mom

When Bad Lighting Happens to Good Food

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IMG_4608I don’t know about you, but I am so happy it’s Friday. I was starting to get really sick of eating lunch while working on nutrition notes at my desk. I think I have taken my 30-minute lunch break exactly twice in the eight months I’ve worked at this particular job. At least the food has been good. I was reminded of an old favorite I need to make again soon: tortellini soup.

Luckily, this weekend involves social plans for edible things like drinks, brunch, a birthday dinner for my mom, and even a cookie exchange. Who ever thought I would learn to not take the concept of eating while not having to type for granted?

What are you looking forward to this weekend? 

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Polar Vortex

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Holy polar vortex, batman! I wish I could just stay inside and make soup.

In case you’d like to do the same, here are a few of my favorites:

I’d also like to wish a very happy birthday my mother, who taught me how important it is to follow your passions and listen to your intuition. Love you!mom and jess dec 18 13

Stay warm out there!

What I Ate Wednesday #139: Birthday Edition

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Happy Wednesday. I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful week so far. Ready for a little birthday-themed What I Ate Wednesday? As always, many thanks to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party. Take a visit to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

I don’t know about you, but over the years, my birthdays have been so different from one another. Last year was a lot of fun, and the year before was nice and relaxing. 25 was just kind of sad and bizarre—I knew I wanted some big changes to happen, and I knew those changes were not going to be easy—even if I made it sound all sunshine & vegan rainbows in my post about it. If memory serves, 24 was objectively lame, but surprisingly, I didn’t even mention it on ye olde blog. Haha that means it must have been pretty awful! I do have to say that it was a real trip for me to go back in time and see how this site has evolved over the years!

This year started with an early hot yoga class with my mom. Part of me was annoyed that the instructor (who opened the class by rapping—I kid you not) kept picking on me, but I told myself that her comments were intended to be helpful, not hurtful.  I actually managed to surprise myself a few times with poses I’d never been able to get into before, so hey.

After getting packed up and ready, my mom and I headed into the city, where we grabbed lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and then set about working on a few things around my apartment—hanging pictures and a couple wind chimes and brainstorming some ways for me to rearrange the furniture to improve the flow of energy. I know, I know, but I think that stuff can make a huge difference!

A little later, we met up with my dad and sister for dinner at The Smith, where we enjoyed a lot of delicious food and drink. My dad got a kick out of the fact that I have a favorite bourbon. My dad barely drinks at all, but he thought it was so hilarious, he said that if I got a bourbon he would get a shot of tequila. So that happened. At the end of the meal, they actually got away with telling the server to put a candle in the cake. And a lollipop—nothing says, “You’re getting old, kid” like a glorified bank lollipop.

After dinner, my sister and I hit up the sale at Urban Outfitters and went to a concert. It was the perfect way to spend my birthday this year. And here’s the reason d’être of this post: what I ate.

  • Breakfast: Made some pumpkin cranberry oatmeal at my parents’…and poured it into a too-small bowl. Whoops!
  • Snack: Leftover squash & greens 
  • Lunch: My mom and I split two salads: one was the quinoa tabouleh, and the other was a smoked salmon one—so good!
  • Snack: Split this chia pod with my mom. It was new to both of us, and we agreed it was delicious!
  • Dinner: Started with prosecco, oysters, and fried calamari with marinara; For my main course I enjoyed filet mignon with salad and some of the brussels sprouts we ordered for the table. Oh, and bourbon. I like mine neat.
  • Dessert: A few bites of this delicious chocolate cake. I also tasted the toffee pudding (I think that’s what it was) my sister ordered.

All in all, it was a really good day, complete with delicious food.

What’s been your favorite birthday so far? 

The Same Cloth

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I spent yesterday with my mom in the burbs doing girl things like nails and a bit of birthday/Christmas shopping. Apparently, we really are cut from the same cloth—for whatever reason, we both kind of love gloomy November weather. We also both like red cabbage with, well, anything. weird diner lunch

I fully acknowledge the weirdness of pairing it with a spinach & feta egg white omelette, but I just had to have it. I blame my ancestry: What do you expect from a gal with a lot of Polish and Greek in her background?  My mom enjoyed her fix with a burger that looked freaking amazing. It’s probably better I didn’t get the same, though. I’d probably have tried to put the cabbage on the burger, just because I could.

