2 sisters 2 cities

December 31, 2009

Pumpkin Mousse

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 11:29 am

Before the holiday season is officially over, I wanted to post my most requested recipe during this time of year (perhaps more towards Thanksgiving time, but this would be  a lovely Christmas or NYE dish to make).  This is a great item to make if you are asked to bring dessert to a party.  It’s ready to serve and you don’t have to bog the host down with getting in some oven-time to heat up the dessert.  In my opinion, pie can be a little much after a big meal and this dessert alternative is a refreshing change of pace.

1 16oz can solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 package vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling for 4 servings
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups heavy or whipping cream

In large bowl, with wire whisk, mix pumpkin, pudding mix, milk, vanilla extract, cinn, ginger, cloves and 1/3 cup packed brown sugar until well blended.

In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate 1 cup whipped cream for garnish.  Fold remaining whipped cream into pumpkin mixture

Spoon pumpkin mixture into eight 10 oz goblets (I just used small plastic wine glasses if transporting); cover and refrigerate until read to serve.  Pumpkin mixture tastes best if refrigerated for at least 30 min prior to serving.

To serve, spoon reserved whipped cream onto pumpkin mixture; sprinkle with sugared pecan.

Sugared Pecans:
1/2 cup pecans chopped
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

In 2 qt saucepan (Med high heat) cook pecans until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove saucepan from heat, stir in sugar until it melts and evenly coats pecans. Cool.

When I am bringing it to someone’s house, I’ve found that those clear plastic wine glasses (no stem) work nicely. I cover each cup with saran wrap, put it on a large tray, and take off the saran wrap before serving.  Also, put the dollop of whipped cream and sugared pecans on right before you wrap it up so it doesn’t lose it whippiness…


K’s 2010 Goals

Filed under: K's post — Tags: — 2sisters2cities @ 11:14 am

Well unlike M’s goals,  not all my goals for 2010 are fun,  but that is my problem most of the time… I have too much fun!  My goals are all broken down with steps and tips I need to take in order to fufill the goal.    Hope my goals help you to create your own.

New Year Resolutions

1.)    Make more  healthy homemade lunches and dinners

  • Eat less processed and high sodium foods
  • Plan out menus before going to grocery store
  • Use all my new cookbooks I got for Christmas
  • Create my own recipes

2.)    Get more fit and be healthier.

  • Write down everything
  • Go to the gym 4-5 times a week (atleast 30 minutes of aerobic)
  • Start running    
  • Go to classes at my gym

3.)    Save more money        

  • Spending less money on alcohol and eating out
  • Try to get fixed expences like gym, cable, rent cheaper
  • Spend less on grocery
  • Buy less clothes, make-up, and accessories. 

4.)    Read more books

  • Frequent the Library
  • Find series that I like

5.)    Join an outdoors club so I can go hiking, skiing, and do more outdoorsy things.  This is hard to do on your own when living in the NYC area without a car. 

6.)    Think of a business plan that I can eventually start up on my own

7.)    Blog !

Happy New Years Everyone!


December 30, 2009

M’s 2010 Goals

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 3:35 pm

It’s that time of year again!  I have been noticing on my Google Reader that other bloggers have started posting their 2010 goals.  This has gotten me thinking and I am going to start a list of my own.  Rather than making the single sweeping resolution such as lose weight or work out more, I am going to make a list of 10 fun goals I hope to achieve.  I have also seen a number of lists on the blog-o-sphere on things to finish before turning 30…that’s coming up in 2 months so I better get going!

M’s 2010 Goals:
1.  Start letterpress printing! This involves getting my new poco press cleaned up and ready to go.  I need to make a trip out to Chicopee, MA to a warehouse called Letterpress Things to stock up on tools, inks, and cleaners.  I also need to buy a base and determine what software I need on my computer to start designing plates.
2. Try yoga again. I tried this a few years ago at my gym in CT, but I didn’t really enjoy it very much.  If I can find the time to work-out, I have the notion that I really need to work up a good sweat in order for it to be worth it.  But at this point in my life, yoga may be what I am looking for as I’m just looking to gain strength and be more relaxed in general.  I have started looking around and there appears to be a number of yoga studios in the Boston area which have good beginner packages.
3.  Cook more meals and do more prep on the weekend. The past month, I’ve often resorted to take-out or going out to eat after work because I’ve had no motivation to cook after work.  After watching Julie & Julia, reading “The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry,” and receiving a few new cookbooks for Christmas, I am definitely inspired to cook up a storm in the kitchen.
4. Organize my kitchen. Living in a small space in the city, it’s important to utilize every possible square inch.  I saw a post on Apartment Therapy that got me thinking about the space above my kitchen cupboards.  In the post, a woman had used large containers for extra storage.  I looked at a few websites for similar containers, but then I thought a better look might be wooden wine crates.  I have two right now, but I am going to look for 3 or 4 more to use as storage.  I am going to store things like my wedding china, roasting pans, ice buckets, and other kitchen items that I do not use on a daily basis.  In addition, I need to get small hooks to put up additional shelving in my cupboards.  They came with extra pieces of wood that are cut to the exact proportion of the cupboards, but I just realized it a few months ago (the extra pieces of wood lay flat on the bottom of the cupboard and I never realized that they popped out.)
5.  Read more books off the NY Times Best Seller list. I love to log onto the Boston Public Library website and put books on hold.  It’s such a great way to save money and you don’t have to worry about storing yet another book on a bookshelf afterward.
6.  Spend less money on clothes. My office building is located in the heart of Boston’s retail shopping district so this is a difficult thing to avoid during lunch hour.  New lunch mantra:  Must go to yoga class instead!
7. Take more classes at the Boston Center for Adult Education. I am currently thinking about taking a digital photography class and an Adobe design class.
8. Buy a headboard for our master bedroom. I had purchased one a couple of years ago, but it was too large to fit up our condo’s stairs.  I need to look into having a custom-one made or finding a smaller one that will fit.
9. Finish painting our master bathroom or hire someone to finish it. It’s about 95% done, but the last 5% is the most difficult (reaching really high in awkward corners to clean up the paint marks on the ceiling).
10. Post on a regular basis to this new blog! I’ve wanted to start a blog for years, but I wasn’t sure if I could generate enough content on my own to make it worth it.  Joining forces with sister K, this goal seems much easier to achieve.

What are your goals/resolutions for the new year?  Share  your top 10 in the comments section!


Peanut Brittle

Filed under: Desserts, K's Recipes — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 2:20 pm

After being stuck on a bus all yesterday trying to get back to my apartment, cooking was the last thing on my mind when I walked in at 10:30 pm.  Since I was home for five days, my fridge was also empty.   All my Christmas cookies that once filled up my freezer were gone (no, I wasn’t robbed…I just gave them all out).  I searched my hiding spots to see if I could find just one piece of peanut brittle, but there was nothing.  So here is the recipe for the world’s best peanut brittle- remember to save some for yourself after the holidays!

Peanut Brittle

1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 cups raw blanched peanuts (not a lot of grocery stores carry these,  Wegmans and Whole Foods do,  but they are also available online)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying with cooking spray and set aside (also spray a heat resistant rubber spatula or regular spatula with spray; it will come in handy when spreading the sticky mixture.)  In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and Karo syrup.  Once melted together, add in peanuts.  Stir constantly for 12-15 minutes, until peanuts start to turn brown (often the signal that it’s ready is a puff of smoke, but I am yet to see this puff.)  Stir in vanilla extract and baking soda (quickly because there is a chemical reaction that makes it turn hard.)  Once all the ingredients are completely stirred together, pour mixture onto greased baking sheet, using greased spatula to spread it out.   Spread candy out as far as you can without making holes in the middle (I aim for just having a single layer of peanuts).  After this is spread, leave for about 1 or 2 hours until completely hardened then break into small pieces.  Store in an airtight container.



December 29, 2009

Crock-pot Pulled Pork

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:16 pm

This is a really easy recipe to pull together and it’s a great dish because it’s ready as soon as you come home from work. I am always looking for crock-pot recipes, but many of them require cooking for only 3-4 hours (which isn’t a possibility when you are working 8-9 hours at the office, plus commuting). This recipe cooks for 10 hours. I usually throw the ingredients together in the crock-pot the night before and then put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning before I head out for work, I take it out of the fridge and set the crock-pot to low for 10 hours.

3-4 lb boneless pork roast or pork shoulder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
-sliced green pepper
-sliced onion
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-jar of barbecue sauce
-bulkie rolls

Trim off any large pieces of fat off pork roast. I sometimes buy bone-in and you can leave this on (just pull it out before serving). Combine pepper, salt, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper in small bowl. Rub the spice mix over the pork roast.

Put the sliced green peppers, onions, and brown sugar in the the crock-pot. Place the seasoned meat into the crock-pot next. Add 3/4 of the jar of barbecue sauce (add more or less depending on how saucy you want your pulled pork to be…my husband likes less so I usually only add about 1/2 a bottle).

Cook 10 hours on low or until finished. Using a fork, pull meat apart and shred. Use a large spoon to mix all the ingredients together. You can add more barbecue sauce before serving if it looks a bit dry and also can serve a little sauce on the side. I usually serve this on a bulkie roll with either coleslaw, corn bread, or pasta salad as side dishes. You can also serve the pork without rolls.

My preferred barbecue sauce is Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering Sauce (http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com). I’ve also tried it with Dinosaur Creole Honey Mustard barbecue sauce, which was also quite good.


December 28, 2009

Scandinavian Almond Bars

Filed under: Desserts, K's Recipes — 2sisters2cities @ 5:04 pm

Since I am still on vacation at my parents home for the holidays I haven’t been cooking.  However I did enough baking this holiday season to post about that.   For the last two holiday seasons I have baked myself sick making cookies for all my friends, family, and co-workers.   Last year I ended up making 12 different types, which was exhausting and too much.  This year I settled on making 7 types.   I planned a last minute Christmas party at my apartment and had a week to make all 7 kinds (plus a hand-made gingerbread house).  My favorite cookie, out of the seven I made, was the Scandinavian Almond Bars which I took from my family’s cookbook.  I will eventually get all my cookies I made on the site but for now here are the Almond Bars (and you already have the buckeyes from my last post.)

Scandinavian Almond Bars

Ingredients for cookies:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup  butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds coarsely chopped

Ingredients for glaze:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 to 4 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and  salt.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter until softened.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add egg and almond extract and beat well.  Add flour mixture in gradually and stir until well mixed.

Divide the dough into fourths.  Form each portion into a 12 inch roll.  Place 2 rolls 4-5 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten each roll until it is 3 inches wide.  Repeat with remaining rolls.  Brush each flattened roll with a little milk and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds.  Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

While still warm cut crosswise at a diagonal into 1 inch strips.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make glaze:  Stir together powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and enough milk to make a drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over the cooled bars.  Easy Clean-up Tip-  Place bars on already used baking sheets when drizzling the glaze over them.

Also when serving cookie platters with other types on cookies,  cut bars in half since they are larger then most cookies.



My new hobby- letterpress

Filed under: Crafting, M's post — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 2:38 pm

While I was planning my wedding a few years ago and picking out invitations, I became introduced to the concept of letterpress.  I quickly fell in love with it and have since done much research on this very old form of printing.  I read the on-line letterpress community Briar Press daily and have purchased several books on printing and typography from Amazon.  This past summer, I took a letterpress class through the Mass College of Art…the minute I passed my first notecard through the Vandercook press, I was hooked.

