Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance

So awhile back my old roommates and I had a Champagne and Cupcakes party at our apartment. I made these great Neapolitan cupcakes from How to Eat a Cupcake. So tonight I thought, if you can do half and half cupcakes, why can't you do half and half cookies. Well, it didn't work out so great for me.

I decided to try making chocolate orange sugar cookies, using a sugar cookie recipe and substituting in orange flavoring in one half and cocoa powder in the other. Well both halves came out pretty good on their own, but the orange half kind of over took the chocolate half so Alex named them Chocolate Orange Waxing Moon Cookies. He's pretty clever.

Anyways. These were kind of a failure, but they taste good so here they are!

Chocolate Orange Waxing Moon Cookies
(makes 24 cookies)

Orange Half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Blend in eggs, one at a time
  4. Add vanilla, lemon juice, (lime juice,) and remaining orange zest.
  5. Add flour mixture, in 3 parts, blending well after each addition.
  6. Refrigerate dough for one hour.
Chocolate Half
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 1 cups and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Blend in egg and vanilla
  4. Add flour mixture, in 3 parts, blending well after each addition.
  5. Refrigerate dough for one hour.
Chocolate Orange Waxing Moon Cookies
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread a mixture of sugar and orange zest in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
  • Using a cookie scoop or your hands, shape 1 tablespoonfuls of each dough into a ball.
  • Roll each in orange sugar.
  • Place balls of dough adjacent to each other on cookie sheet, press together lightly, and repeat.
  • Bake cookies for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Double Feature Rainy Sunday

There is really nothing better than going to the movies on a rainy Sunday. Except maybe going for a double feature.

Yesterday, Alex and I spent our rainy Sunday hunkered down in the Boston Common Lowes. We ate Sour Patch Kids and drank Diet Coke while we enjoyed two very good Sunday afternoon movies: Jennifer's Body and Inglourious Basterds.

Jennifer's Body is a wickedly funny teen horror flick starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. The storyline is decent and the make out scenes are pretty fierce. Also, the film's dialogue luckily manages to escape the annoying overly hip Cody-speak laden throughout Juno. Amanda Seyfried is adorable as always and Adam Brody does a killer villain.

Inglorious Basterds is a super creative retelling of the end of WWII as seen through the eyes of Quentin Tarentino. Between the scalpings, shootings, bombings, and beatings it's a little bloodier than my taste, but it was cleverly funny and beautifully executed.

Both very much worth seeing. Especially on a rainy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday's on the phone to Monday, Tuesday's on the phone to me

I really feel like curtains are one of those things that really make an apartment feel like a home. So in our final push to finish our apartment up, I decided to make curtains for all of our windows.

These curtains were super easy to make. Start by measuring your windows so that you'll know what size your curtains need to be. Our windows were 37" wide by 51" tall. We chose our curtain rods and estimated we would need about a 2" tube and we wanted about a 2" ruffle at the top.

Now it's time to measure and cut your fabric! Here is the formula that we used for each panel: 37" wide + 1" hem + 1" hem = 39" and 51" tall + 2.5" hem + 4.5" hem.

Start by hemming both of the long sides of your fabric. Lay each side flat with the back of your fabric facing up, fold over 0.5" and iron. Fold over 0.5" again, iron, pin, and sew.

Next, pick which end will be the top of your curtain. Lay your fabric flat, front side down. Fold over 0.5" and iron. Fold over 4" and iron, pin, and sew.

Next, you'll create your ruffle and the tube for your curtain rod by top stitching a straight line 2" above your hem.

Next, lay your fabric flat, wrong side facing up and hem the bottom of your curtain. Fold over 0.5" and iron. Fold 2" iron, pin, and sew.

And there you have it: beautiful custom made curtains! We also decided to add some decorative and functional ties to keep them open. Start by cutting 2 strips of fabric 6" wide x 15" tall.

Hem both of the short ends of each piece. Lay your fabric flat, wrong side up, fold 0.5" and iron. Fold 0.5" again, iron, pin, and sew.

Then, lay your fabric right side up and fold in half so that your right sides are together. Pin the edge where your two sides meet and sew together.

Turn your ties inside out and iron flat.

Ta da! So homey.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A mad tasty message

So, I have a super fun announcement to make!

I was invited by the lovely and super talented Allie of Fraske Designs to join the Mad Tasty gang over at madtasty.blogspot.com. Straight from the blog, Mad Tasty is a collective cooking think tank, mind meld & gestalt of varied and splendid culinary legends brought to life. It is the brainchild of Dave Ring of Suck My Art and made up of around 20 fantastic shakers and bakers.

