De-stress for Less: Farmer’s Market Edition

Supporting local agriculture has never been more fulfilling.

By Wholtone (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Wholtone (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Us Spa Week staffers are very fortunate. Besides getting first hand access to some of the best beauty, health and wellness products and services out there to report on for our beloved readers, we also happen to work in one of the most beautifully bustling neighborhoods in downtown New York City: Union Square. Conveniently surrounded by Chelsea, Flatiron, Gramercy Park, Greenwich Village and the East Village, this lively intersection has it all: art, culture, parks, shopping, dining-the works. But perhaps one of our favorite features of this famed location is the Union Square Greenmarket.

Just a block from the Spa Week headquarters, hundreds of vendors set up shop four days a week, year-round, to sell the freshest  produce, meats, cheeses and baked goods, flowers, plants and everything in between to thousands of NYC patrons. With autumn in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and take advantage of all the seasonal harvest items that can do wonders for body and mind. Since we’re all about bringing the spa lifestyle to you, here are some of our top farmer’s market purchases to help you “de-stress for less.”

Pumpkin

The most popular decoration of the fall season is so much more than just porch adornment. Stock up on organic pumpkins to create your very own at-home spa treatments. Rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants, pumpkin is great for leaving skin smooth and even helps to fight wrinkles. We especially love these super-easy pumpkin face mask and pumpkin body scrub recipes from beauty expert Erika Katz. Not only is it great for slathering on your skin, pumpkin also boasts incredible nutritional value. Throw those leftover carving scraps into some of your favorite recipes for a healthy twist—and don’t forget to bake the seeds, they’re healthy too!

Lavender

This pretty purple plant most commonly known for its strong yet therapeutic scent will bloom well into the late fall, so there’s still plenty of time to stock up. No need to overspend on essential oils or pricey candles; create your very own aromatherapy experience at home with these magical herbs. They’re also great for keeping at the office to help create (and keep) peace and calm even in the most hectic work environment. Feeling crafty? Custom make your very own lavender sachets–they make for great gifts!

Organic Root Vegetables

Eating fresh, organic vegetables that are in season is a great way to become more in-tune with nature and your own nutritional needs. Take a break from the supermarket and browse the farmer’s market instead for popular fall ingredients like beets, sweet potatoes, yams and turnips. These root veggies are not only packed with vitamins but also possess stress fighting nutrients like beta-carotene, iron and potassium. Something to keep in mind when preparing that sweet potato casserole this Thanksgiving! Talk about food for thought.

Even just browsing the farmer’s market on a sunny day can do wonders. Whether you’re on your lunch break or making a day out of it, soak up some Vitamin D while sipping a hot apple cider or savoring in some gluten-free treats. You can even catch a cooking demonstration or partake in some wine tasting. To find a farmer’s market near you, click here, and if you’re ever in Union Square, we’ll see you at the Greenmarket!

Kelly Verdi is the Public Relations Manager at Spa Week Media Group. She loves dogs, 80 minute facials and a good blowout worth bragging about.

Spa Week Staff Picks: Favorite Fall Activity

 The Spa Week staff dishes on our favorite ways to revel in this beautiful season.

Young woman running in green park

Fall is a favorite season for so many people—including a number of the Spa Week staff! The scenery is breathtaking, the weather is perfect, the food is comforting and satisfying—what’s not to love?! As if that wasn’t enough, everyone’s moods are starting to lift in preparation for the jolly holiday season ahead.  However we all have the tendency (major offender over here!) to look too far into the future sometimes and forget to revel in the present. Here are some of the Spa Week staff’s personal favorite fall activities, to help you enjoy and treasure this beautiful time of year:

“This fall I will be hitting the gym prepping for next summer. That way, while under the cover of oversized sweaters and knee high boots, I will getting back into shape. By the time I’m ready to shed my winter wardrobe – my summer shape will be here!” — Melissa J

“My favorite fall activity is hiking! I just joined the Appalachian mountain club and it’s a great way to get out of the city for the day to explore. You can take a quick hour train ride to Cold Spring to hike, eat and be back in the city before 5PM!” — Kaitlin

“My favorite fall activity is watching football every Sunday. The beginning of the season is the best when the weather is just a little bit cooler, the sun is shining and you can still grill outside. I love spending the whole day watching the games with friends—and stalking my fantasy league.” – Laura

“My husband and I love going hiking in Hudson Valley with friends to see the leaves changing. It is a short train ride from Manhattan and a great way to celebrate the season!” –Brynn

“There are so many fun activities I love this time of year, it’s hard to pick just one! My top favorites are walking through Central Park and taking pictures of the trees as they change into seasonal colors, buying butternut squash at the farmers market and making soup, and getting a bowl of candy corn and keeping it by my desk!” — Raul

“My favorite thing to do in the fall—most times of the year for that matter—is bake! However baking in the fall is extra special as the seasonal ingredients are so tasty. You’ll find lots of pumpkin desserts in my pantry this month!” — Arielle

“I love walking around Central Park in the fall. There’s nothing better than throwing on a leather jacket, some boots and sunglasses and taking in the gorgeous foliage with a pumpkin spiced latte.” — Kelly

What’s your favorite fall activity? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo Credit 1, 2, 3, 456, 7, 8

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily.

How to Eat Healthy: Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market

Looking for a way onto the eating right train? The answer could be right around the corner at your local farmer’s market.

peppers

There’s a lot of great food harvested right at our doorstep. There’s orchards and farms all across the nation. Enterprising gardeners will create a mini-farm on a city roof, or a small plot of land. The best thing about farming is eating what’s harvested. If you don’t garden or  farm, the next best thing is to visit your neighborhood farmer’s market and pick up luscious fruits and glowing vegetables.

Read Enter our Two Bunch Spa Retreat Contest

grapes

This past holiday weekend, I rented a car and wound my way up the HudsonValley. I stopped at a farmer’s market in Peekskill and was stunned by the amazing colors of the fruits and vegetables on display. Some peaches were almost the size of my head. Their fragrance haunted the air and they tasted so sweet.

eggplant

I saw deceptively quiet looking jalapenos, peppers in fiery oranges and reds, Eggplants of all varieties too. There were a few red potatoes that could have easily doubled as soccer balls.

Read Win Destination Spa Week

baked madeleines

In addition to all the fruit and veg, I tasted some fabulous pastries from 3 Petites Madeleines, a bakery from Beacon, New York.  Fresh homemade cheese—yummy!  There was honey candy and so much more. If I could have, I would have eaten my way through the farmer’s market.

WP_001789

The one thing I noticed is that prices and the quality of, well, everything was so much better than the supermarket. If you want to eat healthy, save money and have fun shopping, make time to visit your local farmer’s market. Everything changes with the season and that’s the fun of it. You’ll discover new, tasty fruits and veg. You might even make a new friend or two. What to do with all that bounty? Here’s a couple of recipes from The Food Network.

Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Cheese Napoleons
Courtesy of Chef Emeril Lagasse, TheFood Network
Ingredients:
1 pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices to equal 12 slices
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves
3 large tomatoes, stems removed, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices, to equal 12 slices
Pesto Oil, recipe follows
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Toss the eggplant with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to coat. Place on a baking sheet in 1 layer and bake for 15 minutes, turning once. Cool on the sheet pan.
In a small bowl combine the cheese, basil, and remaining tablespoon olive oil.
Place 1 eggplant slice on a salad plate. Top with 1 tablespoon of the cheese, then 1 slice of tomato. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of pesto oil over the tomato, then another tablespoon of cheese. Top with another eggplant slice, and continue assembling, with 3 eggplant slices per napoleon, and ending with a cheese layer on top drizzled with pesto oil. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature.
Pesto Oil:
Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor or blender place the garlic and basil and process on high while adding the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue to process until well-blended, season with salt to taste.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Read  5 Fall Nail Trends to Try Now!

