Simple, Spiritual, Outdated Living in a Vintage New England Home on the Southern Coast of Maine

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mock Lobstah, Merry Tomatoes, Sunroom TLC


Hello! Wayne and I didn't take any field trips this weekend since there were things that needed to be done around the house and friends from out of town came to visit earlier in the day.

In the photo above it looks like the shrub is undergoing some waist training as Wayne gave the peace sign from a hole in the house...

The house was built in the 1950s, and the sunroom was once a carport which you can see on the left side of the photo below. At some point it was transformed into the sunroom above that I adore.

Over the decades the wood panels began to rot through and needed to be replaced. My ex-husband did a thorough job with replacing many of them but recently others began to rot (which you can't see behind the paint--you simply push on it and if it gives, that's bad), so Wayne took care of that on this beautiful late August afternoon.

While he was doing his handiwork I was admiring our tomatoes and kept thinking that they looked like beautiful Christmas ornaments. I briefly hung a few of my vintage 1950s mercury glass balls on the vines.

A little Christmas tree?? AMIRIGHT? Kooky, I know, but it was fun to dress them up for a bit. But I wasn't finished.

When I was doing research for my cookbook this past winter I got a kick out of the many depression-era recipes for "mock" dishes that were made from inexpensive food dressed up and arranged to look like the pricey real deal. I wanted to doll up the tomatoes to look something like Maine Lobster Roll. Unlike the Great Depression when lobster was so cheap that it was prison food, it's very pricey today!

So! Introducing my very own "Mock Lobstah" salad!

I had cold leftover roasted chicken in the fridge from which I picked off some of the breast meat and removed the skin. I chopped a deep red juicy tomato from the garden, then added it, the chicken and mayonnaise into a bowl and mixed them together.

Once well blended I placed it in a Mason jar for storage and scooped some of the Imposter Lobster into a hotdog bun because that's how we roll in Maine. I used a gluten-free roll for mine.

Boy it tastes good and almost lobster-like! Lobster is sweet so the tomato really plays into the charade with its color and garden-fresh flavor. My Mock Lobstah Salad is also inexpensive and helps stretch leftover chicken. Maybe no one would be fooled but who cares, it's delicious!

After Wayne finished his project we enjoyed Mock Lobstah on the deck. 

September is almost here! Not ready to let go of summer yet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tomato Love

I *just* picked these two beauties from the raised bed garden, which are the first from that location! For the past week we've been eating tomatoes from our container garden on the deck.

I absolutely love having these beautiful vines and tomatoes to gaze at and eat. I never knew that watching a vegetable garden grow could be so relaxing, enjoyable and exciting!

Wayne has done all of the work! He has lovingly tended to our first little garden with daily watering which is key since we're experiencing a drought this summer.

To me the tomatoes are like beautiful works of edible art, even and especially the imperfect ones. So far I've made a sliced tomato omelette in my 1940s iron skillet, added tomatoes to last night's pot roast over mashed potatoes, been eating sliced, juicy vine fresh Cherokee Purple tomatoes, and made a fantastic tomato onion focaccia

Timmy loves having super fresh and juicy tomatoes!

This can't ever get old!! But I know it will soon end. I plan to savor what's left of the Maine summer.

And here we have a peek at what goes on behind the scenes! Gardening isn't always a glam affair.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy 100 Years to my Nana!

100 years old and she still is fabulous! My Nana is an inspiration to me on many levels.

Me and Nana in the late 1980s.

This is also sometime in the 1980s. My Nana never let herself go, inside our out, and has a will and spirit fiercer than anyone I know! When I recently asked her to share her beauty secrets, she replied: "Secrets? There are no secrets. I was born this way!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What?! Now even in a doctor's office they won't mention weight and calorie reduction?!


In my book I wrote about how the medical industry has changed over the years when it comes to average vs healthy weight recommendations. BMI replaced more specific height and weight charts. 

I've been to various doctors belonging to the same practice over the years. I'd often see a large BMI chart on the walls.

No more. 

I recently had my annual physical. Pictured above is a chart placed right in front of the scale, and it doesn't address weight.

Think About It. Move More. Eat Real Foods. Drink Water. 

Um, OK? I can do all of those things and still gain weight, or if I was at an unhealthy weight, not loose an ounce. Has "Health at Every Size" infiltrated the medical industry? Isn't the scale in a doctor's office THE place to initiate a gentle but factual discussion about the correlation between overweight or obesity and health? I was expecting to see: "Eat Less if Overweight." Are people supposed to take a hint since it's right in front of the scale? Is dropping hints via posters the new bedside manner?!

Looking glam in a gown.

Wait. There's more: A chart with questions about how much fruit do I eat, do I exercise, etc on the flip side, but there still is no mention of weight or eating less. Sure it's generally good advice for anyone, except for the dumb "My Plate" inspired recommendation to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables. You can totally get your daily fruit and veggies without cramming it all together on one plate in one sitting, or is that type of suggestion too complex now??

Is it like this at your MD's office?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Maine Wildlife Park Attean Family Pow Wow

The Maine Wildlife Park is another place I had yet to visit even though it's only a half hour away from me. 

The last Pow Wow I attended was a very long time ago in Seattle. I love Native American dance, drumming, flute and jewelry so today seemed perfect since I could experience both a pow wow and the park at once. Well, almost perfect: it was in the 90s and very humid with a heat index of 103!

Here is Wayne "enjoying" his very first senior discount ever! I made a thing out of it.

From their website: "Many of the animals at the Maine Wildlife Park were brought here because they were injured or orphaned, or because they were human dependent - raised, sometimes illegally, in captivity. The Park serves as a permanent home for wildlife that cannot survive in the Wild. All kinds of animals are here for their protection and healing. And they're here for you to enjoy and learn more about."

This was a friendly reenactor who referred to me and Wayne as a "nice family" even though we didn't have kids in tow like the rest of the adults. Yeah!

Ohh! Shopping!

This artist makes jewelry from moose antlers! All of the art on the pieces are his original drawings. Each is unique. I bought a pendant with a crow because I love crows. I also bought a dried corn and bead necklace made by Penobscots.

It was so uncomfortable outside that many of the animals were hiding in the enclosures or sleeping.


The bears, however, wanted to be fed.


It's a fun set-up. For a quarter some food spills into a cup and you catapult it out by pushing down on a pedal with your foot.

Feed me! Feed me!

We quickly ran out of quarters.

It was much cooler in the shade but still sticky.

I love the beautiful old gnarly tree behind this sign.

As hot as we were, the Native American dancers must have really been hot in their traditional leather dress!

The bald eagle opening ceremony/demonstration had to be cancelled because eagles get ornery in high heat, we were informed.

We were treated to drumming, singing and dancing. We would have loved to stay longer for the flutist later in the afternoon, but after three hours outside we were ready for air conditioning and a nap. (Wayne's a senior citizen, ha ha. I have no excuse.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Trip to Pineland Farms Part 2: The Secret Garden!

This fenced-in flower and vegetable garden is maybe one of Pineland Farm's lesser known gems! Wayne and I were the only people in it! It's also free!

Enjoy your weekend!