The Changing of the...NAME

A few weeks ago, I called some credit card companies and was very successful with changing my name. Today I decided I would go to the DMV and try to change my address AND my name. Evidently, I picked the one day that the system went down. Therefore, the people working there seemed to be unable to think. It took approximately two hours, three or four people, and endless patience. is finished!

I was also lucky enough to be able to go the photographer and get our video from the wedding. We had lots of fun watching it tonight. One of my favorite parts is hearing our friend Katie sing the hymns we picked. I have absolutely no recollection of what anything sounded like that day. It was wonderful to hear her beautiful voice sing our favorite hymns.

The photographer was able to give us the information for the online proofs. My mother and I got to visit for awhile and watch most of the slideshow. If you would like to see the pictures, feel free to send me an e-mail and I'll send you the info.

Tonight, Dave and I are relaxing with our favorite pizza from El Molino. We decided to break into our bottle of the Little Penguin wine. I love penguins so I have always wanted to try this particular Australian wine. Our favorite Long Island Thai restaurant carries as does our favorite liquor store in Astoria! Lucky us!


Dinner Tonight: Ratatouille

I decided I would make one last trip to the Green Market before the school year starts. It was a beautiful day and the market wasn't very crowded so, I could do a bit of shopping. Of course, I got another large bag of apples (can't resist a good deal). I also got an eggplant, a pepper, an onion, an a demi baguette.
All of the things you need for Ratatouille! (Except a little animated rat to help me cook it.)
I've been wanting to take a stab at this recipe since I saw eggplant on sale last Fall. (Unfortunately, I stabbed my finger while chopping the eggplant.) While I love eggplant parmesan and eggplant rollatini, I needed something a little more healthy. Finally, I happen to have all of the ingredients for a less than traditional ratatouille!
The Cooked Eggplant
Layering the veggies

The uncooked Ratatouille

I went through several different recipe options. I know that this is not your typical recipe but, I LOVE cheese! So, it was appealing to me. I can't wait for the hubby to get home to enjoy our yummy dinner.
Ratatouille (adapted from

The original recipe calls for three cloves of garlic. I didn't have fresh garlic so I used three tablespoons of chopped garlic. I love the flavor, so extra garlic never hurts! (Since the hubby and I are both eating it, I guess it doesn't really matter.)

Also, I omitted the mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. I used the diced tomatoes that we had in the pantry and reserved the liquid. No substitute for the mushrooms. Maybe next time!

There was so much food that it didn't fit into the prescribed casserole dish. So, I made another dish that I can freeze. We will be able to have it in the winter, when I'm too tired to cook!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat bottom and sides of a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic until lightly browned. Mix in parsley and eggplant. Saute until eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Spread eggplant mixture evenly across bottom of prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Spread zucchini in an even layer over top. Lightly salt and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Continue layering in this fashion, with onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes, covering each layer with a sprinkling of salt and cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Lazy Sunday

We spent today lounging around the apartment watching the beginning of season two of Mad Men and various other movies. It was wonderful to spend time together in our home. This was the first weekend since the wedding that we didn't have any planned events that we had to attend.
It was a good time to catch up on our wedding thank you notes. I ordered them from Kodak Gallery a few weeks ago and they finally arrived. We did about half of them today. I tried to get the hubby to do all of his family so that way I can do my family during the week and get them sent out.

All of the movies we watched today had a character that travels somewhere. I love seeing pretty, foreign places. One of the cheezier movies we watched today was Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. One of the reasons why I love the movie is because one of the main characters travels to Greece. The scenery is beautiful. I hope to get there one day. I'm a sucker for coastlines.

A Cup of Jo referenced another blog about blueberries and lobster in Maine. Since we spent part of our honeymoon in Portland and Bar Harbor, I can't help but smile at the beautiful pictures on this post.

I've been subconsciously living a Maine life recently. I've been making blueberry tea and made blueberry bars a couple of days ago. The hubby had Bar Harbor Blueberry Soda when we were at dinner with our friends. We enjoyed Maine lobster last night. Maybe this is a sign we should go back soon... Here are some of my favorite Maine pictures.

A Summery Celebration

Tonight, we went to my parents house on Long Island.

Yes, we battled the ridiculous Saturday Eastbound LIE traffic.

Yes, it took over an hour to get there.

Yes, it was worth it!

We had an evening filled with seafood, family, citronella candles, and figs! (I didn't actually eat any but, took some off of our fig tree in the yard.)

