If you are looking for the giveaway you’ll just go nuts about scroll down!
This weekend Neil and I were fairly busy and it seems that things aren’t going to be slowing down anytime soon! We started the weekend off with a homemade Mexican pizza (recipe to come tomorrow) which was absolutely delicious.
Here it is all fixed up with a sprinkle of baby arugula, fresh tomatoes and sour supreme. We enjoyed our slices, went for a walk and settled on the couch to watch a few shows.
Saturday morning I got up bright and early to bake up a batch of Babycakes gluten free Pumpkin Spice Muffins for our early morning birthing class. Around 8:30 our birthing class teacher arrived (we are taking private classes) and we served up coffee, muffins and fruit before starting our four hours of class. In other news our birthing class teacher is also a doula and last week after doing a bunch of reading Neil and I made a last minute decision to hire a doula for the birth. I checked with Sarah (our birth coach) to see if she had any July openings and she did so after our class we decided to hire her to be our doula (she is really wonderful and so comfortable to be around). I’ll discuss more of this doula talk in Thursday’s update post.
After our four plus hours of birthing class Neil and I were so hungry we decided to use up the remaining homemade dough and make another small pizza for lunch and then I passed out for a few hours. When I finally woke up Neil was going a little stir crazy and was ready to get out of the house so we decided to have a date night downtown including window shopping, drinks (beer for him and water for me) and dinner out at A Single Pebble <–Neil had a gift card from work so free (almost) dinner for us! After dinner we headed home and cuddled on the couch while watching the remainder of the Yankees game, we should have just gone to bed though such a bad game.
Sunday we enjoyed a lazy morning before heading out for brunch with friends that we hadn’t seen since last July. We spent over two hours enjoying food, conversation and having tons of belly laughs at Duino Duende. It was so nice not to have a rushed meal and really enjoy the company. After brunch we rean a few errands, took a nap, Neil did a training run and I watched House Hunters International.
While Neil finished up his run I made dinner of arugula walnut pesto with peas and white beans, a side of kale and leftover tofu from dinner at A Single Pebble. After dinner we went for a stroll and then relaxed on the couch. What did you do this weekend?
Now that you’ve read my weekend recap keep scrolling and you’ll find a great giveaway!
A few weeks ago Doug’s Nuts sent me a few complimentary bags of their nuts to try out and ever since then I have been in love. When I first open the nuts I am expecting them to be sugary based on their shiny coating but they were super mild and really delicious. They are coated with a flavorful glaze consisting of organic evaporated sugarcane juice, honey, oatmeal stout beer <– my husband saw beer and had to try them immediately, sea salt, organic vanilla extract, and other natural flavors. In the mix are roasted almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and pumpkin seeds (the hazelnuts and pecans are my favorites).
I unfortunately finished off my two pouches pretty quickly (time to get some more I guess!) but boy where they good. I enjoyed them over soy yogurt, by the palm-full and my favorite way as a topping for apple “nachos”. What are apple nachos? Simply thinly sliced apples (I use my mandolin) drizzled with almond butter and topped with a sprinkling of Doug’s Nutsand a few mini chocolate chips for good measure.
Giveaway Details- Open Until Friday May 11th at 8pm EST: CLOSED
Doug’s Nuts will provide and ship one 6-pack of Doug’s Nuts to the winner ($30 + shipping costs value) – OPEN TO US RESIDENTS ONLY
Visit the Doug’s Nuts and come back and leave a comment letting me know something that you have learned. (Mandatory)
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Our last day in NYC started with a trip to our favorite spot the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. We didn’t do any of the tours this trip but we browsed the store getting ideas for my “to read” list.
After spending a good 30 minutes at the Tenement Museum we headed a few blocks over to Babycakes to pick up a morning treat. We debated over the doughnuts and the cinnamon rolls but ultimately decided to go with a biscuit with jam and cream and a spicy cheeze biscuit. The biscuit with jam and cream was super delicious, I wish we had ordered two so we wouldn’t have had to share. The other biscuit was okay, I bet it’s better when it’s straight out of the oven.
After that we walked around a bit.
Then we headed to Eataly.
I could have spent hours in Eataly just looking over all of the products. We debated dining at Le Verdure, the vegetable restaurant but decided there was somewhere else we’d like to dine more. So, we picked up a bunch of little items for stocking stuffers for my parents and a few treats for us before heading on our way.
We ended up walking just a few blocks and found ourselves heading into Pure Food and Wine for lunch. This restaurant has been on my NYC Bucket list for years now and I’m so glad we finally decided to try it.
We both looked over the menu trying to decide what we would order (everything sounded amazing) but ultimately decided to go big or go home and we both went with the 3 course lunch. We were given three options to choose from for each course (salad, entree, dessert). To make the most of our experience Neil and I decided that we would each order something different and share everything so we each were able to try six different things. I’ll forewarn you now that all of Neil’s photos of the dishes he ordered were too out of focus for me to post and mine do not do the food justice.
