3 Unique Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

When invited to someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s common courtesy to bring a side dish to share with everyone.

Sounds easy. That is until you’ve waited until the last minute and you scramble, trying to figure out what to bring.

Aunt Betty always brings sweet potatoes. Grandma Doris is sure to bring her famous green bean casserole. And your good friends from down the street already volunteered to bring dinner rolls.

It doesn’t seem like there’s much left to choose from.

Until now…because we are going to recommend 3 unique and delicious Thanksgiving side dishes that are sure to wow everyone at the dinner table. Check out the recipes below…

 

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Soup might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, but this gourd-based menu item certainly deserves a spot on the menu. Not only does it make a great side dish, it’s also a wonderful main dish option in case you have any vegetarian friends attending the celebration.

Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute olive oil for dairy-free/vegan soup)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet (or large soup pot, if you’ll be serving soup from that pot), warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. If you have a high-performance blender like a Vitamix, transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can stir in any remaining broth later). Secure the lid and select the soup preset. The blender will stop running once the soup is super creamy and hot.
  5. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, add the remaining cup of broth (I used the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might want to leave it as is). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately (I like to top each bowl with a little more black pepper). Let leftover soup cool completely before transferring it to a proper storage container and refrigerating it for up to 4 days (leftovers taste even better the next day!). Or, freeze this soup for up to 3 months.

Recipe Source: https://cookieandkate.com/2015/roasted-butternut-squash-soup/

Baked Apples with Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Stuffing is a food that’s typically only made during the holiday season. For that reason, it’s no surprise that this treat is often one of the first food items to disappear during a Thanksgiving feast. This year, bring some backup stuffing baked inside sweet, delicious apples.

Check out the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil or butter
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ package sausage
  • 1 box stuffing mix
  • 1 ¼ cup  chicken broth (or the same amount of water called for in the instructions for the stuffing)
  • 6-12 apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the celery and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook thoroughly making sure to break it up into crumbles. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together stuffing mix and sausage mixture. Add chicken broth in the same amount as water is called for in the stuffing mix instructions. Mine called for 1 1/4 cups of water so I used 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth.
  4. Stir the mixture together so that the stuffing is soft and moist. Feel free to add a little more broth if needed. Set the mix aside.
  5. Slice the very top of the apples off.
  6. Use a spoon or a melon baller to carefully scoop out the entire core of the apple.
  7. Repeat this for every apple.
  8. Spoon stuffing into the apples and place in a high-sided baking dish.
  9. Once all the apples are stuffed and in the dish, carefully pour an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of broth over the apples. Add another 1/4 cup to the bottom of the dish.
  10. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the apples are softened but not falling apart. If you don’t want the stuffing to brown, cover the dish while baking.

Recipe Source: https://growingupgabel.com/baked-apples-sausage-stuffing-recipe/

Apple Pie Salsa with Cinnamon Chips Recipe

There’s no rule that says Thanksgiving side dishes have to be nutritious or healthy. If you really want to surprise your guests, while also appeasing everyone’s sweet tooth, we suggest you bring this one-of-a-kind dish–Apple Pie Salsa with Cinnamon Chips.

Here’s how it’s made…

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream (optional)

Cinnamon Sugar Chips Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions for Salsa:

  1. In large sauté pan, combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cornstarch. Cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm. Top with whipped cream just before serving.

Directions for the Cinnamon Sugar Chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. Rub cinnamon-sugar mixture onto both sides of each tortilla. Cut tortillas into wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 14-16 minutes until brown and crisp. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: http://frostingandasmile.com/archives/1568

What is your favorite unique Thanksgiving side dish? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Reasons to Be Happy Every Day

A bad day at work…cold dreary weather…cranky kids…

Sure, we all have a list of things that can easily dampen our spirits and put us in a bad mood. But, at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we always try to look for the positives in life.

In fact, we believe that the amount of “happy” we experience each day typically outweighs the “bad.”

