Lemon Lavender Biscotti

I love biscotti…well I just love food…looking through different recipes  I was inspired by a lemon almond biscotti recipe on the  King Arthur Flour site …so I played around with it and made a few changes…and this is what I came up with


Lemon Lavender Orange Blossom Honey Biscotti

preheat oven to 350

2 1/4 cups of flour….I do love King Arthur flour but this time I used Trader Joe’s      ……………………………………unbleached white flour

1.5 t  baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

combine the above dry ingredients together and set aside

1 stick of light butter….I used Land o ‘ Lakes…softened

1/3 c sugar

1/3 c orange blossom honey

1 T lemon zest

2 t vanilla

3 T lemon juice

1 egg

2 egg whites

2 T dried lavender


so in a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar……add the honey and continue mixing for a minute or two

pulverize the lavender to release the oils…I do this in a coffee grinder

add the lavender…the lemon zest…the vanilla …and the lemon juice….mix until well combined in the butter/sugar/honey mixture

add the egg…mix until incorporated and then add egg whites and beat on medium high for 2 more minutes


slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture…..the dough /batter will be on the soft side

line a baking sheet with parchment

with a rubber spatula…help ease the dough out of the bowl onto the parchment…and I then  flour my hands to pat the dough into shape…the dough takes up just about the entire length of the pan…except for maybe 2.5 inches on either end of the baking sheet

I then put it in the oven for 30 minutes after 30 minutes I take them out and let them rest

Lower the oven to 300 degrees…and let the log rest for 20 minutes…after the 20 minutes start slicing the log into 1/2 inch slices…I ended up with 20 cookies…large cookies…take the slices and place them back in the oven for another 20 minutes

take them out and let them cool


so while cooling I make a lavender lemon glaze…I do not measure when Imake a glaze…but I did measure out 1  T dried lavender buds…and again pulverized them in the coffee grinder…I then used roughly 3 T lemon  juice….and added confectioners sugar until I reached a consistency I liked…I then piped the glaze onto the cooled cookies

Biscotti are great by themselves…or for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee…or a mid day snack with a glass of milk…no matter how you like them…they won’t last long and you may be hearing requests for….more ?


The table  I used to photograph the cookies is just a plain square raw wood table from Ikea . I painted it with chalk paint …I used the folkart chalk paint that you can get at Jo-An fabrics…..I used Java as a base and then painted patina  on top  …I then used a crackle medium on top that crackles clear and gives a crackle like you might see on porcelain…it was made by decoart…I don’t think I will ever use it again…even though I like the end results it produces….there are no warning on the bottle…but while using this …my tongue started to go numb and I started getting heart palpitations…as soon as I got away from this stuff I started feeling better…so after the crackle I started to distress the rest of the paint with just a wet rag…a little sand paper… a little steel wool…and then i finished it off doing a little dry brushing…now i need on figuring out how to seal it .


Hockey Week in America and Sunday Stroll

I do love sports…at least some sports…and if you follow my posts you may think rugby is my favorite…it is up there in the number 2 slot . But without a doubt I love ice hockey…and in almost any form . From the NHL to the Olympics…to college , both women’s and men’s , and down through the ranks of amateur hockey…midget , bantam , peewee , squirt , mite…I enjoy it at any level .

I love the amateur part of this . These young athletes compete for competition sake…and maybe someday make it to the pros for a select few .

It is a great game and is played at many different skill levels . No matter what skill level you are you can usually find somewhere to fit in .

I attend a lot of amateur ice hockey games when conditions allow me . My favorite weekends are Martin Luther King weekend and Presidents Day/George Washington birthday weekend…because a rink not far from where I live is host to tournaments on these weekends . Teams come from all over the country sometimes and Canada as well . Teams from California , Texas , Arizona , Florida , Georgia ,North Carolina , New York , New Jersey , Michigan , Pennsylvania , Ohio , Indiana and Illinois and from many towns in Ontario…such as Kitchener , Oshawa and Peterborough to name a few .

Boys and girls playing on the same team and the girls holding their own and excelling in some cases . And when it comes to college hockey I find nothing purer than women’s college hockey . The game is fast paced and quite entertaining . Don’t get me wrong I do like physical play that the NHL likes to play as well . Like I said before I enjoy it all . Well maybe not so much the shootout . Yes I am an old geezer . I remember when games could end in a tie and I was OK with that as well .

But this week is to celebrate Hockey….in all forms . NBC was here in PPG Plaza at the ice rink where they would do spots during intermissions of several of the past games played on Sunday…and as much as people hate Mike Milbury in Pittsburgh I give him props for showing up no matter how sick he was…he was blowing his nose …coughing…and eating lozenges to get him through the day…I just went through that myself and have a bit of compassion .

