Have a wonderful weekend

Baby steps spark miracles,
Miracles do not spark baby steps.
This is one of my favorite pictures from Centra Park - so peaceful and absolutley gorgeous!


NYC Part Deux

We were exhausted but I felt like I tossed and turned all night - the heater/ac unit in the suite sounded like a dog (big dog) drinking from a water bowl all night and then another unit in the room sounded like someone was snoring/heavy breathing/asthma attack. But whatever - we were in NYC and ready to start the day; we cabbed it over to the ABC Studios and grabbed a very tall Starbuck's before heading inside and being told that we had to dump the coffees - I guess Regis and Kelly fans have a tendency to throw their coffees at the show hosts?? Our caffeine fix would have to wait until after the show. After setting off the metal detector numerous times we were inside with all of the ladies - what a gaggling bunch they were and it made for some wonderful people watching! My sister and I were escorted off to the side to a little lounge area (no coffee though) because I work for The Walt Disney Company and had an associate assist with our tickets - we felt a little special…we were joined by 1/2 a dozen or so other guests; let's see there was the lady with the very short bangs who thought she was all that and her friend who seemed like she had been up all night long and had the most intense frown lines across her forehead and then their other friend with the snow jacket on and silver dancing shoes on! We were seated front and center - a little disappointed that Kiefer Sutherland was going to be shown via video as he had taped his segment a few days prior. Regis does not work on Friday's but his guest host was Howie Mandel who was hilarious! Kelly is such a tiny little thing - she can't weigh more than 100 lbs and her arms are amazing - whatever workout she is doing - something with a ballet bar, blah blah - I give her credit - she's in amazing shape - her waist is soooo tiny! She was very sweet and interacted with the audience during commercials and even took photos with a few of her "stalkers". Yes, my sister and I were on TV! My sister won the trivia - the caller on the phone who answered the question correctly picked #3 and it was her number! She jumped up and down and you could hear me screaming in the background - she did not even know what she had won - I think she though it was the trip but it was actually a $500. gift card for Omaha Steaks - YUM! I could not stop laughing - it was just too funny that she won this and she'll be sharing some steaks with us in CA.
After the show we set out to find a Starbucks and then hop onto one of the double decker buses that tour the various areas of the city - allow you to get off and on at various stops. Our first stop was Greenich Village for pizza at John's Pizza - we had heard it was the best and we would agree! We were freezing and really wanted to put our hands right on top of the piping hot pizza pie! After warming up and filling our empty stomachs we were off again to our next stop which was Ground Zero. We spent time in St. Pauls looking at the tributes to those that were lost in the devastation to those rescue workers that worked tirelessly to make sense of it all. It was an amazing place - a beautiful church in the midst of sky scrapers…historic old tombstones that were weathered and so unexpected a scene in this urban setting. My husband and I had honeymooned in New York City 22 years ago and at that time visited the top of the World Trade Center and to see the area now and in comparison to the visuals that you see on television do not compare. It was a very sobering afternoon being reminded of the horrific tragedy that took place not so long ago. So much so that neither of us were in the mood to shop so we hopped back on the bus and made our way back up from Battery Park, the Pier back Uptown where we were dropped off at Rockefeller Center. It was 5pm and my sister suggested that we go to the Rainbow Room. I was not sure I was ready for the look over by the "Mall Cops" but what did we have to lose? Well, it was a pleasant site to see that everyone in line for the elevator looked like we did - not overly dressed or under-dressed. We were whisked up to the famous Rainbow Room where we left our coats with the coat-check and were seated in front of the fabulous view of the city at sunset. We enjoyed our cosmos and mixed nuts and were so tempted to order the $28 hamburger but no we restrained ourselves. Afterwards we walked past the Christmas tree that was coming down shortly and walked a few blocks to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was really gorgeous inside and out - so much history and we both lit candles after walking around and admiring the architecture and sense of peace by all of the other visitors. We saw so much and did so much in this one day - my feet were killing me! We enjoyed a nice dinner and called it a day, walked back to our hotel for a little R&R.


