Don’t Hold The Wall

 Who loves pie?  I’m sorry, that’s a silly question?  What I should be asking is, who doesn’t love pie?  If you answered “OOh, me!  I don’t like pie!” – get out.  Just go.  For those of us left that love pie (because what human being doesn’t??), let’s talk.  When I think pie, I think summer fruit pies with whipped cream or ice cream.  Yet here we are in the middle of winter, still shoveling ourselves and our cars out of the two feet of snow that got dumped on NYC (34 inches in Queens!).  I also just recently celebrated by 3rd anniversary of Single Girl Cookies on the 17th.  Three years, over 6,000 chocolate chip cookies – what’s next?  Combine those two things and you’ve got an antsy, jonesin’-for-something-new-and-different Single Girl just dying to create.  

I got it in my head that I wanted to make something with a chocolate chip cookies crust but wasn’t sure what.  I thought maybe a cheesecake with a cookie bottom?  Or maybe a layered brookie (brownie/cookie combo)?  I also kept coming back to my favorite pairing with chocolate, which is peanut butter.  When I was a kid, my first job was as a busser at a local Mennonite influenced/themed restaurant, Miller’s.  And they made the best peanut butter chocolate mousse pie with the graham cracker crust that I used to buy a slices of with my hard earned, next to nothing busser tips, and take it home and label it with my name to make sure nobody else ate it.  It seemed only natural that my creation involve peanut butter mousse.  

I finally settled on pie form, thinking, “If this works, it’s going to be DA BOMB”.  Yes, it’s so good, I don’t even care that I still use outdated slang.  And it’s so good that I wanted to share the recipe with you so you could experience the amazingness for yourself!

  

Chocolate Chip Cookie Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Using your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (you didn’t think I was going to give mine away, did you??), press a thin layer of dough onto the bottom and sides of a pie plate like you would a graham cracker crust.  Remember, this dough will rise slightly, so be sparing with your dough distribution. I used slightly less than half of my batch of dough and had quite a significant crust. I made cookies with the other half that I gave away to that week’s drop spot. I used a 9 inch vintage Pyrex pie plate, set the oven for the standard 350, and let it bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Never having done this before, I liked that it was clear glass and I could see when it was done.  I’d recommend making the crust a good 2 hours before you make the mousse.  

Peanut Butter Mousse

I used (read: modified and partially followed) a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but didn’t follow all the fussy parts of the directions, like “using a chilled bowl and chilled beaters…”  Here’s what I did.

Ingredients

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 8 oz package cream cheese

2/3 creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp milk

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla
Directions

1. Using an electric beater, beat heavy cream in a small bowl until you start to see soft peaks form.

2. In a separate large bowl, beat softened cream cheese, peanut butter and milk until combined.  Add in vanilla and confectioners sugar, mix until combined.  Add in whipped cream until mixture is smooth (and delicious).  Now is a good time for beater licking.

3. Making sure your cookie crust is mostly cooled, pour peanut butter mousse into your crust, filling to the top.  Chill at least two hours, thought it’s best left overnight.  

4. Invite your friends over for pie!

  

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That Old Black Magic

It all started with a burger. Or really, a cold, almost lifeless (but still delicious) sliver of a Shake Shack burger that I had saved for my brother. Maybe I should back up ūüôā

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m still reeling that it’s 2016, and probably will be until it’s 2017. Truly I tell you I only got adjusted to 2015 in August. No joke. And all that stuff that people say about life moving faster as you age – all true too. Scary true, actually. So holy crap, it’s 2016!

And as times marches on, so do major life events. My baby brother, the one that I so generously saved the slice of burger for, is expecting a baby boy this summer with his lovely wife, Holly. They couldn’t be more thrilled, and I pretty ecstatic too. You know how much I love spoiling my nephew Jackson and I’m SO looking forward to having another one to dote on!

In the light of all this wonderful news, I decided that Kyle and Holly needed a final hurrah in NYC before life changes forever. I convinced them to come down with me when I drove back down after Christmas and help me ring in the new year. Now, Kyle and Holly had been down to visit me before, but this was all pre-Single Girl. I had so many things to show them, places to take them and people for them to meet.

We managed to cram an insane amount of stuff into the few days they were here, including the usual holiday city stuff and New Year’s Eve celebrating. If I’m being honest, it’s a little bit of a blur. If I’m being super duper honest, there may have been some adult beverages involved in the weekend ūüėČ

Amongst all the fun, last Saturday was a stand out day. Kyle, who is a volunteer fireman, got to witness not one, but TWO firehouse cookie drops and see some pretty big rigs and old FDNY houses. He had requested a few things for the weekend, one of them being that, another to get drinks at Jack’s Fire Dept in Sunnyside (a great local’s spot) and the third being to have a real New York slice. We’re talking pizza, people, and I have to say I was a little nervous about that request. I can satisfy and serve up the other two, no problem. You want to see some firehouses? I know some guys. You want to go drinking at a firemen themed bar? I’m your girl. You want me to take to you to the best pizza in NYC? I got nothing.

My go to pizza of 5/6 years ago was a tiny place on 1st Ave by Theater for the New City called South Brooklyn Pizza. I was introduced to this place while doing a show at TFTNC by some of the cats I was performing with. It was great! Brick oven, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, garlic mash to spread on top. A few years go by and I head down there for a slice and find it has closed. Now I’m¬†really¬†out of ideas.

Like everybody everywhere, I had heard of Grimaldi’s pizza in Brooklyn. And because I’m not an idiot, I know well enough to be wary of something that has been made into a nationwide chain and has become a tourist spot in NYC. I don’t really know much about the pizza game here, other than a whole community and hierarchy exists where you could lose friendships over your choice of pizza. Like a thick crust? You’re not a real New Yorker. Fold your pizza? You might be a terrorist.

I wasn’t about to disappoint my brother, so I set us off on a course to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and see what we can google when we get to the other side. In the back of my brain, I remember reading something about a different pizza place, a “real” Grimaldi’s. A quick google search pointed us directly to Juliana’s.

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We pull up to the building, small, white, and somehow ‘clean’, with big picture windows and a red winter door. Written gracefully over the door is ‘Juliana’s’ in simple and feminine script. And as expected (hoped for, even) there is a long line snaking around the front.

We’re greeted by a gentleman checking us in and says it’s about a 45 minute wait. Well, we had just walked all around the city, hadn’t eaten in 7 hours, and I was a little punchy and ready to walk away. Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed and we started our chilly wait.

We got antsy pretty quickly and started taking turns going to the deli next door for water and restroom breaks. I guzzled my bottle of water and as I went to throw away my bottle down the street, I saw that three doors down there was a Shake Shack! It was like the heavens opened up and I heard angels sing. In a flash of brilliance, I ordered a burger and fries for the three of us to share as an appetizer in line.

By the time I got back, Kyle was gone and Holly and I were next. Holly and I dove into the bag and decided to be nice and save Kyle a couple bites for when he got back. We ended up being seated before he came back, and I stashed the bag under the table with a few fries and a couple bites of burger.
Once we were settled at our table, I took a look around. The same white, inviting exterior was echoed inside. It was warm, cozy, and bright, decorated with pictures of Ol’ Blue Eyes. We decided on a large Margherita pizza with pepperoni and a nice bottle of Tempranillo.

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I don’t think any of us were actually expecting what came to the table. OH, THE PIZZA. ¬†Black blistered crust, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, flavorful rounds of pepperoni, and the sauce, oh the sauce! The perfect balance of everything you look for in a pizza sauce, in both flavor and ratio. Hey, I may not eat pizza often, but I’m pretty picky about it when I do.

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We all took turns ‘oh my god’-ing and moaning over the flavor explosions that we happening in our mouths and happily finished the whole thing. We paid our check, thanked Michael for the excellent service, and headed out.

Even though we had just eaten an entire pizza, I hadn’t forgotten about that sliver of Shake Shack burger we saved for my brother. I know it sounds gross, but dude – even cold, that stuff is amazing. As Kyle was polishing that off, we chatted with that gentlemen that greeted us when we came, whose name is John. He mentioned he just moved here from the west coast and hadn’t had Shake Shack yet. Say what???? But it’s right next door! I said, “Wait here, I’ll be back in ten!”

Sometimes I get struck with an idea and go with it. This was one of those times. I came back a few minutes later with a burger and fries. I introduced myself, handed over the bag and a card, and said enjoy it, and pass on the kindness, and have a good night!

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The look on John’s face was absolute surprise. “Seriously?”, he said. “I haven’t eaten since breakfast.” As we walked away, Kyle said kinda quietly, “You know, I kinda wanna start doing this at home.” Now it was my turn to be surprised. Not that he would do something like that, my brother is a great guy. Surprised and, well, proud. Inspiring others to do their own acts of kindness is why I do this. Seeing in action brings me a joy that’s indescribable.

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Which is how I found myself on an A train last night, heading to Juliana’s with a plate of cookies on my lap. ¬†My experience that Saturday was such a positive one – the ambiance, the people, the service, THE PIZZA – that I wanted to return the favor and say ‘thanks’ with a plate of my signature cookies. ¬†My second experience was similar to to the first, but even better. ¬†Throughout the night, I got to meet and chat with the individuals that keep the place running. ¬†There’s Janavia, the cashier with a bright smile who popped up behind me to thank me and tell me how delicious the cookies were. Or the pizza runner who deposited my pie and with a shy smile looked at me and quietly said, “Thank you for the cookies.” ¬†I got to hear about John’s transition from 25 years in sports television to managing an extremely busy and popular restaurant. I even made an Astoria connection with Dave, a server there who lives in the ‘hood! ¬†I haven’t met the man himself yet, but from what I gather, this ‘welcoming in’ and sense of family is just par for the course. ¬†And those are my kind of folks. ¬†After 7 years of being a resident of New York City, and more specifically, an Astoria resident, I’ve finally found a reason to travel to Brooklyn. ¬†I can guarantee you, it has been worth the wait.

Bacon Fat Gingersnaps Recipe

Hey hey hey! ¬†So I know that you all loved my recipe for vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream. ¬†I took them to The Queens Kickshaw where I know they were appreciated, I ate a couple, and I know some of you went home and made this too. ¬†This warms my heart to see such love being spread through baking, and gets me excited to, because I am working on Single Girl Cookies book! ¬†Totally my own things, independent and not sold in any way, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now. I believe i mentioned it before, then got sidetracked with life. ¬†A collection of anecdotes, things I’ve learned along the way, and of course – RECIPES!

Today I want to share with you a really unique recipe that a friend sent to me from the New York Times for gingersnaps, but gingersnaps that call for bacon fat instead of any other fat such as butter or shortening. ¬†Based on a traditional Swedish recipe, these do remind me of Christmas, not only for the ginger part ala gingerbread men, but for the fact that the only time i eat bacon anymore is when I’m home with my family and we are all gathered for breakfast, like at Christmas. ¬†In fact the bacon fat I used for this very batch came from the last time i was home and my mom cooked pounds and pounds of bacon for all of us. ¬†The very¬†first time I made these, I cooked pounds and pounds of bacon and probably ate a pound in the process. ¬†Needless to say, I was a little sick and my apartment smelled like bacon for a week. That being said, these cookies were worth it.

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Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

3/4 cup bacon fat (It took me 2 lbs to get a full 3/4 cup)

1 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps baking soda (I might try less next time, like 1 1/2 tsps)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together, cover and put in fridge to chill for a few hours.  I left mine in all day while I was teaching voice lessons.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. ¬†While that is preheating, take the dough and roll into tablespoon size chunks. ¬†Put your extra sugar in a small bowl and roll your doughballs around in there until covered. ¬†Put them on your cookies sheet approximately 2 inches apart. ¬†The original recipe calls for parchment paper or a Silpat or something – I’ve never used anything and never had a problem. You can now choose to flatten them for a flatter, crispier cookie or leave them as balls (like I did this time) which resulted in a thicker, chewier cookie. ¬†Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes.

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I like to dust mine with sugar (again) when I am finished, they just look so pretty that way.  Now share them with friends and neighbors and enjoy the love!

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Original recipe courtesy of the New York Times here.

My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

When I was growing up, my mother would bake all the time. I mean, all the time. ¬†That’s how our Famous Heitmann Cookies got to be so famous. ¬†They went everywhere with us, to every function. ¬†And if they didn’t, well…there was some hell raised, or at least a half-joking-but-not-really comment like, “What, no cookies this time?? ¬†Come to find out, my mother bakes as a form of stress relief. ¬†That is how she unwinds after a long and stressful day. ¬†Is it a coincidence that I recall a big spike in cookie making around my adolescent years? ¬†I think not.

