Christmas Eve

Ok, I’m a Jew. But I love Christmas. I love the feeling around the holiday. I think what I really love is the opportunity to tell people that you appreciate them. We don’t often think to thank the people in our lives and the holidays are a great time to do it.

I don’t send out holiday cards because I can never write the things I want to for everyone. This year I made praline pecans for my office and peppermint rice crispy treats for my friends. (posts will be coming for both of those.)

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Peppermint rice crispies

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Praline pecans

I did gifts for my family. I’m on the ferry now heading to Staten Island where my brother’s girlfriend is from. Of course, with presents. I really love wrapping presents.

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Sorry, no spoilers as to what’s inside. Not until after they’ve opened them!

Let me know if you want the recipe for either of those tomorrow and I’ll give it to you before I get the posts together.

Also, to those who dislike Staten Island:

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I’d say that’s not a bad view!

I’m just about here. So excited. My brother is picking me up and I’m meeting my mom and sister there. Almost there!!!!

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Happy holidays!

Roasted Brussels Spouts

Hello friends! I’m testing out this WordPress app on my new iPhone. So far, it’s working well.

I just made something really simple and really delicious.

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Roasted brussel sprouts. They’re so simple to make. Thy make a really great side or meal on their own.

I started with 2 lbs of brussel sprouts. Cut of the end and remove any yellow leaves. That part is bitter and will make your brussel sprouts yucky. Cut the sprouts in half or quarters.

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Toss with salt, pepper, garlic and a little olive oil. Spread the brussel sprouts evenly on a baking sheet.

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Bake for 30-ish minutes at 400 degrees. Serve warm.

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That’s it. Easy enough, right?

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients
-2 lbs. brussel spouts, ends cut off and sliced into halves or quarters
-1 tsp salt (or to taste)
-black pepper
-1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tsp minced garlic or a small amount of garlic powder

Directions
-preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray
-Rinse brussel sprouts. Chop off the ends and it into halves or quarters. Remove any yellow leaves.
-Toss brussel sprouts with the salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.
-Spread out on the cookie sheet
-Place in the oven for approximate 30 min.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

So I might be a little obsessed with this recipe. The pumpkin makes it nice and hearty but that, and the chocolate chips gives it just the right amount of sweetness.

I made it first for our post-Thanksgiving brunch. Then I made it again after I came back to New York. Its delicious. I made it two ways. One following the recipe complete with all of the sugar and other things, and one in a slightly healthier version. I’ll be honest, I didn’t taste the difference.

 

I found the original recipe here from myrecipes.com. The recipe originally came from Cooking Light. I love that the nutritional info is given on the website. Of course, the way I changed the recipe, it’d be a little different. It turns out to be around 150 calories a slice (assuming you’re getting 16 slices). As far as muffins go, its pretty healthy.

Did I mention you could also make it into muffins?

 

Oh, before I get into the recipe… When I was making these in my apartment, I was gchatting with a friend. The conversation:

me: sorry that bit of conversation was so disjointed, i was getting the last of mybaking into the oven
 Kyle: watcha bakin?
  muffins? I bet it’s muffins.
me: and bread
  i’m doing both right now
  i made a double batch but how did you know?
 Kyle: fancy schmancy
  because you always make muffins
  you love muffins
  it was an educated guess – a high-probability hypothesis, if you will.
I think I’m getting to predictable. I’m going to need to change the name of the blog so you know its all muffins all the time… Or you know, start cooking.
Anyway, these muffins/bread, whichever. Or both. This recipe is actually a double recipe. If you only want one loaf or one set of muffins, just cut each ingredient in half.
Also, this little guy, loved the muffins. He kept trying to steal them off the table.
And that face… he looks so innocent…
Ok, I know this is pumpkin, but the pictures all have a little of an off color. Its because I used my ipod to take the pictures. I need to learn to charge my camera!
(For the full recipe, see below)
To make these, start with the pumpkin.
Add in the sugar, vanilla yogurt, egg whites, apple sauce (or oil) and flax seeds (optional) and whisk together.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture into the the pumpkin mixture until moist.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Spread into a greased pan or muffin tins.
Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) on top so its look pretty.
Pop in the oven. Remove when it looks like this. And then complete the cooling on a wire rack.
Serve. And watch out for that pesky dog who is going to try to steal it.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Yield: two loaves or 24 muffins. (or 12 muffins and 1 loaf)
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup Apple sauce (or canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt (I used fat free vanilla greek yogurt)
  • 4 Large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional, if you do, leave out 1 egg white)
  • 1.5 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (you can use All Purpose Flour for this as well. 3 cups of flour total)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.25 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line muffin tins or spray muffin tins/loaf pans with cooking spray. (8 x 4 in loaf pans are recommended)
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, apple sauce, yogurt, egg whites and flax. Whisk together.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda together.
  • Add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and continue whisking until moist.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Spoon into loaf pans or muffin tins.
  • Bake. If you are baking loafs, bake for approximate 1 hour- 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you are baking muffins, bake approximately 15-20 minutes. In either case, bake until a tooth pick can be inserted and can come out clean from the center.
  • Cool for 5-10 minutes in pans, and then remove to a wire rack. Continue cooling.
  • Enjoy!

