Friday, October 25, 2013

Happenings (4)

This has been a long week--not long bad. Really though, Monday seems like ages ago. I've been crazy busy this week. Sometimes my schedule is almost full except for 2 hours between jobs. I usually can't go home, so I end up wasting time. I did a lot of that this week.  I am seriously looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

Here's a little bit of what I did this week:

Gas for under $3! I did a little dance at the pump.

William and I had breakfast by the fire on Tuesday morning. I am so excited that it's fire season again!

Laurel and I had to gather some leaves that are changing colors for a school project. Most leaves here are still green, so we had to get creative reaching some slightly yellow ones.

This is about as crazy as I get wardrobe-wise. Not only did I mix patters, but I wore socks that came up over my ankle boots. Hashtag risky.

In case you were wondering, you can buy the entire royal wedding at Walgreens for $2.09. What a bargain.

And I found these shoes at Target yesterday. They literally had my name written all over them. Ba-dum-chsh.

I'm off to ECS' homecoming game tonight! I'll also try to eat as many veggies as possible this weekend. Being out all week means that I didn't eat too many leafy greens.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New York Really Is Magical

A couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to accompany William's parents to New York City for the weekend.  It was a celebratory trip, so it was filled with lots of walking and eating--my favourite kind of weekend trip! I flew in on Friday morning, and we left together on Sunday night.

My flight left Memphis at 7 in the morning. Since I’m up at 5am on weekdays, this wasn’t too much of a hassle. Plus, when you’re flying somewhere, who cares about sleep? I was seriously just excited to be going. Here’s a typical selfie taken in the back of a yellow cab from LaGuardia to our hotel in Tribeca. The air was cold and smelled of the city. I LOVED it. I feel so at home in an urban setting. 

After freshening up at the hotel, we went out for the day. Our major stop on Friday was the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. We had smoked salmon with whipped horseradish for an appetizer.  For lunch, I ordered the pan-fried brook trout with lemon and capers, Swiss chard, butternut squash, and a new potato. The fish literally melted in my mouth, making it the best fish I’ve ever had in my life.

We walked around for the rest of the day, and I was able to get my earrings cleaned at Tiffany&Co.  They hadn’t had a proper cleaning since we purchased them in 2011. I was astounded at how good they looked. It was definitely worth the 30 minutes and $16.

On Saturday, we woke up late.  William and I went downstairs to eat brunch at the hotel restaurant. You’ll never guess who sat at the table next to us (actually, if you are friends with me on Facebook, you already know)—Steve Coogan. In case you didn’t read that correctly, STEVE COOGAN. I was a lot starstruck. Anyways, I had a zucchini frittata for that meal. You’re about to see that eggs were the starring role of the weekend. We went out around 11 for the day.  This time we walked around Tribeca and into the Meatpacking District. 

Helloooo New Jersey!! (from You've Got Mail)

This is Pastis, the restaurant we ate at for lunch on Saturday. Talk about an amazing meal!! I had a dish, which I have no idea what it was called, that consisted of poached eggs, polenta, and stewed veggies. Oh my goodness. It was so simple and so delicious. The egg yolks were almost completely raw and just added a creaminess to the whole dish. My mouth is watering thinking about it again. We also had fresh oysters for an appetizer.

Yay for cappuccino art! 

Here's the sunset outside the corner window of our hotel. We stayed at The Greenwich Hotel. Everything there was perfect. They doormen, receptionists, waiters, etc. were so friendly and so willing to help with every need we had. If I ever had the opportunity, I would stay there again in a heartbeat.

William is the best baby ever. He had a cold the whole time we were there, but he never pitched a fit. He was happy to go where ever we went. Aside from spilling a bottle of Pellegrino on me at Pastis, he was a perfect angel the whole time. William also makes a super cute dinner date.

This was Sunday's brunch. I kept the theme going here: poached eggs, kale, polenta, red beans, and broiled cheese. This was another fabulous meal. I actually have a recipe post coming up about this one!!

 We were planning on going to Redeemer Presbyterian for church.  However, we were running late, and realized that we would't be able to make any of the service by the time we put the stroller away and found seats.
Like really, OH MY GOSH. 

And finally, my favourite part of the trip: Eataly. This place is a foodie's paradise. You walk in and you're surrounded by smells of cheese, meat, veggies, olives, wine, rosemary, coffee, chocolate, pastries, and pasta. All at once. It's fantastic. Eataly is divided into sections kind of like a grocery store but with "restaurants" in each department. You can go from restaurant to restaurant eating as much as you possibly can. A good idea would be to go as a big group, order one or two dishes and try a little bit of everything. We ate at the vegetable section, and boy oh boy. I ordered the polenta "pizzas." They were squares of pan-fried polenta with tomato sauce, portobello mushrooms, burrata, and basil that were baked until the cheese was sinfully melted. The three of us shared a warm salad with purple cauliflower, frisee, peppers, fennel, and nuts. I even had a strawberry honey gluten free beer brewed from sorghum. (Before you get all freaked out, it's perfectly legal in NY). That was the best meal I've ever had in my life. After our savoury meal, we went to the roof to explore the rooftop beer selection. Cappuccinos, chocolate, and gelato followed. I came home with an assortment of Italian chocolates and fruit gums. Oh and the chocolate chip banana gelato makes me hurt it was so good. I might one day fly there for the day just to go to Eataly. 

New York, you gave me the best weekend ever. I thank you for all your good food, good weather, tall buildings, and unique culture. 

And a special thanks to the Pace family for including me on their birthday weekend. I had the best time ever. Really.

Links to all the places we visited:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Coronation Egg Salad

I got my curry powder in Rwanda for 1400 RWF -- $2.50. If you don't have a favourite curry already, check out the one I've listed below. 

