happy thanksgiving + apple pie dip
happy thanksgiving! the holiday season is officially upon us and i hope that everyone will be spending the long holiday weekend celebrating and spending time with family and friends. my family is arriving from pennsylvania this afternoon and i couldn’t be more excited to cook dinner at my apartment with them and for all of the other fun things we have planned for the weekend. when i first moved to new york city i worked in retail which meant i had no choice about working on black friday, so going home for thanksgiving was never an option. even though i no longer work for a company that requires their employees to work on holidays [and any companies that do are jerks], it became our little family tradition to spend this holiday in new york and i have to say, i love it.
- 10 dates, pitted and soaked in water for about an hour
- 2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 4 apples of your choice, sliced
- combine dates, chia seeds and cinnamon in a food processor until well blended. [the mixture will be thick, so you might need to stop, move things around with a spoon a little bit and start up the food processor again.]
- slice apples.
- place on serving platter and serve!
image #1 courtesy of popsugar
motivation mondays: week 12
since thanksgiving is on thursday, i thought that this week’s motivation mondays post should be focused on being thankful. cheesy i know, but it’s fun to get in the spirit… right?!
it’s as sweet and simple as this: being thankful will have a huge impact on the level of happiness you experience in your day to day life. when you really think about it, you have a lot to be thankful for now, in this moment. life doesn’t have to be as hard as people make it out to be. just because you don’t have the car you want, the salary you think you should be making, a boyfriend/girlfriend or a brand new designer wardrobe doesn’t mean that your life is so miserable that you can’t appreciate what you do have. there are so many people who would kill to have the things we take for granted every day… clean clothes, three meals a day, running water and heat in their homes, supportive friends and family, or you know, just basic human rights… i could go on all day. once you’re able to realize what you have and make the decision to be happy about it, your entire outlook will change.
so in the spirit of thanksgiving, any time you’re feeling stressed, annoyed, upset or angry this week [or any time, really]… pause, think about something you’re thankful for [it can be anything], close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and for a few minutes, just focus on it. you’ll feel at peace and much happier. you can even take a few minutes to write down a few things you are thankful for and post it somewhere you can see it every day… your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, near your computer at work… and it can serve as a friendly little reminder whenever you need it. and please, feel free to share what you’re thankful for in the comments below!
since we have a holiday coming up, i’ll be taking the last half of the week off from posting, but wednesday i’ll be sharing an amazing recipe for a quick, easy and healthy dessert you can take with you to all of your thanksgiving celebrations. See ya soon!
image courtesy of endlessly inspired
miracle hangover cure: milk thistle extract
as you probably know, one of the recurring themes here at bananas + bellinis is balance, simply because i believe that in order to live a healthy life, you have to live a happy life and happiness doesn’t come from deprivation, restriction or self-inflicted punishment or criticism. i know from personal experience that depriving yourself, obsessing over your food intake and criticizing yourself for your appearance, weight, financial status, life choices, etc. does not lead to happiness… at all.
one thing that i’m not afraid to share is my love for going out and enjoying myself over a few drinks. cocktails, beer, wine… i like all of it. i believe that in moderation, having a drink or two… or three… is perfectly fine and nothing to feel bad about. now, with that being said, there is one kinda out there, health nut thing that i do to give my liver a little prep and that is incorporating milk thistle extract into my supplement regimen the day of an event I know i’ll be drinking at.
milk thistle extract is something that i was introduced to when i was doing a 30-day mind-body cleanse last january and it has seriously changed my life. milk thistle is a plant and the extract that comes from its leaves is known for its ability to detoxify and protect the liver and its vital functions, so obviously this stuff has a place when it comes to the prevention/cure of hangovers.
you can purchase milk thistle extract in tincture or pill form [i prefer the tincture] and take it during the day when you know you have a happy hour or a birthday party to attend. you can put a dropper full in your water or tea as much as you would like throughout the course of the day [the taste isn’t strong] or directly into your drink while at the event. the morning after a night of drinking, especially if I’m not having an #iwokeuplikethis moment, i’ll also put a dropper full into a glass of ice cold water and before i know it, i’m back to 100%.
of course, this trick is much less effective if you drink a lot, a lot or if you start mixing alcohol [that’s never a good idea and I can’t help you there], but give this a try the next time you go out for a few drinks and I promise you won’t know how you ever lived without it.
images courtesy of the glamorous housewife
5 tips for surviving the common cold
with winter fast approaching, many of us will find ourselves [or already have found ourselves] battling the common cold. it usually creeps up out of nowhere and before you know it, you’re waist deep in tissues and mouth-breathing in order to supply your brain with enough oxygen to think straight. fun, right?
i have a few [all-natural!] tricks up my sleeve that i turn to to make myself more comfortable when that cold inevitably hits. these are most effective at the first signs of a cold, so if you feel it coming on, start right away!
1. echinacea: echinacea is a plant known for its immune boosting qualities that is available in a variety of forms. as soon as you notice the signs of a cold, start popping some echinacea supplements or drinking an echinacea tea a few times a day to give your immune system a little oomph.
image courtesy of oglesby
2. the neti pot: the neti pot is one of those things that totally freaks people out when they first hear about it, but is something that you won’t know how you lived without once you give it a try. if you’re not familiar with it, the neti pot is basically a mini-teapot-ish vessel that you fill with a solution of lukewarm water and salt [you don’t want to use just any salt; there are many salts out there made for use with the neti pot]. you then pour the solution into one nostril while leaning over a sink and the salt solution works its way through the sinuses, flushing out any… stuff… that might be hanging out in there through the other nostril. i usually do this two times a day when i’m sick, once in the morning and once right before bed and the relief it provides for sinus pressure and a stuffy nose is almost immediate.
image courtesy of yoga lifestyle
3. eucalyptus oil: the eucalyptus plant has many medicinal properties that come in handy when treating the common cold. it’s an anti-imflammatory and works as as a decongestant, so it’s especially helpful if you have a sore throat, cough and/or a runny/stuff nose. it’s easiest to find and use as an essential oil. for a sore throat, place a few drops in a glass of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds, 2-3 times a day or whenever you feel like you need relief. when I’m in the shower, i also put a few drops on the floor of the tub all the way at the back, as far away from the drain as possible, so that when the hot water hits it, a nice vapor is created that will waft up into your respiratory system, helping to clear congestion and ease a lingering cough.
image courtesy of the health site
4. water: as simple as this sounds, staying hydrated when you’re sick is so important. make sure that you are drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day [you should do this when you aren’t sick, as well] to keep your system running optimally, prevent dehydration, loosen mucus and flush out toxins and germs.
image courtesy of m.n.n.
5. rest: i saved the best for last and this is seriously the most important thing on the list. i cannot stress enough how important it is to take it easy when you’re under the weather. your body is already working hard enough to fight off the cold in the first place, so the last thing you need to do is place even more stress and exhaustion on it. doing so will only make you feel worse and make your recovery time even longer. it’s okay to take a sick day from work or skip the gym when you aren’t feeling well. so email your boss, make yourself a cup of tea and get cozy on the couch with some netflix. your body will thank you for it.
image courtesy of the dog dish
so, while i don’t have a magic, instant cure for the common cold [sorry if you were expecting that from this post!], all of the things on this list will definitely alleviate your symptoms and make you a little more comfortable while it runs its course through your system. if you have any other tips for surviving the cold that i didn’t include, please share them in the comments below.
stay well and get better soon!
feature image courtesy of pearls of profundity
motivation mondays: week 11
wow, week three of november… where is time going?! i think i say that every week, but seriously… how is it almost thanksgiving already?! anyway, i hope you all had an amazing weekend! the weather was absolutely gorgeous here in new york on saturday [even though it was a bit chilly] and i spent the afternoon hiking breakneck ridge, which sits along the hudson river, with my roommate. the hike was challenging, but totally worth it, not only for the workout, but also for the amazing views! this was probably the last weekend i’ll want to spend outdoors for months, so it was great to spend it out in nature, away from the city. i can’t wait for the spring when we can check out more of the trails in this area.
