Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Carrot Purée

Since getting back on track, I have been trying to pack my meals with tons of veggies, and as much as I love roasted brussels and asparagus, it can get boring. So I have been experimenting in the kitchen. Before we get to the recipe at hand, I want to share what I have been eating to keep me on track for this WIAW.


Breakfast:

Since, I haven’t been training at Achieve anymore, my post workout breakfast has needed to change, but it hasn’t. Less intense training means I don’t need such an intense recovery meal. I have been sticking to oats, but have cut out the peanut butter. A friend suggested egg whites in my oatmeal, but I just can’t seem to do it, so I have it on the side. In my oatmeal is slivered almonds. I plan on adding pistachios but don’t have any on hand.

Lunch:

Lunch is usually a sweet potato, or half of one if it is particularly large, some green veggies, usually broccoli, and some sort of protein. The protein is usually grilled chicken, chicken sausage, fish (I prefer salmon and cod) or black bean burgers.

Snacks:

Fruit, I love watermelon, apples, and banana’s. Sometimes I will make a green smoothie, or just have plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey.

Dinner:

This is where I struggle, I always make a large salad with lots of raw veggies and a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar, a small portion of protein, and then I have lots of veggies on the side. We love asparagus, broccoli, and brussels sprouts in our house, but I can only eat so many stalks of asparagus before I start to feel like one of em.

I don’t want to get bored with my veggies, especially the ones I love the most. While food prepping this week I decided to get creative.IMG_3841

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Milk (I used Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 lb Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 lb Parsnips
  • 1/2 lb Carrots

Instructions

1. Peel, Cube, and Prepare the Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots to your liking. I prefer to steam them, but you can boil them as well. You want them soft, but not falling apart.

2. Once your veggies are ready load your vitamix or blender with the ingredients in the order they are listed. Make sure that if your veggies are hot you leave the vent open on your blender.

3. Blend until smooth, make sure you taste and add salt and pepper if you need it. This makes about 6 servings, so it is also a great side dish for a dinner party!

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For me this is a perfect side, it has a few of my favorite veggies, and I don’t have to share with Nick, the crazy man hates sweet potatoes AND parsnips. I think next time I will try mashing it, but this was simple and easy, perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

Bittersweet: Leaving Your Hometown

This post was inspired by Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel that exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty, and an outsider’s hunger to belong. Join From Left to Write on May 20 we discuss Bittersweet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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It’s no secret that I don’t spend a lot of time talking about going home to the house I grew up in, my hometown, or life pre-college. It’s not a place that holds a lot of happy memories for me. I don’t feel comfortable or at ease when I am there, so for me it is not a happy place. The problem is I love lots of what Vermont has to offer, I love the idyllic imagery any picture of Vermont gives, I just don’t love what else it reminds me of.

While reading Bittersweet I related to Mabel’s character, the average looking girl from a meager background, with the beautiful wealthy friends. Never feeling accepted, working hard to earn everything she had.  Then Mabel and Ev go to Ev’s family estate, in Vermont of course. They even mention my hometown in the book, the town I went to my first year of college in, and a few places that do hold great memories for me, like Al’s French Frys.

I had to leave Vermont, it just couldn’t give me what I needed out of life. Even though many of the people who used to be in my life suggest that I think I am better than they are because I left, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I just needed a better life, and Vermont wasn’t going to give that to me. At the age of 18, I packed up and went to college. I spent my first 2 summers going home and working the three jobs I had when I was in high school. After my junior year, I had off campus housing and I never went back home.

Leaving has never been easy, there is the guilt that others put on me. At the end of the day, I have to do what is best for me and my family. The life we have now is wonderful. Close to the city, but we still have a backyard. Plenty of friends and family members that live nearby or visit, friends and family that are encouraging and supportive.

But there are many things that I miss about Vermont. The local food, REAL maple syrup, fall foliage, seeing the stars at night, Ben & Jerry’s factory visits, Burlington, Long Trail, Magic Hat, the lack of fast food joints, Cabot cheese, and Dana’s breakfast in Quechee.

I will never forget Vermont, but Boston is my home now.

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Summer Bucket List: 90+ Cellars Rosé Party

Officially Summer doesn’t start until my birthday June 21st, but with this fall type weather we have been having I have a summer bucket list for those random days when we have a warm spell.

Luckily, I also have tons of events to look forward to this summer. One of the firsts is the 90+ Cellars Rosé Party Cruise on Saturday, June 7.

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With your ticket you receive three complimentary glasses of rosé alongside snacks from KO Catering and Pies. Of course the dress code is pink, my favorite, even for the gentleman. $5 from every ticket purchased will be donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

rosecruise4If you purchase tickets today and use the code DRINKROSE33, you will get $10 off your ticket.

So are you going to join me for some pink-lovin’ fun? 

A Marvelous Weekend: Seasons 52, Pure Barre, & MiniLuxe

First things first,THANK YOU to everyone who commented and shared on yesterday’s post, it means the world to Nick and I. Secondly, I have to say Happy Birthday to my dear sister. She is my best friend and I love her to pieces.

456_mandk2012The food and drinks featured in this post were received free of charge. I had no idea that would be happening until I finished my meal, and all opinions of my experience are my own. This post is not sponsored. 

As you have read, the past few months have been extremely difficult, lots of loss, and emotions and it’s just been hard. Through it all I have had amazing support in some of local friends and blends.

This past Friday, Caitlin invited me to Seasons 52 with her to try the new spring menu mini indulgences. I will always jump at the chance to go to Seasons, Cait went with me on first visit (to the Burlington location), Nick and I went once to celebrate a very belated Valentine’s Day, and this past weekend I tried the Chestnut Hill Square location.

Seasons 52 is all about seasonal food. Seasonal usually means the freshest, healthiest options. Caitlin introduced me to this amazing chain restaurant and I am so glad she did, it is now one of my favorites.

source: Cait

source: Cait

I was, of course, running late to our scheduled meet time because of that pesky route 9 traffic. Luckily Lydia, our amazing server for the night, was able to give Cait a few tastes of different types of wine before she decided on her drink while she waited for me.

As soon as I got to the restaurant I ordered my standard prosecco and we were greeted by a few different members of the staff and given suggestions on what they love on the menu.

IMG_8203We started with the special flatbread, Greek of course, it came with lamb, cucumber, tomato and feta. A member of the staff suggested to get some tzatziki on the side and I think the should automatically on the side, it was phenomenal and I am a pretty tough critic.

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For my main meal I had one of the menu staples at Seasons 52, at the urging of Cait and Lydia. It was the cedar-plank salmon with roasted vegetables, crushed potatoes, and a lemon dill sauce. I’ll admit that I am usually very wary of ordering salmon at restaurants because it can be dry and I hate that. But I knew I loved Seasons’ food and I knew Cait wouldn’t steer me wrong. It was of course phenomenal, the salmon was perfectly cooked and the dill sauce was amazing. What really sold me was that there were beets in the roasted veggies.

IMG_8207Peanut Butter Torte Mini-Indulgence

Since we were there to try the new Spring mini-indulgences, I had to have dessert. Honestly, I couldn’t decide between this one, the s’mores, and the key lime… so I went with my standard combo and it was wonderful. The flavors were bold and delicious, a perfect blend of salt and sweet. The dish was also very light and I didn’t feel too stuffed after our meal.

I can’t say enough good things, not just about the food but also about the staff at Seasons 52, if you haven’t been yet, make your reservations ASAP!

The rest of my weekend was just as wonderful. I started Saturday morning at Pure Barre with Jane, then got my first manicure & pedicure at MiniLuxe in Lynnfield. I can’t recommend MiniLuxe enough. It is on the pricier side, but I will always pay more for cleanliness. The staff was extremely nice, and the color selection was large, especially the gel selection. Also, the lemonade lotion is the perfect smell for spring and summer!

IMG_8209Call me crazy, but I prefer the places without the massage chairs

Then Nick, B, and I went to CT for some family time and a bridal shower. It has been awhile since I had such a wonderful weekend. Not that there weren’t wonderful moments, but with all the sadness I needed some uplifting things, and this weekend was perfection. Thank you, ladies <3

Have you ever been to Seasons 52? Thoughts?

 

Ruby: You Are More Than The Hand You Are Dealt

This post was inspired by Ruby by Cynthia Bond, a gripping novel about overcoming our past and embracing love in a racially charged rural 1950s Texas.  Join From Left to Write on May 8 we discuss Ruby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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If you are relatively new to the blog, you may have noticed a lot of book club posts. From Left to Write members don’t write traditional book reviews for the books we have been sent and read. Instead we use a theme, small or large, as a jumping point for our own posts.

Ruby was hard to read, not just because of the race issue but because a huge part of me was frustrated with Ruby. Ephram, another character in the book, was strong enough to overcome the past that he was handed and make a life that he was proud of, but Ruby could not. I wanted to shake her and tell her she was better than her past and her upbringing, she could have a life worth living.

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I will always say one of my biggest inspirations is my husband, and I know most of you are probably rolling your eyes and think that I am being super cheesy, but there are some parts of my husband’s life that I’ve never shared, and now we are ready to share with you. I asked Nick to write about his past and this is what he had to say:

When I was in 6th grade, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that had the unfortunate side effect of causing me to lose all sight in one eye and a good deal of sight in the other. At first it was thought that some of my sight might be restored in some time, that the vision loss was only a temporary effect of excess brain fluid causing pressure on my optic nerves until a shunt was installed in my head to relieve said pressure. However, after visiting quite a few specialists, it was determined that I would likely live the rest of my life as a legally blind individual. 

Of course this was an insanely difficult burden to bear by an 11-year old and luckily I had the most incredible family to help me through what I still look back on as the most difficult time in my life. My teenage years were spent trying to adapt to my new situation, a great deal of that time spent wishing that things could go back to the way they were when I could see 20/20 like the rest of my peers. Gradually, as I started coming to terms with the hand life had dealt me, I started to accept who I was. Eventually I found that there were things in life that I could be great at, despite not being able to see. Music became a huge passion and by the time I was accepted into college, computers had also become a significant part of my life, ultimately shaping my career path.  

 Today I am a very successful software developer. I get to work on life-impacting software every day, which is more that I could have ever hoped for out of a career. I have a beautiful family of my own and we live in a wonderful house. I have more than many people in this world would ever dream of, and I am so thankful for that. Can I see well enough to drive myself to work, or read books to my son, or catch a baseball? No. But I refuse to live my life being defined by the things that I cannot do and rather, focus on the things that I can do. Yes, sometimes things are harder for me, and from time to time, that really sucks, but at the end of the day, I truly believe that If I work hard enough and try to be a good person, life will reward me the same as it would any sighted person. 

Honestly, reading what Nick wrote brought me to tears, he hasn’t by any means had it easy but he could’ve taken a much different path than the one he is on. He could be living off disability money from the state, being angry at the world, but he chose to live a life that will fulfill him and fulfill his family. Not only is he a positive person, but he doesn’t let other people’s ignorance annoy him or take away from his life (something I am still working on). He is a better father than many and an amazing husband. I am so grateful that he is a part of my life, and that we walk this path together.

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Weekly Updates: 04/14/14 – 05/04/14

I know…. it has been approximately forever since I posted a weekly update, there has been so much traveling on Sundays that I just haven’t been able to get to my computer to write it all down, so here is a condensed version.

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04/14 – 04/20

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I went to Pure Barre. Thursday evening we headed to CT for Easter weekend, which included a few walks and lots of important family time…and of course B being very cute.

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04/21 – 04/27

I went to Pure Barre on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. We are still having sleep issues with B man so I ended up cancelling some classes so I could be the one getting up at all hours of the night with him. Again we jetted to CT for the weekend on Saturday for a memorial. I am glad I was able to get a good number of workouts in, but I don’t regret the ones I didn’t, family will always be #1.

04/28 – 05/04

Pure Barre was Wednesday and Saturday, not great on my part. B was getting a cold and his sleep is even worse during that time, so I knew I would need to not be able to just rally in the morning, because the daytime would also be rough and I would need all the energy I could muster. We headed to CT…again but it was an amazing weekend of friend, family and fun. I don’t hate going down there all the time, but I do not love the 2 hour drive.

 

In terms of food lately, I haven’t been talking about it, because I haven’t always been super impressed with myself. We don’t eat terrible at home and we don’t eat out a lot, BUT my downfalls have been more carbs than usual, waaaay more, and chocolate. Those two things have always been comfort items and so I am not surprised, but I can’t keep them 100% out of my house either. I need to get better at the will power, and better at saying no to the piece of chocolate or piece of bread, etc…

 

How do you say no to your comfort foods?

Five Things Friday: Mother’s Day Gifts!

Five Things Friday

Mother’s Day is next Sunday, and while I don’t think it is necessary to get or give a lavish gift for these type of holidays, I still love putting together gift lists…I mean who doesn’t?

1. 90+ Cellars has a great deal, a 3 bottle set, prosecco, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay, all for $45 and if you enter the code HARTFORDPRINTS at checkout you get a greeting card as well! I mean wine & motherhood go hand-in-hand, right?

2. Shoes

skyscapeI’ve been on the hunt for an everyday shoe for a long time, in the summer especially we do A LOT of walking, and I need something that is comfortable and versatile, cute would be a bonus. I have a pair of regular Toms, but they aren’t as comfortable for me as they are for others. I have tried other shoes on, but haven’t pulled the trigger because of price. My top three favorites are: Reebok Skyscape, Tieks flats, and Toms ballet flats. Clearly the Skyscapes are the most affordable.

3. Clothes are so hard to buy for people, at least that is my experience. The only person I ever buy clothes for, besides my husband and son, is my sister. Our styles are pretty similar and she doesn’t get offended if I buy her an item that is a size too big or small. That being said, Stitch Fix* is a great way to let someone pick out their own clothes without making them go to the mall with small child(ren) in tow. You can read my review here!

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4. A spa day! Who doesn’t love getting pampered? Massages, manicures & pedicures, day drinking with other mom friends.

5. A gift card to her favorite place of exercise, whether it be yoga, barre, or a fitness boutique. Does she go to a gym with a monthly rate? You can always get her a gift card to her favorite athletic apparel store!

And at the end of the day, all I really need is some quality time with my two favorite boys.

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What’s on your Mother’s Day Wish List?

*referral link