Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

Valentine’s Day is nearly two weeks away! Have you finished shopping yet? Time is running out… but I’ve got you covered! Take a look at my new gift guide “for him” for plenty of options big and small — from cocktail shakers to heart-patterned socks and Bose speakers. And if you’re looking for more female-centric gifts, be sure to check out my list of 11 Edible Gifts for Valentine’s Day. Happy shopping…!

Valentine's Day Gifts for Him

Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband:

Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband

Forever 21 Heart-Patterned Socks:

Forever 21 Heart-Patterned Socks

Lacoste Blanc Eau de Toilette for Men:

Lacoste Blanc Eau de Toilette for Men

AMC Theatre Gift Card:

AMC Theatre Gift Card

Brooks Brothers Rope Split Stripe Tie in Light Blue

Brooks Brothers Light Blue Stripe Tie

Sparq Home Mix Whiskey Rocks:

Sparq Home Mix Whiskey Rocks

Bose QuietComfort Headphones:

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

Polo Ralph Lauren Kimono Robe:

Polo Ralph Lauren Kimono Robe

Herschel Supply Co. Duffel Bag:

Herschel Supply Co. Duffel Bag

Izola Shake Rattle & Roll Shaker

Izola Shake Rattle & Roll Shaker

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker:

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**

Best Ways to Spend a Snow Day

Who else is snowed in? Here are some fun ideas for how to spend your snow day (or any other winter day, for that matter!). I’ll be doing many of these activities myself. :-D

New York Snow Day

1. Work from home.

2. Catch up with a friend.

3. Curl up with a good book. (I’m currently reading The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World.)

The Food Revolution

4. Netflix binge. (My picks: Friends, Mad Men, Scandal and Revenge.)

5. Watch a good chick flick. (My picks: Dirty DancingPretty In Pink, Mean GirlsClueless and Breakfast At Tiffany’s.)

Mean Girls

6. Plan a vacation.

7. Clean out and organize your closet.

8. Paint your nails. (Essie’s “No Place Like Chrome” is one of my new favorites! Probably the best metallic polish I’ve ever tried.)

Essie No Place Like Chrome

Essie Polish 1-27-2015

9. Make a new playlist on Spotify.

10. Bake something sweet. (Visit my Pinterest for inspiration!)

Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies

11. Write a list of goals for the year.

12. Brainstorm a winter bucket list.

13. Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate in your favorite mug.

Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

14. Go outside and take pictures of the snow.

15. Play in the snow!

16. Shop online.

17. Create a new Pinterest board of recipes to try this winter.

18. Work out with a fitness DVD or at-home circuit workout (tons of ideas on my Pinterest board.)

No Nonsense Circuit

19. Organize emails, files and pictures on your computer.

20. Take a nap!

New York Snow Day

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**

11 Edible Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

I know some people hate Valentine’s Day. But c’mon… how can you despise a holiday that revolves around chocolate? ;-) I mean… there’s chocolate-covered strawberries, truffles, cookies… the list goes on. No matter how you’re celebrating, or who you’re buying for, I can guarantee they (or you!) will appreciate something edible! I’ve put together a list of my 11 favorite tasty gifts, all of which can be ordered online. Enjoy… and treat yourself (!).

Shari’s Berries Hand-Decorated Valentine’s Cookies

Shari's Berries Valentine's Day Cookies

Edible Arrangements Sweetheart Bouquet

Edible Arrangements Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Vosges Volupté Heart Caramel Bonbon Collection

Vosges Valentine's Day Chocolates

William Greenberg Pink and White Cookies

William Greenberg Pink and White Cookies

Shari’s Berries Conversation Heart Brownie Pops

Shari's Berries Conversation Heart Brownie Pops

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie Tin and B-Day Truffle Box

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie Tin and B-Day Truffle Box

Harry & David Valentine’s Day Cheesecake Pops

Harry & David Valentine's Day Cheesecake Pops

Fatty Sunday’s White Chocolate Pretzels

Fatty Sunday's White Chocolate Pretzels

Jacques Torres Heart Box

Jacques Torres Heart Box

Harry & David Chocolate-Covered Strawberries Gift Box

Harry & David Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Funky Chunky Double Mini Popcorn Gift Pack

Funky Chunky Popcorn Gift Pack

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese

Who says mac and cheese is just for kids?! Not me! I just discovered Trader Joe’s reduced guilt mac and cheese, which boasts 65% less fat and 25% fewer calories than its regular version. Yes, it’s true… mac and cheese CAN be healthy! I am officially a fan. This was an excellent find, and best of all, took only minutes to prepare!

I’m not typically a huge fan of pasta (it doesn’t really fill me up). So this purchase was definitely outside of my ‘comfort zone.’ But I decided to give it a try when I noticed the protein content (15g!).

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Mac and Cheese

Given the nutritional stats, you’ll see that this really is a pretty healthy meal. It tastes delicious, and far more substantial than the Easy Mac that i remember from my college days. The sauce is creamy and rich, and the elbow pasta noodles taste far more significant than the typical thin tube noodles you’ll find in many boxed versions. While you could definitely eat this on its own, I mixed in some Brussels sprouts and kale for a a little veggie boost. Yum! I would highly recommend this to any of the mac and cheese fans out there, or those of you looking for an easy, healthy meal to make after work during the week! Give it a try!

