Sunday, March 13, 2016

Where to Eat in New York City


Hello!

I just came back from an amazing trip to New York City filled with tons and tons of fantastic food, cute shopping, and great sightseeing. I'm riding the same high that I was feeling after coming back from Amsterdam (no not that type of high!!) because I am already trying to figure out what it would take for me to get a job in the city and move there.

Boy oh boy! Did we ever eat on this trip! We never did all make it to a sit down fancy dinner with the four of us because our week was non-stop but we did eat tasty food day in, day out. Our only rule on the trip was NO BAD FOOD and man did we ever stick to it!

If you would like to take a peak at what we ate while in the city, I have compiled a few suggestions:

Champs Diner
197  Meserole St • Williamsburg, Brooklyn
My roommate Sara is vegan and she found the cutest diner in Brooklyn that serves ALL VEGAN food. As we chowed down on our BBQ chick'n wrap and pesto chick'n sandwich we were in absolute heaven!!! I didn't think I missed chicken as much as I did until I ate my sandwich in about ten seconds flat! They also have a super long menu, so even if you're not vegan you'll find something good to munch on.



222 Montrose Ave • Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Confession time- while we waited for our food at Champs Diner, we ran a street over to go get some vegan donuts for dessert! It's so fun to see such a variety in all vegan places popping up around the city.

Multiple locations across the city (thank god!!)
Sweetgreen is a make-your-own salad spot, and although it's a chain it's definitely not lacking in freshness and flavour. It took me forever to decide which salad to pick out of the premade combinations they had and I finally landed on the Wild Child salad, which had organic wild rice, organic baby spinach, cilantro, peppers, raw beets, shredded cabbage, carrots, raw seeds, avocado, and miso sesame ginger dressing... YUM!















Absolute Bagels
2778 Broadway • Upper West Side, Manhattan
This bagel place was recommended to us by our lovely host and I was a bit skeptical since I love Ottawa and Montreal bagels so much. But New York bagels are so unique and puffy and delicious that I had no problem wolfing one down in record time. This place was simple and cheap but there were so many different types of bagels and spreads (including many vegan Toffuti cream cheeses). We opted to get ours to go and make the short ten minute walk to Central Park to eat them in the sunshine. Be warned that there can be crazy lines on the weekend!

Milk & Cookies Bakery
19 Commerce St  Greenwich Village, Manhattan
This gem of a bakery kept popping up on blogs and Instagram accounts so I figured we couldn't go wrong by stopping in for some treats. I had a chocolate chip cookie and a salted milk chocolate caramel cookie! The best part is that you can buy a glass of milk to drink with your freshly baked cookie. Bonus: the bakery is located in trendy Greenwich Village, which means you can eat your cookie while poking in and out of cute stationery stores or little boutiques.




Pasticceria Rocco
243 Bleecker St • Greenwich Village, Manhattan
While searching for things to do on our trip I discovered this New York food tour. The price was a bit steep so I decided to just keep the shops and bakeries in mind to visit on our own. We ended up eating so many sweets that day because we just kept passing all these yummy looking places all within a five minute walk of each other. At Rocco's we split a cannoli between the four of us and it was marvellous!!

Shake Shack
Multiple locations across the city
On our first night in New York we were itching to go check out Time Square so after a quick grocery run at Whole Foods for some $3 wine and spicy hummus (#priorities) we headed downtown. We got a bit nervous approaching Time Square because it looked like there was some type of protest only to discover that it was hundreds of teen Jewish girls there for some sort of international summit. Don't think we didn't get right in there and started singing their "anthem". After lots of fist pumping, getting filmed, and laughing so hard we almost peed, we got hungry and decided to head to a nearby Shake Shack for burgers. YUMMMMMMM! I've never had a better mushroom burger. 




Beecher's Handmade Cheese
900 Broadway • Union Square, Manhattan
One day when Sara and I were walking around near the Flatiron building we stumbled upon Beecher's Handmade Cheese where they make the cheese right on site! I had the best grilled cheese and a bowl of soup. 

