Sunday, December 20, 2009

I cannot believe I am going home to Portland tomorrow. Exciting, but strange. In the three short months since I booked my ticket, my whole world has changed. When I booked it, I thought of my flight from New York to Portland as a flight home. Now, I wonder.

Brooklyn gave us a stunning send off this weekend, in case you didn't hear. Rumors of snow swirled around all last week, but the Portland Girl in me was very skeptical...

Of course, the very same Portland Girl also woke up early Saturday morning, the day the snow was supposed to come, and raced to the window to check for snow. Nothing yet, but I opened the blind and cuddled up in bed to watch and wait.

Back in Portland, this would be a failed effort, sure to curse any .002% chance of snow. However, here in the BK, my faith was rewarded by 1pm with flurry after glorious flurry of the most delicate powder I've ever seen.

Just so happens, we had a little Christmas Party planned for Saturday night, so needless to say my excitement turned to absolute unbridled joy. I popped some more of that crazy-tasty gingerbread dough into the fridge and we rushed out into the day. The dusting that greeted us was barely a taste of what was to come...

Christmas shopping anyone?? How about these fabulous 1950's mugs?

David is unconvinced.

Rest assured, presents were indeed purchased, but I must remain mum as to the details, for what should be obvious reasons. As we meandered our way home to get our little home bedecked and bedazzled for our guests, I met the second love of my life.

Gingerbread in the oven, cocktails mixed, my very own Ultimate Christmas List playing on the stereo (and Ultimate doesn't even BEGIN to describe its awesomeness) and White Christmas playing silently on the tv for visual we were beyond ready! Before we knew it, the greatest little Christmas party was underway! Cheers!

After a few hours of eggnog, we went out to check on the accumulation and generally spread cheer outside good old 575, and in doing so discovered a whole new use for oven mits! Oven mits; the new Glittens!

Token snow angel! First of many, as it happened.

After a brief warm up-respite in the apartment, we braved the block up to Prospect Park. With 12 inches on the ground, the six (five of us Portlanders) of us were already pretty blissed out. As we entered Prospect Park, bliss balloned into complete awe.

3am. We have the entire park to ourselves. Hill after rolling hill lay in front of us blanketed in the most pristine white powder. Peace and joy flood my body. I wander away from the others, humbled by the beauty of this world.

But then I missed everyone. And there they were!

Back home, we went our various ways and/or crashed at the apt to sleep that magically deep sleep of people who spent the day playing in the snow.
Fig. 1: Jay

The snow-covered city beckoned once again this morning, and we were off once again!

How do you resist that? Brief stop in DUMBO at David's (YAY!) place of employment for a little peppermint mocha perk-up! The view isn't bad either.

Off to the Christmas capitol of NYC!

Rockefeller was a madhouse, shockingly, so my attempts at cute couple-y pictures felt sort of futile. Next years' Christmas card? Hmmmmmmmmm...

Well, I am going to miss the city this Christmas, it has been very good to me this year. Goodbye New York! Have a Merry Christmas, you have made my season oh so bright.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Invasion of the Gingerbread Men!

Can you believe it is December 13th, and I haven't baked a single Christmas cookie yet? Well, I personally think that that is just silly. What with this work stuff, final paper writing (8 pages down, 10 or so to go!), and having a wee cold, I've fallen a bit behind on the most important thing-- spreading holiday cheer!!

Not to fear, these little fellows and their snowy friends perked me right up! The perfect way to pass a dreary Sunday night. As a small note, I'd say the perfect positioning of a dragee is an incredibly satisfying occupation. Can one get a job decorating Christmas cookies year round? Something to ponder....

They're here and they want you to eat them!

I love how as you go along, even though you cut them all from the same mold, each and every gingerbread man has a personality all his own. I call these two Fats and Gonzo, for reasons I think are quite apparent...

The one on the left here looks kind of tipsy to me, something about the smile. What about the guy on the right, he has a definite look about him, but I can't put my finger on it. Thoughts?

Oh, and these little beauties taste as good as they look. Here's the magic formula! They're pretty sticky, so make sure to be very free with the flour when you are rolling them out.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp each of baking soda and baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg yolk. Mix well. Add all the dry ingredients, and mix just until it looks like ginger cookie dough. Chill at least 2 hours. Roll it out and cut out any shape that suits you! Bake at 350 for about 5-7 minutes. They bake up REALLY fast, keep your eyes on them. You want them to be nice and soft, right?

DECORATE!! Obsessively, in my case.

