Frost on our window this morning.
“For winter was coming. The days were shorter, and frost crawled up the window panes at night.
Soon the snow would come. Then the log house would be almost buried in snowdrifts,
and the lake and the stream would freeze.” 

― Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Little House Collection

Comfort Food Cooking on a Snowy Day

Yesterday, we got about a foot of fresh snow. It was so lovely to finally see a thick blanket of snow over the landscape. 

A cozy day, spent mostly indoors except for the small amount I time I tromped around the backyard (and snapped the above photo), seemed like the perfect time to crack open my  Marte Marie Forsberg cookbook and try one of her tempting, comfort food recipes. If you don't follow her on Instagram, I highly recommend you do! Such a gorgeous account!

I made her recipe for Roasted Potatoes, which are truly a cut above, because they are roasted in duck fat. (You can obtain duck fat from Whole Foods.) Deliciously crispy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. Superb!

Rounding out the meal was: baked chicken with smoked whiskey salt, pepper, and summer savory, asparagus, and hard pear cider.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The BIG STORM is moving in, so it's the perfect weekend for tucking inside and enjoying warming soups! This one has been a favorite of our family's through rainstorms and snowstorms for years. I clipped the recipe from the newspaper decades ago, but have tweaked it over time. Periodically, I try out a new recipe, but I always come back to this one. It's a keeper. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 T. olive oil
1-lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth or stock
1 c. water
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (7 oz.) can mild, diced green chilies
2 (11 oz.) cans corn
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. chili powder
salt and pepper
tortilla chips, shredded cheese to garnish

Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook through. Remove from pot.

Add onions and celery to hot pot; cook, stirring frequently until onions start to turn golden brown. Add garlic; cook 1 minute.

While vegetables are cooking, roughly shred cooked chicken.

When vegetables are finished, add chicken, chicken broth, water, both tomatoes, chilies, corn, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to simmer and simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

Serves 6-8.

Presidents' Day is Coming

Presidents' Day is one month from today, and if you've been waiting for George Washington Costumes to be restocked in the shop, you are in luck! Just in time for all those upcoming school programs! Click here to view it.

We're All in this Together

There's a giant snow storm coming this weekend! Personally, I'm thrilled! You know me...winter is my favorite season. The last I heard, the forecasters were predicting 12-20" for our neck of the woods.

The conversations in town were heartwarming today. People were swapping their plans to keep busy at home during the storm. People had plans for the best case (electricity on) and back-up plans (electricity off). Everyone is thinking about the essentials: salt for the driveways and gas for the generators. People were grocery shopping and stocking up, so they can stay off the streets during the worst of it. There's a bit of a buzz of excitement in the air mixed with a calmness that comes from having weathered many storms before. And there's the pleasant common bond we all feel when we're on the brink of a storm. We're all in this together.

Birthday Weekend

My birthday was this last weekend. I must confess that I love it when my birthday falls on or near the weekend, because I feel indulgently justified in stretching it into three days of fun. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that? 

When Colette asked me what I wanted for breakfast on my birthday, the answer was an almost immediate, "I want what I had at Le Pain Quotidien in London." That sounds like it might be complicated, but it's really just a simple breakfast parfait of yogurt, fruit, and granola. Bliss!

In the evening, the rest of the family came over for a dinner of homemade lasagna, presents, a video chat with Max and Rose, and brownies.  

Then the next morning, we got an early start and headed north to the Mount Washington Hotel.

I have three "happy places": home, Nantucket, and the Mount Washington Hotel. I feel completely at home in each of those relaxed! I love the stately grandeur of the Mount Washington contrasted with the rugged grandeur of the mountains surrounding it.

Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out, and the Mount Washington Hotel has an incredible breakfast buffet! I feasted on: berry muffin, fruit smoothie, fresh fruit, bacon, blueberry sausage (yum!), omelette, tea, orange juice, and more. All scrumptious!

We did a bit of shopping at the Garnet Hill Outlet before leaving the north country. (Yes, such a thing exists!)

Sunday was a restful day following church. And the Sunday night return of "Victoria", watched with a cup of hot chocolate in hand, was the perfect ending to a great weekend!

Sabbath Rest

But I trust in your unfailing love;
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord's praise,
for He has been good to me.

- Psalm 13:5-6

My Helper

Someone likes to help me with my workouts. So helpful. 

And in case you're wondering, or you need some fresh exercise inspiration for the start of a new year, I do Barre3 online (three times a week). I did it all last year, until a knee injury sidetracked me for a few months. But I LOVE it and am so thrilled to be back at it this year! Furry helper is not included in their program.

Unexpected Delights

One of my favorite delights of living in New England is the unexpected discoveries that happen while meandering about in the countryside. You just never know what will be around the next bend, down that unknown dirt road, over the next hill. Just last weekend, it was the sight of a home and adjacent building covered in traditional snowshoes. I did a quick u-turn to find out more.

We talked with the owner of all the snowshoes, and he is a researcher and cataloger of traditional snowshoes. In fact, he's written a book on the subject! After he's studied them and taken all the notes he needs to, he sells them...just propped up outside his home and hanging from his buildings.

Truly, that is one of the BEST things about living in New England. Down quiet country lanes, at any point in time, and in the most unexpected places, one is apt to find extraordinary people intelligently and humbly studying and practicing beautiful craft. I once saw a small wooden sign on a dirt road that said "Violin Maker" with an arrow pointing the direction to take. I've seen one that said "Weaver" too. Beautiful symbols of how uniquely gifted people are and how they live quiet and precious lives.


Just a reminder that all Christmas merchandise in the shop is 40% off from now until January 25th! Will you need another stocking hanging from your mantle for Christmas 2019? baby? daughter-in-law or son-in-law? Now is a great time to snatch one up for a great price! And you'll be a step ahead going into this Christmas! Click here to visit the shop!

Sabbath Rest

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep His statutes
and seek Him with all their heart...

- Psalm 119:1-2

Simple Meal Ideas

Let's face it. There's a whole lot of cooking that happens in December. Between our Christmas party, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, a New Year's Eve Party, and all the meals in between, I feel like there's little else I've done but plan, cook, and serve food for almost a month now. And I'm actually just a bit more than weary. Weary to the point of wondering, "Why do we need to eat again?" I'm making a mental note to make make and freeze some meals next October or November and pop them into the freezer for this first week of January, when I'm weary of thinking of food. But in the absence of those meals this year, I've been planning some super simple meals. Here's what we've been eating, if you're looking for some simple meal ideas too:

- chicken noodle soup, crackers and cheese (lots of leftover cheese and crackers from parties)

- omelettes (using up leftover ham and more cheese) and toast

- BLT's, french fries

- stuffed potatoes (more ham and cheese leftovers, and using bacon leftover from the making BLT's) and salads

- grilled cheese sandwiches and clementines

- charcuterie board with leftover dabs of this and that (salami, crackers, cheese, olives, dried fruit, nuts)

- chicken quesadillas served with salsa and guacamole, and served with salads

There! There's a whole week of meal planning done for you right there. Glad to be of help. The struggle is real.

Sabbath Rest

Last night's sunset
Then a voice came from the throne, saying,
"Praise our God, all you His servants and those
who fear Him, both small and great!"

-Revelation 19:5
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