Saturday, August 27, 2016

Anyela's Vineyards in Skaneateles, NY

Anyela's Winery is located on the west side of Skaneateles Lake, in Skaneateles, NY

The other day my husband and I stopped by and enjoyed a glass of wine with a lovely view of the Lake:

They have inviting decks and patios overlooking the charming vineyards, a huge amphitheater and a wonderful selection of whites and reds!

We sat on one of the decks....

...enjoying some wine, sharp cheddar cheese and crusty bread!

It was a perfect, sunny day!

The grapes are ripening and the Finger Lakes Wineries will be preparing to harvest in the next two months!

This is definitely a lovely place to enjoy a glass of wine, so if you are in the area, you must stop by!

To read more about Anyela's, click here


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Sunflower Field in Camillus, NY

There is a sunflower field around the Inn Between Restaurant in Camillus, NY:

Unfortunately, we visited a few days after the flowers were in full bloom and many were drooping....

...but there were still some bright, vibrant, happy faces for us to see:

Taking a "selfie" with a camera, with the sun in your eyes, is not as easy as it is with a phone:

 The flowers cover acres of land surrounding the restaurant...

....and there is a lovely pond to sit by while enjoying the view!

The flowers only appear every few years and there is a maze where many get lost for quite a bit of time.  The next time we visit, I hope to see them in full bloom!

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

It always works out in the end....I just needed a little patience!

I painted this drop leaf end table specifically to go into a customer's room.  When I sealed the top, it crackled, turned yellowish, some paint lifted and it was a mess.  The rest of the table was fine.  

I swore a bit, teared up and then put on my "big girl panties" and sanded the top.  I decided to make a little change to it...

I painted the top green, rather than cream, and painted similar stripes...

...and the MacKenzie-Childs Parchment knobs couldn't be any cuter!

As much as I hate to "start over" on a project, this was well worth it!

Sharing with The Dedicated House

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fresh herbs from my garden.....

You don't need a green thumb to grow herbs - and I am proof positive of that!

The trick is to not let them flower - once they flower, they stop producing leaves and often get leggy.

I dry all my herbs in the microwave on paper plates and then I store them in zip bags.  I share with my friends and family and like to dress them up a bit.

I add the zip bags to pretty little packages or jars...

...with labels on them...

I have even used popcorn boxes...

... and paper bags!

I also like to make herbal vinegar....

...and share it in cute little jars...

...for friends to enjoy!

And there is always a few herbs by my kitchen sink in a vase of water for emergencies!!

There is NOTHING like the aroma of fresh basil!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

American Goulash...

I love pasta - and recently I had a craving!

I made a big pot of Goulash for dinner and served it with some crusty bread and a side salad.    This meal always reminds me of when I was young.  It was my favorite "school lunch" meal!  My mouth would just water thinking about it!

But, this recipe is much better than the cafeteria's recipe!!

I cut some herbs from my herb garden and grabbed this recipe:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
1 T garlic olive oil
3 c water
3 beef bouillon cubes
28 oz can diced tomatoes - I add a few fresh tomatoes, too
8 oz tomato sauce
1 garlic clove chopped
1 t chili powder
salt and pepper
2 cups elbow macaroni
fresh herbs (oregano, basil, chives)
Brown beef and set aside.  In a large pot cook peppers, garlic and onions in garlic  olive oil.  Add all ingredients (except macaroni and fresh herbs) to the pot and bring to a boil.  Stir in macaroni and simmer for about 10 minutes until macaroni is cooked.  Add fresh herbs and serve immediately with crusty bread!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Nana's Bread and Butter Pickles

"Cool as a cucumber"
Extremely calm, relaxed and in control of your emotions.

Where did this phrase come from? 
 It may have originated from the fact that even in hot weather, the inside of cucumbers are approximately 20 degrees cooler than the outside air.

Cucumbers are low in calories, but one of my favorite ways to eat a cuke is to turn it into a pickle!!

As a child, I spent a lot of time in Maine with my grandparents.  My grandmother often canned vegetables from my grandfather's huge garden.  She was always in the kitchen, cooking, baking, slicing and dicing!!  My grandfather built a root cellar and that is where they kept all their canned goods.  No one could make pickles like my Nana - The smell of vinegar would clear out everyone's sinuses!!  I have used her recipe for years - changing it up a little bit, adding some hot peppers or garlic, or different seasonings, sometimes making them sweeter, sometimes a bit sour - BUT no matter what I do, they are never as good as Nana's were.  
Why is it that when someone else prepares food, it always tastes better?

I also add labels that I make on the computer, using sticker paper - I like to amuse myself!!

Here is Nana Mary's Pickle recipe:
4 qts thinly sliced cucumbers
1 qt sliced onions
1/2 c salt
Place cukes and onions in a shallow pan and cover with salt.  Cover with a few trays of ice cubes and let sit for a few hours.
In a large sauce pan:
5 c vinegar
1t celery seed
4 1/2 c sugar
4 t mustard seed
1 1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t ground cloves
Bring to a boil.  Drain cucumbers and add to saucepan, barely heating through.  Pour into sterilized jars and seal.  They will process themselves!  Makes 10 pints.

Here is the recipe I would have my high school students prepare in Foods and Nutrition class:
Mrs P's Pickles:
2 cucumbers
1 onion
1 1/4 c sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 t mustard seed
1/2 t pickling spice
1/2 celery seed
1/2 t turmeric
Wash cucumbers and slice thinly, slice onion.  In saucepan mix sugar, vinegar, water and celery seed. Tie pickling spice into a cheesecloth bag.  Bring mixture to a boil and add cheesecloth bag.  Add cucumbers, onion and turmeric.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Fill jars 3/4" from top and sprinkle mustard seed into each jar.  Cover and jars will seal on their own. Makes 2 jars. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tomato, Tomato....

I love tomatoes and this is the best time of the year to eat a perfectly ripe tomato....

...and I love a good Bloody Mary, spicy and with a lime...

....and just in case you were wondering, this didn't work well for me...

...because this is how mine looks:

And speaking of tomatoes....Imagine going out into your garden and finding one of these adorable shaped tomatoes...

...a cute butterfly:

a baby chick:

...and, well, you can name this one yourself:

Yes, I can honestly say I am running out of ideas to blog about !!


Monday, August 8, 2016


Winner is Stacy from Poofing the Pillows


Niagara Falls, Canada

Stay tuned for our next adventure of the Traveling Totes on Sept 1st!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

A few table settings from NYC

Last week I was in NYC and took a few photos of tables to share with you!

Tiffany always has an elegant, formal table set - this year with their signature colored dishes and bright yellow - it was stunning:

ABC in Union Square displayed vintage style settings, one with a lovely silver tea pot!

The  Baccarat store on Madison showed off a mixture of their exquisite crystal:

MacKenzie-Childs displayed a "comeback" of their "Fish Dishes" on the Train Table:

I hope you found some inspiration in this snippet of ideas!