Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Seven Years

Nicolette’s 7th B’day was in NY. Yes, we planned it that way. Mainly we wanted to spend some quality time together as a family. Niegel is off to college next year and probably this summer will be crazy him getting ready to go to college. Our trip to NY all worked up being OK at the end.

We reached NY by mid afternoon almost time for lunch. Everyone enjoyed a mixture of Chinese and Vietnamese food. Nicolette learned to eat spring rolls wrapped in herbs with lettuce and she liked it. Dipping the whole mess in the fish sauce was a bit tricky but she tried it at the end. 

There is always so much to do and see in NY. I loved the decorations and store fronts. 

Nicolette had a blast waking up to see her goody bags while Niegel ran in the central park. We joined him and headed to the MFA and it was a treat. 

Of course with many choices on food we decided to enjoy a well known Indian food buffet in Jackson Heights, NY. 

Then we visited family to head home. It was a long drive back home but glad we did and planned all this and to spend few more days at home catching up. Mainly to do fun things we always craved such as reading, knitting, stocking, reading, watching TV, and sleeping.

Monday, December 28, 2015


It is so far the busiest year for ALL of us, but in a good way. I completed two studio classes while working full time  I would not do that again, I mean taking two studio classes together. I was at the Dr.’s office more than four times. 

I did two surgeries hopefully all taken care of. I went to a reunion and had a great time with friends. If you have not attended a one I highly recommend it. My oldest became a senior at high school and yes we went through the process of college applications. He did an AWSOME job getting everything together of course with reminders and I am happy for him. 

Little one  started the first grade and went through a learning curve. She survived and did a wonderful performance at school for holidays. 

I am teaching this year and loving it! It is WORK but I love the group of children and the staff I get to work with everyday. 

I wish I blogged more but I simply could not. I learned that I do have to put things away and this was one of those I had to place on hold. I am working on getting back on it. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fall pumpkin festival...

One late afternoon we decided to see the pumpkin carvings done by the students over next town. It was a cold afternoon but it was a perfect day for it! Needless to say some weekends at our neck woods are packed with things to catch up! This was that kind of a weekend but we all had a great time!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Eggplant + Pasta = Heaven

Our local grocery store is flooded with eggplants and of course I stumble upon this recipe from a blog which I frequently visits. I thought I should give this a try mainly it was the season, We love egg plant, and wanted to add a twist to our regular mundane pasta dishes. The results were amazing.

At the end we had more reasons to love this dish and a bonus no meat in this dish at all. 

I loved the subtle mint flavor and the kick from red peppers. Cheese makes it so much better. I took this for lunch at work and works great with a small salad. My oldest had this for dinner and he liked it very much. We will be making this few times this year. At least before the end of the egg plant season. 

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red

pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven on the rack below the vegetables. Roast until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Day of School to ALL...

Yes, we survived the very first week of school. I am very excited to teach this year and to go to campus in the night. Children survived the first week only two days but it was adjusting to the new schedules and meeting friends. Speaking of friends I was glad to make new friends as well. Lot to learn with record keeping which I hate and love at the same time. What I heard so far is once you get it down it seems to help plan the lesson plan can’t wait to get use to it. 

Nicolette is happy to find new friends and some of her old friends in first grade. She will be joining the before and after care for few days this year and she is very excited about it. 

Niegel is a senior in high school and I am happy for him working on his SAT and the meets. I know he is going to like his classes this school year!

I am simply getting use to all the new schedules and planning. One last thing I love my classes as well this year. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Canning freshness straight out from the garden…

Yes, I don't know what better way to explain this new interest or rather a process of mine. I have been navigating the internet how to pickle beans (I mean green beans) and I found a way which I like very much. No idea how it all going to turn out but sounds like a great plan to lock away the freshness of backyard vegetables. 

Perhaps for some Bloody Mary’s in future and I feel it is not that fancy without pickles as a garnish. Moreover you need few pickles after drinking few of those. I also found out that I cannot find okra pickles from MA because that is not a northern thing. I had to buy a bottle while I was in VA. 

One thing I like about this particular recipe is it really adds heat to pickles with few black peppers and red chillies. I can’t wait to try some with my salad. 

A bit late post about 4th of July...

This is our first official Hydrangea bush and they were tiny when I first planted them. I love these mainly for two reasons one for the neat flowers the other during Fall the foilage turned into this beautiful deep maroon like red. I truly love a four season garden and I am still working on this tiny stamp size garden. It is always a working progress…

While we were in VA, Niegel decided to run a 5K ( we did planned this before hand) and It was fun. He did great but most of all he enjoyed it very much because he consider this as his home town.

As always Nicolette managed to find a dog to pet while her brother finishes the race. It was a great joy to watch her.

We were able to carve some time to sneak into the National Gallery of Art. We all took turns in enjoying various parts of the museum. Mostly the early paintings…

After a long stroll we were hungry and it was almost time to have dinner we all unanimously decided to dine at China Town, DC. 

Found a spot see the fire works and not too far from the capital; yes it was smokey but had a great time.

We had plenty to cover from taking care of the house, to running a 5K, visiting the museums, having dinner at China Town, and finally finding a spot to watch the fireworks. It was a great week!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Our first gathering for 2015

For 2015, gathering was much better term mainly because we received few vegetables from our friends as well. Largely few neighbors who is growing in their backyards. Some went to ladies who is always get anxious if I am at the compost bin(chickens)

We love our wax and green beans from our yard because they are so tender and yummy. I am working on canning few for winter so I can have some at school lunch. I have heard from few friends they are so crisp. Hard part is not picking them when they are in abundance. Tomatoes are all steak this year and I hope I might get a bumber crop this year. 

It is a delightful experience to go to our tiny backyard and pick few eggs from the coopand at the same time pick few vegetables for a meal. Tender turnips adds so much flavor to a salad. I traded few eggs for handful of summer squashes this year. Beets were doing much better this year and we had it twice so far and there is few more to pull.