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Malabar Farm’s Maple Syrup Festival in Photos

We had a super fun time this weekend at Malabar Farm, part of the Ohio State Park system and located in Lucas, Ohio near Mansfield and Ashland.  It was their Maple Syrup Festival and my 11-year-old son wanted to learn all he could about tapping maple trees for tree sap and making it into sugar and syrup. He loves the pioneer and native american historical demonstrations and anything that has to do with ecologically self-sustaining yourself. It was a lot of fun for the kids, and I thought it was a great opportunity for not only photos with my family, but for Breathe Beauty Art and Photography as well. Set back in the forest near Malabar Farm’s historical Pugh Cabin and Louis Bromfield‘s Sugar Shack, it was the perfect environment for relaxing and taking photos with nature. We also crossed Malabar Farm and went to the actual farm itself, something we do several times a year since my son is an avid conservationalist. He loves to learn about Bromfield’s life, check out the wind turbines, the solar compacting trash can, solar panels, the historical mansion. He is enthralled by care for the environment (you can find him on Twitter @environmentlife) and the education that this Ohio State Park offers is incredible. If you’ve never been, check it out at www.malabarfarm.org.

I just love to go to take photos. I guess we all have our favorite things and mine of course is taking photos! Tim, my fiance, actually took some of these photos as well. View the slide show below to see photos of Malabar Farm, the Maple Syrup Festival, and my family enjoying the day. I think the girls’ favorite part was the maple sugar leaf cookies, maple popcorn, maple fudge, chocolate walnut fudge……

If you like my photos of Malabar Farm, please inquire with me at breathebeautyartandphotography@hotmail.com

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My Top Ten Favorite Photos I Took in 2010

The year 2011 is officially underway and I hope to take more photos and improve my skills as quickly as possible. This year I was so blessed with being able to spend time in Florida as well as be able to see the glories in all the various seasons in Ohio.

Here are 10 of my favorite photos from 2010, I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think, or if you have other favorites!

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Have Fun with Your Children

Many people are too busy these days and don’t take the time to actually “be” with their children. Working, running from here to there, mobile and electronic devices on 24/7, our kids are over scheduled and families just plainly over busy.  I know that our family is busy too. We are building our own businesses, working, volunteering, social networking, and more. BUT….

I quit my full-time job a year and a half ago to work from home, be my own boss, and care for my 3-year-old. Now, my time is MY time and my family is the priority. It does take organization and proper planning, but I can pick my kids up from school each day. I can do their homework with them.  I schedule time into my busy schedule to play card and board games with my children several days a week. We read books, I to them and my 7-year-old to me.  We talk. We bake together. We paint, color, craft, cut, glue, and just be creative together. We take walks down the street and examine the leaves, the flowers, the trees, the berries, the architecture. We talk about birds, bugs, mushrooms, squirrels. We take hikes to nature parks and photograph flowers, animals, insects, foliage. We pick apples and pumpkins.

So what do my children learn from all of this?  They learn that family is important. The know they have parents who love them. From this they learn self-confidence, intelligence, organization skills, love. Far beyond this, they learn to be creative through art and how to use their imaginations. This leads to thinking outside of the box and problem solving in future careers. They learn math, reading, shapes, colors from playing card and board games. They learn that everything is not about winning.

What else?

They learn science from our outdoor excursions, they learn the color spectrum for their artistic pursuits. They learn history, engineering, and architecture from examining old neighborhoods. For the older kids, they can apply what they learn in school to the real world.  They learn math from calculating measurements in the kitchen as they bake with me. They see how the fruits of the earth feed us. They understand nutrition and fitness.

I know that education and learning far exceeds what they get during the school day and it is our responsibility as parents to encourage their growth and offer them continuous learning opportunities.

What will you do with your child today?


What to make with the Fuji Apple? MMMM….

What have you been doing on these wonderful Autumn days? We’ve been visiting apple orchards, a pumpkin patch, and taking many photos of lovely, colorful Fall leaves! I’ve been taking many, many photos of apples and apple orchards, pumpkins, gorgeous leaves and more so I can offer wonderful Fall prints and notecards on my online store at www.breathebeautyartandphotographybyerin.artfire.com.

Yesterday we visited a second apple orchard in Ashland County, Ohio, near Jeromesville. We took a jaunt out to Scenic Ridge Fruit Farm. The most apples they had in season were the Fiji apples. I had vaguely remembered that apple name, but was unsure of it. A medium to small size apple, it’s faded red and white colors were very pretty. I knew I wanted to bake, so I wasn’t sure if it was tart or sweet. We quickly wiped off one and tasted it. Very sweet and yummy!!! We proceeded to pick one and a half bushels (3 big baskets-only one basket of 1/2 bushel is pictured above).  The kids once again had so much fun choosing apples and I loved photographing them and the apples too. At one of their nearby ponds we also saw two large swans! The day was perfect. Upon coming home, I was wondering what a fuji apple was and so today I’ve done my research.  The figi apple came to the United States  in the 1980s and is a cross between our beloved red delicious and the heirloom variety of Virginia Rawls Jennet (or Ralls Genet technically) made by the Japanese in the 1930s.  They are such a pretty color and are much denser, sweeter, and crisper than most apples. They also have a much larger shelf life, even without refrigeration! With refrigeration, they can last 5-6 months! This was great news as I’ll have plenty of time to bake them all.  I’ll try to share my recipes and baking trials with you here, but this is a recipe I found that I will try first!! Doesn’t it sound yummy???

Fuji Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Why Fujis? This not-too-sugary cake (inspired by carrot cake) is best when made with fairly sweet apples. Plus, it’s important to choose an apple variety with a sturdy structure so that it won’t break down during baking. Fuji apples fill the bill on both counts.

12 SERVINGS

Recipe by Dorie Greenspan; Photograph by Richard Pierce 

Fuji Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
 

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon, apple brandy, or rum (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 medium Fuji or Gala apples (13 to 14 ounces total), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans (about 6 ounces)

Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (measured, then sifted)
  • Coarsely chopped toasted pecans (for garnish)

Special equipment

  • 2 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides

Preparation

CAKE

  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each pan with parchment paper round. Whisk first 7 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, then bourbon, if desired (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 additions alternately with applesauce in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in apples and pecans. Divide batter between cake pans; smooth tops.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 15 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment paper. Place another rack atop 1 cake and invert again so that cake is rounded side up. Repeat with second cake. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.

FROSTING

  • Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Using long serrated knife, trim off rounded tops of cakes to make level; brush off any loose crumbs. Transfer 1 cake to platter, trimmed side up. Drop half of frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) by spoonfuls atop cake. Spread frosting evenly to edges of cake. Top with second cake, trimmed side down. Drop remaining frosting by spoonfuls onto top of cake, leaving sides of cake plain. Spread frosting to top edges of cake, swirling and creating peaks, if desired. Sprinkle with pecans. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour to allow frosting to set slightly. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 2 hours before serving.

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2009/10/fuji_apple_spice_cake_with_cream_cheese_frosting#ixzz12dV9DRNl


