Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe

Tomorrow (March 1) is my friend Katie's 42nd Birthday! I am making this cake at the moment. Here are a couple of thoughts: It takes a really long time to put everything together. I don't think it is going to come out correctly because the mousse mixture didn't look right. While Kraft provides some photos, I would have preferred to have photos between step three and step four. If you don't know what cover it in foil and put it in two inches of water means, I'm not sure a photo will help you.

I followed the directions exactly... I'll try and post pictures tomorrow to show how it came out.

Car Alarms...

The hubby and I have been woken up on numerous occasions by car alarms.

Cheap, Healthy, Good posted this today. I couldn't help but agree.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I do not know your identity. You may be a candystriping Girl Scout, or a grandmother who volunteers 20 hours a week at the Red Cross. You may work to save endangered species, and your dedication to social equity and human rights might make Mother Theresa look like Jeffrey Dahmer on a bad hair day. You may be kind to children, fair to animals, and a patron saint to environmental causes the world over.

I do know that you have a car alarm, and that it's gone off twice in the last week, at 3am, for 30 minutes each time. And that makes me hate you.

What is it with car alarms? They seem like leftovers from the '80s, the pride of hyper-vigilant teens and twentysomethings with shiny new Iroc-Zs to protect, presumably from menacing threats like wind and rain. (I do not know what else sets off car alarms.) Yet, especially in the Tri-State area, they are as prominent as Applebees and lower back tattoos. Why they haven't been relegated to the dustbin of history, along with stonewashed jackets and Ratt posters, is beyond me.

In fact, I have it good on authority (meaning: my own delusion) that, throughout the course of automotive history, car alarms have deterred exactly two burglars. The first was Borden P. Titmouse, a hapless petty thief doomed by his particularly sensitive hearing and lack of arms below the elbow. The second was a cat who mistook a Chrysler for a hunk of steak. Cats are dumb, see.

The number of people awoken, annoyed, and otherwise driven apoplectic by car alarms, however, numbers in the millions. The billions, even. McDonald's would kill for that kind of demo.

Someday, I may be a mother. And if your car alarm wakes my child - who I presume will have spent the whole day alternately being adorable and vomiting into my open mouth, if Facebook is any indication – I will key it into oblivion, then pound the remaining atoms into a pretty purple paperweight. I don't care if you are the Chairperson of Greenpeace, the head of Habitat for Humanity, and the potential broker of peace in the Middle East combined. You will be upset. Neighboring cars will weep. Charlie Sheen will question my destructive tendencies.

In closing, no one wants to steal your Honda. For the love of god, turn off the alarm.

The rest of Brooklyn

Goodbye February!

What happened to the month of February? I can't believe that it is already over!

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see this month go but, boy did it fly by.

February snuck in as my father was in the hospital... The Super Bowl rolled by...Then, Dad came home and had another surgery. This brought us to February break and my in laws visit including a visit with a good friend in Westchester.

What will March bring?

Hopefully, this week we will find out what (if any) housing changes we will be making in the upcoming months. My boss has found us two possible houses (YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY!!!!! HOUSES!!!!!) in the Bayside area. This is about thirty minutes closer to my parents, about the same distance to work, and further away from the hubby's office. Tomorrow, they will be talking to the pastor of the church that owns the houses. It is a big for us! Prayers would be great!

I'm hoping this month will bring continued recovery for my father. He is well on his way but, needs to continue to heal from the surgery and get used to LIVING within his limitations. He is struggling with the idea that you can LIVE with the things he is dealing with. I am encouraging him to see what he can do right now to start to get back to "normal" (or the new normal).

Sunshine Saturday!

The in laws have arrived. We enjoyed a yummy meal from our local Chinese restaurant for lunch and are just relaxing this afternoon. We are waiting for a call from our friend in Ossining to determine what we are going to do tomorrow.

At the moment, the sun is streaming through the windows. I feel like a cat all curled up on the couch, enjoying the last bits of February Break.

