Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Kurt, A Casey and Two Kyles: Look Who I Found at Watkins Glen International!

Walking around the infield “Fan Fair” area at Watkins Glen International on Sunday morning before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in August, it felt like being at a festival somewhere in Buffalo: food, beverages, freebies, food sampling, race car drivers…OK, maybe that last thing won’t be found at a Buffalo festival…

The atmosphere is electric – there are thousands of people walking around, checking out the souvenir haulers and sponsor displays, like Target, GEICO and Toyota. These were some of the places where I found a few drivers hanging out:
  • Kyle Larson

Casey Mears

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

I also found Madison, one of the Miss Sprint Cups, but she didn’t fit into the “kuh” theme I had going there…

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Food Nostalgia: Bread ‘n Butter Pickles

One of my most vivid childhood food memories is of my grandma’s (“Grammy”) bread ‘n butter pickles. The stuff in the jar is good, but there’s always something that makes homemade better (sorry, Vlasic).

I had often thought, especially after I started vegetable gardening, about asking my mom if she knew where the recipe was but 1) I kept forgetting and 2) I knew it would take a while to make them.

One day, I was sorting through the many food-related emails I’ve signed up for and found Homemade Microwave Pickles from Mr. Food – and they looked like bread ‘n butter pickles! I printed the recipe out, took it over to Mom’s and she went and found Grammy’s recipe. When we compared the two, we discovered most of the ingredients were the same (Grammy’s had a few flavor extras like peppers and garlic), but the microwave recipe had its benefits – 1) it was faster and 2) it had a smaller yield.

A couple days later I picked the perfect cucumber to test the recipe out.

I think Grammy would be proud J

the finished product

Microwave Bread ‘n Butter Pickles (adapted from Mr. Food):
  • 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave uncovered for 5 minutes at 80-percent, stirring halfway through. Cool pickles before covering and chilling for at least two hours before serving.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Colorado at Pocono Raceway

I am a long-time small truck girl – after my first car (1988 Ford Escort wagon), I’ve had trucks ever since – five Chevy S-10s, one Chevy Colorado and two GMC Canyons…then they were discontinued L

I’ve loved my three GMC Terrains, but I’m still a truck girl at heart – so I was overjoyed to hear the Colorado and Canyon were being re-introduced.

I was even more overjoyed when I got to see one up close.

Chevrolet has a HUGE display that goes around to race tracks, and they’re always at Pocono Raceway in the Fan Fair area. I was hoping – but not expecting – that they would have a Colorado. My father rounded the corner of the display before I did, stopped, turned around to me and said “Take deep breaths and don’t drool.”

Thanks Dad J

Dad checking out the Colorado
That truck was awesome! I think I took more pictures of it than of certain cars on the track – here are a few more shots of the new model:

rear seat area

front seat area

While I really liked the Colorado, I’m still going to go for the GMC (I just like the grill more – it’s beefier looking). I can’t wait to check them both out at the local dealers!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Expansion in Pegula-ville

Terry Pegula/Wikipedia
A few years back, many Buffalo Sabres fans like myself were elated when Terry and Kim Pegula became the new owners of the Blue and Gold, breathing new life over the last few years into the team – although sometimes, it’s been painful to watch L

Now Buffalo Bills fans get that same feeling of elation – maybe even more so – now that the Pegulas have expanded Pegula-ville into Orchard Park.

Thanks for trying Donald Trump. Bon voyage Bon Jovi.

Oh, and Jon – they’re staying in Buffalo.

2014 Buffalo Sabres pre-season schedule

There’s new blood in Sabre-land, and hopefully a new winning attitude. Head down to the First Niagara Center for some hockey action this season!
  • Sunday, September 21st – at Washington Capitals – 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 23rd – v. Carolina Hurricanes – 7 p.m.
  • Friday, September 26th – v. Toronto Maple Leafs – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 28th – at Toronto Maple Leafs – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 1st – v. Washington Capitals – 7 p.m.
  • Friday, October 3rd – at Carolina Hurricanes – 7 p.m.

Get more information about the season at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Industry to Entertainment: A Tour of Buffalo’s Grain Elevators

Canalside on a bright summer day
When I started writing again nearly six years ago, I wrote about my hometown of Buffalo a lot. The more I wrote about Buffalo, the more I wanted to explore it. My explorations have made me appreciate the Queen City even more.

