I tried to get my boyfriend to take off of work today so we could get our snow day pizza-making on, but apparently the stock market doesn’t close for blizzards boooo. So I took this day as a great opportunity to eat clean and nourish my body without any guilt! Truth be told though, I rarely feel guilty eating pizza. But what do you eat when you’re snowed in solo and can’t indulge because you have a sensitive tummy? Here are some healthy alternatives to the usual snow day junk food fest.
I read that sugar is one of the 4 digestive destroyers so I’m seriously trying to limit it to avoid any more tummy aches. I’ve cut sugar out of my morning coffee and tea and so far I don’t really miss it. I started the day with Trader Joe’s Vanilla and Cinnamon Black Tea. This satisfies my sweet tooth without the added sugar. If you happen to like your tea sweet, you can add honey as a natural alternative.
For brunch, I went with my go-to avocado toast. My version this morning was more like a guacamole toast because I added cilantro and tomatoes- Yum! I start with one avocado, a wedge of lemon, salt, and my bread of choice. I put the bread in the toaster oven while I prepare the avocado mash. Cut your avocado in half and scoop out into a molcajete. (Mine was a gift from Brazil, but I found an inexpensive version on Amazon for $13. Check it out here.) Add the rest of the ingredients in any order and smash it up! If you feel so inclined to add some protein to this light breakfast, add a fried egg. I added it, but after two bites I took it off because the avocado tasted so fresh that the egg just ruined it for me. Needless to say, I ate the egg afterwards.
Next up for dinner I made a big pot of chicken vegetable soup with chicken, carrots, celery, onions, kale, mushrooms and quinoa. This makes the whole house smell yummy! It’s very light, yet filling and will make for a few meals so that whatever I don’t eat within a few days, I freeze and have some stored away for when I need it! Chicken soup is always my favorite on really cold days or when I’m sick so it’s always nice to have some stocked up. To make, fill a big pot with cold water and add the chicken, some salt, and a bouillon cube. Let that boil for 30-50 minutes while you cut up the other veggies. After 30 minutes, take the chicken out and add the quinoa and veggies. Keep that on a low simmer while you peel the chicken. Add the peeled chicken back into the pot and cook on low for another 20 minutes or so. Sprinkle some cheese on top for added flavor.
It might sound as if I ate like a bird today, but I hydrated with lots of water, snacked on some fruit and was satisfied all day. A sensitive stomach will always haunt my life so sometimes I just have to reset. It’s not always easy or fun to eat healthy, but if you incorporate more of the good stuff on a daily basis, you don’t have to sacrifice all of the not-so-good stuff. You will feel better and your body will thank you for it. I’m sure there’ll be many more snow days of pizza and ice cream in my future, but for the time being I’m more cognizant of what I put in my body and I feel much better already.
What are some of your go-to snow day or healthy indulgences? Share with us in the comments section or tag us on Instagram @the_dailycroissant.
Anyone who knows me well, knows about my obsession with seafood. This obsession extends itself to when I make pasta at home. I think that there’s nothing better than spaghetti with clams in a garlic and wine sauce. So simple, yet so tasty.
So for this edition of Wine Down Wednesday I was facing a dilemma. I did not want to feature yet another frozen or prepared meal, and I was running out of ideas. I thought about featuring my own spaghetti with clams, but truth be told, I wanted to do something different. So I picked Ashley’s brain for ideas and she suggested I prepare a pasta dish, specifically a pasta arrabbiata. Challenge accepted!
Pasta arrabbiata can be a simple dish if you wish. Conversely it can be made complicated if you decide to add more ingredients. In its basic essence, this dish is just penne pasta and a spicy tomato sauce that is loaded with garlic. Simple, right? Ashley provided me with a recipe which I used as a base guideline. Other than that, I was on my own. The recipe called for penne pasta, a can of diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, parsley, dry red pepper and either a red or white wine for the sauce. I had the majority of the ingredients at home except for the parsley and dry red pepper so off I went to my local market. I also picked up a package of chorizo earlier in the day from my local Fleishers which I thought would add for more flavor.
