Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I am lucky and I have arrived at my Christmas destination: wild and wonderful West Virginia. I was delayed about half a day due to the weather. After work on Monday night I went to my car and it was completely snowed in from the storm we had over the weekend. Because I live in the city and rely almost completely on public transportation, I had not seen the car since before the storm. I was not sure what to expect, but I didn't have time to visit the car and dig it out any earlier, so I prayed for the best and went to the car. I didn't have a shovel to dig out the car but I thought there was a scraper inside that would at least get me started while I came up with a game plan. Plus I was freezing, so why not sit inside and let the car warm up a bit and start defrosting? I'll tell you why not: because it had a dead battery! So now I need to clear off the car in the dark, freezing cold (wearing my nice work clothes) so that I can try to jump start the car and THEN dig a path to drive out of. Oh fun! To make a long story short, the jumper cables did their job and the shovel did its and I made it out. I did not get to leave that night as I had planned, but I got up extra early the next morning and did the entire drive in one day.
It's good to be here!!!
I hope everyone makes it in... Ben, Jen, and Joel were supposed to fly in on Monday. That flight was cancelled due to weather. They were supposed to catch another one this morning. The last I heard it is delayed. I hope it takes off some time!
So really, what would be so bad with having a major holiday during a month that doesn't get snow, ice, and freezing rain? I make a motion... any takers?
The snow is pretty falling over the city.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
When I think of cauliflower, I picture the vegetable that looks like broccoli, but is white. A nice round top on it. If my cauliflower looked like this picture, I would probably freak out and throw it away! I'd never seen such a thing... until this past weekend. I found myself over at the Union Square Farmer's market on Friday afternoon and was quite intrigued by this yellow-green spiky thing. Would you eat this? How do you go about it? Does it taste like the standard white variety? This looks like something growing in the sea. Is it Sea Cauliflower?
FOLLOW UP: Writing this post really peaked my curiosity, so I did a little research and found that this is called Romanesco Cauliflower. One site said it is often referred to as Pyramid Cauliflower. There is also a bit of confusion about whether the veg is really a cauliflower or not. Some groups seem to argue that it is called Romanesco Broccoli. Either way, it looks weird to me. Well, you learn something new every day.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Well this year I stayed in New York for the first time. Instead of rolling out of bed and turning on the TV I rolled out of bed and went to the parade! It was so fun to see the huge balloons going down the streets. Many of them I recognized from seeing them in past years. Most people who had great spots to view the parade arrived at 6:30 this morning. I left my apartment at 9, so a great spot we did not have. Luckily you don't need a great spot right on the street to see the huge balloons. They are so big and high up that you can see them from several blocks away! Here are a few of my favorites as they pass by. I was jealous of the people in the apartment buildings surrounding the parade. I could see little faces in the windows watching everything pass by. What fun!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
(from Cooking Light, November, 2006)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 medium)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
- 1/2 cup diced seeded plum tomato (about 1)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 lime wedges (optional)
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden. Add chili powder, garlic, and cumin; sauté for 2 minutes. Add oregano and beans; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
Place 2 cups of bean mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Add turkey, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
The chill in the air.
The leaves begin to dry.
The time has come.
Today is the day.
The first soup of the season.
I enjoy having a day off that most everyone else has to work. Although my favorite thing to do is hang out with my friends, it seems that when we are off work at the same time all we do is hang out and I don't get a lot done. This way I can take care of my business on Friday: cooking, laundry, shopping, etc. Then I will have Saturday to spend with friends and have fun. Ah, the organized life I have thrown myself into. It is amazing how having less time makes one more organized. Funny how I get much more accomplished when I have much less time.
Well, the soup is done and I think I need to test it out. And I have to say: I just love Hamilton Beach Immersion Blender. It is nearly the best thing on the planet. I use it at the end of the soup-making process to make it creamier...mmm... time to taste test. Bon appetit!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Also I took them to an opera at the Metropolitan Opera. I figure since I work there and was able to get amazing seats for an amazing deal that they should check it out. We went to Barber of Seville, which was the first opera for both of my parents. I was a little nervous because some people have negative reactions to opera (just because it's opera) or find it boring and want to sleep through the entire thing. In my opinion, Barber of Seville is very accessible and a great first opera. Besides, if you are going to give opera a try you might as well start at the top with the Met. Well, they loved it! I was so happy that it was a success... despite traffic and parking issues.
