My D-I-Y Menorah!

In the spirit of the holidays, instead of buying a new Menorah, I wanted to make one. Voila! Here is my very own homemade Menorah! It took me a while to collect all of the parts (had to order the candle holders from Germany), but once I had everything, it only took about an hour or so to create. I got the idea from Martha Stewart, but added the Tiffany blue roses as a colorful touch. I made three of them and gave two as Hanukkah presents. This was so much fun to make and I am thrilled with the finished product. You can also use it as a gorgeous candelabra on any table after the holiday is over...
Happy Hanukkah!

Paula's Pumpkin Cheesecake with My Pecan Praline Topping

This was such a hit at Thanksgiving, and it was fairly easy to make (make sure you use a springfoam pan). I didn't get to try the finished product until it was served, so I was a little nervous because I'd never made one. I must say it turned out pretty awesome. I will definitely make this again for my next holiday party. Here's Paula's recipe (wish I could take the credit).
Once the cake cooled, I topped it with a pecan praline sauce - here's how I made it:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped (coarse or fine is up to you)

Melt butter over medium heat in a small pan. Stir in brown sugar, whipping cream and vanilla. Cook and stir until it reaches a full boil then reduce heat and boil gently for three minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in chopped pecans. Once this has cooled a bit, pour on top of the cooled cheesecake.

Soy Vay!

I was cruising the aisles of my neighborhood gourmet market and found this flavorful marinade. I HIGHLY recommend it! I used it last week on some Chilean Sea Bass and I'm using it again tonight on black cod. I marinated the fish for about an hour and then just threw it in a hot pan until it was cooked. It was simple, savory and tasted like the sea bass from Buddahkan.

Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Here's what you need:
Pan cooked cod or another flaky white fish
handful of cheese
1 beaten egg
flour or bread crumbs (estimate)
chopped vidalia onion
splash of worsteshire and tobasco
3 tbsp parsley
salt & pepper
clove of fresh garlic
Portugese muffins (sweet and delish) - even crumbled some into the batter
I think this is everything but I'm having a hard time remembering exactly what I put in them, this should be pretty good though...
Mix all of the above ingredients together until it forms a batter. Then drop the batter onto a heated pan with olive oil and cook until golden.

The tartar sauce is so simple and makes them sooo good.
I've recently discovered Wickles Relish at my neighborhood gourmet market and it's the best!
All you need is Mayo, relish, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper to taste. Then glob it on your fish cake, smack it between your Portugese buns, add lettuce & tomato and voila!

Veggie Pancakes

I made these as part of our dinner last week and I definitely want them again this week. They were really easy and turned out rediculously delicious. Here's how I made them:
Hand grate one large zucchini, about 5 large broccoli stems, 1/4 onion and half a can of corn. I added one beaten egg and about 3/4 cup of bisquick, (you can also use flour but I think the bisquick made them exceptional) and a shake of flour as well. I then added about 1 tbsp of baking soda for fluffiness. I seasoned them with corrainder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and a sprinkle of mustard powder. Oh, i added about a handful of shredded cheese as well (this was the sort of dish where I sort of threw in anything I could find in my kitchen). Mix it all up (you want it to be the consistency of a batter), heat some olive oil in a pan (get it real hot for added crispiness) and add the mixture in silver dollar pancake forms, cook for about 5 minutes, add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

Baked Falafel

I think I was always more intimated by making falafel at home than I should have been. It was SO easy! I made it for dinner last week and it was a tasty, healthy main course for dinner.
Here's how I made it:
1 can of drained chickpeas
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoons of fresh parsley
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon or so of coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
Literally thrown it all into a food processor until it is blended. Then transfer to a bowl, beat an egg and add it to your mixture. Mix well and roll into ping pong sized balls.
Heat a pan with olive oil and brown on both sides (flatten slightly). Transfer them to your oven on 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Next time I'm going to be bad and deep fry them.
Serve with a sauce of your choice

Brunch at Jane

This past Saturday I had a lovely, lazy brunch at Jane - such a cute spot, might be a new "go to" brunch destination. We started with "The Best" Bloody Mary (awesome) and the truffled mushroom soup (to-die-for). I had the crab and crawfish benedict and the boy had an egg and ham scramble with rosemary salted fries (I most definitely helped myself). Can't wait to go back! Also think this would be a great spot to rent out for a private event.
3.5 Stars

