travel

Eating Our Way Through NYC

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We recently visited New York for our anniversary and had the best time eating our way through the city. I love exploring the food scene in different cities and NYC was no exception. My husband Fran says that I have FOBO (fear of better options) because I’m so indecisive, especially when I have so many to choose from. There was no way to get to all the places I wanted to eat in one weekend so I’m already dreaming of going back and hitting up all the places we didn’t get to.  11 miles and 27,000 steps later, here are all the dEATS on the places we ate…

Temple Court at the Beekman

So we were actually supposed to go to another restaurant for dinner but due to me missing my flight, we had to cancel those reservations and ate at the restaurant in the hotel we were staying, which is Top Chef judge, Tom Collichio’s restaurant. We didn’t end up eating until about 10pm but we chose the tasting menu of five courses with wine pairings, which I highly recommend doing to get a little taste of a lot of different things. Plus lots of wine is always good after a missed flight.IMG_1860

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 The Butcher’s Daughter

If you like tasty but healthy food, you’ve got to go here! I had already booked reservations for brunch at another place but as soon as I found out about this one I immediately knew this is where I wanted to eat. Lines can be long in the morning and they don’t take reservations so I  wanted to get there early. We were able to walk from our hotel (The Beekman near the Brooklyn Bridge-highly recommend!) in about 15 minutes. We arrived at 10am and only had to wait for about 10 minutes for a table inside. I wanted to order the entire menu but finally decided on the yellow juice (pineapple, jicama and lemon) and tacos verdes. And let me just tell you…AHMAZING! Fran didn’t even realize the whole menu was vegetarian and mostly vegan and gluten free until after we left. It is the cutest place and I want one in Charleston.

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Tacos Verdes from The Butcher’s Daughter

Smorgasburg

If you love food trucks you will die over this place. Its in Brooklyn, which worked out perfectly because walking the Brooklyn Bridge was the number one thing I wanted to do this trip. They are only open Saturdays and Sundays but it has the best view of Manhattan. This is literally a foodie’s paradise. There are tons of vendors serving all kinds of grub. With my FOBO, I had to walk by every vendor to see all my options before ordering. Ordering something and then realizing someone out ordered you is the ABSOLUTE WORST. For some small bites we got some dumplings which were delicious, but by far the best thing was my taco from Goa Taco. I usually avoid pork but this cabbage and pork belly taco was calling my name, I just could not resist.

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Pork Belly and Cabbage Taco from Goa Taco
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Prickly Pear Cactus Lemonade

 

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So many tacos!
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Dumplings with pickled onions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Banks

Grand Banks is such a cool seasonal spot with amazing views of the harbor and Freedom Tower. Its a sailboat that has the best atmosphere but lines can be long so be prepared to wait. Only so many people can fit on a boat before it sinks ya know? It’s a great place for a cocktail or glass of rosé before dinner. We didn’t eat but they do serve oysters, lobster rolls, and other seafood dishes.

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Quality Eats

There are a few locations around the city but we went to the NoMad location. I had the most delicious salad here called the Haystack with a maple-soy vinaigrette dressing that I’m dying to replicate. And we both ordered the grilled octopus with rice beans and beluga lentils because it just sounded too good to share.

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The Haystack

 

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Grilled Octopus

 

 

 

The Spotted Pig

The Spotted Pig is a must for brunch! Disclaimer: don’t go here expecting a healthy meal; nonetheless, it is delicious! Its such a cozy place with the most unique decor. I usually go for a healthier option on any menu but with this being the last meal in NYC, I wanted to go out with a bang. Plus, we had just walked all over carnation and I deserved all the sugar I wanted. I got the Dutch Baby with bacon and maple syrup (bottom plate). Its like a combo of pancake/popover/crepe, all of which I love. Fran got the poached eggs and pork cheek hash, which was surprisingly delectable.

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The Dutch Baby and Poached Eggs with Pork Cheek Hash

Honestly all of these places were top notch and I’d go back in a heart beat. I’d have to say my absolute favorites were Smorgasburg for the experience and The Butcher’s Daughter since I’m partial to breakfast + healthy food. Can’t wait to go back!

Next stop: South Africa!

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Holidays

Summer Grillin’

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Bust out those barbecues because Memorial Day is next week, which means the unofficial kickoff to grillin’ season is right around the corner! But you’ll want to follow my four tips to help keep your grilled grub healthy.

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Grilled Shrimp Marinated in The New Primal’s Citrus Herb Marinade

Marinate Your Meats

When grilling meat, you always want to marinate it first to minimize exposure to carcinogens associated with grilling dry meats. Plus they can really enhance the flavor of different meats and keep them tender and juicy.  Even marinating meats for a short time will help but beware of added sugars in pre-made sauces. The New Primal has their Citrus Herb Marinade that pairs perfectly with chicken and seafood and Classic and Spicy Marinades that go well with red meat, pork and chicken. They are free of gluten, sugar and artificial preservatives to ensure you have a healthy hunk of meat.

Keep it Lean

Grilling is a great way to cook meat to keep fat to a minimum but you also want to pay attention to how much fat your cut of meat has. It’s best to choose meats that are lower in saturated fat to reduce your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. Choose loins or rounds, as those tend to be the leanest cuts, or seafood, which is naturally low in saturated fats and high in heart healthy fats. Avoid processed meats like hotdogs, sausage and (sadly) bacon, which tend to be fattier and come with unhealthy additives.

Don’t Overdo It

Cooking meat for too long to well done is not recommended as it may be associated with an increased risk of certain cancers including prostate, pancreatic and colorectal. Don’t cook meats past the recommended internal temperature: 145° for steak, pork and seafood, 160° for ground meat and 165° for poultry. Try to keep cooking temperatures below 325° and remove any charred bits before chowing down to minimize cancer risk.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Don’t Forget the Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are a great way to enhance the health factor of your grilling sesh by adding tons of fiber. Grilled portobello mushrooms make a great sub or topping for hamburgers and grilled asparagus, corn, peppers, and even lettuces are a great side dish. Veggie kabobs are a fun way to add in pops of color and important vitamins. Use fruit to sweeten things up by adding grilled pineapple for a tropical feel or grilled peaches for a healthy dessert.

Backyard barbecues are such a fun time to bring family and friends together to celebrate summer so enjoy and get creative with cooking. The options are endless!

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with free product from The New Primal but all opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
Soup

Carrot Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

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This soup was originally supposed to be just coconut butternut squash soup, but then I decided I needed to have a purging of the fridge moment so I added in all the carrots I had left over from a previous recipe. No food waste here! It is one of my pet peeves so I try to make the most of any food I have that isn’t already claimed for another recipe. Enter, Carrot Coconut Butternut Squash Soup.

It is full of fiber (butternut squash, carrots, and onions) and fats (coconut milk, avocado oil) to keep you full for eva. Plus, its so easy to make and can be eaten on for days! Fiber is so important for so many things, including protecting against heart disease and diabetes and can help with weight loss because it helps to keep us full. It also helps with digestive issues and helps protect our gut. Fiber has prebiotics in it that the good bacteria in our gut feeds on and helps to keep a our gut bacteria balanced. You should aim to have 25-35 grams of fiber a day and its found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant based foods. Fiber is the new protein so eat it up!!!


Recipe

Ingredients

3large carrots

2 lbs of butternut squash (I bought precut to save time)

1 yellow onion, chopped

Avocado oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 c coconut milk

2 c vegetable broth

cinnamon

nutmeg

plain yogurt (choose coconut for vegan)

maple syrup

2 cloves garlic, minced

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash and chop carrots into chunks. No need to peel them- that just reducesthe fiber.

Place carrots and butternut squash on baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast until soft. Carrots will take longer than squash.

Place onion and garlic in pan and sauté in avocado oil on stove until onions are translucent.

When carrot and squash mixture are done, combine with onions in a blender (I use Vitamix). Slowly add coconut milk and veggie broth and blend on low. Add liquids until desired consistency. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

I topped mine with Siggis plain yogurt, but to make vegan you can use coconut yogurt. Drizzle maple syrup on top and sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

 

Smoothies

Berry Smoothie Bowl

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Its close to 80 degrees in Charleston today. In FEBRUARY. And it doesn’t look like winter is returning any time soon. With this heat wave, my body is craving summer fruits in smoothie form. Good thing I always have frozen berries on hand so I don’t have to settle for the incredibly expensive fresh berries in store now. They were probably picked weeks ago and shipped in from California, resulting in a possible loss of vitamins. Frozen berries are frozen at the peak of freshness, so all of those nutrients are locked in, and they’re usually much less expensive.  A win-win.

I love smoothies because there are a million combinations you can make depending on your tastes and what mood you’re in. In fall and winter months, I tend to add pumpkin and cinnamon and in summer and spring, I like to use more tropical flavors like coconut. I wanted to change it up from the usual smoothie and make a smoothie bowl with the granola in my last post. No matter the form, I always try to fit in some greens, usually spinach, to get in a serving of vegetables.

I used a lot less liquid in this bowl than I usually do in smoothies, which makes it resemble sorbet. So basically this is dessert.


Recipe

Serves 2

2 c frozen strawberries

1 c frozen raspberries

1 banana

2 large handfuls of spinach

¼ c coconut milk (I used Vita Coco)

Toppings

Homemade granola (see last post)

Coconut chips

Chia seeds

 Instructions

Blend all ingredients except toppings together on low speed until desired consistency. It will be thicker than a normal smoothie. Pour or spoon into bowl and top with toppings of choice.

Uncategorized

Homemade Nutty Cinnamon Maple Granola

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Ever notice that store bought granola is expensive and comes in the smallest packages that don’t even last a week? Well good news is that making your own granola is cheap and easy peasy! Oats are actually one of the cheapest foods in the store and can be bought in bulk, so I highly recommend making your own granola to save some cashola. A 42 oz. container of Quaker Oats is roughly $4.20, depending on where you shop, and there are about 30 servings, making each serving a whopping 14 cents (even cheaper if you buy store brand). Plus, they are a whole grain, so they supply plenty of fiber to keep your gut happy and you feeling full for longer, (i.e. less calories in your mouth).  There are a million uses for oats, my favorites being oatmeal, overnight oats, granola, and oat energy balls. So, they are a no brainer in my book and a staple in the pantry. Oats are naturally gluten free but can be contaminated with gluten if processed in a plant with wheat. So, if you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, make sure your oats specify gluten free on the package.

Warning, drooling may accompany this recipe due to salivating smells.


Recipe

Ingredients:

3 c oats
2 c pecans
2 c almonds
1 c cashews
3 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c raisins

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°
Put all nuts in a food processor and pulse until broken into pieces.
Combine nuts with all other dry ingredients except cinnamon and raisins into large bowl and mix together.
Melt coconut, maple syrup and cinnamon on stove until it becomes a liquid.
Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.
Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, making sure to stir often so the top doesn’t burn.
Let cool and add raisins.

Tip: Store in an airtight container for optimal freshness.

This recipe can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have. You can substitute different nuts based on your preferences and can omit or add maple syrup and other spices according to your tastes.