Snowed In

Growing up in New Hampshire, I am no stranger to blizzards. Nearly every winter, we would get a handful of big storms and if we were lucky,  a snow day or two would result. My family would often take advantage of the snow by heading up North to ski. And for the days where we reminded at home, we would spend at least half of the day playing outside, building snowmen, making snow forts and sledding. In preparation for these activities I would spend hours bundling up before heading outside. I assembled the perfect snow outfit, complete with the trick of pulling my wool socks OVER my pant legs to ensure that no snow would touch my skin! After time in the snow, we would warm up with hot chocolate and, more often than not, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Blizzards in New York City are a little different. People freak out leading up to the storm, but then once it comes even though this city is a little quieter, things continue on as normal. Restaurants still deliver, Starbucks remains open and Broadway shows still go on.

I took advantage of the quite weekend to stay in a do a little baking and crafting. Unfortunately, I don’t have completed projects or blog posts to show you so hang tight.

That's right - the sewing machine came out this weekend!
That’s right – the sewing machine came out this weekend!
Some exciting things went down in the kitchen this weekend. More to come!
Some exciting things went down in the kitchen this weekend. More to come!

What did you do this weekend during the storm? Anything fun?

Spice It Up

Nearly one year ago, my Aunt (a loyal blog reader) exposed me to the countless varieties of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon.

We all know the traditional cinnamon spice that we keep, or out mother keep, in their spice cabinets, racks and draws. We use it when we bake cookies, sprinkle on oatmeal, and if you grew up in my house you had it on toast with butter and sugar cut into 3 pieces when you were sick. There was one variety of cinnamon… or so I thought.

One weekend when I was visiting my Aunt, Uncle and Grandparents in the middle of Pennsylvania, my Aunt conducted a taste test using a few different styles of cinnamon. I was shocked to realize that there was a spice that tasted like the cinnamon used in fire balls. From that point on, I knew my life wouldn’t be the same!

My Aunt showed me the catalogue that she bought these spices from and we discovered that they have a location in New York. I was excited to visit and see what other spices I could be exposed to. Well, nearly a year later, I can finally saw that I visited the spice heaven located in Grand Central Station (yes, the train station, I was surprised too!)

So who knew that in the middle of one of the busiest and oldest train stations in the country, there is an alley of specialty and organic food booths. I had no idea. The Grand Central Market houses an artisanal cheese shop, a butcher, organic produce shops, a chocolatiers, speciality coffee shop (no Starbucks here!), a bakery , seafood  and of course, Penzeys Spices.

Penzeys Spices carries over 250 herbs, spices and seasonings. It is the perfect place for bakers, chefs and those who like to organize and categorize! I was overwhelmed by all of the different options, but walked away with a bakers variety box, a pumpkin pie spice (hopefully I can try this out over Thanksgiving) and a small jar of hot chocolate with a hint of mint. (that I proceeded to drop on the floor when I got home. Needless to say, the powdery coco went everywhere. At least my kitchen smelled like delcious chocolate!)

So while it took me months and months to follow my Aunt’s suggestion of visiting Penzeys Spices, I finally did it. And it opened my eyes to the wonderful 100 yard stretch of speciality foods that is the Grand Central Market!