yep, that just about sums it up...

yep, that just about sums it up...

that little snapshot up above (a frosty cocktail) pretty much paints a picture of my saving grace each night at around 5:30pm when we had left the roller coasters, over-priced carnival games and turkey legs behind at the theme parks and had graduated to the hotel pool for a little R&R before starting it all over again after dinner. did we really need to cover two parks a day for five days? i think not. but  i am married to a kid and he had an agenda and on it was every ride from the hulk to the seven dwarves mine train and we travelled no less than 25,000 steps every day to check them each off our list. if no one has ever told you disney is "the most wonderful place on earth," i'm here to tell you that while i may agree, i think "the most tiring place on earth" is a little more accurate. for. the. love. that was no vacation. 

but while my veiled sarcasm may paint a picture that was less than idyllic, in the interest of honesty and full disclosure, our vacation. was. AWESOME. like my husband, i have a little 11 year old in me that screams for speed, exhilaration as well as the need for finding every single disney pin ever sold on the property for my lanyard. born in the lake placid olympics generation when we collected pins on for our ski hats like they were playing cards, my kids and i raced from one park employee to the next chomping at the bit to see which pins we could trade in between racing through the fast pass lines and downing cups of butter beer. there are no places more addictive and compulsive than disney & universal, the parks filled with places to spend money, test your limits of bravery (georgia failed misery...she does not take after me or my husband) and gorge yourself on every type of culinary indulgence. but hey, it's orlando, wasn't that what we were there for??

but my takeaway wasn't excitement over finally getting to ride rip it rocket or seeing the fireworks overhead at 9pm. in truth, it the opportunity to spend 9 consecutive days with my  husband, four kids and my son's best friend in a place where you can do and be pretty much whatever you want. watching them laugh, buoy one another up when one was a little fearful, hold each other's hands, be kind to strangers and respectful to any number of waiters, ticket takers and fellow park goers afforded me the time to see our hard work in action. all the times we tell them "be kind to your sister," "let someone else have a chance," "listen to your brother's story without  interrupting," have paid off. watching these five kids joke around, share pins with one another, give someone a boost onto a ride they couldn't manage solo made my heart sing. i am so lucky to have been blessed with these kids in my life, but also have the means to take them to a place as (f&*%ing) fun (freakin' loud) & crazy  (and exhausting) and act like a kid again. don't get me wrong, plenty of moments i wanted to string one of them up by their necks (wow, that sounded a little harsh...if accurate), but the overall takeaway: best. trip. ever.

now i need another vacation because i'm exhausted. 

back to work this week and we are READY. TO. GO. spring sports have begun, plays and activities are nearing their show times, and you moms & dads are taxed and overwrought from a long week with no school. and i know no one came home from vacation and whipped up a week's worth of healthy meals yesterday in anticipation of the busyness (well, except me...insert self-deprecating smile, but that's because i ate my weight in dairy products & french fries. don't judge me). we have your favorite's right below so take a gander and order up straight from the website: and remember, we deliver to your doorstep, couldn't be any easier than that.

i'm not one to laud this holiday. frankly, i hate it.

it's valentine's day and the best way to your bae's heart is, unequivocally, through his stomach (or at least that's been my experience being married to an italian who could eat cardboard smothered in sunday gravy if i let him). 

i am not one to laud this holiday. frankly, i hate it. it's like new year's eve: all those poor slobs without a man/woman to smooch when the clock strikes midnight are left feeling like they are defective while their cute (read: probably slutty) counterparts are tipping back champagne and giggling profusely as they are hugged tight by the strapping quarterback types. uh, it's just STRESSFUL. well, at least it was for me, an awkward, glasses-wearing teenager with terrible skin and 14 (jesus mom, we couldn't get on the orthodontics earlier in life than FOURTEEN??). valentine's day is like an exercise in feeling badly for about 84% of the population. watching my teenagers gearing up for it last night, picking out their outfits and buying cheesy crap from the Rite Aid to give to their potential crushes (i say potential bc i'm not privy to the actual data with those ever), it just about gave me heart burn to watch. don't break their hearts, please, be kind. 

 so needless to say, while i have myself a strapping bae now, i'm still not one to make a huge to do over this particular celebration in any way other than gastonomically. awwww yeah baby, FOOD. who doesn't like themselves some tasty grub mid-winter when they can still hide under an over-sized sweater?? i do.  

oh you know it....

oh you know it....

i can not, can NOT, begin to explain how much i enjoyed that game last night. and i'm not even an eagles fan. god there is something so gratifying about seeing a bunch of overinflated egos get made right size again. not a person i know thought the underdog eagles could do it against platinum tom brady. 

