Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Recipe Exchange: Sweet & Sour Chicken

I am so excited to participate in Pretty Mommy's Holiday Recipe Exchange.
There have been ravenous recipes, I must admit, and today it is my turn to step up to the skillet.
I've decided to sway from the conventional holiday cuisine,
 and share my rendition of Sweet & Sour Chicken.
 (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Foods.)
I actually made this while I was back home over Thanksgiving weekend.
We were craving a dinner as far away from Plymouth Rock as you could get!

*Chef's Notes
I've included the original recipe; but I changed some components and I've listed my rendition in the notes below.
  • My sous-chef (Dad) and I served diced chicken breast instead of wings, cooking the chicken on the stove rather than baking it in the oven. This significantly reduces your prep-time and had a lot to do with the fact that I was eager to use chopsticks, a skill I've developed way too late in life. This is a big game-changer, but I felt it really made the dish more of a dinner, than an appetizer or 'game food.'
  • We decided to throw in a couple of orange peels into the sauce as it simmered- this smelled great!
  •  We were rather generous when measuring the honey. We probably put about 3/4 cups into the sauce.
  • We served the diced chicken over rice and green beans (leftover green beans from Thanksgiving dinner- score!)
Sweet & Sour Chicken
-Serves 4-
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup clover or wildflower honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds chicken wings or (4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
1. Preheat over to 475. In a small saucepan, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and reduces by half; about 30 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. You should have 2/3 cup sauce.

2. Meanwhile, arrange chicken wings in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, crisp, and cooked through; about 35 minutes. Drain fat from sheet and with tongs, transfer wings to the bowl of sauce. Toss until wings are coated and most of sauce is absorbed; about 3 minutes. To serve, sprinkle sesame seeds and chives, if desired.

Be sure to check back at Pretty Mommy for
a continuous list of holiday delights throughout the month.

A Recap on Giving Thanks

Snippets of Thanksgiving:
I crafted with my mom (yes, I actually made pilgrim props) 
and natured walked with my dad. I traded stories with my sisters,
and caught up with dear friends.
I made pumpkin ice cream pie,
and sweet and sour chicken.  
And I finally learned how to use chopsticks,
albeit a bit clumsily.
I met a friend’s sweet baby boy.
I sat curled up next to roaring fires with mugs of tea
and the company of household pets (that face!)
Coming home is always good.
But transitioning between west and east takes me a day or two.
I fumble around for a bit before I catch my bearings.
I am thankful for the peace and calmness in my heart.
For my family, and my friends.
I am thankful that I am understanding that the best you can do,
is to try and surround yourself with love and kindness.
Wishing you many blessings as we usher in December.
*all images are my own

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I know this photograph is actually going East to West
instead of West to East, but you get the idea.
Plus, I think Paul's work is really cool.
I'm homeward-bound today for a true New England Thanksgiving.
Leaves are still green here in San Francisco and it's all very, very confusing.
Wherever your travels take you today and tomorrow,
go safely and with thanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

127 Hours

I saw Danny Boyle's 127 Hours this weekend.
I. Cannot. Stop. Thinking. About. It.
The intensity level of the movie made it hard to even speak
when the lights came up in the theater.
James Franco's performance was incredible,
and now all I want to do today is google Aron Ralston's story.
I've hiked Canyonlands, which is where Aron's story takes place.
Danny Boyle's filmmaking captured the instincts, fears, and sheer thirst so well.
What a testament to Aron's will to live.
Absolutely gripping.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lady in Red

Sometimes when I go into stores that offer clothes at a less expensive price point,
I get really confused and flustered.
I end up second guessing every choice
and assume there must be a catch since most items are relatively inexpensive.
I guess that makes me a cynic...
Until now!
First spotted here.
I am in l-o-v-e with this entire outfit from Zara.
In fact, I think I need to wear it over Thanksgiving Weekend.
I love the rolled up red jeans and her little black ballet flats.
Cute, cute, cute!

Sally Draper Goes Glam

I love this little girl.
Kiernan Shipka is not only absolutely captivating and 
eerily hypnotizing as Sally Draper on Mad Men,
but she also thinks long division is cool and is learning to speak French.
Did I mention she's 10?
She's so beautiful in this photo shoot by Interview Magazine
It doesn't even bother me that they've dressed her up in grown-up clothes.
She looks exactly like the little lady that she is.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving with Colleagues

My office is hosting a Thanksgiving party tonight.
I was quite tickled to learn that our agency has made a tradition of this.
The turkey and wine are provided.  
The rest?  Up to us.
I'm responsible for the stuffing... for 60+ co-workers.
I kept it really traditional- adding nothing but onions and celery.
Stuffing is NOT something to get fancy with when dealing with the masses, folks.
It's a good thing I like spending time in the kitchen!
Last night I put on some music, poured some wine,
and hoped to high heaven that the smell of onions sauteing in butter
wouldn't lure in the homeless man living on the fourth floor of my building.
We have a beautiful and spacious test kitchen on-site at the office,
so it really will feel authentic.
All of us bopping about, fighting for oven time and second helpings of mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Open Letter...

Dear Cross-Dressing Homeless Man
Who Has Taken Up Residence
In The 4th Floor Alcove Of  My Apartment Building,
Please leave.
It's creepy.
Warmest regards,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pilgrim Party!

