food

march giveaway.

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m lucky enough to be coming to you from Chicago this morning. I flew out of snowy New York City late yesterday afternoon  and am so excited to spend the next few days hanging out with two of my very best friends. The three of us live in different cities — New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — and we’ve tried to make a better effort over the last few months to get together for these girls’ weekends on a regular basis. It’s a great excuse to get away for a weekend, too, and I secretly love the way it feels to do a little solo plane travel. Matt’s actually coming to Chicago later tonight because we have another set of friends celebrating their upcoming wedding here tomorrow. He’ll be able to snag some QT with one of his best college pals while I’m with the girls, and we’ll meet up for the couples’ shower. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly!

In the meantime, though, it’s GIVEAWAY DAY… and I couldn’t be more excited to share this month’s prize with you. 

For the first time ever, I’ve teamed up with  an author for the March giveaway. How cool is that? Meet Hannah Howard.

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Hannah and I met at the very beginning of my freelance journey when we both took a Freelance Bootcamp class at the Brooklyn Brainery. At that point, Hannah had recently sold her debut book to a publisher, and although I was having some serious writer FOMO at that point (guilty!), I was so intrigued by the premise of her memoir that I got over it pretty quickly. I was so excited when Hannah reached out a few weeks ago with the opportunity to work together to share Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen with my blog community. Thank you so much, Hannah!

Many of you already know that a healthy relationship with food hasn’t always come easily to me personally, and since Feast (just out this month!) shares the story of Hannah’s own journey to find self-acceptance in spite of her disordered eating — all while exploring the unique and colorful food scene of New York City — I knew even before cracking the cover that it would be right up my alley. I started reading the book on the flight yesterday, and before I knew it, I was 100 pages in. Hannah’s writing is absolutely stunning. I love the way she describes food and the city that I love, and her reflections on how we feel about ourselves as we grow up (just wait until you read about middle school!) are wildly relatable.

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Even if your relationship with food has never crossed the threshold to disordered, you surely have had other moments of self-doubt, and Hannah’s narrative will really resonate with you at that level. Plus, her writing is beautiful and offers a fascinating peek into the NYC food scene.

Here’s a quick summary:

Hannah Howard is a Columbia University freshman when she lands a hostess job at Picholine, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan. Eighteen years old and eager to learn, she’s invigorated by the manic energy and knife-sharp focus of the crew. By day Hannah explores the Columbia arts scene, struggling to find her place. By night she’s intoxicated by boxes of heady truffles and intrigued by the food industry’s insiders. She’s hungry for knowledge, success, and love, but she’s also ravenous because she hasn’t eaten more than yogurt and coffee in days.

Hannah is hiding an eating disorder. The excruciatingly late nights, demanding chefs, bad boyfriends, and destructive obsessions have left a void inside her that she can’t fill. To reconcile her relationships with the food she worships and a body she struggles to accept, Hannah’s going to have to learn to nourish her soul.

The winner of this month’s giveaway will receive their very own copy of Feast! So cool, right?

All you have to do to enter to win this giveaway is COMMENT on this post! I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Friday 3/30. The winner will be announced right here on the blog.

(Unfortunately, you’re not eligible to win this contest if you live outside of North America, due to shipping concerns. I’m sorry about that!)

… and if, as you’re typing in your own comment, you feel so inspired, I’d love for you to pass the giveaway along to a food- or book-loving friend who might also be interested in entering. Grab that URL at the top of your screen and text it to a loved one or share it on social media. It means so much to me to able to share Finding Plan A with more and more people — and I would be all the more excited to have more eyes on this post in particular, since it will allow us to help Hannah get the word out about Feast!

Happy commenting! And happy weekending! 

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weekend in charlotte.

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and that your week is off to a great start, too. We’ve been back from our little southern getaway for a few days now, and I’m excited to share some of the details!

First of all, if you’re planning a trip to Charlotte any time soon, I would highly recommend the Airbnb we stayed in. It was walkable to lots of bars and restaurants (although we learned that most people don’t walk as many places as New Yorkers do — oops!) and a 15-minute-or-less drive to pretty much anywhere else we wanted to go, from the center of the city to cool neighborhoods like NoDa (my personal favorite). Honestly, the space was more than we knew what to do with — we had two bedrooms and two bathrooms — but since we’re used to living in such a small apartment, getting to spread out a little bit was really part of the vacation! You could easily fit six or eight people in this Airbnb, and Matt and I agreed that if you have plans to visit Charlotte for a football game or something similar, it would be absolutely perfect, especially since it had an awesome front porch that would be great for a little pre-game beer and snacks : )

We snapped this pic in the living room of our Airbnb, actually! I’d hoped for more photo ops during our visit and that didn’t quite pan out, so I insisted on a selfie before our last dinner out.

