Friday, June 11, 2010

And... I'm back?

Well, it is a possibility! I bit the bullet and found myself a nice and not outrageously overprice laptop. I have missed regular writing, both here and on Babes Who Brunch, more than I can say. So I hope to see you again sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life is better with cookies.

I don't know about you, but my life is insane. But it's so much better with cookies. Or, really, any homemade treat, but right now it' I'm competing in The LAMP's Best Desserts benefit tonight. All bakers were asked to make something whose recipe is from media, be it a television show, magazine, newspaper or website. I am bringing my Not Yo Mama's Chocolate Chip Cookies, which are an Alton Brown and Smitten Kitchen inspired creation.

Hosted by the lovely Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert, it looks to be a great evening.

Want to know more? Alejandra says it best:

Hello lovely readers!

Just a reminder today about the Best Desserts charity food blogger bake-off that I'm co-hosting with The LAMP tomorrow night. The event is from 7PM to 9PM at Double Windsor bar in Brooklyn.

Tickets are just $20 (in advance; $25 at the door if you procrastinate) and get you entrance to the event, entry into all the raffles, exclusive drink specials, and--wait for it!--a tasting plate of all the delicious desserts! Check out the list below so you can see for yourself what delicious treats you'll be partaking of.

And for all you Throwdown/Chopped/Top Chef fans out there: this is YOUR chance to play snooty food judge! In addition to the winner selected by the panel of foodie-celeb judges, we are also opening up the vote to all the attendees who will get to taste and vote for their audience favorite.

So come to support The LAMP. Come to cheer on your favorite blogger. Come to eat delicious desserts!

Buy your ticket here (tax deductible and full amount goes to support The LAMP's programs in underserved NY communities).

What: Best Desserts: A Benefit for The LAMP
When: Wednesday, June 9 from 7PM – 9PM
Where: Double Windsor Bar, 210 Prospect Park W. at 16th Street, Brooklyn
Admission: $20 at or $25 at the door (price tax deductible and all proceeds benefit

Admission gets you entrance to the event, a tasting plate of all the competing desserts (details below!), exclusive drink specials, automatic entry into the raffles featuring prizes from Flip Video, Whisk, Bowery Kitchen, The Hip Hostess, and many more!

Bloggers (and their competing dishes that you’ll get to taste!!) featured are:
Mocha Brownies by Katy Atlas of Sugarlaws 
Seasonal strawberry cheesecake by Jen Bernstein of Local Appetite NY 
Chocolate chip cookies by Esther Chai of AmbitiousDelicious(ness) 
Salty butterscotch chocolate chip cookies by Emily Hanhan from (non) adventures of an amateur
Salted turtle cashew cupcakes by Anna Markow of Very Small Anna
Asian rice crispy treats by Rachel Mount from Best Part of the Day

Judges are:

Chef James Briscione2-time Food Network Chopped! Champion and cookbook author (also major hottie, just sayin’)
Giulia Melucci: Author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
Divya GugnaniBehind the Burner host & NBC personality

DC Vito, the executive director of The LAMP, and I will be the MCs for the night.

Hope to see you there!


I truly hope to see all my dessert loving friends there tonight. I think the format of this event will be a nice change from the typical chaos of other food competitions (which I still love). We will be plating desserts so that each person just has to get one plate with all the competitors on it. Less finagling through lines and more ability for each cook to show their love in each bite.

Yes, I'm corny and sweet. That's why you're reading, right?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Locker Room Etiquette

Ouch. It's been a good long while since I've given my bloggy any love. My life has been one big mashup of frantic apartment hunting during the month of March, even more frantic and chaotic moving, getting situated, work being busy, Emily being mentally and physically drained and now... Now I'm back on the Get My Ass in Shape horse.

Follow the insane thoughts of eight ladies who are Getting The Fuck Up on our Twitter stream #GTFU (because we're a bunch of dorks). We're doing this through Weight Watchers... Yes, I'm back, but it's more guidelines and keeping myself in check than totally reneging on the protein first mindset. It also helps that I have friends here supporting me. So, anyway, the point of that introduction is that I'm cross-posting something I wrote on my WW blog (mainly to keep too much crap from this main blog) that I would love everyone's input on.
Locker Room Etiquette (?)
So, five days later and I've officially worked out three days, yeah! Monday night, Wednesday morning and Friday morning. I have full plans on doing something involving exercise this weekend as well, so I am totally excited. Yes, getting up at 5 or 6am is not fun, but I know my body will be happy in the long run.

Buuut, having been in a locker room now after years since my last time around, I wonder if there is specific locker room etiquette in adulthood. The last time I was in a gym with a locker room was in college, which was just sort of a different animal. I can't say I've seen many bigger ladies at my current gym, but they're not all supermodels either, so I don't feel totally schlepy. Anyway, on the note of being bigger, well, the towels my gym provides are, on me, like a washcloth for a smaller woman. They're larger towels than I've seen in some gyms (my university one most certainly) but I still feel awkward. Basically, the towel can cover either my crotch, butt or boobs. Depending on how I grab it, I can sometimes cover the bottom half with a thigh hanging out.

No matter what, it makes for an awkward/clumsy walk from the locker to the shower. But here's the thing, I don't really care about people seeing my body. I'm not totally in love with it but I'm not painfully shy about showing it either. But at the same time, I don't want to be "that girl" in the locker room. And, er, I'm lazy - I don't want to carry my own towel or robe daily to the gym. Nope, not happening.

For the larger ladies, what do you do in the locker room? For the smaller ladies, do you pay any attention if you see some cellulite butt (mine) hanging out in the locker room? For everyone, is there formal etiquette for this kind of carp that I normally spend absolutely no time dwelling over)?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Catching up

Why yes, I am still alive! What happens when life is so crazy, enjoyable, frustrating and simple jam-packed? I can't even separate the thoughts or find the time to write them all down. The place of employment is good and yet hectic and frustrating and such a daily learning experience, life is fantasmic and wonderful and yet so full of stress. So, basically, life as usual. I love it, I truly do, but I cannot wait till April.

Why? Oh right, amidst all of this, I'm moving. Our current lease ends March 31st & Omar wants to move in with some work buddies back in Astoria, so that's fine and dandy and now time to find a roommate. Or two. Newish friend Biana is also looking to move, and once we took a gander at our budget and our options, three bedroom apartments are quite a bit more affordable.

So here we go with this little jewel. What do we do to find this dear third roommate? The internet of course. This is the ad we posted on Craigslist today. Spread the word that we're searching for a third roommate for reaaaally affordable apartments in Brooklyn. Please do, thanks?

Are you a personable, relaxed Brooklynite looking for an affordable apartment with a few awesome roommates? B & E are looking to move into a three bedroom apartment (at the max budget of $700/person), but need that important third person. While a specific neighborhood isn't extremely important, our budget puts us mainly in Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. Both "young professionals" (we hate that phrase but it's pertinent), we're fairly socially active so we want an apartment that feels like home. We also hope to host gatherings in whatever space we find (brunch is a big part of our lives), so we would love the third roommate to hopefully enjoy said activities.

E is an avid cook & baker, and tends to keep lots of random spices and foods in the pantry and kitchen gadgets around. Fluctuating between being a social butterfly and vegging out at home, E is definitely looking for a space that can be totally relaxing when desired but also a great space for hosting friends. E is sometimes messy, but tends to keep it to her area. She also has Southern, motherly roots that come out time to time, but usually NY sentiments.

B is a social media consultant and can usually be found tethered to her computer and/or BlackBerry. She often works from home and yes even in her pajamas on occasion. B is very easy-going and she don't want no, no drama, no no no no drama. B also hates the Black Eyed Peas. B learned in kindergarten that sharing is caring, but she likes to be asked first. B is a fan of keeping communal spaces reasonably tidy. B is not a foodie so much as an eatie, which means she does make use of the kitchen frequently.

You are also a young professional, willing to take an equal part in apartment cleaning fun, male or female, straight or gay, petless (unless you have a clown fish named Nemo, then that's cool), willing to smoke outside if you are a smoker, able to contribute or help pay for some communal utilities and furnishings and available to move April 1.

Hope we haven't scared you off, just wanted to give you a better idea of what to expect with us. Let us know if you're looking for a room, we would love to meet ya.

And check out the actual posting with the email contact here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quite a delayed reaction

I'm quite remiss not to mention this sooner.

As the world knows, Alexander McQueen passed away, or more accurately, committed suicide last Thursday. Not to get melodramatic, but I can't quite put into words what he has done for the industry. Very few designers are true artists, and even fewer continue to be artists as their careers blossom, but he truly did.

I greatly enjoy fashion, but don't write or reflect about it enough. [Even with my degree, I consider myself more the type of person that sits back and observes casually. I do want to change that now that I am creating on a daily basis.] But he was one creative mind that you couldn't ignore on the runway or the red carpet. (Thank you, Lady Gaga, among others.) I hope that whatever is developed under his name from here on out respects and represents the genius McQueen showed during his life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Decadence in a bite: Elvis Cupcakes

For anyone living under a rock, last Sunday was the Super Bowl. Having received an invite to friend Pas' Super Bowl party (at his outright amazing apartment in downtown Manhattan), I knew almost immediately what I wanted to make.

Peanut butter. Banana. Bacon. Cupcakes.

Otherwise known as Elvis Cupcakes. Oh yes, baby, they are as delicious as they sound. Well, at least my recipe is. Surprise, surprise, these recipes came from inspiration and combination of a few Smitten Kitchen recipes. I went with mini cupcakes because these are decadent, and I recommend giving these miniatures a try. I also really really wanted to debunk the dry mini cupcake myth. Even day-old cake doesn't have to dry out! Thus, I packed the cake with tons of banana and the next day, before frosting, I brushed the tops of the cake with Jack Daniels. My goal was to create a moist, banana-rich, peanut buttery, salty bacon dessert bite, a worthy tribute to The King, and I think these are winners.

My frosting did not want to pipe out, so they were sloppily frosted with a knife. Ignore the ugly, embrace the tasty.

Elvis Mini Cupcakes

Banana cake
[This makes 54 mini cupcakes or probably around two dozen regular cupcakes.]

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3.5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1.5 - 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (4 large)
3 tablespoons greek yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon whiskey (Jack Daniels), plus 1/4 cup [for topping the baked cupcakes]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift first 5 ingredients into bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until creamed. Beat in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, rum, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined.

Line your mini cupcake with liners. Spoon no more than one tablespoon of batter into each liner, filling the cup 2/3 full max. Bake for 10-13 minutes max. [A toothpick may not come out "clean" because it's a very moist cake.] Remove cake from pan immediately and put on a cooling rack. Repeat process until batter is gone, it will take 2-3 batches of baking.

Directly before frosting, use a pastry brush (or new, clean paint brush) and brush the top of each cupcake with Jack Daniels.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups (which is more than you need for said cupcakes. Feel free to 3/4 the recipe, or give the frosting to a baker friend.)

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, commercial brand

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1/2-1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

The frosting will be quite thick and a bit difficult to pipe out because of the peanut butter. If possible, use a ziploc bag to frost the banana, Jack Daniels soaked cupcakes. If not, use a knife or small offset spatula and spread on.

Baked Bacon
10 slices high quality bacon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the bacon in a single layer on the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping 10 minutes into the process. You want the bacon crispy but not burnt, and it will continue to crisp as it cools.

Place cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate, and once cooled, cut slices into fifths. Top each cupcake with a generous piece of bacon.

Put the cupcakes out on a nice platter and enjoy the questions. "Bacon? On a cupcake?" "Wait, what are these called?" And then enjoy the happy smiles and mouthgasms around the room.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Treats Truck: A Mid-Afternoon Adventure

The Backstory

A little while back, maybe a few months, I caught wind of something called 93 Plates. Without previously knowing of The Wandering Foodie, I found the idea intriguing on all parts. Doing what I often do when finding a new blog - added it to my Google Reader and also followed him on Twitter.

At some point, while still unemployed, I tweeted out that if he was ever looking for a fill-in, I might be up for it. Mainly because my schedule was flexible at that time and, still, curiosity about the project was there. Then, on the 29th of January, Hagan tweeted out an emergency cancellation at Treats Truck for lunch. That day, the truck was parked at 38th and 5th, and I happened to have time for a real lunch break so I offered to share in some small sampling.

And there I was, on a chilly January afternoon, getting fresh air and a full tummy and being a part of something I honestly think could only happen in NYC.

The Treats Truck
all photographs provided by Hagan Blount

I've been to the truck a few times when I was working at 34th st and 5th ave. I've met Kim Ima, the owner, then and also while volunteering at The Vendys back in August (fun times). She's a sweet lady, an easy business to support. She has a truly cute, vintage looking silver truck that is easy to spot amidst the crazy streets of Manhattan.

From the first bite, I truly believe her slogan is an extremely fair representation of her product. Simple, classic, American desserts. Often a bit rich and sweet, but there are some true stars in the bunch.

Sugar Dots

Incredibly classic, straightforward sugar cookies topped with a simple icing and sprinkles, these cookies acted practically as a palate cleanser between richer samples. I am a fan of the two sizes - the smaller "Dot" is a great little $0.50 snack. I can't complain nor rave about these - what you see is what you get.