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week.
It's one of my top three favorite holidays.
How can a holiday centered on good food and good company not be on the Top Three list?
I am heading back east for Thanksgiving, which only feels right.
After all, the pilgrims didn't land on a dock by the bay for goodness sakes!
I'm surprised how quickly fall has come... and how quickly it seems to be going,
but I'm anxious to get home.
I've got an injured mom who could use a little extra love and attention,
and a best friend I need to hug desperately.
Not to mention,
I'm making the hats pictured above for a few friends,
as we say a toast to Plymouth Rock on Thanksgiving Eve.
 More on all things related to turkey in the coming days!

Friday, November 12, 2010

R & R

It's been a heck of a week...
Wishing I could be about three places at once,
but so very grateful to be heading to the 'burbs for much needed R&R with an old friend.
Sending love from California...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sidekicks by the Sea...

Today I feel like I am counting my pennies.
My mind is racing in a million different directions too.
Naturally, I allowed adult attention disorder to take the reins,
and I decided to look at beautiful things to take my mind off my empty wallet. 
Isn't this photo lovely and beautiful?
I spotted it here.
Oh, to be on blanket with the sea as my backdrop.
Bottle of wine, and two buddies by my side.
When I googled the movie this photo is from
I discovered it's about two college friends travelling through Europe one summer-
both falling in love with the same woman. Juicy!
Every bit of this, the image and the premise of the movie made me smile.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apartment Project

I've been a little antsy for a good DIY project for my apartment.
I was considering painting a chevron pattern on my living room wall,
but I got a little 'online shopping happy'
and I think there are enough patterns and textures in that room for now.
There are far craftier members of my family- actually, everyone in the extended family too,
but I came across a project I think I can tackle.
Save for my fear of measuring... I should  be able to pull this off.
These entryways have been 'temporarily' wallpapered
using Japanese masking tape.
I found the above inspirations, and learned all about it here.
How fun is that?
I think I could definitely do this in my entrance hallway,
without being too intimidated or flustered.
I'm thinking chocolate brown tape against my light beige walls.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Advice From a Friend...

I was writing to my best friend today, and her response back to me was simple and poignant.
"It's okay to be a bit cautious...
but don't lose your spontaneous spirit...
because that is who you are."
Words to break a heart I tell ya.' 
In a good way.
Advice from best friends is so wise, and so true.

Sunday Supper

Sunday was ushered in with grey and rain and general yuck.
After a jam-packed, warm weather weekend, I was ready to cozy in for the day.
 I hadn't cracked open a cookbook in way too long,
and I think baking and cooking for yourself can be such a simple and self-indulgent pleasure.
It was a perfect grey Sunday to experiment in the kitchen.
I didn't have bold ambitions- I selected Ina Garten's recipe for chicken piccata-
but the lemony-buttery dish was oh-so-pleasing to my palate.
There is truth to the statement that food tastes
better when you knowthe steps it took to make it.
I feel a sense of accomplishment when I follow a recipe and then sit down to enjoy it.
I bought a beautiful deep purple eggplant and some cute little brussels sprouts too...
 I'll have to get creative with those beauties tonight!


Go, Federer, go!
Congratulations on your 65th career win- and on home turf no less.
Surpassing Sampras must feel surreal...
Rumor has it, Rog treated all the ball boys and girls to a
celebratory pizza party after the tournament win.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Marathon Sunday

The New York City Marathon is my absolute
hands down, favorite day to be a New Yorker.
I love the energy from the crowd-
the collective euphoria and excitement that everyone is recycling through the city.
Beyond a spectacle, it’s really more of a New York holiday.
The city is at its most magical;
with a steady pulse of encouragement that can be heard in every borough.
I have a lot of wonderful Marathon Sundays under my belt-
strictly speaking as a spectator, of course.
I remember last year in particular, beers in hand at a bar located on a prominent part of the runner’s route- right where the marathoners round an uphill bend.
I told my friends I was considering a big move,
that I was ready for a change of pace.
This conversation occurring before applying to graduate school,
and long before applying for new jobs out west.
I never put it together, but thinking back now, how symbolic really,
to have had this conversation unravel at a pivotal moment in the actual race course,
with thousands of people running by- all depending on,
well, a personal pace.
I’m wishing my dearest friends a sunny and crisp day of marathon watching, cheering,
and for one of you, running.
I'll be in a New York State of mind all Sunday long…

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Desert Escape?

Okay. I know, I know, I know.
It's 77 degrees in Northern California today.
I shouldn't wish for warmer...
I'm wearing my second sundress of the week-
those that are usually reserved for July and August.
I would not mind at all,
if I had to go to Palm Springs for a weekend recharge.
I don't even have anything I need to recharge from.
Nor do I have the coin to go
That being said:
I'd love a vacation in the desert.
Palm trees and mountains?
Yes, please!
images from here

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Team... This Magical Team...

San Francisco is delirious,
and over-the-moon with joy.
It's been 50+ years since the Giants clinched a World Series win-
and that was in New York.
Below is the view from my apartment of peaceful partiers.
Parties flooded into the streets last night; which hosted
 bus boys and businessmen and everyone in between.
Around 12:45am, the last of the fireworks and champagne pops
were heard by me from my apartment window.
This is,
 a ridiculously
 magical city.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Star Spangled Spirit

Tomorrow is Election Day!
So, pick out your red, white and blue outfit,
and slap on a star spangled smile!
Remember, it doesn't matter for who...
...just that you DO.
Hit the polls tomorrow with your patriotic pride!
We're so very lucky to exercise our right.