Eataly
200 Fifth Ave • Union Square, Manhattan
Right around the corner from Beecher's is Eataly, which doesn't look like too much from the outside but turns out to be this HUGE indoor gourmet food market. There were tons of different Italian restaurants and little food stalls inside and then in the middle there were tables where you could have a sit down meal! 

Big Gay Ice Cream
61 Grove St • West Village, Manhattan & 125 East 7th St • East Village, Manhattan 
I was so pumped to get one of Big Gay Ice Cream's fancy dipped cones with funny names like "Salty Pimp". They were just as mouthwatering as the pictures on pictures I had drooled over on Instagram. 









Mamoun's
119 MacDougal St • West Village, Manhattan & 22 St. Marks Place • East Village, Manhattan
BEST FALAFEL EVER!!! If you know me at all you know that I love falafel and middle eastern food in general. These falafel were so crisp but fresh and it was $3.50 for a pita! So for all you haters out there saying that you will starve to death if you ever visit NYC, don't worry one bit there are tons and tons of affordable delicious hidden gems.

Lenwich
Multiple locations across the city
This place isn't drop everything and head straight there out of this world delicious because when it comes down to it it's just a sandwich shop but they pack their sandwiches with life and happiness and ALL the vegetables. So if you're in Greenwich village and want a quick and easy bite to eat then go to Lenwich!



Milk Bar
Multiple locations across the city
This was by far what I was looking forward to the most! I discovered Milk Bar a while ago but it was only recently that Maggie reintroduced me to the famous bakery with Alison Roman's Sweet Spot mini series. Christina Tosi is the owner and head chef at Milk Bar and she is just so so cool! I listened to a podcast with her the other day while making cookies (#inspiration) and she's created such a badass company from the ground up. If you want to eat something amazing head to Milk Bar and get a slice of their crack pie, or their compost cookies, or their cereal milk ice cream. Or if you're feeling extra sassy sign up for one of their baking courses to make one of their extremely awesome cakes. I have a WHOLE POST about the class I took while in the city and it was amazing, so stay tuned for that :)




Industry City • Brooklyn 
On our first day in New York we headed across the river to Brooklyn to do some shopping and best of all EAT ALL DA FOODZ! We spent the better part of the morning at this indoor market and they had a whole section dedicated to amazing food. We did the loop time and time again because the choices were just so good and so hard to choose between. Ultimately Sara and I got tacos and lemonade and Ariane and Ellen got ramen burgers... sooooo hip am I right?? There were also really neat dessert options too.






Before I left, I did some extensive research to find out who was eating what in New York and I stumbled upon some really talented food bloggers on Instagram and Snapchat. So one thing that I would really recommend doing is search some hashtags like #NYCeats or something of the sort and then find a couple people that seem to have similar taste as you, then just take screenshots as you go. I took it a step further and downloaded the free Excursion app, which lets you pin location around the city on a map and then when you're walking around all you have to do is open your offline map and see what delicious deli, bakery, bagel shop, candy store, market, juice bar, ice cream parlour, etc. is right around the corner!

A few places I would definitely go to next time I'm in the city, but didn't get to this trip:
Roberta's Pizza
Joe's Pizza
By Chloe
Peacefood Cafe
Taim Falafel

Eventually I will post about what we did to walk off all the food we packed in over our escape to the city but until then have a happy week!!

xox

Gaby


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Single Serving Quinoa Salad



Hello! Yesterday I made the type of lunch that you want to eat forever and always. I just couldn't put my fork down! The best part was that it was easy to make and it kept well for a couple of hours chilling out in my backpack. Sometimes salad can be finicky in terms of packing for lunch and there's nothing I hate more than soggy lettuce, or having to pack a little container of dressing. Solution: Quinoa salad because it tastes even better when it has the time to soak in the dressing for a bit.

Introducing the easiest quinoa salad (starring ALL the fruits and vegetables)........


This recipe is super easy and I have proof: I made it the first time at 7am, when I have approximately zero mental capacity to do anything. It's also important to note that although I am including a recipe, this is basically a "throw everything in a jar and roll with it" type of deal. 

The other night I simply cooked up some quinoa/bulgar blend (you can totally do just quinoa) and then in the morning I cut up whatever was in the fridge, which at the moment just happened to be a TON of fruits and veggies.  Then I whipped up a little vinaigrette and called it a day!


Ingredients
- 1 cup cooked quinoa/bulgar blend (or just quinoa!)
- Any veggies you would like, I included chopped red onion, cucumber, cilantro, avocado, mango, orange pepper, and tomatoes. 

Dressing
- 1½ Tbsp olive oil (3 parts)
½ Tbsp lemon juice (1 part)
½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar (1 part)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced 

Obviously this only makes 1 serving, but if you're hoping to make it into a large salad for a family or for lunches throughout the week you can use the ratios in brackets beside the ingredients.

Directions
✿ Cook your quinoa/bulgar blend and let cool completely.
✿ Chop up your fruits and vegetables.
✿ Mix in your vinaigrette


Enjoy! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Deal of the Century

Hello! I have a little secret to let you guys in on...


Over the Christmas holidays I went to get an eye exam because I was having trouble seeing and it turns out I needed classes. After looking at extremely expensive glasses, my frugal side came to life and I went on a quest to find glasses within my teeny tiny student budget.

At the same time my best friend Maggie was raving about the new glasses she had just bought for twenty dollars.... you heard that right TWENTY DOLLARS! Prescription and all.

So off I went to buy the exact same pair (thanks Maggie) and since then I have been telling everybody and their brother about AC Lens because the whole process was super easy and they shipped within a week for free.

I have nothing but good things to say! So even if you just want an extra pair of travel glasses, or a pair to leave at work, AC Lens is the place to go.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chia Pudding with Granola Clusters


Hello! This morning my breakfast was pretty spot on, so I thought I'd whip out the old camera and document it. My roommate Sara and I are totally crushing on Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows and we have been tearing up her cookbook on the daily recently so I thought I'd share how we have been combining a couple of her recipes. 

I have started getting in the habit of preparing my breakfast the night before because it makes for such relaxing morning. Chia pudding to the rescue!! I usually prepare a jar of it at night and a batch of granola clusters for the week and then combine the two in the morning with some fresh fruit... pure heaven.

I know that I mentioned my visit to the naturopath recently, and I wanted to share another little tip I got: CHIA SEEDS. With five times more calcium than milk, and seven times more vitamin C than oranges, chia seeds are small but mighty. I'm here to give you a delicious recipe because it can be hard to figure out how to actually sneak these little devils into your diet.

Ingredients

CHIA PUDDING (1 serving)
- 1 to 3 Tbsp chia seeds - I like my chia pudding really milky, but you can add up to 3 Tbsp of chia seeds to make it thicker and more pudding-like.
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

GRANOLA CLUSTERS (6 cups)
- 1½ cup whole raw almonds
- 1¼ cup rolled oats
- ⅔ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, chopped dates)
- ½ raw pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ raw sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener like agave or honey)
- ¼ melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla

Directions

CHIA PUDDING
- Measure out the almond milk and the vanilla into a mason jar.
- Add in the chia seeds after the wet ingredients.
- Add a lid and mix well.
- Refrigerate overnight, and stir before eating in the morning.

GRANOLA CLUSTERS
✿ Preheat oven to 275ºF.
✿ Process ½ cup of almonds into a fine meal in a food processor (about 10 seconds). Transfer to a mixing bowl.
✿ Pulse the rest of the almonds, 1 cup, for a couple of seconds till the almonds are chopped but not made into a meal. Gotta love that chunnnnky granola.
✿ Add the oats, dried fruit, pepita seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, cinnamon, and salt to the almond mixture and mix until combined.
✿ Next, add in the maple syrup, melted oil, and vanilla and stir together.
✿ Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and spread the granola over the surface. Pack it down with a spatula so that it is compact.
✿ Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the granola is golden and firm.
✿ Let the granola cool for at least an hour and then break it into piece and store it in an airtight jar.

Serve the two together for a magical morning!




