Fun times with Fruit

(Note: If you are viewing this on a mobile device – I am aware that the photo is sideways).

I’m not going to lie. Usually I’m not a fan of dried fruit. Yet ever since I flushed out my system with Bikrams my tastebuds now crave for natural sugars in fruit – say hello to Stoneridge Orchards from our neighbours in Royal City, Washington State.  The family (third generation) owned farm has been growing and producing all natural and organic premium products, such as cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and strawberries, since 1962.

Here are some easy, simple recipes to try (if you aren’t a fan of just eating dried fruit on its own – it is a great post workout snack though). I’m going to test out the cranberry granola bars next week. So glad its not actual baking – as i don’t bake, I burn 😉

CHERRY ALMOND POWER BITES
INGREDIENTS

2 ½ cups unblanched slivered almonds
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoon raw hemp seeds
2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

Place almonds, flax meal, cherries, cranberries, hemp seeds, honey and salt in food processor.
Pulse until ground and then pulse in water until the mixture begins to form a solid ball.
Press mixture firmly into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish -lined with wax paper.
Slice into bars and serve.
Makes 15 small bars.

DRIED CHERRY COCONUT GRANOLA
INGREDIENTS

4 cups rolled oats
1-1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup toasted coconut chips
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups dried cherries

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a cookie chest with parchment paper. Combine everything but the cherries in a large bowl. Spread the mixture onto pan and bake for 30-40 minutes rotating pan every 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let pan sit in oven uncovered for 5 hours or overnight. Transfer the granola to a large bowl, breaking up the big clumps, Add the dried cherries and store in an air tight container for up to a month.

CRANBERRY GRANOLA BARS
INGREDIENTS

1 cup peanut butter (organic is best)
1/2 cup honey
2 1/2 cups oats, granola or cereal–or all combined
1/2 cup Stoneridge Orchards dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS

Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with foil
Spray foil with non stick spray
Melt peanut butter and honey on the stovetop
Add in granola and dried fruits (other fruits work well too!)
Mix it all together well until the berries and granola are well coated
Pour into pan and spread granola evenly
Cut into squares
Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for an hour
Can be served over 5 days

ELENA:)

 

NYC in December

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I can’t believe that there is 5 days until Christmas!!!

I used the last of my vacation time to venture off to NYC in early December and I thought you might want to know a little about my adventures. This is a short summary with more details to follow!

TUESDAY: Checked into The Renwick, (a cool new boutique hotel on east 40th in between Park and Lex) and went to visit my friend Nizim from Labeling Men and had dinner at Bill’s Food & Drink on 54th. Bill’s Food and Drink is one of Chef John Delucie’s restaurant. Bedford & Co is his latest venture at the Renwick which is slated to open very very soon! (Comment: Actually it’s not going to open until spring 2016) Things to note – my room had a lovely floral arrangement from Uprooted Flower Truck (NYC’s first flower truck) to brighten my stay and I got to snack on some yummy ginger people made by Sweets by Olivia (which only lasted a night!).IMG_8612IMG_8602

WEDNESDAY: Hair and makeup with Anthony and Bianca for a Flytographer shoot in Soho. I got to wear my new Christmas/Birthday present to myself, a Proenza Schouler cashmere coat which I love. (More photos in a future post). Uber was crashed when I needed to rush to an important meeting at the Surrey Hotel but I managed to get there eventually after walking 20 blocks in heels and paying $30 for car service. Sheesh. Dinner at Marta with a friend from BluBird Vancouver.

THURSDAY: A breakfast meeting at Le Pain Quotidien followed by an amazing tour of Ciner manufacturing (future post coming up) was on the schedule. In the evening, I surprised the creative fashion illustrator Elaine Biss at her French Connection event. After, I got to meet Alexis Bittar at his holiday meet and greet. Then finally, to my trainers delight, I got to eat a chicken burger at Fuku.

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FRIDAY: A breakfast meeting at The Smith (I totally recommend) and a stop in with Editor-In -Chief, Courtenay C. Hall from Bella New York Magazine. I made a pit stop at Century 21 of course and had a few moments uptown to take some photos of beautiful Bergdorf window displays before heading downtown to dinner at Hundred Acres.

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SATURDAY: A stop into Creeds Collective Pop Up Shop which was conveniently located across the street from the brunch spot Santina under the High Line.  I managed to pick up some salt water taffy from Salty Road from Brooklyn. With an hour to spare to leave to airport, I went to & Other Stories new 5th avenue spot and bought a pair of booties.

ELENA:)

Photos from the Summer St. Soiree

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Here are some photos from the Summer St. Soiree cohosted with Modern Fort that benefited the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund Burn Camp.

It was a great time and a HUGE thank you goes out to all the vendors and volunteers. Read Modern Fort’s rundown of the event here

ELENA:)

Fatty Cakes NY Review

Let it be known that I can’t be trusted with reviews about food. Especially anything that contains sugar, as my sweet tooth makes things biased. So I look to people with incredible palates and have constructive foodie thoughts to aid in such reviews.

Meet Gillian: New mom, wife of Meat & Bread mogul, boxer, baker, nurse, friend and food blogger. I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified to give me a honest opinion on cookies. And these aren’t just any cookies!

FattyCakesNY offers a multitude of scrumptious cookies all available in full cookie cakes which is a huge win-win. Keep her in mind for your next event as owner, Jennifer Taylor Miller can also can assemble mouth watering dessert tables and customize your very own FattyCake.

Shipping is usually only available to the US, so I jumped at the chance to have this unique taste test opportunity north of the 49th parallel. And once the cookies arrived from their home in Brooklyn, NY to Vancouver (Thanks Jennifer and Heather!) I split them up and we handed out the awards….

Note: I must say that’s its kind of odd that last summer I was introduced to Fatty Sundays, also from Brooklyn. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Drumroll please! The FattyCakeNY Awards…..

The Betty Jo (Red Velvet cookies with white chocolate chips & cream cheese fudge filling). 

Gillian: Winner of the best all-around cookie. Great cookie filling ratio.Nice cookie.

Elena: Winner of best cookie to claim that you baked on your own. Can you really go wrong with Red Velvet anything?

Build me up, buttercup (Peanut butter chocolate brownie cookie with peanut butter cups).

Gillian: Winner of the best in show cookie. Delicious. Guilty Pleasure cookie. Love the crumbly texture and good with a cup of tea.

Elena: Winner of best cookie to get rid of the Monday blahs. So wonderful. I wish I had another!

The Original Fattycake (Chocolate chips, oats, oreos, pretzels, & potato chips with peanut butter).

Gillian: Winner of the best cookie to eat when you are stoned. The pretzels and chips become stale and chewy (not in a good way).

Elena: Winner of the best cookie to eat on a long 8 hour flight. It’s like the everything bagel (but better). And there is a certain time on a long flight where you crave everything at once. This cookie will help.

The Chipwich (Salted chocolate chip cookies with beer caramel and vanilla cream filling).

Gillian: Winner of best cookie to cure a hangover. Too much salt and vanilla in the filling.

Elena: Winner of best cookie to eat after Bikrams yoga. Yup, the salt will help with your pH Balance.

Dark-n-Stormy (Ginger molasses cookies with Sailor Jerry rum cream filling and a hint of lime).

Gillian: Winner of best present for a drunk uncle. Too much cinnamon and too sweet.

Elena: Winner of best cookie to give someone who actually likes molasses. Molasses reminds me of the part in To Kill a Mockingbird when the kids invite a friend over and he pours syrup all over his dinner. Unnecessary.

The Drunken Piglet (Maple cookie with bourbon bacon brittle, Brooklyn Blast! beer caramel, finished with maple, brown sugar & sea salt).

Gillian: Winner of the cookie you will immediately regret eating. Maple is overpowering.

Elena: Winner of the cookie to eat if you miss Sunday Brunch. A little less maple and a little more bacon.

Thanks again for allowing us to review:)

Be sure to check out FattyCakesNY and share your thoughts on social. Follow FattyCakesNY on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @Fattycakesny

ELENA:)

NYC in December

NY during the holidays has an amazing atmosphere. The tree at Rockefeller is all lit up and people are in a festive mood (for the most part). I managed to take one picture before heading off to do more shopping.

The lovely ladies at Bleecker + Spring delivered rings to the Ace over the weekend, accompanied by yummy gingerbread men made by Sweets by Olivia. So incredibly kind!

Until next year NYC….

ELENA:)

NYC Trip

This was my fifth time this year to head over to NYC. And i definitely had fun but full schedule. I checked into the lovely Ace Hotel  and for all the places I have stayed this year, I would actually stay there again. Great Flatiron area, Stumptown coffee and the Breslin. Although I was unable to eat at the Breslin (it’s definitely on my list for a future – that actually is one criticism I have for they Ace – they need to have tables for people staying in the hotel!).

I managed to check a few holiday parties including one for the Centre for Social Innovation NYC and BellaNYC Magazine. Also some great new restaurants including Rosemary’s (where I had brunch with the funny,talented and sweet Alex of What’s Bakin’ NYC) and Chalk point Kitchen which was the most vegetable filled meal I have EVER had in NY. And it wasn’t the normal lame veggies either. I would definitely make sure to put them back on the list for a revisit.

ELENA:)

Nectar Juicery Review

BIG THINGS are happening to my site this month! Can’t wait… until then – let’s talk about juice.

Nectar juicery, a local company, offers up cold pressed juices. And let me tell you – they are tasty! They are camping out all month at Holt Renfrew Vancouver on the skybridge with free customized cleansing consultations! A win win in my books:) My trainer would call me lazy – but who wants to spend their half their day with a blender in a room full of vegetables concocting the perfect juice – especially when it’s sunny?

I’ve been drinking the Chlorophyll Aid post and pre workouts. The juice contains 9.5 alkaline water, chlorophyll, minerals, manuka honey, +26, lemon. It’s great for the skin and lowers the pH of the body (read: it’s a good thing!).

Don’t worry if you can’t get around to picking up juice at the stand this month – you can sign up for delivery service to your business/residence as well as find them at YYoga.

Make sure you follow Nectar juicery on twitter/instagram: @NECTARjuicery and ‘Like’ them on Facebook too and let them know where they should pop up next!

ELENA:)

Fatty Sundays Review

Buyer beware! These are no ordinary pretzel snacks!

Fatty Sundays are scrumptious, delicious chocolate dipped pretzels created by two lovely sisters from Brooklyn (Ali and Lauren).

Great name aside – Fatty Sundays are flavourful, fun and are the perfect marriage between salty and sweet treats.

PS: There are so many great flavours to choose from but my vote is for the smooth mint!

Here is a 15% discount code (FS15XEM) for your next order (good until Oct 1, 2014). Yay!

Don’t forget to add them on twitter and instagram: @fattysundays and of course, ‘Like’ them on Facebook.

ELENA:)

Mini Bar Delivery App Review

I was going to save this post for the weekend – but it’s Wednesday and since the weather is heating up all I can thinking about is cocktails poolside or patio dinners on a lovely summer night.

I came across an ingenious app a few weeks ago. It’s called the Mini Bar Delivery App (available on both US and Canadian iTunes). Once you download the app, you can purchase wine, beer, spirits and get it delivered for free within an hour anywhere in NYC and the Hamptons! Such a great idea for an impromptu party or last minute gift giving.

Here is a discount code you can use for your next purchase: em052829

Don’t forget to add them on twitter and instagram: minibardelivery too!

Enjoy!

ELENA:)

Cookievonster for Brandee Buble

I love my talented friends! My friend Evon, (Cookievonster) has been making me cookies like crazy for years! It all started with a cookie for my birthday and most recently she has made cookies for my book The Love List.

Not only has Evon made cookies for my book, but for Brandee Buble as well. Brandee (sister of Michael Buble) has written a cute kids book entitled, O’shae the Octopus (available everywhere). And of course, Evon captured the book perfectly in a a stellar cake!

Fabulous work Evon and can’t wait to read your book Brandee (we should do a book swap)!

ELENA:)

Pizza at Artichoke

The pizza chronicles. It’s always great to find a nice slice. This is at Artichoke.

ELENA:)

A day in Paris

A Janelle Burger original.

I finally met up with my Parisian illustrator friend Janelle. She drew all the artwork, including the cover that you see in The Love List. And thankfully, she has agreed for an interview!

Our day started out the Le Bon Marche where we ate at the Rose bakery. Then we carried on through the store shopping and chatting away. We then made our way to the Madeline area on foot searching for this speciality mustard store (which we couldn’t find – it’s La Maison Maille).  We were so hungry by the end we settled on some random restaurant.  There are so many speciality stores – I can’t wait to go back to the Madeline area.

By the end of it, i had a giant Kenzo bag in my hand filled with other finds. Yay pour soldes (for sales)!

ELENA:)

Happy Birthday to me!

