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Best Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Friday, November 10, 2017


We all know that dessert is the best part of any Thanksgiving meal...well, that and leftovers! Here are a few of our very favorite Thanksgiving pie recipes, good enough to serve to the whole family! 


Ingredients:

1 c. regular oats

.13 tsp. ground cinnamon

6 tbsp. melted butter

1 c. grade B maple syrup

2 tbsp. grade B maple syrup

1½ c. pecan halves and pieces

½ c. sweetened flaked coconut

½ package refrigerated piecrusts

½ c. firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

3 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract



Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together oats, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup until blended. Spread oat mixture on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until oats begin to turn golden; remove from oven and stir in pecans and coconut. Bake 10 to 12 more minutes or until pecans and coconut are lightly toasted. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack (about 15 minutes).
  2. Fit refrigerated piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under and crimp as desired.
  3. Whisk together brown sugar and next 2 ingredients until blended. Add eggs, vanilla, remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter, and remaining 1 cup maple syrup, whisking until blended. Spoon pecan mixture into prepared piecrust; carefully pour maple syrup mixture over pecan mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F on lower oven rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).



Apple Butter Pie


Ingredients:

8 ounces gingersnaps

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup spiced apple butter

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse gingersnaps in a food processor 20 times or until finely ground. With processor running, pour butter through food chute, processing until blended. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and next 3 ingredients. Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Chill 2 to 24 hours.



Pumpkin Pie


Ingredients:


FOR THE CRUST

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp. ice water (or more, if needed


FOR THE FILLING

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree

1 1/4 c. heavy cream

3/4 c. packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)



Directions:

  1. Make the crust: Place flour and butter into freezer for 30 minutes before starting crust process.
  2. In a large food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form. With the machine running, add vinegar, then ice water into feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough starts to come together and is moist but not wet and sticky. Mixture will be crumbly.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, form into a ball, and flatten into a disk (making sure there are no/minimal cracks).
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is very cold, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  5. Make the filling: Preheat oven to 425º and lightly grease a 9”-x-1.5” pie dish with cooking spray.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12” circle. Drape over pie dish and gently press to fit (don’t stretch). Prick bottom with a fork, trim edge to 1”, tuck overhang under itself, and crimp. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze 10 minutes.
  7. Line crust with parchment and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes, then remove parchment and weights. Reduce heat to 350º.
  8. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, cream, brown sugar, beaten eggs, flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and vanilla until smooth.
  9. Pour pumpkin mixture into par-baked crust. Bake until filling is slightly jiggly in the middle and crust is golden, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in turned off oven with door propped open for 1 hour, then cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.



Easy Homemade Cherry Pie


Ingredients:

4 cups cherries, pitted

1 cup sugar (1 1/4 cups for sour cherries)

1⁄4 cup flour

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie


Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients for filling.
  2. Place in pastry-lined pie pan.
  3. Put top crust on. Cut vent slits in top crust, and flute edges.
  4. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 25-30 minutes more.

      TIP: put sugar, flour and cinnamon in a large zip-loc bag. Add the cherries and toss to coat. This coats       them more even than doing it in a bowl and the filling is firmer.


Sunday Funday Football Snacks

Kelly McCombs - Friday, October 13, 2017

One of my very favorite things about the start of Fall and football season is all of the delicious food that I get to have every weekend. My family is a big football loving family so every Sunday is a big get-together, with a ton of different snacks and finger food, while we watch the games. I have put together a list of some of our favorites for you to enjoy this upcoming Sunday!


One of my family's favorites on Football Sunday is the Mexican Layer Dip. Paired with crunchy tortilla chips for dipping, this is always a huge crowd pleaser. In fact, if we don’t make this dip one weekend, we get bombarded with everyone asking where it is! It is very easy to make and doesn’t take much time at all.


We also like to make our own French Onion Dip, instead of buying a container from the store. The recipe that we use is far healthier than any store-bought version, without all of the preservatives. Another very easy recipe, this is a great one to just sit on the table and let guests help themselves as they want.


Last year, we made these crunchy Pasta Chips! They are garlicky and cheesy and just plain delicious! This one is easy to throw together ahead of time and takes no time at all to prepare!


Another new addition to our snack spread is this Buffalo Chicken Dip. This is a simple recipe, with only 4 ingredients, this is also great to make ahead and keep in the fridge for the big day. We usually eat this with either tortilla chips or thin slices of a French baguette, toasted. You can make this as spicy as you want!


