Category Archives: Food

What I ate during week 1 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 8 of the Whole30! Weirdly enough, I’ve wanted to try my hand at a Whole30 for some time now. On our recent mini vacay to Delray, I finally convinced Chet to commit to the program with me…and the rest as they say is history. We did a bunch of research, bought a bunch of compliant food, and dove in head first the following the Monday.

For those of you unfamiliar, Whole30 is a 30 day program that has you cut sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol to help you identify if certain foods are having a negative impact on your health and fitness. The elimination lets your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. So what’s left after cutting all those foods? Well, the program encourages you to eat all sorts of WHOLE foods – like vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs. Essentially, I think calling it a “diet” is kind of a misnomer. You can eat as much as you want to feel full and good. You just have to eliminate certain foods and drinks.

I’m happy to report that, while the first three days were super tough (afternoon pounding headaches were not so fun!), I’m still on the wagon. And I can already feel the benefits . I have a ton of energy, I’m sleeping great, and muscle recovery after I workout is WAY faster. I also haven’t had any gastro-intestinal issues since starting. Digestion is, how shall we say, superb. (TMI?) Plus, I haven’t had any stomach aches or bloating. (A common occurrence after meals for me.)

Throughout the first week, I didn’t really experience any severe cravings or food boredom and I chalk this up to having a bunch of compliant foods on hand. However, as of this writing (Day 8), I could really go for a baked good or some crackers of some sort. But I’m not gonna cave…I wanna see what sort of benefits the next week has in store!

Here’s what I ate on Week 1: 

Some things to note — 

  • Whole30 advises to be mindful of snacking and consider eating larger meals instead of eating in between meals (especially if you have binge eating tendencies). Because I lead a pretty active lifestyle (exercise daily and side hustle at a store where I’m pretty much always on my feet running around and sometimes hefting heavy crates of wine) and prefer not to eat huge amounts at a time, I’m staying A-OK with snacking! 
  • We are proud owners of an air fryer which is basically a kitchen gadget with powers akin to witchcraft and can make foods taste deliciously unhealthy with mere heat and AIR. (Highly, HIGHLY recommend.) When listing foods like coated fish, fries, tater tots, and seared scallops – they’ve been prepared in the air fryer.
  • Prior to the Whole30, Chet and I were already accustomed to eating at home (or prepared at home and taken on-the-go) for every single meal (unless we were traveling). This made adopting the program a million times easier than I think it would be for folks who eat out or purchase convenience foods for the majority of their meals.

Day One

Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with salsa and 1/2 an avocado
Snack – Handful of cashews
Lunch – Rolled turkey and salami slices, mango slices, and raw carrot sticks with tahini
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Salad made with 50/50 mix, turkey ham, hard boiled egg, 1/2 an avocado and homemade dressing
Snack – Freeze dried apple
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Two

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, salmon, scallops, hard boiled egg and homemade dressing
Snack – Mango and salami slices
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with ketchup/mustard/avocado, sweet potato fries and asparagus
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Three

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, chicken, 1/2 an avocado and homemade dressing
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with avocado, tater tots and green beans
Snack – Apple
Beverages – Coffee, water, sparkling water, kombucha

Day Four

Breakfast – Mixed Berry RX Bar
Snack – Bottle of fruit juice smoothie
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrot, broccoli stems, etc) and salami and freeze dried mandarins
Dinner – Fish breaded with almond flour, tater tots and a side salad
Snack – Smoothie bowl made with frozen banana and mango with a splash of coconut milk and topped with coconut chips
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Five

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, cucumbers, seared scallops, and prosciutto
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrots, broccoli stems, etc) and salami, cucumber slices with ranch for dipping
Snack – Plantain chips and salsa
Beverages – Coffee, La Croix, water, kombucha

Day Six

Breakfast – 2 hard boiled eggs with Everything but the Bagel seasoning and pineapple
Lunch – Lettuce wraps with turkey, salami, mustard, and mayo and cinnamon banana chips
Dinner – 2 hot dogs, fries, and raw carrot sticks with ranch for dipping
Snack – Handful of cashews and an apple
Beverages – Coffee, water

Day Seven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Scrambled eggs with hot dog pieces, raw carrot sticks, and pineapple
Snack – Handful of cashews
Dinner – Sunday roast served over mashed potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers
Snack – Smoothie made with frozen mango and strawberries, coconut milk, and a little bit of almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

I’ll report back on Day 15 with Week 2!!! Wish me luck!

