Partaaaay!

Yep. I’m lame. But it’s my birthday, so I’ll dance if I want to.

You know where it’s always a party? Times Square!

Taxi-tastic!

🙂

Grand Central Station. Glam.

“I have a big head, and little arms!”

MSG!

Sp

Fenway Park 🙂

Which inspired this…

I legitimately went on a Green Monster rampage and bought a shirt that says Green Monstah. I may or may not have worn it four times in the few days that I have been home.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Boston Common!

You know I used copious amounts of hand sanitizer after this.

Honestly, I felt like I’d won a dream vacation when I went on this trip. It was a party the whole time! 🙂 I had such a fantastic adventure, and I’m so glad I can share my experiences with you all through my blog. I couldn’t help but want to pass on the happiness from One Lucky Duck…which leads me to the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The winner of my $10 One Lucky Duck gift card!

*drumroll please*

And the winner of the One Lucky Duck giftcard, randomly chosen by random.org, is commenter #28, Alex from Spoonful of Sugar Free!

Congrats, Alex. Drop a comment here with your e-mail and I’ll send red rover …erm..your gift card on over.

Thanks to everyone who entered, you really made my first giveaway a great success. I’ve got another one planned for pretty soon, so be in the lookout for it 🙂

Now I’m off to enjoy my day and party. Cause I want to.

One Sexy Fruit

July 24, 2010

Looking for my giveaway?

No, I’m not talking about Neil Patrick Harris.

But isn’t he lovely?

I’m actually talkin’ bout a certain berry.

Look at that baby.

Strawberries are oh so healthy. Here’s a short list of some of the goodies packed inside these plump, juicy cuties.

-Vitamin C

-Potassium

-Folate

-Flavanoids and antioxidants

-Iodine

-Fiber

-Zinc (which is why Gillain McKeith calls them a “sexy” fruit *cough*)

-Amazing taste!

I love summer because of strawberry season. It comes and goes rather quickly, but while it’s here, I love it. There’s a strawberry farm just about a half mile away from my house… so what could be better?

Erm… chocolate, actually.

I’ll tell you something: this girl‘s got it right. Life is so much better the chocolate way. In my humble opinion, there’s absolutely nothing better than drizzling chocolate on something, especially fresh strawberries. Besides, I can say it’s good for me if I use dark chocolate. 😉

Okay, not exactly dark. But I couldn’t find anything better in the store. 😦

A few weeks ago, when I discovered a rather ghetto panini press in my kitchen, this happened. I became obsessed with making warm, crisp sandwiches with gooey, comforting insides like bananas and peanut butter or pesto, tofu, and avocado. Mmm, creamy. That’s what inspired tonight’s panini.

Kahlua Soaked Strawberry and Chocolate Panini

Got your attention with the name, didn’t I? This sandwich is great for a “splurge” while still being pretty darn healthy. This would be perfect to give your date and it would probably make you look like a master chef. It’s decadent, warm, melty and chocolatey….and so much better than any panini Giada de Laurentiis might make (even if she does use pound cake instead of bread).

You’re gonna need:

1 cup of strawberries, sliced

2 tablespoons Kahlua or instant coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 serving (or more!) of good dark chocolate

2 slices of whole wheat bread (I use Ezekiel bread)

First, get to work on soaking your strawberries. Just combine the sliced berries in a small bowl with kahlua and vanilla. Let it chill out in the fridge and absorb, mix, and mingle.

Don’t feel you have to use kahlua or any kind of alcohol in here – I think if they were just vanilla-soaked these devils would still be to live for. I rarely cook with alcohol, so this was a one-off splurge for me and I wasn’t even sure if it would work, to be honest. But it did. It soooo did.

It’s five o’clock somewhere.

I let it soak for about a half hour. Just be careful, ’cause you don’t want soggy strawberries!

Chop your chocolate into chunks and lay it on one slice of your bread. If it helps it stick, put a teeny amount of Earth Balance or vegan margarine on the bread. Then layer on your strawberries, a little more chocolate on top (just for good measure, right?) and pop it into a panini press.

Be patient…trust me, it might be tough, but wait it out and you shall get this:

Ooey gooey goodness.

Lemme say this: Best. Dinner. Ever.

The strawberries were warmed through and the vanilla flavor permeated throughout. That flavor was only improved by the flavor of hot, liquid crack. I mean…chocolate. And then I got to the crunchy, toasted crust that was laced with strawberry juices and extra chocolate and I think I passed out.

Because I didn’t want all of this mouth partying to end, I was inspired to have more chocolate and strawberries in my breakfast a la Katie. Hello, chocolate covered sundae for breakfast.  Um, it’s still healthy, right? 😉

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Sundae…for Breakfast

I’ve been waiting for a chance for more strawberry banana smoothie oatmeal. You see, my precious blender that I bought over winter break didn’t even last a whole semester. The little baby was my precious green monster maker, but it sadly died in the line of duty. Being home for the summer means I have access to my mother’s fancy schmancy blender, which equals happiness.

And let’s face it, nothing is better than chocolate covered strawberries.

Git yo self:

1 frozen banana (that makes it creamy like ice cream! Trust.)

1 cup kahlua soaked strawberries (if you have leftovers…or regular old strawbz, if you aren’t feeling the ever so slight taste of alcohol at breakfast time, but who wouldn’t be? 😉 )

1/2 cup of almond milk

splash of vanilla

ice

dollop of dark chocolate PB

1/3 cup raw oatmeal

Toss everything but your chocolate and oatmeal into a blender that you wish was yours but it’s actually your mother’s  (hence the need for a magic bullet, hint hint 😉 ) and proess until smooth.

Pour over your oats and stir. Or pour into a bowl and top with oats. Or eat straight outta the blender.

Now the magic happens…. drizzle on just a smidge more dark chocolate  or peanut butter. Or both! My poison of choice? A teaspoon of this:

Magical.

You know, you could use One Lucky Duck’s raw chocolate truffle butter if you were to win my giveaway. Yay for plugs! Shame? What’s that?! 🙂

The end result was almost too pretty to eat. Almost being the key word.

What’s better than a healthy, filling, AND chocolatey breakfast?

Now I just have to figure out how to afford to incorporate chocolate into every meal for the rest of my life and I’ll be set. 🙂

What’s your favorite treat?

There’s a giveaway in this post! 🙂

On our second (and last) day in NYC, I was persuasive lucky enough to get to visit One Lucky Duck, the takeaway shop attached to Pure Food & Wine.. Do a Google search for “vegan food in NYC” and I can guarantee you One Lucky Duck will be on the top five places listed, along with Babycakes vegan bakery. Admittedly, One Lucky Duck wasn’t first on my list. Babycakes NYC was…because let’s face it, I hadn’t had a legit cupcake in the longest time and I was jonesing for a refined sugar free high. It’s hard to make good vegan cupcakes.

When we realized that Babycakes was 3.66 miles away from the hotel we were staying at (and I couldn’t make Roomie and her mum walk over 7 miles for vegan food), I looked up where One Lucky Duck was. 1.2 miles? Right on. 1.2 miles in the heat? Major suckage. By the end of our trip there, my jeans were stuck to my legs like jeggings (what the heck are those things all about?!?) and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. My feet were aching (by this time, we had walked over a marathon distance as well as running at ze gym) and I knew blisters were well on their way.

But it was worth it. Soooo worth it.

Super cute!

The menu was so intense. I wanted it all.

The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was the super chill atmosphere. There was some music playing in the background – perhaps The Decemberists – and the decor was abso-freaking-lutely adorable. One wall, painted red, had pictures of ducks and stringed lights hanging from the ceiling. I took a picture, but it ended up blurry. 😦 Sad times.

The other wall, however, was full of DELICIOUSness.

O hai, Roomie!

These little pouches of goodness are worth the ridiculously expensive prices. Seriously… despite the fact that I spent $25 on an epic smoothie, cookies, and crispies. But you’re paying for amazing quality. Everything in the shop is raw, vegan, gluten and refined sugar free, and it’s also organic. And orgasmic.

On to the eats!

Banana-nut-crackcocaine smoothie.

This little treat was so tasty, I couldn’t stop sipping it. I was surprised I made it out the door with a fifth left in the cup. The first thing that hit me when I took that glorious first sip was bananas and then a hit of cinnamon. I think they put a loaf of banana bread into the vitamix. It was frothy, rich, creamy, and just how a milkshake should be. On such a hot day, it didn’t leave me with an overly sweet mouth and desperate for a sip of water.

I was also surprised that the chocolate crispies that I bought lasted the train ride to Boston. They made the four hours of reading about Hitler and the Cold war soooo much better. These crispies are intended to go in cereal, kind of like raw cocoa pops, but there was no way these babies were going to make it another week – I had a long arse train ride as well as a trip on a plane to make it through. I needed these.

Organic buckwheat, organic maple syrup, organic maple powder, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt.

What?! Where’d they put the crack? Cause these things are good eats… even if they weren’t cereal-ized.

Which is why this demolition happened approximately two hours later in the hotel room…They lasted a whole 8 hours!

One Lucky Duck luckily, I still had something chocolate-y and fantastic up my sleeve.

Chocolate chip heroin cookies.

(seriously, why do I keep adding addictive substances to these cookies?! They must have put ’em in there, how can something raw taste so great?)

These adorable heart-shaped cookies were fantastic. Phenomenal. “Fantasmagasmic,” as Roomie says.

I wish I could tell you guys how much I loved this place. But I just can’t put it into words. I now understand why One Lucky Duck is a must. Why it’s on so many vegan websites, featured in magazines, and why it’s so well known. I understand why people can “do” raw food without missing things like cookies, chocolate cereal, and ice cream.

Sarma, you are a goddess.

So do you want to be a lucky duck too?! Well read on, my friends! That’s right, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!

One Lucky Duck Gift Card

One lucky duck reader is going to receive a $10 gift card to One Lucky Duck’s online store, sent straight to their e-mail address. With those ten buckaroos, they can get some [help in buying] fantabulous snacks, great books, or wonderful body products. We’re talking macaroons, chocolate bars, cookies, chocolate truffle butter (!!!!), and *Atisana* products. You do not want to miss out on this, take it from me. The best part is that the heroes at One Lucky Duck will ship their store products worldwide, so this contest is open to everyone and anyone!

How to enter:

1.) Leave a comment on here telling me  your best restaurant experience and why. Or bribe me with chocolate. 😉

2.) Tweet about this and let me know. (You can follow me on twitter @southernbritish)

3.) For an extra entry, link to this on your blog and post that in your comment, too!

You will automatically win if you buy me chocolate.*

I will randomly pick a winner one week from today.

Good luck, ducklings!

*not really…sorry.

Cool Beans

July 11, 2010

You know who is a cool bean (and currently my desktop AND cell phone wallpaper)? Michael Bublé. You guys know I was heading to his concert last night, and I’ve gotta say, it did NOT disappoint.. even though some 15 hardcore fans and yours truly waited outside the gate for him for 2 hours after his show and he simply drove past without stopping to sign things. But I did meet some of his band members… and they may or may not have invited me to go to the bar with them. Michael is forgiven for not saying hello on account of his FACE.

Case in point:

He also did his own take on Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. I’d post the video on here but my girly screams are a bit distracting. 😉

Speaking of beans, I’ve also become obsessed with a fairly awesome one recently: the Adzuki (or aduki) bean. Never heard of it? It’s pronounced a-dookie bean. Say it in front of a kid and they’ll think you’re epic. It comes all the way from China, but it’s popular in Japan and is becoming popular here in the US.  So it’s kind of like the Utada Hikaru… but in bean form. You can find it (the bean, not Utada) at a specialty grocer’s like Earth Fare or at any Asian market.

Aww, isn’t he cute? But don’t be fooled. This tiny little guy packs a flavor and nutritional punch. It’ll hit you with:

  • B vitamins
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Protein
  • Folate
  • Yummy taste!

Gillian McKeith, a nutritionist back home in the UK says that the aduki bean is “the weight loss bean” because it is very low in calories but it is supa high in fiber and protein, which help you stay fuller for longer. She’s also obsessed with looking at people’s poos (no, seriously… she does and it’s disturbing) and says that the bean “acts as a natural diuretic to relieve the body of excess fluids. It also removes unwanted mucus, congestion and stools, and balances metabolism for weight management.” The fiber in adzuki beans is soluble fiber, which helps remove LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

These suckers are a great and complete protein when paired with a whole grain, like brown jasmine rice. Eat it with chopsticks, listen to Utada Hikaru, and you can pretend like you’re really in Japan. I may or may not have done that a few times.

You can get these lovelies both dried and in cans.

If you go the dried route, soak them in water overnight or even use a pressure cooker or crock pot to cook them through.

If you buy ’em in a can, make sure they have no salt or sugar added, and do your best to find organic.

Oh.. and a word of advice. When you introduce these little joys into your diet, make sure you take it slowly. Otherwise you might have, in the words of Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, a “mudslide in your pants.”

So there you have it. Two cool beans. And Gillian McKeith. But she’s a nut.

PS, wanna win a cookbook from Mama Pea? Click here!

PPS, do you want to win 5 freeee bags of Food Should Taste Good chips? Clickity click here!

PPPS, do you like pressing tofu? You could win a tofuXpress, so click here!

If I were to host a giveaway, what would you guys want?