Saturday, September 29, 2007

blue cotton goodness

We all have our favorite pieces of clothing...a sweatshirt, sweat pants, those black pants that make your bum look FANTASTIC, that bra that makes those barely A's look like perky B+'s, or those EE's look Like C's; I could go on, but you get my drift.

Six years ago, I bought a pair of blue cotton shorts (sort of a light weight sweatpant material). I purchased them for my job as an ice cream scooper (5 summers of the amazing right arm bicep!!!); however, they were so comfortable-airy-breezy-soft, that I couldn't let them die the same death (the sour milk stench) that all of my other work clothes I made them my gym shorts.

There was just something about them. I put them on and immediately felt energized, ready to get a good sweat on, eager to work out. These shorts were a priority, they were always on the top of the 'to do' laundry pile, and were always still warm out of the dryer...I don;t think they ever saw the inside of my drawer. They came with me to college and on my vacations. I would wear them to the beach over my bathing suit, and I even wore them repainting one of the rooms in B*T* fraternity house (don't ask, lets just say the day of painting was well worth it). Despite the face that the painting gig did left a spot of white paint on the right butt, these shorts continued to be worn in public. Although the winter months are not usually prime shorts season (oh the pasty white goodness that is my fair Irish legs), I quickly remedied the issue by wearing sweat pants over the shorts when traveling outside.

So you are probably thinking a few things: 1) these shorts must be awfully smelly. ; 2) why didn't she just go buy another pair? ; 3) this girl needs therapy! ; 4) is there a point to this post?

Flash forward to this past Thursday. I was at the gym, just finishing up my cardio, when my IPOD fell off the machine. Annoyed at having to slow down and get it, I quickly squeezed in-between the two machines, bent over to pick it up, and heard, "sqqquuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiiiiiiiipppppp" and felt something tugging at my waist.

"Uh-oh....this can't be good", I thought.

Nope it wasn't good. The string on my shorts had gotten caught in the peddle and the dry rotted waist bad of my shorts was now separated from the legs.

Aside from sheer mortification(I think this is a word), from both the rip and the fact that my pink floral FRUIT OF THE LOOM undies were showing (hey, I like my granny panties for working out), I knew that almost 7 years of working out companionship had just come to a screeching halt.

I quickly grabbed my waist, my gym bag, my water bottle, and bolted to the locker room. Not going to lie, along the way I clearly was thinking...."I wonder if I can fix this with the sewing machine?!?!"

Seeing as I was going to work (and had my clothes with me), I showered and put on my lovely scrubs. As I packed my stuff and got ready to leave, my heart ached when I put the ripped shorts in the dirty laundry bag. I know that I should have thrown them out, but there was just something about our relationship that I could not, or would not, let go of that morning.

My day at work was horrendous and hectic so I really didn't think much about the mornings events...yes people, I can recognize that saving lives is more important than smelly, ripped, 7 year old shorts!

That night I did manage to throw them out, but only after pulling out the string and throwing it in a drawer (safe keeping? nostalgia? lunacy? )

I dreamt that night that some homeless person found them while rummaging through the trash (the joys of city living) and was appalled that I would throw away something so valuable. The next morning I woke up, well aware that I needed to get a grip, and got ready for the gym. I pulled out one of my other bazillion pairs of work out shorts and trekked to the gym. I had a great sweat going and realized that it wasn't the shorts that made my workouts so enjoyable. I left, feeling satisfied, and went about my day.

So I'm not really sure that something as insignificant as a pair of cotton shorts deserved a post, but what the heck. I'm sure that everyone can relate to having that one item of clothing that you just cannot let go of!

And so I ask you, my loyal readers, what is your favorite piece of clothing?
Do you think you will be able to part with it some day???

Tuesday, September 25, 2007



Banana-Walnut-Fudgey Squares

12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated spreadable margarine
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour (tapaioca or potato flour works well too!)
1 cup beet sugar(or regular granualted)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 medium bananas
1 t. vanilla
2/3 cup chopped walnuts

In a small non-stick skillet, cook together the chocolate chips and margerine, stirring
ften, until the chips are thoroughly melted. In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. in a food processor or blender puree the bananas and continue to process for 2 minutes to make them light and fluffy. Add pureed bananas and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir well. Add melted chocolate chip mixture and stir until batter is very smooth and then fold in chopped walnuts. Grease the bottom only of a 13x9 inch pan, pour in batter, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until center is set. Allow to cool completely before cutting in desired size pieces. *I like to make these a day before using, as it improves their flavor and texture.*

Yield: One 13x9 inch pan

Creamy Bular, Asparugs, Corn Salad (not my recipe, but it was quite delicious)

2 T. raw almonds
2 T. lime juice
1 T. water
2 t. nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
2 T. safflower oil
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 cup bulgur, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 T. tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
8 oz. asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 cup cut corn
1 cup fennel, diced (including frond tops)
3/4 cup orange or red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced

Begin the dressing by placing the almonds in a small bowl, cover them with water, place them in the refrigerator, and leave them to soak overnight to loosen their skins. Remove the almonds from the water, squeeze each almond between your thumb and forefinger to remove the skin, place them on a towel, and set them aside to dry. In a blender or food processor, place the almonds and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them. Scrape down the sides of the container, add the lime juice, water, nutritional yeast flakes, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and process for 30 seconds. Add the safflower oil and process for 1 minute to form a smooth puree. Add the cilantro and parsley, pulse several times to combine, and set the dressing aside.

