along, my first snow for this season, holidays in the air and we watched the Sound of Music movie one night! It was magical.

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Apfelstrudel & Black Forest Cake

On my way back home I made two quick stops –  Ben & Jerry’s factory tour and Lake Champlain chocolates — both are proud to be from Vermont and location-wise they are  just few miles from the lodge – down the mountain, before getting on the freeway so literally on the way. I enjoyed free sample of the sweet cream & cookies ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s) and picked up spicy hot chocolate  (Lake Champlain) for my ride home.

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Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory tour

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Until next time — Trapp Family lodge and Vermont in general — I was intrigued, mesmerized and nostalgic — such fond memories. Will be back soon!

[I’m dreaming of a white Christmas]: White Wine Cake

myInspiration for holiday baking this year:

Recent trip to Vermont.

Mountains.

Light dusting of snow.

Christmas trees.

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von Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT

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Clearly Vermont left an everlasting impression on me. More about my Vermont trip in an independent ‘travel’ post. It deserves that recognition.

These cakes baked in mini-loaf pans are pretty for holiday gifting. I was able to give individual gifts to both my work teams and some friends. They look and taste awesome!

A note from a co-worker sums it up pretty well, “I wanted to thank you so very much for that lovely little cake that you sent home with us! It was delicious, so light and just sweet enough. And that little pan you put it in I am using for nuts, to put out when I have guests. So very thoughtful.”

For me this cake takes me back to simple, uncomplicated desserts and I relish every bite. The Christmas tree cake topper makes it look so festive!

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Adapted from: Silver Palette Cook Book (cake) and toppers.

White wine cake and Christmas tree toppers

  • Servings: 8 mini loaf pans
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

WHITE WINE CAKE

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectionery sugar for dusting

CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPERS

  • 1 cup green candy melt
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks
  • crushed candy cane
  • 2 tbsp confectionery sugar (optional)

Directions:

WHITE WINE CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer – beat sugar and eggs together.
  • Once blended add oil + wine + flour mixture + vanilla mix for ~1 minute.
  • Pour the batter into mini-loaf bake dish lined with a parchment paper or round cake pan or cupcake pan.
  • Bake in the oven for ~30 minutes (until toothpick inserted in the center cones out clean).
  • Once the cake is baked and cool – dust with confectionery sugar.

CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPERS

  • While the cake is in the oven – melt the candy melts per directions on the bag.
  • Once melted fill the candy melts in a piping bag.
  • Arrange the pretzel sticks on a plate with foil or parchment paper.
  • Pipe out a “christmas tree” shape — no right or wrong — it will all look pretty!
  • Immediately top with some crushed candy cane pieces.
  • Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
  • Dust with confectionery sugar (optional).
  • Carefully, remove the tree and use it as a topper for the delicious white wine cake you just baked!