Friday, October 28, 2005

Some Menu Items from Hen of the Wood

I finally brought the menu upstairs, so here I go. I'm not posting the whole thing, but some selections so you all may drool...


Roasted Winter Squash and Pear Soup
Pumpkin Seed Oil and Nutmeg

Crispy Fried Oysters and Salt Cod-(if I can resist the pork belly, I'm getting this next time)
Lemon, Parsley and Aioli

**Slow Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Belly**
Local Parsnips and Cider Jus

Braised Hen of the Wood Mushrooms
Country Bacon & Pinot Noir


**Smoked La Belle Farm Duck Breast**
Sweet Potato Puree, Vermont Cranberries, Toasted Hazelnuts

Niman Ranch Pork Shanks
Stone Ground Pumpkin Polenta & Pete's Farm Greens

Grilled Ledgend Farm Venison
Herb Roasted German Butterball Potatoes, Braised Pears & Sage

Baked Butternut Squash Lasagne
Chestnuts, Vermont Ricotta & Wild Mushrooms


So that's a "taste" of the menu...I left some things out like the Caesar salad with crispy capers and the Cavendish Farm Quail only because of time and space...the dessert menu has lovely sounding items like pumpkin pots de creme, pecan tart, apple and fig crisp...and of course there is the cheese menu with gems like Jasper Hill Farm's 'Bailey Hazen Blue'(raw ayrshire milk, aged 4-5 months, rich dry and crumbly) and Cobb Hill Farm 'Caerphilly' (raw cow's milk cheddar). The *** items are what Doug and I ordered.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bitchin' in my Free Time

Today I was so productive that I actually wrote a letter to Applebee's to complain about our dinner last night. I know, I know, it's *Applebee's*, but we normally have good luck there bringing the kids. The food is edible and I will admit that I like a couple of the dishes. Last night the service was so horrendous and the food was, so, well, strange (all I will say is "Cilantro Pork Bowl"---only available in my area right now, luckily---'course I was the one who dared to order it...). You know you have too much time if you can bang out a complaint letter. Every time I do one of those, too, I think "If only I could write *positive* letters as well--that would make a difference, too, and make someone feel deservedly great". I guess I just like to bitch too much. In a nice, respectful way, of course.

Doug took the girls out for pizza. I think I'm going to read! It came to my attention that I have a copy of The Last Unicorn, which I have yet to read. I could at least start it tonight--in a nice hot bubbly bath!

I'll have leftover Pasta Bolognese for dinner...and some chocolate, of course...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

We Have Two Cars Once Again!

It's not the timing belt. The engine was flooded. Whatever, the car is fine and Doug is picking it up now. I don't know how much it is, but it isn't much. Whew! I don't understand how the engine got flooded, and I thought that was something that went away after a while (I tried to start it again much later in the day and it still didn't work).

That's the last time I take the tow guy's prognosis seriously.

Today Fiona went in to school an hour late because the public school district was having kids come in two hours later. It did snow last night, but not much. If they regularly do this, for wimpy snow, it's going to be a real drag. So because of the one car and because we live 20 minutes away, Doug took Fiona into work for the first time (I mean during his working hours). He said it went as well as can be expected. No tantrums, though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Beautiful Butter Baby

I don't know why I bother buying Hallowe'en candy early. I absolutely do not have the willpower to leave it alone. Neither does Doug when he discovers my stash.

Yes, CANDY. I know I should buy little boxes of organic raisins or spiced nuts or whatever, but this is the one time of year I actually buy whole bags of chocolate from companies I would normally boycott, I'm sure, if I looked more closely at the small print on the back.

I think we are supposed to get rather a bit of snow tonight, but it's started to snow already. I didn't even notice except I happened to look outside and it looked like a lot of white rain and way too quiet.

