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Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

I have a collection (okay you’re not surprised) of vintage Valentine cards.  My boyfriend and then husband has been buying them for me over the years.  I LOVE vintage Valentines;  I treasure the ones from the turn of the century, however, the funny and clever cards we exchanged in grammar (yes grammar not elementary) school are among my favorites.  Two years ago I posted some of those from the 50’s in a blog post: Valentine’s Day Cards – A Look Back in Time and last year was a mix of both eras: Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Happy Valentine’s Day To You!

Today I received this adorable card…

AND he personalized it too!

AND he personalized it too!

I have a few of the famous “Tuck” cards.  These cards are highly-valued and come from Germany.  The are articulated with arms and legs movable.  A couple of them still have the string hanging that  moves their limbs.

Look he's holding a pretzel and a bratwurst!

Look he’s holding a pretzel and a bratwurst!

A German Brown Bear

A German Brown Bear

Love the stockings!

Love the stockings!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ALL

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YES this is one of those ONLY IN NEW YORK experiences!  Every year I look forward to February….no I don’t love the gray days, or the ice and snow piled up at the bus stops, or the black slimy slush on the subway stairs.  BUT February brings City Bakery’s Annual Hot Chocolate Festival.  

Every day of the month, St. Maury Rubin (not to be confused with St. Valentine who only has one feast day) celebrates February with a different delicious blend of his famous hot chocolate every day.  I really don’t have the words to describe this liquid orgasmic treat.  It’s creamy, feels thick in your mouth, the hot steam sends chocolate thrills up your nose while a smooth molten very chocolatey, chocolate slithers down your throat.  I swear my eyes roll back in my head when I drink, no sip, this heavenly concoction.

See for yourself just what can be had this month! 

Oh Heavenly Days!

Oh Heavenly Days!

Once a chocoholic, kind of a hard to get over this particular addiction since the only 12 Step Program I know goes like this: “Never Be More Than 12 Steps Away From Chocolate”.  In 2012 I posted this: HOT CHOCOLATE on Steroids!

I’m not alone in my devotion to the February rite of steaming delight – No, City Bakery’s Hot Chocolate has a cult following.  This year I noted that another blogger who I follow, FOOD BY SKYLAR, posted an homage to City Bakery and Maury’s Hot Chocolate and I am adding the link to her blog post below.  Maybe I’ll run into her on Malted  Milk Hot Chocolate day! A Hot Chocolate a Day Makes February the Best Month Ever

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English: A man sleeping on the street of The B...

A man sleeping on the street of The Bowery in Manhattan. The sign is for luxury condos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are worse places to be homeless, cold and hungry than New York.  While it’s true that the City has thousands of homeless, we also have hundreds of soup kitchens and shelters.  On the coldest of nights the Department of Homeless Services sends out vans seeking homeless on the streets and offering to take them to a shelter.  A surprising number refuse assistance preferring to spend nights on subway platforms, in Penn Station or the Port Authority.  

However, on a cold February night, a hot meal can be very inviting.  Every Saturday night, Holy Trinity Church on the Upper East Side feeds anywhere from 100 to 150 homeless or near homeless men and women a delicious hot meal.  I’m not a member of this congregation but I admire their commitment to the neighborhood so much that I try to support their programs.  I’ve been to a couple of their fund-raisers and today I volunteered to work in the soup kitchen. You can learn more about all that they do at https://www.facebook.com/groups/542527365780030/ which is the Holy Trinity Neighborhood Center Facebook page.

This is the second time I’ve done this and it is quite an experience.  I wonder who and how many people does it take just to organize such an undertaking?  Where does the all the food come from?  How do these volunteers know how to prepare and cook for so many people?  Where do all the volunteers come from?  Today there were many high school kids working with a couple of their mothers.  I just strolled over and announced I was here to help.

My first task was to cut up loaves of bread and fill bread baskets.  Thankfully, the church has reached out to local merchants such as Eli’s Bread which is located nearby.  Eli Zabar makes great bread and apparently donates a LOT of bread.  Even after filling 18 baskets, there were many loaves left over.  Then I helped set the tables.  There were 17 tables set for six people each.  I folded napkins and some of the kids put them out along with the silverware.  I couldn’t help myself – I told one of the girls that the folded edge of the napkin had to be facing the dish and that the knives should have the serrated edge facing the plate.  I think they thought I was a bit OCD – of course they’re right BUT I also think that there is no reason not to have the table set properly.

The people who come to eat are treated with great respect by everyone and in return we are rewarded with many sincere “thank-you’s” and compliments about the food.  The men and women who come are not all homeless  but all are in need.  Tonight, because it was so cold out, many of them kept their coats on, some shed three and four layers of sweaters and jackets.  

This evening the meal was shredded chicken breast served over rice and with fresh broccoli, carrots, onions and red peppers in a light soy sauce.  Many of the volunteers are regulars and they set about cooking the chicken breasts, steaming the vegetables…things just kept humming along.  