Next, prepare the bulgur by placing it in a large bowl, pour the water and tamari over the top, and stir well to combine. Set the bulgur mixture aside for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the bulgur is tender. Add the reserved dressing to the bulgur and toss well to thoroughly coat the bulgur with the dressing. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stems of the asparagus, and then slice the asparagus spears diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the asparagus, corn, fennel, orange/red pepper, and green onions to the bulgur mixture, and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as desired. The bulgur salad mixture can also be served as a sandwich or wrap filling.

Serves 6

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Apricots, Lemon, and Goat Cheese

You can stuff the chicken breasts and chill up to 4 hours before cooking.

2 1/2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspon Rosemary
1 cup chopped aprocits plus 1/4 cup apricot preserves (mix together with chopped)
1 (3-ounce) package cranberry goat cheese, softened (T. Joe's comes to my mind!)
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine first 6 ingredients; stir well.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Top each breast half with 2 tablespoons cheese mixture; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Tuck in sides; secure each roll with wooden picks.
Sprinkel outside with salt, pepper, and Rosemary

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Wrap the handle of pan with foil, and bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Kelly who lived with her mom, dad, and dog (a Husky named Bandit). Kelly loved that her mom stayed at home and didn't have to work, that she was always able to have play dates with friends after preschool and/or on non-school days, that he dog loved to play with her in the backyard, and that weekends were "daddy time". However, what she didn't know was that there was a deep longing on her parents behalf to give her something special...a sibling. Because she was only 5 years old, Kelly didn’t realize that her mom and dad had been though much heartache and had given up all hope at ever being able to give Kelly that special gift.

When Kelly began Kindergarten in the fall of 1990, it seemed fitting that her mom would return to work, especially with the towns option for extended day Kindergarten (1/2 day of normal class, 1/2 day of 'Play-And-Learn'). Initially, Kelly was devastated that she was loosing her 'mommy time', but after she realized that each new school year would mean clothes shopping and a cool nee lunchbox, she realized that school wouldn't be so bad. Kelly made lots of friends and added them to her list of " play date peeps". Plus she was looking forward to the big vacations...the ski trip in February and trip to Disneyland in August!

The school year was rapidly passing by. Christmas had come and gone and the big Ski vacation in February was fast approaching. However, 2 weeks before the big trip, Kelly got the news that the trip was "changed" and that the family would only be going to the mountains overnight, not for the entire week. Being a typical egocentric kid, Kelly whined and said, "But whhhyyyyyyyyyy???? It’s not fair..........." Her parents just said, "I'm sorry, but there are some things that are out of our control. We'll do something fun another time."

A few weeks passed and the very first signs of spring were beginning to peep though. March had truly come in like a lion, and out like a lamb. Kelly got off the bus one cool, but sunny Friday afternoon and noticed that her dad was home early from work. "Yay!", Kelly thought. She ran up the driveway, skort flapping in the breeze and backpack bouncing on her back, and bolted onto the porch where her mom and dad were standing. "Hi Dad! What are you doing home??"

"Come on in and take a seat, Kel, We have something to tell you."
"Did you get me a new bike?," she asked. (She had clearly outgrown my old one and had no sense that big gifts like that were for birthdays and Christmas...not random Fridays)
"No, sorry Kelly. No bike. Here look at this."
She made one of the, "You have got to be kidding me faces" and said, "What's this??"
Kelly's parents said, "It's a picture."
Kelly said, "Well what is it? It looks ugly"
"Well Kelly, that's your new baby brother or sister. Mom is going to have a baby"
"Oh no!!" Kelly screeched. "You mean I am going to have to share my things?!?!?!"

Not quite the response they had been hoping for, Kelly's parents were crushed. They had waited until 15 weeks to tell Kelly their news. Actually, they had waited until 12 weeks to even tell their families. After 2 previous late losses (neither of which Kelly had been aware of) they couldn't stand the thought/pain of having to tell their only daughter that the baby actually wasn't going to be coming...

That night, as Kelly was being tucked into bed she said, "Mom? Dad? It’s okay. A baby will be fine. Just don't let it cry or make smelly poops. Then I'll be happy."

