MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Coffee, Records, Yarn and Elvis …

As I mentioned a few posts ago every Saturday my daughter Deb and I, often accompanied by her best friend Dawn, go out for coffee and whatever else occurs.    This past Saturday was chock full.

First up is coffee…  almost always the first stop.  We were in the charming town of Summit, New Jersey and stopped in at Boxwood Coffee which I have to say was a great choice.

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Second up was Record Store Saturday.  We hadn’t had plans to seek out a record store but lo and behold there was one right around the corner so of course we checked it out…

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Third up was the main reason for the outing… The New Jersey Wool Walk.  You  may be wondering what a wool walk is, here’s the description from the website…  ”The New Jersey Wool Walk is an event to give passionate knitters, crocheters and fiber artists the opportunity to visit, experience and enjoy the wide array of yarn shops throughout Central, South and North Jersey.  Our diverse stores have a variety of yarns, notions, classes and styles.  The Wool Walk is a four day festive happening that is not a sale, but an adventure for all lovers of yarn and what it can become!”

The girls had visited several yarn shops the day before and did a few more when I joined them on Saturday.  Here are a few pictures from Summit.  Look at those happy faces with their bags of stash.

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As if that wasn’t a full enough day there’s still one more event to go,

Fourth up is for me, the main event…. ELVIS is in the building 🙂

My life long friend and I are also life long fans of Elvis and so when the opportunity arose to see this Elvis impersonator we jumped at the chance.  I wish I could remember his name because he was fabulous… looked, sang, sounded just like The King himself.  It was quite the climax to a full day.

 

100_8131My friend got a scarf and a kiss from Elvis… me, I got to take the picture…
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There’s a lot of pressure on next Saturday if it wants to be as exciting and fun as the past two were.


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I Can Bake ! …

It took me 51 years but I finally made a cake from scratch.  Why did it take this long?  I’m not sure… laziness, thought it was too hard or time consuming… I could think of a lot of excuses.. and did.

For my daughter Deb’s recent birthday and I wanted to surprise her with something she would not expect… and a homemade cake would definitely be that.

So, I gathered my stuff together and began my new experience.

This ‘new picture’ Betty Crocker Cook Book by the way isn’t all that new.  It was given to me by my dad 51 years ago.  You can tell by the loose binding that it has been used, even by me from time to time.

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I decided to make a pound cake in a bundt pan.

I mixed all ingredients, well, except for one which I couldn’t find in the pantry and figured it wasn’t all that important … how much of a difference could a tsp of baking powder make anyway.   Whirr, whirr, scrape, pour… it was actually looking pretty good… I felt encouraged.

 I even melted some chocolate to add to the pound cake…  thought it would give it some oomph and who doesn’t like at least of dash of chocolate in a cake.

Got the cake in the pan and polished off what was left of my coffee…by then I was exhausted.

My creation

I only peeked at the cake once during the hour it was in the oven.  It was rising and browning so I was encouraged.    Tah dah… it was done… now to see if it would come out of the cake pan in one piece !  Tah dah again… yay… it did.   Applause, applause.

Look at that, isn’t it beautiful…. see how happy and pleased I am with myself.

My creation

It was another hour or so until Debbie came home… it was hard for me to control my anxiety.  I knew she’d be surprised but would she like it ?  Time would tell.

She did look surprised.   A beautiful cake yet to be tasted but certainly making a good impression.  Looks like a birthday cake now that it had candles on it.   And finally, the taste test !  The consensus was that it was good… maybe could have been a little taller but I like to think of it as a petite pound cake.

My creation

It was a success and, don’t tell anyone, but I might even do it again.  I said might 🙂


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The Former Daggett House …

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I stayed a few times at the Daggett House Inn before it was renovated and turned into a private residence. One of the things I remember most is their famous Grape Nut bread/toast.

