Recipe: Smashed Red Potatoes with Pizzazz

My love of mashed potatoes started back when I was a little girl eating the “Little Jack Horner” from the Fort Lee Diner’s kids’ menu in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a slice of rare roast beef Au Jus with a small mound of creamy whipped potatoes served by my favorite waitress with the large bouffant. My appreciation continued as a young adult during road trips (the most noteworthy one being out to Seattle and back) with truck stop fare for lunch. They always seemed to have the best mashed potatoes. The cafeteria at the University of Maine in Orono used fresh Maine potatoes for theirs.

My own recipe for smashed reds combines Maine red potatoes, Meyer lemon from California and British clotted cream for a harmonious side mash or meal!

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Footprints in the Snow

Around 1:00 a.m. I heard a delicate sound that seemed like it was by the bedroom window; it was very faint and dainty and not the kind that implies danger. It was actually somewhat soothing and I drifted off into a surreal dream: I was outside at nighttime and saw a strange creature under the streetlamp. It was the size and shape of a chipmunk and had a deer-like face. I got out of bed at 4:30 (my usual time) and was pouring coffee when Wayne said from the bedroom: “Averyl. Come here.” I saw he was looking outside the window and he moved aside so I could see. 

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My House at Christmas in the 1950s

Shortly after I bought my house in 2009 I researched who lived in my house in the 1950s. It turned out to be the town Santa Claus! He and his wife had my house custom built in the early 1950s, then lived here for over forty years where they raised two children. There was only one other owner between when they moved out and I moved in. I invited them over and they shared many wonderful photos and stories. During Christmas that year I invited them “home” once again!

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Recipe: Traditional British Scones With Meyer Lemon & Currants

Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law sent us beautiful, fragrant organic Meyer lemons from a tree at their home in California for a “Merry Citrus!” I’ve never experienced anything like them. Our kitchen smells like warm sunshine, if that’s possible! What a perfect balm for a frigid December. I selected a vintage scone (pronounced  sconn) recipe from the book Traditional Dishes of Britain published in 1953 by Philip Harben, the “TV Cook.” Scottish scones are very different from the Americanized versions; in fact they usually contain little to no sugar and few or no eggs. Additionally, they were often cooked on a “hotplate” which produced a “flat shape that is so convenient for splitting and buttering, the natural destiny of the scone.” 

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Vintage Inspired Recipe: Old-Fashioned Maine Needhams & A Hidden History

If you’re not from Maine, you might think the above photo is of a homemade Mounds candy bar. You’re close! But you’d probably be shocked to learn that they contain mashed potatoes in the coconut centers! They are a delicious traditional Maine candy called “Needhams” which have also historically been called “potato candy” or “potato fudge”. However, if you are from Maine and familiar with Needhams you may be surprised to discover that the modern version has gone far astray from yesterday’s healthier and more wholesome homemade versions dating as far back as 1924.

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Goodnight, Chippies

Wishy last visited with us four days ago; it’s evident that he has gone underground for the winter. It’s bittersweet because I’m relieved for his well-being and know it’s best for him but sad for me! Winter is arriving tomorrow with our first snowfall. I miss Chippie and Wishy but it’s encouraging knowing that under the inevitable deep blankets of snow my little friends are curled up sleeping, awakening to eat food from their larder before drifting in and out of torpor to pass the winter.  I hope they will emerge well rested and healthy in the spring! God bless these little creatures that bring us joy. 

My Retro Christmas Light Displays

This year I decided to brighten my sunroom with numerous Christmas light displays now that the sun is setting around 4:00 p.m.(!!!) I transformed Vintage Mason jars and milk bottles into lanterns by stringing a colorful retro Edison bulb into each; I hung mini fairy lights on the dried Eucalyptus; colorful lights were placed inside a large blue Mason jar; my 1950s Santa Claus blow mold stands on the wrought iron table top:

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