Finally Friday

Today, I went to the gym and continued cleaning as my in laws are coming up tomorrow for the weekend. We still have a bit of Christmas around since I haven't gotten a chance to take it back to my parents house yet.

I am thinking about what kind of cake I should make for a very special friend's birthday on Tuesday. My last attempt at a double layer cake for the hubby came out in three pieces so, I'm trying to think of something easy and tasty. We shall see... (FYI- Buying a cake is not an option.)

Hopefully, we will get to Ossining to visit a friend on Sunday. We haven't seen her for awhile (actually since we have been married)! I've been trying to leave messages but, it seems her voicemail system is down. I know the hubby will try calling her again later.

Here's to a fantastic end to February Break!

Monday through Thursday in a nutshell

Monday -> Gym
Ceiling and well in the bathroom gets fixed
Dinner @ Meli with the hubby
Audition for Astoria Symphonic Choir

Tuesday -> Hang out with Dad
Doctor's Appointment
Hang out with Dad
Doctor's Appointment
Help Dad set up his new IPad

Wednesday -> Lombardi on Broadway
Shop @ Lush
Dinner at Bourbon Street

Thursday -> Outlet shopping
Dinner with Dad

Tasty Dumpling - Mulberry Street

On Sunday, the hubby and I headed to Lower Manhattan for some dumplings and Wanton Soup. The Wanton Soup is just like the soup I had several years ago in Beijing. I has a cloudy, white, watery soup with cabbage and thin Wanton noodles.

We also had pork and chive (fried) dumplings and veggie dumplings. They were so yummy! The restaurant is located super close to the court houses so, the hubby gets lunch from here regularly. There aren't many tables so, I would recommend taking the dumplings with you and having them outside somewhere. Perhaps at the park across the street?

One of the cool things about this dumpling spot is that they have trays of 50 frozen dumplings that are $8-$12. They are perfect for a party!

Handmade Patriotic Note Cards

Our friend recently left for basic training at Lakland Air Force Base in TX. We miss him very much and can't wait for him to move to VA for more school. (We will visit him in April!) For now, the hubby and I are sending cards to give him some encouragement. I make the cards and he hubby shares his stories from his travels throughout the week. Here are some of the cards I made! Sorry the pictures stink. I took them on my camera phone since my camera batter is dead.

Homemade Valentine's Day Cards!

This year I decided to make my own Valentine's Day Cards for friends and family! I had so much fun making them. I got the idea when I was home during one of the snow storms. It was nice to see and hear people's reactions when they opened the cards!

Finally Friday

It is finally Friday! Guess what?!?!? It is 66 degrees in New York City! This means the cafes have opened their windows, put tables outside, and are encouraging locals to come enjoy the sunshine. Kids are playing tag on the sidewalk and drawing giant pirates with sidewalk chalk (as they did on 35th Street today). The teenagers are breaking out their summer clothes (tank tops and shorts).

Unfortunately, this weather is short lived as tomorrow it is supposed to be back to the 40s. But, at least for a little while we can kick back and get a taste of what Spring will be like.

This Friday is particularly special because it is a day that teachers in New York dream about. TODAY WAS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL UNTIL FEBRUARY 28th!!!! We have a fabulous week off!!!! I am sure that my week will be filled with trips to the island to visit Dad and many days of sleeping in BUT I am so grateful for the break!

For the hubby - today is Fake Friday - he has to go in to work for a little bit tomorrow but, he does still get to sleep in and go home early. I may take a trip into Manhattan with him and visit the Green Market in Union Square. We shall see how much energy I have and how cold it is tomorrow.

Dinner tonight is Sushi from my favorite little market on Broadway. The Sushi Chef was nice enough to make some fresh so I didn't have to take the ones that were out already. Hope you enjoy your Friday!


Farfalle with Spinach and Mushrooms Recipe

Farfalle with Spinach and Mushrooms Recipe

Last night, I needed a quick dinner for the hubby and I. It had to be healthy but, I also knew it had to be filling. This recipe calls for some things like: BUTTER! that didn't really fulfill my definition of healthy.

