Tag Archives: food

An Apple A Day

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An Apple A Day

Hello!! For those of you who don’t know, my big girl job is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. I love my job always but in the summer and fall, I feel particularly thankful because I am constantly being spoiled with produce from gardens and apple orchards. Each family I work with does a garden every summer and, I swear, I never went a week without delicious, homegrown veggies in my apartment these past few months.

This past week, a client and his family visited an apple orchard and I had such fun hearing about his outing. Fast forward to when I was about to pull out of their yard to go home and his mom comes running out to stop me with a huge bag of apples. SO sweet!

All of the families I work with consider me an “honorary” member of their household and it is an honor for me. So, to come home with a bag of apples or veggies is special to me because it’s a reminder of how much we all care for each other. I would be so lonely without all of the wonderful families I get to help out and, god forbid one of us gets sick or goes on vacation, because we all end up missing each other like crazy!

Like I said, my client’s mom ran to my car with this beautiful bounty and it was like getting the most fantastic hug. Small and simple acts of kindness are often the best so be sure to offer an apple (pumpkin or gourd!) a day to someone you love if you visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch this fall. You have the Lil Red Guarantee that it will be oh so appreciated. ❤

What was the last random act of kindness you made? What do you like to grow in your garden? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Morning Star Meals

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Morning Star Meals

Hello! I have been a strict vegetarian for the closer part of two decades and literally could never imagine eating meat again. Although I have a different diet than Johnny who loves cheeseburgers, bacon, and hot dogs we still both eat the “fake” meat by Morning Star pretty regularly. Check it out:

I have never been one of the vegetarians who are put off by people eating meat so I was tickled when Johnny wanted to try my vegetarian chicken nuggets and sausage patties. I was even more thrilled about the fact that he liked them just as much as me! In fact, I consider it a rarity to have a boyfriend who is excited about me making a veggie option and not asking me to make “regular” meat for him – even though he knows I would be happy to.

We are both huge fans of the Morning Star buffalo chicken nuggets and, this past shopping trip, I got us the buffalo patties for him to try. I was about to start prepping our meal when Johnny took it upon himself to make it, instead. He air fried our patties, then buttered and toasted the buns. We topped it off with lettuce and ranch and my heart kind of melted when Johnny said “it tastes just like a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s”.

My Johnny is just so dear to me and him being willing to always try new things is one of the many things I love about him. I know it seems like a little thing but Morning Star meals with my non vegetarian boyfriend will never cease to put me in all of the happy feels. I’m a lucky girl. ❤

What is the most recent new food you tried? Which other brands make the best “fake” meat? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making Every Family Dinner Special

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Making Every Family Dinner Special

If you want to spend more quality time with your family but you’re struggling to figure out how to do it, one way is to start making your family dinners special. If you all sit down for dinner and ignore one another while scrolling on your phones or watching TV, of course it’s going to feel like you don’t have enough quality time together.

Similarly, if you all eat dinner separately, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to catch up with one another. It might not be possible to do this every day, but there are all kinds of benefits to having dinner together each night. If you want to make the family dinners that you do have together more special, then read on for some advice:

Make It A Ritual:

Start by making it a ritual. Try to do family dinners at the same time, wash up beforehand, and name three things you’re grateful for before you begin to eat. Of course, your ritual may differ – but it’s definitely worth coming up with one that means something to you.

Set The Table:

Set the table for your dinner with nice plates and cutlery, place mats, a tablecloth, and even candles. Make it look fancy. This is especially important if you don’t get to have many family dinners together. Setting the table nicely can make a huge difference to the atmosphere.

Have Themed Nights:

It can be really fun to have themed dinner nights together. You could have Mexican nights, Italian food nights, and even nights based around Porter & York meats. Having themes can keep family dinners exciting and give some structure to your week if you have one every few days.

Turn Off The TV:

Ban phones from the table and don’t watch the TV, either. Enjoy one another’s company. Listen and concentrate – these could be the most meaningful moments of your day! This is so much better than spending hours sitting together while not really concentrating on one another at all.

Prep Together:

Involving your family in the preparation of the dinner can help everyone to get more invested in the meal and bond beforehand. This is especially great for younger members of the family, as they tend to enjoy helping and will learn a lot from it. They are also far more likely to eat different foods if they have had a hand in making them!

Find Something To Celebrate:

It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you to find something to celebrate. Has somebody in the family achieved something? It doesn’t matter how small – find something and celebrate it! At the very least, this will make each dinner a cheery event and teach everybody to look for the good, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant!

