A Visitor

We had a visitor this week. Just taking a stroll through our property.

Say “hello” to a ruffed grouse!

Menu Planning Gymnastics

Colette and I share the menu planning and cooking responsibilities, she being responsible for two dinners and I for five. But this week required some fun menu planning gymnastics. For starters, I increased her responsibility to three meals. There are two snowboarding days where I will have to cook and dinnertime will have to be flexible. There’s a snow storm expected to come in Saturday evening, requiring careful planning so all provisions for meals are purchased already and providing a perfect excuse for some fine comfort food. And the Academy Awards are Sunday night, and that just begs for some festive food. A few leaps, some cartwheels, and here’s what the plan for the week looks like:

Thursday (Colette cooking) – spaghetti, green salads, garlic bread

Friday (snowboarding day) – Tomatillo Chicken Soup, green salads

Saturday (Colette cooking) – breakfast for dinner!…scrambled eggs, bacon, and Cranberry Walnut Bread (she’s making up this recipe!)

Sunday breakfast – Overnight Sticky Buns for part of breakfast – just essential to have on one snowy morning a year

Sunday dinner (Colette cooking) – Oscar Night – Bowtie Pasta (bow tie…get it?) with Garlic Cream Sauce, green salads, garlic bread. Individual chocolate cakes with raspberry mousse for dessert.

Monday (snowboarding day) – stuffed potatoes, green salads

Tuesday – cajun chicken paninis, green salads

Wednesday – Italian Crockpot Chicken, rice, salads

Some of these recipes we’ll be trying for the first time. A full report, if they are successful, will follow.

Winter Fun

We had some friends up for some winter fun last weekend! They went snowboarding with Max and Colette  on Friday. And then Saturday, we all headed over to the big sledding hill. Ever since we’ve lived here we have wanted to go to “the big sledding hill”, but we just haven’t made it over there. Sometimes an entire winter has past without us even thinking about it. Sometimes, like last year, there just wasn’t enough snow. But last Saturday, we had time, snow, and friends!

The hill, I believe, belongs to a farm. The farmhouse is on one side of the road along with the parking area for the sledding hill. We were all tickled to discover that to get to the sledding hill they ask you to use a tunnel that goes underneath the road. Really, it’s not more than a large drainage pipe, but we thought it was pretty cool.

There’s Colette, sweetly waiting for me at the other end of the tunnel. She was waiting to warn me that the end of the tunnel was just a sheet of solid ice and to make sure I safely crossed it. She knows ice makes me nervous and fearful of repeating my nasty fall of four and a half years ago. I love that girl!

Fun on the sledding hill!

Our friend owns a GoPro camera. Much fun was had with the GoPro mounted on the end of a treking pole to capture the thrill of the ride.

The laughing pile of “carnage” at the bottom of the hill. Too fun!

A very fun day with good friends!

Just on the opposite side of the sledding hill is a brand new winery. It was a fabulous place for some apres sledding refreshment…a little wine, some hot cocoa, a cheese and fruit platter…and a roaring fire. Very nice!

Cherry Deliciousness

A delicious way to celebrate President’s Day. Delicious last night. Leftovers for tonight! George would be proud.

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!!!

Instead of giving the standard sort of Valentine’s chocolates, I did something different this year. I went to the new, posh grocery store and picked out exotic chocolate bars. It was so much fun! I chose two for each person based on flavors each liked.

Technohubby received:
-Chuao Chocolatiers’ Spicy Maya Bar – the label described it as having “seductive cinnamon, pasilla chile and warming cayenne bedded in dark chocolate”
-Vosges Smoke and Stout Caramel Bar – Rogue Ale’s Chocolate Stout beer, alderwood smoked salt, burnt sugar caramel in dark chocolate

Colette received:
-Madecasse Chocolatier’s Pink Pepper and Citrus Bar – dark chocolate with pink pepper and combava fruit
- Vosges Himalayan Crystal Salt Caramel Bar

Max received:
-Salazon Chocolate Company’s Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Crushed Organic Coffee Bar
-Vosges Dark Chocolate with Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon and Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt Bar

We’ve all had fun sampling tiny pieces for some of them. My favorite, thus far, is the Spicy Maya Bar that Technohubby received. Most delicious!


Well, the big blizzard of 2013 came and went and dumped 30″ of snow at our house! Incredible! Here’s the sight that greeted my eyes when I came downstairs Saturday morning.

Just chillin’ on the deck. Who needs a chair?

It’s official at our house. Thirty inches!

Technohubby trudges off through the snow with a snow marker in his hand. The snow marker was a probe this day. He used it to probe for our mailbox, which disappeared in the night…a casualty of the snowplow. But he found it buried in a snowbank with mail still inside.

Making the first pass through with the snowblower. Five hours later it was all done (all four of us working together for two hours, and the guys finishing three more hours). Whew! That was a lot of snow!

Max dug a small snow cave. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but Technohubby was just starting to blast him with snow from the snowblower.

After shoveling the thirty inches of snow off the deck, the kids took turns jumping off into the huge pile.

Sabbath Rest

My late-afternoon view when I awakened from my Sunday nap.

Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless

Who is this, so weak and helpless,
child of lowly Hebrew maid,
rudely in a stable sheltered,
coldly in a manger laid?
'Tis the Lord of all creation,
who this wondrous path has trod,
He is God from everlasting,
and to everlasting God.

Who is this, a Man of Sorrows,
walking sadly life's hard way,
homeless, weary, sighing, weeping
over sin and Satan's sway?
'Tis our God, our glorious Savior,
who above the starry sky
is for us a place preparing,
where no tear can dim the eye.

Who is this?  Behold him shedding
drops of blood upon the ground,
Who is this, despised, rejected,
mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
'Tis our God, who gifts and graces
on His church is pouring down;
who shall smite in holy vengeance
all His foes beneath His throne.

Who is this that hangs there dying
while the rude world scoffs and scorns,
numbered with the malefactors,
torn with nails, and crowned with thorns?
'Tis our God who lives forever
'mid the shining ones on high,
in the glorious golden city,
reigning everlastingly.

-a hymn by William Walsham How


I’ve been an absent blogger this week, because we’ve had a friend of Colette's here for most of the week! Yay!!! There was snowboarding and food, and shopping and food, and then there was Boston AND shopping AND food! That makes Boston the best!

The girls at Boston Common. The Common was established 350 years ago as a public grazing ground for cows. Since then, it has been used for: the drilling of colonial militia, an encampment for Redcoats, a place where George Washington, John Adams, and General Lafayette celebrated our nation’s independence, a gathering place for Civil War recruitment and anti-slavery meetings, anti-Vietnam and civil rights rallies, and more. But this day it was being used by Bostonians, visitors, and squirrels.

From there it was a quick jaunt to a 3-story used bookstore.

The first two stories housed more modern books, but the top floor was devoted to antiquarian books. We spent most of our time on the third floor, drooling over such delights as…

Shelves upon shelves of leather-bound tomes…

I could’ve lost complete control here! I’ll take them all, please!

What a delight to find a whole shelf full of these antique psalters! This one was dated 1846!

Then it was back outside into the cold and the wind and the bustling people. We skirted along one end of the Public Garden (est. 1837), which is adjacent to Boston Common. If you’ve ever read Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, this is the place! The swan boats still run in the summertime, but as you can see, the pond is frozen now.

Next stop was The Paper Source! Interesting and/or fine paper stores do not exist in rural New Hampshire, so I was especially delighted to have an opportunity to stop in here!

Envelopes and cards exists in every color imaginable here!

And ohhh so many lovely, lovely papers!

Did a bit of shopping…some Valentines, a stocking stuffer, a couple of funny gifts, some wrapping paper (who could resist wrapping paper with giant fish all over it?), and some items to creatively use for the shop!

We had a warm lunch of hot sandwiches and soup at Au Bon Pain (love that place!), and then we went seeking chocolate! Because, really, what day is complete without it? To fulfill this need (note how I do not say “desire”), we went to L.A. Burdick Chocolates.

As soon as we stepped inside, Colette turned to me and said, “This is a happy place!” Yes, indeed! And, ohhhh…the aroma!

As we waited for our order, we watched the staff busily preparing orders for eager chocolate connoisseurs.

Our steaming cups of decadently rich dark hot cocoa keeping company with a cacoa bean, the source of all this deliciousness.

 It was a very good day in Boston!

Super Bowl Food

My family’s more into Super Bowl food than they are the actual Super Bowl. That’s just fine with me, since (on east coast time) the big game and Downton Abbey overlapped. Horrors! Off with the game! It was all good. No one here cared anyway. Whew! But they cared about the FOOD! The big wins from yesterday were:

Bacon-Jalapeno Cheese Ball – click here for the recipe.

And Brownie-Bottom Coconut Chocolate Cream Cake – click here for the recipe.

The cheeseball recipe’s good. But that cake?…amazing!
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