Jan 122010

Happy New Year! I know this past year I did not update as much as I would have liked. I am finally getting my home together again. I seem to be bed bug free and now have a working refrigerator 1) that works and 2) that is not filled with trash bags filled with clothing. Most importantly, I have started the transformation of turning my apartment; into my own little craft studio. I am tickled pink about this transformation. It is now only being referred to as the Studio

So, I have decided I am going to start the year off with something that reminds me of lunches with my mom. When I was in pre-school waiting for my sisters to be done with school, we always have lunch together and most times there was a popover with strawberry butter involved. My sister over thanksgiving served popovers, strawberry butter, and salad for her first course and it reminded me of how much I enjoy them. The batter can be made in advance and these are perfectly simple to make, a little different than just serving a roll. Also, a popover pan could totally make a fun gift! I know, I love all of my random cooking utensils.


1 Cup of Flour

1 Cup of Milk

3 Eggs

2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter (a little extra butter to grease the pan)

Pinch or two of Salt

Preheat oven 425 degrees


In a blender mix all ingredients together until smooth. Grease the popover pan and preheat the pan in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. Take out and fill each popover cup until ¾ full of batter and bake for 25 minutes. Makes 6 popovers. I think best served with Strawberry butter or some other flavored butter.

Nov 032009

I realize I usually write about cooking, entertaining, tips, and ideas, but I think this is still somewhat relevant as it has affected my home.

Some friends said don’t write about it, because there still is, that stigma attached to having bed bugs. But I say, I would rather have everyone know and become a little more educated and know that it easily could happened to you. Although, I will say, I hope it never does. Even if you live in a nice area are super clean and have no clutter don’t be fooled and think you are safe from it. Bed Bugs are an epidemic that has hit New York City like wildfire over the past two years and is up 47% since last year. Only 1/3 of people react to the bites, lucky for me I have a severe allergic reaction to them!  They are very hard to find. They can hide in walls, move through pipes, live in almost anything. They bite until the hit a capillary, and they don’t need to feed every night. I have had a lot of conflicting information on the life span but most say it is 400 days and a female bug can lay 5 eggs a day. You can’t just bomb your apartment, everything needs to be packed up.  And you can’t just move, you have to make sure the problem is cleaned up where you currently live or you will just bring it with you to your next home.

For the past three weeks, I have been living a nightmare. One that cannot be completely explained but anyone who has gone through it would know just how horrible it is. I am living out of trash bags, putting my clothing in the refrigerator because I am paranoid, am on antibiotics, have had to stay in hotels, sore from all of my bites, and had many sleepless nights with fear of being eaten/bitten. Now, I always try and look at the glass as half full and there have been some positives, I have cleaned out my apartment, will have super clean clothing, I am turning my apartment into a craft studio. Before I detail the situation I am very grateful to those who have been supportive to me throughout this ordeal. Thank you.

Clothing in Fridge

Day 1- I noticed I was bitten and thought it must have been some random mosquito

Day 2- I was bitten again and realized it was too cold for mosquitoes

Day 3- Marked my body with permanent marker to track if I was getting new bites

Day 4- Went to a dermatologist to have a doctor examine my bites- ruled out all other kinds of bug and spider bites, 95% sure I have bed bugs. I decide to grab dinner by myself to try and decompress.

Day 5- Get a new bite and realize this must be bed bugs and call my management company. That day Roberta my “fairy god mother to bed bugs” came to my apartment to inspect. Could not find anything but my bites were classic bed bug bites and recommended that I have a trained beagle come into my apartment. Spent the evening washing and bagging clothing in a laundry mat. I decide I would not stay in my apartment anymore until the situation was resolved.

Day 10-  The first appointment available appointment for the trained beagle to sniff the apartment. Roscoe barked and pointed his nose in three spots in my apartment: the bed, sofa, and hamper. Now, I wanted not to believe this little beagle but he is 98% accurate and I had bites to prove it. It was just  frustrating because no one thus far was able to find one of these little bugs that was tormenting me.  I spent the rest of the day starting the cleaning and packing process. Now I have been in this apartment for five years and every article of clothing needed to be washed or dry cleaned, every book vacuumed and all packed up into trash bags and knotted. I was working until 3 am since I had little time and they were coming to fumigate my apartment in less than 48 hours. By the time I went to bed, all I had left was a t-shirt and it was cold. I had no more blankets or pillows. I sprayed myself with rubbing alcohol (supposedly they don’t like the scent) and got into a trash bag myself to prevent being bitten and to try and stay warm. Yes, a hotel might have been a better option but I was trying to process so much that nothing made sense to me and the costs of everything just seemed overwhelming to me.

Day 11- Went to work and spent the evening packing and cleaning. I did go to a hotel that night arrived with my infamous trash bags at midnight.

