A Portrait of Spring

19 Apr

Sukhasana or Simple Cross Legged Sitting Posture in Yoga Practice

17 Apr

Originally posted on Yoga and Spirituality:

Sukhasana is an asana sitting in a simple cross legged position. It is widely advocated for Yoga Practice of Elderly Persons. One can sit in this position for any length of time, but if one practices this pose for a longer time, one should be sure to alternate the cross of the legs in between. In fact, as a child one might have naturally sat in the Sukhasana being happy, relaxed or playing. However, as one gets more used to sitting on chairs or sofas than on the floor, the Sukhasana may not feel as easy as before. However one can get the body used to this easy yoga pose once again, with regular practice.

The Sukhasana is a comfortable, sitting yoga pose that is ideal for meditation. In Sanskrit, Sukh means ease, happiness, peace or relaxation and this pose is aimed at providing all of it. There are many…

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Taste of the Trail Kicks off this weekend

4 Apr

Originally posted on Behind the Bottle:

This weekend, April 4-6, is the first of two weekends of wine and food pairing along the wine trail. Tickets for the first weekend are $20 online until 9pm Thursday 4/3, or $25 during the event. Tickets for both weekends will also be available to purchase at the wineries for $40 each. The second weekend sales will continue at the $20 price online until April 10th.

Below are the available pairings at each location. A map of the wine trail is available here.Niagara Wine Trail map brochure-2014

April 4–6 Participating Wineries:

  • BlackBird Cider Works – Spent Grain Pretzels from Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company, with a gourmet mustard dip. Pretzels paired with our draft hard cider
  • Black Willow Winery – Spiedini of fresh mozzarella, basil, & tomato dressed with our very own artisan Hojiblanca olive oil and 18yr aged balsamic, accompanied with a crostini
  • Chateau Niagara Winery – A pasta sampler paired with their new release…

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Black Willow Winery Awarded by Florida State Fair

20 Mar

Originally posted on Behind the Bottle:

Niagara County, NY – The Niagara Wine Trail is pleased to announce Black Willow Winery’s recent awards from the 2014 Florida State Fair International Wine & Grape Juice Competition.

Held February 1- 3rd, the 26th Annual Florida State Fair International Wine and Grape Juice Competition took place at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. Black Willow Winery’s submissions to the competition included their Riesling, awarded with a Silver Medal, as well as Classic Diamond, Bare Cat Blush and Black Widow Berry, all honored with Bronze Medals.

Black Willow Winery is a family-owned boutique winery whose goal is to provide distinctive, rich, artisan wines for wine enthusiasts, as well as those experiencing wine for the first time.  Awards won may be viewed on the Niagara Wine Trail website and can also be viewed on Florida Grape Growers Association website.


Elizabeth Maute
Niagara Wine Trail Coordinator

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Niagara Wine Trail Expands “Taste of the Trail” Food Paring Event

7 Mar

Originally posted on Behind the Bottle:

ImageNiagara County, NY – During the weekends of April 4–6 and 11–13, the wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail will participate in their annual wine and local food-pairing event, Taste of the Trail. The popularity of this event has lead to its expansion over two weekends.

The concept of Taste of the Trail is to educate how wine can easily pair with each part of your meal. A sample from a local food vendor, or the winery’s own favorite pairing, will be given at each location with a taste of three wines.

Because the event spans two weekends, half of the trail member wineries will participate during each weekend. This allows attendees to take advantage of visiting wineries they may not have had the chance to visit yet, and have the opportunity to visit more than just a few wineries in one day. The dates for each participating winery and…

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Where to Have Fun in the Windy City

2 Feb

Chicago is one of the best places to visit any time of year. Whether you travel during the winter, spring, summer or fall, there is always a food and wine festival, arts event, cultural fair or various attractions that are celebrating something new and different. As Chicago is so eclectic, it’s important to hit all of the attractions and find some new local favorites to see as well.

First Stop: Get Some Grub

Even with a packed schedule of sights to see, you have to eat and get some energy. There are a few fantastic places that are renowned for their Chicago style and chef expertise. If you are travelling by yourself or with the whole family, a good place to start is the South Water Kitchen located in the Loop. With food for all kinds of eaters, you’ll recognize the Chicago style of the chef right away. The kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner starting at 6 AM and has a variety of American and fusion fare. It’s also fairly priced for being in the city.

Second Stop: Let’s Walk the Bridge

One thing you can’t miss if you’re visiting Chicago is the bascule bridge known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge. This bridge takes you across the Chicago River in downtown. It’s one of the designated landmarks for the Windy City, and it’s full of fun sights to see like famous sculptures and markers. It’s also just a jump away from Bucktown and Wicker Park, where you’ll find some boutiques and designer stores perfect for an afternoon of shopping.

Third Stop: Appreciate the Arts

Chicago has a variety of different museums. Millennium Park is a great place to start for photo opportunities and exploration. It has tons of unique architecture, landscape design and local art to appreciate. You’ll also find Museum Campus here and plenty of other art to behold. If that doesn’t satisfy you, there’s always the City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower, which has work from local photographers and artists spanning all types of genres.

