Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sugar Rush: An NYC Cupcake Tour

This past Sunday, I went on a cupcake tour for my friend, Rosalind's, birthday. It was 2 hours of sweet, sugary goodness. I do consider myself a bit of a cupcake official, but I was even surprised by a couple of their choices. We started at Union Square and walked through the West Village. Here were six of our stops:

1. Baked by Melissa- They specialize in mini-cupcakes, and by that I mean that is all they sell. Each is under 50 calories and delicious. My fav is the chocolate chip pancake with maple frosting followed closely by the PB&J. They have stores all over NYC now!

2. Amorino Gelato al Naturale- We had passionfruit gelato. Just a spoonful of that goodness was enough to make me feel I ate an entire passionfruit!

3. Crumbs- The biggest cupcake chain in the world! It's a little over the top for me, but a definite tourist stop.

4. Molly's Cupcakes- My favorite spot on the tour. The owner had a third grade teacher named Molly who used to bake cupcakes for all the kids' birthdays. So, he named his magically school-themed cupcake shop after her. They also donate a portion of their profits to local schools, which I think is awesome. It's in the West Village and is precious! They also have a location in Chicago. I had a carrot cupcake with brown butter frosting. Heaven!

5. Milk & Cookies- I went to this spot a couple years ago with my friend, Susan Boatwright. We sampled their salted oat cookie with white chocolate on Sunday. Salty-sweet and delish!

6. Magnolia Bakery- Any "Sex and the City" fan knows this place has great cupcakes. Insider tip: their banana pudding makes their cupcakes taste like sawdust. Thank you Kelsey Maples for teaching me that!

When the sugar rush was at it's highest at the end of the tour, I got another injection of happiness...

Yep, that is the doorstep from Carrie's apt on "Sex and the City." I know men are rolling their eyes all over the world, but I love that show. It highlights all the great things about NYC and apparently, it's cupcakes too.

Salted Oat cookie. Pat didn't stop chewing for the pic. :) 
Evan & Pat on the swings at Molly's Cupcake

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Week

Need to grab a cab?
A French restaurant downtown. Patrons were eating sandwiches and drinking wine. How romantic!! 
Playground at the beach?
What a week! I have said that many times over the last seven days. Last Saturday, I was sitting in the new Broadway production of "Annie." This Saturday, thousands of people are sitting in the dark, waiting in gas station lines that are hours long, and picking up the pieces of houses that have been swept away. 

Last Sunday, I was prepping. People were buying water, food, batteries, and it was crazyness. It gave me anxiety just to walk down the street and see all these people lugging 18 packs of water. We awoke Monday to high, gusty winds and rain. It was an eerie sound to listen to the winds. We charged phones, watched the news all day, and I spoke to a multitude of friends throughout the day. (Thank you for all your thoughts & prayers!) We went to our neighbors house for dinner and made s'mores over the gas stove. Every time the lights flickered, we flinched. Whew!! However, throughout the entire storm, we had power! In fact, besides the loss of trains to Manhattan, we have had the easiest time in the storm. Had power, had internet, had friends over every night, and gotten a week off of school. Essentially, I feel like a brat. It's strange that just a few miles away, people have lost so much. 

It has been such an amazing week watching this incredible city prepare, weather, and rebound after the storm. The mayor, governor, and all the city officials have been incredible. Watching the news each day has been amazing. I have been watching quite diligently in order to check for the school closings. :) Please continue to think of and pray for the people that have lost power, are struggling through tough conditions, and those who have lost everything.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Favorite Blog

Hello friends! I just finished up a fun week in Amarillo. Thank goodness for the Frenchies and their plethora of vacations. It's wonderful to come home. I get to visit family, relax, run my old cross-country routes, eat Mexican food, shop using a car, and other lovely things. I also had time to catch up on my favorite blog, "Cup of Jo." My friend Mary Alice Warner recommended it to me last Spring, and I am hooked. It's full of tidbits on fashion, food, family, traveling, and NYC. Joanna keeps me up on the world! She does an awesome post on Fridays where she posts different links from all over the web. Read it and you'll see. Maybe you'll be a fan too!

