Apple Gingerbread Loaf

Yesterday, this happened:

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A hot loaf of gingerbread filled with warm, soft apples came out of my oven.

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A couple of pieces were immediately cut while the loaf was still hot, exactly what you are not supposed to do. Impatience wins.

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Thin slices of real butter were spread on top, and a fork was brought out to try to eat this in a civilized fashion.

Divine.

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Apple Gingerbread Loaf

(makes 10 servings)

Adapted from this recipe, but with several adjustments to make it **healthier** (win!)

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 T butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups white flour
  • 1.5 t baking soda
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 large apple or 2 small apples, chopped into bite sized pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Melt butter in microwave. Beat it together with sugar. Add milk and molasses. Stir it all together.

3. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (flour through salt). Add in the butter/sugar/molasses/milk mixture. Add in hot water. Stir all together.

4. Add in chopped apples.

5. Spread out in a greased 9 in loaf pan (I just sprayed mine with cooking spray).

6. Cook in oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

This is great for a snack, dessert, or even breakfast. Because I reduced the sugar quite a bit, it’s not too sweet. I suggest slicing up any leftovers and freezing the slices in individual bags. Perfect for an anytime treat.

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My Health Journey: The Ups, Downs and Where I Am At Now

Oh boy, get ready for a long winded post. Sit back, relax, grab some coffee. I knew I had this post coming for a long time and have definitely resisted it. But here goes nothing… layin’ it all out there.

I think that it’s interesting to know the background behind someone’s writing. Why does someone believe in the things that they do? Why do they have a passion for what they do? Where does that come from?

So since I write a blog about food and healthy living, I want to tell you a little bit about my story.

Although I can say that I have a really healthy mindset regarding weight, food, and my body now, it was certainly not always like this. Not even close.

I grew up really thin. Thankfully, I have good genes and am by nature a very active person. I was always really skinny and generally didn’t really worry or think too much about my body prior to senior year of high school. Right around this time, a couple of things happened. First of all, I became very very serious about school. AP classes started, the pressure of college was laid on us hard, and I grew up in a very strict household that focused a lot on getting the best possible grades. I was good at school, so I quickly fell into a very serious mindset, trying to achieve as much as I could and work as hard as I could. I could sense myself getting irritable, more serious, and overall stressed out, but I thought it was par for the course.

The other big thing that happened at this time was that my boyfriend at the time and I went through a really messy breakup. It was hurtful and the whole thing just knocked the wind out of me.

With the breakup and the stress from school, I think these two things led to my first experiences with emotional eating. It wasn’t anything major at the time, but I remember knowing I was eating because I was bored, upset, stressed, or just generally down. I did gain some weight from this, but I was still very thin. However, I knew that something was off, and it was then that I learned about dieting. My first diet was Body for Life. It spelled EVERYTHING out for me– workouts, eating, everything. During a time when I felt like I was adopting strange eating habits, and I was starting to feel a little lost, I needed some control. This did it for me for a short period of time.

Throughout senior year, I dabbled in various diets, and very strict exercise programs. I just tried to control everything. Control was the theme of this time in my life. I was about to head off to college and wanted to look and feel awesome. The summer before college was definitely a restrictive time. I ate super healthy and worked out a ton. I left for college looking and feeling great… except for one thing…

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(right before I went to college)

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(beginning of college)

Do you know that feeling where you are being SO restrictive and/or SO extreme with yourself that you know you can’t possibly keep it up and you are just waiting for the ball to drop? Well I definitely had this when I went to college. I knew deep down that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with such a clean diet and constant workouts. I was just waiting like a ticking clock until I lost it. What a horrible feeling.

College. Oh man. I won’t delve into all the details here, but it was really just constant up and down with my weight, tons and tons and tons of diets (really, I think I tried all of them), trying to make exercise “click”, trying to make a certain diet “click”, eating when I was stressed, eating when I was upset, eating when I was bored. I was a hot mess.