Brunch at Artisinal

I've had brunch here a couple of times now, and went most recently this past Sunday. So far, I've had the soup (lobster bisque, onion or fish), salad and sandwich combo both times - I love this because you get a little bit of everything. The vegetable panini with the tapenade and goat cheese is heavenly and grilled to perfection.
3 Stars

Dinner at Sevilla

I have a friend from home who raves about this place and goes every time he is in NYC. I had drinks with him there once, but never tried the food. The portions were huge and it was all very good. It is however a little cramped and humid - you stink like Spanish food when you leave. I would say is it potentially worth it though. We had the seafood paella and shrimp creole. The rice and creole sauce was awesome.
2.5 Stars

White Dipped Honey Braided Twists

I was in the grocery the other day and found these. I love honey braided twists, and to have them covered in white chocolate, oh my!
I bought a bag and they stood no chance. I highly recommend trying these (if you can find them) - they are too good.

Yoga Toes!

My brother has bad ankies so wears these to help them. I just got myself a pair and boy am I a fan! I put them on the second I get home (despite the fact that I am teased and called a loser) and wear them for about an hour at a time.
Here's how Yoga Toes work:
By spreading, stretching and exercising toes.
Help correct and realign foot structure.
Strengthen and stretch foot muscles.
Helps improve circulation and appearance.
Balance the entire body and stimulate, improve posture.
Mine are actually knock offs that I got a Duane Reade but work just as well. Go get you some!


I had apps and cocktails with a friend last night at Choptank, and it was really good. Great space and a good crowd. We didn't order a ton of things off the menu, but had the fried oysters and crab dip. Both delicious. I will definitely go back to try a few more things. They also bring you these deadly homemade potato chips to start.
The owner, Bobby Werhane - former owner of the well-loved Italian nooks Dell'Anima and L'Artusi (my second favorite resto in the city) brings a different cuisine, but I'm thinking it may pack the same punch as his other joints. Can't wait to go back.
3 Stars

Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies

I love pumpkins and pecans, so why not combine! I'm deciding on a few different desserts to bring to Thanksgiving dinner this year, and these delicious looking little pies are in the running. I might even top with a dollop of cream cheese frosting and then add the pecan.
Here is the recipe.

My New Boots

I have been collecting black boots for years now. I find that they never really go out of style and I tend to live in a great flat. I actually just took a few pairs to the cobbler to have them shined, soled and tapped so they're ready for the season. I thought I was going to stay away from over-the-knee boots, but I have fallen. I was on the hunt for a new everyday flat black boot (not over-the-knee), but I saw these and knew I had to have them. They're very fitted throughout the entire leg, which is what I was looking for - I knew if I was going to do it I wanted them to be ultra slim and sleek. They're actually very practical for a frigid New York winter if you ask me!

Lunch at Bar Pitti

I had lunch the other weekend at Bar Pitti and forgot to blog about it! It was a beautiful fall day so we got to sit outside right on bustling 6th ave in the village. We started with the burrata with roasted red peppers and then both had the eggplant parm. Both were really, really good. I would definitely go back.
3 Stars

Butternut Squash Soup

Since winter squash is still in season, I am taking advantage. This recipe is really simple if you don't use fresh butternut squash. The frozen kind is cheating a little, but still quite tasty.
2 packages of frozen butternut squash (or 2 lbs of whole butternut squash, halved and seeded)
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps cleaned
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cups store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock
Place frozen squash in a pot, add water and cook on low, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Roast veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper on 400 for about 10-12 minutes. Transfer vegetables and 2 cups of stock to a blender or cuisinart and pulse until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, along with the squash mixture and puree until smooth. Move to a pot and simmer on low. Add salt, pepper and fresh rosemary as necessary. I like to add a little goat cheese, and maybe even a little truffle oil.
Remove from heat, cover to keep warm.

