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Fall is Coming!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 16, 2017


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



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



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



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



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



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


DIY Garden Ideas

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, August 05, 2017

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



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

(Photo from elizabethjoandesigns.com)



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



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



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


(Photo from balconygardenweb.com)

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

(Photo from craftsbyamanda.com)

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

Our Favorite BBQ Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Friday, June 09, 2017

(Photo: @bigbarbecue on Twitter)


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

Bruschetta Chicken


Ingredients:

4 tbsp. oil

Juice of 1 lemon, divided

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

4 slices provolone

Directions:

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

Campfire Potatoes



Ingredients:

2 lb. mini Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 c. shredded mozzarella

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish

Directions:

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


Spicy Grilled Shrimp



Ingredients:

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard

2 lb. large easy-peel shrimp

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

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


Grilled Potato Salad



Ingredients:

3 lb. baby Yukon gold potatoes

Kosher salt

Black pepper

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

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

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar

8 scallions

2 tbsp. fresh marjoram, plus more for garnish

Directions:

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

Beer Braised BBQ Pork Butt



Ingredients for Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons salt

About 40 grinds black pepper

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground mustard seed

12 ounces good ale or dark beer, such as Bass

4 cloves garlic, chopped

One 5-pound pork butt

Ingredients for BBQ Pork Butt:

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Directions:

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

The Importance of Drinking Water

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, May 27, 2017



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


·      Confusion

·      Weakness

·      Irritability

·      Constipation

·      Decreased urine output

·      Fainting

·      Fever



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


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


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


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


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


Mother's Day Breakfast Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, May 13, 2017

(Hallmark ECards-Giphy.com)



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



Banana Bread Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

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

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 c. Buttermilk

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

2 large eggs

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

pure maple syrup, for serving



Directions:

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


Spinach Ricotta Brunch Bake

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

6 eggs beaten

1 cup ricotta cheese

A dash hot sauce

1 cup spinach chopped

6 slices bacon cooked, chopped

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

1 medium red bell pepper chopped



Directions:

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


Easy Eggs in Clouds

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/4 cup grated pecorino-romano

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/4 cup crumbled bacon

Pepper



Directions:

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


Strawberry Sweet Rolls

Ingredients for Rolls:

1 tube crescent rolls

1 c. strawberry preserves

1 c. chopped strawberries

1 tbsp. melted butter

sugar (for sprinkling)

Ingredients for Glaze:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 tbsp. butter, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. lemon juice



Directions:

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


Blueberry Breakfast Braid

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. cream cheese, divided

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

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided

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

2 tbsp. cornstarch

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 8-oz. tube crescent dough

All-purpose flour, for work surface

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

1/4 c. sliced almonds

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 tbsp. heavy cream



Directions:

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


Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Ingredients for Donuts:

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 and 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Glaze:

1 and 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if needed

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest



Directions for Donuts:

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

Directions for Glaze:

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

 


Spring Mocktail Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, April 29, 2017




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.

 


Welcome to Saratoga Spring Water!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, March 25, 2017



We thought we would take some time to welcome our new supporters to the blog and introduce them to our wonderful products! For more than 140 years, we have been bottling America’s premium spring water in Saratoga Springs, New York. We know that it is not only the refreshing taste, but also our commitment to honoring our rich heritage and providing the most pristine bottled water available, that surrounds our company with a constant and growing band of loyal supporters.

We take pride in our state-of-the-art, sustainable processes, and ensure that each bottle is carefully crafted to deliver the exceptional freshness and taste for which Saratoga Spring Water is renowned. We are proud to be environmentally focused by remaining mindful of our impact on the planet, staying vigilant over our use of natural resources, and promoting sustainability, recycling, and waste reduction.

Our line of natural, sparkling, and flavored spring water products has become popular in some of the world’s finest restaurants, hotels, resorts, grocers and cafeterias, and we are excited to share our brand with new customers who appreciate remarkable, American-made products. Our philosophy is to do things right, have fun and take pride in our work, and honor our heritage by always striving for excellence! You can find our products in stores throughout the United States, as well as Internationally. 

Read about our line of products below to see which one you’re most eager to try!

• Natural Spring Water: Saratoga Spring Water’s historic pride and joy—packaged in our iconic cobalt blue glass bottles. The clean, cool taste and low mineral content of our non-sparkling, sodium-free spring water is easily the beverage of choice for any occasion. 


• Sparkling Spring Water:
 Defining the balance of effervescence and light taste, our Sparkling Spring Water is best for cleansing the palate and complementing the flavors of fine food and wine. 


