Author Archives: Jackie McGraw

A Brief History of Earth Day

Many people have participated in some sort of Earth Day event, whether it was planting a tree outside of an elementary school, or participating in a work place recycling initiative. But do you know how Earth Day came about?

It was first celebrated in 1970 and was created as a way to transform public attitudes about how the environment should be treated. The idea for Earth Day was a brain child of founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the damages of an extensive oil spill that took place in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. On the very first Earth day about 2,000 colleges and universities participated along with roughly 10,000 primary and secondary schools. Since then participation and interest has grown exponentially. It now is observed in 195 countries around the world and is a day of education about the environment and green awareness that always takes place on April 22nd.

Earth Day was able to achieve a rare political alignment between many different groups, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor. People from all walks of life felt strongly that there was more that could be done to protect the planet. Earth Day is now the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year. It is a day of action, from the smallest changes in human behavior and all the way up to substantial policy changes.

At AdirondackChairs4Less we are trying to do our part to honor the environment. Many of our products are made out of a material called poly lumber. This eco-friendly material is made with 97%, per weight, post-consumer recycled plastics on the standard wood colors. Post-consumer waste, such as old milk jugs, water bottles, and detergent bottles are rescued from local landfills to be cleaned and decontaminated and used to create a rigid board. The lumber is also free from toxins and chemicals so you don’t have to worry about poisoning the earth or yourself.  It comes in array of color options and each piece of lumber is dyed throughout so there is no need to use any additional stain or paint, leaving your furniture a truly guilt free purchase.

The material is so earth friendly at the end of its expected 50 year lifespan it can be recycled again to be made into another sustainable product!

Since its creation in the early 1990s, the manufacturing of poly lumber has been refined into an efficient process. Many of today’s manufacturers utilize sustainable electricity to create a truly earth friendly product.

Here at AdirondackChairs4Less we are proud to provide American made Eco-friendly furniture using materials that help protect the environment. To learn more about poly lumber and the processes used to turn it into guilt free furniture, our team can be contacted at 800-986-5352.

New Poly Lumber Colors

Exciting News!!!  We’ve added 4 new colors to be exact, for a new total of 24 color options. The new colors are Powder Blue, Antique Mahogany, Birchwood, and Driftwood Gray, and they are now going to be available in all our poly lumber products.

New Poly Swatches

While Powder Blue will be the same texture as all of our original poly lumber colors, which is very smooth to the touch, the colors Antique Mahogany, Birchwood, and Driftwood Gray have a wood like texture to the surface. To the naked eye these colors look just like their wood counterparts. It is only upon closer inspection you can feel the slightly rough surface of the lumber giving it not only the look of true wood, but the feel as well. Fortunately, unlike wood you won’t have to worry about getting a splinter from rubbing your hand along these boards.

Almost all of our poly lumber products can be made in two-tone colors as well. Two different colors can be mixed and matched to create almost any combination. Whether it is two different shades or brown to compliment your house or the colors of your favorite sports team, chances are we have a color to satisfy your needs.

With summer just around the corner, head on over to and put your order in today. You won’t want to miss out on even one day of enjoying your new poly lumber furniture.

Small Changes to Improve Your Everyday Wellness

At the start of every year a lot of us have plans to make big changes in our health. We hit the ground running (literally) and make drastic changes to our everyday lives. But life happens and sometimes these great plans can fall by the wayside when work gets busy, or our home responsibilities seem overwhelming. The good news is that if you aren’t ready to commit to big changes a few small adjustments to your day can have a major impact on your health for the better.

Wellness is nothing more than small daily choices that lead to a healthier you. It simply starts with one choice after another. We’ve gathered some ideas on how you can make small changes that, increase energy, promote mental and physical healthy, and generally help you to feel your best every day.

Reusable Water Bottles1) Use a refillable water bottle
Try having a refillable water bottle at your disposal. You are more likely to get your daily requirement for water when drinking water is at the forefront of your mind. Keeping a refillable water bottle close by will help you to reach your goals and stay hydrated, which is crucial for performing at your best. Aim for 3 refills a day for optimum hydration.

2) Use herbs and spices instead of salt when cooking
By utilizing herbs instead of salt in your cooking not only will you get a more flavorful meal, but certain herbs are known to fight cancer and boost your mood. Plus cutting out the salt helps to reduce blood pressure. For breakfast try substituting cinnamon for that sweet flavor and for lunch and dinner try Italian seasonings.

Plain Coffee3) Enjoy plain coffee or tea
Both coffee and tea are great sources of antioxidants but when you add things like sugar and creamer, it negates all the good parts of the coffee and tea. One 8 oz. serving of brewed coffee is only about 2 calories whereas 8 oz. of a Starbucks Caffe Mocha is about 180 calories. Taking your drink plain can help liver heath, heart health and mental health. So next time you make your trip to the local coffee shop take a moment to consider before you add even more sugar to your order. On the plus side your barista will love your uncomplicated order!

4) Eat a variety of proteins
On average Americans get plenty of protein in their diet, but it tends to be a lot of the same types of protein. Different sources of protein have different types of the 20 essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle, develop concentration and memory, regulate moods, and maintain sugar levels. Change up your diet by adding seafood, soy protein, nuts, and seeds to the mix.

5) Take a good multivitamin
The idea of taking a multivitamin may seem like common sense but it is something a lot of people don’t do. Finding a good multivitamin can promote optimal health and wellbeing. Some of the benefits include improved short-term memory, higher energy levels, restored sense of smell, boosted mood, and they even aid in preventing dental problems.