I ended up using fresh mushrooms, olive oil, frozen chopped spinach, and a small yellow onion. I also used Thyme! (I've never cooked with it before but, it seemed to come out well!) Instead of Farfalle, I used the thin spaghetti we had in the cupboard. We topped it with light shredded mozarella and grated parmesan! It was quick, tasty, cheap, and healthy!

Rotisserie chicken, barbecue sauce, and Green Onion Low-Calorie Potato Toppings Low-Calorie Potato Toppings - Cooking Light

Rotisserie chicken, barbecue sauce, and Green Onion Low-Calorie Potato Toppings Low-Calorie Potato Toppings - Cooking Light

And the search officially begins..

Our lease on our apartment is up on Halloween of 2011. We are having some significant issues with the people upstairs (flooding their bathroom - which leaks into ours and replacing the hardwood floors at 10pm - without an approved contractor). At any rate we have started out search for a new apartment this week.

We are looking for 2-3 bedrooms in Astoria, if possible. If not, we will look to surrounding boroughs and neighborhoods.

The hubby has been contacting various real estate brokers and some by owner listings on Craigs List. At this point we aren't going to make any moves, unless a perfect place comes up since we have several months left on our lease.

We are ridiculously happy in our neighborhood and with our space so, it will take a pretty fabulous place to fill the shoes of our little "Urban Beach House".

5 Cats in the yard!

"Our house is a very, very fine house
With [five] cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
'Cause of you"

I am presently at my parents' house on Long Island. We are not cat people nor have we ever been cat people. In recent years, there have been a variety of cats that have enjoyed our sunny retaining wall at the back of the yard. Presently there are FIVE cats enjoying the beautiful sunny weather that New York is having today!

I love watching animals because they have such funny personalities. There is one big gray cat who is clearly the bully in the group. There are three black and white cats. One is super tiny and is just sooo cute! Then there is the little black one with white feet. (This kitty enjoys hiding in the pachysandra.) I would go out and take pictures but, they run away when you go out there. These little guys are such fun to watch!

Our Frist Married Valentine's Day

We are having a very low key Valentine's Day. We both just want to spend some time together at home. We have been so busy lately that we haven't been home as much as we would like.

It is interesting to see the difference in this Valentine's Day as opposed to those in the past. But, I think that my friend Sara said it best: "Love shouldn't be demonstrated on just one day with material possessions but in one's thoughts, words, and deeds throughout the year. For those gifts that have been given to me both physically and spiritually, I am very thankful and blessed. I am especially blessed because [my husband] is in my life and who never fails day after day to demonstrate his love to me. ♥"

It was wonderful to celebrate our love today but, truly everyday we celebrate our love and our life together. In three days, we will be married seven months! It is hard to believe how quickly time goes when you are happy. I am so lucky to have found my hubby during our Freshmen Retreat at the University of Scranton. I never in a million years thought that I would leave NY and find my husband in North Eastern PA!

Hope you all are spending your day with those you love!

Happy Birthday Sisi!

At 1:34 PM on February 13th, my littlest cousin turned one year old!

Happy Birthday Sisi!


The hubby and I spent some time with Dad on Saturday. He is getting around really well. He is starting to get into a routine with the blood sugar and insulin. We brought some Moe's for him. (Salad only!) The littlest brother also came by. It was nice to have him around too!

Dad will be meeting with more doctors this week to get some more information about his condition. Dad might be having surgery at the end of this week on his foot. Hopefully, it will be on an outpatient basis. Whether he has surgery or not will depend on his blood counts on Wednesday.

Dad has his right surgical shoe and several left shoes in the hallway. I thought it was cute how my mom lined everything up for him. Left shoe...left shoe..special shoe!

Finally Friday

The week is finally over!

I hate wishing work days away but, I have been craving down time, time to relax at home with the hubby.

