Desserts,Recipes »Sugar Cookies

from Allrecipes

I’m not much of a baker, in fact my initial plan was to use that roll of frozen stuff, but even I could whip out tasty Sugar Cookies with this easy recipe. Of course, the best part is decorating – and Van helped this year.

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Posted on December 25, 2012

Recipes »New York Strip and Fall Vegetable Roast with Mustard Cream Sauce

20111225-103334.jpgfrom Bon Appetit

I wanted to make something out of the ordinary for Christmas Eve and happened upon a list of festive roasts from Bon Appetit.

Don’t worry though, even though this New York Strip and Fall Vegetable Roast with Mustard Cream Sauce looks beautiful and as if it took lots of work, I chose the simplest recipe of the bunch and it was pretty much a breeze.

A definite way to impress without working at it. Pair with your favorite roasted vegetables and hold on to the sauce recipe for other things.

I am not sure what it will also go with but it was so super yummy I am sure we can find other uses, right?

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Posted on January 4, 2012

TV Shows »Battle of the Nutcrackers

on Ovation

I am officially in love with the Nutcracker, not only is it a beautiful ballet set to great music, but it has continually inspired Van to walk!

While I have to say Ovation has done a terrible job of programming the Battle of the Nutcrackers (hard to find to DVR, only air the same one in a row, and little to no info on their site including when and how to vote – voting was over before I knew it), it’s a yearly program I’ve begun to look forward to.

I’ve only seen three of the five I vote in my mind for the Russian Mariinsky production which boasted the most spectacular and innovative costumes and sets. Just look at the Arabian dance!

If you’ve missed them, I finally found a press release with information and here goes:

“The Viewers’ Choice will be revealed on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Christmas Day, December 25th, will bring a special surprise Nutcracker premiere, accompanied by an all-day marathon of the other productions. “

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Laughs »Drunk History Christmas

on Funny or Die

It’s been a long time since I first recommended the Derek Waters’ Drunk History videos.

The series is getting lots of new attention with their latest entry, a laugh out loud, drunken telling of Twas The Night Before Christmas starring hunk of the moment, Ryan Gosling (who I might add, I crushed on way before it was cool when he starred in the High School on the seas show, Breaker High).

I’ve also been getting caught up with other videos in the series including the story of Tesla and Edison starring John C. Rielly and Crispin Glover.

My only issue with these awesome videos? Way too much vomit!! I have to cover my eyes. (The Christmas one, thankfully is puke free).

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Songs »It’s Just Like Christmas

by Low (1999)

True, Low’s Just Like Christmas is far more Midwest-indie than my tastes tend to run – and I can vividly imagine it as the soundtrack to a precious, folksy Volkswagen commercial, but it’s undeniably, a sweet Christmas ditty.

Very nice to see new, catchy compositions for the Holiday are being written not just as an after thought to make money but artfully and with genuine heart.

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Songs »White Christmas

by Otis Redding and The Drifters

White Christmas is a great holiday classic, cheers to Irving Berlin! But it’s roots are in the old fashioned Bing Crosby era sound and while there’s nothing wrong with that, the song really takes on new dimensions with more interesting renditions.

My favorites are The Drifters who lend a toe tapping doo-wop sound, while the incomperable Otis Redding spins his heart broken soulful magic and suddenly White Christmas is the best song ever!

It’s one of the holiday’s most covered songs, so if you don’t agree with my favorites, you can likely find one that suits you (Rick Astley, NKOTB, or Kenny G, perhaps?)


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Posted on December 21, 2011

Desserts »Madecasse Sea Salt and Nibs Bar

Made in Madagascar

In a world over run with sea salt chocolate. This one rules.

Available at the Bedford Cheese Shop and other schmancy places like that, these would make ideal stocking stuffers.

Plus, Madecasse is a company with a conscience.

Born out of peace corp experience, they make the chocolate in Africa where the ingredients come from allowing the local area to benefit from their natural resources.

Read more on their site.

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Posted on December 20, 2011

Songs »Ryu The Red Nosed Ninja

by Doctor Octoroc (2011)

I continue my week of great Christmas songs!

Eight bit cover songs seem to be the it thing lately but you won’t hear me complain about it!

Especially when artists are making once mediocre Christmas songs into listening awesomeness like Ryu the Red Nosed Ninja.

Apologies to Rudolf, but it’s just never been one of my favorites.
As a spacey, spooky video game like tune, though it’s transformed!

The entire album, 8 Bit Jesus, is available here.

A great way to support an artist directly while gaining some nerdy holiday listening cheer.

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Posted on December 20, 2011

Songs »I’d Like You for Christmas

by Julie London

I am really into the holidays this year, just ask anyone that drops by and finds Christmas classics playing in our apartment all day.

Van is a huge fan, but for those that aren’t I’m recommending Holiday songs anyone would love all week.

Starting with the sultry voiced Julie London and her lonely I’d Like You For Christmas. It’s underplayed and hasn’t been covered a million times which is refreshing.

Plus it will make you feel like a heartsick pin up girl, staring out her window on Christmas eve.

And since I’m in the generous spirit, below are a few of this sexy singers amazing album covers.

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Posted on December 19, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Christmas Tree Time!

Happy Holidays!!

One of the things I love most about the Holidays is the day we choose and decorate our tree.

After years of fakes, we do the real deal now, if only for the wonderful piney scent (and not having to store a musty plastic one).

We went to Greg’s Quality Christmas Trees on McCarren Park near Manhattan Ave. and found a perfect Fraser Fir.

They deliver at no extra cost too! (But be kind and tip your friendly delivery man).

My plan this year was to do fake flowers which I got from the local dollar store and bright glitter ribbons from another dollar store seemed to match perfectly.

