On Monday night I participated in the city’s annual HOPE count.
Every year, the Department of Homeless Services conducts an annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) to gather information about the city’s street homeless population.
Hundreds of volunteers canvass parks, subways, and other public spaces in the middle of the night to estimate the number of people living unsheltered in the city. The information gathered is invaluable; it helps both the City and Robin Hood adjust efforts to make the greatest possible impact on helping the chronically homeless to realize better lives.
While the evening was a success, I didn’t get home until 3:30am. I am definitely someone who needs 8 hours of sleep, so when my alarm went off at 7:45am, I was not a happy camper. I went through the day, pretty much like a zombie. Thankfully, I was able to go home a little early from work. I tried to nap but kept getting distracted and ended up only falling asleep for a few minutes.
When Matt got home after a long day at work, I was pretty much useless. I could barely get off the couch. I certainly couldn’t make him dinner. And the thought of doing any sort of chore, be it laundry, dishes etc. made my head spin.
Then I realized… I was pretty much acting like Matt does every night!
Thankfully Matt was able to scramble up some eggs and feed himself. But let’s not start thinking too highly of him… I found a pile of his dishes in the sink this morning.
Yesterday my friend Noelle and I decided to meet up for a girls-only lunch date. I was super excited about it because, even though she only lives in CT, I hadn’t seen her for a while. Before meeting up, I tried to get a few errands done:
I did a couple of loads of laundry (a never-ending task in our house). I went to the grocery story. I made a few treats for an event I am doing at work tonight. And I put dinner in the crockpot.
Despite the fact that I had to push back our original meeting time by 40 minutes, I was feeling pretty good about myself when I showed up for lunch with Noelle. Naturally, I had to brag to her about my accomplishments, specifically about having dinner in the crockpot. To which Noelle quickly replied “yeah, I have mine in too. A pot roast.”
Umm, can someone please inform our husbands JUST how lucky they are? I mean, when it comes to being good wives, I think we’ve nailed it. Maybe we can go pro and get sponsored by Crockpot.
I made a thai peanut chicken dish. It was really good. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
3 large chicken breasts 1 red or green bell pepper, diced (I used green)
1 sweet onion, diced
¾ c chunky peanut butter
1-2 T lime juice (one whole fresh lime, squeezed) – can use key lime juice as a substitute
1/2 cup chicken broth (you can use coconut milk if you want it to be creamier)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 T cumin (depending on your taste)
1-2 T crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your taste)
Layer into the crockpot the following:
In a small bowl add peanut butter, lime juice, chicken stock, soy sauce, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Whisk together until well combined. Taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly. Pour over the chicken and vegetables in the crockpot.
Place the lid on and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours. Make sure to stir your mixture at least once during the cooking process, to incorporate the flavors and distribute for even cooking. You should have a nice “gravy” that will work well served over rice.
Serve over rice with the green onions, peanuts and fresh cilantro as garnish.
Last week, for one of the first times ever, the entire nation suffered together. On Tuesday, the temperature was below freezing in ALL 50 states. So while we can’t all agree on issues like gay marriage, gun control or a women’s right to choose, for one day we all agreed – it was freezing.
The best way to survive a polar vortex is to stay inside, and when that isn’t possible, bundle up! Down coats, fleece mittens and wool hats become part of the every day uniform. And warm meals are a must for the evening. I used the cold weather as an opportunity to make a dish I’d been wanting to make but had been saving it for the right day, or rather, weather.
This fall one of my colleagues got married and at their wedding gave out containers of spice mix and the recipes for their favorite chili dish as favors. I was so psyched to receive this and couldn’t wait to make it — unfortunately I feel strongly that chili should only be consumed in cold weather and I was forced to wait for the right day. Thankfully the polar vortex gave me the perfect occasion.
Tyler, the husband, has a cooking blog that I’ve written about previously, Ty’s Kitchen. Here he posted his famous chili recipe that they gave out at the wedding.
For the first time ever, I actually didn’t follow this recipe exactly. I just used regular ground beef and I omitted the carrots and celery. I also added in a can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed) and a small can of tomato paste (I might not have needed this). I felt like a real chef, adapting the recipe to my liking. In the end it came out really well. It was the first time I’d added vegetables to my chili and I have to say, it was a great addition.
Now, if only I could figure out all of the spices that were part of Ty’s Spice Mix…
In 2012 we welcome in the New Year on the beach in Costa Rica
In 2013 we welcomed in the New Year on a yacht in the British Virgin Islands
This year, we welcome 2014 in Jersey.
I’d say life is moving in the right direction.
After a few years of pretty intense trips with our friends, we decided to tone it down a bit and stay local. Thankfully, a lot of our friends made the same choice. And our two favorite San Fran natives added the dirty Jerz on their east coast tour, so they were in town to celebrate with us as well.
Matt and I spent December 29th making our own decorations for the party. Needless to say, Matt was thrilled with this idea.
To make the circle garlands, Matt used a 1.5″ circle punch on gold, silver and black glitter paper. I then broke out my sewing machine to stitch the circles together in one long line. I chose not to put any spacing between each circle but if you want to make a longer garland, you can certainly do so.
It really doesn’t look like we did a lot, but somehow we were up until 1am making these things…
We ended up having 13 people over our apartment – a good number but one that proved a little challenging for food. It was a small enough group that we needed to provide more than just appetizers/snacks, but a big enough group that a full sit down meal would be a little challenging.
Matt went out the morning of the 31st to pick up a pork butt. He came back with a 6 lb piece of meat. It goes without saying, we will be eating pulled pork for a while. Thankfully they make GREAT leftovers (and Matt will actually eat them)
Thank you to all of our friends who helped us ring in 2014 in our new place and in style. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings for all of us!
Up next, the lights from the great state of New Hampshire. The most impressive part of this light show, wasn’t actually the lights. It was the fact that, feeling our complacency with the “same-old-same-old” light display, my dad logged onto the computer and researched a new light display nearby. Impressive.
So after visiting our tried and true spots, we drove to the neighboring town to see if this new light display was really that good.
Yup, it was. That is, unless you suffer from seizures. Then it probably wasn’t good for you at all.