On the lower level of the inn was the breakfast room. According to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard:

“The room was the first tavern on Martha’s Vineyard to sell beer and ale. In 1660 the taverner, John Daggett, was fined five shillings for “selling strong liquor.” In 1750 the Daggett House was added to the building. Through the years the Daggett House was a custom’s house, a sailor’s boardinghouse, a store, and during the whaling era, a counting house. ”

An interesting feature of the Daggett House was its secret room. I’m not sure what it was used for in the 1600′s or so but during the past years as a B&B it was a guest room, provided they could find the secret door and providing the GHOST wasn’t in residence!!!

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The back of the Daggett House had a nice expanse leading to the edge of Edgartown Harbor. A perfect place to have a breakfast or sit and read.

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I stayed at the Daggett House twice… once in the main house and once in the charming 2 room house in the garden.

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Grapenut Bread from the Daggett House.

(This recipe was a staple of the Daggett House Bed & Breakfast on Martha’s Vineyard until it closed. They used to readily hand out recipe cards so I’m assuming there are no copyright issues. But just in case there is, I’m giving full credit here to the inn as it’s their recipe)

Makes 2 loaves

Mix:

2/3 c Grapenuts

1/3 c wheat germ

3 T butter

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 c dark brown sugar

1 1/3 c boiling water.

Stir and let cool to barely warm.

Then, combine 1 T yeast, 1 tsp sugar and 2/3 c warm water, and let stand until bubbly.

Add yeast to the dry mixture. Add 4 c all-purpose flour.

Knead until soft and smooth, then return to bowl and let rise, covered, until double in volume.

Punch down and divide into two loaves, knead for a few minutes, and put into greased loaf pans. Let rise until double in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Freshly baked Grape-Nut bread…yum

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(In all fairness I have to give credit to my daughter Deb who baked this delicious bread).


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Like Kids In A Candy Store …

In my post of Feb 24th…’Painting Party’… I said I had one more birthday gift to collect.  I did that recently with my daughter Deb.  There are actually two gifts to tell about.  One I knew about, one I didn’t.

Dylan’s Candy Bar I knew about… but before we went there we walked a little further down E 60th St to.

Serendipity 3 for lunch.  Why there?  Well, because of their famous, delicious, heavenly chocolate dessert….. Frozen Hot Chocolate, which I adore.

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I would have gone straight for the frozen hot chocolate but Deb said we should at least have a sandwich or something first. They were okay. I only ate half of the chicken salad and Deb’s prosciutto sandwich turned out to be less than fresh… I’m pleased to say that the management generously rectified that situation.

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And then…. tah dah… THE frozen hot chocolate.

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IMG_0472 This is me today.

100_0958 This is me in 1994 the first time I had frozen hot chocolate.

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Good to the last lick.. and as sinfully delicious as I remembered it… and yes, I drank it all by myself.

You might think we had no desire to even look at anymore sweets.  Nope.  Still had Dylan’s Candy Bar to visit and use my gift card from Deb.

So down the block we waddled to…

Dylan’s Candy Bar

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We were literally like kids in a candy store.

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So much to look at, so much candy it boggled my mind.  And there were other interesting things like this illuminated staircase.

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Miscellaneous this and that… a birthday hat, and yes,  apparently chocolate does aid in healing.

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Um… hmmm…

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Our loot.

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Starting at bottom left going clockwise:  chocolate/raspberry bar – chocolate covered pretzel balls – a box of chocolate covered pretzels – chocolate covered krispies and chocolate covered sandwich cookies.

There was one other stop, the New York Public Library, but you’ll have to wait a bit for that post as I’m coming down off my sugar high and think I need to rest a bit 🙂

(CLICK HERE for a sneak peek at the library lions at ‘Through Jersey Eyes’)


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MV Obsessions …

MV Obsession is four and a half years old and I’ve never done a post about my obsessive rituals and quirky have-to-dos.   So here it is.

100_0830  I HAVE to wear something Vineyard related every day.  I’ve been wearing this watch since 1995.  But sometimes, like today, I like to wear…

100_0835 … a Vineyard shirt.

100_0857 I’ve had a Vineyard related license plate on my New Jersey car since 1993.

100_0829And since 1988 I’ve been carrying this stone from State Beach in my wallet.

Those are just my quirks when I’m not on the Vineyard.  When I’m on the Vineyard I have other rituals and compulsions, here are a few of them.

