Category Archives: Food

Treats That Won’t Throw The Diet Out The Window

Treats That Won’t Throw The Diet Out The Window

We all need a treat from time to time. The opportunity to indulge. For most people, that opportunity is all about sitting down with something delicious. However, if you’re dieting, it might feel like you’re forever cut off from those treats. But that might not be the case. In fact, there are some treats that might not be as bad for you as you think, and even have their own benefits, like the following:


This one might have alarm bells ringing for some as, indeed, it can be one of the most tempting treats of them all. But chocolate isn’t something that you have to avoid entirely. In fact, dark chocolate, in particular, can be quite good for you. Not only does it have some benefits when it comes to fighting aging and cancer, but the flavanols in dark chocolate have been proven to improve heart health, improving circulation and helping you control your cholesterol levels. This doesn’t mean that you should have a huge bar every day, but when you’re craving a sweet treat, it’s not as bad for you as you may have been led to believe.




It gets a bad rap, often considered to be one of the worst fats you can put in your body. But the truth is, that butter isn’t as bad for you as previously thought. Butter is a saturated fat, but now studies from places like the World Health Organization are saying that saturated fats can make up to 10% of your calorie intake without too much danger. What’s more, shows that butter has plenty of benefits of its own, improving your gut health and boosting your metabolic system. That means that a little helping of butter on your baked potato can actually help you burn calories better. Who would have thought?!


 Lol, that butter looks so picture perfect.


When you think of butter, your thoughts might immediately go to what it’s best served with. There’s no competition there, of course: it has to be popcorn. Popcorn is fast becoming one of the favorite treats of those trying to control their weight, especially those with stronger cravings. As shows, popcorn is a high-volume, low-calorie food, meaning that you can eat more of it without increasing your calorie intake too much. Toffee popcorn doesn’t quite have the same benefit, unfortunately, so you have to be selective.


 Love me some popcorn!


Too much alcohol consumption can drastically increase weight gain, there’s no doubt about that. However, a glass of wine with dinner can do you a world of good. Moderate consumption, i.e. a small glass, can boost your body’s calorie burning processes for up to 90 minutes after you drink it. Wine has also been shown to have some benefits in cognitive health, improving long-term memory, as well as preventing the clots associated with heart disease. How awesome is that?!



Set aside a treat for yourself every now and then but, as with everything, do it in moderation. Schedule it in as part of your regular routine, keeping it under control so that you don’t end up slipping into the deep end with your diet.


Treat Yoself! Burrito Binge Edition

Treat Yoself! Burrito Binge Edition

Hi! I like to think of myself as a fairly frugal gal. Yes, I like to shop – but I always try to score the best deals and get the most bang for my buck. One way that I try to optimize my savings is by being cautious about getting fast food when I am by myself. I have no problem with going out for drinks or dinner with friends one or two times a month. And I do love to snag a Starbucks drink every now and again. But, I try to keep my “I really could go for Taco Bell after work” trips to a minimum.

But, last month – I was bad! I got Chipotle and Taco Bell at least twice each. I also went to Moe’s, but I got that meal for free thanks to their handy app. Although I freaking LOVE T-Bell, Chipotle, and any food that is burrito related, I do sometimes feel guilty about eating out when there’s plenty of food that I could be eating at home. But, for some reason, I really didn’t seem to care last month.

I’m not going to lie, January was a real shit hole of a month. But, there was just something about answering my cravings and eating a food that I really enjoyed that was soothing. It was like, the world was shitting all over me, but I still took care of myself enough to treat for dinner at Chipotle or grabbing a coffee from Starbucks.

Now, is eating a fast food meal the most healthy way to take good care of yourself? No, of course not. But, damnit, a girl has gotta eat so I figured that I could be a little “bad” in my frugality regime. Treating yourself can be buying a new nail polish color, staying in and reading a good book, or taking a warm bath. In my case, treating myself was eating a massive burrito.

My burrito binge taught me that I can splurge for myself and it’s not going to destroy my bank account. But, it also taught me that, at the end of the day, I am the one in charge of making me feel good, first and foremost. And if making myself feel good means eating a burrito every once in a while, then I guess that that’s just my cross to bare!!

How do you treat yoself? What do you do to self soothe during trying times? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah



Hey hey everyone and happy Hump Day! Did you know that if you download the app for Moe’s that you get a FREE CUP OF QUESO and a FREE BIRTHDAY BURRITO?!?! Yeah, that’s right. Moe’s, Taco Bell, and Chipotle are all my jam, but the rewards for Moe’s through their app are pretty cool.


