090521-americanIdol-hmed-2a.300wSo the big American Idol finale was last night, and although I had not watched a single show all season, I tuned in for part of it, I was so intrigued by all of the subtext. I was so exhausted from being up the night before coughing, but I willed myself to stay awake for the winner’s reveal. So I’m sitting up in bed, half asleep, Ryan Metrosexual Seacrest announces it’s Kris, I think to myself, “Well, at least Obama won” and then I passed out. I can’t believe there were almost 100 million votes. Oh well, I guess America just wasn’t ready.

Let’s stay with music because it’s Thursday, which means Ken is here with the

Single of the Week

“Walking around the apartment barefoot last weekend, I leafed through some old journals, sorted through some winter sweaters and made one too many cups of tea. It’s times like these when I enjoy clicking through the Soccer Moms Chillout mixes on iTunes. And that’s where I found this gem by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.”

YouTube won’t let me embed it but click here to take a listen.

Etc.

I broke down and went to the doctor today and I really am sick! Fever and all. So I got me some meds, and hopefully things will start looking up. I’m really sick of coughing…

Walking back from the doctor to my office, I went down Broadway, and at about 54th Street, an Indian guy is standing in front of one of those souvenier shops, smoking a cigarette. He starts shouting out, “Bruce Willis! Bruce Willis!” and then taking a drag on his cigarette. “Bruce Willis! Bruce Willis!” Another drag. I’m like, “What is this guy’s problem?” because it seemed like he was directing his yelling at me. So he says it about 8 times and then I realize that, oh, Bruce Willis is walking with his VERY young wife right in front of me, bald head and all. Too funny.

If you didn’t catch Morley Safer’s interview with Anna Wintour on 60 Minutes last weekend, watch it online — highly entertaining. She is the editor of Vogue magazine, and apparently she gets a $200,000 annual clothing allowance, and the company pays for her to have her hair and makeup done every day. Her demeanor is chilly, as they say — she was the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada. She rarely gives interviews so it was definitely a coup for Morley!

I hope you all have a fantastic long weekend. We are headed down to the Caribbean for a week so I don’t know how much Family Favs I’ll be doing. Don’t miss me too much! I’ll be back for sure at the beginning of June, if not before. Until then…

mainrobertopassonThis is a NYC-centric recommendation, but those of you in other parts of the world will just have to come and visit to take advantage of this one. A very good Italian restaurant in the theater district offers an unbeatable deal for lunch during the week, 12:00 to 3:30pm. For $13 (yes, thirteen dollars) Roberto Passon serves up three courses of delicious, well prepared Italian food. The portions are generous, there’s variety in what you can choose for each course, and the space is pleasant (although sometimes a little noisy). The day I was there I started with the crab cake, had fettucine funghi with truffle oil as my main course, and finished off with cheese cake. (I didn’t love the cheese cake, truth be told. There was something odd going on at the bottom by the crust.) My friend Laura started with a mixed green salad, had rigatoni with saffron, sausage and fennel for her main, and ended with tiramisu. All very tasty. If you’re not in the mood for pasta, there’s fish, chicken and even steak on the prix fixe menu, as well. At a little over $4 per course in mid-town Manhattan, I’m not sure how they do it. But I’ll take it. You might want to order a drink just to throw a little more cash their way! (Roberto Passon is located on 9th Avenue at 50th Street.)

How Cute Is This

Tori told me about this photo and I had to find it to see it for myself. How cute!

3532376714_cc9ce8cf80Apparently the son of a staffer wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own. What a great picture for this kid and his family to have!

One MTA Bright Spot

I learned something this morning that I feel like the MTA doesn’t want you to know — or at least they don’t publicize it. If you have an expired metrocard with money still on it, I thought you were SOL. But no! If you put it into a machine, it will say “Expired card. Would you like a new card?” And if you hit yes, you get a new card with the same money transferred to it. Who knew?! I always threw out expired cards. So if you travel to NYC infrequently, bring your old cards!

