Brightening a Cloudy Day

Yesterday was a fairly dreary day here in the Finger Lakes. Clouds and rain filled the sky.  However, plans had been made.  My daughter and her husband were going apple picking (rain or shine) and they promised to bring us a taste of their harvest.  In return, I offered to make Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese for dinner.  A fair trade in both our opinions.  We always like to fill our family’s bellies when we have them for dinner, and considering that most of our family doesn’t like to cook, it’s a fairly easy task for us to accomplish. 

When my daughter walked in the door her hands were full with a bright and colorful bouquet of flowers.  Apples were not the only thing she had been picking.  What a perfect way to brighten an otherwise cloudy day. 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of these flowers to share here on my blog.  As for the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, the recipe will be forthcoming one of these days.  And the apples?  I’m going to make a batch of homemade applesauce.

Hope these help color your day bright!

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Getting into the Spirits

How do you convince a girl that loves her wine that she ought to give vodka, whiskey, and gin a chance?  Take her spirit tasting at Myer Farm Distillers on the west side of Cayuga Lake in Ovid, NY – that’s how!  

No, I’ve never been a “whiskey girl”.  But I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the Blueberry Orange Vodka, John Myer Rye Whiskey, and Myer Farm Gin that I recently got the chance to sample at this fairly new Finger Lakes distillery.

Tastings were 3 for $3.00.  A fair price for (what I dare say are) some of the finest spirits I’ve ever tasted.  Of the three spirits I sampled, the John Myer Rye Whiskey was my favorite – “pour me another!”

The most unique flavor of the tasting goes to Myer Farm Gin which I actually enjoyed because of the delicious unique herbal finish.  There has to be something healing about this gin! 

And lastly, I would never turn down a screwdriver mixed with Myer Farm Blueberry Orange Vodka for brunch, or any other time for that matter – delicious!

One more thing worth mentioning. This distillery uses certified organic grain from their own farm which happens to be one of the largest and oldest currently operating in the Northeast.

So, if you are in the Finger Lakes Region and want to get into the spirits, I would suggest adding Myer Farm Distillers to your “must stop” list. 

Sunset

Hot and muggy summer days require a trip to one of my favorite state parks on Seneca Lake.

The park was surprisingly quiet on this particular evening, and the sunset was beautiful.

The seagulls even congregated to watch the sun drop after an extremely hot day.

Just like the lyrics in the Zac Brown Band country song – “toes in the water”

The sailboats begged for admiration.

Lodi Point State Park

The hot hazy day made the lake mysteriously alluring.

The sun finally decided to rest after a long day of working overtime.

What do you do to cool down after a hot summer day?  Do you have a favorite state park you like to go to?

TGIF – In Case You Missed Any of Them

frozen vanilla peach yogurt_001

I thought I’d recap this week.  Just in case you didn’t have a chance to catch one of my posts, here is what you might have missed. 

A  recipe for Frozen Vanilla Peach Yogurt, and photo’s of pretty little flowers.

The start of a new baking project featuring a sourdough bread starter recipe.  And hopefully, I’ll be sharing my an update on the sourdough adventure with you this weekend.

And one of the best darned Kahlua Hot Fudge recipes that your ever going to get your hands on.

Happy Friday everyone! 

A Book, Photo’s, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

I’m dreaming of spring.  I want sunshine, warm temperatures, budding flowers, and green grass.  I want campfires, picnics, and days on the water just rowing our canoe to nowhere in particular.  I want to be able to open the windows and let loads of fresh air in, without letting all of the heat out.  I want to work on the Pink Paradise, and once she’s road ready I want to camp, or should I say glamp.

I’m not asking for much considering I live in upstate New York and we’re not even through the month of February yet. 

To help the cold winter months pass more quickly I’ve been reading and walking more.

I just started to read a book that I won during a giveaway hosted by the blog Pixi Wishes & Forehead Kisses.  It’s too early to give a  review, but I have to say that I was so glad to have found out that the author, Sandy Ward Bell, grew up a little less than an hour away from where I did.  

And as for the walking, it’s being done in an effort to help burn off some of the calorie laden treats that I can’t seem to stop making.  To make my walks more interesting I’ve been taking photo’s.  I thought I’d share a few.  If you’re looking for anything that resembles spring you won’t find it in these pictures.

And as long as I’m sharing – here is one of those calorie laden treats I was talking about.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Pretzel Bars

1 c. chopped pretzel pieces

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp. margarine

2 tbsp. sugar

1 c. mini- marshmallows

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided into two

1 tbsp. vegetable shortening

Lightly coat an 8”x8” pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large a saucepan on low heat, melt peanut butter, margarine, and brown sugar.  Add marshmallows, half of the chocolate chips,  powdered sugar,  and stir until completely melted and mixed. Remove from heat and press mixture flat into prepared pan.

In a double boiler, melt other half of chocolate chips and shortening.  Spread melted chocolate over top of peanut butter mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

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Photo giveaway, and here’s why

December is the month when I start thinking seriously about the approaching new year.  It’s the month when I reflect on what I’ve accomplished, and where I want to be in the year to come.

This January, like a lot of other people in this world, I will start the year with a new plan that I will attempt to execute.  And when I evaluate myself next December, I hope to see that I’ve met my goals, or at least some of them.  I have a rather long list this year so I guess I’ll start by taking one day at a time.

And as Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”  

With that said, I have set up a photo shop on Esty where  I’m going to be selling some of my photos.  I’d love for you to hop over there and take  look – but make sure you read the rest of this post first!

In celebration of making my first move toward the new year I have decided to host a giveaway of  one of my 5×7 photo’s.  The photo I’m giving away is titled Little Creamer.  I had a lot of fun creating this image, and I’m hoping the lucky winner will appreciate it’s uniqueness and enjoy it in their home, or office.

victorian pitcher with watermark

So, here are the giveaway details.

To enter;  visit my shop at E and Esty and  look at my pictures and decide which one you like the best.  Once you’ve done that, come back here and leave a comment (in the comment section of my blog) telling me which photo is your favorite.

For additional entries you can tweet or pin this post.  Or you can (from your favorite photo page at Esty)  tweet, pin, or like the  photo you’ve chosen as your favorite.   Just make sure that you  leave a separate comment (in the comment section of my blog) for each of the extra activities you have completed.

There is a maximum of six entries for this contest.  I’m sorry it’s only open to US Residents only.  The winner will be picked December 24th.  Remember to leave an email address so I can contact you if you’re the winner.

Good luck! 

Also, if you are an Esty seller then please follow me and I will follow you back.

Congratulations Denise, the winner of the photo Little Creamer.  Your prize will be shipped soon!

This contest is officially closed.