Bicyling in Europe

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Bicycling in Europe is practical, elegant and so much safer than in the U.S. There are all sorts of bikes including special bikes for delivery, postpeople and children. Here are some of our favorite images captured during our travels…

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Thanksgiving…the recipe edition

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cranberry relish

We discovered this relish at a family-owned Germany restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan. We asked for seconds on this relish which I devoured by the spoonful. This relish is amazing mixed with mayonnaise for leftover turkey sandwiches.

Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish
Prep time: 10 mins Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 10

recipe courtesy of Bavarian Inn
3 medium sized apples like Northern Spy, or Granny Smith
1 lb. bag fresh cranberries (frozen)
2 naval oranges
2 c. sugar (you can use less)

Freeze cranberries 4 hours or overnight.
Core apples but leave peel on.
Place half of each in food processor and pulse into ¼ inch pieces.
Empty into bowl. Repeat with other half. Add into bowl. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
Leaving peel on oranges, chop off ends.
Chop oranges with peel on into ¼ pieces. Mix carefully into cranberries.
(I have also had this with chopped pecans mixed in)
Let set one hour.

Great leftover tip, mix with mayonnaise to spread on leftover sandwiches. Divine!

For the rest of our meal, I swear by the techniques and recipe in Cooks Illustrated!

The countdown timeline is extremely helpful to make the actual day of Thanksgiving leave you feeling Thankful.

mashed potates

Make ahead mashed potatoes are great. Putting them in a slow cooker tableside keeps them at a perfect temperature.


I like to peel my potatoes the day before and store them in cold water in a large pan in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure to boil the potatoes until they are very tender; err on the side of over- rather than undercooking. You can use a hand-held mixer instead of a standing mixer, but the potatoes will be lumpier.


5 pounds yukon gold or russet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into cubes (about 1″)
3 cups heavy cream (or milk), hot
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters (you can do this the day before).

2. Boil potatoes until tender.

3. Drain potatoes (you can retain some of the water as a gravy thickener). Break the cooked potato flesh down into small pieces using a fork, potato masher, or rubber spatula.

4. Transfer half of the potatoes to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). Beat the potatoes on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds, gradually adding the rest of the potatoes to incorporate, until completely smooth and no lumps remain, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in 2 cups of the hot cream (or milk), followed by the butter and 2 teaspoons salt. Gently fold in up to 1/2 cup more of the cream as needed to reach your desired serving consistency. Once the desired serving consistency is reached, gently fold in an additional 1/2 cup cream.

6. To Store: Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

7. To Reheat: Poke lots of holes in the plastic wrap with the tip of a knife, and microwave at medium-high (75 percent) power until the potatoes are hot, about 14 minutes, stirring gently halfway through the reheating time.

leftover mashed potato pancakes
After Thanksgiving, I love making potato pancakes:

Leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. chopped or minced onions
Little salt & pepper
Use left over mashed potatoes, add egg, baking powder, onion, salt and pepper. Mix up and cook in hot frying pan.


Recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated (with my personal alterations noted):


This recipe makes enough gravy to accompany a 12- to 14-pound turkey with leftovers. If you are roasting a very large bird and want to double the recipe, prepare the gravy in a Dutch oven. White wine adds a welcome note of acidity to gravy, but in a pinch you can use more chicken broth in its place. Make sure you’ve added 1 cup each of chopped onions, carrots, and celery along with fresh thyme sprigs and 1 cup of water to the roasting pan before the turkey goes into the oven.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey giblets and neck
1 onion, unpeeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 parsley stems
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine

1. Make the Broth: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown turkey giblets and neck for 5 minutes. Cook onion for 3 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. (This can be done the day before)

2. Add chicken broth and water, scrape pan bottom, and bring to boil. Add herbs and simmer, skimming foam from surface, for 30 minutes.

3. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer. Reserve and dice heart and gizzard. Refrigerate broth and diced giblets until ready to use.

4. Make the Roux and Thicken the Broth: Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until nutty brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Bring reserved turkey broth to simmer.

