Merry Christmas and where did the year go?!

I have no clue where the last 12 months went. Did they even happen?  The 6 month old sprawled across me sleeping would indeed indicate that they did. Between being pregnant, packing up the old place, buying a house, moving, having a baby and raising the baby, wow it has been a whirlwind!  Hopefully this coming year is a little more calm and collected.
On a happy note, I installed a WordPress app on my phone, so hopefully I can get more recipes and posts done. Fingers crossed! In the mean time, I just wanted to take a minute and wish you all a very happy holiday and wonderful new year!

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Weekend Fun in Pictures And A Family Picnic

My weekends usually involve a lot of cooking, cleaning, gardening, and more cooking and cleaning. Gone are the days of lazily lying in the Palm Beach sun enjoying a orange frosty thing from 7-11 with grey goose added in. Oh yes, those days are GONE!

Olivia is the 3rd from the left!

Olivia is the 3rd from the left!

 

My sister Becky and Newphew Connor, heading up to the picnic!

My sister Becky and Newphew Connor, heading up to the picnic!

Lucky for me, I still enjoy myself,  it is just in a different way.  This weekened however, was busier than most. Saturday was a really busy day for me. First thing in the morning we had my niece Olivia’s preschool graduation! Can you believe it? She graduated preschool already!! How crazy is that?  Seems like I was just holding her in the hospital…. 🙂

How adorable is my neice Taylor?

How adorable is my niece Taylor?

Uncle Chris and Taylor building sand castles

Uncle Chris and Taylor building sand castles

 

After that we headed up to lake taghkanic state park with my sister and brother in law for a family picnic. We rode up in their camper, which makes for a great way to travel!  It was a beautiful ride and a beautiful day. We really lucked out weather wise.  Not too hot with a nice breeze.  Tons of delicious food, and I got to see  my cousins who I rarely ever see becuase they live down south.  It was a great day over all!  By the time the day was over and we were home it was time for bed. (and my phone died lol)

MY sister Becky and I

MY sister Becky and I

Sunday was a day for working in the garden. I planted some more flower seeds and pulled weeds; not exactly glamorous, but it’s needed! (No cicadas at my house yet, thank heavens! ) Also I got my first strawberry this weekend, yay!!! It was SO delicious! Really flavorful and ecellent! The cucumbers are growing well and zucchini is just starting to sprout. Broccoli is also sprouting now! Pretty much everything is up and going besides the green beans and fall squashes. I’m ok with that, everything has it’s own timing.  🙂

Connor Cuteness!

Connor Cuteness!

 

The Lake

The Lake

How was your weekend? Was the weather nice where you live? Did you make anything good to eat? I would love to hear about it!

First Strawberry from my garden!

First Strawberry from my garden!

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!

 

From Edible to Printable, DIY Homemade Valentines For Everyone!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and who doesn’t love giving and receiving a handmade card, gift, or yummy treat to celebrate the special day?   Whether you have oodles of free time on your hands or non at all, there are Valentine’s treats and projects that will fit into your schedule!

I have scoured the internet (ok so pinterest, but really that IS the internet now) and put together a compilation of what I think to be a fantastic representation of the best ideas out there!  From toddlers to teens, friends to lovers; there are a plethora of ideas I’ve gathered for you to choose from.  Choose from quick and easy to complex and lengthy (but rewarding and impressive), it is all represented here! *Please note, these are not my pictures, all pictures came directly from the post/website they represent. Click on each picture to go to the recipe/how-to! For more great ideas, check out my Valentine’s Pinterest Board!

This Chocolate Pomegranate Tart, from Pastry Affair, looks divine!

This Chocolate Pomegranate Tart, from Pastry Affair, looks divine!

These heart cupcakes are a cinch to make!

These heart cupcakes are a cinch to make!

It's a good amount of work, but well worth it for your loved ones! From GlutenFreerican

It’s a good amount of work, but well worth it for your loved ones! From GlutenFreerican

I couldn't find the source for this, but the pinterest caption says "Starting Feb 1st let them wake up to a new heart on their door to something you love about them."

I couldn’t find the source for this, but the pinterest caption says “Starting Feb 1st let them wake up to a new heart on their door to something you love about them.”

Love this idea from A Small Snippet!

Love this idea from A Small Snippet!

Coupons  from Better Homes and Gardens. They have Kids, Adult and even a Blank version!

Coupons from Better Homes and Gardens. They have Kids, Adult and even a Blank version!

Cherry Chocolate Kisses, from the Curvy Carrot!

Cherry Chocolate Kisses, from the Curvy Carrot!

Super easy Valentines from Spoonful!

Super easy Valentines from Spoonful!

These Strawberry Oreos from Six Sister' Stuff look great!

These Strawberry Oreos from Six Sister’ Stuff look great!

I love these easy and beautiful Doily Valentine Decorations from Smashed Peas and Carrots!

I love these easy and beautiful Doily Valentine Decorations from Smashed Peas and Carrots!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies, yes please! From  Bakingbites

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies, yes please! From Bakingbites

These handmade treat bags from The Farm Chicks are adorable!

These handmade treat bags from The Farm Chicks are adorable!

These bubbles from Simply Modern Mom are a great non candy alternative!

These bubbles from Simply Modern Mom are a great non candy alternative!

Another great alternative to candy for valentines from dandee-designs!

Another great alternative to candy for valentines from dandee-designs!

I see no reason to wait till Valentine's Day for these Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Raspberry Whipped Cream from Ambitious Kitchen!

I see no reason to wait till Valentine’s Day for these Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Raspberry Whipped Cream from Ambitious Kitchen!

These are all over pinterest, and they are adorable! From  I Gotta Create

These are all over pinterest, and they are adorable! From I Gotta Create

Love these cookie hearts from Martha Stewart

Love these cookie hearts from Martha Stewart

What holiday is complete without a corresponding chex mix?! From Betty Crocker

What holiday is complete without a corresponding chex mix?! From Betty Crocker

Best Ever Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad, Summer Picnics Will Never Be The Same!

Spring may have just begun, but Summer is right around the corner!  And that means Summer foods; salads, grilling, BBQ,  all my favorites! I love dishes that are simple and delicious.  And also, because this time of year tends to get really busy for me, if it can be made ahead and hold for a few days, well I am not above admitting how awesome that is!

This recipe I (yes little ole me) invented myself! Yes, all me, and I am quite proud of it! The idea came from a similar salad I got at Hannaford Supermarket.  After the first time I had it, I was like WOW, how had I never thought of this?!? BUT theirs had blue cheese in it (yuck), a REALLY weird aftertaste, and a long list of weird ingredients. I knew I could make a better version of it from scratch, and not to toot my own horn but I nailed it!

This recipe makes a LOT! A perfect amount if you need to bring a dish to a summer party, or for dinner for the family. It can be made well ahead and kept in the fridge, and it is really filling.  It would go great with a green salad or some corn on the cob, you will not have room for much else.  This recipe is so easy. Seriously so easy that the “most difficult” part was chopping celery.

I peel my celery, always do, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.  If you have any questions about celery peeling, feel free to ask me!  I highly recommend doing it.  Mr. Metz, the President of the CIA, taught me to do it years ago, and I’ve never gone back to unpeeled celery since. Also I bought the carrots pre-shredded.  This saved me a lot of time.  If you opt for this, I would recommend maybe just chopping them up a bit.  I didn’t, and I do think I should have because they were much bigger than the other items in the salad.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

  • 1lb Radiatori Pasta
  • 1 1/2lbs Chicken chopped  up (about half a rotisserie)
  • 2 Cups (9 oz) Chopped  Celery
  • 3 Cups Shredded Carrots (10 oz bag)
  • 3 Cups Ranch Dressing (I use Hidden Valley)
  • 3/4 Cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar
  • Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta, but don’t rinse. I NEVER rinse my pasta!
  • Pour on the ranch and buffalo sauce and stir to coat the pasta, set aside in the fridge and allow to cool
  • Add in the celery, carrots , cheddar and chicken and stir till combined.
  • Serve and enjoy!!!!

