Sunday, February 16, 2014

Your Momma Was Right (?)

Dear Readers,

After seeing this post by Ms. Wendy Nguyen (love her) I found myself desperately wanting this sweater.  The issue?  It's $325.  And let's be real: this is not a time-honored staple, but a fun take on the nautical trend (which arguably is always in style, but the cutesy phrase doesn't read "staying power" closet-wise).  Anyhow, keeping with my "invest only if it's fabulous, 100% necessary or multi-season/multi-use" theory of shopping, I decided against the Banjo & Matilda sweater but believed very deeply I'd find it's cheaper twin soon.

How right I was.  Although, where I found it was a bit more surprising.  Talbots.  Yes, I know.  Your mother's store (or worse, grandmothers).  But I happened to catch a glance of this tidy little number in the window the other day and, along with the 30% off sign, decided to go inside and take a look.  The style is unquestionably similar and the fit is "classic" and loose, which makes it great with skinny jeans and as a layering piece.  Long story short: Sold.  (Question: Since I remember Talbots model Niki Taylor being in my Seventeen Magazine am I suddenly now their target market?  Good Lord...).

So there you have it: Catherine the Penny Pincher (laugh, go ahead, laugh) gets "the" sweater, it just took a little looking and checking my store snobbery at the door.  And it was worth it.

What else have I been missing....?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fast Food

Dear Readers,

I'm hot and heavy in trial prep, which actually has made this cleanse breeze by since I don't have a ton of time to worry about food (yay shakes twice a day!).  Anyhow, last night I looked in our (fairly empty) fridge and realized we had some cauliflower to use before it went to waste.  At first I thought of making a soup, but then decided to use one of my fav super simple recipes from GP's It's All Good.  When it was done, my husband and I both stood around the bowl and munched until it was nearly gone.  Soooo good.

Packed with health, this is just too yummy and easy not to share:

Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas with Mustard + Parsley
  • a 14-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of 
olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and 
the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch 
of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.

While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing 
and the parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Image from The Simple Veganista (this recipe is POPULAR!).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Super Food

Dear Readers,

We were invited to a Super Bowl party yesterday and I wanted to bring some healthy party food.  Being social and healthy can be a challenge.   I joked with the hostess we'd bring our own kombucha and twigs to snack on so not to worry about us.  All joking aside, I did want to contribute something we could all share and hopefully enjoy.  I settled on roasted, spicy chickpeas (from this recent post) and sweet potato brownies.  Both were a hit with the kids especially!  Who knew.

Here's the vegan, gluten free brownies I made from Deliciously Ella.  Not bad!  My husband pointed out: these aren't really "brownies" but they're good.  That about sums it up.  And they're good for you and a great alternative for little ones (and big ones) who want something sweet.

Check them out!

Makes 10 brownies
- 2 medium to large sweet potatoes
- 2/3 of a cup of almond meal
- 1/2 a cup of buckwheat flour (brown rice flour will also work)
- 14 medjool dates
- 4 tablespoons of raw cacao
- 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup syrup
- a pinch of salt
How to cook:
Start by pre-heating the oven to 350, then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about  twenty minutes, until they become really soft.
Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates.
Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.
Place into a parchment paper lined baking dish and cook for about twenty minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork bringing it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together! Remove the brownies from the tray, leaving it another few minutes before cutting them into squares – then dig in and enjoy!

*Image above from Deliciously Ella.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Soup Gold

Dear Readers,

This is the BEST soup I've made in a long, long time from a fav, new blog, My New Roots.  And I actually make a lot of soup, especially butternut squash soup.  But this one...this one is healthy, easy and amazing.  I mean it.  Tastes like it has bad things in it but it's completely cleanse-friendly and so good for you.  Also, the smokey chickpeas are awesome on top of the soup or alone.

Also, how gorgeous is this blog??  I mean, food porn.


So don't wait.  Just make it tonight.  (Oh, and make your life easy: Use 2 small bags of frozen, pre-cubed organic butternut squash.  Sub in olive oil for the ghee/coconut oil if you don't have the others.  Use dried herbs. I did. And it was FAB.)

Bon appetite!

