Playing tourist with the Grandparents

It’s always fun when family come in from out of town; we love to play tourists and being hosts.  The season they come during and their personal interests determine which types of activities and locations we get to share with them.

This past week my grandparents (dad’s parents) came into town for a visit on their month long travels. They started from their home in California in their camper-van and are on their way up to Maine and back again. The last time I’d seen them was at my brother’s wedding last August (see:

So I was thrilled to get some time with them.


My husband took off work on Friday so we were ready for them when they rolled into town that afternoon. We took them downtown Market street on a walk after some much needed catching up. While downtown, we stopped in the Crystal City olive oil store. My grandpa took samples of everything and enjoyed talking to the store workers since we had the place to ourselves. Luke and I bought a bottle of lemon basil white vinaigrette we thought would go well on both salads and for marinades and my grandmother picked up some very early christmas gifts for a few friends.

For more on Corning’s Market Street see:


We came back to our little rented house and made them our traditional Greene pizza with a twist. Instead of the usual ingredients we used artichoke hearts, olives, crushed fresh garlic, grape tomatoes, onions, and spinach with an Alfredo base instead of tomato. And for meat? Chicken breast pan fried in olive oil and oregano. It was extremely delicious and a great experimental sucess.

For more on our homemade pizza see:


The next day we took the grandparents on a hiking/nature tour. We stopped by their beautiful campsite with my homemade quiche and fruit for a picnic lunch (see:

Then we took off in our car to Walkins Glen to hike the Gorge Trail. Although the parking lot was crowded the trail was not too busy and my grandparents had not problems keeping up on the incline of stairs (which is pretty great since my grandfather turned 80 this year!) It is just as beautiful as last year when we first discovered this amazingly breathtaking view.

For more on Walkins Glen state park see:


Next we drove up to Ithaca passing by one of the finger lakes (Seneca) on our way to the base of the other (Cayuga) through beautiful country. We stopped by the Ithaca Farmer’s Market where we split off: grandpa and Luke sampling cheese and other foods and Grandma and I tasting local ciders and wines.


We left with some local maple syrup and hard cider and headed to another state park: Buttermilk Falls. We chose not to conquer two gorge trails in one day but instead enjoyed the view from the picnic tables at the base of the falls.

For more on the Farmer’s Market and Buttermilk falls see:


We drove back towards Corning a different route to show more of the country-side then ended up in Horseheads for dinner and dessert. We took my grandparents to our favorite little mom-and-pop sushi place where we enjoyed our delicious sashimi, miso soup, and traditional rolls while my grandparents enjoyed yakisoba  (although they did try a shrimp, avocado, and egg roll). And for dessert? We went to sweetfrog; the local frozen yogurt joint where we could all get a variety of topping and flavors for our unique personalities.


On Sunday after church we went to lunch at one of my favorite spots: Walker Cake Co.: Barn Owl Cafe where we got breakfast for lunch: breakfast burritos, gluten-free breakfast sandwiches, and traditional two egg breakfasts all with coffee.


After a hearty brunch we took our grandparents to the Corning glass museum (how could we not?). They were concerned that we would be bored since this was our fourth or fifth time in the museum. We assured them that we weren’t; the contemporary art exhibit had completely been changed out; the demos were being done by new people which always means different information, each live glassblowing creates new and unique items, and the main art display always has a changing/rotating exhibit.


So although we had taken my parents  at christmas we were far from bored. We also did a very early christmas gift ; the grandparents made a sculpture at the art-glass studio. Much like what we did from my parents; grandma chose the colors and grandpa made the sculpture. Since they are traveling they chose to have it shipped to my parents place where they will end their travels.

For more on the glass museum see:


After a long tour day at the museum we headed back to our house for another Greene dinner: fish tacos. My grandfather tries every fish taco place in California when he has the chance and gave ours a thumbs up for approval

For more on our fish tacos see:

We finished our last night together enjoying the thundering rain storm on our porch while eating some of my homemade popsicles.

See some of them at:

As a parting gift as we took my grandparents back to their campsite I gave grandma one of my swedish rye loafs (will be my bread of the month post) and little horseradish cheese from our trip to Ellicottville.

For more on Cuba cheese see:

It was a great weekend playing tourists and hosts. It was also a fun overview for us of what we have explored, learned, and discovered in the past year living in the Corning area. Can’t wait to see what we will explore and discover the rest of this summer and into next year as we transition into a new location (but more on that later).

Do you enjoy hosting friends and family?

What are some of your favorite meals to cook for them?

What local restaurants/tourist spots do insist showing them?


