Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tasty Delights: Berry-Dream Trifle

Before I left Switzerland for the summer, Danny and I had brunch at his cousin's house. His cousin, Jeanine, made a wonderful brunch including the most delicious Leek Pie. For a wonderful sweet ending to the meal, Jeanine served us a little glass filled with one of the prettiest desserts that I have every seen. And it was one of the tastiest too!

She called the dessert Berry Dream, and certainly it was exactly that! The little glasses had layers of delicious flavors and textures. The bottom layer was made with crispy crumbled meringue, next was a layer of delicious whipped cream, and on top of that was a layer of delicious mixed berries. The whole dessert was topped off with a scoop of amazing vanilla ice cream, a frozen raspberry and a mint leaf. I don't think anyone spoke for three minutes while we gobbled this dessert down! That's how good it was.

I was able to "steal" the recipe from her, and I wanted to share it with you! I think it is a perfect summer treat, and its colors are perfect for 4th of July celebrations!

Berry-Dream Trifle

What you need:

*Berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, black currants (cassis), red currants (johannisbeeren)
*lemon zest
*1 tbsp brown sugar
*whipped cream
*meringue (crispy, store-bought or homemade)
*vanilla ice cream
*mint leaves

Here's how you make it:

1. Mix the berries, lemon zest, and brown sugar in a bowl. Be sure to slightly crush some of the berries in order to release the juice. This makes a nice little berry syrup. Refrigerate the berry mixture for a couple of hours (its best after a day).
2. To assemble the dessert once the berry mixture is ready, begin by crushing the crispy meringue. Place the crushed meringue into the bottom of each cup.
3. Next, layer the fresh whipped cream on top of the meringue.
4. After the fresh whipped cream has been layered, add a layer of the berry mixture.
5. Top each cup with a generous scoop of softened vanilla ice cream.
6. Garnish each scoop of ice cream with a raspberry and a mint leaf.
7. Enjoy!

I hope that you enjoy this recipe! Please let me know if you try the recipe! I love hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back for more updates!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dachshund Fun

I wanted to share a cute video that I took over the summer of my dachshund Lucy playing with my sister's new dachshund puppy Muffy. But let me give you a little history of our love and obsession with dachshunds.

From as early as I can remember, our family has always had dachshunds. I've grown up with these bratwurst shaped canines, and I can't imagine having any other breed. (Though I am fond of the hound group.) They are wonderful, strong-headed dogs with a slight Napoleonic complex. While our miniature dachshunds stand under a foot tall, they genuinely believe they are as big as the Newfoundland mix neighbor dog Fiona.

We brought Bridget home when I was in high school, and we instantly fell in love with this sweet little puppy. She's a smart dog, and while she is known for getting into the trash like a raccoon, she's always been a good dog.

When I graduated from Syracuse University, I decided that I needed to have my own dog, and so I brought home a little black and tan dachshund who I named Lucy. She's a lovely little dachshund with endless energy, and I'm sure there will never be another dog like her. 

When I first brought my dog Lucy home over three years ago, my mother's dachshund Bridget was not very pleased. Suffice it to say that it took a long time for Bridget to get over her "only child syndrome". Now, especially after having left Lucy in the care of my mother when I moved to Switzerland, Bridget and Lucy are inseparable. Call them the dog version of Thelma & Louise.

Then Muffy came along. Bridget has had a very easy time adjusting to the new puppy. But Lucy has not been quite fond of Muffy. In fact, it seems as though Lucy is quite jealous that there's a new puppy in town. Any time Muffy plays with a toy, Lucy comes and takes it from her. And if Muffy is being showered with attention from us? Forget about it! Lucy makes it a point to jump, bark, or climb onto our laps in order to redirect the attention to her. 

Muffy, of course, is blissfully ignorant of the fact that Lucy wants nothing to do with her. In the video that I took, Muffy is attempting to play tug of war with Lucy. See what happens next:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Back in Action: Updates and More

Hello Everyone!

It has been awhile since I've last posted on my blog. I apologize for the absence, though I've had a busy last couple of months! Let me fill you in on what has been going on since the end of June!

I went back home to Cleveland for part of my summer break from my Master's program here in Switzerland. I flew back at the beginning of July and celebrate the 4th of July with all of my family. It was so wonderful to see my family and friends after almost 10 months of being away from them! If there's one thing you should know about me, it is this: to me, my family is the most important thing in the entire world. So it was a pretty big deal to spend 6 weeks with them. :)

We had great things to celebrate while I was home. I am happy to announce that there are three engagements in my family: my aunt, my sister, and my mom! Needless to say, happiness was everywhere.

I loved spending time with my Grandma Rita (a.k.a. Granny or G). She has always been my biggest role model and inspiration. It was so wonderful seeing her almost every day, and I loved every second that I spent with her.