If you bake extra, who do you like to share yours with?

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Hello friends!

Sorry for the seriously overdue post! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to post. I’ve had lots of time to cook… and bake.

I’ve cooked and baked a lot! Now I just need some time to be posting without cooking. If only my fridge wasn’t empty right now…

 

Anyway, the Saturday after Thanksgiving we had a huge brunch at my house. All of the kids my brother and sister went to high school with (and a few parents) came by the house. We had bagels, waffles, bacon, eggs, and of course, muffins.

I decided to make two kinds of muffins. I knew one was going to be something pumpkin-ish because it was Thanksgiving weekend (we’ll get there soon) and the other would be my mom’s favorite… lemon poppy muffins.

My mom always complains that I make my food to healthy. She says it tastes good, but its not the buttery goodness she gets at a bakery. So I was determined to make the butteriest muffins, the most unhealthy but delicious muffins I could find.

 

And thats exactly what I did…

I googled “Martha Stewart Lemon Poppy Muffins,” which led me to this, a recipe brought to Martha Stewart Radio by Amy’s Bread.

I followed the directions almost completely. No healthy flours. Used every last drop of sugar. My only substitution was yogurt for the sour cream and that was only because I didn’t buy it.

 

The recipe recommends using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. I did it by hand. It worked, but it was tiring.

You start by creaming the butter and sugar together. 

Action shot:

Really get it creamy. Then add the eggs, and keep beating.

My mom tasted this. She thought it was delicious. It had better be. Its only butter, sugar and eggs.

In a separate small bowl, mix lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and poppy seeds. Then add that into the butter, sugar, eggs fluffiness.

Tip 1: Lemon Zest: You can use a grater. Just don’t press too hard. When you get to the white of the lemon, stop. Thats where it gets bitter and gross.

Tip 2: Lemon juice: Put the lemon in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. It should feel a little warm to the touch. You’ll get more juice out of it.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate small bowl. Add half of the flour into the buttery mix. Add the sour cream. Continue mixing. Add the rest of the flour in. Don’t over mix it.

Add into a greased muffin tin.

Bake. While its baking, whisk together more lemon juice and sugar.

Remove from the oven and brush muffins with lemon juice and sugar.

Serve!

I’d say my mom approved. Although she wasn’t so happy that I made her stay up until 1 am to try one fresh out of the oven… Such a trooper!

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Time: 30-45 minutes?

Cook Time: Less than 20 minutes

Yeilds: 12 Large overflowing muffins or 24 smaller (but still full) muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1.5 cups (+1 Tablespoon) sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3.25 cups all Purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice for Glaze
  • 1/4 cup Sugar for Glaze

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with one rack in the middle of the over. Grease the muffin tin.
  • In a mixer with the whisk attachment or with a whisk, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs until extremely fluffy. (and according to my mom… delicious)
  • In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Add into the batter. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Add half of this into the batter and mix until combined.
  • Add the yogurt into the batter and continue mixing. Add in the remaining dry ingredients. Do not over mix. (One day, I’ll define this.)
  • Scoop the batter into the muffin tin.
  • Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the muffin tin front to bake (so that it bakes evenly.) Continue baking for 8 minutes. Check after 3-4 minutes. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin.
  • While the muffins are baking combine the lemon juice and sugar for the glaze.
  • When the muffins are done baking, brush or spoon lemon juice mixture over each muffin to moisten.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm or wrap up muffins to keep them moist.

