Monday, November 19, 2012

Catch Up


Hurricane Sandy aftermath
Hi, everyone. I'm so sorry I never took the time to update you on how I fared
throughout Hurricane Sandy until now. As I'm sure you all know by following
the news on this storm, Long Island (where I live) was hit terribly, and my neighborhood
was no exception. I was out of power for seven full days, then lost it temporarily again
during the Nor'easter that hit us a few days later. My brother, who just got married
last weekend, was out until the day after his wedding! Needless to say, it has been
a stressful time. But I must express how our issues paled in comparison to the hundreds
of victims in the tri-state area who not only lost power, but their homes, and some even
their lives, as well. This storm was devastating, to say the least, and it will take much
longer than a couple of months for us to get back on our feet physically, and
especially and above all, emotionally. I can attest to that personally.

Halloween, 2012 (the darkest Halloween night ever.)
I'm sure a lot of you are wondering how my Halloween went amidst all of this!
We were still out of power during my favorite holiday, and I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed
myself this year. With the lack of lighting and heat and the surge of stress and worry,
it was very hard to get into the spirit of things in my house. Not to mention, most of
my decorations had already been taken down from the storm, and there were too
many other things going on for me to put them back up again, so I felt all my hard
work this year was for nothing. But on the bright side, we had TONS of trick or treaters.
Isn't that funny? I had bought so much candy before the hurricane in anticipation for
the many children in my neighborhood, but after Sandy hit, I was almost positive
that no one would show up on Halloween night... Wrong! I had more trick or treaters
than I think I ever had. I guess the blackout gave everybody a little cabin fever,
so what better way to alleviate that than doing a little trick or treating?!


So, all in all, even though Halloween this year was largely a disappointed for me,
I have to think positively towards the future and exclaim: 
Next Halloween, I'm going ALL OUT!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, it's Thanksgiving time again!
I'll be having it here at my grandfather's, and plan on baking this for dessert:
My mouth is watering already... Thanks, SB! ♥

Here's wishing everyone a happy and
filling Turkey Day! And tell me...
What will YOU be baking this year?
Gobble, gobble!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy


It doesn't look like much- actually, it looks quite beautiful- but don't be fooled.
We are getting hit hard on Long Island, and the storm hasn't even REACHED us yet.
Forty mile an hour winds gust through the trees, ripping at wet leaves and branches
Noises of unseen objects hit against the houses, the electricity flickers precariously,
and the wind. Oh, the furious sound of the wind... it rattles your bones despite
your being safely out of the elements at home. Nature is in a total frenzy out here.

We haven't been doing much inside- Jake, Lola, and I have stayed huddled under the covers
for most of the afternoon, peeking out the window every so often to witness the havoc.
"Huh? There's a hurricane approaching?" Zzzz...
We're prepared with lots of water, candles, a propane stove, and food. Fortunately (and
I emphasis the word FORTUNATELY), we still have electricity, and I truly hope it stays 
that way, although as I stated earlier, the storm technically hasn't even hit us yet. We won't
bear the worst of it until around 7:30 this evening. I took down most of the decorations
outside, except for the gravestones. I've had one casualty so far- Norman Bate's gravestone-
but it can be easily fixed. Yep, things are pretty crazy out here on the island. I've seen pictures
of Martha's Vineyard, and other parts of Massachusetts, and it doesn't look too pretty there either.

To all of my fellow inhabitants of the east coast, please be safe.
I hope you have stocked up on all the necessities like water, canned foods,
some alternative form of cooking device for those with electric stoves, candles...
and of course, the "other" essentials like good books, board games,
 cocoa, and furry pets to cuddle up with when you get a bit nervous.

Hang in there, everyone-
My prayers are with you all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sleepy Hollow

How's everyone's October going?

Mine's been going along swimmingly! 
from Jack O'Lantern carving (like the one I did above!),
to decorating a new house, to a night of haunted house jumping . . .


This was scary!

. . . It's been quite a SPOOKTACULAR month!
I even went on a little day trip up to Sleepy Hollow, 
New York over the weekend with my boyfriend, Jacob. . .

