Raspberries and Rosé

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Summer may be on its way out, but I’m still milking rosé season for as long as I can. After making a batch of frozen rosé, or frosé, over Memorial Day Weekend (sidenote—what?! That seriously feels like last week), I decided to try it again but with…raspberries!

Raspberries are hands down my favorite fruit (although frozen grapes are definitely making their way up the list, haha), and I always pick up a box (or several) when they’re priced decently. When I came home from Paris, I headed to the store to do a big shop for the week and saw that raspberries were two for $3!!! Usually the best deal you can find is 2 for $5, so this was a steal. I grabbed two boxes to enjoy fresh and two to freeze for the rosé, and I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Oh, and the best part? It couldn’t be easier to make. All you have to do is blend the two ingredients together and garnish with additional raspberries on top. The result? A pretty, refreshing summer drink, perfect for a night in or as a pre-going out treat.

 

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Q&A with Cole from @cookbookish_

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It’s safe to say that I’ve been sucked in by food Instagrams, and busy teacher Cole’s account is no exception. So when she agreed to do a Q&A about meal prep, I was thrilled! I definitely struggle when it comes to planning meals. A lot of the time I blame it on living alone and getting an all-you-can-eat, relatively healthy lunch (for just $3!) at work every daytwo factors that mean I don’t need to go grocery shopping quite as much (excuses, excuses). However, when I get home, I’m often at a loss for how to use what I do have in order to create a meal that’s both delicious and nutritious. I also have a hard time eating the same thing multiple days in a row (a bad habit that apparently dates back to my highchair days, just ask my mom—supposedly I’d refuse to consume anything that I’d already had the day before!). Thankfully, Cole (who just so happens to be a former college classmate of mine!) is here to share a little bit of wisdom with regard to planning ahead, making the most of your weekly supplies (so that you aren’t eating the same meal on repeatyesss!), and staying full over the course of a long day on the job. Check out our Q&A below (all photos featured in this post are Cole’sfollow her account for more!):

Q: How often do you go grocery shopping? Do you set a specific budget per week or per month? Where do you save and where do you splurge?

A: I grocery shop one to three times per week, depending on what I have going in the days ahead. I make it a priority to grocery shop on Saturday or Sunday so that I feel ready going into the work week. I’ll get most of what I need for the week during these trips, but will take 1 to 2 small, additional trips to the grocery store later on.

I don’t have a specific food budget, but I would say I spend a solid $100 on groceries a week, because I cook most of my meals and feel strongly that health is an investment. I don’t have specific a budget that I stay within, though. I rely on a lot of staples that I don’t need to re-purchase every week, so if I run out of something like olive oil, for example, I’ll probably spend a little bit more during the week I replace it. I don’t really have any weekly purchases that I splurge on, though there are some staples, like nut butters, oil, and smoothie add-ins, that I’ll invest in, since I can use them across many weeks or even months. I don’t buy all of my produce organic, but I do buy organic for a few items, such as fruits or veggies with thin peels that are more likely to have pesticide residue, like strawberries (note from Sarah: I’ve heard that these are one of the best fruits to buy organic if you can, for this reason!) or cherries for example. I won’t waste money buying organic avocados or bananas, though, because they have thick skin, which means they’re less likely to have pesticide residue.

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Q: What are five to 10 items that should be on every young professional’s grocery list?

A: That’s a hard question! It really depends on your diet, but as a person who is fortunate to have basically no medical dietary restrictions, my weekly staples are whole wheat/multi grain/sourdough bread, brown rice/quinoa/healthy pastas, avocados, lemons, tomatoes, green beans, greens (romaine/mixed/spinach), bananas, eggs, beans (chickpeas/black beans), and organic turkey. I’ve found so many creative ways to make quick and nutritious meals with all of these things (seriouslytry to find an instagram post of mine that doesn’t have one of these items!). As for kitchen staples, I always have olive/avocado oil/ghee, salt/pepper, collagen peptides (protein to put in smoothies), nut butters (almond/cashew/peanut), nut milk (cashew/almond), whole nuts, and dark chocolate.

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Q: Based on your feed, it looks like you prep a lot of your lunches at work. What items do you keep on hand in the school fridge? How do you switch things up from day to day?