100_8259  Espresso Love’s blueberry scones.  I love them so much I bring them home, put them in my freezer and sometimes,  just sometimes offer them to other people.  Espresso Love coffee is of course a must to go with the scones.  (CLICK HERE)

100_8695  The Tabernacle.  I love this place.  No visit is complete without visiting this hallowed place and doing a bit of reflecting… and always taking ‘just one more picture’  because, well, I’m obsessed. (CLICK HERE)

101_3573 The Bandstand in Ocean Park is one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy just being.  I’ve been known to take ‘just one more picture’ here too. (CLICK HERE)

100_0844 The house my godparents owned.  I spent every summer of my childhood here and I always, always drive past it at least twice when I’m on MV.  One time years ago I was fortunate enough to step back into the house and step back in time.

101_3481 Heading Up-Island now.  Almost every trip includes a visit to the Gay Head cliffs.  No matter how many times I see them they always take my breath away. (CLICK HERE)

100_0840100_6307 When our dog Chappy visits the Vineyard he has his own ‘must visit’ places.  The Black Dog for their droolicious biscuits.  Good Dog Good for their goodies as well, and to visit the ladies there who always remember him. (CLICK HERE) and (HERE)

 All my obsessions, quirks and rituals are not necessarily Vineyard related though.  I’ll admit to one that makes my family chuckle every time I do it.  100_0860I have to end up on my right foot going up or down stairs… stepping on or off curbs… putting on shoes and socks.

Now that you know my obsessions let me hear from you about yours.


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Stollen …

What is stollen ?  According to Dictionary.com, stollen is a sweetened bread made from raised dough, usually containing nuts, raisins and citron.  In our family it is a bread, a tradition,  a couple of days of preparation, trips out of town and fear !!  My husband l-o-v-e-s stollen more than almost any other food.  His German mother made them every year and stollen was very much missed the Christmas after she died.  The following year, Deb, a poor but creative  college student decided to surprise her dad and make him stollen as her present to him.  She and her best friend Dawn did the prep and baking at Dawn’s house so that there wouldn’t be any signs of her surprise at our house until the unveiling on Christmas.   Please CLICK HERE to read DEB’S BLOG POST of that fateful first foray into making stollen.

There it sits… unassuming and rising in its bowls.

Look at it, it’s massive.  Inside the bowl are tons of candied fruit… fluorescent green cherries and unnaturally red cherries, glowing yellow lemon thingies, tons of raisins, tons of butter  and I’m not sure what else.  But in my husband’s opinion there’s never enough fruit… he’s one of the handful of people worldwide who actually like candied fruit.

After rising overnight Deb shapes them into loaves.  Just look at all that fruit.  And then the scary part begins.  Remember  I mentioned trips out of town and  fear and you probably wondered why?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Stollens and ovens don’t always get along…  the oven has been known to bake the stollens to a beautiful golden brown on the outside and leave them a mushy, yeasty mess on the inside.  For Deb the actual putting them in the oven and waiting to see what disaster ensues is the worst part.  By baking time she’s tired and really just wants it to be over with.  She has a very even and joyful temperment… usually… but on stollen day it has been known to flare up… a lot.  The best thing for all of us is to NOT be around.  One year my husband went to FL and I went to MA.  Another year we went to Martha’s Vineyard for the Christmas in Edgartown weekend.  Well, we tried to, we got as far as Woods Hole but a pesky nor’easter/blizzard prevented us from getting to the Vineyard and so we had to come home.  The past few years she’s started them on one night and then baked them the next day… but still we are out of the house for at least most of the day. So there they sit waiting to be baked.

… let’s see how they did.

They’re beautiful aren’t they.  They seem to like the new oven and the oven was good to them.  Stollen day is over for another year… yippee.

Besides making stollen for her dad, Deb makes sure there’s some for her aunt and cousin too. All the stollens are now wrapped up in baggies and in the freezer waiting for Christmas.

Actually all the stollens aren’t  in the freezer.  There’s a small preview one for breakfast the next morning.  It looks yummy doesn’t it.

Breakfast is ready.