Friday, October 22, 2010

Secret Single Behavior

In season 4 of Sex and the City there was an episode where Carrie + Aidan {swoon!} move in together + Carrie complains she can no longer engage in her "secret single behavior".  I never really thought much of this until I entered singledom + rediscovered what it felt like to do exactly what I wanted, exactly when I wanted without having to consult anyone else.  I was reminded of this luxury last night after I had a really long day at work + decided to cancel my plans for the evening + retire to my apartment instead.  Little did I know the recipe for the perfect evening was waiting for me inside my mailbox when I got home.  Between the latest issue of US Weekly + my latest Netflix receipt, I was all set.  

Upon entering my apartment I immediately changed into my favorite yoga pants + my Dad's old Notre Dame sweatshirt, twirled my hair up in a bun + started on dinner.  This is where the secret part comes in....I secretly love eating honey nut cherrios for dinner + do so more than I'd like to admit.  When I first moved to NYC cereal was a great inexpensive option for dinner, but now I make more than enough money to eat whatever I want + still find myself craving it after a long day.  When dinner was "ready" I sat down at my kitchen table to eat + read {I use that term loosely} US Weekly, a task that can be completed in 20 minutes, tops!  After dinner I popped in my movie, crawled into bed with my pups + ate Tootsie Rolls for dessert as I watched "Into the Wild".  This time around I am savoring every moment of secret single behavior full well knowing it's not going to last forever.


Secret Single Girl Dinner

Grocery List

skim milk

1 banana

Dry Goods
2 cups honey nut cherrios

Game Plan
Add 2 cups of cherrios to cereal bowl + slice banana on top.  Add skim milk to taste, I prefer to add very little to keep cereal crunchy.  Best served with celebrity gossip or fashion magazine.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My iPod, The Remix

I first became interested in music when I was 2  + my Dad would put on records in our family room + I would dance around to the Stone's "Waiting on a Friend" or Toto's "Rosanna".  I became obsessed with music at 4 after hearing Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon" + insisted my dad play "Colour By Numbers" repeatedly whenever I was around.  I then fell deeply in love with music at 11 when I discovered Pearl Jam's "Ten" + realized that the right song at the right time could quite possibly cure anything.  As a kid I went from having the most records on the block, to the most cassette tapes, to most CD's + of course now have a vast collection of Mp3s.  My taste has gone from Top 40 to grunge to it's current day status as a mishmosh of everything.

After my breakup it was no surprise that I immediately turned to my iPod when I couldn't fall asleep a night, needed to release a little steam running, was traveling back and forth to stay with friends in the city to escape my house in suburban New Jersey or even just as an attempt to distract myself from my aching heart {dramatic, right?!}.  When I began to shuffle through my iPod I was in for a rude awakening when I realized that my library was overrun with love songs after having been rather smitten for the last 4 years.  I immediately began downloading songs like Chevelle "Send the Pain Below", Destiny's Child "Survivor", Kelly Clarkson "Since You've Been Gone" get the idea.  By now I think I've stabilized +  am back to having a well balanced collection of a little bit of everything. Here are 23 {my lucky #} songs I've been listening to lately:

Rock on!


Monday, October 18, 2010

One of those days....

{tasty brunch spot in my hood}

Saturday was one of those days I did nothing I should have done {drop off my dry cleaning, pick up dog food, hit the gym} + instead did exactly what I wanted to do.  I awoke to a perfect autumn day that forces you to ignore your nagging to do list, get out of your apartment + soak up every second of it.  It was the first time since March the weather called for me to pull out my newest pair of boots + slip on my favorite Marc Jacobs jacket to go pick up a coffee + the New York Times on my way to the dog park.

After the park I met up with my bestie for an extended brunch, to make up for all the face time we missed out on while she was in Sweden for the week.  From there we meandered around to some of our favorite stores + stumbled upon the most precious handmade street fair, where we oohed + ahhed over all the cute things.  After shopping we decided a few cocktails were in order so we met up with our other bestie to toast to the good life + indulge in some of our favorite comfort food.  Since we polished off a cheese burger with truffle fries, mac + cheese + a slice of "birthday cake" {with ice cream of course!} , going dancing later that night was the perfect solution to balance out our caloric intake. 

