Wait, are you pregnant?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I see a blogger that I frequent hasn't updated their blog in forever, I think, "Are you pregnant?" Well, I am. That is partially why I haven't been blogging. I feel like I lost a little of my cooking groove in my new setting. New York City has too many delicious places to try and since it's summer and 500,000 degrees, I just haven't had the urge to whip up a whole big fancy pants meal. The less time I have to spend standing in front of a hot stove the better.

So a little more about the whole, "I'm pregnant!" thing... It was a surprise, a wonderful and welcomed surprise, but a definitely a, "wait, what?" kind of moment. I'm nearly 5 months (19 weeks this week). My due date is December 31, which should make for a very crazy holiday season. Our lease is up in October, so the next few months are going to be crazy, to say the least.

Let me give you a quick look at our timeline:

September: we booked our babymoon!!!- our last vacation where it will just be the two of us (kinda, well, you know what I mean), we're heading off to the beautiful rolling hills of Ireland. I will have just started my 6th month and feel comfortable heading out for a little alone time with my hubby for 2 weeks. We plan to rent a car, take a ferry over to Scotland, see the sights, explore the castles, enjoy the cool weather and have a blast.

Oh yeah, we need to find an apartment before we leave for our trip. This means we have about 3 weeks (starting...ummm, now) to find an apartment and pack up everything. When we get back from the babymoon - it's move in time!

Find an apartment, pack, pack for the trip, go on the trip, get back from the trip, move, unpack, hello November!

November will be exciting - baby shower, Thanksgiving, setting up baby furniture...the whole shebang.

December - Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Have a baby! This will be a very...umm... strange Christmas season. For starters - gonna pop a baby out and all... so there's that..... Also, my dad and stepmom are moving to Florida in a few weeks so we won't get to spend Christmas Eve with them, something we've done for many, many, many years.
This will be an odd year. My older brother and I are kind of wondering how we're going to work the holidays now. It will be a new adventure for sure.

I'm not sure how to handle the whole labor thing. Let me clarify. My mom and in-laws both live on Long Island. This is about 45 minutes away from the city. The city is where my doctor and hospital are. The dilemma for my hubby and I is this: do we feel comfortable leaving the city so close to my due date. The more and more and more and more I read (yes, I need to quit it with the baby research, if nothing else, the images of labor are just haunting), I learn that it doesn't happen the way it does in the movies. The mother's water doesn't break (does anyone else remember the scene from Coneheads? Well, I do) and 3 minutes later she's pushing out a baby. I'm really under the impression that it takes quite some time for the whole thing to actually happen. We're talking hours and hours. The books recommend going to a movie, out to dinner, getting last minute baby stuff set up. Ok, do I feel that's crazy and ridiculous to even think I'll be like, "hey hubby, let's go catch a quick movie, no biggy. Just in labor, having some contractions, let's just try that new Thai restaurant around the block" Umm, that's a little ridiculous, for sure!, but the point is that it takes much much longer than we usually think and I probably have plenty of time to get back to the city if I did happen to go into labor while visiting with family for the holidays.

So that's been what's happening. There's a lot of stuff on my plate. All good. All exciting. All a teensy bit stressful. I hope that I get the cooking bug again (that sounds like something you DON'T want...like you'll be puking for 3 days straight or something). For now, I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. I hope to start blogging more consistently again soon.

Fish Sticks

I'm loving New York City. I miss a few things about sunny Southern California, but mostly I'm having a deep love affair with NY. The city loves you unconditionally. No judgement. You can leave your house looking fabulous, your hair and makeup pristine, and arrive to your destination looking like you've been swept up by a tornado and everyone seems to just nod and understand. Unless you travel by private car or taxi all the time, it's inevitable - your hair will simply not look the same as when you caught that last glimpse of yourself in the hallway mirror before you left your apartment building. 

This city has so many culinary options it's mind-boggling. Seriously. If we go out to eat for dinner and haven't already set a specific place to go, it will take forever to decide. You walk down almost any street and there are a barrage of restaurants to choose from. It's dizzying. I love it, don't get me wrong, but it seriously is a very time consuming process trying to find a place to eat. 