Not only were the NBC folks there but in house hockey players from RMU putting on demonstrations and having fun as well as some sledge hockey players as well . It does bring people together and though you may really really want to beat the other team…respecting the other team and its players stands high in my regards . This past weekend I saw one player help his injured opponent off the ice .You don’t see that everyday . Hockey builds character or at least gives the athlete a chance to exhibit it as they have learned from their own family and life in general .
So Sunday was hockey day and all week I found out is Hockey week . This coming Saturday February 25 2017 you might want to check out your local rink . They may be hosting a free learn to Try Hockey…for children 4 years up to age 9…equipment will be provided for your child to use during the event and see if it is something they may want to pursue . RMU , Baierl Ice Complex and Alfa Ice Complex are a few rinks in my area that will host such an event…call them for their times .

Also if your place of business has casual dress on Fridays…Friday is …Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day….hope you get a chance to wear yours….I have quite a few…I am a penguins fan but I may wear my Vermont Catamounts Jersey or my Koivu Minnesota Wild green third jersey

Over the years I have made many friends from around the world from the love of sport…the love of hockey

Some of my images below have nothing to do with hockey but were taken on my Sunday Stroll with Sammy…my 9 year old Rat Terrier

NA Tigers v Bethel Park Hawks

This was a match of 2 JV1 teams The Tigers with a much superior record coming into the match but that didn’t deter the Hawks from showing up

Bethel Park played a gritty game keeping the Tigers in check through the first period that ended scoreless

The second period started a bit faster and just 50 seconds into the period Alex Sprys found the back of the net and the Tiger faithful feeling a little less uneasy . But that didn’t last long . Sixty Six second later Tanner Peters evened the score for the black and orange . And at the end of two periods it was still a tied game .

The third period the game got a bit looser . Jace Pidhirny scored just 38 seconds into the period to make it 2-1 NA . And seven minutes later Kian Kooros gave the Tigers their first 2 goal lead of the night .

Nathan Hoppe scored 29 seconds later bringing Bethel Park to within one goal at 3-2

But that is as close as it would get as Thomas Perkins and Alex Sprys added two late period goals to give the Tigers a 5-2 win

Bethel Park used 2 goalies…Miller and Finn…Finn credited with 30 saves on 31 shots and Miller responsible for giving up 4 goals on 4 shots…I kind of find that inaccurate…I think the statistician had a bathroom break during the 3rd period as I noticed shots on goal that were not being tallied at both ends of the ice .
Alex Schuler made 16 saves for the Tigers

that is it for the regular season…it is Playoff time

some images from the game

Presidents ‘ Day , President’s Day and now …Not My Presdident’s Day

On this day…some celebrate some of our presidents and others states do not celebrate any on this day …and what does it mean…some states celebrate President’s Day…recognizing George Washington on this day . I remember as a younger person February 22nd we celebrated George Washington’s Birthday …and we did so with a cherry pie . February 12th is Lincoln’s birthday…and I did not associate any food with his birthday…maybe some log cabin syrup on my pancakes…but I recently learned he had a liking towards gingerbread…back in those days they used sorghum molasses…which is quite Different from the molasses most of us use today . And I always thought that Presidents’ day is the combination of both Abe and george…and in some states that is true…but other states that celebrate Presidents’ Day look at it as celebrating all our presidents . I can’t see that . We have had some pretty bad presidents…So you can choose to honor whoever you want on this day…or any…matter of fact in Arkansas on this day they Celebrate both George Washington and Daisy Bates…a civil rights leader who led integration into the Arkansas public schools

What do I celebrate…to me it still is an excuse to watch some good amateur hockey on this the last big hockey tournament weekend of the season…and instead of Cherry pie I made some cherry donuts…chopped up some cherries and added them to the batter that can be found on King Arthur Flour listed as doughnuts three ways…and then did a double dip into a cherry glaze

If I were to make a cherry pie…it would be a tart cherry pie . Might be the right choice for taking to a Not My President’s Day event , which is a gathering of folks who are not pleased with mr trump


Bonsai Melon

I was at Trader Joe’s last week and picked up a bonsai melon . Yes it is a little melon…the one I had was about the size of a duck pin bowling ball…Yes I am showing my age here . I don’t know if anyone still bowls duck pins

So when I am checking out I ask the help for any information on the melon . I was told…kind of like a cantaloupe but sweeter . So I let the melon sit on my kitchen counter until it became fragrant . So I cut it open and it is very pretty inside and the rind is very thin as well . It did taste like a cantaloupe…but mine did not taste any sweeter than the sweetest cantaloupe I had ever eaten . Maybe the melon needed to get more ripe…but I felt I couldn’t wait any longer as spots started to form on the outside of the melon…you know that in a couple days mold will develop…and really who wants that .

