Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup!

A classic & favorite soup!

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It’s been a true fall up here in Upstate New York. The leaves have turned, the air is crisp, and there is nothing like hot cider or your favorite fall sweater! I was anxious to get my Crockpot out and cook up something flavorful for the season and hot to warm us up!

This Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup is perfect to start up in your Crockpot on any weekend day and enjoy for a late lunch or dinner.

 

What I love most about Crockpot cooking is that you can throw in a little bit of this, a little bit of that… there’s a lot of ingredient freedom.  The ingredients I used this week were:

  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1 can of whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • a handful of baby carrots
  • one small onion
  • orange pepper (use any color dependable on flavor choice)
  • 2 cartons of chicken stock/broth
  • 16oz of your pasta of choice, I used Whole Wheat
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Goya Sazon
  • Goya Chicken Seasoning Packets

This is gonna be super easy…

I put my Crockpot on the lowest setting which is low-10 hour. I poured in both cartons of chicken broth and my can of tomatoes. Today I used whole tomatoes because I already had them. I would recommend canned diced tomatoes because you do not have to take the time to break them up, however, his is easy after they have been in the Crockpot for a bit.

Next, I trimmed and cut up the chicken. I didn’t worry about making the pieces of chicken perfect because I knew after cooking all day, they would break apart in the Crockpot.

After cutting up the chicken I sprinkled on this Goya seasoning I love to use. I used a fork to mix the chicken around while seasoning to make sure all of the pieces were covered.

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Garlic, garlic, garlic… even though I’m going to add garlic powder to the entire soup when seasoning, I also added it to the chicken. Can’t get enough in my opinion!

Dicing up the veggies only takes a few minutes. And you can really cut any of these veggies into any size or shape you would like.

Really with the seasonings you can add whatever you want depending on what flavors you favor. I love garlic and chili powder so I added a lot! I also used 2 Goya Sazon packets in the soup. Pictured below are the seasonings I added!

I let the soup cook in the Crockpot until about 7 pm (I’d say around 7 hours) and then I added my 16oz of whole wheat pasta. I let the pasta cook in the soup for another 40 minutes, and it was ready to eat!!

 

This made SEVERAL servings! This soup was incredibly easy to make and could also be made before work for an easy weeknight dinner!

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Pizza Style Avacado Toast with Balsamic Chicken & Roasted Asparagus

“my fresh twist on a typical avocado favorite”

Who doesn’t love Cheesecake Factory? Have you ever ordered their amazing avocado toast? I have and I absolutely love it. With warmer days finally, here, I wanted to make a spring/summer recipe.

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Of course, I had to put my own spin on the recipe! I don’t have to ask, everyone loves pizza! So instead of ciabatta buns or ordinary toast. I grabbed a pre-made pizza crust from Trader Joe’s. Perfecto! This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight, there’s not much prep time, and you can get other tasks around the house finished while it is baking/cooking!

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  1. pre-made pizza crust (mine was labeled “Rustic Ciabatta Flatbread”)
  2. sweet onion (half)
  3. cherry tomatoes (about a handful)
  4. avocado (2)
  5. chicken (I used tenders because they’re easiest to cut)
  6. balsamic (I used “Glaze” from Trader Joe’s)
  7. cooking oil (I use avocado oil)
  8. plain greek yogurt (one spoonful)
  9. garlic powder
  10. pepper
  11. paprika 
  12. red pepper flakes (optional)

time to chop

Dice up chicken, onion (I like long strips), and cherry tomatoes in quarters. Having a sharp knife is super important, especially when slicing something fragile such as a tomato.

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turn the oven onto 350°

Bake the pizza crust alone. I’m sure all pizza crusts are different, but this one suggested 350° for 12 minutes. I brushed the top of the crust with avocado oil prior to baking. I baked the crust on a large greased baking sheet.

Warm up your cooking oil in a pan. Sautee the onions first. Once the onions are soft, throw in your diced chicken, and pour in a small amount of your balsamic glaze. Just enough to cover the chicken and onion. Sprinkle in some garlic powder & pepper to your liking. Keep the eye on medium heat.

While the chicken is cooking, it’s time to start our green-goodness. Slice and peel the avocados. Place the avocado halves in a small bowl to mix. Add the quartered cherry tomatoes.

