Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Eat Your Fats {Guest Post @ Kitchen Courage}

I’m taking a break from normal posting today because I wrote a guest post for Beth and because of my response last night! I’ve been reading Beth’s blog for ages and she is so insightful/inspirational/creative/fun/talented. She is at a hooping convention in San Francisco this weekend and she has lots of guests popping in at her blog; make sure to poke around. This post was inspired by Kim ages ago, who asked me about cooking oils in a comment.

My Guest Post: My Favorite Cooking Oils

If you didn’t see it already please read and comment on…

My 2 favorite responses so far are from Sophia and Caronae, who both put the responsibility back on the reader. We’re not stupid you know.

Eden says: How to Be a Yoga Superstar

I have an awesome guest for you today: Eden! She is sarcastic and funny and I laugh every time I read her blog. She’s writing about one of my (many) passions – yoga. I haven’t been in a yoga mood lately, but with these tips I’m sure I’ll get back in the swing of things. Enjoy :)

Eden eating chocolate!

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Hi!

My name is Eden (pronounced “Eh-den”, not Eeee-den”). I’m a yoga instructor and a chef living in Los Angeles. I love that Maggie has embraced yoga so much, but I know a lot of people don’t know how to get on the bandwagon. So I thought I’d share my secrets to become an ultimate yoga superstar! Here are my easy steps: (Note: if you aren’t familiar with my blog, sarcasm and cynicism are my BFF’s so don’t take my advice too literally; I’m not responsible for any head, neck, or genital area injuries!)

Step 1 – Start by seeking out trendy yoga studios in gentrified areas in either LA or NYC (sorry, but you’ll need to move if you are anywhere else. It’s just not going to happen in Iowa or Kansas). This is where all the rich and beautiful yogis are who will become your yoga allies. They are the yogis you must befriend and socialize with as you start your ascent to yoga stardom. Of these, you’ll need to figure out who the power yogis are (look for the ones wearing high-end yoga clothes and sporting a black Manduka yoga mat) and who are new to the game (they are the ones wearing K-Mart crap and practice on pastel colored mats). It is also very important that you figure out who the yoga nut-jobs are (i.e. they’re the ones spouting crackpot yoga theories and think yoga is all spiritual and everything). Unfortunately there are vast amounts of them in the yoga world. Befriend the former, unless one of the latter can get you introduced to one of the former. Remember that the yoga whack-jobs will always lead you astray in your rise to yoga fame.

Step 2 – You will now need to actually learn something about yoga. Have no fear though, as all yoga studios will have books and magazines that you can spy while waiting for a class to begin. No need to invest money for this (in fact, your first few classes at most yoga studios will usually be free or nominal in their quest to ‘hook’ you on yoga). Concentrate on books and articles about Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga in particular. The reason for this will become clear in step 3!

Step 3 – With a bit of yoga knowledge under your belt it is now time to chat up the other yogis around you. Always mention Iyengar or Ashtanga in your conversations with them. Don’t ask me why, just do it! Use a tired tone when doing this to suggest you know all about these styles and have practiced them for much longer than you care to remember. Almost all yogis you encounter can relate to one of these as they are the bases of all the other styles out there. Look for their knowing nods of acceptance.

Important Note: Don’t try and add your own opinion of which style is better at this stage; you’ll only confuse things. The important thing to remember for now is that you are trying to win friends, not influence people.

Step 4 – What if you get bored? I hear this often from virgin yogis, but you know what’s even more boring? Pretending you’re skiing on some machine for an hour at a gym filled with meat-heads and botoxed women with the words “juicy” plastered on their sweats. Yoga classes can be boring, but it’s not the yoga – it’s usually the teacher. They give poor instructions and can be dull and unstimulating. Some people think sex is boring, but they are usually with the wrong partner!

Step 5 – You are now in low yoga star orbit and need to cultivate one additional trait to solidify your yoga image to those around you. Your goal now is to learn to act ‘yogic’ (that dreamy far away look that will give you an air of authenticity as it will show that you have transcended your ties to ordinary daily living). Ideally, you will act this way around yoga students, yoga magazine publishers, and sport clothing manufacturers who you will be vying to get endorsements from (you are trying to get endorsements at this point, aren’t you?). Eat vegan publicly (because devout yogis believe in “Ahimsa”, meaning no harm to humans as well as animals, and I’m guessing especially cows too). Gorge on all the steak and processed twinkies in secret. Be assured that after a while you’ll become so yogic that you’ll forget where or who you are most of the time.