Dinner at Peasant

I had dinner with some girlfriends at Peasant last Friday night. It's such a cute little place and I love how you can see right into the rustic, open kitchen. When we sat down, they brought us some hot-outta-the-oven Italian bread and along with fresh ricotta cheese for dipping. We ordered the homemade buratta to start so thought this was our app, but to our surprise we had more cheese coming (I'm certainly not complaining!). We all shared a couple orders of the mushroom gnocci and a margherita pizza and called it a night. The food and wine were great, but we had a terribly rude waiter who put a damper on the experience. I would have gone back, but probably won't now because of him.
2.5 Stars

Frosted Amaretto Sugar Cookies

Since I love an amaretto liqueur, I was a little restless last night so decided to get crafty with some plain sugar cookies. I took a basic sugar cookie recipe as follows:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Rather than the milk, I used about 3 tbsp of Disaronno to add an almond kick.
Mix salt, flour and baking powder in one bowl. In another bowl, whip the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add the egg, vanilla and Disaronno. Slowly add the dry mix to the butter/sugar mixture until combined. Roll into balls and bake for about 10 minutes until golden, do not overcook. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Frosting (I eyeballed it and kind of used what I had in the fridge):
About 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
1/2 stick of butter
teaspoon of vanilla
2 tbsp Disaronno
2 tbsp of cream cheese
2 tbsp of cake flour to help with consistency (only if you need it)
3 drops of blue food coloring (for color)
Beat this combo for about 2 minutes and then spread on the cookies once they cool!

Disaronno, on the Rocks

My handsome man friend and I love to enjoy a glass of amaretto on the rocks for a night cap after we go out to dinner. The cheesy commercials give it a bad wrap, but it's so sweet, almond-y and the perfect way to end the night.

Frosted Black & White

Dangerously, I have a Crumbs Bake Shop around the corner from my office. Being Friday and all, my boss and I decided to treat ourselves... 380 calories later, I'm feeling good - that frosted black and white was well worth it. Every single bite was out of this world.
(note, that is not my hand)

Baked Shells with Winter Squash

I'm going to make this for Sunday dinner! It looks DIVINE! Here's the recipe.

Dry Shampoo

If you're like me and don't like to wash your hair every day (shhh!), I recommend using T3 Orlando Pita Dry Shampoo when/if you start to get a little oily. Some dry shampoo's can leave a white-ish tint, but the T3 comes in different shades to match your hair color. It's the best, and you can get it 20% off right now on with the friends & family discount!

New Polish

I need a mani/pedi today (desperately), and I'm pretty sure I've already decided that I'm going with Merino Cool, one of Essie's new fall colors. Purple is my FAVORITE, and merino cool is more subdued than your typical purple, adding a soft grey hue. Can't wait!

The Sweet Beet

My friend Sarah K sent me this blog and it's pretty fascinating and informative . It teaches you all about what foods are good and bad for you, along with interesting little facts and figures about foods you intake every day and foods you should stay away from. I recommend checking it out!

New Cookbook

My wonderful friend just got me this great cookbook for my birthday and I can't wait to try out some of the recipes! Thanks Laur!!

Sephora Friends And Family 2010!

Sephora is offering 20% off on all products online now through November 3rd. And free shipping over $50! Enter code FF2010 at checkout.


This lip balm is a must! Keep one in your purse, on your bedside table, and in your office at all times! I swear by it and can't live without. If Bobbi ever discontinues I don't know what I'll do. I ask every time I stock up - we're safe for now...But if you don't want to spend $20 on lip balm, I highly recommend using Aquaphor (thanks Ju!) because it is also awesome!! And you can buy the small tubes too and throw them everywhere!

So Fun

I love these shoes by Camilla Skovgaard (she makes some pretty funky/fab footwear) that were on today. They're sold out though, so sad! I did however book my ticket to the YSL sample sale tomorrow :)

Ciao Roma!

I just found out I am going to Rome for work in January! And they're putting me up at an awesome hotel - I'm thrilled! Now let's hope they fly me first class :) Thanks Economist!