Fiona has an intense interest in this board game "Operation". You know the game. You try to take out little pieces from the body without setting off the buzzer. The game states that it is for ages 6+. So she understands it's too old for her right now, but she talks about it every time we go to the "little mall". (HAHAHA - this proves that everyone really does have a website. It even makes it look like a real mall. Those of you who know of Golden Triangle Mall in Denton...this mall makes that one look like--maybe not Mall of America, but like the Galleria or something).

Sophia still likes to eat. We went sledding in our introductory snow last weekend and while she had fun, when we stopped she noticed all that cool white stuff next to her and decided that it was time to eat. Right now big favorites are ice (thanks to Sobo! Sophia starts going UH UH UH frantically when you open the door...but there are other delights in there like blueberries and peas...) and butter. She l-o-v-e-s butter. She sees the golden stick in the dish and does her UH UH UH panting thing or her "THAT!!!" combined with pointing. Give her a piece of bread with butter and she picks off the butter and eats it. The toast is either eaten or tossed onto the floor.

A Pet Peeve

On our "Nature's Path" Organic Heritage Bites cereal it lists "evaporatied [sic] cane juice" as an ingredient. I have to admit the phrase "evaporated cane juice" annoys me anyway, but at least spell it right.

You know it's a real pet peeve when you somehow find the time to try and photograph the ingredient list of a cereal box. It wouldn't focus on the words, so it isn't here.

If you're like me, you will now be on high alert for typos in my blog...

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Foresee a Long Dark Cold Winter

We're trying to decide if we can get along with just one car...the Subaru. The Honda's timing belt is likely what went out. Doug thinks that will be at least 500 bucks. It is a 1994 car, with over 200 thousand miles on it. It has served us well. It is also pretty rusted.


When it Rains, it Snows

Ok, so far we have a garage door that Doug had to dismantle (it came off the track because we were using it manually due to a 3 hour planned power outage that we--I--thought was on a different day); so we have an open garage right before winter. Let the squirrels come on in! (One did that and got in our crawl space and lived under our downstairs bathtub. Nothing like taking a bath with a large creature scratching around under you!) Now Doug's car won't start. It was making a strange noise when I took Sobo to a Single Pebble, but then it stopped making Strange Noise.

Wonder what the third surprise will be?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Guess I Won't Be Mowing the Lawn After All

I woke up to SNOW! Not a little bit, either; I can't see any grass.

I thought it was just supposed to rain.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

This Week in Review

Well, Sobo is gone :( and we already miss her. Her leaving coincides with Fiona's school having 3 days off so this has been a weird week. It's been nice having her home, though. We went to the library where she picked out some books and played with the Crayola "coloring book" on the computer. She goes up to the desk and asks for the disc herself and while she is there she notices a "body book" on the return shelf. This "body book" is one of a series--we have the one about the whole body courtesy of Sobo--the one on the shelf was a book about the brain. She was so excited she ran behind the desk and asked if she could check it out. She doesn't mind there are no kidneys in it.

Friday we got to go over to Gryffon's house and play and they both had a marvelous time. Sophia played with toys and Gryffon's brother Gabriel tried to play with the big kids (I think Gabriel is about 17 months old, Gryffon is the same age as Fiona). Sophia LOVED the baby swing outside. Then we got to eat Thai food with Doug and his work collegues. I love the food there but it is stressful because Sophia is always unhappy at that time of day and is tired.

Wednesday we had the parent teacher conference! Fiona is indeed doing very well in school. Colleen's first comment was that Fiona has a lot of energy. Fiona is doing better at using her words instead of screaming (she is at home, too, but OH she still screams) and better at using her words when people invade her personal space, which she is very protective of---interesting because she is not really aware of *other* people's personal space. So, ok, I know all that already. She says her fine motor skills are fantastic--she is doing embroidery shapes and drawing shapes with the metal inset shapes---stuff that Colleen normally does with the 4 and 5 year olds. Fiona is well liked and is very social---definitely more of a leader personality than a follower. Colleen likes that she stands up for herself instead of playing victim.

I wonder if these are characteristics that last or if 3 is too early to tell?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hen of the Wood

I would provide a link, but their web site is not quite up yet.