Step 6 – Create your own special “thing”. Be assured that there is always a new yoga style to be invented. As much as yoga people like to think they are practicing ancient yoga methods tied to past yoga gurus, a cult of yoga newness flourishes among them (they are all suckers for the latest yoga trend). Be inventive. Hey, if Jillian Michaels (who I call a drill Sargent with a vagina) can have a yoga dvd and make it trendy, anyone can. (But the last thing we need is Jillian yelling out instructions for “happy baby”.)

Step 7 – That’s it! You did it!! Good work!!! You are a yoga star. You can now om comfortably in your Malibu beach home or Park Avenue apartment. Forget about you pilgrimage to India. Any true yogi knows only 1% of the population does yoga there; your better bet is to move to Santa Monica, CA: the certified yoga Mecca.

Hope that helped you! Now get on your mat already, and get down, dawg!

***

I am so ready to be a yoga superstar. Anyone care to join me?

I’m kicking off 30 days of yoga – 20 minutes of yoga, every day. I started last night. Update me if you want to do it too! You can post your yogic activities on the 30 Days of Yoga Page. (You definitely don’t have to do yoga every single day, but it would be awesome if you left comments on that page with whatever yoga you did that day when you do do yoga– maybe it’ll be a great way to get lots of new recommendations!) We can chat about what we’ve learned with the 30 days as well. Now go join me! (Eden’s on the bandwagon already – she’s going to write a yoga routine for y’all to do.)

Also, I finally made my email more blog-friendly: [email protected]. Email me for fun 😀

Katie says: Chopstick Covered Katie

Hi everyone! I am still doing blog maintenance and stuff, so you get to hear from one of the sweetest ladies in blogland. And she totally understands my chopstick obsession. Take it away, Katie!

(And HI to reader Lauren who I met last night!! Thanks for saying hi.)

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Hi chocolate chips!

My name is Katie, and I write a blog called Chocolate-Covered Katie.

The recipes on my blog are for “healthy” (yet still delicious) versions of traditionally “bad-for-you” foods.

Such as the above healthy choco-Banana sundae

Basically, I eat in accordance with the Chocolate-Covered Diet philosophy, and I’ve never been happier :) .

But today, I’m not going to talk about chocolate. (*Gasp*) Nope, the lovely Maggie (Isn’t she gorgeous?!) has asked me to talk about something else: chopsticks! She and I share an interest in eating with chopsticks, because we both have a connection to Japan (mine being that I lived there for four years, and hers being that Bobby is half Japanese). I actually learned to eat with chopsticks before a fork. So even though I now can use a fork, I still prefer chopsticks, not only for conventional Asian dishes, but also for…

Decadent high-protein chocolate cake

Slurpy mushroom spaghetti

Bluebberry Breakfast Pizzert in a bowl

And even…

The breakfast feast: Chocolate chip cookie dough oatmeal

Ok, scratch that last one.

Some things are better eaten with a spoon!

In honor of Maggie and Bobby, I challenge you—this week—to try eating something unconventional with chopsticks!

Be creative and have fun! Are you up  for it?? I know these guys are. :)

And remember:

Life is better when it’s chocolate-covered!

***

Thanks again Katie :) And happy early birthday! September is the best birthday month (mine is September too – maybe we are the same age!). I hope you enjoy some cake with chopsticks (healthy cake of course). I definitely will.

Do you know how to eat with chopsticks? What is your favorite thing to eat with them?

I think my favorite thing is… a stir-fry. Predictable, but delicious. (Here’s another.)

P.S. If you are ever interested in doing a guest post for Say Yes to Salad, please contact me and let me know your idea! I am always accepting submissions :)

How To Eat Like A Child (aka Intuitively)

Today’s post is a guest post from my mom. She did not know her email to me (in response to this story) was going to be a guest post until after she wrote it though. I hope she writes more. Or starts her own blog. She has lots of good stuff to say.

Kids always amaze me. They are sometimes shockingly wise, like when it comes to food. Kids eat intuitively – they just eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. At some point I did lose my food intuition, but I found it again after some time. Without further ado… My very wise mom.

