A good ol’ Southern recipe

After we each put in more hours at the office than anyone should have to on a Saturday, Bo and I met at Grand Central Market for our weekly Saturday market shopping. I call it market shopping as we tend to shop solely at Grand Central or Chelsea Market on Saturday as we find inspiration and enjoyment that we wouldn’t enjoy at our local grocery store. We were both craving cajun flounder tonight even though it is so easy and simple. (Penzey’s has a great cajun rub!) But, we drew a blank at what vegetable would match the flavor and mood. Our favorite roasted root vegetable recipe quickly went out the door as we knew that wasn’t a fit for tonight. As we glanced at the Greenwich Produce stand I immediately knew tonight’s fish called for a Southern favorite- okra and tomatoes. Instead of sticking with the same recipe we’ve used in the past, Bo used his talents to invent his own recipe. He spiced it up with Framani rosemary ham from Murray’s and added scallions and garlic for flavor. Enjoy!
Bo’s Okra and Tomatoes
-1/2 c chopped ham (top quality)
-1/2 c chopped scallions
-1 Tbsp minced garlic
-1 Tbsp evoo
-3 cups chopped fresh okra
-1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
-1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
-salt & pepper
Heat a 4 qt saucepan over medium high heat and add EVOO. Add ham and saute for 1-2 minutes until the ham begins to brown. Add garlic and scallions and saute with ham until aromatic and ham is nicely browned. Add okra, salt, and pepper to taste, before sauteeing for another minute. Deglaze the pan with both cans of tomatoes. Bring them to simmer over high heat, stir a few times, and then turn heat down to low, cover and let simmer for an hour or so. The flavor will continue to improve as it simmers. Enjoy!
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A grape end to the work week

Last night Bo and I met after work at the corner between our two offices. Neither of us were hungry for dinner yet as it was only 7pm. Therefore, we decided to do one of our favorite things and walk aimlessly through the streets of NYC. The energy is wonderful, we always discover something new, and we absolutely love roaming through new neighborhoods finding little bars, shops, or restaurants. I have fallen in love with the city’s energy; especially after a long day at work. We walked 40 blocks down (3.2 miles) to Avenue A where we came across a restaurant we tried for the first time this summer, Grape and Grain. We were worried that there wouldn’t be space as this restaurant only seats around 40 people. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in at Against the Grain, the craft beer bar. We were given two stool as the bar and found ourselves cozy against the candlelight, exposed brick, and wonderful wine selection.  I enjoyed a glass of Syrah while Bo sipped on his favorite chocolate lager. The side bar serves the same menu selection as the main restaurant and therefore we were able to indulge in the same wonderful food and service we enjoyed this summer. Grape and Grain is known for their small plates which are influenced by northern italian flavors but range from white bean dip all the way to scallop ceviche. We shared the white bean dip and beet salad for starters. The beet salad was wonderfully sweetened by balsamic vineger and then balanced with goat cheese. The white bean dip was not my favorite as the pita chips which accompanied the dish were very spicy. In fact, at one point, we couldn’t find our waitress so Bo grabbed the water pitcher from the bar to quench our mouth’s fire! Dinner however was divine! I enjoyed a small portabello, garlic confit, and roasted red pepper flat bread pizza while Bo was comforted by the short ribs small plate. The garlic confit gave the perfect amount of kick to the pizza while the carmlelized portabellos added some sweetness. I love their pizza because the tomato sauce is fresh and has actual chunks of tomato and seeds in it!  If you’re ever in the neighborhood Grape and Grain is a must whether you want to try their extensive list of by the glass wines or their small plates! Best of all, the prices are very reasonable. We were able to enjoy this meal for under $100 including tax, tip, and alchohol.
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So fresh and so clean, clean

Tuesday night my friend Elizabeth and I met for an evening workout class at Equinox’s Birthday celebration at their 63rd and Lexington location. I was so excited to bring Elizabeth since the celebration and gym were open to guests as well as members. As soon as we entered, a Kiehl’s table greeted us. The table was filled with over 100 small size samples including Acai Damage Reparing Serum, Light Weight Body Lotion, and Facial Fuel. Kiehl’s and Equinox have a great partnership including stocking all NYC Equinox gyms with Kiehl’s products. This is a huge benefit for members as it allows me to use the gym products instead of lugging shampoo, body wash, and lotion back and forth each day. Their products are all natural and good for the body!
Yesterday and today I used facial fuel during my morning gym shower. The name, Facial Fuel, is perfect as the formula truly energizes and wakes up my skin. It cleanses with a mixture of caffeine, menthol, and vitamin E which invigorates while refreshing the skin. This product is for all skin types and did not leave my skin feeling tight or dry. In addition, it removed my makeup which is one benefit I rarely find in other natural facial products such as Burt’s Bees. I this week’s workout reward will be a Kiehl’s purchase from the Equinox store after tomorrow night’s yoga class in the village with Lauren!
What is your favorite face cleanser? Do you normally use the gym shampoo and products or bring your own?
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