Now that I have clogged everyone’s arteries with all of the unhealthy dips and chips, how about a slightly healthier version of the chicken wing? We usually make these Lemon Drop Chicken Wings, which are a little better for you since they are baked, not fried. Another plus is that they are very inexpensive to make, so they are perfect for when you have a bunch of people over. I will usually put sides of blue cheese and ranch dressing so that everyone can choose if they want a dipping sauce.


On the sweet side of things is this Caramel Cinnamon Cheesecake Dip. This is our go-to when we want a dessert on Football Sunday. It sounds super rich and decadent, and it is, but it is also delicious and easy to make. We serve with graham crackers and slices of fresh apple to dip. This is probably my favorite out of all of the recipes mentioned. It is the perfect Fall dip!


How about a recipe that isn’t a dip? We love these Pretzel Pigs in a Blanket as a delicious finger food. I’m sure everyone has had pigs in a blanket at one time in their life, but this recipe takes the traditional one and puts a slight twist on it. Instead of using puff pastry or crescent roll dough, this one calls for pizza dough that is pretzeled. The flavor that the pretzel brings makes these much more than just a childhood snack. We like to serve with honey mustard as a dipping sauce!


We hope you enjoy these recipes during your next get-together! Remember to make memories while rooting on your favorite team!




Fall is Coming!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 16, 2017


Fall is just around the corner and what better way to enjoy this gorgeous season than getting a jump start on all things Autumn!



First on the list should always be apple picking, especially in September. This is the perfect month to pick because the orchards all have a large variety of apples ready to go! There are numerous apple orchards in the Saratoga area, many of them offering pick-your-own, which means you get to pick which apples you want right from the trees! My favorite orchard is Bowman Orchards. They boast 46 different varieties of apples on almost 100 acres! On top of the apple picking, they have berry picking hay rides, apple cider donuts, and plenty of fun activities for everyone in the family. They even have a plethora of different farm animals for you to pet. They say their trees are lower to the ground so picking ladders are generally not needed, making this an exceptionally family friendly orchard. Bowman Orchards is quintessential “Fall” to me and a must see!



It wouldn’t feel like Fall without a trip to your local Farmer’s Market. With the change in the season comes a change in the many different kinds of produce that are available. Now is the perfect time to visit the Saratoga Farmer’s Market before it moves inside for the cooler months, starting in October. Not only do they have a huge selection of different fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but they also offer many vendors that sell local meats, cheeses, jams, and even crafts and other various items. The Saratoga Farmer’s Market runs every Wednesday from 3-6pm and every Saturday from 9am-1pm at the High Rock Park Pavilion in downtown Saratoga Springs.



One thing I always do each Fall season is go “leaf peeping”. This is a funny way of saying I go for a drive around to view the gorgeous Fall foliage! Some of the best places to see the magnificent change in colors on the trees is up in the Adirondacks and also in Vermont, specifically Brattleboro and Grafton. These are two towns I have visited in Vermont strictly for the purpose of seeing the foliage, but they offer so much more, as well! From hiking, to beautiful historic houses and apple cider donuts, I have made some of my favorite memories here!



Along with apple picking, one of my other favorite Fall things to do is go pumpkin picking! We always go to Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke. It is very easy to spend the whole day here, exploring the Farm and all it has to offer. They are known for having the Capital Area’s original and largest corn maze. It is huge! Liberty Ridge Farm also has a General Store where you can purchase things like homemade pies, apple cider donuts, and many other souvenirs. They have pig races, a giant pumpkin cannon, and a live band…there is so much to do! In addition to all of this fun family-friendly stuff, every Friday and Saturday night beginning in October, Liberty Ridge turns into Nightmares at Liberty Ridge. If you are feeling brave and like terrifying things, than this is a must-see. Nightmares boasts 7 different haunted attractions that are all sure to have you quaking in your boots. Liberty Ridge Farm is the perfect Fall destination for the young and old alike!



We hope you take some time this Autumn to get out and explore the many fun and exciting things to do in our area. We are lucky enough to have many wonderful events, so take advantage of the cooler weather and get out there!


Favorite Fan Photos!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, August 26, 2017

Here are a few more of our favorite Fan Photos that we have posted on our social media sites! Don't forget to tag us for a chance to be featured!


