Lent – Sugarless Diet Game Plan

Hello everyone Happy Presidents Day! We as the title states it’s that Christian season again, Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which was the same day as Valentine’s Day. This Lenten season I decided to give up sugar with the exception of fruit and vegetables. So far, I’m getting through it but at the same time it is difficult especially when I had to eat out for Chinese New Year. Eating out was a challenge because I don’t know whether sugar was added to the diet. As a result, I ended up at a buffet, a Middle Eastern and Hibachi restaurant.

For the first five days of Lent, here were my meals containing 0g of sugar:

What I’ve realized is to successfully accomplish this I have to cook my meals at home.

After going through my current pantry at home, I’ve discovered more limitations to this no sugar sacrifice. However, this week’s game plan will consists of the following ingredients that contains no sugars to date:

Black beans

Red Kidney beans




Ground Kobe beef

Ground Turkey

Olive oil

Coconut oil



Quorn Chik ‘n Patty





Parmesan cheese

Cream cheese

Almond milk



Follow me on Instagram at tablespoonsandteaspoons for updates on the recipes made this week with these ingredients.

Flashback Friday – Winter 2018 NYC Restaurant Week

Today is the last day of NYC Restaurant Week and after reviewing menus and reviews, I was not impressed with the options that were offered this season. Therefore, I was considering skipped this season’s restaurant week. However two of my friends wanted to do restaurant week lunch and dinner. So after getting my arm twisted, I ended up eating a really good lunch at Cut by Wolfgang Puck in Lower Manhattan. My friend wanted to eat there and so I joined her. The service at this restaurant was really good and very accommodating.

For $29, my lunch prix fixe included the following: goat cheese ravioli, crispy quail salad and empire apple crumble.

For dinner, I decided to use my $100 gift card I won at last year’s American Cancer Society Taste of Hope event to eat from Massoni, an Italian/Asian casual fusion restaurant. Service was not par and food was not what I had expected. Furthermore the waiter was terrible, he didn’t know how the food was made and screwed up people’s orders. He suggested items for the $42 prix fixe, which was a bad idea because everything was salty. The waiter too responsibility for his mistake and gave me a free drink and a side dish of squash.

In addition, I took advantage of the happy hour $8 wines until 7pm. I had a Falanghina/fuedi di san gregorio 2014, a white wine and a Barbera/pico maccario 2015, a red wine.

For the $42 salty three course prix fixe dinner, I ordered Biriyani balls, Brussels sprouts pizza, and Snickers cannoli. Let’s put it this way, the cannoli was the best dish out of the three. The first two dishes were so salty that I couldn’t finish it, my friend shared the appetizer with me and I took leftover Brussels Sprouts pizza home.

By far Massoni was probably the worse restaurant week meal I have had and I used the remaining balance on the gift card to order more food to see if their regular menu was better….

My friend ordered the salmon and it was supposed to have potatoes and leeks. Let’s just say the dish was a disappointment because it not only had too much dill but it was salty with very little potatoes and leeks.

If it was not for the gift certificate I would not have eaten at this restaurant. I believe the food needs more work, I have to give the benefit of the doubt that this place opened less than a year ago. Honestly, I would not come back here, there are more restaurants out there to try for better food and service.

Flashback Friday – Chinese Noodle Soup Adventures

Since the temperature plummeted last week, I’ve been having cravings for noodle soup made from Chinese handmade noodles or homemade ramen specifically.  What I love about these noodles is that I don’t have the knowledge that the noodles are processed, what I mean is that it does not contain the durum wheat, which has been documented as a source for weight gain and obesity.  In addition to the healthy appearing noodles, the broth is made to perfection especially on a cold winter night.  

Below are places I’ve had ramen and or homemade Chinese Noodle soup that it’s worth the money spent and it’s filling. 

Mixed Lamb Noodle Soup $8 Uncle Zhou Elmhurst

Spicy Chicken Ramen Soup – $6.95 Cafe Water Water Street NYC

Beef Stew Hand Drawn Noodle Soup – Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House – Elmhurst

Wonton Hand Drawn Noodle Soup – Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

Kuu Chili Ramen $14 with House Sake $6 during happy hour – Kuu Ramen – Financial District NYC

Mixed Lamb Noodle Soup $8 – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst, NY

Spicy Beef Knife shaved noodle soup – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst NY

Knife shaped noodles – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst NY

Meatless Monday – 2 ingredients – Sauteed spinach & Garlic

Here’s a quick pick-me-up that is cheap, healthy, gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian side dish.  Recently I brought a bag of Dole Baby Spinach, on sale at Shop & Shop (buy 1 get 1 free) and homemade minced garlic (thank you dad) and put a quick side dish together.

Spinach has many health properties, which were previously mentioned on a past Meatless Monday post.  In addition, spinach has one of the highest if not the highest level of folate, which helps prevent depression, neural tube disorders during pregnancy, and dementia.


Garlic has been considered to be medicine food especially in India and China.  It was used to aid respiration and digestion.  It helps reduce inflammation and even prevent cancers.  It also contains neuroprotective properties that helps with visual memory and performing executive functions.  It is also an immune system booster, which helps treat colds and flu.  It helps with high blood pressure and may help treat diabetes.

