Red Rooster Cookbook by Marcus Samuelsson

New York City is full of exciting boroughs, each with it's flavor and diversity and Harlem is no exception. The large neighborhood located on the north end of Manhattan, Harlem boasts a vibrant history and is rich in music, arts and culinary culture. When chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, he envisioned so much more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a gathering place at the heart of his adopted neighborhood, where both the uptown and downtown sets could see and be seen, mingle and meet – and so he did, in a big way. In conjunction with Samuelsson's long awaited release of The Red Rooster Cookbook, Macy's Culinary Council will be hosting a cooking event. Find out how to get your free copy of The Red Rooster Cookbook and have it signed by Samuelsson.

Dining at The Ravens: vegan recipes

Whoah! Have the Itty Bitty Foodies turned vegan you ask? No not at all but we jump at the chance of finding new ways to become healthier. When we were invited, along with a few select food bloggers to host the Dining at the Ravens blog tour, we enthusiastically raised our hands! The new vegan recipe book, "Dining at the Ravens" by Jeff and Joan Stanford was an exciting discovery. As we flipped through the first few pages, we discovered that the Stanfords owned a unique vegan eco-inn in Mendocino, California called the Stanford by the Sea. It is the perfect family hideaway for those who want to unplug from the world and just smell (and eat) the flowers. "We think of ourselves as a garden with an inn, rather than an inn with a garden," quotes the Stanfords in their book. The organic farm sanctuary is what we call a magical kingdom on ten acres lush with organic produce, herbs and edible flowers for the inn's gourmet vegan restaurant, named The Ravens.

Plant-Powered Families

A couple of weeks ago I had braces put in and I've inadvertently become a vegetarian. My teeth hurt so much, it has put a clamp on meat eating for a while. After days of being on a smoothie/soup diet, things got serious as I needed more calorie dense (but healthy) diet that was soft enough for me to chew. That where "Plant-Powered Families"* by Dreena Burton came in. "Plant-Powered Families" has over 100 kid-friendly, whole-foods vegan recipes and I found it useful to rally the troops to get them on board with eating more fruits and vegetables. Whether you're thinking of dabbling in veganism or just want to add more plant-based dishes to your daily diet, "Plant-Powered Families" is a healthy resource.

Focusing on the important

Last winter my family escaped the cold for a glorious tropical break in Malaysia. We flew in for an extended family reunion. Everybody attended, all except that is, my sweet father who had passed away earlier that year. I spent 2015 walking about like a big open wound. Last year was a year of coping for me. Every 'firsts' like his birthday, wedding anniversary, Father's Day and so forth gutted me. 2015 was the year where I distilled further on what matters to me most in life. As we go into a new year, I'm reminded of the wise words of Dr Seuss, "Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory." Focusing on the important for 2016 is a top priority for me.

Books that inspire kids to try new foods

Our Itty Bitty Foodies love the written word. Every night, they are transported to new worlds and adventures through their books. I've often found while reading, that they ask to try new foods; foods that the characters in the book have eaten or cooked. While it's summer reading season, why not get your kids reading more. We're participating in the Mayor Summer Reading Program, are you? Books expand young minds and stretch their palates. Here are 3 fantastic authors with some of our favorite books that inspire kids to try new foods