New York, New York – The City That Never Sleeps

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit New York City with my sister and nephew.  It has been a solid six years since I have been to New York, I used to go at least once a year but then life happened… husband… kids… yadda yadda!  My nephew is 20 years old and this was his first visit and boy did he have a BLAST!  We were only there for less than 48 hours, but believe it or not we got a ton done.  Oh and in between everything, we still had time to catch the re-plays of the Royal Wedding.  So happy for the Duke & Duchess of Sussex!

 We stayed at Hotel 32|32 – can we just talk about this amazing location for a minute?  I am admittedly a shop-a-holic, haha!  We were just a few blocks away from the largest Macy’s in the world (I mean seriously, just take my money lol)!!!  The 6 train was just feet outside of the hotel and the Empire State Building was also very close by.  This luxury boutique hotel was absolutely perfect for us!  We got a King Superior room, it had a King sized bed and a sleeper sofa with a full kitchen!  I don’t know if you are familiar with NYC hotels, but you’re lucky if you get an ounce of space, Hotel 32|32 was so spacious, and let me brag about how comfy too!  The bed was the perfect mix of firm and soft as well as the pillows.  A perfect location in a clean, spacious room… it doesn’t get any better!  Just a little tip, there is a little hole-in-the-wall deli literally 50 feet from the entrance of the hotel, it doesn’t look like much, but you should definitely go there for breakfast!  We got 3 breakfast sandwiches, I am talking about eggs, bacon and cheese on a challah roll… for like $8.50 TOTAL!  Can’t beat it!

 

My nephew like most college-aged kids wanted to visit all of the popular sneaker spots in the city.  Our first stop on a rainy Saturday was to Nike Soho, his face was priceless as we rode the elevator to all the many floors of Nike heaven.  I literally giggled the entire time!  I remember my first visit to NYC when I was just a tad older than him; it was really nice to experience all of the magic of NYC for the first time through his eyes.  We managed to also visit Stadium Goods – that in and of itself was an experience!  Let’s put it like this, all of the display sneakers are wrapped in plastic and once they bring out your size to try on, you can’t walk off of the carpet, lol.  The sneaker game is serious!  We also visited Flight Club – another one with serious sneaker game!

We definitely had to do the cliché “must-do’s” of New York!  We rode the train everywhere, the six was our best friend, we took it most out of any other train.  We stood in line in the middle of time square, in the rain, for day-of Broadway and off-Broadway show tickets.  We ended up seeing STOMP!  It was SO much FUN!!! I will never listen to sounds the same again.  And seriously, we got pimp seats – 10th row, orchestra center – it was worth waiting in the rain for the same-day tickets! The next surprise was really cool too because we actually got to meet and take a photo with  Alan Asuncion and Carlos Thomas – two of the stars from the show; we totally weren’t expecting that! They were very nice and humble.

 

Let’s have a moment of silence for Rice to Riches… #GetInMyBelly  Seriously, the BEST!!!  We loved it so much we went there twice on our short trip. Haha!  I ‘ve loved it ever since I saw it featured in the movie Hitch.

We ate pizza at 2 different places; the first place was in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel NoMad.  Now, I know you are thinking “what? pizza in the lobby of a hotel” Yassssss!!! And it was GOOD! I actually preferred it to other place we ate pizza that I won’t name because I was that disappointed in the flavor. But the pizza at the Arlo was the truth!  I am not going to lie, I wasn’t thrilled when I first saw the pizza because it is thick, like Chicago style pizza (which I really don’t care for, sorry Chi-town!) but hear me out… they cook it/heat it up in this table top oven and WOW!!!  It was the bomb-dot-com.  It had just enough crunch and just enough softness <insert drooling face here, lol>

 

 

We paid our respects at the World Trade Center.  The gaping holes in the grounds where the towers once stood are massive.  Every time I think of that day, I remember exactly where I was when I watched the second tower get hit on live TV; it was traumatizing.  It was such an important part of our history; there was no way we could visit New York, especially for my nephews first time and not visit.  I learned that they place roses next to the victims’ names on their birthdays every year.  It was beautiful and heart-breaking all at the same time.  Almost 17 years later and it is still so emotional.  I hope their souls are resting in peace.

  

What do you love most about New York City?

Yummy Avocado Toast

 

Avocado toast is EVERYTHING! Can I get an amen?  It’s such an easy and healthy, delicious meal.  When I was pregnant with my son just under six years ago, I would wake up in the middle of the night (to pee, of course) and I would be starving! I didn’t want to eat anything unhealthy but I needed something to fulfil my craving; avocado toast was my go-to, middle of the night, meal.  And if we’re being honest, that was before the millennials made avocado toast a “cool” thing… I think to think of myself as a trendsetter, lol.

When you slice open a ripe Haas avocado and it is so pretty, doesn’t it make the avocado toast taste that much better?  I am sure you have all seen the memes about how avocados are hard, then ready for like two seconds, then overripe haha.  Well, this avocado was just perfect!  I guess I had good timing?

My kids loved the taste and asked for more… meanwhile they “don’t like” avocados.  Whatever works right? The best part about it, you can make avocado toast for any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner, middle of the night snack, you name it!  I bet you’re hungry now right?  Let’s get right to the recipe:

Yummy Avocado Toast

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • One 8-ounce ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled (I like Hass the best)
  • Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices whole grain or whole wheat bread
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, softened
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  1. Mash the avocado with a fork in a shallow bowl until chunky. Season with fine salt and black pepper.
  2. Toast the bread until browned and crisp. Lightly rub 1 side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic until fragrant; discard the garlic. Lightly brush the toasts with oil, and season with fine salt and pepper. Divide the mashed avocado evenly among the toasts, and top with more flaky sea salt, more black pepper and red pepper flakes if using.
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I added an over-medium egg on top; it was the perfect addition to this already perfect meal.  I especially like enjoying avocado toast at brunch, I would say that is my favorite meal at a bunch spread.  I saw a shirt in Target that said “you are the avocado to my toast”; it was so cute, I need it in my life.  Target is a whole other subject, don’t get me started on my favorite store! Ha! That will be another blog post.

Do you have a favorite avocado toast recipe? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments.  Sound off!

Mickey Mouse Pancakes

 

This morning my kids asked for Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes.  Who am I to say no? After all, I agreed that it was a great idea!  The last time we attempted to make them, it wasn’t easy.  But this time, I am happy to announce that they were a success!  The difference was oiling the cookie cutter, go figure!

Here is the recipe:

Mickey Mouse Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • •1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • •3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • •1 teaspoon salt
  • •1 tablespoon white sugar
  • •1 1/4 cups milk
  • •1 egg
  • •3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • •1 Mickey Mouse cookie cutter or mold

Instructions

  1. Step 1 - In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Step 2 - Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Grease the cookie cutter or mold. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle in the center of the mold (fill to desired thickness). Brown and remove the mold, flip and brown the other side.
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That’s it! Believe me, it is as easy as it sounds.  The trick is to make sure you grease the cookie cutter or mold so that it doesn’t stick while trying to remove it.  It is also very important to note that you don’t want to use a lot of grease on the pan or it will make the pancakes oily.

Kids and husband approved Mickey Mouse pancakes!  My husband said they were the “best pancakes he’s ever eaten; even better than the restaurants”.  That’s quite a compliment!  We added fresh blueberries to ours since they are in season and go well together with pancakes.

Give them a try and let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: Good Old Fashioned Pancakes – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/21014/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%201