1 bag of Dole Baby Spinach, washed = 20 calories for 3 cups.

2 tablespoons of minced garlic = 30 calories

  1. Spray the pan with cooking spray

2. Add minced garlic and saute until starts becoming golden brown

3. Stir in spinach gradually until wilted


At various Chinese restaurants I’ve eaten at, this dish or any other green vegetable dish and garlic would cost over $10 (family style) and they use vegetable oil, which is less healthier than olive oil, and grapeseed oil.  This dish can be made with other vegetables such as bok choy and watercress.


Traditional Tuesday – Dumplings

This summer I was on a dumpling phase  where I’ve eaten at various restaurants that serve various dumplings.

Historically dumplings were developed during the Han Dynasty in China by Zhang Zhongjing. Zhongjing was considered the “Medicine Saint” in his village.

One year, the people’s ears were frostbitten and he took a piece of dough skin and filled it with mutton, chili and medicinal herbs, wrapped it up and boiled it. This popular winter concoction helped promote blood flow to warm the body.

Today there are varieties of dumplings:

Korea – Mandoo

Italy – Ravioli

Poland – Pierogi

Spain, Portugal, South and Central America – Empanada

India – Samosa

Japan – Gyoza

Turkey – Manti

Tibet/Nepal – Momo

Below are images of the various dumplings I have had within the last two years. I definitely all kinds, but unfortunately no pictures were taken.

Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao $6.95

Loofah Xiao Long Bao $7.95

Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao Chocolate Dumplings

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Pork Buns $5.25

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Vegetable Dumplings $4.50

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao Shanghai Shumai $2.95

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – Steamed Crabmeat and Pork Buns $6.25

Shanghai Cafe Steamed Tiny Buns $4.95

Shanghai Cafe Steamed Tiny Buns with Crabmeat $6.95


Korean octopus dumplings and glutinous rice dumplings

David Burke Kitchen – BBQ Chicken Dumplings

Klimat Lounge – Polish Pierogi $11

Klimat Lounge – Sauerkraut & mushroom, Spinach Mixed Polish Pierogi $11

Manor Oktoberfest – Pierogies with sour cream $8

Mrs. P’s Pierogies $2.50 (on sale any supermarket)

Agozar Cuban Restaurant – Empanaditas $9

Momos – Himalayan Yak $7

Below is a recent dumpling recipe (Thank you Tasty Japan) I made for Mother’s Day back in May that was creative and very budget friendly.

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Meatless Monday – 3 ingredient broccoli slaw

Happy Monday, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted a recipe here. 

Recently, during my food exploration, I visited Trader Joe’s and they were selling a 12 oz. bag of organic broccoli slaw for only $1.69.  In addition, my boyfriend and his friends visited Apple Festival at the Harbes Family Farm where he gave me Blondie apples, gala apples and honey crisp apples. Finally, I found leftover unopened pack of Dole Caesar Dressing Vinegrette from Caesar Salad Kit.  

With the three ingredients, one of each kind of apple was diced.  All of the broccoli slaw and apples are combined.  The dish was completed with the Caesar Dressing. 

It’s simple, quick way to utilize leftovers while using fresh healthy, organic ingredients. 

Throwback Thursday – Queens International Night Market


Last weekend we went to the Queens International Night Market behind the New York Hall of Science inside Flushing Corona Park in Queens.  Founder John Wang, started the International Night Market started in 2015 in the effort to create a cultural event celebrating the diversity of immigrants and small businesses.  The Night Market was designed to sell dishes at a cap of $5 and what I’ve learned is that half of the proceeds were going to be donated.

On July 1, there were 38 food vendors that participated in the event.  The vendors came from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Malaysia and Indonesia.  In addition to the diverse food options there were unique food creations such as the Twisted Potato and Twister Cake.

The first time I actually visited the Night Market was when it first opened in 2015 and I went alone.  I highly do not recommend going to this night market alone because the food choices are very overwhelming.  What is amazing about this experience is that each food item purchase ranged between $3 and $6 and what is even better is that the portion size was shareable.  In our case, we split everything.

During our visit to the Night Market, we sampled food from 12 out of the 38 food vendors. Just want to disclose that healthy food choices during our visit did not cross our minds as we were embracing the diversity that is celebrated through cultural and even fusion dishes.  Below are the dishes that we tried that stood out from the event.  The total cost of the dishes below we spent was: $57 for two people, which is not bad for 12 different dishes.  There were two vendors we’ve tried and paid the extra $20, but pictures were not taken.  Queens International Night Market

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My top 5 favorites in this exact order:

  1. Waffle Mac and Cheese from House of Mac
  2. Sisig Tacos from Lahi 
  3. Monster Ice from Panda Cafe
  4. Cajun Twisted Potato from Twisted Potato
  5. Summer Roll from Roll Ram

Can’t wait to return to the market again, which will hopefully be either next weekend or the following weekend.  When I return I would like to try Eema’s Cuisine, Moffle Bar, Karl’s Balls, Moon Man, Malaysian Project, Arepalicious, Burmese Bites, DiLena’s Dolcini Tei Nei Ya and Jibarito Shack if they are still there.

