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Late Summer Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 03, 2016
                                                                                   (Snixykitchen.com)

September is one of my favorite months because it’s finally not too hot to turn the oven on, but yet it is still warm enough to go out for a sweet ice cream treat! In honor of summer coming to a close, we have compiled a list of some late summer recipes for you to enjoy!


First up is a Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette. This salad is the perfect combination of savory and sweet with the earthy beets and fresh, sweet and sour grapefruit and oranges. This might even be a perfect salad to convince someone who doesn’t like beets to give them a try. Each mouthful is deliciously refreshing and full of different tastes and textures, sure to please any palate.


I know in my personal garden at home, I have an abundance of tomatoes of all kinds. Cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes…you name it, I have it. That is one of the best things about late summer and the reason you should absolutely make this Parmesan Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes. This recipe is super easy and quick, and would be delicious as a side at dinner or served up with some eggs for breakfast! If you don’t have your own garden, head on over to your local farmer’s market and pick up some wonderful heirloom tomatoes to enjoy this recipe!


One of my favorite dishes to make in the late summer that utilizes almost everything I grow in my garden is the End of Summer Ratatouille. This is one of the easiest dishes you will ever make because you just chop everything up, add some spices and throw it in to one dish. I will even make this with leftover vegetables that I have so that they don’t go to waste. The End of Summer Ratatouille is perfect as a side paired with chicken, served mixed in with pasta, or even on a salad. It is one of my favorite go-to dishes for September!


Have you ever bought a bunch of bananas with the good intentions of grabbing one on your way to work for an addition to a healthy breakfast, but then you forget? Happens to me all the time! What I do with my overripe bananas is make something not so healthy: Bananas Foster! What’s better than buttery, caramelized bananas served with some vanilla ice cream? Not much, in my opinion! There is booze in this recipe and you can get fancy by lighting it on fire in the pan to flambé, but be careful! We wouldn’t want anyone to lose their eyebrows! Serve this lovely dessert up as a late night treat to satisfy that sweet tooth.


Our final recipe is a perfect one for September, where fall is just around the corner and you feel like having something cozy and delicious. Hasselback Sweet Potatoes are one of my favorite “feel good” additions to any meal. Many of us are used to eating sweet potatoes caramelized up at Thanksgiving, but this recipe takes it up a notch with the addiction of apples, cranberries, and pecans. One tip for you when you make this recipe: sweet potatoes are usually pretty hard to cut, so make sure you have a sharp knife to avoid any injuries!


We hope you enjoy making these delicious recipes during the final few weeks of summer!


Our Favorite Seattle Eateries

Kelly McCombs - Friday, August 26, 2016

                                                          (Photo Credit: Jennifer Richard, thestranger.com)

Seattle is known for is incredibly diverse and unique restaurant scene. Whether you are in the mood for deliciously fresh seafood, an incredible Cuban cured meat sandwich, or some of the best bakery treats around, Seattle is the place to be. Let’s continue our adventure and go over some of our favorites!


Topping the list today is one of the most unique and extravagant dining options. Altura, located on Broadway East in Seattle, strives to make your dining experience one that you will remember. No two nights at Altura will be the same, as the chef prepares a different menu every day. Each meal is between five and seven courses with “small bites” in between. While this restaurant is on the pricey side at $137 per person, the delicious food and atmosphere is certainly worth it. Sitting at the bar while watching the chef cook is one of the best seats in all of Seattle!


Next up is one of my personal favorite restaurants, Lark, on East Seneca St. Lark is popularly known as one of the premier artisan-focused restaurants in all of Seattle. They only use locally grown, organic ingredients, and only those that are currently in season. In the mood for something a little less fancy, but in keeping with the Lark philosophy of fresh, organic and in season? The owners also own a beautiful bar named Bitter/Raw and a delicious sandwich and coffee counter called Slab. Each of these locations comes highly recommended. You are sure to have a delicious meal and a wonderful experience here!


If I am in Seattle and feeling like a nice, juicy burger, my go-to stop is Red Mill Burgers! There are two locations of this delicious eatery available to you, and both of them will have a line out the door if you hit the timing right. Red Mill Burgers offers a large variety of flame-grilled burgers with every topping imaginable. They even offer vegetarian options and a few different chicken sandwich options. Family owned and operated, Red Mill is a friendly and vibrant burger joint. They were even named on the list of the Top 20 Burgers You Must Eat Before You Die on the Oprah Show and in GQ magazine! Sounds like eating here is a necessity!


Heading in a completely different direction, one of the most raved about bakeries in all of Seattle is Bakery Nouveau. Chef William Leaman has won numerous prestigious awards and been feature in so many dining publications that there are too many to count. Bakery Nouveau offers two locations, one in West Seattle and one on Capitol Hill, with the decadent smells traveling outside the bakery for blocks. Each location offers a large variety of breads, chocolates and other delicious sweets such as French macarons, cookies and even sweet and savory breakfast pastries. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a must-see place for you!


Looking for something a little different? While Dough Zone Dumpling House is a small chain of restaurants, they serve some of the best Chinese comfort food in all of Washington State. Offering a large variety of dumplings and noodle dishes, this unique eatery will have you craving more locations so that you can go anytime!


This is only a small selection of our favorite restaurants in Seattle. There are literally hundreds of wonderful places to eat anywhere you go. The thing about Seattle is there is a beautiful mix of cultures and flavors all over the city. If you ever get the chance to visit, we hope that you find our lists useful on your travels!


Things To Do in Seattle

Kelly McCombs - Friday, August 19, 2016


The last city we visited on our travel adventures was San Francisco. We thought, why not head on up the coast and check out Seattle? Located on Puget Sound in Washington State, Seattle is surrounded by thousands of acres of parkland, which is why it is dubbed the “Emerald City”. It has an eclectic and cultured scene with a variety of things to see and do, perfect for everyone in the family.


The most iconic image of Seattle has to be the Space Needle. Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is an observation tower that overlooks the Seattle skyline and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, including Mount Rainier. Visitors reach the top of the needle by elevators and can stand out on the observation deck to take in the breathtaking views. The Space Needle also has a restaurant at the top, called SkyCity Restaurant. If you want to impress someone, take them here. The views are some of the best on the West Coast!


If you are looking to get away from the hub-bub of the city, take a stroll through Seattle’s Arboretum. This is an absolutely gorgeous place to take a break from the world. Nooks and crannies abound in this delightful mix of gardens, pathways, streams and bridges. Your mind is sure to relax and forget your troubles in a place like this! The Arboretum is gorgeous at any time of year, as new and different plants will be blooming, the leaves will be changing, and the snow will make it look like a fairytale. One of my personal favorite places!


If you happen to be in Seattle on a hot, sunny day (sometimes a rarity in rainy Seattle), head on over to the International Fountain. Located in Seattle Center, this is another piece of architecture that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It was completely remodeled in 1995 to make it much safer and child-friendly. Now, children (and adults!) can play in the bowl of the fountain and even walk right up to it. Make sure to bring your bathing suit to enjoy this Seattle mainstay!


If you’re in the mood to peruse fresh veggies, beautiful flowers and other unique handmade and grown items, Pike Place Market is a must-see. This market boasts being the longest continually operating public market in the entire country! If you are looking for some fresh fish, there is no better place to buy some. Watch your head as you go through the fish market. You might see fish flying above it! Even if you don’t want to buy any fish, it is still worth the trip to the fish market to see the fish mongers throw huge fish in the air to one another. The entertainment factor alone is worth it! You could spend hours at this market looking at the thousands and thousands of different items. There are even a few restaurants if you wanted a break from walking.


Our final stop on our tour of Seattle is the Woodland Park Zoo. Originally a private collection of animals on the estate of Guy C. Phinney in the late 1800’s, the city took over the collection and estate upon his death. The zoo has a vast array of exhibits and ranks second to New York’s Bronx Zoo in the number of exhibit awards received from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are over 300 different animal species on the 92 acres that the zoo encompasses. It is open to the public every day of the year except Christmas. If you have children, this would be a fun place to explore. Fun and educational, all at the same time!


These are just a few of the wonderful places to see on your visit to Seattle. This city is so full of life and culture, it is one that everyone should take some time to see. Stay tuned next week, when we talk about some of our favorite eateries in Seattle!


Delicious No-Bake Desserts

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, August 06, 2016

                                                                 Photo Credit: timelapserecipes.com



It has been hot, hot, hot here in NY for the last few weeks! The last thing anyone wants to do is turn on an oven to bake a dessert, so we are bringing you some easy no-bake options for your next summer get together!


First up is a treat that most people will recognize, the Chocolate Mousse Pie. This is one of the easiest pies around to make, and using a store bought graham cracker or cookie crust makes it even easier. You can also use store-bought whipped cream instead of whipping your own, if you’re short on time. This is one of those simple, yet delicious pies that we have at all of our family gatherings. It is a summertime staple!


