The Parlour – Durham, NC

Surprise! I didn’t think I was going to have time to blog this week, but turns out I do! And today I am sharing something I am SO passionate about. It is ice cream, and ice cream I found in Durham, NC.

As an ice cream lover, I am SO LOYAL to my chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve in a cake cone (also known as a wafer cone). I usually top it off with rainbow sprinkles, and voilà! That is ice cream bliss for me. However, while I was at the American Dance Festival last year in Durham, I discovered “The Parlour”, which is downtown Durham’s favorite local ice cream shop, and for good reason!

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Not only do they have homemade flavors such as Lavendar-Vanilla, Blueberry Buttermilk, Salty Malty Caramel Truffle, and Coconut Cream Pie (all of these are DELISH by the way), they have Kalamansi and Blueberry flavored sorbet. In addition to these, they have vegan options like Yuzu Mandarin and even Chocolate! Among my favorites of all of their amazing varieties is their Vegan Chocolate ice cream! And I must say – it actually bumps chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles to 2nd place in my favorites book. There is actually no competition – this vegan chocolate ice cream has landed #1 as my favorite ice cream of ALL TIME!

Their vegan chocolate ice cream has a consistency between a hard ice cream and a soft serve. It is not too hard, yet it is not super soft. Unfortunately, I suffer from a lactose sensitivity, so my love for ice cream is plagued by a bought of stomach cramps and bloating, and a trip to the bathroom after eating it.

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BUT this ice cream is incredible because it is vegan so I avoid the effects of the lactose and heavy milk fats. Plus, it has such depth to it’s taste! It tastes like a serious fudge brownie, and I am able to enjoy all of it’s cold, chocolatey deliciousness without the lactose-induced bellyaches that usually follow.

I took my mom to The Parlour the day we drove down to NC together to show her how amazing it actually is. And she loved it. She ended up buying the Blueberry Buttermilk, and she tried my vegan chocolate and said it was too good to be vegan!

If you all find yourselves in Durham, North Carolina definitely stop in to The Parlour and try one of their many amazing flavors. I dare you to order the vegan chocolate and not love it! I bet you will love it so much you’ll go back for seconds! And thirds, and fourths…

I will be posting more about my food and travels throughout the next two months! Keep your eyes out – I will be dancing a lot which means I will be very hungry 😉

Until next time,

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Vegan, Delicious Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Hi everyone!

I’ve been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, including changing what I am putting into my body. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy mindset, and I’ve been playing around with different recipes and types of food to sustain me. A few weeks ago, I decided to try to cook steel cut oats as an alternative to my usual go-to flattened rolled oats. I found an awesome recipe on Cookie+Kate on how to cook steel cut oats, so here is the recipe and what I did!

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Fun Fact: Did you know steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled, flattened oats because the oat grain itself is cut in half? Thus, it is thicker and pointier than a flattened oat, and takes longer to cook thoroughly. Both types of oats derive from the same groat grain, however, flattened “quick” oats are more processed which is why the health food community prefers steel cut oats, as they are less processed!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk of choice: almond milk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc. (**I USED UNSWEETENED COCONUT ALMOND MILK**)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter (**I USED COCONUT OIL**)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (**I USED HIMILAYAN PINK SALT**)
  • Any toppings you want! Fruits, nuts, seeds, syrup, honey, etc.

DIRECTIONS

Add the water and milk to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a skillet, melt the coconut oil and add the steel cut oats. Toast the oats for 2 to 5 minutes until they are fragrant. (I personally toasted mine for 7 min as I let my liquid mixture heat. I was not disappointed, and the oats smelled incredible).

Once the oats are toasted and the liquid mixture is simmering, add the oats to the liquid. Reduce heat slightly to prevent scorching, and cook for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be thick. After 20 min, add the salt, and continue to cook and simmer for an additional 10 minutes (give or take depending on preference, or if you’ve doubled the recipe). Make sure to stir a few more times during the last 10 minutes.

Once the time is up, remove it from heat, transfer to a bowl, and get creative with toppings!

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For my bowl, I added two teaspoons of light brown sugar, a tablespoon and a half of organic maple syrup, frozen strawberries (that thawed on the hot cereal and were super sweet!), sliced banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, and flax seeds!

This recipe yields a lot of product, so make sure to let the oats cool completely in a covered pot before putting in a covered tuperware and storing in the refriegerator. If you don’t let them cool completely before storing them, they could form a layer of discoloration on the top of the oats. This is normal and is not bad for you, however, it may look unappetizing, and then you’ll have to scrape off the discolored part before reheating or eating cold. So to save yourself the trouble, and cover them and let them cool!

I also ate some left over the next morning and served them as cold oats. It was delicious! This recipe takes some patience, but the leftovers are great for busy mornings after! Also, toasting the oats beforehand gives them such a better flavor and creamier texture! It really is worth the extra few minutes!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and give it a try! How do you like your oats? Let me know in the comments below!

Xoxo

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Hello, Dolly! & Chicago on Broadway, The Meatball Shop NYC

Hello beautiful creatures!

Last week, I visited NYC three times! Twice for different Broadway shows, and once for an audition.

Related post: My First NYC Dance Job Starts this Fall!! (2018)

The shows were amazing, and so was the food we ate before the shows! I wanted to rave to you all about the restaurant we ate at called the Meatball Shop, and tell you how wonderful each of the shows were.

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Dad and I ordering some meatballs before Chicago!

On Sunday April 15, I saw Hello, Dolly! with Bernadette Peters. Melanie Moore, who won Season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance, was also starring in this show, so I was super excited to see the production! The day I saw Dolly, I went with some colleagues from one of the dance studios I work at. We were meeting our students in the city at the theater to all see the show! Before we went to the theater. one of my fellow teachers took us to the Meatball Shop which is on 9th ave and 53rd street Manhattan! It is so delicious I can’t even begin to tell you how yummy and FRESH the food is.

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They have a weekend brunch menu, but then they also have a menu where you can pick the kind of meat (or veggie) balls you want, what kind of sauce you want, and how you want them (just in sauce, with pasta, in a hoagie, smashed into a burger… etc.). I got the chicken meatballs “naked” (just in sauce) with fresh pesto and a slice of focaccia. I also ordered the seasonal side salad which was SO YUMMY! It included fresh lemon dressing, watermelon radishes, and feta cheese!

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The food here was so good, I had to take my dad back with me the following weekend when him and I went to see Chicago on April 22! My ticket to see Chicago was free since it was a studio trip, and luckily, additional tickets were cheap. For this reason, I bought my dad an extra ticket and had a nice day in the city with him. When the two of us went in, I ordered the chicken meatballs again and tried them in their parmesan cream sauce. I actually liked the pesto sauce much better, but it was still delicious and mixed well with the salad. It didn’t hurt to wash it all down with some cold Prosecco, either! My dad really enjoyed the food, too!

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Both shows were phenomenal, and I had such a fun time watching them! I never knew what Hello, Dolly! was about, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it. The music, choreography, costuming, and set were incredible. I laughed harder than I ever laughed at any Broadway show, and I also cried and felt super sentimental during the more “emotional” scenes. I can honestly say Hello, Dolly! is my new favorite Broadway show ever! Which is saying a lot, because previously it was Chicago!

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Chicago was different this time compared to when I saw it seven years ago (2011)! Maybe it is because I am older and understand more of the adult humor. Or maybe it is because it is a very different cast who put their own spin on the characters and the show. I don’t know which it is, but seeing Chicago again with this cast was fun because as I mentioned, it was very different from the first time I saw it. Both were great in their own ways. It was my dad’s first time seeing Chicago, and he loved it! Nothing is more captivating than genuine Fosse choreography and amazing dancers who bring it to life on stage.

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This past week was full of adventure and new beginnings. I have not felt this motivated in a while, and I am excited to see what my future holds. Adventuring around New York is becoming commonplace for me, and I can’t get enough. I am thankful to work for a studio that values giving our students immersive experiences in NYC! If you are in NYC at all anytime soon, definitely visit the Meatball Shop and go see a Broadway show if you can! If you need a recommendation, you can’t go wrong with these two 😉

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I love NYC!

Until next time xoxo

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Easy Homemade Chia Pudding Bowls

Hi everybody!

Lately, I am OBSSESSED with chia pudding bowls topped with fresh fruit, nutella, and peanut butter! Around NJ, you can buy them at certain quick-eat restaurants that sell acai bowls, smoothie bowls, and fruit bowls. I cannot afford to buy chia pudding bowls multiple times a week, however, so I decided to make my own chia pudding at home!

If you don’t know what chia pudding is, it is basically a mixture of chia seeds and milk. When mixed, it forms a gelatinous kind of texture that is similar to tapioca pudding. Chia seeds absorb 9x their weight, so naturally the mixture forms this interesting tapioca-like texture.

For this recipe, I bought Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds at Shoprite for $8.99, and some Silk brand unsweetened coconut almond blend milk. You can use any type of milk you want, but I prefer nut milk blends!

In addition, you will need a mason jar or container to mix it all in, some vanilla extract, and a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or any other sweetener!

The recipe I used makes two servings.

  1. 6 tablespoons of chia seeds
  2. 2 cups of milk
  3. 1/2 tsp of Vanilla
  4. 1 tablespoon of sweetener
  5. Fruit, nutella, peanut butter, and/or shredded coconut for toppings

Add the chia seeds and milk to a jar and stir. Add vanilla and sweetener to taste. Stir again. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir or shake to make sure the chia seeds are not clumping together. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight!

When ready to serve, scoop into a bowl. Add fresh fruit, protein, and/or any other toppings you want. Serve cold and enjoy!

Here is how mine turned out!

This recipe is gluten-free and vegan depending on the types of toppings you add! I am so excited how this came out, and that I can now make my favorite chia pudding bowls at home, at a much more economical cost! ❤ Feel free to adjust the chia seed to milk ratio depending on how thick or liquidy you want your mix to be!

I hope you enjoyed this quick recipe, and let me know below if you’ve ever had chia pudding and whether or not you like it! Some people don’t care for the consistency, and usually I am weird with textures, but I really enjoy this for some reason! I’ve always struggled with stomach sensitivity issues, so it is exciting for me to find recipes that work with my body and that don’t bother my stomach!

xoxo until next time, enjoy your chia!

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Pumpkin Muffins and Pre-Autumn Feels

Hi beautiful people!

The past few days the temperature has plumeted from the heat wave we just went through here on the East Coast, and although the temperatures are still in the upper 60s and 70s, it has been giving me fall vibes! 🙂 Now to be clear, I am in NO WAY ready for summer to end, however, as my long-time readers know, fall is my favorite season! The first cool weather we have had this summer, and I was craving PUMPKIN! So naturally, I made pumpkin muffins as I watched reruns of American Horror Story.

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I used a simple recipe you can find at this link Libby’s Pumpkin Muffins. I substituted the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil for a 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I’ve been doing this when I bake lately because unsweetened applesauce is a substitute for vegetable oil, and has a 1:1 ratio – meaning there are no conversions to be done, and you cut the fat down significantly in your recipe! I also used a 1/2 cup of orange juice instead of a 1/2 cup of water to give my muffins a hint of citrus!

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PS: Don’t mind the slits in the tops of the muffins – I stuck a knife in the top of them to make sure they were cooked thoroughly before I took them out of the pan

These muffins are delicious, and next time I think I’m going to put chocolate chips in them! This rescipe yielded about 28 muffins! ❤ Right out of the oven with butter they are tasty, and they are also yummy toasted with butter, and with coffee in the morning! If you are feeling fall vibes as well and craving the tastes of the season, these muffins are easy to make and will satisfy your fall-flavor craving while you soak up the sunrays of late summer!

What have you been baking this summer? Has the weather been feeling like fall to you? Let me know!

xoxo

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