Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The National Philharmonic: Bach Double

Last weekend I saw the National Philharmonic perform several Bach pieces at the Strathmore (one of my favorite concert venues in the DC area). Here are the pieces that were played (but by different groups):

Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major, BMV 1066


Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043 (fast forward to about 50 seconds)


Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041


Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin in D minor, BWV 1060


He's one of my favorite composers. Check out my blog post about Bach's Brandenburgs!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Stephen Lynch at the Birchmere

This week I got to see Stephen Lynch perform at the Birchmere. I saw him there last in 2012, so it's been several years since I last heard him (and I honestly haven't kept up with his songs/comedy). I was excited to see him, especially to hear his new work!

He played a lot of newer songs:





And some songs that may not be quite as new but I had never heard before:



And here are some of his older songs that he performed:





I own his A Little Bit Special CD, so I was glad he played some of those songs! This show was great (he's fantastic live), so I recommend seeing him if you have the chance!

PS: Did you know that he performed in the Broadway version of The Wedding Singer years ago? And got a Tony nomination for it? Who knew! http://www.broadway.com/buzz/11188/stephen-lynch/

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recipe: Applesauce Pumpkin Bread


I knew I wanted to make a recipe that included pumpkin and applesauce, since I already had those on hand. I came across this bread recipe on AllRecipes.com. I cut the recipe in half, since the original is for two loaves of bread. I don't need that much! (Plus, I only have one bread pan. So there you go.)


Ingredients
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Mix white sugar and applesauce together in a large bowl; stir pumpkin puree and eggs into sugar mixture until smooth. Mix baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and mace into pumpkin mixture; fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. Stir flour into pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean, 1 hour. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle each loaf with confectioners' sugar.
Along with cutting the recipe in half, I did not add the mace (I didn't know what that was, so I didn't use it. But I looked it up, and it's just another name for nutmeg!), nuts, or chocolate chips. And I didn't powder the loaf with confectioners sugar: who needs more sugar?! This bread is so moist and came out of the pan really easily (I sprayed with PAM beforehand). This is an easy (and yummy!) recipe!

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Resolutions!

My feelings exactly. Image found here.
Every year I make several New Year's resolutions. I sometimes slip up here and there, but usually I'm pretty good about sticking to them. Here are a few for 2017:

1. Continuing past resolutions. I've made some good New Year's resolutions in the past that I really liked, so I'm just going to keep them up this year. I'd like to keep in better touch with friends by having a phone call or Skype date with someone once a week. I also will stick to my resolution that when I think of something nice to say to someone, I'm going to say it! What's the harm in giving a compliment? And I will try my best not to keep ice cream in the house, and limit my intake of chai lattes, bubble tea, and Rita's Italian ice. No sense in eating food with no nutritional value.

2. Taking better care of my skin. For about the past year, the skin on my chin has not been cooperating; it's been kind of bumpy and dry. So I'm going to use my Clarisonic brush several times a week, as well as use a mask on my face once a week. More exfoliating and more moisturizing!

3. Going to Shabbat more often. In the last six months, I have only been to services a couple of times. But every time I go, I feel happy: I get to see my friends, enjoy some good food, and it just calms me. 2016 was quite the roller coaster, and I need more peace in my life. Connecting with God and the Jewish community will allow me to feel more rooted and relaxed, which is how I want to feel in 2017.

4. Giving up online dating. I don't mean forever, but at least for 2017. I used OkCupid through a lot of 2012 and OkC/Match/eHarmony for roughly the last year, and nothing came of either of those searches. I want to actually look forward to a date, rather than feeling relieved when a guy cancels on me. I want to be excited when someone leans in to kiss me, rather than being absolutely apathetic to his touch. I want to feel a true connection, rather than setting the bar as low as "I hope he's not a total jerk and that he offers to pick up the tab." Dating is supposed to be fun, not a chore, and for the last year, it's been like a homework assignment I'm trying to get done so I can turn in my "single" card. But all of the dates have led to nothing more than meeting men who "want to keep things casual" or who seemed like a good fit, only to find out they aren't what I'm looking for (and I wasn't a right fit for them, either). While I won't say all of this was a waste of time, it certainly was exhausting, and I'd like 2017 to be a more restorative year.

5. Doing things I thought I'd never do. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a planner: I like routine and stability, and perhaps you could say I'm "rigid." In 2017, I want to be more spontaneous and stop setting imaginary barriers for myself. I want to say "Go for it!" instead of thinking, "No, you better not." I've already got a few plans on how to do this, but you'll have to wait for future blog posts to find out what they are...But I did ring in the new year with an ice luge shot, which is definitely a first!

What are your New Year's resolutions?