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Five on Friday {The Short Week}

I hope everyone had a great week and is ready for the weekend!  We had a short week here with the kids off from school yesterday and today for the Jewish holidays.  They have slowly adjusted to their weekly school routine and things are running pretty smoothly around here (knock on wood!).  We don’t have an exciting weekend planned but my husband hopes to get a bunch of yard work and house projects completed.  My son has soccer, my daughter has a birthday party and we have our town day celebration. Otherwise, we will hopefully be enjoying a relaxing weekend. Here are five from this week:

We enjoyed apple picking at Wilkens Farm. It was a hot day but we picked apples and enjoyed cider dougnuts!

1. Celebrating – Last Saturday was my birthday and I had my celebratory weekend all planned out.  Saturday we went apple picking and out to dinner.  Then Sunday we went down to the city for an eating tour.  I couldn’t believe how hot it was Saturday.  We were in the apple orchard in the middle of September, sweating like crazy.  But we picked a bag of apples and had some cider doughnuts.

My daughter made apple crisp and cinnamon apple muffins.

2.  Baking – Yesterday, being off from school, my daughter got baking fever.  I was already planning on making muffins.  But she asked if she could make them on her own.  So, from start to finish she made Cinnamon Apple Muffins from allrecipes by herself.  Once the muffins were in the oven she decided that she wanted to make something else.  So the two of us made an Apple Crisp together which we enjoyed for dessert last night.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream, but it was delicious without!

3. Eating – Although we live pretty close to New York City we don’t get to go very often.  My birthday was a perfect reason to head down for the day. There were some foods only found in the city that I really wanted to try after drooling over my Instagram feed. We enjoyed a delicious day of eating all the foods! (Check my Instagram feed for more deliciousness.) Out of all the food we ate Sunday, this Unicorn Special from Taiyaki was the kids’ favorite and definitely wins for being the cutest!

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4. Reading – This week my son and I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I am so happy that I finally finished the series. I’m very happy with how the book ended and was even crying in parts.  Now, we just need to plan a trip to Universal Studios to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

5. Celebrating Small Wins – One of my blog business goals this month was to create my LinkedIn profile.  My husband had been telling me for months that I needed to create one.  I finally sat down yesterday afternoon and took some time to set it up!  It’s still a work in progress and I currently only have 2 connections.  But for me, this is a big step! Next up…..business cards!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendarMonday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Tuesday I wrote about our visit to Watkins Glen State Park.

Wednesday I shared a recap of our #NYSummer2017.

Thursday I published a Westchester County Fall Fun guide.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!

 

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Westchester County Fall Fun

 

Tomorrow marks the official first day of fall. With the leaves changing color and Halloween quickly approaching, there is so much to see and do.  Here is a round-up of some of the Westchester County fall fun to be had!

Please note, not all of these events are family-friendly! 

Apple Picking:

While there are many apple orchards throughout the Hudson Valley, you don’t have to travel far to go apple picking.  Westchester County is home to four apple orchards.  In addition to apple picking, many offer family-friendly activities, as well as (Please check each website for specific dates, times and cost.)

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard (North Salem)

Outhouse Orchards (Croton Falls)

Stuarts Farms (Granite Springs)

Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm (Yorktown Heights)

Fall Festivals:

There are tons of fall festivals taking place in September and October throughout Westchester County.  While there are too many to list, we’ve listed some of the more popular events.

Hudson Valley Irish Fest
September 30, 2017 – 11 AM – 7 PM
Peekskill Riverfront Green
Peekskill, NY 10566

Enjoy a fun day celebrating all things Irish.  There will be live music, food, vendors and family fun.

Once Upon a Time Fall Fest & Train Show
Weekends beginning September 30 – 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Lasdon Park
2610 Amawalk Road, Rt. 35
Katonah, NY 10536
Tickets: $10/adult, $5/child (12 and under)
**Free admission on October 29 for children in costume!! 

Enjoy seeing trains, a hay maze, storytelling, a dinosaur plant garden and more. This year’s theme is Once Upon a Time, centering around children’s books.  There will be wine and craft beer tastings on select dates.

Farm Fest at Fable Farm
October 1, 2017 – 10 AM – 4 PM
1311 Kitchawan Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562

Enjoy a day at the farm.  Feed the chickens, tour the hydroponic greenhouse, shop local vendors, enjoy cooking demos and more.

Harvest Fest
October 7, 2017 – 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Stone Barns Center
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
*General Admission tickets sold out!!
Celebration Tickets and packages available starting at $150

Enjoy a day on the farm with hayrides, educational tours, cooking activities, live music, local food and beverage vendors and more!

Fall Fest
October 7-10, 2017, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Hilltop Hanover Farm
1271 Hanover Street
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Free to attend, but activities will have fees

Enjoy an entire weekend of fall fun! Farm produce will be on sale and there will be pumpkin picking and other family fun activities.

Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival
October 14, 2017 – 10 AM – 4 PM
Robert E. Bell Middle School
50 Senter Street
Chappaqua, NY 10514

More than 90 children’s authors are expected to attend the book festival and will be signing books and reading excerpts.  Enjoy a day of books, fun, food and entertainment.

21st Annual Sleepy Hollow Street Fair
October 14, 2017 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Beekman Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Enjoy vendors, a kid’s carnival, food from local restaurants and more.

