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July 2010

Dock25 Photo Shoot with The Penguin

No, not Burgess Meredith or Danny Devito. This guy:

Roast Beef

How great is that? Yes, I have a penchant for penguins, but these shots from the New England Aquarium's new Penguin Power campaign will grab just about anyone's attention.

The photos are the work of the very-talented John Holt at Dock25 (photography + digital imaging). He collaborated with another Boston shop, Mullen, on the campaign. The copy and images are just fantastic. Here are a couple of my other favorites:

Argentina and Chile

Check out behind-the-scenes at the photo shoot here and full credits here.

If you are in need of some stellar photography, contact John Holt

And don't forget to go visit Roast Beef, Lillico, Argentina and Chile over at the Aquarium. I'm sure they'd love to see you.

Retail Therapy

Have you heard about PopSugar's Retail Therapy game?. It's sort of like Farmville, but instead of tending to livestock, you manage your very own fashion boutique - stocking your shelves with brand-name merchandise and selling items for points. It's mildly entertaining, if you're into that sort of thing.

I myself like real-world retail therapy, but that can be costly. So today, we're just going to window shop. Here are the items that caught my eye this week (but not my wallet):

I love these slip-on wine coasters, spotted in the August issue of Real Simple. So practical! And would make for a great hostess gift.

Wine coasters

I have a thing for birds (both decorative and in the wild), so I think these love birds decorative pillow from Grandin Road are charming:

Love birds

Similarly, I'm drawn to this comforter from Dwell Studio


Laslty, check out Badgley Mischka's over-the-top Diamond Reef Sea Life Necklace. A bit much for me, but certainly fun to look at:

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Happy shopping!

Strawberry Maple Almond Cookies

These are probably too girlie for Butch Bakery, but I made them yesterday and they're quite good.

Easy, too!

  1. Process 3 cups almonds & 3 cups rolled oats in a food processer.
  2. Stir in 3 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and pinch of salt.
  3. Whisk together 1.5 cups maple syrup, .75 cup vegetable oil, and .75 cup applesauce; add it to the dry mix and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  4. Drop 1-ounce scoops onto a greased cookie sheet, and make an indentation in the center of each; fill with stawberry preserves. I used strawberry rhubarb jam we picked up at Dutton Farm Stand on our most recent trip to Vermont.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes and cool on wire rack. This recipe makes 5 dozen, but I halved it.

The recipe comes from Recipes & Reflections: A Journey of Food & Friendship from the Inn at the Round Barn Farm, which I visited on a trip up to Vermont last year.

It 's a great book with lots of delicious recipes...I'm slowly working my way through all of them!

Butch Bakery

Cupcakes have become a nationwide craze in recent years, and Boston is no different: we have several cupcake shops in the Boston area, including Sweet (amazing Red Velvet), South End Buttery, Lulu's Bake ShoppeTreat Cupcake Bar, and my personal favorite, Kickass Cupcakes (get the Mojito!).

All, with the exception of maybe Kickass which offers a Guiness-laden Green Monster cupcake, are decidedly girlie and/or family friendly. Which is why this new, New York City-based entrant is not just another cupcake joint.

Butch Bakery's cupcakes for men aims to be the place where "butch meets buttercream." How? With flavors like Rum & Coke (Madagascar vanilla cake with cola Bavarian cream), Beer Run (chocolate beer cake with beer-infused buttercream topped with crushed pretzels) and the Jackhammer (chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut filling and hazelnut buttercream) and designs like camoflage, wood grain, and plaid.

Butch Bakery 
Like many of their fairer Boston brethren, Butch Bakery's cupcakes cost around $4 each; currently only available for purchase in NY, but nationwide delivery is expected later this year.

I think this is hilarious. In keeping with DiaperDude ("cool" diaper bags for men) and the latest round of ad campaigns from Old Spice, Dos Equis, and Canadian Club Whisky.

Viva machismo!

[Butch Bakery via Springwise]

Windham Hill Inn

We stayed at the Windham Hill Inn recently, and it was a little slice of Heaven in West Townshend, VT.

Everything from the location (160 acres of wild flower-covered meadows and woodlands) to the accomodations (old wooden barn converted to charming guest house), service (truly white glove), and cuisine (AMAZING!) was out of this world.

Here are some snapshots from the weekend:

The main house:

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The view from the front yard:

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Frog pond out back:

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Main dining room:

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Meals that were works of art:

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Antique charm:

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Pretty wallpaper:

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Personal touches:

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Beautiful hiking trails through the woods and meadows:

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Overall, a lovely & relaxing escape from the city. 

If you go, there are some other must-see spots along the way, including penny candy and gifts at the Newfane Country Store:

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The petting farm at Retreat Farm (which has a really interesting history):

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And finally, be sure to stop in at Grafton Village Cheese Company to pick up a wedge of the Grafton Duet, a layered Vermont Cheddar with Minnesota Blue Cheese. Yum!

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See the full photoset on Flickr.

Summer Party Food

Here are three quick recipes that I made recently, all great to take along to a Summer party.

1) Prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks. So simple, so tasty, and so portable! Use a tube of refridgerated breadstick dough, dip each piece of dough in grated parmesan, and then twist with a thin piece of prosciutto. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Voila! July 4th 126
2) Roasted Beet & Orange Salad. A little more work, but worth it. The mixture of beets and orange slices is so good. Next time, I might use tangerines or tangelos because the bite-sized sections would work better.July 4th 002 July 4th 127 
3) Pineapple Coconut Bars. Really light, with more of a cake consistency than a bar...just a hint of pineapple, coconut, and rum!July 4th 003 July 4th 004

4th of July Weekend Highlights

Besides Friday's snapshots from Marine Industrial Park and Saturday's bike ride through the Back Bay, Government Center, and the North End, here are the other highlights from the weekend:

A sunset cruise around the Harbor on Friday night in our friend's new boat:

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Tons of jelly fish in the water:

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Another boat ride on Sunday night, this time into the Charles River to watch the fireworks:

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Heading across the Harbor from the Chelsea marina:

July 4th 009Adorable house boat in Charlestown (you can actually rent these things!):

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Heading under bridges and through locks:

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Good friends:

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Festive cupcakes:

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And even more festive neighbors:

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Stunning sunset:

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There was even a rainbow (but no rain, thankfully!):

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The F-18 fly by:

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The beautiful fireworks display:

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The mad dash to get back out through the locks and into the Harbor (which I don't think I could handle if I were the actual boat owner...stressful!):

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In all, a really fun weekend in the city. See the full photoset on Flickr.