Ample Hills Creamery

Even in sub-freezing temperatures, nothing is better than Ample Hills Ice Cream. Sold at three different Brooklyn locations and as of YESTERDAY, at the Gotham West Market in Manhattan, this ice cream is like no other. More like a pot of 24K gold in comparison to bronze.  Not only does it taste delicious, but it is the only ice cream parlor in New York City that makes ice cream completely from scratch on the premises. It gets its eggs and dairy from local farms, and each aspect of the ice cream is handmade with premium ingredients. Holy cow.

 

The store

The Gowanus Ice Cream Parlor on a recent cold, snowy, freezing weekend afternoon. Check out the roof deck up top. I want to have a party up there — for lazy people who don’t want to come to my party in Brooklyn, they will not know what they are missing. It is simply amazing.

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Healthy Banana Coconut Cookies

The right size.

 

For the past couple of months, I have been more into *real* desserts than *healthy* desserts. But now that it is the start of a new, clean, fresh year, I am back to loving / craving / wanting / needing healthy desserts. And this dessert is the perfect one — incredibly healthy, no refined sugar, no wheat, real ingredients, easy to make, and super delicious. WIN WIN WIN — almost like digging into an overflowing ice cream hot fudge sundae. This recipe is from 101 Cookbooks, one of my all-time favorite food blogs. Check it out! And make these cookies! They are part banana bread — part oatmeal — part macaroon. All in one deliciousness!

 

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Saltine Cookies

Top

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time (first, huge THANK YOU!), then you have already seen this post. But I can’t help myself and need to include it again because these holiday treats are SO VERY DELICIOUS and addictive. And if you are new to the blog (welcome, and thank you!), enjoy the very best cookie / goodie / chocolate heaven / salty-sweet-thang. Hands down, the best holiday treat. And because you will not be able to stop at just one cookie (or ten of them), better get started on your holiday workout.

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Jacques Genin Chocolate

Even though I am done with marathon training (well, for NYC 2014…not forever….I am hooked), I still am hungry all the time. Especially for chocolates. Specifically, French chocolates. Recommended by a friend on our recent trip to Paris, we stopped by Jacques Genin, a well known French chocolate and caramel maker in the Marais. And let me tell you, it is worth the hype. At first, I thought that all high-end chocolate tastes the same — good, delicious, and decadent. But once I polished off the box of Jacques Genin’s, I realized that it was HIS chocolate that was oh-s0-flipping-good. He opened up his own chocolate store / tea house in the Marais neighborhood in 2008. It is beautiful and chic — an Hermes version of chocolate.

 

Damn straight

Damn straight

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Karlie’s Kookies

So, apparently when you follow supermodels on instagram, you start to think that you yourself are IN FACT a supermodel. Yep, that is right. I strut like one, dress similarly, resemble one, and I am a model now. OK.  Not really, but I *do* eat Karlie’s Kookies which most supermodels boast about chomping down on instagram.  So that makes us similar, right? What is a Karlie’s Kookie? Well, all the celebrities and fashionistas eat them (and post them on instagram), so they must be healthy AND delicious at the same time. And what do you know? They really are. Cross my heart, swear to god, these little cookies are made out of healthy ingredients and are so tasty good, too.

 

My goodie bag.

My goodie bag.

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Jacobsen Salty Black Licorice

Enamored with anything Oregonian and delicious, I recently stumbled upon (in my mother’s kitchen) the most INCREDIBLE, tasty unusual, and delicious treat, made by a Local Company, Jacobsen Salt Co. A little background: my parents met and married in Stockholm, Sweden, 42 years ago. I also lived there as a 5 year old for a year. Soooo, I feel a connection to anything Swedish (add that to my long list of special connections: Oregon, Paris, hippy, etc..)  One of the many Swedish food loves is black licorice, and especially salted black licorice. It is definitely an acquired taste, but if you do like it, you LOVE it. And my mother is royally obsessed with black licorice and stocks up on it when in Scandinavia. So it was a treat for her to find her favorite candy made by a local company. Hip hip hooray!

 

Catchy

Catchy name, classy presentation.

