Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie Bowl

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Thank you for letting me write you that story last week. It felt so damn good to release all of that. And after purging all those thoughts, I’m shifting my focus to the present. By creating packing to-do lists {we leave in exactly two weeks from today!!} and ramping up my super self-care regimen. I am getting there, one step at a time.

And, before we get to this Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie Bowl powered by ALOHA {O.M.G.} let’s talk acupuncture.

Last night I had my first ever acupuncture treatment. And I’ll totally admit it, I was super nervous. I wasn’t apprehensive that it would hurt or be uncomfortable. I just had this nagging irrational fear that the process would somehow agitate my pre-existing conditions {anxiety, worry, stress} and I would be left in a worse state of mind. I guess it was the fear of the unknown, how I would feel afterwards, etc. But I conjured up enough guts, bundled up and walked across the street, up four floors and into the historic old brownstone that houses The Wellnest, the cutest little integrative health center in my whole neighborhood.

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I’m really glad I did it. The center’s warm and soothing environment, flickering candles and meditative music put my worries at ease. As much as I was uneasy going into the process, I was just as relaxed leaving. My treatment left me renewed with optimism; I’m eager to do more treatments when I get to St. Louis. The Wellnest is owned by a mother/daughter duo, Alyssa Kelly Boente + Dr. Maureen Kelly. Together they operate with an accommodating staff of acupuncturists, massage therapists, counselors, nutritionists and yoga instructors. Philly people – you can grab $20 off your first session by heading over to their site + signing up for their mailing list. DO IT, you won’t regret it, I promise!

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Red Curry Noodle Bowls with a Creamy Cashew Broth + some really big news!!

Red Curry Noodle Bowls | With Food + Love
It’s no secret that the past few months have been really hard. In just about every way imaginable; physically, emotionally, spiritually and so forth. I want to share with you some real life stuff + some real life thoughts. Because while I pour myself onto the pages of this blog each week, the end result is sometimes heavily edited with filters that protect me from criticism and vulnerability. As I maneuver through this world, as a woman in progress I’d like to tell the truth to you more often. This is a story about love and real life transitions.

Thank you for reading.

When my husband went back to school this fall in Colorado to pursue his career dreams in aviation, my life flipped upside down. While I wholeheartedly supported and honored his personal growth and goals, I was not at all prepared for the time we would spend apart. I could feel our relationship changing. Growing and deepening at times, but at others lonely and distant. I spent a lot of time alone, traveling out west. Alone on airplanes, trains, city buses. Alone at home in Philadelphia. Even when I was with people, I felt alone. Often feeling very scared, just me and my thoughts. My anxieties worsened, manifesting into physical symptoms of aches + pains, numbness + tingling, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, paranoia and delusional thoughts. I was losing control.

And, I lost a sense of who I was.

Red Curry Noodle Bowls | With Food + Love
Red Curry Noodle Bowls | With Food + Love
November was the darkest month of my life. And even though I was back at home, reunited with Chris again, we were living a life in limbo. My husband’s very potential job offer had hung us out to dry for three solid weeks. Every hour of each day we’d wait by the phone for the call to come in to cue the packing. We didn’t even know if we were going to have Thanksgiving dinner until the day before Thanksgiving. But that call never came and so little by little life just started to move forward again.

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Winter Chopped Kale Salad with Oranges + a Zesty Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Today’s post is brought to you by The Trust for Public Land, an organization committed to protecting parks and other natural spaces right in your own backyard. When I was first approached to be a part of this campaign I planned on jumping in my Jeep and heading out of the city and into some rural spaces to get some beautiful shots along the river.

I was daydreaming about shooting the trail scenes along the Wissahickon. And although I love it there and it is a great space just a few miles right outside of my city, the truth is I’ve only hiked there maybe two times in the past five years.

And so I thought more about it and decided to share with you something much more genuine and true. Because when I’m not traveling and when I’m just living my day to day life in this great big city of Philadelphia, I rarely get to visit big wide open spaces, lush forests and trickling streams. For the past five years I’ve relied solely on neighborhood parks and small green spaces to bring me peace of mind and clean, fresh air. And, these city parks are just as important to me.

So I pulled on my parka, grabbed my camera and headed across the street to my favorite city refuge. Tucked deeply behind Pennsylvania Hospital {the oldest hospital in the country + they performed surgeries outdoors in this very space at high noon before there was electricity, creepy I know} lies an ancient medicinal herb garden and a couple of benches that are guarded by a giant brick wall and and several gingko trees. This park is a top-secret city gem. It’s my escape. In the spring and summer and fall I study the garden; I admire its herbs, flowers and bumblebees. And in the winter I read, write in my journal and daydream my cares away.