Etc. From the Sick Ward

Last night I was up at 2:30 with a nasty cough, fumbling for some Robitussin. I could not sleep, then Addison was up at 5:30, so I am pretty fried, as they say. I’m so paranoid I’m going to give the cough to Addison.

I don’t watch American Idol but I think this finale is very interesting. Blue states vs. red states; tolerance vs. close-mindedness — what will win out?? My sister is such a staunch Adam fan that she voted for the first time ever. As always the winner will be…Simon Cowell, who’s going to tell Fremantle and Fox to back the truck up for his upcoming contract negotiation. Because he’s only worth a few hundred million already…

Hope you’re feeling fine…

Fill it with fun stuff!

Fill it with fun stuff!

A lot of people marvel about the dining establishments Ken and I take our kids to, but it’s really not that hard if you prepare in advance.

The first thing is to go early, especially if you’re going to a nicer place. Most establishments don’t get rockin’ until after 8pm, particularly on the weekends, so if you show up with your brood at 6 or 6:30, they’re happy to have you come in, eat and leave before the rush. You should also bring activities for the kids, such as coloring or little toys that they like, be it playdoh or wind up toys or figurines. We keep a backpack packed with all small fun things, including Mad-Libs and sticker activity books. (You know all that little schmuckna you get in birthday party goody bags? This is the place for it!) That way we just grab it and go out the door with the peace of mind that the kids aren’t going to destroy the place for entertainment. We are not fans of the dvd player at meals, as I’ve seen people using from time to time. For us there’s something nice about engaging with the kids and involving them in the conversation, rather than having them cut off and engrossed in Toy Story for the umpteenth time. Don’t get me wrong — there’s a time and a place for dvd players, and on planes they are fantastic, but we don’t use them at restaurants.

We never ask for the kids’ meals first. The problem with that is they eat quickly, finish and then they’re even more restless to leave, before you’ve even gotten your main course. Let them raid the bread basket if they need to, but have them served with the rest of the table. And lastly, be realistic. Kids can’t sit through drawn out multi-course affairs. Pick your restaurants wisely or learn the art of compromise and skip dessert. Sometimes we finish at the restaurant after the main course and move the caravan along for a quick frozen yogurt or donut and coffee — that way the kids get a change of scenery and everyone gets a sweet treat.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to spend more time together as a family and save on babysitters, both good things!

Thank you, JP Morgan

Apparently JP Morgan is ready to pay taxpayers back $45 billion dollars. On behalf of taxpayers everywhere, let me be one of the first to say a huge THANK YOU! Because after reading the article in the NY TImes today about how banks are going to gouge the heck out of their good credit card customers to subsidize their deadbeats, I am not feeling so sprightly about any banks.

Etc.

Have you ever had to deal with someone so unpleasant that you really want to just excise them from your world, but circumstances make it so you can’t? It’s so frustrating. And the person is so hopelessly selfish and non-self-aware that no amount of discussion will ever alleviate the situation. Sigh.

And after that unpleasantness, my cough has returned. I’m praying I don’t pass it on to Addison.

On a brighter note I think everyone downtown is excited that Washington Square Park has reopened! I haven’t seen it yet but Austin informed me it is really nice with lots of water fountains and places to sit. Sounds like a ringing endorsement. It seems like they have been working on it forever, so I’m glad it has opened in time for the nice weather. Now let’s get the construction done in Union Square and we’ll be all set.

My wish for all of you is that you don’t have to deal with any rude people! (Wouldn’t that be fantastic?)

Quick and Tasty

May 19, 2009

200809-r-pretzel-crusted-chickI modified this recipe a bit from the original that was in Food and Wine magazine. The key to it is that the chicken stays moist, which I find is most of the battle in making a chicken dish. Dried out chicken is not good! My kids both liked it, too.

Mustard Baked Chicken with a Pretzel Crust

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 pound hard pretzels, coarsely crushed (4 cups)
  2. 1/2 cup canola oil
  3. 1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
  4. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  7. 6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground; you should have coarse chunks and fine crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl.
  2. Wipe out the food processor (you don’t need to do a full-on cleaning). Add the oil, whole-grain and Dijon mustards, water and vinegar and process until smooth.
  3. Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl, add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Dredge the chicken in the pretzel crumbs and transfer to a baking dish sprayed with Pam. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. (I baked it on the second rack for 25 minutes and it came out just right.) Serve with the remaining mustard dressing.

