Thursday, October 22, 2009

Winter getaway

So you may have heard of the Ice Hotel in the northern part of Sweden, but did you know the hotel is 20 years old? Living in an abode of ice is nothing new. The Eskimos have done it long enough to prove it makes perfect sense in an arctic climate. However, you may not find a home as luxurious and artistically carved in an igloo as you do in the Ice Hotel located in JukkasjÀrvi in Sweden. They offer accommodations for those that want to sleep on a bed of ice as well as the adventurous at heart but in need of heat, who can stay in regular heated rooms. During the day you can experience dog sleding, raindeer sleding (yes Rudolf is alive and well in Sweden), ice course driving in a brand new Saab or checking out the Norther lights on top of a horse. Life is too short not to plan your next adventure and this should definitely be on the list! By paying a visit to the hotel website you will find all the hotel has to offer.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Busy hands

As I'm typing, there is a row of earrings in front of me waiting to be listed. There simply are not enough hours in the day but they will hopefully be in the shop by the end of the week. I feel as though I am finding myself through my jewelry and my shop is now evolving into something that is more me. To be honest with you, when I opened the shop there was no clear direction for where I was going other than to create jewelry that I hoped others would appreciate too. These days, my pieces have become darker, more earthy and I believe they carry a part of me in them. Funny how soul searching can happen through jewelry making! Here are a few of my latest additions to the shop.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The perfect crop

If I can make my mother in law go "How on earth did you make this crust?" I must be on to something and luckily for you I am sharing my recipe for this amazing apple pie. This is the perfect time for apple picking and I hope you have the chance to get out there and harvest what is supposed to be the best crop of the century, at least up here in Maine. We went apple picking as a family and my daughter ate more apples than she picked, which is fine with me! The orchard we went to had more apples than the branches could hold and it was a treat for the eye. Unfortunately, you have to take my word for it as the batteries in the camera died right before we arrived at the orchard. I will however share with you the view from one of the hills in the area overlooking the White Mountains of Vermont. Fall is a breath taking time in Maine and I hope everyone has a chance to make it up here in their life time. This pie recipe may take up at least an hour of your time but you won't care when you taste it.

The Perfect Apple Pie

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup chilled shortening
8-10 tbsp. cold milk

Blend the ingredients together with a pastry blender or a knife. Make sure the shortening is cold and place the mixture in the refrigerator until the filling is done. Divide into two equal parts and roll out to two circles slightly larger than the pie plate. Line the pie plate with one pie circle.

10-12 golden delicious and cortland apples or any of your fresh favorites
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla concentrate
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom (if available)
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp. butter cut into slices
1 egg
sugar for sprinkling on the pie crust

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Slice the apples thinly and put them in a bowl. Pour the lemon juice on the apples and mix. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top and mix well. Pour the mixture into the crust lined pie plate. Place the sliced butter on top of the apples. This is a large pie with apples piled up as high as possible. The more apples you can pile on it the better. I make mine 5" above the pie plate! Carefully move the second pie crust on top of the apples and pinch the edges together. Cut a hole in the center and little slits all around the pie. Brush the pie with an egg and sprinkle a little sugar on top. Bake at 350F for 1h 20 min. If the pie turns dark, turn the temperature down to 320F and bake a little bit longer.

Let cool for at least an hour and serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.