So many Thanksgiving memories, tips, and advice and so blessed to have contributed to this great article! Check it out here!
Remember those super salty, Styrofoam “instant lunches”? The cute, perfect, little meal. Ideal for dorms dinners, office lunches, and battling hangovers; I would be lying if I didn’t admit to once having a slight love affair with instant ramen. I think it was that infamous New Year’s scene from Sex and the City where Carrie eats her “cup noodles” in her sequin hat that sparked my obsession. That obsession was short lived when I read the nutritional information and decided there was nothing very glamorous about this convenience food, until now. With a little help from a mason jar, my newest lunch infatuation is the more nutritional instant lunch. Versatile, easy, and convenient, I have never been more excited for lunch time to roll around.
Growing up in New England in the fall meant one thing: apple crisp, after school, every day. My mom makes the best apple crisp and still makes it when I come to visit during the cold fall months. Loaded with tons of spices and a buttery crumb topping it is comfort food at its finest. After going gluten free recently, I was so upset that the usual oat topping would be off limits, after all, what is fall in Connecticut without warm apple crisp at night? I was super excited to find gluten free oats at Trader Joe’s and with little added sugar this makes the perfect dessert with a scoop of ice cream or even a fruit and fiber filled breakfast.
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!
Funspired Untraditional Ideas:
Heat and Eat Thermos Recipes: