Archive | Country living RSS for this section

A Warm November

I had joked that towards the beginning of October that it was so warm that in typical fashion, the

Halloween 2017

Halloween 2017

weather would turn just in time for all the kids to have to wear their parkas on Halloween. Sure enough, the day before you could have walked around in shorts but the night of trick-or-treating, a cold wind swept through that meant bundling up in layers underneath costumes. We still had a blast with my two nieces that night and the youngest one “got” Halloween for the first time and was excited to knock on doors and say “trick-or-treat!” She had originally planned to be a unicorn but was too shy as we had all exclaimed how adorable she was in that costume. Instead she rocked the “old movie star” look, complete with pearls and a fake fur coat. Not sure where she got that style but she sure looked adorable (but we didn’t mention it for fear she would ditch that costume too!).

We threw an impromptu Halloween party for some friends and family that same weekend and had a good time catching up with people we hadn’t seen since before we moved to Maine. The highlight of the party was my homemade pumpkin puke platter…..all I did was carve a cute little pumpkin and place on a tray with dip and pretzels. Super cute, super easy!

Pumpkin Puke Platter

A few days after Halloween, we were back to the mid-60’s and I used it to my advantage on the first weekend to clean up the garden. The only thing left is the kale and brussel sprouts but I don’t think I’ll Read More…

Advertisements

Ham and Cheese Scones

Lately I have been reading and rereading one of my favorite cozy Ham and Cheese Sconemystery series, Tea Shop Mysteries, by Laura Childs. She is one of my favorite writers and I adore her Tea Shop books that bring me back to my visits to Charleston, South Carolina. Set in the old part of town, the main character owns the “Indigo Tea Shop” and always seems to stumble upon dead bodies. With the help of her tea shop employees and good friends, no murderer gets away! Her tea menus always have me drooling over not only the amazing teas she serves but the food and desserts served to her patrons. The latest book I read was her Tea Shop Mystery #12 Scones & Bones that had me thinking of delicious scones the whole time.

Contrary to popular belief, scones do NOT have to be dry, crumbly bricks that have no taste! Scones can be light, fluffy pillows of perfection with sweet or savory ingredients. They are perfect with a cup of tea, as a breakfast, lunch, snack, or dessert treat and very easy to make.

Since this book had me drooling over scones, I decided to make a batch this weekend. My pantry was in short supply and I didn’t want
a traditional sweet scone, so into the fridge I went. We had a leftover package of sliced deli ham as well as half a bag of shredded cheddar cheese. PERFECT!

Read More…

Cooking Dandelion Greens

I was so excited when I saw dandelion greens in the local MarketFresh Dandelion Greens Basket this weekend! These are a terrific leafy green that you should be eating as they are rich in minerals, super high in vitamins, have potassium and manganese and lots of other good-for-you nutrients. Bonus? If you have a “clean yard” meaning you don’t use any chemicals, you probably have an abundance of these greens in your own back acre!

As we are renting a place for the next few months, I don’t have access to those “pesky dandelions” so I was happy to see they are available at my local supermarket. One thing to know about dandelion greens is that they are bitter. The younger greens tend to be less bitter but then you are gathering little greens all over your yard. Most often the ones you Read More…

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs – Every Time!

Hard boiled eggs are one of those simple yet frustrating foods to Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Eggsmake. Boil them too long and the yolk becomes chalky and dry and has an unappetizing green or brownish color. This is especially bothersome when you are boiling lovely farm fresh eggs with that bright yellow/almost orange yolk that you want to preserve for your dishes like deviled eggs, egg salad, or just to eat as a snack. Boil them for not enough time and the yolk might not be firm enough. Good for some things like a cob salad, but not everyone wants a runny middle.

A well boiled egg will also be more likely to peel easily, while under or over boiled eggs tend to stick to the shells causing you to be Read More…

Brined Wild Goose Stroganoff

We have been experimenting with different recipes for our wild Wild Goose Stroganoff geese in the freezer. Our past go-to goose recipes have been far too labor intensive which meant we didn’t cook them as often as we should. This year we have been branching out and trying lots of new recipes and ways of cooking goose. Brining was always something other wild game lovers had told us we had to try. For some reason, it just seemed like another labor intensive step in the process and why bother? Well were we wrong! Brining wild goose is so easy and my God does it make a HUGE difference in the flavor and texture of the meat. Semi-tough goose becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender and the salt water removes a lot of the blood and thus the more intense iron or “game” flavor.

Back in January, we visited friends down in Maryland and was lucky enough to be there at the same time as the town’s annual wild game Read More…

Better Than Pillsbury Dinner Rolls

I love making anything with yeast like bread, rolls, biscuits and Homemade Dinner Rollsmore. Why? Because of one of my favorite comfort smells! Baking bread with yeast fills the whole house with that warm fermented rich scent and brings back so many childhood kitchen memories. My grandma baked a lot of breads and my mom did too. One of my earliest kitchen tasks as a youngster was helping to knead the dough. A task I enjoyed and still do today. There is something about working with your hands and getting a ball of ingredients that barely held together to its elastic shiny state of that perfect, stretchy ball. I was impatient though, as the worst
part about baking yeast bread was having to wait while letting it rise, at least once, and sometimes twice. That is killer for a kid that just wants to dig in!

Good yeast bread or rolls do take some time. I’ve made some of the “quick” 30-minute rolls and while good, sometimes the best things are worth a little wait. These rolls take about an hour from start to finish so that isn’t too bad, even on a weeknight. They are one of my favorite recipes as the honey gives them a subtle sweetness and yet they are super soft and fluffy!

My husband always says “these are better than Pillsbury” so that’s Read More…

Snow is Here in New England

Well it finally feels like winter here in New England! The snow was

First sticky snow of 2016

Magical Sticky Snow, VT

falling all over the upper East coast yesterday and we all woke up with a blanket of white everywhere. Vermont as well as Maine look like winter wonderlands!

While it doesn’t always make good driving weather, my favorite kind of snow is the wet stuff that sticks to every single branch on trees so you get these magical winter scenes like this one.

Aldo Leopold and Hunting Geese

We took some time to go goose hunting with a friend who has a Geese decoy's and mountainsbeautiful hunting dog named Aldo. When I asked how he got his name, his owner replied that it was from Aldo Leopold. Leopold, an amazing ecologist and writer and is the author of “A Sand County Almanac”, an environmental classic published in 1949 that I first read in college. It is so well written that it is still widely used today. The book takes the reader through each season, month by month and goes into detail the way the animals and environment changes and adapt.

My favorite section is that of March, even though for me, this natural phenomenon is more noticeable in the fall and winter months. He talks of the geese returning and thus we see a return of Read More…

Sour Cream and Walnut Banana Cake

We always have bananas on our kitchen counter as they are the perfect snack for on-the-go. Dependingfinished banana cake on the season and weather, sometimes they last longer and sometimes I swear they ripen overnight. When we find some that have gone past the pleasant eating stage, I peel them, put them in a zip-lock freezer bag, and toss them into the freezer. Then, when the extra ripe bananas fill the bag (I use quart size so about 4 bananas fit) it is ready to bake banana bread, banana muffins, or – our family favorite, banana cake!
When you are ready to bake, take your bag of frozen ripe bananas out of the freezer and as they thaw
you can mash them up a bit right in the bag to make the perfect consistency. Then, simply add the bananas to your recipe.

frozen ripe bananas

Banana cake is really just a denser and I think gooier banana bread recipe that you put in cake form as it is extra moist and thus good for slicing and serving. I have baked this cake lots of different ways Read More…

Vermonter On The Move

Well, it all happened so fast I’m still digesting what is happening. One minute I’m working my job but welcome-to-mainethinking of something new – then I dreamily apply for a job in Maine on a whim, and the next thing I know, I’ve accepted, resigned from my job and have a week to pack and move to Maine. What just happened?

So yup. This Vermonter is on the move and heading to Maine in just a week. I’ve always loved the ocean and to me, Maine is kind of like Vermont but with a coastline….and Read More…

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

ellenparkerwrites

Romantic suspense in the Heartland

Rose Bay Letters

Observations & Reflections from Home & Abroad from the Side-Kick Traveller

food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

A Half Baked Idea

Eat your heart out