For me, baking has always been a fun thing to do, although not necessarily a stress reliever. ¬†The dishes, the clean up, the having to have self control to not eat everything… you know how it goes. ¬†But yesterday, I finally got how my mother feels about baking being stress relief. ¬†I had just come from the post office in an attempt to retrieve some packages that I’d been waiting on. ¬†I’d elaborate, but I’m sure I need to say no more – you’ve all been to the post office before. ¬†When I got back home, the only thought in my head was “MAKE VANILLA CUPCAKES”. ¬†So like any Single Girl that has her priorities straight, I made myself a nice ice cream sandwich, ate that, then got down to business. ūüôā

A week or so ago, I posted a many-tweets-long recipe for vanilla cupcakes which is my go to recipe.  Along with that tweet, I promised to publish a blog post with the recipe in a concise format, not spread throughout 6 or 7 tweets, haha.  I love a good, rich vanilla anything Рice cream, cupcake, pastry, etc.  Vanilla often gets a bad rap for being bland, but before that, we had practically nothing!  Vanilla was an exotic spice at one time, and was used not only for food consumption, but also as a beauty product.  Women used to dab a bit of vanilla behind their ears when perfume was too expensive.

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I found the base to this recipe on allrecipes.com and like I do with everything, I tweaked it a bit. ¬†This recipe is the one I go to for making my cakes. ¬†It s perfect on its own, does well with fun additions like fruit, sprinkles, or whatever else comes to mind. ¬†It’s also SO super easy, and just as easy as making a box cake, yet a thousand times better. ¬†Enjoy, happy baking!

Single Girl’s Go-To Vanilla Cake Recipe

1/2 cup butter (one stick)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup whole milk/half and half/heavy cream

Mix the first four ingredients together, adding one at a time. ¬†Because I’m a time saver (read: lazy and don’t want to wash extra dishes; but then again, I¬†am saving water by not adding more dishes, so I’m also a doing good things for the planet! ¬†Go me!) I don’t bother with mixing my dry ingredients in a separate bowl, especially when there are only two. ¬†For this I put both of them on top of what’s already in the bowl, then I make sure I mix really well. ¬†Now, for the last ingredient, I like to se whatever is richest on hand. ¬†Today it was half a half. ¬†I’ve used heavy cream (my favorite) and whole milk (also very good). ¬†Mix that in, pour into 12 cupcake liners and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. ¬†You can also use a 9 inch round pan and bake at 325 for about 25 minutes. ¬†Ovens are so tricky, so it’s best to keep an eye on it and test when you think it may be done. ¬†Your tester or knife should come out mostly clean when checking in the middle.

Let them cool and frost! ¬†I like to use my buttercream on these, and the recipe is below. ¬†This is a good thing to whip up while the cupcakes are cooling after you’ve done all your dishes.

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Vanilla Buttercream

Half stick of butter (softened)

1 lb bag of confectioners sugar

3 or 4 teaspoons of vanilla (to taste)  I like mine strong

Sometimes I add a little bit of water to get things going when mixing. ¬†Mix ingredients together and hope you don’t make too big of a mess!

And of course the last step is to share with friends and enjoy! ¬†So easy, right? ¬†Shoot me a message one any one of my social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) – I’d love to see photos of your finished creations and hear how your baking experiences went!

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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

We are in the throes of lazy summer. You feel it, I know you do. ¬†It’s that odd blend of New York feels at this point – it’s August and we’re all hot as hell, but starting to feel that bite in the air telling us that fall is right around the corner. ¬†We say things like, “There’s still almost a month until Labor Day!” and rush around to try to cram as much summer in as we can. ¬†But on those days off, I feel like just being lazy in my air conditioned apartment instead of being ambitious and going to the beach. ¬†And because it’s August, most days I literally do not know what day it is. ¬†Given a moment of thought, I can usually come up with the day, but date? ¬†Forget about it.

What I can tell you is I’ve had a few really awesome days that my brain lumps together as one moment in time experience, starting with my cookie drop on Thursday. ¬†I finally, FINALLY made it to Advanced Radiological Imaging on Astoria Blvd and 30th Street. ¬†I thought they closed at 5, but when I got there at 4:55, there was a waiting room full of people, one person at the window, me, then another woman walked in with her (assumed) son right after me to check in. ¬†So I’m waiting there for the person n front of me to finish up and just as she does and I get to the window, something inside me compels me to say “Uh, you know what? ¬†I”m going to let this woman behind me go first. ¬†She’s clearly a patient and I’m going to take a moment, so…” and let this other woman and her son (let’s just assume it’s her son and go with that) step up to the window.

Have you ever been in a situation where as it’s happening, you are a little incredulous and think, how this would’ve been different if I didn’t just make that choice? ¬†Sure, we’ve all been there. ¬†Well, i watched this and thought, “Good thing I let her go first. ¬†This poor guy’s gonna need a cookie after she gets done.” This woman proceeded to step up to the window and give this guy the biggest Attitude, and I mean attitude with a capital ‘A’. ¬†First off, she assumed the little information she gave him was enough to find her. ¬†He asked for the proper paperwork and she balked. ¬†He finally found her in their system and she said, “See, you had it there, you just had to look for it.” ¬†Strike one. ¬†Really strike two because she approached him with an attitude.

So the kind gentleman at the window proceeds to type at his keyboard and try to get her and her son registered when he asks, “Do you speak Spanish?” ¬†Now, to be fair to him, this woman had an discernible accent and could have been from a number of backgrounds. ¬†It was also in a part of the neighborhood that I know has a high Hispanic population, and maybe based on her name? ¬†I don’t know, but given that there is a high percentage of New Yorkers that speak Spanish as their first language, or are fluent in both Spanish and English, I thought it was a fair question. ¬†And having been on the customer service on of things before, I would bet my life his question was asked in an attempt to make her experience easier and more pleasant. ¬†She clearly did not think so.

Upon hearing those ‘oh-so-foul’ words, she recoiled and said, “What is it¬†your business is I speak Spanish?? ¬†I don’t speak Spanish!! ¬†It’s none of your business! ¬†What does it matter! ¬†I don’t speak Spanish!! ¬†That’s none of your business!” ¬†As my eyes darted around the room, I could tell I was not the only one there that thought, 1. This reaction was a bit much, and 2. Whoa. ¬†Crazy Lady.

