Friday, July 31, 2009

Bad Apples...Good Cake!

I bought some apples at a farmer's market recently, which turned out to be horrible... you know the type that disintegrate into mush in your mouth? In general, the apples were inedible. So, last night I decided to make apple cake out of them! I found a new recipe online and decided to give it a shot. It was delicious! I have reproduced the recipe below, which I found here:

Apple Cake
  • 4 cups peeled and diced apples (I used slightly more)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I left out the nuts)
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (I put in a little extra)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix apples and sugar thoroughly. Add oil, nuts, eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and add to apple mixture. Bake in a greased 9x13 inch pan for 1 hour (I actually used a 9x9 inch pan and baked for about 50 minutes).

I was very pleased with how this turned out (John was too!). The edges of the cake had a nice crisp (but not too crisp), chewyness to them, and the center of the cake was moist and tender. I wish I would have taken a photograph of the cake, but I'll have to do that next time!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saturday Adventure

A few weeks ago we went on a Saturday adventure with some friends from our church. The agenda? Dim Sum in China Town and then a tour of the Bronx Zoo! I had meant to share these photos earlier, but things got kind of busy.

If you haven't had dim sum before, I should let you know that it is quite the experience. Many Chinese families eat dim sum together on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch. It's very much a family experience. Here's a photo of some of our friends.

Waiters bring food around on little carts. You can try to ask what the food items are (we were blessed with two Mandarin speakers at our table) or play dim sum roulette (blindly choose). I'm not sure what this food item is, but it had shrimp in the middle of it.

This is a great shot of just a small portion of the dim sum dining room. You would not believe the number of people there.
After we finished our meal, we toured a few spots in China Town. Here's a Chinese bakery.
Here is John with a strawberry smoothie. See the black stuff at the bottom of the cup? Those are tapicoa beads. Sometimes they're called "bubbles" or "pearls." They are kind of chewy, like gummy bears, but not quite as sweet.
After finishing our tour of China Town, we all hopped on the subway to go to the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo is way up north. It took about an hour on the subway to get there. Our first stop at the zoo was a tram ride that takes you through the "Asian Animal Tour."
We were a little disappointed by the "Asian Animal Tour." It mostly consisted of fifteen different varieties of deer. For many New Yorkers, deer may seem exotic and foreign. However, being from the Northwest, I see deer as the enemy. They destroy flowers, gardens, and trees. They are like giant rodents...graceful, sneaky, calculating, nefarious rodents.

This was probably the highlight of our "Asian Animal Tour": The Rhino.
More deer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blast from the Past

I just found this photo of John and me at our college graduation over three years ago. When this photo was taken, I never in a million years would have guessed that we would be getting married.
The Lord has been very good to us!

Mortar boards are never a good idea...

Monday, July 27, 2009


It has been a busy past few days for us! On Thursday, John and I flew to Indianapolis to visit his family. We had a wonderful visit. It was very special to spend time with John's family and meet some of John's closest friends. I received such a warm welcome! I'm grateful to the Lord for giving me such a wonderful, loving future family.

We also met with John's pastor, who will be marrying us, for three sessions of premarital counseling. So far, so good!

Here's a brief run-down of our itinerary:

3pm: Arrived in Indy.
4pm: John's mom took me on a tour of Indy! The city is just beautiful.
6pm: Spent the evening with John's brother and his lovely wife.

8am: Met with John's pastor and his wife for our first premarital counseling session.
12pm: Had lunch at John's house with his sister and brother.
1pm: John's sister and I toured a fun area of town called Broadripple.
2pm: Premarital counseling session #2.
6pm: Had a cookout in the yard with John's family, the neighbors, and several other family friends. Hot dogs cooked over open flames...yum!

8am: Premarital counseling session #3.
12pm: Had lunch with John.
1pm: Shopping with John's sisters. We looked for bridesmaid dresses. John played Brickbreaker on his Blackberry while we shopped.
3pm: Down time. John and I watched a movie.
6pm: Dinner with John's neighbors and their three adorable kids.

9am: Breakfast with John's aunt. Had the best waffle of my life at Maxine's (
10:30am: Went to church.
11:am: Left church for the airport. Yes, we left church early. Shame on us.
4pm: Arrived back in New York.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip...

John loves his apple juice.
It cracks me up to see how restaurant waiters react when John, a full grown man, orders apple juice.

This is one of John's family's dogs. This picture makes Reggie look frightening (or blind), but he really is a nice dog and has perfect vision.

The White River.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Special Moment

Mom and John bond while playing "Brick Breaker" on their Blackberrys.
This warms my heart.

Monday, July 20, 2009


We went to Queens on Saturday and saw this horrifying sight.

"Mister Smoothie" trying to pass for "Mister Softee." I wasn't fooled. I know the real thing when I see it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Picnic in the Park

Two weeks ago we went to a free concert in the park featuring Broadway stars. I was very excited to introduce John to Broadway music. Much to our dismay, the concert was Broadway stars singing cabaret music... I apologize if you are a fan of cabaret, but the concert was a little bit of a disappointment.

We still had a blast sitting in the park, eating our sandwiches, and people-watching.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mister Softee

I love New York in the summer. Granted, I've only lived here for a few weeks, but I do love it. I love the sunshine, the street fairs, the fruit stands. But most of all, I love Mister Softee ice cream trucks.

Looks like any old ice cream truck, right? Don't be fooled. Mister Softee serves up the tastiest frozen delights, including unusually creamy, rich soft serve ice cream. You can have your soft serve cone with sprinkles, toppings, or dipped. I like mine like this:

Ah, artificial cherry dip cone...I won't take the time today to extol the wonder of the artificial cherry dip cone, but if you've never had one, you're definitely missing out.

Here's a highly unattractive action shot to entertain you.

Thank goodness, this next one was staged...

So, come visit me in New York, and I'll treat you to a Mister Softee!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independence Day in NYC

We had a lovely holiday weekend. The weather was perfect- 75 to 80 degrees, sunny, low humidity. I'm not sure how long this low humidity is going to last, but I'm loving it.

On Saturday afternoon we walked down to Union Square to buy groceries at Trader Joe's. I do love Trader Joe's, because it makes grocery shopping so much fun. The TJ's at Union Square is absolutely ridiculous! It's the size of a normal store; however, approximately 40% of the store space is devoted to cash registers. There were probably15 cashiers. The lines for the registers curve all the way around the perimeter of the store's interior. They also have employees who are responsible for holding up signs which tell customers where the end of the line is. I stood in a line of about 35 people for maybe 6 minutes. This was considered a slow afternoon for TJ's. Next time I go to TJ's, I'll take photos for you.

After our grocery shopping, we walked through a farmer's market and hung out in Union Square Park.

This is Union Square Park.

It's a beautiful park. See the guy with the laptop? When New Yorkers hang out at the park, they like to get work done.

This is the apple cider we bought at the farmer's market.

It was unusually tasty.

John loves apple cider.

On Saturday evening, we went to a friend's apartment for a potluck. We also ventured out onto 34th street to see the fireworks. It was a very small, intimate setting.

All of our closest friends were there.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Italian Adventure

Last weekend we ventured down to Little Italy for dinner. During summer weekends, many Little Italy streets are closed off, which leaves plenty of room for enjoying an outdoor meal. It was a warm, sunny evening, and it seemed like the perfect time for our first outdoor dining experience in New York. We found an adorable authentic restaurant, complete with heavily accented and swarthy waiters. We sat down at a street side table, placed our orders, and then enjoyed watching pedestrians stroll by. In a few minutes, we were enjoying piping hot, delicious pizza. Just a few bites into our meal, the sky darkened. Before we knew it, we were in the middle of a full blown thunderstorm.

We were sheltered by an awning, so we continued to eat our pizza.

Unfortunately, there was a small crack in the awning and John's pizza got a little water logged.

It was still pretty good pizza.