Cranberry Sauce: The Skinnier Tastier Version of this Holiday Essential 

For those of you who have started perusing the holiday recipes, let me chime in. Cranberry sauce appears on a lot of the traditional Christmas menus I’ve been researching. I made it for Thanksgiving, and I’ll definitely make it again for Christmas. It goes well with any type of meat, whether you plan to make turkey, ham, chicken, or pork for your big Christmas meal. (I’m leaning towards a nice big piece of ham, or a large sized pork tenderloin roast.)  It’s also very bright, festive, and a good seasonal touch for the table.

I’ve been making my own cranberry sauce for a few years.  People don’t realize how easy it is to make, and it sounds impressive when you can say “it’s homemade from scratch.”   Another thing people don’t realize is how loaded it is with sugar.  Most of us assume cranberry sauce is healthy, because it has a fruit in its name right, so it must be healthy?–wrong!  In reality, aside from cranberries, the main ingredients in it are:

  • white sugar (or less often brown sugar)
  • orange juice  (Let’s face it, a lot of juices are just another form of sugar water.)

I’m all about cooking traditional dishes for holidays, but I really try to find a way to at least attempt to make things a little healthier.   This cranberry sauce recipe is all natural, and tastes the same as the white sugar cranberry sauce.  The only ingredients are cranberries, water, honey, orange rind (inside optional), and cinnamon.  Notice the two main substitutions I’ve made here:

White sugar -> honey
Orange juice -> water

If you really wanted to make it less calories you can use substitute sugar, but I don’t use fake ingredients at my house.  I used organic wildflower honey in my cranberry sauce.

I highly suggest making your own cranberry sauce.  You basically take the cranberries/water/honey, stir them a bit until they boil and pop, mix in any spices/orange rind you want to add, stir a little more, then refrigerate.  If you want to make it even prettier, I put a whole cinnamon stick on mine to make it look even more wintery and fancy 😀

Look how beautiful it is at the table:

I’m all about maintaining tradition and keeping as healthy as possible without sacrificing taste.  I’ll be making this again for Christmas!


Brunch at TriBeCa’s Marc Forgione

Guys, I realize it’s only Thursday, but it’s not too early to start thinking about a nice weekend brunch 🙂

I was wedding dress shopping at Lovely Bride in TriBeCa, and I went for brunch with my parents afterwards.  My dad wanted traditional brunch food, and didn’t want the tapas restaurant I suggested around the corner.  He said he always leaves tapas hungry lol  (There’s also a Sarabeth’s right there but it looked crammed to capacity and full of kids and strollers–no thank you, not relaxing.)

So Marc Forgione it was!  Marc Forgione is American style cuisine, in a rustic, earthy, and dimly lit cozy setting.   I had remembered it because I was supposed to go there with a friend.  (He also won Iron Chef!) It’s a little on the pricier side for brunch, but overall the restaurant has incredible reviews: 4.2 Yelp, 4.4 Google, 4.7 OpenTable, 4.5 TripAdvisor (links at bottom).

The brunch is $23.95 pr/p and it comes with everything bagel biscuits and an interesting carrot spread, maple fennel sausage, home fries, and bacon. No drinks are included in that price.

Here’s a closer photo of the wonderful biscuits. Don’t judge, we’re still waiting for our alcoholic beverages here:

It came with three biscuits, so I guess only one per person!

Is there even such a thing as brunch in New York without drinks?  No.  No, there isn’t.  We had a bottle of rose that was on the more dry side:

Apparently we were all being super healthy that day because we all got the salmon and egg brunch salad:

You can see the bacon, sausage, and home fries here too:

I would recommend this place for a nicer brunch, and I plan to come back to try the dinner menu.  The food is very good, everything seemed healthier and more natural than other restaurants.  

The service was good.  Our waitress was a little impatient, but then she was happy when we ordered a bottle.  

If you’re looking for a rowdy, loud, and obnoxious brunch, then I wouldn’t recommend this for your outing.  This restaurant is elegant, casual, and rustic-modern, but not pretentious, if that makes sense.  

Since it’s very dimly lit inside and has decorations that are a little darker, I think it’s a great place to try again in the coming months.  (The Sunday that we went it was very bright outside so we sat by the bar area by the window this way we can still enjoy the day outside.) I’ll be bringing my fiancé back here for a Friday or Saturday dinner in the near future…
Links to reviews:

4.2 Yelp

4.7 OpenTable 

4.5 TripAdvisor 

Black Friday at Lord and Taylor: A Winning Situation 

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without Black Friday deals!!! 🙂 I love Lord and Taylor and I just couldn’t pass up the $20 off coupon they sent me.  It was for in-store use only, so they got me in there! Here I am preparing for battle…comfortably dressed in leggings and wedge sneakers 😀 

Made it to Lord and Taylor! I absolutely love how the ledge is covered with greens and it’s all lit up. So festive and when people are looking at the windows when it’s snowing/raining as the weather gets worse, they’ll stay dry and protected. 

I went in intentionally looking for Black Friday deals, and I already generally knew what I was looking for–sweaters with holes in the arms and leggings. Found exactlywhat I was looking for!

My new hole-y purchase…love this sweater!

And I just couldn’t leave this one behind either…

The second sweater is a lot more chunky, and I love the look of it. Very Flashdance!

