Friday, March 8, 2013

biscuits and gravy

I don't have biscuit cutters but I do have heart cookie cutters!

Smitten Kitchen just posted a recipe for buttermilk biscuits. This started getting me thinking about biscuits and gravy. Funny story about biscuits and gravy. Despite the fact that I grew up in Texas, the first time I ever saw this dish was freshman year of college when my beloved roommate, Gabrielle, sat down at our table with it. 

"What the hell is that?"

"Biscuits and gravy!"

"That looks gross!"

"It's delicious!"

Needless to say, I tried it...and was hooked. Every day for breakfast I'd sidle into the Kinsolving dining hall 5 mins before breakfast ended and get a plate of biscuits and gravy. 

While searching the web for country gravy recipes I came across this gem:

If this were a blind date, the recipe would be described as being “really fun with an amazing personality.”

I'll say it once: if I were a recipe, I would want to be biscuits and country gravy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

In New York State

I know this blog is called Sandy in NYC. But sometimes I do things outside of NYC. I've been debating (since this morning) on whether I should keep it NYC focused only or incorporate the other parts of my life that happen outside of Manhattan.

Sidebar: I live in Astoria, which clearly is not Manhattan. In fact it is Queens. However, I do pay NYC city taxes and am a NYC resident so this blog name does count!

I realize that I'm updating this blog at about an average of 2 times a month. At this point in my life, sustainability, in terms of it's actual meaning, is most important to me at the moment. If I can maintain over a period of time, that's better than going crazy with one blog post everyday for 2 weeks and nothing for the rest of year.

Now onto the main part of this post!

Over President's Day weekend, I took a trip upstate to the Catskills. I've never been but I love excursions to nature. The Catskills is the perfect, long weekend getaway, it's just far enough to feel removed but it's not 5 hours in the car. I stayed at lodging via VRBO near the cute town of Phoenicia (which I kept reading as Phonetica).

View from the kitchen dining window
The place I stayed at had sugar bushes aka maple trees! But before you get too excited about tapping your own sap for breakfast, please note: maple sap is not the same as maple syrup. I might have been a little naive about this as well... But I did get to enjoy glasses of maple sap which tastes a bit like sugar water and is apparently very good for you. The property owner was wonderful enough to explain the sap/syrup collection and purification process to me and provided a sample of fresh syrup which was perfect for breakfast.
Meditation Hall- Zen Mountain Monastary
I visited the Zen Mountain Monastary and participated in Sunday morning service. It was extremely refreshing and interesting. Part of it included seated meditation or Zazen for 35 minutes. It is a very inclusive, interactive refresher course for anyone curious about exapanding his knowledge on spiritual cultures. I highly recommend it. I'm not sure if I would be able to meditate as determinedly (ironic, I know) if I had not bin a room full of monks but I do have a better understanding of meditation and believe that the right practice can be very beneficial to physical and mental health.

Making use of materials on hand to roll out a pot-pie crust.
Don't worry, I haven't gone all hippie granola on ya'll.

Other activities included antiquing and hiking. It was COLD but very invigorating to take a walk through nature. Honestly, I love hiking in the winter. It might be cold at first but there are no bugs, you don't really sweat and the snow-lined paths are something I still find a novelty because I didn't have such scenes growing up in Texas.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Patience 2013

Last year I decided to stop with New Year's Resolutions and to start setting themes. One theme--something to draw all my actions back to. It can be infinitely applied to everything that happens to me and serves as a guide to choices.  Experiences was the theme of 2012--and did I experience!

An extremely brief recap of all the things experienced last year that I can think of if I take 30 seconds:

  • Europe for the first time with my roommates + Nhu
  • Turkish Baths
  • Sailing in Santorini
  • Attending an NFL football game
  • Designing and building furniture on my own
  • Having some of my best friends move to the city
  • Learning how to ski correctly
  • Hiking with 30lbs on my back
  • Sleeping outside in sub-20 degree weather
  • Surprising my mom for her 50th birthday
  • Showing my dad around NYC for the first time since I moved her and his first time back in 25+ years
  • Seeing glaciers in Montana
  • Biking around NYC as a main form of commute

After morning practice at the Yoga Agora studio

For 2013 the theme is Patience.

In alignment with that, I have started upping my yoga practices to 2 a week. I love yoga. It's like one big stretching session for me. But sometimes when I think about the fact that class is 1-1.5 hours, I start thinking about all the 'other' things I could be doing instead. So I eventually end up not attending.

