Category: Shopping

Sustainable Cashmere by Naadam

Closet Upgrade featuring NAADAM: What is Sustainable Cashmere?

Sustainable cashmere goes a step beyond organic and is the highest-standard in the industry. Much like sustainability in food, this means better treatment for the animals, the farmers, and the environment. In my opinion, Naadam is a company doing things right. They take a conscious approach to every step of the cashmere process from goat to farmer to consumer.    Animal Care: Happy Goats The best cashmere in the world comes from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Zalaa Jinst white goats live in extremely cold and harsh climates. To add insult, shearing is an extremely stressful process for goats. To avoid this, NAADAM hand combs their goats to collect the fine fibers for their sweaters.  They take goat care seriously; providing veterinary care to the herd and working directly with farmers to ensure fair treatment. NAADAM is serious about ethical conditions for the animals behind the raw materials.  <<Cashmere Tidbit: To make an average-sized sweater, you will need wool from approximately four adult goats!>> Herder Relationships NAADAM works directly with herders (and farmers) to ensure they are paid substantially more. By cutting out the cashmere tradesmen, they are able to pay better rates AND offer better prices for the best cashmere in the world.  Environmental Standards The Gobi Desert is a very remote area. NAADAM supports the local community with anti-desertification programs, local nonprofit work and supplier partnerships committed to environmental standards. They are leaving things better than it started in an effort to create a renewable, lasting partnership. Let’s talk Products: NAADAM Sustainable Cashmere I didn’t know much about NAADAM cashmere until I was gifted THREE amazing sweaters for Christmas. I’m in LOVE. From the moment I opened the box, I could tell this was a high-quality product. The softness is unmatched in any sweater I’ve owned.  I received a basic V-neck sweater that has become a staple. When I’m needing something extra cozy, I put on my Cashmere blend Sweater Coat (LOVE). For everyday layering, I wear my Grandpa Cardigan. I can’t choose a favorite! Think Cashmere is crazy expensive? Think Again.  Because of their direct-to-farmer relationships, NAADAM is able to keep costs low for premium products. Plus, these are quality pieces made to last years and years.  Check out the $75 Sweater by Naadam– it’s a dream! (Perfect for yourself or for gifting) Cashmere Care I was nervous about the care and handling of such a nice piece. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the ease of washing. I hand wash in baby shampoo (Yep, Shampoo!), and then roll in a towel to dry. Pilling is a natural thing and it only happens ONCE and then it’s done.  Final Thoughts on Sustainable Cashmere I’m thankful I found NAADAM and can feel good about my clothing. I feel stylish, yet cozy and comfortable and that’s an AWESOME thing. Catch me curled up by the fire in my cozy sweaters alllllllll winter long. You May Also Like: Fall Weekend Getaway: Buena Vista Colorado I rent my Clothes: w/ ARMOIRE!