And it’s this focus that keeps us all full of cheer, even on the days when nothing seems to go right.

To help add some joy back into your day, we’re sharing our list of 10 simple things that make us happy every day. See how many things on our list resonate with you…then make your own list!

#1 — Getting a hug from a family member/friend

There’s truly nothing better than a warm hug from a friend or family member during your day. Whether it be your child, spouse, coworker, or friend, it’s special when someone takes a moment out of their day to let you know you are loved.

#2 — Snuggling a pet

Getting snuggles from a pet is scientifically proven to make you happier. That’s right! Science has proven that cuddling with a pet increases the levels of the feel-good happy chemicals serotonin and dopamine in your brain.

# 3 — Eating dessert

For many people, having dessert is a special treat. So, when the day comes that you get to indulge with a piece of apple pie or delicious chocolate cake, you’re bound to have a smile on your face!

For some delicious dessert recipes you can make at home, check out this blog post!

#4 — Getting 5 extra minutes of sleep when you hit the snooze button

It’s a magical feeling when the stars align and you’re able to hit the snooze button and stay in your cozy bed for an extra 5 minutes…or 10 or 20! We’re not judging! Tomorrow morning, hit your snooze button…we’ve got a feeling there will be a smile on your face as you sink back into your cozy, warm blankets.

#5 — Wrapping up in your favorite blanket after a long day

After a long day of working, wrangling kids, volunteering, or simply getting chores done, it feels great to wrap up in your favorite blanket and just relax. To put an extra smile on your face, stick your favorite blanket in the dry for 15 minutes to warm it up before wrapping up in it!

#6 — Getting a card in the mail

As an adult, it’s likely that you get more bills in your mailbox than letters from family and friends. For that reason, we always have a giant smile on our face and feel really happy when we discover that the envelope we just pulled out of the mailbox is from a friend and not the utility company. Certainly, a reason to smile and be happy!

#7 — Taking your first sip of freshly brewed coffee in the morning

Taking a sip of a fresh cup of coffee in the morning is a simple pleasure, but boy, for coffee lovers, it’s also heaven. The next time you reach for your first cup of coffee in the morning, take a minute and be sure to enjoy it.

#8 — Putting your favorite sweatpants on

Ahhh…the feeling of slipping on a pair of sweatpants after a long day is certainly enough to make us smile from ear to ear. The act of putting on cozy pants signifies the ending of another crazy day and is a reminder that it’s time to relax and unwind–something we can all smile about!

#9 — Hearing your favorite song on the radio

How cool is it when you jump in the car, turn on the radio, and your favorite song starts playing? The best part…hearing your favorite song on the radio automatically calls for an in-car dance party. How can you be unhappy after a red light jam session?

#10 — Reminding yourself how lucky you truly are

There’s a lot of negative happening in the world.

From people in the hospital fighting for their lives to seeing the destruction that occurs after natural disasters like hurricane Irma, it’s so important to reflect on how lucky you truly are.

If you have your health, loved ones in your life, a roof over your head, and a meal in your stomach, there’s no reason not to be happy!

What makes you happy every day? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

3 Delicious Easy-To-Make Snack Recipes for Game Time

friends watching sport celebrating goal

Football season is in full swing! And you know what that means? It’s the perfect time to invite your friends or family members over for some game day fun!

As the game day (or night) host, you already know snacks–and lots of them–are expected.

This year, instead of grabbing a bag of Doritos, knock the socks off your guests with some of our halftime favorites.

Not only are the recipes below delicious, but they are also healthy alternatives to most snacks on the grocery store shelves, and we know your friends and family members will love them!

Caprese on a Stick

Caprese on a stick is a great snack for your guests who want to enjoy a light, savory, guilt-free snack. Between the juicy tomatoes, salty mozzarella balls, and fresh basil, you can’t go wrong with this snack on a stick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (.6 ounce) package fresh basil leaves
  • 1 (16 ounce) package small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Thread a tomato half, a small piece of basil leaf, and a mozzarella ball onto toothpicks until all ingredients are used.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomato, cheese and basil, leaving the end of the toothpick clean.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tip: For an extra kick, provide your guests with balsamic vinegar that they can drizzle over the caprese sticks. Yum!

Recipe Source:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/213849/caprese-on-a-stick/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=76&referringContentType=recipe%20hub

 

Swedish Meatballs

You’re bound to have a few meat-loving football fans at your party. And this Swedish meatball snack recipe is the perfect way to satisfy their “meat tooth.” Best of all, this recipe is easy and can be made ahead of time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons  Butter
  • 3 tablespoons  Flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ground beef, panko, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic powder, pepper, salt and egg. Mix until combined.
  2. Roll into 12 large meatballs or 20 small meatballs. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the meatballs and cook turning continuously until brown on each side and cooked throughout. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons butter and flour to skillet and whisk until it turns brown. Slowly stir in beef broth and heavy cream. Add Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Serve over egg noodles or rice.

Tip: You can make them ahead of time and keep them warm in a crockpot until your guests arrive.

Recipe Source: https://therecipecritic.com/2016/08/the-best-swedish-meatballs/https://therecipecritic.com/2016/08/the-best-swedish-meatballs/

Mini Caramel S’more Cups

Last but not least, we had to include something on the snack list for dessert lovers–mini caramel s’more cups! This mini dessert snack is packed with rich chocolate and sweet caramel. The best part…because they are so little, you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in 1 or 2 or 7 of them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pouch (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) chocolate chip cookie mix
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 36 round chewy caramels in milk chocolate
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Make cookie dough as directed on package, using butter and egg. Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. Place 1 ball into each muffin cup.
  3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven; firmly press 1 candy into center of each cookie until flush with cookie top. Top each with 3 marshmallows. Bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed. Cool 30 minutes. Loosen edges of cookie with small metal spatula and remove to cooling racks. Cool completely.
  4. Place chocolate chips in small resealable freezer plastic bag. Microwave on High about 1 minute or until softened. Gently squeeze bag until chocolate is smooth; cut off tiny corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle chocolate over marshmallows. Let stand until hardened, about 10 minutes.

Tip: Hide some of your freshly made s’more cups so you can enjoy them later!

Recipe Source: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/caramel-smore-cups/9916aa44-083c-4507-8db9-49d0a92f62f7https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/caramel-smore-cups/9916aa44-083c-4507-8db9-49d0a92f62f7

 

What’s your favorite game time snack? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Have the Perfect At-Home Spa Day

There is nothing more relaxing than a day at the spa.

Not to mention, it helps you rest and unwind after a long week of work, chasing your kids around the house, or whatever else it is that you do on a weekly basis.

The only problem is that going to a professional spa can cost a lot of money.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while, but for most people, going for a spa treatment on a weekly basis is simply out of the budget.

For that reason, we at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction want to share with you how to have the perfect at-home spa day.

Our at-home version is just as fun, will make you feel just as relaxed, and can be thrown together for a fraction of what a day at the actual spa would cost.

Follow these steps for a perfect at-home spa day that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Step 1: Prepare Your Favorite Beverage

Most spas will have fancy fruit-infused waters or teas available for guests to drink when they arrive for their appointment. So, to begin your at-home spa session, grab a cup of your favorite beverage—coffee, tea, juice…even wine! We don’t judge!

Step 2: Start with a Face Mask

A face mask is an inexpensive way to rejuvenate your skin and leave your face feeling fresh.

You can purchase premade masks at just about any grocery store or skin care shop for under $5. Or, if you prefer to make your own, simply mix together 1 tbs. of coconut oil with ¼ tsp. of turmeric.

This simple 2-ingredient face mask recipe is great for hydrating your skin and reducing blemishes.

Step 3: Soak Your Feet in a Footbath

From walking all over the place to being crammed in high heels, our feet take a beating every day. This is why it’s so important to give your feet a break and soak them in a footbath.

