Country Weekends

This has been an amazing fall so far.  The colors of the leaves so vibrant.  I just wanted to share some of my pictures from Stratton Mountain in Vermont.  We always go up for Columbus Day weekend, and this year again, the colors did not disappoint!  Also, if you’ve never done the Alpine Slide at Bromley Mountain, it’s definitely worth doing.  The picture to the right and the lower two show the “slide”.  So much fun!

Cocktail Picnic Out On the Boat

Is there anything more relaxing than getting some friends together, packing a bottle (or few) of rose`, an assortment of light snacks and getting out on the water for a boat cocktail cruise?  This is our vintage 27′ Folmer.  Apparently one of only 2 still in existence.  It is a classic launch and with it’s center engine cover makes it perfect for entertaining!  I packed simple items such as cheese, crackers, some freshly picked cherry tomatoes, some fruit and a sliced very vanilla pound cake for a sweet treat.  There was also some sliced smoked sausage and thin pretzel rods which you don’t see here.  Pack foods that travel well and don’t need to be fussed over.  The key is in the presentation.  This way you as the host/hostess can enjoy as well!

This basket is one of my favorite things!  I love the sturdy wooden lid and the solid construction.  Just click on this post title for the link!

Winter Picnic!

Just because it’s cold and snowy outside, doesn’t mean you have to only entertain indoors.  Light the outdoor fire pit, put out some foods that do well in the cold, such as the cheese board above.  Drape some throws and wraps on the outdoor seating and serve some piping hot bowls of chili, or a hearty soup.  Winter can be long, but this can be a perfect end to a day of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or just mixing up the routine, by getting outside.

Sleigh Ride

We have a beautiful state park nearby that I visited recently.  They offer cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides!  All in the winter of course.  Something about the sound of the bells and the crunch of the snow while sitting wrapped in a blanket being pulled by beautiful draft horses.  Just a great outing with the family on a weekend.  Pack some mulled cider in a thermos and enjoy the ride.  I encourage you to visit your local state parks wherever you live.  They offer so many wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors and are usually quite educational as well.

Boat Cruise

My husband is a wooden boat buff for sure.  I will admit, I’m smitten as well.  Something about the gurgling sound of the motor in the water, the streamlined silhouette, the smooth shiny wood reflecting the summers’ rays……truly beautiful and reminiscent of a gentler era.  Every now and again, we like to pack a basket (no coolers here!) with a bottle of wine, some easy snacks and head out for a twilight cruise.  Wood boat or not, regardless, there is something about the water on a beautiful lake at this hour. If you have the chance this is the best way to spend either date night or with a close group of freinds


I usually post this party under under “Holidays and Celebrations”, but since this is such a big weekend production – I decided to share this years’ event under “Weekends”.  Each year my husband and a small group of his friends jar Hungarian Hot Peppers.  They chop the peppers into rings and create a fantastic brine in which they are “pickled”.  Last year they experimented with a new product, a pepper ‘butter’.  I find the term ‘butter’ a little misleading, since the product is really a thick sauce that can be used on everything!  It is absolutely delicious and all of our friends ask for a jar, secretly hoping for more than one!  So, this year they put more effort into the sauce than the rings.  Below are pictures from the two days.  This first day was the pepper rings which are done at our home.  The second day the sauce was prepared in a commercial kitchen.  I am offering to sell the jars if any of my readers are interested.  They are commercially sealed and completely shelf-stable.  Just contact me through the “contact me” heading and I can answer any questions and give details, etc.

Above are the peppers as we get them from the grower, and the finished products!

The pepper ‘butter’.  This sauce definately has a kick, but not intolerable.  It has a delicious smooth consistency and very flavorable.

Falls Harvest and ‘Putting Up’ food for the pantry

Visit any country market or “U-Pick” apple orchard and your sure to see all of the harvest on colorful display.  I don’t think squash is ever as reasonably priced as it is this time of year!  The sight of jars and jars neatly placed in rows inspires me to start ‘putting up’ the pantry as well.  I usually only jar applesauce and occasionally tomato sauce.  Either way, it is very satisfying to see the seasons bounty neatly preserved for another day.

Country Drives and Scenic By-ways

Yes it’s that time again, the glorious color show put on by the trees.  I read a quote by Thoreau, “Autumn is a second spring, with each leaf a flower”.  I’ve probably paraphrased that a tad here, but you get the point.  This past weekend was perfect for a drive to see all the colors.  Bright yellows and oranges and beautiful crimson.  I never cease to marvel at how breath-taking the colors are especially when the afternoon sunlight shines on the leaves.  They almost glow as if on fire.  A great way to spend a lazy weekend, just taking the long way to anywhere, just to slow down and enjoy the journey.

Apple Picking

It’s official – apple season is well underway.  My family loves this fall tradition, and inevitably, we always end up with a huge quantity of apples.  That’s usually where I come in…..applesauce, pie, crumble, baked apples, you get the picture!  This year I let the kids take over and we ended up with a delicious pie and our first batch of applesauce to enjoy with our evening dinner.  Look for recipes on the blog.

The destination cookout

A terrific weekend activity is packing up the family and all the goods and taking off for an adventure.  Our nations’s state parks are truly a national treasure.  Where we live there are an abundance of them, but you don’t need a state park to enjoy a picnic cook-out.  Many towns have destination picnic-ing areas.  Once there, pull out the snacks, set up your site and fire up the grill.  Go for a hike and take in the natural beauty.  Remember to pack foods that will travel well and are easy to serve. Have them in handy containers that double as serving dishes.  Sausages such as above, hamburgers and hot dogs are the typical fare.  Avoid salads with mayonnaise unless you can keep them cold.  Easy pasta salads and fresh grilled vegetables make terrific sides.  Mix up a batch of trail mix for the kids to snack on.  A great way to pack in some more summer fun!