If you follow the blog, you know that Laura and Mary and I went to Punxsutawney PA February 2nd to see Phil the Groundhog predict six more weeks of winter!
Groundhog Day has always been a favorite holiday in my family. The celebration breaks up the winter and dreary February days.
It’s a holiday where no cards or gifts are necessary.
Last week on Spring Break, Mary and I took a short (12 mile) side trip to Woodstock Illinois where they filmed the movie Groundhog Day in 1993.
We drove around a bit, walked around the town square and had a nice coffee (see below). Mary is back in New York City and I am back in Pittsburgh now but wanted to share our quick visit to the scene of Groundhog Day movie, Woodstock, Illinois.
the town square
The Opera House served as the Pennsylvania Hotel in the movie
Groundhog Days are celebrated in February!
Mary found this place Ethereal Confections
The most delicious method of making coffee
Our server came out to the place we were sitting and brought us two samples of delicious chocolates, made on the premises
A highlight of our visit to Woodstock Illinois
Hey, it’s your birthday!
Happy Birthday to my friend V, who tells me good stories and makes me laugh! Enjoy your day. This angel is a music box.
A little iPhone shot of a still life I put together for your birthday.
Thanks for looking at the four days of 2010 Snowmaggedon photos this week. I imagine most people are weary of watching and talking about any weather ad nauseum but depending where you live, it’s been tough to ignore.
(Okay, Rob, Shuey and Kristin don’t mind sending the Florida temps to me)
Right now I’m curled up with a laptop and a shawl, enjoying the flannel sheets, unwinding from the week, deciding whether or not to go down to the basement to take the clothes out of the dryer while they are still warm and unwrinkled or wait until morning and give them a quick whirl.
This is what I found on my computer keyboard on my school desk this morning. Yes, I considered tidying up for the shot, taking off the knitting, removing the battery charger, pushing the papers to the side but this is what it actually looked like, unretouched. The custodian who cleans my room left me a lovely heart of chocolates. An early morning surprise.
(See the Knitting Blog for student progress in knitting since last post)
Thursday night the girls and boys basketball teams won their respective games in the playoffs and advanced to the next round. I photographed both games and this is what it looked like when I left school around nine. Getting more proficient at the action shots. The players sure move fast.
And then the bonus of the day- homemade Green Pepper Jelly shipped via the USPS from Omaha, Nebraska. Thanks J. Steve and I had some fancy appetizers before dinner. Steve had bought a container of organic cream cheese so I opened it and put them on some gift crackers Steve brought home.
This dish was given to me by my loving neighbors Ann and MJ who have both passed.
So that’s my Friday. Thanks for making and sending the jar of Pepper Jelly, J! Delicious.
Happy Fourth Anniversary Charlotte and Joel. What a beautiful wedding it was….married on her Grandparents’ Valentine Wedding Anniversary. So romantic.
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We made an evening run for me to pick up something at Target. Little plastic containers for soup.
On the way to the parking lot, Steve asked me if I could drive by his work so he could get something he left there.
Someone had brought two delicious French pastries from La Gourmandine Bakery as it turned out.
He brought out the box and opened it in the car and there they were. Two lovely pastries.
When we got home, I cut the raspberry one in half and ate it, intending the other half for him later. Ooops. I ate the other half too. Here is the description on their website
Tartelette aux Framboises
(shortbread crust filled with baked almond cream and topped with fresh raspberries) and the description of the
chocolate one courtesy of baker Lisanne
in the box so glad he remembered they were at work and they didn’t go to waste! Happy to swing by and pick these up.
I happened to be at the Milk Shake Factory on Carson Street last Wednesday. Did I mention that they have Happy Hour and all Milkshakes are half off fro 4-6 PM? You might remember the post I did of the place.
It’s right down the street from the Post Office where I had to mail a couple of packages.
Anyway, the chocolate covered bacon, by Edward Marc Chocolatier, was looking at me.
There are eyes on it, aren’t there?
Once my friend R brought some over to the house but I can’t remember how it tasted except I know how bacon tastes and I know how chocolate tastes but can’t remember the combo.
Didin’t buy any , just got a half price milkshake, but caught a shot of it with the phone and wondered who got the idea to dip bacon in chocolate.
There are recipes for chocolate covered bacon all over the internet ( I just checked) and it says that it is a popular dish at state fairs.
At least a year ago, my friend Connie W. from Florida, sent a newspaper article from an Ocala paper about the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb Croatia. Connie must have read it and thought of Matthew, my son who lives there. I asked him one time about it and then another time and we didn’t talk about it or mention it for along while. Then I said I hope he could take Flat Ruthie there as I thought it would be an interesting place to visit. Then Flat Ruthie went missing. And besides Flat Ruthie hasn’t really had any relationships to break up that I’m aware of………….
