Couscous & Eggplant

After spending Monday night catching up on sleep and then last night out with Jon for dinner & grocery shopping (we really know how to plan date nights), I ready for a little cooking action to happen tonight. I’m never quite sure what I’ll end up making when I start dinner (sorry Uncle Dan) but it usually works out.

Tonight’s plan was Mediterranean in some form or another. Prepared an eggplant for broiling (aka poked holes in it). While that was cooking, I sauteed some onions and mushrooms & cooked the couscous. Chopped up some artichoke hearts and then mixed those with pepper, olive oil, lemon and goat cheese. When all of the things were finished cooking, I mixed them together and added a bit more lemon.

Topped it with some fresh basil from my window garden – which is still alive and growing!

Not pictured is the eggplant which I cooked until it was soft, peeled it, mashed it up and then added a bit of olive oil, pepper & lemon juice.

Simple dinners are the best and there are leftovers for the next 2 days!

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A Weekend at Home

I got on the wrong train tonight. I guess it’s inevitable, checked one more thing off my “New York” to do list. Unknowingly headed from Manhattan into South Williamsburg after having dinner with Jon. I suddenly found myself on a train that reeked horribly of old pee.

It was the city’s way of welcoming me back, I guess.

Early Friday morning I packed up and headed home for some much needed family time and a break from the city. I was up before the sun and just a few hours later, sitting at the kitchen table in Maryland! Alison and Scarlett (her niece) came over Friday afternoon for some coloring, hanging out and sandwich eating. I think I was more interested in coloring than she was. Friday evening Dad was at a guitar jam session with some guys from church so Mom and I had a girl’s night out at Facci’s, a super delicious brick oven pizza place. So delicious and so thankful for the time to sit down and chat!

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Saturday morning included some tasty oatmeal and Washington Post reading – I’ve discovered their crossword is far easier than the NYTimes nonsense that I attempt each Saturday. Then a trip to Wegmans! Oh goodness, I miss that place. There are definitely thousands of food options in NYC but I miss the Wegmans experience.

 

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Saturday afternoons big plan was cheese making! It was the one thing that I requested for the weekend – to make mozzarella.  It was close to a 3 hour process when everything was done but lots of fun. I got to stir my very own curds and whey 🙂 While sitting on a tuffet, of course. We ended up making mozzarella, ricotta & Jim Lahey’s stecca bread! Lots of cooking going on. Saturday night’s dinner included our freshly made food along with some other cheeses, spinach artichoke dip and kale salad. After dinner we settled in to watch Beasts of the Southern Wild – the only one of the Oscar Nominees that I’ve actually seen.

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Sunday morning was church followed by a super fluffy egg omelet – filled with sauteed mushrooms and onions. So tasty! If you haven’t noticed a trend yet, basically the whole weekend involved food 🙂 Alison came over again on Sunday afternoon and then Sunday night’s dinner was enchiladas (by my request!).

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When I bought tickets, I purposely got one back to NYC for early Monday morning. I figured that would help make the weekend feel longer, to have all of Sunday at home. And it definitely did! But it made for a rather early Monday morning – 3:45 am. Sorry Mom & Dad! Hopped on the 5:17 am train headed north and was able to make it into the office in DUMBO by 8:45am. Definitely the longest commute I’ve had so far. Pretty cool to start off before the sun and to be able to watch it rise out the train window all morning! Enjoyed seeing the NYC skyline come into view. Every time I leave and come back now, it feels a little less weird. I realized this morning walking to work that I was completely on autopilot & didn’t even have to think about subway turnstiles or which way to go. (Clearly autopilot didn’t help tonight on the trains…)

I actually remained rather awake all day yesterday! Shocking considering the amount of sleep I had and the time the alarm went off. I did, however, come home and immediately put on pajamas.

Thanks for the great weekend at home, mom & dad!

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Fried Okra

I’ve been on my random veggie eating kick lately. This inspired me to buy okra, a veggie I had heard a lot about but never tried or made it before. This second fact led said purchased okra to sit in my fridge for a week as I determined how to take action.

