foodie

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Stay Wild — Wildwood, New Jersey

Published September 7, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0144The gorgeous, retro, Starlux Hotel

Of all the places to travel, the one place I keep going back to is New Jersey’s Wildwoods. This hot vacation spot really does have it all. Whether you want to relax in the pool or hot tub — or on the beach; or enjoy nightlife, the boardwalk, and good eats, it’s just pure magic. People come from all over the world to vacation here. I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid and am always happy to come back again and again and again with my husband; even off season!

DSCF0101Outdoor patio at Epicure

Of course vacationers can pig out on every kind of Boardwalk food you can imagine, but I preferred the healthy route. It’s awesome when you can come home from a vacation weighing less than you did when you left for vacation! And Epicure really did the trick enticing my healthy palate. It was one of my favorite dining spots on the trip. I had a vegetarian chili with a beautiful salad, that featured the best miso dressing I ever had in my life.

DSCF0110Salad at Epicure

DSCF0158Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill

And then for even more good food and a nice dose of romance, head over to Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill and watch the sunset. Hint: If you don’t want to wait for a table inside, just go out back for appetizers. I had a huge salad of shrimp and lump crab meat; and a half dozen oysters, which satisfied and filled me. I never saw a restaurant that had an appetizer list three pages long.

DSCF0074Morey’s Piers

And, of course, you can’t forget the super long boardwalk, with several piers of amusements. It’s the best at night, when it’s all lit up. Check out that full moon in the background!

DSCF0078

Wildwood is known for preserving it’s mid-century aka “doo wop” architecture, which is why vacationing in the Wildwoods is more than a vacation — it’s a transport back in time.

DSCF0168Two-tiered Merry Go Round

These photos do no justice to the greatness that is The Wildwoods. You’ll just have to visit and see for yourself.

And for other Wildwood enthusiasts, I leave you with five famous words — “Watch the tram car please!”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award winning journalist and three-time author. A lover of retro, her fictitious book “Love Cats” takes place in the 1980s. Get your copy of “Love Cats” on Amazon today: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

 

Coconut Lime Macaroons

Published May 26, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2518Coconut Lime Macaroons

The above is a photograph of Coconut Lime Macaroons I made improvising on a Young Living recipe.

Here’s my version of their Dairy-Free Coconut Lime Macaroons

Ingredients

12 oz. shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

1 can organic unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

1 pastured egg, including yolk

8 drops Lime Vitality essential oil

4 drops Bergamot Vitality essential oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a large bowl, combine shredded coconut, condensed coconut milk, and lime juice. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg with a pinch of sea salt. Add Lime Vitality and Bergamot Vitality. Then stir into the coconut mixture. Mix well.

Pour batter into cupcake pan. The batter makes 18.

Bake 20 minutes. Macaroons will be lightly browned.

Cool and ENJOY!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is health conscious foodie, available for lectures. She’s also a Young Living distributor. Contact: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

“Healthy Pasta Alternatives” Another Successful Presentation!

Published April 17, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9882Cold Sesame Noodles made with Dreamfields Pasta

Once again I had another “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” presentation. This time it was held at Fairfield Library, Fairfield, New Jersey. Thanks so much to John Arthur for having me! The class is limited to 20 so I could give each person individual attention and answer all questions.

I’m not a nutritionist, but I’ve interviewed many health celebrities for articles during my career as a journalist. These include: David Wolfe, Carol Alt, Oleda Baker, and Patricia Bragg.

The dishes I make for these presentations are used with all natural, organic, clean ingredients. There are samples for everyone.

Thanks so much to singer/pianist/friend Barbara Hassenfeld (http://www.barbaraevanshassenfeld.com/) for coming!

SAM_9922Maryanne (left) with singer/pianist Barbara Hassenfeld

To have this presentation at your library, rotary club, JCC, senior club or private party, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for availability and pricing at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Easy Homemade Miso Soup

Published January 12, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9494Homemade Miso Soup (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Miso soup is one of the healthiest dishes and this is the first time I ever made it. I can’t believe how great it came out. My husband loved it too. We both cleaned our dishes.

Here is the very easy recipe:

Ingredients

1 tablespoon dried wakame (I love Eden brand!)

2 scallions, sliced thin

4 ounces of firm tofu, cubed

3 tablespoons white miso

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions

Soak wakame in cold water for five minutes (it will expand) and then drain.

Boil four cups of water in saucepan.

Add scallions and cook for two minutes

Add tofu and turn off heat.

Take some of the broth aside and mix with miso until smooth, then add to the saucepan, along with the wakame. Stir in sesame oil.

Healthy and delicious!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the former editor of NJ Health & Fitness and the column “Here’s to Your Health.” She presents lectures on healthy food choices at libraries and assisted living facilities. For rates and availability, contact Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

When It Comes to Food, Go Where the Love Is!

