Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Two food posts in a row! I'm on a roll! Ha. So today I'm showing and telling you about a recipe that has been THE most popular recipe in my house for quite some time now. I make variations of this salad almost every Sunday to eat for lunch or dinner the following week, so it's about time I tell you about it! I always layer this salad in a bowl and this particular quinoa salad is by far my favorite "bowl" - especially for lunch since it's so portable. I usually start my bowls with quinoa, but sometimes I use brown rice. Neither of those have much flavor, so I like to layer it with massaged kale. Raw kale is really bitter, but when you massage it with a good vinaigrette, all of the bitterness goes away and you are left with a super flavorful tender green and a great dressing for the salad. I promise it's easy to make, too! I top the quinoa and kale with cinnamon-seasoned roasted sweet potatoes (my favorite), roasted butternut squash, and/or black beans. Then I top off the salad with raw walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and avocado. I know that's a lot, but it all goes so well together. It's just one big bowl of amazing flavor - and protein, fiber, and vitamins I might add - that leaves you feeling totally full and satisfied. Can't beat that... :)

Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home
Massaged Kale & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad via Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:

Quinoa (see recipe below)
Massaged kale (see recipe below)
Roasted sweet potatoes (see recipe below)
Walnuts or your favorite nut
Feta cheese
Dried cranberries

Quinoa (makes about 4 cups) - This is the BEST way to make it (via Goop)!
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
Pinch of sea salt (I use Malden salt)

1. Add the quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it for about a minute. Add the quinoa, water, and salt to a medium pot that is set over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 12-13 minutes, or until the water has completely evaporated.

2. Turn off the heat. Remove the lid to the pot and place a dry paper towel over the pot. Cover (i.e. place the lid over the paper towel) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa lightly with a fork. The paper towel method makes the texture of the quinoa really tender and moist. Don't skip that part! 

Massaged Kale
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups kale, finely chopped (both lacinato and curly kale work here)

1. Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and set aside. Add the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are completely combined. 

2. Pour a little over half of the dressing over the kale and massage the kale until it has wilted. To massage the kale, simply grab a handful of the kale in one hand and squeeze and move it around in your hand. Keep doing this until all of the kale has wilted. Use the remaining dressing for the salad if desired.

3. Place the bowl of kale in the refrigerator and let it marinate for about 15 minutes or so. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed 
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add all of the ingredients to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or to a 10in cast iron skillet (my preferred method). I love the crust that the iron skillet creates on the sweet potatoes! Toss the sweet potatoes around to make sure everything is evenly coated. 

2. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. If you use a sheet pan, toss them around after about 15 minutes for even cooking. If using a cast iron skillet, I toss them around a few times to make sure they don't cook too fast on one side. 

To make the salad, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss! Enjoy!

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While I'm not yet officially declaring myself a future vegetarian or vegan, I am presently working really hard on reducing my meat intake and increasing my vegetable intake. We will see where things go, but for now things are going quite well!  I think it's going well because I've been able to find so many really easy and great vegetarian/vegan recipes where the flavor totally compensates for the lack of meat. I recently found this butternut squash chili recipe via Love & Lemons (such a fave blog) and it is now probably my favorite chili recipe - meat recipes included. It's just that good... The flavors of this soup are absolutely amazing! It's not cooked for hours (and doesn't need to be), so you can taste the freshness of every single thing in the soup. The flavors are highlighted even more by a blast of lime juice that is added in at the end, which takes the soup to another level. I felt totally full after eating a serving and didn't miss the meat at all. I highly recommend it!

Here is what you need and what to do (serves 4):

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium or large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, cubed into about 1 inch cubes
1 poblano pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I used these to add a little more spice)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup frozen corn (non-GMO is best, doesn't have to be thawed)
1 14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups good-quality vegetable stock
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime (This ingredient is so important! Fresh is best here!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until they are soft and translucent - 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, poblano pepper, butternut squash, a dash more of salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until those vegetables are slightly soft - about 15 minutes or so.

2. Add the chili powder, chipotle powder, and tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute. Add the apple cider vinegar, beans, corn, and 3 cups of the vegetable stock. Simmer and cook until the butternut squash is tender - about 20-25 minutes. THEN- my favorite part - squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime. Stir and then taste. Add the juice of the other half of the lime if you want to elevate the flavor even more. Just 1/2 the lime worked for me. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and add more broth if it's too thick...

That's it! Serve with grated fresh sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and/or a side of your favorite tortilla chips!


