NY Apples – Deliciousness at its BEST

Fall is here. The leaves are changing colors and the weather is cooling down. The best thing about this season, is that it is picking season. We have picked fruit all summer long with strawberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries. Now it is time for APPLES!

“New York grows more apple varieties than any other state. With nearly 700 growers and 10,000,000+ trees, we produce enough apples each year to bake 500 million apple pies!” the NY Apple Country states, that is a lot of apples. There are more than 40 different types of apples in NY, differentiated by their sweetness, tartness and uses. Some better for baking, others for cooking and as if, to eat and enjoy.

Many health benefits are associated with eating apples –  lowers cholesterol, fights cancer, keeps you full and helps you slim, fights colds, decreases risk for diabetes, boosts brain power, rich in antioxidants, boosts immune system, assists in becoming the teachers preferred student, “An Apple a Day Keeps the Dr. Away….” and more.

Apples stay fresh longer than many other fruit, they are wonderful in anything you can think of from Danish Pancakes (Aeble Skiver) to apple pies, Tarte Tataine and also add to salads, chicken and on their own.

One of my favorites is easy, tasty and perfect for any occasion is Baked Apples!

applesTake 6 Granny Smith Apples, or another tart apple.

Take the apple core out, but leave a thick rim around inside the apples and make sure not to cut holes in the apple. Create a cup like apple.

In a small bowl mix well:

3-4 spoons raisins

3-4 spoons chopped nuts

1 tsp cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg, clover and cardamom

2 spoons of brown sugar

Fill the apples and dust the top with additional cinnamon and sugar, or nuts and honey.

Place all apples on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes in 350F/180C- The apple should be baked, but not too soft.


Enjoy the apples warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Up state NY is wonderful for Apple Picking. Support local farmers like Hoffmire Apple Orchard. Greg Hoffmire has created a beautiful U-Pick orchard because he loves having families come out and pick delicious apples.

Lastly, Ba-Li Cravings will have a table at this years Apple Harvest Fest on Downtown Ithaca Commons. We are preparing wonderful treats- our unique VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE apple truffles, our delicious baked cannoli with vanilla cream and apple sauce, Tarte Tatain and  more. All prepared with LOCAL, fresh picked apples. Stop by, say hello and tell us you read our blog…. any sharing is appreciated!

Apple Harvest Fest October 2-4th, 2015

Oct. 2nd 12-6pm, October 3rd and 4th – 10am – 6pm

Ithaca’s premier event of the Fall, Apple Harvest Festival, is a three day celebration of food, fun, and apples!
Three fun-filled days of apples, local produce, fresh baked goods, family entertainment, games, rides, prizes and live performances on two stages. Apple Harvest Festival is a great introduction to the farms and artists in Ithaca and its surrounding farming communities
First time visitors can witness a variety of wonderful local entertainment while strolling Ithaca’s recently remodeled outdoor pedestrian shopping mall, The Ithaca Commons. The pedestrian mall is the epicenter of the festival and the gateway to a nostalgic journey of harvest season fun.
Over 100 vendors will be selling unique apple varieties, hot apple cider donuts, kettle corn, local farm fresh-baked goods and a multitude of around the world specialties. Local farmers are on site selling everything from tasty apple beverages to local pumpkins and of course, apples, apples and more apples. Wineries and cideries have regional beverages available for tasting and purchase. Kids can visit with the goats and learn how fiber is made with Laughing Goat Fiber Farm. Looking for quality goods, visit 50 different handcrafting artisans along Cayuga Street at the fall craft show which includes jewelry, ceramics, home decor, body care, specialty gifts, unique sculpture, clothing and so much more.


Enjoy the beautiful U-Pick season and come visit us at the Apple Harvest Fest.




The Path to OUR Own Heart

fist1Remember when we were kids and we learned that our heart is the size of our fist? Looking at our fists and trying to imagine our heart pumping inside our tiny bodies. Next we asked to see everyone’s fists to compare, imagine and have a glance of their hearts. At least, I do. I did that, and I remember my kids doing it as well. I think it is a powerful thought to try and imagine our hearts.


It is the first thing we wait for when we are expecting. To hear the heartbeat. We listen in amazement to the sounds of fast galloping horses, that is the baby’s heart beat. It is the most beautiful sound of all. Sound of life.

