What are you enjoying for breakfast?

Lately breakfast has really been my favorite part of the day. So many great choices to choose from. I am a huge fan of Greek yogurt, fruit…and especially steel cut oats over the winter. What has been catching my eye lately? The great variety of healthy and natural granola’s that have been hitting the market. In the past I thought of granola as more of a runners treat. I remember running races when I was in High School and using it as a great post race snack. Always tasty, but often high in calories. We have gotten smarter about our ingredients and portions and now have so many great healthier options. While in CT recently I became obsessed with Ola Granola, a local company that has been hitting the granola market by storm. The addictive granola they have created comes in Vanilla Almond and Cranberry Orange Pecan. On a mission to keep it stocked in our home I let my husband know we could find it near his office in just one store where we live in Philadelphia. While looking for it he stumbled across another great brand: Julie Ann’s. He brought home Berry Yummy PB&J Granola and Maple Blueberry. Not only are we enjoying it for breakfast but they taste great any time of day as a snack. Try it with milk, in trail mix, on frozen yogurt/ice cream, sprinkled on muffins…the options are endless!

Winter cravings…award winning restaurant owner, Dan Barber’s Short Ribs and Chocolate Chili?!

The winter season brings so many fantastic seasonal foods. We tend to crave heartier, more filling fare. We are no longer craving as many salads, rather root vegetables, soups, etc. I believe very firmly in eating with the seasons. You get the freshest, best quality produce and if your lucky its local too! More economical as well. Although I choose to not eat meat I do cook it often for my family and friends. I made these great recipes this week that I thought you might enjoy. The chili could easliy be made with soy instead of meat. What are your favorite winter recipes?

The first recipe is for Dan Barber’s Braised Short Ribs. Dan Barber, owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and New York Times writer has an amzing way about him. His creations are remarkable and this recipe was sure a crowd pleaser.

Dan Barber’s Short Ribs
Serves 4 to 6

*5 pounds beef short ribs, bone on
*Kosher salt
*Freshly ground black pepper
*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*1 large onion chopped
*1 carrot, peeled and chopped
*1 celery rib, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, skin left on
*2 tablespoons light brown sugar
*1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
*1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (comes in a jar; slightly thicker than ketchup) or paste (comes in a block)
*2 fresh (or dry) bay leaves
*1/2 cup Madeira
*1 cup red wine (and an extra glass to enjoy while cooking)
*2 to 3 cups chicken broth

1. Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the oil, then the short ribs (add them in batches, if necessary) and brown on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate as they finish browning. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.

2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are soft and all the browned bits in the base of the pot have been loosened. Put the short ribs (and any juices that have collected on the plate) back in the pot.

3. Add the light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tamarind paste, and bay leaves. Pour in the Madeira and red wine. Add enough chicken broth to just cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven.

4. Braise the shortribs until they are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 4 hours (longer if the short ribs are big). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shortribs to a plate. Let the cooking liquid settle; spoon off as much fat as possible (ideally, you’d do this over the course of two days and would, at this point, put the liquid in the fridge overnight and peel off the layer of fat in the morning). Set the pot on the stove over medium high heat. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and reduce to a syrupy consistency.

My second successful recipe this week was for a Chili. A great treat this time of year. Especially this one with chocolate and Parsnips. This one is great for you pregnant mamma’s out there. It is high in fiber and folate.

Chocolate Parsnip Chili
Serves 6

*1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*1 medium onion, finely chopped
*1 pound organic extra lean ground beef (soy protein would be a great subsitute)
*2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced thinly
*1 red bell pepper, chopped
*3 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
*2 teaspoons chili powder
*1 tablespoon died oregano
*1 teaspoon cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
*1 6oz can of tomato paste
*1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
*1 15oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
*1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and protein and cook until browned throughout, about 5 minutes.

2. Add parsnip, red pepper and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chili, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.

3. add tomatoes, tomato paste, cocoa powder, kidney beans and black beans. Bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or longer.

Straight from Italy – The Queen of all Prams

Everyone seem to be running around with the same strollers? Want to turn heads on the street? A great deal today from Zulily and Italy.

Inglesina: High-Quality Italian Baby Essentials

Founded in Vicenza, Italy, Inglesina has excelled at making top-quality baby accessories since the 1960s. The name Inglesina comes from the company’s first stroller design, which was inspired by the traditional English carriages of the British court. That stroller is still available today, in an updated design under the name Classic. Ingleinsa offers quality materials and the utmost attention to safety and style.

Have you joined zulily? It is a fantastic daily deals site offering up to 70% off boutique brands for moms, babies and kids. Browse for unique apparel, gear, toys, accessories and more – great selections for kids of all ages and some great steals for parents, too. The sales only last for a little while so sign up for your free membership to receive access to the site and a daily sales email with all of the scoop.

Use this link to visit the site and start finding great new brands:
http://www.zulily.com/invite/mengel906/inglesina011011.html?tid=referral_email

Cleaning products you will be happy to display on your sink?!

You use eco products in your home, but why are you still using sponges that use unnatural products to clean. Introducing – Twist. Not only are Twist products eco-friendly and biodegradable but you can compost them. All around great. They are traditional and modern stylish kitchen accessories.

The Loofah Sponge is similar to your traditional sponge. It’s unbleached and undyed and has two textures for overall cleaning. If you prefer to use sponges and scrubbers separately, check out Twist’s Naked Sponges and their Sponge Blossoms. With an extensive collection there is something for every preference.

Check out their website: http://www.twistclean.com but to see them in person look at your local Whole Foods. The simple human sink catty is an adorable addition too. Thanks to – “In The Know Mom” for the great tip and picture!

New Year, New You?

What are you going to make 2011 the best year EVER?

Each January millions of people are excited to start the New Year. Fresh with excitement of a clean slate and making the most of the New Year. The holiday season is winding down…Shopping, eating, celebrating. It has been a fun and busy month, but I am excited to kiss 2010 farewell and welcome a new and exciting year. I have been focused on travel, catching up with family and friends and a bit of relaxation. I look forward to January with making the most of 2011. Better and more creative nutrition, expansive exercise plan, new work and creative endeavors, more family time, closer contact with family, friends and colleagues etc. This sounds like a lot, but I am optimistic. After all – I have 363 days to accomplish this.

I have something exciting to share with all of you…and something even more exciting for those who live in the Tri-state area. I am collaborating with some amazing people and we are hosting an Event in Philadelphia on February 4th. This event is going to AMAZING. It is quite a deal and something you should not miss. Are you taking the time to take care of you?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MAKE THIS YOUR BEST YEAR YET?

JUST YOU, ONLY BETTER
Workshop for Women

February 4th, 2011
The Pyramid Club, Philadelphia

The Just You, Only Better
workshop for women will teach
you invaluable skills from leading
industry experts to enhance your
true inner beauty and update
your outer image through subtle
changes that will last a lifetime.
In addition to learning how to look
and feel your best, participants
will receive a signature tote bag
filled with goodies and “Just You,
Only Better” dollars exceeding
the cost of registration. Plus,
discounted shopping and free
massages will be available
during breaks.

Learn How to:
-banish negative thoughts
-make exercise a part of your life
-manage your stress
-meditate to change your life
-apply makeup like the pros
-follow a women’s health action plan
-create stylish outfits from your wardrobe
-rediscover shoes & handbags
-choose the right hairstyle for you
-cook delicious, healthy meals
-be just you, only better!

WORKSHOP AGENDA

7:30-8:30 Registration & Breakfast
8:30-9:00 The Impact of the Media on the Confidence of Women & Young Girls
Molly Napolitano, Founder and President, Just You Only Better
9:00-9:45 Women’s Health: Staying Healthy, Vibrant & Sexy as You Age
Vicki Lukert, PT, Women’s Health Expert
9:45-10:30 Meditation & More: Simple Ways to Reduce Your Stress & Transform Your Life
Alice Dommert, Co-Founder, Deliver Me Yoga
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45 – 11:15 Fattitude: Lose the “F” in Attitude
Michele M. Paiva, Author, Publisher
11:15 – 11:45 Train Your Head…Body Will Follow
Sandy Weston, M.Ed, Owner, Weston Fitness & Founder of H30 Workout System
11:45 – 1:15 Lunch & Presentation: Fashion Tips to Help Reveal the Stylish & Sophisticated You
Biana, THE Philly Fashionista
1:15 – 2:00 Never Diet Again: Easy Ways to Achieve & Maintain Your Perfect Weight
Melinda Engel, Owner, A Simple Approach to Nutrition
Molly Napolitano, Founder & President, Just You Only Better
2:00 – 2:30 The Celeb’s Secrets to Looking 10 Years Younger
Janet Indorf, Regional Make-up Artist, Bobbi Brown
2:30 – 3:00 How to Find the Right Hair Style for YOU
Jeffrey Moffet, THE Makeover Guru, Pileggi on the Square
3:00 – 3:15 Break
3:15 – 4:00 Healthy Cooking: Fast, Easy & Delicious
Brian Duffy, Celebrity Chef & Corporate Executive Chef, Kildare’s
Irish Pubs & Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar
4:00 – 4:30 Final Thoughts
Meet New Friends
4:30 – 5:00 Free Zumba Class at Weston Fitness (Optional)
Sandy Weston, M.Ed, Owner, Weston Fitness and Founder of H30 Workout System

*free money*
The fun continues after the workshop! You will receive hundreds of “Just You, Only Better” dollars to local boutiques, health clubs, salons and other businesses in Philadelphia; let the transformation begin

Date: February 4, 2011
Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Place: The Pyramid Club
1735 Market Street, 52nd Floor Philadelphia, PA
Cost: $149 (Early bird cost before January 15th)
$199 (Cost after January 15th)
for women
REGISTER online at http://www.JustYouOnlyBetter.com
All pricing includes a light breakfast and a healthy, delicious lunch.

Have you been to the Pyramid club yet? What an amazing way to spend your day! This event will sell out and is limited to 100 guests. It will be amazing day of learning, networking and FUN! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Take the day off, and join us on February 4th. When was the last time you did something for you!?