Golden Birthday!

Wow! I’ve been MIA – Sorry about that, I promise to be better about blogging.

Today is my golden birthday – I’m 27th on the 27th! 🙂  Do you know what a golden birthday is? There’s been quite the discussion in my circles on if celebrating your golden birthday is actually common knowledge. My mom sent me an e-card this morning that said “Happy Golden Birthday! I had never heard of a golden birthday before Elissa told me this was yours. American Greetings doesn’t have golden birthday cards but this one has magic gold shoes and fun music! Have a wonderful day – I love you!” Magic Gold Shoes = Golden Birthday, Love my mom!

For those of you that don’t know it’s when your age is the same as the day of your birthday…. So, I’m 27 on the 27th day of September. Woohoo!

 

A golden birthday is as good a reason as any to celebrate. I love birthdays!

 I woke up this morning all giddy (yes, I’m six years old) and actually got a lot done. I sent out the laundry, made lunch, and even made breakfast for Adam and I  – which is a huge step from my usual “bar” breakfast.

 I decided that today, on my 27th birthday, I was going to attempt to make fried eggs and eggs over easy for the first time. They’ve always been intimidating to me, and I’ve stuck too scrambled egg whites or omelets. I was inspired by Julie’s post on pbfingers.com on “Dippy Eggs”  and you know what, it was a lot easier than I thought. Her tips are great!

Yum! One yolk a little broken, but other than that ok

 

not too bad for a first try!

 

 I grilled a Challah Bread roll I got at the Food Emporium on a pan with a little pam to give it grilled taste.

 

 

sooo good!

I added some shredded part skim mozzarella, salt and pepper, and the eggs!

Tasty!

  

Such a great way to start out the morning, and Adam has a surprise planned for tonight – I’m so excited. The last time he had a surprised planned for me, I got engaged – who knows what he has up his sleeve today 🙂 Happy Golden Birthday to me!

 

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Guest post! Mojito Salsa!

I had to wear boots today (luckily, they were new boots that I got while at Last Chance in Arizona), and not sure how I feel about it. I love boots, in October, or November, but September is too early for fall to set in! We’re going to CT today to visit some great friends and watch a UConn football game – Can’t wait!

I have a very special guest post today from one of my favorite healthy living bloggers! Check out Kelly from eat-yourself-skinny.com, her recipes are AMAZING, and this one is no exception, try it out and let her know much you love it!

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Hi friends!  I’m Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny and I’m SO excited to be guest posting for Shoshana’s fabulous blog while she’s out of town!  Thank you so much for having me!  I was lucky enough to have her guest post for me as well today and she made some delicious Spinach and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms that I know you are going to love and would make the perfect appetizer for any upcoming party.  Not only are Shoshana’s recipes amazing and so delicious, her blog Shosh and the City is absolutely inspiring 🙂

Since summer is coming to an end (sigh…I know) I wanted to squeeze in one last recipe that just screamed flip flops and sunshine!  I don’t know about you, but mojitos are probably one of my top favorite (and indulgent) cocktails during the summer and any dish that would accompany this awesomeness

    My favorite part about this dish are the combination of flavors!  You’ve got watermelon, honeydew, mint, lime, cilantro, red onion…shall I go on??  Yeah didn’t think so.  You can serve this with any type of bread or chips of your choice and this would even go well with a chicken or pork dish!  I chose to pair this salsa with lime flavored organic tortilla chips and they tasted amazing!

 

 

So I highly suggest you call an emergency happy hour, gather your friends and enjoy all this and more immediately!  Hope you enjoy this fabulous salsa as much as I did!

Mojito Melon Salsa

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Servings:  3

Serving Size:  1 cup of salsa

Calories:  64.3

Fat:  0 g

Carbs:  16 g

Fiber:  1.3 g

Protein:  1 g

Old Points:  1 pt

Points+:  2 pts

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Here are your ingredients:

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup chopped watermelon

1 cup chopped cantaloupe

1 cup chopped honeydew

1/2 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

10-12 mint leaves, chopped

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

2 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and add lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly and serve with any chips you’d like.  Enjoy!

 

 

Healthy Salad Tips

Today, I got to start off my morning with a fabulous NuGo slim bar. I first tried the NuGO bars when they were in my Healthy Living Summit swag bag – and loved them!

Remember me?

NuGo sent me the slim bars to try, and I love these even more. They’re 180 calories, 9 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein – and just 2 grams of sugar.

I’m a big “bar” person, because I love how easily I can grab one in the morning, (running around in New York City, make its way tooooo easy to just grab an egg on a roll at a deli, so I like to have a “bar” on hand) but often I don’t feel full long enough. I love that these have a high amount of fiber, and protein, but don’t have a lot of other junk – and are coated in real dark chocolate. Love! I’ll definitely be ordering more!

like a candy bar - but filling!

