Monday, March 31, 2014

Maple Weekend Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast


Well it has been busy times here at Chestnut Hill.  Last weekend was Pancake Breakfast fundraiser Sat. / Sunday I worked 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM both days.  This is one of our major Fundraisers for the Troop and a lot of work.  We had good success despite the snowstorm on Sunday that dropped 10 inches and made roads very difficult to travel.  I work in the kitchen keeping the pancake batter mixed, sausages to be ready to bake and general clean up  . . .  My husband flips the flapjacks and boys usually work the serving line or are runners with food from kitchen to line.  Many Hands make light work and that is what makes this work.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Canada Trip 2014

Winding lane to Lake House

Sunset on Sand Lake

A view to behold every day!


Boat Load of Snow and Good Bye it has been fun!
We have had the pleasure for 5 years to retreat to this lovely Lake House in late March. Usually 5-6 of us, to sew, watch movies, hike, cook, enjoy immensely the pleasure of each others company and relax from the everyday mundane and at times burdens.  This was our last year at this location and we will need to find another. Several of our group are also at crossroads in life that means we may not gather in this way for a long while. Lots of good food and fun, we shall miss this time but hold our memories close.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday's Food . . . Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread . . . .

So this is simply made with a sweet yeast risen dough.  Any favorite recipe will do. When a yeast dough is sweet it usually has sugar, eggs, and butter in it. Often Milk and sometimes vanilla.  So, my favorite recipe is out of the Fanny Farmer Baking cookbook that my Maid of Honor gave me when  I got married.  You make the base dough and turn it into sticky buns, kuchen, Cinnamon rolls etc.... or in this case Cinnamon Pull apart Bread.

  • Make the dough , after the first rise, roll it out in to a rectangle. 
  •  Rub butter all over the surface or brush on melted butter,  then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.  
  • Next using your Pizza cutter cut your rectangle into 2-2.5 inch strips vertically then make similar cuts horizontally until you have squares or rectangles.
  • Pick up 4 and stack them and place in your well greased Bread pan, into 2 rows. 
  • Set pan in a warm place and let it rise again.
  • Bake as directed by your base dough,  usually 30-35 min at 350 degrees or until golden brown.
  • Remove from pan and enjoy while warm

A couple of basic Yeast Sweet Dough recipes are as follows:   - this one makes a lot of dough- probably 2 of these.  Amount of flour tells you how much you are making, this one has 8-10 cups of Flour, standard is closer to 4-6 cups.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Patterns in Nature . . .

Just interesting patterns  we found  while walking in a nearby park.  Leaf is a beech leaf . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Vulcan Blizzard . . . . .

like 6 AM

maybe 8:30 AM

9-10 AM

Edna likes to eat Snow

10 pm and still snowing

5 pm another foot yet to come . . .   

Long snowy cold day.  all schools closed, most businesses, some counties closed roads, Plows in our town stopped plowing 2 different times due to poor visibility.  We have gotten steady snow all night and it is looking like we may hit 20 inches by morning  - think we are at about 16 right now. Birds were very active today as they usually are in stormy weather. School is also closed in our district tomorrow.  Short week . . . :)  I am sure tomorrow everything will be beautiful in a blanket of white.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Inspire me . . .

“The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are.” Thomas Dreier (1884-1976

I hope that my children have and are still learning this.  It may not be easy to accept those that are not kind, courteous and helpful but always lead by example.   We never know what else is going on in someones life.  Do they have enough food and shelter, are they loved or are they in an un loving relationship.  Are they or a loved one battling with illness or financial struggle?  It is hard to know.  I think it is especially hard when someone in a customer service position provides poor service, but it leads me to ask why? We absolutely all have bad days, it is how we handle them that makes all the difference.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Meet Maggie . . .

This is the beautiful Stray that came to our door early in December went away for awhile and then back in ernst in Early February until we finally had to make a decision and do something. A trip to the vet so she was safe for everyone and then we brought her in to see what would happen.  We already have a dog and 2 male cats, the vet was not that optimistic that it would be a good fit.  Almost a month later everything seems to be going ok.  Maggie seems to be my middle childs cat - he puts her to bed every night and gives her lots of love for a 17 year old. She is young- like a year and very playful which everyone is enjoying.  Running around the kitchen chasing toys and going in and out of a paperbag.  Lots of love and joy to be given and received.  We are glad to have Maggie join us here at Chestnut Hill !

Friday, March 7, 2014

Comfort Foods . . .

            Back in January we had a discussion at the table about what our comfort foods were. . . . . Those foods that wrap you in a hug and tell you that everything is going to be ok.  Those foods that you make after a long day, long week or bad news. Here is what we came up with here at Chestnut Hill . . .  What are your comfort foods?

Toasted Cheese and Tomato Soup
French Toast
Homemade Oatmeal with Milk
Pasta with Parmesan Cheese
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Roasted Corn ( on the campfire)
Cheese and crackers - any kind of either will do
Crusty Bread with butter
Grilled Hamburger
Crisp Apples
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk

Oatmeal with Maple Syrup

Brie Bites for Friday's Food . . . .

Well these are as simple as can be and were introduced to me by my friend Vicki.  Start with Filo Shells from the freezer section. Next cut off small pieces of your favorite Brie, put the cheese in the shell top with Jam- I used Peach but you could use a variety of flavors . . . then add a Pecan half - Bake at like 400-425 for 5-7 min - until cheese starts to melt.  Remove and drizzle with a little bit of honey . . . pop in  your mouth for untold goodness. I served them recently when a friend came for lunch and again at a family Birthday gathering that we hosted.

    If you have not used Filo shells before - they are very versatile, dessert filled with pudding or fruit and many savory options. . . .

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Frozen Fingerlakes . . .

This Aerial View is awesome.
This does not happen every year but the un-relenting cold, below 0 temperatures have frozen Lakes that do not usually freeze over.  2 small Finger-lakes on the west end are only 30 feet deep for comparison.  It was a -8 start today but did warm up to 21 degrees- a 30 degree climb. 39 for tomorrow- coat-less!!

The 2 that are not Frozen are Seneca which is 617 feet deep and Cayuga 433  Top of Photo is Lake Ontario which is 821 feet deep

A March Morning to behold . . .

Ah, a very cold morning today,  checking in at a mere -8 setting a record here for March 6th. Despite the bitter cold it was a beautiful morning. Everything was coated in a thin covering of frost like a tulle dress. As the sun rose it reflected off every thin shard of frost creating a shimmer to behold. Walking around outside the air was biting and the snow was crunchy underfoot.  Edna was sniffing and following all the new tracks from overnight.  There are always Deer in the yard, the opossum has returned, coyotes at times and every other little creature.   She gets all excited every now and then and runs around, with her nose coated in snow crystals at all times.  Then she is back to a slow and measured walk following up on trails left by the many different creatures that share her space.  We always walk up to the Apple Trees and check on how they are holding up and who has been to visit them.  Every low branch has been chewed off by this point.  The deer basically will eat anything they can reach. My Pussy-Willow Tree is completely gone this year  they have chewed it all  - last year after 10 years I actually had some branches I could bring inside.
Today there was bright sun , blue sky and bird song like I have not heard in months. Perhaps despite being in the deep throws of winters clutches, there is a spring somewhere.  The ground and all the Lakes around us are still frozen very solid. They say we will be below normal in temperature for the whole month of March.  At least the days are getting longer and I am thankful that I bought more wood than we usually do. We are warm despite the bitter cold. 
The gentle curling wisp of my neighbors wood stove reaching towards the heavens on this bright but frigid day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blog Hibernation

Whoops - guess a little non-intentional Blog hibernation happened . . .

So a few catch up pictures of life on the Hill . . .
Out the kitchen window to the west are the Sunsets - and it is light later . . . so loving that!

Oren and Edna ready to come in - cold weather makes for lots of short visits in and out of the house.

Long Eared Owl - he blends in ever so well. Loving the ears!!

Sharp Shinned Hawk in my garden working on dinner

Hope - what we all hang onto in the Northeast this time of year!  & a mug of hot tea!!!

It is this time of year that leads to Hibernation. The Northeast has  had this cold, snowy winter that started early has been steady and seems right now to be never ending. Yes, we know it well, have grown up with it and accept it. We just don't need to always like it so much. Ready to see sprouts, mud - well not really but it is a means to an end. Ready for longer days and more sunlight, ready for the sunlight on my face, ready for less layers, ready for light colors, ready for spring!!!