Another thing I have in common with my mom is the crazy-person morning people genes. I also love spending a day on cooking projects. After waking up before 7 (on a Sunday, I know), I threw in a load of laundry and set about making the first cranberry sauce of the season. cranberry sauce

Cranberries + Honey + Water=November Comfort Food

Man, I can’t believe it’s cranberry sauce weather. Totally okay with that, just no idea how the time has passed so quickly! Have a great rest of your weekend!

What do you have in common with other members of your family? Do you like November? 

Flagged

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I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, but New York City restaurants seem to take food allergies very, very seriously. A lot of places will “flag” diners with allergies so that kitchen and service staff know not to get that plate near a particular allergen.

I spent Sunday with my mom. We had plans to head to the Cloisters after brunch, which was enjoyed at The Smith near Lincoln Center. The crowd was an interesting mix of Fashion Week folks and people who’d just finished the Komen Walk for the Cure. Talk about a juxtaposition! We also got a kick out of the little red allergy flag that came with my scrambled egg whites. allergy flag

We had a really nice day. The weather was perfect! We both took lots of pictures. Here’s a fountain I got a kick out of…fountain

Great way to spend a Sunday!

What was the best part of your weekend? 

Sunny Sunday

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This weekend has been the perfect remedy to a rough, emotional week. Saturday, I had to go get my spots checked at the derm in NJ, and then my mom and I had lunch (thank you, Karen for the great recommendation!) and indulged in a little retail therapy. I got some great deals on a few work things that will be perfect for the transition into fall.

When I got home, I took a disco nap and then joined some friends for BYOB karaoke. We hadn’t been since my birthday, and it was so much fun! Our vague theme was breakup songs, and we toasted to my cat allergy—at least if/when I die alone, I will most likely not be covered in cat piss. Medicine is great and all, but never underestimate the healing power of singing and dancing like a complete fool with your nearest & dearest. I had many favorite moments (my friends are hilarious), but especially  getting the whole room dancing to the Supreme’s “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

Though I always act my age responsibly and stay well hydrated, I was a bit surprised to wake up bright-eyed and energetic, having enjoyed a good dose of whiskey. And bourbon. And champagne (see toast, above). Yes, champagne at karaoke. Anyway, taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and my good mood, I took a long rambling walk through the park. I also cleaned the eff out of my apartment and prepped some food for the week. Burned some incense to clean out any lingering bad vibes. Yes, I have a Masters of Science, and I still believe in that stuff.

If nothing else, I can tell I’m well into the “moving on” mindset, as I was craving pumpkin at breakfast—and chocolate, but nothing unusual there. Chocolate pumpkin oats in an almost-empty peanut butter jar totally happened. Perfect timing, like, culinary destiny or some sh*t like that. September is next week! This is both exciting and terrifying.

Do you like karaoke? What are your favorite songs to dance and sing to? 

Mercer Kitchen

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Despite being sick all weekend, I did manage to pull myself together to go have lunch with my mom and sister downtown on Saturday. We’d been planning it for weeks, and fortunately, by the time Saturday morning rolled around, my immune system was amenable to my leaving the house.

I’m going to be totally honest and admit that it takes a lot to get me down to Soho on a Saturday (or anytime, really), when  it’s teeming with a maddening combination of tourists and well-dressed hangover monsters who will walk right the f*** into you.

Mercer Kitchen SalmonThat said, there are some damn-good restaurants in Soho, so when my mom suggested Mercer Kitchen, I was totally game. Though I wouldn’t put it on my list of all-time favorites, I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve been. The highlights this time was the yellow watermelon salad (with goat cheese instead of feta—nice!) and perfectly cooked salmon, which came in a cherry tomato vinaigrette over corn pudding. Oh, and a glass of prosecco, which seems to be my drink of the summer. The three of us had a really nice time. It’s so rare that the three of us can get our schedules to coordinate, so it was great to catch up a little.

What was the last restaurant meal you had? New Yorkers—do you know any places in Soho I should check out?