Sunday, December 27, 2009

a quiet morning

Today is Sunday, December 27. We go home today. We've been at Colin's parents in Katonah, New York since Thursday. I'm laying in bed, the sun is shining so bright into the window. And I'm thinking about the last week, the last month, the last year and, wow, I can't believe it's all over.

It's been a very good year, crowded mostly with wedding bells ringing in my head (but that's a good thing!). If I had to encapsulate this year in a single word, it would be: family. We've watched Baby Sapphire, a blessed child, grow and smile. Hannah came home. I've become closer with Colin's family and he with mine. We started family night—a weekly dinner every Sunday night with Emi, Kev, Hannah and sometimes Sapphire when she's awake, sometimes Isaac, sometimes others—that I believe has made us closer. Despite one special family member passing the year before, I've seen more of my auntie Lucy and uncle John—and that makes up for it a little bit.

Some friends have become family: my girlfriends, the Kouris (Kevin's clan) opened their doors to us for Sapphire's dedication, Thanksgiving and many other times too. Friends and family had babies, got married, got engaged, got pregnant. Colin and I have just a few weeks left and then we will be married.

As for special memories and accomplishments: one of my favorites is the road-trip that Colin and I took to Prince Edward Island this summer for a friend's wedding. The trip was long, the stay was short, but all in all fantastic. I will never forget that trip. We worked on the house a little bit more, painted more rooms. I became a better snowboarder. My sister Emma got her Ph.D. Hannah began a new phase of her life: on her way to become the best hair stylist ever. At work, I've never worked so hard since Middlebury. We launched a new Website and had a relatively good year despite the economy. Still Colin and I weren't totally immune: there were budget cuts and pay freezes, but we made it through okay. We still feel so lucky and blessed to have amazing jobs, a beautiful home and supportive family on both sides to help get us through any challenges.

Next stop: Wedding Central, and I can't wait!

Monday, December 14, 2009

good ol' bubble & squeak

Now that I'm eating a little meat every now and then, I've revived the bubble & squeak dinner of my childhood: bangers and mash (sausage & mashed potatoes) with a side of steamed cabbage. I made it tonight for a quick dinner and Colin proclaimed it his second favorite winter meal after chili. The twist on the original is that I use the Al fresco chicken sausages. (The teriyaki ginger & apple maple flavors are the best.) This time, I steamed the potatoes and cabbage together (added the cabbage halfway through) and that worked out swell. Mashies with just a tad of butter, milk, salt & pepper. Cabbage with the same.

And of course, I served mustard alongside. Colin likes the grainy kind of Dijon mustard. Me, I like Coleman's Hot English Mustard.

Mmm, so good!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

another week whizzes by

This one was chock-full of good stuff (and a few misses). Meeting with our photographer Sabin to go over details of the wedding. That got us very excited! Colin was at Stowe pretty much all week to prep for the Burton winter sales meeting, which is today. (He works so hard!) Our friends Mindy & Bobby flew in for the sales meeting and we were going to all have dinner together on Wednesday night, but they ended up coming a day later because of the snow storm.

Sad about not seeing them. Happy about the snow. Not happy about summer tires still on. Icky commute.

Hosted my annual cookie swap on Thursday night and made these yummy thumbprint cookies from work. They were a big hit. In fact, everyone's cookies were amazing. We did a vote to see whose were the best. Mandy's & Lauren's were neck in neck. Both were the classic buttery kind—of course! But Lauren's festive ball cookies won, so she got the prize—a tin of mini star cookie cutters. I'm pretty sure everyone was jealous.

Friday night I hung out with Sapphie while Em & Kev went to a work function. Actually that's a lie. We didn't really hang out since Sapphie was sleeping the whole time. And I was too, pretty much.

Col was still in Stowe and didn't get back till Saturday evening. Just in time for us to don our finest threads, down a shot of espresso from our awesome new machine and jump in a stretch limo to head over to our friend Sheehan's party. The party was in this insane loft apartment in Winooski—our friend Ben lives there. It was super fun. Saw lots of people we haven't seen in a while. Saw a bunch of new faces, which was refreshing. I danced with my sisters. Sheehan and Ben had bartenders, a DJ, a door man and the limo driver.

