Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Rockefeller Center Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree today, November 30th, 2011, just hours away from the annual lighting ceremony!

Struggling to get into the Christmas spirit this year? It’s been rather warm in New York City so far this season and the sentiment seems to be that it’s more difficult to “get in the mood” for the impending holidays while it’s 65 degrees outside.  Well, no matter what the weather is outside tonight, one thing is for certain,  if you are feeling low on the holiday glow, head down to Rockefeller Center this evening and you will find it almost impossible to not hum Christmas carols on your way home.    Tonight, thousands of people will crowd together in Rockefeller Center, (and tune in all over the world) to watch one of the greatest New York City Christmas spectacles of the season, the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting  is a really wonderful night in the city every year.  It’s such a great show, with performances by famous singers, dancers, ice skaters, the Radio City Rockettes, you name it they have it and of course the star of the show, The Rockefeller Christmas Tree.  I have gone many times in the past, often dragging friends or coworkers with me to stand in the crowd after work for 4 hours, waiting for the big moment when they would light the tree.  It’s a great time but, like many events in New York, this is one that in order to be able to really see the show or the lighting of the tree for that matter, you have to go early, really early.  In fact as I was taking pictures this morning of the production set up there were at least thirty people already out there, with their blankets and coffee mugs,  ready to camp out all day to insure a good viewing spot for the show later.

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Decorating for The Holidays:Little Sister’s First Christmas in Her New Home

My sister attempting to put up lights on the bushes in the yard of her new home, November 2010

Decorating for Christmas is by far one of my most favorite things to do each year-I love everything about it.  Putting up the lights, the garlands, unwrapping each ornament before hanging them on the tree.  The candles,  red and white, smelling of apple spice and vanilla.  After moving away from home to attend college in New York, decorating for the holidays was something that I made a point to do each year.  I  started with just a few decorations here and there in my college dorm but each year I would get a few more which developed into my much larger collection of holiday decorations I have today.

Last year my little sister and her fiancé, now husband, bought their very first house right before Thanksgiving.   It’s a beautiful two bedroom, two story home, right down the street from where my father lives and although my sister was delighted to move into her new home, she had a tough time really settling in.  Her, now husband, was overseas doing contracting work in Afghanistan and would not be returning until June.  Going from a one bedroom apartment to a whole house was a bit lonely for her and although she had her two weenie dogs to keep her company I knew she was having a tough time adjusting to the big change all on her own.

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Dairy Free Dessert-Frozen Banana Ice Cream

A girlfriend of mine, at the advice of her doctors, began a gluten free, dairy free, and soy free diet.  YIKES.  I definitely have experimented with different diets in the past, vegan (tough) veggie (awesome), dairy free….not for me.  I tend to stay away from too much red meat and I  am a definite vegetable lover so when she told me of her new diet restrictions I tried to always make note of recipes or brands of foods that could fit into her diet.  I just felt bad for her, pizza without cheese,  no pasta,  and no ice cream-sounds terrible right?  However today there are plenty of dairy free frozen treats and ice creams she can have made out of monk fruit, almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk although they tend to have less varieties than your traditional ice creams and frozen yogurts.

As we were searching the web, trying to find more things that she could eat, we came across a recipe for banana ice cream-using only frozen bananas and the reviews were surprisingly enthusiastic.  Now apparently this frozen treat has been pretty well known among the vegetarian and vegan crowds however neither my friend nor I had ever heard of it.  So, curious how a frozen banana could turn into ice cream that actually tasted like ice cream, I decided to whip up a batch to see if it was indeed as creamy and delicious as I had read it was online.  It WAS!

The instructions for making this banana treat are quite simple-you take anywhere between 2-6 bananas (or more) depending on how much you want to make, I would say a single serving takes about 1.5-2 frozen bananas.  The most important thing to remember is to slice your bananas before you freeze them into about half inch circles, as after they are frozen it will be very hard to slice them into pieces small enough to be easily blended.  I sliced up 3 bananas (which were definitely on their last days so this is also a great way to use bananas that are too bruised or ripe to eat) and popped them in the freezer in a Tupperware container over night.  It shouldn’t take very long for the bananas to freeze but I decided to give them a good day in there before taking them out to be blended.

Bananas frozen and sliced

After taking them out I broke the pieces up a little with my fingers as while they were freezing they tended to clump together a little.  I scooped the frozen banana pieces into my blender and pulsed the “ice crush” function on my blender before setting it to the “shake” setting on medium speed. Continue reading

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