Tag Archives: recipes

My First Time: Risotto

I have never been one to shy away from a cooking challenge.  I am pretty good at following directions and know most basic cooking techniques.  However, risotto is where my confidence comes to a screeching halt.  I have thought of attempting it often, but something has always held me back.  This Sunday the time came to face my fears of constant stirring and half cooked arborio.  While risotto isn’t the healthiest recipe, it’s not as bad as some think, it has a little butter and cheese, but other than that, it’s just rice, onion and broth.  So it passed the just healthy enough test.  Second, I desperately needed to get out of my tried and true rut and make something new.  Finally, I wanted something vegetarian for me and hearty enough for him. 

Butternut risotto it was.  I didn’t step completely out of my comfort zone because I based my recipe on Giada’s recipe for Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto. With Giada by my side, I can conquer anything :).

After a trip to whole foods, I had all my supplies, I decided to omit the wine and substitute cinnamon for vanilla.

I heated my broth and cooked my squash.  Then I chopped my onion.

Wait a minute, something is missing from my carefully laid ingredients….

The RICE! I had forgotten the arborio! This was a major fail, fortunately, I live in NYC where a market is no more than 2 blocks in any direction.  I got my rice and—oh yes, some vanilla raspberry frozen yogurt.  Not necessary and yet, so necessary.

Back in the kitchen, things went something like this:

Melt butter, Soften onions, coat arborioIMG_3047    IMG_3051

Add a half cup of reserved warm broth and stir until absorbedIMG_3052

Even if your arm hurts, just keep stirring. Constantly

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Keep adding broth half a cup at a time until it’s gone…and keep stirring.

While I look happy here, I definitely was panicked that my rice was going to be hard.  I needed an extra cup broth to get it to the proper consistency.

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After all the broth is gone, add the butternut, S+P, and parmesan cheese.

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While I cooked, the boy cleaned the apartment at set the table.  A fine trade off if you ask me!

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I served mine over a bed of spinach.

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Despite my fear, it came out very well.  The boy loved it and said it was as good as any he has had in a restaurant.  Whew!

Tonight, I reheated the last bit with spinach and chickpeas for added protein, fiber and nutrients.

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If you have risotto fears, put them aside, the key is just patience and a little TLC!

The Giada Chronicles

My love and admiration of Giada is well-documented on the blog.  I have a fair number of cookbooks, but I reach for Everyday Italian time and time again! I’ve made over a dozen recipes from it, many more than once and I’ve also made quite a few that I saw on her show. Her recipes are simple, delicious and, generally, pretty healthy, so there’s a lot to love—and eat.

Last night, I finally made a recipe that I have been wanting to try forever!!!!!!!!!

Oreccheitte with Mixed Greens and Goat Cheese

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I made a few substitutions. I used whole wheat pasta, added grilled onions and subbed a baby arugula mix; as I fear soggy greens, I wanted something that would either stand up to the heat or wilt. It was delicious, I might make it again tonight—this time with more sundried tomatoes.  It also took less than 15 minutes start to finish, definitely a success.  The cheese sauce would have been smoother  (and more photogenic) if I added the suggested pasta water, but again, I don’t like soggy, wet greens (which is why I often forgo salad dressing), so I decided it didn’t need it—it’ didn’t.  Yum.IMG_1779

Another Giada success.  I decided to take a look back at some of my other Giada favs.

Caprese Salad– I definitely recommend adding basil generously, not sure why I didn’t in this photo.  This is great for entertaining as it looks so pretty.

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Eggplant caponatamy version/her recipe.  This is one of my favorite foods of all time!

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Lasagna Rolls

My version/her recipe.

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Brown Butter Sauce with Butternut Squash tortellini

My version/her recipe

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Pasta Primavera (over and over)

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Simple Pasta Bolognese

My version/her recipe

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Others I’ve tried sans photos

Salmon Baked in Foil (this is the only one that didn’t work, fail)

Salmon with Herb Mustard Glazeso good!

Linguine with Butter, Pecorino and Black Pepper

Chicken Cacciatori—huge raves from the boy.  I made it with skinless chicken breast to save time and calories—and I also doubled the veggies.

So thank you Giada for so many delicious meals and a trip down recipe lane!

This morning I woke up and realized that it was 9:30, and I was supposed to take a 10:00 30/60/90 class!  I got dressed as quickly as I could while still making myself Equinox appropriate (aka cute and fashionable), then I hauled booty to the 19th and Broadway location, which is probably 3/4 of a mile from my apartment. Somehow I managed to sign in (it was an open house weekend) and get to the class in plenty of time, despite all the fluster.  Missy also happened to be there, which was a fun surprise! Full review of the class to come!