 - who is this journeyman nick foles? 

- isn't he the back up?

 - you think he can perform on a grand stage??

um, yes, it seems YES is the correct answer there. and could he have been ANY CUTER holding that little smush of a baby girl with her hot pink sound-eliminating ear muffs - SERIOUSLY!!! my boy may be little vanilla behind the microphone but naming his kid and wife before his team and coach sends him to the top of the heap in my eyes.

they say on any given day...and having lived that saying on both sides of the coin (and hating it when my team has gone into a game as the surefire winner and come out bruised, battered, asses in hand) there is nothing so humbling to those who thought they had a W in hand to see the underdog come out on top. but isn't that the beauty of sports? of life? that the ones who look like they have it all figured out and like sh*t just flows smoothly for them in every instance have to endure a brutal ego adjustment every now and again just like the rest of us? not that i'm wishing negativity and hardship on people (well, maybe just on platinum tom), but it's nice to be able to teach our kids that though it looks like so-and-so always comes out on top, or johnny whosey-doopie always gets every new phone/game/article of clothing he wants before anyone else, they are enduring their own struggles perhaps behind the scene (or sometimes on the grandest stage of all). 

life isn't fair but the one trueity i know is that everyone will get theirs. maybe you got yours at 8, 15, or 39 years old and your best friend never seems to have anything but trips to paris and roses for no reason. trust me when i say, everyone gets their share of the sh*t. so as we sit and applaud that eagle victory today from the watercooler, know that the great equalizer that may have already wreaked its havoc on your world is circulating out of your world and into someone else. be grateful you can enjoy your moment of peace, happiness and victory after having watched the underdogs prevail. and know somewhere tom is crying in his cheerios...hahaha (sorry to my pats fans customers, i still love you though)!!

why did i think this was a good idea again??

sitting in my tiny, spartan hotel room in arizona before the sun comes up, about to embark on some self improvement at a retreat, if i am to be truly honest (and when in my blog have i not been truly honest??), i'm wondering what part of me thought this was a good idea three months ago when i booked my ticket? five days of intensive searching and learning will begin in about 90 minutes with a bunch of complete strangers and i am anxious, fearful and frankly, down right pissed. why did i leave the comforts of cozy hohokus with everything and everyone that i know and love for a shithole room at the best western with nary a loved one in sight? if i was one of my kids, i would want my lovey right about now, but i'm not, so i guess i am on my own for the next few days. 

as i boarded the plane yesterday, my extremely accommodating and understanding husband (he's on morning (noon  & night) duty the next five days when he's supposed to be at his desk at 6:30am which makes that a little tricky) gave me a hug and a kiss and ensured me i was going to crush it. my kids squeezed the life out of me with their hugs, the younger two shooting mournful puppy dog eyes while asking why i couldn't "learn to be a better, calmer person"  at home rather than leave them for five days. and could they climb into my suitcase and come? it was all i could do not to let my own fears combine with theirs and send me to tears. but i held it together, found myself a bag of pretzels & a diet coke, the new kelly corrigan book to read on the plane and headed to my gate. truth be told: i wanted to cry. i wanted to stay. i wanted to smuggle them into my suitcase so i wouldn't have to be alone. so i wouldn't have to be quiet with my thoughts. so i could have something to busy myself with. but down to the gate i trudged, sad, scared, excited, hopeful all mixing in to create a emotion-filled madwoman looking for answers.

my new year's resolution was to slow down. to be more present. to quiet the noise and find more peace with myself and for my family. a tricky proposition given i have four kids, a husband and a cafe & catering business that sometimes makes finding quiet a near impossibility. but i don't believe that's an excuse. i want to learn what is enough. i am searching to unlock the question i have been striving to answer for 44 years: why do i need to do, to be? and i plan to find some of those answers this week for myself. i will benefit from it. my kids will benefit from it. and i gotta think my husband will enjoy a less wired, more serene partner around the house not barking orders like he's my sous chef. so here goes nothing. hold down the fort back in chilly nj for me while i am listening to therapists and meditation experts and doing downward dog more than i probably care to. my fabulous crew has you covered with tasty hot dinners and fresh food pumping out all week. next time you see me i'll be all pema chodron on ya.



