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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Right after we went to Pumpkin Day, we headed over to Wareham to go to the Cranberry Festival. The festival was held on a Saturday and a Sunday in October, and it was rumored that they saw over 14,000 people! So what should you expect? Long lines, we probably waited 20 minutes just to get to the parking lot. Once we got to the “lot” we realized that it was a big sand pit. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. They have busses to take you from the lot to the ticket tent, but it’s hard to get a stroller on. I suggest getting there first thing. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors and free to kids under 7.

When you first walk in there are tons of booths for sampling and activities for the kids. We went straight to the back to catch  a bus to the bog. We probably waited in line for about 10 minutes – there was a bus every few minutes, it was very efficient. Once you arrive at your destination, you were able to see the flooded cranberry bogs and for $25 a person, you could throw on some waders and jump right into the bog! Made for some super cute photos. For $50 per person you could go up in a helicopter and see the bogs from above. They had a tractor ride that took you around the bog and a fun activity for the kids where they could make a ‘bog in a cup’.

There was live music, local artisans, paddle boat rides and food for sale. All in all, a long, but fun day.

Did you miss the festival? You can take a public tour of the bogs as well, head over to the website for more details.  Tours are about an hour and a half. There isn’t a lot of walking, but make sure to wear boots! (Soggy feet are no fun) (Note: public tours are finished for the 2017 season) If you have a group of 10 or more, you can arrange for a private tour. From the website:

Visit any time of year! April and May is when the bogs come back to life; June and July is our typical Blossom Season; August through early September the berries are growing as we prepare for harvest; Mid-September through early November is our Harvest Season; December/March is time for winter care and maintenance.

AD Makepeace Company

158 Tihonet Road, Wareham, MA

http://admakepeace.com

 

 

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Trying to wrap up all things fall since December is right around the corner. Wanted to share some fun images from Pumpkin Day at Bourne Farm. It takes place every year (rain or shine) at Salt Pond Bird Sanctuary. Parking and admission is free, but you pay for tickets per activity. Not only is there a large pumpkin patch for the kids to pick out their own pumpkins, but they have crafts, a petting zoo, pony rides, hay rides, tractor hay tides (the kids went 3 times!), face painting, bounce houses and the biggest hit for us was the bubble guy.

There is lunch and baked goods available for sale under the tent and you can hang out and enjoy the scenery (the grounds are beautiful) or relax to the live music. We had a super tasty pizza from Wolf Pizza. Don’t want to wait until their next event, don’t worry, they cater too.

For more information about Bourne Farm, check out their website.

Bourne Farm

6 North Falmouth Highway, North Falmouth, MA

Wolf Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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While Leah and I were in the kitchen making the risotto that was on the blog yesterday, we also made Thanksgiving croutons with Bell’s Seasoning. Does this fit into my every day lifestyle, not really, but Leah said it was so easy. I played along, and yes, it did end up being very easy (if you don’t have little kids running around – which I do). Maybe in 10 years I’ll have time to make these, until then, croutons from the bag it is (or maybe even no croutons at all) 😉

So what do you need? Stale bread, Bell’s Seasoning and a little oil. THAT’S IT! Leah whipped up a really beautiful fall salad to go with our Bell’s Seasoning croutons, made with roasted delicata squash.

Cube up stale bread (4 cups). Pour 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil into a cast iron skilled and warm in pan over medium heat. Add in cubed bread and coat with oil from pan. Sprinkle bread with Bell’s Seasoning (to taste) and cook for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan and enjoy!

How beautiful does this fall salad look?

Disclaimer: I was sent a box of Bell’s Seasoning to make this recipe. All opinions are my own.

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I feel like the holidays are just sneaking up on me. I needed to start thinking about Thanksgiving like…. three months ago, and am just getting started, talk about cutting it close. Good thing I have Leah from Boston City Living. We got together and made some really simple holiday recipes – which I need these days because of the kiddos. We teamed up with Bell’s Seasoning, and made a delicious risotto. Really tasty, made in about 10 minutes, and is the perfect gluten free side that you need on your table.