Other favorites include:

Homesick Texan:


First Grade Parade:

Enjoy some blog reading! It's America's favorite past time...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thank Goodness for Bobo


    This fall, I am spending two days a week interning at The Calhoun School on the UWS for my school counseling degree. It is an absolutely wonderful school filled with kind teachers and sweet students. I have learned loads about school counseling and progressive education, and I feel very blessed that my mentor took me on for the fall. I could go on and on about the school, but the foodie in me has to tell you about their chef. Yes, a real chef. Chef Bobo is a big celebrity at Calhoun. He is a huge advocate of teaching kids about healthy eating, sustainable foods, and exploring their palates. He knows Michele Obama my friends.

     Each day a menu is posted of some gorgeous, restaurant style entree with a creative soup, over the top sandwich, and ever present salad bar. I can't even tell you the difference this man is making for this school and me. (teachers eat free!) Some of my favorite eats have been: squash soup, oven fried catfish, kale with raisins, pesto and mozzarella sandwiches, bucatinne pasta, veggie meatloaf, and sunbutter and quince sandwiches. Love. I see kids eating fresh figs for goodness sakes! It's so exciting to see kids excited about food. I am convinced there is a happy mood and positive energy at the school because of Chef Bobo. He is a cooking genius in my book and in the heart of Calhoun.

For more information on Chef Bobo: https://www.calhoun.org/boboblog?rc=1

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

R.I.P. iPhone

Well I did it. I made it into a NYPD car! Wish it had been under better circumstances, but at least there were no handcuffs involved.
My iPhone and I parted ways on Saturday night on the N train. I was sitting by the door, a big "no no" I am told, and this little hooligan just snatched it right out of my hand. By the time I realized what was happening, I was flying down the stairs after him and chasing him down the street. About that time, my little brain said, "Katie, what are you doing?" You won't catch him and if you do...then what? I think I even shouted some harsh phrase like, "Hey, give that back!" I am a pretty intimidating Texan, but even I have limits.
   After the defeat set in, I toddled back to the 36th street station and informed the poor MTA attendant of my sad story. He called the police, I watched many sketchy folk enter and exit the subway station, and then I drove around with the police for half an hour searching for my perpetrator. Shockingly, it was raining and we never found him, and the police sent me home with some subway safety tips. I continually apologized to them for taking up their valuable time looking for a phone. I felt so silly!
There has been a 40% increase in crime surrounding Apple products on the subway in NYC lately. There was even a news story about it on Sunday. Almost famous. I am thankful that the kid just ran off with it, and that was all that happened. I have Pat's 3G until January when I can get an upgrade and not pay one-million dollars. Be careful out there friends! It's a dangerous place for an Apple.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All About Astoria

After a full two months in my new borough, I am feeling quite well aquatinted with Astoria. I am not an expert yet, but I have definitely gotten a handle on the local vibe.

I was a bit nervous to leave my comfortable spot in Manhattan. However I very much like Astoria. It's quieter, filled with just the right proportion of families and hipsters, and has a lot of character. Groceries are less expensive, there is no sight or sound of rats, and less waiting in line for a table on a Friday night. Pat and I have some sweet friends here, and I am starting to feel like I am part of this new community.

Some of my favorite things are the Fresh Start Market where I pick up my CSA veggies each week, the train being above ground so I can see the world instead of feeling like a mole, the view from Astoria park (pictured above), and all the new food spots to try out. The ever present gaggle of Greek grandpas is also a highlight. They are everywhere. They're on benches and sitting outside shops in chairs just watching the world go by. One can't help but adore them!
I am sure I will have much more to report on this cute new borough in the future! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

At the beginning of August, Pat and I set out on a whirlwind cross country trip. His parents have a retirement home in Tucson, AZ, and needed a car brought out for the future. We happily volunteered. It was such a fabulous trip, but I haven't sat down to write about it until now. This immediacy could be spurred on by the fact that I start school tomorrow. Alas, it had to happen sometime. No whining here. 

Anyhow, here was our route: Boston to Niagara Falls to Cleveland to Chicago to St. Louis to OKC to Amarillo to Santa Fe/Albuquerque to Tucson. Just under 3500 miles!

We loved seeing the USA from the car! Each morning we would set out for our next destination and read up in the car about what to do there. We stayed with friends some places, like Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, Albuquerque, and of course Amarillo with my family. Other places, we would just drive and find a hotel. Some of our sightseeing highlights included: Niagara Falls (STUNNING), the Sears Tower, the St. Louis Arch, Lincoln's Tomb, the Mississippi River, the play "Texas" in Palo Duro Canyon, and the Miraculous Staircase. In addition to the sights was the food. Our journey began at a delicious BBQ with Pat's friends from college. Then we ate at Wegmans, a Chicago dog at the Sox Game, BBQ at Piggy Pats, custard in St. Louis, Lola in Cleveland, Mama Thamer's cooking, lunch at the Shed in Santa Fe, Mrs. Pierce's brownies, and lots of Mexican food in Arizona. Such great eating adventures! We also got to stop and buy green chiles in Hatch, New Mexico which I have always wanted to do. They are sitting in my freezer as we speak.

The trip was great for Pat and I too. We didn't have any, "Am I going to have to pull this car over?" moments. Pat killed a giant grasshopper that jumped onto my leg while I was driving. Heroic in my book! We listened to books, music, radio, bad radio, and the wind in our hair from the Jeep. We thanked God for our GPS and iPhones that helped us immensely. Those may be the two things that kept our trip so smooth. All in all, a fabulous experience. If you have the chance to drive cross country, do it! It makes you appreciate the open road, the diversity of our country, and the people on the journey with you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Down on the Farm, Up in the Catskills

After a summer of nonstop fun, I ventured out one last time to the Catskills mountains. My friend, Rosalind, rents a condo there for the month of August and invited me up for a few days.
Little did I know I was diving right into the local farm food haven that I love. The Catskill mountains are gorgeous and very fertile. They house many of the organic farms that feed into NYC's farmers markets and CSAs. There are also lots of dairies with big, beautiful Jersey cows to make fresh milk, cheese, and yogurt. I spent three days immersed in gorgeous produce eating kale, heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, and fresh potato salad. My little foodie heart was bursting!
I was impressed with the numerous stands on the side of the road selling fresh corn, eggs, fruit, honey, and other lovely things. However, I wondered why no one was in these stands, but Ros told me that you just go in and grab what you need and leave the money in a lock box. What?? And these honest shops exist only 2 hours from NYC!?
We took this farm to table thought a bit farther on Thursday and Friday by volunteering at two farms in the morning. We weeded parsley for 3 hours the first morning and picked veggies like rainbow chard, scallions, kale, and herbs the second day at Lucky Dog Farms. It was a fantastic experience for me! Also, what hard, back breaking work! My back and leg muscles were screaming at me. Maybe because I sat in a car for two weeks on a road trip (post on that later in the week). Anyhow, I will never complain about the price of organic veggies again. That is hot, and grueling work. I learned I am definitely a city girl...to the max. Dirt under my fingernails is not my favorite look.
Everyone needs to visit the villages of the Catskills. They are charming as can be, and are filled with delicious food and kind people. It was a sweet treat to end my summer with!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Impressions of Greece

Parthenon in Athens
Greek Bible College 
Beautiful Beach in Rafina
Sweet friend Bekah
Athens @ sunset
It's been a little over a week since I returned from lovely Greece. I am still processing the experience, and after a crazy fast move on Wednesday, it may take a little longer than I thought.

I got the opportunity to travel to Greece through my masters program at Liberty University. I am in their online program for school counseling, and am required to take 4 intensives. So, I traveled to the Greek Bible College in Athens to take one in group counseling. They planned excursions for us to Ancient Corinth, the island of Andros, and I took a quick trip to another island, Mykonos with friends.

Rather than try to recount all my experiences, I will just leave you with some of my thoughts & impressions of Greece:

1.Greece, ESP the islands, is the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Hands down. The mix of tall, arid mountains and a coastline of clear turquoise waters is indescribable. Just go see it. You must find a way to make that happen.

2. The food was fantastic! Great Greek salads topped with a big slab of feta, luscious tomatoes, oregano flavored potato chips, and my favorite were the French fries that were fried in olive oil. Yumm!! They also eat bread with every meal in Greece, which I don't think is included in the Mediterranean diet books.

3. Greece is so old! Between the acropolis in Athens and Corinth, I saw things over 2,500 years old! We are talking B.C. people!

4. There was awesome shopping in Athens! A neighborhood below the acropolis, called Plaka, is filled to the brim with trinkets stores, olive wood shops, handmade Greek sandals, tapestries, and bakeries. I spent a lot of time there, and had to eventually stop the hemorrhaging of money. Thank goodness my trip was only 10 days!

5. I met some very kind people, both Greek and American, that I really enjoyed getting to know. There were a few run ins with the Greeks, but I used my NYC street smarts to handle that! ;)

Everyone needs to go to Greece! Even if it's just for the french fries.