Wildwood BBQ

I had din on Friday night with a group of friends at Wildwood BBQ (same resto group as Blue Water Grill, Dos Caminos, etc). We had to wait almost an hour for our table (place was packed), so they brought us a bunch of apps on the house including the Jalapeno Bottle Caps (eat these at your own risk!). We were all starving and about 4 vodkas in by the time the food came, so we took those apps down. I had the Buffalo Shrimp wrap as my main and wow was it salty - would have been great otherwise. The table shared a bunch of sides including the cheddar grits, brussels sprouts, baked beans and aged mac & cheese which were all fantastic. Would go back for the sides alone.
3.5 Stars

Mexican Night!

Last night we had our friends over for Sunday "family" dinner and I made vegetable enchiladas and a black bean salad. I went to the market and bought all of the freshest ingredients, which I think makes all the difference. Here's how I made them...
corn tortillas
mozzarella cheese
red onion
red & green peppers
tomatillo sauce
sour cream
chicken broth
black beans
Chop and saute your mushrooms and broccoli in olive oil, garlic and salt. Cook for a while until soft. In a separate pan, saute the peppers in olive oil, garlic and salt until soft. Boil 2 cups of chicken stock and add rice, cook for about 20 minutes covered, on low. Grab a 9x12 glass pan (pyrex) and spray it with a cooking spray.
Cut up the red onion and jalapeno, cover with olive oil and salt and roast on 400 for about 12 minutes. Once cooked, set aside half of the onions (you will add these to the peppers). Add 1/2 onions and jalapeno to a food processor along with about 2 cups of the tomatillo green sauce and a 1/4 cup of sour cream, then process.
Stack the corn tortillas layered with a paper towel between each and microwave for about 45 seconds. Heat the oven to 350. Place all of your ingredients in an assembly line to create the enchiladas. Grab a tortilla, fill with rice, beans, peppers, onions, mushrooms and broccoli. Then place each in the pyrex. Once you have all of the shells in place, add the green sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake it for about 15 minutes.
Black Bean Salad:
Can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Can of corn, drained
2 vine tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced green onions (scallions)
1/4 cup diced pineapple
Handful of cilantro (bc i love it)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch ground cumin
Throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and chill.
For dessert we had a pumpkin cream cheese puff pastry, unfortunately this is my secret recipe and I cannot share ;)

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

When I indulge from something at Crumbs Bake Shop, I usually get one of these whoopie pies because they're oh-so-good. The key to these heavenly little pies is to make sure the cookie/cake is moist and fluffy. Then fill 'em up generously with some cream cheese frosting and its like a little cake sandwich -what's better than that!?
If you want to make them at home, here's a recipe

Cheese Ball Goblin

A festive, yet spooky h'orderve for your Halloween get together.
Here's Paula's recipe

Love Them!

I absolutely love these Loeffler Randall boots and must find a way to get them.

Ikat Fabric

Just like clothing, fabrics and furniture can be trendy. One trend that's fun and popular right now are ikat fabrics. When I was home last, my mom and I went to a fabric store and picked out an awesome ikat fabric. She made me two large 24' pillow cases out of it and they now sit on the sofa in our second bedroom.
The ikat print really spiced up the room, adding a great pop of color and texture.

My Next Bedroom

This picture is taken from an East Hampton home decorated by Pheobe Howard (who has an incredible eye). This room looks so light, airy and fresh. I may have to re-do my bedroom after seeing this...sorry Mike! I need those linens!
Check this amazing home out here.

Pretty Preserved Flowers

I love having fresh flowers in the apartment, but I hate how quickly they die. I've turned to really good fakes like this one from gracious home. They're a little expensive, but totally worth it in the long run. Of course go for fresh flowers on occasions, but these are perfect to have around every day.
Recently, I've discovered Save-On-Crafts which has all kinds of things for the home at great prices. These beautiful flowers pictured above are natural flowers, but preserved so they wont wilt or die!

Lovely Little Room

I saw this sitting/dining area and love its freshness. The light, clean colors paired with the floor mirror really open up the room, especially when working with a small space (like an nyc apt!). I love everything about it.

Look out Fashionistas!

It was confirmed this morning that Lanvin will be designing a luscious, budget friendly line for H&M! Thrilling, but I would get in line the second the collection hits stores On November 23rd as the pieces FLY off shelves and will likely sell out within a couple of hours.

