Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NYC Dining Deals for the Savy Spender

While I do love to cook I also love a good meal out, not only is it nice to have someone cook for you but it also helps me think of new creative things to cook.

Problem is, living in NYC dining out can become pricy, and that's why I present you with a list of websites that offer dining deals:

Blackboard Eats
Opentable Spotlight
Zagat Exclusives
Village Vines

So go ahead click a link and get a deal and let me know where you decide to go.

Savy Spender

There are plenty of days when it would be easier to purchase a sandwich at a deli or make a salad at a local salad bar, but did you ever think for the price of that one sandwich or salad you could have bought each item in a supermarket for less money and you would have more meals!

There are many times when it is easy to just grab a bite out, but wouldn't it be just as easy to prepare meals and have them waiting for you in plastic containers? After reading the article How To Beat The Salad Bar from New York Times Magazine it got me thinking about how much money I save by preparing all of my salads at home.

Every Sunday like clockwork I wake up and go food shopping. I usually stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables along with a few other things (next week I will talk more about my groceries). Monday through Friday I prepare myself a Fruit smoothie with A Hint of Greens and for lunch I prepare myself a big salad.

While I am aware that purchasing groceries saves me money it is interesting to see it in comparison to a salad bar within a supermarket as described in the article How to Beat The Salad Bar. Nate Silver went into Whole Foods in Union Square (a store I frequent) and compared prices from the salad bar with the prices from the produce section. It is very interesting to see how each item holds up.

While I was working in an office setting often times it would slip my mind to bring lunch, or I would forget it at home and each time I did that it was $8 out of my pocket spent on a salad bar salad of mixed greens with sorted vegetables and chicken. In one week you can spend $50 on lunch alone, and that is if you are only having a salad.

With the same $50 you can go to a grocery store or farmers market and have a salad bar in your own fridge for a week!!! I find it key to keep vegetables pre sliced in containers in my fridge that way there is no thought when preparing the meal it is all taken care of. All it takes is a little extra time one day a week. If you cut 2 hours out of your day you will have time to go grocery shopping, slice and dice vegetables into containers, hard boil some eggs instead of spending $2 per egg and hey you can even make some turkey meat sauce while you’re busy slicing.

Here are a few items I always have on hand:
  • Sliced Vegetables
    • Peppers
    • Cucumbers
    • Cherry Tomatoes (you don't even need to slice those)
    • Broccoli
    • Hearts of Palm (also available in glass jars and come pre sliced, I prefer to cut my own)
    • String Beans
  • Clean Fresh Fruit
    • Keep a bowl full of fruit on a counter so you are sure to grab that before opening a junk food cabinet (Apples, Bananas, Pears, Peaches, Avocados)
    • Grapes in a bowl in the fridge so you can easily grab a handfu as well as frozen grapes, they make a great snack not only on hot days
    • Sliced up berries for easy eating
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
Next week I plan to go into detail on how to live on a budget and cook all of your meals... stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Hint of Greens Snack - 3.29.11

The calendar says it spring and the sun shining through my window makes it feel like summer, so why not a summer inspired salad for an afternoon snack?

This week I am trying to use up the food I have in my fridge and freezer before I get to the grocery store. I have noticed I can come up with some great meals, its all about pairing flavors and textures that you enjoy.

With that said I introduce you to one of the easiest meals you can make that has not one, but two Hints of Green!

Shrimp, Apple, Avocado Salad
- 1 Granny Smith Apple
- 1 Avocado
- 6 Large Shrimp
- Salt and Pepper to Season

Since I am using ingredients I have on hand I used frozen shrimp that I had in my freezer. I find it really helpful to have a bag of frozen shrimp on hand to add to any meal, salads, pasta dishes, you name it.

If you prefer not to use frozen shrimp fresh grilled shrimp go great as well, and if you have a few minutes and want to kick the dish up a notch go crazy and coat them in a little panko bread crumbs before you grill them.

Think of all of the things you can do with just the ingredients in your refrigerator and freezer...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oy Gevalt, What's for Dinner?

My Grandma Sally just called from Florida to see if I have channel 238, she seems to think 238 in Tamarac is the same as NYC. Anyway she was watching a show called "Feed Me Bubbe" and she thought what a great idea it would be to have her Jewish granddaughter on television cooking. I asked her if she would settle for hearing about my dinner and being in a blog post. She was thrilled at the offer.

With that said tonight I decided to make use of leftovers around my kitchen:

- Trader Joes brand Israeli Cous Cous
- 1/4 Yellow Bell Pepper
- Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
- 5 Brussels Sprouts
- Handful of Kale
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2 Chicken Apple Sausages from Agata & Valentina
- 1 Can Chicken Broth
1. Place Cous Cous in small pot and follow directions (I used chicken broth in replace of water to add more flavor)

2. Cut up vegetables. Place Zucchini, Pepper and Brussels Sprouts in the pan as they take a bit longer to cook

3. After Sautéing Zucchini, Pepper and Brussels Sprouts for a few minutes I added in the Kale and Cherry Tomatoes to cook for a few more minutes

4. Once the vegetables are fully cooked I placed them into the pot of Cous Cous and let simmer on low heat

5. While the Cous Cous and Vegetables were simmering in the pot I placed the Chicken Apple Sausage in a pan to cook. I let it cook on each side for a few minutes before removing the casing

6. Once the Chicken Apple Sausage was cooked fully through I added it to the pot of Cous Cous and Vegetables to simmer for a few more minutes before serving

And there you have it, dinner is served...

Note: This recipe can be adapted for a vegeterian by cooking Cous Cous with Vegetable Broth or Water and by not adding the Chicken Apple Sausage.

Scan Me

After getting a tip from Aria of I decided to create myslef a QR code for the blog and It was super easy! To create one just go to Technology makes it so easy to follow social media and blogs.


Alternatives to Dairy

After years of chronic sinus infections I finally went and had my food allergies tested, turns out I am allergic to dairy from a cow. I have learned that this is very common and remains untreated in many people. Once I was alerted to the allergy I went on a Candida Diet for 2 months which left me feeling better than ever.
Five years ago I was made aware of my allergy and to this day I continue to remain dairy free (aside from occasional dairy from a goat or sheep). With the government recommendation for adults ages 19-50 being 1000 mg of calcium per day it is important to find suitable alternatives. 

Below is a list of some of some of my favorite calcium enriched foods along with the amount of calcium per serving.

Food Item
Serving Size
Calcium mg
1 cup boiled
245 mg
Green Turnips
1 cup boiled w/ salt
197 mg
Dandelion Greens
1 cup
140 mg
1 cup raw
136 mg
¼ cup dry
129 mg
4 cups
128 mg
2 tbsp raw (sesame seed butter)
126 mg
2 cups boiled
124 mg
Macadamia Nuts
1 cup
114 mg
1 ¼ cup
113 mg
Swiss Chard
1 cup boiled
102 mg
Broccoli Rabe
3 ounces
100 mg
2 items
92 mg
Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp
88 mg
2 cups raw
81 mg
1 ounce (23 nuts)
75 mg
1 medium
73 mg
Flax Seeds
3 tbsp
54 mg
1 medium
52 mg

As you will see from the list provided above, eating a diet rich in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fruits will give you plenty of calcium and you'll get many other health benefits from these foods as well.

*Note: Even if you are not allergic to dairy and drink one cup of milk per day you are only getting 296 mg which still leaves you needing another 704 mg of calcium per day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Hint of Greens Snack - 3.26.11

It's a cold sunny spring day in NYC, what better way to spend it then with a trip to the Union Square Farmers Market.

Growing up there were two foods NEVER served in my house, beets and brussels sprouts. It wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered my love for both. My new mission is to find a way to prepare each of these items in a way that even my mother would enjoy them.

Today I bring you A Hint of Greens recipe...

Brussels Sprout Chips
16 large brussels sprouts, washed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1) Set oven rack that the top shelf is about 4 inches from the broiler. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Trim about a centimeter from the bottom of a brussels sprout and begin to separate the leaves. As you separate the leaves you may need to continue to trim the bottom to make it easier to pull off the leaves. When you can't pull off anymore, and then cut the remaining brussels sprout in half. Repeat with remaining sprouts.

3) Place the leaves on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir until the leaves are well-coated and form a layer on the sheet.

4) Bake the leaves for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. Use a spatula to turn the leaves. Return to the oven. Switch your oven to broil.

5) Broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so that the leaves don't get too burnt.

6) Remove from oven. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do You Have 20 Minutes?

Shrimp, Vegetables, Israeli Cous Cous
If the answer is yes, then there is no reason you shouldn't be able to prepare yourself a healthy nutritious meal.

As I have mentioned I do not like to slave over the stove all day, but I do like to eat healthy foods with great flavors. I try to keep balance of vegetable, protein and whole grain in all of my dishes and am very pleased when I can be in and out of the kitchen in 20 minutes. While some of the dishes are raw, I cook plenty of meals in the same time.

Turkey Sausage, Broccolini, Whole Wheat Pasta

All of the photos in this post are meals I have cooked in 20 minutes or less each containing A Hint of Green!
 A few tips to assist in making a quick meal:

- Stock up on Vegetables - stop by the grocery store or farmers market for fresh vegetables once a week (you can use frozen as well, but I tend to get better flavor from fresh and tend to not need much seasoning)
Squid Ink Linguini, Clams, Calamari and Broccolini

- Have Protein Available - in a pinch you can defrost a batch of chicken or shrimp from a freezer if you don't have time to go to a store, take it out of the freezer and place in the fridge in the morning before you start your day, or if you forget you can defrost in a microwave
- Fill your Cabinets - brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta all staples I like to keep on my shelves as should you

Mixed Vegetable and Chicken Salad

It is easy to make excuses... 
- I am tired
- I have no time
- Take-Out and Delivery are so much easier

But trust me, once you stop making excuses and start cooking your meals you will feel lighter and your wallet will feel heavier!!!