Eventually on Wednesday night I was inspired to give it a go. It might have perhaps been influenced by the fact that I hadn’t gone grocery shopping in almost 2 weeks and my options were becoming more limited. But my coworkers have been following some of my foodie adventures and one of them requested Instagram pictures of a “whatever you have in your fridge” meal.

Whatever the circumstances, I’m glad I finally tried it because wow! Who knew how delicious it could be.

One tablespoon of olive oil (let’s be honest, I don’t measure anything) heated up in a pan and then added the diced okra along with a few red pepper flakes, pepper & a sprinkle of cornmeal.

So good.

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Cooked up some red lentils and sautéed kale & bell peppers along with it.

I might have accidentally eaten all of the okra before I got a chance to get it in the bowl with the rest of the veggies. Oops!

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Not bad for a random Wednesday night meal!

Some Things Take Time

Today was fantastic. Despite having today off, I wanted to make use of it and not sleep in too late. Started off the day with the aforementioned oatmeal, coffee, candles & music (see last post). Read all of the Saturday paper, caught up on email and blog reading. Then I got time to sit down and really work on some hand lettering! It’s been on my list forever to do so but everything else always seems to get in the way. Nice to spend an hour or so just practicing letter forms and new techniques. Not happy with all of them but I’m hoping this gets me into practicing it more regularly. And like I wrote, some things take time.

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Finished lettering & ate a quick lunch of chobani with flaxseeds, frozen blueberries & one strawberry for color. Two bell peppers on the side to get some veggie in there.

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I then headed out on the most fantastic of walks. I was all bundled up and prepared for the cold weather (30! eek!). Ended up walking just over 3 miles all around Park Slope. It was so sunny out today and lots of other people were out wandering around – they probably do this on a regular basis, I’m just not there to witness it. Got to explore a lot of the little side streets and look at the cool brownstones along the way. Stopped in ‘Snice, a vegan restaurant, for coffee & some warmth!

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Hung out around my sunny warm apartment for another hour or so before heading into Manhattan to meet Jon. He apparently got a froyo craving today and texted me that we were going somewhere to find some for our Monday date night. Met him around Greenwich Village at 16 Handles to hang out for a bit. Quick date night (since I won’t see him next weekend) and then headed back to Brooklyn.

Dinner consisted of a leftover portobello mushroom from yesterday (amazing), roasted broccoli & brussels sprouts and a little bit of couscous (my new favorite quick dinner item).

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Speedy but packed 3 day week ahead of me – work all day then work events every night & then I leave on Friday! Can’t wait!

 

Windy Weekend

Good weekend all around – and even better that I have Monday off! Currently in my pajamas, candles lit, made delicious oatmeal with walnuts, apples and almond milk, coffee has been made and music is on. No real plans for today but that’s the beauty of it. Planning on wandering down to a local coffeeshop eventually today along with a few errands on the way. Was hoping to get a walk or run in this morning but it was a chilly 18 degrees when i woke up and the wind was howling all night so staying inside sounds like a better idea. Eventually I’m planning on meeting up with Jon tonight once he gets out of work.

Thursday night was Valentine’s day! Headed up to Queens after work & Jon had made a surprise dinner. Chocolate covered strawberries and crepes filled with sauteed mushrooms and goat cheese. Making crepes was actually what we did on our first date ever, way back when 🙂

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Friday was a whirlwind day – so many back to back meetings. The morning started off with Creative Mornings, that monthly Friday talk I go to in DUMBO. Quickly ran off to work to start the day. I knew I had 2.5 hours to get some wireframes done and was hoping to not have too many distractions. From noon to five I had nothing but meetings and reviews – busy, busy! The good kind of busy though – the kind that makes me love my job. At five, a coworker and I headed into Manhattan for an RIT alumni meetup. Unfortunately we got the address wrong so ended up on 34th street and had to quit jet up to 49th but we seemed to make it on time. Was happy to run into some professors from college along with some other friends I had known (and didn’t know they lived here). Good to catch up but certainly made RIT feel like a long time ago. Stayed around catching up for a bit before Jon & I headed to Sunnyside (Queens) for a Taco Night at a friends. This is our monthly (rotating) group of friends that meets for movie nights, game nights or taco nights. Super tasty food all around and always fun to meet new people!

