Jan
25

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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Jan
13

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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Jan
04

Happy New Year, friends! Today marks my last day soaking up the Florida sunshine! Can’t wait to tell you all about it soon.

In the meantime, I have been waiting to bring you these AMAZING peanut butter protein balls (that taste like a a mix between cookie dough and a peanut butter cup) since late October. The timing just never felt right with all of the holiday goodies. I’m sure you’re more than ready for them now. Am I right?

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Dec
28

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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Dec
14

Right now I’m on a plane to Utah, heading to Solitude Resort in Park City for a beautiful ski trip. It’s funny, I don’t remember the last time I went skiing. Probably 7th grade? I don’t remember being too terrible so maybe I’ll pick it back up again. Or I’ll just fall on my ass and enjoy a really good workout. Either way, it’s going to be a blast.

And honestly, I’m so excited for the rest of December! Lots of cookie baking, a vacation to Florida and Minnesota for Christmas.

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Dec
07

I hope your weekend was as lovely as ever. I spent Saturday morning rowing 21,000+ meters (a half marathon) at Iron & Oar, a local Chicago workout studio. Honestly I had only rowed maybe once before signing up for the half marathon. Not sure what I was thinking, but I’m happy that I committed to it. Not only was the race actually fun, but my legs hurt in the best way. That sounds odd, but if you love a good tough workout you know what I mean. Best yet, we got 3rd place and didn’t even train! WHOOP!

After the race, I enjoyed a GIANT cheat meal with Tony, followed by two of these chocolate peanut butter truffles that were waiting patiently for me in the freezer. I’m obsessed with the crispy, crunchy texture and how they resemble the taste of peanut butter cup.

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Dec
02

OH MY GOODNESS. These bars. No seriously, theeeeeseeeee bars.

I found myself baking these after an intense craving for fig newtons. While I realize that Fig Newtons contains actual figs, I couldn’t find any at the store so I settled with dates, another favorite dried fruit. Good old dates — cheap, addicting and always there to save the day. My favorite way to enjoy dates lately has been by spreading almond or peanut butter all over them. Can you say YUMMMMM?

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Nov
30

How was your Thanksgiving? I’m so happy I was able to take the weekend off and enjoy some time with my Grandma; we had a wonderful time eating, shopping and laughing.

Unfortunately her wallet was stolen while we were out shopping. Tis the season for thieving? Ugh! Even worse, she had some pretty important documents in there. But the good news is that we got her back on the plane safe and sound (without an ID)! I guess the TSA knows more about you than you think.

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Nov
24

Milly is snuggled on my lap right now purring and happily curled into a little warm ball. Tony is still sleeping and the apartment is still and quiet on this crisp morning. I’ve got my coffee (which I’ve made too strong) and my Grandma and Mom are here for Thanksgiving festivities.

My plan is to make them a big bowl of green chile stew and this apple crisp recipe for them tonight. Spicy and sweet before we stuff ourselves silly tomorrow. That’s the way I roll.

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Nov
22

What’s your bread of choice on Thanksgiving? When I was younger, we always had soft and fluffy croissants and they were my absolute favorite.

This year, we’re doing things a little differently due to the fact that I have uncontrollable love for biscuits. Yes, biscuits! Surprisingly, there just so happens to be a multitude of Chicago restaurants that serve biscuits at brunch. While I’m not typically into carbs at breakfast (love my eggs), biscuits have been a breakfast game changer for me. Giant, fluffy puffs of love smothered in honey. That’s when you know it’s going to be a good weekend, right?

A great characteristic of biscuits is that they’re versatile and easily acceptable at any meal of your choosing. Furthermore, biscuits don’t just have to be served with jelly or honey at breakfast; in fact, they are the perfect way to soak up your cranberry sauce and extra gravy. Another option is piling on the turkey and making sandwiches with your leftovers. Basically just determined to turn you into a biscuit lover.

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Nov
15

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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