If you use yours truly AKA me, Sarah Mushenheim, as a reference when downloading the app, I get extra points. These points will help me, a constantly hungry girl, get free food. Consider referencing me like a gift to your favorite redheaded blogger. And once you download the app, your friends can reference you, so you can get closer to free food too! Talk about a win/win. 😀 #thanksinadvance #WELCOMETOMOES

Which food places/stores offer the best apps? Which places offer birthday freebies? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Non-Turkey Holiday Meal Alternatives

Non-Turkey Holiday Meal Alternatives

Sorry to say it, but Christmas is less than two weeks away. Of course, you probably knew that already. That ever-ticking time bomb is the main reason why we’re all going crazy for gift ideas and last-minute preparations at the moment. If you don’t know what you’re doing on the day yet, it’s past time you decided. The holiday season waits for no one!

Somewhere among all of this preparation madness, most of us turn our attention to food. If you’re hosting the big meal this year, it’s likely that this is the only thing you are thinking about. At few other times of the year are we expected to prepare so much food for so many people. Lucky for you, there are plenty of guides out there about how to make this task a little easier. But, there’s no getting around the fact that there’s still an immense amount of pressure when the time comes.

On top of which, some of us can’t stomach the traditional option. Turkey is an acquired taste. And, for those of us who most definitely haven’t acquired it, the holiday season can be stressful at best. If you’ve only just managed to push the Thanksgiving turkey from your mind, the last thing that you want to do is eat it again at Christmas. As such, your job becomes even harder.

You’ll be glad to know that, while turkey has become a holiday staple, this is down to nothing more than convenience. While it’s difficult to say exactly when this tradition started, it was fast in place by 1863, when Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday. This is thought to be primarily due to the size of the things. There were few other types of meat available in the past that were large enough. In fact, beef wasn’t readily available until the late 19th century. So, the only alternative was chicken. For obvious reasons, it wasn’t the best for large meals, and turkeys took center stage. They were a cheap way to feed a lot of people.

We’ve taken up the tradition, and now pay more and more for turkey each year. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re hosting dinner this year, why not try something a little different? To keep everyone happy, you may want to prepare a turkey crown on the side. Chances are, though, that you’re not the only one fed up with turkey. So, before the big event, ask your guests if they’d be interested in the following alternatives:

A few different types of meat:

Turkey may have been the only 19th century choice, but that’s not the case anymore. Now, you have anything to choose from. For some families, a mixture of Christmas meats is standard. You can place your meats in the middle of the table, and leave guests to take what they fancy.

To make this work, consider meats which are relatively different from each other. It wouldn’t be any good serving chicken alongside turkey. Instead, you could opt for a mixture of beef, pork, and turkey. These all offer different taste sensations, which are sure to go down well. And, this way, you can ensure that you get a decent dinner without having to turn to the turkey.

Salmon as an alternative:

You may not realize it, but turkey isn’t the only traditional option open to you. Salmon has also found its place in the holiday hall of fame. Admittedly, most people opt for this as a starter or breakfast treat on the day. But, there’s no reason you can’t make it work as an alternative primary meal. By buying a whole salmon, like those found at Citarella gourmet market, you can ensure that you have enough to go around. These fish are huge!

Bear in mind that, if offering this alternative, you may want to provide a sauce other than gravy. While most meats would work with a standard turkey gravy, your salmon certainly wouldn’t. Instead, offer a creamy sauce or a honey mustard alternative. Other than that, you can serve your salmon alongside the turkey and again, ensure everyone’s happy.


^^^ Another turkey alternative.

A nut roast alternative:

If you have vegetarians coming, you may already be planning a nut roast. Why not stick with that yourself? By incorporating orange peel and cranberries, you can have plenty of Christmas flavors. And, you can still enjoy all the trimmings which make a Christmas dinner what it is. As a non-veggie, you could even get stuck into pigs in blankets without worry! Still, you’ll be able to steer clear of the turkey.

While it is a traditional vegetarian option, a decent nut roast is more challenging to come by than you might think. They’re nearly impossible to find in shops nowadays, and there are a lot of dodgy recipes out there. Make sure to try this out before the event to make sure that your choice is the right one. It wouldn’t be unusual to have to try a few before settling on your winner.