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Here are a few more highlights of our trip!

(Fair Warning: Most of them involve food. Hey — we were just trying to get a feel for the culture of the city! And isn’t food love in the south?)

  • Driving through the Dilworth neighborhood and eyeing up all the beautiful old houses from the car. It’s basically everything you ever imagined that a beautiful Southern city could offer.
  • Exploring NoDa and brunch at the Crepe CellarNoDa was the closest thing to Brooklyn that I saw while we were visiting Charlotte — funky artists selling their work on the sidewalks, cool paintings on the building facades, funky stores, and cool bars. A friend recommended Crepe Cellar to us for brunch and the four cheese savory crepe I had there may have been my favorite bite of the trip. We also stopped by Amélie’s French Bakery & Cafe to get Matt his coffee fix — another suggestion from a friend!
  • Reading and relaxing in Freedom Park. So much of what we enjoyed about our weekend getaway was the weather. After a long few months of cold temperatures here in New York City, it was such a treat to enjoy a little sunshine and 75-degree air! We grabbed our books and spent a few hours on a bench reading.
  • A night out in downtown Charlotte, starting with dinner at Sea LevelWe ate dinner outside (did I mention that warm weather?) and tried oyster shooters for the first time (yum!). After that, we took a little field trip to the Howl at the Moon piano bar because we thought it would be fun to listen to some live music, and we got way more than we bargained for. If you follow my Instagram Stories you know exactly what I’m talking about… there was a banana-themed citywide bar crawl happening all across town, and we spent the evening watching hundreds of people in banana suits belting out the oldies on stage. It was amazing.
  • Breakfast at Sunflour Baking CompanyThe multigrain bread I ordered with my breakfast sandwich was quite possibly the best bread I’ve ever tasted. And Matt is still talking about the fact that he didn’t get to go back here to try a chocolate chip cookie!
  • Checking out the U.S. National Whitewater CenterGiven the timing of our visit, I’m not sure that we saw this landmark at its best, but I can imagine that it would be an awesome place to explore in the late spring and early summer. You can buy a day pass and have free reign of all of their adventure activities and ropes courses, and they also have a beer garden smack in the middle of it all.
  • Getting a great deal on a denim jacket at the Gap outlet store. I don’t usually like to shop on vacation, but we had some rain on Sunday afternoon and decided to check out the Charlotte Premium Outlets on our way back from the Whitewater Center. By the end of last summer, I’d more or less worn out my trusty old denim jacket, and I found a new one for $40.
  • A feast on our final night! I had one of the best Italian meals of my entire life at Fiamma restaurant (hands down!) and we — of course— made an ice cream stop at Golden Cow Creamery. Did you really think we’d last a weekend in another city without checking out the ice cream scene?
  • Trying the steamed bagel sandwiches at Owen’s Bagel & DeliI have a blog reader to thank for this one (thanks, Victoria!). I can’t quite explain why these steamed sandwiches were so much different than other bagel sammies I’ve had in the past… but they were really different and really good.
  • Getting through the Charlotte airport so. fast. I know this sounds a little silly, but I can’t say enough about how easy it was to travel through this airport. At the last minute, we decided to switch our tickets onto an earlier flight, and we made it from the rental car dropoff through to our gate in 25 minutes flat.

Thanks for letting me share the highlights of our trip with you!

One more thing…

Don’t forget to enter the February giveaway! This month’s winner will take home a $30 gift card to Barnes & NobleAll you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post (linked here!). I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner this coming Friday 3/2, so don’t miss your chance to enter ASAP!

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cookie swap 2017.

Like the rest of the world, I’m running around at a million miles per hour this week taking care of final holiday preparations, wrapping up a few work projects (even though it looks like I’m going to have to plenty to do next week, ugh), and getting ready to travel this weekend. I don’t have a ton of time to blog (sorry!), but I did want to check in quickly and share a few notes about our cookie swap this past weekend.

We had our first cookie swap last year (you can read more about that here),and pretty much decided the following day that we wanted it to become an annual thing. Matt’s love language is cookies and I’ll take any opportunity to throw a party (especially around the holidays) — plus, we loved the fact that it gave us a chance to raise some money for a good cause during a season when it’s easy to forget to be generous. Every person who comes to one of our swaps brings $10 with them, and we donate all of the money to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. The organization benefits, the guests leave with bellies and bags full of cookies, Matt’s drowning in leftover baked goods for weeks… everybody wins!

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I try to make a few dozen cookies myself to take some pressure off our guests and to ensure that there are plenty of cookies to go around. Baking is one of my favorite things, anyway, and I always find it to be a super stress reliever. This year, I made a few of my go-to recipes, plus some new things, and I was pretty happy with how all of them turned out!

  • Peppermint Bark: Not officially a cookie, but always a hit at holiday parties and bake sales. They look kind of fancy and everyone’s impressed when they find out you made them from scratch, but it’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever made! This is a great recipe to use as a starting point, but I always swap semisweet chocolate in for the milk chocolate. I also find that it really helps with the texture (and prevents the chocolate from burning), when you add a bit of canola or vegetable oil to the saucepan as you melt both types of chocolate.
  • Cranberry + White Chocolate Chip Cookies: Take your favorite standard chocolate chip cookie recipe (I have one that I’ll never share!), swap white chocolate in for semisweet chips, and add craisins. Instead of vanilla extract, use almond extract (a little bit less almond than you would vanilla). I swear on rainbow sprinkles that this is the ultimate holiday cookie, and I look forward to them all year long.
  • Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies: This was a new one for me! I’m generally not a huge cookie person (which makes it a lot easier for me to have all of these cookies around the apartment for the swap!), but I’ve been really into oatmeal cookies this year, so I wanted to make a version for the party. I used this recipe and sprinkled metallic sanding sugar on top for some festive sparkle.
  • Cut-Out Sugar Cookies: I shared all my feelings about cut-out sugar cookies on Instagram over the weekend, but suffice it to say that I kind of find them to be a HUGE. PAIN. They’re labor intensive and really messy (have you figured out that I’m a neat freak yet?), and I’m just not totally convinced that the finished product merits all that work. But, Matt loves them and they’re basically the ultimate holiday treat, so I caved and brought them back for this year. I used this recipe from The Kitchn, which I would recommend hands down. The cream cheese adds a great flavor, and they were really easy to roll out. I used powdered sugar instead of flour to work the dough for the first time (a little trick I picked up from too many hours of watching baking shows), and I think that also made a big difference. Who knows? I might even make them again next year without complaining!

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Do you have a favorite cookie recipe that you bring out for the holidays? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments below!

AND check back here on Friday for the final giveaway of 2017! I heard a few of you loud and clear when you said you’re looking for non-jewelry prizes (it’s not too late to take the survey if you haven’t yet!), so I’ll be shaking things up for December. See you then! 

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holiday decor + mini-thanksgiving.

As promised, today I’m sharing some photos from our super festive marathon of holiday celebrations this past weekend. In case you missed it, we decorated our apartment and cooked a belated mini-Thanksgiving dinner… all in roughly 24 hours. We don’t do things halfway here in the Kosik household!

This is our third holiday season in this apartment, so we kind of have our decoration routine down to a science. We buy a tree from a guy who sets up shop around the corner (his name is José) and Matt carries it home, which is a city phenomenon that never fails to surprise the little suburban girl inside my soul.

This year, we bought a few new seasonal throw pillows and candles, plus an ornament or two, but mostly, we used things we’d already collected. The red and white paper chain you see in the photos below is something I made by hand for our first holiday in Brooklyn, and we’ve somehow managed to keep it intact for three years now! (For the record, I was fully expecting to have to start from scratch annually.) Hanging it up is one of my favorite traditions, and if you’re looking for a low-budget, high-impact element to add to your holiday decor, I would definitely recommend making one for yourself!

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Once the apartment was properly in the festive spirit, we transitioned immediately into Thanksgiving mode! As you know if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, Matt and I started a tradition of making a mini-Thanksgiving dinner last year, and even though we made it happen a little bit late this time around, I’m really glad we did it. We absolutely love the big Thanksgiving celebration that happens with family in Pennsylvania, but it’s nice to have a smaller version, too, with just the two of us — plus, we both like to cook, and it’s been fun to figure out what recipes are going to be part of our own tradition.

We reprised a lot of the classics we made last year — a turkey breast (of course), stuffing, kale salad, cranberry sauce — but we added in a new roasted potato dish and biscuits. I also finally got around to making a recipe for apple crumble that my friend Angela gave me a few months ago. She made it for us when we visited her and her sweet family back in October, and I was waiting for the perfect time to try it myself. It was as delicious as I remembered it!

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I was honestly a little worried that squeezing our decorating day and our Thanksgiving dinner into one weekend would somehow cheapen both events, but I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. Sometimes, it makes me sad to think that we’re not always able to savor things because we’re moving so quickly through this season of our lives, and I don’t like the idea of condensing the calendar simply for the sake of getting everything done. Rather than a rush, though, this weekend just felt like the perfect mash-up of celebrations, and it launched me into the holiday season wildly quickly.

(Also, we have a fridge full of leftovers, which has been especially helpful throughout this crazy busy week. Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?)

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my guest post over on HomeBodySoul, I’d love for you to take a look! This is about as raw and honest as I’ve gotten with sharing the story of my transition from corporate America to freelancing, and I think it will help shed a little extra light on how and why I’ve ended up where I am. Thanks so much to Meghan for giving me the platform to open up! 

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10 thanksgiving recipes i have my eye on.

With Thanksgiving falling so early this year, it looked for a hot second there like Matt and I weren’t going to be able to find a time to have our second-annual mini Thanksgiving — but, thankfully, we got it on the calendar. It’s a good thing, too, because there would have been one very unhappy husband over here if we hadn’t been able to make it work. Don’t get me wrong… I would have been bummed if we hadn’t been able to find a time for it, too (putting off a tradition after just one year? how lame is that?), but I’m pretty sure Matt would have cancelled the holiday season altogether. We’ll have to wait until after “real” Thanksgiving to make our own, but I’m glad that we’ll be able to extend our favorite occasion and throw ourselves into enjoying it in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to if we tried to squeeze it in before we travel back home to Pennsylvania next week.

Now that the plans are officially underway, I’ve started pulling together recipes, and it’s making me even more excited. There were a few dishes we made last year that I think will become a staple for us moving forward, but it never hurts to add in a new twist for a new season. I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’d come across that looked especially delicious in case you’re also on the hunt for something fun to make for a Friendsgiving or family feast.

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1. Creamy Pumpkin and Cheddar Scalloped PotatoesI get the coziest, most nostalgic feelings anytime there’s a scalloped potato situation happening within a few feet of me, but the pumpkin flavors added to this recipe kick it up a seasonal notch. (via Cooking For Keeps)

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2. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts & Brown Butter DressingWe’re big fans of Brussels sprouts at my house (tell that to six-year-old Alli and she’ll scream “Gross!” and run away). The combination of these ingredients sounds like it would make for a fantastic Thanksgiving salad. (via The Kitchn)

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3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with BarleyI’ve already professed our love for Brussels sprouts, and Matt snacks on cranberries like they’re going out of style, so I think this dish might be a big hit. I always love experimenting with different kinds of grains, as well, so why not barley? (via Cookie + Kate)

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4. Parmesan-Thyme MushroomsIt only took me eight years, but I recently discovered that my husband loves mushrooms, so I’ve been collecting ideas on how to prepare them. This recipe only takes 15 minutes to make, and it features my very favorite kind of cheese. (via The Kitchn)

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5. Roasted Butternut Squash RisottoI have no word for this other than this one: YUM. (via Cookie + Kate)

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6. Creamy Cauliflower SoupI would very much like to be the kind of person that makes and serves a hearty soup for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure I’m quite there yet, but a girl can dream, right? (via What’s for Lunch, Honey?)

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7. Buttermilk BiscuitsI’m delving (slowly, cautiously) back into the world of gluten (you can read more about that here), and I think that trying my hand at some classic homemade biscuits this Thanksgiving would be the perfect way to celebrate that. (via The Kitchn)

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8. Pumpkin Biscuits with Brown Butter and Cinnamon SugarThese could definitely be a contender for my “gluten, I’m back!” celebration, too. Is it socially acceptable to make and eat two kinds of biscuits? (via Cooking For Keeps)

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9. Pumpkin Dessert LasagnaI’ve never quite learned to enjoy pumpkin pie, so I’m always in search of another pumpkin dessert that I could make for Thanksgiving. This “lasagna” is assembled with cream cheese mousse, pumpkin pudding, caramel sauce, and spiced whipped cream. (via The Kitchn)

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10. Caramelized Peach + White Chocolate Oatmeal Skillet Cookie PieWhite chocolate is one of my favorite flavors for Christmas desserts, but I’m thinking of getting a jump on it a little early this year! I also fell pretty hard for caramelized peaches over the summer — this recipe is seriously calling to me. (via Half Baked Harvest)

Do you have any fun recipes planned for this Thanksgiving? Tell me more in the comments below! 

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healthy work-from-home habits.

When I put out my last call for questions that you’d like to see addressed here on the blog (you can still submit them here!), a few people asked me about how I’ve kept up a healthy eating and workout routine while working from home, and if my approach to it has changed at all since I left my former life in corporate America. Due to some recent circumstances, I’ve made a bunch of adjustments to what I was doing before — both a few months ago in my freelance life and a few years ago in my 9-to-5 life — so it seems like the perfect time to share what’s been working for me lately!

Some of you may know that I’ve been working through some more general health concerns over the last few weeks, a process that’s forced me to take stock of how I’ve been treating my body and what I can do to better serve it. I’ve been pretty passionate about nutrition and exercise since my early college days, but the (thankfully minor) bumps in the road I’ve encountered these past few months in terms of my health have been a welcome reminder that there are lots of ways to be “healthy.” Just because I think I’m doing all the right things to stay well and in shape doesn’t mean that those hard and fast rules work for my body. For many years, they did, but I’m learning to make adjustments and it’s actually been a really good thing.

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I’ve written previously here about both my chronic insomnia and my long-standing digestive issues, but what I haven’t shared is that I also deal with intense hives. Without allergy medicine every day, I will literally find myself covered in a hot, itchy rash 90 percent of the time. At one point, I thought it was simply sensitive skin or a harmless allergy, but as it grew worse earlier this year, I began to wonder if it was somehow connected to my sleep and stomach issues — and if all of these problems could be addressed with one magic solution. Over the summer, I met with an allergist and immunologist, who worked with me on a few tests that were ultimately inconclusive. I have some other doctors to see that will hopefully have more answers for me, but in the meantime, I’ve adopted some new habits at the recommendation of the immunologist, and they’ve definitely impacted my general health!

Our recent trip to California also forced me to take a step back and reconsider my health habits. I guess it’s pretty cliché for my New York self to come back from the west coast with a new lease on food and fitness, but what can I say? Call me cliché! In the three weeks since we’ve been back from our vacation, I’ve noticed some changes in my health philosophy. Combined with the changes suggested by the doctor, those mental shifts have felt really good, especially within the framework of my work-from-home life.

  • Sleep: You may already know that I’ve been dealing with insomnia for the better part of four years now, but one tiny little adjustment has made a big difference recently. Vitamin D! My autoimmune doctor suggested it and I’m so grateful. It’s just the generic drugstore kind, but one pill a day has been making it a lot easier for me to fall — and stay — asleep. Game changer!
  • Diet: Since my sophomore year in college, I’ve been managing chronic digestive issues that are still generally undiagnosed. Thanks to some changes in my diet, my belly problems have gotten mostly better, but our trip to California inspired me to test out some other dietary routines, and I’m so happy did! What I realized in California (warning: another total cliché coming up) is that I haven’t been placing enough emphasis on real, well-made foods. I’ve been focusing so much on what’s gluten-free that I’ve almost totally eliminated foods that can actually fuel me, turning instead to anything that had that “GF” label on the package. And guess what? A lot of those foods aren’t really that good for you! I realize how lucky I am not to have Celiac Disease (I took gluten out of my diet a few years ago — along with garlic and onion — when I experimented with the Low FODMAP diet, a process that really did cure most of my symptoms), and I thought it was time that I start bringing a few whole wheats back into rotation. I’m still sticking with gluten-free pastas and staying away from anything too gluten-y (I know it’s not a word), but I’m feeling much healthier since I said goodbye to gluten-free packaged snack foods and started allowing myself a fresh piece of bread here and there. I’m leaner and more energized, and I suspect that this change might also have helped my sleep. Garlic and onion are still my major triggers, so I won’t be bringing those back any time soon.
  • Exercise (and not exercise): For years and years, I’ve relied on exercise as the primary factor in my health. I viewed myself as a healthy person because I worked out six days a week, and I pretty much assumed that the rest would fall into place. Exercise is still really important to me, but when I last went to see my doctor, he schooled me on how much stress I put on myself when I go to the gym on just a few (or zero) hours of sleep. This is the kind of stress, he said, that causes hives and an intensification of my stomach pain, so I’ve tried to force myself to take more rest days — and I definitely don’t push myself toward a hardcore workout after a sleepless night. Instead, I’ll take a long walk outside mid-afternoon, which has the added benefit of clearing my head and getting this WFH-er into the outside world! I’m still going to the gym about five days a week, but I’m also looking for other opportunities to be active in different ways when I know it’s better for my body.
  • Meals: Figuring out my meal schedule — and resisting the urge to snack constantly from my all-too-available kitchen — has been an ongoing process since I started working from my home office, and lately, I think I’m in a good groove. Here are a few tips:
    • Make breakfast the night before. I prep my oatmeal every night before bed so that it’s ready and waiting for me when I wake up the next day. This way, I’m not tempted to creep (yes, creep) around my kitchen considering less healthy options, and I know right when I wake up that there’s a hearty, delicious meal on tap.
    • Maintain consistency. When it comes to breakfast and lunch, I pretty much eat the same thing (or a variation of the same thing) every day, at least for a few weeks at a time. It takes the guesswork out of planning my meals for the day and helps me avoid those bouts of hanger that will typically lead me to a handful or five of chocolate covered pretzels. I picked up this routine while working in a more traditional office, and it hasn’t failed me yet!
    • Take advantage of meal prep and leftovers. I love a good Meal Prep Sunday as much as the next girl, but we’re on the road so often on the weekends that I usually can’t swing it. Instead, I’ve been upping the quantities I’m cooking at dinnertime (especially salads or veggie side dishes) and packing them away for the next day.
    • Plan your snacks. I’m a grazer by nature, and no matter how hard I try to resist temptations, my fridge is always going to be just a few steps from where I’m working. Instead of driving myself crazy fighting off snack cravings, I plan ahead by buying snack foods that won’t make me feel sick or guilty, and budgeting time to eat them into my schedule.

If you’re still working on your health journey (or if you’re in the market for advice that’s way more expert than mine!), check out the Kickstarter campaign for my friend Meghan Meredith‘s Whole Body Fitness planner. I can attest to the fact that it’s an awesome product! It’s also really special to be able to support Meghan’s big dream, which has been such an investment in time and sweat equity for her. Check out Meghan’s recent guest post for a preview of what this resource is all about — then pledge your support on Kickstarter if you’re feeling inspired! 

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the perfect chocolate chip banana bread.

Good morning, sunshines! First of all, I want to say a big, huge THANK YOU to all of you who reached out with love and encouragement after my last post. It’s empowering to be able to share difficult pieces of my story so honestly and to have others recognize and share in my experience. I try to keep in mind as much as possible that I’m never alone in my frustrations and insecurities, but it’s always nice to be reminded — so, thank you thank you THANK YOU.

After the weekend (plus all of your kindness), I’m reset and ready for what the next few days have in store. Matt and I were so happy to have some downtime here in Brooklyn. We spent a lot of hours holed up in our apartment napping and reading good books, and I decided to cap off the weekend by whipping up some banana bread. Baking has always been a stress reliever for me, and since we had a few bananas turning brown in the kitchen, banana bread seemed like the obvious thing.

I’ve been perfecting my banana bread recipe since my senior year in college. It’s based loosely on this recipe from Rachael Ray, but over the years, I’ve made several adjustments both to make it a bit healthier and to make it taste better : ) This banana bread has quite a history. When I started making it in college, my friends and roommates became pretty obsessed. They would deliberately over-buy bananas to give us (well, me) an opportunity to make it, and this very recipe got us through many breakups and tough study sessions. To this day, I rarely go visit a college friend without a batch in my bag! I still think it’s the perfect kinda, sorta healthy treat when I’m in need of a pick-me-up in my grown-up life, and after last week’s scaries, I’m happy to have it in my apartment to help kick off what I’m sure will be a much better week.

I can’t believe I’m releasing the full recipe into the world (I hope my friends still need me after this!), but here it is. You’re going to love it.

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The Perfect Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour — it’s the best gluten-free flour I’ve found!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (<– this is my secret!)
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.

Prepare a baking pan with non-stick spray (I use coconut oil spray). If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can use a shorter baking pan, instead! Back in college, we used to cut this up like brownies : )

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In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt (you really only need a quick shake of salt, do don’t bother measuring it out!).

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Mix in the oil, bananas, vanilla, and eggs.

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Stir in the chocolate chips (add nuts, if you’d like!).

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Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean, between 60 and 80 minutes. In my oven, 65-68 minutes is usually the sweet spot.

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Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely before you indulge!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this recipe as much as my loved ones and I do! Let me know what you think in the comments below if you decide to give it a try.

Remember to enter this months’ giveaway! The prize is a $25 gift card to BaubleBar! All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Wednesday 8/30, so get those entries in ASAP!

 

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