Memorial Weekend Recap

I apologize for the delay, it was indeed a rather busy weekend here; as I am sure it was for you too! It was supposed to be my little mini vacation… but due to freezing temperatures, I headed home early.  It was the first time EVER I left he cabin early. Can you believe it?!  Saturday morning we could see our breath, and we knew it was time to pack it up and head home.

Rainy and dreary at the cabin

Rainy and dreary at the cabin

Snuggled up!

Snuggled up!

Thankfully by Saturday morning, I had already been to my favorite place in the world, The Chocolate Mill Cafe, in Glens Falls NY.  Words cannot express how much I love it there; and not just because I get to see my friend and former CIA Baking & Pastry Chef Instructor Frank Vollkommer (who is also a Certified Master Pastry Chef and Owner) but because it is truly one of the most delicious places to go.  I am deadly serious,  if you EVER go to Saratoga or Glens Falls or Lake George, or anywhere exit 10 and higher on the Northway, it would be a disservice to yourself and your tastebuds to not stop in and pick up for a cup of coffee (the best in the area) and some treats.  Their Croissants are like no other, the Raspberry Crumble Bars will rock your world, oh the bon bons are divinely inspired, and I won’t even get started on the individual desserts, they are mind blowing!!

Yes, I got 3 desserts from The Chocolate Mill Cafe

Yes, I got 3 desserts from The Chocolate Mill Cafe

A view of the case ( I was trying to be polite and not use my flash)

A view of the case ( I was trying to be polite and not use my flash)

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Coconut and Raspberry Bon bons!

Strawberry dessert from Chocolate Mill Cafe

Strawberry dessert from Chocolate Mill Cafe

Raspberry Crumble Bar, one of my favorites

Raspberry Crumble Bar, one of my favorites

I might have gotten a little carried away with the dessert pictures.  But I REALLY love everything from The Chocolate Mill Cafe and wanted to show you everything I tried.  They also have a great breakfast and lunch menu as well, check out their website for more info!  I need to stop staring at these pictures, because I already want to go back up, and I can’t this weekend.  But maybe next….?

On the bright side I got a lot of gardening done Saturday and Sunday and Monday morning, and then went to a family BBQ Monday and I got to see my brother who came into town for a visit.

The peas, beets, carrots and cucumbers are sprouting, the lettuce is being harvested daily, the strawberries are green and growing;  it is sure to be a great season in the garden. I am still waiting on the green beans, corn and zucchini to sprout.  I went all out this year and planted broccoli.  I have it in the front of the house as to keep it away from the Tomatoes since it does attract the Tomato HornWorm.  Nevertheless I am going full speed ahead with it!

So that’s about it. I went away, played a lot pf Phase 10, got some really tasty treats, gardened A LOT, and then had a BBQ  with family.  How was your Memorial Day weekend?

My favorite way to pass the time!

My favorite way to pass the time!

 

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Weekend outings and garden updates

Happy Monday Morning! (or afternoon or evening by the time you read this)

In an effort to post more, I am going to start posting about the weekend happenings, garden updates, meal plans and random things I am up to. (Hopefully you enjoy hearing about my nerd life, I’m quite fond of being a self-proclaimed nerd)

This weekend I finally made the fire starters I’ve been talking about for a few weeks! It ended up being a combination of pinterest/advice from my good friend Julia’s mom. (Who I call Mama Arnouts) I have been saving dryer lint and toilet paper rolls. Yes it has been wrecking havoc on my OCD/”must always have a clean and organized home”, but I really wanted to have these for cabin time this year.   Directions are as follows:

  1. Save empty toilet paper rolls
  2. Save dryer lint
  3. Stuff lint into rolls
  4. Wrap in wax paper like a tootsie roll
  5. Save and use to start a campfire
How to make a fire starter

How to make a fire starter

 

In addition to the fire starters, I got a good amount of garden work done on Saturday morning.  Thus far I have planted Beets, Carrots, Lettuce, and Peas all from seed.  I am a little behind where I was at this time last year, but the weather this year has been the pits.  It started to rain so we cleaned up and headed to Goodwill.  I love Goodwill, they have all sorts of interesting finds there. I have found some great kitchen plates and servers there, I highly encourage checking out your local Goodwill/Thrift Stores.  We had dinner out Saturday night at one of my favorite restaurants, Four Brothers in Rhinebeck! Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats their Greek Salad!

Cucumber and pea trellises

Cucumber and pea trellises

I also made Lilac Lemon Thyme Sorbet with my friend Sarah. She and her sons made some lilac simple syrup, so naturally I thought it needed to be a sorbet. It was refreshing and delicious!

Not a great picture, but you get the idea

Not a great picture, but you get the idea

 

After that excitement it was home and time to clean the house and make dinner.  I pulled some of my homemade pesto out of the freezer, tossed it with some shell pasta and served it with delicious baked chicken breast.  It was divine, and very easy, which is perfect for Sundays!

That about sums it up!  How was your weekend?

Sriracha Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions

Sriracha Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions

I love Sriracha mayo for my fries, wouldn’t it be equally good as a potato salad? I have been wanting to make this salad for a while, I had never heard of such a thing but I figured it would have to be good.  So I started formulating this in my head, and finally brought it to fruition in bright reality and bold flavors.  One thing that always used to  bother me about potato salad is that it was  too much bland potato, big pieces of potato with only a small amount of dressing, it made no sense. Cutting the pieces smaller certainly would not  work, they would boil away to nothing; but slightly mashing them, now that would be perfect!  That is how I make all my potato salads now, and each time is perfection.  (except crack salad, I go traditional cuts for that because my friend Jenn would kill me if I changed her recipe)

Siracha Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions

Sriracha Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions

 

This is GOOD, real good. I tried making it two ways with the bacon, and without the bacon for my vegetarian friends, and  it was delicious both ways.  When making without the bacon I used an additional scallion.  Really, seriously either way, it’s amazing! And since it has bacon in it, that makes it acceptable for breakfast, right?  I kind of want to put a fried egg on top, am I crazy?