That being said it is crucial to know what you are buying when selecting your vitamins, don’t just grab whatever you see on the shelf of the grocery store. Vitamins are a largely unregulated industry. That means that producers do not have to prove the claims they make on their vitamin bottles. Fortunately, a site called, which was started by a doctor, has taken on the task of testing vitamins and reporting on their quality. Simply look up a brand and they will let you know how accurate the brands claims were on the bottle.

6) Pack your lunch
I know it can be hard, you woke up late and are running out the door and it is quicker and easier to tell yourself that you’ll simply order from the Packed Lunchrestaurant around the corner from your office. The problem is there is often lots of sugar and salt hiding in foods that are professionally prepared. So do your body a favor and make a commitment to packing your lunch. Packing allows you to more closely monitor what is going into your body and saves you money. Now that is a win-win.


1) Try to stand more
It can be difficult when you have a desk job to make standing a priority, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great way to change a small part of your day to improve your health. Standing is similar to walking in the way that it increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, and ramps up metabolism. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. So stand when you can. Instead of hitting reply to that email, take the time to walk to your coworker’s desk with your response. It is a small way to make a difference in your health.

Stretching2) Stretch
Sitting in a chair all day can result in tight hamstrings and back muscles. This can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way and inhibit walking. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. Starting your day off with a simple 10 minute stretch can be a great way to relieve muscle tension, improves blood flow and aid digestion. If you aren’t sure where to start you can search for videos on YouTube in an array of difficulty levels.

3) Get Outside-Even when it’s cold

ExploringIt is never too late to take your mom’s advice and go play outside. Spending time outside helps to provide you with the vitamin D that your body needs. Vitamin D comes from the sun and is crucial in improving your mood and self-esteem. Many people experience a lack of confidence and even depression during the winter months, commonly known as Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and one way to rectify that is by getting outside and soaking up that vitamin D. Participants in studies have shown marked improvements in their daily focus when spending more time outdoors.

Mental Health

    1) Try a new activity once a month

Some of us crave a routine. But there is a fine line between having routine and being bored. Going through the same motions day after day can lead to a sense of tedium, unhappiness and a loss of passion. Just doing something new once a month is enough to help lift your mood and get you out of that funk you may be feeling.

    2) Do something nice for someone

Obviously when you do something nice for someone else they feel good. But research shows that you get just as big a boost to your spirits as the person you help. There are all kinds of ways to give back, including sending a card, an email, cooking food for someone, running and errand for a friend, taking someone to lunch or even just letting someone cut you in line at the store. Or consider volunteering at an organization that you support. Manual labor can do the body good, so go ahead and pay it forward and watch as positivity seeps into not only our mood but your life.

    3) Plan a trip

Do you get a buzz just thinking about your upcoming travel plans? Well you aren’t alone. Many people see a spike in what is known as travel happiness more so in the planning stages of their vacation than during the actual vacation. So even if your vacation time isn’t for months, go ahead and start planning yours now. It can give you a pick me up and something to look forward to in the upcoming months.

    4) Put down your Smart Phone

When that impulse to grab your phone strikes you throughout the day, resist. You might feel a wave of anxiety at first, but once that wave rolls through it will leave something good in its wake. Freedom. Freedom from the social drama and the constant buzz of notifications. Taking some time to unplug for even just a few minutes a day can give you the gift of silence and some peace of mind.

    5) Boost your memory

Instead of creating a detailed grocery list, try thinking up a crazy story that features the items that you need to buy. This simple brain booster may seem a little loopy but can help to keep your mind sharp for years to come.

    6) Quiet time each morning

If you work out in the morning, it is a perfect time to get some quite time to yourself, but even if you don’t, try to allocate a little bit of quiet for yourself each day. This can help to reduce a stress hormone called cortisol that peaks first thing in the morning. It also allows you some time to think to yourself before the busyness of the impending day begins. 10 minutes a day is enough to combat the cortisol. So sit down to drink your coffee or take a few moments for a quiet walk each day.

Many of these tips may seem like common sense or too small to make a difference but by making these small changes you are investing in your health and, in turn, yourself. Health is something we all take for granted until we don’t have it. These simple steps can give you a good start on your wellness journey.

Why You Should Book Your Travel Plans in January


In many parts of the country the weather has cooled off and everyone is curled up on the couch with a warm drink dreaming of sandy beaches and the sound of waves crashing on the shore. It may seem a little crazy to be planning your summer vacation when you can see the snow piling up outside but January is actually one of the best times of year to start planning your vacation. Many companies are running incentives and by booking early you will be able to reserve excursions and not miss out on the things that are most important to you. So we sat down with Emily, a travel agent from AAA, to understand why January is one of the best times to book your vacation.

  1. DeathtoStock_Meticulous-09Time to Research

With starting in January you are given plenty of time to research exactly what kind of trip you’d like to take. If you feel like jetting away to warmer temperatures you can determine whether that means the white sand beaches of the Cayman’s or the desserts of Arizona. Perhaps you aren’t a nature lover and would rather spend your time at a casino in Vegas.

Planning early also allows you to invite friends and compare schedules if needed. Last minute plans can make it difficult to include everyone who wants to go if they need to build up their PTO. When you plan early you have plenty of time to determine what trip will be most fulfilling for you and your travel buddies and proceed accordingly.

Once you have determined where you are going, you have ample time to research what you’d like to do when you get there. Many places have so many great things to do, you have to pick and choose what are the activities you want to do most and make them a priority. By starting your search in January you are able to determine and eventually book your top choices.

If you decide you’d like to use a travel agency, one of the benefits is they receive lots of feedback from previous customers on what the best attractions are and can help guide you in your decision making. By starting your planning early in January and can avoid the travel agencies busy season. Thus giving an agent plenty of time to devote their full attention to helping you research and check reviews on locations and activities.


