Saturday, November 26, 2011

Delicious things

Delicious things have been happening in our kitchen recently. Part of this is because I have found some awesome new (to me) food blogs. Part is because I have been frequenting Essex Street Market, which is closer and much easier on the pocket than Whole Foods. And part just because I'm hungry. I bring to you today, a sandwich, a salad and a stew that have made me very happy.

Lets talk hangover food. NOT that I get hangovers. But if I were to get hangovers, this would probably taste even better than it already did. Why go out to brunch when you can make this cheap and delicious hand held bit of heaven at home? Toast your english muffin (duh). Fry your egg on high to get it crispy on the outside and still slightly runny on the inside. Mash an avocado with a pinch of salt and some lime juice (if you are feeling motivated and are hangnail free.) Mix a little sriracha and ketchup to get what fancy pants restaurants may call spicy ketchup. Assemble parts. Eat. Wash down with strong java. Have a nice day.


 Can we call it healthy since there is a veggie involved?
 I say yes.  

Until the last few weeks, I had not spent much time with Food52. No clue why not. It is a compilation of fun flavors and sheer genius. I highly recommend that you check it out if you have not already. I had the BEST SALAD that I've had in a long time thanks to a dressing on their site. I can't remember the last time I raved about a salad dressing, but this one is the bomb. Red pepper, cumin, citrus. Sound good? Tasted even better. It is my new go to.

Roasted carrots, avocado, walnuts, greens & blue cheese
w/ a hunk of onion foccacia.

Not your typical Thanksgiving leftovers. I spent a relaxing Thanksgiving with Zach's family out on Long Island, where we went out for dinner. It was my first time eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, and while part of me missed my own family and our traditions, I enjoyed both their company and our delicious meal. I had forgotten that part of eating out was choosing from a menu, and when confronted with the choice between turkey and Prime Rib, I quickly ditched the traditional bird. Prime Rib trumps turkey, even on Thanksgiving.

I used our leftovers to make an awesome crock pot concoction. Hmm... looks like Prime Rib scores points in the leftover category as well. It being Saturday, we were at the end of our groceries, but whatever we had went into the pot (except the cheese, I ate that while waiting). It all made sense in the end.

Prime Rib Stew
Leftover meat chunks, whatever is around
1.5 c. chopped cherry tomatoes
1 diced sweet potato
1 diced granny smith apple
1 diced yellow onion
6 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 c. red wine
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

Toss it in the crock pot for a few hrs. I put it on high for 4 hrs.
Remove the bay leaves and garlic before serving.
Smear garlic on a warm baguette w/ butter. Chow down.

The plan for next week is stuffed mushrooms (that may make an appearance at our holiday party if they are successful), butternut squash soup w/ scallops from Ty's Kitchen, and almond chocolate chip cookie sandwiches w/ amaretto frosting. Om nom nom. Here's to some bodacious eats as we enter the holiday season!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"What I'm Thankful for"

There have been so many times this year that I have wanted to post either pictures of my kids or their work, but I have restrained myself. I get it. Other people's kids + the internet = recipe for disaster.

However, I am going to post excerpts from their "What I'm Thankful For" essays, which was an essay competition put on by the Senate Office. Why? Because they are my students and we all worked hard on these. Why else? Because they are heartfelt, funny and inspiring. Because people need to read them and smile. Because I want to dammit.

"What I'm Thankful for"

I'm thankful for a healthy heart because I could love people and be kind to them. Some people in the hospital, their heart is black because they smoke. I'm thankful for a heart because my heart is clean and it beeps in between my ribs. My heart helps me breath, survive and love others. -b

I'm thankful for transportation because people in New York City don't need cars. If you don't have a car and you want to buy one, it will cost a lot of money. Also you could rent  a car, but that is wasting your money. You can go anywhere on a bus, the train or maybe you want to ride your bike. -d

I am thankful for my teachers because they teach us things that are going on in the world. We get better at spelling and wrighting. Sometimes we can write about our selves and also how we feel and share it with the class. I like that.  - s

I am thankful for my parents because my mom and dad go to work to get the money to pay the bills. My mom and dad give me food and wash my clothes that I need to wear for school. - b

I am thankful for parks because us kids have a place to play and have fun when there is nothing else to do. Parks are a place where you can hang out with friends and family. Parks are special because when it is hot you can go to a water park and get wet. - i

I am happy because in Guinea, they don't always have water. Some other towns don't have clean water. In Guinea, they get their water from wells. Sometimes when we have water, we will have a lot of bottles to put the water in. If someone does not drink water, thay will die. I am happy because in New Yourk City they have water. -b (moved to NYC from Guinea last year)

