Is today Bad Luck?

Today is March 13th and it is Friday, making it the first Friday the 13th of 2020.  Many view this day as bad luck and are careful with their actions but for others it is just another day. This all got me thinking about superstitions, where they come from and why we believe in them.  Here is what I found.

Friday the 13th This superstition is thought to originate with the Last Supper.  It was attended by 13 people, Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples, the night before his crucifixion on Good Friday.  Or you could trace this superstition back to Friday October 13th, 1307 when King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of Knights Templar.  They were charged with moral and financial corruption to which many pleaded guilty under torture.  These events ensured every Friday the 13th would bring bad luck to all.

Don’t Walk Under a Ladder: This one is said to have started over 5000 years ago in Egypt.  An open ladder or a ladder leaning against the wall is the shape of a triangle.  The triangle is a sacred shape to Egyptians.  They are the shape of the Pyramids, the trinity of the G-ds and to pass through them was desecrate to them.  Now it seems common sense that you don’t want a ladder to fall on you. Either way it is a good idea to avoid them.

Don’t Break a Mirror : The superstition says that breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of back luck.  This lies in the belief that a mirror is not just your reflection but holds bits of your soul.

Don’t Open your Umbrella Inside: This superstition is not a bad one as it keeps you from doing something that could hurt someone else.  You don’t want to poke someone in the eye with your umbrella.  Anyway, legend has it that a Roman woman many years ago opened her umbrella inside moments before her house collapsed. 

Knock on Wood: Knocking on wood for good luck or to prevent disappointment is one of the most common superstitions in the US.  This is thought to come from knocking loudly to scare away evil spirits. It seems like a silly thing to do but I find myself knocking on wood more than I would think.

There you have it, some common superstitions debunked.  Perhaps this will help you enjoy Friday the 13th without feeling like there will be bad luck. 

Happy Friday the 13th,

Julie

How to host a 4th birthday party

In a few days my son will turn 4 years old! I have no idea where the last four years have gone. The good news is he has grown into a very charismatic boy but still loves his cuddles!  His birthday typically falls around President’s Day which means we are on school vacation. We hosted his birthday party yesterday at our apartment. I try to be a good DIYer and create an amazing party at home, but the truth is you need some help too.  Here is how I managed a 4-year-old’s birthday party while staying (mostly) sane and keeping my apartment from getting destroyed!

By the time your child turns four they have a lot of opinions about everything, especially their birthday.  Once we decided on where to have the party (at home), we started working on the guest list.  As I mentioned previously, my son is pretty fun. His teachers last year described him as a charismatic playmate. I wasn’t surprised that his guest list was long.  Knowing it was a school vacation made it a bit more reasonable as a lot of families travel during the break.  But I knew if I was going to keep everything in order, I was going to need some outside ‘entertainment’.  I wanted to do something different and when I found the Karma Kids Yoga website it seemed like the perfect activity.  Shari came to our home with all of the yoga mats and supplies to keep the kids busy for about an hour.  Did I mention the party was a Sea Creature/Beach theme with snow (because it is the middle of winter)? Shari did a great job incorporating our theme and keeping the kids’ attention.

Next up was lunch and while I typically prefer to cook, I knew that it wasn’t realistic to be in the kitchen and be able to enjoy the party.  We ordered pizza, mozzarella sticks, pasta and salad.  To make it a bit home-made I created a Shark Watermelon Bowl (thank you Pinterest)! Keeping with the theme we also had sand buckets filled with pretzels and crackers set out for the kids to snack on.  Everyone enjoyed their meal and the leftovers went to the office with my husband where his team enjoyed a nice afternoon snack!  Dessert was ice cream cone cupcakes.  I find cupcakes are much easier for a kid’s party since there isn’t any waiting for the cake to be cut. While it might seem fun to have different flavors to satisfy different tastes, it is actually better to keep them all the same.  Then no one gets upset that they didn’t get the flavor/color/icing that they wanted.  We had a 4 shaped candle and my son had a huge smile on his face.

After cupcakes, it was time for everyone to go home.  I find if you put some thought into the goody bags for just a few more $$ you can get something useful.  Our goody bags were shark shaped and had a beach towel rolled up inside.  Clean up isn’t always fun but we used disposable everything so a few garbage bags later the apartment looked pretty good. A quick run of the vacuum and the place looked pretty much as it does every afternoon. 

