Sunday, December 12, 2010

DIY: Rice Crispy Treats

You may be asking why I would post about something so easy to make. I ask the same thing every time I walk past the pre-made cookie dough, in pre-spooned little balls. Many cookies and sweets are super easy to make.

Rice Crispy Treats are an old favorite of mine. As kids we would make it around the holidays with my Nana.
And, as always, there are endless combinations of how to make them even more delicious.

It had been years since making these childhood memories come to life.
Naturally,  I Googled the recipe and felt that the Kellogs Rice Krispies website was the best place to start. The talking Rice Krispies Elves greeted me, along with "The Original Treats" recipe: 
1 bag marshmallows, three tablespoons butter, and six cups of Rice Krispies. 

Step 1: slowly melt butter over low to medium heat. 
Step 2. melt marshmallows over medium heat, making sure to stir constantly so that they do not stick and burn to the bottom. 
Step 3: once marshmallows are thoroughly melted, take pot off heat and stir in six cups Rice Krispies. 
Step 4: Pour into a pre-greased pan to cool (or roll into balls with well buttered hands). 

Note: These little balls of goodness were a little tough to bite into (Read: HARD). And the pan was a sticky mess (Read: it took two days of soaking to clean). Despite afore bumps, they were a huge hit at a potluck, so I decided to make another batch to perfect the ageless treat.

So, in the Miriam's Rice Crispy Treats (because I don't care if you use the expense brand name Rice Krispies or not) use SIX tablespoons melted butter (and remember to coat the sides of the pan before dumping in the marshmallows). Secondly, use only mini-marshmallows, as they melt quickly and evenly.

There you have it! Enjoy! Toss some vanilla in for added flavor, decorate, or sprinkle crushed candy canes on top when they are still gooey. Dump in some cocoa or chocolate chips, ... or just eat them as is!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This week we're going to do a little Do It Yourself. Today is the day for a shot of home-made eggnog.
Step 1: Go to the store and buy some eggnog...lactose free eggnog. If you have tried to make lactose free eggnog at home, it's quite an unpleasant tasting experience. 
Step 2: Find a cute, little shot glass. 
Step 3: Pour the eggnog in the cute, little shot glass to the top. 
Step 4: Sprinkle with nutmeg. 
Step 5: Sip with extreme enjoyment
Enjoy! Hee, hee. There you have it! Making a shot of eggnog at home!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Poinsettia Power...Even When Small

According to Wikipedia, "Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly known as poinsettia or noche buena, is a species of flowering plant indigenous to Mexico and Central America. The name "poinsettia" is after Joel Roberts Poinsett,[1] the first United States Minister to Mexico,[2] who introduced the plant into the US in 1828."

So, we import (either over international lines or certainly over state lines) these brightly colored plants that need 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of bright daylight to produce their crimson leaves. 
So, why do these festive Central American plants show up around the holidays? Again, thanks to Wikipedia, here is the explanation: 

"The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias.[6] From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.[7] The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.[8]"

There you have it! Buena Noche comes to us from afar, and often in very small packaging (love the bag that our Poinsettia was delivered to us in).

Also, just in case anyone was wondering, Dos Equis (the beer company) has a delicious Estilo Bock for the holidays called Buena Noche...see below. We are sipping one now. Yummy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Bear and Some Poo

'Nough said. Is that a ginger gummy poo in your hand?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teeny, Tiny Espresso Party

Espresso cups are small to begin with. This Bone China tea set was even smaller. But, as we pulled the crisp espresso maker from the box, we knew the decadent tea set would work perfectly.
We were not only about to have some of the best espresso around, we were about to drink it in the smallest slurps possible.
True, true. If we were truly espresso snobs, we would not have dolloped the tops with frothy milk, for now it is actually a macchiato. The point was not the name of the drink, it was the fun we had holding it with whichever finger would fit in the tiny handle and sipping. And although we made enough for four cups of espresso altogether, we got to have four cups each instead! 
I suppose we need to back-up a little and make sure that you know where these gems originated. They came from my Nana. My mom's mom. She was a classy, decadent woman. And, well, they have stayed in the family as prized possessions. From tea parties with stuffed animals and grandchildren, to Green Tea Ceremonies, to display pieces, to espresso clinking, this tea set has seen it all. 
Cheers to my mother and as she hurriedly insisted we use the tea set to drink espresso!
Cheers to my step-father for trusting me to experiment with his brand new espresso machine and frother.
And cheers to my partner who reminded me to laugh at these precious moments rather than over think how bizarre they are!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Laughing at the Small Things

