Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Winter Wonderland

I am so lucky to be able to enjoy snow.  My husband does all the hard work of snow blowing, and I stay inside and make something yummy and warm. We got a beautiful storm the other night. I opened up the bedroom window and took a few pics, and enjoyed feeling the cold, snowy air that just always makes me happy for some reason.  My cat enjoyed it with me as well, sitting on the window sill, and we watched the snow fall.  But she would not cooperate once I started taking pictures with the flash going off.  I was hoping to get a pic of her too with the snowy background, but no such luck.  She jumped out the window and explored the winter-scape for about ten minutes before coming back in, wanting me to dry her off as the snow melted on her fur.  She is a total summer girl (like my daughter).  She hates the cold.  But even she can't resist at least a short venture outside in all that frozen awe and beauty of a midnight snowstorm.  But then she was right back inside, sprawled out in front of the wood stove.

As morning came...

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."

The Christmas Season

As usual, it was a wonderful Christmas Season!  In fact, I still have my tree up and all my decorations.  I always hate taking them down ~ it seems so bare afterwards.  With much more cold, dark winter to come, it is nice having tree lights and pretty decorations around the house.  But this weekend I'll be taking it all down.  I am one of those people who is always still listening to Christmas music and watching the movies and enjoying the season up through Epiphany.  I like to savor it all and make the most of it.  It is, after all, the most  wonderful time of the year!

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Here's one of my favorite Christmas ornaments that has been on my tree literally since I was a newborn baby. 

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A mug my daughter got me one year for Christmas, that is still one of my favorites ...

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The reason for the season~

Monday, November 7, 2016

Visions of autumn danced in their heads...

Getting close to dusk...

an autumn evening....

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Autumn All Around

Where did summer go?  Well, having photo-sensitivity makes summer the most difficult season for me, and this year it was a very hot, humid, and long summer.  Sorry ~ I posted nothing.  But there is always next year.  But for me, hey, that's okay, because it is now my favorite time of year! October, November, and December are my favorite months, and I have been loving and savoring this autumn!

I enjoyed a beautiful fall day picking apples with my daughter and soaking in all the colors of foliage that is Autumn in New England (which I find one of the most glorious things). 

We got A LOT of apples!  So, that weekend we made apple pies, one for us at home and one for my mother.  I made them in a pinch, didn't have any particular recipe, so looked up online and used Martha Stewart's pie crust recipe (how could I go wrong ~ the crusts came out flaky and delicious). Then I just loaded that thing with apples, tossed in flour, sugar, and cinnamon.  They came out great.  I used mostly Macintosh apples, with a few Cortland and Honey Crisp added in.  My husband likes his apple pie served with some slices of very sharp cheddar cheese, my daughter prefers hers served warm with vanilla ice cream, and I love mine the best at room temp, just as is.  

But what I am blogging about today is something that brings back happy fall memories from my childhood.  Every year, there would be one night where my mother would make apple dumplings for us for dinner.  After being outside on a chilly afternoon, raking leaves for a while, then hanging out with friends, with it getting darker out earlier, we'd come inside, my nose and toes still cold from being out in the cold air for so long ... and smell that apple-cinnamon goodness coming from the kitchen.  We'd all sit down to the table and dig in, often a friend or two joining us.  It warmed me right up, and tasted just like autumn in bowl.  

I've seen other people's apple dumpling recipes, and while they do look good, and I will try them sometime, my mother's is very different and unique.  She first made applesauce, then used Bisquick to make the dumplings.  And they are ~ amazing! 

Click here for the recipe: Apple Dumplings ~ and may you savor and enjoy every autumn morning, afternoon, and evening!

Monday, April 11, 2016


Well, you never know what the weather is going to be like, regardless of what the calendar says.  Here it is April, and we got snow! (Are we sure we set our clocks ahead, and not BACK a few months?!)

An odd time of year for it, but I just added a new recipe to the Winter page here on my blog.  Italian Beef Stew (click here to scroll down to find the recipe).  Even though it's spring, we snuggled up with a warm fire and a hot bowl of this rich and hearty stew this weekend. 

Stay warm! (Whatever the season!)

April in New England....not surprising...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy Easter!

Easter is such a happy occasion.  You can feel a lightness, an excitement, a joy in the air.  Many people have long-held family traditions for this holiday...the holiest of holy days.  How do you celebrate Easter? 

My family used to have traditions, but as relatives passed away, moved and so forth, the traditions sort of dissolved.  But it's still always a happy day.  I do miss my big family and the homemade (gigantic) raviolis, homemade pasta, ham, and of course, the Italian Easter pie (a savory dish, not sweet), but we still always manage to create a tasty meal to celebrate the day. 
This year we are doing ham, but not as a hot meal.  We are serving it room temp, with rolls, pickles, olives, chips and dip, carrots and hummus, potato salad, and deviled eggs.  In addition to a variety of fresh, soft rolls from the bakery to have with the ham, I am also trying a recipe from the Kings Hawaiian website, using their dinner rolls.  Check it out...   ~ Scroll down their page and check out their ham sandwich and ham slider recipes....don't those look good?  I'll come back later and let you know how they came out. 

For dessert this year we have my favorite carrot cake ever....with my favorite cream cheese frosting ever... It's my mother's recipe and it's the best.  Of course, I could be partial to it since I grew up with it.  I'll be posting the recipe in my Spring page, click here to get to it.  It's not a light cake.  You know how some cakes are light and airy, and then there are others that are more dense, like a pound cake?  Well, this one is like the pound cake of carrot cakes.  It is very heavy and dense, with a delicious batter packed full of finely grated carrots and walnuts.  It gets a nice crispy "crust" as it bakes (almost two hours!).  We haven't had it in quite a few years, and as I was making it yesterday, just smelling the grated carrots, then the cinnamon, oh, it smelled just like my childhood!  Then of course I had to test (taste) the batter.  Oh ~ so ~ good!  

My husband is not a fan of nuts (other than peanuts and cashews) which is one of the reasons I haven't bothered making the carrot cake in years.  So I made him one of his all time favorite desserts ~ peanut butter pie.  I'll be posting that in the 
Everyday Recipes page here on my blog (just scroll down to find it).  It is a pie recipe you can easily whip up, and I've made it for him for Thanksgiving before, for his birthday...any time he mentions being in the mood for it.  It seems to work for just about any occasion. Even "just because." 

Hopefully you got a chance to experience some of the traditions from your childhood Easters, from recipes, to coloring eggs, or to watching your favorite Easter specials. 

P.S. The Kings Hawaiian Rolls ham slider recipe was a hit! That might very well become a new Easter tradition. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I love St. Patrick's Day.  I always enjoy listening to some Irish music today, and having a piece of Irish soda bread with a cup of Irish breakfast tea.  And I have it in my favorite tea cup, which once belonged to my Irish grandmother. 

Besides that St. Patrick is one of my favorite saints and that he helped spread Christianity throughout Ireland, I also enjoy this day just thinking of tradition and the Irish part of my life.  A lot of fun legends and lore (such as leprechauns, fairies, banshees, selkies...), and lots of green shamrocks.

I love putting up holiday decorations around the house, yes, even for St. Patrick's Day.  I have a green ceramic Celtic cross hanging outside on our door.  I have two Beanie Baby teddy bears in Irish theme (nope, never did collect them, but I do love collecting seasonal and holiday items).  I have two figurines of an Irish lad and lass, dancing.  But my favorite St. Patrick's Day decoration is a small little porcelain piggy....all dressed up with a green bow and shamrock.

My Irish grandmother gave this piggy to me a long time ago, when I was probably around 12 years old.  It was a March day, and my mother was taking my grandmother out on some errands and to do a little shopping, and the plan was for me to go with them.  But I ended up getting sick and couldn't go.  When my mother came home later in the day, she gave me this little piggy and said Grandma got it for me to cheer me up while I was sick.  I thought it was just the cutest little pig, all decked out for St. Patrick's Day.  And it did cheer me up.  It made me feel that Grandma missed seeing me as much as I had missed seeing her.  She passed away many years ago, and I still wish I had more time with her back in the day. 

And so this little piggy has been with me ever since then. Back when I was a kid, I kept it on a shelf in my bedroom. These days I keep it peeking out of in my china cabinet, but in March it gets lovingly displayed among my other St. Patrick's Day decorations.  And I sit and have a delicious cup of Irish breakfast tea, in my grandmother's tea cup, and remember good times ~ and good people.

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, 
and nothing but happiness come through your door.