Dinner on Lycabettus Hill overlooking Athens
Lycabettus Hill-highest point in Athens

On our way to Mykonos on the ferry

Kim & Maurice in Mykonos
Windmills of Mykonos
Paradise Beach in Mykonos

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Adventures

Write Blog....it's been sitting on my to do list for about 2 months. I am not sure why I have been absent so long. It's been a busy time with finishing up a great school year, traveling to the Dominican Republic with my best friend Susanna, studying abroad in Greece, and packing to move to Astoria tomorrow! Whew, I probably shouldn't even be blogging now, but there's no time like the present.

I feel a little sad to be leaving this beautiful neighborhood that welcomed me into NYC two years ago. This morning, I made my last routine laundry at Bubbles on Broadway/run in Riverside park/Absolute Bagel run. There are several things I will miss seeing. I will miss the Dominican men that sit outside their stoop all day everyday, my grocery store, "Garden of Eden," the view of the city when I look down my street each morning, the Catholic church on 107th, the access to Central and Riverside park, and the smell of mexican foods cooking in my apartment building. The walk up to my fifth floor apartment, not going to miss as much. :) I am so thankful for these past two years here and the memories I have made.

Tomorrow the "Movers of Oz" will arrive and take my belonging to Astoria. I am moving in with my wonderful boyfriend, Pat. We are excited to start a new adventure there. I look forward exploring a new neighborhood filled with cultures from all over the world and will fill you in here on the blog about it all. 

Hope you're all enjoying the pleasure of summer- watermelon, berries, cold drinks, sun, the beach, and sandals. 

Hellgate Bridge seen from Astoria Park

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just Run

Yesterday I was doing the loop in Central Park and was shocked at what amazing runners I saw there! The loop is funny because most people you see on one side, you see again when they loop. It's great people watching, epic really. On the run yesterday, I saw 3 things that amazed me! First, I saw a blind man working out with a cane. He was in the running lane even! Next, I saw a three legged dog running with his master. He looked like a champ! Finally, a man with one arm ran by in his running group. It made me stop and think about my internal whining and wanting to stop and walk. How could I when the three legged dog was kicking my tail? How inspiring these runners are to us everyday ones!

I wanted to share this quote too. It makes you realize just how important and nonjudgmental it is to tie up those laces and just...

Pinned Image

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to Execute a Perfect Beach Day

How to Execute a Perfect Beach Day

 Since moving to NYC, I have discovered the joy of going to the beach. Amarillo has crappy beaches. I didn't even realize the true beach culture I was missing out on.
 This weekend all the stars aligned for an 80 degree day and a rugby game at Rockaway. So, after an hour and a half on the subway/bus, we arrived at my favorite beach, Fort Tildon! Pat reffed, I laid in the sun and felt the cool breeze of the ocean, both of us doing our favorite things.
For me, there are several key beach necessities to complete the experience. And by that I mean mostly snacks.
-hummus with blue corn chips
-watermelon or grapes
-gummy bears
-audible book, it's hard to read lying down
-sheet to spread out
-towel, sunscreen, blah blah
You can't fail with this list! All clutch, ESP the gummies.
What do you like to bring to the beach?

Friday, May 18, 2012

my new bike
Gabrielle Hamilton

Four Days of Fun!

     I have been having quite a treat of a week here in NYC! It started last Saturday with a trip to the Broadway show, Book of Mormon. I had pretty much given up on seeing this play because the tickets are outrageous. Somehow the box office lady took pity on me and sold me 2 of the $69 tickets that had limited leg room. Sure, Pat and I were a little scrunched but we still got to see it. The play is as good as people say. Very funny, extremely clever, incredibly irreverent, and all around wonderful. We laughed the whole time! 
     On Sunday, I got to pick out a new bike for my birthday! Pat gave me it for my birthday! It is a beautiful pearl cruiser complete with basket, bell, and bottle holder. I am in heaven and look forward to biking around with Pat! 
     My birthday was Monday and those are always fabulous when you spend your days with 6 year old munchkies. I had an adult celebration that night complete with a tequila shot birthday cake and great friends. So blessed!
     The four days of fun culminated on Tuesday. In the afternoon, I got to see one of my favorite writers and chefs, Gabrielle Hamilton. She wrote this fabulous memoir called, "Blood, Bones, & Butter," and she owns a wonderful restaurant on the Lower East Side called Prune. Tuesday night, I took a trip to Le Bernadine to celebrate Claire's graduation from Columbia! If you aren't familiar with this food mecca, it's one of NY's most famous French seafood restaurants. Some of the beautiful food shots are included because I am a food dork. It was an incredible meal! I am do thankful to Claire's parents for treating me to a place I would never be able to eat at on my teacher's salary. 
     I knew my four days were up when I was snapped back into reality on Wednesday morning while sitting in jury duty. Brought me right back down! So grateful for all the experiences I had this week. 


