I cannot believe the amount of feasting and fete-ing that’s gone down in the last week.
First of all, we went to our favorite beach rental on the coast last weekend.
We’ve been renting this same Rockaway Beach house for years and this was the first time we were able to take Porter.
We were all so excited to take that short drive out there with our newest family member.
As you can see, our house (on the right) isn’t the biggest house in town, but it’s light and airy and cozy
and its location directly on a quiet section of the beach means you can go from one minute feasting on Belgian waffles and crispy chicken sausages
to the next moment romping on the beach.
Of course Porter loved being on the water, and as far as we know, it’s the first time he’s ever seen the ocean.
The weather was intermittently gorgeous and then stormy, so we’d run outside every chance we got.
The particular beauty of this stretch of the coast is how sleepy it is and how few people are on the sand at any one point.
Sure, it lacks the abundance of great retail and eating options in nearby Cannon Beach and Manzanita, but houses right on the beach here are surprisingly affordable to rent and you have so much sand and quiet to yourself.
Besides, who needs restaurants when you have someone like me planning every single meal well in advance ?
We arrived with so much delicious food, like marinated steaks
and homemade Caesar salad dressing and antipasti and even great beverages to start each morning.
Consequently, we ate like royalty all weekend long — flank steak with both hashbrowns and roasted Yukon gold potatoes
and another night Carbonara for the kids
and scampi and brown rice for the adults.
These jumbo Patagonian shrimp are delectable sauteed with shallots, butter, white wine and a little cream.
Anyone else dig ciabatta rolls with thyme-garlic-Camembert?
I covered every possible surface with fresh roses (I love the ones the color of ballet slippers)
and when we weren’t on the beach, we played cards and watched movies
and filled up on scrumptious Pumpkin Pie
and Millionaire’s Tart (caramel, bittersweet chocolate ganache and sea salt in a shortbread crust) from New Seasons.
Beach weekends are some of my favorite ones of the year
and I’m already counting the minutes until we can go back.
We came home late Sunday, and I needed to act quickly to get fully ready for Halloween.
Long-time readers will remember that I tend to make a big deal out of this holiday.
Here’s last year’s spread.
First up, there was pumpkin carving and Monday night football.
I love that Oliver’s pumpkin was a nod to the Constitution.
And then there was all the snack procurement for my treat table.
Every year I aim to be the house for generous treats, and it all starts with regular sized candy bars (including some of my favorites and some unusual kinds).
Here’s just a sampling of the sweet offerings
plus I offered a variety of salty snacks as I know I’m not the only one that 9/10 times would rather eat a bag of Fritos then peanut butter shortbread.
That said, this week’s cookie was pretty rockin’.
Neighbors and teachers got these, and I have to say that the bittersweet chocolate-orange brownies were pretty terrific too.
(I love that I was able to use some of my Halloween templates.)
This brownie batch was given to Oliver’s Constitution Team who had to work that night.
What is it about dark chocolate and citrus that always works together so well? It’s like the brightness is an intriguing counterpoint to all the richness of the chocolate.
I also think the secret to a wonderful brownie is undercooking it slightly, don’t you? And glazing is never a bad idea, either.
I finished setting the table
and prepared the porch for visitors.
One slice of my leftover beloved Bianca pizza from Scottie’s
and then it was go time.
Halloween-apalooza was officially open for business.
It was so much fun.
Neighbors, friends and a slew of strangers walked into my front hall to help themselves to treats both purchased and homemade — and I gave out more than one hundred and fifty things (almost two hundred if you count the novelties, too).
I loved hearing how excited the kids were when they saw the array. It was just as rewarding walking up and down my street with Porter in the middle of the trick-and-treaters, and overhearing in the dark kids telling parents and remarking to each other what all they’d gotten at my house.
“I TOLD you we should go to that house!” and “Look at this Butterfinger!” plus “Chocolate Charleston Chews are my favorite!”
(I may no longer have trick and treaters, but I can always delight in the excitement of others.)
So you see how busy — and delicious!– it’s been around here (this week’s white cheddar biscuits, anyone?).
I don’t know about you, but this afternoon sounds like the perfect time for a little post-holiday snooze.