Currently Loving July 2021

Mid July, here we are. Second half of the year, here, too! Here is what I am currently loving this month:

 

1. Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Crisp Recipe

 

We went blueberry picking this week and picked over 12 pounds of blueberry. So I decided to make a blueberry crisp (and follow a recipe!) I made two of these crisps (used 6 pounds of blueberries) and found this recipe perfect — not too sweet, but light and refreshing.

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JEM Organics Nut Butter

Ridiculously delicious nut butter. After eating half a bottle (no exaggeration) in 5 days, I knew that I had a new obsession – JEM Organics Nut Butter. JEM But butters are the most decadent and unique nut mixtures — so good that I am determined to try each and every one of them this summer (summer #goals). They are good with just a spoon, on a banana, with some chocolate chips, or spread on bread. However you choose to eat it, you cannot go wrong.

 

This was the first one I bought (and the one that I ate half a jar in 5 days(. Salted caramel almond butter. YEP. Rich. Gluttonous. And oh so delicious. JEM — Just Eat Me — yes, JUST EAT ME. You can’t not eat.

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Seriously tastes like salted caramel in almond butter.

And look at the ingredients — all healthy and organic.

Proof that I devoured this in less than one week. Not in a sitting. But I could do that.

The grocery store (yes, in Oregon, the grocery stores are my favorite place to visit). And yes, JEM is an Oregon product, produced and made in Bemd.

Some more of their selection.

 

I just bought the chocolate hazelnut and it is a great substitute to Nutella — with cleaner, organic and natural ingredients. You can buy a variety pack, single size, of any size, on their website. Check it out. I promise you, that if you are a nut butter lover like I am (who is not?), than you will love these and fall head over heels in love.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Batchworthy

Through a random rabbit hole instagram search (via Mandy Moore, who hiked Mount Kilimanjaro together in a group), I started following Chase Weideman — a dude Influencer. He and his husband created some sauces during quarantine, and what started out as some jars for some friends has turned in to a legitimate business, Batchworthy. Intrigued (and a lover of sauces), I bought two of the six flavors — the Husband Sauce and the Soft Caesar, and am THOROUGHLY HOOKED to both. They deliver locally and ship nationally, and you need to try them out! They are beyond delicious.

 

These sauces go on everything and anything!

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Currently Loving June 2021

WHAT THE — here we are half way through 2021. I have no idea how that happened, but it has been a wild ride! Right now, this is what I am loving! And please share with me what you are loving as I so love to hear any and all!

 

1. Coast by Augustine

 

Indie band (from Brooklyn) Augustine’s song, Coast, is so peppy and fun. It puts everyone in a good mood, and EVERYONE will love this song. Listen!

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Mushroom Coffee

Recently, some friends raved so much about their daily mushroom coffee, that they dropped a bag off at our house. These friends claim that this mushroom coffee changed their life — that they are more focused, energized, and don’t have any mid-day crash or over caffeinated jitters. A little skeptical, I have been drinking this mushroom coffee, Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane, the past couple mornings. It is true — a little bit of this coffee goes a long way.

 

Mushroom coffee — coffee with mushroom but doesn’t TASTE like mushroom! THINK!

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ABC Kitchen Roasted Carrot Salad

I was first introduced to this Roasted Carrot Salad at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, ABC Kitchen. Although it has been years since I have last eaten there, I distinctively remember the salad — the rainbow colors, the mixture of elements, and most of all how delicious it is. Ever since I found the recipe (Thank you, NY Times!), I have made this salad 5 times (in 2 weeks). It is SOOOOOO GOOD! A perfect salad for summer (or winter) and alone (or for guests).

 

The perfect salad!

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Frozen Key Lime Pie

Hands down my favorite dessert is key lime pie –(remember last year when I ordered 13 pounds of key lime pies by accident). And so I decided to start off the week on a sweet note by making key lime pie — but not just any key lime pie, but FROZEN key lime pie. The recipe is from Barefoot Contessa and is so stinking easy that I hope I dont start making it every week just to have in the kitchen…..

 

(Pre frozen — I couldn’t stop myself, it is that good)

 

Ingredients:

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Cauliflower Bites

OH MY GOD, stop whatever you are doing, and run and get these cauliflower bites. They are like cheetos or pirate bootie, but cauliflower. So even better. I tried them and couldn’t stop thinking about them, so had to go to every Juice Press in the city (or what felt like every store), and get them. The store clerks told me that they can never keep them in stock because everyone loves them so much. And sure enough, when I found them, I bought every package they had, because they are THAT good. Yes, would love to try to dehydrate cauliflower myself and make them even more healthy, but until then, I will eat these packages. Check them out!