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Best Cookbooks of 2021

My Favorite Cookbooks to Gift in 2021

Cookbooks make the best gifts for the foodie in your life. For someone close to you, they are bit self-serving… I mean aren’t you thinking, “Hey, I got you this cookbook in hopes that you’ll make lots of yummy dishes for me” ?! But, as a person who looooves cooking and spending time in the kitchen, cookbooks are some of my favorite gifts to receive. So, don’t feel guilty. These are my favorite cookbooks to gift in 2021 based on my experience through the years. I cook at home A LOT. Some are old staples, some are new finds, all are amazing. When it comes to a staple cookbook for gifting, here are some of the books I find myself referencing often as I plan and prep at home: Cookbooks to Gift – for the everyday cook 1. The Food Lab – Is this the most referenced book in my kitchen? Perhaps. The Food Lab is incredible for new cooks and experienced chefs. J. Kenzi Lopez goes deep on the science of cooking and will elevate your basic kitchen skills with simple swaps like salting your eggs BEFORE scrambling and using a thermometer for perfect meat. This book changed the way I cook and will forever be a staple on my kitchen shelf. 2. Practical Paleo – I considered putting this in the category with “special diets”, but upon reflection I still consider this a basic handbook. The recipes are suitable for those on a paleo diet or not. But, what I love about this book is not the recipes. Danielle SanFillipo spends the first half of the book explaining kitchen basics like knife skills, how to choose the right produce, and what oils to choose. If you’re curious about a paleo diet (dairy-free, grain-free, legume-free)- this is a great choice. If you’re just learning to experiment in the kitchen, I also recommend this cookbook. 3. Cook Once, Eat All Week – This is a cookbook by Cassie Joy Garcia of Fed & Fit. She’s a mom who understands what it’s like to have a busy lifestyle while still prioritizing family meals. If you’re new to meal prepping, this book is a godsend. She outlines main ingredients for the week, gives you a few “prep tasks” to complete but leaves some cooking for the night of. It’s the perfect blend of not-eating-leftovers but also not-spending-hours-in-the-kitchen. Bonus: She just came out with a slightly different version, Cook Once: Dinner Fix that helps with the main dinner meal! Cookbooks to Gift – for the niche foodie 4. Food for the Soul – This cookbook is filled with amazing sweet treats and elevated dinner meals. My absolute favorite part of this book is the BEAUTY in the photography. Lucy Lord is a UK-based cook who puts a lot of thought and effort into creating wonderfully aesthetic food. It carries through on every. page. I like this cookbook to gift for daydreaming and salivate over her creations. While some recipes may seem complicated (Re: Roast Leg of Lamb), the instructions are actually very easy to follow and recreate. 5. Super Sourdough – I fell in love with James Morton when he was a contestant on The Great British Baking Show. (Side note: if you’re not watching that show, it is the most wholesome TV experience and I highly recommend). In his post-show career, James gives detailed directions on sourdough from starter to elaborate breads. I’ve learned a ton about my own sourdough from him (Like THIS sourdough pizza crust). I love this cookbook for anyone dabbling into sourdough. I reference it anytime I make a loaf! Cookbooks to Gift – for the special diet 5. The Keto Diet – If you’re considering taking on a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet: this is your bible. Leanne Vogel spends the first half of the book educating about WHY keto, and troubleshooting how to do it right. I like her lessons, and her keto recipes stand up as well. Even when I’m not chasing ‘ketosis’, I’ll use her recipes for low-sugar treats, healthy family dinners, and unique side dishes. As a female writer, this is particularly geared towards women, and helpful for new adopters of the keto lifestyle. 6. The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook – Elimination diets can be especially challenging when it comes to meal planning. The AIP is among the most restrictive of diets. Having a staple cookbook to lean on is key to compliance with any major nutrition shift. This is that cookbook for the Autoimmune Protocol. In fact, Mickey has been involved in many research studies on the AIP, and is a well-respected figure in the AIP community. I found this book from the recommendation of a patient, and it has been an oft-referenced resource ever since. This class of cookbooks to gift is just right for someone with autoimmune disease who needs food as medicine. Favorite Cookbooks – for the stories 7. The Gaza Kitchen – I gifted this book to myself for my birthday and it was a fascinating look into the lives of women in the Gaza Strip. As Americans, we often think of this area as war-ravaged and desolate; but there is so much vibrance! That carries through in their cooking and traditions. I enjoyed all the story-telling that went into this cookbook. I’ve even adopted some of their methods, like using a mortar & pestle regularly. This was a fun blend of culture and cooking, a perfect fit in cookbooks to gift for someone who connects well with their food. 8. Deep Nutrition – Anytime I’m thinking of organ meats, you’ve heard me reference Dr. Cait Shanahan. This book (certainly more informative than recipes) goes deeeeeeeep about concepts of nutrition and health. She has a very research-based approach to what oils to use with cooking, how what we eat affects later generations, and how our nutrition landscape has changed over the past century. This is an eye-opening read for anyone health-minded. Warning: once you know these things, you may

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Product Review: The Always Pan

Spoiler alert: The Always Pan is one of my favorite new products of 2021! It’s no secret that I cook at home A LOT. I need a pan that holds up to daily use, that handles a variety of cuisines and cooking styles, and cleans up quick. I found it all in The Always Pan. It’s my number one recommended kitchen addition for this year. What is The Always Pan? The Always Pan is a ceramic non-stick pan that does it all. You can use it to braise, sear, saute, steam, fry, boil, serve, and store. Seriously, it replaces about eight pieces of traditional cookware. I’m not a big fan of most non-stick cookware, but I can support this. The Always Pan has a non-toxic, nonstick ceramic coating made without potentially toxic materials like PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, and nanoparticles. When I’m in the kitchen, I’m rarely cooking with anything else. Perfect Stovetop Cookware with NO toxic chemicals.   I’ve used my Always Pan almost daily for six months and it shows no sign of wear. The ceramic serface still perfectly cooks eggs without sticking (my ultimate non-stick pan test). The pan looks beautiful sitting on my stovetop; which is good because it’s a permanent fixture there. What’s in the box? The Always Pan retails for $145. BUT IT’S ON BLACK FRIDAY SALE FOR $99! (Don’t Wait) It’s got an aluminum body for fast, even heat. It’s a 10 inch pan, with a 2.3 quart capacity. I’ve found that to be suitable when cooking for three, up to six! It comes with a stainless steel steamer basket that perfectly sits inside the pan (even when storing). The lid is a modular design to hold in steam when you want, and let it out when you don’t. The included beechwood spatula nests along the handle with an integrated spoon rest. The Always Pan, made by Our Place, is suitable for all levels of cooks. It works best over medium or low heat, although it stands up to a quick high-heat sear. It’s good practice to use high-smoke-point oils or fats (avocado, coconut, EVOO, butter, ghee) anytime the burner is on. Testing it out: Family Skillet Meal One of my favorite recipes to make is a one-pan family meal. The Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein by Cassie Joy Garcia in Cook Once, Eat All Week was a big hit! I simply sauteed the chicken, added the squash “noodles”, let some veggies steam on top, and then dressed it up with sauce, sesame seeds, and green onions. Click Here to view some of my favorite skillet meals! When I was home visiting my family, I was lucky to have my little brother cook breakfast. Here’s a snapshot of perfect skillet bacon. He cleaned up, and there’s no trace of bacon grease: big win! Other Features of The Always Pan I also have the Spruce Steamer Basket. It’s an add-on product that integrates into the skillet to perfectly steam dumplings, vegetables, tamales and more. I’ll admit, I’ve never used it. I find that the included stainless steel basket handles the vegetables I need and I haven’t been adventurous enough to make dim sum! I’ve got my eye on the Perfect Pot as a new member of my kitchen cookware family. Who is this skillet ideal for? For anyone who cooks at home,  For anyone who doesn’t like toxic cookware,  For a person who needs simplicity, For someone who is a health-conscious foodie,  THIS PRODUCT IS FOR YOU.   CLICK HERE to get the Always Pan for $99! Final Thoughts on The Always Pan No bones about it, this is a kitchen staple. It makes an excellent gift for the cook in your life and it’s a simple pleasure to own. Especially at the current price, you can’t beat this! This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated by purchases made; this helps support the blog and allows me to continue producing useful content. You May Also Like: Product Review: The Almond Cow Product Review: Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven

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Carnivore Kitchen Gadgets

My Favorite Gadgets for Stocking a Carnivore Kitchen

When you go on a Carnivore Diet, in many ways cooking and meals become way simpler. A well-stocked carnivore kitchen for cooking nourishing nose-to-tail animal-based meals comes down to a few essentials. If you simplify ingredients, it is that much more important that things are cooked well. These are my go-to tools for all things MEAT. Check the boxes for prepping, cooking, and storing food while following a carnivore diet. When it comes to a meat-centric carnivore kitchen, here are some of the tools I find myself using daily as I cook nose-to-tail and prep at home: The Essentials 1. Cast Iron Skillet – Is this the most versatile pan in my kitchen? Perhaps. A Cast Iron skillet is a necessity for carnivore dieters because you can cook EVERY meat in here. Pan-seared steaks are the absolute best. Ground meat is quick and easy in a cast iron. You can even cook fish in a cast iron. The transition from stove top to oven is excellent for combo searing and roasting. Also, clean up is a breeze. Remember not to use soap on your cast iron- I like these handy scrapers and cleaners.   2. A Really Good Knife – I have one kitchen knife. I use it for everything from meat to herbs to fruit and vegetables. When you have a really nice knife, it makes prepping such a joy. I am so comfortable using this one knife that I travel with it when I know I’m going to be cooking outside of my home. You CAN buy a whole set of fancy knives with different purposes, but my recommendation: splurge on ONE really nice multi-functional knife. And love it well. (Note: Along the same lines, invest in a good cutting board to protect your knife blade. I like Epicurean Boards with juice troughs.)   3. Dutch Oven/Enamel Pot – When I have the time, I like to slow cook using an enamel cast iron pot that can easily go from stovetop to oven. I will roast whole chickens, make slow broth, and use it for braising roasts. The Lodge brand is durable and affordable for all things cast iron.   4. Aluminum Roasting Pan – These pans hold their shape when roasting meat at high heat in an oven. Chicken wings are particularly crispy and delicious when cooked on a sheet pan with a silpat liner. It makes for very easy cleanup. (A word of caution: don’t choose the cheap, amazon version of Silpat. They will poorly disappoint.) 5. Glass/Stainless Storage – If you’re doing any batch cooking, having glass storage on hand will be a necessity. You can portion out meat and reheat in the container (please do NOT reheat in plastic!) I find that I do less meal prep on a carnivore diet, simply because I’m eating less often. However, it is still nice to sometimes pre-cook steak, chicken, or ground and reheat at lunchtime.   6. Cookbooks – While I have my go-to meals that I gravitate towards, I enjoy flipping through real cookbooks for ideas. Books are very helpful when adopting a lifestyle change (like trying out Carnivore and Nose-to-Tail). Just want some background on the Carnivore Diet? Start with The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino! Helpful Gadgets for the Carnivore Diet 1. Instant Read Thermometer – This is a tool I didn’t know I needed until I read The Food Lab by J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt (aka my kitchen bible). A thermometer is essential for perfectly cooked meat. For a true carnivore kitchen, when ONLY eating meat on the carnivore diet, the quality of your cooking matters. Do yourself a favor and learn to cook with a thermometer; which means preserving optimal moisture, flavor, and tenderness. Buy the book while you’re at it, it’ll change your life. 2. Handheld Frother – I use this little gadget waaaay more than I thought I would. It stays on my counter (which is why that stand is handy)! I use it to froth up any cream/fats that I put in my coffee with collagen, and I even use it to quick mix up supplement powders and electrolytes into water. BONUS: This is perfect for adding fat for a dressed up bone broth! 3. Meat Masher– This is a handy little tool for breaking up ground meat while browning in a cast iron skillet. Is it a necessity? No… Is it nice to have? Yes, absolutely…. Not Essential, But Awesome… 1. Instant Pot – I recommend an Instant Pot for anyone who batch cooks and/or meal preps for the week. I like to cook meat all at once (pressure cooked chicken is my favorite); it also works well for braised meats like short ribs and stew meat. I use my Instant Pot for Bone Broth and Soups, and occasionally as a slow cooker on busy weeknights. 2. Sous Vide – A sous vide cooker is a device that allows you to cook meat to a perfect temperature. Learning to cook your meat by temperature will really elevate your skills! However, this pretty much does the work for you. Bonus: you can set it and forget it, much like a slow cooker. 7. Dehydrator/Air Fryer – For a carnivore diet, having a multi-function cooker that can air fry, dehydrate, and more is perfect. This is a great carnivore kitchen countertop tool for when you don’t want to turn on the oven, but need quick-cooked dinner. A dehydrator is useful for making your own jerky! 7. Traeger Wood Pellet Grill – If I could recommend one grill, this is it. There is a learning curve when transitioning from a gas or charcoal grill to a wood pellet (electric) grill. However, the functionality is impressive. Again, you’ll get to cook by temperature. Plus, there are options for slow cooking, smoking, and high-heat grilling. This is a carnivore diet splurge item! KateDaugherty.Com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means

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Product Review: The Almond Cow Plant-Based Milk Maker

Spoiler alert: The Almond Cow is one of my favorite new products of 2020! I’m pretty comfortable with making homemade nut milk using my Vitamix blender, a cheesecloth, and a lot of patience. HOWEVER, this one appliance has completely changed that for me. There is NO mess. NO waiting. NO straining. It’s so simple!! What is The Almond Cow? The Almond Cow Milk Maker is a countertop plant-based milk maker. It is like a high-powered blender and strainer in one. You can use any nut, seed, or grain to make homemade fresh plant-based milk in moments. I’m talking less than a minute here, folks!  While “almond” is in the name, that isn’t the limit. Get creative: Cashew, Oat, Coconut, Seeds, and blends galore. Did you know you can save watermelon seeds and make watermelon seed milk?! The possibilities are endless. I mostly use plant-based milk in my coffee and smoothies; so Cashew-Coconut-Vanilla and Honey-Oat tend to be my go-to blends. The Almond Cow has opened up my mind and I’m excited about trying out new recipes and concoctions again! Fresh milk at the touch of a button with NO WEIRD INGREDIENTS  The absolute best part of this contraption: no messy pulp straining, no waste, easy cleanup. The milk is so, so, good. Absolutely filled with flavor (without soaking).  Waaaaaay better than any store-bought non-dairy milks.  I love that I don’t have to compromise on ingredients and can still enjoy true homemade plant-based milk with the help of a countertop device. What’s in the box? The Almond Cow retails for $195. It is all stainless steel (no plastic internal parts) and has the capacity to make 5-6 cups of alternative milk per batch. The machine plugs in while working, but easily packs away when not in use. It is very easy to wash the full stainless steel container, with all the electronic parts contained in the top. The blending element is also made of heavy-duty stainless steel. I highly recommend the Almond Cow Starter Set which includes the Milk Maker, Glass Storage Jug, and Jug Brush PLUS almonds (3 lbs), oats (3 lbs), coconut shreds (2 lbs), and cashew pieces (3 lbs).  THIS IS SO MUCH STARTER MATERIAL. For reference, each batch (6 cups) of milk requires about 1/2-1 cup of nuts/grains/seeds. Therefore, there are about 30 batches (11.25 GALLONS) of plant-based milk available using ONLY the ingredients in the starter pack.   Testing it out: CocoCash Milk The first milk I chose to make was the CoCoCash. I found this suggested recipe on the information card included with the Almond Cow Milk Maker. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, so it was an easy choice.  I added the cashew pieces, coconut, and a few dates into the filter basket. It was very simple to attach the basket onto the top of the almond cow and twist to secure. I added filtered water to the base, attached the top, plugged it in, and pushed the start button.  The Almond Cow Milk Maker runs through 3 automatic blending stages. There is a light that indicates when the cycle is complete and milk is ready.  I WAS SHOCKED when this took less than a minute.  What?! How?! I thought the milk would be weak, watery, and tasteless. NOT TRUE. It is super creamy, better flavor than most store-bought milk, and maintains its consistency. Even the first warm sip was noticeably delicious.  I poured it into the glass storage container and put it in the fridge. There’s some separation after sitting, but a quick shake brought it back to an even mixture.  If you’ve made nut milk in the past you may be familiar with soaking, then blending, then straining. The whole process takes so much time, and is so messy. I talk myself out of it way too much and end up buying almond milk at the store.  The Almond Cow is the easiest way to make nut milk I’ve ever seen. There is NO soaking and NO messy straining. I simply remove the basket, pop the top of the almond cow into the included collector cup to catch any drips.  The PULP Chronicles The Almond Cow Milk Maker does a great job of directing you to their website to explore recipes for using up spent pulp. I’m a big fan of zero-waste cooking.  The easiest option? Pulpmeal (You know, like, oatmeal). Don’t think this is a boring choice; Almond Cow has recipes for everything from Gingerbread Pulpmeal, Banana Bread Cashew Pulpmeal, Chocolate Mint Pulpmeal, to Lemon Raspberry Overnight Pulpmeal.  I’ve also got my eye on a number of energy ball recipes like CocoCash Bites and Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles.  The library of recipes is incredible! Savory and sweet things alike.  Other Intriguing Recipes using Plant-Based Milk and Pulp… In addition to traditional plant-based milk blends, The Almond Cow Milk Maker can be used to make plant-based creamer. Instead of filling liquid in the entire base of the almond cow, the smaller collector cup is used to make a more concentrated version of plant-based beverage.  Again, the library of recipes is memorizing. S’mores creamer with no artificial flavors or preservatives?! Red Velvet Creamer using beets?! Oh my! Infusions The filter basket is perfect for quickly infusing any beverage of choice. From pre-made milks, coffees, teas, or simply dressed-up water. [Watermelon-Mint, Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry Orange, etc] I’m excited to try the White Chocolate Peppermint Infusion directly into coffee + milk for a super clean version of a Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha.  Non-milked Beverages  Although plant-based milks are the forte for the Almond Cow, you can also use this appliance to make infused lemonades (like pineapple lemonade), adult beverages (like bloody mary, sangria, and hot toddy), and festive drinks (like eggnog, mulled cider, and hot cocoa).  I’m really excited to explore and test these out more this holiday season! Who is the Almond Cow ideal for? For anyone who prefers non-dairy milk,  For anyone who doesn’t like toxic oils, preservatives, and additives in their

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Unbiased Product Review: Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven

Looking for a Christmas gift for an at-home foodie? Maybe you’ve been eyeing one yourself? Here’s my review of the new Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven system. What is the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven? A fancy-schmancy countertop toaster oven that can air fry, air roast, air broil, bake, toast, dehydrate, and keep warm. Is this the Chuck Norris of toaster ovens? Perhaps. Full disclosure, I do not own a toaster oven. I didn’t think I wanted one. I rarely make toast or bagels (hey, gluten free life); and anytime I need something browned I tend to use the broil function on my oven. However, I have been curious about an air fryer for speed-cooking vegetables on busy weeknights. Re-heated Brussels are just not the same, know what I mean? What are the specs and components? The Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven retails for $225. (I’m watching for a Black Friday special…) It comes with everything you need for every function. In the box: a wire rack, sheet pan, air fry basket, and crumb tray. The instruction booklet includes a handy cheat sheet “Air Fry Cooking Chart” that lists various ingredients with preparation, temperature, and cooking times for each. It ranges from frozen food (chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, tater tots) to meat (burgers, wings, salmon) to vegetables (potatoes, broccoli, corn). There’s also a cheat sheet for “How to build a sheet pan meal“. It instructs: 1. pick a protein 2. pick a vegetable 3. season/marinate 4. toss it up 5. cook (10-30 minutes) with suggestions in each category. Note: I already notice their suggestions are quite unreasonable. I just don’t think you could fit 6 Salmon fillets + 2 medium heads broccoli onto ONE mini sheet pan. Testing it out: Air Fry Vegetables My first air-frying experiment was Brussel sprouts. I like them with a little crunch, but still holding some flavor. I used the Ninja Foodi Air Fry Oven Cooking Chart to prepare my sprouts. I coated my Brussels in a bit of olive oil (1 Tbsp per 1 lb) to help crisp them up. I set the oven to Air Fry and set the temp at 390 degrees. I set the cook time for 20 minutes. (I would typically roast them longer in my oven) One surprise: this oven preheats in less than a minute. Talk about a time saver! Weirdly: the cook timer starts ASAP once the preheat cycle ends, so be prepared. I ended up reseting the timer once I was ready to begin cooking. The result? Eh, I certainly need to adjust my technique. I should’ve spent more time shaking the pan and perhaps decreased the cook time slightly. These turned out a bit too crispy for my liking. Experiment Two: Air Roasted Meat OK, What about meat? Ninja is very keen on pushing Chicken Wings prepared in the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven. And I understand why. The air fry basket allows air flow from all directions getting that perfectly crispy chicken skin with a tender, moist meat inside. There’s even a recipe included in the instructions for Honey Sriracha Lime Chicken Wings. You’ll certainly not want to forget the sheet pan UNDER the air frying basket to catch any grease during cooking. Talk about a MESS! There is grease everywhere. The chicken wings are tasty — but it just isn’t a food that I would regularly make at home. (The last time I cooked chicken wings was probably Super Bowl 2016 .. yeesh.) OK, What about TOAST? For $225 this thing better make amazing toast. It can make up to 9 slices at once. You select the number of toasts slices and then choose a darkness level from 1-7! That’s an impressive range. It even has a bagel setting that uses slightly less heat on the bottom. Admittedly, I haven’t tested the toast function. Again, I’m just not into bread and certainly can’t imagine a need to toast 9 slices of bread at once. Not even 9 slices of cheese toast. How does it bake? To test out the bake function I decided to whip up a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies. I used the recipe on the back of the Cup-4-Cup flour (the very best gluten-free flour). I have a baseline for how these should come out. One big pro.. The Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven is a convection oven! It’s perfect for baking cookies, brownies, and desserts because it evenly distributes heat. I loved how fast I pulled off these cookies! This is one moment I really appreciated the extremely fast pre-heat time, quick-cooking convection heat, and square-ish sheet pan that fit 8 cookies per batch. From start-to-finish I had 18 warm cookies on a plate in about 30 minutes. Typically, I use a silpat for oven baked cookies; sadly, my silpat doesn’t fit on the custom sized sheet pan. Instead, I used parchment paper to line the pan (as suggested) which allowed super easy cleanup. Cookie score: 7.5/10. As rated by the construction workers building my new deck. Decent. What other functions are useful? There’s even a dehydrator function! The time chart says 7-8 hours for an apple. The ninja calls for 1/8 in slices. For a single person, this small space dehydrator is convenient. I’m eager to try out dehydrated BEET CHIPS! One of my all-time-favorite veggies. Pros and Cons Pro: Let’s talk about the cleanup. You can access the entire oven through the backdoor that allows you to deep clean all the nooks and crannies. I love this. I have only used it a few times, but it quickly accumulates crumbs. Another of the main pros: it flips up and folds away! There’s even space for it to sit upright underneath cabinets. You do need to let it cool down a bit before you can flip it up. It’s a bit too big to store inside a cabinet, so it would need to be a countertop staple. I like the option of

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My favorite outfit that I rent from Armoire

I rent my clothes and I LOVE it: Revamp your style with Armoire.

I rent my clothes from Armoire and it has changed the game for me. When I transitioned from a job where I was wearing scrubs every single day to an office job, I had to face my lack of clothes. I have to be honest, I don’t love shopping. I get overwhelmed and often give up before I find just-the-right outfit. So, I end up wearing the same clothes over and over. This post contains affiliate links. When you subscribe using my link, I may earn a commission on purchases. I was so lucky to stumble upon ARMOIRE – and it has changed the game for me. It is so easy to rent my clothes! This company has exceeded my expectations in many ways, and I’m so excited to share more about it. Why I Rent My Clothes? Cost Saving – I now have access to an unlimited closet for a set price per month. I can swap out my items as much as I want! High quality – The items are all designer pieces and high-end basics. New items, No Guilt – I often get sent brand new items (with tags!). All the fun of wearing something new without the buyer’s remorse. Time Saving – No more wasted time browsing aisles. AND bonus Armoire does all the dry cleaning too! Send back your used, dirty items without worrying about trips to the cleaners or the cost. Explore your style – I find that I can be much more adventurous with my style when I’m renting. I’m more willing to take a risk on a rented item that I don’t have to shell out the cash for. If I hate it: no big deal, I just swap it out! Click here to try Armoire now! Use my link to get 50% off your first month, try your first month for just $49. How it works: Once you sign up to ARMOIRE, you start with a 3-minute quiz that helps the system understand your style and preferences. And yes, you can change your preferences at any time. You can order 6 items at a time in a case, wear as often as you’d like, and return when ready in the pre-paid return bag. Unlike many capsule wardrobe plans, you are NOT obligated to buy any items. You can continue ONLY renting, although you do have the option to buy an item at a discounted rate if you just can’t part with it! JUST FOUND OUT THEY EVEN CARRY MATERNITY CLOTHES! HOW GENIUS IS THIS FOR A CHANGING BODY?! Some FAQs: What is it: Subscription – based clothing rental What do you get each month: The Unlimited plan includes 6 items per case. The Capsule plans allow you to select from either 4 or 7 items per case. How is their inventory: Their inventory includes everything from dresses, tops, blouses, pants, skirts, coats, sweaters, anything and everything you’d need from work to parties, to attending any social or special event How does the exchange work: You don’t have to exchange all 6 pieces at the same time, you can send them back one by one if you’d like. As long as you’re a subscribed customer, you can keep items for as long as you want. Do you have to buy a product: No, you don’t have to and can continue renting. And there is always an option for you to buy a piece which is usually at a discounted price.  Do you have to do laundry: No! They take care of cleaning and laundry and you just send it back as it is when you are done. Easy! Here are my tips for making the most of your subscription: Favorite Items you Like. You have the opportunity to save items that you like to a favorites list that always shows up in your closet (when those items are available). I keep my favorites list updated so I always know what I want to rent next! Use your Stylist for recommendations. Included with membership is a free 1-on-1 appointment with a stylist who can help expand your style and find items that work for you. Plan your items based on events. Armoire has such a great selection of items from casual to elegant. I planned ahead and rented dresses for my brother’s wedding weekend. I was able to rent a Rehearsal Dinner dress and a Wedding Guest Dress as part of my usual monthly subscription! What a deal! I also plan ahead for things like destination bachelorette parties (when I need to find something out-of-season) or date night outfits to feel confident. Choose items that work with basics. The majority of items I rent are pieces that I can pair with basics I already own (like simple denim and solid tees). I LOVE to rent Cashmere sweaters– a total indulgence. Some of my favorite rented items: ARMOIRE definitely helps me refresh my closet so much more often and yet I stay within a budget. I get to take risks, try new styles, and feel confident with my wardrobe.  I am so happy I rent my clothes! If you would like to try it out, you get $100 off your first month and that brings the subscription to $49. Give it a try and see how Armoire works in your life!

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(Smaller) 2020 Thanksgiving Prep with Thrive Market