Have you ever completed a Whole30? Any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email (ebeth.berger at gmail dot com). xoxo

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Lexington Eats: Where + What

Where and what to eat in Lexington, KY

Hello friends! Today, I thought it might be fun to share what I ate on my whirlwind trip to Lexington, KY. In case you’re new ’round these parts, Lexington is where I was born and raised and, after a 7-year stint in Bowling Green, where I lived until our recent move to Miami. This might explain my particular brand of homesickness…a longing for the tastes of home! While my mom and I were unsure of whether we’d be able to pack in all my culinary desires (both in terms of time AND stomachs), I’d say we did a pretty fine job!

margaritas at Mi Pequena Hacienda Lexington, KY

Mi Pequeña Hacienda – We kicked off my 2-day visit with an arrival celebration most-appropriate–Mexican food and margs. Our original restaurant choice was tragically unavailable (It had closed down for good just a few days prior. RIP.), but we rallied. Luckily, Lexington has tons of great Mexican restaurants. Many of which have been around since my childhood.

Whole Foods hot bar lunch

Whole Foods Lexington – The next day, as we tooled around the city running errands and stopping in favorite locations (I even made my mom do a drive-by of my old apartment building, lol), I couldn’t resist checking out the brand new Whole Foods. Holy Moly! Hot bars on hot bars on hot bars. Plus pizza, deli options, salad bars, and desserts galore. Yowzas! I loaded up a plate (the Indian food always gets me at WF…it just smells so good!) and we headed outside to the awesome patio. Such a nice step up from the outdoor dining at the old location. I made sure to stock up on baked goods on the way out.

The Oasis Lexington, KY

The Oasis – That evening, my mom had to teach a class downtown, so we grabbed dinner to-go and I tagged along to hang out in her office. (I meant to use the time wisely and get work done but I ended up talking on the phone to a friend the whole time. Whoops!) I had the chicken shawarma sandwich with sides of rice and hummus. IDK how Oasis makes their rice but I literally have never had ANY that compares. Same with the hummus, tbh. If your’e ever in the area, def do yourself a favor and check this place out.

red beans and rice from Alfalfas in Lexington, KY

Alfalfa – Alfalfa is a Lexington staple that’s been around my whole life. Recently, it acquired new owners, and since I’ve been following the saga from afar, I was eager to check out the change for myself. I was so happy to see that it was the same ol’ Alfalfas (with minor menu changes for the better!) and I ordered up my fave — red beans and rice, cabbage salad, and a cold bottle of Ale-8.

homemade vegan pizza

Homemade Pizza – Finally, we decided to give eating out a rest for my final evening. My mom can veganize ANYTHING (AND make it taste delicious to non-vegans like me) and asked what I would like. Well, since it was the high holy day better known as “Pizza Friday”…I think you know what was in order. One pizza she topped with fajita veggies and black beans; the other with soy-rizo, corn, and green chiles. YUM!

Have you ever been to Lexington, KY? What were your favorite dining experiences while there? Share below!!!

P.S. Check out Savannah Eats: Where + What!!!

Savannah Eats: Where + What

where and what to eat in Savannah, GA

As promised, today I thought I’d tell ya about some of the food we ate on our recent trip to Savannah, GA. We were in town for the wedding of our dear friends so we were completely spoiled by meals at the restaurants selected by the bride & groom. Savannah has some pretty delicious offerings (and many restaurants boast beautiful views of the river or are located in gorgeously historic buildings) so if you’re planning a trip you’re in for a treat! But even if you don’t have a trip to Savannah on the horizon, I couldn’t help but include some budget-friendly meals that will work for general travel as well.

Savannah Specific — 

Lizzy’s Tequila Bar & Grill – We kicked off the weekend by enjoying dinner with the soon-to-be newlyweds. This restaurant is right along the river and had the perfect festive atmosphere to get celebrations started. Afterwards, we nabbed a drink at O’Connell’s Irish Pub which we were pretty convinced was haunted but the bartender would not play along.

HITCH – Before a night at the bars for the bachelor/bachelorette party, we fueled up with dishes that took a modern twist on Southern favorites. I had the chicken pancakes — thin and crispy peppered pancakes with fried chicken, chili aoli, and strawberry salsa. 2 thumbs up!