Jake and I standing on the "Headless Horseman Bridge" ♥

Sleepy Hollow has always been one of the most special places
in my life. I have been going there religiously every October for about seven or
eight years now. I was initially attracted to it because I felt like it had the same
Halloween appeal as the larger-scale Salem, but was much less touristy and had a 
more old fashioned "home town" feel. When I first began coming here, most of their 
Halloween events were geared towards the local crowd; high school haunted hayrides 
that soared through the town, lantern-lit spooky walks through Phillipsburg Manor, 
low-key readings of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" at the Old Dutch Church 
where they'd serve ginger snaps and warm apple cider over the pot belly stove.
It was simply magical, and it kept me coming back year after year...
Of course, things didn't stay the same
I noticed the change a couple of years ago when they officially got rid of Legends Evening 
at Phillipsburg Manor and replaced it with "Horseman's Hollow"- a gimmicky, circus-like 
haunted house with "vampire pirates" and a gruesome Ichabod Crane. Then they changed 
the high school hayride around, replacing the unique and detailed scenes we would drive by
with an overabundance of more "vampire pirates," and forgetting all about the Headless
Horseman that would appear at the end of the ride. They got rid of the original reader
of the Legend at the Old Dutch Church, a theatrical and engaging man who kept you at 
the edge of your seat, to a dumb-downed and overly-kid friendly reader whose voice 
was that of a five year old's, and completely obliterated the atmosphere of the tale.
The swarms of tourists continue to congest the streets more and more every year,
adorned in their "Horseman's Hollow" t-shirts and spoiling the peaceful ambiance
that I once so fondly cherished. You'd be lucky if you can find a ticket to anything
on a Friday or Saturday evening... everything is cluttered... everything is sold out.

All of these things broke my heart as the years progressed, but I kept coming back,
and did so again  this year, because despite all the changes, it still remains an enchanting
and extremely beautiful place. And I wanted more than anything to share it with the man
I love, so I did! This past weekend. And guess what?... We had the best time.

Cute store in town. Howdy back!

Lovely view of the Hudson River

Jake and myself again... Isn't he so cute!

The gift shop at Phillipsburg Manor... See anything you like?

Getting ready for our walking tour of the Old Dutch Burying Ground...

The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow!

Say cheese!... Bah! The sun was in our eyes!

Sweet little Jack O'Lantern by the door of the church.

Snapping some photos of the cemetery

Lovely!

Taking a walk to the "Headless Horseman Bridge"

(Sorry, couldn't help myself. Too ca-hute.)

Exploring the brook on the way... See the bridge in the background?

King of the Hollow!

Simply beautiful.

Taking it all in...

Lonely gravestone spotted on our walk back.

Silly faces!

I ♥ Autumn ... don't you?

So, even though Sleepy Hollow isn't exactly the Sleepy Hollow I fell in love
with anymore, the heart and soul of it remains... amidst the colorful leaves that go
shushing in the wind, behind the weathered gravestones, underneath the old wooden
bridge, between every kiss and every laugh I shared with the man who holds my heart.
Yes, I just know it's still there.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's October!

Say hello to my Halloween Cat
(who's turning fourteen on the 28th!)

Anyone who's anyone knows that I love-love-LOVE October...
it's my favorite month in fact. I look forward to it all year long, and 
when it's finally here I barely even know what to do with myself!

I surround myself with Halloween decor as a way to cope

This year has been particularly interesting since I moved for the first time 
since I was a year old- I've been so used to celebrating Halloween at my old
house, with my aunt and cousins who used to live with me... now everything
has changed. There's good and bad points, keep in mind! I truly miss sharing
this time with my extended family who now live a few towns away, and I miss
the home I grew up in, and the friends I left behind. Living at my grandfather's
has been anything but a picnic, as I've told you, and I really miss having a place 
I could truly call "Home." But there have been good changes! For one, I met the
love of my life almost a year ago, and I'm so ecstatic to have someone close to spend
this season with. And another plus is my grandfather's neighborhood and property are
fantastic! There are so many children here, and his front yard is the perfect canvas for decorating.
Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself!:

Pretty cool, huh?

So, see! there are things to be thankful for.

And as an extended thanks to YOU, my followers and friends,
 I'd like to spread the Halloween cheer by sending out some cards
to anyone who would like one! If you're one of them, please send me
an e-mail with your name and mailing address (erinxtreme77@aol.com)
... it'll be sure to make your day spooktacular!

- - - - - - - - -

That's all for now!
Wishing you a beautiful fall weekend full of
pumpkins, falling leaves, and maybe a few ghosts here and there!

BOO

Friday, September 28, 2012

B&B Friday (9/28/12)!


As per one follower's request, I thought the most appropriate way
to kick off my blog again is to start with a feature it was known for...
B&B Friday!

It has been so long since I've done one of these, I truly
had a ball snooping around for some gems to share with you.
Enjoy them!

1.
(Bar Harbor, ME)

"Coach Stop Inn, built c. 1804, is Bar Harbor's oldest inn, dating back to the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. You'll be sure to remember Deborah's attention to detail and you will find that the food is what you will be talking about for many years. Come see why 'Down East' magazine says Coach Stop Inn is 'Where to Stay in Bar Harbor.' Chef Owned/Operated - Featured on 'Emeril Live'."

Rates: $100-165

2.
(West Dover, VT)

"Enchanted by the summer's cool clear days, the autumn's brilliant colors and the winter’s quiet snowfall, the West Dover Inn brings to life the best of Vermont. Close to everything, yet far from anything, the inn is an ideal destination for a perfect New England vacation. Located only two miles from the base of Mount Snow, our home continues an important American tradition begun in 1846. Originally built as a stage coach stop and tavern, this inn has been lovingly restored and now provides 12 quiet, luxury accommodations as well as memorable dining in the 1846 Tavern and Restaurant."

Rates: $90-329

3.
(Stow, MA)

"Built in 1734 and located in scenic Stow, MA, our traditional B&B Inn is situated on three idyllic acres. Located 27 miles from Boston, we offer four bedrooms with private baths and modern amenities.... The blend of antiques and modern comfort, wide floor boards, cable TV/DVD players, and complimentary Wi-Fi welcome our guests. We serve a full English breakfast daily using organic and local produce wherever possible. Situated in apple country, convenient to Boston, Concord, and Sturbridge, the Amerscot House Inn is ideally located for the business traveler or vacationer."

Rates: $130-175

- - - - - - - - - -

It's beginning to look a lot like . . . 
HALLOWEEN!


Can you feel it in the air? Doesn't it smell a little sweeter?
The leaves... haven't they begun to curl and fade?
Have you seen any ghouls, or ghosts, or six-legged goblins?
I hope not!... At least, not yet. :-)


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Remembering Kary


Accompanied by the happiness of reigniting
my blog and reconnecting with old friends, I 
also learned some terrible, unfortunate news:
a loyal follower of my blog, and dear friend,
had passed away a few months back.

I was absolutely stunned upon hearing this - Kary was
such a beaming figure of the blogging world. At my most 
active, she always blew me out of the water with her 
lovely, vibrant, and spirited posts about her daily life, 
her adorable pets, her shared love for New England, 
and the Halloween season... to name only a few.

Needless to say, blogging won't be quite the same without her.

I am so regretful that I never had the chance to stay goodbye,
or keep in touch after I temporarily drifted away from blogging.
She was such a kind, warm-hearted, and creative woman- as 
heartbreaking as it is to have lost her, I am so glad to say I had 
the honor of knowing her, and the pleasure of calling her my friend.
With the arrival of Autumn, and Halloween so very close behind, I can't 
help but think that she is looking down on all of the excitement, and smiling...  
enjoying it the same way as she had done so preciously during her time on this earth.

Kary, you will truly be missed.

Her beloved dog, Teddy

A New England Kind of Life


"We are in for a spell of perfect weather now, every day luminous,
every night brimmed with stars. Picnics at noon, supper by the 
applewood fire at night, a walk in the cool moonlight before bed."
~ Gladys Taber

It's Autumn in New England!

... Wait a minute. Have you forgotten me?
I think I may have forgotten about me in the middle of
all my distractions! I know I say it all the time, but I need to 
say it again- I feel ashamed that I haven't updated this blog
in so long! July was such a long time ago! I always come back
to all of you with confidence that I'll start blogging regularly again,
but alas, life gets back in the way, and there I am... stuck in the same hole.

That thought got me to thinking...

Maybe I need to adjust the mission of this blog to accommodate the
thing that keeps getting in between it. I know one of the main reasons
I don't blog as often is because I don't have the time to think of a New
England related topic to post about. But what about my own life?
Even though I don't technically live in New England, I can say with
confidence that I try to center my life around its essence, and how
its beauty, and its homeliness, and its tradition make me feel.

... I know I'm living
New England kind of life!
(As many other of you can attest to as well.)

So, should I blog about my daily experiences on how I'm
striving to live a "New England Kind of Life"? You tell me!
If I feel that most of you like the idea, then I will immediately
shift the gears of this blog and get to posting about new things!

