Friday, February 27

Ashes

Every year I lose track of Ash Wednesday. It sneaks up on me. This year it happened at 5:15 p.m. – barely enough time to make it to evening mass.

I haven’t always been so lucky. One year on Ash Wednesday, I was hanging out with friends after school and got home late. When my dad saw me, he asked about my ashes. My self-absorbed youth had totally forgotten.

Naturally my parents, being parents, brought on the guilt. They laid it on like a cement truck. I was beside myself.

To make up for my moral snafu, I did the unthinkable. I took the palm from last year’s Palm Sunday and burned it, opened my bible and read Ash Wednesday mass. I even gave myself ashes.

My parents thought this was pretty funny. At the time, I did too. The length I went to just to be at peace. But looking back, I realize how responsible and loyal those simple actions were. Without thinking, I participated in one of the important lessons of the Lenten season – a voluntary act of self-denial through spiritual study.

This year, I’m letting that self-absorbed youth, along with Miss Musing and many other amazing bloggers, inspire me. I’m denying myself the right to sleep in past 8 a.m., but more importantly, each week Husby and I will be donating a basket of food/groceries to our parish to feed a local family.

Any other awespiring ideas, whether for Lent or just in general? After all, 'tis the season.

What the Freak?!?!

Dear Google,

What the freak is up with the new Google Follow Me box. Yuck.

I love Google, have since college, but seriously?! Why would you take something so simple and overly complicate it? That's a job for us ladies, and here I thought you were run by two men.

It's nice that you made it customizable, but does it have to look so fugly? Not to mention your Google Friend Connect covers up part of the text you wrote.

Since when are you about protecting privacy? Before, blogger stalking was easy. I just clicked on the followers and up came the list of awesome new blogs I was dying to obsess over. But the gadget you so sweetly updated deleted that nifty feature. Now, I have to individually click each member to obtain this information. Thanks a bunch!

Love always,
your darling H.I.T.

Thursday, February 26

Target Effect

I love shopping at places like Kate’s Paperie, Papyrus, Good Food Good Things (Darien, CT), and Splurge (Greenwich, CT). They have the Target affect on me – one step into any of those stores and I’m bound to drop at least a $100 on things I probably don’t need, but buy anyway.

Now I can add Swoozie’s to the list. Poor Husby. Really, poor Husby. Because who doesn’t need:

Cocktail Napkins


A Lilly Pulitzer Mouse Pad


Pink Koozies


A Monogrammed Recipe Box


You too, huh? Well, why don’t you enter According to Ashley’s Secret Swoozie Giveaway! Yes, giveaway. Why are you still reading?!? Go!!


*Note: Ashley’s Secret Shopper Giveaway is NOT sponsored by Swoozie’s in any way.

My First Fabulous Award

You love me, you really do! I'm flabbergasted. True story. And that never happens. Just ask Husby.

I want to thank all my followers for making me a H.I.T., and most importantly, the lovely lady over at My life, My world, My words, without whom I would never have received this Fabulous Blog Award:


Thank you!!

I'd like to pass this fabulousness on to those I read religiously (and you should too). In no particular order:

Wednesday, February 25

Winter Scene

Today I was supposed to tackle the last of our Christmas decorations. Yes, Christmas.

Normally, I put everything away at once. Besides the fact that I’m totally Type A, We don’t have a lot of space, so it only takes a day. This year, Husby decided to shake things up on me. He asked if we could keep the snowmen up as a "Winter Scene." Ok, I thought, I'll bite.


Every time we had guests over, someone would graciously comment on our “Winter Scene.”

I’m still putting mine away too.

Did you guys forget something?

I love that you still have decorations up too…

Does this corner not exist in your world? Christmas was over a month ago!

Bitten indeed. I, not Husby, had to repeatedly explain that it is a Winter Scene, not our Christmas decorations. There is no Santa Claus visible, only snowmen. Since when do snowmen equal Christmas?

