Fried Eggplant with Chocolate

Despite my own grandparents being from Italy, I've never heard of Melanzane al Cioccolato (Chocolate Eggplant) until I stumbled upon this original recipe by Italian chef Massimiliano Alajmo on Elizabeth Street. I guess it's common for Italians to use fried eggplant in desserts and top it will chocolate, ricotta, candied oranges, sugar, cinnamon, and/or sea salt.  With such an unfamiliar flavor combination, I had to test it out. It was amazing. Click here to read about my experience and the the minor changes I made to Alajmo's recipe.

Chocolate, flour, sea salt, olive oil, and eggplant.  The simple ingredients in this recipe couldn't be more tempting. Trust me on the eggplant. Someday I might be brave enough to make this sophisticated version Melanzane al Cioccolato.


Elizabeth Street Links

I've been saving these old pictures for a related post. But I can't think of anything. So instead, here's links to a bunch of my articles I've written for Elizabeth Street (my day job). Enjoy!

12 of the Best NYC Holiday Shows I found some good ones!

10 Pinners You Need to Follow Some obvious, some not.

Getting Ready for Spring: Planting Bulbs I followed my kids to school and took pictures of their classmates planting in a garden.

A Hip Homemade Holiday I interviewed Blogger Susan Petersen about her latest craft project.

*Rustic Slow Cooked Applesauce* Super healthy! Bonus: Makes your house smell amazing. 

10 Kid-Friendly Service Projects  Many perfect for the holiday season!

Wreck-It Ralph: My Experience
Jordan Ferney took these pictures awhile back in San Francisco. 

Health Coach Update

 how many days until it's thanksgiving again? 
I've mention I started a three month program with holistic health coach Jared Vaughn from Helios Health and Wellness a while ago.  As a result of following Jared's advice to eat a more plant based diet, I've lost ten pounds in six weeks. I'm down to 135. People have started to comment on my new look, I feel great, and my shopping trip on Saturday was the best I've had in awhile. All the work and changes I've made are starting to show. But still, my motivation to eat whole plant based foods has been waning. I can even pinpoint the moment: Thanksgiving dinner.  

That night I was reintroduced to bread and butter and cream. I forgot how much I love those things. What was suppose to be a one meal indulgence, has turned into a week long affair. I'm up a few pounds. No big deal. I'm more worried about that whole who gives a damn! attitude I have about food. Plus my stomach feels heavy and bloated. I don't feel as good when I wake up in the morning.  I talked with Jared about it last night. He's so motivating. While his advice is simple, I've been so resistant to follow it.

Jared's been asking me for weeks to write a food/mood journal as a tool to connect positive and negative feelings to what I eat, and as well as be accountable to myself and to him. I've done one before, but it seems so compulsive/obsessive.  A few years ago when I was working with a dietitian, I carried a small notebook with me and wrote everything down as I ate. Six months ago I found an app and took pictures of everything I ate. Psycho.

Instead, Jared suggested I take 5 minutes to jot down my food/mood at the end of the day. Doing it at once at night seems less crazy. Plus, he lives across the country, so it's the only way for him to monitor my progress and make tweaks in my diet. I understand. I'm committing to writing everything down for a week and sending him an email at the end of the day.  I made good with my promise today, including that large handful of chocolate chips I mindless ate while talking to my sister on the phone.  I'm sure she adored listening to my lips smacking.

Have you ever kept a food/mood journal? Isn't it so weird and embarrassing?! Writing my mood comes easy to me, but food? Oh, I don't even want to know.

FYI: While Jared Vaughn is a family friend, I paid to join his three month program and enjoy telling you about my progress. I even took hideous before pictures! ha Click here to learn more about his approach, click here for a FAQ, and click here for recipes (my new favorite). 
i had one of each. my favorite was the maple cream pie on the far right. the crust omg. 
licking the fresh whipped cream out of the bowl is the best. they hit up the Chocolate Reddi Wip next. i joined them.


My Birthday Present: A Night with Lena Dunham

Rob gave me the best birthday present ever. It put my Best of CVS Gift to shame.

