Friday, October 29, 2010

It's a cranberry world on Cape Cod

I haven't posted for a while; at the little church, we've had two weddings, three funerals, and a newsletter, so my carpal tunnel problems are giving me a great deal of trouble. 

But, without a doubt, it is the most beautiful time of year here on Cape Cod, and I wanted to share it with you! Many of the growers are wet-harvesting on the cranberry bogs, and, believe me, when I see all the rosy glory on a lovely fall morning, it's very, very hard not to pull over and drink it all in --the views across the ponds and bogs are absolutely breath-taking. 

If you ever have the opportunity 
to visit Cape Cod in the fall, please do come visit...
and until more Cape Cod Cranberrries!

(By the way, if you'd like this Cape Cod package sign for yourself, get in touch with my fabulous cousin, Jan, in the Buffalo, New York, area. Her business, The Traveling Picture show made a gorgeous framed copy for my kitchen.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Okay, Martha, I'm ready now

I gave our poor dear Martha Stewart a hard time at the end of summer because her blog was already posting Halloween costumes. My response? Seriously, Martha.

Well, today is October 1st, and all I can say is praise the Lord, because September was HARD. My dad has finished radiation, but the after affects have made him pretty sick, and he's been hospitalized and under medical care. And one hospital admission was the day before my mom's surprise 80th birthday party with more than 80 guests. Dad insisted that we move ahead with the party, and it did go very well (love and kisses to Falmouth's Coonamessett Inn -- you and your staff were beyond wonderful).But we've all been under a strain, especially both my parents.

That's why I'm feeling glad to have September over and to start a fresh new month. And in my book, it's now perfectly okay to go all out for Halloween. I didn't like the spaceman costume, Martha, but I am lovin on your baby get ups.

Take a look at some of the ideas (there are more on her site):

All together now: Awww.
Do you recognize the chicken feet? Rubber gloves!

Perfect for a Cape Cod baby.

 This one would work, too.

On the other hand, I do believe the folks at MS need to rethink this one: it's a bit disturbing.'s VERY disturbing.

Those who know me are well aware of my determined dislike for Martha. I'm not enamored with her high-handed personality and I mistrust her values and her emphasis on things over people. Not to mention that my skin crawled every time she had her mother on her show (I can't imagine treating my mom that way). 

But, boy oh boy, I give the woman credit for assembling staff of creative geniuses! Their collection of costume ideas are funny, silly, creepy, and, yes, even a touch strange -- but all in all brilliant. Check out the rest of the baby costume and bigger kid costume ideas at  Halloween Central on the Martha Stewart blog here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cellentani pasta with roasted tomatoes and arugula

"Auntie JuJu, Auntie JuJu!"

Luciano and Mirabella were here, tumbling through the breezeway door like little puppies. They were eager to pick the cherry tomatoes I have growing in pots and tubs on the back patio, so I give them each a basket, and out they ran. Even at 2 1/2 and 5, they're darn good at choosing just the red ones. Luc eats them straight from the plant, and there was such a bounty from the rain Cape Cod finally received, he declared over and over, "It's a miracle!" His mom, my sister Sue, and I were quite sure he must have heard that somewhere, but you, know, he was right. Tomatoes certainly are a miracle!

I sent Susan and her little ones home with a paper bag full of tomatoes, but I had plenty left. My goals this weekend were to tidy my bedroom drawers (so messy!) and clean out the fridge. Late this Sunday afternoon, I took the ricotta cheese I'd discovered behind the pickles, and started cooking up vegetables. 
I decided to make a casserole with one of my favorite pastas, cellentani. Have you tried these? They're shaped like corkscrews, and cook up very chewy. They have a nice bite, and stay firm when baked.
I mixed the cellentani with ricotta and some arugula, and sauteed the baby yellow squash and zucchini I'd bought Friday. For my labors,  I had a nice little round baking dish for myself later this week, and a good sized casserole to bake for the office tomorrow. And a container of beautifully sauteed squash -- good things in store...

