Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink




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Life Lately

Life Lately is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, apps, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. 

1. Graze Snacks
I love a quick grab-and-go snack for directly after my workouts. I am usually feeling famished and somewhat weak, so a quick jolt of protein that isn't overly filling is exactly what I need. Graze snack packs offer exactly that with tons of flavor and what seems like endless varieties. My two favorite are New York Everything Bagel (cheese flavored cashews, poppy seed onion sticks and roasted pumpkin seeds) and Pro Power (black pepper cashews, edamame beans and spicy chickpeas). Find them in your grocery store or order them here.

2. Herban Cowboy's Blossom Deodorant
A few months ago, I officially made the switch to an all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant. It took a little getting used to at first. I had to re-apply it several times per day until my body adjusted to it. But knowing that it's better for me and my body makes any increased effort and cost worth it. There are many, many natural and chemical-free deodorants available. I did some research, but in the end, I chose strictly based on scent, and this one had a slightly fresh floral one that many others lacked.

3. Small Victories Cookbook
This cookbook is full of simple and achievable recipes. It includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and is full of gorgeous, mouth-watering photos. That's just about all the motivation I need to get in the kitchen and get cooking!

4. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Macchiato
It takes a lot to get me to stray from my favorite Starbucks drink: iced white chocolate mocha, but I did when I tried this new concoction. Let's break it down: espresso, almond milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, and caramel drizzled on top. It was a little sweet the first time I had it. I have since ask them to cut down on the cinnamon dolce syrup. But otherwise, this drink is a delicious combination of sweet and creamy.

5. First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Caffeine Matcha Wake Up Wipes
These matcha-infused wipes gently cleanse to whisk away dirt, makeup, and impurities. They also contain caffeine (in the form of matcha) to perk up a tired complexion. I love to use them post-workout because they clear the sweat and makeup (yes, I wear a small amount of makeup to the gym) from my face and also give me that little jolt to look well-rested.

6. Diets Are For Idiots (formerly Simple Steps) App
I downloaded this app in an effort to make a few simple changes to my eating habits (mainly, drink more water). But it has turned out to be a great virtual coach for me. You can set daily and weekly goals for yourself, and they can be as general or as specific as you want. I currently have a goal to drink more water at breakfast since I tend to go for iced tea or orange juice at that time of the day. I'm also trying to get more greens into my meals at breakfast and lunch. It sends reminders so you stay on course and have no excuses and allows you to skip a daily goal only twice in a week's time.

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.27.2017

Now that we are a few weeks into lacrosse season, I've gotten smarter about meal planning and preparation. Lacrosse practice pick up and scrimmages do not cooperate with meal time. I've been forced to push back our dinner times. So, I've also had to adjust the menu plan to include easier and quicker meals since I've been starting to make dinner later.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Meatball Parmigiana sandwiches (using leftover meatballs from a batch the Hubs made yesterday).

Tuesday - Ground beef tacos. A classic for Taco Tuesday, and also at the request of Harper.

Trendspotting: Yellow For Spring

Yellow is such a fun, happy color. It embodies sunshine and happiness. So why then do I so seldomly wear it? Part of the reason is that I am blonde, and blondes notoriously look horrible in most shades of yellow. It washes out our skin tone and certainly does little for our hair color.

But this season's yellows are bright and vibrant, shades of yellow that actually flatter blondes. I've been making an effort to add a few yellow pieces to my wardrobe to mix things up a bit and put those dark, gloomy colors of winter behind me.

In today's installment of Friday Fresh Picks I'm sharing a few of my favorite yellow wear and to decorate with.

Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How smart people handle difficult people via Entrepreneur.

2. The best family summer vacations to take in 2017 via Condé Nast Traveler.

3. Five fashion trends that will be out for 2017 and 5 that will be in via Elle.

A Better-For-You Banana Split with Kemps Yo²

Over the course of the past few years, I've been attempting to clean up my diet and make better choices about what I put in my body. While some people are able to make sweeping changes overnight, I've been slowly removing and subsequently introducing new foods into my diet over a period of months and years.

For me, slow and steady wins the race. I've been trying everything from gluten-free breads, pastries, and cookies to dairy-free cheeses to all-natural, artificial-free foods. This has been a trial and error process for me as not all foods are created equal. After three long years, I am finally rounding out my list of go-to foods with a lot of clean favorites.

The latest addition to my growing list is Kemps Yo². Since 1914 Kemps has been delighting families with its wholesome and delicious dairy products. What began as a small, local creamery in southeastern Minnesota, Kemps has grown to represent throughout the United States. Owned by family farmers, Kemps is passionate about delivering a quality product that delivers goodness from the first to the last bite.