Strike Three.

She and her son step away to fill out whatever paperwork in needed and I step up to the window, cookies in hand, big smile on my face, and eyes wide from what I’ve just seen. ¬†“Hi!” I said, “I think I’ve come at just the right time. ¬†I’m here to deliver these cookies to you!” ¬†And so I began making a connection.

Being that it¬†is a medical office afterall, I didn’t want to take too much of anyone’s time, but didn’t want to drop and dash. ¬†I found out the kind man’s name is Eddie and we had a novel’s length conversation with just our eyes about what just went down. ¬†I gave him my spiel, the other ladies behind the window seemed pretty excited about the cookies, and I left feeling like some actual good had been done.

As I made my way to the N train, the full weight of what just happened hit me. ¬†I had just witnessed karma in all her glory work right in front of my eyes, and instantaneously. ¬†What had prompted me to let that nasty woman go ahead of me? ¬†And I’m pretty sure I truly made Eddie’s day because I was there with a plate of cookies after he was berated, restoring his faith in the kindness of fellow human beings. ¬†He had done the right thing, was kind to her, and did his job well, and was, in a way, rewarded with cookies. ¬†And as quickly as I had that previous thought, I thought, “Holy shit. ¬†Karma can just as easily go the other way.” ¬†I think I experience a lot of goodness in my life because I¬†do¬†good. ¬†Not to say that bad things don’t still happen, and believe me, they do. ¬†But I truly believe good things happen to good people.

I have to tell you, the rest of my interactions with people in the customer service side of things that day were stellar. ¬†I mean, above and beyond amazing. ¬†I think people can read and feel my positive energy and react positively to it. ¬†You may think I’m nuts, but try it for a day. ¬†i dare you. ¬†You will be rewarded in ways you never imagined.

Does anybody really know what time it is? ¬†Does it really matter? ¬†As long as you are doing the right thing, making the good choices, and living your life as best you can, I don’t think it does. ¬†For now, I’m continuing to move forward, taking it one day at a time, and in my immediate future, that means finding out where Advanced Radiological Imaging will send me. ¬†Stay tuned…

The Hills Are Alive

….with the sound of cuuuuupcaaaaaaaakes!!! ¬†(mmm,mm,mmmmm!) ¬†I’m sitting here at work waiting for my next student, listening to the sounds of practicing through these old, thin walls, and wishing I had brought a cupcake with me – specifically one of the cupcakes I made on Sunday. ¬†My beau, J, and I drove up to Westchester to visit some friends in their new home and celebrate with a ‘meat extravaganza’ that included ribeye, filet, short ribs, kielbasa, and sides of roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. ¬†I had volunteered to provide dessert.

If you recall, this Sunday was truly beautiful. ¬†The sun was shining, temperatures have started to creep up, giving us all hope that summer really is around the corner. ¬†I had also come across the most perfect pint of strawberries atthe grocery store – you know the pint I’m walking about. ¬†The one where all the berries are big, deep red in color, and their aroma is so strongly ‘strawberry’ that you know each bite is just as juicy as you hope it might be. ¬†Maybe it was the berries, maybe it was the sun, but I set off home to whip up one of my favorites, Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

You might be wondering why I’m sharing all of this with you. ¬†Well, as I thought about sharing those cupcakes with my friends, and watching them enjoy the fruits of my labors (hehe, get it?? I’m been super into bad puns and dad jokes lately. I blame J), I thought, “If only everybody could have one of these cupcakes! ¬†I could do this for everyone!” ¬†This is not dissimilar to the thoughts I had which led to my starting Single Girl Cookies.

I’ve decided it’s time for me to start sharing some recipes along the way with y’all! ¬†Yes, I still have aspirations for a baking book, and yes, i am still ‘in process’ of getting Single Girl Cookies on a local shelf near you, but until that happens, why shouldn’t¬†everybody share in the fun and deliciousness??

Now, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles folks, no, I will not be sharing my signature Single Girl Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (otherwise known as Heitmann Cookies to many of you), nor will I ever share that to anyone not blood related to me ūüôā ¬†Sorry, Future Husband! ¬†Not even you.

This is my first time really writing out a recipe outside my own head, so forgive me if I skip a step or something doesn’t make sense. ¬†Give me a shout and I’ll fix it right up. ¬†Without further ado…..

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup half and half
1 pint of strawberries

Frosting
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
4 tbsp butter (half stick), softened
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 tsp lemon extract

First, take out the pans and dishes you store in the oven because, let’s face it, you live in NYC and have no space, then preheat to 350 degrees F. ¬†Mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs. ¬†Normally this is the part of the recipe that says mix together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then mix that with the wet ingredients. ¬†I have an aversion to doing the dishes, so I just dump the flour and baking power on top the wet ingredients in that bowl and mix it together that way. ¬†Anything I can do to save myself from doing more dishes than I have to!

Chop all but 5 or 6 strawberries (you’ll use those later for a garnish) and add them to the batter.

Line your cupcake pan with papers, and fill each one about 3/4 of the way full.  It makes about 15, so you can put two pans in side by side, or just do a coupla rounds.  Leave them in for about 12-15 minutes, check the center for done-ness with a toothpick.  Every oven is different, yours may require the cupcakes to be in longer.

While they are baking, mix together all the ingredients for the frosting.  Please note, these measurements are all very approximate, haha.  Taste as you go along here, you may want to add a bit more lemon juice for tartness, or some more sugar to thicken up the texture.  Play around with it!

Frost your cupcakes, slice some strawberries for garnish on top, and voila! ¬†Put your feet up, let someone else do the dishes for a change, and enjoy ūüôā

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Bella Notte

Pizza. It‚Äôs such a ‚ÄúNew York‚ÄĚ thing, am I right? Not that pizza belongs to New York; it‚Äôs clearly everywhere you go. Even when I was visiting Brazil some years ago, the pizza there was incredible. Maybe the real root of all of this is that I love pizza. There, I said it. I LOVE PIZZA. I would eat it every time I wanted it if I didn‚Äôt also love being a functioning human being. Because if I ate pizza every time I wanted to, let me tell you what would happen: I would gain 50 pounds, never leave my couch (except to grab a few slices) and become a fixture in my living room instead of a functioning human being. Nobody wants that, least of all me.