I wanted to create a taste other than typical guacamole, so I didn’t add salt or garlic pepper to the avocado. Instead, I added some paprika, pepper and a small spoonful of plain greek yogurt, to make the mixture a little creamy. Smush and smash until it’s creamy goodness.

Once the chicken and onions are complete, turn off the stove top and pour them on top of the crust. Next, the yummies on top of the chicken and onion! I found it was easiest to spread with a flat spatula. I actually used a wooden salad server and spread. I chose to put the avocado mix on top so the chicken wouldn’t fall off, but you can try it either way!

time to dress!

drizzle the balsamic glaze on top of the pizza, cut into four, and you are ready to eat & enjoy!

Makes 4 servings.

I’m thinking of trying this recipe again, with seared steak! This recipe also could be made into a vegetarian style with grilled tofu!

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BONUS: my baked asparagus for our side! I also made a side dish, that was super quick! I love asparagus, you can cook it so many ways. Trim the ends, place them in a ceramic dish, drizzle with oil, then I tossed the asparagus in garlic paste. I love garlic paste because it has a creamy consistency, perfect for veggies. I added the rest of the chopped cherry tomatoes, and sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs, just to add a crunch! Bake for about 35 mins.

How do you like to eat avocado? Let me know!
Till next time, T ♥

 

Low Carb Buffalo Chicken Cheezy Bake

“my spin-off of a popular facebook recipe!”

Recently, on Facebook a recipe was getting shared around; ‘Low Carb Buffalo Chicken Bake!” It looked amazing, andddd it’s low carb? YES! If you know me, you know I love anything buffalo flavored! So, I had to make my own creation of this amazing dish!

I think this meal could be a nice Sunday dinner, an easy weeknight meal pre-prepped and frozen, or made for lunch meal prep!

 

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Let’s get started with all of our ingredients

  1. cauliflower (one head)
  2. chicken (about one lb)
  3. plain greek yogurt (1 cup of)
  4. cream cheese (1/3 brick)
  5. shredded cheddar cheese (1 cup)
  6. buffalo sauce (5 tbs)
  7. green onions (a handful or so)
  8. olive/coconut/avocado oil (I will be using avocado)
  9. blue cheese/ ranch greek yogurt dressing (1 cup) (I use OPA, blue cheese)
  10. panko breadcrumbs (OPTIONAL)

 

set the oven to 375° / bring water to a boil

Spray your baking pan lightly. You can chop up the cauliflower to your liking, I prefer smaller pieces. Lay the chopped cauliflower in your baking pan. As mentioned in other recipes, I love my pyrex baking dishes!

Lightly drizzle your oil-of-choice on top of the cauliflower. Pop that pan in the oven for about 20 minutes to soften the cauliflower.

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Now, I trim the chicken and put that in the pot of boiling water. I find that boiling chicken is the easiest way to shred it afterward. Boil the chicken until it is completely cooked and looks like a white-ish color. Mine cooked thoroughly in about 10 minutes or so.

While the cauliflower and chicken are cooking, it’s time to prep our sauce. This sauce is so simple and easy to make. Combine 3/4 cup of greek yogurt dressingcream cheesegreek yogurt, hot sauce, green onions. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Remove roasted cauliflower from the oven.

Remove the chicken from the water with tongs and set on a plastic plate or plastic cutting board. Shred that chicken! I use two forks which typically helps me to shred faster. Once done, spread the chicken evenly across the cauliflower. Drizzle the sauce evenly across the chicken. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese across the top. Top with a little green onion & parsley for fun! Optional: sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs to add a little crunch.

Put the dish back in the oven for about 20-25 mins, depending on how crispy you would like the top. Let cool for about 5 minutes and serve with a pie cutter or flat spatula!

Makes 6-8 servings.

**This dish reheats fairly well, but for the best results, remove from pan after serving into a Tupperware dish and cauliflower tends to get watery.

I think this recipe would be great with BBQ sauce! What other flavors would make this recipe amazing?! Comment below!