• Flavored Sparkling Water: Infused with the essence of natural fruit flavors and boasting the perfect amount of bubbly, you really can’t get more refreshing than our flavored Sparkling Spring Water. Lemon Lime, Orange Tangerine and Wild Berry are excellent cocktail mixers for any season, as well as healthy, calorie-free alternatives to sugar-filled soda or juice.


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.

Our Favorite Romantic Getaways

Kelly McCombs - Friday, January 20, 2017

                                                            (Photo from www.thesagamore.com)


With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, now is the time to plan that romantic getaway! Whether you want to stay close to home or travel a few hours out of town, we have put together a list of some of our favorites!



First up is The Inn at Five Points in Saratoga Springs, NY. Owned by James and Eilis Petrosino, the Inn is a beautifully restored Victorian Bed and Breakfast nestled right in the heart of Saratoga. Centrally located and within walking distance to all that Saratoga has to offer, this would be a very special place to visit with your loved one for a romantic overnight, yet one that is still close to home. The Petrosino's serve a delicious breakfast every morning, in true Bed and Breakfast fashion, with everything being locally grown and sourced. If you would like a true taste of all that Saratoga has to offer, this is the place to do it!



For something a bit farther out of town, head south to The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Architecturally impressive, this castle-like resort is situated right on the banks of Lake Mohonk. Surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains and forest, The Mohonk Mountain house offers a few different packages for your romantic getaway. Whether you want a relaxing spa package for two or a luxurious “Special Occasion” package, they have something to fit everyone’s needs. There are a plethora of activities here even in the winter, from ice skating to snow tubing, so you will never be bored!



Heading back up north, The Sagamore in Bolton Landing on Lake George is one of those hotels that many people know and rave about. Another stunning resort, The Sagamore has been inviting guests to stay with them since 1883. They are offering a lovely Valentine’s Weekend Getaway package which includes breakfast and dinner for two, along with complimentary champagne and chocolates. They also have a beautiful spa which should be high on the list of priorities if you choose to stay with them. There isn’t anything more romantic than relaxing time spent together!



One of my favorite places to go on Valentine’s Day is a little farther than the others, but very much worth it. Niagara Falls during the winter months is one of the most beautiful places. Even if you have been there before in the warmer months, seeing it in winter adds a whole new dimension. The mist from the falls coats everything in a layer of ice, making for some really beautiful ice sculptures. Make sure you dress warmly! Even though this may not be one of the coziest romantic getaways, you will surely make some wonderful memories with your loved one!



We hope you are able to take a little time away from your everyday life to be able to enjoy one of this beautiful places with your loved one. Even if it isn't for Valentine's Day, they all are wonderful places to visit any day of the year!


Do you Drink Enough Water?

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, December 17, 2016



With the cold weather in full swing, many people choose to drink warm beverages and forget all about drinking water. Just because it isn’t hot outside and we aren’t as active or sweating as much doesn’t mean our bodies don’t need water. They are made up of 60 percent water, therefore, it is vital to both our physical and mental health to stay hydrated.


One important way that I have found to make sure that I drink enough water, is to drink a big glass before I do anything else in the morning. That glass of water helps kick start my day and sets the tone for me. I also bring a 25 ounce water bottle with me to work every day. I’m not lucky enough to have a water cooler in my office, so I always make sure I am stocked up on large bottles of water to fill my handy bottle that I keep on my desk. If my water bottle is on my desk and in my line of sight, I will remember to drink regularly.






Here are some benefits to making sure you stay hydrated:


  1. -Staying hydrated improves your mood and fights off fatigue. This is the main reason why I make sure to drink at least 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning. It wakes me up and gets me going. A lack of water in the body’s system can cause a drop in blood volume, which then causes the heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood around the body, hence the increased fatigue.

  2. -Drinking enough water every day will help improve the clarity of your skin. If you are prone to breakouts, or have dry, dull skin, you could be dehydrated. The skin is one of the first places to show signs that you need to drink more water!

  3. -Drinking a glass of water before every meal might also help in weight loss. It will trick your body into thinking it is full, which will then curb your appetite. Drinking water instead of all of the sugary drinks on the market will also help with weight loss.

  4. -If you are prone to headaches or migraines, increasing your intake of water might help keep them away.

  5. -Drinking plenty of water will help your kidneys stay in tip top shape. Drinking too little may lead to painful kidney stones. The kidneys play a vital role in our body’s function so staying hydrated is essential for their (and your!) health.

  6. -Water plays a very important role in your digestive health, as well. Without adequate water, your system could become backed up and constipated. The water helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber, which then continues on through the system.

As you can see, water is crucial for everyday life. There are so many health benefits associated with drinking enough of it, so make a point to think about your water consumption on a daily basis! 

 



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