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Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 | 1 comment

Cabin Camping in Shenandoah

Cabin Camping in Shenandoah

This past weekend, my family took a trip to a primitive cabin outside Shenandoah National Park, one of many cabins owned and operated by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). Despite really cold temperatures, we had a great time and enjoyed slow-cooked meals, games played by candlelight and peace and quiet away from cell phones, Internet and other modern distractions. We left Alexandria on Friday afternoon and hiked 1/2 mile up a steep trail to Morris Cabin. My kids had never been cabin camping (or camping at all for that matter) so I was a little nervous how they would handle it. Fortunately, as soon as they saw the cabin from the trail, they were instantly in awe and couldn’t wait to get inside. The cabin, built in 1927 by Wayman Morris, has four rooms: a kitchen/dining room, living room, separate bedroom and a sleeping loft. It’s primitive, meaning it has no electricity or running water, but it has everything you really need. Since it was so cold, we...

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Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 | 0 comments

Recap: Kremena’s Sweet ‘n Savory Pastry Class

Recap: Kremena’s Sweet ‘n Savory Pastry Class

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted our first ever in-house cooking class, How to Make Pastry Dough with Kremena Stefanova. Many of you know Kremena from around Del Ray — during the week you may see her at the Caboose Cafe and on the weekend at Four Mile Run Farmers Market (when in season). But for the class, she came to my house and demonstrated how to make dough for sweet and savory dishes for me and eight other attendees. The class was just as we had hoped — informative, fun and very tasty! Everyone got to sample all the dishes Kremena made while sipping wine. First, Kremena walked us through a standard quiche dough: 2 cups flour, 2 sticks cold butter, 5-6 T cold water, 1/2 t salt. Kremena usually mixes this by hand or with a pastry cutter, but today she used my Kitchenaid mixer. You can also use a food processor, but she says mixing by hand works just as well. After forming the dough,...

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Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 | 1 comment

Latest Finds from the MV Big Flea

Latest Finds from the MV Big Flea

Since we last posted about the MV Big Flea in January, there is a ton of new merchandise at the storage unit on Swann Ave. Volunteers will be collecting donations of used furniture and household items until the end of April, when everything will be sold at the Mount Vernon Rec Center to raise money for the Mount Vernon Community School. There is a wide selection of furniture — antique, vintage and modern. Some items need a dusting, some a new coat of paint, others are ready to go as is. This vintage glider is truly amazing — the green vinyl is in excellent condition, the metal frame could just use a coat of paint. It also converts into a full-sized bed, perfect for a summer sleeping porch. And speaking of vintage, check out this kitchen table. It has chairs, but they need repairs to the seat cushions. The toy and homewares sections have exploded since our last visit too. This is only a fraction of what the Flea...

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Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 | 0 comments

Register Now: Kremena’s Sweet and Savory Pastry Class

Register Now: Kremena’s Sweet and Savory Pastry Class

You may know Kremena Stefanova as one of the friendly faces behind the counter at Del Ray’s Caboose Cafe or perhaps you’ve met her at the Four Mile Run Farmers Market where she sells her homemade Bulgarian baked goods. We’re excited to announce that Kremena will teach a pastry class for DIY Del Ray readers on Saturday, February 4 at 3 p.m. where you can learn some of her tried-and-true techniques. Kremena grew up in Bulgaria and learned to bake from her mother and grandmother. She moved to the U.S. in her early 20s, met her husband and they are now raising their family in Alexandria. When she started cooking for her kids, she says she wanted to make good, nutritious food, and soon decided to try making a go of having her own small business selling scones, croissants, crisps, bread sticks, granola, and strudels. At this one-hour class, Kremena will demonstrate how to make a butter dough and its variations that can be used for both sweet and...

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Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 | 1 comment

Mary’s Del Ray Remodel Part 2

Mary’s Del Ray Remodel Part 2

Last year we took you on a tour of a house in dire need of major renovation. The ugly duckling house left little to be desired, but Mary Denby of MHD Builds saw past the dingy peach exterior and dilapidated interior. Nine months later we’re back to give you an update on this massive makeover project. Unfortunately, luck was not on the ugly duckling’s side. During demolition, it was discovered that the foundation and walls were too unstable and sadly the house that was to be renovated is now no more. But, the story is not over yet. Mary still believes. She has already designed a new house to rise where the ugly duckling once stood. Located on a deep lot, steps from Mt Vernon Ave., the new home will boast over 3,000 s.f. of living space on three levels, five bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. She envisions the new house will look something like this: Permits are in place but construction has not begun because Mary is planning to...

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