The Buttery Blog

Everything's better with butter.

Dumplings and Cake. Oh Baby! October 25, 2009

Filed under: Baked Goods/Pastries,health/diet — butteryblog @ 9:19 pm
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The NYC Dumpling Festival was held yesterday. The only reason I’m aware of this is because one of my (very brave) friends participated in the dumpling eating contest. Seeing pictures of his feat put a huge smile on my face, and for some crazy reason, even though everyone looked a little sick at the end, I had a craving for dumplings.

Off to Vanessa’s Dumpling House on the Lower East Side. Compared with most dumpling spots in the area, Vanessa’s is considered a “splurge.” Eight vegetable dumplings for $3.00 and Peking Duck on a Sesame Pancake for $2.25. The Peking Duck sandwich was delicious, and the size of a large man’s hand. Seriously, not to up their prices, but they could easily sell that thing for $4.00! Next time I go there I’ll try their pan-fried pork dumplings (4 for a $1.00). It’s a great place to stop and get a snack in the middle of shopping or sight-seeing.

Vanessa's Dumplings

Vanessa's Dumplings

Just a few blocks away is Babycakes, a well known vegan bakery visited by many celebrities. I had heard the name before, but it wasn’t until Lady Butterbuns asked us East Coast Buttery sisters to investigate that it was officially on my radar. “Can it really be that good?” Lady B asked, considering it’s wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free (the only thing it’s not is nut-free)?

BabyCakesNYC.com

BabyCakesNYC.com

I tried 3 of their offerings, and here is my professional buttery opinion, in order of taste-test:

Mini Chocolate Brownie: A two-bite brownie. It was moist, chocolately, and had just the right amount of sweetness. It also had chocolate chunks inside, which enhanced the texture. If someone had told me it was a regular-ol’ brownie, I would have believed them.

Just like the real thing: mini chocolate brownie

Just like the real thing: mini chocolate brownie

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting: Disgusting. The cake was so dry and it had a definite cardboard taste. Don’t even go there.

Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Very nice. It was more of a muffin texture than cake. What it had going for it was the pumpkin, which makes anything moist, and the spices. A key to making a low fat, low sugar food taste better is adding spices. And this one worked nicely.

Chocolate: Thumbs Down/ Pumpkin: Thumbs Up

Chocolate: Thumbs Down/ Pumpkin: Thumbs Up

Babycakes is totally cute. From the name to the storefront design, it beckons you in. If you’re vegan, it’s probably a little bit of heaven on earth. When I ordered, I was asked if I had any food allergies, so you know that there’s a greater purpose behind it than just baking cupcakes. For someone who’s not a vegan, and has no food allergies, it’s a trial and error type thing. I’d definitely go back for the mini brownie if I just happened to be passing by.

Too Cute

Too Cute

There’s a small park about a block away with a beautiful red bench to enjoy your vegan treats:

Sit on Me. I'm Pretty.

Sit on Me. I'm Pretty.

I ended my adventure with Where the Wild Things Are. A lovely Sunday afternoon indeed!

♦ Buttery B

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Eating On the Run October 16, 2009

Filed under: health/diet — butteryblog @ 2:18 am
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This belongs in the Smithsonian!

This belongs in the Smithsonian!

A few weeks ago I ran my first 5K. Quite frankly, I’m shocked. On the list of things of things I never thought I’d do, running a race is somewhere up there with “eat the heart of a baby giraffe” and “pee standing up.” Now, unlike Buttery B, there was no celebratory brunch after the run. The run was the celebration. So what does this all have to do with food then? Simple. By the time you’ve settled into your 30s, like I have, your body has basically moved out of fifth gear, never to return. Things start hurting, joints are making strange popping noises and, generally, everything just slows the hell down. Including metabolism. The truth is, I can no longer eat an entire box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner at 5pm –as a snack!– and not see it the next morning (so many good memories; thanks, Kraft!). The math is easy: I run because it burns calories. The more calories I burn, the more calories I get to consume. The more I get to eat, the happier I am. Sure, I guess there’s some nonsense about fitness too. And I suppose if you think about it, the more I run, the healthier I become. The healthier I become, the longer I live. The longer I live –that’s right!– the more I get to eat.

 

Next race in three weeks. This time, I’m eating a sausage when I cross the finish line.

 

♥Lady Butterbuns

 

Slow and Steady September 13, 2009

Filed under: health/diet — butteryblog @ 9:32 pm
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Every year for my birthday, I usually spend at least a month or two brainstorming the perfect thing to do, place to go, outfit to wear. In NYC, the possibilities are endless, which I think tends to lend a hand in my obsessive planning. One year it was volunteering to walk shelter dogs, another spent chowing down on BBQ at Virgil’s, and another having cocktails at the Algonquin Hotel.

This year it was running my first 5K for the Race for the Cure.

Serenaded on my run

Serenaded on my run

I am not a runner. In fact, about a year ago, you’d find me saying “The thought of running gives me a headache,” or “Running makes my teeth hurt.” These were both true. But, then one day, out of the blue, I just started running. And, well, here we are–this momentous day. I ran 3.1 miles (without stopping) in Central Park. And, wow, did I ever deserve a good brunch with a strong mimosa after that!

Home. Shower. Off to Robin Des Bois in Brooklyn to meet two of my favorite people for a celebration brunch. It was a perfect day to sit in the quirky backyard garden, complete with old subway signs, grapevines growing real grapes, the sun scattered through the trees, and rustic iron furniture. We had a lovely British waiter named Rob (if you go there, by the way, request him–he rocked!).

Scattered Sun

Scattered Sun

On the menu:
Oeufs au gratin with ham and gruyere (with salad and amazing amazing toasted bread)
Mimosa, of course
Once upon a tea (vanilla chocolate rooibos tea)
Warm chocolate cake

Maybe just a little too close

Maybe just a little too close to the ouefs

Delicious. The eggs were a bit overcooked, but I think my exhaustion from the run combined with the mimosa, prevented me from really caring. My friend said the tea smelled like play-doh, but I liked it.

It was nice being able to truly enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends. After doing something so physical, my body felt like it couldn’t do much more. Exert your body, and then reap the rewards of relaxation…and food, of course!

What is your favorite birthday memory?

♦ Buttery B

 

Lazy Chips June 14, 2009

Filed under: Snacks/Appetizers — butteryblog @ 3:02 am
Tags: , ,
hot and fresh

hot and fresh

I am one of the laziest people I know. The other day I wanted tortilla chips but we were out. I didn’t feel like packing up the kids and going to the store to pay too much for snack food. So in a brililant move of backwards logic, I thought,” I have tortillas and oil, I will just make my own chips.” I know, it makes no sense. However, it did result in yummy, hot and salty snack. I am calling this health food. That is right people! It is not processed! My challenge to you- make something from scratch that you would normally buy. You can do it cause maybe you are a little lazy too!

-Mother Butter

 

80 Lemons May 30, 2009

Filed under: health/diet — butteryblog @ 6:08 pm
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Master Cleanse5 lbs. organic lemons
1 Jug Grade B Maple Syrup
Cayenne Pepper
The best water you can find

I picked up my ingredients at the Whole Foods in Union Square. As the cashier was scanning them, she said, “Oh, you’re doing that…thing…yeah, my friend did it and her face totally broke out. Good luck!” That “thing” was the Master Cleanse. I thought it fitting for my first entry on The Buttery Blog, to write about not eating food.

I first heard about the Master Cleanse many years ago. To me, it sounded like torture. Nothing but water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper? Not really my cup of tea.

To give you a little background: when I first moved to NYC, I started having horrible digestive issues. Mostly intense bloating, that I would (not-so-fondly) describe as my “alien baby.” I went to many doctors. One said, try not eating broccoli. One told me to cut out dairy. Another told me to try Beano. But no one had a definite answer. No one knew for sure what was causing my problem. I felt completely out of control and pretty miserable. Deep down I felt that at least part of it was stress—the stress of graduating, moving to one of the biggest cities in the country and officially starting my adult life.

After a few years, the intensity of the symptoms lessened, but they were always there. They just became my “normal,” something I lived with. Within the last few months, I kept thinking to myself that I wanted to do a cleanse. I didn’t really know what a cleanse was, but I intuitively felt it was what my body needed. As a friend described it to me, our digestive system takes up so much energy that the body rarely has any leftover energy to heal, or even just maintain things.

Within days, I ravenously read The Complete Master Cleanse by Tom Woloshyn and was on my way to cleansing.

Day 1 (Saturday)

I squeezed lots of lemons by hand and had my first taste of the “lemonade.” Not the best lemonade in the world, and with the cayenne pepper burning my lips, I was worried what I had gotten myself into. I made a list of all the things I could do that didn’t require eating, like reading a book, getting a pedicure, going to a museum. Mostly, though, I just slept. My mind was conjuring up cookies, bowls of pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, and sleep was my tactic of choice to avoid it.

Day 2 (Sunday)

Determined not to sleep away my whole weekend, I got my toes painted a fancy shade of “Watermelon.” I even ventured to the Lower East Side and met a friend at the Tenement Museum—something I had always wanted to do, but just “never had the time.” It was miserably hot that day and afterwards I craved an iced chai, an ice cream cone, a margarita and guacamole–anything I could get my hands on. For about 30 seconds I tried to convince myself and my friend that maybe this wasn’t the best time to do a cleanse. I hadn’t really prepared myself for it. I hadn’t written down all the things I wanted to “heal.” I hadn’t given myself affirmations for situations like this when I wanted to give up. Luckily my friend snapped me out of this foolish talk. So I promptly got on the subway to go home, and climbed into bed, where it was safe again.

Day 3 (Monday)

The cleanse at work, without the comfort of my bed. And, no matter what, when you’re at work, you can always count on food to comfort if you need it. I was stripped down emotionally, a little jittery. By the afternoon, though, I felt pretty darn amazing. Even though I had low energy, it was very focused. Focused on the present—each moment unfolding perfectly into the next. I had surprised myself.

Day 4 (Tuesday)

Today was when the cleansing process really started to happen. I felt kind of sick and nauseous, but, ironically, was so overjoyed. I really felt like something significant was happening. I was “letting go”—in more ways than one!

Day 5 and 6 (Wednesday and Thursday)

After my breakthrough on Tuesday, I felt an indescribable flow of energy in my body. I was a lot happier, becoming aware of how much I use food as comfort and even procrastination. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided to bake cookies as my way of procrastinating!

Day 7 (Friday)

Even though the recommended minimum is 10 days on the Master Cleanse, I woke up this morning and felt like today should be my last day. I had dropped 9 pounds. I felt lighter and more energetic. The heaviness in my belly that was a normal feeling had gone away.

Fast Forward 3 Weeks

It has been 3 weeks since finishing the cleanse. My palate has become more adventurous. I am tasting and enjoying food and new flavors. I am able to appreciate the social (and comfort) aspect of food, but am also increasingly aware of what I put into my body, how it makes me feel, and then how I let it go. Without going into great detail (you’ll thank me for this!), my digestive system is a lot happier and there have been significant changes. Not surprisingly, the belly area and digestive system is linked energetically to our feelings of security, creativity, and self-confidence. I mean, seriously, who’s gonna feel confident and ready to take on the world when they have a perpetual tummy ache, right? With such change in a week, I plan to make the Master Cleanse a regular “spring cleaning.”

♦ Buttery B