Celebrate National Coffee Day At The Spa

Indulge your love of caffeine with these $50 Spa Week treatments

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Here at Spa Week, every day is coffee day! Whether we’re rolling in with a French roast or treating ourselves to a late-afternoon latte, you’ll never find us far from a warm cup of java. Needless to say, we were pretty pumped when we learned that today is National Coffee Day!

But it’s not just those flavorful aromas or that energizing buzz that makes coffee such a necessary staple in our lives. Coffee can work wonders for our brain and even our bodies. Believe it or not, we absorb more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables. Wild, right? And if that’s not enough, research shows that females who drink three or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop skin cancer than those who don’t. Coffee drinkers are also less prone to develop Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. And let’s not forget that fabulous fact that consuming coffee, when sleep-deprived, can actually jolt you into caring. “When you’re sleep-deprived and you take caffeine, pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning – most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence,” Time reporter Michael Lemonick explains.

To celebrate all things caffeine, we’ve put together a list of spas that incorporate the many health benefits of our favorite beverage. So sit back, relax and book yourself a coffee-based beauty treatment today. (Hey, it’s good for you!)

  • French Vanilla Latte Brown Sugar Scrub at Graceful Spa in New York, NY
  • Coffee & Cream Body Polish with Triple Shot Caramel Coffee Scrub from Farmhouse Fresh at Spa Botanica in Concord, NC
  • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pedicure, Polish Change Manicure and Pumpkin Spice Latte Beverage at Zubeda’s Spa in Medford, MA
  • Pumpkin Latte Pedicure with Milk Soak and Butter Brulee at Evensong Spa in Green Lake, WI

There are even more coffee-based treatments to be enjoyed during Spa Week! Click here to find a city near you and book your appointment today!

 Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily. 

Healthy Snacks To-Go: The Protein Bakery

It’s easier than you think to grab a protein-packed snack on the run—and these taste great, too!

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At one point in his life, Stephen Lincoln was teaching dozens of fitness classes a week. In amazing shape, he could basically eat anything he wanted and would soon burn it off to maintain his physique. Still, he had a problem with the fact that finding a protein-packed snack on-the-go was a challenge. It was from that struggle that The Protein Bakery was born.

Founded on the belief that baked goods should be good for you, The Protein Bakery packs sizable amounts of healthy, muscle building protein into traditional baked goods like brownies, cookies and blondies. These treats are packed full of whey protein (which is naturally found in cookies, anyway, so you really won’t taste a big difference). In unique flavors like Lemon Zest blondies and Oatmeal Cranberry cookies, a snack from the protein bakery is significantly more palatable than a protein bar with a similar amount of protein per serving.

The actual breakdown is as follows: brownies have around 12 grams of protein, 13 in the blondies, 8 in both the chocolate and oatmeal cookies, and up to 12 in the peanut butter cookies. For reference, most protein bars have around 12g of protein in them, too. Protein Bakery goodies are also chock full of fiber, and are free of gluten and trans fats. Plus, protein makes you fuller, faster. So unlike snacking on a regular cookie or brownie, you won’t crash soon after eating this treat!

Inside The Sweet Spot

Inside The Sweet Spot

Convinced that you’re into this snack? We thought you’d like it. If you’re ever in NYC and want to see more for yourself, you can visit The Sweet Spot, the company’s showroom in Flatiron. It’s open daily from 10-4, or by appointment. Not sure which option you want to try? The best-selling item is the peanut butter cookies.

The next product they’re rolling out (either right before or after the holiday time) is the peanut butter blondie in mini form. They are also in the process of developing a protein powder to put into shakes. We can’t wait!

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily.

Top 5 Antioxidant-Rich Food & Wine Pairings

We’ve already shared the 5 Best Wines for Summer–but wine is so much better with a food pairing! Alyssa Rapp from Bottlenotes shares the best, healthiest snacks to pair with your evening glass.

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By Davide Restivo from Lenzburg, Aarau, Switzerland (A glass of wine) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It is no secret that wine–red wine in particular–is purported to be high in antioxidants; one of the many “health benefits of wine.”

To nerd out for a moment, the initial findings on the antioxidant benefits of red wine seemed to show a story that everyone could get behind: that wine is a delicious alcoholic beverage that also happens to have antioxidant benefits by virtue of the existence of the polyphenol resveratrol in the skin of red grapes. Resveratrol has been found to raise HDL (“good” cholesterol), reduce formation of blood clots, and prevent artery damage (caused by “bad” cholesterol).

But rather than dig into the science of whether or not the antioxidants in wine alone are note-worthy; why don’t we just suggest some dynamite antioxidant-rich food and wine pairings?

According to The Food Network, the top 10 antioxidant rich foods are an array of fruits and vegetables. For wine-pairing purposes, let’s group them by like flavor profiles:

1. Berries & Cherries

I am a berry and cherry lover, particularly in the summertime. Hard to beat a fresh berry with some crème fraiche on top as dessert. Add in a Sauternes as a dessert wine pairing? DELICIOUS.

2. Peaches & Plums

Peaches and plums are high in antioxidants-fresh or in dried form. Like berries, these sweet stonefruits are stupendously tasty in the summer. Peach cobbler paired with a brut champagne (so the sweetness of the wine does NOT overpower the cobbler) is almost always positively terrific.

3. Green Vegetables (kale, spinach, etc.)

When the objective of food and wine pairing is complementary versus contrasting flavors, a vegetal New Zealand sauvignon blanc can often mirror and stand up to intensely flavored spinach and kale. Alternatively, an Oregon or French pinot noir might offer contrasting flavors that “soften” the intensity of green vegetables

4. (Brazilian) Nuts

So many wines pair well with nuts. On a personal note, I love sipping a chilled white wine with great minerality like white Burgundy or even select white Bordeaux with warm, salty, mixed nuts. Great way to start an evening.

 5. Dark Chocolate

Why not skip the traditional dessert and pack in the antioxidants with Port and dark chocolate at the end of a meal?

In the mood to shore up your cocktail party conversation on the health-benefits of wine even more? You can see another article on the Health Benefits of Wine for Women and one on staying fit while enjoying wine by The Daily Sip® here.)

AJR New HeadshotAlyssa J. Rapp is the Founder & CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. Alyssa is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips® (Adam’s Media, October 2008) and frequently appears on national television as an expert on wine and entrepreneurship. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and the History of Art from Yale University in 2000 and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) in 2005.

Healthy Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna Recipe

To celebrate National Lasagna Day, we’re cooking up a Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna recipe that’s satisfying and shockingly healthy!

Lasagne Recipe

Lasagna is one of those rare comfort foods that can soothe the soul after the most stressful days, and we’re always looking for an excuse to indulge in this savory dish. So when we found out that today was National Lasagna Day, we decided it was the perfect time to dig up a new recipe in celebration of the occasion.

Of course, we’re always on the prowl for healthier versions of our favorite foods, so when we came across a lightened up (but equally satisfying) Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook, we knew we had to share!

This recipe substitutes whipped tofu for ricotta cheese (you would never know!) so it’s perfect if you’re sensitive to dairy or lactose intolerant. Sautéed mushrooms give the same meaty texture of a traditional sauce, but this vegan recipe boasts far fewer calories. And that means that this National Lasagna Day you can go back for seconds without a shred of guilt!

Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • Tomato-Basil Sauce or 5 to 6 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine (optional)
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • One 14 to 16 ounce block of firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2/4 pound lasagna noodles

Instructions

1. If you’re making Tomato-Basil Sauce, do that first, and go on with the recipe as it simmers.

2. In a large saucepan or skillet on medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the sherry or wine, if using, cover, and cook until the mushrooms are tender and juicy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Finely chop the spinach and set aside. Crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, oregano, fennel, black pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Whirl until the tofu mix is smooth and creamy, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Add the basil and process briefly to mix.

4. Preheat oven to 300F. Oil a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

5. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer off lasagna noodles; we usually break some noodles and use them to fill in the empty spaces in the noodle layer. Spread on half of the tofu filling, and then half of the mushrooms and chopped raw spinach. Spread another 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the vegetables. Top with noodles, the remaining tofu mix, and the rest of the mushrooms and spinach. Add a final layer of lasagna and top it with 2 to 3 cups of tomato sauce.

6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil; dome the foil so that it doesn’t touch the sauce. Bake until the noodles feel tender when a knife is inserted, about 1 hour.

If you liked this vegetarian and vegan recipe than you will LOVE Moosewood Restaurant Favorites! Click here to get your copy of this super-healthy cookbook!

All Photos Courtesy of Moosewood Restaurant.

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily. 

Healthy Summer Cocktails from Skinnygirl

Sip away the rest of the summer with tasty cocktails that won’t derail your diet.

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Though the temptation to sit back and relax with a cold drink during the summertime runs higher than any other time of the year, alcoholic drinks can be majorly sneaky when it comes to our diets. Sometimes we forget to register our drinks with our calorie count, or just don’t keep track of exactly how many we’re consuming. Regardless of how it happens, drinking is one of the easiest ways to sabotage your healthy diet.

That’s not to say that you don’t deserve to unwind with a fruity beverage once in a while! Our friends at Skinnygirl have created the perfect solution— cocktails that use low calorie alcohol so that you don’t destroy your health goals. We already know how to eat healthy at a BBQ—now we’ve got some perfect drink options to complete your next summer soiree!

Skinnygirl Sunrise 

Skinnygirl Sunrise

 

Ingredients

1 ½ parts Skinnygirl Meyer Lemon Vodka

Splash of orange juice

Splash of light cranberry juice

Splash of sparkling water

Orange slice and cherry for garnish

Preparation

Mix ingredients in a glass with ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

Very Berry Lemonade

Very Berry Lemonade

Ingredients

1 ½ parts Skinnygirl Meyer Lemon Vodka

2 parts sugar-free strawberry lemonade

Muddled blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

Crushed ice

Splash of sparkling water

Blackberry or lemon wedge for garnish

Preparation

Mix vodka, muddled blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in a glass. Top off with a splash of sparkling water and add ice. Garnish with a blackberry or lemon wedge.

Sun-Kissed Spritzer

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Ingredients

2 parts Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka

1 1/2 parts lime soda water

Squirt of fresh lime

Squirt of fresh lemon

Squirt of fresh grapefruit

Slice of lemon for garnish

Preparation

Mix all ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon and enjoy!

Skinnygirl Sparkling Margarita

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The original Skinnygirl Margarita, slightly repurposed for those who have a taste for bubbly. Keep the bottle chilled and serve over ice for a refreshing, low cal summer cocktail–it’s that simple!

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily.