Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Ya know those mornings when you have to get up so early that the sun is hours from rising and your level of exhaustion is legitimately making you physically ill? But you shake it off cause you're en route to the airport about to fly away on an amazing trip. And by 11 am you'll be checked in to your posh hotel and be sitting poolside sipping an umbrella drink, the aromas of coconut and salty air filling your sinuses inducing utter relaxation. Well, that's my life. Every day. But instead of a fabulous vacation, I'm getting up to watch Caillou. 

4:30?! 4:30. When does it end? I am no longer the mother of infants. A 3 year old and a 19 month old. I guess they technically "sleep through the night?" They're out by 8pm at the latest (So I'm told. I work at night and put them to sleep only 1 night a week)  and up usually around 6 or 6:30. But for far too many consecutive mornings it's been more like 5:30 or today- 4:30. No. I'm sorry. Completely unacceptable. Unless you're a farmer or shooting a Scorsese film, there is no good reason to be awake at 4:30 in the morning. Let me rephrase that: There is no good reason to be WAKING UP at 4:30 in the morning. I can think of many a good reason to be [still] AWAKE at 4:30 in the morning (internal chuckle, smiles with eyes) and none of them involve a bald, Canadian cartoon preschooler. 

Full time mom. Full time job. With odd hours. My level of exhaustion has gotten to the point of living outside my body. Just kind of floating above the reality of no more than 5-6 hours of sleep. Ever. And mind you, that 5-6 hours is never NOT interrupted. It's like being high all the time. I'm a highly functioning addict. If my addiction is lack of sleep. Really? I'm addicted to lack of sleep? I can't be addicted to something that gives even a little pleasure, ie: booze or chocolate. Why me? I don't know. All I do know is that I need to get some serious sleep seriously soon or I'm gonna end up on the news. And not like E! News. Like the serious news. Seriously. I'm starting to think Kate Gosselin wasn't such a crazy bitch afterall. She was just TIRED. Yikes. Recently my mind has been going to the place of getting prego with a third child just so people will feel so sorry for me they'll INSIST I catch some Z's. I mean, seriously?! Yes. I've officially entered Crazytown and I'm first lady. Zombiemom.
The two reasons I get up every morning.
 Also the reasons why the time between going to sleep
 and getting up is so brief.
I'm just gonna keep on holding on to the fact that the day will come when Nora and Pats will both be in school all day and perhaps sometime in that 12 year span I'll be able to grab a quick nap in the afternoon. I mean, THIS is now my fantasy? Sexy. And, in the meantime, I'll continue to slather myself in coco butter daily and every once in a while chug a skinnygirl margarita alone in my kitchen at 3 in the afternoon and stare blankly at my granite countertop. In that 90 seconds I have to myself, the granite turns to sand in my mind and I'm at a beachside pool laughing histerically about nothing. And I'm all alone. Cause nobody wants to lay  next to the crazy lady who's pounding cocktails before noon and laughing histerically to herself about nothing. I dunno why. She sounds like a good time gal to me.

Ok, folks it's mid October and you know what that means: People are coming out of the woodwork and going absolutely bat shit crazy for anything and everything PUMPKIN! I mean, it's gotten a little out of control. I know it's become sort of a marker of the beginning of the season, but... You know they sell canned pumpkin all year right? And nowhere in our constitution does it say "No man shall eat pie of squash before the morn of the first of November." The one that gets me the most is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. To make your own Pumpkin Spice coffee syrup costs about 2 cents and takes about 2 seconds to make. And the best part: you can enjoy it anytime of year in the privacy of your own home without even getting out of your jammies. So here it is:

1 c sugar (I use organic raw sugar cause I'm super snobby, but white sugar works just as well)
I c water
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 tsp of cloves
I use a little sifter like this over a funnel, over a squeeze bottle.

Bring water and sugar and spices to a boil, then kick it back to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Strain through a sifter or a coffee filter. I do this because for some reason when I've made cinnamon flavored syrups in the past, if you don't strain it it changes the consistency and it's very gloppy and gooey and doesn't dissolve properly. I strain it into a little plastic ketchup bottle or squeeze bottle from the dollar store. Or a squeeze bottle from a beauty supply store. Same diff.
Add to coffee to taste. Keep in mind Starbucks uses "2 pumps" in a standard flavored coffee. 

Next up, a savory twist on the pumpkin craze: Cheesy Pumpkin Noodles! So delish, so easy. And because of the color, your kids will think it's Mac and cheese while you're sneaking in the nutrients from the pumpkin! Devilish mama, you.


1 pound orechhiette (this is the pasta that looks like little ears or in this case little pumpkin crowns. Use whatever shape you like, I just like the themeyness of it!)
1 small container (15oz)of ricotta cheese (I tend to use fat free, but full fat or reduced fat works just as well)
1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling. There should be one ingredient in the label: PUMPKN.)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c half and half 
1/4 c grated parmesean cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (don't worry! it won't taste like pie, promise!)
Olive oil
Cheesy. Squashy. Yummy.
Boil pasta in salted water according to package. While that's cooking, grab a large bowl. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together ricotta, pumpkin, 2 cups of the mozzarella (reserve 1 c for the top), parmesan, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Drain pasta and mix thoroughly with cheese mixture. Pour it all into a greased lasagna pan. Top with remaining mozzarella, chopped sage leaves (about 10) and drizzle with olive oil and a teeny sprinkle of nutmeg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges become golden brown. Serve with crusty garlic bread and seasonal beer of choice. Or your fave red wine. Or whatever. 

Ok, now brunch is a rare outing for us these days, but this past weekend our cousin was in town and we wanted to show her a good time so we took her to a cute place in Morningside Heights, NYC: Kitchenette. They had a drink special that I was all over. Apple Pie Mimosa. Um...YUM. 
Super easy. Super delicious. 

Your fave champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine
Apple Cider

Champagne flute. Fill 3/4 of the way up with the bubbly. Top it off with the cider and sprinkle with cinnamon. Drink and be merry!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I will never ever forget the moments when my daughters first latched on to me, minutes old, as I fed them from my breast for the first time. It was the most amazing, natural, life changing experience. 
I will also never forget the moment my 2 1/2 year old was feeding and looked up looked up at me, puzzled and said, "Mama you're empty. You have nothing left." Sigh. Kid, you ain't just whistling Dixie. 
Now I've said before, I'm incredibly blessed that both my girls are efficient, enthusiastic diners and besides the occasional love bite it's been smooth sailing in the breast feeding department from the get.

