January 30, 2010

Fun Jewelry Storage

Since I've been taking this jewelry class, I'll have some new pieces (pics to come when they are finished) I need to store.  I never like keeping my jewelry in boxes because it all ends up heaped on top of each other.  So here are some fun jewelry storage ideas.  The first one I LOVE.
Just a simple jewelry tree, all sorts of nooks and crannies to hang and perch. It's $130 so a little pricey but comes from a store that's quite lovely Lunares

These are simple from Pottery Barn, and I think that I could make these from old frames.  I love the hooks and the wire that is strung across.  I think finding old frames and painting them would be a lot of fun.  To buy all three from Pottery Barn is over $100 for something that looks like it came from the flee market... Maybe a fun weekend project for next week.

This one is sweet and petite and cheap! from Wrapables

This one is from Etsy, I also have a soft spot for things that are handmade.  This is copper and red oak

This little ring holder from Urban Outfitters doesn't get much more simple or cheap $5!

I really like this last one.  It's from BB Teen and has lots of compartments and holes around the edges for dangles.  This might be the one for me along with a frame or two hanging on the wall behind it.
Happy Weekend!

Dinner on the Upper East Side

If you've ever found yourself on the upper east side and just don't know where to eat, Parlor Steakhouse is a safe bet.  At 1600 3rd Ave at 90th, it's up there, but then again where else are you going to eat?  We went last night and it's also restaurant week, however their prices are already good so for $35 for an app, dinner and dessert you could almost do that with their regular menu - it's not overpriced at all.  Reservations are probably a good idea.  My clam chowder was awesome filled with smoked bacon, cream and clams - it doesn't get much better.  The cheeseburger was great - we don't have burgers like that here in South Norwalk & it came with a bowl of great fries + thin shoelace onion rings + aoli = happiness on a Friday evening.  The bone-in aged sirloin and mashed potatoes were also something to order if you're hungry.
Cocktails are a must - the Arnold Palmer with sweat tea vodka, ice tea, lemonade and muddled mint was great as well as the margarita with cucumber and red pepper spiked tequila.
Definitely a mixed crowd - young old, artsy etc.  Which is always good when no everyone is of the same genre.  The servers were also great and put up with the debauchery that came from our table with a smile.  Check it out it's totally worthwhile especially with a group.  Again, is it on my list to go back?  Probably not given all the other places I HAVE to try in the city.
Happy Weekend!

January 29, 2010

More Valentine's Love - ABCD designs Bespoke Stationary

Thought this was so cute and so appropriate for chat N'chow.  You can find these sweet, tongue and chic cards from ABCD Designs Bespoke Stationary at Etsy.  Send to the special foodie in your life... xoxo

Hidden veggie twist on macaroni & cheese

I try to put veggies in most of what I make so at least in cheesy yumminess there is some green.  This week it came in a modified mac & cheese.  It paired so well with this Vinho Verde which is slightly sparkely it lightened up cheese without being overly acidic.  The fixings for this couldn't have been any more simple:

Veggie & Chicken Mixture
1 onion chopped
1 carrot diced
2 stalks celery diced
small package of chopped mushrooms (just just easy that way)
a couple closed of garlic minced
1 package of baby spinach washed & sorted
2-4 chicken breasts steamed and finely chopped
huge handful chopped flat leaf parsley
any other herbs, I added fresh oregano I had in the fridge 
salt & lots of fresh black pepper

White Sauce
1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
1 1/2 c milk (I used skim)
light handful parmesean
1/2 c part skim monteray jack
black pepper
few grates of nutmeg

So I sauted everything in evoo except for the spinach, chicken & herbs.  Once everything was wilted and a little brown I added all of the spinach, let that wilt then added the chicken, parsley and herbs.  I also added a splash of the wine to loosen up any bits from the bottom of the pan (don't leave that flavor just to be scrubbed out)

I made a sauce but melting the butter and wisking in the flour untill golden brown.  Added milk wisking as so not to get lumps, brought to a boil and then turned all the way down added cheeses, pepper and nutmeg (just a few grates).

Once thick, I poured over my veggies and mixed in cooked egg noodles (or any pasta) & served.  I could have baked the whole thing for a few with breadcrumbs on top, but it was already cooked and looked so yummy I didn't.  & it made awesome leftovers!!  The final dish didn't photo so well so I'll spare you but believe me it tasted great and got lots of raves.

