Good Thing I'm Not a Stalker

2:12 PM, Thursday, August 27, 2009 / Posted by Christy / comments (0)

This story would fall under the "Only in New York" category. Yesterday I was in Times Square flyering for the Gazillion Bubble Show, which I can do to make a little extra money. I had my bike locked to a sign about half a block away from where I was standing. Usually when I lock my bike in Times Square, people use the basket as a trash receptacle (how rude!) Yesterday someone left some very interesting items in my basket. There was a half eaten sandwich, a couple empty water bottles...but there was also an unopened bottle of Dr. Brown's Black Cherry Soda, which I took home. Also, a folded piece of paper which I was curious about, so I read it...

Um...random! Why was this left in my bike basket? Seems like the kind of information you wouldn't want to leave laying around. Also, did I just drink Serena Williams' black cherry soda?

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8:09 PM, Sunday, August 23, 2009 / Posted by Christy / comments (0)

Lately I've been getting pretty domestic. I've been cooking at home for my boyfriend. At the beginning of our courtship, Eduardo and I ate all our meals out. I think that's how most people start out. You know, we had to go on dates! So we went out. Later on, we were more settled into our relationship, but our schedules were such that we didn't spend a lot of "evenings at home" together. But a few months ago, Eduardo's schedule changed, and I got a job with a consistent schedule, so now we have several evenings a week together. And most of those evenings are spent in my apartment. When this routine first began, Eduardo requested eggs for dinner pretty much all the time. But after a while, I got bored with this and started venturing out to make other things. Usually, even now, our conversations about what to eat go something like this:

"I'm hungry. Can you make me some eggs?"
"Well, I have the stuff to make tortilla soup. How about that?"
"No! I want eggs! Huevos!"
"You don't want something different?"
"Um...ok, fine."

And then he always ends up loving whatever I make. He's like a little kid...afraid of change. He just doesn't know what's good for him.

The thing is, since living in New York, I haven't really cooked much. Well, nothing too complicated with too many ingredients. Cooking for one is hard and I didn't often venture beyond spaghetti or grilled cheese. But lately I've been putting three years of constantly watching the food network (one of only a few cable channels I get) to use. Turns out, I'm not too bad at this! Here's a few of my successes from the past few weeks:

Coconut crusted chicken with pina colada rice:

This recipe was inspired by a show I was watching on the food network with a girl saying she was going to make pina colada rice. I thought this sounded delicious. I never actually got to see how she made it, so I came up with my own version. And I figured I needed something to go with the rice. The recipe for the chicken can be found here. For the rice: just follow the instructions for whatever white rice you have, but replace some of the water with a can of coconut milk. Then I added fresh chopped up pineapple to the rice. It's delicious!

Tortilla soup and chicken fajitas:

This is actually two separate meals, but they come from the same source. I was watching The View a few weeks ago and saw Tyler Florence (of the Food Network) cooking a Mexican meal for Elisabeth Hasselbeck. After being with Eduardo for over a year, I have a good idea of what is authentic Mexican and what is "Tex-Mex." (FYI: Most everything you think is Mexican food, Eduardo would call "Tex-Mex" meaning "nothing I ever even heard of during my childhood in Mexico." These meals from Tyler Florence are the real deal...a very authentic way of cooking for Mexicans from the CORN tortillas to the radishes on top. Check out the recipes here.

Graham Cracker French Toast:

I love a big breakfast and french toast is always a winner. I basically impulse bought graham crackers one day and then was craving french toast and thought, "I bet I could find a way to combine these things." I was totally right. Thanks, internet. The recipe can be found here. I didn't use raisin bread because, uh, I didn't have any. But it was delicious anyway. And I also didn't have any syrup, but instead I drizzled Nutella on top.

I love food, and I don't let the fact that I don't actually have a kitchen keep me down! A two burner hot plate, microwave, and a toaster oven is all I really need!

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Beating the System

11:19 PM, Saturday, August 8, 2009 / Posted by Christy / comments (0)

After about 4 months of biking around Manhattan, I can say that my bike is probably one of the best purchases I've ever made. I can't believe the years I lived here and DIDN'T have a bike. I had thought about getting one a few times over the years, but never had that push to make it happen until the MTA threatened fare hikes, potentially raising the price of a monthly Metro Card from $81 to $103! That was just too much for me to handle. The online petitions began and the politicians began negotiating in Albany, but I decided to be proactive and not let politicians decide things for me for once. If the MTA was going to raise fares and cut service, I wasn't going to be needing their services anymore.

Riding my bike has changed several things about my existence here in New York. First of all, the every day rite of passage of the New York resident, taking the subway, is no longer part of my life. This is both good and bad (but mostly good). I miss the (good) subway performers, the time to read or listen to my iPod, the people watching, stopping at the subterrainian news stands to grab a soda or snack. I do NOT miss the bad smells, the late trains, the construction, the over-crowded cars, the people not respecting my personal space, or the rats running down the tracks. I especially do not miss having to wait a half hour or more to get a train if I'm travelling in the wee hours of the morning.

When I started riding my bike, I thought maybe I would be reluctant to do it at times and make excuses to not do it ("It looks like it's going to rain" or "I'm tired"). This is SO not the case. I have been known to ride when it is sprinkling and then been caught in a downpour. One day I arrived at work literally wringing out my pants, looking like I'd been thrown in the river. But it was a small price to pay for me. I take my chances with the weather gladly. The other potential problem of being tired hasn't really been an issue either. I remember saying that I thought maybe I wouldn't want to ride my bike to work on Saturdays because I work such a long day, I might dread having to ride my bike home. On the contrary, I get new energy when I ride. Where as I used to drag myself to the train station and sit like a zombie on the ride home, now when I hop on my bike to leave, the exercise wakes me up again, and I feel refreshed.

The other night, I ventured out of Manhattan on my bike for the first time, and rode to Queens to spend a long night hanging out with Eduardo and some other friends. When I was finally ready to leave, it was after 5am. Eduardo told me I could leave my bike and take the train, but I wanted to ride home. When I started out, it was still dark, but the sun slowly began to rise as I rode towards Manhattan, following the people going to start the early shift at work and the trucks hauling the breakfast carts to set up on the busy corners of the city. Instead of feeling tired and miserable, just longing for my bed (as I know I would have been if I'd been on the train), I enjoyed seeing the city wake up, the lack of cars on the road, and when I got home around 6:30am, I didn't even fall immediately into bed. Once again, the exercise gave me a second wind, and I stayed up a while eating breakfast and watching the morning news.

So, I can't really see a downside to bike riding around the city. It saves time, money, and it's great exercise! I've lost a few pounds and my pants fit a little looser since I started riding. And now when I hear friends complaining about the MTA, I just think to myself, "I beat the system!"

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