When I got home I ran into a big problem. My can opener had decided to give up the ghost and I had no idea how to open the can of tomatoes. So out came the beer bottle opener and a pair of pliers!
I began by cooking the pasta in a small pot of water. The sauce took on life by cooking a ton of finely diced garlic and onions in olive oil. I then added the red pepper followed by the tomatoes which I let simmer for a while. In a small frying pan I cooked the chorizo which I decided to cut into small slices. Once the sauce was happily simmering for about 10 minutes I added a little bit of dry white wine followed by some of the parsley.
Once I was happy with the flavor of the sauce, I added the pasta to the pan and let it all blend together. I have to say that this dish was a success for a first try! I just love spicy food and this dish was rounded off by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the freshness of the parsley. I topped off my plate with a little bit of shredded Parmesan.
Wine Down Wednesday would not be complete without the wine of course. For this occasion I decided to pop open a bottle of 2015 Saint Cosme Côtes Du Rhône. This little red wine might just be my favorite from all of last year. From the first time I tasted it I knew that there was something special about it. The wine is a blend of Syrah from Vinsobres and Syrah from Villafranchian featuring elements of blackberry, dark cherry, boysenberry and tobacco. It’s oh so rich on the palate and on the nose. I just love it.
I had noticed how special this wine was early on in the summer of 2016 and it was confirmed when Wine Spectator placed it at #43 on their top 100 list late last fall. Unfortunately this means that the secret is out and now the wine is a bit difficult to find. For those of you who are able to locate a bottle or two I recommend that you pick them up. Great wines at a price point of around $15 don’t come around often. This one can be consumed now or cellared for several years!
Dinner was awesome tonight and I will surely be adding this dish to my repertoire. But I may not dig in to my stash of Saint Cosme CDR to pair it with next time. I’m saving my remaining bottles for some special occasions!
Have a favorite pasta dish? A favorite red wine? Want to see them featured on a future Wine Down Wednesday? I’d love to hear from you so please leave your comments below!
Looking for a weekend escape from the city? How does a quaint New England getaway about a 4-hour drive from Manhattan sound? Look no further than Woodstock, Vermont. This small town has everything you need to just wind down, relax, and get some time to enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. I visited back in the fall, but I’m sure there are a lot of fun winter adventures here as well. Here’s a little guide to exploring Woodstock, Vermont with your loved ones this winter.
Stay: The Woodstock Inn, Woodstock Vermont. This is a bit of a splurge, but if only for a weekend, you’re worth it. As you enter the Inn you’re greeted by a warm and cozy fireplace surrounded by comfy chairs and couches. This is the perfect spot for sipping wine or some cocoa after your drive up. Grab the local newspaper to see what’s going on in town for the weekend or your favorite book to enjoy while you relax.
There are three restaurants on the grounds. Richardson’s Tavern is very cozy, offering lots of local microbrews and a delicious farm to table menu. The ambiance is dimly lit by candles and very laid back. Jeans and sneakers are okay for this spot. The menu changes seasonally and offers a lot of local delicacies. The Red Rooster is a fancier restaurant, but a great place to grab a cocktail and appetizer at the bar should you want a quick snack like oysters or a hummus plate to share.
My favorite part of The Woodstock Inn is the game room. This spacious room has a pool table, a lazy susan scrabble board, shuffleboard, checkers, chess and darts. It’s a fun hangout for kids and adults to enjoy!
Eat: Food is the best part of any trip, right? Simon Pearce is a unique restaurant, bar and gift shop that is also a glass blowing factory fueled by the Ottauquechee river that runs next to it. Drive about 10 minutes outside of Woodstock to Quechee, Vermont for this extra special treat. After dining on a delicious brunch of homemade apple cider cocktails, crispy buttermilk beignets, and local prosciutto, blue cheese and fig plates, take a tour of the glass blowing happening downstairs. You can see the artisans creating their masterpieces and you can even buy some of the most beautiful glassware in their gift shop. This was not just about the food, it was an experience to remember!