Bathroom Bugs

Day 12- I received no wake-up call, so was a little frantic as I was now running an hour behind. Like all moves you think you have made so much progress and don’t have that much to do but then there is always so much more. They arrived at 2 pm sprayed my apartment and I was left with a sense of relief that my apartment was safe again. Now another two people still could not find the little buggers. At 4:30 I had my sofa removed to take no chances and then had to run and get another mattress cover and pillow covers. I was excited to think I had control again. I picked up some laundry that had my sheets and went to go buy new pillows and a blanket. I got home and when I was working in my apartment was wearing the same dirty clothing, I was so excited to take a shower. I cleared all the trash bags out of my bathroom. I had been advised to put them in there. Since that area was deemed safe and it would be easy to spray/freeze the rest of the apartment. By the time I moved about 15 trash bags into my living room…there on the bottom of the tub I found them, TWO LIVING BED BUGS! They really did exist in my apartment. I almost lost it, but called Roberta, my bed bug fairy godmother. Not good, that the bug had moved from my living space into the bathroom which was considered a safe zone. She informed all the clothing would have to be re-washed and packaged. At this point I had a meltdown, I was exhausted in pain, overwhelmed, and the thought of doing it all over again was too much. It is funny when I first met Roberta she said I could call her whenever I needed something or had a question, I didn’t think I was going to be that person who called at 930pm on a Friday night, but I was. It was another night in a hotel…

Two Bugs

Day 13- I decided forget about doing my laundry again, I couldn’t handle it and just sent it all out to be done. Something I wish I had just done in the first place. I was just having such a hard time wrapping my head around it since I had just brought all of my dry cleaning to the cleaners and that cost was overwhelming. I decided I would not stay in my apartment over the weekend and stayed with a friend.

Day 14- No Change

Day 15- they came again to my apartment to spray my bathroom. I thought it might be over. I was bitten that night

Day 16- was up all night and was bitten again.

Day 17- Went to Doctor because my shoulder was aggravated and became infected from carrying so many trash bags back and forth from the laundry mat. Pretty much passed out at the doctor’s office just overwhelmed by everything.  I went on antibiotics. Again moved out of my apartment and had another meltdown.

Day 18- No Change

Day 19- Moved all dry cleaning into a storage unit. I did not want to take a chance of taking anything into my apartment.  I am really excited to now have two storage units in NYC. Thank you Manhattan Mini Storage.

Day 20- Slept again in my apartment did not get bitten.

Day 21- Don’t think I was bitten previous bites super itchy and slept with TV and Lights on.

Now I am waiting for day 24 when they come again to freeze/spray. I figure, I will not unpack until December it is now November 3rd and I will always have that thought will they come back and are they really all gone. Maybe next Halloween I will go as a bed bug victim  but this year it was too close to home.

Sep 032009

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

This week I had the unpleasant experience of having my wisdom teeth taken out. I know, I am a little late since I think the average age of taking them out when they are 18 not 28. For the month prior I was teething which now I completely understand what toddlers are going through and have a new perspective. Now that I had to revert to eating mushy foods, I made in advance pre-surgery mashed potatoes. In true fashion I had to mess around with them a little and added some fresh pesto; I had gotten some basil at the Farmer’s market last weekend. Now I do love traditional mashed potatoes but this definitely was a fun twist to them and something I would enjoy every so often.



½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Cups of Fresh Basil Leaves

1/3 Cup of Toasted Pine Nuts

½ Cup of Olive Oil

1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice and 1-2 Teaspoons of Lemon Zest

I used my blender but a food processor would be better. Pulse together Basil and Pine Nuts (I chopped both before placing them into the blender) followed by Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, and Lemon Juice + Zest blend all ingredients together until smooth and looks like green pulp if it is too think add a little extra Olive Oil.

Mashed Potatoes

3 Russet Potatoes

½ Cup of Skim Milk

2 Tablespoons of Butter

Salt and Pepper

Peel the Potatoes and boil them until they are soft (a fork can easily puncture through). Remove potatoes from heat and water and place in a separate bowl. In a saucepan heat milk and butter once butter has melted add to potatoes and with a hand mixer whip the potatoes until fluffy and smooth. At this point add about ½ of the prepared pesto to start add more depending on how strong of a pesto taste desired.

Aug 272009

Jam Wedding Favor

Earlier this summer I was at a wedding and  on the table was this little jar of strawberry jam attached with a quote. The bride and her mother had made the jam. I thought it was so perfect, sweet, thoughtful and a wonderful idea. So in case anyone is looking for a favor idea, I thought this was a great one!

So we grew together

Like to a double strawberry, seeming parted,

But yet an union in partition;

Two lovely berries molded on one stem

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare

Aug 272009

Mexican Sour Gherkins

Last weekend I was at the farmer’s market, in Union Square buying some blueberries because I wanted to make the August cover of Gourmet. Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream Bars- they turned out great and think they would be perfect to serve at a summer BBQ. While I was walking through the market I discovered Mexican Sour Gherkins. They look like mini watermelons about 1 inch in size but taste like a cucumber. It is now days later and I am still fascinated by these little guys. Now I just wish I had a garden and could grow them myself.