Feeding Time at the Zoo
Hello, my name is Jenny Lee and I've been breast feeding for the past 2 years and 9 months and I see no end in sight. I haven't slept in almost as long and I feel like a crazy person. I nursed all through my second pregnancy and am now nursing a 14 month old AND an almost 3 year old in tandem for most of the day. Nora is absolutely right. I have nothing left. Well, technically I do. It's crazy! I can barely get through yoga without my tatas becoming veiny rocks. Let alone go out for the night! I recently went to an event with my husband and by the end of the night I looked like a 'ho vying for Flava Flav's affection. It's like I have 3 month old twins. Insanity. But I'm so incredibly torn. I know I'm not through nursing Pats. I want her to have breast milk until 2 if I can and she's still interested. So I feel the old tricks of vinegar or lemon juice on the nips to deter Nora is out. And even though it's a pain sometimes, Nora is CLEARLY not through with me. Am I naive in thinking she knows best when it comes to this? I don't want to deny her of my milk for my own convenience. I'm a crazy person, right? Ugh! My mom says I'm being selfish. That I continue to breast feed them for ME, not them. I really don't even know how to respond to that. Besides being afraid I'm gonna gain weight and my period will return and I'll go through extreme hormonal swings and have a nervous breakdown due to this trifecta, I don't know what she could possibly be talking about. Oh, wait... I don't know. Maybe she's right. 
3 weeks and 2 days later...
I did it. They say it takes 2 weeks for something to become a habit. Yeah, I don't know who "THEY" are either. But they say it. Like if you do hot yoga everyday for two weeks it becomes a habit. Or if you have a drink with lunch every day for two weeks. A habit. Not that I would know anything about either of those things... Anyhoo- I didn't wanna jinx it, so I waited an extra week. And I can say with absolute confidence: NORA IS WEENED! After 15 months of being double teamed daily by two pint sized piranhas, I'm officially down to nursing just one baby. It's strange. If I hadn't kept an account of that first week, I'd think it was no big whoop. Just another stage you go through as a parent. Something you GET through. And yes, I got through it. But it sucked. It sucked HARD. And then it just...didn't anymore. 
Heres's a little taste of how it all went down in the drama I referred to as NO BOOBIES FOR NORA or #NBFN:
DAY 1: 
A random Saturday. My 19 year old niece is in town some have some back up to help look after Pats if things get nasty, and I just decide to go for it. We didn't talk about it. I had no strategy. Just jumping in. Cutting her off cold turkey. Without any warning. I'm a horrible person. We stayed out all day as a distraction. We got home tonight and she's exhausted and a little warm. She tries to nurse and I say no. She doesn't really fight too much and settles for an extra cuddle and some agave-laced soy milk in a baby (sippy) cup. Hm. Maybe this won't be so bad after all... #NBFN
DAY 2:
Nora has a full blown fever of 103 and hasn't pooped all day. She keeps asking for boobies. I keep refusing. She's still not putting up much of a fight. She cries for 3-5 minutes, then settles for a cuddle. But she's so drowsy and pathetic from the fever and bloating, she's not doing much of anything. I feel terrible all I want to do is nurse her back to health. Literally. Maybe I should just quit and start this whole weaning thing once she's back to normal... No. Staying strong. #NBFN
DAY 3:
I'm trying to keep her busy, but it's raining and she's officially sick. She's NEVER sick. And she STILL hasn't pooped. I'm beyond guilty. I know boobies would just make it all better. But I'm not giving in. #NBFN
DAY 4:
I'm just...mean. I'm home alone and I can't just leave Nora downstairs while I nurse Pats in private. If I go into the other room she KNOWS what I'm doing. It's like eating brownie batter in front of someone who's being forced to lose 5 pounds against their will. She's obviously feeling better cause she's beginning to fight. Papa's on duty as she wakes up almost every hour through the night, screams "Mama! BOOBIES!" for 15 minutes then passes out. I have to listen from my room as I snuggle and nurse Pats. I hate this. But deep down I know this too shall pass... #NBFN
DAY 5: 
"O. PEN. YOUR. SHIIIIIIIIIIIRT!" "GI. ME. SOME. BOOBIIIIIEEEEEES!" Her fever broke and she's fightin' hard. Screaming for up to 35 minutes at a time. It sounds like Mardi Gras in here. With less beads. And more booze. As for her constipation....she did eventually go, but my brilliant plan backfired on me. Literally. In an effort to prove to Nora how DELICIOUS prune juice and dried apricots are, I am now sharting. But standing strong. #NBFN 
DAY 6: 
It's 3:30 am. Why am I doing this again? I've completely lost sight of the reason. I lay in her little bed as she paces manically around her room and cries "Boobies, Booobies, BOOOOOOOOOOOOBIES!!!!" She's sweating, out of breath. This has been going on for 1 hour and 12 minutes, without intermission. I'm sick to my stomach. Not giving my child what she's begging for when it's right at my fingertips, well, nipple tips (?) whatever... Something that is healthy and natural and comforting ... Ugh! It's not like she's crying to stay up and watch Showtime and binge on Milky Ways. She doesn't even want to snuggle me at this point. She hates me. I'm so sad. If it were up to me, we'd eat cupcakes everyday for breakfast, she'd never go to school, and I'd nurse her till she got her first period. Wait. ISN'T it up to me? Damn you...society! And...Social Services! You ruin everything! #NBFN
Day #8: 
HO. LEE. SHIZ NUGGETS. She slept through the night! She slept through the mutha-humpin NIGHT! I sleep trained her at 12 months old. It took in one session. It stuck for almost 4 months. Since then shes been in bed with me, draining my dry every 2-3 hours. This is EPIC. Now, granted, she slept through the night on a blanket on the living room floor. But it counts. It counts. #NBFN
Day #9:
She pulled down my shirt and called Pats over. Like a dog. "C'mon, Pats. Time for boobies. C'mon." Slept through the night again. On the floor. Like a dog. #NBFN
Day #10:
Not so much as a whimper of "The B Word" all day. 
Day 11, 12, 13, and beyond...I mean we did it. Its done it really happened. We don't talk about it. It just...is. Pats gets boobies. Nora doesn't. No fits. No fights. Well, not about boobies anyway.
It's crazy. I was so nervous that if I weaned her, Nora wouldn't love me as much anymore. Terrified we'd loose our special bond. But it's the opposite. It's like we've become CLOSER. Instead of just whipping a tit out every time she gets a little upset, we actually have to talk things through and COMMUNICATE about what's really bothering her. Imagine that. In my guilt, I've started to find special things for us to do together. Just us. Art projects, trips to the store, things that only "big girls" get to do. And it's totally working. And that's that. I have absolutely no regrets about nursing Nora until almost 3 years old, and absolutely no regrets about stopping when I did. 