Apple Orchards and Apple Cake

Visiting the Apple Orchard

Another favorite part of the Autumn Season for my family is anything that has to do with APPLES!  Yesterday, Tim and I took the kids to Mitchell’s Apple Orchard (a family owned orchard in our small town) and we picked our own apples. They gave each of the kids a small little apple bag so they could each fill their own. We trodded back down the lane to the fruit orchard, watching our three-year old’s glee at picking apples from the tree. Red delicious apples were falling all around us, literally. They were underfoot, falling down, and in the trees. With the suns rays shining down onto the apples though the leaves it was almost like we had stepped into a fairytale from a distant past time.  We also chose some granny smith, which are my son’s favorite (not sure if because of the taste or because he loves that color green).  We were the only ones in the orchard and we felt like we could skip around between the rows and discover all that nature provides. I loved seeing my children so excited over something so quaint as a fruit orchard. They also had to run over to the grape vines (mostly done for the season) and see if they could pick a grape. It was again like shopping at the “nature store” and all of it was provided to us for free from our glorious Earth! How can nature produce such colorful, bold, sweet candy? We had so much fun during this hour, discovering nature, loving the outdoors, taking photos, laughing. And we did it all for $6 (the price of the 1/2 bushel bag that we also filled to bring home). The kids started eating their apples as soon as we got home. I was pleasantly elated that they were excited to eat apples instead of asking for candy.  Life doesn’t get much better than making these kinds of memories. I am sure we will go back at least one more time soon.  For now, I’ve got lots of apples to bake with. Tonight I made an apple cake that we will eat after dinner with vanilla ice cream.

About Apples

Besides being lovely to photograph due to their vibrant colors, apples are also a great snack. They are full of pectin and provide dietary fiber, potassium, beta-carotene and Vitamin C! 

Apple Recipes

Apples  are great raw and cut-up with peanut butter. They can always be used in fruit salad. And there are a million baking recipes where sweet apples become soft cinnamon flavored delights.  Try the link below for many apple recipes and start baking!

http://www.joyofbaking.com/AppleRecipes.html

Apple Cake:

3/4 cup (75 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans

1 pound (454 grams) apples

1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cup (195 grams) all purpose flour

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup (50 grams) raisins

Glaze: (optional)

1/3 cup (85 grams) apricot preserves or jam

Apple Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan and then line with parchment paper or wax paper.Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then coarsely chop.Peel, core, and coarsely chop the apples. Toss with 1 – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts, raisins, and chopped apples. If the batter is thick, stir in the milk.Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.While the cake is still warm, prepare the glaze. Place the apricot jam or preserves in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Alternatively, place the apricot jam or preserves in a small bowl and heat in the microwave. Using a pastry brush, spread the warmed preserves over the apple cake.Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Reheat before serving.Makes 6-8 servings.Sources:Alford, Jeffrey & Duguid, Naomi. Home Baking. Artisan. New York: 2003.Rosen, Michael J. Baking from the Heart. Broadway Books. New York: 2004.Slater, Nigel. The Kitchen Diaries. Fourth Estate. London: 2005.
 
Apples and Children

Apples orchards are a great family fun activity and superb for catching family photos for autumn.  There are many other things after the orchard that you can teach your family. Apples were first brought to the New World by the pilgrims. Tell them the story of Johnny Appleseed and how he went from state to state and planted the apple trees. Where I live in Ohio, we love to talk about this because he actually came through our area planting seedlings.  The Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center is located in Mifflin area, Ohio and information can be provided at http://www.jahci.org . Children love apples and they often are used to represent learning. Did you give your teacher an apple?  Try this link for apple coloring pages for your children.

Go to page:http://www.leehansen.com/coloring/Seasons/pages/apples.htm

Apple Photos

My favorite colors are red, yellow and orange and so I love to photography the natural beauty of red and yellow apples while they are still on the tree, in a child’s hand, or in disarray on the ground. My apple photos, which will be up soon in my online store, are available in any size, on canvas, on gallery canvas, framed, on matboard, and in assorted note card packages of 10! Lovely for autumn decorating and for writing those thank you or thinking of you notes. Watch for them at my artfire store: http://breathebeautyartandphotographybyerin.artfire.com

Happy Apple Hunting!!

  

 

 

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Finding Happiness

I love photography, especially nature and outdoor photography. I enjoy trying to tell a story by taking a photo. I savor the feeling I get when making photographic memories. I like playing with light and angles, and taking photos of those little things that can sometimes get lost in the big world. I also love to find run down and historical buildings and houses. If you get past what it has become, you find traces of the most wonderful intricacies that no longer exist in this cookie cutter world.

I hope you join me as I photo document my world and grow my Breathe Beauty Art and Photography business.

Leave me comments and let me what your favorite type of photo is!