Greene’s Tilapia Fish Tacos


So short update before I begin sharing the yumminess. This week we have had temperamental internet access and have kept busy decorating, glueing, folding, and as anticipated running to the crafts store again and again. Countdown is now T- minus 2 days until my brother’s wedding!!! Today we transition from work to festivities with a trip to a thank-you pottery decorating class for the bridesmaids and mothers, then onto the bachlorette party. I promise to update with pictures ASAP after the garden wedding this saturday.

Now to the food:  Awhile ago I posted a picture of our homemade fish tacos and promised I would give you the recipe. Well here’s me fulfilling that promise. Luke and I like our Mexican food (see Vacation Highlights part 2). (Ok to be honest: I grew up in SoCal so I really love my Mexican food.) Although we can get some very limited Mexican(ish) dishes here what we can not find is great seafood. So we finally decided to take matters into our own hands by making fish tacos at home. The results: amazing delicious, easy, and healthy tacos!!

 Here’s what we do:



-3 tilapia fillets (defrosted)

-1/4 of cabbage lettuce shredded (or regular lettuce)

-Homemade or store bought pico de gallo or salsa

-Fish taco sauce (recipe included in this post)

-1/4 C Greek yogurt or sour cream

-5 small corn or flour tortillas

-Olive oil

-Lime juice


Prep: If you plan to make homemade pico de gallo you will want to prepare it ahead of time. For our recipe check out: homemade pico de gallo).


Also, you will want to shred your lettuce or cabbage in advanced.


1. To cook the fish: Take the tilapia fillets and place then in a pan on high heat. Add a little olive oil to the pan and season to taste.


We use cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and sometimes Creole seasoning. As the filets cook they should become white and flaky, allow the fish to break apart into pieces-when it does this, it is done cooking.

Side Note: The fish really does not take long to cook so be aware of any side dishes and their cooking times. We keep it simple and heat up a can of black beans.


2. To make the taco sauce: Mix into 1/4 C of sour cream or greek yogurt: cumin, lime juice, dill weed, garlic powder, and if you want some kick a little sriracha.


I do not measure out these spices, best method is to taste-test and see. Do not make the flavor strong with spices and do not add too much salt, the sauce should bring out the flavors in the fish not overpower them.


Once the fish is done cooking it’s time to assemble.


1. First lay out your tortillas. Then place even amounts of the flaky/crumbled tilapia onto each.

2. Then add your fish taco sauce.


3. Next add a layer or cabbage or lettuce.


4. Then any salsa or pico de gallo.


5. Last of all add your black beans or other sides to the plates


Then enjoy!

How do you like your tacos?

Stars Hollow, Fireworks, and Minions: Holiday Weekend in review

As I mentioned in my 4th of July post Luke had a four day weekend! Instead of traveling or packing up the camping gear we decided to stay local so Luke could get a lot of “Luke time” (aka play computer games and not think about work) at home. So instead we explored nearby for holiday weekend events and celebrate the 4th with our own BBQ for two.

We started our 4th of July with some patriotic pancakes. Using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free pancake mix I added a little honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and fresh blueberries and strawberries for our Thursday brunch.




The rest of the day was spent relaxing with no particular plan in mind. For our BBQ using pre cut stew meat, Luke combined soy sauce,  sirachica, and some spices to create a savory but kicking steak marinade. And what BBQ is complete without some corn on the cob straight from the grill? All served with some local hard cider.


When it got dark we went on a walk to the Bridge st. where we watched fireworks over the Chemung river.

wish I could take credit for this picture but I’m not that good

Friday was a complete day in highlighted by finishing a good book and making some great homemade fish tacos (recipe to come).


Saturday we drove up to Hammondsport  just north of Bath where Luke works. And if there is any town to be named a real life Stars Hollow this is it! Named “America’s coolest small town” by Budget Travel, the central park has a gazebo where summer concerts are held Thursday nights.


Surrounding the park are mom and pop diners and bakeries, antiques, an ice cream parlor, pubs, a toy store, a BBQ joint, coffee shops, city hall, and the downtown church.


After a humid walk we got back in the car and drove to the northside of town to check out the fireman’s carnival. This small town fundraiser for the local fire department included a BBQ chicken dinner, raffles, and of course carnival rides and all those games to win a giant stuffed pink monkey topped off with a fireworks show later in the night.


After walking through the carnival, we found the Keuka lakeside park full of people with their families enjoying the waterfront in swimsuits, BBQing, or kayaking on the lake.


We then drove with the windows down to the mall to catch the last showing of Despicable Me 2. We laughed over and over again at some minion mischief while sharing a box of junior mints


And today? Well today is our chance to regroup from a great long weekend, check off a few weekly chores, and see what’s ahead for the next week.

What did your family do for the holiday weekend?