I am thankful for my hamsters. They always come to me when I say their names. They listen to me. I'm mostly thankful for my 6 birds because they help me with my homework. The smarter one died. -a

I am thankful for my friends because they show me compassion. Even when I get mad and don't like them, they are my friends. -t

I am also thankful for a home. I am thankful for a home because some people live outside. I do not want to live outside and people can call me a bum. I am lucky to have a come so i can wash, brush my teeth and have good personal hygiene and not stink. - a

I am thankful for food because without food, we would be skinny. -a

I am thankful for technology because I can text my mom or dad if I am going somewhere, like if I go to the park next to school. - j

I love my family because they provide me with food and shelter. Sometimes parents break up or get divorced. You still have people who love you and that is your family, friends and teachers. Sometimes families have arguments, but it is ok. It is just called tough love, but inside you know you love them. -e


I'm thankful that my kids make me think and challenge me. Now that I've taken a minute to think...

I'm thankful for an easy, loving relationship with my family. Clare recently reminded me that there are many families that love each other, but don't get along well. We do. I won't be with them for Thanksgiving, but I am counting the days until Anderson Family vacay in Arizona and thinking of them on Thursday. 

I'm thankful for Zach with whom I love living life. For a good job with a wonderful coteacher who makes me laugh and constantly helps me put things into perspective. For friends forever. For my people Upstairs. For a vivacious city. For a wide variety of food. For health. For a really good life. 

Thanks. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snippits from the Streets

I bring to you a seasonal round up of snippits from the streets, as captured by my trusty phone.

From the expected Little Italy holiday decor that puts you in the mood whether you like it or not


To the totally unexpected game of Strip Poker that I stumbled upon on Saturday afternoon

Walker St. between Center and Baxter

To the awesome street performers in the Union Square subway station

video

To just plain gross


To the impromptu shows that spilled out into the streets during CMJ
(outside of Arlene's Grocery)

video

Finally, my personal fave, a knitted shopping cart that defies gravity

Orchard St. between Rivington and Stanton

Oh the places you'll go!



My senior year at 'Cuse, I lived with 7 of my best gal pals. Though the estrogen was suffocating at times, the year together in that house solidified friendships that have become like a family here in NYC. I moved here after college without really skipping a beat, but that super smooth transition was because I  have this network of highly entertaining pals, always ready to explore a new part of town or snuggle up with the remote and a bottle of vino. 

Friends. Fam. Party Planners Extraordinaire. 
Unfortunately for us/exciting for her, Joey flew the NYC coop and moved to LA this week. So we threw her a party. A really awesome party at her Aunt Madeline's bakery. Complete with a fancy bartender, all of her favorite foods, and of course, a pinata. 

You thought there wouldn't be balloons and pinata
debris worn as hats? You thought wrong.
Evonne made a NYC vs. LA bracket, which was central to the evening's entertainment. 
The Lakers beat out Central Park in the final round. Bullshit if you ask me. 




Awesome cookies by Aunt Madeline @ Duane Park Patisserie

Ballsy move to pack up and ship off across the country, but it is the "get up and make it happen" in her that got us to Vegas, that had me puddle jumping over to Maui last year, and that I'm sure will drive her to awesomeness. 

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
-Mr. Seuss

Get it, girl. Miss you. Be nice. Have fun. See you soon. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breakneck Ridge


Zach and I have been meaning to go hiking at Breakneck Ridge since the spring, but weekend after weekend, something always came up. Or the rain came down. Until Veterans Day, which was probably our last chance this year. It is pretty silly that it took us until mid November to hop on a train and go romp around the woods just an hour outside the city. 

Flags on Veteran's Day

The main draw at Breakneck is the mile long rock scramble at the beginning of the hike. The area was quarried in the early 1900s, so there are huge boulders strewn all over the place. Some parts of the trail had to be approached like actual bouldering problems. Okay, I see a blaze here and up there. Now how do I get there? Can't wait to take Clare when she comes next summer. 

Just past the halfway point between Breakneck and Cold Spring on the hike.
brean n' blue cheese for lunch. om nom. 



We didn't hike the whole Breakneck Ridge trail, instead we cut and pasted a route together with another trail that took us back toward Cold Spring, where the Metro North dropped us off. The second half of the hike was much more of a walk in the woods, but a gorgeous one at that. Toward the end of our hike, we met up with some two other NYC day trippers (teachers as well) and enjoyed the last of the late afternoon daylight with them. We talked loudly, walking single file, smashing sticks, rustling leaves, and keeping one eye on the elusive yellow blazes. We found out that our two new friends were on the Appalachain Trail a few days before we were and had hiked with our AT buddies, Llama Legs and NoCello. Small freakin' world, man. 