Kitchen Tips

Did you know if you keep oil in your house that you don’t use too often, you should keep it in the refrigerator so it doesn’t get rancid? I took a cooking class and the teacher let us know that a common mistake people make is keeping their vegetable oil on a shelf in a cabinet, and in a few months it spoils. (The color gets much lighter.) Now I keep my canola oil in the fridge.

I saw a commercial this morning for Reynold’s Wrap that is made from 100% recycled aluminum. Sounds like a great idea — I think I will start buying it. Apparently Marcal also makes paper towels made from 100% recycled paper, too. If the absorbancy on those is good, sounds like 2 eco-friendly options for the kitchen. Which is great, because I often feel guilty about the amount of sandwich bags and paper towels we’re contributing to landfills.

Sign Up Now

Just a reminder that by signing up for a daily email from Family Favs, you can get a handy email sent to your inbox every time there’s a new post. No more having to remember to check the blog — we’ll come to you! Just click “Subscribe to Family Favs by Email” at the right, put in your info, and your life will be that much easier.

Etc.

I don’t even watch that much TV but I am sad that my few favs are going on hiatus for the summer. Oh well, I might actually have to talk to Ken! (ha ha)

There was a fun article in the NY Times today about the woman who is the receptionist at the White House. What a great job with a window on such fascinating happenings. You can read it here.

Everyone on the East Coast was complaining on Facebook that they had to turn their heat on today. It was rather chilly. But tomorrow is supposed to go back to normal (70s) and be in the 80s by the end of the week. It’s impossible to get the wardrobe right.

Hope your Monday wasn’t too bad!

Cityscape: London

May 18, 2009

Dscn1920Ilene from Phoenix wrote in asking for some hotel recommendations in London, which I gave her, and it got me thinking that I should do some more travel-related posts, particularly with the summer upon us when everyone tends to travel more. So for the first one, we’ll tackle London, the capital of Cool Brittania, the always expensive (but now 25% cheaper than last year with the stronger dollar) city that is not to be missed. Many of you out there will have much to add to these posts (like you for London, Mia!) so please feel free to comment.

Where to Stay

There are many good hotels in London, and I suggest you narrow it by price and location. I tend to like to stay in the Regent Street/Piccadilly region, so it’s easy to walk most places, but there are many nice neighborhoods and it’s just a question of where you want to make your home base. The tube (their subway) is very user-friendly so it isn’t difficult to get around.

The Metropolitan has a clean, modern aesthetic, situated by Hyde Park. (It also features Nobu.) I noticed in Travel and Leisure that they are having a 3 night deal for the summer on weekends — $199/night, which is a great deal for there. The Athenaeum is nearby, with a friendly and helpful staff. This is more British in feel and also has apartments around the corner. We stayed in an apartment once with Austin and it did make it so much easier to have a kitchenette (that someone else cleaned up) and a washer/dryer (since that was the trip when Austin projectile vomited all over me on the car ride from the airport to the hotel). St. Martin’s Lane is part of the Ian Schraeger empire, with a Philippe Starck designed interior. It’s conveniently located in the Theater District. Recently I stayed in The Courthouse hotel, which used to be the London Courthouse and jail. (Part of the jail is now the hotel bar and you can sit in a cell.) It’s located a block or so off Regent and Oxford Streets, so you’re right near the best TopShop. We had a rate that included breakfast, and the spread was nice.

Where to Eat

The days when everyone complained about the food in London are pretty much gone. There are some good, if pricey, restaurants all over the city. Here are a few favs: Belgo’s, a Belgian restaurant with excellent mussels, is reasonably priced and located near Covent Garden. Veeraswamy is a good Indian restaurant on Regent Street. The Wolseley is a very nice restaurant and cafe located in a former bank. And if you’re feeling really flush, Le Caprice never disappoints, both with the food and the celebs who are inevitably dining alongside you. For the more budget-minded, Pret a Manger makes excellent soups and sandwiches (it originated here) and Wagamama serves up tasty udon and other noodle treats, including dumplings. And tea on the Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols is always a treat.