We both started with slow roasted pork belly with a cider jus and pureed parsnips. Great combination of flavors.

We both had the smoked crispy duck with sweet potatoes, Vermont (!) cranberries, and toasted hazelnuts.

Instead of dessert, we had the cheese plate with some local cheese. I brought home a menu and I'll post more details later. I have Sophia on my lap.

They did not actually have hen of the wood mushroom (also known as maittake)---it has been too warm. There is a dish they serve (a starter) with hen of the wood and bacon.

All the menu choices sounded delicious. I could have happily left it to the chef to pick. It was all very local and seasonal.

It is a little sad to see Mist Grill go (they just closed and Hen of the Wood opened in its place) but at least another good restaurant is taking its place.

We had a 2001 Clos La Chance Zinfandel. It was a pretty good match, fruity but not at all cloying and with some vanilla and a great finish.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

One Door Closes, Another Opens....

Doug and I are going to a new restaurant nearby called Hen of the Woods (like the mushroom). I don't remember if the chef or owner (or both) is from the restaurant Smokejacks but we love(d) Smokejacks, which is in Burlington--and therefore too far away. We often ate there pre-children and it's not the sort of place I'd take kids now. Tonight, my mom is watching the girls and we are going to eat dinner alone! Conversation will be had! I can look and talk to my man at the same time! So the restaurant has to be close and we are going early so it's easiest on Sobo and the critters...I am very excited.

Heck, I want to eat at 5 anyway because I could go to bed at 8 pm these days....

NECI is closing the NECI Commons restaurant in Burlington. I am sad because it's the school I went to, and that restaurant gets good exposure there. To be honest, though, the last few times we (tried) to go there, the service was abysmal. The first time we ate there, it wasn't bad. We felt neutral about it. The pastry case was very nice to look at! I never attended the Burlington campus, but it did look plenty, plenty busy.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Thumbs up!

It was kind of depressing, though, it made me bawl (Yes, yes, you heard me, I cried during Serenity. You should see me with pregnancy hormones...). One part pissed me off.

We did like it, though, and got to see the preview for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. That looks exciting!

It's Farmer's Market Saturday

Unfortunately, it is also pouring rain and it likely to keep doing so. Rain never stopped me before, but trying to select produce with two small kids is hard enough on warm sunny days...

I'd definitely say we're at peak leaf now, and we are certainly at peak visitor capacity...picking up Fiona downtown ("downtown" makes me laugh given the size of Montpelier, but there you go...) at lunchtime is very interesting. Lots of people, no parking.

Only a week and a half or so of mom time left...I want to hyperventilate thinking about more day time help and company!

I forgot that Doug leaves for Las Vegas next weekend, so no chance of a date then. Unless we go during the week, our one and only date is today. Well, until next time we have help ;) One date a year...could be worse.

Sophia's birthday is the 18th and since I am up at an unreasonable hour I have been rereading her birth story. We got her a fish puppet for her birthday (a puppet in the store she kept trying to...kiss? eat? lick? I gathered she liked it...) and decided that maybe she should "give" Fiona a small present since that is the day she became a big sister. Also, I think Fiona is having a hard time...she seems to get jealous of Sophia and with Sophia moving about more and more, communicating, expressing will, likes, dislikes, she seems more and more like a competitor than a helpless baby. I did go out with just Fiona for a sundae and I try to get her alone out on a trip once a week, but some weeks it is really hard. Fiona was "aggressive" at school, yesterday...with some pushing involved. I have seen her do this, and it doesn't happen often. Usually she is tired or hungry or feeling under the weather. We had the discussion (again) about not being aggressive, not touching other people's bodies without asking, using your words....I wish I could have been there, though, to have a complete picture.