Our Adventure in New York City Part I

Our long weekend in NYC was a blast! My sister and I both flew into the city Thursday evening - her flight leaving MN was 3 hours late so after I had settled into our suite here I walked back to Grand Central Station to meet her shuttle. After she freshened up we were off for our first subway adventure to Little Italy. We got off the train at Canal street - the heart of Chinatown and just a few short blocks away was Mulberry Street. Our destination was Grotta Azuara which was recommended to me by Christi. The food was delicious; zucchini, bruschetta, caesar salad, chicken marsala and the gnocchi with walnuts and blue cheese. The bottle of chianti that we sipped was yummy too! The narrow street lined with restaurants and shops looked like something right out of the movies and the gentlemen outside of the restaurants or "barkers" were hilarious. I can't tell you how many of them offered us a "nice table in front of the fire". We browsed a bit after dinner on our way back to the subway and purchased a couple of pashmina's - who could resist for $5. a piece?"Hi Honey! How are the kids doing? We're having a great time"!

We then hopped on the subway back Uptown to Rockefeller Center. It was gorgeous and we were able to see the famous Christmas tree before it was taken down the following morning. The skating rink looks so much small in person than it does on television. We were going to skate but the next session did not begin until 10:30pm and we were a bit tired from traveling all day. We attempted to get up to the Rainbow Room but it had already closed for the evening so we planned to try again the following day. Back to our hotel in cab - just 5 short blocks but these weary travelers were looking forward to a little rest before our adventure in the morning at Regis & Kelly.


I'm off to the Big Apple!

I'll be away for a few days in NYC with my sis! This is who we are going to see Friday morning!


Recipe for Chocolate Tart

I love this recipe! I made one of these for Christmas dinner and again a few nights ago to take to my boss' house for dinner. The crust is like a shortbread and I used Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate chips! Enjoy!

Tart Shell Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
To make the pastry: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the middle of the pastry. Combine the egg yolk with the ice water in a small bowl, whisking to blend; pour it into the well and work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly; press the edges into the sides of the pan. It is important to press the dough evenly into every nook and corner of the ring, especially the scalloped edges. Shave off the excess hanging dough with a knife. Put the tart in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to relax.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the tart pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easy to move in and out of the oven. Line the tart with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to keep the sides of the tart from buckling. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and weights. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the crust with a beaten egg white. Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 8 minutes until the tart is golden in color, but not brown. Remember the tart will be cooked again with the filling. It should be cooked but light in color so that it will not burn on the second bake. Set aside to cool and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
To make the filling: Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium-low flame, until it simmers slightly around the edges. Remove from the heat; add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smoothed out. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until well incorporated. Beat the eggs in a small bowl until blended and add them to the chocolate mixture, stir until completely blended. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and bake at 325 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes until the filling is set and the surface is glossy. If you see any bubbles or cracks forming on the surface, take the tart out right away - that means it is beginning to become over baked. Cool before cutting. Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence - he is a cutie and photo courtesy of

Thank you Pam!

Thank you Pam for the wonderful Christmas gifts~ you are so talented!! I hope to see you very, very soon!

Birthday Bliss!

Silly girl me trying to take a picture of us all with my short arms!

Birthday bliss today with my best friends! Tomorrow is the actual day but today was celebrating with my very bestest friends. We headed out to the Irvine Flea Market with yummy chai latte's in hand this morning. It was a gorgeous day for browsing and shopping; I ended up making just one purchase - my lovely weathered crown. We had so much fun looking through "attitude" rings - the cute vendor had such a selection however we did not buy just looked and thought that having a 5+ carat diamond was not very believable. Jill purchased a really cute vintage Santa pin for next year and Debra purchased some great old bottles that we know she will create something wonderful with. Dar aka our little chocolate lab (she had the softest jogging outfit that reminded us of a chocolate lab puppy) did not buy anything today... Jill decided that she needs a chandelier in her kitchen and the one we saw was almost $300. We'll be keeping our out for the perfect one for her now. Then it was over to a loverly waterfront brunch in Irvine where we enjoyed mimosa's and delicious crab and avocado filled omeletes.

Thank you BFF's for a really fun day ~ love you all!!


Bright Lights ~ Big City

New York here we come! My sister and I are meeting in The Big Apple next week to celebrate our birthdays and I'm so excited!!

This is where we plan to be Thursday night ~ that's right, ice skating at Rockefeller Center before the big tree comes down the following day and then to get a frozen hot chocolate here.
Bloggers if you have suggestions for us during our visit we welcome them. One of my blogging friends recommended this restaurant and we of course will visit Central Park in all of it's winter glory.
We are thinking about seeing this show! I love it and my sis has never seen!
We have a lot more on our itinerary but of course welcome your recommendations too! OK back to work for me - Christmas decoration clean up time...