It’s times like these that you can’t be anything but grateful; grateful for your family, your friends, your life. There’s nothing I can describe what I felt yesterday besides “stuck.” Stuck in North Carolina, unable to help my family. Receiving phone calls from them every so often. Listening to my mom in NYC describe winds like she had never seen; listening to my sister from her apartment downtown with no power; not hearing from my dad for a period of about 4 hours until 11:30 last night when he and my brother had driven 20 minutes from our house on Long Island to tell me he was ok. The water was about 100 feet from our house before it started to recede back toward the bay.

Grateful doesn’t begin to describe it. But my heart goes out to all of those affected by Sandy even worse. In times like these, I hope all differences can be swept aside to come together and help rebuild.

Drowned tennis courts and floating houses in Westhampton Beach

Iseley Farms

I take a class at Elon that is basically a media software class. We learn everything from Photoshop to how to use a microphone. We had an assignment to create a photo story with captions, edit them on Photoshop, and upload them onto a web gallery. I decided to go to a farm nearby, Iseley Farms, and had an experience that I’ll never forget. I went to the farm with my roommate expecting to take pictures of the pumpkins and store. That’s where I began: after taking pictures of rows of pumpkins, I realized there wasn’t much substance to the pictures. I went into the store and took pictures of the produce that they offered. Still not too great. As I was paying for the pumpkins, indian corn, and jam we bought, I ran into Sandy, one of the farmers. I asked her questions about the history and the farm in general, and she told me that they are organic and the land is protected by law for generations to come. When I told Sandy that I was from New York City, she insisted on showing my the animals about 100 ft away from the main farm. There were cows and calves in one section. Sandy told me a great story. A few days prior, a heifer had twin calfs but rejectedone of them. The farm took care of the neglected calf, but if the mother didn’t warm up to it soon, they would have trouble. A few days later, a heifer gave birth to a still-born calf. Though she was mourning the loss of her baby, the farm decided to try to introduce the neglected calf to the cow. She took it under its wing as if it was her own. Islsey Farms has strawberry picking opportunities in the spring and early summer. I bought some of the jam made with Iseley Farms strawberries and have never tasted such sweet, natural tasting jam in my life. If you are ever in the Greensboro area of North Carolina, I highly suggest you drive the 30 minutes to Iseley Farm to witness everything this working farm has to offer.


Hart of Dixie

I often talk about how much I miss living in New York City, with its conveniences, fast-paced tendencies, and culture. But I have this dream of living in Northern California in a Stars Hollow-like town, where there’s one delicious diner, a community, and everyone knows each other.

Hart of Dixie has been my latest obsession. I find a certain comfort to it: Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) is an intense, driven doctor from New York City who moves to Bluebell, Alabama in order to take over her father’s medical practice after his death. Since she didn’t know he was her father when he was alive, she feels a certain connection to the town and feels that by living there, she’ll be able to learn more about her father.

One of the first people she meets in Bluebell is George Tucker (Scott Porter), an ex-New Yorker who returned to his

Wade and Zoe

hometown because he missed his home, but also for his fiancée, Lemon Breeland (Jaime King). Wade (Wilson Bethel) is Zoe’s neighbor, and with whom she has a flirtatious yet infuriating relationship. Zoe’s main confidant is Mayor Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams), an retired NFL player who relates to Zoe’s big fish in a small town feeling. This community doesn’t welcome Zoe at first, and the audience finds comfort in seeing her open up to the idea of a different kind of life for herself, even if it’s not what she expected.

The first season is up on Netflix watch instantly, and you can catch Hart of Dixie every Tuesday night on the CW at 8:00 ET.

The Hart of Dixie Cast

The Hart of Dixie Cast

Apples to Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” If that’s true, I’m probably never going to the doctor ever again. I often eat about 3 or 4 a day. My dad has an ongoing joke about my “ahpple” obsession, and periodically buys me a different type to test out. Though my favorites consist of honey crisps and pink ladies (plus granny smith slices with peanut butter), McIntosh will always remind me of fall. I made the most delicious apple turnovers last night courtesy of Paula Deen’s son, Bobby, who lightens up his Mama’s recipes. These are to die for, are super easy, and are really inexpensive. You only use one of two pie crusts in the box, so I will be running out to get another bag of McIntosh apples in…5 minutes or so!

Recipe via Pinterest courtesy of The Deen Bros

Sweet and Sour

Lemon has always been my go-to flavor. Whether it’s candy, sorbet, or a fresh scent, I find lemon to satisfy any craving.

One of my favorite dishes growing up was my mom’s Chicken Francese which she always accompanied with rice and green beans. Since I’m at college and trying to avoid those sophomore pounds, I found a “skinnier” version of her chicken and switched out her typical white rice for brown. The blanched green beans I topped with sauteed shallots in olive oil. It was the perfect meal, with the sour lemon and the sweet shallots complimenting each other.

It always surprises me when I can recreate my gourmet mother’s cooking styles, and little by little, I’m walking away from following recipes word-for-word to adding by taste and estimation. My sister and mom would be proud.

Recipe via Pinterest courtesy of Skinny Taste

Away with the summer days

There’s that period of time when there is a visible change in the seasons just by the availability of certain foods in the grocery store. Endless cartons of sweet strawberries and ripe melons available just a few weeks ago have been replaced with crisp, fall apples and pumpkins.

My friends and I had a quiet weekend of shopping at the outlets, releasing me of some of the cabin fever I’ve been feeling in Elon, N.C. It was recently fall break, and I’m missing New York and city life more than ever. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to have a family dinner for my apartment. Picking out one of the last good zucchinis and welcoming some McIntosh apples, we were able to hang out, all four of us, for the first time in what seems like the first weekend of school. Whether it was the distraction of boyfriends or going home for the weekend, it seems like we can never come together. But this weekend, we ate our homemade meal in front of Hocus Pocus on ABC Family. And I realized something: even if I’m not home in New York with my family, the families you make are just as crazy, just as loud, and most importantly, just as loving.

Zucchini chips were supposed to be our appetizer, but since I hadn’t read the recipe in detail and didn’t realize they’d take an hour and a half, they became part of our meal. They were crunchy, salty, and a delicious alternative to a typical fried potato chip since they’re baked with no oil.

Recipe via Pinterest courtesy of Vittles and Bits