With Love

You know what I think is great? It seems that there are more and more conscientious people starting up businesses. With that, means that we actually have more choices. Choices that support whatever morals and values we may agree with. Something that I prioritize is being aware of how I, a person, may affect another person or anything else in the world.  How something I may be doing could either benefit something else or contribute towards a seemingly vicious cycle. I’d say the decisions I make for myself, for the most part, are ones that I feel at peace with; from how I treat myself and others, to not littering, to the food I eat. Whatever it is that you believe in, those beliefs are expressed and reflected in so many different ways. Yeah, I know it’s not up to no one person to save the world, but we can make it a more peaceful place. Awhile back I was sent some granolas by Love Grown Foods to sample and share. I am a lover of granolas, and there are few things that make a great recipe in my eyes. First, let me share with you what Love Grown Foods is all about: Here at LOVE GROWN FOODS, we take pride in the fact that all of our recipes are made with LOVE!

  • Free of Refined Sugar
  • Free of High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Free of Trans Fats
  • Free of Hydrogenated Oils
  • Free of Artificial Flavors
  • Free of Preservatives
  • Free of Gluten (my gluten-intolerant mom’s stamp of approval)
  • Free of Genetically Modified Ingredients

“[...] we choose ingredients that are wholesome and nutritious.”

When I read what their intentions are behind the yummy things they make–well, it’s nice to know that some companies are started have real people with hearts behind them, and actually care about people’s well-being. And honestly, who purposely adds hydrogenated oils to their food when they’re making something in their own kitchen? Although some may do it accidentally when they cook with an oil at a higher temperature than its burning point. Anyway, let’s get to the real test because in the end I’m pretty simple… it’s taste that matters to me.

What’s a shake doing here?
A shake with cookie dough balls at that?
Ah yes we’ve found the golden… er chocolate nugget

That’s actually one of my criteria for what makes a good granola–chunks! And lots of them. This was the ‘Cocoa Goodness’ flavor, for all the chocolate lovers out there. On top of the oats being dusted in 100% cocoa powder, they also use 63% dark chocolate chips. Oh yeah. This granola would say “psh and so what” to anyone that laughs it off as hippie food.

It also passed the ‘lighter than a feather’ test.

Sidenote: that ‘shake’  was Angela’s recipe (highly recommended by moi) for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ‘Blizzard’.

Next up was the ‘Raisin Almond Crunch’.
Look at all of the almonds!

Comparatively speaking, this flavor wasn’t my favorite (doesn’t mean it’s bad) out of the three I was sent, but this granola gets an A+ for texture. I’ll give it a B+ for taste.

Sweet Cranberry Pecan
This was my favorite!

The granola all the kids hated because it always got extra credit in grade school: A++…+! Personifying these granolas makes for a more interesting review, don’t you think?

You’ve got taste, texture, and oh gosh… the pecans!

How can you go wrong? You can’t. When I first tried it, it was straight out of the bag and I almost ate the whole thing. Then I thought to myself “hey, save some for tomorrow!” Actually all of the granolas had me munching out of the bag. In fact, each one lasted me two or three days tops. I think by now you can tell what I think about Love Grown Foods’ granola. Take my word for it.

Gluten-free granolas lead me to other gluten-free recipes.

Flourless Coconut Pancakes (Gluten-Free)

Adapted from Alejandra

Serves 2

Ingredients

2  eggs

1/4 cup regular coconut milk*

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon coconut sugar (you can use another sweetener)

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, finely ground

Directions

1. Mix the eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and salt in a bowl.

2. In another bowl, combine the baking powder and ground coconut.

3. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Make sure to mix well.

4. Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat, then warm up a bit of coconut oil.

5. Spoon the batter onto a skillet. Only make a couple at a time so the pancakes don’t ooze into each other. Let cook until edges start to brown, then flip and let cook for a minute or so on the other side.

* I suggest using regular coconut milk to get a thicker pancake, but light was what I had on hand.

*You can grind the shredded coconut into a fine powder by placing it in a blender or food processor.

Coconut flour. Check.
Delicious pancakes. Check.
My mom’s happy belly. Triple check.

I especially made these for my mom, and she raved about them. I topped them with her favorite fruits, shredded coconut, and maple syrup. I tried only a small bite since eggs are hard for me to digest, but from what I tasted it was very yummy.

