Who needs a bun?


I was super sad that I have nothing “easy to make” here. By that I mean,  nothing packaged or processed….half made for me already. Of course this is on purpose. I follow a primal/paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle, depending on the day. It is so hard for me to give up cheese, especially now that I am in Vermont and have such delicious local varieties available. The good news is local, pastured cheese is better for you, so I shall indulge.

I did have grass-fed burgers, organic veggies and some local cheddar.  In truth, this took me less than 10 minutes to make.  My dressing was so good that I put it over the burgers too!

Thought I’d share with you.

Greek Dijon Dressing

3 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs dijon mustard
6 tbs evoo
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp Greek herb blend
S&P…a few screws of each

Whisk to emulsify and enjoy! It was really great with the avocado, but also it was perfect on the burger – a tangy dressing cut the richness of the burger with cheese.

I Want to be a Townie


I was hesitant to use the term “townie.” When I was growing up, it was used as a derogatory term for the town weirdos, or the people who never really went anywhere. Growing up, I learned that it wasn’t such a bad thing. My brother was a townie. He was a mechanic at the gas station. Every time I visited him I was in awe – it was like he was mayor. Everyone knew him. Everyone loved him, despite some troubles he had with drinking. He was beloved, really. He has since grown up and moved on and is now on his way to being as much of a Townie as you can be in the city. But he changed my feelings on what a Townie really was.

I worked at Wassail Weekend selling Filthy Farmgirl Vermont soap.It was a tight fit and we were up against another table with a couple women who were knitting.

It’s funny – I am an introvert. I don’t speak unless spoken to. I guess that doesn’t apply when you are crammed in small space with others. I got to talking with Jane. She’s older, for sure. She talked a lot about her kids and grandkids, she was so proud of them.

During the day I noticed that EVERYONE stopped to say hello to her. I wasn’t sure why.

While we were talking, I learned that she not only knew the previous owner of the house I am renting, but pretty much every other owner there was. She has a bed & breakfast and it has been in the family for 90 years. She mentioned that she did breakfast every Sunday at the Country Store down the street from me and invited me to join in, so I could meet people.

Today was my first day going. I was there for 4 hours. I met more than 15 “locals.” Jane introduced me as her new friend and everyone welcomed me with open arms – literally, I got hugs. People were there before 8:30 and we were the last to leave, but it was a rotating group of people stopping in for breakfast, coffee and conversation. The youngest was just about a year, and we spanned the generations up to 60ish. It was lovely.

Know what I loved most of all? It was executives to entrepreneurs to mechanics. All were welcome and convened as family. I love this. I have always had friends from all walks of life and love being in a place where this stuff doesn’t matter. They talked about really personal stuff. I know a lot of things about people who started as strangers, but I can tell will become fast friends.

I can’t wait for Sundays!

Groceries in Rural VT

wp-1453071117427.jpgOver the last 5 or so years i have become nutritionally inclined. I have always tried to eat “healthy” but my definition of what that is has changed over the years. Today, what that means is organic, pastured or grass fed and not processed. I prefer local.

Moving to Vermont should make this easier, right? I mean, the stuff is all grown here. I have been here 6 weeks. There are 3 places in town to get stuff. They are all so expensive that Whole Foods looks cheap, but sometimes you just don’t feel like leaving town.

Right in town is FH Gillingham & Son’s General Store. They have a little bit of everything, and if you visit me, you MUST go here. There is a resident cat who just might own the place. And I have it on good word that they sell caramels that are divine.

The local, family owned grocery store is called Mac’s Market. It has a very small section of organic produce and every time I am there it is empty/being restocked. There is no organic meat, but they do have grass-fed ground beef on occasion. I haven’t “shopped the aisles” because I don’t do that often.

The Woodstock Farmer’s Market is my personal Disneyworld. Pretty good selection of organic produce. No organic meats, but they do also have a grass-fed ground beef. They have organic milk and cream! They are more of an artisanal store. You won’t find tons of national brand stuff here, which I love. There are tons of local products. My favorite is Fat Toad Traditional Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce…it is worth every penny of the $12 it costs (it’s a bit more online). I have no clue why the makers include recipes on their site because it should just be eaten straight out of the jar…mmmmmaybe over vanilla ice cream, or a dollop into your cup of coffee. But I digress…

So yesterday, I went to West Lebanon, NH where all the shopping is – Hannaford, K-Mart, Wal-mart, TJ Maxx, Kohl’s, JC Penney’s. It was nice to be in civilization. But, it turns out Hannaford doesn’t have much more for organic produce. They have a good selection of gluten free stuff though.

I miss the organic meats from Wegman’s. They had everything – bacon, chicken, beef, veal, pork and duck. And multiple cuts. I miss the organic bulk section from Whole Foods. They also had almost everything available as organic in the produce section.

I miss things like a bottle of organic lemon juice. I KNOW I try to avoid processed food, but there are some things that just make things easy, like the lemon or lime juice. I end up wasting money when i buy fresh lemons or limes…or i use them for other stuff and then have none for a recipe.

My next field trip is to the co-op. This is a thing that I think should be in more places. There are actually some co-ops in MA. I love the idea that you buy in with your membership and are a part owner (meaning, you can receive disbursements).

Work is Overrated


A year ago yesterday I was laid off. earlier that day I had hung a plaque in my office; it said “The best is yet to come.” This was the second January in a row that my position was eliminated at the same company. I immediately took a “job” at a “startup” until they decided to screw me over and not pay me. It became clear to me that the universe was sending me a message – leave corporate America. For sure I needed to leave commercial real estate. But what would I do…I had been on this ladder for so long, I didn’t know how to get down.

Unemployment was new for me. Everyone who knows me knows that I was all but defined by my career. I lived to work. I lived FOR work. Even still, I decided I would really take some time to figure out what made me happy. I had zero clue what that was.

I knew I liked dogs. I had been fostering with Last Hope K9 since November 2014. Being unemployed allowed me to take dogs that had separation issues, or needed more attention or training. You might say that i turned all my energy into dogs, and you’d be right. Pretty much hid from figuring myself out. I mean, I helped 17 dogs find forever homes and made great friends, but I didn’t help myself at all.

I wanted to start Jerky Queen again. The only problem was that I (thought I) needed to be in a USDA certified location and when I started it the first time around, my day job funded it. Unemployment didn’t even pay my bills. I had people who wanted to invest, but they wanted too much. So that went to the back burner.

Speaking of which, i was brooooke by Fall. I needed to start figuring something out. I had been actively searching for work but the same issue came up…I needed the big paycheck to afford Boston, but I didn’t want the fancy, corporate job that came with it. I was totally willing to start over or from the bottom, but I couldn’t afford my lifestyle.

My bestie makes and sells soap. Really great soap that you can buy, btw. In an effort to get up to VT to visit her, and to also just help out, I was going to work the Apples & Crafts Fair with her. Columbus Day Weekend in Woodstock, VT…sign me up! Even though leaves hadn’t peaked yet, it was so beautiful! I fell in love with Vermont all over again. It was then that I decided I was going to make VT my home…I put the order out to the universe. I’d later learn that you need to be very specific with those orders! I forgot to say that was my 3-year plan. I added VT into my search criteria so I could see what kind of jobs were out there. By November my research would find a part-time job opportunity, and a shot-in-the-dark post to the list-serv would find me a place to rent and I moved……basically on a whim.

My year of unemployment is over. It looks like that part-time possibility was meant to be and I have another part-time job so I can catch up on bills. I am in the most charming town on the planet! Looks like that plaque was quite the omen after all.