Just a reminder, the Alo Clothing giveaway ends tomorrow at 5PM. 

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Easter Weekend

I hope you all had a great weekend! While I am little late on the recap, better late than never.  My weekend was filled with rain, shine and lots of delicious food.  I didn’t put one thing in my mouth that I didn’t find perfection.  However, I may have gone overboard a time or two!  Oh well, this week will be balanced with a focus on fresh and green cuisine!

On Saturday, I had a delicious brunch at Max Brenner and dinner at Barbonia, which unfortunately, escaped the camera!

However, Sunday was captured in it’s entirety.

We started with Easter baskets…

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Then church followed by brunch at Five Points

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Five Points is always highly rated for its brunch.  I have been a few times, and I’ve also been to its sister restaurants Cookshop and 100 Acres.

After serious debate, I decided on the eggs cocotte

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The boy went with rancherosIMG_1086 IMG_1087

Yum.

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A mimosa may have also been involved.

After that we set off to shop for our big dinner.

On the menu:

  • Braised beef brisket
  • Garlic roasted fingerling potatoes
  • Shaved brussel sprouts salad
  • Mini brownie cup cakes a la mode

Frank was really craving meat after an entire day (good friday) without meat.  Since I typically pick the Sunday menu, I was happy to oblige.

For the brisket we followed this recipe, minus the bacon.

Note: ipads are very handy for cooking!

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The meal started by infusing the brisket with garlic slices, covering it in essence and browning it:IMG_1110

Then we softened the onionsIMG_1108

adding beer and brothIMG_1113

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Then we returned the beef to the pot and stuck it in the oven, and went to the gym for a quick workout.

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When we returned, chopping recommenced:

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After about 2.5 hours, we put the veggies in the pot along with the fingerling potatoes.

Then I got to work on the brussels sprout salad.

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After that was prepped, I whipped up a batch of mini no pudge cupcakes brownies.

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(Wasn’t thrilled about pictures in my sweaty gym clothes.)

While I was covered in batter, Frank was setting the mood:

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And setting out some appetizers of veggies and hummus.

Oh yeah, and opening our third bottle of pinot noir this weekend! (the first two were at dinner with friends.)  We saw this Erath pinot and scooped it up immediately.  We first tried it while out with Ashley and Bo and really loved it!  I think we had a better vintage the first time, since this 2009 was a little bit stronger than I remembered, but it opened up well.

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Then we handled the meat, reducing the sauce and whipping up the brussel sprout salad.  ( Be warned more meat shots, I plan to be strictly pescatarian for the next month!)IMG_1157

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Finally, four and half hours later, dinner was served!

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We were both to full for more than a bite of the brownie cupcakes a la mode.  But we both felt very satisfied with our efforts.

After dinner we watched The King’s Speech, which I highly recommend.

Good weekend, come to an end.

Oh, in case you are interested, the brussels sprout salad recipe.  I tried to recreate the recipe from our Vermont Ski Trip and I think I was pretty successful.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tub brussels, cut into thin slices
  • EVOO
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • S and P—to taste
  • 1 juiced lemon, zest reserved
  • 1 splash cream (or butter would do)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup fresh shaved parmesan—can’t under do it!

I heated the EVOO in a pan until hot and then added the garlic for about 2-3 minutes.  Then I throw the shaved brussels into the pan until just softened and bright green.  4-5 minutes.  I tossed in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

I transferred the hot ingredients to a large bowl and then immediately added a small splash of cream (You can add a modest or very generous splash depending on how creamy you want it. Butter can also be substituted.), lemon zest, and a large handful of grated parm.  Stir and serve!

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Raw du Jour

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This week happened to be a week full of yummy raw dinner dates!  It was fairly coincidental that I had 3 night of back to back raw meals, but it was certainly delicious.  Besides when the weather is gloriously hot and fruit and veggies are fresh and fabulous, why bother cooking?   I have eaten plenty of non-raw food this week too, but I figured I’d pick a theme.  And I must thank all my friends for being patient with me while I photographed my food and yours, rockstars!

This post has a double theme: raw food and flowers. I was pretty much beside myself in this amazing week of sunny summer weather, and  I snapped some shots of random flora and fauna around the city, so I thought I would stick them in the post too.

Just since being back I have had the pleasure of seeing several of my favorite bloggers, Katherine, Liz (VeggieGirl) and Dori.

