Wednesday, August 24, 2011

DayTripping Through New England: Portland Maine

I must admit that the first time I went to Portland, it was incredible! I was also DayTripping in a Nor'Easter while carelessly taking the back roads up to Bar Harbor from Hampton Beach New Hampshire which turned out to be a 10 hour trip! What my husband and I were thinking, I have no clue! We will chalk it all up to a severe case of cabin fever in February.
This Summer's trip to Portland was quiet different. My daughter and I were actually able to get out and walk the streets and enjoy some of the culture. I am always in awe of classic New England architecture and Portland leaves you wanting nothing in that respect!

I also must admit that Portland DOES leave you wanting REAL food! Even after walking the city 3 times, I could not find anything other than Vegan food. I had to pass on the cold buckwheat noodles that everyone was offering...

Every Friday in the Square you can find street musicians filling the air with Indie music.I can never pass up live music, So we sat for a bit and listened...

My daughter found an old mail slot on a Goth style door and asked why they do not make these anymore...i did not know what to say other than 'cuz they just make inboxes now' so i just took her picture

Stop that Madison!! We are on a DayTrip! Mother-Daughter bonding time, ya know?
Kids.... (she did leave it in the car when we ended up at York's Wild Kingdom so I guess compromise is good)

And then she made up for it by posing for another photo

The Street Art was nice too

Window Shopping. I'd wear it..maybe

Street Games

Madison in front of Portland Museum of Art-can You see her?

we were too hungry to go in and this town blows for food unless you are an organically grown Vegan . We decided it was time to go to York's Wild Kingdom and have a damn Corn Dog which is exactly what we did and we don't even eat damn corn dogs.

So Long Portland...Next Stop, York Maine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Beautiful & Seasonal Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. The easy way!


2 c. rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 c. fresh strawberries, sliced in half
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 unbaked pie crusts

Place strawberry and rhubarb mixed together on bottom crust in 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Mix other ingredients well. Pour evenly over top of fruit. Top with pie crust.

Make vents in top crust and sugar crust. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and finish baking until rhubarb is tender.

I used a coarse ground raw sugar and added red food coloring. Dust the top with it before baking. You can also use an egg white wash or melted butter for browning.

Monday, February 14, 2011

DIY Floral Ice Bowl

I wanted to share this beautiful Floral Ice Bowl that I make for special occasions. It is so stunning and always impresses as a center piece for parties. Not only is it easy to make but it is gorgeous!

I love to add lots of greenery along with whole flowers and petals. Almost any flower can be used and I have found that lighter weight flowers work best. I actually prefer petals to whole buds as they tend freeze under the water line better. Every time I make one I try to use the brightest colors that I can find, and love to be seasonal. Holly and mistletoe work great in Winter too ! Herbs from your garden will also be breath taking embedded into the ice and is perfect for a Summer Garden Party!

This bowl can be made as small or large as your equipment will allow and can hold punch, fruit, shrimp cocktail...the list is endless! Just make sure that you keep an eye on the melting so as not to ruin your food items.

Let's get started!

Be sure to use a stainless steel bowl to hold the water as ceramic tends to crack under the freezing pressure. A small ceramic bowl for the inside seems to work out alright for me and has not cracked yet..

Choose your flowers/greenery and place inside SS bowl

Place small bowl on top of flowers inside SS bowl and pour water into SS bowl only without covering the small bowl

you want to be sure to center your smaller bowl exactly in the middle to create a 'bowl' on the inside. I have found that if you only put the water in to just barely lift and float the smaller bowl, it tends to stay in place better. Any more water than that and your smaller bowl will float while freezing which will leave you with a crooked center. It also is a good idea to keep checking for floating before it freezes completely.
Once you start to get a good freeze but can still see some water, remove SS bowl from freezer and add a tiny bit more COLD water to cover any petals that have risen out of the water and place back in freezer till frozen. If you do this after it freezes too much it will crack your ice, and you will have to start over.

Do not be discouraged when first attempting this, I have made many of them and will admit it usually takes at least 2 tries each time, but it is worth it for the end result !

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daytripping Through New England with the Dirty Housewife-The Isles Of Shoals

One of my favorite spots in New England is actually shared by Maine and New Hampshire! A tiny cluster of 9 islands about '2 leagues' from the mainland.The Isles of Shoals were named by English explorer Capt. John Smith after sighting them in 1614. These islands literally drip with New England history and were once frequented by the likes of Celia Thaxter, Nathaniel Hawthorne,Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Childe Hassam just to name only a few. If you were anybody in the arts, music, and poetry community in the 19th Century, you were probably out there at one of Celia's Garden Parties at some point. Celia's Father, Thomas Laighton, opened a summer hotel on Appledore which led to the Oceanic Hotel which is still there and used today.
A murder mystery from 1873 that has spawned many plays, books, and movies;still surrounds the islands today. Smuttynose Island was also known as the site of Blackbeard's honeymoon, and for the shipwreck of the Spanish ship called the Sagunto.