Dinner was served around 5:15 and there is a huge core regular “guests”.  I can’t remember when I last volunteered but it was many months ago and I recognized several of the diners.  As soon as they sat down, they dove into the bread and we poured coffee.  I noted how many only wanted a half a cup – because they fill the rest of the cup with half and half and at least 5 people asked me if I could find real sugar;  They didn’t want the Sweet and Low.   Along with their plate of food which is served to each person, dessert was also served.  Chocolate cheese cakes and mini cupcakes and since Valentine’s Day is coming up, each place setting had a York peppermint heart and a Dove chocolate heart.  

The cold actually kept people away or perhaps they were ensconced in some shelter for the night because we served slightly less than 100 people and had a lot of food left over.  Seconds were offered and the line was long.  Some of the men and women had containers with them and they stashed away bread, butter, food and dessert.  I watched men put bread in their pockets.  The people who come to Holy Trinity on a Saturday night are very appreciative of the meal  and the work that goes into serving them.  Everyone was very polite and said thank you even when you just refilled their coffee cup.  

We made up 12 plates, a basket of bread and desserts for the twelve people who are registered and allowed to spend the night in church basement.  Holy Trinity is such an integral part of the community!  Every Tuesday afternoon, they feed the elderly in the neighborhood a lovely lunch.  All are welcome, no questions are asked and the occasion provides much-needed socialization for some in the neighborhood who don’t get out much and don’t have family watching over them.

I’m so glad I went this evening;  It helps me put my life in perspective.  I went because I made a commitment to myself that this year  I would:  “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”  Actually that quote from John Wesley was posted by my friend Dave Liston who is very involved with Holy Trinity’s Neighborhood Center programs. I read it and it just got to me.  I’m trying  anyway!

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Cocktail Glass (Martini): The traditional cock...

Last Night’s Martini Glass

Walking into the living room, she was assaulted with the visual cacophony of his clothes, his mail, his magazines, his shoes, jacket and tie and last night’s martini glass!  How many times had she asked him to put his stuff away? A hundred, a thousand? Nagging and yelling didn’t work.  Threatening to toss the stuff out fell on deaf ears. 

She began to pick up various articles of clothing, grimacing at this relentless never-ending chore.  If only he would just clean up after himself, if only I didn’t give a shit the way he obviously doesn’t! Ridiculous! It’s enough already!

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I remember the Valentine’s Day cards of the 50’s – the ones we exchanged in grammar school (that’s what we called elementary school).  They were mostly funny, sweet, and complete with  sugary clichés.  The Valentine cards shown here are older and speak to a slightly different take on expressing affection.  Can you imagine the phone calls you’d get if you sent your child to school with these today?

Not your average Vegan Valentine!

"Ouch"

Ain't Love Swell?

"Muddy Waters"

Vintage Violent Valentine

Chesterfields no less!

Fuzzy Worms?

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The word "chocolate" originates in M...

Hot Cocoa

If you’ve been faithfully reading this blog, then you know that I’ve been all about February being the month of RED, as in American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day.  Ahhhh but of course February is also all about  CHOCOLATE.

Here in New York City, Maury Rubin’s City Bakery celebrates HOT CHOCOLATE like nobody else. They hold an Annual Hot Chocolate Festival every February;  each day City Bakery offers a special Hot Chocolate such as Bourbon Hot Chocolate,  Banana Hot Chocolate, Malted Milk Hot Chocolate and on and on and on.  I used to try to get there at least once during February to experience the world’s greatest hot chocolate.  Unfortunately, most of February is usually spent bemoaning my weight which has been enhanced over the holidays OR it’s Lent and I, in the spirit of sacrifice (read dieting lol) decide to give up chocolate!  This year with only a handful of days left in the month, I’m committed to a 17 day diet and even if I fasted for two days, I think the caloric intake of one cup of Maury’s hot chocolate would put me over the calorie count edge 😦 THEY MAKE IT OUT OF MELTED CHOCOLATE !!!!  Below is a link to City Bakery’s web site – http://www.thecitybakery.com/hot-chocolate.html

But if you don’t live in New York City, try these two delicious make-at-home Hot Cocoa treats.

Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

5 oz milk chocolate chopped (1 cup)

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan overa medium-low hear.  Add chocolate, and whisk until melted and combined.  Continue to warm mixture until thick, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in peanut butter until smooth.

Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

5 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped (1 cup)

2 TBS light-brown sugar

1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg (probably use ground)

Warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat.  Add chocolate.  Whisk until melted and combined.  Add sugar and whisk until dissolved.  Continue to warm mixture until thick, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in nutmeg.

Recipes from Martha Stewart Living

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Central Park,snow day,

Big Dog Little Dog

photo by Murray Head

duck feathers, Central Park

Just Ducky

photo by Murray Head

red dress, only in New York, red lady, new york crazy, mystic

I Hear Voices

photo by Murray Head

stop light, New York city, Fifth Ave, Stop hand

STOP!!

photo by Murray Head

cross country skiers, Central Park, New York city

Who Needs Snow?

photo by Murray Head

American Heart Month, Valentine’s Day – RED is everywhere!

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