How to Restart Your Fitness Regimen in the New Year

Ready to kick off your fitness regimen for the new year? Adobe Stock / luckybusiness

For those who haven’t hit the treadmill in quite a while, we asked an expert to round up the best ways to get back into the gym in the Hudson Valley.

Sometimes it seems like honoring that New Year’s resolution will be next to impossible. It may have been a year or more since you last picked up a dumbbell, and the logistics of figuring out a fit future may seem overwhelming. Keith Chittenden, a certified strength and conditioning specialist who works at fitness club operator Town Sports International, outlines a wealth of ways those who have been out of the weight room for a while can get back into the swing of things.

Form a plan

“All effective fitness plans starts with setting your goals,” says Chittenden. “Know your goals and have a plan organized around them.” Chittenden recommends making your goals specific; for instance, deciding if you want to get fit for a competition or just drop a couple pounds. He suggests these goals be measurable (and recommends you start with your baseline strength before beginning any regimen) as well as making sure that the fitness goals are both attainable and realistic. Finally, he also advises that you place a timeframe as to when you want to see these results.

Start slow

Chitten advises that newcomers don’t go overboard during the beginning of their training. “Returning to a workout regimen needs to be taken slow and steady,” says Chittenden. “It is important to take each day and each workout step by step. Do not attempt to do too much too soon or you will be susceptible to an injury.” Chittenden points to tendonitis as a common injury for those returning to the gym after a long absence.

Fitness regimen
Adobe Stock / luckybusiness

Do your research

It is vitally important to research a gym before joining it, says Chittenden. “You want to choose a gym that fits your needs and schedule,” he advises. “Before getting sucked into a ‘New Year’s fitness deal’ advertised by the fitness club, you need to know what to look for.”

Tour the gym and look at the quality of the cardio equipment and weight machines. Most gyms should have an adequate amount of machines available for use for its members.” Chittenden advises that the machines be newer (no more than seven years old), modern, and easy to use. “Beware of gyms that have more than five machines that are ‘down for maintenance,’” he adds.

The same goes for personal trainers. “Not all fitness trainers are created equal. There are trainers that have specialized education, experience, and skills that can mean the difference between success and failure,” notes Chittenden. “Just as you would research a doctor to perform a surgery, the same is true when searching for a health and fitness professional.” Chittenden notes that the most prestigious organizations certifying health and fitness professionals are the American College of Sports medicine (ACSM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Stay flexible

“As you are finishing up your workout, do not forget to stretch,” warns Chittenden, who adds that flexibility is just as important as the workout itself when it comes to a comprehensive fitness regimen. “When working out, the muscles that are being trained are under tension and stress,” he says. “You must relieve that tension by stretching the muscle when the workout is complete. This will keep your joints and muscles moving efficiently and reduce the chances of becoming injured.”

Related: Pre-Workout Tips Not to Miss

3 Tips to Fulfill Your New Year’s Resolutions in the Hudson Valley

Adobe Stock / Vesna Cvorovic

Planning out your New Year’s resolutions for 2023? Here’s how to make ones that will actually stick throughout the year.

Ah, the holidays. They’re a time filled with sparkles, lights, and probably one too many butter cookies. But it’s ok, we rationalize, because come January 1, there’s the all-important New Year’s resolution for us to make good on all the bad (alright, maybe not bad but you know, overindulgence) we just committed during the last few weeks.

The one catch? Most of the 41 percent of Americans who typically make resolutions don’t keep them all year long. In fact, according to a recent article by Inc., only nine percent of us who make resolutions are successful in achieving them. Not really an encouraging stat, right? So why can’t we just keep the promises we’ve made to ourselves at the beginning of the year? Lauree Ostrofsky, a certified professional coach and owner of Simply Leap, believes we’re too hard on ourselves when we make resolutions and even harder when we fail.

Tiffany Mason, a certified professional coach and leadership expert, has another reason: life. “Life happens,” she says. “Things come up, priorities shift, and New Year’s resolutions go down the drain.”

