Archive for December, 2011

Necker’s Toyland in Simsbury CT - hands down, the best little toy store around!

December 9th, 2011 by nancyross

The very best toys EVER, so many of which are not found in the big box stores, are what make Necker’s Toyland the most cherished, child and parent-pleasing family run business in the neighborhood.  Folks come from miles away to step into a world of toys in the most unique little shop that has been beloved by so many for so long.  The moment you step inside, the child within is reborn.  Simply put, they have really cool stuff!

Necker’s was a familiar place throughout our childhood, as it was a nearby hardware store with sleds and toys out front – a temptation for us as we caught a glimpse of the store every Sunday on the way home from Church.  As the business passed on to the next generation, the little yellow store evolved into the toy store that everyone (and we mean everyone) counts on for fun and unusual toys…toys that become treasures to every child receiving them. 

As an adult, you can spend hours looking at all the wonderful offerings, and you will surely stumble upon toys from your own childhood.  The store is set up so that you can easily find what you need – whether it be for a boy or girl, certain age group or category of toy.  Dolls & plush toys, transportation toys, magic tricks, arts & crafts, musical toys, puzzles & games, books, scientific exploration, dramatic play, manipulatives, and toys for outdoor play for all seasons… snow is coming, sleds and saucers for all! 

You will find new and trendy (trendy with staying power) toys and games, and Necker’s carries a multitude of products Made in the USA.  Yes, Slinkys are still made in America!  Owner Debbie Necker and her gang are very helpful and knowledgeable.  When we go in and ask, “What should we get for a 6 year old boy?”, we leave with the most incredible toy that has “wow” factor.  There is something for everyone here – infant, baby, toddler, three +, tweens/teens (how hard are they to shop for?!) and adults (wonderful board games and nostalgic toys).  Necker’s Toyland is one of our favorite feel-good places to go…make it yours, too!

Necker’s Toyland is located at 1591 Hopmeadow Street (Route 10) in Simsbury CT…just 4 minutes down the road from the Dutch Iris Inn.  You can also follow Necker’s on Facebook.

Our Favorite Loaf of Bread…for now, that is!

December 8th, 2011 by nancyross


Our Favorite BreadWhether it be the holidays or just a day that requires the comfort of a loaf of homemade bread, we have the perfect recipe to share with you from King Arthur Flour.  Raisin Pecan Rye Bread is a soft, slightly sweet light rye bread that is perfect on its own, slathered with butter, or toasted as an accompaniment to breakfast. 

Since we began baking and serving this bread at the Dutch Iris Inn (sorry…not every

Prepare the Biga

morning!), we have been getting compliments galore.  We credit this enthusiasm to King Arthur Flour, where we found the recipe not too long ago.  Throughout this blog, you can see a pictorial rendition of the bread, but be sure to visit King Arthur Flour’s website to get the recipe for yourself!  FYI - We like to experiment with recipes… our photos also show a non-pecan/non-raisin loaf where we substituted fresh orange zest.  It was a delicious variation, yum!

Dough Preparation

For those of you who do not know King Arthur Flour and love to bake, you MUST visit their website, request a catalog, or make the pilgrimage to Norwich Vermont.  We have been going to the store for years, back when they were just a little building that soon grew and grew, then a new building, which has been growing and growing.  KAF offers bakers every possible known product to make the most delicious breads, cookies, pies and more.  Their website is chock full of recipes and tips, the blogs are very helpful and entertaining, and there is something for everyone. 

Ready to Rise

Not a baker?  They have great mixes.  Gluten Free?  They have a full line of gluten-free products for baking.  And take a closer look at your “baking needs” aisle in the grocery store.  Many stores across the nation carry King Arthur Flour products.

For those of you in the know about KAF, America’s oldest flour company, you understand exactly why we encourage others to become followers.  Isn’t it grand to be able to support an employee-owned company, located right here in New England, one who also recognizes the importance of domestic products and high quality?  The expertise from their resident bakers is unparalleled, with their blogs, hotline, and of course their courses. 

Fresh Baked from the Oven

You can easily attend courses and demos across the country, and a wonderful variety of classes and workshops are offered at the Norwich VT location as well.  So, roll up your sleeves, open that sack of flour, and begin!