HarvestFest on the Hill
October 21, 2017 12 PM – 3 PM
Ridge Hill
1 Ridge Hill Blvd.
Yonkers, NY 10710

Enjoy an afternoon of family fun and entertainment.  Children can wear costumes and trick-or-treat from 12 PM – 1 PM.  There will be square dance lessons, pumpkin painting, live music, food and drink and more.

                                                                                    Croton Gorge Park
Fall Foliage:

Westchester County has some great places to do some leaf peeping!  Here are a couple of recommendations.  Please leave me some of your favorite places in the comments!

Croton Gorge Park
35 Yorktown Rd.
Cortlandt, NY 10520

Enjoy an easy wooded hike up to the Croton Gorge Dam and then take in the beautiful waterfall and scenic views!

Fall Foliage Afternoon Cruise on the Hudson River with Trinity Cruise Company
Riverfront Green Park
Peekskill, NY
3 PM, select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October
$22/adults, $20/seniors, $14/children 16 and under

Enjoy a 1 1/2 hour cruise on the Hudson River as you take in highlights including Iona Island, Bear Mountain, Anthony’s Nose and more.  Food and beverage are not included but snacks and beverages are available to purchase on board.

Rockefeller State Park
125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, NY 10570
7 AM – Sunset
$6 parking fee

Read our Rockfeller State Park blog post for more info!

Halloween Fun:

(photo by Angie Gaul – courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Van Cortlandt Manor
525 S. Riverside Avenue
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520
Dates:  Check website for specific dates
Tickets: $20/adults ($25 – Fri./Sat.), $16/children (3-17) ($20 – Fri./Sat.) (Free for members and children under 3)

There’s a reason that thousands of visitors visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze each fall.  Sound effects, lighting and an original soundtrack accompany thousands of carved pumpkins artfully arranged on the grounds of Van Cortland Manor.  Get your tickets soon as this event always sells out!

Jay Ghoul’s House of CuriositiesHalloween Without a Clue
Lyndhurst
635 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Oct. 19 – 22 and Oct. 25-31, 6-9 PM (check website for specific dates and times)
Tickets:  $25/adults, $20/children (12 and under)   advance reservations are necessary

Enjoy a nighttime, fun and spooky theater performance that lasts approximately 30 minutes.  It is a family-friendly event, though young children may be scared by the costumes and low lighting.

Spooky Tales
October 30, 2017 – 3:30 PM
Caramoor
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY 10536
Tickets:  $15/adults, $10/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to listen to Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk tell spooky, but not-too-scary, stories to celebrate Halloween.  Come in costume and enjoy some refreshments in the Summer Dining Room after the performance.

Haunted Houses:

There are not many haunted houses in Westchester County but get your scare on with these three.  Parents, you  know your children.  Even though many of these attractions are recommended for ages 10+, don’t take your children if you don’t think that are up for it.  Weeks of nightmares are not worth one night of fun for you! 

The Haunt at Rocky Ledge
1402 Old Orchard Street
White Plains, NY 10603
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
The Haunt at Rocky Ledge includes two haunted houses, a walk through the woods and a haunted cornfield.  Expect to be scared!

       (Photo by Tom Nycz – courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)

Horseman’s Hollow at Philipsburg Manor
100 Continental Street (Philipsburg Manor overflow parking lot)
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
Tickets:  $25/Saturday tickets, $20 (online)/Friday and Sunday, $22 (phone order)/Friday & Sunday Fast track tickets are an additional $15 per person (members receive a $5 discount)

Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow is transformed into a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman. Get your tickets in advance as many nights sell out.  Recommended for ages 10+

Scared By the Sound
Playland Amusement Park
Playland Parkway
Rye, NY 10580
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
Tickets:  $20

This walk-through attraction is recommended for children 10+

Performances:

                (Photo by Jennifer Mitchell – courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)

Irving’s “Legend” at the Old Dutch Church
Parking is at Philipsburg Manor:
381 North Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in October (check website for specific times)
Tickets:  $25/adults, $20/children under 18 (members receive a $5 discount)

Enjoy master storyteller Jonathan Kruk’s dramatic performance of Washington Irving’s classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Performances take place weekends throughout October and last approximately 45 minutes.  This event is recommended for children ages 10+.  The event takes place at the Old Dutch Church across the street from Philipsburg Manor.

Oktoberfest:

Bear Mountain Oktoberfest at Anthony Wayne
September 23 – October 29 – 12 PM – 6 PM
Anthony Wayne Recreation Area
Palisades Parkway, Exit 17
Bear Mountain, NY 10911

Although not in Westchester County, the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest is one of the largest in the area.  Enjoy live music, food and of course beer now through the end of October.

Farmers Markets:

Pick up locally grown produce and shop local vendors.  #SupportLocal

John Jay Homestead
Saturdays (through October 28) – 9 AM – 1:00 PM
400 Jay Street (Rt. 22)
Katonah, NY 10536

Muscoot Farm
Sundays (through November 26) – 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
51 Route 100
Katonah, NY 10536

Check out the 20+ vendors and then go visit the animals or take a hike!