Family dinners are tons of fun and helps bring you and yours closer together. Bon appetit!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Boosting Your Energy Naturally, Sans Caffeine

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Boosting Your Energy Naturally, Sans Caffeine

Do you have low energy levels and feel fatigued on most days? Find that you turn to coffee and sugary treats to get yourself through the day? You’re not alone. Our lives are full of long work hours, stressful relationships, and currently a lot of uncertainty, which has resulted in a lack of energy in most of us. Luckily, there are lots of great ways to give yourself a natural boost to get yourself back to being your lively, energetic self – and all without having to indulge in caffeine. Try the following:

Vitamins:

Vitamins, or lack thereof, can play a huge part when it comes to your energy levels and feeling fatigued. Vitamin b12, also known as the energy vitamin, can help give you a big boost and is needed for overall good health. One of eight B vitamins, it helps the body to convert the food that you eat into glucose, therefore giving you energy. It also prevents anemia that can lead to feeling weak and tired and keeps the body’s nerves healthy. Taking supplements is one of the easiest ways of getting your Vitamin b12 intake; however, you can always find the vitamin in foods such as salmon, red meat, feta cheese, and nutritional yeast.

Reduce your carbs:

Ever noticed how after eating a big delicious meal that’s full of carbs, whether that be potatoes, pasta, or bread, you find your eyes starting to close, and an afternoon nap calling your name? That’s because when we eat that big dish full of pasta (AKA excessive carbs), we have a rapid spike in insulin levels, which causes a drop in our blood sugar levels, leaving our bodies exhausted throughout the digestion process.

Now, that’s not to say that you have to take carbs off of the menu, but you should try to avoid simple carbs and replace them with complex carbs instead, to avoid that mid-afternoon slump. Try and add more whole grains into your meal, alongside leafy greens and vegetables, and you will notice that a well-balanced diet will make a massive difference to your energy levels without needing to turn to caffeine.

Remove sources of stress and anxiety:

It is well known that both stress and anxiety take a massive toll on health, including having noticeably less energy. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to boost your energy levels is by removing the sources of stress or anxiety in your life. This also includes relationships and friendships that drain your energy and don’t serve you anymore. While it is impossible to remove all stress from everyday life, there are things that you can do to deal with it more effectively, such as meditation, NAD+, and yoga.

Exercise:

As weird as it might seem, regularly moving your body and exercising is an absolutely guaranteed way to boost your energy levels and make you feel good thanks to the resulting mood-boosting endorphins. It has been proven that a daily short walk can provide a more significant energy boost than even food. Try to incorporate a walk or another physical activity into your daily routine and you will notice that you feel more energetic in no time.

Try the tips above to give yourself an energy boost, the natural way!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Lil Red & The Best Anniversary Ever

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Lil Red & The Best Anniversary Ever

Hello! On September first, Johnny and I celebrated our one year anniversary of dating. This past weekend, we celebrated officially by the most wonderful surprise that Johnny had been working on: A specially prepared dinner by a chef friend that I got to choose.

Originally, I wanted something bold like Pad Thai or Indian food but Johnny is not a fan of either so I went with an old favorite of fettuccine Alfredo, garlic bread, and a salad. This was sure to go over well with the both of us and on Saturday I was banished from the apartment while our mystery guest and Johnny got to work.

For a few hours I visited my parents and brother as well as their next door neighbor, Alice. But, the entire time, I was eagerly awaiting a text from Johnny to tell me I could come back home. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time I was away and I was freaking giddy when I was allowed to start heading over.

I opened the door to our apartment and was greeted by the most delicious aroma of garlic bread you could ever imagine, a cleaned off kitchen table, and our friend Jimmy standing in the kitchen! Jimmy plays in The Outside Voices with Johnny and is an exceptional chef so Johnny hired him to prepare our anniversary feast.

I was literally speechless when I saw Jimmy because I had no idea who Johnny was talking about this whole time. Between that, my kitchen table being cleaned, and Johnny looking so damn fine I was completely floundering, lol!

Around seven, our meal was ready and Jimmy poured us both a healthy glass of wine and left us to begin our celebrations. Saying our dinner was to die for was an understatement. The fettuccine Alfredo surpassed anything I’ve ever had before (Take that, Olive Garden!). The rosemary garlic bread was so crisp and had enough garlic to kill a vampire but that’s exactly how I like it. And, finally, the salad was gorgeous – fresh greens with mozzarella cheese, blackberries, sliced almonds, onions, and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Can you say, YUM?!

We ate like royalty and immediately after, we retired into our comfy clothes to begin the relaxation portion of our celebration. All night, Johnny and I listened to music, poorly did imitations of our favorite TV characters, and laughed. It was the best day of my life.

Johnny’s anniversary date night was one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me and I am never going to forget it. The following morning I told him I thought I gained a pound from dinner but that food baby was just a small price to pay for the most beautiful day! ❤

How did you celebrate an anniversary this year? How about a birthday? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Disappointment Of The Day: Mango Outshine Popsicles With Tajin Edition

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Disappointment Of The Day: Mango Outshine Popsicles With Tajin Edition

Howdy! I recently had a huge grocery shopping trip because Johnny and I were down to below the bare minimum at our apartment. I picked out plenty of our favorites but I also snagged something that I’ve been curious about compliments of never ending Facebook ads about it: Mango Outshine popsicles with a coating of chili lime Tajin seasoning on it.

I love trying out new foods and unique flavors and after seeing it advertised for what felt like forever, I just had to give these popsicles a shot. I thought the sweet heat of the mango and chili lime combination would be tasty but I guess I didn’t take into consideration the fact that I would have to eat an entire popsicle’s worth of it.

My first bite into the popsicle was great, I’m not going to lie. So, I had a few more and got maybe a quarter of the way into it. Then, the taste got really old really quickly and I was totally done. The mango portion of the popsicle was sickly sweet in comparison to the spicy seasoning and it left a really questionable taste in my mouth and stomach.

The combination of the way too sweet fruit with an, on its own, very tasty and kicky seasoning was anything but refreshing which is what you want in a popsicle. I don’t think I could ever eat a full one of these fruit bars and I definitely regret buying them because I know damn well the remaining five are going to sit uneaten in my freezer for the next century, lol!

Save yourself some cash and skip on these Outshine fruit bars because they were a big fat Disappointment Of The Day. -_-

Have you bought any duds lately? What are your thoughts on these popsicles if you have tried them? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Snacky

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Feeling Snacky

Hi! It has always been important to me to have healthy food and snacks in my apartment. I rarely eat sweet treats as I prefer the savory but Johnny, on the other hand, requests something in the dessert department whenever I go grocery shopping. And, when that time of the month rolls around, I am oh so happy when there is chocolate or cookies handy compliments of Johnny’s sweet tooth! ❤

When Aunt Flo comes for a visit, my primary craving is ice cream. However, I can’t justify buying a tub of ice cream that I’m barely going to eat. My solution? Frozen Greek yogurt!

Living that #YOGURTLIFE in the words of Terry Crews from Brooklyn 99!

My newest snack craze has been sticking a yogurt in the freezer and crumbling a chocolate chip cookie for the topping. I love the ice cream like texture of the yogurt once it freezes and with that extra bit of cookie it feels like I am eating a low calorie sundae.

Your topping preference is up to you but for the yogurt I definitely prefer the Light & Fit by Dannon. The vanilla Greek yogurt is so rich, creamy, and flavorful and it’s seriously hard to believe that it’s only eighty calories! I like how filling it is and sometimes, if I’m not snacking sundae style, I will have a yogurt with my medication before bed.

The Dannon Light & Fit yogurts were actually not my first choice but Johnny brought them home from the grocery store as my primary option wasn’t available. He is always getting me to try new things and this one just happened to become a staple at chez moi!

What is your favorite snack? Do you crave sweet or salty? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Breakfast Burrito Bonanza

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Breakfast Burrito Bonanza

Howdy! My boyfriend, Johnny, is somewhat of a breakfast aficionado and I revel in when I can actually make breakfast for him over the weekends. A few days ago, however, breakfast for dinner was the move and it ended up being one of my favorite things that I’ve made in a long time. So, get your orange juice and coffee ready because we are talking breakfast burritos!

The last time I went to the grocery store, I went a bit wild because we literally had no food in the apartment. In this “we’ve gotta stock up” stupor, I had no problem purchasing all of the goods to make delicious meals at home. A girl has gotta eat. 😀

One of the things that I love about Johnny is that he is willing to try new things. For example, I am a strict vegetarian while he is the furthest thing from it. While there is meat at our place for him, there is MorningStar veggie sausage patties and chicken nuggets for me… And for him too, because he likes the vegetarian products as much as I do!