(Courtesy of @megmontegari on Instagram)

(Courtesy of @discoversaratogany on Instagram)

(Courtesy of @dudewheresmysandwich on Instagram)

(Courtesy of @clarityjuice on Instagram)

(Courtesy of @theinnatfivepoints on Instagram)

(Courtesy of @saratogamama on Instagram)

(Courtesy of @risadorken on Instagram)

DIY Garden Ideas

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, August 05, 2017

With summer in full swing and the gorgeous warm weather fully upon us, now is the perfect time to get outside and create some fun DIY garden projects out of some things you might have laying around the house! A few of these can even be made with some help from your kiddos!



First up is a great way to upcycle an empty wine bottle that you were just going to throw away. This DIY Bird Feeder can even be made with an empty Saratoga Water bottle! That would be a fun way to add a gorgeous pop of blue to your garden! This project is a little more on the complicated side, since you’ll be needing to measure and cut some different sized wood pieces, but we still think it’s a fun way to add some pizzazz to your outside space, all while attracting a bunch of different bird varieties!

(Photo from elizabethjoandesigns.com)



Another way to add some extra oomph to your outdoor space is to switch from your typical incandescent lighting to solar lights. Not only is this much more energy efficient, but there are some fun DIY lighting ideas that you can incorporate, many of them incredibly easy. This article, written by Jackie Edwards, lists a bunch of different ideas including DIY mason jar solar lights, and even a tin can solar light which you can make with a regular old can from inside your house. Saving money, helping the environment, and adding some fun elements to your backyard? Sounds pretty perfect to us!



Now on to the easiest DIY project you will probably ever see. This Pallet Planter is a fun way to jazz up your front porch or anywhere you want to add a more finished look. It’s easy because there is really only one step; spray paint! You can find pallets many places, including your local garden store. They will often have a bunch sitting in the back that they will give away for free! Doesn’t get much better than that!



Have an unsightly, old tree stump in your yard? Sometimes, these can be expensive and a hassle to remove. Why not make it a beautiful planter instead? All you’ll need to do is take a chisel and a hammer to gently carve out the center of the stump, add topsoil and then whatever flowers you’d like. Easy as that! 


(Photo from balconygardenweb.com)

One of my favorite things to do as a child when I was visiting at my Grandma's house, was to paint rocks for the garden. This is a great crafty way to get the kids involved in decorating the outside space. Super simple, all you need is a rock of your choosing and a few colors of Patio Paint from your local craft store. This paint is meant to be used outside and will make the artwork stand up to the elements. You can have the kids paint the rocks to use just as decoration, or you can have them paint them to be used to mark specific plants, such as different types of herbs. 

(Photo from craftsbyamanda.com)

We hope some of our ideas have given you inspiration to create something beautiful for your own garden! We would love to see what you come up with Don't forget to tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

Sparkling Summertime Cocktails

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, July 15, 2017



With Summer in full swing, we have put together a list of some of our favorite cocktails using our sparkling water! These are super easy to make and are sure to be a hit at your next BBQ or Summer get-together!




Sparkling Cojito

Ingredients:

1 bunch fresh mint, keep a few sprigs to the side for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 limes juiced
3 cups coconut rum
1 liter Saratoga Sparkling Water
Ice
Lime wedges for garnish


Directions:

  1. In a large pitcher, combine the mint, sugar, and water, and muddle. Add the lime juice and rum, and stir to combine. Fill the pitcher with ice and add the seltzer.
  2. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime wedge.


Bayard Fizz

Ingredients:

2 oz. Gin

1 tbsp. Maraschino Liqueur

1 tbsp. Lime Juice

1 tsp. Raspberry Syrup

Saratoga Sparkling Water


Directions:

  1. Shake with ice and strain over ice cubes in a highball glass.
  2. Fill with sparkling water and garnish with fresh raspberries.


Cucumber Gin Fiz

Ingredients:

Ice
2 Inch piece of cucumber diced, plus some for garnish
4 Sprigs dill finely chopped, plus 2 for garnish
2 Wedges lime, plus more to garnish
Saratoga Sparkling Water
4 oz (4 shots) Gin


Directions:

  1. In a cocktail shaker muddle cucumber, dill and lime.
  2. Add gin & ice.
  3. Shake well and strain into a glass filled with ice.
  4. Top off with sparkling water and give a quick stir.
  5. Spritz with lime and top with a sprig of dill & or a slice of cucumber.


Tequila Limeade

Ingredients:

2 oz. white tequila

4 oz. limeade

4-5 mint leaves

Saratoga Sparkling Water

lime slices


Directions:

  1. Add the mint leaves, tequila, limeade and crushed ice to a cocktail shaker and shake well, breaking up the mint leaves.
  2. Strain into a high-ball glass filled with crushed ice and lime slices.
  3. Top with sparkling water.


