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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Burlington Birthday Bash

Last weekend we took a short road trip to VT, to celebrate the XX birthday of Pat (aka Grenville). The last time we were in in this state was when Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast and folks were advised to seek higher ground. So we went to White River Junction, VT.
This was our first visit to Burlington, the most populous city in the state of VT with a population of 42,452 in a 2015 census. 
Burlington is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, north of Shelburne Bay. This location helped the city develop into a port of entry and center for trade and it became a busy New England lumber and manufacturing center. It was incorporated as a city in 1865. 
Two theories exist for the origin of the city's name. The first is that it was named after Richard Boyle3rd Earl of Burlington, as a way to gain favor. The second is that the name honors the politically prominent and wealthy Burling family of NY. Burlington is the 38th most popular name for American cities and towns, with 34 total, according to the U.S. Census.
Burlington is one of the most environmentally progressive cities in the U.S. In 2015, it became the first city in the U.S. to operate completely on renewable energy.
It's home to Ethan Allen, credited by many as "the father of Vermont" but who was born in Connecticut. In 1775, Allen and his Green Mountain Boys militia captured Ft. Ticonderoga from the British, securing a decisive early victory in the American Revolution.
Some interesting (and some fun) facts about Burlington . . .
Friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened an ice cream shop in 1978 in a renovated filling station with no experience and a correspondence course in ice cream making. Today, Ben & Jerry's is a national brand, with retail outlets in many cities and its headquarters are in South Burlington.
We took a ferry in Burlington across Lake Champlain to Port Kent, NY and back again.

Decker Towers, the tallest building in Burlington, is just 11 stories high and is also the tallest building in the state which makes it the shortest-tallest building of any U.S. state.
"Creemee" is a popular summer staple, pronounced "creamy" otherwise called soft-serve in other places. The fat content is supposedly higher in a cremee, but you couldn't prove that by our taste test.Every summer, rowing teams face off in the Dragon Boat Festival on Lake Champlain. This 41-ft long boat is modeled after a similar type of long boat from ancient China and holds up to 20 rowers. The event funds local cancer charities. We watched some practices.Church Street Marketplace is an open-air pedestrian mall with over 100 major retailers, restaurants and historic architecture in a central downtown location. The only retail L.L. Bean store in VT is located here. We saw performances by street performers, magicians, and musicians and saw this very long wall mural which includes locals and celebrities.
The city is home to the University of Vermont (UVM), one of the first universities to admit female students in 1871. UVM doesn't mean “University of Vermont” but is Latin for “Universitas Viridis Montis,” or “University of the Green Mountains.”

These sculptures were along the Lake Champlain pedestrian/bike path.
Last (but not least) . . .
Former democratic Presidential candidate and state senator Bernie Sanders served four terms as mayor of Burlington starting with a 1981 election win by just 10 votes.

We had fun birthday weekend, and one of Pat's favorite birthday cards said it best,  "Growing older is inevitable; growing up is not."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Look Who's 5 Already !

It hardly seems that the 5 years since her birth have passed so quickly — doesn't everyone feel this way at birthday time?

This weekend, we'll join family and friends  in RI to celebrate the 5th birthday of granddaughter Elizabeth Jean. Ellie as she's known to family, friends and blog readers is quite a force to be reckoned with already.

Ellie may be be 5 in chronological years, but way beyond that in charm, personality, smarts, and sassiness. Of course, we feel she's beautiful in every way. But then we are just a bit OK a lot biased; aren't all grandparents? (This photo was sent by her mom as they celebrated at home this week.) 

Best Wishes from your Family & Friends! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Funnies

Sometimes, it's tough to find a good parking space . . .
even at the local library.
Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's an Addiction

Some folks might disagree that it's "a good thing" but others will understand.

My "addiction" has been binge watching the show, Gilmore Girls, now that no longer on TV and on Netflix. I'm watching all 7 seasons before the long-anticipated Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life airs exclusively on Netflix in late fall. The series will consist of four 90-minute seasonal episodes set in the fictional CT town of Stars Hollow a quaint, picturesque and altogether fictional locale, some 30 miles from Hartford.


The original Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000 and was canceled in May 2007 when it began on the WB (Warner Brothers) TV network and ran for 6 seasons before moving to the CW (CBS-Warner Brothers) television network in 2006 for its final 7th season. 


Last fall, Netflix brought back the entire 7 seasons (153 episodes total). I've been watching a couple of episodes at a time; 3-4 on weekends. I've also taken my tablet to the gym here and watched shows while using the treadmill for some exercise and entertainment!