So glad we finally went and can't wait to go back. Big thanks to Zach for making our jaunt happen. And for taking great pics and letting me steal them :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harriet


This is Harriet. She is the squishiest, snuggliest ball of fur that ever waddled this earth. I love her and that is all this post is about. Cat love.   




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall

Just the tip from the Williamsburg Bridge
So fall is almost over. That's depressing. My posts have throughout this delightful season have been sparse, as there was some sort of cold war going on between my computer and the wireless network in my apartment. After giving my computer a lobotomy (aka reformatting it), we are back in working order and getting along swimmingly.

That being said, life has been exactly the way life is. Sometimes looking down from the top, sometimes looking up from the bottom (certainly how it feels on the train at 6 am), but usually somewhere in between.

Here I present a few things that have made life fun recently:
1. This amazing sparkle pedicure.


2. This garbage can, which reminds me of my friend Diana, who finds and snaps pics of the happiest little messages scribbled around our city.


3. My silly ray of sunshine Coteacher. Morrison and I are like peas and carrots in Room 425, coteaching the bejesus out of those young minds. And having a blast at it. Last week we sung a conversation about lining up for lunch. They don't even know what hit them.


4. Adventures. Maureen was up this weekend. We explored Grand Central Station and found a miniature door that led to the roof, where we could look down on people inside the main hall. Baller.




5. An unsuspecting Friday night turned rip roaring good time with girls from SPSG at the NYC Alumnae Reunion at the Campbell Apartment. Nothing like having a manhattan and some crab cakes with your high school classmates AND algebra teacher (Mrs. Day not pictured ;)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Neighbors

My original first sentence for this post is as follows:
In New York, it is easy to go days, weeks even, without seeing anyone you like.

Though, I think that might be a little cliche.

So here is my second go at it:
I have ten million neighbors in my neighborhood. When when I bump into someone who I actually know, while just doing my neighborhood business, it makes my day.

We all have our neighborhood people. Mine include Mr. AM New York "how y'all doin this mornin!" who passes papers into the hoards of people transferring at the City Hall subway station...the school crossing gaurd who keeps the children safe while wearing headphones and texting (who may or may not lift her head to acknowledge anyone crossing) ... the crusty landlady who resents you taking yoga classes in her building and always yells  for crowding the hallway... your neighborhood bums, corner store man, inescapable clusters of high school kids.. I find it way to easy to pop in the ear buds, or just space out as I cross paths with people, but often without so much as batting a lash, or flashing a smile.

I started writing this post because I have started to run into more of my friends in the street and it makes my day when I do. Even if it is for a split second and neither party can stop and chat, just getting that wave or shout out from someone you know makes this big city seem like a neighborhood.

But as I write, it is also becoming obvious that I should just be friendlier to my neighbors. It's not like it is hard to smile.

Monday, October 17, 2011

VT

A few pics from our annual trek to VT over Columbus Day weekend. Some call it leaf peeping. I think Relaxing Weekend of Doing All That Is Fall is more appropriate. 


Leaves were peeped,


Trails hiked,


Rocks conquered,


Landslides discovered,


Snuggles had,


Swings swung,


Fires stoked,


Apples picked,


Horses ridden,

and merriment had by all :)

Avon Walk


Thanks you to everyone who donated to my Avon Walk! 
The walk took place this past weekend and was a phenomenal event. 

The opening ceremony was held on pier 84 at 44th street on Saturday morning. It was cold, windy, and offensively early for a weekend morning. But somewhere between the 12 year old speaker who raised $20,000 in memory of her mom, and finding out that the NYC Avon Walk raised 8.4 million dollars, the hour, the temperature and daunting task ahead of us became very trivial details. 8.4 million dollars. That's a shit load of money.

Joey, Melissa, Me & Martha @ the Opening Ceremony

I walked with my two of my best friends, Joey and Melissa. Melissa's mom, Martha, was our inspiration for participating in the walk. She came to NYC to cheer us on and support us throughout the big weekend. Over the 40 miles that we walked, we had tons of visitors, lots of laughs, a few blisters, a couple cranky meltdowns, but mostly great conversation.

Diana and Martha, our first visitors, met us in Chelsea with posters :)

James, our logistics man/life simplifier,
dared to carry the sail sign across the windy BK bridge
Avon sent out emails throughout the summer urging the participants to train. Every time I received one, I thought, Oh please, this is a walk. A WALK PEOPLE. But if you are fat and out of shape, I suppose you should train. Delete. I didn't train. Today, I am hobbling like a peg legged pirate. Or a three legged dog. Or someone who was too arrogant to listen to someone who was offering some advice. Walking 40 miles in two days was a huge physical undertaking that was lots of fun, but also quite challenging.

