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September 18, 2017
This is about...
Pancakes with HOMEMADE RICOTTA! ---YUM!!
        WHO KNEW? RICOTTA, that yummy cheese you usually find in lasagna and cannoli, is RIDICULOUSLY EASY TO MAKE! It’ll take you less than an hour, and you’ll have real homemade cheese in your fridge for up to a week—that is if you don’t eat it all on the first day! All you need to do is bring some milk and cream with a little salt to a boil, stir in some white vinegar to curdle it, then strain it through cheesecloth. And Voila! You’ve got a thick, creamy spread that tastes way better than that stuff you find in a plastic container at the supermarket.
        RICOTTA MEANS COOKED TWICE IN ITALIAN. Traditionally it’s made from whey, the watery liquid that’s left over after making cheese. But because our U.S. milk is mostly pasteurized—making it from whey won’t work. Don’t fret though....

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September 11, 2017
This is about...
Back to School GRANOLA BARS---YUM!!
        Even though PREPPING FOR A NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS PAST HISTORY FOR ME AND MY SON, I still get excited when this time of year rolls along. Some people look at New Year's Day as a chance to start over or to try something new. But for me, it’s the first Thursday after Labor Day when school re-opens up here. I always look forward to that subtle shift in the air, where everything gets a little crisper, and clearer, after a hazy summer. And wouldn’t you know it, I still get the urge to run to Staples and buy a few colorful notebooks, sparkly pens, post-it notes and paper. I, for one, loved school.
        Now SCHOOL MEANS ENFORCING SOME EXTRA STRUCTURE INTO ANY FAMILY’S ROUTINE. And ours was probably worse than most....

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September 4, 2017
This is about...
Grandma’s TUNA and TOMATO PASTA SALAD---YUM!!
       IT’S LABOR DAY WEEKEND! The official end of summer, and the last big picnic of the year. Along with all the usual burgers and hotdogs, I always make a big batch of  MY GRANDMA'S TUNA AND TOMATO PASTA SALAD. This is the best way I can think of to use up some of those end of summer tomatoes. And, the only tomatoes allowed in this dish are BIG, JUICY BEEFSTEAKS FROM NEW JERSEY, of course..
       The creamy mayo and the juice of the sweet tomatoes create the perfect sauce to coat the tuna and pasta. I love a heavy sprinkle of celery salt on top to tie it all together. This salad has always been AN ADDICTIVE COMBO for me. It’s just as good the second day, too, when the pasta absorbs alittle of the sauce. And, IT”S GREAT PICNIC FOOD!

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

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August 28, 2017
This is about...
Szechuan ZOODLES---YUM!!
        OK, SO I CRUMBLED. It was 3 AM. My defenses were down, and I couldn’t look away. It took just 30 minutes to convince me that I needed ---that I had to have--- A VEGGIE BULLET. A recent Food Network star contestant was there assuring me that this was going to change my life. And, I believed him, whole hog. Not only does it shred, dice and blend, but IT SPIRALIZES! It magically turns vegetables into curly spaghetti like strands. I had to have it!
        Now, I DON’T EAT A LOT OF PASTA. Not that I don’t love it—I do, but it’s kind of like Pringles for me---betcha can’t eat just one forkful. To remedy that addiction, meatballs and sauce routinely sit on a pile of shredded steamed zucchini, and cauliflower is always disguised as a non-starchy pastina.
        So, TO SEE MY VEGGIES TURNED INTO PASTA IMPERSONATORS GOT ME ALL EXCITED. And when I awoke in the morning--—the first thing I did?....

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August 21, 2017
This is about...
MAKING THE WORLD A HAPPIER PLACE one cupcake at a time!
        PEACE, LOVE AND CUPCAKES, my little cupcake shop, IS UNDENIABLY THE HAPPIEST PLACE IN WOODSTOCK. That was by design, I wanted everyone who walked into my vision of Candyland, no matter how crusty or cranky, to leave with a smile on their face. I have always believed that a cupcake can turn a frown upside down. And from day one, MY GOAL HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY THROUGH MY BAKED TREATS.
        Up until a few months ago, it worked like a charm. I always succeeded in passing on that sweet, happy vibe. BUT SOMETHING HAS CHANGED. People are entering “My Little Shop of Happiness”....

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August 14, 2017
This is about...
A Summery TOMATO TART----YUM!
I NEVER MET A TOMATO I DIDN’T LIKE....

that came from NEW JERSEY. Seems like this mid-Atlantic state IS BEST KNOWN FOR IT’S TURNPIKE, immortalized by Paul Simon. It’s also where I have to literally hold my breath every time I pass THE OIL REFINERIES by exit 12. So, for many, I understand how it would be hard to believe that anyone would call it “THE GARDEN STATE.” Or that it could produce some of the SWEETEST, reddest, RIPEST, most TOMATOEY TOMATOES.
        Unfortunately, my beloved Woodstock and THE RICH HUDSON VALLEY’S “BLACK DIRT” CAN’T PRODUCE WHAT NJ AND ALL OF IT’S POLLUTION CAN. So, if I want a great tomato...

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