Take a moment to look Around and Around. In your cupboards, dressers, bookshelves.  Find the small things and take a moment to laugh.  
This week we are going to focus on the small things in life, and how to get a good cramp in your side from them. This is a glimpse of a tea set, true Bone China, that we dusted off and put to use during Thanksgiving. What kind of ridiculously small items do you have in you house?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coffees, Teas and Cafe's

We will end the week of celebrating Stick Season by hiding ourselves indoors and staring at the bright box we call a computer. Come on, let's make it a little more romantic than that!
If you haven't been to a coffee shop lately, Stick Season is the time to do it. Order something different. Sit all day with a good book or bring a friend and talk the afternoon away. Then go outside and take a walk, cause if you don't enjoy the fresh air of Stick Season, then the frigid air of winter will bite you in the bum! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Candles are Back

Candles. Unless it's cold and dark outside, candles don't glow their full vigor. As Stick Season shows it's grey face, I excitedly pull out the candles, finger the dust off the wax, and find the matches. 
If you haven't pulled the candles out, it's time. Past time. I have to admit that every morning as I get dressed in the semi-dark, I light a candle and head down stairs. It might not be light outside yet, but that warm glow does amazing things to my's as if I am simulating a fake sunrise in my own living room. Oh, candles! 
Let their glow shed the way for the lightness and coziness of winter snow to come. Hurray for Candle Season! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Car Prep for Snow Season

Prepping the car for Snow Season. Now, some of you might get frustrated or annoyed or bothered by the cumbersome transformation of your summer car to your winter car...putting on your snow tires, winter windshield wipers, antifreeze, checking the fluids, making sure the heat is up to par and the adequate scrapers are at the ready. Well, find a sunny day, and I have to admit I love the process. 
This year, I turned my '95 Subaru into a Subarari. That's right, the buffer came out and I gave new life to those yellow, pathetic lights that barely spewed any light on the road.  

Stick Season. It's perfect for tinkering, home and car improvement projects outside, and yard work (aka raking leaves or putting your garden to bed). Go ahead and enjoy it! Why not? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Play in the Leaves

It's Stick Season. Go play in the leaves! 
Whether you are jumping into piles of them, or playing in the brown hued shadows, take a moment to listen as they flutter down the street or rustle in a yard.
And remember to spy some tough little leaves that have withstood the first round of hard frosts, freezing rain and snow. Stick Season holds color in mysterious places. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holding Space for Rituals: Tea and Friends

Tea Time. Tea Ceremonies. Tea Sipping. Tea Sharing. Tea Caring. 

Hot liquids in the summer are not enticing. But come Stick Season when the days are cold and darkness takes over earlier and earlier, Tea Time comes back in full style. I LOVE Tea Time. 
My mom was kind enough to include me in an abbreviated Tea Time, or Green Tea Ceremony that the Chinese still use today when drinking Green Tea. Sacred Green Tea! 
To get the detailed steps of the Green Tea Ceremony, please click the link above. 
The Green Tea Ceremony does include preheating the little tea cups with hot water, soaking the Green Tea leaves in hot, but not boiling water in an unglazed clay pot, sniffing the Green Tea after it has been poured into your little tea cup three times (which is said to help improve and promote respiratory health), and then finally, sipping the tea in three gulps. 
It is a lovely, albeit time consuming way to drink tea. Make time for it. Sharing experiences like these are the lines inbetween...
Try it with friends. Try it with partners. Make a ritual of sharing warmth and healthy, hot liquids.  We are lucky enough to have a tea house in Burlington, VT that carries a variety of Green Teas. Have a Tea Ceremony with a friend at Dobra Tea. Celebrate Stick Season!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hot and Cold

Wood stove sauna's are perfect for Stick Season! Or any sauna for that matter!