B. Matthew’s – After rehearsing the ceremony we scampered over to B. Matthew’s for the rehearsal dinner. This place had such a cool, historic vibe — exposed brick & beams, fireplaces, and a bar that looked straight out of the turn of the century. We dined in an upstairs room (with a private bar) that felt equal parts intimate and grand. Perfect for a gathering of the couple’s closest family and friends!

Vic’s on the River – And finally, the wedding reception itself was at a beautiful venue overlooking the river. The light from the setting sun pouring in the huge windows cast such a warm and romantic glow on the newlyweds. We dined on pork tacos, crawfish beignets, and a shrimp and grits bar (!). And topped it all off with two types of cupcakes baked by my mother especially for the occasion. My mom is a pro at baking wedding cupcakes. (She’s made cupcakes for my brother’s wedding and mine!) But this was the first time they got a “feed each other a bite and smash it in the face” MOMENT.

General Travel —

I wouldn’t be me without offering you some insight into how I keep travel affordable.

AirBNB Cuisine – One of my favorite benefits of staying in an AirBNB is that they come equipped with a kitchen. Why not take advantage of this and bring along food for at least some meals? I’m totally the girl who brings oatmeal and nut butter with me wherever I go so I was set on breakfast every morning. We also had sandwich fixin’s, baby carrots & hummus, chips, and cookies for quick lunches in between wedding-related errands and late night munchies.

Whole Foods – If you’re looking for a place to stock up on necessities, I’m a big fan of seeking out a Whole Foods. It’s a great place to double down and nab that soap you forgot to pack, a 12 pack of La Croix (because hydration), and ALSO treat yourself to a fairly inexpensive lunch. When you know you’re gonna indulge at dinnertime, Whole Foods comes through in the clutch with tons of healthy options for brekky, brunch, or lunch. Balance, people!

Have you ever been to Savannah, GA? What were your favorite dining experiences while there? Do you have any tips for cost-effective eating when on the road? Share below!! 

Found: A Perfect Warm Weather Dish

orzo salad andie mitchell

Doesn’t this orzo salad recipe sound delicious? It would be perfect to whip up a big bowl on Sunday evening and munch on for lunch all week long. Or to bring along the next time you need to contribute a side! So fresh and zingy. It just seems like the most fantastic warm-weather dish.

Do you have any summer dishes you’re itching to bust out? It’s almost that time again!!!

P.S. A few other warm weather favorites that also fit the bill — Chicken Pad Thai Salad and Greek Quinoa Salad.

(Image by Andie Mitchell.) 

A Thanksgiving Menu for Under $50

vintage-cookbook-photo

If you’re only cooking for a few this Thanksgiving, and you’re not keen to blow your whole grocery budget on a single meal, I have a few tips for you…

  1. Choose 2-3 of your favorite side dishes. You won’t be “doing it wrong” if you don’t have green bean casserole or stuffing…especially if  you don’t like those dishes anyways.
  2. Don’t waste valuable stomach-space (and cash) on a bunch of pre-dinner nibbles.
  3. Pick up one decadent dessert from a local bakery. Unless you bake on the regular, the ingredient list for your favorite pie may not be worth the hassle.
  4. Consider roasting a chicken instead of a turkey. I know, I know…super unorthodox suggestion but when cooking for less people it just makes sense.

With these nuggets of knowledge in mind, I turned to one of my favorite cook books to construct a menu. Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown is an amazing resource for anyone ballin’ on a budget (no matter the time of year). AND it’s available as a FREE PDF. Go check it out!

Here’s a Thanksgiving meal for 4 folks (or 2 with a healthy dose of leftovers). While it may not be the most traditional of menus; the recipes are easy, the costs are low, and waste is minimal. I love that the spotlight is on seasonal produce…a wonderful bounty to celebrate at any table, but it feels especially appropriate for a Thanksgiving feast! Switch the chicken out for turkey (or a turkey breast), if you like. Or nab a Tofurkey if you’re vegetarian. (Cost of each dish is indicated below.)

Appetizer

Classic Deviled Eggs (p.137) $3.60

Starter

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup (p.26) $6

Main Course

Roast Chicken (p.78) $10

Cauliflower Cheese (p.93) $6.60

Roasted Vegetables (p.106) $5

Whole-Wheat Jalapeno Cheddar Scones (p.15) $4.50 *note – I would sub diced apple for the jalapeno in this recipe to make it a bit more autumnal. 

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding (p.175) $2.40

Total cost of meal = $38.10 (which leaves you $11.90 to nab your favorite pie from some place local!).

