Winter Nighttime Rituals

Happy Monday everyone!  It’s definitely feeling like winter around here now, right? Saturday’s first snow of the season has made if official for me.   As if I am not enough of a homebody the rest of the year, this is precisely when the instinct to stay inside my cozy house kicks into high gear.

Views out my front and back windows on Saturday:

 

 

 

 

But I’m not going to complain about the cold, the snow or the fact that I can’t bike and it’s not as much fun to run when there is slush and ice.  And for a change of pace I’m not going to talk about food.  While we all know that food is a fascinating topic, life is also about many other things that make us feel happy and good.  Like the little behaviors we practice at home for comfort and that contribute to our health and well-being.  Particularly now and in the upcoming months when we’re most likely to feel like hibernating in our woolly socks and hoodies with this 4:30pm darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for fun, I’m going to share my winter nighttime rituals.  These are some of the things I do at home before sleep during these cold, dark months that help bring me comfort, coziness, joy, gratitude and peace.  I’d love to hear yours too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here I go, starting with after the pets and we have eaten dinner, after the cleaning up of the kitchen (can’t bear to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, can you?), after lunches are prepared for the next day and after Bonnie the dog gets a quick walk.  But even she has been preferring to stay in lately when it’s so dark and chilly out there.

 

 

 

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Products I’m Thankful For

I’m truly thankful for all food.                                                                                                      .

Even though I strive to base my diet around simple, unprocessed foods, I also like to buy some things that I couldn’t make in my own kitchen.  Cheese?  Yogurt?  Chocolate?  Technically, yes I could make these, but– I don’t.  When I’m buying a product that’s not a one-ingredient, whole food item (like an apple, a sweet potato or a piece of fish), I always check the list of ingredients.  Most packaged foods don’t provide many nutrients the way whole foods naturally do.  This is because of additions like: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flours and highly processed oils like soybean, canola and cottonseed.

Perfection does not and should not exist, but we all want to make the best decisions we can… because we want to be healthy.  Most of us have choices when it comes to what we eat– this is something to be extremely grateful for.   Looking at the ingredient list will help you determine if you want to eat it, how much of it you want to eat and how often you want to eat it.  Not much will harm you in the short-term, but remember that your food choices add up over the days, months and years.  So, be choosy.

Let’s get down to some of the products I’ve been loving lately and why.                            Maybe you’ll find something new to try!

Siggi’s Yogurt

 

In my opinion, the Triple Cream is the best.  It’s got the most fat, it’s the creamiest and it’s the most delicious.  They also offer lower-fat flavors, many of which I’ve tried for variety and they are all great choices.

Why?  Two big things to look for with yogurts are the quality of the dairy and the amount of added sugar.      One more thing:  watch out for artificial sweeteners many companies sneak in.

Siggi’s uses milk from grass-fed cows.  Sugars are only 8g in most of the flavors (some have 11g).                                No artificial sweeteners.  No artificial colorings.            (Note that these are thick yogurts.)

 

 

 

Seasonal flavors are always fun.                                Especially when there is pumpkin involved!

 

 

 

Other yogurts I  love: Stonyfield, Narragansett Creamery and Maple Hill Creamery.

For a treat (sugar is on the high side), I really like Noosa:

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin was amazing.                             Apple was equally delicious.                     You’ll feel like you are eating a decadent dessert.  Treat it like a treat.

 

 

 

 

 

Wise cow.

 

 

 

Spindrift Sparkling Water

 

Water without corn syrup and without chemical sweeteners is the way to go.  Your basic flavored carbonated waters by Poland Springs, Polar and La Croix do this just fine with the addition of “natural flavors.”

But sometimes, don’t you want something just a little bit… different…?

 

 

Spindrift has managed to create a product that is mainly just carbonated water but with a squeeze of fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re willing to spare about 13 calories per can (that’s nothing, you’re burning that off reading this!) in exchange for a little variety and added flavor to your water, then you’re going to love these.

 

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts

Just made this yesterday and wanted to share.  With Thanksgiving coming up fast you might be in need of a fresh and unique idea.  These are delicious and easy– a healthy side dish for your holiday meal that you and your guests will love!

The recipe can be found here:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Walnuts on the Whole Foods Market website where you’ll also find plenty of other Thanksgiving recipes and tips.   Check it out!

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In Memory of Halloweens Past

I would get so excited about trick-or-treating.  Yes, I was that kid, the impatient one nagging my sister and our friends to “Come on!  Hurry up!” as I ran ahead of all of them to quickly get to the next house.  After all, wasn’t the object of this night to accumulate as much candy as possible?

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Can a Dog Impact Your Health?

While food is a biggie, it’s only one piece in the complex puzzle of enjoying a healthy life!

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mindset that a perfect diet is the most important element to health and wellness.  But something crucial to remember is… it’s not all about the food!  You could be eating the most “perfect” diet in the world (whatever that is) but still not feeling the way you want to feel– which likely could mean that it’s not what you’re eating or not eating but something else in your life that needs attention.

We’re missing a lot if we focus too intently on exactly what and how much to eat and not on the other areas of life– like ensuring quality sleep and relaxation time, pursing friendships and social connections, lightening up with laughter, treating ourselves to sunlight and time in nature, exploring our favorite creative outlets, moving our bodies, doing kind things for others….just to name a few.

Oh, and loving a DOG!!

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnie is my gorgeous almost-2-year old half-Chihuahua mutt:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She makes me laugh,

 

Waiting for trick-or-treaters.

What a stinker.

 

 

 

 

gets me walking, running and playing outside,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teaches me to relax,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and no, having a dog is not without its challenging moments:

 

It was evident early on that she was not a fan of crates and much preferred destroying doggie beds to sleeping on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yoga in the living room at home is also happening a lot more infrequently.

 

 

 

 

 

The love outweighs the frustrations and I am quite certain that having Bonnie in my life has only enriched it.

 

 

 

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Yay! The End of Summer…. Squash

No, I’m not happy it’s the end of summer.  🙁

But I am not sad to see the summer squash go.  🙂

I gave it my best but I was far too outnumbered to keep up with them.  Every week, with every new CSA bag, there would be more.  Zucchini, pattypans, crooknecks and mystery varieties of all shapes and sizes were building up in my fridge, on top of my fridge and on the counter.  The thought of grilling summer squash with dinner one more night became absolute torture. There is nothing wrong with zucchini on the grill but it can grow tiresome.  I knew I had to get creative with some additional ingredients to liven things up.

If you’re finding yourself here at the end of summer stuck with too many summer squash and not enough motivation to eat them, I have a few tasty ideas you might want to try:

1.  Grilled Pattypan Squash Pizzas

This is what a pattypan squash looks like:

 

They come in white, yellow and green.

 

 

 

 

Slice thinly to make your pizza “crusts” and grill on one side for about 5 minutes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then flip over, add your sauce, cheese and pepperoni and cook for about another 5 minutes (grill closed):

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Applegate for pepperoni and Organic Valley for cheese:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lifestyle Cafe

 

I had a really nice lunch with a couple of my Dietitian friends Friday.   🙂   It’s always so good to catch up.  Topics of conversation ranged from an upcoming wedding, a soon-to-be new baby, an office move and a website revamp… to orthorexia and the FODMAP diet.    Fascinating stuff!

We met at the Lifestyle Cafe.  I had been several times and absolutely LOVE that they have my kind of food.  You can definitely get a nutritious and satisfying meal here which can be pretty hard to find if you go to many of the typical lunch spots.

You may have driven by it on Route 2 in East Greenwich and seen the sign…

The Lifestyle Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch and they are a gluten-free cafe.  This doesn’t mean you have to be on a gluten-free diet to love it though.  They have a prepared food case where you can order items like crab cakes, calamari salad or veggie medleys.   There always seem to be new foods in there.  On the menu you’ll find gluten-free sandwiches like BLT & Avocado, Vermont Grilled Chicken and a Tuna Melt.

You can also “build your own” salad or gluten-free wrap.  Salads are my favorite– and what I really appreciate is how you can have a different salad every time you go by varying your greens, protein, toppings, cheese and dressing.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Local Food This Summer

Hello and Happy August– and at the risk of sounding like everyone else….                         How is it August already??  I don’t want the end of summer in my sight just yet!

I hope you’ve all been eating well this summer.  True, there may be ice cream shops and Del’s stands everywhere you turn, but I’m also seeing tons of signs for “Fresh Eggs” and “Fresh Produce” all over the place.  I’ve really been making the effort to add more locally grown and raised foods into my life and I wanted to share some of my favorite go-to spots.  Click on the links to see each Facebook page for more info:

Healey Farm

1100 Lafayette Rd, North Kingstown RI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is our second season joining their CSA.  (FYI: CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.)  You pay a fee to the farm upfront and each week you pick up a bag of whatever goodies were harvested.  This one began 3 weeks ago and so far we’ve gotten green beans, kale, basil, beets, onions, potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and summer squash.  I am almost certain I forgot at least one or two things too.  I’m so excited this goes through the end of October when it’s time for all my favorite winter squash.  It’s only August and I’m already thinking about pumpkin pie!

What we got last week:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pick up our loot every Wednesday.  This farm is only a few miles from our house so it’s super convenient. It’s definitely a challenge to eat up all of this food before the week is through and we get our next fully loaded bag.  Bring on the challenge I say.  We honestly DO eat more vegetables because of this CSA!  If you’re trying to eat more veggies (who isn’t?) then a CSA like this is a perfect way to make that goal happen.  No worries if you missed this year’s CSA– Healey’s farm stand is open now so head over and fill a bag with whatever looks good to you.  And don’t forget to say hello to the adorable farm animals that live there.  Healey can also be found at the Wickford Village Farmers Market on Thursdays from 1-5pm.

Del Vecchio Farm:  For Blueberry Picking

302 Potter Rd, North Kingstown RI

We went a few weeks ago in July– the blueberries were abundant and we picked a huge bagful.  It was our first and only time and I highly recommend it.  I never even knew this place existed so now I know and now YOU know…so go check it out while they are still in season.  I only wish I had thought to snap a picture before we ate all the berries.  I also made a Blueberry-Cheezecake with these– delicious!

 

 

Stoney Hill Cattle Company

460 Shumankanuc Hill Rd, Charlestown RI

 

They are at the Rocky Hill Farmers Market in East Greenwich on Saturdays.  Naturally and humanely raised beef, pork and chicken.  Awesome eggs.  Yes, they even have bacon. ♥  Lucky Foot Ranch is also there with yummy veggies!

 

 

 

Windmist Farm and Watson Farm

71 Weeden Ln and 455 North Rd, Jamestown RI

 

These two farms are practically right across the street from one another in Jamestown.  Grass-fed and pastured meats.  Free-range eggs.  Fresh cider in the fall!  I hear there are even donuts.  I’m not far from the Jamestown Bridge and I love going for runs or taking my dog for walks there so it’s a place I visit frequently.  Take the scenic ride over the bridge to these farms to pick up their delicious meats and eggs.

 

 

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Protein-Packed Cold Brew Coffee Shake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshing.  Hydrating.  Energizing.  Mood boosting.               13g Protein.  Probiotic-rich.  Satisfying.  Totally delicious.

I hear you– you’re hot, thirsty and want something besides water.

This coffee shake may be just what you need on one of these summer days when you crave an icy drink containing a little pick-me-up.  With this being only the start of summer, you know there are going to be many more sweltering days in your near future.  So be prepared with thirst-quenching options like this!

Just 2 Ingredients:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt

Califia Farms Black and White Cold Brew Coffee

You can use any brand or even leftover cold coffee, but I LOVE this cold brew!

Simply blend about a cup of the cold brew with the yogurt along with a handful of ice cubes.

If you plan ahead you can freeze some coffee into cubes so you don’t have a watered down drink– but regular old-fashioned ice works fine too.

 

 

What I like about adding yogurt in this coffee drink:

  • It turns an otherwise low-protein coffee into a protein-rich one.  This means it makes a perfect snack to sip if you’re feeling a little hungry.  Instead of suppressing your appetite with just a lone cup of coffee, this will leave you with better blood sugar control and increased satiety.
  • Also, it can be an easy way to get more protein in the morning if you aren’t a fan of eating much for breakfast.  Thanks to the protein in the yogurt, you are going to have better appetite regulation and more balanced energy levels throughout your day.

This shake provides 13 grams of protein (12 from the yogurt and 1 from the cold brew).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Does Your Breakfast Egg-Cite You?

Mine does!

So much in fact that I’ve been eating these just about every morning for the past couple of years…

Those don’t look like eggs…. but they are!

 

 

 

Do you love pancakes like I do?  These are better because they are made with real, whole-food ingredients that will keep you full longer and give your body more nutrients when compared to flour-based pancakes.  If you’re a client of mine, there is a decent chance you’ve been given my favorite breakfast recipe to try:  Flourless 2-Ingredient Pancakes.  I wrote about these two and half years ago after discovering them, but they are so good that it’s definitely worth re-posting in case you missed it.

Here’s how it’s done:

You go from blending these 2 ingredients together…

DSC_9970

 

 

 

 

 

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