Do: Explore nature of course! There are some great walking trails and hikes to do. You can walk down to the river and just sit on a rock to appreciate the trees and the foliage. You can even visit a farm. Billings Farm was filled with fun activities and fall happenings. They were pressing homemade apple cider, and serving local pumpkin and maple walnut ice cream. But if that doesn’t interest you, you can go on a hayride tour of the farm. There is a great museum and different menu of activities happening every day such as “Up Close With a Jersey Cow”, “Churning Butter” and “Introduction to Milking”. Something for everyone! This is just about a half a mile walk from The Woodstock Inn. Walk through some of the very historical covered bridges on your way.
Don’t forget to stop by the local market on your way home to bring back some more yummy treats and snacks for your ride home. We especially loved their local natural Root Beer. My only regret is not getting more! There are also some really great bookstores and a no frills diner in town called Mountain Creamery. This was good for a quick, filling breakfast before you head out for the day.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Woodstock, Vermont. I plan on going back this winter to enjoy another relaxing weekend. Where have you been in Vermont? Any suggestions of another town to hit up on my next visit?
Let’s face it, sushi and beer make an awesome pairing. My go to beer at Japanese restaurants has always been Asahi Super Dry because despite being mass produced, it always seems to pair well with sushi. My other go-to Japanese beer is Hitachino Nest Beer white ale, a tasty Belgian style wit. Unfortunately it is rarely seen in sushi joints.
But last night I opted out of the beer category and put on my fancy pants! I decided to take home a bottle of white wine to pair with my roll. What?! Yep, I had read in several publications that it works and I was willing to give it a try. One of the most recommended wines to pair with sushi is grüner veltliner, an Austrian white that is known for its spicy, dry, citrus notes. Hmm, sounds similar to South African chenin blancs I thought to myself. I felt that an African wine sounded more exotic than one from Austria so I took home a bottle of 2016 M•A•N Vineyards Chenin Blanc from the coastal region.
I stopped by Fjord Fish Market in Greenwich where I picked up what’s called a UFO Roll. The components of this oddly named roll are shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo. I just love the combination of spicy tuna and avocado! Being a full on fresh seafood mart, Fjords also has a dedicated space where one can watch a sushi chef create some great delicacies. Therefore the quality and freshness of the product is never in doubt. I highly recommend Fjord for all your seafood needs.
This evening there was no waiting around for tarts to heat up! I was in business as soon as I got home. First sip of the wine? Crisp, clean and easy drinking. It showcased the expected citrus flavor of grapefruit that was backed by the right amount of acidity and minerality. I knew that I had chosen the right wine to pair with my UFO roll!
The tuna roll showcased spicy notes that were balanced by the avocado and cucumber. Everything was fresh, tasty and delicately put together. Not bad for takeout. The only thing that I felt was out of place was the shrimp tempura. There were only two pieces and they almost felt like an afterthought. I would have felt just fine without them.
The wine/sushi pairing was wonderful with the citrus notes of the wine offsetting the spiciness of the tuna and ginger. I feel confident that in the future I can set the beer aside and order a glass of wine to go with my roll. Speaking of the wine, I love it. It has exactly what I look for in my whites and I feel like it is an extremely tasty everyday wine that can also be enjoyed all by itself.
What do you pair with your sushi? Willing to give wine a chance? Any sushi places in the Tri-State area that you recommend? We would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!
On the dawn of National Croissant Day, I thought it only right to do a quick round-up of some of my favorite places to get croissants. It’s no secret that croissants are one of my favorite indulgences in life. I mean the buttery, flaky, chewy goodness is just a taste of heaven on earth. (And after all it is the namesake of this blog!) I’ve had my share of bad croissants, which I won’t speak of in this post, but I will tell you about some of my most coveted.
- Maison Kayser in NYC. I actually didn’t know about this place until after I had gone to the original Eric Kayser in Paris. Boy, was I missing out! The croissants here are just decadent. There are 4 varieties. You have your standard, a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant), an almond, and if that didn’t entice you enough… A chocolate-almond combo croissant. I personally love the traditional and the almond from Maison Kayser, but I put Mario on to the chocolate-almond and from what I understand he really loved it! Maison Kayser is a chain of French bistros/bakeries with several locations in NYC. I’ve been to 2 of them. One is on the Upper West Side and the other is in Columbus Circle. Both locations have a bakery in the front of the store and dining tables in the back. The breakfast and lunch menus will transport you to Paris. This is also a good stop if you want to bring a special treat to a friend or a soirée!
- Eric Kayser in the Odeon section of the 6th arrondissement on Rue de l’Ancienne Comedie. This is probably one of the most memorable croissant experiences in my adult life. I went for the almond croissant once again. The edge here is that the croissant was served warm fresh out of the oven. I think I totally blocked out the world for a good minute while I blissfully chewed on this treat. There is nothing else like it. I paired it with a cappuccino and off I went to walk it off at The Galeries Lafayette! An unforgettable day it was.
- Chantilly Patisserie in Bronxville, NY. Chantilly is the quintessential French bakery with some of the best macarons, pastries, and yes croissants, that Westchester County has to offer. It’s a small bakery with big taste. I found out about this bakery from my good friend Terri who gifted me with their macarons for my birthday 2 years ago. I’ve been coming here ever since. If you’re looking for real deal French flair, Chantilly does not disappoint. Their pain au chocolat is on point as well as the traditional. What sets this place apart from the rest is the Dulce de Leche croissants which are made to order. They take the traditional croissant, slice it as you would a baguette to make a sandwich, and add the caramel in the middle. It’s rich, but somedays you just need that. Equally yummy are the nutella croissants.
- Last but not least, Trader Joe’s frozen croissants in the freezer section of your local TJ’s. They come in Almond and Chocolate varieties. I recently hosted a little birthday brunch and my friend Brenda at becomebetty.com suggested that I try these. I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan, but I didn’t expect their croissants to be as good as they were. If I didn’t know they were frozen, I would think they were freshly baked. They come 4 in a pack and they were a huge hit at brunch! I recommend giving them a try the next time you’re shopping at TJ’s. Hint: You have to leave them out overnight to rise. For a better review of these go check out this review.
So that’s all I got for now. Look out for another croissant round-up soon enough! Hope you treat yourself to a decadent croissant this week as it’s still the week of National Croissant Day. Go ahead, you’re awesome, you’ve earned it. Xoxo Ashley
Where do you go for your favorite croissants? Leave a comment and let us know!
the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
Endurance. Ah, the word alone conjures up thoughts of pain in my early days of running. Those were the days when even a mile seemed like an insurmountable achievement. Once the mile became an easy feat, it was replaced by the 5K, the 10K and so on.
My pain, the struggle to achieve even greater distances turned into victories that have built me up as a runner. Enduring the painful runs of the past allows me to enjoy running today and not see it as an unpleasant task. Experience has also allowed me to become a coach of sorts to new runners that I meet. I now have the years and many miles behind me that allow me to motivate, cheer on and help those who may be in the beginning stages of their running careers.
So why is it that I am talking about endurance today? The word came to me last night after a brief text exchange with Ashley in which we spoke about the daily grind and stress that sometimes accompanies work. I also tied it into the tumultuous past few days that have taken place in our nation.
Endurance for me is not only about running. Endurance is also a large part of daily life. My daily struggles, my daily afflictions and all that I witness taking place in our nation; all of it tests my endurance. But what helps me cope is my faith in God. My relationship with the Lord has built me up in character, confidence and hope.
Of course there are those days where my faith seems to falter, just like there are those days where I can’t seem to get a decent run in. But my faith allows me to get back out there on the next day and have another go at it. As it is with running, it is also the case in life. Enduring hardship makes it easier to take on much more and also allows one to be there for others who are enduring their own difficulties in life.
There are many parallels between running and life. Both come with their own tests of endurance and yes, even agony. Yet experience, perseverance and faith make the journey more tolerable and easier to surmount.
How have you managed to endure times of hardship? We would love you to join the conversation. Please post your experiences and comments below!
So after the first installment of Wine down Wednesday I received a comment from Brenda @ BecomeBettty.com who recommended that I try Trader Joe’s Tarte D’Alsace. Let me just say that I’m very obedient when it comes to food!
The tart looks very enticing from the picture on the box. It is described as a “French style flat bread with ham, caramelized onions & gruyère cheese.” Did someone mention gruyère? That is probably the best way to get my attention aside from the word taco or cats.
The box indicates that the tart should be heated inside a conventional oven at 450°F for ten minutes. That was a good sign because I was in no mood to wait around. I was starving! So off she went for her ten minutes in purgatory inside my little toaster oven.
To accompany this tart I decided to open up a bottle of 2014 Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay. This bottle can be had for around $12 and is readily available in most wine shops. This vino hails from the southern part of Burgundy in France. This is chardonnay country where most wines tend to be unoaked, just how I like them. The verdict? Notes of apple, melon and just enough acidity that is rounded off with a clean, crisp finish. I like it!
I was playing the role of IT Department for the blog while waiting for the tart to cook, therefore I lost track of time. Unfortunately it spent a couple more minutes in the oven than I would have liked. By that point the gruyère had dried up a tad so I feel like I didn’t get a true representation of the taste profile.
I did get enough hints of the creaminess from the gruyère, the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the ham to get a get a taste of this tart’s potential. I enjoyed the crust which was rather nice and light enough so that it did not sit heavily in my stomach. Then again the box did say that the tart served two… Ha! Yeah right, I ate the whole thing!
I feel like I need to give this tart another try before I come to a full verdict. This tart deserved better and I deserve another tart in the near future!
A big thank you to Brenda @ BecomeBetty.com for the suggestion! Go check out her blog for awesome write ups on a wide range of Trader Joe’s products and other great features.
Your comments and recommendations are always welcome! Keep them coming!
Rest assured, this is not a political post. I’ve seen enough of those in the past few months leading up to the Presidential inauguration to wear my soul down. I’m overwhelmed, I’m concerned, and yet, I’m hopeful.
Saturday morning I awoke to an Instagram feed full of joyful, loving, proud, strong women and men who turned up in droves around the country, and around the world to take part in the Women’s March. If you’ve been living under a rock, the march was organized to support tolerance, inclusion, reproductive rights, civil rights, racial justice, LGBT rights, the environment, wage equality, gender equality, healthcare, and immigrant rights.
I wanted to take the time to write this brief entry, not only to express my joy at seeing all the people who are willing to make a stand, but to celebrate all the people who make this nation of ours the greatest on earth. I’m amazed at the diversity of people that I come across on a day to day basis. Having traveled to other countries, I feel like people are missing out on the melting pot that is the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut Tri-State area. Is the situation perfect? Of course not! But the fact that we are able to come together, share our cultures, learn from and impart a little bit of ourselves on each other is nothing short of amazing.
Additionally I want to celebrate the women in my life. Friends, work associates, family members, they have all impacted me over the span of my life. My mother, my rock, is one of the strongest women I know. She’s taught me so much about life, how to treat everybody equally and with respect. And I would be remiss to mention the women in my running group. Ashley, Dominique, Elise, Maya, Natalii and Patricia. You’ve all taught me a lot about friendship, love and how to be a better person. I thank you all for that.
So let’s keep running with our gaze towards the future, remembering that the race towards equal human rights is a long marathon, but one that can be completed.
It’s very hard to stay motivated to run in the winter months. Although winter brings great opportunity for snuggling in at home, taking some quality time to stay in with loved ones and cook meals together or diving into a good book, it’s also a time when a lot of New Yorkers experience symptoms of seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Even the acronym is SAD. The days are shorter and it’s not as appealing to go out running in the cold as it is in the beautiful spring or fall months. But on the flip side, running is a way to get those endorphins going to beat that seasonal depression and stay in shape after all that homemade pizza.
Here are some tips for staying motivated to run in the winter:
- Join a running group! Running with others keeps us accountable. This was one of the best choices I made last year. Every Saturday morning I knew the group would be meeting up despite the coldest of temps. It really helped that coffee and croissants were at the finish line too! I found my group, #RunForLife, through my church, but there’s another fun group through Meetup.com called Run and Chug that meets in NYC every Wednesday evening and goes out for drinks after.
