Healthy Eating

My Karuna organic drinks.

The beverage section of most grocery stores is flooded with options.  As tasty as a lot of them are, most are loaded with sugars, additives, and preservatives.  Whether it’s a drink to re-hydrate you or one to serve as a meal replacement, navigating away from unhealthy chemicals is sometimes a challenge.

I recently came across My Karuna a line of drinks that will keep you on a healthy track, leaving you feeling better about what you’re putting in your body.

My Karuna

My Karuna is a St. Louis-based company started by Angela Zeng in 2017.  The core philosophy behind their drinks is compassion for good health.  Their four main categories are coffee, smoothie, detox, and hydration.

As an on-the-go working mom, I need a major jolt of caffeine to start my day.  However, I’ve found that the average cup of coffee wears off halfway through the morning.  My Karuna offers two kinds of coffee drinks that are focused on extended energy, so you won’t experience a crash or drop-off like with most drinks.  The energy comes from not just the organic coffee beans, but the other power food ingredients.  Actually, the caffeine content and calorie count are significantly lower than a gourmet cup of coffee, so less is actually more in this case.  You can choose from their sesame or turmeric options.  Sesame promotes heart and bone health, and turmeric helps maintain a healthy inflammation response.  Both drinks are chock full of vitamins and minerals, like B6, copper, and manganese.  One of these will give you a steady level of energy so you can tackle whatever comes at you during the day.  My absolute favorite of the two drinks is the Boost Sesame coffee.

My Karuna coffee

My Karuna’s smoothie line is a fabulous alternative to the local smoothie store, whose choices are packed with sugars and unnecessary chemicals, even though they advertise as being a healthy addition to your diet.  My Karuna’s whole plant smoothies contain terrific levels of protein and fiber, and come in three different focuses: empower, pro-wellness and pro-fit.  While some other smoothies may cause concern about the fiber levels cooperating with their digestive system,  My Karuna’s is made with almond milk, which is easy on the tummy.  If I know I’m going to have a busy day and may have to work through lunch I’ll take a smoothie with me to drink on the go.  I like the pro-wellness flavor the best it has a sweet-tart taste.

My Karuna

One trend that has gained a lot of popularity in the past several years, is the detox line of products.  Whether drinks or a structured diet, the focus is to clean your body of toxins.  When you think of great antioxidant foods, one of the first that comes to mind is blueberries.  One bottle of My Karuna’s tonic contains the same ORAC level (a measurement of antioxidants) as 3.5 cups of blueberries!  St. Louis is notorious for being an area where people with allergies suffer during the spring, summer, and fall.  This drink is an absolute cure-in-a-bottle because many dedicated customers vouch that their allergies improved and they avoided paying for costly over-the-counter or prescribed medicines.  This product is also great to give to kids with their breakfast, ensuring a healthy start to the day.  To help make the taste more appealing to little ones, just add a little orange juice, and they’ll guzzle it down.

My Karuna with boys

 

 

 

 

 

My Karuna Detox with boysMost people don’t drink enough water during a day and tend to be under-hydrated.  My Karuna’s low-calorie whole plant tonic hydration formula is just the answer.  While re-hydrating you, you’ll also be getting a huge dose of Vitamin A, and the other organic ingredients promote healthy skin and hair; so you’ll feel and look good!

Now, remember that because all these drinks contain only the best organic ingredients, they’re not going to taste like the sugar-loaded drinks you’re used to.  It took me a little time to adjust to these healthy flavors, and now I crave them.  My kids are fans too.

My Karuna drinks can be found in Whole Foods, Dierbergs, Fresh Thyme and Straub’s in St. Louis.  To all my LA friends they are coming to you soon.  Check them out.  Which one are you ready to try?  To learn more check out MyKaruna.com

XOXO  Sarah

 

*This post is sponsored by my Karuna but all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dierbergs Holiday Appetizers and Cocktails Class

I’m always looking for new and fun experiences.  So when Dierbergs invited me to one of their “pop up” cooking classes, I was thrilled.  This particular class was for holiday appetizers and cocktails, which is right down my alley.  I’ve been to some classes recently for a girls-night-out and work team-building activity, and each time picked up something new.  

