Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Currently Loving

Ever since I took British Literature my senior year of high school, I have been smitten with classics such as: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. Naturally, I chose to keep the books once I read them for class and have even picked up a few of them since (especially while studying in Oxford...something about the intellectual air!).

But I would gladly pass on my older versions for a beautiful set of these! How charming would they look sitting atop our bookshelf?!

I might even be inspired to read them again!

You can find them here!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Inspiration: An Organized Pantry

I am one of those people who thoroughly enjoys being organized. But even more, I love finding new ways to declutter and simplify everyday tasks. After all, these days I just don't have the time to fuss with messy spaces.

After seeing my Mom's pantry recently, once I got over being jealous that she thought of it first, I decided to be productive and "borrow" her idea. She so cleverly used her canning jars to hold everyday items such as nuts, dried fruit and grains. It turned out so cute I just had to get some for myself!

So after doing the routine purge of old items, I purchased a bunch of these canisters (also pictured below) in various sizes and some 1/2 quart Mason jars and completely reorganized my pantry! I am amazed at how easily accessible everything is now. Especially the grains that I purchase in bulk at Whole Foods that inevitably end up stacked on top of one another to a point I don't even remember what I have! Now I can easily see exactly what I have, plus it's so much more pleasing to the eye!

The picture above gives an idea of the finished product, though ours is enclosed.

And on a side note, wouldn't you love to open your pantry and see that yummy shade of yellow staring back at you? Definitely on my list of to-do's when we move!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hostess Love

While browsing my new Cooking Light magazine at lunch I came across this adorable little apron by ZenDeluxe. Wouldn't it make a lovely gift for someone who likes to play hostess?!

Weekend in Pictures

Merry Monday! How was your weekend?

Ours went a little something like this:
Friday: date night at the park
Saturday: breakfast with the fam, farmer's market and Chris went into the office:(
Sunday: lots of deep cleaning, laundry, organizing and a beautiful Hawaiian themed wedding (and I so uncharacteristically didn't get any pictures).

Delish Whole Foods desserts + our favorite park + a movie on the laptop = one happy night!

Our farmers market blooms for the week: snapdragons!

{Sigh} have a good one!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Week in Review

Desperately in need of a healthy snack this week, I discovered these little bites of heaven.

Who new something so small could occupy so much of my husband's time?

In case you missed yesterday's post, here is my latest and greatest splurge!

I simply cannot get enough of this little song.

Is this not the sweetest thing you have ever seen?

Definitely my next reading venture. Thanks for the recommendation, Lael!

Happy Friday! Wishing you all simple and lovely weekends!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dinner Last Night: Inside-Out Turkey Sliders

I must say that while this dinner was amazing, the true star of the show was the mouth-watering Cotswold cheese I used! I suppose these sliders could be delicious with any great cheese, but I am a bit partial.

You see, the guy at the cheese counter was oh so convincing when he let me sample the delicate yet creamy Cheddar-like cheese, but I had no idea I would fall so hard for it! After polishing off almost a half pound block between the two of us during our picnic last weekend, I was determined to find an excuse to buy more! And indeed I did. It was the perfect compliment to these moist, mini burgers, especially when it came oozing out with the first bite! I beg you to trust me and try this cheese! It's got chives and onion delightfully disbursed throughout, without overpowering the flavor. I will definitely be making these again!

Inside-Out Turkey Sliders
recipe inspired by Clean Eating
1 lb turkey thigh meat or lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz Cotswold cheese (or whatever you prefer)cut into 1 oz cubes
8 whole grain mini hamburger buns or rolls
Romaine lettuce
sliced tomato
brown mustard

Preheat broiler and place oven rack about 6-7 inches from broiler. In a medium bown combine turkey or beef with salt and pepper. Divide into 8 equal parts and roll into rounds. One meatball at a time, create a hole in the center and place 1 cube of cheese in the center. Cover the cheese completely and form little patties. Place patties on a foil-lined broiler pan and place in oven about 7 minutes (until golden brown). Flip over and cook for an additional 6 minutes or until fully cooked through. Place on toasted buns and top with lettuce, tomato, mustard and a few slices of avocado. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eating Well on the Run

A question I get quite a bit from clients as well as friends and family is this: "What do I eat if I am on the run and don't have healthy food with me?"