Sophia does say "mama" and "dadda"...but yesterday Sobo and I heard her clearly say "yogurt". Sophia LOVES food. You have to give her whatever you are eating. You can't hide it. She will take it. She grabs the yogurt spoon and stuffs it into her mouth. Sobo says it's like raw meat for a tiger. Sophia, no longer content to wistfully gaze at Fiona eating her after school snack in the car, will "ask" Fiona for a piece of her snack. Fiona--sometimes on her own, sometimes with encouragement--will share, but I try now to give Sophia an apple to graze on. Sophia loves apples. I found some just her size. She clutches them with the intensity of a security blanket.

And finally, an article about Vermont and delicious fabulous cheese...

In the Land of Leaves, Seeking Cheese

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jeepers, Peepers!

Ah, yes, it's that time of year in Vermont when the tall, tall tour buses come rolling into town. The license plates are a lot more colorful (Vermont license plates are just green. That's it. Green. With white numbers/letters.) and I think I have seen every state since living here. I should keep track. I've even seen Hawai'i!

Doug tells me "foliage is 10 days behind this year" which I am going to guess he heard on the radio as I'm pretty sure he's not making detailed observations on peak foliage year after is pretty outside, but kind of muted. I wouldn't really call it vibrant, at least not yet. Sort of rusty, if that makes sense.

Ah, to be in the food industry at this time of year once again!

We have done our apple duty and picked half a bushel of apples which I am making into all sorts of things. I do have to make a freaking huge apple pie for Thanksgiving because I have the pan for it, so I must use it (thanks to my friend Ana's mom!!!). I have a recipe for a 12" pie...this is a whopping FIFTEEN inches. Wooo hoooo! My friends Kendra and Jeff will be here and we will be very happy. I wonder if we should just have a dinner of pie, actually. I mean like a pie buffet, of course, not just one pie even if it is disgracefully huge.

We still have wasps and now, yes, the cluster flies are here. Yuk.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Grandparent Magic!

So Mom is here and she's been helping me with some house projects---things that are just impossible with two babies (or one!). I feel so productive! We are making curtains for the back room and during our many excursions to JoAnn fabrics, I found out they have rug liner by the yard! Who knew? I didn't. So now all our rugs finally stay in place. While she is here I am really hoping to paint at least one room. Doug finished the drain outside (a project that has been going on 2 years) since I had help watching the girls on the weekend.

And Doug and I may (I dare not say it out loud!) go on a date Saturday to see Serenity!!!! (A movie based on the TV series Firefly.) We both really love the TV series and I've heard fabulous things about the movie. Oh my scrod! A movie! Alone with Doug! Too bad we want to really see the movie or we'd just neck in the corner ;)

Speaking of Doug, he is making two purple dragon costumes for Sophia and Fiona. Sophia's is well on its way and it is hella cute.

Yesterday I got my first flat tire and despite being coached on how to change a tire more than once, I found myself utterly clueless how to proceed (I'm more of a hands on kind of gal---watching how to do something is not at all the same as doing it...). Thankfully, the FedEx man (trumpets blare) helped me out, as did a couple of parents from Fiona's school. Yes, this happened right in front of Fiona's school...NOT in the middle of "Somewhere isolated and scenic, Vemont". Whew! I really should get a cell phone. Our car insurance is utterly useless for this sort of thing, so this reminds me to switch insurance companies. It's been one annoyance after another with them (State Farm) and, really, I just don't think they are a good fit for us. I at least need a phone number for someone who can take my car, not someone who can replace my tire AFTER I get it there. I knew that myself. Ok, really, I need to learn how to change a tire myself! But with two small kids in the land of Long Winter, I want something more. So thank goodness for location and the presence of Sobo (my Mom...Sobo is a Japanese word for Grandmother) who watched the girls.

Sobo is also the magic dish and floor fairy. I don't know what I will do after the 22nd when the dirty dishes don't magically become clean! It is also just nice not being alone all day. Well, I'm not alone, but I am. Maybe you know what I mean.

When I can sit and read, Brain, Child (the magazine) has a very interesting looking article on the Motherhood Revolution (or the Revolution that is yet to come, I should say). It's a great magazine, all around.