I imagine Thanksgiving gatherings are going to look quite different in 2020. Travel is more of a hassle, intimate gatherings are preferred, and grocery shopping just isn’t the same. Still want a holiday celebration a smaller scale? Check out these tips from Thrive Market‘s Erin Mossbog for prepping a turkey (or a smaller portion) at home: [Special coupon at bottom!] Thanksgiving Zoom background? Check. All the Thrive Market ingredients you need for a wholesome, stress-free holiday feast—including the highest quality meats, plenty of clean wine, and better-for-you sides? Check, check and check. Now, it’s time to get your day-of game plan ready, and that includes figuring out the timing for thawing and prepping the stars of the show: turkey, ham, or both. Luckily, if you order your holiday meats from Thrive Market, most of the hard work is already done. That’s because Pederson’s Natural Farms Spiral-Sliced, Sugar-Free Hams come pre-cooked, and Mary’s Free-Range Whole Turkey and boneless Turkey Breast simply need to be delivered to your door, thawed, and cooked to perfection. (Pro tip: Order by November 16th to get your meats in time for Thanksgiving!) If you’re hosting a smaller holiday gathering this year, you might want to opt for the Mary’s Turkey Breast, which feeds six to eight. Alternatively, you could get a whole turkey, because leftovers are delicious. How to Thaw Whole Turkey For best results, thaw your Mary’s Free-Range Whole Turkey in the refrigerator. Leave it in the original bag and place in a pan on the bottom refrigerator shelf; thaw for two to three days, or until thawed. (Good rule of thumb: Allow approximately 4 hours per pound to thaw.) For a quick thaw, submerge the turkey in cold water in its original packaging, breast-side down. Make sure the bag is completely closed and hasn’t been punctured. Flush with cold water every 30 minutes. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound to thaw using this method. See packaging for full details. How to Prepare Whole Turkey For an extra-juicy turkey, try brining it overnight after it’s completely thawed. Check out these easy instructions for how to brine your turkey. And if you’d like to add a seasoning mix to the turkey before popping it into the oven, here’s a tried-and-true turkey seasoning recipe: Turkey Seasoning Mix 1/4 cup Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil2 tsp kosher salt1 tsp Thrive Market Organic Black Pepper, ground2 tsp Thrive Market Organic Italian Seasoning1 tsp Thrive Market Organic Garlic Powder1 tsp Thrive Market Organic Paprika Cooking Instructions Preheat the oven to 325°F. Working over the sink, remove thawed turkey from the bag and allow liquid to drain in the sink. Place turkey in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet. Spread the seasoning mixture over the turkey. Loosely cover with aluminum foil. Cook for approximately 25 minutes per pound; using a meat thermometer, make sure the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. To prevent over-cooking the turkey, check the internal temperature throughout the roasting time. (Pro tip: Save the turkey pan drippings to make homemade gravy.) How to Thaw Turkey Breast For the best results, thaw your Mary’s boneless turkey breast one to three days in advance of cooking. Allow approximately 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of turkey. I recommend thawing in cold water, in the original wrapping. The cold water should be changed every 30 minutes. After your turkey breast has thawed, store it in the refrigerator until ready to cook. How to Cook Turkey Breast Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove thawed turkey breast from the bag, rinse with cold water, and season to your liking. Place the breast in an uncovered roasting pan, then add two cups of water (or broth) to the bottom of the pan. Place roasting pan in the center of the oven. Cook as directed on packaging; use a meat thermometer inserted sideways into the center of the breast to ensure an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove turkey breast from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Once turkey has rested, carve and serve turkey with the delicious pan juices. Easy & Healthy Thanksgiving Sides from Thrive Market If you’re looking for convenient, wholesome Thanksgiving sides that taste like homemade, add these to your box before checkout: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread MixOrganic Grain-Free Stuffing MixOrganic Whole-Grain Stuffing MixOrganic Cranberry Sauce Want to make your own pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie? Try smooth and rich Organic Pumpkin Puree. Each batch is made from sustainably farmed pumpkins that are vine-ripened, then puréed to perfection. Happy holiday feasting! WHAT IS THRIVE MARKET? Thrive Market is an online marketplace on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. They offer the highest quality, healthy and sustainable products available for every budget, lifestyle, and geography. You can shop for thousands of the best-selling organic foods and natural products at 25-50% below traditional retail prices. They sell non-GMO food, snacks, vitamins, supplements, personal care products, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, safe and nontoxic beauty products, kitchen staples, homegoods, organic baby food, kids products and much more. Plus, it’s all shipped straight to your door. You can also filter your selection by the values that matter most to you. Whether you are paleo, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, ketogenic —you can shop for 90+ values, also including non-GMO, sustainably farmed, fair-trade certified, BPA-free, and more in just one click of a button. I have been using Thrive Market for about 2 years or so and I absolutely love it. First of all, I love the convenience of having my groceries delivered to my door (you get free shipping on orders over $50).  Second, I love the amount of savings I see! It really is amazing – so many of my favorite products in one place at prices that are lower than what I see at the grocery store.  It’s a win-win.  And it is growing so fast! They now sell wine, frozen meat and seafood … who knows what is next! If you haven’t signed up for Thrive Market yet, use this link to get 25% off of your first

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