I stayed with my mom for the majority of the summer, and that was a blast! It was so nice to see my mom every day, and I loved cuddling up and watching movies with her. We went on long walks, did some crafting and went to New York City to do some serious bead shopping!

I was so happy to spend time with my dad! He and I enjoyed going to the movies, spending time with his family, and watching the Olympics in his wonderful new home! I was so happy to share in my dad's first sushi dinner! (I had been trying to convince my dad to go to a sushi bar with me, and he finally agreed!) It was so nice visiting my dad's side of the family too! They're always a blast to spend time with and I can't wait to see them again.

I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with my brother Jack and my cousin Kennedy, and I even played babysitter for my sister's new puppy, Muffy. My little brother has grown up so much over the last year, and he is quite a handsome young man! He just started his freshman year, and he made the varsity soccer team. My cousin, the tennis star, has been working hard, started her senior year, and is preparing for college. My sister has been working really hard at her job, and she was recently promoted! She's also knee-deep in wedding plans, which is exciting! I am so proud of all of them. Oh, and Muffy? She's a cutie.

Meet Muffy!

I was also happy to see my Aunt Anne and Uncle David in Cleveland. They are such positive forces in my life, and I always enjoy whatever time I get to spend with them! I saw my aunt almost every day (I worked at my Grandma and Aunt Anne's store over the summer), and I enjoyed my uncle's company at our family dinners.

Speaking of the family from Cleveland, I haven't mentioned my dogs, Lucy and Bridget! If there is another thing you should know about me, it is this: I am obsessed with my dachshunds. I can't get enough of them, so it was extremely nice to see them after 10 months away! I miss having a dog here in Switzerland, so I got my dachshund fix over the summer.

Bridget, Muffy, & Lucy

I also traveled to New York City and Cos Cob, CT twice to visit more of my family as well as visit one of the best jewelry expositions in the world with my Aunt Anne.

The first trip that I made to NYC and Cos Cob was a girl's weekend with my mom! We flew into NYC and went shopping in the city, including the bead district. We bought lots of fun goodies for making new jewelry! Then we took the Metro up to Connecticut to visit my Uncle Peter, Aunt Laney, and cousins Alec and Emma. I always love spending time with my family in CT! My Uncle Peter and Aunt Laney are also positive forces in my life, always full of great love and advice! It was so nice spending time with them! (Hopefully they can make it to Basel on one of their business trips to Germany soon! wink wink!)

My cousin Alec has been hard at work studying at college and working towards his Emergency Medical Services Management degree, all while he moonlights as an EMT. My cousin Emma is also entering her senior year, working hard, and preparing for college (hopefully Alabama?) I am so proud of them as well.

The second trip that I made to NYC and Cos Cob was to spend more time with my family and to visit the ENK International Trade Show Accessories Circuit with my Aunt Anne! The jewelry show was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had, and my aunt and I had so much fun walking around and buying jewelry for her store! Then I went back to Cos Cob to spend a few more days with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. And naturally, in true "Clevelander-visiting-Cos Cob" fashion, we experienced a terrible storm and lost power for a day. (It seems that every time a family member from Cleveland comes to visit our family in Connecticut, the power is lost and a terrible storm ensues... coincidence? Our family in CT says no....)

While I had a wonderful and lovely time visiting my family for six weeks, I missed Danny tremendously! It was bittersweet to leave my family and visit his in the Bahamas, but I was excited to see Danny again. We spent two weeks visiting Danny's family in the Bahamas. It was so wonderful to spend time with his parents, sister, nephew, and his brand new little niece! We also had fun spending time with his friends! One of the highlights of our visit to the Bahamas was a short little mini-vacation for the two of us on Harbour Island. I'll devote a whole post to this wonderful little island!

After two weeks in the Bahamas, Danny and I flew back to Basel. Danny has been working hard at his job, and he makes me proud every day. I started my third semester in my Master's program, and I have secured a professor and a topic for my thesis, and I will be handing it in around the end of June! So needless to say, there will be many busy months ahead for both of us!

We had a wonderful visit from one of my best friends and her awesome boyfriend! My dear friend Alex and her boyfriend Mike stopped in Basel on their vacation between London and Rome. It was so wonderful seeing them and spending time with them, and we were sad to see them leave! We took Alex and Mike on a tour around Basel, and we took them to the Basel Zoo as well.

A bunch of my jewelry was sold over the summer, so that made me very happy! I haven't been working on any new pieces over the last couple of weeks because I've been too busy with school. But now that the semester has settled into a firm schedule, I'll have time to get my creative juices flowing and make some more pieces! I am hoping that I will be able to sign up for another metalsmithing course after October.

I have some great posts planned in the future, so keep a lookout for them! I hope that you had a wonderful summer as well and I am glad that you've visited my blog!