For those of you who know me personally or follow me on Twitter, this may come as no surprise, but for everyone else I am happy to reveal our under-the-radar project: This summer Husband and I will be opening an old-fashion ice cream parlor in Brooklyn! OddFellows Ice Cream Co. will be located on 175 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and open for business – fingers crossed – end of May. We’ve partnered with Sam Mason, a gourmet chef known for his inimitable and unconventional take on sweets (watch: Diary of a Foodie, listen: Desserts with New York Pastry Chef Sam Mason, or read: Interview with Sam Mason for more), to serve up some creative renditions of everyone’s favorite frozen treat. So if you are in the New York City-area, please come visit us this summer! In the meantime, get in on our delectable pre-sale going on at Indiegogo (with cameo appearances by Layla and Alexei) and help support a mom-and-pop shop. For those of you out of state, there’s also an option for shipping our ice cream to anywhere in the continental United States! Yay! Let’s all scream for ice cream!
Lately I’ve been thinking about stuff, by which I mean literally. Living in a 750-square-feet New York City apartment with my husband, two kids and one dog, has turned me into an aspiring minimalist. We don’t have a lot of space, and since having kids, it’s gotten even more crowded … a double stroller, bouncy seats (double of everything!), go-Pods, toys, books, clothes and an assortment of other baby paraphernalia. Not to mention my stuff and his stuff. Despite being OCD in my efforts to keep an orderly home, stuff keeps piling up.
It’s so ingrained in our heads, so much part of the American way of thinking, to buy more stuff than we need. While I see nothing wrong with the acquisition of consumer goods in itself, it’s the excess that’s overwhelming. Not too long ago, my closet was littered with clothes I had never worn, and my kitchen with appliances I thought were essential but never ended up using. I constantly felt burdened by the weight of stuff accumulated. Remember that Tyler Durden line in Fight Club: The things you own end up owning you? Man did I feel it.
Spring is right around the corner – a season of rebirth and renewal and a time for fresh starts. Back at home base, we’ve been in overdrive mode. Husband and I have been spending most of our free moments working on a new project (to be revealed later on this blog). This project of ours, like a new baby, has consumed our lives and the experience, thus far, has left us equal parts energized and taxed. I am so excited to share details with you (soon), but in the meantime, I leave you with some snapshots we took the morning the twins turned one. Enjoy!
Layla and Alexei turned one yesterday! Over the weekend, we invited some local friends with babies to dim-sum at a Chinatown restaurant, threw in a birthday cake, and called it a party. On their actual birthday, which was yesterday, Husband and I headed with the munchkins for an outing in Queens. First stop was the Ganesh Temple in Flushing, then onward to Louis Armstrong’s house in Corona. We’ve been meaning to check out the Armstrong house museum for some time. The twins listened to a lot of Louis while in the womb, so it was exciting for us to visit his and wife Lucille’s home of more than three decades and hear stories about their lives there – though the babies mostly slept through the guided tour!
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Cooking feels like a lost art in New York City. Given the number of culinary gems this city has to offer, opting out of dining out seems plain sacrilegious. Though lately I’ve been making most meals at home – and doing so by choice. It’s not easy, with the never-ending demands of raising two kids and the general supersonic-paced nature of city life, but it’s important to me that I bring family together with home-cooked meals and nourish them with wholesome foods. I mean seriously, what’s better than fresh foods made with love?
While I’m not one to place a label on the types of dishes I cook (and I don’t believe there’s one particular diet that will suit everyone), I’ve been making a conscious effort to prepare heart-healthy meals. These days, I rarely buy packaged foods and my shopping list consists of primarily whole foods (i.e. food requiring minimal processing). Though I’ve never been a junk food kind of girl, I do love baking sweets and making me some cupcakes and cookies. So for example, instead of all-purpose flour, I now substitute with almond or coconut flour; and rather than refined white sugar, I go with sucanat or turbinado. I’ve been making and eating what feels good and I’ve noticed a change in my body. I’m craving the healthier stuff.
Part of my journey to more wholesome foods was my discovery of the Ayurvedic tradition of cooking. Last November, I enrolled in an Ayurvedic cooking class with the lovely Divya Alter. Her class, which focuses on healthy, flavorful and fresh dishes, combines theory with practice. She begins by discussing the principles of what makes certain foods good for you and goes into the importance of achieving balance in one’s diet. Numerous spices and unfamiliar ingredients are introduced and discussed. Then we cook. The result: vibrant dishes, in a variety of textures and flavors, saturated with color and filled with nutritional goodness. Everything is vegetarian – and though I eat meat – I’d have to say they are some of the best dishes I have tasted in my life.
Divya and her husband, Prentiss, started their non-profit educational organization, Bhagavat Life, six years ago to provide an array of courses based on “spiritual truths and tradition.” They traveled the world to countries like Guatemala and China leading mediation retreats, before planting their roots in the East Village three years ago and offering cooking classes.