Lastly, on their way out of town Sunday evening I made them stop at Junior's for a slice (or two) of world-famous cheesecake. We split a slice of original cheesecake and one of strawberry. Paired with a cup of coffee was just perfect! Needless to say, we had two empty plates in front of us in no time at all! New York cheesecake is an absolute must. The texture and flavor just can't be beat.
Those are some of the highlights of our little vacation in the city. I love living in a place that can turn into a vacation for me. New Yorkers rarely go to the places that tourists visit. We have different neighborhoods and in general try to stay away from those busy areas so our lives are more 'normal' and we aren't always fighting through the crowds. Because of this, the city can be instantly transformed into a different place when visitors come and we DO go to those places and see our home from a different perspective. Kind of cool. Well, I'm up early and don't think I'll be going back to sleep, so I might as well go on in to work. Early in means... early out!!! I can handle that!!!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The main reason I have been so busy is that I took the big plunge! I am now the proud owner of a full time job! Yikes! I am a working woman with a salary and benefits and the whole sha-bang. But I have to put in the hours to get all this stuff. I've been trying out this new lifestyle for two weeks now. I think it's ironic that only a day or so after my blog post where I mentioned how life is so interesting and you really never know where it will go - I am offered a full time position. I didn't even know one was going to be available. I am still at the Met Opera, in the same department, but now doing administrative work, which is much more up my alley.
In addition to the full time work, our season at the Met opened this week! I attended opening night festivities on Monday. I got all dressed up in the trusty black dress and went in to see the brand new production of Tosca. It was all kinds of scandal and drama...which is appropriate for the genre. Some people hated the production, which took a different approach to a standard opera. The curtain call was filled with booing. I heard screams of "Go back to Europe!" being directed at the stage. Ahhh... so fun. The following days have been filled with opinionated reviews from everyone from the New York Times and the Nightly News to random people in my office. Everyone seems to be an expert. Personally I had a splendid night and enjoyed myself immensely, and that's what matters to me...not that there weren't some things I would change about the production...but still. Besides, we must remember that the majority of the art that is most esteemed today was greatly criticized when it was first presented to the public. Again - who knows what the future holds.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
No big deal or story, it's just this bird that was always in the tree outside where we would eat dinner and some of our breakfasts. I really liked this bird. It was like a hummingbird with a really long tail. Apparently he is really fast too. The world's current fastest runner is from Jamaica, so I guess that's appropriate. I liked this bird and his long tail and I think he kind of liked me. At least he didn't mind having his picture taken. Maybe he wants to be famous. He thought he would get his big American break on my blog.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
My first new bike! I have ridden for most of my life, but I always had a used bike. I had a couple of pink bikes as a kid since I was a girly girl and loved my pink. I didn't ride much during high school, but picked it up again in college as a quicker way to get to class. So here I am with another pink bike!
I went for a couple of rides in the city last week to break her in. I loved it! Today I went for a spin around the park by my apartment. It was a nice ride with a fairly decent hill in the middle; raising my heart rate a bit. Coming from West Virginia, I am quite judgmental of 'hills'. If there's anything I know, it's how to ride on hills. These city folks may beat me on a track or flat surface, but I'll blow their doors off on a hill! Back in the day I lost my training wheels on the hills- and I'm talking uphill... both ways.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This morning we were on our way to Jamaica. We leave the house at a dark and foggy 3AM. We drive to the church and meet up with our group. We gather together and load our bags into vans that take us to the Charleston airport. Once we arrive at the airport, where we intend to catch our flight to Atlanta, we notice a little problem:
No go. Both flights that our group was on were canceled due to fog in Atlanta. After sitting around at the airport figuring out what was going on and what we were going to do, we were told to go home and we will do the same thing tomorrow morning!!! I've never experienced a flight that is completely canceled. I've had a lot of delays and sitting around waiting for the flight to be rescheduled, but being told to go home and come back the next day is a new thing for me! I do have to say I would rather have it happen this way where I can go back to the house, sleep and enjoy the day than be stuck in a random airport or in a random hotel in a random city.
I guess I'll be up at 3:00 tomorrow morning to try this trip again! Hope it works a little better than this time!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Say it ain't so...
Friday, July 10, 2009
As I said before - the wedding was really beautiful. Both Stacy and I got to be bridesmaids where we bonded while planning our future weddings (no time soon - be reminded of our continuing man crisis) and Ben was the Best Man. I also got to play a little clarinet at the opening (for the parents to come down the aisle). The ceremony was followed by many many pictures and a quaint reception before the couple raced out of the hall, unwrapped the car, and escaped to their Parisian honeymoon.
Friday, July 3, 2009
A while back, I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I went last year and had to go again to try to catch the cherry blossoms. We were able to see some and they were so beautiful. It's hard to catch them at just the right time, but we came close. They have many different variety there, so I think there is always something blooming and something not blooming. I got a lot of great pictures while I was there, but oddly enough, my favorites were not of the cherry blossoms, but of other flowers! Oh well...maybe I'm just not in a 'pink' mood.
I have been playing around with taking close-up pictures. I have a few filters to put on my lens that really lets me get in there. Here are a couple of flower shots I took that day with the filters.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Today was a nice day - I actually did not work, so I was able to get a few things done and rest up a bit for the concert. I even did a little cooking! I mixed up some of my pineapple chicken salad. I have made it a few times and I think it's a great, light, tasty sandwich alternative for the summer. It's nice to make ahead because it takes next to no time to make and can hang out in the fridge until it's needed. I got the recipe from one of my Cooking Light magazines from back in the day. I now access the recipe online here. Yummy! Can't wait to eat it!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Lately, I have been spending a lot of time with the BC. A group I play with, the One World Symphony is performing a concert version of the opera, Vanessa by Samuel Barber this weekend and I am playing bass clarinet in it. Actually, it is a reduced orchestra version, so I am playing the second clarinet part, which is mostly bass clarinet, but also has B-flat and A clarinet. Basically that means I am carrying a lot of stuff around and it takes me forever to get everything together before and after the concerts. I am looking forward to the performances, which are this weekend. I feel much more comfortable with the BC now and am having a lot of fun playing it. I mostly enjoy playing low notes - they rumble through me - I like it. :)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
I think that is very appropriate. Whenever I find myself in a bad mood, the first thing I should try is a fresh cup. Often that does the trick. There is nothing like a little coffee break!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Now, I would say the average opera clocks in at around 3 hours. That includes an intermission where you can walk around, mingle, show off your fancy earrings and eat an over-priced cookie. Some operas are a little longer, some a little shorter. But there is this special phenomenon that happens every now and then called the Ring Cycle. I don't want to get into it too much, BUT basically, for those who don't know, Wagner wrote this series of operas (4) that make up the cycle. These operas take huge orchestras (HUGE - he even created instruments specifically for this thing!) and require major productions and are performed (usually) within the span of a week. AND they are much longer than "regular" operas. The Met is currently in the midst of Ring season. This happens every few years - people flock from all over the world to spend night after night at the opera house watching these performances. The first one is only about 2 1/2 hours long and they increase until the last one is a whopping 6 hours long. Ring fans are a breed of their own. These are serious fans. You'd have to be, right? In order to devote about 15 hours to one opera? In one week? Yes, it is broken into four nights, but it's really one huge story. Think Lord of the Rings, opera style. Everyone knows some of the Ring. Click on this to be reminded:
If you are not a serious Wagner fan, the only reason you would put yourself through all this madness is that you are either curious or crazy - or some combination of the three. Anyway - the whole reason I am blabbing about Wagner and Ring Cycle is that today I accomplished the task of watching the entire final opera. All 6 hours of it! Yikes! It was the final dress rehearsal before the Saturday opening performance and they gave us tickets. I was only going to go to the first act (11:00-1:00), but got sucked in and didn't end up leaving until the final curtain at 5:15. Wow. It was pretty amazing and I can add that to my list to say "I've done it". It was great and so epic - the end of the world kind of a thing. But 6 hours! Come on! And just in case you are wondering, I have also seen the first two operas of the cycle. Missed the third, but it will come around again and I will probably catch it just so I can insanely claim to have seen the entire Ring Cycle.
Enough. I leave you with a picture taken 4 years ago. I was visiting New York and had my picture taken in front of the opera house. I had no idea what was to come - I hadn't even been in the building yet...
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Speaking of refresh and reset - I am excited about a little trip I will soon be taking. In just a couple of weeks I will fly down to Florida for Stacy and Jared's graduation. I am looking forward to seeing them and the rest of the family that will make it down. I will only be there for a couple of days, but it will be a nice change of scenery. I plan to take an empty suitcase to fill with Florida sunshine to bring back to New York. If I can bottle up enough I will share. Otherwise I will have to be selfish and keep it in my apartment for myself.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Today I thought I would try to break the curse by mixing up a pot of chili. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I imagine that very soon it will be so warm out that I won't really want a big bowl of soup. This chili doesn't take many ingredients or too much effort, which is nice. I was able to make it while I did the laundry (I know, I am being extremely productive today). I don't know why I don't do something like chili more often because now I have the leftovers for later in the week when I need a quick lunch before work. At one point in my life leftovers seemed unappetizing but now that life is so busy they are wonderful! Especially the kind I can take on the road with me. Perfect. I should learn my lesson and cook more so I have more leftovers!
Originally I was going to go off in this post about knives. But now I don't think I will talk about how the more knives I have used the more I realize that I am a knife snob. How a bad knife is really worthless. In fact, it is more than worthless...it takes up time and effort - stealing precious moments and happiness from life. I thought about that as I sawed away on an onion this afternoon with the "whatever knife I could find in the drawer". I have my own set of knives that I keep in my room, but I didn't feel that I had the time to go search for them. Looking back, maybe the time I would have spent searching would have been equal to the time spent sawing and resawing that onion. Plus I would have had the satisfaction of cutting cleanly and quickly through the vegetable. Maybe I have learned my lesson. But my question is, why do so many people have so many bad knives??? Where do these come from and why are they in nearly every apartment I have stayed in? What about quality of life? Oh - but I wasn't going to get into the knife rant. Oops.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Don't get pinched!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I am now looking for another apartment. I feel like I am constantly on the move - I have been in 8 different places since I moved to New York last year. That's pretty crazy.... but most were for good reasons... I was the cat/apartment sitter! Now that I want to find a more stable/permanent place it is really difficult. Living in New York is, oh, not exactly cheap, or inexpensive, or even affordable. It becomes a bit of a rat race to find that "perfect" apartment and then to find that "perfect" job to afford the apartment. As I said, always on the move. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the right place will show up just in time. Even more so, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this blog will actually post before I turn 30. Cheers!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Last year I posted reasons why I do enjoy my birthday. I would say they are pretty much the same this year. Last year I got to spend the birthday with Dad. I wish we could have been together this year, but instead I got to share the day with Ben. I still can't get over the fact of how many people I share my birthday with. I wonder if this is common. Do other people have friends and family members with the same birthday? Seriously, I have NEVER had a birthday where I wasn't around someone else whose birthday it was. Well, maybe once I did in Tallahassee. I think so, but 1 out of 28... that's crazy.
Well, this year Ben and I hung out and celebrated our day. We didn't have to work, so we went to a movie in the middle of the day and then met some people for dinner. We had dinner/dessert at this place called Max Brenner. I don't even know how to begin telling you about Max Brenner. It's main dish is chocolate. It's a bit of a chocolate factory. They have pipes running across the ceiling and down the walls of the restaurant that are pumping chocolate around. White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate. They have an amazing menu of chocolate drinks, desserts, as well as real food. Some of the real food doesn't include chocolate... but some does! They have more versions of hot chocolate than you know what to do with. When you walk into Max Brenner you are hit with the deep, rich smell of the chocolate being made there. Oh my.... sometimes when I walk by I want to pop in for just a second to take in a big breath of chocolately air. The atmosphere of the place is really nice too... it's kind of dark and energetic which makes it like a chocolate factory for grown-ups. Appropriate place for a grown-up birthday, right???
Anyway - the group of us that went split a few different plates of regular food, which was delicious, we had some chocolate drinks, and then split a chocolate pizza for desert! The waiter even put a few candles in it for the b-day! Oh my - this "pizza" was just amazing. The menu describes it as warm thin pastry topped with double melted chocolate chunks, melted marshmallows, and candied hazelnut crunchy bits. We, of course, got it with a side of sliced banana to add to the flavor explosion. Mmmm.... mouth watering just thinking about it. I need to go back some other time to try the waffles topped with fruits, ice cream, and chocolate. Or the chocolate fondue at the table beside us looked fun and delicious too. Okay, I'm going to stop drooling. But you should seriously go over to their website and take a look through the menu. Some very nice pictures and descriptions over there.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Excluding all the romantic mushiness and overblown, overpriced, overly tacky heart shaped everything in every store - I send my love to those out there who I love on different levels such as friends and family.
I will leave you with a photo from my archives of a little kitty valentine. Enjoy your day!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Bring on the sunshine. Bring on the warmth. Bring on the flowers.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
As the years have passed and two fabulous sisters have watched Cupid's arrows whiz by and puncture everyone else around us, we have decided to take matters into our own hands...the best way we know how. It is becoming a tradition that when we are together we "make men". These men, made out of gingerbread, are delightful. We can create them to be anything we want (or don't want). We have a mold for the "perfect man", but we aren't shallow... we make a variety of men and appreciate them all. We had a tall man, a skinny man, a cowboy, a fat man, a Christian man, etc, etc... and they each had unique personalities when it came to their dress/decoration. They did get a little puffed up when they went into the oven and kind of fell apart when they went into the storage container. But in the end, the most important part... they all tasted pretty good when we bit their heads off and they never had to have the last word. Someday we will find our Mr. Rights at the right time, but for now I will have to be satisfied with what comes out of the oven.
Monday, January 12, 2009
As a part of my new year cooking-at-home extravaganza I busted out my recipe last week and made some breakfast (it was more like lunch, but who's counting). Throw in a side of bacon, orange juice, coffee, and top with maple syrup and you've got happiness on a plate. Bonjour!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I did have a nice time over the holidays. I got to spend time with friends, play a little, move into my new place, and have some fun. A resolution I have made for this year is to cook more. I love to cook, especially to try new recipes and foods. Unfortunately, my many living situations, constant moving, and busy lifestyle made it difficult for me to do much cooking. I vow to make more of an effort to make it happen this year. Not only is it fun, but it tastes good and SAVES MONEY! Tell me what is wrong with that?
I started out the year making a couple of recipes from my new cookbook I got for Christmas: Great Food Fast. This book seems like a pretty good one because it has a lot of recipes that look practical and pretty easy to make. I sometimes get into the trap of making things that take forever and make big gourmet dinners, but I don't have a clue what to make for dinner TONIGHT! This book looks like a good one for that problem. It also divides its recipes into sections according to season, which is nice because (if I follow these sections) I will be able to use ingredients that are fresh and in season (aka. better tasting and more affordable!).
Besides this book, I plan on taking several of my cookbooks that I had left in WV back to NY with me. That way when I want to cook I will have a lot of great recipes on hand. I had been trying to look up recipes on the internet as I went along, but when I found myself without high-speed internet I found myself in trouble! In addition to my books, a few of my important tools, pots, and gadgets are going to have to come with me. The only thing I really took last year was my spice box. It, I knew I couldn't live without. Gotta have flavor even if you don't have a recipe or a spoon to mix it with. A girl has to have her priorities.