We parted ways to head home to our respective apartments + get ready, then reconvened downtown to meet up with more of our friends to dance the night away.  As if we didn't already pack enough into one day, our friend Amos insisted we go to the best karaoke place in New York to finish off the night. When I got home for the evening I looked down at my watch + realized it was almost time to get up + quite possibly have one of those days all over again.

{frothy coffees}

{french toast}

{stamp shopping for Katie's Etsy shop}

{sweet sign we saw in front of a west village brownstone}


{truffle fries=nirvana}

{birthday cake is appropriate whenever you have a taste for it}

{late night karaoke in chinatown}


Friday, October 15, 2010

Genetic Predisposition

Without fail I utter the words "I could really go for a sweet treat" approximately 30 minutes after I eat dinner every night. While one might think this is a bit odd both my cousins Katie + Krissy have the same daily ritual.  When I was trying to think about where this behavior may have originated I immediately thought of our Grandma Dorry, who religiously ate a sweet treat EVERY night before she went to bed.

 Wednesday would have been Grandma Dorry's 84th birthday + our family in Chicago gets together every year for a special dinner to celebrate her life. Since my cousins + I are split between New York + San Francisco we can never make it.  This year Katie, my New York based cousin + I decided to have our own celebration, order dinner + make one of our Grandma's favorite sweet treats, caramel candies.  To complete our night we video chatted with Krissy in San Fran to catch up, reminisce + laugh a lot.

Riding in the taxi back to my apartment that night I couldn't help but be a little sad that it has been 4 years since we've actually been able to spend my Grandma's birthday with her.  As I felt tears begin to well up I was reminded of the sweetest treat of all, my family, who all in our own special way allow her legacy to live on through the traditions that she taught us + other traits we are genetically predisposed to.


Fleur De Sel Caramels {adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook}

Grocery List

1.5 cups heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dry Goods
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Spice Cabinet
1 teaspoon Fleur De Sel {plus extra for sprinkling!}

Game Plan

Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.
In a deep saucepan (6 inches diameter by 4 1/2 inches deep) combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don't stir - just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!
In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel - it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Be patient with this step and it will get there. Very carefully (it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Starting at 1 end, roll the caramel up tightly until you've rolled up half of the sheet. Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly. You will have 2 (1 by 8-inch) logs. Sprinkle both logs lightly with fleur de sel, cut each log in 8 pieces. Cut parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Birthday Bathtime!

When we were doling out responsibilities for my dear friend Lizzie's birthday celebration I was charged with bringing a sweet treat of some kind. Our friend Katie mentioned she had already put in an order for the unparalleled  Momofuku Birthday Cake that we have all been obsessed with since my birthday.  Then Angela had suggested I try + make my own interpretation of the Momofuku Birthday Cake + we could compare + contrast the two.  I wimped out of the challenge + went on a mission to find another suitable recipe to make.

As I was sifting through cookbooks, binders of recipes I clipped from magazines + some of my favorite food blogs I was simultaneously racking my brain to think of Lizzie's favorite flavors when it hit me. She loved when I made Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding once + mentioned she would "take a bath in it if she could".  While I am not usually a fan of making the same recipe more than once this one is too tasty not to be repeated.

Happy Birthday Lizzie, best wishes for the best year to date! xo


Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding {adapted from the More From Magnolia Cookbook}

Grocery List

3 cups heavy whipping cream

4 cups sliced ripe bananas

Dry Goods
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
12oz box Nilla Waffers {I prefer the mini Nilla Waffers}
 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding {Jello Brand preferred}

1.5 cups ice water

Game Plan
1. In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

2.  In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

3. To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Nuovi Vicini {New Neighbors}

  It is no secret that I have a giant food crush on Mario Batali, so when I heard his mega Italian food temple was finally opening a stone's throw from my apartment I could not have been more gitty {yes, I am that big of a food dork!}. While it is over crowded, overwhelming + over stimulating , I still happen to think it is a great addition to the neighborhood.

 I had an old friend from college visiting from LA on Saturday so I popped over to Eataly mid afternoon to pick up some vino + snacks to enjoy on my rooftop before we headed out for the night.  I was throughly impressed by how knowledgable + helpful the staff was despite the over abundance of customers clamoring for their attention. I walked out with a crisp bottle of Pinot Grigio + the most delectable selection of cheese, cured meats, pears, bread + olive oil to accompany it. I think my new neighbors + I are going to be seeing a lot more of each other.


Friday, October 8, 2010

TV Dinner

{butternut squash soup with spicy pumpkin seeds}

New York is undoubtedly a fast paced city with the exception of the summer when locals insist on leaving the office early to flee the city + actually take a little extra time to relax. Post Labor Day the city ramps right back up again, as does my social calendar.   With parties, dinners out, fundraising galas, brunches, happy hours, birthday celebrations, concerts + work, my schedule has literally been a whirlwind since the first week of September! 

Tonight was the first night in weeks I didn't have anything on my iCal after work, so I welcomed the opportunity to stop by Chelsea Market on my way home + pickup  some ingredients to make a seasonally inspired dinner. When I got home I put on my favorite sweats, made myself some butternut squash soup with spicy pumpkin seeds + curled up on the couch to catch up on my magazine reading + DVR.  It was exactly what I needed!


Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds {adapted from here}

Grocery List

Dairy- 2 tablespoons butter
              sour cream for dolloping {I had some leftover from here}

Produce- 1 small onion chopped
                    1 {2inch} piece of fresh ginger, peeled + chopped
                    2 garlic cloves chopped
                    2 3/4 lbs butternut squash, prepared + cut into 3/4 inch cubes
                    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
                    1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Dry Goods- 1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds

Spice Cabinet- kosher salt
                              fresh ground pepper
                              1 teaspoon chili powder
                              1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Game Plan


1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and squash; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until squash is tender, 20 minutes.

2. Purée soup in two batches. When blending hot foods, allow the heat to escape to prevent splattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender’s lid, and cover with a dish towel. Stir in juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve hot, with sour cream, pepper, and pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin seeds, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and lime juice; toss to coat.

2. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until puffed and browned, about 10 minutes.

{spicy pumpkin seeds}

{my magazine pile up}

{seasonally fresh butternut squash}

{my favorite spot on the couch}

{crusty bread for dipping!}

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

                                                                {Bergdorf Goodman}

I work just off 5th Avenue in midtown + live just off 5th Avenue downtown so access to the best shopping in the city is literally at my door step.  The good news for my pocket book {designer of course!} is that by the time I get off work most of the stores have already closed for the night. However, I happen to have two roommates who could not be more excited to go for a walk when I get home + do a little window shopping, as well as take care of some other business while we are out.  Here are some of our favorite spots to browse past.....


{My Roomies}

Monday, October 4, 2010

Paint The Town

My friends + I will use any excuse to throw a party.  Birthdays, holidays, TV show viewings, job promotions, you name the occasion we are most likely toasting Veuve to commemorate it! When my friend Angela recently moved to a fabulous new place on the Upper West Side it seemed obvious that a "painting party" was in order, so that was exactly what we did this Saturday morning.

After dissecting back issues of Domino {RIP}, scouring design blogs + over analyzing Benjamin Moore swatches, colors were chosen, mimosa were poured + we got to work.  I decided we might need a something sweet to keep us motivated mid-morning so I baked a chocolate chip coffee cake before hopping on the 1 train uptown.


Janet's Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake {adapted from here}

Grocery List

Dairy- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
           2 large eggs at room temperature
           1 cup sour cream

Dry Goods- 2 cups all-purpose flour
                    1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                    1 teaspoon baking soda
                    1 1/4 cups sugar
                    1 cup chocolate chips {Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips taste best!}

Spice Cabinet- 1/2 teaspoon salt
                        1 teaspoon cinnamon
                        1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract {my favorite kind}

Game Plan

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.  In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda + salt.  In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar + cinnamon.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter + remaining 1 cup sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in sour cream + vanilla.  Fold in the the flour mixture in 2 parts until just combined.  Pour half the cake batter into the pan + sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture + half the chocolate chips.  Spoon the remaining batter over the filling as evenly as possible spreading gently.  Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture + chocolate chips.

3. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown + tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Enjoy!