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Spring Mocktail Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, April 29, 2017

(Photo: ohsodelicioso.com)


The season has come for picnic, barbecues and spring get-togethers! Every good soiree has a few different alcoholic drink options, but why not keep the non-drinkers in mind when planning what to serve? We have put together some of our favorite mocktail recipes for you!



Berry Spritzer


Ingredients:

A handful of organic berries

Fresh, organic mint leaves (no more than two sprigs)

Juice of 1 organic lime

2 tablespoons of agave, honey, or other sweetener (optional)

Club soda

Ice


Directions:

1. Muddle or purée the berries with the juice of one lime, the mint, and the optional sweetener.

2. Fill your glass with ice. Spoon your berry mixture over it. Then top it with club soda. Depending on how fruity you enjoy your drinks, you can reserve this for one mocktail or divide it between two.

3. Mix the spritzer using a cocktail shaker.

4. Serve with berry, lime, or mint garnishes.



Virgin Pina Colada


Ingredients:

2 frozen organic ripe bananas

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (frozen will work if you cannot find fresh)

1 cup no sugar added organic pineapple juice

1/2 can organic coconut milk (full fat or light) – frozen into cubes

Coconut flakes for garnish

Fresh pineapple wedges for garnish


Directions:

Add all of the ingredients except the coconut flakes and pineapple wedges to your blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into 4 glasses, serve each topped with coconut flakes and garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge.



Watermelon Strawberry Cooler


Ingredients:

4 cups cubed watermelon

1 cup hulled strawberries

1/2 peeled lime (or juice from 1/2 lime)

2 teaspoons chia seeds

6 mint leaves, plus more for garnish

Ice (optional)


Directions:

  1. 1. Blend the watermelon, strawberries, and lime until smooth. Strain through a sieve, pushing the juice through with a spatula. Discard the solids.
  2. 2. Mix the chia seeds into the juice and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to let the chia seeds swell.
  3. 3. Muddle 3 mint leaves in the bottom of each glass. Fill glasses with ice (optional). Stir the juice to break up the chia seeds, pour into glasses, and serve.


Lavender Lemonade


Ingredients:

6 cups water, divided

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

3 Tbsp dried lavender

2 cups lemon juice

Lemon slices and lavender petals for garnish

Blue or purple food coloring (optional)


Directions:

  1. 1. Over medium heat, combine two cups of water and sugar, bringing to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Turn off of the heat and stir in agave nectar and lavender.
  2. 2. Allow mixture to steep for 2 hours (less if you want less of a lavender taste). Strain the liquid, pressing the lavender down to make sure you get all of those juices into your mixture!
  3. 3. In a large pitcher, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lavender mixture and water.
  4. 4. Feel free to add a couple drops of blue or purple food coloring if you want more color than the lavender provides. Serve over ice.


Non-Alcoholic Sangria


Ingredients:

2 cups boiling water

2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose-leaf tea in an infuser; decaf tea is fine)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 medium orange, sliced into thin rounds

1 medium lemon, sliced into thin rounds

1 medium lime, sliced into thin rounds

1 medium apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

3 cups Sparkling Saratoga Water

 

 

Directions:

  1. 1. Pour the boiling water over tea bags and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in sugar to dissolve.
  2. 2. In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
  3. 3. Just before serving, stir in sparkling water. Serve in glasses over ice.

 


Healthy Recipes To Get Summer-time Ready!

Kelly McCombs - Friday, February 24, 2017

(Photo: fannetasticfood.com)

We have had some absolutely gorgeous weather here in NY the last few days, which has made us realize that Spring is right around the corner! It’s time to come out of that winter hibernation! We have put together a yummy list of some of our favorite healthy recipes to help kick start some healthy eating habits, to get you Summer-time ready!




Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry

Ingredients:

3 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2-3 T olive oil

1 can of tomato paste

2 cans of chickpeas

1 can of coconut milk

2 cups vegetable broth

5-6 oz spinach, washed and torn from stems

2 cups chopped onion

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 T chopped fresh ginger

1 handful cilantro

1 t cumin seeds

1 t coriander seeds

2 T olive or other oil

1 t ground turmeric

1 t garam masala

1 pinch ground cinnamon


Directions:

  1. Toss sweet potatoes in 2-3T oil and roast at 350F until soft. Blend until very smooth with the broth and coconut milk in a high speed blender or food processor.
  2. Heat 2T oil in a large pan and add the cumin and coriander seeds, toasting until just fragrant.
  3. Add the onion, turmeric, and garam masala and sauté for a few minutes until translucent, then add the ginger and garlic, cooking for another 3-4 mins.
  4. Add the chickpeas and sauté for 2-3 mins, then pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan. Add the tomato paste, spinach and cilantro.
  5. Cook until heated through. 


Salmon with Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce

Ingredients for Salmon:

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

4 salmon fillets, patted dry with paper towels

Ingredients for Dill Sauce:

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Directions:

  1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a baking dish and mix well. Add the salmon, turning to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 6 hours.
  2. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Place salmon (skin side down) in a foil-lined baking dish with sides. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. Top cooked salmon with sauce and salt and pepper to taste; serve with brown rice and the vegetable of your choice.



Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 cup wild rice (any rice works, timing will vary accordingly)

14 oz. block extra firm tofu

2 tsp. coconut oil

2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari

fresh ground pepper

1 heaping cup thinly sliced carrots

3/4 cup cooked, shelled, organic edamame

3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

handful of Chopped Cilantro or Pea Sprouts


Dressing:

2 Tbsp. white miso

2 Tbsp. agave nectar or brown rice syrup

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 shallot, minced

Juice of half an Orange


Directions:

  1. Rinse the wild rice. Bring two cups water to a boil. Add the rice, turn the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 35-40 minutes), adding a bit more water if necessary to finish cooking.
  2. Wrap the tofu between a few layers of paper towel or a dish cloth and set it aside to drain for 10-15 minutes. Cut it into a 1/2'' dice. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat and add the tofu and sauté for about five minutes. Sprinkle the soy sauce and a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top and sauté another few minutes until the edges are browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, tofu, sliced carrots, edamame. Toss everything with the dressing. Add the sesame seeds and cilantro and give it another toss. Serve room temperature or chilled.



Italian Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients:

2 small chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup bell peppers, sliced or chopped

1 small zucchini, sliced

½ cup tomatoes sliced into large chunks

½ cup onion, sliced or chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder or fresh minced garlic

1 teaspoon paprika (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.
  3. Cut and lay out 2 12x12 inch squares of aluminum foil on a sheet pan. Place half the mixture on each foil and gently fold the foil around ingredients to form a tight seal.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with a side of rice or noodles.



Shakshuka

Ingredients:

1 tablespoons olive oil

5-6 eggs

½ medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped

4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)


Directions:

  1. Dice the onions and garlic and sauté them on a deep, large pan.
  2. Dice the tomatoes and peppers (make sure to fully core the middle and the seeds). Sauté the bell peppers for 5-7 minutes until soft and add the tomatoes.
  3. Add tomato paste and stir until thickened. Add salt and pepper. Add in paprika and/or cayenne for as much spice as you like.
  4. Once thick, crack in the eggs one by one, making sure to space them out evenly. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to simmer and condense for 8-12 minutes, depending on how cooked you prefer your eggs.
  5. Once the eggs are cooked, the shakshuka is ready to be served with traditional challah bread and shared.

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! 





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!


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!


Summer Salad Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Friday, June 03, 2016
(Photo courtesy of Tieghan Gerard)


There is no better way to take advantage of all of the fresh produce that the summer has to offer than with a delicious summer salad. Since it is so hard to pick just one or two varieties of fresh produce, salads give you the opportunity to throw as many as you wish into a big bowl to enjoy. The following recipes prove that summer is made for salads!


We are going to start off the list of recipes with a bang! If you love Caprese Salad and are looking for a way to switch it up a bit, you definitely need to try this Honey Grilled Watermelon Caprese Salad. Yes, you read that right…watermelon, grilled. If you thought watermelon was good before, try grilling it and then covering it with honey! Paired with ripe, juicy tomatoes, mozzarella and a balsamic glaze, this salad is to die for!


Next comes one of the easiest salads ever. The Everything but the Kitchen Sink Salad is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a salad that you can make with leftovers or whatever extra sauces and pasta’s you have in your fridge. You can really put anything in it! I’ve made this one myself before and it is a bit different each time I make it, but always delicious.


The Sesame, Tomato and Cucumber Salad is packed full of seasonal flavor and is another easy-to-make option. It is served with a salty soy sauce, but if you’d like to add a bit of texture to the tomatoes, you can sprinkle some sea salt before adding the soy sauce. The sesame seeds bring an unexpected flavor and crunch to this salad that is summer on a plate!


My personal favorite summer salad is Texas Caviar. It is a mix between a salad and a salsa and can be eaten with tortilla chips or added to a variety of dishes like chicken or salad. It can even be served as a side dish. If you are looking for a quicker option, you can use store bought salad dressing, but I like to make my own for some powerful flavor. I also add diced avocado to mine which adds a level of creaminess that is much appreciated. This salad is even better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight. The dressing will marinate all of the veggies and bump up the flavor power! I make this a few times every summer and crave it during the colder months!


For something a little more Southern, try the Grilled Peach, Onion and Bacon Salad with Buttermilk Dressing. If you think these ingredients together sound like an odd combination, you’d be right but the flavors all meld together perfectly. It makes for a nice unexpected twist on a summer salad. When choosing your onions for this salad, make sure to pick a nice juicy variety, like Vidalia onions. These bring a delicious sweetness when paired with the ripe peaches. This salad is definitely a crowd pleaser!


What better way to gather all of the delicious produce for these salads than visiting your local farmers market? They always seem to have the freshest fruits and veggies and I always make a point of going every week and stocking up! We hope you enjoy these salads and stay cool this summer!


Happy Earth Day!

Saratoga Water - Thursday, April 21, 2016


Happy Earth Day!

Did you know the water inside our blue bottles has added benefits for your plants over regular tap water. The minerals and nutrients contained in sparkling water and club soda help with plant growth and root development. 

But, if you do decide to give your plants sparkling water, make sure it’s flat, because the carbonation can actually stunt the plant’s growth. Trust us, your plants will thank you for it.

Here are a few more water and gardening tips to keep in mind:

  1. 1. Be careful of overwatering your plants. It’s much easier to bring a dry plant back to life than to dry out overwatered roots. 
  2. 2. Start your day in the garden. Water your plants early in the morning to conserve moisture loss and to prevent mildew or diseases in high humid climates.
  3. 3. Add color! Adding a few drops of food coloring to your rain gauge makes it easier to read. Try to do it before your next spring shower. 
  4. 4. No waste. The next time you’re in the kitchen and steaming or boiling vegetables, don’t toss the water, save it for your garden! The used water contains nutrients that the plants respond well to. 
  5. 5. Garden vegetables are great and even better when picked at the right time. Make sure to remove them as soon as they are ripe. They have a tendency to over ripen rather quickly and this can attract unwanted pests. 

For more gardening tips, visit HGTV. Enjoy the sunshine and your garden!

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