Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm exhausted...

"But Emily, it's Sunday, not Friday. You should be rested from the weekend!" my (sparse) audience says.

Except, yeah... This weekend has been just plain crazy.

Friday consisted of:
Work...busy, busy work. I didn't even eat lunch until 4pm.
Open house for apartments in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (that were both big fat NOs).
A random, last minute apartment showing in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn right after. I had emailed about a CL ad Friday morning before work. She responded with her phone number by 9am, I hadn't had time to call during the day (obviously). So, after the bummer apartments in Williamsburg, I called her. She was free in about 45 minutes. I made my way over there.
And I found an apartment that's pretty awesome. Yep.

Two decent sized bedrooms that are similar in size
An actual living room
A small but good bathroom - with GOOD water pressure. the current tenant was there that night and she said she would miss the shower greatly.
$1395 (with 4/1/09 lease date) including heat and hot water.
Gas stove (an unspoken, small desire of Omar's)
third floor walk-up (hey, at least I can't avoid SOME exercise every day)
Kitchen in general is sort of small. not much cabinet or counter space, nor a dishwasher. But I've been so spoiled by my Astoria kitchen.
No backyard (well duh, third floor)
I think we'll have to buy A/C units for the place (not 100% sure on this).
Buying furniture for the place... but that was unavoidable...
Third floor walk-up (SUCKS for moving, but that's what paying movers is for, right?)

Oh, yeah, k, after seeing the apartment in Brooklyn? I ended up talking to my mom on the phone for about an hour (while still in Brooklyn). My cell phone died, cousins called - they were in town for a few days. So I made my way back to Astoria, which took about an hour.
Once I got home, I charged my phone for a few minutes, ate some chips and guacamole (yeah, that was dinner for the night) and headed out to try to meet up with cousins Basil and Maher.
It was already after midnight then, and I finally found them (I thought they were still at a bar on Steinway st, but they were back at Basil's sister Dena's apartment pre-gaming - she lives in Astoria too).
I completely forgot that "going out" with Basil means fucking GOING OUT. I had a drink at Dena's, and then Basil, Maher, Dena's hubby Tony and a cousin of Basil's who lives in NY, Nadine, and I went out. We went to three different [very Greek] clubs and then to a 24hr Greek restaurant.
It was 6-o-fucking-clock in the morning when I got home. I had been up for almost 24 hours. And I had three drinks and two shots. That's a helluva lot for me. Especially considering my dinner consisted of soy-flaxseed tortilla chips and guacamole.

Yeah, and then Saturday? I was up by 11:30am.
Talked with Omar about the apartment, and about the fact that if we want it, we basically needed to get Erin (the agent) the deposit TODAY. I wrangled his debit card from him before he went to lunch with the cousins, and then I chilled for a while.
Finally got up and moving, and had to attempt to figure out how to take out $1395 from an ATM. That was fun. I ended up draining my bank account because BB&T has a withdrawal limit. So I had $500 from Omar's account, and was lucky enough to have about $975 in my BoA account.
Erin was on Steinway, and we met up, filled out the paperwork (not the final stuff, just the "we're taking it off the market until we get your application and approve you or not.)
After that crazy running around, I decided to chill in Starbucks and read a book for a while (after talking with mom again). I really needed to veg out, and was hoping the house might be sort of quiet when I got home.
But, nah, Jennifer and Jessica were there, and Jennifer's friend Julie was on her way over. Jen cooked, and her and Julie hung out before going out. I got to veg out temporarily and then talked with Omar about the apartment when he finally got home.

And today...well, today has been vegging out, cooking, attempting to clean up, wanting to crawl into bed for about twelve hours. Yeah... I really, really can't shake this tiredness. And considering that this is just the beginning of moving, fuuuuck.

I swore I was going to make my bed tonight - I sent my sheets to the laundry like LAST weekend, and still haven't had time to make my bed. I've just been sleeping on the mattress with my blanket and comforter on top (which is fine with me but I feel a tad ghetto). Oh, and that same time I sent the sheets out, I sent out clothes. And they're still folded up in the hamper. Again, I swore I was going to get my room cleaned up this weekend, but the gods of time are working against me. So, yeah, um, good night...


Someone asked me for the recipe on Facebook, and by the time I had typed it up in the reply to comment box, it was too long to post. So I'm throwing it up here. After I made turkey croquettes/meatballs, I was going to make something curry-esque with chickpeas, but I had a VERY old bunch of asparagus chillin in the fridge and knew they needed to be dealt with. The turkey croquettes are a tad on the dry side (they're made with ground breast meat), so I wanted something a bit saucy.

I just sort of made it up on the fly... My roommate made some amazing honey dijon green beans last night, so I was inspired by her.

I had already cut up onions and garlic (for that scrapped Indian dish). So I threw them in the pan with olive oil and let them get very soft and delicious. I was going for "caramelized" but they got a bit darker quicker than I wanted (yeah, I'm impatient).

Add the asparagus to the pan - I cut the spears in half, feel free to do whatever. Season well with salt and pepper. Let them saute with the onions and garlic for a bit - not too long, you don't want mushy asparagus at the end.

Then I just eye-balled water, dijon mustard and honey. It was probably about a half-cup of water, and a few tablespoons each of the mustard and honey. Let it come to a boil, and simmer. It's going to look thin at first, but reducing it by simmering gets it nice and thick, and the honey helps fantastically. Mine was probably a little sweet by the end, but the asparagus were more done than I normally go for, so I didn't want to keep them in the pan.

I threw some sliced almonds in at the end basically because my roommate had them left over from her green beans last night. Yum!

- - - - -

Also, here's an incredibly easy idea for asparagus. This is what I normally do. So tasty! Basically, trim the ends of the spears, throw on a cookie sheet, add olive oil and salt and pepper and toss together. You want everything coated, but not soaked, and season liberally. Throw in the oven ~450, or even on broil. Don't touch them - the more you move veggies, the less brown they get - for a little bit. Cook until the desired tenderness.

- - - - -

Oh, since I'm doing a cooking blog at the moment, mmm turkey croquettes/meatballs. Thank you Shira's grandmother! I took the basic idea that I got from Shira and her gma, and changed it a bit. These are really tasty, neutral balls o' protein that I figure I can pair with something like that Indian chickpea dish, or top with tomato sauce and cheese, or whatever.

1 lb ground turkey breast
1 egg
1 cup protein chips "bread crumbs" - I grind up Kay's Natural's parmesan crisps
A chunk of onion, a couple of garlic cloves
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2-3/4 tsp salt, a hearty sprinkle (1/4-1/2 tsp?) red pepper flakes

In different stages/cups, I do these steps with my magic bullet blender: grind protein chips. Puree onion and garlic. "Beat" egg.

Add everything together in a bowl, and mix well. Form into small balls, patties, whatever - I normally make "patties" smaller than a hamburger, bigger than a meatball, but today I made balls. For me, I think it made about 28 balls, but at the rate I've been snacking on them, I can't give you a definite answer. In a pan with a nice coating of olive oil heated to medium-high, brown well. Voila, you're done!

Oh, and a trick Shira suggested when we first made these this summer: We weren't sure if we had seasoned enough (we used italian seasoning in them, which is a great choice), so we just cooked up a bite or two of it and went from there. You can always remix more of whatever it's lacking and trial cook again or just go for it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

some morning humor (or not)

What does ATM spell backward (and reflect)? MTA! Ba-dum-chink!

A not-so-funny joke for New Yorkers. The MTA is raising prices by 30% across the board while cutting service and jobs. In all honesty, I wouldn't mind cutting back on two meals out to afford the rise, but the service cuts and lack of safety and cleanliness from fewer employees is dangerous.

I think bailouts aren't usually the best bet, but the state government needs to realize the downward spiral that these cuts could cause.

All of this also makes apartment hunting even more difficult - I need to do some research on what lines are being cut all together or severely reduced. Fuuun stuff, eh?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Homemade nachos. Tonight, I walked away from the Haagen Daaz freezer at the bodega, even as the rainy cold weather was calling to veg out. Instead, I made some nachos at home.

Trader Joe's makes some delicious spicy soy flaxseed tortilla chips that have a nice protein/carb/fat balance. Top with leftover rotisserie chicken (I had to at least attempt to make it healthier) and LOTS of Trader Joe's light three cheese blend.

Ripe avocados, red onion, garlic, lime, lots of cilantro, salt and red pepper thrown in the blender gave me a nice guacamole. Although it's definitely not as good blended, I was too lazy to chop. The flavors were sort of off - I think the lemon juice I added and the lack of jalapeno, replaced with the red pepper flakes, weren't quite right - but the spicy chips helped.

Throw a few tablespoons of salsa into some fat free refried beans, warm it in the microwave, and there's dip option number two.

I must say my super-loaded nachos were yummy and not too horrible for you. I could have eaten the entire bowl of guacamole (two avocados), but I resisted, which is better than normal!

