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Friday, April 30, 2010

3 Little Girls

This afternoon while getting a mani/pedi, a mom came in with her 3 daughters. Teen-ish daughter Daisy, tween-ish Milly and small fry Lulu. Cutest names for the 2nd cutest trio of sisters. My sisters and I being the first.

Today is Baby Sister's last day on campus as a Freshmen! Huzzah! I feel like I was just snapping this pic out of the window of The Colonel, the family mini-van, as we drove around campus during move in day.

Take that back, I feel like you, sweet Emily, were just born. During the hurricane of 1991.
It was a quite the storm, you were quite the baby, and are nothing short of fabulous now!
Someone's food from our dinner on move in day/your 18th birthday at Crispers.
I miss Crispers. I miss home. So so much.

And I miss laughing so hard we cry and the time we cry so much we laugh. Like in this picture.
Dinner was over, it was time to go! Who cried more mom or the sisters?
This picture and our 'college road trip' is a memory that will always always make me smile.

This summer, middle sister is staying in Texas. Hope to visit both her and E back in Florida.
As sad as it is to not all be together this summer, it is amazing, scary & wonderful to dream and pray about where our lives are headed. I think we are going to do great things.

"I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)"


Thursday, April 29, 2010


This is a dinner that almost wasn't.
I must have found this recipe last weekend while I was home alone. And I must have gone thru the list of ingredients (mostly all stuff you'd have already in a well stocked kitchen) and ordered what I didn't have to be delivered from Peapod.
Then, this week happened. Stress. Wanting to cry. Feeling like it's my 1st year all over again things are so hard. I forgot all about my planned out dinner.
So when THIS showed up in my grocery bags yesterday I had no clue what it was for.
Fennel seed? What did I buy THAT for?
Quick search thru my internet history and viola, here I am eating now!
What are fennel seeds? Stay with me, you'll see.
Sidetrack - back in day I use to eat fresh, delicious fennel, the taste twin of everyone's favorite candy licorice. LOVE FENNEL!
Food Network allows you the option of printing the recipe in card format. Clearly I did not do that. Note to self: fix printer.
I also really didn't follow the recipe all that much aside from which ingredients to use. Most measurements I eyeballed.
There my friends are fennel seeds. The smell took me back to muddy feet & ladybug days.
The recipe said "coarsely crushed". I laid the knife ontop of the seeds and rocked the knife back and forth. I feel like I learned that somewhere fancy!
Like I said, this recipe is great because it has only a few ingredients and aside from the fennel seed you probably have everything in your kitchen now. Wait, well you may need the basil too. BUT remember last week's recipe? Yup, the basil was still edible so I used the leftovers!
There's a marinade for the chicken which is basically lemon juice, olive oil & the fennel seeds. So simple!
Ah lemon. I love this picture, really. I used the juice from one lemon for the marinade & fake juice for the sauce. Whatever. Also the sauce calls for grated lemon peel. You can slice a thin piece of peel off, just try not to get any bitter white from the fruit. I know I heard that somewhere fancy!!
Here's the second part of the recipe, the basil sauce in the works. Pink Cuisinart I love you long time. I made this while the marinade was doing it's thing.
Here's the finished product on a a pretty plate, ready to be eaten. I added raw baby carrots (please if I ate fresh fennel as a kid you know I love raw veggies) and some slices of Pecorino Romano cheese. This recipe could very easily become a favorite. It's simple to make and tastes SO refreshing.
I have plenty of leftover basil sauce. I think it would be great on pasta with freshly cut tomatoes and some sliced cheese on top. Or possibly as it's own marinade.
One more thing, since all this talk of fennel makes me think of being a little girl, I must point out this beautiful song little sister added to a recent blog post.