There has to be a better way to keep resolutions if we’re going to go through the trouble of even making one. Below, we’ve outlined three tips to setting those New Year’s goals and reaching them, too.

1. Set a resolution that will become a lifestyle decision.

This is important — your resolution should become part of your life instead of a one-time accomplishment.  “Think of your resolutions as an opportunity to enhance your lifestyle,” Mason says.  That weight loss resolution you set for yourself every year and then don’t fulfill? You’re probably looking at it as more of a one-time goal instead of a healthy lifestyle choice.  “You need to see your resolutions as making your life even better, happier, more fulfilled,” Ostrofsky says.

2. Know your “why.”

Both Ostrofsky and Mason stress the importance of knowing why you’re making a resolution in the first place, and to keep coming back to that when you think you’re going to stray. “Knowing WHY you want to reach your goal will make a huge difference in achieving it,” notes Ostrofsky. According to Mason, you essentially want to be able to answer the question, “Why do I want this to be my resolution?” If your answer falls in line with your life priorities, you’re golden.

3. Have a partner to keep you on track.

It’s always easier (and, let’s face it, more fun!) to do things with a friend; resolutions are no different! When you’re having a tough time following your resolution, a friend can help you see it through. “It’s important to know that you have someone else cheering for you and helping you stay focused,” explains Mason.

There you have it — you officially have no excuse not to keep those resolutions this year. What will you resolve to do in the next 12 months?

Related: 5 Ways to Navigate the Overcrowded Gym Post-New Year

How to Recover After Overeating During the Holidays in the Valley

Did you overeat during the holidays in the Hudson Valley? Here’s how to get back on track. Adobe Stock / IKA

We asked an expert just how to bounce back after a festive and indulgent season filled with candy canes, cakes, and cookies.

When the snow finally thaws, many find that winter left a little gift in the form of a less-than-svelte body. Though temperatures are still plenty low, now might be the best time to get the jump on recovering from all those tasty treats. We asked dietary expert Jodi Baretz, author of the book Mindful is the New Skinny, just how to bounce back after a long season of holiday overeating.

Stick to whole, healthy foods. “Limit or eliminate processed foods and sugar,” Baretz advises as a way to curb overeating. “Concentrate on protein and vegetables, and small portions of carbohydrates. Carbs turn into sugar, but don’t be afraid of portion size healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts.”

what to do if you overeat during the holidays
Adobe Stock / Elīna Madelāne

Ignore negativity. “Snap yourself out of any negative self-talk,” says Baretz. “You may have gone off the rails for a week or so, but let’s face it, you’re not a horrible person. Notice when you are beating yourself up, and redirect that energy to planning your next meal.”

candy cane
Adobe Stock / Elīna Madelāne

Eat intuitively. “Slow down your eating and pay attention to how you feel; honor the fact that your body knows what it wants,” suggests Baretz. “If you eat mindfully — even treats — it is much easier to stay on the healthy track overall. Plan your meals and make sure what you are eating is what you want to be putting in your mouth. Taste your food, eat slowly, and enjoy the bites.”

what to do if you overeat during the holidays
Adobe Stock / Elīna Madelāne

Routine, routine, routine. “Now that the holidays are over, you need to get back to your routine of home-cooked meals and your favorite go-to healthy foods,” advises Baretz. “Simply by eliminating all the restaurant meals, holiday parties, and traveling — and getting back to your exercise routine — you will naturally get back on track.”

Adobe Stock / Elīna Madelāne

Photo blog your food. “Instead of a food journal, take a picture of everything you eat before you eat it,” says Baretz. “This will make you pause before you eat, make you accountable, and help stop mindless snacking.”

what to do if you overeat during the holidays
Adobe Stock / Elīna Madelāne

Plan ahead to avoid the grab.  “Always have fruits veggies and healthy snacks readily available in your kitchen so you are not tempted to grab junk food,” says Baretz. “Don’t go too long without eating or you will be starving and tempted to grab.”

