Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Got Curls - Giveaway

If you have curly hair, you understand the concept of a destination haircut. Recetly on twitter, a travel editor wondered about that – she was at Devachan, in Soho, when she met a woman from the Midwest. I am a Devachan devotee myself, and have also been to Ouidad, in midtown (there’s a branch in Santa Monica as well), another curls Mecca.
But if you don’t want to travel for a cut, you can buy Devachan or Ouidad hair products. Another new product specializing in curls, Curly Q, specifically targets kids ages 2-12.

And I am giving away a Curly Q Princess Glaze Sample Kit.
You get
Curlie Cutie Cleansing Cream
Coconut Dream Conditioner
Moist Curls Moisturizer
Curly Q Princess Glaze
The organic products moisturize and enhance curls, leaving them bouncy and frizz-free.

To enter, follow my blog, and leave a comment about your curly headed kid.

Get another entry by following me on twitter, @judy511 and RT the following:

Got curls? Follow Veggie Mom and tell her why your kid needs Curly Q for a chance to win a Princess Glaze kit.

Winner will be contacted by Dec 20

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Turkey for Me

I used to cook a mean turkey. Haven’t eaten it since I was a kid, but I took over the Thanksgiving turkey when I read that you could improve the bird by rubbing spices on the skin and sticking butter and herbs under the skin. I didn’t want my family to endure a dry, tasteless bird.

I even used to make turkey stock afterwards and distribute it to the meat eaters in the family.

But I stopped cooking meat when I was pregnant with my first child, and I don’t get involved in the basting, stuffing, carving, or eating.

Until a near crisis this year. We are having our youngest daughter’s bat mitzvah 2 days after Thanksgiving, so my sister-in-law, our usual host, invited my husband’s family as well.

Then her father got sick and we became plan B – 45 guests, most of them expecting turkey, on Thanksgiving. I considered insisting on a raw, vegan meal, but I really have no interest in that.

But my sister-in-law decided to host after all. My oven gets to stay poultry free for another year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Diets

Fall is an eating fest, from raiding your kids’ Halloween stash to holiday parties. I’m almost happy to be a guest at a Christmas dinner where roast goose or ham is the main attraction; I can not eat and give my stomach a rest.

But, even if no one thought about the vegetarian at the table, there are Christmas cookies, spiked and rich eggnog and platters of cheese, all tempting and all guaranteed to put inches on your waist.

So I was thrilled to try out Shapercise, a combination exerciser and Spanxlike shaper. The body contour-er not only makes your stomach look flatter, if actually burns calories as you wear it.

Shapercise has a high waist body shaper, great under tight dresses, and a regular waist shaper. The ‘regular’ waist is about a foot higher than where my teens wear their jeans, but then, Shapercise is not for teens; it is for the moms who had those teens and still don’t have the washboard abs of their youth.

It is made with breathable cotton and Lycra, so you won’t get hot while you wear it.

The shapewear, which you wear without underwear, is smooth and non-restricting, though it does take longer to tug on than underwear. It doesn’t replace a visit to the gym, but Shapercise does offer a light resistance workout while you go about your every day activities.

Though if those activities include frequent trips to the cookie jar, you may want to rethink your exercise plan.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dining in NoHo

There are so many good restaurants in my NYC neighborhood that I often forget about places just a couple of miles, but a bridge or 10 subway stops away. Five Points has been in NoHo for 11 years, but I hadn’t been back recently.

The restaurant is perfect for carnivores and vegetarians. A wood-fired oven cooks meat and pizzas and the emphasis on local, seasonal vegetables means everyone can eat well.

Salads are a highlight. We tried two: Treviso (radicchio) and escarole, with a lemon0anchovy dressing and shavings of pecorino cheese. It was billed as coming with a soft cooked egg, and I imagined a runny yolk melting over the greens, but the egg was hard boiled. No matter, it was still tasty, and there was no risk of salmonella.

The other salad, chanterelle mushrooms with squash, polenta and mascarpone was finished in that oven and came bubbling to the table. It could easily be an entrée with a salad.

But then you would miss the pasta. Whole wheat cavatelli comes with roasted Brussels sprouts, squash, and pistachios and spaghetti is garlicky and larded with clams.

The only disappointment was the pizza with potatoes, fontina cheese and white truffle oil. Sometimes I order a dish that is supposed to come with bacon or speck and it is missing a flavor. This dish came as is, but needed another flavor – sundried tomatoes? Olives? Something to balance the richness of the cheese.

Five Points has a couple of seafood dishes and steak, all cooked in the wood oven.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving appetizer

Thanksgiving can be a tough time for vegetarians – some people are so focused on the turkey that they don’t give enough thought to the side dishes.

But if you are a guest at a Thanksgiving dinner with lots of good side dishes, you can usually make a meal of sides, as long as the stuffing isn’t cooked inside the turkey, the Brussels sprouts don’t have bacon and the re is soup and salad.
If you are hosting the meal, though, and you don’t want to serve turkey, you may get complaints. I used to make a turkey for my family, but it started grossing me out, so we did without the turkey for a few years. When my sister-in-law started hosting the meal, she made turkey, and I contribute chestnut or squash soup, chocolate pecan pie and regular pecan pie, and maybe an appetizer.

I have this habit of always making a complicated new dish and springing it on guests. But Bobby Flay, chef and owner of Mesa Grill and Bar Americain, recommends sticking with staples, making the same dish a couple of times to make entertaining easier.

But because we have my daughter’s bat mitzvah Thanksgiving weekend, 35 out of town guests, high school applications due for the same daughter and college apps due for another, I decided to try out Bobby’s easy balsamic-glazed stuffed mushrooms. They are easy to whip up, don’t require any hard to find ingredients and they taste great.

A Bobby Flay Recipe

6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes

20 cremini mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
Pinch crushed hot pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, divided
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs, toasted

Preheat oven 400°.

Toss mushroom caps with 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Arrange mushroom caps in 13 x 9-inch baking dish, stem-side-down. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove mushrooms; drain liquid. Return mushrooms to baking dish, stem-side-up.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and cook shallots, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Stir in mushroom stems and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in hot pepper flakes, parsley and thyme. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Turn into medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 tablespoons cheese and bread crumbs. Evenly spoon mixture into mushrooms.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup mayonnaise with remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar in small bowl. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Drizzle over mushrooms, then sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until mushrooms are golden and heated through.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unhappy Meals

Last year, parents in Park Slope were outraged when a new ‘family friendly’ restaurant opened without including a children’s menu.

Dr. Rallie McAllister would be pleased. Dr. McAllister, author of Healthy Lunchbox and The Mommy MD Guide, urges parents to avoid kids’ meals, though when you are traveling, it isn’t always so easy. The fried foods, sugar and salt make these terrible choices.

My own bugaboo is when the kid’s meal vegetarian option is spaghetti, served with French fries. If we don’t eat offer a few fresh veggies – broccoli and dip, carrots, grape tomatoes – how will we get kids to choose healthy food on their own?

San Francisco, though makes it easy to eat healthy. Even at the interactive Exploratorium science museum, you can get a sandwich filled with local, sustainable produce. Compare this to the Boston Children’s Museum, which has a McDonald’s on-site. Or to hospitals around the country that have McDonald’s in the building.

San Francisco also recently banned promotional toy giveaways with children’s meals filled with too many calories and too much salt and saturated fat.
Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity just released a study that says “the average kids’ meal contains 616 calories, which may meet the needs of older, more active children, but provides too many calories for most younger children. If your child is 2-5 years old, she required 410 calories at lunch or dinner, or a third less.

And if you examine the study carefully, you see that the lower calorie counts come when you choose low fat plain milk for your child. If you let him get a soda or chocolate milk, or add cheese to a burger, the calorie count is much higher.

Dr. McAllister suggests parents let their kids eat some of their own meal, noting that restaurant portions are often so large that adults don’t need to finish them. In fact, last night, I had an excellent barley and wild mushroom risotto at Alchemy and brought more than half of it home. My daughter, after two hours of soccer, ate the remainder. We were both stuffed.

And not a bit of fried food passed our lips.