September 30, 2009

8.3 Magnitude Earthquake hits American Samoa

Being a native Californian, I'm no stranger to earthquakes. When talking to a student last night about earthquakes, he asked if I had ever felt an earthquake before.... My immediate answer was, "Yes, of course... Since I was a kid." Nothing as big as the one in American Samoa, though! I cannot even begin to imagine an earthquake of that strength and force... I read somewhere on line that the quake lasted 3 minutes... I cannot imagine that, either!

The tsunami warning went out after the earthquake hit 2o miles under the ocean floor... and I read that there were warnings that went out to California. So far, the tsunami has taken the lives of at least 119 people and wiped out entire villages -
Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high roared ashore on American Samoa about 15 minutes after the quake, reaching one mile inland...

The quake was centered about 120 miles south of the islands of Samoa, which has about 220,000 people, and American Samoa, a U.S. territory of 65,000.Another strong underwater earthquake rocked western Indonesia on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the Samoan quake, briefly triggering a tsunami alert for countries along the Indian Ocean. The 7.6-magnitude quake toppled buildings, cut power and triggered a landslide on Sumatra island, and at least 75 people were reported killed. Experts said the seismic events were not related.

It's very sad that the forces of nature take the lives of people around the world... My thoughts and prayers are with the survivors and their families....

* Picture taken from internet.

September 29, 2009

Apple cake Kogelhoph....

I used the apple cake batter in the cake pans I bought in Vienna and in Strasbourg... Both turned out great!!!

Apple cinnamon muffins...

SOOOOO moist and yummy!!!
Here's the recipe I used that I found on Chowhound:
Mom's Apple Cake

350 oven, 1 hr to 1 hr + 15 mins.

4-5 sliced apples, tossed with cinnamon and brown sugar
Mix together:

2 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup orange juice
3 eggs

Grease and flour tube pan. Pour a little more than half of the batter into the pan, spread about half of the apples, and then cover with the rest of the batter. Use the remaining apples for the top. (I sprinkle a little more cinn. on top before baking.)
Bake at 350 F for 1 hour. Be sure to bake so it’s not soggy, but don’t over bake!

This is for my friend, Mira....

who LOVESSSSSSSSSSS ice cream!! Cheers, Mira!!!

September 27, 2009

Little Miss Cupcake in Paris...

Yesterday, West coast gal (me) met East coast gal (Cat) and her adorably, cute daughter at Synie's Cupcakery in Paris. Cat and I are both cupcake specialists, she's in Paris center and I'm down in the south of Paris (just outside).

We have been corresponding by email for months now, sharing our thoughts about different cupcake topics... We really wanted to meet but life has been busy and so it wasn't until yesterday... (FINALLY) that Cat and I were able to meet in person for the first time!!! YAYYYY!!!

I was really excited to meet Cat, as I have been a big fan of her cupcakes (just from seeing them here). She brought some of her yummy cupcakes to sample and I brought her a few of mine... Together at Synies... we tasted Synie's cupcakes and our cupcakes and came out with a "sugar high" that lasted quite awhile! Cat's cupcakes were really the closest I have tasted to the "real thing."

Like my own cupcakes, Cat's cupcakes are those that I remember best from my early years, back in grade school, when my mom used to bake cupcakes for my b-day and bring them in to my class to share with my classmates... It's really hard to find that quality cupcake because you really have to have the right texture and sweetness (not too sweet) along with a really yummy frosting... Hats off to you Cat... for accomplishing all three of these things...
Cat, you are the TOP in my book!!!!

About Cat:
Of all the Americans in Paris I know, she one is by far the "sweetest." Cat Brunier, is "Little Miss Cupcake in Paris," a traiteur of cupcakes who bakes up her cupcakes in the style and taste that we all remember with great nostalgia from our childhood days, when mom used to bake up a few batches of delicious cupcakes on our birthday. These cupcakes were proudly taken to school with us on our special day, and shared with our classmates after lunch. WHO doesn't remember those good ol' days with those delicious little delicacies?! This is the way that I remember the cupcakes of my youth: "light, moist, airy, delicious and with a beautifully piped-on icing that made your mouth water in anticipation of the first bite!

Well, Cat's cupcakes are the vision and taste of the past.... Here you have not only beautiful cupcakes, but delicious ones, as well.... You can't go wrong with that, and what's even better... Cat is a specialist in cupcakes and makes them available for you to share at your parties, events and other special occasions..... You can order them directly from her website:
Little Miss Cucpake in Paris.....

**Special note to Cat!
It was sooo great to finally meet you after corresponding by email for so many months now! We are going to have to get together again sometime soon.... For now, I'll look forward to seeing all of your beautiful cupcakes on your website... while I droll over my screen!!
** Pictures used here were taken from Cat's website, Little Miss Cupcake in Paris (in English)
French version HERE.

September 26, 2009

Synie's Cupcakes à Paris

A cupcake surpise!!
Welcome Synie's Cupcakes!!!
Synie's Cupcakes on the web.
Yesterday, Little Miss Cupcake in Paris and the Cupcake Princesse met up for the first time at Synie's Cupcake boutique in Paris..
Synie runs this cute Salon de Thé- she is both owner and baker!
She opened doors just days ago and Cat and I had planned to meet up for the first time for the occasion of trying this new and promising cupcakery! We were able to meet and talk to Synie, as she prepared for lunchtime.

An assortment of cupcakes are on display at Synie's!
Some beautiful lavender cupcakes with edible flowers as garnish.

This was my choice: a coffee cupcake! It was D-Lish!!! The coffee that went along with it was excellent, as well!!

Synie brought out just baked cinnamon cupcakes that were delightful! She offered us each a sample to try! YUMM YUMMM!! Thanks, Synie... D-Lish!!!
These were savory cupcakes with caramelized onions and cheese on top! YUMMMM!!!!!
The interior decor is very cute!
I just LOVE this chandelier!

Synie also offers a wide variety of cupcake novelty items for sale... SOOOOO CUTE!!!!

And...... after all was said and eaten.... here is the damage that was done.... We were pretty high on all the sugar we consumed but it was certainly worth the trip out to Synie's Cupcakes!! See you again soon, Synie! Et merci beaucoup!

I highly recommend you checking out Synie's Cupcakes when you are in Paris! Of all of the cupcake shops I have tried so far in Paris, Synie's are at the TOP of my list.
Contact info:
Address: 23 rue de l'abbaye Gregoire
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On Twitter: Synie's Cupcakes

September 24, 2009

Last night I made applesauce for the very first time... 
    On Sunday, Alex and I were out in St. Remy la Chevereuse and we happened upon some apple trees on the side
     of the road that were there for people to take ... We got about 5 kilos of apples of all sizes... worms and all... Sooo,
      tonight.. Alex cut up .8 kilograms of apples and I made the applesauce.. No sugar... just some water, two lemon slices
      some cinnamon and nutmet... It turned out sooo delish..   I ate some warm and it was sooooo good... 
      Not sweet, a bit tart, but I imagine it won't be so tart when it is chilled...   It's smooth, thick and velvety.... 

September 22, 2009

Salmon and couscous!

This was my lunch yesterday!  It was sooooo D-lish and super simple to make!   I cut up and onion, a small red potato, an apple, tomatoes, and parsley into small pieces... I browned the onions and potato in a frying pan with olive oil and took them out. Next, I cooked the salmon, added the tomatoes and parsley when the fish was almost done... I added some uncooked parsley and tomatoes to the couscous after it was done... Mixed it all up and ta da... A healthy and super delicious lunch!!!  

September 20, 2009

Shana Tova and Eid Mubarak!

Rosh Hashanah (Hebrewראש השנה‎, literally "first of the year", or "head of the year," Ashkenazic[ˈɾoʃ haʃːɔˈnɔh], Israeli: [ˈʁoʃ haʃaˈna]Yiddish[ˈrɔʃəˈʃɔnə]) is a Jewish holiday commonly referred to as the "Jewish New Year." It is observed on the first day ofTishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar,[1] as ordained in the Torah, in Leviticus 23:24. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), or Asseret Yemei Teshuva (Ten Days of Repentance) which are days specifically set aside to focus on repentance that conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur.  
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday September 18 and ends at nightfall on Sunday September 20.  Rosh Hashanah is a two-day holiday both in Israel and outside of Israel.

