(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for information.) Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. The summer is starting to feel like it’s over. Today the kids have their last day of summer camp. They are spending next week with the in-laws up in Ulster County while my husband and I work. Tomorrow, my daughter had requested we do some back-to-school shopping. Wish me luck! Here are five from this week:
1. Supper Club – Last weekend we hosted our monthly supper club. This month’s theme was Brazilian and I made this Brazilian Fish stew. It was pretty easy to make and very tasty. Although really, everything was delicious, as usual. It’s a lot of fun trying new cuisines to cook!
2. Reading – This week I finished The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I had mentioned in last Friday’s post. I have started reading Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. It’s the sequel to Beartown, which I loved. Even though I just started this, I know I’m going to love it just as much.
3. Hudson Valley Food Hall – This food hall recently opened in Beacon, so of course we had to check it out. One of the dishes we enjoyed were these momos (Himalayan dumplings). It was a mixed bowl that included two chicken, two beef and two spinach and cheese. I will have a full post next week about this new eatery.
4. Watching – So I’ve previously mentioned that I recently read The Bone Collector. I remember watching the movie YEARS ago, and decided that I needed to watch it again after reading the book. Well, the movie isn’t as good as I remembered! And I found it to be a lot different than the book. Lesson learned.
5. Cooking – It worked so well having my daughter pick a recipe and cook dinner one night a week, that this week I had my son take a turn. He chose this Bacon Mac and Cheese. I of course supervise and assist when needed, but it’s been great watching them gain cooking skills and take ownership of dinner. Too bad they aren’t around next week! I hope that we can keep this up during the school year, but we will have to see how busy their schedules get.
(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure policy for more information.) It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I haven’t read half of what I wanted to read! The good news is that I read eight books last month and almost all of them were four star reads! My library is hosting an adult summer reading BINGO game, so I enjoyed reading books to get a BINGO. Maybe I’ll even win a prize! I’m sharing my books with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Here are my July reads:
The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda – Jane Harris lives in a beautiful home in a gated community and seems to have the perfect life. Overcome with grief after her older daughter Mary’s death, she’s barely left the house over the past year. With her younger daughter Betsy graduating high school, Jane is ready to get her life back. However, things aren’t as perfect as they appear and it is harder for her than expected. I like a good suspense/psychological thriller, but I wasn’t a fan of this book. Unlikable characters, unreliable narrator….I just wasn’t impressed.
Startup by Doree Shafrir – Mack McAllister is trying to launch an improved version of his Mindfulness app and needs money from investors to do so. Katya is a writer for a tech blog, where Dan Blum is her boss. With two young children at home, Dan’s wife Sabrina decides to reenter the work force and ends up being one of the oldest employees working at Mack’s company, helping them with their social media. After a scandal breaks, Katya and Sabrina This was my in-person book club’s July read. I didn’t realize that Doree Shafrir, of the Forever35 podcast that I listen to, had written a book! While I found the look into the tech startup world interesting, the story was pretty “eh.” None of the characters were very likable and the ending left me wanting more.
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver – Lincoln Rhyme was a star criminologist until a work accident left him a paraplegic. He’s been called in to assist when a serial killer on a case he finds intriguing. With the assistance of police detective Amelia Sach, the pair work together to try to stop the killer. I watched this movie starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie years ago. I was trying to find a book to fit the “crime” category for my library BINGO game and decided to read this book, since I liked the movie. It was really good! I enjoyed the detailed forensics and what goes into a crime scene investigation. Now I want to watch the movie again.
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – Lily has known Budgie since they were kids spending summers together in Seaview, Rhode Island. During college, Budgie dated Graham Pendleton and Lily fell in love with his football teammate Nick Greenwald. Fast forward to Memorial Day, 1938 and Lily is back in Seaview to spend the summer with her family. When Budgie and Nick Greenwald arrive they get the small town talking, and not in a good way. Told between the past and present day (1938), we learn the story of what happened between Lily and Nick. This book has been on my to read list since 2013! Based on the title, I decided to make it a summer read. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable read.
One Day in December by Josie Silver – Laurie doesn’t believe in love at first sight…..until one day she’s on a bus and she sees Jack sitting at the bus stop. After a year looking for him, her best friend and roommate, Sarah, brings home her boyfriend to introduce to Laurie…..and it turns out to be Jack. The story is told over ten years as we follow the three of them through their ups and downs. This was a cute contemporary romance and a perfect light summer read.
The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth – Ever since Lucy married Ollie, she was never close to her mother-in-law, Diana. Five years later and Diana is found dead in what appears to look like a suicide, but is not. Now everyone is a suspect and who had motive to want Diana dead? The book alternates between Diana’s past and present day. I thought the book gave an interesting look at family dynamics and parenting privileged kids. I’ve enjoyed every Hepworth book that I’ve read and this one didn’t disappoint.
The Overdue Lifeof Amy Byler by Kelly Harms – When Amy’s husband reappears in her life after three years and wants to spend some quality time with their children, Amy is left with a lot of time on her hands. She ends up in NYC for the summer on #momspringa living an exciting life. But when summer ends she has to figure out if she really wants to return to her old life. I know a lot of people read and posted about this book in past linkups and weren’t huge fans. As a mom of an 11 and 13 year old, the overwhelm and under appreciation is real! I could relate to Amy in that respect and for the first time ever, took a short two day solo trip to a wellness spa this past June. Overall, this was a relatable, fun read for me.
Verity by Colleen Hoover – Lowen is given a job to finish writing the remaining books of bestselling author Verity Crawford. Going through Verity’s notes, Lowen discovers an autobiography that she wrote with lots of revelations that she’s not sure Verity’s husband, Jeremy, is aware of. As Lowen starts falling for Jeremy she wrestles with sharing what she’s discovered. I recommended this book for my work book club’s July read and everyone loved it. This was the first Hoover book that any of them had read. I’m a huge fan of Hoover and have read almost all of her books. This book is so much darker than her normal stuff. It was a bit disturbing but also hard to put down.
Hooray for Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. It was pretty uneventful here for us, which I call a win! My daughter attended a local field hockey camp in preparation for the upcoming school year, where she plays on the modified field hockey team. My son was at the regular town camp all week. This weekend we are hosting our monthly supper club. This month’s theme is Brazilian, which I’m sure will be a tasty dinner! Here are five from this week:
Birthday Celebration – my husband’s side of the family came over this past weekend to celebrate my son’s birthday. Even though he turned 11 almost a month ago, this was the first day that we were all free. My son requested chicken parm. We also made meatballs, sausage, pasta, Caesar salad and garlic bread. It was delicious and we had leftovers for a few meals! Is it sad that the only pics I have of our food is the sauce simmering on the stove and the meatballs, pictured above, frying in the pan?!!
2. Listening – Dinner Sisters podcast. Each week, hosts Kate Schulz and Betsy Wallace pick the same recipes to cook for their family from popular bloggers and cookbooks. Then they make the recipes and review them for the listener. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and I love hearing their opinions. I’m only four episodes in so far, but there are currently 74 episodes. I’m one of those listeners that like to start at the beginning and make my way forward. So I have lots of episodes to catch up on! I have yet to make any recipes that they have talked about though.
4. Reading – This week my work book club met to discuss Verity. Everyone liked it which was nice since I’m the one who recommended it! We picked The Art of Racing in the Rain for our next read. I read this book years ago and am looking forward to a reread. I even have it on hand from the library since I just had my daughter read it. I’m always on the lookout for good books for her to read besides the typical YA stuff she enjoys. If you have any good teen book recommendations, please share! I’m currently finishing up Born a Crime by Trevor Noah for my library’s adult summer BINGO game. It completes my BINGO win for the category, book by a celebrity or public figure.
5. Podcast – This week on the podcast we discuss Playland Park, local produce, adult summer reading and the NY Renaissance Faire. Then we end with our Quick Hits of the week!
Peekskill is a small city situated along the Hudson River in northern Westchester County. It has a vibrant food scene and has many restaurants and eateries. While your dining options may seem daunting, here are 5 recommended Peekskill eats that we think you should try when visiting.
Ramen from Ramenesque – Rameneseque has locations in Peekskill and Thornwood. There is a reason that they have won the Best of Westchester ramen category in both 2018 and 2019. They serve six different varieties of ramen, which means, you may have to visit six times! We always get the Shoyu Ramen, pictured above. It’s a traditional soy sauce flavored ramen that the kids enjoy.
Tapas from Iron Vine – I know, this isn’t one specific thing to eat. However, Iron Vine serves Spanish/Mediterranean dishes and has an extensive tapas menu. If you are looking for a dinner out with friends, I highly recommend this restaurant. This way, you can order a bunch of the different tapas on the menu (or almost all of them, like we did. This pic only shows round one!) and share. Plus, they have a great cocktail menu and also serve salads, sandwiches and entrees, if you’re not interested in tapas.
“Out of This World Shakes” from The Hudson Creamery – We’ve tried several of The Hudson Creamery’s signature sundaes, but our favorite has been the “Out of This World Shake.” Their milkshakes were the 2018 Best of Westchester winner. We’ve only tried the Peanut Butter and Chocolate “Out of This World” shake, pictured above. But out of four different freak shakes throughout Westchester County that we tried, this was one of our faves! Located right by the Peekskill waterfront, we enjoy taking our ice cream down to the water and eating it while we take in the beautiful views of the Hudson River.