Till next time, T ♥

 

 

Savory Garlic & Herb Glazed Roast

Butter & Garlicy Herb Glazed Roast, served with Peppered Potatoes & baked asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

I’m not sure if this cold weather is ever going to make its way out of here! Nowadays, Sunday seems to be my only one, true day off. So, I love to do what I do best and chef up a classic & cozy dinner for the hubs and I. This Sunday, I cooked us a Savory Garlic & Herb Glazed Roast, accompanied with quartered and seasoned red potatoes, and asparagus with cherry tomatoes.

The first time I created my beef glaze, I was nervous about some of the intended ingredients I was researching. Mustard on roast? Butter? I just had to play around with these ingredients my first couple times preparing this meal, and now I have created the most-perfect glaze!

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Let’s get started with all of our ingredients

  1. one beef roast (about 1.5 lbs)
  2. one stick of butter (salted or unsalted)
  3. Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Champagne Mustard (one spoonful)
  4. fresh garlic (I used the diced garlic in a jar)
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. minced onion
  7. maple syrup (a shot)
  8. extra virgin olive oil
  9. beef broth (about half cup)
  10. fresh rosemary
  11. one bushel of asparagus
  12. cherry tomatoes (about half container)
  13. 1 bag of red potatoes
  14. PAM spray

 

If  I have the time, I let my glaze sit on the roast for a few hours. So, I always start with my glaze.

set oven to 425° (my roast is going to be prepared medium-rare)

In a small mixing bowl, I put in 1 to 1.5 sticks of butter, dependable on size(this time one) I soften the butter in the microwave, for about 20 seconds or until it is soft but still in its original form. Then, I scoop in one big spoonful of minced garlic. Scoop in one spoonful of Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Champagne Mustard (link above) or any other flavored mustard you could find. I would not advice using regular sandwich mustard. Salt & pepper. Sprinkle in some minced onion powder & a quick little shot of maple syrup (trust me) & extra virgin olive oil.

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I blend all ingredients together with a spoon. And get my baking pan ready. I use a ceramic or glass baking pan. I pour in enough beef broth to just line the bottom.

 

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The glaze can appear a little chunky, that’s okay as long as the butter is spreadable!

 

Now, time to prime the roast. I try to apply the glaze with a spoon, as much as I can. It is hard sometimes to get it to stick, so I end up pressing it on with my hands. I garnish the top of the roast with fresh rosemary. I do not break the rosemary up because it is much easier to lift off each little stem than to pick up each little piece when cooking time is done.

*As noted, when time allows, I let the glaze sit on the roast to ensure maximum absorption of flavor. (No more than a few hours)

 

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Don’t forget to base your pan with broth!

 

Once I am ready to start my side dishes, I pop the roast in. I leave the oven on 425 for 20 minutes. I set my timer, and once the 20 minutes has passed, I change the oven temperature to 350°. I open the oven door for about 15 seconds to allow some heat out, making sure the oven’s temperature decreases.

While the is cooking, I prep and begin to bake my side dishes.

potatoes 

Have you ever used a microwavable potato bag? I’ve been using the same one for years! I don’t necessarily completely cook my potatoes but I soften them and cut down cooking time. Potatoes are a super starchy vegetable and need to often cook for a long time.

I start my rinsing my potatoes, and scrubbing them some-what abrasively with a potato scrubber to remove any dirt or dried pieces. I pop the clean potatoes right in the bag without drying them (I  feel the moisture helps to loosen the potatoes up even more) and put a full bag in for about 5 minutes. Be cautious when removing the potatoes, they will be very hot. I let them cool for a moment, and quarter them up. I also put my potatoes in a ceramic baking pan. I line the dish with PAM spray, and evenly place my potato pieces in the pan. I drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. I next add a big scoop of minced garlic. I take a large mixing spoon or baking spatula and mix everything around. Make sure the potatoes are evenly saturated with the mixture.

Have extra rosemary?

Sprinkle some rosemary right on top of the potatoes. This time, I do break up the rosemary. (Optional: Chop the rosemary into smaller pieces.)

Pop ’em on in!

 

asparagus & cherry tomatoes 

I love asparagus, it’s one of my favorite vegetables & creates a very flavorful side dish. Often, people don’t realize that you can cook asparagus in a different way besides just seasoned and baked or steamed.