The blog has been on a short hiatus and will resume on November 1. Every Wednesday either Allie or I will be posting on our favorite foods, recipes, cooking utensils, and more. Hope you'll tune in!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'd have to call Paul Newman and ask him

Caesar salad is my ultimate comfort food. It's kinda healthy because it's salad, but it's kinda unhealthy because it's creamy dressing and lots of cheese. I love it. It's always my go-to order when Alex and I are out to dinner.

Thanks to having to make salads at Unos back in the day, I make a pretty mean Caesar salad at home too. I thought I'd share my recipe. My secret to making great salads at home is to mix in your dressing like they do at restaurants, that's what makes it feel like you are eating out. Oh and always serve with a big crusty roll!

Classic Caesar Salad
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 2 tbs creamy Caesar dressing
  • 1 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup croutons
  • 1 block Parmesan cheese
  1. Chop 2 cups romaine lettuce with a lettuce knife and place in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add Caesar dressing and mix gently with a fork until lettuce is coated. Add grated Parmesan cheese and mix till coated.
  3. Add croutons and mix to coat.
  4. Transfer Caesar salad to serving bowl.
  5. Use a vegetable peeler to shred Parmesan cheese.
  6. Top salad with cheese and serve.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Custom made for your living room

Alex and I have been slowly, but surely, putting the finishing touches on our new apartment. We are almost there and now that we are having guests staying with us this weekend, it's time to get 'er done. So, we headed out to Joann Fabrics to purchase some fabric for curtains and throw pillows.

Throw pillows are super quick and easy to make. I've made them in the past, but I stole this pattern from a couple that Alex's mom made him for his last apartment. They are awesome because you can remove the pillow form and wash the case any time you want!

Square Throw Pillows
  • 1 yard fabric of your choosing
  • 1 20" x 20" pillow form
  • 1 spool coordinating thread

Cut your fabric into a 21" x 21" square and two 14" x 21" rectangles.

Start with your two rectangle pieces and hem 1 side of each. Start by folding over the edge 1/2 inch and ironing flat. Then fold the edge up 2 inches iron, pin, and sew.

Now it's time to put your pieces together! Lay your square piece flat, pattern side up. Line one of your rectangle pieces up on top of one half of your square piece, like sides together. The side with the hem should be in the center. Pin together.

Repeat with your second rectangle. Your hems should over lap one another. Once you've pinned everything together, head to your sewing machine and sew around all four edges leaving a 5/8 seam allowance.

Trim your corners. Flip your fabric inside out. Stuff with your pillow form and enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

100% to charity

This weekend was the 7th annual Harbor to the Bay AIDS benefit bike ride!

H2B is a one day 125 mile bike ride from Boston to Provincetown that raises money and awareness of HIV/AIDS. The ride is 100% volunteer, which means, 100% of all donations go to the four beneficiaries of the event (That's pretty much unheard of with fundraising events!) Over the past 7 years, the riders been pretty darn effective raising over 1.5 million dollars for the Fenway Health Institute, the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, the AIDS Support Group of Cape Code, and Community Research Initiative (where I work!) So far this year, the ride has raised over 250K, which is pretty incredible in this terrible economy.

On Saturday, Alex and I spent the day running two pit stops in Weymouth and Eastham. The rain was torrential but the riders smiling faces made it well worth it. Some one had to make sure all 296 riders were fed and happy and the 194 crew members did an amazing job.

I didn't get any pictures of Alex and I at the ride, but here a classic shot of me and my mentor and friend, Jenn Rifenburg! She's is the person who got me into event planning and the girl I most want to be like when I grow up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In a New York Minute...

Okay so I totally realize that I slacked last week and did not finish NYC week. I'm going to try to recap and wrap up where I left off

Pizza at John's in the Village

So everyone has their favorite pizza in NYC. Our's is John's Pizza in Greenwich Village. It's super tasty. We recommend the extra cheese. Get there early because there is always a line for lunch and dinner. John's Pizza is located at 278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Washington Square Park. It's where David Lee Roth got busted.

Washington Square Park is our favorite park in NYC. Central Park is great and all, but who wants to go uptown. Ick. So we choose to hang out in Washington Square Park located at the foot of Fifth Avenue. They have a great little dog park and fantastic people watching despite all the NYU Students.

