28 February 2014

#backthatazzup

Yay! Its Friday! Thanks to Whitney over at I Wore Yoga Pants we can enjoy a great link-up and music today. Check her out at iworeyogapants.com . So far its been a slow day- took both munchkins to the doctor this morning for a check-up and shots (only for Little J). Dropped them both at school and then I ran home to meet up with the Time-Warner dude, who still hasn't shown up. Whatevs- at least I get to catch up with some of this weeks TV!

I'm excited to say that I am working on a new layout for the blog with my bestest Leah, over at Sunshine and Traffic Jams (her button is over there on the left, click away!) Hopefully she can help me put something new up over the weekend. Not too much else going on here- I finally took some measurements of my living room so hoping to get back to the furniture store tomorrow about those couches! Hope everyone has a great day and a fantastic weekend! I can't believe its already March- and on an important note the Oscars are on Sunday night!!! Getting together with my girl P to watch them. Thanks again for checking the blog out!
Mama's Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert on Grooveshark
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27 February 2014

BahHumBug!

Today has already been off to a rough start! I am excited to be a part of The Blogmopolitan Quiz today- brought to us by the lovely twothirdshazel.com. 
Even so- Big J was off in lala-land this morning- didn't want mom to leave for work, then didn't to go to school. I pulled my favorite "get-him-to-do-what-I-want" move by threatening to put him in the stroller and let Little J walk. This makes him very upset- I then had a screaming, crying child all the way to school- to the bus, on the bus, off the bus. The most repeated chant was "I want to do, what I want to do". Yes honey, we all do. Many of the older ladies on the bus thought this breakdown was delightful - most showed sympathy to me ("We've all been there.") I did take a wonderful picture of him crying, because one day he should be able to laugh at himself for this! 
 "I want to do, what I want to do"

I'm making a promising new pork noodle recipe for dinner tonight and pushing the frustrated thoughts away with my new favorite Pandora station- Disney Songs. It is perfection. Until another day...

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26 February 2014

Big B, Little b- what begins with B?

Books of course! A truly simple pleasure of mine is reading- sometimes I wish I could just read all day long. It's kind of funny because honestly I was a slow learner when it came to the reading scene. I have clear memories of looking at books in kindergarten and 1st grade, not understanding what was going on. But the summer between 1st and 2nd grade it all clicked- woah- my eyes were opened for the first time to the amazing literary world. I even remember the first chapter book I read by myself. The Baby-Sitters Little Sister book # 52 - Karen's Mermaid. It felt amazing, I was proud of myself and I couldn't wait to see what else was out there. 
Last week I mentioned I was reading The Monuments Men, which I since finished along with several other books ( I like reading multiple books at a time, I mean not all at once but I read a few chapters of this, read a few chapters of that..)- thought I would give a few  reviews and pass the titles along to all the other book lovers out there.

 Labor Day by Joyce Maynard : I thought this was an excellent read- the point of view is from the son, and tells a somewhat unconventional love story. It has recently come out as a movie with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. A prisoner escapes from a local jail finds a mother and son in a supermarket... things go from there. I read this one pretty fast, in about a day, mostly because a) it was good b) I wanted to know what happened. Kept me surprised and not all at the same time..
   The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel : This was a great look at a side of history we don't normally see. Things that in history class you didn't even think about questioning- but what did happen to all the amazing European artwork when Hitler was doing his thing? This is about the very small group of men who helped save and bring back some of the most famous pieces of art during and after WWII. The book is long and very dense in some places ( I admit, I might have skipped some paragraphs here and there) but the underlying story is great and you get to learn something new and true. Also a new movie out, but apparently its gotten bad reviews- not sure if I will see it. And for the  movie watchers- the characters in the movie are not of the same names as the actual people in the book.
 The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: This is a great Young Adult novel. I told my family it was a mixture of Independence Day, The Host, Ender's Game and War of the Worlds. If you like the new "end-of-the-world/teen take over" books, like Hunger Games and Divergent, this is a good one for you. I also read it very quickly- it's a bit confusing in the beginning, but it catches you up quickly. Part of a series and the next isn't due until the fall... Noooooo!!! I want it now!
 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Talk about beautiful tear-jerker. Make sure you have some kleenex handy. I read this book sometime in middle-school/high-school (I can't remember) and I recently watched the movie (amazing, go see it and bring some tissues for that too) and decided to re-read the book. Takes place in Germany during WWII, girl is fostered by a family, discovers how amazing books are (perfection, I know)  all while befriending a Jewish man living in their basement. I wish they added this to school required readings- maybe the do?- it is an excellent story and the narrator is Death. Also the movie does a good telling of the book, on my top list of adaptations.

Not going to lie, I saw some buzzfeed list a few months ago about books you should read before they come out as movies and that is why almost all of these are movies. Even so, the books were all great and I think you should all read them and then tell me what you think.


Thank you to all of you, who are out there ,and reading this blog, and I know there are several of you- thank you, thank you! If you want to be even more awesome than I know you already are... you could do me a huge great favor and click follow! There are several ways, below my name (that cool giraffe with Rebekah) is a button saying "Follow Me on Bloglovin" click that, sign up for a free account, and voila - you will be following me. This a great option for those who like to follow multiple blogs. Two more options are on that left-hand side bar, you can follow me by email or connect your gmail account/google+ , and follow me via that. Did I mention that all of these options are free? Guess what?! They are FREE- I know, right, you get to have all this wonderful information from me all for the price of $0. I'm overwhelmed by it myself. So go click whichever is your fancy and enjoy beautiful moi. Thanks again!!

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25 February 2014

Dinner Time!

Today I'm going to introduce you to one of my favorite dinner dishes- Pasta Bolognese. This is a great addition to any cookbook and is simple to make but yet tastes so complex. It is literally the favorite meal of the family I work for and we eat it probably every other week. The leftovers (if there are any) taste just as great over the next few days- and the sauce freezes super well. Great to make a double or triple batch and then save for a busy day. And did I mention the kids love it? Well they do- Little J can eat 3 or 4 bowls of it, and Big J doesn't complain when he sees it on the table- which is enough for me.
Ingredients:





2 (28 oz) Cans of crushed tomatoes
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
6 oz pancetta or 6 slices of bacon, finely chopped (I always use bacon)
1/4 pound ground pork (not lean)
1/4 pound ground beef chuck (not lean)
1/4 pound ground veal  
          *side note on meat- I substitute 1/2 pd of ground pork and 1/2 of pd of ground lamb. Their dad          doesn't eat beef - I have made it with the beef and veal before and it was just as delicious.
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 carrot or baby carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 pound of small pasta - we usually use penne or fusilli
And feel free to garnish with some parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Prep:
In a large heavy pot over moderate heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add the pancetta(bacon) and saute until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Add beef, pork and veal (or whatever variation you are using) and saute, breaking up meat with back of a spoon until browned, 7-8 minutes. Add the onion and carrots and saute until the vegetables are tender, 5-6 minutes.
Stir in red wine and simmer, scraping up browned bits stuck to the bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 mins. Stir in the tomatoes, cream, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occaisionally, until sauce is thickened and brick-red in color, about 30 mins.
Meanwhile in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until almost tender. Drain well and toss with sauce. 
Serve and Enjoy! 
If you plan on freezing the sauce- then package and put into a freezer safe container before adding pasta- then you want to use it, defrost it, make some pasta and add it to the sauce. 
 (Yum!)
*missed taking a few pictures of steps because I was distracted by the internet- whoops!*
I hope everyone enjoys the recipe as much as we do!

 
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24 February 2014

Monday Blues

Eww... Monday. What an interesting (not) day of the week- I seem to have the Monday Blues, it was so hard getting out of bed this morning. My highlight this week is the talk of snow on Wednesday! With that I thought I would discuss some of my favorite things these days-things I have trouble managing without during the week.
 
