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Veggie side dishes trial run: the kale and cauliflower chapter

I had a couple friends over for dinner last night and grilled up some rosemary burgers with caramelized onions and mushrooms and a parmesan crisp, which I’ve posted here before (side note: this time I used soy sauce to caramelize the veggies and it worked wonderfully). I always try to serve burgers using whole wheat sandwich thins to skimp on carbs, but I also wanted to incorporate a healthier side dishes than just fries. So, I decided to take a stab at kale chips (which I realized are ridiculously easy to make), and a new maple-sriracha roasted cauliflower recipe I found. The kale chips came out great, the cauliflower though…I felt like something was missing in the flavor. Have any of you guys tried roasting cauliflower? I’m curious what you seasoned it with, or if you had any suggestions on amping up the flavor. At one point, we started mixing the extra caramelized veggies with the cauliflower that made it taste a lot better. Anyway, would love your thoughts in the comments below!


Kale Chips


2 bunches of kale
2 tsp olive oil (more if needed)
3 garlic cloves minced (or more if you like)
Sea salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre heat oven at 350 degrees. Rinse kale in a salad spinner. Remove dark ribs and chop kale roughly. Put leaves in a big bowl, toss with olive oil, garlic and salt. Spread leaves on a one large rimmed baking sheet. Kale does not need to be in a single layer,as it will shrink in volume as it cooks. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice while it’s cooking, and until leaves are tender, crisp on edges and slightly browned. Optional if dairy-free: Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving


Maple Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower

1 (approx. 2-pound) head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce + more for serving if desired
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degreed F. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, Sriracha sauce, salt, and black pepper. Add the cauliflower and toss until well-coated. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve with additional Sriracha sauce, if desired.

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Breakfast toast: Cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes

I’ve been telling myself for weeks months that I need to train myself to be a morning person. The thing is, I’m not one at all. I’m a creature of the night, and sleeping at 4am is totally normal for me. With evening events and commitments, it’s been hard to get my workouts in by the time I get home (or when I do, I end up putting less effort in because I’m so tired). SO, this week I’ve started to make a considerable shift to waking up early (6am early…who am I?) to move my workouts in the morning and having breakfast right after. This is all very new, so I’m hoping putting it out in the internetS will force me to heed this new routine. In order to do that though, I knew I needed some motivation and I figured my biggest one is still the same: food. The more varied I make my meals, the easier it will be to get through my runs to get back home and eat…right? Simple math :D .

I’ve been looking up meals that contain more protein, and less sugar and came up with this simple meal:


2 whole wheat slices of bread, toasted
2 hard boiled eggs
cottage cheese
3 cherry tomatoes
kosher salt
garlic salt
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil


Slice hard-boiled eggs, and tomatoes and set aside. Toast two slices of bread (I used whole wheat). After it’s toasted, spread low fat cottage cheese over both slices. Top with eggs and tomatoes, and season with pepper, kosher salt, and a pinch of garlic salt. Drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

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National Ravioli Day + easy way to donate food using #RanaRavioliChallenge

When Giovanni Rana, makers of delicious, authentic, Italian pasta, told me they’re partnering with food banks to fight against hunger in their latest challenge, I told them to sign me up. The initiative is two-fold: not only are they making it easy to donate food, they’re encouraging spending time with family and friends for their Rana Ravioli Challenge by making food at home.

Giovanni Rana products

They sent me some of their products to prepare a ravioli dinner with friends recently, using a mix of their Ravioli Cheese Forte with their Marina sauce and their Ravioli Mushroom with their Basil Pesto sauce. The food was prepared easily, and was so tasty. I tried different combos, with thyme-pepper chicken (recipe here) and rosemary-garlic bread. On another occasion, I topped the mushroom ravioli with sundried tomatoes.

Mushroom Ravioli with rosemary-garlic bread

Basil Pesto ravioli with chicken

Cheese ravioli with marina and topped with parmesan

They all made delicious meals (and FAST). But the best part — there’s an easy way to donate to feed the hungry. TODAY on 3/20 in honor of National Ravioli Day, use the hashtag #RanaRavioliChallenge on your social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), and each time the hashtag is used by a different account, Giovanni Rana will donate 1 pound of pasta to the Food Bank For New York City.

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What are your favorites from tarte?