Often, there are warning signs about whether a recipe will work or not. Look out for the binding ingredient, the vegetables used, and the seasonings. All of these work together to make a huge difference. You may end up having to mix a few recipes to achieve the right effect, and that’s okay. This is very much a practice makes perfect situation. By the time you reach an end result, you can be sure that your vegetarian guests will be glad for your dislike of turkey!


Your own concoction:

Of course, you could do away with tradition altogether, and concoct your own dish for the day. While guests may be surprised at first, this is sure to be a standout dinner for them. And, again, as long as you offer a small amount of turkey, too, this is sure to work well. Alternatives worth considering include beef wellington, roast duck, or something like a sausage and stuffing plate. Have a look through your cookbooks and decide which recipes sound most appealing. Then, think about ways to make them festive. Staple flavorings, such as stuffing, cranberries, and orange peel, could all help to get your concoction cooking.

Focus on the veggies:

You could argue that the trimmings are the best thing about the meal. For proof, consider that many vegetarians don’t even opt for an alternative (I don’t!). Instead, they’re quite happy to make do with all the lovely veggies and some fluffy roast potatoes. So, why don’t you just get rid of your turkey, and enjoy everything else?

To ensure a turkeyless dinner works well, go all out with your additions. Make sure your stuffing is extra good and roast those parsnips in honey so they have an extra something special. You could also make cauliflower cheese, which would form an alternative centerpiece of its own. And, of course, don’t forget all of your traditional festive veggies. Brussel sprouts may divide the crowd, but they need to feature on there somewhere. Rich greens, such as curly kale, can also provide a fantastic Christmas taste sensation. You might even want to go all out with your gravy. Adding spices and herbs while cooking this can make a massive difference to the taste.



A final word:

You don’t have to eat turkey if you don’t want to. But, if you are going all out with something different, you may want to warn your guests. We are creatures of habit, after all, and a last minute change of plan might not go down well. Instead, let them know what you’re going to do. As mentioned above, turkey is rarely a favorite. The chances are that your guests will surprise you with how willing they are to try other things. And, of course; that small turkey crown will please those who simply can’t go without tradition.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hi everyone and happy happy Thanksgiving! I will keep this post short and sweet so that all of you can get back to enjoying quality time with your friends and family. Thanksgiving is easily one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I love to eat! BUT, I also love being able to prepare a big meal with my family and friends and sit down at the table to enjoy it all together. Then, my family always concludes our Thanksgiving feast with movies or games afterwards, which is a total blast because the Mushenheims are a competitive people!

Thanksgiving is an all around fun day. Everyone at home is in a great mood, the house smells amazing from all of the delicious food being cooked, and we even opt to use the fancy dining room table to eat our meal at. In fact, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that I can always recall enjoying throughout the years and I have every intention of adding another exceedingly pleasant holiday to the books today.

I hope that all of my wonderful friends, readers, and followers on lifewithlilred have a beautiful day today! Enjoy yourselves, your family, and your loved ones and EAT ALL THE FOOD! How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? What is the best Thanksgiving side dish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Featured Image By: Pinterest

Tricks & Treats! Season & Serve Style Halloween Bash

Tricks & Treats! Season & Serve Style Halloween Bash

Hi everyone and welcome to the final post in my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series by the amazing Melissa of Season & Serve. You might remember this lovely lady from a previous guest post on my blog that showed you all of the fixings for a perfect fall themed dinner party. This time around, Melissa is here to wrap up my series with a how to guide to creating a spooky chic Halloween bash – costume ideas not included! Check it out and enjoy:

Tricks & Treats! Season & Serve Style Halloween Bash

Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins galore! Halloween is just around the corner and I cannot wait to celebrate! This year, I am hosting a spooky soirée at our apartment and I am bringing a few elegant touches and a fabulously retro menu to my Halloween party to set the perfect mood. Read on to see how you can throw a classy yet spooky Halloween party of your own… if you dare! Mwahaha!


