My Top 5 Foodie Gifts for the Holidays

It’s such a wonderful time of year and I just love giving gifts. Giving is definitely one of my love languages. But, do you ever just scratch your head wondering what to get that foodie in your life? Look no further. These holiday gifts will knock their culinary socks off and it’s not too late to get them.

Holiday Foodie

  1. This has been one of my favorite gifts to give and receive over the last couple of years. Did you know you can give the gift of an Italian olive tree adoption AND get olive oil from your tree in the spring? It’s a personal, healthy, and delicious gift. And, the fine people at Nudo gave me a coupon to give to you!  Use NUDOXMAS20 to give them 20% off any Olive Oil or Tea adoption at
  2. Don’t just give a magazine subscription, give Cook’s Illustrated. I get at least half a dozen cooking magazines a month and Cook’s Illustrated is the most useful, well-written and foodie-minded cooking mag you’ll find. Click here to grab their holiday special. The back of the magazine is always a great food print. It’s pretty enough to frame.
  3. Jennifer’s Chandler’s The Southern Pantry Cookbook isn’t just for the Southern foodie in your life. Like all of her user-friendly cookbooks, this cookbook shares favorite recipes from her friends and family that are simple enough for even the beginner foodie. You may even find a recipe from yours truly on page 31. You can pick it up online here or, get signed copies in Memphis at Babcock Gifts or The Booksellers of Laurelwood.
  4. If you want to give a gift you can grow, check out Back to the Root’s Organic Mushroom Farm. You can grow it and eat right in your kitchen. You can pick up your farm online here. I picked one up at my local Whole Foods store.
  5. And, for the cook in your life that likes whipping up a fab meal but hates the planning process, get a membership. The menus are created by little ol’ me and provide back-to-basics, balanced dinner menus for every night of the week. Get the first month free by using code: GIFTFREE2014. Get it online right here.

There’s still time to get your foodie gifts. I hope you have the merriest holiday ever!

“Tis the Season” Mistakes (& how to fix them)

By now you’ve heard the phrase “tis the season” at least a dozen times. “Tis the season” for this and that, and food pushing, and diet gimmicks, and overeating, and saying yes when you want to say no, and so on. Why is it that we sometimes allow “tis the season” to mean a “get out of jail free card” or simply losing our minds? We allow this season to be an excuse for actions like overspending, overeating (a lot) and over committing. We simply ignore the consequences until “tis the season” no longer.

Let’s break it

MISTAKE: Overspending is something I’ve been guilty of at times. I love to give gifts and wrap them beautifully. It’s such a pleasure to see someone open and really like a gift, until I get my bank statement.

FIX: Set a limit for a total gift budget and a budget for each person on your gift list. Don’t feel like you need to give a gift when you get one. If the giver is like me, I just like to give and don’t expect anything in return (unless it’s the hubs, he better wrap something up). Make homemade gifts like infused oils, soaps, or freezer meals to cut cost while increasing your gift thoughtfulness value :). Lastly, discuss budgets with friends and family. It can help when others take a more creative and cost-effective approach with you.Delicious coarse

MISTAKE: Overeating because this is the only time of year I can get this food. It’s like someone locked turkey, dressing, and cranberries in a vault somewhere until this one day. It’s absurd but hey, “tis the season.”

FIX: Unlock the vault and pull out your favorite foods for a preview a couple of weeks BEFORE the holiday. I think this is such a smart strategy that members have a preview dinner planned this week. This allows time to test recipes and mindfully enjoy those foods without the hustle, bustle and other distractors. When it’s time to have that Turkey Day meal, you won’t be the one stuffed. Give it a try for other holiday meals as well. You may be surprised how “Thanksgiving full” you’re not.Party Word Circled Calendar Day Word Reminder

MISTAKE: Overcommitting is also part of our “tis the season” insanity. The holidays can be a great time to catch up with friends and family but we can let our social calendar derail our self-care (fitness, sleep, meals, & meal planning) time by overcommitting.

FIX: Plan your schedule once a week and start with activities that make YOU feel well. Protect your self-care time (even if it’s just a walk – alone), plan your meals ahead of time, and say no to parties you don’t want to attend. When we’re overcommitted, we tend not to think about getting enough sleep, water, balanced meals and exercise. Getting too far out of our routine can lead to fatigue, poor hydration, overeating, and January regret. So plan now for protecting your self-care time. If you feel well, chances are everyone around will have a happier holiday too!

Remember, it’s not about a diet. It’s about a plan! How will you prevent these holiday mistakes this season? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

5 Halloween Tips to take the Trick out of your Treat!

Candy, candy everywhere! Halloween treats don’t have to freak you out. Blair Mize, Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC dietitian and nutrition pro tricked out these Halloween treat tips for you.

Tip #1

Blair Hallow 1

Tip #2: One instance when it’s good for kids to be picky…

Blair Hallow 2

Tip #3: Helping your kids enjoy Halloween treats starts today with having a conversation and modeling a healthy, non-diet approach to food for your kids.

Blair Hallow 3

Tip #4:

Don’t be scared of this one…

Check out Ellyn Satter’s Book, Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming for more information about raising your children to have a healthy relationship with food.

Blair Hallow 4

Tip #5: If this sounds crazy, check out this website for a more info.

Blair Hallow 5

Have a safe and healthy day!

Are you guilty of the worst leftover mistake?

Do leftovers get you down or even gross you out? Does thought of having the same ol’ pork chop make you want to hit the pizza speed dial button? Listen, you are not alone.

Meal planning and strategically using leftovers is one of my specialties. Over the years, I’ve learned how to transform that boring chicken breast into something the neighbors call “restaurant” food. And, I promise it’s doesn’t take a cooking show production either.

chicken with roasted potatoes

Have you made these leftover mistakes?

  1. Reheating the same old food in the same form day after day?
  2. Overcooking while reheating in the microwave?
  3. Not using sauces or textures changes?

Those are major leftover mistakes but the absolute worst offender is…

Calling your meal “leftover!”

Doesn’t smothered grilled chicken sound better than “leftovers.” Give it and shot and let me know how it goes! Here’s a quick video segment I did on repurposing your meals. If you need more help signup for my free 3-day sample and updates at

Have a tasty week!

Let’s Talk about the “F” Word

Could this “F” word be just as bad as the bleeped one? Let’s stop teaching and tolerating fat-talk. The “F” word has no place in healthy conversations.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Oh, and by the way, skinny isn’t necessarily a healthy word either.

Don’t let Pasta Freak you out. Plate it up Right!

I love pasta. Real, authentic, pasta.

People often leave it out of their meals because they’re afraid they will overeat it. Well, that’s a possibility if pasta is wearing the plate.

Try mixing half sautéed veggies with your pasta to get a better balance, and more veggies on your plate.

pasta veggies

How will you plate your pasta? Do you have a special sauce or tip? Tell us about it in the comments.

Need help planning those super meals? You’re in luck! is the answer.

Help! This Gal needs a Chip

tortilla chips

No tortilla chips? No problem. You can easily make your own!

Usually, I have plain ol’ corn tortillas around the house. So, this recipe is easy peasy!

Turn oven to broil. Using a pizza cutter, quarter small(taco size) corn tortillas. Cut as many as you like. Put one layer cut tortillas on baking sheet. Lightly spray with olive oil, add salt to taste. I add paprika too for the smokey flavor. You can add any spice you like to taste.

Put in oven on broil (middle rack) for 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the chips over and broil another 2-3 minutes. Make sure to watch them–all broilers are different and you don’t want with burnt chips.

Enjoy! Serve with salsa or smashed avocado. Store leftovers in airtight container. 

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