Miscellaneous

When Life Gives You Lemons Make…

When you hear the phrase “When life gives you lemons…”, you automatically complete the sentence with “make lemonade.” Have you ever given any thought to how unfair it is that the character of the poor lemon has been hijacked to stand for having something so unpleasant happen that you need to immediately try and change it into something else? This does not seem fitting treatment for a fruit descended from a species that has been around for more than seven million years and has wide ranging health benefits. Add to that the fact that some of our all-time favorite foods are made with lemons and it might make more sense that calling something “a lemon” should equate with bestowing the highest of praise.  

Health Benefits Derived from Lemons

There are those rare individuals who claim to like just biting into a lemon, but the vast majority of us know that is not how to best enjoy its flavor or reap its benefits. And, you may be more than a little surprised to learn just how many health benefits that lemons have. Besides being a known source of the all-important vitamin C, lemons also contain vitamin B6, potassium, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid and folate.

That’s a lot! But, we are just getting started. Our grandparents knew the way to take care of us when we had a sore throat or other ailment was to mix up a warm, soothing concoction of lemon and honey (and sometimes a shot of whiskey). They may not have known about the antioxidants that lemons contain which help aid the immune system while fighting free radical damage, the citric acid that helps with digestion and the beta-carotenes, lutein and vitamin A that support healthy skin and vision, but they knew it would make us feel better.

What Should You Make with Those Lemons?

Whether you truly are looking for something to turn a bad situation around or looking for the ideal way to celebrate a special occasion, a lemon treat of some sort is the perfect choice. You may think that your favorite fruit is the strawberry or that your top pick in the citrus family is the orange, which pretty much has an entire state dedicated to it, but you would be sorely challenged going head to head with the list of delicious foods that star our friend the lemon.  

Chances are you have never taken a survey of the pie that sells out the fastest in most restaurants, but you would be safe to bet that it is the lemon meringue. Not only is it tricky to make at home, but the taste and texture of the lemon, much the same as in lemon bars, is unbeatable. There is something about the sourness of the lemon that has a unique effect on the taste buds. Sweet and salty foods activate the tip of the tongue and bitter is tasted on the back.  The citric acid in the lemon is experienced all along the sides and center of the tongue, which is why the flavor is so powerful.

The list of foods that we love so much because of the presence of the lemon is long. Besides pies and bars, desserts include cakes (ever tried lemon cheesecake?), cookies, donuts, sweet rolls, crepes, muffins, tarts, ice cream, gelato and other frozen treats. Lemon is used with cooking all sorts of main and side dishes, especially amazing seafood and chicken entrees, like shrimp scampi and chicken piccata. Paired with garlic, there are hundreds of pasta and other types of recipes that simply would not work without the lemon.

Last, but certainly not least, is there anyone who hasn’t pulled over after spotting a youngster’s lemonade stand on the side of the road? Nothing beats an icy glass of nature’s most refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. When life gives you lemons, rejoice! And then go make that lemonade.

Great Places to Picnic Around Long Island & NYC

As the end of January approaches, it’s hard not to feel a little annoyed at the cold weather, wishing it would just go away already. Symptoms of the January blues include: trying (and failing) to eat healthy, noticing how dirty and worn-out your winter coat is getting, and daydreaming about when the temperature will rise above 60 degrees again. We’re here to indulge your daydreams, and start planning your spring weekends around getting some fresh air! Here are some great, away-from-the-crowds places to go picnicking in the New York City and Long Island area:

  1. Shore Road Park & Parkway
    Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
    This park runs along the southwest portion of Brooklyn, following the path of the Belt Parkway. Most of the time, you’ll see people jogging and enjoying the shoreline, but this park is a totally under-the-radar area for a picnic. It’s southern, east-to-west orientation also makes it perfect to view the sunset. You’ll also get fantastic views of the Verrazano bridge, the Manhattan skyline, and even catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Afterwards, you can visit the quaint neighborhood of Bay Ridge for dessert.
  2. Eisenhower Park
    Westbury, Nassau County
    If you’re one of those people that thinks Jones Beach is just way too crowded, Eisenhower Park might just be the place for you. This 930-acre park is the perfect place to find some solitude, as it’s one of the largest recreational spaces in the metropolitan area. If you feel like getting a workout before your picnic, head to the Aquatic Center, Ice Center, Athletic Fields, Fitness Trail, or Golf. In the summer, you can even catch a concert or movie at the outdoor theatre. You’ll never be bored here!
  3. Fort Tryon Park
    Hudson Heights, Manhattan
    This park is as dynamic and natural as it gets, you’ll hardly believe you’re still in Manhattan! In it, you’ll find the Met’s Cloisters, a beautiful medieval castle that stands as a testament to the rich history of New York, as well as spectacular views of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. The park features many patches of grassy areas, ensuring you’ll get a spot for a picnic while remaining away from the crowds.
  4. Steppingstone Park
    Great Neck, Nassau County
    Positioned along the Great Neck shoreline, this park remains one of the best places for sand and sea. The park features a boat ramp, if you’re feeling up to sailing the Long Island Sound, as well as a garden where you can stop and smell the roses. Perfect for picnics as well, it’s a favorite spot for locals to view the sunset.
  5. Corona Park
    Corona, Queens
    Although this is one of the most well-known parks in New York, It’s also one of the grandest. With an expansive 897 acres of recreation area, you have the option to go swimming in indoor pools, fish at Flushing Lake, rent a paddleboat, and visit the Queens Museum, all in one location. It’s truly massive, and there’s no shortage of picnic areas for when the weather finally warms up.

Baker’s Birthday? Five Great Gift Ideas for the Avid Baker in Your Life

 

Anyone with an avid baker in their life knows what a blessing it can be. They also know, though, how difficult it can be to shop for a baker, especially bakers who already seem to have everything. Finding a gift for a baker doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Here are five gift ideas for the avid baker in your life.

Kitchen Scale

Some recipes call for weighted objects rather than volumes, which means a lot of converting (or internet searching) to get the correct conversion. If your baker doesn’t have a kitchen scale, this gift will save them a lot of time and trouble later, or may encourage them to try recipes they’ve been avoiding. A scale will be a much-welcomed addition to your baker’s kitchen.

Piping Set

Young or amateur bakers may not be able to justify buying a nice, large piping set for themselves, so do it for them. They’ll love getting to try new decorations or tricks they’ve been dying to learn. The plain-looking cupcakes you’ve grown used to will get fancier every time, and learning to decorate may even renew your baker’s passion.

Basic Supplies

Bakers go through a lot of supplies quickly, so sometimes the best gift is simply replenishing their dwindling stock. Get them new, cute cupcake paper, or buy them new food dyes or cooking spray. Take care of the little things for them so they can spend their time worrying about which recipe to try next.

Appliance Accessories

So your baker invested in a KitchenAid stand mixer, but did they invest in the accessories, too? You could consider getting KitchenAid covers for their mixer to help minimize clean up after, or an ice cream maker attachment for them to try branching out or decking their desserts in their own ice cream creations. Appliance accessories will make your baker’s life a little easier, and may encourage them to branch out and try new things.

Decorative Stands

Your baker made a dozen a beautiful 3-tier cake only for it to be placed on some unused counter space. After working so hard on them, bakers want their creations to be seen, and a cake stand or cupcake tree will do just that. They’ll love getting to show off what they made in such a pretty way, and a stand will save counter space as well, a win for everybody.

Buying a gift for the baker in your life doesn’t have to be difficult. There are tons of options out there, even some your baker hasn’t thought of! These are just five gift ideas for your baker, and there are many more options out there.