Westchester County Bucket List

As a long-time resident of Westchester County, I am still amazed at all there is to see and do here.  I’ve created this Westchester County Bucket List as a means for my family to get out and experience all that Westchester has to offer!  We haven’t experienced everything on this list, but we plan to!  Please let me know if there’s anything missing from this list that you think families in Westchester County should experience!  Listed in no particular order:

1. Visit Untermyer Gardens.

2. Walk part of the Westchester RiverWalk.

3. Ride the Dragon Coaster at Playland.

4. Build with Legos at the LegoLand Discovery Center.

5. See a Westchester Knicks game at the Westchester County Center and get a picture with Hudson.

6.  Indoor skydive at iFLY at Ridgehill in Yonkers.

7. Climb the rock wall at The Cliffs in Valhalla.

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

8.  Go apple picking!  Westchester County offers several options including Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Outhouse Orchards, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard and Stuart’s Farm.

9. Visit the animals at Muscoot Farm.

10.  Get an ice cream from King Kone, the Hudson Creamery,  The Blue Pig, Longford’s and Penny Lick Ice Cream.

11.  Visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

12. Cool off in one of Westchester’s pools or splash pads (Harbor Island Park – Mamaroneck, Wilson’s Wave Pool – Mt. Vernon, Tibbett’s Brook Park – Yonkers, Saxon Woods Park – White Plains, Pierson Park – Tarrytown)

13. Enjoy a picnic out in one of the many county or state parks.

14. Bike on the Bronx River on Bicycle Sundays.

15. Attend Teatown’s EagleFest.

16. Go on a food tour (in your town or any of the other towns in Westchester).

17.  Support local!  Visit one or several of Westchester’s farmer’s markets.

18. See a show at the Paramount Theater Hudson Valley.

19. Visit the PepsiCo sculpture gardens.

20.  Try a new restaurant during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

21.  Enjoy a meal from one of the many food truck’s including Walter’s, Dough Nation and The Souvlaki Truck.

22. Visit the Westchester Children’s Museum.

23. Tour Kykuit:  The Rockefeller Estate.

24.  Walk across the Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park.

25. Take a tour of Stone Barns.

26.  See a show at the Westchester Broadway Theater.

27. Visit the Hudson River Museum and see a show in the planetarium.

28. Enjoy Sheep-to-Shawl or Djembes and Dance (or both) at Philipsburg Manor.

29. Visit the wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center.

30. Go to the beach – Glenn Island, Playland Beach, Island Harbor Beach, Oakland Beach, Hudson Park East and West and Croton Point Park Beach.

31.  See a movie at the Jacob Burns Center, the iPic theater and the Alamo Drafthouse.

32. Try to Escape from an Escape Room.

33. Visit Teatown Lake Reservation.

34. Climb the ropes course at Boundless Adventure and Spins Hudson.

35. Attend the Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park.

36. Walk the Croton Aqueduct.

37. Enjoy a Freak Shake from Sugar Hi, Mt, Kisco Diner, Lazy Boy Saloon or the Hudson Creamery.

38. Visit the Neuberger Museum of Art.

39. Attend one of the many heritage festivals held at the Kensico Dam.

40.Visit the Hammond Museum’s Japanese Stroll Garden.

41.  Ice Skate and enjoy Winter Wonderland at the Kensico Dam.

42. Check out the crafts at the Lyndhurst Craft Festival and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show.

43. Listen to some jazz at the White Plains Jazz Festival.

44.  Attend a food festival – Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Festival, Lohud’s Food Truck Festival, Westchester Magazine’s Wingfest and more!

Your Best Weekend {Volume 8}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

Celebrate:

Saturday September 29 is National Coffee Day!  Enjoy a cup or two of your favorite brew.  Did you know Keurig now has a machine that can make cold brew?  While we love our Keurig, we’re not fans of the plastic waste.   We are looking into getting these reusable filters.

