Happy Little Cottages By The Sea

Cottage Charm, Coastal Calm

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, I hope everyone is with the people you love and cherish and enjoying a day of lots of great food and time together. I am most grateful to everyone who is in my life with a special “I’m grateful” to all of those of you in my Mermaid Cottage Family!

As one of our home owners Katie McNulty ( of Fiddler on the Creek Cottage) says:

Count your Blessings, not your Worries”

Enjoy these special Thanksgiving Recipes!

Pumpkin Maple Rum Cupcakes for Thanksgiving….

Look at this great idea for Thanksgiving! Pumpkin Pie may be a tradition, but in the world of Cupcakes lovers, how do you resist! They just sound like Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 C flour
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t allspice
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C sugar
3/4 C pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 C dark rum
1/4 C maple syrup
Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, and eggs. Beat until smooth.
Mix in the oil, rum, and maple syrup.
Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.

Try either ( or both!) of these receipes for frosting.

Apple Butter Frosting Recipe
1/4 C apple butter
1/4 C butter
3/4 C brown sugar
2 T milk
2 t cinnamon
1 C sifted powdered sugar
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add the apple butter and brown sugar.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium low.
Continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the milk and the cinnamon and bring to a boil, still stirring constantly.
Cool to lukewarm.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until thick enough to spread.
OR try :


Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 C (half stick) butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 t cinnamon (add more to taste)
2-3 C powdered sugar (add more or less to make it a stiffness that you like)
Mix cream cheese and butter well.
Add vanilla and cinnamon.
Add powdered sugar.

All three of these receipes come from a terrific cupcake blog entitled Cupcake Project that you need to be sure to visit!


A Thanksgiving Menu Suggestion from Key West

Coastal Living Magazine November’s Issue had a great article about friends in Key West who celebrate Thanksgiving together and all ride their bikes over to one of their friend’s old conch cottages and . The menu featured this GREAT Apricot- Cranberry orange relish. I tried this while on the road trip with Mom with fresh cranberries we bought at a Farmer’s Market in Hingham, MA that had been harvested from the cranberry bogs earlier that week. I don’t know if it was because the cranberries were so fresh or this recipe was so good ( and easy) but this is one of the best cranberry relish I’ve ever tried. I also just made the same recipe using cranberries in a bag from Publix, not quite the same panache, but still very yummy.

Apricot-Cranberry Relish

Makes 3 cups
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, divided
1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Combine orange juice and 1/2 cup honey in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Add cranberries, bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Drain and let cool.
Combine cranberries, 2 tablespoons honey, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.

Recipe from Donna Shields, Coastal Living, NOVEMBER 2008

My time as a Vacation Rental Guest

I’ve been in Corolla, NC ( which is the part of the Outer Banks region of North Carolina) since Monday staying with dear friends for the Thanksgiving holidays. My very capable team of Mary Lou, Judy, Teresa and Gary are on the island watching over all our guests and taking care of any and all needs. Which allows me to see what it’s like from the view point as a guest for a change! I’ve also been able to meet with acouple of very well established vacation rental companies here in the Outer Banks including the very inovative Doug Brindley of Brindley Beach Vacation Rentals. Visit his website should you ever decide to visit ! http://www.brindleybeach.com/


Here are some of my learning points from the week which I’d like to share:
  • Gathering together is extremely important for humans. Most of us do not like to be alone and to have a chance to come together, especially over the holidays is so important. Our group includes Donna’s 82 year old father who lives in a Masonic Home and like all the rest of us who are in our 40’s-50’s- we’re all enjoying just eating together, talking together, even just sitting around together watching the occassional TV show!

  • The vacation home needs to create space for people to be together in a warm, welcoming enviroment. Because so many of us are so busy each day, every day when we finally do get a chance to get away, we need to go somewhere that feels like home- but better. The homes need to have all the items you need to cook if you want, comfy furniture to be able to curl up and nap if you want ( our dear Fred has mastered the napping skill for all of us here!) and be a home you’d like to own if you could!

  • Information on the destination to help create memories of a lifetime. We took an amazing 3 hour jeep tour today to see the Wild Mustangs of Corrolla today! More to come on that experience in another blog… The vacation home needs to have info to make it easy for you to figure out how you’d like to spend your day- be it walking the beach to collect shells, work out at the local gym , bike ride the streets or shop the local sales ( all of which I’ve done the past few days)

  • Technology- everyone of us, including Sam who’s 82, brought their laptops to stay in touch with work and with friends and family who aren’t here with us. At one point, everyone of us was on our laptops! This is so very, very important on a daily basis, yes even over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I no longer believe you can leave it all behind. 99% of the world needs to stay connected on some level, even if it’s just to your family- which is certainly the most important people to be connected to.

  • Pets on holiday…. Annie the Dog is here with us. She is walked daily by each of us during the course of the day, I think she’s the excuse to be outside in this glorious fall weather . When a pet is part of your family, to leave them behind is almost un thinkable- so a pet friendly vacation home is very important to many of us.

I truly hope that I’m already applying all these learnings to our Mermaid Cottages, but if I’m not, this certainly has been a GREAT reminder to do so!