I don't know how he did it, but he got me tickets to a screening of the movie This Is My Life followed by an on-stage conversation between Lena Dunham and Delia Ephron.  I knew the night was going to be good when I stepped out of my cab alone and Lena was also stepping out of her town car. I had that stop-smile-nod-say hi-moment. Then her assistant said, "Lena, stop! I want to take your picture. Oh this damn flash!" Lena stood alone in front of the MoMA and smiled. I love that she's still taking pictures in front of buildings. Totally genuine, like for her mom or scrapbook. She was so approachable and almost vulnerable standing there smiling. I had a fleeting moment when I wanted to jump in the picture with her. Instead I stared and watched.

We walked into the museum together and went our separate ways. She met up with friends (surprisingly old grown-up-parent-type friends) in the lobby while I waited for my friend Samantha Hahn. I don't spend nearly enough time with her. This was our first time hanging out without kids. Isn't that the best? To finally have a conversation with girlfriends without constant interruptions? I love Sam. I hope she doesn't mind me calling her that.

Sam and I walked into the theatre to watch This Is My Life. I cried from the moment it started until it ended. It wasn't even meant to be a tear jerker. I just related to it so much. I wanted to shout out, "No one understands this movie like me! You all think you do, but, no! I do the most!" I love that feeling.

The movie deals with simple issues just about every woman can relate to: sister relationships, work-life balance, mother-daughter relationships, using your life for writing material.  In the end, Lena basically said everyone in her life is material. I wish I could be that brave. I've got some good material/people totally going to waste.

I kept wondering why this movie wasn't a huge hit. It was made in 1992, the soundtrack is by Carly Simon, and it has a fabulous cast. Someone in the audience asked this question to Delia Ephron (she co-wrote the film with her sister Nora). She shrugged her shoulders and said, "It didn't go over well with audiences. It had a minimal release in New York and LA, that's it. I really don't know why. Just one of those things."

As soon as I got home, I ordered a copy. I had to have it in my life. I plan on having a movie night to introduce it to all my friends. But first, I have to buy a DVD player.


Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Year Two

portrait of a frog
I know I take the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade too seriously. I always attend the balloon inflation party the night before. I come home and lay out everyone's clothes. I set the alarm clock at 4:45am so Rob can secure a spot by 5am. I leave the house with the kids at 6am. No makeup, no breakfast, and too many layers of clothes. I even put my boys in diapers to avoid bathroom breaks.

While my friends walk around with their hot chocolate laughing, I stand nervously at my post right on the front row. Whenever I walked away to check on my kids, I keep an eye my spot. I wish I could play it cool, but I can't. I get choked up at the first site of balloons, marching bands, and confetti.  It lasts around 15 minutes before I can get it together. I love this parade. I will go every year I live here. I always tell people it's one of the rare things that lives up to my expectations.
she understands me
A year ago I wrote tips for watching the parade. Nine more pictures after the jump . . .


Our First Family Broadway Musical: Elf

Elf the Musical was the perfect introduction to Broadway theatre for my kids. They are familiar and love the story of Buddy. It's set in NYC. It's funny and has a magical ending. Hearing Ella laugh at all the right moments made me proud. Owen spent the first act eating a huge lollipop we got in the lobby. Oscar sat in Rob's lap. Intermission gave me the chance to clean up Owen and buy a bag of M&Ms for the family to share. Owen would have put maple syrup on each candy if he could. He can relate to Buddy more than I'd like to admit. When it ended my kids asked, "Was that the real Santa?" I'm not sure. Maybe! Regardless, I think he was perfectly casted. Hello, Neeewman Santa.
Thanks The Moms for hosting Sierra Mist night on Broadway with ELF! It was great! 
As I type this my kids are literally singing, "It's the Story of Buddy the Elf!" ha
What Broadway play should I take my kids to next? Seen any good ones?


5 Thanksgiving Day Activities for Kids

photo outtake from my old Pancake Insanity post. 
My kids love to help me in the kitchen. As soon as they hear me getting out cooking supplies, they ask, “What are you making? Can I help? I’ll stir! Please?” In the past, mom guilt has always made me say yes. I know the benefits of cooking with my kids. It has such potential as a time to chat and learn together. It just never ends up that way for me. I always end up stressed out.

Take last week, for example. I was making chocolate chip cookies (not these chocolate chip cookies of course) with my son Oscar. He asked if he could stir the dry ingredients. “Sure!” I said. A perfect age appropriate activity for him, I thought. I turned for a second to get the eggs out of the fridge, and when I returned, Oscar’s shoe was off and he was on his way to putting it in the flour mixture.

