Fall is officially here! It’s the season for pumpkin patches, bonfires, hot apple cider, cozy blankets, football games, making family recipes, and holiday fun. Why not swing into the season by creating a new family tradition by going on a STAYcation?

There are so many fun activities on Long Island this fall that your family will surely love.

Enjoy a classic meal at Happy Times Cafe. Kick off your STAYcation with a classic breakfast or lunch at Happy Times Cafe. And, if you sign up for the email list, you get 10% off your meal. Ya can’t be that!

Visit a local orchard and pick your own apples. You can coat some with a candy or caramel shell, make homemade apple cider, or bake a tasty apple pie!

Hit the trails. Long Island has tons of gorgeous, peaceful hiking trails perfect for people of all ages.

Picnic in the park. From small grassy knolls to sprawling nature preserves, Long Island is home to many state and town parks. Whether your passion is hiking, biking, skating, camping, picnicking, or you’re just looking for a breath of fresh air after a busy day, there are dozens of different parks all over the Island from you to choose from.

Visit a local farm and hop on a hayride. Long Island is home to some of the best family farms. Celebrate this season with a hayride, fresh apple cider, pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and more. Some of our favorite farms are Greenland Family Farms, Brightwaters Farm, and Glover Farms.

Meander through a museum. For a more relaxed afternoon, stroll through the countless exhibits of one of Long Island’s 100+ museums.Galleries and exhibits in fields of science, history, aeronautics, art, local culture, and more, you won’t have to travel far to experience the wonder these museums offer.

What are some of your favorite family traditions? Share them with us on social media!


It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing from emerald to crimson, the air is crisp, and everyone’s getting into the Halloween spirit by carving jack-o-lanterns,
decorating their homes, and conjuring costume disguises.

Back in the 1950s, youngsters loved trick-or-treating at homes where people gave out homemade treats. They’d collect bags of bright red candy apples, salty-sweet popcorn balls, chewy pull taffy, and spooky soul cakes. Although times have changed, you and your family can still make these classic homemade Halloween treats. Gather everyone in the kitchen and make treats to munch on or to fill your candy dish.

First, some simple tips for this spine-chilling holiday:

It’s easy to turn almost any dessert into a colorful and delicious Halloween treat. For example, using orange, purple, or black food coloring can add some spookiness to many ordinary foods.

There are also many candies that can be used as dessert toppings or for decoration, such as candy corn, orange and black jellybeans, and black licorice.

This Halloween let each family member choose one of the old-fashioned Halloween recipes that they’d love to make. Get in the kitchen together, and let the magic begin!




This classic treat will be sure to brighten your Halloween celebration and satisfy even the
biggest sweet tooth.

12 red apples
12 wooden skewers
2 cups of granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup,
¼ cup water
Several drops of red coloring (eyeball it)
½ tsp. cinnamon flavoring

Cook the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until the syrup is brittle when tested in cold water. During the cooking, any sugar crystals thrown on the sides of the pan should be carefully washed down with a wet cloth.

Remove the syrup from the heat and set at once over hot water. Add coloring and flavoring, and mix well.

Insert the skewers into the blossom end of the apples. Hold each apple by the skewer and plunge into the hot syrup. Draw it out quickly and twirl it until the syrup spreads smoothly over the apple.

Place apples with the skewer end down in a wire cake rack, which can be placed over a large bowl so that the apple does not touch anything while hardening.

These apples should be made the day they will be eaten.



An all-time favorite Halloween candy recipe, these popcorn balls are fun to make, and they’re a perfect treat to snack on.

1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup or molasses
1 tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar

Melt the butter in an enameled saucepan. Add sugar and syrup, and cook without stirring until a little dropped into cold water will crack.

Remove from the heat and pour syrup over the popcorn, which should be spread in a large pan. Pour very slowly, turning the popcorn so the kernels will be well coated.