Related: Sparkling Wines to Savor for the Holidays in the Hudson Valley

Where to Take a First Day Hike in the Hudson Valley

Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville is just one of the NYS parks offering New Year’s hikes. Photo by Joe Golden

Start the new year on the right foot—literally—with a picturesque January 1 hike at one of these local New York State parks.

By Matt Moment and Kathryn Walsh

No New Year’s Eve partying for you? That’s great. You’ll stay safe and feel rejuvenated for New Year’s Day. One great way to spend January 1 is on a first day hike at a New York State Park, where you can follow along guided tours, do a little bird watching, or simply stroll along well-trodden trails.

Whether you’re setting the intention to get out and about more in 2023 or you just love a good winter hike, these are prime options for an excursion.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Yorktown Heights


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Clarice Maala (@cmaala15)

No reservations are required for this brisk, two-mile hike. Located in the heart of Westchester County, it’s a great choice for hikers traveling from the Big Apple.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site


Dawn to dusk, take a self-guided landscape tour of this historic site in Westchester. While you won’t get the full John Jay experience—the Bedford House, visitor center, and Discovery Center are open May through October—the grounds alone are well worth a visit in all their winter glory.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve


Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers two glorious first day hikes. The 9 a.m. stroll along the Hudson River also crosses the beautiful landscapes of Rockwood Hall. Larry Trachtenberg of the Saw Mill River Audubon Society guides the walk, pointing out bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and other wildlife along the way. Be sure to register in advance.

Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park at Croton Reservoir and Dam


This easy, breezy, two-mile loop around the Old Croton Aqueduct is certainly not short on views. Not only will you be spending time around nature, but you’ll get to see an iconic Westchester landmark for yourself. How better to start off your year than with a bit of nature and history? Register online for the hike, which begins at noon on New Year’s Day.

Related: How to Stay in Shape Over the Holidays in the Hudson Valley

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve at Little Stony Point

Cold Spring

Celebrate the arrival of 2023 at the majestic Hudson Highlands with a hike as well as “free hot cocoa, coffee, snacks, music, fireside warmth.” Opt for the mile-long Little Stony Point trail, or hike three miles round-trip via the Cornish Estate trail for a little local history.

Olana State Historic Site


First day hike at Olana
Photo by Olivia Waldron

When better to discover the beauty of Frederic Edwin Church’s architectural masterpiece than on New Year’s Day? Attendees must register in advance online to partake in this mile-long tour of Church’s 250-acre property. Early birds can join on the 10 a.m. hike, whereas late risers may prefer to take the 1 p.m. tour. What’s more, first day hikers can also learn about the winter exhibition, “Chasing Icebergs,” which features “Church’s iceberg sketches from his 1859 intrepid voyage to the Arctic” in addition to thematically comparable work by four contemporary artists.

Taconic State Park – Copake Falls Area

Copake Falls


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by William H (@wildbillphotos)

There’s nothing like a brisk waterfall hike on New Year’s Day. Head out to Bash Bish Falls and join a guided three-mile hike beginning at 1 p.m. The walk will take place rain or shine, and pets are invited, too! The trail also highlights the historic Copake Ironworks. Call ahead to 518.329.3993 for inquires and registration.

Related: Here’s What to Do in the Hudson Valley This Week

These Winter Wedding Details in the Hudson Valley Are Perfect

Adobe Stock / Valery

From hot cocoa accessories to seasonal touches on the cake, there are so many ways to plan a winter wedding in the Hudson Valley.

Winter weddings can be unpredictable (who knows when a Nor’easter will roll into town), but off-season pricing makes them an appealing option in one of the country’s most expensive wedding markets. Of course, for cold-weather-loving couples, this time of year is more than just savings: Embracing the season brings tons of cozy, romantic touches and snowflake-inspired sparkle.

winter wedding invitations
Photo by Vanessa Joy Photography

1. Set the tone for a cold-weather celebration with snowflake details on your invitation suite.

Snowflake invitations
Annabel Braithwaite/Belatheé Photography

2. Then carry the motif over to the seating cards.

Lace wedding dress
Photo by Claire Pettibone

3. Or choose a dress with sheer, snowflake-inspired lace.

Couple kissing in the snow
Photo by Annabel Braithwaite/Belatheé Photography

4. Don’t be afraid to throw on a pair of weather-appropriate shoes. A cozy fur stole adds a touch of vintage glamour.

Winter wedding outfit
Photo by Vanessa Joy Photography

5. Or bundle up with a soft-but-structured coat, knit scarf, and white gloves.

Winter wedding bouquet
Photo by Joshua Brown Photography

6. Add some texture to a bridal bouquet by adding an intentionally messy mix of winter branches and berries.

Winter wedding reception table
Photo by Ulysses Photography

7. One advantage of early sunsets: tables bathed in candlelight.

the sweetheart table
Photo by Vanessa Joy Photography

8. Of course, the sweetheart table belongs in front of the fire.

Pinecone cake
Photo by Uplift Photography

9. Instead of accenting your cake with out-of-season blooms, stick with winter-appropriate pinecones.

Hot cocoa vial
Photo by Annabel Braithwaite/Belatheé Photography

10. Send guests home with hot cocoa mix and tiny marshmallows.

A snowy winter wedding scene
Photo by Sean Gallery

11. If a blizzard does hit, embrace it. It makes for the most romantic photos you’ll look back on for years to come. 

Related: This Autumn Wedding Brings 1920s Romance to the Hudson Valley

How to Have a Farm-to-Table Wedding in the Hudson Valley

Photos by Melinda Anita Photography

Two Hudson Valley-area purveyors provide seasonally fresh fare and craft cocktails for today’s sustainably minded couples.

Grilled local pork collar, fresh kohlrabi and apple salad, and line-caught steelhead trout with melted leeks all sound like dishes you’d expect to be on the menu at the hottest New American restaurant in town. All of that, and more, is actually what’s being fired in the kitchen at Seminary Hill Orchard & Cidery under Executive Chef Jack Tippet. And it’s not just for guests of the cidery; it’s some of the farm-to-table fare chosen and served for weddings hosted on the orchard’s stunning grounds.

Seminary Hill
Seminary Hill is a must for farm-to-table weddings.

According to Kayce Drasher, owner of KR Occasions and Seminary Hill’s wedding-and-events manager, the food they’re serving is a far cry from the “choose one” menu card of chicken, beef, or mystery whitefish with rice pilaf and mixed vegetables that so often accompanies your RSVP.

fresh produce wedding food

“Honestly, vegan and vegetarian options are some of our most popular requests, so we craft a lot of our menus toward those themes,” Drasher explains. “In the past, you’d have one or two vegetarian attendees, but now there are way more. We recently had a bride who requested an all-pescatarian menu, since her guests were mostly pescatarian. We’re finding more and more instances like that.”

wedding salad

If you’ve ever dined at the cidery, veggie-friendly fare should come as no surprise. Much of what’s served in the tasting room translates to wedding receptions. The only difference is that the meal on your special day is coursed out to seven-or-more family-style servings.

Endives with beets and sheep’s-milk cheese and roasted sweet potatoes with sunflower seeds and anchoïade — a Provençal-style spread made from anchovies, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic — are a few bold, seasonal, vegetarian dishes that Tippet and his team are churning out.

But fear not if your guests lean more toward the vegan side. Drasher mentioned that most of the options can be modified to exclude cheese, eggs, or emulsified fish. And if you’re gluten-free, there’s not much of an issue there either.

wedding table setup

“Most of our vegetarian dishes can be made vegan,” Drasher says, “and our menu is 90 percent gluten-free as it is and usually doesn’t even have to be requested. All the menus are seasonal, too, and we have three different ones in the spring and summer and another three in fall and winter.”

