Weekend baking: quick bread

This weekend I made a quick bread based on the banana nut bread in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I didn't have all the ingredients the recipe called for, so I had to do some creative substitution -- such as peanut butter in place of some of the mashed banana -- and ended up with a banana peanut butter coconut no-nut bread that was actually pretty good.


Thoiry Zoo

A couple of weekends ago we visted a well-know zoo and park in Thoiry, a suburb of Paris. I know this picture is not what would normally come to mind when you say the word "zoo", but I cannot for the life of me find the rest of the pictures I took when we were there.

This picture is of the Château de Thoiry, the grounds on which a safari park, botanical gardens and a traditional zoo are located. I think we all enjoyed the safari park the most. My daughter loved viewing up close the animals she normally only gets to see in picture books.

It's a shame I can't locate the pictures. If I find them, Ill update this post. In the meantime, here's a link to the website:


Summer Vacation 2012 - Part 2

Above: Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg, Austria

My husband and I spent the last days of our summer vacation in Germany and Austria, with Munich as our base. We took a few day trips to visit royal castles and Salzburg, Austria, and spent the early evenings / nights back in Munich.

In Munich, a city we had already visited a few years back, we visited BMW Welt and BMW Museum, took several strolls throughout the city and spent at least 3 hours in the kitchenware department & food halls aof the GALERIA Kaufhof department store (my husband's a saint). Here are some of the sights we saw.

Downtown Munich, Germany


Breathtaking scenery on the road to Hohenschwangau


Neuschwanstein Castle


View from the castle grounds of Forggensee lake and surrounding land


And to the village of Hohenschwangau below


Hohenschwangau Castle


Salzburg, Austria - Old Town


Salzburg Cathedral




View of Hohensalzburg Castle from the city center; on the left is Stephan Balkenhol's Sphaera, a sculpture of a man atop a golden sphere


View of the city from the road up to Hohensalzburg Castle (look close and you can see the Sphaera sculpture again)


Getreidegasse, Salzburg's famous shopping street; Mozart was born at #9


Love padlocks similar to those we saw in Paris


Mirabell Palace & garden



Back to Germany, this time to BMW Welt and BMW Museum in Munich


Very modern and sleek presentation of the cars at BMW Welt


Kinetic sculpture at the BMW Museum


We ended vacation the way we started it, by celebrating my daughter's 2nd birthday, this time with my in-laws.


Hope all of you had a wonderful summer.


Summer Vacation 2012 - Part 1

Above: View from the Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild

We stayed in Europe this year for our summer vacation, spending time in the south of France, followed by a short trip to Germany & Austria. Here are a few of the highlights of the first part of our trip. We started off by celebrating my daughter's 2nd birthday.


I made a three tier cake using a recipe from one of my daughter's workbooks, the classic French cake "gâteau au yaourt" (yogurt cake).


Throwing pebbles in the ocean at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin


The coast at dusk


Sorbet, a daily ritual (pictured here: cherry, melon and pineapple)


Chocolate shop in Menton


Visit to the Musée océanographique de Monaco


View from the rooftop of the Musée océanographique


Day trip to St. Paul de Vence


Very unique style of paving on the walkways


Imagine, running into an American diner all the way up here


She kept us busy in the gardens at the Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild, trying to pull flowers and running on grass that was off-limits


The villa I first posted about here is finished


The one next door is not too bad either, nor the one next to it...


The Trophée d'Auguste in La Turbie


Looks like Simon


Back to Monaco -- the Prince's Palace at night


View from La Condamine


More to follow in Part 2...


Weekend Baking: Sugarbomb

Starting the weekend off the right way, with a Smarties-studded chocolate cake