The thought of a chocolate chip cookie being ruined with healthy, green kale is almost enough to make even the cookie monster take his hand out of the cookie jar. However, this cookie is no cookie anyone wants to walk away from! I was not only able to get my reluctant boyfriend to eat almost half a batch during my recipe testing, but now have him requesting them regularly. With sprinklings of kale, oats, and heart healthy coconut oil, these cookies are sure to change the perception of wholesome eating and will definitely make you question your previous conceptions of kale. Now you don’t have to sip on a green smoothie or crunch and munch on a massaged kale salad to get the long list of health benefits of this very trendy leafy green!
I recently had a wonderful experience! I was able to teach a kid’s cooking class at Field House Farm’s in Madison, CT last week. While this wasn’t the first kid’s cooking class I have taught, this one was a bit more unique. Not only did we get creative with the farm fresh, local, ingredients, but we got to pick our own kale, explore the chicken coop and select our eggs as well as mingling with the farm animals. We had a blast, and I can proudly say every little chef tried and approved of our kale cookies!
Being a bit selfish, one of the biggest perks of this cooking class was the fresh produce I was sent home with which included yummy peppers from the garden. The peppers made for the perfect addition to an easy and budget friendly dinner this week!
Fall is typically not a season associated with salads; except in my house! Some of my favorite salads are those made in the colder months, where the produce and flavors are a bit heartier and bold. This one with sweet squash and beets is one of my go to salads because I can prep everything ahead of time and simply toss it together for a quick lunch or light dinner, not to mention it has blue cheese and I am pretty much obsessed with anything involving blue cheese!
Fall is here in New England and I am fully embracing the cooler weather, heartier crops, and cozy flannels! With only 6 days into the official fall season, I have already picked my first fall apple, made a giant pot of chili for football watching, and buttoned up my first flannel shirt. While I am definitely a summer girl at heart, nothing beats fall in New England, between the hayrides, pumpkin spice everything, adorable boots, and comforting crisps and crumbles, I am all about the fall season. There are a few of my latest obsessions this season!
- Run Fast. Eat Slow.
- Even if you aren’t an Olympic gold medal runner like Shalane Flanagan, it is so easy to appreciate a cookbook that places a strong value on the nutritional aspects of food, rather than the fad diets, low carb, and crazy diet trends. Co-author Elyse Kopecky, who is also buddies with Shalane showcases whole foods with a sprinkling of personal stories and nutritional advice for any fitness junkie. I have been addicted to the super hero muffins as a post run refuel during my half marathon training.
- Brook Dorman Nautical Knot Ring and Russian Amazonite Necklace
- I am a girl that loves to accessorize, and I love Chad’s sister in law for creating one of kind handmade pieces that I can gawk over (and borrow!). Her shop Brook Dorman Jewelry has become my new favorite etsy find, everything down to her adorable packaging is something to obsess over. By using specific crystals and gemstones, each piece of jewelry has a different property. The Russian Amazonite Necklace is one of my favorites, known as the stone of truth, communication and trust, associated with the throat chakra it is believed to be beneficial to communication. I also love her nautical knot ring (shown above) because it literally goes with just about anything in my fall wardrobe and is unlike anything I would ever find a a conventional jewelry store. Whether you believe in the powers of the various stones, one thing can be certain…her jewelry is CUTE!
- Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Roobios Tea
- On my occasional night off, one of favorite things to do is snuggle in on the couch with my flannel PJ’s, candles lit and fall TV with some yummy warm tea in hand. This tea tastes just like fall with rich notes of pumpkin and nutmeg. Much healthier than digging into a pumpkin treat, I have found myself craving this naturally sweet tea both morning and night.
- American Horror Story: Roanoke
- What is fall without binge worthy TV? While I am still waiting for some of my favorite series to make their fall debut, I am already hooked on the latest American Horror Story! I definitely don’t recommend watching this season alone. If you are anything like me, you have anxiously waited to see what this season could possibly be about based off of the two dozen promos that have been tempting viewers all year. Ryan Murphy has gotten me hooked again, next Wednesday cannot come soon enough!
- Essie Gel Couture
- I am currently on the “Christmas is approaching budget” which means regular mani-pedi’s are far from my to-do list which is why I love the new gel couture collection from Essie. Lasting over 10 days is quite impressive for me, especially since I am always washing my hands at work. What I love most about this polish is the quick dry sans UV light, I am way to impatient and always end up with smudged fingers while waiting to my nails to dry and this polish dries very quickly. I am currently wearing the “sheer fantasy” but “surrounded by studs” is on my radar.
I am part of the Chipotle generation. There is no question that the sustainable health conscious meals at Chipotle that have helped redefine the fast food movement are amaze-balls! However, with my go to chicken burrito bowls containing 800+ calories, I may feel super healthy eating at Chipotle, but ultimately end up with not quite the skinniest of options. In typical little chef fashion, I reinvented my favorite fast food dish with lower carbs, leaner meats and luckily for me, tons of leftovers!
It is time to start unpacking your summer vacation bags and unfortunately start packing those lunch boxes for back to school time. With all the hype in the media surrounding the poor nutritional value of school lunches, it makes more and more sense to pack a brown bag. However, if your little one is anything like I was, sandwiches and apple slices are far too boring for a mid day meal. Here are some of my favorite school lunch options to help kickstart the school year!
