Tonight was the official Tedstock. My brother-in-laws event for his 40th bday. Josh's band played. They were the first group of the evening. Probably covered by more cameras than any other band being played today. The Four Fellas were psyched. They made their debut at the Trashbar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A memorable event for 4 nine year old boys. The first picture is of them before their big gig. From the left is Ben, Will, Josh and Max. Note the rock and roll tshirts.
Happy Bday Ted. Hope its a very good year.
I love Halloween. I figure we start eating from now until New Years. During my prime trick-0r-treating years (7-9), I lived in Ann Arbor, MI. We would go from house to house, neighborhood to neighborhood with pillowcases. I'd fill it as high as it could go. The dress up part was always fun too. Carving a pumpkin is also a big part of the pre-hype festivities.
Today we carved 2 pumpkins. Jess and Em (our older girls) were not up for the experience but Josh was right there with me. Diettra, my brother-in-law's girlfriend, had never carved a pumpkin before. I was shocked, so I let her take my pumpkin and go to town.
Hers is the one on the right, Josh on the left. Their debut is tomorrow at our doorstep.
I first bought a piece of Marc Jacobs about 16 years ago when he had his first line. He was brilliant and still is. I also have enjoyed watching him grow his empire. He is also a serious liberal. My kind of guy. We were in his store on Bleeker today and picked up some of the buttons that he had for sale. They brought me back to my childhood. It reminded me of the groovy necklace my mother wore for years. Make peace not war.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking power
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. clove (or allspice)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid pack pumpkin (not the kind for pie filling but true pumpkin)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
Heat oven to 350. Spray the bundt pan thoroughly.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (except the sugar). In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. With a kitchen aid or using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter (softened) until really fluffy. It takes about 3 - 4 minutes. Add in the eggs, beat another minute. Now reduce the speed and add in the flour and pumpkin mixture. Alternate each but start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture. Pour into the bundt pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
4 T. buttermilk
Whip up with a fork. It is it too lumpy, add more buttermilk until smooth. Pour over the cake after you have inverted it onto a plate. Invert it after about cooling for 15 minutes so it is still warm. The frosting will melt down the sides and harden later.
Heat oven to 350. Use the oil sprays(like Pam) to coat the bundt pan. It really works and makes life very happy when your cake slides out easily.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
3 apples - whatever you choose, cored, peeled and chopped
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking power and salt into a big bowl. Add in the sugar and whisk so the sugar is incorporated. Add in the oil, applesauce and eggs (lightly whisk before putting in). Mix ingredients together. Add in apples and mix. You could add walnuts if you wanted at this point too ( 2 cups worth). The batter will be seriously thick and chunky so don't worry.
Pour into the bundt pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 15-20 minutes, flip over on to a plate and voila!
At one point, you always talk to your kids about drugs, sex and rock and roll. We've all done it. We've all been there. With out kids, we have always made a point of being honest and up front. We've also given our kids a long enough last that they feel empowered yet safe. When the leash is short, chances are they will rebel. If the leash is long, chances are they won't take it until they feel comfortable. You have to treat them and respect them or they won't respect you. It's mutual. But at the end of the day, you are the parent.
Interesting enough, I have found most parents have had the conversation about sex with their kids at a relatively young age. After all, they are pretty curious. Then as girls and boys mature, the conversation about your body is yours etc. No means no. Don't do something that is going to make you feel uncomfortable, etc. Know what you are doing and getting into. Then, the bigger picture, how to have safe sex. How not to get pregnant.
I have also found parents to have the drug conversation (cigarettes t00). That conversation is basically don't do it. That is unrealistic. Kids are kids. They want to experiment just like you did. So, how can you help them avoid problems down the line. Talk to them about what might happen if they do partake. Talk about peer pressure. Most importantly talk about the realities of smoking pot.
The one conversation I have found that parents do not talk about it alcohol. Everyone does it. Everyone tries it. We read every year of kids that die of alcohol poisoning. Car accidents. Drunken parties where kids get sick and trash stuff. Parents punish their kids, laugh it off and life goes on. Somehow, that is more acceptable. To me the conversation about alcohol is the most important conversation you can have.
The access to alcohol is easy. Fake id's are a dime a dozen. How do you educate your kids about alcohol?
We have always had the kids taste wine, our drinks or beer. They know what it tastes like. We have also been honest about them about drinking and what happens. Rules such as don't mix alcohol. If you drink wine, stick with wine. If you drink beer, stick with beer, etc. Mixing hard liquor with fruit drinks means you have no idea how much you are actually drinking. Also, the combination is potent. Drink slowly. If you haven't eaten all day, really drink slowly. If you start to feel a little drunk, stop drinking until you feel comfortable, don't drink more. If you put your drink down at a party, don't pick it up again. Someone might have put something in it. Don't get in a car with someone who is drinking. Be aware of who is drinking with you. Bottom line, these are rules that adults live by. Pace yourself. You could watch your friends down 5 shots in a row and get really sick and pass out. Understand that drinking is not for that. That's not fun.
Perhaps people think we're crazy but as our kids are entering the teenage years, they can tell you that they understand how to drink. If you think it won't happen, you're wrong. Better you teach them the realities, just like sex, than them trying to figure it out on their own. Accidents happen.
Honest conversations with your kids will pay off in the long run. Pretending that it won't happen won't.
Soup is the easiest thing to make. There are some nights that soup is what everyone is craving, particularly on cold nights. I whipped this up yesterday afternoon. So easy and really really good. You could actually serve this over couscous to make an even heartier meal.
Preheat the oven to 325.
5 lamb shanks
3 medium white onions
3 celery stalks
2 T. minced fresh ginger
2 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/4 t. cinnamon
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28 ounce can) whole tomatoes - drain and dice
1/2 lb. dry chickpeas
1/2 lb. dry french lentils
1 T. sugar
Cover the bottom of a dutch oven pot with vegetable or canola oil. Heat up and add the lamb shanks. Brown them each on both sides and set aside.
Add the onions, celery and ginger to the pot and saute at a relatively high heat until everything is softened, not browned.
Add the salt, turmeric, coriander, pepper and cinnamon to the vegetables. Make sure they are totally coated.
Return the lamb to the pot with the vegetables. Add in 2 cup of chicken stock, tomatoes and chick peas. Bring to a boil and then down to simmer. Cover and put in the oven for about 2 hours or until the lamb is literally falling off the bone.
When done, take the lamb out of the pot and take it off the bones. This is also the perfect time to get rid of as much fat as possible in the vegetables and liquid broth. Just use a spoon. Put the other 4 cups of chicken broth in and the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, partially covered and let it cook for another 45 minutes or longer..until the lentils are soft. Add in the sugar, mix and serve. Delicious!
The area east of Soho has changed so dramatically over the past few years. There are a variety of different stores and restaurants that are absolutely worth checking out. I had lunch yesterday at Bread which is on the corner of Elizabeth and Sullivan. This could be my new lunch destination.
I walked in around noon. The place has a groovy edgy vibe. There are high cocktail tables, a bar, banquettes and other tables around the back. Small and quaint. They serve lunch and dinner. The salads we had were excellent.
I had the special salad. Chunks of sicilian tuna, shavings of fennel, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and avacado with the house special dressing. Served in a large bowl. My friend had the feta salad with huge chunks of fresh feta over watercress. Really good. We also split a small bowl of Italian pickles which actually only had 2 pickles but we got mushrooms and artichokes marinated in olive oil and vinegars. No biggie. It was delicious.
But the time I left, the place was packed. It was great. I'll definitely go back for dinner. Really liked Bread. My guess is everything on that menu is pretty tasty.
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Dave Eggers: The Circle
a crazy book about a company that seems similar to a google or yahoo that is essentially moving towards world domination. a world of complete transparency. makes you really wonder about the 24/7 world we live in. lots of interesting conversation here.
R. J. Palacio: Wonder
Wonderful young adult book about August, a young man with a severe facial deformity. After being home schooled he begins school in NYC in 5th grade. The issues he faces are challenging. The story is written highlighting different characters each chapter and how they see August. The book is about growing up, being brave, being accepting and more than anything about the importance of being kind. A great quick read.
Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch
I can't imagine that this will not be my top book of the year. An insanely well written fantastic book.
Naoki Higashida: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
A beautiful insightful book written by a boy with Autism. He explains what goes on his mind and the way he reacts to the world. A true gift for everyone who has someone with Autism in their life.
Jesmyn Ward: Men We Reaped: A Memoir
A powerful memoir about growing up black in rural Mississippi with poverty, racism, drugs and lack of jobs. Watching more than a handful of Ward's young male friends lose their lives and way before 25 is what prompted her to write this memoir. A stark reminder of how the odds are against young black males in this country and why. A really powerful honest book that will stick with me.
Amanda Lindhout: A House in the Sky: A Memoir
Incredible book Must read.
David Levithan: Two Boys Kissing
Everyone should read this book. It flows like a beautifully written essay. Two gay boys in high school try to break the world record for kissing. The event goes viral. That is the main thread of the book among a few other gay relationships. The hardships of coming of age and coming of age gay. Can't say enough good things. Loved this book.
Mitchell Jackson: The Residue Years
An autobiographical novel that goes back and forth between a young man and his mother in Portland, Oregon. The draw of the drugs on the street continues to bring them both back to something they want to move past. The language and swagger of the characters looking to overcome obstacles that are hard to shed.
Katherine Boo: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
A biography of the desperately poor in Mumbai, India. It is actually a non-fiction book but reads like fiction. I did not finish it. I hope to go back to it but I have read several books on this subject and although this was real I just couldn't get through it.
Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Fun read, well written page turner. The main character describes her life living with a chimp, a father scientist, a mother and a brother who left home. Nature vs nurture.