Yes, my city DOES smell like Cheerios! :)

our tour boat
Know How Tours offered a very cool Buffalo-based bus tour in late July that included stops at the Fontana Boathouse, City Hall and Pearl Street Brewery for lunch. After lunch we boarded a tour boat for a Buffalo River History Tour that took us on an adventure to part of Buffalo’s industrial history, the grain elevators.

Silo City

Silo City

“Inside Silo City” is a two-hour tour by water and by foot to the former Perot Malting Plant, built in 1907 (additions made in 1933). This complex was later used by the Genesee Brewing Company. Today, the elevators are used for art shows and installations, concerts, pond hockey tournaments, even weddings.

Perot Malting Plant
Walking into these early-20th century silos is a bit intimidating – looking up to the top of the silos from inside and experiencing the echoes in them was impressive. It was also interesting to see how the two “eras” of silos (1907 and 1933) compared.

looking up to the top of the silo

inside the silos

inside the silos

Tours are offered daily at 2:30 p.m. leaving Canalside. Tickets are $27 for adults and $17 for children. Find out more at

Monday, September 8, 2014

Better Late Than Never: A Springtime Visit to the Japanese Garden and Buffalo History Museum

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned – kind of like my writing about this at the end of summer instead of in the spring when I went. My trip to the Japanese Garden at Delaware Park was another one of those things – I had originally wanted to go during the Cherry Blossom Festival in late April, but thanks to weather and life in general, I didn’t go until about a week after the festival ended.

That turned out to be a good thing.

It seemed like the festival was a little early thanks to the wacky Buffalo weather in winter and spring. When I went, it looked like the optimal time.

My trip to the Garden also included a trip to the Buffalo History Museum, which is located in front of the Garden. The Museum was hosting a Buffalo Sabres exhibit entitled “Forging a Connection,” a look at the early years of the Sabres, including the rise of the French Connection and the fall of Tim Horton. One of the coolest parts of the exhibit was the collection of tickets from Sabres games of that era – each one on a stand in a small box with its own light, filling an entire wall.

The Buffalo History Museum is also home to numerous other exhibits concerning – of course – Buffalo’s history. It will soon be the home of the Tim Russert exhibit that was on display at the NEWSeum in Washington, D.C.

Find out more about the Buffalo History Museum at, and the Japanese Garden at and

all photos:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Saucy: Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

‘tis the season…for loads and loads of cherry tomatoes!

I have this problem: you see, I enjoy growing things like tomatoes for my mom and dad to enjoy – the problem comes from the fact that they, too, grow tomatoes. That means I need to find 1) someone else to give them to, or 2) recipes to use them in.

Brooklyn Farm Girl posted this recipe recently and it sounded like the perfect excuse to use some cherry tomatoes – and enjoy the end result! Since I was testing it out, I cup the recipe in half – I also switched out jalapenos for green peppers from my garden, and the basil was also from my garden J The taste is a little smoky, and the texture is like marinara – I’m enjoying it as a dip for my toasted ravioli and mozzarella sticks!

Oven-roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce (adapted from Brooklyn Farm Girl)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 green pepper – seeded and diced
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • Dash of onion powder
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • Dash of garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F. Spread tomatoes and peppers in single layer in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with onion powder. Bake for 35 minutes, until tomatoes look wrinkled.

Let tomato mixture cool, then add to a food processor with basil, garlic salt and salt and pepper as desired. Blend until smooth.

Use immediately or store in airtight container for use in the next couple of days – also freezes well.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

