Saturday, February 27, 2010

snow day #2!

Amazing. NYC did not have a snow day for 6 years. And this year we got TWO! and this one made for a 3 day weekend!!! This was pretty much one of the best days ever! Started off with chatting with my coworkers at 5am talking about how we hoped it would happen... and then it did! I had a nice, relaxing morning - watched some tv, made some oatmeal, didn't get dressed until around noon! Then I headed up to the city.

Got a much needed hair cut and bought some MUCH needed rain boots - "plastic shoes" as I like to call them. These things are genius - they give you so much walking freedom its really amazing! Oh, big puddle? Nothing my plastic shoes can't handle. Oh, yucky slush? No problem! Love it.

Then we ventured into Central Park. I LOVE Central Park!! It had 20 inches of snow and it was a winter wonderland! So many people were out playing and sledding and chatting and living! I loved it!
We went to the Great Lawn to stay away from the trees (it was kind of dangerous out there!) Here is a video of Heather and Alison frolicking happily in the knee-high snow!
video
Then we built my first real snow man! It was so much fun! I loooove playing in the snow! It was kind of a work out too! I told Nisah (my coteacher) that I was going to build us a boyfriend... I must say - he's a looker! :)
For more pictures of our snow-filled fun in Central Park, check out my facebook album! :)

Then we headed over to "Halloween Bar" as we call it (Pat O'Briens) to have some drinks and ended up playing some beer pong!
Beer pong just makes 'going out for a drink' feel way more college-social-y. So much fun!

Earlier in the day, Emilie (my Broadway guru) told me that Hair was having a snow day special AND the cast is about to go to London and I wanted to see them before they left.
Wicked is my favorite 'story' of a show that I have seen but Hair is definitely my favorite show! When I saw it last time, I felt like I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I should have and knew I had to see it again! and i DID! It was AMAZING!!!! The audience was really great and I LOVE the tribe (aka. the cast). The story is great. The music - SO FUN. Ah! I LOVE IT! :)

I'm going to spill over into the weekend, because the snow ALSO gave me a free Saturday by cancelling grad school!

I got to see one of my friends, Lyndsey, perform in NYU's A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was soo good! It was really fun to see her perform - she did an awesome job! Shakespeare is a funny man. The show was geared towards families and such and the kids in the audience LOVED it - it was so nice to see little kids enjoy Shakespeare. There was question and answer time at the end and they were asking some awesome questions! I've decided that I want to take more advantage of NYU and other collegiate happenings around the city!

Aaaaand I finally hung out with Natalie in our neighborhood! Lived within blocks for months, and finally - we hang out! :) Here's a picture to prove it!
We've done it twice in two days... so I think the trend looks good!

This weekend only further restored my deep love for life, and NYC!

recipe #4

Minestrone Soup!
I discovered a recipe app on my phone! I think I'll end up using it more for inspiration than anything else (it doesn't use a lot of fresh ingredients, mostly canned/boxed/frozen stuff). But it does have tons of great ideas I can peruse during down time! I actually decided to make this when I was out to dinner with the fam and had a good cup of minestrone as an appetizer!

Ingredients:
Chicken broth, carrots, peas, green beans, celery, kidney beans, stewed tomatoes, pasta, basil, garlic, salt/pepper. (can we say eat your veggies?!)

Directions:
I just added some of all the above into a big pot and let it cook for about 15 minutes. haha

Laura's Review
I cooked this for Heather and Alison one night and it was really good! They enjoyed it as well! Suuuper easy to make, and pretty healthy! Everybody loves a good hot soup in the cold winter. :)

Then we had some Crumbs for dessert. I must say - Crumbs can make any day (good or bad) a better day. And Kirsten - you are right - sometimes the filling is the best part! (the Raspberry filling on the one we got was AMAZING)

winter break!