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Raw Chocolate Coconut Bites

I know I have a lot of haters of my healthy desserts (mainly, my husband, father, and brother…see the pattern), but THIS HEALTHY DESSERT is a must-make and must-eat. And not to be hated on. Even my father ate it and asked for more (true story). So, do me a favor and make it. I found the recipe off of my new-to-me-favorite-healthy-food-blog, Deliciously Ella. With a little bit of creative editing, here is the recipe for Raw Chocolate Coconut Bites. Yes, they are vegan. No, they are not nut-free. Yes, they are delicious. Yes, I promise.

 

Ingredients:

 

Ingredients

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Hampton Popcorn Co.

Truly a sugar addict, my heart and mind fell in love when I was recently gifted a tin of Hampton Popcorn. I had NO IDEA that popcorn could taste SOOOO good. A nibble here, a handful there, and in no time, the gallon tin was almost empty. I can’t even begin to explain the deliciousness of this guilty pleasure.

 

Classic, classy blue and white tin. With HEAVEN inside.

Classic, classy blue and white tin. With HEAVEN inside.

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GP’s Lalo Cookies

Thumbprint cookies (I used blueberry jam and lingonberry jam).

Yep, another Gwyneth Paltrow recipe. I can’t help myself!!!! I love her recipes and ingredients so much!!! Plus if I eat like her, I will look like her, right? These cookies are the bomb (yep, used that word, say what 2003). They are dense, sweet, healthy, and hit-the-spot. They are more like a granola bar than a cookie. But healthy snack trumps oreos anyday.

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Ayurvedic Apropos Pumpkin Cookies

mound

The New Year is an opportunity to listen to your body and eat according to your dosha, your imbalances, the season, and the Ayurvedic composition. Currently in Vata season (and being a true Vata person), warm, homey, sturdy foods such as pumpkin and sweet potato provide balance and nourishment. So when I came across these pumpkin vegan cookies, I couldn’t wait to give them a shot.

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Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Even with Thanksgiving behind us, there is no such thing as TOO much pie! Especially pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Located in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn (439 3rd Avenue), this pie shop was founded in 2010 by sisters and pie makers Melissa and Emily Elsen. And my oh my, do they know how to bake! So scrumptious and delicious. So many choices to choose form.

outside

Outside the pie shop with old school gothic lettering.

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Gooey Butter Cake

Officially sweets-obsessed, nothing makes me happier (and sugar-drunk) than eating Gooey Butter cake. This little piece of heaven was first introduced to me by my fabulous friend, Heidi-ho, a native St. Louis, mother, lawyer, *AND* an amazing chef and baker.  Heidi grew up eating this cake, which is traditionally made in her hometown. It is the perfect combination of a brownie and a flourless chocolate cake… but without the chocolate.

Yep, folks, this is for reals. SO RIDICULOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS.

Yep, folks, this is for reals. SO RIDICULOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS.

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Peach Crisp

Fruit crisps might not be the most photogenic dessert, but they sure are delicious. Even if they look gloopy and mushy (which they are), they still remind me of easy, relaxing, summer nights. This recipe for Peach Crisps was adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food and can be used for any fruit crisp (raspberry, apple, blueberry, rhubarb, the sky is the limit!)

Ingredients:

Ingredients

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Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery

Through wonderful friends, Ali and I were introduced to Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery and the woman behind it, Umber. Both the baked goods and Umber are such inspirations that I think about them all the time. Not only is her food incredibly delicious, scrumptious, and heavenly, but Umber is also such an elegant, eloquent, composed, intelligent, and beautiful person. Umber ‘s success, happiness, and talent shine through, immediately wanting us to become friends with her. Both Ali and I fell head over heels for Mah-Ze-Dahr AND Umber!

mah-ze-dahr

Mah-Ze-Dahr is a bakery created by Umber and is a Tom Colicchio Discovery brand. Umber, taught at a young age that food is a language on its own, studied genetics and business. She spent much of her career in finance on Wall Street, and then moved to help luxury brands, chefs, and restaurateurs expand their concepts globally. She also started the bakery (the perfect combination of her talents — business, science, and culture!) with Colicchio, the chef/owner of Craft restaurants (as well as a Top Chef judge).

Umber. Isn't she supermodel worthy? HOLY COW!

Umber. Isn’t she supermodel worthy? HOLY COW! (Photo taken by Vanessa Rees)

Umber and Tom.

Umber and Tom. Again, another beautiful photo taken by Vanessa Rees.