  1. Allows You to Budget

When you know you are getting ready for a trip, you can be sure to make a financial plan to save for anything you might want to purchase on vacation so that you don’t have to worry about money while trying to have a relaxing time. Extra time to organize means you won’t have to make drastic changes quickly just so you can afford that excursion you’ve been eyeing up. You can come up with a plan in advance so that you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about money. Having the opportunity to save a little bit each month in advance helps to avoid racking up debt and being forced to pay off vacation bills long after the vacation has ended.


  1. You Can Be Sure to Get the Vacation You Want

Certain types of vacations can fill up very quickly. If you are looking to book a cruise to Alaska, wait times can be as long as a year. But on average six months or more is usually plenty of time to secure your spot on any type of vacation. By booking in January, you are more likely to avoid not being able to reserve your dream vacation because of unavailability. According the travel agent we spoke with, from the end of January up through March is the busiest time of year to schedule a trip. By booking yours early you can be sure to reserve the trip you want.

  1. DeathtoStock_QuietFrontier-12Excursion Availability

What is a vacation without the excursions? These memory makers are some of the times your family will be talking about for years to come. The only problem is that many people are interested in doing the same types of activities as you and your family so it is important to book them early. The recommended time frame to book an excursion is 60 to 90 days in advance. By booking your trip early in the year, you can be sure you have plenty of time to secure your spot within that time frame.

  1. Disney CastleDisney Month

For many travel agencies January is when they run their specials on trips to Disney. Companies like AAA, for example, offer special pricing on trips to Disney during the month of January that you can’t get any other time of the year. Who wouldn’t love a complimentary bottle of champagne or a gift card that can be used in the park to purchase that perfect souvenir? By booking in January you can make sure to reserve the magical vacation that you are looking for with plenty of time to buy those coveted Fast Passes so you don’t have to spend all day waiting in lines.

Protip: Even if you aren’t a member of AAA you can still take advantage of their travel agency discounts, including the ones they offer for Disney. If you are a member, all of their travel agency services are free.

  1. Death_to_stock_BMX1_10Reduces Stress

Everyone has those times when they want to jump in the car or hop on a plane and escape from their everyday lives. As wonderful as that sounds, escaping is more enjoyable when money isn’t an issue, and other daily responsibilities like work and home are covered. By planning ahead you can enjoy your vacation and not return to twice as much work as when you left. By allocating a planning period early, you’ll decrease the likelihood of need to rush around at the last minute wondering if you got everything done that needed done.


If you know that you’d like to vacation sometime in the upcoming year, consider planning your vacation now. Make that daydream a reality, without breaking the bank, driving yourself crazy, or compromising on what you want. It may seem crazy to be booking this early but your wallet, blood pressure, and family will all thank you for it later.

7 Unique Christmas Dinner Side Dishes

 christmas-dinner-banner Christmas is almost upon us and with all the gift giving also comes the holiday treats. Cookies, candies, and other homemade delights are often a feature at many Christmas parties. By the time the big day rolls around guests can be a little tired of the usual snacks. So we’ve gathered a few not so typical side dish recipes that will have your guests asking for seconds even with a belly full of Christmas cookies.

  1. Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus



6 ounces sliced prosciutto, halved horizontally
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 tablesppon olive oil



    1. Wrap halved prosciutto slice on each asparagus spear at an angle, covering the entire length of the spear. Repeat with remaining prosciutto and asparagus.
    2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add asparagus and cook until prosciutto is crisp and asparagus is tender, about 2-3 minutes.
    3. Serve immediately.

Recipe from


        1. Gruyere Popovers



3 cups milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
6 eggs
6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated



        1. Preheat oven to 400°F with a 6-cup popover pan in the bottom third of an oven.
        2. In a saucepan over medium high heat, warm the milk until you begin to see small bubbles around the edges.
        3. Combine the flour and salt and run it through a sieve to make it extra fine. Set aside.
        4. In a large bowl whisk the eggs until they are frothy.
        5. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Be careful that you don’t go to fast and cook the eggs!
        6. Once the milk and eggs are combined add the flour mixture, whisking it until there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth.
        7. Remove the popover pan from the oven, spray with nonstick spray and fill each cup ¾ full of batter.
        8. Top the batter in each cup with ½ ounce of Gruyere cheese.
        9. Place the pan back in the oven with a baking sheet beneath it on the rack below to catch any drips, and bake for 15 minutes before rotating the pan 180 degrees.
        10. After you have rotated the pan do not open the oven again until the baking is complete 30 minutes more.
        11. Once the popovers are done remove them from the oven, empty them into a bread basket and serve immediately.
        12. Wipe out the popover cups, place the popover pan back in the oven to heat for 5-10 minutes then follow steps 7-11.

Recipe from

        1. Smoked Gouda Potato Stacks



2 – large Russet potatoes (long narrow potatoes work best) – about 1 pound
2 tablespoons of onions, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of fresh thyme, finely minced
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of grated Smoked Gouda cheese
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
Cooking spray



        1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
        2. In a medium size bowl, microwave the butter, olive oil, thyme, lemon juice and zest, onions, salt and pepper until the butter is melted.
        3. Blend in the grated cheese.
        4. Peel the potatoes then slice as thin as possible.
        5. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the butter mixture.
        6. Spray each cup with cooking spray then begin stacking the potatoes into the muffin cups making sure there’s Smoked Gouda in each layer, then gently pressing with your fingers.
        7. Add another sprinkle of salt and some fresh cracked black pepper and discard the remaining butter in the bowl.
        8. Bake 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender inside with golden, crispy brown edges. Let them rest 5 minutes in the tins then gently remove them onto a plate.

