happy friday!

woo hoo!
it's been a long weird week here in vermont (snow storms and power outages, were just the beginning) but luckily, i get to stay home ALL weekend, a rare occurence these days, and that is reason enough to celebrate!
so, i think as part of my own little staycation, my wine is going to stay local as well.
big barn red or cow tipper white? decisions, decisions...
what's on your to do list this weekend?

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and now a little color...

and while yes, i love when life looks like a classic black and white photo, i need a little color in my life today...and these fabulous springtime finds might just do the trick.




all products can be found at monelle and the shoe shop - church st, burlington, vt

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black & white.

there is something timeless about a black & white photograph.
and there is something magical about a day that looks like a black & white photograph.
scenes from yesterday...


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snow day menu.

thank you to yankee magazine for this perfect snow day menu.
soup + salad + bread + dessert = perfection.


sweet potato, corn (and chicken) chowder
what you need:

  • 1/2 pound smoked slab bacon, diced
  • 1-1/2 pounds red bliss potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (1/4-inch dice)
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock, or to cover
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, cooked until just tender
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or milk for the healthy version)
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
  • salt & pepper, to taste

what you do: in a large soup pot, fry the bacon over medium heat just until it starts to crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. meanwhile, quarter and slice the red potatoes by hand or in a food processor, about 1/4-inch thick. add the onions and bay leaves to the bacon, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. carefully drain off half of the bacon grease and discard. add the sweet and red potatoes and chicken to the soup pot, add enough stock to cover the potatoes, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. add the brown sugar, corn, parsley, scallions, and cream, and cook until heated through, stirring often. season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.

winter green salad
what you need:

  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 head fennel, julienned (ech, no thank you)
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 1 head boston lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • shaved Parmesan cheese

what you do: wash the greens thoroughly and arrange in a large salad bowl. in a small mixing bowl combine the lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper. slowly add the oil and whisk to incorporate. when evenly blended, drizzle over the greens. top with Parmesan to taste
country bread - store bought today...too many good vermont bakeries to choose from!

gingerbread cake

what you need:

  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • white icing (supposed to make your own, but i will save that for another time!)

what you do: preheat oven to 325 degrees f. in a large saucepan, slowly bring the applesauce to a boil. stir in the molasses and baking soda. (the mixture will foam up.) set aside to cool. in a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and spices, and stir with a whisk to blend. in a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer for several minutes, until light. gradually add in the sugar and continue beating until thick. gradually beat in the oil. with the mixer on low speed, alternately fold in the flour mixture and the applesauce mixture. pour the batter into a well-greased 10-inch tube pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. then unmold and continue to cool on a rack. decorate with vanilla frosting (-:

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snowman snow.

it's a SNOW DAY here in vermont!
and it's not just a regular snow day - but the very best kind of snow day.
the kind with heavy, wet, snowman snow.
the kind of snow that sticks to the trees and just begs for a snowball fight.
that light, fluffy unpackable snow is sooo january.
so, the plan for the day is as follows:
coffee
work (maybe...)
winterwonderland walk/grocery store
snowball fight
hot chocolate
nap/olympic hockey
soup
wine
bed

...pure heaven if you ask me...
this also means that comfort food thursday has to come a day early this week- stay tuned!

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top ten tuesdays

there is nothing better than a good list. and there is no day tougher than a tuesday. so, here at love vermont, we are going to make it a bit of a tradition - top ten tuesdays. 'cause if you ask me tuesday needs a little love...


so for the first edition of my favorite new tradition - top ten thoughts on whole living (courtesy of martha stewarts hippie cousin)

  1. take the guilt out of pleasure. sometimes the thing you want most is just what you need
  2. you can't force flexibility. it's about releasing and opening gradually
  3. invest in experiences, not just objects
  4. don't over think, some happy moments are best left unanalyzed
  5. real intimacy is expressed not with more words, but with meaningful ones
  6. try a little less housework and a little more sleep
  7. to find your strength, push past your comfort zone
  8. rather than beautifying yourself, nourish yourself
  9. finding answers to your questions won't come from feeding your fears
  10. sometimes getting lost is the only way to figure out where you really are

so, happy tuesday to you. if this tradition doesn't bring you the same joy as it does to me...create your own. why not? it's tuesday.