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(sophomore year, had gained some weight at this point)

On the outside? Everything looked peachy. Other than my weight fluctuations, I honestly still had a great college experience. I was generally happy, I excelled in school, I got great internships and had a lot of accomplishments, I had a lot of incredible friends, things were great. I’m not saying at all that I had a horrible time in college, but deep down, I was NOT a happy camper. The inner turmoil that I put myself through with all of the dieting, the disappointment, the bad body image, the helpless feelings, the ups, the downs, the inability to deal with my emotions… these things took an immense toll on me in so. many. ways. I left college feeling good about my life and its direction, but torn up on the inside with some pretty bad self esteem. Everyone always told me how confident I came across, and its true, I was confident about certain things, but so not confident about other things.

Post College:

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(sometime after college, this is probably at my heaviest)


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(right after college)

I knew that there had to be a better way. I have a really positive attitude on life and I just knew that there was a way around all of the struggling I had gone through and there had to be an easier answer out there.

This is when I reached out to a “nutritionist”. I wanted to lose weight before starting my first job. I had gained about 25 pounds in college, and just didn’t feel good. Well, the Universe works in interesting ways, because it led me to a “Health Coach” named Cora who changed my life, seriously, forever.

When I had my consultation with Cora, she said “I want to get you to a point where you can listen to yourself and your own body instead of dieting, restriction, deprivation, etc.” I probably cried when I heard these words. I was so tense and so stressed out about finding the right diet, and how good did it sound to just find my own answers, learn how to pay attention to my body instead of ignore it, and most importantly, learn why I was turning to food for emotional reasons. I knew I needed help, deeply, and I was so relieved to hear that Cora sensed that and was going to help me.

Well, she helped me more than anyone has ever helped me before. She opened up my eyes to a hell of a lot of self exploration and for the past four years, I have delved into a serious journey about understanding myself, peeling back my emotions, peeling back my habits, peeling back my thoughts about how things “should” be, and getting to the raw, pure sense of who I was. I learned to trust myself, to come up with my own rules, to live from the inside out. To live “intuitively”.

So where am I now?

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I am constantly learning, changing, and growing, but I can honestly say that I am finally at peace regarding food, exercise, my weight, and the image I have of myself and my body. 
I’ve lost most of the weight I gained in college, but beyond losing the weight, I’ve lost the need for control, the anxiety regarding food and my weight, or the thought that some “diet” or some rules out there are going to make it all right. I have total trust in myself, in my own intuition, in my own cravings, in my own body. I don’t ever have anxiety about food anymore. I eat what I want, when I want. I exercise when I want in a nurturing, fun way. I don’t put pressure on myself.

I feel free. Free from all of the stuff I tormented myself about for so many years.

Most importantly, learning to trust myself with food/dieting has also helped me trust myself in every other area of my life. So although my “struggle” had to do with food, the journey and the outcome had to do with my entire life.

It has been a hell of a ride and I am still on the ride. I will always be on the ride. I’ve worked really hard to get to the point where I am at. I’ve worked with people, I’ve read a crap load of books, I’ve experimented, and I’ve done a lot of trial and error. Turns out that my issues ran so much deeper than food. It was about understanding myself, living a life that I truly want, being confident in who I was – not who I thought I should be- , and living intuitively. This is tough stuff, and it opened my eyes up to a lot of not-so-pleasant realizations, but in the end, so many beautiful, incredible and life changing realizations.


I wouldn’t change ANYTHING about my journey. I am happy I gained weight in college. I am happy I did all of those diets. I am happy I went through it all. All of my “issues” were clues, they were a way for me to peer into myself and really understand who I was, what was truly bothering me, and what parts of me needed to be nurtured and taken care of. We all turn to different things or fall into different habits when we are struggling. I definitely developed unhealthy habits, and once I realized that I was using food and diets as a cover up for something that was wrong, I decided to jump in head first and figure it all out.

