Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sunday Funday: Harvesting the Garden!

Finally last Sunday I didn't have any guests or plans, and the rain came and went in fits.  I seized the chance to harvest my root vegetables and put away the trellis and tomato cages.  

The carrots turned out awesome!!  Even the smallest one is bigger than last year's biggest. 

Unfortunately, my first attempt at potatoes was not nearly so successful.

That's the whole harvest.  In one hand.  I planted more potato than that!!

I think they didn't get enough water.  Maybe I didn't sing to them enough.  Oh year will be better.

Sunday Funday inspired by the blog Simply Everything Beautiful

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sunday Funday: Lake Champlain Cruise!

It's fun to be a tourist in my own city! A couple weeks ago, my parents and sister came to visit Burlington. My sister lives in Colorado, so she usually only comes east once a year. We packed all kinds of things into her time here, including a family cruise on Lake Champlain!

The cruise included a lunch buffet, and was just the right length at an hour and a half. We cruised south from the downtown ferry dock, went around Shelburne Bay and looped back up north around the breakwater before returning.

Look at our beautiful city!

It was so much fun trying to identify buildings and streets from this new angle. Turns out I'm not very good at it! The foliage was at its peak, and the views were wonderful. We were afraid it might be cold, but the sun was bright and warm on the upper deck of the cruise ship. Plus there was plenty of Green Mountain coffee to keep us warm!

Sunday Funday inspired by the blog Simply Everything Beautiful

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rustic Muffins

Over the weekend, I made pupcakes for Roger's birthday (more on that in another post). They're basically whole wheat muffins with apples, cheese, yogurt, and honey. And a cream cheese frosting. Admittedly, I probably ate just as many as the birthday dog. So that started me on a hunt for a more simple recipe intended for humans.

I switched the proportions of white and whole wheat flour. I used more apples than the recipe called for, and probably should have shredded them instead of just dicing. I'm guessing that's why they came out looking a bit...irregular. Sort of...rustic. But still...delicious!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2nd Annual Hike with Shawnee!

Just a little while ago, we were reminiscing with @ShawneeShep about the great hike we took together last September. She and her mom drove all the way up from New Jersey to hike in southern Vermont with us, and it was such a great day! We decided to do it again this year.

For this year's adventure, Shawnee and her mom found a great hike in Pisgah State Park in New Hampshire. The days leading up to our trip it was pouring rain, but luckily the skies cleared in time, and we had a perfect day for hiking!

We drove down from Burlington and they drove up from New Jersey and we met at the park. Once the dogs had gotten a chance to greet each other and were properly outfitted in their don't-hunt-me orange, we were on our way!

Since there had been so much rain, I was ready for the trails to be a muddy mess, but overall it was pretty dry! We had to make our way across several streams that I'm guessing usually would have been quite small, and there were some great big puddles for the dogs to play in. (Roger made it his mission to get soaking wet in each one of them.)

Shawnee led the way for the whole 10 miles, keeping us moving at a good pace. The hike was pretty challenging for Roger and me, and as soon as we reached the summit of Pisgah Mt, Roger wasted no time hunkering down for a nap!

Once we started the hike back down, I kind of wish I had followed Roger's example...never underestimate the restorative power of a nap.

Shawnee brought her boy along this year! At first Roger wasn't quite sure about him, but by the end they were good buddies.

The views were fantastic, and it was so peaceful at the top. We only passed a few other groups of hikers all day. We had hoped to catch the foliage at a good time, but it was still mostly green leaves everywhere with only random bursts of color. It could have been more dramatic, but of course it was very pretty anyway--and that means the trails were less crowded.

Daniela got so many great pictures (like this one below and the first one in the post), and you can see more of them in Shawnee's blog post about our pawsome day together!