We got the fig tree from a neighbor of ours many years ago. We used to have to cover it up in the winter, so it wouldn't get cold. I always thought the amount of work we put into that tree was ridiculous. Now, we have tons of figs!
Confession: I have never eaten a fig. But, I figure I might try one since we have several sitting in our fridge.

One of the other phenomena in my yard is the surprising amount of citronella candles we have. Apparently, my mother found citronella votives. Now, every candle is a citronella candle! This worked out really well for the hubby and I since we kept getting eaten by the bugs.
Despite the bugs, we enjoyed a wonderful lobster dinner courtesy of my father and his friend. My father's friend used to work in a lobster house years ago and still has connections to the industry. Tonight, we were treated to Maine Lobster, shrimp, and clams. We also had huge, sweet corn on the cob. The highlight of the evening was that we got to use the lobster crackers that someone gave us in our wishing well! (Thank you whoever that was!)
The whole evening was a wonderful send off for the youngest, who is leaving for college. It is kind of a big change around my house to have all of us out on our own. For 27 years, my parents have had kids around. It will be interesting to see what the year will bring.

Busy Bee!

Today, I went in to work for a meeting with the principal. This took several hours and several sheets of paper. The good news is the meeting was super productive but, so much for easing back into the school year.

After finishing the meeting, I went to visit my flower girl and her brothers. I am always amazed by how quickly little people grow. My flower girl is going into the fourth grade. She is shooting up like a weed. Her youngest brother is going into preschool and the middle brother is going into first grade. They are all so excited about the start of school. It appears that private school uniforms have gotten more strict as the years have gone by. The youngest little guy informed me that while he can wear whatever he wants, he can only wear white bottomed sneakers with velcro that do not light up. My flower girl also informed me that they may only wear navy blue uniform shoes. Interesting... we definitely didn't have those rules when I was in grade school.

When I came home from hanging out with my little ones, I quickly ran to the store to get the ingredients for Smitten Kitten's Blueberry Crumb Bars . They were super easy to make and tasty.

Upon Dave arriving home, Dave, myself and the bars went to dinner at our friend's apartment in Glendale. It was super yummy. We had a wonderful time catching up after our summer adventures.

Peter Pan Donuts!

To make this short and sweet, these donuts are fantastic.

Someone at my office brought them in from Brooklyn and they taste phenomenal. I've had donuts in the South, often Krispy Kreme or some other type of chain, and donuts in New England, where it sometimes seems like there's a local shop on every block or a Dunkin' Donuts nearby. I've never really been disappointed by Honey Dew or any of the other chains I've tried in the past, but Peter Pan could definitely give just about any chain a run for its money.

If you have a chance, go check it out. It's a little pastry shop in Greenpoint, a Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn, not too far from the Manhattan line. From what I tried (a chocolate-frosted and a jelly), the donuts are definitely worth the hike! They also have coffee, cookies and actual food, not just sweets, and everyone from local residents to the NYPD stops in for fresh pastries and other treats.

Hopefully I will get to take the wife there sometime for coffee and donuts.

Back to School

I guess it is officially time to get ready to go back to school. Many of my graduates have posted things on facebook about moving in to college or attending their first college classes. My brothers are headed back to college. I'm headed in to work tomorrow to discuss the beginning of the school year. I guess it is really happening.

While I was in college, I join the education honor society. One of our fundraisers was a long sleeve t-shirt with a poem on it called "What Teachers Make". I think it pretty much sums up my hopes for each school year.

What Teachers Make

By Taylor Mali

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a difference! What about you?

Rainy Days, Rainbows, and Hawaiian Ham

It's still raining here! The weather people say that it should be clearing up for the weekend. I've made plans to visit my flower girl's family on Friday. Hopefully that means fun in the sun for the bunch of us.

In the midst of all of this rain, I found my rainbow. My dear friend Jenn with the help of her wonderful husband Tim brought their beautiful daughter into the world this afternoon. This year has been quite a ride for them. The birth of their baby is certainly a blessing to them and their families. Jenn's sister says that Jenn is doing well but, tired after seven hours of hard labor. Way to go Jenn!

While waiting for the news about the baby, I was sitting around watching the Rachel Ray Show she made Teriyaki Pork Chops with Pineapple and Peppers. It sounded so yummy! So I decided, that we would have a blend of her recipe and Hawaiian Ham from A Pinch of This.

Basically it is, ham steaks (1/2 in. thick) with a large can of chunked pineapples in juice and bell peppers. The pineapples and bell peppers are cooked in a little bit of pineapple juice, soy sauce, and ginger. The rest of the pineapple juice goes in the casserole dish with the ham. the pineapple, and bell pepper. Then heat the ham steaks in the pan after cooking the pineapples and peppers. Two baked potatoes have been in the fridge forever, so we will have those on the side. The baked potatoes were great with the sauce from the ham. We even have leftovers for tomorrow!!!

Maybe the dish fairy will come! Check out the cute cartoon from!

Welcome to the world Emmanuella (Emma) Elaine Schwartz!!!! 8lbs 13 oz 20.5 in

Congrats to our friends Jenn and Tim on the birth of their beautiful daughter! I cannot express how happy we are for you!

The Cell Phone Conundrum

So I forgot to bring my cell phone with me to the office.

Absolute calamity, right?

At one time, this wouldn't have even been possible because cell phones weren't widespread. We've been watching a lot of movies lately, and one of the things I noticed was the presence of the cell phone, or lack thereof.

In one movie, "Definitely Maybe," the main character (Ryan Reynolds) is asked to join the Clinton campaign in 1992. One of the first things he receives is a large, box-shaped cell phone. The novelty? He can be reached anywhere at anytime. I remember seeing these early versions in the supermarket or on the street and wondering where you would carry something so bulky.

Last night, we watched a good part of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If you don't know the movie, it's a 1939 Frank Capra classic. I'd never seen it before, so the wife decided to bring it home. It has the requisite classic actors, political storyline and patriotic themes that I tend to enjoy.

Anyway, at one point the main character (Jimmy Stewart) is sightseeing in D.C. For at least 5 hours, no one can find him. Eventually, he turns up at his office and his secretary places a frantic call to a colleague to confirm his arrival. One of the first thoughts that popped into my head was: "This could have been avoided completely if he had a cell phone." What can you do? It was 1939.

Granted, there's the problem of people not answering the phone no matter where they are. And there's also the problem of everyone having instant access to everyone else. Is this good or bad for developing social skills or maintaining friendships? Who knows.

But other than that, cell phones have some amazing benefits, and can be essential in cases of emergency or for keeping in touch with family and friends, and sometimes for getting access to information and the Internet. As a culture, we've become sort of dependent on the presence of cell phones in our lives.

Now, if I could only remember to bring mine along...

A Trip to Long Island

Today, I went out to Long Island to drop off some software for my brothers and have lunch with some friends from high school.

While at my current job, I've heard many people tell me how far it was from my parents' house and how long it took to get anywhere. I never really thought about it until today.

I haven't been out to the island in a few weeks. I've been enjoying city life. Most of all, I've been enjoying not having to take the car everywhere. I love the freedom that comes with being in walking distance of almost everything you could possibly want.

I basically drove the length of the island today to pick up a friend, get lunch, and then go shopping at the outlets. For the first time, I am tired of driving!!! Driving used to be the way I relaxed, I guess I'm slowly but surely turning into a city girl.

I enjoy being with 9 million strangers and watching the various antics of city dwellers. I enjoy watching my neighbor across the street bring his lawn chair out to the sidewalk to sit like he were in his backyard. I like that I can go outside and see something different everyday.

Crispy Apples and Cooler Weather

So apparently it became fall overnight. I was on my way to work today and it felt like it was 60 degrees out and that I should have brought a jacket. Combined with the wife's tasty apple-based dessert yesterday, it's beginning to look a lot like Autumn.

With the wedding being the central focus of our summer, it will be nice to take in the changing leaves, cooler temperatures and fun things like hot apple cider and candy apples. We can probably try out our slow cooker for hot meals since the summer heat is finally beginning to wind down.

Now that I've said that, of course, it'll be 95 degrees out next week!

Crisp Apple Brown Betty

On Saturday, the hubby and I went to the Union Square Green Market and got several pounds of apples. After doing a bit of searching on the internet I blended a couple recipes to make what I'm calling a Crisp Apple Brown Betty.

7 slices of split top whole wheat bread with the crusts cut off
1 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter melted
1 3/4 c quick oats
1/3 c cinnamon
2 lbs apples cored and sliced
1 c water

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the bread in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish. It should cover the entire bottom. Drizzle 1/2 of the butter over the bread. Next, put the slices of apples on top of the bread to form a layer. Mix the quick oats, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl. Pour it evenly over the apples. Drizzle the remaining butter over the pan. Pour the 1 c of water over the entire pan. Cook for 40 min. or until the top is brown.

