Friday, November 27, 2015

What Parents Do When the Kids Go Away

Dog approaching WubbleX. 
My nest has been empty since September, though 2 of my kids came home for Thanksgiving. But we have a dog that (sort of) fills the void, and we've replaced our cereal shelf in the pantry with an overflow liquor cabinet.

I satisfy my urge to play by engaging the dog and we recently had good times with WubbleX, a ball that you inflate with helium. It looks like a giant bubble and I can just imagine how thrilled my kids would have been with this when they were little. 

She brought the ball into her already to filled bed.
Since it is filled with helium, WubbleX is for indoor play only - it will float away outside. Once you get it to optimal size, about 9 inches in circumference, you have to pull the straw used to inflate out and quickly cover the hole with a sticky patch. This is really a 2 person operation, and for adults only, but once we got the ball inflated, our dog chased it till she collapsed.

Our labrador is known for destroying her prey - er, toys - so we put the WubbleX away for those cold days when we don't want to spend hours in the park tossing her ball.

Whether you are playing with this with a child or a dog, don't let anyone play with this unsupervised. The ball is supposed to be quite durable, but I wouldn't trust a kid with it alone.

If the WubbleX starts to deflate, you can pump more helium in; we used up most of the can filling it the first time. You can buy the toy at Target or ToysRUs.

Note: this is a sponsored post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Every Day is Black Friday with Groupon Coupons

Lat year's Toys for Tots donations
When I was younger, my mother was a huge day after Christmas shopper. This was traditionally the day you could get half price deals on holiday cards, wrapping paper and ornaments. 

Then Black Friday became a thing. My youngest daughter, Nora,  is a huge Black Friday shopper and we have driven from Thanksgiving dinner to sports stores so she can stock up on running shoes, running tights and soccer cleats. She also gets up at 5am and heads into Soho with her friends to trawl for the hottest deals.

I often buy toys half price right after Christmas and donate those the following year at Toys for Tots events. So they aren’t the latest toys, but I get more bang for my buck and the toys are all new and shiny.

Haven't found a deal yet for this car
This year is going to Nora’s biggest Black Friday yet - she gets home from her first semester of college the day before Thanksgiving, and that early morning Black Friday shopping excursion will be the first time she has seen some of her high school friends since August.

I prefer to avoid the crowds and I recently found out about Groupon Coupons. This is a new (ish) venture for Groupon. Instead of buying a voucher upfront, and then strategizing about when to use it, you can get these free coupons for lots of retailers.

And you can use these coupons anytime - not just for holiday shopping. Nora’s birthday is right after Thanksgiving, so I can shop now at some of her favorite retailers and spend the day after Thanksgiving letting my pants out and running an extra 12 miles to work off all that Thanksgiving gluttony.

I did a quick check of what's available right now on Groupon Coupons and found deals at 2 of her favorite places: $10 off at Uniqlo and 40 % off at Adidas.

There are also travel deals at Orbitz and Travelocity and since we have not yet booked hotels for our next family vacation, I know I will be able to score some deals here.

The beauty of these coupons is that if you buy them and forget to use them before the expiration date, there's no buyer's remorse: you aren't out any money.  But you can definitely save some.

Note: this is a sponsored post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Forget Mall Walking: Radisson Blu Mall of America Has a Great Gym

The pool at the Radisson Blu Mall of America
Malls have become popular with walking groups, who power through the climate controlled environments, often just as stores are opening and crowds are thin. But at the Radisson Blu Mall of America you can follow your fitness routine at a big gym, next to a huge indoor pool.

I am not a swimmer, but the clean, perfect temperature pool enticed me. Large windows let the sun stream in, and the families using the facility were all happy. The family-friendly hotel provides special adult only hours for lap swimmers.

The fitness center at Radisson Blu Mall of America
The gym offered everything needed for a great workout; thick yoga mats for stretching, mirrors so you could watch your form, stability balls and bosu balls. There were plenty of free weights, cardio machines and soft towels for mopping up sweat.

Blue light fixtures at the gym
The gym even had blue light fixtures to reflect the Radisson color scheme.

Note: I was a guest of Radisson Blu Mall of America. Opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Forget Farm to Table: Buick Goes Road to Table

On a miserable story day, a bright spot emerged: a shiny new Buick Encore showed up at my door to chauffeur me and a friend to a Road to Table event. A group of about 15 met up on the rooftop of Brooklyn Grange for a yoga class.

