Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NaBloPoMo's A-Comin'

So I had it in my head that National Blog Posting Month was always November. I think the NaBloPoMo people are trying to out blog the Blog 365 people, though, by making NaBloPoMo a yearly challenge in bite-sized pieces. Basically, it appears as though every month is now a national blog posting month. Why post every day for a month once when you can do it 12 times in a row?

Since 2009 is The Year I Sucked As A Blogger, obviously I haven't been posting every day. The big question, though, is can I do it every day in November? I want to, and I want to peer pressure you into doing it, too. Most of us did it in 2007, and it was so much fun! It'll be easier to achieve if we're all in it together.

Who's ready to commit?

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Apple Goodness

As of this morning, I still had a dozen apples left over from our afore-mentioned trip to Stuart's Farm, and I knew I couldn't eat them all before they went bad. So, instead of letting them go to waste, I made apple sauce for the first time. It was so easy, and it tastes delicious!

I peeled and thinly sliced 8 apples and threw them into the slow cooker with a half cup of water. After about six and a half hours of cooking on low, they were nothing but mush, just the way apple sauce should be. At that point I added 3/4 of a cup of brown sugar and a sprinkling each of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I let it cook for another half hour on low, and shazam! Spiced apple sauce!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mom's Dutch Apple Pie

Right before Laura posted that apple pies would be October's Have the Cake challenge, Todd and I had planned an apple-picking outing. We were headed to Stuart's Farm, a family fruit farm an hour or so outside of NYC with Dylan and Sofia, as well as Dylan's friend and his friend's dad and sister.

The farm has nine varieties of apples, three or four of which can be seen in this picture. I mixed and matched them for my pie, trying for a nice combo of sweetness and tartness.

I 've been eating and loving my mom's dutch apple pie my whole life, and despite getting into baking the last few years, I had never tried to make it on my own. This seemed like the perfect time! My mom sent me the recipe for the filling and the crust that both she and my Nana used whenever they were making one from scratch. I like the family history aspect of being at least the third generation to use a recipe. :)

Mom's found over the years that the pie gets too soggy if you don't let the apples sit in their sugary goodness for a while before loading into the crust. After sitting for a while, just enough of the apple juice comes out to save you from a soggy bottom. So I started there. Here's the first of my slied apples in the sugar mix.

I moved on to the crust next. I struggled a little bit rolling it out, as it crumbled a little around the edges. Mom warned me that the trick with this crust was to put all the ingredients in the freezer before using them. Apparently making them ice-cold saves the crumbling. I did that with everything but the milk. Our freezer was just too full for me to find a way to get it all in there. I think if I'd really followed Mom's directions, instead of just 3/4 of them, it would have been even easier. I had to work a little harder my way, but in the end the crust was rolled out well enough and tasted good to boot, so I'll take it.

So here is the final product, complete with hand-picked apples, homemade crust, and yummy sugary/buttery crumbles on top. We ate it that night with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream. Both Todd and Dylan went for seconds, so it's safe to say that it was a hit!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lovely Weekend

I'm just coming off a really nice weekend, and I wish I had one more day before the week started up again. Friday night after work I met Todd and Dylan for dinner around Union Square. We ate fully healthy vegetarian fare, and then counteracted every bite with a trip to Veneiro's. So good! If we lived closer, I'd have cannolis everyday.

Treats in tow, we made our way to the movies to watch Nine. I hadn't expected the movie to be as dark as it was. Afterward, Todd and I talked about the ending and how we both thought it was heading someplace different — and better. It had the feeling of an ending-by-committee. I think our ideas would have made for a more original movie that left viewers with much more to think about after the credits rolled. Also, did you ever have a writing teacher tell you that if your story includes a shotgun mounted on the wall, the gun has to go off at some point in the story? The idea, of course, is that if you give a detail like that, it should be there for a reason. Well, Nine had a shotgun on the wall and it never went off. Again, I think the detail had a purpose in an earlier version and got workshopped out to make people happy. I liked the movie, but I think anyone interested is just as well served waiting for the DVD.

Saturday the three of us went to a newly found brunch place in Harlem. It was really good and has a nice vibe. It's the kind of place where you could bring a book or laptop and settle in for a few hours, I think. Dylan went off to a friend's birthday shortly after brunch, and I requested that Todd and I spend the afternoon with a bottle of wine and a viewing of the latest Project Runway. He indulged me, and it was just what I needed. I've been feeling pretty stressed out lately, and the laziness and relaxation of our afternoon was perfect. We tried to go shoe shopping after PR, but we got sidelined by the new Whole Foods in our neighborhood and did grocery shopping instead. The evening ended with sushi in bed while we watched District 9. It was good, but very different and less political than I expected.

