Tracy’s Ultimate Baked Mac n’ Cheese


As summer ends and the colder months approach us, our appetites turn towards heavier meals that warm our stomachs. An all-time American favorite comfort food for people of all ages is macaroni and cheese. This classic staple dish is rich and seductive with the ooey gooiness of the buttery cheese sauce that folds in between pasta elbows. There are many versions of macaroni and cheese with multiple combinations of cheeses, spices, toppings, mix-ins and cooking methods. Most of us have eaten the classic Kraft or Velveeta from the box we pick up from the local grocery market. Although it is quick and easy to make, I always believe that having the homemade version tastes ten times better with fresh ingredients. Here is a homemade baked mac n’ cheese recipe that I’ve created myself that leaves everyone with a smile on their face.

What you need:

Cheddar cheese 10.4 oz

Comte cheese 9.6 oz

Gruyere cheese 8.48 oz

I box of macaroni elbows (16oz)

4 tablespoons salted butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups 2% milk

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Fresh cracked black pepper

1 cup of breadcrumbs


1- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grate all the cheeses together in a bowl and set aside.

2- In a pot boil about 6 cups of water seasoned with a teaspoon of salt. After the water is at a full boil, add the macaroni elbows and cook for 10 minutes with occasional stirring. Set aside.

3- Meanwhile in a large shallow pot turn the stovetop to medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the flour. Stir the flour and butter together until the flour is cooked to a light golden brown. This will act as a thickening agent for the cheese sauce.

4- Now slowly add the milk while stirring it into the flour-butter mixture. Then add the grated cheeses to the pot and stir until all the cheese is melted together and uniform.

5- Next add the paprika, dry mustard and just enough fresh black pepper for taste (about three turns on the peppermill or 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper).

6- Drain the water from the macaroni elbows and add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce. Next stir the macaroni until it is completely covered.

7- Transfer the macaroni in cheese sauce to a casserole dish. Put the dish into the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

8- Next sprinkle evenly the breadcrumbs on top of the macaroni. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to slightly cool off. Plate and serve hot. Enjoy!

Cherries and Berries Summer Fruit Salad


This past weekend marked the official start to the summer. What better way to keep yourself and others refreshed while having fun in the sun with this sweet cherries and berries summer fruit salad. It has a few fruits of the summer that is marinated in lime juice and mint to give you the cooling sensation you will need to beat the heat. This recipe can easily serve 10-12 people for a summer BBQ, a picnic or a day at the beach.

What you need:

1.5 lbs blueberries

2 lbs. strawberries (hulled and cut into quarters)

1 lb dark red cherries (pitted and split in halves)

Lime juice from 4 limes

4-5 sprigs of mint leaves


1- Wash and prep the blueberries, strawberries and cherries as indicated above. Then set it set them aside.

2- Juice the four limes and set aside.fruit

3- Toss together in a large bowl the fruit and lime juice.

4- Chiffonade (cut into ribbons) the mint leaves, add them to the bowl, toss and serve.


Seeing American Beauty on a Different Set of Wheels

pt1Acadia National Park Carriage Road

The end of spring is approaching and that means summer is just around the corner. During this time, millions of people around the world come miles away to visit our national parks in the United States. When going to national parks the usual way to see the natural beauty of our county’s landscape is driving from one section to the next. Taking a bicycle instead can give you an alternate way to experience your trip of the national parks.

There are over thirty national parks that have bike routes for road biking as well as mountain biking. You can either bring your own bicycle or rent a bicycle. Most national parks have bike rentals provided within the parks or at bike shops that are located close by. The best way to plan your bike adventure is to research before going.

Last year I visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Acadia National Park in Maine. During my visit to both parks, I did not bring my personal bicycle. When deciding to go biking in either park, weather conditions may vary from season to season. Comparing the trails, they have a difference in weather, difficulty of the course and terrain.

pt2Yellowstone National Park has bike trail that is great from the novice to the experienced rider. Most of the roads in Yellowstone are open to bicycle traffic, but of course there are a few precautions to take. If you plan to take the main traffic roads, keep caution of motor vehicles since at times the road can be narrow and winding. If you plan to bike from the southern to the northern end of

the spacious park or vice versa, the weather has a tendency to change rapidly. Yellowstone is known for having drastic changes of weather, so plan for both sunny and passing showers. Some of the main roads could be difficult due to changes in the elevations. All year round you will also need to be aware of wildlife in the roads and paths. Bears and bison often roam in the park and it is best to keep a good distance of at least a hundred feet away from them.