Today in my email I received photographs of his visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships. Here is what Matthew wrote:
My Blog-following friends- Sasha, Ana Maria and Tanja asked if I had taken Flat Ruthie to the Museum of Broken Relationships. I hadn’t. So we decided to go together and take some pics for the Blog. Flat Ruthie was too busy exploring the remote reaches of my desk drawers, so she opted not to join us this time. I bought a Bad Memories Eraser for Mom at the gift shop, but a few hours later ran into a friend who needed it more. Her boyfriend has gone to NYC to play the drums.
I wonder what she’ll donate to the museum: a pair of scuffed sticks or an abandoned ride cymbal? Hopefully, she’ll update us when she decides – Matthew
It isn’t just the objects. It is the stories behind the objects.
Tanja, Sasha, Ana at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb
At the gift shop
I am so happy you all encouraged MAtthew to go to the museum!!!
I am not sure to whom the credit should go to for the photo of Matthew at the entrance. Let me know and I can edit the post.
Photo credit to Sasha, Tanja or Ana Maria- Thank you
Woman on Cell Phone Carrying a Tulip
The Biggest Box of Chocolates I’ve Seen
Godiva Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Rockefeller Center Chocolates
Plantings About to Bloom on Fifth Avenue
Unusual Flavors at Gourmet Garage
Balloons and Toys
No falling sprinkles today but one good cupcake leads to another. My sister said cupcakes aren’t her favorite as the frosting is disproportionate to the amount of cake involved but many people are crazy for cupcakes. I have seen a line around the corner on Bleecker Street at the Magnolia Bakery, many times.
A couple of weeks ago on a Monday, I went to a friend’s house and these chocolate cupcakes were the dessert. Here is the recipe for Chocolate Heaven with Chocolate Buttercream.
I’m on a team for the Biggest Loser at work and we weigh in every Monday morning. Good thing I had the rest of the week to try to make up for the indulgence.
I looked through the cookbook where J got the recipe from and everything sounded enticing. Old fashioned baking with plenty of real ingredients. From Savannah Georgia, the Back in the Day Bakery is the name of the cookbook. J had heard the owners, Cheryl and Griffith Day, featured on the radio show Splendid Table. Their specialty? Vintage Desserts!
Guest Blog from Euthemia where my sister is spending the Christmas holidays.
It gets dark early these days. The interior of Yetter’s caught my eye after we parked and headed down Grant Ave to Sedgwick Street.
Steve and I were on our way to Panza Gallery for an art opening reception last Saturday night. Do you remember Millvale Days when I didn’t bring my camera and had to shoot with my phone? Well, we headed for the art opening and all I had was my phone to capture this scene at night.
Yetter’s is known for their homemade candies which you can mail order online although I must confess I have never eaten a chocolate covered potato chip. Just an old fashioned place with fresh candies and ice cream and delicious milkshakes.
And Maura is taking good notes!
My friend G’s mother in Morris Plains NJ used to make these icebox cakes in the sixties. I always loved to eat a slice of one. And they still sell the cookies you need to make one. I hear they are difficult to find. I found a box on the top shelf of Giant Eagle supermarket right here in Pittsburgh and I saw them for sale in Kroger in Ohio.
We are still missing the NABISCO bakery which is now a location for Google and the new gym, Anthropologie and some other stores. There is even a hotel in Bakery Square where the NABISCO bakery used to be. I am not sure if they used to bake these chocolate wafers in that facility or not. Found an article that these cookies were advertised in 1929 with this recipe suggestion! And the author of the article is correct- these cookies are always hidden on the top shelf in the cookie aisle. I’ve been thinking about making a Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll for a long time. So I bought the Famous Chocolate Wafers and a pint of heavy cream to whip. Mine did not look as neat and lovely as my friend’s mother’s dessert did when we were growing up. Once I covered it all with the leftover whipped cream it looked better. It is chilling now. Laura is coming in tomorrow from OH and I hope she will find it amazing when we slice it and it is striped. Milk chocolate is all I had for a garnish but dark chocolate garnish would have looked better. After you put it all together, it sits in the refrigerator and as I remember it, the cookies soak up moisture and get cakelike and soft, with the layers of cream in between. A no-bake dessert you just assemble and refrigerate. Anyone remember eating this as a child?
If you want the nutritional information you can click here but just enjoy a single slice and have people over to share it!
Last week I looked in the window and thought some tour or a class must have just let out or everyone is on a field trip at the Milkshake Factory on Carson Street. They were lined up out the door. And I was headed to my Photo class again this Wednesday after school and parked and got out of the car, foraging for dinner somewhere on the South Side and went by the Milkshake Factory and it was PACKED!!! I walked down the street and got a slice of Pizza at Pizza Sola and walked back to the Milkshake Factory. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to photograph the milkshake machines and see what the crowd is about. Hmmmm. Good excuse. Well, the woman in front of me who confirmed that she was indeed the end of the line said, “Oh it’s Happy Hour- The milkshakes are half off!!” I asked if I could photograph- after I ordered a coffee milkshake. And the smell of chocolates was tempting too. The Edward Marc chocolates are beautiful. They will let you buy a single piece. There were boxes of Valentine’s chocolates half price, too, but I resisted those. Marble counters, a red tin ceiling, white subway tile. A host of milkshake “shakers” acting super pleasant, energetic and patient even with the enormous crowd, filled up the metal cups with loads of ice cream and milk, whatever flavor combination you wanted. And there are some wild possibilities with the flavors. One guy had a drink carrier with four shakes to go! So two dollars and eleven cents later (they had a dish of pennies to help out) I had my milkshake in hand. I mustn’t make it a regular Wednesday stop as I didn’t ask for the nutritional information but calcium is good for bones, right? HA! Named “best historic restoration in the city” according to their website. I am going back to the gym tomorrow after school. The past two Wednesdays have been fat-loading.
Old Fashioned Milkshakes on the South Side
Scoops and scoops of Ice cream
pour in cold fresh milk,
load it into a tall metal cup
whirred by a sturdy machine.
Thick shake eased into a tall plastic
container with a clear straw–
melting as you sip down to the
grating sound of sucking
when the shake’s all gone,
wishing for a few more sips.
Sweet and satisfying.
P.S. Don’t forget to vote on Keep or Pitch blog today.
After the dinner plates were cleared at the neighbor’s house on Saturday night, Joaquin brought out a magnificent circular platter of Turrón. His mother had sent the assortment from Spain. It was a Christmas gift but fortunately for us it arrived in late January. There’s also marzipan with chocolate and a pineapple nougat on the plate, too. Sweet and a perfect finish. The area in focus is small, but you get the idea of the presentation. I should have photographed it afterward as it was about empty! Yum.
A Different Dessert
show details Feb 1
and loaded with almonds.
This version hard.
The Italian I ate at Christmas was soft.
Turrón dates back to at least the 15th century according to wikipedia.
The Imperfect Assortment tasted perfect to me. V. brought them to dinner last night, a sendoff for Matthew returning to Croatia. Made in West View. Available once a year. And the golden box of perfect Betsy Ann truffles was delicious as well. I went to get a Waterford candy dish that sits in the china closet. I thought the Imperfect Assortment deserved a proper presentation. Love ya Betsy Ann!
Usually cheesecakes but lots of other great stuff, too. And she made a tray of these chocolate cupcakes with tiny chocolate chips and cream cheese for the school meeting this afternoon. So moist and flavorful. Thanks Ellen. She said take some home and I did! Three for the little cupcake stands my friend Joanne gave me. One for Ray who came to fix the window and doors and one for Roberta who waited for him to come and for Steve who brought the lettuce home to go with the quesadillas. I had already eaten mine at school but wished I had been piggy and brought another one home. Thursday evening impromptu “dinner party” with dessert by Ellen. click to see Ellen’s fridge
The inventor of the Bundt Pan (Nordic Ware) Mr. David Dalquist, passed away in January 2005. I read his obit in the Times. Having never owned one, that week I bought a Bundt Pan, bid and won a Bundt Cake Cookbook on Ebay. I had plans.
Four years later I finally baked the Tunnel of Fudge cake for Sunday supper guests, a farewell to summer meal on the front porch. I sliced up some pieces and slipped them into wax paper lunch bags for them to eat later- or for breakfast. I followed the recipe to the letter even though I wanted to add vanilla and salt. A side of vanilla ice cream would have been good.
Great article in the Washington Post January 11, 2005 by Mr. Hank Stuever but it cost too much to republish. Heartily recommend you “google it” though. and the recipe is all over the web
The Tunnel of Fudge Cake, a second-place Pillsbury Bake-Off winner in 1966, was developed by Ella Rita Helfrich of Houston, Texas, who won $5,000.
1 3/4 c. butter, softened
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 c. powdered sugar
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa
2 c. chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1/4 cup cocoa, like Hershey’s
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Heat the oven to 350*F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch angel cake pan. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Gradually add 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, beating until well-blended. By hand, stir in 21/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup cocoa and the nuts; mix until well-blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 58 to 62 minutes. (Because this cake has a soft tunnel of fudge, an ordinary doneness test cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking time are critical.)
- Let the cake cool upright in the pan on a rack for 1 hour, then invert onto a serving plate and let cool completely.
- To make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa and 1 1/2 tablespoons milk. Mix until well blended, adding the remaining 1/2 tablespoon milk to make a spooning consistency.
- Spoon the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store the cake tightly covered.