5. Gradually add hot turkey broth to roux. Vigorous and constant whisking at this point is key to avoiding lumps. Reserve 1 cup of broth for deglazing roasting pan (see #9).

6. Simmer gravy, stirring occasionally and skimming scum from surface with spoon, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Set aside, covered, until turkey is done.

7. Deglaze the Pan and Add the Drippings To the Gravy: Pour drippings through mesh strainer set over measuring cup. Let liquid settle until fat rises to top. Return vegetables in strainer to roasting pan.

8. Tilt measuring cup and use wide, shallow soup spoon to skim fat off surface. Reserve defatted drippings. Return gravy in saucepan to simmer.

9. Place roasting pan over two burners at medium-high heat. Add wine and reserved 1 cup broth and scrape up browned bits in pan. Boil until liquid reduces by half, 5 minutes.

10. Strain roasting pan liquid into gravy, pressing on solids to extract all liquid. Add defatted drippings to taste. Stir in giblets and serve.

A secret ingredient in my homemade turkey soup is to use some leftover gravy.

turkey soup


Basic Turkey Stock
1 turkey carcass from 12- to 14-pound turkey, cut into 4 or 5 rough pieces to fit into pot (I use a crock pot)
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped coarse
3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
1 large rib celery, about 4 ounces, chopped coarse
2 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme

For Soup
1 medium onion, diced medium
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (or smaller)
1 large rib celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 – 3 cups cooked egg noodles (I cook the noodles separately and only combine at the end)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. For Stock: Bring turkey carcass, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, wine, bay leaf, and 4 1/2 quarts water to boil in 12-quart stockpot over medium-high heat, skimming fat or foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 2 hours, continuing to skim surface as necessary. Add parsley and thyme; continue to simmer until stock is rich and flavorful, about 2 hours longer, continuing to skim surface as necessary. (You can also do this in a crock pot overnight)

2. Strain stock through large-mesh strainer into large bowl or container; remove meat from strained solids, shred into bite-sized pieces, and set aside; discard solids in strainer. Cool stock slightly, about 20 minutes; spoon fat from surface. Use stock immediately or cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days. (I pour boiling water over the strainer with the turkey parts several times to make more stock).

3. For Soup: Bring turkey stock to simmer in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt; cover and simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add pasta (I cook separately) and reserved shredded turkey meat from stock; simmer until pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; serve.

Per Serving:

Cal 170; Fat 3.5 g; Sat fat 0 g; Chol 20 mg; Carb 17 g; Protein 15 g ; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 1940 mg

Note: Sodium level depends how salty the broth is; this is calculated using the same amount of salt as in commercial broth.

brussel sprouts

Best Brussel Sprouts


If you are buying loose Brussels sprouts, select those that are about 1½ inches long. Quarter Brussels sprouts longer than 2½ inches; don’t cut sprouts shorter than 1 inch.


2 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (you can also buy smaller and cook them whole)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts, oil, water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until sprouts are coated. Transfer sprouts to rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down.

2. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until Brussels sprouts are well browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer to serving platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

corn souffle
Baked Corn

I’ve grown up enjoying various versions of this recipe. My Mom called this “corn pudding” and made it with a can of creamed corn and ritz crackers on the top. A few years ago a caterer featured this in all of her fall dishes and I was completely smitten. After paying her thousands of dollars through events, she finally shared the (very simple to my surprise) recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
3 cups fresh/frozen corn
1 1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper

Beat the eggs well. Add the milk and sugar, combine well. Add salt and pepper, combine again. Stir in the corn (if frozen, you may need to break apart the frozen clumps).

Bake in 350 oven for 55 minutes (if making ahead, I undercook slightly to 40 minutes and then reheat the next day like Thanksgiving).

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Prayers alive….

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rothenburg church prayers 2

During a visit to Germany, my husband and I visited Rothenburg, a fairy-tale city oozing with charm. My favorite locale was the Franciscan Church. While incredibly simple, it was a living church. I found the prayers on post-its particularly moving amidst the 13th century architecture.

Posted in memory of my Sweet Briar College classmate, Melinda Sher, and Andrew Reisse, University of Maryland.

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New York City

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There is so much to New York City – one could have a blog on the city itself and never run out of content. I am fortunate to travel to New York occasionally for work and sometimes for pleasure.

For this trip, I took the Acela to New York Penn Station from BWI Airport station. The train is such a civilized way to travel.

Hotel Martinique
The Radisson Martinique is visible from the top of the escalator of Penn Station. A wonderful hotel in Midtown on Broadway near 34th. It is an excellent location. Just steps from the hotel entrance is Greeley Square with unique culinary options, “Broadway Bites – Urban Spoon”.

A charming brasserie adjoining the Hotel Martinique
A charming brasserie adjoining the Hotel Martinique

Normally when I dine in any town, I like to leave my hotel and explore the local area. There are many Korean restaurants in the neighborhood. I elected to dine in a restaurant connected to the hotel, Petit Poulet, a French brasserie. Whether it was the fact that I had not enjoyed a French meal in a while or the fact that it was cold and blustery outdoors and the aromas floating from the open kitchen were warm and enveloping, I chose to stay. It did not disappoint! Frequent diners near me highly recommended the rotisserie chicken. I chose the fish of the day, a monkfish over the brightest green pesto.

Working in the sciences, a visit to the Museum of Math was a logical meeting place. I met my colleagues and we met up with our alumnus. The museum’s interactive displays inspired deep conversation. We adjourned to a nearby cafe for some coffee, tea and conversation.

My University’s alumni event provided a unique venue to meet more New York alumni. The unique meeting space of V.K. Nagrani provided a fantastical backdrop. V.K. Nagrani said, “I designed this space to look like a place where Willie Wonka sold clothes…if he did.” Antique card catalogues showcased unique socks and ties.

The next morning, my meeting was at Goldman Sachs. Half of our group took the subway, I chose a cab. Our meetings were held in the Sky Lobby with long views of the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River and the World Trade Center. After the meeting, I walked over to the 9/11 memorial. I did not realize the memorial was made within the footprints of the building. It is quite a dramatic experience. The day I was there a stiff breeze lifted the cascading water up and over those paying their respects. Water droplets gathered around the etched names. I was struck by one of the names listed as it included “Rhama Salie and her unborn child”.

Prior to my train home, I walked over to Macy’s. The holiday windows had already been installed and the “Miracle on 34th Street” theme carried itself throughout the main floor. While I normally object to Christmas music on the heels of Halloween, it really was quite charming. I’d like to go back.

I enjoyed lunch at a restaurant near the hotel and caught the 3pm train home.

I look forward to returning with my husband and sons.

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Pumpkin Scarecrow Teamwork - New London, NH

Halloween Pumpkin Scarecrows

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Driving through New London, New Hampshire, we were amused by the pumpkin scarecrows. Each of the displays gave a clue as to the business or resident who lived or work there.

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New England Leaf “Peeping”

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Fall in New England – vivid color, crisp temperatures, good cheer.

No matter the season, there is a reason to getaway to New England.  Millions of acres of national forest surrounding quaint towns.  Hundreds of miles of scenic drives and slow road.  Trails for hiking, skiing, biking and meandering.  Charming and unique shopping.

Maple leaf
Maple leaf

We have come to the same area of New Hampshire three years in a row at different times:  The Lake Sunapee/White Mountain area.  We have seen the leaves at different stages — this time late in the season.  Every time we have visited, it has rained.  You might think this would dampen our enjoyment, but actually there is something cozy about driving slow roads with low hanging clouds and vivid colors around every turn.  Because the most colorful trees were less prevalent, it made the ones we saw even more special.

Reflections in Pleasant Lake

Great Leaf Identification

As you drive, if you are interested in learning more about fall leaves or perhaps helping your family or friends become expert “tree peepers”, check out this leaf identification guide.

Scenic Rides

Church in Sutton, NH
Church in Sutton, NH

Slow road in Sutton, NH
Slow road in Sutton, NH

No matter where you drive from landing at the airport to the most remote road, you’ll find exploding color.   The Kancamagus Highway is considered to be one of the best routes, a national Scenic Byway through the White Mountain National Forest.   Yet, we have found just going about our travel from the country inn to special restaurants choosing back roads has been enjoyable.

Sugar Shacks (Maple Syrup)

As the leaves wane, the sap starts to run. Visiting a sugar shack in New Hampshire is a must to try REAL maple sugar.  Our son swears by the maple syrup cotton candy.  Winter is the best time for sugar shacks.


Inn at Pleasant Lake – New London, NH

As mentioned previously, we love staying in country inns.  The Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Region has some amazing inns. We have stayed several times at the Inn at Pleasant Lake.  Chef/Owner Brian MacKenzie and his wife have a lovely location, inn and restaurant.  It is very close to New London.   After the (included) breakfast, we love to walk down to the lake no matter the weather.
Fall foliage surrounding Inn at Pleasant Lake

Boat House, Pleasant Lake, NH
Boat House, Pleasant Lake, NH

Charming Towns

New London, NH

From the Manchester airport, hundreds of charming towns may be found.  You could spend your whole weekend walking the unique streets of New Hampshire towns.  So un-mall-like (insert hallelujah sounds).  Most of our time has been in New London which is picture-perfect.  Colby-Sawyer College anchors the town.  The only “chain” is a Dunkin-Donuts.

And if you might be bored and your spouse – or kids – or friends need a diversion, check out some of the more unique features of New Hampshire:

I love to learn.  I like to learn the history of an area.  I also am intrigued by geology.  50,000 years ago a continental glacier covered New Hampshire.  As the ice sheet moved, it pulled huge blocks of granite with it.  Polar Caves Park features huge granite boulders and caves.   Ruggles Mine extends over a mile into Isinglass Mountain.

Ruggles Mine
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New Orleans

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“Nawlans”…Jazzed to be here….


New Orleans — affectionately referred to as “NOLA” or “Nawlans” offers much to explore.

Lyn and I came to New Orleans to see Paul McCartney (read about Lyn’s passion for Paul elsewhere, that’s another story).   For your musical background, tune your radio to WWOZ 90.7FM for jazz, blues, Latin, Cajun, funk and possibly even some Beatles.

Prior to our trip, Lyn booked reservations at some of New Orlean’s best restaurants (he always likes to know he has a table).   Oysters, bananas foster, barbecued shrimp, beignets… these are just a few of the “must trys” while there.

Flavors…. Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House was our first meal.  Cafe du Monde is a must visit for cafe au lait and beignet sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Rouse’s Market provided a great sandwich and light meal — and incredible marketing experience.  Finally, Sunday brunch at another Brennan’s Tableau.   We loaded up on recipes and spices for future trips.

Experiences… French Quarter, the riverfront, the Canal Shops are a few of the places worth visiting.  We spent most of our time in the French Quarter.  The French Market on Sunday offered great souveniers, spices, and savories.  It has been a market since 1791!  Here you “make groceries”, not just shop for them.   The locals around us at the concert suggested Napoleon House for a drink and historic experience (we didn’t make it, but the number of people who suggested it makes me mention it).

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Hello world!

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Our professional blog and vlog starts today during the waning hours of our trip to New Orleans.  My friend Janet wrote in a Facebook post that she was counting on our restaurant recommendations and other tips.  And, we’ve been discussing doing a blog.  It occurred to me, if I shared them with Janet, why not you, dear reader?  So, here goes…


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Munich – Munchen

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Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich, Germany
Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich, Germany

We traveled to Munich from Nurenburg, stopping in charming Rothenburg along the way. We like to travel side roads to the main highways seeing many charming towns along the way. We were surprised how close to the city the forest and farms were. On the outskirts of the city, the buildings grew larger.

Munich is a new city. It was nearly destroyed in World War II. In fact, there is a large hill in the middle of the city called “rubble hill” constructed of demolished building material. We passed the Olympic Park, the BMW headquarters and found our hotel, the Westin Munich.

Westin Grand Munich
Westin Grand Munich

The Westin Grand Munich provided a comfortable home close to the city, but far enough from the heart of things to feel we were in a neighborhood. It was a short walk to the metro. We arrived in the late afternoon, unpacked and decided to dine in the hotel. Pauliner’s beer garden provided a beautiful setting and delicious food. We began with the salad bar which, in Germany, is more like a condiment bar with marinated vegatables, cole slaw (seven ways), potato salad (10 ways). Lyn ordered the Wiener Kalbsschnitzel / Escalope of veal „Vienna style”. I ordered the fish of the day (which arrived with the skin on and bones in, so not recommended).

The next morning we took the subway to downtown and found a tour across from the main train station. We like to take double decker bus tours to get an overview of a city and then choose to visit places. Munich is a beautiful city with a blend of historic buildings and new construction. While we were there, passionate German soccer fans clustered around televisions set up in cafes leaving the roads and sidewalks quite open.

We got off at Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace). Nymphenburg Palace owes its foundation as a summer residence to the birth of the long-awaited heir to the throne, Max Emanuel, who was born in 1662 to the Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, after some ten years of marriage. Originally the palace was well out of the city. Now it is surrounded by upscale neighborhoods. The canal runs for miles. We took a tour of the palace with hand-held devices providing expert narration on the many families associated with the castle. The palace and its pavilions express French decoration and German sense of order. We could have spent the entire day at Nymphenburg. The Great Hall surrounds with opulent decoration. The living apartments, each unique, are works of art of furnishings, decoration and the art hanging on the walls.

Nymphenburg Park, opened to the public in the early 20th century, was changed from a Formal French design to an English garden. We strolled the grounds and admired the palace and pavillion from many angles and reflected over water. We found a delightful

At the end of our tour, we visited the Hoffbrau Haus in the center of Munich. The Hoffbrau Haus provided a quintessential German experience. We ordered sausages, sauerkraut and a pretzel from a girl who came by selling them separately. My favorite way of having German beer is with lemonade (a radler). We took the subway back to the Westin. That night, it seemed every German was watching one of the playoff games.

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Rothenburg, Germany

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Timber houses
Timber houses

Enter a fairytale in Rothenburg. Lyn told me I would be enchanted and he was right. Rothenburg’s quaint hotels, unique shops and idyllic cafes made for a delightful afternoon. We only covered a quarter of the town. Next time, I would stay the night there and use the morning and evenings to explore without the crowds. Be sure when traveling that you steer towards Rothenburg ob der Tauber (on the Tauber River). There are many Rothenburgs in Germany.

We arrived in time to walk through the main Platz, walk a few lanes and choose a cafe for lunch, Gasthoff zur Sonne. I ordered a dreamy “chanterelle creme soup” and what would be one of many strange dishes, “Kasespatzle “once different” with homemade noodles in cream cheese gorgonzola. Lyn loved a ravioli-like dish.

Check out Trip Advisor reviews for Gasthoff zur Sonne.

One of my favorite stops was the Franciscan Church. The simple wooden pews and stoic chairs provided a simple backdrop for inspiration. It is a living church. The modern windows by Johannes Schreiter are quite interesting. I kept a brochure and have meditated on those windows since then. The Franciscan Church is the oldest in the town and was consecrated in 1309, recently celebrating its 700th anniversary. This church also boasts an altar carved by Tilman Riemenschneiderand many memorials to residents of Rothenburg. The nave is used for concerts and lectures, along with regular religious services.

My friend Alicyn, an experienced world traveler, loves to walk the walls of Rothenburg with her husband and two daughters.

It would not be right not to mention the Jewish history of Rothenburg – and the Jewish history throughout Germany. Rothenburg was a favorite excursion by Hitler as an “idyllic German town”. Jewish families were driven out of the town throughout the ages. Fortunately, there are monuments to those families and the Jewish experience throughout the town.

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Live. Love. Travel….