Shape into small balls, pressing well into shape, and wrap each in waxed paper to preserve freshness.



Your entire family will enjoy making this classic Halloween recipe. Not only will you enjoy eating the taffy, but you’ll also experience an old-fashioned taffy pull!

1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. butter
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix ingredients and boil until mixture hardens when dropped in cold water, then add the teaspoon of baking soda. Mix quickly and pour into buttered pans. When cool enough to handle and pull taffy. When pulling taffy, put nothing on your hands and keep your hands cool. After you pull the taffy, cut into sticks, and wrap in wax paper.


A Little Halloween History on Soul Cakes

Trick-or-treating as we know it began hundreds of years ago in Medieval England and Ireland. People would make small, round soul cakes for All Saints Day. Children would go door to door as they do now, but instead of collecting candy and trick-or-treating, they’d sing songs and say prayers for the dead and would receive a soul cake in their efforts. For each cake eaten, a soul would be freed from Purgatory. Make a batch of traditional soul cakes this year! They’re sweet and spicy shortbread cookies, and they just may make their way into your Halloween tradition for years to come.



Makes about 24 large, 3 ½ inch cakes
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¾ granulated sugar
¾ cup butter
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

Add the beaten egg and vinegar and mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a ball. The dough will be firm. Use your hands to press the dough together into a ball if necessary. Cover the bowl and chill for 20 minutes.

Lightly flour a clean, flat surface and roll dough out into ¼ inch thickness. Cut into large rounds using a cookie cutter. Use the end of a wooden spoon to press a cross shape into
the cakes.

Place cakes onto the baking sheets and press raisins into the top of the cakes, if desired.
Gather the scraps and roll again until all the dough has been cut into cakes.
Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12-15 minutes, or until the cake tops are lightly golden.
Cakes can be eaten warm or at room temperature.


“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” —Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most admired actresses of all time. Since Hollywood’s Golden Age, Audrey has captivated audiences with her charm, poise, and talent. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Audrey studied ballet and musical theatre production in her youth and traveled and lived in various European countries. Performance, music, and ballet were ways in which Audrey could express herself and find comfort in tumultuous times, particularly during the war.

Audrey credits her breakthrough moment as an actor to the French writer Sidonie- Gabrielle Colette, who cast Audrey in her stage play Gigi after seeing her on a beach in the South of France. Shortly after her debut in Gigi, she was cast as the lead in Roman Holiday (1954). Audrey went on to star in many beloved classic films such as Sabrina (1954), The Nun’s Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), and Wait Until Dark (1967), for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations. In recognition of her incredible film career, Audrey was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Special Tony Award. She remains one of the 12 people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. For her humanitarian efforts, she was posthumously awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which was accepted by her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer.

As the years passed, Audrey appeared in fewer films and devoted much of her later life to UNICEF. She had contributed to the organization since 1954, then worked in some of the poorest communities in Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992. A month later, Audrey died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.

When asked about the inspiration behind her work with UNICEF, an organization to which she dedicated many years of her life, Audrey recalled her experience during the war and the hardships she watched her family and friends endure. The food was scarce, and at times the only things available to eat were tulip bulbs, dog biscuits and green bread made from a sort of pea flour. When liberation finally came, an organization that would later become UNICEF arrived with clothing, medicine, and food for Audrey’s family and the surrounding community. This experience helped to motivate her charitable work in later years.

In the 1950s, Audrey narrated two radio programs for UNICEF, re- telling children’s stories of war. In 1989, Hepburn was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. On her appointment, she stated that she was grateful for receiving international aid after enduring the German occupation as a child, and wanted to show her gratitude to the organization.

