Tag Archives: fall

5 Things to do Right Now!

16 Oct

1. Throw on a cute fall outfit:tights+boots+fall skirt+scarf=my go-to trendy fall outfit. It makes me feel fall-esque and that I love. 


2. Go buy your most favorite coffee or tea from your fave coffee shop (or have your dad buy it): My dad bought me a black pumpkin spice coffee and I added in my own chocolate soy milk to make it the perfect fall drink. Buy your perfect drink! 

3. Light a yummy fall/winter-y candle: Light up that Jack Frost candle you’ve been saving for winter, or a yummy pumpkin or apple pie scent. Your house will smell of happiness in a few minutes. 

4. Go for a long walk/run sans music: I went for a 40-minute walk this morning, and although it was a little chilly for my liking, I loved being by myself with no iPod, simply soaking up the fall scenery. Gotta love foliage!

5. Search for festivals in your area: This post is extra-short ’cause we’re about to go to the APPLE FESTIVAL! It’s an annual festival in the neighborhood I grew up in, with anything and everything fall! They’ll have apples, pumpkin butter, kettle corn, crafts and music. Sorry to cut you short but off I go : )

 

Apps-Solutely Fabulous “Apple Crisp”

30 Sep

This is a perfect quickie substitution for fall-favorite Apple Crisp, and you  barely have to do any work! Now doesn’t that sound nice? Enjoy as a light dessert on a cool fall evening, and feel app-solutely guilt-free about it! 

*serves 2

-1 large apple, cored (I like Macintosh) 

-4 TB Light Cool Whip

-2 TB honey or agave syrup

-2 tsp. cinnamon

-2 TB low fat granola of choice 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Core the apple, then cut in half, making 2 halves. 

2. Sprinkle granola onto each half, then drizzle honey or agave, and top each with a tsp. of cinnamon. 

3. Bake for about 15 minutes on baking sheet. Top each apple half with 2 TB Cool Whip and enjoy as a yummy, cozy treat on a chilly fall evening with your hunny!

Managing Overeating & Finding a Healthy Balance

30 Sep

[source]

It’s fall and while the weather’s getting a little cooler ‘n’ the leaves are a-changin’ colors, you’d rather your body not change as well (for the worse). But we’ve all been there. When it’s colder outside and sweatpants become your go-to get-home-from-work outfit, it’s so much easier to finish off that leftover pasta or have just one more slice of pizza or only a bite of the melt-in-your-mouth cookie (which quickly turns into eating 4). Trust me, I know how hard it is, and how easy it is to get a little off track when you no longer have to worry about public trips to the beach in you teeny-weeny bikini. You find yourself letting go and giving up on your exercise routine because it’s just soooo much easier (and more fun) to cuddle up on the couch with a good movie and some sweet treats. 

My good friend came to me with such problem the other day. Being a nanny by day (God help her, she’s a champ), she’s constantly surrounded by “kid food” i.e. frozen pizza, leftover birthday cake, extra-frosting cupcakes, and chicken nuggets. Thankfully for her, the mother of the family is rather healthy and normally carries nutritious food in the house. However, one of the children just had a birthday party meaning LOTS of leftover food. She said they had everything in the house from pizza to carrot cake, just sitting there staring at her. And she did what any bored, stressed nanny would do: she indulged in the carrot cake (which she said was the most moist, delicious cake she’s ever had) and finished off the pizza. She then came home telling me how crappy she felt for over-eating, emotionally and physically (her stomach hurt too). 

While I did feel bad about her stomach ache, I didn’t want her to feel bad about her indulgence because it was a one time thing and I know she makes healthy decisions 90% of the time. Of course, it wouldn’t be so good if she did that every day, but it was one day and in a way I don’t blame her. She learned from her mistake (felt crappy the rest of the day) and then decided to move on with it (went to the gym later that night). And then the next day she was back to her normal, healthy, wholesome diet just like that. 

You see it’s all about balance. Balance means making up for binges by realizing it’s a one time thing and moving on with life, eating grilled fish with delicious seasoned veggies for dinner and then having that homemade cookie you want for dessert, skipping a workout one day because you aren’t feeling it but then working extra hard the next, taking a break from work/studying/craziness to do some yoga. You get the point. 