Here’s the recipe:
INGREDIENTS
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 Tablespoons  butter, divided
1 medium  onion, diced
2 shallot or 1 small onion, minced
2 carrots, sliced
1 1⁄2cups  arborio rice or 1 1⁄2 cups  risotto rice
4 cups  chicken broth
1 -1 1⁄2cup fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 TBSP of Bell’s Seasoning

In a presssure cooker, heat 3 Tbs Olive oil and 1 Tbs Butter.
Add shallot or onion and carrots. Saute until shallots or onions are translucent.
Add rice. Stir until rice is coated with oil.
Add Chicken broth and 2 Tbsp of Bell’s Seasoning.
Cover and cook under high pressure for 7 minutes.
Release pressure and add remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.

Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of Bell’s Seasoning to make this recipe. All opinions are my own.

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It has been SO cold lately – I’ve been dreaming of warmer weather. How many more days until spring? So while we wait for them to re-open for their 81st season, in April of 2018, I thought I’d give a shout out to one of my favorite ice cream spots, Erikson’s Ice Cream in Maynard. Erikson’s serves old fashioned ice cream, many of their flavors are from recipes created in the 1930’s.

In the warmer months, the parking lot is packed and the small patio out back is filled with the sounds of summer. The serving size is enormous – so order accordingly. They offer regular ice cream as well as soft serve as well as a variety of other ice cream treats. While I generally go with strawberry, some other favorites include: banana oreo, avalanche (vanilla, caramel swirl and caramel truffles), chocolate mint oreo, dark and stormy and pistachio pumpkin.

Where is your favorite ice cream spot?

Erikson’s Ice Cream

12 Great Road, Maynard, MA

http://www.eriksonsic.biz

Erikson's Dairy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We stopped into Oath Craft Pizza one day to sample their new limited time flavor, “Mr. Crunch”. You’ve probably heard Bobby Flay talking about how he loves potato chips on sandwiches and burgers, but let’s be honest, what do potato chips taste bad on?

The Davis Square location appeared to do a lot of take out while we were there, but there are tables if you want to stay and eat. The kids loved watching the pizza being made, and I loved how the pizzas were ready in no time at all.

The Mr. Crunch pizza has creme fraiche/ricotta sauce, artisanal smoked ham, gruyere cheese, crushed Cape Cod potato chips and chives. And even better, 10% of the sales from this pizza help sponsor their Nantucket Project Scholar, Genevieve Liang, Executive Director of Cardborigami.

The pizza was all kinds of salty goodness, cheese, ham and chips? I was pleasantly surprised that the chips were still crunchy after being cooked in the oven. Stop in to one of their locations to try one for yourself (Nantucket, South Station, Chestnut Hill, Davis Square, Central Square, Coolidge Corner and they are coming soon to Fenway!)

Oath Craft Pizza

280 Elm Street, Somerville, MA

http://oathpizza.com

oath craft piza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I have to admit that Halloween is one of my most and least favorite holidays. I love the baking and the candy, but hate (dread) the dress up part. Halloween snuck up on me this year and I scrambled to get my kids their costumes – they were going to be whatever TJ Maxx had in their size this year…

And don’t even get me started on decor. My things from last year are still in a box in storage and have yet to come out, so it might just have to be the three pumpkins I over paid for this year as far as decorations go. Halloween candy? I’ll have to drag myself to Target this week and get my 800lbs of assorted candy. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a good Reese’s, and mom tax was the best thing ever “invented”, but sometimes I crave grown up chocolate, you know, the good stuff you hide in a special cabinet away from the kids. So this year, Leah and I rounded up some “beyond basic” halloween candy to share with our readers.

These chocolate covered pretzel rods from Pocasset Pretzel Co. have just the right amount of chocolate to salt ratio – it’s not sickening sweet, and there is just a light layer of dark chocolate (and the pretzels were still super crunchy). Now I know I may have lost some of you on the candy corn (love it or hate it?). Me, I’m not a big fan, but nothing screams Halloween than these super sweet tri colored candies.

Also shown are chocolate moons by Praliné and those deliciously famous mice (dressed for Halloween) from L.A. Burdick, this one was white chocolate with a cinnamon filling.

The dark chocolate mice from L.A. Burdick are a big favorite in our house, filled with orange and finished with two toasted almonds for ears. The pumpkins are special for the Halloween season, and are chocolate covered marzipan with fresh almonds, pumpkin and spices. Those chocolate covered Oreos would be perfect if you are doing a “boo” basket, and are from Pocasset Pretzel Co.

I immediately fell in love with these chocolate ghosts from L.A. Burdick. For their 17th anniversary, they introduced them with a new flavor this season, pumpkin spice cider dark chocolate ganache. Each ghost is hand made with organic pumpkin, five difference spices, and local New Hampshire apple cider. The 5 piece box can be yours for just $18.

Going for something a little more subtle? The marzipan filled chocolate bar from Chocolat Moderne is just a little bit spooky.

Lollipops your thing? How cute is this one by Melville Candy Co.? We found this one, and a scary eyeball one, at Formaggio Kitchen.

Going to a Halloween party? This coffin box of chocolates from L.A. Burdick is the perfect hostess gift – giving you the best of everything (some seasonal, some classic)!

Saving the best for last. After doing some serious chocolate research (hard work right?!), we stumbled upon Beth’s Chocolate,based out of Newton. Beth makes these delicious, small batch chocolates out of her home (where you can pick up by appointment) or you can find a small selection at Vino Divinio and Volante Farms. These chocolates would be perfect for any occasion, not just Halloween. A 15 piece box can be made with all milk, all dark or an assortment of chocolates for $30. Beth doesn’t add preservatives to her chocolates, so make sure to eat them right away!!

While all of her chocolates were delicious, I was most impressed with her hand painted chocolates, they are simply a work of art.

Her flavors are complex, for instance, her ginger 3 ways (top) begins with infusing dark chocolate ganache with freshly grated ginger. Next, she adds a splash of Spiker’s ginger bite shrub. Finally, after hand dipping each piece in dark chocolate, she finishes them off with a sliver or crystallized ginger. Did you know that Beth roasts her own coffee beans for her coffee chocolate? How about her “fig-in-a-box” chocolates? Beth starts with homemade fig puree and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The puree is transformed into a pâte de fruit and then is hand dipped in chocolate. She hand paints on the gold strips for a beautiful end product. The Spicy Hot! (red) chocolate has a subtle chocolate flavor that you get first, and then at the end, you are hit with the cinnamon flavor and a kick from the cayenne. I think my favorite of all of the chocolates was the Maple Liqueur (milk chocolate on the left). This piece is made with Boston Harbor Distillery’s maple cream liqueur, a blend of rum, cream and Vermont maple syrup.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

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Poké seems to be all the rage these days. We stopped by Pokéworks in Somerville to try out some special fruit bowls. They’re only available today, Friday, 9/29 until Sunday 10/1 and next weekend 10/6 until 10/8. While the poké bowls you see here are served in fun fruit bowls, if you order one, they won’t come that way (can you imagine all the carved out fruit shells?!?!) If you mention the code “special10” you can get 10% off one of these bowls!

Pictured above is the Watermelon Shiso: Atlantic salmon, watermelon, crab salad, masago, green onion, sweet onion, edamame, cucumber, sesame seeds, fresh shiso, and ponzu fresh sauce. I was surprised at how fresh the watermelon was, and sweet too! I loved the sweet and salty together and the edamames were a nice addition to the bowl (added a little heft to the dish). Really nice textures and flavors going on in this bowl, it was my favorite of the two, even though I’m not a huge salmon fan.

Next up was the Pineapple Bora: Bora, pineapple, cilantro, fresh ginger, red chili, and lotus chips. To be honest, I had no idea what Bora was before I tried this dish, turns out they are also known as mullet fish. The fish is versatile and a little on the chewy side. I loved the pineapple in this dish for the sweetness and the kick from the red chili. Leah had joked that she would have liked this dish a little more spicy and then on her second bite got a mouthful of chili 😉 .

