Baking and Love – One and the Same?

4 Sep

This last week was pretty busy around here.  There were so many things I wanted to do with our Japanese exchange students, Saya and Hitomi, and it seems that our time together went by so very fast!

Last Tuesday I gave them a couple of baking lessons – the first to make pecan shortbread cookies – and the next was to bake a chocolate cake for one of their classmates.  They really seemed to enjoy the process and were delighted to present Yuta with his birthday cake!

Saya holding pastry bag as Hitomi adds more whipped cream

Putting the finishing touches on the cake

A very happy Yuta – on his 20th Birthday!

We also were able to squeeze in a trip to Grant’s Pass to visit Cary’s of Oregon (they make the best english toffee ever!)  And on our last night with our girls, we took them and a few friends out to dinner.   It was a great evening.

The next morning, as we helped the girls prepare for their trip to San Francisco, and then home to Tokyo, they presented us with a photo book that they had stayed up to the wee hours of the morning making.  It is so amazingly thoughtful – and filled with pictures of all the things we’d done together.  At the very end of the book they’d pasted hand-printed thank you letters to us; as you might imagine,  we were both in tears.   We feel so very fortunate that we were asked to host these girls.  It’s been such a wonderful experience.

Our lovely photo book from Saya and Hitomi

Lest you thought I forgot, I did find time to make a few pies this week.  The first was for my friend Ken who was celebrating his birthday Friday evening.  His favorite pie?  Blackberry.   Knowing this, earlier in the week I found a blackberry patch and picked a large bowlful of berries – and escaped with only a few scratches!  Once the pie was constructed and in the oven, I made one of my favorite appetizers for Ken’s party – Spanakopita!  It was one of the first things I learned to make at the Culinary Institute of America (taught by Chef Vitoulis).  A delicious treat that is really quite simple to make.  Here is a recipe I found that is very similar to the way I learned to prepare it.  It’s definitely worth the time and effort!

Spanakopita and Blackberry Pie

The second pie I made was for our good friend Anny who recently completed her studies at Seattle Culinary Academy , a branch of Seattle Central Community College.  Anny earned perfect scores on her final baking projects – one of only a handful of people who have done so in the last ten years!   We are so very proud of her accomplishment and are very excited about her upcoming paid internship in Paris.  Way to go Anny!

Prep for Anny’s Pie

As for today – I plan to spend a quiet day at home – and will likely bake something yummy to give away – and I’ll be thinking of my sister Nancy on her 18th anniversary in heaven.

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8 Responses to “Baking and Love – One and the Same?”

  1. Connie September 4, 2012 at 12:19 PM #

    Sounds and looks like a perfect week! We feel so fortunate to be a part of your adventure with Saya and Hitomi! Glad the rest of their stay was wonderful! Mark is beginning his new work adventure today. Have a great week Karen!

    • pieadaygiveaway September 4, 2012 at 12:39 PM #

      Connie,
      Thank you for your generosity in time and accomodations which afforded us the chance to show the girls the beauty of Gold Beach and the Oregon coast.
      We did have a great time… and feel so lucky to have had this opportunity. Thanks for sharing it with us! And much luck to Mark on his new “adventure!”

  2. Donna Wright September 4, 2012 at 2:09 PM #

    I believe that Nancy is looking down and seeing all the wonderful things you do for others and has a great big smile on her face!

    • pieadaygiveaway September 4, 2012 at 9:51 PM #

      Donna,
      Thank you for saying that. I do hope that she is happy with what I have done. It’s been so hard to not have her smiling face around. She was a good soul and I will miss her forever.
      xxoo

  3. R Taylor September 5, 2012 at 7:58 AM #

    It looks like you had a very busy week. I’m happy to read about your experience with the exchange students. The Spanakopita and Blackberry pie you made looks delicious. I’ll be making it for our Sunday dinner.

    • pieadaygiveaway September 5, 2012 at 8:12 AM #

      Thanks for the compliment! I love making food and sharing it… it’s one of the biggest joys of my life!
      Enjoy your dinner!
      Karen

  4. Alexandra September 17, 2012 at 6:02 AM #

    What a beautiful photo book! It seems like it was wonderful to have the girls over the summer – I’m glad you had such a lovely time! I wish I could have met them.

    And I wish I could have made it to Ken’s birthday!! I hope it was a lovely evening.

    xoxox,
    Alex

    • pieadaygiveaway September 17, 2012 at 6:32 AM #

      Thanks Alexandra… it was fun to have the girls stay with us. It gave us a chance to do treat them as well as Vibe and Jentz treated you…

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