Recipe from

        1. Deviled Crab Dip



¼ cup crème fraiche (or plain Greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (optional)
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat, picked over for shells
lemon juice, to taste
pinch seafood seasoning
Pita Chips



        1. In a medium bowl, stir together crème fraiche, mustard, and chives
        2. Gently fold in crab meat and season with a squeeze of lemon juice
        3. Spoon a tablespoon of crab salad on top of pita chips
        4. Sprinkle with seafood seasoning

Recipe from


        1. Butternut Squash Apple Bruschetta



2 cups diced butternut squash
1 cup diced apples
6 tbsp olive oil (divided)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
1 tsp black pepper (divided)
8 slices french bread
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 cloves garlic (minced)
6-8 fresh sage leaves (chopped)
2 tbsp balsamic glaze



        1. Preheat the oven to 425°F
        2. Toss the butternut squash and apples with 2 tbsp olive oil, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp black pepper.
        3. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet and into the oven for 15 minutes
        4. While the squash and apples are roasting, brush the sliced bread with 2 tbsp olive oil, set aside.
        5. Combine the ricotta cheese with the remaining pepper and salt, set aside.
        6. In a small skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
        7. Add the garlic and sage leaves, sauté for 1-2 minutes.
        8. Remove from the heat and toss with the squash and apples when they come out of the oven.
        9. Place the slices of bread into the oven for 4-5 minutes, or until toasted to your liking.
        10. Remove the bread from the oven and top with the ricotta cheese, then the roasted squash and apple mix.
        11. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

Recipe from

        1. Honey Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts



11/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 tbsp sriracha
3 tbsp honey
1 lime, juiced



        1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
        2. Cutt off the stem end of the sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Cut large sprouts in half.
        3. Place sprouts in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with Kosher salt. Toss to coat. Place in a single layer on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes, shaking the pan a few times throughout the cooking process, until crisp and golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.
        4. Meanwhile, combine srircha, honey, and lime in a small bowl. Season with Kosher salt.
        5. Remove sprouts from oven, transfer to large bowl, and drizzle with sauce. Toss lightly to coat and serve immediately.

Recipe from


        1. Sweet Potato Cornbread



2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix (or substitute 1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons white cornmeal, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
5 large eggs
2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
8 ounces sour cream
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the skillet



        1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
        2. Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal mix, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice, if using, in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, sour cream, and butter. Add the sweet potato mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened. Carefully butter the hot skillet and spoon the batter into it.
        3. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or wooden tester inserted in the center comes out clean or darn near almost clean with no crumbs clinging to it. Slice the sweet potato cornbread into wedges or squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from

Feast Like the Pilgrims: 8 Recipes From the First Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-recipes-bannerThis is the year. The year that you’ve decided to have a truly traditional Thanksgiving feast, just like the pilgrims. You imagine the table set to perfection with a beautiful turkey in the middle, surrounded by traditional side dishes of potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and of course the cranberries.

It is basically a Norman Rockwell painting coming to life before your very eyes. The thing is, just about the only thing on your table that was also on the pilgrims table, is the turkey. For a historically accurate Thanksgiving dinner very few of those foods would appear on the table. So if you have your heart set on an authentically traditional Thanksgiving dinner let’s take a look back at the very first Thanksgiving on 1621.

Before the actual Thanksgiving celebration there was the journey to the new land. On the voyage the food was pretty bland as you would expect. The diet consisted primarily of food that wouldn’t spoil. Foods such as biscuit-like crackers, salt pork, dried meats, and oatmeal. The only fresh food at the time was fish. To wash all that down was the beer they had brought with them. Even children were permitted to drink the beer because water was usually contaminated; meanwhile the distillation process used in making beer, killed much of the bacteria in the ingredients.

Upon arrival the pilgrims were not well prepared for surviving the unfamiliar climate. Fortunately, with some help from the Wampanoag Native Americans the pilgrims were able to survive the winter and better prepare for the next one. To celebrate having enough supplies to make it through the winter they held a three day feast.

Can you imagine the prep for a three day feast? Or the sheer amount of food? Some of the food on a modern Thanksgiving table would be a surprise to the original participants. Mashed potatoes are now a Thanksgiving staple but in 1621 they had not yet made their way to the Americas. Potatoes are not indigenous to the area and the pilgrims didn’t bring them on their journey. They also had no sugar. Without sugar, today’s gelatinous cranberry salad would be off the menu. Cranberries were used with in conjunction with other berries to add flavor to the meats and oatmeal style puddings that were staples of their diet.

While they weren’t the best farmers, the pilgrims were excellent hunters. So the largest part of the menu was a variety of prepared meats. Ducks, geese, venison (deer meat), and yes the legendary turkey, were all present at the meal. They were served along with seafood that could easily be collected from the New England shores. Clams, mussels, lobster and even eel all made an appearance on the table. Berries such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, and plums would’ve been used to add flavor to the meats and seafood.

Believe it or not, recipe books were available at the time and made the journey to the new world. One of the most famous is Gervase Markham’s The English Housewife, first published in 1615. A recipe for cooking turkey or chicken reads:

If you will boil chickens, young turkeys, peahens, or any house fowl daintily, you shall, after you have trimmed them, drawn them, trussed them, and washed them, fill their bellies as full of parsley as they can hold; then boil them with salt and water only till they be enough: then take a dish and put into it verjuice [the juice of sour crab-apples] and butter, and salt, and when the butter is melted, take the parsley out of the chicken’s bellies, and mince it very small, and put it to the verjuice and butter, and stir it well together; then lay in the chickens, and trim the dish with sippets [fried or toasted slices of bread], and so serve it forth.