 “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I asked, expecting him to respond with, "Gives it a little kick". But instead, with tears in in eyes, he told me he accidentally spilled some flour on his shoe and he was putting it back in the bowl. He didn't want to waste it. “Ugh. Fine." I said, "I’ll finish up. Just go." And that’s how the great bonding and learning moment ended.

Did I handle the situation perfectly? No. Could it have been a bounding moment? Yes. I admit I wasn't at my best. He ended up walking out of the room sulking while I finished the cookies in solitude and bliss! The cookies turned out amazing, I might add. And after one bite, he seemed to move on. Although I'm sure I scarred his tender soul for life.

So it was with great delight that I wrote this list of jobs to assign each kid on Thanksgiving. I suggest 5 specific and fun responsibilities for kids while you and other adults prepare the best Thanksgiving Day meal ever.  Enjoy!


Monday, November 12th

I honestly thought my boys didn't have school on Monday. Whoops. Did yours? I just realized my mistake today. Hope they had a fun with their extra day off. Something tells me they did! 
More pictures of their leaf adventures after the jump. 


A Few Things and A Thank You

forgot to post this one on last weeks post.

It's time to get the kids out of the house. The day is too warm and my kids are too wild. And it's my birthday. It's been a good year. Even if the ending wasn't exactly how I imagined. Moving on!

This is my plan: Next year at this time, I hope to be stronger, faster, and healthier. If I get into the NYC 2013 Marathon, I think I'll enjoy the race so much more. I was putting too much emotional baggage into the race. Like somehow by running in honor of my mom, I would be over her death and that sense of loss would disappear. But it won't. I'll always miss her. I think I would have been disappointed to find that out had I run the race.

I haven't taken the time truly thank you for your support during my marathon training and with Fred's Team. It was a life changing experience! Thanks for being apart of it.  

PS As I started writing this post Ella leaned over my shoulder and asked, "What? You're making another blog post?" It's true. I've been writing a lot this morning. Here's A Rustic Applesauce Recipe that will make your house smell amazing and a list of 10 Kid-Friendly Service Projects to do before 2012 is over. Actually if you do one on the list, consider yourself a success. I've also been pinning my heart out for Elizabeth Street. I'm still in the process of recreating/editing all of Elizabeth Streets pinboards. Someone keeps sneaking their ideas onto our boards and I can't wait to delete them. Ha! Like who's responsible for this pin?!  There's a few more I'm scratching my head at . . . I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Also: Joanna's Hurricane Sandy Bake Sale was a huge success!  Just so you know, 
I made the BEST chocolate chip cookies thanks this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I will never use another recipe again. While I can't credit my chocolate chip cookies entirely, I will say they helped raised $2400. The best part is that Dwell Studio is going to match – so it brings the total to $4800. All the money is going to The Mayor's Fund this week. Yay! It was fun meeting some of you! 


Hurricane Sandy Bake Sale Reminder: Today!


Belated Halloween Parade

Remember when I used to post pictures of my kids everyday? It's been so long, that as I was taking photos of them on Wednesday for their belated Halloween Parade, I thought, "Wow! They look so much older!" Their faces have elongated and their limbs have stretched out. I was shocked. I need to force them to be my show horses more often to soften the blow. 
American Apparel sent me the adorable clothes to make into Peanuts costumes. The kids had fun playing Linus, Lucy, and Charlie Brown for the day. To get Oscar's stripes, I used duct tape for a stencil and painted it in with black acrylic paint. Super easy, turned out great. I carelessly drew the stripes on Owen's shirt with a black Sharpie brush tip marker. I'm sure I could have made them look perfect somehow, but does it really matter? :)

Of course Owen forgot to take out his sign and blanket from in his backpack for the parade. He ended looking like the kid who's mom forgot his Halloween costume. I wanted to shout to everyone: I didn't forgot! Honest! He's Linus! You know? From Charlie brown! But no one asked, so I just beamed with pride and took a million pictures of him anyway. Here he is in the middle of spiderman, a ninja, and a yellow somethin somethin. 
Lucy Costume: 
Charlie Brown Costume:

Hope you have a great weekend! Will I be seeing you at the Hurricane Sandy Bake Sale? 


