What if you could make secret restaurant recipes at home in your own kitchen? Those yummy Cheesecake Factory restaurant recipes, the eleven secret herbs and spices in Kentucky Fried Chicken, T.G.I. Friday’s great spinach dip all yours for the making. There are ways you can get the same thing to eat at home and probably pay less.
There are ways to cut back on holiday spending, so don’t even think about passing up that gorgeous cashmere sweater for your sister. Keep an eye out for recipes calling for ingredients you already have, or buy items you’ll use multiple times. Suggestion? Peanut butter! Everyone enjoys a recipe chock-full of peanut butter, plus it’s cheap! Here’s a classic cookie recipe that only requires three ingredients (which you probably already have). This one’s fool-proof, shockingly quick, and always a big hit around the holidays. All of these ingredients were purchased at the Big Y grocery store in Manchester, but you can find similar items at any local grocery store in the Hartford area. For organic options, head to the Whole Foods store in West Hartford.
Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees F. Combine egg and sugar, followed by vanilla; blend in peanut butter until combined. Drop spoonfuls of dough on baking sheets; bake for 8 to 12 minutes. Makes 30 to 36 small cookies.
Dee’s is open from 9am to 4pm most days and closed on Sundays (the website hasn’t been updated with the new times yet). They do offer three choices of wine, and five beers. A few vegetarian options are on the menu.
That night I was speaking to my wife, Stephanie, about being upset that this business owner could not make it in today’s struggling economic landscape. George Bush and Barack Obama, aside. It seemed that the Capital District was getting consumed by a shark frenzy of corporate juggernauts. Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Chili’s, Papa John’s, payday cheesecake, and Borders were crushing the little man.
We have many franchise restaurants in the area – Red Lobster, Macaroni Grill, Marie Callendar’s and Hooters just to name a few. But, I’d suggest some of our local eateries instead. Any of the DiCicco’s Restaurants are very good – my favorite is the one on Blackstone near Barstow Avenue. Luna’s in Old Town Clovis is excellent and the new Victorian Tea House on Pollasky Avenue in Old Town Clovis is fun for lunch. (I think they might be open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.) Cool Hand Luke’s is very good for steak and similar and quite reasonable, and Toledo’s has good Mexican food; both of these are located on Shaw Avenue in Clovis.
The hotel’s lobby is glitzy and a nice place to have coffee with friends. We have done this a couple of times with our son and daughter-in-law. The fact there is a Starbucks’s in this large, comfortable lobby is a plus.
Get to the Cheesecake Factory soon – it’s well worth it. Just make sure you go at an off time, not during dinner time on a Saturday evening. You may never get in!