Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

The farm about which I posted yesterday, Stone Barns, is having some wonderful sheep shearing events this Saturday, including family oriented fiber activities.

If you'd like something a little closer to home (meaning Rutherford) check these out:

1. Abma's is a family run farm in Wykoff, NJ. They have a small but well-stocked market (where I buy all my poultry and eggs) and a lovely little petting zoo. Pony ride parties begin May 1! I've written about Abma's before, so I'll keep it brief.

2. Ploch's Farm in Clifton, NJ has been around since 1867 and it is where my mom bought all her flowers and Christmas trees when I was a kid. I need to get my butt over there for some advice on what to do with our front lawn flower plot. The big pine tree that was there came out during all the wind last month and I'm at a loss... but that's another post. Along with the greenhouse and flowers, they have a produce market and "country gifts."

3. Friends from Rutherford just moved to West Milford, NJ and I took them to Bobolink Dairy in Vernon, NJ a few months ago. Not only is the area gorgeous, but the cheese is to die for. It may be the best cheese I've ever eaten (and I've eaten cheese all over the world!). Everything is 100% grass-fed and raw milk. The bread is pretty awesome too, as is the story - one of the reasons the family moved to "cow country" is that their younger son, Jacob, is autistic and they've found that being on the farm and working with the animals really helps him. You can read the story on their website. Now that I've been there, I'm excited by the prospect for taking one of their cheese and bread making workshops.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, here are some shots from my favourite farm within an hour's drive of Rutherford: Stone Barns

Tea in the courtyard before hiking out to the barns
This is Carrot Cake
Carrot Cake and Wall-To-Wall
Stella the Maremma
Some of the first lambs born this season. Yes, they're wearing little sweaters!
The brook

Monday, April 19, 2010

How To Cook Everything iPhone App

Thank you to Megan at Not Martha for the heads up on this iPhone app: Culinate has released Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything for the iPhone and it is specially priced at $1.99 - A STEAL. I cook out of the HTCE book regularly, at least when I use a cookbook, and love Bittman's Minimalist videos on The New York Times website.

The app includes full text from HTCE plus a search feature, recipe timer, favorites lists, and shopping lists. I've just downloaded it and I'm looking forward to that last feature because I'm a particularly disorganized about grocery shopping.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Breakfast Quinoa

While it is still cool enough to want to eat this, I thought I'd share. I found the article in Martha Stewart Living, from which I usually don't cook, so I was pleased.

2 cups milk
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 tbs light brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries (I used organic frozen)

1. Bring milk to a boil. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until 3/4 of the milk is absorbed, about 15 min (mine took 20).
2. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook covered until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 min (mine took 15).
3. Stir in blueberries. (test the quinoa to make sure it's really done first. I skipped this step and ended up with slightly over cooked blueberries)
4. Serve with additional milk, sugar and cinnamon, if desired (I did not)

This was in the same issue of the Magazine. Super creepy!
A friend promises me that when she squeezed the bird, milk comes out its beak.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rutherford Board of Ed Elections

This Tuesday is the Board of Ed election and School Budget vote. It has been very difficult to find information on the candidates, so here's what I've found:

-Rutherford receives about 9% of its school budget monies from the state.
-This year $1.8 million, or about 58% of its aid from the state is being cut.
-The current school board put together a budget for next year with a 2.9% increase in school taxes and 26 layoffs.
-The average tax bill would increase $160 with the proposed budget.
-If this budget does not pass, deep cuts that will significantly impact the education in the borough are next.

There are 7 candidates running for 3 spots on the Board. They are 3-year terms. One candidate is running for re-election (Kevin McLean) and one sits on the Board by appointment (Richele Scuro) but this is her first election race. The candidates are:

1. Matthew Gilson - recent Rutherford HS graduate and full-time student at Seton Hall University. He has a lot of fresh ideas and his Facebook page is pretty great.
2. John Grande - small business owner of a bakery/cafe
3. Mary Lanni - former teacher and retires Principal of St. Mary's High School
4. Kevin McLean - manager in the pharmaceutical industry, parent of Rutherford students. Current Board member.
5. Richele Scuro - project manager for Liz Claiborne. Current Board member.
6. Sally Suarez - retired nurse.
7. Frank Wilson - Industrial engineer who works for UPS. Used to own Clubhouse Cards & Comics in Rutherford.

You can find out more about the candidate and read Q&A with them in todays article on or in a similar article in The Leader. They also ran an article about the planned layoffs and proposed budget.

