Charm your heart – Americana style

Americana diner is a hidden gem found in the heart of East Winsdor, NJ. For the past 25 years, the classic chic retro restaurant has been serving Jersey with freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, dinner, and high quality European inspired desserts. Neon signs above an elongated bar area with sayings like burgers and shakes, freshly baked goods, and cappuccinos gives it a homey vibe. Bite right into a NY style brick oven bread and a palette of butter with flakes of sea salt. No wonder why Thrillist refers to Americana as “The Best Diners In New Jersey.”

Whether you’re craving, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, each specific menu will fulfill any and every mood. Made without all that nasty stuff, forget the high-fructose corn syrup, artificially sweetened syrup, overly sugary drinks, processed foods and bring on the hand selected veggies, cage-free eggs,  organic teas, Vermont maple syrup, fresh squeezed organic juices and European desserts with a few simple ingredients. Now, go make your heart happy.

Hold the guac. Nope, you will most likely want extra guacamole.  Start off with orange juice inspired mimosas, which pairs perfectly with guac and chips; using tomatoes, cilantro, red onions, olive oil with a hint of apple cider vinegar. Americana diner and bar, hence the name, has a full bar service, you can quench your thirst with beers, wines, seasonal cocktails, or create your own beverage.

Get comfy in your leather booth and order a life altering lunch. Preferably a grilled veggie panini on toasted sour dough bread with zucchini, mushroom, roasted red pepper, and mozzarella (opt out the mozz for a vegan-friendly dish); the fries are light with a crisp or you can easily substitute them for a house salad. Well deserved.

 

The restaurant had a delightful ambiance with a separate trendy lounge area. The service is quick and each waiter is attentive, cleaning the table right away in between meals and replacing utensils for the utmost importance. Americana Diner and Bar serves your stomach between the hours of Mon-Sat 7am – 11pm; Sun 7-10pm. Save room for dessert. 

 

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Jersey shore pizza redefined

Talula’s has a collection of wooden benches, vintage inspired canisters filled with straws, a bar with blueberry beer and queen B cocktails, and not to mention handcrafted sandwiches on sourdough bread and focaccia bread (house baked). Of course, my favorite item was the margie pie with vegan cashew cheese and you would have never guessed it was dairy-free cheese. The thick consistency and creaminess pairs perfectly with the fresh basil.

You can decide whether to sit inside or outside this retro charm, but I sat on a cozy bench where I could see my pie baking to perfection. The laid back vibe and quick service makes it

 

 

the top pick for foodie lovers.

  • Margie pie with vegan cashew cheese
  • Pesto and pickle on sourdough bread hold the cheese & mayo; made with basil pumpkin seed pesto, bread and butter pickles, lettuce

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I cannot stop dreaming about how soft the bread was, the flavor combinations, and the incredible drinks which had just enough sweetness. I totally got to feel like Beyonce for a second with my Queen B cocktail with rooibos lemon rose vodka, honey syrup, and a spot of lemon juice.

I give Talula’s 4/4 stars!

Tri-color quinoa brings all the flavor!

When I get a craving for Mexican food, I try to think of grains over carbs. Trust me, I am a carb feign; I would eat them all day and night if I could. Nature’s Earthly Choice Organic Quinoa, 32 Ounce“>Quinoa gives you the carb satisfaction factor and the Goya Small Red Beans 15.5 oz“>red kidney beans, onions, and peppers with salsa adds to the flavor factor. Bringin’ back all the flavor with black, white, and red tri-color quinoa blend.

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It’s an easy recipe that only has a few essential ingredients. You’ll be getting your grains and vitamins. Did you know onions are high in Vitamin C, B6, Calcium, and Fiber? Get out of here. Keep slicing. Plus, the garlic will keep those unwanted strangers away and boost your immune system while it’s at it.

Ingredients:

Method:

Saute onions, pepper, and garlic in Palermo First Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 16 oz.“>extra virgin olive oil  until translucent or fork tender. HINT: You can boil the quinoa while you’re waiting for your veggies to saute.  Add 2 cups of water for 1 cup of quinoa. Cook for approximately 15 minutes. Add cooked quinoa (they should have spiraled out) with the red kidney beans and mix thoroughly. I also added a little salsa on top to bring out the flavor.  See below on my insta!