I don’t know about you, but cannolis are one of my all-time favorite desserts. This simple No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake, is a perfect, easy option that hits the spot! The combination of cannoli and cheesecake make this deliciously decadent, without taking a lot of time! You will fool everyone into thinking that you spent hours perfecting this recipe, when it really only took you about 15 minutes!


This tangy Tropical Sherbet is very easy to prep ahead of time for those last-minute meet-ups. Just freeze chunks of mango and pineapple, pop them in the blender with some lemon yogurt and you will come out with a delicious sherbet that is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Don’t freeze the sherbet overnight though. It will turn from smooth to icy!


One of the most refreshing recipes and one perfect for this time of year is the Limoncello Freeze. This is a delicious lemony version of a creamsicle and it is super easy to make. All of the ingredients can be store-bought, so no need to waste time by prepping them yourself. I can picture sitting out on the back deck in the sun with one of these. The perfect summer refreshment!


If you are in the mood for something more “cake-like”, then you need to try this Banana Split Cake. The combination of the ripe bananas and the vanilla pudding make this creamy dessert to die for. I have made this for a few different family gatherings and it is always the one dessert that everyone requests me to bring. It is certainly a huge hit!


I’m sure that one of these delicious recipes will hit the spot, and they won’t leave you a sweaty mess in the process! 

Local Outdoor Activities

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 29, 2016

                                                         Photo Credit: Leah Carter

Now that summer is in full swing, why not take full advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside for some fun summer activities? We have compiled a list of some local attractions that are best visited during the warm summer months!


First on the list is Six Flags Great Escape! This has always been one of my very favorite places to go during the summer, ever since I was a kid. You can’t beat all of the fun roller coasters and other rides. They even have a water park which is perfect for those hot summer days. Great Escape is fun for all ages! Located just a few miles north of Saratoga in Queensbury, this theme park has over 135 rides, shows and attractions. Make sure to take a ride on The Comet, the wooden roller coaster towards the back of the park. This is my personal favorite! Great Escape is the perfect place to make memories with your family and friends!


If you will be in the Lake George area around September 8th-11th and you love classic cars, make sure to check out the Adirondack Nationals Car Show. This show is the highlight of the season for all of the regular car show guys and gals and is known for showcasing some of the best classic cars and hot rods in the area. There is nothing quite like walking through the aisles of cars and imagining the good old days. They sure don’t make them like they used to! This show features food vendors, automotive vendors, and a nightly cruise in, just to name a few of the exciting things that you'll see!


If you are in the mood to take in some beautiful sights, head on down to Thatcher State Park for some hiking. There are different difficulty levels on the various trails, so don’t worry if you are not an experienced hiker. Thatcher Park provides some of the most splendid views of the Hudson-Mohawk valleys and the Adirondack and Greene Mountains, so this is one place that you will not want to miss. The park also offers picnic areas, volleyball courts, baseball fields and playgrounds. Perfect for the whole family!


If you are more on the daring and adventurous side, you should check out Adirondack Extreme in Bolton Landing. This adventure course offers 1.5 miles of aerial adventures such as rope swings, zip lines, and bridges. Not for the faint of heart, however they do offer different course levels and you can exit the courses at any time. They are open from April through November and reservation are strongly recommended. If you are looking to add some adventure into your life, this is certainly the place to find it!


This is just a small taste of some of the fun, outdoor activities that the Saratoga area has to offer. Take some time this weekend, get outside, and enjoy this beautiful summer!


Things To Do in Saratoga!

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 22, 2016



Today marks the beginning of the busy season in Saratoga Springs, with Saratoga Race Course opening for the 2016 meet! So we thought, what better time to pool together some fun Saratoga “must-see” sites into a blog post? If you’re planning to travel to the area this summer, or even if you’re a local, keep reading!


Of course, the main event of the summer in Saratoga is attending the races at the track. The hub bub of the town revolves around the goings-on there! Watching the races is perfect for everyone, whether you want to rent a picnic table and hang out with your friends and family, get grandstand tickets to watch the action in person, you can even get a table at one of the restaurants to view the racing while having a delicious meal. My favorite thing is to stand right up against the fence to the track when the horses fly by to the finish line. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as seeing them speed by. A little known fact is that you can tour the stable area for free. Get to the track early and have breakfast at the Clubhouse Porch, then take the tram over to the stable area to see where the horses are kept! This is perfect for the horse lover or anyone who loves the history of the track.


If you are a fan of wine, then you must head over to the Saratoga Winery and Tasting Room.  You can do wine tastings every day that they are open, with no reservation required! They also have live music and wood fired pizza every weekend. They have an extensive wine list and even have numerous beers on tap. Only 4 miles from downtown Saratoga, this is a great place to relax and socialize!


One of the most beautiful places in Saratoga is Congress Park. Located right downtown, this park is perfect for a quick afternoon stroll. There are fountains, a stream, the usual family of ducks, even a beautiful wooden carousel. In the center of the park is Canfield Casino, a historic gambling casino named a National Historic Landmark. Though the building is no longer used as a casino, it currently houses the Saratoga Springs History Museum. If you have an interest in learning about the rich history of our town, this is a wonderful place to visit.


Speaking of parks, if you like Congress Park, you will love the Saratoga Spa State Park. This one is much larger that Congress Park with a plethora of things to do. There are pavilions that you can rent for barbecues and get-togethers, there is an 18 hole golf course, numerous swimming pools, along with some of the most beautiful architecture you will see in all of Saratoga. There are beautiful trails for running, walking, and even riding your horse. I personally love to go here a few days a week to take my dogs for a walk. There are nice shady spots to lounge and a beautiful babbling creek. It is one of my favorite places in Saratoga!


If you’re like me and love a good farmer’s market, you are in luck! Saratoga Springs offers up two great ones! First is the Saratoga Farmers Market, located on High Rock Avenue downtown. This one is open year round on Wednesdays 3pm-6pm and on Saturdays 9am-1pm. From November to April, this market moves inside to the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The second farmer’s market is the Spa City Farmers Market, located in front of the Lincoln Baths at the State Park, on the lawn. They are open every Sunday from 10am-3pm. Both of these markets offer a large variety of local, farm fresh goodies. I try to go once a week to pick up some beautiful fresh cut flowers to put into arrangements for my house. I also purchase my veggies for the week. I love how everything is seasonal so as the seasons change, my choice in vegetables will change as well.


These are just a select few of our favorite things to do in Saratoga.  Make sure you take advantage of everything offered by walking down Broadway. There are so many delicious restaurants, bakeries, beautiful shops, not to mention the vibrant night life down Caroline Street. Saratoga is the perfect place to spend some time during the summer and we hope you will visit soon!


Road Trip Essentials

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 15, 2016


With summer comes the urge to get out and explore! Whether you hop in the car to head to the beach, the mountains, somewhere close by or somewhere a few hours away, you should always make sure you have a few essentials with you, because you never know what unexpected things will happen! We have come up with a list of some important things to make any road trip fun and successful.


One of the most important things to bring along with you are maps of the area where you will be traveling. I know almost all of us have smart phones now, but some areas will have spotty cell phone service and you’ll need an additional way to find where you are going. I usually keep a New York State map in my car at all times anyway, but make sure to pack any others that you may need.


An essential thing that I constantly have to remind myself to bring is a cell phone charger. No matter the length of your road trip, your phone will inevitably die. You’ll be using it for GPS, music, to take pictures along with numerous other things like social media. All of these things will drain your battery’s life, and nobody likes a dead cell phone! I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping an extra charger in my car’s center console so that it is always there and I don’t forget it!


One of the things that will be draining that cell phone battery is playing music. It is essential to have a good road trip playlist! I keep a variety on my phone depending on my mood. It is smart to have standalone playlists instead of just a music streaming app, because if you are in an area with questionable cell phone service, you will still want some music to play!


I usually keep a small cooler filled with ice and water and various other soft drinks in my back seat, within easy reaching distance of the front seat. This saves me time and money because then I don’t have to stop at rest stops or gas stations to buy beverages. I also usually make a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, slip them into a plastic baggie and put them on top of the ice in the cooler for a little snack along the way. Part of the fun of road tripping is stopping along the way at random little eateries and restaurants to sample the local cuisine, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t bring snacks along!


I also tend to keep a little pouch filled with first aid essentials in my purse or the backseat when I go on road trips. It will hold everything from hand sanitizer to headache medicine to chewing gum, along with normal first aid kit products like band aids and triple antibiotic ointment. You never know when you will need one of these things on the road in the middle of nowhere with no gas station in sight.


The finally thing that we think you should bring along with you is a spare blanket and pillow. These come in handy for your passenger during the long drive or you, if you have the unfortunate opportunity to get stuck somewhere. Sleeping in the car is never a fun thing, but if worse comes to worst, at least you’ll be prepared!