For those unfamiliar with the storyline (yes, there may be some). The series centered around a 30-ish, attractive single mom, Lorelei Gilmore, her daughter Rory, her overbearing wealthy and status-obsessed parents, Richard and Emily, and a host of supporting characters, to name a few: Sookie, Michel, Lane, Kirk, Luke, Taylor, Miss Patty, Babette, Miss Kim, Andrew, Dean, Jess, Paris -- many live or work in Stars Hollow (or both).

Hands down, the show's best characters (at least for me) are Lorelei Graham played by Lauren Graham and Sookie St. James played by Melissa McCarthy. Both women are funny, charming, supportive and a whirlwind of activity and also best friends in the series. Their interaction really makes the viewing such fun. Kelly Bishop's performance as Emily Gilmore is not to be missed; she is so irritating at times, but a really strong character. 
Cast members of Gilmore Girls TV show

The show's tagline of "Life's short. Talk fast,"  aptly describes the fast-paced dialogue between Lorelei and Rory that usually filled with pop-culture references to film, TV shows, music, literature, and celebrity culture.
Streaming services, like Netflix, have made binging so easy since you can stop and start a show, and even re-watch favorite episodes. An added bonus is what was an hour show on network TV is reduced to less than 45 minutes without commercial interruptions. 
WHY Binge? Think of a show you enjoy now (or have enjoyed). Could you watch just one episode if you knew you had access to so many?  For me, Gilmore Girls has emotional draw, but is filled with charm, humor, plus characters I enjoy and others not so much (but they're still great fun). 
OK it's your turn. Do you have any binge addictions — if so, WHAT are they?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Quandary

Normally we have a Phunny for you on Phriday. This week we have a Quandary. We may have mentioned that the Mill across the river from us in under renovation. Strange sounds emanate from the site all day long. Workers in Tyvek (Haz-Mat) suits scurry about the place and across the roof. Some days we get to watch the big crane come and lift things on and off the roof. But this has us a little baffled causing the quandary we are in.
This is what we saw on Friday of the 4th of July weekend. YES, it is a step ladder flying from the flag pole. The question was WHY!!! There are ladders all over the building. I doubt that step ladder thieves would bother to go all the way up to the roof to steal this one. the local Police have really cracked down on the local Step Ladder Thieves. So why? Possibly the symbol of a new teenage anarchy gang? Millennials trying to climb the "Step Ladder of Success"? Or disgruntled parents denying a young couple "the Step Ladder to the Stars"?
BUT that was not the end of this silly sage. On Monday, Independence Day, the scene had changed. Over night, under cover of darkness, someone, Patriots we suppose, came and removed the step ladder. Since we have not gotten an APB on this mystery we figure it was not a crime. Step Ladder theft has dropped dramatically here. In fact the next object we saw on the flag pole was so much more appropriate. A flag on the flagpole. And not just an ordinary one. This one has gold fringe around the edges.















The Quandary is WHY the ladder???????
Let us hear from you loyal readers. Any hypothesis is welcome. Conspiracies, if interesting, are also OK.
Hope everyone has a nice weekend...... Grenville

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grandkids On Vacation

It's been awhile since we've posted updated photos of grandson Bobby and granddaughter Ellie. 

Both kids have been having a wonderful summer. The highlight has been taking a trip with their father to visit family in the Dominican Republic.

They look all ready to go at the airport.

Their vacation time has been filled fun adventures: ice cream treats, zoo visits, and fun in the water. We see them in 2 weeks when Ellie celebrates her 5th birthday. Yes, she is growing up fast!

Their father sent photos of their summer adventures . . . 
Ice cream treats and zoo parks (lizards included) . . .
Fun in the water . . .

It's fun to be a kid in summer time — or any other time of year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sautéed Lemon Chicken with Fried Capers

This recipe looked fairly easy when chef Sara Moulton prepared it on as episode of her PBS program Sara's Weeknight Meals. I'm always looking for new (and easy) ways to prepare chicken and . . . 

We had not only chicken cutlets, but ALL other ingredients, including the shallots and capers (bought for one of Grenville's culinary creations). 

While the recipe isn't  difficult, be forewarned there will be splattered oil (hopefully not on you) when the capers and chicken breasts are fried; yes, even with the medium-high heat setting. Start to finish, including prep time is about 45 minutes. (This recipe serves 4 people or 2 with leftovers.) I halved it and used a half pound of chicken cutlets.