Beet and Apple Salad
Recipe courtesy of The Food Network
Ingredients:
2 apples
4 celery stalks
1 shallot
1 lemon
1 beet
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoon chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
Toss 2 thinly sliced apples, 4 thinly sliced celery stalks (with leaves) and 1 minced shallot in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon. Peel 1 beet, then slice into matchsticks and add to the bowl. Toss in 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes, and then serve on a bed of sliced endive.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Barefoot Contessa, courtesy of The Food Network
Ingredients:
3 pounds small red or white potatoes
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

PJ Gach is Managing Editor Spa Week Daily.
All photos by PJ Gach.

Lose Weight by Accident: #1 Super Food for Your Super Svelte Figure

By Jamie Dougherty

 

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking up some sweet love for the sweet potato?  Though I still love those suckers, there is a particular super food that has taken first place on my plate as of late.  Say hello to kabocha squash!  “Excuse me?” you say.  “What is this thing I can barely pronounce?”  KA-BOW-CHA is a Japanese squash and quintessential super food that rocks in all types of delicious dishes.  First, a quick super food definition:  A super food is an unprocessed edible that packs a powerful nutritional bang for its caloric buck.  With its high Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium content, kabocha is not only a super food but one that will make your immune system and heart say thank you very much!

Now, where can you find said squash that will svelte-ify your figure?  Being a Fall food, right now kabocha can be found at most farmer’s markets.  Look for ones with a rich green color and firm skin with minimal blemishes.  If the markets have closed for the year, try your local grocer or health food store.  Next, how do you cook it?  Just like you would a butternut squash.  Throw it into soups and curries, mix it into a pilaf or with beans or just straight up roast it.  I actually love eating roasted kabocha as a snack. Absolutely flippin’ awesome!

So, next time you are looking for a super food to hit that sweet, starchy spot, grab a kabocha squash.  Your body and taste buds will be mighty pleased!

In the comments let me know your thoughts on super foods and how you like to get them into your diet.  Come on ladies, sharing is caring! (And it feels good too.)

Jamie G. Dougherty, founder of JamieLiving.com, gives women the secrets to feel amazing in their bodies and create the balance they crave between their busy schedules and eating well. Jamie believes that though kale and brown rice are good foods to put on your plate, until we truly learn HOW to eat rather than just WHAT to eat we will continue to be carb-craving, super-frazzled, stress-out ladies. If you ever feel hungry, stuck and unsatisfied with your food be sure to visit Jamie’s website to get her FREE 5-Step Guide to Fabulous.  Seriously ladies, get ready for Jamie to rock your world!

America’s Best Green Markets

Fresh off our Green Market Honey high, when Michelle found success in a jar of local honey to cure her allergies; we wanted to share the benefits of shopping Green Markets nationwide by telling you exactly where to go. Unusually late on what was once a fad, Green Markets are becoming more and more popular each year. In the quest for better health, people are slowly shunning grocery store bought foods in exchange for farmers’ fresh fruits veggies and grass-fed goodness.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that these outpost of urban farmers have grown in numbers from 2,863 in 2000 to 5,274 in 2009. So much so that the 2004 Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year was locavores, or a group of citizens committed to eating locally produced food 100 miles away from they live.

Here, 32 of the best places around America to shop local, according to our own sources and our readers’ favorites:

New York, New York

1. Union Square Greenmarket (Suggested by Nicole Tyson-Reuben on Facebook)
162 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003-2521
(212) 780-0263‎

2. New Amsterdam Market (Suggested by @Pravassa on Twitter)
South Street
between Beekman St & Peck Slip
New York, NY 10038

3. Fulton Stall Market (Suggested by @Pravassa on Twitter)
South Street b/w Beekman & Fulton Street at the old Fulton Fish Market

Boulder, Colorado

4. Boulder County Farmers’ Market
13th street between Arapahoe and Canyon, Boulder, CO‎
(303) 910-2236‎

Portland, Oregon

5. Portland Farmer’s Market
240 N Broadway St # 129, Portland, OR‎
(503) 241-0032‎

New Orleans, LA

6. Crescent City Farmers Market
7214 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA‎
(504) 861-5898‎

Salt Lake City, UT

7. Salt Lake City Downtown Farmers Market‎
300 West Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 359-5118‎

Sante Fe, New Mexico

8. Santa Fe Farmers Market
1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501-3739
(505) 983-7726‎

Austin, Texas

9. Sunset Valley Farmers Market
Barton Creek Square Mall
2901 S Capital Of Texas Hwy
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 280-1976

