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 – Esquared Hospitality making its mark in Queens & Manhattan

Summer is going by way too fast! I have had the privilege to recently dine at Champions Bar & Grill located inside the grounds of the US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.  In order to eat at this restaurant, reservations were required.  In addition, only Loge and Promenade Season Subscription Ticket Holders with a restaurant pass were allowed.  As one can tell, this was a splurge lunch.  Normally, this post will be placed on the “Throwback Thursday” section of this blog, but an exception has to be made as the US Open will wrap up this Sunday 9/11.

After meeting with the chef and staff, I was overwhelmed by the high quality dishes offered.  After the chef’s suggestions, I decided to go with the lighter fare section and ordered the Grilled Asian kobe skirt steak salad ($34) with french fries ($12).  Taking full advantage of the experience, I burned the wallet(s) more by ordering a Moet Chandron Rose Champagne ($28).  20160830_144740

The meal was presented as I expected – classic David Burke (DB) style.  French fries on their little metal baskets.  The fries were not as crispy as I expected, I always eat their fries and so far the best french fries I have had from them were from David Burke Townhouse.  The kobe skirt steak did not melt in my mouth as I thought it did because I ordered it medium instead of medium rare.  Portions were filling and the champagne complemented the meal.  Staff and General Managers (GM) were accommodating.

Previous to my US Open experience, I have eating at BLT Prime in Gramercy back in January for the Signature Series  Event and that was a splurge dinner of $175 per person.

On a more wallet friendly side, I have eaten at BLT Steak in Midtown East where I have ordered a prosecco ($15).  I have had two specials: the rock tempura shrimp (don’t recall the price; it was a one day special) and the duck liver mousse pate (complimentary tasting from the Executive Chef).  Plus, I ordered the duck fat hash browns ($12) and for dessert I went with the Chef’s suggestion of the “banana cream” cream puffs ($12).  The duck fat hash brown dish was a side dish that is filling and comforting enough that it could be a main entree.  But the cream puffs were the perfect ending to my meal as its balanced sweetness of the bananas and cream covered up the pungent and rich flavors of the duck liver and fat.

Even though my food selections at the restaurants were not the healthiest, but the quality of food given for the amount paid was well worth it.

Chef David Burke has announced on social media that he will be opening the BLT Prime by David Burke in Washington D.C. and Tavern 62 at the former Fishtail by David Burke restaurant in New York City.  I am also excited to explore the other sister restaurants especially Casa Nonna and By Chloe.

Till then stay tuned!

Meatless Monday – Rad Thai Salad

It’s Leap Day and for the last several days I have been recovering from the class I took during Union Square Fest at Athleta.  That workout was so intense that I struggled walking up and down the stairs for several days.  Right after the workout, I decided to swing by Sweetgreen.20160224_204541 Sweetgreen uses all their ingredients grown from local and community farms so everything is fresh.  I decided to order the lowest calorie dish (375 calories) called the Rad Thai, derived from the Thai street dish Pad Thai.  This salad consists of organic arugula + organic mesclun, sprouts, carrots, shredded cabbage, spicy sunflower seeds, cucumbers, basil, citrus shrimp, and one round of spicy cashew dressing.  The salad was incredibly filling.  My favorite part of the salad was the citrus shrimp.  The total cost of this salad was $12.85 plus tax.  The price is reasonable given the ingredients used.  I would definitely return and try the Spicy Sabzi.

For those who do not have access to Sweetgreen or the organic ingredients, this salad can be made on a budget and it can serve more than one person.

Salad Blend – Arugula & Mesclun or any mixed salad = 2 for $5 at Stop & Shop

Sprouts – Chinese or Asian Supermarket usually sells for a decent price.

Shredded Carrots = 3 for $5 at Stop & Shop

Cabbage – usually the best sale is before St. Patrick’s Day at the price of either $0.19 and $0.29/lb. at Stop and Shop.  Red Cabbage is usually purchased at $0.99/lb. on sale at any supermarket.

Shrimp – $6.99/lb at Stop and Shop

Spicy Sunflower Seeds – convenience store e.g. CVS, 7-11, Duane Reade

Cucumbers – usually purchased $0.99/lb and below.

Basil – I usually purchase a fresh pack at an Asian supermarket (approx. $2.00/lb)

Citrus Marinade – orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, sriracha

Spicy Creamy Cashew Dressing (Derived from “Redeeming the Table”) – Juice of 1 orange, Juice of 1 lime or lemon chopped raw cashews, garlic, sea salt, red chili flakes and Grinds of black pepper

I have not made this dish personally, but after researching the ingredients, now I want to make this dish.  It would be serve as a great and quick potluck dish too.