Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Food/Drink

When Easter Gets Cancelled, I Bake & I Bike

One of the best things about living in New York City is that everything can be delivered or outsourced.

Laundry? We drop off our clothes and our laundry lady hooks them up.

Cleaning Supplies? Soap.com or Amazon.com are happy to help.

Need a babysitter? Care.com has you

Groceries? For my neighborhood, it’s either a co-op or FreshDirect.

Chris and I dislike grocery shopping so much that even a co-op is asking too much of us. So we use FreshDirect. And since this is New York, eventually the delivery and customer service was going to let me all the way down.

Back around Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of not submitting my order by the time deadline. Chris and I ended up in a grocery store at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving, buying all the stuff that wasn’t delivered. I wasn’t happy about that, but that was my fault.

This past weekend however, is totally on FreshDirect. When I woke up on Saturday, I saw an e-mail from them saying they were trying to reach me by phone.

I called them and they said the driver came by at 9am, but no one was home. My angry black woman almost came out right then y’all. I informed the lady on the phone that my husband and I had been home all morning, and we have the worlds loudest doorbell, so there’s no way they rang our doorbell and missed us.

She said they tried to call, and they “always call”, and why didn’t I answer the phone? I explained to her, that “always” doesn’t apply in my case because in almost 2 years of deliveries, I’ve never received a phone call from any driver ever because we only request the delivery when we’re home, and it’s “never” been an issue until today.

She said she’d reschedule the delivery and they would swing back by our house before ending their route, around 2p.

Of course, 2p came and went, with no delivery. I called back around 4p to find out what happened. This time I got a man who told me this:

-it does say it was scheduled for re-delivery

-they didn’t re-deliver my groceries

-they have gone back to the warehouse and dismantled my assembled groceries

-their shift is over and they’ve gone home

-he doesn’t know why my groceries weren’t delivered

-is there anything else he can do for me

 

So I tell him:

-you haven’t actually done anything for me

-Just confirming, that my Easter dinner is cancelled, and there’s nothing you can do about that?

-Who do I speak with to file an official complaint?

 

He took $25 of my next order. He rescheduled my delivery for Wednesday.

While waiting for the food to arrive, Easter was over, and that meant carbs!

I couldn’t decide what to make, but I knew it was going to include bread or potatoes or rice. I ended up modifying a recipe for apple muffins and made and apple-blueberry-pear loaf in a bundt pan. It was delicious.

For good measure, I also made red onion-garlic-baby bella mini frittatas. Breakfast-on-the-go was what I was going for, and it worked pretty well.

I also considered making butter cookies, but decided against that. I have quite the list of carb-y goodness that I’ve just been waiting to eat, but I don’t want to overdo it. So I’m pacing myself and only eating one thing at a time.

Sunday: that apple loaf thingee

Monday: pasta

Tuesday-Friday: I ate a bag of potato chips. I split the bag into portions so that I stayed under my daily carb limit. I’m seriously impressed that I managed to stay within the limit

And today, I had french toast. And it was so damn good. Definitely over the carb limit, so maybe no carbs tomorrow.

I fell into the trap y’all. I did a little bit of exercising, so I thought it was okay to go overboard.

In my defense, I really did a lot of exercising. I went to yoga yesterday, and it felt really good.

I love my yoga studio in Brooklyn. I go to Sacred Yoga, and the teachers are so great there. This class was a foundations class, and it was so beneficial because I got to press reset on some on my yoga poses. Reinforcing all the things I’m supposed to be focusing on in each pose was great.

Since I bought my new bike on Easter, I was happy to ride it to yoga. I love this new bike. The only thing wrong with it is it doesn’t have that step through thing that makes it easy to wear a skirt with, but just look at it.

I had to add a basket, a kickstand, head & tail lights, a water bottle holder, and tire locks. But totally worth it if I stay safe and my bike stays un-stolen. Image from Fulton Bikes

Riding it makes me feel so exhilarated. It goes pretty fast without much effort on my part and the gear shifts making riding the mild elevation changes in my neighborhood much easier than on my other bike.

I also decided I would ride the bike to the train station going to and from work to get in a little bit more exercise. The first day, I just went to the nearest station, but today I decided to go much further. I got almost all the way to downtown Brooklyn before I got tired.

I hopped off the bike, locked it up with my super high duty lock, and headed down the subway steps. I reached into my purse to grab my Metrocard.

And nothing.

I didn’t have my Metrocard. I didn’t have my backup Metrocard. I didn’t have my debit or credit cards. I didn’t even have my ID or the singles I keep just in case. I only had about $1.38 in change floating in the bottom of my purse.

Everything I needed was in my yoga bag. So I walked my tired butt back up to the bike, called work to tell them I’d be late, and biked back home.