Soo much to blog about! I'm writing three blogs: winter break, recipe #4, and snow day #2! I decided combining these would not be good to read - too long - loses interest. So I'm spreading them out over a few days :)

WINTER BREAK
New York does this amazing thing - in February, we get a week off! Not really sure why, but I am not complaining! I shall include some highlights of my week:

Sarah and Heather
Sarah came in from Portland and we got to spend the weekend together! They were my Valentines and we had a splendid dinner with drinks! We had:
- flowers
- pomegranate martinis
- apple/raspberry salad
- chicken stuffed with fontina (side: green beans)
- chocolate fondue and fruits
- white wine
It was lovely! Valentine's Day is just as good with lovely ladies as it is with a man!

We also went to the Met!
This museum is straight up crazy - there is so much to see that you could go several times and always see something new. We took one of their free tours, which I really enjoy because then you find out information that you would have otherwise overlooked.

Callie!
Callie was in town to see her family so I got to see Callie!!! We had a day of fun and it was so lovely! What I love most about great friends is that you can not see them for months but when you get back together, its like nothing ever changed! (Love you, Callie!)

First we went to Yum Yum! (And it was Yummy!) Then, we went to the Museum of Natural History. We went through the galaxy several times in a maze of confusion, saw some dinos, lots of stuffed animals - etc. That museum is a bit confusing, we found, but fun and interesting all the same! Here's a picture of us, sitting in a clam!
Then we saw Princess and the Frog!
Naturally, I think of Callie whenever I think of Disney so she was the perfect person for me to see this with! It was SOOO funny! And I loved the story! I still giggle whenever I think "Go to bed! You are from Shreveport?!" hahaha Everybody should enjoy this film! Well done, Disney. Well done.

Then we met up with Callie's fam for some Ukranian dinner! I love Callie's family so much! They are so welcoming and just make you feel part of the group! I had never had Ukranian food, and I must say - pleasantly surprised! I shall return. Then we had some yummmmmy fro-yo at 16 Handles (which Callie and I thought was 16 Candles). It may have been freezing outside, but we enjoyed that fro-yo with the best of them! :)
I miss everybody so much, and it was great to see Callie!

The Family
Then my family came in town! (So many visitors, I know!) We haven't spent very much time as a whole family in the past years so it was good to have a chance to have everybody together! Some highlights:
- Walking around Central Park (a lot of walking! haha Central Park is one my favorite things about the city, so it was good to just leisurely walk through it and have some time to enjoy it)
- playing checkers and riding the carousel in Central Park (my mom was so excited, it was so cute!)
- Phantom of the Opera
- Comedy club with my brother (it was soo funny!)
- The Metropolitan Opera: La Boheme (opening night!)
La Boheme was probably my favorite New York memory so far - it was AMAZING. The sets were so impressive and the singing was soo beautiful! I absolutely loved it!

A big thanks to my family for coming out for the weekend in the big city! :)

It was kind of a weird break for me... I had a lot on my mind. But it was injected with so many good things that looking back, it was a great break! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

recipe #3

Chicken Stuffed with Golden Onions and Fontina
Eating Well: Healthy in a Hurry p.114

Ingredients:
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2/3 cup shredded fontina cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
4 tsp all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. Heat 2 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1 tsp rosemary; cook until onion is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool; stir in fontina.
2. Cut a horizontal slit along the thing, long edge of each chicken breast half. Stuff each breast with 1/4 cup of onion-cheese mixture.
3. Heat 2 tsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden (about 5 min per side). Transfer to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
4. Add wine and remaining rosemary. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Whisk broth and flour in a bowl until smooth; add to pan, reduce heat to low and whisk until the sauce thickens. Return chicken to pan and coat with sauce. Cook, covered, until chicken is just cooked through. Serve chicken topped with sauce.

Laura's Review:
Delicious! I cooked this dish for Valentine's day and Sarah and Heather both enjoyed it as well! I discovered that I am a fan of the fontina! I thought the onion would be a bit overwhelming, but I must say - I think it added a perfect flavor to the chicken.

Friday, February 12, 2010

snow day!


Well, in the past 6 years NYC DOE has had 2 snow days. One last year, and ONE THIS WEEK!

I thought it was so weird because it didn't seem to snow very much, but apparently that was because I spent the time in Manhattan - Brooklyn apparently got pretty crazy! :)

Here are some highlights!
No, I did not build this... but my neighbor did! And my neighbor is apparently a very talented snowman builder!

