Archive for the ‘Wedding’ Category

$1.42 per meal “Living on a Food Stamp Budget”

In Wedding on January 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

In my Politics of Nutrition class, I am to assess if the federal food stamp program can alleviate the hunger and malnutrition issues. I will adhere to the challenge “Living on a Food Stamp Budget” with an allotment of $30.00 for 7 days ($1.42 per meal) and evaluate the effectiveness of the program, whether one can truly meet nutritional needs, etc. I am required to print grocery receipts of my purchases and maintain a food log. Join me as I will document this challenge next week on the blog.

Hunger is a real problem in New York state. Food pantries and soup kitchens across the state are experiencing record demands. Hunger affects people of all ages, from children who attend school each day with empty stomachs, to seniors who struggle to afford food on fixed incomes. The population in NYC is 8.2 mil, with 19% living in poverty (1.5mil). What’s more, children represent 28% of that 1.5 mil (521,398).

I must plan my meals accordingly as I am not allowed to buy pre-made packaged foods or order in. I am guessing that the menu for each day will be repetitive and boring but that’s ok. Low cost meal ideas thus far: egg salad sandwiches, pb&j, canned goods… (goodbye fresh sushi and produce :()

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been munching on lately: some nuts and chocolate while watching a movie (hence, dark photo)   a pecan frosting cupcake I picked up in honor of ‘snowed-in-no-school day’ I ❤ cupcakes, salad….before the cupcake 😉 sushi & sashimi (I can’t do this next week!)

post gym fuel,   a carrot cake loaf I picked up at the farmer’s market (along with squash, apples, and potatoes),

and sourdough bread+cream cheese+smoked salmon snack.

Finally, ever since the operation of this blog, I have been receiving free products, coupons, and restaurant invitations for review. Thank you! Here is my first nutritional review of Gorge Delights: Just Fruit Bars I LOVE THESE BARS. I recommend these bars. They are 100% all natural and contain only one ingredient (the pureed fruit itself). 90 calories, loads of natural vitamins and no chemicals/additives, they are a great snack to carry around always. They come in 30 different flavors with a 2 year shelf life! It’s like a larabar but with a more gooey, chewy, dense texture. I tried the pear and I cannot wait to sample the other flavors. I usually prefer real fruit instead of fruit juices or bars for satiety, but one single serving of these bars is just as filling as one serving of real fruit  (from my personal experience) Grade: A


Candle 79, Manhattan-Half Marathon Race-Recap

In Wedding on January 24, 2011 at 11:49 am
Beiber says ‘never say never.’ Eminem says ‘lose urself’ and ‘I’m not afraid.’ Nike says ‘just do it.’ So did I run this weekend in 12F? Yes. Let me backtrack to Friday…
After breakfast, I tackled some schoolwork then headed out to pick up my race bib.
Afterward, lunch was quite delicious at Eli’s market (a sister of Zabar’s)… an appealing market with a bevy of foreign products, freshly baked bread, and gourmet goods, but I’m not sure if I’d go back on a regular basis because it was double the price of an expected Whole Foods lunch.
O well. Moving forward…Here’s lunch: a pay by the lb box comprised of: wheatberry salad, fennel salad, white bean salad, beet salad, waxy bean salad, and strawberries. To go along with my medley of salads, I also consumed Pappo al Pomodoro soup (a very simple soup I often make at home which consists of tomatoes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, onions and stale bread), Greek yogurt, and a baguette.
Throughout the day, I snacked on some more carbohydrates I packed in my handbag (Kix cereal, Kashi cereal, and a brownie). It was a cold, chilly, snowy afternoon in NY. After many tissues of Kleenex (runny nose, anyone?) and debating whether I should back out on tomorrow’s race (of course, not!)
I met up with a friend for dinner at Candle 79. Both of us have never tried fine vegan cuisine before..and my friend is a die-hard meat eater…but we crossed our fingers and decided to give it a shot.                
The ambiance was warm and stunningly beautiful. Our waitress was knowledgeable,  having no problem reciting the lengthy and detailed description of specials for the day.
We each started our meal with a wonderful amuse-bouche of one endive leaf, stuffed with cheesy tofu and pumpkin seeds.

The crispness of the raw endive complemented the smooth texture of the ‘tofu cheese’. The pumpkin seeds added an extra touch of spicy flavor.

Next, we proceeded to a salad and appetizer. We were excited to try the daily specials: Mache & purslane with roasted delicata squash, cippolini onions, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, radish & sunflower seeds tossed with a creamy tarragon dressing,
Sesame-crusted mushroom with baby bok choy, scallions, and soy glaze.
Here is my first portion (I went back for more after this):
The salad was not too intense which I preferred; instead, it calmly released mild flavors of sweetness, tang, and saltiness throughout the course. The tofu was firm on the outside and soft on the inside. The soy glaze was delicious and well-seasoned.
Next, we shared two entrees: Chili grilled Seitan: quinoa pilaf, sauteed chard, tomatillo-black bean sauce, avocado-pumpkin seed salad. Spaghetti & Wheat balls: truffled tomato sauce, roasted garlic, spinach, cashew parmesan.

The pasta portion of the spaghetti was nothing out of the ordinary, but the wheatballs were outstanding. My friend, a meat lover, loved the wheatballs and proclaimed it was a favorite item out of the entire experience. The seitan was chewy and gave off a texture like chicken. It tasted OK with a smoky flavor, accompanied by fluffy quinoa and avocado.

Overall rating of this restaurant: B. Wonderful ambiance, carefully thought out menu, exotic fresh ingredients…an innovative Vegan restaurant. The only downside was the taste in some (not all) aspects of the dishes. I deeply respect the restaurant’s effort in incorporating seasonal, unique ingredients. I support farmers and the true art of farming (read my farm-to-table experience). We both agreed that Vegan cuisine is tasty, but the faux meats cannot compare taste-wise or nutritionally to the real thing. Nonetheless, Candle 79 does an impeccable job at creating spectacular vegan dishes.

I came home and immediately went to bed….zZzZzz…I dreamed of the race course looking like this the next day…

But the weatherman didn’t lie. 12F on the dot. BOO. The next morning it looked like this:

O well. I woke up, stretched, bundled up and was out the door by 6:40AM. A friend came out to support and met me at H&H Midtown Bagels. I decided on bagels again for a substantial breakfast. I ordered something different this time!

A salty bagel with tofu vegetable cream cheese on the side because yesterday’s was too much. With coffee and fruit.

Side thought…I love the spirit of New Yorkers supporting the Jets, but who would really buy an artificially colored green bagel to support? I guess some crazy fan out there would…Not me…

but then again, I’m crazy in other ways…like running a race in 12F.  

I suckered up and got to the start of the line:

and at 8AM, the race took off! It took forever to actually start ‘running’ because there were over 5,000 people and it didn’t help that I was in the very back of the starting line. Here are some pictures of me the first couple of miles in (I’m in the blue jacket in front of the red):

I also had my phone with me so I took pictures of the park throughout: Overall, it was a successful race. I kept it very conservative the first six miles and gave it my all the last half. The water and gatorade being served were frozen solid and I had to break the cup with my hands while running. I ‘crunched’ my way to hydration (on ice). 😉

I experienced some painful breathing because my lungs would not expand any further. I could feel my lungs having a difficult time circulating…shortness of breath and asthmatic inhalations were experienced so in some parts, I had to breathe through my mouth. I slipped once on ice but immediately got back up with no pain. It was still very fun to be running outside with thousands of runners while viewing the beautiful scenery of Central Park.  I did a decent job keeping a steady pace throughout and finished at 2:14. Although no PR or my fastest pace, I was still happy for finishing and not backing out.

Would you ever eat a green bagel in support of a team or have you ever done anything crazy lately??

Greece not Grease

In Wedding on January 21, 2011 at 7:38 am

On Thursday, I attended the graduate school’s health department party.

I gratefully enjoyed the free appetizers while conversing with professors (I mainly listened) about our latest health care rights, the cons of Wal-Mart entering Manhattan, and the F.D.A’s newest approval of testing Alzheimer’s. I also caught up with my classmates on what we did over holiday break. My friend just returned from Rome and Greece and shared about her wonderful vacation. O Greece…one day.

Speaking of Greece, I could not get my mind off of Mediterranean food…and guess what I had for dinner? Yes. My friend and I ordered take-out from a Mediterranean restaurant on the upper east side called Pyramida.

I ordered a mezze platter with side salad on the right and my friend ordered a lamb sandwich.

This morning I headed out at 7AM and saw this outside:

Tomorrow is the Manhattan half-marathon and temperatures say it will be 12F. I’m going to have to bundle up…

Anyway, I headed out to grab coffee and some breakfast. I am doing my best to consume plenty of carbs for tomorrow. I love H&H Midtown bagels and wanted to try something new (tofu, scallion, or cinnamon cream cheese?) but I went with my favorite because it was what I was craving: bagel lox with cheese, capers, and veggies.  

I am looking forward to the weekend. Do you have any fun plans?

Prepared for battle

In Wedding on January 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Monday was a day of preparing myself for second semester. In order to triumph another semester, I stocked up on weapons of mass destruction (in this case, food) to battle the future hunger attacks while at school.

The grocery store I frequent is a few blocks (ok 12) down from where I live, so I bundled up and walked across campus. The evening lights were beautiful…here is a picture of my scenic route:

I loaded up my grocery cart with ammunition (food) and had it delivered for free (another perk of not having a car in the city). While walking home, I passed The Hungarian Pastry Shop again and the sweet aroma of the shop enticed me to go back inside. I ended up purchasing a few of their treats for good luck on the semester: (why in ziploc bags, you ask? Keep reading)

So here is what I purchased this week:

Grains/Starches: cereal, bread, rosemary crackers, potatoes, canned pumpkin, hot cereal, polenta, rice pilaf, gnocchi, and sourdough baguette hidden behind. 

Produce: apples, zucchini, more apples, onions, stone fruits, tomato, eggplant, mixed greens, and cucumber.  

Meats/Dairy: Romano cheese, frozen scallops, egg whites, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, smoked salmon, and organic chemical-free ham.

Nonperishable/pantry: balsamic vinegar, powerade, chicken broth, canned tomatoes, coconut water, black bean dip, and larabars.  

Others/dessert: shortbread cookies, vitamuffins, chocolate peanut butter, some foreign digestive cookies, orange cookies, and baked goods from Hungarian.   

Yes, I am a big fan of sweets and I believe in the mantra “everything in moderation.” Eating what I love and never depriving myself is my secret to health (holistically speaking) and maintaining a healthy weight. As I mentioned in my previous post, I look forward to evenings with my cup of tea and dessert after dinner. I believe one can consume anything and everything as long as portions are in moderation. Thus, the treats I purchased at the pastry shop are portioned into ziploc bags. The ziploc bags allow me to freeze them and take one serving out to enjoy, not all five in one sitting. As well, in order to unfreeze them –> I have to microwave them –> requiring me to make a conscious choice that –> what I am about to consume will be mindfully and slowly enjoyed (not random reach-for-it snacking). Well, today is Thursday and let’s just say the freezer is almost empty 😉

I also prepped some food for the next day by roasting some potato wedges and zucchini  (before and after):  Simply chop the vegetables and put it in the pre-heated oven that has been set on broil. Roast for 10 minutes. I usually like to add some herbs or spices. Thyme, rosemary, cajun, paprika, dried onion, and white pepper are great to have in your cupboard always. I also made some seafood soup and brown rice:

The soup is very simple! First, defrost a bag of frozen mixed seafood, sautee 1 chopped onion, add garlic, pepper, and whatever veggies you have handy. I added some sprouts, mushroom, and spinach. I cooked the brown rice in chicken broth, but if you have any frozen peas/corn/carrots or anything, that is a great addition too. A couple of meals from this week already: potato wedges with eggs and soup. The great thing about soup is that it can last a few days, perfect for anyone with a busy schedule.  

Here is also a random assortment of other foods that I’ve been munching on.  First, a chef salad to-go from my school cafeteria (sorry, blurry phone pic), chopped up cantaloupe from home, a Greek yogurt+pureed pumpkin+cinnamon combo snack, a chickpea salad from Cafe Bagutta where I frequently visit to study, and leftover steamed vegetables from last Friday’s dinner:

Some snacks include: a Ghiradelli chocolate for dessert, crackers with peanut butter (X6), Herbalife protein bar, yogurt+Kashi cereal combo, fruit, and pudding w/ rosemary wafers.   Last but not least, my roommate who just returned from Colombia (the country), brought me back a little dessert! It’s a tiny serving of caramel pudding. So thoughtful of her. She has been teaching me Spanish all last semester in preparation for my dream of traveling abroad one day 😉 Anyway, please come back for lots of cool, upcoming posts! What’s coming up? My Manhattan half-marathon recap this coming weekend, a scientific and non-scientific explanation for sugar cravings, nutrition product reviews, and more restaurant reviews! Finally, I will be attending the SCAN Symposium conference: Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (American Dietetics Association) from March 11-13th. If anyone is interested in attending, please email me at!

Allow me to digest (recap)

In Wedding on January 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Hi, readers. I hope you are all well rested and ready to take on the work week. I start school this week and I am excited for another *thrilling* semester. 😉

On Sunday, I woke up to a beautiful morning and attended church. It was a wonderful sermon with many great points. I was reminded that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”…that it’s not a threat or burden to fear God. This obligation sounds oppressive with no self-benefit but it is in fact the opposite. Doing the right thing is replying positively to our inner compass which leads to peace and joy. Thus the point of: fear=wisdom. I personally like gaining more wisdom, don’t you? Second, our human nature loves celebration. I mean, who doesn’t like a party? I was reminded in the message to always live joyfully each day, celebrating life/to be alive. In the Christian term, we call it jubilee. Jubilee is the art of celebration…with others. I agree that I am most happiest when I am spending time with loved ones and friends…rather than being alone in isolation. God desires us to be united with Him. So this deal: being UNITED, whether with loved ones or God…love and joy are experienced 🙂

On a side note, my church is located at the World Trade Center building on the 40th floor. It exhibits the most breathtaking views of Manhattan.

(a behind pic of my friend Jenn great name 😉 and a proper photo with her) Anyway, afterwards, we met more friends to have lunch at Il Corallo Trattoria in the village. This unpretentious, quaint restaurant serves a plethoa of pasta dishes and brick oven pizza, all made from scratch. They also provided us with very humble and efficient service. Here are pics of the cute decor of the restaurant. We started off with delicious slices of fresh baked bread and carrot soup…

Afterward, we proceeded to our entrees. Everyone indubitably ordered pastas which we shared. Every dish was scrumptious and I grade this restaurant with an: A+ for its decor, ambiance, service, quality, and taste. 🙂

Here is my plate (my first round…I did go into seconds and thirds)

Here is the gang: We continued our ‘jubilee’ 😉 to coffee across the street:

After some digesting, we said our goodbyes and my friend Janet and I had a couple of hours to kill before dinner plans that evening. We looked at each other in the eye and both knew we wanted to bite into something tasty for an afternoon snack…thus walking a few blocks to Soho to Grandaisy Bakery. We both took advantage of the free samples of the bread pudding, walnut loaf, and cranberry corn cakes. Ultimately, the bread pudding was surely the winner. I also coveted a bowl of frozen yogurt so we ventured another block east to TastiDiLite. I ordered french vanilla+dutch chocolate froyo with blueberries.

Subsequently, we ventured our way up to the upper east side where our friends Mike and Karl were kind enough to invite us for dinner. We brought some cabernet and chardonnay with us. The dinner was a culmination of the boys’ not-so-hard work. They invited us over last minute and whipped up this lovely dinner in just a couple of hours.

On the menu: slow roasted beef w/ herbs and veggies, deviled eggs, baked sweet potato, and Karl’s salad that consisted of pears and avocados with a homemade tangy vinaigrette. I mean, can I say WOW! The meal was delish. By the way, readers, they offered to do this once every month so you can expect a lovely meal from my blog at least once a month 😉 Thank you x2 Karl and Mike! Well, that concludes my Sunday. Some foods were unpictured folks and I forgot to take pics. Goodnight!

A lesson on Ca+ for athletes, first time trying Hot Pot

In Wedding on January 16, 2011 at 5:13 am

Hi, hope you’re enjoying your MLK weekend. On Friday, I snacked on some grape tomatoes before heading to the east side to meet a couple of friends for dinner. We decided to keep it low key and met at a noodle shop called Lili’s. We ordered dumplings and spicy salmon sushi to start. For my entree I ordered the steamed vegetables with shrimp and spicy sauce. The restaurant was generous with their portions and I could only consume half of it with rice. The rest of the gang ordered other dishes and were kind enough to share.  

I ate 5 pieces of spicy salmon, 2 dumplings, and bits and bites of everyone’s dishes. The rest of the evening was spent watching Russell Peters (pretty funny comedian).

Saturday morning, I treated myself to a rich roast drip coffee from Corrado Pastry. The fresh baked pastries smelled heavenly and although I craved a pastry for breakfast, I passed because I needed something more substantial to follow my training for next week’s race (Manhattan half-marathon is next weekend). For breakfast, I went with my ‘tried and true’ meal before runs: cooked oats (cream of wheat today) with flaxseed, cinnamon, brown sugar, pinch of salt, and shredded wheat on top and a sliced apple.

I definitely made sure to hydrate with water and coconut water as well. I drank the coconut water on the left before the run and gatorade during+immediately after. I ran 9 miles at an easy pace. The smell of the tailgate party (of my school’s basketball team later that evening) setting up in the gym was riveting.  The aroma from the tailgate set-up prompted me to make lunch soon after my shower. My body demanded sodium from the lost electrolytes so I immediately dug into a side salad while the zucchini was broiling in the oven. I chopped one zucchini with some olive oil, sea salt and thyme and roasted it for about 15 minutes. I then assembled the rest of lunch. It had to be a quick one because I had plans to meet some friends later in the evening for our adventure to Flushing. Two sourdough baguettes with a hunk of provolone cheese (with unpictured jam), zucchini, and Fage greek yogurt. Lots of dairy, but a meal abundant in calcium. If there is one nutrient that I make sure to be keen on, it is calcium. As you may know, the primary ions of electrolytes to replace in our body are: sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg+), and calcium (Ca+). It is crucial for athletes, especially females, to maintain bone density by replacing lost calcium because it is mobilized from the bones. About 98.8% of calcium is stored in our bones, but muscle cells and blood also contain them for the following functions: muscle contraction, metabolizing of enzymes, blood clotting, and normal heart rhythm. It is key for anyone who perspires heavily because it helps prevent muscle cramps and also with bone formation. I highly recommend this type of calcium brand by NOW because this tri-boron blend contains the perfect mixture of other minerals to help calcium absorb in the body. Also, this is a effervescent powder that is plant based and will easily and naturally be absorbed in our system, in contrast to other over-the-counter calcium supplements in synthetic pill form. What’s more, the magnesium will soothe your muscles and help you relax, which is perfect to take just before bed. I can assure you, it will help you sleep. Last but not least, this blend of electrolytes will ease anyone suffering from chronic constipation as it will help loosen up the bowels. I recommend taking .25 tsp with warm water just before bed. In the morning, VOILA! You will have no problem going to the bathroom and your tummy will thank you in the morning.

Now for the fun part…a couple of my friends and I took the subway for one hour to another bureau called Flushing to try Chinese Hot Pot. It was my first culinary adventure in the world of Hot Pot and I made sure to snap the entire experience. Here it is in pictures:

All in all, the two broths (spicy and mild), loads of vegetables, protein, dumplings (shu mai and soup dumplings), sauces (sesame, peanut, hoisin, soy, garlic) made the entire meal an experience to remember. Another great Saturday night…not to mentioned stuffed to the gills!