As the weeks passed and Kelly's mom's belly grew bigger and bigger, and as family and friends talked about the subject more and more, Kelly grew excited about the prospective new member of the family. However, when August rolled around and Kelly said, "So when are we going to Disney?" her parents said, "Oh Kelly, We're sorry. We can’t go to Disney now...Mommy can't fly." "WHAT?!?!?!," she wailed. "But don’t worry, we are going to Hershey Park and Sesame Place in Pennsylvania instead and Katie and Brian and Aunty Linda and Billy are coming too!" "Oh, well...Okay..."

The trip came and went and Kelly had a blast. She started first grade and was finally back into the groove. However, one Thursday morning when she awoke, it wasn't mom and dad in their was Aunnie.
"Where's my mom and dad?, " Kelly asked.
"Mom went to the hospital last night. She's having the baby, "Aunnie said.
"Ohhhhh, okay. Will she be here when I get home?"
"I don’t think so, but dad will pick you up from school and then you can go visit her."

Kelly ran down the hall and got dressed ( oh how she loved school days when she could wear whatever she wanted...that day's outfit of choice was a red plaid skirt with Scotty dog sweater and striped knee socks and saddle shoes with an enormous red bow headband atop her mop of unbrushed curls).
As Kelly was getting ready to get the bus, the phone rang. It was mom, calling to let her know that she had a baby sister...Colleen!

At that moment, the past 5 months of resentment and jealousy disappeared. Gone was the whining and complaining about things not being fair...she had a new sister!

Kelly left for school and got picked up by her dad that afternoon to go see mom and Colleen. Aside from the sheer look of horror on her mom’s face at the outfit Kelly was wearing, the first union of the new family of four was a success.

"Can I hold her?, "Kelly asked. "Of course you can. Sit in the chair and hold out your arms. Okay, support her head. There you go, very good."
And then Kelly began to sing, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star....How I wonder what you are....."

That little girl named Kelly is me, and I cannot believe that that day occurred 16 years ago. This Thursday, 9/27 is my little sister's 16th birthday. I cannot believe how fast the time has passed, what an amazing young woman she has become, and how thankful I am to have someone as special as her in my life.
It’s hard to imagine what my life would be without her. Although there is a large age difference between us, we are now becoming the best of friends. It wasn't until I left for college that I realized how big of a part she is in my life; however, since having moved into the *real* working world, I know realize how big of apart we are in each others lives. We have finally reached the point in our relationship where we can call and leave each other random phone messages just to tell the other one about something stilly/dumb that happened during the day, or to check in on the other one's sanity (oh the drama of 10th grade and the reality of being a nurse), or even just to call and say, "I love you! Miss ya!"

I dedicate this post to my sister. without her I wouldn’t be who I am today and (despite a rocky start) I am so thankful that she is a part of my life and no, I really don't mind having to "share my stuff" with her.

Happy 16th Birthday Colleen! I love you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

W.I.U.W. part II

Here we go! Week number two....I'd love to hear any feedback on last week's recipes!!

Tomato Avacado Salsa

One 15-ounce container purchased salsa
1 diced medium avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Mix salsa with avocado, lime juice, olive oil, and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper; chill until ready to serve.

*Excellent topping for cooked rice
**My fellow Vegeterians...add some cooked, cubed Tofu
**For all those meat eaters out there...add some cubed chicken

Cherry-Almond Granola
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup good honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the oats, coconut, almonds, and cherries together in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable oil and honey over the oat mixture. Add the cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated with the liquids. Pour onto a sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Apple, Sausage, Turkey Stuffing
1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.

Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.

Riding In Style

In Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Miami, South Beach, people drive around in style. There are no shortages of “it” cars. It’s about as common to see a Bentley cruising on the smooth black asphalt, as it is to see a minivan is New England suburbia.

But in New York (despite a comparable number of equally wealthy people) it’s the babies that ride in style. Yes my loyal readers, this place is the baby stroller capital of the country!

I used to think the Greico was a top of the line stroller, than a few years ago I was introduced to the “yuppier” jogger strollers (I must admit, they are very easy to use- great for parents who want to stay fit and spend time with their kids while doing so). Then I was introduced to the MacLaren...also very chic and it pushes quite smoothly; however, since I’ve been in the big apple, I have seen strollers that probably cost more than my monthly rent!

So what have I seen so far?

Exhibit A) Double stroller where the infant is in a deluxe bassinet on top, and the toddler rides low to the ground facing the direction they are being pushed. (they have their own cup-holder and toy storage pack)

Exhibit B) you know those little side cars that attach to a side of a motorcycle, well picture one of those on each side on a shopping/grocery cart.

Exhibit C) A front facing child seat with a standing ledge in the rear for the older child.