Though Audrey was known for her slender figure, she very much enjoyed eating and cooking. In his book Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit Audrey’s son Sean writes that she stayed thin by keeping active and eating single servings during meals, never helping herself to seconds. Over the years she began eating meat in limited portions. She also believed that your meal should always include a colorful combination of food, saying: “It isn’t very interesting to eat a plate full of white, therefore it can’t be very good for you either.” This style of eating typically included something from each food group and became her approach to a healthy diet. Audrey also avoided snacking and rarely indulged in sweets, apart from a single piece of chocolate after her afternoon nap. Chocolate, she claimed, chased away the blues. Sean says that his mother ate pasta once a day and that she had an affinity for Italian food, likely due to her time living in Rome.

In honor of Audrey, here’s a recipe of her favorite Italian dish– spaghetti al pomodoro– which she ate at least once a week. Audrey believes the best Italian dishes are made from quality ingredients, so be sure to use fresh, quality ingredients (Think: What Would Audrey Do?). Much like Audrey herself, this dish is a classic stunner. For dessert, try vanilla ice cream topped with maple syrup, another one of Audrey’s favorites.



1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced 2 carrots, diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

2 large cans (28 oz. each) peeled Italian Roma tomatoes 1 large bunch fresh basil, washed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 lb. spaghetti pasta

Salt to taste

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


In a large pot combine onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Take half of your basil and remove whole leaves from the stems (you should end up with about 1⁄2 cup of leaves). Add the basil leaves to the pot. Bring sauce to a simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking apart the larger tomatoes as they cook.

While the sauce is simmering, fill another large pot with 4 quarts of water and slowly heat it up. Take the remaining basil and cut the leaves into small pieces using a pair of scissors—this will help prevent bruising and blackening of the leaves. Reserve.

After 45 minutes, or when the diced vegetables are tender, turn off the heat. Let the sauce rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt, if desired. Cook your spaghetti pasta until al dente (retaining a little bit of snap to the core). Drain and rinse the pasta with lukewarm water to prevent sticking.

Taste the sauce, add salt to taste if desired. Serve pasta topped generously with sauce, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and the remaining freshly cut basil leaves. Tips/Techniques

You will also need: Two 6-8 quart pots.


The 1950’s were an extremely experimental time for food. It was the dawn of convenience cooking and TV dinners, post-war recipes, and the Betty Crocker Picture cookbook. Many staples that we see in the grocery store today (and in our own fridge), were being tested in American kitchens. The recipes from that period are both strange and yummy, and sometimes just plain disturbing.

1) Spam Cakes



This recipe involves Bisquick and Spam, found on grocery store shelves today (there is still nothing like Bisquick shortbread). Although there is a lot of stigma surrounding spam today, many people grew up eating it, and still think it’s really tasty. Most people think it is mystery meat, but it’s not. The ingredients are pork (just pork), salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate. Sweet and savory is a great combination, which makes this vintage recipe a winner.

2. Carnation B-B-Burgers



Seriously. Cream in burgers is soooo good. It adds so much flavor. That’s why this recipe is categorized under yummy. It is basically meatloaf on a bun.

3. Sleeping Beauty Fudge (circa 1958)



We can’t help but include this recipe. It is from a Sleeping Beauty comic book from the 1950’s. How cool is that? With ingredients like chocolate, butter, powdered sugar, and magic, this classic fudge recipe is extra special.

4. Molded Tuna Fish



Now for the strange and disturbing. There were so many recipes that included gelatin and meat from the 50s. Weird, right? Or maybe they were onto something.

5. Jello Salad



Again with the jello. This particular advertisment is for the first and only gelatin created exclusively for salads. We have to give credit to the people that engineered this strange (and seemingly popular) treat.

The recipes from this decade are not just the sum of their ingredients-they are a reflection of the cultural atmosphere. They are a history lesson, and would not exist apart from the changes that were happening within American society at the time. They are also super fun and extremely creative, so give them a try! Don’t regret the years you missed out on molded tuna.

Marilyn Monroe

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” -Marilyn Monroe

The 50’s wouldn’t have been the same without Marilyn Monroe. She was one of the most popular actresses and models of the time, and remains an important popular culture icon today.

