Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Golden Milk Latte

If I have to have a vice, I feel like coffee isn't the worst of the worst. I have a cup and a half to two cups in the morning and usually a cup around 3 in the afternoon. This is partially for the caffeine and partially because my sweet tooth hits me hard around this time of day and coffee helps that! I won't give up my coffee all together, but I'm all for making "healthier" choices and cutting back where I can. 

I'm not fully on board with the golden milk lattes but I love a good health food trend and am always willing to try them out. Turmeric is what packs the big punch here. It has tons of great health benefits including having anti-inflammatory benefits and increasing the antioxidant capacity in your body. I won't be giving up my afternoon coffee all together but I will definitely be drinking these every so often as a little health boost! 

If you're looking for other ways to get your turmeric in, this detox tea is one of my very favorites in the winter. 

Golden Milk Latte

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of black pepper
2 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. pure maple syrup

In a small saucepan, heat almond milk until it's hot but not boiling. Add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon and whisk to combine. Add the coconut oil and pepper and whisk until the coconut oil melts. Add in maple syrup, plus more for added sweetness if you like. Pour into a cup and drink up! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hello, 2018 + First Meal Plan of the New Year!

Two thumbs up for a peppermint latte but two thumbs down for no more red cups. 

If I'm being honest, the end of the holiday season always leaves me feeling a little sad. We wait and wait and wait for this time of year and then it passes us by in a blink! We soaked it all in and truly enjoyed the season but I always wish it could last a little it longer. Our twinkly tree is still thriving and glowing and we are enjoying it through the rest of this week. I need a few more snuggly nights by my tree with a Hallmark movie playing in the background. I even made a "Winter playlist" to ease me back in because I can't stop with the Christmas music abruptly. 

I do love the fresh start of a new year, though! We have been in vacation mode for awhile now and it will be nice to get back to early mornings in the gym, routine and my favorite- MEAL PLANNING! We aren't doing a true Whole 30 in January but I'm trying to keep our meals mostly Whole 30. I've found Instagram to be a huge resource for meal ideas and I have so many friends who are on board as well so I always have people to recipe swap with. 

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

Chicken Picatta + Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Salad

Cajun Salmon + Green Beans + Roasted Red Potatoes

Hawaiian Chicken Burgers + Roasted Sweet Potato Fries + Salad

Sausage + Greens Roasted Veggie Bowls 

Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash

Sushi Takeout (I have been craving this for WEEKS!)

If you are looking for healthy recipe inspiration for the New Year, here are a few of my favorites to follow:

No Crumbs Left
Pretend It's a Donut
Ambitious Kitchen
The Defined Dish
Pinch of Yum

Also related to the start of the new year, I just jumped onboard with Emily Ley's 2018 Simplicity Challenge. I'm a few days behind but luckily, the past three days have been easy to catch up with. Today's challenge was to clean up your phone! It sounds a little silly, but it felt so good. I deleted apps that I don't use, turned off almost all notifications and organized everything into folders. I also deleted old contacts and moved time sucking apps to the last page of my phone. You can follow the challenge on Instagram by following @emilyley and #simplicitychallenge2018. (not sponsored- just loving the idea of incorporating this in January)

Cheers to a great 2018!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Cookies for Santa!

It's the most magical night of the year and the little ones in our house are patiently waiting for the big man in red to make his arrival. We are looking forward to a wonderful couple of days with family and soaking it all in together. 

It's not too late to make cookies for Santa! My baking assistants went a little sprinkle crazy, but I don't think that Santa will mind one bit! They also insisted that he get a dinosaur and a unicorn on his plate. 

This sugar cookie recipe from Everyday Annie is my go to and never fails. The lemon zest gives them a little something extra and is my favorite addition. I skipped the royal icing and just did a simple frosting with 1 cup of milk + 2-3 Tablespoons of milk. I separated frosting into a couple of bowls and then colored each one using this gel food coloring

Simple Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. whole milk
gel food coloring

In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and milk and stir until it reaches the right consistency- make sure it isn't too runny! Add more milk or sugar as needed. Divide into bowls and add food coloring- then you are ready to decorate! 

P.S. Sprinkles are necessary.

Wishing you all much joy, peace and love as you celebrate this Christmas! Merry Christmas Eve!!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Faves

Checking in on this wintry afternoon with a little edition of Friday Faves. It's such a cozy day here which is always welcome at the end of the week. I'll take any excuse to snuggle in for the day. 

I cannot get enough of these Bulletproof Peppermint Mochas! I'm normally not a sweet coffee drinker, but Starbucks Peppermint Lattes call my name this time of year. It's the best festive treat. Thankfully, this homemade version is so easy to whip up and much healthier, too! A perfect mid-afternoon treat. Plus with the addition of collagen- PROTEIN! (and good hair, skin and nails, too)

Attention moms and dads...World Market sells pre-built gingerbread house kits! I seriously love these people. All we had to do was decorate, which really is the best part of it all anyways. 

Look at all of this beautiful, fresh greenery! We are team real tree in our house and over the past few years I've started using more and more fresh greenery during the Christmas season. I added fresh eucalyptus to my pine garland last year and loved it so much that I recreated it this year! I usually do a refresh halfway through the season but Trader Joe's makes it easy. 

