simple salad with sunflower seeds

summer salad with tv remoteLast night I had an actual TV Dinner — a simple summery salad, while watching the news. I basically threw all the fruit and vegetables I had in the fridge together — arugula, tomatoes, peppers, pears — and topped them with some sunflower seeds. I added a little pepper, olive oil and balsamic glaze, and voila. Dinner in less than 10 minutes.

I love the crunch and substance that nuts add to any salad, but bonus here: sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E (to help with inflammation and prevent cardiovascular disease) and magnesium (which calms your nerves and muscles).

 

honeymoon highlights: thailand, indonesia, and a couple other stops along the way

rome gelatoAnd there is no better way to kick off a honeymoon than with some gelato from Giolitti in Rome! We only had a few hours here between flights, and we made the most of it. The Coliseum! The Pantheon! (You can check out all of our honeymoon pics on Instagram, by the way. His… and… hers.)

nahm rice crackerNext stop: Bangkok. Everyone recommended (and raved about) Nahm — it’s one of the world’s 50 best restaurants! — but I thought the food was way too spicy. And I like spicy food. But this was so spicy I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to. These rice cakes covered with blue swimmer crab with peanuts and pickled garlic were delicious, and reminded me of the spicy tuna rice cakes we get at Catch (and elsewhere) back home, but I could barely get them down. My mouth was on fiya. HOT, HOT, HOT. (And for those wondering, you apparently can’t ask them to turn down the heat. It is what it is, as they say.)

bangkok thai iced coffeeIt wasn’t just the food that was hot, either. We walked around Chinatown in Bangkok one night — eating so much fantastic, and fantastically cheap street food — when it was about 90 degrees and sweltering outside. We stopped in one place for spare ribs and Brian ordered a Thai iced coffee — in that mug I’m using to cool down — and it was one of the most deliciously sweet cups of coffee I’ve ever had. I am far from a coffee connoisseur, but I drank a lot of it on our trip (thank you, jet lag!) and this was by far the best. I wish I remembered the name of the place so I could pass it on… but perhaps  you can find it/figure it out based on that money exchange sign hanging above our heads?

honeycomb w koh samuiThen we went to Koh Samui, a small island off the coast of Thailand, where we had the best breakfast buffet either of us had ever seen. The whole W Retreat was a dream, and the breakfast buffet was the bright red cherry on top. Just look at this fresh, raw honeycomb! They had a massive cell that they’d cut a piece from, that you could eat however you like. I put half in my yogurt and the other half I ate straight cause it was that good. If I wasn’t scared of bees, or lived in an apartment building, I would get my own.

brian me koh samui beachElsewhere in Thailand, we had coconuts and fruit smoothies on the beach after we rode elephants. I drink a lot of coconut water here in New York, but they taste so much better on an island. No exotic, tropical vacation is complete without coconuts.

chedi club fruitAnd the fruit! My goodness, the fruit. Truly nature’s candy. This dragonfruit/yellow watermelon platter was part of breakfast at the Chedi Club in Bali. Funny that they serve it with lime segments, as if it needs any added sweetness. I also had dragonfruit sorbet when we were walking around Ubud, and that was tremendous. All the fruit there just tastes… better.

last lunch sumbaThis was our last lunch of the trip… at Nihiwatu, on the beautiful Indonesian island of Sumba. I had whatever the special salad of the day was (bottom right) and Brian had the chicken caesar salad… and again, the fresh watermelon with lime on the side. I would say it keeps you from needing or wanting any sweets for dessert, but I’m pretty sure we had ice cream anyway.

When on your honeymoon!

>> Which was the best advice we got. Do it all. See it all. Don’t think twice about any of it. <<

The trip was a dream and this is just a tiny glimpse of it. Any questions or need/want any recommendations… just ask! We were in Rome, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore, two places in Bali, Sumba, then Frankfurt, Germany on the way home.

lunch + smoothie tips with @bewellwitharielle

eataly birreria lunch arielleYesterday I had lunch with Arielle Haspel, aka @bewellwitharielle, who is an absolute ray of healthy sunshine. She brought me to Birreria, the restaurant on the rooftop of Eataly, and not only was the space (and lighting) gorgeous, but the food was tremendous. The meat plate was filling and the salads were so fresh, with some unexpected fun twists. Like the grapefruit in my kale salad (which I’m going to copy at home), and the roasted hazelnuts sprinkled atop the brussels sprouts (which I’m also going to copy at home).

Arielle is a nutritionist who has a fun, clean-eating cooking show on Glamour Magazine so she has some great tips for healthy living. My favorite one, which I plan to start doing this week, is for quick smoothies/shakes. She says to prep all of your ingredients — fruits, vegetables, powders, extras — then take all of that (everything you would have in a shake/smoothie except any liquid you might add: almond milk, coconut water, etc…) and put it in single serving ziploc baggies. Then freeze them.

That way the next time you want a quick shake or smoothie but don’t have time to prepare one, you can just grab a baggie out of the freezer and toss it in the blender with your liquid. No chopping, cutting, or measuring… just blending and enjoying.

Genius, right?!

I already keep some fruit in my freezer, but this is a whole other level. One that I can’t wait to be on.

three days of treats in tulum

tulum olivia jake beachB and I just got back from a few days in Tulum, Mexico where we were celebrating our one year anniversary (and my foot finally being out of the boot). It was just as relaxing as it was beautiful. And the food was spectacular!

tulum be tulum saladMy favorite dish was this Be Salad at Be Tulum — with avocado, cucumber, celery, green apple, mango and walnuts tossed in a mango/passion fruit dressing. Every bite was fresh and sweet and glorious. I’m determined to recreate it this weekend. Standby for results…

tulum fish tacos groupWhat’s a trip to Mexico without fish tacos? Our new friends Mike and Carrie (friends of our Infatuation friends) brought us here, to Taco La Eufemia, and it lived up to all of their hype.

tulum frozen margaritasThe frozen margaritas helped, of course. This is what we washed down our tacos with — pineapple for B, mango for me — and the mango won because when it came time for round two, he switched his order to mango.

tulum ice cream in a jarAnother frozen treat… this ice cream in a jar at Casa Jaguar. It was a little steamy during our meal so I told B I could go for some ice cream. Lucky for us, this was one of their two desserts: vanilla ice cream with layers of berries on the bottom. We raced to the bottom because it was melting so fast; the only race that everyone wins is a race to the bottom of a jar of ice cream.

tulum full fried fishThis guy was our last meal in Tulum and while I’d love to take credit for finding this spot off the beaten path, I can only take credit for following the directions provided in the New York Times’ 36 hours in Tulum. Chamico’s has no menu, no website, and they don’t speak a word of English… but it’s some of the most fresh, authentic food we’ve ever had. And the sand is white! (It’s the beach photo at the top of this post.) The perfect taste to leave in our mouths as we boarded the plane home. Til next time…

Union Square Greenmarket Salad

unsqgreenmarket saladNothing makes me happier than wandering around a farmers market on a weekend morning. The smell of fresh flowers and vegetables, talking to the farmers who grew and brought their goodness to us in the city, discovering new kinds of greens, dreaming up a menu for dinner that night… it’s heaven. And it’s exactly what B and I did this past Saturday at the Union Square Greenmarket. It feels good to support the local farmers and it feels even better to put all that fresh food in your belly.

The salad we created (pictured above): boston lettuce, radish sprouts (which had quite a spicy bite to ‘em!), heirloom tomatoes and shaved asparagus on top. I tossed it all with two colors of sesame seeds, some chili flakes, lemon and olive oil. Simple perfection.

unsq flowers

arugula, fennel, grapefruit + pine nuts salad

arugula grapefruit saladPerhaps one of the most simple salads to make — and also one of the most beautiful and delicious. The bite of the arugula is softened with a touch of olive oil and lemon… then sweetened with the grapefruit… then juxtaposed with the shaved fennel. Add a little crunch with those pine nuts and your taste buds are in heaven. Serve it as a first course or add a little protein (shrimp, white fish, tofu…?) and you’ve got yourself an A+ dinner.

Arugula, Fennel, Grapefruit + Pine Nuts Salad

SERVES TWO

Ingredients

  • couple big handfuls of arugula
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 fennel bulb, shaved on a mandoline
  • 1 grapefruit, quartered
  • handful of pine nuts
  • drizzle of balsamic glaze

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, massage arugula with olive oil and lemon juice with your hands until well-coated, then plate.
  2. Add fennel, grapefruit and pine nuts on top.
  3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve!

A Recipe From Jamie Stelter | www.thetvdinner.com

crispy brussels sprout salad

2 salads on table

salad finalWe love brussels sprouts in our house: shaved raw in a mustard vinaigrette, roasted with apples, sauteed with shallots in a hash, you name it. And now we can add crispy in a salad to that list. I actually made the mistake of making this as a starter before a big meal, not realizing a) how filling it would be and b) how much we’d love it that anything coming after would pale in comparison. So consider yourself warned: this will be your new favorite go-to salad entree. Next time I may even add a piece of plain grilled fish or shrimp on top.

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