Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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This weekend we went away for our Kissiversary , which is actually coming up on Thursday. Jeff and I alternate who plans our anniversary trips (Kissiversary in April and wedding in October). I am terrible at keeping my own secrets. If it belongs to someone else, it's in the vault, but for myself I get all excited about seeing the person so happy and I can't stand it so I blurt it out. Fortunately my mom is always willing to watch our children on these two times in the year. Since Harper was born we have cut back to going away for one night. Jeff did a wonderful job with both ignoring my pleas to tell me where we were going and planning it out. My mom showed up Saturday at 10 am and we loaded her and the kids into my van to take to her house. It was going to be really hot and we knew Keegan could be amused at the lake. Jeff and I started out in the car and because we live by several major highways I could immediately rule out places based on what direction we went. We headed up 89 going northwest which meant no White Mountains, no Lakes Region and nothing on the coast of either NH, Maine or Mass. It only takes 40 minutes to clear the Vermont border so that became our obvious destination very shortly. Even though it is close by I really haven't been many places in VT besides whatever is on the way to Killington where my parent used to have a condo. Jeff threw me off for a bit when he accidentally missed the exit (without letting on) and it was 22 miles to get back to the correct exit. But once we got off the highway I correctly guessed Woodstock! I was starving when we arrived so we parked in town and shared a sandwich that came with maple syrup to dip. Then spent the next several hours shopping and looking. Such a luxury when you are used to have a trail of children with you. We both love art, books, cooking and creative children's toys. I got a gardening book which I am already enjoying and we got Harper's birthday present for June and a few Christmas gifts for the kids.

We headed to the B & B to check in and take a break before dinner. Jeff did a wonderful job selecting it. We love the B & B atmosphere but most of them are way too frou frou and Victorian for our taste. This one was contemporary but comfortable and very welcoming. And you should have seen my face when I saw the bathroom which is why he specifically chose that room. And it is certified green and is owned by an English couple. We got settled and lay down on the bed for a while and I thought he had drifted off and suddenly he asked me, "Now or later?" Dirty mind aside I really had no idea what he was talking about so I didn't really have an answer. He got up and went into the suitcase and pulled out a wrapped package. I was completely confused because we don't exchange Kissiversary gifts. He assured me it was really more for Mother's Day but he wanted me to have it now. I was even more confused when I revealed the amazon box inside and then it dawned on me what it was. A Kindle!! We had looked at them several months ago and decided that it was really more than we wanted to spend right now. But he changed his mind and had it secretly delivered to his office and wanted me to have it before my trip to Miami next week. And this why when your significant other tells you they want a separate checking account so they can buy you surprises you should absolutely support the idea.

Later we got ready for dinner which was yet another surprise destination. It was at Simon Pearce and if you make a reservation enough in advance you get a table over the water. Jeff can really pick a restaurant. This is the menu we had to choose from. It was all so delicious and I was glad I skipped the salad course so I could have room for dessert. We also had time before dinner to look through the shop and watch the glass blowing. After we got back to the B & B we had soaks in the twin tubs under the skylight.

Unfortunately I did not sleep well because I am so used to being aware of Harper's every sound. But I was able to get some rest and then we went downstairs for our made to order breakfast. We chatted with our table mates and I couldn't resist ordering my eggs soft boiled just so they would come out in egg cups. I have a thing for egg cups that I am guessing traces back to living in England as a child. After breakfast we rested right up until we had to check out. There were two candy bars in a dog dish on our side table and I am not going to lie to you, I took the mounds even though I couldn't fathom eating another thing. But it is good to have in an emergency no?

We went to a farmer's market to grab some things to have for lunch later. Then we stopped in town again. Jeff had the best beer the night before, Harpoon's 100 Barrel Series Catamount Maple Wheat. I agreed it was one of the best I have ever had, maple syrup yum. I was pretty sure I remembered seeing it at the general store. Sure enough we found it and I talked him into buying the last three bottles they had left. We also got some maple products to go with the aged cheddar we bought my parents as a thank you. Then we headed towards home stopping at an herb farm that turned out to be out of business and then heading north a bit to King Arthur Flour Company. I am not a baker but I am encouraging Jeff with his interest because it is a win-win. I picked up the education schedule in case he really lets me send him up there on a Saturday to take class. We snagged some mixes, a couple of gadgets and a baguette. We crossed over into NH around Hanover and cut straight through Dartmouth's campus. I am up at the medical school several times a year and it really is beautiful. We also passed the medical center and I waved to the lab where my Keegan miracle was performed. The ride home also gave us an opportunity to go through some really nice NH towns that we are usually too busy getting to our destination to explore. I checked in with my mom and Keegan was off on the jet ski with my dad and she was chasing Harper around her house so we didn't need to rush home. We took a decadent hour to look at perennials and chose quite a few to bring home for the new garden. I can see it in my head and can't wait to get started. By 5pm everyone was home and we were back to a typical Sunday evening. Except we had a French dinner, which I said to scare Keegan, and turned out to be bread, cheese and apples. He was a fan. And Harper has the makings of another cheesehound in the family.

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