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perfection

27 May

….is Spring in New York City, when you are in love with the idea of eating and drinking outside.

Wednesday night it was at Uva with friends on the Upper East Side.

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And in the theme of Fleet Week here in New York City, I bring your Carrie Bradshaw: “That’s another reason I love New York. Just like that, it can go from bad to cute.”

Enjoy your memorial day weekends!! I’m staying in the city, but still so excited about my plans! xoxox

food friday & easter sunday

25 Apr

Friday night, of course I needed to have one last NYC meal before leaving the bubble for a little over 24 hours. We actually just wandered around until we found something. (Rare for me!) I still had the Italian bug after Eataly on Wednesday and we wound up at Centro Vinoteca. The highlights:

vegan yellow tomato soup

caprese, mmmmm

roasted wild mushroom cappellacci - peas, lemon pressed olive oil & parmesan

Once back in New Jersey, I’m not going to lie, one of the first things that’s on my to-do list is… Target. Danny & I decided to split up to fill our baskets for each other. The end result on Easter:

When Danny saw mine, he wanted to “redo” his. His grass was under all that candy, but I think we all know who the clear winner is here on presentation. ;)

However, it’s hard to tell who the winner is otherwise since mine was filled with a ton of my favorites. ;)

The best part of my Easter pictures? My cat in this picture of Danny & I. HAHA can you find him?! He is just hanging out on his leash. Completely normal, right?

In case it isn’t, here is another attemt at being slightly normal.

Now I have a ton of left over desserts waiting for me in the fridge, but coming tomorrow – Jamie & I reunited again!!! (…to dance!)

eataly… not it-aly!

21 Apr

After work last night, my co-worker slash friend from high school and I headed to Forever 21 for some much needed Spring shopping. After working up a sweat (literally – it was HOT + crowded in there) and being satisfied with our finds (YAY, new rompers :D) we were in serious need of some wine & pasta.

We went to Eataly by Madison Square Park. It’s a big open market with separate cafes for fish, meat, wine & cheese, pasta & pizza, bread, desserts, and soso much more. It’s the essence of “I’m only going to find this in New York City.”

mmmm

oh carbs

There was a bit of a wait for La Pizza & Pasta Cafe so over to the Wine cafe it was – what a tough life. :)

thanks, dude.

I loved this sign! (even though this is a horrible picture…) Their first two manifesto points from their website are “we’re in love with food” and “food unites all.” I think these are mine, too.. ;)

eat better, cook simpler :)

a beautiful sight

When we went back to La Pizza & Pasta, the hostess let us know we could sit at the counter if we wanted instead of waiting – YES – eat sooner and get to watch the chefs do their thang? Win :)

The food options are limited, but because everything is so fresh and simple – it makes it better that way. Of course, we had to start with some bread :)

After asking the waiter about the Spaghettone Cacio e Pepe, we both decided to get it. It’s “served very al dente, like in Italia with Cheese from Lazio and black pepper.” The waiter called it a magnificent dish – sold.

this is what you look like after forever 21 destroys you

When our pasta came.. it looked nothing like we imagined, but it tasted A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I can’t even describe how incredible it was. In fact, I’m day dreaming about it right now.

this picture does barely any justice!

Al dente and perfect :) mmmmm. And to end  the night, as we were walking out – we saw Pei Pei from Freaky Friday. D list celeb spotting, what what!

PS, after perusing the website I saw “LA BIRRERIA is a rooftop restaurant and brewery that will offer the highest quality beer and food under the stars and skyline. Check back this Spring for updates on La Birreria Opening!” I will most definitely be checking that out! Who’s with me?!


							

I’ve got 99 problems, but a Pilates deal ain’t one

24 Feb

That was actually the headline in my Yipit email today, it made me giggle so I thought I’d share. Especially since I’ve got 99 problems, but a Yoga deal ain’t one, I’ve got those babies lined up for weeks. ;) On my productive day off on Monday, I suggested  Target to Danny and was super surprised to hear an, “okay” back. In NYC, there are only two targets – Harlem and Brooklyn. I have always been intimated by both, assuming they were in uncharted territory. I was happily surprised to learn that the Brooklyn Target was SO easy, and in a giant mall. I felt like a kid in a candy store, no better TOYS ‘R US. It had been months since I went to Target, but now that I know how easy it is, we’ll never be separated for that long again.

Yes, I took a picture of Target, I was that ecstatic

My two biggest inspirations to go to target:

New Yoga Mat + Yoga Meltdown!

Jamie was right about the DVD, it’s nice to learn the poses with repetitions. I’ve been practicing a ton this week with my break from running. Although, I still feel like I could use some sort of yoga flash cards to study with before I go to a class. ;) This is the best I found! I haven’t looked, but I bet there is an iPhone “app for that.” Heh, heh.

For a laugh, self-photobooth yoga flubs… Photobooth just isn’t meant for me to take yoga pictures.