Daytrip #2

You can take your own boat or catch a ride from Rye Beach NH. Many places along the NH seacoast will take you there while offering daytrips and lunch at the hotel, long walking trips, and even over night stays at The Oceanic. There is a rumor going around that they have recently begun to let non-members of the Unitarian Universalist Association stay over night...
At the Oceanic there is a dining room to have lunch, a gift shop, and a small community of people who keep the grounds as close to history as possible.

You are welcome to explore the island yourself or go with a group and a 'guide'. The times we have gone, we have walked on our own as not to be rushed and on a schedule. We brought a lunch and sat cliffside on some rocks and shared our lunch with some new friends..

their babies were close by and they were keeping heavy guard. The gulls love to fly from the mainland to lay their eggs on the islands.

The islanders take great pride in keeping things the way they were

Celia Thaxter spent almost her entire life on these islands, and was said to long for them while spending long hard Winters on the mainland. I can only imagine what her life must have been like there. A primitive yet fulfilling life, I imagine. Celia had a garden and cottage on Appledore island where she is buried today. The garden is kept and tended to by a 'club' and is said to still grow flowers that Celia herself planted. I can only dream of how happy this would make her today after over 150 years!

Celia chronicled her failures and
successes for fellow fledgling gardeners in her book " An Island garden" in which she wrote of her final passages on being a gardener, but it was
her lyrical passages that enthralled:
I never forget my planted seeds. Often I wake in the
night and think how the rains and the dews have
reached to the dry shell and softened it; how the
spirit of life begins to stir within, and the individuality
of the plant to assert itself; how it is thrusting
two hands forth from the imprisoning husk,
one, the root, to grasp the earth, to hold itself firm
and absorb its food, the other stretching above to
find the light, that it may drink in the breeze and
sunshine and so climb to its full perfection of beauty.
It is curious that the leaf should so love the light
and the root so hate it.*

The islands were her muse...

Isles of Shoals is a must see for anyone Daytripping Through New England!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Daytripping Through New England with The Dirty Housewife: Mystic CT

Mini Vacations and Day trips are the perfect way to be tourists in your own backyard. No matter where you live, I am sure there are interesting places to see. I am not only the president of the DayTrip Society, but I am also a member. Okay, so there is no actual DayTrip "Society" so to speak, but that is what I like to call my family day trips. I am a transplant of New England by way of Atlanta and Delaware, and I am pretty sure I will call it home for the rest of my life. In the 7 years I have been here I have fallen madly, deeply in awe and love. There is no better place on earth for nature and Mother nature. All four Seasons to the extreme; mountains, oceans, lakes, culture, history... the list is endless, truly. I am still working my way through it all , surely to never see everything.

I am compiling a list of fun,breathtaking, cultural, and not so expensive things to do should you ever make your way here. This may also a great guide for the locals, I am always amazed to find a life long native who has never ventured through the back roads of Maine alllll the way to Bar Harbor and Acadia. I did it right when I serendipitously read the wrong directions from Hampton Beach. It was the real 'backroads' --12 hours of them, alone with my husband in a snow storm. The highway takes about 6 hours. Oh the beautiful , beautiful things we saw and did (you can read about that later). So get out there! Make your own DayTrip Society or follow along with mine through New England, and be sure to check out some of these places if you are ever in town.

Tonight's post is on Mystic Connecticut-the first place I ever found myself at in New England...

I fell in love with Mystic from watching the movie Mystic Pizza , the one that ironically had Julia Roberts ( an Atlanta native) as the star. The seaport filmed in the movie called to my soul with the rustic views, foggy days, and amazing foliage. Loved the story too! When we went, we stayed overnight and as soon as the sun was up, I was out walking in the crisp February sunrise over the drawbridge. I walked everywhere( it is not very big ) , all over the piers and ports, through the small town and had coffee at a quaint little coffee shop. At the end of town is Mystic Pizza -an actual pizza shop that is covered in movie memorabilia. The pizza was not anything to die over, but fun all the same.

The Mystic Aquarium is priced right and is full of sea life exhibits and shows. It is home to the largest outdoor Beluga Whale exhibit in the U.S.

I think my favorite thing was Mystic Seaport , an actual 'living history Maritime museum' and is most noted for the incredible collection of sailing ships and boats. It captures the history of this seafaring village with over 15 vessels. And if you find your way there in June, be sure to check out the Seaport Sea Music Festival for all the best 'sea shanties'

the Charles Morgan

Mystic Connecticut is the best way of introduction to New England that I can think of, like the Van Morrison song "Into the Mystic" says...
I want to rock your gypsy soul
just like way back in the days of old
then magnificently we will float into the mystic
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