Fourth Stop: After a Long Day in the Windy City

There are a few historic and modern four and five star hotels to choose from in Chicago. When you are looking for the ultimate luxury and views of the skyline, you should check out The Peninsula. It’s the best place to go for history and relaxation. It also has one of the best spas to help you wind down and some gourmet cuisine that you can eat in The Terrace overlooking the city.

Chicago has more personality to offer than you could ever imagine. Just by walking the city streets and exploring for yourself, you’ll find incredible boutiques, historical homes, art on every corner and plenty of places to find gourmet and five-star cuisine restaurants as well as local bars and clubs to satisfy your night life needs.

Kendra Thornton

Eat Like an Italian in Niagara Falls USA

25 Jan

The Como Restaurant in Niagara Falls.

The Como Restaurant in Niagara Falls.

What you eat is where you are – and there’s no better way to know a destination than through its food. Niagara USA is home to 800 farms, 20 wineries, one brewery and even a cideria, so it’s no wonder that our culture has seeped into some of the best eateries around.

In Niagara Falls, there are one-of-a-kind restaurants so authentic, so beloved by locals and visitors alike, that I can’t imagine visiting the Honeymoon Capital of the World without experiencing them.

Like many cities in the U.S., Niagara Falls saw an influx of Italian immigrants in search of a better life for themselves and their families in the early 1900s. The legacy of this movement includes amazing restaurants where recipes from the old country are found on the menus.

Here is a trio of some not-to-miss haunts while in Niagara Falls USA.


Not much has changed at Fortuna’s since 1945 – not even the sauce and salad dressing recipes. For authentic Italian food, head to Fortuna’s – in Little Italy, near Niagara Falls State Park. Every generous dish can be enjoyed in a cozy atmosphere or ordered for take out.

Try the antipasta and don’t skip the handmade gnocchi or ravioli. Steak, veal, poultry and fresh seafood are also on the menu.

Fortuna’s is located at 827 19th St., Niagara Falls.

Como Restaurant

As much of a landmark as the falls themselves, the Como Restaurant is another great option in Little Italy. Four generations of the Antonacci and Colucci families have been perfecting specialized Italian dishes, which are still prepared in true old-world style. Every dish is a reflection of Francesco Antonacci, who started the business in 1927. Try a pasta dish, and pair it with one of the Como’s many wines.

The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and take out. Visitors can also catch a meal as they are leaving town, as the Como has a second location, which is just past the Niagara Falls International Airport.

As seen on the Food Network, the Como Restaurant is not to be missed.

The Como Restaurant is located 2220 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls.

Wine on Third Pizza Bistro

For a modern version of Italian – pizza, that is – head over to Wine on Third Pizza Bistro for lunch, or its neighbor, Wine on Third, for dinner. Brick oven pizzas with unique toppings, and a fresh chef salad with house dressing, make for a perfect lunch.

Wine on Third has an expanded menu, including sushi, tapas and more. Don’t forget its happy hour and drink menu – and the excellent wine list and scrumptious martinis will leave you toasting the Cataract City.

Wine on Third is located at 501 Third St., Niagara Falls.

This blog post also appeared on “Niagara Now” in Niagara Frontier Publications.


Grey Goose’s Sundance

17 Jan

Originally posted on Local Food And Wine:

by Paige Donner

As Hollywood hitches itself once again to the Sundance Film Festivalpost in Park City, Utah as it does every winter, Grey Goose will be there to welcome the filmmakers, revelers and partymakers with specially designed cocktails. And lots of celebrities at their film nights and lounges.

Local Food And Wine Grey Goose Le Fizz

grey goose le fizz

Local Food And Wine Grey Goose Cherry Collins

grey goose cherry collins


Local Food And Wine Grey Goose Hot Apple Cider


grey goose hot apple cider

The Cocktails (And below is a sampling of past years Celebs in Attendance at the Grey Goose Lounge).

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Each year GREY GOOSE Vodka brings in its celebrated master mixologists to create unique specialty cocktails in honor of the films.  Guests will once again enjoy the sparkling Le Fizz or the vodka infused warm apple cider upon arrival at the cozily decorated lounge, and this season bespoke cocktails such as the will Cherry Noir Rudderless Ale and the Cherry Noir Song Spice be highlighted.

For the third year the GREY GOOSE Blue Door has played host to…

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Culinary Resolutions

27 Dec

We all have culinary resolutions at the beginning of each year: “I resolve to eat healthier. I vow to cook more meals at home. I resolve to not order takeout unless necessary.” Usually, these are promptly followed by “I will work out more.” But then the boss gives you a huge project and boom, no time for those good intentions. That’s when takeout and fast food are much more appealing than taking the time to cook.

“To help keep on track, plan your meals ahead of time for the week if you can,” said Linda Haynes, ACE Bakery’s co-founder. “Cook a bit more than you might need and either take the leftovers to work the next day for lunch, or freeze them for an on-the-fly meal option for a busy night.”

Quick to prepare and easy to follow recipes come in handy, and you can start with these two that are great served on their own, or paired-up for bigger meals.

Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Potatoes

Roasted chicken on potatoes by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Potatoes, Mushrooms and Shallots

One-dish meals are great for family dinners and casual weekend entertaining. They can be served right from the roasting pan, or when company is coming, spoon the vegetables onto a favorite serving dish, arrange the chicken on top, and decorate with sprigs of rosemary.

Three ¼-inch thick slices smoked bacon, cut in ¼ -inch cubes

9 to 10 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 to 4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh minced rosemary

1½ tsp. kosher salt

⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 large or 4 medium Portobello mushrooms

20 to 25 mini potatoes, 1½ to 2 inches in length

12 shallots, peeled

3 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more for garnishing the finished dish

3 chicken legs

3 chicken half breasts with bone in

12 to 16 cherry tomatoes (optional)

Coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Sauté the bacon over medium heat until it has rendered its fat and all the cubes are cooked through. Drain and reserve.

Finely grate 3 to 4 garlic cloves in a small bowl and mix with the lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, minced rosemary, 1 tsp. of the salt, and pepper.

Thoroughly rub the mixture into the chicken and let marinate at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1½ to 2 hours while preparing the vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Bring the chicken to room temperature if it has been in the refrigerator.

Scrape the black gills from the insides of the mushroom caps using a teaspoon, and cut the mushrooms into 1- to 1½ -inch pieces. Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size. Mince 6 garlic cloves.

Toss together the shallots, mushrooms, potatoes, 3 small sprigs rosemary, ½ tsp. salt, 2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil and the minced garlic cloves. Spoon into a shallow baking dish large enough to hold all the chicken in one layer.

Place the chicken legs on the vegetables and roast for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear, not pink.

Transfer the chicken to a dish and loosely tent with tinfoil to keep warm.

Put the vegetables back in the oven until the potatoes are cooked through, another 10 to 15 minutes. This will also allow the chicken to rest. Add the cherry tomatoes, if using, in the last 5 to 7 minutes of cooking time.

Discard the cooked rosemary sprigs and serve the chicken directly from the baking dish or spoon the vegetables onto a serving dish with a small lip. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables and top with the bacon, some fresh rosemary sprigs, and a sprinkle of coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper.

Serves 6 with a generous amount of vegetables


If you decide to roast just chicken breasts, remember to add the “leg time” of 10 minutes to the roasting of the vegetables.


Photo by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Cauliflower soup by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Cauliflower Soup with Spinach and Indian Spices

If you think Indian cuisine means spicy, you’ll be surprised at the fragrant, subtle flavorings of this soup. The turmeric gives a lovely saffron hue, and the spinach leaves turn a glossy green for a fresh color boost.

3 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

6 green cardamom seeds

2 tsp. ground coriander (the flavor will be fresher if you grind your own)

1 tsp. ground turmeric

pinch of cayenne

½ cup finely chopped cooking onion

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 head cauliflower, washed, drained and coarsely chopped

2 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes, cut in ¼-inch dice, approximately 2 cups

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

6 to 8 cups light chicken stock

2 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 very large handful baby spinach, washed

Yogurt to garnish

Heat the oil in a pot large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Add the cardamom seeds and sauté about 1 minute until they give up their oils. Skim the seeds out of the oil and discard them. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne. Sauté for about 20 seconds until you can smell the aroma of the spices.

Add the onion and garlic. Sauté about 5 minutes, or until the onion is wilted. Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown. Add the cauliflower, potatoes and mustard. Toss until the spices coat the vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly roasted.

Pour in 6 cups of the stock and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

If you have time, cool the mixture. Purée it in a food processor or blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the purée is too thick, add an extra 1 to 2 cups of stock.

Reheat and taste for seasonings. Stir in the spinach just before serving. The spinach will turn bright green and have a slight crunch. Pour into bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt.

This soup can be made ahead to the point just before you add the spinach. It will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months. The spinach, once added to the soup, will keep its color for 2 days, but it will lose its crispness.

Makes 12 cups


Try to buy your spices for this soup at an Indian grocery. You’ll be able to buy smaller amounts and they will be fresher. Green and white cardamom seed come from the same plant, a member of the ginger family. Cardamom seed is naturally green, but is more often found in its bleached white form.

©These recipes are from The ACE Bakery Cookbook by Linda Haynes.

Baccala Mantecato and Peperonata Bruschetta for Christmas Eve

22 Dec

Originally posted on Erica De Mane:

Recipe: Baccalà Mantecato and Peperonata Bruschetta

In the last week or so several people have asked me about baccalà mantecato, knowing that I always make it for Christmas Eve. This salt cod preparation is not my usual Southern Italian fare. It comes from Venice, and it’s essentially the same as Provençale brandade. I’ve had versions of it in Liguria, too. It’s fluffy (mantecare means to whip) and mellow. People who say they don’t like baccalà almost always like this. It’s traditionally been the opener to my big Christmas Eve fish dinner. It’s a perfect fit with couscous-stuffed shrimp, spaghetti with clam sauce, zuppa di pesce, orange and fennel salad, or whatever I decide on for any given year.

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite holiday meal. Its food incorporates many of my favorite flavors, such as baccalà, and is pure joy for me to prepare. Lots of fish…

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