 

One of the things I love about NYC is that it’s SO easy to grab food on the go – but it’s also one of the things I hate.  My favorite lunch time item is a good hearty salad. I had a friend once tell them that they only eat salads when they go out at lunch time to keep the options under control, as well as the calories.

 

salad bar line at the Food Emporium in midtown

I thought I’d give you guys some of my tips to making a healthy salad

Shosh’s Healthy Salad Bar Tips

1.       Avoid any type of protein with mayo – ie Tuna or Egg Salad

2.       Pick LOTS of colors. Do not just stick with the basics. Go for fun toppings like beets, corn,  or sundried tomatoes.

3.       The darker the better – I love dark greens like spinach, but I often mix it up for fun. Like today, I went with a Romaine lettuce base. But, know that you get more vitamins if the lettuce is dark – and definitely avoid iceberg lettuce.

4.       Ask for egg whites – not egg on your salads. A lot of “make your own” salad places will chop up an egg for your salad – ask for just the whites, and you’re eliminating the fat from the yolk. A bonus plus, is they do not charge as much for “egg” as for other proteins, so you’ll get more bang for your buck!

5.       Don’t be afraid of fruit! I love adding sliced fruit to an already veggie heavy salad. The combo of the sweetness of an apple with the boldness of blue cheese,  makes for an ultra-delicious flavor.

6.       Pick one “hefty item” – for example, chose almonds, mozzarella, or avocado – but not all of them. If you do one more than one, feel free to tell the person making the salad to go light on these items. I usually order avocado, but pick some of it out – Don’t get me wrong, I love avocado (You can’t trust people that don’t love it), and a portion size amount of It is good for you, but a lot of is not great

7.       Avoid anything fried – Do not get the fried cutlets, the fried Chinese noodles, or the bacon toppings. The tase is just not worth the fat/calorie content!

today's salad - romaine, bleu cheese, corn, peppers, beets, asparagus, apple slices - YUM!

 

Biggest Tip!

8.       Loose the dressing. My favorite trick is to get a sprinkle of a strong cheese (parmesan or blue cheese) and add some balsamic vinegar. This brings out a strong flavor with a lot less fat (and more protein!)

What’s your favorite way to top a salad?

Rainbow Cookie Cake

Grandma, Adam, and Shosh (photo credit "The Sister"

 

My grandparents used to own a bakery in Queens, and when we were little girls, my grandfather used to make us “Rainbow Cookies.” And whenever we’d visit New York City, our grandparents had these cookies waiting for us. It’s a very special Italian cookie – that’s cake-like, made with Almond paste, died pink, yellow, and green – and finally covered in chocolate. These cookies are special because they are not just delightful as a kid, but they are still appreciated as adults (think about how good spaghetti-o’s tasted as a kid – Do they still taste that good? Nah!)

Rainbow Cookies = Childhood!

We stopped by to visit “the grandma” (she says “the google,” so she’s “the grandma”) with my sister to celebrate our engagement.  When I called her from the boat last weekend to tell her that we were engaged, she told me she hasn’t been this happy since her husband (my grandma) proposed to her – and then asked if she could go make her phone calls. Activating the Jewish Grandma phone tree is one of the most important aspects of Jewish Grandma life.

And if you were not already convinced my grandma is totally awesome, take a look at her photo booth photos from a recent shul event!

At the Walbaums (yes, just a typical grocery store) by her apartment, we found the most amazing cake ever – a Rainbow Cookie Cake! I had no idea that this could be purchased. Such a find, and we knew we needed this for our celebration with “the Grandma”.

 

look at the rainbow cookie on top!

Doesn’t it look festive? It was perfect. A great call back to our childhood (funnily enough, Adam’s mom used to get them for him, and he ate them all the time too!)  And so moist. We were really surprised at how good it actually tasted.

just like a GIANT rainbow cookie!

How to be a freelance writer….

Tonight I went to my first Fall semester class with Sue Shapiro. I love her classes. This is my second one with her, and I can’t wait to get started. I’m taking the class with my friend Layla (she blogs over at Glass of Rose – amazing food blog, check it out!) and I’m just so excited to get started. Sue does a really good job of teaching her students not just how to write, but how to pitch, and place pieces in NY publications. I won’t give away all her tips on her, but if you’re in NYC you should definitely take one of her classes or attend one of her panels.

Layla and me at my birthday party last year

The first assignment is write a humiliation piece – and last semester,  I wrote about having a pacemaker at 25 as part of this assignment. If you remember, the piece was published on xoJane.com.