- - - - - -

Anyone feel like sponsoring an apartment broker? Working full-time (and not having access to gmail at work) is making the apartment search crappy. But I really can't afford another month's rent to pay a broker. >.< I just want to find a place soon, especially because I can tell the roommates (well, it seems like one in particular) is getting tired of the situation. And I'll be honest, I'm sort of ready for the change.

I really don't want to move (in terms of the physical process and money it costs), but the one roommate that seems over the brother situation is also a bit anal in general, especially about the kitchen. I'm tired of coming home at least once a week, if not more often, to find the kitchen looking bare. Which means that anything of mine that was on the counter is now thrown into the cabinet. Seriously, there was a glass bottle of olive oil just casually put on top of a basket of stuff. On a diagonal, pretty much ready to fall out when the cabinet was opened. It's just like, really? I much rather have a place organized than just "clean-looking". But I also just don't get the bare-kitchen look. I'm sorry, but why keep your oil, salt, etc in the cabinet if you're using it everyday? But I'm not so surprised...the bare kitchen look is what most upper-class white families who aren't big into cooking go for. I'd MUCH rather my kitchen be friendly to cooking than look totally and boringly uncluttered.

So, like I said, I'm sort of ready to move, if an affordable apartment in a safe area of Brooklyn (or even better, Manhattan) were to find me. And hopefully I can find some affordable movers, because I'm not doing this myself. Blah.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I can't say a whole lot...

But I can say that I have a feeling that at work, I'm moving from "newbie intern" to "more experienced intern".

They're getting six new interns (if I heard correctly) on Monday. I'm moving from the intern computer/table to a desk/cubicle shared with another employee. The woman whose desk I'm taking over (temporarily?) left for maternity leave last Friday.

So...nothing official. But basically, in very vague terms, I feel like the door is opening, at least a crack, for something more to come from this internship. Which is quite, quite exciting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well there goes a month!

Sorry everyone, but it seems like February and March have flown by. That is probably because:

- I'm working 40 hours a week
- Sara came up to see me during NCSU's Spring Break - Saturday Feb. 28th to Thursday March 5th. It was her first time in the city and it was really an amazing week. I love that girl, and I'm gonna miss her! (She got into Univ of Manchester for grad school! Go her!)
- Thursday March 5th, the evening Sara left, my younger brother Omar came up for an indefinite amount of time. He is looking to get a job at a restaurant in the city, and from the sounds of it, he does have an opportunity at this place called Centro Vinoteca. (Opportunity meaning today is his first day of work!)
- Saturday, Shira left for an indeterminate amount of time - at least until August? Which bums me out. The reasons she's going back to LA are absolutely fantastic ones, but I mean, she has a special place in my heart. She took me in last summer without knowing a whole lot about me and letting me totally invade her space and privacy.

So...what does that mean? Well, that probably means that we're going to look for a place together. My roommates are pretty badass, as is this apartment, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Omar and there is absolutely no reason he should live with some random sketchy find on Craigslist. Nor could he afford a studio (I mean, really, who can?!)

That's sort of scary...the prospect of moving again. The expenses, the general labor, finding a sublet for this apartment. But I spoke with Jessica and Jennifer tonight, and they're totally supportive. They understand the situation, with it being family, and aren't offended by the move, if it happens. So, that makes me feel better. They will also let anyone they know about the room being available.

Work has been really good. The week Sara was up here, a large group of Garan employees (designers, mostly) were trend shopping in Europe. So the week before was crazy, and these past two weeks, now that they're back, is sort of crazy. They bought tons and tons of clothes for trend research, and even more pictures, so there's a lot to sort through, hang up, print out, and on and on. I want to, at some point soon, try to discuss with Lori, my boss, about any openings for permanent employment and/or the general timeline as an intern. They seem completely open to me staying there as long as I want to - they have the need for an intern, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I just have absolutely NO idea how to approach the topic. And with everyone (including Lori) preparing for trend meetings (sometime at the end of March), it's probably not really the best time to do it.

If anyone has any suggestions whatsoever on the best way to do that whole thing - introduce the topic (of meeting), and then the meeting in general, my ears are open.

Besides being sick - a month in NYC being surrounded by sickies - at work, at the apartment - I finally got sick on Friday. So, let's hope it leaves me soon, kthx? Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, besides being sick and busy, um, not much else happening. I feel like such a grandma, especially on the weekends. I don't really go out, but I mean, especially Friday nights, I'm tiiiiiiired! It's exciting living here, but exhausting at times.

Oh, and a random high point of my evening? Even being sick, this recipe delighted my taste buds. If you're seriously jonesin for spring to get here and FAST, fix this. It helps.

Good night everyone. The old fart has to pack her lunch and get to bed before it gets much later!