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Pomegranate Brownies with Cacao Nibs + Sea Salt

It’s been gloomy and overcast with a wintry mix for what feels like an eternity. November was very dreary for me on all accounts and I couldn’t be happier that it’s a brand new month with fresh vibes + positivity. And finally, today, the sun is shining and I’m headed out to enjoy it, so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet.

But first, here are a few things you should know…

Pomegranate Brownies with Cacao Nibs + Sea Salt | With Food + Love
Pomegranate Brownies with Cacao Nibs + Sea Salt | With Food + Love
These pomegranate brownies sprinkled with cacao nibs + sea salt. They’re soft + chewy + sweet and a little bit salty + perfect. They’re merry, bright and festive enough without totally being like it’s Christmassssss, unless you’re ready for that. I’m not ready, these brownies are easing me into the holiday season.

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Super Veggie Sage Stuffing with Brussels Broccoli + Kale

As life currently stands, I may or may not celebrate Thanksgiving next week.

Option one - be all comfy, cozy and warm at my mother’s home in Connecticut, sharing the special day with my grandmother and my sister and my husband. Option two – be tucked in tight of the passenger seat of my Jeep, racing the clock, plowing through middle America behind a moving truck. Only time will tell, but until then I will be daydreaming about this Thanksgiving of my dreams.

The menu would include:

Alternating glasses of this earl grey cider cocktail + this pomegranate cranberry punch.
These sweet potato pancakes to nibble on.
This broccoli + fennel soup to slurp on.
Then a giant plate loaded up with . . .
mashed potatoes + gravy
super veggie sage stuffing {see below}
sauteed green beans with mushrooms + leeks
shredded brussel sprout fall salad
roasted acorn squash with caramelized shallots
And then . . .
a generous slice of this cranberry lemon tart
+ this kabocha squash pie, both topped with a giant dollop of earl grey whipped cream.
This super veggie sage stuffing is tops my friends. Super heavy on the veg, packed with flavor and vegan accommodating – POW!! To celebrate the Thanksgiving spirit and the essence of this gluten-free stuffing recipe, I’m giving away a copy of Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by, Jeff Hertzberg + Zoe Francois; the Minneapolis duo behind the popular site, Bread in 5.

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Earl Grey SNAP Cider Cocktails + autumn shore scenes

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For the past 10 months, I’ve been living in a perpetual state of uncertainty. Since the day my husband told me he was changing careers and going back to school {which ultimately means us leaving Philadelphia} my head has been spinning in a constant loop of equal parts excitement, anxiety and unknowns. The loop, pretty much it sounds like this…

Moving is fun. Moving is exciting! But…when will we move? Where will we move? When will we find out when we’re leaving? And when that comes, will I want to go? Will I be happy? Will I be scared? How will my relationship{s} change? Will my husband be working more? Will I see my husband less? Will I see my family less? Will I be lonely?

A n n n n d . . . repeat.

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I am trying to be patient. I am trying to stay flexible. I’m trying to keep positive, radiate good vibes and manifest our destiny of good health + good fortune. I remind myself daily that good things come to those who wait. And, to those who work hard. Two things my husband and I have gotten a lot of practice with in 2014. Nonetheless, patience and flexibility, don’t come so easy for me. It’s just not the way I’m wired.

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Creamy Broccoli Fennel Soup with Kale + Meyer Lemon Zest

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So I talk about my CSA, Philly FoodWorks – a lot. The people behind this mission are my heroes and when/if I leave Philadelphia this will be on the very top of my “things I will greatly miss” list. For the past six months I have been working with Philly FoodWorks to spread their good word, their honest mission and bring you weekly plant-based recipes using their beautiful, locally sourced, organic produce.

And – I’ve loved every second of it.

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While I was away in Denver {you can read more about that here} our collaboration paused for a bit. And while I was busy traveling out west and fueling my soul with new sights and inspiration, they were busy doing equally awesome stuff. Like delivering quality produce and locally crafted artisan eats, as in breads, cheeses and jams. Additionally they were kicking ass, carving pumpkins and creating all sorts of awesome simple syrups and cocktails with my friends over at Art in the Age. Philly rules man, it’s so great to see such positive vibes being spread here through good people and good food.

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