- avocado carrot and cucumber sushi
- avocado hummus quesadilla
- chicken caesar pita pockets
- ham and cheese crescent rolls
- pizza wrap sandwiches
Funspired Untraditional Ideas:
- carrot cake waffle breakfast sandwich
- corn and zucchini fritters
- safely skewered lunches
- southwest inspired quinoa salad
- yellow chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Heat and Eat Thermos Recipes:
- chicken noodle soup
- hidden veggie mac n’ cheese with chicken sausage
- meatball sandwich
- ravioli and vegetable soup
- vegetable fried rice
This is no soup season…humidity and heat make it a bit painful to eat simmering soup. While it may not be soup season, it is definitely the season of fresh veggies. Whether you get your bright produce from your own backyard garden, local farmer’s market, or simply from the grocery store, now is the season to truly enjoy the fresh flavors of summer veggies. While it may not be hot soup season, one of my favorite ways to use my summer produce is in a cold refreshing gazpacho.
I LOVE Mexican food, especially in the summer, but I hate the fact that it tends to be fat and carbs on fat on carbs. These easy Enchilada’s nix the processed carbs altogether by using fresh leafy greens, which are not given quite enough credit in the super foods department.
Leafy greens, like Swiss chard, kale, collard greens and spinach are loaded with antioxidants that can help with cancer prevention, heart health, and diabetes prevention. Exploding with vitamin K and calcium it is a great way to maintain bone health aside from chugging a giant class of milk. Leafy greens, especially Swiss chard have over 600% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin K which helps with bone formation through osteocalcin activation (try using that fun fact at a party, you will sound extra smart!)
Aside from being super crave worthy, these quick enchilada’s are loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals that can literally help support just about all body systems! Helping you to get your Mexican fix in addition to being a nutritionally nurturing meal.
On my rare days off one of my favorite things to do is pack lunch, slap on some sunscreen, grab a good book and head to the beach. The usual salad, turkey wrap, or Greek yogurt gets old pretty quickly. This super easy lunch is perfect for the beach because it can be served at just about any temperature and still taste super yummy! Add some grilled shrimp or chicken if you are looking to serve this as a heavier dinner option with a bit more protein!
I try my best to be healthy, but it can be hard. Working 48-60 hour weeks, half marathon training and just living life make it even harder. I try my best to keep healthy options on hand when I stock our fridge so even on my busiest days I know I can count on something nutritious in my belly. Apparently I am pretty predictable when it comes to stocking our fridge. When I told Chad about this post, he was able to quickly ramble off just about all the items on this list.
- Seltzer– We always have seltzer on hand, I like mine plain with some fresh lemon or lime. It is the perfect refreshing substitute for sugar filled drinks and waaaay healthier than diet soda. There are so many fun flavors out there and they also make for great drink mixers!
- Zucchini– whether I am serializing it, grilling it with some fish, or shredding it for healthy muffins, I love zucchini because it is so versatile and very quick to prepare. It makes the perfect side for just about any protein and always seems to be super affordable.
- Berries- Strawberries and blueberries to be exact. I precut my strawberries on my meal prep day (this helps them last longer) and toss with the blueberries in a big tupperware container. These are create with yogurt, a post dinner snack for a sweet tooth craving, or thrown above a salad with some fresh goat cheese and almonds.
- String Cheese– I am a cheesaholic, these little sticks of cheese seem to satisfy my cheese craving without leaving me feeling super gross. It is the perfect pre-portioned snack to accompany some fresh fruit of veggies. I try to get the reduced fat ones if possible, my favorite are the cheddar!
- Eggs– I must eat over a dozen eggs a week. I always have to buy at least 2 dozen when I do our weekly grocery trip and sometimes we don’t even make it through the week. I always hard boil at least 6 each week for quick protein packed snacks or for breakfast on the go. Eggs are also my breakfast staple, when I work I love to make microwaved scrambled eggs! Super easy, healthy, and a little bit more fun than a boring yogurt or protein bar!
- Pre-Cut Veggies- During my meal prep day I always peel and chop fresh carrot sticks and cucumbers along with some cherry tomatoes and sugar snap pea’s, I create little veggie snack baggies to eat with hummus or alone for a crunchy snack.
- Turkey Bacon- I eat turkey bacon with my eggs every morning. I bake it on a cookie sheet during my meal prep days and have it on hand for breakfasts, it is also great over salads or for a yummy sandwich addition.
- Parmesan Cheese– Nutty, salty, rich parm…makes just about any dish better. Just a little bit of this cheese helps bring a rich flavor to your dinner. This means you don’t need to break your calorie bank since this cheese has a lot of bang for its buck. More flavor=less needed=less calories!
- Olives- I love salty foods, I tend to crave them more than sweet treats. A few olives from the grocery store olive bar seem to always satisfy my craving without my reaching for a bag of potato chips.
- Avocado- The superstar superfood! I love to have half an avocado on my salad, on toast, whipped into pesto, or with my eggs, There are so many ways to eat this fruit to help you get the long list of health benefits it has to offer. Definitely a staple each and every week for me!