Cellentani pasta con pomodori al forno e rucola
(Cellentani pasta with roasted tomatoes and arugula)

2-3 pounds of cherry tomatoes, halved, or
regular size tomatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parsley, minced fine
8-10 leaves of basil, chopped in chiffonade
l pound cellentani pasta

2 bunches (roughly 3 cups) arugula
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds Ricotta cheese

Place tomatoes in a roasting dish and drizzle with oil and vinegar.
Add salt and pepper, toss and roast for one hour, stirring several times.

Meantime, chop arugula roughly, discarding root end.
Drizzle nonstick skillet with olive oil, and saute lightly, two or three moments.

Cook cellentani in a large sauce pan and drain. 

Return pasta to pot, add ricotta and stir to mix. Add tomatoes, including  juice from roasting pan, along with arugula, parsley and basil. 
Place mixture in low casserole or roasting pan, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake until hot and bubbly, approximately 20-30 minutes.

So good!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I spy with my animal eye

Have you heard of the "The Once and Future King," the wonderful novel about the Arthurian legend on which Disney based its cartoon feature,  "The Sword and The Stone?" The story of the tutoring of the young Arthur makes for an absorbing  book for both children and adults. (I give it to young people all the time; if they liked Harry P., they'll love this book as well. So will you!)

In the story as told by T.H. White,  Merlin transforms the orphan boy Walt into various animals to teach him about life from their perspectives. The man who was to become king gains great insight into the world this way, and the descriptions of  Walt as a peregrine falcon soaring  through the sky have stayed with me since I first read the book as a teenager.
I've always yearned to have that sort of experience, and to have some sort of understanding from a less, err, human perspective -- and now, through the extraordinary resources of the  Museum of Animal Perspectives, my wish has come true.

With the help of remote controlled cameras all over the world, the Museum of Animal Perspective shows us what a chickadee sees as she brings food to her hungry nestlings, what it's like to be a prairie dog traveling down a tunnel, and what a lobster views at the dank bottom of the ocean. Give it a look -- it's really, really cool!

All photos from the Museum of Animal Perspectives

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Seriously, Martha.

at Martha
Get Ready for Halloween
Will your kids be spooky or sweet? Animal or human? Get a head start with our homemade Halloween costume ideas.

Martha, it's August 8, and you want us to think about Halloween costumes. What are you, CVS? Target? Walmart?

Please, girl. Chill. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You say tomato, I say...

...tomato l-o-v-e!

Oh, goodness, I love tomatoes. I planted a dozen different heirloom tomatoe varieties in pots on my patio this year, and it's a joy to pick juicy red cherry tomatoes for my dinner. I love them so much, I could kiss them!

Okay, I do kiss them...


 But only the ripe ones.

I think it's time my annual Guy Clark Home Grown Tomato Song Concert, don't you?

Here it is -- Guy singing the ultimate love song to tomatoes!.

Ain't nothin' in the world that I like better
Than bacon & lettuce & homegrown tomatoes

Up in the mornin' out in the garden

Get you a ripe one don't get a hard one
Plant `em in the spring eat `em in the summer
All winter with out `em's a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin' & diggin'
Everytime I go out & pick me a big one

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love & homegrown tomatoes

You can go out to eat & that's for sure
But it's nothin' a homegrown tomato won't cure
Put `em in a salad, put `em in a stew
You can make your very own tomato juice
Eat `em with eggs, eat `em with gravy
Eat `em with beans, pinto or navy
Put `em on the side put `em in the middle
Put a homegrown tomato on a hotcake griddle

If I's to change this life I lead
I'd be Johnny Tomato Seed
`Cause I know what this country needs
Homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see
When I die don't bury me
In a box in a cemetery
Out in the garden would be much better
I could be pushin' up homegrown tomatoes

Isn't that wonderful?

Do you believe in true love and  
home grown tomatoes, too?
Okay, then, let's sing it out
with Mr. Clark here!  

(And let's not think about a month or so from now just yet, okay?)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's someone's birthday

Today is the birth  date of someone special. Her name is Margery Williams Bianco.
Do you know who she was?

That's right; she was the author of "The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real," which she wrote when she was 41. She was born in England, and raised for the most part in the United States, although for some years of her life she lived in Italy, where her husband fought in the Great War. Her stories can be very sad, but she believed that stories such as these touch the true nature of life, and help us understand the transcendent beauty of growth and the inspirational power of love.,

I've just turned 55, and, as I still search for that love, I'm trying to remember what the Skin Horse told the Velveteen Rabbit:

 “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Monday, July 19, 2010

You say tomato, I say tomater.....

