Friday, June 7, 2013
I first remember visiting Carolyn and her husband Phil at their home in eastern Vermont during the summer of 1995. While many teenagers may have found a vacation to a rather remote area to visit adults boring there was nothing boring about visiting Carolyn and Phil, and my siblings and I looked forward to what would become our annual summer vacation to Vermont to visit Carolyn and Phil. Whether we were camping with them along the shores of Lake Champlain, visiting them at their then home in Taftsville or at their more recent home in Burlington each visit was memorable. A gracious host, Carolyn was always more than willing to open their home to us and was an amazing chef be it in the kitchen or preparing something over the grill. While our days were full of relaxation, exploration of the local area and just hanging out there were always many laughs to be had throughout the day and into the evenings.
When I decided I was going to bike across the country with the Illini 4000 in the summer of 2007, Carolyn and Phil jumped to support me and the cause for which I was riding. Additionally they then had the patience to sit and look through my hundreds of photographs listening and asking questions about my summer when my family visited them shortly after I completed the ride. When I decided to ride again in the summer of 2008 they showed the same support.
A week ago, my mother received an message stating that Carolyn had passed away and today my family traveled to Vermont to pay our respects to Carolyn and support Phil and their family. A four-hour car ride each way left me with plenty of time to think and reflect. Looking back I find many parallels between my time with the Illini 4000 and my visits with Carolyn and Phil each summer. During my two summers with the Illini 4000 we were constantly meet with open arms by complete strangers willing to open their homes and lives to us. Carolyn was very much this kind of person, going out of her way to show hospitality toward others. I have no doubt that had I4K ever rode through her neck of the woods she would have been one of the first people to try and invite the entire team into her home regardless of the teams size.
One of the first hosts the Illini 4000 team ever had was a woman from Hawley, Pennsylvania named Florence Brown in the summer of 2007. In just our second day on the road our plans for the night fell through and we were left without a place to stay. While out looking for other possible options Jon met Florance, who after hearing what we were doing offered to cook us dinner and let us camp in her backyard. Carolyn's compassion for others very much reminds me of Florance and the many others I meet each day through I4K.
Carolyn was a women with many talents, a great sense of humor and the ability to make everyone that surrounded her feel like they were important and appreciated. While she may no longer be here physically she will never be forgotten as the memories that those that knew her have will live on in them for years to come. Rest in Peace Carolyn.
Friday, March 29, 2013
6 Tbs. Butter
3 oz. Cream Cheese
1 lb. Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Maple Extract
1/3 cup Walnuts (finely chopped)
12 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 tsp. Solid Vegetable Shortening
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
Beat butter, cream cheese and maple in a medium bowl with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Gradually add confectioners (powered) sugar and walnuts beating until smooth. Mixture will be stiff.
With your hands roll mixture into egg shapes. Place on was paper and refrigerate for one hour or until cold and very firm.
Melt chocolate in saucepan on low heat stirring frequently. Stir in shortening until well blended. Let the melted chocolate sit at room temperature for about 15-minutes.
With egg on fork use a spoon or spatula to coat the maple centers with chocolate. Use the spatula to push the egg off of the fork and back onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet. (Reheat chocolate if it gets too thick.)
I found it hard to coat the entire egg while on the fork. I had extra chocolate so after coating the tops and sides of the eggs I put the cookie sheet with chocolate coated eggs in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate had hardened. I then took and dipped the bottom of the eggs in the remaining chocolate so that the entire egg was coated in chocolate. I then refrigerated them for another 15-minutes before boxing them up.
Refrigerate when storing.
(The recipe says it makes 6 eggs but I made 20+ so I guess it depends on how big you want them.)
|Maple cream centers before adding the chocolate coating.|
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
2 Tbs. Butter
1 Medium Onion Chopped
1 tsp. Freshly Pressed Garlic (2 small cloves)
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
2 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth (or Chicken Broth)
15 oz. Pumpkin (I use pumpkin I've frozen from the garden but you can use canned)
1/2 cup Whipping Cream
Melt butter in a large saucepan until sizzling; add onion, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin. Cook over medium-high heat 3-5 minutes or until onion is softened.
Add broth; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin until well mixed; cook 5 minutes. Stir in whipping cream; continue cooking 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer mixture to food processor bowl fitted with metal blade or a blender (with a double batch I run it through my blender half at a time.) Cover; process until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan; cook over low heat until heated through. Feel free to garnish however you would like.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Made in basically three simple steps the recipe is pretty easy to follow.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch fine salt
To make the crust: Stir the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. You can mix the brownie batter while the crust is baking.
- Box of "Family Size" Brownies
When your crust is ready remove it from the oven and pour the brownie batter on top of it. Place the pan back in the oven for however long it takes the brownies to bake (follow the directions on the back of your box in regard to time/temperature for the size of pan your using). You can usually tell that they are done when you can insert a toothpick into the brownies and remove it cleanly without batter sticking to it.
- 1 Bag of Marshmallows (you will probably use about 3/4 of the bag)
When your brownies are done baking remove the pan from the over and let it sit for about 5-minutes. I find this helps cut down on the stickiness when I'm putting the marshmallows on as they don't melt immediately. Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer the marshmallows on top of the brownies (sticky side down) and toast a minute or two under the broiler until golden. Keep your eye on them while doing this as they turn gold fast! (Make sure your broiler is on LOW too as I made the mistake of leaving it on high and my marshmallows caught fire!) When your marshmallows are golden brown remove the pan from the over and let it cool. If you lined your pan you can remove your brownies from the pan and let them cool on a rack. I usually just let them cool in the pan on the counter for an hour or so. Once they are cool separate them from the edge of the pan with a knife and cut them. I've found that once they are cool enough to remove from the pan without falling apart it is easier to cut them with large scissors due to the marshmallow topping. Enjoy!
Friday, May 25, 2012
Five years ago... oh the memories!
Monday, September 19, 2011
For the Donuts:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
For the Buttermilk Glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spice and sugar. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients in a second, medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir them around the bowl until the mixture is well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, rolling the donut dough to approximately 3/4" thick, then cut with donut cutter. Transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or just until the donuts are cooked through. Dip immediately into buttermilk glaze. Eat warm or let cool.
Whisk together in a small bowl until smooth. Dip hot donuts in the glazed, then allow to dry on a cooling rack.
Homemade Apple Cider (Spiced)
10 apples, quartered
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
Place apples in a large stockpot and add enough water cover by at least 2 inches. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 1 hour. Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Strain apple mixture though a fine mesh sieve (some sort of strainer). Discard solids. Drain cider again though a cheesecloth lined sieve. Refrigerate until cold or drink warm.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I passed through Chicago on my way to and from graduation and got to stop and see Alex which was a treat as we always have a lot of catching up to do. I sent out an email to see if any of my other I4K teammates were going to be around but only got a couple of responses so I guess everyone else was busy - which is understandable as it was mother's day weekend. Alex ended up working just the morning shift on the Monday after graduation/mother's day so I actually stayed in Chicago an extra day and went to work with her, hanging out in the cafe while she worked. We then repaired her bicycles and went riding in and around the Chicago Botanic Garden that afternoon. It was fun to ride bicycles with her again and brought back many I4K memories from our time on the road during the summer of 2007!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
**Update** Based on my documented evidence my insurance company has agreed to cover the difference between in-network and out-of-network for surgeon and anesthesiologist charges - of course these are the smaller charges on my bill but somethings better than nothing! Only 125,098 more bottles/cans! :)