February Favorites

Happy Galentine’s Day, all! On this day of lady friend celebration, allow me to share some recommendations as a gift. Here’s what I am all about this month:

Podcast

the-dollop

The Dollop – When I want to learn something, but have a huge side helping of humor, I turn to The Dollop podcast. It is an American History podcast and I absolutely love the improv riffing between Dave and Gareth. Often, I find comedy podcasts too be “too much”, but these guys strike the perfect balance.

Jewelry

ssdgm

Silversheep Jewelry SSDGM Ring – Secret true crime enthusiast? Boldy proud Muderino? This ring is for you. “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!” is one of the primary taglines from my beloved My Favorite Murder Podcast. Not only is this ring cute, a portion of the sales go to End the Backlog, which helps fund the backlog of rape kits. A very worthy cause! Each ring differs from the next and is handmade. I ordered the brass one and absolutely love it!

Bingeworthy Show

the-golden-girls

The Golden Girls – As of today, the Girl’s are available to stream on Hulu! I have the first five seasons on dvd, but I will be watching alllll of them again from the beginning. Not only are the the ultimate girl group goals, they were progressive and sassy as can be.

Recipe

jalapeno-turkey-burgers

Jalapeno Turkey Burgers – I am aiming to try one new recipe a month. Last month, it was these delicious turkey burgers. You can do them paleo by omitting the bun or doing a lettuce wrap. I opted to serve them on pretzel buns and it was delicious. Also, pile the guac on top for your healthy fats!

Wine

cupcake-cabernet-sauvingnon

Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon – I am all about a red wine lately, I think the colder weather is to blame. Most of Cupcake’s wines are rather good, and the price is right on point. You can get a bottle for about $10 and it will not let you down!

Enjoy! xx

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December Favorites

december-favorites

 

Podcast

sword-and-scale

Sword and Scale – Another true crime podcast I have become obsessed with? Shocking! Though Sword and Scale just ended their third season and is on a break until January, the archives are full of fascinating episodes.

TV Show(s)

This Is Us & American Housewife – My two new favorite shows couldn’t be any more different. This Is Us is thought provoking, feel good, and world changing. To even begin to describe the premise of the show would ruin a big surprise and plot twist. I admittedly cry at almost every episodes. The writers of this show better clean house at all awards shows in the near future. It’s that good.
American Housewife is just politically incorrect enough to be fantastic. AH follows a plus size mom of three kids with a well meaning and supportive husband. She has to navigate her way through the social hierarchy of a status hungry, and debatably always hungry, suburban oasis. Great to help you lighten up from all that true crime podcast binge listening.

Show I’ve Been Netflix-ing

miss-fishers-murder-mysteries

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Think Samantha from SATC meets Hercule Poirot, set in the 1920’s in Melbourne. Smart, yet salacious, this lady detective deals with past and present injustices in an always entertaining way. Great for a binge watch, or treat yourself to an episode an evening to avoid going through the three seasons so quickly.

Wine

Trader Joe’s Tusk ‘N Red – My corkscrew betrayed me a few weeks ago. I am awaiting my new one as a Christmas gift and in the mean time, I had to find a great wine with a screw off cap. My favorite rosé’s from Trader Joe’s have screw tops, but it’s winter after all I love a good red at the end of a long week! I bought this on a whim and it’s a great red blend. Let it breathe a little before drinking and you’ll be downing a couple of glasses in one sitting!

Recipe

Katharine Hepburn’s brownies – extremely gooey, easy to make, and delicious. If you like really rich brownies, these will be your new favorite.

 

Quick and Healthy “Sausage” Zucchini Dish

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The best thing about fall is eating seasonally means all the squash varieties you can get your hands on! I love spaghetti squash, but am horrible at slicing it effectively. I know zoodles (zucchini noodles) are the new pasta, but spiralizers are surprisingly expensive! I prefer a chop and go method. My new favorite lunch is vegetarian – and can be vegan if you omit or alter the cheese.

Ingredients:
– 1 tablespoon coconut oil
– 1 zucchini squash, sliced
– approx 1 cup mushrooms
– 2 veggie sausage patties (I prefer Trader Joe’s breakfast sausage patties in the freezer section)
– 1/2 cup marinara sauce
– 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
– Fresh black pepper

Directions:
In a large pan heat coconut oil until melted, add zucchini. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, flip zucchini slices. Add mushrooms, cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, heat up sausage patties in the microwave, about 45 seconds on each side. Chop up sausage patties, add to pan with marinara sauce. Cook until your dish is steaming. Plate it and add cheese and black pepper to taste.

What’s great about this, is nothing is exact. Meaning you don’t have to keep a close eye on it while your babe is fussy… When it’s done, you have a fast, cozy fall dish that is packed with nutrition and will actually keep you full. Happy noshing!

Mocha Cold Brew

Almond Milk

Sleep hasn’t exactly been happening around here lately. At least for me it hasn’t. While I have to watch my caffeine intake due to breastfeeding, I did mention previously my latest favorite thing is Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Concentrate. This stuff is my ultimate one cup of coffee for the day. Relaxing mornings are, understandably, hit and miss based on Clint’s sleep and feeding schedule as well as how many things I have on my ever present to do list. Meaning, enjoying a hot cup of coffee is an unlikely expectation. I’ve found taking a couple of minutes to make my favorite cold brew recipe, often while inhaling my breakfast, is well worth the effort. I can sip on my iced coffee throughout the morning without worrying about my coffee “going bad”. I hate the way hot coffee tastes when it’s been sitting out too long and goes cold, you know what I mean?

