holy cripes it's cold out there.

holy cripes it's cold out there. minus 4 degrees this morning when i went to turn my car on in the driveway. MINUS FOUR. this is not minnesota, people. i am just not equipped for this sh*t.

i'm a thin skinned jersey girl. i like sunshine and plus thirty degree temps (actually i like plus sixty degree temps) and am not, i repeat, NOT good in the cold. every time january rolls around i begin to wonder what i was thinking building our dream house up north (well, now that i'm separated i wonder just what in the hell i was thinking building a dream house at all, but that's a story for another time)? how did it not occur to me that florida might have been a better fit for my weak-weathered constitution??

as i closed my door this morning, praying the car would heat up quickly, i glimpsed sight of a hardened jogger, headlamp bobbing as he bounced down the road. dude what are you thinking? it is was minus 4 now, what the hell was it when you left your house a half hour ago? minus 8? i can barely manage the chill of my gym when i walk in and have to talk my jacket off and start padding along on the treadmill and this spartan warrior was cutting an 8-minute mile pace in the dark. i am weak people. WEAK.

so i'm going to throw some food out there for you this week that will warm the cockles of your heart (yes, i just typed cockles. i blame the cold). we have got our savory MEATLOAF with CREAMY MASHED POTATOES for dinner along with our usual veal & ricotta meatballs over linguine, baked shrimp scampi & lasagna bolognese to stick to your ribs. or if you are still trending towards the healthy (which by the record breaking first three weeks of january it would seem you are - whoo!) we've a KALE CAESAR with GRILLED CHICKEN! yes, me: kale caesar, i'm going for it, healthy greens in hopes or cancelling out the number of diet cokes i've been throwing back. in addition, we've got our crispy CRAB CAKE SALAD (yes sir, that'll make you think summertime, boom!) or our WINTER WEDGE (think creamy blue cheese crumbles draping over a crisp wedge of iceberg with one of our delicious homemade vinaigrettes - because ALL of our vinaigrettes are homemade...yup. ask your other favor haunts if they blend their dressings by hand every morning...they do not).

we will conquer this cold together. oh, and we deliver. so you don't even have to go out in the cold for our tasty food. word.

these are what we call NIRVANA.

we are just seven days away from SUPERBOWL LIII. this could be my absolute favorite eating holiday of the year, i live for bar food.

get. it. on.

see these? did i make the image big enough? these are what we call NIRVANA.

buffalo chicken fingers. freshly cut white meat chicken (antibiotic free of course). freshly breaded with crispy, crunchy panko breadcrumbs (as in like every. single. day. no, they're not frozen. ever). then we wait to sauce them at the VERY. LAST. MINUTE. do you know why? because i like crispy, panko crusted buffalo chicken finger PERFECTION and that only happens when we don't jump the shark. patience. you only sauce after you've heated and the game has begun. yes. this is a science. and i've made it mine.

so that is our first shout out this week about our SUPER BOWL delectables. oh, there will be more. a little meatball parm spring rolls here, then we'll throw a little love at the roasted corn guac. whatever the super bowl food, catchy. does it better than anyone else.

now i am back to my bed to convalesce. between puking kids home hugging my avocado and some sinus surgery hell two days ago, this week has not been my finest. by the time this super bowl rolls around i should be ready to knock back about four quarts of guacamole and enough buffalo chicken goodness to add two sizes to my pants. i'm fired up!

that super bowl was a LOT.

aghhhhh, that super bowl was a LOT.

a LOT of chili. a LOT of roasted corn guacamole & chips. and a LOT of those double chocolate brownies i vowed i would not touch because there is some chip missing in my brain that doesn't' tell me i have hit satiety and i just KEEP. EATING. THEM. UNTIL. well, until i want to hurl.

but that's cool, because it's a lot, but it's just one day a year. one day a year of consuming 6284 calories isn't going to kill me. one day a year where i get to eat whatever the hell i want because of a football game where a 41 year old can best all his younger competitors & win his sixth national championship, where tattooed rock stars can shed their ugly shirts and gyrate on stage, and where my kids get to hang with their cousins until which only leads to the crankiest morning on record today (hence the delay in my blog). but what's a little fudgey happiness? just a blip on the radar.

and now we are back to reality. and catchy. has got options for you. we've got incredible salads like "the ridiculous" where we scoop quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts, spiced pecans and roasted butternut squash onto a heap of arugula and maybe even toss a grilled piece of salmon on top to really make it sing. or we have our sticky beef & broccoli over jasmine rice & steamed broccoli for a more satisfying dinner experience that is still light and delicious. or you can just say f*ck it, and dive into a mound of the sauciest, savoriest pulled pork you have EVER. PUT. IN. YOUR. MOUTH. on a mound of triple cheesy macaroni & cheese & a side of steamed broccoli (because i love to pretend that will undo the effects of the creamy noodley, pork extravaganza).

so GET ON IT. order up. send your favorite neighbor who just had a baby a dinner. or just call in for yourself. fill up your own cup with all of this tasty goodness. catchy. has got you covered.

don't judge me.

this guy is going to be the death of me. and yes, that is a bag of miniature chocolates i have in my refrigerator for emergencies. don't judge me.

the holidays are hard. christmas presents. school concerts. decorating the house. cookie swaps (which necessitate cookie ingredient shopping, cookie baking, cookie sampling). and then impromptu holiday get togethers in your house (last night) that last five hours and total 3,895 calories of oreo mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich ingestion. it's hard. but what's harder than all that: the post-party hour of washing bowls and wine glasses and sweeping up the tortilla chips your ravenous children manage to crunch into every crack of your hard wood floor is the f*cking elf. whyyyyyy?? why did america give us one more thing to remember in a month where there is already SO MUCH TO REMEMBER?!?

i can't even.

my husband used to manage the elf. and that's to say, i had to try and remember to remind him every night (sorry, not to throw you under the bus butttt, #iftheshoefits). that was fruitless. our kids would race downstairs every morning and come back up whining that our elf hadn't moved. cripes. i would come up with some half baked explanation blaming, perhaps, their naughty behavior or unwillingness to clean their room the day before on his immobility. but the bottom line is, they always thought our elf a little lazy and a little challenged because, somehow, he just ended up in the same spot night after night after night.

so this year i vowed would be different. our elf was going to kill it in 2018. in a year when i couldn't possibly manage another thing, i pledged to myself our elf would be: the fun elf this year. and damn it if i didn't start december off with a bang. cherry the elf made cookies. he got into a tussle with the scotch tape dispenser and adhered himself to a kitchen window. i. was. on. a. ROLL. and then last night happened. the party and the clean up and my resolve was shot to sh*t. i got up in the middle of the night to ponder how the hell i was going to manage life as a single mom pretty soon and suddenly i remembered! sh*t! i didn't move cherry!!

i hustled downstairs, grabbed the elf and scoped the joint out. where? i couldn't come up with a single, damn creative thought (in my defense, it was 2:45am). stumped, i opened the fridge and jammed him into the bag of emergency, feel-better-for-yelling-at-kids-for-the-seventy-third-time-today, mini treats i have on hand. it was weak, it was unimaginative, it was pathetic really, but it was all i had in my tank. elf grade for the day: D-. so be it.

the moral of the story is ENOUGH. something is better than nothing and i am not going to compare myself to the freakin' lists on pinterest of people who CLEARLLLLY have more time and imagination than i do. it is what it is kids and if you don't like it, than cherry can fly back to the north pole and tell santa what a loser he is for not being a more fun elf like your friend's tiny little red fairies. i only have so many shits to give, and this one ain't getting one.

let loose today and leave your elf in the same spot. teach these kids that life is full of disappointments and it's all going to work out in the end. and then order up some ass-kicking buffalo chicken fingers and crispy fries to dispense with your sadness. it's the holidays after all. we are all allowed a little indulgence.

boom. boom. explosions everywhere.

straight from the sandy beaches of north palm: relaxed, a little tanned, my pockets filled with the greens, blues & browns of the sea glass i love to search for, i was peaceful for what only seemed like a fleeting moment. and then like clockwork: BOOM. BOOM. explosions everywhere.

i was unpacking my suitcase when i reached in and was treated to a soft, silky, handful of shampoo. oh, come onnn. what the f*ckkkkk. it was everywhere. on my sunglasses. in my journal. dripping down the inside of my new running shoes. for the love, why did i not pack it in a ziploc?? ey. as i started removing each item from my suitcase, my phone rang for the fourth time. arghhh. with a palmful of herbal essences, i couldn't quite pick up the first few times but when the voicemail icon suddenly popped onto the screen, i decided to play it as background to my cleaning escapades. not such a great idea.