If I had to play favorites, tarte would be one of the brands that would bubble up on top. To me, the quality and ethos of being cruelty-free “high-performance naturals” (without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, gluten, and triclosan) match up. Let me re-introduce you to some of their products I pretty much always have on me:

Tarte favorites

Light, Camera, Lashes Mascara

Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara
($20). This vegan-friendly mascara does everything and I’ve been using it for years with good reason – it lengthens, fattens, curls, and conditions. It’s mini bristles grab onto every lash and the formula is so smooth (thanks to its olive esters, which help condition as well) so your lashes won’t end up looking all spidery.

Skinny smolderEYES Amazonian clay waterproof liner
($19). This liner does justice to its vivid shades of bronze and emerald, but it’s the black onyx I love for everyday. The sponge on one end lets you smudge it for a smoky effect, but you can leave it straight and bold and it’ll stay in place. It’s so hard to find liners that won’t end up all over your face by the end of the day. Even my sister-in-law converted to it once she found that it’s one of the few liners that won’t irritate her eyes.

Cheek stain

Cheek stain
($30). I never used a balmy cheek stain until I came across this in Tipsy. Its’ a beautiful peach stain that gives you a dewy finish but has just enough color to give some life to your complexion. It’s also doing double-duty with its antioxidants like maracuja, goji, acai, and pomegranate which have skin-restoring benefits.

LipSurgence skintuitive lip tint

LipSurgence skintuitive lip tint
($24). I keep this at my desk because it helps condition my lips with its emollients and helps boost collagen, but also works with your natural pH to give an adjusted amount of tint.

The ones above I wear almost every day, but I need to give some honorable mentions for their Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation, and Clay matte palette eyeshadows which I’ll use on occasion and haven’t failed me yet.

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West Village: L’Artusi

I’m a completely different eater now from when I first moved to NYC. It went from steps of eating out all the time, to ordering in all the time, to now cooking all the time (or as I look at it, a progression of enthusiasm, to complacency, to now a revived sense of adventure). I eat out now mostly when it’s convenient for whoever I’m meeting (anyone who knows me now knows I usually offer to make something as an excuse to stay in, but that could also be winter’s effect on me). Yesterday though, when my friend Angel and I were looking for a place to grab dinner, I remembered L’Artusi. The Italian restaurant is a beautiful, two-level spot in the West Village that I was first introduced to Fashion Week years ago when NARS hosted their first blogger dinner there. It was also responsible for instilling my love for brussels sprouts because there’s is like another level. Trying to make a reservation here in the past few months has not been an easy feat — I’ve been trying on separate occasions for a small group and it never worked out so when they actually had one available, we nabbed it.

: A mound of shredded kale with walnuts, apple, an pecorino. Highly recommend, it’s light and delicious.

Kale salad

: Beets ravioli, filled with ricotta cheese, and poppy seeds; Spaghetti with garlic chilies and parmesan.



The ravioli was delicious, but now I get why the waiter pushed us to order more…you’re pretty much paying $18 for five pieces of ravioli. Which hurts my heart because at $4 a piece, I know I could buy a whole packet of them at the store for $4. But since we are at a fancy place, we have to play by fancy rules. So not about this life. Angel said the spaghetti was tasty and light with the mix of garlic and parmesan.

: Brussels sprouts with pecorino and black pepper.

Brussels sprouts

It was a teeny bit heavy on the salt, but it was still a delicious mix of cheese and seasoning and I love that they roast it to a crisp.

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Recipe: Seasoned thyme pepper chicken with sautéed veggies

It’s been a long time since I got together with some of my friends and when they were picking out a restaurant, I thought it might be nicer to have a home cooked meal so I offered to cook. Everyone was on this workout binge apparently, and really wanted protein in the meal. I had to nix my plan for breaded chicken and thick sauces and decided to go with a healthier option. But I didn’t want to skimp on taste. I thought veggies and chicken would be an easy way to go. I made this up as I went along but it tasted pretty good so thought I’d share:



5-6 boneless chicken breast
8-10 sprigs of thyme
Pepper, salt to season
1 tsp of red pepper flakes (you can skip this if you don’t want any spice)
A dash of cayenne pepper (again, can skip if you don’t want spice)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil (to sautee)
6 oz of white mushroom, sliced
6-8 shallots, sliced
1 red onion, sliced (or you can just slice more shallots if you have enough…I mixed it up a little here)


1) Season chicken breasts with thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes until completely covered. Set aside.

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Twitter Chat: BelVita and the Changing American Breakfast

Anyone join in the breakfast convo on Twitter that I mentioned in this post? Belvita partnered up with registered dietitian Keri Gans, life coach Christine Hassler, and author of Eat It to Beat It!, David Zinczenko to give you a few pro tips for amping up your breakfast routine.

BelVita biscuits mine -- Grumpy cup borrowed

In honor of National Cereal Day tomorrow, here are some breakfast facts:

  • The recommended amount of fiber for women is 30g, and 35g fiber for men.
  • A study by NPD Group Inc. found that Americans have an average of just 12 minutes a day for consuming breakfast. That is about half the time we spend on lunch (28 minutes) or dinner (24 minutes).
  • Eating breakfast sets the tone for the day because it gets our blood sugar up which makes our brain function better the rest of the day. It gets our metabolism going. It reduces cravings later in the day. And it puts us in a better mood.
  • Dietary fiber from whole grains, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.
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7 things that got me through the week

How’s your week been? I’ve been trying out a lot more products for my skin and a couple others new ones that are just amazing (Revlon, I see you).


1) Cutex Advanced Removal Nail Polish Remover pads, $4 for a pack of 10 pads - There has been a lot of nail polish swatching in my life lately and these pads are not only heavy duty, but they don’t leave your nails dry thanks to it’s currant, apricot, and flaxseed oils. Plus, whenever anything’s packaged in a way that lets me easily travel with them, I’m on board.

2) Obagi System Professional-C 20% Vitamin C Serum, $57 Ole Henriksen originally got me into vitamin C serums which always gave my skin a healthy looking glow. Their serum has 10% vitamin C, so this one from Obagi is even more potent. I’ve been using it under my moisturizer morning/night and I could tell a difference in a few weeks. Even my uncle commented on how my skin was glowing when I went to visit him recently :) .

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BelVita and The Changing American Breakfast

I was introduced to BelVita’s breakfast biscuits and bars a year ago and now I’m always stocked up whenever I don’t have time for a big breakfast (i.e. almost every weekday). Namely, their crunchy biscuits are a good source of fiber and B vitamins, but their new Breakfast Bites has even more fiber and whole grains (20 grams).

Breakfast today

Each packet is 230 calories and gives you a steady bout of energy for four hours at least. Plus they have no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and colors. To celebrate all its goodness, BelVita is asking you to ‘trade in your spoon’ on National Cereal Day (March 7th) in favor of a complete breakfast like their Bites, fruit and dairy. They’ll be hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, March 4th at 11am ET so make sure you follow them (@belVita) and tweet along the influencers below who will be sharing their breakfast wisdom and nutrition facts with you!

BelVita Bites


: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM– 12:00 PM ET; 10:00 – 11:00 AM CST
Moderator: @MomCentral
belVita Breakfast Influencers: @ChristinHassler, @Kerigans, and @DaveZinczenko
Topic: Breakfast has always played an essential role in our diets but times have changed. As today’s modern family has evolved, consumers’ morning routines and breakfast eating habits have changed as well. A panel of nationally renowned experts will discuss the changing American breakfast and how nutritious, convenient solutions like belVita can help on-the-go families stay energized all morning long.

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Shower tip: Try Dry Brushing!

Dry brushing has changed my winter skin life, thanks to Joanna Vargas! So many benefits to just an easy step to add before you shower.

My Dry Brushing essentials

This method exfoliates, helps eliminate cellulite, improves elasticity, and stimulates your lymphatic system. Many naturopathic doctors even use dry brushing to help with bloating since massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins. One of the immediate effects, they say, is that it can even help improve digestion, kidney function. And all you need is a $5 brush from the store.

Before jumping in the shower, grab a coarse, dry bristle brush (like the one here) and starting with the feet, brush up on dry skin. Do the same with arms, always towards the heart. In the shower, use an exfoliating wash like Suave’s Sea Mineral Infusion Exfoliating Wash, and end with a lotion (I love their spray lotion since I’m always on the go and it’s faster). You’ll notice your skin is MUCH brighter right away, and so much smoother in two weeks. Try it and let me know what you think!

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