Life Lately {September and October 2014}

It’s been a while since I’ve done a life update post, huh? It’s been since August, to be exact.

Life Lately

I don’t know about you, but I welcomed fall with wide open arms this year. Like I mentioned in my new newsletter that went out last week, I was happy to embrace the new season because it meant things were slowing down a bit from all the craziness that the summer brought. The first week of September was spent off from work. We spent the first half of the week celebrating my birthday, checking out potential wedding venues, and enjoying some time at home. We spent the second half of the week up north in one of our favorite places, Maine!

Maine Vacation: Cape Porpoise

When we got home from our vacation, we immediately were back into wedding mode, as we needed to make a decision within a week about our wedding venue. We were really torn between Atlantica in Cohasset for an ocean front wedding and Zorvino’s in NH for a rustic winery wedding. The second weekend in September we actually did a second visit back up to Zorvino’s just to make sure we had all our questions answered, and the return visit really clinched it for us. So that’s that! Our wedding date is set for Sunday, September 20th of next year at Zorvino’s!


We are really excited about our venue, but I am just so relieved that the venue researching part of the process is over. Don’t get me wrong, I am really enjoying other parts of the planning, but the venue hunt simply wasn’t one of them. I feel guilty saying that because everyone and their mom and second cousin once removed felt the need to remind me about how AMAZING all of that should have been, but you know what? Trying to coordinate viewing a bunch of places all over the state between the hours of 8 and 4 during the week and keep it all straight actually wasn’t that amazing to me. I’m way more excited now that we have our venue and church selected and can think about more exciting things like who is going to lead the Greek dancing circles, what color I want my bridesmaids to wear, and what our signature drinks should be. Right?!


Other mentionable September happenings include apple picking,

Apple Picking 2014

attending the annual WWCMA conference for work,

WWCMA 2014 Conference

going to a sweetgreen passport class called Barre & Bites with Liz,

sweetgreen barre & bites

and much more of THIS than I’ve been able to do in a really long time:

Tea on the Couch

There were also a couple of nights out to dinner with friends. I saw Allison for dinner at Seasons 52 in Burlington one night, and I met up with Bridget, Slesh, and Trina at a restaurant called Forum downtown. However, I’d say one of the main highlights of September was one of my bestie’s weddings! Holy moly, talk about an amazing fun weekend in NYC celebrating Erica and Chris. One of the best weddings I’ve ever been to, and just for the record, Tim and I figured out we’ve been to 23 in 3 years. So I think we are pretty good wedding judgers!

Erica & Chris: NYC Wedding

October was here before we even knew it, and I kicked off the month by hosting my really fun event at Athleta. Another one is in the works, so make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get early bird signup privileges and sneak peek details!

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

Tim was away for a bachelor party the first weekend of the month, so I used the time to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen a long time. I did dinner with my friend Erin at Isabella Restaurant and was able to get together spontaneously with some of the gym girls at Solea for sangria and tapas too. After we did dinner that night, I hung with Ashley at her house for awhile just catching up and drinking cider.

The week Tim got back, I was supposed to go to the October New Balance Girls Night Out event, but since we were still sharing a car at this point, it was impossible to get downtown. I was bummed to miss it, but Tim did get a new Altima, and we didn’t go broke (or start hating each other) in the process.

Other beginning of October things included a date night to see The Lion King (my birthday present, with dinner at Harvard Gardens first),

The Lion King

Tim’s godson’s christening,

Wes's Baptism

a random Tuesday night sleepover/gym friend get together at Ashley’s house when Jen was back in the states,

Jen's Visit: Tuesday Night Sleepover

and wedding dress shopping! I went first to David’s Bridal in Danvers to get a better idea of what type of style I was going for. I had no clue going into it whether I wanted satin versus lace, strapless versus not, etc. so that really helped. I brought my mom, MOH (Slesh), and bridesmaid (and seamstress!) Shannon with me, and they were all awesome throughout the whole process.

Wedding Dress Shopping

I went dress shopping again the following week, this time with my mom and Shannon again, but my Uncle Chris came along too. This trip I found the gown! I can’t wait for you guys to see it, but I suppose you’ll have to wait a year, huh?

Wedding: Gown

October’s last few weeks were spent celebrating our five year anniversary (dinner at Harvest in Harvard Square + drinks at Beat Hotel — HIGHLY recommend both),

Five Year Anniversary

spontaneously going to Harvest Fest 2014 in Somerville (SO many fun beers and food samples!),

Somerville Harvest Fest 2014

running the Oak Square OAKtoberfest 5k and post race brunching,

OAKtoberfest 5k Race & Taste: Family

Cook Restaurant

getting my monthly deep tissue massage (I signed up for a wellness package),

Massage Envy

celebrating my friend Jen’s birthday with the gym girls,

Gym Friends at Jen's

Gym Friends Food

going to Tim’s cousin’s birthday party, my friend Johnny’s housewarming party, and Patrice and Brian’s beautiful wedding!

Patrice & Brian's Wedding

We rounded up the month by heading back up to Zorvino’s for our meet the vendors night, and finally, hosting Halloween! We were lame this year and didn’t require anyone to wear a costume. What we did require was everyone bring a seasonal craft beer so we could have a little tasting. It was fun!

Halloween 2014

Lots of good stuff going on outside of work lately!

–Let’s chat–
Tell me about the highlights of September and October? What stood out to you the most? I want to know what you’ve been up to! What are you looking forward to in November?

I am looking forward to a free Saturday and Sunday next weekend after we attend wedding #7 of 8 this year on Friday night! I am also excited for Thanksgiving. Slesh is hosting Friendsgiving again this year, AND Tim and I figured out how to spend the holiday with both of our families.