Thank you, Shawnee, Daniela, and the Boy, for making the trip to New Hampshire to hike with us! We can hardly wait until our 3rd annual hike next year--we should be just about rested enough by then to do it all over again!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In the Kitchen: Roasted Sweet Potatoes

As I've pointed out before, I'm no daredevil in the kitchen. Normally I stick with tried-and-true favorites, but I was rewarded for my efforts this weekend when I took a crack at roasted sweet potatoes! Not a quick dish, but SO yummy and seasonally appropriate that it was totally worth the time spent.

The taste and texture were perfect the first night! Tender and sweet inside with a slightly crispy and caramelized exterior. Reheated the next day they still tasted great, but unfortunately the texture was lost. Next time I'll probably leave them in a little longer in the 2nd and 3rd stage to get crispier edges.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
-4-6 sweet potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cut into 3/4"-thick rounds
-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
-1 tsp salt

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl until potatoes are evenly coated. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet covered in tin foil. (The recipe suggests coating the tin foil with cooking spray first, but I didn't and they came off pretty okay.) Cover tightly with tin foil. Place in cold oven, turn it to 425 degrees and cook for 30 min.

Remove from oven and carefully remove top layer of foil. Return to oven and cook until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown, 15-25 min.

Take em out again, flip em over, back in for 20 min more, until desired color is achieved. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Funday: Lulu's Birthday!

Today I was honored to join in the celebration of Lulu's 3rd birthday! Jessie, clever as always, booked an event room at the local park so that there was plenty of inside and outside space for Lulu's friends, their parents, and siblings to enjoy the celebration - crown-decorating, cake-eating and present-opening inside paired perfectly with pinata-whacking and jungle gym-climbing outside!

Happy birthday, Lulu!

Sunday Funday inspired by the blog Simply Everything Beautiful

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heat Wave

There's no denying it, it's HOT! My normally cool-as-a-cucumber Burlington set a new record high of 95 degrees for today's date. Roger has taken to napping on ice packs, and he refused to leave the house all afternoon. Y'know what this heat wave is making me dream about?

Just think of whooshing over all that icy Colorado snow as we ski out to the Section House, Thanksgiving dinner and birthday treats safely tucked in our packs, all smiles and chilly, rosy cheeks.

Only four months to go :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sunday Funday: Playing in the garden!

A good portion of the day last Sunday was spent playing in the garden with Roger!

We planted potatoes in the Smart Pot, and pulled weeds from around the veggies.

All of the cucumber sprouts that had been there a week earlier were mysteriously gone! Luckily I had a few seeds left in the packet, so I re-planted them. Hopefully something will still come.

The other big project was planting grass. It's never been a particularly luscious or robust lawn, and it seems to have only gotten worse this summer.

I pulled up and raked out as many of the big weeds as I could, and seeded the whole area around the garden.

And look! I'm already being rewarded for my efforts! On Friday I harvested my first round of lettuce and spinach! Now I just need the tomatoes and carrots to catch up...

The tomato plants are getting HUGE, so luckily I won't have too much longer to wait.

Don't trust that grin - this kid didn't help at all. Roger chose to nap, and supervise my progress from a comfortable distance.
Sunday Funday inspired by the blog Simply Everything Beautiful

Monday, June 14, 2010

Veggie Garden 2010

Introducing the Veggie Garden, 2010 Edition! New and improved in almost every way: well-tilled soil, nutrient-rich compost, stepping stones, and 50% bigger than the 2009 edition!
Papa McKenna took the trip from NH to spend Memorial Day weekend with Roger and me, working in the garden. We raked, and tilled, and dug rocks (including the stepping stones and that massive corner post) and added wonderful compost and then raked and tilled some more.

The plants and seeds went in the following weekend, and there are already some green sprouts poking up in the lettuce section!

From left: lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumbers (under the trellis) peppers, tomatoes. Coming soon: potato planter.

We also set up the compost bin! I've had a kitchen compost bin for years, and I always just haul it to CSWD to dump it. But finally my own garden will be able to benefit from all my lovely coffee grounds, wilted lettuce, and apple cores!

Of course, the Veggie Garden 2010 Edition has the latest in home garden security. To protect from digging critters (cats, etc) I stake down a section of chicken wire flat on the ground. The plants grow right up through it, and weeds can be plucked, but it's dig-proof!

Ready? Now I'm going to tell you my secret weapon. For general pest repellent that's chemical-free and pet friendly, use crushed red pepper. Just sprinkle it on top of and around the garden. Ground red pepper works too, but it's harder to see where you've applied it. Just be sure to reapply after heavy wind/rain!

After a full day of hard work prepping my garden on Saturday, Papa McKenna & I were thrilled to have Sunday breakfast at Handy's and then cheer on our friends in the Vermont City Marathon! My porch is the best seat in town.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Colorado Surprise!

Now a month after the fact, I'm finally going to tell you about my trip to Colorado!

Back in November, my sister Meghan's friend in Colorado set up a surprise 30th birthday party for Meg to take place in April - including surprise guests! Meg's best friend Jen, our mom, and I went out to Breckenridge, CO for an overnight hut trip with Meg and her friends. It was totally awesome! The "hut" we stayed in, the Continental Divide Cabin, is a beautiful log cabin that sleeps eight with one large main room, two smaller separate bedrooms, a wide sunny front deck, and a covered porch to walk to the outhouse. I'm just glad we were able to keep it a secret - I'm notoriously bad at keeping exciting secrets!

We drove 2hrs to Leadville, then snowshoed and skied out about 0.8mi to the hut, and even those of us accustomed to sea level did pretty damn well! The temperature inside the hut was about 40deg when we arrived, but after a few hours with the wood stove, it was over 70. Those ladies don't mess around - the party theme was "ugly bathing suits" (summer version of ugly sweater) and everyone was dressed to impress.

Rowdy games of Taboo, dinner from the grill, ice cream from snow, and plenty of wine made for a totally awesome evening. The next morning was pancakes and a snowshoe expedition on the trails around the hut. It snowed the whole first day and night, so there was plenty of fresh snow to play in.

I had SO much fun, I decided that I need to do it again. But my 30th is still several years away. Then I realized this year is my golden birthday - I'm turning 27 on the 27th of November! Thanksgiving in a hut? Yes please!! The dates we want are open for reservation on June 1st, so I've been doing my best to recruit my party guests. Yeah, a destination birthday party is a lot to ask for, but it's going to be a totally awesome time. Right now we are considering the Section House, which is a much farther ski, but the trailhead is right in Breckenridge, and we'll stay two nights instead of one. And c'mon - Thanksgiving in a hut!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In the Kitchen with RogerDog: Cheddar Biscuits

I love baking for Roger! He's pretty easy to please. Our standard go-to recipe is peanut butter oatmeal cookies, but for my birthday Meghan gave me the You Bake 'Em Dog Biscuits Cookbook, so we're doing our best to branch out!

Roger is a big fan of these - I mean, what's not to love? They're full of Cabot Cheddar. I rolled them thinner than the recipe specifies, so they're a little crunchier, which he seems to prefer. I may try them thicker next time, just for variety.

Cheddar Biscuits
-1c all-purpose flour
-1c whole wheat flour
-1c shredded cheddar cheese
-2TBSP butter
-3/4c milk
-grated Parmesan cheese (topping)
-extra flour for rolling a MUST - our dough was very sticky!

Put flours & cheese in food processor (I skipped the food processor and just mixed by hand which worked fine, but the dough was a bit inconsistent). Mix in butter & milk. Turn out on floured surface and roll out to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness. Poke with tines of fork and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut with cookie cutters (we use a pizza cutter to make bars - very efficient!). Place on baking sheet covered with non-stick foil. Bake 15-20 min or until golden brown. Store in the fridge.

Both the Sir and our guest taste tester Miss Madeline gave rave reviews, and the ingredient list is so simple that these will surely be a permanent addition to our regular cookie rotation! Let me know what your pups think if you give them a try!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So many things!

After sneaking to Colorado and successfully surprising my sister for her 30th birthday, my mom and I are almost back home. A real post is coming soon, but I took advantage of the free wifi on the bus back from Logan to post these pictures.