Day 2 Crossing the footbridge from Randall's Island to East Harlem 

Weekend Highs:
The PERFECT weather
Saturating the BK bridge with pink
Hearing "thank you" from festive strangers lining the streets from Harlem to Soho to Brooklyn to the UES
Laying on the floor of Melissa's apartment and eating Lasagna after Saturday's 26.2 miles
Dipping into Two Little Red Hens for a Brooklyn Blackout cupcake 
(and bit of 2008 era nostalgia) at 8:00 Sunday morning
The man with the "Titty Titty Bang Bang" poster




Only an event for women, put on by a make up company,
would have flowers on the port a potty doors.

 
The bra-mobile. This guy drove laps around the city,
honking and cheering.

Butts in DUMBO

Lows:
Bottle necks at the beginning of each morning
The last 2 miles on Saturday. They were the hardest two of the weekend 
Blisters and stiff hip flexors on Day 2
Navigating Soho during the high brunching hour
Walking behind a teenage girl with a t-shirt that said, "In It To End It For... the memory of my mom"



The vibe was incredibly positive. Survivors. Celebrating memories. Teams and togetherness. But damn. A couple times each day something would get me. I can't even imagine. I don't want to. I just hope they figure this thing out already.


Love at the Finish Line

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

While leaf peeping in Vermont this past weekend, I made a killer Spaghetti Squash dish that it's  predators raved about, as if they could not believe it was a vegetable. Inspired by Melissa's request for spaghetti Squash, the Epicurious app's walnut pesto recipe, and Ariel's parents' fridge, I concocted Rosemary Asiago Spaghetti Squash. It was super simple and delicious. 


Rosemary Asiago Spaghetti Squash



One spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
a handful of olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated/pressed
1-2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup asiago cheese, grated 
salt and pepper to taste
a splash of olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Lube up the squash with your olive oil. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for an hour. 
Take the squash out, let it cool for a few minutes. When you can handle it, scrape the flesh with a fork to make spaghetti looking squash. Dump it all in a bowl. 
Add everything else. Stir it up. Eat. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Tri

Transition area 5:00 am.
Hurricane Irene fouled up my plans to go to Chicago and compete in the triathlon that I had been training for all summer long. At first I was relieved, but over the course of a few days, I realized that I had unfinished business and needed to find a race. Nike really hit the nail on the head with, "Just do it."

 9/11/2011. I'm standing hip deep in the water in Sandy Hook, NJ, shaking from cold and/or nerves. Ugh. I really don't want this to hurt. Let's just get it over with. Wait, no. Have fun with it. Yeah fucking right. What's that mantra from Born to Run? Easy, light, smooth.. Something like that. Just do that. I was prepared and the sprint distance was totally doable, but that didn't change the newness what I was doing.

The beginning of the swim was nervewracking. Dark, murky water. Feet and legs everywhere. I couldn't get my breathing pattern down and was attempting some sort of head above water casual freestyle mutt of a stroke. Ah! I'm freakin out a little, this is not the way swimming is supposed to go. I navigated to the outside of the pack to avoid the limbs and was able to settle into a routine, pawing through the water, and breathing semi normally. From there, everything fell into place. Biking was a breeze. I found a buddy and together we passed just about everyone else (except one bad ass cyclist chick whose dust we ate). Running was running. By the time I settled into a rhythm, it was time to pump up the jams and haul ass to the finish line. And then it was done. Just like that. This thing that gave me so much mental anguish was actually fun.
Giant smile. I had fun. 

Feelin' the love from my cheerleaders :)









I was so glad to be at Sandy Hook doing a big deal thing on 9/11. The Tri was all women, which usually equates to less intimidating, bordering on wussy (remnants of rebellion against SPSG feminism?). Hardly the case this time. 

During our 6:30am Zumba warm up on the beach, when I should have been concentrating on my flailing dance moves, I sized up my competition.  Also attempting to shake off their pre race nerves were bony, bracefaced teens, saggy old ladies in ruffled bathing suits, biggest loser looking women, super fit, goddess like 40 somethings, cancer survivors, rehabbed this and that, and moms galore.

Zumba. It got ugly.
My usual judgement seeped thoughts would usually be something like, "if they can do this, you can do this." I'd be a liar if I claimed one or two of those thoughts didn't flit across the radar, but mostly, I  was overcome with a reverence for these women. I bet the bulk of competitors were 40-60 years old and they didn't seem to be sweating at all. Talk about inspiration. We stood on the beach for a moment of silence before the race and I just felt like my heart was shining. I guess I was proud of everyone.



Thanks to Mom, Dad and Zach for being there.
Clare was totally there in spirit (that wonder woman, spandex spirit :)
Love you all.