What to do in NYC During the Holidays

What to do in NYC During the Holidays

New York City is one of my favorite places to visit during the holidays because of the beautiful Christmas displays, endless things to do and see, and of course, the huge selection of food! Here are my favorite activities in NYC during Christmas time.

1.) Walk around holiday markets. These markets are great places to shop for unique Christmas gifts, or just to “window shop!” Everything from Christmas ornaments to loose-leaf teas are sold, and there are markets around the city, including in Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square.

image    Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

2.) Visit an Instagram-famous bakery. If you have an Instagram or Facebook, you’ve definitely seen those Insider videos of delicious-looking baked goods, oozing with cream or dripping with chocolate. There are numerous “Instagram-famous” bakeries across New York City, and it’s definitely worth it to visit one of them. My favorite bakery is Bibble and Sip, and here, you definitely don’t have to feel embarrassed about taking multiple pictures of your food at different angles; every time I go to Bible and Sip, there are always people attempting artsy photos of their food. My favorite dessert from Bibble and Sip is the matcha cream puff. It is a must-try!!

img_4441
Portuguese Egg Tart, Earl Grey Cream Puff, and Matcha Cream Puff (my favorite!)

 

3.) Watch a Broadway Show. Bibble and Sip is conveniently located 10 minutes walk away from Columbus Circle, and 5 minutes away from Broadway theaters, so definitely make this list of things to do in NYC into an itinerary! New York is THE place to go for amazing Broadway shows. My favorite show is definitely “Wicked,” but I’ve also really enjoyed watching “Phantom of the Opera,” and I hear “Les Miserables” is wonderful as well.

4.) Eat a sit-down meal. No trip to NYC would be complete without having a sit-down meal in the city full of the best restaurants in the country. Recently, I took a trip to Blue Ribbon Sushi (best sushi I’ve ever tasted!), Ippudo, and Pure Thai Cookhouse (amazing prices!).

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset   Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset  Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Pure Thai Cookhouse

So, there you have it, my favorite things to do in NYC during the holidays!

What restaurant/bakery are you dying to try in NYC?

Love,

Serena

Canada Part 1: The Green Door Restaurant Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Canada Part 1: The Green Door Restaurant Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I just came back from a vacation to Ontario, Canada and one day in Vermont and I’ll be writing a series of posts about the food I encountered there 🙂

My first stop was The Green Door restaurant in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. One thing I learned about Ottawa is that practically all of the good restaurants are super expensive. I found the Green Door when I was searching for a highly rated restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised by the entire dining experience.

First of all, everything is displayed buffet style, and it’s a sort of vegetarian-vegan cafeteria. The food is priced based on weight.

This was great for my family because my parents hate waiting a long time for food. Plus, you don’t have to pay tips because it’s self-serve.

I was extremely pleasantly surprised by the amount of healthy choices there were. Some of the dishes were even vegan!

Side soup and a dish with (clockwise from top left) spanakopita, falafel, marinated mushrooms, sauerkraut, (hidden) tofu, Japanese (cold) noodles, sweet potato puree, pasta with pesto, edamame bean salad, spinach (?) puree.
The best part for me was the dessert bar! I have a major sweet tooth and a lot of times, I have to admit that I don’t resist the desire for sweets.

Cookies, pie, brownies, and all the good stuff

More pie-like fruit desserts, tofu chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut bliss balls.truffles, chocolate swirl cheesecake, vanilla cheesecake
A lot of these desserts were vegan, so since I don’t eat gelatin, I didn’t have to worry about it. The amount of desserts I saw was so inspiring, especially since a lot of people label the vegan diet as eating rabbit food. Also, I was happy to see vegan dark chocolate hazelnut bliss balls. I have a similar recipe on the blog!

So because I love desserts so much, I did have dessert for breakfast. I know, not the healthiest 🙈 I had a slice of berry pie, and, at first glance, the pie-filling looks exactly like gelatin. I wonder how they were able to create such a jello-like consistency without gelatin?? Let me know your thoughts!

A slice of berry pie with almond milk and cherries
So basically I definitely recommend this restaurant!! I hope you check it out if you’re in the Ottawa area.

Love,

Serena

Raw Vegan Brownies

Raw Vegan Brownies

After trying my raw vegan brownie recipe many many times, I think I’ve perfected it! These brownies are a lot like my bliss ball recipe. It is adapted from Minimalist Baker’s recipe.

soak dates to make it easier for your food processer!

dirty hands? no problem!

Ingredients

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup cocoa/cacao powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup of dates pitted and soaked

1 tbsp or more of water (see step 4)

Optional:

Cacao nibs, more nuts, chia seeds and other add-ins!

Steps:

1.) Process walnuts

2.) Add almond meal, cacao powder and salt and mix

3.) Transfer dry mixture to a bowl and process dates

4.) Combine dates and dry mixture using your hands-it gets sticky! Add water as necessary

5.) Press brownie mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper and press in the optional ingredients as desired.

6.) Refrigerate for 1 hour and enjoy!!😋😋

This recipe only takes 15 minutes to prep. The finished brownies and be stored in the fridge or at room temperature in a sealed container.

So much Love,

Serena

Healthy Cereal Bowl

Healthy Cereal Bowl

Cereal gets a bad rap because of the excessive amounts of sugar. However, cereal doesn’t have to be unhealthy!  This morning, I was in a rush to leave home, and quickly whipped up a delicious cereal bowl, complete with Love Crunch Chocolate and Strawberry Granola, fresh raspberries, and bits of some raw vegan brownies that I made (I’ll share the recipe soon ;)) with almond milk and chia seeds. It was a super satisfying and sweet cereal bowl. The combination of chocolate and berry just made me want to have more!

What is your favorite cereal bowl combo?

Love,

Serena

Healthy Travel 101

Healthy Travel 101

Knowing myself, right now, I’ll have grown a food baby from all the good food I’ve been eating in Korea.

HOWEVER, I’m hoping that I don’t go so out of control. So this post is dedicated to those who want to travel the healthy way but at the same time go the #YOLO way. I think it’s really depressing if because of your weight loss regime, or diet, or whatever, that you pass up on the delicious concoctions that are only available at your travel destination. So here are some of my tips for healthy travel.

travel.jpg

1. HYDRATE | This is especially true on the plane. It gets especially dry up there, so make sure to properly hydrate.

snacks.jpg

2. Have healthy snacks close at hand | Pack KIND bars, fruit, or any of these healthy snacks with you. Better safe than sorry!

3. Don’t think that you have to finish the whole thing | Yes, I know it’s manners and we’ve been taught as children to not leave anything on our plate, but don’t think like you have to finish that massive pasta bowl or whatever. Remember: restaurants usually do not serve proper portions but much larger portions. Make sure to listen to your body and STOP when you’re full.

sharing.jpg

4. Share the good (indulgence food) | Similar to the previous point, if you want to order that dessert on the menu, don’t think you have to finish it all by yourself. Share it with someone at the table. Twice the joy, half the calories.

stretch.jpg

5. Stretch everyday. | Flexibility is just as important than other fitness skills. And stretching is super easy to do on your hotel bed or while in your plane seat. Stretch, stretch, stretch.

6. Walk lots. | Take the long route (walking), walk up the stairs if you can. As a runner, I don’t think I’ll be able to run in Korea (insert sobbing emoji) nevertheless, make sure to just MOVE a lot.

 

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have fun!!!

What are some your healthy travel tips?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Lettuce Wraps and Leftovers

Lettuce Wraps and Leftovers

IMG_2491

Now that I’m finally on summer break, I have been cooking every meal for my family. So, I’ve been able to experiment with a lot of different recipes and ways to use leftovers. It’s safe to say that my parents can’t live without meat, so I’ve been challenging them to be more adventurous with their veggies. Last night, I made this lettuce wrap “bar” complete with Romaine hearts, chickpeas, carrots, red bell pepper, and oyster mushrooms. Also, (not shown here), I used a tiny bit of tartar sauce to amp up the flavors. To appease my parents, I did sear some salmon that I seasoned with only salt and pepper. It turned out perfect, no need to season it any more. Also in the picture was soup that my dad made in bulk on the weekend, some leftover turkey, and leftover brown rice.

IMG_2492
Green tea ice cream mochi. So good!!

Since my mom and I went on a Trader Joe’s run earlier that day, we purchased a lot of frozen desserts, and of course, I had to have some of them after dinner!

 

We did have some leftovers after the dinner-salmon, bell peppers, carrots, and chickpeas. I simply incorporated these ingredients into my meals the next day.

 

IMG_2495

My breakfast omelet had bell peppers and carrots. Then, for lunch, I made a salad with a green medley (arugula, spinach, kale, romaine) with yellow bell pepper, the leftover chickpeas, and the leftover salmon. I also drizzled some Miso-Ginger Dressing (also leftover from a while ago :))

What are your favorite lettuce wrap ingredients? Lmk in the comments 🙂

With Love,

Serena

Smoothies 101

Smoothies 101

 

Smoothie bowls/Smoothies/Nice Cream (they are all essentially the same thing, only with different consistencies)!

The basis of all the smoothies that I make are blending fruit, vegetable (usually spinach) and liquid  (nut milk, water, coconut water). Sometimes, I add other ingredients like a handful of nuts, seeds, greek yogurt, and acai berry powder.

Smoothie bowls come in all different colors, which change based on the ingredients that you put in. For example, if you add kale, the smoothie will be green. If you add raspberries, the smoothie will be pinkish red. It makes sense. Tip: Don’t mix colors that will make brown! (ex. raspberries-red and spinach-green). The difference between smoothies and smoothie bowls is that the spoonable texture uses frozen fruit. Play around with the amount of liquid used for a more liquid texture.

I’ve seen tons of Instagram posts of smoothie bowls. I’m obsessed with taking a screenshot of the ones that look delicious! Eye candy:) Here are my favorite few:


12950265_1721462298098138_672336320_nNice cream is very similar to smoothie bowls, but they are just thicker, and resemble the texture of ice cream (minus the fat and dairy). In general, the key that I use to thickening the smoothie to make it spoonable like ice cream is frozen banana. Frozen bananas  act like ice cubes to make the smoothie cold, are a thickening agent, and add sweetness. There are so many different recipe variations. Here are some combinations I use:

Banana Chocolate Chip: Frozen banana+Almond Milk+Raw Cacao Nibs or Dark Chocolate on top

Raspberry: Frozen Raspberries+Acai Berry Powder+Almond Milk

Berry: Frozen raspberries+Frozen blueberries+Acai Berry Powder+Almond Milk

Chocolate: Frozen banana+Cacao Powder

Mango: Frozen mango+Almond Milk

Smoothie bowls/Smoothies/Nice Cream are great to have for breakfast, snack, dessert, or just to cool down on a hot summer day. Add chia seeds and store in the fridge overnight for an extra healthy kick!

What are your favorite combinations?

Love,

Serena