Somehow, as the years go by we lose touch with our heart. We begin to base what we know, and do, on our mind. Some call it thinking, some ego. We are motivated by what we believe is important, based on our experiences, what people say and think and most of all, how we want to be perceived by others. I never really thought about it until I met Daniela Hess and Ravi Walsh, who together created The HeartPath Institute, I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but I knew Daniela and Ravi, and was curious to know what The HeartPath is all about.

I signed up for their 7 week program and it was intriguing, wonderful and most of all Eye Opening. Yes, it opened my eyes to look into my heart. Consciously and with intent. I learned to listened to my heart and to let go of my ego. Well, I try to let go and when my ego takes over, I am more aware of it  now and stop, pause and re-group.

This morning I was out driving early and looked at the sky. The clouds were beautiful and in front of me was a breath-taking cloud that looked to me like a funnel.


I stopped and took a picture because it made me think of Ravi and Daniela. I felt that this is the journey I’ve been on where on top is everything we take in. Our fears, our joy, our anger, all our experiences, challenges and dreams. The people we know, those we love, those who hurt us and those we have hurt. Our family, those close and those far. Those only left in our memory, and those we know we have a very limited time with, but also those on their way into our world. Everything around us is taken in. The real challenge is what we funnel at the end, what we channel into our hearts and our lives. Are we motivated by the fears and anger? by disappointments and constant need to keep score? or do we learn to see the world that is created FOR US, the one where the sky is open and the birds are flying above. The one where if you smile to others, they usually smile back, if you look them in the eyes, really look, they actually see you. The world where we learn from it all, but don’t need to be led by it all. Where we appreciate all that is happening, and dare to only keep what makes us feel good.

Do we let it all out by attacking and yelling, or by breathing and finding our own voice.

The HeathPath has taught me to choose the Path of the Heart, to choose my journey and to learn to breath, smile and look at what is around me. And that is a Path I am happy to be on.


Just like our fists grows as we grow, so does our heart. Our ability to really do good in this world is truly up to us.

I hope each of you gets a chance to take this journey into  your heart, and put it back in the center of your universe, instead of the ego.

My Prasad (food offering) this time will be a recipe I love to make with my kids and for my kids – marshmallows.

It is such a children’s treat, but when done right, and with the best flavors, they are a real treat. Small sweet comfort.

Start by choosing a glass or ceramic pan. about 9X13 in (about 20X30 cm) and grease the bottom and sides. I like Pan spray.

Put 2 packages of unflavored gelatin (I use kosher gelatin, 3 packs if you prefer harder marshmallows) in the mixing bowl with 1/2 cup cold water. Stir and let sit.

In a small deep sauce pan combine:

1/2 cup cool water

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

Heat over medium heat. Using a candy thermometer (can be bought for very cheap, any where) check the temperature. Once the syrup reached 240 F/ 115 C, take it off the heat, stir well and turn on the mixer (preferably a stand mixer such as kitchen aid) on low and start mixing the gelatin. Add the syrup in SLOWLY. Once all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer to high and let it whip for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be thick and fluffy. Now add the flavor of your choice. I love coffee, pistachio or raspberry flavors, but anything works.

The mixture should be cool enough for you to touch. Pour the mixture into the pan, wet your hand a bit and flatten the fluff out. If you make more than one flavor, I usually place half the mixture in a bowl, add the flavor, place in the pan and then add the 2nd flavor to the mixer bowl and stir with remaining fluff. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and let rest overnight. The next day, cut into squares, or use cookie cutters for fun shapes, roll in powdered sugar and enjoy.


No artificial colors, use only natural flavors, kosher gelatin and you get a mouthful of deliciousness.


Ba-Li Cravings Catering

This post has been in the planning for a long time.

For the past 2 years I have created deliciousness from a rented commercial kitchen. It was not easy and I lacked my own creative space. In December I decided, with the full support of my wonderful husband, that I will build my own commercial kitchen.

It sounded  like a serious project, but truthfully, I had no idea what I got into. Between my dream of having a space to create, invent, bake, stir, and spice, and the rules and regulations of the city and state, it became a huge project very fast.