You can buy a more expensive foot bath at the store for between $60 and $100. If you’re someone who constantly has sore feet, this might be a good investment for you.

However, if you’re only planning on enjoying a good foot soak once in a blue moon, a simple bucket will work just fine. All you have to do is fill a bucket with warm water, add some Epsom salts (you can find this at the grocery store) and let your feet soak for 15-20 minutes.

If you want to get really crazy, you can also add in some essential oils. We personally love adding about 3 drops of peppermint oil into our footbaths.

Step 4: Take a Hot Bath

If more than your feet need a good soak, we recommend that you fill a tub with nice hot water and take a bath.

Be sure to dim the lights, light candles, grab your favorite book, or turn on some soothing music. It’s such a good feeling to be able to separate yourself from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and lock yourself away in a cozy warm bath for an hour or so.

If you’d like, you can add some of the Epsom salts you used in your footbath to the water. These salts are known to help ease sore muscles and help you relax. Or, if you want to do something different, use a delightful-smelling bath bomb to make your bath time a little more special.

Step 5: Finish with Polished Nails

Most ladies have a few bottles of nail polish floating around the house. But here’s the question…how often have you been able to take the time to sit down and actually use them?

Make time after your relaxing bath to end your night with a manicure or pedicure.

Put on a pair of cozy pajamas, pick your favorite nail polish color, and go to town! While your nails are drying, indulge in some senseless TV, read a magazine, or play a game on your phone. It’s all about giving yourself the time to do what makes you happy.

Do you have any at-home spa rituals you love? Share them with us in the comments below!

5 Fun Ways to Exercise This Autumn

Exercise is so important for keeping your body healthy, your mind sharp, and releasing stress. That’s said, we know that adding a workout routine into your daily schedule isn’t always the easiest—or most fun—thing to do!

Here’s the good news…

You don’t have to buy a gym membership, join a running club, or start weight lifting to get a decent workout.

In fact, exercise is simply about getting your body moving, and it can be done in many ways.

Now that the fall season is upon us, we thought we’d share some festive fall activities that will certainly give you a workout. The best part…these activities are so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re exercising!

Check them out now…

Take a Hike in the Woods to See the Changing Leaves

Every year people watch in amazement as the green tree leaves turn brilliant shades of reds, yellows, and burnt oranges. It truly is a beautiful sight to see!

This year, we encourage you to enjoy the color-changing leaves and take a hike through them.

Not only will you be surrounded by nature’s beauty, but you’ll also get a great cardio workout. Bonus: You’ll be so emerged in your beautiful surrounds that we bet you won’t even realize you’re breaking a sweat!

Play in the Leaves in Your Back Yard

Who said playing in the leaves is just for kids? We certainly don’t think it is!

Raking the leaves in your yard is an incredible upper body workout. When you have a large pile or two, get some friends together, your kids, or even your pets, and spend some time running around your backyard and jumping in your leaf piles.

Who knows, you might even get an ab workout from the laughter that comes with such a fun activity!

Go Apple Picking

Apple picking is a fall favorite and a great family outing.

Between walking through the orchards, climbing trees, and picking your apples, this activity requires a lot of moving around.

Let’s also not forget that once you’ve collected a bucket full of apples, you’ve got to haul them back to your car! How’s that for weight lifting?

The best part of getting exercise while picking apples is that you don’t have to feel guilty about making an apple pie and then eating it later. Actually, go ahead and treat yourself to two slices…after all that work, you deserve it!

Do Pumpkin Squats While Pumpkin Picking

Taking a trip out to the local pumpkin patch is another fun fall activity. Even as an adult, it’s so much fun to run through the pumpkin patches searching for the perfect pumpkin.

Everyone who’s been to a pumpkin patch knows, however, that once you find the pumpkin you want, it’s your responsibility to pluck it from the vine and carry it back to the wagon that brought you out to the fields.