Thanks to Jaime and Kraig's Wedding at Sleepy Hallow, we had a women's celebration the night before "the big day, which included a wood stove sauna, a jump in a frigid pond, and a champagne toast to the soon to be bride.

The ingenious design of this sauna is that the opening of the wood stove was you could get it nice and hot without going in and out every time you added wood during the "prep" time.
The lack of electricity created warm, soft candle-light hues on the event...which was good if you were feeling a little bashful in your birthday suit! 
And finally after a near hypothermic dip in the pond, we made a Champagne toast to one of the most amazing females I know. Keep on keeping on, Jaime Sunshine! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Celebrating Stick Season

Although I am a "duely" - duel citizen of Canada and the United States, moving to Virginia at age 5 left me clueless about the "far north."

Growing up I kept the family tradition of playing hockey...just field hockey instead of ice-hockey since southeastern Virginia isn't exactly known for snow or ice.

So, here I am, in northwestern Vermont, in the midst of my 5st Stick Season. The leaves are gone. Shades of gray and brown are the dominant colors on  the ground and horizon. It is cold, generally windy, and often "blah."

This week, my theme is Celebrating Stick Season. It's a time to focus on the small changes on the inside and out.

Hiking during Stick Season allows for awesome changes in a short elevation change. On this specific day, it was warm and sunny at the base of Camel's Hump, while the ghost frost and wind swept the Northern side of the last half mile to the summit. It was a breathtaking hike.

Hurray for the nuances and magic of seasons. Hurray for celebrating with friends. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hampton Beach, NH

It was time to go to the ocean.
It was time to: (no, I didn't write this in the sand, we came upon it during a walk)
After a three hour road trip with Miss Adrienne as chauffeur, we relaxed in the sun before devouring our picnic lunch. 

The shoulder seasons are great for exploring touristy places...without so many of the cheesy touristy attractions going on. 

Just the beach, the ocean, multiple walks, long talks, long silences...

The blue sky and intense sun slowly turned the air cool as the blanket of clouds crawled into position. 
And still, we relaxed. 
Hampton Beach, we'll see you soon. Thank you Adrienne for making this happen.

Monday, September 6, 2010


In order to see one, you must be able to see the other. 

Many of us can't see the forest for the trees. And many of us forget that each tree is different, full of mystery. Each one has a story of its just have to remember to listen in order to hear it, to ask to hear it, to be able to hear it. 

It's up to us to remember to see both priceless, one of a kind, and powerful perspectives.  
In my experience, getting stuck in one, leads to frustration, unhappiness and teeters on craziness. 
Let's all help each other to see both the bristly needles on a tree, as well as dancing horizons full of clouds and mountains, water and trees. 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...

One of the various reasons I love Burlington, VT:

One minute it is raining, another, it's so gorgeous out I have to remember to watch where I'm going as my gaze is fixated on the galloping clouds above. 

Outdoor seating with a view like this: 

Come and visit if you haven't!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Choco-Banana

It is actually Choco-Banano, as banana is a masculine word in Guatemala...and it is obvious why. It is a phenomenon that inundates every city and town in Guatemala.  
The best choco-banano's that we discovered were full-sized bananas which were taken from the freezer in the ice-cream store and dipped directly in the melted chocolate that sat on the counter in a crock-pot. The entire place oozed of the thick, intoxicating smell of chocolate. 

After the chocolate dip, they are immediately rolled around in peanuts. Delicious! Naughty!

The smaller, simpler versions were found in little tiendas (aka the front's of people's entry way that gets filled with as much as possible, such as one-use shampoo, chips, pencils, pork rinds, bags of beans, razors, ... and you guessed it, choco-bananos!) No nuts, less pure chocolate. Just as delicious!

This woman in traditional Chichicastenango clothing came upon us as we walked out of the market town of Chichi toward a nearby hike. We told her we loved Guatemala because of the choco-bananos. She smiled and agreed. Everybody loves the choco-banano!