Mom approved!

(She always does…)

Thanksgiving Deliciousness

I had the most amazing Thanksgiving meal(s).

 

I had an early Thanksgiving with my dad and his family. It was nice to sit around the table and enjoy their company. I don’t see them often. We always pause in the meal and everyone says something they are thankful for. Its really nice. My dad’s sister in law made a ton of food and I tasted everything. It was so delicious. My cousin made this delicious butternut squash apple soup. I’m definitely getting that recipe.

 

And then we went with my mom to another Thanksgiving with a family we’ve been friends with forever. I call their mom my godmother. She’s not really, but for all intents and purposes she is. They aren’t biologically family, but for all intents and purpose they are family.

 

My brother and their second son were in day care together as babies. Like six months old. And our families have grown really close over the years. They have a son about my age and a daughter about the same age as my other siblings. They’ve been there for every major event in my life. Through a series of fortunate (and unfortunate) events, our families are forever entwined.

And my godmother is the best cook in the whole world. Her turkey is great. The cranberry sauce is delicious. I even look forward to her salad. But what I really love is her apple sauce. Totally homemade with chunks of real apple. So good. And the brownies. Delicious.

 

But of course, I’m an idiot. a) I forgot to bring my camera charger when I came home. b) I didn’t charge my camera before I left.

I couldn’t take pictures. I have NO pictures. I’m officially a terrible blogger. I failed.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

A quick note: I had some difficulty with the photos Addi sent me. I want to make sure I’m able to get that sorted out before I publish her post. It’ll come soon. A post Thanksgiving post I’m sure will be in order this Friday and then I’ll get Addi’s post here. Also, I apologize for any typos in this post. wordpress is a little funky right now and I can’t see what I’m typing.

I’m kind of a creature of habit. (Which, let me tell you, does not make for an easy blog. If you eat the same thing every day for breakfast, its barely interesting to me. No one wants to read that every day.)

Seriously though, when I find something I like, I have a tendency to stick with it until I discover something different or until I decide I don’t actually like it any more.

I’ve been a big fan of oatmeal for a while now. When I woke up last weekend, I was craving something warm, hearty, healthy, and appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving. The night before I’d gone to bed excited about the prospect of an omlete and coffee with out the rush or needing to leave my apartment. Saturday morning, I wanted something more holiday-ish. And then I found a can of pumpkin in my cabinet.

And now I’ve been eating pumpkin oatmeal (with some small variations) this entire week. I’ve tried honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, and milk as sweeteners. (Interestingly, I think milk is the best. Then maybe maple syrup if you like really sweet things.) I’ve added pecans some mornings for a little bit of crunch. My constants are the oatmeal, the pumpkin and the cinnamon and nutmeg. I love cinnamon.

Saturday I had it with some crushed pecans mixed in and a little bit of maple syrup and a delicious cup of coffee. So nice to just relax and enjoy the morning without having to rush to get ready for work.

Sunday I woke up after coming home from a Thanksgiving dinner and was craving more of this delicious treat.

I made another batch of oatmeal but used some brown sugar in place of the maple syrup. Better. More cinnamon. Even better. Add some chai tea, cantaloupe and the ending to a good book. Awesome Sunday morning.

This is really easy to make. So far, I’ve made it on the stove. I typically microwave my oatmeal in the morning, but I’ve been doing it on the stove. I’d imagine the microwave would work also.

The oatmeal I’ve been using is Country Choice Multigrain Hot Cereal from Trader Joes. Its great, but I’ve always added something to it.

