Get Out Your Soup Making Pot

buffalowing chicken soup_001

One thing I’m going to try to make more of this fall is homemade soup, and the first soup on my list was Buffalo Wing Chicken Soup.

My inspiration to make this soup came from the RiverPark Grille in Waterloo, NY.  My husband nearly always orders this when we visit there.  And I’m always up for a few tastes of his, but on occasion, I’ve found it a bit too spicy for my blood.  That doesn’t seem to slow him down though.

I did some searching on-line and tracked down a recipe from the cool blog, (check it out).  I used the sports-glutton’s recipe as a guide but I did adapt it to fit our tastes. 

This is a great game day soup, but it’s not for those who are watching fat and calories. 

** I have adjusted this recipe since first publishing it.  This version is not as heavy and thick as the picture depicts.

Buffalo Wing Chicken Soup

1 small – medium onion, diced

1/4 c. celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. margarine

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

4 c. chicken broth

1 c. skim milk

1/2 c. light cream

1/4 c. sour cream

3/4 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

1/4 c. Mexican cheese, grated

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/3 c. Frank’s Hot Sauce

3 c. cooked chicken, cubed (I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)

In a large stock pot, add margarine, onion, celery and garlic.  Sauté on medium heat until veggies are light golden brown.

Add flour to margarine and veggie mixture; stir completely.  Once veggies, butter and flour are completely mixed, add chicken broth and milk, whisk all ingredients together and bring to a boil on medium heat for one minute; stirring constantly.  Remove from stove, puree ingredients, and return to heat.

On low heat, pour in light cream, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  Cook until cheese is completely melted. 

Add chicken to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.  Pour into bowls and serve with a dollop of  your favorite blue cheese dressing.  Drizzle hot sauce on top.

** Cooks note:  My suggestion is to start out with a 1/3 cup of hot sauce.  If it’s not spicy enough, turn it up a notch like I did.

soup buffalo chicken 021

What is the first soup you’re going to make this fall season?


A historic event, a statue, and photo’s

seneca falls 012

Left -Susan B. Anthony, Center – Amelia Bloomer, Right – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The Seneca Falls Convention, also known as the First Women’s Rights Convention, was held nearly 164 years ago (1848) in Seneca Falls, NY.   It was then that five, strong-willed women, mustered the courage to solicit public interest and pursue reform in the civil and social injustices.

On a recent trip through Seneca Falls, I spotted this remarkable statue and stopped for a photo session with these three important  ladies from the past. 

This bronze statue depicts the initial introduction of the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Amelia Jenks Bloomer which took place in Seneca Falls in 1851. 

All three women were pioneers in their own rights, assuming roles of some of America’s very first feminists.  On their agenda’s; anti-slavery,  women’s suffrage,  and the temperance movement

seneca falls 009

seneca falls 011

After taking the photo’s I couldn’t help but notice the images of the women appeared shadowed.  The shadows could have been caused by the direction of the sun, the time of day, or the women’s hats.  Or maybe, it is an accurate depiction of the first meeting between some very strong women that turned out to be forces to be reckoned with.

To learn more about The National Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, visit the National Park Service.

Thank you Seneca Daily News for posting my story!

Willard Asylum for the Insane – Updates

In May of 2011, the Willard Asylum for the Insane located in Willard, NY, Town of Ovid, opened its doors to the public for a one day guided tour of the grounds and some of the buildings that remain on the property.  The tour, conducted by some of the former employees of the institution and local historians allowed the curious, like myself, to take a rare glimpse at one of the most overlooked historical sites in Seneca County’s history, and one of New York State’s most notorious asylums for the insane.

willard 001


Following the tour, I decided to share my photos and thoughts about Willard in a post titled A Day at Willard Asylum for the Insane.  That post has received a huge amount of (unexpected) daily traffic. I’ve had visitors who are searching  for information on relatives who were committed there, former employees, ghost enthusiasts, people looking for information on future tours, and people who have authored books on Willard leaving comments on my post.  Because of all this interest I’d like to share a couple of updates.

First, a news article published by the Seneca Daily News explains some of the plans being considered by local enthusiasts to rehabilitate the asylums severely neglected cemetery where 5776 patients were laid to rest.  There are obstacles concerning the HIPPA regulations that are slowing the project from moving forward but one task has been accomplished.  On September 21, 2011, a large sign was erected and now marks the location of the cemetery.  For more information on the cemetery project visit The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project.

Secondly, I’d like to share information about an upcoming presentation about Willard that is scheduled for December 14, 2011, 7PM – 8:30PM, at the Ovid Library.  “Craig Williams, curator and senior historian at the New York State Museum, will give an illustrated commentary on the Anna Hopkins scrapbooks, what they say about 19th century life and how they portray Willard Asylum. Anna was the spouse of a Willard physician and lived at the asylum from the mid-1800’s until 1894. Her scrapbooks contain original photographs, newspaper clippings and other ephemera giving an unparalleled view of life at Willard.”  If you’re interested in attending this event pre-registration is required. Visit the library’s link above for contact information.

