* NYE Dinner in Vermont *

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I visited a few friends outside of town and had THE GREATEST NYE dinner, hands down, like ever. It’s the same friends who hosted the amazing holiday dinner, but this time I got food pics. Yay yay yay! We had homemade Caesar salad, followed by a crab bisque, and then the star of the show: bacon wrapped tenderloin with mashed potatoes, green beans, and black-eyed peas (for luck). I pressed them on the salad dressing deets  – olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and a coddled egg white – so I’ve been on a salad kick the past few days trying to recreate it.

I had flown back to VT well after midnight the night before, so I just picked up dessert from Mirabelle’s downtown. I went for Buche de Noel, or more popularly known as the yule log. Have you ever had one? It’s not only festive, but a delicious chocolate mousse/sponge cake goodness. I highly recommend one, and maybe next year I’ll make one myself. Maybe that shall be my 2015 resolution, eh?

HAPPY 2015!

P.S. Yesterday I was a slug, but today I went for a long walk, binge listened to 6 Serial podcasts (after episode 4, it gets addicting!), washed my car, ordered new contacts, cleaned out my bathroom, cleaned out my cabinets, mopped my floors, washed my sheets, and dropped off a garbage bag full of old clothes to Goodwill! I just felt like cleaning and purging all day long. Oh, I also made this casserole that my friend Amanda really likes. It was pretty tasty, and I’ve been on a salad kick with homemade dressing, so I had some greens on the side.

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I’m flying back to OHIO tomorrow!

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I’m flying back to OHIO tomorrow morning! I’m going out in Columbus tomorrow night for the winter solstice with the little sis, so will make sure I get some beauty rest tonight. Got a million things still to do, namely PACK and buy food for my cat while I’ll be away. He’s got two French-speaking cat-sitters for the break, so he’ll be spoiled.

My ten days home will be sure to fly by, but I’ve got some goals for winter break: go for a walk or do some yoga every day, finish Serial podcast, finish Breaking Bad, finish Christmas shopping, watch at least one holiday movie (I’ve seen none so far!), bake loads of cookies, start a quilt, and go winter hiking at Old Man’s Cave!

Happy happy happy holidays, xoxoxo.

(Baby Amelia last year on Christmas Day. She’s, literally, doubled in size.)

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Some friends hosted a holiday dinner

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Some friends hosted a holiday dinner and Yankee Swap on Sunday night. Check out this gorgeous table setting. Swoon! Unpictured-but-absolutely-delicious-feast included, New England clam chowder, Caesar salad, salmon, scalloped potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and raspberry cheesecake. Twas magical!

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Thanksgiving Day Brownies

Thanksgiving 2014
Oh hi!

Hiiiiiiiiiiiii!

I’m a weee bit late to the Thanksgiving recap party, but I want to talk about BROWNIES. My grandpa Bob’s brownies! There’s enough pumpkin pies at the table already, amirite?

For the past couple of years, I’ve cared less and less about food and cooking. Us humans go through cycles, no? I think Japan did something to me, ha! (My herbalist said that year abroad completely depleted and traumatized my entire adrenal system, which is why I haven’t felt much like myself this past year……) But my little sister feels the same way right now, so who knows?!

The good thing is that it illuminates our go-to food favorites. For me, that would be beef tacos, vegetable soup, orange glazed chicken, grilled turkey sandwiches, fried egg sandwiches, roasted brussels sprouts, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. I’ve made them all hundreds of times. These brownies I’ve made twice in the past couple of weeks for different celebrations: Thanksgiving, holiday parties, etc. And my grandpa made them every Christmas so they’re about to be on heavy rotation this holiday season.

Have at it!

Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014

Watch Beyonce 7/11 video and lick the spoon!

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Grandpa Bob’s Brownies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cold water

Directions

Yo, this is a ONE BOWL NO MIXER recipe. (I almost wrote YO BITCHES because I’m on Season 3 of Breaking Bad and hear Jesse’s voice in my mind at random times all day.) Anyway! Simply add all of the ingredients above into a large bowl and mix for about 50 strokes with a wooden spoon. You want to make sure that the eggs are incorporated, but you don’t want to overmix because that can make the brownies tough. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

They need frosting too. I’ve made them without it and it’s no bueno. We like to make a half recipe of Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Frosting and frost when brownies are still warm. It melts into a beautiful glossy chocolate glaze.

Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014

A chocolate alternative to all the other Thanksgiving Day desserts:)

Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014

P.S. They are even more excellent the next day OR frozen (I did this so I wouldn’t eat all of them out on the counter one time, until I realized they are EVEN MORE DELISH frozen).

P.P.S. Gratuitous Thanksgiving barn cat pictures:)

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P.P.P.S. A blog Happy Belated B-day to Allison! We celebrated a bit early during Thanksgiving week with Aunt Marilyn’s homemade cheesecake (an excellent and easy recipe for another day!).

Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014

P.P.P.P.S. HELLO WINTER. We just got a big storm in Burlington the other day.

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Sweet Baby Amelia!

Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
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Thanksgiving 2014
Thanksgiving 2014
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Back from Thanksgiving holiday in Ohio. My niece Amelia is 18 months old and 2 feet tall and RIDICULOUSLY cute.

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Hello! I’ve been on a total Chinese food kick lately.

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Hello! Foodwise, I’ve been on a total Chinese food kick lately. Last week I had it three times, twice for work-related presentations and once at lunch with co-workers.

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Work meeting over cappuccinos at Scout & Co.

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Otherwise, things have been busy leading up to Thanksgiving Break at work, so yeah, mainly pics from work. One of my students gifted me with a cactus. I hope I can keep it alive! So far my plants aren’t doing so hot with the shorter days and colder temps.

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Another student’s aunt made these knit socks. LOOOOOOVE THEM.

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Here’s some student guitars (and skateboards), as well as a list of the songs they have down. I thought that paper was adorable.

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I tried to learn the D chord….

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Annual Empty Bowls dinner this past weekend.

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Also, working on London stuff for next summer so here’s a book of total pleasure reading:)

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Fitness wise, I did a bit of yoga and I got to the pool three times last week – a record. I’ve usually just been going once or twice.

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I got out of Burlington for a very short hike this past weekend. Stowe Pinnacle, AGAIN!

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On the way there, I stopped and took some pictures of this cool covered bridge. A friend told me that it’s actually haunted. Spooky!

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Coming soon –>I’m headed to Ohio this weekend for Thanksgiving and cannot wait: family and barn cats and guitars are waiting for me.

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Winter in the White Mountains

Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams
Mount Adams

I hung out in New Hampshire and climbed up Mount Adams, the second highest peak in New England (elevation 5,793 feet), this weekend. It’s totally winter up there and so ethereal-looking. Definitely the most beautiful hike I’ve done in New England so far! Unfortunately my hands got too cold if I took off my mittens, so eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich during the hike was a challenge. I consumed a lot of hot coffee, hot chocolate, beer, and pizza afterwards:)

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