This picture proves so many things: my love of cake, sparkly shoes (It’s a #Cinderella cake), I have the best party dresses and that – to this day – I still have trouble cutting with a knife. Happy Birthday to me 🙂

Unexpected Love

Unexpected love. Thanks everyone for the well wishes and gifts 🙂 Thanks @theexperienceevents! Couldn’t pull it off without you! #thelovelist #book #booksigning (at Shangri la vancouver )

Last night in Dubai

Last night in Dubai at the Burj Al Arab.

ELENA:)

Day Four Night: Dubai

Day Four Night: Shisha at the 360 degree bar overlooking the Burj Al Arab

ELENA:)

Day Three: Dubai

Day Three: Spice Souks and Desert Excursions

ELENA:)

Day Two: Dubai

Day two: Dubai City Tour and High Tea at the Burj Al Arab.

ELENA:)

Day One: Dubai

Day One:

Dubai Mall and Spa Treatment at the Palms.

ELENA:)

Stood Up

Having Brunch with myself at Eveleigh.

ELENA:)

Barcelona Day 0

Barcelona Day 0:

Got in after a long flight from London on British Airways. Watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part One. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… was so graphic (yikes!) but i can see why Rooney Mara ended up with an Oscar nod.

Wanted to go to Dos Palillos but it was too busy… settled on late night flat bread pizza and wine.

This picture was something we found in a dark alley.

ELENA:)

Happy Birthday Cookies

Happy Birthday to me!!

These are my custom birthday cookies made by the fabulous Evon at Cookievonster

So awesome.

ELENA:)

Best HAM ever

Food around the world. Normally, i don’t like ham. But this was the best ham i have ever tasted…. Thanks Cafe Tortoni.

ELENA:)

30.5 Birthday

I love cupcakes. But, I also adore things on a stick. When i had my 30.5 birthday/going away party at Raw Canvas, I ordered these amazing cake pops from Binh Ho. They were so fresh and very creative. Of course, I had an ’E’ on mine!

ELENA:)

Boston: The Conference

Day one was a right off. Day two of the conference was the best. We heard Dr. Atul Gawande, Dr. Robert Cima and my favorite speaker of the entire conference hands down was Dr. Martin Makary from Johns Hopkins. He talked about the culture of safety and transparency in health care. It was so interesting. The best part is that he is on face book… i think i’m going to add him.

After the reception, we went for a run to Mike’s Pastry for some Cannoli. 4 different kinds. It evens out the run for sure.

ELENA:)

I’m Back. Finally. So much to share….

Let’s talk about Boston and how great it is… the city is amazing. It’s pretty humid now. I have a new job that took me to Boston for a conference. My new work BFF and i decided to be roomies at the Fairmont Copley Plaza which ended up being really fun. Unfortunately for two of the nights one of use slept on a cot because they screwed up the reservation. Oh well.

The red eye flight wasn’t bad expect i had a runny nose and i couldn’t breathe. Minor detail.

On our first day we went to Cambridge and spent some time around Harvard. Then we took the train and walked one of my favorite restaurant in Boston. The Barking Crab where I had a Lobster Roll. So fantastic.

ELENA:)

Fortnum & Mason High Tea

High Tea. Love it. Go if you can. I don’t know how we all fit on this couch… this is at Fortnum & Mason. We initially wanted to check out the Savoy, but their reservations fill up two months in advance. Crazy!

ELENA:)

Birthday Photo Booth

LOVE the photobooth at my birthday. So much fun!

ELENA:)

Birthday Plans

Birthday plans… I turn 30 on the 29th of January. Last year was my “champagne” birthday and it was in a penthouse at the Loden. Cool party. But this year, i am thinking something a bit bigger. Check out this hotel called the Keefer.

ELENA:)

Day 8: Shopping in Tokyo

No matter how many times you visit a place – things can always change. Today we hit the area of Harajuku and realized that alot of the stores had either closed down or moved locations. I guess it was totally a sign of the Japanese economy. Kitson and TopShop have found their way to the streets of Tokyo – unfortunately both had a lame selection of goods. Of course we had to visit Marc by Marc Jacobs and I did contemplate purchasing a plaid scarf but I actually couldn’t justify the shopping purchase.

The day started by visiting a “donut shop” called Love Sweets Antique. The donuts were actually flavored ice cream. I ended up having a green tea cream puff instead. After purchasing a jacket at Laforet we had some ramen. Though I’m not a big fan of pork – I love noodles it filled us up so we could tackle Kiddy land, Anna Sui and Omotesando Hills.

Did you know prescription eyeglasses are cheap in Tokyo? Not designer brands but at the local eye glass shops you can buy fashionable frames, lenses and get an eye exam for less than $100. We checked out Zoft. I may have to purchase a pair.

We walked from Harajuku to Shibuya where we crossed at a famous crosswalk where you can cross diagonally. We had dinner at this super cheap/ super fast place called Pepper Lunch. You buy a ticket and then your beef meal cooks on a hot plate in 4 minutes or less. I got beef with rice and corn. So tasty.

After dinner we checked out one more department store where I found a Tsumori  (local designer) wallet that may replace my old one. Can’t wait. Today we will be heading over to Shinjuku for more department store shopping…. i think that i need to buy another bag.

ELENA:)

Day 7: Today in Tokyo

After a really early flight from Manila, we were off to Tokyo! Yeah! I love Tokyo. So different than any other large city around. There are even subtle differences, for example…. a little boy on the train wanted to see out the window. Normally, at home the boy would jump on the seat and away we go… but not here. The boy took off his shoes to kneelon the seat to see out the window. Amazing respect for the environment.

So many people everywhere. So busy. It’s acutally kind of nice.

We checked into are hotel and settled into our very small room. We aren’t at the Shangri-la anymore! But this is Tokyo…. why would we stay in our room?

For dinner we met up with some of my friends friends at an izakaya. Not so smokey thank goodness…. the food and the company was outstanding. Bacon wrapped scallops with asparagus, Caesar salad with noodles and egg, and Cassius cola.

We sat and talked for hours about the engagements and popping the question. Their stories gave me shivers. It’s interesting to talk to couples from all walks of life of how they got together. For the longest time i thought that i should hold off on marriage until i complete some of my goals (get my own TV show, buy my first place etc. etc.), but since the breakup was i really reconsidering my stance on everything, including marriage? I don’t know. Actually… i do know what it is. I think that I’m kind of worried that because i have become so goal orientated things that want in the future (marriage, 1 or no children) might pass me by. Funny thing is, i want it all and i have no doubt in my mind that i will get it all. So this feeling that i have is almost like a passing cloud.

It’s almost midnight here…. tomorrow is shopping (therapy) better rest up.

ELENA:)

Urth Cafe

I’m pretty sure that this was Friday morning. The Urth Cafe. So fantastic. Our hotel was so near, we technically could have walked to it. The Urth Cafe specializes in organic coffee and food. As my friend suggested (good idea), i slipped some of my postcards into the plastic holder. See if you can spot them.

ELENA:)

Joan’s on Third

Joan’s on Third. Need i say more. I bought some lunch here. We had breakfast here. My friend bought goodies from here. Spectacular. Yes, i must give credit to the GOOP website which turned us on to this lovely place which was in our hood. Across from Magnolia’s, it’s a definitely a place to check out. I really think it reminds me of a quaint Dean and Deluca’s.

ELENA:)

L.A. Day One

Here is a run down what happened…

I’m sparing you the nitty gritty details like how i got my friend to come on this trip with me and how some would say that this was a trip for shameless self promo or guerrilla marketing. Who cares? I prefer the later.

After my friend bravley tackled the 405 (we aren’t used to big freeways! heck… I’m not used to driving in general) we checked in at the Avalon. For those of you who are wondering … very cute boutique hotel, nice pool, huge room, and $30 parking overnight.

Oh yeah, we used the GPS for maybe one day until an old school map was found which was used instead. I think we found the old school map gave us a better sense of the larger area then just being at the mercy of a little box (it was useful but much later).

In N’ Out was our lunch. I had a hamburger and fries. After lunch it was Sony Pictures…. on 5555 Melrose. And so it began…. something i will refer to as the Postcard Drop off.

The mission: to take as many Elena Murzello postcards as possible and spread them around L.A. to raw attention to my site. Needle in a haystack, OK sure. But i had to give it a go.

Entering the office building of Sony Pictures gave us our first indication that big studios were not the way to go. Too much security everywhere. The huge office building right across from the sound stages was in one word … scary. I believe i dropped off at the coffee table under a couple of magazines and we quickly got out. There was an opportunity to do the studio tour – but being that it would take 2 hours, we declined and moved on.

ELENA:)