Friday, December 15, 2017

Last-Minute Gift Guide for Health Nuts

Time is running out – just 10 days until Christmas! If you’re a last-minute shopper or just want to find the perfect gift, look no further. I’ve rounded up a number of gifts that you can purchase today that will arrive just in time for the big day. Most of them are intended for the “health nut” on your list – including men, women, and children (in the sense that their parents might be health nuts) – but many of them will be well received by just about anyone of your holiday list!

Because Your Mommy Does CrossFit – This book in epic. Every CrossFit mom needs a copy!

Designed to Fit Nutrition Custom Meal Plan – Give the gift of health! If there’s something on your shopping list who has expressed getting healthy in 2018, a custom meal plan is the perfect gift. Our gift cards are 10% off right now with code HOLIDAY10.

Citrus Mimosas Hand Duo – Two gentle formulas designed to cleanse, hydrate and soften hands. Both the Hand Wash and Hand Cream are packed with nourishing ingredients including organic aloe and chamomile and leave a subtle, refreshing citrus scent. Set comes packaged in red gift box with crinkle paper. Full-sized products.

Cozy Athleisure from Nike – If anything from my post from yesterday caught your eye, here’s a little incentive from Nike! Take $20 off $100 or more with code HOLIDAY20! There’s also FREE holiday shipping! Some exclusions may apply. Ends 12/17, so be sure to hop on it!

Stitch Fix gift card – Stitch Fix is great for both women and men – if they like fashion (like Mal) or need a little help (like me).

Welcome Baby Gift Set – Everything you need for the ultimate baby-shower gift set, packaged in a deluxe box. Gentle All-Over Wash cleanses body and hair with a tear-free formula, Soothing Oil absorbs easily and nourishes skin, and Daily Protective Balm acts as a layer of protection for sensitive, delicate skin.

Kettlebell Mug – How adorable is this mug!? Just about any coffee lover/gym fan would love it! 🙂

Corkcicle Canteen Classic Collection-Water Bottle – I love this water bottle so much! Isn’t it pretty? It definitely encourages me to drink up!

SFH Protein Powder – The best protein powder ever made! Non-GMO, nothing artificial, 100% grass-fed whey, and doesn’t upset my stomach. I love the Churro and vanilla and use them just about every day!

Corkcicle Gloss 16oz Tumbler – You guys probably recognize this tumbler from a number of my blog posts. It’s my go-to mug for my morning iced coffee and afternoon tea. It’s my favorite, and I bet someone on your holiday list will love it, too!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

The holidays are definitely my favorite time of the year and just about any party I go to serves up cocktail meatballs.  Why??  Well they’re always such a crowdpleaser, not only because they’re tasty, but they’re super easy to eat while mingling with friends and walking around.  I’m all about devouring some holiday appetizers and meatballs are hands down the BEST!

Most cocktail meatball recipes have the same variation – a jar of jelly and some chili sauce.  Well I wanted to mix things up a bit and make a sauce that was delicious, but was also on the cleaner side so I used fresh cranberries, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little honey and, yes, chili sauce.  I mean it is sort of a MUST right?  Thankfully my local Safeway had everything I needed to throw these yummy bite-sized apps together in no time!

When shopping for quality organic products, it can usually get pretty expensive which is why I always do my shopping at Safeway.  Safeway has everything I need whether I’m running out for just a few items or need to do a large grocery haul and their O Organics® and Open Nature® lines make it super EASY for anyone to purchase great-tasting organic food at affordable prices!  I love that my local Safeway is now right down the road from my house and their fresh produce is always so vibrant and fully stocked.

O Organics and Open Nature products are available in my area exclusively at Safeway.  Don’t have a Safeway in your area?  That’s okay because you can find these products at all Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Express, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Carrs/Safeway.

Don’t forget Safeway also has a Just for U® savings tool which gives you tons of digital coupons and savings, allows you to create your own personal shopping list which has been super helpful to me when doing a large grocery haul, and it also lets you know which items are on sale each week!

To make these meatballs, I used Safeway’s Open Nature grass-fed beef which is what I always use because it’s free of antibiotics or added hormones as well as Open Nature’s cage free eggs.  I also threw in some finely chopped onion, because I mean I love onions in my meatballs, some fresh garlic, a little parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and a little tomato paste.  If you don’t have tomato paste on hand you can just use ketchup!  These meatballs are literally so easy to make too, you simply just mix everything together and form little 1-inch balls.  You should come out with roughly 28 to 30 meatballs once you’re done.

I decided to bake these since I guess I’m just an instant gratification sort of person and didn’t feel like waiting for them to be done in the slow cooker, but you could easily throw these into your crock pot too for convenience!  This is helpful, especially for parties, when you need time to prep other food.  Just set it and forget it!  I would suggest still baking the meatballs (or searing them in a pan) for a bit just to seal in those flavors then cooking them the rest of the way in the crock pot for about 2 hours on low.  Either way is easy and just as delicious!