Since my stay was very limited to one day of bicycling, my group decided to bike close to the Old Faithful area where we lodged. We started by renting mountain bicycles at the Bear Den Gift Shop by the Old Faithful Snow Lodge in the morning. Our 10.8 mile route consisted of three bike paths: the Morning Glory Trail, the Daisy Geyser to Biscuit Basin Trail and the Fountain Freight Road.

pt3During the ride we made many stops to look and admire the geysers, hot springs and thermal pools. One of the most impressive geysers on the route is Castle Geyser. When it has a major eruption, the geyser first goes through a thirty minute water phase and transitions to a forty minute steam phase. We were lucky enough to see both parts of these phases.



Castle Geyser(May 2013)




The hot springs are usually one of my favorite things to see in Yellowstone. The vivid colors that the hot springs could produce highly depend on the time of year, the level of bacteria and temperature. During late May it appeared that the hot springs were not as stunning in comparison to autumn from a previous visit.

                       pt4                                                      pt5

Hot springs in May 2013(left) and September 2012(right)

Once we reached the trailhead to Fairy Falls and parked our bikes, we had to turn back. During the late spring when we visited, there is often an increase of bear activity when the bears travel to lower elevations to search for berries and food where temperatures are warmer. The park rangers posts signs to warn visitors if there have been bears spotted in areas. Since we did not have bear spray and did not want to risk encountering one face to face, we decided it was best to head back.

Although bears roam Yellowstone, it is more likely that you will encounter bison. On our return back towards the Old Faithful visitor’s center, we saw a small herd of bison from afar. It is important to always keep a distance from the majestic creatures since they are wild and unpredictable.

pt6Acadia National Park in Maine has forty-five miles of rustic carriage roads to ride a bicycle through. The carriage roads will take you through parts of the park that are not assessable by car. Throughout the carriage roads there are many scenic views that give great photo opportunities.

During our stay in Bar Harbor, we took advantage of the free Island Explorer shuttle that has routes throughout Mount Desert Island. By taking the local shuttle, we did not have to worry about looking for parking in the Bar Harbor Village Green nor inside the park. From the Village Green, there is a bicycle express van that directly takes you to the Eagle Lake carriage roads drop off which has very limited parking spaces.

Since my group had beginner bikers, we could not do the full forty-five miles of carriage roads. For me, I found the carriage roads about a moderate difficulty in all, but can be a bit challenging if you are a novice biker. The easiest part of the trail is the northern Witch Hole Pond loop. It is great for those who want a very quick spin, but it does not give the great scenic views that lie south toward Jordan Pond by Eagle Lake. Heading south on the west side of the lake could be slightly challenging since there are some moderate inclines up and down the mountain.


The payoff is the amazing drop back of different scenery you will experience. Riding on the twenty mile loop from Witches Hole Pond to the east side between Bubble Pond and Eagle Lake, there are waterfalls, lakes and bridges that give great chance to give yourself a break to rest and enjoy the views. On the way you may come across tiny wild blueberries by the lakes which are open for visitors to eat. They are safe to eat, but not as sweet as the usual blueberries you find at a farm or market. The blueberries are more toward the tart side. You may also come across lakes full of lily pads that add a little extra beauty. The weather generally was great in early August. It was mostly sunny with one small period of light rain on our bike ride that passed by quickly.

                                    pt8                                                 pt9

pt10If you need a halfway point to take a rest, it is best to plan to have lunch at the Jordon Pond House. The restaurant is best known for their famous giant popovers with clotted cream and jam. The buttery and airy treat is flakey and wonderful for a quick bite. When dining at Jordon Pond on a sunny day, you will be given the option to take indoor or outdoor seating. The restaurant can get busy at the stop and the parking lot is usually full most of the time or has car traffic that goes out on the main road. This makes travel via bicycle great since all you need to do is lock up you bike at the bike rack.

I loved the carriage roads trail, but was unable to finish the entire loop up to the Eagle Lake drop off. Part of my group became exhausted from biking on the hills on our return up by Bubble Pond, so we had to cease our ride short. My only complaint about the course would be the pesky mosquitoes that took every chance to bite you when you stopped to wait for other riders to catch up. I would love to return to finish this course in the future.

So if you are planning to visit any of the parks for a bike ride, be sure to do your research before coming and expect to be ready for all types of weather ahead. It is also important to figure out the limits your group has pending on the amount of bike riding experience each individual has. Remember to pack water for your trip since it is the key to prevent dehydration during the ride. Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is to enjoy the beautiful scenery and to have fun.

