Saturday, May 26, 2012

Week in Review - 5.26.12

Yes, an early update this week!

Monday 5.21 - Domestic day - laundry done, slow roasted chicken for dinner with a tasty side salad of arugula, roasted beets, walnuts, and blue cheese crumbles. The cats LOVE roasted chicken - Trixie can't hear much anymore, but her nose sure works. She is relentless with roasted chicken and deli meat. At 18 I tend to indulge her now - she deserves to get some treats!

Tuesday 5.22 - MW had an annual work party on the roof deck of a swanky bar/event space. Luckily there was no rain, they were able to enjoy the roof deck as planned. He had some great passed appetizers crab cakes, fried mac n cheese, tuna tar tare, lobster spring rolls, and sliders. There was a dinner buffet as well, but it didn't stack up to the apps. I went to go see the movie 'Battleship' - and enjoyed a small bag of movie theater popcorn for dinner. I liked the movie and it was action packed, I was on the edge of my seat until it was over.

Wednesday 5.23 - Home made pizza. I used some extra yeast I had in the pantry to make a nice rising pizza dough. I topped the dough with red sauce, mozzarella cheese, anchovies, garlic, and fresh basil. I needed to stretch the dough more as it was kind of thick and tasted like it needed to cook longer. It was OK for a first attempt, but like the artichoke I need to practice some more before it is really good eating.

Thursday 5.24 - MW hung out with the kitties and had delivery KO Sushi while I went to the ballet. The dances were two story ballets - one was set like a silent movie and the a lively dance number. We had crazy rain storms with lightening and thunder. The cats were quite unhappy with the thunder because it interrupted nap time!

Friday 5.25 - I've been working on logging 1,200 fitness minutes for the month. I am just about there with 1,120 minutes as of Friday. My shameless plug for the day is for Spark People. It is a free website dedicated to healthy living and fitness. You can use it to track what you eat and how much you exercise. We were both pretty busy with work because we are leaving for vacation on Saturday! MW planned the entire trip and even packed for me. We had a late dinner at Mole and kept it pretty low key for the night.

Saturday 5.26 - Just about time to leave. I still don't know where we are headed. I had a hard time sleeping last night because I am excited. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week In Review - 5.20.12

Monday 5/14 – Quiet day. Sautéed tilapia topped with salsa and served over brown rice for dinner and a side of oven roasted cauliflower (a very tan dinner, at least the salsa added some color). I also made an artichoke, but I didn’t cook it long enough – I need to make artichokes again to work on my technique. I wasn’t going to do it, but I ended up watching the Bachelorette – it’s not on the DVR so maybe I won’t get sucked in for the entire season!

Tuesday 5/15 – We keep trying to get a good sunset on the roof. Nothing spectacular yet, but the weather has been really nice and we’re on the roof just about every night. For dinner, roasted chicken (FD) and a salad with blue cheese and pistachios, also FD.

Wednesday 5/16 – One more sunset on the roof and then tasty sandwiches for dinner – whole wheat bread, avocado, arugula, soy bacon, buffalo chicken, and pepperjack cheese.

Thursday 5/17 – Kind of a repeat of Wednesday, sunset on the roof and then Caesar salad (FD) and artichoke and spinach pizza (FD) for dinner.

Friday 5/18 – Pre-dinner snack of fresh guacamole with chips and salsa followed by sunset on the roof. We’ve decided more young people have moved in to our building as we are seeing younger couples up on the roof. It used to be we were the only people up there for sunset on a regular basis. The pedal car (last Saturday’s event) made it to CA and even in time for the b-day party. According to my sources the car was a big hit. Dinner at KO Sushi and they spoiled us with a free appetizer (edamame) and free dessert (tempura fried green tea ice cream).