Sautéed Lemon Chicken with Fried Capers
  • 1 lb. chicken breast cutlets, thin sliced
  • 1/4 C + 1 TBSP vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 TBSP capers, rinsed, drained, dried
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour (Wondra) for dredging the chicken
  • 1 lemon sliced very thin crosswise
  • TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP minced shallots
  • 1-1/4 C chicken broth
  1. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, place chicken in resealable plastic bag, add few teaspoons of water and pound chicken in bag with a meat pounder or rolling pin, until it is 1/8-inch thick. 
  2. Transfer to a plate and repeat procedure with remaining chicken. Cut chicken in half if slices are too large to sauté easily; pat chicken dry.
  3. In large skillet combine oil with capers, turn heat to medium high and cook capers, stirring, until crispy, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer capers to small bowl. Remove skillet from heat while preparing chicken.
  4. Working with half the chicken at a time, season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and dip in flour, shaking off excess. Heat skillet over medium high heat, reduce heat to medium and add chicken. Cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes a side. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.
  5. Season and flour remaining chicken and sauté in 2 tablespoons of remaining oil, transferring cooked chicken to plate.
  6. Dip lemon slices in sugar, coating lightly on both sides and add to skillet. Cook over medium heat, until lightly caramelized, about 1 minute a side. Transfer to plate with chicken, add remaining tablespoon oil and shallots to pan and cook 1 minute, stirring.
  7. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits at bottom of pan. Return chicken and lemon slices to pan, along with any juices from plate the chicken was on and simmer very gently, turning chicken over several times, until heated through.
  8. Transfer chicken to plates and simmer sauce until it thickens. Spoon sauce and lemon slices over chicken and top with fried capers.

Capers are unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa or Capparis inermis, prickly, perennial plants native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Brined or dried, they are valued for the burst of flavor they give to foods, one described as lemon, or olive-like. Buds are harvested, sun-dried, then pickled in vinegar, brine, wine, or salt. This curing brings out a tangy lemony flavor and because caper buds are hand-picked, a small jar can be pricey. 

Grenville declared this first-time dish another "keeper" with a forks up.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Funnies

Disappearing weatherman?

Grenville took a turn before the "blue" screen at the Mount Washington Weather Discovery Center, an interactive weather museum, in North Conway, NH. 

Mount Washington at 6,288 feet is the highest peak in the Northeastern U.S and is in the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of NH. It's the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River and is well known for "the world's worst weather." This was the mountaintop view when we visited the area in mid-May.

It's been a VERY hot week in many U.S. states this week. Enjoy this snow-capped image; think C-O-O-L with this winter countdown.


Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

National WHAT Day?

Did you know?
That Today, July 5 is celebrated as National Apple Turnover Day?

Says Who?
It's listed on the National Day Calendar website, which is full of unusual, forgotten and newly-created celebrations.

This American treat was first "discovered" in the 19h century. The process of making an apple turnover is simple. The pastry is made by putting apple filling onto dough, folding it over, sealing it and then baking. You can use either freshly cut or canned apples. They can also be fried. It's celebrated by making and/or eating an apple turnover. Or, skip the baking part and find a bakery or super market that has them already made.Enjoy.

Apple Turnover Recipe

  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4C water
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled cored, sliced
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 C confectioner's sugar
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

  1. Combine lemon and 4 cups water in a large bowl. Place sliced apples in water to keep them from browning.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain water from apples, and place them into the hot skillet. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Stir together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Pour into skillet, and mix well. Cook for another minute, or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Unfold puff pastry sheets, and repair any cracks by pressing them back together. Trim each sheet into a square. Then cut each larger square into 4 smaller squares. Spoon apples onto the center of each squares. Fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal. Place turnovers on a baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven, until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Cool completely before glazing.
  6. To make glaze, mix together confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Adjust thickness by adding more sugar or milk if necessary. Drizzle glaze over cooled turnovers.
IF you don't like Apple Turnovers, don't worry because according to the National Day Calendar website, today is also, ready (or not). National Graham Cracker Day.  (More about those treats another post.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 240th Birthday America

Well it is time to breakout the grill and get some hotdogs and hamburgers sizzling. AHHHHHH !!! I can smell it now. And don't forget the "Tater" , Macaroni, and 3 Bean Salad. Then there are the games, parades, and Fire Works later tonight. 
Two Hundred and Forty years ago a handful of people took a stand for freedom. A stand that they knew might cost them their lives. Even though they faced overwhelming odds, they stood fast in what they believed in. A revolutionary idea of a country "of the people" and governed "by the people and for the people". The first of its kind in history.



Today, we should give thanks to those brave patriots for the freedoms we enjoy today, and be ready to continue defending them. Our rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and the U.S. Constitution that guarantees these rights to every American.



Beatrice and I would like to wish all of our friends a Happy and Safe Independence Day. 
Let Freedom Ring, and 
                God Bless America!
Grenville
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