When I do end up in class, the 'mindlessness' I experience as I focus on my breathing and asana is so liberating. I'm not thinking about what I'm going to eat, make or do (okay, it does take like 15 mins into practice before my mind is cleared). Living in NYC inherently puts minds into overdrive as the sense are constantly stimulated by the sheer amount of things just happening...all the time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reading Time

One of the best things I love about public transit in NYC is that it give me time to read. When I was biking to work regularly, I enjoyed the fresh air and exercise but man, I missed being able to read. I'm not sure if it's because it's cold outside or that my bike tube needs to be replaced (again) or that I just want to read but I've started taking the subway regularly again. This means committing to an unlimited monthly pass.

 I decided to pull out my Kindle the other day (after 9 months of non-use) since I've successfully read all the interesting books on the shelves of the apt. I much prefer the feel of actual books to the Kindle though. And it looks like I'm not the only one who enjoys reading on the subway.

I'm currently reading Auschwitz lent by Shelby. I've only made it through the introduction thus far but it promises to be an interesting read.  

Outside of the subway, the only other time I read is right before bed. I  read that looking at an electronic screen before bed is not conducive to a restful night's sleep. So I capitalize on the free publications from work and read magazines before going to bed. Mostly epicurean titles. Don't ask me why I decide to read about food at a time where I am usually hungry but have already brushed my teeth. That's a whole 'nother issue. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Return 2.0

I decided to revive my blog. It's been 34328 months since my last post and so many things have happened. But let's just jump into the now. Five things I've found out about myself:
  • I should have been a scientist.  
  • When I read a really good article, I print it out and keep it in a file at my desk.
  • New York is my home now. 
  • I have been practical since I was a child rallying my brothers to play 'Runaway' and 'Orphan' just so I could pretend I had to live off of limited provisions. 
  • I will only drink orange juice if it's fresh squeezed. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Surprisingly Sunny Rainy Day

Despite the dismal weather, my own gloomy feelings (because the constant grey skies makes me feel like a sloth) and the dreadful rainy/thunderstorm forecast for the next 4 days (it is currently day 4 of rainy weather) today was a nice surprise.

Let's get started.

This morning at 8pm I didn't have cash for my bi-weekly purchase of 2 apples but a kind sir who was in line in front of me was like "Just apples?" and put down the cash. It all happened so fast in the instant of me saying that he didn't have to and simultaneously scrambling in my mind to remember where exactly did I put my cash I think I forgot to say thank you. Which Lauren, who was standing right there, 'kindly' pointed out to me as we walked away... By the time I came to my senses the guy had walked away but thank you to you for helping out someone who believes in an apple a day. 

Had an amazing opportunity to lunch in the Everyday with Rachael Ray test kitchen today. Every seat has a plastic bottle with a message in it. Guess what mine said "Congrats, you won!" WOOT WOOT. I know, ya'll are dying to hear what I won....a giftcard to Eataly! Perfect because I've been meaning to go there. Now I just have to decide if I want to go alone or with someone. I wanted to use it to take a class but Lauren was like "Are you sure you want to do that...ALONE?" Hmm.... I also got a fantastic lunchbox shaped like an artichoke, hahaha. I switch it out with my current one. But now Jackie has called dibs on my old one. Wow.

Buy yours here! They also have tomato and eggplant versions but I thought the artichoke had the most character.
I got to take a floral arrangement course. It was strangely relaxing and now I have a beautiful bouquet that decorates my desk area. And I realized I love love peonies, even if I don't know how to pronounce the name properly. hahahaha
I got skillz, no? You can see my co-worker's arrangement in the background.
I can't remember the name of this pink started with an R...

Lesson learned: no matter how crappy the weather can be, you can still have a nice day!

P.S. I apologize for my craptastic iPhone 3G pics. I actually bought a real camera but I find I look really Asian taking pics of everything with flash. At least this post had pics.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things I'm Good At

As promised, and to juxtapose my last post, here is a list of things I ace:
  • Shopping online
    • It's really sad when you have your credit card numbers memorized
  • Memorizing the most random facts
  • Being bossy
  • Not being patient
    • Aha, you caught me, this should go on the other list
  • Yoga
  • Talking
  • Asking questions
  • Baking
    • Okay, I don't know if I'm actually good at this but I can bake and I like to do it! Though I've kinda stopped
  • Reading recipes
  • Media planning
  • Keeping a beat
  • Driving
    • ahahahahahah, I know, I'm female...and an Asian
  • Telling you like it is
  • Confrontation
  • Problem solving
  • Picking the cutest yellow things
  • Sleeping
  • Eating
In other news, Jackie and I both used our hairdryers at the same time tonight. And we created a power short in our end of the apt. This wouldn't be a big deal except I can't find the power switch board which could be in the basement which I can't get to because our land lady is gone...thanks for coming back form China Jackie...