maple weekend

Andrew and I participated in the first of two ‘Maple Weekends‘ here in Western New York this past weekend.  Maple producers all over the state banded together about 20 years ago and started opening their doors to the public for one (and then expanded to two) weekends each season to demonstrate maple syrup production.

I covered a local family–Weber’s Maple–last weekend for the Advertiser.  They operate a landscaping business during the warmer months and have recently gotten into maple syrup.

After learning all about maple syrup myself and more about the weekend activities, I thought surprising Andrew with a maple pancake breakfast and then some stops at syrup producers could be fun.  The breakfast at the Gowanda Fire Hall was recommended to me, so that’s where we went.


I wish we could say we got up bright and early, but we didn’t.  Our maple ‘breakfast’ turned into a maple lunch by the time we reached our destination, where they served pancakes (incredibly good–could not stop eating them!), eggs, bacon, sausage and–of course–lots of real maple syrup on the tables.



Gowanda is about 35 minutes south of East Aurora…  Along the way, I mentioned to Andrew that it was getting ‘pretty rural’ out here.  He replied, “No honey, we left ‘rural’ two towns ago.”  Let’s just say that the sleepy ‘hamlet’ of East Aurora is a bustling metropolis compared to towns and villages just miles to the South.

After breakfast, we stopped at Maple Glen Sugar House, just a mile or so down the road,  to check out their production.


They had tours just outside the sugar house, in the midst of trees bearing old sap buckets, which have been replaced by vacuum tubing nowadays.


Horse cart rides for kids…


And we got to see sap boiling away in the evaporators.


After Maple Glen, we headed back home and visited Weber’s Maple again, where they had a sled dog team.


Dean Weber was on hand to demonstrate how the evaporator works and explain the process to visitors.


Andrew had a great time and left with more maple ‘cotton candy,’ maple candies (where is this sweet tooth coming from??) and we also got a small container of Grade B syrup.  Grade B is the darkest and has the most ‘maple’ flavor.  It’s hard to find in stores and I really like it, so I wanted to stock up while I could.

All in all, we had a great time spending all morning (and into the afternoon) together on a ‘day date’ taking advantage of local activities.  It was pretty cheap, too; we spent $14 on breakfast (it’s a fundraiser, after all) and $20 on maple stuff, both of which supported local businesses.

For anyone in the Western NY area, it’s going on next weekend, too.  Highly recommended for families 🙂





and we have a convert!


No, this isn’t MY breakfast.  It’s Andrew’s.  And he made it HIMSELF.

It’s a homemade waffle spread with natural peanut butter, topped with banana slices and a drizzle of real maple syrup.

Me thinks my favorite breakfasts might be catching on…

Blog post from our camping trip yesterday coming later today (fun, but man–is it a ton of work when you get home!).  Happy Monday!

impulse shopping

This is what happens when Holly goes to Wegmans for ‘a few things:’

Hey, at least it’s all healthy, right?  Just LOOK at all those colors!

HAD to get:

-bananas and spinach (only one left in the house–yikes!)

-cottage cheese (I have a cut-up pineapple in the fridge just begging to be paired with it)

-avocado (remember all those Julio’s chips Andrew shipped home??)

-strawberries (because I’ve waited all winter long for them)

-red pepper and sugar snap peas (homemade hummus is in the fridge as we speak–or type, rather)

-wheat germ (for a bread recipe)

-frozen blueberries and a lemon (for a muffin recipe and because berries are expensive enough)

-deli ham and light swiss (Andrew’s gotta have lunch tomorrow…)

OK, I’ll admit, I totally got sucked into the Nature’s Market section (like I ever DON’T?) and some SALES caught my eye…

…like this one for Health Valley Organic cereal bars and ‘pop tarts.’  It was $1 off each, and the blueberry was just calling to me.  (Blueberry totally has been these days!  I already made a plan to make Ellie Krieger’s blueberry muffins this weekend…)  I figured Andrew would like the strawberry bars and I could mix some warmed ‘toaster tarts’ into our morning breakfast routine.

And then there was the sale on granola:

It was $1 off, too!  In my defense, we’ve been out of granola for awhile now and I said to myself (out loud, of course) that I should get some more soon.  I initially saw the ‘vanilla blueberry with flax seeds’ (there is that blueberry again) variety and grabbed it, only to then see the ‘maple walnut with chia and quinoa’ and ‘oat and honey WITH COCONUT’ flavors…  There was just no deciding between them.  At least they’ll last awhile…

Side note: Some of you are probably wondering why I would BUY this stuff when I can make it all myself, which I actually enjoy doing.  A couple reasons:

1.  I’m EXHAUSTED, and surprisingly busy.  I’ve been catching up on random stuff since finishing up with school, as well as tackling a bunch of things that popped up, like arranging summer travel plans and working out a new gym routine.

2.  I don’t really enjoy cooking in this kitchen.  It sounds bad, but it’s true.  Until I have ‘my’ kitchen, it just isn’t the same.

3.  I’m starting The Hunger Games soon (maybe this weekend!), which will consume me for however long it takes to read them all.  Andrew, I apologize in advance–I’ll make sure we’re stocked up on the unhealthy food you insist on eating when I don’t cook.  Or maybe not.

4.  The bright colors and yellow SALE tags caught my eye.  (Hey, I’m just being honest.)

5.  And lastly, I am (unfortunately) about to become just as busy as before.  My summer online class starts in a little more than a week and I already took a look at the online info…  It looks INTENSE, to say the least.  Fantastic.

So yeah, despite ending school, I won’t be found in the kitchen too much just yet…

OK, back to groceries….

The Justin’s was on sale ($6.99 instead of $8.99… still pricey, but oh, so good!) and I’ve been eyeing this Cinnamon Raisin Swirl variety EVERY TIME I GO TO WEGMANS.  EVERY TIME.  I pulled the trigger today–why not?  Kath eats almond butter on her carrots sometimes, and ever since I saw one of those photos I’ve been intrigued to try it.  I thought the Justin’s would be the perfect accompaniment for some carrot sticks.  (Oh, have I told you all I’m eating raw carrots now?  I went my whole life HATING them, and then all of a sudden, they’re fine.  What’s with that?)

And this guy was hiding behind all the store-bought goodness the whole time…

Beautiful, wonderful-smelling homemade bread.  What better with which to pair the new cinnamon raisin peanut butter??