Wishing You All…

A Very Merry Christmas!


Homemade Eggnog

If you’ve never tried or made eggnog from scratch before, let me urge you to do it. Today. It’s my favorite Christmas drink. You can find my step-by-step photos over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog here.

Reuben is sick today. I hope he feels better soon – it’s sad to see him so miserable.

This evening, if he’s feeling up to it, we’re heading over to Reuben’s family’s house (a few miles down the road) for a new-to-me tradition: a soup party! Sounds like an awesome custom to me. Family members bring a different kind of soup to share. So far I’ve heard rumors of seafood, squash-apple-parsnip and oyster (or was is clam?). I’m planning on bringing my Sausage and Potato Soup.

Another new-to-me tradition: opening presents on Christmas Eve. We’ve always saved our presents for each other for early Christmas morning. When do you open your presents?

I leave you with these beautiful words from the hymn “As with Gladness Men of Old” — it’s not one often sung, but the words are powerful. The tune is the same as “For the Beauty of the Earth

As with gladness men of old

Did the guiding star behold

As with joy they hailed its light,

Leading onward, beaming bright

So, most gracious Lord, may we

Evermore be led to Thee.

Holy Jesus, every day

Keep us in the narrow way;

And, when earthly things are past,

Bring our ransomed souls at last

Where they need no star to guide,

Where no clouds thy glory hide.

Merry Christmas from Reuben & Erica!


Kitchen Haul: Anthropologie, West Elm and Ikea

This Monday was our first anniversary. Yay! I have had so much fun with my new life with Reuben and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In celebration of our anniversary, we decided to take a shopping trip to the cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul to all you non-Minnesotans).

I was able to visit Anthropologie for the first time ever. It definitely won best store that we visited.

West Elm was another first-timer for me. Wow. Absolutely lovely store.

Hey! That’s my bowl!


Here’s everything I got over the weekend.


These two bowls were from Anthropologie. The bowl on the left is no longer sold and it was on sale for about $5! On the right is the lotus bowl in blue, $4.

I found this mid-sized (7-3/4″) cake stand at West Elm. It was just the size I had been looking for! $19


Also at West Elm were these spatulas. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m always running out of spatulas when I cook. The two on the left came as a set of mini-spatulas – what a handy size! The set and the larger spatula were on sale for $3.99 each (originally $8).


When I spotted these espresso cups at Ikea, I knew I needed them. I’ve had my eye on little demitasse cups for some time. They were $2.99 each.


Also at Ikea, I found this milk frother for only $2.99. Now I can make lattes with foam!

We also had some fun dining experiences. I may write up a review when I get the chance.

What’s your favorite recent kitchen purchase?

Does My Blog Look Good in This: December 2010

I am honored to host this month’s “Does My Blog Look Good in This?” event. DMBLGiT was started in 2005 by Andrew of SpitoonExtra. It is a monthly food (and drink) photography event open to all bloggers who have posted a food photograph on their blogs last month.

Photographs are submitted from blog posts of the previous months and these are judged, scored and the winners are selected in each of three categories (edibility, aesthetics, and originality). There will also be three overall winners.

To see the winners from last month’s DMBLGiT event, please visit My Diverse Kitchen.

General DMBLGiT Rules:

  • Only one food/drink photograph may be entered per person.
  • The photograph must have been taken by you.
  • The photograph must have been posted on your blog between the 1st and the 30th November, 2010.
  • The deadline to submit your entry is the 20th December, 2010 midnight, whenever that is in your part of the world.


A panel of five judges will choose six winners based on the following criteria:

Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.

Edibility: Does the photo make us want to take a big bite out of our computer monitor while drooling on our keyboard?

Originality: a photo that makes you stop, look twice, and think “Wow! I never thought of photographing it like that before.”

Three overall winners will be selected and one in each of the above categories. As host I have the privilege of choosing one photo that I think stands out but wasn’t chosen as a winner.

My announcement post with the winners for this month should be published by the 1st January 2010.

How to Enter DMBLGiT:

Draft an e-mail with DMBLGiT as the subject line.

Attach one qualifying food or drink photo, no more than 500 pixels in width. Please ensure your photograph does not have any text or watermarks on it.

In your email, please include the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your blog URL
  • The title of the image/what it is
  • The URL of the post where the photo first appeared
  • The camera and lens you used

Then send the email to me at ericalberge [at] gmail [dot] com

Please note that by submitting a photo, entrants agree to their photo being redisplayed and altered in size on the host’s page and on the SpittoonExtra DMBLGiT page.