The colorful chickens at Brooklyn Grange
But the tropical storm had other ideas. With gusting winds, sheets of rain and no sun to salute, we did a few stretches (under a canopy) and called it a day. For the yoga portion.

The even more colorful bee enclosures at Brooklyn Grange
We still walked around this incredible rooftop farm, where heirloom and organic vegetables supply chefs, a CSA, and a Saturday market. There are bees and chickens, and a greenhouse filled with micro greens.

Look at the rich leather used in the Enclave's interior. Heated seats in the second row!
Though the rain put a damper on our exercise, we were jazzed for our next stop, The Brooklyn Kitchen. For this short journey, we hopped into a Buick Enclave; we wanted to check out the smart slide second row for third row access and we marveled over the double sun roof (alas, it was still pouring, so we couldn't open them, or spend any time examining the exterior).

The point of having these Buicks ferry us around, we learned at Brooklyn Kitchen, is that designers at   Buick use food as their color inspiration.

We used the eggplant, tomato paste, onion and lemon in one dish
Think plum, eggplant and fig; these rich colors inform the exterior color choices chosen by the Buick design team. In fact, we used eggplants to create one of the vegetarian dishes we made for lunch.

First we had to take a knife skills. Turns out, not all of know the proper way to use a knife!
I went a little Sweeney Todd here, but our meal was vegetarian 
We made this gorgeous, very flavorful and healthy dish, but preparing the artichokes took a long time.
Thanks, Buick, for a fun day and inspiration: a new way to prepare eggplant. Plus, now on my bucket list - rooftop yoga when the sun is shining.
Caramelized eggplant, which we added to fresh pasta
Note: My friend and I were guest of Buick for the day. I was not compensated for this post and opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

NYC Honey Day Coincides With New Raw & Unfiltered Honey Release

Raw, unfiltered local honey
At The High Line today, local beekeepers and artisanal honey purveyors celebrate the burgeoning NYC (and Brooklyn-centric) honey movement The pop-up includes samples of local honey and a glass enclosed beehive so you can see the inner workings.

Coincidently, I was sent a sample of L.R. Rice Raw & Unfiltered Honey. The company works with local beekeepers around the country so you can get local honey. With the way my allergies have been this year, I am grateful to get any benefit available from eating local honey.

Or drinking. 

I decided the make a simple syrup with the honey, substituting honey for the usual sugar. For cocktails, I prefer a less sweet simple syrup, so I use a 1:2 ratio of sugar to water; 1 part sugar to 2 parts water.

With honey, which is even sweeter, I used a 1:3 ratio. I steeped fresh mint in the syrup, then used it in a mint julep that both helped beat the heat and included the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of raw unfiltered honey.

The syrup was cloudy, since honey is thicker than water, so the cocktails were not the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. But they may have been the healthiest.

Maybe next week I’ll try kale and gin.

For the mint simple syrup:
1/3 cup honey
1 cup water
3 sprigs of mint
Heat water and honey in a small pot till boiling. Turn off, add the mint, cover and let cool.

Pour into a mason jar and refrigerate.

If you don't use within a few days, strain the mint out.

For the mint julep
Fill a shaker with ice. Add 2 shots bourbon, 1 shot mint syrup. Shake and strain into a martini or coupe glass.
Garnish with fresh mint.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Feel Good About Your Food: The Real Co

The Real Co's Pink Himalayan salt
Buying organic food is great, but when companies like Walmart get into the organic food game, you have to wonder how much the local farmer is being helped.

The Real Co seeks to change that. 

This single origin global food company espouses the mantra “good comes from good.” It just launched with three products: Basmati Rice, Himalayan Pink Rock Salt and Organic Raw Cane Sugar. All of these are sustainably harvested from either a single farm or family with products that can be traced back to their exact origins.

The transparency in food origin extends to transparency in packaging- you can see inside each item.

The Himalayan Pink Rock Salt is handcrafted in the Himalayan Mountains and is a gorgeous contrast in color - I sprinkled it on white chocolate chip cookies for a sweet and salty effect.

The Organic Raw Cane Sugar dissolves in cold liquid as well as hot, so it is ideal for cocktails when you've forgotten to make a simple syrup or for sweetening iced tea.