We can't go out to eat all the time, as it turns out, NY is just as, if not more, expensive to eat and live as it was in California. I want to tell anyone not living in California or New York - if you plan on moving to either state - your cost of living will skyrocket. It's a fact. I think. Probably is. We have a super cute (oh, "cute" means small) studio (no bedrooms) apartment in the Financial District (all the way South on the island) and are basically paying the same amount you're paying for your house with lots of rooms, garage space and lawnage. I'm not complaining, I'm just warning. It ain't cheap here folks. You've been officially warned. 

Rice Pudding

This is not a dish you can whip up in a few minutes and call it a day. This process is slightly tedious, well worth it, but tedious. There's a lot of "ladle your milk, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir....add more milk and stir, stir, stir and stir"....you get the idea - no?

I actually found that I prefer it warm, which I originally thought would be gross. But there's something extra rich and creamy tasting when it's warm. Enjoy it however you like :).

Makes about 4 cups

2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup Arborio rice
4- 5 cups milk (I used whole milk)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
large pinch allspice
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation Instructions

In a medium saucepan, over low heat, scald 4 cups of milk.  
Bring the milk to just under boiling, turn off the flame and let it rest.
In a large saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter.  
Add the rice and stir to coat.  
Ladle in just enough hot milk to cover the rice.  
Stir over a low flame. The rice will begin to absorb the milk.  
When the milk is almost fully absorbed, ladle in more hot milk.  
Stir until absorbed.  Continue this process.

Taste the rice as you near the end of the milk. As you add the last bit of milk, also incorporate the sugar, vanilla, salt & spices. Stir well to combine.

Stir over low heat until the milk is gone and the rice is tender.

Serve warm or cold, enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

I want to call these Mallomars but they're not. They want to be, but they're not quite. The most accurate title is, Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies. Until I tweak the cookie recipe a bit, this will have to do.

I made them for Christmas and everyone devoured them. I made a milk chocolate and dark chocolate option. Both are incredible.

Bullseye Eggs

That's what I call them at least. What does your family call them? 

Who doesn't love an egg sandwich? All that runny yolk, and salty bacon, maybe some ooey gooey cheese? We all do - stop saying you don't. 

Brussels Sprouts

My husband went to Connecticut for a few days to stay with his Grandma and help her out while his Grandpa was in the hospital dealing with some medical issues. 

I hate when my husband's away. Or do I?  No, I do hate when he's not with me, but I do love that I'm able to make all the things that I love and all the things he hates.

My husband hates Brussels sprouts. He doesn't know any better I guess. He's a pretty picky eater actually. He won't admit it, but he his. Unless it's a plate of protein and carbs in a very traditional fashion, he's gonna be a tough customer. I could easily do the vegetarian thing. I love veggies and salad. Whoa whoa whoa wait, don't think I don't love meat and bacon (yes, bacon is in it's own category) as much as the next guy, I'm just saying, if I had to eat only vegetarian, I could - hubbypickyface could not. That's all I'm saying.

Blueberry Vanilla Pancakes

Fine - YES! I've spent most of my waking hours watching Downton Abbey. All of it. Every episode, every season. All in about 2 weekends. STOP JUDGING ME!

Okay, you can judge.

My brother bought it for my mom for Christmas. We all watched the first episode late one night - I was instantly hooked. Please tell me I'm not the only one. Please... come on, someone!

A Lot Has Happened...

I'm officially a New Yorker - again. I've always thought of myself as a New Yorker really. Living in California for nine and a half years was just a vacation period. I never became a Californian. I was just staying there. I'm a New Yorker. This is where I was born, this is where I grew up, this is where I'll die. Ok, that got creepy. You get the point. I'm back. And I'm thrilled. I love it all. I can't get enough of this magnificent city. I'm still looking for a job, so I have lots of time to explore and taste and see everything this place has to offer.

Let me give you a glimpse into what's been happening via Instagram...