So as a first try…it was OK…I intend to get another soon and hopefully it will be sweeter…I will let you know….at least for now you know a bonsai melon tastes like cantaloupe

Happy Valentines day

Well I am writing this on valentine’s eve…though I have some issues on this subject as I feel everyday should be valentines day with the love of your life….your wife…your spouse…your kids…your dog…your partner…at least this day does bring me to focus on the important things and people in my life .

I like that it falls in winter…even though it seems that winter is over here in western pennsylvania…We had a snow…4-6 inches last wednesday night …and by Sunday morning it was pretty much gone as temperatures soared into the upper 50’s . No snow in sight…and actually warming through the month…I can only hope for a heavy spring snow…or a polar vortex going nuts at a moments notice spinning southward with Pittsburgh in its sights….Hmmmm….maybe…winter…cold and snow are my true love…yes let the storm rage on…the cold never bothered me anyway

So it may be too late for you to make something special for that someone special…but for next year or some day just to make that person feel special…maybe this will give you an idea.

I received a Nordicware gingerbread kids cakelets pan as a gift recently…I made gingerbread kids in it…and I was not happy with the results…so i thought…I do not have to do gingerbread…so I used this recipe from Nordicware.com…https://www.nordicware.com/recipe/orange-heart-conversation-cakelets/
and though it is supposed to taste orange …I barely notice the orange flavor…I even added more orange emulsion than what was called for…and in the glaze instead of water…I used orange juice . I think maybe next time adding some orange zest might kick up the flavor…nonetheless…this cake came out pretty tasty

Nordicware is famous for their bundt pans…and the detail they put into their products is amazing…and it shows in the cakes…getting older I cannot decorate cakes and cookies like I use to…but these pans help me a lot . As well as listening to some music…like the Cure’s …Just Like Heaven…which is also a romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo


these pans are cast aluminum…relatively easy to clean…sometimes a little bit sticks to the pan and I just use my wilton paint brushes to clean out the little nooks…plus I like the addition of the impressions of candy ond the end under the handle area…nice job Nordicware

Using your imagination you could use these pans for many situations…you could even decorate them to your wedding colors…and make them into the bridal party…my decorating…not so good…but you get the idea



So when tomorrow comes just let the special person know they are special

Happy VD.

Love…Sven n Kenn n Sammy

Turkey on the Table is just Ducky

Well I went onto SeatGeek thismorning and found a ticket for tonights Penguins game for 26 dollars…and Sid could score his 1000th point tonight…so I bought the ticket…31 dollars that is with service fee…service fee…just kind of irks me

so as Mike Lang might say…the Turkey is on the table…Sid needs to do it tonight at home before the home folks…because they take it on the road I think for the next week

Sammy and i stopped at the duck pond today….some of what I saw


turkeys here are not on the table yet

Watching the ducks some seem to be in pairs with mates…so I looked it up…some mate for life but mostly they pair up yearly for mating season…so a male and female will hangout together for a year…and come next winter most will switch off and repair

Happy WhistlePig Day

Yes the groundhog has many names . Woodchuck , whistler , Canada marmot amongst another handful of other names…but the groundhog is a rodent belonging to the marmot family which also are part of the larger group of ground squirrels .

We don’t tolerate other rodents . Well I think that is kind of wrong…people love squirrels…and the marmot actually has a line of clothing named after it…and the whistlepig…has a holiday . People gather in Punxsutawney , Pa to see if the groundhog will see his shadow . How can Phil not see his shadow…there are camera lights everywhere . I always am wishing for six more weeks of winter…and today I am still waiting for the first 6 weeks of winter…We have had a cold spell or two but it has not been that bad…I am sad about that…but I do not mind having lower utility bills…My utility bills are lower in the winter than they are in the summer anymore…air conditioning is expensive

But hey it is Whistlepig day…I always like a holiday and for me holidays are always about family and food . My Mom always kept her family together by celebrating even some of the smaller days for festivities . Shrove Tuesday was always one Mom liked…we had our purple green and gold beads…a pancake and sausage dinner …and a king cake…you know where they hide a little plastic baby in it…Also Cinco de Mayo….if Mom wasn’t making tacos on this day then that meant we were going to Chi Chi’s and Mom was having a margarita

So in celebration for groundhog day…Sammy and i baked up some groundhog sugar cookies…I am not much of an artist artist…but we made up kind of a goofy looking groundhog…If you are in the neighborhood stop on by for a groundhog cookie…they actually are pretty tasty . I really hope winter comes regardless of what Phil says…I think statisticians say Phil’s prognostic success only comes in around 37%

During the Christmas holiday I was buying baking supplies at Michael’s and the cashier asked me what my project was…i told her I was making cookies…she said…I like cookies…I told her I would bring her some…she said…only the mistakes…I never did take her any Christmas cookies…but today she received 3 groundhog cookies from me . I always try to keep my word…sometimes it just takes a bit longer than expected .

