Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

To Catch a Thief (you will need to get this on Vudu - it's worth the $2.99 investment) + Irony wine + Reese's pumpkins

Happy Halloween to all! I am excited to pass out candy to all the littles in our neighborhood tonight. Last year, I nearly ran out of candy! And it was not (entirely) because I ate a lot of it!

Yesterday Peter was off again because of the hurricane, so I left him with the task of purchasing the candy. Stress inducing, I tell you! That is a job I very much enjoy. I gave him strict instructions that ended with, "No Star-bursts  Eww." Of course, he succeeded in getting the best candy bag mixes filled with mini Snickers and mini Reese's.

Kids, come to our house early if you want these things. By 8:00 p.m., we might be giving away dusty snack bags of trail mix.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting it Out

Peter and I are both home today, waiting out Sandy.

I've already had breakfast, done yoga, cleaned out my dresser drawers, vacuumed, and took stock of my cabinets (lots of canned beans and grits, soooo...). It's sort of a strange feeling, to be home waiting for the power to (maybe) go out.

If you have power, and are looking for something cozy to make for Halloween week, might I suggest pumpkin mac and cheese?

I made this last week, cooking 1 lb corn pasta to al dente. While the pasta was cooking, I whisked together a can of pumpkin, 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, 1 cup whole milk, and salt and pepper right in my gratin dish. When the pasta was done, I stirred everything all together, and topped it with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350, and top with parsley if you have some around and agree that everything looks better with a touch of green :)

Hope everybody is doing okay on this windy Monday! See you on the other side of Sandy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

High on the Hilltop

I have more to say about our trip to North Carolina! You probably thought I was finished since I already showed you 29 photos of cute Asheville, but I was a prolific photographer that weekend! And North Carolina was just so photogenic.

On our drive out to Asheville (after the most wonderful visit with our dear friends in Charlotte!) Peter convinced me that we should make a quick stop for barbecue at Bill's Spoon. North Carolina BBQ and I are BFFs since vinegar base = no tomatoes! Yay for fabulous pork, mustard slaw, hush puppies, and sweet tea.

Everyone kept saying, "Oh, it's going to be so beautiful out in the mountains this weekend!" And I will admit to you that I was a snobby-snob about it and didn't really believe them. I mean, New England in the fall is pretttttttty spectacular, know what I'm saying?

But they were right. Asheville was gorgeous - much more red and orange than my local leaves. I didn't do a great job capturing how crazy colorful it was, so you'll just have to go next October to see for yourself :)

Marissa and Adam got married on a lovely hill top. Their ceremony was one of our favorites - they absolutely radiated joy. Afterwards, we drove down the mountain a bit to a lovely tent set up alongside a stream. There was a fire pit and fantastic wine, cupcakes and a DJ who knew how to play the songs everyone would dance to. My heart is still so happy! And I want to do it all again next weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Postcards from Asheville, NC

North Carolina was GLORIOUS! My only complaint is that this trip was far too short. Luckily we got to cram in lots of friend time, though. And so much eating!

I had that Cookout milkshake (peanut butter, M&M, and Reeses: a favorite old combo) at 11:00 a.m. on our way to the airport after eating a fantastic breakfast at Trupelo Honey Cafe (thanks to Emily for the rec!). When you find yourself in Asheville, be sure to go to Trupelo and order the goat cheese grits. I'm missing them already.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Loving Lately

I finished this gem last night, and couldn't wait to share it with you all. Put it on your to-read list if you loved Rules of Civility and The Paris Wife. And if you're looking for a book club pick, I think this one would give you a lot of chat about.

This artist will create an original watercolor painting based on a favorite recipe. Wouldn't that be an incredible gift? I'm imagining my great-grandmother's brownies, my grandmother's vegetable barley soup, and maybe even pumpkin crunch! Her whole shop is gorgeous.

LAST AND MOST IMPORTANT! We are off to North Carolina tonight to celebrate our dear friends' wedding. Isn't she the cutest?! I get to see some other favorites while we're there, too! And have a Cook Out milkshake (I won't be able get on the plane back home unless that happens). So much to love about this weekend of celebrating.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Postcards from New England

Just a few leaves, mums, and pumpkins for your viewing pleasure :)

Happy Thursday! Has this week been a real doozy for anyone else?!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day Trip: Salem, MA

Saturday was one of those absolutely gorgeous New England fall days (a puffy vest-no jacket kind of day). We decided to drive up to Salem. I was so impressed! It's much larger than I thought it would be, but its easy to walk the whole downtown and waterfront area in an afternoon.

October is really Salem's month to shine. If you'd like to squeeze in a day full of old New England charm with a dash of zany adults wearing witch hats, I highly suggest a visit.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Introducing Fresh Basil Mini Travel Guides!

Fun news, friends! I put together a mini travel guide on the Berkshires. I've been toying around with writing something like this for a long time, and finally got all the pieces together. It's very low-tech (i.e., no fancy-schmancy design work, though it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out formatting!), but I thought sharing it this way would work well since it's easy to download and print. I kept it short so that I was only sharing my absolute favorite things in that area. 

There are grand plans to make a few more, too. I'm already working on the New England day-trips mini guide. If you have any suggestions for mini travel guides you'd like to see in the future, please share!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home Cooking + Butter Poached

A few weeks ago, my friend Jess and I were chatting about Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking. I had included it on my autumn reading list, and she told me she was re-reading it before bed. Well, I finally started a few days ago. It's short and I'm trying my best to savor every page. Colwin is so warm and funny and charming - I just adore her. Perfect chilly evening reading.

And speaking of Jess! She and her friend Laura have recently started blogging together at the decadently named Butter Poached.

Jess is the kind of person you always hope you end up sitting next to at dinner, know what I mean? She's warm and quick and insanely cool. And the writing these ladies are doing is just lovely. Laurie Colwin-esque, if you will. It's a delicious new thing to add to your blog reading rotation :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coaching Day at The Mount

Yesterday was Coaching Day at The Mount. The coach owners dressed the part, and very nicely answered questions about their horses and carriages. And I got to pet one! He had a long tail down almost to the ground. (High maintenance pony!)

Can you even imagine owning one of these?!

We took a quick little walk around, remembering different spots we had wedding photos taken, like the shot above at the edge of the woods. It was filled with ferns in July; now the floor is covered in leaves. I'm thrilled that we had a summer wedding, of course, but autumn in the Berkshires is truly special.
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