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You can imagine my excitement when I learned that I was to visit Milkflower as next on my chain of kindness.  I’d heard such good things about these guys and was really excited to try them out.  I swung by one Thursday on my way to rehearsal and met Steven, a gentlemanly ginger who greeted me as I gave him the lowdown.  He seemed genuinely surprised and thankful for what I’m sure was an unexpected treat of a plateful of cookies.  I told him I’d be back for the plate in a few days and went on my merry way.

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I came back, practically salivating and ready to try their pizza.  I’d had recommendations from friends of which pizza to try (the one with Brussels sprouts), but I had a craving with a more classic flavor, so I went with the spicy sopressata with tomato sauce, fresh mozz, fresh basil and honey drizzle.

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OH.   MY.  GOD.

This pizza is easily in the top 5 of all pizzas I‚Äôve had, including the ridiculously good pizza I had in Brazil (they seem to take what we do and make everything better ‚Äď try the X Tudo at Pao de Queijo).¬† This pie came as a 6 slice, 14 (?) inch pie that should‚Äôve been shared.¬† It was so good that I ate three slices while physically there, then ate the remaining three that I took home with me later that night.¬† Yep, that day, I ate A WHOLE PIZZA.¬†¬† (it was worth it.)

Beyond the pizza, my experience with the gentlemen of Milkflower was a memorable one, as they are open, friendly, and charming men.  I chatted with Peter, one of the two owners, about the road that led he and his brother Danny, one of the other owners, to owning a pizza shop on Astoria.

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Both born and raised in NJ, Danny has been making pizzas in his uncle’s pizza shop since he was a teen, while Peter had a career in finance before opening up Milkflower.  Both of them had talked about one day opening up a pizza place, then saw that this space opened up.  It wasn’t something either of them were planning on when it happened, but they took the moment and ran with it.

And I‚Äôm glad they did! I‚Äôve thought about that pizza many a time and finally went back to get another.¬† My only issue with going there or getting take out is that I know, without a doubt, that I will eat the whole pizza, by myself, in 6 hours tops.¬† It‚Äôs that good.¬† I just need to prepare myself and know going in that I’m going to eat an entire pizza, and not feel guilty when I actually do ūüôā

We’re on Each Other’s Team

So last night at the Vespa Queens Grand Opening Party, I was having a chat with the lovely Matt of Snowdonia, Vespa Queens, and all around Astoria. He asked me if I had posted my Snowdonia post yet and he had missed it or what, bringing to light how much I have not¬†blogged in the last month. ¬†I sheepishly said, “No, you didn’t miss it, I haven’t posted it yet. ¬†I know, I know, I’m way behind.”, to which he replied (like the polite gentleman he is) “Oh, no, no pressure, just wasn’t sure if I missed it or not!”. ¬†I told him not to feel bad, I¬†needed that pressure to get started on this Mt. Rushmore sized task. ¬†Like when your laundry piles up and the only thing that motivates you to do it is when you run out of underwear, or when you finally get around to writing that paper because you realize that if you don’t, you’ll fail ¬†that very important class. ¬†In this case, nobody’s failing anything, and we’re all good in the underwear situation, so that’s a start ūüôā

I believe when we left off, I was going to tell you about my excellent trip to Crescent Grill for my plate, and a special delivery of more cookies.  When I first came in, Ryan had told me about a duck confit and pappardelle dish that I just had to try, so on my return trip, I saddled up to the bar, ordered a drink, and prepared myself to be wowed.  I was not disappointed.

I forget exactly what I had to drink, but I believe it was a cocktail from their cocktail menu, a house drink, I think.  I do remember it being delicious.

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My entree came, and was also delicious to match.

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Ryan came over and offered me some bread, which ended up being this basket of amazing biscuits accompanied by butter drizzled with honey. ¬†I had a friend (or a guy that I think I was dating at the time? ¬†I can’t be sure. ¬†Oh, labels!) that was meeting me at Crescent Grill for a drink, but by the time he got there, I had had a few conversational exchanges with my fellow bar companion, Jerry.

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Over the course of the next hour, my drinks date and I got to know Jerry quite well! ¬†We learned that he was in a managerial position at Tom Cat Bakery, lives in New Jersey, loves his wife, comes into town every few weeks to oversee some things, and was staying around the area and had happened upon Crescent Grill. ¬†I told him about SGC, he ate a cookie, and seemed to like it! ¬†I told him some stories about all the crazy people I’ve met along this journey so far, and the conversation was flowing so much at one point that he interrupted a convo I was having with Drinks Date to make a jokey reference about a story I had told! ¬†I loved it.

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My entire experience at Crescent Grill was one I can’t wait to repeat again and again. ¬†The food was delicious, the service was excellent, and the people were warm and welcoming. ¬†Also, I can’t leave out how beautiful the space¬†is as well.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that it’s also an art gallery of sorts, and the pieces I’ve seen hanging there are pretty great.

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All and all, this was definitely an A++ drop spot.

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I asked Ryan at Crescent Grill for my recommendation and he told me to go to Baroness Bar just down the street. ¬†That’s that new(ish) wine bar where they open bottles of champagne with sabers. ¬†Yes, you read that right. ¬†ūüôā ¬†My drop and pick up there were pretty uneventful; I got a chance to briefly meet Melinda, one of the owners, while dropping off and she seemed friendly. ¬†I didn’t have a chance to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine while picking up, that was a pretty crazy week for me, but hopefully one day soon! ¬†Maybe I’ll even spring for a special bottle of champagne. ¬†I did learn that I was to visit neighborhood hot spot, Snowdonia, next.

Now, I’m no stranger to Snowdonia. ¬†I first stopped by to check it out with an impromptu meeting of my friend Alex of Cocktail Crate as he was having dinner with a long lost friend of mine from college, Emily, who founded the Astoria Whiskey Society. I hadn’t seen her since college, and didn’t even know she lived in Astoria until I checked out the AWS website as an interested party (I really like dark liquors) and saw her familiar face, as well as others! ¬†Turns out Westminster Choir College has quite a representation in our great neighborhood. ¬†Adam, another college acquaintance and friend of Emily’s, is the artistic director of the Astoria Symphonic Choir, which I’d like to sing with one day if I ever get the time!