The Queens International Night Market are available every Saturday Evening from 6pm to midnight until August 19 and from September 30-October 28.

Stay tuned for more!

Happy Mother’s Day from Tablespoons and teaspoons 

On behalf of Tablespoonsandteaspoons we want to wish all mothers are very happy Mother’s Day.  

My mother was a main inspiration to creating tablespoonsandteaspoons.  When she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2010, we were on a mission to find the best foods that would help treat the disease. This mission led to my thesis in 2014 the assessed current research on health literacy on rheumatic arthritis patients. 

This year as requested by my mother she wanted a home cooked meal. So to knock two birds with one stone I did research and found a get gift idea…

These homemade bouquet dumplings. The rose dumplings were made with pork and the leaves were made with vegetables.  

The total cost to make this creative gift is under $20. 

Meatless Monday – Purple Potatoes

Happy Monday! Happy First Day of Spring! It’s almost midnight and its been weeks since my last post.  For the past several weeks I’ve been recovering from a herniated disc where sitting in one position was absolutely painful.  On a brighter note, I’ve been working on mastering several dishes and reading more culinary cookbooks and science research for inspiration.  But…

Back to business.  It’s Meatless Monday and I want to add that since March 1st I’ve given up meat for forty (40) days for Lent.  So for the next several weeks, majority of my posts will be mostly vegetarians and/or vegan.

For today, we will be focusing on one of the healthiest potatoes to consume: The Purple Potato.  One weekend, I went to Fairway with my parents and came across a bag of small purple potatoes for $2.50 so I brought a bag because I heard really good things about them.  During this research journey, I came across this image below from Dr. Axe summarizing the benefits of consuming purple potatoes.


After reading Dr. Axe’s summary on purple potatoes, I did a little investigation on to additional evidence based research within the last five (5) years.  The following confirmed:

  1. Purple potatoes contained high level of anthocyanins, which prevent inflammation and inhibit cancer growth especially breast cancer, gastric cancer and colon adenocarcinoma (Sugata, M, Lin CY, and Shih, YC, 2016).
  2. Another study showed that baked potato extracts have reduced colon cancer stem cell growth along and lowered the number of tumors (Charepalli, et al, 2015)
  3. Anti-microbial potential against Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa especially during consumption (Ombra, MN, 2015).

After the investigation of this native South American crop, I came across a recipe from Chef Aaron Sanchez, who by the way is this year’s honoree for the 12th Annual Taste of Hope.

1 bag of small Peruvian purple potatoes = 70 calories for 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons.

8 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 calories/tablespoon (Pantry)

1 tablespoon of dried oregano = 15 calories/tablespoon

1 tablespoon of minced garlic = 15 calories/tablespoon

Dash of ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of dried cilantro = 5 calories/tablepoon

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Overall taste of the potatoes were good and very flavorful especially with the olive oil, garlic, oregano and cilantro mixture.  Plus all four mixture components carry health benefits as well.  This is a very healthy, filling and budget friendly dish that can be consumed more than once.  Stay tuned for more!



Flashback Friday – Dosas

Happy Friday! Although it is National Dessert Day, I have been fascinated about the popular Indian street food – Dosa.  When I first saw this dish, I was overwhelmed by the how big it is.  It is mostly served as a meal for a good part of the day.  Personally I have consumed it as an early dinner.

Dosas also known as Dosai is an ancient Tamil dish.  This gluten free, vegetarian street food dish is made up of rice and lentils.  Therefore, there are health benefits in its consumption.   Dosas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein that will last the whole day.  It is a lengthy process to make dosas and I don’t think that I will be making one anytime soon.  Therefore, I will be leaving this up to the pros.

Recently, I have had the experience of consuming this vegetarian dish at two places in New York City.   One famous spot world is Saravana Bhavan.  There are two locations in New York City (Manhattan).  This restaurant does not need an introduction because it is well known throughout India; the establishment of this franchise was made a controversial person who is banned from leaving India because he was convicted of murder.  This is to show that as long the food is good it does not matter where it originated from. But if you don’t want to be traumatized,  I visited another spot, which is located in Queens called Hillside Dosa Hutt.  This neighborhood spot is in the heart of the Indian community. The cashier that served us was hospitable and knowledgeable about Dosas.  Hillside Dosa Hutt was recently listed on the Eater list of the top 60 cheap eats places in NYC. 

Hillside Dosa Hutt – Marsala Dosa $5.50 (Top Left) and Paneer Bhurji Masala Dosa $9.00 (Bottom left) Saravana Bhavan $9.99- Marsala Dosa (Top right)  and Onion Chili Rava Dosa $10.99 (Bottom right)

Portions of each dosa were huge. I have not been able to finish a whole dosa in one sitting.  If you want more variety then Saravan Bhavan is the place to go, but for a quick meal on a budget then Hillside Dosa Hutt will suffice.