Yelp! I’m going to NYC and don’t have a food plan…

19 Jul

My husband and I are making a trip up to NYC very soon to visit his 95 year old grandmother (I will be asking what’s her #1 health secret).  One of our many topics of conversations around our NYC trip is where to eat.  We will only be visiting a couple of days and since there are only 3 meals (well sorta) in a day, we need to chose where we will eat wisely.  With so many amazing places to chose from in NYC, I would hate to be starving on a street corner settling for street meat.  I’m a firm believer that if you have a food plan, you will most likely make better choices about your meals. There have been a number of times when traveling that I was willing to settle for anything because I didn’t have a plan and as a result, either spent too much money, ate something that tasted terrible, or ate something terrible for me!  On this trip, I’ve turned to yelp.com for, well, Help! I’ve listed a couple of places that have caught my attention.

In Vino – Just the photos of the Italian restaurant remind me of my last visit to Italy!  I love how cozy and rustic it looks and the menu looks simple and well priced.

witchcraft – ok ok. You might think, “If she read the yelp reviews she would know better!”  I have to admit my food crush on Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio is the only reason I would consider going here.  If I decide to skip this, are there any recommendations out there for other “famous chef” cheaper (perhaps lunch) eats?

Grom Gelatto – I know you can pick up gelato on any block in NYC, but this place looks TOPS!  They use all natural organic ingredients fresh from their own farm!

Caracas Arepas Bar – I grew up eating arepas as a child so when someone says arepas, I say YUM!  Apparently, this place can get crazy busy because word on the street is it’s crazy good.

Taim Falafel & Smoothie Bar – Yelp reviews already warn that the line will be out the door for this wonderful cheap Mediterranean lunch spot.  Even though I’m not going to enjoy the wait, it’s usually a good sign.  I keep debating between this and Mamoun’s Falafel (both get great reviews).

Any other good recommendations? (Asian, Indian, & French food recommendations come highly appreciated!)

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Running + iTunes = Cadence?

18 Jul

I can not live without music when I run. It’s truly what helps set my pace and keeps me pumped throughout my run (while keeping my mind off the pain of it all). I’ve recently put together a “run playlist” that I think is pretty solid. The only problem with my playlist…. when I run everyday, listening to the same 10 songs gets old pretty fast. To solve this problem, I wondered is “there an app for that?!”  Fortunately, I came across Cadence in the App Store.  So far, so good in helping me better organize my running music!

Cadence

The deal: You set your desired Beats Per Minute (BPM) and Cadence picks out the music that matches the beat. There is also an additional desktop which will analyze the BPM of your music, this way you can create playlists based on how much you want to move! The app is $4.99 and the desktop is a donation of your choosing where 20% goes to charity (desktop at: http://www.cadenceapp.com).

What songs MUST make an appearance in your running playlist? Do you have any experiences with this app?

Blueberries… so fresh and so cheap cheap!

16 Jul

Blueberries are at the height of their season and are basically being given away in stores right now. I’ve recently seen them for as cheap as $1.50 a pint. Also, keep your eye out for local blueberries (since they are extra yummy). With so many blueberries and so little time, I think this calls for a couple of posts dedicated to this healthy fruit!

Since I’m on a frozen dessert kick, I started my blueberry adventure with these super simple blueberry freezer pops.

Blueberry Banana Freezer Pops

Ingredients

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium banana
  • 3/4 cup skim organic milk
  • raw honey

Directions

  1. slice banana into 4 large chunks
  2. combine blueberries, banana, and milk in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth
  3. drizzle with honey and then pulse just to combine
  4. pour into freezer pop molds and freeze 4 hours
  5. enjoy!

More blueberry fun to come…

The color purple – Eggplant Sandwich with quick Basil Aioli

15 Jul

Recently, I was hanging out with a group of friends when the topic of cancer came up. One my friends recently suffered a bout with cancer (he’s free and clear now) and another friend’s father was recently diagnosed with cancer (his prognosis is good). We immediately started to speculate on what could have caused these cancers. Was it the non-organic milk we drank as children? Or maybe it’s all the red meat and potatoes we eat? The conversation quickly shifted to prevention. One thing that stood out to me in our conversation was the quote, “My doctor told me the best things to eat are foods that are purple.” When you first hear this, you might think, HUH? But within seconds I started thinking of purple foods and how I could see these foods being cancer fighters. I recalled that deep red, blue or purple foods are known to be high in antioxidants. This conversation was the inspiration for an Eggplant Sandwich (since I still have the color purple on the brain).

Eggplant Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • grape seed oil
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 3 eggs (or egg substitute equivalent)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • sliced tomato, lettuce (for garnish)
  • 8 Arnold Select Sandwich Thins

Directions

  1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices and lay flat on wire rack
  2. Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for 30min to 1 hour or until water is beading on top of eggplant
  3. Rinse eggplant in cold water and pat dry
  4. Dredge eggplant in flour, then egg, then panko. Shake excess.
  5. Heat large skillet over high heat and lightly coat skillet with grape seed oil
  6. Add eggplant to skillet being careful not to overcrowd pan
  7. Cook until light golden brown color is achieved, approx 4 minutes per side
  8. Remove from pan and pat excess oil
  9. Serve on toasted Arnold Select Sandwich Thin with tomato, lettuce, and basil aioli

For Basil Aioli, whisk to combine mayo, lemon juice and basil.

Serves 8

Enjoy with a glass of red wine and a handful of fresh blueberries for dessert!

Fish Oil Follower

15 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, I was in our local drug store shopping for a multivitamin when another product caught my eye. It was packaged in a cute, eye-catching box and said “Mood Stabilizer for Women.” I quickly grabbed the package and scanned the side to find the main ingredient, which turned out to be fish oil. I never really knew why people took fish oil, just that stores sold it (so people must be taking it). I started to do my research and was quite surprised by the results. Turns out, this stuff contains DHA and EPA (essential fatty acids) thought to help stabilize mood and possibly curb depression. Another interesting benefit of fish oil is its potential to prevent certain cancers.

After reading this stuff I thought, WHERE DO I SIGN UP? I’ve been taking it for a couple weeks and so far so good. What are your experiences with fish oil?

Self-Tanorexic

14 Jul

Ok. So I admit it. I’m becoming self-tanorexic! I’ve been looking for an affordable, easy to use,  non-orange self-tanner that didn’t stink or leave me looking streaky. I don’t think this is too much to ask for from a self-tanner, do you?

For the past 3 weeks, I have been using Neutrogena’s build-a-tan. It goes on as a lotion, smell’s decent (although my husband thought it reminded him of laundry detergent), and as long as you rub it all in, won’t leave you streaky! Since I started using it, I have noticed my skin is golden and glowing. I began using it every day and now have gone to every other day as to not tip the tan to orange scale. The best part about this product, its $9 and has a convenient pump!

Let’s face it, everyone looks better tan.  This self tanner allows me to look tan without the risks (e.g. skin cancer) or long lasting effects (e.g. WRINKLES). Many reviews on the internet have indicated this tanner is not top notch. I find this interesting because I think it’s pretty good. I’m excited to discover what else is out there! Any recommendations?

Tip: I found that exfoliating in the shower before application REALLY helped minimize streaking.

Green Tea Mango Frozen Yogurt Pops

14 Jul

Watch out Pinkberry! These Green Tea Mango Frozen Pops are delish, healthy and best of all SUPER EASY! They are perfect for hot Summer days when you crave a cold, skinny treat.

Green Tea Mango Frozen Yogurt Pops

Ingredients

  • 2 5.3 ounce containers of Greek Yogurt with Honey (try Stonyfield Organic Oikos)
  • 2/3 cup Frozen Mango chunks
  • 2 teaspoons Green Tea Powder

Directions

  1. Add Frozen Mango chunks to food processor and pulse until mango is in small bits, set aside
  2. Add containers of yogurt to bowl and mix to combine honey with yogurt until smooth
  3. Add green tea powder and stir to combine
  4. Fold in reserved mango chunks
  5. Pour into Popsicle molds (or paper cups with wooden sticks), tap on counter to eliminate bubbles and freeze at least 4 hours

Makes 4 pops

Tip: I purchased a small tin of powdered green tea for $6 from my local Japanese market. Also, I think these pops would be great with other fruit flavors such as strawberry, blueberry or pineapple.