Review: Core Fusion DVD (and an award)

Who else is doing Dori’s Core Fusion Challenge? The goal is to do a Core Fusion class (or DVD) 4-5 times a week for the month of January… intense, but exciting. I went over to Exhale Spa on Sunday and picked up my DVD: Core Fusion Body Sculpt.

core-fusion-dvd

The DVD is 50 minutes; it’s broken into 5 sections of 10 minutes each. The first section is arms, the second is butt, the third is thighs (or is it thighs then butt?), the fourth is abs, and the fifth is stretching. I haven’t done the fifth one yet.

Each 10-minute workout has a short (1 minute) warm-up, then about 7-8 minutes of yoga and ballet (in my humble opinion) inspired strength training, and then 1-2 minutes of stretching. When I first started I thought it was wimpy. Two minutes later my legs were shaking and I wanted to die. But I pushed through and the end of the workout came way quicker than I expected. I did all 4 sections (arms, butt, thighs, abs).

I did this yesterday (Monday) morning, and I’m not sore today (Tuesday)… I credit this to the very good stretching in the DVD… or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). I might be achy tomorrow (Wednesday)! If I feel alright (I think I’m getting sick…) I’m going to do it again tomorrow morning – and maybe even do the stretching segment if I have time.

So far – I love Core Fusion. I hate strength training, and this is much more down my yoga/ballet interest path. Plus, I want my butt to look like the one on the DVD. And those abs! Here’s to hoping that’s me in a month 🙂 Thanks for the intro to CF, Dori!

Another blogger friend, Elizabeth (who I met at Foodbuzz) gave me this sweet Beautiful Blogger Award. Elizabeth is a Beautiful Blogger herself! Thank you, friend!

beautiful-blogger-award

I’m supposed to list 7 random facts about myself. In no particular order…

  1. I love to sing. I haven’t been in a choir for the last 3 years or so, but I have been in various choirs for more than half of my life (age 8 to age 20). I sang in Carnegie Hall when I was 10 and I’ve gotten to tour all over the US. I’m a soprano!
  2. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
  3. I secretly enjoy greasy Chinese food. Er… guess that’s not a secret anymore.
  4. I like to rearrange furniture. We just did our apartment on Sunday (it looks nice!).
  5. We don’t get cable. I don’t miss it either.
  6. My favorite color is purple.
  7. I’m currently reading The Likeness by Tana French (thanks Tina for the rec!). I started it in Miami, then forgot I had it, and for the last two days I haven’t been able to put it down in my free time (what free time? I think I’ve only read it for 2 hours total…).

And I’m supposed to pass it on to 7 people. I was going to cop out like I usually do, but I’m actually going to give it to 8 amazing and beautiful blogger friends because I just can’t narrow it down to 7:

  • Dori (Dori’s Shiny Blog)
  • Clare (Yogi Clare Bear)
  • Cindy (A Sparkle A Day)
  • Gena (Choosing Raw)
  • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga)
  • Christina (Dinner at Christina’s)
  • Coco (Balance, Joy & Delicias)
  • Heather (Heather Eats Almond Butter)

And now I’m going to bed so that I can get better. I firmly believe that a good night’s rest can cure just about anything.

What do you do to feel better when you’re sick?

Review: Savor Saigon (Fairless Hills, PA)

In the heart of Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, is a mecca that Bobby and have trekked to twice. It’s Savor Saigon, and it is the best Vietnamese food that I have found on the east coast.

You all know that I have an obsession with Vietnamese food – papaya and/or lotus root salads in particular. Here are some of my past papaya and lotus enjoyments:

This time my sister and I decided to split two (vegetarian) dishes so that we could sample more things. We also got some appetizers for the entire table…

jan 03 2010 011

First up: fresh vegetarian summer rolls (served cold). These are fried tofu, vermicelli noodles, mint, lettuce, and carrot wrapped in rice paper. They come with a peanutty dipping sauce. We each had half of a roll. They were good…

jan 03 2010 013

But not as good as the fried spring rolls! These were not vegetarian – they had pork and other random things inside. I dipped them in the standard Vietnamese dipping sauce (fish sauce, sugar,water, vinegar I think). They were awesome. My vegan sister passed on them.