Tuesday Trifecta

Roger's Colorado cousin. Brass Armadillo: Fiesta Heaven. My mile-high city favorite.

Inspired by the blog Orange Pattern

Tuesday Trifecta

Important things! Potent potable. Lovely day for a snow-shod stroll.

Inspired by the blog Orange Pattern

Tuesday Trifecta

The birthday girl. Ice cream from snow. Celebration!

Inspired by the blog Orange Pattern

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Trifecta

Love working at New Moon. Love free stuff. Love pretty versions of normally boring things.

Inspired by the blog Orange Pattern

Sunday, April 18, 2010

10-Things Progress: Lofty Goals

There's not a ton of storage space in my condo, but I've done a decent job of making the most of what I've got. Except one notable exception - over my stacked washer/dryer there is an open shelf, which has a few miscellaneous kitchen things on it, and above that, an 11" space that has sat empty. It's not all that easy to get to - there's a step stool involved, and sometimes I even have to monkey up onto the washer, depending on how far back the item is.

Enter: canvas storage bins. I've already got a whole family of them in my bedroom closet holding sheets, towels, ski clothes, and plenty more. Those are relatively easy to pull down whenever I need anything from them. For the space above the dryer, I decided it would have to be things I don't need all that often.

The brown/blue one has my air mattress (not much call for that these days, now that I own a pull-out sofa) and canvas drop-cloths for painting projects. The oatmeal/brown one has my box collection. Yeah that's right, I save boxes. Up until now, the collection had resided under my kitchen table. I pared it down enough to fit in the bin, and I'm very pleased with the space it has opened up!

The great thing about these (in addition to hiding my silly collections) is when I need something it's easy enough to just pull the whole bin down and rummage around. (Plus it made me limit the amount of boxes saved...always a good thing) When I first put them up there, it was a glaring intrusion in the once-empty space, but after only a couple days I was used to seeing them.

I might replace the brown one in the future with a matching oatmeal-colored one (Lowe's, $9.61), or a light blue bin I already own. There is still more space to the right of these. I may add a third bin, if I can figure out what to put in it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Trifecta

From the Easter bunny. Lovely happy parents. Freelance snuggler.

Inspired by the blog Orange Pattern

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Ten Things Spring Cleaning Challenge

I have a lot of stuff in my house. I use it, I swap it, give it away; I do my best to get rid of it. I've even written about these efforts before. But there's still a lot.

Now I'm cracking down.

For the month of April, I will be adhering to the Ten Things Spring Cleaning Challenge. I made it up myself, and as such, I get to make all the rules.
  • - Every day, I need to put away/get rid of ten things in my house. This includes putting things in seasonal storage, packing up a craft project I'm done with, recycling the boxes I've been saving just in case.
On about Day 4, this project got harder. I had picked off all the low-hanging fruit. So I realized I needed to modify the rules a bit. (Again - my challenge, my rules.)
  • -Daily chores can count - emptying the dish rack, etc (easy point each day)
  • -Bigger projects have a sliding scale: sorting through magazines to recycle: 1 point. Hanging pictures: 3 points. Cleaning out the cupboard under the sink: 5 points.
  • -Each week, I get one day off.
My goals are pretty simple: get rid of stuff I really don't need/use/want. Have more free space in my house. Have fewer things to clean around. Not end up on an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive. (That show is upsetting)

You're welcome to play along, and even make up your own rules if you want. See? I can play nice.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

beCAUSE Craft Show

Guess where I'll be next weekend!!
All this weekend I'm busily making more crayon roll-ups, putting the finishing touches on a few knobs, and trying to decide how best to display everything. I really hope I'll see a lot of you at the craft show next Saturday! I will be donating 75% of my profits from the day to Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where in the world

Thanks to the magic of Google Analytics, I can see where in the country my readers are located! I've got 96% of the states - where's the love, South Dakota & Alaska?!

visited by 48 states (96%)
Create your own visited map of The United States