Really, if you're gonna host a fabulous holiday party in cold weather, do it like Sheehan & Ben do: rent a limo for the whole night and have it pick up all of your friends so no one has to drive or walk outside in fancy shoes. Now that's fabulous!

Sunday cozy inside with the kitties. Christmas lights on, blustery and snowy outside. I like this feeling. Mmm I think I'll go make some guacamole for family night dinner. Byebye.

Monday, December 07, 2009

one year later

I still can't believe it, but it's already a year ago that Colin and I drove out to Paine's to cut down our Christmas tree after a day of snowboarding at Stowe. A year ago that Colin got down on his knee and proposed to me, out in the woods in the middle of nowhere. It's been a great year. A fast one and a great one.

We drove back to Paine's this weekend. There wasn't as much snow as last year (none!) and the mountain hadn't opened yet. But at least it was chilly and my toes got cold. We walked all over in search of the second perfect tree. They have acres and acres of trees on that the farm. But finally after at least an hour of walking to and fro, we found a big fat tree, right in the same exact spot as last year's tree.

That spot is magical, I swear. As soon as we looked at each other and said, "this is it," snow flakes started falling.

We got to work. This tree must be fatter than last year's tree. The trunk is ginormous and it measured over 10 feet tall! This year, I wasn't so preoccupied with my ring finger, so I lent a hand. A little hand, anyhow. It still took us a half hour to cut it down.

The man on the tractor came and picked us up. Heavy tree!

The men back at the tree stand wrapped her up in twine and tied her to the car. Big bendy tree! We got lots of funny looks from people passing us on the interstate. It snowed almost the whole way home.

She was curvier than we thought. It was a challenge to get her in the stand without swaying to and fro, but finally we did. And Colin made a new star for the tippy top. And here's the tree.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

girly nonsense

With our wedding now less than two months away, it's the only thing on my mind. I'm totally obsessed. Which means that if I write anything at all, it's most likely going to be wedding-related. (Sorry!) So here's an indulgent girly post:

I was never the kind of girl who fantasized about her wedding. But I did love to dress up. I used to sneak into my mother's closet and put on her wedding dress and attached the pretty opal costume brooch that her Gramsy gave her to wear on her wedding day. I didn't dream about ballgowns or white roses or limousines, but I did covet that brooch. So one day, I snagged it from my Mum's jewelry box—and I've been keeping watch over it ever since: I too will wear it on my wedding day. (Mum, I promise I'll return it afterwards!)

So now I've been searching for some earrings to match. Hannah and I were going to make some, but when we figured out that it would be cheaper to just buy them, I went straight to Etsy (of course!) and found the perfect pair of earrings from Marie Wu designs. Here they are, aren't they lovely?? At first I felt guilty about buying them, but then Hannah reasoned that I can pass these down to my daughter on her wedding day (or at least to Sapphie if I don't have a daughter). She said: It's your wedding day, afterall! And I said, You're right! And I'm so excited about these babies:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a dinner to help heal

We all have our ways of taking care of people we love. For me, it's cooking for them. It's the ultimate form of nourishment—for the body AND spirit. So when I found out my girlfriend was going through a rough time, I decided to host a little dinner party with her and another girlfriend to get her mind of things.

So tonight, my friends are coming over for dinner at 7:30. (Colin's now in London with Mark lucky goose). I'm making homemade sweet potato ravioli with sage and brown butter sauce (that's Lauren's amazing recipe!) and my absolute favorite EatingWell salad recipe, a spinach salad with warm maple dressing (I add an apple for good luck and use Shelburne Smoked cheddar cheese). And for dessert, I'm considering breaking out my torch for some creme brulee. Sounds good huh?

The nice thing about cooking for other people is that the cook gets to enjoy it too. :-)

Puerto Rican lasagna

Mummy and Papa came to town on Monday so we could all have dinner together and pull names for Christmas. Papa made the most amazing dish, which he called "Puerto Rican Lasagna." It was like a lasagna in that it was a layered casserole with cheese, but instead of noodles, he used fried plantains (Mmmm!) and instead of tomato sauce, he used picadillo, which is just a ground meat mixture with lots of spices and seasoning. It was so yummy—even baby Sapphire couldn't get enough.

