Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Full Swing

It's the end of July, we're on the other side of a brutal heat wave and I'm two days away from an entire week on the New Jersey Shore with my family. 

I haven't made any more progress on my list, but I did get to go out of town over 4th of July weekend.  

We drove 3 hours north of the city to the Catskills to stay with a friend and her husband on their land.

It's just far enough out of the city so that you feel removed from the hectic energy, but close enough that a city mouse like me isn't totally afraid.

I felt like Marie Antoinette, gathering wild strawberries, while right over the next hill you could just make out the sounds of the highway.  Our friends were the most gracious hosts, serving foie gras and champagne by the fire and Brittany salted butter and French press coffee for breakfast.

Last weekend I finally put my toes in the sand and, get this, we picked up our car!  That's right, a car.  Just think of all the adventures we'll be having now!

So, I'm off on vacation and much needed quality time with my family.  It's the first time since I was 16 that we've taken a vacation together and I cannot wait.  It's going to be so much fun!
I'll check in once in a while. Catch you on the flip side.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Not That Far From Home

Last week I got to cross something off my list!  That didn't take long, did it?

Just a 30 minute train ride puts us smack in the middle of the largest Chinatown in New York City.

It's amazing to me that I can be somewhere that feels so utterly foreign so close to home.

There produce I don't recognize and signs I can read, but there is for sure some food that I want to eat!

Biang! is the latest in the small empire created by Xi'an Famous Foods.  I first ate there in the food court at the Flushing Mall, but this the first retaurant with waiter service.  The food is just as good and the atmosphere very pleasant!  We had the famous Cumin Lamb Noodles and fiddlehead fern salad.  Both were amazing.

Then, just a little bit further down Main Street is the Queens Botanical Garden.  It's rather small, but very charming and if you pause a minute in the little grove of trees, it completely possible to forget you're in New York City at all.

It's free on Sundays from 4-6pm.  I'm thinking it's the perfect place to have a little picnic.  That is if this rain ever lets up!

What about you? Cross anything off your Summer To Do List? Go any place exotic this weekend?  Eat anything delicious?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dog Days

Summer is in full swing now and I owe you guys a list!

I don't have very ambitious plans for this summer.  There's a wedding to attend in July and a week planned at the Jersey Shore with my family.  Other than that, I just want to take in the best NYC (mostly Queens) has to offer.

Maybe this is the year I finally get to the Jazz Age Lawn Party.

Since I live in Queens, the Met's are my adopted baseball team.  I really want to see a game.

And also in Queens, is the U.S. Open for tennis.  The Man and I have been talking about going for years.

Maybe the Queens Botanical Gardens and a lunch date here.

I've also been trying to eat here for almost a year.  Maybe this summer?

And certainly I have to get back out to Rockaway Beach, at least for a fish taco!

What are you hoping to do this summer?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Kick Off!

Memorial Day was last Monday and what should have been the (unofficial) kickoff to summer was cold and dreary.  I was in Minneapolis visiting a college friend, so at least I had good company.

 I've visited Minneapolis twice now and each time I go, I fall in love a little more.  It was fun to walk down the streets and fantasize about which house we would buy.

I got a taste of a lot of what it had to offer, which is, in itself, quite a lot.

 Didn't actually get see any music, but cheap beer!

 Minneapolis Mule (that mug has a $25 deposit!).


Today, I'm back in NYC and it's 90 degrees!  This weekend feels a lot more like the kick off to summer.  I'll be headed to NJ wish my brothers happy birthday (they were born 1 week and 6 years apart) and hopefully log in some hours by my parents' pool.

Summer weather means another summer list!  I'll be back soon with the 2013 edition. 
Here's 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Doing" vs. Doing

Not too long ago, I was lamenting the fact that I didn't get to "do" anything on my one free weekend in a while.  No movie, no happy hour, no museum visit, no cool flea markets, or parks.

But then I went back through my Instagram feed and realized that I "did" quite a bit.  Maybe I need to re-evaluate my idea of "doing".  Living in a big city like NYC makes me feel like I'm constantly missing out on EVERYTHING.  If I haven't hit every major cultural high point one weekend, I feel like a complete and utter failure.  

There are a lot of other things to DO, though.  Sometimes it take a little reflection to realize how full your days really are.

 Finally installed this mirror.

 Finished some handmade gifts.

 Tested out my grandmother's much-prized pierogi recipe.

Finally got around to putting together (and painting and staining) my new dressers from Ikea.  Inspired by this Ikea Hack.

What about you?  Do you ever feel pressure to "have fun"?  
There's a long weekend ahead of us - what will you be "doing"?

Monday, May 06, 2013

Secret Weapon

Have I told you about my secret weapon?  

It's this very unassuming recipe from Jamie Oliver, from this book.  I've used it once to twice to make regular pancakes.  My favorite thing about it, is that it's easy to remember, so I never have to look it up. It's just 1+1+1.  Do you recall how I love these little formulas?  I've talked about them before.

Here's the recipe:

1c. self-rising four
1c. milk
1 egg

That's it!  Can you believe it?!  It makes 12 pancakes, 1/4 cup portions.  I don't even add sugar or anything when making them, but you totally could.  Or vanilla.  Mmm.

I was pretty content with my little pancake recipe, but then I saw this recipe on TheKitchn and it was the answer to all my CSA prayers.  For (almost) every vegetable that I stumped me, I now had a secret weapon.

The recipe says, and I quote,  "Make one recipe of your favorite homemade or store-bought pancake mix."  I have one of those!  It was meant to be!

So, you take that magic, secret weapon, easy-to-remember recipe and add about 10oz of most any vegetable, shredded.  I find the tender, spring/summer variety work best.  Nothing that needs to cook too long.  Think, carrots, zucchini, corn, asparagus (chopped), bok choy, spinach, etc.

(10oz is the sweet spot for me.  1lb. was just way too much.)  

Then, go crazy.  Add herbs, onions, garlic, whatever kind of seasoning you like.  Use the recipe I linked to as a guide and let your imagination run wild.

The first round was carrot, parsley, scallion, garlic.

The second round was corn, cilantro, cheddar, scallion, garlic.

I was dreaming of a version that was pan-Asian, with soy sauce, cilantro, ginger, carrots and bok choy.  With a green salad on the side and a large dollop of plain yogurt (or sour cream) it's a light, but satisfying dinner.

It's almost too easy.  And I almost can't wait for zucchini season.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Time Machine

This new project from the New Museum is amazing.  I love this kind of interactive exhibition.

I wouldn't come to NYC until 6 years later, in 1999.  Even then, I only commuted from NJ, taking the train to work in Soho and back every day.

By the time I moved for real, in 2004, this world seemed to already be rapidly changing.