wedding menu

Chef Tippet echoes that same sentiment regarding seasonal cuisine, stating that Seminary Hill uses in-season produce from local producers, the goal being not to overshadow the natural flavor of any vegetable or fruit. Most of their ingredients are sourced from local farms in the immediate area of Callicoon, PA (namely Willow Wisp Organic Farm), and from local farmers’ markets. But of course, since Seminary Hill is an orchard, it’s expected they’ll incorporate apples or cider into dishes when it’s appropriate.

fresh food dishes

All of this, however, doesn’t mean Seminary Hill is shying away from meat. Alongside the pork collar — which comes with burnt cream, cippolini onions, and apple cider jus — are other options from the local culture, like venison sausage and Snowdance Farms chicken with chicken skin gravy, which should satisfy any carnivore.

wedding cake

In fact, one of the most popular wedding snacks is fried chicken skin with buttermilk dressing. BBQ is another. “We’re going to offer a barbecue menu for weddings that I expect to be very popular, and it has been requested by several brides,” Tippet says. “I’m from North Carolina, so it will be a Carolina-focused barbecue menu.”

But what’s a wedding without the party? And what’s a party without booze?

Kaitlyn Nuzzi is the owner of Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern, a mobile bar that’s popped up not only at weddings held at Seminary Hill but also at weddings throughout the Hudson Valley. Nuzzi’s bars don’t provide the alcohol but rather a bartending service at your private event. The spirits, wine, and beer would come from the venue or is provided by the client, and Nuzzi’s website has recipes to give her clients ideas on what they might want mixed up the day of. After a guest count, she creates a shopping list that includes spirits, mixers, and everything to make an aesthetically pleasing, tasty beverage.

Nuzzi mentioned that while her customers try to keep costs low by using larger brands of alcohol or beer, she always incorporates some local love into the mix.

Nuzzi's tin tavern trailer
Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern makes it easy to serve farm-to-table drinks at your wedding.

“Not many clients are buying from local distilleries, breweries, or wineries, which I wish they did, to support them, but most purchase what’s most cost-effective,” she says. “In May and June, we do have access to fresher ingredients, like basil, blackberries, mint, and strawberries, which all make for good muddled-fruit cocktails. Our rosemary greyhound, watermelon-cucumber margarita, and berry hibiscus cooler are popular in the summer. We’re big on aesthetics. We want every drink to not only taste great, but to look great.”

Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern provides dehydrated-fruit garnish options to adorn the cocktails as well. And when fall hits, locally produced apple cider tends to be a feature ingredient.

Nuzzi's tin tavern
Add farm-to-table cocktails to your wedding.

“For garnish and produce, we use a local company, True Vine; it’s like a farmers’-market-type tent, and they get great produce from the New York City area, so we get all of our fresh garnish and herbs for drinks from them,” Nuzzi says. “In the fall, apple cider mimosas were super popular last year, as was Jack Daniels Honey, also with apple cider that we get from Pennings Farm Cidery in Warwick.”

What Tippet, Drasher, and Nuzzi agree on is that the sometimes-bland banquet-hall wedding food has seen a switch that is predominantly local, seasonal, fresher, and with more creativity.

“This generation cares about sustainability and supporting local businesses,” Drasher says. “Farm-to-table does exactly that.”

Related: Seminary Hill Cidery Pours Cider With Heritage in the Southern Catskills

This Red Maple Vineyard Wedding Is Oh So Hudson Valley

Photos by Jordan Jankun Photography

When COVID upended their plans for an autumnal Hudson Valley wedding, a Florida couple fell in love with spring.

