National Pistachio Day!

It’s so eassssy being green, if you’re a pistachio that is.  Pistachios are wearing little birthday hats as it’s their big day! National Pistachio Day is Friday February 26th and pistachios are ready to be snacked upon.   Other nuts … Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Vegan Brunch!

Re-Mix your Meatless Monday recipe list with a veg-tacular event this coming weekend: Slo’Mo Remix Brunch w/ Live Lynnette’s Lynnette Astaire Join Live Lynnette, wellness wonder woman (pictured below) for a vegan brunch sound tracked by sweet soul jams from top notch … Continue reading

Escape Winter with UpLIFTing Retreat

Join the LIFT (Leading India’s Future Today) Associate Board’s young professionals for a morning of yoga and meditation that will be good for your mind, body, and soul.

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Yoga, led by instructor, Maria Miles, will stretch and strengthen our bodies. Guided meditation, led by long time LIFT volunteer Deb Wilson, is sure to relax the mind and warm the soul.
Come out and focus on inner peace while supporting the students of LIFT!*

All are welcome, no previous yoga or meditation experience necessary. Please wear comfortable clothing and bring your water bottle. Light refreshments will be provided.

Saturday February 20th
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
711 W. Monroe Chicago, IL, Room ABC 123

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*Leading India’s Future Today (LIFT) is dedicated to developing leadership excellence in motivated and talented youth in Tamil Nadu, India. LIFT provides quality education and a home environment for youth with high potential who would typically be denied schooling due to limited access to resources.  LIFT students and staff are committed to transforming their society from within to help combat poverty, unemployment, and disease.  Learn more about LIFT, Chicago’s non-profit organization http://lift-foundation.org/our-programs/

Meatless Monday Review: Marley Spoon Recipe Box

Looking for some Meatless Monday Inspiration but short on time, ideas, cooking skills?  Switch it up with a recipe/meal delivery service, Marley Spoon!  We received 2 free recipe boxes from Marley Spoon to review for all you organic peeps out there.  Marley Spoon actually has a wide delivery area including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia and ‘Murica (that’s layman for America).

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We Galentine’s Day-ed it up a little early and decided to have a cooking date night to try two recipes: Quinoa Burgers and Broccoli Coconut Soup.

Here’s how the service works:

It is a subscription service but you can pause the service when you like.  Your order is delivered on either a Tuesday or Friday in a cooler box so it keeps cook ready.  A variety of 7 chef created recipes are available each week catering to different culinary preferences (meaty, veggie, global inspired, vegan, dino..ok no dino but we are checking how closely you are reading).

You have a choice of a 2 person box or a family box to feed a small crowd with pricing that ranges between $48 (2x meals a week) to $139 for 4 family meals per week.  We actually spend more on groceries ourselves sometimes so the pricing seems pretty reasonable for the time you save.

What Rises to the Occasion:

Delivery: Delivery was on point and our boxes were waiting when we arrived.  Everything is pre-packaged so no need to measure.

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Recipes: Recipes come with gorgeous color photos of each step and outline exactly what you need to have on hand on your own (small staples like salt and olive oil).  Portions are more than what we would expect for 2 people.  For example, our Quinoa Burger recipe yielded 5 burgers and we had plenty extra couscous and soup from the Broccoli Soup recipe.  Depending on your appetite, you may be able to get 2 full meals for 2 out of each recipe (hooray leftovers!).

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Appearance: Both recipes looked like what was on the recipes cards when completed.  We felt like fancy french chefs.

Taste: The kale chips were crunchy and addictive…possibly the easiest part of the recipe box.  Our veggie burgers were hearty and filling.  The soup had a bi-partisan reaction…more on that below.

 

What Should Be on the Chopping Block:

Souper Spicy?:  With cooking, there is always room to grow!  With both of us being a level up from amateur kitchen goers, we think a few things could be improved.  The broccoli soup recipe was extra spicy for some reason and didn’t have the creamy consistency that appears in the picture.  We would have liked more of a coconut flavor and would have modified that spice to flavor ratio for some more depth.  It was possibly the green curry with ginger that could have been baby spiced to improve the other flavors in the soup.

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Time: It took us 2 hours to make everything.  For a busy person, this might not serve.  One suggestion would be for Marley Spoon to provide pre-chopped or diced ingredients but we aren’t sure how this would affect the freshness of produce.

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Final Course Thoughts?:

Taste your dishes throughout the cooking process and modify them if you like!  We added paprika and chili powder to our kale chips and were pleased with the results.  Don’t be afraid to be a kitchen rebel if you know how to cook to season items to your liking.

Bonding: We had a super fab time cooking together.  We could see this as a intimate date night, girls night out or bachelorette type experience, or just a way to liven up the ho hum experience of weekly cooking.

Overall, we loved the experience of learning to cook new recipes and spending time in the kitchen together. Ingredients are local sourced and grass fed animules, making you feel a bit at ease for what you are consuming.  Food waste is cut own bu the pre-packaged format as well.  If you’re looking for a culinary adventure with less effort, we suggest giving Marley Spoon a try! Use the Promo Code CHIORGANIC for $35 off your first box.

 

A Fit Valentine’s Day 2016

There’s absolutely no reason to skip working out this V-day, whether single ‘n mingling or tethered.

Check out our fit Valentine’s week events to get that serotonin flowing.

1. Cupid’s Undie Run – Chicago

Run with friend, lova or future version of both at the Cupid’s Undie Run.  Those cute skivvies and cold temps will make you extra fast, we’re sure.