 

Cauliflower bites white cheddar.

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Rim to Rim to Rim

Last Thursday, May 6th, 2021, three friends and I set out to run the Rim to Rim to Rim – a trail run in the Grand Canyon from one side of the canyon (South Rim) to the other (North Rim) and back again. It was over 42 miles and a huge obstacle to undertake. After months of training and planning, we successfully completed the journey. It was a one of a kind experience and I am still in disbelief that we actually did it! Unlike other marathons, this was a self assisted ultramarathon, meaning it was only us on the trail (although we ran in to two groups of 2 guys doing the same thing that we were doing). It was also more risky than a marathon, not just because of the heat and the longer distance, but because once you go in to the canyon, you cannot be rescued. Our half way point – the North Kaibab trailhead is closed in Winter months – which means that once we got there, the only way back was to do the full 21 miles all over again.

 

A map of the Grand Canyon. The route that we took was from South Kaibab Trailhead to the North Kaibab and back the same route. Other people opt to go down or up the Bright Angel Trail as it is more gradual, shady, and has more water sources — but it is also 4 miles longer.

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Interview with Virtual Cooking Teacher

Last week, I wrote about virtual cooking chef / teacher, Kate, and the classes she offers online. I love her so much and her background is so fascinating that I wanted to share more about her with you! (And don’t you just love reading and finding out more about people — people are so fascinating!)  Read below to find out the questions and answer session with Kate! And thank you, Kate!!! (Please note: all pictures are taken from Kate’s instagram page).

 

Kate! Don’t you love her already?

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Virtual Cooking Classes

For the past several months, I have been taking virtual private cooking classes and they have changed. my. life. Through a kids’ cooking program, I became acquainted with Kate and loved her so much that I poached her from the program, and hired her to teach me how to cook. It has been absolutely incredible. Not only do I work with her on a weekly basis, but she does classes with both my kids — for special occasions here and there and in the past on a weekly basis. Kate offers cooking classes and baking classes and they are ABSOLUTELY incredible.

 

This is Kate. SHE IS AMAZING. Personable, super friendly, knowledgeable, patient, funny. I love her. If she lived in NYC, she would be my friend.

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Absolute Bagels

This past Friday, while sifting through magazines and food websites, I decided it was time to try “the best bagel” in Manhattan. So after researching some of “the best bagels,” I decided that we would try out “Absolute Bagels” on the Upper West Side (108th and Broadway). I liked it because it seemed gritty, authentic, unique, and off the beaten path. I like bagels — don’t necessarily love them — but holy smokes, these bagels were AMAZING and I cannot wait to return. Absolute Bagels has been run by a Thai couple for the past 27 years and although a typical bagel shop with all the different cream cheese offerings, they also have thai iced tea. Perfect random touch. It did not disappoint.

 

A huge line outside — mostly Columbia University students — but a mish mash of people. The lady in front of us waited in line for ONE bagel.

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Di Fara Pizza Brooklyn

This past weekend, in an attempt to have an adventure and do something off electronics, we looked up “best pizza in Brooklyn” (in our 5 borough food scavenger hunt) and discovered Di Fara. So we hopped in the car, drove to a predominantly Hassidic Jewish neighborhood and got some pizza. And yes, it was the BEST PIZZA EVER and I am so glad that we went on this adventure. It was absolutely incredible.

 

Just a window. Incredible.

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Currently Loving February 2021

February is a bizarre month — it is the shortest, feels the longest, yet is gone before I know it. So here is what I am loving this month (before it is March — hip hip hooray, Spring, we cannot wait!)

 

1. In & Of Itself

 

Identity is an illusion. I don’t want to say much because it is best to go in to this movie / documentary / performance blind. It is absolutely incredible, 100% worth watching, and afterwards, read this and this. Available on hulu. Powerful.

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Dumpling Galaxy

As mentioned a couple weeks ago when we ventured to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to eat Italian Food, we visited Queens several times to try out the “Best Dumplings in the City.” I am not a big chinese food or dumpling fan, but these dumplings from Dumpling Galaxy live up to their name and are absolutely incredible. I loved them so much that a week later, I went solo to get some for the family to eat for the Chinese New Year — they are absolutely incredible.

 

Right now, Dumpling Galaxy is shut down and only serving at a pop up store — a window next to a Chinese Food Market. Dumpling Galaxy is located in Flushing (past the airport) and only locals are there shopping and eating. When we were there, dozens of people ordered dumplings and the flow was nonstop!

