10 Fabulous + Practical Takeaways from The W.e.l.l. Summit 2015 in Boston

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I was fortunate enough to spend this past weekend at The W.E.L.L. Summit in Boston, a two-day curated event featuring the best of the best in the wellness community. There were top-notch speakers (like Latham Thomas, Kristen Arnett, and Ksenia Avdulova), passion-filled breakout sessions, drool-worthy goodie bags, and a joyous farm-to-table welcome dinner.

Needless today, I was in my wellness heaven. While many folks have now gone back to their home (from New York City to Mexico!) and all that remains from the welcome dinner are the memories, a full tummy, and one candle-lit photo on instagram, I wanted to share with you the many bits of wisdom I took away from my weekend. Enjoy!

1. Build your following by building your tribe: Desperation and trying to be like everyone else will do nothing for your popularity when it comes to social media. In order to grow your following organically, Breakfast Criminals powerhouse Ksenia recommends first building a community i.e. your tribe. Two must-dos? 1.) Share the love by connecting with like-minded folks in the industry and commenting/liking their photos and 2.) Get clear with your vision. If you want to be known in your industry, you must first establish your voice!

2. Trust your gut (literally): I absolutely loved participating in Soapwalla Founder + Chef Rachel Winard’s talk on “Going with Your Gut: How Intuition Leads us Down the Path to Fulfillment.” She bravely shared her story about her journey on leaving behind her promising music career at Juilliard and quitting her secure lawyer job to pursue her passion: making handmade vegan beauty products!

Both times Rachel was faced with a big decision, she felt an intense pain in her stomach, cuing her to trust her gut (literally) and follow her intuition. Finally Rachel decided to stop trying to please everyone else in her life and instead ask, “What’s the worst that can happen if I say yes?” and “What’s the worst that can happen if I say no?”

I can totally relate to Rachel’s experience (in both my career and personal life), and find that when you shush your mind and slow down, your body will tell you exactly what you need to do.

3. Know your sh*t (in your beauty products): Sure, we care about what we put in our bodies, but are you paying attention to what you are putting on your body? It’s crazy to think about all the crap that goes into our beauty products — everything from our deodorant to moisturizer! It was inspiring to be around lots of up-and-coming brands (like Petit Vour, Follain, and Soapwalla) that really get it, and work hard to offer products that work and are safe to use. Do a little investigation, and ask yourself if the ingredients in your daily products are recognizable. If not, think about giving your beauty cabinet a little makeover!

4. Take time to get crafty: One of my favorite workshops was a DIY product class with The Optimist Co. Founder, Devin. I absolutely loved Devin’s energy and passion for what she does — the girl literally oozes positive vibes! In her session, attendees were able to make their own body scrub (with epsom salt, castile soap and essential oils of our choosing) and all purpose house-cleaner (with baking soda, castile soap and essential oils).

The coolest part? Devin actually sells a Make-Your-Own Cleaning Product Kit, showing her customers exactly what’s going into the products and how to make it themselves. While some may find it strange that Devin’s giving away her “secrets,” I love how she’s encouraging people to feel empowered and add a little craftiness into their life! After all, we all deserve to feel like a kid every now and then.

5. Meditate every day: I was lucky enough to spend an hour with Josh Rosebrook to meditate, and chat about how to incorporate it into the modern lifestyle. Josh recommends meditating twice a day, for about 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. While many people may say they don’t have time to meditate, he swears by its power to transform the way you think and feel. One of my favorite mantras Josh recommended when starting out? “Everything is always working out perfectly for me.” How feel-good is that?

6. Take time to break bread + share stories among friends: One of my favorite moments of the W.E.L.L. Summit was the farm-to-table dinner hosted at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Yes, the food was amazing (catered by Chive Events), but my favorite part was the conversations and warmth shared around the dinner table. There is something quite magical about coming together with a group of like-minded people to break bread and share stories.

Key note speaker and the leading lady behind Mama Glow, Latham Thomas, encouraged us to find a way to add that communal aspect into our everyday lives by regularly hosting suppers with friends, ladies nights, and other sacred rituals.

7. Be real: One of my favorite things Ksenia of Breakfast Criminals said during her chat about social media is “Authenticity is greater than originality.” Many of us hold back and bring ourselves down because we think “Everyone is already doing what I do.” But it’s important to note that not everyone is you. If you can tell your story while remaining authentic, you’ve got something special there.

It made my night when Ksenia’s gal pal, the lovely Klara, told me that I had a really cool vibe about me, and that she loved how real I was. It’s extremely important to me to remain authentic and keep it real day in and date out as it’s something I put a great deal of value on, so it felt good to be recognized for it.

8. Nourish your body with good food: As I already mentioned, what goes on your body is extremely important when it comes to living well. But so is what you put in your body — that is whole, clean, energizing foods. The W.E.L.L. Summit did not disappoint when it came to providing eats we could feel good about like Organic Living Superfoods snacks, mini sweetgreen salads, and a wholesome breakfast from Thirst Juice Co.

By far my favorite meal was the farm-to-table dinner catered by Boston-based Chive Events. Everything on our plate was sourced locally, much of it from Boston’s North Shore. We enjoyed a fabulous, heart-warming dinner of local roasted chicken, a pumpkin + greens salad (made with extra creamy goat cheese as it was the last of the season), roasted seasonal root veggies, spaghetti squash and more. My heart and tummy were full of love.

9. Always be learning: Most everyone I spoke to at the summit — from bloggers to leading experts in the industry — recommend constantly learning and looking at new ways to do things. You can do so by reading, following those whom you admire & inspire you, and collaborating with like-minded individuals. Learning helps us grow and makes us stronger!

10. Own Your Beauty: The hilarious Kristen Arnett gave an incredible speech after lunch on Day 1. I loved her honesty, wit and humor, but one thing she said really struck home with me. As a professional natural makeup artist, she mentioned that 99% of the women who sit her chair immediately go to what’s wrong with them. “Make me pretty!” “Fix the bags under my eyes!” “Do something to my lips!” “I have terrible skin!”

This sort of negative self-talk is doing nothing to our wellness. It’s important to remember that all the makeup in the world can not make you beautiful if you first don’t feel it yourself. Practice self-love by focusing on the parts of your body that you adore, and go from there!

What wellness routines do you live by? How do you incorporate wellness into your day-to-day life?

                 

6 Seasonal Fall Foods To Try Now {+Recipes}

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Fall is hands down my favorite season. There’s something about it that’s purely magical…you can even smell it in the air. It’s fresh, crisp and the perfect amount of cozy (think: leggings, boots and an over-sized sweater).

Along with the weather shifts also comes a bounty of delicious in-season fruits and veggies. Here are a few of my favorites, along with must-try recipes to go along with them!

Cauliflower: There’s lots you can do with cauliflower. You can mash it (for a delicious mashed potato substitute), but my absolute favorite way is roasting. It cooks up really nice & crispy, and goes well with a number of herbs and spices. Try this Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower recipe, a house-hold favorite!

Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts are probably my favorite fall veggie, and my man will 100% agree. Lately, I’ve been going to town with sweetgreen’s Roasted Turkey + Brussels Sprouts Salad on their fall menu (hot tip: I like to add goat cheese) but it also frequently makes an appearance at home. When it comes to brussels sprouts, keeping it simple is best. These oven-roasted brussels from Whole Foods totally do the trick!

Pears: Once fall hits, apples get all the attention but what about it’s friendly sister, the pear? I’m a big fan of this under-rated fruit — it’s delicious as is, or smeared with some cinnamon & natural peanut or almond butter for an afternoon snack. This Brie, Pear & Mustard Grilled Cheese screams Sunday afternoon cuddled up on the couch in your pj’s with Netflix.

Spaghetti Squash: What’s not to love about this awkward-shaped veggie that resembles carb-a-licious pasta at first glance when cooked? As someone who eats mostly gluten free, this veggie is a life-saver when it comes to savory fall meals. Try Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs for a healthier take on spaghetti night! Trust me, no one will know you didn’t actually use boxed pasta ;)

Pumpkin: Pumpkins aren’t just for carving and dressing up your two-year-old for Halloween. They can also be a great addition to your fall cooking! For one, don’t waste their seeds — these babies make for a fabulous, nutrition-packed snack lightly roasted with salt or cinnamon & sugar. Try this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe to healthy up your breakfast! (Or wait, is it dessert?)

Figs: Fig Newton’s are so out, but their rockstar ingredient the fig isn’t! These 5-ingredient No-Bake Fig Newton Balls give this childhood favorite a comeback both kids and adults will love.

What do you love most about the fall? What are your go-to recipes?

                 

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Fit, Singing Boston Networking Queen

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Happy Friday, ladies! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful fall weather, and soaking up the last bits of foliage (if you’re a fellow New Englander, that is)

Onward & upward to this week’s lovely feature on Healthy Chicks in the Community! Danielle is one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met — she’s a good friend, a good wife and an all around good person. I’ve gotten to know her these past few years in Boston from my HC wellness programs to fitness nights and of course blogger events…and I love how supportive she always is.