What to Do

There is so much to do in London, you really have to go more than once to take it all in. There are of course the basics like Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the British Museum (a treasure trove, one of my fav things they have are the original scribbles of the Beatles’ lyrics), Victoria and Albert Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, which you can now go inside and tour during part of the year. Just remember they don’t allow strollers, which we found out the hard way when they took ours, which kept Austin from napping, forcing him to have a complete meltdown in the Queen’s ballroom. Oh well — I’m sure that’s not the first time someone lay down in the middle of that room and cried…Anyway, the list of basics goes on, which you can find in a guidebook. The Cabinet War Rooms Museum is a must-see — these are the underground rooms where Churchill and the gang ran the British war effort in World War 2. Essentially, when the war ended, these people went back to their lives and no one bothered to clean up these rooms. Someone found them over 30 years later, with everything intact, down to the cigarettes in the ashtrays. Fascinating. The Tate Modern is great both for the modern art and the building itself.

There’s fantastic theater in London, if you’re looking for that. And of course, there’s shopping. Liberty is a great department store — everything is well chosen, and there are small things like bath gels and soaps that you can bring home as gifts. Bond and New Bond Streets have just about every designer you can think of. Jigsaw offers wearable, fashionable clothes at reasonable prices. I don’t love Selfridges because it’s such a huge store, but they do carry every designer under one roof, and their stationary department has interesting wares. Harvey Nichols is like their Barneys. I’ve never really liked Harrod’s, but their Food Hall is pretty incredible. For tea and other typically British treats in beautiful packaging, Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly is the place to go.

There’s so much more, but that gives you a good sampling. Don’t forget to wander and act like a local — grab a pint in a pub and just chill. Enjoy!

Weekend Wrap-Up

Ken and I headed out to Gusto on Friday night (60 Greenwich Avenue). Very good Italian food in the West Village, and they have some outdoor seating now that the weather is nicer.

Saturday we decided to head over to the Ukranian Festival in the East Village. Kielbasa and pierogies for everyone! Between the food and the music and dancing, my kids enjoyed themselves. It was supposed to rain, but it actually became an incredibly nice day so we spent a few hours in the park.

We were all pretty grimy, but we decided to head over to Houston’s on Park Avenue for dinner. If you’re in the burbs, you probably have one of these, but we had never been there and some people had told us it was good. The decor was understated, they try to keep it nice (they made Ken take off his baseball hat in the dining room), the food was fine, but at the end of the day, it’s a chain, and I don’t need to pay $30 for an entree at a chain. Is it cheaper outside of the city?

I tried a couple of different recipes this weekend — I’ll post them soon as I found them both easy and delicious.

Hope you had a good one!

Keep It Loose

May 15, 2009

With Addison in the hospital last week I had to cancel pilates, so when I went in this week, let’s just say between the stress and lack of sleep, I really, really needed it. When we were through with the hour, I felt great, and my teacher left me with this: “Keep stretching every day.” So I pass that along to you, as well as my favorite lower back stretch. You can do it in the gym or in the comfort of your very own home!

innerthighstretchSit down as if you’re going to sit Indian-style, but don’t cross your legs. Put the bottoms of your feet together so your legs make a diamond shape. Now lean forward (you can put your hands on the floor in front of you) until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Sit up and repeat. Depending on how close or far from your body that your legs are will determine how far you can go and how much of a stretch you’ll get. Now here’s part 2: sit up straight in the same position, let your knees open and relax close to the ground. From the waist, lean to the right. The key is to keep your left butt cheek glued to the floor so you get a big stretch in the waist, hips and lower back on the left side. Hold for 10 seconds, return to straight and lean to the left, keeping your right side down. I find it’s a great stretch to open up the lower back without risking overstretching or putting pressure on any other body parts. It’s an excellent “good morning!” stretch to get you going.