Exhibit D) The triple stroller that is slanted upward. the heaviest kid rides on the bottom and the lighter on the top...each level has a tray in front with a cup holder, snack compartment, and oh yeah, battery powered mini fans. (I sear, I'm not kidding! I did a double take when I first saw it

Exhibit E) The stroller that looks more like a highchair on a video tripod stand, but with bicycle handle bards to push it.

Looking back on all of this, it just seems crazy! innovative! outrageously elaborate!!!

The stroller that I was carted around in? Well, it's safe to say that it's been long done for many years, probably rotting in a landfill somewhere.

Oh well, I guess it just goes to show you that 'time are a changin' and the kiddos are not going to be left beind!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bubbly Delight

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while, but it seems that every time I sit down to write, I loose my train of thought/cannot find the write words/end up with one really long incoherent run-on sentence→paragraph→page.

Alas, I am going to give this a final shot.

8 Weeks, 3 days, 2 hours, and 42 minutes ago, I stopped drinking soda.

For those of you who didn’t know, I was a diet soda fiend. There was just something so crisp and refreshing about cracking open a soda and feeling those million little bubbles zing all over my mouth and go down my esophagus with ease. (Cleary, I have given this a great deal of thought).

I would have to say that my soda habit got worse when I went to college. There was just something about having the diet Pepsi fountain write next to the milk and orange juice that made it seem acceptable to drink this bubbly delight morning, noon, and night. Oh yeah, plus I had about a bazillion dining dollars that I had to use my freshman year, and it ‘made sense’ to stock up soda (iahhem, mixers) and use the money up. Okay, so that was my excuse freshman year.

My excuse sophomore year? Well I lived in my sorority house. 22 girls….enough said.
One would think that when I moved off campus junior year and no longer had a meal plan or a chef, and would have to lug cases of soda multiple blocks to my house from the store, that I would have cut back. But no! The habit endured.

However, my habit reached it’s all time worst the summer entering my senior year. I didn’t move home for the summer, but rather stayed in Philly to work. In addition to my job at the hospital, I also was babysitting- a lot. Thus, my parents thought it was justified that I have my car in Philly so I could travel back and forth to the ‘burns to baby-sit. Aside from the amazing families that I saw on my at least 3x weekly trips to Delaware County, I also passed the amazing Tar-zhay, the ACME, the Genaurdis, etc. Are you getting where I am going with this? Oh yeah, I was stocking up and hitting the soda sales. I was truly amazed that you could get 4 12-packs for $10; at the grocery store near school, the bubbly delight was at least $5.59/pack. And thus, the habit endured. Now don’t judge me for this, but one day I counted and I drank 8 cans . Thank g0d it was diet, otherwise in addition to a beverage habit, I would’ve needed an entirely new wardrobe!

Flash-forward to July 2007 when I was getting ready for my move to the Big Apple.

One night, while my family was away on their tropical vacation and I was home with the dog, I made my dinner and had my 5th soda for the day. I was slipping through the channels and saw the infomercial for some tooth whitener. I didn’t give it much thought, my mom’s in the dental field, but I guess the infomercial did something to me. I awoke that night in a cold sweat that all of my tooth enamel had worn off and that I was going to need dentures to replace my teeth that were so badly ruined by the bubbly beverages I indulged in.
I have not had even a sip of the stuff since then. Although I know my dream was not quite realistic, it just got me thinking…the soda wasn’t good for my teeth or my bones. The fizz sucks the calcium out of your bones, the artificial sweeteners clearly aren’t that good for your long term health, and let’s face it… 7.00 for a 12 pack of soda in New York, the stuff really wasn’t good for my wallet either..

It’s interesting that when I drank that last soda, I didn’t know that it would be my last. I didn’t take the time to savior the bubbles, the crispness, etc. I sort of feel like an addict or alcoholic who is on that show INTERVENTION and gets whisked off to treatment, not knowing that their last drink and/or hit was their last. However, looking back on this experience I realized that quitting cold turkey was the way to go. There was no dread, no hesitation, it was quick and painless (well aside from the headaches I had during the first few weeks).

So what do I drink now? Soymilk (8th Continent Light Soymilk
), Crystal Light “To-Go” packs, and water. I also decided to give up caffeine, so it’s now very rare that I even chose to drink coffee or tea.

In summation (oh how my English teachers used to tear apart any concluding paragraph that ended this way), I’d just like to put in on the record that yes folks, my name is Kelly and I’m a recovering soda-holic.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whip It Up Wednesdays

New York is such a gluttonous city. Not just with those in the upper echelon, but with everyone. gluttony surrounds the lifestyle, the nightlife, the retail market, and last but certainly nor least....the food.
I have been making up recipes left and right, but I can't keep up with trying them all out.

A) I'm not home enough;

B) more than 1/2 of them involve things that cluck, moo, baa, gobble, or oink- so I'm off the taster panel;

C) My roomate's on a diet;

D) the food would spoil before I could eat it all....

