Author Archive

March 26, 2014

Barcelona Wine Bar, A Tapas Lover’s Dream

by jmichael614

IMG_2878[1]In trying to be inconspicuous at a work dinner (my regular work dinner), the pictures for this great restaurant were less than satisfactory.  It doesn’t truly convey the great tapas options we had.  Everyone else at my table was a guy and a meat-eater but the waitress kindly asked everyone if there were any allergies or diet restrictions before we started our “$55/each” meal.  The rest of the night, I was offered only vegetarian options and there were quite a few.  I even ate Quail eggs for the first time (they made me want to be vegan- I don’t like the soft texture of the eggs).

The first round was a bread with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes on top of a glass of sherry, next came the olives tray (super spicy), followed by curry chickpeas, the quail egg and one or two more.  I don’t think it was worth $55 each but it was such a great dining experience or maybe it was the company but I really enjoyed myself.  It could have been the exceptional wait staff as well.  The place was packed when we sat down to eat at around 8:30 as well as the bar being full.   When we left around 11 pm, there was very few people except at the bar.  It is that warm atmosphere that you want in a restaurant/bar that keeps you coming back despite your rapidly depleting funds.

Barcelona is a great place to take a date for a romantic night out or even meet friends or coworkers at the bar.  Definitely a must-go if you’re in Stamford, CT!


March 7, 2014

To Celebrate Dr. Seuss Week… A TrueBar for The “You That Is Truer Than True”

by jmichael614

I love granola bars and especially ones with chocolate chips in them.  This Truebar, by Bakery on Main, has a more “homemade” taste and really hits the spot.  I loved that it has only whole ingredients and is Gluten Free to boot.  Plus it comes in a really cute pink wrapper.   Check them out at or find them in your local natural grocer.


February 19, 2014

The Dr. Oz Diet (combined with a little of this and a little of that)

by jmichael614
Berry Cobbler

Berry Cobbler Sweetened with Dates and Nut Crust

Let’s face it, I’m not meant to starve.  Not only do I love food but I am also still nursing my young toddler and need all the calories I can get just to make it through the day.   My mom is here for a while and she jumped on board with me when I said I wanted to try the Dr. Oz diet!

The diet itself is free online and can be found here:  It is easy to stick to as it’s basically mapped out for you.  There are some missing details that I’ve found though it might be more clear if you read through his blog and watch the videos he posted.

We took the liberty of adding “raw vegan” foods to our diet because we figured clean eating would be fine.  As long as we didn’t stray outside the boundaries he created (such as eating high GI foods).  We are also having decaf almond milk coffee sweetened with dates.  Dates are such a fantastic way of sweetening things, I might just keep it up.  I would love to find a really good date paste so I don’t have to emulsify dates every time I want to eat something.

Also, I hesitate to call this a diet because you could probably continue on like this (with some tweaks) on a regular basis.

Here are some tweaks that have probably slowed the “diet” process for us but have still produced weight loss while keeping us satiated:

1. Dates for sweetners
2. We have been eating the whole cleansing soup and not throwing away the veggies- waste not, want not
3. We have been having the “Mary’s Gone Crackers” with our Hummus to make it more tasty
4. We have had decaf coffee with almond milk but it is the only way I can keep myself from being tempted to go for my cafe con leche in the morning
5. Lots of nuts (he says a few handfuls and you should probably stick to this but we’re still learning) because we’re making desserts and dressings with nuts
6. We went to a raw vegan cafe (Greenwave Cafe, Plantation) and ate whatever we wanted on the menu as long as it was not High Glycemic veggie or had agave
7. We have been using some recipes from Ani Phyo’s raw cook book such as the raw flax pancakes that are delicious
8. Dr. Oz doesn’t really give too many vegetarian examples for protein for dinner but I have been using sprouted tofu “organic”
9. We have been using coconut oil instead of butter

It seems we have strayed a lot but really we haven’t and it’s only so we can make this long term and not just a short term fix.  I believe in life changes and I hope that I can change my eating habits.  This diet allows for protein and because I am not vegan, I will probably add in eggs after the 2 weeks is up.  Take of it what you will, I used the Dr. Oz diet as a launching point because I’ve been trying to change my eating since my son was born and just didn’t have the willpower.  This was easy enough while not being too depriving.

The good thing is that my cravings are finally going away, I am not craving my tostada as much today!  Victory.

February 3, 2014

Desserts Galore!!

by jmichael614

I think I’ve been eating way too many sweets this week.  I figured I might as well put it out there and let you know what I think about them, maybe something good will come of an expanding waist size!


This amazing little moon pie was found at a the SW Ranches Farmers Market on 5150 S Flamingo Road (a really cute little organic market in West Broward).  It was DEEEELICIOUS!  It’s huge, don’t let the packaging fool you because it’s like an inch thick.  I’m sure it’s tons of calories but I didn’t feel a bit guilty.

Unfortunately, the only thing I could find online was located in Wyoming so it may be that the farm itself produces these.

Either way, they are worth the drive for this wholesome treat and Sheila, who runs the store, is so friendly and offered us a taste of her sweet blood oranges.  My first time trying them and they were so good and fresh but I have to admit I felt a little carnivorous.

I also took a picture of my Sweet and Sarah Brown Rice Crispy treat and another little chocolate and almond butter treat from a company I have not previously heard of but the file has gotten lost in space.  I will tell you that the S&S treat tasted exactly like the original-super sweet and sticky goodness!  The other one was tasty but more like something I could make at home and not have to pay almost $5 for.  

For more info on S&S go to


And finally…..I’ve been wanting to post this review for a week because I had the most exciting, delicious Gelato the other day at the Food Truck rally in Plantation Woods Park!  OMG spicy!  It was Mexican chipotle gelato dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in pistachios (my own concoction).  I love that this food truck allows you to choose the dip and the crumples for your gelato and it’s the first time I’ve had gelato in bar form.  So much fun to eat and it tastes amazing! HipPops is the name of the truck so please follow them wherever they may lead you!

Have your cake and eat it too!  Just make sure you work out afterwards.

January 27, 2014

Pei Wei’s Thai Lime and Chile, Tons of Veggies (if you catch them on the right day)

by jmichael614


This beautiful concoction is Pei Wei’s new Lime and Chile with Tofu option- see all that amazing green?  It’s lightly sauced, fresh and full of nutrients.   This is two weeks ago’s portion.

Below is last week’s portion:


What happened Pei Wei?  Seriously?  How could it differ so greatly?  Not only that but their website has been funky for two weeks now.  I’m still a fan but these little kinks definitely need to be worked on.  Pei Wei responded to our requests for change and we hope that they get implemented soon!

January 27, 2014

Holy Cow it’s Been a Long Time!

by jmichael614

We’ve been doing reviews in our hearts, we promise!  I have about a hundred posts I could write but we’ll start one by one.  Stay tuned!

November 25, 2013

Kitchen 305- Thank You For Not Throwing Us Out Of The Restaurant

by jmichael614

The hubs and I trekked down to Sunny Isles for his 30-something birthday (he’s getting up there).  We had the kid in tow and these days it’s touch and go whether or not he’ll sit for more than five minutes at a table.  Thankfully Kitchen 305 has some really nice waiters as well as a very large “private” dining area that was mostly empty so my 14 month old could run around in circles for 30 minutes while we traded off eating.

photo1  I know this isn’t the audience for it but they have all you can eat stone crabs on Friday night and stone crabs are one of the hubs’ favorite so I selflessly booked a reservation for him.  However, they do have some great vegetarian items on the menu including some delicious salads (one they let me customize by changing out the spinach for mixed greens) and some tasty flatbreads.  I didn’t even finish my meal because I was running around with the kiddo but it was good- what I was able to eat of it.

Check them out if you’re looking for a nice romantic night out or if you’re in the mood for some healthy grub (or if you have a significant other than loves seafood).

Pictured is their “spinach salad” that I made into a mixed greens; it was delicious:

Spinach Salad

Baby spinach, cranberries, gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts with warm caramelized onion vinaigrette

November 12, 2013

Mandolin, Mid- Town Greek/Turkish Cuisine

by jmichael614


My sister-in-law and I were downtown on Saturday and stopped by “Mandolin” with the cookie (my son, for those of you who are new) to have some lunch.  The place is very non-descript except for a valet sign out front.  I would have never noticed it driving by.  It’s definitely a treasure in the heart of Miami with it’s gorgeous waiters, outdoor covered dining and healthy selections.

We both decided to get the samplers for lunch- she got the Turkish and I chose the Greek but switched out the Tarama (fish rowe) for the tomato walnut dip.  I have to be honest and say that it wasn’t the most delicious meal I’ve had but it was simple and I had a choice of adding cucumbers or the endless “complimentary” bread-  I chose both and was happy with it.

I’m guessing that the mushroom sandwich is probably quite tasty, I will definitely be going back if just for the cool atmosphere!  For more information on them, please check out their website:

October 23, 2013

We’re Still Here!

by jmichael614

With the holidays approaching, we have been super busy but we’re still here!  New stories and reviews are coming…….

September 3, 2013

Baklava to Die For by Natalie

by jmichael614

I have a great friend who is of Moroccan and Israeli descent.  I met her through an online moms group and we’ve been friends ever since, I love her (in the purest sense of course).  She’s not only taught me the value of being an incredible host, she also taught me how to make baklava, my absolute favorite dessert.

Baklava Piece

This past weekend I invited myself over for a culinary lesson on how to make this delicate dessert and was pleasantly surprised to find out that though it is a lengthy process, it’s relatively easy.  I’m not going to give away the entire recipe because I know she’s going to start her own bakery or online blog one day and this will be in it but I’ll give you a teaser.  She looked up a recipe online but changed it to make it amazing.  There is one key ingredient that I will let you find for yourself, I won’t list it:

Here are the main ingredients:
Phyllo Dough (one package should be plenty)
Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice does amazing
Zest of lemon
Tons of Walnuts (amazing- I always thought it was pecans)


We first started the sauce as it needs to cool for about an hour in the fridge so it’s a little thicker.  Then, we went about layering the phyllo: 2 pieces at a time, buttering them.  After each 8 layers, we would add the nuts (nuts should be toasted for max taste and then blended to a crumble consistency).  Remember:  DO NOT ADD THE SAUCE UNTIL AFTER IT’S BAKED!  Before baking, cut diagonal/diamond pieces from the top layer only.  This way, the layers underneath also get a good crisp.

We baked it for about 30-40 minutes allowing it to get nice and brown.  Next, allow it to cool for a few minutes and finish cutting it so the syrup will be able to reach all the lower extremities.  Pour the syrup and and enjoy this decadent dessert.

We took half a pan home and it was done within two days.  We now cannot leave the house because we’re too fat but at least we’re happy!

Thank you to Natalie Abernathy for such an amazing recipe!


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