A winter minestrone.

On Sunday afternoon I had a hankering for a good winter soup - something with lots of fiber, a little kick and a few vegetables I've never used before. I dug this recipe up on Pinterest (where else?) and added some whole wheat pasta, because I think we can all agree that soup is always better with pasta. So here we are on a week-long soup kick, because I made far too much of this stuff.

Note: I overcooked the pasta. Don't do that.

1 c. cannellini beans (I used garbanzo beans)
1 yellow onion
4 carrots
4 garlic cloves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 small butternut squash
1 fennel bulb (I used anise)
2 c. spinach
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
parmesan cheese (lots and lots!)
2 c. whole grain pasta (if you love fiber and you know it, clap your hands)

Directions can be found here.


Reasons to fall in love with winter in New York.

Yesterday afternoon we headed up to Central Park as the snow was beginning to fall. It would have been ideal sledding weather, if we had been in possession of a sled. We wandered through the Ramble and ended up at the Central Park Boathouse, where we decided to warm up over brunch.

I think it's one of those afternoons I'll remember all my life - the stillness beneath snow-flocked boughs, the pure whiteness from the frozen pond all the way to the Bethesda Fountain. A nearly impossible perfection, heartbreaking in its transience.


We're wild and crazy sometimes.

Last night we opted to stay in - the weather being what it's been (terrible. it's been terrible.) and conversations being what they've been (non-existent. they haven't even existed this week.), we were due for a night of bulldog belly rubs and long talks over wine and Chipotle (we are theee classiest).

In other news: parentheses are my favorite form of punctuation.

Around 9pm we had a mutual craving - a common symptom of being together for nearly 10 years. We ordered in ice cream from a place down the street, because we definitely weren't going out into the freezing cold to pick that stuff up. I mean, it was about 15 degrees out. The logic checks out, right? Right.

And then I fell asleep on our couch before midnight with Runaway Bride playing in the background. So that was our Friday night.
p.s. Gus loves ice cream. 


Mozzarella: it's what's for dinner tonight and tomorrow and Friday.

^^that is the face of a true cheese artist. such concentration!^^
On Sunday night, we headed down to Brick NYC for a mozzarella cheesemaking (I've seen multiple spellings, okay? I'm going to say it's one word.) class that we bought through Groupon earlier this month. It was really quite easy - throw some curd in hot, salty water and mash that baby up until it starts to look like mozzarella. My kind of DIY. 

We left with a bunch of cheese, and whenever I've opened the fridge over the last few days, Gus manages to stick his whole face inside ("show me where you're hiding it, I beg of you"). We were told to keep the cheese in that salty water overnight to soften; I'm pretty sure it's no longer a solid, because I'm just now remembering that it's still marinading... woops.

In any case, we had a great time. If I'm ever stranded on a deserted island with just my husband and a block of mozzarella (transporters of cheese over the Atlantic, obviously), we'll be entertained for dayyys. Weeks, even, depending on our access to cold water for a makeshift refrigerator.


Chelsea Market, and other weekend things.

Lately, the weather around here has been a bit dreary - lots of maybe-it-will-rain clouds and heaven-help-us-the-world-is-freezing-over cold. But that didn't hold us back from a truly stellar weekend. No, sir. We are dedicated to the weekend cause, especially when we've cut back from 126,243 tissues a day to 5 or 6. A light at the end of this very viscous tunnel (gross, but how often can you say "viscous"? Not that often!) 

For our Saturday adventure, we took a long walk down to Chelsea Market to scout out imported Italian goods, grab some lunch and do some grocery shopping. The Meatpacking District is one of my favorites in the city; so much history and so many cobblestones. The sound of footsteps on cobblestones is probably one of my top ten sounds. Not that I'm keeping a list or anything... 

Other weekend things: 
*we had a beautiful Sunday brunch with friends on the Upper West Side. 
*Gus made a trip to the dog park, where he played with a bulldog friend. I'm not sure I can adequately describe how happy it makes us to see him play with other bulldogs. like bowling balls with legs. 
*we took a cheesemaking class on Sunday night, so we now have over a pound of mozzarella in our fridge. I'm fairly certain that cheesemaking is a necessary life skill. 
*is it just me, or were there a million sports games on TV this weekend? I've reached my quota. 
*speaking of, we also watched this movie and listened to this TED Talk on how great leaders inspire action (some awesome MLK thoughts in there). 
*Gus continues to be fascinated by yoga, and really enjoys a nice yoga mat nap. 
*I went for a long walk through Central Park while catching up with a friend. those things do wonders for a clear head. 
*bathing suit shopping in January. honestly, you'd think I'd know better. but my overall paleness did not prevent me from scoring a six dollar bathing suit. a whole six dollars. 
*this place was a delightful afternoon hangout spot, and their butternut squash soup had cream cheese in it. I'm not even sure this was intentional, but it was delicious. 
*tonight we're headed to The Colbert Report after snagging tickets on a whim. This guy is making a guest appearance, so our expectations are pretty high. 

Hope you had a relaxing weekend, wherever you are! 


Morning light.

My big goal for today was to leave the apartment for more than 10 minutes. It was a lofty one, considering the last few days of illness-induced reclusiveness. But enough is enough, and the time had come.