Now we just need to get her off the living room floor and into an actual bed. Then, we need to get her out of diapers full time. I'm REEEEEALLY looking forward to that. Especially as a New York City Mama. I can't wait to stop every hour while we're out and about and wedge my double stroller into a Starbucks bathroom where I can then hover her above a toilet seat that a homeless man no doubt jacked off on moments before. But that, my friends, is a blog of a different color. A tale all it's own. Stay tuned. 
Grown up Girl Bonding. Boobie-Free. 
Nursing two babes, pounding the pavement, hitting the hot yoga room, surviving in New York. I'm eating for FUEL. I'm starving and dying of thirst as soon as I wake up in the morning and for most of the day. But I refuse to grab crap. Except for my almost daily Black and White cookie. And my nightcap slice [of pizza] anytime Jeremy and I are out on the town. Neither of which I consider crap! Anyhoo, point being, I need things on hand to grab quickly that taste really good, are in someway healthy or appear to be so (I believe half of everything's in your head anyway), and fill me up and sustain me for as long as possible. These are two recent recipes I am obsessed with. 
1 lb pasta  I originally used a gluten-free brown rice penne for this dish. It was awesome. I had never used it before, but had some gluten-free guests coming so i gave it a try. Super yummy. However, I'm not crazy about the rice pasta straight from the fridge. I prefer it room temp. Thats just me. Feel free to use and short cut pasta you like.  Rotini, penne, farfalle, whatever tickles your pickle that day. I will always vote for a multi-grain or whole wheat, though. More fiber and protein to keep ya going! Also, I think, a better match for the veggies. 
1 small onion
10 garlic cloves (I know that sounds CRAZY! 10 garlic cloves. But trust me when they're roasted up they are so sweet and mellow. Delicious. And they won't burn a hole in your stomach, blow out your ass, or make your breath reek.
2 carrots
1 c broccoli florets
1 c cauliflower florets
3/4 c roasted red peppers
1 ear of corn off the cob
Now, these just happen to be the veggies I had on had that day. Asparagus would be awesome in this. Mushrooms, artichoke hearts, zucchini, almost anything would be amazing. 
Baby arugula I'd say a good handful. About a cup or so. If you don't have or don't like arugula, fresh chopped baby spinach would work fine too. I like the arugula because it's a little peppery and spicy. 
Olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and a generous amount of kosher salt and set it n the stove to boil. Slice onion and de-cob corn and throw into a skillet over medium-low heat with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally till soft and caramelized. While thats going...Place peeled, whole garlic cloves on a piece of aluminum foil. Lightly toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and wrap loosely. Set aside on a baking sheet. Cut up carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower (or whatever veg you're using). Scatter on that same baking sheet and, again, olive oil, salt, pepper. Toss the whole sheet into the oven for about 20 minutes. I actually usually do the garlic in my toaster oven. I pop it in before i start anything else and the whole house smells amazing! I'm obsessed with toaster ovens. I seriously use it very day. 
Ok. Cook pasta according to package directions, usually 8-10 minutes. Drain. Now any time I make any kind of pasta, pasta salad, Mac and cheese, I always reserve a small Tupperware's worth. With 2 girls under 3 in the house it never hurts to have some extra plain pasta ready to go in the fridge. Ok, veggies are done. Pasta is done. Now we just toss and serve. I like to put all the veg in the bottom of a large bowl and toss with half the dressing, add the pasta and toss with the rest. Then I stir in the arugula at the very end. I still like it with a little bite to it, not too soggy. I Ok. So here's the dressing:
2/3 c olive oil
1/3 c red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp agave nectar (you could prob substitute honey and it would be fine, but I like the agave)
Salt and pepper to taste 
Whisk it all together. This is so yummy. Use it on salads, chicken, fish, steamed or grilled veggies...whatever. Fresh and delicious! You could also add a teaspoon or more of fresh tarragon, chives, thyme for a delicious herb vinaigrette. 
I'm allergic to nuts. And peanuts. So it's hard for me to grab any old granola bar of the grocery store shelf and feel 100% confident that it's not gonna kill me. I was so happy when I found Sunflower seed butter or SUNBUTTER. In some stores it can be a bit pricey, but Trader Joes's their own and it rocks. I use it all the time. These bars, I'm sure, aren't low in calories or carbs or fat, but I need the calories like most moms who are running around all day. They're full of good fat and fiber from tons of dried fruit. I don't know what a nutritionist would say, but I say they're delicious and I know EXACTLY what's in them. And that's a big deal to me. And your kiddos will love them too!
2 egg whites
1/2 c SUNBUTTER (like I said, I'm allergic to peanut butter and all other nut butters. If you want to substitute, go ahead. But then they really wouldn't be called sunflower bars anymore...)
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter
2 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c roasted sunflower seeds (salted or unsalted, up to you. I like salted!)
1/2 c each: craisins, raisins, dried apricots (again, this is what I happened to have on hand. Almost any dried fruit would be fine. Apples, mangoes, pineapple, papaya, coconut. Just dice up anything bigger so all the fruit is about the same size.)
1/4 c semi sweet choc chips
1/4 c white choc chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray (same size pan you would make a regular lasagna in). In a big bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add in SUNBUTTER, brown sugar, honey and butter and whisk well. Sir in oats, sunflower seeds and fruit until well mixed with a big spoon, then fold in the chocolate chips. Spread mixture into your prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely on the counter, then transfer to the fridge. When is fully set and cold, cut into bars and individually wrap if you wish. I store them in the fridge. They'd be fine to throw in your diaper bag if you plan on eating them that day. Otherwise, I'd keep them cold. They also freeze well and are so delish crumbled on top of vanilla ice cream or stirred into yogurt! 
PS: I want you all to check out TRENDY NEW YORK MOMS on Facebook. Whether you're a New York mom or not, whether if you're a MOM or not this is a great page providing tips on fashion, trends, affirmations...I know you'll love it if you "LIKE" it! So do it. Now! 
The Original To-Go Cup

