Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Our trip to the Great North Woods, part 5

Ducks on the shore just outside our cabin.
Time for the fifth and final installment of our trip to the Great North Woods!  This one will cover Thursday and Friday -- Friday being our travel day.

Thursday morning as the mist was rising over the lake, we saw an interesting sight.  A boat docked at the next place over was slowly sinking into the lake!  Apparently it had filled up with water from all the rain.  (The photo below is blurry for two reasons -- the mist, and a secondary reason which I'll explain later.  Those of you who are on Instagram already know what happened!)

Mr. T did try and find out who the boat belonged to and eventually tracked down someone who knew a friend of the owner.  Presumably he was able to contact his friend and hopefully get his boat pumped out and out of the water.  The dunking would not have done the engine much good.

Our plans for Thursday included two major events.  Mr. T was planning a morning kayak paddle on Second Connecticut Lake with our friend Charlotte.  And in the afternoon we were having longtime friends over for coffee, with Charlotte joining us for this time also.

The photos below are from Second Connecticut Lake.

When Charlotte dropped Mr. T off following their paddle, I was very surprised to see that he was soaking wet!   He hurried into dry clothes while I found places to hang/drape the wet ones; then he spread the contents of his wallet on the heater to dry.

What happened?  As he was getting out of his kayak (not his own; he was using Charlotte's extra one), it started floating away and he ended up with one leg in and one leg out of the kayak and landed in the lake.  Obviously the water was not very deep there at the shore, but he got very wet, and so did the camera, which was literally floating in the kayak.

More about that later.  But any photos from here on out would be taken with the Kindle.

Our friends arrived in the late afternoon and we enjoyed a great time of catching up with them and hearing all about what  they -- their kids and grandkids -- are doing these days.  (Our daughters all went to college together.)  I had made and frozen some brownies and some peanut butter brownies and had brought those along with us -- so we had treats to enjoy with coffee.  Charlotte also brought some cookies, and our friends did as well.

It was a truly lovely visit and one we hope to repeat the next time we are up north.

We had another quiet cozy evening in the cabin and even did a little packing.

We'd planned to go out for breakfast on Thursday morning, but the restaurant ended up being closed, so we put it off until Friday.  We always enjoy Happy Corner Cafe, and -- though we could have chosen to go elsewhere, we decided to just wait until they were open.  We knew that even though we were leaving on Friday, a breakfast out might be just the ticket and we would still have plenty of time to  pack the car before we needed to check out of the cabin.
Part of the dining room at Happy Corner
Happy Corner Cafe has an entire page of omelets to choose from.  I chose one I'd never tried before, a Benedict Omelet with Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese, and Hollandaise sauce.  Very rich but oh so good!  I would love Eggs Benedict but I just can't stand poached eggs, so I jumped at the chance to try this.  And that's a homemade English muffin in the photo too.  Happy Corner specializes in those.

Fueled and fortified by this amazing breakfast, we finished packing up the van and left the cabin as neat as possible.  Mr. T tried once again to get some photos of that favorite scene across the lake, but it was a losing battle from the start using the Kindle.

 The one above was taken through the living room window.

We  then headed out and snapped photos along the way, again using the Kindle, but they came out quite well.

 I think the three photos above were all taken along Route 145 in Pittsburg.  We took sort of a back way to Littleton and the photo below is in one of the tiny towns on the route we took.

We took our time going home and stopped to do a few errands en route.  Arriving home,  we were delighted to discover that all of the photos on the water-logged camera actually did transfer to the computer.  The first few (like the one of the sinking boat) had obviously been affected by the moisture, but not the others.  Thankfully there were only a dozen or so pictures on that new card anyway.

What a wonderful trip it was!  So many memories have been made.  Hope you've enjoyed following along...

Monday, October 28, 2019

Choco-Marshmallow Cookies

Last Thursday I took some time to bake cookies.  I would have guessed that I had posted this cookie recipe a long time ago, but it doesn't seem to be here, so I'm posting it now.  The Kindle photo above shows these cookies being packaged in a tin, which is only right, as you will see if you read on.

This is an old favorite that I often made years ago.  When my daughters were at boarding school in the 1990s, I routinely sent tins of cookies back to school with them after the weekend.  These cookies seemed necessary to get them and their friends through the week.  There were a number of different types of cookies that I baked, and this is one of the recipes that I used.

One friend of Carrie's, in particular, loved these chocolate cookies with a marshmallow half hidden under frosting,  and so from time to time I would make them just for her.

Here's the recipe:

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening -- I used butter flavor Crisco®, but I'm sure you could use butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
Chopped walnuts if you like -- I never use them
18 regular marshmallows cut in half horizontally
Cocoa Frosting (recipe follows)

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream together shortening and sugar in bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed.  Add egg and vanilla, beating well.

Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.  Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts if you are using them. 

Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake in 350ยบ oven for 10 minutes.  Top each with a marshmallow half, cut side down.  Return to oven for 2 minutes.

Let cool slightly before transferring cookies to cooling racks. 