Oh Yeah, It’s Thursday!!

Did someone say music? Here’s the Single of the Week from Ken:

This week, we’re going to flex some dance hall funk and send a little Major Lazer across NJ Transit’s Morristown line, up into MetroNorth’s New Haven line and even, God forbid, into parts of the Upper East Side. (Note: The omission of Long Island is intentional.) “Hold the Line” features Santigold and Mr. Lexx singing over an incessant surf guitar hook, punctuated by sound effects ranging from dial tones to horses to electronic warbling. If Michael Buble woke up in hell, this is what he would be listening to.

Random

Did you know that Wal Mart accounts for 10 percent of all retail sales in the U.S.? I didn’t until today when they released their earnings (which were flat). It just made me realize how outside of the mainstream I am, since I won’t shop there. I mean, I get it — it’s cheap. But at a certain point I think we need to ask, “At what cost?” and when you won’t give people health benefits even though they work full time and you lock people in at night to clean your stores, something ain’t right. (Before I hear from Wal Mart defenders, I know they have cleaned up their act in the last couple of years but that was only after mucho pressure from state and local governments and I still hear stories about them strong-arming their suppliers, among other things.) So I choose to shop elsewhere. Apparently, most of America doesn’t agree with me!

Here Comes the Weekend

I’m so excited that the weekend is just about here! Ken and I have a date Friday night, I am going to see if MacLaren can refurbish our stroller (if it goes well I will give you all the deets), Austin and I are going to make strawberry muffins and blueberry pancakes and we have a whole bunch of other things planned. I have been on an organization kick so I have a couple more projects I want to tackle (my shoes being one of them — which frankly might take the whole weekend).

Let’s get this party started!

Scent-sational

May 14, 2009

The sweet smell of...you!

The sweet smell of...you!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that one of my (many) quirks is that I will often discover a brand when I’m traveling overseas, stockpile it, but then when it inevitably migrates across the ocean to our shores, I’m way over it. (This weekend I ventured into Topshop in SoHo and continued this trend when I left very empty-handed.) But there are a few exceptions and today’s recommendation is one of them. And guys, keep reading because this is a great gift idea for one of the women in your life.

Jo Malone launched her fragrance line in England and about 10 years ago on a trip to London I made Ken trek out of our way after tea at Harvey Nichols (love the 5th floor!) to a small shop on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge, which was her only freestanding store at the time. Modern packaging and rich and unusual (but not wacky) scents are Jo Malone’s signature. The first one I bought was the Lime, Basil and Mandarin. One of my requirements for perfume is that I don’t want to smell like everyone else and I don’t want the fragrance to be overpowering. This scent fit the bill. Since then I’ve stuck to her citrus lines: Verbena Lemon, Grapefruit and Orange. All smell like me but just…cleaner! You’re sure to find one that suits you in her Fruity, Floral, Woodsy or other lines. Her soaps are also delicious, but I find it hard to justify really expensive soap in this economy, unless it’s a gift. I’ve never tried the skincare or home fragrance lines, but they are available as well. And she does do fragrance for men!

The perfumes run about $100 for 3.4 ounces. Not a bargain, but compared to other high end fragrances, it’s on the less expensive end. And unless you’re bathing in it, a bottle lasts a long, long time. (Available at department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, in freestanding Jo Malone stores and online at jomalone.com, where they have free shipping.)

Etc.

I’ve had the freakin’ Wubbzy theme song in my head all day — my kids barely watch TV but this morning they watched an episode — for a split second Wubbzy is in his underwear in the opening credits and they think it’s hilarious.

Let’s all give a HUGE shout out to billionaire George Soros, who last night pledged a $50 million dollar donation to the Robin Hood Foundation to help the poor with food and shelter in NYC. In times like these, that’s saying something.