- Invest in some warm running gear so that after a few minutes into your run, you don’t even feel the cold anymore! I recently got a new headband, running jacket and lined running tights that not only look great, but feel great and keep me warm even when the temps drop. This vortex jacket from Athleta is quite perfect and on sale now! It’s slim fitting, so there’s no bulk in your way when running. It’s fleece lined and zips all the way up to your chin to keep the draft out. It comes in 3 great colors: black, wild raisin (purple), and chianti. If you get the chianti, it’s only right that you treat yourself to a glass after your run! Don’t forget your gloves. This will make all the difference. If you can’t feel your hands, you won’t be able to high five your friends when you finish!
- Schedule your runs. Running for me is 90% mental. Some days I make every excuse not to go. You have to prepare yourself and maybe even plan out your runs for the week to stay motivated. I schedule at least one run a week on my calendar. I physically write it down so I know when it’s coming and I can’t make any excuses for why I can’t do it.
- Since you’ll have to psych yourself up for getting out of your warm bed and onto the trails, you’ll have to prepare an awesome playlist and start playing it as you’re getting dressed. I’m currently listening to The Weeknd’s Starboy album during my runs and it really gets me going. There are lots of upbeat jams on there to get you hyped. There’s no way you’ll want to stay still once you start listening. May I suggest setting your alarm to False Alarm? It’s sure to get you out of bed!
- Switch up your locale. A change of scenery is always good, and if you so happen to be in NYC for your run there is no better place to do it than Central Park. There are so many people running that loop regardless of snow, sleet, or rain. And if that doesn’t motivate you, there’s always some kind of race going on in the park. Check out some of the shots from #RunForLife’s latest run in Central Park!
I hope this motivates you to get out there and stop making excuses! What motivates you to run or workout in the middle of winter?
It’s no secret that I’ve been on an Alsatian riesling kick for the past few months. The wine is just so tasty and easy to pair with a variety of seafood and poultry dishes. I make sure to always maintain a bottle at home for easy food pairings.
Taking notice of my recent Alsatian wine obsession, Ashley recently surprised me with a box from Trader Jaques (Trader Joe’s) that contained one frozen Alsatian style tarte à l’oignon. (Alsatian style onion tart) I took it as an invitation to do a write up for le blog, so that’s exactly what I’ve done!
Initially I had thought of pairing up the tart with a bottle of 2013 Willm Grand Cru Kirchberg De Barr riesling. But at a $23 price point I thought that it would be overkill to pair up with a frozen tart. So in keeping with the spirit of meals on a budget, I decided to take home a bottle of 2015 La Petite Perrière sauvignon blanc which can be had at a reasonable $10.
The tart comes frozen in its own aluminum tray that can be placed directly in a conventional oven. The directions state that the tart should be cooked for 30 minutes which is just too much time in my book. Nonetheless, I decided to be patient and pop open the wine while serenading the tart with some Radiohead hits on my guitar. (Btw, I think that Decks Dark is just a hauntingly, beautiful song.)
La Petite Perrière comes from the Loire Valley in western France, home to some of the best Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé wines. At $10, one should not expect much, but in my opinion this wine over-delivers! Bright, crisp apple and pear flavors with just the right amount of acidity are showcased in this little sauvignon blanc. The finish is best described as tangy.
After letting the tart cool off for a couple of minutes, I decided to attack it with my new pizza slicer. Thanks Santa! First impression? Quoi? Quelle surprise! It tastes like French onion soup! I’m a big fan so this was just exceptional. The addition of a flaky crust rounded out what I would call a pretty tasty snack. The directions state that it should be served as an amuse-bouche. Umm, no. I’m not that fancy and neither is the tart. So I cut myself an even bigger slice and took it to the living room to watch the Rangers hockey game on TV.
Would I go to my local Trader Jaques to seek one of these tarts out? Not quite. Nonetheless, if I saw it behind the glass at the frozen food section while doing my other food shopping, I would definitely be tempted to pick one up. Recommend!
Have a favorite frozen food or snack that you recommend? Want to see it showcased in a future review? I would love to hear from you! So don’t be shy and please leave some comments in the box below!
This entry is the first in a series we are calling “Wine down Wednesday.” Every Wednesday we will be reviewing a brand new wine. At times the review will include food pairings such as the one in the post above. Want us to review a specific wine? Let us know! We will do it so you don’t have to!