When completely cooled, frost with Cocoa Frosting, swirling frosting to cover the marshmallow.  Makes about 3 dozen.

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
Dash of salt
3 Tblsp.melted butter
4 Tblsp. cream or milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Sift sugar, cocoa and salt into mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy.

A couple of notes:
* I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour in these most recently.
* I doubled the recipe, but found I did not need to double the frosting amount.

This recipe was one I originally found in Farm Journal's Choice Chocolate Recipes --  a favorite cookbook and well used.  Its pages are liberally spattered with chocolate, and whole sections have come loose from the book.  Are you familiar with Farm Journal cookbooks?  I loved them and own quite a few of them.

Hope your family enjoys these cookies if you try the recipe!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Saturday six

Well, I ran out of time to post a Friday five, so we will go with a Saturday six.  Here goes:

1.  A productive day for getting a couple of larger items moved out of my childhood home -- a refrigerator and a wood stove -- and into our own house.  For years I have been accustomed to having an extra fridge in the basement, and when our 1940s fridge died it really impacted my shopping and cooking style.  For example, I could easily prepare desserts or even a crockpot meal  ahead and store them in the fridge until ready to use.  That all changed when we had only one refrigerator.  I'd gotten rid of my dad's fridge earlier through a recycling program, but there was still an extra one in the basement, so we moved it here and took our old one to the dump.  And then our old wood stove which we'd had for years was moved to a cabin we're hoping to fix up.  We took the soapstone stove  from my dad's home and put it in our kitchen to replace the old one.  Many thanks to our son-in-law Jim and grandson Sam for their help moving these heavy items around!
Crab apples near my childhood home
2.  A great day at church last Sunday.  We had a new-to-us pulpit supply and his morning message was so good -- from Titus chapter 2 and how believers are to live in this present world: we're to live soberly, righteously, and in a godly way.  We were also blessed by having several visitors worshiping with us.
Foliage from a previous year -- love these colors!
3.  Time to bake!  I baked some banana muffins last Saturday and some choco-marshmallow cookies on Thursday. 

4.  Time to post in both blogs -- no, not daily, but once in my Christmas blog and several times here.  Have you read my posts about our trip to the Great North Woods?  It's turned into a series with one installment to go!

5.  Getting a Christmas gift completed, and also a gift for a November birthday.

My hubby took this photo of a stone arch bridge a couple of years ago
6.  A McDonalds coffee date with my hubby today in the midst of running errands. 
Kindle photo of bittersweet from a previous year.  It's even nicer this year!
And there are some of my blessings from the past week.  Enjoy your weekend -- and don't forget to count your own blessings!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Our trip to the Great North Woods, Part 4

Today I will post about the Tuesday and Wednesday of our trip.  There was some rain on these days and we spent a lot of time indoors.  So we didn't get a lot of photos on these quieter indoor days.

Tuesday morning we went for a walk on the road where the cabin is located.  It wasn't raining at that point and we thought it could be the best chance we would have for a walk.  Below is a photo I took on Beach Road during a visit to Back Lake in late October 2017.  See the blue heron?

Our friend Charlotte had invited us over to her cabin for lunch on Tuesday.  The photo below is from 2017.  It's always a delight to spend time with Charlotte, and she is such a great cook!  She served a delicious lunch as always.
Again, I got no pictures, but I do have these fairly nice Kindle photos of Charlotte's fall flower garden from a previous year.  I'm always surprised at how well her flowers do right into the fall.  She must have just the right location!

As we were leaving her cabin, the rain began.
It was a cozy afternoon and evening in Cabin 3.  Mr. T had brought a large supply of kindling and wood.  We'd also brought along plenty of amusements, from crafts to games to reading materials, DVDs and a jigsaw puzzle.  We had heard rain was predicted for the week, and it rained very hard Tuesday night.

Our Nevada daughter had sent one of these Vintage Baseball Games to her dad for his birthday earlier in September, so we gave that a try.  It turned out to be a really fun game.  So handy for traveling since it comes in a little tin!

Wednesday morning the rain had slackened, but it was still "dripping", as one of our daughters used to say.  We spent a cozy morning in the cabin.  We watched Anne of Green Gables (from a set of DVDs we had brought with us), during which I worked steadily at crafting a bunch of mailing envelopes from repurposed calendar pages.  These envelopes have turned out to be the perfect size for mailing out vintage sewing patterns that are ordered from my Etsy shop.
 These are examples of mailers I have made in the past, but some were exactly the same as these.  It's a fun and satisfying project, as I can't bear to waste the gorgeous calendars.
 This was an easy project to bring along when I packed for our getaway.

After a late lunch, we decided to try going for a hike here.

However, the trails were very wet from the previous night's rain.  We did go along one for quite a way, but it was much wetter than we liked.  One interesting thing we noticed is that the "bog bridges" across boggy areas of the trail were covered over with chicken wire.  What a great idea to provide traction on the wet wood and leaves on these bridges!