Place on your favorite plates and enjoy!

Do you guys like to cook special recipes for someone you care about?

Have you tried Love Grown Foods’ granola?

p.s. I know the reading blogs may be the last thing on some people’s minds right now, but I hope that everyone that is in the path of Hurricane Irene is safe. Mother Nature’s ways can sometimes be a force that puts us humans in a very different place at times. “Storms are one of nature’s ways of moving heat around, and high temperatures at the ocean surface tend to feed hurricanes and make them stronger.” [Source.] So if you may be affected try not to think about how this hurricane is ridiculous and ruining your plans, but rather focus on staying safe and hopefully you’ve got a comedian nearby to cheer you up.

p.s.s. I loved your responses to my post on skincare, and I want to talk about that in another post.

On the Topic of Skin

My skin is something that I try to take care of. I haven’t been blessed with smooth and clear skin, so it takes a bit more TLC on my part. I think skin is such a beautiful thing, and when it feels soft and glows… it’s just so admirable to me. I also think it’s a reflection of what’s going on inside of ours bodies. When we don’t get enough sleep all of a sudden our eyes start accessorizing with purple bags. Recently though I’ve been getting tiny bumps along the contours of my face, and I don’t like the way it feels right now. I’m not sure if it’s from being active, hormones, a combination of things, or what; but I’ve been incorporating some things that should make these little bumps start to go away. Actually, I think a swim in the ocean would help out a lot as well! Ocean water is so healing.

I used my parents’ juicer all by myself for the first time.
This is not a “monster smoothie” here.
This is Peggy K’s “BeYOUtifying Cleansing Cocktail”.

Remember the book review and giveaway I did awhile ago featuring Peggy K’s “Must Have Been Something I Ate“? Well, this recipe was definitely calling out to me since I’ve been having some skin problems lately.

Every other week I’ll make a clay mask.

I use either French green clay or bentonite clay in combination with apple cider vinegar (I wouldn’t advise this for sensitive or dry skin). There are other great combinations like using yogurt, essential oils, honey, or even coconut milk. Here are a few links that I find useful: facial mask ingredients, and homemade face masks.

Evening my skin out from scars… picking is a no-no!

I’ve also been getting facials done weekly as well (tip: check out if a beauty school near you offers services to the public for good deals). When I was 15 I went to beauty school instead of summer camp to become a licensed esthetician, but doing a facial on yourself just isn’t the same. Part of its benefits come from being able to relax during the treatment. It’s one of those times when falling asleep is actually a compliment.

Beet crust = rosy cheeks according to my mom.

Another one of Brendan Brazier’s recipes! The  Sunflower Seed Beet Pizza was calling out to me when I was browsing through the recipes. The crust alone is so delicious! There was just something about it… it was salty, sweet, earthy, crunchy, and slightly oily all at the same time!

I followed his suggestion and made the Sweet Pepper Hemp Pesto as the pizza sauce.
Toppings!
Out of the oven (at a lower than usual temperature).
I could eat this all day.
After trying that delicious “pizza” recipe I wanted to try another one: Sweet Potato Sesame Pizza.

I thought the crust looked amazing! I also used an Okinawan sweet potato for this, so the flavor was a bit sweeter I think.

Similar toppings
But a very different taste

For the sauce I made his recipe for Creamy Nutritional Yeast Sauce, and I also sprinkled on some of Bragg’s sprinkle seasoning.

I think my favorite part of the “pizzas” was the crust.
Many of us have “beauty secrets”…

And I was wondering, what are some of yours? Who knows maybe you have the same secrets as someone else, or you may learn something you didn’t know. So I encourage you to read other people’s responses and perhaps start a conversation!

I’ve got some more secrets that I’m going to share in another post.

The Root of It

Your responses on my last post were so kind! Thank you for your words and encouragement. I think since right now I’m going through a major transition period in my life (fresh out of college)… it sometimes feels like everything is new to me. Including my blog.

On another note, I wanted to share one of the many things that have been on my mind. I was thinking back on when I went to Colombia a couple years ago, and stayed with my grandparents for a month. They do almost everything there the old-fashioned way. From melting a chocolate tablet in boiling milk and whisking it vigorously to make hot cocoa, to washing the laundry by hand and leaving it out to dry on the line. I love going to places where you really get a sense of how things are made. No special equipment made for convenience sake. Instead you become in tune with the primal way of preparing something. That’s one of the reasons that keeps me interested in cooking. I just think it’s awesome that what grows from this earth can be eaten and we can flourish.

I also think it’s interesting to see why parts of the world have an abundance of certain foods. For instance, you can find so many rye breads in Northern Europe. Did you know that wheat grows poorly there?

Rice is a crop that is available in abundance, so I’m going to share a delicious recipe using this grain.

Brown Rice Salad

Ingredients

3 cups cooked brown rice 
3 green onions, chopped (about 1 cup) 
1/2  red bell pepper, seeded and diced 
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced 
1 carrot, grated 
1 green apple, cored and diced 
1 cup finely shredded cabbage (green and purple)
1/2 cup golden raisins

Dressing
1/2 cup Vegenaise (or regular mayonnaise)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar 
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
2 teaspoons curry powder 

Directions

1. Place the rice in a large salad bowl, then add green onions, bell pepper, celery, carrot, apple, cabbage, and raisins.

2. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, mix Vegenaise, vinegar, mustard, and curry powder.

3. Pour over salad and toss to mix.

The fruits mixed with the tangy dressing makes for a refreshing summer salad! Actually, if you like cole slaw, I think you will enjoy this as well.

I never noticed the purple hue on artichoke hearts until the other day.
Recently, I tried an ancient recipe… manna bread.

I didn’t make it myself, although I do have the ingredients on hand now, so I just need to get to soaking. I’ve heard about Nature’s Path’s Manna Bread from various people, and have always been curious to try it. I decided to try out the ‘Cinnamon Date’ loaf.

For breakfast with coconut butter, a glass of almond milk, and a crisp apple.
The bread was so dense and moist that it almost seemed like a slice of cake! Delicious too.

Supposedly, manna bread has been around since BCE. Now that is a lay of the land recipe, don’t you think?

Simple salads have been making their way on to the kitchen table.
Simple salads with plenty of avocado.
And a salad for the kale lovers!

My mother is definitely a kale lover, so when I saw Natalie’s recipe for Marinated Kale Salad I was on it ASAP! Tahini dressing is not something I usually have, but it makes me raise my eyebrow in interest as soon as I hear about it. The process of preparing this salad really did break the kale’s toughness down, and there was no cooking involved (besides roasting the beets). Simple and delicious.

What’s something that has recently truly fascinated you?

What's Interesting?

I was looking back at some posts… reminiscing… and I couldn’t help but notice how things have changed. I believe that everything changes, and that it’s just a part of life. But I’ve noticed that for awhile I seemed to have lost interest in myself in a certain regard. Or perhaps I got use to being so busy that I could only skim over things, not being able to share much of myself. I have had interests… in other things though. But I think it’s also important to wonder at yourself; to genuinely be interested in who you are, and the things you do. The saying goes “treat others how you’d like to be treated,” but don’t forget to treat yourself how you’d like to be treated as well.  To have interest in myself. So with that I want to reflect more of myself into my blog again. When I was going to school I was focused on finishing up, and I think that’s when my posts started to seem more like lists of things I’ve made in the kitchen. Every once in awhile I’d share what was on my mind, but I want to do that again more often because there’s a lot to write about. Not to mention, reading what you all have to say is the most interesting part!

Bulgarian yogurt?

It’s slightly more sour-tasting than other yogurts, and in Bulgaria it’s known as “sour milk”. It’s made using just these two different strains of bacteria: Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus. So since there are no other chemicals you can easily “grow” your own yogurt just by pouring some more milk in the jar.

A tasty way to wake up: Bulgarian yogurt, raisins, raw oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and cinnamon.
Another electrifying breakfast!
I made Brendan Brazier’s “Banana Chocolate Pancakes” recipe…
Toppings of choice were sunflower seed butter and maple syrup.

These weren’t like your average light and fluffy pancakes. These were dense and rather moist, with so much chocolate flavor!

Another one of Brendan Brazier’s recipes (I’ve been making them a lot lately): Toasted Apple Cinnamon Cereal
A cereal that actually kept me full!