The third product, white basmati rice, is harvested in Punjabi. It cooked up fluffy and nutty, with each grain holding its integrity.

That integrity extends to the products themselves; the farm workers who help produce these products are paid a fair wage.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Vacation: Camping in an RV

Our cabin - and the car that got us there
Growing up with 3 siblings, a stay-at-home mother and a father who didn’t make much money, camping was what we often did for vacation. We had a pop-up trailer that we used for a couple of cross country trips and my summer camp had cabins, but we took overnight hikes with tents.

But the RV experience was totally new to me. For those who have no experience with RVs, is a great website for all-things-camping with tips on what to bring, when to go and even road-trip games for the kids.

The kitchen in our park model RV
My family got to try a ‘park model’ RV, a cabin that theoretically could move, since it was on wheels, at the Mystic KOA in Stonington, Connecticut. But it looked like a cabin, with a wooden porch, and porch swing, a patio with Adirondack chairs and a tricked out interior with a full kitchen, plumbing, air conditioning and flat screen TV.

Bunk beds!
OK, so the Wi-Fi was spotty. But this was nothing like the camping I did as a child, with a thin sleeping bag and a shovel for a bathroom.

Yet it still was a great way to celebrate the outdoors. Some may deride this as camping light, but I prefer to think of this as inclusive camping. Sure, you can stay in a tent if you want (and plenty of people do -  it is cheaper) but if you like having a hot shower, a comfortable bed and AC, you are welcome too.

Best perk of an RV - an actual toilet!
The park models sleep six, with a pull out couch, bunk beds, and bedroom - with a door - for the parents. I was supposed by how comfortable the queen sized bed was and how quiet it was in the woods. I am a city girl, used to sleeping with sirens, cars honking and people screaming. Here, all I heard was crickets. Ah, serenity.

The cabins are fully equipped with sheets, towels, dishes - even a Keurig coffee maker. No one makes your bed, and you only get fresh towels and linens once a week - but really, do you need fresh sheets daily? I am happy when a hotel lets me opt out of daily changes so I can conserve water, so I felt particularly virtuous about this greener way to vacation.

Breakfast - artisanal granola
We met a large family group that included some staying in cabins, some staying in tents, and some staying in RVs - but all having a great time.

For those who like to bring their pets on vacation, camping has another perk - dogs are welcome. The dog friendly campground had a special dog park where dogs could romp, and my dog loved walking from campsite to campsite, meeting other dogs and sniffing around the picnic tables where somebody just had to have dropped a morsel of meat.

Camping is so dog friendly that Karat got a welcome gift
We had a huge barbecue where everyone but my family chowed down on Omaha Steaks burgers, T-bones and ribs - but I have to say, the veggie burgers, also by Omaha Steaks, were delicious. Unlike many veggie burgers, these were able to stand up to the grill and they had a satisfying crunch (I thought it was quinoa, but it turned out to be sunflower seeds and brown rice). My husband also had a juicy salmon burger.

We ate and drank well throughout the weekend - Happy Camper Wine provided the appropriately named vino and Cabin Fever Whiskey a maple infused bourbon. We also had delicious granola from Henry Hudson Bakery

Nearby hiking trails - don't forget the tick medicine
The KOA campground, just outside Mystic, CT, is ideal for families. You can hop on 95 and tour Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport during the day. We opted to hike from a trailhead right near the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Veggie burger and kale salad - not your average camping fare
But you don’t even have to leave the campground to have fun. There are organized activities daily during the season, and the young, enthusiastic staff, much like camp counselors, were both personable and helpful. One noticed us trying to start a fire with inadequate kindling and ran off to bring some. There are outdoor movies on a giant screen, campfires with s’mores and wagon rides.

There is also a large pool, mini golf and bike rentals. We are already planning out next family camping trip.

Note: this is a sponsored post. Opinions expressed and family fun are my own.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Rain, Rain - Bring It On!

Despite drought conditions in California, the forecast for my recent SheBuysCars trip for Hyundai to Huntington Beach was rain, rain, rain.
Luckily, I had a defense - the new Gustbuster. This durable double canopy folding umbrella comes with a lifetime warranty, so it’s a far cry from the $3 umbrellas (now often $5) that proliferate like moss during NYC flash storms.

I’m not so sure a lifetime warranty is the issue for me and umbrellas - my kids take them and leave them all over the city. I’ve tried obnoxiously vibrant patterns to reduce the chance of petty theft, but still they take my stuff, and then lose it.

But the Gustbuster  was hiding in my luggage now is a beaut: a two tone black and red sturdy with wind release vents that prevent it from turning inside out. It also has a double strap closure, but the company recommends you open up a wet umbrella and let it dry out before closing it.

It didn’t rain at all in California, but I was happy I was prepared. I came home and it’s already rained twice. My garden is happy and I was glad to try out  - and then hide - my new accessory.

Although, apparently not well enough. When I went to take a photo of my Gustbuster, it was not in the umbrella stand.

Note: Gustbuster provided an umbrella for review and I was not otherwise compensated; opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Feeling Lucky? Avoid The Slots And Exercise At MGM Grand Detroit's Excellent Gym

Treadmills at the MGM Grand Detroit's gym
Most travelers don’t choose a hotel solely based on the fitness center, but once they have found a great work out space, they often return. Such is the case the the MGM Grand in Detroit; the excellent exercise facility, deluxe spa and gorgeous pool make me yearn to return.

Stability and Bosu balls
Every treadmill or cardio machine was stocked with its own towel and water bottle, plus individual screen. Of course you could also get a chilled towel, another towel form the stacks of thick, plush towels, and a glass of citrus infused water. You could even grab a piece of fruit for a post-workout snack.

There are plenty of free weights, weight benches, stability balls and a Bosu ball. And there is plenty of space to use all the equipment.  There are also weight machines and mirrors so you can watch your form.

The empty glowing pool at the MGM Grand Detroit
If you remember a bathing suit, you can take advantage of the pool, which has comfy lounges and, at least when I checked it out early in the mornings, few visitors.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ricardo Suitcase: Better Luggage for Easier Travel

The Ricardo suitcase, with 2 sections
Although I am hearty in some ways - running half marathons, rocking boot camp, climbing mountains, I have delicate parts. When I travel, and pull my roller bag, I get blisters on my hand.

At least I used to, until I was sent a Ricardo suitcase. This amazing travel companion has 360 degree wheels, making it easy to push or pull - basically with a fingertip. I may never require another hand massage!

Of course, the suitcase has other advantages, too. It is neatly divided in tow, so you can put delicate dresses on one side, running shoes and smelly clothes on the way home on the other.  And the bag is expandable, so if you are like me and shop on vacation (or business trips) you can create room for the purchases.

The Ricardo suitcase is great when going down increasingly narrow airplane aisles - you can turn the bag sideways and roll it down, avoiding the feet of the people already sitting (we’d like to welcome first class, premium members, people flying with babies or young children, people whose last name starts with an ‘M’ - basically anybody but me). 

One place where you have to be careful, though, is on escalators. I rolled my new Ricardo bag onto a down escalator and it started rolling so fast it was practically airborne. It’s fine going up escalators, but for going down, I think I’ll stick to an elevator.

Surprisingly, the bags are quite inexpensive - and downright cheap if you act fast. TravelingMom has a deal of 65% off, even on sale prices, with free shipping for orders over $99. Just use the  coupon code TMOM65Off 

Note: I was given a free Ricardo suitcase to test out. Opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fitness At The Omni Riverfront New Orleans

Sad elliptical machine missing its screen
The eating and drinking in New Orleans spell a tough recovery period for even a casual athlete. I resolved not to abandon my good habits and exercise while I was in New Orleans, staying at the Omni Riverfront.

It was not easy. Distractions included the French Quarter Festival, where bars advertised 3 for 1 drinks (never heard of that before). There was live music at every turn in the French Quarter, along with fried food and drinks sold right on the street - no need to even go inside to get your booze or sat fat on.

The rest of the small fitness center at the Omni Riverfront
So I was a little disappointed by the minuscule fitness center at the luxury boutique hotel. There were only a couple of cardio machines, one broken, and none had its own screen. There were also just a few weight machines and free weights, and almost no room to stretch. There were also no mats, stability balls or other extras.

But the Omni does offer a healthy traveler kit delivered to your room - mine had a yoga mat, a 5 pound kettle bell and a couple of 1 pound weights. There were also a few hard plastic balls in a package - no idea what they were for.

The hotel is down by the river, of course, and there's a pedestrian path that runs about a mile and a half, so you can go for a 3 mile loop with no worries about cars. We did see quite a few people running, and figured the path was short because no one in the city would be up for a longer run. It was also incredibly humid - in April, at 7am - so maybe running just 3 miles outside is a good thing.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Handbag Giveaway With Good Housekeeping And Toyota

Not my old Toyota: the 2015 Toyota Highlander
Just as I’ll always be fond of boys who wear Stan Smith tennis shoes, (as my first boyfriend did) I’ll always have a warm place in my heart for Toyota, my first car.

OK, my only car.

I learned to drive in a 1979 Toyota (yes, I am THAT old) and my mother passed it along to me when I was in college. I then dumped it on my sister since my boyfriend at the time (different boyfriend, same Stan Smith tennis shoes - go figure) had a better Toyota and we were moving back to NYC, where we only needed one car.

We owned several cars over the years, but they were never actually MY car. Now, I get to drive cars from all different brands. But I’ll always love a Toyota.

And I’ll always love to check out the hot new cars at the NY Auto Show, which starts next week at the Javits Center. We always went here when the girls were little - they loved to sit in the back of pickup trucks (city girls!) and they still do, even as young women and teens. 

My daughters, hanging out in the back of a pickup truck
When they were younger, another draw was Camp Jeep, a simulated off-road drive. Fun!

But this year is extra special. Good Housekeeping is giving away 35 designer handbags between April 3 and 12th! To enter to win, show attendees must take a photo of themselves in the drivers seat of a vehicle in a booth with the Women in the Drivers Seat plaque and tweet or Instagram it with the hashtags #GHDrives and #LetsGoPlaces.

You can get more info about the contest here.

The Toyota booth is front and center, so it should be easy to stop by and snap a selfie - and maybe win a pocketbook.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Running a Half Marathon - and Celebrating at the Spa

What a greeting: champagne & dark chocolate
When I first started training for a marathon, even a half marathon seemed a huge challenge. But now with 5 halts (halves?) under my belt, I think I'm ready.

My bathroom, for an hour
Unfortunately, I once again didn't get into the NYC Marathon. But I will persevere, doing my 9 New York Road Runners races, plus one volunteer spot, to guarantee entry in 2016. As long as no bike accident derails me again.

This year, my friend and I decided to celebrate the day after with massages at Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria.

The lobby of the Waldorf is a hive of activity, but once you reach the 19th floor, where the spa and fitness center are located, serenity sets in.

State of the art fitness equipment
When you check in, you are escorted to the locker room, with a robe and slippers, and you can use the fitness center before your appointment. I got stuck on the subway so I had no time to exercise - but then, I had just run a half marathon. I'd love to work out there some time - everything was brad new and pristine, and there wee cold towels and chilled water bottles available.

Room to stretch, or use the stability ball or Bosu ball
My friend and I had our rooms for the massage, each with a fully equipped shower - great products from--, razor, shaving cream and plenty of soft fluffy towels. We used the too cool steam room after our massages, so we showered in the fitness center showers, which also had rain shower heads and the same products.

The massage was fabulous - an hour of bliss, with a heated bed and a masseuse who worked out all the kinks of my 13.1 mile run. Having my feet and legs rubbed was amazing, and the head rub, back massage and full body relaxation was wonderful.

Romantic setting - though just for me & my friend
When I got to the room, a bottle of water and a piece of dark chocolate was waiting. My masseuse also brought in a glass of champagne; and at the end, she sets up a couple of glasses in the relaxation lounge for my friend and me.

It looked so romantic, I think my husband and I have to celebrate our anniversary this way!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teen Driving: Tire Safety AND Giveaway

Don't let bad tires lead to an accident
My 21 and 23 year old went to public high school in New York City, where driver’s education doesn’t exist. They took a local driving course and learned how to drive, but even after passing their road tests, we didn’t feel fully confident in them as drivers.

Turns out, we weren’t being overly cautious.

Teen drivers, even those who have had driver’s ed at school, just don’t learn everything they need to know in those courses. And tire maintenance, an important component of safe driving, is often neglected altogether.

That’s why I was glad to hear about Michelin’s new campaign promoting tire safety and other safety tips.

And the need for more time behind the wheel was driven home a two weeks ago when my nephew, who had just gotten his license after completing his high school’s driver’s ed program, took my brother in law’s new car for a spin.

My brother in law bought a new car on a Saturday morning, coming home around 11:30 with it. At noon, we headed over to a festival in Kennet Square, PA. My nephew got home about an hour later and called, asking if he could take the car for a spin.

He drove fine, until he returned home and drove the new Audi through the garage wall. True, this had nothing to do with poor tire maintenance; the car was 90 minutes old, but it was still a reminder that new drivers, even those who pass the test on their first try, still are inexperienced and have a lot to learn.

My brother in law, after he regained the power of speech, allowed that in a way, this accident was a teachable moment, showing his son that he needed to be alert at all times. The damage was limited to a smashed in front end, no one was hurt, and every driver, at some point, is involved in at least a fender bender

But why not check out way to increase the likelihood that any accident is minor.

And enter the SheBuysCars giveaway for a new set of tires!

Note: this is a compensated post; opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Driving Me Crazy: My Daughter's Song Choices

U2 on Sirius XM!
It's funny how quickly you get used to something that you never knew existed. WiFi in the car? Great when we drove a Chevy Silverado but then we missed it in the otherwise luxe Kia K900.

So we were shocked - shocked - when the tricked out Ford Expedition we took on a road trip didn't have Sirius XM. Oh, it had the preview stations, but I like to listen to my 70s & 80s Next Wave station. Elvis Costello, The Kinks, Joe Jackson...

We listened to a few radio stations, but the commercials are so annoying and the reception was spotty. Then we plugged my daughter's iPhone in and she controlled the tunes.

I don't know how it happened that we raised a kid in the city and she likes country music. Not exclusively - she also likes pop, Bruce Springsteen and U2. But she's on this country music kick right now.

I guess it's preferable to her addiction to Music Together as a toddler, or her obsession with Broadway show tunes, ages 3-11. And I like Broadway music, just not the pained moaning when my husband sings along.

This was one of our last trips with our teen daughter - we were returning to a college for admitted students day, and soon we will be driving an empty car to visit her. So I guess listening to country music for a few hours is a small price to pay.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Disney Side: I Think Bambi Was a Vegetarian

Brussels Sprouts, ready for roasting
It used to be hard to visit Disney World as a vegetarian, but the powers that be got smart, and now cater to all sorts of special meal needs: gluten free, Kosher and vegetarian.

So when I hosted a DisneySide party, I wanted to highlight fun vegetarian food . I had originally planned to do this for the Super Bowl, but I didn't get my Disney package in time.

We had to warn the kids to be careful of toothpicks. Wouldn't large colorful Disney toothpicks have been great?
The first thing I'd been wanting to try was Brussels Sprouts sliders. I figured these were a great party food, able to be eaten in a bite or 2. The recipe I found incorporated caramelized onions, marinated tempeh, grainy mustard and of course roasted Brussels Sprouts. They were complicated to make, messy and a huge hit.

Brains anyone? My vegetarian cauliflower soup
My youngest daughter has a recent obsession with cauliflower and I've been preparing it every which way. For the party I made a vat of cauliflower soup. I wanted to incorporate the villains theme and the mashed up cauliflower looked a little like brains. Vegetarian brains, of course.

Beet puree, before the toppings
We also had a beet puree that had a certain blood resemblance. But the roasted beets, topped with Za'atar, goat cheese and hazelnuts, was a pure vegetarian delight.

Lentils with roasted carrots
Our final dish wasn't the most attractive - intestines, maybe? But it was a crowd pleaser. It had French lentils, roasted carrots and a spicy harissa made with cilantro and habaneros.  I used purple and orange carrots to make it more colorful.

Note: I received a package of Disney goodies, for me and my guests; there was no other compensation.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Vegetarian Valentine's Day

The beet puree, which I serve with goat cheese & hazelnuts
A giant bloody steak is a Valentine's Day tradition, but not for our vegetarian family. Though I do have a gift certificate somewhere from Omaha Steaks (not to worry; they sell chocolate).

In looking for something red and suitably bloody, I turned to beets. Specifically, the gorgeous beet puree from Jerusalem. This mixture of roasted beets with Greek yogurt and Za'atar, served with goat cheese and hazelnuts, can be spooned on crackers or spread on bread as the base of an amazing sandwich.

Happy Valentine's Day - without the meat!