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relationships

phone a friend

The best kind of friendships are those that pick up right where they left off, no matter how much time has passed. Today, pick up the phone and call a friend you haven't spoken to for a while.

I get that thanks to Facebook, you know how cute their kids looked on their first day of school, how amazing his vacation looked, that she started a new job just last week...

Facebook is a wonderful thing that keeps us connected, but seriously - pick up the phone and call them to tell them how cute the kids looked. Listen to him talk about his wonderful vacation. And don't you want to know about how much she's loving (or hating) their new job?!

Even better: Wait until you're having a bad day. Until you're in a miserable mood that feels like you don't want to talk to anyone. Force yourself to do this. I guarantee you, you will get off the phone feeling 10x better.

Why? Because you just felt a connection with someone you care about. You just heard in their voice that you brightened their day, out of the blue. You caught up. You listened. You laughed.

It's a strange thing, really. It's hard to describe the power of relationships. It's part of the true essence of life. I get that there are bills to pay, bosses that suck, jeans that are too tight... but none of that really matters.

What matters is that there's someone out there who loves us and that we love back. No matter what comes our way in life.

Nurture that love. It's a beautiful thing.

perspective

enjoying a beautiful life

It's hard to find a good balance between sharing too much of your personal life, and not sharing at all. I certainly don't want to air any dirty laundry - but at the same time, if what I've gone through can help anyone out there, I want to share it. It is always and forever my goal to inspire others - through food, through stories, through life. I told you in my last post that I just went through a break-up. I've thought about what I was going to say, and wasn't really sure how to approach it. But today, I just felt like writing about it.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am strong. I have been through a lot in my life, and always persevered. I have created my own path, my own destiny - and never let any personal problems get in my way. So let me keep it super-real here and tell you that this was HARD.

Heartbreak sucks. Can I just say that? This may have been a first for me. I was a mess. I cried. A lot. I would run outside along the water, not sure if I was crying or just out of breath. Often, it was both. I would stop in the middle of a park filled with people and just let it go. Music blasting, face buried in my hands, tears pouring out.

I was very sad that my relationship had come to an end. I ended it, but I felt forced to do so. I wasn't receiving the support I deserved and so I had no choice.

But I didn't want it to be this way; I didn't want it to end. I wanted him to wake up and see what he had lost and be the man I needed him to be. I wanted him to change, to be better. I wanted him to be the person ... I had believed him to be.

This is a very important sentence.

I had a hard time in this break-up until I realized that I had fallen in love with an idea. I believe many people will be able to relate to this, because so often it is the potential we see in a person that we love. There were many qualities that I witnessed at one time or another, particularly in the beginning of our relationship, that I latched onto. Mostly it was the passion that we shared. I was so into the idea of being with a person that was passionate about something that I ignored or accepted other qualities that were not for me. I chose not to see them, or not to care about them, in exchange for the things I wanted to see.

It's all about perspective.

What is perspective? Perspective is understanding the qualities that are important to you and being honest with yourself: Does this person have those qualities? No one is perfect, of course, but everyone should have a clear understanding of the make-or-break, deal-or-no-deal qualities they want in a partner. Mine are as follows: passionate, intelligent, self-aware, positive, inspiring, funny, honest, hardworking, and confident.

Perspective is recognizing that a person doesn't have these qualities and letting go. With ease.

That's right - because once you have truly gained perspective, it is just that: easy.

Perspective is realizing that these are years of your life you will never get back. That life is short and beautiful, and we must make the most of every day. Does that mean you can't take some time to be upset? Of course. You must take the time to feel your pain, because that is part of the healing process. That is part of being honest with yourself, and growing as a person. They're called growing pains for a reason, you know.

Perspective is looking around at the amazing people in your life, and appreciating them. (I have some incredible friends who I simply couldn't have done this without - THANK YOU.)

