December Days

Coffee in a Starbucks Christmas blend sounds awesome to me.

Early morning coffee when the sun is just coming up on a frosty morning when it seems the rest of the world is sleeping is an enjoyable time of day.

I love it when you can just dress comfortable and warm for the outfit of the day.

I used to work at Okemo Mountain at one time and back then if you worked there, you got free skiing. I never had time to take advantage of that but I remember we got to tour all the Inns around the area as I worked in reservations and had to know what to recommend when the condos were full. There was one beautiful inn that a young couple owned and the guy there said that the first run down the mountain was free in the morning and he frequently took advantage of that. How fun that must have been.

It’s fun to go for a walk in early winter when there isn’t a ton of snow on the ground. So pretty with new fallen snow.

There is a florist near where I live and you can buy paper white bulbs this time of year and plant them. They are supposed to be good luck for the new year as they blossom right around New Years day if you just put them in water like the above photo.

I like the container in the above photo for the paper whites.

Vermont is known for Maple Syrup and there are so many ideas to use it for.

My favorite maple syrup treat is French Toast.

Also a maple chiffon cake with maple fudge frosting is a favorite. I put that recipe on my Pinterest cake board.

Vermont has lots of rural areas.

It’s really pretty even in the frosty cold.

They have cute ideas like the candy cane door and the frosting loops for roof shingles for a Gingerbread house.

Little Gingerbread men are so cute.

I have the above Christmas cookie cutters that I got at King Arthur Flour last year.

It gets dark so early now but I love it when I go shopping and see the beautiful Christmas lights along the way.

The Vermont Country Store has maple syrup in all kinds of cute containers this time of year.

It’s also fun to make fondue with Vermont Cheddar to have when you have been out in the frosty cold.

The months just go by so fast it seems.

Luxurious Dreams

The above kitchen has everything anyone could want in a kitchen. The double wall oven, the glassed in display case for dishes, the island, plenty of counter space and neat stove top. Plus it has under cabinet lights. It is affordable because it’s in a modular home.

Just right counter-top stove.

Love the built-in hutch.

Then the laundry room. If you have ever had to lug laundry to a laundramat, this room is like a dream come true. A luxury and it comes in the modular home.

And then the beautiful glassed in shower with a rain shower-head. If you have ever had to have a shower curtain that wraps itself on you when you are taking a shower, this luxury is just a dream. And it comes in the modular home.

I like the design of the ceiling and how there is plenty of room in the bedroom.

Plus there is a master bathroom. Another luxury that comes with the modular home.

The Living-room is open concept with lots of light.

There is an option of putting in a second floor or not. You can leave it an unfinished area where 2 rooms could be added.

It even has a neat front porch.

Location is everything and this modular home can be put anywhere you want to put it. After living on the second floor with people under me, beside me and no lawn or garden, this would be the ultimate. Then add a garage for my car. To be able to plant a garden, flowers and to have a lawn and a view.

To me, it’s perfect. Everyone likes what they like. This is what I like. ❤ It was an award winning modular home and I can see why.

I have a friend who is a builder and he is into quality this and quality that. Thick insulation and all top of the line materials. Kitchen cabinets with solid wood and all the top of the line stuff. But I really just like something that looks good and is affordable.

This to me, is everything I like and it doesn’t cost way out of anything affordable. And it sure beats an apartment where you are crowded in like sardines with steep stairs, no laundry, no dishwasher and a view of buildings.

At the moment I am thankful for what I have. But it is fun to dream.

December Days

This year we have been getting quite a bit of snow early. The Farmers Almanac claims that it’s supposed to be a mild winter. Not mild so far.

I love how people decorate with string lights in their yards. The snow can be so pretty.

The shooting star string-lights are just beautiful in my opinion.

I also like white string-lights around a kitchen window. And then light a candle while you are baking.

Waddle, waddle in the snow…….

The above Chalet is almost exactly like a friend of mine had years ago. They could see 3 different mountain ranges from the huge windows in the front. The deck went around 3 sides and it was custom built just the way they wanted it. There was a pond they could see and in the summer it had swans in it. It had open beams and was just beautiful. There was a ski mountain nearby and they were both ski instructors. Plus one was a school teacher. They also owned a chalet on a lake that they custom built with gorgeous sunset views that they built in northern Vermont and they enjoyed traveling to Florida in the winter. They visited Austria sometimes and had quite the life. The guy was a native Vermonter who’s Dad was a builder and his wife was a New Yorker. So quite a team and I always envied them. Quite a different life then what I ever had, but they were one very lucky couple.

I love the middle bridge in Woodstock, Vermont. It’s just pretty any time of the year. If you go through that open gate, there is a bank with steps that go down to a landing and that house has a couple of chairs and a fire-pit that they enjoy in the summer with a view of the river.

This is a view looking out at the river from inside the covered bridge. That river has an Indian name and I can’t spell it. But it’s something like Ottaquechee River.

The above magazine was at the Walmart and I couldn’t resist buying it. The turkey dinner made easy had a mushroom sauce that had white wine in it that the turkey slow cooked in. Then it made a delicious gravy to put over mashed potatoes and over the turkey. Plus it had some really good fix-it and forget-it slow cooker recipes in it.