Amazingly enough the recipe they used in 1621 was probably used as a starting point for some of the more complex recipes we use today. Some things never change, or only change a little.

Main Course

If you are interested in trying to create a traditional Thanksgiving meal circa 1621, we’ve gathered a few main dish recipes you can try out including, turkey stew still made by the Wampanoag, venison roast, and for the truly adventurous, baked eel!


Turkey Sobaheg

1/2 pound dry beans (white, red, brown or spotted kidney-shaped beans)
1/2 pound white hominy corn or yellow samp or coarse grits, available from Gonsalves or Goya at many grocery stores
1 pound turkey meat (legs or breast, with bone and skin)
3 quarts cold water
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch-lengths
1/2 pound winter squash, trimmed and cubed
1/2 cup raw sunflower seed meats, pounded to a course flour (or pounded walnuts)
Dried onion and/or garlic to taste
Clam juice or salt to taste (optional)


Combine dried beans, corn, turkey, seasonings and water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, turn down to a very low simmer, and cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally to be certain bottom is not sticking.

When dried beans are tender, but not mushy, break up turkey meat, removing skin and bones. Add green beans and squash, and simmer very gently until they are tender.

Add sunflower or nut flour, stirring until thoroughly blended.

Recipe Source:


Venison Roast

Venison roast


Rub the roast with salt and pepper, and place in a large roasting pan, roaster, or Dutch oven. Lay slices of fatty bacon on top of the meat, and bake at 325 degrees for a few hours or until it reaches your desired doneness.

Recipe Source:


Baked Eel

One eel, skinned and slightly over one pound
1 tablespoon butter
2 small onions, chopped
Chop the eel into three-inch pieces, and season it with salt, pepper, and ginger. Put the pieces into a baking tin with the butter, onions, and raisins. Cover the tin and bake at 360 degrees for about 50 minutes.


Side Dishes

As far as side dishes go, they were mostly comprised of seasonal foods that could be harvested. Foods such as pumpkins, squash, peas, onions, beans and carrots were all served. A lot of these items would be made into a porridge style dish to accompany the meat or be eaten for breakfast. Indian corn was used in the making of cornbread and other types of bread. If you aren’t ready to fully commit to the idea of a 1621 Thanksgiving, try out some of these side dishes. You can dazzle your guests with stories of the recipes authenticity while serving a unique, yet tasty dish.



Curd Fritters

5 eggs
Curds (ricotta, cottage or other soft cheese)
Wheat or corn flour
Cooking oil or butter


Make a thin batter with the eggs and equal amounts of curds and flour. Season with salt. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in your frying pan. When the oil is hot, pour in the batter and tip the pan to make the batter spread very thin (that’s what “let it run as small as you can” in the recipe means). They should be like crepes. When brown on one side, use your knife to flip them over or slide them onto a plate and flip them over into the pan. Add more oil to the pan when needed. Serve with sugar sprinkled on the top if you wish.

Recipe Source:


Stewed Pumpkin

4 cups of cooked (boiled, steamed or baked) squash, roughly mashed
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and heat all the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve hot.

Recipe Source:



2 cups cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cup buttermilk


Mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the buttermilk until thoroughly mixed. Pour the batter into a buttered 7” x 11” x 2” dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. [From The Good Land: Native Americans and Early Colonial Foods by Patricia Mitchell, 1992]


Indian Pudding

2 cups milk
2 cups light cream
2 tablespoons stone ground yellow cornmeal
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
A pinch of ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten


In a large pan, heat the milk and cream until near boiling point. Gradually add the yellow cornmeal and bring it to a boil, stirring briskly. Stir in sugar, maple syrup, butter, and all the other dry ingredients. Let the mixture cool slightly. Beat in the eggs and pour the batter into a buttered 1 ½ quart baking dish, and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours.


Recipe Source:


Nasaump (thick Native American porridge)

1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 cup berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a combination of all three)
½ cup crushed nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, or a combination of all three)
1 quart water
Maple syrup to taste
Combine the cornmeal, berries, crushed nuts, and maple syrup in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.


Recipe Source:


Whether you are cooking up a truly traditional Thanksgiving dinner or a more modern Thanksgiving dinner we wish you warm memories and good cooking. If you do decide to try any of these recipes let us know how they turned out in the comments below!


No Carve Pumpkins for Fall

Painted Pumpkins

One of the biggest symbols of Halloween is the jack-o-lantern. But carving a pumpkin can not only be time-consuming but messy. And if you are working from a pattern, if it moves your whole design could be off. A less complicated and cleaner alternative is the no carve pumpkin. But where do you even begin? We have gathered some of the most creative no carve pumpkin options out there. So pull out your leftover craft supplies and go to town.

  1. Puffy Paint Pumpkin


A great option if you are looking to create a henna like tattoo on your pumpkin or simply use an easy applicator for your paint.

Protip: Don’t squeeze out too much at one time or the paint may begin to slide down the pumpkin.

2. Tissue Paper


All you’ll need for this design is some tissue paper, scissors, a paint brush, and some Mod Podge in your choice of finish. For the designs in the pictures above we used a glossy finish. Simply cut out the shapes that you want and place them on the pumpkin in the desired spot and cover with Mod Podge to hold in place.

Protip: For the small circles simply use a hole puncher on tissue paper to get small perfect circles.

3. Painted Donuts


Don’t have the space for a large pumpkin? Small white pumpkins are a great way to have that fall feel without taking up too much space. Choose a color for your icing and paint it on the top third of your pumpkin. Next choose your sprinkle colors and use a thin brush to create the small streaks on the pumpkin.