Tuesday night Gena came over for dinner on the roof deck.  I have to say, I get ridiculously nervous about cooking/uncooking for people, even though I love it to death.  I scour recipes, plan plan plan, and give myself hours before the dinner bell to prepare it. Last time I made dinner for Gena I was panicked for days, fortunately it turned out pretty well.   This is the first time I have made dinner for Gena since Choosing Raw went live, so I had a better idea of her tastes and fortunately, Gena loves the simple things foods in life.  So it was much less nerve racking.  In fact, Monday night something came up and I didn’t have time to prep anything, so everything you see below took 45 minutes from absolute start to finish.  I was super nervous as I raced home from work, but I was reassured by the fact that Rachael Ray could turn out 1.5 complete and cooked meals in that time.

So on to the food.  Sorry for the messy bowls, things shifted a lot on the way from my apt. to the roof.

DIY Romaine lettuce wraps with snow pea shoots, bell pepper, cuc, carrot and cabbage

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Served with salsa and Gena’s Favorite Guac, she was kind enough to give me a guac demo—best guac ever!

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And a yummy beet, avocado, snow pea shoot, arugula salad based closely on this recipe.   I highly recommend this combo and the dressing was light simple and delicious—I only used 1/3 the EVOO and added a splash of BV.   This delicious looking compressed summer berry salad was my second choice, and I plan to try it soon.

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Raw corn and celery soup—sans onion and garlic for gena, but I did throw some onion on top of my own bowl.

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My plate

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And the view

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Just some shots of my lunch hour stroll down 5th to let you digest before my next meal :)

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Meal #3—lunch at desk

I actually ate my lunch at my desk, beet, snow pea shoot, fig and cucumber over argula with a bit of goat cheese.  yum

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Meal #3  Dinner at Pure Food and Wine

My college roommate and dear friend Laura and I decided to catch up and we happened to both be thinking: PURE!

You guys are probably bored of Pure, but here we go…

Sadly, the garden was full, this is the fourth time in a row I haven’t been able to sit in the garden.  :(  wah wah wah, i guess I will try try again!

Despite sitting inside, which gave us tons of privacy, since inside was empty, the meal was super yum

My very favorite pure food, the spicy Thai lettuce wraps with tamarind dipping sauce—split with Laura.south africa, raw food, parks, flowers, beer garden 248

For my entree, I ordered the Zucchini Fettuccine with Basil Crema and Red Pepper Bruschetta with spicy pumpkin seeds, basil sprouts, Styrian pumpkin seed oil.  This was actually an appetizer, but rich and big enough for a meal on its own.

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Laura got her fav the Zucchini and Local Hothouse Tomato Lasagna

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We also split the Trio of Dark Chocolate Coated Indian Spiced Ice Cream Treats, which I had been dying to try.  It was delicious, but of course, I left so full!

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Interlude of Madison Square Park before meal #4south africa, raw food, parks, flowers, beer garden 262

On Thursday, my friend Derek and I decided to catch up while chilling in one of my favorite places, Madison Square Park!  I hadn’t been there all summer, so I was dying to give it a big hug and kiss hello.  For a park dead center in the middle of Flatiron, I always find it to be a nice tranquil respite between Union Square and Herald Square.

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Meal #4  Bonobos

After a nice chat and some bench sitting, we decided to get dinner.  I have been hearing so many raves about Bonobos that I had to check it out, and I figured the esteemed and venerable Shake Shack would please Derek.  However, he wanted to try Bonobos.  I was only there once about three years ago and wasn’t blown out of the water, so I was a little worried that Bonobos was not a jaw-dropping, life changing   raw food experience every novice diner should be fortunate enough to have; however, Derek would not be dissuaded.  Fortunately, the B-staff was extremely helpful and attentive, so I knew we were in good hands.

He got nori rolls with sesame pate and a soup, which is clearly carrot or pumpkin.  He said they were very good, but the soup would have been better hot…lol

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I got the nori rolls also with the walnut veggie nutmeat, cabbage, cucumber, carrot, beet and sprouts.   YUM!  VERY Filling, i wasn’t hungry for hours. And I love the nice salad that comes with the meal.

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And after hearing Diana’s enthusiastic endorsement of the now famous Coconut Chai, I could not help but get us a bottle to split.

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We both thought it was very good.  I am actually not a coconut lover, so it was a bit too much for me, but it did have a great comfort food feel and I liked the mild sweet and spiciness.

After dinner, I said good bye to Derek and went to meet a friend for drinks.  We decided to go to a place I have been very curious about since it opened four years ago.  Japonais.

To be fair, I am curious about anything that opens in the Irving Place vicinity, but Japonais in particular, since the ambience and decor is so chic, sleek and expansive for the area.  The vibe is super sexy, which I must admit, I love.  I don’t know how I have never been there, but the menu never particularly appealed to me, so I have walked passed it noting I should check it about at least fifty times.

Getting drinks there was the perfect way to experience the restaurant.  It is nice to sit at the bar and check out the scene and vibe.  The drink menu was actually three menus, one happy hour tasting which is from 5-11PM Mon-Fri! A summer cocktail menu.  And there regular wine and cocktail menu, which like Pure, includes plenty of lighter, sake-based cocktails.  Overall Japonais was cool to check out and I would definitely go back for drinks, and probably even dinner.  It’s kind of pricey—drinks are around $13-15, but sadly, I am pretty used to that at this point.

TTYL Bloggies.  Have a great weekend.

Using Food as Fuel

I am very excited to have Julie from Julie GoLean here to discuss using food as fuel.  As you know, I have never been a serious athlete, so it is great hearing from a fellow blogger that has PLENTY of experience in the competitive athletics arena.  Thanks so much to Julie for discussing how to feed your body for demanding workouts and training! Oh, and for the divine recipes!

Hi everyone :)  My name is Julie and I’m an avid food and fitness freak! You can check out my blog Julie GoLean where I blab on and on about what I do for eating and exercising on a daily basis. thrilling, right? While Melissa is having a booty-kicking time in South Africa I volunteered to drop by with a little guest post action!
(Julie fun fact: I’m part African! My grandmother (dad’s mom) is actually Tunisian which makes this little Long Islander part African! too bad I got the Irish skin color..) anyways I figured this would be a good time to drop by and talk a little bit about using food as fuel. As a former college athlete and current coach maintaining a well balanced diet was and is extremely important to me. From preseason two-a-days in a sweaty hot gym with no air conditioning to ALL DAY tournaments averaging 3-5 entire matches, it became a serious realization to me that skipping breakfast, having a yogurt for lunch and fast food for dinner on the bus ride home was NOT going to provide the best form of gasoline for my body, an athlete’s body or just simply anybody! It was during my Sophmore year of college that I decided to make learning the right nutrition for an active young woman a hobby of mine.

It is first important to understand that food is fuel. It is not your enemy but simply a delicious form of gasoline to give your body the rev it needs to get through the day. Whether you’re a couch potato, training for a marathon, a teacher on their feet all day, a yoga nut, an athlete, or just an active person, it’s important to find the right balance of nutrients for your day. Your daily food intake  should consist of a balanced portion of carbs, protein, veggies, fruits, & milk fats. please do not fear food! When making the right decision on what to eat if your sticking to lean meats, whole grain carbs and low fat milk fats with an extra emphasis on fruits and veggies you’re definitely on the right track! The fact of the matter is that you need these foods whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply striving for a balanced diet!

After mucho experimentation during my collegiate athletic experience it was such a great feeling to finally find what worked for me and gave me the right kind of fuel to power me through tournaments and help me crush the ball down the other teams throat…I mean have a successful match..

I’ve found that the most important meal of the day for me has been breakfast. Whether I had a 6AM morning practice, a 5PM match, an all day tournament, or just simply an off day. Breakfast has been the go-to meal that gave me the right start to my day.

now I know you want some ideas…

there’s always the infamous green monster (or if you’ve been a reader of mine he’s what I like to call my boyfriend..)
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1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (milk fat)
1 scoop Vanilla (or chocolate) Protein Powder (protein should be atleast 100 cal with 15-16g of protein)
1 banana (fruit)
spinach :) (surprise veggies at breakfast)
ICE & blend baby blend

I usually have some toast on the side also as my carbs for the morning.

Another great breakfast is also the standard go-to oatmeal. Oatmeal is great because it’s EVERYTHING you need in one bowl. And you can make it as yummy as your little heart desires.

Here’s what mine usually looks like..
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1/2c oats
1/4c canned pumpkin
TONS of cinnamon & a little pumpkin pie spice
1/2c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

nuke it baby
on top I’ll chop up a banana, and smother it around with 2tbsp of Better N’Peanut Butter or Naturally More
and for kicks I’ll top it off with some Peanut Butter Puffins.
heaven in a bowl.
The best part about oatmeal is that you can add EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to it. doesn’t get much better then that!

these are 2 GREAT breakfasts that with fuel you through any workout, practice, class, hectic morning work schedule, crazy kids..you get the picture.

I hope you found this post helpful & if you liked what you read stop on by and hang out with me :)

Running decisions, recipes, and reviews

 

Another long week behind us!  Yay.  It’s finally starting to feel like summer  is on the  horizon!  For some reason the word horizon just reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite books, Their Eyes Were Watching God, "Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see."

So anyways, I decided to sign up for the Brooklyn Half marathon at the end of the month.  I won’t really have time to do long runs in preparation, but I think I will be okay with a fair amount of quality training runs over the next two weeks. I was convinced to do it because it is supposed to be a fun, flat, beautiful course.  Any run with both Prospect Park and Coney Island in its course has to be scenic and fun!

For everyone doing the Healthy Kidney run this weekend—GOOD LUCK!

So on to some reviews.

First, Tiger Balm

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I had kind of heard of Tiger Balm when I was offered the chance to try it, but didn’t really know what it was. However, upon arrival I instantly loved the marketing materials, who doesn’t want a massage on the go? 

So in case you are also new to Tiger Balm, here is what it is supposed to do:

Tiger Balm Neck & Shoulder Rub is great for executives on the go, providing fast, soothing relief to neck and shoulder aches and pains anytime and anywhere. Simply massage this topical remedy onto the affected area, and its pain relieving properties will work quickly to deliver the desired relaxing effect. This water-based cream gives a clean, non-greasy feel to the skin, and the calming fragrance makes it even more pleasant to use in any stressful situation.

I do love the clever marketing integration, relief for sore office workers!  Check out the results of a survey of 500 New Yorkers who live and work throughout Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs was commissioned by Tiger Balm and conducted by Promark Research:

  • Three-quarters (74%) of New York office workers feel they are under more stress than those who live elsewhere.
  • Two-fifths (43%) of respondents feel they are working harder or working longer hours now compared with a year ago because of the economic crisis, and 61% say they are currently feeling more stress than they were before the recession began.
  • Though all respondents spend a portion of their day sitting behind a desk and/or computer, the majority of workers surveyed (60%) spend six hours or more at a desk and/or computer.
  • More than half (53%) of office workers believe that spending time at a computer causes stress on the body and related physical pain.
  •  The largest number of office workers who are experiencing work-related stress and pain feel it in their neck and shoulders (39%), while 29% feel it in their back and 15% feel it in their arms.
  • Approximately one-quarter (24%) of office workers experiencing work-related stress and physical pain say that it is affecting their productivity at work.
  •   New York office workers are cutting back on luxuries and indulgences, including self-pampering activities such as manicures, hair maintenance and massages (57%). They’re also using coupons and relying on sales to save money (48%), and limiting the number of days they buy lunch at work each week (45%).
  • A large majority of New York office workers (69%) think that a regular massage, concentrating on the neck and shoulders, can help them manage stress and relieve associated pain. However, a relatively large number of respondents volunteered that they didn’t know if it could or not.

I definitely related to the ones in blue!  I think we all our more worried about job security and feel the need to step up our game at work! As for spa treatments, I would say I am less likely to go to a fancy spa and still with the cheaper, low frills places for waxes, nails, hair, etc.  I rarely splurge on massages, so I think that will remain the very infrequent treat.

As I know everyone in my office was feeling the end of academic year push, and we have all been pretty stressed lately, I brought Tiger Balm to several of my co-workers.  They were all really excited.  One person did ask me, “do i look like I am in pain?”  But a few days after I brought it in, people were coming to my desk asking if I had any more for their stiff necks!blueprint cleanse, tiger balm 015

I tried Tiger Balm on Tuesday night.  I followed the suggestion for neck and shoulders, and since it also said joints, I rubbed some on my knees as well.  As soon I opened it, it reminded me of Bengay and Icy Hot.  It was not as greasy, fragrant or intense as either of those products.  While I wouldn’t call it a massage, it definitely relaxed me and there was a nice tingly, pain relieving sensation for hours and hours after I put it on.  I really liked the menthol-esque smell.  I woke up and could still feel it working.  As I didn’t really have much pain before, I am not sure if this would be effective for someone with significant neck pain, but for my stress-related soreness, it did it’s job.

If you are looking for a massage with a sweet ending, I wanted to post the recipes for the Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Date Muffins and Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies I recently made, that you may have seen on Meghann’s blog.  I got a few requests, so I thought I would share.  I adapted both of these recipes from ones I found on the web.  I thought they both came out great, especially considering how healthy the ingredients are for the most part.  While I never worry about making cooking healthy, there is always a slight hesitation that baking was meant to be gooey and indulgent, but my worries were put to rest with the first bite.  I was also shocked that they held up through trips to Florida and Ohio—I sent some to my sister for her birthday!

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The WW Sweet Potato Date Muffins were very closely adapted from the recipe on The Wednesday Chef.  I had been wanting to make these forever, and was happy to find even with less butter and sugar, they were delicious. Next time I make them I may add more sweet potato and make sure to have all the suggested spices on hand, so I get an stronger flavor. 

Whole-Wheat Sweet Potato Muffins
Makes 12

1/2 pound sweet potatoes (also known as yams)-I used 1.5 huge ones, could have used 2.
Vegetable oil spray for coating the tins
2/3 stick butter+2 TBSP applesauce
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup soymilk+1/2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
9 Medjool dates, pitted and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces-I should have added some raisins to make up for having less dates on hand, use the full 12.

I followed the directions on the Wednesday Chef website with minor changes to the ingredients, as you will see above, they also only took about 22 minutes to bake.  As I said these were very yummy, and I think will be out of this world with more sweet potato, spice and dates—and even less butter!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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While not the prettiest cookies on the block, these were pretty addicting. I kept the in the fridge, so they maintained their fudgy richness.

I had been wanting to try  Ellie Krieger’s Breakfast Cookie recipe, but it had a lot of ingredients I didn’t have on hand, so I did some googlin’. When I came across this bfast cookie recipe, it sounded so good, I couldn’t resist.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 of a bar Newman’s Own Organics 70% Cocoa Super Dark Chocolate-chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup PB and Co. Crunch Time Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the first nine ingredients (through the chocolate chips) in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla, applesauce and peanut butter together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.

Roll dough into 16 to 20 balls, pressing down to flatten in the shape of a cookie. Place dough on cooking spray coated cookie sheets one inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.

Makes 16 to 20 cookies. (I made about 22)

That Newman’s Own Organics Dark Chocolate is amazing btw, it rivals my long time love of Dagoba.

And just in case you don’t have time to bake, I recently tried Enjoy Life Soft Baked Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and was shocked by how yummy and healthy they are!  I am a chewy cookie girl and these were large, soft and dense, just how I like ‘em.

 

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While I have to admit I didn’t recognize the first ingredient—sorghum flour—a wheat free grain, these cookies are 100% natural and you can certainly feel good about eating them! They contain some sources of sugar, but come on, they’re cookies! They are great for vegans and those with gluten, nut or soy allergies as they contain to wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, or soy.

ingredients:

Sorghum Flour; Grape, Apple and Pear Juice Concentrates; Brown Pure Cane Sugar; Date Paste; Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Chocolate Liquor, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter); Expeller Pressed-Vegetable Oil (Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil); Water; Natural Rice Dextrin; Xanthan Gum; Baking Soda; Salt; Vanilla; Rosemary Extract

While the texture has a very subtle graininess, I thought they were delicious and very satisfying, you certainly can stop at the serving size of two. Two cookies contain, 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram protein and 2 grams fiber

Enjoy your Saturday kids!

Raw Chef for a Night

I know my blog has been more about food than fitness lately, but I actually just took a new class last night, so I will be posting about it soon.  I also have a guest blogger post coming up.

I owed Gena a raw dinner, so last Saturday I gathered my nerve and took a shot at preparing a whole raw meal for a raw foodist! It came out rather well, and boy did the vita-mix get a workout. She was fine actually, but my coffee grinder bit the dust.  I thought I would use it for the raw truffles for two I was making, but the poor little grinder couldn’t take it.  Fortunately Vita-mixed it without breaking a sweat.

So what was on the menu?

A tropical fruit salad with raspberry poppy seed dressing inspired by  Green Chef Melissa Davison at gliving.  I actually used blackberries and blueberries and added a generous drizzle balsamic.  I am not a dressing person at all, and oh my god, I could have drank this dressing absolutely delicious.

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I love how beautiful raw food is.

Raw Summer Rolls based on the recipe from Matthew Kenney’s Entertaining in the Raw cookbook.  The almond butter sauce for these rolls was out of this world—sweet, savory and a hint spicy at the same time.  See more about the book at the end of the post.  The recipe is similar to my favorite dish at Pure and Wine, the spicy thai lettuce wraps, but this recipe is actually easier than the one in RFRW.

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The main course was alfredo pasta primavera from this recipe.  Holly yum!  Sorry, I was to lazy to photograph this one plated!

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And for dessert, raw freezer fudge based on this gliving recipe and even more closely on the chewy chocolate freezer fudge the recipe in raw food real world.  And raw brownies turned raw truffles—I used almonds instead of walnuts and skipped the frosting.  Raw desserts are so easy and so yummy!

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And because Gena is the sweetest girl ever, she brought me these amazing books as a hostess gift!  I won’t be able to read them for a while, but I am so excited to enjoy them when school/work/internship calms down.

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Entertaining in the Raw is definitely for those who have the desire to put time and effort into the process of creating beautiful raw food.  The recipes themselves are not complicated and the ingredients list is not to long or abstract, but each dish contains many components and sauces and steps.  That said the directions are very clear and there is assembly instruction for each dish to ensure you can recreate the stunning presentation yourself. The recipes go beyond ordinary and also includes recipes that are modern and abstract in composition. As I mentioned, the story and inspiration behind many of the recipes is included, which make this book as well as Raw Food, Real World truly unique and a joy to read.  I think there are several components of these gorgeous recipes that I could use to create a simpler version of the recipe, but I don’t see myself actually composing many of the recipes in their entirety because I don’t own a dehydrator.  But for a seasoned raw chef looking for a challenge, this is the book for you.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the fact that almost every recipe in the book is photographed is incredible.

Some photos from the book:

Summer rolls and red chili-pineapple dipping sauce

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Tomato tacos with citrus cream

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Frozen chocolate pudding with cinnamon-glazed plums, chocolate basil wafers, and vanilla bean-plum syrup.

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Cubist mushrooms and white asparagus with red pepper curry sauce and black sesame crackers.

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Portobello-meat stew, yellow “rice,” crisp plantain, and yellow macadamia “sour cream”

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Blogging from Bed and Upcoming Book Reviews

Wow, I apologize if I miss a few days of blogging this week.  Things got crazy out of the blue!

  • Monday I planned the monthly social outing for my internship and the registrations came POURING in (lots of excels files in my life these days :),
  • Tonight I worked an event until 9,
  • Tomorrow I have to go on a field trip for my class,
  • Thursday night I have a paper due and class,
  • Friday night is the social event I am in charge of for the internship,
  • Saturday AND Sunday I am also working all day at events for my internship,
  • plus the regular old 9-5er.

I am not trying to complain, busy is good, I will probably be a little loopy next week, but hey that’s life, you have to live it. 

So I owe you not one, but now two book reviews!  I will post both this week, probably one by Friday and the other by Sunday night.

The first arrived beautifully packaged:

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Inside just as beautiful.  Matthew Kenney’s new book, Entertaining in the Raw. blog 012

While I will expand much further on my thoughts on this book later in the week, I will say this is my third cookbook by Matthew Kenney.  newblog 019

newblog 020I also own Raw Food, Real World and Matthew Kenney’s Mediterranean Cooking (not raw).

The main difference between Kenney’s books and any other cookbook I have read is that they are actually books, story books.  You can actually read them because they practically bust the binding with information, personal stories and the inspiration behind each dish. You actually learn to prepare more than just the recipe, he gives tips for creating delicious food on your own as well, I mention some of these in a salad post ages ago.  Kenney also includes beautiful photos of almost every single recipe, which I find to be incredible.  It blows my mind that cookbooks can publish recipes without pictures, food is so visual, words on a page do not make the mouth water and inspire you to take time to prepare a nice meal. While Entertaining in the Raw is not a 30 minute meals book, it requires time, patience and love over a Saturday evening, Kenney is very upfront about this.  All right, I will talk more about this later.  

 Gena recently prepared a delicious raw meal for me (see below), and it is my turn to play host next, so this book may very well provide inspiration.

The other book I will be reviewing is Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting by Bethenny Frankel.

Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel: Book Cover

I know many of you will be very excited to hear more about this one, I have to say it hasn’t disappointed me so far! 

Okay, now on to more food:

As I mentioned Gena made me the most delicious raw meal last week, right before the premiere of the Real Housewives of NYC, speak of the devil :)

It was delicious and taught me not to be intimidated by raw food preparation.  Thanks Gena, I hope I can make a meal half as good for you!

On the menu:

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Amuse Bouche with raw sundried tomato cheese from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchenraw dinner 111

Raw Carrot Renew from Natalia Rose Raw Food Detox Diet

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Sushi using parsnip rice from Raw Food Real World and Sushi to Impress Recipe from Natalia Rose, rolling the nori was so much easier than I thought!

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Creamy Asian Salad with Creamy Asian Salad Dressing from Natalia Rose (dressing-OMFG!)

Sorry a few of the photos are blurry!

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Did I make you hungry?  Check out Kristen’s wonderful recipe for a Blissed Out Chocolate Runner’s Smoothie. YUM

Inspiration Everywhere

Today I have been flooded with stay healthy inspiration!