Tonight we are going apartment shopping. We have an appointment with a real estate broker in hopes of finding a larger apartment. Our lease isn't up until Halloween 2011 but, we would like to take our time and find another fantastic place. We LOVE our current apartment and our current neighborhood but, with the changes going on in the building we feel it would be a better decision to move to a more stable building. Here's hoping the meeting goes well.

Earlier this week, I purchased an eggplant at the market. It is one of my favorite staples to have in, in the winter. Due to all of the craziness this week, I haven't gotten to cook it.

As I type, I have eggplant parm in the crock pot. We'll have to see how that comes out. I adapted a recipe from cdkitchen . Unfortunately, there aren't any reviews so, I'm not sure how this is going to work.

The hubby just end a text to let me know he is leaving work! Let the weekend begin!

Dad Update

Dad came home with home care. Apparently, the nurse is like Mary Poppins. Dad sang a bit of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious over the phone tonight. We are incredibly grateful for our friend who played an instrumental role in setting up this home care for dad. She really came through for us and I am grateful for all she has done.

Dad has an appointment with a foot surgeon tomorrow at a new hospital. Hopefully, that goes well and we will be able to get all that he needs.

Dad seems to be in better spirits now that he is home. Dad being home is a lot of pressure for mom. She is trying to adjust to his new routine as much as he is. I'm sure when they get the routine down things will quickly settle down. Chris and I will be dropping in on Dad this weekend.

Dad's cardiologist is fantastic and is providing a lot of support for my mother. It is nice to see that a doctor really cares about his patient and the patient's family. We have had some not so positive experiences in the past couple of days. It's good to find people that restore your faith in the medical profession.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. They are absolutely working to help Dad and his caregivers. We would not have made it to this point without your prayers. We are so grateful for everything!

A Valentine's Day Table

A Valentine's Day Tablescape

I have been looking forward to Valentine's Day. This year I made my own Valentines and have decorated our table for our special meal next week! We went out to dinner two weeks ago for restaurant week in New York, so we will probably enjoy a much needed night at home.
I love this spot on the table because I've chosen to include our Lenox Bride & Groom ornament that we received as a wedding gift and the lotus flower centerpiece from my Mother In Law.

The milk glass vase is from my grandmother. I have been waiting to use it and felt this was just the perfect occasion. I bought the candlesticks a few years ago because I was cooking the hubby dinner when he was studying for the Bar Exam. I thought it would make it special! I'm glad we have them!

I bought the flatware set from Bed, Bath & Beyond before our Cookie Party in December. We got the Opal Innocence napkins from our friend as part of our Wedding Shower Gift. The hearts holding the napkins together are gift tags from Michael's. The dinner plate is from Target.

The wine glasses are Lenox Butterfly Meadow Balloon Glasses. The water glasses were monogrammed by a friend of ours as a Christmas gift. We have a matching carafe!

The candlelight makes everything look wonderful!

I am linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, Masterpiece Monday atBoogieboard Cottage, & Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage

Andrew's Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip

We had a bit of an impromtu Super Bowl party this weekend. My brother made us this fantastic dip. Not only was it tasty, but SO EASY! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 rotisserie chicken (take off the legs and wings) - the flavoring doesn't really matter
Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
Frank's Wing Sauce - Buffalo
Monterey Jack Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Take the skin, the legs, and the wings off of the rotisserie chicken. Take the meat off of the carcas and shred it into a casserole dish. Add blue cheese dressing, wing sauce, and monterey jack cheese to the chicken until you reach a "goopy" but not watery consistency. Bake until bubbly.

Serve with chips/crackers. This can also work as a filling for a buffalo chicken taco. YUM!
I am linking to

Pittsburgh v. Baltimore: 2 Cities, 1 Big Rivalry

Frank Deford, a writer for NPR, compares Pittsburgh, PA and Baltimore, MD as follows:

"Pittsburgh and Baltimore are made for each other. It's like looking at your own face in the mirror."