Cran Almond Crispy

This was one of two items who I personally think don't fare well in the winter. The cold air doesn't do the best for Rice Krispy treats. And this was a marshmallow square amped up - with dried cranberries and almonds. More marshmallow would have been nice, and maybe in the summertime? But mainly it's a pass for me.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yet another classic American cookie, this is a solid but not spectacular cookie. It is also offered with pecans, which I might be willing to try. The cookie was dense, but without the nice combination of chewy toffee edges and moist center.

Raspberry Brownie

The brownies from the Treats Truck are rich, sweet, chocolatey bombs. Kim offers many different varieties, with caramel, raspberry, pecan, plain, spicy Mexican cocoa, and others (espresso, etc) available. With all her bars, she will ask if you prefer a corner, edge or center, which is a great little detail. The raspberry brownie was the second dessert damaged by the cold - the fruit swirl on the top had solidified  in the cold. Not very easy to bite into or chew up, the winter is not the best time for the raspberry brownie. [As a side note, I've tried a bit of one of these brownies in the summer and the texture and consistency of the fruit is far better and makes for a more complete flavor.]

 Peanut Butter Sandwich

Boy, if you like peanut butter, these are SO the cookies for you! It's the classic peanut butter cookie with a rich peanut butter filling. The small cookie is a bit decieving - there is a ton of peanutty flavor in a small package. She also offers the sandwich cookie with a jelly filling for some true nostalgia. And one other side note - as with most classic peanut butter cookie recipes, these are GLUTEN FREE.

The Truckers - Caramel Creme and Chocolate

Truckers, oh truckers, you both swooned me and turned me off in the same category. Yet another very rich option from The Treats Truck is the Caramel Creme Trucker. The cookie is buttery, a bit like a shortbread cookie, delicious with caramel flavor. The cream in the center is what I would classify as a standard cookie filling. The Caramel Creme Trucker falls into my top favorites from the Truck.

Unfortunately, the Chocolate Creme Trucker did not match up. Somehow, the chocolate cookie tasted chalkier, less chocolate-intense and just not quite on the money. If you're craving chocolate, go for a brownie.

Pumpkin Cake

Kim offers pumpkin and carrot cake, and Hagan told me that both received a strong endorsement from the ladies at Blondie & Brownie. After trying the pumpkin cake, I must agree. The cake had a nice balance of sweet, pumpkin and spice. Topped with a cream cheese frosting, I consider this one of the tastiest and best monetary values from The Treats Truck. Straightforward is the name of the game, and if you like pumpkin cake, I recommend this one.

 Pecan Butterscotch Bar

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! The pecan butterscotch bar is truly my favorite from the Treats Truck. Yes, it's sweet and rich, dense indeed, but the butterscotch flavor and spread of pecans? Truly delicious. I must must encourage you to get an edge or corner bar - the delicious toffee flavor gets more intense at the edges, as the texture gets firmer. For less than $3, I definitely say this bar is worth swinging by The Treats Truck when in the neighborhood.

The Verdict

So the verdict on my experiences? Well, when it comes to The Treats Truck, "Not too fancy, always delicious!" still sums up the baked goods pretty darn well. My experience eating at the truck with 93 Plates did not change my opinion on the truck - it's worth checking out for certain items, certain cravings, and most definitely worth visiting to meet and chat up the very sweet owner, Kim. I want to thank her (and obviously give full disclosure) for the food, and thank Hagan for the experience.

There has been various musings around the web about the purpose and drive behind 93 Plates. I just want to say I understand all opinions on the matter, and I'm not going to say anything more brash about it. I haven't had the time nor desire to "seriously analyze" it all. But I did comment on friend Amy's blog before finally getting to this write-up.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Insane. Amazing. Juggle!


My life currently summed up in three words. (That last one is more like "Juggle, bitch, juggle!") But if you want a little bit more...
  • Three weeks into work and really is a juggle. I feel a bit in over my head (in terms of skills) but I'm trying to prove myself and make myself indispensable right now. Last week was especially insane and the company is trying to find the right balance with me as well.
  • Last week was "Social Media Week" in NYC. What does that mean, you ask?  Lots of open bars, interesting panels and good friends. Tried to balance attending the important to me stuff - a fashion panel or two - with the just-can't-miss fun stuff. Last night's closing party / Patrice's birthday party was pretty much perfection. An insane amount of dancing and free liquor made for a perfect end to my week.
  • Oh, and last night was also my one year anniversary in New York City.
  • Speaking of indispensable, I'm reading Linchpin by Seth Godin right now. Game changer. For real. Once I read Emily's review, I had to have it. If you're doing anything creative at all in your life, put it at the top of your reading list. Oh, and give yourself a D.
  • And, still rolling along with Babes Who Brunch. Lots of great meals, and truly happy to have met and continue to get closer to Melissa. Even when life feels like it's in the john, she has a great, great spirit to her. And knows and appreciates goooood food.
  • Oh, one more memorable note to my life. My friends. Seriously, I cannot even begin to express the awesomeness that surrounds my life right now. There was so much congratulatory joy from you all when I got this job, I was truly overwhelmed. Thank you. No really, you make my life so worth it on a daily basis.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How bizarre...

