Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Halsey House Bed & Breakfast

When I think of the Finger Lakes, I think of nature, hiking, wine, relaxation, and definitely indulgence. This past weekend, Sarah and I had the pleasure of visiting the Finger Lakes (more on that to come!) to see if our perceptions of the region were true. Nothing says indulgence and relaxation like an incredible bed and breakfast, and we stayed at the perfect one: The Halsey House.

I'm completely foreign to the B&B world, so when we pulled in to the drive after sundown to find two of the nicest men in the world approach us and say, "You must be Nick and Sarah!" I was certainly impressed.

Walking into the house, guided by David and David (the two owners) we learned that this beautiful property was built in 1829 by Nicholl Halsey. I don't know much about design, architecture, history, or pretty much anything, but I can say that this place is absolutely beautiful.

Later, we learned that much of the ornate furnishings throughout the house were family memorabilia or keepsakes from the Davids' families. Now, I don't want to get too public with the owners' personal lives, but let's just say a close family friendship with JIMMY STEWART comes in to play, here... (especially cool for us IUP grads!)

Our Room:

The B&B only has 5 guest rooms and we were assigned the "The Chamber." Small, but with tons of personality, this room was comfortable and inviting, had a huge updated bathroom, and an incredibly comfortable bed. What I really loved about this place is that despite the personal touch and friendliness of the owners and other guests, I felt completely comfortable to come and go as I pleased. It was a perfect balance of hospitality and independence, privacy and shared experience.

Speaking of shared experiences, I knew this place was special when we sat down to breakfast in the morning. All other guests were up and about, saying hello, drinking coffee (Halsey House special blend) and discussing their weekend endeavors.

And then the food arrived. Wow. The website mentions a "gourmet breakfast" but I was not ready for this! Now maybe this is just me being a bad blogger, but you're just going to have to go to The Halsey House and experience David's breakfast for yourself. It was my intention to take photographs of the food and report to you what each part of the breakfast was like, but I was completely thrown off track by the deliciousness. Ever-changing, and alternating between sweet and savory menus, the breakfast is almost exclusively sourced from local business and farms. David and David mentioned several times their interest in "promoting and investing in the Finger Lakes," and they are doing just that - spectacularly.

Needless to say, Sarah and I are completely sold on this B&B, and by extension, the Finger Lakes. We already can't wait to go back sometime in the future to spend more time exploring the region, while enjoying The Halsey House, its guests, and the wonderful proprietors David and David.

You can check out more about The Halsey House on their website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Disclosure: The Halsey House provided us a complimentary room. All opinions are our own. We LOVED our stay and can't wait to return!

Sarah & Nick

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cranberry and Pecan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Being vegetarian around Thanksgiving time means an extra focus on side dishes. When searching the internet for roasted brussels sprouts recipes, the combination of cranberries and pecans seem to be everywhere! Here is our version of this classic and delicious recipe.

Here's what you need:
- 2 cups halved brussels sprouts
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more if you like the heat!)
- Salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- If brussels sprouts are frozen, thaw and cut in half.
- Mix brussels sprouts in a bowl with olive oil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

- Spread sprouts on a foil lined baking sheet and place in oven.
- Bake at 15-20 minute intervals, mixing/turning the sprouts every 10 minutes or so.
- Bake until desired roast is achieved. We like to see our leaves browning, with a bit of crispness around the edges. This usually takes about 50 minutes of roasting and turning.
- While sprouts are roasting, chop your pecans into small pieces. Lightly toast in a small pan on the stove over low heat.
- Once sprouts are out the oven, place in a serving dish and toss with the cranberries and toasted pecans.
- Enjoy!

These have become one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes over the past couple of years. I really love the tart cranberries and the spice from the red pepper flakes. The combination of the two send this dish over the edge!

Sarah & Nick

Friday, November 13, 2015

DIY Guess Who Game Templates

You may remember a loooong time ago we shared this DIY Guess Who Game. In the original version, we replaced the cartoon people with pictures we printed out of our family. We chose to do it with family because we just figured it would be a lot of fun to play at family gatherings and describe people you know personally. Now we're back at the DIY Guess Who Game, but this time we're bringing some of our favorite fictional characters into the action!

This is a lot of fun to play when you are a big fan of a particular TV show or movie. You can really get creative with your questions. "Does your person have his mother's eyes?", "Did you person ever live in the back of a professor's head?" (Obviously, it's Harry and Voldemort, respectively.)

To make your own, you need to find the right photo, download it, crop it, size it, arrange it, blah, blah, blah. But since we're so nice, Sarah and I have gone through all the trouble of finding the photos, sizing them correctly, and arranging them on these printable templates for you! All you need to do is print them out, cut them up, and insert them into your game!

Click below to download the templates we created - and have fun!
Harry Potter
Parks & Recreation
The Office
Gilmore Girls

A few tips:
1. I suggest that you use card stock when printing the photos, as you don't want your opponent to see through you card. (After all, it is a game of secrecy...)
2. Some of them may be a bit big for your game's dimensions, so you'll just need to trim them down slightly to get them to fit just right.
3. If you're having trouble finding an original Guess Who board game, try your local thrift store. There are always tons of old games tucked away somewhere, and it's where we found ours.

We hope you have fun playing with our Guess Who templates or making your own! This game would be great this holiday season!

Sarah & Nick

Monday, November 9, 2015

Apple Pie Cocktail

Cocktail posts are easily my favorite types of posts to write for the blog. It's fun to make them, photograph them, write about them, and drink them (duh). This delicious apple pie cocktail, adapted from Vegan Yack Attack is a perfect drink for any fall or winter evening!

Here's what you need:
- 1.5 oz. (1 shot) cinnamon whiskey
- 1.5 oz. (1 shot) whipped vodka (or vanilla vodka)
- 4 oz. apple cider
- Brown sugar
- Cinnamon
- Agave nectar (or honey)
- Ice
- Cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)
- Apple slice for garnish (optional)
- Cocktail shaker
- Lowball glass

Here's what you do:
- Combine some cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.
- Prepare your glass: With a clean paintbrush, brush rim of glass with agave (or honey) and dip in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. I don't recommend you skip this step, it's delicious!
- Combine ice, whiskey, vodka, and apple cider in your cocktail shaker, and shake until the outside of your shaker frosts from the cold.
- Pour into your glass. Include the ice.
- Garnish with cinnamon stick and apple slice.
- Enjoy!

The original recipe called for 4 oz. apple juice, but it just didn't seem thick/earthy enough for us, so we subbed in apple cider. I think this was the touch that pushed this drink from good to great. I'd be lying if I said I only drank one of these this weekend while we were working on this post. They're just so delicious!

Sarah & Nick