Get me more edamame pasta, plz!

Who knew that edamame can be made into pasta and actually taste good? Seapoint Farms makes Variety Bundle: Seapoint Farms Edamame, Spaghetti and Fettuccine, 15 oz total, which is loaded with 24 grams of plant based protein per serving. It’s perfect for vegans and vegetarians that want to still feel sufficed by their carb intake. All you have to do is boil 6-8 cups of water, add some salt, and mix until tender.

I’m such a foodie as you can tell. The spaghetti kept me full for hours, pleasantly surprising for me, and it had the same texture as a whole wheat pasta. You can tell you’re eating healthier immediately with a grainy thicker texture. I kept it simple and added marina sauce for flavor. High in protein and low in carbs, plus you can jazz it up by adding diced tomatoes, broccoli rabe, spinach, seasonings, or any other veggies. Go green, stay lean, and eat edamame. Yes PLZ!

Zucchini Noodles with Broccoli Rabe and Diced Tomatoes

This is a great summer dish and helps you to cut back on the carbs using zucchini noodles. I added broccoli rabe with diced tomatoes for extra flavor. Don’t forget the seasonings like fresh basil and oregano. Dig right in for a high multi-vitamin packed green dish.

Many people may assume that broccoli rabe is difficult to make. It’s a dark green leafy vegetable and a significant staple in the Italian American dishes. Did you know it’s packed with protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, and Magnesium?

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First, I put the broccoli rabe in a pot and then boil it until tender. Meanwhile, set aside a non-stick pan lined with olive oil, crushed pepper, and sliced garlic. You can cook until the garlic is slightly brown. Once broccoli rabe is boiled, place in the pan and continue sauteing for about 5 minutes.

You can also dice tomatoes and throw it in your dish for more flavoring. Add a little bit of sauce too. I usually add salt, pepper, and other Italian seasonings to spice it up. You can either boil or fry the noodles, but I prefer to boil them slightly before mixing them in with the broccoli rabe and tomatoes.

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instagram/christaalexis

What you’ll need:

  • Broccoli Rabe (1 head)
  • Tomatoes (1 or 2)
  • Zucchini Noodles (Homemade or Store Bought)
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasonings (Oregano, Basil, Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper)
  • Sauce (Optional)

Get ready for a wholesome meal. You get your greens, your vitamins, and a light meal. Induldge in a guilty-free meal and load up on the “zucch noodles.”

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Southern style cooking

Southern style cooking redefined with more vegetables, beans, and cheese – vegan friendly option of course. I love how southerners invest their time in homemade authentic prepared foods. A few of my favorite vegetarian items are collard greens, beans, cornbread, and of course you can’t forget the biscuits.

I decided to saute broccoli with olive oil and garlic; then add baked beans to the dish with a sprinkle of veggie cheese on top. It’s a light lean meal with just the right amount of protein. For more creations, stay tuned Christa Alexis will be back.

 

DIY 4th of July snacks

It’s that time of the year for grilling, swimming, and don’t forget the patriotic desserts. Make a red, white, and blue fruit kebab that will show you’re true American pride. This Do It Yourself (DIY) snack is healthy and nutritious and totally easy to make!

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Photo Credits Christa Alexis

What you’ll need:

  • Strawberries, Bananas, Blueberries, or Apples
  • Kebab Sticks
  • Patriotic Plates

DIRECTIONS:

Get a pack of kebab sticks. Slice strawberries into thin pieces or just cut off the tops, you can also use apples which can be both for the red and white flag colors.  Red goes first followed by white aka (bananas or apples) each one can be sliced into semi-small pieces.  Finally, add the blueberries and repeat the pattern.

As you can see above, you can slice more or less depending upon what kind of look you want and which fruits you like the most. 

More smoothies, less bloat

Summer time is here and we’ve got you covered with easy smoothie recipes to help you “cool” down. I like to make my smoothies as a breakfast replacement or in between my workouts. It’s totally guilt-free, vegan friendly, and full of plant based protein to keep you looking lean and most importantly feeling good!

Recipe 1: Apple Smoothie

RECIPE:

DIRECTIONS:

Slice an organic apple into pieces. Add to nutri-bullet blender. Then, pour 1 cup of Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk in and 1 scoop of Plant Fusion. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

P.S. Throw some ice in there for a thicker smoothie!

Recipe 2: Banana SunButter Smoothie

RECIPE:

DIRECTIONS:

Add 1 banana and blueberries, strawberries, and spinach if you’d like. Pour 1 cup of unsweetened Califia Farms almond milk, 1 scoop of Plant Fusion protein, and 1 teaspoon of SunButter. You get your daily dose of antioxidants, iron, and blueberries to help with memory improvement. Enjoy!

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Go scrambleless with tofu eggs

I often like to change up my breakfast menu ranging from smoothies, tofu eggs, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, and french toast.  Vegan friendly food has become highly popular and can be found almost everywhere, but there is nothing like cooking your own food from scratch. You can control the seasoning factor.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box of tofu, firm or medium preferably
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (Califia Farms)
  • Handful of organic spinach (Earth Bound Farm)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Onion seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Tumeric
  • Olive Oil for the pan

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DIRECTIONS:

Open and drain the tofu. Place in a bowl and mash until it’s in smaller chunks. Add 1/2 cup unsweetened Califia Farms almond milk, Earth Bound Farm organic spinach, onion seasoning (or fresh finely chopped onions), salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and pepper. HINT: Turmeric helps to get the yellow scrambled egg color.

Mix thoroughly. Line the bottom of a non-stick frying pan with olive oil. Drizzle it but don’t drown the pan. Cook for about 7 minutes until soften. Get ready to enjoy!

You can put your guilt-free tofu scramble on a whole wheat english muffin with vegan cheese and ketchup, as a side dish with your toast, or even stuffed inside a baked potato.

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Featured a baked potato with tofu scramble with salt and pepper on top. Don’t forget to dip it in ketchup.

 

Brown rice noodles…THAIriffic!

I absolutely love Thai, Japanese, and Chinese food but I could never get my homemade dishes to come out the way it does as the restaurant, until…

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Now, with Thai Kitchen’s brown rice noodles, you can easily make a healthy vegan and vegetarian friendly dish. It comes with 4 individually wrapped noodles per box so you can always make 1 or 2 packs per serving or make them all for family style stir-fry dish.  I decided to make the whole package (I still have leftovers and I have a family of 4) and throw in some frozen veggies broccoli, corn, cauliflower, snow peas, and used Kikkoman’s Stir Fry Sauce and soy sauce for a little extra flavoring.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of frozen veggies
  • 1 box of Thai Brown Rice Noodles
  • 1 jar of Kokkoman’s Stir Fry Sauce
  • 1 jar of Low Sodium Soy Sauce

 

DIRECTIONS:

I’ll break it down for you. First, boil a pot of water and add a pinch of salt (it helps so that the noodles won’t stick together). Then, you can add your noodles, stir continuously until tender for about 3-5 minutes. Be careful because nobody likes overcooked noodles!

As you’re waiting for that, get your veggies ready. I decided to use a frozen bag of assorted veggies including broccoli, snow peas, carrots, and let them defrost while I waited for my noodles to cook. I had leftover corn and sliced that up to throw in as well.

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Photo Credits: Christa Alexis

Once the noodles are fully cooked, drain them thoroughly until all the water is out. Set the noodles aside in a bowl. Then, add 1/2 cup water or less to your skillet, Kikkoman’s stir fry seasoning (you can decide how much you need), and soy sauce to your preference. Wait until it starts to bubble slightly.

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Photo Credits: Christa Alexis

This is my favorite part. Throw them veggies in and get mixing. You can also add salt or any other seasonings that pair well. I stuck to the traditional route.

Cover and let cook until tender 5-7 minutes. You can test it by putting the fork through the veggies to see if they’re done. Keep mixing and once the veggies are ready add the noodles in. Now here comes the easy part, mix for a minute or two, and add more stir-fry sauce if needed. Cool a few minutes and get ready to EAT! Oh yeah, don’t forget to sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

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Photo Credits: Christa Alexis

Watch me stir it up below.