Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Red Bamboo

My friend Barb and partner Mike came for a visit from Pennsylvania on Monday. It's been a year and half since she's been here, and it was so good to see her again! She has a friend who works for The Colbert Report, and he got us tickets for Monday's show. We went to NYC and had lunch at Red Bamboo. Red Bamboo is a tiny little restaurant that serves really delicious vegan comfort food. It's all heavily soy based, so I haven't eaten there in a while. I figured it would be nice to splurge a little. Barb has never been there before and has wanted to try it for a while. I was expecting an upset tummy after we ate, but I was fine!

We started out with Almond Coconut "Chicken" and Barbecue Buffalo Wings.

I had a Grilled "Chicken" salad. I figured it would be a little healthier if I had some greens!

Mike had the Creole Soul "Chicken". This is my favorite Red Bamboo dish!

Dennis had the Dijon "Chicken" Sandwich lunch special.

Barb had the Filet O'Fish Panini.

We all split a piece of Mango Cheesecake for dessert.

Barb and I!

The Colbert Report!

We got to wait in the conference room before the show started! (It rained on our way over and my hair got messed up!) Barb's friend made sure we had great seats. Stephen Colbert came out before the show and talked to the audience for a while and John Waters was the guest. It was a lot of fun!

Barb's friend gave us Wrist Strong bracelets, t-shirts and baseball caps!

Barb and Mike were only here for 25 hours, which wasn't long enough, but it was a fun visit. I'm hoping we can get together again soon!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

A Very Blossom Day

So like I said yesterday, Saturday was my last at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which was rather bittersweet for me. I've been working with five amazing first year students, and I'm going to miss them. We had a group lunch at Cafe Blossom to celebrate the end of the "school year". We all split a plate of raw autumn rolls, and then we all ordered raw zucchini linguine. It was really tasty, and Cafe Blossom has become one of my favorite places to eat in NYC.

After class, my friend Jessica and I took the subway downtown, to the beginning of the High Line. Everything is blooming and it looks much prettier than the last time I was there. We walked up it up to 20th Street and then walked over to Blossom Restaurant. The restaurant is more upscale than the cafe, and the food is equally as good. We split an order of crab cake appetizers, and we forgot to take a picture before we dug in.

Jessica had Hickory Basted Tempeh. I tried a piece and it was really good.

I had pistachio and pepper dusted tofu. It came with a crepe filled with root veggies. I've been eating small amounts of soy, and I don't think it's affecting me at all. I think the crepe was made with wheat, and of course, I'm allergic to the nuts, but this meal was really good, and I didn't have a big reaction to it - just some eye itching from the nuts.

We had talked about going to Cocoa V (which is also part of the Blossom chain) across the street for dessert, but I was just too full. So instead we got some chocolates to go. I got a few bagged chocolates, and some really pretty bonbons. Their chocolates are so pretty that it's almost a shame to eat them. They're so delicious though! The peanut butter bonbons (the blue plaid ones) are my favorites.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010


Since I started this blog, I've been trying to post something everything day. It's tough, because I've mainly been posting about what I'm eating, and I don't always feel like cooking. And I've been busy. I've been working a full time job, health counseling part time, attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's Immersion program and counseling IIN students, as well as trying to have some semblance of a social life. And now that it's summer, I don't want to cook anything because it's too fricking hot. I've been preparing a lot of raw foods, but lately I've been eating a lot of the same salads and raw sandwiches.

So I think for now I'm going to slow down the posts a little. I always tell my clients to slow down, because so many of us try to accomplish too many things in a day, and it's time to take my own advice. I might post every other day, or maybe just during the week, or maybe just whenever I try a new dish. I have a few recipes printed out that I'm definitely going to make this week, and I still have to tell you about the delicious raw cheesecake I made a few days ago, so I will be posting again soon!

And the good news is that I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's Immersion program yesterday!! It was kind of strange leaving because for a year and a half now, I have been going in to New York City and attending classes on certain weekends. I learned a lot, improved my own health, gained confidence, started my own business and made some wonderful friends, so it's been a great experience. IIN's programs are all going to be distance learning programs going forward, which makes it really easy to learn from home. If you have any interest in switching careers or learning about health and wellness, contact me and I'll tell you all about it.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yet another birthday celebration!

My birthday was last week, but for some reason we celebrated it yesterday at work. (Which was kind of strange, because I was there Monday, but that's okay.) We went out for a sushi lunch and had cake back at the office. I wasn't expecting them to have dessert for me, since I keep getting more difficult to bake for. (First there was just vegan, and now it's wheat-free and vegan!) But there was cake! My coworker and friend Vanessa made a really delicious peanut butter cup cake. She used a recipe from Sharon Valencik's Sweet Utopia and swapped the wheat flour out with brown rice flour. Swapping non-gluten flours with wheat flour doesn't always work, because it's the gluten that makes the cake fluffy, but it worked really well in this cake. It was really delicious.

And when I got home from work, I had a birthday card in the mail from my friend Irina. She bought Spoon/Arcade Fire tickets for August as a gift! I can't wait!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grilled Polenta with Beans and Veggies

This is a meal that used to be in heavy rotation on my dinner menu, but I haven't made it recently since I haven't been eating corn. My corn allergy is mild, and since I haven't had it in a while, I've decided it's okay to add it back into my diet in moderation. Most people eat corn all day, every day without realizing it, which is not a good thing. Corn is in a lot of processed food because it's so cheap, and high fructose corn syrup is all too prevalent in the standard American diet. I highly recommend seeing the film King Corn, which is all about the corn industry and how corn ended up getting into so much of our food.

This is grilled polenta with beans and veggies. I like to buy the tubes of organic polenta, slice them and grill them on the stove. I'm not really sure what I did wrong with it this time, because the polenta broke apart and stuck the pan. I think it was the pan I used, so I won't use that one again for this. After fighting with it for a while, gave up on and and mashed it all together and then cut it up to serve it, which didn't alter the taste at all. I sprinkled some Daiya cheese over it while it was cooking. The veggies are mixed peppers, tomatoes, and onions, and I also added black beans.

Polenta is made with boiled cornmeal, which has a smooth, creamy texture. Strangely, it used to be classified as peasant food, but it has gained popularity and is now on the menu in many high end restaurants. It's naturally gluten-free, so it can make a nice grain alternative to people with gluten intolerance. And it's also really tasty!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Sprig and Vine

Friday was my birthday! I decided that I wanted to have my birthday dinner at Sprig and Vine in New Hope, PA, which has only been open for a few months. I've heard great things about it and have been dying to try it. New Hope is only an hour and fifteen minutes away, and it's a cute town (as is it's neighbor, Lambertville, NJ), so it was a nice day trip. Dennis and I spent most of the day walking around, looking in shops and drinking iced teas. Since we knew we wouldn't be back for a while, we had both lunch and dinner at Sprig and Vine.

I started out with a nice mint rooibos iced tea. It was really hot on Friday, so this was very refreshing. Even though it was a little too hot, we ate lunch outside. A woman walked by and asked how our meal was. She said she'd eaten there once before and really loved it.

We started out with hummus and flatbread. Yes, the bread is made with wheat, but I decided it was okay to go crazy and have wheat since it was my birthday.

I ordered a grilled tempeh ruben on pumpernickel bread, which was really delicious.

Dennis had a summer squash sandwich, which was also really good. This is a new item on their menu and hasn't made it their website yet. When we get sandwiches at restaurants, we tend to swap half with each other, which is what we did here.

We also split an order of fries. I can't even remember the last time I had fries. These were really good! They were served with grain mustard aioli.

After walking around all day, we went back for dinner. We were both tired and sweaty and had sore feet, so it was nice to sit down inside in the air conditioning.

I had the fried baby artichoke appetizer. It came with chickpeas and smoked paprika aioli. It was amazingly good and I'm still thinking about it days later.

Dennis had the edamame falafels with black sesame tahini. Tahini is one of his favorite foods and since he saw it on the lunch menu, he had been thinking about it all day. He was very pleased with it.

For dinner, he ordered the cauliflower three ways dish. There is a cauliflower "steak", cauliflower puree, and a cauliflower stuffed portabella mushroom. The dish also came with roasted fennel and cashew cream. I had planned on ordering this, but since he ordered it instead, I ordered something else and just ate some off of his plate. It was really, really tasty.

Since Dennis ordered the dish I wanted, I was torn between just about everything else on the menu. I waited until the waiter came over to make a spur of the moment decision. I ended up ordering seared coconut risotto cakes. They came with a lentil sauce and grilled vegetables. This was incredibly delicious and I was really happy with my choice.

Since it was a special occasion, we both ordered dessert. I had chocolate mousse pie, which came with coffee ice cream and cashew cream. It was really, really, really good. While I was eating it, the waiter came over to see if we liked our dessert. He asked if I could guess what the pie was made with. I said silken tofu, and was amazed that I knew. He said most people would be surprised when they found out it was tofu, so Dennis explained that I'm a whiz in the kitchen and did a little bragging about my cooking!

Dennis wasn't sure what to order for dessert, but he settled on peanut butter and jelly French toast. The "jelly" was actually a wine reduction sauce, and the peanut butter was a peanut powder. I had a tasted, and it was also really, really, really good.

Dinner was so good that we both agreed that not only was it worth the long drive to get there, it was also totally worth the sore feet! I think their dinner menu rivals that of the good vegan restaurants in NYC. I will most definitely eat there again soon!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

I don't have any photos of food to show or any health and nutrition tidbits to talk about today. Instead, here are some photos of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, NJ. I took a lot more photos, but Blogger is giving me troubles and I can't upload them all.

Swiss chard!

Baby strawberries





Find the chipmunk

He's under the cherub!

I hung out here and read for a while

Bird statues

The rose garden

I have no idea what these are, but they're really weird looking

Pretty fountain

Little yellow flowers

Little white flowers

I'm not sure if this is a butterfly or a moth

This is where I ate my picnic lunch of quinoa salad and greens salad

A squirrely!

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