I loved the crunchiness from the seeds, the graininess, and how it tasted very wholesome. My taste buds recently have become very sensitive to saltiness and sweetness, preferring earthier flavors.

I haven’t posted anything fashion-related in awhile, but I recently got a top that I absolutely love!
Even though it’s very effortless looking, there are small details that make it special.
The front has various textures.

I bet you can guess where I found it!

Awhile ago I was contacted by Rudi’s Organic Bakery to try out some of their breads. I’ve enjoyed their breads before, and I recommend them if you’re looking for a store-bought loaf of bread (great gluten-free options as well).

“Honey Sweet Whole Wheat”
So good with almond butter and a sliced Asian pear!

This bread has little bit of honey that makes it taste extra satisfying, especially with Irish butter.

Sunflower seed butter + sprouts + hummus =  a surprisingly tasty combination

I also got to try out “7 Grain with Flax” which was great for sandwiches! You get a little crunch and nuttiness from the seeds, and it tastes different than whole wheat bread since they use seven different grains. Have you guys tried Rudi’s bread?

 A little bread for dipping into soups?

I know soup may be the last thing on some of your minds, but this one is still delicious even slightly warmed.

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped

1 1/2 cups sweet potato, chopped

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked

4 cups broccoli florets, chopped and steamed

salt, to taste

Directions

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.

2. Put the carrots, sweet potato, and onions in the pot and cook for about 10-20 minutes depending on how small you cut the pieces.

3. In a blender throw in the cashews, salt, and a bit of the cooked veggies + liquid. Make sure it’s only a little bit of the cooked mixture because at first you really want to blend the cashews well to get that creamy consistency.

4. Once that is blended, pour in the rest of the cooked vegetables and liquid and blend. Then blend in the broccoli as well to a smooth, creamy consistency. This may take a couple minutes.

I sprinkled it with Bragg’s Sprinkle Seasoning and voila! There’s a delicious soup.

So to begin this reconnection I would love to know if you guys have any blog recommendations. I haven’t ventured out on to new blogs in such a long time, and it’d be nice to see what different people are up to. I have two for you! A great style blog, and another one about all sorts of things written by a beautiful lady.

Eating Local for the Fun-Lover

Hi everyone! I hope everyone has been enjoying their day. My posts have been so sporadic lately, and I really want to make them more frequent again. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m late in the conversation, you know what I mean? Anyway, I wanted to share a wonderful guest post with you all. One that I think you may find very interesting! Perhaps you can plan a day around some of these ideas that are in the article. So I’ll just stop giving clues, and let James Kim take it away!

You have probably already heard the benefits of eating local: it strengthens the local economy, keeps money within the community, supports farmers, preserves farmland — the list goes on and on. While eating local can be a bit cumbersome (you can’t just go to the grocery store and mindlessly shop anymore), it can also be way more fun than eating a “regular” diet. That’s right, eating local is fun. So how can you jazz up your local routine? Here are some ways to put the fun back into your meal planning.

Food Festivals

Food festivals are a great way to get your hands on local foods and meet local farmers. Get involved with your community by competing in a cherry pie or pumpkin-carving competition at a local festival. Sometimes, these festivals even hold tutorials on how to grow your own crops or garden. Find a food festival within 100 miles of your city by visiting the Pick Your Own website.

Road Trip

Everyone loves a road trip. While driving too far would completely defeat the purpose of eating local, you can stay within your local boundaries (which some define to be about 100-200 miles) and visit a farm. This will take you to the outskirts of your town, allowing you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A farm visit can provide both an educational tour and local food. Try visiting a dairy farm, winery, or distillery in your area. You can find local farms by using the Eat Wild website.

Another great way to get out of the city for a day is to take a trip to a u-pick farm, which allows you to pick your own food, then pay for what you’ve picked when you’re done.  Try the Pick Your Own website to find a u-pick farm near you.

Throw a Local Food Potluck

Send out an invite and throw a little “local-food” potluck. This is a fantastic way to get other people to start eating local. Once your friends taste how much fresher local food is, they won’t be able to go back to their grocery store eats!

Source.