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So…what was your eating like when you were young? I will start at day one and go forward.

Maggie, Mom, Dad

You were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. Then I tried to get you to start on solid foods but you had no interest whatsoever. I cooked organic oat bran and sweetened it with ground raisins (no refined sugar for my perfect child!). You had little bits but just really weren’t too interested. In fact, you pretty much lived on just breastmilk for about your whole first year of life (and I think it was because you may have had underlying issues with non-human dairy products).

I always tried new things with you but you mostly just wanted to nurse (I mean, it is the perfect food after all!).  At the time I think I would tell people you ate more than you did just because people were so… um… annoyingly judgmental about how I was ruining your health! (There! I said it!) The thing about breastfeeding is that it is supply and demand… babies eat until they are done and learn how to self-regulate. With a bottle, there is always that temptation to make the baby finish the whole thing… or drink a specified number of ounces.

Once you became a toddler you really liked just about anything I would give to you. A favorite was tofu that you would snitch as you sat on the counter “helping” me cook. You liked fruit and veggies. The only flesh you really ever had was probably tuna fish — tuna and peas in a white sauce over toast was a favorite. I did ants on a log (celery) and ants on a bench (apple) a lot. I let you eat as much or as little as you wanted – there was no clean plate club. When we had play dates there were usually PB and J sandwiches or bagels with cheese melted on them. I made a lot of meals from the La Leche League (Maggie’s comment: this is an organization for breastfeeding motherscookbook — these tended to have whole grains. I made chicken fingers or tofu sticks and oven fries a lot.

Dad, Maggie

When we went to dad’s softball games a few times a week, you usually snacked on raw green beans, apples, raisins or trail mix. I was a firm believer in water for drinking and never even suggested that you drink milk with your dinner. Probably in middle school is when I started making a lot of things from Cooking Light.

Maggie @ the zoo (Washington DC?)

You were not a picky eater. I don’t remember if you ate sweets…I sort of doubt it since I don’t like to bake… although I do remember these really yummy cookies I used to make from the LLL cookbook — they were oat, whole wheat and raisin, sweetened with ground up dates, had willow ridge soy margarine and sunflower seeds and just enough chocolate chips to make them yummy. You loved them and I never felt guilty about letting you eat them — sometimes even instead of a regular meal (they just had so many good things in them).

Well I think that might be all I can think of for now.

***

That was perfect, Mom. You got anything for me Dad? Hint hint.

How did you eat as a kid?

Apparently I was this awesome intuitive eater. Maybe I will start making tuna and peas in a white sauce again. I remember absolutely loving that dish.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for more of this. And if you missed it, honesty was a hot topic earlier this week.

Anne: Flavors from Finland

Today’s guest post on ethnic food ties into my new theme. Anne blogs over at Food Loving Polar Bear. She likes yoga and walking just as much as I do and she’s going to share some of her favorite foods from Finland (that’s where she lives!). A quick side note…

How does ethnic food tie into intuitive eating?

Ethnic food is usually not particularly low-calorie or in line with clean-eating principles. But it’s usually delicious; if you can eat a diet filled with wonderful ethnic foods and not gain weight (or maintain a healthy weight) you are probably eating intuitively. Here’s an example – the traditional European diet (French, Finnish, etc…) is filled with things like heavy cream, cheese, and decadent desserts and pastries like croissants (oh, croissants!). Yet Europeans are generally much thinner than Americans. Why?

Why French Women Don’t Get Fat

French women don’t obsess about food, they eat what they crave, and they eat real food. They’re in tune with the body’s hunger and fullness signals. They don’t eat emotionally (meaning they’re not the type to turn to Mr. Ben or Mr. Jerry when they’re sad) and they’re not emotional about eating. These are generalizations of course, but these are the general principles of intuitive eating.

Enough of my rambling. Without further ado… the lovely Anne!

***

Hi!

I’m a new blogger from Finland and I am proud to introduce you some flavors from my home country. Thanks Maggie for the chance to promote my tiny country and its delicious foods!

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A little background information about Finland:

  • Finland is situated between Sweden and Russia, in northern Europe
  • Finland has 5.4 million inhabitants
  • The capital of Finland is Helsinki
  • There are more than 2 million saunas in Finland
  • We do not have polar bears in Finland 😉

Now you know a bit about my home country! In this post I’m going to concentrate on my favorite topic: FOOD.

Traditional Finnish cuisine is similar to Swedish, German and Russian cuisines. Finnish dishes tend to be less sweet than Swedish ones, and Finns use little or no sour cream in preparation compared to their Russian neighbors.

Traditional dishes (perinneruoka) are rarely eaten on a daily basis and saved for the real holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. The traditional dishes are often regional and more valued by the older generations or only eaten during a specific holiday; for example Mämmi during Easter. This following dish is only eaten during Easter, (almost) never on other occasions. For the recipe of Mämmi click here.

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Mämmi does not look very appealing 😀

Home-made food (kotiruoka) can be also found in restaurants and we have many restaurants in Helsinki specializing in traditional Finnish food.

The most common traditional foods in Finland (which are eaten on daily basis in Finnish homes):

Leipäjuusto (the direct translation is bread cheese):

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It’s usually eaten with jam, but I usually eat without. It doesn’t have much flavor and it feels a bit rubbery in your mouth but once you get used to it, you will love it!

Reindeer (poronkäristys)

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Reindeer is usually eaten with mashed potatoes, jam and pickles. It’s one of the most popular dishes among those foreigners whom I have introduced this dish to.

Cabbage rolls (kaalikääryleet)

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They look like spring rolls, but are not. It’s minced meat (ground beef) rolled into a cabbage leaf. They’re also served with jam, usually with cranberry. These took me almost 20 years to like them, but now I actually like eating the rolls, I also should try making them at home. As a child this used to be my most-hated-dish-ever 😀

Pea Soup (hernekeitto)

Pea soup is one of the most popular dishes among poor students. It’s cheap, filling and even though you have tons of gas in your stomach after eating a can, sometimes you just don’t mind. Pea soup is usually eaten here every Thursday. Even my office has pea soup Thursdays! It’s eaten with mustard or, like in the picture, with ham 😉

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Finnish meatballs (lihapullat)

These are a familiar dish in my kitchen. My boyfriend loves my home made meatballs and I have also made them in Germany for a bunch of Germans who had no idea how to make them at home, they were a success!

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They are also usually eaten with mashed potatoes.

Pickled herring (silli)

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There are tons of different kinds of pickled herrings in Finnish grocery stores. I personally love the middle one, herring with mustard. They are a traditional summer dish and are eaten with new (small) potatoes and dill.

Viili

This is a product I tried to explain in my blog some time ago. It was difficult! I found an article in Foodista about viili!

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Smoked fish (savustettu liha)

We Finns love fish, especially smoked fish! We have so many different kinds of fish and I really want to make you drool in the end of my guest post, so here are some pictures of my favorite delicacy 😉

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Mmmmh!

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I hope you all enjoyed this little journey to Finnish cuisine. Feel free to ask me more anytime!

***

Thanks again, Anne! Finnish food sounds awesome. I have actually had a lot of these dishes because I’m part German (Cabbage Rolls, Pickled Herring, Meatballs, Pea Soup). I’ve never had reindeer but it sounds really cool. And anything that is translated as “bread-cheese” is okay in my book.

What’s your favorite ethnic food? What do you think about ethnic food and intuitive eating?

P.S. I have been playing around and updating my blog; poke about and check out my new tabs and some updated pages if you want. I’m not quite done yet so I’ll do another announcement when I finish.

Andrea: The Power of Two

We are getting back today! I can’t believe the honeymoon is over. Back to reality 😉 Not quite – I’m probably somewhere over the Pacific right now. Wrapping up the honeymoon guest posts is Andrea, one of the first bloggers I ever discovered. Here she is…

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Hi guys! My name is Andrea and I live over at Off Her Cork! Maggie is off doing fabulous newlywed things and she asked for guest posts related to weddings and food. My husband, Scott, and I just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary earlier this month. We’ve been together for ages though, over 10 years! We’ve learned a lot along the way and the best advice we have to offer is to make sure that you take the time to celebrate being a couple as often as possible.

