Archive for March, 2008

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Spring Cleaning—right in the gut

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A few weeks ago, I attempted to spread some rumors about a Shake Shack coming to Forest Hills. To date, no call or e-mail from Danny Meyer, but no matter. I make excellent, healthful shakes several times a week in my home, and so can you because it’s so simple.

Here’s my basic recipe:

  1. Throw 1 banana of any size into your blender. You need a banana to give the shake thickness and because it mixes so well with any other fruit you might think of.
  2. Toss in any other fruit you might think of. I’ve usually got a mango lying around, as well as a handful of grapes, a kiwi, a green apple, maybe some pineapple slices that are almost borderline. I also keep a few bags of organic berries in the freezer (Trader Joe’s, the Natural, the organic stores all have these) for this purpose.
  3. Add in a few heaping spoonfuls of nonfat plain yogurt. Figure you want around 1.5 cups. More is okay too.
  4. Add some orange juice or other fruit juice you have in the refrigerator. Orange-mango works nicely here.
  5. Finally, throw in 2-3 ice cubes and pour in some flax seed oil—maybe 1/8 of a cup. By now my blender could be three-quarters of the way full, so I just tilt the plastic bottle of flax seed oil and give a couple of squeezes. As you might suspect, there’s no real cooking science or art to this—just an attempt to load it up with foods that pack a nutritional punch.
  6. Blend till smooth. Drink up and store the remainder for the next morning.

This is also great on top of cereal, instead of milk, or if you add wheat germ, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, or whatever else you might want to put into it.

If all of this is too time-consuming and bothersome to you, Tierra Sana serves some very healthy “smoothies.” I had one, the Queen Bee, last week. The ingredients in it were maca, almond butter, coconut butter, orange juice, orange zest, oatmeal milk, vanilla, bee pollen, and royal jelly. It was delicious, super smooth, and there’s no way I can replicate the particular chemistry of it at home. I am tempted, though, to start sprinkling some maca into my DIY shakes because, among its many benefits, it’s an aphrodisiac. After this long winter, I’m game for a little spring fever.

So there you have it. Feel free to share your shake secrets too.

March 31, 2008 at 8:41 pm 1 comment

Council OKs Cong. $ing

It’s all over the news (this is what I get for going out to dinner on the eve of such a critical event), so by now you all know that the city council approved legislation pricing by 30–20.

More to follow on this good news, but for now, it’s heading up to Albany. Let’s hope Sheldon Silver can get over himself long enough to do the right thing.

March 31, 2008 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

Vote at 3:30

The City Council is voting at 3:30 today on congestion pricing. After this vote, if CP is passed, it goes to the state legislature, where supporters await. Over the weekend:

Gov. David A. Paterson, who supports the plan, amended legislation to give breaks to low-income drivers and to allow commuters who cross the Hudson River from New Jersey to pay only tolls — not an additional congestion charge — if the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agrees to make a substantial contribution to the M.T.A. capital budget.

There is already some resistance to the “free pass” being given commuters from New Jersey via its bailout by the PA.

And Streetsblog has a great post today on how CP affects Queens. Required reading if you’re following this story. Photo below (from Streesblog) from Friday’s anti-CP rally staged at the bottom of the Feeling Groovy Bridge, Queens side—

According to our sources, of the council members slated to attend–Avella, Leroy Comrie, Melinda Katz, David Weprin “and other possible members of the Queens Delegation”–only Avella and Weprin showed up. Pro-pricing folks who came to either counter-protest or just express support for pricing, including those from Queens, were reportedly yelled at and accused of being “undemocratic” by Avella. Environmental Defense was on hand to measure air quality and found that “contaminants were sky high.”

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Queens residents crash Friday’s anti-pricing rally

March 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

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Spring Cleaning—Stretch Your Wings

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One of Forest Hills’ best-kept secrets is the Pilates instructor at the Central Queens Y, Robin Budnetz. I really don’t understand why the Y doesn’t do a better job of advertising its greatest assets, of which Robin is one of just a few. She actually trained with Joseph Pilates himself, and when you’re in one of Robin’s classes, be it Pilates, stretching, yoga, or dance-movement, you definitely feel like you’re in the hands of a master. No matter what your age or what shape you’re in.

Her classes cycle between gentle and intense, and movements feel intuitive not merely within themselves but also within the progression of the class. A long time ago I used to dance, and in all my years of dabbling in and observing other workout forms, Pilates—and specifically, the way Robin leads it—is the one organized exercise venue that makes sense to me. I’m not alone in this assessment, as whenever I show up for a class (and I admit to being routinely hamstrung in this regard by the demands of parenting and work), I’m happy to spot faces I’ve seen in her classes for several years.

Unfortunately, the Y has yet to make its abysmal Web site a tool users can actually use, but trust me, bypass this sign of organizational dysfunction and go straight to Robin. A series of classes just started; if there’s room, you might be able to get in at a prorated price.

Central Queens Y
67-09 108 Street
718-268-5011, fitness department

March 31, 2008 at 5:17 am 5 comments

Lots of Clicks

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The gist is that the Upper East and West Sides are still blazingly hot real estate markets, but you can’t miss the plugs for Forest Hills in this NY Post article.

Prospective home buyers are checking out Manhattan’s Upper East and West Sides more than all other New York City neighborhoods.

A Post analysis of data from the Real Estate Board of New York’s Web site also found that traditional middle-class neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge and Forest Hills, Queens, are hot markets for potential buyers—even attracting greater interest than pricier areas like Brooklyn Heights.

A review of user searches on the board’s site, ResidentialNYC.com, since Jan. 1 reveals that…

  • In Queens, Forest Hills is king, followed by Jackson Heights, Rego Park, Astoria, and Douglaston/Little Neck.

March 31, 2008 at 5:17 am Leave a comment

April Craft Fair

Saturday, April 26 11–5 p.m.

Sunday, April 27, 2-5 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills
70-35 112th Street in Forest Hills. (718) 268-4036
The event is to raise fund for World Vision

If you would like to find out about selling your crafts or other homemade items, or you would like some more information in general, contact Lydia.Tems@Gmail.com

March 29, 2008 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Spring Cleaning…

Next week Splitting Hairs will have a series of posts on this subject, all conceived to get readers psyched for warmer weather and feeling less blah-y about things, be it in our bodies, in our homes, or on the streets of Forest Hills.

March 29, 2008 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

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