Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NYC Life Lessons & "Big Apple" Toffee Crumble Pizza


If it weren't for the fact that I'm pretty sure I would spend the majority of my time completely lost on the subway {I have ZERO sense of direction... throw in some letters, numbers, and fast moving trains & we have a major problem}, I think I'd move to New York City.

I was smitten with the city upon my first visit {which was actually only a few years ago}, even though it only lasted about a day. I knew immediately that I had to return.

The next time I visited, I stayed for 5 days because there was just no way that I could've squeezed in even a fraction of the things I wanted to see. I left even more in love than the first time. {And I still felt like I hadn't even made a dent on my list of things to do.}

When my little sister turned 21 this past September, I wanted to give her a special gift she'd always remember. After much deliberation, I decided on the ultimate birthday gift: A weekend trip to NYC.

Turning 21 is an exciting time. You have your whole life ahead of you and the potential is limitless. You're young enough to still have a lot to learn about the world, and old enough to have already started to figure some things out. You are getting a sense of who you are and where you belong while balancing who you've become and where you've come from.

New York City, while being a place of great fun and seemingly endless experiences, is also a great place to learn some important life lessons.

So, I thought I'd put together a little recap of our trip, complete with the pearls of wisdom the city has to offer...


Sometimes you will discover delightful things where you least expect them.

A tiny snowman found on the stairs in Central Park.


What's odd to some, is totally normal to others. Appreciate diversity.

Minnie, casually crossing the street in Times Square.

At times, life will seem like quite a climb...

Slipping Climbing up a rock in Central Park.


...But when you reach the top, you will realize it was all worth it.




It never hurts to be well-read.
Left: Mary with Hans in Central Park., Center: At the Alice in Wonderland statue.
Right: Hans Christian Anderson statue in Central Park.


No matter how old you get, stay young at heart.
Playing in the Eloise section of The Plaza Hotel.


Eat well.

Clockwise from left: 1. Bagels in the morning from Leo's. 2. Cannoli from Ferrarra Bakery. 3. Ferrara Bakery 4. Margherita Pizza from Caffe Napoli in Little Italy, 5. Breakfast at Katz's Delicatessen {from When Harry Met Sally},
 6. Lunch at Caffe Napoli,7. Mini Cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. Bottom: Gelato from Ferrara Bakery


Frolick often.

Mary, happy to be in Times Square.

Love much.




There's nothing wrong with having a cupcake for dinner every once in a while.

Exhausted and ready for a cupcake dinner from Magnolia Bakery.


Life will get busy sometimes. It will seem like there's simply not enough time for everything that needs to be done.

Alice in Wonderland March Hare sculpture in Central Park.

But take some time to smell the flowers... or the leaves.




In all the madness, try to find a place to be quiet and still.




It's not always necessary to win the race. Sometimes just floating along will be the true reward.

Conservatory Water, Central Park


Don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh at your mistakes.

Menu typo...  :)

There is beauty in vulnerability.




A bare tree in Central Park.

You may be pushed down, experience tragedy, and think that you can't go on. But there is always a chance to rebuild. The human spirit is stronger than we can possibly imagine.

A view of Freedom Tower from St. Paul's Chapel graveyard.

We had an amazing time exploring the city, and Mary caught the NYC bug. In our short weekend there we were able to see so much, do so much, and experience so much together, and in the end it really was the perfect 21st birthday gift.

"There is no better friend than a sister. And there is no better sister than you." - Unknown


I'm leaving you with a little memento of our trip: "Big Apple" Toffee Crumble Pizza. Apple to remind us of NYC's moniker, pizza because it's a New York staple, and sweet toffee & spices to bring back memories of the fall.



We <3 NY. :)



"Big Apple" Toffee Crumble Pizza
adapted from Taste of the South

For Crust:

1 store bought pizza dough, or homemade. I used the following recipe:

1 packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups flour

1. Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast starts to foam or bubble. {If it never does, you may need new yeast.}

2. Add melted butter and mix.

3. Beat flour, one cup at a time, into yeast mixture until a dough ball forms.

4. Change to dough hook, or turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for about 5 minutes.

5. Place in an oiled bowl and allow to rise for approximately 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

For Toffee Crumble:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup toffee or brickle chips {such as Heath Bits'o Brickle}

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, and butter.
2. Stir in toffee bits.
3. Set aside.

For Apple Topping:

4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, & chopped
1/4 cup {4 tablespoons} butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1. In a large skillet, combine chopped apples, butter, sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until apples begin to get tender.

2. Dissolve cornstarch in water in a small cup to make a slurry.

3. Add cornstarch mixture to apple mixture, and cook for another minute or 2 until thickened and bubbly.

4. Set aside to cool slightly.

Assemble & Bake Pizza:

1. Arrange dough on a pizza pan or stone. Brush with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
2. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from oven & reduce heat to 400 degrees.
4. Spread apple topping evenly over pizza dough.
5. Sprinkle with toffee crumble.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden.



HungryLittleGirl

9 comments:

Chineka (savorthebaking) said...

What a great post!! Taking your sister to NYC was a gift that she will remember always. That gelato looks really good and you already now that I love the cupcakes...lol. I'm going to have to try the Apple Crumble pizza. Thanks for the recipe. 8-)

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thanks, Chineka! I think you'll love it! {I may or may not have already had 2 slices today...} ;)

Mary Reyes said...

I love this post almost as much as I love you, seester. Thanks for an awesome trip! <3

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thanks, Mares! :) I'm so glad you had a good time. So many fun memories! xo

Anonymous said...

Love the post and all the pics! You girls need to come visit again soon! <3 Genevieve

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thanks, Gen! And thanks again for showing us around, we had a great time and can't wait to return! :)

HungryLittleGirl said...

I love dessert pizzas and the scarf you are wearing on the picture while throwing the leaves!
Thank you for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza! Hope to see you there again this week :)

The Kitchen Prep said...

@HungryLittleGirl - Thank you! :)

Michelle's Tasty Creations said...

Love to make dessert pizzas and now I can't wait to try this tasty one :) Thanks so much for sharing at Creative Thursday :)
Michelle

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