Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Look Back at the Last Decade.

I began to write "a look back at 09"
when I realized that the decade was indeed over.
This caused a massive retrospect, and I was
fairly blown away by everything that has happened.
To save myself from being long winded here is a list of lists
aka: things that stood out.


The Happy:
*I met 2 of my very best friends by pure chance
*Graduated college after 6 long years (and high school in 01)
*I met my boyfriend, which renewed my belief in love
*I traveled to: London, Amsterdam, Paris(twice), Rome,
Charleston(a millionx),New Orleans, Myrtle Beach(2 or 3x),
Tampa, Baltimore and Las Vegas(2x).
*I adopted a hobo dog
*I became an aunt
*I moved to New York (which has been my ultimate dream)

The Sad:
*I lost 2 grandparents and a prom date.
*Saw friends lose their parents/friends
*Saw friendships (that I thought mattered) dissolve
*Had my heart broken 3x
*I was put on the FIT waiting list 2x-which
at the time was devastating.
*I totaled Shelby, (my car) in 2006

Things that I am Proud of:
*I moved to Charleston on a whim
*I finished something that I started (college)
*In 2002 I spent a month in NYC at Parsons and that
forever changed my life
*I'm extremely happy that I was able to give a shelter dog
a second chance...even if he hates most people.
*I started eating fish (and eating better in general)
*I have been off of my anxiety medication for almost a year



Last night a friend agreed that 2010 would be good,
and said that this is the year of the tiger.
The tiger is a symbol of bravery.
So here's to being brave in 2010

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Merry

After a week in South Jersey, I returned to the city
feeling refreshed. Needless to say, I spent yesterday
falling back in love with NY. Not that I ever really fell out
of love, but it becomes so familiar that you forget to really
appreciate how wonderful it really is.

I suppose that happens to everyone from time to time.

Anyhow, the week in NJ was wonderful and relaxing.
Joelie Bear is getting so big!
It's only a matter of time before he will really
start walking and talking!















Christmas Eve is always spent with my moms side
of the family, and this is the second year that it has been
held at our house. We go through bottles and bottles of
champagne and lots of food-so you know it's a good time.
















This is another culinary milestone.
I, JessChambers, made a buche de noel!
This was taken right after I rolled it up,
and I'm just happy that it didn't fall apart.
With some more practice at rolling and decorating
I believe that my yule logs will become more
visually pleasing.















Last but never least, is my little burrito.
He only was slightly mean on our visit,
and had very few accidents in the house.
I'm very proud of him.
















It was definitely a wonderful Christmas,
giftwise I hit the jackpot! I received that cake plate
I have wanted forever, Hocus Pocus on dvd,
new pots and pans, a Berlin guide, and "No Impact Man"
by Colin Beaven, among other things.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Next up will be a look back at 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

WinterWonderland: the quest for pizza

The bf and I braved the snowstorm
(which is currently at it's worst)
to get a frozen pizza and 2 oranges from
our 24 hour grocery store.
































It looks like we have anywhere from 7-12"
outside, and the snow keeps falling.
We had both planned to head to our respective
hometowns tomorrow, but I guess we'll see about
that in the morning.















For now we are going to curl up on the couch
with some pizza,( and eventually hot chocolate)
and watch "It's a Wonderful Life".

Being snowed in has never been so nice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

cookies!

These are 2 of my favorite cookie recipes.

These spiced cardamom cookies are a nice alternative
to gingerbread. The dough, before it is chilled, is extremely sticky,
but these cookies are well worth the trouble.















One of my favorite cookies, are Girl Scout Thin Mints.
Though after reading the box and finding all kinds of crap ingredients,
I had vowed never to eat them again. Then I found a faux Thin Mints
recipe in the Martha Stewart Living Holiday Sweets edition,
and all of my peppermint cookie dreams were realized.
These are just as delicious without the preservatives and HFC
*high fructose corn syrup

1 cup all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
*optional white nonpareils for decorating

*In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder,
and 1/4 tsp salt

*In large bowl cream sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour mixture, mix
until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for
at least 1 hr, or up to overnight.

*Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment.
Form balls of dough, equal to 1 tsp, and place on lined sheets.
Dip the bottom of a glass in flour and flatten the dough into
1 1/2" rounds. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 8-10 min.
Transfer to wire racks, and cool completely.

*Combine chocolate, peppermint extract, and 1/8 tsp of salt
in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
Heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
(I don't own a heatproof bowl, so I used one of my medium
metal bowls and just handled it with an oven mitt.)