Also check out other local farmers markets in Croton-on-Hudson (Sundays), Harrison (Saturdays), Hastings (Saturdays), Larchmont (Saturdays), New Rochelle (Fridays), NY Presbyterian in Cortlandt Manor (1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month), Ossining (Saturdays),Peekskill (Saturdays), Pleasantville (Saturdays), Rye (Sundays) and White Plains (Wednesdays).

Food:

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week
From October 30 – November 12, 2017  almost 200 restaurants throughout the Hudson Valley will be offering special three-course lunches ($19.95) or dinners ($32.95).  Now’s a great time to check out some new restaurants in Westchester County and beyond.

Dance:

Costume Bash Dance Party (for adults)
October 13, 2017
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street (Rt. 22)
Katonah, NY 10536
7 – 8 PM, VIP experience
8 PM – 12 AM, costume bash
Tickets: $80/each, VIP experience: $125/each

Adults, put on your costumes and get ready for a fun evening of music and dance.  Enjoy cocktails and raffles with a prize for most creative costume.

Movies:

Fall Flicks Outdoor Movies
Cross County Shopping Center
8000 Mall Walk
Yonkers, NY 10704
Schedule:
Friday September 22 – Beauty & the Beast (2017)  Arrive at 5 PM to get selfies with the characters before the movie.
Friday September 29 – The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Friday October 6 – Monster House (2006)

Bring a blanket or chairs to the Green for a movie, free popcorn and family entertainment.

If you know of a Westchester County fall fun event that should be added, please let me know in the comments below or e-mail me at NYFoodieFamily@gmail.com. 

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#NYSummer2017 In Review

Our family had an amazing summer traveling around New York State.  Through four separate road trips, we saw parts of New York that we had never visited before. During one of these trips, I discovered my love for the Adirondacks and I can’t wait to make a return visit.  This summer also made me realize that we’ve only seen a fraction of what New York has to offer.  We really do live in a spectacular state! Here is our #NYSummer2017 in review: (Links take you to the full posts on the blog.  They will be updated as additional posts are published.)

Trip #1 (Albany, Adirondacks, Saratoga)

Day 1:  We traveled from our home in northern Westchester County to the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology in Troy, NY.  After a couple of hours at the museum we drove to John Boyd Thacher State Park in Vorheesville, NY.  We stayed at the Econo Lodge in Colonie for one evening.

Day 2:  We drove into Albany and toured the state Capitol building.  We then walked around Empire Plaza, past the Egg to the Corning Observation Deck.  After riding the elevator to the 42nd floor for some amazing views of the city we headed back to the concourse for lunch.  After lunch we visited the New York State Museum before driving to Moreau Lake State Park, where we tried cabin camping for the first time.  This was our “home base” for the week.

Day 3: We visited the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.  My husband drove up after work Friday evening and met us at the cabin for a long weekend.

Day 4:  We visited the Olympic Sites at Lake Placid.  We ate dinner at A&W.

Day 5:  We spent the day at Six Flags Great Escape and then had dinner at Farmstead Flatbread in Queensbury.

Day 6:  We drove into the town of Lake George.  Unfortunately, it was a rainy and cold day.  We played indoor miniature golf  and walked around by the lake.  After a Middle Eastern lunch at Ali Baba Express, my husband drove back home.

Day 7: The day started out rainy again.  Our first stop was to Yaddo Gardens.  Then we visited Congress Park in Saratoga Springs where we rode the carousel (pictured above) and had lunch at Ravenous Creperie.  After lunch we drove to Saratoga Spa State Park where we did some geocaching and walked the geyser trail.

Day 8: We spent the morning at Lake Moreau and the kids finally got to go swimming.  Later in the afternoon we went white water rafting with Beaver Brook Outfitters.  That evening we drove back home.

Trip #2 (Buffalo/Niagara Falls)

Day 1: We drove the 6.5 + hours to Four Mile Creek State Park.  We were tent camping on this trip.  We got there after dinner and had to set up the tent…..in the rain.

Day 2: We drove to Buffalo and had a great brunch at the Lake Effect Diner. After eating we did a quick drive around the SUNY Buffalo campus.  During our drive it started to rain so we visited the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum.  After spending the afternoon there we drove over to the Canada side of the Falls.  After taking lots of pictures of the Falls in the rain we walked around Clifton Hill.  Luckily, by evening the rain stopped. We were able to see the falls lit up and the fireworks show before heading back to the campsite. We returned to the campsite to discover our tent had caved in and the kids’ air mattress and sleeping bags were soaked!

Day 3:  After packing up the camp site, we headed to the falls area on the American side.  After lunch, we took the Maid of the Mist boat ride and then headed home.

Trip #3 (Binghamton/Ithaca)

Day 1:  We headed up to Binghamton.  On the way up, we stopped at Animal Adventure Park and got to see April the giraffe and her baby Taj!  We then drove to Binghamton University where we walked around my husband’s old college campus.  After, we visited Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca.  The water was freezing, but the kids braved it to go swimming.  Finally, we drove to Cortland and had dinner at Central City Bar and Grill before heading to our hotel.