To sum it all up, to make the most of your child’s birthday party be sure to have some help but put a little home-made love into it by creating a few of your own pieces.  If the birthday boy or girl is happy, you’ll be happy too.  Now I’m off to make the real birthday cake we’ll have on his birthday. I’ll be sure to share it on Instagram so follow us there.

Happy Friday,

Julie

Summer Escape

Summer has a whole new meaning when you are a kid compared with when you are a ‘grown-up’. As a child, summer is a break from the norm of the school year, a chance to play more and work less.  As an adult or grown-up summer is pretty much the same… while the attire at the office may be more casual, and if you are lucky, you get to leave early on Fridays, there is still work to be done at the office and around the house.  This summer at my house was no different than past summers… my two older boys had too much fun at camp, my husband went off to work sweating in his suits on the subway platforms and Julie’s Beet continued to grow and evolve.  My husband works in an industry with a mandated 2-week vacation.  Clearly this isn’t any food related industry😊His vacation from work has always provided us with the opportunity to take some time away from the city and really enjoy summer as a family.

This week I have been in Ulster County New York with my family. We recently grew from a family of 5 to a family of 6 so didn’t want to venture too far from home. We are far enough from Manhattan that it really does feel like an escape from the city.  We debated going away at all this summer but I really felt like it would be good for all of us to take a real break from our everyday lives before the kids head back to school and business is back to normal.  We rented a house with a pool and a big yard so we really don’t have to go too far to find entertainment.  What I have found is that there are a lot of really cool things about New York State that I have never experienced until this vacation.

I see a lot of farm names in the supermarket and when I am placing my Fresh Direct order.  Driving down the road the other day I spotted 2 different farms that I recognized.  We really are immersed in the farms of New York and it is great to put a face with a name, so to speak.  On that note there is plenty of fresh produce to find along the side of the road and at local farm stands.  We picked out some local tomatoes and raspberries at the local farmers market which were superb. I am not sure what it is  but everything tastes better when you know where it came from.  There are also a lot of local vineyards, breweries and distilleries. So along with locally grown food products, there is also a lot to drink!

Tomorrow morning, we’ll load up the car and head back to the city.  I hope we’ll return feeling a bit refreshed from the week away. I can assure you we have taken in more sunshine and fresh air than we do on a normal week in NYC.  We’ve gotten used to being a bigger family and working together to make that successful for all of us.  I hope you’re off enjoying the last un-official weekend of summer. I’m not sure about you but I am definitely counting down the days until school starts, just 4 more days until my oldest starts kindergarten!

Happy Friday!

Julie 

 

Running for a Cause

This weekend I’ll be participating in my 7th race with Moms in Training.  Moms in Training is a group of Moms that train together to run a 10K while also raising funds to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I started with this group in the fall of 2014 when my son was 4 months old.  He would sleep in our running stroller while I trained in Central Park.  I’ve always loved running but once I became a mom it became more difficult to find time to run.  By participating in Moms in Training, I have an excuse to go for a run each week and can feel good about it since I am supporting a great cause at the same time. With three boys now, I am finding it even more difficult to find time to run. I upgraded a few years ago to a double running stroller so now can push two of them while I train. That leaves my supportive husband with just one to look after.

This season has not been an easy one for me as far as running is concerned. I was formally diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis the week before the Moms in Training Season began. That didn’t stop me from going to the team kick off where we met this season’s team honoree, Jackson.  There wasn’t a dry eye among the crowd gathered there listening to Jackson’s father tell the story of Jackson’s battle with cancer.  Jackson is now 11 and has been cancer and treatment free for 5 years.  The one comment that resonated with me with was when Jackson’s father said that beating cancer was one of the easier challenges Jackson had to overcome.  Jackson was already challenged with numerous health and development issues that accompany Down Syndrome nonetheless Jackson persevered and overcame the challenge.  What I am facing is far less severe compared with Jackson’s story and it puts it all in perspective.  I’ve been going to physical therapy to work through the heel pain and it has helped. I have been running a little ahead of the race but not as much as I would have without the heel issue.

As I head into the race tomorrow, I’ll remember what Jackson’s father said and think about the millions of people who are affected by blood cancers.  I’m not likely to win the race, but I do hope to have a good time running it.  If you’d like to support my run with Moms in Training you can donate through this link, https://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/mit19/JRosenberg

Go Moms!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Spring into Summer

After Memorial Day, I really start to feel the transition from spring into summer.  Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Everything starts to turn green and we get to be less bundled as the temperature begins to creep up. Produce also begins to turn green and there is a new variety of vegetables and fruits to use in the kitchen! Now that we have passed the unofficial start of summer, I can dig out those white pants from of the back of my closet(Just kidding!) and embrace even more produce.  These days we do start to wear shorts more than pants and there are more days when I go out without a jacket.  School is slowly coming to an end and we can all look forward to the care-free fun of camp during the summer. 

One of my favorite parts of summer is the ability to serve something that requires little to no cooking.  Salads become staple on our dinner menu. I dare you to count the number of times I post a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad this summer. I’ll be changing them up slightly each time by using different sized tomatoes, perhaps using a dressing from Farm House Labs one week and the following week simply drizzling the salad with 5 Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I plan to cook vegetables ahead of time and serve them with a light vinaigrette to greet the freshness of summer.  The wine in our house also begins to change from red to white and maybe with a rose mixed in.  With the summer heat, a chilled wine is always appreciated and this summer we are ready for drinks on the terrace with plastic wine glasses!

One downside of the heat is that we need to ship some of our products express to make sure they arrive in their best condition.  You can check out all of our summer shipping guidelines here.

Whether you spend your summer in the city, at the beach or somewhere in between I hope it is as relaxing as you want it to be.

Happy Friday,

Julie

For the Love of Cooking

I love cooking and my favorite part of cooking is watching someone enjoy what I made for them.  I think that is why I had such a difficult time working in restaurant kitchens.  I was cooking plenty of food for the guests to enjoy but unfortunately wasn’t getting to see the smiles on their faces when they enjoyed it.  Granted I never worked in an open kitchen but I think that would have come with it’s own set of challenges.  One of my favorite jobs was working at Rococo Chocolates and running their chocolate school. I got to interact with people, teaching them how to make chocolate and other recipes with chocolate in them. I also got to see them enjoy the chocolates! 

My husband’s birthday was last week and we have Valentine’s Day coming up next week.  I typically cook him a special meal for his birthday and then again on Valentine’s Day.  It can be tough to figure out two amazing meals to cook just weeks apart as I try to make them completely different but still filled with the foods he loves.  One of his favorites is when I make pasta from scratch, I’m talking the actual noodles here.  Tonight we’ll be celebrating his birthday with a belated birthday dinner and I’ve decided to make some pasta.  I use the recipe from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook.  It comes highly recommended from two chef friends of mine and always turns out perfect.

I found some recipe inspiration from Instagram on the feed @howsweeteats  I’ll be making the Cozy Lemon Pasta.  You can find the recipe here, And I’ll put the pasta recipe for you down below.  I cannot wait to see the joy on my husband’s face when he digs into this delicious meal.  A dream come true!

Happy Friday,

Julie

Pasta Dough

From Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

6 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon milk

Method:

-Mound the flour on a board or other surface and create a well in the center, pushing the flour to all sides to make a ring with the sides about 1 inch wide.  Make sure that the well is wide enough to hold all  the eggs without spilling.

-Pour the egg yolks, egg, oil and milk into the well.  Use your fingers to break the eggs up.  Still using your fingers, begin turning the eggs in a circular motion, keeping them within the well and not allowing them to spill over the sides.  This circular motion allows the eggs to gradually pull in flour from the sides of the well.  It is important that the flour not be incorporated too rapidly or your dough will be lumpy.  Keep moving the eggs while slowly incorporating the flour.  Using a pastry scraper, occasionally push the flour toward the eggs; the flour should be moved only enough to maintain the gradual incorporation of the flour, and the eggs should continue to be contained within the well.  The mixture will thicken and eventually get too tight to keep turning with your fingers.

-When the dough begins thickening and starts lifting itself from the board, begin incorporating the remaining flour with the pastry scraper by lifting the flour up and over the dough that’s beginning to form and cutting it into the dough.  When the remaining flour from the sides of the well has been cut into the dough, the dough will still look shaggy.  Bring the dough together with the palms of your hands and form it into a ball.  It will look flaky but will hold together.

-Knead the dough by pressing it, bit by bit, in a forward motion with the heels of your hands rather than folding it over on itself s you would with the bread dough.  Re-form the dough into a ball and repeat the process several times.  The dough should feel moist but not sticky. Let the dough rest for a few minutes while you clean the work surface.

-Dust the clean work surface with a little flour. Knead the dough by pushing against it in a forward motion with the heels of your hands.  Form the dough into a ball again and knead it again.  Keep kneading in this forward motion until the dough becomes silky smooth.  The dough is ready when you can pull your finger through it and the dough wants to snap back into place.  The kneading process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.  Even if you think you are finished kneading, knead it for an extra 10 minutes; you cannot over knead this dough.  It is important to work the dough enough to pass the pull test; otherwise, when it rests, it will collapse.