Gold Rush Butternut Soup with Smoky Chickpea CroutonsServes 4
1 large butternut squash
2 large yellow onions
8 cloves garlic
2 tsp. ghee or coconut oil, plus olive oil for garnish
1 tsp. both sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
3-4 cups / 750-1000ml vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. grated fresh turmeric or 2 tsp. ground turmeric powder
2 tsp. each fresh / 1 tsp dried rosemary and thyme (optional)
1 batch Smoky Chickpea Croutons (recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Peel and cube the butternut squash and place on a baking sheet. Peel and cut onions into quarters, add to baking sheet. Peel whole cloves of garlic and add to baking sheet. Drizzle with melted ghee or coconut oil and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes until the squash is tender and the garlic is golden.
3. In a large blender pour 3 cups hot vegetable broth, turmeric (fresh or dried) and add the finely chopped rosemary and thyme. Carefully add the roasted vegetables and blend on high until completely smooth (let blender run for a minute or so). If the soup is too thick, add more broth to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste.
4. Pour soup into bowls and serve with a sprinkling of chickpea croutons and a drizzle of olive oil. If necessary, pour into a large pot to reheat if necessary. Keeps for 3 days in the fridge. Freezes well.
Smoky Chickpea Croutons
3 cups or 2 cans cooked chickpeas – drained and well-rinsed
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika or ground chipotle pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Spread chickpeas out on a clean tea towel and rub them dry, discarding any loose skins. Place the chickpeas in a medium bowl and toss with coconut oil, seasoning and spices until coated.
3. Spread the chickpeas on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp. This takes about 25-35 minutes. Please note that the chickpeas will crisp up outside of the oven quite a bit, so if they are still a little soft when you take them out of the oven, that is okay.
4. Remove from the oven. Let cool, and serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight glass container for up to one week.

**Image above and recipes from My New Roots, "Gold Rush Soup & Chickpea Croutons."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bag It

Dear Readers,

Shopping may not be my cardio with everything available online but it remains my occasional therapy.  Even so, I've been in a post-holiday clothing slump.  The weather outside is iffy and coupled with the fact we just started our cleanse I'm just not dying to purchase much in the clothing department.  Plus, let's be honest, there's nothing out there but a lot of blue and white until people start thinking about spring mid-March.

Still, just the other day I needed something "new" and decided to check out handbags.  That is when I found the ultimate Working Mom Bag: Coach's North/South City Tote in Saffiano Leather.  I purchased mine in a very safe black, mostly because it was on super sale ($150!) but honestly I'm loving the bright yellow too.

The details: Sexy?  Not really.  Fashion forward?  No, it's more of a classic.  But sleek, functional and nearly indestructible?  Heck yes.  It also happens to be the perfect size - that sweet spot between a purse and a travel bag, able to hold your large folders, iPad, snacks, a few trains and a diaper if necessary, but not so big people think you're about to catch a plane.  (Trust me on the size.  I have the lovely Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM and while I love, love that bag it's just really too big for daily use).  Plus, did I mention it's nearly indestructible?  Spills, scratches, it takes the knocks and keeps on looking great.

Look out for one of Coach's wonderful sales, like their 25% coupons they love to send out, and buy this bag!  You can thank me later.


Friday, January 24, 2014


Dear Readers,

Need a boost?  Check your vitamin intake.  For some reason there is a lot of skepticism in the media about vitamin supplements (ahem, pharmaceutical PR machines...), but in truth most of us would benefit wildly by taking more vitamins. (I mean, you hear about death from "drug complications/overdose" all the time; when's the last time you heard about a vitamin overdose?  That's what I thought.  For more on that, check out Food Matters.)

Anyhow, thanks to Gwyneth and her endless resources and BFF status with every major health guru, we the lesser folk now have more information on what to take via her Vitamin & Supplement Cheat Sheet.  Hooray!  GP even breaks it out by health issue: Stressed Out, Sleep Deprived, etc.  (Bigger question: What if you are "all of the above?"  Guess that means a sh*t ton of vitamins!)

Check it out!  And remember: The cleanse starts Monday!  Feel free to join me!!

Happy Friday,


*Image from Goop.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Dear Readers,

Just a quickie today, but had to share.  Looking for excellent, easy, healthy lunch ideas?  Always. Check out this awesome post on this great blog (new to me and I love it!), Deliciously Ella.  So fun!  And love the stylish/healthy blog trend that makes being healthy look so sassy.

Happy almost Friday!


*Image above from Deliciously Ella.