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!


Check out the recipe – It was delicious!


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


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


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


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 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!



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!


“Surviving” Hurricane Irene

The big story of almost anyone on the East Coast this weekend, was Hurricane Irene.

Adam and I did what any normal people would do … Friday night we stocked up the house. And because it’s Manhattan,  we waited over an hour in line to pay for our water, cereal and peanut butter. It’s amazing what city dwellers consider hurricane essentials!

Supermarket Line - That woman's face cracks me up (sorry woman if you're reading))

I also went with my sister to capture our adorable grandmother and bring her into the city. She lives too close to a zone A for comfort, and we all wanted to make sure she was away from any flooding areas. She however, was a little feisty, saying she survived kristalnacht – she could survive a hurricane. It is hard to argue with that. I love that woman, but nonetheless she came into the city to party at my sisters.
Saturday morning before the storm, Adam and I waited again in an hour-long line. This time, for apocalypse bagels. Again, it’s amazing what New Yorkers consider essential, and bagels is definitely one of those things. Bagel Works typically has some sort of line, and has amazing bagels, but it’s never this long …


The rest of the day was spent held up waiting for the storm –  I got bored with the ABC Family and Criminal MInds (weird combination, I know) marathons … and so did the cats, but we created our own party

Is it over yet?What is that whirling noise?

Over Christmas, Adam bought a funnel cake kit for like two bucks at Bed Bath and Beyond. And we love it! (Seriously, though, you can make your own, with a funnel and a pan) It’s actually very yummy, and guests love it – an amazing party trick! Since they’re horrible for your waistline, we typically only make the delicious treats for very special occasions – we figured the NYC hurricane, was special enough.

Funnel Cake! Look at ALL that powdered sugar!

Today we woke up to …. nothing! Which is great, we totally survived the hurricane sans any damage. Our street did not have any downed trees, and was not flooded woo-hoo!
We were even able to venture out to one of our favorite Sushi places around lunch time. Fuji is good place for cheap sushi in Manhattan – and they were open, which makes them even better. Take that Hurricane Irene! We decided to avoid seafood based food, just in case it was left over from Friday.
What did you do while waiting for Irene?

Sweet Potato, Avocado, Rice, Soy Sauce, what could be better post - hurricane?


Veggie Dinner!

Good Morning Central Park!!

I was able to walk to work this morning,which is my favorite way to start the day. A little bit of excersize, and lots of people watching! New Yorkers – What’s your favorite walking path in the city?

I’ve been hammering through my Swag bag from the Healthy Living Summit pretty consistently the past two days. I’m a sucker for a good protein bar! I’ve given the Nugo bars a try for breakfast the past two mornings.  And they’re great. I really loved the pretzel dark chocolate bar. The combination of salt, and chocolate is definitely a favorite of mine, remember?  

mmm pretzels and chocolate and sea salt!

And today – I tried something else, the Trenta  Iced Coffee from Starbucks , which was huge, and I did not finish (shhhhh, don’t tell anyone I was not woman enough to finish the largest ice coffee in midtown. My street cred would be ruined).

Giant coffee = Jumpy Shoshana!

Anyways, yesterday I was determined to make something plant based for dinner (a la Dawn) and set out to make Mushroom burgers – but, got a little sidetracked.

I purchased a pretzel baguette from the bakery at Food Emporium (which is the best bread ever.  It’s a pretzel, you put things on!) And decided to make it into a pretzel pizza (of sorts), and I added a side of roasted asparagus and spinach bites.












Pretzel Baguette Pizza

Pick any type of “baguette” bread. I chose pretzel, and scooped out the middle of the bread to cut out some of the hefty calories.  It’s easy, and yummy! Make them!

Yields 4 Servings (or 2 servings for really hungry people)

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 10 Minutes


2 Portobello Mushroom Caps, sliced

1 clove of garlic

Olive Oil

1 Baguette

1 small can of tomato sauce

½ small ball of fresh mozzarella
1. Sauté mushrooms, garlic and olive oil
2. Cut the baguette in half length wise, and cut each piece in half width wise
3. Scoop out the middle of the bread, and sprinkle with olive oil
4. Spread sauce on the bread, and top with mushrooms, cheese
5. Broil in the oven until crispy

empty baguette and filo shells

Pre-Melting of the Cheese!

To make the spinach bites, I just filled the Filo pockets we got in our HLS swag bag with spinach, sprinkled with mozzarella and salt/pepper and broiled with the pizza.  They were delicious. Three of the filo pockets have 45 calories so it was a nice little side dish, with few added calories.

Filo Shells!

Easy Blueberry Pie

When I got home from the Health Living Summit (post to come next!), I remembered I had two pints of blueberries that I had purchased last week for a $1 each (LOVE the New York City fruit carts) and had not eaten – they needed to be gobbled up quickly or they’d be wasted. My grandmother would have my head if she found out they went bad, so I decided to use them up the quickest way possible, in a delicious dessert form in order to avoid the wrath of my adorable 85-year-old grandma!

Isn't my grandma adorable?

My mother makes the most amazing blueberry crumb cake, and I wanted to use her recipe, but make it a little easier, and a little healthier – so I skipped the “cake” and put the filling into mini-pies. I’ve started to buy mini-pie crusts at the grocery store, they’re around 110 calories a piece, and make portion control effortless. Here’s how it turned out (no worries, in the future, I’ll post the full recipe)

Empty mini-pie crusts, ready to be filled!

Easy Blueberry Pie

You can use 20 ounces of frozen berries instead of the fresh pint, or a full pie crust instead of the mini’s pie crusts. I chose to use the mini ones because it’s easy to stick to the serving size. Next time I make this, I’m going to substitute some Splenda for some of the sugar in the filling.

Makes 6 Mini Pies

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 30 Minutes

For the filling:
1 pint fresh blueberries or 20 oz frozen unsweetened
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c flour

For the topping:
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
2/3 cup of sifted flour
1/4 cup of cold butter

For the crust:
Six Mini Pie crusts or one normal Pie Crust

1. First Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the ingredients for the filling and stir together. Spoon it evenly into the pie crust(s)
3. Sift the sugar, cinnamon, and flour for the topping together.
4. In a bowl, mix in the butter with your fingertips until particles are the size of small peas.
5. Sprinkle topping over the filled pie crusts. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned.

mixed pie filling

Weird lighting in my apartment, It's not the BEST photo!

Adam and I both loved these little treats. I’ve never seen Adam eat a blueberry, so I was pleasantly surprised that he liked them as much as he did. These are definitely an easy crowd pleaser!

Added some fat-free whipped cream and fresh blueberries for decoration - Not the best photo, and it looks a little risqué!