Looks like Japan has been reading my blog

May 24, 2010

Celebs, dignitaries and, of course, yours truly have all embraced Meatless Monday. Now we can add Japan to the mix.

Four of Japan’s top colleges are hosting monthly veggie Mondays  (http://veggiemonday.japanteam.net/) to encourage their country to follow more of a  plant-based diet.

In celebration of their Meatless Monday solidarity, here is an easy recipe for nori rolls that kids love.  Nori has the highest amount of protein of all seaweeds and is the easiest to digest.  Kind of like this blog.

Vegetable Nori Rolls

2 cups sushi rice *

3 cups water

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

10 sheets toasted nori

1 small cucumber, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into strips

Combine rice, water and salt in large pot and bring to boil.  Cover then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In small saucepan, heat vinegar and rice syrup until dissolved, pour over rice and mix until combined.  While rice is cooking, prepare vegetables.

* you can substitute short grain brown rice for sushi rice just use 4 cups of water

Assembling Nori Rolls

Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, or work surface or bamboo rolling mat, http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/category/sushi-accessory with short edge facing you.  Press a layer of rice ¼- inch thick along the edge of the sheet closest to you.  Place vegetables in a long thin strip across the middle of the rice.  Carefully fold the end of nori over the rice and continue rolling away from you to form a log.  Moisten the edge with water to seal, and let sit briefly until nori is soft enough to cut easily.  Cut into ½-inch pieces and arrange on platter.  Serve with tamari, pickled ginger and wasabi.


Pregnant? Rub it in.

May 20, 2010

You know those pregnant women who are just gorgeous?  The ones with glowing skin, shiny lustrous hair and endless energy? Yeah, that wasn’t me. Picture frizzy hair, varicose veins, constipation, bloating, fatigue, you get the picture.  For every sparkly pregnant princess there are those of us who just aren’t blessed with that tell-tale pregnancy glow.

But we could be.

Treat yourself to Maternal Massage and More, a haven for NYC mommies. The brainchild of Janet Markovits, not only does Maternal Massage and More take care of you when you are pregnant, they also offer postpartum massages and baby massage. Getting massages when you are pregnant can reduce your stress, increase your flexibility, ease your constipation and slow the process of varicose veins. Getting them afterwards, well, just feels awesome.

And those of you who aren’t pregnant and don’t plan to be, relax. You’re covered. Maternal Massage and More has a Maya Abdominal Massage to relieve common female symptoms such as frequent urination, infertility, painful or irregular menses or a Sports Massage to help prevent injuries and relieve cramps. They even offer Lymphatic Drainage, a system that drains fluids, reduces puffiness and stimulates your immune system.

My favorite thing at Maternal Massage and More is their Massage During Labor.  Yep, during. Janet will teach your husband or partner specific massage techniques to alleviate your discomfort during labor.

If nothing else, it gives your husband something to do besides check baseball scores on his blackberry and ask your gyno why they call it a “crown” anyway.


Visit MMMunch at Mommybites Summit!

May 19, 2010

I’m busy in the MMMunch kitchen making my world famous pumpkin muffins to share with you all Thursday night at the Mommybites Summit, or as I refer to it as Mamapalooza. Join me to nosh, shop, shmooze, booze, win prizes and even leave with swag bags. Listen to knowledgeable speakers, find fabulous products and most importantly get some face time with yours truly.

Who is it for?  Mom’s-to-be, moms of babies, toddlers, school-aged children and yes, even Dads welcome.

Where: Columbia Faculty House

64 Morningside Drive NY, NY 10027

When: 5:00-9:30


Lunch Encounters of the Third Kind

May 18, 2010

The Child Nutrition Act still has not been passed. Ugh. If the Senate doesn’t act soon there will not be a Child Nutrition Bill this year at all.  That means next year there will still be junk in schools, new funding for expanding farm to school programs will be scrapped and it will be virtually impossible for schools to serve free meals to all students in low income schools.

The Community Food Security Coalition has an action alert that spells out what you can do to move this bill along. Check out http://bit.ly/aRgqEl

Your voice matters.  Help turn school food reform dreams into a reality and take action.  As Michelle Obama said, “We are calling upon mayors and governors; and parents and educators; business owners and health care providers.  Anyone who has a stake in giving out children the healthy, happy future we know they deserve.  All we need is the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to be done.” And then she gave Sasha and Malia the mommy look and they quickly gulped down their green peas and strawberries. I’m just saying she walks the walk.

