Pickity Place

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go! Isn’t that Little Red Riding Hood? I think so. Well anyways, Pickity Place is the place to go if you want to step into a real life fairy tale. In fact, the cottage that now houses the restaurant was what the Little Golden book illustrator used as a model to illustrate her version of Little Red Riding Hood.

IMG_8944

It is indeed a cozy, fairy tale cottage. An enormously old tree full of character towers over the little red cottage. When it is time for your meal to begin (they do 3 seatings a day) the hostess rings a bell by the door. The waitresses hustle and bustle in the relatively cramped space (little cottage after all) to get you all 5 courses in the proper order, explaining each edible herbal addition.

IMG_0246

IMG_8900The quality and creativity of the food alone is enough of a draw to go to Pickity Place, never mind the quaint setting. Each month, a new menu is revealed, with 5 new courses to try: A dip appetizer, soup and bread, salad, main entree, and a yummy dessert. There are always 2 entree choices, one of them being a vegetarian option. It’s usually a hard decision, as both entrees are always excellent. All the food is prepared fresh using herbs grown right there at Pickity Place.

IMG_8904 pickity-place_23744070449_o

pickity-place_24003837942_oOh, and I can’t forget about the beverage options! They have a few fun options including a lavender lemonade, a strawberry basil tea, an orange tea, and Mocha coffee (complete with cinnamon stick straw). They let you change which drink you try each time you run out, making for a fun variety- I always save the mocha coffee to have with my dessert.

IMG_0360

The fun doesn’t stop when the meal is over; then it is time to explore the gardens! I’ve gone at all times of the year, and it is always beautiful. June, of course will be the best month to explore the flower gardens. However, even in the winter, the garden blanketed with snow, the cozy cottage nestled in, and the big tree watching over is still charming. During spring and summer months, stop by their greenhouse to get herbs and flowers for your own garden! Their plants are reasonably priced and I’ve found them to be of high quality.

IMG_8956

They book up fast (special days sometimes over a year in advance) so be sure to make a reservation! If you really get hooked on Pickity, they have a frequent diners card; I’ve never been that committed to it, but some people go once a month! I like it for special occasions; it’s a great place to take someone visiting the area. Pickity Place is a quintessential New England experience!

IMG_8912

Meal Planning

Trying to eat plant-based, non-processed, real FOOD and being organized pretty much go hand in hand. It’s near impossible to make good food choices without a bit of prep work behind the scenes and some thinking ahead. Beautiful salads don’t magically appear I’m afraid. I sure wish they did. So, with all this in mind, I finally had some spare time today to create a meal plan template that I can use for each week. It’s been a bit of a process….

I went from winging it every week (which means- a higher grocery bill, with more wasted food, and more nights of me wondering, “what should I make for dinner”???), to this:jvKME%ltTby2VbRZQ5dZhgTo this!XVuham2+RwaYFlIhu05JAAIsn’t it pretty?? I’m such a nerd for organization. I’m already seeing ways I need to alter it though. I know I won’t sit down and highlight different colors for each different grocery store every week, so I need to separate the lists out as I write: one list for Nature’s Green Grocer in Peterborough (If I were rich I would just buy everything there, but for now I just stick to their bulk items and beautiful produce and fish), Trader Joe’s (so far away from my house but you just can’t beat their prices for organic stuff!) and good ole Market Basket (close to home but an utterly depressing shopping experience lol).

I chose to start my week on a Wednesday you may notice, because that is the night I am able to do my grocery shopping. However, this is the tricky part for me since I shop at 3 different places… there’s no way I’ll go to Trader Joes and Natures in the same day. Some weeks I may have to alter the day of the week I start on is all. It will be tough, but I am determined to get into a good food rhythm for healthy (mostly) plant-based meals! Of course, this time of year is also excellent with the garden providing so much for us! The goal is to be totally garden-dependent in the summer for produce (someday!)

Here is a link to a PDF version of the Meal Planner  I made up so you can print it out for yourself as well! I hope it comes in handy. I designed it so it can be folded in half like so:4tBbd0VgQUqiIn%EmqwImQDanBWTERTw+KeytALnA I hope this meal planner is useful for you! Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions or helpful methods: I’m all ears! 🙂

A Simple Beach Picnic

This past weekend some best friends and I celebrated a milestone in our lives together: 20 years of friendship with each other. We went back and forth trying to decide on what special thing we would do together. We agreed that a picnic dinner on the beach on Plum Island, Massachusetts was just the thing.

When we arrived on Plum Island, we turned right to enter the Sandy Point State Reservation, paid $5.00 for our car to enter the gated nature preserve, and drove all the way to the very tip of the island, admiring the coastal marsh scenery along the way. We chose our beach spot, spread the picnic blankets, and laid out our feast.
Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.

For a simple (but filling) beach picnic, here’s what to bring: 

Logistics~ blankets that can get sandy, an insulated bag or cooler, a picnic basket, flatware & plates (use the real thing! single-use plastic is the worst thing ever invented), a bag to put the dirty dishes in when you are done, a cutting board, sharper knife (to cut the bread and cheese), and if you want to get real fancy, cloth napkins (cloth napkins are also advantageous because they won’t blow away in the wind). For drinks, we each brought our own refillable water bottles. Wine would have been nice, but I forgot it and the glasses.

Food~ we basically just cut up a baguette and made our own crostini concoctions with the following delicious treats: marinated mixed olives, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic cloves, brie cheese, cranberry-fig encrusted goat cheese, blackberries, mixed veggie slaw, and dill smoked salmon. Were I to do this again (which I surely will) I would include some meat too- prosciutto and salami – and also some hard cheeses – parmesan and manchego – to be exact. But we ate our fill and had fun making different yummy combinations.

Practical~ make sure to bring sunglasses even at sunset, so you can safely watch the sun go down. A sweater is nice too because it’s windy on the beach and always colder than you think it will be by the water. Flip flops, because even though I don’t consider September to be a flip-flop month, I regretted wearing my Tom’s shoes to the beach. I feel they will forever be filled with sand now.

Processed with Snapseed.
I hope we have a few more warm weeks this season to enjoy another beach picnic. This outing served to remind me that even just a couple hours on the beach is worth it, the simplest meals are the tastiest, and friendship -for any amount of years- is worth celebrating.

well look at this, we’re cooking.

20121211-223319.jpg

20121211-224456.jpg

20121212-162723.jpg

20121212-162813.jpg

20121212-162822.jpg

20121212-162832.jpg

20121212-162841.jpg
Monday night: Pork and mushroom Marsala over fettuccine
Tuesday night: midwinter minestrone

Ethan and I are cooking up a storm! We’ve tried a few recipes, and (much to my surprise) they’ve all turned out good (great even!) And, more importantly, we are cooking together. This means that I do not have to pound out meat or cut off fat or stir boiling pots alone. Which is a very lovely thing xx C