Wellness: A Foodie Gift Guide

While I’m not a huge new years resolution girl, I do like to make yearly goals or a small list of things I hope to accomplish or practice more frequently in the new year. I have spoken with many people who are making resolutions similar to this. They want to work on improving different areas of their personal wellness in 2019, specifically in the area of cooking, food and nutrition. With that in mind, I decided to focus this post specifically on “foodie finds”. These are kitchen and cooking tools that I love or think would be great for you or the friend or family member wanting to get back in the kitchen or maybe wanting to get in the kitchen for the first time (it’s never too late to start!!) this coming year. Whether you want to start cooking more for yourself or for your family, here are some of my favorite tools and resources to simplify the process so that you can be one step closer to making those food and nutrition goals a regular reality this year!



    I love my food processor! I have a mini one and a regular size one. It makes making sauces and marinades and dressings so much simpler! I can cook a plain piece of meat but then throw five ingredients in my food processor for a sauce and it makes the meal feel gourmet! I also learned this year that you can throw chunks of yummy Parmesan in your food processor for super quick grating (thank you, Ina Garten)!

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I once worked with a client and it wasn’t until our third session that I realized he didn’t like vegetables simply due to the lack of good equipment. Cutting vegetables was not a pleasant process. However, as soon as he purchased a good set of knives and a few other tools, he came back eating a variety of veggies cooked all different ways. The knives I like and have in my kitchen are Wusthof knives. Dad got Kyle and I this set for Christmas right before we got married and we love them!



The last couple of months I have been on the hunt for baking sheets that will not warp in a high heat oven (you know they are warped because you will hear a loud “POP"!” in your oven and you will see one side slanting up and your cookies or veggies all over to one side of the pan. You don’t want this to happen because it creates uneven cooking! Last month I ordered these baking sheets by Nordic Ware and they have been excellent! I highly recommend them. Get a small, medium and large size.

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Gotta have some measuring cups (1) when you’re starting out and (2) if you’re baking. After you’ve been cooking for a while you can start to eye stuff. However, baking is exact and you’ve gotta measure! I like the stackable ones or ones that lay flat like these so they don’t clutter your drawers.

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Good herbs and spices make everything better! Consider making a little spice starter kit to kick off the year of cooking. Some of my most used spices include: Italian Seasoning, Herbs de Provence, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, chili powder, and dried thyme, rosemary, oregano and dill. To save a little money, buy a spice rack like this one with the empty containers that you can label yourself. Then go to the bulk spice aisle of your grocery store (like Central Market or Sprouts) and select the spices that you want. You’ll pay for the spices by weight here and it’s typically so much cheaper than if you buy the pre-bottle spices. I also love the idea of taking these spice jars, labeling the tops and having a draw dedicated to spices (it’s saves counter space!). Unfortunately, we don’t have a draw to spare right now, ha, but it’s something to aspire to!



Gotta have olive oil! It’s perfect for low-heat cooking, dressings, sauces, and a dip for bread at the dinner table. You must have regular but I also love the infused olive oils from Olivier’s & Co. They have one infused with Basil that is a favorite of mine!



Just like the olive oil, I think an aged balsamic vinegar is also a must. It’s perfect for dressings and dipping but also makes excellent balsamic reductions over the skillet. Olivers and Co makes a fantastic one!



A heat-proof pot like this is excellent. Cook stews, soups, meat over the skillet and then throw it in the oven to finish cooking. An excellent gift!



Check this previous post for some of my favorite cookbooks! They vary in levels of difficulty and could be perfect for the beginner to the more advanced home chef.


Like these super cute aprons and oven mitts from Antrhopologie for her


Or this fun all-in-one cooking tool for him…

I hope this helps with some of your last-minute gift and stocking-stuffer ideas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Turkey Time Takeaways: What a Day of Thanksgiving Can Teach Us


I see so many people approach Thanksgiving with hesitation and some dread due to all of the hearty and tempting foods that await them, threatening to derail them from their hard-earned fitness and nutrition routine.

But what if Thanksgiving isn't actually this daunting temptation that we have built it up to be?  What if it is actually a day that sets a precedent for what all of our days and weeks should look like?  This week I want to take a moment to look at Thanksgiving through a bit of a different lens.  Looking at the day in its entirety vs. only a day of food and eating.  Looking at the big picture, we can see that Thanksgiving is a day of thanks, a day of activity, a day of, yes, carbs, but also a day of protein, a day of cooking in the home, and a day or evening of gathering together around the table.  To me, this is not a day to dread but a day to embrace and to model all other days that follow.  As we enter into our Thanksgiving celebrations, let's stop and think about how the day and the days that follow can incorporate the following core traditions of this fun, foodie, family-centered day.

Give Thanks:  Remember each day to be thankful for what God has blessed us with regardless of the rough patches we may have encountered .  While we certainly have struggles and disappointments, God holds us up in miraculous ways if our eyes are open to see it.

Play & Exercise:  Each day, try to get out and get moving.  Maybe it's a run like your Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot.  Maybe it's throwing the football or baseball with your friends or family.  Maybe it's just a lunchtime walk with a friend / classmate / coworker.  Whatever it may be, keep the heart rate up, keep it fun, and keep it consistent.


Get Cooking:  Although making its way back into the spotlight, cooking, I think, has become a lost art.  However, cooking can help us learn about our food, it can help us appreciate what we are eating, and it can be much healthier (and often tastier) than always eating out!

Eat the Carbs & the Protein:  Most people equate Thanksgiving to carbs... casserole upon casserole, rolls, potatoes, pies, and then some protein mixed in.  Of course, we don't want to fill each day with casseroles and pie, but we also don't want to shun carbs all together and we certainly want to keep our protein intake steady.  Carbs are the first source of fuel for our brains and muscles.  Carbs fuel the muscles for workouts and replenish depleted stores after an intense workout.  Protein helps to repair any muscle fibers torn during the workout or helps heal the body after sickness or injury.  These two go hand-in-hand and should be included daily in varying amounts depending on the individual.


Gather:  Gathering around the table is becoming another antiquated tradition, it seems.  However, this is one of my favorite parts about mealtime and food in general.  Eating allows us, whether "us" is family, friends or coworkers, to come together.  It allows us to talk about our day and it makes room for topics that may not have come up otherwise.  Some of my best friendships have started at the table and continue to be nurtured at tables around the country.  Let's continue to gather weekly and enjoy these moments with friends and family that encourage conversation and bring us closer.

I hope we can all take these basics of Thanksgiving and let them infiltrate the rest of the days, weeks, and months to come.  I hope we can all take the time to gather with friends, find a little time to make our own balanced meals, and have fun with exercise, always giving thanks along the way.

Happy Fueling!