I used a simple powdered sugar/milk mixture for the icing and plenty of lovely silver and red dragees. Oh, and by the way, although there are many people who say you can eat them, there are just as many who say it's really not a good idea to do so. I'm in favor of playing it safe and not ingesting the little buggers, but it's your call. As always, this most important thing is to HAVE FUN and BE MERRY! They're Christmas cookies after all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Liquid Christmas

This is one schmaltzy cocktail, just like Christmastime is one schmaltzy time of year and just like I can really be one schmaltzy lady....

Here's what you'll need;

And to answer your question, heck no, Swiss Miss isn't a good hot chocolate-- it's Swiss Miss. It is what it is. Just like this drink. The little darling really twinkles my lights, and it doesn't hurt that it takes about 30 seconds to make. In this ridiculously icy weather, there's no better way to warm up. Christmas in a Cup! And anyway, these guys don't judge, they're just happy you're happy! See;

Anyway, this drink should make you feel festive and cozy all at once, I enjoyed mine from the sofa, wrapped up in a blanket as I basked in the glow of my very own Christmas tree. I highly recommend the entire experience.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love Starbucks now. There's no denying it. Why you ask? Why, Miranda, would you, a Portlander, a Stumptown barista, a general snob about coffee suddenly love Starbucks????!!


As my dear friend Jessica said upon hearing the glad tidings, WOOOOOOOT!

Best Christmas present ever. I drink your latte!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sometimes I feel very young.....

Especially when Christmas time is coming and I'm in a city that makes me feel so gloriously small.

It was a gorgeous day today, and we watched the sun fall from a pier in DUMBO, dazzled by our adopted home.

Like they say, the best view of Manhattan is from Brooklyn.

Sometimes, I have to stop everything and embarass myself for a moment of Christmas cheer!

But I am getting ahead of myself. I had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, most of all, my Grandfathers health-- he had been not feeling well at all, which meant a whirlwind trip to Ohio the weekend before Thanksgiving, more on that in a later post! My poor and wonderful mother went from Portland to New York to Ohio, back to New York and finally home to Portland again in the space of a long weekend. Phew!

Anyway, I was thankful for the health and happiness of my family, and for all the lovely friends who shared our meal this year-- all NINE of them!

Plates piled high!

Gravy Toast! Vegetarian mushroom meets good old turkey gravy! Yum yum!

Not all of us could wait for dinner...MIKE.

As for David, he cooked arguably the BEST turkey in all of America this Thursday, and everyone pitched in and left us with food for at least a week--yay!

And the aftermath, we bask in the tryptophan glow...

Here's to a sparkly and warm Christmas Season full of , eggnoggy parties and PRESENTS and the Johnny Mathis masterpiece, "Marshmallow World" on repeat and most of all cozy homes filled with family and friends. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


1 14 lb Free Range Fresh Turkey

2 pans of stuffing, one sausage, one veg.

1 pumpkin pie, tucked away in the fridge.

2 big bags of frozen green beans, 2 cans Campbells cream of mushroom soup. A classic waiting to be recalled.

Home made cranberry sauce, already in its serving dish, tart and zest-packed.

6 lbs yukon golds, 5lbs sweet potatoes, straight from the Union Sq. Market (thanks Jay!)

10 people ready to come fill our apartment with happy holiday noises, hour after glorious hour.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A day in the Life of Miranda's New York

A November day in pictures.

It doesn't matter how tired you are, getting up is pretty easy when the day looks like this outside your bedroom window.

Bye bye little apartment! I'll be back in 12 short hours!

Hello 7th AVE. You're my very own subway stop.

My train will come eventually, though the tunnel can look desolate.

At work, 30 minutes later (give or take). Lexington ave/63rd street. Fancy, for a subway stop. Which isn't saying much.

I call this "work".

But hostessing is the cushiest job ever invented, and it suites me. To call it work is a stretch.

Family meal, is what I see when I walk in, they're awesome. Alex, Arsi and Marcos. They call me honey and it's not creepy and make me special espresso drinks, occasionally spiked with Sambuca (whether I want it or not).

Alex and Tito.

Tito brings me coffee and tea and works harder than anyone I've ever met. Plus, he never fails to smile and ask me how I am when I come to work. Alex is from Albania, like most of the other servers, and is the one who secretly spikes my iced espresso. He's also just a really, really good guy.

I am done at 4pm, and I often like to walk over to Park Ave and work my way down 5th Ave. I always notice something new, today it was the Sherry-Netherland, which makes me think of Eloise.

Snow at Bulgari.

A candle and prayer at St. Patricks for someone I love very much.

New York gets ready for Christmas-- that scaffolding shields the Rockefeller Center Christmas soon!

Radio City Music Hall just couldn't wait. Typical.

David met me at the Union Square farmers market, and we visit Jay and his shaggy haired coworker at the notorious Pretzel stand!

Crunch crunch free pretzels.

Phew. A long lovely day. A city with so much beauty. Today I needed to look around and let the city carry me.