Donna Bell’s Bake Shop!

 

Attention NCIS fans – did you know that Pauley Perrette – aka Abby Sciuto on CBS’ NCIS owns a Southern style bakery in the middle of midtown Manhattan? And it’s amazing? The treats are fabulous, and prices are very reasonable for New York City. I What I love the most about the little shop is they do not brag about their famous proprietor and only have a few photos of her in the store.  It feels much less like a celebrity owned tourist trap in NYC, and more like a hometown bakery a few blocks from Time Square. Take a look at how the store got started, it’s pretty cool!  
 

the shadow-y window sign photo attempt

Adam and I stopped by there for a quick snack last week, but I decided to post about it today in honor of a new NCIS episode (I’m a dork, I know) – It’s also No-Eat-Outober so if we stopped here together, we’d be  breaking our own rule!

 

ginormous cookies and candy filled brownie bars! You can see a corner of Adam's favorite lemon bars in the corner of the photo 🙂

He had the lemon bar, which he loved. I tried it, and while I’m not normally a lemon fan, this bar provided a perfect mix of tart and sweet. I tried the jalapeno corn bread, which was also amazing, but came in a GIANT piece. I ended up only eating part of it. While it was that good, I didn’t want to eat my day’s calories in corn bread (although, I totally could have – so yummy!) I didn’t get the best photos of our treats, but I promise, next timeto get some good ones.

One of my favorite foods that I’ve tried from Donna Bell’s is their Bacon, Bleu Cheese and Parsley biscuit. I’m not usually a huge biscuit fan,  but these things are amazing!

 

how much is that bac-on in the window?

 

Donna Bell’s is close enough to my office that I sometimes stop by for a cup of coffee – which is also tasty, and not too strong. If you’re in the area stop by Donna Bell’s – it’s so much better than Starbucks and Magnolia combined 🙂

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Alice’s Tea Cup + Fall Oatmeal Variations

With Yom Kippur, Friday – Saturday, there really is not that much food or fitness related talk. Rather, there was a more of a lack of food and fitness and despite the deficiency in the edible part of the weekend; it was great to spend time with my sister, my grandmother, and my aunt.  

However one meal did stand out.  Traditionally, Jews break their fast with a meal called a break fast, and eat (surprise!) breakfast foods. It’s much easier on the tummy to introduce low key breakfast foods than a greasy pizza or heavy steak. And we did just that. I can’t tell you how good a bagel, some cream cheese, and a glass of water tastes after not eating or drinking for 24 hours.  My aunt and grandmother prepared a beautiful break fast with bagels, cream cheese, smoked fishes, juice, cakes, cookies – wow SO good!

 

must.eat.bagel.

 

On Sunday we celebrated my good friend Reba’s birthday with brunch at one of my favorite breakfast hot spots in the city – Alice’s Tea Cup. Funnily enough, Reba and I became good friends working out together – friends that are active together, stay together.

 

I'm a little tea pot short ans stout ...

 

Alice’s is little girl (and big girl)’s dream. It’s decorated in pinks, purples and perfect for either a four year old’s tea party birthday or a 30 year old’s baby shower. The Alice in Wonderland theme is not overdone and I love the added fairy tale ambiance. They serve amazing scones, decadent desserts, and lovely tea sandwiches. And it wouldn’t be Alice’s if you didn’t try their tea, they have a tea menu that is the size of half a phone book.

 But, beware. It can be over a two hour wait on weekends. We waited two and a half hours on Sunday. Their rule for reservations are that you need a group of six, and everyone needs to order a $30 pre-fix menu – which we decided to veto and chose to wait instead of secure an advanced booking.

What I love about this place, is that you can easily make healthy tasty choices – or if you want to indulge, they have incredible options as well.

 I chose the oatmeal – which was a perfect fall treat. They make it very light and fluffy, but only use water and for a couple of extra bucks, you can add berries on top.

pretty, tasty AND healthy!

 

A friend tried the scones benedict, where you get to chose a savory scone to top with a poached egg and hollaindise sauce. The chicken and potato hash that is served on the side was a big hit at the table.

 

what a treat!

The biggest sellers at Alice’s are their scones, and the pumpkin scone is a perfect fall treat.

