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Fall into the season

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Fall is all about apples.

Below are some frequently asked questions from the New York Apple Association

Q: Sometimes apples have a milky film on them. What is it?
A: It is food-grade wax that turns white if the apple becomes wet after it is waxed. It is harmless and can be removed with washing.

Q: Sometimes when I slice into a Red Rome apple, the flesh is pink or has red streaks in the flesh.
A: Rome apples have such a deep, red pigmentation in the skin that sometimes it will "bleed" into the white flesh. It is completely harmless and natural.  Some years it is worse than others because of growing conditions. It is not a dye or artificial coloring.

Q: Sometimes when I eat an apple, the core is surrounded by a sweet, transparent fluid.  Is it normal and safe to eat?
A: This is called water-core and it is a result of excess moisture during growth. The water collects towards the center of the apple and it is usually very sweet because it will trap the sugars in the liquid.  It is more common in Red Delicious. It is safe and not harmful. Apples with water-core usually will not store well.

Q: I cut open an apple and the core was moldy.  Why?
A: It is called moldy core and it is an occasional internal defect that is caused by certain growing conditions that are unpreventable and undetectable until the apple is sliced. It is not harmful, but it certainly should not be consumed since it is unappealing

Q: Why are my apples greasy?
A: The greasy feeling is the natural wax on the apple.  Some apples, such as Jonagold and Cortland, have more than others. Usually if the apples feel greasy they are over mature

Q: Are apples in polybags as good as apples that are sold loose?
A: Yes, absolutely.  Usually the only difference is the size.  Most bagged apples will be 2.5 to 3.0 inches in diameter, and most loose apples on display are at least 3.25 inches and up in diameter. In both cases the apples have to meet USDA grade.

Q: Why do apples get soft?
A: Apples need to stay in the cold chain.  From the time they are harvested to the time they reach the grocer shelf they are under refrigeration. When you purchase apples you should refrigerate them to prevent them from getting soft.

Q: If I buy apples at a store and when I get them home they are no good, who do I contact?
A: Occasionally you may be disappointed with an apple purchase. If possible, you should return the apples with your receipt to the store for a refund. Since the retailer sold you the apples, they would be the one to offer a refund. Apples are highly perishable and if they are not handled properly they will spoil. If you purchase bagged apples, every bag, by law, should have the name and address of the packer. You may want to contact them as well. If the bag has a web site address, then you can contact the site.

For more information visit

What's in your cards?
Meet Psychic Sandy and you'll find out!

By Mary Beth Galarneau

Many people leave long-term careers to follow their passion. You often hear of the Wall Street bigwig who leaves his job to open a B&B in Vermont or the office manager who finally pursues her passion for cooking. Sandy Menzer of Niskayuna left her 25-year career at The Ayco Company last year to parlay her psychic ability into a new career.

"I believe that life is a journey and looking for the signs is the key to finding your spirit," said Menzer.

She discovered her inspiration from The Secret, a best-selling book by Rhonda Byrne that introduced readers to the concept of "Ask, Believe, Receive". This concept teaches that people can fulfill their dreams through the power of positive thinking, which Menzer recognized as a determinative influence in her own life. Even as a child she remembers praying for things and receiving them.

Since her twenties, Menzer had been enlisting the help of psychics for guidance and was amazed at their accuracy. But in 1997, after a painful divorce and financial hardship, her budget didn't allow for psychic readings, so she decided to learn how to do it herself.
She read every tarot book she could get her hands on, and attended many metaphysical, astrology and numerology courses. She also completed courses at the Omega Center in NYC taught by spiritual gurus, and became an ordained minister.

"Tarot just opens up your psychic ability. It gives you clues if you can read the cards," she said.
During her extensive training, Menzer realized she had a gift. She practiced on herself for a year and then on her friends and family the second year.

"The feedback was very positive and people encouraged me to do this for a living."
It would take a few more years before she turned it into a full-time career, but during her journey, doors started opening. In 2001, she began doing phone consultations for Keen Advisory Services, where she is currently a Master Tarot Reader with a strong following. A few years later, she bumped into local astrologer Arlene DeAngelus when both women were trying to help another woman who lost her home during Hurricane Katrina.