// both recipes slightly adapted from Oh She Glows






Monday, January 11, 2016

Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup


Hello! I made a really really great soup yesterday and I wanted to share. Over the holidays I went to see a naturopath to learn more about how I can get nutrients out of all of da foodz since I am now calling myself a vegetarian. My doctor was super great and we really bonded over all things running, vegetables, and iron deficiencies. He gave me tons of great resources and tips, which I will be sneaking into my upcoming posts. One of the things he mentioned was becoming friendly with the cruciferous family of vegetables. This includes cauliflower, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and many more. 

So here I am, pouncing on all recipes that involve those ingredients because they are apparently extremely rich in all good things, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folic acid, and fibre  These superstars are also great anti-inflamatory agents and have loads of protein... I know what you're thinking, protein in vegetables?? I know, pretty great.

After a quick Pinterest search I came up with tons of great recipes including this roasted red pepper & cauliflower soup topped with kale pesto. Delicious and nutritious!!


Ingredients

SOUP
- 4 medium red bell peppers
- 1 head of cauliflower, diced into florets (roughly 4 cups)
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- dash of salt and pepper

PESTO
- 2 cups of kale
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 clove of garlic
- juice of one lemon (roughly 3 Tbsp)
- 1/2 cup raw almonds

Directions

SOUP
First, you need to do some roasting! Cut the peppers in half and take out the seeds. Then place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Broil the peppers till they are black on the outside and soft on the inside, about 20 minutes depending on the size.

When the peppers are done roasting put them in a sealed container to let them steam a bit, so it's easier to peel the skin off.

Then broil the cauliflower florets for about 20-25 minutes.

While this is all happening you can start the base of the soup. In a pot set to medium-low heat, add in the oil, diced onion, and garlic. Let that sauté till the onions are tender.

Next add the spices and veggie stock and let simmer on medium heat.

Now you can remove the skins from the peppers and chop them up. Then, add the roasted peppers and cauliflower to the pot. Let everything simmer for about 20 minutes to let all the ingredients get to know each other.

✿ Using either an immersion blender or in parts in a regular blender, puree the bejeebers out of the soup.



You can now make this amazing pesto to top your soup, or to add into anything you eat!! I've been putting in sandwiches, on sweet potatoes, pizza, and pasta for the last little while and it's THE TASTIEST, CREAMIEST thing ever. And hello kale!

PESTO
✿ In a food processor pulse together the kale, oil, salt, garlic, and lemon. 

✿ Next, add in the almonds and process some more until it all comes together.

✿ Keep refrigerated.


Yum yum yum! I hope you aren't too scared off by all the roasting involved in this recipe because the end product is sooooo worth it.

xox


// original recipes from Gal on a Mission and Pinch of Yum

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Decorated Sugar Cookies

Hello! It's time for the fourth and final recipe of my 2015 Christmas Treat Guide!! This year when I made my holiday goodie bags I decided to go full on Martha Stewart and make sugar cookies. I'm not going to lie I was totally inspired by this beautiful post I saw cruising through Instagram and the rest is history...

Hours later I found myself elbow deep in flour and forrest green frosting on my cat's paws and as a result splattered on surfaces all over the house. It was all worth it though because I have found THE PERFECT sugar cookie for decorating. And although I do have a little experience baking, I certainly didn't think I would be capable of whipping up beautiful iced cookies that require time and effort.

So I bring to you the best sugar cookie that a) keeps it shape when baked, b) is delicious and soft, c) makes a shit ton of dough that can be split into two and frozen for last minute times when your mother-in-law, neighbour, or coworker stops in to say hello. Oh and I also can't forget if you don't want to go all Julia Child during the busy Christmas months because you have better things to do (e.g. criminal minds marathon) then don't fret because these cookies are equally as good without the icing. I made some when we had people over watching Love Actually and I think I stuffed about 10 in my mouth during the intense scene where Colin Firth is searching for the Portuguese women in her home town...... #stresseater



The original recipe comes from Rose Bakes but I omitted the almond extract for two reasons, the first time I made these cookies I was oblivious to the fact that I owned almond extract and the second time when I added almond extract my roommates and I agreed that we liked it better without.

