Belated Birthday

It’s well… no longer August. But in an attempt to catch the blog up to the present here are some pictures!

Unknowingly, one of the last things I made in my apartment. Picked up some freshly made pizza dough from a pizza place down the street, got fresh mozzarella from an italian store nearby and roasted some peppers and tomatoes on top. It was delicious!



My 15 year old self would be shocked to know that I got up at 5:00am on my birthday. WIthout an alarm. I guess that makes me a big kid?

Either way, I started off the day with a gorgeous run around Prospect Park. I really need to get back to running early in the morning but that’s going to get significantly less fun now that it’s no longer summer. It’s so fantastic to have a park like this close by – it really doesn’t feel like you’re anywhere near Manhattan.



Jon made the long trek down from Queens at 7 am (!) just to have breakfast with me. Of course, my breakfast of choice was coffee and a croissant at a french bakery near me.



Had lunch with a bunch of coworkers at a good vegetarian place in Brooklyn Heights. Got the sweetest card from everyone at work 🙂



After work I met up with Jon for dinner at Tacombi at Fondilita (spelled something like that) in SoHo. Delicious mexican food – the restaurant is pretty funky because everything is served out of a truck that’s parked IN the restaurant. We were going to go for ice cream afterwards but were both so stuffed with chips/guac and tacos that we opted out.




Walked through the streets of SoHo on the way back to the subway. It was a pretty fantastic birthday 🙂 Even if it took me over a month to recap it!



Summer Eats

There has been a whole lot of cooking going on this summer both at work and home.

Forgot to share this next photo in the post about my trip to Maryland. On the last night Mom asked what I wanted for dinner. In my typical, “i can’t decide” fashion I started listing things I wanted: enchiladas, tacos, beans, guacamole, corn, etc. Turns out she whipped them all up. Vegetarian enchiladas with roasted corn, pico de gallo, guacamole and a mango slaw. So so tasty. Thanks mom 🙂 Being indecisive is pretty tasty. 



I’ve been working on some secret summer projects at work – we have a new client which means lots and lots of pasta! My day to day work life lately has consisted of grocery shopping, cooking, and photographing the food. 



Jon brought me surprise flowers one night when i got back from Maryland – guess I was gone for a while! I was outside in the park enjoying one of the many summer concerts they have (this one was Barenaked Ladies and Guster) and he showed up with flowers and gelato! They made for a good breakfast backdrop for a while. 



This was a failed recipe. Jon and I made guacamole pesto stuffed mushrooms. The idea of them was delicious but the recipe called for entirely too much garlic. Yuck.



Tried making wheatberries one night. They’re definitely a lot chewier than I expected but worked well to have on hand for multiple meals! Added tomatoes, chick peas, parsley, olive oil and parmesan to this one. 



The UX intern for the summer’s mom brought in cupcake/cookie type things. So tasty.



Jon and I attempted black bean burgers one afternoon. We got in the habit over the summer of cooking on Sunday afternoons. Very relaxing way to end the weekend. This go around was spicy black bean burgers with avocado on little tiny rolls. Cute and tasty!



For one of the Carrot-versaries at work, I made brownies with raw cookie dough on top – don’t worry it was a recipe without the egg. I didn’t want to be responsible for a company of 50+ people getting food poisoning! They were time consuming but seemed to work out well!



The theme of most nights at home was vegetables! Somehow this one week I ended up with SO MANY. Roasted some corn, made some kale salad and lots of the extra eggplant and peppers were made into ratatouille. 



We occasionally have BBQ’s at work and are asked to bring something in. This summer BBQ included pulled pork (and a veggie option of chili on chips) along with a huge number of pasta salads, regular salads and desserts!



Huge summer salad!



Jon and I made brunch one morning – scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and mimosas. The rest of the ingredients weren’t pictured because we have bad cooking timing and got hungry. 



No Food Shortage

These pictures and the order of events might be slightly out of order but it was a month ago so it’s as close as I can remember 🙂

One of the days that I was home we headed to Rock Creek Park for a short hike. Sarah and I used to spend the majority of hikes growing up whining and complaining so we tried to replicate that as much as possible 🙂

The hike itself was only 2 miles or so on an easy path through the woods and down along the rock lined creek (hence, the park name).






