Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving At Home

Hope everyone had a good day today. We all have most of the week off, and we decided not to venture out into the horrendous holiday traffic this year. We also decided on a fairly unconventional menu for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Oh, there were a couple of traditional favorites, including twice-baked potatoes and baked stuffed clams on the half-shell (a Hardenbergh tradition that the Brooks family has taken a shine to). There was cranberry sauce, too, though not from a can. This year, the boys got to visit a cranberry bog in Massachusetts, and we brought home some free fresh cranberries. Karen found a recipe for crock pot cranberry sauce, and I'm told it turned out very nicely. I don't care for cranberries, so I can't judge.

Karen also put the crock pot to good use today by making a crock pot pumpkin pie. It didn't come out much like a pie, with a bread-like texture despite having no flour, but it was very tasty and worth repeating.

Rotisserie chicken was the main course, since we roasted a turkey recently and still have frozen leftovers from that. It also simplified an already hectic cooking schedule. William and Thomas provided chocolate dessert dishes; William made truffles, and Thomas made a truffle pie. The pie was so rich that we're saving the truffles for tomorrow.

Another experiment on the menu was a spinach soufflĂ©.  We've long been fans of Stouffer's frozen spinach soufflĂ©, but we don't seem able to find it in the stores around here anymore. So Karen looked up some recipes that purport to be good substitutes, and indeed the one she chose was very close. With a tiny bit more salt and more finely-chopped spinach, it would have been perfect. That one's a keeper.

As I'm sure is true of many families, we are all happily stuffed, and have lots of leftover food to carry us through the rest of the week. We'll be out for walks tomorrow to work off some of the excess calorie intake, and it looks as though we'll have some good weather for it.

And we intend to enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Wave

Usually by now our heat has been on for a week, and has spent most of that time making up for the previous couple of weeks, trying to warm up the walls of the house so that it can, finally, start keeping us warm.

But we've been fortunate this past week, and New England has experienced a warm spell that's allowed us to delay the heating bills, and left us with a house that's no so cold.

Now, I should explain to my California friends and family that a warm spell in New England in November means overnight lows above freezing and daytime highs above 50, so don't think we're sweltering here. Although one day got up to nearly 70.

So it was really more of a heat wave.

Well, the wave has crested, crashed on the shore, and withdrawn to sea, just to abuse that metaphor completely, and it's now decidedly chilly, so I'll be bringing up the heat between today and tomorrow.

But this year, we won't be sitting around shivering, waiting for the house to warm up. It's already reasonably comfortable, and the heater only needs to maintain that temperature to keep our teeth from chattering.

For the time being. After all, it's not winter yet.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Trailer's Last Ride

Our trailer is done for the season. It's first long voyage took it 150 miles to southern Massachusetts and 150 miles back. Karen and I slept in it, cozy though a little cramped, and it hauled all of our soft goods, plus the canopy that protects it from the rain while at camp.

And it almost made it without incident. The ride back was through Boston, and in Boston there are some very bumpy roads. And when we stopped at the New Hampshire Welcome Center along I-95, we noticed that the tongue extension that I had built just a little more than a month ago was, in fact, bent. Yes, Barry, if you are reading this, you were right.

It didn't keep us off the road, and the trailer came home just fine, but it will have to be replaced with something stronger before next Spring, when camping season starts again. Oh well. It was my design, and I'm amazed that it worked at all.

The camping, on the other hand, was worth the trip and the bent tongue. Lots of great conversation, lots of singing around the very big campfire, terrific food, and even a fun side trip to a working cranberry farm, where the boys actually got to put on waders and walk down into the bog.

Now it's back to real life: house projects (before the snow comes), creative projects, work, and school.

And just trying to stay warm. Good luck with that.