Starbucks: Mmmm- just thinking about it makes me want to run out and grab another cup of coffee. My go to drink is a Tall Hazelnut Coffee in a Grande Cup. I've only been at my new job for 6 months and the baristas  already know my order- and I'm the mayor of the Starbucks on FourSquare. Repeat- " I do not have a problem, I do not have a problem"

 
My beautiful, wonderful, darling Kindle- this is the second one I've owned and I honestly don't know where I would be without it. This will be a MUST take on my hike in a few years- even with the few extra ounces, having hundreds of books to choose from will be great to have.  I love how long the battery lasts, how easy it is to hold with one hand, and of course how many books it can contain!
I'm pretty sure this little miracle bottle of joy is what has changed the acne and blemishes on my face. Kiehl's has truly worked wonders with this product and I love it so much I basically tell everyone I know to use it- it smells ah-mazing, feels weightless on my skin, and no matter what state I was in the night before my face looks refreshed and ready to go come morning. Please go out and buy it, like right now.
And of course my fantastic ipad. I bought this, with the help of a few gift cards, for my birthday this past year. It has now traveled across the world and back. It has a variety of uses, from keeping me entertained while sitting at Mixed Martial Arts, to keeping the munchkins entertained while on an 8 hour flight to Europe. Its not as lightweight as others but it is lighter than my laptop and I really enjoy how the Apple cloud works, everything is synced together and that makes it very useful. Sometime in the next few weeks I will discuss my favorite apps on the Iphone and Ipad.

Well these are a few things that make my life easier... I'm sure this list could go on and on and on and on.
The kiddos were pretty great this morning- Little J told me his first multiple word sentence (I see the bus too!) They are celebrating Dr.Seuss this week and have an alphabet parade at school on Friday- I now have the wonderful task of coming up with a letter outfit for them to wear. Too bad our assigned letters "h & n" are not the greatest to work with. Joy. Happy Monday!

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23 February 2014

The Joys of Adulthood

Oh Sunday Funday! It's absolutely amazing the things you can actually get done when your internet isn't working. I've actually cleaned, dusted, and put away all the clothes in my room- things that have needed to get down for days, weeks, months! And thanks to the Olympics I've been able to clear out my DVR- I mean it's empty, at least until tonight's shows start taping! 
I had a nice relaxing evening last night trying out some of the goodies from the Influenster Box. I've been eating the Kisses all week- yummy! Last night I tried out the Red Rose Lemon Chiffon Decaffeinated Tea. It was very tasty- a nice lemon aroma with an almost creamy taste.  If you like lemons, this might be a good thing to try - and I had it right before bed which helped me relax.


I also tried out the great Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask-I think that it is going to be a great addition to my skincare regimen- went on easy,and rinsed off clean. Put on my favorite moisturize afterwards, went to bed and my face looked fantastic this morning!



















 (me, looking oh so fancy with my mask on)

















After spending the morning cleaning I tasted my other Red Rose Tea - the Creme Caramel. Also very delicious- just as the name says, it's a great creamy caramel taste. No need to even add sugar! Probably better for me, since I have a mean sweet tooth.


      I've just now finished the third season of Homeland, finally, and boy was it great!! I cannot wait for the next one.. Now should I start Shameless finally or get into House of Cards? Until we meet again...
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 And thank you, once again, to Influenster for all these wonderful, complimentary products! I'm having a blast with them!

22 February 2014

I LOVE Saturdays!

I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely weekend weather! New York City was gorgeous today- and I had a wonderful day sleeping in, getting a much needed massage and running some errands. I even finally went to a furniture store to look at some of the couches I've been looking at online. The first is called the "Larson". It even comes with the 3 pillows featured! Makes it nice since I was actually looking at silver and yellow pillows to begin with..
This is the second couch-the "Metropolis"- and it would be in the the gray color, - both are about the same price. I'm leaning towards the second one just in regards of sizing, but I like the color of the first one better. oh the dilemma! - hopefully in the next week or two I can go back and inquire about pricing plans and whatnot. Maybe even make a decision...

 
Not too much else going on in this game- caught up with some friends last night, cleaned my apartment, now just catching up on some tv- anyone else watching The Following? And I'm almost finished with The Monuments Men- it has been very interesting read. Perhaps I will write a review in the next few days. Well back to life-  looking forward to a great Sunday Funday!
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21 February 2014

On Wednesdays we eat Chipotle...

Hello! Long time - no chat! It has a bit of a busy week combined with the fact that the internet in my apartment has been on the fritz, boo!, I have had some trouble sitting down to write a new post. Let's see- the weather here is finally warm (50!), amazing I know. I actually wore my light coat for the first time in weeks- and you can see some of the cars on the streets again. We had a wonderful sunny day yesterday which allowed big J to ride his scooter to school- very helpful to me, since typically he walks as slow as a turtle,but with the scooter he zooms right along. 
Despite the warm days it looks like we will be getting more snow next week. I hope it's a lot - I'm actually a winter baby at heart and love the snow and cold weather! Except for when it starts to look like this. Yuck!
 
 As usual Wednesday was a crazy day of running around- I completely forgot that little J did not have his PT appointment and ran home with him to realize we could have just gone straight to school from his toddler class- but as the norm on my way home I got some delicious Chipotle. I also started the new season of Girls- happy to say I'm caught up on it for now.
I am super happy it is Friday and hope to see all of my lovely friends this weekend! Everyone go out and enjoy the weather!

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18 February 2014

It's HERE!

My new J'Adore VoxBox has arrived!! Hooray- and it is packed with goodies!

Yummy and classic Hershey's Kisses, Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight Flat-Iron Spray, Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes, Red Rose Simply Indulgent Teas, and Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask!  *All of these products I received were complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.*

I can't wait to update everyone on how everything is/works/successful or not- although I can already tell you the Hershey's Kisses are DELICIOUS, of course, I mean its chocolate- what could go wrong?



And speaking of delicious- I made a yummy new recipe tonight. A Chicken Stew with Sweet Plaintains

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken parts, skin on
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest plus the juice of 2 oranges (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus the juice of 1/2 lime, more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 large sweet, very ripe plantains (they should be black and yellow), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced pitted green olives
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving

Preparation

1.
Rub chicken with cumin, chile powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the orange zest and lime zest. Coat with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
2.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook, in batches if necessary, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl.
3.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add plantains in a single layer, working in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side (add more oil to pan between batches if needed). Transfer plantains to a bowl.
4.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Stir in onion, bell pepper, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until vegetables are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and cook 1 minute.
5.
Stir in tomatoes with their juices, orange juice, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Return chicken and plantains to pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Keep at a steady simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Stir in olives and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or lime juice to taste. Serve topped with cilantro.
YIELD 
4 to 6 servings

Recipe courtesy of the NYTimes- It definitely takes a bit of time to make, but worth every minute. Even the munchkins ate it! I served it with some tasty corn muffins but rice & beans or a couscous would have gone nicely as well. And side note- if you buy green plantains they take 3-4 weeks to truly become ripe, so plan accordingly! 
 
I hope everyone had a great 3-day weekend- and has an even better 4-day week

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16 February 2014

The Cutest Monkeys on the Block!

For my job I manage a family's household as well as care for their two adorable boys, J & J

 
Little J just celebrated his 2nd birthday! Ahh- both are ridiculously adorable and so much fun to hang out with. They are very into Thomas the Train and we read lots and lots of books together.

Another adorable man in my life is my nephew, N, he just turned 6 months- I was able to spend all day yesterday with him and today while his mother, my sister (M), got her first night overnight without him. My mother (Gram) is in town taking care of him and I'm along for the sweet baby kisses and homemade food. 

So stinking cute! 
 
Gladly and sadly these are my main men-  NYC is great for everything but finding a boyfriend, so for now I will keep my pint-size cuties!


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