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virtual springtime.

i almost spent $50 tonight on tulips tonight.

while at some point in my life, i hope to always have fresh flowers on my coffee table, this is not an indulgence that needed to begin today. it's still a recession after all. (my father would be proud)
but, it's mud season. and it's monday. i needed a little spring, a little sunshine.
so, instead, i bought a bottle of wine, came home, put on my sweats and googled "tulips"
mission accomplished. it's now spring time in my living room.

"bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul" ~the koran

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Ah, yep.

thank you, dug nap. i couldn't have said it better myself.

he is dead on. he always is. his prints are bright, colorful, and most importantly, they speak the truth, with a little bit of snarkiness that is always appreciated.

everytime i see his work, i feel the need to create a room in my house to hang them all or else i need to create reasons to by them for friends and family members, because every print is the kind of perfect that makes you say "what other person in the world would be able to hang this on their wall!?"

just a little sampling of my favorites from this fine vermont artist...


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forest heavens.

it's that time of year. the time when the temperature during the day climbs ever so carefully above freezing and the earth breathes a sigh of relief that it can relax and warm up a bit. but what that means for the rest of us is simple, we must welcome the frost heaves and the signage that accompanies them.for the next few weeks the roads will be posted with signs as seen above - signifying a bumpy ride ahead (and trust me, bumpy is often an understatement) but for me, this sign reminds me of my childhood, when the ride in the backseat of our volvo stationwagon felt like a roller coaster and my little brother, who was just learning to read, pronounced these bumps in the road to be "forest heavens." a name that has managed to stay with us and will always make me smile.

so, in the next few weeks, i challenge you to take a wrong turn and drive down a bumpy dirt road - you never know where the forest heavens might lead...

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eating well.

eating well needs our help!
the charlotte, vt based magazine (and my bible) is considering several different titles for their next cookbook (eek!) a 400-page compendium of their best recipes and cooking techniques. please take a minute to tell them your top 3 choices from the list below.
click here to vote.
  • Eatingwell Deliciously Healthy
  • EatingWell: Easy. Delicious. Healthy.
  • The EatingWell Cookbook: 250 Easy, Delicious, Healthy Recipes
  • EatingWell Guide to Easy, Healthy Cooking
  • The Best of EatingWell
  • EatingWell Healthy Cooking Basics
  • EatingWell Made Easy
  • Simply EatingWell
  • EatingWell Simple Art of Healthy Cooking
  • EatingWell: The 250 Best Healthy Recipes
  • EatingWell's Delicious Guide to Healthy Cooking
  • The Secrets of EatingWell: 250 Delicious Healthy Recipes, Tips and Techniques

can you tell which one has my vote?

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bloom where you're planted.

absolutely precious greeting card, courtesy of vermont's own, local wisdom cards.

she designs tons of cute cards that can all be found on her etsy site, but this one is my personal favorite. i'm a quote lover, and this quote is dead on AND holds a special place in my heart. yes, mom, i am blooming where i was planted (-:

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grilled cheese cook-off.

so, since my last post i have done a little (ok, a lot) of research about grilled cheese sandwiches, since it is such an obvious addition to chicken noodle soup. and that's when i made the most amazing discovery of all...


...vermont has a grilled cheese cook off. that's right. it is held every june at the strolling of the heffers weekend in brattleboro. so mark your calendars, for june 4-6th, 2010. grilled cheese heaven, here we come!

just to get your mouth watering a bit, here is a sample of last year's winning recipes. all made with fresh, local, vermont ingredients. now i have to decide what to make tonight. decisions, decisions...

taste of vermont’s seasons goodness
what you need:
2 slices pane siciliano bread from
la panciata
1 tbls. cabot creamery butter
2 oz.
vermont shephard cheese
2 oz. grafton 2-yr. cheddar
2 each thinly sliced fresh pear
½ tsp. vermont honey
2.5 oz. cob smoked harrington's vermont ham (shaved)
½ tsp. 5-grain mustard

what you do:
lightly butter 2 slices of bread. saut̩ fresh pear in 1 tsp. butter for 1 minute, add honey Рremove from heat. slice cheese thinly Рplace cheddar on non buttered side of bread. add pear. add ham and spread mustard on ham. top with vermont shepherd and buttered bread. grill until evenly browned and crispy. cut on diagonal (very important) serves 1.

mad good grilled cheese sandwich
what you need:
1 lb.
grafton 2 yr cheddar
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
½ cup roasted red peppers, chopped fine(about one fresh roasted)
⅓ cup toasted pecans, chopped fine
1 Tbls. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
1 large handful minced parsley
8 slices
red hen mad river grain bread
butter for frying
what you do:
blend softened cream cheese with all ingredients except the grafton cheddar, stir in the cheddar. heap a generous amount onto bread. heat butter in heavy pan, add sandwich and fry each side over medium low heat till melted and browned. serves: 4-6, depending on who is loading them.

south-of-the-border grilled flatbread, vermont style
what you need:
1 12” against the grain gourmet 3-cheese pizza shell
4 oz.
neighborly farms chipotle cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbls. refried black beans
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (
vermont smoke and cure, thick sliced)
2-3 tbls. cilantro vinaigrette (1 tbls. fresh chopped cilantro, 2 parts oil, 1 part white balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper to taste)

what you do:
prepare cilantro vinaigrette ahead of time for optimum flavor. cut pizza shell into halves. brush the top surface of each half liberally with cilantro vinaigrette. spread a thin layer of refried black beans on the bottom surface of one half, and top with grated cheese and bacon crumbles. close the flatbread sandwich and place on grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and shell is toasted with golden grill marks. cut into quarters with pizza cutter to serve. serves: 4

the apple snap
what you need:
2 slices vermont bread's organic white bread
4 slices grafton-5 star cheddar cheese
3-4 slices tart apple (honey crisp, empire, etc.)
1 ½ tbsp. caramelized onions

what you do:
caramelize onions. peel and slice apple. grate cheese. melt butter in pan. grill sandwich. serves 1.

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comfort food thursday

there is NOTHING more comforting than chicken noodle soup. nothing. in fact, it has become known as food for the soul (see chicken soup for the soul book series) so, on this comfort food thursday, we are going big and braving the ultimate comfort food. it feels like a day worthy of such an endeavor, don't you think? chicken noodle soup with dill (thank you, eating well)

what you need:
10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 medium carrots, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles, (3 cups)
4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast, (about 1 pound; see Tip)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste


what you do:
bring broth to a boil in a dutch oven. add carrots, celery, ginger and garlic; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. add noodles and chicken; simmer until the noodles are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. stir in dill and lemon juice.

plus, it will be even more comforting when served with grilled cheese sandwiches...

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nesting, nesting 1, 2, 3

i am in a nesting phase. all of a sudden i have a need to hang photos, buy bedspreds, and organize my spice cabinet.* i could psychoanalyze this phase, but instead i am going to ignore the underlying issues that it brings up and just embrace it.
and today, embracing it means looking for cool vermont photos to frame and hang in my living room (if my boss is reading this, i'm sorry!) check out these photographs of the street stencils that mark the burlington city bus depot. 1, 2, 3...done and done. i'm thinking big white mats and black frames...thoughts?
and clearly i need these pillows from pottery barn to complete the number theme.
*more details on the spice project to come.

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outhouse love?

question: when was the last time a port-a-potty or outhouse made someone you know smile?
correct answer: me, last night. i mean what is not to love about this little buidling?
outhouse perfection if you ask me.bread loaf view farm, cornwall, vermont

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low fat tuesday.

across the country today is known as fat tuesday, the official commencement of mardi gras. but here in vermont we are bucking the trend and celebrating low fat tuesday and the "lighter side of mardi gras"

cabot, the vermont-based dairy cooperative best known as "makers of the world's best cheddar," has partnered with several chain grocery stores to promote healthier food choices as hundreds of thousands of folks begin the season of lent today with the celebration of mardi gras and fat/low fat tuesday.

