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eGfoodblog: Live It Up


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Hi, my name is Jessica, and I'm very excited to be doing my first food blog. I'm also a little nervous because I don't normally post that much, so hopefully I'll be able to live up to the previous blogs. Anyway, a little background. I was born and raised in NYC near Columbia University (where my mom and sisters still live). I've been living in the East Village/LES area for the last 8 years or so. 2 years ago I got married and about 4 months after that my husband Josh and I opened a housewares/home accessories store on avenue B. The store is called Live It Up, hence my screen name.

Having our own business has totally changed our lives. The store is open 7 days a week from 10am to 9pm. That means that either Josh or I have to be there during those hours because we have no employees--well, except my youngest sister who we force to work for us for free when she's home from college (like now!). So, while it's really nice Josh and I see each other a lot, we have very little free time, and even less free time together. Also, we both have other interests (I kick box 4-5 days a week, Josh is in 2 bands and plays hockey), so that puts even more of a strain on the free time we do have. So, basically that's the topic of this blog: how we find time for good food with our wacky schedules.

The main way that having this schedule has changed our eating habits is in the shopping. I used to have time (and money) to go out of my way to find specific ingredients or go to the farmer's market for in season produce. Now I'm pretty much bound to my route between home/work/gym/home. Here's a map showing the boundaries: clicky

Well, that's the basics. The funny thing about this "working" constantly is that most of the time I don't actually have anything to do here at work, so I spend more time on the internet than ever before. So, bombard me with questions--I'll just be here waiting to answer them.

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4 days a week I eat 2 meals here at the store. Breakfast is usually something I've baked or a bagel or yogurt and fruit. Today I had some greek yogurt with mango and honey.

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However, I woke up starving for some reason so I brought a piece of coffee cake as well, which I'll probably have in a little while with coffee.

Coffee is a very big deal to me, and I'll be talking about it more later in the week. I roast my own beans, so I'll be doing that at some point (probably wednesday or saturday) and I'm going to try to fix my broken espresso machine.

I'll get to the requisite fridge shots in a little while, but first I want to talk about my teaser pics.

This one is a picture of 3 enameled cast iron dutch ovens.

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These are in my store, but I have the white pig and I'll be using it later in the week.

The other picture is of a garden that is next door to my store. I don't know if you could tell, but most of the flowers in the garden are fake. There are also all sorts of plastic critters hanging out among the fake flowers. Here are some more pics.

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Back in a bit!

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Your store looks like so much fun! I could see myself browsing for hours....................

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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Jessica - very excited to see your blog. I would like to see more pictures of your store. I wish I had known about it when we were in NY a few months ago - I'd have loved to have seen it and met you! Next time. I am really looking forward to this week - I always do when the blogger lives somewhere that I dream about living and NYC is one of those places. Now, if only Susan could find someone in rural England, I would have my own personal trifecta (you, Dave in France and England - the three places I would sell my soul to live in)!

I think that Greek yogurt w/ honey is the official eGullet breakfast :raz: !

Kim

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Thanks everyone for the compliments about my store! I wanted to explain the subtitle of my blog a little. Between the store closing at 9 and kickboxing and stuff I generally don't get home before 8pm, usually more like 9-9:30. If I were the type of person who was content to eat frozen meals or crappy take out this wouldn't be such a big deal, but I'm very picky about what I want to eat and I get cranky if I don't have a real, satisfying dinner. I also love to cook, so I get cranky if I can't cook. So, I've had to come up with strategies for getting dinner on the table before midnight. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are the worst because I don't get home til 9:30, so lately on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I've been making 2 dinners or prepping stuff for dinner the other night. Wednesday is the odd day because even though I close the store, Josh has band practice so we don't eat dinner together. That means that I either eat leftovers or something he doesn't like (like bacon avocado and tomato sandwiches). Here's an example of this strategy. Last Thursday* I made chicken tacos with guacamole for my dinner (Josh doesn't like avocados), but I also made the broth and seasoning paste for the Soto King's Chicken Soup from Cradle of Flavor. So, then on Saturday, all I had to do was put it together (or at least I thought that was all I'd have to do).

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Broth and paste.

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Shredded Chicken

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Finished soup.

Turns out though that TOD (time of dinner) was still 10:45 because 1. Josh didn't get home til after 10 and 2. I underestimated the time it would take to get all the garnishes ready and put the soup together. Oh well.

*Edited to correct the day of the week--last wednesday was the 4th, so Josh had band practice on thursday instead.

Edited by Live It Up (log)
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The peapod serving set - what a perfect maternity gift! Although Im not pregnant and I want one. I also really like the "fitted" mortar and pestle. Cool stuff! Thanks for blogging!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Welcome to blogworld, Jessica!

Your store looks like a lot of fun. I know I'd walk out lighter in cash if I were to visit!