The sauce, OH this sauce.  It’s finger licking good!  Literally.  I always make this sauce while the meatballs are baking then just toss everything together at the end.  As I said before, I used fresh cranberries, along with some orange juice, a little orange zest, some honey and chili sauce.  I also threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper because I wanted a sweet and spicy combo, but you can leave this ingredient out if you don’t like a lot of spice.  Top with a little chopped parsley and garnish with some rosemary for a festive look and you’ve got yourself quite the crowd pleasing dish on your hands!  I would just go ahead and double this recipe because these meatballs are sure to go fast.

Meatballs are such a staple recipe to have on hand because not only do they make great party appetizers, but this basic recipe is good for just about any meal or any type of sauce!  I’ve used this meatball recipe in Italian dishes with tomato sauce and I’ve also used it with my honey sriracha sauce for meal prep.  You can use beef or turkey in this recipe too, either one will turn out delicious!

So whether you’re getting together for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, make sure to include these delicious Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs at your next holiday gathering because I can guarantee you they’ll be a huge hit!  A staple meatball recipe is a MUST-have and these are definitely a winner!

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs
Serves: 6 Servings
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
For the cranberry sauce:
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, pepper and parsley until well combined. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls (you'll make roughly 30 balls) and place spaced apart on prepared baking sheets lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. While the meatballs are baking, whisk together orange juice and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey dissolves. Add cranberries and cook for about 10 minutes, until the berries start to pop, then reduce heat and add chili sauce, orange zest and cayenne pepper, cooking an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Feel free to mash the cranberries with the back of a wooden spoon to achieve a jam-like consistency and add ¼ cup of water if you like a thinner sauce.
  5. Remove cranberry sauce from heat and season with salt and pepper as needed. Toss sauce with baked meatballs, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!
Nutritional Information
Serving Size: 5 meatballs • Calories: 282 • Fat: 8.7 g • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g • Carbs: 27.5 g • Fiber: 1.9 g • Protein: 20.1 g • Sugars: 18.2 g • WW Points+: 7 • Smart Points: 10

If you want to learn more about the O Organics and Open Nature lines along with meal prep tips and recipe ideas, make sure to follow Safeway on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram or head to your local Safeway grocery store and stock up on your favorite products! 

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Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness & Athleisure Lovers

I’ve patterned with Nike to bring you this holiday gift guide. As always, thank you for supporting CNC! 

As you guys know, I’m a huge fan of online shopping, especially when it comes to the holidays. Dealing with the craziness of shopping in-store is just not my cup of tea, so I put together a little gift guide for fitness and athleisure lovers – a subject that I know quite well – that you can use to shop right from the coziness of your living room. Most of these items are intended for health and fitness-enthusiasts, but a number of them would be enjoyed by just about anyone who loves a casual, but fashionable style. I hope this round-up makes your holiday shopping a piece of cake!

1. Nike Metcon 3 Women’s Training Shoe – These babies are a new favorite for sure! I’ve loved Nanos for as long as I can remember, but, recently, the Nike Metcons have become super popular at my CrossFit gym, so I was curious to see what they’re all about. They’re quite similar to the Reebok Grace, but the soles are a bit more firm, so they offer a bit more stability for weight lifting. The soles are flexible enough for running workouts though! The Metcons are definitely a nice balance between the two. Guy CrossFitter in your life? Check out the Nike Metcon 3 Men’s Training Shoe. Mal has worn them for years and loves them!

2. Nike Sculpt Lux Women’s Training Tights – The most important thing about these tights: They come in short sizes! Hooray! Just about all of my leggings are capris because the full length ones are always too long for me. I love that these ones come in different lengths. The Nike Sculpt Lux Women’s Training Tights feature sweat-wicking, compressive fabric to help you feel dry, comfortable and supported. Basically, they’re cute and functional. Big fan! The Nike Power Hyper Women’s Training Tights also come in short sizes.

3Nike Pro HyperWarm Women’s Long Sleeve Training Top – How awesome is this training top? I love the look, and it comes in blue and pink too. It is made with stretchy fabric that holds in heat to help keep you warm before a winter workout.

4Nike Sportswear Women’s Hoodie (I’m also wearing it above) – I haven’t taken off this hoodie since I got it. It goes everywhere with me – to the gym, running errands, and just lounging around the house. It’s super cozy, but not too casual that you can’t sport it out in public or hanging out with friends. It also comes in dark gray, and the Women’s Knit Jacket is the full zip version of this hoodie and super cute too!

5. Nike Therma Men’s Training Jacket – Early Christmas present for Mal! He loves this jacket and wears it all the time, especially to and from the gym. It’s the perfect warm-up jacket as well as a quick something to throw on after a workout.

Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece Jogger Men’s Pants (pictured above and below) – Mal owns these joggers and wears them all the time. They’re great for traveling to and from the gym as well as laid-back weekend activities. They feature multiple pockets and breathable, lightweight fabric.

6. The Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece Windrunner Men’s Full-Zip Hoodie is redesigned for cooler weather with smooth, engineered fleece that offers lightweight warmth. Bonded seams lend a modern update to the classic chevron design. The Nike Sportswear Legacy Men’s Full-Zip Hoodie is a close second for awesome guy’s hoodies (and it’s on sale)!

