Aztec Energy Bars

The newly introduced Aztec Energy Bars at chic Viceroy Zihuatanejo on Mexico’s Pacific coast have quickly become a hit with fitness-conscious guests – and the favorite after-workout pick-me-up at the resort’s gym. They are prepared with oats, nuts and dried fruits, but what really sets them apart is a traditional Mexican grain – the nutritional, and gluten-free, powerhouse of amaranth that was a staple of the ancient Aztecs. Amaranth was a food of the gods in the Aztec world, representing as much as 80% of their caloric consumption and used in ritual drinks and dishes. It held such sway over the Aztecs that the Spanish outlawed its cultivation after the conquest.

These Aztec Energy Bars are easy to make at home, particularly since the magical amaranth grain has been discovered by nutritionists and foodies in the U.S. (it has more protein than wheat, low carbohydrate content and is rich in amino acids, fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron) and can now can be found in health- and specialty-food stores or online.

Viceroy Zihuatanejo’s executive chef, Paco Isordia, created this recipe to reward guests who commit to working out while on vacation, jumping into everything at the resort from martial arts classes and yoga instruction to stand-up paddle boarding, fly-boarding and the well-equipped gym. He drew inspiration from the various uses of amaranth in Mexico today.

A paradisal on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Viceroy Zihuatanejo is nestled on one of the country’s most beautiful and pristine beaches, Playa La Ropa, on tranquil Zihuatanejo Bay. The enchanting two-story adobe-inspired casitas, housing 46 luxurious suites and guestrooms, are tucked in gentle hills above the picturesque fishing village of Zihuatanejo. The garden landscape is rich with coconut trees, rainbow-hued bougainvillea and vibrant hibiscus. The resort’s exquisite white-sand beach stretches for 600 feet along a gorgeous coastline. Guests enjoy massages and treatments at an intimate spa in a lush tropical setting, fitness center, yoga program and an array of activities from water sports to cooking classes.

Travel Tuesday: Spinach Quinoa from Westside Market NYC

This recipe from comes from the Westside Market NYC, a top market in New York, which has been in business for almost 50 years. Their market has seen a rise in the number of people purchasing quinoa at their four locations. Quinoa’s health benefits include it being a gluten free grain, boosting brain power and having high levels of iron and calcium. Maria Zoitas, wife of Westside Market’s founder John Zoitas, the creator of the “made by Maria” line of prepared foods at the market. Here is one of Maria’s healthy creations.

About Westside Market NYC:

Established in 1965, Westside Market NYC has been deeply engrained in the fabric of Manhattan’s Upper Westside life. A rare find in the food market business, Westside Market NYC is family owned and operated in the truest sense. Born and raised on a farm in Roupakia, a village on the island of Lefkada, Greece, John Zoitas arrived in the U.S. from Greece more than 45 years ago. He brought with him a love of fresh-grown produce, authentic cooking, and a steadfast commitment to service and quality. Each of our locations enjoys a remarkably loyal following, which is no surprise; it’s a direct result of the fact that the Zoitas family takes great pride in every aspect of their business. Under the tutelage of his father John, George Zoitas has taken the reigns of Westside Market NYC and made it into the premier market it is today. Our mission is simple: to become your favorite neighborhood food market and caterer of choice by offering the highest quality foods and hard-to-find products supported by friendly, personalized, efficient service. Discover Westside Market NYC, and experience the difference! For more information visit www.wmarketnyc.com

Need a Getaway? Rosemary Beach, Florida

Last week I went on my first nonworking vacation in a long time. I chose one of my favorite spots to take the kids: Rosemary Beach, Florida. It’s a spectacular community that is great for anyone: families, couples, girls trips, guys trips and retired people. The town is adorable, filled with cool architecture, eclectic shops, galleries and wonderful restaurants. Can you say white sand? It’s breathtaking.

From the shopping to the food, there is something for everyone. I couldn’t include them all,  but I thought I would share a few. Gigi’s is an adorable spot with incredible unique toys and baby clothes.

The restaurants in Rosemary are fantastic and diverse. They really have covered the bases: family-friendly restaurants, casual dining, tapas and chocolate fare to fine dining. One of our child-friendly favorites is Cowgirl Kitchen which serves anything from nachos to healthy salads and great pizza (ideal for kids).

My favorite adult restaurant is Restaurant Paradis which has anything from Oysters Rockefeller to the best Ahi Tuna I have ever had. It’s romantic, fresh and divine all in one.

The kids have plenty to do in Rosemary Beach from pools to awesome beaches and plenty of bike riding. Rosemary even has a well organized kid’s camp to give parents a break. Mine were particularly fond of the very famous Sugar Shack and newer New Orleans Snow Balls where they had so many incredible flavors (even pomegranate).

Leigh enjoyed it just slightly. That smile never lies…

Rosemary’s newest addition happened to be one of our favorites. The Hidden Lantern is an old-time English style book store. The layout and books are amazing. Honestly, you could sit and read all day long.

The book store has children’s events for different ages, and a great spot for other events as well. We bought three books and one card as gifts, and we almost didn’t make it out to the beach the morning we stopped in there.

What I really love about Rosemary is that when you come, you really don’t need to leave very often. With great running paths and trails, tennis courts, pools, great workout facilities, Aveda Spa and more, everything is so close and easy to get to (no car needed). Bike riding is huge, and I love this shot of all the bikes parked one morning right in front of the beach walkway.

I highly recommend a vacation at Rosemary Beach. It was a wonderful getaway.

Rosemary has a lot of great events coming up including Rosemary Uncorked in October, writing festivals, girls getaways and more. For more information see Rosemary, see http://www.rosemarybeach.com/