Life is way to short to eat/be/exercise perfectly all of the freakin’ time, but we can do so in a balanced, almost-perfect way. Heck, I practice balancing all of the time. It’s the only way to make it through life sanely without beating yourself up over every little “mistake” (eating too many chocolate chips) or accidentally overindulging in pizza because you deprived yourself from having just one slice and ate the boring apple instead. 

Just yesterday, I made a number of balancing decisions. When I went apple picking with my mom, the farm had just made freshly baked homemade apple cider donuts. Now normally I’m not a donut girl. But, a freshly baked donut right out of the oven from a farm?  That was worth it to me! So my mom and I split one small one to make for a healthy decision. Later in the day I listened to my body and wasn’t feeling hungry around lunch so I simply had a mini-lunch of freshly picked apple slices and sharp cheddar cheese. It filled me up and I moved on with my day. When it was too hot outside to go for my run (what’s with 90 degrees in fall?) I went paddle-boating with my mom for an hour on the lake and took in the beautiful foliage. Sure I wasn’t sweating up a storm, but my legs got a heck of a good workout and I didn’t beat myself up over skipping my run. Later, when dinner rolled around I enjoyed my sushi (and a lot of it). I don’t get the chance to have good sushi very often, so you bet I had a little bit of the California Roll, a little bit of the Spicy Tuna roll, and a couple pieces of the Special Maki Creation: Lobster Mango Roll. It filled me up, I was satisfied, and guess what? I didn’t even want or need dessert after. 

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about making healthy decisions day by day, but not beating yourself up over little slips here and there. Do what makes you feel good. Go to the gym because you want to go and it’ll make your body feel strong and your mind feel clear. Eat the cookie if you really want it, not because it’s sitting there and you’re bored. Skip out on pizza if you’re craving a grilled chicken salad, or have a slice with a side salad if it’s what you’re craving. Skip the gym and go for a long walk once in a while, or do some yoga to clear your mind. Can’t decide on what to eat? Distract yourself for a few minutes (on the computer, reading a magazine) until you really know what you want, and can clearly tell if you are hungry or not. Always have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t pig out on chips just ’cause they’re in front of you. And don’t feel bad about eating too much carrot cake in one sitting. Tomorrow is another day. Just jump right back on track! 

Create a healthy balance, and I can assure you you’ll be one happy, healthy chick!

How do you manage overeating when there’s loads of delectable fall food in front of you? What do you do to maintain that healthy balance? 

Super-Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

29 Sep

I went home to Connecticut for the day to celebrate my mom’s birthday. We headed to the grocery store after some fabulous apple-picking and what do you know: she was picking up ingredients to make one of my very own recipes. Wow I’m famous (or just let me think that for a day). My mom making one of my recipes? Wow, that feels good. Anyway, these stuffed peppers suffice for a meal on their own or can be served with a side salad or extra veggies. Enjoy…it’s definitely a fall favorite! 

*serves 2 

-2 red bell peppers

-6 oz. lean ground turkey

-1 c. cooked quinoa (may substitute brown rice)

-1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped

-1/2 c. black beans (optional) 

-2 small Roma tomatoes, diced

-1 c. spinach

-1/2 c. organic Marinara sauce

-1 clove garlic, crushed

-1 TB basil

-1 TB parsley

-1/4 c fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded 

-2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for cooking)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat  a medium skillet with olive oil, and cook turkey burger until lightly browned. Add in your vegetables (aside from the peppers and black beans if you choose to use them), and cook on medium heat. 

2. In the meantime, cook quinoa (or brown rice) according to directions.

3. Once veggies are cooked, add in the Marinara sauce, crushed garlic, parsley, basil and optional beans. Cook on low heat. Lastly, stir in the quinoa.

4. Cut the top off peppers, and remove seeds. Stuff with mixture, and top each with the shredded mozzarella cheese. 

5. Bake the peppers for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Autumn Chicken Veggie Soup

28 Sep

Yesterday was totally one of those soup days; it was dark, rainy and chilly outside. That to me calls for a soup day, particularly a yummy chicken ‘n’ veggie creation. I whipped up a large pot of this warm fall soup, went for a long run and came back to find my apartment smelling of fall (and my soup ready to eat). Enjoy with a piece of toast or side salad! 

-1 container low sodium chicken broth

-1 c. water

2 TB olive oil 

-1 sweet onion, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, crushed

-1 large zucchinni, chopped 

-1 large sweet potato, chopped

-1/4 to 1/2 c. baby portobella mushrooms 

-large handful baby carrots (10-15)

-4 medium skinless boneless chicken breasts 

-2 TB parsley

-1 TB oregeno 

-1 1/2 TB dill 

-salt to taste 

1. Sauté the onion and the garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat in a large soup pot for about two minutes. Add in the chicken broth and water, and stir. 

2. Add in the rest of the veggies, and bring to a boil. In the meantime, boil the chicken in a separate pot for about 5 minutes. Drain chicken and add it into the large pot with the rest of the ingredients*. 

3. Stir in the herbs and salt to taste. Bring to a low heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. Pretty soon the house will be smelling absolutely delicious and you’ll know the soup’s done : ) Enjoy!

*Once the soup is done, you may break up the chicken into smaller pieces for your liking

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Sunflower Muffins

22 Sep

Now that it’s officially fall, one thing in particular has been on my mind: pumpkin. Pumpkin picking, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin carving, pumpkin everything. But since I can’t have everything all at once, I decided to make do with what I could and bake some pumpkin muffins. But this isn’t just your ordinary recipe; these babies are unique, perfectly soft ‘n’ fluffy and delightfully tasty. Enjoy with a glass of milk or hot cup of tea!

*Makes approximately 12 large muffins

-1 c. canned pumpkin puree

1/8 c. chocolate soy milk 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 c. plain greek yogurt 

1/3 c. applesauce or vegetable oil 

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1  c. whole wheat flour* 

1/2 c. all purpose flour* (*substitute 1 1/2 c. gluten free flour for regular flour for those with wheat sensitivities) 

1/3 c. agave syrup 

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1/4 to 1/2 c. Ghirardelli Semi Sweet chocolate chips 

½ c. sunflower seeds 

1. Preheat over to 375. Mix dry ingredients together, then adding in all the wet ingredients slowly. Mix well, being sure all the flour has dissolved but do not over-stir. 

2. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly browned. 

3. Sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon & sugar and serve warm…enjoy!

Let Go of Bathing Suit Season & Embrace the Fall, Already!

21 Sep

While some are complaining about the end of bathing suit season, stargazing, and BBQing every night, I couldn’t be more happy about the fact that fall is finally here. And today realllllyyy felt like fall for the first time. I went out for a fancy lunch with my friend and ordered the Rotisserie Chicken with Butternut Squash Risotto. Let’s just say when I took that first bite of perfectly cooked rice with just the right amount of cheese and bits of butternut squash, I thought to myself, “Oh ya…fall is finally here.” Not to mention I licked my plate clean. So while some of you are crying as you store away your itty-bitty VS bikinis, I’m smiling ear to ear about my absolute favorite season. Still not ready to throw summer away? Well, I’ll tell you exactly why I love fall so darn much and hopefully have you smiling by the end of this post…at least just a little.

1. Cooking with butternut squash, spaghetti squash or any squash for that matter. Hey, you can even make fall cooking super healthy

2. Eating candy corn for the first time…and loving it just the same as when you were 8 years old

3. Long runs or walks in the crisp weather

4. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (even if you do just get one pump to save a few cals)

5. Apple picking with your friends…and eating at least 5 before you even weigh your bag (it’s OK, we won’t tell)

6. Homemade pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread on a cool evening…after a long day at work

7. The switch from iced tea to hot tea like your apple cinnamon and gingerbread infused flavors you’ve been saving up for fall

8. Thanksgiving feast coming soon…need I say more?

9. Turning off that AC and sleeping with your windows open, snuggled up in your fave fuzzy blanket

10. Pumpkin picking with the fam, even if you don’t choose to carve it and simply use it as a desk decoration

11. Hot coffee that smells up your whole apartment like fall (Hint: Cinnamon Hazelnut is a great scent, and tasty too!)

12. Lighting fall candles if coffee isn’t for you like Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie…Mmm!

13. Going on long hikes in the mountains and not sweating your ass off while doing so

14. Leggings, boots & sweater season is back!

15. Pretty foliage and leaves everywhere…and taking pictures of all the pretty colors! 

16. Football season i.e. your excuse for a girls night out (or excuse to eat just a couple buffalo wings or slice of pizza…hey, it’s for celebration purposes)!

17. Homemade kettle corn at local festivals and markets…with just the perfect balance of sweet ‘n’ salty

18. A movie in with your girlfriends (or boyfriend) by the fireplace…with popcorn and a little apple cider 

19. You can finally wear your hair down again without it turning into a complete frizz ball the second you step out of the house

20. You can just smell it in the air…fall is here!

What are your favorite things about fall? Or are you a summer girl at heart?


6 Non-Trends I’m Loving Right NOW

16 Sep

I’ve never been too much of a trends girl. In fact, if we’re talking fashion I’m farrrrr from “trendy.” I wear what I think looks good on me and what I feel comfy in. Yes, I have a pair of Uggs and no, I don’t think they look cute by any means. I just think they are the most comfortable things to prance around with in the winter. If people are raving about a certain restaurant or bar, I don’t fall for it until I try it myself, and I thought the whole hot yoga thing was ridiculous until I took a class. BUT, I do make my own trends and there are a few things I’m absolutely loving right now that I thought I’d share with you. Trendy or not, here goes:

Dog Days are Over: Yes, the song. If you watched the VMA’s then you surely saw Florence and the Machine’s performance of this absolutely amazing song. Seriously, it’s so inspiring and motivating, making for the absolute best song to run to. If you haven’t heard it yet, listen to it now. Just don’t blame me if you want to start dancing crazily around your apartment (or at work). 

Butternut/Spaghetti Squash: It’s official: my two favorite squashes are back. I saw them both on sale at Trader Joe’s the other day, and I can wait to get my hands on some of them. I plan to make butternut squash baked with cinnamon, agave syrup and nutmeg, the absolute perfect fall dish. I also can’t wait to make my famous “Spaghetti and Meatballs” made with turkey meat balls and spaghetti squash. Nifty, huh? 

Fall dresses: Even though summer’s over, I loooooooveeeee wearing dresses in the fall. I’m a dress girl. If you look in my closet, you will see that 85% of it is dedicated to dresses, of all colors, lengths and patterns. I particularly like pairing flowery dresses with boots and a cute scarf, or neutral dresses with a pair of flats. If you’ve got a summer dress that’s a little short but still wanna rock it, pair it with some cute leggings and some flats!

Mixing Coffee Flavors:  Going out for coffee every day can get expensive, so I’ve been attempting to make it from home. Lately, I’ve been exploring new coffee flavors, instead of always sticking with my same old french vanilla. I also love mixing flavors you never would have thought i.e. chocolate truffle with hazelnut. Just do a scoop of each, add in a cup of water and you’re golden! Lately, I’m obsessed with the cinnamon hazelnut I found at the supermarket the other week. Cinnamon hazelnut with fresh vanilla? YUM. I just add in a little vanilla or chocolate soy milk and it’s to-die-for.

Twitter: If you haven’t noticed, I’ve recently became mildly obsessed with Twitter. I know this is something everyone is doing, but it took me a couple years to get into it. I’ve had a personal account for more than a year, but never seemed to get into it. (Maybe that’s why I only had 50 followers?) Anyway, now I officially love it, and have been updating my status quite frequently every day since last month when I created my account. Follow me @healthy_chicks to join the fun!

In-House Yoga: I know it’s not as fun or “classy” as joining a fancy yoga studio surrounded my cool, hip yogis, but when you’re on a budget this will do. I’ve been doing On Demand Yoga in my apartment, and particularly like the quick “Less is More” segment I came across the other day. I also have been attempting to practice my own yoga, going through several flows both standing and on the floor. So far, so good. Maybe soon I’ll be doing it in the park…once I get a little more confident in my poses that is! 

What are some things you’re obsessed with these days? Anything out-of-the-ordinary we should all know about? 

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