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


May 12, 2012. 5 pounds, 11 ounces. 19 inches long. 10 fingers. 10 toes. Practically perfect in every way. Like Mary Poppins. But an infant. And no British accent. And less...witchy. Nadia Grace May has arrived. My sister, Jill, has delivered her first baby and I am...AUNTIE.
Unkie Dan with Nora and Pats
Summer 2011
My mom is an only child. My dad has ONE brother who's 12 years his junior. That brother has ONE 22 year old daughter. I have an older half sister 16 years MY senior. She has ONE 19 year old daughter. So, technically, I have one niece who feels more like a cousin and one cousin who feels more like a friend. I'm so super hip I'm friends with 22 year olds. Jealous? My one uncle, one aunt, one niece and one cousin are absolutely fabulous and obviously I love them dearly. But, I've never been a part of a big family where cousins would run around together at every holiday and were raised like brothers and sisters. I never had a ton of aunts to confide in and a ton of uncles to...get tickle tortured by? I don't know. What do uncles do? My mom and my husband grew up in families like this. It's so foreign to me. Like sleep away summer camp. You either get it or you don't. I've never really gotten it. And then, our eyes met. Nadia to Auntie Jenny. Widow's Peak to Widow's Peak (she has my hairline!)Taurus to Capricorn. Chica to chica. And someday, woman to woman... And, now I get it. 
In the blink of an eye, the stakes are a million times higher.  We're like a real deal FAMILY now. Pats and Nora have instantly gained a best friend for life. I feel like the decisions I make for my girls now somehow will impact another child that didn't come from me, and I feel this immense pressure and responsibility and excitement about that. Everything has changed. Even who my single brother- in- law dates instantly carries serious weight. An annoying voice or a passion for quinoa can't be taken lightly anymore. She's gonna be my kid's AUNT. Like I am Nadia's aunt. Like Jill's husband, Dan, is uncle to Nora and Pats. Ah, Dan...
Dan has always been family. Always. He's personally seen me through good times and very bad with respect and unconditional support. He's sat through 743 MILLION Nutcracker performances of Jill's. He's cheered her on and supported  her through 3 college major changes and eventually proudly watched her become a doctor. He's held her hand through every dark time: from a pair of jeans not fitting to the loss of her best friend. He's not LESS of an uncle to Nora and Pats because he's simply my sister's husband. I've never ever felt that way. But this weekend, platelets shifted and it became ROCK SOLID. Baby Nadia set it in stone. We now share BLOOD. She has made it real. I look into her barely open eyes and I not only see my beautiful niece. I see my sister, I see my dad, I see Pats. And, I see an engineering major from the University of Florida who went from a nice guy my sister was dating to hands down one of the closest, most important men to ME. Its official. Its forever. I feel silently bonded to Uncle Dan for life. 
A shot of me holding baby Jill.
This baby has a BABY. Crazy.

Jeremy and I had one kid in the midst of all our close friends having one kid. We felt like "Whoa. We're totally grown ups." But not really. Just one little baby didn't throw us that far. We totally could still carry her car seat into our favorite restaurant and enjoy a quick but nice meal while she snoozed. We still felt normal. Then our second came along. A little more tied down perhaps, but I mean, we still schleped across the country 3 weeks post pardom. Going where the gig was. Doing what we needed to do. Making it happen. But suddenly, that  feels...over. A not-even-6-pound baby girl just changed the game entirely. COUSINS. These girls WILL grow up together. Nadia WILL know me. My success is hers. Her joy is my light. I cannot properly describe the unique love I have for this child. Maybe it's too sacred to articulate. So different from my feelings toward my own girls, yet equally intense. I feel this overwhelming pride and responsibility to emotionally protect her. And my sister. My LITTLE sister? Wasn't she 14 yesterday? I mean, I watched her graduate and graduate and marry and graduate. But now it's really real. We're moms. WE'RE MOMS! Finally I get to share this amazing journey with her. I didn't realize how much I longed for this bond until it just happened... Nadia's birth just may have become the most significant moment in my life. I am overflowing with love thinking of these girls growing up together. And the thought of Nora experiencing this feeling when Patsy has her first baby and/or vice versa...it's quite possibly the most amazing feeling I've ever had. But we have a long way to go for that, I know. Let's conquer Nora giving up the boobies and wiping her own ass first. Oy. A long way to go, indeed.

Jill loves chocolate. My 19 year old niece, Ellen, can't have dairy. So, keeping it "all in the family" here is the best chocolate cupcake I have ever had. And ready folks? It's VEGAN! Wha, Whaaaa? I know. But it's true. No dairy. No eggs. No critters of any kind! Just delicious, delicious chocolately happiness!
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c warm water
1 tsp vanilla 
1/3 c oil
1 tsp vinegar (every time I've made these I've used red wine vinegar cause that's all I had! I'm sure white or apple cider vinegar would be fine)
This is SO easy. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I don't even use separate bowls of sift anything. Just mix it all together in a big bowl until well blended. I literally use a big spoon, don't even bother getting the mixer out yet. (You'll need it for the frosting.) Either pour into a 9 inch square pan for cake OR 12 paper-lined cupcakes. 
Cake: 30 minutes
Cupcakes: 18 minutes
1/2 c Crisco Vegetable shortening
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c water
1 tsp vanilla
A slice and a shot. Of Unsweetened Soy Milk.
Who have I become?
I said its vegan. I never said HEALTHY! But awesome never the less. Just beat with an electric mixer until all the ingredients come together and it looks like...frosting! Wait till cake is cooled completely. Frost and enjoy! Decorate as you please. If you have a bit left over, store in a small tupperware and pop in the fridge. I promise I won't judge you if you dip pretzels in it alone in the kitchen while your kids are plopped in front of  "A Bug's Life" - the third time through- on a rainy day. I mean, I would never do anything like that...but you live your life. I  would go straight in with the spoon. Or more likely, my fingers. But ya know...Do watcha gotta do, girl. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