I’ll let you meet this rockstar for yourself!

NAME/AGE: Danielle Kempe, 31

BLOG/TWITTER: Blog: http://gettingfitinma.wordpress.com

Twitter: @DJDiG Instagram: @gettingfitinma

CURRENT CITY: Quincy, MA

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): At the finish of the BAA 5K in 2015

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: fundraiser for the National Organization for Rare Disorders

NUMBER ONE PASSION: That’s hard to pick just 1. I guess writing, since that’s a stress reliever for me, but fitness is a close 2nd for that!

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Making time for my own personal fitness: getting in workouts with November Project, or other social fitness workouts. I schedule my workouts just like I schedule other appointments in my life.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I have nights where I binge watch TV and don’t move much

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Frozen vegetables in microwave steam pouches, frozen proteins like pork chops & chicken (for a quick meal on the George Foreman grill), and lots of fruits/veggies for grab and go snacks for my office

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: I’m a huge fan of  the Royal Spyness mystery book series by Rhys Bowen and I need to read the books the day they are available

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU:

1. I love networking and meeting new people so I’m a really good connector.

2. I love to sing used to sing the National Anthem at the football games when I was in high school and was in chapel choir in college.

3. I’m a crazy Red Sox fan that lived a dream by playing baseball at Fenway Park.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: group fitness classes

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: my Mom’s baked macaroni and cheese casserole

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: It’s OK to stick to a fitness activity you like and not be interested in every workout there is!

Big thank you to Danielle for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community. Miss last week’s? Catch it here! And if you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

                 

My #1 Passion + O.N.E Coconut water Partnership

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Good morning, friends! Hope you’re off to a lovely week so far. I am excited to announce that I’m partnering up with O.N.E. Coconut Water for the next few months to bring you delicious content…oh and maybe a few giveaways ;)

I love how O.N.E. keeps it simple, without any extra funky ingredients added. It’s just pure coconut water, and any natural flavors or fresh juices added to amp up the flavor. Right now I’m a big fan of their pure coconut water as I like my beverages as un-sweet as possible.

My #1 passion is living well + connecting with people in the community, and I love that O.N.E. can be a part of that! Last week, I ran my 6th half marathon in Newburyport MA. I had not trained as hard as I had for my others, so I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle — both mentally and physically.

In the morning, I was lucky enough to “pre-game” with a bottle of O.N.E. pure coconut water. I love how hydrating (& energizing!) it is, and for someone who loves staying active, I know how important it is to hydrate up throughout the day.

Since I love to share (especially when it comes to the gift of wellness), I gave two bottles to my sister and dad who also ran the half with me. They were super fans of the pure flavor as well!

While I didn’t get a PR on my half, I finished…and I finished strong. That’s what matters most to me. There were moments when I thought my legs were going to give up on me or that I’d have to walk the rest, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

I knew the feeling of crossing the finish line would be well worth it. And it so was. That feeling of accomplishing something way beyond your imagination is something I cherish. It fuels me.

How do you stay hydrated? What’s your #1 passion…and how do you fuel it?

This post is sponsored by O.N.E. Coconut Water, but as always all opinions are my own.

xoxo,

Rachel

                 

Bostonians Get Rewarded for Making Healthy Choices {Via The Blue Box Truck}!

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As you know, I’m a big fan of making small, simple changes toward living a healthier lifestyle. I don’t believe that you can look at someone and decide if they are healthy or unhealthy; rather it’s the little things you do every day which add that extra chunk of change to your “wellness bank.”

You know, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator at work.

Going for a peaceful walk on your lunch break.

Adding some organic, chopped veggies to your lunch wrap.

Hitting up the farmer’s market.

Cooking…from scratch…with your family.

Setting your alarm clock for 6:00 a.m. so you can squeeze in that yoga sesh.

You see, when you incorporate simple, little acts of wellness, you feel better all around and you become healthier. Oh, and you can afford to skip the gym or have that extra margarita once in a while…you deserve it. After all, being healthy isn’t about being perfect 100% of the time. It’s about doing what works for you and makes you feel good…most of the time.

Who’s with me on this?

Great! For my fellow Boston-based Healthy Chicks (and Guys!), you may have gotten to experience this first-hand last month. For the entire month of September, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts went around the city rewarding everyday people (that’s you!) for making healthier choices.