Protip: Wipe off white pumpkins to remove any lingering dirt and achieve that bright white color. Also be sure to let your base color dry before painting on sprinkles.

4. Baby Pumpkins


These pumpkins work really well with smaller to medium sized pumpkins. Take a paint brush or sharpie and paint eyes and a nose onto your pumpkin. Next cut the rubber end of a pacifier off so that it will lay flat against the pumpkin. Use super glue to attach the pacifier to the pumpkin. Finally take ribbon and tie it on to the stem of your pumpkin to make a nice bow.

Protip: To get that shiny look you can use a spray varnish. But be sure to do this after you attach the pacifier or it will not stick to the pumpkin.

5. Happy Fall Pumpkin


This is probably the easiest pumpkin ever. Clean the pumpkin and then take either a Sharpie or a paint marker and draw any design that you want. Once you are finished brush over a thin layer of glossy Mod Podge to achieve the shiny look.

Protip: Pinterest is a great place to gather inspiration if you aren’t sure what to draw on your pumpkin.

6. Rainbow Crayon Pumpkin



Of the pumpkins on the list, this one is the most difficult. You’ll need a white pumpkin, crayons in your choice of colors, glue, and a heat gun or hair dryer. If you are doing the project inside you might want to consider laying down a trash bag to protect your table top. First be sure to clean your white pumpkin to remove all the dirt leaving you with a crisp white canvas. Next glue your crayons in to the top of your pumpkin. Give it a few minutes for your glue to dry. It does not need to be completely dry just enough to keep the crayons in place. Then use your hair dryer or heat gun to melt the wax down the side of the pumpkin.

If you are having trouble with getting the wax to spread try moving your dryer so the air is going up the side of the pumpkin from the bottom. It sounds counterproductive but it helps to spread the wax more evenly.Focus the heat on only one color at a time. This will help prevent the wax from mixing and creating a brown mess. Once the crayons are completely melted let them cool and harden again. Once the wax is hardened you can proudly display your pumpkin!

Protip: If you don’t like how the waxed formed on your pumpkin, or if it ran together you can always scrape off the wax and try again.

With these designs you are sure to be the envy of the neighborhood without having to pick up a single carving tool. If you test any out we would love to see your creations. Pictures can be shared with us on our Facebook or Twitter accounts. Happy crafting!

6 Expensive Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

You walk into a room and finally think, “That’s it. I’ve had it with this room: it’s time for a makeover.” So you eagerly head to the home décor section of Pinterest and start a frenzied pinning all of the beautiful rooms that you are drawn to. Then that terrible moment of realizations hits – you are not, in fact, a millionaire, and can’t afford to dump your life savings into a room redesign. But you don’t have to. By avoiding these mistakes, you can create a budget friendly space the first try and avoid expensive redesigns.

Couches positioned in living room

1.Buying an Uncomfortable Sofa

It sounds crazy right? The idea of an uncomfortable sofa, but guess what? They are out there. Don’t assume that a couch will be comfortable. Make sure that you take a moment to sit in it first. Does it have the right level of firmness that you desire? What about arm rests? Are you for or against them? A sofa can be one of the most expensive pieces of furniture you’ll ever buy so it is important to get it right. If you must buy online, then be sure to look for reviews from previous buyers.

Protip: Make sure you measure the couch before you purchase. It would be a shame to buy the perfect couch and not have it fit through your doorway.

Chair next to wallpapered wall.

2. The Wrong Wallpaper

We’ve all seen it. Wallpaper gone wrong. I’m sure that orange and brown flower pattern was all the rage in the 70’s but now, not so much. If you decide that flower pattern is a little too groovy for you and you want to replace it, make sure your new selection works in the room. Just because you love it in the store does not mean that it is a good fit for your particular space. Wallpaper can be quite expensive to purchase and if you don’t like it, pricey to remove. If you decide to remove it yourself removal can be a long, painful process. It can be between 55 cents to $1.50 a square foot to remove, so choose carefully. Don’t blow your budget on wallpaper that might go out of style.

Protip: You don’t need to do an entire room in wallpaper. Sometimes a single accent wall can be a more cost effective way to achieve a similar look.

Bedroom with soft lighting

3. Poor Lighting

Not having enough light can cause any home to feel like a cave, but there is more to it than that. Having poor lighting is not just an issue of ambiance but can also lead to eye strain, headaches, low mood, and poor concentration. Your home should be a haven, and not a place that causes you stress. So when considering lighting don’t just go for the fixtures that look nice. Consider all your needs for that particular room, not just how it will affect your décor.

Protip: Mix different types of lighting for the best feel. Try using ambient, task, and accent lights to complete your room.

4. A Bad Paint Color

Calm office design

A cheaper alternative to using wallpaper in a room is paint. Yes it can be more cost effective, but not if you have to repaint due to a poor color choice. Don’t fall in love with a specific shade that is hard to match. Find a few signature furniture pieces that you like first, then find a paint color to match them. It saves on the trauma of painting the walls a specific color and then not being able to find any furniture to match. Select paint chips and bring them home to determine the best choice for your style.

Protip: Bring the paint chips home and leave them on the wall all day. Lighting changes throughout the day and this will help you make sure they you love the color all day, in all lighting.

upholstered chair

5. Choosing the Wrong Fabric

So you have that one piece of furniture that you love, but it just won’t fit with your new room. After a little research, you find an upholsterer near you and decide it’s the perfect solution to your furniture problem. Now the fun part, deciding on fabric. Be sure to look at the material you are choosing and whether it matches up with your lifestyle. Yes that white tufted reading chair would look stunning, but maybe not the best choice for a family with 4 small children. Reupholstering can cost just as much as buying a new piece of furniture so make sure the fabric you choose is something you will love for a while.

Protip: Be sure to check the finish on your upholstery fabric. Many have chemical finishes that will tell you about the durability of the fabric.

Living Room Interior Design

6. Rushing the Process

Redesigning a room can be a lengthy process. Don’t settle for items that you don’t love just to have your room finished. You’ll just spend more money on replacing those pieces in the long run. Great design takes a while and often requires some refining before you have the perfect combination.

Protip: When searching for items to place in your room don’t buy everything from the same store. It can be much more expensive than finding pieces from different stores and cultivating your own design.

Now that you have your design ideas (thank you Pinterest,) and a plan to avoid some common mistakes, you can get to the fun part. Don’t forget to only buy products you love, be sure to test what you can before you purchase, and take as much time as you need. Take these helpful tips and confidently dive into your room redesign.

12 Creative Gift Ideas for New Homeowners

Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. When it is a friend or family member it can be customary to give a congratulatory gift, but it can be hard to know what items might be needed once the new owners are all moved in. We’ve gathered a few unique ideas to get you started in your search for the perfect package.

1. Terrarium

Terrarium, succulent

A terrarium is a great idea for anyone who loves plants but doesn’t exactly have a green thumb. Requiring little maintenance, this is a perfect gift for the busy new homeowner looking to bring some warmth to their newly acquired residence. You can purchase pre-built ones or even a DIY terrarium kit depending on the craftiness of your friend.

2. Funky Fire Extinguisher

fire exstinguisher, art

Fire extinguishers are a very practical gift for anyone, but just because they are practical doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. Safe-T is a company that makes functional fire extinguishers that new residents won’t mind showing off. With their many fun designs there is something for everyone.

3. Tree-To-Be

Tree-to-be, gift, tree

One of the best parts of buying a new home is the possibilities it presents. A great way to mark the occasion is by planting a tree-to-be. Just as the owners grow and change so will the tree, producing a visual representation of how long they have called this house a home.

4. Wine


A customary gift for any house warming party is a bottle of wine. But why not add a little bit of flair to yours by adding a hammer for any future home projects. Just select your favorite vintage and simply attach a hammer using ribbon or even maybe some twine. Add a cute note perhaps with a cute pun about getting “hammered” and voila! A perfect house warming gift!

5. Illustrated Picture

home illustration

This gift is ideal for first time home owners. A rendered design of their first home so that they can take the memories with them no matter where their lives might take them.  Several different styles of renderings can be found on

6. Agate Coasters

Agate Coasters

A simple yet beautiful gift, agate coasters are very popular in home décor right now because they can come in many different colors to match any decor. They are also useful in keeping furniture looking like new and avoiding those ever dreaded water rings.

7. Return Address Stamp

Address Stamp

Return address stamps are not something often thought of but are a very useful gift. This gift is particularly great for newlyweds or someone who loves to send letters or thank you notes. Instead of having to write out their new address every time they go to send mail, new home owners can simply use the stamp and send it on its way!

8. Rustic Address Plaque

Address Plaque

If the new homeowner is into a more rustic feel this address plaque made of reclaimed wood would be a welcomed addition to any home. This item and many similar styles can be found on

9. Universal Remote

Universal Remote

Have a friend who is a gadget junkie? A universal remote will be a perfect addition to their collection.  Instead of cluttering up the coffee table with a bunch of remotes and trying to figure out which one controls what, all they will need to keep track of is one remote that can do it all. Plus whenever you visit you can play with it too.

10. Wreath

door wreath

The front door is the first thing that many people see when arriving at a house. A wreath can help set the tone for what you are about to find inside. A beautiful burlap wreath for the DIYer or one made out of a favorite sports team colors is a great way to express the interests of the occupants.

11. Tool Kit

Tool Kit

Ideal for the first time home buyer tool kits are the gift that keeps on giving.  Whether hanging pictures or fixing that leaky faucet, never underestimate the usefulness of a good toolkit. Basic kits can be found on Amazon starting at around $20.

12. Poly Lumber Furniture

Poly Lumber Furniture

Perfect for anyone who has a new yard or any outdoor area, poly lumber furniture comes in a plethora of colors and is a low maintenance option for any new home owner.  They also afford the comfort of knowing you are gifting an Eco-friendly product.

Whether big or small, homemade or store bought, the new homeowners in your life are sure to appreciate any of these gifts. It doesn’t matter if you lean towards a practical fire extinguisher or a playful door decoration.  Because in the end it really is the thought that counts.


20 Best Places to Camp in the United States

1. Crater Lake National Park-Oregon


Crater Lake National Park is named for the caldera of Crater Lake which is a remnant of a destroyed volcano. The lake is 1,943 feet deep at its deepest point which makes it the deepest lake in the United States. Crater Lake National Park has several campground options available. You can’t go wrong with any of them. With these beautiful views you’ll be begging for one more day.

