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The morning weight work out, as intended, was “Day 3” of the new program posted at the bottom of last nights blog HERE.  It took me 30 minutes and was preceeded by a 3 mile run on the treadmill. After the weight workout, Shane I jogged a little but walked most of the way 44 minutes.  Not bad – beautiful morning to be outside.  It was 59 degrees and clear.

Tomorrow is an aerobic day and I’m not sure what I’ll do yet.  We’ll see what the morning brings.  As for tomorrow night, it’s the first class of Digital Photography so make sure to tune in Friday or Saturday and I’ll let you know what we learned.  I’m SO EXCITED!!!!  😀   Don’t you just love to learn new stuff?!

Now for Good Eats…

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A tortilla meaning “round cake” or an omelet?  This was easy to prepare.  I was able to get everything chopped and ready because Ted had gone to exchange some undies.  A woman cannot buy undies for her man …apparently.  The sporty, boxer type, brand name Nike or Reebok just don’t cut it (and NO SAM! He wasn’t exchanging silky thongs!).  Fruit of the Loom… are you still there?  

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  • 2 TBS EVOO
  • 1 Shallots, fine chop
  • 3 TBS chopped sun dried tomato (use oil packed or if you dehydrated some of your own from the summer’s bounty, crumble those up for 3 TBS.)  DSC_0939
  • 6 oz mushrooms, peeled, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 Eggplant, peeled and chopped into about 1 ” cubes
  • 1 TBS toasted slivered almonds or toasted pine nuts
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup EggBeaters * or just use 6 whole eggs
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS water
  • 4 oz Grated Cheese (I used Asiago – Oh WOW that was good!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Add the shallots and tomato over low heat and cook 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms  and eggplant, increase heat to medium and cook 5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook until it wilts, about 3- 4 minutes. 

Reduce the heat, add salt and pepper and nuts. Beat the eggs, beaters, water, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add to the skillet and let cook for about 6 – 8 minutes. You want the bottom to cook so lift the edges now and then to let all eggs cooks.  

Preheat the boiler to high.  Sprinkle the cheese on the omelet and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes until cheese melts.

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And of course…Enjoy!

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Just lately I’ve found a new tasty snack:  FORZE

forze-gps-chocolate-peanut-It boasts a blend of natural fats, protein and calcium that activates the “body’s natural appetite control signal… so you can achieve your perfomance goals.”

 I have both the bars and the drink.  Both are pretty good and satisfying as a light snack.   Check it out.

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A Walk Around Valley View

Sunday’s are our usual days for a group walk. By group, that would be Ted, Shane and myself.  It is typically a walk of 4 or more miles which will take us to the more scenic areas of Utica, whether we go right or left or straight from our home.  One of our favorite walks is around Valley View Golf Course.  Once there, we have the option of extending the distance and going through the Switchbacks (a very wooded area made walker/rider friendly by stone-dirt roads) or going up to the Eagle (the upper most point over looking Greater Utica). 

On this particular Sunday, Ted wouldn’t go through the Switchbacks even though it wasn’t muggy so there would be no horse fly attacks (they get pretty bad in there sometimes 😦  ), but he did want to walk up to the Eagle.  It was a beautiful morning for it as well.  I always think that I should bring my yoga mat because it is so peaceful and beautiful, I couldn’t think of a more relaxing place to practice some Asanas.

As we set out this particular morning, Shane needed something in his mouth..typical Shane…

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It was cold..51 deg. so I wore my spring mittens

It was cold..51 deg. so I wore my spring mittens

 

The best part about my Spring Mitts is that they turn into a more "Airy" glove when you warm up.

The best part about my Spring Mitts is that they turn into a more "Airy" glove when you warm up.

Can you see the deer at the top of the hill? There were 4 of them.

Can you see the deer at the top of the hill? There were 4 of them. Guess I need a telephoto lens.

 
Once at the Eagle, we always read the inscriptions even though we have read it umpteen times before.

Once at the Eagle, we always read the inscriptions even though we have read them umpteen times before.

The Boilermaker 4 mile marker... what is it? ... just over 5 miles to go?

The Boilermaker 4 mile marker... what is it? ... just over 5 miles to go?

 

Some wild flora

Some wild flora

 

A view coming down the hill .. the golf course

A view coming down the hill .. the golf course

 

It's a tough haul up that hill... these two opted to walk their bikes and I don't blame them.