This year, I decided to aim for a more elegant vibe for my Halloween party in terms of decor. If you remember back to when you were a kid, Halloween was all about the blood, guts, and gore. While I can definitely appreciate gory decorations on Halloween, it is a bit more fitting to do this outside of your home since it can be complicated and messy (I mean fake blood is cool and all, but I don’t want to be scrubbing it off of my walls and mirrors the next day!). But what we are lacking in blood and guts, we are making up with some classy, yet scary Halloween decor. I used a combination of every day decor pieces that I had around my home, and tied them together with some cheap (But reusable!) dollar store items that I found. I then did a wonderfully simple DIY that you can keep in storage for next year’s bash. So, without further adieu, here is what I did:

For my table, I decided to decorate with mainly black pieces (Because obviously black is the color for Halloween and is timelessly elegant.) along with some gold and silver accents for a bit of shine. I used my everyday black dinner table as the base (You can always throw a black tablecloth over your table if it is not black.) and added a few tasteful pieces for decoration. I anchored the left corner of my table with my thrifted gold candlestick holders in which I placed some tall black candles… because obviously we need some spooky candlelight for Halloween!

On the opposite side, I wanted another tall piece to balance the table out, so I went for a nice, tall vase of sunflowers. These sunflowers had a dark orange color on the flowers and leaves that were almost purple – something that is not typical of this cheery flower. I found out that the florist that I went to actually made the sunflowers this darker orange color by keeping them in a tub of water mixed with red dye. If you have red food coloring, you can simply add it to your vase of regular yellow sunflowers and in two days, you will have these delightfully dark sunflowers for your table. I loved the deep moody vibe that it brought to the table scape! I also went ahead and placed my white “Casper” pumpkin next to my candles along with my dark green Kabocha squash for a bit of color.


Next, I added my serving-ware. I placed my wooden cake pedestal to the center/back of the table to give my food some height (I’m all about varying heights on buffet-style tables.) and then placed a round, brushed gold tray and silver place mat in front of the pedestal. I loved the silver place mat for Halloween – it totally reminded me of a spider web! And, of course, where there is a spider web, there are spiders! So I picked up some sparkly plastic black spiders from the Dollar Store and placed them all over my table. I also added a few sparkly black pumpkins to the table, as well (Another great reuseable Dollar Store find!), to fill in the empty spaces.

I also discovered these fabulously cool, yet elegant black glass skull cups from Homesense (A home goods store in Canada.) that I knew needed to be a part of my Halloween table scape. I added these to the table and made sure to back-light them with some tea lights to make them look extra creepy for when my guests arrived. I originally placed the tea lights in short glass jars (For safety reasons.), but I found these plain jars to be fairly boring, so I did a quick and easy DIY! I simply wrapped each glass jar with black lacey ribbon and used a hot glue gun to secure the lace around the jar. I love the sexy, sultry look that it brought to the table – perfectly elegant and spooky, if you ask me!


Now for the good stuff… THE FOOD! When I was planning this Halloween party, I was thinking of a combination of elegant, retro, and (Of course!) spooky. Kind of like something from around the 1920’s to the 1950’s – so I decided to borrow some throw back food ideas from those eras to fit this theme and give it a Halloween twist. I chose to stick to appetizers and small snacks that people can nibble on throughout the party while they mingle. I also opted to make the majority of the recipes myself, but also improvised with some store-bought foods just to make things a bit easier for the host (Because hey, you gotta get your Halloween costume on too!). And, of course, as every good host knows, one of the key tricks to entertaining is to not make everything yourself!

So those are the tricks… here are the treats! First up on the menu is Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Cockroaches… I mean dates. The look of dates always freaked me out as a kid because I thought that they looked like cockroaches. But once you get past their questionable appearance and take a bite, you will fall in love with their sweet and soft taste. It’s almost like eating candy! The recipe for Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Dates is a play on the retro recipe, Devils On Horseback, which is traditionally made with prunes stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon. I wanted to go for a healthier, vegetarian recipe so I swapped out the prunes for the dates and the bacon for a toasted walnut. And do they ever look spooky! Oh, and if the thought of blue cheese in this recipe is enough to scare you alone, simply change it out for a smoked cheddar or Gouda. These cheeses also taste delicious with dates and walnuts!


Now, with it being Halloween, there are going to be many vampires around, so we are going to keep them at bay with my homemade French Onion Dip. This recipe is inspired by the old school French Onion dip made from those French Onion soup packets and sour cream. Super retro, right!? Rather than using a soup packet, you can make this dip yourself, and it won’t have any nasty preservatives or additives in it! You simply have to fry onions and garlic until they are nice and caramelized, then toss them with sour cream and Greek yogurt as well as a few other secret ingredients to lighten it up. Serve with classic ruffled potato chips or fancy vegetable chips and you have got yourself a great party dip!