red snapper with smoked paprika & chorizo sauce

Pat :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I traveled to Brooklyn this weekend with my cousin, Sarah and her husband, Eric, and everyone's friend, Megan. I don't go to Brooklyn much, it's kind of intimidating with all those hipsters running around. I feel I need a trip to Urban Outfitters to even step foot off the train. However, a legendary food fair was calling my name. I had to go.
A friend at church told me about Smorgasburg. It's a large food hotspot for local Brooklyn restaurants, food carts, and food producers. They had everything from hamburgers to kimchi hotdogs to English toffee. There are loads of samples of foods to buy and hot foods to taste. It was fairly inexpensive too! Here is what I tried:
-A gordita (corn fried roll stuffed with barbacoa, radishes, hot sauce, cabbage, and cream)
-A few bites of a homemade pretzel
-A few bites of a giant ice cream sandwich with salted caramel ice cream between 2 delicious sugar cookies
-A bite of a s'more with homemade mallows and graham crackers
-2 waters (healthiest choice)
-1 mini cheesecake bite topped with strawberry balsamic jam
To say I was in heaven is a vast understatement. Also, to top that off, Smorgasburg sits on the edge of the East river with a terrific view of Manhattan. If you are free on a Saturday in NYC, please take a trip. You and your taste buds won't be sorry!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Plethora of Papers

On the subway in the morning there are free newspapers, the "AM NY" and the "Metro." They have a little news, celebrity gossip, crosswords, horoscopes, and lots of advertisements. Not great, but they are free and entertaining. Each stop has a person passing out these papers, some more aggressively than others. I have a man at my station now that is literally shoving that in my face quite rudely each morning. I am about to have a "Come to Jesus meeting" with him.
However persistent he is, I can't take another paper. I already have 3 facing me each morning. I have two first graders that bring me a paper each day. They strut in proudly with their delivery. It makes me smile and affirms my notion that first graders should run the world with their cheerful dispositions. And lately I have been taking one from this sweet man at my exit station. He is so positive, tells everyone to have a blessed day, and works very hard. The past two days he has given me a little wave. I think I am becoming a regular! :)
The sad part is that I don't read the papers. None of them. I read "New York Post" on my iPhone and watch the "Today Show" for my news. But, it's the thought that counts. Thank goodness for recycling!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Berserk for Brioche

Finally, after a rather harrowing month of March, I am on Spring Break! What a glorious holiday it has been with lots of naps, shopping, and an exquisite visit from the parents... and I still have a week left. Thank God for the French!! I apologize for my lack of writing lately. I hope to remedy that in the coming months.
A few weeks back, Pat & I took a bread baking class as Le Pan Quotidian in Soho. It was glorious! Three hours in a gorgeous bakery spent mixing, kneading, patting, and braiding bread. Each of us made 2 challah loaves, brioche rolls, and cinnamon rolls (my favorite). We were tired bakers by the end!
This is not bread for dieters mind you. Both breads have an almost even ratio of fat to flour, making them delicious you see. The brioche, a French bread, is made with butter, eggs, and flour. Again, the French bless us all. Challah (pronounced hall-uh, like the rap song) is a Jewish braided bread that is made with oil, eggs, and flour. This keeps it Kosher because there is no mixing of animals, i.e. the butter and eggs.
Braiding the bread was very fun. Pat had a little harder time, his hair was never long enough as a child. The dough was so rich that I came out of there with a natural moisturizing treatment on my hands. After 2 hours of working with the dough, watching it proof, and rolling cinnamon rolls, all the bread went into a marvelous oven. It came out twenty minutes later where we quickly plopped the steaming creations into paper bags and off we went. I am surprised there weren't people lined up outside because it smelled like heaven! I ate the yummy, rich bread the whole way home on the subway.
Thanks for a wonderful Valentine's present, Pat! I had a blast baking bread!