Random Act of Kindness

I was sitting on the sidewalk near Rockefeller Center when a car pulled up in front of me. A man got out and opened the back gate. When he did this a box of flyers toppled out, spilling all over the street. Immediately 3 strangers who were waiting at the cross walk, bent down and helped him pick everything up.

I love witnessing the best in human nature.

Flash Mob

Last week we received an awesome email from the Senior Vice President of Programs at Robin Hood. It is important that I try to characterize this man for you all, or else this won’t seem as funny. This man is an very accomplished researcher who graduated from MIT with a PhD in economics and served as a former New York Times editor. He is, for lack of a better word, a little nerdy. He developed our system of “metrics” which is used to measure the effectiveness of our poverty fighting programs through a series of formulas (basically he did for Robin Hood what  Theo Epstein did for the Red Sox). We all love him, but he certanily isn’t a wild and crazy type guy.

Below is the email we received:

“I’m not exactly the sharing kind when it comes to identifying new waves of popular culture.  But someone has to step up now that Jim is leaving.  I hereby lay claim to moving to the forefront of the culture battleground. 

One week from tomorrow (Tues., Oct. 25 at 1 p.m.), I will accompany my 95-year-old mother-in-law,  to Union Square where she will participate in a “Flash Mob.” [My Times style manual betrays me.   What’s the proper verb: does one participate in a flash mob; do a flash mob; perform a flash mob?  perform in a flash mob??}  In any case, I have inside information that there will be a “wardrobe malfunction” as part of the routine.   Imagine.

 I’ll be standing toward the rear with a hood covering my face, worrying that I will be accused of contributing to the delinquency of a nonagenarian.  My wife will be up front studying her Mom’s every move, preparing for 30+ years hence.”

So on Tuesday, the entire Robin Hood staff ventured outside to Union Square to witness one of the greatest flash mobs in history. And thankfully, it went off without the wardrobe malfunction!

Grandma and Grandpa – you’re next!

Blog Crush – Ty’s Kitchen

Yesterday at work, when I was heating up my lunch (I had the delicious soup I blogged about 2 days ago) my co-worker and I took place in a classic work time ritual: chatting around the water cooler.

I was talking about the soup I was heating up and saying that it was so good that I had blogged about. This lead to a conversation about blogging and she told me that her adorable boyfriend, Tyler, also has a blog. As a passionate blogger, I love to read other people’s blogs so I asked her to send it to me. Boy am I glad I did. Not only is Tyler a great writer and phenomenal chef (did someone say husband material), but he is also a talented food photographer – something that I am constantly struggling with for my blog posts. His pictures are so incredible; you could definitely turn his blog into a cook book (any book publishers out there?!)

Please hop over to Ty’s Kitchen and check out what he’s been cooking up! I am particularly excited to try out the turkey burger recipe!

Baby Fever

This weekend, when Matt and I were in Chicago and got to meet Clare Leisinger, the beautiful daughter of our friends Jon and Natalie Leisinger. As we were standing there catching up, Jon asked us when we were going to “pop one out.” Now that we are married, this question seems to arise with everyone. I responded by saying that it was going to be a while – we aren’t quite ready to have a child of our own. Matt never even held a baby.

With that Jon grabbed the beer our of Matt’s hand and replaced it with Clare. Matt wasn’t quit sure what to do or where to put his hands. He stood there, awkwardly grabbing this 6 month old baby, his level of discomfort painfully obvious on his face. Well, it didn’t take Clare long to realize that she was in the arms of someone who wanted nothing to do with her. She promptly started to cry and reach out for her parents. Matt was near tears as well, so I quickly replaced the baby with his bottle of Oktoberfest beer.

Once Clare was back with her parents and Matt had his beer – all returned to a state of happiness.

Needless to say, we are not ready for children.

Apples to Apples

Last week I made a few things using the apples that Matt and I picked last weekend. Two recipes stood out and I can not recommend them enough: Martha Stewart’s Classic Applesauce and an Apple and Butternut Squash soup. And I made this while wearing my sweet new apron that my family-in-law bought for me when they were in Martha’s Vineyard. What’s better than one family? TWO!

Martha’s Classic Applesauce:
When I was younger, applesauce was a staple in my diet. I could not get enough of this food, especially when my mom made it from scratch and served it warm. This recipe is a little more work that most recipes, but it is definitely worth it!

ingredients
18 McIntosh apples (about 6 pounds), peeled, cored and quartered (I used Golden Delicious)
1 cup apple cider (I substituted apple juice)
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 tbs vanilla bean paste
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice

1. Combine apples, apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla bean paste, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, sugar and lemon juice in a large heavy-bottomed wide sauce pan.
2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until the apples are broken down and saucy, 50 to 60 minutes. Mash any large pieces of apple with a large wooden spoon to help them break down. Season with more sugar and spices. Remove the apple mixture from heat and discard the cinnamon stick. (At this point, I used an immersion blender to thin the sauce, but the recipe didn’t call for it).
Makes 7 cups (I only made half and it seemed like a lot). The apple sauce can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup:
Typically I try to avoid making cream-based soups, but this looked too good to pass up. Man, am I happy I embraced the heavy cream – this soup is RIDICULOUSLY good. It is so good that I served it to Matt last night for the second time in a week and he didn’t even bat an eye. And for a kid who typically refuses to eat left-overs (yes, he thinks he is a prince) that is a BIG deal. The original recipe called for pumpkin but I substituted butternut squash.

Ingredients-
1 tbs canola oil
1 tbs butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbs ginger paste or minced fresh ginger (I used ground ginger)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb pumpkin, peeled and finely chopped (I used butternut squash)
1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used Jonagold apples)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbs finely grated orange rind (I omitted this)
1/2 cup crushed, shelled pumpkin seeds, for garnish (I omitted this)

1. In a large heavy-based sauce pan heat oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add onion, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and saute for 3 minutes or until onion is transparent.
2. Add pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples and soup stock; season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until vegetables and apples are tender. Remove from heat; stir in cream and orange rind, and let cool.
3. Transfer soup to a food processor or blender (I used an immersion blender), and blend until smooth. Pour soup in clean sauce pan and heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Transfer to individual bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds before serving.

Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Sometimes Matt will send me interesting articles that he finds online that he thinks I might enjoy or find useful. Sometimes they highlight one of the Robin Hood board members, while other times they talk about the changing policies on tax deductions on charitable gifts. Sometimes they are about giraffes and other times they are about Notre Dame football.

However, last night, I received one of my favorites yet.

 
I love when people live relatively small lives and leave a large mark for doing just that. It’s the little things that matter.
 

 

Matt, I can’t wait to experience all of the little things with you. Let’s leave a mark together.