William Sonoma Home Sale

If you're in the market for new towels, these look ultra soft, absorbent and warm for the winter - can't beat that at $12.99!
I would hurry though, these will probably disappear fast.

Fave New Jeans

I ordered these from Free People a couple of weeks ago and love them. They're comfortable, stretchy and fit great. They only have black on the FP site now, but you can find them on Zappos.
I ordered them in long bc I'll wear them with high heels (probably the clogs), and I would even go down a size!

Dilly Beans

In an earlier post about brunch at Hundred Acres, I mentioned how delicious their dilly beans were. I had no idea what dilly beans were, so I had to find out. It's actually just a pickled green been and boy are they delicious! Especially in a Bloody Mary. Grab a mason jar and here you go!
You will need:
2 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit your jars
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can use more if you're a spice person)
4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)
4 heads dill
2-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canning salt (don't substitute regular salt, this is chemistry!)
Pack beans lengthwise into boiling hot (sterilized) jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. To each pint, add 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot (non-reactive, like an enamel or glass pot). Bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Wait two weeks before enjoying.
Happy Canning!

Ross's Ultimate Red Sauce

Render bacon (render means cooking the fat off of something) in a pot, then remove bacon from pot and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add chopped green bell pepper to fat/oil.
Use food processor to finely chop an onion, celery and carrot. Add mixture to bacon fat, olive oil, peppers. Season w/ salt, pepper, red chile flakes and oregano. Caramelize the carrot/onion mixture. Move to one side of the pot and add ground beef. let ground beef get really brown/caramelize (nobody wants to eat gray meat). Once caramelized, incorporate with onion/carrot mixture. Deglaze pot with 1/2 bottle of cheap red wine. Add 1 small can of tomato paste to mixture and San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes (chopped and drained to remove excess water). Add tomato sauce. Re-season w/ salt, pepper, red chile flakes and oregano. Simmer for as long as possible.
Ross recommends adding spicy Italian sausage to this recipe too (he loves Italian sausage). For this, you take the fresh links and use scissors to cut into mini meatballs (works so much better than cutting the sausage and casing w/ a knife). Cut at a 45 degree angle zig-zag style. Add to pot when rendering bacon, top with grated Parmesan, throw it over some al dente pasta and you're eating good!

Fall Dinnerware

I'm loving this set and may just have to purchase it. Reminds me of the pillows in my living room.

Bone Chillers!

In the spirit of all things Halloween, these ice cubes would be great for party cocktails. And they're only $9.95!

Sweet & Salty Carmel Chocolate Cupcakes

Salted caramel is one of life's little pleasures - I love the extra element the salt adds to really give it that delicious bite.
Here's how to make them:
Bake cupcakes from a store bought chocolate cake mix
Make chocolate butter cream:
4 sticks of softened butter
6 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and pour over heavy cream. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Repeat until the chocolate is smooth (be careful not to over heat). Refrigerate for 15 minutes until cool.
With your electronic mixer, whip butter and 4 cups of sugar for 3 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Pour in chocolate mixture and 2 more cups of powdered sugar. Whip until smooth. If necessary, add more powdered sugar to create the thickness.
Put the frosting in a pastry bag (or ziploc bag) and cut 1/2 inch opening at the bottom of the bag. Pipe in a swirl on top of the cupcake (be very generous with the frosting).
Caramel Topping:
Caramel Sauce:
1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Making caramel is FAST, so be careful not to burn it. Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on. As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be a dark amber color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Watch out, this becomes foamy. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth, let cool slightly, and drizzle over frosting and add salt flakes.

10 Minute Meal Idea

I love this little steamer and use it all the time for easy weeknight dinners. I'll pick up a fresh vegetable of choice after work such as asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower. Then boil about a cup and a half of salted water in a pot, place my steamer inside and add veggies. Cover and let cook for about 4-5 minutes.
While this cooks, throw your protein (whatever you prefer) in a pan with a little butter, olive oil, salt and pepper and cook it on medium heat.
For your starch, I recommend grabbing a couple sweet corn ears, butter them, salt them, cover them in foil, and place in the oven on 400 degrees for about 10-15 mins.
Within about 10 minutes you'll have quick and healthy meal!