A blogger seeking a richer life... in a wasteland called the suburbs... for my family, myself, and anyone who will listen!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Marie's Feast!

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of feasting on the most delicious 'Middle Eastern' cooking from Marie Pindus, 'chef and storyteller extraordinaire'.  In an intimate setting we read excerpts from Claudia Roden's "Book of Middle Eastern Food", while Marie cooked from recipes in her head, suggesting similar ones from "Feast from the Mideast: 250 Sun-Drenched Dishes from the Lands of the Bible (Cookbooks)... and Oh, what a perfect morning it was... Turkish coffee, Baba Ghannouj, Tabbouleh, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Kibbeh, and Baklavah...  It was a feast for ALL the senses... I wish you could smell the fragrant herbs and spices... allspice, ground cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, mint, rose water, tahini... 


Turkish Coffee with Rose Water


Stuffed Grape Leaves

Kibbeh, a mixture of cracked wheat, onion, and minced lamb


A small excerpt from Claudia Roden's book...  "I know of no other dish whose preparation is enveloped by such a mystique. Some women are known to have a special 'hand' or 'finger' for making kibbeh."

The 'Mediterranean' diet is healthy, fresh, and so delicious, I could eat Tabbouleh everyday!
Thanks so much to Marie Pindus and Rabbi Susie Moskowitz for making this a wonderful experience.
P.S. I'm so excited, thanks to Marie, I discovered that the leaves from the grape vines growing wild in my backyard all these years, can be used to make the 'Stuffed Grape Leaves' come September.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Cutting Your Teeth"

If you haven't shopped 'FULL PRICE' for a long time, you gotta start somewhere, just a few special items to jazz up your wardrobe... may as well start now with some great stuff from Anthropologie... shoes (sorry it's an obsession with me), a sweater, and bracelet (cuffs this season)... I like mixing it up, walking in different shoes so-to-speak, having some modern as well as vintage and classic pieces in my wardrobe makes life more interesting... Don't you think?

A friend of mine used to say that she would dress in something bright and bold when her mood was 'blue', and otherwise, the opposite on her 'sunny' days.  How do you think about the day, when you're getting dressed to go out and face the world?  Does it matter or not?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saucy Stuff!

Lea & Perrins, Stonewall Kitchen, Stubb's, Honeycup

My favorite way to cook just about any meat, chicken, or fish is with a dry rub on the grill... yes, even in winter... the flavor is more intense and it gives that nice crispy outer shell, keeping what's inside moist and juicy.
I do like liquid sauces/marinades too, especially this time of year... so I grabbed just a few of the twenty or so of my favorite from the door of my refrigerator, so I could show you a few quick ideas about what I sometimes cook for my family when it's a busy night of homework and extracurricular activities.  I keep my cooking simple and fresh, especially when it comes to the veggies and salad.

The Lea & Perrins is not 'Worcestershire Sauce', but a 'Chicken Marinade' with wine and herbs.  I buy a good quality chicken, Bell & Evans, or a free range chicken, and brown it first in a little olive oil, then pour off the chicken fat and pour the marinade over the chicken and bake until done, sprinkle with parsley... delicious!
The other night I cooked a 5lb. lean pork roast (at 400 degrees) in my convection oven for about 1 & 1/4 hours, turned the temp down to 375 degrees and coated the roast with the 'Vidalia Onion Fig Sauce' (Mmmmm!), put it back in for about 15 minutes more... delicious!
The Stubb's Original sauce is not sweet, but tangy and the kids dip just about everything in it!
'Honeycup' honey mustard is great on sandwiches, in salad dressing (oil and vinegar), or on a roasted chicken too!

Objects I Love in My Kitchen...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I promised to let you know how my meeting went yesterday with an old friend, well...
"My heart finds its morning and is refreshed" (Gibran),... that's how I feel, after meeting my friend after a gap of 8 years!  It was bittersweet that we missed being there for each other, not knowing each others children the way friends do, but it felt comfortable and my hope and belief is that now we will find time to meet halfway more often.

With Valentine's Day looming only a few weeks away...  I saw this beautiful cuff, earrings and bracelet from Gilt.com... The cuff, in brass and crystal, by 'Diana Broussard, is something different, (LOVE it!) while the earrings and bracelet are classic pieces... the sale ends tomorrow midnight EST. 

It's so hard to find beautiful and MODERN flower arrangements in Suffolk County on Long Island, but as in their name "Insolita" the latin word for unusual,  this flower shop in Huntington might just be the place (dropping a heavy hint) to our husbands or significant others for Valentine's Day.... maybe a (not-so-subtle) post-it by the phone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Holding My Breath

"When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain..." 
by Khalil Gibran

Today I'm meeting an old friend who I haven't seen in about 8 years.  She contacted me via email after the death of a mutual friend and coworker from many years ago, when we lived and worked in San Francisco. We're meeting for lunch about halfway between our homes... A nervous anticipation has plagued me since last night.  Yes I'm excited to see her... though at first I kept rehearsing what I'll say, what to cover, what not to miss, but then I realized that all that doesn't matter so much.  Just seeing her and the feelings we'll have are more important... now I can breathe again.  In fact breathing will help settle my nerves as I drive the I495 to our lunch destination.
Can't wait!... will let you know the details tomorrow.

"... And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. 
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Wanna Be A Rock Star?"

"Wanna Be A Rock Star?"

This past weekend, my 13 and 11 year old kids, both guitar player and drummer, performed in a Van Halen concert (our 4th), at a local pub with their friends from the 'School of Rock'... it was a blast for everyone, not just the proud parents... Some of these kids are mega-talented at such a young age too.