12 years ago a lifelong friendship ended due to a ridiculous situation surrounding an event that is now null and void. At the time it seemed like, and in fairness WAS, the biggest deal ever. My friend was engaged to be married and wanted me, as a bridesmaid, to cover my tattoos for the ceremony. Ok. Sure. No problem, I guess. Just wear a pashmina or whatever. No biggie. No. She said a wrap or shawl wouldn't match everyone else and would mess up the pictures. Okaaaaay. So, what do you want me to do? She wanted me to cover them with make up. Huh? You want me in full body make up? At the [non televised] most important day of your life? Within inches of your WEDDING DRESS? Your thousands and thousands of dollars wedding dress? Seriously? Have you been sniffing glue? And why do I REALLY have to cover them? You're EMBARRASSED of me? Im not good enough for your in-laws? WTF? We'd been friends since birth. If you can't accept me for who I am, go scratch. I'm not being in your stupid wedding then. Oh, and PS: don't send your lame ass fiancee into my work giving me ultimatums. Oh, and PPS: He's a loser. And a liar. (Exhale.) And we haven't spoke since. Not true, we ran into each other almost 2 years ago in our hometown. Shed a few tears, chatted a bit. She got to see Nora. I thought maybe we'd get back in touch. But it just never really happened. So sad. Well, it makes me sad. Just stupid, really. And all because I wouldn't change. For just ONE DAY. I wouldn't change something that I thought made me, well, "ME."
Why was I convinced at the time that my tattoos had anything to do with who I really was? And why was I SO offended that my friend wanted to hide them. I wasn't BORN with them. They're not REALLY a part of me. I PUT them there. I made that choice. Hair lip? Lazy eye? I mean, yeah. If that was the case and she thought something like that would ruin her precious wedding pix...total bitch. But what was the big deal? I should've just covered them. I don't live my life with regret. I don't see the point. But if I did, that would be a big one. Oh, and in case you're curious which I know you are, Mr. Hotshot Fiancée did turn out to be a loser. And a liar. And they were divorced faster than you can say "Tattooed floosey." 
It's just crazy the things we think DEFINE us as human beings. Nothing defines me as a person aside from the way I conduct my self on a daily basis. And how I react to things in the moment. Good and bad. My tattoos don't define me. Not my hair. Not my height. Not my career. Even motherhood. It's a part of my life, obviously a HUGE part, but it's not WHO I am. People always talk about looking out for number 1. Not changing for anyone. Be true to yourself. But that's a little silly. And a little selfish. How could I be a mother and FULLY stay "myself," never changing. I'd be raiding the sale rack at Loehmann's everyday, and having long lazy lunches with friends before disco napping and then hanging with Jeremy after his show drinking infused vodka and getting into fights in cabs every night. I sure as Hell wouldn't be on my hands and knees cleaning up brown rice off the floor while "Ratatouille" blares in the background for the hundredth time. (I've found as far as rice clean up goes, my natural procrastination prevails. If you can wait awhile and let it dry up a little bit its cuts the chore in half. Just a little tip) Anyhoo. I mean, you HAVE to change for other people at some point, right? It's not NOT being true to yourself, it's called growing up. And who says you are who you have yourself all figured and are complete and whole when you're 23? Or 37? Or 80? Shouldn't we keep evolving and growing and learning and CHANGING?? We make sacrifices for people. It's called LOVE. We put others needs and interests first in some cases. It's called... POLITENESS. 
The "I'm not gonna change for any man" attitude is, well quite frankly lame. It makes no sense. Let's say, you fall in love with some guy and then out of the blue he starts using Axe body wash. And he LOVES it. It's like, all he talks about. How its now "a part of him." "Who he is", he says. So now what gives? Axe Body Wash smells fucking gross so someone's gonna have to bend. Either you burn the inside of your nostrils out with battery acid, or he finds a new soap. Obvi, he'll give it up. See? And you would do the same for any man, woman or child that you cared deeply for. I don't care how long you've had your fave oversized faux cashmere sweater that your ex-roomate left for you and how it comforts you on almost a spiritual level. If your husband or baby is allergic to it,  you toss it. Period. It's hard to see it sometimes but our hobbies, interests, hair style, signature scent, even political views DON'T define us as people. Don't define us as wives, mothers, or lovers. Sometimes it's necessary to let these things go for the sake of people we care for and relationships worth keeping. I'm not saying join a cult for a guy you think is hot and funny, but if he likes you in boot cut as opposed to skinny jeans is that really a deal breaker? Really? Get over yourself. Humor him. They're JEANS. He's not trying to control you. Relax. Honestly, he's probably trying to tell you, without telling you, that you don't look that great in skinny jeans. Cause let's face it, most of us don't. 
Now for a classic comfort food recipe that is actually could use a little change up. My Hungarian grandmother made the BEST stuffed cabbage. Cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice in a tomato sauce and baked. Maybe not something you grew up with but definitely a part of "who I am!" However, the time it takes to blanch the cabbage leaves and fill them and roll them all up when you're just gonna chop it up in a bowl anyway, kinda makes no sense to me. So this is my version. I've also eliminated the meat making it super healthy and really low calorie. Maybe those skinny jeans will be calling your name after all. No matter what he says! 
1 large yellow onion (Spanish or Vidalia are good choices)
3 tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tbsp smoked Spanish paprika (optional, but adds something special)
1 head of green cabbage
2 cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 c brown rice
Salt and pepper
Chop onion and toss into a large soup pot with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the paprika. Coat the onions and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the cabbage to the pot, chopped. Salt and pepper to taste. Incorporate cabbage into the onions until it softens a bit. Add tomatoes, water, vinegar, and sugar. Stir in uncooked rice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let it go for at least 2 hrs. Just gets better and better. Taste it, and add salt and pepper accordingly. If you really wanna add meat, go right ahead. Ground beef or pork if you like. That's traditional. Ground turkey would be fine too if you're watching it. My favorite way to serve is with really good rye bread and butter. If you're on a skinny jeans mission, have two bowls and skip the bread! You can even omit the rice and eat the whole pot yourself. You'll be a bloated, walking fart, but when that settles you'll be full and skinny. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