if i could give you visual right now, i'd be snapping my fingers and all fulla attitude. christmas is four days away and i have got. my. shit. TOGETHER. 

presents? check. house decorated? check. food shopping done? check. 36 parties between now and christmas day at catchy.? AW YEAH BABY!! CHECK.

needed to holla at you all, with just 10 days until the end of this year, to thank you for being the wonderful customers and friends you are and have become this year. you remind me why i do what i do. 

standing in my shop today, an older woman about my mom's age asked if i was the owner after picking up her lunch. i said yes and she began telling me how much she liked the feeling she got when she walked into my shop each week. i hear ya, me too. we launched into a rambling 20 minute conversation about working hard, finding your happy place, raising kids & instilling values (ya know, just your usual surface conversation). she left after introducing herself and my knowing she will return (i hope so jodi:)) and reminded once more why i do what i do. 

my customers make me happy. you walk in looking for a break, looking to connect, looking to share and we are here and love to meet you just where you are. connection is one of three things i value most in life (courage & compassion are the other two but that's a story for another time). meeting people where they are whether that be in need of a laugh, a break from life and a healthy salad, or a hug because they have just received the shittiest of shitty news and need to have someone take care of cooking for their family for a while, we are here for you. what goes around, comes around and we hope you keep coming around.

have a wonderful holiday season. 

i hope all your wishes come true. 


lordy lordy lordy.

lordy lordy lordy.

it's only december 3rd and in the span of 36 hours i went from bright and cheery as i helped pack up 16,000 rice dinners with my girls & a troop of daisies at the rise against hunger event, happy as a clam (prob because i didn't have to wear that ridiculous hair net they had on) to overwrought, argumentative (with my husband who probably deserves an apology i'm not ready to give him) and deadtired. we need to adjust the expectations people. december ought to be festive and i'm proving to be a giant freakin' bah humbug.

this weekend marked the third straight in record breaking levels of sales. both at the cafe, as well as of holiday catering we just pumped out the good stuff all week long. can i get an AMEN SISTA!! yes!! 

we marked the two year anniversary of catchy.'s doors being open and serving up some of the tastiest, freshest food in bergen county. and we catered over a dozen events with upwards of 2 dozen staff out on  them making sure our customers didn't lift a finger at their special events. tiring? hell yes. but pretty darn satisfying too. nothing better than watching people dancing up a storm in their kitchens with friends while calvin harris jams out his "feels" and remembering why it was i got into this business seventeen years ago. heating up bbq chicken & waffles and pumping out greek salad cups with my oldest two kids next to me clearing trays and picking up napkins, i realize this is why i do this: teamwork, fun, joy. it doesn't take much to remind me that being tired is fleeting, but making memories for my customers, my staff as well as myself is pretty grand. stop and smell the posies folks, they are pretty damn sweet. 

so i'm off to bed and i have no f&*$ing clue what we are serving at the cafe this week. i'm prettyyyy sure the dinners below ring a bell, but maybe that's just the after effects of serving 140 people meatball parm spring rolls last night. you're going to have to cut me a break this morning. 

happy new year.

i woke today around 4am when my husband's alarm went off with a full moon out my window, sunken very low in the sky. a huge, glowing ball that lit up the sky. it was incredible, it was actually almost light out. and while i was grateful not to have his job and to have to rise at that hour, a part of me still lamented that the new year was upon us, that the kids would start back to school today and life would churn on, albeit, with a lot less sugar and technology in my house (my family's two new years propositions). 

i was talking to my friend yesterday about how the new year depresses me. she was shocked. for a very glass-half-full kind of gal, she couldn't believe i didn't see this day as a new beginning. i don't. i see it as a, "shit, we have to start all over again," without any of the positive carry over from the previous 365 days. it always struck me as sort of like the beginning of a new lacrosse season (i played all through my years at school). you don't get to carry your previous season's accomplishments with you into that first freezing cold day on the turf in february. no, everything starts from here. you have to rebuild everything from day 1. or do you?? huh. she got me thinking.