It's a tough haul up that hill... these two opted to walk their bikes and I don't blame them.

Coming out of Valley View we saw this... the leaves already beginning to change. Fall is just around that corner.

Coming out of Valley View we saw this... the leaves already beginning to change. Fall is just around that corner.

Movie review:

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State of Play with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck…a really good movie. Not your typical story line. Both actors were spectacular.   Worth the watching.

Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams & Helen Mirren in the blistering thriller about deception, manipulation & corruption. When D.C. Reporter Cal McCaffrey (Crowe) is assigned to investigate the murder of an assistant to an up-and-coming politician (Affleck), he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the nation’s power structures. In a town of spin-doctors and wealthy power brokers, he will discover one truth: when fortunes are at stake, no one’s integrity, love or life is safe. From director Kevin Macdonald of The Last King of Scotland, State of Play brings together gripping performances, riveting suspense and is “sophisticated, intelligent and powerful”

That’s all for now… another weight work out tomorrow morning. I’ll be following day 3 of this schedule:

DSCN1890It should take no more than 30 minutes.  We shall see.

It’s back to work. No more play.  The daily grind.  So it began early-early in the gym but as I said yesterday, I have changed my workout for the next 6 weeks.  Today was simply aerobics.  It was 45 minutes of Elliptical and a 4.3 mile very easy run with the Shaner. 

I have this horrible pain in my upper back which was hounding me since Sunday.  It’s a little more concentrated today and therefore just a tad better but still hurts.  Amazingly, it goes away when I run. I just better keep those feet moving today, hadn’t I?

After that aerobic workout, cookies are in order..

The Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookie – another recipe pocketed from the NY State Fair.

  • DSC_09211 bag Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate chips
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 bag Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Using a double boiler over  hot water, melt the bittersweet chips with butter.  

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and combined.

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Stir in the melted chocolate-butter mixture.

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In a small bowl, mix the flour and baking powder then stir it into the chocolate-sugar mix.  Stir in the chips and walnuts.

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The dough will be very soft but separate it into two sections and form 2 logs with wax paper.  I use wax paper because it saves getting my hands too gooped up.  Is that a real word?

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Wrap in plastic wrap for at least one hour.

 

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Preheat oven to 375 F and cut the dough into slices about 3/4 ”  thick. Bake about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet for 12 – 14 minutes.  Yum!

 

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Taco Vegetarian Bake

Yesterday was perfect…the sun, a walk through the golf course (5.5 miles! – Wahoo!).  Ted and I enjoyed taking Shane for a walk on such a perfect day.

Today – not a bad morning either.  I didn’t have to get up so incredibly early, but pulled myself up at 6:15 am.  Shane was still snoozing as was my beloved.  I went down stairs for 25 minutes on the ET and a 25 minute weight workout.  i tried a new routine from Muscle and Performance. I didn’t know how it would go, but it was a bit too easy and not as long as I thought it would be.

DSCN1890This workout is for weeks 1 and 2.   It will change every 2 weeks for 6 weeks.  Day 1 I will do Mon. (today) and Friday (or Thurs.). Day 3 will be done Wednesday.  So Day 1 is repeated 2 x per week.  On the other days, I will do heavy aerobics.  It’s good to change your routine now and again because your body adapts and then there is no muscle stimulation. 

After the weights, Shane and I ran for 4.4 miles.  Some poor guy lost his white poodle “Maxi” in the park and was calling for the little critter as we came and left the park.  I hope he finds him/her. 

As for eats…here you go…

 

What are you up to this Labor Day?  Picnic plans?  If you’re a vegetarian, here is an easy recipe to bring along to make sure you don’t go hungry among all the burgers and dogs.

This recipe was adapted from a booklet found at the New York State Fair. It was from the company called ACH Food Companies, Inc.  The original recipe is called “Taco Batter Bake” and uses ground beef.  I made this a vegetarian dish using meatless crumbles.  It is so flavorful and will work well with beans as a meat substitute as well.