Preserve

Make your local foods last through preservation. Try your hand at drying, preserving, canning, or even freezing. You can make tons of things with your local leftovers like marinades, salad dressings, jams, jellies, or pickled veggies. Buy a book on preservation to get the low-down on FDA approved methods, or just visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Eating local has never been so enjoyable. You can go to festivals, take road trips, throw parties, and start a hobby, like preserving. But remember, barely anyone lives in a region fertile enough to grow everything necessary for a balanced diet all year round. When you can’t eat local, try organic grocers like Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Central Market. Good luck and happy eating!

James Kim is a writer for foodonthetable.com.  Food on the Table is a company that provides online budget meal planning services.  Their goal is to help families eat better and save money.

And I’ll catch you sooner than later!

Traveling in the Kitchen

Oh gosh! There’s so much catching up to do! I’ve been back in Florida for a couple of weeks, but I have some things that I want to share with you from before I even left for Toronto. So get ready!

And hold on tight

Let’s see… how have I been enjoying the summer’s endless heat?

By making water a more refreshing beverage.

Slicing up lemons, limes, cucumbers, and a handful of mint leaves, and letting it all sit for a couple hours in a jug of water is all it takes.

One of my mom’s friends gave us mangoes from her backyard!

You can tell how delicious these were just by looking at them.

I’ve also been making smoothies.

 I made this particular one with Greek yogurt, honey, almond milk, peaches, and cinnamon.

Taste testing… not quite there yet.
Passed the test.
Yowza that was good!
I’ve also been loving strawberries in the mix.
Sadly, coconut butter is too shy to mix and mingle.
Of course I’ve been keeping up with my weekly batch of raw vegan treats.

I’ve recently made Averie’s No-Bake Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites and Kelsey’s Cocoa Coconut Energy Balls. Both should be under your bookmarks if they aren’t already.

I’m serious.
This may not be a typical cool summer meal.

I sautéed some yellow squash, crumbled tofu, and diced sweet potato with Bragg’s flavorful Organic Seasoning. Drizzle some coconut butter, and I sealed the deal. By the way that sprinkle has 24 herbs and spices that add lots of flavor. Even if I don’t know what to cook I just use some of this and I instantly have a tasty dish. Thanks to my old roommate introducing me to this it’s now one of my secret weapons.

Taken out by the poolside while the weather was hopefully cooling down (not by much).
With a nice cold glass of refreshing water.
Ahh yes… the morning is another part of the day I can enjoy outside without melting into a puddle of sweat…
And drool.
I’ve also made up a recipe recently.

Can you guess what it is? Himalayan Zucchini Bread! This is an eclectic loaf of zucchini bread inspired by the Eastern world and 101 Cookbook’s Special Zucchini Bread. Check it.

Himalayan Zucchini Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

3/4 cup almonds, chopped

2 1/2 tbl poppy seeds or even chia seeds

2 tsp lemon zest

4 peanut ginger chews, finely chopped

1/4 cup goji berries

3 tbl shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar

1 large egg, or egg replacer

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 zucchinis, grated

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour mix

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tbl curry powder

*Don’t be daunted by the long ingredient list*

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan, and dust it with a bit of flour then set aside.
2. In a bowl combine the almonds, poppy seeds, lemon zest, shredded coconut, goji berries, and ginger. Set aside.
3. In another bowl mix the coconut oil with the honey, and then add the coconut sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and curry powder.
5. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
6. Fold in the almonds, poppy seed, lemon zest, goji berries, shredded coconut, and crystalized ginger mixture by hand. Set a bit aside so you can sprinkle on the the zucchini loaf before baking to add a little crunch. Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist.
7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and bake for about 40-45 minutes. Don’t over bake it though to keep it moist. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about ten minutes. Then let it finish cooling on wire rack. It’ll get moist and sweaty if you leave them in the pan.
Each ingredient is special in this recipe
That’s not all.
Wolfberries, also known as goji berries.
And somehow by the time this loaf was done baking I had flown to Asia and back.

So now that I’ve shared this recipe with you, here are some tips to go along with it. I soaked the almonds beforehand to add to the bread’s dense bite. I also thought of the recipes I’ve made where zucchini and almonds held hands in the most delicious way. I love coming up with kitchen experiments, being inspired by  places I want to travel to and let my mind go.

Check it out!

Now take a bite into a slice of this and you’ve got a spiced and moist bread, with some crunch and the most unique flavor.

Enjoy it for breakfast with coconut butter.

Recently, I’ve been letting a bag of green tea steep in a glass of cold water overnight.

And beautiful fresh mission figs, medjool dates, bee pollen, and honey over some Greek yogurt.
I hope you all have a relaxing weekend… 
Or one packed with adventures!

Celebrating in New York Part 3

Greetings everyone! This is the final recap of my multi-destination trip, and then we’ll jet down to Florida to see what’s been going on in the land of sunshine (and afternoon tropical storms that last five minutes).

Now where did we leave off?

Ahh yes! One rainy afternoon while I was in New York City, I had planned to go to The Met. I cheerfully walked down Park Ave. with my umbrella in hand because I knew exactly where I was going. I had been anticipating going to The Met.

A guest
Ancient Egyptian history use to be an obsession of mine back in grade school.
And it still fascinates me!
This sculpture’s beauty demanded me to stop in awe.

While I was at The Met I also checked out the Savage Beauty exhibit. It exhibits the late designer’s, Alexander McQueen, incredible creations. Photos were not allowed, but I wanted to share some of the collection with you. I remember waking up when I was little to watch runway shows and McQueen was my favorite out of all of them. His shows were theatrical and beautifully demented. When I was walking through the show I couldn’t help but cry. He did something with materials that transcended just an item of clothing… something only a master of them could do. Anybody that would look at his designs could see that fashion can be an art. Not just because of the skill, but as an actual expression. McQueen expressed a lot of his ideas on politics, culture, and identity through his collections. All done with such precision that only a mathematical fraction could match.

Source.

Source.

Source.

Source.

Source.

You can see more from the exhibition here: Savage Beauty.

I love that you can dine in elegance at the museum.
All the while live classical music is playing.
However, my stomach did not have anymore patience to spare to wait to be seated…

So I headed on over to the Whole Foods hot bar. I tried one of EVERYTHING!

The last day that I had time to go adventuring I checked out Chelsea Market.

Last time I had gone was during the middle of the day on a weekday. This time around I went on a Saturday, and it was so busy!

Row upon rows of baking racks at Amy’s Bread.
Hmm… an almond butter I’d never seen before.
I would love this!

Look at all of those sliced almond bits. Crunchy nut butters are my preference.

And I picked up some tasty chocolates as well: ginger, orange, and early grey.

If you’re looking for a new dark chocolate to try I suggest Dolfin’s Early Grey. It’s an interesting combination done well!  You also get a slightly gritty texture since the actual tea is laced in the chocolate. But it’s not too textural much, so the chocolate can also just melt on your tongue.

Before I headed out I stopped by my favorite store… Anthropologie.
I looked down an spotted a book of poetry by Pablo Neruda.
Chelsea Market was close to my picnic destination–the Highline.

I first came here during late fall when it was cold. The park definitely looked different this time around.

I used a Whole Foods container to bring my own salad.

I made a lentil salad mixed with avocado and herb-roasted potatoes all tossed with greens and other random veggies.

I love the contrast of concrete and plants that the Highline has.
Afterwards I made my way down a quiet street.
I wanted to check out the Antiques Garage Flea Market.

This flea market has so many vendors selling all sorts of things! If you are in the mood to just peruse with time to spare, then I suggest you go here. I love looking through old things. They even had stacks of old plant biology illustrations.

I actually didn’t know about this place’s claim to fame until after the fact.

 I was searching for tea places to go to, and when I saw pictures of The Russian Tea Room’s interior I knew that I had to go just to see it in person. Turns out they’ve shot Sex and the City and other New York City quintessentials like Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and “New York Stories”.

Taking you back in time in all of its over-the-top glory.
Then something else caught my eye.
Macarons!

There were so many to choose from that I actually left empty-handed. Well, not completely. Seeing this colorful display instantly lifted my spirits. Feeling down? Just look at a rainbow made of macarons!

As with most of my trips to New York a lot of my time was spent alone. I didn’t realize this until now, but I guess in a way I was traveling alone. It was fun because I felt like I was in a game, hopping to the next space. I like imagining New York City as a game board. Do any of you like to be solo-adventurers? Ever thought of it?