With an average size pumpkin weighting between 12 and 18 pounds, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get a workout in while you wait for everyone to board the wagon. Hold your pumpkin tightly in your arms and do a few squats. And there you have it…pumpkin squats!

Play a Game of Flag Football

It’s football season—the perfect time of year to get your friends and family together for a friendly game of flag football.

We recommend flag football because it’s safe and fun for all ages. And all you need to play is a football, a flag (or handkerchief or piece of fabric) for every player, and two teams of people who want to get some exercise and have a good time.

After playing a game of backyard football, you’ve definitely earned some couch time to watch the pros play on TV.

Do you have a favorite fall-inspired exercise? Share it with us in the comments below!

5 Self-Care Tips Guaranteed to Reduce Stress

Making time for self-care is very important. It allows you to unwind, destress, and refocus.

And most important, making time for self-care is vital for maintaining both your emotional and physical health. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Between work, raising kids, maintaining your home, volunteering, or doing whatever it is you do each week, it’s very easy to forget about taking care of yourself.

Self-care isn’t a reward.

It’s something that needs to be worked into your weekly routine to ensure you stay healthy and happy.

So, today, we thought it would be fun to share 5 simple self-care tips that you can add into your routine every week. Enjoy…

Give Yourself a Night Off

We know you have responsibilities. Kids need to be fed. Pets need to be walked. Houses need to be cleaned. The list goes on and on.

But here’s a little secret. It’s okay to take a night off once a week. In fact, it’s important that you give yourself a break so you don’t go crazy!

Simply ask your partner to take over dinner duty one night a week.

If you don’t have help from a partner, order pizza once a week instead. Everybody wins on pizza night!

Do you have a dog that needs to be exercised? Hire a neighborhood kid to walk your pooch once a week or put your pup in doggy daycare for the day.

Are you tired of cleaning? Ask your kids to take over one of your chores, or rearrange your chore schedule.

There are endless ways you can give yourself one night off each week. All it takes is a little planning and creativity.

Have a Girls’ Night

There’s something therapeutic about a glass of wine, some dessert, and a night out with your best girlfriends.

We know people’s schedules are busy, but we also don’t think it’s unrealistic to set aside time for a girls’ night once a month.

All you need to do is pull out your calendar, call up your girlfriends, and pick a date that works best for everyone.

Then, each month, let one person be in charge of making the plans. This takes the stress off of one person having to coordinate everything.

Here’s are a few ideas for a fun girls’ night activity…

  • Have a movie night
  • Make dinner and dessert
  • Take an art class
  • Host a board game night
  • Go out for a spa day
  • Attend a yoga class
  • Enjoy a hike at a local park

Make Time for Exercise

Making time to exercise is so important…

Not only does weekly exercise keep your body strong and healthy, but it will also keep you feeling confident and looking good.

We’re not saying you have to go crazy and join a high-intensity boot camp training program.

Unless, you’re into that kind of thing…in that case, go for it, girl!

But, a daily walk, taking a yoga class, or going for a swim at your local indoor pool are all great ways to keep your body moving.

Not sure what exercise routine you’d like best? Here are a few fun low-impact workout options to choose from.

Check out our favorite low-impact workout activities. 

Make Your Goals and Dreams a Priority

How often have you had to put your goals or dreams on the back burner because you’ve had a responsibility to put someone else before yourself?

First of all, we applaud your selflessness.

It’s take a special person to be able to put someone else’s wants and needs before your own.

Second, we are here to tell you that now it’s your turn to make your dreams and goals a priority.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up your duties as a spouse, parent, or employee. But, it does mean that you need to give yourself permission to carve out time each week to accomplish the things you want to do.

For instance, if you’ve dreamed of running a marathon, now is the time to plan a few hours each week to go running.

Or perhaps you’ve dreamed of getting a job in a certain profession, but need to go back to school to earn a degree. Today is the day to start saving up for classes and put together a plan for going back to school.

You can make your dreams a reality as long as you start taking steps toward reaching your goals now.

Treat Yourself

Last, but certainly not least, we want you to know that it’s ok to treat yourself every once in a while.

Craving a dessert from your favorite bakery? Stop by after work and reward yourself for a great work day.

Excited that the pumpkin spice latte is now available in coffee shops across the country? You’ve waited all year for it, girl. Go get yourself a drink!

Tired of screaming kids, spending hours doing laundry, and putting in overtime at work? Use a vacation day, and take that 3-day weekend trip with your girlfriends.

I think you get the point.

Every once in a while, do something for YOU. You deserve it!

What is your favorite self-care tip? Share it with us in the comments below!

Finding Beauty After Breast Cancer: Register for a Free Class at Sephora

 

 Our surgeons and staff at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction know firsthand how difficult a battle with breast cancer can be.

From the moment you’re diagnosed, everything changes. Your emotional, mental, and psychological health is instantly impacted. And throughout your breast cancer journey, your physical appearance is also bound to change.

This transformation can unfortunately leave a lot of woman no longer feeling confident in their own skin.

While we believe that all women—no matter their journey—are beautiful, we also know that a little pampering and some fun with makeup can go a long way in making you feel radiant and confident.

With National Breast Cancer Awareness month in full swing, there are numerous educational talks, fundraisers, and events going on. If you’re in the Charleston, SC, area, we’d like to personally invite you to a special event at Sephora on King Street.

We are joining forces with Sephora in order to promote their FREE Brave Beauty class for women who have battled cancer.

The event will take place on Sunday, October 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sephora on King Street. The official address is 289 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401.

This 90-minute Brave Beauty class is designed to help you discover techniques and products that address the visible effects of your cancer treatments.

During this event, you’ll be given skincare tips tailored to your needs and then will be matched with Color IQ and receive step-by-step instructions for a creating a radiant complexion, natural-looking brows, and defined eyes.

If you’re interested in attending, we encourage you to check out this awesome video from Sephora that features cancer survivor Emily as she explains why attending a Brave Beauty class is a great way to celebrate how beautiful you truly are.

Watch the video here!

If you’re interested in signing up, please contact us at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction to register, and we will pass your information along to the event host.

You can get in touch with us here.

Do you have any tips or tricks for feeling confident and radiant after a battle with cancer?

Share them with us in the comments below!

3 Delicious Fall-Inspired Apple Recipes

It’s that time of year…apple season!

There’s truly nothing better taking a trip to the apple orchard (or grocery store if you don’t have an orchard near you), handpicking a variety of apples, and then taking them home to cook up a delicious recipe.

Even better, apples are filled with antioxidants and plenty of dietary fiber, so you don’t have to feel guilty when cooking with this sweet, crisp fruit.

Cooking with apples is one of our favorite things about the fall season. And for that reason, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite recipes with you.

Check them out below…

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples Recipe

When you think of cooking with apples, chances are you think about dessert—apple pies, cakes, etc. But apples also pair extremely well with savory foods, especially pork. Give this roasted pork tenderloin with apples recipe a try!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2-pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced (we like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Braeburn)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock, see our homemade chicken stock recipe
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Trim each tenderloin of any silver skin (this can be tough when cooked, just use a small sharp knife and slide the blade under and outward to remove it).
  3. Pat pork dry with paper towels and then rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmers, add the pork tenderloins and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned all over; about 12 minutes. Transfer to a large plate or cutting board. (The pork will not be cooked through).
  5. Keep the pan used to sear the pork on the stove over medium heat. Check the pan, if it looks dry, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of additional oil. (If there is fat left in the pan from cooking the pork, there is no need to add additional oil.)
  6. Add the apples and onions and then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned around edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of thyme.
  7. Use a pastry brush (or use your fingers) to rub the seared pork all over with the mustard, 2 teaspoons of thyme, and the black pepper.
  8. Place the seared pork tenderloins on top of the apples and onions, and then slide into the oven. Roast 10 to 15 minutes or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers between 145 and 150 degrees F. Transfer the pork to a large plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest about 10 minutes.
  9. While the pork rests, place the pan with apples and onions back onto the stove and turn heat to medium. Add chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan, lifting any brown bits from the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Add butter and stir until melted.