That’s right, they trucked along in their brand-new ride (the Blue Box Truck), doling out rewards and perks for those who exemplified living well!

And their team went out with a bang, making there way around the city and wowing Bostonians left and right! Earlier in the month, they surprised the November Project with an obstacle course for their super early-morning Monday workout. The course included favorite childhood games like tug-o-war to a rope climb, and NP tribe members showed ‘em what they’ve got!

The truck also scooted along to different playgrounds around the Bean, delighting kids with a motion-activated bubble machine! The more the children ran around, the more bubbles there’d be. So sweet to encourage kids to move more & stay healthy at such a young age! And mid month, the kind folks at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts woke up bright and early to surprise the fabulous, super-fit moms of Fit4Mom during their morning workout. After the workout, each mom was given a brand new UPPAbaby stroller to reward them for their hard work! How amazing is that?

One of my favorite events involved something all Boston sports-lovers adore: the Boston Celtics! The truck rode around to various basketball courts around the city, surprising lucky athletes with cool swag during their pick-up games. Giveaways included everything from basketball equipment and posters to backpacks and jerseys. Can you imagine the look of excitement on their faces? It surely was a special moment to be a part of!

The sweetest part? You didn’t necessarily need to do anything different to get rewarded! Rather, the fun folks of The Blue Box Truck focused on recognizing people for everyday choices, stressing the fact that your health care should be there for you all the time, not just when you need it most.

Want to get in on the fun? If you are already a member of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, you can share your mini health story for a chance to win your own Blue Box perk! Simply visit their site, click “Enter to Win” and fill out this super quick form.

Be sure to check out the Blue Box Truck Facebook Page and Twitter to follow along and see where the Blue Box Truck may have popped up around you! Now I want to hear from you…what are simple things you do every day (big or small) to stay healthy?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts . The opinions and text are all mine.

                 

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Cheerful, Fit Foxxy Trotter Who Makes the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies You Ever Ate

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Happy Friday ladies! This week completely flew by for me, as I ran the Tufts 10K for Women on Monday and have been busy every since. I’m really looking forward to the weekend, as hubby & I are planning on escaping the city in his brand new car for a fall foliage adventure!

Now to this week’s Healthy Chick in the community, who I can’t wait to introduce you to! Jen is a very special person, and happens to be one of my mom’s best friends. She’s seriously one of the most genuine, cheerful gals I have ever met and she’s a good friend to all. When you’re around her, you just feel good.

That’s why it was extra motivating to have her there for my very first half marathon — the More/Fitness Magazine half in Central Park! In fact, she was our biggest cheerleader the entire weekend and the one who encouraged us to sign up in the first place. No wonder she’s the one that came up with the idea to form a run / walk group for her gal pals, “The Foxxy Trotters!”

My family & I are so lucky to know Jen, and now you all are lucky enough to meet her too!

NAME/AGE: Jennifer Fortin 54

CURRENT CITY: Marlborough CT

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): Me and my bestie “foxxy7″ aka Rachel’s mom after the Newport half marathon. 2nd photo: foxxytrotters celebrating St Patty’s with 5k, green beer and corn beef

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I am a nurse case manager at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. It is a job I love! I have the privilege of helping children and their families through their journey from hospital to home.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: living life to the fullest, life is short need to enjoy the sweet moments

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: achieving a healthy work life balance

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: enjoy retail therapy

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: coffee, seasonal fruit, greek yougart

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: occassional cocktail hour especially with an ocean view

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU:

1. I ran my first half marathon at age 49. I have completed 11 so far

2. I am usually one of the first ones on the dance floor. “Mustang Sally” is my signature song!

3. Nobody makes a better chocolate chip cookie

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: I love to start my day with a 3 mile run and watch the sun come up. If I start my day with exercise, I am a kinder, more organized and energetic worker

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: JGilbert’s augratin potatoes

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” -Oprah Winfrey

Big thank you to Jen for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community. Miss last week’s? Catch it here! And if you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

                 

So you got your 6-pack…but are you happier?

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I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of sick of people posting their diet tummies, full body selfies and before-and-afters on insta, and feel it’s sending a bit of a construed message.

Yesterday morning, I poured myself a mug of pumpkin coffee and browsed through instagram while I finished waking up. Immediately, I was bombarded by several body shots boasting extreme weight loss, 6-packs and ridiculous before-and-afters. (Trust me, your “before” picture looks just fine!)