My next recipe is a play on the classic tea sandwich: Mrs. Frankenstein’s Tea Sandwiches. In other words, Cucumber-Dill Tea Sandwiches. This is definitely an old school dish, because it has been served at many fancy tea parties over the past century or so. You simply layer butter, an elevated homemade cream cheese spread, and slices of cucumber on top of pumpernickel bread and slice it into wedges. I really like the fresh, cool cucumber and dill in this recipe as many appetizers can be heavy, but this one is light and refreshing (And it will freshen up your breath from the French Onion Dip!). If you can make a sandwich, you can easily make these Cucumber-Dill Tea Sandwiches for your party!

My final savory appetizer that I made for this party was inspired by the retro pinwheel sandwiches made with tortilla wraps and deli meat/cheese. I never really liked these as a kid (I found them to get super soggy and gross). But I took this idea and made it much better with my recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Pinwheels. Rather than using tortilla wraps to hold everything in, I used a sheet of store-bought puff pastry. All you need to do is sprinkle it with the roasted red peppers and cheese, roll it up, slice it up, and bake! It’s so simple and easy – and it looks impressive, too! Your guests will think that you spent hours making these!


Now, onto my favorite course: dessert. As we all know, with Halloween comes tons of sugary candy and chocolates, which is a great treat in small doses. But rather than making an overly sugary dessert or placing a bunch of candy on the table, I decided to keep things more on the healthier side with a Healthy Dessert Board. On this dessert board, I mixed store-bought and homemade treats. From the store, I picked up some maple flavored mixed nuts, coconut macaroons (I thought they looked like little ghosts.), and some crazy spooky Moon Drop grapes. I loved the deep purple color of the grapes and the elongated shape (Almost like fingers!).

The homemade treats that I made are simple and can likely be made with ingredients that you have in your pantry right now! Bonus! First up, I made my Autumn-Inspired White Chocolate Bark. What’s a dessert board without some chocolate? I made it a bit healthier by adding vitamin rich cranberries and apricots and oil-rich walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Just the colors alone look gorgeous. It’s truly perfect for fall/Halloween!

Last but not least, I had to made something with Pumpkin Spice. And what’s a better treat than Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls?!? The basic white girl inside of me literally can’t even right now. You have all of the delicious warm flavors of pumpkin spice combined with healthy dates, almonds, and oats – such a great and healthy treat!


And there you have it ghosts and ghouls! A fully planned and designed Halloween party. All you need is some spooky music and a great costume and you will be ready to have an amazing time! For all of the recipes featured in this post, simply click on the links or head over to my blog!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

^^^ Yum, yum, freaking YUM! Many thanks to Melissa for concluding my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series by sharing such amazing party recipes, tricks, and treats with my readers! Which recipes from this post are you going to try out? Where do you go for the best seasonal decor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

You’ve Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail

Shhhh…No one tell Kate from Ankhor You about this post because it’s about Dunkin’ Donuts and she despises it!! BUT can we just talk about the sample pack that I got in the mail from them this week FO FREE?! Take a look:


About a month ago, I got an email from Dunkin’ asking if I wanted to try the picks that are in the running to becoming their new flavor, Blueberry Pancake, Dulce De Leche, and Coconut Caramel. In my mind, they were just going to send me one of the choices to try, but I figured “why not” and put my info in, anyways. So, imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox to find a package from Dunkin’ with a sample of all three flavors in the contest!

I was so excited about this package. I love getting mail and I had completely forgotten that I even ordered the samples to begin with, so it was a total pick me up treat. Not only that, but my sample pack was packaged so nicely and they also included a coupon for the next time that I make a Dunkin’ run. Score!

I wouldn’t necessarily call these packs a “sample”, though. For my coffee drinking purposes, I could easily get two uses out of each flavor option. That’s a hell of a…sample. I can’t think of another word to call it! We’ll go with sample. Anyways, that’s a pretty sweet deal – I literally entered my shipping info and got SIX pots of coffee for myself out of it.

I’m looking forward to trying all of these flavors and I will keep you guys updated on which one that I like the best! I’ve gotta say, though, it’s probably going to be Blueberry Pancake that takes the (pan)cake for me – I love me some blueberry flavored coffee! But the Coconut Caramel and Dulce De Leche each sound enticing too, so we’ll see!

Which flavor out of the three samples that I got sounds the best? Which store/restaurant/coffee shop gives out the best freebies and coupons? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah