Friday, January 30, 2015

Kale & Brussel Sprouts Salad Recipe

Last weekend I had dinner at my cousin Lisa's apartment in NYC. First off, it set my expectations quite high for my eventual apartment in Manhattan. It was so home-y and spacious, but not so huge that you feel lost.

As a starter we had a kale salad that was so simple, light, and delicious. I had the leftovers a few days later and it kept really well and didn't get soggy. One of the many perks of kale! This is a jaw dropping fact that I'm going to throw out there.. I. Ate. Olives. And didn't hate them! Usually if an olive comes in contact with anything I can't even choke it down. I guess it's true when they (whoever they may be) say that there are so many types of olives out there. I basically wrote them off as a whole, but now I'm a tiny bit more open minded about them. I'll still avoid them at all costs though. Another side note, my salad (pictured below) doesn't have cheese because of my lactose intolerance, but it probably makes it even better.

I stocked up on leftovers to bring back to school in anticipation of Juno. Well.. that didn't happen and instead of being trapped until Thursday I was out on Tuesday when the sun came out. 33 inches of snow turned into 6. Oh well! I'd rather them be wrong than for me to be trapped. Plus I had yummy leftovers (I also took roasted broccolini and sweet potatoes with smoked paprika.. so good!).

This recipe is simple, can be made ahead of time, and serves a lot. It's actually filling enough to be a meal in itself. It's direct from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks (a personal fav).

Shredded Kale & Brussel Sprouts Salad
serves 4-6 

For the shallot vinaigrette
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice (can use a little less depending on how much you love lemon)
1/3 cup evoo
2 tsp tahini
honey & salt to taste

For the salad
1 bunch of finely shredded lacinato kale
12 brussel sprouts finely shredded
3 scallions, sliced thin

1 cup sliced toasted pecans
20 large green Castelvetrano olives, pitted and sliced (try to buy them pitted because Lisa said pitting them yourself is a pain)
2/3 cup pecorino cheese shredded

Add shallot and lemon juice to a small bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

After shredding the veggies, toss them together with the dressing making sure to mix well (your hands will probably work best because Kale tastes better "massaged"). Let rest for 10 minutes.

Add pecans, olives, and cheese. Toss gently and chill before serving or serve immediately. 

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ontario Salmon Bowl

I love trying out new recipes as well as experimenting and creating my own. I saw a Seattle Asian Salmon Bowl on skinnytaste and emailed my mom from Germany saying we had to try these when I got home.

Rewind a bit for some background info.. my dad and brother went fishing on Lake Ontario and came home with salmon that they've been wanting to cook. Perfect opportunity! That being said, I have no idea what the exact amount is that I used because it wasn't store-bought so I'll just use the recommended amount from Gina.

I love rice bowls because you can improvise so easily and add/take out any veggies you want. Additionally, I made the dressing with wasabi and it was actually burning our noses. If you like wasabi then I'll recommend an amount to add, but truthfully I don't think it needs it. Here's my version of Gina's salmon bowl, which is pretty close to the original.

Ontario Salmon Bowl

Serves 4

For the bowl
1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin
1 seedless cucumber, sliced thin
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (I used black)
1 avocado, diced,
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 handful of alfalfa sprouts
1 strip of nori, cut into small strips
2 carrots shredded
16 oz wild salmon cut into 4 pieces
olive oil

For the Asian Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp less sodium soy sauce/Tamari
3 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1.5 Tbsp sesame oil
*1.5 Tbsp wasabi from a tube (if you're a brave soul)

Cook rice and keep warm.

Combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set to the side.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add salmon and sear for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Divide the rice into each bowl (1/2 cup each).

Assemble the bowl with the veggies (except nori) and then place salmon on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, spring the nori, and serve!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Well Planned Day Goes Awry

As we all know, I'm a planner and a creature of habit..

On Sunday I trekked down to Union Square to take a flow class at Yoga Vida, one of my favorite studios in NYC. I planned to take the 12 pm class and then head to Souen for a macro plate with carrot dressing. I was craving this for so long and it's one of my favorite meals ever. My plan was yoga, Souen, the Strand (I spend hours and hours there on end.. I love it), Whole Foods, and then dinner at my cousin's.

