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Holiday Cookie Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, November 26, 2016

(Photo by midwestliving.com)


Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it is time to start thinking of new recipes to make for Holiday cookies! My friends and I always do a big cookie exchange amongst ourselves. To save time and money, it is always best to plan ahead and have your recipes on hand. Here are a few you might like to include!


Peppermint Sugar Cookies


Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 Tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Red gel paste food coloring


Directions:

1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.


2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat for 2 minutes on medium speed or until mixture is light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg and egg yolk; beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Beat in peppermint extract. Gradually add flour mixture beating on low speed just until combined.


3. Divide dough in half. Knead about 1/2 teaspoon gel paste food coloring into one of the dough portions (add more, if desired, for a deeper red color). Leave the remaining dough portion plain. If necessary, wrap and chill dough for at least 1 hour or until easy to handle.


4. Form dough into desired shape. For peppermint swirl cookies: Divide each red and plain dough portion in half for a total of four dough portions. Roll a red dough portion into an 8x6-inch rectangle on parchment or waxed paper. Pat or roll a plain dough portion into an 8x6-inch rectangle on paper. Use the paper and your hand to carefully invert the red dough rectangle on top of the plain dough rectangle; remove top layer of paper. Starting from a long side, roll up dough using bottom layer of paper to help lift and guide the roll. Pinch dough edges to seal; wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining red and plain doughs. Chill dough rolls for 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. Unwrap dough rolls; reshape, if necessary. If desired, roll each of the dough rolls in red edible glitter or red coarse decorating sugar. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice rolls crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Rotate roll while cutting to prevent flattening. For candy cane cookies: For each cookie, on a lightly floured surface, shape a 1/2-inch ball of plain cookie dough into a 5-inch rope. Repeat with a 1/2-inch ball (1 measuring teaspoon) of red cookie dough. Place the ropes side by side and twist together. Form into a cane shape.


5. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven until edges are set (9 to 10 minutes for swirl cookies; 6 to 8 minutes for candy cane cookies). Cool on cookie sheets on wire rack for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.



Cookie 'N Cream Blossom Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cornstarch
36 Hershey's Kisses Cookies 'n' Créme, unwrapped


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º and line a cookie sheet with parchment. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.


2. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.


3. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients, then add to wet ingredients and mix until combined.


4. Form level tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball and place onto prepared cookie sheet.


5. Bake until edges are set and centers look mostly set, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a Hershey’s Kiss into center of each.


6. Let cookies cool 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.



Sugar Cookies


Ingredients:

1 c. butter (no substitutions)
½ c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy. On low speed, beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt until blended.


2. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to roll. (Or place dough in freezer 30 minutes.)


3. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough 1/8 inch thick. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet.


4. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.


5. When cookies are cool, prepare Ornamental Frosting, if you like; use along with sugars and candies to decorate cookies. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.


Chocolate Volcano Cookies


Ingredients:

1 lb. confectioners' sugar
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp. salt
4 large egg whites
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1½ c. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper; lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.


2. In large bowl, whisk confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add egg whites and vanilla and beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Set dough aside 5 minutes. If your batter is too runny, cover and refrigerate 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.


3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until set and crackly. Let cool on cookie sheets 3 minutes; then, with spatula, carefully transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Russian Tea Cakes


Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine, softened 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar


Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.


2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.


3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.


4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.


5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.


We hope you enjoy these delicious cookie recipes, and don't forget to share with your friends and family!




Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, November 19, 2016
                                                                                   Photo by Justin Bernhaut

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite side dishes and desserts for you. The turkey should always be the star of the show, of course, but having some delicious sides to pair with it make the meal perfect!


First up is a delicious Corn Pudding that is so rich, it is the perfect comfort food. This recipe is also super easy because you will be using packaged cornbread mix. The perfect mix of corn on the cob and corn bread, this is one recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

1 package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix

1/2 cup 2% milk

1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 325°. 
  2. 2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  3. 3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  4. 4. Beat in sour cream. Gradually add muffin mix alternately with milk. 
  5. 5. Fold in corn.
  6. 6. Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. 
  7. 7. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until set and lightly browned.


What’s Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce? This recipe puts a spin on the traditional canned version by adding orange marmalade and cilantro. This is very easy to make ahead and will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you do plan on making this ahead of time, don’t add the cilantro. You can add it in just before you serve.


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup orange juice

16 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 to 3/4 cup orange marmalade

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)


Directions:

  1. 1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. 2. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. 3. Add the sugar, orange juice, and cranberries.
  4. 4. Cook until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
  5. 5. Stir in the marmalade to taste (depending on desired sweetness).
  6. 6. Turn off heat. Stir in the pepper and cilantro just before serving.
  7. 7. Serve warm or at room temperature.


One of my favorite potato sides to make for Thanksgiving is this Skillet Scalloped Potatoes with Chive Butter. Super cheesy and easy to make, someone in my family has made this for the last few Thanksgiving meals, and it is always the first thing we run out of.


Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, diced

2 tsp. fresh thyme

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. chicken stock

1/4 c. chopped chives, plus more for garnish

1 c. shredded fontina cheese

3 to 4 Yukon gold potatoes, sliced thinly on mandolin


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. 2. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add garlic, onion, and thyme. Cook until mixture is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  3. 3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, heavy cream, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and mix in chives and half of fontina.
  4. 4. Add potatoes to skillet and arrange in any pattern, keeping slices vertical to ensure even cooking. 
  5. 5. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining fontina all over and bake until cheese is melty and crust is golden brown, 10 minutes more.
  6. 6. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.


One of the most recognizable side dishes that can be found on most tables is a Green Bean Casserole. Usually made with canned ingredients, this recipe is made with only fresh ingredients. Talk about a delicious comfort food!


Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing

5 cups sliced green beans

4 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups diced onions

2 cups sliced baby Bella mushrooms

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon salt

HOUSE SEASONING:

1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup black pepper


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. 2. Boil the green beans in the chicken broth for 20 minutes, and then drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth.
  3. 3. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. 4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, and then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
  5. 5. Pour the reserved 1 1/2 cups chicken broth back into the pot the green beans boiled in and bring to a boil. Add the green beans to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions.
  6. 6. While that is coming to a boil, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the boiling broth, whisking constantly as it thickens, about 2 minutes.
  7. 7.  Pour the thickened mixture over the green beans and add the sour cream, House Seasoning and salt. Stir well.
  8. 8. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the panko and cheese mixture. Bake until the casserole is hot, about 10 minutes, and then broil until the breadcrumb topping is slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. 9. Mix together the salt, garlic powder and pepper.

Switching to the dessert side of things, everyone is used to the traditional Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie at their Thanksgiving table. Why not showcase some of the different fruits available during the Fall? This Brown Butter Pear and Cranberry Cobbler is one of my personal favorites to bring to my family’s table on holidays!

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. plus 3 tbsp. butter, cut up

2 lb. ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and chopped

1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries

3/4 c. plus 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. cornstarch

Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. 2. In 12" skillet, melt 6 tablespoons butter on medium. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant, swirling frequently.
  3. 3. Stir in pears, cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon. Cook 5 minutes or until pears begin to soften, stirring frequently. Cool.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, in food processor bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Pulse in remaining 3 tablespoons butter until fine crumbs form; transfer to medium bowl. 
  5. 5. Stir in heavy cream until dough just comes together, kneading once or twice.
    1. 6. In large bowl, toss pear mixture with cornstarch; transfer to 9" pie plate or 2-quart baking dish. With hands, scoop dough onto pie in small mounds. Bake, on foil-lined baking sheet, 40 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and pears are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.



From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving, spending time with loved ones and making memories!


Local Events

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, November 05, 2016



Photo courtesy of Saratoga Farmers Market



Looking for something to do in and around Saratoga this weekend? The weather is supposed to be crisp and beautiful, so why not get out of the house! Keep on reading for some of the events that are on our list!



The Saratoga Farmers Market is moving indoors for the winter starting today, and they are hosting a delicious tasting event to celebrate! Located at the Lincoln Baths at Saratoga Spa State Park, the "Taste of the Market" will give market goers a wonderful opportunity to sample a variety of cheeses, fruits, vegetables, sweets, meats, and many prepared foods that the market vendors offer. There will also be cooking advice and recipes, too! The market runs from 9am-1pm today (Saturday). Don't miss out on your chance to try a ton of wonderful samples!



If you are a winter sports enthusiast, make sure to check out the Northeast Ski and Craft Beer Showcase, being held at the Empire State Plaza today 10am-6pm and tomorrow 10am-5pm. Formerly known as the Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo, this showcase is New York's largest and longest running winter sports show, heading into it's 55th year! You'll be able to check out the best in new ski and snowboard equipment and fashion, along with some pretty fantastic destinations! There will even be prizes to win! Tickets are $10 at the door and make sure to bring extra cash to take part in drinking some delicious craft beers!  



Who doesn't love a good barbecue wing? If you fancy yourself a wing connoisseur, then you don't want to miss the Capital Region Wing Wars 13. Held in Troy at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom today until 5pm, a ticket to Wing Wars will only cost you $25. This will give you the chance to sample two wings from each of the 15+ vendors, which is over 30 wings per person! Make sure you are prepared for some seriously spice wings, as some of the vendors like to kick it up a notch. There will also be beer and wine for sale, a DJ and free pizza! All proceeds go to St. Jude the Apostle School tuition assistance program. 



And finally, if you feel like taking a bit of a drive, head on up to Lake George to drive the Prospect Mountain Memorial Highway. There will be no fee to drive here today and tomorrow, so take advantage and enjoy some spectacular views from high above Lake George in the Adirondacks. 



We hope you enjoy the beautiful weekend ahead and get the chance to attend some of these fun Fall events! 





Featured Fan Photos

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 29, 2016

One of our very favorite things is seeing our fans enjoying Saratoga Water, and also seeing how you incorporate our water and the beautiful cobalt bottles into your everyday life and special events. Thank you to all of you who have shared a glimpse into your lives with us! Don't forget to tag us in all of your #SaratogaWater pictures on Instagram and Facebook for a chance to be featured on our social media. Here are a few of our favorite Fan Photos that we featured over the last several months!




Photo by Jacquie Pasternak on Facebook

Photo by @gardencollage on Twitter

Photo by @ashleyccline on Instagram

Photo by @vox.visulai on Instagram

Photo by @adriancabrero on Instagram

Photo by @closetsandcorks on Instagram

Photo by @ciaratoga on Instagram

Photo by @jacobhopper on Instagram

Photo by @theinnatfivepoints on Instagram

Rainy Day Fun

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 22, 2016

(Photo Credit: Pluviobrew)

With some rainy weather on tap for the next few days, you might be thinking that you’ll probably have nothing to do over the weekend besides to stay inside and watch TV. That sounds too boring for us, so we have put together a few rainy day activities that you can do to take up some of your time this weekend.


If you have kids in the house, grab a bunch of blanket and pillows and make an indoor tent/fort. Just because the weather is bad doesn’t mean you can’t go camping! Follow this up with an indoor picnic, to be eaten inside the “tent”, of course! The kids will really get a kick out of it and it’s a fun way to get them involved in helping set up. You can play board games, tell scary stories, all while inside the “tent”!


If you are looking to have a nice relaxing night at home while it rains, why not make your own bubble bath? Mix together a ½ cup of liquid hand or body soap, 1 tablespoon of honey and one egg white. You can also add in the essential oil of your choosing to make it smell beautiful. Run this mixture under the tap to create a beautiful bubble bath. The honey will naturally help attract and keep moisture in your skin and the egg white will help the bubbles last longer. Now, sit back and relax in your bath and let the stress of the day unwind.


Along the same lines of the relaxing bath, one thing that I love to do on rainy days is treat myself to a deep conditioning hair treatment. I won’t be running any errands anywhere, so what better time to take care of myself? I will either use a store bought hair mask, or my favorite: coconut oil. Yes, just regular coconut oil that you can purchase from the grocery store. I will massage some into my scalp and bring it down to the ends of my hair, then I will put it up in a bun and let it sit for a few hours. The coconut oil just washes out with regular shampoo. You will be left with very soft, silky smooth hair!


This might sound boring, but on rainy days I like to put some music on and clean up around the house. The music keeps me entertained and usually makes me work more efficiently. I love coming home to a clean house, so taking the opportunity to neaten things up when I’m stuck inside anyway is the perfect thing for me.


My personal plan for this rainy weekend is a horror movie marathon! It is almost Halloween, so many of the channels on TV are showing some older horror movies. I’ll also use services like Netflix to make sure I have a day full of scary fun. I really only watch scary movies before Halloween, so this is my excuse to get all of the old horror classics together for a fun night. I’ll make some popcorn and cozy up on the couch. I might leave a light on though…horror movies plus a gloomy, rainy day might make for some extra nerves!


My final thought for a rainy day activity is a simple one: reading. If I know that there are a few rainy days coming up, I will plan ahead and go to my local bookstore to pick up a book or two that I know I would love to curl up with under a blanket. I am usually go, go, go, so I normally don’t take the time to stop and relax with a good book. A rainy day is the perfect excuse for me because it forces me to relax and immerse myself in another world.


I hope you all stay warm and dry this rainy weekend and don’t forget to take some time for yourself!


Favorite Fall Desserts

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 08, 2016
                                                                     (Photo credit: carpeseason.com)

Fall is my very favorite season for many reasons, one of them being all of the delicious desserts I like to bake for my friends and family. The weather isn’t too hot, so it’s a perfect time to turn on that oven and get to work in the kitchen! I have put together a list of some of my all-time favorite desserts that I like to whip together during the Autumn season.


My absolute favorite snack to have during the Fall is Apple Cider Donuts. I always buy a dozen or so every time I go apple or pumpkin picking. They would be eaten so fast that I thought, why not make them myself? This recipe is the best one that I have tried so far because they taste like they are right from the cider mill at the local farm. Don’t forget to let the donut dough rise for at least an hour. This ensures that your donuts will be fluffy and delicious!


My next favorite recipe are for these Apple Oatmeal Cookies. Super simple to make, these cookies put a delicious twist on the traditional oatmeal cookie by simply adding in some chopped apples. The base recipe for the oatmeal cookie is one of the most delicious, so adding apples to the mix makes them perfect for fall. Thick, soft and chewy…it doesn’t get much better than that on a crisp, Fall day!


One recipe that is always highly requested at my parent’s house whenever I go over, is these Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles. I have always really enjoyed normal snickerdoodles, so when I came across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I brought them over to my family for Sunday night football one weekend, and they flew off the plate faster than I thought possible! The cream cheese center in these cookies is a delicious surprise and so yummy and creamy. Make sure you make extra of these because they are so delicious, they won’t last long!


Chocolate Apple Pops are fun and easy to make, and are perfect if you have children that want to help out in the kitchen. Dunking apple slices into warm chocolate and then dressing them up with all kinds of candies and crumbled cookies. You can really add anything you want to them. You can even use white chocolate or dark chocolate instead of the traditional milk chocolate. These are also fun to bring to parties because they are easily portable and easy for people to carry around and eat without the need for a plate. Such a simple recipe to have tons of fun with!


There are times when I can’t make the decision between wanting some kind of pumpkin cake or pumpkin pie. This recipe for Pumpkin Pie Cake solves that problem for me easily! This recipe takes a bit longer to put together than the others so far, but trust me, it is so worth it! The reason I love this one so much is because while I typically love pumpkin pie, sometimes I am not a fan of the pie crust. By putting the same pumpkin pie mixture on top of a yellow cake mixture, it is the perfect combination, in my opinion. This is a must-try recipe if you are looking to switch up the traditional pumpkin pie recipe this season!


I hope you have enjoyed learning about some of my favorite Fall dessert recipes! One of the reasons I love these so much is because I love getting together with my family and making all of these delicious things for them. There is no better feeling that seeing your loved ones happy and enjoying the food that you made for them! Happy Fall everyone!


Local Fall Activities

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 01, 2016

With the start of October brings all of the fun outdoor Fall activates that are plentiful in the Capital region! We are lucky enough to usually have beautiful weather and colorful changes in the leaves, which makes this season one of our favorites! We have put together a list of some of the best local Fall activities for this year!


Topping the list is apple picking, of course! 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, and the one I go to every year, is Bowman Orchards. They boast 46 different varieties of apples on almost 100 acres! On top of the apple picking, they have 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. Bowman Orchards is quintessential “Fall” to me and a must see!


On October 29th this year, is the much loved 15th Annual Saratoga Fall Festival. The event runs from 11am-4pm and is free to attend! There is live music, trick-or-treating, food vendors, a petting zoo, and even a magic show! This is one of my favorites because it’s fun to see everyone out in Downtown Saratoga Springs enjoying the cool weather and Fall activities!


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! There are two phases of the maze; Phase 1 for the younger crowd and Phase 2 for the more adventurous folks. They offer a game at the start of the maze that gives you hints and clues to help you find your way through. 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 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!


If you are up for a little physical activity and are wanting to see all of the beautifully changing leaves, I recommend hiking up Prospect Mountain in the Adirondacks. The hike is approximately 4 miles in length round trip and is great for experienced hikers and those with no experience. The summit offers spectacular panoramic views of Lake George and the Adirondack region and is the perfect place to hike during the Fall to take part in leaf peeping. Before I head out to Prospect Mountain, I always check the foliage report here. This great website lets you know when to expect to see the best colors in various areas in the state.


Our final favorite Fall activity is visiting our 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 winter. 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.


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!


Warm and Cozy Fall Beverages

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 24, 2016

(Photo Courtesy of thecookierookie.com)

Now that it is officially Fall, we have decided to bring to you some of our favorite warm and cozy fall beverage recipes. These are perfect for that crisp Fall day where you want to curl up under a blanket on the couch with a good book. Many of these recipes can even be made in a larger quantity to bring to parties or to bring tailgating at the next football game. We hope you enjoy them with your friends and family during the season!


Spiked Apple Pie Punch – This party beverage is delicious served both hot and cold!


Ingredients:

-1 gallon of apple juice

-1 gallon of apple cider

-3 cups of white sugar

-8 cinnamon sticks

-1 bottle of 190 brook alcohol


Directions:

In a large pot, bring apple cider, apple juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Once it starts to boil remove from heat and let it cool completely. Once cool add the alcohol. Transfer to a serving dish with a ladle so guests can help themselves.


Holiday Milk Punch – A great alternative to eggnog with no heavy cream or eggs.


Ingredients:

-1 cup of sugar

-1 cup of dark rum

-1/2 cup of brandy

-2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract

-1/2 gallon of whole milk

-grated nutmeg


Directions:

Combine rum, brandy, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large pitcher. Add the milk and put in the freezer until it is very cold but not frozen solid, about 4-5 hours. Pour into glasses and grate nutmeg over the top.


Homemade Eggnog – Save yourself time by using your blender for this recipe!


Ingredients:

-1 cups of heavy cream

-1/2 cup of sugar

-1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

-4 large eggs

-3/4 cup of brandy


Directions:

In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream, nutmeg and sugar to a simmer. In a blender, blend the eggs on low speed for 1 minute. While the blender is still on low speed, slowly add in the heavy cream mixture. Don’t add too quickly, as this will scramble the eggs. Add the brandy and then blend to combine.


Hot Toddy – A delicious drink to help you feel better for when you have a cold, or anytime really.


Ingredients:

-8 oz of hot water

-1 herbal tea bag

-10 oz of bourbon

-1 Tablespoon of honey

-1 lemon wedge


Directions:

Pour the hot water over the tea bag in a mug and let it step for about 3 minutes. Remove the tea bag, add the honey and bourbon and a squeeze of lemon, stir and enjoy!


Homemade Hot Chocolate – Everyone’s favorite go to cozy drink!


Ingredients:

-1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

-1/2 cup of sugar

-1/3 cup of hot water

-1/8 teaspoon of salt

-4 cups of milk

-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Directions:

Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt, and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Continue cooking and stirring for another minute. Add in the milk and continue stirring, do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Serve immediately!





Football Snacks!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 17, 2016

                                                                  (Photo credit: thepioneerwoman.com)

One of my favorite things about the end of summer is football season! One of my extra favorite things about 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 the main staples in our house 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. You always know where to find everyone once this comes out!


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.


A new addition to our snack spread is this Buffalo Chicken Dip. Not the healthiest of options, but who wants healthy during football? Another simple recipe, with only 4 ingredients, this is an easy one 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, 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.


Apparently, we like dips in my family because this next one is our favorite for something on the sweet side. Caramel Cinnamon Cheesecake Dip 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!



Sparking Cocktail Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 10, 2016

                                                           (Photo Credit: www.thirstie.com)

What better way to liven up a cocktail than with some sparkling water? We have put together a nice list of some of our favorite cocktails for you. All of these would go beautifully with our Saratoga Sparkling Water!


Red Wine Berry Spritzer – a perfect upgrade to a normal glass of wine!


Ingredients:

-1/4 cup of Ice

-2 tablespoons Frozen Berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc)

-2 ounces of Red Wine

-6 ounces of Saratoga Wild Berry Essence Sparkling Water


Apple Fizz – A delicious cocktail to welcome the beginning of the Fall season.


Ingredients:

-2 ounces of Apple Brandy

-4 ounces of Apple Juice

-1/2 teaspoon of Lime Juice

-top off with Saratoga Sparkling water over ice.


Cider Cup Punch– Another spin on an apple cocktail, this time mix in a large punch bowl.


Ingredients:

-4 ounces of Brandy

-2 ounces of Cointreau

-2 cups of Apple Cider

-1 cup of Saratoga Sparkling Water over ice.

-4 teaspoons of Sugar.


Cherry Cranberry Smash – This cocktail is crisp and refreshing, with the bonus of no added sugar!


Ingredients:

-4 ounces of Cranberry Juice

-1 shot of Rum

-3 smashed cherries

-4 ounces of White Wine

-2 ounces of Saratoga Sparking Water


Americano – For something on the more sophisticated side.


Ingredients:

-1 ounce of Campari

-1 ounce of Vermouth

-Top off with Saratoga Sparkling Water

-Garnish with an Orange Slice


We hope you enjoy these Sparkling cocktail recipes. As always, please remember to drink responsibly! 



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