I have created a gallery in Picasa where I will be adding your photos as I receive them. If you do not receive an acknowledgment from me within 72 hours, please leave a message in the comments section of this post.

If you would like any further clarification or have any questions, please feel free to send me a message.

If you would like to host a future edition of DMBLGiT,  write to Andrew.

Can’t wait to see all of your delicious entries!

The deadline for submissions has been reached. Thank you to all who entered!

Grandma’s Cooking School: Apple Strudel

{Grandma’s Cooking School is my chronicles of the informal cooking lessons that my Grandma graciously decided to give us girls. I have compiled a list of all the lessons so far. Enjoy!}


Apple Strudel. A thing of beauty. Sweet apples encased in a thin, flaky dough. Delicious.


We began our lesson by reading through the recipe and preparing the apples.


Next, we mixed together two kinds of dough: a quick version and a more traditional version made with yeast. Meanwhile we cooked the apple filling.

Continue reading

Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls

{Grandma’s Cooking School is my chronicles of the informal cooking lessons that my Grandma graciously decided to give us girls. I have compiled a list of all the lessons so far. Enjoy!}

I am at a loss for words to describe these delicious creations, so I’ll let the photos do (most of) the talking.


Grandma’s homemade bread. Light, flavorful, delicious.


I love Grandma’s flour/baking drawer.


And her cupboards.


Grandma showed us a different way to form loaves: folding!

group4Now, the cinnamon/sticky buns. Much butter is required.


Proofing and baked. Can it get any better than this?

**Next Time on Grandma’s Cooking School: Apple Strudel**

Here is the list of our lessons so far.

17 Responses to “Grandma’s Cooking School: Homemade Bread & Sweet Rolls”

  1. I’ve missed your updates! Come back soon :)

  2. Natalie says:

    I love following your blog! Many of your posts remind me of my own experiences… especially Grandma’s homemade bread :) Your pictures are incredible and as usual everything looks delicious! Keep up the awesome posts. Thank you.

  3. Melanie says:

    My bread never turns out like Grandma’s! Does she use gluten?

  4. Erica Lea says:

    Melanie: No, I don’t believe she uses gluten. Seems like magic, eh?

  5. Kitty says:

    I love what you are doing. My friends and I always talk about how we miss our mother’s home cooking and how we wish we haven’t written down their recipes. Your “Grandma’s Cooking School” is brilliant! I wish I had the sensibility to have done the same thing.

  6. Jo says:

    Yum! I would like one of those cinnamon rolls now, please :)

  7. Hannah says:

    i absolutely love this series!!

  8. Laura West says:

    I just discovered your site on Tastespotting. What a joy! You are an amazingly talented young woman. I love making family recipes and recipes friends have given me from their families…so much history lies behind a recipe. Your kind and loving nature shines through!

  9. Sue says:

    Just found you via Tasty Kitchen..that top photo of your bread is so beautiful!!! I’ll add you to my reader :-) Congrats on your two year anniversary too :-) Your photos and recipes are lovely!!

  10. Mariaq says:

    Baking with loved ones makes the product even more tasty! What a great post!

  11. pambala says:

    Oh, your photography is gorgeous! That shot of the loaf of bread is beautifully lighted and I’m sure you edited it just right!!

    Nice website! I’m looking forward to trying your recipes! I found you on Tasty Kitchen.


  12. rita says:

    i love your blog! keep it up. these recipes are wonderful. grandmas, rock! thanks for sharing. i’ll be sure to try these lovely bread/rolls.

  13. kathy juarez says:

    just found your blog love it…. would you mind sharing the name of the cook book your grandma is holding in the pick it looks like her loving hands have made many recipes from it .

  14. Kathy Green says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your Grandmother. I regret not knowing how to REPLICATE my Mom’s PIZZA – the BEST ever! Thanks for sharing.

  15. shivani says:

    lovely bread n rolls. wonderful way to show ur love to ur grandmother.
    are the recipes available on the site. i would live to try the both the bread n the rolls. the bread has risen beautifully.

  16. Erica Lea says:

    shivani: Unfortunately the recipes are not available. Grandma would like to keep the recipes in the family.

  17. Holly says:

    Where is the recipie link? The pics are great but I need the recipies.

Rijsttafel – Rice Table

It has been over a week since my last post. There has been a lot on my plate lately, and I have had so little time for blogging.

But I have something delicious cooking.

Until next time, I leave you with this set of photos. I’ve been meaning to share it with you for quite some time, but never got around to it.

To read more about the traditional Indonesian feast (Rijsttafel) click here.

To enter the gallery, click here or on the photo below.