I do understand the need to be strict when it comes to making food for people, their health is above it all. But, what I thought would be a relatively small, intimate project, turned out to be big, long and complex and I am very fortunate to have been surrounded by so many helpful and supporting people during these past 8 month leading up to a beautiful space, with  5 (FIVE!!!) sinks, a 12 foot hood, double sheet rock on the ceiling and fire-proof door….

I decided that a journey of this size and complexity, you do not do ALONE. I found some truly wonderful people who helped in every step of the way.

First of all I found a great contractor. Mike Derby. He is an independent contractor who has never build a commercial kitchen. He was dedicated to the learning process as we went out on this journey together. I gave him my dream kitchen on a power point slide, and he turned it into a real design for the town zoning department. He started in January and worked for month on all that was needed. The town inspector became a regular visitor, and he was always impressed by the quality of work. He was also helpful in making sure we understand all that is needed.

Next came equipment. Here a close friend (thank you Gigi!!) recommended Vince Puleo from Trumansburg. I really planned on buying everything from him, but he did all the research for me, and recommended where to buy things that would be cheaper and of great quality. I could not believe it at first, but soon learned that Vince really just wanted to help me.

Every stage had many challenges. Putting a grease trap was an unexpected item that I never even knew existed. The biggest challenge was probably hanging the 12 foot hood. Only the few and the chosen are qualified to connect hoods and besides being very expensive, it was hard to find a great fit. Until I was introduced to Bob and Bob from Bob’s Services. Yes! 2 Bobs came to my rescue and they were an amazing addition to my ever-expanding team. They measured, re-measured, calculated and re-calculated, drew up the plan and constantly encouraged me it can all be done. And indeed they made it happen. They worked hard getting it up and connected in my small space. They did it always with reassurance, smiles and patience. They even came to help when my big ovens were delivered and hooked them up as well.

There are many more people who made these past 8 month worth every challenging day. Kellyann O’mara from M&T bank who helped me get my business loan, wonderful Mike  Driscoll from the SBA (Small Business Administration) who helped me with my business plan and bank loan, and my BNI members who believed in me, were happy for me, laughed at my stories and gave me advice as needed.

My family love the idea of our own commercial kitchen, they were involved every step and excited for every part being done. My parents visited this summer and helped set up shelves, organize, my dad found himself digging a huge square outside for the hood, and they were very proud of the process. I really can not imagine doing this without all the support around me.

After we had done it all, the entrance was left to sheet rock, paint and finish up. My 3 kids and husband rolled up their sleeves and it became a family project. It is not as perfect as Mike Derby’s work, our strokes are not as smooth, but it is gorgeous to me.

Now the town has approved it all, the city water gave their OK, and my Agriculture Market inspector gave his thumbs up (he was VERY impressed I must say!). Thank You Michael Wolff!

Watch 8 month of work HERE in 2 minutes…..


Now Ba-Li Cravings is officially up and running, and we are getting busy. Lunches at Cornell and events all over Ithaca, Sweet desserts to Ithaca College, Cornell and wonderful people around, Gluten free food and a lot of Mediterranean food being made to make people happy and return. We have stocked up on spices, bought a lot of plastic trays and many pounds of dry hummus, couscous and flour. I am excited to be working out of my own space and continue to create and develop recipes.

Ba-Li Cravings have been chosen to make some of the desserts for Cornell’s Inaugural Picnic welcoming the first female President of Cornell, Elizabeth Garrett this month. What an honor!

We are working these days on a retail line that will be delicious and make life a bit easier, just like we like to do…… REV Ithaca are a great help and resource for Ba-Li Cravings, especially the Women in Entrepreneurship  program that Ba-Li Cravings was chosen to be part of (with 15 other woman owned businesses – worth reading about it.) Ken Rother is a great mentor and Rhonda Morton a wonderful coach.

You can browse parts of our menu by clicking HERE.

Looking forward to hearing from you, and working with you.

Take the time to click the red links and learn more about all these wonderful people and organizations!

Flowers and Baked Treats CSA

Spring is here. YES! It has even reached Ithaca NY after a very long, cold winter.

My favorite thing about this time of year is how nature changes from almost black & white to full color. Living in the Upstate we are surrounded by nature, trees, flowers and beauty. During the winter it is mostly white but in March our surroundings are just colorless.