Leave the asparagus wrapped in the rubber band. Quick rinse, and cut off all ends with one big chop. Having sharp, quality knives is essential to creating successful and tasty meals in the kitchen. Below, I will include a link to my favorite knife set, along with other kitchen tools.

Again, line a baking pan with PAM spray, lay in the asparagus, all facing the same direction. Drizzle with your choice of olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder or fresh minced garlic, salt & pepper. Flip the asparagus around with a utensil of your choice to ensure even saturation. (Just like the potatoes)

It’s time to add the cherry tomatoes. After a quick rinse, I slice each little tomato in half. (Optional: leave tomatoes whole if you’re craving a more even flavor of both veggies) At this time, I can add a little more salt & pepper if need be. (Optional: add sliced almonds on top. I usually do this but on this day I think we had something with nuts already so I skipped. I love adding the almonds, they add a mild yet unexpected crunch!)

Pop ’em on in!

Basically, I leave both side dishes in for the remainder of baking time on the roast. As mentioned, I don’t follow recipes to a T, and I remove them from the oven when I desire. We like our asparagus a little crispy, as well as the potatoes. Press a fork into a potato and see if it feels soft in the middle, if so, then they’re ready! Make sure the middle is soft, then continue baking for a crispier dish.

 

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“we are ready to be baked!”

 

turn off the oven 

I leave the side dishes in the oven to stay warm. I take out the roast and set it on a pot-holder on the counter. Setting it on the stove top could cause the roast to cook further than desired. Again, this recipe is for a medium-rare roast.

slice and serve

First, remove stems of rosemary. I like to hold the roast with tongs in one hand and cut with a knife with the other hand. I typically cut about 3/4″ pieces. Don’t forget to scoop up and juice from the pan and dress the top of the roast slice.

 

 

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A finished med-rare roast.

 

enjoy

This is one of my favorite go-to Sunday recipes, especially in the fall or winter. The savory and warm flavors are perfect for a crisp & cozy day.

 

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dinner is served!

 

BONUS TIP: Another reason for why this is my favorite, is because of the many meals afterward this dinner provides. The next day, I reheated and enjoyed the same meal for lunch, and the second day I made steak tacos!

my must have kitchen tools

potatoe bag
Microwave Potato Bag Cooker – $7.99

 

knife
CUTCO Santoku Knife

 

pyrex
Pyrex Easy Baking Dish Set

 

 

What do you like to cook on Sundays?

Trying this recipe? Let me know!

& remember, it’s Sunday take it easy!

Till next time, T♥

 

 

 

 

 

steak and shrimp stir-fry

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I love cooking in my dutch oven. My mom gifted me this most-wonderful thing a few years ago. At first, I was hesitant to use it because I wasn’t sure what you cooked in it. My mom told me, “anything!” And damn, was she right! I LOVE this, not only does it cook food fast and evenly, your food doesn’t dry out, and… fewer dishes! Anything I can do to make my life just a little more simple – I’m in.

Tonight, I decided to make steak and shrimp stir-fry, in my infamous dutch oven ,of course. (Insert emoji of girl with sassy hand)

This recipe was perfect for a random weeknight, such as Tuesday.

I ran to my local Hannaford to grab a couple necessities before this big storm blew through. I had some ingredients waiting at home, so I just needed to grab a few items.

I’m a store brand geek.

Did you know, a lot of food is made in the same factory – identical process & ingredients – then the food is packaged differently. That’s it!? Yup! Hard to believe, huh? Purchasing store brand food can save you big bucks in the long run. AND, store brand shopping just got even better at Hannaford! Now, Hannaford has myHannaford Rewards™. Each and every shopping trip you make, for every Hannaford Brand item you purchase, including; Hannaford Brand, Taste of Inspirations, Nature’s Place, Home360, Cha-Ching, Etos, Companion, CareOne and Healthy Accents; you get 2% back in rewards. Quarterly, you can redeem these rewards towards your shopping trip! You can also clip coupons right on the app.

Let’s get cookin.

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Here’s what I used.

  1. ‘Marinating & Braising Steak’ (thinly sliced) 1.12lbs
  2. half of 1 bag of Hannaford Large Raw/Uncooked Shrimp 8oz
  3. sliced pepper, any color (I chose red and yellow for variety) 2 whole peppers
  4. diced yellow onion ( about half of the onion)
  5. frozen chopped broccoli about 3/4 cup
  6. 1 can of whole baby corn (16oz)
  7. 1 small can of diced or whole water chestnuts (8oz)
  8. 1 small can of edamame soybeans (8oz)
  9. 1 packet of Goya Powdered Beef Bouillon (I used reduced sodium)
  10. simple beef broth (about 3 cups)
  11. rice vinegar (little splash)
  12. soy sauce (little splash)
  13. ground black pepper (to taste)
  14. salt (I use Himalayan) (to taste)
  15. sesame seeds (optional)

little bit of this, little bit of that 

↑THIS↑

I think this is the best part about stir-frys. They are one of those recipes that don’t have to be followed exactly step by step. You can combine your favorite proteins and veggies to personalize your stir-fry.

Here are some other ingredients you can use to personalize your stir-fry!


VEG– carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms (my favorite) pea-pods, cherry tomatoes
PROTEIN– chicken, salmon, lobster, tofu, cashews
CARBS– brown/white rice, tofu noodles, veggie noodles (butternut squash, zucchini, sweet potato, turnip)


Ok, let’s get started 

I’m going to keep this pretty simple, as most one-pot recipes are, just toss it in!

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  1. Start with beef-broth to line the oven with. Creating this dish is just as easy as the pictures make it look. 
  2. Start sauteeing the onions and peppers.
  3. I like to take advantage of the space my dutch-oven gives me – so I move those over and make room just to slightly sear the steak.
  4. Get me the GOYA! I sprinkle the packet of Goya Powdered Beef Boullin & stir. Give a couple mins of cookin’ time.
  5. Slide the contents right on over again, this time we are making room for the edamame & my favorite, baby corn!
  6. Between now and the next step I poured in about 2 cups of beef broth. (As mentioned in my blog, Albany Foodie, I don’t measure, honaaay. I don’t have time.)
  7. I love these Blue Dragon Egg Noodles. Right on the back of the package, you can see the suggested serving size. 1 nest of noods = 1 adult size portion. I cooked 4. I usually cook enough for us both, seconds for my husband, and leftovers. I placed these right in the dutch oven and covered them with the cooking ingredients to heat them up faster. I did pour in more beef broth & a splish splash of both rice vinegar and soy sauce. Another great thing about this recipe is, you can choose how juicy you want it to be.
  8. I saved the water chestnuts and chopped frozen broccoli for last. I love the texture of water chestnuts, and their little crunch so I did not want to overcook these – same for the broccoli.
  9. I gave the noodles just a few more minutes to loosen, and in minutes I was scooping this out of the pan.
  10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional)

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Serious YUM! What do you like in your stir frys? Comment below!

Albany Foodie

At home or out and about

Home Cookins

  • First, what I love to describe as my zen time is grocery shopping. Not many people enjoy what some consider a chore, but I truly do. Yes, occasionally like everyone else I race in after work to just grab $15 worth of items, but a true grocery shopping trip. I love to go on Mondays, my day off, stroll every aisle, grab a smoothie and take my time. I love looking at all of the different fruits and vegetables and appreciate that each one was grown individually to nourish and fuel our bodies. Living in such a diverse area, the grocery stores near me carry a wider variety of items as opposed to the grocery stores in my home town of Lake George, New York. Now, back to my zen. There is this lovely place called Whole Foods Market. WFM is my mecca, and I am still so ecstatic that we have one here now in the Capitol Region. It is the ultimate supreme of grocery stores, and quite a lovely place. I always walkout with one thing I have never even heard of before. Their inventory is intriguing.
  • Second, I love cooking. I love Crockpot recipes, I love baked dishes, I have a huge amount of love for seafood. But, I certainly love all different types of food. However, the top of my list would start with Italian. BUT* I do not do pork. I never have, never will. Yes I use Crest toothpaste, yes occasionally I pop a marshmallow, but I do not directly eat the meat or anything cooked in it’s fat. Also, I do not bake. Unless you consider slightly less-than-okay boxed brownies baking. SO, if you’re someone looking for a recipe on bacon cupcakes, or breakfast recipes with ham, this is the wrong blog! However I will disclose, I occasionally give baking mild effort and would like to improve my baking skills.