Colin will be sad to have missed it (he's been in Austria this week for work). But word is that Papa's bringing some moose meat for day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast. So ALL IS GOOD.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I need to go find me some Brussels sprouts at the farmers' market. Byebye.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

montreal lunch

Well, we didn't get up at sparrow fart, but we did go to Montreal for a late lunch yesterday. We arrived around 1 and went straight to Rue St. Denis for lunch at L'Express. I've always wanted to go there because I've heard such great things about it. The ambiance is like a traditional French bistro—we felt like we were back in Paris. And just an hour and a half drive away! The menu offers all of the classics: croque monsieur, chevre chaud salad, steak frites... but we weren't blown away by the food. In fact, I think the best part of the meal was our espressos at the end. But we didn't really care. It was the perfect getaway.

Did a little shopping after lunch, hopped in the car and we were back home before 8pm.

Seriously, I don't know why we don't go there more often. It's so close and so refreshing. Every time we go, we say, "We should do this more often."

Friday, November 06, 2009

yes, which way?

I'm trying to figure out what to do with my weekend now that it's here. The responsible side of me was planning to stay home and clean and do errands. But the wild side is feeling bored with being responsible and working and doing things just to cross them off the list. So maybe I should just have fun for once?

I kinda just want to hop in the car at sparrow fart and drive up to Montreal for the day. Maybe...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

hearts of palm

I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately. It comes and goes in phases.

She used to put hearts of palm in her salads. And she had a special secret salad dressing recipe that I just loved. Hearts of palm in your salad are just amazing. They kind of taste like canned artichokes hearts. But they're more tender and slightly more tangy.

Anywho, tonight I had dinner with some of my girlfriends. Elisa made a yummy salad with hearts of palm. It reminded me of Mama Sonia.

I thought: that's funny, when you've got someone—or something—on your mind, it seems that reminders of them just pop up everywhere. Or maybe I'm just searching for them. Like the hearts of palm in the salad.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

checking things off my list

I'm feeling very accomplished.

We met with the Trapp florists yesterday to go over ideas for the wedding. They're two wonderful, lively and bubbly women, Amy & Pam. I can't wait to work with them. I asked Colin to come along, even though he didn't feel like it. But once we were there he had some good ideas. He's not your typical groom—and I'm glad of that! He's been helping me every step of the way.

It was such a cold and rainy day, so we stopped for some soup in Stowe on the way home.

Later, Colin went and did his own thing with friends. I went over to Emi and Kev's for dinner. Sapphie is getting over an ear infection, but she was in very good spirits. She started pulling herself up (almost), which was very exciting. When Sapphers was asleep, Emi, Kevin and I watched Britcoms and then Sherlock Holmes. Just like the good old times! Perfect Saturday night.

Today, more wedding stuff (it takes up so much time!). We got the invitations back from Mummy. She hand addressed each and every one—and they look fantastic! Colin and I designed guest info cards to go with them and we worked on our website. Again I say, Col's not your typical groom—and I'm glad of that! Colin began the design, I added my two cents and we came up with something we really liked. I love that we work so well together with the creative stuff.

Once the fun stuff was done, we had to do some fall cleaning: put away the hose, the outdoor furniture, put in the storm windows. Vacuum up the house. But now we're officially winterized and it feels good.

Somewhere between all that action, I managed to clean the house, do laundry and bake an apple tart for dessert tonight. Which reminds me: it's time to go to family dinner.

Have a good night!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

favorite fall weekend in pictures

Here are some pics from My Favorite Fall Weekend II.

Brunchies at Shelburne farms:

Shelburne Farms:

Apples, apples everywhere:

Blushing apples:

Juicy apples:

Our apple harvest:

Apple betty, mmmm!

A turning tree:

Monday, October 12, 2009

apples, apples everywhere

This weekend was one of those iconic fall weekends: beautiful crisp blue sky, foliage just starting to turn and apples, apples everywhere. Some would say, "Oh, isn't that nice" and "just be careful you don't get run over by them leaf peepers." But as twee as these Vermont country days do get, I never tire of them. A day in the apple orchard on a Sunday afternoon can make the most sinister being a believer in the Glad Game. Don't we all have nostalgia for our childhood—be it one we had or on we wish we had?