Saturday 5/19 – Breakfast at the Mansion and then an adventure on Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island sits on the East River right in between Manhattan and Queens. There is a tram that goes from Manhattan to the island and it is part of the MTA system, it is the same cost as riding a bus or subway. Once there we walked around the entire island, almost 4 miles. The weather was really nice, sunny and bright with a light breeze. The island once housed a small pox quarantine facility and the remains of one of the buildings are still there today. It’s an odd space as it has apartment buildings and some amenities but not too many people. It has the feel of a college campus, not a neighborhood in Manhattan. After taking the tram back to the city we went to Cavatappo for their weekend special “Afternoon Delight”, a bottle of wine and two appetizers for $35. We had a table right by the open windows and relaxed watching the world go by outside. After that little break we headed over to the Met to check out the new roof deck installation. The piece is a big group of connected pods, some are open and some are covered in a reflective material. You can walk up in them, but only if you have a timed admission ticket. We were not able to get tickets on Saturday, but it’s on the list of things to do for the summer. After the museum closed we headed to dinner at Hi Life. We ate at the same restaurant on the West Side a few weeks ago and decided to try the East Side location. We had a great table right by the open windows and once again enjoyed the parade of people along with our food and drinks.

Sunday 5/20 – Bagels for breakfast and then we each headed in different directions. I was unsuccessful in my mission to find white jeans for summer, but I did get lots of outside time and sat on a park bench in Union Square after my shopping trip. Union Square is not one of my favorite parks, it is small and very crowded and they don’t allow people on the lawn. And today the spot I was sitting in didn’t smell so nice – never a good thing! Michael headed to the park close to our apartment and also spent some time up on our roof deck. Dinner was delivery from Falafel House (one of our Sunday night favorites).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week In Review - 05.13.12

Sunday 5/6 - The last leg of Amazing Race, I kind of didn't care who won so it was a bit anti-climatic this season. I would have loved to been an eliminated racer and sequestered in Hawaii! That sounds pretty darn fantastic.

Monday 5/7 - Finally I realized it was the night the Costume Institute Gala at the Met the night of the Gala and not the morning after the event. I went over there to see the red carpet arrivals and had a great time. I was in a decent viewing area and was surrounded by really nice people. Unfortunately Michael had to work late, but that worked out OK for dinner. I just cooked when I got home and dinner was ready just a few minutes after he walked in the door. Chicken tenders with asparagus and spinach over brown rice and a side salad of tomato and red onion. 

Tuesday 5/8 - Mom's Day cookies round 1. I made lemon cream sandwich cookies edged in sanding sugar for Mel and her family using my new favorite recipe.It was a pretty quiet day and we just had a quick and easy dinner of chili (KO made leftover, pulled it out of the freezer) and FD cornbread. We had another day of clouds and rain - it was a gray week here in NYC!

Wednesday 5/9 - Mom's Day cookies round 2 - a Snickerdoodle, adapted from my new favorite cookie recipe (no, I'm not sharing that recipe...yet).

I had an unplanned and fun shopping trip when I was coming back from my walk to the Central Pack Conservatory Garden. (The garden was absolutely beautiful - it had rained in the morning and the plants and flowers had drops of water on them. There was a squirrel drinking out of a puddle, a bright orange butterfly sitting perfectly on a white flower, a brilliant red bird flying through the trees, and dark burgundy leaves with drops of water on them. Michael would have loved to take photos, lots of good material.)

Now, back to my shopping trip - on my way back from the garden there were signs for a Sr. ceramics sale at the Y, just May 9th and 10th. I stopped in and there were about three banquet tables of really nice ceramic pots, bowls, and plates and about 75 seniors sitting at tables and chatting. I started to look at what was available for sale and almost immediately I was approached by a very nice woman who told me the ceramics were lead free, could be used in microwave, and depending on what I bought I might be able to meet the artist. She left and about 2 minutes later another very nice woman came up and let me know the same thing. The ceramics were all made by members of the senior ceramics class at the 92nd St Y and they put them on sale once a year. I selected a nice pot with shades of green glaze for MomW, because her kitchen has lots of green. Next I picked a pot with an earthy brown/green glaze and one big spot of red for MomO. I could imagine it with a plant sitting in her yard. And finally I selected a bowl with a blue glaze for myself. Without knowing it, I selected three pieces from the same artist! And as it turns out not only was she one of the women who talked to me initially but she was also the cashier. She was just thrilled I was purchasing three of her pieces and she liked hearing who was getting what and why. She was just delightful, and her work was beautiful.