Eid ul Fitr - The Muslim world celebrates Eid ul Fitr on Sunday. Sept. 19.  Eid is also going to be celebrated in much of Middle East, Europe and Far East on Sunday.  
Eid ul-Fitr or Id-ul-Fitr (Arabicعيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr‎), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fastingEid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break fast"; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal.

Eid ul-Fitr is a day long celebration and is sometimes also known as the "Smaller Eid" (Arabicالعيد الصغير al-‘īdu ṣ-ṣaghīr‎) as compared to the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called the "Greater Eid" (Arabicالعيد الكبير al-‘īdu l-kabīr‎).

This year these two high holidays fall at the same time.... Shana Tova and Eid Mubarak to all of you observing the High Holidays

September 19, 2009

Journées du Patrimoine- A heritage accessible to all

This weekend  marks the annual "Journées du Patrimone."  It lasts the weekend here in France and it allows people to visit cultural sites in France.  For more info, check out the website, here (in French).  HERE for English.  I think this also exists in other European countries, as well... but I haven't checked out what the others have planned!  Get out there and visit... Keep in mind that there will be long waits for the things that are most sought after, namely the home of the Prez... L' Elysée."

This really made me happy!!  From the website:

Accessibility to heritage for the disabled

During the 2008 edition, a day dedicated to welcoming disabled people was put in place on Friday 19th September, with visit conditions specifically adapted according to the disability: visual, auditory, motor and mental. 

The initiative was registered in a large plan of action led by the Ministry of Culture and Communication in support of access for the disabled to art and culture, and is today reflected in the 2009 edition. 

The theme A Heritage Accessible to All is thus the opportunity to mobilise more cultural animation organisers, the first of which being the public and private owners and the management of monuments and museums, so that they integrate the disabled into their cultural development policy. This experience will prefigure the enforcement of the 11th February 2005 law which establishes an obligation to accessibility for the disabled.


September 18, 2009

Catacombs of Paris-- CLOSED because of vandalism!!

Fermeture des Catacombes

Suite à des actes de vandalisme, le site est fermé au public. 

Des actes de vandalisme ont été commis dans le parcours des Catacombes, haut lieu de l’histoire de la Ville de Paris. Des intrus se sont violemment attaqués aux murs d’ossements, provoquant d’importants dégâts et fragilisant l’ensemble.

Danièle Pourtaud, adjointe chargée du patrimoine, «manifeste sa vive émotion et sa tristesse face à cet acte de vandalisme inadmissible. Les Catacombes forment aujourd’hui le plus grand cimetière de Paris et un lieu patrimonial unique en son genre très fréquenté des Parisiens et des touristes. Afin d’effectuer au mieux la restauration de l’ossuaire, de préserver l’intégrité du site et
d’assurer la sécurité du public, il a été décidé de fermer les lieux au public.»


La date de réouverture sera communiquée ultérieurement.

Yahoo news reports this:  PARIS – Paris' underground bone collection, the catacombs, has been closed to the public indefinitely after being vandalized......
Isabelle Montagne, the spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office, said Wednesday that an investigation has been opened into the weekend incidents. The catacombs have been closed because the littered site has become hazardous, she said. Montagne and a police spokesman declined to give details of the damage.

Leave it to some people to ruin an historic site... It's just unthinkable.  I hope the catch the rotten b********!!!!!

Read more about it on David's blog, From The City of Lights.



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I had been reading about this type of blog scam recently on someone else's blog so I was already suspicious... I also looked up this company on GOOGLE with the word "scam" and found this blog post HERE.

September 17, 2009

Coffee cake King Arthur Flour style!

I recently found this website, King Arthur Flour, in which there are a gazillion great recipes!
I was really interested in trying this one out, and so, since I stayed home all day today, I did!!!
To find the recipe for Cinnamon-Streusel coffee cake click HERE.  You won't be sorry!!! In fact, all of your friends will love you!  
 It turned out deliciously!!   And I had it with an afternoon coffee!  Parfait!