sunday, i started the day off with an early morning yoga class at yogaworks, which my sore body definitely appreciated after three hours of pretty intense hiking the day before. i met up with a friend for brunch at trattoria il mulino, a place i’ve been dying to try since they added burrata french toast to the menu. it. was. heaven and probably the best french toast i have ever had, with or without the burrata on top. it was light and fluffy, but also super gooey in the center. the burrata just took it to the next level.
as always, monday is all about good vibes and starting the week off with some positive energy here at bananas + bellinis, so onto this week’s motivation mondays mantra!
i just realized that this totally relates back to my weekend hiking adventures [i swear i didn’t do this on purpose!] so it’s even more perfect than i thought it was.
in this day and age, i feel as if everyone is looking for the easy way out. the easiest way to find a job, the easiest way to clean your apartment, have an uncomfortable conversation, make money, eat, get from point a to point b. and yes, being efficient and saving time is great, but i think that working hard for something you really want… money, a job, that designer purse, a new car… makes it that much more rewarding when you actually get it. working for something makes you appreciate it more than having it just handed to you. when you work for something and put your own resources into it, you are more likely to hold onto it and take care of it than something you have no connection to, that you didn’t need to sacrifice to have or achieve.
when we set goals for ourselves, it can often seem like reaching them will be so difficult and time-consuming that a lot of people will start by looking for the easy way out and if they can’t find it, they’ll just throw in the towel. the idea of putting all of your energy into something that might not end up how you wanted it to is scary and that fear stops some people before they even get started. but instead of thinking what could go wrong, think about how amazing it will feel if you do reach that goal.
the “what if?” holds a lot of people back and i get it! “what ifs” are some of the scariest questions we can ask ourselves. one thing that i always try to remind myself of is this: if it doesn’t end up the way you thought it would or wanted it to, that’s okay. that just means that you’re here to do something else and you’ll end up where you are supposed to be no matter what. keep climbing that hill and take all of the lessons you have learned with you. the view from the top will be worth every second, every sacrifice and every bit of energy you put into it.
some fun things for you to check out this week:
this giveaway being hosted by my friend megan on her blog belles and rebelles… i entered and you should, too!
i saved this list of TED talks a while back and stumbled across it while cleaning out my inbox last week… can’t wait to dive into these!
i’ve been making an effort to hit the gym more regularly and have been loving my morning workouts lately! i’m using the tone it up frisky fall challenge routines [even though i’m a little late to the party and am mixing it up with yoga] and i just can’t say enough positive things about it. if you need to re-vamp your workout routine or need inspiration for dragging yourself to the gym, tone it up is just what you need.
this week, i’ll be giving you some tips for surviving the cold and flu and chatting about another one of my healthy lifestyle staples! have an amazing week… what are your happy, healthy, balanced plans?
image #3 courtesy of andré bessa
eurotrip recap part 3: budapest
ahhhh, finally, i get to tell you all about my new favorite european city… budapest! up until this trip, paris had always been my favorite, so it kind of makes sense that budapest, also known as “the paris of the east” would win me over almost instantly. [please note that my actual favorite european city is lugano, switzerland, where i lived and studied abroad for six months in college, but that’s neither here nor there.]
we took the night train [sleeper car and everything!] from munich to budapest so that we didn’t spend an entire day traveling or waste any time in airports and it was actually a great experience. we boarded the train with a selection of bread, cheese, and wine, got some music going and had so much fun that the passengers in the cabin next to us had to come shush us at 1:30am… oops.
we arrived in budapest in the morning and took the metro to our hotel in the castle district. when we came above ground from the metro station, i looked to my left and the first thing i saw was the parliament building, sitting there on the danube, welcoming us to budapest!
as i mentioned, our hotel was in the castle district on the buda side of the city [the city is divided by the danube river into two sides, buda and pest… so budapest]. the rooms were really spacious, the hotel itself was clean, the staff was friendly, the location and the price were great, and i would highly recommend that anyone visiting budapest stay here. we were a short walking distance from shops, restaurants, matthias church, the fisherman’s bastion, and amazing views of the chain bridge, parliament, and the pest side of the city.
