Restaurant Review: Angelica Kitchen


Last night Jimmy and I dined at Angelica Kitchen, a vegan restaurant that has resided on the lower east side for a solid 34 years.  It is warm and cozy (except for when the door opened, which was quite frequently) and it smelled heavenly.  The food at Angelica Kitchen is organic and does not contain any refined sugar or preservatives, plus the owners are committed to supporting locally owned family farms and food artisans.  It seems this is a spot that every "in the know" healthy (and environmentally conscious) NYC eater already knows about and if  not...they should!  


The menu even has a glossary, full of ambiguous terms the average diner has probably never heard about. So say you want to know what seitan is....  


Seitan 
Made from whole wheat flour, seitan is a concentrated wheat protein. Succulent and chewy,  it takes on the flavor of other ingredients with which it is cooked. 


 **Angelica's Kitchen makes their seitan fresh on the premises. 


Some other foods worth checking out in the glossary are amaranth, teff, sea palm, grain coffee, mirin and kanten.  Click here for the online menu. 


For starters, Jimmy and I shared the Walnut-Lentil Pate with brown rice crackers. 


Walnut-Lentil Pate


YUM.  I should probably say now that Jimmy is not vegan or vegetarian (nor am I) and he really enjoyed our meal!  He ordered the Vegetable Lasagna from the daily specials menu; it was made with whole wheat pasta and tofu cheese!  He was pretty pleased and I remember him saying that it was "good" and that the tofu "tastes like ricotta."


Vegetable Lasagna


I ordered the Ole Man Seitan, which was homemade seitan and roasted vegetable mix folded into a warm whole wheat tortilla; dressed with a spicy traditional mole sauce (peanuts & chocolate), and lime-jalapeno sour cream; garnished with pimento.  It was a tasty and good way to do a healthy Mexican meal!


Ole Man Seitan


And for dessert - the Pear Sundae! Vanilla ice-cream (non-dairy of course) w/ roasted pears and hazelnuts.  It was a perfectly delicious (and guiltless) way to end the meal. 


Pear Sundae


Jimmy plans to write a review of Angelica's Kitchen on his blog Goldeneats and title it Ignorance Is Bliss.  By this he means, if you are vegan this is going to be the best food you will ever eat.  We both agreed that if we were vegan this food would be to die for delicious.  We are not vegan, but we enjoyed our meal, the friendly service and we definitely plan to go back! 

Roast Me An Apple




Wow, I have really been spending more time in the kitchen since I ended the cleanse.  It is time well spent though!!!  I need to be experimenting and whipping stuff up -- not only is it fun, but cooking, and especially baking relaxes me.  And relaxation is much needed after a not so enjoyable day at work. 

So last night after I finished the leftover Steamed Veggies & Tahini Sauce , I sought out something sweet.  I still haven't hit the grocery store, so again, I worked with what I had to get some dessert into my stomach.  Source of inspiration: A lonely apple! 

Roasting is my favorite ways to prepare veggies and apparently, now fruit!  This apple, which I roasted with some canola oil, agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar really hit the spot!!  It is a great treat for anyone, especially someone on a dairy and gluten-free diet. Healthy and delicious... it's the way I like to roll! 


Ingredients:

1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 1/2" TBSP Agave Nectar
Cinnamon (amount your heart desires)
A small dash of vanilla (it is just one apple!)
Brown Sugar  (a sprinkling if you will)

Roast at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Check and stir. Roast for 5 more minutes! 
Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with more brown sugar baby!! 


Oh, and I believe I used a Gala apple, but use whatever you have in the kitchen.  It will work :) 



Roasted & Ready

What are some of your quick go-to dishes when there is little left in the kitch?