Day 2: We spent the day in Ithaca visiting Cornell University, my old college campus.  We started at the Botanic Gardens, then did some geocaching and walked along Beebe Lake for a bit. We walked around the campus and headed down to Collegetown for lunch.  After lunch, we drove to the Dairy Bar for ice cream.  After leaving Cornell, we drove down to Purity Ice Cream in Ithaca for some more treats!  We ended the day at Buttermilk Falls State Park.  It took us awhile to hike down to the falls where we were disappointed to discover that there was no swimming allowed that day.  We spent a little time at the playground and then had to hike back up to the car.  We then headed back home.

Trip #4 (Corning, Rochester, Syracuse)


Day 1:  We drove up to Corning, where our first stop was the Rockwell Museum.  After a short visit to the museum, we had lunch at the Old World Cafe.  Then we visited the Corning Museum of Glass.  After our visit, we went to our hotel at the Staybridge Suites, where the kids had a quick swim in the indoor pool. Then we headed out to dinner at Hand + Foot.

Day 2:  We drove to Elmira and went kayaking down the Chemung River with Southern Tier Kayak Tours.  After a quick lunch, we drove to Watkins Glen and went horseback riding at Painted Bar Stables.  Then we visited Watkins Glen State Park and walked the Gorge Trail to see all the waterfalls.  We made a short stop at Seneca Harbor Park before heading to dinner at Nickel’s Pit BBQ.  After dinner, we drove to Hammondsport, where we stayed for the night.

Day 3:  We spent the morning walking around the Village Square in Hammondsport.  We went down to Depot Park, where only my son was brave enough to withstand the cold temps for a quick dip in Keuka Lake.  We then had lunch at the Village Tavern Restaurant before heading to Rochester.

Day 4:  We spent the day at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester.

Day 5:  We spent the day at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford.

Day 6:  We spent the morning at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester.  We then drove to Syracuse and spent the rest of the day at the New York State Fair.

Day 7:  We got up early and drove the four hours back home.

We had a lot of fun this summer and the kids will have lots of memories.  As you can see, there is so much to see and do throughout New York. We can’t wait to continue to explore the Empire State!

What is your favorite New York State attraction?

 

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Walking Under Waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park

We visited Watkins Glen State Park on our recent trip to the Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes region. I was able to cross another New York State Park off my list AND I was able to walk under waterfalls!  Not only was this park already on my want-to-visit list, but it won 3rd place in a 2015 USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Award for Best State Park!  We couldn’t be in the area and not visit.

Watkins Glen State Park is one of the most well-known state parks in the Finger Lakes region.  Covering 778 acres, the park has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a playground. It also has 293 camping sites, including 10 cabin sites.  However, people come from near and far to walk the trails along the gorge to see the waterfalls.

The park has three trails: Indian Trail, South Rim Trail and Gorge Trail.  The park recommends hiking the Gorge Trail for the best experience of Watkins Glen.  This trail follows Glen Creek and includes over 800 stone steps, stone bridges and 19 waterfalls.  Several labeled landmarks are situated along the 2 mile trail.  During the summer, shuttles run from both the main and upper entrances if you are too tired to walk back.

On our visit, we entered through the park at the main entrance off Franklin Street and parked by the pool.  We walked down to Lily Pond and crossed the Suspension Bridge.

The Suspension Bridge is the only bridge on the trail not built of stone. As we walked along the trail, it was necessary to constantly stop and take in the beauty of the waterfalls.

Around every bend was another beautiful sight to see.  It was such a peaceful and scenic hike.  It’s unbelievable to think that this gorge is thousands of years old.

As promised, we were able to walk under Rainbow Falls and touch the water!  Truly a memorable experience!  As you can tell from the picture, you may get wet from the falls!

We did not walk the entire two-mile trail as we were already tired out from a full day of kayaking and horseback riding.   Instead, we walked approximately 3/4 of the trail to Mile Point Bridge.  There, we crossed the bridge and walked the South Rim Trail back to the parking lot and avoided climbing the 180 stone steps of Jacob’s Ladder near the upper entrance.  FYI, the South Rim Trail is higher than the gorge and does not offer views of the waterfalls.

Watkins Glen State Park offers a day of family fun.  The trail hikes include truly amazing views and a visit to this park will not disappoint!

The Details:

Watkins Glen State Park
1009 N. Franklin Street
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
(607) 535-4511

Parking:  $8 per vehicle, which includes pool access  (fee is collected during peak times, please check the website for exact dates and times)  The Empire Pass is accepted here.

Hours:  Although the park is open year-round, the trails are only open mid-May to early November, weather dependent. Please check the park website for up-to-date information and trail status updates.

Pool is open 11 AM – 7 PM, daily during the summer (dates and hours are subject to change and it is advised to call the park office to confirm hours before visiting)

Trail Shuttle:  9 AM – 6 PM, $5/person

Tips:

*Use the bathroom, located at either of the entrances to the park before beginning the hike.  There are no rest rooms on the trails.

*Pack drinks and snacks.  There’s nothing like hungry and thirsty kids to ruin a good hike!  The upper entrance has a snack bar and gift shop if you need to buy something before your hike.

*Wear appropriate footwear.  Hiking boots are best, as the rocks get slippery from the water.  Plus, there are steps and uneven surfaces.