Pumpkin Oatmeal
Cook time: 10 minutes (probably an exaggeration)
Yeilds: 1 bowl of oatmeal

Ingredients:
• Oatmeal (I recommend either ⅓ up or ½ cup)
• Water (2 parts water to 1 part oatmeal. i.e. ½ cup oatmeal needs 1 cup of water)
• A pinch of salt
• ½ cup pumpkin (I use Libby’s canned pumpkin)
• 2 Tbsp Milk
• Cinnamon—maybe 1 tsp, I don’t measure, I just add a lot
• Nutmeg – a few shakes

Directions
• Make oatmeal as following directions on packaging. Typically, heat oatmeal, water and salt until most of the water has cooked out.
• Slightly before the oatmeal has finished cooking, add in the pumpkin, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg.
• Continue stirring until the pumpkin is heated as well.
• Add additional cinnamon and nutmeg (and any other maple syrup, brown sugar, etc, you want… but don’t necessarily need) to taste

Whats your favorite thing to put in oatmeal?

Pecan lemon rosemary stuffed mushrooms

I just got home from an insane day at work. Its cold and rainy outside. I still have to clean up my apartment and pack for Thanksgiving. I seriously cannot wait to be on the train headed home for the weekend. I want to head to the gym in a bit but I need a break from my day. I’ve got my hot water with lemon (sounds weird, so good) and I’m taking a break to write a blog post. Stuffed mushroom.

 

Let me start by apologizing. I failed to take even half way decent pictures of these. Seriously. I mean, you’ll see. I meant to take pictures when I put them on a serving plate at Megan’s but I totally forgot. You’ll just have to take my word for it that they were good.

 

Or… OR!!!!… Addi, Ken, Megan, Caitlin or someone else who had one could comment…

 

I decided to make these after I saw this over at KathEats. They looked so good and seemed really easy to make. (Haha, and I usually say I don’t like mushrooms. They’re growing on me though.) I had to amend the ingredients based on what I have. I used rosemary and pecans instead of sage and almonds. I also decided not to make the bacon ones because I wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of the bacon. Thanks to Kath for the inspiration.

Here they are precooking:

Here they are post oven:

 

Pecan Lemon Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yields: about 20 mushrooms (however many fits in 2 pints)

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints of Mushrooms, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Goat Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 grinds of pepper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Rinse and dry mushrooms.
  • Coat mushrooms in olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
  • Soften goat cheese either on the counter or in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • Mix goat cheese with rosemary, pecans, honey, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper.
  • Scoop goat cheese mixture onto mushrooms
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Serve warm.

 

And I swear, they will look more appetizing than my pictures make them look. 😦

These are really easy and would make a super great appetizer for any Thanksgiving meal, if you’re looking for last minute ideas.

 

Also, check back in tomorrow. My friend, Addi, had a recipe she wanted to share with me. I asked if she wanted to do a guest post. Tomorrow will be “Roasted Veggies in a Foil Pouch a la the Bronx” brought to you by Addi.

 

Get ready for Thanksgiving!!!!!!

Peanut butter filled chocolate cookies

There were a lot of things I could have done that would have made these at least slightly healthier. Peanut butter filled chocolate cookies will never be healthy. And no one wants a healthy birthday present. So here they are, delicious peanut butter filled chocolate cookies.

You hand someone a cookie that looks like this:

And they find that its actually this:

Delicious.

These took me a little bit of time to figure out how to make them correctly. I got the original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I followed their recipe for the most part, but made some slight changes. The way they constructed their cookies wasn’t working so well. I mean, it was. They tasted fine. And they looked cool.

Believe it or not, those are already baked. But they look like swirls. I didn’t want swirls, I wanted it filled. So I changed the way I made them.

Side note: This recipe calls for powdered sugar. When I was a kid, my friend and I decided to make a cake for her mom’s birthday. We made a marble cake but melded it together it too much so it looked like an a light colored chocolate cake. And then we made the frosting from scratch. It called for “confectioners sugar.” We had granulated sugar. This was pre-google days. We didn’t know what the difference was… we were 8. So we made the frosting with granulated sugar. It tasted fine… but it was crunchy. hahaha. What a great birthday present… crunchy frosting over a not marbled marble cake… In the shape of a heart.

Anyway, the cookies:

Makes 32 cookies.

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
Peanut butter filling:
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare cookie dough:
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix dry cookie ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, both sugars and peanut butter with an electric mixer until combined. (I rarely use electric mixers, but it seemed worth it for this.)
  • Add egg, milk and vanilla to the wet ingredients and continue mixing.
  • Stir in dry ingredients by hand.
  • When combined, roll into 32 balls (about 1.25 inches in diameter) and lay out on a piece of wax paper.
Prepare peanut butter filling:
  • Mix peanut butter and sugar.
  • You can separate out into different segments for each cookie. I did, but its probably not necessary. I had extra peanut butter anyway.
Construct your cookies:
  • Divide the dough balls into two sections and flatten each section.
  • Place the peanut butter in the middle of one circle of cookie dough.
  • Place the other piece of dough on top of it and push the edges to blend them together.
In other words, go from this:
To this:
Baking:
  • Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8 minutes.
  • Bake until they are just set. They don’t always look like they are really cooked, but they are.
  • Let stand 1 minute before removing from the cookie sheet.
There you go. Peanut butter filled chocolate cookies.
Enjoy!

Rebuild

People often talk about the friends you can count on in a crisis. The friends who will take care of you in difficult times. The friends who will show up hundreds of miles away just to be with you in your hour of need.

Unfortunately, last year I was put in a position to put my friends to the test. To find out just how wonderful my friends are.

Today is my birthday. Last year, as I prepared for my brother’s funeral, I came to realize that birthdays are about celebrating life. A birthday is an opportunity to be thankful for things you have in your life. It is a time set a side to turn to someone and say “thank you for being in my life.” We don’t tell people often enough that we love them.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends. To thank them for making me leave my apartment when I didn’t think I could. For sitting with me when I really couldn’t. For listening to me talk about Adam for hours on end. For wiping me tears and laughing with me when I didn’t think I could laugh.

I would never in a million years want to be in a situation where I had to see who would stand by my side. I didn’t have a choice in this, but thank you for standing by my side and reminding me of all the good in this world.

 

I want to share with you a poem Adam wrote when he was 10 or 11. Its been incredibly helpful to me in surviving this last year. When people say they don’t know if they’d be able to get out of bed in the morning, I often think about how I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I think about the times I don’t think I can move forward, but I tell them that I do it because of my brother. Knowing Adam, he would hate the idea of my life stopping because his did. So for him, I’m rebuilding. And this poem has reminded me that I need to.

Rebuild

by Adam London

When you build a wall, know that it will fall,

And when it does, do not cry, or begin to wonder why,

Pick up the pieces, and build it again.

Rebuild my friend, Rebuild.

God did it when he made the great flood,

Our forefathers did it, when they spilt their blood,

Rome did it, after being burnt to the ground,

Superman did it, in a single bound,

Because under the whole worlds weight, even a young man dies,

For all that you love, rebuilding applies.

And sometimes it gets hard to do,

And you wonder if you will ever pull through,

And, I guess sometimes life just isn’t fair,

I guess sometimes God just doesn’t care,

And the load becomes sole yours to bear,

Rebuild my friend, Rebuild.

Sometimes walls begin to weaken, and it becomes an obstacle,

But slowly you build it stronger, success is physiological.

And again it gets weak, life is volatile.

But every time it falls, you pick up the pieces,

And all of the pain you feel, it ceases.

They all say that if I have a problem I can’t flee,

But how am I supposed to stay, open your eyes and then you’ll see,

Sometimes there is no solution,

Sometimes life just revolves, a continuous revolution,

And while this isn’t always the apt way to answer,

Sometimes you got to just deal with the cancer,

There is nothing wrong with cleaning your slate,

So in the end, it is you who decided your fate.

Rebuild my friend, Rebuild.

Because under the whole worlds weight, even a young man dies,

For all that you love, rebuilding applies.

When you build a wall, know that it will fall,

And when it does, do not cry, or begin to wonder why,

Pick up the pieces, and build it again.

Rebuild my friend. Rebuild.

 

Dear Adam

I’m going to share one of my biggest secrets with you.

The last words I said to my brother before he died were “If you drive like that, you’re going to get yourself killed.” It was July 3, 2010. We were driving home from meeting a friend’s new baby. Adam begged me to let him drive. Pulled the “be a cool big sister” card. He was about to get his license and I kind of wanted to see him drive.

He took a turn too fast. He checked his cell phone. I had to yell at him to put on his seat belt. I yelled at him. And as we turned from Homer Street onto Cedar Street I said “If you drive like that, you’re going to get yourself killed.”