So here is my plan: I'll post a few new recipes on Wednesdays (all courses, varying cuisines, both unique and common interests). Please feel free to try them and let me know your thoughts and/or suggestions you have for tweaking them.


Homemade Mac and Cheese

1 8oz packet of softened light cream cheese
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons of margarine or butter
1 tablespoon flour
3-3 ½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella, or any Italian blend)
1 box pasta (preferably something with ridges)
salt and pepper to taste
garlic salt (if desired)
-1 cup corn (can be frozen)
-1 c. peas + 1 ham steak cubed (about 2 cups)
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes drained (Italian variety recommended) + 2 cups (cooked) baby portabella (or cremini) mushrooms—just cook mushrooms in 1 tbs butter and add tomatoes, for the last minute of cooking
-1 package of drained, thawed, frozen spinach + 2 cups cooked mushrooms
- For a crunchy top: mix 1 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1 cup breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top of the pasta and place under a broiler until golden brown

1) over a medium heat, whisk the butter and flour together; after the flour is mixed with butter, add in the milk—be sure to continuously stir to prevent the milk from scorching
2) add the cream cheese and continue to stir until the cream cheese is melted down
3) prepare the pasta- drain-set aside, making sure to keep it warm
a) if you are going to add any other vegetable
4) slowly add the shredded cheese. Be sure to mix well, and keep the heat low to prevent the cheese from getting lumpy. If the mixture seems to thick, add a little milk, and keep stirring. When the shredded cheese looks to be all melted, turn off the heat and immediately pour over the warm pasta.
5) Toss the cheese and pasta mixture
a) add any “mix ins”
6) Serve hot!
7) If you want to eat it as leftovers, pout 1-2 tbs of milk onto the pasta dish and either warm over low heat on the stove top or re-heat in the microwave

Toffee Crunch Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 (10-ounce) bag toffee candy bits
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup sweetened flake coconut
1 cup chopped whole, skinned almonds

Oven to 350

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat the eggs slightly; then add to the butter mixture and mix well. Sift flour, salt and baking soda; then add slowly to the moist ingredients and mix thoroughly. Mix in the toffee bits, oatmeal, coconut and nuts.
Drop dough by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Vegetable Pie
- 1TB organic extra virgin olive oil
-1 c. canned organic soybeans
-1 c. organic carrots, diced
-1 c. organic onion, chopped
-1 c. organic sweet corn (1 large ear stripped of kernals)
-1 c. organic broccoli, chopped-
-1 c. organic red bell pepper, diced
-1 lb fresh organic spinach, cooked, drained and chopped
-2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and chopped
-1 tsp nutmeg
-sea salt, to taste
-ground black pepper, to taste
-1/2 c. organic pecans, chopped (optional)
-2 frozen pie crusts, or recipe for two-crust pie
-1 c. grated mozzarella cheese or cheese substitute
-2 tsp organic sesame seeds
Sauté vegetables in olive oil until tender-crisp. Add garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and pecans. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until the flavors blend.
Oven: 350 degrees for 20–30 minutes or until the crust turns brown. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

1) Line a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with one prepared crust.
2) layer the vegetables with the cheese beginning with the cheese and ending with the vegetables.
3) Top with another crust, seal with a fork and trim excess pie dough. With a sharp knife, poke vent holes in the top of the crust. Sprinkle top with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More Imporatant than Frizzy Hair

I had the day off today. My original plan was to sleep in, quietly relax and sip a cup of warm decaf coffee, eventually make it to the shower, to my errands, and then meet up with friends for dinner. However, plans changed. I awoke at 6am (not so much a sleep in for most, but still an extra 1 ½ hours for me). I looked out the window and saw that it was raining (grrrrr, so much for my straight hair on a day when I had time to blow dry it). I decided to go to 6:30 spin, and then came home and turned on the TV. I was so excited to watch my morning talk shows, GMA, Live With Regis and Kelly, and Rachel Ray; nevertheless, I turned on the TV and quickly remembered that today is 9/11.

Needless to say, I have been sitting here on my sofa for the last hour crying. No, not because I am missing my shows, but because I have been overcome with emotion on the anniversary.

I cannot believe that it has been six years. I still remember sitting in my 11th grade English class with Mrs. B rolling my eyes at having to write another 10 page paper (we were only in the 2nd week of school), when all teachers were called out into the hall and the class grew silent. There was an eerie silence that echoed throughout the usually bustling corridors of our suburban high school. The teachers soon returned to the classrooms and asked us to listen for an announcement over the PA system. The familiar voice of our principal came over the loud speaker:
“I would just like to take a moment to relay some important information regarding the events that have transpired over the last 30 minutes. It appears that the Twin Towers in New York have been struck by commercial airplanes that were headed for California, out of Boston.. The reason for these accidents is still not known, but an investigation is currently underway. We have also been informed that another plane crashed into the Pentagon. We ask any students who feel that they may have been directly affected by this mornings events to please come down to the guidance office and feel free to make any necessary phone calls. Additionally, the entire guidance and administrative staff is in the office if you need to speak with us. We will continue to update you, as more information becomes available. Teachers- please excuse any students who feel they need to see the guidance office. Additionally, we ask that the student body remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”

And the class sat in silence.