P.S. Still want a few more ideas? Nike has an awesome gift guide with all sorts of great recommendations for men, women, boys, and girls!



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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

24 Days of Togetherness (Days 6-12)

Our holiday adventures continue with day 6-12 of 24 Days of Togetherness!

I seriously can’t believe we are almost halfway to Christmas. I love this time of year so much; I only wish it would last longer. BUT that’s exactly why our family participates in this tradition, so we get to do all of the fun things that go along with the season and not have it fly by and miss out on our favorite activities. That said, here’s our next 24 Days of Togetherness recap!

Day 6: Get a new ornament for the Christmas tree. We’re not surprised that Qman picked Batman! It was actually the last one at Target, so I have a feeling it’s a popular one.

Day 7: Visit Santa Claus! We went to the Christmas Place in Abington again this year. The Santa Claus was really nice and chatted with Quinn for a solid 5 minutes about his Christmas list, which Qman brought with him and then left with Santa. It was so sweet, and Quinn loved his time with Santa.

Day 8: Watch a holiday movie. Quinn picked The Grinch (Jim Carrey version), which, for the record, is the weirdest movie ever. He was initially interested, but we only made it about half way though before we turned it off.

Day 9: Take a family photo.

Day 10: Drink eggnog.

Day 11: Make a holiday craft. We made a paper chain for the Christmas tree.

Day 12: Wear red and green all day. We got into the holiday spirit this morning! 🙂

P.S. Fun contest altert: Enter to win the ULTIMATE Snow Day from Stowe Mountain Lodge! Share Your Snow Day Experience! Post a photo on social media that illustrates your perfect Snow Day, and you’ll be entered to win one of four monthly prizes along with a chance to win the ultimate Grand Prize at the end of the season valued at over $10,000. To enter, tag a friend you would like to spend a snow day with and include the hashtag #SMLSnowDays. Easy as that! More details here:…/…/wyng-snow-days-contest.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Moms’ Staycation at The Langham Hotel (via HotelTonight)

Hi, guys! I hope you had a nice weekend! Mine was a lot of fun and included an overnight “staycation” with some girlfriends in Boston. We’re all moms and don’t getaway for the night all too often, so we took full advantage of our mini vaca! 🙂

I partnered with HotelTonight to reserve our hotel rooms for the night. Never heard of HotelTonight? Well, you are in for a treat. It’s a really cool app. HotelTonight is actually the leading mobile app for hotel bookings last-minute and beyond. If you’ve ever been in position where you need a hotel room ASAP, HotelTonight ensures that there’s always a quality hotel room at the lowest possible rate in 1,700 cities and 35 countries.

HotelTonight is primarily used for hotel stays booked within a week or less, but Boston is one of several markets where there’s a 100-day advance booking window. (Other key cities with this offer include NYC, LA, SF, Miami, Vegas, Paris, London, and more.) We booked our “staycation” about a month ago and the app had tons of rooms at great prices to select from. When hotel partners have unsold rooms, they load them onto the app at low prices, which means big savings for those using the app. We ended up picking The Langham, a 5-star hotel, in the heart of the city. We used a credit from HotelTonight to reserve it and the rate was very affordable, especially for downtown Boston.

Since its launch in 2011, HotelTonight has been downloaded 25 million times and it’s available for FREE on iOS and Android. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet! Download the app here. And if you use my referral code on your first booking through the app, you can save $25! Just use promo code TIHAUPERT.

Once we were all checked in at The Langham, we headed upstairs to our rooms to get settled. The rooms were gorgeous, and we were able to request two double beds in each one.

Cheers to moms’ night out!

Once we were ready for our evening out, we headed downstairs to BOND, a swanky restaurant and lounge at the hotel, for a cocktail.

After that, we all hopped in an Uber to dinner.

Yay, snow!

We went to dinner at Yvonne’s, which we had all heard great things about – and it did not disappoint!

We shared a bunch of small plates for dinner – chicken quinoa meatballs, flatbread pizza, hummus, and more. Everything was delicious!

The ladies!

After dinner, we debated going out and dancing somewhere, but then someone suggested dessert and a nightcap back at the hotel, which sounded a lot more appealing. Ha! Apparently, us moms aren’t that crazy after all! 🙂

We ended up staying up pretty late, chatting and laughing, before finally hitting the hay close to midnight. (I know, we are such party animals.)

The next morning, Marisa and I did a quickie workout in the hotel gym. (The other gals were at the hotel spa.)

Our workout was literally 15 minutes, and we both thought we were going to die, so we called it quits and went to find coffee and donuts instead.

Thankfully, Kane’s was a quick walk from the hotel.

Best. Decision. Ever.

With donuts in hand, Marisa and I headed back to the hotel. Then, it was our turn for the spa! We both got massages, and they were incredible. It was such a wonderful way to end a girls’ getaway!

Questions of the Day

Girls’ night: Would you rather go out dancing or enjoy some girl talk and dessert instead?

Have you ever used HotelTonight? If not, how do you typically book hotel rooms?

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