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5 reasons to mom-and-pop holiday shop

5 reasons to mom-and-pop holiday shop

Quick: Picture the holiday shopping experience. An image of a crowded Black Friday at the mall or a big-box retailer may well come to mind. Yet, when the National Retail Foundation surveyed consumers in October about holiday purchasing this year, close to 30% planned on doing at least some shopping...
Celebrating the Festival of Lights

Celebrating the Festival of Lights

The Jewish celebration of Chanukah is often associated with the Christian holiday of Christmas, but that association has little to do with the significance of each holiday and more to do with the timing. Each is celebrated at the end of the year when the holiday season has hit full...
Capturing  the magic of Christmas’ past with historical holiday tours

Capturing the magic of Christmas’ past with historical holiday tours

Connecticut is brimming with holiday festivities, many of which date back decades or otherwise serve to bring on childhood nostalgia. A little harder to come by are events that truly take one back in time. “The draw to historic holiday celebrations is how they offer a peek at the past,”...
‘Festive Home’ turns 10 this holiday season

‘Festive Home’ turns 10 this holiday season

Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ 10th Annual Festive Home is a cheerful holiday marketplace fund-raiser event.  It is open for business through Tuesday, Dec. 23, with extended hours Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The theme this year is “Be Brilliant!”  Eleven designers have been paired with member...
2014 Rooms with a View celebrates 20 years

2014 Rooms with a View celebrates 20 years

  Interiors showcase Rooms with a View, which celebrated its 20th anniversary and whose honorary chairperson was national tastemaker Thom Filicia, recently hosted a weekend of design with the theme for 2014: “20/20 Visions.” The event, which was held Friday, November 14, through Sunday, November 16, at the Southport Congregational...
The Recipe Box: Holiday entertaining

The Recipe Box: Holiday entertaining

GINGERBREAD BUNDT CAKE WITH GINGER GLAZE Tami Ganeles-Weiser of TheWeiserKitchen.com Ingredients: Cake: 3¼ cups flour, sifted and divided, plus 2 tablespoons (419 grams) cake flour for dusting ½ cup (66 grams) currants 3 tablespoon cognac or brandy 2 teaspoons (11 grams) vanilla extract 2 teaspoons (18 grams) grated fresh ginger...
Starting from scratch: Colonial bakers took a hands-on approach

Starting from scratch: Colonial bakers took a hands-on approach

The fire crackles and embers glow in the brick beehive oven adjacent to the hearth. The smell of rising cornmeal fills the tiny room. Pie crusts made of whole wheat and cornflour blended with lard are finished on the table as johnnycakes bake. A loaf of bread with a lovely...
November 2014 Home Personality: "Homes for the Next Great Baker"

November 2014 Home Personality: “Homes for the Next Great Baker”

320 Brookside Road, Darien, Conn. $6,250,000 Libby Matson, Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties, 203-820-5524 Our 7-bedroom, 9-bath, 11,000 sq. ft. “Home of the Month” features a light-drenched gourmet kitchen designed by award-winning architect, Jack Franzen, of J.P. Franzen Associates Architects, and home to a cook’s dream for the culinary arts....
Moorefield Herb Farm: Bringing locally grown produce to local farmers’ markets

Moorefield Herb Farm: Bringing locally grown produce to local farmers’ markets

The popularity of farmers’ markets has been growing each year, along with their fresh, just harvested local produce. There are now more than 100 farmers’ markets in Connecticut, with new ones being added all over the state. Moorefield Herb Farm in Trumbull is in different farmers’ market towns almost every...
Building my Passive House — Part 9

Building my Passive House — Part 9

This is the ninth entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified passive house. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers certification programs for highly energy efficient homes, and the home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org). Because my heating requirements...
How to clean, stuff and eat an artichoke

How to clean, stuff and eat an artichoke

Am I right in thinking that the artichoke is a vegetable that many people love but have no idea what to do with? Sure we love them, but we buy them marinated in jars or pureed in dips but don’t have a clue about how to handle the real thing…big,...
Say it with flowers

Say it with flowers

Arranging flowers is such a delightfully creative art form, the perfect pursuit for those who wish to display expressions of beauty, elegance and grace throughout their home. From formal or extravagant, to sweet and simple, flower arrangements utilize the most beautiful material with a seemingly endless array of textures, shapes,...
Updating jewelry insurance appraisals

Updating jewelry insurance appraisals

With the current gold market above $1,200.00 per ounce, everyone who has their jewelry insured from an earlier time should be aware that those insurance levels are most likely no longer adequate, even if you have the type of policy that raises values automatically over a period of time. Ten...
The Recipe Box: "Flavors of Fall"

The Recipe Box: “Flavors of Fall”

PUMPKIN BISQUE WITH CURRY AND PEAR (Serves 4 – 6) Ronnie Fein, Ronnie Fein School of Creative Cooking, Stamford, Conn., 203-322-7114 Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder...
Keep growing with season-extending gardening tips for fall

Keep growing with season-extending gardening tips for fall

Warm weather, continued care and robust plants have yielded a bounty of beautiful, fresh vegetables – and personal satisfaction – from your garden this season. As the weather cools and fall approaches, it is not time to hang up your hat, gloves and trowel for the year. Autumn provides optimum...
Latest entries
Mark your calendars!