so, in honor of low fat tuesday, for dinner this evening, we will be having harvest stuffed turkey burgers and low fat mac and cheese. yum! for more recipes - check this out.

harvest stuffed turkey burgers
what you need:
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce or chutney (i love a good chutney - try this one by vermont harvest)
  • 4 ounces cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar, cut into 4 (1-ounce) slices
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 mixed-grain hamburger buns
  • 8 large leaves arugula, rinsed and patted dry

what you do: shape ground turkey into 8 thin patties. spread 1 tbls of cranberry sauce in center of each of four of patties and top with 1 slice cheese; place remaining 4 patties on top, pinching edges together to seal. lightly coat large nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. cook burgers for 4 minutes per side, or until well done (or brave the february chill and cook on grill) season with salt & pepper. place on buns and top with arugula.

lowfat tuesday mac & cheese

what you need:

  • 2 cups small dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (king arthur, obviously)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • pinch of ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • dash of worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 8 ounces cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar, grated & divided (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup italian-flavored breadcrumbs

what you do: cook macaroni according to package directions; drain well. preheat oven to 350°F. spray a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. place flour in a large saucepan over medium heat, gradually whisking in milk. add mustard, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, red pepper and worcestershire. continue cooking until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. reduce heat to low. stir in cream cheese until well blended; add 2/3 of shredded cheese and stir until melted. add macaroni, stirring until well coated. pour into prepared baking dish. toss remaining shredded cheese with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over top of macaroni; spray with cooking spray. bake for 20 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbling throughout.

enjoy!

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spontaneity.

i like plans. i like calendars and lists and schedules. it's in my DNA.
so, the word spontaneity is not even in my vocabulary. especially when it comes to things like holidays...when i think plans are part of the fun. however, this last weekend, i was proven wrong. very wrong.
the type A planner in me got hives thinking about going out on valentine's day with no schedule, plans or reservations. but, i gave in. i let go and let mr. spontaneity take the wheel.
we wandered out the front door and meandered down church street not having any idea where the night might lead (again, hives) but it was perfect. a quick stop at 3 of our most favorite places...all with delightful waitresses, warm candlelight, tasty snacks, yummy red wine and sparking conversation. so, yes, it may have had something to do with the company (and the wine helped the hives) but, it was perfect.
so, whether you want to plan for it or not, our valentine's day bar crawl comes highly recommended.

156 bistro - yes, it might be known for its fabulous big screen tvs (mr. spontaneity loved this) but the vibe is not your typical sports bar - its a tricky combination of sleek and cozy, trendy and familiar. plus, menu is great (the bistro burger might change your life) the wine list is wonderful, and the wait staff couldn't be friendlier. next time, however, i am going to beeline to the back and get the coveted seat on the leather couch by the fire place...ahh...


american flatbread - heaven. if i had to dream up the perfect restaurant, this would be pretty close. local beer, woodfired pizza made with local, organic ingredients, perfect ambiance...rustic vermont meets classic italian (whats not to love about a restaurant with checkered table cloths?) plus, our fantastic waitress gave us some excellent advice and helped us save a little bit of money. how often does that happen? my only complaint is that they were out of the brownie sundae (apparently valentines day is a big dessert holiday!) but to satisfy our lingering sweet tooth, we asked our server for pot of local honey to dip your pizza crusts in. it wasn't a brownie sundae, but it got the job done (-:



daily planet - a local favorite of ours. a cozy, celarium turned restaurant/bar. admittedly, i have never actually eaten there...just enjoyed a glass of wine or two. the menu, drink list, artwork, and clientelle is constantly changing, so there is never a dull moment. but, i think, besides the super cool decor, my favorite part of the planet is the drink special called the cougar which is "any of the specialty martinis, plus a bud bottle for your cub" hahaha.

"the essence of pleasure is spontaneity..."

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hometown hero.

the first usa olympic gold goes to....
...vermont's own hannah kearney!!
congratulations!!!
(she may have trumped the rest of us, and had the best day ever - but VERY well deserved)

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saturday morning perfection.

there are few things better than a lazy saturday morning spent curled up on the couch with a steaming mug of fresh brewed coffee. they happen so rarely and are just the perfect treat on these sunny (but oh so chilly) winter mornings. however, if i was to get really picky there are just a few minor things i would change about today...

  1. i would have drank a little bit less wine last night...
  2. ...so that i could have tried the slow cooker oatmeal recipe from eating well that has been posted on my fridge for months! maybe if i start it now, we can have breakfast for dinner.
  3. green mountain coffee would currently be selling their pumpkin spice blend. i think it is definitely a flavor worthy of year round status. i mean blueberry is, why not pumpkin? seriously.
  4. there would be a fireplace involved. or i would be curled up on the couch below...how heavenly does that look?
  5. i would have company
...happy saturday. make it a great one...wherever you are....

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spilled milk.

today is national don't cry over spilled milk day

best national holiday ever* because today, the holiday czar** is reminding us to "stop worrying about the little things, the everyday things out of our control. things happen, don't worry, or fret or cry, just get over it..."

the holiday czar is quite smart.

although, if i could make one complaint, it is that no one seems to have any idea where the spilled milk phrase came from. although, if i had to guess, it would be from one of the fantastic dairy farms in vermont. which is precisely what i will spend the rest of the day researching...stay tuned.

*that is an unfairly dramatic and untrue statement. there are better holidays. thanksgiving, please accept my apologies.

**in my next life, i want to be the crazy lady that sits on a porch swing somewhere and helps the holiday czar think up national holidays - like national spilled milk day, national waffle day and national dance like a chicken day....

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comfort food thursday.

i have been waiting for comfort food thursday since…well, since last friday when the leftovers from last week’s shepard’s pie suddenly disappeared from the fridge. the valentine’s day phantom, perhaps?

so this week, in honor of the snow storm that has buried much of the east coast , i am going to attempt to concoct the perfect beef stew. recipe thanks to my friends at healthy living (much more on them to come…)
winter beef stew
what you need:

2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small yellow onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup good red wine
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 medium red potatoes, diced in 1 inch cubes
4 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

what you do:
heat oven to 300. In a large, flat bottomed dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat. dry and season beef with salt & pepper. in 2 batches, brown the meat on all sides, placing browned meat aside in a bowl. add the remaining oil and reduce heat to medium. add onion and sauté, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon. add garlic and thyme and cook 1 minute more. add tomato paste and flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. add wine and bay leaf and stir, increase heat and simmer until wine is reduced by 1/2. add stock and meat (and any juice that has collected in the bowl with the meat), meat should be covered or just barely covered with liquid, if more is needed add more stock or water. bring to a boil, cover and place in oven for 1 hour. remove from oven and add carrots and potatoes. return to oven and cook until meat is tender, juicy and falling apart and vegetables are cooked. adjust seasoning and serve (great over pasta or rice)

now you have the perfect meal for a snowy winter night. all you have to do is close your eyes and pretend you are in nyc where the snow is still falling…and of course, keeping with tradition, you must open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the fact that it's thursday (-:

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hmph.

what is this about?

living in northern vermont (again, basically canada) there are only a few certainties in life. cows out number people, there is NEVER a shortage of good beer, summer is atleast two months too short, and every winter you will get pummeled with snow.

but wait! not this year. the mid-atlantic states are getting hit again (see below) with a wonderful, white, sloppy blizzard and we get nothing!? how does that work?
although, i've said it before. life is weird. maybe this year summer will start in april...or i will be biting my tongue when we get 12' of powder for easter.

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valentine's day phantom.

vermont has a phantom. a valentine's day phantom.


here is what we know...
his date of attack: february 14th
his location: montpelier, vermont
his weapon: thousands of red paper hearts
his true identity: unknown

clearly this phantom (aka the love bandit) is no ordinary phantom. this phantom writes poetry, has a theme song, a youtube video, a facebook fan page AND has single handedly turned the word heart into a verb. forget cupid, vermont's valentine's day phantom is sooo much cooler.

so this weekend, if you can't make it to montpelier, be your own phantom and heart your home town. red construction paper is a powerful weapon.


"all you need is love. love is all you need."