[fisherman’s bastion with matthias church in the background]
[view of pest from buda]
[detail on the chain bridge]
so, you can probably already see why i fell in love with budapest. the pest side was equally as beautiful as buda. we visited the dohány street synagogue, which houses a very unique holocaust memorial in its courtyard. there is also a cemetery on site and many stones placed around the grounds in memory of people who have passed away.
[dohány street synagogue]
[holocaust memorial; each leaf on the tree is stamped with the name of a victim from budapest]
[stones are placed throughout the synagogue, each in memory of someone who has passed away]
we also visited heroes’ square in pest which is home to the tomb of the unknown soldier and massive statues of the seven chieftains of the magyars and other important leaders.
[gang’s all here!]
after heroes’ square, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the széchenyi baths. there are bath houses located all over the city and this is definitely a budapest bucket list item! it was so nice to spend the end of the day relaxing in a giant pool of naturally hot water.
the highlight of pest is, hands down, the parliament building. i can’t even put into words how stunning this building is… not only from across the river, but up close. the detail in the architecture is amazing and it’s so massive… it’s almost hard to believe it’s even real and not just a painting.
[pretty solid travel buddies right here, hangin’ out by the parliament building]
so, i loved budapest. and if you’re ever traveling throughout europe, please go, even if it’s out of the way. the food [which i talked about here] is amazing, the people are amazing, the architecture, the culture… i could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. my next eurotrip recap will be my last [for now]… vienna!
fall favorites: vegan butternut squash soup
in addition to apple crisp and all pumpkin errthang, butternut squash soup is one of my favorite seasonal dishes. i wanted to make a vegan butternut squash soup and since i’ve never made it before, i followed a recipe from vegan holiday kitchen, which is what i’m sharing with you today! this recipe makes about 6-8 servings of soup and is a liiitttttllllleee time consuming, so make sure you start about an hour and a half before you actually want to eat. you can also make this ahead of time and re-heat later for a quick and easy dinner on nights when you don’t have time/are too lazy to cook!
you will need:
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium apple, peeled and sliced
- 2 c. vegetable stock
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- pinch of nutmeg
- 14 oz. can light coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. kale leaves for garnish
first, you will need to prepare the squash:
- preheat the oven to 400° and line a glass baking dish with aluminum foil.
- slice the stem off of the squash [if applicable], peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise [you will need a fairly large/sharp knife to do this].
- scoop out the seeds and place both halves face down in the baking dish, covering with aluminum foil.
- bake for 45-60 minutes or until the meat of the squash can be pierced easily with a fork.
- remove from the oven and once cooled, slice into large chunks and set them aside.
once the squash as been prepared:
- heat about half of the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- add the apple, squash, broth, curry, ginger and nutmeg and bring to a steady boil. cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- transfer everything into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
- transfer the puréed mixture back into the pot and stir in the coconut milk, bringing to a gentle simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- while the soup is cooking, sauté the kale leaves in a saucepan with the remaining olive oil until cooked through and slightly crispy.
- ladle soup into serving bowls [or mugs!], season soup with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with a couple of kale leaves and enjoy!
motivation mondays: week 10
hi everyone! sorry for the lack of posts last week… things were a little crazy and i just couldn’t find the time to finish the posts and have them presentable in a timely fashion, but it’s a new week and I’m ready to be back at this in full force! so, it’s all gonna start with a motivation mondays post!
i love this. not only because this image is really pretty, but because of the message it delivers. it’s something that can be a pretty heavy thing to do or think about, but it’s put so simply here and i just love that.
is there something in your life that just makes you feel bad? it could be a situation you’re in, a project you’re working on, a person in your life, anything? you know, it’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach, the way your heart races [in a bad way], the overall uncomfortable feeling you get when something doesn’t feel right? these feelings, which i think we typically ignore or try to justify, are your intuition, your gut, your subconscious telling you that you’re doing something that isn’t serving you, your goals, your higher purpose and that you need to get out… now. holding onto things that don’t nourish you and make you feel good is one of the most unhealthy things that we can do to ourselves. bad situations and the feelings that they create not only impact our mental health and wellbeing, but as proven by that feeling in your stomach or the racing of your heart, they can manifest in your body physically and create even more problems for you. it’s a vicious cycle and one that you have the power to put an end to.