September 29 is also National Mocha Day.  Family Fun Idea/Date Idea:  Bake some Mocha Snickerdoodles or Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

Families can celebrate Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play on September 29 too.  This is a day to encourage families to turn off the television and get outside and play together.  Head to your local park, take a hike or find something else fun to do outdoors this Saturday!

Celebrate National Mulled Cider Day on September 30.  Fall weather is perfect for this hot drink.  You can even use this recipe to make it in your slow cooker!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are some things that you’ve done that you never thought you could do?

Challenge:  Take a digital detox.  Unplug.  Maybe start with a day.  Or if you really want to go big, try a whole week.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Solo: A Star Wars Story which looks like a great movie for a family movie night, especially for Star Wars fans.

Netflix:  Two family-friendly movies are out this week on Netflix – Disney’s  A Wrinkle In Time and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Books:  New books this week include Tim Tebow’s This Is the Day: Reclaim Your Dream (Christian/Inspirational), Together: Our Community Cookbook (cookbook), the paperback edition of Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (self-help/spirituality), American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera (Ethnic Studies/Essays) and This Old Gal’s Pressure Cooker Cookbook.  For kids who are fans of the “I Survived” series, I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies was published this week.  The Magic Misfits: the Second Story by Neil Patrick Harris

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What was something nice that you did for someone else today?

Family Fun Idea: Attend a local football game.  High School football has started.  If you live near a college, try seeing a college game.  And if you are really into football, try checking out a NFL game.

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  This Is Us.  The new season began this week.  It’s off to a a great start and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring!

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Read: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover.  Her newest book deals with infertility and the impact it can have on a marriage.  This was an emotional but good read.

To-Do:  Closet Clean out – Fall is officially here.  The weather is getting cooler and now is the perfect time to give your closet (and the kids’ closets) a clean out.  As you switch over your wardrobe from summer to fall, get rid of the clothes that don’t fit and the ones that you didn’t wear this summer.  It’s also a good time to make a list of the fall clothes and shoes that you need to purchase.  Plaid and animal prints are hot this fall.  And you can never go wrong with jeans, sweaters and boots.

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A Weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County Pennsylvania, a.k.a. “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” is a fun, family destination.  With a large Amish community, visiting here is both an educational and fun experience.  Only 3 hours from most of Westchester County, Lancaster makes a perfect weekend destination.  Read on to see all the fun that can be had in two days.  You can check out the links to read more detailed posts about each attraction. When planning your visit, it is important to note that many attractions in Lancaster are closed on Sundays. Two days didn’t give us enough time to see and do everything, but that’s only the more reason for us to return soon!

Stay: at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn.  This Inn is a great lodging choice for families, with several different types of sleeping accommodations.  This is not a chain hotel and is situated on 23 acres that includes a pool, two playgrounds and even some farm animals.  The property is spacious with walking paths and a pond.  There is also a restaurant, garden shop and large gift shop onsite as well.

Eat: The Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn has a restaurant on the property that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Breakfast at the Smorgasbord is complimentary with an overnight stay and the front desk offers discount coupons if you choose to dine at the restaurant for lunch or dinner.  We had a dinner and breakfast here and were highly satisfied with both.  The buffet offers a plentiful variety of delicious options including fresh baked goods and desserts.

We also had a delicious meal at Federal Taphouse in Lancaster.  This is a great restaurant for beer lovers, as they have 100 beers on tap.  The menu is very family-friendly with wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches tacos and more.  We tried the Sweet Corn Pizza with creamed spinach, sweet corn, bacon, house tomato jam and ricotta salata.  Yes, it was as delicious as it looks and sounds. We then rounded out our meal with a variety of appetizers with a house made soft pretzel with beer cheese fondue, stuffed meatballs and poutine.  It was a carb-filled feast!

Visit:  The Amish Farm and House for an educational and fun experience.  On the guided house tour you will learn about the Amish history and heritage.  You can take a bus tour that will drive you through the Amish countryside. Make sure to leave time to enjoy the 15-acre farm.  My kids could have spent all day here feeding the goats and visiting the different farm animals.  They also had a great time riding the scooters and enjoying the newest attraction, Tractor Trails, where they pedaled cars around a track.  The gift shop sells a variety of handmade Amish goods and on the weekends.  (located approximately five minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

A foodie tour of Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

Kitchen Kettle Village – Kitchen Kettle Village is made for foodies! We had such a delicious time visiting all the different shops and eating our way through the village.  There’s a reason why nearly a million people visit each year.  There is something for everyone here, with 40 different shops selling everything from jams and fudge to quilts and Christmas ornaments.  (located approximately 12 minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

Lancaster Science Factory – If you need a place for the kids to burn off some energy, this is the place.  With over 60 different hands-on exhibits, kids will (and adults!) will have a great time at the Lancaster Science Factory.  While smaller than many other children’s science museums that we have visited, the exhibits held the interest of my two tweens for quite some time. (approximately 15 minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

Turkey Hill Experience – Although not in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Turkey Hill Experience is not to be missed.  As fans of Turkey Hill ice cream, this attraction was a family favorite.  We got to create our own ice cream flavor in the Taste Lab and learn about tea in the Tea Discovery.  In the actual Experience, we had endless samples of teas and ice cream (approximately 25 minutes away from the Hershey Farm Inn).

(Thank you to Discover Lancaster and the above attractions for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

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Five on Friday {Welcome Fall}

Happy Friday!  Sunday is officially the first day of fall and I am excited.  I love all things cozy sweaters, colorful leaves and pumpkin spice.  This has been a productive week.  Since the kids and I had Wednesday off for Yom Kippur we ended up getting a lot of errands done.  This weekend we have our monthly supper club, which should be very delicious!  Here are five from this week:

1. Birthday Celebration – Last Sunday was my birthday.  I planned a food tour of some local places that have been on my to try list.  Our first stop was at Lazy Boy Saloon for this Cotton Candy milkshake.  Follow me on Instagram to see more food pics of my delicious day.  It was a tasty day filled with the people that I love!

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2. Reading –  I just picked up All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover from the library.  Hoover ranks up there as one of my favorite authors and I’m excited to read her newest release.  I started this book yesterday but it already has me hooked and I can’t wait to read more this weekend.

3Watching – Worth It.  This is a Buzzfeed YouTube show that is streaming on Amazon Prime.  Hosts Steven and Andrew travel to different places trying foods at three different price points – cheap, mid-priced and expensive.  Then they vote on which was their most “worth it” dish of the three.  My family has been binge watching this fun show.

4. Cooking – While not the best picture, the kids loved these Italian Meatball Sliders that I made for dinner one night this week.  I omitted the basil and added the cheese!

5. Quote – I saw this quote at our local ice cream shop and had to take a picture since I love it so much.  Definitely words to live by.

 

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I shared some recent Food Buys & Tries.

Thursday I posted the newest edition of “Your Best Weekend.”

Linking up with Friday Favorites.  Have a great weekend!

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Your Best Weekend {Volume 7}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“Unless it’s an emergency, don’t bother me after 6:00 PM and on weekends.” – Merv Griffin

Celebrate:

September 22 is Hobbit Day, the birthday of the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  Celebrate the day by reading the book and/or watching the movie.

September 22 is also National Hunting and Fishing Day.  Date idea/Family Fun idea:  Go fishing!  Get a state fishing license and find a local pond or river.

September 23 is the first day of fall.  Date idea/Family fun idea:  Create a fall bucket list.  Write down all the things that you’d like to do as a couple or family this season!

September 23 is also Checkers Day.  Date idea/Family fun idea:  Play a game (or two or three) of checkers.  Loser buys dinner!  For families, have a tournament to see who is the Checker Champion.  Winner gets a special treat!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are three lessons that you’d like your children to learn from you?

Challenge:  Say no.  Unless it’s a “Hell Yes!” and gets you super excited, say no.  Don’t overthink it and use this in all areas of your life.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Jurassic World.  If you haven’t watched the first four movies, have a marathon and catch up. Also out this week on DVD is Fahrenheit 451.  I haven’t read the book, but always recommend reading the book before seeing the movie.

Books:  Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook Cravings: Hungry For More is very popular.  Reese Witherspoon’s book Whiskey in a Teacup was also released this week.

In the Theater:  Last week A Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively came out.  It’s gotten good reviews and looks like a good date night movie.  The House With a Clock In Its Walls comes to theaters tomorrow.  This looks like a good family pick. This movie is also based on a book.  While I normally recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, I don’t always feel that way for kids’ movies.  Sometimes after seeing the movie, children are motivated to read the book. Or use the movie as the motivation.  Read the book and then we’ll go see the movie.

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

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

Family Fun/Date Idea:  Go apple picking.  Make sure to get some apple cider donuts while you’re at the orchard!  Then go home and bake something with all the apples that you’ve picked.  Here are some tasty recipe ideas to inspire you!

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  Worth It on Amazon Prime.  This Buzzfeed show follows hosts Steven and Andrew (and cameraman Adam) as they travel around trying different foods at three different price points – cheap, mid-priced and expensive.  Then they vote on which was their most “worth it” dish of the three.  These are also on YouTube if you don’t get Amazon Prime.  This is a bingeable show that my family enjoys watching together.  There is such great chemistry between the hosts and it’s a fun watch for any food lovers.

Read:  As a fan of all things television, books and movies, here is an article about the new fall television shows.  Get ready to set your DVR!

Eat: Coolhaus Ice Cream – Pictured here is the Dirty Mint Chip which my husband loved.  This artisan ice cream company also sells other flavors like Milkshake & Fries, Balsamic Fig and Mascarpone and Campfire S’mores.  Yes, I want to try them all!

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Food Buys & Tries {Volume 3}

It’s been a couple of months since I wrote a Food Buys and Tries post.  As much as our family loves to eat out, we also love trying new food products that we find in the supermarket or that companies are kind enough to send us to sample.  Here are some of our recent food buys and tries winners:

Coolhaus Awesome Ice Cream: Dirty Mint Chip – Coolhaus Awesome Ice Cream has shops in California and Texas.  For those of us not lucky enough to live in these areas, we can now buy pints of their ice cream at our local grocery store!  My husband loves mint ice cream so I got the Dirty Mint Chip.  This flavor is fresh mint ice cream with brown sugar and dark chocolate chips.  The fresh mint flavor is very evident and my husband loved this ice cream.  While I’m not a huge mint ice cream fan, I am excited to try some of their other flavors like Milkshake & Fries, Balsamic Fig and Mascarpone and Campfire S’mores.

 

Dole Acai Bowls – I have to fully disclose that I have never tried an acai bowl before trying this Dole one.  I found this bowl in the frozen fruit section of the grocery store.  The directions state that it should thaw for 45 minutes or you can microwave it.  We opted to thaw it but even after an hour it didn’t defrost all the way.  The original has acai, bananas and honey topped with strawberries, blueberries, coconut and honey oat granola.  It also comes in protein and tropical varieties. My son loved this bowl and has asked for more.  This makes a convenient quick and easy breakfast, if we go the microwave defrost route.

Emerald Glazed Walnuts – I’ve been taking nuts with me to work as a snack.  I tried these glazed walnuts for the first time and they taste like candy. And they are very addicting!  It definitely satisfies a sweet and crunchy craving.  I will be buying these again.  I just have to watch how often I eat these!

       

Jimmy Dean Delights Egg’wich – My usual morning routine involves eating breakfast in the car during my commute to work.  I cannot eat first thing in the morning and I hate eating at my desk.  So, I have gotten used to eating while driving.  It’s not horrible, but I am limited to portable foods.  Often, I eat a sandwich (PB&J, cold cuts, etc.).  Sometimes I eat a frozen breakfast item liked this Jimmy Dean Delights Egg’wich.  This is turkey sausage and cheese sandwiched between two bacon, spinach, caramelized onion and parmesan egg frittatas.  I heat it up and then wrap it in foil until I’m ready to eat it.  This sandwich has decent flavor, but I must say that I found it to be a little on the salty side.  While I don’t recommend eating these everyday, I’ve found it to be a good portable breakfast.  I haven’t tried the other flavors – broccoli and cheese and ham, bell peppers, mushroom, bacon and onion.

Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites – (c/o Setton Farms)  Setton Farms kindly sent me samples of their Pistachio Chewy Bites.  I tried the pistachios + plums variety.  I like that they are individually wrapped and can take a couple of them to work with me as a snack.  They are all-natural and make a great snack for the kids, who enjoy these bites as well.  Just a note, that these are a bit sticky and I do have to wash my hands after enjoying them at work. However, getting to enjoy the pistachio and fruit combo is worth it!

Shoprite Trading Company Pre-cooked Basmati White Rice – Shoprite Trading Company is the grocery store’s private label line of artisanal international foods.  I usually cook rice in a rice cooker, which takes about 20+ minutes to cook.  I was using a simmer sauce and wanted a quick and easy Indian-inspired meal and purchased this rice to try.  It only takes 90 seconds to heat up in the microwave.  While it doesn’t taste as fresh and authentic as what you get at an Indian restaurant, it was surprisingly not bad.

 

I have also become a fan of the Shoprite Trading Company Naan as well.  These are frozen and come with 3 in a package.  I usually make two and cut them in half for our family of four.

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Five on Friday {Birthday Weekend}

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Happy Friday and Happy Birthday to me!  Well, on Sunday it will be my big day.  While I wanted to go away for my birthday, it’s not happening.  Saturday is our “Town day” and my daughter and I are volunteering at her Girl Scout booth selling fried Oreos.  Sunday, I plan on sleeping in and then doing a foodie tour of local places that have been on my to-try list.  This week both the kids and I had Monday and Tuesday off.  The days were filled running errands and doing chores.  Unfortunately, nothing exciting.  With school just starting and my daughter playing on the modified field hockey team for the first time, there have been lots of last minute things to buy.  So here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I just started reading Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman.  I’ve started reading thrillers/suspense books again.  So far, it’s just okay but I’m not too far into it yet.

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2. Watching – You on Lifetime.  Have you read the book You by Caroline Kepnes?  Lifetime has turned the book into a television series, which debuted this past week.  I watched the first episode and am hooked.

3. Family Fun – This past weekend was pretty much cold and rainy all weekend.  Saturday, before the rain we were able to get in a family hike.  I’ve been wanting to hike Anthony’s Nose, a nearby trail with amazing views.  I felt so accomplished and got some great exercise!

4. Tween Life  – It’s been a recent month of changes for my daughter.  Last month, right before school started she got braces.  She, who was so excited to get them, is realizing that they are not as fun as they look.  This week we also took a trip to the eye doctor to get her contact lenses.  We were planning waiting until the spring, when she turned 13.  However, we could not find field hockey goggles that fit over her glasses.  So, contact lenses it is.  She is still adjusting to them, two days in and is having some difficulty getting them in and out.

5.  Mom Time – With some cold and rainy days, I’ve been enjoying some time quiet me time.  This weekend I finished this puzzle in a day and a half.  It wasn’t a very challenging puzzle, but the book lover in me found it fun.  I enjoy listening to a podcast while I work on a puzzle just and zone out.  What do you do for some me time?

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about GoSu an Asian fusion restaurant.

Tuesday I shared my August 2018 Reads.

Thursday I posted “Your Best Weekend” a guide to self-care, family fun, weekly recommendations and more to help you have your best weekend!

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Your Best Weekend {Volume 6}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.)

