Monday, March 11, 2013

A trip to the American Swedish Institute

This quote caught my attention on a recent trip to the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN.  I certainly find myself thinking the same thing, of course.  What an interesting trip, and enjoyable day with two of my best friends! (Also, of Scandinavian decent :)  The mansion was a former home of Swan, Christina and Lillian Turnblad.  Swan and Christina were immigrants from Sweden.  Swan became the owner of the largest Swedish language newspaper in the U.S., the "Svenska Amerikanska Posten."  They built this home in 1908.  The home is in amazing condition--eleven ornate Swedish stoves, stained-glass windows, wool rugs, gorgeous woodwork and intricate plaster details.
We had the most delicious lunch at Fika (the cafe).  Amazing fresh salads, soups, and open face sandwiches (smorga).  Of course we had dessert!!
The hallways of the mansion are lined with beautiful paintings.  Here is one by Axel Lindahl...

spectacular weavings.....
and interesting photos of people from the past.  I would love to know who these nurses were and what their
lives were like.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Banana Breakfast Bread


(butter and 1/4 cup sesame seeds for pan)
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp, vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups pureed ripe banana soaked in 1 cup strong coffee
1 10-12 oz. bag bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Generously grease a 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle in the sesame seeds, tilt and shake to distribute.  Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  When the mixture is fluffy, stir in the vanilla.  Sift together the dry ingredients.  Add this to the butter mixture alternating with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with the dry mixture.  Mix just enough to combine-don't over mix!  Stir in the chocolate chips with the last flour addition.  Spread evenly in the pan, and bake for about 40-45 minutes-or until a probe inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool at least 1 hour before slicing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Trees are like us

Trees have so much personality!!  Variations on beauty, poise, age, scars and cragginess.  Just like us.  When I walk amongst them, I feel so much at home.

Our Footprints

Look closely and you can see the footprint of a deer (on the left), leaf, and footprint of man.  Animal, Plant, and Human. Reminders of what walks this earth and how closely we are related.  Our earth is GLORIOUS!!
We are extremely dependent on one another!  Please check out a wonderful web site.  According to recent information, our Minnesota is warming more than other states in the U.S. and we should be concerned!! A Recent Minnesota Public radio broadcast has interesting information on this.  This is something that weighs heavily on my mind...each thing we can do to help as an individual adds up. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake

5 tangerines
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9 inch spring form pan.  Grate zest from 2 tangerines and place in a bowl with the sugar.  Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until zest is evenly distributed.
Supreme the tangerines. Place in a separate bowl, breaking up segments with your fingers to about 1/4 inch.
Squeeze juice from remaining parts of tangerines into a measuring cup, you'll have about 1/4 cup.  Add buttermilk until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether.  Pour into bowl with sugar and whisk well.  Whisk in eggs and olive oil.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones.  Fold in pieces of orange segments.  Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake for 45 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool.  Serve with sweetened whip cream and additional tangerine segments.  Is excellent served cold.

(I was fortunate enough to bring back to Minnesota with me fresh picked tangerines from Santa Barbara... Pure sunny happiness!!)

Santa Barbara

Our winter getaway to lovely Santa Barbara came just in time to cure our cabin fever and help us make it through the gray days of February.  We enjoyed staying with family and our hosts were the most gracious people..... 
A view from our host's home, overlooking Santa Barbara and the ocean

We ate!!  This is a typical breakfast...and I ate it up!
We tasted wine...this was my favorite!
We saw such spectacular country out and around Santa Barbara during our day of wine tasting...many breathtaking vineyards, featuring delicious wine. (The next photos have nothing to do with my wine drinking!)
Entrance to the Santa Barbara courthouse

Gorgeous courthouse fountain features a dolphin fish
Santa Barbara's courthouse is a must see..very Spanish influenced, with a tower at the top offering an amazing view of the city.  We appreciated the beauty of this's pretty shops, gardens and walk-ability.
Blue skies, blue water, surf and sand!
Ahhh, thank you dear ones for making this holiday possible...I can survive through the last days of winter now!