Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!!

"Santa Consulting Globe"
by Norman Rockwell
The Saturday Evening Post Cover
December 4, 1926
Norman Rockwell Museum

A great museum to visit in Western Massachusetts is the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge!  Familiar favorite works of art along with new exhibits are always so interesting.  A few years ago when we took the short "road trip" to the Berkshires to visit, we enjoyed viewing the covers of The Saturday Evening Post that were illustrated by this artist.  There were so many!  Each so very interesting to view!

Suddenly, I saw Santa Claus!  It is timeless!  Santa is holding a book titled Good Boys as he uses his globe and magnifying glass to plan his route.  It's also interesting to learn that the magazine cost 5 cents in 1926.  

History is fascinating!  Viewing "Santa Consulting Globe" has reminded me that we need to make the yearly visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum and enjoy dinner at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA, soon.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Just one bite and you will be hooked!  After a taste of this Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookie you will take another bite and savor the flavor, again.  It's a hint of Nutmeg!  Sour Cream is another ingredient, here.  These Sugar Cookies are just the best that I've ever tasted (and baked)!  Baking a batch before Christmas is now a tradition of mine.  The  cookies also freeze well, so many of the baked cookies are cooled and packed in freezer bags- just ready for Christmas. 

It's a 2 step process!

On Day 1 a batch of the dough is prepared and refrigerated overnight.
The next day I find my rolling pin, rolling mat, favorite cookie cutters and colorful sprinkles.  Definitely my cookie pans and cooling racks, too.  Before I know it, my kitchen has the great aroma of Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies.

After the first pan of baked cookies have come out of the oven and have cooled on the cooling rack, of course there is the "taste test"!  Oh, yum!!!  It's hard to refrain from "testing" another.

Baking these yummy cookies was my project this afternoon.  There sure was the required "taste test" going on!  My yellowish cookie canister was filling up.  Tomorrow, I'll place most of them in freezer bags to defrost next week.  Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies is a family favorite cookie and enjoying them is one of our Christmas traditions.

You probably already have Nutmeg in your spice rack.  Purchase a container of Sour Cream this weekend.  This will be a great recipe to take out and use!

The recipe:  Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies      



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread
A family favorite recipe came from a very unexpected source.  It was not from a magazine, a newspaper, a friend or another blog.  I never would have guessed that "my" Cranberry Bread recipe would/ could be found in a children's book!  It is true!  Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is a treasured story that was written in 1971.  Quite a few years ago, in November, one of my son's brought a copy of the recipe home from elementary school.  His school librarian had read the story and also had given him and his classmates the recipe- just in case someone "might" want to bake it at home with a parent's help.

We were up for the challenge and baked a loaf.  The original recipe called for Raisins and Cranberries, but it was November.  We lived in Massachusetts.  For us Cranberry Bread needed to be all Cranberries!  It was and oh, it tasted so good!  Since baking that first loaf I have never used another recipe.  It is that good!  Fresh Cranberries flavored with Orange Juice taste so yummy!

This year before Thanksgiving I didn't have the opportunity to take out this recipe and bake a loaf.  However, yesterday I did.  The cranberries were cleaned and chopped.  The recipe was used again.

Cranberry Bread
     Adapted from Cranberry Thanksgiving 
             by Wende and Harry Devlin  

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Butter/ Margarine- softened
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg), beaten
3/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 pkg. fresh Cranberries- rinsed in cold water and chopped

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2.  Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with PAM.
  3.  Rinse Cranberries in cold water (using a colander).
  4.  Chop Cranberries coarsely.
  5.  In a large bowl combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt and Baking Soda.
  6.  Using a pasty blender (or 2 knives) cut Butter/ Margarine into combined dry ingredients- until  mixture is crumbly.
  7.  Add Egg Whites (or Egg) and Orange Juice and stir until moist.
  8.  Add chopped Cranberries to batter.  Fold in.
  9.  Spoon batter into loaf pan.
  10.  Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 5 Minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean  when inserted in middle.
  11.  Cool on cooling rack for 10 Minutes.
  12.  Remove from pan and continue cooling on rack.
  13.  After cool, wrap in foil.
*Extra Hints 
  • Wait at least 5 hours after baking to eat.
  •  Use fresh Cranberries- not frozen.
  • This bread does not freeze well.
I will be baking another Cranberry Bread before the New Year!  Will you be baking one, too??



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"Yuletide at Storrowton"

Storrowton Village Museum
with Storrowton Tavern in the background.
On Saturday afternoon we drove over the river, around the rotary and down a street.  That was the path to "Yuletide at Storrowton"!  Storrowton Village is located in West Springfield, MA- on the other side of the Connecticut River.  It's always a treat to visit and go back to the 19th century.  There are 9 antique buildings around a Town Green at Storrowton Village.  These original buildings were all saved from different towns in New England by Helen Storrow and they were moved here, to this location.  It was a time when many items were handcrafted.

Behind the gazebo is one of our favorite restaurants in Western MA- Storrowton Tavern!

A Little History
A walk down the Town Green led us to the Gilbert House.  Inside the first room was a basket of fruit sitting on a table.  Oranges studded with Whole Cloves were some of the pieces of fruit.  This aroma was so good!  The lady of the house was waiting for our arrival!      

Gilbert House
West Brookfield, MA

Turning another direction in the room was another great view!

Inside Gilbert House
The tablecloth, the train under the Christmas Tree and the wallpaper were all so interesting!  Then, we turned again and enjoyed the decorations above the fireplace.

Another view inside Gilbert House
After leaving the Lawyer's Office we visited Potter Mansion.  An old piano inside caught our attention!

Strolling back down the Town Green and brought us to the Schoolhouse.  Walking in, we saw the stern Schoolmaster.  There were chalkboards on 3 sides of the room.  It's always fascinating to step into an old schoolhouse to take another look at the desks and chairs.    

North Center School
Whately, MA

Next door to the Schoolhouse is the Meeting House.  It was the building used for Town Meetings and also for worship.   

Union Meeting House
Salisbury, NH


It's always interesting to take a step back in time.  On Saturday we stepped back and enjoyed our Yuletide visit.   It was great!!!


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

~Mother Nature~

November 2018
~ 4:30 PM~

Sometimes, just looking up in the sky there are such beautiful sights!  Today around 4:30 PM, I walked into our living room to close the curtains.  The sky was gorgeous!  Dark trees and telephone/ electric wires against the colorful late November sky.  A beautiful sight!


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Turkey a la King

Turkey a la King
(File Photo)
It's like clockwork!  Every year! Two days after Thanksgiving I make Turkey a la King for dinner.  This delicious dinner is quick.  Easy, too.  Small chunks of Roasted Turkey surrounded by mixed veggies in a creamy sauce.  The sauce is flavored with Parsley and Basil.  Oh yum!  This is served over toasted bread.  Now, how easy is that to prepare??  Sure, one can bake a Turkey Pot Pie, but why deal with a pie crust here?  Even if you purchase the pie crust.  What can be easier than toasting the needed bread slices to use?

Now you know why this is my go to dinner 2 days after Thanksgiving!  It's quick and easy!  Are you ready to prepare this too?

Turkey a la King
serves 2- 3 people

1/4 Cup Margarine/ Butter (I use unsalted.)
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chicken or Turkey Broth
     (I use College Inn Light & Fat Free Chicken Broth.)
1 Cup Milk
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried Basil
1 Cup Turkey chunks (cooked), cut up, more if desired
2 Cups cooked Carrots & Peas (or Mixed Vegetables)

Sliced Bread, Toasted, 1- 2 slices/ person

  1.  Melt Margarine/ Butter in large skillet/ large pot.
  2.  Remove skillet from Medium heat and slowly stir in Flour.
  3.  Return to heat and slowly add in Chicken Broth & Milk while slowly stirring constantly.
  4.  Continue stirring over heat until sauce is thick and bubbly.
  5.  Add dried Parsley and dried Basil.
  6.  Add cooked Turkey chunks.
  7.  Add in cooked vegetables.
  8.  Stir and heat mixture for 1 - 2 Minutes.
  9.  Serve over toasted Bread.
If you have enough Roasted Turkey to prepare a double batch, it's a great idea to double the recipe!  Any extra portions freeze very well. 

For another dinner, another night- after defrosting, if frozen- I add a little more Milk to the reheating pot.  Stir as it reheats.  

Whenever I prepare this for dinner, we always have cranberry sauce, too!  Sometimes, there may be a little leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving Dinner.   It's almost time for me to start dinner, so I need to take out my large pot.  


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

~Happy Thanksgiving!!!~

The Cape (Cape Cod) in Massachusetts is one of my fave places!!  There is nothing like sitting on a beach breathing in the salty air and listening to the waves crashing on the shore.  This combination is so peaceful.

Nauset Beach
at Cape Cod (MA)
When we visit, if we are not sitting at the shore watching and listening to the waves, walking along the beach or enjoying a yummy seafood dinner, it is very possible that we are learning a bit more history about this area of our beautiful country. 

A few years ago (in 2012) I wrote a post:  "The Journey of the Pilgrims".  Every year at Thanksgiving I reread it.  During this time when we are celebrating this holiday, it's interesting to learn a little more and remember the history about the voyage of the Mayflower.

During this time at Thanksgiving, click on my post and follow the journey of the brave people who crossed the Atlantic Ocean so many years ago.  It's always fascinating!!


Happy Thanksgiving!!!   

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Butternut Squash Bread

Butternut Squash Breads- cooling!
It's time to bake Butternut Squash Bread!  Yes, I did write Butternut, not pumpkin.  I do not use pumpkin in the moist, yummy bread that we enjoy on Thanksgiving Day.  Well, not only at Thanksgiving, but anytime I bake it!  The Butternut Squash that was sitting in a carton in our garage had been prepped to freeze.  While prepping the squash, I saved out 2 Cups to bake 2 breads the next day.  One we enjoyed that week and the other is wrapped and just waiting in our freezer to defrost.   

