What I’m Loving Lately: Meals and weekending in VT

Sometimes, you just need to escape to the mountains with your gal pals where there is no cell service, no TV, lots of wine and peak foliage. A couple of weekends ago, I did just that.

The plan for the weekend was to leave Boston around 6 p.m. on Friday to arrive at the cabin in Stockbridge by 8:30 p.m. Priorities upon arrival went as followed: Get the cheese board prepped, open wine and start on dinner. Saturday we penciled in a visit to the Long Trail Brewery followed by a stroll through Woodstock, VT. Then Sunday we planned for breakfast at Sugar & Spice and a fall foliage hike before heading back to Boston.

This was my second time venturing up north with these lovely ladies, the last time being over the summer. The trip was a lot different this time around. Instead of river tubing, we were bundling up in front of the fire watching snow flurries out the window!

Now, let’s talk about all the eats.

The girls suggested I prep a very Stay Healthy, Stay Happy dinner for Friday night — a challenge I graciously accepted. I planned a light and simple meal to allow for lots of cheese, wine and dessert consumption. Recipes below!

Autumn Pear Salad(serves 5-8)

Ingredients

1 bag of mixed greens

1 Asian pear, chopped into small cubes

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

Dressing: 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey, pinch of salt

Directions

Toss all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing until the honey is well-combined. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss again.

Serve immediately. Note: Day-old leftovers were OK!

Autumn Pear Salad (1)(serves 8-10)

Ingredients

1.5 cup dried quinoa (cooked 4 1/2 cups)

1 small acorn squash

4-6 cups of chopped kale, de-stemmed

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 375°F. Slice the acorn squash in half, de-seed and place flesh down in a baking pan. Add 1/2 inch of water to the baking pan. Roast the squash for 30-45 minutes, or until it is soft (poke with a fork).

While the squash is cooking, start the quinoa. In large pot, add dried quinoa and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Right before the quinoa is done (still a smidge more liquid to absorb), add the kale so that it can wilt. You can also steam the kale separately.

When the squash is done and slightly cooled, peel the skin off and chop into bite-sized cubes. In a serving bowl, add squash, quinoa, oil, vinegar, cranberries, salt and pepper. Toss and serve warm.

Autumn Pear Salad (3)Ingredients

10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 shallot, sliced thin

2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 apple (your choice), slice thin

Directions

In a plastic bag or airtight container, marinade chicken with maple syrup, shallot, ginger and garlic for a couple of hours before cooking.

Heat the oven to 425°F. In a baking dish, add the apples. Arrange chicken with what would be the “skin side” facing up with no overlap. Drizzle the remaining marinade on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then, turn the oven to broil to crisp the tops of the chick for about 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Moving on…

Saturday we rolled out of bed slowly and spent some time on the couch watching You Got Mail before heading out for activities.

breakfast

Saturday breakfast was simple. We bought yogurt, fresh fruit and I brought my simple maple, coconut granola. There were also some pumpkin muffins I made for a recent Boston Magazine post. (Taste the granola at my upcoming Om, Nom event at Boston Public Market. Boston Honey Company will be there to sample some delicious honey.)

After fueling, we were off to Long Trail and Woodstock!

Saturday day night we partied hard with more cheese, wine, leftover and apple cider margaritas. Oh my goodness we they delish.

Sunday we awoke to snow flurries. After cleaning up the house, we headed to breakfast at Sugar & Spice. The snow flurries (and hangovers) had us second-guessing the hike… but I’m glad we went up. It was gorgeous (even though it was freezing).


Where do you love to vacation with your friends? Do you have a go-to spot?

3 thoughts on “What I’m Loving Lately: Meals and weekending in VT

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