Over the years I have done a lot of research and taste testing to be able to answer this question as well as I possibly can.

Obviously, I believe that preparation is of utmost importance when it comes to keeping a healthy diet. Grocery shopping with a list, having your meals planned for the week and bringing along enough clean meals and snacks to last you throughout your day are key. But I also understand that things happen and it's hard to always be 100% prepared.

In situations such as this, it is important to have a back up plan. Notice I say back up plan and not a go-to when you are feeling lazy or too tired to pack your lunch!

I've listed two great options to keep you on track as much as possible when on the run, traveling, or as happened to me this week, getting home late from vacation and having no food in the house and zero desire to cook! So if you must...

Subway's new breakfast sandwiches, which I just tried for the first time last week. It was suprisingly tasty and resembled what I might make at home on a Saturday morning. I tried the Western ham and cheese which consists of a wheat english muffin, egg or egg white (I chose the egg white), black forest ham, bell peppers and onion and a touch of cheddar cheese, toasted to melty goodness. At only 180 calories, you would want to pair it with some fresh fruit and a bit of non-fat yogurt to fuel you throughout the morning, but in my opinion, a no-brainer alternative to Dunkin Doughnuts or McD's for an on-the-run option.

Chik-fil-a's Grilled Chicken Sandwich, which also conveniently comes on a whole grain bun! And unlike other places with a "healthy" chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-a serves their sandwiches with suprisingly plump tomato slices and a few crisp pieces of romaine. The first time I tasted this chicken sandwich I was impressed! It contains 300 calories, but resist the urge to splurge on their waffle fries and avoid the additional 350 calories (in a medium fries)! Instead, order the side salad at a modest 50 calories.

There are certainly descent options out there, we just need to be conscious about the choices we make while eating out. And please feel free to shoot me any questions!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Easing Back to Reality

Well, the Hansens are officially oldtimers. We just celebrated our second anniversary and it was fantastic!! Although, I always seem to need an extra day to recover from vacation mode and gradually ease myself back to reality. Waking up at the crack of dawn after a lovely trip is no way to begin the week! But alas, reality has hit and I am thankful to have had an incredible long weekend with my husband!

We enjoyed some awesome wine tasting in Amador county, drove to Sorensen's where we stayed in an adorably cozy cabin and spent a day admiring Lake Tahoe. It was perfect! We even rented beach cruisers and rode around the lake to various beaches. And might I add, the weather was absolutely amazing all weekend!

A few highlights from our trip...

Monday, June 21, 2010


Two years ago today I married my best friend. And I am still completely smitten with him!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Only the Best Will Do

You may remember me posting that I wanted a Belgian waffle maker a while back...well I am a very lucky woman to have a husband who remembers what he reads here on the blog:)

But don't be fooled, he didn't buy me the one I thought I wanted. Oh no my friends, my man researches everything and absolutely insists on having the best! Which is why he says he was willing to wait 5 years for me;) Moving on...

When he looked into the one I originally wanted, he discovered that the standard open and close makers only make waffle crevices up to 3/4 of an inch thick, where a "true" Belgian has 1 inch pockets. (Only my husband!) Apparently the best ones flip upside down, using gravity to create extra deep crevices. And knowing me, he was certain it would drive me crazy to only be able to make one at a time. So...he bought me this double flip Belgian waffle maker!!!

I am so excited this morning to use my new waffle maker AND try Giada's Pancetta and Cinnamon waffle recipe I've been dying to make! Bon appetite!

Pancetta Cinnamon Waffles
recipe from Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 1/3 cup, plus extra for greasing the waffle iron
3 (4-ounce) slices pancetta, about 1/4-inch thick, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
3 cups Belgian waffle mix (recommended: Krusteaz)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool.

Preheat and lightly grease a waffle iron.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until brown and crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine waffle mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water, cinnamon, and salt. Using a whisk, blend the ingredients together until smooth. Stir in the pancetta. Pour the batter, using the amount recommended by the waffle iron manufacturer's instructions, into the preheated waffle iron. Cook waffles for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown.

Place waffles onto serving plates. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve immediately

Friday, June 18, 2010

Getaway Weekend!

Woohoo! This Monday will mark two incredible and blissful years of marriage and to celebrate we are taking an extended weekend trip! Definitely looking forward to picnicing, wine tasting, gorgeous Lake Tahoe weather, hiking and bike riding in the great outdoors and most of all, spending some good, quality time with the one I adore!

Have a lovely weeekend!

ps ~ Can't wait to share the super sweet gift my husband got me for our anniversary!

Brilliant and Green!

I've been mulling over buying some of those greenies bags lately. You know the ones on the infomercials that promise to keep your produce fresh significantly longer? I actually hear they work, but my beef has been that you can only use them a few times before trashing them and they are not the cheapest little guys either.

Enter these brilliantly made reusable produce bags from Crate and Barrel! Alas, a solution to my produce dilema. I was so excited to find them because not only will they help my produce last longer in the fridge, but they are completely washable, reusable and can be used at the farmers market/grocery store as well. Genius!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You are the Cream to My Coffee

To my husband,

Seven years ago today you asked me to be yours. I couldn't possibly have known that saying yes would be the beginning of such a remarkable love story! Thank you for asking me and thank you for the past seven years of love, adventure, excitement and endless encouragement! I wouldn't even change the difficult times we've experienced together, as they have only taught us to love one another better. You are, my Love, the cream to my coffee! My life just wouldn't be complete without you!

Here's to many, many more!

Yours always

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dressing It Up

I'll be the first to admit I've never been one of those girls who fills up on salad and calls it a meal...though I can get on board with a well put together side salad. It can be the perfect compliment to a lovely meal and get you closer to your daily quota of veggies. What could be better?

I think my problem is that I frequently find myself in a salad rut and can't seem to think beyond the old roasted veggies or dried fruit and nut combo with some kind of vinaigrette...boring! At least after you've had it a few times that week.

Fortunately, I recently came across this fabulous article on Whole Foods blog. Even though the ideas weren't necessarily new to me, it was a delightful reminder of ways to spruce up my greens. And just in time for Summer!

I can't wait to try these lovely looking combos!

Carrot Dressing

1 carrot, grated
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

Put all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.

Per serving (about 2 Tablespoons/23g-wt.): 25 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 5g total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0g protein

Low-Fat "Caesar" Dressing

2/3 cup (about 5 ounces) firm silken tofu
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons light soy or chickpea miso
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire (optional)
2 cloves garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.

Per serving (about 2 Tablespoons/44g-wt.): 30 calories (5 from fat), 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 290mg sodium, 5g total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 2g protein

Creamy Orange-Avocado Dressing

3 green onions, trimmed
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup orange juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.

Per serving (about 11oz/307g-wt.): 120 calories (35 from fat), 4g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 11g sugar), 4g protein

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is Clean Eating Anyway?

It has occurred to me that I talk a lot about eating clean, but maybe haven't been too specific about what exactly that means. I simply believe it is the best way to obtain a balanced and healthy life. Most importantly, it is a lifestyle, not a diet. With that said, I live by Dr. Cooper's philosophy of 80%/20%, meaning I try to eat clean 80% of the time with a 20% "cushion" for more indulgent foods. Because if it's not already abundantly clear, I have a soft spot for making and sharing dessert!

So what are the basic principals of clean eating? Below is an exerpt from Clean Eating magazine. I included a few of the points I felt most important to highlight.

Borrowed from the July/August issue of Clean Eating Magazine:

How to eat and live clean: The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close as possible. It is not a diet; it's a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life-one meal at a time.

*Eat five to six times a day- three meals and two to three small snacks. Include a protein, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal. This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.

*Get label savvy- clean foods include one or two ingredients. Any products with a long ingredient list is human-made and not considered clean.

*Learn about portion sizes- and work toward eating within them.

*Slow down and savor- Never rush through a meal. Food tastes best when savored. Enjoy every bite!

For more information about clean eating, check out The Eat Clean Diet, Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook (my absolute favorite!!) and Clean Eating magazine!

Clumpy and Crisp Applesauce Granola

A few months ago I jumped into the granola making world head on. And I fell in love. Granola always seemed far too time consuming and quite honestly, there were endless options out there. Much too confusing to a granola virgin. That is until it occured to me to use the tried and true formula of my good friend Lael, which is quite amazing (check it out here)! That recipe and I have gotten along quite nicely these past several months.

So why have I decided to venture any further? Well, because I love experimenting and I happened to have every ingredient on hand for this recipe.

And let me tell you, I am so glad I did! This recipe has some subtle differences from my dear friends. It is wonderfully clumpy, not too sweet and perfect atop some Greek yogurt with a few banana slices or fresh berries. Honestly, I love how healthy this version is. Though let me say, I did add a pinch of raw sugar for a bit of added sweetness. Either way, it turned out exceptionally well!

The result: this girl now has two fantastic granola recipes to go to!

Clumpy & Crisp Applesauce Granola
recipe from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

6 c large flake oats
1/4 c flax meal
1/2 c wheat germ
1 T cinnamon
large pinch of nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
3 c whole almonds (I substituted for pecans)
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
3 T olive oil
2 c applesauce
1/3 c honey or agave syrup (increase if you like a sweeter granola)
2 c dried cranberries or raisins or dried apple bits

Preheat oven to 300F. In a large bowl, mix together the first 8 ingredients. Add in the oil, applesauce and honey or agave syrup and mix well using your hands until everything is well coated. Spread mixture between two baking sheets lined with silpat or parchment paper and bake, turning mixture frequently and rotating pans until the mixture is dry and golden. For me, this took about 1 hour or a bit more. Add the dried fruit as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool and then store in a sealed container.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lounge Lizard

For the first time in weeks I felt rested upon waking up this morning! A big part of that may have to do with how I spent a good chunk of the weekend...

Yummy snacks,

catching up on good reads,

and just the right amount of fruity cocktails, complete with tiny umbrella!

It was the perfect way to kick off summer! And not to mention Saturday morning farmers market, dinner with the fam where I made this yummy and seasonal Apricot Almond Tart from Tartlette and coffee with Emily, who was in town for a very short weekend! All the right things to leave me rejuvenated and ready to start a new week!

I hope your weekend was equally marvelous!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'll Be Poolside...

Hello lovelies! Are you so happy the weekend is just about here?! Any fun going-ons?

I am gleefully looking forward to an entire Saturday dedicated to being poolside with my lovely friend, Parris, complete with a few summer cocktails and magazine reading. The perfect remedy for a long and tiring week!

I would also like to see the new Katherine Heigl flick, Killers...we'll see how that goes!

Hope your weekend is relaxing and wonderful!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Craving for Summer

With the wonderful 80 degree days we have been having, I can't help but daydream about fun summer activities! Here are just a few things I've had my eye on to make Summer a bit brighter!

How perfect would this jersey v-neck dress be on weekend trips to the farmers market or just laying out by the pool?!

While I've never been a fan of Toms, I have a whole new feeling about them after seeing these adorable yellow wedges!

This sweet, multi-functional beach tote could easily carry everything needed for an impromptu picnic.

And finally, I found the perfect picnic blanket! Too bad it costs an arm and a leg! Maybe I cold actually learn to quilt and make one myself:)

*Sigh* Summer is so sweet!

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