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{A big new bunch of mums on my patio... Lets all ban together and pray I can keep them alive!}

Hi there! How was your weekend? Things have been "eventful" (I'm working on not using the word "busy" all the time) lately. Kitchen reno plans (why are things SO dang expensive??), house management, work, friends, working on my Halloween costume (the first time I'll wear one in YEARS), and ridiculously enjoying these crisp fall days are pretty much whats been up as of late. These photos show ya a few more random things and moments from the last few weeks. I hope you have a good week!! 

{A favorite classic fall combo - all found on sale at the Gap! You know I LOVE a good quality trench coat and this one is GOOD (may or may not already be sold out - see the longer version here)! The striped tee is super reasonable in price, has a great shape, and is so soft. Go one size up, though.

{Me practicing for my holiday card photo shoot, which happened yesterday and it turned out so good! Can't wait to show you... Yes I will be that girl who features just her cat on her holiday card this year. #sorrybutnotsorry }

{I shot my first baby shower a few weeks ago and this was my favorite photo. This was my friend's grandmother's first time seeing her at the shower. Seeing her grandmother's happiness for her was priceless... }

{I'm currently reading "Better," by Amy Robach. She's the Good Morning America anchor who had a mammogram on live TV - later to find out that she actually had breast cancer. This is quite honestly not my kind of book, but I was so drawn to her rawness and honesty about the cancer, her family, and her work in the sample of the book that I ended up downloading the whole thing. I'm so glad I did. Cancer is a beast that effects so much more than just the body and her book really deals with that. It's quite fitting for this month and I'm glad to be reading it...}

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Two Natural Beauty Products That Work | via Savor Home
So lately I've been on a huge mission to sort of elevate my health to another level. I'm not sick or anything (thankfully), but I just want to focus more on treating my body the best way I possibly can. For me, that means paying more attention to not only what goes in my body, but what I put on my body. I've slowly been getting rid of toxic beauty products and replacing them with products made mostly of natural ingredients. Replacing my body wash and body moisturizer (I use a little of this mixed with organic coconut oil) were my first big steps, and I've now replaced my deodorant and facial cleanser. So excited! Here are the details... 

Two Natural Beauty Products That Work | via Savor Home
Schmidt's Natural Deodorant: I have tried TONS of different natural deodorants. I have even confessed to finding the perfect one in this post. Well it completely stopped working about a month after that post. After that I realized I needed to rethink my expectations of a natural deodorant. My regular deodorant was loaded with a super high percentage of aluminum. While it worked most of the time, it didn't work ALL the time, which I think relates more to my body than the deodorant. So why should I expect anything different from a natural deodorant?? So my new goal was to find a natural deodorant that worked the same amout of time and in the same way as my old deodorant. And I think I found one... I heard about Schmidt's deodorant while listening to The Food Heals Podcast and decided to give it a try. I have to say that it has been working quite well! It's aluminum, paraben, and phthalate free. While I still do perspire when I'm nervous or when I get super hot (as I did with my old deodorant), there is no odor at all when I do perspire. If I'm not nervous or really hot (how I am most of the time), there is no perspiration at all! It does not irritate my skin and it smells really good (Bergomot + Lime is my favorite of the scents offered). It has a thick clay-like consistency, so it's not as easy to put on as a stick deodorant, but you get the hang of it once you use it a few times. I've been using this for about two months now, so I'm crossing my fingers that it keeps working!! 

Two Natural Beauty Products That Work | via Savor Home
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser: I mentioned here that my face does not take too well to new products. At all. But I have really been on a mission to find a reasonably priced mostly natural facial cleanser that works and I FINALLY found one!! I have been using Neutrogena's Oil Free Cream Cleanser for the past 18 years (you read that right)! It obviously worked well, but it's full of chemicals. I tried several different types of natural products (expensive and not expensive) only to land right back at Neutrogena. They recently came out with a natural Purifying Cream cleanser that my face has actually accepted! That tube you see there in the photo is my second tube, which means things are working out! It's 98% natural and free of the really bad stuff like sulfates, parabens, petroleum, and phthalates. The cleanser has done for me exactly what it says it does on the tube. I've been using it twice a day for over a month and the uneven spots on my face (which I've always had) have disappeared. My skin feels clean, but not completely stripped after each use. I've had no breakouts and my skin also feels much softer! It works great with my Clarisonic, which I use once or twice a week. I also use the pore scrub once a week and it's super gentle just like the cleanser. They both smell great- just like the night cream that I've been using for a while. They range from $7 - $9 AND you can find both of these products at Target, most drugstores, and on Amazon!