Then Spring arrives, the trees start blooming, and all of a sudden the colors are back.

Linda VanApeldoorn lives this beauty year round. Growing flowers at Take Your Pick Flower Farm for weddings and her wonderful CSA, got us thinking. How fun would it be to have a CSA where people sign up and enjoy a bucket of Linda’s beautiful flowers and a Baked Treat of the Week?!
You never know what your flower bucket will consist of, what beautiful colors will fill your home or office, so we thought of keeping the surprise for the baked treats as well. Not knowing what is coming, but knowing it will be delicious and baked with love.
Starting in June, we will offer this CSA, hoping to spoil you all summer and into the fall.
Now you just have to decide if you want it for your home and family, for your office or maybe buy it for a friend or your parents? Just think, giving a gift that goes on for 10 weeks. What a perfect Mother’s Day Gift!
Think about it. What will make you happier than beautiful flowers and deliciousness, every week?
And yes…. there will be Dairy free and Gluten free options every week!
Join us, and let us hear from you.
Contact me here or by email balicravings@gmail.com

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

As part of the yearly fundraising for Cookies for Cancer Kids, Food Bloggers around the world come together…. The idea is fun and simple, you sign up, decide on a cookie recipe you have not written about yet, get 3 food bloggers to send a dozen cookie to each, and wait to get cookies from 3 other food bloggers.

The greatest part is that is build community. You get your food bloggers, go online to see their blog, get lost a couple of hours, find things you want to make as well at some point and then you start getting surprise boxes, with cookies and notes, and again, go online and learn about these bloggers as well….

Every year OXO, who matches the donations, send a gift, and this year it was the coolest thing ever! The 4 piece Baker’s silicone decorating kit– perfect to fill Chanukah Sufganiot or anything else! Right on time. Thank you OXO!

Additional partners of this great event are:

Dixie Crystals

California Olive Ranch

and Brownie Brittle

Check them out….


This year I decided to make Honninghjerter – a Danish Christmas tradition! Honninghjerter means – Honey Hearts – heart-shaped cookies with a lot of spices.

photo 4(13)

When it comes to Christmas cuisine, no one takes it more serious than the Danes. The spices in everything are spot on. A lot of cinnamon, clover, some cardamom and everything you need to have a Hyggelig Christmas, or holiday season.

What is Hyggelig? Well that is the most Danish word and feeling there is. The Danes love Hygge, it is about creating a warm, cozy, friendly environment that is inviting and where you feel wonderful. And that is what the holidays are about. Right?!

So for me Honninghjerter were a perfect choice.

My 3 Food Bloggers were:

SensiblySara from Texas, Mrs Happy Homemaker from NC and Cupcake Friday Project from  NJ.

photo 3(19) photo 2(18)

I baked a dozen cookies for each of the ladies, and as the tradition goes, you hang the Honninghjerter on your tree so I placed a ribbon in each and packed them carefully so they would not break. And off they went to Texas, NC and NJ.



I got my first box from The Lady Behind the Curtain and they were pretzel chocolate chip. You can never go wrong with chocolate chip, especially when you add the salty pretzels. I got a gift as well that I thought was really cute. I went on Sheryl’s website and there are a lot of ideas there.

photo 1(18)Then I got White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies from the Bake Equation that were sooooooo delicious! Oh my! I loved those. Melissa knows her cookies as is very clear from her website.

Lastly came the fun Grinch green mint chocolate chip cookies from Sarah from Food, Fun and Life in Waukesha Fun looking tasty cookie.

This is such a great project to be a part of for a fantastic cause.

Thank you Julie and Lindsay for your hard work, putting this together!

And back to the Honinghjerter…. Here is the recipe.

In advance prepare the Honey mass, can be prepared up to a month in advance if you are a  real planner

Mix 500 gram (17.5 oz) of honey with 500 gram (17.5oz) flour. Place in a cool place or fridge until you need it. It might become hard but no worries, it will soften back when you knead it.

Honey dough:

2 egg yolks

tsp. baking powder

the honey mass

1-2 full tsp. cinnamon

1 full tsp. of ginger

1 tsp. cardamom

1/2 tsp. clovers


photo 1(16)




photo 2(17)Mix the dough well. Spread thin and cut heart-shaped cookies. Place them on baking paper and bake for about 10 minutes at 340F, 180C, until light brown.