Salad Course: I ordered the Caesar Salad (romaine lettuce, nori, pumpkin seed macadamia parmesan, lemon)and Neil ordered the Mediterranean Salad (arugula and kale, kalamata olives, tomatoes, pumpkin seed macadamia parmesan, balsamic vinaigrette). The Mediterranean salad was good but not great, but the Caesar salad was incredible. I could have just eaten a giant bowl of Caesar Salad and been a happy girl.
Entree Course: I ordered the tortilla wraps (spicy sun-dried tomato filling, corn cilantro guacamole,tomato-lime salsa, cashew sour cream) and Neil ordered the zucchini and tomato lasagna (sun-dried tomato sauce, pistachio basil pesto pumpkin seed macadamia ricotta). Both dishes were amazing but I have to say that we both favored the tortilla wraps.
Dessert: I ordered the lemon bar (almond coconut crust, tart lemon custard) and Neil ordered the tiramisu (vanilla cream layered with coffee sake almond cake). For this one I shared a bit of my lemon bar but didn’t have any of Neil’s dessert because of the coffee. I have to say it was a tie though because according to Neil they were both amazing.
We ended our night with a quick trip to the Whole Foods beer store so that Neil could pick up a few homebrew items and then we caught a taxi to the airport where we hungout until our flight. We eventually arrived home at midnight to find our car wouldn’t start and ended up spending 2.5 hours at the airport waiting for a service truck to arrive. Not a great end to an amazing weekend but oh well!
Good Morning! This morning I was in the mood for a tasty baked good and to my delight when I went to the pantry I had everything to make muffins. To go with the muffins I decided to try the Godiva coffee from Foodbuzz Tastemakers.
I tried the Chocolate Truffle, it was not bad hot but I had extra to try out a tasty iced coffee tomorrow. I always find that to me flavored coffee is always better cold. I guess we’ll see!
To go with my coffee I made up a batch of Berry Good Morning Muffins.
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted- however do not melt in the microwave; heat some water and place the jar in a hot water bath to melt)
2/3 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract or almond extract
2/3 cup frozen mixed berries (no sugar added)
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease with coconut oil.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then slowly beat in the coconut oil, agave nectar, almond milk, and extracts; mix until combined. Using a spatula, gently fold in the berries until evenly distributed.
Pour 1/3 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Bake the muffins on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotate 180 degrees after 15 minutes. You will know the muffins are done when a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and let them stand in the tin for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (if you can wait that long).
The first time I ever went to Babycakes NYC I was disappointed by the cupcakes, finding them dry and just not as exciting as I had hoped they would be. Since then I haven’t had much of an interest in visiting Babycakes until I heard about their donuts. Since you don’t come across vegan donuts everyday the Hubz and I decided since we were already in the neighbourhood that we would stop in and try a few.
After much debate and a little help from the girl behind the counter we decided on the french toast and the salted caramel along with one their heart shaped chocolate covered coconut mound. Immediately after we walked out the door we decided to dive right in and started with the french toast donut. The donut was out of this world! It tasted just like french toast! It was warm and mapley and caramely and oh so good. Next we tried the salted caramel which was also super sticky and delicious. We both agreed though that the french toast was the better of the two.
We held out on the chocolate coconut mound until the next day after a three hour trip to Ikea. It was the perfect treat after a crazy shopping trip. It honestly tasted just like a Mounds Bar but better. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo, oh well.
All in all Babycakes redeemed themselves and we will be back!
So the Hubz and I are headed out today to CT/MA and the NYC tomorrow for a Yankees game and to eat good food and visit one of my BFF’s. I will hopefully be blogging about the start of our adventure tonight but you’ll get a full recap Sunday evening. Until later lets reminisce about past NYC trips.
The next morning we decided to start our day early and head downtown to Atlas Café a small café that is known for carrying Vegan Treats as well as providing a number of vegan options. First impression of the café is that it is SMALL very very small so if there are more than 4 people going it probably would be best to plan on getting take out because seating is very cramped and limited. However as you enter this small establishment you will notice boards on either side as well as above the counter that feature an array of items and all vegan items are labeled. Neil and I decided on the vegan bagel with “bacon”, lettuce, tomato and tofu cream cheese on an everything bagel. Neil had fresh squeezed orange juice and I had a soy latte. The bagel sandwich was good nothing fancy or great but it was satisfying. The orange juice was really yummy and the latte was okay it had a nice foam and taste however there wasn’t as much espresso as I would have liked. It would have been nice to try some of their lunch dishes because they had a number of vegan chicken wraps such as a Mediterranean one as well as a Moroccan one. This place was cute, inexpensive and convenient.
