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Showing posts from February, 2012

A Vermont Weekend

Snow on Okemo Mountain Last weekend we visited Vermont.  It was Presidents' Day weekend, typically a peak weekend for visitors to Vermont's ski country, but this has not been a good year for snow in Vermont. The only snow to speak of was the snow on the mountains.  Even though the ski slopes have been making snow, ensuring skiing and snowboarding activities continued, we chose to spend our time exploring the area. Our home base was Ludlow, Vermont, home of Okemo Mountain Ski Resort . Ludlow on a Map To explore we headed North.  I wanted to make a stop at the King Arthur Flour facility in Norwich, Vermont.  King Arthur Flour is undergoing a major expansion to their facilities, so if you visit before summer 2012 you may find them in some disarray. King Arthur Flour Store The retail store has plenty of hard to find kitchen items and many unique baking ingredients recommended by the fine King Arthur bakers on their Baking Banter blog . King Arthur Produ

Savory Swiss Chard

Do you find yourself in a vegetable rut?  This time of year I find myself stuck eating the same vegetables over and over again...carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.  This may be a great time to pick up a bunch or two of fresh greens and change up your vegetable sides a bit.  Spinach is my usual leafy green vegetable of choice, so on my most recent trip to the grocery store I decided to shake things up with some Swiss Chard. Colorful Swiss Chard Prepare your Swiss chard by rinsing the leaves well and cutting about an inch from the stems.  Discard this portion of the stems.  The rest of the stems are tasty.  Cut the stems from the leaves and chop into 1 inch pieces.   Cut the leaves into 1/2 inch widths.  It's as simple as that. Savory Swiss Chard Ingredients Savory Swiss Chard 1 bunch of Swiss chard 1 tablespoon garlic flavored extra virgin olive oil 2 slices of bacon, diced 1/2 small red onion sliced 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 cup chicken stock Directio

The Basics of Pinterest

Have you heard about Pinterest?   The Pinterest site explains that Pinterest "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes". I think of Pinterest as my personal magazine. It gives me a space to create storyboards reflecting my personal interests, favorite things, places of interest and things I want to remember. If you connect with me on Pinterest you'll be able to see my boards. As I write this I have twenty two boards in various stages of development. At first I wasn't sure I would like Pinterest.  I didn't really get the point. Then I figured out one good way to use Pinterest would be as a substitute for bookmarking Internet pages in my browser.  I have many, many pages bookmarked that I want to remember or refer back to.  Instead of bookmarking a page, with Pinterest you "Pin It" using the Pin It button.  Pin

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup If you are a fan of mushrooms you are most likely a fan of mushroom soup as well.  No, not the kind of mushroom soup that comes in a can, but the kind you make lovingly yourself.  It's a special treat. Do you think it is hard to make cream of mushroom soup?  Not at all.  It's actually a pretty quick soup to whip together and takes just a few simple ingredients. The star of the soup, of course, is the mushrooms.  I used a mixture of white button mushrooms and baby bellas, the small version of portabellas.  You can use whatever you have on hand or even use a fancy wild mushroom mix.  Whatever you choose, it is going to be good.  Trust me. Gather together your cast of characters.  You'll want to be sure you have a little sherry on hand.  No, you can not use cooking sherry.  I'm sorry if I'm sounding a little bossy here, but this, my friends is the secret love ingredient.  Sure, you can leave it out, but it just won't be as good as it

DIY Refinishing Oak Stars-Part 2

Last week I told you about a brand new toy, my orbital sander, and that I intended to put it to good use refinishing the stairs in my house .  Well, today I am happy to report that the project is well underway.  When last we left this saga I had completed three hours of prep work on three of the twelve stairs needing refinishing.  I chose the flight of three stairs above the landing as my starting point thinking the landing was an appropriate separation point for the work.  I'm expecting this project to take a few (maybe several) weeks to complete.  It makes sense to divide the work into multiple parts. Those three stairs got another hour and a half of sanding and then some dings and holes in the treads were filled with wood filler. Not being certain about whether my prep work was sufficient, I decided to go ahead and stain just one stair as a test.  That way I could assess how the stain would take to the wood, whether the stain color would be satisfactory, and if I neede