See the list below of parks of the National Park service that have biking trails available:

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Arches National Park (Utah)

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (Kentucky and Tennessee)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

California National Historic Trail (California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missou ri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming)

Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland)

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia)

City of Rocks National Reserve (Idaho)

Colorado National Monument (Colorado)

Curecanti National Recreation Area (Colorado)

Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

Devils Tower National Monument (Wyoming)

Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado and Utah)

El Malpais National Monument (New Mexico)

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

George Washington Memorial Parkway (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia)

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

Great Falls Park (Virginia)

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park (West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland)

Joshua Tree National Park (California)

Katmai National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

Lackawanna Heritage Valley (Pennsylvania)

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

Little River Canyon National Preserve (Alabama)

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (Minnesota)

Mojave National Preserve (California)

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail (Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming)

Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

New River Gorge National River (West Virginia)

Noatak National Preserve (Alaska)

North Cascades National Park (Washington)

Obed Wild and Scenic River (Tennessee)

Olympic National Park (Washington)

Oregon National Historic Trail (Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon and Wyoming)

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia)

Pinnacles National Park (California)

Pony Express National Historic Trail (California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada Utah and Wyoming)

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia)

Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (California)

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (California)

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Yosemite National Park (California)

Zion National Park (Utah)

Visit the National Park Service website for more information.

Love Bikes and Kick Scooters? See My Articles for NYCeWheels

2013-11-17 16.19.42

In a previous post last year I mentioned my connection to NYCeWheels as one of their guest writers. If you have not been keeping up with Traveled Eats on Facebook or Twitter, then you may have been missing out on some of my articles published for the NYCeWheels shop. For those who are unfamiliar with NYCeWheels, it is a small local New York City shop in the Upper East Side that specializes in folding bikes, electric bikes and kick scooters. They always offer superb service and help when choosing an alternate mode of transportation that fits your needs.

Under the “Other Publications” tab in the bar menu above you can find a list of the most recent publications of my articles for one of the few NYCeWheels’ blog sites. Most of my articles are reviews on the products NYCeWheels sell at their shop, or bike paths that I take my personal brommie bike on and detail. To keep up to date on my articles published for NYCeWheels, visit the Traveled Eats Facebook and Twitter pages.

Although the snow seems to be sticking around for quite a bit in New York, look forward to the spring season when NYCeWheels restarts their free bike tours in March. Before the bike tour, the tour guide will help instruct the riders how to use the Brompton folding bicycles from fold to riding. This bike tour either takes you to Central Park or Randall’s Island from the bike shop. The length of the tour will last somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours. It is great activity to do with a loved one, family or friends. After the tour, you will return to the bike shop where you can decide to purchase your own custom brommie, a stock brommie, or choose from one of the other brands they sell at the shop. All you need to do is sign up online for the bike tour and show up. The bike tours are every Saturday at 3pm starting at the shop and run from March through usually the first week of December. Just note that safety is always key at the shop, so you will be required to wear a helmet for the duration of the bike ride. The bike shop does provide helmets, but if you are not comfortable using them, you are welcome to bring your own.

To sign up for a free bike tour at NYCeWheels, click here.

Also be sure to visit the links to NYCeWheels’ website, blogs and twitter pages that could be found under the “Links & Friends of Traveled Eats” tab.


1603 York Avenue (between E. 84th and E.85th Streets)

New York, NY 10028

Toll free US (800) 692-3943

Local and International (212) 737-3078

Mon-Sat 11:00am-7:00pm

Winter Warmer Hot Chocolate

Just as the cold weather and winter blues seems to be sticking around these days, here is a hot chocolate recipe to sweeten and warm you up. This hot chocolate has a slightly thick consistency, but not as thick as sipping chocolate. In this recipe I use Taza Chocolate’s Guajillo Chili chocolate Mexicano discs to give an extra kick to fight the cold.

What you need:2014-01-14 22.21.48

1 cup of half and half

2.7 oz of chocolate (Recommended: Taza Chocolate, Chocolate Mexicano discs, any flavor)


1- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them into a bowl. This will help the chocolate melt easier with the milk since there is more surface area.

2014-01-14 22.27.41

2- In a pot, heat the half and half until it begins to just steam. If you over heat the2014-01-14 22.36.43 half and half, you risk curdling the fats and resulting in solids forming.

3- Pour the steamed milk into the bowl containing the chopped up chocolate. Let the mixture rest for about one to two minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.

4- Using a whisk, mix the chocolate with the half and half until uniform.

5- Return the mixture to the pot and continue to heat at low heat for about five minutes.