We took a driving tour through some absolutely gorgeous neighborhoods in DC before arriving at our dinner destination: Etete! The restaurant was an Ethiopian restaurant that was super delicious. I’d never had that kind of food before but I will most definitely be looking for it in the future. We shared a vegetarian platter of various spreads and things. Everything is served on a fermented sponge bread which sounds really weird but goes really well with all of the other tastes! 20130728-142442.jpg

Time at home also included lots of House Hunters episodes, a trip to the AFI movie theater in Silver Spring to see 20 Feet From Stardom (really interesting movie) and lots of deck time.



One of the mornings we went for a walk through Centennial Park followed by a trip to the running shoe store for new running shoes for me!! My old ones were well worn and needed to be replaced (which I’ve been putting off for months). In the month that I’ve had these new ones, they’ve definitely gotten their fair share of use.


Fun snacky lunch with cheese, watermelon (more rinds off the deck), grapes and fresh bread.


Lots of sister goofiness.


And iced wine! Sarah, Mom & Dad had gone to some vineyards up in Upstate NY and had discovered iced wine so of course we had to recreate that.


Making ricotta with the leftovers from our mozzarella making.


Watermelon feta salad with mint!


And pasta with homemade pesto and ricotta (from above). There was really no shortage of food at home. Going through all of these again now makes me want to hop on a train and head back down there for breakfast tomorrow.


Home again, home again

A month long break was not the initial intent. Soon “oh, I’ll post tomorrow” turned into 20 some days later and here we are…

I had a fantastic 5 day vacation to Maryland at the end of July to spend lots of quality family time. Took the train home late one Wednesday night in order to maximize time at home.

The first morning there we all headed down to Baltimore for some breakfast and an art museum! Super tasty breakfast at a place whose name I unfortunately forget – Spoons? Delicious breakfast tacos. We wandered our way over towards the Inner Harbor to the Visionary Arts Museum. Dad had been looking at going there for quite some time. It turned out to be an awesome place!! It was a very funky and different museum with art from artist who were not traditionally trained. The best part of it was this entire room filled with Esther Krinitz’s hand embroidered stories of growing up during the Holocaust. We by far spent the most time in that room looking at the absolutely gorgeous hand-crafted pieces that told her whole life story. There was a video that went along with it.

The most random part of the museum was a fart wall – the artist was even standing by his artwork! He had a fart post where you could push a button and a different fart sound would come out as well as images that depicted what he thought different farts looked like – totally random and hilarious!





Out front of the museum was a sculpture garden, a funky mosaic bus and some other murals. There were 3 buildings included in the museum so it took some time to walk through but each was equally engaging. One building had a life sized chess set, another was filled with huge cars/moving contraptions and the third had the majority of the artwork (in the more traditional sense).



Of course, the weekend meant lots of quality sister time 🙂










Even after living in Maryland for as long as I did, we never really made it to Baltimore that often so it was neat to explore a city that wasn’t quite as large and overwhelming as NYC can be.

Headed home for some cheese making! It’s my number one request every time I go home now – homemade mozzarella. Although I typically lose focus due to the 2 hour long process.. Some kitchen dancing and wandering may occur.



Weekends home involve lots of delicious homemade food and a LARGE kitchen (which I have learned not to take for granted!). There was homemade foccacia to go along with the mozzarella. I’ve learned any food I wish for in passing… wish granted 🙂



Caprese salad with our freshly made cheese!



Also included in time home is hammock time! Even with living as close to the park as I do, there’s nothing like hanging out on the back deck or in the hammock. So much space!



And watermelon rind throwing might occur – something that would perhaps be frowned upon off the roof of my building.

I was home for five days so… to be continued…

The Weekend of Cooking

Lazy Sunday morning involving reading, coffee and church. It was luckily much cooler (finally!) due to the rain from the night before which made a walk through the neighborhood pretty nice. Stopped by the Farmer’s Market outside of church for some fresh peaches.