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Saturday morning started off with cinnamon buns and strawberries. Hung around for a while before heading to Astoria-Ditmas (further north in Astoria) to Parrot Coffee which has quickly become our favorite bulk nut/dried fruit & coffee place. Stocked up on some trail mix making things before coming back down to Brooklyn. Got in 2 loads of (much needed) laundry, gave my plants a little attention, cleaned my room & made brownies. One of our friends moved to NYC last November and recently moved into a new apartment so she was having a housewarming party. Met up with Jon around Grand Army Plaza – had a nice walk through Park Slope to get there. So many amazing houses. Good night of hanging out with RIT friends. It’s definitely interesting to see everyone becoming friends based on location. They’re people that I didn’t see that much (or at all) at RIT and suddenly due to our proximity we’ve all become friends.

Sunday morning started off with some super tasty oatmeal – my new recipe (see above) and coffee before heading off to church. Met someone new at church – turns out she used to live in Chicago and is a user experience designer! Helped clean up after church – they have to take everything down and make it look like a restaurant again. Jon’s roommate had prepared a super delicious lunch for us when we got back. He made me a portobello mushroom burger & Jon had a bison burger. Also made an Ecuadorian potato/pepper/onion dish, nachos with beans & goat cheese and homemade guacamole. Seriously amazing. There was absolutely no way we even came close to eating everything. He’s such an amazing chef & is, due to health reasons, unable to really eat much right now so he’s been experimenting and we’re benefiting from this. So thankful 🙂

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One of Jon’s new roommates has a cat named Max – who has previously been featured on the blog. He’s quite the cuddly (& fat) kitty. Spent much of the afternoon hanging out with him. Lazy Sunday afternoon – the wind is crazy! It sounds like the houses are going to fall over at any minute. Walking to the subway last night, it looked like a deserted land. I had to dodge cardboard and plastic bags flying in the street. It was so windy that the trash was blowing everywhere.

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Good Sunday & now I get a full day to add onto my weekend! Feeling pretty lucky. Quick 3 day week after this & then I’m headed home on Friday morning! Looking forward to some Maryland time.

Eat Your Veggies

The theme of my meals lately has been vegetables. To be expected for a vegetarian, I guess. But they’ve been oh so tasty and delicious. I’ve finally mastered the art of keeping a fridge full of fruits & vegetables so I don’t even have to think.

Salad for lunch today included mustard greens, kale, collard greens, broccoli and an avocado. With tiny bell peppers on the side!

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Dinner tonight took all of 10 minutes. Couscous with sauteed mushrooms, peppers, red onion and brussels sprouts. Seasoned lightly with olive oil, pepper & red pepper flakes. The best news of this meal is leftovers! All set for lunch for the rest of the week. Good deal because these are going to be some packed days – so busy at work!

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Time to curl up with my book and some tea 🙂

Life Updates – Busy!

It’s been a busy week after work so far –

Monday night I got the chance to go to a spontaneous dinner in Manhattan with a group of friends. Met up at a sports bar – which had wood panels and was dressed up like a fancy restaurant (?). Confusing but delicious. Met new people and ate delicious sweet potato fries with truffle oil (um, yum).

Tuesday night I decided to skip out on a book signing due to a big headache. Instead I celebrated Fat Tuesday by making pancakes. I made homemade applesauce to go along with it. It was delicious. But it was also brown which = horribly ugly photo opportunities. I spared you that one so just imagine the deliciousness.

Also cleaned my room! (it took 10 minutes, I mean.. I sleep in a closet.) That one probably deserves some photos sometime soon considering it looks way different than when I first moved in. A trip to West Elm today with a co-worker made it clear that I’m not yet ready for big girl apartment things. In the meantime, I’m quite content with my college-student inspired wooden plank on plastic crate plant system, wooden plank on plastic bin nightstand and a random assortment of items that don’t yet have homes. It’ll get there.

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Wednesday night is a social media talk in Brooklyn or an Ash Wednesday service in Manhattan or a design AIGA talk in Manhattan. So many options.

Thursday is Valentine’s day – plans TBD.

Friday morning is Creative Mornings, the monthly series that I’ve been going to. Managed to get a ticket on Monday when they opened – they sold out of nearly 200 tickets in a minute and a half. I watched the numbers shoot down. It was insane. Apparently everyone else wants to spend Friday mornings with me. Friday night is an RIT alumni event in Manhattan followed by a Taco Party in Queens (our monthly game/movie night with church friends). Saturday night is a party with a bunch of RIT friends.

And the list goes on!

Absolutely no complaints for all of the opportunities to do things and see more of the city. As exhausted as I am at the end of a work day, I can always seem to find a little more energy for exploring. Doing just one thing out of the ordinary every night seems to make it last much longer! I have a few projects that I’ve wanted to do around my apartment as well, but those are on the back burner for now.

Work has been exhausting but awesome. Lots and lots of projects going on – but like RIT taught me, I seem to do just fine under pressure. Of course, this is no where near week 10 material, but I’m enjoying switching back and forth between different projects. It certainly makes the days pass quickly and five months in, I enjoy going to work every morning! I think that’s generally a pretty good thing.

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday!! Hope your day is awesome – sorry in advance for not being up at 6:30 am to chat 🙂 Hopefully Grandma can help me on that early morning shift.

Can’t wait to do some belated birthday celebrating when I come home next week!

Love, Emmylou

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Also, are these not the sweetest pictures ever?

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Cat Naps

Church this morning came nice and early. Thanks to the snow, there was no construction this weekend – yay G train! Made it to church on time without too much hassle. Currently reading “New York” by Edward Rutherfurd (as recommended by mom – I was able to get it as an e-book on my iPad from the library). Pretty weird to be reading a book about the city that I’m currently in.

Had to go to the earlier of the 2 services because I worked in the nursery for the 2nd service. No little kids in the nursery today but I did get to spend some time with the bigger kids (3-5 years old) for play-dough time. After church I had made plans to go to Jon’s for lunch – he made us super tasty fried rice with tons and tons of vegetables!

Instead of doing the normal person thing and taking the subway to his house, I got the brilliant idea to walk there. Because when in NYC, might as well take advantage of how walking-friendly it is. Not to mention all of the parts of Queens that I’ve only passed through on a subway. And I decided to do this with only a vague notion of which streets connected (I mean avenues count down – it’s not super hard). Headphones in & enjoyed all of the snowy streets of Queens – lots of huge mounds of snow, snowmen and icy sidewalks. It was about a 50 minute walk from church to his apartment so I had lost almost all of my layers by then – people probably thought I was nuts.

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Delicious lunch followed by some kitty cuddling – Jon’s roommate’s cat, Max, is quite the cuddler. Unlike most cats, you can pick him up and plop him just about anywhere you’d like.

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Jon had to work again tonight – for the Grammy’s – so we headed out towards 30 Rock around 4. But not without a (surprise) stop at Cafe Omonia (the place that the My Big Fat Greek Wedding cake was made!!). We pass it every time we walk around Astoria and I kept talking about how I had to stop there sometime after being so in love with the movie so Jon had it secretly planned to stop there! Split a piece of cheesecake while riding the subway into Manhattan.

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Walked around for a while before Jon had to head off to work. I continued to explore a bit more once he left – I’m always shocked by how busy Manhattan is compared to Brooklyn. Despite going there 2+ times a week, it still feels like another world. I’m definitely starting to become quite familiar with all of the streets and shortcuts to get places though. Walking around a ton definitely helps that!

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Made it back to Brooklyn for some dinner, blog catch-up and might settle in to finish a bit more of my book before bedtime. Busy week coming up – lots of things going on at work & events almost every night after work!