I'm ready to do some Christmas cookie baking! I think I may have been Santa in a past life because this time of year I ALWAYS want to end the day in my pajamas, sitting by the Christmas tree with a glass of milk and some cookies. Sally's Baking Addiction is my go to for ALL THE TREATS. 

Stuffed Mushrooms are never a bad idea. 

If you're local to Charlotte, here's a link to 25 Picks for where to see Christmas lights in Charlotte! And here's my own little list of favorites that I posted here last year. 

We have a giant magnolia tree in our backyard and I've always had grand plans of using the leaves to make beautiful things. I finally got a little crafty with them and now I can't stop. I made swags for our garage lanterns and a big wreath for inside. I also did a swag for our mailbox and added some greens from our tree. Maybe I'll attempt some garland next!? I got a ton of questions about the wreath when I posted a picture of it on Instagram stories so maybe I will post a tutorial next week.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Apple Cider Mules

I know. Another apple cider cocktail. But I swear I haven't been sitting around all season enjoying happy hour! We are full on Christmas over here and enjoying every minute. We've decked the halls and every corner of our house just seems extra cozy and festive this time of year. We've built a gingerbread house, constructed a foam Nativity and enjoyed special cups of hot chocolate. Tomorrow we'll make snow angels, go ice skating and eat a whole roll of tollhouse cookie dough. Just kidding. Sort of. 

It is no secret that I LOVE this time of year and these little ones of ours certainly make it extra special. I want to bottle up their excitement and joy with it all. Every day of this season is just so much fun with them. 

This cocktail though. In case you have some cider sitting around from Thanksgiving, MAKE THIS. Or even if you don't, go to the store and MAKE THIS. I love Moscow Mules- 50% because they are delicious and 50% because the mugs are just fun to drink out of. The best part about a mule is that as long as you have ginger beer and good vodka, you can basically add your own mixer and call it a mule. 

Holiday Happy hour is calling! 

Apple Cider Mules

2 oz. vodka
2 oz. apple cider
2 oz. ginger beer
sliced oranges + cinnamon sticks (for garnish)

Mix these right in the glass! Combine all ingredients, stir and finish with ice! Garnish with a slice of orange and a cinnamon stick. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Apple Cider Old-Fashioneds

Hello! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with plenty of deliciousness and family time. It came and went so fast but we had the best time! It's so crazy to me that December is a matter of days away. We wish for Fall to come so quickly and we blink and it's Christmas. WHOAH. But it's the very best time of the year and I plan on soaking in every minute.

As long as the holidays are here, I want to be drinking apple cider in my cocktails. Whether it's cold or warm, there's something about cider in a drink that is like sipping on a giant hug. It's the perfect mixer this time of year!

There Apple Cider Old-Fashioneds were a hit with my family this year. They pack a punch and if you don't like them as strong as the recipe makes them, just keep adding more cider. The measurements you will find below are good for one drink, but it's easy to multiply the portions and make these in a pitcher. Trust me- this is a good idea if you're enjoying happy hour with a crowd. 

If you need me, I'm over here researching other apple cider cocktail recipes. 

Apple Cider Old- Fashioneds

2 ounces apple cider
Dash of Angostura Bitters
1 tsp. of brown sugar OR simple syrup
2 ounces Bourbon OR Rye Whiskey
Slices oranges and apples, for garnish
Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

In your favorite cocktail glass, combine apple cider, bitters, simple syrup and whiskey. Mix it up, then add the ice. Pop in fruit and cinnamon sticks for garnish! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Easy Paleo Sunday Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs are the Hallmark of a proper Italian Sunday. When the weather gets cooler, a bowl of pasta is like a big hug and comforting in all of the best ways. Meatballs just taste better on Sundays. I posted a quick picture of these meatballs on my Instagram stories last night and got tons of comments asking for the recipe- so here you go! This is probably the most un-appetizing picture I've ever posted, but hope to update it next time I whip these up, which will likely be very soon since this a menu staple in our house.

This is my base meatball recipe and what I always go by. Turkey, pork, sausage, beef- it all works! I keep the ratio of meat to seasonings the same and tweak as I need depending on what I am making. One thing that always makes a big difference is browning the meatballs on the stove for a bit, and then finishing them in the oven. If you have time to babysit the meatballs for a few minutes on the stove, don't skip this step!

I LOVE meatballs mixed with breadcrumbs and parmesan, but I promise you won't even miss it with this recipe. The flavor is amazing, especially if you have fresh basil on hand. We had these with a simple marinara over spaghetti squash for a healthier Italian Sunday.


Easy Paleo Sunday Meatballs
1.5 lbs. ground beef (I like 80/20 for these)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
handful fresh basil, chopped
1.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with your hands until combined. (be careful not to over-mix!) Roll into ping pong sized balls and place on your prepped baking sheet. 

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Place meatballs in skillet and brown for 10 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes. You may have to do these in batches. Once they are browned, transfer back to the baking sheet. Bake for another 10 minutes or so.