It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“The only reason we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend.”    – Chuck Palahniuk

Celebrate:

September 16 is not only my birthday, but there are lots of other fun days to celebrate.  It’s also Collect Rocks Day.  Take a family hike or walk and collect some rocks.  It’s also Mexican Independence Day – when Mexico became independent from Spain.  Celebrate by going out for some Mexican food or cooking a tasty meal at home.  Sunday is also National Play Doh Day.  Break out the play doh and have some fun making some creations with the kids.  It’s National Women’s Friendship Day!  Get your girlfriends and go out!  Finally, make sure the husbands know that Sunday is also Wife Appreciation Day!  We deserve to be appreciated for all that we do!

Self-Care:

Journal Prompt/Reflection: What is something you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Challenge: Schedule some girl time! Sunday is National Women’s Friendship Day after all.  Whether you plan a night out with one friend or a group of gals, celebrate the female friendships in your life.

New Releases:

DVD:  Ocean’s 8 came out on DVD this week.  I haven’t watched any of the others, but I’m loving the female cast of this one.  Hearts Beat Loud is a music drama that has gotten pretty good reviews and may be worth checking out.

Books:  Some new books that were released this week include The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz (thriller, #4 in Jane Hawk series), Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward (politics, nonfiction), I Am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer (children’s book, biography),  Juror #3 by James Patterson (mystery, thriller),  We Fed an Island:  The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time by Jose Andres (nonfiction, food and drink, memoir) and Body Positive Power (paperback) by Megan Jayne Crabb (nonfiction, self-help).

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  What is something that you would like to learn?

Have a Cookie Wars:  Last weekend was filled with chilly and rainy weather.  We ended up having Cookie Wars.  We chose “seasonal” as the theme.  My daughter and I paired up and made Frosted Pumpkin Cookies (pictured on the right).  My husband and son teamed up to make Brown Sugar Cookies with Maple Glaze (on the left).  We halved the recipes and the boys accidentally over salted their cookies, so we girls won.  However, we were all winners in my book because…..cookies!  Lots of cookies!

Date Night:

See a local band.  Many restaurants and bars near us have local bands playing on weekends. Go check out a favorite, or a new-to-you, local band for a fun night out.

Weekly Recommendations:

Song/Music Video: As my youngest started 5th grade last week and both my kids are in middle school now, this song just seems so fitting.

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Watch:  You on Lifetime. As always, I highly recommend reading the suspense/thriller book by Caroline Kepnes first. The book turned television series debuted this week on Lifetime.  I watched the first episode and I am hooked!

Ellen on the Go

 

Listen:  Ellen on the Go podcast.  I love Ellen but since I work, there’s just no way to keep up with watching her show.  The Ellen on the Go podcast debuted this week and features four of the shows’ producers discussing highlights from the past week’s show.  While it’s not as funny as watching the bits, it is still entertaining.  Plus, you get insight from the producers and a peek at the behind the scenes of the show.

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August Reads {2018}

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It’s hard to believe that summer is over.  And it with it, the lazy weekends and extra time to read. Although my schedule doesn’t change come the fall, the kids’ schedules get filled up with their activities, and my reading time seems to decrease drastically!  I feel like I read a good amount over the summer but know I won’t be able to keep up reading 6-8 books a month.  See that library haul of books in that photo above?  Sadly, half of them will be returned unread.  Last month was great in both quantity and quality of reads.  Here are my August reads from least to most liked that I’m sharing with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.

3 Stars

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The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll – I read Knoll’s other novel, Luckiest Girl Alive and only gave it three stars as well.  That should have been a warning, but I decided to give this book a go.  For some reason, it’s categorized as a mystery/thriller, but I do not think it should be.  This book follows several different women in a reality television show called “Goal Diggers.”  There is of course drama and each woman is harboring secrets.  I love a good reality television show.  I think because I went into it expecting something else I was a bit disappointed.

