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Five on Friday {Summer Days Driftin’ Away…}

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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!

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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.

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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 week on the blog I shared my July 2019 Reads.

I also posted the show notes to Episode 4 of the NY Foodie Family Podcast.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Cooking Lately {April 2019}

Life has been busy as usual, but I’m still trying to get tasty, homemade meals on the dinner table each night. I haven’t had the time lately to write a weekly meal plan post, but I figured a monthly spotlight post on the best recipes of the month is doable. As you will see, this month we had a lot of burgers! They are easy to make and quick to cook, which is helpful on busy weeknights. And it’s so much healthier to cook your own than get fast food/take out ones.

Baked Breakfast Taquitos – I apologize that there’s no picture – sometimes, the dish isn’t photogenic or we’re in a rush to have dinner…..regardless, breakfast for dinner is always a winner in our house. These taquitos are made with Italian sausage though, not the breakfast sausage that “breakfast for dinner” recipes usually call for. We had more filling than tortillas so my husband used the leftover filling to make breakfast burritos. We thought the sausage to egg mixture was off as well and would recommend using more eggs. Otherwise, this was a tasty meal.

Maple Bacon Beer Burgers – Another dinner that I didn’t take a pic of. We had a lot of burgers this month. They are so versatile and there are so many recipes out there to try! The maple syrup gives these burgers a slight sweetness. I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef and they tasted good.

Italian Rice Ball Skillet – I have to admit, I’m not sure that I’ve ever made an Italian rice ball. However, this skillet was quick, easy and tasty.

Broccoli Rabe Turkey Burgers – Here’s another burger recipe. I’ve actually made these burgers before. I like that there’s chopped broccoli rabe both in the burger and as a topping. Although I served these on buns, the recipe recommends serving on a piece of lettuce.

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas – I did not make the roasted pineapple salsa verde which the original recipe includes. However, the chicken was flavorful and this recipe is so easy. I’m not sure why I haven’t made fajitas on a sheet pan before. This was so quick and easy to make! We will definitely be having these again soon.

Apple Cheddar Turkey Burgers – This is another burger that I’ve made before and we’ve all enjoyed. They are tasty with the apple, cheese and cranberry sauce. I opted not to use the English muffins and served them on hamburger rolls.

What have you been cooking lately?

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Five on Friday {Weekend Celebrations}

Happy Friday! The kids have been relaxing and enjoying their Spring Break. It’s been a slow work week as well, with school not in session. We are gearing up for a full, busy weekend. First, we are celebrating Passover with my husband’s family tomorrow. Then Sunday we will be hosting Easter while also celebrating my daughter’s 13th birthday with the family. Monday, my daughter is celebrating her birthday with a party with her friends. Here are five from this week:

1.Supper Club – Last weekend we had our monthly supper club dinner. This month’s theme was grain grab bag. At the last supper club we each wrote down two different grains, for a possible of twelve different selections. We folded the papers up and each chose one. I got corn and my husband got buckwheat. So for this supper club I made a Corn and Poblano Lasagna and my husband made buckwheat pancakes topped with roasted tomato, baby spinach and gruyere. I was surprised at how tasty, but filling this meal was!

2. Birthday Celebration – My daughter turned 13 on Sunday. We went out to dinner and she had the macarons she requested for dessert. Stay tuned….more birthday celebrations are coming.

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3. Reading – I am currently reading The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani. I picked this book from its high ratings on goodreads. However, it’s been a pretty slow read for me.

4. Friend Trip – My daughter just got back from Savannah, Georgia last week. This week she spent Wednesday through today at Camelback Resort, an indoor waterpark in the Poconos, with one of her friends. Lucky girl!

5. Lunch and Arcade Date – With his sister away, my son got a special lunch date with my husband and I this week. We took him to the Palisades Center Mall where he enjoyed a sushi lunch a this favorite restaurant East. This is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant where you can pick the dishes you want as they pass by. We then went to Barnes & Noble and Dave & Busters (arcade). He was a very happy kid!

This week on the blog I debuted a new weekly post called Surviving Thirteen.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend! Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

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Surviving Thirteen {A New Parenting Series}

Are you the mom of a teenager? For the past couple of years, I’ve felt like I was. Eleven and twelve were filled with attitude, talking back and lots of tears (from both parties). But as of last week, I am officially the mom of a thirteen-year-old girl. And I feel like it’s a whole new ball game.

I’ve expressed concern to my husband that I’m not sure I can handle the next couple of years. Each day feels like I am tiptoeing around my daughter, not sure if I’m going to get Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. He tells me, “we will survive it.” Yes, I say, we will survive, but surely not thrive.

But does 13 and beyond have to be a constant battleground? By nature, I am a reader and writer. This is how I make sense of things. What have others experienced? What does the research say about raising teenagers? Because whatever I did during the tween years evidently hasn’t worked.

And so this new weekly blog series was born. A place for me to share (a.k.a. vent!) about life with a 13 year-old daughter. Parenting is the most difficult job in the world and it’s only seemed to get harder the older the kids have gotten. Bigger kids = bigger issues. I know that there’s no one right or wrong way to raise our teenagers. However, I always find it nice to hear how other parents deal with parenting issues. So join me on my journey in “Surviving Thirteen.” I’m really hoping that my reading and research will help the two of us thrive together through the teenage years. Hear is to wishing me good luck on this journey!

Westchester County Freak Shakes

Freak shakes have been around for a couple of years now.  These epic shakes are topped with everything from cookies, candy and even whole slices of cake!!  NY Foodie Family recently took a foodie tour of Westchester to try four of these monstrous dessert mash-ups.

The cotton candy milkshake from Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains.

Our first stop was Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains.  They serve four different milkshakes including Cotton Candy, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oreo and Fruity Pebbles.  We decided to go with the Cotton Candy, since it seemed the most interesting of the four.  This strawberry shake is topped with cotton candy and  a lollipop. The rim of the glass is covered in vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Each shake is $12.

Verdict:  Of the four shakes we tried, this one was the smallest.  We found the milkshake to be very liquidy and the sprinkles are pretty much for show only, as they were pretty well glued on with hard frosting.  The cotton candy was a tasty and fun touch.  I think this shake lacked the amount of “stuff” to really be considered a freak shake, but was priced like one.  According to the menu description, it seems a lollipop should have come with our shake, but did not.  This was our least favorite of the shakes we tried. We will visit Lazy Boy Saloon to try their wings and other tasty-sounding apps and take advantage of their extensive beer selection.  We’ll just go elsewhere for our shakes.

The Boozle freak shake from Sugar-Hi.

Our second stop was Sugar-Hi in Armonk.  Sugar-Hi identifies itself as a “destination boutique sweet shop.”  The shop offers hand crafted chocolates, custom cakes, baked goods with a twist and more.  Of course, we had to stop by to try one of their freak shakes.

The freak shake menu at Sugar-Hi in Armonk.

They offer four different shakes, priced at $14 each.  We went with “The Boozle” – a chocolate shake with a vanilla frosted rim covered in m&ms, topped with a Hershey’s chocolate bar, chocolate covered pretzel rod, an entire Chipwich ice cream sandwich, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  We got to choose between chocolate soft serve or their “Death by Chocolate” scooped ice cream.  No contest. We, of course, went with the “Death by Chocolate.”  Go big or go home, right?!  When we visited Sugar-Hi on a Sunday afternoon, it was crowded with families stopping by for an ice cream treat after soccer games.  The small dining area for guests to enjoy their treats inside was packed so we opted to enjoy our shake outside.  It was a blazing hot day so we had to enjoy our treat quickly before it melted.

Verdict:  This shake was voted unanimously by our family as (spoiler alert!) the favorite of the day, which included our trip to Lazy Boy Saloon and the next entry below.  Crafted at a boutique sweet shop, it seems fitting that they’d have the best sweet treat. We will be making a return visit soon to check out their other shakes and baked goods!

The Oreo S’mores Mega Milkshake from the Mt. Kisco Diner.

Our last stop of the day was the Mt. Kisco Diner.  I was surprised to discover that a diner was serving Insta-famous shakes.  The Mt. Kisco Diner dubs themselves, “the Diner not a Diner.”  Don’t expect your typical menu here.  For someone who isn’t a fan of diners, I will be returning here with an appetite and my camera.  The Mt. Kisco Diner prides themselves on creating Instagrammable dishes (their Instagram account has a mere 34.8 thousand followers) in a, “stylish setting.”  However, despite the creative selection of dishes, you will still pay diner prices.  They have five Mega Milkshakes on their menu including the Oreo S’mores, Rainbow Cookie, Love Shake, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cake Poppin.  We went with the Oreo S’Mores shake which is an Oreo shake, a chocolate frosted rim covered in crushed Oreos, topped with whipped cream, Toasted Marshmallows and an Oreo cookie.  The Mt. Kisco Diner’s mega shakes are competitively priced at $10.99 each.

Verdict: Too bad that the Mt. Kisco Diner was the last stop of our foodie tour.  By the third shake, even with four of us sharing, we were just about in a sugar coma.  We ordered some salty, cheesy appetizers to even things out. As an Oreo fan, this was a tasty shake.  The whipped cream layer was a bit too much, so we took the layer off and enjoyed the shake and the “stuff.”

The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Out of this World Shake from the Hudson Creamery.

Before I could publish this post, we had to make one more stop.  I only recently discovered that The Hudson Creamery in Peekskill started making freak shakes, known as “Out of This World Shakes” there.  They offer five different milkshakes including the Peanut Butter & Chocolate,  Cookie Monster, S’mores, Candy Candy and Salted Caramel Pretzel.  We opted to try the Peanut Butter Chocolate milkshake.  This is a chocolate and peanut butter shake with chocolate & peanut butter fudge ice cream, Reeses PB Cups, Reeses Pieces, PB Sauce, Chocolate Syrup, Funny Bones and Nutter Butters.  These shakes are priced at $13.50 each.

Verdict:  Delicious!  I am so happy that we made a stop here.  Out of all the shakes we tried, this was our favorite.  In terms of quality and value for the money, this shake also wins.  This had a generous and delicious shake filling the glass, topped with a waffle cone overloaded with indulgent chocolate ice cream.  Then it was completed with all of the fun extras.  While we were told this could feed two people, it was plenty for the four of us to share.  We will be back to try some of their other “Out of This World Shakes” as well as their seasonal sundaes!

Letter Board Quotes for Kids

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You can’t scroll through Instagram and not see at least one letter board in your feed.  FeltNook Letter Boards kindly sent us a letter board awhile back.  While I haven’t posted many pictures of the board on my Instagram feed, our family loves it.  We take turns creating or finding quotes for the board to provide some motivation.  Here are some of the quotes that have recently appeared on our board:

Can you tell that we are Wonder fans?  My daughter put this quote on the board.

We want the kids to be awesome and make every day awesome!

My husband and I strongly value experiences over “things.”  We are really trying to instill this value in our children.

We can always try to make someone else’s day better!

What are some of your favorite quotes for kids?  

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Five on Friday {First Week of Camp}

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Happy Friday!  Summer is in full effect and it’s been a busy couple of weeks here.  I am loving summer hours at work, where I get to leave at 12 PM on Fridays. The kids were with my parents in Rhode Island for the last two weeks and came home this past Friday. It was a quiet couple of weeks here without them. Last Saturday my son turned 10!  The four of us celebrated his birthday Saturday and then Sunday we had a family party.  And finally, the kids started their first week of camp. They were excited that they both passed the deep water test.  However, my son isn’t loving camp.  We are only one week in so I hope he starts enjoying it more.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I just finished reading Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee.  This contemporary fiction book deals with mental illness and its impact on family.  It was a really good read.

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2. Watching – I’ve been watching a bunch of different shows.  My husband and I finally finished watching the last season of Orange Is the New Black.  I also watched the first episode of Glow on Netflix and we’re almost finished watching Wild Wild Country.

3. Eating – We did a lot of good eating this past weekend, but I barely took any pictures!  My son requested that we eat at The Melting Pot for his birthday.  This has been a family favorite restaurant for awhile and was delicious and fun as always.  I loved this decorated plate they brought out for him!

4. Dinner Date – Last night I had dinner with a friend.  Although our sons are friends, it’s rare for us to get to go out.  So, it was nice to get to catch up.

5. Playing – We love playing board games and have a bunch of them.  My son though has recently been on an UNO playing streak.  This past week we have played lots of rounds of the classic game.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I wrote about our visit to the Turkey Hill Experience.

Wednesday I posted about the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Lancaster, PA.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Cooking Lately

If you’re a regular blog reader you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a weekly meal plan for the past two weeks.  Believe me, I’ve still been cooking up a storm during the week.  I just haven’t had time to post our meal plan here.  So today, I’m sharing some of the meals that I’ve cooked over the past two weeks.  Again, I hope this post helps you find something new to make for dinner.  Mix up your weekly dinners and try a new recipe!  You and your family might like it!  So on to what’s been cooking lately:

Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Broma Bakery – This was a family favorite and my daughter already asked me to make this again.  My only criticism of this recipe is that it should be called Taco Tater Tot Casserole.  After looking at some other “cheeseburger” tater tot casserole recipes, I noticed that the others had mustard, ketchup and pickles.  This recipe had none of that but does have taco seasoning.  I forgot to serve this with sour cream and it was still tasty.  This is a hearty, comfort dish that I’ll save to make again in the fall once the weather gets cool again.

Cowboy Spaghetti from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals – I’ve made this recipe before many years ago.  Although it sounds like a weird combination of ingredients, somehow it works.  I did not use beer in my recipe.  The family enjoyed this meal and this is another recipe that I’ll likely make again, come fall or winter.

Instant Pot Sticky Korean Chicken from Half Baked Harvest –  This was a quick and easy chicken dish.  Instead of the gochugang sauce the recipe called for, I used a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce.  Even that was probably a bit much, since the chicken turned out pretty spicy.  My chicken ended up pretty saucy, which I didn’t mind because I spooned it over the rice.  However, I used a pound of chicken and there was no leftovers and not even enough for seconds.  Next time, I’ll reduce the amount of chili garlic sauce and double the amount of chicken.  I served this with rice and veggies.  This will be made again!

Cajun Chicken Alfredo Shells from Closet Cooking – This was probably one of the more time consuming meals to make over the past two weeks.  The night before I was going to make these my husband pre-cooked the chicken for me in the Instant Pot.  While the shells cooked, I made the sauce and got the chicken and broccoli mixture together.  These were pretty tasty, but I think more work than it was worth.  Luckily, there were leftovers which my daughter and I took for lunch the next day.  I served these shells with a Caesar salad.

Wafflewiches from Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals – If you are looking for a super quick and easy meal, these Wafflewiches are it!  It’s a different take on the Monte Cristo, using waffles instead of French Toast.  My kids rarely eat a cold cut sandwich, but both enjoyed these wafflewiches.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw from Pinch of Yum –  Shrimp are quick and easy to cook.  The sauce and slaw was easy to throw together and it packed a lot of flavor!  There was a bunch of slaw and sauce leftover, which we are using in fish tacos!

What have you been cooking lately?

 

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Five on Friday {The First of 2018}

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Yeah, it’s Friday!  It’s also the first Friday of 2018!  I love the start of the new year.  To me, it equals a fresh start and a year of possibilities.  While I stopped making resolutions years ago, I have decided that this year I am focusing on self-care and myself.  Although it was a short week of school for the kids, it was a rough one.  Staying up until almost 2 AM on New Year’s eve and then having to go back to school on Tuesday was a killer.  Luckily, (or unlucky!) they got to enjoy a snow day yesterday from the “bomb cyclone” that hit the East Coast.  We stayed nice and warm inside!  We have a pretty relaxing weekend and the kids will hopefully get readjusted to their regular schedules.  Here are five from this week!

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1. Reading –  I am currently reading I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll.  This is a mystery/thriller, right in my comfort genre and a great way to start my 2018 reading.  According to Goodreads, I read 90 books last year.  This year I set my goal for 75 book.

2. New Year’s Eve – Normally, we celebrate New Year’s Eve at home with tasty snacks and family game night.  This year, we had our monthly supper club on New Year’s Eve.  We had our annual pizza theme and cookie exchange with all the kids.  I made an eggplant parm pizza and my husband made a shrimp scampi pizza.  There was also a buffalo chicken pizza and a mussels fra diavalo pizza (and a plain cheese pizza for the kids).  It was a delicious evening!

3. Snow Days – There’s nothing like a snow day.  I know I loved the unexpected day off more as a child.  But even as an adult, I enjoy being forced to stay inside in comfy clothes all day, relaxing.  Yesterday was the first snow day the kids had this school year, and it was a doozy!  The winds were really bad and the temps are so cold right now that going out to play in the snow wasn’t even an option!

4. Instant Pot – My husband and I received an Instant Pot for Christmas.  I’m excited to learn how to use all the different features.  So far, my husband has made hard-boiled eggs and mashed potatoes in it this past week.  We are loving it!  If anyone has any Instant Pot recipe recommendations, send them my way!

5. Puzzle Time –  I haven’t done a puzzle in ages.  This year my son has become the biggest Harry Potter fan.  Santa brought him a Harry Potter puzzle and we (mostly me!) have been working on it.  I forget how relaxing it is for me to work on puzzles.  I sit and listen to a podcast and it’s just so enjoyable.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared more about my year of self-care.

Thursday I posted The Tweens Read December 2017.

I’m linking up with Andrea, April and Katie!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Happy Halloween}

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I know I’m a couple of days early, but wishing everyone a Happy Halloween.  I hate when Halloween is on a weeknight.  Can’t they make it the last Friday or Saturday of October?! Don’t mind my random rantings.  I’m sure you’ll hear more in next week’s Five on Friday when my kids stay up way too late and eat too much candy on Tuesday. My daughter has a Halloween dance at school tonight.  Tomorrow we are going to have a mother-daughter day and head into the city to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway!  Here are five from this week:

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Reading – I am a big Colleen Hoover fan.  Her newest book, Without Merit, came out October 3rd.  When it came in from the library I had to rush over and pick it up.  I read it in two days.  Although it was a good read, it is not one of favorites of hers.

A display at the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze 2017.

Family Fun – Last Friday evening we went to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.  It’s a 7,000+ pumpkin display housed on a local historic site.  Artists hand carve the pumpkins and create elaborate displays.

Supper Club – We had our monthly Supper Club Sunday evening. This month’s theme was Caribbean.  I made plantains two way –  tostones with a garlic mojo sauce and these sweet plantains.  I know they are simple dishes, but they are so good!  On the rare occasions that we eat Caribbean I need one or both of these.

Watching – This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy, Real Housewives of Dallas, New Jersey and Beverly Hills.  I haven’t been watching a lot of television so, I’m getting behind on all those Housewives episodes!

Blog Goals – I’ve been setting up monthly blog goals and I’ve been doing really well these past two months.  Yesterday I finally got around to ordering business cards.  Do you know how many events I’ve been to and have been asked for a card? I’ve had to embarrassingly admit that I didn’t have any.  They will hopefully be here by next week!  This month I also signed up as an affiliate with Amazon.  I know it’s not a big money maker, but at this point, every little bit helps!  If anyone wants to help me out, feel free to click on an affiliate link or the amazon ad on my sidebar before you make your next Amazon purchase! (shameless plug over!) Eventually, I’d like to design a new header and logo, but it’s not a priority at the moment.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

I'm a mom trying to get dinner on the table every night. Here are 5 essential cookware pieces that I think are useful for any beginner home cook.

Monday I shared 5 Essential Cookware Pieces for the Beginner Home Cook.

The 2017 Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in 7 pictures.

Tuesday I posted the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in 7 Pictures.

I’m linking up with Katie, April and Andrea.  Have a great weekend!