I always make 2 breads.  I double my recipe.  A Butternut Squash Bread is so yummy!  Olive Oil for baking and sauteing and Egg Whites make one light tasty bread.  With each bite, the flavors of Cinnamon and Nutmeg taste so good.

After they cooled, one was wrapped in foil and placed in the freezer to have on Thanksgiving Day.  The other?  Oh, it was cut into slices and we enjoyed each bite of the moist slices that week! 

Now, you may not want to bake 2 breads for Thanksgiving, so my recipe below is for 1 bread.  Double the recipe for 2 breads.  If you have never tasted this treat, bake it and sample it.  It is that good!  

Butternut Squash Bread 

Oven Temperature:  350°F      Baking Time:  55 Minutes


1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup Sugar

4 Egg Whites (=  total of 2 Whole Eggs)
3/4 Cup Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
1 Cup Butternut Squash, cooked/ mashed/ cooled- defrosted if frozen

  1.  Spray 1 large bread pan with PAM. 
  2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3.  Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.
  4.  In smaller bowl, beat Egg Whites until frothy.
  5.  Mix in Olive Oil.
  6.  Add mashed Butternut Squash to Egg White/ Olive Oil mixture.
  7.  Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients.  Stir until combined.
  8.  Pour batter into bread pan.
  9.  Bake at 350°F for 55 Minutes, or until cake tester/ toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of loaf.
  10.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 Minutes.
  11.  Then, remove from pan.
  12.  Continue cooling on wire rack.
  13.  Later, place on a serving dish & cut into slices.
It has been quite the temptation every time we open the door to our freezer.  However, that Butternut Squash Bread has been saved for Thanksgiving Day!  Onto other baking this week!


Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11

"The Homecoming G.I."
Norman Rockwell
(May 25, 1945)

Today, on November 11 we thank all of our Veterans!!!


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

100 Years Ago...

Courtesy of the
National Museum of American History
It's voting Tuesday in the United States.  Today, I saw a very interesting post from the National Museum of American History!  Pictured above are the crayons that voters used 100 years ago to mark their ballots when voting in the United States! 

So interesting!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Happy Halloween!!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October Scenery 2018

October brings beautiful colors to New England.  It's always a treat to drive on our streets and/ or take the daily walk and admire the sometimes pale, sometimes bright colors.  I've been enjoying the scenery in my yard and neighborhood, but the Red Sox and the World Series playoffs had me preoccupied!  

The leaves turned color a little later than usual this October, but now we see the change everywhere we look.  The autumn colors in our yard are beautiful!  

Mums beginning to open.

The back perennial garden.

Sometimes, the gorgeous view is ahead.  Other times, we look up to see that leaves have changed to shades of golds, oranges and reds.

Another view!

Autumn in New England is picturesque! 

So many visitors come to enjoy the scenery, but we are very fortunate.  The beautiful scenery is in our backyards!


Monday, October 29, 2018


2018 World Series Champs!!!



Friday, October 19, 2018


FuN in October!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Saving Zinnia Seeds

This summer and now in autumn we've been enjoying the colorful, abundant Zinnia blossoms in our gardens.  Shades of pink, yellow, orange and white blossoms were admired day after day.  Now that October is here it is only a matter of time when a frost will end the Zinnia season!  It has not happened yet, but that is in the near future.

For that reason I've been snipping off the colorful blossoms to save.  Then, they are dried.  Cut down tissue boxes make great storage boxes for the blossoms to dry out.

Looking at the first box of my collected colorful blossoms, I noticed that there were no white ones.  Another trip to the garden and a few more blossoms were snipped- this time only white ones.

The flowers are now dried, so next week the seeds will be harvested from the dried blossoms.   To do this:  Pull the dried petals off the flower and "tear drop" shaped seeds will be found.  These are the seeds to plant for next year.  I will store them in a labelled sealed envelope.  Next spring they will be planted in our gardens. 

This has become a tradition with me- saving the Zinnia seeds.  After saving and then planting the saved seeds for about 5 years, the flower blossoms will become smaller.  That is my clue to purchase new seed packets to plant the next year.  Then, the saving and replanting starts again.

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sights in Autumn!

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!
Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day!  Today is too!  The end of September is here, so it's the perfect time for the annual visit to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow (MA) for the bushel of Butternut Squash.  Nothing like purchasing the delicious orange veggie direct from the farm where it is grown.  It's a tradition to take the short drive and make the purchase.

The greenhouses are filled with assortments of pumpkins, too.

Inside a greenhouse.

Sights of  the Fall season are everywhere.

Another collection!
The cornstalks show us that the fresh native corn season has - ended.

More decorations for Autumn!

The bushel of Butternut is now in our garage.  It just would not be autumn if we did not make this purchase.  A few at a time the squash will be prepped.  The mashed yummy vegetable will be placed in freezer bags to enjoy during the other months of the year.  There's always a special place for it on our Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

Is Butternut Squash Bread in my future, maybe, also??  Sure is! 

These are some of the sights of Autumn in Massachusetts!