Ingredients
Ingredients

Here’s what you’re going to need to precisely replicate my recommendation:

  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Concentrate
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons Torani Dark Chocolate Sauce
  • A splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 ice cubes (exact, yes, but it is the best ratio)Mix together the concentrate and water in a cup, stir in dark chocolate sauce. Mix very well. Add your dash of almond milk and your three ice cubes and you’re ready to take on your day!

Tips:
– I enjoy my coffee black, if you’re not a fan of strong coffee, adjust the water ratio or increase the ice cubes or milk.
– Use the milk of your choice. I am not a huge milk fan, I’m all about the milk substitutes. However, adding whole milk will make for a creamier iced coffee.
– Switch up your syrups, want a Nutella iced coffee? Add a teaspoon of hazelnut syrup to your cup!
– Any brand of cold brew will do the trick, I do recommend sticking with cold brew concentrate rather than the bottles of iced coffee you see in stores. Why? Cold brew is less likely to have that bitter aftertaste you sometimes experience with iced coffee. It also has a stronger flavor, aka more bang for your buck!

Final
Ta da! The delicious finished product.

Springtime Seltzers

I am so over water. It sounds bizarre, but since becoming pregnant I get sick of water pretty easily. Ironically one of the times you need to stay the most hydrated and I’m suffering through it. Enter sparkling water. Liters from Trader Joe’s and cans of La Croix to the rescue. The fizz also helps when you’re craving soda, sans sugar and chemicals. I like to add different fruit and flavors to switch it up. Here are my favorites:

Grapefruit & Mint

  • Unflavored sparkling water – Perrier and San Pelligrino are at every grocery store, but Trader Joe’s has sparkling water liters for just 79 cents!
  • Grapefruit wedge
  • 3-4 mint leaves

Ingredients

First up: juice the grapefruit. Squeeze it by hand, use a juicer or strainer, however works best for you.

Juicing

Pour the juice in an empty glass, add the (washed) mint leaves, top with sparkling water and enjoy!

Grapefruit Mint Spritzer

Raspberry & Lime

Probably my favorite Trader Joe’s flavored water, it’s even better when you make it fresh.

  • Unflavored sparkling water
  • Handful raspberries
  • 1/4 lime

Muddle raspberries at the bottom of the glass, squeeze lime wedge, top with sparkling water.

Mixed Berry “Lemonade”

This one is probably my favorite for a hot day. Refreshing frozen berries and lemon? Winning combination.

  • Unflavored sparkling water
  • Handful frozen mixed berries
  • 1/4 lemon

Combine berries and fresh squeezed lemon wedge, top with sparkling water. The berries will thaw by the time you’re done and they make a nice treat. These are all, obviously alcohol free. However, if you want to spice it up add a shot of vodka, flavored or unflavored. Cheers!

 

Mediterranean Inspired Salad

My lunches are usually a not so exciting blend of leftovers or eggs or chicken sausage with some salad and popcorn on the side. Last week the warmer weather helped inspire me to kick it up a notch. I threw together a delicious salad and (speedy) homemade dressing. I’ll make a batch of this dressing once or twice a week depending on how many salads I eat, store it in a tupperware container, and shake it thoroughly before each use.

Mediterranean Salad

Salad ingredients:
– 3-4 handfuls spinach
– 1/3 cup chickpeas
– 1/4 bell pepper
– few slices cucumber
– handful Kalamata olives
– 2 T. fresh Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 beefsteak tomato
– 2+ T. dressing
– Black pepper and basil to taste

Dressing:
– 1/3 cup basalmic vinegar
– 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1 heaping T. Trader Joe’s Dijon Mustard (pictured below)
*This mustard is amazing but very spicy! Don’t be afraid to start with less and add according to your own tastes.

Trader Joes Mustard

Mix and match the ingredient to suit your preferences. This salad is a perfect quick lunch solution and helps use up any spare veggies you may have lying around. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – Two Ways

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

While I am admittedly not the best baker, there is one dessert I make better than the rest. My oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Below I am including the two recipes I use. One is more traditional, a modified version of a classic recipe. The other is an undeniably healthy option. Both, I promise, are delicious.

Betty Crocker’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (modified)

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  • 2 Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
  • 3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Modifications: 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla instead of one, old fashioned oats in replacement of quick cooking oats as it makes for a chewier cookie, milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Feel free to sprinkle more cinnamon on top as well!

Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 pure vanilla extrace
1 teaspoon cinnmon
1 egg
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

  • Mix brown sugar, butter, and yogurt. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and egg. Beat together. Last stir in oats, flour, baking soda, and chocolate chips.
  • Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet with a spoon. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon!
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 30 cookies
Calories per cookie: 115

Whip up a batch for your loved ones or be the hero of the next office party by bringing in a fresh plate of these cookies! Happy Valentine’s Day!