Recipe source: http://www.inspiredtaste.net/21117/perfect-roasted-pork-tenderloin-recipe-with-apples/

Dutch Apple Pie with Crumb Topping Recipe

We simply couldn’t have an apple recipe blog post without a recipe for an apple pie. This Dutch apple pie uses a crumb topping instead of a pastry shell topping, and boy, is it delicious! Here’s how to make it…

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

  • 8 cups sliced cored peeled apples
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. In medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour and the salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
  2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap, and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable.
  3. Heat oven to 400°F. On surface sprinkled with flour, using floured rolling pin, roll pastry dough into circle 2 inches larger than 9-inch pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired.
  4. In large bowl, toss filling ingredients. Pour into pie plate, mounding apples toward center.
  5. In medium bowl, use pastry blender or fingers to mix butter, 1 cup flour and the brown sugar until a crumb forms. Sprinkle evenly over top of pie. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon granulated sugar on top.
  6. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until pie crust and crumb topping are deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.

Recipe Source: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/dutch-apple-pie/815d821f-058d-4177-93be-e157390e947b

Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream Recipe

Ice cream lovers, rejoice…we have a recipe for apple cinnamon ice cream, and we just know you’re going to love it! Put down the pumpkin spice latte, and instead, indulge in this sweet, creamy treat that’s perfect for the fall! Check out the recipe now.

Ingredients:

Ice Cream Base

  • 2-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Cinnamon Apple Swirl

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into small, bit-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until thoroughly chilled.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Toss the apples with the brown sugar and spices and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender, about 2-3 mins. Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate along with the cream base.
  3. Prior to making the ice cream, whisk the cream base a few times, and pour into an 1-1/2 quart capacity ice cream machine. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and churn until the ice cream is frozen and fluffy, about the consistency of soft-serve (generally 20-25 minutes). About three to five minutes before the ice cream is ready, or when the ice cream looks like it is mostly set up, carefully pour in the cinnamon-apple mixture, and continue churning.
  4. Spoon the ice cream into freezer-safe containers, and for a firmer texture, cover and freeze for an hour or two.

Recipe Source: http://www.forkknifeswoon.com/apple-cinnamon-ice-cream/

Do you have a favorite apple-inspired recipe?

Share it with us in the comments below!

3 Fresh and Fruity Dessert Recipes for Your Labor Day Weekend Picnic

In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating the unofficial end of summer, also known as Labor Day weekend. One of the most popular ways to say goodbye to the summer months—and celebrate the American Labor Movement–is to host a Labor Day picnic or family BBQ!

No gathering with family and friends is complete without dessert, so today, we’re suggesting some of our favorite fresh and fruity dessert recipes that are sure to please anybody’s taste buds.

Give them a try and let us know what you think!

Strawberry Pie Recipe

Pie is a classic and beloved American dessert and for good reason. It can be made ahead of time, is easy to throw together, and can be transported from your kitchen to any event. While there are many different types of pies you can make, we thought this recipe, featuring juicy summer strawberries is perfect for a summer picnic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

1.Arrange half of strawberries in baked pastry shell.

2. Mash remaining berries and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Pour mixture over berries in pastry shell. Chill for several hours before serving.

5. In a small bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

Recipe source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15836/strawberry-pie-ii/

Blueberry Cobbler Recipe

We hope the only end of the summer blues you have this year are the blueberries in this delicious blueberry cobbler recipe. This 5-ingredient cobbler is easy to whip up in a pinch and travels well in a baking dish. Top it off with a little vanilla ice cream when you get to your picnic, and you’ll be in cobbler heaven!