*Weekends, especially in the summer, tend to be the busiest.  It wasn’t too crowded when we visited on a late Thursday afternoon in August.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 85}

2017 calendar

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend. We had a great weekend celebrating my birthday, which was on Saturday. I just can’t believe how quickly it flew by!  Monday means that it’s time for another weekly meal plan. If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you. Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes to try.  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  Here is what was on this past week’s meal plan:

Saturday:  We hosted our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was “sauce.”  I made Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce from Closet Cooking (which I showed a pic of on Instagram and in this past Friday Favorite’s post) and my husband made the gnocchi in a spinach, mushroom and Gorgonzola cheese sauce, pictured above.  Unfortunately, there’s no recipe since he made it up.

Sunday: We attended a food truck festival during the day.  When we got home we weren’t super hungry.  But my husband made Chicken Fried Rice for dinner using some leftover cooked chicken.  Again, no recipe.  But this is a great way to use up any leftover proteins you may have!

Monday:  We had leftover enchiladas and gnocchi.

Tuesday:  This week I tried one of Cooking Light magazine’s “Make Once Eat 3x” series from the August 2017 issue.  Tuesday I made Smoky Caramelized Onion Burgers.  They were easy to make and tasted good.  I served the burgers with fries.

Wednesday: I used two of the leftover burgers to make Thai Beef and Cabbage Salad.  This was a light meal that was easy to make but it wasn’t very filling. Both kids ate this without any complaints though.  I cooked dinner for the family and ended up going to the gym.  I will admit that after I got back at 8:45 PM and ate this salad I was still hungry…..so I ate some leftover fries.

Thursday:  I made Skillet Nacho Dip with the last two burgers. The spices totally changed the flavor of the former burgers!  I did not add the jalapeno so it wasn’t too spicy for the kids and omitted the pinto beans because I don’t like them!  I also used a Taco Blend of shredded cheese instead of the combo of Mozzarella and Mexican Blend cheeses as directed.  I’m glad my husband was at a Yankee game and not eating with us because there was only enough for the three of us (two kids, one adult).  I realize my dish lacked one cup of beans.  But next time I’d use at least a pound of ground beef and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Friday:  My parents had us over for dinner to celebrate my birthday.  My mom went all out and did a mini Thanksgiving.  Our dinner included turkey breast, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, her homemade sausage stuffing, and asparagus.  Plus a Napoleon cake and strawberries for dessert.

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Five on Friday {Birthday Weekend}

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone had a great week.  With school having started last week we are slowly getting back into the routine of things around here.  Tomorrow is my birthday and we have a fun weekend planned.  The celebrating starts tonight with dinner at my parent’s house.  Hopefully we have nice weather because we have outside plans.  Here are five from this week:

1. Reading – The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.  I really enjoyed her first book Behind Closed Doors.  I always love a good thriller/suspense book and so far this is a good one.

2. Watching – I hate to say that this week I’ve just watched the Bachelor in Paradise finale and was catching up on some of the Real Housewives episodes this week. Pretty boring.  I still have to finish the last three episodes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy from last season, since I know the new seasons premiere soon!

Closet Cooking Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce

3. Eating – Last weekend we hosted our “sauce” themed supper club.  I made Closet Cooking’s Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce.  They were really good!  I even made the homemade salsa verde.  My husband and I love avocados.  But why do they have to be so expensive?!!

Carnivale Over the top Smores milkshake

4. Family Fun – Last Sunday we attended a local food truck festival.  One of our favorite treats was this S’mores “over the top” milkshake.  Yes, it was as good as it looks!  No worries, I didn’t eat this all myself –  the four of us shared!

5. Back to the Gym – Somehow I made it through the entire summer without getting to the gym.  Not even once!  I’d like to say that we were traveling a lot, which is true, but it would still just be an excuse.  Now that we are back to routines, I’m trying to get back on a gym schedule.  This week I made it to two classes.  I’m celebrating the small victories!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
2017 calendar

Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

 

Tuesday I shared my August 2017 reads and joined the monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.

Wednesday I posted about Visiting the Corning Museum of Glass with Kids.

Thursday I reviewed a Munchpak subscription box.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April.  Have a great weekend!

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MunchPak Subscription Box {Review}

{Sponsored post – As usual all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping to support NY Foodie Family!}

Subscription boxes continue to be very popular, because who doesn’t like receiving a mystery box of fun each month? If you are an adventurous snack eater and want to try snacks from around the world, then MunchPak is for you!  The MunchPak snack subscription is easy to customize.  You choose how often you want to receive a new box (weekly, every two weeks or monthly) and how many snacks you want in each box (5+, 10+ or 20+).  The company realizes that some of their customers may have either food allergies or a strong preference in snack choices. There is an a la carte menu of 15 choices priced at an additional $1 each so you can ensure you receive only specific snacks.   Drink options are also available as an add-on to the box (tea, coffee, soda, juice, energy drink or water) for $5/each.  Yes, you have to be careful or the price can really add up quickly!  However, a basic, 5+ snacks box delivered once a month can cost as little as $9.95/month if you prepay for 12 months.  If you choose to subscribe month-to-month, it will cost $12.95/month.  Even better, NY Foodie Family readers can click here to receive 40% off your first delivery!

There’s no set theme to the snacks you receive in your MunchPak box.  Each box includes a variety of full-size snacks and treats from different countries.  Unfortunately, there’s no information card included to tell you about the snacks you just received.  However, you can download the Snack Scanner app and scan each snack’s barcode to find out what country it is from. You can also find out more info on the MunchPak site by searching in the “Our Shop” section.

We recently received a snack box for review.  It has been almost two years since we last tried MunchPak, so we were excited to see what we’d receive in the box.  Our 10+ box included the following eleven snacks and drink:

Draze Apacz Pomaranczowe – (Poland – candy) These candy balls had the flavor of an orange creamsicle.  They were crunchy on the outside but grainy on the inside.  We found them to be overly sweet.

Jacquet Bakery French Crepes (France – cookie) – These crepes are made in France but Jacquet Bakery has had a US prescence since 2013.  We received a 1.1 oz single crepe with chocolate filling, however the crepes are also sold with a strawberry filling or plain.  There are no artificial ingredients or preservatives in the crepes and they can be warmed up or eaten as is.  Since we were traveling in the car, we ate it as is.  We found the crepe to be very dry and the filling too sweet.

Au’some Chewy Bites – (China – candy) These chewy bites are small and pebble-shaped with a sweet taste.  The texture reminded us of the inside of a jelly bean.  Although we received strawberry flavored bites, we thought they tasted more like grape.  These are available in pineapple flavor as well.

Cookania Nutsy – (Pakistan – cookie) The description on the package describes these as “real peanut pistachio cookies.” There were three, small cookies in the package. We found them to be very dry and crumbly but liked that there were actual pieces of pistachio in the cookies.

Hanuta Haselnuss-Schnitte – (Germany – cookie) These cookies are made by Ferrero.  The package contained two square cookies, each encased in its own little tray.  Each consists of a thick chocolate, hazelnut filling sandwiched between two wafers.  These were really tasty!

Mieszko Zozole Musss – (Poland – candy)  This was such a fun bag of candy.  The bag contained approximately 15 pieces of individually wrapped lemon and orange flavored candy, although there was only one orange candy in the bag.  These were hard candies that had a fizzy, liquid center.  They were very different from anything that we have had before.

Doritos Pizzerola – (Mexico – chip) This bag of Mexican, pizza flavored Doritos did not last long.  These had a pizza flavor with a slightly bitter after taste.

Bebeto Laces – (Turkey – candy) These are raspberry and tangerine flavored candy strings with a sugar coating.  They had a sweet and sour gummy flavor that reminded us of Sour Patch Kids.

Goralki Nougat Wafers (Poland – candy) This is a candy bar consisting of layers of nougat flavored wafers encased in chocolate.

Stark Smoki (Serbia – chips) This snack has the looks and texture of a cheese doodle.  However, it has a slightly salty peanut flavor.

Mommy’s Palms Waffles Dulce de Leche flavor (Russia – cookies)  -These are stroopwafels, two thin waffle cookies with a thin layer of caramel between them.  The package contains six large cookies.  These had a taste that reminded us of a Girl Scout Samoa cookie without the chocolate.  You can warm these up in the microwave for a few seconds.  But they were super tasty as is.

Oshee Kombucha Drink (Poland – drink) My husband is the only kombucha drinker in our house so this drink was all his!  When I poured it into the glass it was fizzy.  I took a tiny sip and found the drink to be really sweet.  My husband didn’t taste any kombucha flavor.  He said it reminded him of a Redbull and if he hadn’t seen the can, that’s what he thought he was drinking.

As you can see, the MunchPak box includes different types of snacks including cookies, candy and chips from many different countries. While we didn’t enjoy all the snacks that came in the box, we always like giving them a try.  If you really enjoy a snack from your box you can visit the “Our Shop” section on the website and order some more!

If you are interested in trying out MunchPak, new customers can receive 40% off your first delivery through the end of September.  That $12.95 box can cost less than $8 or maybe try a 10+ snack item box for less than $14.  Take advantage of this great bargain to try out some fun snacks!

Have you ever tried MunchPak?

 

 

 

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Visiting the Corning Museum of Glass with Kids

(Thank you to the Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes and the Corning Museum of Glass for hosting us.  As always, all opinions are my own.)

The first thing people associate with Corning, NY is the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG). There are a bunch of good reasons why so many people come to the Finger Lakes region of New York each year to visit this museum. It houses an extensive collection of glass, with pieces dating back 3,500 years. Guest artists visit from around the world and give demonstrations of their work.  Plus, there is a Changing Exhibitions Gallery with new pieces being shown regularly.

You might not think a building full of glass is a great place to bring kids.  However, after recently visiting with my two children (ages 9 and 11) I can tell you that this museum is indeed a kid-friendly destination. I will admit, visiting with kids creates a very different experience of the museum versus visiting on your own or with other adults.  You will still have a great time.  To help you get the most enjoyment from your trip, here are some tips for visiting the CMOG with kids:

1. Prior to your visit, sign up for a Make Your Own Glass project – These projects are created in The Studio, located in the building across the parking lot from the CMOG.  Projects range in price from $13 for sandblasting to $30 for hand-blowing glass ornaments, glass forming flowers, fusing picture frames and more.  There are recommended age ranges for each project.  Classes fill up quickly and if you wait until the day of your visit, they might be all booked up.  This is a memorable experience for the kids, plus they will have a keepsake from the visit to take home.

2. Visit the Contemporary Art + Design Wing – There are many glass exhibits throughout the museum.  However, if you are short on time, I highly recommend you make sure to visit this exhibit.  This wing is part of a 100,000 square foot addition that was completed in March of 2015.  This section is spacious and bright with large, colorful, eye-catching exhibits, sure to interest even the youngest children.  Although we didn’t download GlassApp, the museum’s app, there is a Scavenger Hunt available on it for this wing.

3. Participate in a Gallery Hunt in the Glass Galleries – Near the entrance to the Glass Collection Galleries, there are several different gallery hunt booklets and pencils.  While there are no prizes for completing the gallery hunt, it will help give kids a focus while walking through the galleries.  These galleries have hundreds of pieces of glass and it can be a bit overwhelming for children. My kids enjoyed the “Searching for Animals” gallery hunt.  You can also download the different gallery hunt sheets as PDFs from the museum site to have before your visit.

4. Watch at least one glass demonstration – There are many different glass demonstrations held throughout the day.  The demos range from 15 minute glassbreaking, optical fiber and flameworking demos, to 30 minute hot glass demonstrations.  Each demonstration is held many times throughout the day, in one of six different locations.

During our visit we sat and watched two different hot glass demos.  We saw one in the Courtyard Hot Shop before we even entered the museum, and the other in the Amphitheater Hot Shop.  The amphitheater demonstration has a special camera inside the furnace so you can watch the glass being heated on one of the many large screens.  The shows are narrated, so you learn about each step of the glass making process as they are happening. It’s amazing to watch a glob of molten glass turn into a pitcher or a sculpture in a span of 30 minutes! These demonstrations were one of the kids’ favorite things to do at the museum.  We probably could have sat there ALL day and just watched the gaffers (master glass makers) create different pieces.  At some of the demos, the gaffers give away some of their glass pieces.

5.  Visit Innovations – This is the hands-on section of the museum.  Here kids can look through a periscope and see a 360 degree view of the town of Corning.  They can also look through a telescope, see the difference between regular glass and Low-E glass, bend glass, try to break glass, and participate in several other activities.

6.  Make a stop at the “You Design It; We Make It” – This is a great place to take a little break and let your children’s inner artist come out.  In this little area, kids can use paper and markers to create a design.  If they are lucky, their drawing may be chosen to be recreated in glass!  Each week, glassmakers from the Hot Glass Demo team choose two drawings to recreate in the Amphitheater Hot Shop during a special “You Design It; We Make It!” demo. The Flameworking team also chooses a drawing daily to create at a special Flameworking demo.  Both of my kids sketched designs which unfortunately were not chosen.

7.  Make use of the two consecutive days –  Your ticket is good for two consecutive days and I advise you to make use of it!  Let your kids temperaments and attention spans factor into how you structure your day.  If they are really into watching the glass demos, you may want to spend a large portion of one day watching the various scheduled sessions.  Consider visiting in the morning one day and the afternoon on the next.

The Details:

The Corning Museum of Glass
One Museum Way
Corning, NY 14830
(607) 937-5371

Parking:  Free parking

Hours:  Daily 9 AM – 5 PM (9 AM – 8 PM Memorial Day through Labor Day)

Admission:  $19.50/adults, $16.60/55 Plus, AAA members, military and Students with ID, Free/children 17 and under  (**Tickets are valid for 2 consecutive days)

Tips:  

There are plenty of seasonal activities and exhibitions.  If you will be visiting during the holiday season, try to plan your visit to take advantage of the seasonal fun.

Food is available in the Cafe (open 9 AM – 5 PM).  Here you will find soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza and more. Sample prices:  $2.50 for a slice of pizza, $8.95 for a Chicken Salad wrap, $10.95 for a Southwest Steak Salad. There is also a coffee bar serving locally sourced coffee and tea.

You can bring your own food as well.  If the weather is nice, there are picnic tables to use outside.

There is a huge gift shop selling all types of glass items from jewelry to decorative items.  There’s even a section with items created in-house.  Not everything in the gift shop is expensive!  You can find glass items including ornaments, flowers and marbles for under $10.

If you need to charge your phone, there are outlets in the “You Design It; We Make It” area.

 

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August 2017 Reads

It’s the second Tuesday of the month and I’m sharing my August 2017 reads in Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. I was traveling with the kids a lot in August and did not get in a lot of reading time.  I’m hoping next month turns out better in terms of both quantity and quality of books read.  There was only one book this month that I loved and the rest were all so-so reads.

3 Stars

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Bull by David Elliott – This is a YA book told in poetic form.  It’s a retelling of the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur.  I was unfamiliar with the original version and had to do a quick Wikapedia search to catch me up.  I found the language in this book to be a bit much for a YA book but enjoyed the writing style.  The author even used a different poetic form for each character.  So, if you’re into Greek mythology or books in poetic form are your thing than give it a go. I read and reviewed this book for Kiss the Book where you can find my full review.

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The Crush by Sandra Brown – As jury forewoman, after delivering a not guilty verdict during contract killer Ricky Lozada’s trial, Dr. Rennie Newton becomes the object of his affection.  Soon after Dr. Newton’s co-worker is brutally murdered and Lozada is a suspect……along with Dr. Newton.  As Detective Oren Wesley works the case, he calls in his friend and ex-partner Wick Threadgill, who has personal reasons for Lozada’s capture. I’ve owned this book forever and it was on my summer reading list. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Sandra Brown.  Her books have been either hit or miss with me.  This one was a so-so romantic suspense read.

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Emma In the Night by Wendy Walker – (c/o Netgalley) – Three years ago, fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma disappear.  But Cass has returned without her sister and tells a crazy kidnapping tale.  Normally I like a good suspense book.  However, I found this to be a pretty unrealistic story with manipulative, psychotic characters. I read Walker’s previous book All is Not Forgotten and enjoyed that one a lot more.

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One Summer by David Baldacci – Jack is terminally ill and does not have much time left to live.  One night when his wife, Lizzie goes out to get him his medicine she ends up dying in car accident.  Their three kids are separated and sent to live with family members in different parts of the country.  Living out his last days alone in a hospice facility, a miracle happens and Jack somehow makes a full recovery.  He reunites his family at Lizzie’s childhood home in South Carolina, hoping to rebuild his family.  This book was off my own bookshelf and also part of my summer reading list.  Baldacci is an author known for his mystery thrillers, none of which I have read.  While the book reminded me of Nicholas Sparks and the romance/love stories by James Patterson, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

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Something Like Family by Heather Burch – (c/o Netgalley)  Tuck hires a private investigator to find his grandson, Rave. When he’s found in a small town working as a waiter, Rave agrees to meet Tuck, the grandfather he didn’t know he had.  Abandoned by his drug addict mother, Rave has never really known what it’s like to have family.  He ends up creating a life with Tuck and learns a lot from his grandfather.  This is the first Netgalley book that I’ve read for review. While I enjoy a good family drama, it felt at times like I was reading a Christian fiction book.  This was another so-so read for me.

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The View From Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman – Sisters Margot and Gwen are living in Penthouse B at the Batavia. Gwen is a widow of two years and Margot’s husband is in prison.  After Margot lost all her money in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the two sisters decide to have gay, 20-something-year-old Anthony move in to help with the rent.  The three roommates become good friends as they try to help each other improve their lives.  This was my first Lipman novel and will probably be my last.  While Lipman is considered to be an author of “humorous novels” I didn’t think this book was that funny.

5 Stars

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – During our summer travel around New York state we finally finished listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on CD.  I had previously only ever read up to the Order of the Phoenix, so this was new to me.  Wow, did so much happen in this book!  Once we got home, we had to immediately get the last book on CD and start it.

What are you currently reading?

 

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 84}

2017 calendar
Happy Monday!  Summer has sadly come to an end and we are done traveling for the time being.  This means that the weekly meal plan posts will return to the blog.  If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you. Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes to try.  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan. Here is a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday: We were in Rhode Island for Labor Day weekend.  My parents cooked steak, chicken, baked potatoes and sauteed veggies for dinner.  It was delicious, but sadly no pictures were taken.

Sunday: We were in Rhode Island last weekend and made a stop at Foxwoods before we came home.  My kids love the Wizard of Oz game at the arcade there and requested we stop so they could play.  While we were there we decided to eat dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  Between the three of us we shared a Chicken Cobb Salad as well as a Spinach Artichoke Thin Crust Pizza and this Thai Chicken Pizza.  This is our favorite pizza there!

Monday: My husband made breaded eggplant sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers.  No recipe but really tasty! Even though the kids normally don’t like eggplant, they will eat it when it’s breaded and fried.  There was enough for some leftover sandwiches for lunch as well.

Tuesday: I made Honey Soy Chicken from Table for Two.  I made the honey soy sauce early in the morning and marinated the chicken in it all day.  Otherwise, I made the recipe as directed.  The chicken was very flavorful, I think from marinating all day.  I thought the leftover liquid in the pan was pretty greasy so I did not pour it over the cooked chicken, as directed.  I served the chicken with rice and roasted broccoli. The chicken bakes for 40 minutes, but otherwise is super easy to prepare.  To cut down on cooking time, next time I think I’ll cut the chicken up into bite size pieces and cook it in a pan on the stove.

Wednesday: I made Summer Chicken Parmesan from Cooking Light, July 2017.  Instead of baking the cutlets, I fried them.  I also added a dash of balsamic to the zucchini and tomato mixture.  Chicken cutlets are always a hit in our house and we all enjoyed these.  The kids even ate all the veggies.  I cooked up some extra cutlets which we ate for lunch during the week.  I served this with a Caesar salad and some garlic toast.

 

Thursday: I made Sausage and Peppers Pasta Supper from Epicurious.  This was a fairly quick and easy dinner.  Instead of cutting the sausage into 1-inch pieces, I removed it from the casing and crumbled and browned it.  I apologize for the lack of a picture.  Imagine a plate of penne pasta with sauteed peppers, onions and sausage crumbles, sprinkled with some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Friday: I made Tomato-Ricotta Pizza from Cooking Light, May 2017.  This was a tasty vegetarian pizza and a change from the normal cheese pizza that we usually make.  My husband made a cheese pizza for the kids, since they don’t like ricotta cheese.  But they both voluntarily ate a small slice of this one.

What is on your dinner menu this week?