Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Counting down...

yesterday was the 2 week mark for my time left as a NYC/Brooklyn/Park Slope resident. So much to do, so many people to hang out with.... ;-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pasta tip!

If you know me - you know I love the pasta! I'm trying to be better and eat less. But also what I do eat, I'm trying to make it whole grain. I even just recently tried some pasta that included a serving of vegetables (it was goooood). Anyhow, over the last month I read a tip in a magazine that I wanted to try a few times before passing along. The tip was this:

When you are making pasta, put the pasta into the pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and then TURN OFF THE HEAT. Allow pot to sit there for the allotted time that the pasta is supposed to cook and WALAH! your pasta is ready to eat! Cuts down the energy used to cook because you cut the heat as soon as you're boiling. And it works! Try it - you might convert ;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Have all the good ads left NYC?

One of the first (only?) things I liked about NYC so, so many years ago (really? 10?) were the ads in Times Square. A lot of them were 3D, few used those light thingies and 90% were creative. Oh how the times have changed! But the ads are still out there! My brother sent me this link. Here are some of my favs

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stormtroopers day-to-day

this made me laugh

Thanks Grant!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yummy stew/chili

Quick Hominy & Zucchini Chili

Cook time: High for 2 ½ hours

2/3 cup chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 15oz can white hominy
2 medium size zucchini, cut into 1” chunks
Garlic powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium-size white boiling onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 ¼ tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup sour cream mixed with the zest of 2 limes, for serving
2/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese, for serving
1 green onion, chopped, for serving
Chopped cilantro, for serving

Add the tomatoes and their juice, hominy, zucchini, and a few shakes of garlic powder to the slow cooker.

Heat the oil in a small skillet and cook the onion and celery a bit, just to soften. Add the chili powder and blend with the vegetables, then add the mixture to the crock. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for about 2 ½ hours.

Season with salt and stir in the lime juice and zest. Serve in bowls topped with toppings.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween yo!

A few pictures from the holiday. In PS there is a HUGE parade (ok, not in comparison to the one in the city, but still big!). A group of us got together and walked the route. Good times!

I was Twiggy - but the blond wig didn't work out so well. And that night I figured out that Twiggy didn't smile an any of her pictures. That might have been the hardest part of the costume!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Marathon Weekend!

Every fall I pledge that I'm not gonna get caught up in the marathon hoopla. That it won't interfere with my life ad that it will just be a normal day. On the years we've had AM church I've enjoyed making my way across 4th Ave without worrying about getting hit. But it's also a bit eerie. I get to see the first pack of front runners (who run by just a bit before church starts). I've also seen the walkers/slow runners on my way home. And every year - I cry... this year was no different:

Checking out the hoopla, trying to decide if I want to walk up and be a part of it... (check out the cool yellow tree!)

Fun catching this guy taking pictures - funny that we had this idea at the same time!

Never knew I was this close to the 10k... amazing what walking down a few blocks will reveal!

I love seeing the unique running outfits!

And this is where the tears begin. Even a block away (3rd Ave instead of 4th Ave) you can hear the cheering. These "rude" New Yorkers give up their Sunday morning to come out and cheer on strangers. Calling out things they see on their shirts: names or flags

Bands set up all along the route playing & singing to encourage the runners on. You'd also see sound systems (the one at my old laundry mat was playing the Macarena and "you've got to move it, move it" the 2 times I walked by)

People will just stand along the route and give things away. This guy has Snickers bars. Up the avenue were people with bananas. The local grocery store had buy 1/get 1 free for packages of bottled water.

I needed to get across the avenue and the fireman I asked about etiquette ask me how fast I ran. He told me I could cross as long as I didn't interfere. This is what I had to run through...

Everyone cheering on folks at 9th St. Even the fire department came out to cheer them on!

I will miss this HUGE sense of community. How everyone comes together to cheer on this weekend visitors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I love deals!

When I was growing up one of the things that we loved to do at the grocery was go to the bent can "aisle". This aisle could be a shopping cart or shelf space - never a whole aisle and always in the back - with reduced sale items. When I moved to NYC I learned in my Food Safety Class that you shouldn't eat bent cans because they promote salmonella (I think). This made me think 2 things: why did my mother try to kill us as children and why are they bent cans for sale for the full price at my neighborhood grocery? The first question was dismissed as we all survived, but the 2nd is still a real question (sometimes the only option for something is bent cans!). Well, this summer I found the reduced aisle at one store - it resulted in me buying a box of cereal that included a rebate for more than the cereal cost me ;-). And last night I hit it again. This time stocking up on goodies like diced tomatoes, black beans, pears and a can of pigeon peas. I've been noticing pigeon peas for a little while and have been intrigued - this gave me a reason to buy them.

This is what I made:

1 cup water
1/2 cup brown rice
1 can pigeon peas
onions (your choice)
equivalent to 1 chopped tomato

Combine water and brown rice in a pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-12 minutes until the water is absorbed. Let stand for a few minutes and fluff with a fork.

Add rice to pigeon peas, onion and tomato. Season with salt and pepper (yep! I added salt & pepper :-D)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today's my baby's birthday. For those of you who are puzzled...that would be Postmark. Lot of blood sweat and tears to get we where we are today. So many memories, so many hours, so many people I've met. A little picture tour of how we've progressed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

sometimes I ramble....

It's cold and rainy here today - well, the rain has currently stopped, but it's still cold. Last night as I walked home, in the rain, I saw a lady making her bed in the doorway of a bank. She was youngish looking and missing that haggard homeless look, so my guess was that she had not been homeless long. As I continued my walk I thought about how I will lose these encounters in a few short months. No where else that I've lived have I been in such constant contact with the stark difference of homelessness. In most cities the million dollar homes are miles and miles away from the daily reminders of homelessness, but not here in New York. Daily I see someone pushing a cart, now that it's cold I'll see people sleeping under the bridge when I walk to work in the morning. And yet here, these two worlds live side-by-side as though it is normal. It's crazy sometimes for me to realize that people who co-exist in NY would never, never in other parts of this country. And still - even while seeing these people on a daily basis - in a city with TONS of apartments (and less jobs than before) there is still the problem of homelessness. Walking by these people on a daily basis starts to loose it's "shock" sometimes for me. That while I am walking home on a cold, windy and rainy night - this woman, my age or younger, is bunking down in the doorway of a bank. Something's off...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Squashfest continues!

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

1 lg spaghetti squash (4-4.5bls)
1pt grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
½ c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus additional leaves for garnish
2 cans (5oz) white or light tuna in water, drained and flaked
¼ c pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 Tbsp drained capers, coarsely chopped
1 Tbls olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place squash in 9” glass pie plate and pierce 6 times with sharp knife. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes per pound, or until squash is tender when pierced with knife. Cool 10 minutes for easier handling.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix tomatoes, sliced basil leaves, tuna, olives, capers, oil, vinegar, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper until combined.

Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. With fork, scrape flesh to separate into strands and place in large bowl; discard shell. Drain squash if necessary. Add ¼ tsp salt and 1/7 tsp ground black pepper, toss to combine.

Divide squash among 4 dinner bowls. To serve, top with tomato mixture; garnish with basil leaves and Parmesan.

I liked this because the toppings were cold/chilled. I might try this on top of pasta too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spaghetti Squash!

I told the roomie that I was disappointed I had not gotten spaghetti squash with my farm she bought me one. I have NEVER seen one this big!

So what does one do with a squash the size of a rugby ball? SHARE! No, here is one of the things I made:

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil

Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saunte onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.

Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, and basil. Serve warm.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Walking the High Line...

Some folks have had the bright idea to convert an old elevated train track into a garden/walkway (see more here). I thought it was interesting. The roomie loved it...

Urban Gardening...

I saw this the other day while walking to Staples. Not sure who usually has and empty truck bed to plant, but might be easier to find than a roof or actual garden space. I saw tomatoes and peppers...not sure if there was more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's a holiday!

For some today is a day to celebrate because it is the start of college football. Not for me, I have no team loyalty (thank you XU!). For me today is a day to celebrate because it's J-nette's b-day! Twenty some years ago today she became the final female in our house! While J was often the sneaky one in our house - she has become one of the most thoughtful and caring women I know. It has been a pleasure watching her grow up - watching her find what God has created her to be. I am constantly challenged by compassion for others. May this year be filled with new challenges and greater blessings. Love you bill!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quinoa - I'm starting to dig the stuff..

Toasted Quinoa, Snow Pease, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella Salad

1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cups water
1 cup diagonally cut snow peas
¾ cup (3oz) diced fresh mozzarella cheese
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup chopped seedless cucumber
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp grated lemon rind
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ Tbl Dijon mustard
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp hot sauce

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa to pan; cook 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add 3 cups water to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 15 minutes or until tender. Fluff with a fork; cool. Place quinoa in a large bowl. Add peas and next 6 ingredients (through tomatoes).

Combine rind and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add juice mixture to quinoa mixture; toss gently to coat.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I <3 Chocolate

But I'm picky about it. I don't like chocolate cake, don't really like chocolate ice cream. Trying to like dark chocolate (because it's the "good for you" chocolate). Recently I was reintroduced to truffles. What a great treat! As usual, I was conflicted in making the decision on what flavor, but chocolate raspberry was the winner. Mmmm, I savored that taste and will savor the memory for a long, long time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I like the spicy lettuce taste of arugala. I've gotten it once from my farm and haven't been able to find it in any stores here :-(

Bowtie Pasta with Arugula

1 lb bowtie pasta
Lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups arugula
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup chopped fresh dill

Make pasta.
Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix everything together and toss

Less than 24 hours in NYC!

Grant had a picnic in our in-between state on Saturday. So after eating his fill of bagels (?!), he headed to Brooklyn. We enjoyed dinner Saturday evening, church on Sunday morning and then a LONG & HOT walk Sunday afternoon before his return home. Here are some of the highlights:

Mr Softee!

We tried to go to Teddy Roosevelt's birthplace. The guidebook told us it was wasn't.

We had brunch at Pete's Tavern. It's advertised as the "Oldest Surviving Bar in NY" and is where O Henry wrote. During the Prohibition they disguised the place as a flower shop and continued to serve customers!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's hot outside...who doesn't want to roast veggie?!

But it will be worth it!

Roasted Veggie Orzo
Oven @ 400

1 ½ cups fresh mushrooms, halved
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
1 cup cut fresh asparagus (1” pieces)
1 tsp each dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, crushed
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups uncooked orzo pasta
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Place vegetables in a 15 x 10 x 1” baking pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings; toss to coat. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain; transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

For realz?

And we wonder why everyone is so angry...we make conflict too easy...

Monday, August 3, 2009


In continuing my new found love for quinoa - I have been searching for recipes that weren't: tomato, feta, cucumber, quinoa. This was a nice change. (to the right in the picture is baked was an experiment, pretty tasty)

Greek Inspired Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 pkg (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 ½ cups (6oz) crumbled feta cheese
1 cup grape tomatoes
¾ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
½ cup sliced pepperoncinis
½ cup greek olives, pitted and halved
¾ cup reduced-fat greek or Italian dressing

In a small saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with fork. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, spinach, cheese, tomatoes, beans, cucumber, pepperoncinis and olives. Pour ½ cup dressing over quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, drizzle remaining dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm a nerd

I like things like this:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

If my parent's had only known

what cool thing they could have done with our red VW van...they might have kept it all these years. This seems pretty sweet (more pics and whole article here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Zucchini time!

It's getting to be about that time in the garden...the time when your zucchini plant seems to multiply! I made this last night and served it warm. The leftovers were for lunch today and I ate them cold. Good both ways!

Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Zucchini

¾ lb spaghettini
¾ lb zucchini
Salt & pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbls minced garlic
½ tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbls coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbls finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup plus 2 Tbls freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring large pot of water to boil; add salt. Add pasta. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

While pasta cooks, cut zucchini by hand into longest, finest julienne you can manage. Season with salt and pepper. If zucchini is very finely cut, it does not need to be cooked. Otherwise, steam until still slightly crunchy, about 2 minutes.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil in small skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic. Saute briefly, until light brown. Turn on exhaust fan and add red pepper flakes. Quickly add basil & parsley; mix well. Remove from heat.

When pasta is done, drain, reserving about ½ cup cooking water. Pour pasta into warm serving bowl, add zucchini, remaining ¼ cup oil, garlic mixture and ½ cup cheese. Toss well, adding cooking water as needed to make smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper as needed. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbls cheese. Serve at once.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Customer Comments

My brother-in-law liked this so much in my last blog, I thought I'd resurrect.

Comments I've heard today (and it's only 10am!)

"I'd like a Grande." (me) "When you say 'grane' do you mean our largest size?" Scoff "no, medium"

(me) "Good morning, what would you like today?" "A medium" (um, do I fill in the blank?)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kale & Quinoa? Keep the good times rolling!

So this CSA that I've joined has challenged my cooking this year. New veggies I've never worked with really (bok choy! kale! napa cabbage!). I claim none of these recipes as my own (that gift was given soley to sister #3), but I'll share the yummy ones here!

2 tsp vegetable oil

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup thinly sliced carrot

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp chili paste with garlic

½ tsp grated peeled fresh ginger

6 cups torn kale

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 Tbl minced fresh cilantro

1 Tbl soy sauce

1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, bell pepper and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add curry, chili paste, and ginger; sauté 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Elvis and the Wallaces

Part of the scavenger hunt.... some of them would have stood there and put on their own show if their teammates would have let them!

Family "vaca"

Back from the vacation/reunion, I don't know what to really call it. All was in the great Cincy/NKY area (also known as home). Here were some highlights.

Hanging with these guys (sisters, brother, brother-by-choice)

This guy's socks (and Pujols grand slam!)

Finally meeting this guy (and this is the best pic you'll get until #2 and my mom start uploading their millions of photos of him)
Scavenger Hunt at Jungle Jim's grocery (and all the new foods I got to try because of that!)