With just 6 weeks until I leave for Great Britain, I'm feeling especially eager to be heading home. Wait Melanie, I thought you were American? HAH. "American by birth, British in spirit" as Kathleen says. I decided to make one of my favourite lunches ever.

My hours as a nanny and personal assistant are all over the place, so oftentimes, I find myself alone at home during the lunch hour. If you know me, you know that I basically have a stomach the size of my fist. I don't eat a lot at once, but I do like eating. Since whole meals aren't practical for me to make, I've come up with an arsenal of single-serving lunch foods.

A popular British food is called Coronation Chicken. It was a recipe created for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. Almost every family has their own version. Mine might seem a little sacrilege compared to the original recipe, but let's face it, I am in fact an American and mine takes 5 minutes if your eggs are already boiled. If you have a mango or mango chutney around, use that by all means. I typically don't keep mangoes on a regular basis, but another yellow stone fruit (such as a peach) works just fine!
I'll admit, this picture is a little old. It's before I went gluten-free, but it really shows how pretty the salad is!

Coronation Egg Salad
serves 1-2

2 hard-boiled eggs
1 Tb. mayonnaise
2 tsp. curry powder (or 1 1/2 tsp. curried garlic blend)
1/3 c. chopped mango or peach (substitute 2 Tb mango chutney)
salt to taste

No directions needed. Mix it all up. Eat it with lettuce on bread, with a spoon, or on crackers. It's versatile. Pack it in your lunch, but keep it cold. I personally like mine when it's fresh and the eggs a little bit warm still.

Finish the meal with a cuppa and a Tunnock's teacake, will you?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

THE Farm: Part Three

Here it is: day three. Expecting to leave at 9am, we slowly packed our cases and sulked for a bit. Maybe that was just me. We planned to go hiking to Hawksbill Crag, but Mom, Dad, and Willis needed to get home earlier than planned. I did a little bit of politicking with my grandma and eventually I convinced her to take Kathleen and me to hike then head home to Memphis later. (She's awesome, by the way). 

Here are the pictures from the last day (sniff sniff):
Hawksbill Crag is basically in the middle of nowhere. A drive on a cool fall day into the Ozarks will fix any problem you may have.

That's me, inside a tree. 

Obligatory explorer pose!

Another group we happened upon offered to take a photo of us! 

We made it!

And that's me on the point! There's no horsing around here. One misstep, and you fall into the trees and rocks below. No bueno.

Seriously, how awesome is that view?!

A selfie for good measure.


That's my bud, Grandma, and me. I love this.

It was such a fantastic weekend. I definitely needed a few days away, and this was just the ticket. If you ever find yourself wanting a few quiet days, let me know, and I can hook you up with a weekend there. Seriously, we love having friends over. We aren't stingy!

And if you're ever in Little Rock, go eat at Big Orange on University Ave. OH MY GOSH. I had the farmer's burger which had--get ready--bacon, fried egg, beef patty, Havarti, red onion, mayo, tomato, and lettuce ON A GLUTEN FREE BUN. A side of sweet potato fries with mango curry ketchup and a peanut butter fudge milkshake made it one of the best meals ever. You can wipe the drool off your keyboard now. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

THE Farm: Part Two

       The whole point of our trip was to get away for the weekend and rest. I had almost forgotten what that word means. I woke up at 6am (typical vacation thing to do) to the sound of rain tapping on the metal roof and thunder rolling through the sky. After a while, I fell asleep and awoke to the sun shining just three hours later.  
       An easy morning at the farm consists of coffee, conversation, and brunch.  We discovered Promised Land’s Vanilla Cinnamon Milk while we were there. Uh, if you haven’t seen or tried it, you need to stop reading this, hop in the car, and go treat yoself. Actually, scratch that. It’s a little bit expensive and a little bit sweet, so I’m going to work on a homemade version and blog about it at a later date. Now since that is in cyber-space, I definitely have to now.  ANYWAYS, that delicious milk upped our coffee consumption even more. Hello, five cups. 
        Here's the picture proof of day two:
Yay for beautiful after-rain sunshine!

Storms moving east!

Nairn mug, obviously.

Nice breakfast plating, Mom.

And then it was cloudy again.


I realized at noon that I hadn't even removed a toe from the porch. I could get used to that.

So funny story, we were 4-wheeling later and we decided to race up the bluff. Someone said "You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road." SO I came up with a farm version of Loch Lomond. Sing it to the tune. It matches. 
You'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road, and I'll be at Tim's farm before ye.
Where me and my family will never meet again on the bonny bonny bluff of Maysville. 
Talent, I have it.

Kmac and I hiked to the hayfields. Actually, that's a little bit of a lie.  We took the ATVs to the top, and hiked a little when we got there. Heh.

Hello, cold, misty day.

And here's a view of half of the farm. We were up on the bluff.  The farmhouse is on the left side of the creek and across the pasture on that side. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

THE Farm: Part One

This past weekend, we drove up to the family farm in NW Arkansas. It is basically the best place to congregate. We were only there for two nights, but we had so much fun! Here are some pictures of the things we did the day we arrived:

There are two houses on the property. The old farmhouse, which is 98 years old, is the first one you see as your're going down the hill into the valley that the farm is in. It's always such a welcoming sight after the 7-hour journey.

Here's the road connecting the two houses. 

Spavinaw Creek runs right through the property. It is a spring-fed creek that is a constant 62 degrees all year-round. Because it is stocked with trout, it is a popular fishing destination.

We brought along our close friend, Kathleen. We obviously had a good time picking up rocks. 

It was cloudy when we arrived but...

...within a few hours, the sun was shining through the trees. 

And finally, a bouquet of wildflowers.

For updates on the farm go here.