4 stamps in your Lay’s Passport to Flavor

There may be a new Oreo flavor every month, but Lay’s is trying to keep up by releasing new flavors in bunches (when they’re not releasing old flavors and calling them ‘new’).  Newly out are four globe trotting flavors called Lay’s Passport to Flavor.  Walmart in Clifton Park is fully stocked up with both full sized bags of every flavor:072516-01and also the variety mix of small bags (a much better choice if you’re not sure, but want to taste them…of course you have to buy a bunch of bags of barbecue, sour cream & onion, and plain with them, but still a decent deal, these bags are a good size to accompany a sandwich or something):072516-02I got the mix and tried them all, so let’s get to it. Continue reading

Barest basics of baking

I consider myself to be an above average home baker.  Actually, no, I consider myself to be a fair home baker, but from the feedback others give me, I guess I’m above average.  At least ‘modern’ average.  Compared to our grandmothers I’m just fooling around, probably.

What continually strikes me the most, and if you bake from scratch yourself you’ve probably experienced the same, is whenever I share something with friends, coworkers, etc. they’re usually blown away.  People now are so used to blah supermarket baked goods, brownies from boxes, and mass produced cakes from Costco or BJs, that something baked from scratch is amazing to them.  Heck, I made Rice Krispie Treats, RICE KRISPIE TREATS for crying out loud, and people were telling me they were the best they’d ever had!  That’s crazy to me.  Just pay attention and make them well, people!  I know, I know, half the battle is just making the time and paying attention to your craft.  With a barking dog and three screaming kids, it’s not that easy, I guess.

I think many people are just afraid to try baking from scratch.  Yeast is frightening.  Maybe they tried and failed in the past, producing something unevenly cooked and disappointing after spending a lot of time on it, plus the cost of the ingredients.  Compared to a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix that’s simple and ‘pretty good’, why bother?  Well, if you’re ready to bother, maybe you’d like some of the simplest, ‘entry level’ tips that might help.  It’s just some of the things I try to do based on a lot of reading, mistakes I hear other people make, and trial and error.  (Note: I’ve only ever used an electric oven, I can’t comment on whether gas would be much different.) Continue reading

Where did those 20 lbs of strawberries go?

We got up early Saturday morning and headed to Bowman Orchards to pick strawberries.  We just managed to beat the rain, just getting doused on the ride back from the field to pay, loaded down with almost 20 lbs of bright red, juicy strawberries.

berries061116 Continue reading

The Tara Kitchen hype is all deserved

What.  Were.  We.  Thinking?

Despite all the positive press and reviews, somehow we managed to not get around to visiting Tara Kitchen on Liberty in downtown Schenectady until this weekend.  It’s right around the corner from Bel Cibo, city hall, post office, etc.  So.  Good! Continue reading