Taylor & Anthony
May 2, 2021
Red Maple Vineyard, West Park

With beaches and blue water, South Florida is a popular destination-wedding locale. But Poughkeepsie-born Taylor Guzman (then, Kalter), who moved to the Sunshine State when she was 5, and her native Floridian fiancé, Anthony Guzman, dreamed of a wedding in her Hudson Valley hometown. “We wanted something different. Most of our family and friends were in Florida, and they’re used to the beach vibe,” Taylor says. “Anthony had gone to Dutchess County with me for my cousin’s wedding. It was like this hidden gem in the countryside of New York that no one ever talks about.”

wedding at Red Maple Vineyard

The couple met as undergraduates at Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers. “We were very involved in Greek life and met through mutual friends,” Anthony recalls. “The first time I hung out with Tay, it was with a girlfriend at the time. I remember she stood out to me — her charming personality and down-to-earth perspective. As fate would have it, that other relationship ended shortly after we met, and I did everything I could to get in front of Taylor.” Several years and a move to Florida’s east coast later, he proposed on the rooftop terrace of a Delray Beach hotel, followed by a surprise party with family and friends.

Bride and groom Red Maple Vineyard

Having already set their sights on a Dutchess winery for the venue, the couple and their parents headed north on a scouting trip, but their intended venue was too small for the 200-plus-person guest list. On a whim, they headed across the Hudson to look at Red Maple Vineyard. “We knew right away,” Taylor says. “We loved the modern-rustic barn they were building and that they came from a catering background. You go up on a hill, and you can see the Hudson River.”

Bridal shoes

With a fall 2020 date on the books, the bride-to-be found a romantic, formfitting Martina Liana gown with floral embroidery and a dramatic train to match the vineyard’s old-world feel. In keeping with the season, she chose a palette of burnt orange and rich fall hues for the bridesmaids’ dresses, flowers, stationery, and semi-naked cake, decorated with bursts of berries. Then, COVID threw everything for a loop.

wedding invitation Red Maple Vineyard

The wedding was moved to spring of 2021. Undeterred, Taylor and florist Sara Dean-Wilkins of Lavender & Leaf Designs in Wappingers Falls wove complementary shades of dusty rose, peach, and yellow into the burnt-orange decor. “The venue had these beautiful trees that had just bloomed, and they incorporated them throughout the barn,” the bride adds. Lots of greenery and sprays of pampas softened the final look.

“There’s a lovely versatility to that venue,” says planner Gina Maloney, who helped guide the last few months of pre-wedding preparations. “The gardens are so elaborate. The pavilion, where receptions are, has glass on three sides, so the outdoors really shines through.”

bridal bouquet

In keeping with pandemic restrictions, the guest list had to be halved, allowing the bride and groom to splurge on experiences. Anthony runs a craft-food tour company in Florida, so to kick off the wedding weekend, he arranged for school buses to ferry guests to Millbrook Winery and Poughkeepsie’s Plan Bee Farm Brewery, followed by a wood-fired pizza pop-up. “We really wanted something where it wasn’t one night, and it’s over,” Taylor says. “We wanted a really good time. I feel like you always remember the food and music.”

Red Maple Vineyard

Two days later, the couple were married by the groom’s father, who got ordained at the last minute after their previous officiant fell through. “Having my father there brought a whole new spiritual meaning to our wedding,” he says. “It was very emotional.” Later, the newlyweds danced the night away to a mix of house music and Cuban American artist Celia Cruz, which got “my Cuban family dancing before the party even started,” Anthony muses.

Bride and groom table Red Maple Vineyard

Everything worked out, the bride says, noting how lucky they felt to have more than 100 of their nearest and dearest together — particularly after COVID derailed their original plans. “They were really ready to party,” Maloney adds with a laugh. “As weddings got pushed, people were just so happy to celebrate with family and friends. Everybody needs to love Plan B as much as they do their Plan A.”

a tiered cake
A showstopping cake at the Red Maple Vineyard wedding.

The Details


Jordan Jankun Photography


Gina Maloney Events


Lavender & Leaf

Caterer and Cake

Red Maple Vineyard


The Prettiest Pixel


Nicole Otero, TCM Events


Kiho Yutaka

Bride’s Dress

Martina Liana

Bride’s Shoes

Badgley Mischka

Groom’s Attire

The Black Tux

Related: The Charmer Boutique Creates Magical Hudson Valley Home Décor

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Figs Are a Delightful Side Dish

Adobe Stock | Photo by Stepanek Photography

This side dish is a little exotic and a lot delicious thanks to a splash of balsamic vinegar and a softly caramelized coating.

