Weekend Adventures: Great New York State Fair 2014

Back to the Great New York State Fair I go!  Last year, when I went, it was on my own accord.  This year, I had to work.  Well, I had to man a booth for my work, then drive the plug in electric hybrid we had on display back to the office on the last day of the fair.  It wasn’t all work.  I had taken an early morning flight on Sunday, which got me there in time to start my wandering around in the rain.

The good thing about seeking shelter in the nearest building, was what I found that I normally would have missed otherwise.  Like the Cow contest.  I stumbled upon the judging of the Ayrshire cows of various age groups.  It was really interesting listening to the judging notes announced.

Otherwise, I saw the usual.  The carnival rides, the rows upon rows of food vendors hawking the deep fried goodies everyone was looking for and all the exhibits.

After a few hours of wandering, I took my place in the booth and proceeded to people watch for 6 hours.  I answered all sorts of questions, and even took in a Phillip Phillips concert which took place right outside our tent (I was pretty excited).  Rinse and repeat the next morning.

Now that I’m home, all I want is air conditioning and real food.

For all pictures, visit my Flikr!












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Berry Yogurt Popsicles


Now that I’m on a period of forced resting, I have to start watching what I eat with a little more care.  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve definitely been eating much much worse.

So, it’s time to hop back on the wagon, so to speak.

On a recent shopping outing, I picked up a set of popsicle molds.  They were nice, and 50% off.  I’ve always wanted a set, and what better time than now?

For my first popsicle outing, I started looking up different recipes.  I wanted something simple, that didn’t use any pre-packaged juices or had too many ingredients I normally wouldn’t have on hand.


In my search I found this recipe for Yogurt Pops from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  I like Jamie Oliver and what he does (real food!), so this recipe fit the bill of what I was looking for.  His tip for tasting the mixture before adding additional honey as a sweetener was great advice.  The bananas I used were overripe ones I had frozen from a while back.  They provided more than enough sweet.

berry pop mix

Berry Yogurt Pops (adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution)


2 small ripe bananas (I used two overripe bananas I kept in the freezer and sliced them into chunks before putting them in the food processor)

2 oz of frozen berry mix (handful)

2 cups 2% Green Yogurt

Honey to sweeten, if needed

Everything into a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Spoon into popsicle molds.  Freeze for at least 3 hours.

The popsicle came out super.  The banana and yogurt lends a nice balance of creaminess to the slight tartness from the berries.  The berry mix I used had raspberries, so there were some seeds to contend with.  A great snack indeed!

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Kickball – Summer 2014

Last Thursday I found myself in an MRI machine getting a scan of my right knee.   25 minutes of staring at the ceiling makes you think about things…a lot.

The Thursday before, I found myself taking a hit from a base runner at a kickball game.  It wasn’t a hard hit, but a hit at just the right angle where something in my knee snapped.  As I was laying on the ground, I felt that pang of devastation as I was sure my running season was over.   Just as I was finally falling back in love with running again, this happens.  FML.  I was just four games away from retiring.

Out for the season, I now found myself captaining from the the sidelines full time.  At least now, I had time to bring my camera and give sports photography a try.

It was a late game, so I was fighting the diminishing sunlight, and with the fast action, there was a lot of motion blur happening.  But I think I got some pretty decent shots:







Side note: How awesome are those shirts?  They were all individually tie dyed by the team’s T-shirt decorating committee at the beginning of the season.  Pitches be Trippin!

I still have the playoffs to go, so more may be on the way.  For the time being, the whole set from this game can be found HERE


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Red Wine Ice Cream

Red Wine Ice Cream

Sometimes you want a glass of wine, sometimes you want ice cream and sometimes you want both…because it’s just one of those days.

Red Wine Ice Cream (from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)


6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon non-fat dry milk

3/4 cup red wine

In a bowl stir together the yolks, sugar and salt until well combined.

In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream and dry milk and scald.

Temper the yolk mix with the heavy cream and combine the yolk mixture in with the cream mixture and while stirring constantly, bring to just under a boil, about 170 degF.  It should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Once thickened, remove from heat and pass through a fine strainer into a bowl.  Cool the mixture at least 4 hours but overnight is preferred.