Thursday bits

In Wedding on January 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Many people (even taxi drivers when I tell them I am studying nutrition) ask me what to eat or what I eat in a day. So here it is. I’m not used to bringing my camera with me just yet but I will try to do my best in documenting my eats for the day. I definitely won’t be able to post daily or give you a full run down of my meals on a regular basis. Some days I will, some days I won’t. I hope you understand that I have other priorities to tend to. Let’s backtrack to yesterday. I  woke up having to skip breakfast to give a blood sample to a fellow research assistant. Hunger really hit when we were chatting and catching up on what we did over break. I obeyed my hunger cravings, said ta-ta, and quickly walked across campus to the library cafe and bought a green tea, small fruit salad ($3.50!), and ate my packed protein bar from Herbalife because I knew this would happen. I checked my mail and then walked over to the Hungarian Pastry Shop for a coffee date with my friend Ada. She bought me some goodies + warm soothing drinks and had a great time talking about everything from the MCATS (she’s studying for them) to secret hidden hotspots in Manhattan. Ada is a native New Yorker, fellow blogger, triathlete and student at Columbia. We said our goodbyes and it was time for me to hit the gym. I took advantage of the indoor track and ran about 2 miles. I was disappointed to call it quits so early but I had dinner plans to get ready for and my mind was in deep, deep thought of whether I should start a blog. And…of course I did. 🙂

Once coming home, I made lunch of tomato soup (canned

diced tomatoes cooked with onions, garlic powder, dried basil and oregano, and salt) with one of the pastries I bought earlier. It was a cheese puff single sized loaf. Other eats included an apple with yogurt. 

I had dinner plans and was looking forward to it for a while now. I walked a few blocks to Max Soha (I love Italian food by the way!).  I had two pieces of bread with a very green, fragrant olive oil. I really wanted to order the black linguine with shrimp, but due to the waiter’s recommendation, went with the evening’s special. I couldn’t call it a ravioli because it tasted like a shrimp scampi dish to me. It boasted a rich oily and buttery flavor, perfect to my liking.

I jogged home because I was cold and looking forward to enjoying the sweet apricot shortbread I bought earlier. The freezing temperature these days promotes me to sip lots of hot tea..with dessert, of course. I meant to save a little bit for tomorrow but it looked at me and I could not say no. You had to there to believe me. Hungarian Pastry shop knows what they’re doing…every bite tasted homemade. The apricot filling contained real chunks of apricots in it. The whole pastry was mildly sweet…just the way I like it! Take care and have a great MLK weekend!!

Korilla Taco Truck

In Wedding on January 14, 2011 at 6:50 am

Hi readers. This is my first post and I am nervously excited to have started this blog. I hope you will enjoy it and get something out of it as much as I will. So what can you expect from this? I say restaurant reviews from the city, some good (or not so good) eats “surviving” as a student, some healthy (and not so healthy) foods as an RD-to-be, and random musings of everything in between. I must admit now that I am not the best writer or have the most extravagant philosophy of living the healthiest+happiest life. BUT…I strive for it and I think sometimes, imperfection IS the secret ingredient and joy to the aim of it all. Because folks, life is FULL of imperfections and it’s what gives us opportunities to try again the next day, the next meal, the next job, whatever.

To start off, here is my review of Korilla BBQ Truck that was parked outside my school campus on a Thursday night. It’s Korean-Mexican fusion street food. I ordered the tacos with spicy sauce and cucumber kimchi.

The savory Korean spices from the pickled kimchi and spicy sauce competed with the Mexi-spiced protein and fire-flamed tortillas…..but the nations made peace when the cheese amalgamated the two distinct flavors together. It was good, but not particularly outstanding. It needed 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

more sauce or some extra juiciness to soak up the two layers of tortillas in each taco. Well, at least I’ll give them credit for their quality ingredients and creative approach to food. Overall grade: B-  Well, that’s it for now. Nice to meet you!

Read the rest of this entry »