It always feels exceptional to wake up and notice banana bread sitting on the counter waiting to be devoured. You know it’s going to be even better than it was the first day, if that’s even possible. Yet you tell yourself you’ll have it later, perhaps for an afternoon treat.

Shortly after you open the pantry and peer into the fridge, you realize you’re absolutely having that banana bread for breakfast. There’s no stopping you. You’re craving it NOW.

That was my situation last week and it ended with me enjoying two thick slices with peanut butter on top. Plus a few fresh strawberries, chia seeds and huge chunks of dark chocolate. Because antioxidants, right?

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My mom filled my Easter basket to the brim with treats until I was in high school. Suddenly when I was 16, she decided that I no longer qualified to receive Easter goodies from this so called bunny. At first I thought she was kidding! This was a tradition, wasn’t it?

I suppose I figured that for the rest of my life, Mom would be there to drop off an Easter basket filled with my favorite jelly beans and chocolate eggs that no one ever eats (unless they’re Reese’s eggs of course).

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Hello from beautiful Scottsdale, AZ! Can I just say how good it feels to be in warm weather without a scarf, coat or mittens? I’ve been craving warm sunshine on my skin since early October.

Don’t worry though, I’m sure the rest of the country will catch up soon. March is nearly here, which for me means patio season, rooftop bars, farmer’s markets, biking along Lake Michigan, running outside, berries and ALL THE SMOOTHIES…

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Hello from beautiful Napa Valley! I spent the better part of the weekend on the Culinary Institute of America with the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council learning about pulses, cooking in their gorgeous kitchens, and gaining some serious skills in gluten free/grain free baking!

I’m leaving feeling inspired and so very thankful to be chosen as an ambassador for the 2016 International Year of Pulses! That’s right, this year the United Nations declared 2016 as the year of pulse and I’m thrilled to be able to create recipes using some of these powerhouse foods!

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One can never have too many squash recipes. Especially considering that it’s cheap, seasonal, and boasts some pretty terrific nutrition stats.

Since we’re talking squash, I’ll admit that butternut squash is one of my favorites. The sweet, nutty taste is brought out even more when roasted too. I’m such a butternut squash fan girl, it’s ridiculous.

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We spent Christmas in Minnesota with some of my family members. Honestly, I didn’t answer emails or pay attention to my site for a second. The only thing I did was cradle in by the wood-burning fire, bake cookies, chop veggies and laugh until I couldn’t anymore. Most of this was due to wine, and it was more than needed. December has been a crazy month full of travel, planning and posts. A mini blog break always leaves me feeling rejuvenated and eager to do MORE MORE MORE. Actually not sure if that’s a good thing? Ha.

After a quick three days in the always-freezing tundra, I returned home late Saturday night craving nothing but vegetables, smoothies and all things nutritious. After Christmas, it’s 100% safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of meat, booze and sugar.

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I had never experienced homemade cranberry sauce until a few years ago. The only version that sat on our non-traditional Thanksgiving table was the jellied version from OceanSpray.

For goodness sake, most of the time we were eating enchiladas and Spanish rice during the holidays; the cranberry sauce was only there because Mom loved it.

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Mid-week vibes coming at you because I CANNOT wait for the weekend. Tony and I are headed to Pensacola, FL and we couldn’t be more excited to hit the beach. Somehow Chicago went from 70 degrees last week to a measly 45 with a wickedly cold Lake Michigan wind chill. NOPE, I’m just not ready for it.

Plus, I still haven’t unpacked my mittens from our move so there’s that.

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How was your weekend? We finally set up our living room with our new rug, plus I just ordered a custom designed ottoman, which I’m really quite excited about. We picked a dark blue velvet color and can’t wait to see it when it arrives in a few weeks. Other new things? A black custom french-looking desk and a small side table that’s going to be painted a bronze gold. Obsessed is an understatement.

Hmmm what else? Chicago’s been insane lately. We’ve had the Chicago marathon, the Cubs in the playoffs and the Bears actually won TWO games. Thus, I’ve been eating a little too much pizza and bar food lately. What I’m really craving now is a seriously good veggie burger with a huge side salad.

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