Churrasco from El Bambu– We ordered takeout from El Bambu for the first time recently. I think this was our first time trying Guatemalan food. We ordered a couple of different dishes, but the Churrasco was our definite favorite! The steak was so tender and flavorful. We tried it both in the Specialty of the House wrap as well as the Churrasco Chapin. There is space to dine in at this small, unassuming restaurant located on Bank Street, or you can opt to takeout, like we did.
Peaceful Provisions Doughnuts – Peaceful Provisions is located in the first floor of the Peekskill Brewery, also down by the Peekskill waterfront. They are a family, women owned small business. They make vegan doughnuts from scratch in small batches. While their doughnut menu rotates, all of the doughnuts that we tried were delicious (pictured from top right, clockwise: Strawberry, Half Baked Funfetti Cookie Doughnut, NY Cream, and Lemon Poppy Seed.
(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.) Happy Friday! I cannot believe that it is August already! I know some kids are heading back to school soon, but here in New York, my kids don’t go back until Labor Day. I feel like there’s so much I still want to do but the weather has been so hot and humid, that we don’t really want to be outdoors. Plus, we are running out of free weekends! Besides a couple of trips to Rhode Island, we didn’t have much of a vacation. But I feel like we’ve been so busy! We have a big trip planned over Thanksgiving though so we are excited and looking forward to that. This weekend my car has to go in for an air bag recall. Then we are going to a concert at West Point on Saturday night. Sunday, my husband’s family is coming over for a belated birthday celebration for our son. It should be a fun weekend. Here are five from this week:
1. Boy Scout Camp – so all week we thought our son was having a good time at Boy Scout Camp. My husband picked him up Saturday and when he got home he told us that he actually hated it. There wasn’t just one particular thing, but a combination of lots of bugs (and bug bites! He was covered!), smelly bathrooms and being away from us for a week. We told him we were proud of him for putting up a good front and sticking it out.
2. Reading – I finished The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver this week. I think I read it in three days! I watched the movie, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, years ago, but don’t recall reading the book. It was fast paced and suspenseful. I now have to watch the movie again! And I just put the second book in the series, The Coffin Dancer on hold at the library!
3. Eating – Doughnuts! Last weekend I tried a new-to-us doughnut shop called Peaceful Provisions. They are a local, women-owned family doughnut shop that is vegan. They make everything from scratch in small batches. These doughnuts were a bit on the expensive side, but so good!
4. Cooking – I had a bit of meltdown recently feeling unappreciated (especially by the teenage daughter!) with all of the meal planning and cooking I do. So I made her plan a recipe and cook it this week. She chose and made this Creamy Cherry Tomato and Squash Pasta, mostly by herself. This has gone so well I told my husband and son that they also need to start planning and cooking one weeknight meal. We shall see how this goes!
5. Impromptu date night – A neighboring town had a music festival last Saturday. After my son came home we helped him unpack and had dinner together. But then he wanted to catch up on missed Fornite time and my daughter didn’t want to go out. So, my husband and I went to see the last band of the day, River of Dreams. By their name, you might be able to tell that they are a Billy Joel cover band. They were actually pretty good and who doesn’t Billy Joel?!!
We have not been hiking or doing many outdoor activities with the recent heat waves. But we know that fall will be here before we know it, bringing some cooler weather. Therefore, we want to post about our recent hikes so you can start to plan some outdoor family activities for when the weather gets a little more comfortable. A great family hike can be found at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located in Kerhonkson, New York (Ulster County) and is about an hour and fifteen minute drive from northern Westchester County. Warning, this is a very popular state park! On a beautiful day in mid June, we had to wait about fifteen minutes just to enter the park, since the parking lots were full.
The Preserve is over 22,000 acres with over 50 miles of hiking trails. You will not be able to see it all in a day! I am a waterfall lover and I wanted to visit Minnewaska State Park Preserve after hearing about Awosting Falls.
From the parking lot it’s a short walk to get to the trail heads. We first started on the Awosting Falls red-blazed trail which lies adjacent to the Peter Kill stream. There are a series of smaller waterfalls, that of course we had to photograph! As you walk further down the trail there’s even a spot where you can stand above Awosting Falls.
The trail heads downhill into the woods before you arrive at the bottom of Awosting Falls. The falls are 60 feet tall and plunge into a large, clear pool. The amount and strength of the falls depends on the rainfall. Fortunately, the day of our visit there was a rewarding waterfall.
