Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As Promised...Sweet Tooth Recipes

Chocolate Covered Popcorn w. Sea Salt

3 tbs veggie oil
1/2 cup of unpopped popcorn kernals
2 - 3 tbs of butter (or to taste)
12 oz dark chocolate
1 tbs kosher salt

Heat the veggie oil in a medium sized sauce pan. Once hot throw in the popcorn kernels and cover with lid. Once the kernels start popping make sure the hold the lid down and continuously lift the pot up and shake.
You want to be sure that all the kernals are touching the bottom of the pot so that none of them burn. Same as you would in a microwave, once the kernals stop popping (i.e. about 15 seconds of no-poppage) take off the heat. In a separate pan, or in a double broiler, melt the chocolate and butter together. Pour over the popcorn until evenly covered. Place the popcorn on a tray and sprinkle with sea salt. Let it cool (or throw in fridge). Finito!



Chocolate Peppermint Bark Sugar Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces dark chocolate chips
6 crumbled candy canes
1/4 cup white chocolate


1. Line a cookie tray with wax paper and preheat oven to 325°F (convection).

2. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. 

3. Beat butter in medium bow until smooth and then gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Next, beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. 

4. Gradually add the flour and salt mixture, just until blended.

5. Drop dough by spoonfuls into the cookie tray and space them as evenly as possible. Use water to wet the tips of your fingers and press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

6. Bake the sugar cookie base until light golden brown - this took about 18 minutes, but will vary based on your oven.

7. Once finished, take the tray out and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Once you see that the chocolate is starting to melt, spread it into an even layer using a spatula. Then, sprinkle the chopped candy canes over the top.

8. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, or over boiling water until smooth. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

9. Once the cookie is cooled, you can easily take it off the wax paper and break it up into as big or small pieces as you want! 



Christmas In Connecticut

So Santa made a nice little pit stop in Connecticut last week! It was so nice to be home and to see my dogs, and my family, and the tree (not in that order..). I have been appreciating the country life and my house in Connecticut so much more now that I live in the most hectic city in the US. It's amazing what a little fresh farmland air can do for the psyche ;)

And Santa left me a large package of Angela's Oh She Glows! bars. Seriously they are soo good! 
I also had my first interaction with a real pomegranate. It was a lot easier to tackle than I had been expecting, and they were gorgeous to boot! Of course the seeds ended up making a beautiful addition to my oatmeal that (and most) morning/s of my holiday break. There were plenty of other food concoctions that came about..but those were more for satisfying my sweet tooth - and I'll post the recipes later ;)




Now if only I could get my family to eat oatmeal and organic skim milk for bfast with me...instead of whole milk and dunkin' donuts....I think it's a lost cause ;)

The Photo Elf!!


Although I have been away from the ol' blogosphere for about a week (sorry!) it did not go undocumented. Here are a few Christmas photos for your viewing pleasure:







Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowshoes

It's officially winter out :) The blizzard that roared through the North East this weekend certainly did not put a damper on my spirits. Although I was, at first, dreading the thought of trampling around New York in slush and flurries, the white flakes brought nothing but smiles to my face this weekend. I was able to get out on Saturday, pre-snow, and return to the last farmers market in Union Square. I really love this and all of the fresh produce, organic products, and local farm support that this market embodies. Not only was I able to pick up some Pink Lady apples and a Carrot Raisin Vegan cookie that I had been eyeing from last week's market trip, I also finished up my Christmas Shopping. In the rare event that my mom/dad/brother actually read this blog, I'm not going to divulge where/what I bought. Gotta keep 'em guessing! Let's just say that this weekend is not a cheap one ;) Not to mention I have to tip my door men (all four of them) plus the super, handyman, and relief doorman (?). I don't even know who some of these people are to be honest...and I'm not sure it's such a relief to me to shell out all this [nonexistant] cash. But it's Christmas and everyone deserves a little love! 
Do you have to tip your doormen? What is the protocol on this? Roomie and I weren't quite sure...

Saturday night, during the snow storm, I headed to the upper east side to have a little get-together with some old high school friends who were visiting for the weekend. To make a long story short, I was a little disheartened by the weather and the fact that my boots had ZERO traction (there was some intense sliding/falling going on), but by the end of the night I can honestly say that it was one of the best I've had in a while.  How many people can say they have made a snow angel in the middle of First Avenue. Or had a snowball fight in between passing cabs on 76th street. It was such a silly fun night of piggy back rides, pathetic snowball making, slipping and sliding. All in all ... :) 

A little photo-op when I managed to walk around today:





I hope everyone had the change to get out and have a little fun in the snow this weekend. I think the snow brings out the kid in a lot of people, and that is never a bad thing. Maybe it'll even make us New Yorkers a little less unhappy... ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Scrooge??