Once cooled, stir in the red wine and freeze in an ice cream maker.  Let it set up in the freezer overnight before tearing into it and enjoying.

Red Wine Ice Cream



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ChezSylvia Travels: Bama to Savannah 2014


I finally took a few real days “off” from work and went South for a very long weekend.  It was really to attend a wedding, but I used it as an excuse to also fit in my solo trip for the year.


The wedding was in Auburn, Alabama.  A place I would never visit otherwise, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to.  It’s a very nice college town, home to Auburn University.   They are big on football.

A university campus in the middle of the summer is empty.  Makes sense, but feels so odd.  Every now and then someone would wander by me, but otherwise, I was by myself as I wandered through the courtyards and around the campus.




The wedding reception was held at the Fountainview Mansion.  A beautiful space tucked in the back of the middle of nowhere.

AL_Wedding pool

AL_Wedding cake topper


After the wedding, I said goodbye to everyone, picked up my rental car and drove myself 5.5 hours to Savannah, Georgia.  You can always depend on Google Maps to take you the most direct, but not necessarily most straightforward way possible.  After a hours cutting through parts of Georgia, I would have never seen if I went strictly the way of the interstate, I made it.

It is hot in Savannah.  I now understand why it’s also called Slo-vannah.  I have never walked so slow before…ever.





Despite the heat, I kept walking and wandering.  Besides a short stint along the River Street area, I kept away from the more tourist areas and explored the beautiful treelined streets while admiring the houses that lined them.   The only bad thing about walking everywhere in the heat is that I basically lost my appetite the whole time I was there.  Which is a damn shame since I absolutely love Southern cooking.  I just couldn’t will myself to eat anything.




Savannah_Forsyth fountain


On my last day in Savannah, checked out of my hotel and car retrieved, I had some time to kill before I headed to the airport to fly home.  So, I ventured out to Tybee Island.  Just 15 miles outside of Savannah, it was a beach community.  Not really beach worthy, I was able to root out some sunscreen from my bags.  I sunscreened up in the parking lot and went to the beach!




After some time spent on the beach, and mostly shin deep in the very nice water, I brushed myself off and headed to the lighthouse.  In the past 8 months, I have now visited 5 lighthouses, and climbed up my 3rd one.  Not bad for someone who wasn’t really into lighthouses.



As I was waiting for my flight to board, at one point I looked down at my feet, and noticed they were still a bit sandy.  The hazards of coming home straight from the beach 850 miles away.

More pictures here!


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Banana Buttermilk Pound Cake


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Life got moving fast, and I’m still trying to keep up and not fall too far behind!

I had a rare free Sunday today, and three overripe bananas that needed to be used. On top of that I also had some leftover buttermilk that has set up camp in my fridge.

So, I made some Banana Buttermilk Pound Cake following a recipe I found on the internets that I had all the ingredients for.

Banana Buttermilk Pound Cake (from Bakingbites.com)


2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (I accidentally skipped this)

3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups mashed banana (3 medium)

Just a note. It wasn’t until I was typing this that I realized I forgot to add in the brown sugar. It would explain why what I made was not very sweet at all. I thought it could use some brown sugar…

Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time mixing until each is incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract.

Mix together the buttermilk and bananas in a separate bowl.

Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just starting to incorporate, add in half the buttermilk mixture and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and the rest of the buttermilk mixture. Then add in the rest of the flour. Here I take it out of the mixer and finish incorporating everything by hand until it all comes together.

Pour batter into a prepped bundt pan (10 cup, prepped with melted butter brushed on the inside) and bake at 325 degF for 45-50 minutes.

Let it rest in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out to let cool the rest of the way.

Banana Pound Cake

What came out was very moist, and light. Because I forgot half the sugar, it would go well with some frosting or served with some jam and tea.

Banana Pound Cake

Now, the debate starts of whether I should bring the rest into work and share or keep it all for myself…

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ChezSylvia Adventures: Montauk 2014

MTK 2014

Second weekend away in a row! Man, talk about wallet fatigue.

Last weekend I was off on Cape Cod. This weekend, I went South and headed out to Montauk, NY.  My brothers were doing the Ride to Montauk 108 miler, and I was the designated bag vehicle. Essentially my job was to transport their stuff out to Montauk, collect them at the finish and be on call in case of any emergency that might arise along the way.

So, I did that…like a boss. Riding 108 miles takes a lot of time (12 hours about), so I did a little exploring on my own of Montauk State Park, the lighthouse and the beach.

The next day, after some well deserved rest (spectating is exhausting!), we all piled into the car and took a drive out to Shelter Island. The car got another ferry ride (not free this time, but much less waiting time) and got extra motivation to play the lotto with a bit more enthusiasm.

I am now looking forward to a weekend at home…

Below are my favorites, but my other favorites can be found in my Flickr Album



MTK_Kirk Park

MTK_Kirk Park



MTK_Lighthouse view




MTK_Bike Ghost

MTK_Bike Ghost

MTK_The end







MTK_SI_Ferry bikes

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ChezSylvia Adventures: Cape Cod 2014


The Louie kids were off to Cape Cod for Memorial Day weekend! It has been a few years since we’ve been, and it was missed. We didn’t do much, it was cold.  Cold enough that I was very very close to adding a Cape Cod sweatshirt to my wardrobe.  We stayed in Wellfleet, visited Provincetown, and played mini golf in Yarmouth.  We got our seafood fix as well as played a couple of rousing games of mini golf.  Both of which I lost…terribly…

For the full album with more pictures, go to my flikr album.
















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Weekend Adventures: Ft Lee Historic Park

My camera has been dormant for way too long.  It’s been a long hard winter.  Today, I finally took him out for a spin, and I realized how much I missed him.

What was supposed to be a bike ride, turned into an outing that brought me to the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ then to the Ft Lee Historic Park just a couple miles north of there.


It’s a small park, easily traversed and filled with history.  It was fun going from placard to placard reading about the defenses and battles that took place during the Revolutionary War.

Gorgeous day to get reaquainted.

Ft Lee Historic Park - GW Bridge

Ft Lee Historic Park - GW Bridge

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park - Cannon

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park - Loose Cannon

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

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Cornmeal Chedder Buttermilk Biscuits

Bike Reflection

After a long hard winter, my bike finally came off the rack and went outside.  It’s been awhile since I rode, but with less than a month till the Go the Distance for Autism ride I was doing, it was time to become reaquainted.

It was a nice ride, albeit a bit chilly.  Relatively flat, to Northern Westchester standards.  We stayed mostly on the North County trail, to keep it relaxed and car free.  26 miles later, I was done, tired and hungry.  Legs, we have some catching up to do!

Corn Bread Biscuit

Cornmeal Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from The Food Network Kitchens)

I was going to make chili as my dinner of the week.  I usually always make cornbread to go with it.  But, I was feeling lazy and particularly uninspired to whip up another batch of cornbread.  So I googled cornbread and buttermilk (to use up the last 3/4 cup buttermilk I had) and this popped up.  A nice little hybrid of two things I really like!

I basically followed their recipe for Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits, except in the midst of putting all my dry ingredients together, a thought popped into my head.  Can I add cheddar?  Only one way to find out!  I quickly shredded up a cup of extra sharp cheddar and added it in after I had cut in the butter by hand and before adding in the buttermilk.

This recipe is super duper simple and only requires one bowl and a clean countertop.

I let the butter hang out in the freezer for a few minutes to chill out again after cutting it up to make sure it was extra cold.  I also kept the buttermilk in the fridge until its time to add it into the batter.

Since I am the only one eating it, I just made life simpler and patted out the dough into a rectangle (I didn’t fold it as many times as the recipe had called for) and used a bench scrapper to divide into six pieces.  I’m also afraid of my oven, so I baked it for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven until they were about golden brownish on the tops.

The end biscuit isn’t sweet at all despite the one teaspoon of sugar.  The cheddar cheese is subtle and the cornmeal gives it a nice crunch.  It’s crummy enough to go really well in chili.  They are probably best accompanying something rather than on their own with a pat of butter.  If I did this again, I’d probably add a half cup more cheese and a good dose of black pepper to give it an extra oomph.

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