Well, Col and I decided to make a tradition of My Favorite Fall Weekend. This is the 2nd year to do it. The weekend falls sometime in October when the leaves are just starting to turn. This year seems a little late for foliage. Or am I dreaming? Anywho, My Favorite Fall Weekend starts with brunch at Shelburne Farms. I get a mimosa & veggies with my eggs Benedict. Col invariably gets the Bloody Mary and extra ham. (This time, he surprised me however, and dunked the two green olives from his garnish into his drink! Col doesn't like olives, you see, and usually lets me eat them.)

After brunch, we strolled the grounds for a bit. Then we sat in the Adirondack chairs and soaked up some sun.

Then we hopped in the car and headed for Shelburne Orchards.

Picking apples is much quicker than picking berries. The bag always fills up way too quickly it seems. We always say next year, we'll make a day of it and bring a picnic. But I prefer the brunch, truly.

We picked half a bushel of empires, macs and mutsu in less than a half hour. Then we went to the orchard store and bought cider, a healthy helping of Apple Betty with vanilla ice cream and a half dozen apple cider donuts. (I happen to believe that Shelburne Orchards makes the best cider donuts around, hands down. Apparently Au Lait thinks so too. She found them sitting out on the counter and nibbled a good chunk, before we could save the rest.)

Family dinner last night was all about the apples: I made a green salad with toasted almonds, chopped apples and a curry vinaigrette. Emi made an amazing mac & cheese with apples and squash mixed in. Hannah made a crumble with fresh apples and rhubarb from the freezer. Holy cow, was that meal amazing!

I've got pics and will post a few when I have more time.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

late, breeze

I knew a boy who once told me that he didn't like to go to bed at all—that time spent sleeping was time spent wasting this precious life. But I always felt insomniacs had their own issues. And I never had trouble falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Sleep allows me to think clearly, and to dream. And to focus, Breeze.

But for some reason, as night falls earlier and earlier, I want to stay up later too. I have a new-found nervous energy buzzing around my brain well past eleven o'clock. (See? It's already a quarter to midnight and I'm wide awake.) I'm more productive then, it seems. Or maybe it just takes me that long to decompress after crazy work. Or maybe there's a nagging feeling keeping me up: is there something I should be doing before I go to bed? What am I forgetting?

I'm not complaining; I like having this late-nite energy. It's how I get things done. (Mummy, do I get this from you? Will I too be staying up till the crack of dawn making figgy pudding on Christmas Eve or knitting socks for the little babe?)

But the problem is: late to bed, late to rise. Daybreak surely comes too soon. And then I'm foggy till noon.

This morning, I woke up an hour late, and yet I still lay in bed wasting time, wishing: I wish it were still the weekend and we were back on Cape Cod, back in the old mansion with a dozen rooms and as many loos and a bocce court in the yard. I wish we were still dancing with friends, meeting new ones, celebrating Mark & Kathleen's wedding. Beautiful bride, perfect party, waltzing with my boy, fabulous friends till the end. No worries, but for the rain pitter pattering on the grass. Bay breezes and dancing, dancing, disco dancing. I wish, I wish...

I finally made it to work an hour late. But I stayed even later than that on the other end of the day. And now I'm back in the same boat. Late home, late to dine, late to bed.

What are these nerves? What is this nervous energy? I think I know...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

charlie's boat house

I think it's fair to say that the longer you live in a place, the more you take it for granted. The less you take advantage of all of the wonderful things that attracted you there in the first place.

So sometimes it's fun to play the tourist and do things that out-of-towners like to do.

Burlington sits on a stunning lake and there is so much to do on the waterfront, but Col and I can count on just one hand the number of times we made it down there this summer. Shame on us!

A couple of Sundays ago, we had one of those brilliant fall afternoons when the sun is still warm, but the air sits a little lighter in the atmosphere. And just about anything seems possible. Miracles can happen on those days. And miracles did happen on this one day in question, because Colin and I decided to drag our bikes out of the basement and go for a bike ride on the waterfront bike path.

I say this is a miracle, because in the 4 years that we've been together, this is the first time we've ever gone on a bike ride together. Double shame on us! (says Col)

Any-who, we set a pretty big goal, which was to ride out to the Causeway in Colchester. The Causeway is an extension of the bike path that used to be a railway track across the bay and is now just a path for bikers and runners. There's water on either side and I've always heard it's stunning, but I have never been there. Never. It's pretty far out for people who never bike. Maybe 8 or 10 miles or so out. Then 8 or 10 back.

