Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food Finds: Better Living Through Quinoa?

By Pat Tanner One of the liveliest workshops I attended at last month’s conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey was one led by a tag team from Hopewell: Sharon Vecchiarelli, a private health counselor who teaches organic baking and cooking at Mercer County Community College, and Will Mooney, whose restaurant, Brothers Moon, was among first in the state dedicated to using local, sustainable foods.

While Mooney put the finishing touches on a quinoa salad, he confessed, “I have been an awful eater my whole life. Until last year I used to eat at fast food burger joints and go on fad diets, only to gain back more weight than I lost.” What changed? “I found it increasingly hard to get up in the morning. My bones ached and I was gaining weight. So, I decided to start eating the good foods I was making at the restaurant.” Not only has he lost weight, but he no longer snores and he swears that his hair is growing back!

Mooney's salad reminded me how much I like quinoa, an ancient grain from the Andes. Vegetarians and vegans like its high protein content, while individuals with Celiac Disease rely on it because it’s gluten free. I’m partial to its fluffy texture and mildly nutty flavor - and that it’s no harder to prepare than rice.


Will Mooney, Chef/Owner, The Brothers Moon, Hopewell

2-1/2 cups cooked quinoa

2-1/2 cups roasted red peppers, diced small

2-1/2 cups cooked green beans, diced

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons best-quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Serve at room temperature.
Makes 2 quarts.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Book Beat: Ridgewood Library's 28th Annual Author Luncheon with Lisa See

By Kimberly Baldwin

Lisa See, journalist and author of the critically-acclaimed international bestseller Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, has seen her most recent release, Peony in Love -- a novel about the bonds of female friendship, the power of words, the desire that all women have to be heard, and those emotions that are so strong that they transcend time, place, and perhaps even death -- climb the New York Times bestseller list. (You can read the first chapter here.)

The author will be making a special appearance at the Friends of the Ridgewood Library's 28th Annual Author Luncheon on Wednesday, March 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Venetian, 546 River Dr., in Garfield. There will be a book signing and silent auction. Call 201.670.5600 ext. 180 for more information or directions, or visit the library online at

Bonus: If you purchase Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or Peony in Love from Bookends (232 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood), be sure to mention the luncheon. Bookends will donate a portion of the proceeds to Friends.

Fashion Forward: The High-Waist Skirt

By Courtney Jones

One of the best investments a woman can make in her wardrobe is having an item that gives her several options and maximum mileage. The high-waist skirt is the perfect staple item. It manages to accomplish being both retro and high-fashion. With a handful of tops, and a sleek high-waist skirt, the possibilities are endless.

The high-waist skirt is certainly a fashion must-have for the season. Its versatility makes it a wardrobe essential in every woman’s closet. Its timeless elegance can take a woman from business attire to evening-chic, and can carry you through any season, seamlessly.

For a professional look, the high-waist skirt can be paired with a short-length jacket or bolero and round-toe heels for an incredibly feminine look. For a party-perfect look, the high-waist skirt can be complimented by your favorite evening top, a long necklace, and knee-length boots. Certainly, almost any shoe can be worn with the high-waist skirt which makes any outfit you choose extremely easy-to-wear and completely customizable to your favorite look. With this trend becoming so popular, skirts are available in any color, fabric, and pattern you can imagine. From A-line to pencil, there’s a skirt to fit any shape.

For a classic look, try Rebecca Taylor’s basic black knit pencil skirt. For a shorter-length skirt, try Camilla Norback’s high-waist skirt. It features pleats and buttons that create an ultra-feminine look. If you’re looking for a splash of color, check out Sutton Studios wool pencil skirt in vibrant violet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New and Noteworthy: Fuzzy Nation Giveaway!

By Kathy Shaskan and Kimberly Baldwin

Jersey Girl Jennifer Liu, owner and founder of Fuzzy Nation, has provided two of her adorable "doggie bags" for two lucky New Jersey Life Blog readers. Fuzzy Nation is a hot new company whose handbags are really taking off nationally. The company recently opened its first retail store in NJ, at Olde Lafayette Village in Lafayette. Want a bag? Be the first to post the correct answer to one of these questions (you can only win one!) in the comment field below:

1. What famous lifestyle guru designed the Morris Plains home featured in the New Jersey Life March issue?

2. Which island, noted for giving the Garden State its name, was featured in our March issue?

Hint: Don't have the March issue? Check out the current issue online!

We'll let you know if you won, and will get the bag -- valued at $59 -- out to you faster than you can say "Lassie!"

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Monday Muse: Art Around the State

By Kimberly Baldwin

From classic to contemporary, New Jersey's art scene is as vibrant as ever. Here is a sampling of current and upcoming exhibitions worth checking out.

Proudly We Serve: Our African American Military Experience, From the Civil War Forward, 1/19-4/6
An exhibit that highlights the contributions of African-Americans in photographs and artifacts -- from military uniforms and American flags to photo albums and written accounts. $2 or free with any Physick Estate Tour. Call for gallery hours.
Mid-Atlantic Center For the Arts, Cape May, 609.884.5404,

The Nature of W. Carl Burger, 2/1-5/9

Master of mixed media W. Carl Burger sticks to the basics and says, "You should never tire of some of the ordinary things, such as nature." His current exhibit features large scale paintings of Southern New Jersey. Admission $4, Seniors and Students with ID $3, Members and Children under 6 free. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, 609.652.8848,

An Educated Eye, 2/23-6/15
The Princeton University Art Museum celebrates its 125th anniversary with an exhibition featuring many of its important works selected from among the museum's distinguished holdings. Free. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, 609.258.3788,

Gretchen Ney Laugier: A Retrospective, 3/1-31
Taking cues from her father, the modernist painter of the abstract, Lloyd "Bill" Raymond Ney (1893-1965), Gretchen Ney Laugier has avoided the pressures associated with being an occupational artist by simply choosing to not make it her profession. Here, her vibrant paintings are on display -- many for the first time. Free. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Riverrun Gallery, Lambertville, 609.397.3349

Kristin Lerner/Jules Shaeffer, 3/1-4/13
The contemporary figurative paintings of Kristin Lerner are paired with the surrealistic sculptures of Jules Schaeffer. Free. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Ellarslie Mansion at the Trenton City Museum, Trenton, 609.989.3632,

Young at Art, 3/3-30
Perkins Center's Young at Art Annual Exhibition, one of the center's most popular exhibitions, gives young artists in grades K through 8 the chance to exhibit their work in a professional setting. Free. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, 856.235.6488,

An Italian Sense of Place II, 3/4-4/5
When shown together, the pivotal Italian color photography of Luigi Ghirri, painter Franco Guerzoni's collaborative photo-sculptural collage meditations, and the delicately apposite photo-projections of American Nancy Goldring create a rich understanding of the idea of Italian Landscape from within and without Italy and the Italian sensibility. Free. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University, Montclair, 973.655.3382,

Dreams, Fantasies and Wondrous Curiosities, 3/5-4/26
This exhibition, curated from the Rutgers-Camden Collection of Art, explores the artistic imagination in a selection of works that present elaborate visions, quixotic states of being, mysterious encounters, fantastical landscapes, among others – sharing in this pervasive urge to present an alternative to the natural world. Free. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, Stedman Gallery, Camden, 856.225.2700,