As another year winds down, inevitably it has us looking back on the year & determining highlights. For me, a highlight of 2013 was the fact that I wasn’t constantly on the road with work travel. In fact, I only had 4 weeks of work travel this year. With 26 flight segments taken in 2013, only 1 trip was for work. That means that the others were for fun times with family. So where did those flights take me? Here, a few highlight pics from fun times in Georgia, Wisconsin & Texas…
May – A surprise trip home to cheer Rebecca in her first super-sprint triathlon.
June – Artisan Family Great Lakes Getaway. We enjoyed a week around Lake Michigan – first at Mackinac Island and then in Door County, WI
July – In Marinette to celebrate kid birthdays and take in a Brewers game!
August – Rebecca & I go back to Mercer to see a thrilling win as Mercer returns to football for the 1st time since 1941.
October – Fall fun in Marinette, including the pumpkin patch and haunted hayride
October – Trick or treating with the girlies in Texas.
December – A quick trip home to the ‘Ville to enjoy a Family Christmas
As the 2014 calendars are being opened, I’m already making plans for trips & adventures with these dear ones!
…And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Merry Christmas from the Artisan Family!
I have “one spot” in my living room for my Christmas tree to go. When the tree is up, it blocks a favorite framed antique botanical print I picked up during a family vacation to Bermuda. I take the art down for the month & instead of having an empty nail for the month, I hang a Christmas decoration there – even though it is pretty well hidden. This year, I chose a JOY cutout that I had picked up after the holidays last year. In the last couple of years I’ve noticed that I am drawn to “joy” as a theme of my Christmas – decor, Christmas card selections, greetings & more.
As I sit in my living room this month, the lights of the tree reflect off the glitter in the joy. As I catch the glimpse of this “hidden” joy, I’m reminded of the many moments in life where hidden joy can be found. Sometimes a detour can turn into serendipity that yields joy – or a moment of frustration dissolves into laughter – or a text or pic from a dear one arrives to your phone just when you need it most. Be it big or small, hidden joy is a delight to find.
What hidden joys have you found this year?
Earlier this fall, I had a business trip up to Massachusetts for a week. At the end of the week, instead of driving straight back to PA I decided to do a weekend of exploring and settled on the Plymouth, MA area. In addition to exploring the early Pilgrim settlement I also sought out a visit to a cranberry farm. (In all my time in Wisconsin, I never made it to a cranberry farm and have long been fascinated by these edible ruby gems.) On that Saturday afternoon, I visited Flax Pond Farms for a tour and to learn all about cranberries.
Flax Pond Farms – September 2013
First, I drove down to the bogs that were currently being harvested. They dry harvest at Flax Pond – the berries that I saw being “vacuumed up” would end up in the bags of Ocean Spray cranberries we stock up on in the grocery store in November. After visiting the bog, I spent some time in the farm store – I did a bit of berry sorting on the antique sorter and learned all sorts of fascinating facts about cranberries in general and the farm in particular. Did you know, the wet harvest we associate with cranberry bogs means that the berries cannot be sold as fresh produce? The vines in these bogs are over 100 years old. When my time there was finished, I picked up a few cranberry items – including honey from the bees that pollinate the bogs – and had placed an order to have a couple of pounds of fresh cranberries delivered to me in November.
My delivery of Flax Pond cranberries in a hand crafted crate
It was a treat to receive my replica cranberry crate in the mail several weekends ago & begin planning what cranberry goodness would be made during the Thanksgiving holiday. I hosted the Artisan family for Thanksgiving and knew that they would enjoy the cranberry fun.
Pinterest actually led me to 2 of my recipe choices – both turned out delicious & will be part of my ongoing cooking repertoire. For my leftover turkey, I popped a couple of cranberries into the basil mayo that I was making – sandwiches & simple salad of turkey/cranberries/pecans were transformed with this zingy mayo. For Thanksgiving dessert, I turned to a recipe that I first made last November, on recommendation from a friend: Nantucket Cranberry Pie.
Thankful for pie on Thanksgiving evening!
As I set about to make it on Thanksgiving morning, I realized that I had definitely modified the recipe enough to “make it mine” and share it with you. So, I present my version of the Nantucket Cranberry Pie – An Amy Artisan Remix
Making the pie on Thanksgiving morning
Nantucket Cranberry Pie – An Amy Artisan Remix
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt* (reduce salt by half if using salted butter)
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Sugar for topping – I use Chicago Old Town Sugar
My Prep Tips
- If you’re using frozen cranberries, either let them thaw a bit after chopping; or add a couple of minutes to the cake’s baking time.
- I used a Zhylis chopper – not all the berries in a batch would be chopped – that didn’t impact the outcome – a few whole berries in the mix are just fine
- Since I used a glass pie plate, I put the butter slices in the plate & then into the microwave – one less bowl to clean
- Any sugar can be used for the topper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10″ pie plate. Melt 1 tablespoon butter, and drizzle it into the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the chopped cranberries and nuts in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup brown sugar.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, 3/4 cup melted butter, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract.
- Spread the thick batter over the cranberries and nuts in the pan, using a spatula or your wet fingers.
- Sprinkle coarse white sparkling sugar atop the batter.
- Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean of batter or crumbs. (Mine was pulled from the oven at right about 40 minutes.)
- Remove the pie from the oven. Serve warm, or at room temperature; just as it is, or with whipped cream or ice cream.
Yield: one 10″ “pie” – you could also use a 9″ square pan.
P.S. As I read through this entry, it kind of sounds like one of those sponsored posts (“this trip was provided & this recipe created…”). My “disclosure” – the trip was my own adventure & the recipe was my own modifications to create a new Artisan family favorite. 🙂