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Like so many, we love to go apple picking every fall and always come home with more apples than we can get through. It’s a good problem to have! But I always have a twinge of guilt when I start to see the apples head south. I’ve partnered with the lovely Naomi Davis from LoveTaza to come up with a few out of the box apple recipes that can be used for any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. These ideas go beyond the expected apple pie or crisp and are a blast to make, especially if you have kids or toddlers who are particularly excited about using up the family’s apple bounty. Head on over to her site to get the recipes and get a sneak peek of the delicious lineup below.

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S’mores

Oct 02, 2014

I’m finding myself hanging on to the very last bit of summer! Last week actually still felt like summer in NYC, but this week I feel like fall has officially arrived. If you’re like me and not quite ready to move on to fall in the kitchen cooking with ingredients like butternut squash and pumpkin, indulge in these easy S’mores options that will remind you of summer and best of all can be made at home. They’re also a great dessert option for watching the big game with friends on the weekend!

 

S’mores Pudding Pie

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Smore’s Granola Bites

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S’more’s Bars

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Kelsey, Victor and RR

 

One of the most exciting parts of my job is getting to visit places like the Rachael Ray Show. Appearances like these are always such a blast and a great way for me to share recipes that I love and offer up the solutions that work in my own kitchen. I particularly love it when I get an invite to Rachael’s show because the set that she shoots her show on was previously the set for the Martha Show where I was an intern for very first season – nearly 10 years ago. While it looks completely different now, the layout is exactly the same. I have to pinch myself as I walk through the halls reminiscing about my first experiences in this space. I honestly can’t believe it!

 

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Today I appear on Rachael’s show sharing how one slow cooker meal can turn into 5 delicious freezer meals to have on hand for a quick dinner at a moment’s notice. It was a great challenge to take on and I had a lot of fun with it! When I arrived at the show I was thrilled to find out that Victor Cruz (Go Giants!) would be co-hosting with Rachael that day and participate in our segment. He was super nice and even suggested a playdate for our toddlers – I’m sure he was being completely serious! Check Rachael’s site here to see when it airs in your town. I’d love for you to tune in!

 

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One of the details that the Rachael Ray Show is known for is feeding their guests. They do it better than anyone else! Once you get to your greenroom, you’re brought a tray of deliciousness that was lovingly prepared for you by Rachael’s team. Forget about granola bars and bottled water, we’re talking about things like fried okra, homemade pickles, pimento cheese crostinis, cheese tarts with fig jam and warm chocolate chip cookies perfectly packaged in a box to go. I’ve been on her show enough times now that I know to always come hungry!

 

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Ta-da! Lounging in the beautiful greenroom that I once once emptied the trash in during my Martha Show intern days. One of the things that’s most stressful for me when it comes to appearances like this is wardrobe. I always seem to try on countless things before finally settling on something and always try to convince myself that the occasion is worth purchasing something new. This whole ensemble came together because I wanted to wear these beautiful blue Poppy Barley booties. I LOVE these shoes! Not only do they look stunning, they are seriously the world’s most comfortable shoes. I was particularly drawn to Poppy Barley because of their focus on creating a custom fit for each of their customers. I spend so much time on my feet while filming and most times I need to be in some sort of heel because I’m so darn short. The fact that their shoes are a perfect fit, makes it so you can be on your feet for hours and feel like you’re walking on air – even in heels. Such a brilliant concept! They’re hands down my favorite shoes to shoot in. You know that when you think about shoes first when it comes to an outfit, you’re on to something good.

 

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I hope you catch the show today! If you miss it, you can get the recipes here.

 

 

 


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This past month I partnered with the Land of Nod to create some original content for their darling blog Honest to Nod. It was such a fun creative process and the posts were a blast to put together.

 

As Ollie’s gotten a little older and officially entered into the toddler years, I’ve absolutely LOVED letting him help me out in the kitchen. A few weeks ago, we decided to tackle a homemade version on one of his favorite snacks. You can check out the process and grab the recipe for DIY Fruit Snacks right here!

 

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I also put together a “Back to School” inspired family dinner that will get any kid excited about school!  Check out my ideas here and make sure you snag the recipe for those simple flashcard cookie sandwiches. Thanks for having me LON!

 

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Ever since becoming a mom myself, I crave information and tips from other moms who are seeking some sort of daily balance. (aren’t we all?!) Whether you’re a full-time stay at home mom, you work outside the home, or work from home – every scenario seems to have benefits and challenges. It may be surprising to a lot of people that I’m primarily a work from home mom. I spend about 75% of my time working from home, while the other 25% is spent filming on set, attending meetings and events, or spent traveling for book signings or press appearances. This was what I had always hoped for! I think that I was a bit naive in assuming that this was the most manageable way to approach working motherhood. While I’m immensely grateful to spend a lot of time at home, I quickly realized after having my son that juggling both roles day in and day out from my small apartment in NYC was going to be trickier than I had thought. After spending 2 years trying to figure out what works best for us, I think I’m finally starting to get into a groove. Below are 5 tips that have been the most beneficial for me personally when it comes to working from home. This little video is a small peek into our daily routine around here. Some days it works better than others! We’re constantly adjusting things around here to make sure everyone’s needs are met.