I'll be interested to see/read your strategies on getting good meals together with a time crunch. Our home schedule doesn't run as late as yours, but we frequently find the same time constraints.

Do be sure to tell us about your avatar, too. Is that just an unflattering photo, or has that cat been living it up for along time? :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Do be sure to tell us about your avatar, too.  Is that just an unflattering photo, or has that cat been living it up for along time?  :laugh:

I wish I could find the larger version of my avatar photo, 'cause it's a little hard to see so small. I think the picture is funny because the angle makes her look like a kangaroo. That's my little girl cat, Perdita, BTW. We have 2 cats; Perdita and her brother Pele. They'r both 8 years old. Perdita is actually really small--about 8lbs. Pele is more than twice her size. Here's a pic of Perdita looking very fluffy (and cranky).

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Here's one where you can see that she's not fat:

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This is Pele:

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He's incredibly fat. On a food related note: I really don't know how he got so fat. I don't feed them very much. They get 1 3oz can of wet food per day to share, but I make sure that Perdita eats most of it because she has hardly any teeth so she doesn't eat as much dry food. They also get a small bowl of dry food. I almost never give them people food, mostly because they're not usually interested in it. Perdita loves dairy products, so sometimes I give her yogurt or milk, but just whatever is left in my bowl...and she's not the fat one.

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So I guess now is as good a time as any to show you my fridge. I was going to try to clean it out and make it look all pretty for you guys, but then I decided you would probably want to see it in all its messiness. So, you have been warned: I am a slob. In addition to being a slob, my apartment has exactly zero closets, so I have no place to put things away. Therefore, I have to use furniture to store things which takes up floor space, which makes my apartment very cramped. My kitchen is actually a decent size, but I have so much stuff crammed into it that you can barely move around. So, without further ado:

The fridge

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The fridge is a total piece of crap--it freezes everything, and then all the ice melts and floods the crisper. I can't keep fresh vegetables for more than a day usually. Right now I think 90% of the contents in there are cheeses. I have at least 15 kinds of cheese right now. My mom is a flight attendant and she brings me delicious things from all over. So last week she brought me a bunch of my favorite French cheeses, and the week before that I got 3 Italian cheeses. I also have to keep most of my grains and nuts in the fridge because I have pantry moths, so that's part of why it's so full.

I'm not showing you the freezer--it's mostly ice, but there's a lot of stuff encased in the ice.

Here's a shot of my kitchen work space. The fridge is next to the red and white hutch.

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Here's another kitchen shot. We put all the open shelving up ourselves. It looks crooked, but that's actually the ceiling that's crooked. There's a serious slope in our apartment.

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Some of my pantry. I store my dishes in the bottom part of the red and white unit. They're really hard to get to so I hate putting my dishes away.

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Here's the contents of my cabinets.

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Yay! neighbour girl! I'm psyched to see what you'll be eating this week! I jealous of your blog- so much time- so much energy! you are a wonderwoman!

I hope to see some pictures of youre lovely baking.

Ya'll are invited to dinner this weekend if you want to come by for one of my silly feasts. I've been wanting to do another multi-mini with some SEASONAL INGREDIENTS. yipee summer...

-Emma Blogwhore Feigenbaum

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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More fridge pics! One of the things that most improves my quality of life is having a small refrigerator in my living room. We had a really tiny one for a while, but it broke. When we didn't have it any more I realized how big a difference it made. As you can see from the previous pics, there is no room for beer in my regular fridge. Also, as I mentioned, I can't keep lettuce in there 'cause it just freezes. And, I have never had any room for ice in my freezer. So, we replaced our old mini fridge with this shiny new model complete with separate freezer.

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It is strictly for beverages and delicate vegetables. The freezer is for ice (and maybe a few other things).

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I love it so much!

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Hi Jessica, cool store, full of whimsy!

Yesterday I bought a 2lb bag of green coffee beans from Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op while in Wolfville (Nova Scotia). I have never roasted at home and I am eager to darken these little Bolivians. I think now I will watch and see how you do it - I may use my hand crank stove top aluminum popcorn maker although the skillet method looks like a good way to start too. I do not have a hot air corn popper but . . . could this be an excuse to get another kitchen gizmo? And is it true I have to wait a day after roasting to grind and brew?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Hi Jessica, cool store, full of whimsy!

Yesterday I bought a 2lb bag of green coffee beans from Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op while in Wolfville (Nova Scotia). I have never roasted at home and I am eager to darken these little Bolivians. I think now I will watch and see how you do it - I may use my hand crank stove top aluminum popcorn maker although the skillet method looks like a good way to start too. I do not have a hot air corn popper but . . . could this be an excuse to get another kitchen gizmo? And is it true I have to wait a day after roasting to grind and brew?

Hi Peter, and thanks!

I roast using a cast iron pan and a whisk. It's not a very popular method, but it's perfect for me. I'll talk about it more later in the week. You don't HAVE to wait to brew, but the coffee can taste pretty flat if you don't. However, sometimes I get stuck with no coffee and have to drink it same day, and it's certainly not bad. Just not as good as it could be.

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edited to remove double post

So, I'm dying of starvation right now. Josh just got here a little while ago and now we're waiting for lunch. I feel a little dizzy. After I scarf my lunch I have to run off to kickboxing class, and then the mad rush to make dinner. So, I'll be back later tonight, hopefully with dinner pics.

Edited by Live It Up (log)
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Hey neighbor. You should come have a drink when Johnder and I are bartending after you close your store sometime.
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Is that the 2" ikea ice cube tray i spy?

Would love to drink with you sometime. You work at PDT, right? I tried to go there once right after it opened, but it was closed. I believe it was a sunday.

That is indeed the ikea ice cube tray--they were on sale for like 70 cents when I got them a couple of weeks ago.

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Nice start to your blog Jessica! I browsed in your store and absolutely fell in love with the mortar and pestle and the little devil light. :wub:

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Hi! I'm ooc right now, so not much posting, but I had to chime in because you live in my old NYC neighborhood! Of course, being such an old lady, my time there was the 80's/90's. My favorite home base was an old paint store, my bff lived there, it was sort of renovated into a home. The area has 'gentrified' quite a bit, but not completely, I hope? I'll sign off now, but hope to see lots of neighborhood shots. Enjoy your week !

PS: Great refrigerator shots, and great cats!

More Than Salt

Visit Our Cape Coop Blog

Cure Cutaneous Lymphoma

Join the DarkSide---------------------------> DarkSide Member #006-03-09-06

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Hi, neighbor! I had no idea that you were in the East Village, let alone that you own a shop I've been past (I'm seldom on that part of Av. B when your store is open; usually, late at night). How do you get the time to post, let alone do a blog, in your busy schedule? I'm amazed! Anyway, have fun, and don't feel bad if you're too exhausted to post some night or other.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Jessica, what prompted the "move" to open your own business? Paul's grandfather used to compare working for someone and owning one's own business and "running for breakfast" vs. "running for your life."

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Hmmm, let's see if I got this multiple quote thing

Hi! I'm ooc right now, so not much posting, but I had to chime in because you live in my old NYC neighborhood! Of course, being such an old lady, my time there was the 80's/90's. My favorite home base was an old paint store, my bff lived there, it was sort of renovated into a home. The area has 'gentrified' quite a bit, but not completely, I hope? I'll sign off now, but hope to see lots of neighborhood shots. Enjoy your week !

PS: Great refrigerator shots, and great cats!

The East Village is pretty gentrified, but not totally. It's really different just a few blocks away. The super of our building has the store front next to ours. He lives in the back and I'm sure he doesn't pay rent (being the super and all), so basically his store is a club house for all the neighborhood Puerto Rican bike enthusiasts. Maybe I'll try to get some pictures of the bikes tomorrow. But, since our store has opened there are at least 5 new businesses on the block, including a cafe across the street.

Hi, neighbor! I had no idea that you were in the East Village, let alone that you own a shop I've been past (I'm seldom on that part of Av. B when your store is open; usually, late at night). How do you get the time to post, let alone do a blog, in your busy schedule? I'm amazed! Anyway, have fun, and don't feel bad if you're too exhausted to post some night or other.

Hi Pan. If you're ever around when we're open you should stop in. I actually spend more time on the internet now than I ever have before. Seriously, don't be impressed--my job involves staring at the computer for at least 5 hours a day.

Jessica, what prompted the "move" to open your own business?  Paul's grandfather used to compare working for someone and owning one's own business and "running for breakfast" vs. "running for your life."

I'm not exactly sure I understand the analogy, but I think I know what you mean. Opening a business sounds like a really good idea before you do it. You think "I'll be my own boss. I'll decide what I do with my time". Except what I didn't realize is that when you have your own business you don't have ANY time--all your time belongs to your business. So yeah, running for your life, that pretty much describes it. Before this I had only had 3 jobs: I worked at Alt.Coffee for 7 years, I bartended at Route 85a and I worked at Coliseum Books in high school. So, what exactly would I do with that? I do have a degree from NYU, but not in anything that I could turn into a job (or at least a job that I'd want). Hmmm...don't know if I answered the question...

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Yay! neighbour girl! I'm psyched to see what you'll be eating this week! I jealous of your blog- so much time- so much energy! you are a wonderwoman!

I hope to see some pictures of youre lovely baking.

Ya'll are invited to dinner this weekend if you want to come by for one of my silly feasts. I've been wanting to do another multi-mini with some SEASONAL INGREDIENTS. yipee summer...

-Emma Blogwhore Feigenbaum

oops, I didn't see this earlier. When are you going to blog? Seriously, I nominate you--talk about energy. I wouldn't turn down an invite to your house.

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