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Ambivalence. In one word, that pretty much sums up my Christmas shopping. Unlike some friends of mine (you know who you are) that were probably done with Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving even rolled around –or November for that matter, I am technically still “shopping”. I don’t know if you’d even call it that, since the gifts that I have purchased I can count on one hand, even if you chopped off several of my fingers. Just not feeling it this year. You’d think that considering Christmas is —let’s see 13 days away today –I would be a little more stressed, but honestly, just not happening. I was telling Tom today how I am just not into the shopping that accompanies the Christmas holidays. I went out the other day and just didn’t really come home with any gifts. We are supposed to head out to Albany tomorrow to do some family shopping and I’m really hoping that some sort of inspiration strikes -otherwise folks, I don’t know what to tell you all — my lovely personality and wonderful smile and of course, my great company will have to be gift enough, unless of course you want food, then I’m pretty sure that I can bake up a storm. Might be a Christmas of homemade baguettes for everyone!
The best place for foliage in Vermont as voted by Yankee Magazine has also been recently voted (by none other than The Ts themselves) to be the place to avoid the most come foliage season. Yankee Magazine has voted Manchester, Vermont, the #1 place in Vermont for fall foliage. Manchester came in #3 overall behind Connecticut and Maine (which has some people in Vermont scratching their heads- but that’s another story).
Manchester is a nice town, great shopping, great restaurants, an awesome bookstore – but it is always filled with people. Now, come foliage season, I am sure that it will be EVEN MORE filled with people (if that is even possible) They will come, from far and wide, to see the foliage and shop and eat. All of this is a very good reason to completely avoid Manchester (or avoid it as much as humanly possible) for anyone who actually lives around here. We have trees here, we have foliage – I certainly do not need to jump in the car and drive about 1/2 hour south of us to Manchester to see their foliage. And anyone who knows me personally knows that outlet shopping is not even on my list, much less my top ten list, so that too I can forego. The only thing that will make me sad is avoiding Northshire Bookstore, which is my favorite bookstore ever. Lucky for them (unlucky for us local folk) Yankee Magazine mentions them by name as a “must see” while you’re in Manchester checking out all those trees and shopping. Therefore, that means that even the bookstore will be off-limits due to throngs of those people (as the Maine folk would say – “from away”) that will be invading the town and the bookstore during foliage season.
Well, I guess that between now and then we’ll have to get our fill in order to last us through that season affectionately called Leaf Peeper season.
FYI, the photo is our own fall foliage from last year.
Probably my biggest challenge this week will be to make the type of birthday cake that my oldest requested for his birthday. It’s something that I have not made previously. It’s really not so much the difficulty but rather with the method of execution. He wants molten chocolate or lava cake for his birthday. This requires not one big cake, but rather, individual cakes. Again, not the end of the world except that we will have a company, an extra five people, maybe six, which means that I have to make 10 cakes. Now, you see my challenge. For anyone that is not familiar, lava or molten chocolate cake is a chocolate cake with a creamy or melted center. Not something that you can really make earlier in the day and serve later. It requires a from-the-oven service, not easy to accomplish times 10.
Several of the recipes that I have found (which are all pretty much the same ingredients) indicate that the cakes can be made ahead of time and simply cooked at the time that you are ready to eat. Sounds easy, right? Well, not for me. Make ahead and then cook or partially prepare and cook later is the kiss of death. The bagels I made the first time promised a do-ahead recipe, which turned into the ugliest looking flat bagels that anyone has ever witnessed. Another time, I tried to pre-make something it was also a disaster. Not something that I want to experience with a houseful of hungry kids dying for cake and certainly not something that I want to blow for one of my boys’ birthdays – after all they only come once a year.