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  • 12 oz Meatless crumbles or 15 oz can of beans of choice.
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 tsp each of the following: cilantro, ezpizote, dill, tarragon, “Spike” Gourmet seasoning, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

For the Batter

  • 1/2 cup Corn Flour
  • 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 2 tsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup room temp white wine
  • 2 TBS butter or  SmartBalance, melted
  • 1 whole egg

Topping

  • 8 oz Salsa or Picante sauce
  • 1 cup cheese of choice (Mexican blend, or Feta mixed with Parmesan…your choice)
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

If you use real ground beef, you will need to brown it and mix in the onions at that time. Drain the grease off and add all the seasonings.

Using meatless protein, mix the protein with the onions and all the spices.  Do NOT mix the batter ingredients in with this mixture.

For the batter:  Combine all ingredients, stirring well with a spoon.  Spray a 9 x 9 square pan with non-stick spray and spread the batter over the bottom.  Put in a warm place for about 25 minutes.

The Batter

The Batter

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Top the rested batter with the “meat”-onion-spice mixture.   Add the toppings, first the salsa, then the cheese, and finally the tortillas.    Bake for 30 minutes and ENJOY!

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This weeks recipe for Central New York is Stuffed Grape Leaves, page 11 of A Taste of Utica.   I had never heard of these tasty stuffed vegetables.  Most people who have been making these for years will pick the leaves right from their own back yards.  The grape leaves grow abundantly in Upstate New York.  We have so many around our yard however I’m not quite sure the best time to pick them.  If you do pick the leaves, you can keep them in a brine (not sure about freezing…anyone know?) until ready to use.  My leaves for today’s recipe were purchased from Hannafords….

DSC_0891If they come from a jar or have been preserved in a brine, you will need to rinse them well. I emptied the leaves from the jar and soaked them in cold water overnight. The water was changed 4 times to remove the salty taste from the leaves.

NOTE:  You do not have to use grape leaves for this recipe.  You can use Chard leaves.  Just boil for a couple of minutes to soften (after rinsing well to get the grit off them), then roll as the directions below.  Also…how about using the following mixture for Napa Cabbage rolls?  Don’t limit yourself.

There are a lot of different recipes for grape leaves. The one in our Utica book is different than what I have encountered before in that 1. you pre-cook the rice and 2.  you cook the leaves in the oven.  Interesting.  The result was terrific.  Here it is, step by step.  Get your leaves, get your rice, get your spices….off we go.

Stuffed Grape Leaves  (meat) by Amanda  (See below for meatless mixture)

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There are no measurements in the book because Amanda does not like “confined” cooking.  I will offer the measurements I used however, please adjust to your liking but make sure the filling is relatively firm otherwise you will have a mushy leaf.

  • 1 onion finely chopped …or use 1/4 cup minced, dried onion
  • 1/2 lb lamb… or use 1/2 lb ground beef *use about 85% fat otherwise the result will be too dry OR…add olive oil to the meat mixture.
  • 3 TBS toasted pine nuts *I added this ingredient
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice – medium or short grain
  • 1 tomato – diced small * This was an ingredient I added and NOT in the original recipe
  • 3 TBS chopped FRESH parsley
  • 1/2 tsp All spice
  • 1 lemon, sliced* I added this
  • 2 cloves garlic, thick sliced *I added this
  • 3 cups lemon juice
  • 32 oz Chicken or Vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Meatless Grape Leaf Mixture *to be assembled the same way however there is no pre cooking of anything but the rice.)

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  • 15 oz can Cannellini beans – mashed with fork
  • 2 TBS toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice – medium or short grain
  • 1 tomato – diced small
  • 1/3 cup parsley – chopped
  • 1 TBS fresh mint leaves – chopped
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper and also 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • MIX ALL THE ABOVE TOGETHER FOR YOUR FILLING

Saute the onions and ground meat until JUST browned and still a little pink. 

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Mix the cooked rice with the meat.  Add the herbs and spices, pepper and salt, tomato if using and mix together.

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Drain your grape leaves.  Chop the thick stem off the leaf.

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Place a layer of grapeleaves along the bottom of your baking pan so the others don’t stick or burn.  Preheat the oven to 375 deg. F. 

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Place the leaf shiny side DOWN and put a tsp of filling towards the bottom (stem end) of the leaf.  Fold in the sides and roll up from the bottom.  This is where I always mess up….you need to roll these little cuties up fairly tight…but not TOO tight.  Then place seam side down in your baking dish.  

