Metrowest Places: Country Kitchen Coffee & Donuts

Country Kitchen Coffee and Donuts Millis

You really only need to know two things about Country Kitchen. They’ve been around for almost 50 years and they continue to thrive as a coffee and donut joint right next to a Dunkin’ Donuts. Their secret really isn’t hard to suss out, either: a small selection of products made by hand with quality ingredients. The friendly and efficient service doesn’t hurt either.

While the original location in Walpole has been around for half a century, there is now a new location in Millis right off 109 near Ryan Family Amusements and I’m happy to report that they’ve brought all the same qualities that made the original location a success to this new venture. This more convenient location might be bad news for my waistline but good news for breakfast fans. Continue Reading

6 Practical Tips For Getting Your Pizza Off the Peel and Into the Ooni

6 tips for getting your pizza off the peel

It can be the most intimidating, and sometimes demoralizing, part of the pizza-making process. You’ve made the dough, prepped the ingredients, stretched it out perfectly then go to launch it into the oven and … it sticks. There is no worse feeling for the home pizziaolo than standing over a blazing hot oven trying to wrestle some stuck dough into the oven.

Don’t despair. It happens to everyone at some point and calzones still taste good! With a little practice and following these 6 practical tips you’ll be launching your pizzas into the Ooni with pizzazz.

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Scenes from Saturday + Ukuleles & Bikinis

In the summer, things slow down and that slower pace can allow some time to reflect. Unless you do track workouts with your running group on summer nights, then the pace picks up, but maybe there’s still time to reflect. When you are finished. And gasping for breath. And hunched over your shoes.

That was me last Thursday at the side of the track wondering, Why do I do this? Thirty years into this why am I still running? There’s the obvious and rationale answer that as long as I am running and I’m getting faster than I’m not getting older. But if I push past he greeting card philosophy, I’d say I’m still doing it because I rarely feel more alive than when I’m running. I feel the most comfortable with who I am when I run. 

Running, like writing, is about putting in the work day after. It doesn’t come quickly or easily. There’s something elemental about the process that I really enjoy. It forces you to be patient with yourself and willing to go to uncomfortable places. There are just no shortcuts. 

Not a bad example to set for the girls. Continue Reading

How to Easily Add Whole Grains to Your Pizza Dough

How to easily add whole grains to your pizza dough

Plain, all-purpose white flour is a great place to start when making your own pizza dough. It has plenty of protein, strength and flexibility, making it very easy and forgiving to work with when trying to stretch it out. The downside is that all-purpose, white dough tends to lack any flavor as it’s been processed to remove the bran and germ. So if you want to take your dough to the next level and really add a dynamic shot of flavor, try adding some whole grain, which includes all three parts of the grain – bran, germ, and endosperm. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Pie, Crafts & Side Eye

The girls recently leveled up on a new life skill: dealing with rejection.

For the past two weeks, the girls have been in drama camp. Nope, not a euphemism for anything, an actual drama camp that culminated in a staging of the Frozen Jr. musical on Friday. This was not an everyone-gets-a-trophy, everyone’s-a-star camp. It was up a few notches on the competitive and selective spectrum.

It was interesting to watch both girls prep and audition for parts and come face-to-face with the reality of just because you want a part doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. That was when the drama ensued, euphemism intended this time. We did our best not to shy away from it and give the girls some tools to understand and interpret the outcome. No easy task. I learned this playing sports. I was poorly equipped to handle the intensity of musical theatre.

We focused on not taking it too personally and that a lot of decisions are based on a wide range of factors. And to try to take something from the experience and remember that all but one person was also rejected for the same role. And really, the music said it best, just let it go. 

They got over it and probably didn’t even need my pep talk. The show was great. I’m still sort of in shock at how good it was. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling when you see your kids doing something that you know you could never, ever do.  Continue Reading

12 Survival Tips for a Summer Visit to Canobie Lake Park

12 Survival Tips for a Summer Visit to Canobie Lake Park

We had vacations at the beginning and the end of summer but that middle part yawned hot and humid with little for the kids to look forward to other than going to the pool or not doing more math homework. Last week we decided on a midsummer surprise trip and headed up to New Hampshire and check out Canobie Lake Park, a regional amusement and water park about an hour north of Boston.

Despite being very sunny and very hot, the whole family had a great time. The park was small enough to be easily covered in a day. It was also clean, very family friendly, and the staff were polite and accommodating. This is a great choice for a family that doesn’t want the expense and big thrill rides of someplace like Six Flags but might have outgrown toddler-centric places like Storyland or Edaville. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Dippin’ Dots & Dole Whips

In Massachusetts, on summer weekends, you are one of two people. You flee south to the Cape and islands or you head north to the lakes and mountains. In the past, we have always been southern people but on this particular Saturday day we threw caution to the wind, cast off traditions, and headed toward the border determined to live free or die.

Or, at the very least, survive a day at Canobie Lake Park. Continue Reading