Dierbergs offers some of their more popular classes as “pop up”, or last minute, so make sure you follow them on social media.  Their Instagram handle is @Dierbergs, or sign up for their newsletter here so you don’t miss anything.  They do fill up quickly.  

If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone celebrating an anniversary or birthday, these classes would be something interactive and fun.

Dierbergs holiday appetizer and jim beam cocktail class

Here was the menu:  

  • Seared Tuna Skewers and Spicy Avocado Cream & Pickled Cucumber
  • Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Bread Sticks with Olive Caper Cream
  • Candied Bacon Cornbread bits glazed with Sweet Tomato Jam
  • Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cups with Candied Pecans

This class was a demonstration with Chef Christie Maggi.  In demonstration classes, you get to sit back and relax while the chef does all the work.  

What we ate:
While Chef Christie was starting to cook, she passed around a couple of apps from the store for us to sample.  We had a festive olive and salami tray along with a cranberry pecan torte you can pick up from the deli, which makes for a quick party-pleaser.  

Salami and olive tray

torteRecipes and a couple tips Chef discussed.

Seared Tuna Skewers and Spicy Avocado Cream & Pickled Cucumber

This was my favorite appetizer of the night.  Chef Christie had a great tip about working with food on skewers.  Instead of soaking the food on the skewers, she recommended cooking the tuna first, then add the skewer after.  This prevents the skewers from burning and falling apart. 

Seared tuna skewers

Avocado substitution option: if the avocados you were planning on using aren’t ripe, you can substitute with Wholly Guacamole.  

Lemongrass substitution option: use lemongrass puree in the squeeze tube.  

Candied Bacon Cornbread Bits glazed with sweet tomato onion jam

Candied bacon cornbread bits glazed with sweet tomato onion jam

Sarah’s Scoop: These would be great served at a brunch or holiday appetizer party.  The tomato jam is what transforms this from good into an amazing item!


Sun-dried tomato & mozzarella breadsticks with olive caper cream

Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Bread Sticks with Olive Caper Cream

sun-dried tomato breadsticks

Sarah’s Scoop:  If you don’t want to make the dough from scratch, Dierbergs sells pre-made pizza dough in the same aisle where fresh pasta is made.

Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cups with Candied Pecans

Filo cups are very versatile, so pick some up in the deli department.  I love using them for holiday appetizers too (see how I did for my holiday appetizer party here) but using them for desserts is equally delicious.  

Chocolate caramel mousse cups with candied pecans

Chef’s Tip:  This mousse can be made a day or two ahead of time.  A snazzy serving option is putting them in a shot glass with berries on top, or use a martini glass for a larger portion.  

Chocolate caramel mousse cups with candied pecans

 Jim Beam Cocktails

Jim Beam Side Car

Here’s what Stephen, the Jim Beam rep, made for us to sample.

  1. Moscow Mule
  2. Sidecar
  3. Manhattan
  4. Penicillin
  5. Maker’s neat

Up until this point, I hadn’t drank any whiskey since I was in college, so I didn’t know what to expect.  The Moscow Mule is definitely something I would serve at one of my own parties for my girlfriends.  My friend Jana recently served it at her house, and she threw in some cranberry to make it festive for the holidays.  These drinks ranged from light whiskey taste too very strong.  Penicillin and Maker’s Neat are more for whiskey lovers that enjoy the taste.  There were several whiskey enthusiasts in the class, that really enjoyed these cocktails.  The cocktail size was quite large, more than just a sip, so you really got to enjoy it.

This class truly had something for everyone, including dessert.  So, do you prefer to savor a rich decadent chocolate mousse or sip on a warm whiskey at the end of your meal?

