Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters!

I just had to do an update to this post!  Talk about Candy Crush...we went through all 260 bags in under two hours! The "Out of Candy" sign is on the door, and it's still going strong out there. I could have probably gone through twice that.  And, if you think that's crazy, I got it from the source that The Candy Man gave out 1800 bags! That's right, 1800!!! Can you imagine that????



Do you get a lot of Trick-or-Treaters?

Years ago, when we lived in NYC, our doorbell rang maybe half a dozen times. 

But now, about 200 kids come to our door every Halloween.

Most of the kids in town come to our neighborhood to do their trick-or-treating for one simple reason...

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


 The Candy Man...

No, not the one that Sammy Davis, Jr. sang about:

"Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew...
Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two
." 

I'm talking about the one who lives around the corner, and works for a candy company.  

The one who gives each kid a brown paper bag filled with huge candy bars. 

The one who is the "Most Popular Guy" on Halloween in these parts. 

Rumor has it that he gives away 500 bags of candy.  I've even heard as many as 1200, but I doubt that. All I do know is that the police have to set up barricades, and close the streets to car traffic. 

For years, the other big draw in the neighborhood has been The Donut Man, who gave each kid a box of Entenmann's doughnuts. The other day when I was walking Sadie, I saw this sign on the lawn. 

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo ShoesI can see why they would put this sign out on Halloween, but I can't help but wonder why they had to put it out 5 days in advance.  Maybe it's just me, but it almost seems like they're saying, "Go trick-or-treat somewhere else."  Bah, humbug.  I don't know...

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo ShoesAnyway, between The Candy Man and The Donut Man, we've always gotten tons of kids. 

The Candy Crush comes mostly between 3:00pm and 6:00pm.

By dinner time, we've had to put up the "Sorry, We Ran Out of Candy" sign, after handing out 200 bags. I always felt terrible, and hated disappointing the kids.
 

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

So, this year, we want to make sure that every Power Ranger, Princess Ariel and Angry Bird get their treats, so Junior Goo Shoes and I made 260 candy bags to hand out. That's a record for us!   

Hmmm, I wonder if they call me The Bag Lady...

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Making all of those bags and not eating any of the candy took its toll on Junior GS.

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
But we are READY!

We've got our Haunted Mailbox...

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Little Miss Witch...

and our pumpkins...

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
We'll see what happens with the Candy Crush Saga now that the Donut Man is out of the equation.

I sure hope we don't get stuck with all this candy. 


Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Happy Halloween!

Candy Crush Saga: Bring on the Trick-or-Treaters    -by   Ms. Toody Goo Shoes








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Monday, October 28, 2013

Niagara Falls: Road Trip Part 2

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?

It's a place I've always wanted to go to, but it just never happened...until this summer. While not terribly far, it is a 7-hour car ride, so we kept putting it off. 

But when we were invited to visit friends in Lake Erie this summer, it provided the perfect excuse to finally see one of the seven natural wonders of North America. We decided to make it the second stop of our summer road tripFrom Erie, PA,  Niagara Falls was just a short 2 1/2 hour drive.

Niagara Falls is actually three separate falls: American Falls (below)... Bridal Veil Falls (the smaller one, far right, below)...

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes



...and Horseshoe Falls (the curved one, below). 
 
Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We had a choice a staying on the New York side, or the Canadian side. We opted for the latter, because everyone told us that was definitely the prettier view...they were right!

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Plus, I  wanted to use my Starwood Hotel points for our stay, and the Sheraton Hotel on the Canadian side is located right at the Falls.

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, with a door that opens, but obviously, you don't want to go out!


Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Afraid of heights? Don't look down!

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Check out the magnificent view! I took this through our open door. 

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Although we could have just admired the view from the room, we did want to get up close and personal, so we walked along the promenade. Pretty fabulous, eh? (I'm practicing my Canadian...how am I doing, eh?) 

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes



Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Our stay was only two nights, which gave us a day and a half to explore. 

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Our favorite attraction was the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride. It was a spectacular experience, getting really close to the Falls. 


Here's a 32-second video taken from the boat before we left the dock.  At the end, there's a few seconds, from just over the top of Horseshoe Falls, which is an amazing vantage point. 

video

If you do decide to go to Niagara Falls, I've got three pieces of advice for Maid of the Mist:

1) Wear water-proof shoes. Your feet will be soaked, and it is no fun spending all day in squishy shoes. You will get a lovely blue rain poncho to keep your clothes dry, but they're not gonna help your feet!

2) When the boat gets right up in front of the Horseshoe Falls, DO NOT keep your head down because you are getting sprayed drenched. LIFT YOUR HEAD UP AND LOOK! If not, you will miss one of the most magnificent sights you'll ever see.  Even though you will get face full of water (or "a water full of face" as Mr. Goo Shoes once said, and now we cannot ever let him live it down), it will be worth it!