In Urdu, the word mazedar describes the taste essence of food, its flavor and magic that make it delicious. As Umber describes, it is the “Je-ne-sais-quoi” that describes something wonderful. It is something that one cannot describe but wants to experience over and over again. And the items from Mah-Ze-Dahr are exactly that.

The simple brown box, logo and ribbon is classic and tasteful.

The simple brown box, logo and ribbon is classic and tasteful.

MY FAVORITE! I am still dreaming of this cheesecake. Made from sour cream and cream cheese, it is light fluffy and refreshing -- who knew that cheesecake could be so light and airy?

MY FAVORITE! I am still dreaming of this cheesecake. Made from sour cream and cream cheese, it is light fluffy and refreshing — who knew that cheesecake could be so light and airy?

A favorite, Mah-ze-dahr bars

A favorite, Mah-ze-dahr bars that were featured in Food & Wine Magazine an Editor’s Top Ten Pick (February 2013). This bar has an oatmeal cookie base topped with toasted pecans and chocolate bits and covered in a brown butter caramel sauce.

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Mango Tapioca

I love mushy food.  Like love.  It’s like I am a 90 year old woman with no teeth.  So what is one of my dream desserts? TAPIOCA!. I experimented and created my own LACTOSE-FREE (aka vegan with an egg) mango tapioca recipe. Refreshing, soothing, delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Ingredients.

* 2 and 3/4 cups almond/soy milk
* 1/3 cup of sugar
* 3 tablespoons of minute tapioca
* 1 beaten egg
* 1 mango
* 1/2 cup of coconut milk
Directions:

*  Mix milk, sugar, tapioca and (beaten egg) in a saucepan and let mixture sit for 5 minutes.

I didn't listen to my own directions and simply placed the egg into the mixture before beating the egg. WRONG, beat the egg before you place it in the milk mixture.

I didn’t listen to my own directions and simply placed the egg into the mixture before beating the egg. WRONG, beat the egg before you place it in the milk mixture.

Blend.

Blend.

* On medium heat, cook the mixture until it comes to a full boil while constantly stirring.

Boiling tapioca.

Boiling tapioca.

Getting thicker.

Getting thicker. OH MY GOD, watching tapioca form is like finding a split end! And then examining it under the microscope. #highschooldays #itsthesmallthings #obsessive

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Best Babka in NYC!

True story: On Saturday night, a friend brought me a loaf of babka (jewish sweet bread) form a new bakery (Breads Bakery).  By Sunday, I had eaten the entire gift (with the help of my husband) and was so in need of the another loaf that I traveled 46 blocks to get my fix on Monday. Yep, a babka junkie. Because OH MY GOD, this sweet delicious amazing ridiculous cake slash bread is to-die-for. I literally had one hour free of time between a work commitment and my kids waking up from nap, but I had to HAD TO go get another loaf.

Or four.

babka

This heavenly piece of cake is from Breads Bakery, an Israeli bakery in Union Square that opened in February 2013. Israeli (Danish trained) Uri Scheft is a seasoned baker with a store in Tel Aviv and now in NYC. The bakery carries a variety of savory breads, cookies, rugelachs, and most importantly, babka.

breads

This babka is worth the calories and the travel time. You want (and will) eat every crumb. The babka is made with cultured butter from France, and then a mixture of Nutella and Belgian dark-chocolate chips. This sounds amazing, right? But then it is topped off with sugar syrup that gives it a rich, crisp crust with a moist, soft inside. Holy crap, that good (thank god I am not diabetic). The babka lasts several days, and tastes good defrosted (so if you stock up like me and want to hoard them, they still taste good!) During checkout, my first question to the cashier was whether or not they deliver (answer: not currently).

Old time bakery feel.

Old time bakery feel.

Everything about Breads Bakery looks and smells delicious. They are dedicated to producing artisanal, handmade breads using traditional baking techniques (and many made with whole grains). Being in the bakery makes me want to run away and become a baker. But since that is not going to happen, the next best thing is eating a loaf of babka every week.

The cashier asked me if I was throwing a party (when I bought 4 babkas and 8 rugelachs). OOPS! Party in my BELLY!!!!!

The cashier asked me if I was throwing a party (when I bought 4 babkas and 8 rugelachs). OOPS! Party in my BELLY!!!!!

Some more sweet options on the menu.

Some more sweet options on the menu.

Three of the four loaves.

Three of the four loaves.

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