Saturday, July 28, 2012

The No Meat, Pasta, Rice, Bread or Coffee diet

This past week, I decided to try to do better with my lifestyle and so, Tuesday began the new lifestyle where I gave up meat, rice, pasta, bread and coffee.

I’ve done the no meat thing before and have been fine with it, but would you believe that the hardest thing for me to give up is coffee. 

I am used to drinking about two venti cups or more a day; and usually I drink it black with no milk or sugar. The first two days without coffee were extremely hard. I had a headache all day and just craved it. Today, I am on my fifth day without any coffee and I am okay.

People have told me that this diet I am on now is pretty drastic. I mean, who truly gives up bread, rice, pasta and meat all at the same time?  But, I have to say that I truly love vegetables. I knew it before, but it was not until this week when I realized it most.  

The first day was fruits, vegetables and beans only. On the second day, I had a little oatmeal for breakfast and then decided to add fish into the mix on the third day. Most of the meals I had were made from scratch by me, all except for the strawberry spinach and shrimp salad which was prepared at Pretty Toni's Cafe. Here are some of the most interesting options I have had so far:
Stewed Vegetables with Black Eyed Peas

 Ginger Curry Soup

Salmon and Yam Cakes 

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimps

As far as drinks are concerned, most of what I have consumed is this concoction that I made consisting of water, cayenne pepper, honey and lemon juice; basically for detox.  I have also been substituting my coffee with caffeine free tea. I am a usual drinker and haven’t consumed any alcohol since I have begun and been trying to maintain and it has been working for me so far.

I wanted to try this diet for a week to see how my body would feel after.  The week is not completely finished yet but I must say that I have been holding on.  If I get hungry for a snack, I have had either an orange, apple with peanut butter or a pear. 

So far so good!  Hopefully my next post will come with some positive results of how this new crazy lifestyle has worked for me.  Until then; happy eating. I’m still a foodie even without the starchy carbs, meat, coffee and alcohol.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Piano Bar at Pretty Toni's in Valley Stream

Recently, I have been blessed with the opportunity to perform live, piano bar style.
Have you ever been to one?  Basically, a piano bar is a restaurant/bar that is not astronomically big, but large enough to have dinner settings and a musical ensemble with maybe two pieces or more.  In my case, a keyboardist and a vocalist.
 Pretty Toni’s CafĂ© is located at 759 West Merrick Road in Valley Stream, NY.  It is easy to get to and has plenty of parking in front and in the spacious parking lot behind it.  The venue holds about 30 people and is a nice atmosphere for a date, to celebrate a birthday dinner, to chill afterwork with coworkers and friends, or even for a family gathering.  The staff is friendly and the service is quality. The ambiance is also cool, which makes this a great place to just sit back and have a good time.
Did I mention that the food was great?  I’m a foodie. Can you tell by my size? LOL! I like to eat good food. The menu has a variety of southern style cuisine from Red velvet waffles and fried chicken, grilled salmon, fried catfish and more. 
While you have the delicious food prepared for you with love, the music is blaring in the background; basically soft, dinner music that you can enjoy while you eat. It is not too loud or too heavy to digest. Just good enough to sit back, listen and if you feel it, sing along and/or maybe even dance if interested. In other words, it is an intimate setting and also an enjoyably relaxing experience.
What I liked about the piano bar performance is that I do not have to yell to get my voice out over the music. Keyboardist, Rodney Dixon played with a soft touch and very gracefully.  With that in mind, his peacfeul melodics made it easy for me to just whisper the songs out without having to really overstretch my voice just to be heard over the music and I loved that.
Together we performed music from yesterday and today and we had a great time.  I love the idea of being able to sit down at a table while having your cornbread, collard greens, sweet potato fries and your glass of chardonnay and being able to also enjoy music played just for that type of setting.
If you are interested in being a part of the piano bar experience, why not come out to Pretty Toni’s located at 759 West Merrick Rd in Valley Stream, NY on Friday, July 27th, 2012 at 8PM and check out Technique featuring myself, Stephanie Jeannot and Rodney Dixon on keys live.  Take the Belt Parkway to Merrick and bear right. Make a right turn onto Merrick and drive about six blocks to Ormond Blvd or take the F train to the last stop and transfer for the N4 bus to Ormond Blvd. Pretty Toni’s is on the corner.
It will definitely be a great way to end the long, strenuous work week and to start off a relaxing and fun-filled weekend.  Here is just a sample of what you will find if you make it there:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BBQ Family Style with the Church Family at Church

It’s Summer; you know what that means right?  It’s barbecue time.

I had the pleasure of attending a barbecue that was also a part of a church experience. Mt Calvary Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, NY, gave me a great experience for the heart. A family style barbecue at church.

It was like a family event. While church members were in the back grilling burgers, hot dogs and ribs,  men, women and children of all ages were inside of the sanctuary playing Nintendo Wii games, cards, dominoes, or just simply talking like an ordinary family barbecue would be. Some were church members, friends of church members or church members from other churches that fellowship with them. It was awesome to see.

This event proved a few things. You do not need alcohol to have a good time. Also, you can have a good time at church.

Many people feel intimidated by the church experience, but if you are with family, there is always something to be enjoyed. That's what this experience was;  an invitation to enjoy what God has done for all of us. Mt Calvary Pentecostal Church did a great job welcoming folks in.

I think I appreciate the idea of an event like this.  Who would not feel comfortable being a part of a community that not only makes you feel welcome, but does things of this sort together as a family? That’s something.

While Gospel music blared in the background, the group of individuals that were gathered were there eating and having a great time. The event ended with a concert by the church’s youth choir. And what a great way to end the event; with music and singing and people being moved by the spirit. You can only imagine what a Sunday morning worship service is like at Mt Calvary Pentecostal Church.  
The barbecue experience has heightened just a little bit more for me.  I love the idea.

Barbecuing like a family with the church family at church. I think I will be back to visit again on a Sunday morning soon.