Author Archive

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!

August 27, 2013

Momma Veg’s Organic, Wild Salad (with things you can find in the woods)!

by jmichael614

Wild Lamb’s Quarter

CAM00019I’ve told you before about my mom: she has been in the peace corp, traveled around the world and would be the only person I would trust to save me from an apocalypse.  She knows what types of plants you can eat in the wild and she basically lives in a completely eco-friendly home.

I asked her to send me pictures of her wild salad she has been eating at home and wanted to share with you so you can see how vibrant and edible plants just outside your doorstep may be (please be sure to consult an edible plant book before consuming anything)!

This is what she says: Salad made out of wild lamb’s quarter, Dandelion greens, sheep sorrel, mint, and from my little porch garden-arugula and parsley. I topped it off with feta cheese, raw pumpkin seeds and a ginger and sesame seed dressing-yum!


August 19, 2013

Palace Indian Food

by jmichael614

I had a complete breakdown this weekend.  There was my tired, crying baby in the car and I was trying to put the stroller in the trunk to no avail.  I finally threw it into the front seat in complete frustration.  This was after my son had thrown food on the floor and tried taking everything off the table at the restaurant where he and I “tried” to dine.  Thankfully, those wonderfully friendly guys that worked at the Palace in Davie, were super nice.  They came by several times just to say hi to my son and didn’t sneer at me when I only ordered chai and samosas.  We eventually made it home but I wish I had more time to try some of their other menu items!

The samosas were really tasty and filled with more than just potato.  The chai was good but it didn’t have any sugar in it and there was no sugar on the table.  I’m sure they would have been accommodating but with my son, you have to eat like you’re at a sprint so I just stuffed everything down and left as soon as I could to avoid complete chaos at the table.

Be sure to check them out next time you’re in Davie, hopefully you have more time to enjoy their cuisine than I did!

August 5, 2013

Soyka in Midtown Miami

by jmichael614

I had brunch with a great friend on Saturday at Soyka, a popular place in Midtown, Miami.  I’ve been here so many times but it’s been years since my “Miami Herald” days so it was nice to revisit this great staple!


Soyka is one of those places that could be very elegant or very laid back depending on your mood.  They also have a really small, cute area outside where you can sit with your beau or your BFF and chat with more privacy.  I adore everything about it, including the relatively inexpensive menu and the numerous choices.

This weekend, I went all out and ordered the french toast with ice cream (yes, it’s a menu item for brunch)!  Both items on their own probably wouldn’t be anything super to rave about but together they make a smashing combination.  If my son hadn’t been tearing up the table and spilling water everywhere (along with crying and pulling my glasses off – don’t hold it against him because he’s got three nasty teeth snaggling their way through) I would have probably ordered some coffee and maybe slowed down to enjoy it some more instead of inhaling it.

Whew, that was long-winded, so sorry!  I’m sure you get the point, it is an absolute must try for mid-town dining and for you out-of-towners, to try.

For more info or to look at their menu, go to    They have some really great options for Vegetarians!

July 18, 2013

Dehydrating fruits!

by jmichael614

I just got my new dehydrator and am so excited to be drying my own fruits and veggies. My first batch turned out pretty good – strawberries, bananas and blueberries. I’m going to try veggie crisps next!  I got this cute dehydrator with my rewards points so it was doubly amazing!   I had read some reviews that weren’t too flattering but I haven’t experienced anything negative yet so I’m loving my free dehydrator.

Here is a link to a few good ones that I’ve heard about: or

Or if you want something simple that just gets the job done without too much out of pocket, here is a link to mine:

I think the biggest negative can be the time (mine recommends 24 hours- eek for most things).  The Ronco also does not have any settings, it’s just “plugged in and go” or nothing.  Depends on the level of dehydrating you’re planning on doing.  My strawberries were sliced thin and pretty much done after about 15 hours.  Plug it in overnight and most things will be done by the next morning as far as I can see.  Thicker pieces will obviously take longer.  My little raspberries and blueberries were not cut up so they took the full 24 hours.  I’m sure if you blended them and did fruit roll ups or something, it would be faster.

Cannot wait to do more!


July 2, 2013

Cake Ball Cake! A work in progress- I still have three months ;)

by jmichael614

This is just a quick post- I’m working on perfecting my son’s first birthday cake! Let’s just say it’s a work in progress (I never said I was an amazing baker).

June 17, 2013

Om Nom Nom (Cookies)

by jmichael614


I’ve been wanting to try these Nom Nom Vegan cookies for a while and yesterday I finally got to snag one from the Sitter City booth at Parrot Jungle during the Father’s Day event.  Isn’t that a great name for a cookie?  The name says everything- yummy!  The Spicy Mexican Snickerdoodle was delicious, couldn’t even tell it was Vegan and the spicy was a great kick!

I think I might try to see if they have something special for my son’s first birthday.   Cookies might be a great first birthday treat!  I tried looking online for special orders but it looks like their site seems to be down right now.  Hopefully by the time you read this, it will  be back up and you’ll be able to check it out!  I’ll be going back even if they don’t do special orders but just sayin’ that blueberry Cookie Monster cookies are on my wishlist for his first ;0).

They are located in the Miami area so if you’re local, definitely check them out.  They also have cookie “spottings” around town that they list on their website.  If you’re outside of Miami, order online!

♥ For Om Nom Nom

Jungle Island Father’s day!

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May 22, 2013

Organic Rice Cakes for Babies- Happy Munchies

by jmichael614

My son is still trying to figure out eating so I’m giving him larger food items to teach him.  I haven’t figured out the whole “baby-led weaning” myself so it’s a work in progress.   These rice cakes are a good step in the right direction though!

I just ordered from Citrus Lane (link here:, a service that sends out goodies once a month for your baby or child.  This month’s box came with some stacking bowls, a baby book teaching about clocks and time, some dish soap for babies, a very nice lavender tube for mom (love that they include mom in these boxes) and this wonderful little bag of rice cakes.

I’m not big on rice cakes because I think they taste like cardboard but these nifty little snacks are only 140 calories and are made of brown rice and fruit!  The blueberry and beat make them very tasty.  In fact, the hubs and I ate the whole bag once we figured out that our 8 month old needs some time to get used to eating them.  I think in a month, he might figure it out but right now he cries and gags even though he likes the flavor.

I will definitely be going out and purchasing some more of Happy Munchies food items, in fact I already have their oatmeal and puffs at home so I know their products are good.  I might just buy a few more bags for myself in the process.


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