Thursday, December 31, 2009

Little Shelter, Big Cause

By Brianne Harrison

This week, we’re going to take a little trip north, to the Long Island-based Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center. Little Shelter is notable for being one of Long Island’s oldest no-kill shelters, having spent the last 82 years rescuing and rehousing strays and abandoned or abused cats and dogs. But now, this admirable and much-loved institution finds itself in a precarious situation.

Like many shelters across the country, Little Shelter has been inundated with animals due to the bad economy. Heartbreakingly, unemployment, wage decreases, and foreclosures are forcing many loving owners to hand over their pets. The economy has also led to the closure of two Long Island shelters—Bid-A-Wee and Animal Haven, bringing even more homeless animals to Little Shelter, which is now caring for more than 400 cats and 50 dogs. This is, understandably, putting an immense strain on the shelter’s own resources at a time when donations are down 30%. As a result, Little Shelter has had to cut back on services such as animal medical care and its numerous community animal care services.

In an effort to raise much-needed funds, Little Shelter has extended its Holiday Donation Drive through January 7, 2010. Even a small donation can help this shelter keep going for another year. Why is this shelter worth your donation? Consider what Little Shelter offers: besides providing homes for many homeless animals, Little Shelter is also committed to rescuing senior and special needs animals, as well as some of the pets left behind during Hurricane Katrina (such as Walker, pictured here). Little Shelter also maintains a foster home network and an animal soup kitchen that helps people in low-income households keep and care for their pets in these difficult times by providing them with food and medical supplies. How’s that for a worthy cause?

This is the season for giving, and even a small amount can make a difference. Maybe you’ve had your eye on a new outfit or pair of shoes or book—nothing wrong with that! But take just a moment to consider what else that $20 or $50 can buy, and maybe you can find an extra $10 or $20 lying around that can help support these helpless, homeless animals.

To donate to Little Shelter, visit
or send a check of any amount to:
Little Shelter Animal Rescue
Dept. HD
33 Warner Rd.
Huntington, NY 11743

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Hangover

By Maureen C. Petrosky

It’s been almost a week since Christmas and I still feel hungover. In the days preceding the holiday season, even before Thanksgiving kicks off, we seem to get this superhuman energy which allows us to decorate, shop, cook, entertain, go out several nights a week, wrap, return, clean up, generate unbelievable amounts of trash, and yet we rally one last time for the final count down of 2009. This is all in addition to our daily demands of work and home. I have to believe I’m not the only one feeling less like super woman and more like sleeping in this week. So instead of babbling about my favorite bubblies* for your new year’s bash, I figured I’d give you something sippable to kick start your resolutions of health and beauty for 2010.

These days green tea is showing up in everything from chocolates and chewing gum to facials and moisturizer. The idea is that you can get your antioxidants in lots of yummy alternatives to the teacup. This tea, hailed for its medicinal properties, has also donned some sexier barware--good news for those who want to get their antioxidants and their groove in one glass. However, if it’s the good stuff your seeking, skip the cocktail shaker. “When you drink alcohol with green tea it neutralizes the antioxidants,” says Dr. Charles Simone, internationally renowned medical oncologist and director of the Simone Protective Cancer Institute right here in Lawrenceville, NJ. Dr. Simone, along with the National Institute of Health, also shared that green tea is no better for you than black tea. So what’s a girl to do? Celebrate, that’s what. With all of the flavors and choices out there just waiting to be claimed as your new fave, it’s time to clean off your kettles and grab your favorite mug to ring in the new year with something steamy. Great teas, green and otherwise, can be found right at your local grocer. Wegmans and Whole Foods have excellent selections. As with all drinks it’s a matter of taste, so get sipping.

*Check out the blog archives for loads of luscious bubbly recommendations.

My pick me up: Matcha Green Tea Latte & Frappe Mix from Mighty Leaf, $8.95
I’m taking my cue from the Japanese here and going for an intense green tea experience. Matcha is premium green tea powder--think top shelf here--made in Japan from the whole green tea leaf. It delivers a more concentrated degree of green tea antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll. It also contains high amounts of L-theanine, a natural amino acid found almost exclusively in green tea. Matcha has made a name for itself by boosting energy while simultaneously relaxing the mind. It’s ideal for any holiday hangover.

To order online:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quality Time

By Brianne Harrison

The week between Christmas and New Year's is usually an opportunity to relax, enjoy your gifts, and get in some quality family time (since most schools are closed). At a certain point, though, pretty much everyone wants to get out of the house for a little while, so why not try out some of these family friendly activities happening this week?

Holiday Fun Week runs through the 30th from 12:30 to 4:30 at the Newark Museum. You can catch art and science workshops, scavenger hunts, planetarium laser shows, music, plays, and a puppet show. Why not learn a little while you're on vacation?

For the history buffs, there's Patriot's Week, held annually from December 26-31 in Trenton. Patriot's Week celebrates the city's unique and pivotal role in the American Revolution, with art, music, literature, battlefield reenactments, and living history events. For more information and a schedule of events, visit

For those hoping to ring in the New Year en famille, Morris County and Ocean City are hosting First Night Celebrations. These family friendly, non-alcoholic events feature crafts, music performances, magic shows, concerts, and more. For more information, visit or

This week is also your last chance to see Historic Smithville's Holiday Light Show, which features more than 100 Christmas trees, floating on Lake Meone, lighting up to the rhythm of playing music. The show ends January 3. Visit for more information.

Have a happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Jersey, Times Three, At the Beard House

By Pat Tanner

In coming weeks three eminent Garden State chefs will take over the kitchen at the esteemed James Beard House, putting their best foot forward and doing the state proud. Making reservations now provides us foodies something delicious to look forward to in the dull, dark post-holiday days ahead.

First up, on Saturday, January 23, is Michael Giletto of Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman. This television-savvy chef, whom you may have caught on an episode of “Chopped,” or assisting “Iron Chef” Cat Cora, is mounting a fennel fete. Every dish in his five-course-plus dinner, for which one of his “Chopped” competitors is producing the dessert, features either fennel the vegetable or fennel pollen. How does Fennel Aspic with Caramel Brioche, Fried Salsify, and Tarragon Mayonnaise sound? And that’s just one of the hors d’oeuvres! Cost: $165 ($125 for members of the James Beard Foundation).

Following on Giletto’s heels, on Tuesday evening, January 26, are the Pluckemin Inn’s Juan Jose Cuevas and Joseph Gabriel, who will focus on farm-fresh New Jersey products, among them Pluckemin Mozzarella with Marinated New Jersey Cauliflower and Buttermilk-poached Griggstown Chicken Breast with Rice Polenta and Black Truffles. As with all these Beard House meals, this one will be paired with exceptional wines: Champagne to start and, for the chicken dish – the poultry course in a meal of seven or eight - Joseph Drouhin Chorey-Les Beaune 2006. Cost: $165, or $125 for JBF members.

Next up, on Friday, February 19, is lunch at high noon by Hoboken’s Anthony Pino. Although best known for the Dining Room at Anthony David’s, Chef Pino will feature dishes from his newest enterprise, Bin 14, a very cool and very delicious wine bar-trattoria. Among the starters is Rocchetta [arugula] Gnocchi with Chianti Cherries, while the centerpiece of the four-course luncheon consists of Baby Lamb Chops with Brussels Sprout Petals and Autumn Polenta. Zeppole with Espresso Semifreddo caps off this midday festa. Cost: $90, or $75 for JBF members.

All three events take place at James Beard’s Greenwich Village townhouse at 167 West 12th Street, New York. Reservations must be made in advance. To see the full menus and to make reservations, visit or phone the Beard House at 212.627.2308.