 

the perfect fall treat 🙂

 

 

Speaking of fall breakfast treats – Check out my article in Resident Magazine on tips for fun twists on Oatmeal from some of my favorite healthy living bloggers, Julie from PB Fingers, Kelly from Eat-Yourself-Skinny, Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point, Katy Widrick from katywidrick.com and Tina from Carrots N’ Cake.

 

Beef and Barley Soup

In the spirit of No-Eat-Outober, I made soup last night instead of ordering it in. I consider it a win! I seem to have caught the ridiculous bug going around our office and have something between a cold, the flu and allergies. Yuck! And the first thing I wanted to do was thrown in the towel and order in buckets of Matzah Ball soup.  But, I stuck it out and made a healthy version of beef and barley soup. I’m not talented enough to whip up fresh matzah ball soup in a 40 minute peiod, but this  was cheap, and easy!

YUM YUM YUM

Check out the recipe – It was delicious!

Ingredients

¾ a pound of extra lean ground beef

3 cups of water

1 clove of garlic

1 cup barley

5 cups beef broth

1 onions, chopped

1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn and green beans)

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 (10 ounce) packages sliced mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon of black pepper

Couple sprays of Pam

simmering on the stove

Directions

Tip: Brown the beef, and cook the Barley at the same time for a quicker soup

Brown the garlic and beef, stir in the onions, mixed vegetables and celery; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes more.  Bring the barley and water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until tender.  Pour in beef broth, and bring soup to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering 15 minutes. Stir in barley, and season with salt and pepper before serving

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite soup to eat when you’re sick?

Yankee Post Season Game

This weekend we had a great time

We made stuffed peppers. I used lean ground beef and barley instead of ground turkey and brown rice. They were delicious. We had a little date night watching Harry Potter 2 rented off of itunes. Adam just started reading the books, and we’ve been watching the movies as he finishes the books up.

Barley and Lean Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers

We went to the Yankee’s second ALDS game against Detroit. It was so much fun (Even if they lost, and played like the Mets – Sorry Adam, they were not on their A game)!

Silly face, for silly plays

For all you people visiting the city, or not huge sports fans here are my clift notes on getting on making it through a game.

Hip - Hip - Jorge!

How to Survive a Yankee’s Game

  1. Take the 4 or 5 subway to Yankee Stadium (Avoid eye contact with all the crazy fans. They do bite).
  2.  Look for healthy salad options at the stadium. If you’re looking to splurge, the Nachos are said to be less than 800 calories and are quite tasty!
  3. Suppress any urge to cheer for the other team. Yankee fans will start an “Assss-hoooollleee” cheer throughout the stadium, and you feel like an idiot.
  4. Talk to the people sitting around you. Drunk Yankee’s fans love to make conversation.
  5. Don’t be afraid to sing YMCA with the grounds crew during the fifth inning.
  6. Hip-Hip-Jorge, is one of the most fun cheers around – Do it!

How do you survive Yankee Stadium?

No Eat Out-tober

New month – new healthy living goals!

1. No cabs – I waste a ton of money taking $10 cab rides everywhere, and since I have two feet, and a metro card, this needs to stop.

2. No eating out  – We’ve been eating out SO much, that it doesn’t feel exciting any more. Adam and I are taking the month of October, and per the fiancé calling it “No Eat Out-tober”  – we’ll be cooking (or semi-homemade-esque) cooking everything! Hopefully, this will help keep my choices healthier as well. Keep an eye out for some more tasty recipes!

3. Be more active!  – I’m guilty of falling behind on my workouts. This past weekend I kicked it up a notch and started working out with one of my favorites (and the person who first kicked my butt in gear) Sean Wright. Gotta get my body back in peak condition!

4. Save more! Since we’re hosting (almost) our wedding by ourselves, we’ve been planning out how to reach our financial goals to plan our dream wedding. We’re making lots of little changes to keep our finances low

– Getting rid of cable. Writing/Reading will come first – and we’ll save some money along the way! No more couch potato Saturdays of NCIS marathons.

 – Spending date night in, and watching Harry Potter movies. Adam just started the series, so we’ve been watching the movies as he finishes the books. We just watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this Weekend!

– See goal number two.

 Here’s to October! Bring on the fall!

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!

 

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!

————————-

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

______________________________

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

______________________________

 

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?