Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vegetarian New Orleans

One of New Orleans’ main attractions is its food; look up any guide to the city and at least one day is spent chasing all the local flavors. Unfortunately for me though, creole food is not super vegetarian friendly, so I needed to do a little extra research before the trip to ensure that I was still able to sample the local flavors. Root, where we had dinner one night, had some delicious vegetarian options, and I thought their food presentation was unique and fun. We also ate lunch at Gumbo Shop, which has a vegetarian gumbo and a vegetarian special of the day, and had brunch at Satsuma, which offered a tofu scramble and quinoa and black bean burger. The advanced work certainly paid off, and I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experiences in NOLA. 

xx Molly

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lestat Stomping Grounds

Ann Taylor blouse, Banana Republic skirt, Ivanka Trump bag, Arturo Chang flats

One of my favorite memories from New Orleans was walking around the Garden District, a mostly residential area filled with beautiful old mansions and homes. The vibe was distinctly southern, at least to my northern eye, filled with homes featuring stately columned porches with ceiling fans, peaceful cobblestone streets, and lush, ancient trees. Each home was beautiful and unique, but we also spotted a few famous ones like Anne Rice’s, author of The Vampire Chronicles (her house is pictured here), as well as Jefferson Davis’ final home. I imagine that if I were to ever move to New Orleans, the Garden District is where I’d like to live, sipping sweet tea on my stately front porch.

xx Molly

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cafe Du Monde

I knew one of our first stops in New Orleans needed to be Café Du Monde for beignets, so we visited the café our first morning choosing to eat the treats on the go as we explored the French Quarter. They were delicious, hot out of the fryer and covered in tons of sweet powdered sugar, but to be perfectly honest, the difference between beignets and fried dough was pretty much indeterminable to me. Still, it was fun to try such an authentically “New Orleans” treat and I certainly wouldn't mind a couple more right now.

xx Molly

Monday, October 28, 2013

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

J Crew jacket (last seen here), Free People sunnies

The boy and I got back from a three day trip to New Orleans yesterday, more on that tomorrow, but managed to squeeze in some rowing in Central Park before it closes for the season. We packed a thermos of hot chocolate (mint this time), bundled up for the cool October air, and rowed around the lake for an hour. And while these photos may seem to indicate otherwise, my fiancé did most of the rowing while I sat back and enjoyed the views. Probably some of the best $12 we've spent in the city.

xx Molly

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

I've never been much of a coffee drinker, and by much of a coffee drinker I mean I never drink it, ever, so I'm always missing out on the seasonal staple pumpkin spice lattes. So instead I thought I'd try a pumpkin hot chocolate to celebrate the season. If you too are a non-coffee drinker like me, give it a try. 

xx Molly

2 1/2 cups soy or almond milk
1/3 cup hot cocoa mix
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Prepare the milk and cocoa mix per the stovetop instructions of the package. 
2. Whisk in the canned pumpkin, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Serve topped with additional frothed milk or whipped cream. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013


**looking long and lanky in a hall of mirrors**

I can hardly believe that it is already the end of October; that leaves are changing colors, fall has essentially come and gone, and my building turned on the heat yesterday. These past few months have flown by in a new job/wedding planning/general life haze. Here are a few things that have been keeping me busy.

xx Molly

Indian desserts from Little India in Queens

musicals and a masquerade ball with girlfriends

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Escarole and Lentil Soup

The weather is crazy! It's well into Fall, yet some days have been so hot and so humid. Inevitably, soup weather is coming though! Some of the farmers have less at the market because their farms are in the Finger Lakes region and they have experienced a couple of mild frosts; still no killing frost, though. My houseplants are still in the backyard which is a first for this late in October. Some farmers are still waiting for their cold weather crops to mature---for instance to be able to offer escarole. One farmer did have escarole this week and since it was a gigantic head, it was therefore destined for my soup pot.

