healthy, happy holiday gift guide
with the holidays quickly approaching, i know i’m not the only one feeling stressed about pretty much everything… what to buy for who, what to wear to all of those holiday parties, finding the best deals on flights, how to spend new year’s eve, how to get everything done in time… you name it, i’m stressin’ about it.
i’ve been doing a lot of online shopping this year and I’ve stumbled across some pretty great stuff. since i know how stressful holiday shopping tends to become, i put together a list of some of the coolest things i’ve seen [i’ve put a few of these things on my own christmas list and even ordered #8 for myself] to give you guys some inspiration! and unlike a lot of the other holiday gift guides you’ve probably seen with absolutely ridiculous things on them, everything on this list is under $60!
throughout the month of december, i’ll be sharing healthy holiday tips and recipes in my bi-monthly newsletter, so if you haven’t done so yet, sign up here so you won’t miss out on all of this exclusive content!
what’s on your holiday wish list this year?!
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
happy halloween + healthy candy recipe
halloween is tomorrow and over the last few years, it’s become one of my favorite holidays. i usually know what i’m going to dress up as months and months ahead of time and I’ve gotten really into making/building my own costumes rather than buying something pre-packaged at the Halloween store… it’s more fun that way!
another thing i love about Halloween? the candy. duh. unfortunately, the typical halloween candy that you find in stores and probably remember eating as a kid is just… sh*t. sorry, there’s no way around it. so, instead of buying yourself an industrial sized bag of absolute garbage this weekend, you should try making your own healthy candy! the recipe below is incredibly easy to follow, takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is customizable based on what you have on hand/what you like. i can’t stand milk chocolate because a] it tastes like wax and b] it’s terrible for you, so I used dark chocolate [which actually has some health benefits when eaten in moderation] to make my own healthy versions of crunch bars, almond joys and chocolate turtles… with some other variations in there, as well!
for about 24 pieces, all you need is:
- 1 bag of vegan dark chocolate chips [i used these from enjoy life]
- your choice of fillings [i used pecans, almonds, and brown rice cereal]
- your choice of toppings [i used pepitas, coconut flakes, goji berries, caramel sauce, and fleur de sel]
there are just a few, really easy steps to this:
- line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
- place your fillings in little piles on the cookie sheet in whatever arrangement/combination you would like.
- using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until fully melted and smooth.
- drizzle the melted chocolate onto your fillings, covering the piles completely and then add the toppings.
- place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before devouring… and be sure to share!
what are your halloween plans? what are you dressing up as?! i’m off to new orleans for the weekend… i’ll be sure to share the details of my trip [and my costume] next week.
first image courtesy of cute autumn
happy labor day + 5 ways to stay healthy at a b.b.q.
can you even believe it’s already the end of august? i have no idea where the summer went and i am not looking forward to the downward spiral into cold weather, winter jackets, avoiding the outdoors by any means necessary and total misery that’s inevitably going to begin within the next few weeks. sometimes i seriously wonder why i haven’t moved to a city where seasons aren’t a thing…
anyway! since it’s labor day a.k.a the last long weekend of summer, i expect that many of us will be spending the weekend drowning our sorrows in food and alcohol, so i thought it would be helpful to chat about how to stay healthy at a barbecue. here are 5 ways to stay healthy at a b.b.q. while still enjoying yourself and letting loose, regardless of what your plans are this weekend!
- b.y.o.f. (bring your own food). no, no, no. i don’t mean you should pack up a little lunchbox full of “good” foods just for yourself that you’ll whip out when everyone else digs into the spread of chips, burgers, and desserts. seriously… who does that? basic b*tches, that’s who. [okay. fine. i’ll admit that i’ve shown up to many-a-barbecue with my own box of veggie burgers, but that’s where i draw the line.] what you should do is make an awesome dip or a healthy dessert to bring to share with everyone. there are tons of quick and easy recipes out there, so finding something that everyone will like won’t be hard. check out my pinterest boards for inspiration!
- scope out the buffet before digging in. before you start piling food on your plate, check out the buffet and see what you’re working’ with. i would say that about 99% of all buffets at picnics and barbecues include some sort of fruit and veggie spread, so you can fill your plate up with some watermelon and raw cucumbers, leaving a little room for that pasta salad and dessert at the end.
- wait before going back for round two. no matter how delicious that burger was or how badly you want a second slice of that key lime pie… wait. take some deep breaths, drink a glass of water and give yourself some time to digest everything before running back for seconds. if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later, go back and serve yourself a small second portion of something you really enjoyed.
- eat a light, healthy breakfast before the party. start your day off with a light, healthy breakfast, such as a smoothie or chia seed pudding, so that you don’t arrive at the party starving. this way, regardless of what your options are, you’ll get in a healthy, nourishing meal no matter what direction the rest of the day takes, if you know what i mean!
- drink water. okay, i cannot stress how important this is, especially if you plan on drinking alcohol. to keep myself hydrated in the heat and help avoid a massive hangover the next morning, i try to drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic drink i have. i’ll be honest… this doesn’t always happen… we can all get carried away… but, if you can maintain this little policy throughout the day your body will really appreciate it the next day.
so, there you have it! five pretty simple ways to stay healthy at all of the picnics, pool parties, beach cookouts and barbecues you’re headed to this weekend! personally, i’m off to philly tomorrow morning for made in america with one of my girlfriends, so be sure to check out my instagram for videos of my favorite performances and a few philly editions of #eatingfortheinsta. in true bananas + bellinis fashion we have a few healthy and few absolutely not healthy spots mapped out for our food tour of philadelphia. do you have any recommendations for us?
what are your plans for labor day weekend? whatever you’re doing, i hope you have as much fun as these guys did!
photo courtesy of m.w.r. hawaii
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