12/9/13

Komodo Teriyaki Sauce

This brand promises a premium sauce made in the Japanese tradition. Copy the link for a sample:

http://www.komodosauces.com/pr/teriyakisample/

11/22/13

Washington Square Park, Manhattan


Comedians, contortionists, an improv jazz concert or puppet show, lively chess matches. These are some of the happenings one might encounter at Washington Square Park.

Washington Square

Garibaldi

Located in Greenwich Village, its nearly 10 acre expanse assures space to explore the sights or to carve out a slice of solitude.

Washington Square

11/2/13

La Sandwicherie, Miami

The sandwich shop has seen many incarnations. Even so, La Sandwicherie differentiates itself. Part French cafe; part South Beach sandwich stand; perfect for casual diners; perfect for sophisticated palates. La Sandwicherie offers plenty of healthy indulgence.

I ordered prosciutto on French bread. It contained an array of cool and crisp veggies along with artisanal meat and cheese. Sandwiches come on your choice of bread supplied by a local bakery and are completely customizable as are the salads and smoothies. La Sandwicherie even bottles its own vinaigrette.

I returned another day, opting for salmon on a croissant. That bread was just as delicious but easier to handle and less filling than the bulky baguette. Still, the hefty serving size allowed for leftovers. La Sandwicherie's Miami Sunset smoothie, a refreshing blend of coconut milk, raspberries, orange, papaya and mango topped of my second satisfying meal.

10/25/13

Rosemary Chicken Sliders

Alexia's all-natural frozen breads provide convenience and savings. I often find them on sale at Whole Foods or Publix and with a coupon they're practically free. Since they aren't stored at room temperature, I don't have to worry about them spoiling before I consume the entire package. Plus, they come in flavor combinations that add depth to recipes. The olive oil and rosemary in these ciabatta rolls provide a perfect canvas for the chicken and fresh veggies.

Sliders


For two sandwiches you'll need approximately:

  • .25 cup of baby kale or arugula
  • 6 thin onion slices
  • 1 small baked or roasted drumstick
  • 2 Alexia Rosemary Olive Oil rolls
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
Coat the bottom of each roll with mustard. Place shredded chicken on top then a layer of greens followed by onions. Coat the top of each roll with mayo. Enjoy!

10/7/13

Gelato Ti Amo, New York


Gelato
Gelato Ti Amo boasts shops in Italy and America, so I expected decadently delicious gelato. I got that and more. I did not expect yogurt too. Although pleasing, the Black Cherry yogurt needed to dial down the sweetness. Extra sugar seemed concentrated in the cherries.

In contrast the Fig proved harmonious, highlighting the fruit and the gelato without either competing for attention. Best of all, the shop uses all-natural ingredients. I love Gelato Ti Amo, and you will too!

9/28/13

The Beloved Hotel, Playa Mujeres

Beloved Hotel
Upon arrival, Edgar greeted us and took care of our bags. Guest services had champagne for the adults and Shirley Temples for the kids (ages 3 and 8). The rep made sure to advise that The Beloved Hotel was kid-friendly. After Edgar helped put our bags away, he explained some of the all-inclusive amenities. 

Beloved Hotel Mexico
We consistently encountered courteous staff. The only less than adequate service came while dining poolside on the second day. Service at onsite restaurants is slow, but at the Isla Grill it was slower than the norm. The server took our drink orders when the food came (about 30 minutes after we ordered), and we had to go to the bar to ask for our drinks.


Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres

We continued basting in the sun while waiting for refreshments. A manager walked by and noticed the oversight. He retrieved our drinks immediately, but our server never returned.




Cancun HotelOverall, my party preferred Isla Grill to Aroma and learned to stick with shrimp and steak dishes. I had a duck dish that had been cooked to death. The smoothies I saw a bartender making did not contain any fresh fruit. Chocolate cakes and brownies looked more appetizing than they tasted.


The homemade ice cream, however, proved impressive. We also fell for the sushi bar, which opens at 6:00 in the evening. Kids’ items are standard fare, like pizza  and nuggets, but kids can order from any part of the menu. Snacks in the room are free and refilled daily, including drinks. Outside food and drinks are not allowed.


The breakfast was fantastic! And this is coming from someone who hates buffets. I found plenty of fresh juice, fruit, nut, and yogurt options. I even took some fruit to snack on later. Loved the iced coffee and almond croissants. Others in my group liked the shredded chicken, eggs, waffles etc.


On the one occasion we ferried to Isla Mujeres, we stopped at Privilege Aluxes Hotel for brunch. I took one look at their buffet and it did not compare to Beloved's. I opted for juice only instead of eating there. Since we found the resort to be quite relaxing, this was our only outing. 

Cancun All-Inclusive HotelThe hotel remained sparsely populated during our April stay. Often, we had a pool to ourselves. Lounge chairs at the pristine beach were plentiful. FYI: Plenty of children, my nephews included, went crazy over the kids' club.  

Cancun All-Inclusive
This germaphobe found no cleanliness issues. Showers are see-through, but suites do have curtained tubs.

We saw an HGTV host staying at The Beloved, which I consider an indication of the resort’s quality. I'm glad we ventured outside of the commercialized Cancun Strip area.


Playa Mujeres Hotel

Playa Mujeres Resort

9/16/13

Pineapple Pomegranate Smoothie


Pomegranate juice's tartness makes me overlook its health benefits and skip it in favor of sweeter options. Scoring some for free led me to give it another try.

Smoothie

You'll need approximately:
  • .5 cup Pom pomegranate juice
  • 8 oz can pineapple chunks, juice included
  • 1 tbs fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 oz Torani raspberry syrup
Freeze the pineapple chunks and juice prior to blending all ingredients. Pulse on high for about 45 seconds then liquify for about 15. Scrape blender bowl if needed then repeat blending until desired consistency is reached.

9/2/13

“If You Tell, I Will Kill You” Book Review

How to Write a Memoir Review
Never have I read a book within one day, but that was before If You Tell, I Will Kill You. Within the pages of this engrossing story Tonya McLin writes, “The discussion of violence disturbs our human psyche.” How true. This former salon owner and hair stylist delves deep within the portals of her mind. She unveils and releases the stigma victims of abuse often feel.

Initially set in the late ’60s, the memoir begins during the author’s early childhood at age three. Under the serenity of the Georgia sunshine and amid the guise of happiness, she is torn from the tranquility of her mother and forced to forge a new life. When it seems the clouds preventing her happiness are about to dissipate, a new storm brews on the horizon.

Besides the author other main characters include Tim, the manipulative anti-father figure, and Nana, her stern yet loving grandmother. For 10 years, Nana and her husband raise Tonya and her seven siblings. Tim is the catalyst for much of the novel’s action. His decisions rock this family’s faith to its core, and Tonya unwittingly becomes his victim. 

Through a revealing mix of religion and remembrance, the author’s narrative allows readers to relive her childhood while she reflects on experiences through adult eyes. Hers a survivor’s story, a true testament to the power of the human spirit.

If You Tell, I Will Kill You represents more than a title. It is the stern warning Tim uses to hold Tonya captive in a prison built using intimidation and fear. As an adult who has “been healed from control and manipulation,” McLin uses her story to inspire and to inform.

Reports of abuse rarely reach the heart of the issue. McLin does what headlines fail to do: She provides victims with a voice and the knowledge that empowerment is possible. She also demonstrates that the effects of abuse last beyond the moment. I did not read this memoir, I felt it.

8/17/13

Free Multipurpose Wipes

Copy the link for a sample of Sandy's wipes:

http://www.sandywipes.com/offers/promotions/sample/

8/10/13

$10 Off Amazon Local Deal

Check your emails. Amazon Local sent subscribers a message that downloading then signing into the mobile app by 8/11 will gain them a $10 off promotional code. Redeem this code by 8/27.

8/5/13

Doughnut Plant, NYC

TV shows repeatedly showcase Doughnut Plant. I added the shop to my list of must-visit NYC eateries years ago in part due to the publicity; mostly due to its array of high quality ingredients and its flavor combos. Few in my inner circle would dare try foods infused with matcha green tea or lavender. Most balk when I profess my love of coconut or blueberries, especially in baked goods. Discovering these varieties and more at Doughnut Plant proved a bit overwhelming. Filled with house-made jam or not? Cake or yeast?  Add on fresh ice cream or flavored milk or juice meticulously processed by Doughnut Plant staff instead of some faraway vendor?

Doughnuts


Doughnuts
I ignored a Valrhona Chocolate doughnut tempting me from the display case. It looked too sinful. These pastries, after all, would pass as my breakfast instead of dessert.

The Coconut Lime cake and the Lavender Flower yeast varieties played like lullabies across my taste buds. Each exhibited subtle ingredient notes. The Fresh Blueberry yeast and Matcha Green Tea cake varieties popped on my palate.

Doughnut Plant's yeast offerings exhibit a chewiness and a density similar to ciabatta bread. I saved the lighter cake varieties for the next morning. They remained fresh without refrigeration.

SoZo Coffee Sample

Copy the link to access the form:

http://www.mycoffee365.com/stelmach/free-coffee

8/2/13

Free Paint Saturday

Visit Ace Hardware on 8/3 for a free quart of Clark + Kensington paint. The coupon is available on the retailer's site:

Clark + Kensington paint