I immediately looked over at my friend Caroline, whose face was white as a ghost, and who was in the process of standing up to leave. Her dad, a cost guard reservist, was on temporary assignment in the Pentagon.

Then my mind shot to my family’s good friend who works for Delta Airlines, who was working this day, and who was based out of Boston.

Instead of running to guidance, I whipped out my phone and texted my mom. However, she said that she still hasn’t heard anything, but that Mrs. T’s husband thought she was on an southern flight, not a west coast bound flight.
The remainder of the school day was a blur. Teachers could not capture our attention, students wanted to be anywhere but class (i.e computer lab, media room, design lab, etc).
I only remember a few students actually leaving school that day, but the stories continued to roll in over the next few weeks.

Turns out C’s dad was okay. He was working offsite that morning. Mrs. T was also okay, she had been headed on a fight to Dallas. Later in the week, I heard that a boy in my sister’s class had a really close call. His dad, an American Airlines Pilot, was scheduled to be flying the plane that hit one of the towers; however, due to flight delays and bad weather, he had already accrued too many flight hours and was grounded; another pilot took the flight for him.

So many people were glued to the television in the hours, days, and weeks that followed the attacks on 9/11. I remember thinking how tragic the event was, but I don’t think that I ever took it all in and processed the magnitude of the event.

Flash forward six years. I am now here in New York, and making up for lost time. The memorial service is on every TV channel, all flags are flying at half staff, that eerie silence is hanging over the city, and of course- it’s raining.

Maybe the rain is symbolic…a way for all those who lost their lives to come back down to earth and reunite with those they left behind.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Random Info About Me

For all three of you who read this blog, here are some randoms things that you may (or may not) know about me:

→ If I could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be and how long would it take to spend the $10,000?
Williams Sonoma. I could spend hours and hours there. I love odd little gadgets, unique tableware, etc. However, seeing as I have all of 16 inches of counter space (and no place to store these glorious gadgets, I’d have to say Bloomingdales….I could outfit myself and my domicile.
→ If money were not an object, what would I do with my life?
Ski in the winter, go to the beach in the summer, and lead a large non-profit philanthropy.
→ What song best describes me when I first wake up in the morning?
“Old Time Rock and Roll”
→ What place in the US would I most like to visit? Why?
Napa Valley, CA. The air is clean, you have a “change” of seasons (or at east something resembling fall, spring, and summer), you can ski and go to the beach, and the wine flows like water
→ What place outside of the US would I most like to visit? Why?
Greece. Beautifal scenery, amazing history, untainted land, finally getting to see all “the stuff” they made us study in school practically EVERY year since 4th grade!
→ Coke or Pepsi?
Neiither, I gave up soda. But back in my Hey Day, I was all about the Diet Pepsi
→ Is your calendar always on the correct month (or day, if it is a day calendar)?
Yup, all pages are folded down so I will open to the current date
→Desk: messy or organized?
→ Pet ownership – which is better? Dog or Cat?
Depends on what you are looking for. A Dog if you want to feel needed/are willing to be responsible for another living being. A Cat if you want to have the piece of mind that you aren’t technically along, but have no desire to expend much more ener=gy that what it takes to crack open a can of food and scoop the litter box one time a week.
→Are you always early or terminally late?
EARLY, it’s something that I got from both my Mom and Dad
→What is your favorite book you read as a child?
To have read to me: Old Man and the Afternoon Cat;
To read alone: Any of the Bernstein Bear book
→ Secret talent?
I can wiggle my ears
→ Favorite joke relating to my profession:
Three nurses went to heaven, and were awaiting their turn with St. Peter to plead their case to enter the pearly gates.
The first nurse said, "I worked in an emergency room. We tried our best to help patients, even though occasionally we did lose one. I think I deserve to go to heaven." St. Peter looks at her file and admits her to heaven.
The second nurse says, "I worked in an operating room. It's a very high stress environment and we do our best. Sometimes the patients are too sick and we lose them, but overall we try very hard." St. Peter looks at her file and admits her to heaven.
The third nurse says, "I was a case manager for an HMO."
St. Peter looks at her file. He pulls out a calculator and starts punching away at it furiously, constantly going back to the nurse's file. After a few minutes St. Peter looks up, smiles, and says, "Congratulations! You've been admitted to heaven ... for five days!"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Day In the Life

I’m serious people…I’m trying hard to write more often, on more interesting topics, and (oh yes) be more grammatically correct. So here goes. Read on for how today play out for me. Keep in mind, though, that right now I’m trying to practice “The Secret
”. Despite the fact that I don’t really like Oprah/”her preachyness” (but that is an entirely different post), her latest endorsement seems to have so much potential, why not give it a try.