Maybe others have seen these before and I am just completely behind the times. I think they are amazing the only problem was they were rather expensive so I have been enjoying eating then one by one…although they would be completely awesome in a salad.


Aug 192009

Steak Salad 3

Definitely as the heat wave continues salad or cold soups are what I have been craving. Every so often I make something that I am truly excited about how it turned out. This  is how I felt about this recent Steak Salad. I think I told just a few people, about 10 just how excited Iwas about it!  I know it might seem like a lot of work, but I was able to accomplish everything in under an hour- I had a lot of things cooking at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t per say have real measurements I just used what I had and tried to have equal portions. Also since I don’t have a grill I broiled my NY Strip steak for about 4 ½ minutes on each side. It did not have that beautiful grilled look but still tasted delicious!

Steak Salad

1 Head of Red Lettuce

1 Red Bell Pepper Roasted

1 Bunch of Asparagus Roasted (cooked in broiler)

1 Sauted Yellow Onion

Fingerling Potatoes Roasted with Rosemary

Steamed French String Beans

1 Pound of Steak

1 Tomato chopped

Extra- I roasted a garlic bulb to either be added to the salad or used on the bread.


Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil

Dijon Mustard

Before mixing all the ingredients together I cooled them all except the steak was served warm.

Steak Salad 2      Steak Salad 1

Aug 042009


Recently, I was given some fresh garden picked string beans. Growing up string beans were a staple in our house, although we really only ever had them served one way, steamed. I thought I would make this more into a summer salad instead.

1 Lb. of String Beans (cleaned with ends cut)

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Shallot

¼ Cup of Olive Oil

Juice from 1-2 Lemons

3 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Steam the string bean (about 2-3 minutes) and then quickly place in cold water to make sure they stop cooking. I chopped the Pepper finely but afterwards thought it would look nice if they were cut julienne style (thinly sliced lengthwise) and then chop the Shallot. In a small bowl mix together Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. (Start with one Lemon and then see if you need more and how much lemon you like- I am not a good gauge since I love LEMONS!) Now toss together dressing, string beans, shallots, and peppers. It also might be nice to add fresh tomatoes as tomato season is here. This is perfect for a summer BBQ!



Aug 042009

new-candy-shish-kebob.jpg candy-shish-kebob.jpg

I thought this was just about the cutest favor that was given out at a shower recently. A candy shish Kebob

These were bright, colorful, and looked so adorable all individually wrapped displayed in a basket. My only disappointment was that I only got one! They were homemade but totally looked store bought!


Jul 092009


This past holiday weekend I went home with some friends.  Since having people over to my tiny apartment is really not an option, I thought I would take advantage of space at home and I do enjoy cooking with my mom.  One of my friends who came had just finished business school, now I know she worked very hard but I also know she become enriched from her travels. Her suggestion was that we grill some rum soaked Pineapple for the BBQ.  That this is what she had done every/one night on one of her vacations in school. While it was served as a snack at this bbq – it also serves as a great topping for burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches.  What we also found out that some people liked the burned wedges since some of our slices were not perfectly cut. This was a brilliant idea and a huge success they were loved by all!

1 Whole Pineapple (with skin removed and sliced ½ inch thick)

1 Cup of Dark Rum

¾ Cup of Brown Sugar

Fresh Ginger Zest about 3 Teaspoons

½ Cup of Water to dissolve the sugar in

Combine all ingredients into Pyrex dish and let pineapple marinate for at least 1 hour. Grill pineapple on each side for 1 minute.

Other ideas for flavoring: Honey, Lemon, Lime, Cinnamon, Ground Cloves, and Vanilla.

Jun 232009




This is a different take on Pound Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries. This was a perfectly portable dessert that I made to bring to a picnic.

1 Stick of Butter

½ Cup of Vegetable Shortening

1 ½ Cup of Sugar

3 Eggs

1 ½ Cup of Flour

½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 Cup of Milk

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Preheat Oven 350

In a mixing bowl mix together Butter, Vegetable Shortening, and Sugar for about 2 minutes. Mix one egg in at a time and vanilla.  Add the Flour, Baking Soda, and Milk alternating between the dry and wet ingredients. Fill cupcake cups about ¾ of the way to the top and bake for 18-22 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before topping them with whipped cream. Makes about 15 Cupcakes.

Strawberry Whipped Cream

1 Pint of Heavy Cream

1 Cup of Marshmallow Fluff

7 Medium Sized Strawberries

2 Teaspoons of Sugar

Dice up the strawberries and in a bowl toss them with the sugar- let stand for just a minute or so. In a separate bowl add the Heavy Cream, Fluff and Strawberry Mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Note: the cream did splatter a lot with the Fluff. Top each cupcake with whipped cream; I finished them off by topping them with a chocolate cover strawberry.