Great Grain: Wheat Berries!

Today, a day during what is probably the most recipe-heavy week of the year, I’m here to talk about a fall recipe I recently made – using wheat berries. I’ve mentioned cooking with them once before, but hadn’t done so since then. I was recently selected to partner with the Grain Foods Foundation to bring you a post on the grain of my choice, and I selected the one I thought the least amount of you may have heard of. Might as well make this post useful!

I like using wheat berries so much more than a dish base like pasta, because of their hearty texture, which is similar to barley or farro. You can usually find them in bulk bins, but my local store didn’t have any and I still found a bagged version. Milled wheat berries become whole wheat flour, so clearly they are a great source of whole grains. And they’re so easy to make – just put them in hot water on the stove top. When I cooked mine, I put the wheat berries (in water) on the stove and brought the water to a boil. If you keep a watchful eye on the pot and stir it every now and then, you don’t have to stick around and watch them cook. That is one of the top factors I look for when selecting a recipe.

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Wheat berries simmering away!

I selected Kath’s Ultimate Fall Wheatberry Salad for this post because it seemed to be just what it advertised – an ultimate fall dish. I would definitely recommend making this for your Thanksgiving table! I used dried cranberries instead of fresh since I had some on hand, but I think it would definitely be more enjoyable with those (I was just being cheap). I also skipped the brown sugar and cinnamon because I didn’t have any on hand…also don’t recommend doing that. It would have been worth it to spend some extra money and enjoy the salad more!

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Completed dish in pot!

For my purposes, I ate this solo over a few evenings, so in that sense it’s a great recipe to select for meal prep and making in batches. But it would also be right at home on the kitchen table of a big group, on a crisp and cold evening. I think the wheat berries are a huge part of why the recipe is perfect for the fall and winter; during that time of year, I always crave heartier dishes. Wheat berries are a great way to make a dish hearty with the added benefits of whole grains.

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The plated dish.

You could really replace any grain like pasta, farro, or barley with wheat berries, so don’t feel stuck with this recipe. Take your favorite pasta dish, and try it with wheat berries. Perhaps use them to replace your morning oatmeal when you need a breakfast makeover. That’s another great thing about grains – one can so easily be swapped for another whenever you need a change of pace. And any whole grain will give you the benefits being reported by the Grain Foods Foundation.

Have you ever cooked with wheat berries? Got any whole grains recipes to share?

This post is sponsored by the Grain Foods Foundation. All opinions are my own.

More Work, Less…What?

It feels good to be back with a “real” post! Since this past Monday evening when I had a mini-breakdown while on the phone with my mom, I have been wanting to address a topic that has been weighing on my mind since the start of November. For those who do not know, I work in the wine industry, for a Boston-based wine negociant called 90+ Cellars. Starting 11/1 (and even before that), the holiday season is really in full swing. I have been planning for Thanksgiving since September but now it’s REALLY here and things at work have been really busy. Still loving the job, no worries, but I’m working more than full-time in the office (plus events in the evenings and weekends). I also have been finding myself staying late and doing work-related tasks over the weekends. This results in spending more time at work.

Weekend work-life.

Time is a finite resource. More time at work means less time spent on other stuff. Like what? Well, I like to go out with my friends some weeknights and on weekends. There are some non-work-related events that still peak my interest. I run errands, I do chores. I’m (trying) to keep up with pleasure reading. And oh yeah, that other little thing that I certainly spend much of my finite time thinking about…the gym.

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drybar at Chestnut Hill Square

I received discounted blow drys for myself and my friends for review purposes. All opinions are my own and this is not a compensated post.

Real quick – the winners of my Lightlife veggie products giveaway are Katie, Amy, and Amanda! I will be emailing you about claiming your prize!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to attend Thirst Boston‘s opening night gala, The Thing, on Friday 11/7. My friends Jeannie and Allie agreed to join, and we knew we wanted to make it a big night out. That included getting dolled up in black dresses and looking our best. Thankfully, drybar in Chestnut Hill Square was willing to help us out with that part.

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“The Mind Project” was playing – so appropriate.

I just love drybar’s decor and overall branding! Even the products used during each blow dry have adorable names.

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Lightlife Lights Up Meals (Plus Giveaway!)

I received complimentary product coupons for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this post and opinions are my own.

Firstly, let me announce the winner of my Redpack Tomatoes giveaway…it’s Annie of Avocado Athlete! Congrats, girl!

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Now I know it seems a bit meh for me to do two product/giveaway posts in a row, but I’m keepin it real: both were due this week, and I do like to give you guys a chance to win products that I actually enjoy. And I seriously enjoyed (and am still enjoying, because there’s some Smart Dogs in my freezer right now waiting to be used) Lightlife veggie products! I have been a fan of cooking with vegetarian “meat” for awhile, and was excited for the chance to try a new brand.