But we did it. We rode all the way out. We took some pretty snap shots. We took lots of breaks. And we finally got to see the Causeway. My friends were right: it's absolutely stunning. And we definitely saw it in all its grandeur on that pretty September day.

Unfortunately, the novice bikers did not eat lunch and did not pack a snack and so we had to turn around as soon as we got there.

I'm not sure if we would've made it back in one piece if it weren't for Charlie's boat house that sits about half way between here and there. Charlie's is one of those places that's stuck in time. There's a loud scratchy speaker blasting old war-time melodies. A little old man (must be Charlie) and his wife sell candy bars, ice cream and soda pop out of their campy boat house shed. They ring you up on one of those old fashioned registers that dings when you push the buttons.

It's very charming and quaint. Their ramshackle boat house sits on a very special piece of property, right on the water with a westerly view. The sun was just in the right spot when we got there...

We walked in to the little shop and immediately smelled a waft of American Chop Suey from their home kitchen upstairs. Growling stomachs.

"Suppers on!" Charlie's wife yelled out, to no one in particular.

We had just enough quarters for 2 Snickers, 1 ginger ale and 1 Twizzler. Charlie's wife threw in another Twizzler.

"I don't want you guys to have to fight over it," she explained with a glimmer in her eye.

We thanked her profusely. She obviously sensed our desperation.

We sat down outside at one of the picnic tables by the water and devoured the sweets in no time. It was just enough to sustain us for the rest of the ride home.

Many days later, I'm still a little sore. But I guess what I'm saying is that if I were writing a tourist guide for Burlington, yes I would mention the bike path and the Causeway. But more than that I would mention Charlie's boat house.

But then again, would I? Some treasures are better kept a secret.

Taking a brake along the bike path:

Finally made it to the causeway, but not across it. Maybe next time:

The causeway is a dirt path; Colin practiced his skids:

The entrance at Charlie's boat house:

Eating our snacks at the picnic table:

This was on the picnic table:

Friday, September 25, 2009

good morning

It's early on Friday morning and I can't sleep. Maybe I'll actually be on time for work today. But I wanted to say, in case you missed it: it's fall. Somewhere between my sleeping and daydreaming, the autumn equinox came and went, the leaves started changing, the air shifted and it got cold. I will wear a sweater today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

from Russia with love

So, I'm getting married in the winter. In Vermont. What to wear?? I'll have my dress, of course, but bridal fabrics only go so far to keep a girl warm. So I've been searching high and low for a pretty winter wedding cover up—one that's not furry—that's not cheesy. Do you realize how difficult it is to find wedding garb that is not cheesy?

Originally I thought velvet. Some gorgeous mossy green capelet to cover my shoulders. But I say it again: Do you realize how difficult it is to find wedding garb that is not cheesy?

But by some stroke of luck yesterday I happened upon a wonderful designer on Etsy, who makes hand-felted wedding shrugs out of wool and silk. I know that might sound a little frumpy; a little country bumpkin. But let me tell you, these things are gorgeous and refined and not at all cheesy.

The designer's name is Tiana Agapcheva (Here's her wedding shop on Etsy). She's Russian and has studied architecture, which makes sense when you look at her beautiful designs.

Anywho, last night I was going gaga over this one particular design (you'll have to wait and see). And finally this morning I just had to splurge and order it. So now it's done and a package will be coming to my doorstep from Russia with love. All for me. A wonderful one-of-a-kind piece of art to wear on my wedding day. (Let's pray for snow!) And now I can just stop trawling those terrible cheesy wedding websites.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


How could it come so quickly? How could summer end so soon?

When I was younger, I used to listen to this song by Simon & Garfunkel, "April Come She Will." It's a wonderful little folk song about the months from April to September. It is such a short song and I was always so bummed how soon it was over that I would put it on repeat and keep playing it over and over.