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Amanda’s instructions:  After all leaves are in the dish, cover with the lemon juice and broth – the liquid should be half way up the dish or less. Bake 350/375 for 30 minutes or until wilted a bit – watch to see if more liquid needs to be added so the leaves don’t dry out.

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My instructions:  After you have completed the first row, add some slices of lemon, and some slices of garlic on the stuffed leaves.  Add another row of stuffed leaves.  Cover with the lemon juice, broth and water.   Top with more lemon slices and garlic.  Put the lid on your dish and place in the oven for 45 minutes.  Let sit in the oven, after turning it off for another 1/2 hour.   Allow to cool before eating. They will firm up slightly.  The meatless leaves are served cold.

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Here is a little pre  prep work for you if you are working along with me from the book. Next week we are suppose to make Italian Homemade Green Olives.  That’s right, we will cure our own olives.  This takes 10 to 12 days because we have to soak the FRESH olives in water and salt to soften.  I’ve never done this before….never even THOUGHT of doing this but hey…I’m up for anything..you?   Here is where I  purchased my olives, GREAT OLIVES because I had no idea where to get them locally. If we can buy them locally, please comment on this blog and let us all know. 

We will be doing the olives in a couple of weeks to allow the softening time.  So next week we are jumping ahead to Mozzarella Sticks on page 13.

An old historic inn overlooking Canadarago Lake was the setting for our wonderful Friday night dinner. 

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We walked through a very homey looking foyer.

The Lakehouse is a Bed and Breakfast that features a wonderful restaurant offering great food at very reasonable prices.  Keep in mind as I offer the following review of our dinner, the total bill only came to $54.97 for food and drink.  Great prices. 

 

We were taken to the "Tavern" where they were serving dinner on this particular Friday evening.

We were taken to the "Tavern" where they were serving dinner on this particular Friday evening.

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There was a very nice gentleman sitting on the balcony railing who offered to take our photo...

The view from the outside deck was beautiful, overlooking the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

Let the eating begin..

The Menu

The Menu

 

 

The house wines: A cool, crisp chardonnay (nothing complex but nice) and an earthy Cabernet for Ted

The house wines: A cool, crisp chardonnay (nothing complex but nice) and an earthy Cabernet for Ted

 

The wines were very reasonable at $4.50 per glass. 

Crisp tortillas were brought out with a smooth pepper dip.

Crisp tortillas were brought out with a smooth pepper dip.

 

Standard garden salads but the bread...oh the BREAD! Made fresh daily, it was so light, soft and sweet. A simple white bread however the chef adds cornmeal for sweetness. Wonderful!

Standard garden salads but the bread...oh the BREAD! Made fresh daily, it was so light, soft and sweet. A simple white bread however the chef adds cornmeal for sweetness. Wonderful!

 

Ted enjoyed Veal Marsala with baby mushrooms and onions in Marsala wine reduction

Ted enjoyed Veal Marsala with baby mushrooms and onions in Marsala wine reduction

 

Joanne enjoyed Wild Caught Salmon, broiled and served with dill hollandaise sauce with vegetable medly.  Two pieces of salmon! Amazing!  Doggy bag please!

Joanne enjoyed Wild Caught Salmon, broiled and served with dill hollandaise sauce with vegetable medly. Two pieces of salmon! Amazing! Doggy bag please!

 

The keyboard player provided entertainment all evening. The vocalist began at about 7:30pm. Lovely.

The keyboard player provided entertainment all evening. The vocalist began at about 7:30pm. Lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peach Shortcake with heaps of icecream and whipped cream.  All for Ted.

Now Ted gets greedy...Peach Shortcake with heaps of icecream and whipped cream. All for Ted.

 

Classic case of eyes being bigger than ones belly.  :)

Classic case of eyes being bigger than ones belly. 🙂

 

 

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Why is it called a "Corn Moon"?   The Harvest moon is in October.

Why is it called a "Corn Moon"? The Harvest moon is in October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful evening at The Lakehouse under a “corn moon”.   Take Route 20 to Richfield Springs and turn on county route 22 ( Lake St.).  One mile on the left for a wonderful dining or bed and breakfast experience.  Gotta love New York.

The New York State Fair 2009

Our day at the Great New York State Fair. 
nysf-logo
We both took a vacation day from work to spend a few hours looking at the best the State has to offer, all in one location.  We met up with brother Richard as well. It was a fun, but tiring day.

The temperature was about 80 degrees.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  Could it be more perfect?!   This was the day for me to have my annual frozen yogurt cone:

DSCN1827Someone decided to share it with me and got at it before I could snap a photo…”I didn’t KNOW you wanted a picture of it!”.

I always make sure to visit the dairy building for my favorite cone when we get to the Fair.  For some reason, it’s the best tasting soft serve I ever get to have.  We also make a point to be completely impressed by the butter sculpture:

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My reason for insisting we make it to the Fair on this particular day was because Chef/Restauranteur Bobby Flay was giving a free cooking demonstration in Chevrolet Court.  

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 The crowd was enormous!  He was very entertaining and didn’t miss a beat while explaining the items on the menu:

Wild Mushroom Polenta With Poached egg and Serrano chile sauce. He finished the dish with strips of crispy blue tortillas and cilantro.  He describes cilantro as tasting like soap, but apparently enjoys it since he ate so MUCH soap as a young boy.

Pork tenderloin rubbed in a simple salt and pepper rub, molasses-mustard glaze, in a sour mash (Tennessee Whiskey) pan sauce with apple chutney and sweet potato gratin. 

At one point, there was a “CRACK”.  Bobby said “I just broke the dish“…as he was about to plate the first dish….”I had it on a burner that was turned on..whoops!”.   This was followed by roars of laughter … I’m sure some of us thought  …”I’ve done that!”.

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Richard and Ted left me for the 45 minute show.  I suspect they went off to partake in some free sampling…

Hazlett Winery - A Fingerlakes Semi Dry Reisling

Hazlitt Winery - A Fingerlakes Semi Dry Riesling

 

We had to visit the animals and this is what we saw…

Bald Eagle - he's alive

Bald Eagle - he's alive

 

The Biggest Owl You Ever Did See! He's alive too.

The Biggest Owl You Ever Did See! He's alive too.

 

A more petite Snowy Owl. This little lady wanted to hold it.

A more petite Snowy Owl. This little lady wanted to hold it.

 

Just got a hair cut and wasn't happy about it.

Just got a hair cut and wasn't happy about it.

 

You've never seen such CLEAN cows. Their barn was clean as well with no foul odors. Amazing cow people and their animals!

You've never seen such CLEAN cows. Their barn was clean as well with no foul odors. Amazing cow people and their animals!

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Ahhh... the horses. My all time favorite

Ahhh... the horses. My all time favorite

I used to show Saddlebreds.  Back about  1995 – 1999, I showed horses at the State Fair, in Devon, PA (where I won my class over professional trainers- it was the 100th Celebration!), and various other locations, even as far as Florida. 

Me winning at Devon... that was a while ago and such fun! I'm on Mini, winning the Championship in Open Park.
Me winning at Devon… that was a while ago and such fun! I’m on Mini, winning the Championship in Open Park.

 I’ve been riding since I was about 8 years old, beginning in hunt seat and then preferring the crazier horses and ride of saddle seat. It was fun but now there are too many other things that won’t allow me the time.

Here I am trying to have a worth while conversation with a Percheron (draft horse).

I look very concerned about what he said..don't I?!  :)

I look very concerned about what he said..don't I?! 🙂

But now it's okay because we're laughing about it.... ;)

But now it's okay because we're laughing about it.... 😉

 

Now it was time to eat.  At least for me. You see Richard and Ted, while sneaking away from the Bobby Flay show, grabbed more than liquid sustenance.  They ate without me. 

Fair food really doesn’t cater to the health conscious nor the Vegetarians. I settled for a Vegetarian Gyro which was basically an ice berg lettuce salad with too much cucumber sauce and not enough feta cheese. I ate half…

Vegetarian Gyro for $5.50.. but the water was FREE!
Vegetarian Gyro for $5.50… but the water was FREE!

Now our feet were tired and we all relaxed to sample the free wine before making our way to the exit at about 4pm.  It was a long enough day for us. We arrived at the Fair by 11:30 am, saw everything we wanted to see, got our energy completely sucked from us by the sun, didn’t eat too much, but enjoyed the little that we did eat and drink.  A good  2009 visit to our State Fair.

My favorite and a must for me to keep my eyes openTed didn’t want me napping on the way home, we stopped for one of our favorite beverages… Love Starbucks!