Have a great day, you guys!

Recipe Redo: Roasted Pork with Caramelized Apples

Hey guys. Sorry to my email subscribers who randomly got notified of this post last night. I was having some issues with scheduling my post, and I accidentally posted to real time instead of pre-scheduling for 7:00am this morning.

Anyways! Something I’ve been wanting to do on the blog for a while is to go back and recreate some of my recipes that I posted during my early years. I remember I used to post almost every single meal that Tim and I cooked together, even if the meal wasn’t even necessarily that blog-worthy. I just wanted to build up my recipe page as fast as possible. For any newbie bloggers out there, please avoid my rookie mistake. Just like I recommend with a fitness strategy, try to go for quality of recipes (or even blog posts in general) over quantity.

I also want to redo some of my earlier recipes because my own food choices have changed since I started blogging three years ago. Back then, I was just starting to get into clean eating. I had never heard of coconut or almond flour, I had no idea what the implications of eating organic versus non-organic were, and it was a gamble on how to pronounce the word quinoa. Blogging actually helped me change a LOT of my eating habits, if you can believe that.

That being said, today I’m here with my first recipe redo. I want you guys to check out my original post for these apple topped pork chops. Note that we prepared them with butter and brown sugar. There’s nothing WRONG with cooking with those ingredients, but now I know how to get a little more creative when healthifying. So here you go. The new and improved version!

Roasted Pork with Caramelized Apples

Recipe Redo: Roasted Pork with Caramelized Apples

Serves 4-6


  • 1.5 pounds of pork roast
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 3 extra tbsp
  • 5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp pecans (optional)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place the pork roast on a plate, and brush with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the other 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and brown the pork roast on all sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Once done, remove the roast from heat, and set aside. Leave all the drippings in the pan. Add the 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut sugar.
  5. Cook, stirring about two minutes, and then add the sliced apples to the pan. Mix until all of the apples are coated with the liquid, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.
  6. Remove skillet from heat, add the pork roast back to the dish. Re-arrange the sliced apples so that the pork is covered, and spoon the liquid on top.
  7. Put the skillet with the entire pork and apple mixture in the oven, and cook for 45-55 minutes or until the pork’s internal temperature is around 160 degrees F. While the pork is roasting, spoon the liquid back on top of the pork about every 10-15 minutes.
  8. Once cooked through, sprinkle with the pecans if using them, and enjoy!

Roasted Pork with Caramelized Apples

Now let me just say that I couldn’t really tell the difference between these caramelized apples and the old version. Also, there’s just something about combining the flavors of pork and apples, don’t you think? The flavors really complement each other. The freshness of the apples highlights the heavier choice of meat, and it all comes together for a perfect fall meal. This dish is a great way to use up apples from apple picking!

If you are using pork chops instead of the pork roast, you can follow the same recipe, just note that the amount of time you cook for will actually decrease. My recommendation is to just keep an eye on your thermometer. You will still want to cook to the 160 degree point.

Roasted Pork with Caramelized Apples

Hope you guys like this. I’m going to replace the original post with this link on my recipes page, but I won’t delete it completely. I don’t want to compromise the integrity of my posts over the years.

–Let’s chat–
Are you guys making anything fun with apples you picked while apple picking? How have your eating habits changed for the better over the past couple of years? Bloggers, has blogging helped you become healthier or more knowledgeable about things you were unfamiliar with before?

For other pork recipes on F&F, check out a crock pot version of pork and apples or this maple peach glazed pork tenderloin.

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yum, yum, yum, yum, YUM.

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Squash lovers, you MUST try this recipe.  I’ve been itching to make acorn squash for a while, and like I mentioned in this week’s Weekly Eats post, I certainly wasted no time diving into the flavors of fall last week.  Combined with the Southwestern flavors of cilantro, black beans, corn, etc. – this dish was TOTALLY up my alley.  Tim and I had so much fun making (and eating) it together!

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recipe inspired by but adapted from Eating Well


  • 3 whole acorn squash
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small green chile pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • Cooked corn, amount estimated
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved, amount estimated
  • Cilantro, chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • S&P to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Cut squash in half horizontally.  Scoop out and discard seeds.  Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add ground turkey and cook until lightly browned.  Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in tomatoes, chile pepper, corn, beans, and s&p.
  6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°.  Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture. Top with cheese.  Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Once complete, sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy!

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a perfect fall meal.  My only suggestion would be to add a few more spices into the mix.  The squash is so sweet that you could probably add more and it wouldn’t offset the flavor too much at all!  Maybe some chile powder?

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

This lasted us two dinners as we each ate one and a half of the six halves per serving (if that makes any sense).  We will definitely be making this meal again, and I think it would be a crowd pleaser for a fall dinner party.  If nothing else, you guys, please put this on your meal plans for next week!

What’s your idea of a perfect fall meal?  Mine is anything with butternut squash, acorn squash, or PUMPKIN!  With a pumpkin beer of course.

I am finishing up my last day at our Minnesota office and then flying home tonight.  I am excited to unplug this weekend and spend some quality time with Tim because we haven’t seen each other in over a week!  He was away last Thursday through Sunday for a bachelor party, didn’t get home last Sunday until after midnight, and I flew out for work at 8am last Monday morning.  Tonight we have a date with a fall inspired homemade pizza, a bottle of red organic wine, and the season première of Homeland that we didn’t get to watch last week.  And tomorrow we are going to try to go apple picking before we head over to my friend Shannon‘s dinner party at night.  It should be a great weekend!  Hope you guys get to unplug and enjoy your weekends too.  Catch you on Monday!