It is with great excitement that I celebrate my graduation from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition on December 2nd. It’s a virtual graduation, because it is a virtual course, so I don’t actually get a cap and gown like in the past.  What I have received is my certification from the AADP as a Health Coach, and this is the basis for my new business The Family Plate.


Marie graduates HS, 1999

These are iPhone pictures of my graduation pictures that hang in my mother’s house.  I lovingly call this one, “The Giant Marie Head”.  It’s the largest picture of myself I’ve ever seen and since I am the oldest in my family, it hung alone on the wall for 3 years before being accompanied by the “giant Vincent head”. Graduations stick with us because they are natural milestones in one’s life.  After graduating college I didn’t think there would be more cap and gown photos in my future.  But in this past year of my self imposed “sabbatical” I’ve been given a great opportunity to go back to school and take a new direction in life.


Marie graduates College, 2003

This time last year, I knew I wanted to do something health related, but had no idea what.  I thought about becoming a yoga teacher but couldn’t find the right fit. Luckily, the universe sent an old friend to me with a wonderful idea – become a Certified Health Coach.  I began school in January of 2013 and have spent this year learning over 100 dietary theories.  It’s been exciting to be back in school and placing a focus on learning and expanding one’s mind. I’ve have a few weeks off since our lectures ended and I actually miss them!  (I always was a teacher’s pet!)
With my certification under my belt, I can now shift my focus entirely to serving my clients and working towards the optimal health of myself and those around me.  In fact today I made my mother vegan chocolate pudding, just to show her how it’s done.  We’re not vegan, but it’s fun to learn new recipes and try new methods for preparing food.  For me it’s all about moving forward and gathering up new bits and pieces of information as we go along.  What’s great about being a health coach is that I get to interact with my clients and learn from them as well.  
Many thanks to my husband Ran and my family for being so supportive.  Without their love and encouragement I’m not sure I would have been able to take this leap!
So here’s to 2014, a new year, a new career and many new people to meet!  



Pastis, was it worth it?

September 9, 2009

SATC at PastisPastis is one of those super trendy restaurants that I hear about and see on Sex and the City, but never think I’ll actually go to. First, can I even get a table? Second, is it super expensive? Third, is it just plain-old-lame to go somewhere so trendy?

Well, my husband and I found ourselves hungry and in the Meat Packing District on Labor Day and started walking around looking for a table. The Standard Grill, nope – they don’t serve food from 4-5:30. Ditto for three other places. So finally, we landed at Pastis out of desperation!

It was a weird time of day to be eating dinner, but we got a table, so we had to make the most of it.

For an appetizer, I had the Fresh Arugala Salad with Parmesan and Lemon(!)

arugala salad

It was a hefty portion for $11 and I plowed through the entire thing. Any green partnered with cheese, is a-ok-by me! It was very light, had very little oil olive dressing and was entirely refreshing. I added a little salt and pepper to it – perhaps it could have used a bit more dressing. Though, I admit, it was healthier without it. A+

Ran had a less healthy choice (God love him!) with the Onion Soup Gratinée. Onion Soup Gratinée<img alt=”” Which he allowed me to take a few bites of, and it was probably the best french onion soup I’ve ever tasted. It had a little bit of oil on the top of it, not sure if it was released from the cheese or what? But, it was very decadent and tasty. The bread inside was also soaked with the broth and very tender. A+

For main entrees we decided on Homemade Fennel Ravioli for me and Steak Frites for Ran. fennel ravioli
The ravioli were stuffed with a green filling and I found them to be pretty interesting, but not the most amazing ravioli in the world. The roasted tomato that accompanied it and the parmesan cheese around the ravioli were the highlight of the dish. B

steak fritesThe steak of the Steak Frites was a hanger steak. The frites were very crunchy fries that soaked up all the juices from the steak and became wonderful vehicles for steak drippings, thus, making it ok to eat steak drippings! A (the Steak Frites at Pomme de Terre in Brooklyn is just as good)

Finally, dessert. Chocolate Mousse. chocolate mousse

So light and fluffy and filled with a deep chocolate flavor. It was buttery almost, the texture being so creamy and smooth. I wanted desperately to finish the entire thing, but couldn’t, it was just a tad too rich. Hands down, the best chocolate mousse I’ve ever had. A++

And of course, Creme Brulee.
creme brulee

I didn’t try any of Ran’s Creme Brulee (I had the best chocolate mousse ever in front of me!). Ran says “It’s up there with the best Creme Brulee I’ve ever had.” A+

So, was it worth it?

The check was over $100 (with the tip) and considering we had a 3 course meal (but no drinks) I think it was standard pricing for the Meat Packing District.

I think it was worth it. Great food, definitely would go back. And hell, I’m going to just write in my food journal “Pastis” and leave it at that. No need to figure out how many points were in the two bites of Onion Soup Gratineé. I’m going to file this one under “great meals that I enjoyed, and moved on from!”

The smell coming from the street meat guy on 54th and 3rd, I have to admit, is good!  My co-worker and I pass him often and always says, “one of these days we are actually going to order from him!”.  We never do though.  Only once in 2 years have we indulged in the street meat.  Why?  Well, I guess the idea of getting something good and somewhat healthy from a cart seems a bit far fetched! More often, I’ll grab a dirtwater dog from a cart in the city when I’m struggling for something hearty to eat on the go (and it’s cheap!).  A hot dog with a bun is roughly 9 points, so it’s definitely an indulgence.  But something about a hot dog from a cart is just so darn satisfying!  It’s portable, it’s salty, you can load ketchup and mustard on top.  It’s so simple, yet  layered with flavors.  I’m hungry, can you tell?  

Anyway, only in NYC the street meat has gotten a gourmet makeover…see below, from NY Post.

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