While I was determined to make better food choices, I didn't want to sacrifice the foods that I loved. But I knew I had to eat cleaner, healthier versions of my favorite foods. When I discovered Kemps Yo², I was thrilled to have found a frozen yogurt that contained NO high fructose corn syrup, NO artificial flavors, and NO artificial growth hormones.

So, what's a girl to do? Head to her local Stop & Shop to stock up, of course! I filled my basket with the five available flavors and could barely stop myself from opening a container in the car. 

I mean, look at these containers. So much deliciousness in one picture. And you can enjoy it free of guilt. If you think it looks good in the container, take a look at Kemps' "Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge" flavor served up in a bowl. This flavor is everything, and don't be surprised if you polish off a container in record time.

Kemps Yo² is filled with all-natural flavors and the most delicious mix-ins you can imagine. Mini peanut butter candies, swirls of rich fudge and sweet caramel are in abundance in Kemps Yo². But don't fret. If you are plain vanilla kind of guy or gal, Kemps has you covered with it's "Very Vanilla" flavor.

It's nearly impossible to choose a favorite flavor. They are all so good. And I love looking forward to having dessert a few times a week and knowing that I'll get not only an amazing tasting product but also one that's good for my body too.

Because I like to get creative with my food and put an even healthier twist of Kemps Yo², I set out to make a "better for you" banana split using Kemps Yo² and a few healthful toppings. The idea behind this recipe is to skip the heavy toppings such as hot fudge and hot caramel sauces and whipped cream, and substitute fruits, nuts and /or granola instead.

Look how easy it is to build a better-for-you (and guilt-free) banana split with Kemps Yo².

Wasn't that easy? Head to your local Stop & Shop to grab several pints of Kemps Yo². You won't regret it!

What We're Reading

Now that I am finally back into a reading routine, I can't seem to get enough of books. I've been trying to mix up the genres of the books I read, rotating between thrillers, biographies, popular fiction, and resource books. I'm surprising myself with some of the books that I am actually embracing that I never thought I would.

Here are the books we are currently enjoying:

What I'm Reading: Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot--and Relaunch Their Career by Wendy Sachs
For many years, I worked in the tech industry before I had my kids. After choosing to stay home with them, I wasn't sure how to re-enter the work force. I knew that I couldn't go back to being a software consultant since it required a lot of travel, but I knew I definitely wanted to go back to work. A career change was likely, but I had no idea how to go about it. This book has become as invaluable resource. I am only about half way through it, but I plan to publish a full review on the blog within the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

What Emma's Reading: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
A young girl with severe allergies who is not permitted out of her room  due to her allergies falls in love with the new boy next door. Will love be the final result or will they be forced apart forever?

What Harper's Reading: Just As Long As We're Together by Judy Blume

Growing up, I loved reading Judy Blume books, especially Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great! I loved the tales of friendship, growing pains, and family matters. Now, my youngest has developed a love of Judy Blume books. This book explores the pre-teen friendships and all the complications that often accompany them.

What are you currently reading? Leave a comment to let me know if you have any recommendations.

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.20.2017

I took a break from menu planning last week. It was a combination of being slightly burned out and having a crazy, up in the air week that didn't exactly lend itself to sticking to any sort of meal plan. But no fear! This week I am back in business and ready to get to it.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce. This pasta is so rich and decadent. Use as much or as little sage as you like. I like to use cheese ravioli, but any kind of ravioli would be absolutely delicious!
Photo credit: Taste of Home

Weekend Dispatch

This to-do list is taken directly from my own personal calendar (yes, I put my workouts and exercise classes on my calendar!). It includes what I plan to do, eat, read, and watch this weekend and some recommendation for things I've recently done. If you have something of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Tonight we are going to see a performance of the musical Sister Act at my daughter's high school. We've seen several musicals at her high school, and they have been impressive. Her high school takes the arts very seriously and has quite a cast of talented actors and singers. If you live in the Jersey shore area and are looking to support a local high school and the arts, check it out.

Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Where to get the best views of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris via Condé Nast Traveler.

2. Life-changing time management hacks via Squareup.

3. All the tears for this video of a little girl's reaction to a surprise rescue kitten via Hunto.

Splurge vs. Save

While I was browsing for spring totes, I came across the cutest scalloped tote when I realized that I haven't done a Splurge vs. Save post in a long time. I recognized the scalloped tote I found as a less expensive version of a designer scalloped tote that is about 5 times the price.

In the mood to throw caution to the wind? Buy the Kate Spade Scalloped Leather Tote.

In the mood to pinch your pennies? Buy the BP Scalloped Leather Tote.

Looking for the ultimate splurge? Check out this scalloped tote.