 A real stage, real lights, real sound, ... a performance based school founded in 1998, by Paul Green, with over 50 schools across the country.  Each week your child has a private lesson and a 2-3 hour rehearsal, ending in a weekend of 2 concerts.  Then the 'Best of Season' takes place in Manhattan with a few songs from each of the schools in the Tri-State area performing in one giant concert.
Last January one of the themes was 'Southern Rock'...  on 'YouTube' you can see them perform the song "La Grange"... Enjoy, let me know what you think, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Thinking Spring...

Club Monaco,... very Parisian (with the beret), love the striping and the flirty skirt... but be careful, stripes can be hard to wear!

Love the 'asymmetry', and a crisp white shirt says 'spring'... a great staple in any wardrobe!

One tip about wearing 'White'... Don't forget to wash your spring and summer whites before you put them away for the season, otherwise they'll have yellow stains when you pull them out to wear next year.

Now that Spring is on the horizon, I'm feeling great with the recent loss of 5 pounds, and more that needs to go... so, my friends say, "What diet are you on?", and I say "none", and then there's a pause... "low carbs, low fat, which one?"... NONE of the above.  I'm simply counting the calories (the numbers don't lie) of every morsel I put in my mouth for now, just until I become acutely aware of what and how much I'm eating.  I mentioned last week that I'm using a calorie counting App on my phone, which has been extremely helpful.
There's an article everyone should read who has ever gone on a diet, from MSN, Health & Fitness, called "10 Secrets of the Effortlessly Thin"based on the book, Eating Thin for Life: Food Secrets & Recipes from People Who Have Lost Weight & Kept It Offby Anne Fletcher, M.S., R.D.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Unless your a hardcore shopper, willing to spend hours online, for the next greatest, there's nothing worse than finally seeing some great clothes on a website where almost every item is SOLD OUT!  This happened to me, while shopping for tops to take away on our upcoming family trip to Sedona...  Planet Blue... all about that Southern California lifestyle with a wide mix of designers, yet a site to visit when there's time on your hands.  Love this great metal neckless for layering chains...

With Valentines Day coming up 'keep an eye' on STONE COLD FOX, for handmade pieces with 'vintage glamour'... this top, which was Sold Out, is never-the-less a beautiful example of their work...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shoe Lust #?

Just like sheep, I've lost count how many times in my life I've lusted after a pair of shoes (the same with bags)... too many times... and often it may go unfulfilled for a number of reasons, with price being one of them.  This was not the case the other day when I was waiting for an oil change, and went browsing one of my favorite shoe stores in Commack, NY.  Risking a dangerous intersection, where the flashing sign gives you a second by second countdown to your imminent end... I literally ran to take a look at what was NEW for Spring 2010...

One of my favorite colors!

Eleana Sandal by Vaneli at ShoeBox, $135

Both of these sandals were so stylish and yet comfortable, with different price points, for different budgets.  The Vincent sandal has a 3-1/4" heel height which is about the highest I can go these days and still have a smile on my face.  The Vaneli had a smaller heel, but still had that sexy 'gladiator look'.
In the end I wanted one in every color!

This would look great with the black and white Sandals!
Sale ends today at 9am today...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Countdown To Camp!

For those of you who send your kids to Sleepaway Camp you know what I mean when I say, the clock is ticking, and the countdown has begun as soon as the calendar year changes and snow is still on the ground.  Time collapses... and the race against time begins... clothes, trunks, bedding, towels, sleeping bags... the list seems endless, even for those returning campers.

At Denny's childrenswear in Commack, NY, a camp outfitter...  starting now through February 15th, when you make your camp appointment for March, they're offering an additional 10% off when you spend $350. They also sew in name tag labels at no additional charge after you purchase the labels.

 If you're a first time camper, that's an easy number to reach, and if you're a returning camper and your child grew a lot, well then too.  Lucky me, although my boys are two years apart they wear the same size, so I can shop for both of them and just use the last name on the name tags. If you have girls you will probably want to bring them to the appointment, or if your boys are picky dressers.  Just for size, I brought home two pairs of shorts the other day for them to try on, so I won't have to bring them into the store.  They usually like my choices... fingers crossed! Just in case, I'll bring the clothes home before they put the name tags in them.
When it comes to towels, the best prices I've found are at Target.  Keep checking, I've gotten really nice large bath towels anywhere from $3 to $5 each.  One year my kids towels at home were looking drab, so I sent those to camp and bought new towels for home...
Go early, and Happy Shopping!
Many stores are taking donations for Haiti, so be generous...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dressed To Reflect

I do my 'Power Walk' in the morning before craziness sets in to my day, but my husband does his workout at night to relax after work.  Of course he'll go out in a blizzard too, the more extreme the conditions the bigger the challenge.  A few years ago some of the neighbors told me they almost drove into him at night, so we've purchased a number of reflective shirts, jackets and pants... and since then the neighborhood kids love watching the 'invisible monster' as they affectionately call him, with 'glowing' lines frantically moving to the rythym of his racing stride. Yishane Lee, NY Times writer, says that "even daytime runners can use the help of a jacket made with reflective fabric... They tested five jackets and here are a few they liked...

These gloves are a real find... They have 'Tec Touch' pods, on the fingers so you can use your touch screen device..."staying comfortable, connected, and warm!  So many times I've been frustrated while wearing my fashion leather gloves, unable to use my touch screen phone...  These '180s' are GREAT for winter, whether you workout or not !

Not as inexpensive as a 'free app', but a lot more accurate, these strap-on devices measure motion, body heat and sweat converted into calories burned.  This is a great gift for the 'workout junkie'.

Last but not least, here's one for the Pooch!

Stay Safe and have a great weekeend!