It’s because of this journey that I am now determined to help other people. For the past ten years, I have gone through a lot of ups and downs, and I can’t explain how life changing it feels to be at peace with all of this. I want to help other people find that, and it’s because of this story that I feel so deeply committed to doing whatever I can to make an impact.

If you got to the bottom of this post, thanks for listening. Now, go fill up your coffee 🙂

WIAW {11.28.2012}: Wine Night First Timer

Oh man, am I feeling groggy right now. I had the hardest time sleeping last night! But we will get to that in a second. First, let’s back up. Thanks to Jenn for hosting the WIAW tradition.

My day started yesterday with some Starbucks and a trip to the grocery store in the early hours. I love strolling around the grocery store with coffee while the store is still empty. It’s so peaceful 🙂

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I picked up a loaf of fresh rye bread from the bakery and wanted to use it for breakfast immediately. This may look like a strange combo, and it is, but it totally worked. Rye toast with avocado and raspberry jam:

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I headed to a meeting at around 11:15 and then quickly met up with Amanda for some chit chat before heading to class. I packed a quick lunch filled with sautéed veggies (spinach, carrots, zucchini, yellow pepper, green beans, mushrooms), marinara sauce, and a generous helping of goat cheese. Topped with slivered almonds.

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Mmm goat cheese!

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I ended up coming home in between classes and having an unexpected break. Since it was SNOWING in NYC yesterday, a warm snack was definitely needed. I warmed up a granny smith apple, drizzled with almond butter, and paired it with tea.

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Ohhhh yea.

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Then I picked myself up, got all bundled, and headed back out to class at around 4:30. Another cup of tea was picked up from Starbucks to keep me warm during the commute. It was a nasty weather day here in the city!

Vanilla Roobois Tea:

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And then, I commuted from the Upper West Side downtown and met up with a bunch of lovely ladies for my first appearance at their monthly wine night!

When I was in Cape Cod with Mara (my brother’s fiancé) and her friends a couple of months ago, they invited me to start coming to their monthly wine nights. Their group of friends rotates the responsibility of hosting wine night each month. Each girl brings over a bottle of the wine of the month and the host provides some appetizers or whatever they’d like to cook. Sounds like my kinda thannng!

Leah was, as expected, an awesome host. She had been talking to me about things she wanted to cook for wine night since we hung out at the Cape a couple months ago and she really impressed us all. She even took pictures of the set up before everyone got there so that she could send them to me for the blog. What a pal!!

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About 2/3 of the girls:
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Some stars of the night included her pumpkin cupcakes with dairy-free cream cheese frosting (Leah tries to stay away from too much dairy):

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And a Tart made with butternut squash, pancetta, shiitake mushrooms, onion and vegan cheddar cheese:

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Both were SO delicious. Leah, maybe you can post the recipes in the comment section??

I had about one and a half glasses of wine (the wine of the month was Malbec), the above picture of the Tart, some cheese and crackers, some veggies and dip, and half a cupcake. I had so much fun hanging out with these girls, mostly a crew who met at Cornell and went to college together, and love the concept of this wine night. Thanks, Leah, for being such a great host and cooking up a storm!

And THEN. I got home at around 11, got ready for bed, and just could. not. sleep. My stomach was grumbling, probably because I didn’t eat a real dinner, and I knew I couldn’t go to bed hungry. My stomach literally felt like it hadn’t eaten in days, I was so hungry! It was strange.

After an hour or so of stirring in bed, I finally gave in. I got up and made a snack…Raisin Bran to the rescue. I love this brand of cereal. The ingredients could not be simpler.

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I also had a couple small slices of rye bread + almond butter. Finally I was full and could fall asleep, but man those couple hours are always so frustrating!

So that’s my day! How was yours? Do you ever have trouble sleeping? Can you fall asleep hungry? What are your fav pre-bedtime snacks? So many questions!! 🙂

Healthy(ish) Eats on the Road: To DC and Back

Greetings! 🙂

Yesterday I had to take a quick day trip to DC and back and I thought I’d capture how I handle staying somewhat healthy while on the road.

Before I quit my job this summer, I had spent 2+ years traveling as a consultant all over the Southeast, spending almost every week on the road.

Traveling is TOUGH and it does make it much more challenging to stay healthy. The number one lesson I learned in my life from all of this travel is to give up control and go with the flow. Because we all know that so many things are out of our control when we travel. Flights are delayed, business lunches are not planned by us, meetings run late and we end up eating lunch at 3pm, security lines are long and we don’t have a chance to grab our morning coffee, the list goes on!

So I learned to give up control. It was a big lesson and it has impacted who I am today. My need for control over my days is far less, and I love being able to just do the best I can, regardless of the situation.

With that being said, on to yesterday!

5am wakeup call meant a dark morning waiting for a cab. No problem here, I zipped right on over to the airport.

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Then BAM. I was hit with a HUGE security line. I used to freak out about these things but I just don’t even let them bother me anymore.

No time for breakfast, but time to grab a coffee.

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Plane landed in DC at 8:15 and I surveyed my breakfast options. Basically, it was a panini, a cheeseburger, or a muffin the size of my head. AWESOME.

I went for an egg and cheese panini. We know how much I love my egg and cheeses.

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Eaten in the back of a cab on my way to the meeting. This was actually pretty good! I ate about 3/4 of it.

Meeting, Meeting, Meeting, lunch came at around 12:30.

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The options were great. Sandwiches, fruit salad, salad, and cookies. PAT ON MY BACK for not taking any cookies! 🙂 Woohooo. Maybe the first healthy decision I have made in 6 days since Thanksgiving started.

1/2 a chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat, some salad and fruit:

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Left the meeting around 3:15, back to the airport. Day trips are weird, man. It’s like rewinding a movie and you watch the character go backward back through the way they came, ya know? No? Follow? Ok anyway….

I needed a snack, but again, my options were panini, cheeseburger, or muffin the size of my head. I got a small skim cappuccino and sat to do some work while I killed time.

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Nope, internet wouldn’t connect. I tried for a solid 20 minutes, no luck. So I just perused the terminal, pacing back and forth and getting some “exercise”.

I needed something else to eat so I grabbed this Clif Bar before getting on the plane. I am not usually a bar person, but they definitely come in handy while traveling. I LOVED this flavor!

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After a delayed flight, a 30 minute wait for a taxi, and traffic on the way home, I asked my cab driver to drop me at fairway so I could keep things easy on myself and grab a salad at their salad bar.

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The salad was mainly veggies: spinach base, cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, olives, beets, a little chicken and a little feta. Balsamic vinegar and a dash of truffle oil. Finally some greeeeens!

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Along with a free roll which I toasted and put butter on half and almond butter/honey on the other half.

I also capped off the night with a couple of small bakery cookies I had leftover from being home in CT.

So the moral of the story? It’s definitely hard to eat super duper healthy on the road, but it doesn’t need to be a total disaster either. Luckily, these days, there are usually always some healthy or healthier options at airports, so just do your best.

Now, off to grab some coffee and head to the grocery store. Mmmm my kinda morning 🙂 Have a good day!

P.S. If you want to see some other travel tips, here is a post I wrote about healthy snacks I usually bring for longer travels.

Video Blog: Tour of My NYC Studio Apartment

Hi guys! Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and got to relax, eat delicious food, laugh, and see your family and friends.

I wanted to create a video for you so that you can actually see the Studio apartment that my blog name, “StudioEats” is based on. The blog came about as a New Years Resolution that I made at the beginning of this year, 2012, to cook more. When coming up with a name, my friend Katie and I kicked around many many many names over the course of a couple of weeks. We came up with StudioEats and it just felt right. Catchy, easy, and it spoke to the fact that I was embarking on a cooking journey in a tiny Studio apartment with a kitchen I can barely turn around in.

So, if you have a few minutes, enjoy the video! You can see what a typical NYC studio apartment looks like, how tiny my kitchen actually is, and what I’ve done to make the little apartment work for me and a place that I absolutely love to come home to every single day.

Enjoy! 🙂

P.S. Please ignore my horrible editing at the end on the balcony. Me and technology do not get along.

More Scenes from Thanksgiving, Part Deux

My family came up to Boston yesterday to celebrate Thanksgiving Part Two at my brother’s fiancé’s house. My brother and Mara have been together for over 8 years and her family has become like family to me. Her family is a ball of pure fun, they love their wine, and I am constantly laughing when I am with them. Sounds like a fun time to me!

Here are some pics of our Boston Thanksgiving at Mara’s house.

Mara’s Dad, Harry. He made sure our glasses were filled the entire night.

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One of the only dogs I love. Zo-Zo!

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It apparently takes 4 American women to make 1 Greek pie. I have a whole new appreciation for Phyllo. That stuff is IMPOSSIBLE to cook with!

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After an early dinner, we then hit the town and all the kids went out to a couple of bars around Boston. The whole day was a blast and my head hit the pillow hard at 12:30am and I slept like a baby. Those are the best days!

Heading back to CT today after a pumpkin filled brunch at Mara’s. Toodles!

Scenes from Thanksgiving

Good morning sunshine! 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with quality family time, lots of laughs, and delicious food.

Here are some pics of our Mendell Thanksgiving. I didn’t capture a ton of pictures, but here is what I’ve got!

I thought it was essential to capture the outfit that I immediately change into the second I leave NYC and come home to CT. I morph into total relaxation mode with my red Cornell sweatpants and cut up Joel Barlow Field Hockey sweatshirt. Ah, yes, this is home.

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Typical morning face:

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Coffee, newspaper, everyone starting to wake up.

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Bfast for me and my Dad:

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Beach strolling:

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Sandy aftermath:

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Apple Crisp Baking:

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Some Food at my Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin and Cranberry mini muffins:

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Potatoes:

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Her always amazing salads:

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The best homemade cranberry sauce I’ve had:

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Table setting:

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Cousins:

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Constant football:

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Uncle handling the turkey:

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What he has learned this year:

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Surprise birthday cake for my Dad:

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Table of desserts:

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Family photo (brother, Mara, sister, me):

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It was a great day all around. Relaxing morning, a walk on the beach, and lots of family time. Now it’s off to a Spinning class with my parents and then Boston!!

Thank YOU, for Real

{Note: Tofu recipe wasn’t supposed to go out this morning 🙂 Whoops.}

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year, but way up there on the list is all of you.

Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to visit my little website. It has honestly been SO much fun to explore the blogging world, take my blog in new directions, and share bits and pieces of my life with all of you.

I have a lot to thank you for…

Thank you for putting up with my less than stellar iPhone photos….

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For also putting up with blog fail’s such as my Tofu recipe accidentally going out this morning (NOT supposed to happen!)….

For cheering me on as I left my job and decided to chase a dream (Part 1 and Part 2)….

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For welcoming me at the Healthy Living Summit with bottles of Trader Joe’s wine within minutes of me walking into my hotel room….

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For trying to teach me how to use Twitter, only the number one social media tool necessary for bloggers, and one that still confuses the heck out of me… (still don’t get when to use a @ vs a #… someone please clarify!?)…

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For commenting on recipes that strike your fancy

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For pushing me to keep posting and coming up with new recipes and ideas… even if that means waking up to angry text messages “WHERE IS YOUR NEXT POST!?!” (<– Pat, lookin’ at you).

…and for giving my recipes a shot in your own kitchen….

For guest blogging while I was out of town (Amanda, Romy, Beth, Sarah)….

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And in general, for every piece of your encouragement and support. I have been so touched by the amount of support I have gotten from you guys, and it keeps pushing me to come up with new ideas, talk about different topics, share parts of myself and my life, and get in the kitchen and play.

I owe a lot to you, and am so truly thankful for each one of you.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry with Pesto & Slivered Almonds

I talked the other day about how I like to have a lot of variety in my life. For instance, let’s take last week.

I ate both this:

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And this:

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It’s all about balance right? 😉

Too much cake and sugar makes me feel sluggish, cloudy and tired. Too many vegetables and strictly healthy food makes me feel bored and unsatisfied. A huge factor contributing to my health is knowing how to have a balance, indulging in cake every now and then and not feeling an ounce of guilt, and creating food for myself that is both healthy and satisfying at the same time.

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This is a really healthy breakfast or lunch, or even a quick dinner. For those days when your body just craves something purely good for it. However, I added some pesto to make it more interesting and satisfying. Pesto is high on the oil and fat, and has an extremely strong taste, so you only need a little. But it really adds a new dimension to a dish and leaves you with that satisfied “ok this wasn’t TOO healthy” feeling.

This is so simple to make. It took about 5 minutes. I just sautéed a few different veggies in a skillet, added tofu as I crumbled it over the pan, and once it was all done, I added slivered almonds and a scoop of pesto for some healthy fat.

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I think it is so important to have those go-to healthy meals that you know are both good for you but also things you actually like. Healthy food should not be punishment!

Okay, I think I have said enough :)… maybe this dish will inspire you to create something similar sometime. A healthy and satisfying meal in about 5 minutes.

Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry with Pesto and Slivered Almonds

  • Any veggies: I used red onions, carrots, mushrooms, spinach and tomato
  • 1/4 or so of a package of tofu. I used Soft, but you can use any type
  • 1 T slivered almonds
  • 1 T pesto
  • S&P

1. Cook all veggies (except for spinach) in a skillet. Once they are soft, add tofu. In the last few minutes, add the spinach. Season with S&P.

2. Top with almonds and stir in pesto.

10 Not-So-Serious Things I am Thankful For

Every year we go around the Thanksgiving table and say what we are thankful for. I am known to be a complete baby and I get very emotional, especially when talking about things that I love. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through my turn without crying, and expect this year to be no different.

So before I have to face that embarrassment, here is a list of some little, not so serious, things that I am thankful for. Let’s keep it tearless around here for today! 🙂

1. The Bright Lipstick Trend. I mean, I never would have pegged myself as a red lipstick kind of girl but it’s just so fun to put on red or bright pink lipstick. It really is. Sephora brand for $12 each. Done.

2. Coffee and Almond Butter. Two staples I cannot live without.

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3. Multiple colors of Sharpie Pens. They make doing school work so much more bearable.

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4. Candles. Because from November to April I am in a constant state of Cold.

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5. Flowers in wine bottles. I guess crafts in general. We all have a creative arts and crafts kid inside of us and its been fun to let her out from time to time. She’s pretty good!

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6. Spotify. It’s just genius. And I really hope that my recurrent Taylor Swift playing is not seen by the entire world. I still don’t totally understand the sharing settings on that thing. How embarrassing.

7. Pumpkin spice in Starbucks that you can PUT ON YOURSELF. Like, you have full control over how much pumpkin spice you put on your coffee. I think this may have just been at my local Starbucks because I looked for it at another location later and didn’t see it. This really made my day.

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8. Non stop people watching in NYC. I wasn’t sure if this kid had eyes.

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9. Wine. Has to be on the list. I messed this one up, but fear not, I fixed it.

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10. Egg and Cheese Sandwiches. Favorite food in the world, hands down. Love them and have been having my fair share lately.

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11. Bonus number eleven!! I am so thankful for this SNL skit. It just gets me every.single. time.

Any random little things you are Thankful for this season? Do tell!