Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a day to be thankful for what we have, the goals we have reached and the friends and family we have around us.
As a way to celebrate, families usually gather and cook a lovely and bountiful meal that often contains turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin or pecan pie (those are some of the traditional dishes served, there are many others!).
Today is also the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
This year is a very special year, since Thanksgiving Day and the first day of Hanukkah happen on the same day. This will only happen again in… 70,000 years! Hence today has been dubbed “Thanksgivukkah” or another combination of the words Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
I don’t have any specific pictures for Thanksgiving this year because for some reason that I am having a hard time understanding, we went straight from Halloween to Christmas decorations and not much has inspired me to illustrate Thanksgiving (except for the turkey above, spotted at Walmart). Last year I had hungry squirrels and the bountifulness of the Union Square Farmers Market. (I must add that I haven’t tried any Austin Farmers Market yet, just the one closest to where we live outside Austin, and it is nothing close to what I was used to at Union Square. But again, I can’t tell for Austin.)
I feel terribly sad to have missed – twice! – the Thanksgiving Parade in New York for lack of courage to go out. Of course, now that I am not there anymore (Don’t it always seem to go… yes! And yes I know Joni Mitchell’s is the original version, but I like this one), I feel bad even more that I did not seize the occasion when I could. Lesson learned.
I wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Happy Hanukkah, or both, and a wonderful day to those celebrating neither! May you see the reasons to be thankful in your life!
La Défense is a business district in the suburbs just around Paris. It is sometimes compared to the Parisian New York because of its skyscrapers. Needless to say the skyscrapers are way smaller and it barely resembles New York, but if you’ve never seen the place, it gives you an idea: this is a place where people work, so rather serious.
Since there are many open spaces at the center of the business district, there is, from time to time, one or two art exhibition(s). I still think that this one was a bit unexpected for the place though. The pictures were taken in March 2010.
I was trying not to throw away some very ripe bananas when I got the idea for these cupcakes. The cupcake itself is a simple vanilla and yogurt base. I added some chocolate chips because… because chocolate, that’s why :-)
The frosting is a simple cream cheese frosting to which I added one pureed banana.
The result is a cupcake that taste a little bit like a chocolate chips banana bread, but is moister.
Ingredients for the cupcakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- some salt
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Ingredients for the frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 pureed banana
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- some milk
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a cupcake mold or line up cupcake baking cups.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients. In a second bowl, mix the butter, yogurt and vanilla extract.
3. Use a spatula to incorporate the wet mixture to the dry one. Then add the chocolate chips and delicately incorporate.
4. Fill 2/3 of your cupcake cups with the batter. Bake for about 23 minutes.
5. Let the cupcakes cool completely before adding the frosting.
1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the pureed banana and vanilla extract and mix again until combined.
2. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar. Add as much as you feel like (I regularly tasted how sweet the frosting got, not to add too much sugar). If your frosting becomes too thick, you can always add a little milk… or the other way around, a little more sugar, depending of your desired final frosting.
3. Put on top of cooled cupcakes.
I added some pomegranate to decorate the cupcakes, too. Enjoy!
I know some of my readers have and love cats. Some of you following me long enough may also know I am close to being a crazy cat lady since I am the typist for my cat Texas… he has his own blog.
Until tomorrow, Sunday, November 24, you can enter to win one of two Shelter Cat Dolls on his blog.
Shelter Cat Dolls are one of the many products that are made by NYC small business Dream Pillow. Their products are mainly for humans (except for some catnip sticks) and are filled with lavender and other herbs and smell really really good. Shelter Cat Dolls are for humans too. They feature the face of a sheter/rescue kitty and part of the proceeds are donated to a rescue organization in NYC. Don’t hesitate to visit my cat’s blog to learn more, and to enter if you wish. You can click on the picture above to go to the post I am talking about.
Hope you have a happy feline weekend ;-)
Last March, I wrote a post about our visit to the beautiful Cranberry Lake Preserve and how it had been affected by Sandy. You can read the post here.
I received several messages following this post, including in the comments, notably updating me on how the place was being cleaned of the debris and damages made by Sandy.
More recently, I received a email letting me know that “David Licata, a local glass artist, [wa]s installing glass orchids throughout the park inspired by the locally growing Pink Ladyslipper Orchid.” He is giving tours and the exhibition was supposed to last until December 1st. Unfortunately, upon checking Mr. Licata’s website, it seems that the orchids had to be removed due to vandalism. But he will display some during his tours. Please click on the links for more details, on Mr Licata’s website.
I have not seen this exhibition and will not be able to see it since, as you know if you’ve been following me for more than 6 months, I have now moved from New York to Texas. But you might want to see it!
I also thought it would be the occasion to update my March post by pictures we took on our second visit to Cranberry Lake Preserve in June.
[Click on any picture to enlarge and open the slideshow]
It was inevitable that I would (finally!) try the cupcakes from Hey Cupcake! We can see their trailers here and there around Austin, with a huge cupcake on top of them, enough to make any cupcake lover intrigued and willing to stop.
We tried (from left to right, clockwise) Sweetberry, Double Dose, Standard, and Michael Jackson.
We liked that the cake itself was very moist and the frosting tasty but not too sugary. Our favorite was the Double Dose, which we found to be the moister and tastier. We also liked the originality of the name (Come, on! The Michael Jackson is… black & white ;-)
If only two of the four are pictured up close, that’s because we ate the other two in the car on our way back hone. Traffic jam, end of a work day, cupcakes… how could we resist?
They made a funny video about how Hey Cupcake! was created (very Amelie-Poulain-esque in the beginning, if you ask me).
If you’re already hungry, I warn you, you’re going to want to try those :-)
If you can, try them!