I served the soup made of escarole, potatoes and lentils with a salad of arugula, roasted beets, pineapple apples, Seckel pears, raisins, walnuts, and cubes of baked tofu. Here's my recipe for the soup.

1 lb. lentils
8 c. water
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
6 or so small potatoes or 2 large cut into small cubes
2 lbs escarole
1 cup leftover tomato sauce or a 15 oz can of cubed or crushed tomatoes
3 hot peppers, finely diced, optional

Wash and sort lentils. Add to water in large pan. Cover and bring to boil, lower heat. Simmer 1 hour, until almost all liquid has been absorbed. Add the parsley.

While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onion, half the garlic, carrots, potatoes and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining 4 cups of water and the tomato sauce. Cook until the potatoes are firm-tender. Add the lentils and whatever liquid is left with them.

Sauté the remaining garlic and the finely diced hot pepper in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Trim the escarole removing hard and tough leaves. Wash them thoroughly in cold water to remove any soil. Roughly chop the leaves. (Here my husband would ask something like "Why is it necessary to speak to them harshly?") Add the escarole leaves with whatever water is clinging to them to the sautéed garlic and peppers. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until escarole is tender.

Add escarole and the liquid to the lentils and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve it with salad, like I did, and perhaps some crusty bread. Warm up your belly.

xx Mama and Molly

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Down by the Lake

Target scarf and jeans, J Crew jacket and sweater, Fornarina boots (similar here)

I know what you're thinking, I must have gone on a weekend trip to a spot that included a serene lake, but in fact, I just look a walk in Central Park. The boy and I have been trying to go rowing in Central Park's lake all summer (and fall), and once again missed out this past weekend, but it was so worth it for this tranquil little spot we found. That park is truly amazing and totally makes what can be a slightly overwhelming city so much more manageable. Now cross your fingers for us that we manage to go rowing next weekend, or we'll have to wait until the boat rentals reopen next spring.

xx Molly

look at the view on the way home, stunning right?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jacob's Pickles

The funny thing about New York, is that you feel like you’ve never even scratched the surface, or at least I do. After a little over two years in Philadelphia, I felt like I had a really good handle on the city and knew the hidden gems, but not in New York. The point is, this weekend the boy and I were walking within blocks of where we live, where we’re still finding new things all the time (not to mention the rest of Manhattan or the other boroughs) and decided to try a new to us restaurant that is always packed. Jacob’s Pickles serves delicious (if a little on the buttery side, but who doesn’t like an indulgence every now and again), southern fare with three different root beers on tap, which was possibly my favorite part, and although not the ideal in vegetarian friendly, there were still plenty of options. If you ever find yourself on the upper west side in need of comfort food, check it out.

xx Molly

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Stuffed Peppers

I have a rather long commute for the Rochester area---about fifty minutes. While driving, I listen to books on CD and right now I'm "reading" The Borgias: The Hidden History by G J Meyer. There is so much about history to learn!

Something else I usually do is decide what to cook for dinner. What did I buy at the farmer's market Sunday? What other ingredients do I have? What do I feel like having? How much time do I feel like devoting? How can I put a dinner together and have lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, plant-based fat, and herbs/spices.

This evening I wanted quick, and I decided I'd incorporate something I had in my freezer that I rarely use anymore, an Italian-style vegan sausage, Field Roast. I enjoy the taste of these things, but I now cook with unprocessed, whole foods. However, just like a piece of birthday cake, once in a while is ok.

So, I roasted cubes of eggplant, onion, and mushrooms along with quarter slices of two tomatoes. I cooked a cup of quinoa in two cups of veggie broth and a healthy sprinkle of minced, dried Aleppo chilies. I crumbled the defrosted sausages. When the veggies were tender I combined them with the sausage and added dried thyme, basil, and parsley. Then I mixed in the quinoa.

I filled pepper halves, that I had pre-cooked until they were slightly tender, with the mixture and put the stuffed peppers in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.

They were gooooood.

xx Mama and Molly