A Summer Weekend in the Catskills

This post is long overdue, as we went to the Catskills for our 2 year anniversary, but I wanted to give you guys a quick look into our trip, as well as a guide to visit the area if you have any interest in doing so (trust me, it's worth the trip). Nick and I are big into vacations that take place in remote places, such as the mountains or a quiet beach. Anything where we can get away from the noise of the city and get into nature a bit, and the Catskills are the perfect trip to do so, especially being only about 3 hours away from NYC.

Catskills | The Casual Classic

Nick found the most incredible little lodge, Scribner's Catskill Lodge, and booked us two nights in the cutest room, which was incredibly comfy and roomy with the bedroom on the second floor loft, and seating area, fire and bathroom on the first floor. They have a common area with books, fire pit, and pool, where you can go and hang, and make s'mores in the evening. The hotel is, of course, dog friendly, which we made sure of before we booked it because we always love to bring Luna along for the trip, 

Catskills | The Casual Classic

Hiking is the first thing we look to do, activity-wise, especially when we have Luna in tow. There are endless options for hikes in the Catskills, so we googled a few and landed on one of the only options with a waterfall included. Now I of course cannot remember the name of the specific hike we did, but it was down a very rocky/overgrown road that you cannot drive most cars on. Here are some other great options for waterfall hikes in the Catskills though, including Kaaterskill falls, which is one of the most famous and definitely worth the visit.

Catskills | The Casual Classic

We tried something new this visit, and decided on mountain top yoga at Windham Mountain. Let's just say, this wasn't the most, er, rigorous yoga class I've ever taken, but the view at the top was worth it.

The Casual Classic | Catskills

So Scribner's has the best little restaurant, where you can order organic, local food and drink for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We did dinner here one night, as well as breakfast, which was simple and so delicious. Only thing I wish that they offered was juices, which I think is wishful thinking.

Catskills | The Casual Classic

Our view from breakfast, Luna included. Their poached eggs, green tea, and bacon hit the spot. You can see straight to Hunter mountain while sitting at Prospect, so it's the perfect pre-ski breakfast spot if you're planning a winter ski trip there. It's also the perfect way to start your day no matter what season you're visiting in.

The Casual Classic

For our second night, we did dinner at Deer Mountain Inn, which no joke, was the best dinner I've had in a VERY long time. Their food was impeccable, and the atmosphere itself was just beautiful. I mean, look at this view! I would definitely consider staying here during our next trip.

IMG_8616 2.jpg

There are so many more things we would have liked to shove into the weekend, but the whole point of the trip was to relax, enjoy ourselves, and celebrate our anniversary! Some of the activities not pictured included breakfast at Catskill Mountain Country Inn (DELISH!), making s'mores at Scribner's after hours, happy hour drinks ad Prospect, wandering around Tannersville, and spending Sunday in Woodstock, NY (another favorite of mine). Woodstock is definitely worth the day trip, especially if you like people watching. So many great little restaurants and cafes, and everything is dog friendly of course!

Homemade Kale Pesto

Pesto | The Casual Classic

I am ALWAYS snapchatting about this or putting it on my Insta-stories, but I have yet to post the recipe, and I feel like I've been cheating you guys. It's such a simple recipe, and it's a delicious addition to pretty much any meal. My favorite way to eat it is mixed with quinoa and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Top it with an egg to make a "quinoa bowl", and you're set to go. I'm not sure why that's the best route, but it's just SO DARN delicious prepared that way. Pesto is also great mixed in with pasta, on top of toast or in sandwiches, and scrambled in eggs. Another one of my favorite ways to eat it is in a sandwich with egg, bacon, and avocado. Talk about a yummy breakfast. 

This recipe can be vegan if you'd like, as I usually make it without the cheese and use nutritional yeast instead. You can use either - it pretty much tastes the same. Also, the recipe below, like usual, is just my guesstimations - I'm one to just throw things in a food processor and continually taste and add to it until it tastes good. You may need a bit more olive oil, or may need extra cheese/nutritional yeast, depending on how strong you like your pesto to be. Don't be afraid to play around with this a bit - it's pretty hard to screw up (unless you add too much salt, so be careful with that one). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed (I have used 3 different types of kale and they all work!)
  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4-1 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for vegan, or 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and process until completely mixed/chopped up. Start with the smaller amount of olive oil, and continue to add it while the processor is running until the pesto is a smooth consistency, without being too runny. 
  2. Like I said above, you can add more of any of the ingredients, like cheese/nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, etc. depending on what you like and how you want your pesto to taste. Make it what you want!

A few of my favorite pesto recipes:

Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Raise your hand if you're in favor of chewy cookies vs. crunchy cookies! Good. Because I found the recipe for the PERFECTLY chewy, delicious, sweet yet salty, paleo chocolate chip cookie. And I'm even going to claim that these are better than the original flour, butter, crisco, filled chocolate chip cookies that your grandma made. Yea, they're THAT good.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

My pictures aren't all that great because I made these at night and took the photos immediately since I was so excited, but trust me, they taste 100 times better than they look. Plus, I have to add of course, that they're grain free, refined sugar free, gluten free, paleo, and all that jazz. I just cannot get over how good they tasted either - blew me away!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

As you can see, it's been a while since I've baked cookies, and I forgot the whole "make sure you leave space between each blob you place on the tray", but even though I pretty much baked one large cookie, they still tasted just as delicious.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

And guys, these are simple to make. I promise. You will need to have a good amount of almond butter, paleo flours (I ALWAYS have coconut and almond flours in my pantry) and of course chocolate chips on hand, but those are things you should be keeping in your pantry anyway! I mean, who can live without almond butter and chocolate chips!? I chose this dark chocolate option from my favorite Thrive Market, but you can grab any brand you'd like. I actually get ALL my baking ingredients from Thrive, but I provided some other great alternatives from Amazon below too, especially if you've got that Amazon prime membership like I do.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir all the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda & salt) together in a medium bowl.
  3. Using an electric hand mixer in a larger bowl, beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar for about 1 minute. If you don't have an electric mixer, you could use your hands, but it needs to be mixed very well.
  4. Add the almond butter and vanilla extract to the wet ingredients, and mix until well combined. Add the egg and beat for about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is mixed well and forms a dough like texture. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Roll the dough into small balls and place on the baking sheet. Press down slightly with your hand. You can also add more chocolate chips to the tops of the balls.
  7. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned and the surface no longer appears wet.
  8. Let cool completely before storing!