By the time I got to my house, My legs were feeling very jelly-like. Mind you, this was hardly any distance at all, only a few miles. But for me, who has done next to no biking or serious exercising in months, I was done.

I took the bike back inside, grabbed my money and ID, and went to the bus stop.

The good news is that I got in my full exercise on the bike for the day. I’m thinking I should keep it up and do my Tracy Anderson DVD when I get home. I unfortunately can’t do yoga everyday because of working in Manhattan and the studio not being open early or late enough. We’ll see how I feel when I get home.

I’m trying to ramp up the exercise, and go with what feels good. But I’m also feeling like I should set some sort of schedule that I can make myself stick to. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ve started and stopped this “attempt to get healthy” thing so many times. I just really want it to stick this time.

I’ve got good motivation though.

I just got plane tickets for Chris and I to go to the Dominican Republic this August for that family vacation. If that’s not motivation to get my body right, I don’t know what is.

I also got my ticket to go visit my parents next month. I’m going during the week, right before Mother’s Day. Should be a fun couple of days. It’s going to feel so weird going to their new house and that being their home. But I’m excited for it.

I’m excited for a lot right now: the sandwich I’m going to get from Potbelly one day this week, riding my bike more (NOT today), shopping for a swimsuit this summer). All these damn endorphins have got me going. Cross your fingers that the feeling lasts!


You Are All Mini Cupcakes to Me

Twenty-six days since my last post. As horrible as that sounds, it is an improvement over the months between the last two posts. Sometimes life is like that, you know?

I checked the weather forecast today, and for the first in months (months!), the forecast says it will not drop below freezing again. Ever again. Well, at least not for the next 10 days. God willing, it will stay above freezing all day every day for the next 7 1/2 months. Fingers crossed New Yorkers.

Checking the weather made me feel hopeful. It’s funny how my outlook on life can be tied to the weather. Not my mood necessarily, but how optimistic and productive I’ll be in a given day.

Even though it was super cold on my walk to work from the subway, I felt happy. I knew it was the last 24 degree morning I’d have to walk through for a long time, so I was feeling full of energy.

Consequently, I had a very productive day at work. I’m talking a cross-everything-off-your-to-do-list, come-up-with-new-tasks-cause-you’re-in-the-mood level of productiveness.

And not feeling completely drained from the combination of “work and not completing said work” has led me to writing this post.

I want to talk about shopping. I gave up shopping for Lent. Shopping and carbs.

Shit, it’s been hard. I may or may not have fallen off the wagon a couple of times. For carbs, falling off the wagon includes eating 4 french fries or sweet potatoe fries or a bowl of cereal here or there. Otherwise, I keep my carb intake to less than 15g per serving.

It’s really impressive that I haven’t made myself a big batch of mashed potatoes. I miss potatoes. And breadsticks. And cake.

For shopping, falling off the wagon looks like this:

While I’m still trying to figure out my own home-made shampoo, Carol’s daughter has some amazing new products I’m trying, even though I should’ve waited until after Easter.

And also like this:

This is my current “everyday” bag for the beginning of Spring. Technically neutral, so cute, holds everything I need. Now I definitely should NOT have bought it, but I love it so.

And… also like this:

This I bought the day I bought all those Carol’s Daughter products… I needed something to carry them home in! When I was at the airport, everyone that looked remotely my age was carrying these super stylish and fun backpacks, so I joined the trend. I have nothing to say for myself.

But other those lovely finds, I only purchased what was pre-ordered (meaning, I never had to click “checkout”), and food, which was allowed, as long as it didn’t have carbs.

Most of my favorite places to eat have very little carb-free options. Everything is fried or in sandwich form or served over pasts. I miss sandwiches. The willpower it took to avoid Potbelly’s during lunch one day is what led to the pink bag pictured above. It was either that or walking to Penn Station to buy a Cinnabon.

I miss Cinnabon. I haven’t had one in literally years. But still…

I’ve been coping with what I gave up for Lent by living vicariously through others. When I went to Indianapolis to visit my friend who just had a baby, we went grocery shopping, bought the baby a dress, and had her take pictures with the Easter bunny. That was good money spending, it scratched the itch a bit, you know?

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for her, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

When it comes to carbs, I’ve gotten quite creative. I’ve been eating meals that are basically exactly what I’d eat if I turned vegetarian, mixed with a whole bunch of meat.

For example, I made a dish with quinoa, black beans, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, basil, and sauteed kale. It was a hearty, delicious, low-carb dish. It was still low carb because I only had a 1/3 cup cooked quinoa in one serving of it.

But because I’m me, I added bacon to it and ate it alongside siracha, worchester & white balsamic glazed chicken wings. I’d be such a good vegetarian, but I don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

And another way I cope with carbs is to imagine those around me as carbs. Like in a cartoon where the hungry character imagines their friend as a turkey leg.