what if, rather than insist we always be doing things better, faster, more perfectly, how about we just focus on progress. progress (as i listened to in a podcast yesterday on the treadmill), is the development toward a more complete condition. i love that. a more complete condition. that was not my definition of success growing up. my definition of success included a learning curve with a slope of at least 45 degrees or greater. as in, you're going out for a run? did you run it faster? did you run longer than yesterday? did you do more? and did you do that more, better? i'm tired of that model. i used to see that model as my super power. that model separated me from the pack and helped me stand out, shine, it got me attention. but it doesn't work for me anymore. today, i choose happiness. i choose peace. and i can't choose those things by grinding myself to a nub every single day, in and out for 44 years. it just doesn't work (trust me, i've tried). 

so while i used to see the new year as a negative, as a sort of internal challenge of "what are you going to do more of or better this year Erin?" today i am going to try and look at it through the lens of my friend Mel, who sees the day as a new beginning, a reset button. Through the lens of my kids, who got up every day of vacation and chose Barbie Dream House or Lego Police Station, who chose Fruit Loops or a piece of toast without judging themselves for it and every other decision they make every day. 

today, on this the second day of the new year, i choose to be a little more gentle on myself. sure i'm going to try and pare back my technology use so i can be more present for myself, my husband and my kids. i'm going to try and take sugar and processed crap out of my diet for the foreseeable future in an attempt to feel better, sleep better and think more clearly. but for today when i slip at those attempts, when i stumble and fall short of perfection, i am going to remember that all we need to strive for is progress. for development towards a more complete model, but certainly not the complete model. because perfection is boring. and it's the path, the journey, that i want to focus on with the people who are most important to me. and if i'm trying to get it right all the time and be perfect, it's a pretty sure bet that i am expecting that of them too and i'm gonna say that's not a lot of fun to live with.

so here's to progress is 2018. here's to getting a little better. a little stronger. a little more patient and a lot more understanding and gentle with ourselves and those around us. 

thanksgiving is over. can i get a dilly dilly?

thanksgiving is over. can i get a dilly dilly? 

it's my favorite holiday of the year with all that stuffing, gravy and pumpkin breads by the dozen. but man, thanksgiving is a crapload of work for a 15 minute meal, don't you think? i don't know about you folks but after a long week of work, kids off on vacation starting wednesday at 12:45pm, and the holidays glaring at me like a a hungry dog that hasn't been fed, getting a meal together for 23 people in my house felt like i was preparing to run the NYC marathon, but hadn't really put the appropriate amount of effort into my training. 

thankfully i am the youngest of five and had myself some kick*ss reinforcements on my team. mom popped out to my house on monday night to set my tables (she's the martha stewart in this crew). i had sister-in-laws and brothers bringing extra turkeys and pots of mashed potatoes, appetizers and of course more beer, wine & huckleberry vodka (my contribution) to inebriate a small army (which, on thanksgiving day, we in fact are). and for all the stress of strain of trying to keep this pot of gravy warm, these sweet potatoes from setting off the alarm because the marshmallows kept burning and those damn kids from polishing off the loaves of pumpkin bread that i felt like i kept slicing and replenishing only to turn around and see it had vanished again, it's the most wonderful holiday of the year for me. there is no anxiety of: is she going to like my gift? did i get my goddaughter the right size? does my tree look lopsided. thanksgiving is all about food & family. 

no one really cares if the turkey is dry (it was, my thermometer read 220 degrees at one point...and yes, i did go to cooking school). drown it in gravy. no one cares if they are stuck next to boring aunt rita, top off your champagne flute and she will seem far more interesting. the focus is gratitude and i for one, after a year of harvey weinsteins & roy moores, of mass shootings at concerts and churches, need nothing more than to look around my farmhouse table over a decadent plate of food to see the people i love all in one place, laughing loving and together for one fleeing moment to know how lucky i am.

remember that folks as we head into the next 28 days. there may be people who you think: i can't spend a holiday with so & so, they are too bossy/nosy/nasty/depressing. try. acceptance. they won't be around forever. one day you will look back and wish you had just found a way to accept their insecurities and flaws because they will be gone and you can't bring them back. there is good in everyone, well, maybe not harvey, but you know what i mean. i for one am grateful i am to have what i have. can i get another dilly dilly? happy monday and order yourself something nice today