I ate lunch and dinner out and combined spent less than $6 today. Incredible anywhere, but particularly in NYC. At the cafeteria at work they were out of the sandwich I wanted, so I got some vegetable lentil soup, a side of mashed potatoes and a side of zucchini for $3.11. (By the way, people at the cafeteria, if you are out of the sandwich of the day by 1:15pm on a sunny day, you are clearly not making enough turkey, pear chutney and brie sandwiches. Look into that.) Then after work Ken was in some sort of a panic to buy khakis at Banana Republic so the whole family went with the promise of frozen yogurt afterward. On the way, Ken and I grabbed pizza at this place around the corner. Slices are $1, 2 slices and a can of soda costs $2.75. So my lunch and dinner together came to $5.86!

Hope you found some bargains today!

images-1Once Johnny Carson up and left us, whatever the suits at NBC decided, there was only one late night talk show host that could lay claim to his mantle: David Letterman. Always funny, quick with the comeback, quirky and real, he somehow cuts through the talk show bs and manages to put together a topical, interesting and hilarious show five nights a week. (SNL can barely churn out one.) And you know how on most of those shows the humor feels forced and laughter coerced? That’s probably because it is. But on The Late Show, if a joke falls flat, they leave it in, often times with even funnier results. (David Spade told an interviewer that he couldn’t stand going on The Tonight Show because when his jokes bombed Leno would lean over during the commercial break and tell him, “Don’t worry, we’ll edit that out,” which he felt was such a cop out.)

And there are moments that you would not see anywhere else. When Joaquin Phoenix came on and just sat there for ten minutes under the influence of who knows what, where most hosts would have had flop sweat, Letterman mined it for comedic gold. When Madonna came on and self-destructed with the f-bomb, he let her rip. And when Bill O’Reilly was at his most pompous during the Bush Administration, Dave gave him a piece of what was on his and most other Americans’ minds. Yes, he has mellowed over the years. Yes, he fawns over the pretty ladies (hello, Julia Roberts). But he has managed to become a better interviewer and remain on the tip of pop culture, which is no small feat. He asks taboo questions (he famously got Nicole Kidman to answer that she could wear heels now that she was divorced from Tom Cruise) and readily admits that some stars won’t come on the show because they don’t like him (Brad Pitt and Winona Ryder, to name two). His motto is “There is no off position on the genius switch.” I mean, come on, major crush!!

I know what you’re thinking: it’s a commitment since the show is on five nights a week. But I DVR it, fast forward through some parts, watch the interviews that appeal to me, and generally find it’s a great way to keep up with what’s going on and to have a good laugh. Which we all need. (Catch The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS at 11:35pm weeknights. To check out some of the hilarity online, click here.)

Theater District Meal

Had lunch with a friend at Five Napkin Burger. It’s a good find — prices are reasonable (most entrees are around $15), food is good and there’s a nice variety on the menu. It’s often crowded so I would definitely make a reservation. Perfect for pre-theater as the 45th and 9th location puts you right in the heart of it. I am partial to the tuna burger — it’s essentially a generous cut of big eye tuna, grilled and served up with tasty onion rings on a fresh bun. There are shakes, spring rolls, wings and sushi — all crowd pleasers. Delish!

Etc.

Note to Gossip Girl: flashback episodes suck.

We had a benefit for Austin’s school tonight. I so want to support them but Ken has such a hard time going out on a school night, it’s almost not worth it. Plus Austin did not want a babysitter so he wrote her name, drew a red line through it and announced, “I don’t want her to come. I cross her out!” So I traded him an orange tic tac in exchange for his cooperation.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Pig Out

May 12, 2009

It was not easy to get Jodi from the West Village to share this recipe, but she finally did. And since you can’t get swine flu from eating pork, why not celebrate and try it?! I don’t even really eat pork but I have tried this and it is very good!

Roasted pork tenderloin with sage corn bread crust….

1 lb pork tenderloin
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 tbls of unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves
1 small yellow onion
2 corn toaster cakes, crumbled, or 1 cup crumbled corn muffin
1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
2 tbls Dijon mustard

Pre heat oven to 425.

Pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a 10-inch non stick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes. Transfer to an oiled shallow baking pan.