See these lovely darlings?
Well, there's something 
they need, amici.

So, come with me. 
We're going to take  

Don't worry -- 

 C'mon! I'm going to show you 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm hiding out.

I'm sitting in the kitchen, with my window shades down and my doors locked up tight. The raging mob My neighbors are out there, waiting. If they can catch me, I know what's going to happen...

...they're going to drag me out by my hair, throw me behind my lawnmower, and make me cut down my thriving dandelion patch.

I can only assume that's what's going to happen, of course. But I'd say it was a safe guess. After all, despite the fierce heat and humidity, the angry gang my neighbors have managed to keep their lawns green and nicely trimmed.

My lawn, however, is a drought-burned eyesore with an army of dry, two-foot tall dandelion stalks. 

I really should have mowed last weekend, but I barely made it through the 80-plus degree weather. Combine that with the devil's own humidity,and it should be no wonder that I've done little more than give the whole mess a pained glance as I pass from the car to the house after work. 

I'm really not being a curmudgeon; it's just that I'm plain worn out by the heat. Last night and tonight, I fully intended to mow, but there were downpours during commuting hours both nights. Tomorrow, I've got a meeting (you know, "a meeting...")after work, so I guess I won't be doing anything about this debacle until the weekend.
Which means the horde of irate nice neighbors are waiting.

(This is all a joke -- my neighbors are lovely, and goodness knows how they put up with the old lady who destroys the value of their properties!)

Edit:  I mowed last night. I wish I could say that the cars driving by beeped their horns or that the entire neighborhood did the wave. I would have really, really  liked a slow clap on the last lap a la Cool Runnings or Strictly Ballroom.  But, noooo. No one gave me any love. On the other hand, now my lawn looks like the other lawns. Brown.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Am I a woman or a mouse?

Owning a home on your own can be so daunting at times. I don't have stellar home repair skills, and, while I've tried to develop some on my own, I really think I'm a "show me" type of learner. For example, just after Christmas, I decided I was going to learn to use the electric drill. The drill is also known as the power tool that scares me crazy. Nonetheless, I read everything I could online, got out my new bits, got out Mr. Drill, and started on my first drilling project. I was going to hang the new curtain rod above my sink. I followed instructions (with a reassuring phone call in the middle to my cousin-in-law Patrick), and -- hot dog! -- got that rod up there. Hung the curtain, put away all the tools. Job well done.

An hour later, the entire thing fell down.
Yes, fine, I WILL try again (I swear, even though it's now been six months...), but this gives you an indication of the kind of frustration I feel about home ownership. And about being alone to handle everything that comes with it.

So, imagine if you will, the upset, the anguish, the unholy angst I suffered when I was invaded by mice last fall. I am not only an extraordinarily clean housekeeper and a germaphobic, but I am deathly, horribly afraid of mice. I can't watch Ben and Jerry, and even Mickey freaks me out a bit. Real mice? We're talking tears, anxiety attacks, and the inability to sleep. Cape Cod Pest Pros to the rescue. Thank you, Dan and company!

The pest company cleaned out the mice, but I was left with fear. Stark fear. I-don't-want=to-go-to-the-cellar-even-though-the-washer-and-dryer-are-down-there fear. Fear that lasted all winter long, through the spring, and into the present. 

The saga got even better in February. That's when I went to the basement to find that I'd been hit with a buzzing blizzard of big fat flies on the wall above my dehumidifier. I swatted and sprayed until they were gone, but who knew what had caused a fly attack in the middle of winter?
Well, finally I figured it out. It would seem that an errant mouse had eaten the pest poison and been attracted to the water in the dehumidifer. Made sense, right? Unfortunately, there was NO WAY I was going to check it out.

Summer began, and with it the famous Massachusetts humidity (Cape Cod weather goes like this: January, February, March, March, March, March, BAM! -- JULY!). My basement was humid and wet to the point of water glistening on the cement walls. It was time to turn on the dehumidifier. One problem...there was a mouse in there.

