Good food, drinks, friends and ukulele!!!

Tag: Christmas

Moving, Moving, Moving!


Moving for some can be a traumatic experience.  For me, mind other then looking for a place, which is exhausting, the actual move is cathartic.  I am one of those people who likes to purge my belongings, especially when moving.  I usually like to get rid of around 50-60% of what I have.  I think of it as a way to get new things!  I look forward to getting new furniture or items that I want for the new place.  I always see it as the new home tells me what is needed.  That old dresser may not work anymore.  I may only need a side table or a desk.   I even get rid of clothes, books and knick knacks.  It’s like Christmas for myself.    Fun times!!!

I’ve been in my new place for two months now, and I still don’t have furniture, but, I am in no hurry.  My room will tell me what I need.  I know I will find what I need, when I need it.  But as a treat for you all I have been exploring my new neighborhood.  So here are few pictures for you to enjoy.

Ham, Potato and Bean Soup

What to do with holiday leftovers is as much a tradition as the holidays themselves.   So with that in mind, viagra I decided to go along and add a dish to the leftover tradition.   We had ham, as do a lot of people.  And like lot’s of people, we had lot’s of it left over.  After a few days of eating it I was starting to wonder what else besides sandwiches or frying it up with my morning eggs I could do with it.  I thought about for a little while and decided a soup would be good.  But what kind?  My friend said potato and ham.  I thought genius, but it needed something else.  I then thought bean with bacon!   So I thought use the ham,  instead of bacon.  And our ham, potato and bean soup was born.  This was supposed to be a cream soup, but I couldn’t decide whether to blend just the potato, or the beans, or both.  As I was cooking,  I realized that if I cut some of the potatoes small, and cooked them long enough, the potatoes would start to break down and create a creamy effect.  Thus, solving the problem of what to blend.  In the end, what I got was a brothy soup with bit of a creamy texture that is simply divine.  Enjoy!


Ham, Potato and Bean Soup


Ham, Potato and Bean Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 med onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 cups chopped ham, fat and grizzle removed
  • 1 can of white cannellini beans, drained
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Chop ham to bite size pieces, fat and grizzle removed
  2. Peel and chop carrots and celery
  3. Peel and chop onion
  4. Peel and chop two of the potatoes
  5. The the third potato chop into smaller pieces
  6. Chop garlic clove.
  7. Sauté onion in olive oil till translucent
  8. Add salt and pepper
  9. Add celery and carrots and sauté for a few minutes
  10. Add potatoes and garlic, sauté for a few minutes
  11. Add ham, beans and stock
  12. Add Italian herbs and pinch of thyme
  13. Bring to boil then simmer on low till small potatoes start to disappear
  14. Salt and pepper to taste.
  15. If needed add more herbs

Christmas Hot Sauce

This year we decided to make hot sauces for Christmas.  To say it has been an experiment is a bit of an understatement.  You’d think easy, hospital right? We’ll not so easy. It’s sort of like a martini.  There may only be a couple ingredients, pilule but if they aren’t in the right proportions you’re screwed.  Or like us, visit this site running out of the kitchen, opening all your windows and gasping for air. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! We practically drank a whole gallon of milk and consumed almost a whole bag of chips.  But we kept going and I think we came up with some compelling sauces.  Just don’t ask us to remake them! Of course we do have a couple that can be remade and here is one that is sure to please even the most sensitive pallet.

Chili's and hot sauce


2 Pasilla dried peppers

2 Ancho dried peppers

1 Chipotle dried pepper

1 garlic clove

1 cup of vinegar

salt and pepper


Soak peppers in  warm water till they are soft.   Pull off stems and discard.  Some of the inside guts will come with the stem, that’s fine.   Save chile water.  Put chiles in blender and add garlic, vinegar and a little salt and pepper.  Blend till mixed.  You can also use food processor.   If you want a chunky sauce then you are done.   If you want a thinner sauce, then use a sieve the get all the chunks out. If it is still too thick then add some of the chile water to get the consistency you want.