Add butter to skillet and cook garlic and onion over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in crumbs, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spread mustard over pork and pat half of seasoned crumbs onto mustard, then sprinkle with remaining seasoned crumbs. Roast in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into meat registers 155, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, then tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4

(Ok, my secret is to add more corn muffin toasters or corn muffins and butter!!!)

Etc.

Postal increases suck.

Is Obama going to chicken out and not do universal healthcare? Call me a cynic, but I don’t think letting the healthcare industry voluntarily reduce costs is the answer. Look how well it worked out with Wall Street!

I was wondering today if I have ever gotten the same cab driver twice.

Back to the doctor with Addison tomorrow. Hopefully they will give her a clean bill of health and I can get her off some of this medicine. Fingers crossed!

Hope your Monday wasn’t too bad!

Germ Warfare

May 11, 2009

Your best weapon...

Your best weapon...

What we’ve learned from the swine flu pandemic is 1) every time you think you know what you should be fearful of, something crazier lurks around the corner and 2) washing your hands is the best line of attack against the flu, swine or otherwise. I read an article that due to the outbreak this elementary school in the midwest started making the students wash their hands before lunch every day, and they reduced sickness (regular colds, etc.) by over 50 percent, so they’re going to stick with the washing even after the swine flu goes away. Seems like we all should too. So why not make washing your hands a little more pleasant of an experience? There are some fancy hand washes (Kiehl’s and Molton Brown make good ones), but I save the good stuff for giving as gifts.

For home, I’m a fan of Method hand washes. They come in several uplifting scents (we use the cucumber), the bottle looks cool in your bathroom, and they sell bags of refills that are both environmentally and wallet friendly. (If you’re not a fragrance fan, they sell a “naked” one that’s fragrance free.) While upscale hand soaps run over $20 a bottle, 12 ounces of Method goes for about $4. You can find it at Target, or a bunch of places online. Because if you’re going in to battle, you might as well do it in style. (And if you’re still using bar soap, this will change your life! So much neater — it’s one less thing to clean up.)

Bar Artisanal

Friday night we took the kids to a new restaurant in Tribeca from Terence Brennan (the chef at Artisanal and Picholine, two favs in our house), Bar Artisanal. The space is nice and airy (literally, the huge windows open up to the street), the vibe is friendly and the food is very good. There are small plates to share like pizzettes, ceviche and cheeses (Addison loved the fried artichokes), and things like mussels and burgers to keep for yourself. They had only been open 12 days when we went, which showed in the service. (Frankly, any restaurant we’ve been to that is less than two months old always reminds me not to go to any restaurant that is less than two months old.) So I say go in a month or two, when they’ve worked the bugs out.

People Really Do Win at Family Favs

Congratulations to Michelle from Connecticut who won our inaugural giveaway and will be receiving a brand spankin’ new lip gloss and lip tint, fresh from the Yes to Carrots factory as they just hit store shelves nationwide. And because we’re feeling extra generous, runners up Denielle from New Jersey and Tatiana from Brooklyn will each receive their own lip gloss to try. Enjoy!!

Weekend Wrap-Up

It was another fun-filled weekend for us. Lots of family in town for Mother’s Day, so several delish meals at some good restaurants.

I received a bunch of beautiful gifts, including a necklace and a gift certificate for a pedicure, as well as a pretty candle that Austin made me in school. He was so excited to give it to me that he couldn’t wait til Sunday (“I forget a lot of things on Sundays, Mom.”) so I got a nice treat on Saturday. Perhaps the best gift was when everyone went to Whole Foods and left me alone in the house for an hour! Ha ha — a little Mother’s Day humor.

I got an email from Neiman Marcus today trying to entice me to buy things from the “pre-fall” collection. I haven’t even wrapped my head around summer yet, so you lost me there.

As I browsed Topshop I realized we all should have kept all of our crap from the 80s. And that look is no better now than it was then. Neon — boo!

The final thought I will leave you with as the weather gets warmer is this: sundresses and boots look stupid together. There, I said it.

Hope you had a good one!