Maker's neat and chocolate carmel mousse cups with candied pecans

Jim Beam cocktail recipes

Overall this class was a lot of fun, with a lot of pleasant surprises and fun people willing to learn.  Many attendees were celebrating a special occasion or having a fun night with friends. One couple in the class said they were hosting a lot of guests for the holidays, and wanted to gather some ideas.  They love to go shopping right after the class so they picked up the ingredients of the apps and drinks they liked the best.  Very smart.  Thanks to Dierbergs for such a fun experience.  

Did you know Dierbergs has classes for all tastes and preferences?  Even if you are not a cook.   Check out their list of options for January and February here.  Here are some I’d like to attend:

New Year, New You
Make it- Take it Valentine Spa-tacular non-food class.
Friday Night Dine:  Classy Appetizers and Craft Cocktails (super popular)
Gal-entine’s Brunch
Crock Pot or Not (for those who can’t live without their crock pot)
Puppy Love, Parent-Child Kids Class (My boys love helping me in the kitchen)

Dierbergs is so much more than fresh groceries, my boys love it too. 

We thoroughly enjoy their children holiday events.  We recently saw Santa and did fun kid activities around the entire store; such as sampling foods, getting balloons, face painting, and making ornaments.  It was a win-win for everyone.  

Dierbergs Santa fair

Dierbergs Santa Fair

Dierbergs Santa Fair

Also, I hosted a pumpkin beer and treat tasting with friends this past fall, where I picked up some pumpkin beer and snacks for my girlfriends to enjoy.  If you’re looking for a great place to host, but don’t have the time to do it at your place, this is a perfect solution.  They even have live bands every Friday to make for a really festive atmosphere.  Read all about it here.

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Easy appetizers and drinks I served at my holiday swag bag party.  

Cheers Sarah, Christine, Rachel and Ann Santa define nice

 

 

 

 

 

I was in search of some easy appetizers and drinks to make for my holiday swag bag party.  I called my go-to foodie friend Christine to discuss options.  I knew she’d be a big help, because she knows I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking, but still want to wow my guests with a fun snacks and drinks.  

The primary goal for my menu was to serve appetizers I could assemble quickly, that would require three or fewer ingredients. I decided to showcase a mix of sweet and savory apps that were served cold and hot.

Here’s what I chose:

filo cups

Spinach Filo Cups.  

  • Filo cups
  • Your favorite dip (spinach artichoke works great!)

This is my “go-to” appetizer for all my parties, and are a huge hit.  They look really fancy, but they’re the easiest tasty bites to assemble.  Dierbergs carries already-baked filo cups.  While you’re there grab some of their fresh spinach artichoke dip.  All you do is spoon the dip into the filo cups, and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  You can also order them at pre-assembled, and take them home to bake.  

Anne and Sarah Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crockpot Meatballs

  • 1 package of meatballs
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays’ Honey Chipotle is really good).
  • 1 jar of apricot jelly

The crockpot can be your best friend when hosting a party.  Just throw the ingredients into the crock, and it takes care of the rest.  The apricot jelly adds a different twist to this classic appetizer.  My guests raved about this one, and requested the recipe.

cream cheese stars

Red Pepper Stars

  • 1 brick of cream cheese
  • 1 bottle of red pepper jelly

Divide and cut the cream cheese into a creative shape using a cookie cutter.  To prevent the cream cheese from sticking, spray the cookie cutter with Pam.  Then just top your shapes with the red pepper jelly, and enjoy with toast bites or crackers.  These are a simple way to make the holidays special.  For Valentine’s Day do hearts, shamrocks for St Patrick’s Day, and pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Baked goat cheese and marinara

  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • Fresh basil for garnish

This appetizer was inspired by my favorite tapas restaurant in St. Louis: Barcelona.  It’s so simple and looks so festive.  All you have to do is pour the marinara sauce into small baking dish.  Next slice the goat cheese and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until toasted and sauce is bubbling.  Serve with toast bites.