If you’re interested in Willard updates stay tuned by subscribing to my blog, or follow @thejoyofcaking on twitter.  For information related to Seneca County subscribe to the Seneca Daily News.

Additional pictures I took during the May tour. 

willard 028

The Morgue

willard 073

Hadley Hall

willard 079

The Projection Room

If you have information on Willard please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Apple Filled Oatmeal Cookies

This last weekend we went apple picking at Reisinger’s Apple Country in Watkins Glen, NY. The small dwarf trees made picking perfect, and although it’s still a little early in the season to pick some of the varieties I really love I didn’t let that deter me.

apples 012

Above are some other eager apple pickers.  The trees were loaded and it didn’t take long to fill our bag.

apples 005

apples 007

I love to bake with apples.  Everything tastes good with apple in it – pies, cakes, muffins and cookies.   The majority of apples we picked were Ginger Golds, an early apple that doesn’t store well for long.  They make a great eating apple and are a good pie apple.  Ginger Golds are mild in taste but have a slightly tart finish.

apples 006

I decided to make cookies with some of the apples we picked.  The recipe I used is modified slightly from my Better Homes and Gardens (red & white check) Cookbook.

apples 034

Recipe – Apple Filled Oatmeal Cookies


1 1/2 c. finely diced peeled apple

1/2 c. granulated sugar

3 TBSP. water

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 dashes of nutmeg

Put all ingredients into a small saucepan and cook until the apples become tender and the filling thickens.  Set aside.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray non-stick cooking spray on two small, or 1 large cookie sheet  

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1 egg

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. milk

1 TBSP. honey

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 c. quick-cooking oats

1 c. all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, add margarine, egg, and brown sugar.  Beat for about 30 seconds until fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly.    Drop with tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets about 2” apart.  Make a depression in the center of each cookie and fill with a teaspoon of filling.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the cookies from cookie sheet and place on baking rack to cool.  Makes about 1 dozen.

The jury is still out on one aspect of this cookie – the filling.  I think it’s a little too sweet, hubby doesn’t thing it is.  I think I would cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup.  I’ll let you be the judge on this one.

And now for a little promoting. If you are looking for a fun, eclectic new blog then you have to check out Mike and Molly’s House .  This site is way too cool.  A husband and wife team cover an array of topics from gardening, building, projects, cooking, to money.  They also have great stories to tell, and Mike and Molly TV to watch.  I say this is one of the best blogs I’ve seen in a long time.  Check them out – say hello – and tell me I’m so right 🙂



Calling All Foodies from the Finger Lakes and Beyond

How would you like a chance to win some very awesome prizes? Taste an array of great foods, wines and beverages? And help stock the shelves of area food pantries?   Here is your chance.

The  2nd Annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork  is slated for the weekend of September 16th & 17th this year at the Rodman Lott & Sons Farm in Seneca Falls, NY. This event is a foodies and wine lovers paradise where partial proceeds from the event, along with non-perishable food donations (donated by those attending) will help support the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and the House of Concern.

The C&F(Cork & Fork) kicks off on Friday evening with the VIP Event – “Partners & Pairings”  The VIP Event runs from 6:30 – 9:30PM.  16 area chefs and culinary experts will awaken your taste buds with tapas made with local ingredients that will be paired with great Finger Lakes wines and beverages.  And while everyone is tasting,  Cool Club of Hector will be providing live Jazz music for everyone’s listening pleasure.

This years “Partners and Pairing”  is in honor and memory of Chef Deb Whiting of Red Newt Cellar Winery and Bistro.  Deb helped establish The Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty, an organization supporting and nurturing  local farms, restaurants and producers in the region.

Tickets to Friday nights VIP event are only available in advance,  they are limited in number, and will allow purchasers entry into The Saturday Main Event. 

The Saturday Main Event is a Regional Showcase and Sales Event that runs from 10:00am – 5:00 PM.  It will feature more than 60 Finger Lakes Farms, food producers, chefs, and wineries.  Each  will offer samples of some of their best products. These products will be available for purchase, many at bargain prices. If tasting and buying isn’t enough, you can also experience live cooking demonstrations and short seminars with topics like “Proper Wine Tastings”, “Pairing Principles”, “CSAs”, “Eating for Allergies” and more.

Saturday’s tickets can be purchased in advance, or at the door.

To purchase your tickets for the Finger Lakes Cork & Fork visit: and click on Get Your Tickets Now, or go to 

To order by phone, call 1.888.71.Tickets, or call the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce at 1.315.568.2906 (and don’t forget to thank Carol Fingar for spearheading this great event!)

Check out some of the highlights from last year.

Hope to see lots of new faces, and old friends at the 2011 Finger Lakes Cork & Fork.  If you’re planning on attending – leave a comment saying so!

To plan your weekend in the Finger Lakes visit Finger Lakes Wine Country. They do a perfect job informing you of all the great attractions, places to eat, stay, and play!


A Day at Willard Asylum for the Insane

willard 008

Recently, the former Willard Asylum for the (chronically) Insane in Ovid, NY, and later known as the Willard State Hospital for the (acute and chronic) mentally ill, opened its doors for a guided tour.  This opportunity called out history buffs, ghost hunters, (yes, there have been reports of paranormal activity there) psychiatry professionals, and curious people like myself. The tour provided a rare glimpse of  one of New York State’s most historic psychiatric hospitals.