I’m also friends with Dennis and Liz of Astoria Coffee, the coffee that Snowdonia serves with brunch (good stuff, can’t wait for their shop to open!!) and had brunch there some months ago with those two and Dennis from DHAP before our podcast. ¬†While we were there, I put out a plate of cookies with a sign that said “free”, and happened to run into Bradley Hawkes, who then wrote a really great article of me that was in BORO! ¬†Neither of those last two things are related to each other, just giving context ūüôā

Needless to say, I was excited to drop off some cookies to the good folks of Snowdonia and was greeted with a “Hey, it’s the cookie lady!” ¬†when I walked in. ¬†I love it when that happens. ¬†I got to meet the aforementioned Matt, who is the final nudge in making this happen, another owner, and a gentleman whose name I have no idea how to spell, so I’m not going to try, but it starts with a J. ¬†Let’s call him J! ¬†Anyway, they were all very receptive of me and my cookies when I came in, and ¬†couldn’t wait to come back for their Game of Thrones live viewing night for my plate pick up and a GoT Ommegang beer.

I wasn’t able to enjoy either of those things when I went to pick up because I had a two day migraine and didn’t think drinking or being around loud GoT noises was a good idea. ¬†I’d never had a migraine until my concussion from the car accident, but I guess I’ve got’em now! ¬†Not my happiest moment, and I’m still itching to get back there; it’s been too long since my last visit. ¬†Maybe I’ll make to their Monday brunch, which, btdubs, is the best idea EVER. ¬†On Monday they do a service industry brunch so those that sling of our food and drinks all weekend have a chance to relax and enjoy being on the other side of the table for once. ¬†As a former server at the worst place ever, I can tell you how much I appreciate this idea. ¬†Plus, my weekends are spent singing and teaching voice lessons, so, it’s my brunch too!

And as if all that awesomeness weren’t enough, the people at Snowdonia are just great as well. ¬†The thing I love most about the whole process of Single Girl is, hands down, the recommendation process. ¬†I now know that Matt is both part of Snowdonia, Vespa Queens, and some other Astoria entities. ¬†Tom, owner at Snowdonia, is also a involved with Vespa Queens. ¬†Yesterday at the VQ‘s Grand Opening Party (check their FB for a pic of me on a Vespa and the goodies I brought!), I started chatting with a gentleman who turned out to be Damian of VQ’s roommate. ¬†Then he introduced me to “Willie and John”, who, unbeknownst to me at the time, are the heart and soul of Mundo! ¬†I actually ran into them again today at the brand new Astoria Flea and Food, hugged them and thanked them for bringing Mundo back. ¬†Do you see where this is going? ¬†This crazy red thread that connects us all really does connect us all. ¬†Not only that, but it retraces and intertwines in ways I’d never dreamed.

Jane Goodall is quoted as saying “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. ¬†What you do make a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ¬†The truth in those words is undeniable. ¬†Most of us think about “making a difference” to mean some grand gesture that betters the world. ¬†I think that’s pretty daunting. ¬†If that’s what I thought making a difference was, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. ¬†But the truth is, each of our actions puts something in motion in the environment around of. ¬†Even the tiniest one. Now, I don’t know about a butterfly causing a tsunami, but I’ll tell ya, when I smile and say ‘hello’ to someone, I feel good. ¬†I’m guessing they do too, and that’s a start.

Life is a Highway

If I had to make a gross generalization, I’d say that 65% of the posts in my Facebook newsfeed in the last few weeks have been about the weather. ¬†And over the last two days, I’d say that number shot to 113%, mainly because many of my friends reside in Upstate NY, Jersey, or Pennsylvania – all the places that got a dusting of snow this weekend. ¬†Most of them were pictures of someone’s back or front yard with a caption like, “Wtf, Mother Nature!” or “Uhh….what?? ¬†It’s supposed to be spring!”. ¬†I, thankfully, did not wake up to any snow this weekend where I was, but I feel your pain. ¬†I’m going to have to say it – who else is tired of this bullshit winter weather?? ¬†I think it’s made many of us a touch crankier than we usually might be, and a little less willing to give an inch, let alone a mile.

I think that’s how I came to be at Vespa Queens for a cookie drop, at least that’s the story I tell myself so I can believe that there aren’t truly nasty people that are like that just for the sake of being nasty. ¬†Some weeks back, I was supposed to make a drop at Grand Bazaar, a lovely Turkish shop on Steinway that I have been to a number of times and really enjoyed the things there. ¬†You can imagine how excited I was to “patronize the business” – one of the other things I do at drops. ¬†I find it helps me open up to trying and buying new things, helps keep money in the local community and feeds small business, and let’s face it, I love an excuse to shop. ¬†So one day, I came jaunting in with my cookies, like I do, and without getting into too many details, both of us (me and my cookies) were rudely refused. ¬†After I got over my shock (nobody in the year I’d been doing has flat out refused my cookies), my next thought was “Uh………how am I going to know where to go next week??!?”

You know I don’t choose any of the places I visit, the current, weekly business/place that got cookies that week does. ¬†But without a “current business”, what’s a Single Girl to do? ¬†Even with that rule in place, it doesn’t stop people from giving me hundreds of recommendations of places they think would appreciate some cookies. ¬†And while I’d love to visit ever place that y’all think are great and deliver some homemade kindness to them, that would be totally insane. ¬†I would be busy making so many cookies that I couldn’t go to work, and without a job, I wouldn’t have any money to pay rent, and without money to pay rent, I’d be homeless, and if I’m homeless, I couldn’t make any more cookies! ¬†You don’t want that to happen, right? ¬†Hint: you don’t, because I’d be your newest couch guest ūüôā

In true generational form, I decided to take to the World Wide Web to make my decision for me. ¬† I figured, you guys have been telling me for a year where you think I should go, here’s your chance. ¬†I polled Twitter and Facebook and the Astoria place with the most votes would be where I started this new thread of recommendations. ¬†Honorable mentioned go to Astoria Bookshop and Petals and Roots, but the ultimate winner was Vespa Queens.

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After all the tweeting that was done to find the winner, the folks at Vespa Queens knew I was coming in with the goods, and I was greeted with a warm, “The cookie lady is here!” when I walked into the showroom. ¬†Which is gorgeous, btdubs. ¬†It’s a longish room, painted a nice calming gray, beautiful, vivid photos line the walls above the Vespas, also lined up along each side. ¬†There are also some vintage-y poster type pictures that hang on one wall that depict a blonde on one of these sleek machines. ¬†I’d buy a bike in a heartbeat if I could.