My whole day was thrown for a loop at multiple points..

First, I got to Souen and it was closed! I almost dropped dead. I called another location and they said that the USQ location was going to open for dinner. Usually they open at 11 am on Sundays, so I'm not sure what the issue was there, but whatever. I got over it.

Now I'm irritated because I'm hungry and was craving that plate. I hop on Yelp and see that there's a Peacefood Cafe around the corner! I've been to the one on the UWS, but not this one.
c/o Peacefood's website
It was packed, but I got a table right away. The soup special was a spicy chickpea, kale, and porcini mushroom. Usually I hate soup. This one had all of my fav things & it seemed like something I could eat, but still drain the broth. I like soup that has substance. I'm not into drinking my food (I won't do juices or smoothies.. not my thing). This one was so yummy! I got a side of brown rice to add in so it had more to it, but I didn't even need it.

I ordered the choice of two veggies and a soup, so I got roasted Japanese pumpkin and brussel sprouts. I love that you have eight veggie choices when you order the small (2 veggies) or large plates (4 veggies). They were roasted to perfection & I ended up taking half of them home because the soup and rice filled me.

They have an extensive menu and even non-vegans will love it with the paninis, soups, pizzas, etc.

I then spent an hour in the Strand and found out that what I thought was going to be a flurry was actually a blizzard warning. Luckily they were so wrong, but I ran to the Westside Market, Trader Joe's, and Walgreens to stock up on food and toiletries. That was the second thing that threw off my day. Out of my original yoga, Souen, Strand, Whole Foods plan I made it to two of those places.

My day ended up being a good one & dinner at my cousin's was delish! She made a kale salad that I'll post the recipe for soon because it was so good & easy. 

Maybe I'll take this as a lesson that you don't have to plan everything. I know I'm not going to ease up with my OCD planning, but this proved that things can go wrong & your day is still fine. I'll stick to my "always be prepared" mantra (I'm basically a Boy Scout with that one) because you're better off planning and being ready for anything since anything can be thrown your way, but if things don't go 100% according to plan it's not always a bad thing. 

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Promising Best Pictures

Oscar nominated movies rarely pique my interest. Silent black & white movies shouldn't be winning awards in the 21st century in my opinion. The King's Speech was awesome and I'm glad I watched that after it won best picture in 2010.

I recently watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I tried to watch on my long flight back from Germany (9 hours is way too long in my book) but just couldn't get into. I watched:
This Is Where I Leave You - I don't love everything Tina Fey, but she was really good in this movie. It's an entertaining watch and keeps you interested the whole time. I do love Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda, so this wasn't a hard choice to make while flipping through all 800 movies they offered.
The Devil Wears Prada - this might have been the 500th time I watched this movie. No exaggeration there. It's one of my favorites so I had to put it on.
The Hundred-Foot Journey - I hadn't really heard much about this, but I loved it. It was inspiring and made me want to get on a plane to Paris to become a 5-star chef.

That was a little fun facts section of what I think of random movies, but the real point of this post is to tell you I've watched two (I rarely watch one) of the movies nominated for best picture this year! And they both were super good! In different ways though.

The Grand Budapest Hotel was on demand when I got back to NYC and since it was all of 15 degrees out I figured why not watch it? At only an hour and forty minutes I couldn't say no (when movies approach two hours I have to really consider because I truly can't focus for more than 5 minutes.. that may be a little bit of an exaggeration but you get it). I was surprised at how funny it was! It takes a lot to make me laugh, but dry, witty humor often does the trick. I definitely recommend checking this one out if you haven't already. Should it be up for best picture? Not in my opinion.

This movie basically changed my life - The Imitation Game. I think I told everyone I know that they must see this movie. I'm not into wartime movies, but this one was different. I went into the theater knowing a whole bunch of nothing about the movie. I had a choice between this and Wild and I just wasn't in the mood for a super serious movie.

I had no clue that this was based on a true story and that the true story was about how the Allies won WWII, how the first computer came to be, and how the British knew for years that their ships and cities were going to get bombed, yet they couldn't do anything about it because then the Germans would catch on that they knew the code and they would it. It was such an amazing movie I can't say enough about it. Benedict Cumberbatch was fabulous and so was Keira Knightley. The main character reminded me a lot of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory because he was so smart, but just didn't get jokes.

If you can only watch one more movie for the rest of the year, this is the one to watch. You won't be disappointed! It's serious, historic, funny, and extremely enthralling.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Taking a Leap of Faith

I've been on a Netflix kick (no shame) and I've heard so many good things about documentaries but could never really find a time when I was in the mood to get into one. I have a bunch added to "My List" so maybe I'll watch them all eventually (aka tomorrow because the weather is supposed to be gross).

One day I stumbled upon Mademoiselle C which is about Carine Roitfeld. Since my dream job was always to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue (that went out the window once I realized it wasn't at all like the Devil Wears Prada & 13 Going on 30) I felt like I would love this. I definitely did. It was the perfect length (an hour and a half) and goes through Carine's life from being Vogue Paris' editor-in-chief to starting her own magazine, CR Fashion Book. You would think that someone that had such a prestigious position would just stay there forever because it's a safe move and offers continuous success, but clearly Carine felt extremely confident in herself to leave and start her own magazine (and took a leap of faith.. hence the title). Additionally, she felt that there was something missing from the magazine world and that CR Fashion Book would fill that gap to satisfy that target audience's desires (my marketing major nerd is really showing right now.. this all fascinates me).

There were struggles along the way, especially in regards to money because although she has quite a bit, there aren't endless supplies when it comes to investing in such a huge project. Her employees' mentioned that it was so hard to tell her "I'm sorry but we don't have the money for that." In addition to the creation of the magazine, the documentary shows her personal side and includes the birth of her new granddaughter.

Countless celebrities were featured in this documentary including Karl Lagerfeld (a given in any fashion documentary), Anna Wintour (another must for a fashion movie, book, documentary, etc.), James Franco, Beyonce, Kate Upton, Kanye, Kirsten Dunst, and the list goes on and on. One person who I become fascinated with is Juliet Ingelby.

This shoot was featured in the documentary. Funny story.. the baby peed on the little girl and that's why she's hysterical. Now I know you're really dying to watch it ;)
I'd love to start my own lifestyle magazine down the road, but I have so may ideas and interests that the magazine would be so all over the place. Until I nail down what I would want to feature, I'll stick to blogging! Digital magazines are always an option too, but I'm one of those people that just love print magazines. I will admit that I read magazines on my iPad religiously every month (Vogue, Martha Stewart Living, Marie Claire, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Decor, Allure, Eating Well... see what I mean about my eclectic taste?), but that's because it's so easy to favorite pages and keep everything in one area without having stacks of magazines everywhere. Constant struggles.

To finish this off, here's the description of CR Fashion Book straight from their website. It's published twice a year and it's definitely worth a look through.
a celebration of fashion and creativity, irreverent in spirit and timeless in style
a platform for groundbreaking styling, photography, and features from the most celebrated creators in fashion and art,
as well as a new guard of rising talent
a place to discover intriguing people and inspiring imagery, constructed around each issue’s specific theme
an innovative format that combines the collectible aspect of a book with the energy of a carefully curated fashion magazine

Step up your documentary game this weekend like I plan on doing & if you're into fashion or publishing, definitely check this one out! I heard the Sriracha movie is good, too, so that's something to look into. It won Best Short Film at the NYC Food Film Festival & Carly over at the College Prepster recommended it. Happy Friday!

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

German Food: It's Not the Wurst

Once I found out that my marketing field study course was to Germany I was ecstatic. The first thing people asked was "what are you going to eat?" because I don't eat meat. Well vegetarians and vegans rejoice! In Frankfurt, best of luck finding German food. It's a melting pot, similar to NYC (and many other major cities), and people visiting are most likely there on business. I read a lot prior to leaving and apparently the last thing Germans want while on business trips is German food. Makes sense!

The population is heavily Turkish, so the cuisines you see a lot of are Turkish, Indian, Asian fusion, and Thai. They also love their burgers there. Another common misconception is that all Germans drink is beer. They do drink a lot of it, but the big thing there is Apfelwein (pronounced apple wine). It's a cider that you add sparkling water or fanta to. I spent a ton of money on water because that's not a popular drink of choice and you have to get the glass bottles of it while eating out. Side note: when you say "water" in Germany, you're going to get sparkling unless you specify you want still.. learned that the hard way.