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Redpack Dinners & Giveaway!

I received complimentary Redpack products in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own and I received no monetary compensation.

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Redpack Tomatoes approached me about not only receiving a slow cooker gift pack, but also giving one away to a reader. I love reviewing products that I get to give to readers too so I was all on board! They sent me a can of Tomato Sauce and two cans of Crushed Tomatoes in Thick Puree. Plus a charming wooden spoon!

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Five Days Friday

I’ve done the whole using Five Things Friday to talk about my week thing before. But that’s OK as long as I give the post a different title, right? Today I’m breaking down my Monday through Friday – five things, five days!

Link up with Clare if you’re joining the Five Things Friday trend today!

Monday

I was so so so ready on Monday to stay in after my favorite spin class with Danielle Dee at the BSC. But work had other plans, and by the time I got to the gym (ten minutes late), all the bikes were full. It’s getting to be that time of year again! But there are a couple of bikes outside the classroom so I hopped on one of those for thirty minutes and pushed as hard as I could, followed by some abs and my latest round of PT exercises. Oh and another thing – I woke up Monday with a cold coming on. So by the time I got home post-gym – at almost 8PM – I was exhausted and SO glad I had meal prepped the day before!

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Trade Em Up Tuesday: Halloween Weekend

I look at Marvelous In My Monday as super positive and Trade Em Up Tuesday as more honest about the good and bad. I certainly did not feel super positive about my Halloween weekend (not due to lack of fun though, that’s for sure) so I decided to wait and participate in Trade Em Up instead. I’m just still really struggling with being okay with the changes in my lifestyle that have happened since I moved to Boston. This was a big weekend for me and I’ve been feeling pretty crappy about it, but also thankful for the fun I had with family and friends.

I would not trade…starting Halloween weekend early with the WeWork Boston Halloween party. OK, so this (free!) event was really awesome. Jeannie has a WeWork office space so she brought me has her guest, and then I found out Emily was going to attend too, so I was looking forward to this party allllll week. I found out last minute it was space-themed so I turned my pre-planned cat costume into a last-minute laser cat costume. (Has anyone seen that SNL skit?!)

Such a last minute costume that I was building my laser cat glasses on the way to the party. Note: crafting on the T makes you look like a crazy person.

Such a last minute costume that I was building my laser cat glasses on the way to the party. Note: crafting on the T makes you look like a crazy person.

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A Dare from Dove Hair


Everyone has their “thing” that they spend extra money on. For some it’s running shoes. For others it’s makeup. For me…it’s NOT hair products. I stick with the affordable brands I can find at CVS. So I jumped at the chance to try out the new Pure Care Dry Oil collection from a brand that actually falls within my preferred price point – Dove Hair.

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I received the shampoo, conditioner, and African macadamia oil.

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Fitness Friday: Injury Update

I mentioned in Monday’s post that on Tuesday I would be finally headed to an initial assessment with a physical therapist to solve my right IT band “woes”. Thankfully since I go to Harvard Vanguard (big ups to all of you who recommended that as a doctor’s office back when I moved here and asked for recs) it was so easy to get a referral. That place literally has EVERY medical need under one roof, so I just called my PCP and was able to get a referral for their physical therapy services without even being seen first. Hurrah efficiency! AAAAAND Harvard Vanguard is in my insurance network, so PT with them is SO much more affordable than options I’d previously considered.

The first appointment was both informative and reassuring. The therapist said the problem isn’t actually my IT band, but a connecting muscle at my knee that often gets blamed for IT band problems. Now I don’t remember what the name of it is, but the casual name is “runner’s knee”. The PT said it’s a super common problem and we can totally fix it with some exercises that strengthen my hips. He said that I need to get more of that pull and push forward movement in my running that I use when I spin, so that I can propel myself forward that way, which will be easier on my knees.

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Bacon, Egg, and Brussels Bowl!

First of all, I want to say thanks so much for the supportive comments and tweets I received in response to Monday’s post. It felt great to write and even greater to get that kind of positive response and reassurance. While I work on trusting myself, encouragement from others really helps me along the way, so I appreciate everyone who took the time to send me well wishes – or even anyone who read!

I’m still trying to keep up with choosing a couple of recipes from my Pinterest boards each week to make for the weeknights I stay in. I usually follow them pretty closely, but the only ingredients in this recipe that I stuck with when I made this dish (on Sunday) were Brussels sprouts (duh) and hard-boiled eggs. I figured eggs went well with (turkey) bacon…and then bacon reminded me of BLT’s so I decided to throw in tomatoes. Plus I had some kale on hand, and I figured throwing that in there wouldn’t hurt!

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In the mixing bowl!

Don’t let the title of this easy recipe deceive you – there’s a few other ingredients in there! However the title ingredients were DEFINITELY the stars.

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