Less than 2 months later, one year ago today, Adam died in a car accident.

It was a rainy night. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. He was speeding. He took a turn too fast. He hit a tree. His car flipped. And like that, in an instant, Adam was gone.

I don’t regret saying that to him. I do regret phrasing it that way. Of course I wish I’d said something else to him after that. I know we talked on the phone after that day. Still, I wish in that car ride I’d told him I loved him, that I was upset because I loved him. That it came from a place of caring. I’m actually glad I said it and didn’t just think it. I can’t imagine how awful I’d feel and much I’d regret not telling him to drive more carefully.

I do hate how prophetic those words were. I hate having that memory.

The truth is that I wish I’d said it louder. I wish I’d yelled more. I wish I’d made him pull over and give me the keys. I wish I’d insisted my parents ground him. I wish that I had said something, done something, anything, that would have made him understand just how dangerous cars were.

Maybe then he would have worn his seatbelt. He might have driven a little bit slower. Maybe he would have noticed the rain and decided to drive slower. Maybe it wouldn’t have been a conscious thought at all, just a tendency to drive a little more carefully. But I didn’t shout it loud enough then. And he didn’t drive slower, or more carefully, or with a seatbelt on.

So today, if only for today, I want to shout it. I know it wont bring Adam back. I know it wont make my pain any less. In fact, it hurts to talk about it. I can only hope that it will save one other family, one other community from the pain we have experienced. If thats all it does, saves one other life, then shouting it will be worth it.

Here it is, my plea that you drive with more awareness, that you share this with others so this message can reach as far as possible.

In the weeks after Adam’s accident, my family, with the help of of some amazing friends, started an organization called A Promise to Adam.

I’m asking that you go to our website and sign our pledge. Its really simple. Its six of the easiest things you can possibly do.

Here is what I’m asking you to sign and then do:

I promise:

1. Never to ride in a car without a seatbelt.

2. Never to drive too fast, because where I’m going will be there, whether I’m five minutes early or 50 minutes late.

3. Never to drive after drinking, even the smallest amount, because I cannot understand how impaired I may be.

4. Never to drive after putting anything in my body that may limit my ability to think, understand and react.

5. Never to text while I drive, because the message is never more important than my life.

6. And, perhaps hardest of all, to stop my friends when they try to do any of the above. Take away their keys; call their parents; call a cab; wrestle them to the ground, if necessary. Whatever it takes.

THESE THINGS I PROMISE YOU, ADAM.

ADAM MICHAEL SPIVAK LONDON.

Just fill out the promise here.

And if you’re a parent, make this additional promise.

It doesn’t cost money. It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to sign the pledge. It doesn’t take much time at all follow the pledge. A few seconds each time you’re in the car.

So that’s it. I’m asking that you help me honor my brother and my last memory of him. Sign the pledge. Tell your friends about it.

It wont give me a chance to watch my brother go off to college or to have one more family photo. I understand that.

But it might give you a chance to watch your child or brother or friend go to college. It might give you cause to take and cherish that next family photo.

Thank you.

Oh, and Adam,

I’m so sorry I said it that way.

Words will never fully be able to express how much I miss you. I could write a book and it would never capture exactly how this feels. There are only three words that can even begin to explain what I feel: I love you. In all the simplicity of those words, I hope you can still feel the sincerity and the weight I say them with.

On the days when the world seems to have stopped, I think of how much you loved life and how much energy you brought into this world. I try to use just a little bit of that to get out of bed, to put one foot in front of the other, to take the next breath. And the nights when I can’t sleep, I beg you to visit me in my dreams. To give me one more opportunity to feel your hugs or watch you roll your eyes when I ask for one, even if I know it’ll all be gone when I open my eyes. When ever I make a wish, I wish one of two things. For the health and safety of all those I know and love, so that I never have to experience this pain again. Or, when I need something for me, I ask for a dream that feels so real that I believe you’re really there.

I hope you and Abe have one epic game of monopoly going on right now. I love you both.

With all the love a sister can have,

Katie

Lizzy, me, Eric and Adam, Eric’s Graduation from College, 2007