Wineries, Picnics, and Wacky Mac Salad

by Joanne on September 5, 2011

Last week, my cousin arrived from the England.  We were the first stop of many in the three month trip around the world.  Steve, my cousin, and his friend Tracy, will be seeing sites in California, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, India, Malaysia… and there may be some other places in between.  We had such a fantastic time with them, it’s tough to see them go. 

Friday, the first day they were in Utica, we let them recover from the long flight from the UK to the US.  We celebrated their visit with a family BBQ at Sue and Sam’s house on the lake.  Saturday, was the trip to Cayuga Wineries.


Since Shane was feeling better and back to his good old self, we were able to sit back, enjoy the ride, the company, and all that wine.


New York wine country encompasses the Finger Lakes.  Our trip was around the first lake we came to heading West from Utica which was Cayuga Lake. 


We made stops at Swedish Hill, Cobblestone Winery, Goose Watch, and ate lunch at Thirsty Owl Wine Company followed by a tasting of their award winning wines.  We were all ready for a break and drove around the lake looking for a Finger Lakes Cheese company that was open.  It seems the cheese companies are by appointment only but we did find one, the Finger Lakes Dexter Cheese Creamery.  The Creamery had a tiny tasting rooms that was so warm.  It was 90 degrees outside and there was no air in the tasting room.  The cheeses are all probiotic raw milk kefir cheese, cultured with living kefir grains and the creamy milk from the Irish Dexter cows.  The cows are raised in the fields with the calves never taken away from their mothers.  The cheese is rich flavored artisanal, farmstead cheese.  Most of it is strong and dark in color.


We weren’t overly enthusiastic about the taste but it was different and because the creamery was a micro-dairy, the host so nice to let us in without notice and the cows are healthy and well cared for, I supported the efforts with a purchase of the semi-strong wine cheese.

From the Creamery, we went on to Long Point Winery and ended our tour at Bet the Farm Winery in Aurora New York. 


The New York State wines were light and fresh.  We were on the look out for wines labeled “Estate” wines.  These would be wines made with grapes grown on the establishment’s property. 


We had a great time tasting whites and reds.

cayuga map


“See it! Taste it! Live it! Love it!”  The Cayuga Wine trail.

Sunday, we planned a picnic so our friends could meet Steve and Tracy.  A lot of fun with family and friends in spite of the weather.  We were outside then it began to rain.  We moved inside.  The weather cleared and Ted grilled outside .  It began raining again but we ignored the wet seats, enjoyed the food, of course we had wine, and a lot of laughs. 

Steve and Tracy left today to continue on the three month trip around the world.  How exciting! Safe travels.


It’s fun, it’s colorful and it taste so good.


Serves 10


  • 12 oz Wacky Mac Vegetable Pasta – Cook for 11 minutes (as per package directions)
  • 1 pkg. Vegetable soup mixed with 1/4 cup of hot water.
  • 3/4 cup Lite Mayonnaise *  a healthy substitute for folks who don’t like mayo would bee Greek style yogurt. You can even omit the sour cream if you use yogurt.
  • 2 TBS lite ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup lite sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 can Mexican style corn – drain, rinse.
  • 1 can black beans – drain and rinse.
  • 12 quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • Lettuce leaves
  • dill weed

Let the cooked pasta cool.

Mix together the mayonnaise, dressing, sour cream, relish, salt, and veggie soup mix which has dissolved in the water.

Put the pasta, corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers in a bowl and blend in the mayonnaise mixture to cover. 

Line the lettuce leaves around the side of the pasta bowl.  Sprinkle with dill weed.


So Good!


Do you like the Wacky Mac Veggie Pasta better than regular pasta or whole wheat?

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