Burying the Past

Quick! I have to bury that gross picture of my blood from yesterday. Here's some shots of Central Park from this morning. An abundance of beauty!

There. That should do it. No, one more. A large vertical one. Takes up more space. 
Much better.
Don't scroll down any further. 


Hurricane Sandy: Ways to Help

Since Sandy hit, blood banks are down 6,000+. I decided to donate yesterday to the New York Blood Center. The last time I donated blood was in high school, so I thought it was high time to do it again. If you're planning on going here was my experience.

*It took over 2 hours. I set an appointment at 2:15pm, but got there super early (just in case) at 1:45pm to fill out paper work. I didn't walk out until 4pm. The line was super long and they didn't have enough people working to keep up. The appointment was totally unnecessary because I didn't get to move ahead of the walk-ins. Basically, everyone was a walk-in and we were treated first come first serve. In that respect, it was a frustrating experience.  The people working at the blood drive, however, were extremely friendly and tried their best to get to everyone through in a timely manner.  While the wait was annoying, it was worth it for the greater good.

*Drink up. I made sure I ate lunch before I donated. I also chugged two bottles of water throughout the morning. When it was over I drank cranberry juice and ate four Oreo cookies. I felt great and luckily I didn't have any bad side effects. The woman in the white shirt in the picture is passed out! 

*Pump it out! I forgot pumping my hand into a tight fist helped speed things along. My husband Rob understood this concept well and finished way before me. I've already challenged him to another blood donating race. 

I have to give a shout out to Ella for being so good all day! What a boring day for a kid. She's sitting on the window sill in the far left of the picture. I'm so lucky to have her. 

For blood drives in New York click here.  For everywhere else in the US, click here. 

To review: If you're looking for ways to help, here's a few simple options:
1. Just show up 
2. Donate blood.
3. Donate money


Election DAY!

half the line at my voting site. i'll be back later? 
A conversation I had with a woman from my kid's school yesterday:

Her: I'm surprised religion hasn't played a bigger part in the election.
Me:  I was thinking the same thing. They could have really worked that angle! There's some good material that's been totally wasted! 
Her: Right--like Romney seems like he doesn't really like women.   
Me: Yeah, I get that.  To me he seems like the typical nice family friendly obedient mormon guy, though. 
Her (in all seriousness): I know! I'm surprised he doesn't have more than one wife.
Me: Oh, we stopped doing that over a hundred years ago.
Her: Reallllly?
Me: (Forehead slap)

Have fun at the polls today! I went down to my voting site and noticed the line wrapped around the block. I'll try again later. Maybe. If nothing else, the eavesdropping will be worth it!  


My UnMarathon Weekend

On Saturday morning, I threw on my trusty boots, and stuffed 3 pairs of work gloves, a box of trash bags, a bottle of water, and my favorite bars in my backpack. I was headed for Staten Island on my kick scooter--by myself and without a plan. I knew if I went towards the direction that needed help, the details would work themselves out . . .


NYC Marathon Canceled

Understandably, the NYC Marathon has been canceled. 
You kept me motivated.


5 Things I Learned From Meditating

I wrote the following article for Elizabeth Street yesterday. My office is closed until Monday, so I've been working from home. The kids are also home from school all week. BUT The NYC Marathon is on! I think the marathon will have special meaning this year. A way for everyone to come together during this challenging time.

Meditating Moms: 5 Things I Learned from Meditating 
Finding peace during challenging times 

Halloween celebrates change. For one day, a drastic transformation is possible and everyone is encouraged to reinvent themselves into something fantastic or mystical or frightening. I look forward to it each year.

But today, as many people try to rebuild their life after Hurricane Sandy, they are forced to deal with changes they never planned on. Whether it's the loss of a house, business, or loved one, finding ways to deal with change and difficult times is on everyone's minds.

Recently Goop came out with an issue that discusses change. Their suggestion? Meditation. Last week, before I knew the effect Hurricane Sandy was going to have on my area, I gave it a try. I signed up for a morning mediation class at The Three Jewels through Course Horse.

My experience was incredible and couldn't have been more timely!

Click here to read the 5 things I learned from my first meditation class.

FYI-I don't have a quota for page views at Elizabeth Street. I just believe in the site and love sending it traffic :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

NYC Taught Me All rights reserved © Blog Milk Design Powered by Blogger