Neil and I wandered a bit more in the morning stopping at Earthmatters to check out the shop, here you can get breakfast as well although they have very limited vegan options. We then popped into Cake Shop intending to check out some records however it seems that the café/record shop/bar has eliminated the record shop part of it, however I did notice on our way out that they have vegan cupcakes there. Our big find however was the Economy Candy Bar which Neil just fell in love with. When you walk in it is pretty much floor to ceiling with candy from all over the world, some are packaged and others you can purchase in bulk. Neil and I went on a search for some fun vegan finds and we actually found Chick-O-Stick which is a candy that is vegan that I had read about on a few different message boards but never have been able to find. It is similar in flavor to a Butterfinger minus the chocolate. We picked up a few vegan sweets and headed out to Café 88 for a coffee while we waited for our tour at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
We also made a quick stop over to Babycakes before our tour (it’s just around the corner) and picked up a number of goodies: 2 cupcake tops (1 lemon and 1 vanilla), a brownie bite, a cinnamon skinny bun and some day old biscuits. Everything was good, I had read mixed reviews about Babycakes and I have to agree with what most of them said- the cupcakes are pretty dry- however the frosting is good and the brownie and skinny bun so yummy and the biscuits were nice and flakey. Overall I am glad we stopped in and picked up some yummy treats! (I know at this point it seems we were going on a sweets overload, I would like to note though we did not enjoy them all at once).
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a great place for anyone to visit. They have a number of tours that are available to go on; we decided to on the Getting By Tour which detailed the lives of two different immigrant families that lived in two the apartments in the tenement housing where the museum is located. We were able to see where these families lived and learn about the changes that occurred in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s before the housing unit was closed down. The tour also gave an overview of the neighborhood and the focus of this tour was on how immigrants, specifically the two families they featured, got by during their time in the housing and in the neighborhood. It was really interesting and I would love to take another tour to learn more about the housing and immigration during this time. If you aren’t able to take a tour but are in the area you should definitely stop into their museum store it is filled with books and different things that are really interesting, I wanted to buy every book in there.
After our adventure to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum we decided to stop at Moo Shoes which is just next door to it. We went in looked around some but overall felt very unimpressed about what we saw. There were some Natalie Portman, Te Casan, shoes there that I wanted but for $250 they were not in my budget.
For lunch we decided to have dim sum at Buddha Bodia over on Mott Street in Chinatown. We stepped in and were quickly seated in a cafeteria like dining room that had tons of table squished in next to each other. They have an extensive menu of non-dim sum items however we went for the dim sum which you marked on a sheet of paper which ones you wanted, either small, medium, large or one of the specialties. We ordered the spring rolls, the bbq veggie meat, the veggie meat sticky rice roll and the sui mai. These were all so yummy! The BBQ Veggie Meat was so yummy and had a great texture. The Sticky Rice Roll was not exactly what we expected and our first impression was that it was going to be slimly because it was shiny and slippery looking. It was surprisingly good and not slimy. The Spring Rolls were your standard veggie spring rolls filled with bean sprouts, veggie meat and mushrooms, however although good nothing amazing. I would say the same thing with the sui mai they were very good but nothing incredible. The couple next too us got the fried stuffed eggplant and it look amazing I wish we had tried that. We ended our meal with the most luscious amazing desert ever…”it makes you go I can’t believe this is vegan!”…the vegan cheesecake. This was incredible, and it has the same taste and texture as a traditional cheesecake. This one really makes you wonder if they are telling the truth that it is vegan or not because it is so like the traditional kind.
After this Neil and I wondered around Chinatown some and then headed to the West Village to hit up some record shops. After spending a few more ours wandering around we headed back to our hotel to relax and have a drink at the hotel bar before dinner with a friend of mine and her boyfriend.
Later that evening we headed back to the West Village and went to Generation Records where Neil picked up 6 new records for his birthday. We then made our way to Red Bamboo for Neil’s birthday dinner. The Manhattan location is very small with limited seating. It was also very drafty which made for a chilly dining experience, also chilly was the waitstaff. We started our meal with the BBQ Buffalo Wings and the Rice Paper Rolls; the wings were fine the sauce was missing the spice you would expect from an item called a buffalo wing but overall they were good. The Rice Paper rolls were slimy and pretty much awful there was hardly anything in them and what was in them was too much ginger, it just overwhelmed the roll completely. For dinner I got the Voodoo Sticks which I heard were really good, Neil got the Tofu Club, and our friends both ordered vegetable stirfrys. Going into mine I had expected the rice and veggies to be bland and boring….but the Voodoo Sticks (veggie meat on a stick) I had heard were super tasty….but they weren’t. They were super dried out and boring. They rice although bland was kind of nice. The veggie were fine except for the two giant carrots that were not cooked enough to cut up and eat with my fork and I wasn’t about to pick it up and start chomping down on it. Neil’s sandwich was okay nothing great. The bread however was awful- they used conventional sliced bread which just got soggy and fell apart. The veggie bacon boring, the tofu overcooked and rubbery. The only really good thing on Neil’s plate where the crispy fries. My friend’s black bean ginger stir fry was probably the best tasting thing on the table …..but how can you really mess up stir fry that involves adding some ginger and black bean sauce? I have to say I was really disappointed and would never return to the Manhattan location of Red Bamboo…maybe next time we head to Brooklyn.
We ended our night at this really interesting bar called Madame X “A boudoir-themed bar with miniscule cocktails and a gigantic attitude problem” although poorly reviewed/described by New York Magazine this place was nice on a Sunday night. It was quiet and there were lots of couches to sit on in this dimly lit bar. We had some strong drinks that were decently priced and it was great to people watch and socialize. I am not sure how it is M-Sat but it was nice and quiet on a Sunday night.
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