6- Serve the hot chocolate in mugs or mason jars. If desired, add whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top.

2014-01-14 22.50.27

A Kickstart Off to a New Year

2014-01-14 21.54.15Happy 2014! It is hard to believe that it is almost a year since Traveled Eats has launched. As we are already well into the new year, I’m looking forward to sharing with you all more travels around the world, recipes and highlights of places great to dine at.

To start off the new year, I just signed up for the 37th Annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour that is happening this upcoming spring on Sunday, May 4th on the good ol’ streets of New York City. This will be the first time I will be riding the forty mile mapped out course through the five boroughs of the city.  I’m hoping to sign up for other bicycling events later in the year, maybe even the NYC Century Bike Tour.

Just perfect for the winter weather, here is a brand new recipe for 2014: Winter Warmer Hot Chocolate

Here is a sneak peak of topics soon to be featured on Traveled Eats:

Biking in National Parks




Be sure to check out the Traveled Eats Facebook page or Twitter for more news such as my other articles with NYCeWheels 0n their blog and other blurbs.

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

2013-12-06 13.12.07

It is about less than a week before Christmas and the bustle and craziness of the holiday shopping has not slowed down. Some of you may have already finished shopping for your holiday gifts, some may be still searching for the perfect gift or not even started yet. Well if you are still strapped for ideas what to get for your loved ones then here are a few suggestions of places you can find around New York City:


1- For those who like a bit of local sparkle: Artists & Fleas and Brooklyn Bleu

In Williamsburg and the Chelsea Market is Artist & Fleas. This is2013-12-06 14.36.28 where you can purchase gifts of unique artistry and design. You will find many goods that have a one-of-kind specialty and vintage quality. This market has an atmospheric feeling of an old world marketplace where you can purchase gifts or goods by the local artists. Here you can find anything from clothing, accessories, jewelry and other nifty items.

One of the vendors that caught my eye at the pop-up fall and holiday Artists & Fleas market in the Chelsea Market was Brooklyn Bleu. Brooklyn Bleu is a boutique vendor that specializes in vintage jewelry, clothing, accessories and home décor. Most of their jewelry styles dates in between the 1940s through 1970s. Pictured here is the bracelet I picked up from the Chelsea pop-up shop that is dated in the 1950s with a gold satin-like finish.

2013-12-14 15.51.35

2-For the one with the sweet tooth: Fat Witch Bakery

2013-12-06 14.40.07Also in the Chelsea Market is Fat Witch Bakery. Fat Witch Bakery specializes in brownies. Here they have eight different flavors to choose from of brownies that just melt in your mouth. Their original brownie has a textural contrast of a crusty top layer and a smooth inside. The chocolate flavor is light and not overpowering where you can sense the vanilla flavor as well. My personal favorite is their Blondie Witch. This brownie has a cake-like texture mixed with chocolate chips. In addition to the regular brownies they offer gifts sets, cookies, hot chocolate and mugs.


3- For the chocolate lover: L.A. Burdick and Vosges Chocolate

In these colder months I love to savor in some hot chocolate to warm up during the winter. At L.A. Burdick They offer a variety of blends and single source hot chocolate that you can have made to order or purchase a kit to make at home with a mini whisk. Each of the single source hot chocolate flavors has significant characteristic flavor profiles to the origin of where the chocolate came from. For instance, Grenada bar has a complex and high acidity flavor with hints of nutmeg, banana and lychee fruit.

My favorite hot chocolate blend is their white 2013-12-01 15.10.09hot chocolate. It is creamy, rich and smooth with a foamy milky cap topped with fresh grated nutmeg. I sometimes treat myself to one of their desserts at the café. Pictured here is L.A. Burdick’s chocolate birthday cake with my white hot chocolate. The cake has a light chocolate cake layer that surrounds a smooth chocolate ganache that has a burst of raspberry flavor.

Vosges Chocolate is a chocolate store that I came across at a Yelp event. Their chocolate specialties have exotic ingredients to make each product have a unique flavor profile. They usually have samples for you to try around the store. All year around Vosges has bulk deals to help you save a bit in the wallet.

I like to get their chocolate covered caramels. They have eight different types of caramels to choose from which comes with four pieces. My personal favorite is their tarte caramels which has flavors of blood orange, hibiscus, Campari and covered in dark chocolate.

If you happen to have a smartphone with the Yelp app, check-in to either Vosges Chocolate location and get either a free truffle (Soho) or a free mini bar (Upper East Side) on your visit.

