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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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!

Seapoint Farms brings healthy snackin’ to you!

Seapoint Farms makes edamame, seaweed crisps, and pasta loaded with 24 grams of protein.  All of their products are non-GMO verified and totally vegan friendly. It’s perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up!

I always try to grab a healthy light snack that can conveniently fit into my bag. Grab and go is my motto. I love their seaweed crisps that have a bit of a crunch and flavoring to balance out the seaweed taste. Try the Seapoint Farms Seaweed Crisps, Pumpkin Sesame, 1.2 Ounce (Pack of 12)“>almond sesame and pumpkin sesame; my two personal favorites!

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instagram.com/christaalexis

Try all of their healthy products! Don’t worry Christa Alexis will be back with recipe ideas! 🙂

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.

 

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…

thai kitchen noodles

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Califia expands to new heights

Califia Farms is expanding it’s selection from Cold Brew Coffee, Coffee Creamers, Juices, Plant Milks, and seasonal flavors like my favorite Pumpkin Spiced Latte. I hope they open a coffee shop next.

Seriously though, I have an unhealthy obsession with Califia’s XX Expresso Cold Brew Coffee and don’t worry they have everyone covered. You can pick from a wide array of coffee including Cocoa Noir Cold Brew Coffee, Mocha Mexica Cold Brew Coffee, Dirty Chai Cold Brew Coffee, Salted Caramel Cold Brew, Cafe Latte Cold Brew Coffee, and others.

The non-dairy industry is on the rise as more people consume less and less dairy. Califia makes a naturally good quality dairy-free blend of milks and coffee. It will leave you wanting more.  It’s non-grainy, fresh, smooth flavors are magnificently addicting!

Cheers, 2 thumbs up!

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Photo taken by Christa Alexis

 

 

 

 

A whole grain pasta that leaves you wanting more…what?

Tinkyada  makes gluten-free, wheat free, and non-mushy rice pasta that adds a little health to your meal. Boil water and add your pasta, let cook for 10-12 minutes, and enjoy while hot. Pairs perfectly with tomato sauce, sauteed veggies, or as a lasagna dish.

I tried the ‘Brown Rice Pasta Fettucini’ style and added my own homemade Italian sauce using fresh seasonings like basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. I was reluctant to try a rice pasta since many of them usually come out “mushy” or taste “grainy.” The label clearly stated “Not Mushy” with two bunnies holding the pasta but I wasn’t convinced by it. I have to say the pasta was just right and I would have never guessed it was a whole grain choice. Let’s just say I could eat more than one serving and the taste was impeccable.

There’s millions of pastas and millions of ways to make your pasta different each time. You can view recipes at Tinkyada’s website here.

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http://tinkyada.com/

Which foods contain the most iron?

High Iron Green Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians

Iron is an important component to a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. It’s important to make sure you know which greens have the highest amount of iron in them. Iron helps with blood flow and provides you with a sufficient amount of energy; however, if you don’t get enough you can become anemic or lethargic throughout the day. A well balanced lifestyle is the key to longevity. We all have busy schedules, but it’s important to be conscious about what you’re putting into your body.

Here’s a list of high iron green foods. Spinach, swiss chard, seaweed, pak choi, asparagus, arugula, and Kale are the top contenders with the highest amount of iron in each serving. With the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, we can ensure that we are getting the daily requirements for our bodies.

Coconut Greens is a way to make sure you get the extra greens in your diet. One single scoop contains 8-10 servings of greens. You get your essential vitamins and blended veggies in a powder form, which you can easily throw in your smoothie or water. It contains kale, apple, wheatgrass, spirulina, alfalfa herb, spinach, broccoli, and other supergreens. You can stay energized throughout your day with all of the essential minerals and vitamins.

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Green Smoothie (Photo credits: Christa Alexis)

 

 

Go green and stay ironized!