What to Expect?:
  • Much of the same New England things I've always blogged about!
  • My baking
  • Decorating
  • Holiday Celebrations
  • Weekend country excursions
Think of it less as a total transformation, and 
more like a fresh makeover for my blog!

Anyways, leave me a comment of what you think...
Don't be shy to say you hate the idea!
I'll take all opinions in consideration.

In fact, while you ponder this, I recommend you throw on
some comfy pajamies, light a few pumpkin-scented candles,
and whip up a batch of Susan Branch's deliciously soothing...
 Talk to you then...♥

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Bars!


Hello, everybody!
How's your summer going?
Anyone have any New England vacation plans,
or already have one under your belt?...
If so, please share them with us!
And for those of you who don't have anything planned,
yet still are craving a taste of our beloved region, fear no more-
The quickest way to get a taste is to find a regional recipe!
And I just so happen to have the perfect one for you ♥ . . .

Blueberry Crumb Bars!
This recipe hails from Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is
Don't judge simply by the picture- believe me- it tasted much better
than it looked! Think of it as a buttery crusted blueberry pie, only 
in bar-form, and much easier to make. Sounds like a winner to me!

Ingredients
1 c. plus 1/2 c. sugar, divided
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 c. shortening
1 egg
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. cinnamon
4 c. blueberries
3 t. cornstarch

Instructions
Mix together one cup sugar, flour, baking powder, shortening, egg, salt and cinnamon.
Mix well with pastry cutter or fork; dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough
into a greased 13"x9" pan (I used a 9"x9" pan which worked just as well!).
Mix together blueberries, remaining sugar and cornstarch. Place mixture into
pan over dough. Crumble remaining dough over berries. Bake at 375 
degrees for 45 minutes or until top is slightly brown. Makes 12-15 bars.

- - - - - - - - - -

Bon apetit!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July is Blueberry Month!

Did you know that July is 
National Blueberry Month?
(and my birthday month! but that's besides the point.)

Blueberries are a New England staple. Let's face it -
they grow in abundance here! The very first successful
domestication of this fruit was achieved in none other than
Greenfield, New Hampshire! I don't think you can find a 
single New England cookbook that doesn't contain at least
three blueberry recipes. And as a way to affirm this proclamation, 
I've come prepared to share three of them right now!

(Tips: when acquiring blueberries for any of these recipes,
keep in mind, the tastiest blueberries are the darker, plumper kind! 
Any blueberry displaying a hint of red indicates they've not quite
ripened yet. And please, stay away from any shriveled or wrinkled 
looking ones- that likely means they've passed their peak.)

image courtesy of The Mess Pot
Blueberry Boy Bait
(this recipe is certified to hook a guy with one bite!)

Ingredients

    2 cups flour
    1-1/2 cups sugar [you can use as little as 1]
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    pinch of salt
    2/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup milk
    2 eggs
    2 to 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
    1 cup (or less) sugar [you can use as little as 2 or 3 tablespoons]
    1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the first 7 ingredients with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured 9x13-inch baking pan if using wild blueberries, 9x9-inch if using large blueberries.
  4. Arrange the blueberries on top (up to 3 cups for wild berries or 2 cups for large), then mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the batter.
  5. Bake 45-50 minutes for 9x13-inch baking pan, or an hour for 9x9-inch pan. Baking times may vary, so check the cake for when it is golden in color and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.




Blueberry-Stuffed French Toast
(recipe courtesy of the Inn on Golden Pond
in Holderness, New Hampshire)

Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese
    12 slices white bread
    1-1/2 cups frozen blueberries
    12 eggs
    2 cups milk
    1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions
  1. Thickly spread cream cheese on 6 slices of white bread. 
  2. Place bread (cream cheese side up) on the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. 
  3. Evenly distribute blueberries on top of the bread. 
  4. Cube the remaining 6 slices of white bread and sprinkle over the blueberries. 
  5. Combine eggs, milk, and maple syrup and mix well. Pour this mixture over bread cubes. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (1/2 hour covered with aluminum foil, 1/2 hour uncovered). 
  8. Serve with maple syrup.

- - - - - - - - - -

Looking to pick your own wild New England blueberries?
Check out these links here:

Maine Blueberry Picking

 New Hampshire Blueberry Picking

Vermont Blueberry Picking

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