I’ve been imagining my co-workers as all sorts of things. They get a kick out of me figuring out what each person is. I have a buttermilk biscuit, a single breadstick from Olive Garden, fried zucchini, a blondie, fettuccine alfredo, and squid ink gnocchi just to name a few. Drool.

And those of you who are reading this, in my mind you are all mini cupcakes.

This image comes from

This image comes from The Cupcake Blog. If you  bake, seriously check out this blog.

Perhaps you are 24 assorted flavors, like you get in the grocery store, but a good grocery store. Like Publix. With whipped cream frosting and no artificial colors.

I miss Publix. They’re down in Florida and they made the best sweet tea. And fresh hoagie rolls. And breaded chicken tenders. And store-brand cookies. Simply the best.

Okay. Moving on. Staying strong.

There are benefits to all of this deprivation. Saving money is nice. And not gaining weight is also nice.

I’d like to switch from “not gaining” to “actually losing”. I have a plan for that. I’m back down to only the one job because working 14 out of every 15 days was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. After a few days off with absolutely nothing, I’m planning on taking my ass back to yoga.

Even though my bike was stolen, I’m thinking I’ll just walk there because driving then finding parking is ridiculous.

Which brings me back to the weather. It’s feeling so spring-ish that I feel like walking 20+ minutes to my yoga studio.

Or maybe I’ll take the money I’ve saved the last 5 weeks and buy myself another bike next Sunday.

This is the best part of spring. Feeling like the possibilities are endless is one of my favorite ways to feel.

Potential is my drug.

I’m off to do bit of window shopping. Cupcakes and bicycles.


June’s Wine School: Dry Riesling

As I mentioned when I discussed May’s wine choice, I purchased this bottle from a place in California and had to have it shipped to Missouri, where one of my best friends then physically brought it to me in New York.

Totally worth it though because I really wanted to try the exact wine Eric Asimov suggested, and I simply don’t have it in me to visit multiple different wine shops locally.

Not when it can be found online.

What can I say?

I’m a millennial, don’t judge me.

So, I haven’t been blogging with the consistency I would like, but five posts in four weeks is an improvement over recent history. Plus, I’ve been busy.

I went back to yoga! Hot yoga is the best! I’ve been so busy with this departmental transition at work. if you follow me on Instagram, you saw me post one of my last “goodnight Empire State Building” posts meaning I’m moving to the day shift. I’m still trying out the video blogging thing. A few logistics are tripping me up, but I’m almost there.

And sleep, sleep takes up a bunch of my time.

Anyway, back to this wine.

I tried June’s wine the day after I tried the Sancerre from May.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I love Riesling. It’s my favorite white wine. I was already moving more towards drier Rieslings even before I fell in love with Bordeaux. But since my love affair with Bordeaux began, I pretty much have to drink a dry Riesling if I’m going to drink Riesling at all.

Expecting to love this bottle of wine, I eagerly opened it. And I was not disappointed. I was everything I already love about Riesling: sweet-but-not-too-sweet, acidic tartness somewhere far in the back, feels like 100% juice in the mouth, always inviting me to take another sip.

Let’s talk about sweet-but-not-too-sweet. If you don’t like sweet wines at all, you won’t like this. But Riesling has always been my go-to wine for super newbies to try. People who swear wine is too bitter for them can usually find something to like about Riesling. The wine I usually have them try is now too sweet for me to drink with any regularity, but this Riesling was great, not too sweet.

Now about this acidic tartness. The best comparison is the feeling you get in your mouth when you’re eating sauteed cabbage that’s been finished with vinegar. In my mouth, it has that same tartness. If you don’t like cabbage, ignore that comparison. But seriously, sauteed cabbage with bacon and finished with white wine vinegar? So good. That’s what I should have made to go with this wine!

No time for regrets though. We’re on to the mouth feel. When I say it felt like 100% juice, I mean it didn’t feel heavy. Unless you shop exclusively organic, you’ve at some point bought juice that wasn’t quite all “juice”. That syrupy mouth-coating feeling you get from Hawaiian Punch, Sunny D, or juice cocktail is the feeling I’m saying this wine didn’t have. It just felt clean and clear, if that makes sense.

Last is the inviting nature. I’ve never had trouble finishing a bottle of Riesling, and this bottle was no different. Unlike the Beaujolais, which I had to put in effort to finish the bottle of, the Riesling was gone. And missed. It surprised me when I discovered the bottle was empty. It wasn’t a happy moment.

The bottle I tried was Donnhoff Nahe Riesling Trocken. I found it online, and I think I paid ~$20 for it, not including shipping.

