Sunday, November 17, 2013

Off the Beaten Path

Unexpected treasures in unexpected places... one of the things I love about living in this city. A foggy, damp Sunday afternoon proved to be the perfect time to explore some woodland trails, without even leaving Brooklyn. The foliage seemed even more brilliant against the gray sky backdrop, and smelled like memories of wandering and playing in the woods back home as a child. For a moment, we forgot that we were surrounded by tall buildings and busy streets. 

I love November. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

It's the time of year when cold nights and mornings, snow flurries, and blustery winds begin to penetrate through layers of clothing and leave us all a little chilled. What better way to spend an evening curled up on the couch, than with a warm spiced drink that can also keep those seasonal sniffles away? Here's a recipe for my favorite home sniffles remedy drink, and it's darn yummy too.
It begins with some spices: cinnamon, anise, and cardamom (optional - I added it to the recipe because I love it). Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, and anise and cardamom aids in digestion and stomach issues.
Next, ginger. Ginger is my favorite natural year-round health boosting addition. Pop a chunk in a cup of tea, or finely chop and add to stir fry or soup for a delicious zing with countless benefits. Ginger aids in detox, is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, and can calm an upset stomach. (Ever wonder why your mom gave you ginger ale when you had a stomach bug? Because there's actually ginger in it, and ginger is good for your stomach)

Finally, fruits. Oranges (I used tangerines, because they happened to look particularly delicious today), lemons, and pear add natural sweetness and immune boosting vitamins, as well as essential oils from their peels. The full recipe is below, but basically you bring everything to a boil, then cover and let steep, and drink warm or cold. Or, if you'd like to keep a batch ready for the next day, put everything in the slow cooker the night before. Tadaaa!!! Hope you stay all warm and toasty this winter.

Sniffles Stopper Spiced Drink
2" ginger root, peeled & cut into several pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1-3 green cardamom pods (optional)
2 slices orange, with rind
1 sliver of lemon peel
2 slices of pear
4 cups water

-Add all ingredients to a small saucepot & bring to a boil
-Cover & let sit until warm (drinking temperature). 

PS- As mentioned above, this drink can be made in a slow cooker (crock pot) and stay warm for you all day. I recommend doubling the recipe listed above and preparing the night before if you choose to cook it this way.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Week in Color

My past week has been filled with such a gorgeous array of yellows and oranges. It's as if the indoor environments I find myself in are reflecting the warm, bright colors of the foliage and late autumn sunlight outside. Some of my favorite hues, brightening my November days. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Semi Sunny Skies

This is the Bronx River. As in, this beautiful fallscape is in the Bronx. The Bronx.
The perfect example of beauty in unexpected places. A little pick-me-up for this grey Thursday. 
Tomorrow, tomorrow,
I love ya, tomorrow, 
You're only a day away. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013


One of the beautiful things that has come out of my temporary unemployment, is that I have more time to spend with my husband. This week we took about an hour and a half subway ride to the Bronx and spent the entire day at the zoo. The weather was perfect, there were hardly any people there, and the cool weather meant that a lot of the animals were active and awake, in contrast to the summer season, when it can be disappointing to see all of the animals asleep or hiding in shady places. 

Taking photos in the monkey house was a bit difficult, because the tropical conditions kept causing my camera lens to fog up. About three seconds after taking this photo, Steve actually got the monkey to laugh and it looked like they were sharing an inside joke. What would have been the perfect photo op was just a milky blur in my camera, because the lens had quickly covered up with a thick fog from the warmth and misting water in the environment. Oh well! Memories make the best photographs, anyway.

This big guy knew he was the bee's knees, and he certainly flaunted it. Big cats just completely captivate me,  and I would have attempted to give him a hug, had a gigantic electric fence a la Jurassic Park not separated us. 

The grizzlies were in a playful mood and put on quite a show for us. It was great. I have been to many different zoos, but usually in the summer, and I've never seen so many animals being so active. They must have been enjoying the crisp perfect fall weather as much as we were.

Last but not least, this is Leo, the not-quite-a-baby-anymore baby snow leopard, the prized boy of the Bronx Zoo this year. He finally sat still and let me take a good photo. This was the end of the day, and the waning light coupled with him jumping from boulder to boulder (which was so, so cool) made it difficult to get him into focus. Luckily, he tired himself out and plopped down within view. What an amazing animal, and what an amazing day.

Sometimes, when I visit zoos or aquariums, I can find myself feeling depressed by the sleepy looking animals or the small enclosures that they are confined to. I was so impressed by the Bronx zoo, the size of the habitats, and the amount of natural outdoor enclosures used to give the animals the best experience and lives possible. We both agreed that our zoo date was our favorite outing together to date, and I can't wait to go back again soon.