Impromptu date nights! Who says dates have to be reserved for just the weekend? And who says you have to go someplace? Light some candles, open a bottle of wine, and make one of your favorite dishes on a random Wednesday evening. Not only does this give you something to look forward to but you get a chance to sit down and focus on each other.

Eat a meal that reminds you of something you did together. Maybe creating a special mahi-mahi dish reminds you of that time when you visited the islands. Perhaps going out to get sushi reminds you of the first time you met? Maybe eating Jello brings up memories of meeting the entire family for the first time! It doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to cost a ton but sharing a meal that invokes a memory will help strengthen the connection that you have together.

Have fun in the kitchen together! Scott doesn’t cook at all but he can help me with tasks. He’ll peel carrots or shred some cheese while I’m prepping other ingredients. He can put stuff away once I’m done with it. He can help with the dishes! 😉 The important part isn’t the task but that we’re doing it together and can share that moment.

Lastly, always plan a super special meal for your anniversary! We like to have lobster tails on our anniversary. They are indulgent and help us feel tres chic as we sit at our little dining room table or on our deck gazing out into the back yard. They make us feel special and since we only cook them for our anniversary, it has become a lovely tradition shared by the two of us.

Creating a meal, a date, or a tradition helps you remember what is important, each other!

Congrats to Maggie and Bobby! Enjoy your new journey together!

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Thanks for the thoughtful and fun advice Andrea – I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us :)  “See” you all again soon!

Brittany: How to Avoid the Love Layer

It is currently 2:30am Maui time so I am asleep. But today is the last day of our honeymoon – we head to the airport for our flight tonight at 8pm (overnighter – yuck). We hope to spend the morning on the beach and the rest of the day exploring and hitting up a few food joints that we haven’t gone to yet.

Today’s guest blogger was the first food blogger I ever met up withBrittany has an awesome blog and is awesome in person. I hope you enjoy her post!

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Hi, I’m Brittany from Eating Bird Food and I am thrilled to be guest posting for Maggie while she enjoys her wedding and honeymoon. She holds a special place in my heart, as she was first food blogger I met in person, way back when. I actually met Bobby, her fiancé, as well and know that they are and will continue to be very happy together. Congrats again on getting married you two – I can’t wait to see the pictures.

So, we’ve all heard that moving in with a significant other (before or after getting married) can lead to weight gain, right? Well it’s not just an urban legend, according to a study published in 2009, getting married (or cohabiting) doubles the odds of weight gain!

I’ve even seen it with myself. I’ve been living with my boyfriend, Isaac, for over 2 years now and whether it’s the living situation, my desk job or a combination of the two, I’ve definitely noticed a few pounds trying to creep on since my college days. The good news is that I realize it and try to make an effort not to let the layer of love build on. :)

So why does this happen and why does it seem more prevalent with women? Who knows- but some speculate that it may be due to a decrease in activity (snuggling on the couch anyone), indulging in rich, flavorful meals together, eating the same amount as your man even though men naturally require more calories, eating “guy foods” like beer, nachos, frozen pizza and hot dogs; skipping the gym to hang out with your honey, or even paying less attention to your weight because you’re no longer on the prowl.

Whatever the reason is, it happens. I know for me there are a couple things that have me eating late at night or indulging. For one, Isaac buys cereals and snack foods that I would never dream of buying but once they’re in the house they tempt me and I end up indulging. Then there’s peer-pressure where he’ll want me to try a bite of this or have another beer/glass of wine. (sound familiar?)

Here’s the culprit in action:

With all that said, here are a few tips on how to avoid the extra “layer of love”:

  • Get physical. Make time to workout. If you all can find something you both enjoy, than do it together (like hiking), and if not go your separate ways, just make sure to stay active. For us, Isaac hates the gym and I love it so, I workout at the gym and he plays ultimate Frisbee, runs outside, or works in the yard.
  • Cook at home more often, choose healthy foods, and watch your portion sizes at mealtime. Your portion probably shouldn’t be as big as his – unless you are working out like a mad-woman or need the extra calories.
  • Communicate! If your man is like mine and often tries to convince you to indulge or brings home lots of sweet treats, tell him up front your goals and that you’re trying to be more conscious about what you eat. He’ll respect you for telling him and will most likely be more thoughtful about it.
  • Have separate meals occasionally. Isaac and I do this often because he eats meat and I don’t. We cook together and eat together, just eat different things.
  • Lighten up on the alcohol. One glass of wine is fine, but alcohol is empty calories and can really add up. Get out of the habit of unwinding with a drink everyday and do yoga or go on a walk together instead.

What do you do to make sure both you and your love stay healthy?

***

Thanks so much Brittany! Have you all ever noticed that love layer sneaking up on you?

Mara: Food Blogging and Marriage

Aloha! My sweet friend Mara wrote a great guest post for me specifically about food blogging, marriage, and honeymooning! I will let her tell the story…

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Hi Salad Girl readers! I’m Mara, and I write a little food and cooking blog called “What’s For Dinner?” where I chronicle my adventures in cooking, and more recently, baking.

When Maggie asked me to do a guest post on weddings/marriage and how they relate to food and food blogging, I jumped at the chance! See, I got married to the love of my life this past November, and our wedding coincided nicely with the anniversary of my blog.

Not only has blogging my dinners made for more interesting meals in our house, it’s also helped to teach my husband, Adam, about various flavors that exist in the world, as well as the importance of having food that looks as good as it tastes.

But that’s not going to be what I write about. Oh no. Adam and I were put to the test mighty early in our marriage when we had a travel nightmare when trying to get to Jamaica on our honeymoon. How, you might be asking, does this relate to food blogging?

If you don’t want to click over, the nightmare in a nutshell was:

  • Flew out of Chicago into Philadelphia just as the first Noreaster snowstorm hit.
  • Got stuck in Philadelphia and missed our connecting flight
  • Waited 8 hours at PHL for our bags, which, in turn, were sent without us to Jamaica.
  • Spent the first night of our honeymoon in a crappy motel
  • Spent the 2nd night of our honeymoon in a less crappy hotel
  • Rearranged resort accommodations (Thanks Sandals!) and got put back on a flight to Chicago to wait for our new Jamaica flight
  • PHL to Chicago flight got cancelled minutes before we arrived at the airport.
  • Adam and I drove the 14 hours back to Chicago to wait for the Jamaica flight
  • We never received one cent back from US Airways for extra expenses incurred.

Well, for one, without my food blog, I would not be able to remember that the first
night of our honeymoon’s dinner was:

And Adam’s was:

Thanks to my food blog, I was able to chronicle every moment of the nightmare that occurred between leaving Chicago (home) and finally leaving home again for Jamaica, and have it on a public and much-read forum. Thanks to my blog, Adam and I are able to relive exactly how remarkable it is that we made it through our ordeal without killing each other, and came out of it stronger in the long run.

Because of my food blog, we were able to recall small details of our trip that ordinarily would’ve been forgotten, and thanks to more technology, we were able to chronicle our road trip via Facebook! We are reminded every day exactly how well-deserved our honeymoon was once we actually made it there… and we enjoyed every moment.

Congratulations Maggie! I hope you enjoy every moment of your wedding and honeymoon! My advice? Remember to be tolerant! You never know when a difficult time can turn into the adventure of a lifetime!

***
Thanks again, Mara! Thankfully our honeymoon has been almost snag-free so far (there was a glitch with Expedia and our rental car… I’ll update after it is resolved).

Have you ever had an issue with an airline? I’ve had lots of delayed flights, and one time Bobby and I were stuck in the Las Vegas airport overnight because a delay out of Philly (apparently PHL really stinks) on our way to California (SFO) – we ended up missing the last flight out because of the delay.

P.S. If you have been enjoying these marriage/food-related guest posts and want to do one yourself, send me what you got – magpie707 (at) gmail (dot) com. I am going to keep on posting them periodically after I’m back :)

Alisa: Marriage and Peanut Butter Truffles

I have been a longtime reader of Alisa’s blog, One Frugal Foodie (longtime as in years!). She also has a kickass book: Go Dairy Free (my Go Dairy Free review here). Bobby (my husband) and I are both semi-lactose intolerant (he is more so) and I am always inspired by Alisa’a dairy-free recipes. I hope you all enjoy this one!

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I was so honored when Maggie asked me to do a wedding-themed guest post! I have been with my husband, Tony, for fourteen wonderful years, and I am happy to tell Maggie that we grow closer every day.