6am: My alarm goes off ( 1 hour and 30 minutes late). I guess I hit alarm 2 last night. Whoops. Oh well (I’m channeling the secret here). My trainer has been yelling at me that I am training too much and lifting too often, so I guess today is a good day to try something new- the 6:30am spin class.-especially since I don’t have to be at work until 8:30 am because we have a continuing education day!

6:20am: Arrive at spin class 10 minutes early, pick the ideal bike location-middle of the room, to the right hand side (no one will be looking at my but bounce up and down as we hill climb in 3rd position).

6:22am: Start warming up, hear the bike squealing and clanging. Oh well, I’ll ignore it, the music will be loud.

6:24am: Nope, this isn’t going to work, the noise is obnoxious. Take a look around the room and only 1 bike left. Yup, you guessed it. Front row, dead center! But wait!!! It’s right next to the cute guy who lives in my building. **The Secret**

6:35am: No instructor, bummer. One member of the class volunteers to lead the class (along with his REALLY bad ipod play list). Oh well. But wait!!! In strolls my ABS Class instructor (amazing motivator!) and he’s going to be the sub! **The Secret**

7:25am: Class over, amazing workout, off to the shower!

7:26am: In the locker room realize that I packed two pairs of underwear but no bra. Oh well, me and my 32 barely A chest have gone without a bra numerous times before, I’ll just throw my cardigan sweater over the shirt…it’s going to be a nice cool day, 75 sunny with a breeze. **The Secret**

7:45am: Walking down the street and I look down at my shirt. Whoops! I went shopping last weekend and bought 2 new shirts (among other things): one navy blue and grey striped, one black and grey striped. So today I took the navy blue one, but I’m wearing black shorts. Oh well. At least I’ve got the sweater **the Secret**. Even better, I have plenty of time before I have to be at work (how I love my 5 minute walking “commute”), I’ll swing home and change AND get a bra!

8:25: Hanging out waiting for my class to start, catching up on my leisure reading.

8:50: Still no teacher, weird! Oh wait, here comes someone. Crap! The instructor called in sick. This means we have to go to the floor, (ehhh, I’m not mentally prepared for a day of patient care). But wait!! They tell us that we can take the books and go read and self study (any where we want!). Me and two other nurses take our books and head to the coffee shop with the outside cafĂ© (remember what a nice day it is today!!?!?!) **The Secret**

12noon: LUNCH! Shoot, I have zero cash. But wait, today is payday with automatic deposit! **The Secret**

3:45: Log onto PeopleSoft to check automatic deposit and notice that today is the deadline to enroll in my Benefits! (phew! If we had been in the classroom, I wouldn’t have been able to sneak into the library to check this out and I would have been without insurance, eeks!!) **The Secret**

3:50: I realize that I worked over 40 hours last week, plus Monday was a holiday so I got holiday pay!! Excellent!!! **The Secret**

4:45: Turn books back in, get credits for today’s self learning, head to the Organic Market

4:55: YAY! My favorite soy “ice cream” is back in stock! **The Secret**

5:30: Checking out at the market (I NEVER rush through a trip to the market, I love my time there. It’s relaxing. Maybe I’m weird, but I get lots of enjoyment perusing the isles, thinking up recipes of what I can make with the bargain Bulgar Wheat Recipe
, etc. **The secret**

6:15. I have been inline for 10 minutes, starting to wonder why we aren’t moving anywhere.

6:20 Finally check out.

6:36 Waiting for the elevator in my building (heavy grocery bags!) But wait!!! In walks Mr. Cute Spin Class Man who lives on the 5th Floor! **The Secret**

So there’s my day. Now I challenge you: Challenge “The Secret” and see what it can do for you.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Been there, Done that

I'm a little sad. No, actaully I am a little nostalgic. For the past four years, at this same tine, I have been getting ready to go back to school (well technically for the past 17 years); however, for the purpose of this post, I am referring to college.

NSO (New Student Orientation) is truly like a good bottle of only gets better with age.

