Hiking in the Mountains of Idyllwild


Idyllwild was a short weekend trip with a lot of fun things we did. One of the nice things we did is a hike in the surrounding mountains of the little mountain resort. We hiked on one of the most known hiking trails, the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail.


It was a sunny Saturday, noon time, and we drove up into the mountains, not so far from the village itself. Soon we started to wonder were all these cars came from, parking on both sides of the road. The thought that the nearby trail would be over-crowded came in our minds. In the end we found a parking place pretty near to the entrance for the trail.

The trail is about 8.4 km/ 5.2 miles long and a more leisure trail than something for ‘real’ hikers. The views from the trail are amazing, they overlook the Strawberry Valley and the Tahquitz Rock. Who has two cars can leave one car in the village, where the trail ends, and drive back to recover the second car at the trail entrance in the mountains. Otherwise, you have to return the very same trail you came down.

The trail takes the name of the founder of the “Idyllwild Town Crier”, a newspaper..

To get to the park, take a left turn right out of Idyllwild towards the mountains. There are signs to Fern Valley. You will see for sure a lot of cars parking here, go up until you see good parking places and the trail sign on the right (about 12.7 km/1.7 miles). An Adventure Pass is required for the entering of the park, not the hike itself.


The trail is great. Nature, nature, nature. And all but over-crowded. There were a few people on the same trail, but for what we saw before, the trail was nearly empty. The views from every angle are spectacular, parts are fully wooded (shadow, silence, birds singing), other parts are more open, sunny and the blue sky beautifully above us.


We walked the trail for a good while but not until the end. The ending would be into the village. We turned back before.

From the parking place in the Humber Park, were the trail starts, you have many other trail heads, to the Tahquitz Peak, the Devil’s Slide or the San Jacinto Peak.

The path of the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is a single dirt track. The little creek is already at the beginning, great to make some long-exposure photos!

We didn’t see many flowers but I loved the dead trees, very high and very picturesque.

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Idyllwild, California/USA:

For further information:
Idyllwild Website
Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
Trails around Idyllwild


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A Relaxing Weekend in Idyllwild


Idyllwild is a little mountain village in the San Jacinto Mountains, east to Los Angeles. The southern California mountain resort lies one mile in altitude. There are some rock formations that are very popular for rock climbing. It’s a whole year touristic place, yet it has no skiing facilities. But hiking is great!

We went there for a weekend only and enjoyed the short break away from the daily ‘madness’.


We stayed in a friends’ airb&b. A huge house surrounded my a huge yard in the middle of nature. Wonderful, super relaxing and really a place to get away from the busy normal life we have.

For the short time we had here, we explored the village and the mountains. We hiked one afternoon (read about it here) and we had a nice walk in the village center.


A little like today the place was once the summer home for Cahuilla Indians who wanted to escape the summer heat down at the coast.

It was once also known as the Strawberry Valley because of the many wild strawberries (how much I love them!) growing in this area. With white people shepherds came with their flocks. In the end of the 19th century there was built a summer camp and soon later with a toll road to Hemet it became open to tourism.

The resort was a remodeled sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. And with cars the weekend destination was born.

There is an Art School in Idyllwild.


We had a stroll in the center of the village. It doesn’t seem very big, I think the nearly 12.000 inhabitants are living mainly in the surroundings. There are a lot of art shops, handcraft, paintings and interesting clothing, a lot of restaurants and some bars. The houses look great, mainly made of wood, some have stone-walls. Most of them are surrounded by many high trees (the Ponderosa Pine). In summer it must be wonderful here, a lot of shade everywhere. Even in winter maybe it is pretty protected by the high mountains around.

We had a look in several art shops, we sat in the evening sun enjoying a nice cappuccino (I had mine with almond milk!) and later we were in several restaurants to eat a little something. That was fun. A salad in one, a small soup in another one… restaurant hopping. Never did that before but I think it’s a fun idea.

The day we left we had a visit at the farmers’ market. Not too big, just a couple of stands with produce, one with flea market articles, I think for charity.

We had a wonderful time here and I think, I guess, I imagine.. we will return.

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Idyllwild, California/USA:

For further information:
Idyllwild Website
Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
Trails around Idyllwild


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Ridiculously Yummy Italian Seasoned Breadsticks


The modern world is surrounded by bread – there is everywhere bread and if it happens you go to a restaurant, bread is always served. Sometimes even as homage of the house as starter. Something quick to eat on the go? Sandwich, burger, salad with croutons… OK, it doesn’t make it really easy for someone NOT to eat bread or to avoid it. And sometimes I confess I like some bread as a base for the prosciutto, some nice spread, to dip in some fresh made hummus or just with a little bit salt and olive oil on it. Or even a bruschetta.. so great in summer!


So every now and then I look up some bread recipes that work for me. And I found lately these really ridiculously super yummy breadsticks. I made them a second time as focaccia with olive oil and oregano on the top. Too good to put it in words!

I found the original recipe on Rebooted Mom. But like nearly all the time the original recipe never works right for me. So while preparing I re-invented it for me. And I used ghee instead of coconut oil, I had no garlic or onion powder, instead I just chopped 2 garlic gloves, my herbs were just oregano. And as the batter was too soft to work with, I added more tapioca and almond flour.