August 2014 in review

August got its start in July, as we headed to Pocono, PA for NASCAR – cars played a big part in August’s activities, including three races and three car shows Labor Day weekend (OK, part of that is in September, but for the sake of saying that was “4-wheel weekend” it’s included!).
  • July 31st through August 2nd – Pocono Raceway for Cup Series practice and qualifying and Truck Series practice, qualifying and race – had the chance to meet a couple of my online co-workers from Skirts & Scuffs, Beth and Rebecca!
Hijacked from Rebecca!
  • August 8th – drag racing at Elegant Builders Raceway Park (or whatever it goes by now!)
  • August 10th – Watkins Glen International with D&F Travel
first-time winner's celebration!
  • August 29th – Oswego Speedway for the RoC Modifieds
  • August 30th – Olcott Beach for a HUGE car show!
Olcott Beach - hundreds of cars!
  • August 31st – West Seneca PBA car show (formerly at Southgate Plaza)
  • September 1st – St. Gregory the Great car show with the Ponies!
the kids

the ultimate Bumblebee!
One race – the Tommy/Tony Memorial Modified race – got postponed until September, making for a long gap in activities – but it allowed me to get back to the gym on a regular basis!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 UB Bulls football schedule

College football is alive and well in Buffalo, as the UB Bulls take to the field in Amherst behind QB Joe Licata. While I’m also a Syracuse Orange fan, the Bulls hold a special place in my heart – I’m not only a UB alumni, but a Williamsville South High School alumni, which is where Licata played high school ball. GO BULLS!
  • Saturday, August 30th – v. Duquesne – won 38-28
  • Saturday, September 6th – at Army – noon
  • Friday, September 12th – v. Baylor – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 20th – v. Norfolk St. – TBA
  • Saturday, September 27th – v. Miami (Ohio) – 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 4th – at Bowling Green – TBA
  • Saturday, October 11th – at Eastern Michigan – TBA
  • Wednesday, November 5th – at Ohio – 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 11th – v. Akron – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 19th – v. Kent State – 8 p.m.
  • Friday, November 28th – at Massachusetts – TBA
Find out more about all of UB’s sports teams at

2014 Buffalo Bills schedule

credit: Kasawa

Who’s ready for some football? While the ownership scenario is still up in the air, the Buffalo Bills 2014 season schedule is not – plan your parties and tailgates now!

  • Sunday, September 7th – at Chicago Bears – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 14th – v. Miami Dolphins – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 21st – v. San Diego Chargers – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 28th – at Houston Texans – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 5th – at Detroit Lions – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 12th – v. New England Patriots
  • Sunday, October 19th – v. Minnesota Vikings – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 26th – at New York Jets – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 2nd – Bye week
  • Sunday, November 9th – v. Kansas City Chiefs – 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 13th – at Miami Dolphins – 8:25 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 23rd – v. New York Jets – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 30th – v. Cleveland Browns – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 7th – at Denver Broncos – 4:05 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 14th – v. Green Bay Packers – 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 21st – at Oakland Raiders – 4:25 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 28th – at New England Patriots – 1 p.m.
Get tickets and more information at

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2014: The Year of the Hummingbird

I personally think the hummingbird is one of God’s most amazing creations: so small, so quick, so mesmerizing. As a grower of what looks like a field of red cannas (it’s probably around a 20’ by 6’ garden in front of my office window), I get hummingbirds every year – I’ve named them (the same ones?) Harriett and Harry. They absolutely loooove those cannas – they’re there multiple times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time.

left - BJ's, right - Kohl's
This year more than ever I seem to be wanting everything hummingbirds. It started with a necklace I saw last fall in a BJ’s ad – Mom didn’t find it for Christmas, but she did find it in time for my birthday a few weeks later. This was later joined by a purple hummingbird necklace I found at Kohl’s.

Plow and Hearth
QVC then got in the act with a Plow and Hearth hummingbird wind spinner – that’s out by one of the veggie gardens. Aldi, which has some cool garden stuff this year, had a wrought iron hummingbird shepherd’s hook that made its way into the garden by my air conditioner. Even the local Dollar Tree store got in the act with these little plant stakes.


Dollar Tree
Then Mom found me this beauty, which will likely make its way onto one of my Christmas trees (yes, I said “one of”…) this year.

Rontina's Hallmark
And finally, after spotting this cool wrought iron hummingbird stake on the Garden Walk Buffalo bus tour I took in July, I had to pick up my own when I found it at the Glen Park Art Festival.

Original found on Garden Walk Buffalo tour
Of, course, those all pale in comparison to the real thing. It seems like the minute my cannas bloomed, they were on them! I’ve also seen Harriett flittering around my red geraniums on my patio (keep that in my memory bank for next year!).

Harriett - 2013
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