*Replace parchment on baking sheets. Holding each cookie across
the tines of a fork, dip in chocolate to coat completely,
then tap underside of fork on the side of the bowl to allow
excess chocolate to drip off. Place onto prepared sheet,
and repeat until all cookies are coated. Decorate with nonpareils.
Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened, at least 1 hr.
Cookies can be refrigerated up to 5 days, between layers of
parchment in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Latest Obsessions

*Assorted Hershey's chocolates in holiday foils

*Purple cardigan from Uniqlo as seen in the photo
of the previous post. (been wearing it 24/7 since Monday)

*Twin Peaks season 2.
(we're only up to the second episode but
this season seems even creepier than the one before)

*Wham's "Last Christmas" and Mariah Carey's "Christmas
(Baby Please Come Home)"



*Hot cider from the greenmarket

*Seeing NYC decked out in Christmas lights.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Oh Tannenbaum.

At 1.30 am last night, or this morning
(whichever) the bf and I finally decorated our tree!

Topped with a red squid, and covered in our
(mostly red) ornaments, it looks so lovely.
Now it really feels like Christmas.
















I have a lot of favorite ornaments, but these two
are definitely at the top of the list. I've had them
for as long as I can remember.







































I should also mention that I have not one,
but two Christmas Troll ornaments.
Yes, I was a part of the troll fad of the 90's.




















These little gnomes are the bf's favorite ornaments.
Apparently his mom was never a fan of them, but always
felt obligated to hang them, so they now
reside on our tree.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Weekend recap

So this past weekend was filled with activities.
Friday morning was spent at the greenmarket
picking up potatoes, celery root, beets,
flowers and milk. The bf also purchased
another bottle of sparkling cider.
I think that we've had at least 5 bottles since the fall!

I took some photos of my favorite flower stand
where everything is dried, this saves me the trouble of
having to kill an innocent plant with my black thumb.
We picked up a winter arrangement which now resides
on our "mantle" (which is what we are calling our long table
since we are sans fireplace.)






















And this, this is romanesco cauliflower. I have not
cooked with it yet, but the sight alone is worth a photo.
















Saturday was a long but very rewarding day.
The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade finally happened
and I could not have imagined a better outcome.

I had 59 sales and sold over 100 cards!!
I'm still kind of in shock from that.

I should have walked around and taken more
photos, but I just never think of those things
until it is too late. But I did take a shot
of the back room where a bunch of us were-
along with the food and delicious cupcakes
from Nine Cakes.















This is by far one of my favorite items from the show,
and this should come as no surprise to anyone, a cephalopod sconce.
I definitely told Jen (jtopolski) multiple times, how much I loved them.
Hopefully these will be hanging from my bedroom wall very soon.




















This was my first cavalcade and it really was a wonderful experience.
I finally got to meet a lot of the other team members,
and see how my cards fared at a larger show. I am definitely
going to get my butt in gear with this card business and hopefully
2010 will be even better.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Untitled.

Holy crap it's December!
Time to make my house cozy and bake
delicious things!

I started with Buttermilk Biscuits.
Once you try this recipe, no pre-made
kind will ever be good enough.

















3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup Butter (or shortening)

Sift the flour to make sure there are no lumps. Add in
the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the
butter slowly, working it into the dry ingredients
(I find that the best way to mix is with your hands)


Next add the buttermilk, working it into the mixture
too. After everything is thoroughly mixed, plop it
down on a floured counter top or cutting board.

Turn you oven to 450 to allow it to preheat. While
it's heating up knead your dough until it is about
the consistency of clay. You can make it a little dryer
if need be by sprinkling more flour on your
counter or cutting board. As you knead your dough
it will pick up more of the flour.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut out circles
with a cutter or by hand.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and cook for about
18 minutes or until lightly browned

I've been topping them with the leftover cranberry compote
from my recent Thumbprint Cookies. It really lasts too! It has kept
in the fridge for about 2 weeks now.


In non-kitchen news The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade draws very near!
Only 4 days away! eek! I'm almost ready- just need to
print up a few more cards and figure out a nice display.

I've given up on the penguin holiday card. After 3 tries it just
did not get any better. So RIP holiday penguins.

And hello holiday bunny!















He still needs some work, but this will be my 3rd
set of holiday cards. Simple drawings are my favorite.


I will end this post with a photo of Joelie,
miracle baby extraordinaire, and my nephew.
Cutest thing ever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Countdown Begins.

Less than 2 weeks until the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade.
Today I managed to print a lot of otter cards,
touch up and package the santa squids, AND
post both sets of holiday cards to my etsy page.







































There was a fail in all this success,
the giving penguins that just don't
want to print properly. le sigh.
I'm close to giving up on them-
but I want to give it one more shot
because I love the design so much.