To prepare for the day's adventure, we heated up some bagels and coffee while taking in our apartment's morning light. The light that always reminds me where I haven't dusted in a while, but brings with it an unsurpassed calm. A fair trade, I'd say.


Sick day, and a new look.

Remember when you were a kid and sick days weren't so bad because they meant you could stay home from school, eat macaroni and cheese and watch Dawson's Creek all afternoon? Well, kids: be forewarned. Adult sick days are not like this. You will wake up to find your dog's poo on the floor because he could not tolerate the change in your sleeping schedule. You will have many, many work deadlines. You will eat lots of carbs and then curse the day carbs came into being. Worst of all, when you're an adult, Dawson's Creek will start to seem really stupid and you'll realize that James Van Der Beek's haircut looked distinctly butt-like.

This is the kind of day I'm having.

But hey! We have a new look around here, courtesy of the fabulous This Girl Loves. Bright side!


You can skip this, if you want.

Stream of consciousness on a Tuesday evening:
*when I got to work this morning, I had an email from Blake about his walk with Gus last night. the message was as follows: Before I forget this, I wanted to get it down somewhere: I was walking Gus tonight and we come upon a French couple. They are making out ... HARDDD. Gus doesn't like this. He won't stop staring at them and starts growling and barking. As we walk by them, he won't go too far so he can look back and growl. When I finally get him inside he stands in the doorway looking out the window and growling. Stops at the top of each staircase to look behind us. Then stares down the door when we make it back in the apartment. He really doesn't like French people (we didn't teach him this, I swear) and/or making out.
*when did "how are you?" stop warranting a response? honestly, it's terribly confusing to me. not that I want a full play-by-play of everything you ate/saw/did today (let's not go crazy), but I'm genuinely interested when I ask. conversation: the fine art.
*Blake rubs my head every single night as I fall asleep. every. single. night. have I talked about this before? gross oversight on my part, if not. he really is so selfless in this way. sometimes I return the favor (this is just not my love language. but it might be his, sooo...) and I like to document it (above) for posterity.
*I have two plants on my desk: one IKEA plant that I purchased almost a year ago, and a tiny cactus. both are hanging on for dear life. every morning I look at them and think, "I should water those babies." then I get distracted. note to self: you are not allowed to buy any more live plants.
*do you know how fantastic cheese sticks are? so fantastic. I'm very into them these days.


And here we are in the park.

Compared to the freezing temperatures last week, the nearly 50 degree weather today seemed downright balmy. After church (guys, Blake and I had 18 four-year-olds in children's church today. 18!), we walked home through Central Park, admiring the frozen ponds and marveling in the fact that we were outside without hats. I'll admit it - CP looks a little depressing this time of year, stripped of its color and all. Part of the reason why I wore my red pants (...not really). Guess who's not getting run over by pedicabs? This girl!


Guys, this week was long.

Between the noise from the frat house next door (not really, but kind of. college boys who party until 5am on weeknights: please grow up.), lots of work deadlines and multiple falls down the stairs, this week was a bit of an ugly one. An ugly mess of a cold week. If you're also struggling to get through the madness/coldness that is January, here are some things that may brighten your day:
^^this candle. i'm not even sure what it smells like (what is marshmallow fireside?), but it's delightful. it's also adorably small.^^
 ^^i mean, this is obvious. do i even need this here?^^
 ^^this, because hello! hibiscus.^^
 ^^this shower gel. instant tropical paradise.^^
 ^^this, which came in my stocking and makes your skin crazy soft.^^
^^and if all else fails, magnolia's banana pudding, which is the best in all the land.^^


These kids.

Thirty years ago today, my parents were married. I snagged these fantastic photos when we were back in Connecticut last month, and I thought now would be the opportune time to share the wonder of my mother's leg warmers and my father's mustache, circa 1984. And then a photo of the two of them with an adorable small child (whoooo could that precious child be??) for good measure. 

In all seriousness, I'm so proud of how much they've given to their marriage over the years. They've set a beautiful example of self-sacrifice, dedication and joy in following a shared faith and goal. Congratulations, parents of mine. You deserve a Gatsby-sized celebration in your honor. 


A weekend for knee socks and tea.

Given the foul weather this weekend, we took to spending time inside under blankets. We only ventured out for the gym, groceries, church and a quick trip to The Plaza for Lady M's Mille Crepes (honestly, you must go). This time of the year can be rather stale here in the city, with dirty snow piled up on street corners and a few sad Christmas lights remaining on fire escapes. But there's a beauty in what remains. A beauty in obstinance and beginning anew. 

Our time indoors was occupied with books (I'm loving this), documentaries (this was fascinating) and brunch for two (or three. blake dropped his eggs on the floor this morning, to gusington's benefit).

When all is said and done, I will think romantically on this time in our little apartment off of Ninth Avenue - the smells of homemade tomato sauce on the stove, a snoring bulldog, knees tucked on a rear window perch with an achingly beautiful view. This is a place where my soul lives outside of my body, raw and openhanded, eating up Manhattan with a spoon.
 ^^downstairs at The Plaza.^^