Of course, one thing that keeps my husband happy is that I almost always have some type of homemade dessert stocked for his sweet tooth. A lot of men will tell you that they really aren’t into dessert. Yeah. Right. That is what Tony told me so many years ago … but when that first batch of a dozen cookies emerged from the oven in our first apartment together, I savored two with tea, and then somehow, as if by magic, all disappeared by the next day. After watching this scenario repeat time and time again, I finally started baking up just 4 to 6 cookies at a time, storing the dough in the fridge or freezer for (daily) dessert emergencies.

But with so many years of practice, my friends always ask me to bring a dessert to get-togethers … even weddings!

A few years ago, I was the Maid of Honor for a good friend, and she was completely stuck on what to do for wedding favors. Her budget was running thin, and she didn’t want something that could be thrown away. I suggested that we make some chocolates. Cheap, easy, tasty … the idea was a go. We decided on peanut butter “truffles,” which were inspired by that old “Buckeye” recipe.

As it turned out, just making these favors turned into a wonderful wedding memory. A few nights before the big day, four of us sat around with glasses of wine (of course!) rolling, dipping, and sneaking bites as we gossiped and shared in my friend’s excitement.

Peanut Butter “Truffles”

Recipe from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook

Casually elegant, these glorified peanut butter cups earned me rave reviews at a close friend’s wedding. For party favors, we wrapped a few little treats up in tulle and placed one on each guest’s plate. All night long, people I had never met approached me with recipe requests for “those incredible truffles.” While I would love to gloat on my innovation and labor, the recipe is embarrassingly easy …

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Powdered / Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Smooth All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine or Shortening, Softened
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Ounces Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Shortening

Method

  1. Combine the sugar, peanut butter, margarine or shortening, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pinch off pieces of the peanut butter mixture and roll them into balls that are 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Since you won’t be baking them, the thickness of the filling is really up to you.
  3. Place the peanut butter balls in a single layer on baking sheets lined with wax paper or non-stick baking mats (I flatten them slightly to keep them from rolling around), and freeze until they are firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While those are chilling, Place the chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH in 30 second intervals (just 2 to 3 should suffice), stirring vigorously between intervals, until the chocolate has just melted and is smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, as it can scorch easily.
  5. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, dunk them in the melted chocolate to coat, and return them to the baking sheets to dry.
  6. Place the truffles in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for 1 hour, or until the chocolate coating is firm. The truffles should keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yields approximately 2 Dozen “Truffles”.

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Thanks for the simple and delicious recipe, Alisa! Definitely must try this :) Bobby claims that he doesn’t have a sweet tooth, but I know better…

What is your favorite recipe or crafty thing to make? I like making homemade goodies for people for holidays, like bread and Christmas cookies. (This year I made gingerbread houses with Auntie Jo – who is my real aunt now!)

Elise: Vegas for Vegans

Today’s guest poster is my very favorite hungry hippie! Elise is getting married soon as well, and she kindly wrote her guest post for me about her crazy fun bachelorette party in Las Vegas (I have never been – and now I want to go!). Enjoy!

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Hello! Elise here from Hungry Hungry Hippie. I don’t always introduce myself with such enthusiasm, but this post is not of the ordinary.

…ever since I returned from Vegas, I’ve been meaning to post about how to eat, drink, and be merry in the City of Sin. However, if there is one thing that I struggled with throughout my bachelorette weekend, it was capturing sober food pictures on film.

Thankfully, my friends were kind enough to hook me up with photos from the weekend, and so when Maggie asked me to do a guest post relating to my bridal experience, I figured why not showcase Las Vegas in all its glory. A bachelorette party counts as bridal prep right? Right. Plus, it’s been a great help in filling in the gaps in my memory of the whole affair.

And so, may I present to you, the healthy(ish)-girl-on-a-budget guide to getting through Vegas.

For the record, Smirnoff Ice is neither vegan nor tasty. That said, getting “iced” before you even leave for the airport certainly gets you in the mood to P-A-R-T-Y!

The above pic is only one of the reasons you should fly on Virgin.  Another reason?  They have a 70 pound weight limit on luggage…

Do you know how much 10 bottles of champagne1 handle of Vodka, and a double air mattress weigh?  Only 59 lbs.

Do you know how much money BYOB saves you?  Mucho.

And staying in a penthouse suite, with a kitchen bigger than my previous NYC apartment, doesn’t hurt either.

Let the EtOH flow!

Now that we’ve covered how to minimize the liquor bill, let’s move onto food.

Allow me to open with a little disclaimer.  My pre-trip research was minimal and my knowledge on the gourmet dining options is far from extensive.  Our goal was to keep things cheap, within walking distance, and vegan-friendly, so, if nothing else, this post will be economical.

Caesar’s Palace has restaurants up the yin yang.  There’s Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, and Las Vegas’ only James Beard award winner, Bradley Ogden, as well as Michelin two star recipient Restaurant Guy Savoy.  But there’s also a nice little area called the Cypress Street Marketplace, that has several casual cafe-style dining options.  It’s perfect for large groups that want different cuisines.  Mediterranean, Chinese, Mexican, BBQ, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza…you name it, it’s there…and in the center of it all is a common dining area.

I went with a hummus and veggie wrap (minus the tzatziki and feta cheese)

…and 4 beers.

What!?  It was 2-for-the-price-of-1 :)  I’m no econ major, but I know a deal when I see one.

Who wouldn’t get on board?

Skipping straight ahead to the next morning…

Bringing snacks is a cheap way to tide you over between real meals, and it’s a nice way to nurse a hangover. May I suggest:

  • Kirkland trail mix
  • Water bottles (x 50)
  • Clif bars
  • Champagne
  • Dried fruit
  • More water

Classy?  Debatable.

Other key items in hangover prevention survival: Mrs. May’s Trio bars, water, and Whole Foods’ catering.

I really wish I had taken more photos of the platters, but I wasn’t in the best shape.  You understand, right?

Being the crafty planners we are, we arranged for a delivery in advance.  We got the assorted bagel platter and a fruit platter.  Maybe we were a bit bold in having the delivery arrive at 9 am, but at least it got us up!

We even got our dinner platters then (see below photos), which allowed us flexibility in planning around the rest of the day/night’s activities.

We stored the platters in the fridge all day and as difficult as it was to not dig in throughout the afternoon, come dinner time, it was SUCH a relief.  Cheap and simple with no thought required (you have to remember, we were operating on very few brain cells at this point, so the more pre-planning, the better).

Whole wheat/white pitas, sushi, grilled veggies, spinach salad, and the Mediterranean Dipping Platter.

VN = vegan
VT = vegetarian

Veggies anyone?

Oh baby!  Hummus and pitas galore.

In total, we had a feast big enough for our party…and then some.  Seriously, so much food. Whole Foods’ catering platters are far bigger than they lead on.

As for lunches, we went to the exact same place both days (creature of habit?).  We were staying at the Vdara in the new CityCenter, which was absolutely amazing (no smoking + no gaming = spa like vacation).  However, they didn’t have the best dining options.  The poolside eats were super pricey and the portions were TINY.  Fortunately, the CityCenter’s sister hotel, the Aria, has several casual restaurants.

Cafe Vettro is open 24 hours on the Casino level of the Aria – and it serves good food with reasonable prices.  I ordered the Asian Chicken Salad (without the chicken) for lunch BOTH days we were in Vegas.  It was so good!  If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it – right?

I only wish I had taken pics of my meal [blogger fail].  My plate was piled high with tons and tons of veggies (edamame, bell peppers, celery, the works…).  Plus, the dressing was great and it was a very generous portion (they even gave me extra veggies since I cut the chicken).  I am rarely so pleased with salads that I don’t make myself, and I didn’t have the highest expectations with this one (I mean, it’s Vegas, not New York).  But I’m happy to report that this salad was 100% awesome.  The rest of my girls loved their dishes too, so it’s a crowd pleaser if you are in a big group.

Just remember, Las Vegas is not cheap, but there are tons of good options that don’t feature award-winning chefs.  Finding the middle ground between fine dining and buffets requires minimal work, but I suggest you do it while sober.  Hopefully this post was a tiny bit helpful…and don’t forget to have fun!

Happy wedding and honeymoon Maggie!!

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Thanks, Elise :) I want to visit Las Vegas now! (But Maui has been awesome so far.)

If you’ve been to Las Vegas, what’s your favorite thing to do/eat? If you haven’t, do you want to go?

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