Food

Healthy snack hacks when you're stuck at work

There are few things in this world I love more than cooking, but when you're stuck at the office, whipping up a gourmet feast isn't always an option.  Since we're all looking to start off with a fresh slate in the new year, I wanted to share some of my favorite healthy "snack hacks" for the workplace.  With a few of these options in the break room fridge or your desk drawer, you may have an easier time avoiding the local fast food joint.

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Butternut Squash- You can get it pre-cut and bagged at most grocery stores these days.  Throw some cubes in a bowl, or even a coffee mug, and pop plastic wrap or a plate on top.  Microwave for about 4 minutes and sprinkle with a salt and pepper.  It's healthy, filling and will make your nutritionist proud!

Pre-cut Fruit- There's nothing tastier than cold watermelon in the summer heat.  Whether it's summer, winter or fall, I love to stock up on pre-cut fruit for the office.  You'll pay a premium for the convenience, but shop around and it doesn't have to be outrageous.

Jimmy Dean Delights turkey sausage, egg white and cheese English muffin- I've tried a few different breakfast sandwiches and this is my favorite.  It's only 150 calories, protein rich and super satisfying. The downfall? They are high in sodium.

Trail Mix- This seems like a given, but I can't tell you how many times a bag of nuts or trail mix has saved me on a busy day when I just can't find time to eat.  I always keep some in my drawer.  If you find it hard to stop snacking, stores like Trader Joe's sell smaller pre-portioned packs.

Kicked up Oatmeal- A big container of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats will last a lifetime in your desk drawer and is such a better option than the little packets packed with sugar.  Many stores like Costco sell pre-portioned steel cut oats as well.  I always keep pecans and frozen blueberries on hand to amp up the nutrition.  You can add a drizzle of honey if you like it sweet.

Baby Carrots and Dip- Those little carrots aren't just for kids.  Grab a bag or chop up your own veggies at home and keep them nearby when you're working.  Instead of ranch, grab a container of hummus or make your favorite mayo-based dip with greek yogurt instead.

Something Sweet- We all need to indulge on occasion and there's nothing wrong with keeping dark chocolate at work.  If a little nibble can satisfy your sweet tooth, it may keep you from indulging in that big box of donuts your co-worker brings in.  Just remember, moderation is key!

 

Beau roars along with vintage car-themed birthday

Little kids only turn two once and the theme for Beau's second birthday couldn't have been more obvious. CARS! This toddler is obsessed with anything that goes: cars, trucks, planes, boats, you name it.

It's been months since the bash, but it was such a fun theme, I still wanted to share!  For decor, I gathered a number of vintage decorations and toys from around the house.  The next time you have a party, I highly encourage you look around and see what useable stuff you already own. It'll be classier than anything from the party store and the best part... it's free!  

I blew up a couple photos of Beau in his favorite cars and hung them on the wall.  I also created cute signs with wooden placards from the craft store, stick-on letters, craft paper and photos.

We munched on chocolate checkered flag cake, stoplight brownies, and Cracker Jacks, along with some savory snacks for both kids and adults.

I also spray-painted small cardboard boxes, hot-glued on mason jar lids for wheels and let the kids decorate their own box cars will stickers and markers.  I think the adults had just as much fun as the little ones!

Eat, shop, see: A girls' trip to charming Charleston

There's nothing better than getting my favorite girlfriends together for a reunion and there are few places better to do that than charming Charleston, South Carolina.  It was my first trip to Charleston, yet somehow the city seemed familiar, probably because it's so much like New Orleans.

Our trip was short, but we managed to pack in a lot!

Home base was the incredible French Quarter Inn.  From the glass of champagne upon arrival... to the extensive "pillow menu"... to the evening wine and cheese receptions, it was luxurious from start to finish!

We stuffed our faces at some of Charleston's best restaurants like Husk and FIG.   We watched pelicans nose-dive for fish in the Atlantic and dined at the Obstinate Daughter, which might have the best seaside decor of anyplace I've ever eaten!  We took a carriage ride through the cobblestone streets, eying the multi-million dollar mansions along the Battery.  We shopped along Charleston's glitzy King Street and perused the tourist shops in the historic Charleston City Market.

Most importantly, we laughed, gossiped and caught up on old times.  Here are just a few snapshots from our adventures!

Beau's "Hole in One" Birthday Bash

Beau's "Hole in One" Birthday Bash Every parent has dreams for their child.  Mine involve completely unrealistic expectations of Beau becoming a world-renown professional golfer.  You know, winning the Master's and all.

Okay, so that might not actually happen.  But a mom can dream, right?

So in the spirit of Beau's future on the links, we decked out his first birthday party with all sorts of golf-inspired crafts.  We had fun coming up with golf-themed cuisine including club sandwiches, "chip" shots, Arnold Palmers and John Dalys.

Below, you'll find pictures and instructions for a few of the projects.  I'd say the event was a hole in one!

Pennant Banners:

  1. Cut large triangles out of decorative scrap-booking paper
  2. Cut out letters or buy die-cut letters and glue onto triangles with glue stick
  3. Flip over triangles and fold top down 1/2"
  4. Fold the triangles over a long piece of twine and secure with hot glue
  5. Make sure your words are not backwards!

Golf Buckets:

  1. Put a large wooden dowel in a galvanized bucket
  2. Carefully pour gravel around dowel and fill rough 3/4 of way to top
  3. Cut out messages from decorative scrap-booking paper and glue to wooden skewers
  4. Insert skewers into gravel
  5. Cover the gravel with inexpensive, plastic or used golf balls
  6. Hang pennant banners from dowels (just tie onto top)

Cupcakes:

  1. Bake cupcakes
  2. Use green frosting and decorative tip to make "grass"
  3. Use back end of tip to cut circles from white fondant. (I found an embossed fondant at Walmart that looked just like a golf ball)
  4. To create flag, cut wooden skewer in half
  5. Cut long diamond shapes from scrap-booking paper
  6. Fold diamond in half over top of skewer and secure with glue stick
  7. Decorate grassy cupcake with fondant "golf ball" and flag

Table with Grass and Bows:

  1. Cover table with tablecloth
  2. Using straight edge and box cutter, cut astro-turf roughly 6 inches smaller than tabletop (all the way around)
  3. Tie large bows using matching decorative ribbon
  4. Hot glue golf tees onto front of bows
  5. Safety-pin bows onto tablecloth from under-side
  6. Hang pennant banner from bows, if desired

Glowing with gold: My Thanksgiving table

Thanksgiving Table This year I decided to go golden for my Thanksgiving table!

The centerpiece is comprised of two shimmering leaf garlands from a local decor shop called Gordon's of Metairie.  I placed a small wreath around my glass hurricane and wove burlap ribbon between it all.

Here's a tip: get a thick roll of burlap, ribbon or fabric.  Roughly every two feet, tie a bow, until you have a long garland.  Then, weave that in an out of whatever is on your table.  It adds some great dimension and depth!  The finishing touch for the centerpiece was the addition of some golden pine cones and grapes.

For the table setting, I broke out my Wedgwood 'Golden Bird' china and toned down the formal look with rustic woven chargers and mismatched napkins from Pottery Barn.

The finished table is warm, inviting and ready for a feast!