Perspective is focusing on your goals. Remembering every single day what matters to you, what you want from this life. What are the things you're going to do to get there? And listen, I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "the only way to get over one man is to get under another." But please. Don't. Take the time to be on your own, to be independent. To learn more about who you are and what you want. Yes, I'm sure the attention from another man will make it feel easier, but it's not real. It's a band-aid that will fall off and leave you with an infection that is far worse than the original cut. (Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but that one just came to me and I think it's pretty good!) :)

Perspective, for me, was the realization that I went through the most monumental changes of my life with this person by my side. I broke up with my fiancé and moved to NYC, ran a pop-up restaurant, launched a new career. It's a lot. And I have to say, I am so forever grateful that Gregg was part of my journey. He impacted me so much, taught me so much - about food and cooking, who I am and what I want. I haven't cried in a while, but I just shed a tear as I typed that. And it was a happy one. I can appreciate him for what he was: Part of a very, very important chapter in my life. The most important one thus far.

But guess what? A new chapter has started. And I know this one will be even better.

It already is.

xxS

date night menu on cosmo radio

Today I will be live on Cosmo Radio on Sirius/XM at 11am!

We'll be talking food + dating, which are their standard Friday topics. Definitely an interesting combo for me at the moment ... I guess I'll drop the bomb here before the radio broadcast: Gregg and I are no longer together. One of the many changes happening in my life right now. Well, that and moving - all of which I will talk about more later. But, know that I am doing well. It has not been easy but I know it's for the best and I have a lot of exciting things happening. It's a great time to be 100% focused on myself.

And you ... because you need to know what to cook for date night, right!? :)

Obviously when I heard the topics were food + dating, this is the first thing that came to mind. Every girl needs to have a trick up her sleeve for pleasing her guy, and I believe I know the secret to a man's heart: A good steak!

It's probably the first thing I learned to cook - and one of the first videos I ever made shows you exactly how to do it. It's virtually impossible to screw up! You sear the meat well on both sides, and then finish it in the oven for a few minutes. Watch the video and get all of the tips here. You can use the same technique with another cut like a ribeye as well, but I like a filet for a date night because it's soft and tender and thus, more seductive.

how to cook the perfect filet
how to cook the perfect filet

Starting with oysters is a no-brainer, for two reasons. For one, no cooking required! You can call your seafood shop (if you are in NYC, Lobster Place at Chelsea Market) and have them do the shucking for you. Just make sure you keep them over ice! Ask for them to prepare the standard accompaniments, or make your own mignonette, which is my favorite - just sherry vinegar and minced shallot. The second reason, yes the obvious...

And Caesar salad is just every dude's thing, isn't it? If your guy will dig the kale, go for that. I like to use Tuscan/black/lacinto kale for my Caesar salad. I make a similar version to this one they serve at ABC Kitchen - I add shaved radish and forgo the croutons.

For sides, keep it simple. (And if you want to skip them altogether, I'm not judging!) My go-to is roasting fingerlings either whole or sliced in half (this way they get crispy) in olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt in a 400 degree oven until tender and crispy. Serve with butter, chives, and Maldon - a fancy flaky sea salt that makes everything better.

Steamed or blanched asparagus is easy and great when in season - spring for the best local/organic vegetables you can. I usually blanch asparagus: Trim the woody ends from the asparagus, cutting on a bias. Prepare an ice bath (this will stop the cooking process immediately and allow the asparagus to stay bright green). Drop into rapidly boiling salted water for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on thickness) until crisp-tender, then transfer to the ice bath immediately. Add a drizzle of good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of Maldon - easy!

And for dessert, there has to be chocolate! The cremoso I've included in the menu is something I came up with for a client who wanted to impress a date. The bonus is that it's also gluten-free! It's a very rich, custard-like dark chocolate pudding and so, so good with the olive oil. It might seem strange to you but I promise it works! Click here for the recipe.

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Super-Simple Date Night Menu

Raw Oysters with Mignonette + Lemon

Caesar Salad

The Perfect Filet

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes + Chives

Steamed Asparagus

Dark Chocolate Cremoso with Strawberries + Olive Oil