The highest mountain in Vermont is Mt Mansfield and Stowe has some nice ski trails on that mountain. Vail bought Stowe and also Okemo Mountain ski area recently.

Chocolate fudge is fun to have for the holidays. My brothers used to love it when we were kids. There is a recipe that is no fail that has chocolate chips, evaporated milk and marshmellows in the recipe. I pinned the recipe on my Christmas ideas board on my Pinterest.

King Arthur Flour had Gingerbread cookies and cocoa at their store and bakery on Saturday. I have the snow-globe, the Christmas tree and and the gingerbread man cookie cutters that I got last year from King Arthur Flour and saved the above photo so I could use the ideas to decorate gingerbread cookies. The reindeer is new this year and I have not got that cookie cutter yet.

King Arthur flour has the best cocoa you can find anywhere. And if you ever tried their chocolate chips, you would never use any other brand.

I have all the above cookie cutters that are from King Arthur Flour. I took a class on Blueprint on how to decorate cookies and it’s so easy to do what they call flooding with the special recipe for frosting that really looks nice on Christmas cookies. Then using decorator tools is fun, looks artistic and is very easy to do with a little practice.

I have a sugar cookie recipe that was on an old Land of Lakes butter box from the 1970’s that I really like. But everyone has their own likes and recipes.

My sons always have to get a Christmas tree that is high as the roof in their houses. I just like a small tree myself like the size in the photo above. I can remember when my sons were little and one year we went to this place and cut down our own tree with their father. They had hot, spiced apple cider there and it was just plain fun.

I would love a reading nook like the above photo.

The above is another view of the reading nook. A nice cup of tea and lots of candles. Then the latest holiday magazine. I will never have one like that, but it is a nice idea that I would love.

December is a busy month and can be very stressful. It’s not always an easy time for everyone and especially me. But somehow we all manage to get through it in our own ways with little traditions that have meaning and we always get through the month of December one way or another.

November Days

November days are here and it’s foggy in the morning and most of the trees are bare of leaves and the ground is covered with leaves. Plus it’s mostly in the 40’s and 50’s for temperatures outside.

There is a Vermont Country Store near where I live. There is one in Rockingham and one in Weston. It’s a very fun place to visit. I always like to get some Vermont Cheddar Cheese that they cut fresh off of a huge Cabot Extra Sharp Cheese Wheel. Plus it’s fun to browse through their store. The store is filled to the rafters with all kinds of interesting finds.

Cheesecake is always good and Pumpkin Cheesecake this time of year is really a seasonal treat. Especially when you use gingersnap cookies in the crust. Plus make it fancy by using the rosette attachment in a pastry bag to make whipped cream rosettes around the top.

Easy Chili with all the fixings is a fun lunch this time of year.

Corn muffins go so nice with Chili. I like to make the Jiffy Box Corn Muffins and just add a little honey and sour cream. So easy, fast and just right.

I also like the Cape Cod Salad that is in Barefoot Contessa’s Basics Cook Book. So easy to make and is fun to have in the Fall when there are fresh apples from the orchards. I had some Honey Crisp apples from a local orchard that I peeled and chopped and just used organic power greens, chopped up some cooked bacon, organic walnuts from the Food Co-op and blue cheese crumbles. Then I just used Newmans Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing instead of the Dressing recipe in the book. One of my new Fall favorites for a salad.

Then I love to use my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and found an Instant Pot Cookbook that was for weight loss using the Instant Pot. One recipe that stood out to me was the Protein Bowl. All the recipe called for was to pressure cook 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the steamer basket along with some Quinoa and 1/2 cup of water underneath the chicken on high for 12 minutes. Then put the Quinoa in a bowl with some power greens on top and add the dressing to coat, slice up an avocado and an apple and add the shredded chicken, some walnuts and Montery Jack shredded cheese. Yum! The dressing was just the juice of an orange, 1 T apple cider vinegar, garlic, 1 t olive oil, 2 garlic cloves and 1 T Dijon mustard plus salt and pepper.

The Cookbook is called “Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot” by Audrey Johns. And it had 60 easy recipes for weight loss.

There was also a recipe to make a wrap using shredded chicken that there was a recipe for using 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 2 garlic cloves, smashed, 2 T canned diced green chilies and a cup of water. You just cook on high for 20 minutes. Quick release and transfer the chicken to a plate and shred, adding 1/4 cup of the liquid to keep it moist.

On the wrap, it had a dressing that was just 1/3 cup of Greek Yogurt, 1/2 t of salt, 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard and they used chopped Romaine lettuce.

They used burrito-size whole wheat tortillas and 1/2 tomato sliced and 2 slices of bacon.

All kinds of interesting recipes in that book and I found it at the Walmart.

There was also an easy Spiced Apple Cider that used Honey Crisp apples.

There is definitely frost on the pumpkin now and it’s really chilly in the mornings.

Fall Days

I can remember when I was a kid and we had a large family with 5 children. We used to go to an apple orchard and pick a bushel of apples at a time in the Fall.

