Friday, April 24, 2015


It may not be practical for everyone to plant a tree today, but consider planting something (even a little Daisy.)  Or, consider making a donation with in your community to plant a tree today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Try and make Earth Day every day.  Even little things make a difference.  Recycle/Reuse/Reduce, swap out light bulbs for energy efficient ones, hang clothing up to dry, shop with reusable bags, don't litter and pick up litter you see.  If everyone just did one or two small things; the results would be AMAZING!
Love the earth and it will love us back.
And, just remember to get outside and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer us.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Well it is Monday and it is going to be a rainy day.  We are in a small rain deficit so we do need it; the house chores are done and except for my Spring planting, my yard work is caught up.  So, having a lazy rainy day sounds just right.

The other day I DVR'ed a movie I can easily say I have not seen in at lease 25 years; DUEL.  It was directed by a very young Steven Spielberg, written by one of my favorite story tellers Richard Matheson and starring Dennis Weaver.  So after a nice hot shower and some quick morning chores I decided on something different for breakfast.

Crepes stuffed with cream cheese covered with maple syrup with a side of bacon.  I added Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice tea.  I use soft Philadelphia Cream Cheese and I roll up the crepes (tucking up one end first.)  Then I heat them up a bit to crisp up the crepes and lightly melt the cream cheese.

After a relaxing breakfast, reading the paper and listening to the rain fall I decided the smell of baking bread would be perfect.  I chose a french bread mix from The Prepared Pantry.  It didn't take long for the wonderful scent of warm bread to fill the house.
I love my Emeril Laggase Bread Machine by T-Fal, but I have to remember to spray the bread pan with cooking spray.  It can be a little difficult to get the bread out because the removable paddles tend to stay in the bread.  When I remember to spray the paddles and the pan the bread slides out easier.
I made a 2 lbs loaf and I used the darkest setting to get a nice crispy crust. 
For and easy lunch while I watch the movie, noodles, chicken, green peas and Parmesan cheese.
I grilled up a pre-cooked frozen chicken while I cook the noodles.  I drain and rinse the sweet green peas and add them to the noodle just before they are done.  Then I add in a little bit of butter, the grilled chicken and cheese.
And the prefect use for the fresh warm french bread, a quick and easy caprese toast.  I slice the bread thin and top it with mozzarella cheese and sliced tomatoes.  I pop them in the toaster oven on lightly greased tin foil and bake it until the cheese is melted.
And finish everything off with Bigelow Cranberry Hibiscus Tea.
And what is the perfect desert for a rainy Spring afternoon you ask?
Girl Scout Cookies.
I think today is a Thin Mint kind of day. 
Who doesn't love Girl Scout Cookie Season!
After lunch was made time to start up the movie.  I remember seeing DUEL years ago, but forgot how good it was.  Sometimes it is good to have a lazy rainy day.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Tomorrow is Patriots' Day, it will be observed Monday, April 20th but the actual day is the 19th.  Patriots' Day is a civic holiday celebrating the Battles of Lexington and Concord the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, April 19, 1775,

Here is a link to The Landlords Tale, Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; and a link to The Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Here is a brief history of Patriots' Day (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Patriots' Day was first proclaimed in Massachusetts in 1894 by Gov. Frederic T. Greenhalge replacing Fast Day as a public holiday.[1] It was established on April 19, commemorating the date of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, and consolidating the longstanding municipal observances of Lexington Day and Concord Day. It also marked the first bloodshed of the American Civil War in the Baltimore riot of 1861, during which four members of the Massachusetts militia were slain and 36 injured. The dual commemoration, Greenhalge explained, celebrated "the anniversary of the birth of liberty and union." In 1938, with the generation that had fought in the Civil War largely off the voter rolls, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill establishing the holiday "in commemoration of the opening events of the War of the Revolution."[7]
Maine followed Massachusetts in 1907 and replaced its Fast Day with Patriot's Day.[1]

240 years ago tomorrow the greatest battle in our history started and on that day this wonderful country started it's fight for independence.  And thanks to those brave men and women we were able to become the great nation we are today. 

So take a moment tomorrow to remember all of our heroes and thank them for their service and sacrifice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


It was another beautiful Spring day, so it was a prefect day to head out and see some home town sights. 
As many know there are only three Howard Johnson's restaurants left in the country.  But pretty soon there will ONE!  The HoJo's in Lake Placid (NY) which is my favorite has closed.  The HoJo's in Bangor will close soon.  The last remaining is in Lake George (NY.)  The latter had closed over a year ago and just recently reopened by different management.  We had a HoJo's in Albany on Route 9W right across from the NYS Thruway exit 24 interchange.  We went there regularly for our HoJo's comfort food.  One trip we pulled up, got out of the car walked up to the door to be greeted by a sign, "Sorry Closed--Thank You For Your Business."  That was a sad drive home.

Our other favorite was the HoJo's in Times Square; every time we went to NYC we stopped at the HoJo's before heading home.  It was another heart breaking moment when it closed.

When in Lake Placid, with all the lovely restaurants we were always excited to visit HoJo's!  Now that too has closed.

So, why not head to Lake George and show our support to the last remaining restaurant.  Unfortunately it has lost it's magic.  Before it closed the last time we went there as often as we could and it was wonderful but this first visit with the new management didn't impress.  I will not make a habit of reviews on this blog (this will be the only one.)  If I did not enjoy something I will not write negatively, I will just not write.  With that said, I will just say, this was just a diner set in a HoJo's building, not a HoJo's.

But since the building still exist (to this point) but for how long (?) here is a quick look.  The poor battered sign.

My favorite part, the iconic weather vane on the famous orange roof.
This maybe one last look.
Now Lake George Village is seasonal but hopefully with the current construction of a Marriott; that will be open year round, that will change.  But, since I have my fill of souvenirs there is no need to visit the many shops; we are here to see the lake.  Plus, there is something wonderful about strolling around a tourist village with out the tourist.  So quiet, just the locals and the beautiful lake and mountains.  So we head down through Shepard Park to the lake.
The boats in the distance.  And you can see a peek of Fort William Henry.
Looking north on this bright sunny day.
This cute "minnie" Price Chopper has been there for years.  There are much bigger stores just up the road in Queensbury and Glens Falls, but it is wonderful that this little village gem remains.
There are several quaint little churches tucked together just off the main drag.

Around the the southern most point of the lake, looking north.
And we are in the Adirondacks after all so you would expect to see a little snow.  Can you make out the mound right at the edge of the water?
The Minne-Ha-Ha paddle wheel.  She is one of the last steam powered paddle wheels left in the United States!
And the Lac du St Sacrement is the largest cruise ship on inland waters in NYS.
After a lovely day of strolling along the lake and beaches; wondering the streets of the quiet village and window shopping we get ready to head home.  We choose the very scenic Route 9 in lieu of the North Way.  Once we get back into the city we decide to make a quick stop at Perraca's for a couple of slices of their tomato pie.  A perfect snack for tonight.
So home we go to enjoy the nice clear cool Spring night after the nice bright warm Spring day.

Monday, April 13, 2015


I love soup and as far as I am concerned it is great any time of the year.  But there is nothing better then a bowl of soup on those transitional days.  Like that first chilly Autumn night or on that cool Spring evening after a warm bright sunny day.  Well, today was one of those days.  After finishing up the yard clean up, a quick easy (early) dinner was on the schedule.  As I have said time and time again, I like easy and I like simple.  So there is cooking from scratch and then there is cooking from SCRATCH.  I choose to cook from scratch.  I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a shortcut from time to time.  So I chose to make my easy version of pasta fagioli and I decided what a better way to use the Easter Bunny pasta!

The ingredients are simple...chicken broth, sauced tomatoes, white beans, pasta and I like to add sweet peas.

I add the broth, tomatoes and white beans (drained and rinsed) to a pot (I also add a half can of water.)  I bring it to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cover.  I simmer for 10 minutes.
I bring it back up to a boil and add the pasta.  The bunny pasta needs about 8 minutes to cook, so I set the timer for 7 minutes.  I add the sweet peas (drained and rinsed) for the last minute of cook time.
All that is left to do is enjoy.  So, yes it is from scratch, but not SCRATCH; because I used canned tomato but it taste just as well to me.
Another favorite simple soup is cheese tortellini in a beef stock broth topped with cheese.  And I throw in a few green onions too.
And there is nothing wrong with opening a can of Campbell's Creamy Tomato Soup!
And one of my favorite snacks is the simplest yet.  I was talking with my stylist about favorite foods, and I said to her my favorite is so simple it is almost "stupid simple."  My Mother made if for me when she wanted to keep me from bugging her in the kitchen. 
It is simply bread, oil, vinegar and pepper.  It is great for that day old bread that is a little too hard to eat but perfect for toast.  I toast it very lightly and add oil, red wine vinegar (but very lightly, do not saturate it you do want it soggy.  The toast should stay crisp.) And top with a little pepper.  Yum!!  And it is great with a bowl of soup too.
So now I have to be snarky for just a moment.  A few nights ago I saw an infomercial for "Adult Coloring Books."  I honestly can not remember how much they were, but I do remember they cost a lot more than they should!  Tonight on the local news they did a story how coloring for adults is catching on.  Okay, so I have always love to color and yes it is very relaxing.  But when I (and adult) color, I usually color in the same coloring books I would have colored in as a child.  I mean coloring is coloring right, so why pay $5, $10 dare I say $20 for an "adult coloring" book when you can go to The Dollar Tree and pick up a favorite and color away.  My choices are...
or even...
But I am not going to color in a book that cost more than the box of Crayola Crayons.

Monday, April 6, 2015


It was a nice quiet Easter Sunday.  Although a little windy and cool, the rain that was predicted stayed away and the sun stayed out longer than expected.  Easter baskets were opened and a very casual lunch was enjoyed.  And although it is Easter it is still a Sunday and the Sunday tradition is breakfast, the Sunday news paper and the CBS News Sunday Morning.  I tried something new for breakfast, cream cheese puffs.  Simply, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  I use the soft brick style cream cheese, but it probably would have been easier to use the cheese in the tub.  I wanted to buy the Laughing Cow Cream Cheese wedges, but the store was out.

It is as simple as separating the dough, placing a dollop of cream cheese on the widest end and carefully "knotting" it up.  I pulled up each side and then wrapped the long end around.  I baked as directed plus one minute longer, to compensate for the filling.

And with sliced strawberries on the side and a cup of Celestial Seasonings strawberry tea.
A very simple and casual lunch.  Lasagna with a simple salad, ham and sauteed veggies.
Since it is Easter and Easter comes with candy, no formal desert; the candy was the desert.
As I have mentioned before gifts are always a bit different around here.  So the baskets were opened.
The baskets unwrapped.
Bunny pasta!!!  I can't wait to make a fun, fresh summer pasta salad.
And some fun Nancy Drew gear.
A wallet bag and earring.
And a Nancy Drew pillow.
And since I love flip flops and earrings there are a few of those.  I know not your typical Easter Basket filler but as I said presents are always a bit different around here.  Of course there was a few bunny and one plush kitty.
Happy Easter.

Friday, April 3, 2015


The snow has finally melted and the yard clean up has started.  The furniture for the back yard and patio has not come out of hibernation yet, but hopefully Monday.  But things are definitely looking up; especially with all those Easter goodies.  Here is a quick look.

A beautiful and very fragrant Spring flower arrangement.  I love the simple glass vase and the Pussy Willows.  The lovely fragrance from the flowers fills the dinning room.

This is a fun Easter tradition, the Easter Butter Lamb.  I picked up this guy at The Church of St. Adlbert, on Crane Street in Schenectady.  The Nuns make them to raise funds for their community programs.  The Butter Lambs are pretty popular in western New York, especially Utica and Buffalo.  Can you believe the Nuns sell these for only $4.00; we handed the church secretary $20.00.  How could we not, look at how cute it is!  I plated it on this pretty Polish Pottery plate from The Christmas Tree Shops.
I love making Peep S'mores for all the holidays.  And, since there is a Peep for almost every holiday, why not.  And, I truly love when others hop on the "band wagon."  Several recipients loved this (very easy) idea and are trying it out for themselves.  One for the Easter dinner table; another, (a teacher) for her students and yet another to give out to family and friends. 
So many Peeps for Easter to choose from, but I thought the eggs were perfect.  I don't see them very often and I like the white.
Tied with a purple ribbon and all nestled in a pretty Easter basket.
There are many Easter pies and breads, but my favorite is Pizzaagaina (some call it Pizza Rustica or Pizza Chiena) which is Easter ham pie.  And there are as many recipe variations as there are names.  Other than my Mother's my favorite is from Cappiello's Food, on Broadway in Schenectady.  It is perfect any time of the day, but I really enjoy it for breakfast.
Of course I can not forget the ham.  I have to admit I love the Honey Baked Ham Store ham.  We generally buy it sliced by the pound.  I love it in a simple sandwich and for breakfast with eggs.  A whole ham is sometimes too much for our household so it is nice to be able to buy it sliced.
As I said the snow is gone and it has been getting warmer every day, but the nights are still cool and besides I love hot chocolate any time or the year; so bunny marshmallows are just perfect.
And last but not lease my favorite part of the holiday, the Easter Basket.  As far as I am concerned no one is too old for a basket.  It all comes down to the content.  I actually think a basket is a great way to deliver presents.  I always think about the raffle and door prize baskets we make for charity.  Who doesn't love breaking open a basket and pulling out all the goodies.
The contents will have to stay a mystery until Sunday. 
Happy Easter and happy Passover!