Well now that it’s time to put everything away, I’m really annoyed at Husby for making me keep this Winter Scene out feeling a bit perplexed. I have to schlep through all our boxes in order to take out the one container I need. Go figure.

So instead I decided to focus on my Spring Scene – shopping scene that is. If the Christmas decorations have been up this long, what’s one more day?


1. AG Stilt Jeans – White
2. Tod’s Natty Sacca Piccola
3. Anne Fontaine Monarde
4. Brian Atwood Patent Pumps - Nude
5. Assorted Gap T’s – long and short sleeve
6. J. Crew City-fit Surplus Chino’s - Khaki
7. Boden Leather Flats - Navy
8. Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Cable Cashmere - Lemon
9. J. Crew Cluster Ring
10. Ann Taylor Loft Knit Cardigan

Monday, February 23

Housekeeping

So you may have noticed a few changes. Here is the official housekeeping report:

No More Names
My husband respectfully requested that I remove our names from my blog. He’s worried I might get a stalker. I didn’t see the need to tell him that I’ve done quite a bit of stalking myself and am hoping people are stalking me.

If you’ve been reading me since I started, you know our names. I would really appreciate if you please don’t use them. Thankyousoverymuch!

Drum roll please.

My name is now H.I.T. and I’m married to Husby (you’ve already heard me call him this a few times in my posts, and since he came up with the nickname it was only fitting).

Copyright
I was running through my daily blog roll when I came across a disturbing post at Love and Marriage. An unnamed blogger stole one of her posts and pawned it off as their own.

I know. Gross.

Now I know that the creative spirit can strike at any time – sometimes after reading someone else’s blog – but that doesn’t give anyone the right to plagerize (or, in this case, blogerize).

To protect my thoughts, recipes, H.I.T. goodness and more, this blog is now copyrighted. I recommend that you all do the same. Blogerizing is a sad and scary truth.

I still love you all, so I'm going to allow distribution and derivative works with proper attribution for non-commercial use. More information is available here. If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail.

Please Do Not Disturb

This weekend, Husby had the audacity to wake me up.

Forget that it was already 8:30 a.m. or that said course of action was because he wanted to hug me and cuddle. We have no kids and until then my “Please do not disturb” sign is hung up loud and clear.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy mornings. I do. I just want to enjoy them on my own time while I still have my own time.

To get back at him for waking me up, I whipped up homemade banana chocolate chip bread.

I sure showed him.

H.I.T. Recession Recipe #5: Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 eggs
3 large over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1. Grease bottom and sides of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the bowl and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, bananas, sugar, and butter. Pour banana mixture all at once into well of flour mixture. Stir until thoroughly moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into loaf pan, filling 2/3 full.
4. Bake in oven for 55-65 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If necessary, loosely tent with aluminum foil the last 15 minutes to prevent over browning. Cool and enjoy!

Friday, February 20

Just Call Me Baby

Husby loves giving me nicknames. Every blue moon, my name is thrown out the window and replaced with something else. I’m not talking cutesy wootsy pet names here. He gets down and dirty coming up with these things.

Here are my Top 3:

1. Countermeasures
2. The Yevgeni (also, My little Yevgeni)*
3. Bator

I don’t know how he does it or where they come from, but who am I to complain? Some people go their whole life wishing for one and are only referred to by their given name.

Besides, I think they’ll come in handy when we have kids. Imagine saying, “If you don’t put that away right now, I’m calling Countermeasures in…”

Now, who wants to be called Baby?


*Correction. When I told Husby about this post, he proceeded to laugh out loud.

Husby, shaking he is laughing so hard: Why would I ever call you my little Afghani?!?!!!!

H.I.T., slightly dismayed that she's been wrong for the better part of a year: I'm not sure. Why would you ever call me Bator?

Husby, stumped: I thought it was cute...

Once collected, Husby told me that he's been calling me Yevgeni after the tennis player.

Now I get it. Nope. Not really.

Wednesday, February 18

Reality Check

I’m feeling a little inadequate.

After blogger stalking which is more fun than Facebook this past week I’ve come to the realization that I have no idea what I’m doing on here. I feel like I’m in seventh grade all over again, pulling out that bagged lunch in the library. Yes, the library.

No pity parties here though, please.

I’ve discovered the Internet is chock full of cool bloggers and I’m busy making new friends. Hopefully they’ll soon be just as obsessed with me followers of my blog too. While I’m learning about ad sense, analytics and more, check out their sites in my “Read Me” section.

It’s not considered cheating on me so long as you keep coming back.

Stalking has been quite enlightening and will hopefully make me an even better NYC H.I.T. If you have any thoughts, comments or questions that might help as I make my way to becoming Queen of the Cyber Universe through the blogosphere, I’m all ears.

Tuesday, February 17

Engagement Chicken

When I was in college, I came across a recipe in Cosmopolitan called Engagement Chicken, a whole chicken roasted with lemon. According to the magazine, every woman who made it would soon became engaged. I had been dating someone for quite some time and thought it might come in useful if we were still together after graduation.

Flash forward a few years. I was still with the same beau, but had yet to make the chicken. I would look at the recipe from time to time and think about it, but always ended up making pasta or something easier than the daunting task of roasting a chicken.

Eventually we broke up and I met Husby. Flash forward again. After living with Husby a few months, we decided it would be better for our wallets and our health if I began cooking meals at home instead of always dining out. Of course, I began thinking about the chicken again. The ingredients even made it on my grocery list once, but I skipped right past the poultry section and bee-lined it to seafood.

Then one weekend in Miami, Husby proposed. I was engaged without ever having made Engagement Chicken! Rather than feel relief, I began thinking about it even more. I was a woman obsessed (and we know just how crazy we women can sometimes get).

Finally, I succumbed to my fear of roasting and decided to make Engagement Chicken. It took me half a day to roast a single 3 lbs chicken. I was beyond proud with the succulent result.

That is until Husby exclaimed, “Hun, this would be great if it wasn’t for that lemony taste.”

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, it’s a good thing I waited until after he popped the question to make Engagement Chicken.

H.I.T. Recession Recipe #4: Engagement Chicken
I’ve since modified the recipe to suit Husby’s taste. The original recipe called for lemon in place of orange, no butter and no cider.

1 3-1/2 lbs whole chicken
2 oranges
Salt
Pepper
Butter
1 cup apple cider
1. Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400˚F.
2. Remove giblets and wash chicken, inside and out. Let chicken drain, cavity down, until it reaches room temperature (about 15 minutes).
3. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Squeeze juice of one orange all over chicken, inside and out, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Prick the remaining orange a few times with a knife and place deep inside cavity. Tie legs together to seal.
5. Place the bird breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Put two pats of butter on bird and pour ½ cup of cider into bottom of roasting pan. Lower heat to 375˚F and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and turn chicken breast-side up (use wooden spoons!). Place two pats of butter on breast, return to oven and bake uncovered for one hour, or until meat thermometer reads 180˚. About half-way through baking, pour remaining ½ cup of cider over chicken and into bottom of roasting pan. Add two more pats of butter onto breast.
6. Once baked all the way through, remove from oven and let bird cool about 10 minutes before carving. Juices in pan can be used to make gravy. Enjoy!

Friday, February 13

Will You Be My Valentine?

Rogers Family Blog just wrote about her daughters making Valentines. While her youngest daughter stuck to the basics (name only), her older daughter went with honesty. One note exclaimed, “You are taller than me, but that’s ok.”

Imagine if we were as honest as that little girl? My little pink and red cards would read:

You have the same taste in expensive wine as me!

You held my hair back while I puked.

Your macaroni and cheese is better than mine, but that’s ok.

You have botox and one day I will too.

You are the mother of my nieces!

Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure I want to know what I would receive in return…

Perhaps the best thing to say is also the simplest, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Thursday, February 12

Keeping Up With the Stewarts

It really irks me when cookbooks have no pictures. How am I supposed to figure out what to cook for dinner without a photo? Do you really expect me to read the recipe names? I don’t have time for that…I’m a New Yorker.

Well surprise, surprise, Martha Stewart just one-upped the cookbook industry.

Welcome to Martha Stewart’s Cooking School ($22.50). This new cookbook includes plenty of mouth-watering photos that wet the appetite, but more importantly, it showcases step-by-step instructions through photos. Learning to fillet a fish, bone a chicken breast or whip up risotto in the comfort of your own kitchen has never been easier.

Any takers on how long until I can’t stand cookbooks without photo instructions?

Monday, February 9

Leaving Las Vegas...

Should only be hard when you’re leaving some one, not some thing, behind.

Friday, February 6

Champagne Dreams

Husby had a work dinner just about every night this past week. What that means to me:

1. Soup or leftovers. While my husband samples the finest kobe beef in New York City, I am left standing in front of the microwave watching my dinner cook.
2. No TV. Either that or I get to watch all our favorite shows twice. The DVR is in the bedroom.
3. Dancing. I’ll always try to organize a ladies night out. Bonus: if I get home before my husby I can still play the guilt card.
4. Champagne. Why not? It’s bubbly, fun and instantly makes you smile. Or is that the alcohol talking?
5. Flowers. To make up for not being home.

Ok, so maybe the last one is wishful thinking.

Wednesday, February 4

Weather Win-Win

It’s freezing outside. It might not be Chicago-freeze-your-butt-off-cold, but for New York City it is damn chilly out there, and I will do almost anything to avoid trekking in the 10˚ F wind chill.

On nights like this I keep dinner simple. Ingredients from the pantry and fridge make a one-dish meal that is quick and satisfying.

This keeps Husby happy because I’m not, “giving more of our money to grocery store,” while keeping me nice and toasty. It’s a cold weather win-win.

H.I.T. Recession Recipe #3: Chicken & Noodles Skillet


1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (or leftover chicken*)
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 c. frozen vegetables (I use broccoli, cauliflower, carrot mix)
1 c. uncooked extra-wide egg noodles
1 can chicken broth
Salt
Pepper
1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and onions, cooking until chicken is browned and onion is tender, about 6-8 minutes.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boil, cover and reduce heat, simmering for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Uncover and simmer an additional 5 to 8 minutes longer, or until noodles are tender. Enjoy!
*If using leftover chicken, skip Step 1. In Step 2, only cook the onion. Stir in leftover chicken in Step 3.

Monday, February 2

Show and Tell

Yesterday, I was in the kitchen helping the hostess when her tray slipped and mini quiches tumbled to the bottom of the oven.

Immediately, I began scooping them up and placing them back on the tray. My hostess was also scooping them up, only she was throwing them away. Another guest and I quickly told her they were salvageable.

While she doubted our motives, I launched into a story, setting the record straight.
Over 4th of July, Husby and I were driving to a pot-luck party with red velvet bars nestled safely on my lap. We were late, of course. Speeding, Husby took a tight turn and brought half my tray with him. Red velvet bars spewed across the car into his lap. We looked at each other and in silent agreement began examining pieces in hopes of saving the dessert.

Sure, we tossed some aside, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you most of them found their way back onto the tray. We arrived to the party and as it turns out our dessert was a huge hit. Everyone raved about the red velvet bars, asking for the recipe. I smiled and replied, knowing all the wiser, that I would e-mail the recipe the following day.
My hostess looked at me and the other guest, smiled and said, “I guess what the boys don’t know won’t kill them.” Amen to that.

As a host, we have a tendency to stress over things our guests would never notice – folded napkins, burnt roll bottoms, undercooked vegetables. At the end of the evening, all that really matters is good company, not a quiche that touched the bottom of the oven.

Although after the story, I did notice the hostess avoided my pigs in a blanket. So much for show and tell.

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