For Valentine's Day of this year, I gave the Urban Farmer a guessing game of sorts- bottles of wine with moons on their labels, bagged with poems and quotes about the moon and the heavens. (I could have given him a bottle of moonshine, but I value his eyesight.) Was this a newfound interest in astronomy? No, it was my thematic, obscure way of saying, "We're going to Blue Moon Rising!"
Next up: Lunch from my Cabin Menu for Two. Little did I know how fitting this recipe would be for our stay at the Beaverdam Cabin. Founders James “Jimmie” Stoughton and his sister, Louise Maust, were known for their delectable chicken salad sandwiches and angel food cake.
In honor of Black History Month, this is my own humble nod of gratitude for the history the black community built and enriched. This is my own nod of gratitude toward the immigrants, who like my grandmother's family came to America and worked harder than anyone, planting their traditions into American soils. It's a nod to those who were here long before any of us, who valued the many resources this beautiful chunk of land had to offer.
The Beaverdam Cabin, where we retreated, is part of Green Gables Restaurant & Huddleson Court, so after a cozy night's sleep under the eaves of the cabin roof, we'd lace up our boots and take a quick stroll to breakfast, where the fire was already crackling in the large hearth. The old stone, the warm wooden tones, the puzzle in progress, the play of light and shadows, and the general stillness set such a peaceful tone to the morning.
I love cities. I love the bustle. I love people watching. I love their food scenes and the convenience of a coffee shop within a block of my apartment, but every now and then (and definitely not as much as I would like), I love escaping to the quiet. Welcome to the quiet, welcome to the Beaverdam Creek Cabin in Jennestown, PA. Book your weekend there soon, and follow my Two-Night Cabin Getaway Menu for Two to make it a culinary retreat!
The term "coffee table book," when said by the right sort of judgmental tongue, implies a shallowness and showiness, but when it comes to In The Company of Women its…
The creeping vine has begun to reveal a bright, blazing red. The blankets linger on the couch in the darkness of the mornings, tossed aside after cuddling in the evening’s chill. Soups and ciders have begun to be appealing again, and the bed has doubled with the thickness of comforters and quilts. It’s fall, but my mind keeps wandering back to the day I played hooky and soaked up the last bit of summer.
When I think back to that day of lounging aimlessly on the shores of Lake Erie, my skin feels warmer. The intense sunlight renders my skin golden, and I brace myself for the stark contrast of the water, an instant chill surmounted only by a quick submersion.
They say “when it rains, it pours,” but in my freelance world lately, “when it rains, it tsunamis” feels more accurate. The beginning of September was the equivalent of hiking to a cliff and seeing a vast, new territory of hurdles and challenges in the distance. As I stared into an overwhelming work load, I did a rare thing- I retreated. I took a day off, and I’ve been trying to channel a bit of that blessed hooky day ever since.
Lake Erie had shamefully been unchecked on my summer bucket list for more than one season. Finally, with fall and work looming, I recruited my partner in bucket list adventures for a day of soft sand, intense sun, a picnic lunch, sneaky whiskey and the type of water antics that leave you coughing and snorting and feeling like a child who just plunged off the diving board.
The picnic menu, like the day itself, was another attempt to soak up the end of summer and put a dent in the pile of harvested zucchinis.
When I finally returned to that precipice, to face the looming projects and more intense work load on the horizon, I tried to embrace the work with gratitude. Though not always successful and definitely guilty of an ugly meltdown, I tried to enjoy the pouring rain of projects. In case I forgot and let my mind slip into stress/frenzy mode, I attached a sticky note reminder near my desk. “Commit to creating joyfully, not stressfully,” wise words from the ever strategic Marie Forleo.
It’d be great if my life included A LOT more beachy days with best friends and wholesome picnics, and part of me will strive for more of those, but more importantly, I’m striving to take that beach day’s in-the-moment-happy vibe with me in my work. I like what I do, and even if I’d like a little more space between projects, I’m still grateful for the spike.
Here’s to sharing summer recipes well into fall, to holding on tightly to hooky days, to picnics with friends and to creating joyfully because it really could be so much worse.
Vietnamese Zoodle Salad with Fragrant Herbs & Peanuts & Zucchini Bánh Mì
About These Recipes: Ideal for that end of summer zucchini pile, these recipes are loose and easily adaptable. Omit the fish sauce in the Zoodle Salad and a vegan mayo in the sandwich for a vegan picnic spread.