We had a tasty dinner, home made sandwiches with whole grain bread, guacamole, soy bacon (facon), pepperjack cheese, and spiced turkey. A pretty quiet night, I just wrapped up the Mom's Day gifts and got the packages ready for shipping.

Thursday 5/10 -

MW had dinner with some guys from work at an "expense account" type steakhouse called Maloney & Porcelli. They had a multi-tier seafood tower as a starter (yum!) and of course steak and bourbon for dinner. I went with a simple dinner of chips, salsa, and guac!

Friday 5/11 -

A pretty quiet night. I wasn't feeling 100% and MW wasn't quite at full speed either. We had an easy dinner in the neighborhood at KO Sushi. We haven't been there in a while and it was nice to go back to one of our favorites. I had to finish up the birthday gifts I was making for my niece so they could get shipped in Saturday. I embroidered 2 onesies - I dubbed one the 'Taco Bell dog' and the other 'Foxy Roxy'.

I also made a scrapbook for her - it was a great kit that looks like I spent a ton of time and effort, but really all I did was add the photos and one or two embellishments on each page. The best kind of crafting, maximum reward for minimum effort! As an example, on the double page spread below I added the three photos, the word 'Enjoy', and the two butterflies on the right side - everything else is already on the page and the embellishments are layered, the ribbon is actual ribbon, and the buttons are really buttons.  

Saturday 5/12 -

We had a full day for one major errand so I got up pretty early to wrap up the birthday presents. Her party is Hello Kitty themed and I had some Uniqlo shopping bags with Hello Kitty I cut up to wrap her gifts. I love that I could re-use the bags for something so cute.


We took a New Jersey transit train an hour and a half to Morristown, NJ. And while Morristown had a lovely park we were there for a very specific reason.


Michael had to give Alexander Hamilton a $10 bill - just kidding! (The statues were very similar to the Signer statues at the Constitution Museum in Philadelphia - life size replicas of our Founding Fathers.)


We were there to pick up a '55 Chevy pink pedal car - also for the niece. MomO won the car on eBay, but didn't realize it was 'local pick up only'. There are some items on eBay that the seller won't ship and they put this in the item description when you bid. Well MomO didn't realize this and lucky for her the car was relatively easy for us to go and pick it up. After we got off the train we picked up a Zip Car and had about a 15 minute drive to the seller's home. The car was waiting out front and they had washed it for us, it was shined up and ready to go. We got to meet the car's first (and only owner) - she is 6 now and seemed OK that it was going to another little girl. The car is really cute and was in great shape, I'm sure it must have been hard for the original owner to give up something so special. It is all metal and was pretty heavy, weighing in at almost 40 pounds.


We loaded it in the Zip Car and headed back to Morristown where it was promptly dropped off at a UPS store for shipping. By next week it should be in CA and ready for it's second owner. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant in Morristown. Not related to NJ (well maybe, but I can't say for sure), I was under the weather Saturday night and MW was on his own for dinner.

Sunday 5/13 - Happy Mother's Day! We spent the day outside as much as possible. The weather here was just perfect sunny and in the mid 70's with just a little bit of a breeze and low humidity. After brunch at Mole (like the sauce not the animal, and yes, I will probably say that every time) we headed to Central Park. On the way to the model boat pond we got a preview of the Met Roof Top art installation opening next week: 


I looked on the website and they are big modules that are connected and they are made with transparent and reflective materials. According to the website you can walk through them. The roof deck opens on the 15th - if all goes well, we will be up there Friday night! Dinner was at our local diner, The Mansion. It was getting late and we just wanted something easy. It was diner food, so it was fine but nothing special.

That is a full lid for this week, we'll see if we can make next week more exciting!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Met Gala 2012

Monday night the Met held their big Costume Institute Gala. Every year I seem to miss the red carpet and see the photos of the fabulous gowns and celebrities the next day.

This year I actually made it over to the Met and had a great spot across the street from the red carpet entrance.

It was really had to see who was who and I saw the back of a lot of amazing dresses. The photo is the main red carpet and it was filled with photographers yelling at the celebs and snapping photos like crazy. The flash bulbs when big celebrities hit the red carpet was blinding.

I was by a really nice group of people and we had fun guessing each celebrity and wondering if we were going to see Beyonce or JLo! The girl next to me was so excited when SJP arrived she grabbed me by the shoulders and turned my body so I could see her too. It was really cute.

This photo is Tom Brady and Giselle posing for photographers. They are both just stunning.

And this was my view of where the celebs were getting out of their cars. The woman in white is Florence Welch. She had on quite an outfit, but it was fitting for her personality and the event. We were able to see more celebrities getting out of their cars than we could see on the red carpet.

Later that night I was looking through photos of the event on the Huffington Post - it was fun to see who was wearing what dress as the dresses were easier and remember than the faces.

My favorite photo was of Elizabeth Banks in a Mary Katrantzou dress, not only does it look very Hunger Games but I'm in the background!

Image from Getty Photo

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Week in Review - 05.06.12

The week in review:

Sunday 4/29 – goodbye Team Bopper. Bopper and Mark ran a great race but they just couldn’t make up all of that time. And Once Upon A Time – what happened to the shows I had saved on the DVR? I had two episodes and now they are both gone. Stupid DVR. We really need to look in to FIOS. Fresh Direct grocery delivery, another week of meals and another week of Delivery Pass.

Monday 4/30 – Relatively quiet day at work for both of us. Dinner was sautéed shrimp with spring vegetables (asparagus, red onion, and grape tomatoes) over a little bit of whole wheat pasta. I ended up with major stomach issues and maybe that was due to my snack of ‘pocket almonds’ – I was out buying my Star Wars cookie cutters and was starving, so I ate the two almonds in my coat pocket. Apparently that was a bad choice!

Tuesday 5/1 – I made my cookie dough and cookies, with the intention of shipping them out on Wednesday for a Friday, May 4th delivery. Easy dinner of a Fresh Direct Caesar salad and Fresh Direct thin crust artichoke pizza.

Wednesday 5/2 – Busy day for me at work but I was focused crossing things off of my to-do list. Attempted to decorate my Star Wars cookies, epic failure! Made my to-do list shorter as there were no packages to make up and label and no trip to the post office. Returned Star Wars cookie cutters to Williams and Sonoma! Dinner was over roasted cauliflower mixed with whole wheat pasta and topped with sautéed Hen of the Woods mushrooms and Fresh Direct chicken sausages.

Thursday 5/3 – I had the ballet. It was a mix of 4 ballets. The opening piece was interesting. The 8 members of the corps de ballet danced to the orchestra and the soloists danced to just the piano. Sometimes it was just one or the other and sometimes it was a mix of both. It was almost like two separate dances competing on stage. This piece was followed by an Italian inspired ‘Tarantella’. The dancing was lively and fun with tambourines! The third dance was a lovely modern orchestra piece with big sweeping movements. It was written for the dedication of a train and the music and dance depicted travel. The conductor for this piece was one of my favorites, this little tiny woman with so much spunk; she is as much of a delight to watch as the dancers. We had Fresh Direct turkey meatballs in red sauce over the leftover cauliflower and whole wheat pasta from Wednesday night. All week the weather was gray and drizzly, I’m looking forward to some sunshine over the weekend.

Friday 5/4 – I ended up busier at work than I planned and didn’t get out to exercise until after 5pm. The weather was warm and even a little humid; I walked to the park and did a lap around the Reservoir. We decided on dinner at our local Indian favorite, Mumtaz. We had a great table by the window. Unfortunately, it was Michael’s turn to have stomach issues. We wrapped up dinner and headed home for the night. Michael was pleased (not really) to find out we might be headed to New Jersey to pick up something MomO purchased on eBay.

Saturday 5/5 – Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby! We had breakfast at the Mansion and then headed to the Met. We saw the baseball card collection on display and then split up. I stayed in the American Wing and took my time going through a cool cabinet display by a local master craftsman, Duncan Phyfe. He made furniture in the 1800’s and his work was beautiful. Simple yet elegant and functional. After the furniture I stayed in the American Wing to see one of my favorites, the Frank Lloyd Wright living room. Behind that area was a very nice display of Tiffany glass and a library table made for Cornelius Vanderbilt. It had mother of pearl stars inlaid across the top of the table, the pattern represented the night sky the day Vanderbilt was born. I finished up with the Japanese collection and a look at one of my other favorites, the water fountain. Michael went thru the American Wind art and then on to the photography. We met up and I thought I wanted a glass of wine at the Wine Bar in the Met, we decided to go to Swig (where we met Chris after he ran the NYC marathon). We stayed there for the Kentucky Derby and then decided on dinner at Cavatappo (the Italian restaurant we ate at after the NYC marathon).

Sunday 5/6 – Brunch at our new favorite, Mole (like the sauce not the animal, but I can’t get the accent mark). The food was great but the service was really slow. It’s funny because Taco Taco had really slow service and the new place has changed for the better in just about every aspect except the service! After brunch we headed up to Harlem to go to Costco and Target. Dinner at Brother Jimmy’s (but not the location we used to go to all the time, unfortunately just that location has a ‘C’ food rating – we’ll stick with the other locations that have an ‘A’ rating). The service again was really slow, just one of those days for us and restaurants! Now we’re ready to see who wins The Amazing Race! And no trip to Jersey this weekend, looks like it will be next Saturday.

Friday, May 04, 2012

May the 4th Be With You!

Alternate title: Star Wars cupcake stencils 1, KO 0

I didn't come up with the title on my own. Lego is doing a promotion today with Star Wars kits and they sent out an e-mail last week with the same subject line. It made me laugh and also made me think I should do something to celebrate May 4th.

Williams and Sonoma has great Star Wars cookies cutters and cupcake stencils so I bought a set of each and got to baking cookies.

I made my dough and it was really dry. I didn't want to over work it, so I added a bit more liquid but I knew it wasn't going to be good for the cut out cookies. I had the same problem with the shoe cookies. When I made those cookies I ended up making a third batch of dough and it was much better. Because this was one of those "fun" projects I didn't want to make a second batch of dough so I decided to just make round cookies and use the stencils to decorate the flat round cookies.

Sounds easy enough, right? Not so much! I frosted the cookies with royal icing and waited for it to dry. I think I should have tried to stencil when the icing was still a bit wet, but I thought my luster dust would stick to the icing the same way it works on sugar flowers - again, not so much!

I tried liquid color, luster dust, cocoa powder, adding more icing to the cookies so they would be a little tacky. The powders and dusts just smeared everywhere or didn't stick to the icing at all.

It was a total decorating fail.

Luckily I figured it wasn't going to work in about 15 minutes and scrapped the project. No packages were mailed and Jose and Shorty were happy to receive lots of undecorated cookies (Michael was nice enough to help me eat the rest.) And thank goodness I didn't commit to making these for someone, I would have gone crazy trying to make it work. Lesson learned, no more cupcake stencils and add the last bit of flour to my cookie dough very slowly.