Monroe left behind a legacy as a beauty icon and a famous star in classical Hollywood cinema. Although Marilyn Monroe was typecast as a “dumb blonde” she appeared in many films throughout her career and even started her own film production company in 1954.

The American Film Institute has named Monroe the sixth greatest female screen legend in American film history. She is even included on the Smithsonian Institutes list of the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time!
She married (and divorced) the famous Joe DiMaggio and the American playwright Arthur Miller. She is widely remembered for her struggles, as well as her successes.
Although she has passed, she left a lasting impression on the world. Not just by being successful in her career, but by creating a lasting public image in popular culture.
At Happy Time Café, we honor the memory of Monroe and the impact she had on American culture.
Next time you stop in our café, order “The Marilyn.” The Marilyn is a specialty sandwich on your choice of bread with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and dressing.

View our full menu here.

Follow us on social media for more fun 50s facts and food specials!


Many things come to mind when the 1950’s are mentioned…rock-n-roll ruled, movies lit up the drive in theaters, Elvis was on the radio, and everyone drank Tang. But if there’s one thing that this decade has, it’s BOOMS. Booms were all around – the economy was booming, the “baby boom” was happening (about 4 million babies were born each year during the 1950’s), and suburbia was in the midst of a huge population boom.

It’s not surprising that this baby boom and suburban boom was happening at the same time. As soon as Word War II ended, huge developers started to buy property on the outskirts of cities. Modest and inexpensive houses were built there, and they were homes that were perfect for young families. (and returning GI’s.) Most had informal “family” rooms, and open floor plans with backyards. Suburbs in the 1950’s were nicknamed “Fertility Valley”.

Many women in the 1950’s were raising busy families, and learning to cook the latest and greatest hot dish. Holiday meals were touted from Betty Crocker to Better Homes & Gardens, so Thanksgiving was front and center come November.

If you happen to browse women’s or lifestyle magazines of that time, you’d notice that the ladies-of-the-house were breaking out the fancy china for the Thanksgiving table, perhaps the Russel Wright set, or the Sale Paden City Rose set. The “good” silverware would also be used, all polished and gleaming. Speaking of gleaming, it was amazing how fancy the ladies looked while preparing this huge meal! The women were in high heels and dresses, and the men wore their Sunday suits and ties. (But that shouldn’t surprise-this was the era that touted the June Cleaver-vacuuming-the-house-in-high heels” phenomena).

You’d also notice certain food staples that are still popular today. Canned cranberries first became available in the 1950’s, kicking off that tradition. Filling your 1950’s gravy boat on the table is also a must, and also don’t forget the tuna noodle and green bean casserole and deviled eggs. The BBQ was also the popular choice, with suburban families enjoying cooking in their own backyards. This decade also marked the beginning of ethnic foods, mainly entering America with the returning GI’s. Good companies were quick to catch on, and “Americanized” versions of egg foo yung, pizza, lasagna, and enchiladas were popular.

Thanksgiving is a holiday where the spotlight is on the food. For fun, we “set the table” for a 1950’s Thanksgiving meal – and we welcome everyone to share their own 50’s memories of this holiday!

Appetizers for the day:
Fruit cup
Seafood cocktail
Dried beef rolls
Cheerios cocktail snacks (aka: Chex mix)
Cheese ball
Deviled eggs
(To see these apps in action, be sure to check out Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, revised and enlarged, 2nd edition, 1956.

Three-bean salad
Cole slaw
Clam broth (or mushroom)
Cucumber Salad
Gelatin & fruit salad molds

Soup: (keep in mind, canned soups ruled this era, thus all the casserole dishes)
Cream of chicken
Cream of mushroom

Main course:
Turkey with the fixings (bonus: it looks just like the perfect turkey in the Betty Crocker cookbook)
Baked ham with glaze
Scalloped chicken supreme
Swedish meatballs

Buttered vegetables (canned or frozen)
Creamed asparagus
Mexican corn sauté
Creamed onions (with mushrooms & peas)
Green peas with sour sauce

Velvet spice cake
Butterscotch brownies
Angle food custard
Ice cream with cherries
Cherries jubilee
Melon balls and sherbert
Orange snowballs

In the 50’s, there was much to be thankful for – the entire decade was known for creating contentment and stability for many young, American families. While today’s world may seem a little more complicated, the tradition of Thanksgiving is still the same. Give thanks! (And drink Tang).