A Rainy Monday

The rain has arrived. So, far it has been raining on and off for two days. In true New York tradition, there is flooding. The foundations of a couple of houses in New Hyde Park were washed away. The parkways and highways are flooded in the usual areas. The LIRR is suspended on all lines in both directions through the Jamaica.

I am so lucky! I don't have to go anywhere! I am warm and dry, tucked away in our little apartment!

I decided earlier to take the car for a spin. Since the weather has cooled for significantly, the tire pressure light in my car was on. Is this the first sign of Fall? I'm not sure how I feel about Fall being here so early. I'm hoping we get a few more beach days in before the start of school.

While out and about, I took a ride over to Michael's. Yes, I know I said after the wedding, I would never go in there again. To my surprise, Michael's has Halloween and Christmas decorations out! Don't you think it is a little bit early??

Due to the rain, I decided to avoid going stir crazy and embrace the Fall-ish weather. I purchased several flowers, a basket, and some grape vine to make my Autumn decorations for the apartment.

Here's what I came up with:

Monday, Monday...

Can't trust that day? So said The Mamas & The Papas, apparently.

One of the hardest things to do during the week is come back to work on a Monday morning, especially when it's raining and dreary out. Not that I don't enjoy my job. I actually think I'm pretty luck to be in an office with decent co-workers and where I have some flexibility in my hours. I never get up in the morning and dread going to work. That may not seem like a big deal, but for a relatively young lawyer in New York City, believe me, it is! So I consider myself fortunate for that.

But coming back to any job on Monday can be brutal, no matter what you do. As you can see from our previous posts, we had a pretty fun weekend. From the food market and book store and our peanut buttery lunch on Saturday, to a relaxing Sunday evening of fresh pizza and "Mad Men" episodes, I enjoyed our weekend at home.

But at the same time, I guess you have to fund your weekend outings too, huh? And besides, it's good to have a job to go to at all these days. So it's back to the grind for me. We'll see what this week brings.

PIZZA NIGHT!!! A meal from El Molino

It was pouring rain tonight, so rather than try to cook or go out, we decided to order in from a place called El Molino Mexican Grill & Pizzeria. We spotted it on the way to another restaurant the other day and found out that they have a great deal on pizza: $9.99 for a large pie and a 2 liter of coke. Pretty good for a large pizza in this part of the city.

Well, as you can see, the pizza looked great when it arrived. A slight miscommunication on the street address led to a small delay in getting our food. But no big deal, a nice deliveryman managed to get the correct address and the pizza got here as planned and was quite tasty!

Apparently El Molino is new in the neighborhood so we may check it out for the actual Mexican fare at some point. I'd definitely recommend it so far (so would the hubby, as he was fighting the urge for more slices after his initial 2).

Bridal Showers

Today, I had the honor of attending my cousin's bridal shower. Bridal showers can take on a variety of forms. My cousin's shower was traditional: no men, wrapped gifts from a registry, a white umbrella, a bow hat and games. Other people have had less formal showers at bars or with men present.

While at the shower, I started thinking of where this tradition came from. After much deliberation, I resorted to every teacher's enemy: WIKIPEDIA.

"The custom of the bridal shower is said to have grown out of earlier dowry practices, when a poor woman's family might not have the money to provide a dowry for her, or when a father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage. In such situations, friends of the woman would gather together and bring gifts that would compensate for the dowry and allow her to marry the man of her choice.

The earliest stories about these events have been known to originate in Brussels, Belgium around 1860. A frequently quoted legend traces the origin of this practice to the 16th or 17th Century Netherlands. However, there are also parallels with many dowry practices and the U.S. colonial or hope chest (trousseau) custom.[1]

There no such custom in the U.K., where wedding presents are normally selected from a list provided by the couple, and delivered either at the wedding or by the shop, and sometimes displayed at the wedding. A related custom practised in medieval England was the Bride Ale; in Langland's Piers Plowman (§ B.II.45) there is a reference to a bruydale. This was a feast held before the wedding day, at which the bride made beer and sold it to the guests at a high price.

