Holiday Gift Guide for Her

I love Christmas, but I get a bit anxious when it comes to Christmas shopping. It can be a lot of pressure, right? You want to get that “perfect” gift for the special people in your life. This means that I usually procrastinate when it comes to shopping since I spend so much time debating about what to buy. So, I haven’t started shopping for anyone on my list yet… Eek! Do any of you procrastinate on your Christmas shopping? In case you are like me and need a little inspiration before you do a little shopping this weekend, here are a few of the fun things I’ve come across online this week.

Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Knit boot socks from Etsy. These socks look comfy, cozy for keeping your toes warm in tall boots or just lounging around the house.
  2. African sunset necklace and matching accessories from Noonday. I love the current trend of large, colorful jewelry to add a pop of color to outfits. Not only does Noonday have beautiful jewelry, but they help provide a livable income to people in resource poor countries through their jewelry sales.
  3. Silhouette camera bag. After investing in a DSLR camera a few months ago, I have been on the lookout for a stylish yet functional camera bag. This silhouette camera bag looks like the perfect. If you have a photographer in your life, they would love this bag!
  4. Anchinalu scarf. Honestly, I feel that a girl can never have too many scarves. Any scarf like this one from Fashionable is a fun way to liven up an outfit. All scarves are hand crafted by women in Africa supported by this organization and includes a thank you note attached.
  5. A Bit Spotty Briggi lunch box. What better way to brighten up your workday than pulling this adorable lunch box out of the employee fridge?
  6. The Oh She Glows Cookbook. If you have a foodie, vegetarian, or vegan in your life – this is the cookbook for them! The author, Angela, is a fabulous blogger so I am more than excited to see what yummy recipes she has in store in her cookbook.
  7. The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a little help to be more organized! This gorgeous planner looks like the perfect way to start 2014 off in perfect order.
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How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Holiday Bulge

With all the decadent food, holiday parties, and other festivities between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can be difficult to make it to New Years a few added pounds. It’s no wonder that the most popular New Year’s resolution is weight loss. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! By playing it smart from Thanksgiving to January 1st, you truly can maintain your weight. These tips are sure to help you survive the holidays without adding on some extra jiggle.

1. Yes, it’s ok to indulge. Some treats like gingerbread men, pumpkin pie, fudge and more are only around for the holidays. Don’t deprive yourself – enjoy! The trick is to choose smaller portions of your seasonal favorites and eat them slowly so you can savor them. Once you’ve had your favorite dish, give away the leftover and move on.

2. Eat healthy all day long. If you know you are going to fall off the bandwagon by indulging in treats, don’t abandon ship and just eat poorly the entire season long. Make an effort to eat a healthy breakfast and incorporate at least 2-3 servings of vegetables every day.

3. Make healthy eating easy. The holidays can be a very busy time of year which means that meal prep should be simple. Take some time on the weekend to chop up all the fresh fruits and vegetables from your shopping trip to save time later in the week. You can also just switch to pre-chopped vegetables or frozen produce to make things even easier. My favorite way to prepare vegetables  in the winter is to roast them with a bit of salt and olive oil. I’ll do a big batch on the weekend so I can just reheat them for dinner or toss them on salads for lunch.

4. Hide the treats, showcase the healthy eats. Think out of sight; out of mind. Keep fresh fruit on the counter and plenty of fresh cut vegetables, hummus, plain yogurt, and cheese sticks in the fridge so they are the first things you see when coming to the kitchen when you have the munchies. Since the healthier snacks are in plain sight, you may be more likely to reach for those before you dig through cabinets to find the holiday treats.

5. Make movement a priority. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to let your workout routine get bumped down to the end of your to-do list. Instead, look online for short intense workouts you can do at home in the morning or make an extra lap around the store to add some walking.

6. Beware the “red cup”. Yes, I agree that the gingerbread latte and peppermint mocha from Starbucks are delicious. However, if you find yourself with red cup in hand more than once or twice a week, you may want to reconsider how you get your caffeine fix. Choose unflavored drinks or ask them to decrease the amount of syrup they add – otherwise those sugary calories add up quickly!

 7. Join a healthy holiday challenge. I know I have been loving the fun activities and social media activity from Elf for Health! There are dozens of other challenges with supportive community members to help you stay healthy through the holidays. Check out this December Workout Challenge via Bess Be Fit or the Move Happy Challenge from Better with Veggies.

How do you stay healthy over the holidays?

Honey Coconut Latte

Throughout college and grad school, one of my absolute favorite places to be was the local coffee shop. It was such a great environment for getting a caffeine fix while studying or chatting with friends. These days, I definitely don’t spend as much time at the local coffee place as I used to, but I still love it just the same. This weekend, Will and I spent the afternoon at Ipsento Coffee, just  a few blocks from our house. I decided to splurge and try their signature latte – it was incredible! The thing that sold me on this drink was the dash of cayenne pepper; I love the hint of spice it gives this latte. The coconut milk also adds a lot of great flavor. Since I don’t want to be spending all of my money at the coffee shop, I decided to recreate it at home and share with you!

Honey Coconut Latte

Honey Coconut Latte

(Makes 1 latte)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk/cream
  • 1-2 shots of espresso or 3 oz. strong coffee
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat milk and coconut cream together until hot. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy!

10 Link Tuesday

10 Link Tuesday

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with lots of relaxation, family-time, and of course – delicious food! Will and I had a quiet holiday and shared dinner with one of my friends from work. We thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend with a little shopping, comedy, and movies. Despite the long break, I am sadly without as much recipe inspiration as I had hoped for this week. The last few things I’ve tried just haven’t worked out –> boo. Would you believe that bloggers have kitchen failures as well! For example, I had high hopes for the muffins pictured above, but the recipe needs a bit more tweaking before it is great. I only want to share the best with all of you. Later this week, I will be posting about some of my new favorite winter beverages – you won’t want to miss them! Instead of success in the kitchen, I did make some fun updates to the look of the blog. What do you think? Here’s a few of my favorite posts from around the internet this week.

  1. This breakfast dish sounds heavenly –> Eggnog Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Bananas and Vanilla Bean Brown Butter from How Sweet It Is
  2. Get back on track with this Collard Power Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing from Delicious Knowledge
  3. Love the simplicity of these Grain-Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs from Fit Foodie Finds
  4. Wish I actually had the skill to make thisDIY Honeycomb Table with Industrial Pipe Legs from A Beautiful Mess
  5. Adding these to my Christmas cookie baking list –> Oatmeal Cranberry Sandwich Cookies with White Chocolate Creme Filling from Two Peas & Their Pod
  6. Must make a bowl of this Curried Cauliflower Soup from Cookie+ Kate some chilly evening.
  7. Chia pudding is such a simple and delicious dessert. I will have to try out this Apple Tartlet Breakfast Chia Pudding from PaleOMG
  8. Thinking I’ll be having one of these Sparkling Cranberry Lime Cocktail from Oh She Glows
  9. I am seriously obsessed with pomegranates these days so these caught my eye! –> Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pomegranate Salt from Top with Cinnamon
  10. Definitely pinned these holiday workouts from Bess be Fit for days when I need some fit-spiration.

Row Baby Row Workout

One way that I am staying on track for healthy eating and exercise this holiday season is through the Elf for Health challenge coordinated by Lean Green Bean and Nutritionella. Not only are the challenges fun to do, but it has been a great way to interact with a few new people via social media! You can join in on the fun too!

elf for health

Today’s challenge was to try out a new workout. Here’s one that I did recently that I really enjoyed! Feel free to try it out. 🙂 If you don’t have access to a rowing machine, feel free to substitute with 10 minutes of jump rope or a 1/2 mile run.

rowing workout

Click on the widget in my side bar or this link if you are interested in learning more about the Elf for Health Challenge or signing up on the next round!

Pomegranate, Squash, and Walnut Salad

Happy Tuesday Friends! Today, I wanted to share this scrumptious fall/winter salad with you. This salad could easily be a healthy, colorful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. Who said all Thanksgiving dishes have to be laden in tons of calories?! Do you ever add fruit to your salads? I have made salads in the past with apple, cranberries, and pear; but I’ve been wanting to try pomegranate! Oh. my. goodness. Who knew they were such a delicious addition?! I love the mixture of the tart-sweet pomegranate arils with the buttery squash and tangy vinaigrette.

IMG_1275

Pomegranate Salad

Pomegranate, Squash, and Walnut Salad

(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups spring mix
  • 1/2 cubed, roasted butternut squash
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Cheddar cheese – to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix vinaigrette ingredients (vinegar to salt/pepper) together.
  2. Toss with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until lettuce is coated. Serve!

Pinning My Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner!

Are you all ready for Thanksgiving this week?! I can’t believe the holidays are already here.  In case you are still looking for a few ideas, or perhaps you have no idea what to serve a vegetarian guest, I have a few recipes to share with you! (Or maybe I’m the only procrastinator here!) As I was looking for recipe inspiration, I found myself searching Pinterest – with a bit of luck! You can find so many wonderful recipes and decorating inspiration – I could spend hours on the site. Below are a few of my favorite, or if you want more vegetarian friendly feast ideas, check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board! Click on any of the pinned images below to head to the recipe.

stuffed eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant from ME!

vegetable pot pie

Vegetarian Potpie from A Beautiful Mess

wheatberry salad

Ultimate Fall Wheatberry Salad from Kath Eats

green bean casserole

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions from Smitten Kitchen

sweet potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans from Oh My Veggies

pumpkin trifle

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles from My Baking Addiction

pear chai tarts

Pumpkin Chai Tarts from Delicious Knowledge