Bring A Retro Vibe To Your Corporate Holiday Party

Each year, the holiday season brings the usual holiday parties, complete with egg nog, bows, and carols. These traditional holiday celebrations can be lovely, but have you ever noticed how they start to run together in a single gift­wrapped blur? There’s no rule that every corporate holiday event must follow a single script. This year, consider transporting your guests back to the days of the jukebox and the poodle skirt with a 1950s­ themed event.

The Menu
What better icon is there than the diner for 1950s food and fun? The 1950s made fountain drinks and sandwiches part of the American culinary landscape, and these items coincidentally work well for catered corporate events. Buck the typical holiday menus in favor of a fun and popular 1950s­ themed menu with favorites like fountain drinks, grilled items, and specialty sandwiches.

The Atmosphere
A 50s atmosphere is perfect for a corporate event because it allows guests to mix and mingle while nostalgic tunes play in the background. This wholesome setting puts people at ease and gives them a glimpse of the past. For a seasonal touch, you can always listen to holiday songs by Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, and early Elvis.

Celebrate at Happy Times Cafe
Happy Times Cafe is a local 1950s­ style cafe that offers everything you need for a cool retro holiday event. Happy Times offers catering both for delivery or onsite events in the retro space. Onsite parties have the option of using a dedicated party room, celebrating in the main dining area, or even renting out the entire restaurant. The food at Happy Times is the perfect combination of 1950s style and healthy eating. With options ranging from traditional burgers and fries to healthier wraps and vegetarian dishes, Happy Times finds a way to put a 1950s spin on crowd­pleasing bites. For a truly unforgettable taste of the 50s, try a Brooklyn egg cream or other traditional fountain drink. Try something different this holiday season, and celebrate with Happy Times in authentic 1950s style. The Happy Times Cafe team is available to work with corporate event planners for celebrations both on­ and off­site; we can help you plan the perfect retro menu for your guests and their needs.

Contact Happy Times at (631) 270­4836 or info@happytimescafe.com. You can also visit their website at www.happytimescafe.com.

The King

Elvis Presley, one of America’s most renowned cultural icons, was a lot more than just 18 number one hits and 37 top ten hits. Many know him as the incredible musical success that he was, but did you know…

He was named the second top earning deceased celebrity

In 2014, Forbes recognized Elvis’s continued impact with this award. As he is still admired by many it is no surprise he has accumulated so much wealth posthumously.

He had a twin
Imagine a world with two Elvis’s. I don’t think the 50’s could have handled that. Sadly, his twin was still born but Elvis kept the spirit of his brother alive by speaking of him often throughout his life.

Elvis was the first in his family to earn a high school diploma
Just a year before he launched his music career in 1954 with his recording of “That’s All Right,” he was working at a machinist shop right out of high school.

He was drafted after he was already famous
Elvis served his nation proudly. He achieved the rank of sergeant and was honorably discharged from the army after 2 years. If it weren’t for his time in the army, he would never have met his wife, Priscilla Beaulieu, who was the daughter of a U.S Air Force captain (she was only 14 when they met!)

He helped out teenagers
On several occasions in Los Angeles and Memphis, Elvis helped out teens that were headed down the wrong path and were in trouble with the law (it’s said he even paid their bail!) He wouldn’t let the teens go without letting them know exactly what they did wrong and how their life could turn out if they didn’t shape up. Elvis did his best to make sure they would try to become better citizens!