Rather than hike any further, we decided to head for the nearest town with a grocery store.  We were having people over for coffee the next afternoon, and needed to pick up some decaf.  We got a few other necessities as well, and also located a Walgreen's where we could get a new camera card.  Ours was filled up!

We had seen the view above not long before we reached the trailhead.  The Connecticut River was racing through a tunnel of glorious fall foliage, pretty even on an overcast late afternoon. But I knew my Kindle would never do it justice.  We had to wait until the return trip, with the replacement camera card in place, to get this photo.

It was another quiet, cozy evening on Wednesday night.  I can't even remember for sure what we ate for supper that night, but I can tell you that it would have been quick and easy.  That's definitely my cooking style on a getaway!

To be continued ... The last installment will cover Thursday and Friday.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Our trip to the Great North Woods, part 3

Monday was a full day with lots of activity, so I am going to give that day its own post.  Above you see what we saw when we looked out the kitchen window on Monday morning.   Lots of mist over the lake.  Mr. T had planned for this to be his hiking day, so he was hoping for a nice sunny morning with good visibility.  He ended up with just that!
 When we had checked out the trail to Magalloway Mountain on Saturday, we found one had to drive a long distance on dirt roads to get to the trailhead.  I found it rather nerve-wracking.  So he couldn't resist taking a picture of himself navigating this leafy tunnel on Monday morning.

 A scene from the trail.
 More mountain ash berries.  So pretty against these yellow leaves, with lake and mountains in the distance.
There's a fire tower on Magalloway Mountain.  These photos were taken from there.

 From Magalloway one can see into not only New Hampshire, but Maine, Vermont, and Canada.
On the fire tower!

Interestingly, when he left the cabin Mr. T reminded me that he would not be able to call and assure me of his safe arrival at the summit, since there is no cell service at the cabin.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I received an email from my daughter with this in the subject line:
I was in shock for a minute.  How did she know where he was?

But she went on:
He found that he had cell service at the summit, so thought of calling our daughter and asking her to email me.  Aah, technology.  It can be wonderful!

Upon his return from this adventure, Mr. T. suggested a lunch picnic at First Connecticut Lake.  He had been traveling by the picnic area and noticed many nice picnic tables by the water.
 Isn't it a pretty area?
The view from our picnic table
After our picnic, we walked around the area a bit.  There were different roadways and other picnic tables and I think there was a boat launch up at this end as well, for we saw fishermen there.  There were also park benches and signs like this one with historical information.
This is an excerpt from what's on the sign above.   I never knew the origin of the name  Connecticut!

When we got back to the cabin, Mr. T took the kayak out again for a bit.  These cloud reflections are pretty amazing, don't you think?
 Another shot of that elusive scene across the way on Back Lake.

 Before leaving for our picnic, I had put supper in the crockpot.  We had invited dear friends who live in the area over for supper at the cabin, and I wanted a simple meal with as little fuss as possible.  I decided to serve soup and bread.

Here is my recipe for


6 cups chicken broth
12 to 15 1/2-ounce frozen meatballs (or 6 to 8 1-oz. ones)
1 small boneless skinless chicken breast (may be frozen)
Sliced celery to taste (I usually use a cup or two)
Cut-up carrots to taste (I usually use baby carrots and quarter them -- again, about a cup or two)
Spinach to taste, stems removed (can use up to a bunch of spinach -- I have used part of a bag of baby spinach leaves or of frozen cut leaf spinach)
Garlic powder to taste
Lemon pepper to taste
1/4 cup tiny pasta, like alphabets or orzo -- or you can use rice (any of these will be added during last hour of cooking)

Parmesan or Romano cheese to taste

Put the meatballs on a microwave safe plate and defrost them for a minute or two, so you can quarter them. If using the larger (1 oz.) meatballs, cut them in eighths.

Put in crock pot along with broth, chicken, vegetables and seasonings.  Cook all day on low or 3 hours on high.

Add pasta during the last hour of cooking. (In the case of alphabets, I have added them just before serving and they cook just fine.)

Before serving, remove the chicken breast and cut it or shred it in small pieces. Return chicken to the soup.

Serve with Parmesan or Romano cheese for people to add to taste.

Probably makes about 6 servings.

(I had planned on using rice in the soup this time, but forgot to bring any.  So I stole a quarter cup or so of elbow macaroni out of a box of Annie's mac'n'cheese.  I also used precooked chicken and a box of spinach which I brought from my freezer at home.)

With this, I served some multigrain ciabatta rolls (from the Walmart bakery).  These rolls are square and already sliced in half horizontally.  I sliced them in half vertically as well so they would be easy to eat (almost like breadsticks).  The packaging suggested heating them in a hot oven for a few minutes.  I did, and served them with butter.  They were very good.

Our friends brought dessert -- a sumptuous apple cake with a cream cheese frosting.  There was a hint of maple in the frosting and it was so delicious!  We accompanied the dessert with mugs of hot tea in fall flavors.

We enjoyed a great time of fellowship and a wonderful meal together.  God is so good to give us Christian friendship and fellowship!

And that was Monday of our getaway.  It had been a full but most enjoyable day in the Great North Woods!