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

3) Do not say to the person next to you, "Oh, how clever of you to bring a ziploc bag for your camera," because then she will give you one, and you will feel obligated to use it...and if you are anything like me, you will not close it properly, and your camera will get soaked and stop working. Then you will have to rely on the other people with you to take pictures good enough to be blog worthy, and they will become very irritated about having to take 36 shots of the same thing. And then, you will get a new camera for your birthday that very next week, which is great, because you'll need it, but bad, because you really wanted new earrings. 

In other words, keep your camera in your purse or pocket under the poncho. It might be a good idea to buy a disposable waterproof camera just for this. 

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Another attraction we went to was Journey Behind the Falls, but we found it kind of disappointing.  Basically, you just look through a portal and see the water crashing down. The cool part was at the end when we went outside on the viewing platform right next to the falls.  Oh, you do get another lovely pancho, this time a yellow one. 

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


This is the view from Journey's observation deck. It was worth the price of admission.

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Niagara's Fury is a very short 4D movie about how the Falls were created The floor rocks, the temperature drops...its snows, you get sprayed with mist...and yes, you get to wear another one of those pretty ponchos.  We enjoyed it, even though it was less than 10 minutes.

When we took a break from looking at the Falls, we headed over to Clifton Hill Street -- aka as "The Street of Fun at the Falls." It wasn't my idea of fun, but...it did amuse Junior Goo Shoes.

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
He had a great time at the giant arcade. 

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
If you've been to one Ripley's Believe It Or Not, you've been to them all. But we did get a kick out of this tongue twister. Go ahead...try it!

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We indulged in a nice dinner at the restaurant in the Sheraton, Windows By Jamie Kennedy, which claims to be one of Niagara's best. It was quite good...and of course, everything tastes better when gazing at that glorious view of the Falls. 

We all agreed that seeing Niagara Falls in person fully met our expectations. One of my favorite views was just outside of the Table Rock complex. It felt like we were standing right on top of the Falls.  


Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
It was great to see the Falls at different times of the day, and how the light changed their appearance. They are most impressive at sunset, in my opinion.


Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Oh, and yes, the falls are lit up with colored lighting at night, but because I broke my camera earlier in the day, this was the best that I could do with a night shot with Mr. Goo Shoes' camera, which I obviously do not know how to use. You get the idea, eh?


Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
As if right on cue, a rainbow appeared when we were standing on the promenade, just before we were heading home.

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 All in all, visiting Niagara Falls was a great way to end the summer...

...except for the drive home, which took way longer than our GPS said. Road trips are only fun on the way to vacation. The drive home? Not so much.


Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
OK, it is the end of October, and I think I am now done with my summer vacation posts. Summer seems sooooo long ago.

Niagara Falls - A Road Trip    by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 It's time to get back to pumpkins and Halloween, don't you think? 

Till next time...


Ms. Toody Goo Shoes







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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Harvest Dinner: Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Would you like to come with me to an amazing virtual dinner party? 

You don't have to bring a thing, except for a bunch of pins for your Pinterest boards. Trust me, you'll need them.

The 2013 Fall Harvest Dinner Party is happening right now! You must check it out. It's being hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Eileen from The Joy Of Caking, and I am thrilled that she invited me!

Eileen asked a few of us bloggers to prepare something to bring to her virtual dinner party...a cocktail, an appetizer, dessert...she even asked someone to set the table! There is a list of what everyone is making at the end of this post.

As much as I begged her to let me wash the dishes, she would have none of that, and asked me to bring the salad.  

I couldn't very well rip open a bag of triple pre-washed iceberg lettuce and call it a day, so I thought about what kind of salad would get me really excited if I were to order one in a restaurant. I came up with...


I  love something sweet in my salad, and pears are a perfect choice for a fall harvest meal. Although this salad would be good with uncooked pears, I want this to be special, because...

...well, because Very Important Guests are attending this dinner --YOU! -- and I want it to be extra special.

In my opinion, there's only one thing better than roasted vegetables, and that is roasted fruit. In a salad, a sweet fruit is a perfect companion to a savory entree, such as Crusted Garlic Parmesan Roasted Chicken.

Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I searched around for roasted pear recipes, and eventually settled on an adapted version of Roasted Pear and Shallot Salad...by, ahem, Martha Stewart.

I KNOW, I KNOW! My timing couldn't be worse, given the recent brouhaha caused by her recent quote about bloggers.  But, I honestly did prepare this post a good month before Martha talked about "those bloggers...who are "writing recipes that aren’t tested that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of what really good editors have created and done." 

 Alrighty, then. That's sort of what I did. I adapted a really good editor's recipe...in this case, hers...and guess what? IT'S REALLY GOOD. If you want to make Martha's unadulterated recipe, click here. There is no doubt that it is excellent. If you want to make one by a blogger who is not a trained editor at Vogue, and is not an expert, make mine. It's excellent, too :)


Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
SOME NOTES ABOUT THE RECIPE:
  • The original recipe called for Frisee and Belgian Endive for the greens, but I substituted a mix of greens (I used Earthbound Farms Organic Spring Mix), since I'm not a frisee fan. 
  • I  used White Balsamic Vinegar instead of Sherry.
  • I used roasted pecans instead of walnuts. 
  • I did not serve the roasted shallots with the salad. 
  • I added gorganzola and craisins. 
  • About the dressing: Add the dressing just before serving, so the greens don't wilt. Use it sparingly on the greens. Use only enough to lightly coat the greens. It has a lot of flavor and a little goes a long way. The last thing you want is for the salad to be dripping in dressing.  
All I can say is YUM.  This is one of the best salads I've ever had, if I do say so myself. 


Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It's also very colorful, and will look fantastic on your dinner table.


Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Roasted Pear & Shallot Salad with Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons Honey
5 tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar (divided)
5 tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
Coarse Salt and freshly ground Pepper
3 ripe but firm Bosc Pears, cored, each cut into eighths (unpeeled)
8 Shallots, halved lengthwise if large
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup Water
5 ounce package Organic Spring Greens
1/2 cup Gorganzola, crumbled
3/4 cup Pecans (3 ounces), toasted
Half cup Craisins (optional)
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, 3 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange pears and shallots in a single layer in a small roasting pan; pour honey mixture on top, and toss well to coat. 

Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Cook until pears and shallots are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through.

Meanwhile, make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 3 tablespoons oil, and mustard; season with salt and pepper.

Remove roasted pears and shallots from roasting pan. Place pan over high heat; add the water, and cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon, until liquid is reduced by half. Whisk mixture into vinaigrette.

Place greens in a large bowl; only use enough vinaigrette to lightly coat greens. 
Divide among plates, and arrange pears, pecans, gorganzola and craisins on top.

Serves 6. 

Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
If you clicked over from The Joy Of Caking because you have already finished your cocktails and appetizers, then I thank you for stopping here at Ms.Toody Goo Shoes!

And if I am the first course you are sampling at this dinner party, please make sure you go back to The Joy Of Caking's Fall Harvest Dinner, and check out the other courses and beautiful tablescape in this amazing meal which was put together by a bunch of talented bloggers!

Festive Fall Table: Sandra from Sweet Sensations
Apple Pie Cocktail With a Twist: Terra from Café Terra

Eggplant Caviar:  Dionne from Try Anything Once
Goat Cheese with Herbs de Provence:  Monet from Anecdotes and Apple Cores
Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette: Amy from Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple with Almond & Honey Streusel:  Jeanne from   InsideNanaBread’s Head

Crusted Garlic Parmesan Roasted Chicken: Eileen from The Joy of Caking 
Pumpkin Challah: Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Onion Rolls: Denise and Sharon from BeBetsy 
Cinnamon Applesauce Tart: Anne from From My Sweet Heart

Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


























Bon Appetit!




Sunday, October 20, 2013

I'm Still Wearing Flip Flops, but my Front Porch is Dressed For Fall

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
What is your favorite season to decorate your front porch?

Mine is definitely fall.  Although when spring comes, I'm chomping at the bit to add some color to the porch after a long, bare winter. I just think my porch looks best dressed in autumn colors. 

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

For some reason, I always end up with more flowers in fall than I do in summer. 

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Oh, wait, I know why...

...it's because I'm  lazy.

I can just plop the mums into flower pots just as they are, rather than having to transplant them...and you get a lot more for your money than summer flowers. These mums were 3 for $10. Not bad, eh?

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Don't you just love this one (below)? It's as big as some of my shrubs. I got it at Costco, and I think it was $10.99. I took this photo the day I bought it, before the buds were open. I thought it was going to be red.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

A week later, it's starting to open. Uh, not red.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Oh well.

As soon as the caladiums bite the dust, which will be soon, I will move this giant mum into that pot.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
  
I like to keep things basic...just mums and pumpkins. The jack-o-lantern above is the only fake one in the bunch, but it lights up, and looks good at night. 

Once it gets closer to Halloween, I'll add my big, light-up pumpkin/black cat thingy. The kids like it when they come trick-or-treating. Can you believe we get about 250 kids on Halloween? It's so much fun.

But for now, it's just the basics.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 I love my red door, and it makes a great backdrop to the mums and pumpkins. 

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 When we first moved in, the door was hunter green, and I felt it made the house look sleepy. I was sitting on the soccer field one fall day and noticed this gorgeous red-leaf tree. It was an "Aha" moment -- I wanted my door to be that color.  Benjamin Moore's Heritage Red fit the bill. 

Halfway through my photo shoot, I had this idea to grab the lantern from my back deck to see if it looked better on the front porch.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
 I'm not sure.  I think it might look a little too "pumpkin-y." 

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 What do you think? I'll have to think about it.


Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
The photo below was taken from inside, looking out the front door.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

That's about all...for fall...y'all.

Fall Front Porch by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes










Before I sign off, I wanted to let you know that I am going to be a part of something very exciting on Wednesday evening, so be sure to come back and check it out. I was invited to collaborate with some other bloggers on a really fun project, so...

...get your pinning fingers ready! 






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