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Mac and Cheese

6 Glass Water Bottles to Fuel Your 2015 Workouts

I’m excited to share one of my latest obsessions: GLASS water bottles! My brother gave me a pink one for Christmas from Ello (it was on my Christmas list!), and it’s been a real game-changer. Why? I was skeptical of glass’s ‘superiority,’ too, especially since my old plastic and aluminum bottles seemed to suffice. But these Amazon reviews changed my mind. I’m so glad that they did. All I can say is… wow! Water just TASTES better from a glass bottle. It’s surprisingly purer, cleaner and smoother. I drink a lot of water as it is, but I’ve already found myself sipping more lately now that I have this bottle! If you’re in the market, I’d highly recommend making the ‘glass’ switch. Think of it as workout motivation! ;-) Here are 6 of my favorites:

Glass Water Bottles

Ello 20-oz Glass Water Bottle:

Ello Glass Water Bottle

Bkr 500ml Glass Water Bottle:

Bkr Glass Water Bottle

Lifefactory 22-Ounce Glass Bottle with Flip Cap:

Lifefactory Water Bottle

 Takeya 16-oz. Glass Water Bottle:

Takeya Glass Water Bottle

Lululemon 18-oz Glass Water Bottle:

Lululemon Glass Water Bottle

Ello 20-oz Glass Water Bottle with Bamboo Lid:

Ello Glass Water Bottle with Bamboo Lid

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**

Healthy Brunch Class at Whole Foods

Ever doubted the deliciousness of VEGAN baked goods? This post is about to change your mind! I have some mind-blowingly delicious recipes to share with you! Last Saturday, I participated in Whole Foods Bowery’s “healthy brunch” class taught by nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos, and sponsored by Vega. We learned four of her amazing recipes, including:

  • Banana Chocolate Chip Quinoa Scones with Chocolate Spread (my favorite!)
  • Cherry Almond Muffins with Cherry Cashew Cream
  • Wake-and-Shake Vega Frappuccino
  • Cinnamon Raisin French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Cashew Cream

My favorite was definitely the scones. The best part about all of these dishes was that I didn’t walk away with a huge sugar rush. Eating good ingredients = feeling good! Read on for the recipes.

Banana Chocolate Chip Quinoa Scones with Chocolate Spread

Banana Chocolate Chip Quinoa Scones (pictured above):

  • 4 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
  • 1 cup uncooked 100% rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork and add vanilla, almond butter and coconut sugar.
  2. Add quinoa, oats, coconut and pinch of salt. Mix until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop batter onto sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Chocolate Spread (Optional) 

  • 2 really ripe avocados
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

How-to: 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Healthy Brunch Class at Whole Foods Bowery Cherry Almond Muffins with Cherry Cashew Cream

Cherry Almond Muffins with Cherry Cashew Cream (pictured above):

  • 1 tbsp ground chia + 4 tbsp water
  • 1 large ripe banana or 2 smaller ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

How-to: 

  1. Place ground chia in a small bowl. Add warm water and mix with a fork. Set aside for gel to form.
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl then add oil, nut butter, vanilla and milk, stirring to mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Grease large muffin tins with coconut oil. Drop in batter and bake at 350º F for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Cherry-Cashew Cream (Optional)

  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups pitted cherries (can use frozen, but thaw out)
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

How-to:

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-power blender and blend until thick and smooth. Adjust coconut milk as necessary so that mixture is thick enough to hold up as a frosting.
  2. Add frosting to piping bag and frost muffins, or cut muffins in half and use as spread.

Wake-and-Shake Vega Frappuccino

Wake-and-Shake Vega Frappuccino (pictured above)

      • 2 cups vanilla coconut milk
      • 1 scoop Vega One Chocolate
      • 1 cup ice
      • 1 large, ripe banana, frozen
      • 1 tbsp almond butter
      • 1 shot espresso (brewed)
      • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla

How-to: 

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Cashew Cream

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Cashew Cream

      • 4 slices of cinnamon raisin sprouted grain bread
      • 1 tbsp coconut oil
      • 1 cup wild blueberries
      • 1/2 tsp chia seeds, ground
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla
      • 1 cup raw cashews
      • 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened vanilla
      • 3 tbsp maple syrup
      • 1 tsp vanilla

How-to:

      1. Spread coconut oil on both sides of bread for each slice.
      2. Heat skilled (or griddle) on medium heat. Place each slice of coconut buttered bread onto skilled until it starts to brown. Turn over and repeat on other side.
      3. Remove and transfer to plate and cut diagonally.
      4. For blueberry compote: take half the blueberries and place in food processor. Blend until smooth; then add vanilla and ground chia. Continue to blend until well combined. Transfer to bowl and stir in remaining blueberries.
      5. For cashew cream: Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
      6. Top toast with cashew cream and blueberry compote.

If you’re interested in more of Peggy’s recipes, be sure to check out her website. She also has a great book, Kitchen Cures, which features tips, foods and recipes for alleviating common health conditions!

Kitchen Cures Book

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**