We hope these travel essentials will be useful along your road trip. The main thing to always remember is have fun and make memories! 


Summer Cocktail Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 08, 2016


                                                                                         Photo Credit: www.foodandwine.com


Given the intense heat and humidity in NY the last week or so, I thought it was a good time to bring you some summer cocktail recipes. These are some of the most satisfying and refreshing drinks around, which make them perfect for your next summer get-together!



We’ll start off with a cocktail that contains one of my favorite fruits, watermelon. The Watermelon-Tequila Cocktail is perfect for those summer months when watermelon is in season and can be found pretty much everywhere. Paired with tequila, this drink is super easy to make and will certainly hit the spot!



Since everything is better frozen, especially during the heat of summer, why not try Fruity Wine Slushies? You’ll need a blender for this recipe, but the combination of pinot grigio with frozen peaches and strawberries is enough to make your mouth water. It’s a delicious and quick way to cool down, too!



One of the classic staples of any summertime get-together is the Strawberry Daquiri. Most people have had one or at least know what it is, so this recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. These are also easy to make in large quantities to pass around at your next BBQ!



A twist on the classic Mimosa is the Peach Melba Mimosa. You’ll also need a blender for this one to puree some frozen raspberries and peaches, but it will be worth it! This fresh and light cocktail is one that you could even have for brunch!



One of my favorite things to drink during the summer is lemonade. This recipe for Strawberry-Basil Bourbon Lemonade kicks it up a few notches! The addition of bourbon and the combination of basil with strawberries make this “grown-up” lemonade the perfect summertime beverage after a long hot day.



If you’re looking for a fizzy drink, why not try the Citrus Fizz? Another easy recipe, this one can even be made with our Saratoga Sparkling Water! I always find citrus to be so refreshing when it’s a hot day outside, and this one packs a punch with both orange and lime juices.



We hope you have enjoyed a few of these delicious and refreshing beverages , and as always, please drink responsibly!

Celebrate July 4th!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, July 02, 2016



With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching, we thought we would make a list of some local fireworks shows to help make your holiday extra special! Here are a few in our local area:


Saratoga Lake Fireworks Display

When: Sunday, July 3rd

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



Saratoga’s All-American Celebration

When: Sunday, July 3rd and Monday, 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 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. This is my favorite 4th of July event and one that I go to every year.



July 4th Celebration in Clifton Park

When: Monday, 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!



Lake George 4th of July Fireworks

When: Monday, July 4th

Where: Shepard’s Park in Lake George



New York State’s 4th of July Celebration

When: Monday, 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 30,000 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 that play all the way up until it is time for the fireworks display!


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

What To Do This Weekend?

Kelly McCombs - Friday, June 24, 2016

This week, we thought we would feature two local festivals taking place this weekend. It is officially summer and what better way to spend your weekends than out in the gorgeous weather experiencing new things and making memories?




First up is the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival. 2016 is the second year for this fun event and it is one you will not want to miss. It is even bigger than last year, with over 60 NY State craft beverage producers and food vendors. You will be introduced to numerous wineries, breweries, distilleries, local food vendors, craft vendors and food trucks. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. You will receive a free wine glass with the purchase of your ticket, which you can use to sample all of the delicious craft beverages. This is the perfect opportunity to try before you buy and perhaps find something new that you might like. The event is being held at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons in Lake George, NY on Saturday, June 25th from 11am-6pm and Sunday, June 26th from 11am-5pm. A plus to this event is that a portion of all ticket proceeds goes directly to the SUNY Adirondack Foundation, which provides financial support to the college and its students in the form of scholarships and staff development grants. If you're a wino or just like to try new things, this is the event for you!




                                              Photo: Saratoga Performing Arts Center www.spac.org




If you are a fan of music, you have to go to the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival. This event is one of the most celebrated and longest running jazz events in the world. It is also the most popular jazz festival in the local area and one of the most looked forward to events in Saratoga for the summer! This event is sure to be a good time and is being held at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 25th and Sunday, June 26th. Gates open at noon but the line starts to form long before that time, so make sure you get there early! If you go, you can look forward to performances by 20 world-class jazz artists, including Smokey Robinson! Performances will be held on two stages, with the larger acts performing on the main SPAC stage and the new, up-and-coming acts performing in the Gazebo. A plus to this event is that coolers are allowed in the venue, so you can bring all of the food and drink that you want. Ticket pricing is included in the link above.



We hope that you take advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and get to go to one of these events! Stay tuned to the blog next week for some travel essentials!


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