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups Original Bisquick mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour melted butter into 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together Bisquick mix, sugar, and milk; pour over melted butter.

3. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over Bisquick batter. Bake 42 to 47 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/blueberry-cobbler/081e1713-454d-4d2d-a54d-7ea9579d29b2

Fruit Pizza Recipe

You just can’t go wrong with pizza…especially dessert pizza. This tasty treat is light, fresh, and completely customizable. Follow the recipe to a “t” or pick and choose your own dessert pizza toppings. With a sweet cookie crust and a mix of fresh summer fruits and berries, we can guarantee that this fruity dessert will be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Mix in egg. combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased pizza pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.

4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until light. Spread on cooled crust.

5. Arrange desired fruit on top of filling, and chill.

Recipe Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/12604/fruit-pizza-i/

Do you have a favorite fruity dessert recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

3 Healthy School Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Love

PB&J, ham and cheese, and bologna sandwiches all have one similarity…they are the most common sandwiches that get packed into a kid’s lunchbox. But, after weeks of eating the same 3 sandwiches, lunchtime is bound to get boring.

With the school season quickly approaching for most and already started for others, we thought it might be fun to share some of our favorite and unique brown bag school lunch ideas to spice up your kid’s lunchbox.

And not to worry…all of these recipes are easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time, and are good for your kid’s growing body.

Try some of these recipes out…

Pasta Salad Recipe

Pasta salad is a great alternative to packing a sandwich every day. When made with tri-color veggie pasta, this meal will keep your kid energized and free from carbohydrate-induced blood sugar crashes throughout the day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound tri-colored spiral pasta
  • 6 tablespoons salad seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian-style salad dressing
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (2.25 ounce) can black olives, chopped

Directions:

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.

2. Whisk together the salad spice mix and Italian dressing.

3. In a salad bowl, combine the pasta, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and olives. Pour dressing over salad; toss and refrigerate overnight.

Recipe Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/14385/pasta-salad/

 

Crunchy Veggie Rice Paper Wraps Recipe

If your kids are a fan of Asian-inspired dishes, they will love to find these crunchy veggie rice paper wraps in their lunchbox. The best part…these wraps can be made a few days in advance and will keep fresh in your fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 15 rice paper sheets (6 inch)
  • 1⁄2 cup green cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh carrot, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup sweet green pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 5 ounces imitation crabmeat (optional) or 5 ounces shrimp, chopped (optional)
  • Oriental sweet chili sauce (or any other favorite spicy sauce, allow 1/2 – 1 tsp per roll)

 

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients except rice paper and Chili sauce. Shortly before serving soften each rice paper wrap separately. Do this by submerging the wrap in a bowl of warm water for a minute of two.

2. When it is pliable it is ready, so remove that one from the water and drop in another one.

3. Lay out a couple of paper towels and place the softened wrap on the towel.

4. Don’t rub it; just place it on the towel. Place 1-2 tbsp. of the veggie mix in the center of the wrap and add 1/2- 1 tsp. sweet chili sauce.

5. Fold up the bottom and then fold in the sides and roll to form a sealed roll.

Recipe Source: http://www.food.com/recipe/crunchy-veggie-rice-paper-wraps-89246

 

Whole Wheat Waffle Strips Recipe

Breakfast foods are one of our favorites. So, we thought, why not pack them for lunch? This whole wheat waffle recipe is easy to make and is a treat any kid would love to take to school. Throw in some cut-up fruit and a yogurt as sides, and you’ve got a well-balanced meal in a box.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your iron while you make the waffle batter.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and butter or oil.

4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy; that’s OK.

5. Cook the waffles as directed in the instructions that came with your waffle iron.

6. Cut waffles into strips, put the strips in a container, and throw the container into your kid’s lunchbox. Option to add a smaller container of maple syrup if desired.

Recipe Source: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/whole-wheat-waffles-recipe

Do you have any unique lunchbox recipes your kids love? Share them with us in the comments below!