In the United States bridal showers started in urban areas in the 1890s, mainly among the upper middle classes. By the 1930s bridal showers had spread to rural America.[2]

The earliest use of this sense of the word in print may be in the Grand Rapids Michigan Evening Press 22 June 4, 1904: "The ‘shower parties’ that through mistaken hospitality the wedded couple are forced to attend..." And may derive from the custom in Victorian times for the presents to be put inside a parasol, which when opened would "shower" the bride-to-be with gifts.[3]"

The Strand, Peanut Butter & Co., & SOHO

One of the most interesting parts of our trip to Union Square was that the streets surrounding the square were closed to vehicle traffic. For several hours, there were multitudes of bikes, rollerbladers, and pedestrians walking through the streets. There didn't appear to be any type of event so, we decided to investigate a little. There were lots of bikes parked along Union Square East with a bicycle map of the area. It looks like an interesting activity for us another weekend.

I have lived in New York for my entire life. While in New York City, I frequently saw people with tote bags from the Stand. I decided that since it was near Union Square Park that we would try to find it. The hubby always enjoys looking at law/mystery/war books.

The Strand was not at all what I expected. I expected it to be primarily outside and primarily used books. I guess you would say, I expected it to be far more "artsy" than it was. I kind of seemed like a less commercial Barnes & Noble. They had new books, old books, discounted books, discounted movies, and discounted CDs. We didn't spent a ton of time there because it was rather crowded since it was Saturday.

While it wasn't what I was expecting, I think I'll go back again and see if I can get a better feel for the store. When I go back, it will certainly be on a weekday.
While walking around the Union Square area, there are a variety of places to eat. I loved the NYC Street Coffee Truck! It fit perfectly with the neighborhood. Another place, that caught my eye was PIE. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease and she has been facebooking about how much she misses pizza and beer. I thought I'd take a picture of this restaurant for her (Gluten Free Pizza and Gluten Free Beer). I didn't try the food so I don't know how good it tastes. But, in my opinion, it's worth a shot!

For a really long time I have wanted to go to Peanut Butter & Co. But, I never knew where it was or how to get there. My awesome hubby decided that today would be the day that I would get to enjoy my first Peanut Butter & Co. sandwich. It was wonderful. We both had The Elvis Sandwich. Those of you that know us, know that my husband loves Elvis and when we were in college I though he even looked a little bit like him. Needless to say, the Elvis Sandwich (Peanut Butter, Bananas, & Honey) was fantastic. We were very lucky and got a table. The restaurant is very small but, well worth the trip!
After enjoying our lunch, we went West Houston Street. On one side of the street was lots of bars and restaurants. It looks like it would be very busy in the evenings. On the other side of the street there were several markets. One was associated with the local church. Interesting the lady pictured above took her bird for a walk and purchased several things from this market and no one batted an eye. Only in NY!

In the other market along West Houston Street, there was a vendor that we met that makes a line of clothing and bags called Bugged Out . She makes onezies, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and tote bags. A portion of the proceeds from the children's clothes and tote bags goes to the research efforts to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. The organization her merchandise benefits is the MS Care Center at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. Please consider checking out her website.

Our day ended at Prince Street. There were multitudes of artists selling there wares on the sides of the street as well as an incredible A Capella group. It was an incredible day spent with the hubby!

A Vacation in Our City!

Today, the hubby and I went to Union Square to check out the Green Market. We researched it on Yelp and New Yorker Magazine and discovered that the subway that is right near the apartment went directly there! The reviews told us that we weren't likely to find "a great deal" on produce in comparison to the market in our area but, the Green Market is a great place to take pictures!
One of the most impressive things about the green market was the beautiful flower vendors! I loved the variety of sunflowers. There were even these flowers that looked like brains. Toward the end of our time at the market we found a vendor that had the most incredible Calla Lilies.
Near the booth with the Calla Lilies, there was a vendor with sheep's wool yarn and other "sheepy" things. This vendor seemed to be popular as people were referring to the vendor as "my sheep herder". Maybe when the weather turns cooler and I feel like knitting again this would be a fun place to get some natural yarn.
The fruit and veggies were absolutely beautiful! I never imagined that the market would have so many choices. We were able to get two pounds of apples for $1.00. I have to say that it was a little sad seeing all the apples because that means that summer is ending and fall is beginning.
For may city dwellers, Fall is a good thing because you are no longer enduring the obscenely hot temperatures in the subway. It is once again enjoyable to sit in the sun and have brunch in the sidewalk cafes. However, for teachers, Fall means the return to school, work, grading papers, and early morning wake up calls.