As an incoming freshman, I was young and naive. I had no clue that people drank obscence amounts of potent
red juice from trashbarrel, that it WASN'T cool to wear your logo hoodie out to a party at night, or that 12 midnight was when all of the action started-not when I should be going to bed. By the end of NSO week my freshamn year (Mom and Dad, don't judge me for this; Colleen, don't let this be your role model) I had: gone out in a Toga and woke up in it at 11am the following day; drank approximatly 25 beers, 30 shots of cheap-cheap-cheap alcohol, and more *Jungle Juice* than I ever care to imagine; was no longer an "Ice Luge" Virgin; had tasted a jello shot for at least 15 flavors of jello (my advice, avoid the cherry-lime); thrown up in the bushes outside my dorm; and been 'that girl' making out with the boy in corner/on the street/on Locust Walk/in the Hallway/in my room/in his room (hey, he did turn out to be my boyfriend). Anyways,my point is that a week can change a person; nevertheless, I can say that I never sacrificed what I stood for, or compromised my beliefs.

With the three following NSO's, each one got better. It was no longer about finding the best fraternity party, but rather about hosting the best 'off campus' party. It was a time to go out and see your friends, or to drunkenly to seek out your 'frenemies". Let's just say that by senior year NSO I didn't step into one fraterniy house, but I had an experience that rivaled any of my preceding experiences.

As the last few weeks have quickly passed, the Bed Bath & Beyond/Target/Office Max/Best Buy 'BACK TO SCHOOL' fliers have cllutterd my mailbox; however, it wasn't until I got the "Welcome Back To School Message' on my old student email account that it hit me...I'm no longer a student playing nurse, but now I'm a nurse playing grownup. The more and more I thought about it, I decided I would make a "Survival Kit" for all those who are beginning their college experience.

Here's to all incoming freshaman: may all your liver's detoxify, your bank accounts survive, and your experiences be captured into wonderful memories that you will forever hold onto...

A Survival Kit

1. A Toothbrush- you’d be amazed at how thankful you’ll be for an “extra” when you accidentally drop yours on the bathroom floor at ngodly hours of the nght/early morning
2. Toothpaste- hang up posters and nail things to the wall without worry…when you go to move out, it magically fills the holes!
3. Sewing Kit- buttons always seem to come off the shirt that you were planning on wearing…the home ec skills come back instantaneously
4. Make-up Brushes- nope, not for making yourself glamorous for the 9am class, but rather for cleaning out the dust and crumbs from your computer keyboard (have you ever tried to type a paper when the spacebar is jammed??)
5. Hairbrushes- a girl can never have too many, right? Actually, they make amazing microphones for impromptu late night dance parties
6. First Aid Kit- hey, I’m a nurse, I couldn’t resist ☺
7. Pumice Stone- it’s inevitable, flip flops will become your favorite pair of shoes (for both their ease of putting on and wet weather durability) and your heels will take a beating.
8. A Loofa- the string is key, lesser chance of it hitting the communal shower floor!
9. Nail Kit- always carry it with you (Except on airplanes)…there is nothing worse than trying to sit through a 3 hour lecture with a hangnail
10. A Flashlight- when the power goes out, do you really want to be trapped without a light to drink by (I mean…study by)
11. Cough drops- close living quarters + flu season + sleep deprivation + too much yelling over the loud music the night before= sore throat
12. Solo Cups- let’s face it, sharing cups = mono…always be prepared!
13. Batteries- your graphing calculator will inevitably run out of batteries on the morning if your math final
14. Nalgene Bottle- after a night of drinking, HYDRATION! HYDRATION! HYDRATION
15. Ibuprofen- NEVER take Tylenol with alcohol, your liver will NOT like you. Pop the Advil/Motrin/Aleve
16. A Picture of Your Family- some days suck, sometimes you may be tempted to do things that are uncharacteristic of your upbringing, sometimes you just need to see a familiar ‘face’…keep it close by
17. Air freshener- I’m not sure why, but even the cleanest of people’s dorm rooms develop a funky smell…when other people come to your room, blame the odor your roommate
18. Extension Cords- in the day and age of electronics, you’ll never have enough outlets and/or they are poorly placed
19. Tea –when its too cold to go get a latte, there’s nothing like some tea to warm you up!
20. Crystal Light- an essential “beverage” mixer
21. Animal Crackers- for when you really want to bite someone’s head off
22. Disposable Camera-for capturing those candid moments and/or for the events where you don’t want to loose that digital camera
23. Screw Driver- boys love girls with tools!
24. Tissues- for saying goodbye to mom and dad, or incase the love of your life breaks your heart (trust me, it happens ☹)
25. Q-tips- I’m not really sure what their function is, well unless you have lots of earwax
26. Dental Floss- better than string, the possibilities are endless! Hint: don’t be afraid to use it with the sewing kit
27. Razors- you don’t want to be known as the “earthy girl”
28. Gum- its way overpriced in the student hall and it doubles as a method to hang up posters
29. Post-its- I swear, writing lists on paper that can be ‘stuck anywhere’ makes life seem more organized
30. An Open Mind- don’t close your self off to new experiences, don’ think that you have to be the same person you were in high school OR, conversely, that you have to change who you have been all along. Embrace what life throws your way. These will be the best four years of your life.