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A Magical Time of Year

Traditionally, for me, some of the magic of the season has come from classic department store windows.  A minor trivia quiz to play with yourself–can you guess where they were taken before you scroll to the last picture?

 

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Have you guessed the location yet?  Here is a shot of the street….

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Any guesses?  If not, here you go—the location of these wonderful window decorations is Chicago at:

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Delish Gift Baskets: American Spoon Foods

I sometime struggle with the gift baskets this time of year. So many sweets flow into our homes that I feel it is nice to have a food gift that can be savored later on. Also, I love to share my favorites from my favorite part of the world.

In the past, we’ve shared Sisson’s Main Street Bakery’s amazing Buckeye Cookies and other goodies and packages of Cherry Republic’s dried cherry products. This year, I found 3 different baskets on American Spoon Foods’ web site that not only do I want to share, but I also want for my own!

Bingo!  Easy, elegant, yummy gifts!

Bingo! Easy, elegant, yummy gifts!

First of all the PB & J Perfection Basket with Koeze smooth and crunchy peanut butter. I love that stuff so much my husband once got me a case of it for a Christmas gift! Then the Michigan Wildcraft Collection caught my eye. Wild blackberries, elderflower, raw honey–I could pretend to be a bear and dig into that box.  I also love that local foragers gather these elusive ingredients.

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What ended up in my shopping car was the Pick of the Leelanau box. The award winning Leelanau raclette cheese is our family’s all time favorite and when accompanied by a loaf of Stone House bread and strawberry jam I think I’ve found gift box perfection!

Leelanau Raclette gets scarce in the summer.  But it is back in stores up north!  Woo Hoo!

Leelanau Raclette gets scarce in the summer. But it is back in stores up north! Woo Hoo!

Yummy for your Tummy Breakfast

I’m getting ready to bake up the traditional German Lebkuchen this morning and I know in my heart that I won’t be able to resist sampling along the way.  With this in mind, I decided I should at least start the morning off on a healthy foot and not just get jazzed on java.  So, I just made and devoured a delicious, quick, warm breakfast of Nutty Maple Quinoa.

Two of the ingredients for my quinoa.  I devoured it so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the actual dish!

Two of the ingredients for my quinoa. I devoured it so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the actual dish!

This is my cousin’s recipe and I must share:

12 oz. package quinoa

2 c water

1/2 c dried cherries, chopped

1/2 c raw almonds, chopped

1 T fresh ground cinnamon

1 T maple syrup

 

Place one cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. (I used 1/2 c quinoa and 1 c water and it was perfect for a hearty individual breakfast).  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes).   Toss in the remaining ingredients and serve as a warm alternative to oatmeal or cereal.

 

Of course, in real life, one can short cut the recipe by using what is on hand—I had sliced almonds and already ground cinnamon.  I also just drizzled on the maple syrup to taste and sprinkled the cinnamon.  Those of you who free form recipes like I tend to do will recognize yourself.  Those who like to stick to the measurements will also be rewarded with deliciousness!

 

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