December Picks

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Five days in and it still hasn’t hit me that it’s December. How did that happen? We’re one month away from a new year? Woah.

My apartment is fully decorated for Christmas and I’ve been doing lots of Christmas-y things (music on blast, watching the movie Elf, starting on presents, etc.) but I still don’t fully feel the Christmas spirit yet. It’s not that I’m in a bad mood or anything- that’s far from the truth- but it just doesn’t seem real that Christmas is like three weeks away. I’m sure it will smack me in the face sometime soon. Maybe after Will and I decorate our tree on Saturday?

Anyway… here are the things I’m loving this December {here are the links to my October Picks and my November Picks}.

Grocery Store Find: Gluten Free Wafer CookiesP1040781Normally I avoid shelf products that are labeled “gluten free” because they tend to be packed with just as much sugar as non-gluten free stuff. Just like I don’t need gluten filled cookies in my apartment- I don’t need gluten free ones either. BUT when I was pulling items at work for a hot cocoa bar for a group of 6th graders who were coming over to my store, I spotted these and was hit with nostalgia. I used to LOVE wafer cookies. They’re so addictingly delicious- especially dipped into some warm tea or hot chocolate. Yum. I had to buy a box. Luckily I have diamond strength willpower so I can handle these being in my apartment. And they don’t make my belly hurt! That’s the best part.

Snack Savior: PepperoniP1040780This snack is really random, I know, but for some reason all last week I was craving pepperoni. So when I went grocery shopping, I had to buy some. I’ve been eating it as a mid-afternoon snack with some nuts.

Foodie Freak Thing: Rise Bakerywpid-img_20141202_104347.jpgwpid-img_20141204_084745.jpgRise Bakery on 18th street FINALLY opened! Most people don’t even know what I’m talking about- but I used to walk past their closed storefront on my way to work all the time and have my fingers crossed that they’d open sometime soon. The day has come! The owner cannot eat gluten and so he took the charge to create DC’s first and only gluten free bakery! They are also 100% peanut free. YAY! They use flour blends that are minimally processed and can even take special orders for stuff.

They have bagels and sweet things and rolls and croissants- it’s so awesome. I bought hot dog rolls from there for my Green Bay NFL Sunday Supper meal + a pumpkin cream cheese muffin… omg that muffin was amazing.

Book: The Andy Cohen Diaries

Okay okay so I don’t own this book yet. But its the one on my list that I’m most looking forward to reading (I’m hoping it gets gifted to me for Christmas he he and if not, it’s definitely something I’ll buy with Christmas cash). After Jimmy Fallon, Andy Cohen is my favorite late night talk show host.

Look: Sweaters on Sweaters on Sweaters.

I don’t think more needs to be said here. It got unseasonably cold real quick in DC and sweaters have been necessary. Also, working in a grocery store is cold. Not only is the store pretty cold, but we’re constantly running into fridges and freezers to grab food for people. You just gotta dress warm.

Cookbook: Practical PaleoIMG_20141127_201418[1]I’ve owned this cookbook and dietary guide for a while now, but I’ve been using it a lot lately to cook simple, fairly easy dinners and meals. Most of the recipes don’t have a million ingredients, all of the recipes are good for me and will not upset my body in anyway, and I still haven’t tried a recipe that I didn’t like. I made the pumpkin pie custard for Thanksgiving and it was SO GOOD. I want to make it again… even though pumpkin pie season is slowly dying (do people do pumpkin pie for Christmas? maybe? I don’t even know. Christmas seems to be more about cookies).

Anticipated Meal: Sunday before Christmas

That might seem oddly specific to you all, but the Sunday before Christmas is the last day that Will and I will be together before Christmas. He’s leaving for home on Monday and I’m leaving on Tuesday night. SO we’re making a big deal about that Sunday and celebrating Christmas together then. That Sunday the Patriots are playing the Jets (the best matchup) and so I’ll be making another PIZZA (Will and I’s favorite food) and I’m thinking of topping it with calamari… I’m ridiculously excited about it. I want to make a dessert from Mediterranean Paleo (something chocolate and pistachio, preferably). I can’t wait.

DC Restaurant Adventure: Lights Up on 14th StreetlightsThis is not really about the eating… but tonight a good chunk of the restaurants and shops on the ever growing 14th street are having a light display contest in their windows tonight. You can go around, take advantage of some free stuff and deals, eat, drink, and vote on the displays. Will and I are going to stroll through our neighborhood and enjoy it all!

Smart Choice: Cookbook Planning

I love cookbooks. But cooking from them isn’t the easiest thing in the world because I don’t always have them on hand and so I can’t spontaneously decide to make a recipe because I don’t know the ingredients. It’s also hard to meal plan when I’m not at home because I forget all the things I want to make in my big cookbook collection. SO I went through all my favorites and typed up in a document on my Google Drive, all the recipes + what book they’re in + what page they’re on + how many servings they yield. That way when I’m trying to meal plan, I can just open up that document and remind myself of the stuff I want to make without going through each cookbook every single week.

Next Best Thing to Water: Hot ChocolateP1040782I know hot chocolate isn’t healthy in the same way that water is or the other type of beverages I normally list here BUT it. is. so. good. In my counting calories day, hot chocolate was one of those things that I cut out of my diet and never let myself drink. I had always loved the stuff so I definitely missed it and felt deprived without it. When I was recovering from food issues, reintroducing foods that I like but had stopped consuming became really important. Hot cocoa was one of those things. I don’t drink it all the time but boy oh boy- I can’t even tell you how perfect it was to have a mug of the stuff (made with egg nog almond milk) while watching Elf on Wednesday night.

New Song: Beyoncé (extended songs and remixes)

I recently bought a couple of the songs that were originally supposed to be on Beyoncé’s latest album but didn’t make the final cut (thanks iTunes!). In between listening to Christmas music, I’ve been rocking out to these jams. I really like the Flawless remix with Nicki Minaj and the song, Standing on the Sun, which was in an H&M commercial last year.

Old Tunes: Christmas Music

The day after Thanksgiving- the Christmas music playing game was on like donkey kong. I wait for it every year and love it more and more each time. Some of my favorites are Santa Claus is Coming to Town done by Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper, Merry Christmas Baby done by Bruce Springsteen, Have Yourself a Merry Christmas done by Judy Garland, and What Christmas Means to Me done by Stevie Wonder.

Work Thing: All about Christmas

Working in a grocery store around the holidays is hectic-yes- but it also is wicked fun. I walk in through a tunnel of Christmas trees, am surrounded by holly and poinsettias, and am helping people figure out what they want to eat with family and friends. It’s great. I’m doing no bake holiday desserts with the Middle Schoolers that I do a cooking class with a couple times a month, I’m setting up a Hanukkah tasting in the store, and I’m helping to run a big winterfest event this Saturday featuring the Children’s Choir of Washington (they’ll be singing Christmas Carols!)

Workout Thing: RIDE DC one-year celebration and the new Urban Athletic Club location

RIDE DC is my favorite spin studio that I’ve tried. They’re celebrating their one year anniversary this month (which is crazy to me) and they’re doing lots of fun things this weekend in honor of their one year status. They’re hosting all these cool themed rides tomorrow (read: there is Disney ride) and then having $12 rides on Sunday as a thank you to the community for their participation and support. Definitely check it out if you’re looking for a workout this weekend. I’ll be there on Sunday!

Also, the Urban Athletic Club (formally known as Roam Fitness- who I’ve done many an Out Run with) just opened up a second location close to Dupont Circle. They’re offering FREE classes from now till December 14th. AWESOME. They do really great functional exercise workouts focusing on different areas of the body. I took a total body class with Andrew Sleazack (author of Brews, Biceps, and BBQ) and it was a really solid workout. My biceps were screaming at me the next day. I highly recommend checking out the new spot and taking a class with Andrew- and reading his blog!

HOORAY FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON 🙂P1040783wpid-img_20141203_182519.jpgKeep it wicked healthy xoxo

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