Pick up a bottle of Cab and a bottle of Chardonnay and Bob’s your Uncle — budget-friendly Thanksgiving Day is a go!

What are YOUR top tips for saving money on Thanksgiving? Will you be hosting this year or enjoying dinner with friends and family? Would you ever consider CHICKEN on Turkey Day?! (Chet, a former butcher, swears up and down that no one actually likes turkey anyways. LOL! He prepared a delicious chicken last year and I gotta say…I’m now a fan of the Thanksgiving Chicken.) 

 

Recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower

img_2421

In Florida, the passing seasons aren’t marked by changes I’ve grown accustomed to. (Plummeting temperatures! Sweaters! Dreary rain all day!) However, I still find myself hankering for the sorts of foods that would warm you up on a cold, Autumn evening. Hearty vegetables and ooey-gooey cheeses. Whack ’em in the oven casseroles that smell delicious and warm up your whole house. This dish, adapted from Leanne Brown’s cookbook Good and Cheap, certainly fits the bill. And since it uses cauliflower as a base, one could argue that it’s basically the healthy alternative to mac and cheese! I’m excited to whip this one up again in a few weeks as a Thanksgiving side.

What you’ll need:

1 head of cauliflower

1 Tbsp butter

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 cups milk

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp paprika

breadcrumbs (optional)

scallions (optional)

And how it all comes together:

– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat and chop your cauliflower into florets. Once water has boiled, add the cauliflower florets and a pinch of salt and allow to boil for 4 minutes.

– Butter a small casserole or pie dish. Drain the cauliflower and add it to the buttered dish.

– Next, melt your butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and stir quickly for about a minute to allow your roux to get a bit brown. Slowly add your milk as you continue to stir. (Note: You may need to add a bit more flour or a bit more milk to reach your desired consistency.)

– Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring every once and awhile to insure the bottom of the saucepan doesn’t get scorched.

– As soon as the sauce reaches a boil turn off the heat and stir in your cheese. Add your mustard, paprika, and scallions. (Note: This is a really great cheese sauce recipe to have in your wheelhouse! Add it to noodles for creamy mac and cheese or to scalloped potatoes or chopped winter squash.) I also chopped up a few slices of deli turkey that I wanted to use up and threw ’em into the mix. Add what you have on hand: leftover cooked ham, bits of crispy bacon, peas, salsa…the skies the limit! Or, leave the cauliflower to speak for itself.

– Give the sauce a taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

– Pour the cheese sauce over your cauliflower and add breadcrumbs to the top, if you like. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is bubbly and brown! Enjoy as a main dish (great casserole or mac and cheese substitute) with a green salad or as a hearty vegetable side with a yummy roast dinner.

Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

img_0828

I’ve been craving decadent dark chocolate desserts as of late. So, the other day, with an hour to spare in the late afternoon, and a rogue zucchini needing to be used in the name of pre-hurricane food clear-out, I baked up a batch of these chocolate zucchini muffins. The zucchini helps the muffins achieve cake-like moistness, while the oats justify eating these bad boys as a breakfast food. Delish!

This recipe is a great one to have in your wheelhouse. I love that it utilizes pantry staples I pretty much always have on hand. Then, you can customize based on what else is lying around/your tastes. Just switch out the cup of grated zucchini for any other moist addition (Think: over-ripe bananas, applesauce, canned pumpkin, mashed sweet potato, grated yellow squash, etc). Switch out dark chocolate morsels for any other mix-ins (Think: chopped walnuts or pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, etc). And switch out cinnamon for any other spice!

Pro-tip: Homemade muffins make a lovely gift. Just package in a box, tie it up with some twine or ribbon, and add a tag. Affordable and adorable!!

********

What you’ll need:

1 cup grated zucchini

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup oats

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup dark chocolate morsels

And how it all comes together:

– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Grate one cup of zucchini.

– Line muffin tin (recipe makes 12 muffins) with muffin cups.

– Measure your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine.

– Mix your yogurt, zucchini, and eggs into a separate bowl.  Then, add dry ingredients to wet and mix until batter consistency is achieved. Add dark chocolate morsels and stir once or twice.

– Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way full with batter.

– Bake for 20 minutes.

– Allow your muffins to cool for about 20 minutes and then ENJOY!

Quick + Easy Meal Plan for One on a Budget (Vegan)

If you didn’t already know, my sister Katie wrote a musical! I know, right?! *Badass alert* She recently found out that Full the Musical was accepted to The New York City International Fringe Festival this August. So, on top of her full time job she’s also running around like a mad woman doing all the million and one things that need to happen to get a production ready for the bright lights of the big city. (Including, but not limited to; rehearsing, costuming, hustling, and coordinating travel from FL->NYC.) I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

full the musical

She mentioned to me that in the midst of all that madness she felt it was still important to throw down on some food prepared in her own kitchen. And I totally agree. Healthy fuel and a happy wallet are key components to this season of her life. But the perfect meal plan needed to be easy and non-brain-draining. (As well as reserve a few meals for eating out. Ya gotta be realistic, people!)

I told Katie, “Leave it to me, sistah!” You see, I LOVE creating meal plans. It feels like putting together a really satisfying puzzle. In case you have a similarly hectic week coming up, I thought I’d share what I put together for her.

And if you don’t? Thank your lucky stars. Cook elaborate meals. Revel in your free time. And then dig in your pockets to help out this amazing show. (Please and thanks!) 

Shopping List –

Oats

2 containers of coconut (or any non-dairy) yogurt

Almond milk

Bananas

Fruit of choice that is on sale/in season

1 onion

1 potato

1 sweet potato

1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk

1 loaf of bakery bread (freeze whatever you won’t be using this week)

Earth Balance

Red lentils

Basmati rice

Garlic

Avocados

Peanut butter

Hummus

Pita Chips (and/or crunchy dipping veg like bell peppers or baby carrots)

Tofu

A couple of on sale/in season veggie choices for sauteeing (think: peppers, zucchini, etc)

1 frozen meal option (think: pizza, Indian food, gnocchi, etc)

1 dessert option (like Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s!!!)

(Note: I didn’t include spices or cooking oil on this list so check the recipes to make sure you have all items on hand.)

Meal Plan –

Monday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats (prepare 4 jars on Sunday night. In each jar goes ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of almond milk, and ½ of one yogurt container + whatever extras you want to add – cinnamon, cocoa powder, mashed banana, nuts. In the morning you can top with fruit and a spoonful of nut butter, if you like.)

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

(Saute chopped onions in a little cooking spray in a large pot over high heat. Add a pinch of salt. Once onions are translucent, add chopped potato, chopped sweet potato, 1 Tbsp curry powder, 1 cup water, and 1 can coconut milk. • Bring mixture to a boil, turn down heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. • Blend or mash mixture to desired consistency.)

Serve with a slice of toasted bakery bread with lots of Earth Balance!

Tuesday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

Lunch –

Leftover sweet potato curry soup with another slice of bread and a serving of fruit.

vegan meal plan 2

Dinner –

Lentils and Rice

(Ingredients:

1 ½ cups red lentils, 7 cups water, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, 2 cups basmati rice , 1 tsp salt + avocado on top per serving

Recipe:

Add lentils, water, garlic and spices to a pot over medium high heat. Cook for 25 minutes, until lentils are soft. Add rice and salt. • Return to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes. • Top with avocado!)

Wednesday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

Lunch –

Leftover Lentils and Rice w/ a serving of fruit.

Dinner –

Out.

Thursday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

vegan meal plan 1.0

Lunch –

Peanut butter and banana sandwich with pita chips and fruit.

Dinner –

Leftover Lentils and Rice

vegan meal plan 3

Friday

Breakfast –

Avocado toast

avotoast

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Brekky for dinner: Tofu scramble, toast w/ nut butter, and fruit salad (your fruit selection for the week and banana…drizzle with honey if you like!)

Saturday

Breakfast –

Pancakes

(Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats, 1 ripe banana, 2/3 cup non-dairy milk, + peanut butter for topping

Recipe:

Blend together oats, banana and water. • Add batter to a skillet preheated to medium high heat. • Cook as you would normal pancakes, flipping when bubbles start to form on the side. • Top with peanut butter!)

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Saute vegetables and tofu in a pan with soy sauce. Serve with rice and sriracha.

Sunday

Breakfast –

Pancakes

Lunch –

Leftover stir-fry.

Dinner –

Frozen meal.

SNACKS FOR THE WEEK:

Pita chips and crunchy veggie of choice with hummus.

DESSERTS FOR THE WEEK:

Dessert option and banana soft serve.

And there you have it! What do you think? Would this meal plan work for you? Do you have any tips + tricks for eating well when you’re balls deep in busy? Ya girl is all ears. 

P.S. No but for real, you should DONATE to Katie’s show. Those set pieces aren’t gonna haul THEMSELVES to The Fringe Festival. Thank you!

P.P.S. Love meal plans? Here’s another one that’s super budget friendly and here are 7 easy steps for beginner meal planners!

My Three Favorite Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

happiness depends on breakfast

I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day and I could eat breakfast foods morning, noon, and night. (Sometimes I do!) I also really enjoy eating my breakfast in bed while I read the news and check my emails. According to Downton Abbey this is a luxury I shouldn’t be afforded until after my wedding day. But Downton be damned! I like to live by the quote above instead — All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. Can I get an AMEN? Wanna know what can make your breakfasts even MORE leisurely than consuming them propped up amongst a mountain of pillows? (Yes, having it served on a tray by your ladies maid would be grand but that’s not quite what I was thinking…) Making them ahead of time! I’m an oatmeal girl through and through but sometimes it’s nice to have a few other options on hand to switch things up. Especially when those options cut down on the time spent away from my quilt! Here are a few make-ahead breakfast recipes that will have you dining like a Crawley in no time…

Freezer Breakfast Burritos. Breakfast Burritos are one of my favorite things on the entire planet. Having a stash in the freezer at all times is obviously the best way to live your life. To make them, just throw some veggies (like bell peppers, onion, spinach, or whatever you have on hand) into a pan for a minute or so. Beat your eggs and add them to the pan and scramble on up. Add black beans and salsa to warm. Transfer your egg mixture to a bowl and let it cool a little. Finally, grab some tortillas and plastic wrap/aluminum foil. Add a couple scoops of egg-y goodness to the tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on top if you like, and fold and wrap. Place the individually wrapped burritos in a tupperware or freezer bag and pop ’em in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, unwrap and microwave for 1-2 minutes (flipping once).

Choco-Coconut Overnight Oats. This is the most decadent breakfast in all of the land. So rich, so creamy, so…in a mason jar. How could you go wrong? All you do is add the following ingredients to a jar: 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of milk of choice, 3 Tbsps coconut greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/2 a banana-mashed. Stir everything up and put a lid on it. Pop it in your fridge and let it sit at least overnight (but up to 3 days). Note: If you don’t have coconut yogurt you can substitute plain yogurt + shredded coconut + sweetener of your choice.

Banana Blueberry Soft Serve. Ok, so this one is sort of cheating because you still have to use your food processor in the morning but stick with me…it’s worth it. All you’re gonna do is make little baggies (or small tupperwares) with 1 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup of blueberries and throw them in the freezer. Then in the morning throw the contents of the bag in your food processor with a splash of milk and give it a good whiz until you reach a soft serve consistency. Scoop the mixture out into a bowl and add whatever toppings you have on hand (like granola, sliced almonds, chia seeds, or fresh fruit). Admittedly, this is my favorite dessert at the moment but who said your leisurely breakfast can’t include such luxuries?

Which would you choose? xoxo

April favorites.

April Favorites collage

With the turning of the calendar page from April to May, it’s time to bundle together the best products, places, media and everything in between from the last month. Here are 9 things I found myself loving in April…

1. Pocket Letters

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll know I’ve been going a little Pocket Letter crazy this month. I just can’t get enough. For those curious, Pocket Letters are a genius way to send someone (pen pal, friend, stranger, etc.) a little mailbox surprise! Essentially, you take a 3×3 baseball card holder, decorate it to your heart’s content, tuck in some stationery goodies for your pal, and mail it off. Here’s a TUTORIAL if you’d like to learn more. I’ve been making these for a little while now, but I only recently hopped on PocketLetterPals.com to start arranging swaps with peeps from across the country. The resulting deliveries have made mail time a giddy experience. (If you’re interested in swapping leave a comment below!) 

2. Ballet

While I’m hopelessly devoted to my yoga practice, the month of April saw me dusting off my ballet shoes for a bit of barre work. I turned to YouTube (of course!) and was able to rustle up a few videos of actual ballet classes. I then got to work and have been trying to incorporate ballet into my workout routine on a weekly basis. For me no other exercise ever seems as effective yet effortless as ballet. I can have sweat dripping down my neck all with a smile on my face. Maybe because it has been a part of my life for so long? *cue that scene in Center Stage where Juliette Simone/Julie Simon talks about the barre being home.*

3. Graze snacks

If you wanna up your snacking game, you GOTTA check out Graze. Graze is a snack subscription service that sends you 4 or 8 individually packaged snacks weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. I’ve gotten two boxes so far and I gotta tell ya…I am HOOKED. Each snack I’ve tried has been delicious and perfectly portioned. And you can’t beat the convenience! My favorite snack so far has gotta go to the Honeycomb Flapjack which Graze describes as a “rustic rolled oat flapjack with honeycomb and chocolate drizzle.” It’s legit better than a candy bar. YUM!