Between all this cardmaking I
did manage to spend some time
in the kitchen. Last Saturday I made
Cranberry thumbprint cookies.

I wanted to make these cookies because:
a.) I fell victim to Whole Foods cranberry bog display
and ended up leaving with a bag of them.
b.) I could not wait to use my new cookie sheet and
cooling rack. I have officially become a kitchen nerd.
c.)I love cornmeal, and everything that
you can make with it.















I'm excited to start my holiday baking soon, not to
mention the decorating! But it is still 3 days til
Thanksgiving, and I cannot begin to think about
Christmas until Friday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Latest Obsessions

* FlashForward. The show poses a lot of questions that seldom get answered but I am already sucked in so there is no use in fighting it.

*Concord Grapes. I've been buying quarts and juicing them.
It takes a few strains but the end result is delicious.
(and good for you, possibly helping anything from heart disease
to breast cancer)

*The Secret History of the World by:Mark Booth
This book is so interesting, but (for me at least) some
paragraphs require a second and sometimes third reading.
It's a lot of esoteric ideas to take in! But this time I am determined
to get through it-I tried once before and then became
distracted by other books that weren't attempting
to change the way I thought about the world.

Polyvore.com- I found this website thanks to Rebecca's blog post.
I was instantly addicted. Basically, you are creating
your own inspiration board-which was always my favorite part
of my fashion classes. Mine definitely aren't as intricate
as some of the others on there but it's fun to put outfits together.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Sick Day

I am actually taking a sick day.
This rarely happens.
I always keep on truckin'
and prolong whatever sickness I might have.

Not this time!
Today is dedicated to getting better,
and resting. I currently have enchiladas
from my favorite mexican restaurant
(De Mole) being delivered. All I have wanted
through this cold is spicy food.

Because I am feeling a bit loopy, I doubt this post
will come together in a cohesive way. So I will just
post my halloween photos and say goodnight until
next time.

My mom and I














Old Gregg and Howard Moon


















the bf, Joelie Bear and I *cutest nephew ever*














My sister Nan, butchering a pumpkin

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn in Sunnyside

Sunnyside Gardens is one of the most charming
neighborhoods in NY. Especially now
that the leaves are turning!

I took a few shots on my way to work, the first two
are of my favorite trees. They are female
Gingko trees, which turn a brilliant yellow
each fall. And they also stink. I wondered why-
so I took this off of Wikipedia so that we could all be
enlightened.

"Two ovules are formed at the end of a stalk, and after pollination,
one or both develop into seeds. The seed is 1.5-2 cm long.
Its fleshy outer layer (the sarcotesta) is light yellow-brown,
soft, and fruit-like. It is attractive in appearance,
but contains butanoic acid (also known as butyric acid)
and smells like rancid butter (which contains the same chemical)
or feces when fallen"










































This is a house that is across from ours
that has a lovely ivy rainbow that I could
not resist photographing.
















This cat always sunbathes in the same yard,
amid the same pile of leaves/twigs etc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Consider the Octopus.

Last night I was watching The Amazing Octopus
on the Science Channel and it was indeed
amazing. It followed a female octopus from birth,
off the coast of New Zealand.

I didn't get through the whole thing because it was
almost 2 and I was exhausted. But I did see the octopus
escape from humans twice, and hear about something
called "octo venom." I did not realize that ALL octopi
were venomous! Was this common knowledge that I somehow
managed to miss??

Anyhow, the octopus has won my heart. I will be obsessing over
it for the next few weeks. Hopefully putting it on a card
for my etsy shop. Here are some videos about this wonderful cephalopod.






Monday, October 26, 2009

So much for goals.

I had high hopes of completing my list of goals
from the previous post.

But things rarely work out as I expect them to.
For example, the dumpling festival was the biggest
disappointment of all.
Not only was it raining, but it was packed and the lines
for each dumpling stand were at least a half hour long.

If people only had to hand over a ticket, and receive a plate
of dumplings-I really cannot fathom what the hold up was.
Zach and I were not happy, but we did have a delicious lunch
at Whole Foods instead. And our $10 we gave in hopes of
dumplings ended up going to the Food Bank of NY, so it
wasn't all in vain.

One thing that I did do this weekend was spend a lot of time
in the kitchen. And so did this gentleman.

















He likes to survey the floor for any rogue bits of food,
(which is not the most ideal situation )
as I managed to step on his feet many times.
But boy, is he cute.