Shortly before returning to my parent’s home in upstate NY this past Thanksgiving, I was perusing the Briar Press classifieds and saw that there was a press for sale in my home town.  What luck!  I did some Google searches on the press and e-mailed a few individuals who owned a similar press and everyone had good words about this particular press.  It is called a Poco Proof Press No. 0 and was originally manufactured in Chicago in either the 1910s or 1920s.  The general feedback I received on the press was that it was a pretty rare press, a good beginner press, made a strong impression (onto the paper), and that it was generally lightweight (compared to other presses…more on that story later).   Most importantly, it is a small enough press that it will fit into my condo in Boston…I decided to go for it!

I contacted the seller and asked to set up a time to see the press.  My husband was away traveling at the time so I asked my mom if she would go with me to see the press and possibly pick it up if it looked good.  Off we went to the artist’s studio…

Upon arriving there, the man showed us into his studio that he was just moving into.  I was hoping he had a few other presses just to look at and show my mom, but he just had the Poco Proof Press that he was selling.  I gave the handle a few cranks and looked at a few other things, and decided to buy it!  It came with its original wooden shelving, but it comes right off for “easy” moving.  The owner’s son and another artist in the building helped move it to the car…despite the press being 210 pounds of cast-iron steel, this 14 year old boy and wirey artist made the move appear effortless.  Our only challenge was fitting in the press and the wooden case both in the car due to their awkward shapes.  Our two movers were in my car, bending at every angle, and somehow balancing this heavy press on their laps- it was quite a scene.  Finally, after finding a way to remove the divider in the back, we were able to get both pieces in.  I was now a proud owner of a poco proof press!


December 27, 2009


Filed under: Desserts, K's Recipes — 2sisters2cities @ 11:37 pm

M, my mom, and I are constantly being asked for this recipe. No matter what cookies we make in addition to these, the buckeyes are always the most popular.  We all find them a pain to make, but keep making them for all our fans.  Please share this recipe with all your friends and stop asking us to make them for you (kidding, sort of!)

1 lb box confectionary sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz package of semisweet chocolate chips
1 ounce of paraffin wax

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl with hands. It may be a little dry but make it into small balls (aim for 3/4 inch ball or a little larger then an acorn, don’t make them too big!)  Place the formed balls on a wax paper covered baking sheet and stick in the freezer or fridge.

While the peanut butter balls are chilling,  melt 12 oz. of chocolate chips and paraffin in a double boiler.  Take peanut butter balls out of freezer once chilled.  Using toothpicks dip each ball 3/4 way into chocolate.  Bring out and place back on wax paper on baking sheet.  They should resemble horse-chestnuts. Slightly tap on hole left by toothpick with your fingers to close hole.  Place buckeyes back in freezer/fridge to harden.


Hello Readers!

Filed under: Welcome — Tags: — 2sisters2cities @ 7:47 pm

We are two sisters, K and M, living in two different cities with two different lifestyles. This blog is to share our adventures in New York and Boston. K is single and just starting off in New York City. She works in fashion and loves to cook healthy and inexpensive food on a budget. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, working out, shopping, and partying with her friends in the coolest city in the world. M is married and works in finance in Boston. She loves to experiment with new dishes and focuses on recipes that are easy to prepare after a long day of work. M’s hobbies include cooking, reading, eating out, traveling, skiing, crafting, and letterpress.

We started this blog to share our cooking, baking, crafting,  and other life adventures.   Growing up in a creative home, we feel like sometimes our over-the-top inner Martha comes out and we would like to share it.   Over the past few years we have each wanted to start a blog on our own, but we each thought it would be too daunting a task to take on by oneself.  This blog is not only for the two of us to share our recipes and adventures between each other, but to share them with our family, friends, and co-workers who are always asking us for the  latest recipes and project ideas. We hope you enjoy!

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