Do you think that's how they intended it? To make it feel so fleeting as time often feels? Still, in real life, I wouldn't push the rewind button. I love September. I love the fall. I love the chilly nights. Here we are.
April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.
June, she'll change her tune,
In restless walks she'll prowl the night;
July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September I'll remember
A love once new has now grown old.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Today, I left work around 3 to meet up with some other folks from work at the dock a few minutes from the office. The sky was clear and big, the sun was out—not too hot, not too cold. It was a small group. Half of us went in Lisa's sailboat, half of us hopped in Jessie's lobster boat (that was my group). Some of us took the ferry. And we all met up for some drinks in Essex, New York on the other side of Lake Champlain.

It was a gorgeous afternoon. We had some food and some drinks. We laughed a lot. The water was very still. The junk in my brain just poured out and away. I haven't felt that much clarity in a long, long time.

I have to say it's been a very, very intense few weeks (months!)—with wedding planning and visitors and travel on the personal side and trying to launch a new website on the work side. The website has been a labor of love. We've been working so hard and I'm happy to say that it's up! It went live sometime between the boat ride and now (half our team had to stay at the office to make it happen, I almost didn't go myself). You must check it out: I'm a little scared to hand out the link—launching a site is scary and a lot can go wrong. So if you do see anything terribly wrong, please be kind and don't say anything. At least for a few days...

Any-who, on the boat ride today, I was thinking to myself: I feel so lucky. I live in an amazing place, I have a wonderful family and love, I have a fantastic job and I work with fun awesome people. But you know what? Luck has nothing to do with it. I have worked very, very hard to get where I am and I just need to celebrate that. I'm so glad I went on the boat... here are some pictures of just some of my awesome EatingWell co-workers:

Sunday, August 30, 2009


On Saturday, we had to go to Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe for a wine and cake tasting for our wedding. (That's where we're getting married in January.) We thought the wine tasting might be a little overwhelming, so we asked Hannah, Emi, Kevin & Sapphie to come with us.

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming and tiresome at times, but there are some really fun aspects and the tastings are my favorite part so far! We started with the cake, which was delightful. Only a few more modifications and we'll be there.

For the wine tasting, we tried 4 different whites, 3 bubblies, 4 reds and 2 dessert wines. Such a big job! Then as if that weren't enough, Kira, our wedding coordinator gave us a copy of their entire 25-page wine list to take home and mull over in case there are any more that we'd like to try. Needless to say, we're far from picking our winners.

We did however find a favorite bubbly. We tried a champagne from France, a sparkling wine from Napa and a frizzante from Austria. The winner—which surprised us all—was the frizzante from Austria. (The darkest one on the far right.) It was the least fizzy with some hints of red currant. And we all just fell in love. I love the color too.

But that's the only thing I will divulge. We need to have some surprises...

Here's Colin tasting the frizzante. And Emi diligently taking notes...

Hannah in heaven and Kevin inspecting the wine...

Sapphie was there somewhere playing... she had a good time too :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

fruit finds

I made quite the little food discovery at the farmers' market yesterday. Have you ever heard of a ground cherry? The Arethusa farm stand had a few pints of small cherry tomato-like fruit in papery husks—the kind you would see on a tomatillo. I asked the man there if they were gooseberries and he said no, but some people call them gooseberries. They're actually called ground cherries and they're delightful. He let me try one and they were so delicious and unusual I just had to buy a pint. And then Emi and Kevin tried one and they just had to buy a pint too.

When you unwrap the husk, you find a small orange fruit that looks like a little berry. They are firm and when you bite in, the insides are juicy. The fruit is sweet and the flavor is a cross between a cherry tomato and pineapple. Each one is different, sometimes the berries even have a vanilla undertone. We had some in our salad last night and now I'm thinking they would make a wonderful topping for homemade ice cream. Plum ice cream...

I think I will try making ice cream using these plums that I also got from farmers' market yesterday—from the woman in Charlotte. I love Vermont in August...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

feeling potty

I'm utterly engrossed in my work right now. In a good way. And I can't wait to be able to tell you all about it. But for now, you'll notice I'm away from my personal desk more than usual. (We all need a little escape from the computer screen!)

I took a break from it all this past weekend. One of my mostest friends Brooksie came to stay; my bestest sisters and mum in the world hosted the most amazing bridal shower for me; I got to see lots of family and girly friends; I was treated like a princess by everyone. It was incredible. Here's Brooksie at Leunig's wearing her new MJ tee:

And here's me at the shower opening my presents. Image courtesy of Kim. I was too busy to take photos this time. Thanks Kim!