It really seems true. Both cities have similar working-class, industrial histories. Both cities are usually overlooked when people think of taking vacations or spending a weekend. And both cities have insanely loyal football fans. If you don't believe me, see for yourself here:

Apparently, in the fifteen years since the Ravens replaced the Colts as the hometown NFL team for Baltimore, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry has become one of the most followed in football. Maybe not on the level of Cowboys-Redskins or Bears-Packers, but not too far behind. Part of it is historic from the Colts, but not too much. Part of it stems from the Browns moving to Baltimore, but not all of it. Most of the rivalry has been created since the 1996 season and strengthened almost even year during the playoffs.

Growing up, I missed out on the Colts when they left for Indiana in the middle of the night in March 1984. For years I watched the Redskins with a fervor, even going with my dad to a conference before the 1992 Super Bowl so I could buy an official Super Bowl program. I even had an autographed Mark Rypien card and the full helmet-jersey-football uniform (anyone else remember Hutch?)

But ever since the Ravens rolled into town (and ever since Dan Snyder bought the Redskins), I've always cheered for the Ravens. I had a Ravens bed set, t-shirt, turtleneck, trash can, jackets, sweatshirt (you get the picture). I even got the Girl into the Ravens, and we both have Ravens sweatshirts thanks to Mom and Dad. For the last year or so, we have called our home online "Tales From Astoria," but in this one particular way, I am still very much a Maryland guy.
Of course, we have the Steelers to thank for keeping the Ravens out of the Super Bowl yet again...we'll see how the game goes tonight though....GO PACKERS!!!!!

Like father like son

Shockingly all four of us were able to visit dad on Saturday. It was nice to have everyone around. We spent alot of time explaining to him that we were visiting him so we felt better since he kept asking us to leave. Clearly he is feeling better than earlier in the week. The infectious disease doctor says that the new antibiotic cocktail is working on the infection. He has learned to use insulin to help control his sugar. Things are definitely making an upward turn. We are starting to talk about him coming home at some point soon. His goal is to make it to his "great" niece's first birthday party this coming weekend. We'll see how that goes...

The youngest brother headed back to school on Saturday night. The other two will head back to DC together on Monday morning. The hubby and I will head back to Astoria on Monday morning in time for work. I will continue to come out after work until he comes home.

We are gathering snacks and other goodies to watch the Super Bowl together. We were supposed to have a little party with some friends and extended family but, under the circumstances it is better to just have the family around. I'm sure mom will head back to the hospital at some point tonight. The boys will probably go back with her.

I'm glad things are looking up! I think the sunshine and "warm" weather is helping!

Super Bowl 2011 - What are you eating?

Menu for White House Super Bowl party


As President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama prepare to host Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and others to watch the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, the White House released the menu for the party Sunday afternoon. Here is what the guests will be munching on:

Deep Dish Pizza
Buffalo Wings
German Potato Salad
Twice Baked Potatoes
Snyders Potato Chips and Pretzels
Chips and Dips
Ice Cream
Beverages including the following beers: Hinterland Pale Ale & Amber Ale (Wisconsin), Yuengling Lager and Light (Pennsylvania), White House Honey Ale.

Busy, Busy, Busy

So the last few weeks have been very busy for one reason or another. Started my new job. It's going fairly well so far. I am learning a new practice area and I work with some nice folks. Here's to a (hopefully) long tenure there.

The wife has been visiting her father in the hospital as he improves. Between her trips there and my trips to court, we have both been very exhausted lately. Today we got to see her brothers, as they came up to visit their Dad for the weekend.

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl! I guess I've lost track of time, but it's already been 10 years since Baltimore last appeared (and won) the big game. I remember having a homework assignment that I needed to finish for that Monday (naturally!), so I spent most of the evening running up and down the stairs in my parents' house, trying to catch bits and pieces of the game. I even had a radio tuned to the game so I could follow along.

The Ravens usually get to the playoffs, and usually lose to the I will probably be cheering for the Packers tomorrow!