Julia and I split a lotus root salad with fried tofu (vegetarian/vegan). It had lotus root, carrots, and fried tofu. Very yummy.

jan 03 2010 012

We also split the very yummy Vietnamese Pad Thai (vegetarian):

jan 03 2010 014

This had noodles, tofu, egg, broccoli, mushrooms, and other veggies I am forgetting. It was a little bit different from regular pad thai – less peanutty, but still very good. It was topped with peanuts though!

My picks of the night – the lotus root salad and the fried spring rolls.

What’s your favorite cuisine? Mine is most definitely Vietnamese! I’m looking for a good (cheap) place in New York now… ideas/tips? I can’t find anything as good as the California Vietnamese places.

Review: The Long Room & Christmas In New York

I’m blogging two nights in a row… what am I, unemployed again? (I’m not; still loving the new job and keeping busy.)

First, I must say – I loved all of your comments on yesterday’s post (about chilling out re: exercise). Guess what – no exercise today either (does 4 blocks of walking count?). But it’s all good. I don’t need much to be happy.

This weekend was jam-packed with fun. On Saturday night my best friend from high school (she lives in NJ) came up to visit me and Bobby. She brought her boyfriend as well. Bobby and I took them to walk down 5th Avenue, which is gorgeous this time of year. We stopped at the Rockefeller center to see the tree…

12-14 me christine tree small

Oddly enough, I have a really similar picture of the two of us in the same pose (with a Christmas tree behind us) in Princeton from 2005 (I think). We love Christmas.

After we saw the beautiful Christmas tree at Rockefeller, we got stuck in people-traffic because everyone was watching this light show (the snowflakes light up and dance to holiday music).

12-14 snowflakes small

Eventually we made it to 44th and 6th Ave to go to Virgil’s Barbecue… but actually Christine doesn’t like BBQ (whoops!). Luckily there was a nice restaurant next door called The Long Room, which is so new that it doesn’t even have a website yet (!). It’s a nice Irish pub/bar and it’s reasonably inexpensive (for New York).

03 menu

The menu looked great. I ordered the “Cast Iron Roasted Chicken” – with cauliflower mash and haricots verts (18.95). Bobby, Christine, and Devin all ordered beers (Guinness – it’s an Irish restaurant) and I got a diet coke.

04 chicken

My meal was amazing. The “cauliflower mash” is mashed potatoes with some cauliflower mushed in; the green beans (haricots verts) were wonderfully seasoned and oiled; and the chicken was amazingly tender. I finished just about all of it (Bobby stole a few bites). Bobby (and Christine) ordered the Fish and Chips ($14.95 I think)…

05 fish chips

Really good. He poured vinegar all over the “chips” (fries) so I didn’t like them, but the fish was great. Devin got a Buffalo chicken pizza (13.95 maybe?) and I think his was probably the best dish (no picture).

08 maggie bobby 07 christine devon

I would definitely go back here. I want that pizza! We had a really awesome time. Christine and I get along; Bobby and Devin get along – they are another perfect double date couple.

06 couples

Can’t wait to see them again – probably for New Year’s, if not earlier.

Do you like to go on double dates? Bobby and I have been doing lots of couples outings recently (like Josie’s West with Kate and Simon) and I am absolutely loving it.

Review: Menchanko Tei (Ramen)

Let’s talk ramen. What is it? Basically – noodles and broth. It’s traditionally a Japanese dish, but it did originate in China. The broth is usually a meat or fish stock, and it will have soy or miso (or both) in it. Popular toppings – pork, shrimp, fish balls, fish cakes, scallions, cabbage, spinach, dried seaweed, fish flakes (forget what these are called), and even corn (yum). It’s kind of an art form in Japan; every town has their own special dish, and there is always competition for who can make the best ramen.

Back at Cornell I watched a movie called Tampopo about Japanese food. It’s a “noodle western” (a play on Speaghetti Western). Until I watched this movie I didn’t realize the cultural importance of ramen in Japan. It was a good film, so put it on your list!

A few weeks ago Bobby sent me this picture in the middle of the day:

He had gone to Menchanko Tei, a ramen place in Manhattan. I think he went to the one on East 45th Street between Lex and 3rd Aves.

He got the signature Menchanko bowl ($9) – their original noodle recipe, individually cooked in a cast iron bowl (see picture). It starts with traditional thick ramen noodles and a rich soy broth, then it’s topped with chicken, shrimp, fish balls, tofu, ricecakes, and vegetables.

He says: “Really good. They make their own noodles there. The broth was salty and savory (in a good way) and it was perfectly hot. Ramen is best hot. And this was awesome. I’m pretty sure they did not use MSG, but don’t quote me on that.” (Whoops!)

Wish I could have joined you, sweetie! I was hard at work, and I don’t remember what I had for lunch that day (it was December 1st, a Tuesday).

Luckily, we are getting ramen a week from tomorrow (Sunday the 20th) before Bobby heads down to Miami (I’m joining him a few days later for Christmas with his family). We’re going with our friends (we went to Josie’s West with them). I have never really been a ramen person, but I’m hoping that my tastes have changed. Bobby is always raving about ramen and I want to rave about it too.

Do you like ramen? Do you like noodles? I’m not much of a soup person, but this week I have been going crazy for these macrobiotic vegan noodle dishes. They’re awesome.

P.S. Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it! Enjoy 🙂

PB2, How I Love You

I bought two jars of PB2 last week, and they are nearly gone.  The first was gone in 2.5 days.  I’m being a bit more conservative with the second jar because this stuff is expensive.  I got my PB2 at a small specialty food store called Lite for Life in Santa Clara, CA.  The damage: $6.49 per jar.

pb2_new_label2

Oops – I ate this on my macrobiotic experiment even though it had sugar in it.  Justification – the sugar content was very minimal, and PB2 has no preservatives.

PB2 is powdered peanut butter. You add water and mix before eating.  You can also add the powder to other recipes – like oatmeal, pad thai, or salad dressing.  I used it in my Vegan Mac and Cheeze instead of nutritional yeast.  PB2 has some very cool nutritionals, and a stellar ingredient list.

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, salt, sugar.

Per 2 Tablespoon serving: 53.2 calories, 1.87 grams fat, 3.4 grams carbohydrates, 0.48 grams fiber, 5.65 grams protein.

PB2 can be as creamy or thick as you like, because you control the amount of water added.  It spreads easily, and has a very pleasant taste.  It’s much less sweet than flavored nut butters (though still slightly sweet).  If you like natural peanut butter, you should try PB2.

When I reviewed Better’n Peanut Butter, people commented that it tasted too fake, sweet, or artificial.  I don’t think that’s the case with PB2 – it does lack the fat content, but the added sugar is minimal and it does retain some of that “natural” taste.

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat PB2:

  • Dipping sauce for Ener-G’s Seattle Crackers (review to come) and in a creamy peanut buttery salad dressing
  • 38-crackers-pb2-salad

  • With oranges
  • 40-pb2-orange

  • With Asian pears
  • 39-pb2-asian-pear

  • With blueberries
  • 43-pb2-blueberries

  • Vegan Mac and Cheeze (with wheat berries, cauliflower, and swiss chard)
  • 41-vegan-mac-and-cheeze-cauliflower

  • Plain, of course!  My most recent favorite dessert – 4 tablespoons of PB2 mixed with water and savored slowly.

How do YOU like your PB2?