Headed up to Astoria afterwards to make an early dinner. Jon had a recipe in mind – his Grandma’s blueberry dessert that he remembered having each time they had fresh blueberries around. With 20 lbs of blueberries among us, it seemed like the perfect time to try it.

I set to work doing the job that I can do best… smashing things. A meat tenderizer is a good tool for the job, right?


Probably not the definition of healthy desserts but it was fantastically tasty and fun to make. It also motivated us to start a secret side project so look out for that in a month or so!


Dinner was slightly less photogenic – wraps with sauteed mushrooms, spinach and feta. The wraps themselves kind of busted apart so that was rather unappetizing looking but delicious anyway. We cooked up some of his grandma’s green beans that came fresh from their garden to go along with every thing. Also on the menu was a homemade lemon ginger soda. A few weeks ago we went to this vietnamese place for the first time and Jon had the drink there. It was so delicious that we both agreed that we had to figure out how to make it. Whether or not it was an exact replica, it was really good.

It was our first weekend ever since I moved to NYC that we didn’t go out to eat for anything – not even coffee! A welcomed change and fun to be forced to come up with things to cook.

Ended the weekend with some soda up on the roof while we watched the sunset. Seriously so cool. I can’t get over how amazing the view is from up there, even after having been up there many times now.


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Blueberry Motivation

Sometime the only way to reward yourself up the mountain is blueberries.

Last night after work I stuck around for some rooftop yoga! They offered a free trial class but it might become a weekly thing if 10 coworkers can all commit to it. Pretty amazing views to have while doing yoga! Aside from a subway line directly to the right of us, it was fantastically relaxing. I did an assisted handstand too which was horribly frightening but I think that’s just my fear of the rest of me being on top of my head.

The only problem with after work yoga is that means I don’t get home to eat dinner until well after 9pm and I had to run and errand first before coming home. So I proceeded, with a yoga mat on my back, big bag on my side, and two grocery bags hanging from my arms, to eat blueberries. While walking up hill. And not dropping anything.

There are certain times here when you realize just how ridiculous you might look and you don’t care. This was one of them. In fact, I got quite a few smiles or laughs from people passing by. Plus it was delicious so totally worth it.

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Eventually made it home to make a real dinner. Settled on a vegan mexican pile of things: soy veggie crumbles, sauteed peppers and onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, guacamole and salsa. Yum! Good Monday night.

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Spent the weekend trying to spend as much time in front of the fan and keeping cool in any way I could – which meant high watermelon consumption! Watermelon by the fan, watermelon with feta, watermelon with mint. And about 500 glasses of water.

Saturday and Sunday were both days with heat advisories and a quick check on confirmed that I was, in fact, melting. Never good to see “feels like 101 degrees” Yikes!

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Rearranged my room for maximum fan coverage. I can easily move the fan back and forth now without dumping over all of my plants.

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Saturday afternoon I met up with Jon in Chinatown (not a smart idea with the hoards of people!) but I did manage to get some bubble tea which made the trip worthwhile. Also stopped at a Vietnamese Grocery Store to pick up some items to make vietnamese for dinner!

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Ended up making our own homemade version of a dish we’ve ordered quite a few times at a restaurant down the street from me. Noodles, tofu and loads of veggies. We made a sauce for it (vegan fish sauce, garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce and oil) but it was super, super smelly.

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After the quick dinner we headed to a show at the Waltz Astoria to see a friend play. We’d gone to one of his shows back in April and it was great!

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Sunday included church, walking around Park Slope (but super slow considering the heat), an early dinner, smoothies and  a movie. The weather here hasn’t been bad at all until this past weekend – that was clearly my tipping point. Way, way too hot to function.


NYC Summer + 4th of July

For having no AC and having some days with heat advisories, I’m impressed with how I’ve been able to.. not die. A giant box fan and frequent showers seem to help. Bubble tea has become a summer obsession.. whether or not that actually has hydrating powers, I have yet to figure out.

Spent some time last weekend in Queens – went to church in LIC again before the stupid G train shuts down for the foreseeable future (due to Sandy repairs). Even on an overcast day, there are some pretty sweet views.