May's bottle of Sancerre and June's bottle of Riesling. Riesling is on the left.

May’s bottle of Sancerre and June’s bottle of Riesling. Riesling is on the left.

Because of the time I took off from blogging, I ended up purchasing the next five months of wine school bottles all at once, which was nice because I saved on the shipping.

If you’d like to see what Eric Asimov from the New York Times has to say about Dry Riesling, click here.


May’s Wine School: Sancerre

Hey y’all!

I know I’m extra late here, but due to being super busy and having such a difficult time even finding the recommended wine for Wine School, I didn’t even try the May wine until the middle of August.

And I took 100+ days off from blogging, but I’m finally posting this now.

Instead of going to all these different local wine shops (because who has time for that?), I just used Google shopping and finally found the exact bottle I wanted from a wine shop in California.

Eric Asimov chose some pretty hard to find wines. May came and went and I still couldn’t find the wine in New York, you know, cause I looked so hard. So I was back to the store in California.

Here’s the catch, the store doesn’t ship to New York State or Illinois. But luckily, my best friend lives in St. Louis, and they do ship to Missouri. I called him and begged him to let me send the wine to him. He agreed because he’s the best.

All he had to do was ship it to me once it arrived. By this time, it was mid-June. My friend who works for UPS gave me advice on the best way to get this bottle to New York from Missouri. It involves a bit of don’t ask, don’t tell of the is-this-alcohol-let’s-not-discuss-it variety. Suffice it to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Luckily, my friend came to visit NYC in August. He packed my wine in his suitcase and hand-delivered the bottles. Yes, I said bottles.

 

Sancerre and June's bottle of Riesling

Sancerre and June’s bottle of Riesling

I went through all of this just to try this wine, but it makes for a good story I guess. The silver lining is that they also had June’s wine: Riesling, which is pictured above with the Sancerre. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Riesling, and how I’ve been moving toward drier Rieslings recently anyway, which is exactly the type chosen for Wine School.

Even better than the hand delivered wine was the fun weekend my best friend and I had while he was here. We took what had to be our 37th selfie, and I feel like I’m getting pretty good at taking them.

I usually start with cutting my face out. But I get it right on the 2nd or 3rd try.

I usually start with cutting my face out. But I get it right on the 2nd or 3rd try.

So how did I feel about Sancerre? Well… ever since I began my love affair with Bordeaux, I haven’t loved white wine nearly as much as I used to. But the wine wasn’t bad. it’s made from sauvignon blanc grapes, but apparently it’s different from sauvignon blanc wine.

We were encouraged to respond emotionally to the wine rather than “hyper-rational”, so that’s what I tried to do. In hindsight, I don’t remember loving the wine and I wasn’t fantasizing about what meals go great with it. But I liked it.

The taste of it reminded me of mud pies. Well, not mud pies exactly. Did you ever make a mud pie as a child? I did, but not out of mud. My “mud pies” were made from sand in the sandbox at the park near my childhood best friend’s apartment. I may or may not have taken a bite just to see how powerful my imagination was. My imagination was not powerful enough to make a sandy mud pie taste like anything but sandbox.

Moving on.

I did check a couple of times to see if there was sand in the bottom of my glass, like maybe some micro pieces of the cork got in somehow. Something about Sancerre reminded me of that time in my childhood.

I ended up drinking the Sancerre along with a pretty interesting meal. I had a friend over for a girl’s night in dinner. I made homemade shrimp alfredo with spinach fettuccine, roasted zucchini, roasted yellow squash, roasted asparagus, collard greens and roasted chicken. I love salads, but when it’s time to cook for a guest, no light meals. I refuse.

Don't let all the veggies fool you. This was not a light meal!

Don’t let all the veggies fool you. This was not a light meal!

While I’m thinking about emotional responses to the wine, I remember feeling peppy. It wasn’t a long lingering bubble bath kind of wine. It was a 90s pop music sing-a-long kind of wine. On top of a flavorful meal, the wine combatted the feelings of wanting to curl into a sleepy little ball. We watched The First Wives Club while we ate, and I feel like Sancerre made me just a touch wittier with my talking during the movie commentary.

Overall, I didn’t love it enough to put the wine in the regular rotation. But I would probably jump at the opportunity to enjoy a wine flight at a bar or restaurant that included Sancerre.

Image via Amazon

 

Obviously, I’m super far behind, but I’ll try and catch up to November. Here are the upcoming wines.
June: Riesling
July: Zinfandel
August: Chablis
September: Chianti
October: Champagne
November: Rioja

It’s like he knew my birthday month is October and wanted to celebrate!

I’ve already tried June’s wine, I just have to post what I wrote about it. After that I have five more. Five new wine choices in just a few weeks is my goal. Wish me luck to actually find those selections though!