The above is what I buy now. My son has 6 children and they picked a lot of apples from their apple trees last weekend that they have at their camp that they visit on weekends in northern Vermont. My daughter-in-law makes really good apple pies.

There are all kinds of apple pie recipes, but my Mom used to keep it simple. I remember she would use apple pie spice on the sliced apples and dot the thinly sliced apples with butter. Her apple pies were fun to have in the Fall.

A scoop of vanilla ice cream on apple pie is really good.

I had a recipe for Apple Muffins that was really good. There are all kinds of recipes for Apple Muffins and they are all really good.

If you visit an Apple Orchard, you have to get some Apple Cider and some kind of donuts. So good together.

The leaves are already starting to turn color a little bit, but they don’t go into full color until around the first of October. But they already have pumpkins in the Farm Stands.

Pumpkin bread is so easy to make and so good in the Fall. Canned pumpkin is what most recipes call for.

Fall scented candles are so fun to have in the Fall.

It’s always fun to have some kind of Chowder this time of year.

I like the above style for Fall.

There are beautiful sunsets on chilly evenings.

I like the Sunflowers at Farm Stands this time of year and also there are lots of tomatoes.

I saw the above jacket in Zulily for only $24.98. So cozy for Fall.

And every season of the four seasons has it’s pros and cons. I try to look at the positive side of each season. Actually, I love all the four seasons.

September Musings

I love the Sunflowers and colorful cherry tomatoes that were available at a local Farm Stand. The tomatoes are really good in salads. I also found some Kale and Garden Lettuce at another Farm Stand. The Kale is really good for Green Smoothies.

My best Green Smoothie ever is just putting some water in the bottom of the blender with a little lemon juice and pulsing in the chopped Kale. Then adding Baby Spinach and pulsing in. Then adding a banana and Frozen Mango and blending. I like the taste of it and it’s very healthy.

They have early apples at the Farm Stands now. At Alyson’s Orchards, they have Peaches and Plums that are just the best. I always try to get some each year.

At Cold Hollow Cider Mill that is near Stowe, they have Cider Slushies and Apple Cider Donuts. Yum! How refreshing is that?

I love how they make the Apple Cider Donuts fresh and still warm when you buy them.

I used to love the Smothered Chicken that they used to have at Applebees Restaurant. So, when I saw the above recipe for French Onion Chicken, I just have to try it. I pinned the recipe under my Casseroles board on my Pinterest. It sounds even better then the Smothered Chicken that Applebees used to have because you can use Gruyere Cheese and carmelized onions.

I like the above inspirational quote.

I’ve seen really neat ideas for infused oils and I found recipes to make your own infused oils. I pinned the recipes on my Salads Pinterest board because I didn’t know where else to save them.

In some of the recipes they used McCormick Gourmet Collection herb blends for the herb infused oils.

They used the flavored oils by brushing on Grilled Veggies and it sounded really good.

They used the grilled veggies in a salad adding blue cheese crumbles and a home made dressing.

I saw the above wine bar idea for the kitchen. What a neat idea!

I saw the above house for sale and I just love the looks of it. The front porch and bay window is everything I love. It is out of my price range, but I still love it.

The kitchen is a dream kitchen. Just right. The island, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Plus white cabinets.

And it even has a screened in porch. The price of it is a lot for this area, but in California on the TV show Flip or Flop they pay that amount for a real dump that has to be completely remodeled inside and out and landscaped.

The above Rav 4 has a moon roof and it’s 4-wheel drive which will get you up the hills in this area in the winter. I love everything about it. It looks brand new, but it’s a 2016 and only has 30,000 miles on it. It’s probably gone by now, but what a deal they had on it. Whoever was lucky enough to get it probably saved about $7,000.00 from buying a new one.

Mid-August

I love Woodstock, Vermont. The above terrace is so inviting on a summer day. There are all kinds of outside places like the above in the scenic town of Woodstock.

Gesine Bulloock-Prado has a “Perfect Puff Pastry” class on Blueprint showing how to make the above pastry. It looks like something out of a French Bakery. I have a Blueprint account and can take any class I want. I definitely am going to try this class. I can just imagine having a Bookclub group and serving that pastry.

I like the above inspiration.

My Mom used to make the best Potato Salads. I liked how she used to make them fancy by putting sliced eggs across the top and she would sprinkle fresh herbs over it and paprika.

She always knew how to put a lot of flavor in anything that she made.

Southern women have perfected the making of biscuits. Paula Deen shared her all time favorite biscuit recipes and I pinned the recipes to my Pinterest. I can’t remember if I saved them to my bread board or if I made a Paula Deen Recipes board.

Paula’s Cheese Biscuits sound really good. I definitely want to try the recipe.

Have you ever noticed with baby ducks that they always follow behind the Mama Duck. But there is always a Rebel that likes to be in the last position and will go it’s own pace and explore and then run to catch up. So cute.

S’mores are just plain fun. There are so many options that you can put together to make a S’more. My Grandsons like to take Fudge-round cookies instead of graham crackers and put the fudge side of the cookie in the middle and then the marshmellow that they have roasted.

Two more weeks and it will be September. This summer has gone by fast. Just like every summer.