A sick baby. Runny nose, cough, fever. Nothing can make a new mom feel more helpless. Call the doctor, search the web. That should help, right? So wait--my poor itty bitty bubby is stuffed up, glassy eyed, miserable...and every doctor and website is telling me to get a humidifier and wait it out? My precious angel is burning up and apparently it's not a big deal until it hits 105? 105???!!! One hundred and five degrees? Are you effing kidding me? If I had a 103 or 104 fever I'm pretty sure I'd be PRETTY sure I was dying. Give my little lamb some Tylenol and sit tight? Seriously? And while we're on the subject... They need to make children's medicine in flavors like Creme brûlée and coconut macaroon. That way when 90% of any given dose is splattered all over me I'll smell like something delicious and not something vile like fake grape. In what universe does that smell like grapes? Ya know what smells like grapes? WINE. Don't try and pull one over on me. I'm a professional. Wine drinker, that is. I mean, how many mothers are giving their 6 month olds Hawaiian Punch and Bubbalicious? Do you think my child recognizes these flavors as some special treat? No. She recognizes it as something fucking disgusting like the rest of us. Make it taste like applesauce or carrots or...NOTHING. Who cares? She doesn't exactly have a Top Chef palate. We can put a man on the moon, fight wars from thousands of miles away and have access to the whereabouts of our best friends from from 2nd grade at any given moment. These creepy pharmaceutical companies can't come up with a flavor besides...PURPLE? I mean, I know they're SUPER busy coming up with penis hardeners and EYELASH enhancers, but...my kid's sick over here. And the Frankenberry poison you're asking me to shove down her throat isn't making my life any easier. Maybe some luscious lashes and a stiff cock would help. Maybe. Truth is, 9 times out of 10, as frustrating as it is a little Motrin and waiting it out really IS what's ordered. But obvi, I'm not a doctor. 
And ya know, while we're semi on the subject of colossal companies trying in vein to appeal to the likes of an infant, here's a pickle: WHY, for the love of Bethenny, do there need to be pictures if Elmo and Mickey and Pooh Bear on diapers? She's 3 days old. What does she care? I'M the only one who actually sees the outside of the diaper! Do these companies really think my kid has a say in what diaper I put her in? As if the baby version of some stupid cartoon character is swaying my decision? How 'bout a witty daily life lesson? A fortune cookie insert? Hell, I'd take a word of the day or a make up tip over Dora's loco kisser just...staring at me. I'd LOVE that! THAT might sway my decision. I'm already a sucker for the Huggies denim. Huggies with a horoscope? Even better! I'm going to be spending the better part of the next 7-10 years with these images force fed to me. Can I have at least the first 6 months without Cookie Monster's stoner eyes haunting me during 3am changes? 
Elmo Trumps Santa?? Really? That's deep.
It's scary. No matter how much control you think you have as to what your kid hears, sees, likes, dislikes...ya don't. I mean unless you live underground or on a compound somewhere, ya don't. Somehow those pesky Princesses take over with NO WARNING! And Elmo? Fuggedaboudit. Don't even try to resist. That furry red freak has already won. And I mean, there are worse things right? Meth? Prostitution? But seriously. At some point we have to let go. It's not gonna be about us one day. So insane to me that the little jumping bean in my belly has become this little girl who has a favorite ice cream flavor. The little gem that could barely see the first time I held her now looks me directly in the eyes and tells me to "GO. AWAY. " Heartwarming, really. Our children have their whole lives to make their own decisions. We have just a few years to fully control them. So a message to all those big boys trying to market the things buy to my 2 year old: Mama's callin' the shots, ok? I want cough syrup that smells like poolside cocktails. And while I'm sipping my poolside cocktails, I wanna look at my babe in a swim diaper that looks like a cute suit. She cant see her own ass, so what the Hell does she care if Nemo's plastered on it?
Look, I want my girls to be their own people. I want them to grow up to have their own tastes. Their own styles. Their own ideas as to what's cool and fun and sexy.  And if she decides to grow up to be a chubby twenty-something in an oversized tweety bird T-shirt standing in line at Space Mountain slugging a red Powerade... Who am I to hold her back? I'll take it as her rebelling against her kooky, over-the-top, gypsy of a mom by just being... NORMAL. (shudder) Like that's ever gonna happen.

A couple recipes--even if it's mind over matter--are sure to make Mama and babe feel better in no time!

Homemade chicken noodle soup CAN be the easiest thing ever to make. And the pay off is SO worth it. Maybe your boyfriend has the sniffles and you wanna put on a frilly apron and spoil him. Maybe you're a mom of 2 under 2 and your wine buzz is wearing off as is Junior's last dose of Tylenol and your sweatpants are covered in puke and you haven't washed your hair in 3 days. Either way, why open a can when you can--in no time--throw this yummy soup together, free of MSG and God knows what else. Just a delicious bowl of GET WELL SOON!
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp dill, fresh or dried
Celery salt
Seasoned salt
1 c (or so) chicken shredded, pulled, chopped. You can use leftover rotisserie chicken, cube up a breast or two, or even use an all natural canned chicken. Look for one with no MSG or fillers. Pretty easy to find. You can also omit the chicken all together. There's no chicken broth or stock in this recipe, so it can easily be vegetarian will the same healing properties!
6 c water
1 c (or so) noodles Your choice. There's so many fun shapes and flavors in your regular grocery store nowadays. The last time I made this I used Ronzoni Roasted Garlic Fettucini. It was AMAZING. If you use a long pasta like this break it into thirds or quarters. Otherwise whether it's elbows, bowties, penne, rotini... About a cup will do. 
Chop onion, carrot, and celery in similar sized chunks. Throw in to a little bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Grate in garlic. Season veggies with salt, pepper, seasoned and celery salt. Let the veg sweat out and get soft for about 10 minutes. If you're using raw chicken, chunk it up and add it now. Add dill and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer.  If you're using cooked or canned chicken, add it now. As little as 20 minutes, as long as...hours! I like to let this simmer for about 2 hours. That's about all I have the patience for. Add your noodles about 20 minutes before you want to serve. Simmering them for this long will make them super soft and perfect for sore throats or funky tummies. Serve with saltines for the sickies, or with yummy garlic bread and white wine for you and a girlfriend. So delicious and comforting, it's sickening. Well...you know what I mean.
Best chocolate chip cookies ever. I love watching people bite into these and the double reaction they get. "Yum! YUUUUUUUUMMMMM! What is that?!" The orange zest and ginger add so much but don't over power. Sure to please any age, any palate. 
3 sticks butter, softened
Zest of 2 medium oranges
2 inches of ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger (powder)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
Get yer scoop on
Size Matters
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter, sugars, orange zest and ginger root for a few minutes until fluffy. Stand mixer, hand mixer, by hand, whatever. Add in vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, and ground ginger. Add dry mixture little by little to the butter mixture until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheet lined with silicone or parchment. I always use a cookie scoop. Looks like a little ice cream scoop. I have two sizes. One's about 3cm in diameter, the other about 4cm. I use these ALL THE TIME. Meatballs, cookies, ice cream, cupcake batter...the best investment! I usually use the smaller one for cookies like sugar, coconut, sunflower butter, ginger... But I like to use the bigger one for chunky cookies like oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip. That way every cookie has yummy goodness throughout and nobody gets jipped! So for these, I use the big boy? Bake for 10 minutes till edges are golden. Let them sit on the sheet for two minutes then transfer to cooling rack. 

Yum Yum Gimme Some
Orange Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe makes a BUTT LOAD of cookies. I used reserve half the dough, rolling into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer. Now I pre-scoop cookie dough balls right into a freezer bag and store them that way. Someone stops by unexpectedly? You can have freshly baked cookies for them in 10 minutes! I mean, amazing. How DOES she do it?