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Like most people I grew up with few traditions. Thanksgiving we were allowed to have Kahlua and milk with dinner, more about very grown up. Christmas Eve we opened one present. Easter was dyeing the eggs and the hunt on Easter Day. And and let’s not forget that all important school clothes shopping? A particular favorite of everyones! Not! But we are talking holidays, not torture. So now what do I do?

Well, for a long time the apartment I shared in LA was the house to go to. Not really for Christmas, that was a bar called The Spotlight. It started one year when we had gone to one too many Christmas parties and gatherings. We had had enough. So we stopped at our favorite dive bar and dove in. So far that a friend ran into the curtain that separates you from inside and outside and for some reason fell backwards losing her glasses. We, proceeded to fall off our bar stools laughing ourselves silly. We called this night Anti-Christmas. So for years we all got together after we had done our various Christmases and met for an evening of celebrating the end. We eventually moved this tradition to a better dive bar to be with a dear friend who would sufficiently pour us into a drunken stupor. But The Spotlight will always be where Anti-Christmas started.

My favorite tradition that we started was New Year’s Day pajama jam. Me and my roommate would get up, usually hung over from our friend Mary’s NYE party the night before. Open a bottle of champagne and start cooking. We did brunch, lunch and dinner. It was non stop food and drinks. What’s not to love?! One year we had a few stragglers who tried to get out of it but it was mandatory if you were invited. Not only did we eat and drink there were board games and video games usually with one of the worst movies or t.v. series we could find. And we found some doozies! Anybody remember Pink Lady and Jeff? I thought not. Do yourself a favor or not and check it out. It is something to see. But remember, I warned you!

Moving to NYC I wondered if I would continue or start new ones. Thankfully my friends here have taken up the pajama jam, but on Christmas, not New Years. So every year I get to lounge around in my pajamas for most of the day. And what is starting out to be another tradition is to end up at another friends for dinner and ukulele singalong. Gone are the days of Kahlua and milk and Easter egg hunting, but I still open up one present every Christmas Eve and I get to have my pajama jam. Now where did I put the pajamas?




Thanksgiving has always been a time for reflection.  I guess it has something to do with the fact that my birthday circles it or it circles my birthday, this or both.  Either way, it’s that time a gain.

I moved here on October 1, 2008, which means this is my fifth anniversary of Halloweens, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  I wrote a piece on my first year here and feels like its time to check in and see what I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t, along with what there is still to do.

The first year was spent getting my footing.  I had no job and was living on a friends couch.  Not what you would call ideal at 40.  I left a good job, an apartment I loved and a brand new car.  The number one question one gets asked is, why did you move here?  Best opening line/conversation starter and the most New York thing you can do.  Me? Like most people they want to change and or reinvent themselves.  I wanted adventure, change, attend culinary school, to grow as a person and live somewhere else, other then where I grew up.  A.K.A., get out of dodge.

Over the years there have been many ups and downs.  These are to be expected.  But what is not expected is which ones they are.   I have really grown to like living in Brooklyn. There’s so much here, that honestly no one needs to ever go to Manhattan.  Would I live in Manhattan again. Yes.  My small stint in Hells Kitchen was just a taste.  And it still lingers in my mind.  How resilient I am, surprised me and made me stronger and more secure in myself.  Do I still have insecurities? Yes. Too many to count. But I am tough and can get through what I need to.   NY teaches you that or you leave.  I call this place the most conveniently inconvenient place to live.

I have come to travel more then ever in my life. From up and down the eastern seaboard to New Zealand and back.  I can’t wait for the next adventure.  I’m in a relationship that has also tested my strength, tolerance, patience, challenged my creative side, opened me up to be silly and expanded my ability to love.  Not bad considering I was no where near wanting or needing a relationship when I came here.

My friendships and family are stronger then ever and I wouldn’t change them for the world.  From landing with no job and couch surfing to my first Halloween in the emergency room and getting stitches from bashing back gay bashers, to having more jobs in five years then in the last twenty and knowing I can walk into almost any job and get it done, I can truly say, I am a New Yorker.  In as many ways as I have grown I feel I have a lot more learning, sacrificing and good times to come.  Life is a series of challenges and not all are fun and clear as to their objectives, but I am ready to march on and see where it takes me.  Like the song says. “I will survive.”  Or, as we say here, welcome to New York.



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