And yesterday started out with hours of homework (boo) followed by brunch downtown with Ben and Lorraina. Apologies in advance to Ben if you read this: I sometimes get a little negative about all the time I have to devote to school and the way it limits the fun things I can do. I know that going to school is an enormous opportunity, but it's still hard not to feel disappointed about all the social things I miss. Ben got his MBA a year ago and now has a job that would make me want to jump out a window. I can't believe the hours he works, the travel he has to do, and the way his employers expect him to be available at their whim. On the subway I had a moment of schedenfreude and said to Todd, "If anything can make me feel better about my situation, it's brunch with Ben!" Brunch was wonderful, and not because someone else's schedule sucks harder than mine. Instead, it was just a treat to catch up with friends I don't see often enough.

Todd and I did shoe shopping along 8th Street after we ate, and I came home with two new pairs of boots. Hooray! Poor Todd got no shoes and instead luggeed my boxes. He's the sweetest.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reverend Billy for Mayor

I know Mike Bloomberg is probably going to be New York's mayor again. But I still voted for Billy Talen in the primaries (my first time writing in a vote), and I'm going to vote for him again in November. The L Magazine does a good job of capturing why:

An Endorsement of Reverend Billy for Mayor of NYC

It is unlikely that any of the candidates running against Michael Bloomberg will prevent the billionaire incumbent from winning a third term as Mayor of New York City. Bloomberg is rich, inoffensive and radiates an uncontroversial managerial competence that is, if not compelling, at least comforting to a city less interested in policy details than its own financial future. This is benevolent despotism at its finest. But this is an endorsement, not an indictment.

Green Party candidate Bill Talen, aka the Reverend Billy, has long focused on the principles we hold dear at The L Magazine:
  • The importance of public space in the face of an increasingly corporatized approach to urbanism that favors the developer over the individual.
  • The need for strong local economies generated from within (rather than imposed on) the city’s neighborhoods.
  • Community policing that reconstitutes law enforcement as self-determination rather than occupation.
  • Serious investment in public transit, with a focus on sustainable, human-scale infrastructure.
  • A heightened eco-consciousness that moves beyond conventional green solutions and radically reconsiders the city’s relationship to the broader world.
  • Above all, the idea that we are citizens, not demographic statistics or “clients” to be sold to, marketed to, dismissed, or marginalized. The city is not a corporation, democracy is not a product, and we are not mere consumers.
These principles may be derided as fuzzy or unrealistic, but we are tired of being told to stop imagining a better future, tired of self-interest and greed masquerading as political “realism.” It is from the world’s great cities that change will come, and New York City should be leading the way. Principles like these are no longer on the political fringe, and have been realized in municipal policy from Winnipeg to Berlin to London—that management has become such a celebrated virtue in New York speaks to an electorate conditioned by crisis, existing in a state of low-grade anxiety, craving reassurance rather than innovation.

A vote for Reverend Billy might be a protest vote, but that’s the point here, to protest. A vote for Billy is to protest Bloomberg’s arrogance in seeking a third term; a vote for Billy is to protest the pusillanimous state and city Democrats more concerned with hanging onto power than advocating on behalf of their constituents; a vote for Billy is to protest a New York slowly losing the very thing that has always made it a truly great city, its neighborhoods.

Reverend Billy winning the election would be a miracle. We recognize that his campaign is symbolic, that massive amounts of money are required to seriously compete for higher office in America, but we celebrate the intensity, dedication and courage of those who, along with Reverend Billy himself, have fought to bring the aforementioned issues into the broader discussion. The Billy campaign has served as a focal point for disparate constituencies across the city, bringing New Yorkers together to fight for social justice at the local level, neighborhood by neighborhood.

But this fight does not end on Election Day.

Going forward, we must look to the Billy campaign as a blueprint, an example of how it is still possible to organize for change, even if it just begins on your own block. Imagining a better world is one thing, but realizing it is another—and that is why we endorse the Reverend Billy for Mayor of New York City, because he’s shown us how that world might still yet happen.

—The L Magazine

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Keep Your Pants On

On Thursday I will spend the evening moderating a focus group for my market research class and going to another class that will remain nameless since it's my least favorite ever and I don't want to talk about it.

What will Todd do? He and his new BFF, also named Todd and the fiance of my friend from school (who, by the way will be with me in school all night), are going to a Keith Urban concert. Todd (Kirsten's, not mine) is in the music biz and not only got tickets but also set up a meet and greet.

Todd's big announcement today? If Nicole Kidman, aka Keith Urban's wife, hits on him, he's going for it. I had to break the news to him. Nicole Kidman didn't make his list! Thank god I blogged about our celebrity crushes for just this occasion. When the Todds go to a David Bowie or Seal concert I'll have something to worry about.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Art In My Office

I have a lovely new office to go with my new role at work. Right across from my desk is a wall that is crying out for a big photo, painting, or other work of art. What should I put there? Whose work would you want to look at day after day?