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Cocktail Time-An Old Fashioned

Donna's Old Fashioned When the weather turns colder my preferences in cocktails change.  Right now I'm favoring a delightful mix of lemon, orange, bitters and Maker's Mark bourbon, that is my version of a cocktail from the age of great cocktails.  The Old Fashioned is purported to have its beginnings in the 1880s.  It was first offered as a bourbon cocktail at a gentleman's club in Louisville, Kentucky and was a favorite cocktail of presidents Harry S. Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The original version of this drink muddles sugar with bitters, bourbon and a twist of citrus.  My version is made with the muddled rind and juices of lemon and orange, sugar, and a generous dose of bitters.  The cocktail is then strained into a short, round glass with 2 ounces of bourbon and topped with seltzer.  We're not done until the cocktail is adorned with two or three maraschino cherries.  Cheers! Donna's Old Fashioned Donna's Old Fashioned Ingredients 1/

End of November Garden Chores

If you are like me, the month of November is not one where you are spending a lot of time thinking about the outdoors,but don't give up completely.  Our yards and gardens still require some attention in the Northeast, and if we spend a little time keeping up now, we will be rewarded next spring and summer.  With that in mind, I have carved out some time this month for garden activities before the snow starts to fall. Holly Clippings to Use for Christmas Decorations Last week I took a look at my holly bushes and decided a little trimming was in order.  To be perfectly honest, the trimming was far past due.  My holly bushes were looking a little straggly (is straggly a word?), so out came my trusty clippers.  I decided the time was right to collect the clippings and hold them in a bucket for some holiday decorations.  Have you thought about doing the same? I also added to my vegetable garden real estate this month.  Yes, I was so pleased with the bounty of my three 4x4

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Are you racking your brain to decide what side dishes you want to serve this Thanksgiving?  Are you tired of your tried and true side dishes and want to introduce something new to the Thanksgiving menu?  First I want to caution you against changing it up too much.  I say this because I learned from experience.  Families come to depend on a specific menu for certain holidays.   In my case I eliminated my broccoli casserole from our Christmas Eve dinner and there was much unhappiness around our dinner table.  My suggestion to you is to never eliminate, but feel free to add.  That way your dinner guests can choose to stay with their favorites or try something new.  I'm offering three suggestions for changing it up a bit this Thanksgiving. Three Side Dishes for Thanksgiving My first, and most favorite Thanksgiving side dish, is roasted Brussels Sprouts.  Brussels sprouts, you ask?  Yes, friends, don't go turning your nose up at the suggestion of Brussels sprouts.  I'm telli

Appetizers for Thanksgiving

Are you looking for some appetizers to keep your guests at bay while the turkey finishes roasting in the oven on Thanksgiving Day?  Have you been asked to bring an appetizer to your family's Thanksgiving feast?  These appetizers are tasty and satisfying, without stealing the spotlight from the main event.  What's even better, you can make them in advance, so you can enjoy Thanksgiving without appetizer stress. Hot Crab Dip  Hot Crab Dip Ingredients 1 pound of crab meat 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded 4 oz. cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced 3 green onions, minced tops included 3 garlic gloves, minced 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard salt and pepper to taste   Directions Preheat oven to 325°F.   Mix all of the ingredients together in a casserole dish, stirring to combine completely.   Bake for 40 minutes or until brow

Making Pie Dough-America's Test Kitchen Vodka Dough

How many of you watch America's Test Kitchen shows on your local PBS station?  Show of hands, please.  Well, those of you who don't have your hands raised really should check your local TV listings and catch one of the shows soon.  The programs are full of ideas and tips, like this suggestion that you can make a better pie dough using vodka as one of the ingredients.  I know, sounds crazy doesn't it? Vodka Pie Dough Pie dough is not my thing.  No, not at all.  Yes, I've been known to purchase the prepared pie dough from my local grocery store.  No, I'm not ashamed to admit it, and neither should you be.  My mom, keeps telling me that making pie dough is easy.  Yes, easy as pie.  Well, I'm finally willing to tackle the art of making pie dough.  I actually started about a year ago.  I selected different dough recipes, made some pies and compared the crust results.  I had no clear winner with my first attempt at the experiment, so I'm ready to start again.

An Off-Season Visit to Ogunquit, Maine

Visit Ogunquit, ME Do you need to get away this weekend?  Try a weekend in Maine. Early November is a great time of year for a weekend getaway in New England.   This year, for the second time, we spent a couple of days in the lovely seaside town of Ogunquit, Maine .  At just 120 miles from Providence, Rhode Island and 75 miles from Boston, Massachusetts, Ogunquit is easily accessible by car for New Englanders. An Easy Drive to Ogunquit, Maine Off season, Ogunquit is a quiet little town with a quaint main street.  That makes it perfect for an afternoon stroll. A Quaint Main Street Where to Stay When Visiting Ogunquit, Maine Be aware that many of the town's hotels and restaurants close during the fall and winter, but you'll still have plenty of wonderful options.    We stayed at the Juniper Hill Inn, a well-priced, clean and friendly hotel located on Main Street in Ogunquit.  It is a short walk from the beach which makes it a winner in my book.  The staff at the ho

A Delicious Mushroom Soup

On a trip to my local wholesale club last week I purchased a large container of sliced white button mushrooms.  With so many mushrooms on hand I decided to make a mushroom soup.  I've made cream of mushroom soup in the past, but I really wanted to make a soup without cream.  I turned to the Internet for inspiration and found Anthony Bourdain's mushroom soup on the Dinner Tonight blog on Serious Eats. Delicious Mushroom Soul This soup was just what I was looking for.  It is made with simple ingredients and no cream.  All you need is onion, chicken broth, mushrooms, parsley, butter, salt, pepper and sherry.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, with the exception of the sherry.  I thought about leaving it out, but decided it would impart a flavor that may be necessary to a flavorful soup.  A quick trip to a local spirits store and I was all set.  With sherry in hand I made the soup. If you check my recipe against the original you'll see I made a couple of changes.  F