On Sunday my original plan was to have a mini
epic feast, and then head to the East Village for
some pumpkin carving. The carving never happened
because I did not anticipate the length of time this
feast would take.

I have a whole new level of respect for the women
(or men) that take on the task of Thanksgiving.

I made a chicken, stuffing, brussel sprout slaw,
mashed potatoes, and for dessert apple dumplings.
(the bf loves apple desserts.) We paired this with
the delicious sparkling cider that we got at the market.


This is the spread.




























Please forgive my shotty
photo. The lighting in our apartment is really not the best.
I still need Rebecca to teach me how to take beautiful photos.


I also have this photo. My carton of celery sticks is
warning me that it may contain celery..

Friday, October 23, 2009

Goals for the Weekend

* Attend the Dumpling Festival on Bowery

*Cook a greenmarket chicken in the roasting pan
that my mom-mom gave me 3 Christmas' ago.
(She felt it was necessary for me to have it)

*Draw up shark thank you cards, christmas squids,
and other creatures.

*Carve a pumpkin.

*Finish putting together my Old Gregg Halloween Costume

*Make potato leek soup, something with brussel sprouts, and bread.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Regretsy. I love you.

Etsy is a place where anyone
can sell anything that they might make.

This, for the most part, creates
an amazing online marketplace for
crafters and customers alike.
But because Etsy is open to anyone
there is a TON of crap on there.

This is where the fine folks at
Regretsy come in. They post all the
hilarious junk that is currently being sold.
(usually for outrageous prices)

The worst part is that a lot of the sellers
featured on regretsy actually have
a lot of sales. Which really leads me to wonder
-who the hell is buying it!?

Here are some of my regretsy favs so far.











































































Saturday, October 17, 2009

300th Post

It's Saturday night around 8
and I am sitting comfortably on the couch
watching CSI and eating Butternut Squash Curry.

This is truly an ideal evening. obviously.
I prefer to stay away from Manhattan
on weekend evenings for the most part.
So crowded, bad late night subway service.
Who needs that when I have cozy house
with a furry little buddy in it?

Today is also wonderful because I booked
a plane ticket to Berlin this morning.
A few days ago I woke up with the feeling
like I needed to be there.
I've never even been that interested in going
to Germany in general let alone a specific city.

As of right now I am traveling alone.
My best friend is thinking it over,
so I may or may not have a travel buddy.
Either way, I'm excited. And definitely
curious to see what awaits me there.

I imagine that I will come back looking like this



















with art that looks like this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Latest Obsessions

*"Song for Jesse" Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

*Kekua (a brand of mexican hot chocolate)

*Twin Peaks re-runs

*falling slowly into hibernation mode.

*this pumpkin bread recipe

*The Bright Side Project

*
Fred Astaire by Joseph Epstein

Friday, October 09, 2009

Crafts in Chelsea

Next Saturday I will be participating in
Crafts in Chelsea.

This will be taking place @ PS 11 which is
on 21st St b/w 8th and 9th Ave.
It is from 10-5, and should be a pretty good time.

The vendors will mainly be from the NewNewNY etsy group
(my craft group)
















So if you read this, and you happen to be free
you should stop by!!
I'll be there with all the usual cards
plus, my new holiday ones as well!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enticing Challenge.

I was reading Clotilde's blog,
Chocolate and Zucchini and her latest
entry is about breadmaking.

Specifically, something called the
Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.
or BBA for short. Right now,
all kinds of folks are participating.

All you need is a kitchen and a copy
of Peter Reinhart's book,
"The Bread Baker's Apprentice".
You can follow online to keep track of
others progress and post your own.


















I may have to try this. As bread baking is something
that I have always wanted to do.
This will be the perfect time to start.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Cards

Just finished up my halloween cards!
Here is a preview.















These should be on etsy by tomorrow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I feel like my Mom Mom

very kitchen savvy.

I made pita bread today,
and it was ridiculously easy!!















This is definitely a culinary milestone for me.
(please keep in mind that I could not cook
2 years ago) So things slowly have been
coming together in the kitchen.

this is the recipe I used.
No modifications were necessary.
Just add hummus.

  • 1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Preparation:

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour
and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with
wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.

PLace dough on floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
When the dough is no longer stick and is smooth and elastic,
it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl.
Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.

Allow to sit in a warm place for about 2 hours,
or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces.
Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven.
Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles.
Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.















Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up.
Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet
and add additional pitas for baking.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

work in progress.

Currently working on holiday cards.
these are the beginnings.































I am determined to have these cards completed
by the craft show in Chelsea on Oct 17.