Here are a few more of my favorite natural beauty and health products ---> Skin | Migraines | Home | Hair


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L.A Kitchen by Stefani Stein | Tessa Neustadt Photography
So I made a big decision last week and that decision is to move forward with a facelift of my current kitchen. I've went back and forth about this project for a while and I'm getting serious about it now. By "facelift" I mean update what I already have instead of gutting the whole thing and starting over (which is what I really wish I could do!). But it makes sense given my current circumstances and budget to keep the big things like the existing cabinets (or at least the shells), hardwood floors, and maybe the countertops, and update small things like the backsplash, some of the appliances, the color of the current cabinets, hardware, and the lighting. This kitchen designed by Stefani Stein has given me so many great ideas. Yes, it is another white kitchen, but I think it's the details in this kitchen that make it great. I love the gold fixtures, the vintage-looking lighting over the sink, the rugs, the mixture of countertop materials, and the fully-tiled hood. Subway tile is everywhere these days, so I think now it's all about the type and size of the subway tile and how it is used in the space. I love how it is used here. My dining area, which is right off of my kitchen, will also be getting a bit of a facelift with nice bright paint, a new table with simple seating, and new lighting. Those three things are really all you need to at least get started - and this dining space proves that. Interviews with designers and contractors have been scheduled for the end of the month! Can't wait! You can see my personal collection of inspiration for the space here... :)

L.A Kitchen by Stefani Stein | Tessa Neustadt Photography
L.A Kitchen by Stefani Stein | Tessa Neustadt Photography
L.A Kitchen by Stefani Stein | Tessa Neustadt Photography
L.A Kitchen by Stefani Stein | Tessa Neustadt Photography
L.A Kitchen by Stefani Stein | Tessa Neustadt Photography

Images by Tessa Neustadt via Miss Moss
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5 Inspiring Podcasts Worth Listening To via Savor Home

So I remember back in the day when my dad would take my brother and I to school in the mornings and often take us to softball and baseball practice in the evenings. One thing I remember the most about those car rides was NPR blasting from the radio as we rode along. I remember asking myself WHY would someone want to listen to boring talk radio rather than listening to the latest and greatest music?? I didn't get it. But now I do. Lately I've had this huge yearn to learn new things (and the time to do so) and podcasts for me have been one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways for me to learn. I listen to them while I'm driving, while I'm working, and sometimes while I'm cooking. I honestly haven't listened to music consistently in the car for the last two months- which for me is CRAZY because I love music. I have learned so many fascinating new things from podcasts, so I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you today...

TOPICS: The power of nutrition, natural food, finding your passion, plant-based diets, natural therapies for healing, natural beauty products
REVIEW: So I have had two cancer scares in the past three years- yeah. Plus I still have migraines, yet not nearly has often as I've had them in the past. So lately I've been on the huge quest to learn more about how natural food effects and heals the body. This podcast is an EXCELLENT resource for that and it has really inspired me to start thinking about trying a plant-based diet. The moderators (who I love) candidly share their personal experiences with food that clearly prove that good food can heal and bad food can do a great deal of harm. They also interview several people who share their inspiring experiences with natural foods, natural beauty products and therapies, and life. I absolutely love it.

TOPICS: Life, food, adulthood, family, career - pretty much anything...
REVIEW: Real Simple is one of my favorite magazines and I love their podcast just as much. The various editors of the magazine post various podcasts about very specific things that you either already know about or want/need to know more about.

TOPICS: Fashion
REVIEW: I love fashion, so learning more about it is always a joy to me. This is a fairly new podcast that is hosted by Andre Leon Talley - of course. The first podcast is an interview with Anna Wintour about the most recent September issue of Vogue - how topics are chosen, how and why certain people are featured in that particular issue, and the history behind the issue.

TOPICS: Health, fitness, and healing with food and natural therapy
REVIEW: Like I said - I've been sort of obsessed lately with how food heals and this is another great podcast that proves that food can do just that. Chris is a guy who beat stage IIIC colon cancer with natural food and therapy as opposed to chemotherapy. His story is amazing along with the stories of the people he interviews who have had very similar experiences.

TOPICS: Value-based intentions, relationships, career, entrepreneurship
REVIEW: This podcast was the very first podcast I ever listened to. Jess Lively is an inspiring entrepreneur who interviews other entrepreneurs and bloggers who share their journey, experiences, and tips on how to live life to the best of your ability. If you have a passion for something and need that extra push to bring that passion to fruition, then this podcast will certainly help!

TOPICS: Food, everyday cooking tips
REVIEW: I've watched America's Test Kitchen on PBS for years, so I was thrilled when I found their podcast. I obviously love cooking and this is a great good resource for cooking tips. They also interview celebrity chefs and cooks who share their tips and life experiences. Episode 429 with Emerill Lagasse, Episode 406 with Rachel Ray, and Episode 402 with Ina Garden are just a few of my faves...

Other podcasts I love: Well / Aware | Stuff You Should Know | Ted Talks | Grammar Girl | One Part Podcast | Joyce Meyer Ministries

All of these are available on iTunes!

Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites?

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