I put it off. Then put it off again. When I ran downstairs to get a roll of paper towels, the sheets of paper felt damp and limp. Still, I just couldn't confront the dead mouse floating in the water of my dehumidifier.

That's when I read a post by the inspirational Donna, the capable directress of one of my favorite blogs, Funky Junk Interiors.

Gitter Done, my muse told us. Take that project, that chore, that whatever it is you've been procrastinating on doing, and gosh, darn it, do it. And Donna even demonstrated her own "Gitter Done" project, just to show she meant it. Later that day, I went downstairs to do the laundry, and came back up with the basket still in my hands. It was really, really wet down there.

Maybe it's time to gitter done.

The next morning, I reread Donna's exhortations again. Gitter done. Gitter done. Git it off your mind and gitter done

"Okay, Donna," I decided on my drive home after work. "I'm gonna do it!" Yes, I was going to take my courage in hand, and confront that slimy, nasty dead mouse, clean it out, and get my dehumidifier going.

At home, I changed into my grubbiest clothing, donned an enormous pair of Big Bird yellow rubber gloves, and headed down to the basement.

My heart was pounding hard.

"You're strong, you're brave. You can do this," I said into the dank, dark air of the basement.

I squatted in front of the dehumidifier. I was shaking a little, but I took a deep breath, grabbed hold of the water reservoir, and prepared to come face to face with the mouse. One big pull....and there it was.

No mouse.

I repeat,


So do you know what this means?

I'm sorry to say that it means that all the terror, all the worry, all the big, fat, sobbing tears were

All. Over. Nothing.

I know this is a strange and long Gitter Done entry. But it's taught me something very important about myself and what I can do. I hope that I've learned once and for all that it's utterly futile to dread something which turns out to be far more horrible in my imagination than it can ever be in real life.

And I've especially learned that I have to stop being so intimidated by small things -- and even big things -- that I don't think I can do. Nothing in this ridiculous incident hurt me except my own foolish, scaredy-cat self. And when I finally took myself in hand, and acted, I earned myself not just an end to my worry, but a certain sense of pride, too. Okay, it's a rather pathetic pride, but it's pride. And, by the way, I got something else out of this silly little saga.

A dry cellar.

FJI's Gitter Done! challenge

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The little church has a blog!

I started a blog for the little church where I work

Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Read all about it!

I won a gorgeous newsboy cap from the Paisley Cupcake.

One of the Paisley Cupcake's team bloggers, AmberLou,  re-purposed it out of a pinstriped man's suit, and her little son modeled it to perfection. Check it out here.  Didn't she do a fabulous job?

Thank you so much, AmberLou.  My little nephew Luciano is going to look adorable in it (if his sister doesn't appropriate it for herself!).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Oh, beautiful

America the Beautiful
Katharine Lee Bates, the author of the poem "America the Beautiful," was born right here on Cape Cod, on Main Street in Falmouth in 1859. If you ever come to visit the Cape, you can find out more about Miss Bates's life at the Falmouth Historical Association's Museums on the Green, a lovely grouping of sea captains' homes and gardens overlooking the town green where militia men paraded during the Revolutionary War. 
Falmouth revers Miss Bates; the beautiful Falmouth Public Library is located on Katharine Lee Bates Road, and one of the most popular sites in town is named after a line from her most famous poem. 
The Shining Sea Bike and Walking Path follows the coast from downtown Falmouth to Woods Hole, skirting the harbor. It continues through a shady, tree-lined walkway, then passes through cranberry bogs, ponds and woods. Closer to the coastline, you emerge along the water, where you can see ferries making their way across the ocean to Martha's Vineyard. A few miles later, the path reaches the harbor at Woods Hole, where you can stop to browse the shops and Oceanographic buildings and have a cold drink or cup of espresso at Coffee Obsession. On a nice day, the path is filled with the friendly bustle of walkers, skaters and bicyclists, and you can rest at benches and small bridge vistas along the way. My mother, sisters and I love nothing more than taking this walk together, and, if ever pressed, I'd chose Shining Sea as my favorite part of Cape Cod.
America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet

Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The two most beautiful words

Summer afternoon--summer afternoon; 
to me those have always been the two most
beautiful words in the English language.

--Henry James, as quoted by Edith Wharton

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Insalata di fagioli cannellini means...

