Archive for Food

Can’t judge a book by its cover!

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When my clients were looking for a home nearly 7(!) years ago, it was all I could do to get them in the front door of this “plain Jane” home. However, once inside the front door, they were pleasantly surprised! or should I say shocked :) The home sparkles…it is full of light and it exactly what they were looking for: open living spaces, a large, updated kitchen (nice cabinets with dovetail drawers!), granite countertops and hardwood floors. The 3 bedrooms were a “must have” and the updated bath(s) were another pleasant surprise. The 2 car garage and the finished basement, again, were icing on the cake after walking through the open, spacious and modern first floor.

Turns out this house has been perfect for them-they love to entertain their family around a big meal and a sports event (Red Sox, Patriots!) on TV… the way the dining room sets up to the kitchen and living room is perfect for their lifestyle. The fireplace in the living room and central air conditioning have been much coveted, adding ambiance and comfort, year round.  The location has been sweet too, since one of the owners commutes to Salem and the other owner needs to access Rt.128 5 or 6 days a week. Reluctantly, they leave their enjoyable home to be closer to their true love, which is their family.


What is a “Walk Score” ?

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Walk score is becoming a new way that people evaluate a property’s location. It is a value from 1 to 100 and the higher the number the more conveniences or things there are to do within about a 15 minute stroll 0r a quarter mile. More and more people have come to value the healthy aspects of walking as exercise. Dogs which require frequent walking have become a bigger part of family and singles (!) lifestyle.  Americans are happily parking their cars, saving money by not purchasing gas and supporting small neighborhood businesses that are in their own neighborhood. As more and more people return to an urban setting  or a neighborhood style of living, local business creativity is booming especially in the eateries and coffee shop arenas. It is no secret that commuting is no fun, drinking and driving is not an option and most of us would prefer to remain in our own towns or neighborhoods. The more people interact with each other and become familiar with their neighbors the safer and more pleasant an area becomes! Passers by and acquaintances become friends. Nods become smiles. and before you know it a street or 2 or 3 is a neighborhood full of familiar faces! If  this sounds like something you value when you home hunt be sure and evaluate the “walk score” as you consider, location, location, location!

Walk score can be found for any (?) address in America at It is also included in the information that provides on their website.

Indigo Rose Tomatoes in my Garden

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I don’t even know where this plant came from in my garden…but it is thriving and very unique!  Since I know nothing about it, I researched it online. I found out it was bred specifically to be high in antioxidants at Oregon State University. Supposedly, I will know when it is ripe because the deep ultra purple color will turn a rusty purple color and it will be soft, just like any other ripe tomato. The color inside should be red and the flavor hasn’t been mentioned as any thing special. More to come in a few weeks!

Lushious new toy!

Occupy Wall St. … How about Shaws, East Gloucester?

I’m not involved in the Occupy Wall St. movement or sit-in or am I particularly well-informed about it. I believe it is in part about corporate greed. A very clear picture of corporate greed was painted for me the other day. I was parked at Cape Ann Market on an optical errand. Since I knew my next meal involved raisins and I had none, I decided to purchase some at Shaws. Confession time: I stopped shopping there years ago when Market Basket came to town, which allows us to save approximately 10% consistently over the two other local, large grocery chain stores.  There were two raisin sizes available and I grabbed the one closest to the size I usually purchase, which was the smaller size, however quite average.It was 15 oz. for $3.79.  I had the cashier scan to double-check the price, since I thought I had purchased it at Market Basket for $2.59. Since it was significantly more expensive, I decided to not purchase and instead, swing into Market Basket on my way home. I scurried to Market Basket and grabbed the smallest size on their shelf. It was 24 oz..  The price? $2.99.  OK so maybe I’m a tightwad or a skinflint, but this is a pretty average grocery item. It isn’t  seasonal, like produce or fish. Nor is it necessary to import from a “rare source”.  Nor was I comparing a grocery price to a discount chain price like Cosco or Best Buy.  I think it is pure and simple, corporate greed of the every day garden variety.  There was a 100% markup for the same product (slightly different size) at one store vs. another.  Market Basket Raisins (24 oz. size) were 12.45 cents per oz. and at Shaws (15 oz. size) they were 25.26 cents per oz.. A 100% mark up on raisins?  Come on…..So once again in deference to the saying, “think global, act local, I don’t have to occupy Wall St. to protest corporate greed, I’ll just shop at Market Basket!

My Homegrown Organic Heirloom Tomatoes Make Me Fat & Happy

Homegrown organic (very important!!!) tomato with mayonnaise: hold the bread!

I’ve been a card-carrying vegetarian since I was 18. Ok, there have been a few exceptions (meals at moms-would never argue about home cooking!) and there was that beef relapse while living in Minneapolis in the 90′s. Aside from that, I’ve been pretty green and leafy for the longer (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you view healthy eating) part of my life. I’ve also spent a similar amount of time honing my “garden skills” as a Golf Course Superintendent (27 years). Suffice to say, I like to grow plants, I believe it is the healthiest way to eat  and I have tons of experience at both.

Homegrown organic (very important!!!) tomatoes with Velveeta and lots of salt...

Interestingly enough I have found plenty of ways to counter act all this healthy eating from my very own organic garden! Not only do I layer the salt and the mayo, I’ve gone way back into my childhood and melted the Velveeta on my favorite fruits! Geeze how low can I go? Velveeta even defies food groups. So…thanks to cheese, salt and mayo I’m a few pounds heavier this September but very, very happy…By the way this years favorite heirloom variety?  Thanks to Goose Cove Gardens) is “Aunt Ginnys Purple” an heirloom beefsteak variety of German descent. One tomato (large, meaty, flavorful) is a meal in itself  – just add salt and mayo, naturally :~) And now you know how I got fat and happy eating my organically grown, heirloom tomatoes!



Winter Salad

I don’t know about you, but to me, the produce isn’t half as appealing at this time of year as others. Soooo time for this “root vegatable” salad for so many reasons:

Carrot salad

- it travels well (especially if you can carry the oil & vinigar in a separate container)
- easy to have the ingredients in the house through out the winter, carrots never wilt!
-it is pretty!!!!
-it takes me a long time to eat it (lotsa chewin involved), which gives my body time to feel “full” (although it never seems to be full enough!!!!!)
-I chose sunflower seeds so I can have a nut in every bite
-it is delicious, especially with these extra special Trader Joes products, my original recipie just used raisons and a tasty balsamic vinigar

Grate two large carrots
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup Trader Joes orange flavored cranberries
olive oil and Trader Joes Orange Muscat Champagne Vinigar
sometimes, just sometimes a few onion shavings…

If you have a favorite winter salad recipie, send it in and we’ll publish it. It is a long time till fresh veggie season, here in Glosta!