Published September 24, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8617Having fun — at a DINER! ❤

I recently became managing editor of an upcoming food magazine. It’s a great thing, because I love to eat. I flip flop between eating very healthy and going for good ol’ diner food. And there’s a reason why I am not militant about eating healthy all the time.

When I first came on board as managing editor, I was thrilled to see how many farm-to-table restaurants there are, but a little leery about the pretense that comes with it. I’ve been to so many restaurants, some are just too “foo foo” for my tastes that I’d never set foot in them again.

Of all the restaurants I’ve been to in my life, I have to say Pure Food & Wine on Irving in New York City is the ONLY restaurant that rates five stars with both food and service. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve been treated like a queen and the food was amazing. But then again, what do you expect from a place that has a $6000 Japanese water filter?! The water is like silk!  And no attitudes at all! That’s why Pure Food & Wine will always be my favorite. However, I don’t live in NYC, so I don’t get to go as much as I’d like. And since no other restaurant quite adds up to Pure Food & Wine, it’s often a toss up. What is most important? Good food? Good service? Healthy, natural food? Price?

Your guess is as good as mine. If I’m going out to eat, it just depends what area I’m in that day.

About half a year ago, I vowed never to go back to a certain gluten-free eatery because the service was the pits. Today I was in a health food store I was never in before. The cashiers and manager had such piss poor attitudes. These are the kind of women my husband and I call “Health Hags.” That means women who work in a health food store but are ugly inside and out, the opposite of a picture of health!

I gave this terrible store bad reviews all over the internet and even sent them an email that they could learn something from McDonalds. Check out this heart-warming story: http://nextshark.com/mcdonalds-worker/

I won’t even talk about the food I got in that health food store today because it’s irrelevant. When you get bad service, you can’t even properly enjoy your food. Of course you’re upset so you eat without truly tasting. This is why I say, it’s sometimes better to eat cheaper, crappier food — IF you are in a more relaxed environment.

The other day when I was on the cable show in Long Island, my friend and I hit a diner on the way back. We had Greek salads and sweet potato fries. Of course the salad was non-organic. And the fries were probably sugar-coated. But because the service was so fantastic, we ate in peace and really enjoyed our meal, which was stretched out to two hours! This is most likely why they say countries like France and Italy have less of an obesity rate than the United States — because they eat slow and enjoy. When you’re not stressed, you digest better. This is why I say, you can eat all the kale you want, but if you’re not happy, it ain’t gonna do you any good! (DO YOU HEAR THAT HEALTH HAGS?!)

So, next time you’re thinking about going on the road, please, do not stress over cooking in your hotel room or even seeking out the nearest health food store. Just go to a freakin’ diner and ENJOY! You’ll probably get a sexy cougar type waitress, chewing gum and calling you “Hunny Bunny.” Can’t beat that and you certainly won’t get that kind of cool in a farm-to-table restaurant or health food store!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a health advocate and a public speaker. She presents various health topics, including healthy food samples. For bio, rates, and availability, email her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Bethel, N.Y., July 25, 2015

Published July 26, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8059Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

It was such a perfect, summer evening to see an outdoor concert in Bethel, N.Y. — on the same grounds hippies graced at the famous Woodstock the summer of 1969.

My husband surprised me with tickets because I love Lady Gaga. Now, mind you, I am not qualified to call myself a “Little Monster” as I do not have any of her CDs. BUT I won’t turn her off when she’s on the radio. And from day one I just liked her for her unique style and sincere personality. (It was always great watching her on talk shows).  “Poker Face” is one of my favorite pop hits ever, as she sings in the same range as Cher and I’ve adored Cher since I was 7.

I figured a Lady Gaga show with Tony Bennett would be more my speed than a regular Lady Gaga concert, so when I heard about this, I hinted heavily that I wanted to go! But note, I don’t own any Tony Bennett records either. Still, it was thrilling to go see a man 88-years-old, that I was aware of since I was a little girl. The only older performer I ever saw was Les Paul who was in his 90s when I saw him perform.

So … going in not knowing what to expect except for the videos I saw on You Tube. I must say I was “wowed.” The show was phenomenal. The Bennett/Gaga duo was a perfect musical marriage. They did over 30 jazz hits together and solo. And during Tony Bennett’s solos, Lady Gaga went backstage for at least 10 costume changes. It was a fun show, kind of like a Las Vegas-y, burlesque, old school variety show. Their chemistry was fabulous, and I loved how Tony Bennett endearingly referred to her as “Lady” (instead of “Gaga” as her fans call her).

I had three favorite highlights of the evening:

1. When Lady Gaga sang La Vie En Rose (by Edith Piaf). It was moved to tears and gave her my own personal standing ovation for that one. What a voice!

2. When Tony Bennett sang his hit, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He got a standing ovation from me on that one. And what a voice on this one too!

3. When they ended the show with “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing” and Tony Bennett brought out his little dog! Then Lady Gaga seemed to be personally thanking their back-up band, which was so heart-warming to see. Moments like that go to show the true personalities behind the stage persona.

When I saw the set list from one of the other shows, I was saddened to see that this go ’round Tony Bennett didn’t do “Fly Me to the Moon” which is one of the few Frank Sinatra songs I like.

But other favorites of the evening were: Lady performing,”Bang Bang, My Baby Shot Me Down,” (a Cher song!); Tony Bennett doing, “Smile Though Your Heart is Aching,” (a Charlie Chaplin song); and the two doing, “The Lady is a Tramp.”

After the show, my husband and I has our own little late night picnic on the grounds after getting the most amazing vegetarian spring rolls at “Hungry Hungry Hippies.”

SAM_8086Best vegetarian spring rolls ever!

SAM_8045Enjoying the show!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon in paperback version only: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Celebrating Mom and Pop Health Food Stores

Published May 15, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7343Basil Bandwagon (Photo by Maryanne Mistretta)

I took a much needed day off today and went on a little adventure and ended up, for the first time at two amazing health food stores I was never in before! Big Bear Natural Foods (http://www.bigbearnaturalfoods.com/) in Pennington, New Jersey and Basil Bandwagon (http://basil-bandwagon.tumblr.com/) in Flemington, New Jersey.

Basil Bandwagon has been around since 1993 and Big Bear since 1971 (with locations in Pennsylvania too!)

Since the mid-1980s when I first became health conscious, I was all about supporting the local health food stores. Back then, they were a real novelty. You go to the Mom and Pop stores and find amazing items you couldn’t find elsewhere. Then fast-forward to modern times and now all the big corporations like Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, A&P sell the goods, even the goods you’d least suspect: grass-fed beef, Miracle Noodles, kombucha and non-homogenized grass-fed milk. And that is a good thing, but not for the Mom and Pop stores. So I like to continue supporting them as much as possible.

The thing with Mom and Pop stores though is that they do jack their prices up, so my game plan is to look for sales or very unique products that are not yet in supermarkets.

Both stores went beyond my expectations!

At Big Bear I purchased Brad’s Kale Chips which were on sale. These raw chips are my favorite, but extremely pricey. So kudos to Big Bear for having a sale!

Then at Basil Bandwagon my favorite score was Nick’s Sticks (http://www.nicks-sticks.com/), grass-fed beef snacks with no nitrites, no added antibiotics or MSG (and no sugar either, I might add). These treats were absolutely delightful! As a little girl I favored Slim Jims (an unhealthy treat) and I gave them up in my early 20s learning how bad they were for you. Nick’s Sticks is the first grass-fed beef snack I ever had that was just as fabulous as Slim Jims — but they are GOOD for you. With 10 grams of protein, a fairly low sodium content for a snack, zero carbs, zero grams of sugar and nine grams of healthy fat — you can’t go wrong! This brings me back to the day of eating beef snack sticks on the porch, reading comic books, while my Grandma and Aunt Sophie chatted. What a great thing to have a healthy version of a favorite childhood treat!

And I’m ecstatic to say, the service at both Big Bear and Basil was excellent!

At Big Bear, the woman who helped me went out of her way looking for other health food stores in the area to help me find a product I was looking for. That’s how I came upon Basil Bandwagon, which was huge — possibly the biggest health food store I was ever in, including those in NYC. They had a counter where I ended up having a bean burger without bread. They put it on a huge salad platter, accompanied with fresh salsa. The greens were super fresh too. They had Bragg’s amino liquids on the counter and balsamic vinegar, as well as pink Himalayan sea salt. It’s so nice when health food stores go the extra mile for you and you don’t have to ask for stuff. Everyone in the store was extremely helpful and I spent a lot of time there.

You can guarantee I will be back at both health food stores

(Even though they are not in my area, they are well-worth the trip!)

And I gotta be honest too. Even though I’m a Young Living Oils distributor, I do LOVE a diffuser that was being used at Big Bear by a company called NOW. So I will be going back to get that diffuser. (No disrespect to Young Living, but hey, you gotta love my honesty! I still spend over $100 a month on Young Living products and always will. I’m just madly in love with that diffuser. Tee-hee!)

KUDOS to TWO AWESOME MOM AND POP HEALTH FOOD STORES!

YOU GIVE NEW JERSEY A GOOD NAME!

SAM_7349Looking forward to eating my Sea Snax!