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Do/Don’t: Mid-Winter Favorite Foods (Reviews and Recipe)


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Wellllllll the weather has decided to stay a bit longer than we anticipated. Yay. Rah.

wacky waving arm inflatable tube man

If you feel like dwelling in our misery glory, feel free to check the weather for 60611. Yesterday we started at -5 and then made our way up to a whopping 14, but only after it started snowing like crazy. And today we are going back down to around 0ish. So Mo and I are going to be freezing our little patooties off tomorrow morning (but it is going to make it back up to 14!!), but our love will keep us warm.

I feel like all I do is eat and drink things a) because I’m always hungry b) I’m always inside c) it’s generally cold d) the air is so dry that you just feel like the life has been sucked out of you.

That + the fact that it has been a bit of time since I last shared the awesome things that make my life worth living means that I owe you all some serious Friday Favorites and a few Not Favorites.

NOT Favorites (to get them over with).

Don’t get the Starburst Cherry Gum. It is terrible. It tastes like medicine. Get yourself a cherry starburst instead.

Don’t get this Organic and Pure brand Rooibos chai. Unless you are a friend of a HELLUVA lot of green cardamom. Which I am NOT.

Don’t watch Anchorman 2. Seriously, Alex and I turned it off after 10 very painful minutes. And I love love love Anchorman.

Don’t get the new Dannon Light n’Fit Greek Salted Caramel. It has barely any flavor at all. Get the caramel apple if you still can. It tastes like apple pie.

Maybe get the Trader Joe’s Greek Coconut Cream. It is very subtle, but the texture is lovely. And pair it with brownie, and thhhheeennn you are talking.



THINGS THAT I LOVE (Aka Winter Favorite Foods)

Do get a gingerbread latte while you still can.

red cup candle

Do see if you can find Four O’Clock Tea in Gingerbread. It is AMAZING, and I am binge drinking it. Which is ok because it is herbal and caffeine free.


Do buy, peel, cut, and roast a rutabaga. Looking for a new root vegetable? Here you go. For you Whole 30’ers out there–it is amazing just roasted at 400 for 30 each side (rotate and flip) with just a bit of olive oil spray and salt. For the other people–serve with ketchup and replace your fries. Note: if you haven’t had rutabaga before, it is like a yukon gold potato crossed with a parsnip or turnip. AMAZING.

Quicky recipe (that I honestly wish that I had photo’d because it was perfection): Mid Winter Pasta

Rutabaga, Chicken Sausage, and Perline Pasta with Easy Mustard Sauce
Serves 2
Easy and perfect for the semi-homemade cook. Whip up this pasta dinner in a 20 minutes with root vegetables and a quick mustard sauce!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 1 package Trader Joe's Prosciutto Perline Pasta (or other favorite)
  2. 2-3 links roasted garlic chicken sausage
Easy Mustard Sauce
  1. 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  2. 1 tbsp honey mustard
  3. 1 1/2 tbsp Annie's Light Goddess Dressing
  4. 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  5. 1 tsp tarragon (dried)
  6. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  7. red pepper flakes
  1. 1 rutabaga, cubed
  2. 1 sweet potato, cubed
  3. 1/2 white onion, chopped
  4. 2 cups green beans
  1. Heat oven to 375*, meanwhile cube rutabaga and sweet potato, toss with salt and pepper, distribute on baking sheet. Put into oven. Cook until fork tender (about 20 minutes, toss after 10 minutes).
  2. Wash and trim green beans. Bring pot of water to boil on stove.
  3. Slice chicken sausage and chop onion.
  4. Cook green beans in boiling water until al dente and bright green (5-7 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water, toss with salt.
  5. Refill pot with water and bring to boil
  6. Bring saute pan to medium, spray with cooking spray when at temperature. Add onions and salt. Toss for about 2 minutes, then add chicken sausage and brown/cook on both sides.
  7. Salt boiling water and add pasta, cook to al dente. Drain pasta, but reserve some water to side.
  8. Make Mustard sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together.
  9. Combine all ingredients in large pot, add sauce, toss, and then serve into 2 bowls!
mid winter pasta suzlyfe

Until I take legit pictures, please accept my ghetto images. OH and top with parm. And do the red pepper flakes, they are money.


Do eat this in one day. I received this popcorn from Organic Matters, a company that I met at the Green Festival back in October. This popcorn is light, just sweet enough to be a treat but not overly so, all organic, and absolutely amazing. Light in flavor in a way that makes it perfect at any time. Check out the company website and get your hands on some!

Jessica granola motor city crunch 2

Do not get a sampler of all of Jessica’s Granola. Alex and I have gone through 4 bags in 2 weeks. YEAH. My favorites so far? Cherry Almond, Chocolate Chip, and (of course) the Chocolate Hazelnut (used to be Motown Crunch (my review here), since renamed). I have no power over this stuff. For real. It is incredible. Not like any other granola out there–light and crispy, reminiscent of clusters–and gluten free. Goodness knows that I have tried my hand at granolas this past fall, and this is definitely one of my favorites.

This is obviously the chocolate one, but the one that I have is Hazelnut but I threw out the bag in favor of a jar.

This is obviously the chocolate one, but the one that I have is Hazelnut but I threw out the bag in favor of a jar.

Speaking of Chocolate Hazelnut–Do get a friend to send you some Hy-vee Hazelnut Peanut Butter Powder. I got it when I went up for Twin Cities (I had to stop at a grocery store, obvs).  It is the healthy living love child of Nutella and Reese’s. You know that I don’t lie to you. Same stats as PB2

Do be safe out there in this weather. Check out my review of Yaktrax as well as my post last year about my non-running winter weather essentials.

Do have an amazing race medal holder and don’t forget to make sure that you can attach it to the wall… Yeah…. That’ll be a favorite for next week, I hope.

Have a fantastic weekend, my lovely friends! Stay warm, safe, curl up with some tea, and roast a rutabaga. I will be causing a ruckus as usual, don’t you worry about that.

Do and Don’ts for the week–what are your faves and anti-faves of the moment?

Do you like rutabaga?

What are you up to this weekend? Do you have a long weekend?

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