The proposed school budget is available for download here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

This is the 3rd anniversary of our purchase of the house. We've come a long way. This was the first house we looked at. Then we looked at some more, and more, and more. This one was still the best. We love you, House!

Basement Before and After

Looking through the "before" and "during" shots of the kitchen put me in the mood to revisit our recent basement renovation. We're pretty lucky because the basement is large, has a full sized window and a full door out to the back patio an pool. When we moved in it was painted battleship grey with mustard yellow sponge-paining, had grey speckled wall-to-wall carpet and dank old drop tile ceiling. All in all, it seemed like a dungeon and smelled musty. We cleaned the carpet, repainted aqua (bad choice) and tried to ignore it.

After living in the house a couple of years we realized that we used the space more than we'd expected - our desks were there, the washer and dryer were there, we walked through it constantly in the summer to get to the powder room, to bring things down from the kitchen, etc. At least the carpet had to go. And so it did.... revealing 1950's bowling alley tile:

Once again, I was on my knees prying up tile (that's a scrap of the nasty carpet under the book shelf on the left).
Finally, it was gone!
We repainted the walls Ralph Lauren "Studio Cream" RL Number: UL01 from the "Urban Loft" collection (ironic) and selected the new flooring.

You can seen the new drop ceiling tiles too. They're a product from Ceilume that is sound baffled and fire rated. They're also very light so we can easily get to all our water shut off lines and wiring. Et voila:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kitchen "Before"

The nice folks at Holyoke Home asked for "before" pictures of the kitchen. I'm amazed I can't really find any that show the whole, original room. We've been working on the kitchen since we moved into the house about 4 years ago (I think I wrote 3 in a comment, but that's wrong). We've been slowly changing out everything but the cabinetry, which I would love to change but it is just not in the budget.

When we moved in, the kitchen was painted forest green to match the green faux marble countertops, had putty colored stick on tile on the floor, white low-end appliances, gold knobs on the cabinets, the trim was painted beige, and to top it all off, there were dark green cellular shades on the windows with swaged fabric and dried flowers on top. This picture will, at least, show you the floor and a corner of the fridge, the countertops, and faux bead board backsplash. It was taken the morning after a big party, to things are a bit of a mess and usually the dog is not that blurry.
We repainted (twice) and switched out the window coverings and cabinet knobs immediately. The range was the next to go, since it conked out just before we were expecting 18 people for Thanks Giving dinner (isn't that always the way). We bought the GE Profile 5-burner range with lower oven and convection settings. I LOVE it. I know it is wrong to love your appliances, but the range is super. I'd buy it again and again with the one caveat that I wish it had more than once high BTU burner. Next we gave the refrigerator and dish washer to a friend and replaced them with a Kitchen Aid french door and a Bosch, respectively.

You can see the range, replacement range hood, stainless steel backsplash, and the new floor in this picture.

It took me a week on my hands and knees to get up the multiple layers of stick on tile but it was worth it. All the "experts" told us not to put down real slate but we went with it anyway and I'm very happy. It is a breeze to clean, does not show dirt (or dog fur), feels great under foot and only cost $1 per square foot.

Oh, and did you notice that piece of odd trim under the book shelf? That covers up an original window. Why, why, why?

Another low-cost/high-impact change were the cabinet knobs. First we found wonderful drawer pulls that look like twigs and round knobs that had a floral motif. Ultimately, we switched the knobs for square ones that are more "bungalow."

Now back to choosing a new backsplash. Remember, suggestions are VERY welcome.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kitchen Counters!

I know I promised you an update on the kitchen but I've been mucking around looking for backsplash inspiration and considering sending a plea for help over to my friends at Bangor Bungalow. Without further ado, here's the update.

As you can see, the ugly backsplash (some ca 1955 is still in place), we originally planned to put in slate mosaic tile but now that all the black granite is in, we think it might be too dark. We've been pouring over options but please, PLEASE send any suggestions you have.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reduce, reuse, recycle

An update: I'm thrilled to report that I just went outside and someone has taken the white enameled cast-iron Kohler sink we put out on the curb (see picture in previous post). It was a nice sink and I hope it will serve someone well.

Actually, Rutherford is pretty great for curb picking. All of my friends have found treasures on the street before garbage day. A few years ago, I found a beautiful antique china-cabinet. It had a piece of curved glass missing which M replaced and now good as "new." I've seen similar priced at $2,000 in antique stores!

Bye, bye, green counter

A sneak peek at what's going out of our kitchen! I'm so very happy to have to fake green marble laminate out of my house. In the unlikely event that I ever miss it, Steve & Andrea's restaurant on Park has the same on its counter.

"After" pictures to come.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin