At this time of year there are few things that make me as happy as pumpkins. Adorable pumpkins of all shapes and sizes… white pumpkins, striped pumpkins, the list go on. So when I got the idea to cut a pumpkin into a vase for some fall flowers, I could only be described as giddy. It’s a fairly simple DIY, the trickiest part is finding just the right glass to rest inside your pumpkin to hold the water. Follow the steps below to make an easy, festive, pumpkin vase.
Get your supplies ready. You need scissors for the flower stems and a dark marker to write on the pumpkin.
Use a serrated knife to cut off the top of the pumpkin. Clean out all the insides (save the seeds!) and make sure the bottom of the pumpkin is nice and flat. Find a small glass or tupperware to use as a vase. The glass should be slightly shorter than the pumpkin so it doesn’t stick out. Fill it with water and place inside the pumpkin.
Cut your flowers to the desired height. I cut mine down pretty short to they wouldn’t stick too far out of the top.
I get asked pretty frequently about my diet and what I liked to eat. When I sat down to write a post about it, I thought it made sense to start with what I buy at the grocery store. I cook pretty regularly and always bring my lunch to work, so about 90% of what I eat is made at home. I grocery shop every weekend, it’s actually my favorite thing to do on a Sunday. I love wandering the isles of the grocery store with my coffee in hand, looking for a new item to try. I thought I would break it down for you guys by sharing my rules of the grocery store and how it fits into my everyday diet.
Since what I eat can’t be summed up in one word like many diets can (i.e. vegan, paleo, gluten free, etc.) it’s a little more lengthy to explain. For me I don’t think an elimination full time would work, although I was a vegetarian for a while a few years back. I also know many people who cut out an entire food category and get great results. I think the key is figuring out what works for you and your body. Think about what makes you feel your best and buy and eat more of it. Below are my steps for living by this simple rule.
1) Meal Plan. Whether you create a detailed list/ calendar or just jot a few notes in your phone, this is the best way to effectively create a weeks worth of healthy recipes. I used to create very detailed lists for my grocery store outings and now I more just have guidelines in my head. For example, knowing I’m cooking 4 nights that week and a general idea of what I want to make (chicken one night, vegetarian the next). This allows me for more flexibility in the store, based on what looks good/ what’s on sale. I always snap pictures with my phone of recipes in magazines that way I have them as a reference when I’m shopping. When it comes to produce I rarely make a list and always choose based on what looks good. If I don’t know exactly what to do with something in the store I’ll do a quick google search. This all takes time of course, so if your rushed or absolutely hate the grocery store, a list is the way to go.
2) Buy a pure form of what you are craving. What I mean by this is if you’re in the store and feel yourself craving an unhealthy item, like for example a pre-made mini apple pie, is there a more natural form of that that would satisfy you? Could you buy baked apple chips instead or even a bunch of apples that tend to run sweeter like Honey Crisp? If so, then buy the closest thing to “real” that you can. If you’re dying for cheeze-its, try a multigrain cracker with a real slice of fresh cheddar. I try to stay away from buying foods that are overly processed/ have a million ingredients. If I can’t pronounce it, I shouldn’t eat it. I try to live by this guideline and it has totally changed my view on food.
3) Read the labels to make subtle changes. This goes hand in hand with the rule above. You know what’s in an apple, a sweet potato, a bag of romaine, a can of beans. You don’t know what’s in a cheeze-its, or a sweetened chewy granola bar. Even if you read the ingredients, I promise you, you still won’t know what’s in it. The front of the box is not enough either, you need to turn the box over and look at the actual ingredient list. Unless your actively trying to loose a lot of weight, just ignore the calories and focus on those ingredients. If you get in the habit of eating things with only ingredients that you can pronounce and understand then calories won’t matter.
4) Buy organic when necessary/ look for sales. I always kind of thought the organic thing was a big hoax until I read more about it. There are a few things I will strictly buy organic. Fruits with thin skins, like strawberries and peaches for example are important to buy organic. Fruits and veggies with thicker skins like a pineapple or banana I wouldn’t necessarily buy organic unless there was a sale. I always buy organic lettuces, like kale. I keep this handy list on my phone that specifies exactly what foods are best to buy organic. I also always buy organic chicken. Since I don’t eat a ton of meat in my house it’s important the meat I buy and cook is high quality. And call me crazy but I think it tastes better!
5) Ask yourself, “I want ____ but would I be happy with_____?” What I mean by this is ask youself if there is a healthier version of the food you want that would still leave you happy and satisfied. For example, ” I want bread for sandwiches but I would be happy with whole wheat bread with no added sugar.” “I want a box of frozen pizza bagels but I would be happy with a multigrain bagel toped with homemade tomato sauce and a little organic shredded mozzarella.” If you get in the habit of doing this you can make small changes over time that will have a big impact on your diet and weight. I always ask myself this question and I it rarely feels like a sacrifice. One good choice will lead to another, and then another, and before you know it you will totally change the way you look at food.
The most important thing to remember when grocery shopping or trying to make a diet or lifestyle change is that no one is perfect. While I try to eat real, whole foods 90% of the time, I always remember it won’t make or break me if I slip up sometimes. When I’m out to eat or spending time with family and friends it’s important to focus on enjoying yourself and not worrying about whether the chicken is organic. I find that if I stick to the way I like to eat most of the time, that other 10% of time won’t be the end of the world. I still feel great and have more energy than I ever have before. It’s most important to find what works for you and not be too hard on yourself.
I hope this wasn’t too lengthy but I wanted to explain for the people who were asking and are interested. I’d love to know, do you have an grocery store or diet rules that you follow? Please share, I’m always looking for other tips and tricks! xo
It had been a while since I’d gone to Target just to browse with nothing in mind to buy. Usually I’m running in to grab something necessary and running out with that plus four more items. Over the weekend I got to spend an hour or so in Target just perusing the aisles and I forgot how great it is in there. In only an hour I managed to scoop up the top and flats I’m wearing here, plus this sweater, shoes, and one glitter pumpkin (obviously). Thank goodness I had to go, because who knows what other damage I would have done with unlimited time. Everything was such a good deal that I couldn’t even feel bad about it. What’s your favorite thing to browse for at Target?
PS- Maybe I’m a little late to the game but do you guys have the Cartwheel app? I downloaded it and saved on my little shopping splurge! Definitely download it for your next Target run.
Happy Monday to all and thank you to Christoper Columbus for giving me off from work today. Whether you have off or are in the office, today is a great day for a little online shopping. There are lots of great sales and it’s the perfect time to stock up on your fall must-haves. Above are a few of my favorite pieces for this beautiful fall season we’re having. I’m loving plaid, flannel, leopard, and booties (my usual suspects). Below are some of the best sales going on around the internet today! Happy Monday and happy shopping everyone. xo
Now that the weather has officially turned cooler I find myself reaching for the same thing every weekend. My fall weekend staples are pretty simple and predictable, but I love them all the same. My faux leather leggings are my favorite for weekend wear because they can be dressed up or down. I love working in a printed shoe, and leopard is always a go-to for me. I also wear these leopard sneakers all the time, they are so comfy and great for running around shopping or doing errands. From there it’s all about layers and a simple bag. I love this cross body because it’s big enough to fit all my necessities. What are your weekend staples?
Burlington Vermont has to be one of the cutest towns of all time. Tommy and I ventured there back when we were still in college for a long weekend. Ever since then I’ve been wanting to go back, and last weekend we finally made the trip. It also just so happened to be the best weather of the fall season. It was still warm but cool enough for boots and a light sweater, which to me is my happy weather.
Burlington has lots of cute restaurants and little shops. The entire town has a very healthful feel and there are lots of organic places, and restaurants that use all local ingredients. My favorite part is that the center of the town closes down each Saturday for a huge farmer’s market. We spent a few hours there browsing and sampling all the local fare.
We also made it outside of Burlington to Stowe, where we visited the Ben & Jerry’s factory and the Cabot Cheese Factory. Stowe is an adorable town as well, and definitely worth the visit. We found a farm that had the best apple cider doughnuts of all time. If you have an opportunity to visit Vermont I would definitely recommend it. I already can’t wait to go back!
Here are some shots from our trip. The photos are all from my I-phone, since I forgot to pack our good camera. xo
Best green juice at the farmer’s market (kale, apple, lemon, pear, ginger, spinach).
I know, I know. It’s not even October yet and I’m already breaking out the pumpkin. If I’m sick of it before Halloween I’ll have no one to blame but myself. Funny story, I actually tried to start making my favorite pumpkin recipes in August (yes, August) but my local grocery store told me it was too early to for them to carry canned pumpkin puree. That didn’t stop me, and a few weeks later I found my canned pumpkin and whipped up these muffins for breakfast. They are healthy, yummy, seasonal, and a perfect on the go breakfast during October. Recipe is below! Enjoy. xo
Pumpkin-Oat Breakfast Muffins:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup maple sugar (if you can’t find maple sugar you can use 1/2 cup light brown sugar mixed with 1/4 cup granulated sugar)
1/3 grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Liberally grease a muffin tin. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg). In a separate bowl mix together almond milk, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine. Divide the batter among 12 muffin tins. Bake on 375 for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!