(I got some really incredible gifts; it was rather overwhelming. People keep asking me what my favorite gift was, but they were just all so great, I really couldn't say, Sir!) We sat outside on the back lawn, sipped on spiked lemonade and nibbled yummy little treats including my favorite dried dates stuffed with Doe's Leap goat feta and pistachios. I was very nervous to have all that attention, but it ended up okay. Thank you to everybody near and far who came to my shower. It meant so much to me.

Well, a part from the amazing weekend where I was a lazy queen, I've been pretty busy. Mostly with work. But that hasn't stopped me from getting a gorgeous dinner on the table every night. The produce right now is just too wonderful to pass up. And as I know I've mentioned before, cooking helps me decompress after a long day at the computer.

Oh and they keep giving away food at work when they're done using it for photo shoots. Yesterday it was sweet corn on the cob. Tonight: heirloom tomatoes! Can you believe it? Here's the amazing dinner I made with them and some baby squash from the farmer's market. I cooked the squash in my new copper pot that Colin's mom gave us at the shower—Joan, the pot is unbelievably beautiful and it felt so good christening it with these beauties:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

our pei road trip

We just got back from a long weekend road trip to Prince Edward Island in Canada. That's right I said, long weekend. We must be insane—the drive is about 14 hours—we were on the road for 3 out of the four days. But that's why I called it a road trip. And it was all totally worth it. I had some of the most amazing food I've had in a long time. And so much fresh seafood! Mussels, lobster, crab, oysters, shrimp, trout, salmon, tuna... the seafood was endless and delicious.

Here's the Google map we followed:

The drive was half the fun. The first day, we drove to St. Andrews in New Brunswick and stayed at the historical Fairmont Algonquin. The St. Andrews By the Sea is a cute town, but there's not much going on. Or maybe it's because it was later than we thought. Nobody told us about the time change, but we finally figured it out on the second day. We ended up eating a late dinner at the Algonquin and I tried their Passamaquoddy Bay Beeze, it was good!

On the second day, we drove to PEI and to our inn—The Inn at Bay Fortune. We loved our little room, which came with its own fireplace. That came in handy during the chilly evenings.

The Inn apparently has one of the best restaurants on the island, so we ate there on Friday night. Lots of the ingredients were right from the island, except for my trout, which was from across the water in Nova Scotia.

The chef sent us a little nibbly while we perused the menu. It was a creamy cheesey type thing with trout on top of a homemade potato chip.

We started with fresh oysters that were out of this world. Instead of being served on the half shell, they were served in a briny cold broth with crunchy vegetables. The salad was picked from the garden out back right before dinner. The trout was served with the most amazing baby vegetables and the most delicious and tender potatoes I've ever had in my life (PEI is famous for their potatoes). They may have been poached in butter... Colin had seared tuna.

We drank a local white wine with our dinner from the PEI Rossignol Winery. It was surprisingly good, crisp and apple-y and went amazingly well with the seafood. I tried to bring a bottle back, but we couldn't find a liquor store open on Sunday morning and that's the only place they sell wine there.

Dessert for me was a truffle chocolate tart with roasted pear and Colin had homemade ice cream sandwiches. Mmm, I'm getting so hungry writing this!

By the time dinner was done, 3 hours had gone by and we were ready to crash. Luckily, our room was just steps away... and the fire was ready to go.

On Saturday, we went to Nicks & Sam's wedding at Red Point a little way up the coast. The ceremony was on the beach by Sam's family's property and it was just so perfect. There was a bagpipe player leading Sam to the beach. Nicks wrote the best vows I've ever heard. I definitely cried. I always cry at weddings.

We had starved ourselves all day, because we heard the food was going to be amazing. And it was. Full raw bar with mussels, oysters, lobster, crab and shrimp. Sushi, dumplings, scallop ceviche and more of those potato chip type nibbly things. We were like vultures—we ate so much! Dinner was awesome and there was even a cheese plate course. But at that point we were stuffed and had to dance it all off.

We never did make it to Anne of Green Gables country, it was too far away from where we were staying. But I have no regrets.

Next morning, we headed back to Vermont. It took us all day and into the night. A whirlwind! But worth trip.

Prince Edward Island Road Trip


Here are a couple:

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