I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green.
I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest swing.
I had a dream ~ Priscilla Ahn, Dream

Happy Thursday!


ps- For my husband Tommy, If you could only flip the bird to the corporate world and come home for dinner. Thank you for working so hard for us today & for our future. Don't forget I want a ginormous, amazeballs kitchen in our dream house :) Love you to the moon and back, Your Little Wife

Monday, April 26, 2010

Deep Breaths

Today was a hard day. Could feel it by 10am. Sigh.
I ate a bag of chips with lunch, with each bite I knew I was stress eating. Tomorrow I'll be better about that.

Since it's pouring out, I'm not out for a run, which would be perfect right about now. And I am by no means a runner. I love to run but I grow bored. I miss the gym, perhaps I should get back into a routine there but right now there's too much to do at work.

I know I needed to de-stress so I turned to some relaxation when I got home.
I found a free download of an Exercise TV Yoga routine on iTunes. Search for "Anytime Yoga" and the PM Yoga is what I found free today. It's only 10 minutes but it's relaxing for the new to yoga types like me. Meaghan Townsend is the 'host' of the video and she's my favorite trainer from their site.
Exercise TV has some great videos, not just yoga ones either...check them out!
Namaste, sweet readers.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Supermarket

More like STUPIDmarket.

As a kid, I loved the Supermarket. Really. As a teen I hated it because I realized that in our small town everyone recognized us being related to my grandparents and would come up to chat. No joke. They were super involved in the church they attended before moving to Florida and were still like The Mayors of the church & our local Main St years after they left. My dad loved to make runs to the store after 10pm and I wonder if this had something to do with it.

Now, as a city girl I admit that I have become accustomed to the joy that is delivery.
You can get EVERYTHING delivered here. Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond and of course groceries. I have been using Peapod for our groceries for a loooong time and will continue to sing the praises of it, because it rocks. As annoying as it is to make the minimum total some weeks and wait for the delivery it beats dealing with long lines & stupid people.

I went to the real grocery store today and let me tell you I deserve another bottle of bubbly for dealing with it all.
distributed by a company out on Strong Island. I less than 3 the homeland.
Seriously most random purchases ever. I went for the French Bread pizza. But seriously C-Monster, Lemonade and Vita-Tops?!?! How'd you get in my house? It's all good, been hearing about Vita Tops from Hungry Girl for ages now, finally found them up here in the Bx. Expect a review on them soon!

Suburbs and a big roomy supermarket will someday sooner than later be a reality but for now, I'll see you in another month or so Stop & Shop!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun Friday

My day in food included a really hot cheesy NY Slice from up here in the Bronx
Work bestie and I sat in the Pizzeria for half our lunch, which we never do since there's usually so much to do in our classroom, but today we stayed, attempted to chat about grown up things and not our 13 crazy 1st graders and got some well deserved peace during lunch.

Tonight, after our sushi dinner (in a neighborhood that is a complete 180 from where I had lunch) Husby & I were about to buy a bottle of wine when I realized I got champagne last weekend at Best Cellars. NICE. Nothing like realizing you have the best drink EVER already chilling at home. Bubbly makes everything better. And then, lucky girl that I am, I was treated to such a sweet toast...
"Here's to teamwork" clink, clink
awwww, love him

Pizza for lunch, champagne for a bedtime snack...may you all be as full and happy as me today


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not my mama's pasta night

I grew up on jar sauce. Ragu, Prego, you name we, we ate it. Usually on Wednesdays. With really good store brand italian bread. And a salad with good also store bought dressing. Most of my friends growing up were from big Italian families and I always pigged out on the pasta when I was over for dinner, not realizing it was the 1st course, not the main dish. Oooops.

Over Spring Break, I found this fun looking pasta at Target, made by Giada!
and on the back, a recipe for her simple bolognese. Hmm sounds so good - chopped meat, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, basil...Let's do this!!!!

