A Late December Thaw

  The beginning of this week greeted us with some 40 degree  (~4.4 degrees Celsius) weather and a fleeting glimpse of the bare ground.  I decided to use the opportunity to poke around in the woods near the house. I have read that you can use birch bark to create a natural pink dye.  I…

A Christmas Day Walk

A Christmas Day walk in Stowe, VT.  Christmas this year dawned bright, sunny, and not exceptionally cold – the perfect conditions for a midday walk.  Unfortunately, even up in the mountains, there was not enough snow on the ground to justify the breaking out of the snowshoes.  I’ll have to give it a few more…

Philly Cheese Steaks

The occasional Philly Cheese Steak is one of the things that I sometimes miss about living in the mid-Atlantic region.  The one time I had the gall to order one in a Vermont establishment it came served up on a French baguette topped in sharp cheddar cheese – tasty, but not what I would call…

Shell Ornaments

This past summer, I made a bunch of these shell ornaments to sell at a craft fair at the beach – She Sells Sea Shells down by the Sea Shore…   I found them to be a great way to archive precious moments or memorable places.  The pictures I transferred onto the shells were a…

Stollen

My Mother used to make stollen every year for Christmas.  She readily employed a small army (her children) to undergo the labor intensive kneading process.  We – gullible, young, and naive – would have a blast stretching, plopping, and mushing the dough around.  This year I tried out a new stollen recipe adapted from Visions of…

Cloth Gift Tags

I made cloth tags to go with the reusable cloth gift bags.  Initially, I used paper ones, but they had a habit of disappearing, tearing, and getting crunched up.  I figured that I could take a little time this year to make some nice ones that might last a little longer. Materials: Makes about 18…

Cloth Gift Bags

Somehow, I always end up being the person responsible for wrapping everyone else’s Christmas presents.  Numerous years ago, after my latest rant concerning the perils of winkled wrapping paper, tangled ribbons, dull scissors, and uncooperative tape dispensers, a friend of mine mentioned that her mother used to make reusable cloth gift bags to wrap the…

Amelia’s Refrigerator Cookies

These are my Dad’s favorite cookies.  His Grandmother, Amelia, used to make them for him each year around Christmas time, and now the task has fallen to me.  These Refrigerator Cookies are some of the simplest cookies to make, but they check almost all the boxes of the perfect cookie list; buttery, crispy along the…

Chicken Pho – Simplified

With the wind-chill values hitting the negatives today I thought it would be a great time to break out the chicken soup recipes – I tend to think of Chicken Pho as a more elaborate, spiced version of chicken soup.  My home-cooked Pho tends to be a more simplified take on the more traditional pho…

Gingerbread Bunnies

This is a recipe of my Mother’s.  I have no idea where she found the recipe, but it has become one of those family Christmas cookies staples that we make every year.  We usually use this recipe to make gingerbread men, but this year I was going for simple – figuring that the bunny shape…

Winter Wreath

I was feeling the purple this year, or more like, I was feeling the plum – something regal and a change from the usual red.  So with visions of sugarplums dancing through my head, I attached a few plum christmas-tree bulbs to my fresh balsam wreath.  I then added some gold to bring some warmth,…

Chocolate-Cherry Shortbread

Recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies. Ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) Butter (room temp) + 6 tbsp Butter 1/2 cup Powdered (Confectionary) Sugar 1/4 cup Maraschino Cherry Syrup 1 tsp Salt 2 1/2 cups Flour 1 cup diced Maraschino Cherries 12 oz Simi-Sweet Chocolate Directions: Cream together, in a large bowl, 1 cup butter and…