...the perfect meal for a hot summer evening.

Okay,actually it means Cannellini Bean Salad. But no matter how you translate it, this is a wonderful dish for a hot humid humid night like the one we're having here on Cape Cod. It's a very good antipasto or side dish, but to make it a main dish, just arrange sharp, bitter arugula on a platter. In the middle, place either a good-quality Italian tuna or slices of cold roasted chicken. Circle with the bean mixture,and serve with a hearty bread to soak up the dressing (this is where you imitate what they say in the movie Julie and JuliaYUM!).

You'll find that this dish is light, healthy and delicious. It's easy to make, and you won't have to heat up the kitchen to put a lovely meal on the table. Please (I beg you) serve it as Italians do, at room temperature, and you'll see that it does translate into "perfect dinner for a summer night!"

Buon appetito!

Italian Cannellini Bean Salad

Ingredients for salad:
2 cans (15-16-ounce) cannellini beans (or other small white beans)
1 small red onion, sliced in half, then sliced fine
1/2 cup white vinegar for soaking onion (to be discarded)
2 stalks of celery, diced fine
1 small red pepper, diced small
12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1/3 cup scallions, sliced small

Ingredients for dressing:
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

Rinse and drain beans in a colander.
Slice red onion. Separate onion slices, place in small bowl, and cover with white vinegar for 15 minutes.
Prep other vegetables and herbs; add everything but tomatoes to mixing bowl, and combine gently with beans.

Drain onions, discard vinegar, and fold onions and tomatoes gently with beans.
Prepare vinaigrette, adjusting the oil/vinegars ratio to your taste.
Add salt and peper to taste.
Drizzle over salad, and toss lightly Serve on bed of greens.

Best if prepared at least an hour before. 
Serve at room temperature

Are you visiting from a link party below?
It's so SWEET (dolce)  of you to come see this little bit of Cape Cod!
I'd really love it if you tell me who you are, and where
you're visiting from. Thanks!




Keeping it Simple

 The DIY Show Off

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm in love with Lindsey! And Stella & Dot, too (of course)!

I want to tell you about the wonderful start I've just had to my Wednesday.

It's a-raining  here on Olde Cape Cod, and the drama of lightening flashes and thunder rumbles woke me up a little earlier than my usual 5:30 alarm. I got right up, and came downstairs to  unplug my television and laptop. The Cape is well-known for electrical surges, and even with surge protectors, I can't afford to lose a major appliance!

I made my coffee, then sat down to read my e-mails, starting with a post from Living With Lindsey. The fabulous Lindsey is one of my faves. Her blog's tagline is " Creating a beautiful home -- one glue gun burn at a time." Really, need I say more? Lindsey is both self-deprecatingly funny and extraordinarily instructive. She's the Baroness of Burlap (check out her burlap covered lamp shade!) She started the whole silhouette craze.

And who brought her tutorial on the enchanting book wreath to Blogdom? Yes, Lindsey.

So, as a loyal admirer, you can certainly bet that I was right there when Lindsey announced a wonderful giveaway from jewelers Stella & Dot.

Okay, I was in love. Enthralled. Enchanted. 

What gorgeous, gorgeous feminine jewelry. And so my style -- playful yet classic. And so, so darn pretty. As Lindsey says, I want everything. So I was delighted with a chance to win a bit of Stella & Dot.

Well, imagine me here. Rain. Coffee. Laptop. Opened my Living With Lindsey post. 

Oh, yes, there's the bee-chanting Stella & Dot Boca Necklace. 

So pretty. Wonder who won that giveaway?  Kept reading. 

Lindsey's having ANOTHER Stella  Dot giveaway at her Girl's Night In party with S&D stylist Abby Light. Nice. Gee, wonder who won the other giveaway. Read on

Love, love, love that Sofia Pearl Necklace Bib and the earrings with it. Wonder who won the JEWELRY?

Let's see, here it is. The winner is....

Omg, omg, omg! Jude from Dolce Cape Cod!


As you can tell, I am utterly thrilled. Thank you Lindsey, and thank you Abby. 

You know what? This is the BEST rainy Wednesday morning EVER!!!

Lots of love and big, very appreciative wave from Cape Cod,