I was a little nervous that it might look nuts, but it all came together splendidly!

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Posted on December 11, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Getting and Decorating a Tree

For The Holidays

It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without one!!

In the neighborhood, Jim prefers the tree spot on McGuinness and Greenpoint Ave where there are Germans and hippies to help you as opposed to the “vagabonds” on Manhattan and Calyer. We went all out at the Big D (one of the largest local dime stores) for decorations on the cheap.

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Posted on December 19, 2010

Songs »Baby, It’s Cold Outside

by Frank Loesser

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!! So warm up with the season’s best lovey time song.. but make sure to do it with one of the many good renditions (Dinah Shore, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, etc) and not, say, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.

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Posted on December 14, 2010

Hunks »Ted Neeley

ted neeleyOh Lordie

Most of the born again Christians I know would probably love the idea of Jesus being played by a good old Texan… but does he have to be such a damn hippie? Well, Ted Neeley, who has gained fame from the film and stage versions of Jesus Christ Superstar, is also a drummer, composer, and record producer.

He’s certainly my favorite depiction of the lord’s child, no offense Caviezel and Dafoe.

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Posted on December 20, 2009

Style Icons: Male »Koos Van Den Akker

kooscosbyCosby Sweater Guy

The holidays bring good tidings, joy and awesomely bad sweaters. Hosting a bad holiday sweater party has even become something of a fad (I’ll be attending one soon in bejeweled teal). Of course ,the king of the awesomely bad sweater is Koos van den Akker, Dutchman and wild visionary with knit.

Not familiar with the name? Well, his vibrant, wacky sweaters were best known as the Bill Cosby sweaters on the hit sitcom. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic for a blast from the past of family togetherness in brownstones, but don’t those garish sweaters just feel so right right now?

A look through his fashion archives proves he can also mix some crazy for us women.

Click here for the rest of Koos Van Den Akker

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Posted on December 20, 2009

Style Icons: Female »Natalie Wood

natalie wood miracle 34th stBeliever in Santa

She warmed our hearts in Miracle on 34th St, but Natalie Wood was more than a cutesy little kid. In fact, she was known to be quite a temptress in the Hollywood scene, even in her teens (Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley and Michael Caine were all romantically linked to her). Her career shifted from childhood to more mature work with the classic Rebel Without a Cause, which also happens to be my favorite of her movies. Other key films are Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

Wood died tragically after falling off a party boat while intoxicated in 1981.

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Posted on December 20, 2009

Desserts »Chocolate Santa

chocolate santa jacques torresfrom Jacques Torres

Thanks to Astrid and Marcus who gave this jolly dark chocolate fella to Jim for his birthday. It comes from Jacques Torres and, you might agree, is not a little bit creepy in the eyes. I’m almost concerned about the ramifications of eating him with those penetrating eyes baring down on me… it’s easy to envision myself in some sort of Twilight Zone moment. However, this is Jacques Torres chocolate and eating it will be worth the slim possibility of supernatural retaliation.

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Posted on December 20, 2009

Places to Visit »Rhinebeck

rhinebeckChristmasy Charm, Gourmet Food, and Poetic Walks

I know this weekend’s storm is the first snow fall for my fellow New Yorkers, but we witnessed inches of the powdery white stuff a few weeks back while in Rhinebeck. It was a beautiful storm, but it did cause us to miss the main purpose of our visit: the Sinterklaas Parade. Fortunately, Rhinebeck had so much to offer and our B&B was so inviting, we didn’t even mind missing the main event. Plus, it just means we have a reason to return next year.

We stayed at Hideaway Suites, one of the most comfortable and excellent B&B we’ve ever slept in. The Chateau Suite offered a private deck, a fireplace (so great for the wintry nights) and a two person jacuzzi tub. Our hostess was incredibly kind and accommodating and left hot tea for us in a magical thermal container that kept water hot for hours and hours. The place struck a great balance between modern amenities and bed and breakfast charm. I highly highly recommend it, even if it is a brief and winding drive from the main town. We’ve never been so eager to return to a hotel room on any vacation.

Aside from romantic hideaway B&B’s, Rhinebeck also boasts some truly excellent food thanks to its proximity to the Culiary Institute. The first night we tried Arielle, the new kid on the block, that came with strong endorsements from two of our most picky friends. Everything was excellent – from the grilled and smoky octopus, to the expertly mixed dirty martini, from the veal scallopini to the lamb so bucco. A lemon tart finished the meal off perfectly.

The next day we ventured into the area’s most well known restaurant Terrapin, housed in a gorgeous craftsman church in the middle of town. We went during the day to the Bistro which offered great sandwiches (Jim had a sliced steak one) and small plates. We shared crispy artichokes, goat cheese wontons, garlic soup and lemongrass mussels. They also offered a drink after my own heart: a hot and dirty martini made with pickle juice and sriracha. It was heaven to drink it while watching the snow fall.

Though we missed the main parade, we still saw a few of the local celebrations for Sinterklaas (the Dutch Christmas) including street performers, street musicians, decorated windows, a cookie tree, and an illuminated book. It was a happy and quaint winter experience to be there.

Just so you don’t spend the entire time eating, drinking, and lazying around the fire, not too far from town there is the Poet’s Walk trail, a beautiful spot with gazebos, wooden and brick bridges, and lovely views of the Hudson. it was intensely blustery and freezing when we walked it, but so beautiful and peaceful, the rosy cheeks and ice cube toes were worth it.

I am sure I’ll be back to Rhinebeck sooner than later as the town offers all sorts of neat events like antique and sheep shows.

Click here for the rest of Rhinebeck

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Posted on December 20, 2009