It’s Meatless Monday! And John Cleese Highly Recommends Rhubarb.

May 17, 2010

I’m headed off to the farmer’s market to pick up some Rhubarb. Why? Oh, nothing. Not only is Rhubarb high in fiber, low in calories and cholesterol free, it is a good source of Vitamin A and potassium.  Betcha didn’t know one cup of cooked rhubarb has as much calcium as a glass of milk.

When choosing rhubarb, look for stalks that are bright and colorful with no wilting leaves.  If you are not using the rhubarb right away, cut off the leaves as soon as you get home,  put the stalks in bags and store in the fridge. And remember: Do not eat the leaves. They are poisonous!

Here’s a Meatless Monday Recipe for Rhubarb Tart. Look, if it’s good enough for John Cleese…

p.s. I’m not going to lie. This recipe takes time.  If you’re a person of leisure, by all means make your own crust, but if you’re a busy bee, I suggest buying your pie crust at wholly wholesome (http://whollywholesome.com/products/pie-shells.php).  I like to have a few organic whole wheat crusts in my freezer for special occasions. Like when I make a pie.



2 cups diced fresh rhubarb

3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced, divided

1/4 cup sugar,

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon cold water

3 tablespoons red currant jelly


1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

3 tablespoons 1% milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil


To prepare filling: Combine rhubarb, 1 cup strawberries, sugar and lemon zest in a large nonreactive saucepan. Let stand for 20 minutes (35 minutes if rhubarb is frozen). Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into the simmering fruit. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is clear and very thick, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled.

To prepare crust & assemble tart: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.

Spread oats in a small baking dish and bake, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Place the oats in a food processor and process until finely ground.

Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk the ground oats, flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle oil onto the dry ingredients and stir with a fork or your fingers until crumbly. Use a fork to stir in the milk mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead 7 to 8 times. Roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle, dusting with flour if necessary. Transfer to the prepared pan, pressing to fit. Trim the edges.

Line the tart shell with a piece of foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove weights and foil or paper and bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes more. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Shortly before serving, spread the strawberry-rhubarb filling evenly into the tart shell. Arrange the remaining 2 cups strawberries decoratively over the filling.

Heat jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. With a pastry brush, glaze the strawberries with the jelly.

Wait. My husband just ate WHAT?

May 14, 2010

Many of my clients harbor nightmares from their childhood of being forced to eat their Brussels sprouts and hating every minute of it.  Even as adults, it’s hard to convince them that Brussels sprouts actually taste good, even delicious. But they are.

If you make them right.

Here is one of the easiest and most scrumptious ways to cook Brussels sprouts that will not only turn those naysayers around but have them begging for more.  FYI,  Brussels sprouts are are full of  many essential vitamins, folate and fiber as well as an excellent source of Vitamin C. And now they supply 100% of your daily recommend dose of Na-Na-Na-Na-Told-You-So.

3 or 3 1/2 cups of Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut each sprout in half lengthwise.

Place sprouts in a plastic bag with oil and toss to coat.

Place sprouts in a plastic bag with oil and toss to coat.

Place sprouts on baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Bake until outside leaves begin to brown and crisp and inside is tender.

Something Amazing Just Popped Up

May 13, 2010

Imagine gelato, sorbet or frozen yogurt made fresh daily, using only hormone-free milk, locally sourced ingredients, no high-fructose corn syrup, gluten free (depending on your creations), no artificial colorings or flavorings and preservative free.  Not only that, what if it came on a stick and (control freaks get ready) you could customize it to your own personal taste by dipping it in chocolate, rolling it in stuff like pistachios and brownie chunks and biscotti chunks.

Oh, now you’re listening.

I’d like to introduce you to my new best friend Popbar.  Here’s how it works.  You choose your basic popbar and then pick your “poppings” (their word, not mine).  Poppings include almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, shredded coconut, granola, coffee grains, biscotti crumbles and brownie chunks.  If that is not enough, then you get to choose a signature dip dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate.  Double dipping is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.

If you’re not in the mood to make your own, don’t worry they have many pre-made flavors to choose from.  And by pre-made, I mean made that day. As in, just before you walked in to Popbar, some dedicated Pop-nician (my word) was lovingly slathering chocolate and brownies on the gelato you were dreaming of. It’s like they’re reading your mind.

From vanilla gelato dipped in chocolate with drizzled chocolate on the bottom to chocolate gelato dipped in dark chocolate with hazlenut poppings, the choices are pretty much endless. You can even go guilt-free with their popsorbetto, made with 100% fruit. Which is fine. More brownie chunks for me.

Check them out at http://www.pop-bar.com

Dabbawallas are de best

May 12, 2010

Summer is right around the corner.  My daughter is going away for 3 ½ weeks.  Party on down.  But not everyone is that lucky.

For those of you who will have your mmmunchkins at home attending day camps or running their surprisingly profitable lemonade stands, why not pack their lunch in style and feel good about yourself by purchasing Dabbawallas lunch boxes.  (Betcha can’t say that fast three times.)

These fun, clever boxes were inspired by the creators’ travels in India, where she became fascinated with the lunch box delivery men known as “dabbawallas.” Seriously.

All Dabbawalla bags are made by artisans who earn fair wages in safe working conditions.  Not only does Dabbawalla help support non-profit organizations and fundraise for kids in need, their designs are just too cute for words.  And isn’t that part of saving the world too? Well, it should be.

Dabbawallas are machine washable, insulated, free of lead and PVC, and have an easy to grip handle.  You can choose from a bunch of styles: Cute as a Bug, Free Range, Holy Cow, Out of This World, British Invasion, Slice of Summer, Sweetcakes, Apple of My Eye and my fave, Monkey See Monkey Do.

Go to http://www.dabbawallabags.com/about.html to see styles.

Let’s Get Cooking

May 11, 2010

Yesterday, I spent the day in my test kitchen trying out new recipes.  Besides the fact that I ate way too much cookie dough and muffin batter and that I probably have salmonella, it was a pretty good time.  I really love being in the kitchen, which is a surprise to most of my friends who knew me when I couldn’t even boil water.

I experimented making new muffins for toddlers that were both nutrish and delish, as well as created some healthy summer recipes for us older folks who keep putting off going bathing suit shopping.  (How many times can your friends tell you it’s just the lighting?)

Anyhoo, here is an EASY, and I mean EASY, recipe for a healthy gazpacho that takes literally five minutes and will hopefully prevent you from buying that always-a-don’t bathing suit with a skirt.

5 Minute Gazpacho

5 medium vine-ripened organic tomatoes (about 4 ½ cups)

½ medium organic cucumber, peeled and slice (about 1 cup)

½ cup cooked or canned garbanzo beans

1/8 cup chopped organic red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable broth

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Garnish (optional)

½ cup chopped avocado, tomato, and/or peeled cucumber

Blend all ingredients except optional garnish in a food processor or blender until smooth, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Ladle into soup bowls and top with garnish, if desired.

from Petit Appetit Cookbook

Relax, I’ve got a guy.

May 10, 2010

One of the great things about living in New York is you can always find a guy. As in, you need a diamond? I’ve got a guy. You need a new air conditioner? I know a guy. You need a boyfriend? Let me talk to my guy.

So here’s my point. Preggers? I’ve got a guy.

Before you let yourself get overwhelmed by the thought of all the strollers, highchairs, car seats, pacifiers and nipple cream in your immediate future, relax. And call my guy.

His name is Jamie Grayson, and he’s The Baby Guy – A dream come true for every pregnant mother (and every husband, boyfriend, roommate, significant other and/or anyone in a 5 mile radius).

Imagine someone who knows about EVERY new baby product on the market, will give you demonstrations and instructions on how to use them and even accompany you while you register, all the while bestowing his years of experience in the baby biz. And if you really need it, he’ll even register for you while you’re home on your couch in your Snuggie.

From decorating your nursery to interviewing baby nurses and doulas, Jamie is your guy. I only wish Jamie was around when I was pregnant to talk me off the ledge with his wonderful sense of humor and delicious Southern charm.  He’ll even keep your marriage happy.  Remember finding that extra screw lying around after the last time your husband put something together? Yeah, that’s not happening on Jamie’s watch. Feel secure knowing that a trained professional put your precious mmmunchkin’s crib together safely and securely.

In other words, relax, eat well, enjoy your pregnancy and, most importantly, be kind to yourself and for your sake and the sake of those who love you, give Jamie a call.