You’ve probably heard of the Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, who’s been dazzling British foodies with his original blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes ever since he moved to London in the early aughts. Perhaps you’ve salivated over the recipes in Plenty or Jerusalem, the cookbooks he’s written with Sami Tamimi. The American edition of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (no need for clever titles once your name is synonymous with deliciousness) was an exciting release complete with our quaint old-style measurements. Vegetables play a large role in all three, so it’s the kind of food just about everyone can enjoy.

My friend Jeannette Gorin is a caterer and a private cook (as in, for a prearranged fee she’ll come to your house and make dinner for you and your friends), and she specializes in a similar mix of regional Mediterranean food. Her take on one of Ottolenghi’s most popular dishes, roasted sweet potatoes and figs, is as simple as can be and makes a wonderful side dish with grilled meats in summer or roasted turkey in the fall and winter. “But whether you’re making something exotic or simple, it seems to blend in,” Gorin says. “The flavors seem unique yet so familiar, and it’s just yummy.”

Related: How to Create a Holiday Tablescape in the Hudson Valley

Ottolenghi uses fresh figs, but Gorin prefers dried Turkish ones that she rehydrates in water. “I like the texture; they don’t get mushy,” she says. “The beauty of this dish is the rustic look, so you don’t have to get too fussy with knife skills,” she adds. “It doesn’t have to look perfect. But the colors are lovely, with the red of the figs, and the green onions.”

Adobe Stock / Baibaz

Yummy Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Figs and Scallions


4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
12 whole scallions, washed, roots removed
6 figs, quartered (more if you love figs)
4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1½ tsp sugar


Heat the oven to 475°F and bake the sweet potatoes in their skins until fork tender; about 30 minutes. Cool and cut in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into three or four wedges. Arrange the potatoes on a platter and dot with the quartered figs.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat and sauté the scallions until they take on a brownish, appetizing color. Scatter them over the potatoes and figs.

Combine the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for two or three minutes until the mix starts to become syrupy.

Drizzle over the potatoes and figs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 6. (“It’s a side dish, not meant to be gorged on — although that’s optional too, if you like it,” says Gorlin. In which case, it serves 4.)

Related: Here’s Where to Order Thanksgiving Dinner in the Hudson Valley

Tanma Ramen Hits the Comfort Food Spot in Kingston

Photos by Francesca Furey

A Yokohama native brings authentic Japanese fare to Midtown Kingston with Tanma Ramen, a reservation-only spot with a curated menu.

Youko Yamamoto misses traditional ramen. Those heaping bowls of broth topped with colorful fishcakes, seaweed sheets, soft-boiled eggs, and cuts of meat that we’ve all become accustomed to are not the real deal. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Yamamoto grew up in the bustling port cities of Yokohoma and Hiroshima, where ramen was simple: the broth was light, the vegetables were fresh, and it was “nutritious and healing,” she says—as opposed to the aesthetic and often overzealous versions we’re served in Japanese restaurants. (And don’t get her started on instant ramen—that’s a hard pass.)

On a bustling Broadway corner in Midtown Kingston, Yamamoto serves up the very ramen she’s been craving since leaving her homeland. The eatery would be right at home on any side street in Tokyo—there’s a classic seven-seat bar where you can peer into the kitchen and have your ramen handed to you directly. Just beyond the bar’s curtains, you’ll find a moody tavern setting with a selection of imported spirits.

Tanma Ramen bowl

This “little portal to Japan,” as Yamamoto calls it, isn’t her first restaurant: for nearly a decade, she cooked up traditional plates and noodle dishes at cult-favorite Gomen-Kudasai in New Paltz. After it closed in 2018, Yamamoto mapped out plans for a dedicated ramen shop and opened Tanma in December 2021.