36 Hours Later, A Delicious Dish Is Born


Delicious Dish: Steamed Veggies w/ Sweet Tahini Sauce

Thirty-six hours -- the amount of time I lasted on The Master Cleanse.  It was supposed to be 240 hours or 10 days, but a mere day-and-a-half after I started, I stopped. I am a little disappointed but very happy to be eating solid food again.  As much as I would like to beat myself up over not lasting very long, we all know that self-rejection is not the way to go.  I am very proud of myself for committing to this "exercise" and trying it out.  And because I took it seriously and prepared myself properly, I ended up achieving some of my other health goals. 


1) I no longer crave caffiene or need coffee in the morning. 


2) I went solid vegitarian for a week and I honestly felt "clean" on the inside.  Now, I plan to eat more vegetarian down the road. 


3) I learned a lot about the Master Cleanse and I can forsee recommending it to clients one day -- if it is something they can truly benefit from. 


So after 2 days and lack of a decent meal, I had an overwhelming desire to cook.   But with a limited amount of food in the kitchen and without a solid idea in my mind, I was left to choose from what could be found.  My source of inspiration: Tahini! A little internet research (like less than 3 minutes) on what could possibly work with tahini and not congeal and I was on my way.  The result was rather tasty and sister approved!  I am calling it Steamed Veggies w/ Sweet Tahini Sauce.  It really is the easiest thing in the world, perhaps the trickiest part might be having the ingredients in your house.   


Steam your favorite veggies.  I steamed broccoli, carrots and spinach. Make sure you have at least one color contrast with your veggies and there must be some greens amongst them.


Cook up a favorite whole grain. I suggest brown rice with this dish. 

Make the Sweet Tahini Sauce. 



-1/2 C Tahini
- 2 TBSP Tamari Sauce
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil (Extra-Virgin, always)
-2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
-1/4-1/2 C leftover water used from the steamed veggies- pour enough to get the consistency you like
**(contains extra flavor & vitamins/minerals from veggies)
- 2 TSP Agave Nectar  (more if you like it a little sweeter)
- Salt to taste (sea salt, if you have it)

My advice is to stir each ingredient in as you go along.  This way you can taste it and adjust as you like. 


Put your veggies on a bed of the brown rice and drizzle with the desired amount of Sweet Tahini Sauce. Enjoy :)  

Oh and by the way, Jimmy is still on the cleanse. Yes, he lasted longer than me. He is awesome, and he is trying to make it until Friday!!

*Contemplating switching to a smaller font...thoughts/concerns/comments? :)

An Everyday Gourmet Breakfast




I made the final pit stop this morning at A Matter of Life to pick up the remaining essentials for our cleanse.  I figured, while here I should pick up a healthy breakfast muffin of some sort. To my delight I discovered a new muffin made by Everyday Gourmet. These muffins are vegan, dairy free, made with spelt flour and have no hydrogenated oil. BINGO.  I chose my flavor, Cranberry Orange, and took off to pay.   
When you make a new health store find, you are taking a risk that it could taste gross, so I proceeded with caution and decided to taste the muffin in the cab ride over to the west side.  If it wasn't any good, I would have a bagel or find something else.  Well,  not only was this muffin edible, it was phenomenal and definitely better than any non-vegan cranberry orange muffin I have ever tasted! To cut to the chase of this story....I looked at the back ingredient label upon finishing the muffin as any health-conscious eater might do.  And what do you know, there was also some nutrition info....


Everyday Gourmet Cranberry Orange Muffin


Calories: 529
Fat: 33.6g
Sodium: 302mg
Carbs: 65g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 28g


I was horrified! This is like eating a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger! Granted the fats are non-hydrogenated, but still, this is way more fat than one person should be consuming for breakfast on a medium sized muffin.  The calories and sodium are up there too for a muffin  marketed as a "healthy."  Geeesh!  So...just because something is in a health food store, doesn't always mean it is good for your waistline.  I will still probably try out another flavor down the road....but definitely on a day that involves a bit more physical activity! 

Reduce Cravings w/ A Sweet & Savory Roasted Delight

Did you know that eating sweet vegetables can ward off cravings for sugary sweets?  It's true!  These foods give you a sweet fix without spiking your blood sugar level. The sugar contained in veggies/fruits is au naturale. It is not processed or refined, and it doesn't contain any form of high fructose corn syrup. Plus, vegetables/fruits have lots of fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.  When sugar is slowly absorbed by the body, the blood sugar levels stay nice and even preventing the high spikes and lows dips.

Here is a tasty recipe for a sweet and savory dish that is sure to prevent any post dinner cravings for dessert.  It is great on its own or as a side kick to protein.


Roasted Pears & Sweet Potatoes w/ Agave & Cinnamon




Ingredients  (4 servings)

2 Bosc Pears
2 Medium size Yams or Sweet Potatoes
1-2 Shallots
3 TBSP  Olive Oil (Extra-Virgin of course)
2 TBSP  Agave Nectar
1/4 TSP Vanilla
Cinnamon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Slice the pears, sweet potatoes & shallots.  Toss with olive oil, agave, vanilla, the desired amount of cinnamon, and salt & pepper in a bowl. 

Spread out on a pan w/ built up sides. Put in the oven for 35 minutes, checking and tossing every 12 minutes.  Finito!



I promise you, you will not be craving dessert after a meal with this dish.  It is sweet and salty and packed with fiber. 

** Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener that rates very low on the glycemic index.  It will not cause your blood sugar to spike since it is absorbed slowly into your bloodstream.

The Lemonade Taste Test




It's a lovely Monday night in Manhattan and I thought I would do some cooking and while at it test out the lemonade beverage I've committed to drinking for ten days straight.  If you happenend to read the Master Cleanse Me post from a few weeks ago, well, this is the drink that will be "master cleansing me."

I whipped out the ingredients and went to work, well aware of the time alloted to me before The Bachelor starts....


2 TBSP  Fresh Sqeezed Lemon Juice
2 TBSP  Grade B Maple Syrup
8 oz good, filtered water
1/10 TSP Cayenne Pepper

A spoon to mix!  Voila...And I have to admit that I actually enjoyed the taste.  Sweet and spicy! I can understand why Pure Food and Wine has a Master Cleanse Martini now! 


Lemonade and Maple Syrup


Kitchen after making just one glass of lemonade

I feel a little better now knowing that the Lemonade Drink actually tastes pleasant.  But I am having serious fears about this cleanse. The whole part about going 10 days without eating solid food has really got me. I learned that it is actually better not to tell people that I am planning to do the Master Cleanse.  They just look at me like I am crazy and the conversation ends with me doubting my abilities to endure the full ten days.  


Despite my doubts, I have managed to do the necessary prep work for the cleanse.  I have weened off my morning coffee, eliminated my post-lunch chocolate, and plan on eating vegetarian for this week.  I wish I could say the same for Jimmy though -- right now as I type,  he is out eating some of the best fried chicken the city has to offer at The Red Head.  I keep telling him that he is going to have it rough with this cleanse, but he thinks he'll last longer than me! 

Alright, I am off to enjoy my dinner while I can...

Just A Little Decaf...


I spent my 10 block walk to the office wondering "should I, or should I not, should I, or should I not?"  Well, I did. I got myself just a little (tall) cup of decaf from Starbucks.  I have been off the juice for 3 days now and I am pretty proud of myself for not needing to take any pain medication for a withdrawel headache. All of last week I enjoyed a half cafe (half caffiene, half decaf) and this is definitely the way to ease off the good ole caffiene.  There is also teeccino (herbal coffee), which can help with reducing caffiene intake through coffee, but it really is an acquired taste.  Anyway, so today I failed in that I had to have a cup of coffee, but at least it is decaf!  And it tastes sooo good by the way.  
I am eliminating coffee from my daily routine all in the name of the Master Cleanse that is coming up quickly (9 days left to the start).   I have also decided that today I will not have my post lunch chocolate fix -- Adora chocolate calcium and chocolate covered goji berries...ahhh sadness :(  But I need to get rid of the good stuff (addictive) so that  I crave less of it when I am on the cleanse. 
Just a little status update on the cleanse...I have not made a lot of progress on gathering supplies.  I still need to buy the pH strips, but I may end up ordering them online.  Does anyone know what kind of store could possibly sell these? Home Depot? I did discover that I have the juicer attachment that hooks up to our Kitchen Aid.  But Jimmy needs to get a juicer of some sort for his cleansing.  Ahh me...okay, so glad it is Friday. Off to enjoy my oatmeal and do some work :)




Oatmeal w/Bananas, Cranberries,Walnuts, Cinnamon & Maple Syrup


Ohh, and how could I forget? Tonight Jimmy and I are going to a cooking class at Rustico Cooking Studio! It is an Italian Home Cooking class, check out the menu!

-- Butternut Squash Ravioli w/ Sage-Scented Butter
-- Filet Mignon w/ Leek & Chianti Glaze
-- Cauliflower Gratin w/ Smoked Mozzarella & Pancetta
-- Hazelnut-Chocolate Cakes w/ Vanilla Bean Ice Cream & Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

Sounds healthy right? It will be lots of fun, we will take pics :)

Tasty Calcium



Heyyy friends! Sorry it has been so long since I have been able to blog.  Work has been quite hectic, and unfortunately the office beckons me away from my dream to be a full-time health blogger ;) Oh well, what can you do?  Anyway, I had long forgotten about one of my favorite health store finds which recently reappeared on a shopping excursion to A Matter of Health on the Upper East Side. Adora calcium supplements, or rather, "calcium the gourmet way" as the packaging proclaims, are chocolate disks that are delicious!! They actual remind me of a Russell Stover chocolate bunny!  Adora chocolates come in either milk or dark chocolate and they contain 500 mg of calcium per disk, plus some Vitamin D and K to boot (which help in the absorption of the calcium).  The disks have 2 grams of fat and 30 calories per serving...Not bad. 



Eat up to 3 a day

When I praise Adora chocolates, I do not mean to suggest that you shouldn't worry about getting your calcium elsewhere, because you totally should be getting your calcium from other natural sources, say from your greens, like broccoli and kale. I think Adora supplements are a perfect alternative for the person who stuggles to get her/his calcium needs met and needs a little boost thoughout the day.  Adora is also good for the chocolate-lover looking to control their intake.  One disk is all you need to meet your post-meal sweet tooth.   And just one because you know you don't want to go overboard on the calcium! Too much could mean kidney stones and constipation ...among many more serious conditions.

MASTER CLEANSE ME


On the final day of 2009, I picked up a copy of The Complete Master Cleanse by Tom Woloshyn, vowing to myself that 2010 would be the year of my first full body cleanse. In the past I have only dabbled in thoughts of what it would be like to detox, but now with the new year-new decade upon us it is time to take the bull by the horns! I am almost done with the book, but it was only after a few pages that I swiftly postponed my start date.

A cleanse is not something that should be done on a whim and I learned that there is A LOT of physical and mental planning that goes into the process. Besides making sure that you buy top notch, organic ingredients, it is recommended that you wean yourself off caffeine, chocolate, medications, and meat a week before you start. In addition, you must mentally prepare for the “withdrawal-like” symptoms that you will probably endure during the ten days of cleansing. The more toxic your body is before you start, the more likely you will have a rough experience. And by rough, I mean there is a strong chance you might just quit. Some possible cleansing symptoms are headaches, hunger, nausea, acne, aches, body odor, bad breath, and cold sores. Sounds like fun, right?

 You are probably wondering why on earth anyone would ever want to subject themselves to such a painful process. Well, despite the outwardly awful side effects there is actually a lot of lure surrounding the benefits of the good ole Master Cleanse. The cleanse promises to “increase energy, balance your body’s pH, reduce swelling, alleviate allergies, flush the colon, improve skin and hair, rid the body of parasites" and of course help you lose weight. In the book there are tons of testimonials that go as far as people ridding their bodies of life-threatening diseases.

You might also be wondering if subsisting on a lemonade beverage for ten days is safe. According to the book and the endless testimonials in it, it is safe. The lemonade drink consists of fresh squeezed lemon juice, grade-B maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and good water. The maple syrup will be supplying the bulk of vitamins and minerals, as well as the energy you need to make it through the day. The lemon juice and cayenne (which also contain vitamins) will be acting to purify and detoxify your body and organs. The two together stimulate a natural cleansing process, ridding the body of toxins and excess mucus. It’s gross, but it’s true.

It is recommended that you stay on the program no less than 10 days to ensure a proper cleaning of your body. If you were to end halfway through the process it would be incomplete and all benefits would likely be negated. Some people stay on the plan even longer. I read about some people remaining on the diet for more than 30 days! When the full 10 days are over, there is a 3-day re-introductory phase to food, which involves drinking orange juice and vegetable broth. Also sounds like fun, but I bet these foods taste absolutely heavenly after 10 days of the cayenne pepper lemonade.

In the time that I have been reading this book, I have managed to recruit a partner in crime. Jimmy will be joining me on the cleanse, which we plan to start on January 25th. He is training for the Boston Marathon, and he hopes that the cleanse will jump start his body into full on marathon mode. There is a lot of prep work that we need to do, for instance, we do not have a juicer! I was thinking a manual lemonade juicing utensil might do the trick, but I need to do more research. I also need to make sure the pH of my Brita-filtered water is appropriate, and stock up on organic lemons, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and herbal laxatives. Yup, the diet calls for herbal laxatives. It will be one interesting experience! I promise to keep you posted on our progress starting January 25th!


The Holy Grail of Eating Guides



The dieting season has arrived and whether you are ready or not, prepare to be bombarded with infomercials, print ads, and book displays pushing new food fads and meal plans in your face.  Afterall, there is no better time than the beginning of the year to start a fresh.  A new year, a new you, right?  Well, it certainly is the best time of year for the diet industry and author's alike to reap the benefits of the "new year, new you" philosophy.

I was in BORDER'S this morning and I was absolutely horrified by the sea of brightly colored books flashing the same message in various fonts and titles.  I instantly felt sad for the average American looking for a new year's diet plan. Are we just viewed as a bunch of suckers in need of a new diet book to set us straight on the road to health?  It is true that as Americans we have lost our way with food, and now we must be told what to eat in order to lose weight and be healthy.  And it is sad to say that just looking at the busy BORDER'S book display only contributes to the confusion around food and eating.

So luckily, after perusing the display after several minutes, my eyes fell upon a small and simple book, a copy of Michael Pollan's latest writing Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. Michael Pollan's name was enough for me to reach for the final copy.  I knew before reading the back of the book or flipping through the pages that I would buy it.  Let's get serious...Michael Pollan books are like the holy grail of eating.  After reading In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma, I know what to expect -- books that are not flashy, but simple in design and writing that is intelligent, direct and witty.

Food Rules highlights 64 rules around eating and along the way brings us back to the basics, simplifying what has become a complex world of food. Pollan doesn't tell you what to eat or how to eat, but he makes suggestions that you will want to follow rather than feel forced to follow. For instance, rule #36 says, "Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk," and #51 says, "Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it.

I genuinely believe that Food Rules will help alleviate any anxiety surrounding a new year's eating resolution. It will remind you of what you should already know about food.  So as we enter 2010, if it is just a little guidance that you are looking for this book will set you straight, feeding you full of priceless advice that will last a lifetime.

About Me

Christine
New York City
Welcome! My name is Christine and I have landed here to share my love of healthy living and eating. I live in NYC where I am currently enrolled in the School of Integrative Nutrition. I am already certified as a holistic health coach and I have started seeing clients to help them reach their wellness goals. I started hot mama health to share the idea that it is fun to be healthy! Health is an adventure with endless foods to taste, exercises to explore, and challenges to meet! If you do not already feel this way, I hope that I can bring you into the light or at least stir a little inspiration here and there.
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