Ok, guess not everyone loves Giada. But I do. So deal.
So as not to run into another pizza problem from earlier in the week, I laid out ALL the ingredients before I started chopping & cutting & sauteing & ....yeah. No more rookie mistakes!
Ah Basil. I have a love hate relationship with Basil. It's so good but treats me so bad. When I cook with it I have to be very very careful. I touch my face or neck accidently and wham - self-diagnosed allergic reaction. So I was really really careful during the prep work.
There's a lot of chopping to be done, made easier with my mini pink food chopper.
Lots of chops & 20 minutes later everything was in the saucepan, making the apt smell amaaaazing. I got full just breathing it all in.
Fast forward to last few steps...I feel like I'm doing a TV food segment and thru the magic of TV the meal is finished!

So pretty. I love to use a 'fancy' looking noodle. It just makes the meal, well fancier!
(still rocking the gunmetal nail polish...loving it, I must say)
Sauced all mixed in and ready to eat.

Verdict - total hit. Had for left overs today. Realized I forgot to put any cheese in the sauce at all. Woops. I would, however, add some extra spices. It was a little on the eh side in the spice dept. Jar sauce must have left quite an impression on me :)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wine Wednesday

Cotes Du Rhone is quickly becoming my favorite red wine. I first had it in Paris, where, well everything is better in Paris. I grabbed this bottle at Best Cellars over the weekend.

My gunmetal nailpolish - yay or nay?

Hope to do more Wine Wednesdays - so fun!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Lunch Bunch

I love lunch. Ok, I love every meal.

Lunch at work is crazy time. I have 50 minutes to eat and get ready for the afternoon. Not a lot of time. Restaurant wise there are some good choices around our school but not enough time to go out or get take-out. Usually I get a sandwich from my beloved Deli guy at the Supermarket across the street. But that even takes time & I am getting bored of my turkey & swiss. Have not cooked yet this week so there aren't leftovers. Frozen meal it is!

I have blogged already I think about my love for Amy's meals. Today I tried a new brand: Kashi
Kashi has some great foods - cold & hot cereals, snack bars and frozen meals. Check out the website for a complete list.

yup eating at one of the kid's seats...see the alphabet sticker?

Today's meal was Chicken Florentine.I believe I read about it in Eat This, Not That. Florentine was suggested over another brand's chicken entree because it is more filling and has less sugar.
The book is one of many in a series, I really suggest you check them out. It really makes you help make good food choices.
I was a little nervous since there are so many ingredients & thus room for error/bad tastes. But let me tell you - this lunch was SO good! Chicken, orzo, real mushrooms & peppers: it all tasted so good. And cheesy. Melted gooey cheese thanks to a little too long in the staff room microwave. I think the machine is possessed...

The back of the box talks about the fiber & protein content and how filling this meal is.
Along with the meal I had an apple, a small box of raisins and 2 rolo candies. Drank some ginger ale & lots of water. I was not hungry at all this afternoon! YAY! No headaches or really wanting something sweet either. Yay Kashi!

Remember when you eat a frozen meal like this to drink plenty of water as the sodium content is usually very high! This meal has about a quarter of the rec'd daily intake. I've seen meals which MUUUUCH higher amounts so considering how happy I am with how it tasted & keeping me full, I'll let it slide but will be sure to keep drinking water next time I have it for lunch.

What do you like for lunch?


Monday, April 19, 2010

Surviving Rookie Mistakes

Tonight I made a classic rookie cooking mistake. Ugh. Thanks to my snacking habits it wasn't a total disaster.
I love Boboli. If you have not discovered this amazing ready made pizza shell I suggest you get acquainted.

These are the typical ingredients - A package of 2 individual size crusts, shredded cheese & sauce. I grew up on jar sauce, can't help it, so I get 'fancy' and buy Ragu's pizza sauce.
It's a great easy & interactive dinner. Typically Husband is home and we make together but tonight I was on my own to start out.

This is what a pizza is supposed to look like when all the elements come together. However, tonight things did not go as planned.

Midway through applying the sauce to my crust I realized I hadn't checked on the cheese. Did we have any? Was it any good? Of course it will be!!

WRONG. Half a bag of unedible cheese. Awesome. What the heck am I going to do with sauce on a crust?

*cue mission impossible music*

Enter - the string cheese! aka my saviour!

How great is string cheese - I could eat an entire block of mozzarella so the portion control here is key for me. My favorite snack. Kids love it too as do my fellow kids at heart.

2 string cheese later...ta-da! Pizza about to get cooked in the toaster oven.
I'm really happy about tonight's kitchen adventures for a few reasons
1 - I used what I had in the kitchen. Always a fan of that. Hate making special trips. OK I lie, I love to shop but not last minute on a Monday night!
2 - I thought on my feet. A "make it work" moment for the kitchen if you will.
3 - No freaking out. No tears. No burns. And no phone calls to mommy asking what to do or to Husband asking him to bring home take-out

Go me!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Violet Hour

(Please excuse the bad BB camera pic...)
Lychee Martini - so so so good

"This is the violet hour, the hour of flush and wonder, when affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see a unicorn. But it would not be a martini if we should see him."
from The Hour by Bernard De Voto via The Cocktail Hours: Dos and Don'ts


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Take on the Double Down

By now you may have heard about the KFC Double Down no buns just bacon & cheese inside two pieces of chicken (grilled or their original recipe crispy). Ummmm ok??

I'll pass -- no surprise there.

I did however make my own version tonight - in the form of a SALAD!

I am one of "those" people who likes to eat their vegetables. I love salads and any kind of raw vegetables. I was helping my dad in the gardens he kept in the backyard from the time I could stand up long enough to not fall over into the dirt. Yes I said gardenS plural. We had one for pumpkins, squash & potatoes with sunflowers on the borders. Another had lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and all the mint, basil, parley and fennel you could ask for, surrounded by irises. I know I'm leaving some stuff out. My dad kept a great garden and I know he misses it. Florida soil just isn't as friendly as NY soil was.

That said, it kinda pains me to admit this lettuce is from a bagged salad kit. It's just not the same!
I really need to get to the Greenmarket soon!

I added bacon flavored bits (la-la-la not listening when you remind me how unhealthy they are!!) and some lite dressing. YUM

The chicken fingers - they were so good tonight! Here's what I did to the chicken:

warm grill pan & drizzle with olive oil
squeeze juice of half a lemon over chicken
and sprinkle on salt & pepper
cook chicken lemony side down
squeeze other half of lemon over chicken as it cooks

Can you tell I like lemon??
I never remember to marinate chicken over-night but this is the next best thing.

Some folks from Invisible Children DID go try the Double Down & made a video about the...experience. Check it out here, funny stuff. If you skip eating out this week and cook your own meal, consider donating the money you've saved to IC - they are doing great work in Africa!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Recap

Yeah I know it was over a week ago. Woops. But here's a little recap of Easter 2010 - uptown style.

These pics don't do justice to how amazing this church is. I really feel lucky to have gotten married in such a historic & beautiful church.
Did not get married here in the Nave where Sunday services are. Still it makes me smile to go back and sit so close to Christ Chapel where we did say our "I dos"

I learned during the sermon that this Easter was very special as it fell on April 4th. On April 4 1967 Dr. Matin Luther King, jr gave an Anti-Vietnam speech from here. I had no idea! I don't want to get political in an otherwise food & fun blog so I will just say it was a very powerful experience to find out & hear more about the event. Here's a quote from the 1967 speech "If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."

Brunch reservations were stupidly made on the Upper East Side. Which had to be cancelled last minute when I saw what time it was when we left church. Never going to get from West 120s to East 60s in half an hour. Plan B. Le Monde I love love Le Monde. :)
Looks really healthy right? Granola & Yogurt with yummy fruit. So healthy. Please pay no attention to the side of bacon hiding in the upper right corner :)

After brunch, I can't believe I did this but it is what it is, I changed shoes. UGH. I love my heels but they do not love me. So, flip flops came out and big girl shoes went away. We walked down to 93rd & got Rita's ices. No way I could have gone 20+blocks without the switch.

Hope you had a blessed Easter & Passover season. Spring is here!


Reading & Eating

Magazines & Food: AKA a well spent last day of Spring Break last week

Go run & get the May issue of Glamour. Lauren Conrad is on the cover. How much do you miss her Laguna Beach and The Hills days? I know me too. Girl crushed on her way back then and will do so forever. Also, and sorry to get sidetracked but celebs do that to me, Kristen Stewart - another girl crush of mine. She's amazing. Ok back to the magazine. LC's article includes an interview about friendship that she, Lo & Whitney did. So cute.
There are of course, some great food & health articles.
Great recipes in the Do Anything Better Guide including a No Lettuce Salad and Sea Bas with Black Olive Salsa - here fishy, fishy!

The Lazy Girl's Guide to the Grocery Store. Considering I get my groceries delivered to my apt I think I may qualify as slightly lazy ;) A run down of 8 foods we love ( cereal, ice cream, bread, yogurt, etc) and the best 2 brands to buy. I love this list!

And the always great a few months before summer - How to get a Flat Belly Guide my favorite part of this article? A list in the side bar of foods to eat more of and foods to avoid. Eat more blueberries, salmon, watermelon, plus a few others and Eat Less - canned soup (I can deal), popcorn (tears) dried fruit (more tears). Why are my favorite snacks so bad for me??

One last thing to share about this issue - and it's so so important - Summer Skin. There's a great article about all the different spots and whatnot we have and how we can prevent more damage and the dreaded C word. I have such fair skin, I burn so easily! Wear Sunscreen. 'Nuff said.

In case you were wondering what was inside the bag from Buchon Bakery....delicious ham & cheese sammy. NOM NOM NOM
Happy Reading & Eating!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lunch at Kitchenette: Lots of Favorites

There are a lot of things I LOVE. You, blogs & coffee. E! News, flip flops & bubble baths. Wine, sandy feet & lip gloss. You get the idea.

Chalkboard Menu Easels, Mason Jars & BLT's are also on the list. It's rare to find them all in one place but ...drumroll....I found them at Kitchenette! Yesterday I headed Downtown to their Uptown location for a late lunch. That's what happens when you live in the Bronx: everyone's Uptown is your Downtown. Anyway, I headed downtown, cut thru Columbia's campus and walked up a bit to Amsterdam. Everyone and their mother's cousin was outside enjoying the sunshine. It was glorious.

This lovely favorite greeted me on the sidewalk at the entrance. Sometimes I wish I could write all fancy like that at work but I don't think 1st graders need to learn about swirly letters quite so soon.

The front of the restaurant has an adorable counter with all their baked goods. Go see for yourself. But I don't want to spoil your or my lunch so no pics :)

Around the corner from the entrance & counter is the seating. This place is shaped like an upside down U and a little cramped but fun. I've been for weekend brunch, if you go then prepare to wait. But since it was Monday and after the typical lunch rush I got seated right away. I spied a favorite on the menu very quickly. Turkey BLT. Hello lover. Available with fries, green or cole slaw on the side. Hello slaw come to mama!

Can we discuss the awesomeness that is how they serve cold beverages? I really love everything having to do with dining & entertaining. Well duh, that's the subject of this blog. You name it: everyday dishes, fancy china, gadgets - all loves of mine. But drinkware is my true love. Probably because of all the plastic stuff we had growing up I'm now attracted to everything breakable. Funny how that works out eh?
That being said, I love how a mason jar is relaxed and so casual for enjoying a beverage. Remember that part about loving sandy feet? In a perfect world I'd have sandy feet and a mason jar of lemonade in my hand every night. Lip gloss optional.

If you're uptown near Columbia & Barnard head over to Kitchenette for a great meal. They also have a downtown location on Chambers Street.