This is called the Nemo - just keep swimming.. just keep swimming

As for FOOD, a few weeks ago, I found whole wheat lasagna noodles in the grocery store, and while I have never even so much as entertained the idea of making lasagna – I got excited for the whole wheat & have been itching to make it. Let’s face it, anything whole wheat, pasta, or vegetable excites me. Plus, I could incorporate some foods to brighten up my blech winter skin they suggested this FitSugar article!! I take anything I can GET at this point in winter!

The nutrition stats were actually pretty good! 1g of fat, 0mg of sodium, and 7g of protein.

Heart Healthy, not too shabby.

I decided to semi-wing-it after studying a few recipes off of Cooking Light. I think I really clicked every single one of those..

The veggie fillers:  mushrooms, zucchini, yellow pepper, and spinach.

chop chop

The cheese: ricotta, mozzarella, and some Parmesan to garnish.

say CHEESE :D

The seasonings:

the spinach, oregano, garlic & moreeee

The sauce:

Sauce + mah veggies

Once the noodles are done, you need to lay them out so they don’t stick – I did not know this!

Thank goodness for instructions ;)

I started with a layer of sauce + veggies then layered more noodles, but since I was using a small pan I had to cut the noodles down.

lol

I was a bit confused when it came to the “layers.” I wound up putting sauce on top of the cheese without the pasta; I tried to scoop it out but it seemed like a lost cause.

Ricotta & Mozzerella Layer: The Before Picture

Since I ran out of sauce+veggies, I decided the last layer would be cheese. Oh well…. ;)

The top

45 minutes and one level 1 of Jillian Michaels later, I pulled it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes!

Bubbly goodness

It was hard not to be incredibly generous in my portion….

Messy!!!

A meal that was messy, amazinngggg, and will feed me for weeks. It’s still crazy to eat things I never thought I’d make that actually TASTE fantastic, too. I may have missed the yoga pictures, but I am pleased with this outcome. :)

I'm just a regular Little Italy chef :)

 

power foods & youtube yoga

16 Feb

So, tonight my roommate & I had power yoga plans from an oh so wonderful 3 classes-for-$9 coupon from Lifebooker, but apparently Jamie & I are both unfortunate with the details of our yoga classes. We didn’t realize the coupon stated you had to email 24 hours in advance…. oops.

I took the time as an opportunity to tackle two things in the kitchen that always intimidated me: spaghetti squash & homemade pasta sauce! I referenced some of my favorite bloggies to help me through :) Fitnessista for the spaghetti squash & Oh She Glows & a my PowerFoods cookbook for the sauce.

First, I cut the squash in half and scooped out the insides like a pumpkin. (I was very OCD at this step, I wasn’t sure how much to scoop… After I kept questioning myself, I figured I’d be alright as long as I wasn’t eating seeds, and even then… meh, what’s a seed? ;))

Cut & scooped!

Then, I put those puppies in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes on a baking sheet with a little bit of water.

Lopsided water :)

While it was baking I made my sauce! Olive oil, onion, garlic, then added the salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, and crushed red pepper.

sizzzzle

One of the Power Foods recipes for easy tomato sauce suggested red wine, so I combined my forces. :) My pan isn’t very big so I only added 3/4 of the 28oz can of crushed tomatoes.

red wine + crushed tomatoes + chopped spinach added to the mix

It’s crazy how easily the squash comes out looking like spaghetti by using a fork !!

Spaghetti? No, spaghetti SQUASH! ;)

I probably only added 1/4 of the sauce I made to the squash, but I froze the rest to use in the future! Homemade sauce at my finger tips – yippieeee !!!

Mixxx it up

I wound up only eating half! Surprisingly, it is SO filling as if it really is spaghetti! I love that the entire dish is made of vegetables, who would guess?! (Oh, minus the Parmesan cheese I threw on top, but that doesn’t count! ;))

All together nowwww !!

All those veggies gave me the p-p-power to clean+organize my room & improvise my workout with some Jillian Michaels YouTube yoga. I’m already thinking the DVD might even be tomorrow’s lunchtime purchase because the youtubes are way too short! It’s also possible not making it to class was a sign that I’m not ready to practice my yoga in a public setting yet.

....what do you think?

(….Yep, I didn’t think I was ready either.)

happy day

15 Feb

I have to say I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day traditions – HATE roses, but yesterday and all weekend people everywhere in New York City were carrying flowers. It was refreshing to see guys with looks of nervousness and the smiles on girl’s faces as they were carrying their flowers back home. The happiness & bright colors were a fantastic change to this angry (it’s true) & dreary city and it put me in a good mood, so whattya say V-day, I might actually like you.

I celebrated the day with some of my favorite things – a bottle of wine, Italian food, and Danny! (…in no specific order, ;))

The wine. We got a bottle of Pinot Grigio!! We don’t usually get bottles of wine while we’re out, but I guess I’m pretty convincing. :)

Pino!

The Italian Food. We started with an appetizer of Mushroom Caps filled with Gorgonzola, fior di latte, and breadcrumbs (Fior di latte = Mozzarella; I googled it.. I’m known to do this as I get nervous places have fancy names for meat) and some bread with oil & balsamic for dipping.

'Shroooommms

Side note, this picture caused a lot of controversy !! I should start by saying we were literally ON TOP of the couple next to us. First, I pulled out my camera, and while it wasn’t working properly and I was playing with it, he goes to his date “why do people feel the need to take pictures in restaurants now?!?! Blah blah blah, my memories are in my head” (<— See! Angry city!) and then when I gave up and used my iPhone camera – which I had NO IDEA had such a bright flash – he shouted at me “CHYEAH THAT WAS BRIGHT, JEEZ LIT UP THE WHOLE RESTAURANT.” Oops? :) Maybe it was my lesson to him that he needed to lighten up…. get it?!?! (Oh man, I’m so funny…) From here on out pictures were taken on my iPhone, SANS flash so I apologize ahead of time!

The Flash Culprit

For my entrée, I got the rigatoni with tomato, eggplant, basil, and ricotta. I liked it, a lot! But I don’t know if there is a pasta I don’t love.

Cheesy Rigatoni :)

The Danny. I had to get proof he actually ate a green vegetable. (We’re completely opposite in this regard!)

Spinaaaach!

The end. The restaurant, bar baresco surprised us with two more glasses of more wine (but smelled like brandy?) See stranger, pays to be nice & take pictures. ;)

Cheers to a super fun date!

Tonight, I’m excited to relax at home with a run & my own cooking since the rest of the week’s workout plans include yoga & kick-boxing classes! Oh, and I’ll get to hang out with these pretty little things. :)

yippie! NOT roses! :D

Colossal Comfort Foods

3 Feb

Being in a new city – everyday is an adventure! Each day you learn something new, see something you never saw before, or eat a food you never dared to taste.

make a wish!

But, I think we all have those days, where nothing in particular goes wrong, but nothing in particular goes right and you get just a pang of weirdness. And then I learned Pinkberry does not deliver to my apartment. What’s a girl to do? Pout? I think not.

Enter: comfort foods.

Whole Wheat Pasta + Asparagus + Mushroom (& of course my LURVE, garlic)

The real reason I wasn’t pouting: Crumbs is 300 feet from apartment! Yes!!! :D

Ohhhh, the choices.

Surprisingly enough, considering the proximity to me, this was the first time I paid a visit to this Crumbs location, and it’s only my second Crumbs cupcake, ever! I hesitantly decided on half baked: half cookie dough & half brownie. It put a smile on my face!

mmmmm

My roommate got the Baba Booey – I was definitely jealous.

Peanut Buttery & chocolately goodness

For the record, my dream cupcake size:

Holy, cupcake.

I say this even though I ate less than half of mine and saved the rest for tomorrow. Just my little way of saying Happy Friday to myself, I guess… :)

Thank you, Phil!

2 Feb

Today I woke up to an atmosphere very different then Jamie did. You now know why I am thankful Phil saw his shadow. (Chuck from Long Island did, too!) Things are looking up here, people. Until then…

what ARE those exactly, my dear macbook?

Regardless, I didn’t let the weather put a damper on my day!

All bundled up!

Since I was lazy today, lunch was had at Schnipper’s. Schinpper’s has great mac & cheese so it was a gigantic step for me to go with the fig salad:  Marinated dried figs, blue cheese, apples, toasted walnuts, croutons, vinaigrette. It was tastyyyy! I apologize for the lack of picture. I also had a few sweet potato fries with maple dipping sauce. Loved the sauce. Some reviews complain it was too sweet, but with this sweet tooth, I have no idea what that means… :D

Something to make you smile despite the lack of lunch pictures... How did Ken afford this?!

After work, I wound up in the West Village with my friend and we decided on a tiny Italian place (Zucca) for dinner (Mostly because it felt like it was below 0 and we were standing in front of it.)

I got the gnocchi & butternut squash dumplings without pancetta. I didn’t taste the butternut squash, but I just rolled with the punches because it still tasted amazing and handmade. Love fresh food. Our waiter seemed more like the owner, and he was such a sweet old Italian man so I totally can’t hate, even though I was incredibly excited for that squash. :)

fressssh gnocchi!

Time to get some rest as Lululemon says, “Keep your eyes peeled on www.lululemon.com tomorrow morning. Online only products will be arriving soon!” Oh, how convenient Lulu, as I planned on waking up for an early morning run anyway. ;)

PS, Just a reminder that I need to start using my free gym passes asap, especially Equinox. If you know anything about Equinox, you’ll know why this gym may come first, and I am sure you are just as excited as I am. :) Can’t wait to start reviewing different gym classes in the city!!

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