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Davocado Guy

One of the perks of living in New York is the random things you can order to your doorstep — the most recent discovery was an avocado dude. You literally order online and he delivers avocados (and limes) straight to your door. They are not just any avocados but the most perfectly ripe and delicious avocado. Since 2014, Davocado Guy has been delivering avocados to restaurants in the NYC area — and in 2019, they expanded to home delivery of avocados to everyone, not just restaurants.

 

The perfect avocado. You can select which ripeness you want: ripe, semi, and green.

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Arthur Avenue

This past weekend, we decided to drive to the Bronx to the world famous, Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue is considered the “Little Italy of NY,” yet if you talk to any New Yorker about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx either people have no idea what you are talking about or have passionate feelings about this neighborhood famous for all the Italian cuisine. Truth is, that most New Yorkers have not been to it, including my native New Yorker husband. But with nothing to do over the weekend (thank you, COVID, thank you Winter weather), we decided to take an adventure up to the Bronx to try out some food. We are so glad we did this and CANNOT wait to return — it had so much energy, kind locals, and ridiculously tasty food.

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

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Mark’s Off Madison

If you know me well, you know that Fred’s at Barney’s was my go-to restaurant for 11 plus years. It is where we had every Sunday dinner, multiple meals throughout the week, and even many special occasions such as Marathon parties, birthday parties, and special moments. It was our kitchen. We knew the entire wait staff and loved everything about it — it felt like home. So we were extremely sad when Barney’s shut down PRE Covid. It felt like we lost a part of our family and didn’t know what other restaurants to go to. Sure enough, a month later, the music died, and all restaurants were shut down to Covid…..but here we are, back in NYC, restaurants are reopened (currently only outdoor dining) and the chef from Fred’s, opened up his own restaurant “Mark’s Off Madison.” It is located downtown on 26th street and Madison, with Mark as the chef, and many of the same wait staff as at Fred’s. It felt like going home — we were so happy to see so many of the same waiters and think often of the others that we don’t know their whereabouts (Lorraine, Aggie, Jose, Gian Franco, and so many more — we miss you and hope you are all safe and healthy). Fred’s was a special place to us and so going to Mark’s Off Madison felt special, too.

 

It is NOT warm. Right now, in NYC, there is only outdoor dining, but that didn’t stop us from trying and seeing our old friends.

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Pom Pom

My favorite blog contributor (and dear friend), Katie, is here to take it away! Katie always has gems, treasures and stories to share with us, and we are all so lucky to have her contribute to this blog. I always learn so much from her — bits and pieces I never knew I needed to know — thank you so much, Katie! Read more to find out all about pomegranates! Promise you will learn so much!

 

_____

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The White Moustache Date Yogurt

I am fully 100% addicted to The White Moustache Date yogurt. It is unlike anything I have ever tried and I will climb mountains, swim across oceans, run hundreds of miles — anything — to get to this yogurt.  Made in Hudson Valley, NY, this yogurt is made with love, care, and exceptional quality ingredients — you can tell both in the cost of the jar ($6.50 per jar) and taste. It is far superior to generic brand yogurt bought in the grocery store — and is worth every penny.

 

I always am in shock when I spent $20 on three jars of yogurt — but then when I taste it, I am so happy. It is worth it.

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Currently Loving December 2020

Here we are, the last month of 2020 — and only a little more than a dozen days left. What a crazy and wild year it has been…..so on the bright side, here is what I am loving this month!

 

1. Mini Adventures with the Family

 

The past two weekends, we have had NOTHING to do …. as there is NOTHING *TO* do. So we have done mini adventures — walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring a new mural, looking at views of the city, going on drives. All these little adventures seem like nothing, but they are enjoyable, create memories, help us see the world, and most importantly *allow us to get out of the house*. If anyone has other mini adventures in the tristate area, please share! Love to hear ideas!

 

2. Glossier Blue Eyeliner

 

I have never worn blue eyeliner before, but I bought this….and especially since I wear a mask most of the day, it is fun to do something unique and different to my eyes. A good pick me up!

 

3. Considering a Post Pandemic Future

 

A good article….what are you looking forward to post pandemic? Interesting to think about…

 

4. Lime Juicer

 

HANDS down, my best COVID purchase. This might seem like any juicer, but it’s not. It gets more juice than any other juicer and is clean, easy, and not expensive. And worth every cent.

 

5. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

 

These cookies remind me of Christmas and I made them for the first time recently. Love them and brings back so many childhood memories.

 

6. Murder on Middle Beach

 

A mini series that I thoroughly enjoyed. After watching “The Undoing” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” this was a good one to follow….now I need a new TV series to watch!

 

7. 33 Life Lessons

 

A great article to flip through.

 

What are you enjoying this month? Do share! I hope you have a great week….final countdown here we comeeeeee……

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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