Cupid’s Undie run is a 1 mile fun run and after party raises funds for research on NF (Neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  Wearing only undies is not mandatory so slap on some warm gear if you aren’t quite ready to bare all for the crowd yet.

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2. Barre+Bubbles+Beautycounter @ Dailey Method Bucktown

Focus on self love with natural beauty care, barre and bubbles.  Take a Saturday morning barre class, and join Dailey Method for Bubbles + Beautycounter on Saturday, February 13th from 8am-12pm.  Enter raffle to win a fabulous gift basket filled with Beautycounter goodies at the studio.

Bubbles and Beautycounter included for members or with the cost of the class.

3. OPEN HEARTS: BACKBENDS, CHOCOLATE & CHAMPAGNE

February 13, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Yoga Six South Loop
$35 (FREE for members)
Jenna Reddington, Yoga Six Progam Manager and teacher, for a breakdown of back bends including  optimal alignment, familiar postures and deeper variations.  Kick back after savasana with champagne and chocolate, perfect for Valentine’s day.

4. From Exhale, With Love

Exhale is rolling out the romantic red carpet with Valentine’s Day themed activities.  Enjoy Chill Yoga with your boo, snap up some mini-manicures, work on your core with Core Fusion Extreme class and get stylish with Trunk Club.  All activities are open to the public and first-come, first-serve.

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5. Galentine’s Day

 Ready to paint the town PINK? 

Stylisted & Bright Pink pair up on Saturday, February 13th at Siena Tavern for charity and cheer.  From 11am – 1pm, head to Siena Tavern and indulge in mimosas and brunch bites.  You and your Galentine will be treated by top hair and makeup stylists prep you for any V-day plans.  Proceeds benefit Bright Pink.

Purchase your ticket here!

 

Too expensive?  Walk your 10,000 steps and check out one of Chicago’s prolific museums for free with your V-Date.

Free Museum Dates!

So what are you planning on doing this weekend to get fit?!

Halos Mandarins Giveaway

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Why HALOOOOOO there!  We love giving away love to our readers but even better is a giveaway with pocket sized healthy treats, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  So have you ever tried Wonderful Halos mandarins?  At 50 calories each, these little orange fruits pack a punch of vitamin C without the seeds. We were given a bag to try but we’ve been buying these bebes in bulk since winter citrus became the rage again (or in season as the laymen say).  You can just throw them in your lunch bag, peel them without ruining your manicure, and with minimal desk mess.

But let’s veer off the beaten grove path.  You can also cook some sunny recipes with Halos to brighten up your day.

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One gloomy Sunday, we went bananas for mandarins with our brunch.

Baked Orange French Toast from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

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We kept close to the recipe but shaved off the zest of a Halos mandarin and subbed cinnamon for nutmeg.  Make sure you butter the pan or use PAM spray as our forgetfully blissful selves missed this step and our french toast had separation anxiety from the baking pan.  Taste overrides appearance, however, and this orangey french toast didn’t disappoint.  We tossed some mandarin pieces on top with a drizzle of pure maple syrup for pure deliciousness.

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Blueberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins from Damn Delicious

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This tasty and healthy recipe from home cook and blogger, Chungah An, features greek yogurt, fresh blueberries and orange zest.  These little muffins were simple to make, moist, fluffy and fruity!

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Looking for more Wonderful mandarin Halos ideas?  Wonderful Halos has a cool creative blog with more than just recipes.  Just in time for Valentine’s day, you can find sweet crafts and snacks to delight kids and adults alike.

Orange you glad we shared these recipes (hehehehe)?  Now for the giveaway details so you can make your own holiday halo-ful:

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Your Wonderful Halos Gift Basket giveaway includes a juicy bunch of Wonderful Halos mandarins,a Wonderful Halos branded lunch box, backpack, water bottle, chapstick (mandarin flavored), sunglasses and stress ball shaped like a mandarin.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway and happy halo-ing!

Bar Method Challenge Check In

We are 3 weeks in to the #MeInspiresWeChallenge at Bar Method and wanted to give our readers a quick and sweaty pulse point as to how we are holding up with our shakey legs!

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Practice makes Progress

Monica’s thoughts: I’ve done Bar Method in the past but this time seems different.  Bar Method really pushes pass my limit to where my muscles start quivering which doesn’t happen in other workouts.
The first day I was doing well but I didn’t pushed myself.  I just stayed within my normal range of movement while doing thigh and seat work so I didn’t feel sore next day.  The teachers fixed my posture and urged me to dip my thighs and seat lower to the ground and, BLAMO, tiny movements make quakes in my muscles.
It is immensely helpful to get tips from the instructors for correct posture and where to feel each exercise.  As I am deaf, I definitely need the hands on adjustments.
Now, halfway through, after an average of 2-3 workouts (first week I did 5) and I do now notice results in the tone of my body from impact in this barre technique.  I still have quite a while to go, however and probably need to do average 4 -5 workouts to see greater results as is recommended by Bar Method.

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Compliments, Compliments:

Kate’s thoughts: Ok so self love is one thing we got going.  I’ve been flexing around the house and eyeing the small formation of an actual tricep hiding underneath the granny arms.  I noticed suddenly how Monica was looking svelte and toned, like who is this strong chick!?

And the adoration of others….I also received a few “Did you lose weight?” comments although, no no, I have not. Muscle, my friends, all muscle.  The number on the scale doesn’t always demonstrate the health or strength of your body.

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Have we inspired you yet?  There’s still time to join us for the #MeInspiresWe campaign and get 5 weeks of the Bar Method for the price of 4.  Come get sculpted and shakey with us!