These cookies become hard, and that is the way they should be. To make them softer, place in the fridge for 2 days before decorating. photo 4(12)

Cool and spread melted chocolate and decorations on top. If you want to hang them on your tree, make a hole in the top of the cookie to insert a ribbon through.

photo 5(9) photo 1(17)







You can hang them on the tree, store them in a closed container in the fridge or dip in tea or Glogg.

Enjoy and have a fabulous Holiday!

Being Grateful

November is the month of Thanksgiving and a time to really truly think about being grateful.

I always take this month to feel consciously grateful. It is all about staying positive, doing what you believe is good for you and surrounding yourself with people who are positive and supportive. Always remember that you get what you give, and if you are a positive person you will attract more positive people, events and opportunities into your life. If you are aware and grateful for what you have, you feel good and happy. I believe gratefulness and happiness are connected and you can’t have one without the other.

There are ways to live a positive life –

Be thankful and say thank you. Do not assume people know you appreciate them or their actions, let them know. There are not many things better in life, than receiving a thank you. It will make their day.

Treasure moments, nature and feelings. We are all so busy and never take a moment to just stop, look around, see the beauty and wonder of this world and take it all in. Enjoy the sunrise on a morning you are up too early or the sun setting on your drive home. Pay attention to the season change and the birds flying above. Look at people, listen to the laughter and voices of chatter. Sip your coffee and enjoy it. Fill yourself with love and happiness. It is contagious and others will feel it as well.

Look up from your phone, hey….. turn it off for an hour then two. Talk, laugh with friends and look around you. We miss out on so much being connected all the time to electronic devices.

Post beautiful pictures and positive thoughts on your facebook page. They will stand out in all the stress and negativity. Learn a joke and tell it to someone.

Learn something new everyday. Do not fear challenges. They will help you grow.

While writing this, I wanted to add a poem and found this absolutely perfect prayer/poem from Zen Habits

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~


I think it says it all.

Be grateful, be happy!

Veterans Day

Every country I know takes the time to think of the veterans as well as of the fallen and of its soldiers.

Every country does it in their own way.

Some have a day off to contemplate. Some have sad songs playing on the radio, and many documentaries about the fallen on TV. Some have ceremonies in schools, grave yard and public places.

The USA, is the only place I know that has sales. Everywhere “Veterans Day Sales”. It is also known as the kick-start to Black Friday, or the beginning of the holiday sales.

Growing up in a country that takes its fallen very serious, that talks a lot about them and that grieves every year, as if  they have just died, it is very hard for me to get used to celebrating Veterans Day. Strange idea.

I think this is a day to think what we can do differently to end the endless needs for soldiers. To not have to send out more dedicated people into battle, to not leave so many families broken or soldiers broken. What can we do to live together, in this beautiful place, with others, even if they look, think or believe differently then we do.

photo(14)The Unknown Soldier By Emily Moralez

There’s a graveyard near the White House
Where the Unknown Soldier lies,
And the flowers there are sprinkled
With the tears from mother’s eyes.

I stood there not so long ago
With roses for the brave,
And suddenly I heard a voice
Speak from out the grave:

‘I am the Unknown Soldier,
The spirit voice began
‘And I think I have the right
To ask some questions man to man.

‘Are my buddies taken care of?
Was their victory so sweet?
Is that big reward you offered
Selling pencils on the street?

‘Did they really win the freedom
They battled to achieve?
Do you still respect that Croix de Guerre
Above that empty sleeve?
‘Does a gold star in the window
Now mean anything at all?
I wonder how my old girl feels
When she hears a bugle call.

‘And that baby who sang
Hello, Central, give me no man
Can they replace her daddy
With a military band?

‘I wonder if the profiteers
Have satisfied their greed?
I wonder if a soldier’s mother
Ever is in need?

‘I wonder if the kings, who planned it all
Are really satisfied?
They played their game of checkers
And eleven million died.

‘I am the Unknown Soldier
And maybe I died in vain,
But if I were alive and my country called,
I’d do it all over again.

Take a moment and appreciate where you are, who is around you, who is missed and think, what can you do to make this world a better place.
With my greatest respect!