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Getting To Know Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is famously known for bikes, breweries, and babes (not in that order) but after a recent visit, Portland seems to be about so much more including farmer’s markets, hazelnuts, apples, bakeries, books, and outdoor sports. A small city that people live and work in, Portland is not a landscape of skyscrapers but rather a city of interesting buildings, greenery, bridges, and roads that are easy to maneuver.

Explore the Farmer’s Market, take a bike tour, spend a few hours at the largest independent bookstore in the country (Powell’s), indulge in the many bakeries (20+), breweries (40+), chocolate shops (10+), restaurants (dozens), visit a museum (more than a dozen), and enjoy the parks and gardens. Read more »


Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter

Muirhead Pumpkin Butter is a delicious jam like spread that can be used on breads and cheeses or to make baked goods including a pumpkin pecan bread.  Made by Muirhead Foods of Ringoes, New Jersey (about 20 miles north of Trenton), the pumpkin butter contains five ingredients: pumpkin, sugar, lemon juice, pecans, and spices. Despite the name “butter” in its name, there is no butter or even a trace of fat in this product which always surprises me because the taste is so rich. Read more »



One sunny day while walking my corgi, Daisy my friend, Nancy (whose corgi, Molly is Daisy’s BFF) told me I needed to get a ROAD ID bracelet like her husband, Lamar’s: a purple band that looked like a fashionable ID bracelet. For those who participate in outdoor sports and activities, the ROAD ID is an important accessory for both men, women and children because it speaks for the wearer in the event of an accident. Read more »


“In One Person”

OH, THE WINDS OF change; they do not blow gently into the small towns of northern New England.

John Irving‘s newest novel In One Person is the fictional story of one man’s journey on a road less traveled. Written in the first person from the perspective of the main character – William (“Bill”) Francis Dean, Jr. – the story begins in late 2010. Bill is nearly 70 years old and looks back upon his life as a bisexual man trying to come to terms with who he is in a world reluctant to accept those that are different. Growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s in a small town in Vermont where conventional norms prevail, Bill struggles to understand his passions, his crushes, and his family. When he is introduced rather late – at age 13 – to literature by his newly acquired stepfather, Richard and the local town librarian, Miss Frost, he starts to better understand he is not alone. Read more »


The Philly Soft Pretzel

In the culinary world, Philadelphia is known for the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (sliced beef and melted cheese on a soft Italian roll), Italian Ice (frozen flavored ice)  and the Philly Soft Pretzel: a soft tan-colored pretzel that is usually connected to another pretzel in the baking process (to ensure the softness of the sides) . Believed to have been brought over by the Germans and re-created by the Pennsylvania Dutch, the Philly soft pretzel was popularized by the Italians in the south end of the city, where most of the pretzel bakeries are located. Made throughout the night and distributed early in the morning to street vendors, shops, and bakeries, the Philly soft pretzel is found on virtually every street corner in Philadelphia and in more recent years through on-line vendors. Read more »


The Coconut Macaroon

Most people have strong feelings about coconut and for those who possess a deep passion for this tropical fruit, there is the coconut macaroon cookie.  Different than a typical sugar or butter based cookie, the coconut macaroon is both crunchy (on the outside) and chewy (on the inside) with a moist creamy texture. Read more »