A: In our shared school kitchen space, I always have some healthy bread, avocado mayo, pepper jelly, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and chia/hemp/flax seeds. I’ll make easy meals during school by bringing in things to supplement what’s already there. So for breakfast, I’ll bring hard boiled eggs and sprinkle them with seeds/salt/pepper when I get there, or I’ll bring an avocado to make avocado toast with pepper jelly in our shared kitchen space. For lunch, I’ll bring a little bag with some turkey slices, avocado, tomato, and lettuce, and then toast my school bread and make a sandwich or salad on the spot. I also keep Trader Joe’s veggie gyoza in the freezer in case I’m really in a pinch and didn’t have time to prep anything beforehand or want something fast. A lot of times, I have leftovers from my dinner that I cooked the night before, and I’ll bring them in a glass tupperware to heat up in our shared microwave, and then I’ll add some of my seeds on top.

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Q: Where do you get your meal inspiration? Do you enjoy recreating recipes or do you prefer to whip up your own experimental dishes?

A: I get inspiration from a lot of my favorite Instagram food bloggers, but like my Instagram handle suggests, I’m not a huge fan of actual cookbooks or intricate recipes. If I see something I love on a food blogger’s page, sometimes I’ll try to re-create it with whatever I have at home and change it up to make it work for me, rather than following an exact recipe. I like intuitive cooking mostly–just staying in tune with what my body is craving and making up recipes based on the foods I feel like eating. For the most part, I’m not super concerned with exact measurements or serving sizes.

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Q: When you have a desk job it’s easier to take multiple “snack breaks” throughout the day, but working on your feet (not to mention being in front of students!) all day make this more difficult. What are your tips for staying full throughout a hectic work day?

A: It’s definitely hard for teachers to stay full during the work day! A lot of times, teachers are too busy to eat a real breakfast that fills them up, and then they’re starving by 10 am but don’t have time to make food, because they have a class of 30 kids to watch until their 12 pm prep period. I think teachers can stay full by really prioritizing eating a healthy and filling breakfast. This does take a little prep work, but I think investing a little time beforesuch as making hard boiled eggs on Sunday night, making a smoothie to take to school, or bringing in a jar of your favorite nut butter to keep in your classroomcan really make your day better, because you actually have energy to do what is a difficult and physically-demanding job. To stay full, you don’t necessarily need to be eating a lot of snacks, but you should prioritize having snacks that are nutritious and high in healthy fats and protein (such as peanut butter and apples, hard boiled eggs, an avocado/spinach/pineapple/protein smoothie, granola bars with low sugar and real ingredients, veggies and hummus, or cheese and turkey with healthy crackers). Just as we build in time to lesson plan, we need to build in time to feed ourselves, because what we put into our bodies has a profound effect on our mood and energy level throughout the day–not to mention on our long-term health!

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Q: How are you working to help change people’s attitudes when it comes to eating healthy foods? I saw you arranged a sandwich-making workshop for your fellow teachers—what were their takeaways?

A: There’s a HUGE food community on Instagram filled with incredible chefs, dieticians, nutritionists, and health coaches, and I love learning from that world, but I’m ultimately just a teacher who prioritizes her health and is trying to help other teachers do the same. My goal is to inspire teachers to make time to take care of themselves in all sorts of ways, but most importantly through what they choose to eat. Teaching can be such a self-sacrificing profession, so I think it’s really important to remind ourselves that our own health and well being matters and is actually essential to us doing a great job for our kids. Besides just hoping to inspire teachers through my Instagram and blog, I also work with teachers as a health and wellness coachmaking them meal plans, grocery lists, and meal prep instructions that incorporate the specific foods they love.

I organized a sandwich making workshop for our amazing staff because I wanted to show them how easy it is to make a sandwich right at school with just a little prep beforehand. A lot of teachers were really grateful for the prompt and loved the opportunity to create their own healthy lunch in our school building where we spend so much of our time. I love when I get photos from teacher friends of their healthy mealsit makes me so happyor as teachers say, really fills my bucket!

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Genuine Liquorette at Home

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I keep seeing the cutest Instagram pictures of Genuine Liquorette, a new bar that opened up in Manhattan and is famous for serving canned drinks with mini bottles of alcohol on top. I’ve been wanting to go and didn’t get a chance to try it out this trip, but one of my friends pointed out that it’s really easy enough to recreate their funky cocktails at home. So, off I went to pick up some airplane-sized liquor bottles (I already had the fun variety of sodas, juices, and seltzers on hand)…

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And the drinks couldn’t look cuter! You’ll definitely want to pour some of the soda/seltzer/etc out of the can before pouring one of the mini alcohol bottles in, or else it’ll overflow…as I learned the hard way. I mean, duh. I don’t know why I thought executing this idea wouldn’t be as effortless as it looks on Instagram 😉

I also don’t know how all of the pictures I’ve seen show somewhat full bottles of alcohol…like, do they pour some into the drink and put the cap back on? Or just never take it off at all when they hand you the drink? Inquiring minds want to know. All in all, though, this is a fun way to try mixing a few new cocktails without shelling out tons of money for ingredients. Plus, it makes for super cute pictures.

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NYC Weekend

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I’m now back from an amazing weekend in NYC and had the best time catching up with friends I met at all points of my life and eating and drinking my way through the city. Honestly, is there anything else to do on a trip besides eat? My friends and I were joking about this because there were so many restaurants and bars that we wanted to try, and it seemed like our entire schedule revolved around food. So now I’m back in DC and very full (but feeling good thanks to a SoulCycle class and a delicious salad #smallvictories). This week is a short one because of MLK day off today and Inauguration Day off on Friday…I’m pretty much planning on hibernating inside and staying within Georgetown this weekend. Tomorrow I’m planning on running over to Trader Joe’s after work to FINALLY go grocery shopping and stock up on some things that’ll last me through the weekend–throwback to the Pope’s visit to Philly when I lived there last year! I actually haven’t made it to Trader Joe’s in forever (since I get lunch at work every day, I do big grocery trips fairly infrequently and instead run into Safeway several times a week to grab items as I need them, oops).

Switching gears to NYC food…I had the chance to go to two amazing brunch spots (one old fave, one new fave) and had a blast. On Saturday, my college friends and I went to Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side. They have several locations throughout the city, but I’ve only been to a couple. I always order the exact same thing, the farmer’s omelet, and it’s super delicious and filling. I’ll have to admit I was pretty bummed that they were out of scones when I went this time, because their scones are seriously SO good and come with the dish. However, the chocolate walnut cookie I got at Levain later in the morning made up for it 🙂

On Sunday, my grad school friends and I went down to the West Village to try Jack’s Wife Freda. I had been wanting to go there forever (mainly because of the adorable sugar packets, not gonna lie!) and everyone was equally excited about the menu once we arrived. We ended up each getting something different, but everyone’s meals (pictured above) sounded so good. I went with the avocado and smoked salmon toast and it was delish and left me feeling healthy rather than stuffed! We joked that ordering a bunch of different meals reflected our different personalities but also made for an even better Insta (trust me, we all spent a few minutes trying to get the perfect aerial shot of our food and I think my friend Ashley, who took the picture here, had the best eye!).

While being back in the city for a short time was a little chaotic, it honestly was the perfect weekend escape and made me miss living there so much. I guess I’ll have to daydream and re-watch Younger and Manhattan Love Story until I can make it back up (such good shows if you’re into the typical 20-something in NYC/SATC storyline).

 

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Dinner is Served

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very fortunate that my job offers a “meal plan” (one of the perks of working at a school!) and the food is GOOD and affordable. Lunch is always my biggest meal of the day and always has been since I started working (yes, I’m one of those strange, strange people who would prefer to feel full at work). However, dinner is more of a struggle for me. I’m not a cook and also aim to do my workouts at night, which means I eat later than I’d like to and get lazy. Lazy as in, I’ll just heat up a can of soup or have some cheese and crackers. Not good.

Leave it to Pinterest to inspire me with some recipe ideas that look easy, healthy, and tasty. My goal is to try making at least one of these this winter, and if it goes well, I’ll report back…

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Weekend Recap

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What a weekend! It started off as so, so calm (I pretty much slept all day Saturday when I wasn’t DIY-ing), but I managed to do a TON on Sunday. I would rather be go, go, go on the weekends–at least one of the days–so that when I’m sitting at my desk during the week I can feel that I made the most of my time off! This weekend, I managed to check a ton off of my DC/summer to-do list:

On Saturday, I got right to work on my DIY project! After a quick trip to the hardware store, I spray painted both the bar cart I purchased from my friend last fall (I decided to turn it silver, which will match my gray furniture) and then started on one of my bamboo pieces. Rather than using chalk paint, I ended up going with a blue spray paint that also contains a primer, and it looks good so far! The weather was super hot and humid which doesn’t make for the best painting conditions, so I’ll have to wrap everything up after work one day this week.

On Sunday, I took a photography class through the Capital Photography Center. The class was mainly for work but also for fun–since it was dedicated to iPhone photography, it’ll be super helpful no matter what I’m doing! I’m signed up for a DSLR class this fall and I’m looking forward to that one.

After the class, which was held in the National Portrait Gallery, I strolled around DC for a bit and finally tried Momufuku Milk Bar. I had been meaning to go for ages, but I never managed to do so in New York and thought the DC location would likely be less chaotic anyway. I got a classic “cereal milk” flavored cone which was HUGE (seriously, the portions are much bigger than they look on Instagram, haha). I then met up with my family for an early birthday dinner at Farmers Fishers Bakers! The restaurant was awesome and reminded me of the one I worked at in Philly (also sustainable and organic).

Ooooh, and this weekend I also watched the Grey’s musical episode (FINALLY) and finished my latest read (a book post is coming to the blog tomorrow!), because #priorities. Seriously, such a fun-filled weekend (even if it got off to a slow start!).

What did you all do? Oh, and happy birthday, Harry Potter–anyone try out the Snapchat filter? Ha!

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What’s in my drawer: Desk snacks

I always get much hungrier when sitting at a desk than I ever did while working in more physical jobs. Thankfully, at a desk job I can keep a drawer stashed with treats! In my opinion, the ideal desk snack should be both nutritious and delicious. Here, I’m sharing a few of my faves, as well as their pros and cons (cause picking a snack is a serious business, ok?!).

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La Croix seltzer: I loved seltzer before La Croix became the “it” brand, but I definitely understand why these cans are so popular—the flavors are great! Cut out those afternoon diet coke runs and keep a few cans of these on hand instead!

  • Pro: With tons of yummy flavors, you can switch things up a bit and never get bored (I’m totally the type of person who gets tired of foods easily, so I appreciate this).
  • Con: The packs of seltzer are much more costly than that grocery store brand liter bottle.

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Biena Chickpeas: I had tried these before after a friend recommended them to me, but at the time I just thought they were so-so. Then I picked up the ranch flavor and got hooked (if you like the ranch flavor Wheat Thins, you’ll love these)

  • Pro: Great flavor, way better for you than chips, tons of fiber = a good choice all around!
  • Con: The aftertaste is a little powerful, so it may be worth popping a breath mint before that meeting with your coworker! The flavoring also gets stuck to your fingers which isn’t the best when it comes to typing.

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Nourish snacks: What blogger hasn’t talked about these? The snack-sized portions were on display all throughout my Target store, and I’ve even seen them at Starbucks!

  • Pro: Tons of variety in flavors, plus there’s something to be said for a pre-portioned snack.
  • Con: These snacks are a little pricy for the size ($1.99 per 1-pack), so to me they’re better as an on-the-go, keep in your purse option.

What do you like to crunch on at work? I’m always looking for new, healthy suggestions!

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I donut know what happened to froyo

I was walking through my new neighborhood the other day (more on that later!) when my mom pointed out a frozen yogurt shop down the block. I told her my guess was that it would be closed within the next few months, and by the time we got closer to the storefront, we could tell that there was already a “for rent” sign up outside the building! My mom was shocked, but I then explained my philosophy that donuts are the new cupcakes which was the new froyo. Anyone else think so?

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Anyway, when I heard about a new donut shop in Bethesda (because donuts are all the rage), we had to try it before a day full of errands. My mom ate the chocolate donut and mine was s’mores (so decadent OMG). The vanilla one was for my sister, but I’m not going to lie—we did consider splitting at one point later while stuck on the highway. Thankfully we displayed some willpower and it made it home in one piece!

Also, I came across this article the other day and I so agree with what they said about 2016 (and I think my picture above pretty much exemplifies this point).

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