No More Pencils … Summertime Fun

My eldest finished her second year of pre-school this week. The class,  parents and siblings celebrated with a nice, refreshing 90-degree picnic at a cute, nearby park. The kids had a blast and parents and Miss Carolyn enjoyed chatting and watching them play. I’m proud of my little girl. She loves to learn and is a great teacher to her little sister as well.

I love the shot of the kids using the rail as a balance-beam. What a great little class we had this year. We’ll miss it, but look forward to Josey’s final year in pre-school next year! Sniff, sniff. So glad I don’ thave to prepare for kindergarten yet.

How Sweet it Is … A Family Favorite

One of my favorite foods growing up was my Grandma ‘Stelle’s babka. It is absolutely delicious. We typically ate it at Easter with the traditional Ukranian kielbasa and pierogies, followed by Grandma’s super-sweet yellow cake with vanilla frosting — topped with marshmallow Peeps®, jellybeans and any other sweet, colorful Easter candy she could find.

My mom has since mastered baking Grandma ‘Stelle’s Babka and I couldn’t be more thankful. I received my box filled with three loaves just before Easter and have been savoring every bite. I prefer it toasted and topped with sweet, unsalted butter. Thanks, mom, Grandma would be proud!

For those of you who have never had Babka, here is Wikipedia’s definition (we eat it with raisins only… no icing or rum):

Eastern and Central European babka, especially among Christians, is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake that is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. The cake is traditional in Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia, as well as among the Rusyns (Ruthenians) in northeastern Hungary. Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College says “babka comes from baba, a very tall, delicate yet rich yeast-risen cake eaten in Western Russia and Eastern Poland.”[1] Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka may be chocolate or have a cheese filling.

First Taste of Summer

Here in New Jersey, the weather likes to trick us. 85 one day in April, ice-cold rain the next. As I sit here typing, it is POURING down rain outside. On Monday the kids at school were running around in short sleeves in the sunshine, so I took the girls for ice cream at my MOST favorite place for treats — Dairy Queen. Hands-down, the soft-serve vanilla with cherry dip is my favorite. I opt for the cup because I’m a slow ice cream eater and well, ok, I like when the cherry candy clumps at the bottom to make a bonus treat. So I say to you, with ice cream raised high, here’s to a quick spring and my first DQ treat of the “summer”.

Tiny Love

Ok, so only a few days into my blog and this is the third time I’m posting about food. It proves to be an interesting topic, so I could NOT resist giving major kudos to Hershey for coming up with these tiny, unwrapped bite-sized delights. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my all-time favorite chocolate candy and the tiny ones just rock. The key is to freeze them. You will die of yum. I do often exceed the 11 piece serving size recommendation, but you will too. Promise.

Delightful Dish

Don’t you just love when you get an orange that is perfect? A fruit that doesn’t live up to its potential is extremely disappointing. This is why I had to capture this morning’s deliciously perfect breakfast. Crispy Calandra Panella bread and a juicy Clementine.

If I Bake Sunflowers, Will Spring Come?

Nothing like Sunflowers to bring on spring, right? The occasion was sister-in-law, Anne’s birthday. Stemming from a self-imposed challenge to one-up myself each year (or at least keep up with my Martha Stewart-esque family expectations) I embarked on the Cupcake Challenge: Year Two.

Success! The birthday girl was pleased and our tummies were filled. Next year? Frogs? See the 2010 butterflies below.