Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brooklyn is Where It's At

Looking for something to do this summer?  Or, ever?  Check out this amazing list from Gothamist of why Brooklyn is so amazing!  I know, I'm not the first to say it, but having lived here for nearly 6 years I've got maybe a little bit of BK cred?  Maybe?  Ok, fine.  But perhaps when I finish this list I will.  We'll talk then. 

So, if you live in the city, or come for a visit, or are one of my own personal friends that lives in the city and may generate a yearly summer to do list (AHEM), maybe we could add some of these to it?  Just saying. 

In the meantime, I will be busy checking some off on my own. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Decked Out

 Here is a little sundress project I've been meaning to do for quite some time...I may have purchased this fabric two years ago.  Anyway, now that it is officially Summer (JOY!) I thought I should finally whip up this little number.  Cute, and easy too!

For the top, I used an old tank top - after a few washes it was becoming a bit of a belly shirt, which I am so not cool with, and as such haven't worn in quite a while.  For this project I only needed the top, and just cut it off a couple inches below the chest. 
For the bottom I used a simple store bought elastic waist skirt as a template and just traced it on my fabric, cutting out two (one front, one back) and sewing them together, and hemming the bottom.  I tapered it a little at the waist, and made a fabric tube threaded through with elastic for the top, and attached the tank to the skirt bottom to it on either side. 

It fits over the head, easy peasy!  Well, maybe a bit of a tug needed but once on it fits like a dream!  I added a dart in the back middle, from the top of the waist and down a few inches, to pull it in at that area and give it a better fit too.  Overall, a success for my first pattern free-make it up as I go along dress! 
And, the pattern for the skirt part is super cute - check it out close up! 

And, said ensemble just happens to perfectly match the cute new heels I picked up on clearance at DSW.  Score! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fashion Show

I (finally) got a new camera, and had the opportunity to test it out last weekend on a trip home to Connecticut.
I asked my nephew Dorian to model for me, and he willingly obliged.  

We decided to put on a fashion show - here is one of the little vignettes he created for the occasion.  Angelina Ballerina and Wolfy, going for a ride down the runway.

Rakia was a little tired but she did help out too, by sporting a lovely veil scarf.

But Dorian was really the piece de resistance.  Thanks Buddy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rainy Day Orchard Fest

Looking to entertain some little ones recently, my mom came across the 140th Anniversary Celebration for Bishop's Orchards in Guilford, Connecticut. 

It was a rainy, gloomy day, but there were donkey rides, so that balances things out, don't you think?

One young gentleman I know was very excited for this.  After spending the rest of the weekend watching vintage horse and cowboy movies, he was ready ride.  (Although a little timid at first.)

They also offered tractor rides which was a lot of fun - even as it started to pour. 

Overall, a fun and family friendly excursion!

  I hope we can go back to pick apples in the fall!  If you're in the area, strawberries are ripe now so check it out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Healthy Mac & Cheese!

...and cauliflower.  But seriously, before you stop right there - its seriously delish!  Give it a shot, please?

 Looks yummy and cheesy and good, right?  Right.  Homemade Mac & Cheese is one of my absolute favorite dishes, and while this doesn't quite measure up to my Dad's recipe, topped with Ritz crackers, its a pretty damn good second place.

 I saw a recipe in People Magazine while reading over a lady's shoulder on the train the other day, and thought it would be a good idea to try out mac & cheese with cauliflower.  But when I googled the recipe (you can find it here, here, and on various blogs around the web) - by Masterchef winner Whitney Miller, I saw that it used heavy cream, and a lot of cheese, so I wanted to try to lighten it up myself.  I found this recipe from Shape Magazine which I used for a template, but it seemed a little fussy...so anyway, here is my take on it. 

Serves 4 - Prep time 20 minutes - Cooking time 35 minutes

*1 bag frozen cauliflower (16 oz/1 lb)
*1/2 cup whole wheat macaroni
*1 small onion, diced
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*2 cups nonfat milk
*2 tbsp butter
*2 tbsp flour
*3/4 cup reduced fat cheese (I used mozzerella)
*2 tbsp pepper sauce, like Frank's
*2 tbsp Dijon mustard
*salt & pepper to taste
*2 tbsp grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
*cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Fill a large pot with water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Cook cauliflower for 2 minutes.  Scoop out with a slotted spoon, rinse with cold water in a colander.  Set aside.  
Add macaroni to boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain, and add to cauliflower.  Set aside.

While macaroni cooks, heat small saute pan over low heat, and coat with cooking spray.  Add minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter.  Whisk in flour until smooth and cook for 2 minutes.  Whisk in milk; cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until mixture begins to simmer.  Add mustard, pepper sauce, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. 

While milk mixture is cooking, coat 12x10 inch ovenproof dish with cooking spray.  Place cauliflower/macaroni mix in dish, stirring to make sure macaroni and cauliflower are evenly distributed.  Sprinkle with half of shredded cheese and set aside.

After milk mixture begins to simmer lightly, add half of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth.  Pour this over cauliflower and macaroni evenly.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling and just beginning to brown. 

Let cool for a few minutes and serve.  Hope you like it!  You can adjust the spices to your liking, or even add more veggies to fill it out - a great dinner!  Well, maybe not for 80+ degree days, but still a solid meal :)

Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions about my recipe! 

Monday, June 20, 2011


 I'm itching to have a garden party in my lovely backyard! 

The plantings are not my handiwork, but my neighbor's.  I still enjoy them though!
 It's a really great outdoor space and I can't wait to have some friends over to enjoy it with me, now that the weather is nice. 

For now, its a great place to enjoy a solo dinner al fresco or read a book on a Sunday afternoon. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Too Cool For School

Here is a little birthday card I made for a friend!  Tee hee!