Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Scenes

Happy Halloween! Here are some of the decorations in my area. 

and festive skull (& bone) ice from my house

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aftermath - Hurricane Sandy

I'm not much of a storm chaser, that seems unnecessarily risky and often contributes to bigger problems but I do like to go out after a storm and see the aftermath. As I wandered today I was reminded of my mantra when buying our house - the only thing you can't change is the location. After seeing all the destruction on tv and hearing about the impact especially in NY & NJ, I am so thankful that this is the place we picked to live. We had a snow storm this time last year that knocked out power and caused a lot of destruction in CT & VT (among other places) but did not really impact us. The same seems to be true of this storm. There are a few tress and limbs down around us but we no major damage and for that I am feel so lucky and thankful. 

he fence in our backyard, our only damage

tree down on my street 

tree down on my street 

tree down on my street 

limb down on the bike path 

trash can down on bike path 

Thankful that there was not much of interest in our area.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy's Stormy Weather - let's bake a pie

There has been a lot of talk over the last few weeks about preparing for Hurricane Sandy who is also supposed to meet up with a few other storms and descend on the East Coast. Over the weekend we took in the furniture from the yard and the grill. I harvested kale and other garden goods and cut dahlias and brought them inside. The biggest danger for us is that we could lose power. Our water is gravity fed and we have a gas stove (and a small camping stove if we needed that and charcoal so we could take the grill back out and cook). We've been trying for the last few days to consume food from the fridge and freezer and made sure we had some canned and dried foods we can eat if we lose power. We also filled up some containers with water, just in case. We took out some candles and flashlights and put them in places that will be easy to find in the dark. We went for a walk this morning and stopped by the grocery store to see the panic. It's an interesting thing that happens, not only has there been lots of warning for people to prepare yet everyone is crowded in to the store today, when the storm is going to hit us, but also that people become really obsessed with bottled water. 

A friend suggested we meet up for lunch. Wet around 1 and ended up watching the weather out the window (pictured above) and on the TV. Every once in awhile big winds would swirl through and the rain would get more intense. About 5 hours later we decided we should all head home. 

              on the way to lunch       &    on the way home from lunch - tree branch down

view from our front porch (2nd floor)

When we got home we noticed that there was no power on our street. There was a tree down across the street that had ripped the power out of one house but had not touched the main lines. Some of our neighbors were outside so as we were outside talking to them the power came back on. Apparently it went out about an hour after we had left for lunch. Thankfully that was the extent of our Sandy excitement.

I had a pie crust in the fridge and decided in case we lost power again I may as well use it, and you can always eat pie, especially when it's "healthy" pie. Unfortunately I don't have exact measures of anything but here's what was in the filling
1 sweet potato - cut small
2 apples- cut small
apple pie spice
maple syrup
Baked at 400 for about 45 minutes

we hadn't carved our pumpkins yet so we also took the opportunity to carve them so we'll be ready for Halloween. 

Hurricane preparedness at our house ended up looking like this
dahlias from the yard - hurricane lamp that came with the house(which we didn't end up using) - apple, sweet potato & walnut pie 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Haunt Jaunt - 5K in costume

A friend invited me to join her on a Halloween themed community 5k in Malden. I haven't done a Halloween race yet so I decided to try this one. Then I realized I should find something festive to wear so I look in my closet and in my office to see what I could use to come up with a costume that would not require buying anything, would look festive but would also be easy to run in. 


I found some clay in my office so I molded horns, made a hole in the bottom before I baked them then painted them with nail polish and put a ribbon through them so I could wear them. 

The course was all on sidewalks, the streets were not shut down but there were cops at big intersections letting the runners cross. It was a festive run past cemeteries (photo above was taken while running) and an area I had never been to before. Good way to spend a Sunday morning. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sugar Skulls

Getting in the spirit... I was really hoping to get some Sugar Skull things into my etsy shop but got a bit derailed with other projects and did not get it done in time. I look forward to exploring sugar skulls more. I've also been testing out a festive reused/recycled glass I made from a Rouge Dead Guy bottle. 

I bought a few small papier mache skulls to decorate and hang on the front porch as decoration for the trick or treaters. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Harvest Granola

The browns, greens and orange in this granola give it a harvest look and flavor.

Mix together
2 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Steel cut oats
1/2 cup Pistachio
1/2 cup Slivered almond
1/2 cup Sunflower seeds
1/2 cupPumpkin seeds
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup flax meal 

1/2 cup Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Maple syrup

spread on rimed baking sheet, bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, mixing every 15 minutes

chop up Banana chips and Apricots and once the granola is cooked mix in the bananas and apricots

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Seasonal Apple Squash Soup

I've been doing a lot of sweet treats with my apples so I thought I'd try something a little more savory and experimented with a soup.

2 apples (I used one cortland & one Fiji)
Butternut or similar squash ( I used the 'neck' of one that is like a bumpy butternut, the remainder of which is shown in the photo)
Shallot (I used half a leek because I had it but an onion would also work)
Handful of raw cashews
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh sage
Salt, pepper, cinnamon (maybe even curry powder)

Put the butter & sage in a pan until butter just starts to brown then add leek (or shallot or onion), when it begins to soften add apple (peeled, cored, cut in small pieces), when they are mushy add squash (cut in small pieces) and cashews (these will make things a bit creamy) and cover, after squash begins to soften add some water and salt, pepper and dash of cinnamon, let simmer a little longer and I mashed everything with a potato masher since it was cooking long enough to be very soft but you can purée it if you'd like and that will help make the creaminess of the cashews really incorporate into the soup. Also feel free to add some curry powder if that's a flavor you enjoy it works well with this.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Head of the Charles

Another sunny day and it's the second day of the Head of the Charles Regatta so we decided to walk around the Charles to see some of the race and take advantage of the free things, food samples and get some good street and carnival food. 

We tried beer battered apple rings - yum! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ghosts and Gunshots

A year or two ago I stumbled across a website that talked about the Babson Boulders in Gloucester. I am not going to claim to be an authority about this area, I found these websites useful in learning a bit about the area and how to get there (one, two) and from what I read it was a place I wanted to explore. On this beautiful fall day a friend suggested an outside adventure so I suggested we try to find these infamous Babson Boulders of Dogtown with inspirational words and phrases carved on them. And Dogtown is referred to as a ghost town so given that Halloween is right around the corner it seemed an appropriate adventure. 

We found our way to the parking lot which was full of cars, checked the information board where they provide maps, picked up a map and headed out. 

And then we heard gunshots. This beautiful serene place where we thought we would just be hunting ghosts turned in to dodging bullets. We knew there was a shooting range near by but then we saw hunters emerge from the woods. They informed us that there was at least one more pair hunting and that the woods were stocked with pheasant. Had we known we probably would not have chosen this as our destination for the day or at least worn some florescent orange. The hunters assured us we would not be confused for pheasants and we decided we were up for the adventure so we continued on. 

And found the boulders, some of them at least, I believe there are 24 and we found 14. 

It was a beautiful place to hike, I look forward to going back and finding the rest of the boulders and of Dogtown but next time will make sure it's not hunting season. It was not a nice relaxing journey to connect with nature when there were gunshots from hunters & the shooting range and we were anxious about ending up in the crossfire. We did a lot of loud talking to make our presence known and we didn't see any pheasants. We were really surprised that on our way in and when we stopped to pick up the map there was nothing indicating that hunting was allowed or that it was hunting season. 

The only indication we found was this sign high up on a tree on one of the trails as we were heading back out to the parking lot. 

So we headed to Good Harbor in Gloucester to relax a little with a walk on the beach. 

This sign to cross over to the beach wasn't the friendliest invitation but was better than gunshots.