Outnabout –

  • I’m big on local restaurants. I was exposed to a lot of different food types when I moved to the area, not only at restaurants but also through friends. I love to  I intentionally do not eat out at chain restaurants, unless I have a gift card or a friend would like to go. Living in the small city of Albany, NY we truly do have so many choices as far as cuisine. Here are just 24 restaurants I found that are featured in newyorkupstate.com.

“Best places to eat in Albany- 24 can’t-miss restaurants”

Here is a small list of my personal favorites, let’s do a top 5.

  • Lanie’s Cafe – I love Lanie’s and my husband and I find ourselves here often for our Friday date night ritual. It’s a great, homey, atmosphere with an awesome wine list, salad bar and pasta dishes to die for.

My go to Lanie’s Meal- Prime Rib with Penne and Alfredo sauce. A glass of Glenora Reisling, and we occasionally share their amazing calamari.

This is my 22bd birthday, in 2015 at Lanie’s. And this last picture is my husband and I at Lanie’s on a double date later in 2017.

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  • El Loco Mexican Cafe – Typically I end up going to El Loco with girlfriends. El Loco is located in the historic part around Washington Park in Albany, so it is very, very tiny. I prefer to go when it is an off time.

My go to El Loco dish- Create your own Combo, Beef & Bean Chimichanga and Turkey and Bean Taco -or- Beef & Bean Chimichanga and Turkey and Bean Burrito- rice and beans. And of course, you have to start with chips and your choice(s) of dip.

I love the hot sauce bar, and the disclaimer with their margaritas! Intended for warning, but I think it sparks excitement!

Myself, my sister Paige, and my best friends Zack and Nick at El Loco in the summer of 2016. Enjoying some great drinks!

  • Graney’s Bar and Grill – no, not Stout. Graney’s has its own location about 10 minutes from Stout on New Scotland Avenue. My husband, who was then my boyfriend started bringing me here, and it quickly became our go-to spot! I’ve heard some people call it a grandpa bar, but with some explanation it’s not really a club as you would come compare Graney’s Stout too. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I enjoy some hard cider and bar food. I always run into a friend or client while we are here.

What I typically order- I switch between

  1. Mozzarella Logs (yes LOGS)
  2. Buffalo Chicken Salad (Super unique & great)
  3. 10 Medium- Garlic Wings and fries

Some old pictures of birthdays celebrated for my husband and I at Graney’s!

  • Hokkaido Asian Bistro – my sushi place! Hokkaido is our go-to take out spot. Not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing, but they know who I am when I’m calling for myself, or both my husband and I. They now just how I like my sushi, no ginger/wasabi and clear soup!

My usual order at Hokkaido- Spicy Kani Salad, Salmon Special Sushi Dinner and a side of spicy mayo.

**I chose not to include a picture of us eating our soosh and watching movies with an adult beverage upon our dog-distressed couch. 🙂 

  • Grappa 72 – Fine dining Italian. Two Italian restaurants in my top 5? Yes! Opposed ti Lanie’s Cafe, a more Italian-American restaurant, Grappa is fine fining. Perfect for a romantic date night. Cozy tables, dim lighting and candles. Request a seat in their lovers lane, and ask for a superb server whom they call “Bagel.” I still do not know Bagel’s real name, and I’d like to think it’s not really Bagel. She wears a tie that has a Bagel design on it! She extensively knows the menu and specials. She makes wonderful recommendations and could sell you on anything.

My typical meal at Grappa 72- Risotto Frutti de Mare (I sub for Alfredo, opposed to their marinara, I’m just a cheese girl!)

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Is it a brag or bad? I absolutely had 9 glasses of wine this night, maybe 10. 10 glasses of wine. WOW

These are my staples and where we bring friends or family when it’s up to us.  My goal in regards to my blog is to visit and write (pictures of course!) to new restaurants. Like I said this is a small city, but if you know Albany, you know there is always somewhere new to find!

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Daisy, enjoying Albany!

What little treasures have you found in Albany? Comment below!

Till next time, T♥