Chicago, Illinois

10. Green City Market
1750 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 880-1266‎

St. Louis, Missouri

11. Soulard Farmers Market
730 Carroll Street
St Louis, MO 63104-3808
(314) 622-4180

Miami, Florida

12. Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market
3300 Grand Avenue, Miami, FL 33133
(305) 238-7747‎

Seattle, Washington

13. Pike Place Market
85 Pike St
Seattle, Washington 98101
(206) 682-7453

San Francisco, California

14. Marin Farmers Market (Near San Francisco)
76 San Pablo Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94903-4169
(415) 472-6100‎

Santa Monica, California

15. Santa Monica Market
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401-3126
(310) 458-8712‎

St. Paul, Minnesota

16. St. Paul’s Farmers Market (Suggested by Maggie Melin on Facebook)
290 5th St E
St Paul, MN 55101-1609
(651) 227-6856

New Haven, CT

17. City Farmers Market Wooster Square
817 Grand Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511-4970
(203) 773-3736

Totowa, New Jersey

18. 46 Farmer’s Market Co (Suggested by Rachelle M Odom on Facebook)
430 U.S. 46
Totowa, NJ 07511
(973) 256-9592

Washington, D.C.

19. DC Eastern Market (Suggested by Melissa Whiteford StClair on Facebook)
225 7th Street Southeast
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 698-5253

San Antonio, Texas

20. Pearl Farmers Market (Suggested by Carol Lee Icke on Facebook)
200 East Grayson Street
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 212-7260

Detroit, Michigan

21. Detroit Eastern Market (Suggested by Tiffany Stano on Facebook)
2934 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48207
PH: 313.833.9300

McKinney, Texas

22. Chestnut Square Historic Village (Suggested by Spa Esoteric on Facebook)
315 S. Chestnut St.
McKinney, TX 75069

Hollywood, California

23. Hollywood Farmers Market ( Suggested by Courteny L. Thomas on Facebook)
1600 Ivar Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 463-3171

Ocean City, New Jersey

24. Ocean City NJ Farmers Market (Suggested by Jennifer Freeman on Facebook)
Tabernacle Grounds between 5th & 6th Streets along Asbury Avenue
Ocean City, NJ 08226

Virginia Beach, Virginia

25. Old Beach Farmers Market (Suggested by Valeries Jones on Facebook)
620 19th Street (In the parking lot of Croc’s 19th Street Bistro)
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Dale City, Virginia

26. Dale City Farmers Market (Suggested by Melissa Whiteford StClair on Facebook)
Dale Blvd. next to Center Plaza Shopping Center
Dale City, VA 22193
(703) 670-7115

Manassas, Virginia

27. Manassas Farmers Market (Suggested by Melissa Whiteford StClair on Facebook)
9431 West St.
Manassas, VA 20110
703-361-6599

Mesa, Arizona

28. Superstition Ranch Market‎ (Suggested by Lisa Lamphere on Facebook)
4755 East Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85205-7907
(480) 832-3421‎

Takoma Park, Maryland

29. Takoma Park Farmers Market ( Suggested by Felicia Lindsey Genet on Facebook)
At Carroll Avenue and Laurel Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland

Jacksonville, North Carolina

30. Onslow County Farmers Market (Suggested by Melissa Whiteford StClair on Facebook)
4024 Hwy US 258 (also known as Richland Hwy)
Jacksonville, NC 28542
(910)455-5873 office

Lexington, Massachusetts

31. Wilson Farm (Suggested by @jayneseward on Twitter)
10 Pleasant Street
Lexington, MA 02421
(781) 862- 3900

Oakland, California

32. Jack London Square Farmers Market (Suggested by @lotusmoon on Twitter)
Water Street, between Franklin and Harrison Street
1-800-949-FARM