Headed into Manhattan after church (and lunch at Cyclo, a vietnamese place). Took refuge from the heat and crazy inside a fancy furniture store. The guy thought we were tourists but that’s okay. Took this photo for Eric because I figured it would be his ideal couch 🙂


Found ourselves at the beer garden yet again… noticing a trend? Best summer spot ever. A beer and a game of ping pong, not a bad Sunday afternoon. IMG_8026

Got the first full watermelon of the summer – thankfully in Astoria which mean Jon got and carried it 🙂 I had the urge to throw these rinds off of the roof though just like at home but decided that was perhaps not the best idea.


Picnic dinner (easy nachos with feta, guac and salsa) on the roof to watch the sunset!


Fourth of July was spent outside! With sunscreen. Headed to Prospect Park for a BBQ with a bunch of friends from church. It was super fun to hang out for almost 5 hours meeting a bunch of people and eating summery things. This spread below was not our picnic but that of the people next to us – we were super jealous! We were all crowded under a huge tree for some much needed shade from the heat.


Headed home to whip up a quick pasta salad before going over to my coworker’s roof for an amazing view of the sunset and fireworks. While we couldn’t see the Macy’s fireworks up close and personal, not having to deal with the crazy subway nonsense before or after was fantastic. We were also able to see probably about 25+ fireworks displays over in Jersey, Williamsburg and DUMBO. Great 1st 4th of July in NYC!



Birthday Weekend

Jon’s birthday was at the end of June so we spent a full weekend celebrating. He also had a photography assignment that weekend so I got to play photo assistant (and actually not really do that much other than provide company, some directions and food).

Picked up a zip car super early (my first time being in one!) and headed across the bridge into Staten Island and New Jersey. Our destination was Ocean Township and we wanted to beat the crazy summer beach traffic. I think leaving before 7am did the trick.


After he shot some stuff we headed a few minutes away to the ocean! We were on the beach and had our toes in the sand by 9am – pretty crazy! It felt like we had the beach to ourselves for a while before every one else came rushing in. Took a nice long walk along the beach before heading back to shoot a bit more and then leaving town!

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If there is one thing that I learned growing up, it was the importance of car snacks. Fresh strawberries and blueberries to munch on.

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Made it back to Brooklyn by 11:30. It was insanely hot by that point and the traffic going the other way was crazy so we were super thankful for the early start.

Hung around in Brooklyn for the day trying to stay cool. In the afternoon we headed to Prospect Park to walk around for a bit. When we got there it only took a few minutes to realize that something was going on. There were streams of people walking into the center of the park and lots of noise coming from that area. We decided to investigate and discovered Trop Fest, NY’s Short Film Festival! I thought we were originally going to just walk around and be done but we ended up sitting down and hanging out for the entire first half of it.


It definitely helped that they had 10-15 food trucks set up just behind the venue. Made for a delicious grilled cheese dinner on the go while we watched the films. It still blows my mind that I can walk out the door and be to a place like this in just a few minutes.



Sunday was another super hot day so an afternoon trip to the German Beer Garden in Chelsea was much needed! It was also high on Jon’s list for birthday trips.We had originally planned to meet there and have brunch at a restaurant under the high line. We actually put our names on the list for breakfast but ended up just sticking with beer.

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Enjoyed some giant beers, a huge pretzel and some meat/slaw related items. Getting in touch with those German roots. Although, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to eat a pickle again. And I’m pretty sure Germany is the worst place for a vegetarian. 


Headed back down to Brooklyn but this time allllll the way down the line to Brighton Beach (next to Coney Island) for more of Jon’s photoshoot. I… supervised.


It’s pretty crazy what sweet views were down there. It feels so, so far away from Manhattan. Very abrupt change from being in Manhattan near the High Line only an hour earlier. Hung around along the water for a bit before heading back.


Dinner was Pork Slope BBQ. I can’t speak for the BBQ but the Mac & Cheese was delicious. I’d definitely go back there and I think Jon enjoyed going to another place that was more meat heavy than our usual restaurant picks 🙂 I told him I’d go back even NOT on his birthday.


Pretty packed weekend with lots of new adventures and that wasn’t even his actual birthday! On Monday I headed up to Midtown to meet him after work. We headed to LIC (Long Island City) to have dinner at his pick, Sage’s General Store. It’s a place we’ve looked at going before for brunch but it’s always super packed. Dinner at 8:30 pm seemed to be quite easy to get in. Started with some watermelon basil lemonade – so good! Jon learned how to make it homemade. He had a homemade mac and cheese that was basically 4 cheese pasta with caprese mixed in. Super tasty. I had a vegetable brick oven pizza. Both of which I apparently failed to photograph. Delicious and there were definitely leftovers!


Headed back to Astoria to hang out for a bit and as we got close to his apartment we heard all sorts of fireworks going off! Ran up to the roof and got a nice 15 minute or so firework display that was actually pretty close. I told him I planned that part just for his birthday 🙂


Recent Eats + A Monday Morning

I got the pictures together for this blog post a few weeks ago but then never proceeded to do anything with them. Today presented just the story to accompany the food!

As luck would have it, our fridge broke this morning and I spent the morning tossing out food (thanks Aunt Barb for the voice in my head saying ITS WARM TOSS IT OUT! good thing I didn’t have quite as much effort put into any of the food I lost though). After throwing out almost everything, I loaded up the few things that could be saved into a bag and brought them to work with me. Nothing like carrying 2 heavy bags (of watermelon, blueberries, tomatoes and zucchini) on the subway to make you feel like a pack mule.

Not to mention the grocery bag handle with the bad food broke on the way down to the trash. And it was rainy today so I had to figure out how to maneuver with the heavy bags, umbrella and subway card mix. Oh, and a laptop on my back. Yay NYC.

I sat down on the train and was feeling super frustrated and annoyed with the way my Monday morning was starting off only to sit next to a guy and his 1.5ish year old kid. Said kid (although quite cute) started screaming bloody murder for the next 5 stops. And the train stayed extra long in one of the stations just so my ear drums got to experience it fully. The guy refused to pick up his kid, soothe him in any way or even really acknowledge that he was screaming. The rest of the train and I exchanged some looks. Thanks, Monday.

But then…

I saw this woman approach where we were sitting (the man, myself and screaming child). She stood close by for a bit just looking at the two of them and I could tell she was really trying to hold back something. A few seconds later she walked up and knelt down next to the kid and proceeded to talk to the guy. It was seriously the sweetest thing, although took a huge amount of courage because the guy could have been really rude back. She kept telling him, please just pick your child up, hold him and love him and he’ll be comforted. The guy refused (although rather nicely) and said it was inconvenient because he was getting off in a few stops and said that his kid always did this (yeah… kid’s cry). The woman stayed with him for a while longer and found out that apparently the guy was a single dad and was struggling. Right before he got off the train she leaned in and said, just promise me that you’ll hold him and show him love. At that moment the kid stopped crying.

Gah. Humanity. It’s amazing.



In less touching news, here are a few things I’ve been making recently. Pasta with homemade weird kale/spinach/cashew pesto. It’s weird, I don’t really recommend it.



It made for a pretty dinner though. Sautéed some onions, roasted some asparagus and voila, weeknight dinner.




Some even I went to a while back gave me a free chobani sample at their SoHo location. I was out grabbing something for Jon’s birthday present in the area and thought I’d stop in. I got a chocolate and pistachio mix. Seriously so good! I have a feeling I’m going to be making quite a few trips there.




Also in food news, each Wednesday we donate food to the NYC Food Bank (From Carrot & Farmigo). The committee that I co-chair is actually heading up the donations so we get to lug around 50 lb bags of potatoes every Wednesday. Sometimes we recruit guys to help – that’s the UX intern for the summer.



Of course there have been many more undocumented things in the middle but summer food mostly consists of pita, hummus and salad. And my recently discovered obsession with Bubble Tea.

Also, in case you missed it I’m slowly catching up on June and just posted the blog for my Penn State/Central PA Trip. Still working on a few more – these were those posts that I promised last week, oops!