2. North Rim Campground-Arizona

Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of Grand Canyon is often the first prominent feature that visitors see, even before viewing the canyon. The highway ends at the lodge. The lodge’s sloped roof, huge ponderosa beams and massive limestone facade fit its 8000-foot / 2400 m setting, but where is the Grand Canyon? To experience the full impact of the design of the lodge, take the historic route. Go through the front entrance. Walk across the carpeted lobby and descend a stairwell. Shining through great windows across the “Sun Room” is the much-anticipated first view of the Grand Canyon. The architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, following the wishes of then-Director of the National Park Service, Steven Mather, designed a rustic national park lodge. Grand Canyon Lodge served as a symbol of the importance of the preservation of this natural wonder, while allowing for luxury and enjoyment. Yet, Underwood had incorporated something extra—a surprise view! Underwood’s 1928 Grand Canyon Lodge, designed for then-concessionaire the Union Pacific Railroad, is not today’s lodge. Underwood’s design included a massive Spanish-style exterior with a high front topped by an observation tower. The original burned down in 1932 and a “new” 1937 lodge sits on its footprint. Forever Resorts operates the Grand Canyon Lodge, restaurants, retail, gift and convenience stores, service station, and Grand Canyon Cookout Experience in the park under contract with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Forever Resorts trains and encourages employees to foster a sense of awareness and stewardship in park visitors through an appreciation of park resources. For information on Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge visit online at: NPS Photo by Michael Quinn

If you plan on making a trip to the Grand Canyon, pencil in a stay at the North Rim Campground. Located right on the rim of the canyon several sites feature views of the canyon, or are within a short walk of the rim. If you want a more luxurious sleeping quarters the site also offers a lodge.

3. Indian Cove Campground – Joshua Tree National Park, California


Indian Cove is located 13 miles east of Joshua Tree Village. With its beautiful rock formations, this campsite is popular amongst rock climbers. But with their pet friendly policy this site is great for any family. If you plan a spring visit you will be treated to the colorful spring blooms that are striking against the sand-colored rocks.

4. Cougar Rock Campground – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Cougar Rock Campground

Located on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park this campsite offers wonderful views of the mountain. With amazing trails this is a great spot for both recreational and serious hikers. The campground is open year round, so you can experience the many different activities the park has to offer.

5. Assateague Island – Virginia


Assateague is best known for its wild horses that roam the island. With Oceanside campsites, families can camp and observe the horses while keeping a safe distance. They also offer sites for horse owners to bring their horses to explore the island on.

6. Chisos Campground – Big Bend National Park, Texas

Chisos Campground

Between the climate and the level of difficulty on the trails, Chisos campground is more for the experienced camper. Over 15 miles of mountain trails offer excellent views of the Chisos, desert panoramas, and the Rio Grande. Be sure to take plenty of water to this dessert atmosphere.

7. Watchman Campground – Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park

If you’d like to stay at the Watchman Campground you need to plan about 4-5 months in advance, but campers say that it is well worth the advance planning. The beautiful scenery can’t be beat and this campsite is located in the heart of the park to make sure that you can get your fill.
8. Little Beaver Lake Campground – National Lakeshore, Michigan


Little Beaver Lake Campground is set in a picturesque pine forest along the banks of Little Beaver Lake. When visiting this campground you don’t have to choose between beautiful scenery or tolerating the crowds at the beaches along Lake Superior.

9. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park

With nearly one million acres, Olympic has just about everything a camper could hope for. The site features four basic regions, Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. With such different sections the park allows you to visit different eco-systems while staying in one area.

10. Sandspur Campground – Bahia Honda State Park, Florida


One of Florida’s southernmost state parks it is known for its beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets, and excellent snorkeling. But be sure to pack a fan as camping can be very warm even at night.

11. Absaroka Beartooth Mountain-Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Located on National Forest land in Montana and Wyoming that borders Yellowstone National Park. This park encompasses two different types of mountain ranges that are equally as breath taking. The Absarokas are made primarily of volcanic and metamorphic rock, while the Beartooths are almost entirely granitic rocks. With Jackson Hole close by many activities are available for the whole family to enjoy.

12. Jedediah Smith National Park – California


Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is a few miles inland from the ocean and is densely populated with the huge ancient trees. You can fish, snorkel, or kayak in the Smith River or take a historic hike through the grounds.

13. Acadia National Park- Maine

Acadia_National_Park_02 - Copy

Acadia was the first eastern national park and has been bringing in visitors ever since. Sign your child up for their junior ranger program and they can participate in different activities as part of the ranger-led program. Fall is a favorite of many to visit the park because of the beautiful scenery.

14. Sage Creek Campground – Badlands National Park, South Dakota


A unique feature of Sage Creek Campground is that with no defined campsites you can pitch your tent wherever your heart desires. The sites are also free, making it a great choice for a budget friendly vacation. If you have a budding paleontologist in your group be sure to check out their paleontology lab to learn about fossils found at the park.

15. Valley of Fire State Park- Nevada


With the majestic rock formations and vibrant colors it is hard to take a bad picture of the Valley of Fire. Be sure to look closely and check out the Native American writing on the rocks; it will transport you to a different time.

16. Green Mountain National Forest-Vermont

Green Mountain National Forest

Visitors seem to agree unanimously, that the best time to visit Green Mountain is in the fall. The wonderful colors are nothing short of amazing. The forest contains three nationally designated trails, including parts of the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail, as well as the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail.

17. Grand Teton National Park-Wyoming


With more than 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles of hiking trails Grand Teton is a great backcountry retreat. A unique aspect is the programs pairing with local Native American tribes to learn more of their culture.

18. Pisgah National Forest – North Carolina

Pisgah National Forest 2

With whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails Pisgah National forest is a campers dream. Be sure to bring a towel because you won’t be able to resist taking a dip in these beautiful waters.

19. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee

Smoky Mountains National Park

When visiting the Smoky Mountains one of the most daunting tasks is simply choosing a trail. How do you choose between waterfalls, old growth forests, and endless views? Be sure to plan your trip in advance as it is the highest visited of all the national parks.

20. Bartlett Cove Campground – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park 3

It is quite the trek out to Alaska but if you can make it you will be rewarded with amazing views. Visitors love the Park Ranger tour and highly recommend it. If you can’t make the trip you can take a peek at their views by watching their live webcams.