Scenes from Concord

Today, I made my twice (or thrice) annual trip to my favorite fabric source in Massachusetts.  On the way back, I stopped in Concord to meander the center of town and stop in at three of my favorite shops.  Sadly, two were closed, but it was fun to window shop and take some photographs.

Concord is rich in history, architectural details, and charming trade signs, and I enjoyed playing tourist with my camera.

Although the cook’s shop and the cheesemonger’s were closed, Nesting was open, so up the stairs I went to explore.

Next time, I think I’m going to plan on having lunch at the Colonial Inn (c. 1716).  Yes, definitely going to do that!

The Aroma of Garlic

Recently, Colette and I made a quick trip into Boston to pick Felicity and Nora up from the airport.  Before we went to the airport, we stopped in Boston’s North End to pick up cannolis for everyone.  (Next time we’re there, I’ll take some pictures of Mike’s Pastry and their famous cannolis.)  Boston’s North End, where many Italian immigrants settled, is full of Italian restaurants and gelato stands, and the aroma of garlic hangs deliciously thick in the air.  Just a stone’s throw from Mike’s is the Italian grocer, Salumeria Italiano.

Besides the delicious breads in the window that drew us in, the store is full of imported Italian groceries, all neatly stacked on metal shelves.  The black barrel was full of olive oil.

There was a case of cheeses and customer after customer stepped up and placed their orders.  The thing I found intriguing was that most of the customers were men, “One-quarter pound of pecorino, please.”  Samples were given with liberality.

So many amazing olives and marinated tasties!  We came home with a small take-out box of marinated mozzarella.  Yum!

And now that we know that the Salumeria Italiano and Mike’s Pastry are so near to one another, we’ll definitely be stopping in more often!

4th of July Offerings

There are a number of patriotic items in the shop for the upcoming 4th of July holiday!

This item is even on sale!  A patriotic girl's dress with a surprise stuffed American flag hidden in the pocket!

The Patriotic New England Note Card Set!  These would make a great hostess gift for the 4th of July holiday!

The Colonial Boy's Costume would be a great costume for a Independence Day parade!

Or, if you have a daughter, the Girl's Colonial Costume!

A New Home

I did a bit of quiet rearranging this week.  I cleared out some kitchen cupboards and everything found a new home in the new sideboard.  Although it’s a bit unconventional, I realized that my teacups would fit very nicely in the drawers, so into the drawers they went!

My personal favorite is the one with the gold handle on the left.  It’s transparently thin Limoges and was the very first teacup I ever purchased.  Ahh…Limoges!  There’s nothing like it!  I can spot a piece of Limoges from across the room in an antique store.  And yes, I adore in “Out of Africa” how she hauled all her Limoges to the wilds of Africa.  That’d be me!  And how she throws that beautiful, candelit dinner party and at the end asks, “And besides, aren’t you glad I brought my Limoges?”  Who wouldn’t be?

Roasted Mushrooms

For Father’s Day, the kids and I collaborated on dinner.  Max grilled steaks.  Colette made a red wine-garlic sauce (for the steak), baked potatoes, and whole wheat sourdough bread.  And I steamed some broccoli and roasted mushrooms.The mushrooms were super simple and can bake at the same temperature as the potatoes, making it easy to make both for the same meal.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
I used one package of baby bella mushrooms.  Brush them with a damp mushroom brush to clean them.  Cooking tip: you never want to wash mushrooms, because they are really just little sponges and will soak up all the water and then release the water once they’re heated.  Place the mushrooms in a casserole dish.

Chop one clove of garlic and about 2 tablespoons each of chives and sage.

Mix chopped garlic and herbs into 1/4 c. olive oil, and add a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Toss the mushrooms with your hands to thoroughly and evenly coat with the oil mixture.

Place in oven and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time.  Remove from oven and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.  Serve immediately to happy eaters!

Hiking in the Woods

There was a Sunday, a couple of weeks ago, when I felt well enough to suggest we all go on a hike.  Colette and Max had done this hike before, but it was new to Technohubby and I.  Breathtakingly beautiful!  I am used to hiking on dusty open paths rimmed with sagebrush in southern California.  This was an entirely different experience.  This trail meandered into the lushly green woods, past babbling brooks, over sturdy wooden footbridges (placed their for the benefit of hikers), over gnarled roots (think LOTR), and past waterfalls.   A trail map posted in the parking lot helped us to choose our path.  We chose to follow the white trail, which was conveniently marked with white-silver metal markers on trees along the way.  But you had to keep a close eye out and spot the markers so that you didn’t meander off in the wrong direction.  Here’s a few scenes from along the beaten path.

After hiking for about an hour, we reached THE END.  It is quite definitely THE END.  It says so.

And so we began the journey back, taking a slightly different route.  This one started out with a bit of an incline (not pictured).  Truly, less of an incline than our driveway, but I found myself getting winded.  Should’ve known then that I wasn’t exactly well enough to be doing this, but it was ever so lovely!  Here’s a shot from the journey back.  If you look closely, you can spot a white-silver marker on a tree.

Easy Menus When Mom is Sick

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” simply hasn’t been working for me these days.  I’ve been sick for a month now, with a brief period of improvement, then a relapse that landed me in the emergency room and resulted in a diagnosis of bronchitis.

Thankfully, grocery shopping and cooking are tasks that Colette easily and capably handled.  (Ladies, I’m telling you — teach your daughters to cook so they can be a blessing to others!)  From my reclining position on the couch, I was at least capable of planning menus. Knowing that Colette was doing a lot, I planned very simple menus for the last two weeks, so as not to overburden her.  Even if I had had to cook them myself, these would have been easy and quick to pull together.  While they're not as healthy and rely more on convenience foods than is typical of how we eat, some times are just like that.  So, while I hope good health continually for you, I present to you some quick and easy menu ideas should you find yourself under the weather for a period of time.
- frozen pizza with a green salad
- poorboy sandwiches with frozen french fries (baked)
- canned chicken noodle soup with crackers
- scrambled eggs, bacon, and fruit
- stuffed potatoes with a green salad
- sub sandwiches with potato chips
- spaghetti with a green salad
- pancakes or waffles with bacon
- chef salads with a baguette
- chicken quesadillas with green salads

Antique Finds

Colette and I visited one of my favorite antique shops last week.  These were my finds from the day.  The two blue-green glass candle holders aren’t old, but I love that sort of glass for summertime.  And I was so happy to find these fine silver spoons!  They have now taken up residence in a crock by the stove (right next to a bottle of olive oil and a lidded crock with kosher salt), and they’re going to be used for tasting spoons.  It has been on my mind for quite a while that having a crock of tasting spoons by the stove would be very useful.  I wanted them to be real silver and to be colonial in style, so these were just the ticket!

Sabbath Rest

Spring chives in the garden.

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
    hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
    and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
    like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, His works are perfect,
    and all His ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is He.

--Deuteronomy 32:1-4
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