"We immediately hit it off," recalls Menzer. "I mentioned I read tarot cards and the next thing you know she asked me if I'd teach a class because a woman backed out on her at the last minute."

She had just eight weeks to create a program, including an 80-page workbook, while also working full-time.

This past spring, Menzer started her own workshop on tarot reading. What began with five students has grown to Tarot 101 and Tarot 102, each six-week courses. And, along with a business associate and mentor, she hopes to offer spiritual motivation classes and relationship seminars in 2010.

"The purpose is to empower women to live healthy, active and happy lifestyles, as well as teach them to be in healthy relationships, whether it be alone or with a partner."
Perhaps she learned about empowerment from her mother. She would often hear her mother, a very positive person, giving inspirational talks to friends, encouraging them on various topics, such as men, and how they don't deserve to be treated badly by them.

Of course, life isn't always easy and it's sometimes hard to be so positive, even for Menzer. "You can't help it if you have a negative emotion," she said. "But you have to take a negativity and turn it into an opportunity."

Which is advice she heeds in her own life. After finally leaving Ayco last year, her business has grown solely by word-of-mouth. In addition to the phone work and tarot classes, she does home parties and private readings. She also likes to give back to the community, often donating her time at fundraisers.

The one thing Menzer truly enjoys about her new career is meeting so many new people. "So many clients have become friends."

If you've had an interest in reading, but are leery about hearing bad news, don't worry.
"I always hone in on positivity. My guides teach people to find ways to turn challenges into opportunities," she said, emphasizing that tarot is for fun and entertainment purposes only.
Her clients range in age from 18-98 and come from all walks of life - lawyers, filmmakers, business owners and professional sportsmen, to the everyday person.

"They come for all reasons - love, career and money, or sometimes just for messages from the spirit world of what they need to hear or what paths they should take."
Whatever their reasons for coming, Menzer welcomes them. They have changed her life in ways that not even she could imagine.

"Ten years ago this all developed into a part-time job and now it's a full-time career!"
Of course, knowing Menzer, she probably saw all of this coming.

For more information contact Sandy Menzer at 265.4872, or visit She is listed under FindYourSpirit.

Delectable Flair for Fall Desserts
The best desserts are those that dazzle the eye as well as the palate. Whether it's a decadent cake lavished in frosting or ice cream drizzled with an indulgent confection, dessert is the final course that can blend flare, sophistication and fun. To help add delicious accents to your fall dessert creations, King's Hawaiian has developed a delectable dessert recipe and some plating tips to give your dessert added pizzazz.

• Simple Sweets - Melt about a cup of chocolate chips, put it in a freezer bag and cut off the corner tip of the bag. With your impromptu pastry bag, decorate the plate with swivels and swirls or create an elegant design on the dessert itself. 

• Perfect Pairings - Fruit is a light, delicious and visual addition to almost any dessert. Sliced autumn fruits like pomegranates, kiwis, cranberries, tangerines, grapefruits, oranges and persimmons add festive colors and liven up the look and taste of any dessert.

• Tasty Themes - A simple way to make desserts shine is to incorporate a theme. Desserts surrounding Halloween can be garnished with candy corn, confections for a kid's birthday party can be decorated with gummy candies or seasonal flavors like pumpkin can create a timely presentation.

• Glasses Galore - For treats containing multiple layers, a clear, distinctive glass allows guests to ogle the textured layers before devouring the exquisite treats. Consider unique glass styles like a martini glass, champagne glass or red wine glass.

• Decorating Desserts - Using a simple base like vanilla ice cream, plain pound cake or bread pudding, offer fun and tempting additions such as chopped nuts, whipped cream or caramel sauce and allow guests to enjoy customized creations!

• Planned Perfection - To maximize entertaining time with guests, prepare as much of your dessert as possible in advance. Try desserts that can be created the night before then popped in the oven while dining and served hot, or immediately served straight from the fridge or freezer at the end of a meal.

White Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
Makes 8-10 servings.
1  (16 ounce) King's Hawaiian Original Bread; cut into one-inch cubes
2  cups heavy cream
1 1/4  cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2  cups sugar
2  cups milk
2  eggs, beaten
3  egg yolks, beaten
2  teaspoon vanilla extract
2  cups toasted pecans, chopped
1. Cut bread into cubes the night before and leave out, allowing them to become slightly stale.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat cream over medium heat. Meanwhile, place white chocolate chips in large mixing bowl. When cream comes to a simmer, remove pan from heat and slowly pour over chips, whisking until chips melt. Whisk sugar into mixture; add milk, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. 
3. Add bread to bowl, gently stirring to coat cubes. Set mixture aside to allow bread to soak, tossing periodically. (About 30-40 minutes or so.)
4. Toss pecans into soaked bread mixture, then pour into a baking dish. (Individual dishes can be used for single servings).
5. Place in 350˚F oven for about 45 minutes. Test bread pudding to make sure the top is golden brown and the inside is cooked (not too dry though).
6. Remove from oven and serve with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce
For the Caramel Sauce, use a homemade recipe, like the one found at, or a ready-made topping from your local grocer.
Courtesy of Family Features

Fall Events
October 3-4
Annual Festival & Craft Fair - A fun day for family and friends. Live music, a haunted house, cider donuts and apples, face painting, pumpkins, pony rides, wine sampling, cooking demonstrations, 150 exhibitors with hand-made crafts, Pride of NY products. Adults $10, children under 12 free with an adult. Free parking. 10am-6pm; 10am-5pm. Partial proceeds benefit Christmas Wish. Altamont Fair Grounds, Altamont.

October 10
18th Annual Columbus Parade - Down Western Avenue with a celebratory Italian Festival in Washington Park. Free. Noon-5:30pm.

October 13-15; 27-29
Craft fair - North Concourse, Empire State Plaza. 10am-3pm

October 17
Oktoberfest - Live music by Paul Slusser. Doors open at 5pm, dinner at 6pm. Choice of sauerbraten or chicken dinner with vegetable. Appetizer and dessert included. $20 per person. Walk-ins are welcome for music and dancing at $6 per person. German-American Club of Albany, Albany. For more info: 265.6102;

October 23, 24, 25
Haunted Mansion Weekend - Times to be announced.  Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.

October 24
Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash - Food, drinks, raffle, costume contest, entertainment, DJ Crazy Keith & Back Beat Band. $25. Benefits Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern NY. Knights of Columbus, Cohoes. For more info: 456.1203.

October 28
Mystic Fair - Tarot card readers, angel readers, psychics, dream interpreters, astrologists and more. 10am-2pm. Concourse of the Empire State Plaza.

October 30
Annual Halloween Parade on Remsen Street - Led by the Cohoes Tigers Marching Band, ending at the Cohoes Community Center with games, food and drink. Free. 6pm. Cohoes Knights of Columbus.

New York Museum, Madison Avenue, Albany

October 24, 25, 30, 31
The Haunted Museum of Unnatural History - Thrills and chills return with the Haunted Museum, seven rooms of horror covering 6,000 square feet. Haunted Museum.  All children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Not recommended for children under age 10. Costumes are not allowed. 10/24-25 11am-4:30pm; 10/30 6pm-10pm; 10/31 11am-4pm & 6pm-10pm. Proceeds benefit the Museum's after-school programs. Student Center. Fee.

October 24, 25, 31
Monster Mash and Bash - Children can come in costume for the spirited holiday parade, and enjoy face painting and crafts. Noon-4pm. Proceeds benefit the Museum's after-school programs.