We woke up early, and did some work... (lame, je sais).

Then got our nails done! We were walking around the snow in flip flops so we looked pretty redic haha I picked out a dark purple, so it reminded me of Kirsten!

Then, we saw Dear John. A cute movie, and if you ask Heather... a tear jerker. ;)
And topped the day off with a nice brewsky and live music at Brother Jimmy's.
It was kind of weird - the day felt like a random Sunday. Overall, a very relaxing break in the middle of the LAST WEEK BEFORE BREAK! (couldn't be more excited that I'm on break now!)

Monday, February 8, 2010

recipe #2

3 Cheese Calzone!

Ingredients:
1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed and roughly chopped (5 cups)
black pepper
1/4 pound thinly sliced salami
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup jarred marinara sauce, warmed

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll and stretch them into 8-inch rounds.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
3. Layer the salami on one side of each round of dough and top with the cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal.
4. Brush the tops of the calzones with the oil. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Serve with the sauce.

Laura's review:
Yuuuuuummy! A relatively easy recipe and a nice way to end a long day. Very filling in the belly and yummy in the mouth. Next time, I'm going to use a little less ricotta and a lot more mozzarella (the cheese wasn't gooey enough for me!). Overall, simple and delightful.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

work, work, work

I feel like my life has been consumed by work lately. It's been very productive, and I've felt good about the work that has been going on... but its just never ending. There is always some new idea, some way to improve, some thing not done yet... etc.

I look forward to the day when I can go to work and come home and live. For now, I'll just take baby steps toward that! :)

I feel like my work is incredibly meaningful and I love it. But as I look back on what has made me most happy in life, it's been spending time with wonderful people. And I should fill my life with as much of that as I can.

All that to say, one more week until FEBRUARY BREAK!! Where I will be doing just that - spending a lot of time with wonderful people (including Sarah/Callie/family)! And hopefully doing as little work as humanly possible! I could not be more excited!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

recipe #1

Raspberry-Glazed Rosemary Chicken

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon crushed rosemary
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 teaspoon honey mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a small bowl, stir together crushed rosemary, sage, and oregano.
3. Rub one side of each chicken breast with herb mixture. Place chicken herb-side up in a baking dish, and pour broth over the chicken.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
5. Place raspberry preserves in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 20 to 30 seconds to soften. Stir in honey mustard and rosemary.
6. Spread about 1 tablespoon of preserve mixture over breast. Bake 10 minutes.

Laura's review:
DELICIOUS! Really easy to make (which makes me happy!) Takes very little time or prep. The chicken is so moist and I love the raspberry flavor! Yum! I paired it with some bread and asparagus and it was delightful! Highly recommended!

Shout out to Kirsten for Skyping with me while I wrote this blog!

Monday, February 1, 2010

great start!

This is what happened: January is a tricky little bitch. It tried to convince me that I was sick and unhappy... I will not be fooled. I reloaded on over the counter drugs, water and tissues - you can't get me, sickness! And I won't be fooled by your cold weather and lack of sunlight - I will have fun and happiness despite these tricks.

February is off to an amazing start and I predict it will be a lovely month!

Today:

1. Wake up and work out for the first time in too long! Feels good to be back! (Even if it's at 5:30 am!) It is amazing how much exercising does for the body and mind!



2. Food. I love eating healthy. My new favorite menu:

breakfast: banana and black coffee (and granola bar if I'm really hungry!)

lunch: (as pictured above): YUMMY SALAD! (spinach, walnuts, dried blueberries, apple slices, goat cheese, and raspberry dressing! with all those toppings, just eat a little less and enjoy it more!!)

snack: little bag of baby carrots

dinner: (this needs improvement... but hopefully my recipe of the week will help me there!) :) today? vodka sauce and noodles accompanied by a glass of wine!

dessert: 3 homemade chocolate chunk cookies to be eaten at any time throughout the day! yum!

Also, the social resolution is off to a great start!

Life is good.