Seriously, this Potato Salad is good!

Seriously, this Potato Salad is good!

Potatoes before and after cooking

Potatoes before and after cooking

This will tantalize your taste buds in a way you never thought potato salad would. It has just the right amount of sriracha so that it won’t burn your mouth off or any other part of your body.  Although I wouldn’t recommend it for babies, it would be fine for adventurous teenagers.  😉

Scallions halved lengthwise, and bacon ready for a paper towel

Scallions halved lengthwise, and bacon ready for a paper towel

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 24oz (1lb  9oz) small red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (for the water)
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 8 oz mayo (about 1cup)
  • 3oz sour cream (about 1/4 of a cup)
  • 1/2 oz sriracha (a tablespoon or two)
  • 2 large scallions or 3 if omitting the bacon (If using medium scallions use 3, if small use 4)
  • A generous pinch of ground pepper

Method:

  • Make your bacon ahead of time (350 oven for about 20 minutes or till done, I like mine extra crispy) and drained on a paper towel (save the grease in a cup in the fridge of course)
  • Wash the potatoes and leave whole, if some  are strikingly bigger than the others, cut those in half so that they cook evenly
  • Place in a good size pot, add the 2 tablespoons salt and cover with about 4-5 inches of water
  • Cover the pan with a lid, turn on high, set the timer for 25minutes
  • The potatoes will come to a boil, let them cook at that covered boil till the timer rings. You may need to adjust the heat to medium/high depending on your stove.  Again just let them boil covered, no need to stir. I start the timer from when I turn the burner on, and this always works for me.  If you want to test for doneness, pierce a potato with a knife, if should slip off easily.
  • Drain the potatoes, place in a good strong bowl, and lightly mash with a potato masher, allow to cool a bit
  • In a separate bowl, weigh the mayo, sour cream and sriracha, add the pepper and whisk together
  • Half the scallions lengthwise down and finely chop
  • Crumble the bacon (maybe eat a piece or two, you know, for quality control)
  • Pour the sriracha mix over the potatoes (make sure to scrape the bowl with a good rubber scraper to get every morsel of deliciousness)
  • Toss in the scallions and bacon, and mix together using the rubber spatula and a folding motion
  • That is it, your done! Stick in a spoon in the amazing sriracha potato salad you just made, and eat up!
Ready to enjoy!

Ready to enjoy!

Happy Mother’s Day

To the women that are mothers already, whether their children have two legs or four.  To the women that are waiting for the right time in life to be a mother.  To the women that long to be mothers, yet are unable to be.  To the women that are mothers to other’s children; adopted, fostered, or just who take them under their wing.  To you all, you are thought of and appreciated on this very special day.  – Jessica M. Berardi, Burlap and Butter Knives

Backyard Bloom for Mother's Day

Backyard Bloom for Mother’s Day

Classic Macaroni Salad, just like Grandma used to make!

Classic Macaroni Salad, just like Grandma used to make!

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Sunday I had the pleasure of attending a Goddess Girl Event in High Falls, and wow, I am speechless, it was fantastic! Goddess Girl Events are an amazing day of pampering, luxury and bliss all put on by Tamme Stitt Photography; along with Christene Spiezio, LMTGina Truhe Make Up, and Hair by Adrienne Nixon, these women wow’d me big time!! I have never felt so beautiful and so pampered! Everyone needs to experience a day like that!

This is me! All done up and heading home :-)

This is me! All done up and heading home 🙂

After my morning of amazingness, I went home, aka back to reality.  Mister Chris had requested burgers and potatoes for dinner.  Honestly I wasn’t in the mood for potatoes; Margaritas on the beach sounded MUCH better. Le sigh, reality always wins.  But I still didn’t want potatoes. I scanned the kitchen, “what can I make, what can I make, what can I make…..”, and then it hit me, I haven’t made macaroni salad in FOREVER! It’s quick, easy, and I already had all the ingredients right there in my kitchen, and let’s be honest, nothing beats not having to go back out to the store!  I made it just like my Grandma used to make it, no deviations! I wanted to add some pickles but I decided to really keep it classic and use just the juice.  Give this a try when you need a quick side or a dish for a BBQ or picnic. It is a sure fire crowd pleaser!

In the making, not exactly picturesque.

In the making, not exactly picturesque.

Recipe:

  • 1/2lb Elbow Macaroni
  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs (see here for how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs with no green ring)
  • 3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup Pickle Juice (I use bread and butter pickle juice and it is perfectly fine if some of the spices get in there)
  • 2/3 Cup Grated Carrots, packed well (or more or less to your liking)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Make your hard-boiled eggs.  If you use my method they will cool perfectly in time for the Macaroni.
  2. Boil the macaroni according to the instructions on the package, I cook mine for 9 minutes.  Make sure to salt the water well! Allow to cool in the colander.
  3. Put the macaroni in a medium-sized bowl, with plenty of room for mixing
  4. Add in your mayonnaise, and carrots
  5. Now cut your eggs DIRECTLY above the bowl, that way you can just open the cutter and the eggs fall in, and you won’t loose a single ounce of eggy goodness! I use the OXO egg slicer, it’s perfect, and I highly recommend it.
  6. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and mix it all to combine using a large rubber spatula. I find the large rubber spatulas work best. They don’t break up the noodles, but they DO  break down the yolks and really get them mixed in well with the mayonnaise, which is exactly what you want to happen.
  7. Adjust your salt and pepper accordingly and enjoy!
Just like Grandma used to make!

Just like Grandma used to make!