Cinnamon Chip Breadbowl

Cinnamon chip bread bowl

  • Cinnamon Chip bread bowl  from @Great Harvest Bread Co
  • Cheesecake fruit dip
  • Apple slices

I love making this Cinnamon Chip bread bowl into an amazing party treat.  This bread tastes like heaven!  Just core out the top and put in the smooth and tasty cheesecake fruit dip from Dierbergs’ deli department.  I also like to serve it with fresh apple slices.  If you’re looking for a show-stopper; this is it!

 

chocolate dipped clementines

Chocolate covered clementines

  • Clementines
  • Dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Sea Salt

First, peel and divide the clementines.  Next, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, and dip half of the clementine into the chocolate.  Sprinkle with sea salt before the chocolate hardens.  Finally, place them on parchment paper and let cool in the refrigerator.  

Veggie Platter

Veggies and Dip from Dierbergs

I like having veggies as a healthy option for my guests.  I ordered a veggie platter from Dierberg’s because they’re always fresh and beautiful.  Just throw them onto your own platter and it looks like you did all the preparation.  

Buntini's

Bundtinis from “Nothing Bundt Cakes”

These delicious miniature bundt cakes, may be small, but pack a punch for any sweet tooth. Nothing Bundt Cakes has two   locations in Chesterfield and Brentwood.  They have a compact variety of flavors in six types of products (i.e. bundt cakes and bundt towers).  I went with chocolate chocolate chip (yep, that’s twice the chocolate) and red velvet for this party, and they all disappeared quick.

What we drank:

Very peary cocktail

Very Peary Breeze

  • 1 part pear vodka
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part apple juice
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Rosemary

Just like the name indicates, this drink is like a fresh breeze.  Once mixing the three drink ingredients, throw in some frozen cranberries.  These make for festive ice cubes, a nice pop of color, and keeps your drink cold without watering it down.  Finally, garnish with rosemary.   

Wine decisions red or white? Heather C

I also had a variety of red and white wines and water on hand.  You can jazz it up the water by putting a large ice cube with frozen oranges and cranberries inside the container.  

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So that covers what we ate and drank at the Swag Bag Party.  If you missed all the fun swag items you will want to check that out here.  The recipe for the Peary Beary Cocktail here and other party ideas here.
Next I’ll be showing you how I turned my office wall  into a photo back drop.  Here’s a sneek peek.
Photo wall
XOXO  Sarah
Party Pic photos by the talented @verajeanaephotography

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The weather has cooled off in St Louis so I’m obsessed with getting my boys outside as much as possible.  Many nights we will take our dinner to a playground or park and enjoy the outside while we eat.  Being a working mom, I don’t have loads of time with my boys so I try to find ways to make our time together special without a lot of work.

Here’s what we do:

  1.  Keep a blanket, towel, even your yoga mats in your car so you can be spontaneous when you’re in the picnic mood.
  2. If packing food isn’t an option and you’re not in the mood for fast food, we like to get “grab and go” from The Art of Entertaining in Webster Groves.  They have healthy options my kids like too.  Mason is eating the Smart Start breakfast option which includes fruit, yogurt, and a popular mini muffin.
  3. One additional thing I like to do is use these fun kids conversation cards to generate interesting dialogue with my boys.  It helps keep topics off the bathroom which for some reason boys love to talk about.  🙁  LOL

Fill me in on how you like to picnic.  Have fun enjoying your quality outdoor time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a side note, my boys LOVE dogs.  They want to pet every dog they see.  I was recently looking for some cute graphic T’s for a family photo and found these adorable options.

Puppy Applique T-shirtPuppy long sleeve optionRound towel for picnic | Art of Entertaining grab and go foods

I love infusing water with flavor in the summer.  Here is one of my favorite spa water combinations.

Water
Fresh Lemons sliced
Sliced cucumbers
Mint leaves, muddled

Mix together and chill in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!  XOXO