-Double-wrap the dough in plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out.  Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes and up to one hour before rolling it through the pasta machine.  The dough can be made a day ahead, wrapped and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Here we go, 2019!

Happy New Year!  I hope 2019 has started off well for all of you.  We have a tradition of hosting New Year’s Eve at our home and this year was not different. I believe this may have been the tenth year we hosted but who’s counting, right?  The party has changed over the years as we’ve gotten older and children came into the picture.  We’ve had parties end at 4am but now we’re starting at 6pm and if you’re still standing at 10pm, I’ll kindly offer you something to go!  That gives me enough time to clean up and join my husband on the couch to watch the ball drop before heading swiftly off to bed.  The kids don’t get the memo that they’re supposed to sleep later on New Year’s Day!

As we start a new year, there seems to be a lot of pressure to make new resolutions and make changes to your life. Like most people, my resolutions tend to be similar from year to year, meaning I don’t quite get that part of my life resolved as I had hoped.  As I look ahead to 2019, I’ve decided I should concentrate on the parts of my life that are great and keep them that way instead of adding something else to my plate. I juggle a lot as a mother of three small boys, a wife and a small business owner.  Like that tradition of hosting New Year’s Eve, here are some of the pieces of my life I resolve to keep running as smoothly as they are.

  1. Schedules:  We’re a very busy household with 5 different schedules for work, school, classes and playdates. I keep most of our dates in my handy iPhone calendar and post the important ones on our family calendar.  Each year, I create a calendar which lists the birthdays of friends and family and has photos from the past year. It is a great way to keep us on point and enjoy some memories from the past year.
  2. Exercise:  I used to work out 6 days a week, that was before having kids.  With three of them running around it is often difficult to carve out time for myself to get the exercise I need.  Last April I joined Obe Fitness and can work out in the privacy of my own home at 6am before anyone else wakes up.  In addition to these workouts 3 days a week, I aim for 1 day of yoga, 1 run and 1 other workout(Physique 57, Fhitting Room, Swimming). I strive to keep that going through 2019 to keep my body and mind healthy!
  3. Healthy Eating:  I love cooking and cook a lot for myself and my family which equates to healthier eating.  Typically for the grown-ups at home I keep the meals low carb with lots of vegetables and healthy proteins.  The kids get their fair share of pasta and potatoes but usually mixed with some healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables.  French fries and milkshakes are a staple when we’re eating out but balancing that with healthy home cooking keeps us on a well-balanced diet.  And my go-to snack during the day is a mix of almonds, raisins and chocolate chips… a little bit of sweet to complement the protein in the nuts and get me through the afternoon.

What are your resolutions for 2019?

Happy Friday,

Julie

The ABC’s of Thanks

As I packed our bags to fly to St. Louis to spend Thanksgiving with my family I thought about all of the things I am thankful for this year.  While it is easy to think about what we are thankful for, it is often more difficult to tell others.  Here are the ABC’s of what I am thankful for this year.

A – Avocados… packed with nutrients and ‘healthy’ fats, avocados take any dish to the next level and are delicious!

B – Boys… I have four of the most wonderful boys at my house who love me with all of their hearts and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

C – Creativity

D – Democracy

E – Exercise… it comes in many forms these days but exercise is the way I relieve stress and I often come up with my best ideas while I’m out for a run.

F – Family… having a special bond with my sisters and beyond makes for a fantastic get together at Thanksgiving.

G – Giving… I am so fortunate to have the ability to give to others who don’t have as much as I do.  Especially during the holiday season, I think it is super important to give back.  As you know, we’ll be donating part of our profits from now until the end of the year to NY Common Pantry.  Now you can feel good about shopping.

H – Heat and Hot Water… Since the gas got turned off in my building I have been frustrated with my electric cooking situation but I definitely appreciate that we are still able to keep warm and have hot water to cook and clean with!

I – Ice Cream

J – Joy

K – Ketchup… one of the few things that makes French Fries better, hold the truffle oil, I’ll take ketchup any day!

L – Legs… my legs are my vehicle in the city getting me where I need to be, helping me be strong and allowing me to go, go, go.

M- Music… the tunes set the mood for whatever I am feeling or need to feel.

N – Nachos

O – OxiClean …. Keeping our clothes stain free!

P – Phone… this should really be  iPhone. I know we’re all on our phones too much lately but how convenient is it to have a way to talk to someone, get your email, check your calendar, use a calculator and follow the news all on the same place.  And that list is just the beginning.