Citrus Spritzer

Ingredients:

1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc

1 lime sliced

1 blood orange sliced

1 tangerine sliced

12 ounces Saratoga Sparkling Water


Directions:

Combine the wine and fruit in the bottom of each pitcher, and top off with soda.  Add ice and stir!




Sparkling Lemon Martini

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces lemon vodka

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

Pinch sugar

2 ounces Saratoga Sparkling Water

1 lemon wedge

Sugar for rimming


Directions:

  1. Rim the top of a martini glass with the lemon wedge. And dip into sugar to coat. Set aside.
  2. In a shaker, add the lemon vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and a handful of ice. Shake for 15 seconds.
  3. Strain into martini glass, leaving the ice in the shaker. Top with sparkling water.

July 4th Festivities

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, July 01, 2017


Independence Day is right around the corner and we have compiled our annual list of some local fireworks displays! We are lucky to have many fun and family-oriented events take place in our area. We hope you are able to take part!



Saratoga Lake Fireworks Display

When: Monday, July 3rd

Where: Saratoga Lake in two locations, at The Water’s Edge and at Brown’s Beach



Saratoga’s All-American Celebration

When: Monday, July 3rd and Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Downtown Saratoga Springs


*Saratoga’s All-American Celebration is two days jam packed with events for the whole family. Everything from a fireside chat with Ben Franklin, a great children’s program, the historic city tour, a classic car show, a parade for the kids…all the way to the culmination of the celebration with fireworks in Congress Park on July 4th. There is even a sidewalk sale! This is my favorite 4th of July event and one that I go to every year.



July 4th Celebration in Clifton Park

When: Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Clifton Commons, Clifton Park


*This celebration ends with a wonderful fireworks display, but you don’t want to miss all of the other fun things you can do earlier in the day. There are amusement park rides, food vendors, a parade, and even a craft show. Something for everyone! The parade begins at 12pm on Route 146 in fron of the Shenendehowa School Campus.



Lake George 4th of July Fireworks

When: Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Shepard’s Park in Lake George



New York State’s 4th of July Celebration

When: Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Empire State Plaza, Albany


*This is one of the largest fireworks displays in the area and one that comes highly recommended. More than 20,000 people attend this event every year, so be prepared for large crowds. Due to the high volume of people, parking might be a little harder than usual, so make sure you show up early. The evening starts at 3pm, with live bands, a naturalization ceremony, and food and craft vendors, culminating in one of the most impressive fireworks displays in the area!



We hope you enjoy Independence Day with your friends and family!


Our Favorite BBQ Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Friday, June 09, 2017

(Photo: @bigbarbecue on Twitter)


Starting tomorrow and running through the weekend is one of our favorite events of the year, The 15th Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party! Held in Madison Square Park in New York City, this is a charity event that benefits the Madison Square Park Conservancy. In past years, more than 17 barbecue pitmasters were in attendance serving up some of the best BBQ in the country, making this one of the country’s premiere barbecue events! The event is free to attend and food is sold by the plate. This event has had over 125,000 visitors in the past, so lines can be long. However, the food is well worth the wait! In honor of the event, we thought we would share with you some of our favorite Summer BBQ and grilling recipes. We hope you enjoy the weekend!

Bruschetta Chicken


Ingredients:

4 tbsp. oil

Juice of 1 lemon, divided

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

4 slices provolone

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine oil, juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons), 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and Italian seasoning and whisk to combine. Transfer to a large re-sealable bag along with chicken. Seal and chill, 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer chicken to a preheated grill and discard excess marinade. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
  3. Combine diced tomatoes and remaining juice from ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. While chicken is still on grill, top each breast with 1 slice Provolone and cover grill until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Top chicken with tomato mixture and serve.

Campfire Potatoes



Ingredients:

2 lb. mini Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 c. shredded mozzarella

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high, or preheat the oven to 425º.
  2. Cut 4 large pieces of foil about 10” long. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide potatoes between foil pieces, then fold the foil packets crosswise to completely cover the potatoes. Roll the top and bottom edges to seal them closed.
  4. Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the potatoes and reseal the foil packet. Cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Top with parsley and red pepper flakes and serve warm.


