Destin..My Favorite Place To Be

This weekend, I am visiting one of my favorite places–Destin, Florida. I’m so excited because it’s been years since I’ve been to Destin, and I’m here with my siblings. I love it because it’s quiet and the beach is clear, and warm. So lovely!

The weather has been beautiful. Yesterday, it was sunny, with a cool breeze. The forecast predicted rain, but we were so thankful that it turned out to be a gorgeous day.

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This morning, I went for a jog with my sister and brother along the scenic route. It was a great way to start the day. I never used to like exercising while I was on vacation, but now I make it a part of my day, and I enjoy it.

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We made a late breakfast at home, and hit the beach in the afternoon. After we soaked up the sun for a few hours, we lay by the pool for a little while.

Yesterday, we rode a pontoon for the first time, and it was tons of fun! My brother navigated for most of the time while the girls lounged around. We took it out in the early afternoon until the evening, and packed our lunch and snacks with us for the day. I even drove it myself for a while, but it wasn’t long before my sister pointed out that I was going in circles, so I gave the wheel back to my brother. They say I’m not the most skilled driver, but I beg to differ 🙂

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Yesterday evening, my sister Nina and my sister-in-law Areej cooked dinner for us. They made baked chicken breasts with onions and potatoes, quinoa, and avocado and tomato salad. It was yummy and healthy! Today is our last day before we head back to New Orleans tomorrow. I hope you’re having a great a Labor Day holiday, wherever you are!

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Seafood and What It Does For Your Health

I came across this on the Twitterverse today, and I thought it was neat. There is a website called SeafoodHealthFacts.org that provides the health benefits and risks of eating seafood. Since I currently live in New Orleans, the land of seafood, I thought it was pretty cool.

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I never used to think much about the food I consumed and its affect on our health, until after I got sick. That’s when I became really interested in learning about how foods can help us heal. Lots of different seafood offer proteins, vitamins and minerals. The website includes credible and detailed information on:

  • The nutritional benefits of various species of seafood
  • Seafood safety, sustainability, regulations
  • The risk vs. benefits of consuming seafood

I’m a New Orleans girl at heart, and I grew up cracking crawfish and crab legs. So, this is good news for me and my health. But how about a fried shrimp po’boy with all the trimmings? Mmmm! Does that count?

Food and Fun with Family

This weekend I visited some of my family in Virginia. I spent time with my aunt, who lucky for me, is a great cook (almost as good as my mom!) I love being with her in the kitchen because she is so knowledgeable about foods and their health and healing benefits. She knows a lot of Middle Eastern home remedies too. I should take notes from her!

On the first night I arrived, she prepared Shawarma with fresh meat seasoned with tons of spices, alongside roasted vegetables from her garden, Mediterranean salad, rice (a staple in Middle eastern cuisine) and fresh, organic yogurt. It was delicious!

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Saturday morning I woke up craving pancakes for some strange reason. I made some for everyone and we ate them with fresh fruit. (even though I really wanted it with bacon!)

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Later that day, I visited my cousin Huda, a practicing esthetician, who is also very health conscious. I get all my natural health & beauty advice from her. It’s so nice to have women in my life who are such a wealth of knowledge in healthy living.

She made me a juice in her VitaMix blender chocked full of fresh fruits & veggies. I’ve been wanting to try the VitaMix for a while now, so I was excited! It is pretty impressive!

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On Sunday, we visited the Eastern market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It is Washington DC’s oldest, continually operated fresh food public market. They had tons of neat goodies there. I can’t get enough of these outdoor markets! I bought some gifts and enjoyed and enjoyed all the sights there.

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On our last morning, my aunt sent us off with a proper Mediterranean lunch. This is one of my favorites! Homemade hummus, bread for dipping with olive oil, zaatar, garden tomatoes & cucumbers, pickled olives, sautéed mushrooms, yogurt, and fresh fruit with chai (tea) and mint.

I ate so much good food this weekend, and really enjoyed spending time with my family that I don’t get to see often. I’m grateful I had the chance to do it.

Now, it’s back to New Orleans for me. I’ve been away for a while and I’m looking forward to coming home. I always miss that place when I leave.

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Sandwiches & Shakes at The Milk Bar

Yesterday I was on my way to Subway to grab a sandwich for lunch, when I spotted this place en route. I decided to stop and try it, because I love to support local businesses.

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And they had just what I was looking for…an assortment of sandwiches. The staff was friendly and easy-going, which I like.

Occidental Oriental sandwich

I had the “Occidental Oriental” and it was huge! It had marinated chicken, red pepper, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, peanut satay sauce, and mozzarella cheese. LOTS of mozzarella cheese! I was a baad girl (but it was SO good!) I was only able to eat half of it, and I was stuffed!

Inside The Milk Bar

I wanted to try a shake too, but I had to fight the feeling! I am trying to cut back on dairy, since it doesn’t work well with my medicine. But I think next time, I will sneak a try!

Best Pho Around?

This week, my sister and brother and I had dinner at a delicious Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Tau Bay. My sister and I had the Pho Bo, or beef noodle soup and it was spectacular. My brother had the Bun, which was equally delicious, if not better. The restaurant has recently received media attention, although it has been open for over 30 years. Anthony Bourdain featured it on his show that airs on the Travel Channel, The Layover, just before Superbowl swept the city in January. Travel+Leisure magazine also featured it last May as one of New Orleans’ Best Vietnamese Restaurants. It sits on the outskirts of New Orleans in a modest shopping center that’s easy to miss. (We drove up the street a couple of times before we could spot it.) It certainly deserves all of the praise it has received. I can’t wait to go back! I may write a feature story on it soon.

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Pho menu

Pho with sauceBun

Kids Rock Race

I’m really excited that I had the opportunity to cover the ING Kids Rock Race to help fight obesity yesterday. It was in conjunction with the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in New Orleans. It was inspiring to see children taking an active role in their health. My story was published in The Advocate, a local paper that publishes in nearby Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can read the article here!

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After the race, I stopped at Morning Call, a historic cafe in City Park for a delicious cafe au lait. It was perfect because I was freezing after being outside in the cold. morningcall

After I warmed up, I was off to write my story. For lunch I had lunch at the Ruby Red Slipper, which is on my list of New Orleans restaurants I want to visit. I had BBQ shrimp & grits and it was yummy. redslipper

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A New Orleans eating affair

This weekend, I indulged in a real, New Orleans eating experience. It’s been a stressful transition since I moved home from Atlanta, and I needed it. On Saturday night, I went down to the french quarter and had beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde. My favorite! Cafe du Monde is a historic coffee shop in New Orleans that opened in 1862. It’s famous for it’s squared, doughnuts served hot with white powdered sugar and cafe au laits–which is half coffee, half steamed milk. It’s the only way I like my coffee! (I admit that I am a bit of a snob about it.)

Beignets and cafe au lait

Yesterday was a beautiful Sunday afternoon–perfect for crawfish. I don’t know how to describe crawfish, other than it’s a delicious crustacean that’s seasoned well with cajun spices and traditionally served with corn on the cob and potatoes. You have to meticulously peel the tails off, so it takes some work, but it’s well worth it!

Crawfish

Crawfish