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Turns out the woman that greeted me was Stella, a very friendly, nice, warm and awesome staff member. ¬†Damian, the owner, came in from the service side when he heard I was here. ¬†I felt like we all already kinda knew each other, both because of all the tweeting that had been done, but they both were so open and just awesome people. ¬†They totally get/got what I’m doing, which always makes things a little easier on my end. ¬†As we were chatting, I noticed a small room at the back that had a bunch of helmets and whatnot, so I poked my head in to see what other kind of accoutrement there was. ¬†I saw some logo sweatshirts and thought. “Yay! ¬†I can’t buy a Vespa, but I can certainly buy a sweatshirt, that’ll be my way to patronize the business!” ¬†I happened to say, “Oh, I¬†love logo apparel”, because I do, and Damian hopped right in front of me and handed me one and said, “Here ya go! ¬†Take it! ¬†It’s the least we could do!” I tried to refuse, but Stella helped me sort through the piles to find a good color and size. ¬†Which is kinda funny because there were only size L and up ūüôā I took home a very comfy large, gray zip up that has become a favorite of mine in the few weeks I’ve had it.

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My return visit to pick up my plate was no different. ¬†I got the opportunity to chat with both Damian and Stella a bit more and found out just what Vespa Queens is all about. ¬†Turns out Damian is actually a fashion photographer, and quite a good one. (I googled him, you should too) ¬†to my way of thinking, being a photographer and Vespa shop owner are two very different things, so I asked him how did he get into being the new owner of Vespa Queens. ¬†He said he had a bike, loved it, and had been financially successful as a photographer and was looking for an investment opportunity. ¬†It now makes sense as to how aesthetically pleasing the showroom is. ¬†Stella is equally as awesome, having worked there before Damian was there, and originally from Portland. ¬†She’s super knowledgeable about the product, and ready to answer any questions you may have.

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I know they’ve got plans to put in a small coffee bar in the back area where people will be able to come and relax, or have an espresso while they wait for their bike to be serviced, but for now, it’s worth swinging by to take a look and meet some really cool people.

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I asked for their official recommendation (even though they already told me when I first dropped off the cookies) and as you know, they sent me to Crescent Grill just down the street, where they got the art that graces their walls. ¬†I’ll tell you about THAT later this week ūüôā For now, enjoy the warming weather. ¬†It might not be on a long, open stretch of road on a beautiful Vespa, but at least crack the windows a bit. ¬†And I’ll look forward to tell you more about how awesome they are after their grand opening party in May. ¬†I think I see some Vespa shaped cookies in their future….

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As an unrelated thought, I wanted to share this with you. ¬†Best life advice I’ve heard lately came from a babysitting charge that I spent yesterday evening with. ¬†He is 6 years old, and his dad is an artist. ¬†We were both drawing (I am a terrible artist) and I said “I find drawing a little scary. ¬†He asked me why, and I told him it was because I was never sure what to draw, and once you started, if you don’t like it, you can’t always fix it, but have to erase it and start again but that you’d still be able to see the lines and it just wouldn’t be any good. ¬†And he replied with the assuredness and certainty that can only come from a 6 year old, “That’s ok, if you don’t like it, you can always paint over it.” ¬†And that struck me. ¬†Isn’t that just a great metaphor for living life? ¬†There are options if you don’t like something, or are less than satisfied – you can start over, paint over it, but ultimately¬†you are the creator and¬†you are the master. ¬†Nothing is set in stone unless you make it so.

So what are you waiting for?  Get creating.

Back in Black

“My cousin Bri is the coolest person to talk to on the phone!”, says Bri herself this morning/afternoon. ¬†This was after I told her I’d better blog this afternoon; that I had so much to say and update, but didn’t know how to start. ¬†And God bless this girl that I love so much for calling me; I’m not always the best at maintaining lines of communication (I know I need to call her more!) and I’m glad she still calls¬†me. ¬†So, in addition to general cousin catching up, this was her contribution to motivate me and help me start. ¬†What can I say – it worked! ¬†And honestly, if it weren’t for my family these last few months (or for all 32 years of my life) where would I be?

I’ve been spending these last few months trying to get back on the horse after my accident in December. ¬†It’s not even that things were so bad then that it’s taken me this long, but it’s been harder than I thought it would be. ¬†Like I said to my friend Dennis, of Dennis Has a Podcast, it feels like I’m walking against a current. ¬†On the plus side, it used to feel like I was not moving, like walking up the down escalator, but now I am making some headway, slow but sure. ¬†Getting back to regular blogging is just another step in the right direction.

I have been making regular drops since my last post! ¬†I believe when we last left off, I was about to make a drop at Rosana’s Beauty Salon. ¬†I dropped them off on a Thursday night before church rehearsal and was greeted by a woman getting her hair done, and a few technicians/stylists. ¬†I wasn’t sure who to talk to, so I just said I’d talk to the whole room! ¬†I got through with my spiel and one of the stylists, a gorgeous, big, fabulous Brazilian man, came up and said, “You can take them to my house next week, Hahahaha!” and let out a boisterous laugh. I love laughter. ¬†It’s soft, loud, a beautiful emotional response, stress reliever, mood enhancer, and this laugh was contagious. ¬†I chuckled all the way back to my car.

They sent me next door to Coconut Brazil Boutique, another one of these clothing stores on Steinway that I probably would never have gone in otherwise. ¬†I spoke with a woman behind the counter about why I was there and it was very well received. ¬†I took a look around and couldn’t wait to come back to “patronize the business”. ¬†This place has pretty cute shirts, nice dresses, a good selection of winter accessories, and regular accessories as well. ¬†When ¬†came back, I chatted with Rita, who told me their selection was a little down because it was the end of the season and she was about to make a buying trip to Brazil. ¬†We continued to talk as I collected things to try on and I learned that she has a hand in designing and choosing every single item for their store. ¬†She showed me to a sale rack in the back where everything was $20 or less to help make room or new merchandise, and you know my love of a bargain!

I had chosen a few things to try on and when I put on this sequin front short denim mini skirt, I kinda fell in love. ¬†As a quasi-guilt admission, I love sequins. ¬†Like, LOVE them. ¬†I like to incorporate them in small tasteful ways in my wardrobe, and this skirt, while tiny, was anything but a small addition. ¬†I sent a picture to my mom and sister, asking, Am I too old for this? ¬†At my age, that’s a valid question to ask!

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I wound up with the skirt, an adorable red winter hat, and LOVE earrings. ¬†I’m still waiting for the weather to warm up and the occasion to this awesome skirt, but for now, I’ll take rockin’ the hat and earrings. ¬†Rita told me to come back mid March when they’ll have an entire new selection of spring and summer items. ¬†I’m definitely excited for that; I’ve found Brazilian designed clothing fits my large-ish posterior much better than other most. ūüėČ ¬†She also said that my next stop was to be at the 99 cent store next door, because the people were so nice.

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Now, this next stop was an interesting one, and I received a reaction unlike one I had gotten before. ¬†I walked in with my plate of cookies, and as is my tradition with businesses, I let the actual customers go first so my long winded explanation doesn’t hinder their business. ¬†It was before Valentine’s Day and the woman in front of me was buying VDay Balloons but needed a certain number of the same pattern which took some time to find. ¬†5 minutes go by, more people come, look at me strange. ¬†Finally the balloon woman is finished, and a few more people get checked out. ¬†Then, it’s my turn after a nice gentleman let me go ahead and do my thing. ¬†I’d been standing there for some time getting awkward, suspicious looks from customers and the clerk. ¬†I introduced myself, told her what I was all about, and the clerk said sorry, the manager isn’t here. ¬†I said, that’s ok, they’re yours/the store’s, I don’t want anything from you, I’ll just be back in a few days for the plate. ¬†Then she said, “I’m not allowed to take them. ¬†We aren’t allowed to take things from people we don’t know.” I’ve seen suspicion before, but nobody has ever refused my cookies before. ¬†I put them on the counter, put my hands up like I was delivering a bomb, and backed away slowly, saying, “I’m just going to leave them there, they’re yours to do whatever you’d like with them. ¬†I’ll be back in a few days” and left.

I did come back and had recognition with what must have been a manager or owner by the name of Rangi, after I explained myself. ¬†She thanked me for the cookies and gave me my plate back. ¬†I asked her why the clerk responded the way she did, and she said it was more or less a safety thing not to accept foods or things from people they don’t know. ¬†I have to concede that I understand the safety part of it, but…part of me is just sad that people react that way because there is a reason to, or that society has given us a reason to be so suspect of kindness, and selflessness. ¬†They sent me to ISpa, mani/pedi/spa center next door. ¬†It seems I’m making my way up Steinway Street!

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In the midst of all this, life still happens. ¬†I’ve been singing, teaching, going to so many doctor appointments, and even starting a Manhattan Edition of Single Girl Cookie Drops! ¬†You can read about that later this week in my next post, New York, New York. ¬†And as life continues, things happen unexpectedly. ¬†You may remember my grandmother passed in October just before TEDx Utica. ¬†It was a hard blow to my family and our internal structure. ¬†Because we’re strong stock, it made us pull tighter together. ¬†A blessing for sure, because a few weeks ago, my other grandmother, my father’s mother, passed unexpectedly. ¬†We had been almost expecting it would be my grandfather, his father, because he had been in the ICU for weeks with prostate cancer and kidney problems. ¬†It was a shock to get that call, and made me think, “What the hell is going on??” ¬†I hadn’t been very close with the Heitmann side of my family and hadn’t seen many of them for close to 20 years, of course with exceptions of a select few I am close with (Troublemakers, you know who you are ;)) ¬†I took a week off from delivering cookies to make the trip home for my grandmother’s funeral and reconnect with family. ¬†As sad as it is and was, those two days were healing and increased my family by more than just numbers. ¬†It changes my whole story, and isn’t that incredible? ¬†Before, my family was my parents, siblings (their spouses), my mother’s sister, her husband and their kids and my Grammy. ¬†They were extended and immediate all in one. ¬†Over the last 8 years, prompted by the death of her brother, my Grammy and her sister reconnected, bring the Boston side of our family back into the fold. ¬†Now I have a whole new side of my family back in my life, all the Heitmanns and their progeny. ¬†Like I said, that changes my whole story! I feel I have a larger support system, a bigger safety net, which allows me to take bigger risks with my life, and do greater good, all with less fear. ¬†With no dark corners left in my life, I feel free.

I came back last week with a renewed spirit and ready to pick up where I left off. ¬†I dropped by ISpa with my cookies and spoke with a gentleman who I wasn’t totally sure understood what I was saying. I¬†got a few sentences in, and he asked me if I wanted a manicurepedicure? ¬†I said, no, and kept explaining what it was that I was doing there. ¬†I said, thanks!, I’ll see you in a few days! and left, hoping I’d been understood!

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I came back with a camera crew of sorts. ¬†I’ve been being filmed this week by an NYU grad student in the Documentary Journalism Dept as the subject of her video profile assignment. ¬†Richa found me online, enjoyed my story, and reached out to me. ¬†So far, she’s filmed me at church rehearsal, a singing practice session at TBMS, podcasting with Dennis, dropping off cookies at SAGE in Manhattan, and picking up this plate at ISpa. ¬†I came in and said I had dropped off some cookies, was here for the plate…. A woman named Connie came out of the back room with a big smile and an excited, brisk walk and thanked me profusely for the cookies and how delicious they were. ¬†I’m hoping it wasn’t just because of the camera ūüėČ

I looked at their pamphlet and the services that are offered there and think I’ll have to treat myself to a pedicure this week. ¬†The facilities look beautiful, and hopefully their pedis are just as good! ¬†Connie sent me to UPS across the street this week, and I think Richa will film that as well. ¬†I’ll certainly share that with you once it is edited and completed!

There are still a thousand things I want to share with you, but I have a long night of private voice lessons ahead of me. ¬†The short list has a trip to Nashville and the men of Station 8 Firehouse, my first involvement with the Queens County Market, an article in BORO Mag, a visit at Front Toward Enemy, new restaurant on 30th – great food, great cocktails Check. It. Out., a podcast with Dennis Has a podcast, to be posted on my press page shortly, for now, you can find the link on my twitter and here, a Manhattan Edition of SGC, mini documentary in the works, and toying around with a day to pass out cookies on the subway. ¬†And that means exactly what it is. ¬†Sometime this week, I’ll be getting on the train with a basket of cookies, ready to pass out and spread the kindness. ¬†I’m excited to see what kind of reactions I’ll get! ¬†Maybe a date?

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For now, I keep on keepin’ on, working against the tide and getting stronger every day.

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