"erin, it's your aunt jean. i'm going to leave a message because i have tried to call four times (this was said with annoyance, sorry aunt jean, i'm not always available) and i wanted to share my thoughts. i just read your blog from last week. honey, i'm not sure you should be writing all that. i think some people might be, well, how do i say this (then she paused for ten or twelve seconds to decide how to say what no one asked her) 'PUT OFF'

(i could envision the air quotes) by hearing all that. no one really wants to hear about other peoples troubles i don't think. so i know you are having a tough time, but really, i think it would be better for your whole family, if you just kept that to yourself. take care though okay? and if you need me, just shout." oh, i need you alright. i need you to mind ya business and keep your opinion to yourself aunt jean.

i'm not sure which little explosion annoyed me more. a handful of 2-in-1 conditioner or someone poking their nose into my life. i'm gonna say it was a straight-up tie.

you see, i'm a big believer in people being entitled to their opinions. you have a FaceBook page and want to spout on about trump being the next coming. go right ahead. it's a free country, no one should stop you. you want to post 12,000 pictures of your baby in her 47 outfits sitting, sleeping, standing. knock yourself out. that's the beauty of america. it's a free country. you are allowed to be just whatever the hell you want to be. again: AMERICA, SUPER LUCKY.

me? i am having a shitty few months. this blog? my space. the one that has always afforded me enormous leeway to work through whatever madness races around my wacky little head. sometimes it's all happiness about my kids and their kickass achievements. other times, it includes (possibly too many) cool pictures snapped of my catering events where my team of people dazzles guests at their christmases, weddings or first communions. and other times (like now aunt jean), it's where i share how tremendously awful it feels to be sitting in a broken marriage while trying to keep four kids excited about the holidays as their world comes tumbling around them. without judgment. my blog is where i am free to be me: it took me 45 years to get to that place of not giving a crap what others think so thanks for your opinion aunt jean, but no thanks. we are like planet fitness over here: THIS IS THE NO JUDGEMENT ZONE.

so just a holiday disclaimer from someone who's been there, if you have an opinion of someone, perhaps wait to share it. because you never know. someone, somewhere may be having a really tough time and however that presents itself to you, while maybe not the way you might handle it, is saving them just a little bit that day.

go easy on everyone this holiday season folks. this time of year can be tricky whether you are happy as a clam or down in the dumps. and if you need cheering up, plan a party and order some tasty candy bacon. i can't promise anything, oh, wait - YES I CAN. that sh*t will change your life.

we are a toddler!

and so it's begun. december has arrived and we are off to the races folks.

party time.

the swing from thanksgiving into hanukkah & christmas happened so fast we jumped right over december 1st. DECEMBER 1st!! it was the three year anniversary of opening our little storefront on north maple and amidst all the madness of the cafe, catering and four kids running in eight different directions, it just slipped right past me. THREE YEARS!! holy crap! (i'm not going to lie, it's felt like a decade at least). we are a toddler!

i want to say thank you. thank you for coming to our cafe. thank you for referring us (shout out to those facebook mom pages: wyckoff! upper saddle river! ridgewood! allendale! and of course hohokus! oh my lord! so many kinds words!). and thank you for sharing your stories while you listened to mine. you helped me create a little community within my community where i get to celebrate your kids milestones and take part in your holidays. you welcomed us into your lives on very special occasions from baptisms to funerals repasts and i'm so grateful for that honor. i'm not sure where my fledging company would have been without your kind compliments and rave reviews to your friends. when we opened our doors, i was told not to expect to make a dime for five years. you visited us so often and passed along your praise to so many we were out of the red by our seventh month and we haven't looked back since. thank you for helping me make a success out of something that was only a dream in my mind for so many years.

i hope we are around for many years to come and can keep making your holidays and celebrations great moments to remember.

i always loved crunchy peanut butter better...

it's been a busy week. nicely done folks. you listened.

i love when i hear from you guys. i had no less than a dozen you reach out this week about how hard it is to fit in some time for yourselves, how shitty you feel when your sister-in-law's house looks like a martha stewart ad and how you can barely find matching socks for your kid and get your mascara on right. girl, I GET IT. i'm not sure what this business catchy. or i look like from the outside, but on the inside, it is NOT pretty these days.

many of you know (and i'm sure many more of don't) that i am recently separated from my husband. and it sucks. just typing that sucks. waking up each morning to it sucks. looking at my kids and seeing their sadness sucks. and knowing 18 years of love, patience, and hard work didn't quite have the ending we worked tirelessly to create is more shitty than any words i have at my disposal. life right now is ugly. like dropping f-bombs in front of my 8 year old ugly (yup, i said it) and while it may look okay from the outside to some, it's a whole hefty garbage bag full of crappy to those who know me closely. and whether i am passing it off as no big thing or i am letting my ugliness shine right out there (like this morning when i decided to go to dunkin' donuts in the world's most hideous pajamas and ran smack into not one, but three people i knew with a head of hair that can only be described as terrifying) - it's OKAY. no one is judging me and if they are (f*ck you), well i gotta tell you, at 45 years old, i have finally gotten to that place of I. DON'T. CARE.

life is messy. it's ugly and imperfect and everyone just does their best to put their best foot forward. your house doesn't look like a magazine spread? that's cool. mine is looking less than stellar right now with no one to call the lawn guy about the bus that drove over it last week. your kids don't have matching corduroys and they pulled their braids out in the car on the way down to your moms?? no worries. hopefully you got the pictures before you left.

i spent YEARS to trying for the perfect picture, creating the most delicious side dishes, organizing the most fun ladies night and what does it matter? the shit is all hanging right the F*CK out there now anyway so guess what? be kind to yourself and let someone help you. i've never in my life been one to ask for help and in the last three months there isn't a friend or acquaintance i haven't called on for something. a ride. a quart of milk. a sleepover for my kid when i couldn't handle four carpools all falling at the same hour. no one is perfect and you. don't. need. to. be. i had a woman call today asking us to cater her entire thanksgiving because she got in a fight with her mom and ended up changing her entire holiday plan and was so sad about it she couldn't even cook. i loved it. someone was finally asking me for help. finally something i could do for someone else.

so ask. all you gotta do is say the word and i can guarantee someone will be there to help. life's too short to try and make it all look smooth.

i always loved crunchy peanut butter better.

because if you don't, who the hell will??

wow. what a week.

i write this blog almost every sunday night at the same hour. it's generally around 10:15-10:30 at night and my brain gets quiet and the pace slows. my kids are tucked in bed, the house is silent, and i get a moment to reflect on the week that's passed me by. was it positive or negative? did i do all i could to show up for my kids? did i service my customers and make their event the best one possible? and after all that, did take care of myself in some small, meaningful way that filled up my bucket?

it's rare that i can answer each of those questions with a yes. some weeks it just isn't in the cards. my kids? they always get top billing. i grew up in a generation where we were we raised somewhat like feral cats. we went out to play unaccompanied until the light in the sky dimmed and we heard my dad's whistle. we did our homework on our own without much parental guidance as my mom was flying around to carpool five kids to sports, food shop, cook dinner, do the laundry and whip up lunches - i wished for more but there was only so much one woman could manage and i think that determined my parental style to always make sure my kids got a little more than perhaps they actually require. i can make a 24 hour day feel like 36 by just moving a little quicker and getting sh*t done and it's important to me that my kids know when they need me, i'm there even when there may be three different places at once (moms can clone themselves if you didn't know).

work is always the easy show. sailing into my shop each day, i know that while i may be asked a dozen questions and there may be a few fires to extinguish, i have a staff on hand that is so competent, so first world FABULOUS, that no matter the quandary, my intel isn't so much needed as they are just keeping me in the loop. we were approached to cater a wedding just six weeks to plan it and yesterday we just CRUSHED IT (i'm sorry, sounds a little overly confident but i'm just reporting the facts: when three dozen people tell you the same thing, it becomes your gospel, word people). every detail was recorded, every request was met and the celebration, though a tiring 15 hour day, was the reason i got into catering in the first place. pure happiness.catchy. is teamwork, execution, camaraderie. we are about putting people at ease and reassuring them that there is nothing too much for us to handle. it's what i was born to do and i pinch myself each time i find myself flying high after a seamless event.

that third cog is a tough one. fitting in self care for anyone is tough let alone a working parent with a handful of kids who is short on time and long on demands. but even on a weekend cluttered with weddings, lacrosse tournaments and dogs eating headphones (clean up is a bitch: that damn plastic) i'm beginning to see the benefits of staying in my pajamas some mornings, ordering takeout for dinner rather and even just listening a little deeper to the sermon at church and enjoying the message i'm graced with. it doesn't have to be some grand gesture, just buying myself a bunch of gerber daisies at the metropolitan plant center feels like i am putting myself on the calendar. i glance at them and realize "i matter." i didn't get that message every day for the last 45 years but i'm getting it now. no one is going to send that message to me but ME so i've stopped waiting and started doing it myself.

so ladies and gentleman, PUT YOURSELF ON THE CALENDAR. it's the hurricane season. it's busy, life is stressful and we all have a plate so full it spills over onto our unswept floor (because who has time to sweep every day?). if you can order your mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts and pumpkin bread from catchy. for the holidays then do it. no one is judging but YOU. we know you can bake. we know you are a loving mom. don't put yourself in the hospital bc you had to make the appetizers for your mother in law's party when you could spend that time reading to your kids or even better, getting a 10 minute massage at the nail salon and have us do the heavy lifting for you. order your dinner online at www.thecatchycaterer.com a few nights this season and leave the supermarket behind. spend that time in the flower shop picking out some blooms for you bedside table and let those buds remind you that YOU MATTER. because if you don't, who the hell will?