Realistic Cooking Ideas

for Busy People! And sharing our life adventures along the way!

HVAA Cover

I hope you are enjoying our day-trip to Hidden Valley Animal Adventure – especially since I know some of you will not be making a trip to the US to enjoy the adventure! Today is my last posting in this series and I am sharing pictures from within The Lodge, The Trailside Grill, and a few more outdoor shots. Actually they have three eating areas. The Lodge is more formal; The Trailside Grill is casual; and they were grilling on their outdoor patio the day we visited. If you are adventurous they do serve game meat! Try Water Buffalo Burger, Elk Burger, and Bison Burger. We had our lunch at the Trailside Grill and the food was great! Don’t forget to check out the first few postings: their beautiful grounds and the small animal adventure and The Safari. Near the end of our time, we saw a swan taking advantage of the food that was on the ground where the covered-wagon drops off and picks up people. The floor is grated so any excess food just falls to the ground. Smart from a cleaning perspective! Anyways this swan was having a good time. Then a few kids came up to it and of course I was worried for the swan since they were boys and you just never know. Well they left the swan alone but one boy ran up and smacked one of the other little boys. Then he ran away and yelled that he hit him first. For some reason I found that so funny but at the same time felt for the mother who was looking a bit tired!! Also there is a picture of me next to an animal in the small animal adventure area. He came up and nudge me looking for food. I didn’t have any – poor guy! I was taking the pictures while Greg was feeding them! We had such a wonderful day and I am enjoying sharing these pictures with you!

Pictures taken with my Canon EOS Rebel.














Turkey Panini

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Hidden Valley Animal Adventure is a great day-trip and if you are in Varysburg New York try to make time to spend an afternoon. Today’s pictures are from the safari where exotic animals come up and close to check you out! For a small price, you are taken through a beautiful park with exotic animals and ones that you are familiar such as deer and cattle. Well considering we do not live in the mid-west I rarely ever see cattle! They have some crazy long horns! For the one-hour tour you are in a covered-wagon pulled by a tractor. Fitting for the area! Animals come up to both sides of the covered-wagon so either side is fine. A tour guide provides a lot of interesting information about the animals. Plus some safety information since they will not purposely try to hurt you but when they have long horns you do need to be careful. With the tour you receive a cup full of food to feed them. If you run out you can always purchase more. But be careful – some of those animals are pretty smart and will try to grab the food from you! There are about 400 animals though an exact number is not known since there are always baby animals being born.

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Previously I posted information and pictures on their beautiful grounds and the small animal adventure. In particular, I liked the camel. At the end of the journey, here came a camel who walked around the covered-wagon to say goodbye to everyone and then continued to follow behind us! Our tour guide said he greets everyone as they are leaving the safari and many times tries to escape his area. To enter and leave the safari are locked gates. He would follow them until they got to the gates then pretend to look like he was occupied doing something. Once the gate was opened he would dash through it and escape! What a smart camel! He did not try to escape though it would have been fun to watch him try! I really do love camels – they are so beautiful and smart.

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The Water Buffalo are also interesting. They do not sweat so they sit in muddy water all day! Not sure what they do with them during the winter! There is also an ostrich but we really did not see him. He was off in the distance out of camera range. I guess that is okay since I think they are scary looking and they are deadly. They are the largest and heaviest bird. They can kill a lion or a human with one forward kick. So better to stay away from them!! We saw a Zebroid or zonkey that was a cross between a zebra and a donkey. There is one picture where you can see the stripes on his legs and on his body the stripes are much lighter. Just below his picture is a zebra. Take a look on how they are similar but yet different. An interesting animal. Have you ever seen a zonkey?

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Wood Grilled Flatbread closeup

This is a fabulous dish that we were inspired by Carrabbas. Wood grilled food is delish and you can make it on your gas grill. How much of the ingredients you place on the flatbread is dependent upon how you are going to serve it. I made this as a lunch so I was more generous with the toppings. For an appetizer I would think about how I am going to cut it to layout the ingredients accordingly. Each bite should have its own blend of flavors if it is an appetizer. Plus I would dice the chicken smaller to make it easier for the guests. If you can find a long rectangle or square type of flatbread it will also present nicely as an appetizer. Another option is to cut your grilled flat bread into desired sizes and then add your final toppings. Make sure the flatbread is a bit thicker that way you can leave it on the grill a bit longer to gain more of the smoke flavor!

When purchasing the sundried tomatoes look for a jar that is julienne or diced. Personally I find them hard to cut and prefer to avoid that hassle.They do add a nice sweetness to the flatbread especially since you are not adding a tomato base sauce. There is no need to add any oil to the crust – I know for a lot of us it feels strange not to put something on the flatbread before adding the ingredients. But the blending of all the flavors pulled together with the balsamic glaze is perfect on its own! Refer to my recipe on smoking food on a gas grill and for a Balsamic Glaze.

Wood Grilled Flatbread on a platter

If you have a Carrabbas in your area it is definitely worth trying their appetizer and then personalize your own creation! Enjoy!! Pictures taken with my Canon EOS Rebel camera.

Wood Grilled Flatbread plated

Sundried tomatoes, julienne or diced
Blue Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese, fresh
Romano Cheese

Top with
Wood-grilled chicken
Balsamic Glaze

Step 1: Wood-Grilled Chicken
Marinade the chicken with a Teriyaki or a Rosemary marinade for about an hour or some other type of brine. Wood smoke your chicken.

Step 2: Assemble your Flatbread
While your chicken is on the grill, assemble your flatbreads keeping in mind how you are serving this dish. Is it an appetizer or a main meal? Be generous with the blue cheese as it will add a wonderful surprise to this dish. If it is an appetizer than leave a nice edge along the sides to make it easier for people to pick up and eat a piece.

Step 3: Grill the Flatbread
Take the chicken off the grill and let it rest. Place the prepared flatbreads on a smoking grill for about 3-minutes to heat the ingredients! Remove from grill and add your remaining toppings for your final creation! Each bite will have a wonderful smoke flavor! And most likely you will also smell a bit smokey! But the neighbors will be jealous when that wonderful smoke aroma invades their yard – they will be wishing for an invitation!

Wood Grilled Flatbread

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This is one of my favorite Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwich that I posted last year and our trip to Niagara on the Lake. I can’t believe it has been over a year since that fabulous experience!! We do hope to get back there again!

Originally posted on Realistic Cooking Ideas:

Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwich FINAL

Greg and I just returned from a wonderful vacation on Niagara on the Lake, Canada. We spent a few relaxing days enjoying the beautiful scenery, attending a play at the Shaw Festival, eating some really great food, taking long walks, and so much more! There were so many beautiful gardens that I took a ton of pictures! These trips can be dangerous since you get too many inspirations that can be rather time consuming. Especially when it comes to gardens. We stayed at a really nice B&B called Abacot Hall that I highly recommend if you take a trip to Niagara on the Lake. Irene and Ed are lovely people originally from Scotland and it was a pleasure to spend a couple of nights at their B&B. We also met a wonderful couple, Becky and Mike, who happens to live close to us in Western New York. It is such…

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During our fun adventures on Buffalo’s waterfront this weekend, we ventured down by the Coast Guard area where there are nature and biking trails, plus a path to the lighthouse. It was later in the day so we were a bit tired to walk to the lighthouse, but we plan on doing that another time when hopefully we can also get a tour! You can view the first part of the photos by clicking here. In today’s pictures, you will see some cool artwork that is along the water and one picture shows the windmills. When we went to the Coast Guard there was an artist who was starting to transform a tree into art – though we are not sure what it will be – maybe we will know more next time we go there. We sat for awhile along the water and watched different boats come into the area to make their return trip. We saw the Queen City Ferry that is a service between Buffalo’s inner and outer harbor. The round trip takes about an hour and is reasonably priced. There were also some geese out for their dinner – we seem to run into geese every where we go! The Coast Guard also has a small garden – though I am not sure what they use the food for – the plants did look healthy! Overall it was a great day!

Pictures taken with Samsung Galaxy s5 smartphone

















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