October 31
Panel discussion: Edgar Allan Poe and the Modern Mystery - Edgar Allan Poe is known for his stories of horror and his haunting poetry. But did you know that Poe is also recognized as "the father of the mystery"? In three short stories featuring aristocratic armchair sleuth, C. Auguste Dupin, Poe introduced many of the plot conventions used by modern mystery writers. One of Poe's short stories, "The Mystery of Marie Roget," was based on a New York City murder case. In a panel discussion illustrated with clips from films based on Poe's stories, members of the upstate New York chapter of Sisters in Crime, the Mavens of Mayhem, an association of mystery buffs and writers, will talk about Poe and his influence on the modern mystery, including their own work. 1pm. Free. Huxley Theatre.
Columbia County
October 3-4
2nd Annual Hillsdale/Copake Fall Harvest Festival - Horse-drawn wagon rides, games & 50/50 Raffle, Halloween face painting, local farmers goods, apple pie contest, biggest pumpkin contest, bake Sale, music and food. Noon-6pm. New Roeliff Jansen Park. For more info: 325.3045;

October 10
Hawthorne Valley Farm Annual Fall Festival - Engaging, inspiring and downright fun! Wildlife exhibitions, pumpkin carving, horseback rides (and lots more) for the kids while grown-ups will indulge in the hands-on Cheese and Sauerkraut making classes (call to pre-register), Biodynamic Farm Tours, and keynote speaker and environmental activist "No Impact Man" Colin Beavan. Ring in the festivities with the official Harvest Parade, shop the "Local Crafters & Farmer's Market," and delight in delicious festival food taken to a whole new level. Free. 10:30am-4pm.  Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent. For more info: 672.7500 ext. 105;

October 11
12th Annual Autumn in Austerlitz - An early 19th century theme, period costume, old buildings, exhibits and demonstrations; soup kitchen, pumpkin painting, games, and children's parade, silent auction, gift shop, crafts, art and antique booths, and live music. 11am-4pm. Adults $6, kids under 12 free. Austerlitz Historical Society, Old Austerlitz grounds, Austerlitz. For more info: 392.0062;

October 16-17, 23
Legends by Candlelight Spook Tours - Candlelight tours of the museum and grounds; ghosts and spooks of the museum's history. Adults $8; children $5; members $3. 6pm; 6:30pm; 7pm; 7:30pm. Reservations encouraged. Clermont State Historic Site, Clermont. For more info: 537.4240;

October 23
Ghosts and the Victorians - "Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving." - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1884.  Join us for a brief discussion about what makes a ghost Victorian, then we'll head out for an evening walk in the landscape, complete with ghost stories. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson. $10. 6pm-8pm, reservations required. For more info: 828.0135;

Essex County
October 3-4
Harvest Festival - Adirondack Museum. For more info:

Montgomery County
October 31
Halloween Parade - Corner of Guy Park and Evelyn Avenues heading east 1pm.  Judges' review stand at 93 Guy Park Avenue. Rain date 11/1. For more info: 843.2907.

Rensselaer County
October 3
4th Annual Fall Festival at Schodack Island State Park - Complimentary apple cider and donuts, wagon rides, scarecrow building contest, local crafts people, games and giveaways for kids and families, children's crafts, exhibits from local educators and community groups, Lost in the Woods survival skills workshop, fire prevention class, birding hike, demonstration no Native American Technology, demonstration of local wildlife by local wildlife rehabilitator and more. $6. For more info: 732.0187.

Saratoga County
October 3
Fall Festival featuring Renee Lussier & Branchwater - Fun for the whole family! 1pm-5pm. Free. Halfmoon Town Hall Complex.

October 24
9th Annual Great Pumpkin Challenge - 5K and 10K races run through the beautiful and historic Saratoga Spa State Park. The day also includes a Fun Run for kids 10 and under. Runners receive t-shirts and enjoy bountiful refreshments after the race.9am. $20-$30. Columbia Pavilion, Saratoga Spa State Park.

October 31
Halloween Masquerade Bash - Evening of fun, silent auction, food, live music. Prizes for best costumes. 8pm-midnight. $75. National Museum of Dance, Saratoga. For more info: 584.1621.