I decided that breakfast burritos would be a delicious way to go and something that Johnny would love. So I purchased tortillas, shredded cheese, shredded hash browns, vegetarian sausage patties, and eggs for the filling. In fact, when I mentioned it to him when I got home from shopping he asked me if I could make them right at that moment, lol!

I didn’t make the burritos right at that moment but when I did the following day they were a huge hit! In one pan I scrambled eggs and in the other I combined the hash browns and sausage together, breaking apart the patties into pieces once they were cooked enough. After everything was prepared, I mixed the eggs, hash browns, and sausage into one pan and then I put some shredded cheese in each tortilla. Then, I added the filling and wrapped them up. Breakfast for dinner is served!

While I preferred some salsa on mine, Johnny liked his plain. Either way, they were SO yummy and I definitely plan on making breakfast burritos again. Next time, I might consider different toppings like sour cream, guacamole, or cheese sauce. I also might add some sliced red peppers for a tangy crunch. However you dress your breakfast burrito, it is sure to be a hit no matter what time of the day you eat it. 😀

What is your favorite meal of the day? How about your favorite meal to cook? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Grocery Shopping Fun

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Grocery Shopping Fun

Hello! I don’t know about you guys but I have always loved going grocery shopping. From tagging along with my mom in my youth to stocking up the cupboards in my apartment, there’s just something about picking out tasty food that is so enjoyable to me. I normally only try to go shopping one time a month and knock everything out that I need and it has always worked for me. In fact, it works even better now in COVID times because who wants to go to the store every single time they run out of something?

My shopping extravaganzas were put on pause for the past month or so because Johnny made a few smaller trips. I was so thankful he did because I really didn’t feel like it but his shopping trips just didn’t hit the same. No offense to my MAN because I definitely was not as specific on the shopping list as I could have been, lol! This past week, I finally did a big shopping trip after we deemed our apartment as having “nothing to eat” and it was a blast!

In my neck of the woods, we have Giant Eagle and if you’re lucky it’s a Market District one like I have by me. The Market Districts are DOPE because they have literally everything you could ever want including all of the things you didn’t even know you needed. When it first opened five or so years ago, it was actually the place to be as there is a bar where you can get a drink and walk around with it while you shop. They even had live music playing for the first handful of months.

Not only does the Market District have a bar but they have all kinds of food stands where you can pick up specialty items – everything from gelato and sushi to stir fry, soul food, and delicious prepared pasta salads, soups, and antipasto. Like I said, all of the things you didn’t even know you needed.

I love going grocery shopping because it feels good to take care of myself and Johnny. Of course, I get everything we need on the list but I picked up plenty of treats for myself like vegetarian sushi, my favorite grapefruit beer, and yummy fruit popsicles. Johnny, on the other hand, got a lot of the breakfast items that he eats but didn’t make a special request for. I got them anyways because I wanted him to have variety. 🙂

Adulting doesn’t always have to suck and I think my deep love for grocery shopping is a prime example of that. Don’t tell anyone – but it can actually be kind of fun!

What is your favorite adulting chore? How about your least favorite? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Super Happy Fun Times

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Super Happy Fun Times

Hi! This past weekend, Johnny and I went on a date for the first time since March. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A date? You and Johnny barely leave the house!” Believe me, I would be thinking the exact same thing. But, thanks to a little something called DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area), Johnny and I were able to enjoy some drinks from our favorite bar in Kent while sitting outside in the park!

We spent two hours eating takeout from Taco Tantos and drinking Moscow Mules from the Zephyr and we did it all completely social distanced. Granted, it was a lot different than back in 2019 when we all had no problem being on the Zephyr’s back patio playing games and hanging out. However, what we did was the next best thing! Some of our Kent friends even stopped by for a chat, which was great because we haven’t really seen anyone since March, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem sitting in my living room with Johnny day drinking and watching The Last Kingdom. But, there is absolutely nothing better than getting dressed up and going out with my boyfriend. Sitting on that park bench in Kent laughing and taking selfies was one of the most joyous moments I’ve had in weeks and I am going to treasure it for forever. It brought me back to our first date almost one year ago and it was kind of magical.

The best part? Now that we know that the open container areas in Kent are something that we feel comfortable with, we can go on dates again whenever we want! As soon as Johnny brought our drinks to our bench, the first thing we both said was “this is so nice” and we are already looking forward to our next date very soon! ❤

How do you do social distance hang outs? Does your downtown area have a DORA program? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah