Happy Birthday, George!...and Nora!

Last Saturday night, I began this blog posting.  I was going to mention that it was George Washington’s birthday.  And I was going to tell you about how I pulled my cherry pie filling out of the freezer, where it’d been since last summer and baked a cherry pie for my family.

And I did do all those things.  And then I leaned back, licking my lips, and proclaimed, “I love George Washington’s birthday!” And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Felicity called and said, “Come down to the hospital and meet your newest granddaughter!”
Teeny-tiny Nora and George Washington share a birthday!  She arrived weighing 6 lbs., 2 0z. and was 18 1/2″ long.  Details about George Washington’s actual birth are unknown.  But he couldn’t possibly have been this cute!

Welcome to the world, Nora!  Welcome to our family!


“I think one of the terrible things today is that people have this deathly fear of food: fear of eggs, say, or fear of butter. Most doctors feel that you can have a little bit of everything.” – Julia Child
In our family, we ditched margarine with its host of ingredients one can’t pronounce, in favor of butter with its natural simplicity (ingredients: cream and salt).  Even though we made this change years ago, it wasn’t quite what I wanted.
What I really wanted was butter made from the cream that came from grass-fed cows.  I’d even be willing to make it myself, if I could just find a source for cream from pastured cows.  But, alas, even the CSA’s in our area of the country don’t offer that.
And then, voila!  While shopping at our local, gourmet market, I discovered this!
I was thrilled!  As you can note on the package, it’s only made from May to September, when the cows are most likely to be pastured (due to weather).  The store had some stock left, and the price was reduced tremendously, so I snatched up a half-dozen.  Wow!  What a difference in taste and color!  Such a strong, buttery taste (almost a cheese-like flavor) and about twice as yellow as standard butter.  Currently, we’re just using it as a spreading butter, and not in baking.  But I’m thrilled to be able to provide our family with the healthier benefits!
If you’re interested in reading more, click here to read an article on the health benefits of pastured butter.
Side note: I also read that Kerrygold makes a butter from pastured cows, and it’s available at Trader Joe’s.  I have not yet checked that out.

Snowy Twilight

The evening after our last snow was a beautiful twilight…the kind after a fresh snow when all our world is bathed in blue.

Partly why I love this blue-bathed twilight so much is the cozy feeling that comes from being indoors with all the comforts of home.


We first tried French macarons in New York City, at a very small, exquisite shop suitably named “Macaron”.  Delicious!  So, when Colette planned the “tiny foods” for the baby shower, her thoughts turned to macarons.  And being fearless in the kitchen, she wanted to make them herself.  Fearless, that girl is!
It’s quite the process and takes several days.  They are mostly egg whites and almond flour.  You pipe them out onto the baking sheet with a piping bag, push all the points down with a wet finger, and bang the pan really hard on the wet counter to “help them develop feet”.  Yep.  Feet.  Do you see their feet?

Two of them are sandwiched together with a layer of chocolate ganache between them. Beautiful and scrumptious!

Snow Upon Snow

Since last Thursday, we have had two feet of snow!  We got 11″ Thursday, 4″ on Saturday, and 9″ today.  I’m thrilled!  Here are some photos I snapped of the snow around our house after the first storm.
This is an urn on the front porch.  It was filled with winterberry branches at Christmastime, but the birds have long since picked the berries from them, leaving just the bare branches.

That barely visible rock wall in our front yard has completely disappeared now.

Snow blowing!

The views of the snowy landscape.

Italian Hot Chocolate and More

Last week, Colette and I made an excursion to Hanover, NH.  A quest, if you will.  We had heard that our favorite gelato shop, Morano Gelato, also served Italian hot chocolate during the winter months.  Say no more.  We felt compelled to try it.

Step #1, study the menu.  Here, we discovered that you can get the Italian hot chocolate plain, or with a scoop of gelato in it.

Decisions, decisions.  They always have a tantalizing, drool-worthy display of flavors. Wickedly, they post their flavors (made fresh daily) on Facebook and tempt me from afar. (Some summer day, I’m simply going to have to make an impromptu visit when pear gelato shows up on the menu for the day!)

In the end, I opted for a small Italian hot chocolate served without gelato.  And Colette opted for the full chocolate experience by ordering it served with a scoop of dark chocolate gelato.  I think next time, I will get a scoop of this Forest Berries flavor in my hot chocolate.

The amazing elixir comes from this golden vessel, where paddles keep it continuously mixed.  Be still my heart!

Oh goodness!  And, yes, it really does need to be eaten with a spoon.

Suitably enlivened by cups of chocolate and sugar, we stepped out into the brisk winter air and spent some time walking up and down Main Street.  I love the beautiful, colonial architecture of the buildings.

As Colette says, “Llamas were spotted in Hanover” that day.

The beautiful campus of Dartmouth University.

Colette did a bit of shopping in the lovely J.Crew store.

Before we left, we stopped in at the Dirt Cowboy Cafe.  It’s a cruel thing to put the chocolates display just inside the door.

It’s a cozy and bustling place populated mostly by Dartmouth students seeking caffeine.  And they’ve come to the right place, as there is an entire wall of exotic coffee beans sold by the pound.

An almond croissant and a chocolate croissant came home with us to share with the guys after dinner that night.  Delicious!

Baby Shower for the Tiny Girl

Felicity is due in just eight days!  We can hardly wait for the arrival of the Tiny Girl!  Today, Colette and I hosted a baby shower for her.  Snow was softly falling throughout the party.  About twenty friends came for the baby shower brunch.  The party had a Valentine’s Day theme.

- The Menu -
Mini Pancakes with Orange-Vanilla Marscapone and Homemade Raspberry Syrup
Mini Strawberry Yogurt Parfaits with Homemade Apple Granola
A Trio of Quiches
Chocolate Dipped Giant Strawberries
Chocolate Macarons
Maple-Dijon Chicken Salad in Phyllo Cups
Valentine M&M’s
Orange Juice
Orange and Raspberry Infused Water
Colette came up with the menu based around the concept of “little foods”.  She made the pancakes, which were beautiful, as well as delicious!

People, big and small, were eager to eat.

There was lots of visiting and laughter and games.

And then it was present time!

Our gift for the Tiny Girl was a christening gown!  We all attend church together at a reformed church that practices, as has most of Christendom throughout the centuries, infant baptism.  Hopefully, this will become an heirloom used by any other girls the Lord blesses them with, and then be passed down through the generations.

Think Pink

When Max and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last month, we passed a sign for a special exhibit called “Think Pink”, and this dress was featured on the sign:

Ooooo!  I informed him, “Before we leave, I have to see that dress!”    So, at the end of our visit, we found the exhibit room.  He took one look at a pink room filled with pink clothing, and said, “I’m staying out here,” and found himself a seat on a leather settee. Much to my surprise, the beautiful, 18th century dress that enticed me to the exhibit was a doll’s dress and no more than 12″ high.  But it was ever sooo exquisite!
The entire exhibit was focused on the history of the color pink in fashion.  (The lighting was dim in the room, as is frequently the case to protect delicate textiles, so my photos are just a bit blurry.)  Down the center of the room was an impressive array of pink gowns through the ages.

This man’s suit dates to the 18th century.  The placard explained that the color pink was used interchangeably for boys and girls without distinction until the 1920′s.

This sweet little child’s dress from the 1830′s was my favorite piece of the day.  It was unknown whether it was a boy or a girl’s gown, since boys were often put in gowns until they were about five years old.  I’d love to try to replicate this dress for the shop someday.

This beautiful Gatsby-era gown was one of the loveliest in the collection.  The mix of pink and gold, accented by black, and ever so sparkly made it just a stunner.

A sweet baby set.

Another one of my favorites was this gown from the 1830′s.  Its vibrant color comes from being dyed in either cochineal or madder.  Cochineal is a beetle, and madder is a root.

And another glimpse at the line-up of gowns.  The one just to the left was made in 2001 (as I recall).  And the one to the right is an Oscar de la Renta couture piece, also recently made.

Tomorrow, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ll be posting one more piece from this exhibit on Facebook.  To see it, just “like” Wonderful Life Farm on Facebook!
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