Apple Crisp and Apple Tree Climbing

Happy New Year!!!!  I am thrilled to say I FINALLY  have my laptop back!!!! It’s working great, except the cursor like to jump back a few spaces randomly while I type. Not sure what that is about. But it’s back, whoooo hoooooo!!!! I uploaded the pics off my camera, so soon you will be up to date with all that has been going on the past few months.

To start things off here are some pictures from apple picking with Miss Taylor. Not JUST apple picking, but apple picking and teaching her to climb a tree! It was so much fun, and it was a picturesc day, perfect for memory making. 🙂

It didn’t start out as a tree climbing lesson…. I was up in the tree to get the apples at the top, and Taylor walked up and said “Aunt Jess, I climb too!” Naturally I climbed down, picked her up and placed her on the bottom branch.  Well, Taylor is never one to not try and up the anty, so she tried to climb to limb above her.  She takes after her Auntie 😉  So I went with her and we preceded to climb the tree together.  Have you ever tried to climb a tree with one hand?  While your other hand is wrapped around a 2yr old holding her for dear life? Well let me tell you, it is a great experience!!! We eventually came back down before her mom had a heart attack. hehehe (Love you Becky)  It really was a great day; we had so much fun tree climbing , walking around the orchard and cider donut eating!!!

As we left the orchard I spied some flourishing Raspberry bushes, full of ripe juicy berries! Even though the season was over, somehow these babies were still holding on. Taylor and I went and picked a few handfuls for her to snack on in the car, and as you can see in this picture she really enjoyed them 😉

For more pictures of me up in a tree and our fun day at the orchard, head over to Facebook and like the Green Skies and Sugar Trips page 🙂

And last but not least,  picking all those apples, of  course means making apple crisp!

Preheat oven to 375′

Fillilng:

  • Apples Peeled, Cored and Sliced (enough to fill a 13×9 pan)
  • Cinnamon (to taste)
  • Honey or Sugar (if needed only)

Topping

  • One stick butter (softened)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Slice apples and toss with cinnamon and honey/sugar.  Lightly grease a 13×9″ baking pan, pour apples in. Set aside and make topping.

Combine ingredients for topping, using a pastry blender mix together until they are pea sized crumbles. If you don’t have a pastry blender a fork and/or your hands will work. Once it’s mixed together, top the apples with it, and  bake for 45minutes or  until it’s bubbly around the sides.

Ready for the oven!

Ready to eat!

A Fantastic Frog-Eating Thanksgiving!!!!

For the very first time EVER; I made Thanksgiving dinner for my own family. Not random people in a restaurant ordering off the menu. Not Millbrook’s “finest”, not the Kings of Stanfordville, not the pride of Palm Beach; my family, MY finest.  And it was quite possibly the best Thanksgiving ever.  Dinner was old school and basic. Turkey, Stuffing (which I can take NO credit for), Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Turnips, Brussel Sprouts, Green Bean Casserole, Roasted Veggies, Steamed Veggies, Biscuits and Crescent Rolls. I made the mashed potatoes in the morning (around 10) and put them in a crock pot to hold them till dinner (around 1), and that worked PERFECTLY!!!!! A HUGE thank you to Wendy for that AMAZING suggestion!

On to the funny stuff. So just before Danny carved the Turkey, Taylor was hanging out with me in the kitchen, and she told me she wanted to see everything. So I hoisted her up to see everything. We went around the kitchen, looking at each element. And then, we got to the Turkey……

“Aunt Jess…….It’s a FROG!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yep, she looked at the Turkey and knew right away, it was a frog. Becky and I literally laughed out loud, a lot. And then I put her down and she said, in a very sing song voice “frog frog frog frog I’m eating a frog!!!!!” Yep, that’s my culinary extraordinaire of a niece. I love that little girl. Damn proud of her too.

So welcome to our table. These are the pictures of Thanksgiving with us, all fourteen of us. Bat S%$T crazy at times, nutty as heck, outspoken, temperamental, emotional and did I mention crazy. But we love each other and we are a family. A family of the crazy kind, the nutty kind, the very best kind.  And I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

 

I hope your Thanksgiving was as magical as mine.

xoxo