4-For the quirky person: Story– Home for the Holidays


A great place where you can find unique and quirky gifts is at Story in Chelsea. They love to support local artist and companies. You can always find something neat here. Every other month the small boutique rotates themes. This month’s theme is “Home for the Holidays.” That is quite a fitting theme for this season. They have a variety of goods to choose from for foodies, bookworms, fashionistas, kids and even a little something for the guys.

5- For the sporty type: NYCeWheels

NYCeWheelsA local shop in Yorkville section of the Upper East Side of Manhattan is NYCeWheels. They specialize in kick scooters, folding bicycles and electric bicycles. As most of you know I have been writing as a guest writer for NYCeWheels about a month now testing out some of their products. I purchased my very own custom Brompton from this shop and have been riding the bike more often than I ever had before.

This is a great place to find the perfect bicycle or kick scooter with experts to help you in the store, on the phone or via email communication to meet your needs of the perfect ride. NYCeWheels has a variety of folding bikes for the city commuter from 2013-10-27 15.17.06Terns to Dahons and Bromptons. The best portable ride in the shop in my opinion is the Brompton bicycle. It can be completely customizable from color, handlebar, speeds, seat and tires. It may be a bit too late to get a custom Brompton in by Christmas, but the store also has stock Bromptons ready to purchase in store. Another favorite of mine is the Tern Verge x10. It is one of the bikes that I really enjoyed testing out. It is great for those people who love speed and a very lightweight ride (21.3 lbs).                                                                                                                                                           My Brompton bicycle

If you like to have a little assistance of power while riding you bike, electric bikes may be what you want. Electric bikes give an extra boost when pedaling, so you do not need to use as much leg power to pedal up challenging hills. NYCeWheels offers both full sized electric bikes as well as folding bikes with electric kits. A very popular electric kit at the shop is BionX.

If bikes are not for you, NYCeWheels also offers kick scooters. Kick scooters are great for every day city commuters that want to get to their destination in half the time it would take walking or for recreational use. A very popular kick scooter is the KickPed by GoPed. The KickPed is an adult scooter that is a very well-constructed to withstand the abuse of every day traveling on the city streets.

Unsure if you want to make a purchase? If you happen to be in Yorkville, stop by NYCeWheels to take a free test ride of the bicycle or kick scooter you are curious about. If you have any further questions, there are experts in the small shop there to help you.

When it gets warmer, I recommend for you to take one of their free Brompton Bike Tours which will resume in the early spring. You can sign up here when dates are available.

6- For the one who does not go for the ordinary gift: Evolution

2013-12-06 12.26.05I stumbled upon Evolution one day walking around Soho. Evolution has a variety of odd gifts from miniature model kits, bug collections, bug lollypops, taxidermy, sea shells and exploded skulls. Even if this store does not have what you need to get a gift for the holiday season, it is a store that is quite interesting to check out.







See below for more information on the places mentioned in this post:

Artists & Fleas

Williamsburg Market

70th North 7th Street (between Kent & Wythe Avenues)

Brooklyn, NY 11211

Sat & Sun 10:00am-7:00pm

Chelsea Market Fall and Holiday Pop-up shop

88 Tenth Avenue

New York, NY 10011

Open Daily 10:00am-7:00pm

Fat Witch Bakery

75th Ninth Avenue

New York, NY 10011

(888) 419-4824

Mon-Sat 10:00am-9:00pm, Sun 10:00am-8:00pm

L.A. Burdick

5 E. 20th Street

New York, NY 10003

(212) 796-0143

Mon-Sat 8:30am-9:00pm, Sun 10:00am-7:00pm

Christmas Eve: café closes at 3:00pm, chocolate shop closes at 4:00pm

Vosges Chocolate


132 Spring Street

New York, NY 10012

Sun-Wed 11:00am-8:00pm, Thur-Sat 11:00am-9:00pm

(212) 625-2929

Upper East Side

1100 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10028

(212) 717-2929

Mon-Sat 10:00am-8:00pm, Sun 11:00am-7:00pm


144 Tenth Avenue

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-4853

Mon-Wed, Fri & Sat 11:00am-8:00pm, Thur 11:00am-9:00pm, Sun 11:00am-7:00pm


1603 York Avenue (between E. 84th and E.85th Streets)

New York, NY 10028

Toll free US (800) 692-3943

Local and International (212) 737-3078

Mon-Sat 11:00am-7:00pm

Closes at 3:00pm on Christmas Eve


120 Spring Street

New York, NY 10012

(212) 343-1114

Open Daily 11:00am-7:00pm