Spicy Grilled Shrimp



Ingredients:

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard

2 lb. large easy-peel shrimp

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine oil, garlic, celery seed, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden, sizzling, and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard and transfer to a bowl; cool completely.
  2. Add shrimp and sliced lemon to oil mixture. Season with salt and black pepper; toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  3. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill shrimp and lemon slices until lemons and shrimp are lightly charred and shrimp are just cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. To serve, transfer to a platter and squeeze lemon halves over top.


Grilled Potato Salad



Ingredients:

3 lb. baby Yukon gold potatoes

Kosher salt

Black pepper

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

6 slices center-cut bacon cut into 1/2 in. pieces

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar

8 scallions

2 tbsp. fresh marjoram, plus more for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Line a plate with paper towels.
  2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until easily pierced with a knife, 14 to 16 minutes. Drain and let cool. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to prepared plate with a slotted spoon.
  4. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from skillet. Off the heat, add garlic, vinegar, and brown sugar to the drippings in the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Grill potatoes cut-side down until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Grill scallions, turning occasionally, until charred, 4 to 6 minutes. Chop scallions into 1-inch pieces.
  6. Add potatoes, scallions, and marjoram to bowl with dressing, and toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with marjoram. Serve immediately.

Beer Braised BBQ Pork Butt



Ingredients for Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons salt

About 40 grinds black pepper

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground mustard seed

12 ounces good ale or dark beer, such as Bass

4 cloves garlic, chopped

One 5-pound pork butt

Ingredients for BBQ Pork Butt:

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub all over pork butt. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Unwrap pork and place in a roasting pan with sides about 2 inches high. Cook 45 minutes until dark browned and even blackening in places. Remove from oven. Lower oven to 325 degrees F. Pour beer over the top and add chopped garlic around the pork. Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil or twice with regular foil. Poke about 10 holes all over the top of the foil. Cook pork butt 2 1/2 hours longer until so tender that it comes away very easily from center bone.
  3. Place the meat on a plate and pour the pan juice into a saucepan.
  1. To the pan juices add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer until reduced by half and thick, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the sauce is boiling down, pull apart the pork with 2 forks. Pour the sauce over the pulled pork and work through until fully absorbed.

The Importance of Drinking Water

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, May 27, 2017



We already know that water should be an important part of our everyday life. It makes up 60% of our bodies and is vital to both our physical and mental health. If you’re feeling dizzy, thirsty, and have a headache, it could be that you are dealing with a mild case of dehydration. Unfortunately, those are only a few of the minor symptoms. Other, more serious symptoms can include:


·      Confusion

·      Weakness

·      Irritability

·      Constipation

·      Decreased urine output

·      Fainting

·      Fever



There are many benefits to drinking water, besides avoiding all of the scary dehydration symptoms listed above. Did you know that water can assist with weight loss? A glass of water 30 minutes before each meal can trick your body into being “full”, thus controlling your appetite and the calories you consume. Also, cutting out a sugary soda habit and replacing it with water helps reduces the risk of obesity, stroke, and other heart problems.


Water can also help you to feel refreshed, revitalized, and happy. Water wakes you up, will keep you going, and when you’re feeling energized and on the move, chances are you’re in a good mood. A lack of fluids can lead to muscle fatigue, and result in exhaustion. Drinking more, especially before and after exercise, replenishes the fluids lost from sweating and will keep you moving the remainder of the day.


Are you having some trouble with your skin? Without water, our skin becomes dry, dull, and wrinkled…but drinking the right amount each day allows the body to lock in the moisture it needs to create stronger, more radiant skin. Also, a sufficient amount of water maintains the many functions within your body, such as: digestion, absorption, circulation, body temperature, bowel movement, and the transportation of nutrients.


One thing to consider when drinking water is what type of container it is in. Do you drink water only from plastic bottles? If so, you might be interested to know that many plastic bottles can leach harmful chemicals straight in to the water that you're drinking. You can avoid this by drinking out of glass bottles, such as our recognizable blue bottles! 


As you can see, there are so many great benefits of getting the appropriate amount of water for your body! It can sometimes be hard to focus on drinking enough, so to make it easier, I will always have a glass of water as soon as I wake up, before my coffee. Then, I bring a large bottle of water with me to work every day and keep it on my desk in eyesight. This helps me to remember to drink up! Hopefully, these tips and important information will help you to keep your body hydrated!


Mother's Day Breakfast Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, May 13, 2017

(Hallmark ECards-Giphy.com)



Mother’s Day is tomorrow and what better way to pamper the most important woman in your life than breakfast in bed! We have put together a short list of some of our favorite delectable recipes for you to treat her with!



Banana Bread Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1/2 c. finely chopped toasted pecans, plus more for serving

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 c. Buttermilk

1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium), plus slices for serving

2 large eggs

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for griddle

pure maple syrup, for serving



Directions:

  1. Stir together flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, banana, eggs, and butter in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture and stir until just combined.
  2. Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat; butter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake on griddle. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until plump and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Place pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and keep warm in a 175°F oven up to 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
  3. Serve with maple syrup, toasted pecans, and sliced bananas.


Spinach Ricotta Brunch Bake

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

6 eggs beaten

1 cup ricotta cheese

A dash hot sauce

1 cup spinach chopped

6 slices bacon cooked, chopped

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

1 medium red bell pepper chopped



Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.
  2. Unfold pastry sheets and roll out one sheet to 11-inch square; set aside. Roll out remaining sheet to 12-inch square; use to line the bottom and side of the prepared spring form pan.
  3. Reserve 1 tbsp. eggs. Mix remaining eggs with ricotta, hot sauce and spinach. Layer half each of the bacon, cheddar, ricotta mixture and peppers in crust. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover with remaining pastry sheet; fold under edges of pastry, then tuck inside pan. Brush pastry with reserved egg. Cut slits in top crust.
  5. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 min. Run small knife around edge of pan to loosen crust before removing rim.


Easy Eggs in Clouds

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/4 cup grated pecorino-romano

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/4 cup crumbled bacon

Pepper



Directions:

  1. Separate eggs, putting whites in 1 large bowl and yolks in 4 separate small bowls.
  2. Whip whites until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold in cheese, chives and bacon.
  4. Spoon into 4 mounds on parchment-lined baking sheet; make a deep well in center of each.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 3 minutes, then and 1 yolk to each well; season with pepper. Bake until yolks are just set, 2 to 3 minutes.


Strawberry Sweet Rolls

Ingredients for Rolls:

1 tube crescent rolls

1 c. strawberry preserves

1 c. chopped strawberries

1 tbsp. melted butter

sugar (for sprinkling)

Ingredients for Glaze:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 tbsp. butter, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. lemon juice



Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8"-x-8" baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, unroll dough and separate the sheet into 4 rectangles. Pinch the perforations to seal. Spread strawberry preserves onto each rectangle, then top with chopped strawberries. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle and pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 4 to 5 slices. Place side by side, cut side up in baking pan.
  3. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
  4. For the glaze: In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.
  1. Drizzle baked rolls with cream cheese glaze. Serve warm.


Blueberry Breakfast Braid

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. cream cheese, divided

1/4 c. sugar, divided (plus more for sprinkling)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided

2 c. (1 pt.) fresh or frozen blueberries

2 tbsp. cornstarch

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 8-oz. tube crescent dough

All-purpose flour, for work surface

Egg wash (1 beaten egg plus 1 tsp. milk)

1/4 c. sliced almonds

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 tbsp. heavy cream



Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine 4 tablespoons cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
  3. Unroll the refrigerated crescent roll dough. If there are perforated edges, pinch the lines together to get rid of the cutouts. Lightly flour the dough, then roll it out slightly with a rolling pin to create a large rectangle.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture in the center of the dough, leaving about a 3” border on each side. Spread the blueberries over the cream cheese mixture. With a sharp paring knife (or kitchen shears), cut diagonal 1" strips along both sides of the dough border. Starting at the top of the dough, fold the strips over the blueberries, alternating sides to fold the left and right strips over one another. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar and almonds. Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool slightly.
  5. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons cream cheese, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is evenly incorporated into the cream cheese. Whisk in the cream, adding more to loosen the glaze if necessary.
  6. Drizzle glaze over the pastry. Cut crosswise to serve.


Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Ingredients for Donuts:

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 and 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Glaze:

1 and 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if needed

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest



Directions for Donuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a doughnut pan; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest; mix together with your fingers until zest is evenly distributed in the sugar. Add in the melted butter and beat until combined. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon extract; beat well. Stir in milk.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture together using a rubber spatula, stirring only until mixture is evenly combined.
  5. Spoon or pipe the thick batter into the molds of your prepared pan, filling each mold up 2/3 of the way. Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden on the tops.
  6. Remove pan from oven and allow doughnuts to cool for at least 10 minutes in the tray before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cool, dip each doughnut in glaze.

Directions for Glaze:

  1. In a wide, shallow dish combine the sifted confectioners' sugar and milk; whisk to combine - the mixture will be a little clumpy at this point. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest; whisk smooth.

 



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