Monday, March 21, 2011

Brunch & other news... March 21st

On Saturday, Melissa and I got together for brunch at Athen's Cafe here in Astoria. I had been eyeing that place ever since I found out they served nutella french toast! They have a pre-fixe brunch menu, which includes your choice of drink (I chose orange juice) along with coffee or tea (I got tea). And of course for my entree, I got the nutella french toast, which looked (and tasted) fabulous!

This was really good, but I couldn't even finish it all! Melissa liked her omelette as well. The only thing we didn't like was the service (or lack of it!). But I'd definitely go back again!

Sadly Astoria is really lacking in good asian and chinese food! So when I do make it into Manhattan, I make sure to stop by my old favorites...

Like Tue Thai in the village, where I got my spring rolls & pad see ew with tofu lunch special (they really make the best pad see ew, otherwise known as, broad rice noodles here).

And Suzie's, which is also in the village, where I get their bean curd homestyle lunch special (which comes with vegetarian egg roll and wonton soup).

Mom and I also tried another pasta recipe this past week which we both really liked... Fusilli with Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan Cream (you can see the recipe here at

This was excellent and really easy to make! I used all organic ingredients too (and my mom, which normally frowns upon organic stuff, claiming it's just over hyped, really loved the way this came out!).

And tonight for dinner I tried Gardein's seven grain crispy tenders, which I heard great things about, but was skeptical...

I am so mad at myself because I forgot to take a picture! Although this is truly a testament to how good they really are!! I absolutely could not believe it. They blow any other vegetarian chicken nuggets out of the water! I give these my highest review EVER!

In other news, Peanut has been has been up to the usual... ever since we moved here, he keeps a constant eye on things out all the windows (something he was not used to, because our old apartment didn't have nearly as many windows, and wasn't as high up as well!).

But of course, napping is still another one of his favorite activities...

Oh, and I'm looking forward to going to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival! It'll be my first time going to one, and it's going to be on April 3rd this year. You can get more details here!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Peanut!! March 13th

I can't believe my baby turns 2 today! It seems like only yesterday he was this big:

And now he's this big:

Peanut's birthday present this year was a "big boy" scratching post!

(Note that we put his beanie baby, Pellet on top to "lure" him to it! lol)

However, Peanut seemed more fascinated by the huge box it came in!

But then he decided to test it out...

And like I do on every birthday (that you can see from last year here), here are Peanut's before & after shots... I call these his "sleeping beauty" shots!

Before: May 2009

After: March 2011

It really is amazing how fast they grow! It seems like only yesterday Peanut was the SMALLEST kitten on record for his age (or so said our vet!).

And Peanut already thanks you for the birthday wishes!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cheesecake recipe & more! March 3rd

Someone asked me a while back if I could post my mom's cheesecake recipe. So I decided to get my own healthier ingredients (like organic, etc.) and make it myself!

Here's the recipe:

2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (I used Organic Valley's brand)
1/2 cup sugar (I used Whole Foods 365 brand of organic cane sugar)
1/2 teaspoon or so of pure vanilla extract
2 eggs (I used an organic, cage free brand of eggs from Whole Foods)
9 inch graham or vanilla crust (I used the Nilla wafer brand, not exactly healthy, but good)

Basically all you have to do is let the cream cheese sit in a bowl until it's room temperature, then mix in the sugar and vanilla extract and blend with a blender. Then add the 2 eggs and blend some more. Pour it in the pie crust and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or more before serving.

Here's the finished product:

And for the berry topping, all you have to do is slice some strawberries and mix it together with a teaspoon or so of sugar and let set in the refrigerator for a bit.

My mom and I also made a great vegan asian inspired dinner the other night. It was featured in USA Weekend not long ago, and you can see the recipe here.

This veggie lo mein has a bunch of veggies (mushrooms, red pepper, onion, etc.) in it, along with extra firm tofu cubes and thin spaghetti in a lo mein sauce that you make. And just as a side note, but the rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil are a bit hard to find... try Whole Foods, I found them there.

One of my simplest recipes I actually found on MorningStar Farms site, that you can see here. It's their maple sausage breakfast sandwich, and I laughed when I saw it because it literally is the EASIEST RECIPE IN THE WORLD!

Just take a MorningStar Farms maple sausage pattie (they make different kinds, but their maple one adds a nice flavor) and put it on bread of some sort (they show a biscuit, but I get the mini bagels and they work perfectly). You can jazz this up with a little cheese (regular or vegan), but it really is good on it's own, and it's SO easy to throw together!

Even though I live all the way in Astoria now, over 7 miles away, I still can't help but visit my beloved Wild Ginger. I went there the other day and got the usual (and the best part is, one waiter there literally just brings out my food when I come in-- I don't even have to ORDER anymore!!! That's what I call service! ;).

In other news, for my birthday I got a purse that I'd been dying to get for a while now from this great vegan handbag designer named Susan Nichole.

I'm ordinarily not even a FAN of red (as purple and blue are my favorite colors), but there is something about the color "candy apple" that I really like. The bag looks more red in my picture, but you can see what it looks like better on their site here. (I broke down and got this because it was on sale for President's Day, and since the holiday happens to be on top of my birthday, it was meant to be! :).

Speaking of birthdays, I know someone who is heading into their terrible two's....

That's right, Peanut's 2nd birthday is on the 13th, so I'll be posting more then! :)