4. Homestead Town Hall Museum

On a recent #AdventureSaturday, Chet and I decided to explore Historic Downtown Homestead. Normally when we spend a Saturday in Homestead it’s at the beach. But this time around we decided to stay on dry land and see what else the city had to offer. Downtown Homestead is definitely a blink and you’ll miss it stretch of road but it does offer some quaint places — an old theater with a retro marquis, a park with an amphitheater, and the Homestead Town Hall Museum. After chowing down on some amazing Cuban food at a little hole-in-the-wall attached to the local bus station, we headed to the museum. Admission is free and was totally time well spent just for the eccentric docent who showed us around. (Although she did try to convince us to sit down in a couple of folding chairs to watch an HOUR long documentary about Homestead on a rinky-dink TV. Not gonna happen, lady.)

5. Free printables

One of the joys of wedding planning on a budget has been scouring the internet for ways to cut corners. My favorite way so far? Free printables. They are so fun to tinker around with. Pictured above is one I found for a Thumbprint Guestbook. It is so simple and fun! I love the idea of having it out at our reception with some ink pads and asking guests to create the leaves. Wouldn’t it be lovely to frame that as a keepsake? What a beautiful reminder of all our “people” and the special family tree we’ve created for ourselves, both with our actual family and the folks who’ve become our family.

6. Washi tape

I LOVE washi tape. This month I’ve been using it a ton to decorate pocket letters (see above) and my planner (see below). Last week we stumbled upon an office supply store that was going out of business and I stocked up. My other favorite places to find washi? Target, Dollar Tree, and Ikea. Ikea sells packs of four for FIFTY CENTS. Hello!?! Need I say more.

7. Target Dollar Spot planner

I started using my Target Dollar Spot planner on April 1st and the obsession is still going strong. In case you’re wondering, I call it the Target Dollar Spot planner because it was created from 3 components purchased at Target in the $1-$3 section. A mini binder, dividers/weekly inserts, and folders/monthly inserts. Each of these “kits” was $3. While I utilize this planner for weekly and monthly planning, I’ve also been trying my hand at planner decorating. (Inspired by CheapCraftyGirl on YouTube.) It’s a fun activity to sit down on a Sunday night and decorate the next week’s spread! And it’s also a cool way to use some of the stationery goodies I receive in my pocket letters. Paper crafting for the win!

8. The Brain Candy Podcast

Confession: I’m a LONG time viewer of The Real World, Road Rules, and The Challenge. I have never “out grown” these shows and continue to enjoy, especially The Challenge, to this day. The advent of social media has taken my interest in reality TV in a different direction. I love keeping up with cast members on Twitter and Instagram because seeing what D-List celebs do in their day to day is just as interesting (if not more) to me than watching them on a show. Anyways, that’s all to say, I follow the two ladies responsible for this podcast on social media. So when they started promoting this endeavor I was totally into it. It’s hosted by Susie Meister (RR: Down Under) and Sarah Rice (RW: Brooklyn) and is billed as “candy for your left brain and your right brain.” While some episodes are about The Challenge (both Susie and Sarah have competed multiple times on the show), many are not. They cover everything from cults to travel to DIY. It is super easy listening…kind of like you’re eavesdropping on two intelligent girlfriends having a chat. Oh, and usually wine is involved!

9. Uncovered by Leah Lax

If women and religion, and how the two intersect, is of interest to you, then this memoir is a must-read. I love learning about different religions and recently realized I didn’t know too much about the lives of Hasidic Jews. I picked up this memoir at my local library and couldn’t put it down. It tells the story of Leah Lax who left her liberal, secular home as a teenager for a life as a Hasidic Jew. Lax recounts her experiences with arranged marriage, fundamentalist faith, and motherhood during her time with the Hasidim, and exposes how her creative, sexual, and spiritual longings existed beneath the surface throughout her time there. This book taught me a lot about this particular faith through the eyes of a woman who lived it and then left it.