I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and to share a few Christmas scenes from my house, taken today.

Events

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Gallery
Thoughts

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day everyone! This is our daughter Sophie 🙂

Sophie waves the flag

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Thoughts

Merry Christmas!

It’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it? A lot of good things happened! After all, the world’s still around, in spite of the silly predictions. And as this Christmas draws near, it’s time to celebrate the good and the wonderful in our lives with those we love.

From Ligia and I to you, a very Merry Christmas!

Cheers!

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This the 22nd episode of Ligia’s Kitchen, and let me just say this first: yum! 🙂

This Christmas, make super-tasty raw chocolate brownies with juicy, honey-dipped orange peels, glazed with thick, creamy chocolate syrup! It’s a decadent holiday dessert that’s perfect for Christmas or New Year’s!

The video is exactly 3 minutes long because we were challenged to edit a full recipe (that would normally take 7-10 minutes) to that length by Chow.com. It was a challenge issued to the YouTube Next Chef winners. We met the challenge dead on and walked away unscathed, albeit a bit dazed! 🙂 While the video fits within the 3-minute space, it would do much better as a 4-5 minute video.

Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 2 cups raw cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp cocoa butter
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp mesquite

Brownie Mixture:

  • 4 cups flour from sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup orange peels, diced and dipped in honey

Decoration:

  • coconut flakes
  • almond slivers
  • golden raisins
  • anise stars
  • chocolate glaze
  • pomegranate

Enjoy and thanks for watching!

LK-022-EN-HD
Released 12/20/11

Places, Video Log

The winter road trip

After a cross-country trip through Romania to visit family for Christmas, our car’s on-board computer told us we logged 1,560 km (969.34 mi). I was already a big fan of our VW Jetta TDI, but now I like it even more. Our average fuel consumption was 6.1 l/100 km (38.6 mpg) while our average speed was 63 km/h, though we traveled around 90-100 km/h (62 mph) when the roads allowed it. Our total fuel cost was roughly 300 RON (about $100). Total driving time over a period of a week or so was 24 hours and 54 minutes. Although there were two trips whose time was around 9 hours and 30 minutes, somehow small trips here and there added an extra 6 hours to our driving time.

We left as a recent snowfall was melting and the weather had turned dreary, and we came back through fresh snow and clear, sunny skies. As we crossed the Carpathian mountains, we found ourselves in a winter wonderland. Trees and mountain slopes as far as the eye could see were decked in pure white snow, lit up by the most gorgeous morning hues of orange and purple light. I took photos, and also recorded a driving video. I hope you’ll enjoy them, they’re posted below.

If you plan to travel on A2 (Autostrada Soarelui), the Romanian highway between Bucharest and Constanta (which is still unfinished and only goes to Cernavoda,) be aware of two things. First, they’ve started charging 10 RON for the use of the highway, so it’s become a sort of a turnpike, although it’s the only highway in the region, so that’s not right, and two, it’s full of potholes. During our drive from Cernavoda to Bucharest, during the night, we not only had to deal with black ice, but with over 40 potholes, each over 20 cm in diameter and 5-10 cm deep. If we had been traveling at the posted speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph), our suspension would have blown up long before we reached Bucharest. Instead, we drover 80-100 km/h, weaving in-between potholes while trying to guess which portions of the road had black ice. And yet the people who administer the road have the gall to charge money and ruin our car at the same time.

Still, we weren’t going to let a thing like that spoil our trip. The weather was truly beautiful on our return, and the snow made everything look gorgeous, particularly once we approached the Carpathian Mountains. We got close to them at daybreak, and by the time we were crossing them, the golden-pink hues of the dawn light made each snow-covered peak look magnificent. The mountain forests were glorious. Branches everywhere were laden with snow, and the crisp mountain air made each roadside stop memorable. You’ll see what I mean if you watch the video, which is about 10 minutes in length.

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