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Promises by Belva Plain – When I was growing up my mom used to read a lot of Belva Plain’s books.  By default, since they were around, I also read her books and found them enjoyable.  Somehow, a couple of Plain’s books have been sitting on my bookshelf for YEARS.  In an effort to clear off my bookshelves I decided to read Promises. It appears my reading tastes have changed drastically from those college years.  Even though most of the story takes place in the 90’s, it felt so antiquated.  What wife says, “Oh darling” when referring to her husband?!! And nowadays, I don’t believe a woman would put her career on hold for her husband’s advancement (or I hope she wouldn’t).  This book probably rates close to 2.5 than 3 stars for me, but Goodreads doesn’t allow me to give half star ratings.

4 Stars

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The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky – Miranda Regent is one of 6 kids chosen around the world to prep for a mission to Mars.  The only American chosen, she soon starts receiving threatening messages.  Is she in danger? This is a middle grade fiction book that I picked up at the library for my son to read.  He wasn’t that into it and didn’t finish it.  However, if it’s not manga or a graphic novel, I’ve been having difficulty getting him to read it.  I read it and thought it was a pretty good read.  You have to go in with the expectation that it is geared toward children and fiction.  Like, super smart teenagers going into space fiction.  But there was a lot of action and adventure.  So, if you know of kids who like this type of book I’d have them give this one a try.

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hiller – Georgina “Geo”, Angela and Kai were high school best friends. One night Angela disappears and is never seen again.  Fourteen years later her remains are discovered and Kai, now a police detective discovers that she was a victim of serial killer Calvin James.  Calvin just happened to be Geo’s girlfriend at the time of Angela’s disappearance.  This book had lots of secrets and hidden surprises.  This is the type of book that I think of when I think of a mystery/thriller.

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The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon – In 1992, Abby and Liam were dating and in love.  But when her brother dies in a car accident, Abby feels responsible and pushes Liam away.  Fast forward to present day and Abby is married to Nate, the man who came upon the accident and actually saved Abby’s life. They have a teenage daughter and are happily married.  But then, Liam and his family end up moving in next door.  Will their past be discovered?  Again, I didn’t really find this book to much of a mystery/thriller.  But about half-way through it became a page-turner.

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Reading People by Anne Bogel – This a collection of different personality tests/frameworks that Bogel explains in hopes of helping the reader learn more about herself and others.  Personality frameworks have always interested me and I found this book to be enjoyable and insightful.  This was my non-fiction read of the month.

 

GoSu: An Asian Fusion Dining Experience

(Thank you to GoSu and Lifestyle Westchester for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

I was recently invited to a menu tasting at Asian fusion restaurant, GoSu.  This Irvington eatery opened in February 2017 and is located a short distance from the Irvington train station.  It’s a perfect place to dine with friends visiting from NYC, or for a quick dinner on the way home from work.

While the owner, Tony Kim, is Korean his menu is a mixture of both Korean and Japanese cuisines.  His Korean cooking skills were learned from his mom and grandmother but his first restaurant job was in a sushi restaurant.  He combined his two experiences and created GoSu.

 

Taken literally, the name of the restaurant translates to: card shark or cocky person.  Tony chose GoSu, from the Korean words GoGi (meats) and GookSu (noodles) to mean Meats and Noodles. When envisioning a traditional Korean restaurant, BBQ that is cooked right at the table often comes to mind.  However, GoSu was created with an emphasis on family-friendly dining.  No table-top grills are found here.  Likewise, you won’t be served banchan (the collection of small side dishes served with traditional Koran cuisine).  Instead, GoSu serves lots of delicious comfort food with plenty of kid-friendly options.

GoSu features so many tasty appetizers on their menu.  From left to right, I tasted the Agedashi Tofu (fried soft tofu in tempura sauce), Bulgogi Tacos (marinated sliced ribeye with house pico and cheese), Chicken Katsu (panko breaded chicken breast with Japanese BBQ sauce & chipotle mayo), Shrimp Shumai (with ginger soy vinaigrette) and Ika Yaki (broiled whole marinated squid with teriyaki glaze).  The chicken katsu and shrimp shumai are two of the most popular appetizers and will likely be enjoyed by most children.  I usually prefer firm tofu, but enjoyed the soft tofu in the tempura sauce.  Other appetizers on the menu that sound delicious include: Tatsutage (bite-sized Japanese fried chicken), Spicy Pork Buns and Loaded Fries (bulgogi, cheese and jalapeno on a bed of waffle fries).  These will definitely have to be tried on my next visit!