Mark your calendars!

Santa and his live reindeer return to Greenwich From November 28 to December 24, 2014, Santa and his four live reindeer will return to McArdle’s Florist & Garden Center, 48 Arch St., Greenwich, for the 6th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa’s Workshop From noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, November 28, the community is...
"Christmas Town Festival" and gingerbread trail scheduled

“Christmas Town Festival” and gingerbread trail scheduled

There’s no better start to the season than Bethlehem’s 34th  annual Christmas Town Festival on Friday and Saturday, December 5 – 6.  The center of the village comes alive with strolling carolers, live music, free horse-drawn wagon hayrides and more than 70 art and craft exhibitors filling in seven buildings with original gifts. The Chime-In...
Holiday happenings for the young and young-at-heart

Holiday happenings for the young and young-at-heart

Events • Sixth Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa’s Workshop; Friday, Nov. 28 – Wednesday, Dec. 24, McArdle’s Florist and Garden Center, 48 Arch St., Greenwich. Santa and his live reindeer — Dancer, Dasher, Prancer and Blitzen — are coming back to town. The community is invited to McArdle’s for a welcoming “We’re Back Party”...
Christmas trivia to put you in the holiday spirit

Christmas trivia to put you in the holiday spirit

The holiday season has arrived, and millions of people across the globe will be celebrating Christmas with their families and friends. The following are some interesting tidbits to share with your friends and loved ones this holiday season. • Each year, more than three billion Christmas cards are sent in the United States alone. •...
Where to go tree hunting for Christmas

Where to go tree hunting for Christmas

• Audubon Society H. Smith Richardson Tree Farm; choose and cut Christmas trees; Sasco Creek Road, Westport; 203-623-0646 • Bob’s Tree Farm; choose and cut Christmas Trees; 6-68 Turkey Plain Road, Rte. 53, Bethel; 203-241-3450 • Everett’s Corner Tree Farm; choose and cut Christmas trees; 136 Sherwood Road, Easton; 203-268-2508 • Fairview Tree Farm; choose...

Christmas trees: Finding your family’s finest fir

In most homes during the holidays, the tree takes center stage, so choosing the “perfect one” is important. Do you cut your own? Buy one that is already pre-cut? And what type of tree should you buy: Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine? It’s a process that can be as easy or as complicated as...
Holiday party: Out-of-the-box themes

Holiday party: Out-of-the-box themes

Parties are an integral part of the holiday season, when friends and family gather to celebrate and give thanks. For holiday hosts, parties are a great opportunity to make the season even more festive with an event that guests won’t soon forget. The following are just a few themes to make your holiday party as...

Historic Holidays to the North and South

• Trek north to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on weekends in December for the 35th Annual Candlelight Stroll at the Strawbery Banke Museum, which has 40 buildings within the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. Historic activities on and around the 10-acre grounds include horse-drawn carriage rides, traditional barrel-making and 18th century hearth cooking demos, and tinsmith...
Parenting from the Trenches: Holiday hysteria and managing the madness

Parenting from the Trenches: Holiday hysteria and managing the madness

When I picture my oldest child, Blake, now 31, at his first walking-and-talking Christmas, it is of a 16-month-old roaring about in my then in-law’s apartment with candy canes clutched in each hand and a face streaked with sticky red sugar. His excitement was both tangible and aromatic, and colorful bows and wrapping papers were...
Tips to slash heating bills this winter

Tips to slash heating bills this winter

The temperatures outside are quickly dropping, which means your heating bills will soon be rising. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save energy at home. Spokespersons for The Family Handyman have tips that are easy to implement, won’t cost much and will definitely save money on your heating bills. Here are a few of...
Holiday decorating made simple

Holiday decorating made simple

Vowing to make the holidays easier this year? Transition your home into a winter wonderland without all the unnecessary stress. The key, according to Big Lots and blogger Brandi Jeter Riley from Mama Knows It All, is to plan ahead and keep decorating simple. 1.  Start by selecting a theme or color. Whether you enjoy glitz and glam, traditional red and gold or...
Photo finish: Share old and new memories around the Thanksgiving table

Photo finish: Share old and new memories around the Thanksgiving table

Every Thanksgiving, traditions are either newly made or time-honored. Grandma’s recipe for sausage stuffing gets served right next to Heather’s latest vegetarian side dish. The brand-new crystal wine glasses that sparkle with a promise of heady joy look perfect on the heirloom lace tablecloth that has been handed down for generations. Old and new come...
Dorie Greenspan pens French dessert cookbook

Dorie Greenspan pens French dessert cookbook

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m., cookbook author and baker Dorie Greenspan will be signing copies of her latest cookbook, Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct. 28, 2014), at Deane Inc., 1267 East Main Street, Stamford. The public is invited to the event, which...
A feel good story

A feel good story

Perhaps I’m dating myself, but do you remember family dinners of yesteryear? Often it was the only time when everyone was in the same room at the same time. Lively conversations ensued — no one was at a loss for words. Those who felt that others weren’t appreciating their thoughts thoroughly enough would raise their...