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cookie love.


what's not to love about a cookie company...

...with flavors like: first love (chocolate chip)forbidden love (triple chocolate chip) true love (oatmeal with cranberries) & addicted to love (mocha chocolate chip)

...that also sells frozen dough so you get the smell of fresh baked cookies without the mess in your kitchen.

...whose mission statement goes a little something like this "to build a conscious, values-based company committed to minimizing our environmental footprint, supporting local schools and arts organizations, and developing and implementing a philanthropic vision."

...who named their bakery and storefront in ferrisburgh the love shack.

so, this valentine's day. forget flowers. shop local. give love. give cookie love.

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two b's.

my love affair with vermont officially began on a blustery november night at two brother's tavern. we fell in love over chilled pints of wolaver's ipa, heaping plates of sweet potato fries and pulled pork sandwiches. magic was in the air that night - something about the smells, the sounds, the people, the bartender - and years later, the magic returns every time i walk through the steamed glass doors.
from that point on, the bar was set. and every pub, tavern, and bar in the world will be held to the same irrationally high standards. and these standards can be blamed on two men in particular, the one in the sweatshirt on the bar stool next to me and the one in the suspenders behind the bar.

so, next time you find yourself in middlebury, vt - go in and pay a visit. and if you get a chance, tell beal that i said hi. he won't say much, but his smile will tell you that there just might be some love waiting there for you too.

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can't get there from here.

definition. a phrase said when giving directions in reference to the impossibility of traveling a direct route between certain places. often said when referring to life in northern new england, specifically, the state of vermont.

and if you have ever tried to travel from one side of this state to the other, you know this is true. route numbers replace highways, rumble strips turn to potholes, and the village store is the new rest stop.

some find this to be a burden, and at times, it is. (especially for someone like me who is always running about 15-20 minutes late) but the beauty of not being able to get there from here in any sort of efficient, direct way is that you are forced to wander, to explore, to get lost, to move a little bit slower than you may, under other circumstances wish to travel.

so, i challenge all of you, that on your next drive to slow down. take some time to think the journey...but always keep your eyes peeled for a pot hole in the middle of the road.

"we want to make good time, but for now this is measured with emphasis on good rather than time and when you make that shift in emphasis, the whole approach changes."

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jimmy k and bobby f

a little weekend inspiration from two of my favorite men.

"two roads diverged in a wood and i - i to
ok the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference." -robert frost
photo courtesy of jimmy k, january 2010

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something bad happened.

so today i was in the checkout line at the grocery store (purchasing ingredients for the first ever comfort food thursday) when i was faced with a decision. a surprisingly tough decision.
or
i don't have to tell you what happened.
...times, they are a changin'

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comfort food thursday.

when i was living life in the big bad city (aka boston) my friends and i created champagne thursdays. we would all bring a bottle of our favorite bubbly (aka a different shade/flavor of andre) sit around and talk about our long weeks and make plans for the weekend ahead. it became an institution and one that we all looked forward to with much anticipation.

so, in homage to my friends and the great tradition of yesteryear, i created the vermont edition and have dubbed it comfort food thursday.

'cause what better way is there to celebrate the last "school night" of the week than with a steaming hot pot of wonderfullness like this super easy, super healthy shepards pie? plus, a good shepards pie goes really well with a nice glass of bubbly (recommended, the one in the purple bottle)



Sweet Potato Shepards Pie

what you need:
2 teaspoons orange zest (i cheated and used orange juice)
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
2 tablespoons EVOO (thank you, Rachel Ray)
2 pounds ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 small chile peppers, red fresno, jalapeno or serrano
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
cheddar cheese, grated

what you do:

Add the potatoes to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Salt the water and cook to tender about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return to hot pot. Add the zest, butter, yogurt, salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste.

While potatoes are coming to a boil, heat a chili pot with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high to high heat. Add the turkey and brown, then add in the onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Chop the peppers, then add them along with the garlic to the turkey. Stir in the spices, and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock and simmer a few minutes to thicken and combine flavors.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer the chili to a casserole, spread the potatoes over the top and cover with Cheddar cheese. Brown under the broiler until golden and serve.

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