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 🙂

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!

Easy Healthy Ideas for Cake Mix!

Earlier this week, I was left to fend for myself when Adam ventured off with friends to Jones’ Beach to see White Snake. While, I’m a huge Journey fan, I chose to take a pass on White Snake and bake …. a diet coke cake!

A friend of mine mentioned that you can add a can of diet coke to any cake mix, bake it as per the box directions and you get healthier version of an easy dessert. I didn’t believe and decided to try it out for myself. 

Mix it all together!

I really love yellow cake mix, but was concerned that adding a dark-colored soda to the mix, would make the color less than inviting. I decided on adding some ginger ale, a four-ounce container of  apple sauce from the Healthy Living Summit  and a sliced apple to the mix. It was delicious!

Literally this is too easy to type out the step by step instructions. I trust if you’re reading this blog, you can read the instructions on the box. If I can do it – you can do it, I promise!  Slice the apple in bite sized piece, mix in 8 ounces of the soda, and four ounces of the apple sauce and bake (follow instructions on the box)

Looks just like a "normal" yellow cake, pre-oven

 
While the cake was baking, I made a variation of my veggie pizza by using a sandwich thin, and mixing chopped spinach with garlic gold nuggets that I also got in my Healthy Living Summit Swag bag (my diet has been very HLS swag oriented this week). I will definitely be purchasing these nuggets – We love garlic,and while fresh is the best, they were so potent, that it felt like I was getting a real garlic flavor!
 

Spinach and Garlic Gold Pizza YUM!

 
 
The cake turned out great – I’m dreaming up my next diet soda adventure …maybe it will be a chocolate cake with a diet Dr. Pepper – Can’t wait!