i encourage everyone to take notice when feelings of discomfort pop up and ask yourself what is making you feel this way and why. once you’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the stress, anxiety, fear, shame or whatever it is you’re experiencing, get rid of it. don’t stick around because of obligation or fear of what will happen if you don’t. if something inside of you is telling you that it isn’t right, it probably isn’t, and your quality of life, your health and your mental wellbeing will thank you for it.
i think every week in my monday links i’m going to start including a man crush monday… because… why not?
i really love this list of things you should never, ever use facebook [or other forms of social media] for.
this article from elite daily was really hard for me to read, but i think that this guy’s account of what can happen if you work your life away is so important for everyone to hear.
alright my loves! have an amazing week! wednesday i’ll be sharing a recipe for this butternut squash soup and friday you’re going to hear all about my new favorite european city. see you back here soon!
image courtesy of imgfave
motivation mondays: week 9
hi, everyone! this monday is a little rougher than the past few have been. if you read my post from friday or you follow me on instagram and twitter, you might have noticed that i was in new orleans for the weekend celebrating halloween with some of my best friends… and wow, did we have fun. our group dressed up as dia de los muertos skeletons [also known as sugar skulls] and this was one of my favorite [and most time consuming] costumes i have ever done! i got back sunday afternoon, which left me with just enough time to recuperate from three days on bourbon street before having to make my way back into reality. by the way, if you ever get the chance to go to new orleans… do it! it was a lot of drinking, a lot of prettttyyyy unhealthy food [i don’t think i’ve ever had a more difficult time feeding myself], but it was also a lot, a lot, a lot of fun and something i think everyone should experience at some point.
pretty creepy make up, right?! what did you do for halloween? how did your costumes turn out?
up next: this week’s edition of motivation mondays, of course… and i’ll be honest with you, i’m basically obsessed with this quote, mainly because i can really relate to it and i think it’s such an important thing for all of us to remember.
sure. we all want to be pretty and beautiful. we all have different standards of what “beauty” is and what our personal ideal is. and it’s great to be able to look in the mirror and be truly happy with what you see; every one deserves this and as someone who has struggled with self-confidence, body image and accepting myself the way i appear, i know how hard it can be to do this.
the good news is that our appearance is only a fraction of what makes us beautiful. anyone can be beautiful on the outside, but being truly beautiful doesn’t just come from what our hair looks like, how much we weigh or we dress, it comes from how we treat other people, the energy that we put into the world and the way we carry ourselves. i’m sure we can all think of at least one person who is completely gorgeous on the outside, but is just a bad person who enjoys bringing down others or projects negative energy into the world… not so attractive anymore, right?
don’t let your appearance define you. be confident and do whatever you can to look and feel your best, but don’t get hung up on the outside. it’s what’s on the inside that really matters. if you love who you are, what you’re doing with your life and treat others with compassion and respect, that will manifest itself on the outside, as well. just as much as looking good makes us feel good, feeling good makes us look good, too.
things i’m into lately? well, one thing i’m not into is the cold weather and i seriously cannot believe it’s november… time is flying and i feel like there are so many things i want to accomplish and fun things i want to do before it gets too cold to leave my apartment like… ever. a few things are helping to make the transition a little easier…
shopping. i mean, literally nothing else can make me feel better about the cold like shopping in preparation, so why not? i’m thinking about grabbing these boots and i’m dreaming about this jacket, among other things.
this winter food tour of new york is also calling my name… i think i’m going to try to do every last one of these things this year… again, really needing reasons to look forward to the cold.
finally, i’ve been thinking about making a change in regards to my hair for a while, and lauren conrad’s new look was the last bit of inspiration i needed [seriously, i love her, and i’m not ashamed to admit that].
what’s making the seasonal changes easier for you? as always, would love to hear from you in the comments below or via email [firstname.lastname@example.org].
image #2 courtesy of inspire & instyle
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