  • First, I checked my building’s resident very active group for the first time in ages, and in a total random side note, someone mentioned my favorite running route.  Obviously, I had to reply and mention a few others.  And pretty soon the idea of starting a spring running group was in the works! Yay, runners lurking in the building unite!
  • Second, HR sent out the monthly health newsletter which offered personalized nutrition counseling with nutrition students supervised by faculty of course and a free lunch hour yoga series!  Sadly, both were booked within the hour.  But I did track down the name of the nutrition supervisor and asked to be put on a waiting list.  NYU has some pretty huge names in nutrition out there, so I would really like to take part in this.  But if any other nutrition students out there need a diet to analyze, let me know :)  I know a lot about nutrition, but it is always enlightening to get an objective opinion.
  • Third, I ran into five people from  my office at the gym on my lunch hour.  This was a little weird actually!
  • Fourth, my new issue of Shape came yesterday and the Time Out Get Fit For Less Issue arrived today.  002

Time Out for this issue of TONY!0023

I have a long history with Time Out.  My third day in NYC, I met the beauty editor and the owner of Scoop at an orientation workshop at NYU.  I signed up for a subscription that day, and have had one ever since.  I am obsessive compulsive (their tagline) about Time Out.  This was a particularly good and hilarious issue, a must buy for any fitness buff in the city.  When I started reading they didn’t even have a fitness/health section and now it’s quite large.  Anyways, they mention places and things I have reviewed on the blog in this issue (Laughing Lotus, MonQi, Kennedy Health and Fitness, Punk Rope-Andrea-holla!, Core Fusion, The Body, Fitness Passbook. They do a cool comparison of classes vs the dvd version and have a great interview with the trainer and lots of random funny facts.  Here is one deal I particularly enjoyed reading about: “Fitness Collective, a powerful one-two-three punch with $150 package of one nutrition consultation, two group classes and three personal training sessions. It’s like celebrity rehab with out the rehab or the celebrities.”  Oh, and Equinox will refund your initiation fee if you work out 36 time in 90 days, that must be pretty much all my hard core bloggies! You can read more online.)

I think Oprah’s advice to make yourself a priority, plan your diet and exercise (which I don’t currently do) is great.

I also love her Green Drink recipe!

However, her meal plan looks very sad to me.  Grilled chicken or fish for four meals a day?!

Example:

Meal 1

Meal 2
  • Salmon with green veggies
  • Half a plain sweet potato
Meal 3
  • Grilled chicken breast with green veggies
Meal 4
  • Grilled chicken breast with romaine lettuce and fat-free dressing
Meal 5
  • Salmon with green veggies

This menu would bore me like crazy, even if I wasn’t a pescatarian–I kind of hate myself for being obnoxious enough to use that term. When people get all anti-vegetarian on me and tell me they could never give up meat, I always say I could never be on Atkins and give up carbs.  (I know that you don’t give up all carbs, yadda yadda).  And Oprah’s plan is too close to Atkins maintenance/south beach phase 2 for me! No offense to those with carb willpower.

I browsed some more and her other plans from Bob Greene are much more doable and enticing, though not totally my ideal:

Example:

Breakfast
  1 slice Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Bread toasted, topped with 1 fried egg
  2 slices turkey
  8 ounces water flavored with 1⁄2 of a squeezed lemon

Snack

  1 green apple
  5 thin Parmesan cheese slices (about 1 ounce)

Lunch

  Grilled turkey burger: Ground turkey meat combined with finely chopped green onions, red peppers, and garlic to form a patty, and grilled. Serve on a seven-grain bun and spread with 2 teaspoons reduced-fat mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon mustard.
  2 grilled vegetable kabobs composed of cherry tomatoes, mushroom, zucchini, and onion.

Snack

  1 can Slim-Fast Optima French Vanilla

Dinner

  Bowl of cherries (about 1 cup) with 1⁄2 banana, sliced, and 1⁄2 peach, topped with 6-ounce Yoplait Original Harvest Peach yogurt,
  3 tablespoons walnuts, and 1⁄2 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal.

I did find a healthy recipe goldmine in the Best Life Recipes!  So many sounded delish, here is one small highlight: Baked Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal

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I rarely fall in love with magazine workouts, if fact, the only one I have been using for over a year and have committed to memory is the Stay Slim on the Road Workout from Fitness.

But this Sculpting Plan from a Shape special issue is pretty good.  Not to insanely complicated, and a fun strength workout.  I looked through literally 20 old issues of Shape trying to find out which one this workout was from, but I couldn’t find it :(.  At least I made a very small dent in cleaning out and recycling my ridiculous mag stockpile.

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If you see the “Makeover Your Body” special issue it has some good workouts and recipes.

This plan is six moves:

Bosu burpee

Tilting push up

Balance Squat

Standing Split

Side hop (I do side lunges over the ball)

I add a couple ab moves to this workout but it is pretty good as is.

10-12 reps of each move, do 2-3 circuits.

*I am probably going to be posting every other day from now on, just fyi!  I would like to do a video of my favorite quickie ab routine this weekend, hopefully I will get a chance.*