 

I’m still debating what to write about for this assignment, there are just so many humiliating things about me 😉 The hardest part about this assignment is writing something embarrassing that I wouldn’t be afraid to show everyone – But Sue does say you know you’ve found your voice when your family doesn’t like your piece!

Since I was out late, Adam made a lovely dinner of brown rice, and grilled shrimp. So easy, and so perfect for tonight!

If you were writing a humiliation essay, what you write about?

 

 

Healthy Party Snacks

Good morning! This post comes after a number of people emailed me to find out the great recipes behind Colleen’s health-i-fied engagement party snacks… Not only have we been friends since we were 12, but she’s an awesome cook, and a great comedian (and if you want to see a great proposal, check out how her husband proposed to her on stage )

 

Colleen and I at her Wedding 🙂

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Congratulations Shoshana! I’m so unbelievable happy for my good friend Shoshana Davis….mostly for her engagement, but also because now I have one less friend living the happy single life. If only I could get my friends to start having babies then when we all go out I won’t be the only one pretending to still function after 8:00 pm. 🙂  (I have a 18 month old)

I threw Shoshana a “mini-engagement” party after Adam proposed to her here in Arizona, and I am sharing some of my mini-party tricks.

I am a hard-core calorie counter, and when I was in the store searching for mini party foods, I just couldn’t bring myself to have disgusting high calorie full of fat party food at my house! Mostly because if it’s in the house I loose all sense of self control and eat until I look like I’m pregnant again (no joke).

My first trick was to serve vegetables and hummus for two reasons

 1. They are a healthy way to fill up quickly and avoid party snacking binges

 2.  I have no problem with left over vegetables in the house.

My next trick was to serve finger sandwiches, that way I could eat more than one (which I almost always do at a party) without over eating!

Colleen's Tasty Finger Sandwhiches

I start with whole grain bread, the kind we use here at my House is Natures Made Honey Wheat, it is whole grain but not overly grainy and offensive to people not use to eating whole grain food. I also make a few different kinds of sandwiches so everyone has something they’d like to snack on. Here were my choices for Shoshana’s Party

  1.  Light Swiss (using laughing cow cheese)  and turkey
  2. Cucumber and fat free cream cheese (with dill)
  3. Grilled Mini-Paninis, made my using havarti cheese and I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter spray on my George Forman grill.  

 Lastly I needed desert, I thought Carrot Cake cupcakes would be cute, but Carrot Cake although sounds healthy, (carrots, right?), is absolutely the calorie devil from calorie hell.

 

health-i-fied carrot cake a la Colleen (with hand drawn rings!)

But, I remembered a recipe from my very favorite calorie countress The Hungry Girl! Here is the recipe:

Colleen’s Notes:

You can buy the 15oz can of pumpkin and use half of it.

Pumpkin works great with chocolate cake mix as well!

Ingredients

1 box of carrot cake mix

8 oz  of pure pumpkin

Directions

  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place cupcake wrappers in baking tins
  3. Add 8oz of pure pumpkin to the mix (do not add any other ingredients)
  4. Mix the batter until smooth
  5. Bake for 19-21 Minutes

 

My number one trick is that you NEVER tell anyone that what they are eating is healthy until AFTER they eat it!

PHX – LAX – LAX – LAX – Are we ever leaving LA?

Our flights were re-booked to take us through LAX. We tried everything to fix this, but there were no more direct flights going from PHX to JFK – We even tried reaching out on twitter, but everything was over booked. (Travel tip – when having airline issues, reach out over twitter – the airlines assist twitter handle was a HUGE help) When we landed at LAX, we booked it to our gate, but ended up being re-booked again on a flight leaving the next day at 4:30pm. The airline, was nice enough, and put us up for the night, but we decided to not waste the day, and had a mini-day in LA.

Good Morning LA!

We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Pier and walked in the sand, and put our feet in the water. It’s so pretty there!

Caaalliiifoorrnnniia!!

We tried to get a cup of coffee, but everything was closed, so we headed across the street to the Malibu Inn. I assumed that this was a hotel – with a restaurant, but it’s actually just a restaurant .

doesn't this look like a cheap-o motel?

We walked in and saw that they were shooting some sort of commercial or tv show there, but ignored it and got a table. We were exhausted, wearing the same clothes as the day before (due to our checked luggage already being in New York), and just trying to kill some time so we tried to ignore them looking at us, but clearly our “celebrity” (or stinky day old clothes stench) brought them over and they asked us to be extras on the show Million Dollar Listing on Bravo. So, we said, why not? It’s not every day that you get stuck in LA, and get to be on a national show right? Welcome to Hollywood, indeed! (ps They promised us our scene would not end up being cut. Are we destined to be stars, I think so!)

stinky mc stink star power!

On our way back through the PCH, we grabbed a 20 minute lunch with my friend Michael.  We used to go to yearbook and newspaper camps together in high school, (yes we were those kids) and it was cool to get caught up!

Interesting. A pacemaker is an electronic device like headphones, that can always be used on a plane....

Over 24 hours later, we’re now safely back in NYC. Woohoo! Time to show off the bling and celebrate with our family and friends on this coast! J

Have you ever gotten stuck at an airport?

Bye, Bye, Bye (singing ‘Nsync in my head)

We spent our last morning in AZ, lounging around. We found a cute French café by our hotel and grabbed a yummy breakfast and played in the Butte’s fancy pool. It was the perfect morning for a bit of swimming! Hot, but not yet over 100 degrees at that point!

Essence Cafe in Tempe - Two Thumbs UP!

colorful macaroons!

fresh fruit salad and a piping hot quiche!

Love the pool at the Buttes!

pre-sunburned-swim

post - swim - with rosey red sunburns!

Next, we headed over to my favorite store … To some, this place is terrifying, but to me, it’s my happy place.

bring it on, ladies!

Last Chance is a one of a kind store buried in a basement of a strip mall Camelback in Phoenix.  Nordstrom has “The Rack” but this is even better.  Think piles of Jimmy Choos, DVF clothes, and Michael Kors bags – for under 100 bucks. The store opens up at 10am, but people start lining up before the sun rises. They read rules before the door opens.  For example, you may not steal from another shoppers cart or you may not purchase more than three (ie only three purses per day) of any item.   You know, stuff that they read before you enter a typical store 😉

I scavenged the store, while Adam sat on a bench – he’s not as big a fan of competitive shopping as I am, as I live for black Friday – and came up with a lot. I got a pair of North Face boots, and Steve Madden Boots for 20 bucks, but my biggest find was a red Longchamp bag. I LOVE these bags, and could not believe my luck. Yes, it might have been dramatic, but I told Adam to guard it with his life as I continued to graze the store. While I got in line to checkout,  I asked A for the time, to which he replied 2:30, already worried that we had a flight to catch I started to panic.  Then from behind us, a lady said, “it’s not 2:30, it’s only 2:05, don’t let him trick you!”,  quickly other women joined in pouncing on my lovely fiance’s attempt to get out of that mad house. Gotta love shopping comraderie!

we took these awesomely cheesy photo booth pics outside Last Chance - My fav store doubles as an arcade. Score!

And we’re off to NYC!

Do you like to bargain shop?

Engagement Celebrations – PAAARRRTTTTY

I have to say, my friends and family really, really went all out with our celebrations. The next morning, we met my parents for brunch at the Talking Stick Resort, and it was fabulous! Champagne toasts, fancy cheeses, and yummy salads (Yes, I’m that easy to please) – made for a great morning.

 

The Boys!

The Girls!

Remember how I mentioned that A had promised to let me know when he was going to propose, by hinting for me to get my nails done …. Well, he didn’t  want to ruin the surprise (loose lips sink ships) and my nails were blank, so I met some of my favorite girls, Hayley and Carrie, to get them painted. The manicurist at the salon said that I should go with a French manicure because the color chose was too trashy – What do you think? I love it!

Love it! OPI - Girls Just Wanna Play!

From there, we headed to see the Fab Faux back at the Biltmore. Adam’s a musician in the city and knew some of the band members from other groups around the city – so we knew it would be a good time. But, really, doesn’t everyone love a good Beatles Cover band?  We partied with my parents, Carrie, Hayley, and Hayley’s boyfriend (and also musician) Ryan. It was a blast! The show was so much fun! Hayley and I even rushed the stage (ha!) to dance a bit!

Obladai - Oblada - Life goes on - ooooh!

love these guys!

Sunday was jam packed with celebrating. My friends Colleen, Lindsey, Carrie, and their boys threw us a mini-engagement party.  (They make things happen so quickly!) It was a blast! They got me bridal magazines (so intimidating!) and decorated with ring pops. Colleen made lots of healthy, and tasty treats. She’s an expert on that. My favorites were the carrot cake cupcakes (hand decorated with PINK rings!) made with canned pumpkin instead of oil and eggs. They were delish!

🙂

such a cute family!

finger sandwiches!health-i-fied carrot cake a la Colleen (with hand drawn rings!)

 

We were even able to grab a drink with my friend Abby (And former teacher, she was and still is a great mentor – So lucky to now call her a friend!)

I’m curious – Do wedding magazines intimidate anyone else? Or is it just me?

wowzer!