Yes, yes, first day at the new job for me. It generally felt good, lots of friendly people, but don't want to say too much. Just wanted to write about one moment that just caught me completely off-guard.

It was about two o'clock, I finally went to warm up my lunch. As I was plating it up to a paper plate, a man came into the kitchen. He was wearing jeans, a cotton button-down and sneakers. As he went to wash his hands, I oddly made the first move to say hello and introduce myself. "Hi, I'm Emily. It's my first day here." We shook hands and his response? "Hi, I'm **** and I own the company."

I know that whole don't judge a book by its cover, but really? I was so taken aback, not only was he dressed incredibly casually, but he was extremely friendly and warm. For a larger company, I never expected that. He knew there was someone new coming into the office and we had a great abbreviated conversation. Who knows what the future holds, but that moment today felt pretty darn good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pop the Cork!

Oh wait, I already did...


Not just any job, a full-time, bill-paying job. Excitement is a complete understatement. Can't spill too many details over teh interwebs, but let's just say it's in my "industry" (and that would be pattern and print design), it's full time and it feels like a good company to be at. I have until Monday to relax, bask in the employment glow and get myself together. (Cook, clean, prep some clothes, etc.)

But you know what is first? A day at MOMA. I haven't been since the summer of 2008, so I think today is a MOMA day. If you're around the city and have some free time, give me a ring and stop by and peruse with me.

And I have to say, the timing is sort of perfect... There is a College of Textiles alumni dinner at Brother Jimmy's tonight, as Kent is in town for about 72 hours. It feels so damn good to know I have a job when friends and others ask what I'm doing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I am a ball of nerves

I had a job interview on Tuesday. And a follow-up skills test project thing on Wednesday. For my abilities and stuff, they both went pretty well. There was chemistry, and interest in my portfolio, all that. It's such a new feeling!

But now, I'm waiting. And growing more and more attached to the idea of this job. I do not know when I'll hear back... I know getting attached is bad, bad, bad, because they have other applicants and not everything about me is perfect for their needs. But it's just such a new, delightful feeling to being even close to employment.

Whatever you do to help the stars align (pray, cross fingers, meditate, eat cupcakes, whatever odd tick you revert to), will you do that for me? I'm having trouble sleeping tonight and going to try to calm myself and think positive.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Drum Roll Pleeeease!

A new project for 2010 has begun, and I couldn't be more excited!

Melissa, a sweetheart and new friend, have begun a new blog together, Babes Who Brunch. I hope my dear readers will follow the link and check out our site, ideas, etc. If you're in the NYC area, are a babe and want to brunch with us, please please please let us know! I don't know what this will turn into, but it's an exciting little side project for the new year. (And yes, I am trying to keep with the Ten in 10 goals while brunching.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ten in 10: Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010!

It's a new year and while I'm not trying to make any definite resolutions, I'm trying to get myself and my life in order. Part of that is my eating habits. They've fallen off, hard, and it's got to change. That was already set in my head, and then I saw my friend Lara post about Ten in 10 earlier today. In these horrid winter months of January, February and March, a jumpstart like this seems like a great idea. It's also a great way to garner support, since there's a whole group of people doing this.

My official "goals" for Ten in 10 are very much about getting back to basics. Limit processed carbs, get back to healthy proteins, vegetables and whole grains, and try to do "some sort of" exercise daily. Recipe Girl, the creator of Ten in 10, is posting about it every Saturday, and I hope to do the same. Anyone else that wants to join (you can do so if you're on Twitter or you blog) still has time to enter - tomorrow is the deadline. Whether or not you participate in this event, I wish for all of you dear readers to have a healthy new year!

Woah... It's 2010!

To my readers, I wish you a Happy New Year!

While I look like a hot mess in this picture, I'm happy as a clam. This was my evening last night, with so, so, SO many of my new friends. 2009 rightly sucked for many reasons, but when it comes to the connections I've made in my life, well damn, this is one lucky lady right here. So thank you, to all of you. You know who you are, you know you're greatly loved and you know that you've made my year about as great as it could be.