Winterlights – A New Tradition in North Andover

I was so happy to be invited to the opening of Winterlights at The Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. There is nothing like the twinkle of holidays lights to get a person in the holiday spirit. To have a wonderland of lights spread throughout the beautiful grounds of a historic home was nothing short of magical.

I snuck peak of this spectacular display  at dusk last Thursday night. I felt so happy to be frolicking through the luminaria lit paths and all I could think of was how wonderful this experience will be for little kids and their families.

The opportunity to walk the various gardens, identify each of Santa’s reindeer, stroll through the poinsettia filled greenhouse, warm my hands by the firepit and discover Santa’s den, where you can leave Santa a letter or meet him in person on December 15th, was quintessentially kid-like in the best way possible.

In addition to The Stevens-Coolidge Place, The Trustees have introduced Winterlights at their Nuamkeag property in Stockbridge, MA. Don’t miss the opportunity to brighten your season at either location.

Winterlights runs through December 30th and opens in Stockbridge this Thursday.

FYI

OPEN THURSDAYS – SUNDAYS through December 30th

Entrance to the gardens is ticketed in 15-minute increments between 5-8PM. Purchase your tickets in advance here. Choose your preferred location for your ticket options.
Members: $12
Nonmembers: $17
Children 12 and under: FREE

Fun For All Ages

While I know that little kids and their parents will love this, I fully intend to go back with my teenage daughters and husband. This is a family event that everyone is sure to enjoy.

More Information

For more detail visit thetrustees.org. and be sure to check out each Winterlights night’s featured entertainment such as Tetra-Fire performer, Crispelli on December 9th or Ice Princesses on December 29th. Full calendar of events here. Choose your preferred location to see the performances and activities near you.

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Musing Mediterranean-Westford Academy Holiday Bazaar!

Time to Shop!

I am excited to set up a table for Musing Mediterranean this Saturday at the Westford Academy Holiday Bazaar. I hope you can stop by or please spread the word to folks in the Westford area.

Consider Musing Mediterranean as a holiday gift. It’s a great “get-away” book and the gift of reading is priceless – or in this case $15 😀. Perfect as a stocking stuffer, hostess gift or Yankee Swap.

Books will be gift-bagged and ready to go!

 

Westford Academy Holiday Bazaar flyer

 

 

 

 

 

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The Voice – Behind the Scenes

 

Copies of this People Magazine were handed out to a small section of the audience, shown on air, and then collected on the way out. Carson announced that everyone in the audience was given a copy. Hmmmm – the magic of television!

 

Oh, how I wish I could go back in time to last week, when I was in sunny CA hiking the Hollywood Hills in beautifully comfortable 70-degree weather.

In the heart of LA, West Hollywood to be exact, there were no signs of the devastating wildfires that blazed north and south of the city. It was strange to be so close and have no real sense of what was going on, so close by. Well, that’s La La Land for you – a place where everything seems perfect, at least on the surface.

So, why go to LA with wildfires raging all around? A seat in the audience of The Voice called my name! You may recall that my friend Karyn and I went to LA to take in the MTV Music Awards back in 2015. Back before this blog existed, I wrote about that experience in my column Matters of Life & Beth.

Celebrity Sightings

I just love LA and, yet again, it met and exceeded expectations. I ran into some of my favorite reality TV stars, we crashed a party for Larry King and dined nearby the music group The Chainsmokers.

Lisa Vanderpump and Jiggy, Tom Sandoval of Vanderpump Rules in front of Tom Tom, lovely little lemons growing on the side of the road, Karyn and I in the spectacular entryway of The Catch LA, the best truffle fries ever at The Catch LA

Inside The Voice

The entire trip was great, but our purpose in being there stole the show. We had great seats at The Voice and were completely blown away by the talent.

They sound better live than on TV. It was hard to believe how much set movement took place during the commercial breaks. There had to have been 50 people on stage at a time ensuring each artist’s setup was perfectly in place.

The hype guy was pretty impressive too. He made sure that everyone in the audience knew exactly what they should be doing from one moment to the next. Stand during performances, sit during judging, stand back up when Carson Daly sends the singer off stage. Keep applauding until Carson exits the stage. I felt like I was in church with all of the up and down.

The Judges

What stood out the most, however, was the judges. Kelly Clarkson is a total class-act. She was fully engaged at all times and so passionate when speaking to the contestant. Shockingly, the other judges were on their phones whenever they had the chance. Never once did Kelly’s phone ever make an appearance. It was a little disappointing to be honest, but I was not all that surprised.

Another thing that made me laugh, was how each judge’s glam squad came bursting out to the chairs at every commercial break. For goodness sake, these people had barely moved. I seriously doubt their hair or makeup needed any touch ups. But inacitvity be damned – these makeup artists have a job to do and by God, they are going to do it! At one point, one of Adam’s team came onto the scene to slightly nudge the ginormous chain that Adam was wearing. This came only after, three other glam squaders had already tweaked the chain into what I’m guessing was the perfect position. Truth – Adam is a bit small to be wearing such a big necklace!

Can’t Wait to Watch!

The entire experience was hilarious and awesome and as I write this, I’m gearing up for Monday night’s showing of The Voice and I can’t wait!

Thank you KB for a great get-away!

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Repost! Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Crostini-So Easy!

fig jam and goat cheese crostini

This is a RePost from December 2016. I just enjoyed these delicious treats as lovingly prepared by my mom and it made think it may be worth a re-post. Enjoy!


Hello Everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous holiday. I sure did and although I’m still trying to come out of a food coma, I realize we have one more celebration that may warrant some creative cooking.

At the risk of anyone thinking 3 Olives & Twist has turned into a food blog; today I offer you one more recipe that you may find useful when ringing in the New Year. Like most foods I prepare, it is quick and easy and, if this year’s Christmas Day reviews were any indication; it’s a winner.

The star of the dish is most definitely the fig jam. I pick mine up at Stop & Shop.  It is the Bonne Maman brand which is actually a fig preserve, but any fig jam, spread or preserve should do.

The combination of the sweet fig jam paired with the tart, creamy goat cheese is the perfect sweet and savory bite. To add just a bit more texture and flavor to this easy appetizer I also add toasted, chopped walnuts which seems to elevate this four ingredient appetizer. As far as hors d’oeuvres go, these are a favorite that seem to fly off the plate as soon as they hit the table.

When I first made these tasty bites, I used the prepared filo cups available in the frozen section of the grocery store. While good, I found them a little difficult to fill and pricey when I wanted to make them in bulk. This year, I opted to use a sliced baguette as the base and found the end result to be even more successful.

If you are looking for a quick and easy appetizer to welcome in 2017, give this recipe a try.

Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Crostini with Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 thin baguette, sliced. I have mine sliced right at the grocery store – just ask the bakery department.
  • 1 jar fig jam, preserve or spread
  • 1, 8 oz. package of goat cheese. Bring to room temperature to facilitate spreading.
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted.

Directions

To begin, toast chopped walnuts in a dry pan. Be sure not to burn – I pull them off the burner just as soon as I smell the toasted, nutty aroma. Set aside.

Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Toast lightly in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven. Generously spread the room temperature goat cheese on each piece of toasted bread. Top with a teaspoon of fig jam. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the fig jam.

You’re done! If the fig jam seems a little loose, pop into the fridge for ten or fifteen minutes to help them set.

Otherwise, serve and enjoy.

Happy New Year.

All my very best in 2017!

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