While you can make a meal out of appetizers, I strongly recommend you leave room for the “Meats & Noodles.”  My favorite meat dish was the Spicy Pork Sizzle Bop.  This Korean style marinated sliced pork was slightly sweet but had a nice spicy kick.  While some of my table mates found this dish to be a bit too spicy, if you like a little heat, I highly recommend this!  There are several other Sizzle Bop entrees including Galbi (marinated short rib), Bulgogi (soy marinated sliced rib eye), Beef Teriyaki, Beef Negimaki (asparagus & scallion wrapped with thinly sliced rib eye in teriyaki sauce), Chicken Teriyaki and Salmon Teriyaki.  I sampled the Salmon Teriyaki Sizzle Bop, which was a crowd favorite the night that I dined.  All Sizzle Bops are served with white or brown rice and vegetables, as well as a choice of miso soup or a side salad.

My favorite noodle dish of the evening was the Curry Udon.  This dish has bulgogi in a mild, Japanese curry broth.  This curry isn’t spicy like many Indian or Thai curries.  It has barely any heat but is packed with flavor.  It’s literally a bowl of pure comfort food.  When the cold weather comes, you will want to eat bowlfuls of this udon!  This dish was also a favorite of my fellow foodies.

Although GoSu prides itself on its “Meats & Noodles,” it accommodates those with dietary restrictions.  Several dishes on the menu can be made gluten-free and there are plenty of vegetarian options. The restaurant has several vegetarian main dishes including Tofu Steak (seared, sliced organic soft tofu w/a ginger teriyaki sauce), pictured above, Yaki Udon (sauteed udon noodles with cabbage and onion in a house special sauce) and pictured below, Spicy Soba (cold soba noodles on a bed of mixed veggies with House gochujang sauce).  Gochujang is a red pepper paste, and yes, is a bit on the spicy side.  Again, I like a bit of spice and think this dish is perfect for summer.

There is a children’s menu for kids 8 and under with favorites like Chicken Teriyaki, Bulgogi and Tatsutage.  Kids will likely enjoy ramune, a Japanese “marble soda.”  Nicknamed so, because of the Codd-neck bottle, GoSu sells several varieties of this fun drink.

The adults may prefer to enjoy some soju.  Soju is a very popular Korean spirit.  Similar to vodka, it’s a mild tasting alcohol.  But don’t be deceived, a little goes a long way.  Many bottles of soju have 20-40% alcohol!  This was my first time trying soju and even better, it was pineapple flavored!  Since I was driving, I only had a couple of sips, but I found it to be smooth with a slightly sweet taste.

For dessert we had NY-Style Cheesecake Tempura with green tea powder. This was a pleasant surprise, since most Asian restaurants I’ve been to don’t offer much more than ice cream for dessert. The tempura gave this treat a nice crunch while inside the cheesecake was nice and creamy.

As seen, the restaurant is furnished in mostly black and white.  A variety of live plants decorate the space and red spoons add a little pop of color.  Tony put a lot of thought into his restaurant decor, including benches that lift up so you can store your jacket and purse.  Plus, the bathroom has one of the coolest sinks I’ve seen as well as jars of toothpicks and mints.

Tony does a great job of combining Korean and Japanese flavors in his dishes and he is currently revising the menu for the fall/winter.  GoSu is definitely a restaurant in Westchester County worth checking out!

The Details:

GoSu (Asian Fusion Restaurant)
5o South Buckhout Street (entrance is on Astor Street)
Irvington, NY 10533
(914) 479-5898

Hours: Monday – Saturday 12 PM – 9:30 PM, closed Sundays

Parking:  Across the street and along Buckhout Street

Price:  $$ (most main dishes priced between $12 – $19)