Holiday Lights (And Orchids!) in the Garden – 2015 Edition

After 18 straight evenings of rain, the forecast called for a dry night on December 27th, and I made my annual trek to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to see the holiday lights.

Usually I pick the coldest night in December to do my wandering in the garden. But this December temperatures were in the mid-70’s, and the evening was balmy. The garden’s flowering crabapple trees and ornamental cherry trees and witch hazel were all in bloom. Lenten roses decided to be advent roses. A cold craft-brewed beer was more welcome than hot chocolate.

I beat the lines of evening crowds by arriving about 5 p.m., and then waited for sunset in the orchid house. This year the orchids stole the show from the light displays. I’ve never seen so many in bloom at one time. These were my favorites:

The light displays are more beautiful every year.  I hope you enjoy this year’s slide show of Holiday Lights in the Garden.

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For a look at previous years’ holiday lights, check out this post.

I wish you all a most magical and joyful New Year!


Holiday Lights In The Garden – 2014 Edition

After Christmas I made my annual trip to see the holiday lights at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. This year the Garden really stepped up their holiday offerings. There were outdoor fires where you could make s’mores and enjoy adult beverages, carriage rides, live music, and model trains large and small. The  variety of orchids in bloom in the conservatory was amazing. But the lights were still the best part of the Garden. Come take a look!

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If you would like to see how the Garden lights have changed over the years, check out my Holiday Lights posts from 2011, 2012, and 2013.

It’s Not Summer Without A Tomato Sandwich

I’ve not has a piece of bread since embarking on my gluten/egg/dairy/soy-free adventure back in April. Cream scones, French baguettes, and chocolate pumpkin breads no longer emerge from my oven. As much as I enjoy baking bread, I’ve been strangely ok with my bread-less life. But all that ended when Beth sent me home with these jewels from her husband’s garden:

Fresh From the Garden
Fresh From the Garden

Home-grown tomatoes require tomato sandwiches. Sandwiches made from thick slices of tomatoes on white bread that’s been slathered with Duke’s mayonnaise. Sandwiches so sodden and drippy with tomato juice that they must be eaten standing over the kitchen sink.

And a tomato sandwich requires that which has been missing from my kitchen for the last four months: Bread.

A Google search came up with “The Top 20 Gluten-Free Bread Recipes.” Many of these bread recipes made up for the lack of gluten by using eggs or egg whites for extra leavening power. There were a few vegan bread recipes, but all of them required ingredients that I didn’t have. Making yet another foray to track down sorghum flour and arrowroot starch was not in my plans.

Looking a little further down the Google search results, I found “Vegan Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread|jessicacorra,” on a WordPress blog, no less. Making a quick trip to Jessica’s blog, I found a recipe that matched all the gluten-free baking ingredients in my pantry. Three hours later (one hour to mix and bake, two hours to cool thoroughly)  I was slicing into my first loaf of gluten/egg/dairy-free bread:

My First Loaf of Gluten-Free Bread
My First Loaf of Allergy-Free Bread

My favorite mayonnaise, Duke’s, and all other real mayonnaise, is made with eggs, which makes it taboo for me. I found a tasty alternative in Earth Balance Mindful Mayo, which is made without eggs or soy. After slathering two slices of bread with it, I ended up with my first gluten-free, allergy-free tomato sandwich:

Ready To Dig In
Ready To Dig In

Yum! The only problem with my tomato sandwich was that I couldn’t figure out how to take a self-portrait of me eating it while the tomato juices dripped down my chin into the kitchen sink.

Holiday Lights In the Garden 2012

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all photos © Janet Hince

Daniel Stow Botanical Garden creates “Holiday Lights In the Garden” each Christmas season. Something new is added every year. This year it was the illuminated bottle trees. I hope you enjoy your walk through the garden with this slide show.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 In Pictures

All images © Janet Hince 2012-2013