After spending some time taking in the beauty of the falls we continued our hike. We returned back up the way we came to the beginning of the red trail. We then switched to the orange-blazed Sunset Carriageway Trail towards Lake Minnewaska. This was about a 20 minute uphill hike to the lake.
But the views are amazing! And if you really want to, you can drive to the upper parking lot, skipping this hike altogether. Lake Minnewaska is less than one-half mile long and is surrounded by white cliffs. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can hike around the lake. We weren’t feeling very ambitious…..or more like our children weren’t feeling it.
I didn’t realize that visitors can swim in Lake Minnewaska, or I would have had the kids wear their bathing suits. The swimming area is roped off and staffed by lifeguards. Luckily, it wasn’t super hot the day that we visited, so we sat on the dock and enjoyed a snack and water break. There’s also a bathroom across from the lake if you need a rest stop. After our snack break we continued on the red trail until we reached the start of the blue trail, Castle Point Carriageway. At this point we decided it was a good time to turn around and make our way back to the car.
Like I mentioned, Minnewaska is very popular and was very crowded the day we went. Trails were filled with hikers, dogs, (SO many dogs! We felt a little left out that we didn’t have a dog to hike with) and mountain bikers. Although horseback riding is allowed on the trails, that is one thing we didn’t see on our hike.
The Preserve is located on the Shawangunk (“Gunks” to the locals) Mountain ridge, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Altogether we hiked about four miles and saw some beautiful views. However, we never made it to the peaks of any mountains. For more serious hiking and trail tips, I highly recommend checking out Hike the Hudson Valley’s write up on the park. Mike writes super informative hiking guides for trails throughout the Hudson Valley, which we have referenced many times!
We didn’t get a chance to visit the Nature Center or to see Lake Awosting, another lake in the Preserve, where swimming is also allowed. Plus, with all of the hiking trails available, there are plenty of reasons for us to make a return trip.
The Details: Minnewaska State Park 5281 Rt. 44-55 Kerhonkson, NY 12446
Hours: Park hours vary by season. Please check out the website for the most up-to-date information.
Parking: $10 per vehicle or free with the Empire Pass
Notes: *There is a Nature Center that is open on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Hours are 10 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM – 4 PM.
*If you are visiting the park to go swimming, park in the upper parking lot, or you will have a decent hike ahead of you to get to the lake.
*Again, check out Hike the Hudson Valley’s guide to Minnewaska State Park Preserve for information on hiking the trails!
*Minnewaska State Park Preserve has a carry in, carry out policy. Make sure if you are bringing food in to also bring a bag to store your garbage.
Hooray for the weekend! I was exhausted on Monday and unfortunately, it didn’t get much better as the week went on. I’m glad that the temps finally dropped a little bit this week and we actually got to turn off the air and open the windows for a couple of evenings. Saturday I’m looking forward to seeing my son who has been away all week at Boy Scout Camp! My husband is leaving the house around 5 AM to get up to the camp by the 8:30 AM pick-up time! I volunteered to keep him company on the drive, but he’s actually carpooling with another dad…..so I get to sleep in! I have a feeling that when they get back my son is going to be wanting sushi for dinner. I’m not sure how good the camp food was and he loves his sushi! Here are some highlights from this past week:
Supper Club – Last weekend we had our monthly supper club. This month’s theme was California. My husband made Sriracha Turkey Burgers. I chose dessert and made this Candied Citrus Ricotta Cake. I was pretty proud of myself because 1. I never bake. Unless you count boxed brownies, rice krispy treats….and the occasional cookie or muffin. 2. It just turned out so pretty! So even if it tasted bad I’d be okay because it looked good. But it actually tasted really good!
2. New York State Museum – My husband and I dropped our son off at Boy Scout Camp on Sunday. It was an over 3 hour drive to get him there. On the way back we ended up stopping in Albany and visited the New York State Museum, since my husband had never been.
3. Eating – we stopped for dinner at City Beer Hall in Albany. My husband enjoyed a beer flight and we shared some delicious pork buns and this Greek Island Beef and Reef platter. It included hanger steak souvlaki, grilled octopus, tzatziki, fries, heirloom tomato, cucumber and herb salad and pita. Everything was cooked perfectly and it was so good! I’ve found a new tasty combo – fries in tzatziki sauce!
4. Reading – I’m currently reading A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. This is an older book that has been on my to read list for awhile. With the word summer right in the title, I thought it would make a good, seasonal read. I’m not loving it yet, but it’s gotten pretty good reviews, so I won’t be giving up on it.
Our Podcast!!!! – I saved the best for last. But yes, NY Foodie Family is now a podcast! The first official episode, minus our short intro episode, was published yesterday! Would love for you to check it out!