I also managed to find velvet leggings and leatherette type leggings by BCBG. Obsessed.  I’m really into textures and I have a sweet spot for velvet because it so soft and comfortable. Overall, a successful two hours on Friday. 

The Apartment Art is Coming Together, with More Purchases to Come.

I have never purchased an expensive piece of art before, but I found the first official item I want to buy.  It’s so perfect for a Manhattan living room.  Light, bright, and airy:

Before I get to that though, here’s some of the stuff hanging in my apartment right now…  Definitely all in the double digits in terms of cost! LOL (You have to start somewhere!)   I consider this corner of my apartment the “international corner.”  From top to bottom on the wall (all purchased in London):

The large canvas print on the left is a French bistro inspired still painting of wine that I just added to the collection 😀  You see why I call it my international corner now?


This canvas painting I also just purchased, and it reminds my fiancé and I of our summer vacation to Spain.


We visited Palma de Mallorca, and went to this beach called Illetas Beach that was about a 15 minute cab ride from Palma.  This painting literally looks like the lunch spot at Illetas:


The last of the art I have (for now):


The top one is a cool canvas painting I got years ago (maybe 2008? 2009?) from Urban Outfitters.  Love it!  The bottom one my fiance’s friend got us from the top of a mountain in Nepal.  It’s goes beautifully with the fiery peacock feather above it.  And of course, I love our view.  It’s not even necessarily a high floor, but it feels like we live in the sky.


So back to my story about the first piece of expensive art I contemplated buying as a long term investment.  I’ve been thinking about this print for a while.  Let me refresh your memory:

It’s a photograph of Prada Marfa which is a permanent art exhibit/sculpture in Texas.  Here’s the Wikipedia page on Prada Marfa.  I saw the print at this store in Soho called J’Adore Chic when I was taking a walk.  My fiance and I immediately liked the print and went to see how much it is.  The woman told us that it was $4,500, and we asked her if that price included the thin frame.  She was so rude, had a nasty look on her face, in her tone, and told us that the frame was $1,500 separate.  We’re paying tens and tens of thousands of dollars on our wedding in Miami right now, so we won’t be buying the print at this moment.  However, when we do, it won’t be from this woman or store.  As I have learned from Googling, there are so many places where we can get this particular large print, or something like it!

Another shot of the store we won’t be buying this print from lol.  Rude lady!!!

We’ll buy the print next year, but we’re definitely sourcing it from somewhere else!  My goal is to continue decorating my apartment, but to get a lot of stuff from street artists in New York.

Manhattan Decor for a Manhattan Home

I love decorating my apartment with touches of New York.  I think it’s important to incorporate aspects of your surroundings into your home.  The inside should reflect the outside environment.  There should be a certain flow from outside to inside.  For example, you wouldn’t decorate your apartment with sea shells when you live in Alaska!  You’re more likely to see deer, antlers, and moose heads lining the walls. 

I found this Manhattan cheeseboard on one of my Bed Bath and Beyond runs, and I just couldn’t let it go.  It’s bamboo and it shows the different little neighborhood separations with artsy writing.  Not only is it a practical, but it looks perfect on the kitchen wall.  Here it is in its full beauty:

Here’s a close up of the board so the neighborhoods are a little more visible:

Next thing on my list is NYC street art, so the space has an even more urban and modern feel…

Las Ramblas in El Greenwich Village

Sitting all week at work is rough.  It’s so nice to walk around on the weekends and get some leisurely exercise.  Saturday I walked over three miles.  The halfway point was around Greenwich Village before I turned around and walked back home.  That mile and a half walk was exhausting and it was only natural to get a refreshing drink before my fiancé and I headed back home to figure out dinner.

We stumbled upon Las Ramblas!  (Later I actually realized I came a few years ago with my mom, but it was totally different.  The windows were open, it was summer, and warm…lol)

You can’t pass up a $15 pitcher of sangria!  ($15 for a pitcher from 1-4pm)  This is the red pear pitcher, and a little side of olives:

It was inviting inside with the all-brick decor and soft lighting.  Since we went at a bit of an off time, there were only two other people in there having a late lunch. Nice and quiet!

They had cute decorative miniature pumpkins suspended from ledges, and some pumpkin candles for the tables for the evening.

There I am on the way out!

I’ll have to get food next time too!  It’s not everyday I can get to Barcelona, or any other part of Spain for that matter; little pieces of it in New York will have to do.

Viva La Mexico: Tequila Friday!

I am soooo happy it’s the weekend!  I’ve been saving this tequila that my dad got me from Mexico.  He recently went to Playa del Carmen and Cancun, and brought the family back some real treasures 🙂

I’m pretty sure Tres Generaciones is my new favorite.  Here’s a close up of the beautiful bottle.  It’s so regal looking:

Of course, my dad also brought us all back souvenir shot glassesI!  Uno, dos, tres, tequila!

I normally drink Patron and Don Julio, and this tequila is just way better–there isn’t even a comparison.  It is so smooth.  I neither chugged the tequila, nor did I chill it.  It genuinely is that smooth on its own…

I thought I’d post some of the photos from Playa del Carmen my dad took.  You can’t have a drink from a place without seeing some of the photos 🙂

Happy Friday, folks!