The reservation-only spot offers a curated dinner menu of her favorites. Start with small plates like avocado sashimi, hiya-yakko (tofu with ginger and mackerel flakes), and Manchukuo-style gyoza. The gyoza is Yamamoto’s father’s recipe from when he lived in China before World War II; the dumplings are filled with organic pork and cabbage, braised, and then steamed. Pair your small plates with Itoen iced or hot teas, Kimino sparkling drinks, beer, or chilled sake.

Tanma Ramen owner

The main event is, obviously, the ramen. At Tanma, choose from two bowls: the best-seller miso or vegan-friendly shio. The miso ramen has a misodashi (miso broth) made from seven different types of miso paste and a combination of 17 secret seasonings. It’s then diluted with equal parts clear broth, bone broth, and a special “carnibroth.” She tops it with yellow noodles, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, wakame seaweed, scallions, and pork belly chashu. (Cooking the chashu, by the way, is a 10-day process.) Like true Japanese ramen shops, there’s an “extra toppings” option, where you can spend a little more for additional vegetables, chashu, and noodles (called “kaedama”).

Quite possibly the coolest perk is that Yamamoto will show you how to eat her ramen the authentic way. First, don’t mix your ramen—everything is placed in specific sections of the bowl for optimal flavor. Take your spoon and enjoy some of the broth. Then, scoop up a generous helping of noodles, dunk into the broth, and slurp it up—don’t be afraid to make some noise!

Tanma Ramen dumplings

In Japanese, “tanma” means to call “time-out” during a childhood game. Yamamoto hopes for Tanma Ramen to be an escape from work and stress, as well as introduce customers to authentic Japanese cuisine. “We all need to take a break and switch directions from where we are headed—hopefully with a healing bowl of noodles,” she says.

How to Stay in Shape Over the Holidays in the Hudson Valley

Adobe Stock / ezstudiophoto

We asked Best of Westchester trainer Angela LoBrutto for a lineup of workouts great for those with busy schedules during the holidays.

When you are hitting the road for the holiday season, a full gym with all the bells and whistles might not be so close at hand. We asked personal trainer Angela LoBrutto of Valhalla for a rundown of what moves you can do when you are sans gym or short on time. The below movements are great ways to get your heart pumping fast, minus the need for any clunky equipment, to help stay in shape during the holiday season.

Squat Jacks: “Squat jacks are a great leg-strengthening workout and a good way to increase your heart rate,” explains LoBrutto. “Start by standing with your legs together, and jump your feet hip-width apart as you sit your hips back into a squat position. See how many reps you can perform in 30 seconds. Try to match or beat how many reps you completed previously for two more sets.”

Inchworms: LoBrutto calls inchworms a great total body workout to stay in shape, and one that is especially good for the core. “Start with standing your feet hip width apart,” she says. “Keeping your legs straight, place your hands on the floor and walk them into a full plank position with your hands located underneath your shoulders. Then walk your hands back to starting position, continuing to keep your legs straight. Perform 10 reps for four sets, with a 30-second rest period in between each set.”

Related: 5 Top Notch Back-Strengthening Workouts

Hand Release Push-Ups: “This exercise is a great upper body workout that increases core strength as well,” says LoBrutto. “Start by laying on your stomach on the floor, placing your feet hip-width apart, and your hands close to your chest. While engaging your core, push off the floor, with hips following into a push-up position and slowing going back down to the start position. Perform 10 reps for four sets, with a 30-second rest period in between each set.”

Knee Tucks: According to LoBrutto, knee tucks are one of the best all-around ab exercises to help stay in shape. “While sitting, place your hands on the floor behind you and bring your knees into your chest,” advises LoBrutto. “Proceed to extend your legs forward as you bring your back close to the ground behind you. Perform 15 reps for four sets, with a 30-second rest period in between each set.”

Half Plank Hip Dips: “This is another great core exercise that emphasizes your obliques,” explains LoBrutto. “Facing down on the floor, place your legs together, hips up off the floor, leveled with your body, placing bent elbows underneath your shoulders while engaging in your core. Drive your hips down towards the floor from side to side. Perform 20 rep for four sets, with a 30-second rest in between each set.”