Ingredients

- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk (KEEP the egg white for the icing)
- ¾ tsp vanilla
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted


Directions
✿ Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
✿ Next, add the egg yolk, mix a little and then add in the other whole egg. Mix in the vanilla.
✿ Add the sifted flour and mix until well-combined.
✿ Now the next step is really important!! Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. I often do it the night before and then make the cookies the next morning to break up the baking process (cause I'm an old lady and sometimes I get tired baking). Or if you're in a big rush just pop the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes.
✿ When you're ready to bake the cookies let the dough come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes, then knead it to make it smooth.
✿ Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Sprinkle some flour on your rolling surface and roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness.
✿ Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired holiday shapes! Then place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet.
✿ This next step is also really important, place the cookies on the sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will make sure that the cookies keep their shape.
✿ Bake for 8-10 minutes depending on the size and shape of your cookies, but keep checking to make sure they haven't started to brown around the edges.
✿ Let them cool for a while before starting to ice them!!



Now for the icing I put on my lab coat and started coming up with royal icing recipes. 

Ingredients
- 3 tsp water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups of sifted powdered icing sugar

Directions
You have a couple of different icing options depending on how much time and effort you want to commit to these cookies. I have tried all three options and they are all tasty, so no judgement if you're opting for the easy way out.  

Option 1
The easiest option would be to say forget it and eat the cookies without any icing. 

Option 2
The other option would be to make one batch of white edging icing with the ingredients above, which makes a stiff consistency that is pictured in the snowflake cookies I have pictured here. I then got some coloured sugar at Bulk Barn, sprinkled it on, and called it a day!

Option 3
The most time consuming option is to make two different icing consistencies: One thicker batch for the contour of the cookie and a thinner batch  to "flood" the interior. This is if you want your cookies to look really snazzy like the one's you'd see in a bakery around Christmas.

Edging
With an electric mixer beat together the lemon juice and egg white, and then add in the icing sugar. Then, one teaspoon at a time, add in the water. This icing should be fairly thick because it is going to be the walls that keep the runnier icing from flooding over the sides of the cookies.

You can add colouring to the icing now. My favourite icing colouring are the Wilton gel icing colours because a little goes a long way. Once you have added your colours beat away to incorporate one consistent colour!

Now you're ready to pipe the outline of the cookie. I used this tutorial to guide me through and it helped a lot!

Flooding
Next, keep adding water to the leftover coloured icing to thin it out. This should be a couple extra teaspoons and it should be runny.

Then fill a squirt bottle with the flooding icing and fill in the edges of your edging. Tap the cookie a couple times to pop any air bottles and then let the icing set before adding any detailing.

And there you go! Perfect cookies.

If you have any questions about this process just comment below because it can be quite finicky but once you've got the hang of it, it's super easy.

You can check out the rest of my cookie guide here.

Merry Christmas lovelies!!



Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Best Brownies

Hello! I just got back from a jam packed weekend celebrating Christmas with my mom's side of the family and after playing games, eating amazing food, and being around the people I love all weekend I'm a pretty happy camper. Now that I am back home, I am totally ready to share the next recipe on my 2015 Christmas Treat Guide: my favourite brownies. My mom found this recipe many years ago in a magazine and we have been making them ever since because they are just so good!
After baking cookie after cookie during my 2k15 Christmas baking spree I was so happy to whip up this batch of brownies in less than ten minutes (excluding baking time).


Ingredients

¾ cup unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1¼ cups flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions

✿ Preheat oven to 350ºF.
✿ Heat butter and chopped chocolate in the microwave for two minutes and then stir until smooth. Let stand for a five minutes to cool.
✿ Whisk in sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla to the cooled chocolate mixture. 
✿ Then stir in pecans and half of the chocolate chips (1 cup).
✿ Transfer the batter to a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper, then sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips.
✿ Bake at 350ºF for 35 minutes until the top is dry to touch.

So easy!! And the crisp top coat is so tasty.


Enjoy.