Q – Quiet … I truly appreciate the moments in my day without noise to let myself think and decompress.

R – Rest… I need more of it but truly am thankful for the rest I am able to get in my day.

S – Subway… mass transit, not the restaurant! It is entertainment for my kids but also a great way to get around the city

T – Trucks … on the street we love looking for construction trucks, garbage trucks, delivery trucks, etc.  They make our walks entertaining and keep us looking ahead.

U – Umbrellas … Anyway to keep dry on a rainy day is something I am thankful for.

V – Vaseline… it keeps your lips from getting chapped

W – Women… My grandmothers, my mom, my sisters and my friends; I couldn’t get through life without their examples, strength and support.

X – Xi… perfect for when I have an  to use and X in Scrabble

Y – Yogurt… a meal any time of the day and perfect for all ages

Z – Zippers… closing jackets in a flash!

Happy Black Friday,

Julie

NYC Fall Activities you don’t want to miss

Fall is officially here and if you’re like me, you’re looking to take advantage of all that the season has to offer. Here is a round up of some great events and places to visit this fall.

New York City Wine & Food Festival: Taking place in multiple venues throughout NYC the weekend of October 11th -14th this food and wine festival is a must see.  You can choose from large events featuring television personalities like Giada DeLaurentis to intimate dinners at restaurants like Café Boulud.  The festival raises money for Food Bank New York City so you can feel good while you are out enjoying delicious food.

The New York Coffee Festival: From October 12-14th this festival will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea.  This event is about sipping and tasting the best coffee around. It is a mix of coffee professionals, coffee aficionados and tired people looking for a pick-me-up!  I attended this event a few years ago and have to tell you there are also loads of delicious sweets to pair with the abundance of coffee.

Pumpkin Patch at Demarest Farms:  My children love picking out the perfect pumpkin to decorate ahead of Halloween and Demarest Farms makes it super fun.  There is a tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch where you’ll also find some farm animals, apple cider, apple cider donuts and some play structures for the kids.  You can purchase your tickets online to save time when you get to the farm!

Apple Picking at Ochs Orchard:  This Orchard is the perfect place for a quick getaway from NYC and finding delicious apples.  Pick Your Own Apples or just go and enjoy the farm life and get your apples from their market.  The market is full of fresh produce and some really delicious small batch jams, jellies and food products.  Right up our alley!

Whether you head out to one of these destinations or choose to spend your fall afternoons watching football on tv or maybe playing football in the park,  I hope you’ll enjoy what this amazing season has to offer indoors and outdoors.

Happy Friday,

Julie

How the Locals Eat Fish

For the past few years, my family and I have rented a house at the beach. It is the perfect way to end the summer… building sandcastles and splashing in the waves and mostly just relaxing before we get into the hustle and bustle of the school year.  It is always an adventure when we arrive, checking out our new residence and of course exploring the town.  This summer we went to Shelter Island, New York.  Shelter Island is about a 2.5 hour drive from New York City, including a 5 minute ferry ride. Our first day in Shelter Island wasn’t super sunny and we didn’t have a parking permit for the beach yet, so we decided to start our day with a trip to the local supermarket or IGA as the locals call it.  We filled our cart with the necessities for the week along with a few extras. My husband was in charge of selecting something for lunch.  When we were leaving he told me he was disappointed they didn’t have a fish counter because that is what he wanted to make for lunch.  I suggested maybe there is a fish market we could go to. Sure enough Bills Fish Market and Restaurant was right next to the IGA.  We got some swordfish and tuna steaks that day and returned a few times throughout our stay to get a variety of fish.  Loving the idea of eating something local, we opted for the flounder one day. Here is the recipe I used. It was delicious.

Happy Friday,

Julie

 

Crispy Parmesan Flounder

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

4 flounder fillets(about 1 ½ pounds)

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon La Boite Cancale N. 11

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

-Combine parmesan cheese and La Boite Cancale N. 11 in a bowl. Set Aside.

-Over high heat, melt butter in a large sauté pan.  Season the flounder with salt and pepper (go light on the salt as the parmesan cheese will add more saltiness).  Once the butter has melted and is hot, add the flounder to the pan.  Cook on each side for about 2 minutes.

-Once the fillets have been flipped top with the parmesan cheese mixture.  Place under the preheated broiler until the cheese melts, about 4 minutes.

-Serve with fresh tomatoes and corn from the farmers market.

-Enjoy!