Dad has been moved out of CCU. (Yay!) We are still waiting on the cultures from his surgery yesterday to find out exactly what kind of infection we are looking at. He is certainly more grumpy then he was yesterday and the day before. He is getting a new antibiotic to help with the infection. Hopefully he is cooperative! They were talking about possibly trying to get him up and walking with a walker. We shall see when/if that happens in the next couple of days. His doctors seem to be increasingly positive. It is such a difference from earlier this week. Unfortunately, he will miss the Super Bowl at home but, the good news is he is well enough to watch it in his room. My brother and I were there today. Mom went to work for a few hours. I am going back to work tomorrow. I came back to Astoria this evening to have dinner with the hubby. It is nice to be home but, I still worry about dad. I'm sure I will go back to the hospital tomorrow after work but, before the hubby comes home from work.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Green Bay Tablescape

Before dad got sick, I started this tablescape in preparation for the big game this Sunday. I had wanted to make some bunting to go on the wall but, I didn't get to it. Can you guess who we are rooting for?

I am linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage, & Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage


It is almost midnight. My brother, my mother and I are home from the hospital. Dad came through surgery. They were able to clean up the infection, as best they could. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long road to recovery. We will know more about how the surgery went tomorrow when the doctor comes back to evaluate him. Here's hoping and praying that no more surgery is needed!

At the moment I'm trying to decide whether I am going to try to go to work tomorrow. Unfortunately, the commute is long (from LI) and I am quite tired. We outlasted one shift of nurses and doctors. I know that if I go to work my students will help distract me from everything that is going on but, I also know that I would like to be with my dad tomorrow.

I guess I'll see how the ice is tomorrow morning. Sleep well alll!


Dad is still in ICU/CCU. He is having a procedure at the moment to help clear up the infection in his foot. Hopefully, the procedure will go well and he will be on the road to recovery. He is responding well to the antibiotics and seems alot more lucid today. He was awake for most of the day. One of my brothers came up from DC today. I am grateful that he is here because then when I go back home tomorrow she won't be by herself. The house is a little eerie when you are there by yourself since we are at the end of a cul de sac.

We have pretty much been at the hospital all day. The photo above was taken when mom and Andrew were searching the internet in the waiting room after dinner

Our neighbors have been really nice and have been taking care of my mom and calling to express their concern. While it is a little bit like pleasantville at times, it is still nice to have a community of people that are concerned about their neighbor.

Ice Storm

In conjuction with the crazy weather out West, we had about two days of ice. This morning as mom and I were leaving for the hospital we had one giant sheet of ice on the cars and the driveway. I figured out that if you use the "wrong side" of the shovel the ice comes up much easier. It was kind of neat pulling huge sheets of ice off the car windows.

One of the perks of being on Long Island in this weather is that it is absolutely beautiful out. Each house has icicles hanging from the eves / gutters. The houses all look like little cottages from a winter painting. The photo above is of the icicles hanging off of the gutters at my parents' home. If you didn't have to drive in this weather, it would like living at a ski lodge.

A Romantic Dinner for Two

It is Winter Restaurant Week in New York! All of restaurants that participate have a Prix Fixe dinner menu for $35. The hubby and I made a dinner reservation at City Lobster. We passed the restaurant as we walked by for the few weeks and it looked like something right up our ally. For our dinner at our wedding reception, we had surf & turf. The filet mignon at City Lobster was almost as good! (I loved the food at our wedding reception.) We enjoyed a wonderful half bottle of Chianti and phenomenal chocolate pecan pie! It was fabulous to have a little date night at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately on our way home I got the call about my dad... Luckily I was able to go home with my fabulous hubby who makes everything seem alright.

My Dad

I'm am asking for prayers for my dad. He was taken to the hospital last night. He is in Intensive Care for an infection in his legs. My mom says he is doing a bit better. I hope to get there later today, assuming the snow doesn't start.

Thanks for your prayers.