So what else can you get at Pokéworks if you can’t make it in for the special bowls? They have a fast casual vibe that you are probably familiar with: pick your base (sushi rice, brown rice of quinoa), pick your protein (ahi tuna, shrimp, scallops, chicken, tofu, or salmon), and pick your sauce. Add toppings like cucumber, Hijiki seaweed, shiso leaves, crab salad, wonton crisps, or toasted rice puffs.

Seating is at communal tables and at a high bar in front of a glass garage door in the front. It was the perfect afternoon to have the door up! Even though many people were grabbing their food to go, but the tables filled up quickly.

Street parking is available at meters and there are pay lots nearby.

Pokéworks

261 Elm Street, Somerville, MA

http://www.pokeworks.com/somerville

Pokeworks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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On a beautiful Friday evening a few weeks ago, I went down to the South Shore to spend an evening at Norwell Farms. They were hosting their 4th annual “Farm to Fork” event. There was a cocktail hour sponsored by 10th District Brewery of Abington, who was serving hyper local craft beer. Island Creek Oysters were being shucked by the Lavishly Dunn Catering team, who is based out of Hanover. As the night went on, guests were treated to dishes created by local chefs that were inspired by Norwell Farms vegetables.

The farm was decked out with beautiful blooms from Cross Street Flower Farm, which is run by Nikki Bartley and Cara Gilmartin. The pictures don’t even do these beautiful flowers justice. Love what you see? If you live in the area, you can sign up for a flower share and have your own bouquet every week!

The whole space was very Instagram worthy.

Guests made their way around the tent to sample all the chef’s creations that were inspired by vegetables from the farm. The Corner Stop Eatery in Cohasset and Abby Gray from Cooking with Abby in Norwell were in good company of the alumni chefs.

Returning favorite chefs included: Stephen Sherman of Scarlet Oak Tavern in Higham; Greg Jordan from the Quarry in Hingham and Brian Houlihan from the Tinker’s Son in Norwell.

Make sure to check out Chef Houlihan’s other restaurants, Bia Bistro in Cohasset, Trident Galley and Raw Bar in Higham and The Galley Kitchen and Bar in Scituate.

Guests danced into the late hours to music by The Common Good. I wish I had an event to plan, because they were such an awesome band. Check out my instagram to hear a sample. Desserts were provided by Sadie Mae’s Cupcakes of Hingham and The Foodsmith of Duxbury. If that weren’t enough, late night food was provided by BBQ superstars, Smokey Stax BBQ.

Make sure to mark your calendars for next years event – it is not to be missed!

Our family went down with summer colds this past weekend, so we took it easy. I’m throwing it back to a fun thing we did in July for my Tuesday Water Cooler post this week. We hit the tail end of blueberry season (July) and the beginning of peach season (August) at Sunshine Farm on a Saturday morning before it got too hot. Located in Sherborn, this is a great place to pick your own fruit with the family. Stop in at the farmstand and let them know what you want to pick. We paid for peaches by the bag and the blueberries were pay by weight. We drove our car down a ways to the blueberry field, but you have to walk a bit further to get to the peaches. There were plenty of ripe berries – my kids had a blast – it was their first time picking their own fruit. The blueberries were a bit tart, but we made a massive amount of Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins when we got home!

It was starting to get really toasty after the first hour, but we walked over to pick our bag of peaches. We had the whole area to ourselves and Sunshine Farm had the biggest peaches I have EVER SEEN! I mean, literally the size of softballs. They were perfectly sweet and delicious, it was hard to tell which we liked better, picking peaches or the blueberries. For me, this was really THE season for peaches!!

So obviously you can’t head to Sunshine Farm to pick blueberries or peaches (although they were still picking as of September 8th), but they are doing pick your own apples. They have Macs, Gala, Cortland, Macouns and Honey Crisps available. The farmstand is open 9am – 6pm and ice cream is open from noon until 8pm.

The farm also offers full season and summer share CSA packages. The 23 week full season starts June 14th and runs to November 18th. It’s $920 but you can sign up now until March 31st and save $70. Summer season starts on June 14th and runs through September 30th. It’s $640 but if you sign up now until March 31st, it is $600.

Where is your favorite farm to do u-pick?

Sunshine Farm

41 Kendall Ave. Sherborn, MA

http://sunshinefarmma.com/

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