Of course we had German food a few times. One of the first nights there we stumbled upon Adolf Wagner and figured why not give it a shot? When we got back to the hotel we found out that it's one of the better places to go for a German experience. The inside was awesome and you felt like you were really in a German cider-tavern. It opened in the 30s, so it has quite a bit of history. 

Another restaurant we went to twice was Cafe Wega because (1) they took credit cards (so uncommon in Germany) and (2) it was delish. I got the same thing (the antipasti salad)  both times because I'm a creature of habit and when I find something I like I just can't not get it. My friends got schnitzel the first time and then the chicken crunchy burger the second time. Everything was delish.  

Toh-Thong Thai is one of the top 10 restaurants in Frankfurt, so the Thai-lover that I am had to check it out. It was very good, but I've had similar quality Thai food in NYC so it didn't blow me away. I started off with the papaya salad and it was spicy and perfectly dressed. My nose was running nonstop from the heat, but that didn't stop me from finishing the whole thing. As a meal I got the phas-phakluam with tofu and it was the prefect size and had great flavor. I also liked how the tofu was cooked because I'm super picky when it comes to that. I hate when my tofu is spongy and chewy. My friend, Crystal, had never had Thai so this was a great first experience for her. She tried the Thai beer and said it was "light and so smooth." Chicken satay is always a safe bet, so I suggested she try that as an app and then she had phae-briew-warn with chicken as an entree. This is definitely a place to go while in Frankfurt. 

My final food highlight was in Heidelberg. We had a few meals that were set for the whole group, and this was one of them. The Golden Sheep (the English translation) has been around since the 1600s and has an awesome atmosphere. The set menu was beef consomme as a starter, turkey breast filled with goat cheese and spinach, seasonal veggies, and homemade spaetzle for dinner, and orange pudding with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruits. Everyone loved their meal and thought it was a nice change from the "wurst" German-fare (aka bratwurst, knockwurst, etc.). My professor and I had special meals due to dietary restrictions (no meat and dairy-free). The starter was a delish onion soup and my entree was seasonal veggies, spaetzle, and German raviolis. It sounds like a lighter meal but it definitely was not. The veggies were very heavy on the oil and the raviolis weren't like the Italian boiled ones. They were more along the lines of pierogies.. fried. Regardless, the flavor was there and it was great. 

Living in New York definitely spoils me when it comes to cuisines because not only do we have all of them, you can find authentic anything. It's not like Chinese takeout where you say you've had Chinese food but then go to China and can't even recognize the dishes. My family would rather eat our arms than have Italian food (well my dad and I hate it.. my mom and brother don't care either way) so we always have different ethnic foods. It shocks me when people have never had Greek, Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, etc. Stop eating Italian food, get out from under your rock, and try different cuisines! Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now and get to where I was going with this.. there's a German butcher that sadly just closed in Ridgefield Park. Kocher's had been there since the 40s and my dad would make stops a few times a year for food, so German food is not foreign to me. Going to Germany wasn't shocking and I knew a lot more about the cuisine and what was what than the people I was with, despite the fact that I wouldn't touch a sausage with a 10-foot pole (funny story..  I used to eat liverwurst like there was no tomorrow. This is when I was little and had no idea about what anything was). 

To answer everyone's burning question "how was the food?".. it was good! Similar options to NYC and you can get almost anything you're in the mood for. 

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

German Travels

While in Germany we had a blog that we would all update with whatever our hearts desired and I've written a bit about the trip there, but I'm going to elaborate more. So now that I finished that sentence and you're all confused, let me backtrack. I took a marketing field study course of the winter break and it required going to Frankfurt, Germany with my class, and economics class, and an MBA class to visit companies. It was an amazing experience. Would I ever go back to Frankfurt for please? No. But that's why I'm so glad I went and got the amazing opportunity to go for business purposes. Our company visits were Deutsche Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, JWT (my personal favorite since I'm a marketing major and I'm actually fascinated by consumer behavior), Porsche and Mercedes' museums, and then a speaker who came to our hotel's breakfast room to chat with us, Volker, Wirsdorf, who is a Senior Commercial Specialist for the American Consulate.
View from the Deutsche Bank lobby
Germany loves Christmas & they still had their tree up in the Romer!
The Mein Tower: the only building you can go to the top of
The Mercedes Museum was an awesome looking building
As I said, the experience was amazing, but I don't want to be one of those people that travels and has nothing bad to say because I'm in travel lala land. Germany was a bit disappointing for a history love like myself. I wish I could have gotten to Auschwitz but there just wasn't enough time. So much of Germany was completely destroyed in WWII so there wasn't much history left to see. It was also disappointing to a shopping addict like myself. Germany exports 80% of what they make, so it's hard to find anything German-made to bring back. If you're travelling to Germany and want to bring back souvenirs, take your pick: chocolate, Riesling, a Starbucks mug that says Germany, or some Haribo gummy bears. They say the gummy bears taste better from Germany, so we'll have to ask my brother to comment on that when he eats the ones I got him.

Heidelberg was gorgeous and it was what we were all waiting for. It's one of the few places that wasn't destroyed, so everything is actually old and isn't just remade to look old. I really appreciate trying to recreate what was already there, but when you're in an area that looks ancient and then you find out that everything was built in 1960 or later, you start to feel like you're in Epcot. 
Heidelberg Castle
Rainy cobblestone streets in Heidelberg
Shopping in Heidelberg was fabulous
Love this candid that my friend took
I'll comment separately on food and such later, but to wrap up this general post I'd like to share something from JWT. KitKat is one of their clients and they took the advent calendar idea and made a bar with 24 pieces for "24 breaks before Christmas." I thought it was absolutely brilliant, but again, that's the marketing nerd in me. Check it out here and see for yourself! 

I know you're all wondering.. "how was the food?" More on that soon!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Moving Made Easy (College Edition)

We've all seen those "life hacks" posts that are sometimes mind-blowing and other times just seem like a completely irrelevant waste of time. Pinterest is just exploding with them.

I moved back into school yesterday for the last time and I couldn't be more excited to never have to do such a huge move into a dorm again. Although school has been great, I'm so sick of living in two different places. Every time I go home (which is quite frequently) I have to think about what jeans are there, if I have enough sweaters, etc. I finally got to the point where having 2 of most things is necessary (i.e. hair dryer, hair mousse, face wash, etc.). 

Although moving in is beyond a pain, I had a brilliant idea my freshman year of college & it has made moving in 934938 times easier. Ready for this one? I don't pack my clothes. I used to spend hours folding things into suitcases, lugging bags of hangers on top of the suitcases, and then unpacking and hanging everything for hours when I got to my room. Now I just take the clothes right out of my closet, take a rubberband and group a bunch of things together and lug it all up. It easily saves me 2 hours of packing and unpacking and it was life changing.

Now that that revolutionary idea is on the table, try it! Obviously if you're travelling by plane, train, or bus this won't work for you, but if you can pack up a car it's the best thing ever. I started a new book yesterday and I'm already hooked, so more on that soon. Happy Tuesday!

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

I'm baaaack!

Starting a new semester (among other things) has inspired me to start blogging again. I've been travelling, eating out, experimenting in the kitchen, reading, and watching a bunch of Netflix and on demand, so why not share it with the world?

Tomorrow is my final move in day *que the tears of joy*! I'm a nerd, so of course I'm a little upset that it's my last semester in school, but I'm so excited to start working and join the real world. That freaks most 21 year olds out, but after working full-time last summer, I'm so ready. I have no idea what I want to do with my life, but who does? Talk to someone that's 50 and they'll tell you the same thing. If I'm lucky enough I'll fall into what I love soon. If not then I'll just keep chugging along until I do.

2015 is going to be a year of finding myself, what I love, and experiencing new things. Instead of trying to live through someone else's eyes by reading biographies, scouring blogs, and pretending I have the life of movie/TV characters, I'm going to experience things myself and write my own story. What better way to document things than through my blog? 

Last week I got back from Germany and I did a few blog posts there on our site. I'll post some more on Germany in the near future, but you can see some highlights of the trip on that page. 

Stay tuned for posts full of fashion, food, NYC, books, movies, and more! 

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