My Favorites: Munchies!

I trekked across town. Took two stinky subway trains. Got off at the wrong stop and had to hike through a Friday morning tourist-packed Times Square. Went down the wrong street-twice. Mistook 43rd street for 40th street. Turned around. Went the wrong way on 6th Avenue. Then finally made it..... to where you ask? Read on to find out my favorite thing. Hint: It was well worth the trek across NYC from the LES to Bryant Park--even if it was a "PAIN" in the bum..... What is it that I trekked across town for? My favorite thing to munch on in the mornings-- that I simply can't make myself???

A Le PAIN Quotidien Vegan Blueberry Muffin! (Pronounce moofin in these parts). It is chewy yet moist. Crumbly yet firm. The sugary top goes perfectly with the caramel colored whole grain moist inside. Those little perfect blueberries scattered throughout. I always buy six at once--and freeze them for the week. I carry them home in a secure tote as if they are little chunks of gold. Clusters of healthy deliciousness. Anyone who has trekked through Times Square on a FRIDAY....knows these muffins must be good....

Everyone has munchie favorites... what are yours??? Here are a few more of mine:


Muffin: (Duh) Le Pain's Vegan Blueberry Muffin
Runner up: Strawberry-Peach from Angelika Cafe

Smoothie: Papaya Paradise from Liquiteria in NYC (Added: Spirulina and Aloe Vera)
Runner Up: Jamba Juice Acai Antioxidant, no sherbet-sub blueberries (Added: Vita and energy boosts)

Delivery Meal: Caravan of Dreams (NYC) Tofu-pesto sandwich, hot soup of the day, coconut water, side of rice and seitan, oh and maybe some carrot cake. (Don't forget the extra lemon-basil dressing!! Closed face too!)
Runner Up: GoBo in NYC's West Village...but they don't deliver in my range anymore....booooo! I miss that Butternut Squash Risotto and Seitan Skewers with mustard sauces....!

Movie Munchies: Popcorn--no butter! One or two twizzlers--stolen from my date, aka husband.

Under $15, To-Go Dinner, even though its out of delivery range: Cafeteria's Vegan Veggie Burger (nyc, Chelsea). It's delicious.
Runner up: Dare I say, Chipotle? Rice, beans, veggies, guac, salsa and lettuce.....none of the "bad" stuff I assure you. (Sigh, I miss real California mexican food though...)

Coffee: Gimme Coffee!'s Soy Latte. Best coffee downtown.
Runner Up: Le Pain's large soy latte. (All over the world-thank goodness!) (Can I get a muffin with that?)
(sorry Starbucks)...try coming out with that soy Frapp and maybe we can talk...

Interesting-Non-Mainstream Dining Experience: The Kitchen Club in nyc.
Runner Up: Blossom in nyc.
Outside of nyc: Vix in Miami and (Palapas in Santa Cruz, CA....for sentimental reasons!)

Favorite Food on the Beach: Delivered-to-my-Umbrella Garlic Hummus and Pita from Delano's Blue Door/Sky...something South Beach, Miami Florida. (Delano is also my favorite hotel in the world....but this is the favorite munchies list.)

Favorite Pizza: Pizza Paradiso in Georgetown, DC
Runner Up: Lombardi's in NYC.....but only on Halloween--sangria included.

Favorite "Dress up" Restaurant: Morimoto in nyc...also Le Bernadin can't be beat...
Runner Up: Felidia in nyc, or Vix in South Beach.

I'm running out of favorites right now, but there are so many more..

Last but not least:

Favorite Beverage: Fresh Young Coconut Water from Organic Avenue in nyc
Runner Up: Acai Juice from Samzabon brand. (In the original purple bottle)

...What are YOUR fav's????? I'd love to hear them in the comments section!

Happy Friday--my third favorite day of the week.


Healthy Top Ten: Grilling Fruit

Labor Day is this weekend, so it may be your last chance at a true summertime BBQ.
So here's a water-cooler question: What are the top ten BEST fruit options for the grill? Read on to see if your top-ten list matches ours...

My official end-of-summer list of fruit that tastes great grilled. Here it is:

Top Ten Fruits to "Throw" on the Grill

10. Nectarines
9. Apples
8. Papaya
7. Apricots
6. Pears
5. Peaches
4. Figs
3. Bananas
2. Mango

..and #1 is...

1. Pineapple!

(You can't beat a thick slice of grilled pineapple to top off a veggie burger. (The non-vegans will even love a slice of fresh fruit on their burger...although I recommend the veggie burger option!)Add some salsa and mango chutney and you are in grillers heaven!

Do you have any other fruit ideas to add to my list?

Did I forget something yummy? Add it to the comments...

Happy Grilling.


Phelps Phrosted Phlakes Phlub

I remember Michael Jordan with his gentle smile, nodding his head and scooping up a spoonful of crunchy brown flakes, saying "Eat your Wheaties kids!" I also remember the boys in my junior high and high school classes saying their favorite cereal was Wheaties....was there a connection there? Some may argue no, but I say yes!
Michael Phelps the most decorated Olympic athlete ever has chosen to plaster his face all over....wait for it kids...

.....boxes of FROSTED FLAKES. Is this a MAJOR PHELPS PHLUB?. Nutritionists everywhere are saying the same thing.... "With the obesity epidemic in our country, it is shocking that Michael Phelps would even consider choosing a very unhealthy cereal such as Kellogs Frosted Flakes to proclaim his cereal-box glory status."

"I would not consider Frosted Flakes the food of an Olympian," said nutritionist Rebecca Solomon of Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Frosted Flakes...perhaps now called PHROSTED PHLAKES??? basically a bowl full of sugar. And I cannot imagine any parent would be happy about being forced into buying a box for their Phelps Phan children. Even if you are a head strong healthy treat toting parent, you may somehow find yourself purchasing a box of this stuff--just for the iconic image on the box.

The question begins....NOW WHAT? Do I let my kids eat this stuff? Do I secretly replace the frosted white flakes with something I bought at Whole Foods? (A la Deceptively Delicious, Jessica Seinfeld style...) Or do I allow the kids the joy of gulping down the sugary spoonfuls--and call it dessert instead of "the breakfast of gold-medalists...." I simply let them try the creamy white sugar-flakes, let them get a sugar high, and then tell them how unhealthy that sugar high is? Yeah right. We all know that cold cereal of the SUGAR in a BOWL variety (Pops, Cocoa Crispies, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Count Chocula....) are ALL like Kiddie Cocaine. Kids try it once and THEY ARE HOOKED! They want more! Heck, they could probably eat the whole box in one sitting. They will never go back to your Fiber-in-a-bowl healthy brand, like Kashi, Whole Foods 365 cereal, Barbara's Bakery, Puffins, ect....

C'mon feel the advertising pressure. Give in. Be a "cool mom". Afterall....Frosted Flakes....or "Frosties"....are in fact VEGAN! What could be better, right?

My advice. If YOU MUST purchase the box...really THROW THE CONTENTS AWAY! What do I sound extreme? Better safe than sorry right? Lets not end up having to detox kids from this liquid sugar breakfast....I say the withdrawal symptoms of eating an entire box of Frosted Flakes will be much worse than simply never experiencing the "joy" that comes from indulging in it.

With SO MANY healthy treats or even breakfast snacks out there....Snackimals, Whole Foods vegan cookies, Le Pain Quotidian vegan blueberry muffins, Amy's brand breakfasts, Frozen Yogurt with fresh fruit, homemade blueberry pancakes, ect..... Why feed your kids junk for a treat or breakfast when you don't really have to? But that's just my advice. One bowl of FF certainly won't hurt them.......certainly won't destroy all the healthy values you have instilled in them.......

...or will it?


Banana Hair Mask, At-Home Beauty: Don't Try This at Home

I'm sure you've all read those articles about giving yourself a spa-quality facial at-home using normal household products and foods. Salt or sugar as an exfoliant. Avocado, sea salt, lemon or bananas as hair masks. Or sugar and peaches as a facial scrub. Well seeing that it costs around $305 at The Mandarin Oriental in NYC to get a 80 minute facial--I decided to take a little plunge into the do-it yourself world of beauty. And this is one at-home remedy you SHOULD NOT TRY AT HOME.....Read on for my horror story...

So I decided that I wanted shiny hair today. Hmmm, I saw the ladies on ABC's The View talking to an at-home remedy GURU...she was slathering yogurt and whole sliced peaches on her face, and sugar on her hands and saying that bananas and olive oil make a great hair mask....why not try that!

So I mushed up a ripe banana, added some olive oil and even a little soy milk (for protein, duh). Then I gooped it in my hands and slathered it all over my hair. I ground it into my scalp and smooshed it all around. Ahh smells like a Jamba Juice smoothie. I let it sit for about ten minutes, then off to the shower.

As I started to rinse out the mixture I was pleasantly surprised by the silky feel to my hair. However, one problem. The now mushy, marinated with water banana chunks were not coming out. Instead they were getting buried deep into my scalp, clinging to my hair shaft. And any chunks that did come off were splattered around my poor shower clogging the tub and making a mess. Ugh. This was not good.

So I scrubbed and scrubbed, but still there were these gooey slimy chunks of banana swimming in my silky brown locks. OK. I need my brush. I reached out for my brush and even though I hate brushing my hair when it is too wet and "more weak and susceptible to breakage" (I always see that quoted by someone who knows hair stuff...), I started yanking my brush-- pulling it through my hair-hard. Well that worked-sort've. OK, not really.....

Now my brush was clogged--really clogged-with slimy bits of banana slush. Yuck. I continued this process for at least ten minutes. And finally conditioned and gave up my rinse session. Lets just put it this way...two hours later--dry SUPER SHINY hair....and I still have banana chunks swimming around in there....

So yeah, my hair does feel shiny. But maybe that's just the banana sludge reflecting the light.....

A few at-home beauty tricks I DO recommend:
*Using sugar or sea salt at a body exfoliant (both dissolve easily away in the shower.)
*Wiping/toning your face with warm damp tea bags--exfoliates the skin and adds healthy tea antioxidants to your skin.
*Using rose petals in a hot tub. Dying flowers can have a use here!
*Banana face mask--it does make your skin soft....but wash the banana off with a thick paper towel so it doesn't clog the sink!
*Pouring old/oxidized wine into your bath tub....super silky skin is the result. And don't worry you won't smell like the wine once you are out...
*Baking soda and sea salt in the tub.
*Coffee grounds face scrub.
*And the classic...cucumber eye masks. Stick the slices in the freezer and let them thaw on your eyes.

Happy At-Home Spa-ing!

Do you have any better ideas to share...or horror stories like mine????