During the tour we were guided by former employees of the psychiatric hospital.  They took us through many of the old buildings that remain on the Willard Campus today.  Willard is no longer in operation, having closed it’s doors in 1995.  Currently, part of the campus serves as a drug treatment center; a specialized 90 day shock incarceration prison for drug addicted offenders. This part of the campus was off-limits during the tour for obvious reasons. Many of the buildings that we visited during the tour are no longer in use, and many appeared in a state of disrepair. 

As I walked up the sidewalk and stepped onto the porch of Grandview, a massive brick building at the former asylum for the insane, I tried to imagine what it might have felt like to have been involuntarily committed there as a patient when it opened it’s doors back in the late 1860’s. It was a time that merely being indigent could have landed you in such a place.  Willard was built to help reduce the census in poorhouses and almshouses. The treatment of many of the residents of poorhouses and almshouses was deplorable, asylums were suppose to create a better alternative.

As I entered Grandview I could imagine desperate, frightened, and helpless people begging for their freedom; and at the same time, I could envision the deformed, deranged, and violent patients screaming through the bars of their small rooms. I’m sure I was right on both accounts.

What really happened behind the thick walls of the Willard hospital during it’s 126 years of existence?  It is hard to speculate.  Locally, rumors have circulated that experimental psychiatric drugs, and procedures like lobotomies and electroshock therapy were exercised on patients there in the later years of operation.  A document that I located, authored by Dr. Robert E. Doran, suggests the treatments given during the early years at Willard were much less sinister.  The early years of treatment were labeled as “moral treatment” or “custodial care”, and as Dr. Doran explained, “Patients were treated with kindness, given good but not fancy food, given clothes, exercised, and protected from the outside world.”  He does however, concede that in 1942, there were 1443  treatments of electroshock therapy performed on patients at the hospital. 

The Willard asylum was in essence, a community within a community.  For many years it was self-sufficient. Capable patients were assigned work, many of which remained institutionalized for their entire lifetime.    Dr. Doran wrote that  “In 1883, there were 801 patients willing and able to work.”  In irony, the work itself, prevented many patients from ever being released back into society.  Once the asylum was up and running it became dependent on the patients free labor.  

The history and evolution of this asylum over the years it was open is amazing; but how people ended up there as patients is even more astonishing.  A mental illness diagnosis could have resulted from a person publicly displaying their emotions, flaunting their sexual preference, being subjected to trauma; for instance, domestic abuse, the loss of a loved one, partaking in the consumption of too much alcohol, or merely being unable to communicate in English.  Behaviors that are acceptable today, were not acceptable in the late 19th, and early 20th centuries.

These pictures depict some of the highlights of our tour.

willard 072

These are bunks in rooms at Elliot Hall; the former medical hospital on the campus.  This building is now used by NYS Dept. Of Corrections during trainings.

willard 019

The morgue, pictured above, has had very little work done to it as the picture reflects.

willard 012

This Ford Fire Truck was in excellent condition: definitely a great relic.

willard 039

Brookside was home to the institutions medical directors over the years.  Inside of the house boasts beautiful fireplaces, woodwork, and eleven bedrooms.  The house sits overlooking Seneca Lake.

willard 056

This building caught my eye from the second floor of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton School. It was not open for tour.

willard 078

My favorite place on the tour was Hadley Hall.  The hall housed a basket ball court, theater, cinema room, bowling alley, and snack bar in its day.  The patients were entertained there. The cinema room still has the old movie projectors in place, and scribed on the walls are the names and dates of some of the movies that were shown there over the years.

willard 084

willard 089

willard 077

Of the 54,000 patients that were admitted into Willard during its years of operation, 5776 patients were buried in the cemetery on the property.  Today, they rest (in what some refer to as an overgrown field) in unmarked graves.  This has become a bone of contention for advocates of the mentally ill, and in my opinion, should be rectified by the State of New York. 

There is so much more of the Willard story to tell. I can’t even begin to touch upon it in one post.  After the tour, I purchased the book The Lives They Left Behind.  The book is co-authored by Darby Penney and Peter Stastny and is a definite must read. It chronicles the lives of former Willard  patients, their treatments or lack thereof, and their demise. The book also gives readers a sense of how the mental health field has changed significantly over the last century. 

Willard will be displaying some of the former patient’s suitcases and their contents sometime next year.  The date for this exhibit is yet to be announced.  The suitcases were originally found in the attic of one of their buildings shortly after the hospital was closed.  The previously mentioned book and the New York State Museum in Albany, New York, were the first to publicly share the information about the suitcases and their contents.

I was fortunate enough to see the exhibit “Lost Cases, Recovered Lives” when it was on display in Albany, and it left a lasting impression on me.  I am looking forward to the suitcases returning to Willard next year.  My suggestion to New York State and Seneca County: Take advantage of this great historical piece of property by rehabilitating at least one building on the campus and opening it as a permanent museum. “If you build it, they will come.” 

For more on Willard see my update post.