New York, on tap

Tavern on Jane is pretty much the perfect New York City date night. Located in West Village at Jane Street and 8th, Tavern on Jane has low lighting, relaxed atmosphere, great wine, and delicious upscale comfort food. Get there at 8 and you'll beat the crowds. Alex and I recommend requesting and even waiting for a table in the front of the restaurant. The first time we went we got stuck in the back room with a table of eight 10 year olds (Yep, the parents in charge of the group were enjoying a romantic dinner in the front room while their little girls mixed their sodas with ketchup and salt and generally acted like unsupervised 10 year olds). Just word to the wise if you don't feel like dealing with families that inappropriately bring their young children out to dinner at restaurants that don't have kids menus.

Right near Lou Reed's Apt

A couple of months ago, I read about this event called "Wish You Were Here" on the Bust Blog. It sounded super cool so Alex and I trekked all the way to LES to check it out. It was actually totally lame, but afterward we stumbled into a nice little bar called Marshall Stack. We each had a Coney Island Larger at the bar and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Located at 66 Rivington Street, this beer and wine hardcore hipster haven is a nice place to grab a pint and chill. It's definitely a bar not a restaurant but the English muffin pizza's and tater tots looked pretty appetizing. The bar tender was super friendly and it was the perfect place to drop in and take a sit.

I know it sounds terrible, but trust me, I don't know where this has been all my life

Okay so I know I also promised I would make and try and egg cream. Luckily, egg creams don't really have egg in them. Ha. I hope I fooled some of you cause I hate eggs. This was still pretty disgusting though. I didn't quite see the magic.

Brooklyn Chocolate Egg Cream (by Emeril Lagasse)
  • 6 ounces whole milk
  • 3 to 4 ounces seltzer
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  1. Pour milk into a 12-ounce highball glass.
  2. Add the seltzer and stir vigorously so that a white head forms on top of the milk and comes just to the top of the glass.
  3. Slowly drizzle the chocolate syrup into the milk, letting it fall gently to the bottom of the glass, and stir, using a long slender spoon, so as to just mix the chocolate into the milk but trying not to disturb the white head on the top of the beverage.
  4. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two tacos, no guacamoles

Guacamole is one of my all time favorite snacks. Of course I love it because it's so simple and fun to make. Just a bunch of ingredients mashed together into something delicious.

Alex hates it. Or so he says. He's never tried it, so I'm not sure he actually knows that he hates it. But he won't try it, so it's up to me. The other night when Alex and I had Joe over for taco night, I whipped some up for topping and snacking.

Everyone has their own recipe, but here is mine. I always skip the garlic and the peppers. I like it simple and mostly tomato and avocado.

Simple Guacamole
Serves 2
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A dash of freshly grated black pepper
  • Juice from 1/4 lime
  1. Cut avocado in half.
  2. Remove pit.
  3. Scoop out avocado from the peel with a spoon.
  4. Put in a small mixing bowl and mash using a fork.
  5. Add the chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper and mix.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Even lovers need a holiday far away from each other

Lately, I have been the absolute worst blogger in the world.

I was absent for a bit when I was on vacation in PA with my sister and my nephew. Then I tried to get back to it, and we went to DC and NYC and Labor Day came up and here I am again, being absent. I didn't realize how busy the end of my summer would end up being. I also didn't realize how incredibly time consuming the first few months of wedding planning would be. Between meetings with caterers, picking a color scheme, and endlessly searching blogs for DIY reception projects. It's quite a bit insane. Thank you to everyone for putting up with me!

So here are a few pictures from our different trips and also a promise to be less busy this fall and keep up with this little blog that I've enjoyed writing so much!

Pennsylvania with Family

Maryland with Family

NYC with Alex

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Don't stop me now. I'm having such a good time.

Across the street from the Chelsea Star, is our favorite New York City bar, The Molly Wee.

The Wee is a cozy little Irish pub with Yuengling on tap and clean bathrooms. Yep, it's the perfect. Or, well, at least it is for us. Bring your dollars because it also has a great jukebox filled with Van Morrison, Queen, James, the Pixies, and AC/DC. It's just a good old Irish bar with Irish bartenders and a friendly crowd. Despite it's close proximity to the Garden, it's not exactly a sports bar, though, you are almost always sure to find a Manchester United or a Yankees game on.

The only thing that could be a little better is the food. Greasy bar fare that's great after a night of drinking, but not the best for dinner before settling up to the bar for the night. There are plenty of great restaurants in NYC though, so get dinner else where and then head to the Wee for a good beer.