When I went to the gym this morning, the big TV's right above the treadmills blasted me a BIG disappointment! All I could see was the words underneath the newscaster saying "New Yorkers are the Most Unhappy People in Entire US". Whaaaat?! I mean, sure, we definitely definitely complain, and are hostile, and a little curt at times - in fact I even started this blog in an effort to be happier in New York. But in the whole country? pssssh I don't think I necessarily believe that.. here is the link to the video so you can see for yourself (I tried to upload it but haven't quite figured it out yet): http://news.yahoo.com/video/health-15749655/cdc-survey-new-yorkers-unhappiest-in-u-s-17194563

I was immediately determined to bring about some CHEER to the people of New York! So I opted for this holiday sweater to wear to work. 
See the reindeer! Not so sure this is business casual..but ehh I love it! 

On my way to work I thought about all the things I love that you could only get in New York...

First: The fact that I can walk to work at all! It's about twenty blocks (aka 1 mile) but I just listen to my ipod and shuffle down the streets...it's a nice way to clear my head in the morning and not be staring at a computer/tv screen :)

video

Second: HUGE, Sparkling, inspirational signs

  
on the side of Macy's nonetheless.

Third: The landmark Coffee&Bagel men who serve us "cranky/unhappy" new yorkers our daily dose of caffeine every morning for $.75!!


Fourth: Bryant Park :) I love this park in the Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer. Right now the fountain was still a-running (i looooove fountains) and this one had some icicles forming (ya it's about 20 degrees here!)
            
and ice skating!!!!
  
                      
Note to self: need to go ice skating at least ONCE this winter!!

Fifth: Daily Deals on anything and everything. Today, if you made a snowflake, you got a free coffee at Gregory's. No question, we sat and cut out snowflakes for those babies...
This was mine.
With a little help with a co-worker since apparently my snowflake making skills were below par (hmmph). I dont think the people at Gregory's minded however, and I got my free coffee (woohoo!!) and was able to add to the gorgeous art display

All in all a grrreat day - no scrooges here! 





Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let's Backtrack Shall We?

So since I have seriously left any readers hanging on my activity since Friday here is a super-quick mini update:

Saturday: Tried out Sushi Samba for my friend's bf's bday. Two words: seabass appetizer (two words/three?) whatever it was unreal, melt in your mouth. So glad I finally made it down to this west village staple for food, and not drinks. Although the drinks are spectacular all their own and we definitely did our fair share of "classy" sake bombing :)

Sunday: in celebration of my slightly hungover self, I opted for a classic egg and sausage sandwich.
Totally hit the spot.
Mon-Wed has been nothing out of sorts. Just normal eats and workouts. The hardest part has been weathering this cold front that has hit NY like a ton of bricks! It's brutal out!
Today I finished off the last of my giant sized pack of spinach with another green monster!
(1 banana, some strawberry yogurt, 1 cup organic milk, 1/2 cup soy protein powder in chocolate - oh and spinach )
And a lunch of spinach, lentils, chicken and roasted butternut squash. mm mm good (as Campbells would say)
Dessert of Banana Bread Larabar (this might be my favorite flavor so far!! do I say that everytime?)
This afternoon I had a soy misto from Starbs and some leftover fruit from the pantry at work. best holiday platter I have seen in a while with figs and (da dada daaa) peppermint bark! this baby was gooood and definitely his my afternoon chocolate craving. yippee!
After work I'm heading with some co-workers to see Up In Air with George Clooney to revel in the life of a consultant...and then grabbing drinks with some "long-lost" high school friends which I am super excited about. I love catching up with people! TTYL ;)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Return of the Friday Lazy Nights

After a mini hiatus I have reinstated my 'lite' Friday nights. I have been traveling the past two days for work and it took 2 hours in bumper to bumper traffic to get back into the city tonight when the trip is 30 miles! By the time I pulled into Avis I was ready for a large, and very strong, shot. While I had been so dead set on going to happy hour with a few kids from work, I ended up going home and crashing on the sofa. Tonight was the first night of Hanukah, which my roommate celebrates, so I joined her in lighting the menorah!! I love that we have a menorah and a Christmas tree in the apartment...so festive! 



My roomie also made latkas and some cranberry applesauce [from scratch] my little chef! 

Instead of a shot I opted for a nice large glass of wine 
 in my holiday glasses :) and some sushi while watching, for the second time, The Jane Austen Book Club.  

Tomorrow I'm going to go and get Emma or Pride and Prejudice since I have never read either! I'll keep you posted on the progress..
For now, I'm laying in bad about the crash and downloading Amazon's 50 Free Christmas Songs (Thanks Amber for the rec!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Have a [Green] Monster Under my Bed




I mentioned in an earlier post that I was officially a member of the Green Monster Movement!! For those of you unfamiliar with Green Monsters, I first heard of them from Oh She Glows! It's essentially a Spinach Smoothie which your choice of add-ins. The benefits include decreased appetite for sweats, increase in energy, and a natural glow-yness for your skin! 

My Green Monster:
2 cups of Spinach
1 cup of Organic Milk
1 banana
1 scoop of Soy Chocolate Protein Powder

Okay I'm not lying, it was really good. So good that I took it down in like 2 minutes. Straws are no longer allowed because I just chug. It's absurd. 

I'm excited to continue making these in the morning -- I even have a Costco sized container of spinach to make sure I do :)

Make a Green Monster and then post your own recipe! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Food" for All

I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to make this primarily a food blog... I'm thinking no because there are alot of other things that I want to bring to light/focus on such as just general healthy living and enjoying/surviving in New York. With that said, I do seriously enjoy seeing what other food bloggers are eating and learning about their healthy habits. So I promise to try, as a newbie to the blog seen, to document my meals / snacks / slip-ups as they occur! 

I did my final bootcamp class this morning (which was seriously a killer)! I am proud to say that before 7:30 am I had done 250 pushups, 200 crunches, and more butt exercises than I ever thought physically possible. It was a rocking good time! Anyways, due to being at the gym and then going straight to work, I needed a portable breakfast.  See exhibit 1:


Some instant oatmeal with 1/2 banana, a handful of blackberries and 1/2 scoop of Soy Chocolate protein powder. 

When my mom came in on Sunday she brought me ... drum roll please... 

a CROCK POT! This thing rocks. No seriously.  Here is the recipe for the stew I made on Sunday night.

Veggie & Steak Stew
Ingredients:
~ 30 Carrots
1 chopped onion
1 can of tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
spices to tastes
3/4 lb of Stew meat (I chose steak)
1 cup of water or broth

Directions:
Throw everything into the crock pot! Let it cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9.

This was the final product and it was a perfect lunch all week. You can put whatever ingredients in that you want and I'm sure anything would taste good :) Tip of the day: INVEST in a crock pot if you lead a hectic life. It can save you hours on food prep time. 

Mid Afternoon Snack consisted of a LARABAR.

If you haven't tried a Larabar before I seriously recommend it. I've heard of alot of people who try not to eat things that have ingredients that they cannot pronounce (which unfortunately is the case with most food that we all typically eat!). The ingredients in a Larabar, depending on the flavor, are Almonds, Dates and then usually just whatever flavor it is. Trust me, you can pronounce everything in it ;)  and they're tasty to boot.

Last but not least, I just munched on a dinner of greeeeeens ...


I steamed some broccoli and spinach, sauteed some tofu, and threw in some garbanzo beans. Pretty random but I have all this produce and I'm afraid it's going to go bad! It was good and did the trick none the less. It was a little lighter than some dinners that I have but I didn't get home from work until 8 and for some reason I really don't like eating post-8 pm. I think it's some sort of phobia that I have developed from hearing all these celebrity trainers saying they lock up the kitchen at 8 ?? 

Do you think there is any validity to this? What are your food faux-pas? 

Looking forward to a great night of Top Chef Finale!! Gooooo Kevin :)

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time



I finally put up my Christmas Tree! It looks a little Charlie Brown-esque but adorable none the less.  Now I just need to put some gifts under it... :) 

PS Christmas lights seriously get me in the holiday spirit, pretty much all year long. 
What gets you in the holiday spirit? 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rainy Day [Saturday]






It was pouring today but I went for a walk anyways...and I came across the cutest apartment! On the east side, right across from this fabulous Vegan restaurant Angelica's Kitchen. I want to live hereee

It has a white picket fence! haha
I kept walking and when I got to Union Square I found...
It is awesome! I'm taking my mom here tomorrow...





When I got home I was in a seriously festive mood, so I decided to bake a pumpkin pie! Because I have what I like to call a sweet tooth, but what some others might call overindulgence, I tried to make this a "healthier" version of pumpkin pie.  
Pumpkin Pie

Spelt Crust
1 1/2 cups Spelt Flour
1/2 tbs kosher salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup organic milk

Pumpkin Filling
1 can of pumpkin
2 eggs
8 packets of splenda
1/2 tbs ginger
1/2 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs cinnamon
3/4 cup organic milk

For the crust: mix all ingredients together and put into a pie tin and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
For the filling: Mix together sugar, ginger, salt, and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat together two eggs in a large bowl and then add in the pumpkin and sugar mixture. Gradually add in milk. Fill the crust and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350 for 40 minutes (or until fork comes out clean)
Enjoy!!




Heading out for the night for my friends birthday on the upper east side -- I think the rain turned to snow!