I felt angry. For myself (I’ve been there) For other women struggling with body image. For those who are vulnerable + often compare themselves to other people’s bodies. For those who still believe that being thin is everything.

Sure, you can do the insane juice cleanse or 21 day “fix” and then maybe just maybe you’ll get a flat tummy, 6-pack & all you ever wanted. But is that really all you ever wanted? Are you happier? Do you feel good? What did it do for your soul?

And why the need to post your body shot publicly — is it for you?

Do you truly think it’s inspiring other women? (Ahem, it’s not.)

Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with posting your accomplishments. Relish the feeling of finishing your first 5K. Embrace how confident & sexy you feel in your new red dress or lulu tank that shows off your strong arms. Be proud of how strong you feel in your body after you reach a personal milestone. Share your brand-new recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin bread because it does good for the soul.

If you want to inspire others, post those moments. Tell these stories. After all, I’m much more interested in getting to know the woman behind the 6-pack.

A picture of your stomach doesn’t say anything. It’s just a picture. Of your body. Online. Think about the kind of message that is sending.

So many women are constantly striving to make their bodies look better, shed more weight & lose the extra fat by dieting, slaving away at the gym and doing more, more, more. (Trust me, I used to be one of them, I get it.)

But when we’re constantly busy trying to improve our bodies, are we really living?

Are you having fun?

Do you feel good inside — mind, body & soul?

These are the questions we need to start asking ourselves.

Restricting yourself to the max is not joyous nor feel-good. Telling yourself these are the foods I “can” and “can’t” eat is not instilling a healthy relationship with food or your body. Extreme dieting is not sustainable in the long run. And by all means having a 6-pack is not everything.

To me you already are beautiful darling; it’s how you feel on the inside that counts most.

xoxo,

Rachel

                 

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A self-published yogi who speaks from the heart

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Good morning ladies, and Happy Friday! I just got back from NYC on a work trip; I must say the city always wears me out but damn do they have good food.

I’m now back to my number 1 Boston, and ready to bring you this week’s feature on Healthy Chicks in the Community! I met Karen a couple years back over good coffee & conversation. This lady never fails to impress me with her accomplishments — she’s a yoga teacher, author and just recently launched her own wellness show. Not to mention she has her first yoga retreat coming up this spring in Tulum, Mexico! Pretty darn cool, huh?

But most of all, she’s a good person and she keeps it real. I’ll let you meet Karen for yourself!

NAME/AGE: Karen Fabian, 51 years old

BLOG/TWITTER: www.barebonesyoga.com / barebonesyoga

CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): Charles River Esplanade July, 2015

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I’ve been teaching yoga since 2002. I started my own brand, Bare Bones Yoga in 2009 as a way to reflect my passion for providing challenging, yet accessible classes.

I host and produce my own TV show on wellness called “Living Well” on the Boston Neighborhood Network and wrote a book for yoga teachers called “Stretched: Build Your Yoga Business, Grow Your Teaching Techniques.” I teach anatomy to yoga teachers and write for some popular websites on yoga related topics. I teach classes and workshops in Boston.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Teaching yoga, teaching the anatomy related to yoga

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Meditating, teaching, practicing yoga and running.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I color in my French coloring book!

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Tuna, salad stuff, Vitamin Water

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: Cupcakes!

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU: I love to do karaoke, love to cook and love teaching yoga to kids!

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Running

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Lasagna

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Stand up tall and speak from the heart. Always.

Big thank you to Karen for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community. Miss last week’s? Catch it here! And if you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

                 

Save time in the kitchen with Just Add Cooking Boston-Based Meal Delivery Service {+ a Giveaway}

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Last night, I was lucky enough to be invited to Just Add Cooking’s media event at Sur La Table in Back Bay. It was a lovely evening filled with an interactive cooking class, mingling, and of course wine & cheese!

JUST ADD COOKING INS & OUTS

For those of you who don’t know, Just Add Cooking is a Boston-based meal delivery service, which takes the stress out of cooking! Each week, subscribers choose from 7 different recipes (ranging from pork and beef to fish and vegetarian entrees) and a box is delivered straight to your door with everything you need to cook.

The best part? Everything is pre-portioned, right down to the teaspoon of cumin or 6 oz. piece of fish so all you need to do — literally — is add cooking. Not to mention, they do their best to source everything local as best they can, which I’m obviously all for! (Note: you won’t want to miss the giveaway & discount code offered at the end of this post.)

COOKING CLASS AT SUR LA TABLE

Yesterday evening, us lucky bloggers got to tackle one of the JAC recipes from start to finish! We made the Seared Prawns with Salsa recipe, which features fresh salsa from an incredible local company: Nola’s Salsa. With prep time just 20 minutes, JAC labeled this recipe as “easy,” ideal for those new to cooking or on a time crunch! (You can take a peek at all of their other innovative recipes here.)

The lovely Chef Holly guided us through each of the steps, making cooking easy peasy as it should be. She was incredible, showing us tips like how to properly hold a knife like you mean it, get the most juice out of a lemon, or cook rice without making it a “sticky” mess.

It amazed me that dinner was on the table less than 25 minutes from when we started prepping. How freakin’ amazing is that? It made me think of all the many things you could do if you didn’t have to go grocery shopping, meal planning or deal with unnecessary prep each week.

Once the shrimp was done cooking, we assembled it onto a platter with the rice for the ultimate presentation.

{dinner is served!}

The flavor combination was unreal…and the fresh flavors of dill, lemon and garlic really shined through, marrying together just perfectly.

WANT TO GET IN ON THE COOKING FUN? IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!

If you want to get in on the fun, you’re in luck! One lucky Boston-based reader will receive a gift card for a 3-meal, 2 person box of your choosing delivered straight to your home.

To enter, simply complete the following by EOD 10/13:

1.) Leave a comment on this post with your favorite time-saving kitchen hack, or what you would do if you didn’t have to grocery shop, prep & meal plan each week (required)

2.) Follow Just Add Cooking on Facebook here. (required)

3.) Tweet the following “Yum, @Healthy_Chicks is giving away a FREE two-person, 3 meal box to @AddCooking! Enter here: http://healthy-chicks.com/?p=6949 (Bonus point, leave additional comment below once you tweet)

Ready, set…JUST ADD COOKING! I will choose a winner EOD Tuesday, October 13th. Note: you must reside in the Greater Boston area to enter the giveaway. Check to see if JAC delivers to you here!

Big thank you for Just Add Cooking, Sur La Table & Nola’s Salsa for hosting such a lovely event! If you’d like to give Just Add Cooking a go, for the month of October you can use code HC50 for 50% off your first JAC order. New customers only, offer expires 10/31/15.

                 

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Fit, Passionate, Sangria-Loving Entrepreneur

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Well, it’s finally starting to feel like fall (and I’m totally OK with it!) Check out my post on cleansing your mind, body & soul as we tackle yet another seasonal shift.

Anyway, moving on to this week’s HC in the Community! I first met Sarah at a fitness event (of course!) last year, and was immediately drawn to her passion. You could tell this girl had a lot of love for what she does — a gal after my own heart! ;) Because of this love, Sarah has been able to create a whole community around fitness + wellness for college students. It’s pretty cool stuff..see for yourself!

NAME/AGE: Sarah Gaines, 22

BLOG/TWITTER: www.gofitu.com Personal twitter: @sarahjgaines / Business twitter: @gofitu

CURRENT CITY: Somerville, MA

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): Me doing “ninja burpees” (new favorite exercise) this past summer at a Nike workout.

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I help college students get fit and stay fit! I am the founder of Fit University, a college student’s go-to source for all things health & fitness. Through our online content – think recipes you can make in your dorm room, workouts to squeeze in between classes, how to balance mental health & fitness – and our campus chapters, Fit University is an all-inclusive community of fit & healthy students.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Changing the way college students view and experience health & fitness.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: already done with my workout, enjoyed a delicious breakfast (preferably eggs, avocado & toast) and showered by 9am. There’s nothing like getting in a great workout before the start of your day to really get you going!

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: Enjoy a glass of sangria or some ice cream. Or both….

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES:
1) Greek yogurt
2) Chicken
3) Anything green

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: Can I say sangria and ice cream again? Also, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU:
1) I’m a sucker for nail art. I get pretty festive around the holidays. Turkeys and skeletons have made appearances in recent years!

2) I competed in a bodybuilding competition in the fitness division.

3) I loooove to sing. I was in an A Capella group in college and I have a secret desire to sing jazz & blues at a club.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Weight training makes my strength shine, yoga makes my heart shine :)

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Mint chocolate chip ice cream in a cone, please!

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: You are who you spend the most time with. Do what you love and find people to support that love. Surround yourself with positivity and ignore the naysayers.  And whatever you do, have fun with it!!

Big thank you to Sarah for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community. Miss last week’s? Catch it here! And if you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom

                 

 
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