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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Commercial Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

{Our Christmas Eve Dinner at Ristorante da Maria}

Sorry for posting this late but since December 20, my FeedBurner was not working.
Rather annoying but nothing what I tried, pinging or whatever, worked...
Suddenly it was just back!
And off again after posting this... Arrrgggh.

So a belated post about our Christmas Eve Dinner at Dublin Farm Come Home To The Country at Ristorante da Maria.
Here we are in front of the Christmas tree with a Hot Punch.
There was a pianist who played during the 5-course dinner.
We have had heavy rain with flood warnings and unusual warm weather for Christmas.
Pieter's suit got a bit wet from getting out of the car to the restaurant...
My coat is on the coat rack...
Wearing my new cropped top in caviar from Neiman Marcus Last Call but to me it just is black color.
On the driveway before we left for Christmas Eve Mass.
We had donated a Poinsettia in loving memory of Mom and my Angel Sister Mariet
First Christmas without Mom... but it feels special for having one more Angel that we know by name!

My skirt is from Escada, printed hair calf and I've cut it shorter as it was below the knee and rather frumpy looking that way.
Panty hose are DIM PARIS which I bought in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Pumps are Chanel from Last Call at Sawgrass Mills, Florida.
Pieter's suit is from Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH in Woodbury Common Premium Outlet.
We both opted for the Fish; Red Snapper Fillet.
Appetizer: Potatoes au gratin with smoked salmon...
This was SO YUMMY!
First dish: Ravioli stuffed with Porcini mushrooms, topped with a 4-cheese sauce, white truffle oil, Parmesan and fresh herbs.
Our Fish Entrée: Red Snapper Fillet cooked in foil with a Puttanesca sauce.
Lime Sorbet
Strawberry Ice Cream Bomb with fresh berries and starfruit on strawberry coulis.
That was really heavenly!
Lady Chef Maria is the best in our region and she makes everything fresh and from scratch!
Don't you love Pieter's Espresso cup?!
We had a very joyful Christmas Eve, just the two of us.
Hope yours was likewise pleasant, or your Christmas Brunch, Dinner whatever your way of celebrating was.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

{Making Healthy Chocolates}

If you have to follow a strict diet, most store bought chocolates are either too sweet or contain cream or other things you try avoid eating.
Well, that makes you have to make your own Healthy Chocolates!
So here we go, with two pound tablets of 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe's, placed in a double boiler, Au Bain Marie. The lowest part is filled with some water and remember; only melting the chocolate NOT boiling it!
It is a messy job so I always make large batches at once.
This time I'd boiled some fresh cranberries first and set them aside.
Later I will blend in this flaked unsweetened coconut, again from Trader Joe's. 
To sweeten it up a bit I use Agave Nectar and also add some healthy Chia seeds and Lecithin Granules.
In the batch above, I added Pomegranate Seeds that I bought at Costco.
You just have to feel for yourself, depending on what you are using, if you also want to add some Almond Meal to give it some body. It should however be rather smooth!
Next I will scoop the chocolate into these Flexipan molds.
For the USA this link to Demarle at Home will show you some items.
I've bought mine mostly in France...
Also they have a FB Page: Demarle at Home
 This is slightly smaller in diameter and I filled another tray in heart shapes.
Each such Flexipan mold is being placed on an aluminum tray.
Using my Rösle spatula for filling the molds.
Covering up with a sheet of Press'n Seal that doesn't stick.
That way you kind of smooth them out.
This is the one I use...
After they have hardened up inside the refrigerator, this is how they look like...
For gift giving you can use some special cellophane bags with a gold fastener.
This is the end product and it tastes good with a coffee or tea!
All healthy ingredients but rather messy for creating...

Do you make your own chocolates as well?

Friday, December 25, 2015

{Dark Days Before Christmas}

We are having some really DARK & RAINY days before Christmas, complete with THUNDER!
Not easy for making any photos...
Around 4:00 PM in the afternoon...
Lit all candles in our green wooden Christmas tree.
The idea for using a candle with empty escargot shells I got from a blogger friend.
You can see on my CANDLES Pinterest board
This Baccarat crystal caviar bowl is missing its top insert so it is perfect for filling it up with shells.
The Hardanger Christmas table topper is from Bad Münstereifel in Germany.
Holly berries are from our garden...
Thunder for now but on Christmas day the sun is peaking and it will be 82°F, like on Thursday.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

My posts are not showing up on the Blog List for some reason... still an old one showing.

Monday, December 21, 2015

{St. Maria Goretti came from Italy to 54 US Cities - We got to see her too!}

Just by accident did I read about this UNIQUE EVENT, when Pope Francis arrived in the USA, only two days later than this Italian Saint.
Learning about her travel schedule to 54 US Cities, starting out at the East Coast, also Atlanta was on the list. But that day we could not go.
So I was delighted to find that on October 28, she would come to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, Florida, which is only 3 hours and 35 minutes driving distance from us!
Yes she flew from Italy to the USA and traveled along the East Coast like this...
USA 2015
This is a prayer card that I have since I was a child, given to me by my most favorite Great-Uncle and Priest Dr. Sjang Nelissen, who went to the Vatican Council.
Yes, there had been an Italian connection between 'Heeroom' (Great-Uncle Priest) and me, going back half a century.
He studied Church Law in Rome and I was so delighted when I received special stamps from the Vatican Council, that he brought back for me. 
Don't know where they are now... I always passed on everything to my siblings!
But before we too started living and working in Italy, there was this special connection.
This is the beautiful Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, Florida.
Just click on the above hyperlink to see a Pdf about it.
We arrived around 5:00 PM so we had ample time for the public veneration and would find us a spot for the Solemn Mass at 7:00 PM.
We only had to walk 8 minutes for the 700 m from our Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront so that was very convenient and the weather was 29°C or 84°F that day.
The Angels from heaven were supporting those pilgrims, coming to see St. Maria Goretti!
The Basilica is in the shape of a cross and you can see where we managed to have a seat.
Such beautiful architecture with 37 stained glass windows!
We had ample time for admiring this beauty and taking it all in...
As much as I love ANGELS, I certainly had come to the right place!
And here is the glass coffin with the skeletal remains of St. Maria Goretti...
Her face is created out of wax.
Loved the Angel Heads on all four corners of her glass coffin...
And Angel heads on top...
Angels are everywhere, up on each pillar are carved Italian Angels with trumpets.
Overlooking the choir loft you notice a large window with the Immaculate Conception figure, surrounded by Angels singing.
Those stained glass windows are made by the Mayer Stained Glass Company in Munich, Germany.
The Basilica is filling up its approximately 560 seats with lots of people ending up standing in the isles...
Daylight is fading and the interior looks even more magical.
Mass is about to start and the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard is lined up...
This is a photo from 2 November post on the FB Page: Pilgrimage of Mercy: Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Goretti and husband Pieter and I are visible to the left of the purple hat..., I am standing next to the pillar and adjusting my iPhone.
Here in the center you see Celebrant: Reverend Edward Murphy and St. Maria Goretti remained to the right in the front of the Basilica before the high altar of Italian Carrara marble. 
There were maybe close to twenty Priests in this Solemn and partly Latin Mass that was such a blessing for being able to attend. For us it felt like being back in The Netherlands, or being back in Italy where Mass sounded a lot more similar. Sure the beautiful Basilica added to the incredible experience as well.

The sad fact however is that when I picked up a thick, local newspaper the next morning, anxious to read about this rare event, there was nothing. From Fr. Murphy I did learn that it got sent out to all media outlets in the north Florida area but quite unfortunately they did not pick it up. Even when his Church became a Basilica some years ago, they ignored the crowds and dignitaries that came.
Citizen Journalism is ALL that is left...

May our Angels and Saints pray with us for this World and especially at this time around the birth of our Prince of PEACE...

Related links:
Body of St. Maria Goretti Arriving in the U.S. | Pdf with more info about the Saints life

Basilica of the Immaculate Conception | video about this incredible building!

in English:

Just watch on YouTube and it automatically will go to the next version at the end; total of 15.


MARIETTE'S BACK TO BASICS © 2009. All rights reserved - Text and images may not be copied for distribution or sale.

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