The outcome is.. well, I already used those words above: ridiculously yummy. The day after I brought them to a friend’s house for lunch, together with a big salad, and she just dived into the breadsticks. These are a must-have for every party or friends’ entertainment!

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Breadsticks with garlic and origano
Italian Grissini
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 breadsticks 10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Servings Prep Time
6 breadsticks 10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Breadsticks with garlic and origano
Italian Grissini
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 breadsticks 10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Servings Prep Time
6 breadsticks 10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
Servings: breadsticks
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a bowl mix the first 4 ingredients and add one after the other of the rest of the ingredients. Stir well until all is well combined.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form out of the bread dough 6 balls. Dip your hands in tapioca flour as the dough is very sticky.
  4. Roll the balls one by one into long sticks. Place them on the parchment paper and bake them for 10 minutes.
  5. Brush the finished grissini with butter and put some more origano on the top.
Recipe Notes

If the dough is too sticky or runny, add some more flax seed flour, just one tablespoon. The flax seed flour absorbs a lot of the liquid. So be careful.

You can make the bread sticks also without garlic and oregano, so they have a more neutral taste.

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Fresh Apple Pie Covered in White Chocolate


Birthday! My sweetheart’s mother had a birthday and that day she came over to visit me. It happened, she didn’t want any celebration or attention for it. That must be a family thing, her son doesn’t like it and me, too, we just believe it’s a day like every other day in the year.

But nevertheless I wanted to make it just that little bit special for her. I bought some nice flowers I thought she might like and I baked a little tiny cake. The very funny thing is that the day after her birthday, it’s the birthday of her son, my sweetie. So I had to bake a second one for the not-so-special-but-special-to-me-day of my love.

I decided to make a little apple pie with a white chocolate frosting on top for his mother. It is a simple cake with a short pastry, some cinnamon apple sauce inside and covered with the short pastry. When it cooled down I melted the white chocolate and covered the top, let the chocolate run down on the sides. We loved it! Fresh, perfect without any whipped cream (but possible, made of coconut milk cream) and ideal for guests who like a more moist cake.

The cake is very similar to my apple jalousie I made some time ago. I just changed a little the recipe for the short pastry, with an egg it is much less crumbly. 

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Apple pie with white chocolate coating
Apple Pie Covered in White Chocolate
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 1 hour
Apple pie with white chocolate coating
Apple Pie Covered in White Chocolate
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
8 slices 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 1 hour
Ingredients
For the crust:
For the filling:
For the frosting:
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and grease a cake pan (18 cm/7”).
  2. Add all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl, mix well and work them to a ball. Put this dough ball into a saran wrap and let it stay for one hour in a cool place.
  3. Peel and clean three apples of your choice, cut into pieces and together with the honey and cinnamon put all into a sauce pan. Cook until soft – around 15 to 20 minutes, depends by the apples. Put the apple sauce aside and let them cool.
  4. Take the short pastry out of the fridge and unwrap the dough. Roll it out into a thin sheet, 0.5/2” thick. Cover the bottom of the cake pan and put a margin around as the filling will get around 4 cm/1.4” high. Now pick the bottom with a fork, fill in the apple sauce and cover all with another sheet of dough. You don't need to 'fix' it really well, it will not open during baking time.
  5. Bake it for 30 minutes or until golden outside and the tooth pick proof remains clean.
  6. Let the cake cool out on a cake rack.
  7. Cover the cake with the melted white chocolate and let the chocolate run down the sides. It gives a nice, unequal design.
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Chocolate Donuts for a Girly Afternoon


For a girly afternoon – I had my sweetheart’s mom and his aunt coming to visit me – I needed some treats for them. I don’t like to have friends or relatives coming over and nothing to offer. I am from Italy and we always prepare coffee (or tea) and have some sweets.

So: what is fast, not too ‘crumbling’ and they would like for sure? Something with chocolate obviously. And as I have a new donut pan, I decided to do some chocolate donuts. I found a recipe to try on Mommy Potamus, one of the blogs I follow. They looked good and easy on the photos. Let’s try though!


Of course, I changed the recipe – like I always do – and omit the coconut extract. So the taste had no coconut in it, just chocolate. They came out super light, not too sweet and they were finished before the girls left. Next time maybe I will do them with real chocolate instead of cocoa.

For a finishing I covered the top with dark chocolate (at least 85 %) and dipped them in coconut sugar. Some I put some white chocolate on the top. They are light, yummy and are great for a last-minute treat to prepare.

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Chocolate Donuts, gf/df
Chocolate Donuts
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
11 donuts 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
11 donuts 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Chocolate Donuts, gf/df
Chocolate Donuts
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
11 donuts 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
11 donuts 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: donuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a bowl whisk all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a little pot mix the melted honey, the egg yolks and the ghee together with the vanilla paste. Stir until all is well combined.
  4. Add the honey-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth and soft.
  5. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fluffy. Fold the egg whites into the batter until all is well combined.
  6. Add the crushed nuts into the batter, stir to combine.
  7. Grease a donut pan, fill the batter in and bake for around 15 minutes. Let them cool out.
Recipe Notes

I added white and dark chocolate on the top to give them more color But also to 'bath' them in coconut sugar. Feel free to 'decorate' the donuts as you like.

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