October 31-November 1
Saratoga Fall Festival - Young and old alike find themselves rediscovering all there is to love about the fall season at this fun-filled event... enjoying free entertainment, including magic shows, mazes, apple baseball, arts and crafts, Sidewalk Chalk Contest at the Arts Center, carnival games and prizes, pumpkin rolling races on Caroline Street, stilt walkers, a haunted house, "Cooking with Kids," pony rides, face painting, live entertainment and fun for everyone.
10am-6pm. Downtown Saratoga Springs.

Schoharie County
October 3
1743 Palatine House - Tea Party to celebrate autumn. Plenty of tea sandwiches, cookies and scones in addition to the tea. Tea will be served throughout the day. Spring Street, Schoharie. For more info: 295.7585.

October 3-4
Sunnycrest Orchards Garlic Festival & Fall Harvest Show - All the traditional fall produce and craft vendors. Sharon Springs. For more info: 424.7540;

October 3
Esperance Elks 3rd Annual Oktoberfest and Craft Fair - Authentic German foods and beer, outstanding handmade goods/crafters, hay rides, children activities and entertainment. Held outdoors in a covered area. Great family event. Rain or shine! Esperance Elks Lodge, Esperance. For more info: 895.2631.

October 10
1743 Palatine House - Apple Fritters - Apple fritters are on the menu today, so come by and taste a bit of fall with this tender little snack. Spring Street, Schoharie. For more info: 295.7585.

October 10
New York Power Authority Fall Hike and Woodsman's Day Hike through New York Power Authority - Trails and woodsman's demonstrations. For more info: 800.724.0309;

October 14
2nd Annual Pumpkin Festival - Schoharie's businesses and organizations work together to sponsor contests, events, demonstrations and presentations. Fun and surprises for all ages. Schoharie. Free admission and free parking.

October 31
1743 Palatine House - Happy Halloween!! Join us for something safe and fun to do on Halloween - fall games and ghost stories at dusk. Spring Street, Schoharie. For more info: 295.7585.

Warren County
October 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24
Ghost Tours - 7pm. Fee. Fort William Henry, Lake George Village.

October 3-4
Adirondack Harvest Festival - Don't miss a great day for the whole family with wagon rides, cider pressing, music, pumpkin painting & more! Support the Harvest Food Drive, bring any canned or dried food item. Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake.

October 10
Airing of the Quilts: Harvest Festival - Quilts on display, kid's activities, scarecrow making, music, games, vendors. 11am-5pm. City Park, Glens Falls.

October 10
Pumpkin Festival - Pony rides, pumpkin giveaway, music, kid's activities. 8am-12pm. South Street Pavilion, Glens Falls.

October 10
Bolton Landing Fall Festival - Bolton Landing.

October 10-11
Gore Mountain Harvest Festival - Family fun, gondola rides, vendors, entertainment, fall food & drink. 10am-5pm. Gore Mountain, North Creek.

October 18
Pugs in costume on parade - Contests for curliest tail, best wrinkles, best costumes, parade at 1pm. Dynamite Hill, Chestertown.

October 29-30
Haunted Fort - Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga.

October 29
Downtown Trick or Treat Walk - Show off your costume. Candy for kids. 5pm-8pm. Downtown Glens Falls.

Washington County
October 3
Apple Festival and Oktoberfest - Apple Pie Bake Off, children's activities, pie ala mode eating contest, music by Sirsy and Oktoberfest food and drink supplied by the Cambridge Hotel. 10am-11pm. Railroad Park, Cambridge.

October 11
Potato Festival - Celebrate potatoes of every type and form. Potato Art and Science, Potato Olympics, even Potato storytelling and poetry. Of course, you have to eat potatoes too! Potato Soup/Chowder competition and Maple Glazed Potato Donuts by King's Bakery, yummy! 2pm-5pm. Cambridge Freight Yard.

October 17
Country Classic Car Show - Classic and antique cars will be on display in Washington Square in the Village of Greenwich. Washington Square will be closed to traffic and parking during the show. Free fun for all ages. 10am-3pm. For more info: 692.9279.

October 25
Halloween Parade in Greenwich - Parade forms at 1pm at 10 Main Street and travels to 184 Main Street. Judging & awards in six categories & a grand prize winner. Treats for all! For more info: 692.7979;

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