Ok I am rambling…and since it is all about groundhog day on february 2nd….


Let It Snow!

Love you Mom !

First Day Steel City Cup

Went to Ice Castle Arena to watch some tournament hockey . This is an unusual time to have a tournament as most teams usually have regular season games going on…but to my surprise 22 Teams have shown up to play in squirt , peewee , bantam and midget minor . Teams coming from unlikely places too . Teams from Michigan rarely come here but 2 teams have traveled here…the Lakeland Falcons and the Rochester Rattlers…both in the squirt division . Teams also from Illinois , North Carolina , Dallas Texas and Cleveland .

To me the oddest name comes from the Cleveland entries…They call themselves the Cleveland Skating Club Chargers…you might think they would be doing flying camels and triple Lutz’s…but they do play a nice brand of hockey

With football season over…I don’t count the ProBowl as football…and the Atlanta falcons have the 28th ranked defense against the pass I don’t see any real reason to watch the final game…so if you need a little hockey fix or sport fix in general you might want to stop down to Ice Castle in Castle Shannon , Pa…hockey will be played all day Saturday and much of the day on Championship Sunday.

Here are a few images

Dog Booties

I have had dogs all my life . And I am constantly on the lookout for a good dog bootie…so in this post I am looking at 3 different manufacturers

Voyagers K9 Apparel , dogbooties.com and Muttluks

So Let me go over these in order .

Voyagers K9 Apparel…they make breed specific garments and footwear for specific breeds…if you do not see your breed listed…all you need do is take your dogs measurements and send it to the fine people at Voyagers and they will make a custom tailored garment . Luckily they make apparel for my little rat terrier…and I love their hoodie…I call it a neck gaiter…and fleece lightweight jacket…I will review these at a later date along with K9 Topcoats and Ruffwear

AS for the Voyagers bootie…the workmanship is excellent and as well the quality of the materials . the footing and toe area has a rubbery material to help with wear and grip . Where these fall short for me is…they are too long and I find it difficult to get my dogs toes all the way to the bottom…also regular velcro is used to help keep the booties on…this just does not work for me . And to get them to stay on I feel that tightening them that tight is uncomfortable for the dog …so I love the craftsmanship and the materials…my problem is with the design…in the future I am going to alter these…I am going to bring them down about 3 inches and switch out the regular velcro and use stretch velcro in place…I am sure it would take maybe 30-45 minutes to alter the set…also at 45 dollars for a set of 4…and non-returnable you might want to think twice about these.

Second up is dogbooties.com


pictured here are the fleece dog booties .

These booties come from Anchorage Alaska and are very popular among mushers . Even though the fleece are not waterproof they are great on dry snow and I use them as well in the city walking on sidewalks that have been salted but are dry . The 1000 Denier Cordura bootie is an excellent choice as well…they are a water resistant nylon coated canvaslike material . The do wear out if used on abrasive surfaces but usually in the northeast I can get through the winter with just one set . Have I ever lost a bootie…yes but rarely as dogbooties .com offers their booties with velstretch…a stretch velcro that really keeps the booty on…And if my dog does drop a bootie …they come in vibrant colors…they are easy to find in the snow…on the trail…or on the sidewalk…this is my favorite bootie and I have been using them for quite some time now . I am sure you can find a bootie here to fit your dog’s needs .Booties here are sold individually…Three dollars per bootie…12 dollars per set

And third is Muttluks


Pictured here is a couple of Muttluks…I really like these booties…these booties are about5 years old and you can see they show some wear…They are pretty eaasy to put on my dog and for the most part they stay on . on the velcro fasteners is a reflective material and the sole of the bootie is a leatherlike material…for me the only drawback to these booties are no stretch velcro…and that being the case…they still stay on pretty well…I use these these when sidewalks are wet and people have thrown down salt on their city sidewalks…this is my number 2 choice

Also use your mushers secret to help your dog’s paws as well

A special thank you to my model Sammy…he tolerates me so well


NewYears SteelersBrowns stroll

Well it was pretty warm by January standards here in the northeast…in the sun it was 50 plus degrees but in the shade about 40-42 degrees…still I dressed Sammy in his full body suit to keep him warm …being a rat terrier he has very little hair to keep him warm…and a minimum of body fat…He was a hit on the north shore…people smiling when they saw him…stopping to ask us where we got the body suit…and an old timer remarked as we passed by him…thats what i need to keep me warm…a body suit…

sammy does have colitis and I have to watch what he eats…but he did spy a fallen buffalo wing and was able to gobble it down before I could get it away from him…thankfully it caused him no ill effects…thank you Lord .

Just a few images from the stroll…next Sunday it is the playoffs against the dolphins …predicted high of 23 degrees…might be a tad cold for Sammy…especially down on the river…anyway enjoy your 2017…and here are a few images


Sven n Kenn n Sammy