January 27, 2010

one of the things I learned in Italy

Last summer for 2 weeks Chris & I ate our way through Rome, Sorrento and Venice.  It was amazing.  I even had pizza I would say is better than Pepe's and I don't say ANYTHING is better than Pepe's (You'll hear about that some other time).  One of the best meals I've ever had was at Don Alfonso in Sorrento.  It could have just been the food, the atmosphere or that we just got engaged or a little of all of it.  Don Alfonso is one of the few (4 or 5) restaurants in all of Italy that have Michelin stars (it flops between 2 & 3).
We were out for a drive down the Amalfi coast and happened to pass by and recognized the name.  It's hidden and VERY unassuming.  It was an awkward time in the afternoon maybe 3 or 4pm in between their lunch and dinner service.  We walked through a courtyard into a garden where there were tables  next to a pool that looked like a pond with flowers and tall grass around the edges.  There was no one eating but definitely staff bustling, making bread, clipping flowers etc.  It's really how it was!

Then, a middle-aged woman comes over to us in a thick accent asks us where we are from, we say New York, she immediately puts her arms around us and welcomes us to a table meanwhile staff comes out of the woodwork with tablecloths & flowers adjusting our sun umbrella etc.  She was so genuine, so sincere and so proud of her restaurant and inn.

Long story short it was an exquisite meal.  Not because it was fancy, or because of the Michelin stars (I didn't know about the stars until later), but because it was so simple.  We were the only diners and weren't rushed given that the dinner crowd would be coming any moment.  I had lobster pasta and Chris had steak with some of the best french fries I've ever had.  The pasta tasted like the sea, there were bits of lobster in every bite.  The flavors sang and you could distinguish each ingredient that went into the dish.  Also to mention everything was organic, farm raised and local.  You can't get much better then that!

At the end of our meal, we were shown the wine cellar that went down into the ground 25 meters.

Talk about claustrophobic!  No it was OK.  This was an escape route during one of the ancient wars
400 BC, it lead all the way from the cliffs of where we were out to sea.  I've never been anywhere so old.  The most expensive bottle of wine was 15,000 euros so you can do the math.  Then at the very bottom of the cellar down a decrepit spiral stair were balls of aging cheese... talk about the stink!!!! At that point it was time to turn around and make our way back.
So, back to my post theme - one of the things I learned in Italy is to keep my food simple.  As we were eating dinner tonight, freshly made whole wheat fettuccine with a meat sauce Chris looks up from his dinner and says if I close my eyes it's like we're back in Italy.  I hadn't mentioned my whole inspiration for the dinner.  It was the best compliment a girl could get.  It could not have been more simple, lots of garlic and onion, browned (farm raised organic) meat, caramelize a bit of tomato paste and add a small can of diced tomatoes plus a big handful of chopped Italian parsley, salt, black and a bit of red pepper flakes.  Finished with Parmesan...
I know... I didn't do the twist when I served it tonight.  I was too hungry ;)


January 26, 2010

Maybe this is too crazy - shipping containers as homes - Haiti?

Before your roll your eyes, check these out.  They are meant to go on ships so they are water tight and painted in epoxy paint.  The sides fold down completely giving much ventilation, and structurally they are way more sound than anything we live in.  They also can lock together to form "multiple rooms" & even stack.  I think they are cool, and may serve as a good model in rebuilding nations.  Let me know what you think!!

This sweet little model comes from Atelier Workshop

Below is the Ecopod from Ecopods.ca

  • Here's a little bit about the Ecopods from their site!
  • It's substantially crafted from recycled materials so that you can enjoy the natural environment 'responsibly' without contributing to the construction industry's ongoing wastage of our natural resources.
  • It has a small ecological footprint making it a discreet addition to well-established natural habitats.
  • It's compact, energy efficient and entirely 'off-grid' saving on the cost of both bringing utilities to the site as well as protecting you from the rising cost of oil and electricity prices.
  • It's a building which adapts with your own individual needs - you can transport it from site to site, add more units as your family or budget expands or re-orientate the units to suite the topography and best views your site has to offer.
  • It's an affordable option that allows you to enjoy your recreational space now rather than saving for years to meet the rising cost of building that second home.
  • It's factory-fabricated to unbeatable standards avoiding the hassle, expense and wait for reputable local contractors and craftsmen.
  • It's secure like no other home allowing it to be left in remote locations for months at a time, with no worries of pests, vandalism or break-ins.

This one I think is just plain old PRETTY!  I would totally live in a place like this.  It's by http://demariadesign.com/1/ and all of her architecture is great

This one is by http://www.icgreen.net and their stuff is just easy

This last one is from http://www.barkbark.ca.  I like all of them, and there are so many more out there I could keep going on and on!!!  There is something to this and in our changing world we need to take advantage of every option we have.  And if not container homes, I think this will evolve into a home that can sustain natural disasters effortlessly.

much better morning

WOW what a difference a day makes!!  It was SO much nicer waking up this morning to a sunny sky. Hello Tuesday!

January 25, 2010

my FAVORITE banani-nanoo bread!!!

OK.  This is one of my favorite things to make & untill recent I hadn't made it at all.  In fact it had well been over 5 YEARS since I last made it... Go figure.  It's based on the Martha Stewart Banana Bread which if you make that you can't go wrong either.  Here it goes...
1 Stick butter (they say unsalted, but I use salted it brings out the flavor)
1 C. sugar (I like the all natural organic 365 at whole foods)
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
3/4 C. whole wheat flour
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamin
a couple grates of fresh nutmeg (has to be fresh)
2-3 ripe bananas
1/2 C. lite sour cream
1/2 C. handful chopped walnuts

- cream butter and sugar
- add eggs and vanilla beating untill fuffy
- SIFT flour(s) and baking soda the whole wheat makes it a little more filling.
- combine slowly with  butter mixture along with cinnamin and nutmeg
- fold in bananas, sour cream and nuts DON'T OVER MIX

Pour into a loaf pan that is buttered on bottom and lined with parchment then put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hourish... My oven take about an hour and 15 minutes untill my toothpick comes out clean.  But I don't really think my oven is all that accuate.  I need to get a thermometer and test it I guess. 
I love it toasted with a little butter for breakfast (after my green juice).  It's good.

Wow what a Monday morning!!

 It's CRAZY outside.  I'm leaving for my Monday jewelry class but check back later for the most amazing banana bread.  It's sure to make a day like this much more cozy!!

January 23, 2010

it was a good day to visit the chocolate factory

I just came home from work to such a pretty sky.  I think I live in one of the best parts of CT.  If I didn't live here, I would probably live in New Haven but I don't think the view would be as good.  We're lucky to have the water, parks and and area of town that we can walk everywhere including Chocopologie .  It's right down the street from where I live and right next to where I work!! So, since I haven't been drinking coffee I've switched and splurged a bit on hot chocolate.  This is the place to get it, made with real chocolate homemade marshmallows AND whipped cream.  It's the perfect little afternoon pick-me-up...

They were making TONS of chocolates for Valentine's Day.  There were hundreds of heart shaped boxes ready to be filled.  I love how the chocolate fills the air with its sweet smell.

January 22, 2010

a little more eye candy for Friday

I love finding pretty things for the home and table.  These I think are super sweet.  The cream and sugar set comes in many different colors, I'm partial to the yellow it's super cheery in these cold months.  I also love the cast mason jar and how it glows.  They would be great strung along my balcony in the summer.  These are all from Pigeon Toe Ceramics & worth a look.

a little eye candy for Friday

Ever since I found this little light from Urban Outfitters, I've been wishing I had a little place over my table to hang it.  What would be great is if it weren't hard wired, and I could use it with candles...  I think taking the cord off of it would be a bigger deal than I really want to deal with... Oh well  Then, while I was looking for images of the one from Urban Outfitters I found this little stunner from the Sundance Catalog.  I love just about anything they put out.  This one is a little over my budget.  Maybe when I strike it bit.  A girl can still look ;)

January 21, 2010

Because dogs eat and drink as well...

If I lived in LA or somewhere with an easy breezy indoor / outdoor living space, I think this idea is so simple and so pretty.  I saw it on http://absolutelybeautifulthings.blogspot.com and had to share

Hello Thursday!!!

Thursday are kind of like my Wednesdays since I work Tuesday through Saturday... I can't believe it I'm still doing this juice thing for breakfast thing & NO COFFEE!!  Officially it's been 3 weeks without my morning coffee and it's not all that bad.  Most of all I just miss the ritual of holding the warm cup and sipping it through the morning.  I've tried teas, but the whole experience is just not the same.