 

1. Maximize nap time.  I refer to these precious hours as the “golden hours!” I work with intense focus and efficiency to accomplish as much as possible. Anything you can do to encourage your little one to get as much sleep as they need is both good for your kiddo and great for getting a lot done. A good quality room darkening and child safe window treatment in the nursery was a must for me as a new parent. It’s resulted in more sleep for me and baby – not only do I not have to worry about cords being a safety hazard, the blackout effect allows everyone around here to get as much sleep as possible. When I’m well rested, I’m insanely more productive during the day. Investing in a good blackout shade for the nursery is one of the first tips I rattle off to friends that are expecting. The first time we installed a blackout option it went very badly. I was essentially using a spring rod with blackout panels and they would fall down at least twice a day – sometimes during nap time waking up Ollie and robbing myself of precious nap hours. I literally taped black garbage bags to my windows at one point. After making those mistakes, I made the conscious decision to invest in really good quality blackout shades and I’ve never looked back.

 

2. Establish a weekly routine. I’ve found that it’s crucial for my home to feel like it’s in some sort of “order” before I can be productive. By having one or two housekeeping tasks that I tackle each day of the week, things are easily kept up. In a moment of mom desperation I attended a small seminar hosted by Power of Moms a few months ago. It was a fantastic way to hear what works for other moms and to gain some knowledge and skills about how to better handle being a mom – especially while trying to find some sort of balance with my work. One of the most valuable lessons learned was that I need to have set weekly routines and responsibilities. Simple things like having a set day where I run the vacuum over my rugs, water my planters boxes, and wipe down all of the mirrors and windows in the apartment made such a difference in me feeling like I had some sort of control in my life. By doing a few small things each day, the upkeep began to feel more manageable and my apartment was never getting unbearably messy. Living and working in an organized space is HUGE for me.

 

3. Finish tasks before moving on to others. There’s nothing worse that feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything at the end of the day – especially when you’re emotionally and physically exhausted after hours of juggling work and trying being a present parent. I’ve found the best way to combat this feeling, is to start and finish a task before moving on to something else on my list. It may take me all day to accomplish it, but at least I get to check one thing off the list at the end of the day. This has been a great way for me to prioritize deadlines as well.

 

4. Map out your week. A proper plan will work wonders for keeping a busy working schedule at home in check. I reserve Sunday evenings to create a roadmap for the week and share it with my husband so that we can tackle the coming week as a team. I feel like this tip sounds somewhat obvious, but I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have a bird eye view of what’s ahead. It helps me to set expectations and coordinate additional help if needed. It’s also great for Robby to know if it’s going to be a particularly busy week for me – it’s been a really beneficial experience to work as a team. A great example of this has been switching off mornings with Ollie. Ollie is an EARLY riser – if one of us gets up with him consistently we start to look like a walking zombie. Once we realized that it was taking a toll, we decided to alternate mornings with him. This plan has been a great way for us to know that we’ve each got a couple mornings throughout the week where we can sleep in or get up and get work done. This idea of mapping out your upcoming week is not only good for work and family obligations, it’s also great for meals. A weekly meal plan will make your life spent in your kitchen feel more under control just like a weekly road map will make your home life feel more in control. (Are you picking up on the fact that I crave an organized home life yet?!)

 

5. Build a good support team. Whether it’s a nanny, babysitter, playgroup or daycare, realize that no one can do it ALL on their own. In the beginning, I thought that I could manage most of it on my own if I just planned to get my work done during nap time and in the evenings. After 3 months of doing this I realized that this was a recipe for disaster. For me, I can’t work every night after putting Ollie down. I need my nights to de-stress, spend time with Robby, and let my mind rest a little bit. We are incredibly blessed to have my sister Kylie as part of our team. In addition to her helping out with my little guy (and being the world’s greatest aunt), Kylie also helps me with work projects. She takes all of the beautiful photos on this blog, makes videos just like this one, and helps to manage my social media. I’d be lost without her! What’s particularly great about her and the way she helps our family is that she can ping pong between giving Ollie needed attention and helping me with something work related. We hit the jackpot with her – and there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not immensely grateful for her place in our family/work life.

 

Sending a big high five to all moms out there. This is a tough job whether you “work” or not and I’m sure I’ll spend my lifetime trying to obtain the perfect “balance.” In the meantime, I’m going to focus on keeping all of the balls in the air. There will be days when I’m a better mom than employee and vice versa. I think what’s most important is to remember that we should all be kind to ourselves and expect for things to get a little unbalanced every now and then – then we’ll adjust and start the process all over again. Motherhood is the greatest and most challenging part of my life – I wouldn’t have it any other way and have profound respect for anyone out there just trying their best to manage it all. Keep on keepin’ on mamas!

 

 

 

A few sources from the video:

Video: Kylie Whiting

Motorized Blackout Roller Shades: Decorview

Planter boxes: Dig Brooklyn

Letterpressed Herb Markers: etsy – half pink ink studio

Weekly planner: Paper Source

A few favorites in the nursery: crib, glider, bookcases, rug, central park print, bookends, modern birth print


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