Category: Food

TheLivelyShowGalaDarlingHappy Thursday and happy Lively Show day!

I’ve got a strategy-focused new episode for you today with Gala Darling talking about radical self love and overcoming disordered eating.


The Lively Show episodes are officially in the double digits now!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support for the show.

In today’s episode I’m talking to Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker.



Listen and subscribe via iTunes.


The second episode is here!

First of all, thank you so much for the outpouring of support for the first episode with Erin last week!

It was so wonderful to see how well received the show was, and I cannot thank you enough for spreading the word about the show, particularly via Twitter.

In today’s show, I interview Jessica Murnane, a Chicago-based blogger and plant-based eating coach over at, whom I’ve had the privilege to befriend over the past six months.

I will say right away: this episode is not intended to “push” a plant-based eating agenda.

I simply find Jessica’s health story inspiring, her resulting career shift fascinating, and I think her journey is an amazing example of someone turning their ‘mess into their message,’ as Joyce Meyer says.

So whether you are interested in eating a plant-based diet or not, I hope you join us!


In this episode you’ll find out about


  • How Jessica’s avoided a hysterectomy due to severe endometriosis by switching to a plant-based diet.
  • The emotional toll and reaction to making a positive shift from friends and family. How to deal with naysayers.
  • How Jessica started a plant-based movement among the top restaurants in Chicago and beyond.
  • What resistance she faced internally to making this shift in her life.
  • How to get enough protein on a plant-based diet.
  • How to handle having selective eating choices in a group setting.
  • What to do if you have an overzealous friend on a new eating plan.
  • What Jessica would advise someone considering a plant-based diet.


Show Notes

Isa Does It


Listen to the show



Want more? Listen to more Lively Shows here.


PS – Please leave a review on iTunes!

Now that The Lively Show is on iTunes, I would really appreciate it if you can leave an honest review.

As the show gains more reviews, it may qualify for the new and noteworthy category… which means more awesome listeners will be able to discover the show!


QuestionsAboutPlantBasedDietToday I am taping one of the very first episodes for the upcoming podcast… and I’d love your help with the interview!

I’m interviewing Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant about her personal health scare and incredible recovery, tips on eating a plant-based diet, and about the movement she’s started in luxe restaurants to provide more plant-based dishes.

If you are curious about anything regarding these topics or a plant-based lifestyle, please leave a comment. I’ll be asking a handful of reader questions in the interview – and your’s may be one of them!


 photo via


October 29th, 2013   |   Food


Since we all know that I’m not the cook in the Lively household, I don’t often offer up many recipes here on the blog. But Jen on the other hand totally knows how to whip up quick and easy recipes (along with some amazing styling). So I’ve asked her to share a quick and easy adult treat for this Halloween. Enjoy!

This Halloween drink is based on of an old classic, the Dark and Stormy. To make this drink feel a little bit more festive, I changed the name and I upped the spooky factor by not mixing it right away and garnishing with candy. I mean you gotta have candy on Halloween, right?

The best part about this drink is it’s super easy to make and has a ton of flavor right off the bat. So if you are having a few friends over this Halloween it will be easy to keep this cocktail flowing without having to over-think it. Or if you’re like me and plan on playing some scary movies, dressing your dog up like Dracula, all while you hand out candy to the littles in the neighborhood…this drink will truly make the night complete.



Dark & Spooky

recipe makes 1 cocktail

What you need:
1/2 CUP Ginger Beer (I used Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer)
Juice of 1 Lime, plus one wedge
1 (OZ) shot of dark rum (I used Myers’s Dark Rum)

Fill your favorite glass with ice. Then use the juice of one lime into the glass, pour ginger beer and then pour shot of rum on top (don’t stir until ready to drink). Garnish with lime wedge, fun candy and a stir stick. Bottoms up!

Dark-and-Spooky Recipe // Lemon Drop Love via Jess Lively


This post is contributed by Jen of Lemon Drop Love.


For the past month or so, Mr. Lively and I have chosen not to eat meat. Though many would call us “vegetarian,” we have had a hard time actually coming out and saying that word.

At first, it was because we weren’t sure if we were going to stick with the decision for a specific amount of time. It just kind of started one day. Then, we did it again the next day, and so on. Over time, we realized that it wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. And for the time being, we want to continue the trend.

For myself, I am choosing meals without meat because all animals, including lobsters, are starting to look like Franklin to me. And Mr. Lively, who started this path first, has no specific reason for his decision. He just feels like it.

Over the past several weeks we have been wary to mention it to many people – especially in the beginning. In fact, we went to dinner at a friend’s house and didn’t mention that we weren’t eating meat until it was time to make our tacos. We simply skipped the meat and put the beans in our tortillas, to which our exasperated host said she wished she had known ahead of time so she could have prepared more veggie options.

So even by trying not to make it a big deal, we ended up making it a big deal.

Meanwhile, we also have friends with other selective diets. Two friends are severely allergic to gluten, one is die-hard Paleo, and another is on a completely plant-based diet. Oh, and my parents? They eat rather low-carb meals, which might be similar to the South Beach plan.

And I know it is not just our circle of friends and family who are getting more selective with their eating choices. The With Intention workshop foodies have had an interesting time accommodating so many different eating choices that only appear to have one thing in common: veggies.

It seems that the more research, information, books, and documentaries that come out, the more varied and convicted people become about their eating choices. On the one hand, this is amazing. I’m happy to live in a time where we can all have access to more education and knowledge about what we put into our bodies and how we affect the food chain at large.

On the other hand, now – perhaps more than ever – it is more difficult to share a selective eating choice with others.

By saying we are eating vegetarian, we have been told:

  • That we won’t get enough protein.
  • That we really should be eating meat, not dairy, for better skin and nutrition.
  • That Mr. Lively better avoid eating soy, or else his estrogen is going to go up.
  • That if I eat a vegetarian diet I might get sick from not eating meat.

Rather than get positive support and encouragement for making a choice we feel good about, we face nutritional judgements and unsolicited advice. I know our friends and family mean well, but we really aren’t asking for an opinion about our decision.

Which is why it is tempting not to tell people at all, and end up at the taco bar quietly skipping the ground beef. 

What’s more, by telling people that we are eating a vegetarian diet now, I’m also starting to feel like there may be judgement if we ever decide to eat meat again in the future. By saying that we are not eating meat today, it seems like we are promising that we won’t eat meat forever. If we do eat meat in the future, we “failed to stick with it,” or we are wrong for not eating meat in the present.

The personification of these selective diets also seems to divide us from one another.

I’m a vegetarian.

I’m vegan.

I’m Paleo. 

I’m on South Beach.

As Mr. Lively said in the first few weeks, “Today, I feel like eating veggies.”

Can we allow ourselves to make our dietary choices based on our intuition at this point in time, without the hard and impenetrable boundaries? Can we support people with selective and non-selective eating choices?

Can we support our friends and families, regardless of what goes on their plate?

Can the forks live with the knives?



Jen, my insightful Commander-in-Chief, had a new idea for Friday posts that I’d like to try out. She advised me to share a bit more about myself from a non-business or intention perspective. To dish a bit on what I love beyond of the world of intention.

With this in mind, I’m going to start sharing somewhat random, but fun, topics on Fridays. They will be little conversations that I’d most likely have with you if we were having a glass of wine (or in this instance, a margarita) together. Ready? Let’s begin!

The first thing you should know about me is that my body is composed of 14.2% nachos. I site that percentage specifically because I eat nachos from Terascas, a local Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park, at least once a week. (This week I went twice.)

For me, the only thing that beats the ‘nachos, no meat, with sour cream on the side’ is their smokey salsa served with chips before the meal.

I once worked with a lovely Mexican client  - who lives in Mexico - here in Chicago. At my suggestion, we later dined on her own native cuisine, Midwest-style.

I’m pretty sure that was the equivalent to eating fish and chips at an English Pub in Paris. Which is exactly what Mr. Lively and I did on our honeymoon. The Parisian fish and chips turned out to be such a disappointment that they inspired a 24 hour trip to London to get the real thing.

Which goes to show that this magical restaurant, with their epic nachos, is not universally acknowledged as the most fantastic place on Earth. It simply feels that way to me.


Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

raspberry & kale smoothie

July 29th, 2013   |   Food



Yesterday my youngest (and tallest) brother, Mike, came to visit. He’s living in Phoenix now, so we don’t get to see him very often.

To celebrate, yesterday started with a mimosa brunch and ended at Headquarters Beercade. And after many of my favorite dishes (mac and cheese from Wilde, nachos from Terascas)… my body is craving something healthy this morning.

Enter, my raspberry and kale smoothie.


Raspberry & Kale Smoothie

  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 c of kale (I prefer the frozen kale at Trader Joes)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 3 small glasses of water
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon chia seeds and/or flax

1. If you include the chia seeds, put the tablespoon of seeds in a small glass of water for a few minutes until they get their jelly-like exterior. Stir if needed.

2. Toss all ingredients in the blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.

3. Serve!


It’s fast, easy, and gives me a good dose of veggies and fruits right when I wake up. I’m also recently into the chia seeds as a great extra boost (awesome for the digestive track).

Got your own go-to smoothie? Feel free to share your recipe with me in the comments!

linda’s pumpkin dip

October 3rd, 2012   |   Food

By looking at what is pinned on Pinterest from the blog lately, I can tell many people are discovering my mom’s healthy pumpkin dip recipe from years past.

But many people may not know there is also an unhealthy version too. Below I’ve shared both so you can pick your poison. Enjoy!

Linda’s Healthy Pumpkin Dip

  • One 8oz cool whip
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg will work in a pinch)
  • 15oz canned pumpkin
  • Gingerbread men or graham crackers
  1. Thaw cool whip. Mix pumpkin, dry vanilla pudding mix, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Fold in thawed cool whip and serve.

The Less Healthy (But Very Yummy) Pumpkin Dip

  • 4 C confectioners sugar
  • 16 oz canned pumpkin
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Gingerbread men or graham crackers
  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

rooftop party

September 10th, 2012   |   FoodLifeStyle


Over the weekend Mr. Lively and I celebrated our marriage with our friends both near and far by throwing a rooftop party.

Our intention with the party was to make it beautiful and as stress-free as possible.

When creating a vision for the party, I imagined using our apartment building’s roof deck. For decor, I got color inspiration from the pops of blue in our wedding ceremony. We also agreed that we should incorporate all the foods we wanted to have at a traditional wedding reception: a build your own mini-slider bar, mac and cheese, my favorite cupcakes, a signature cocktail, and craft beer.

To help us keep things manageable, we decided to only cook the sliders and buy prepared foods for the rest of the meal. After a rather very stressful Fourth of July party earlier this year, we knew that it would be nice if we cooked everything ourselves… but definitely not necessary.

So we took a few trips to Cost Co and Binny’s and wound up with a fridge that looked like this.

Since we had over 50 friends to serve, this fridge is just a fraction of the goods we had to bring down the the roof deck. To help speed the process along, we borrowed the building’s moving cart to load up all the items we needed in batches.

We also we were extremely fortunate that my best friend and “maid of honor,” Maggie, and her fiance, Tony, were on hand to help us prepare. Due to their enormous help and enthusiasm, we were able to get the whole party prepped in about three or four hours.

Here’s a rundown of the party in photos.

photo via Cathy 


The night before the party, Maggie invited my girlfriends out to celebrate my marriage in a “bachelorette-like” party. But since I was already married and had no interest in a tiara or phallic-anything, we dubbed it a “Mrs. Party.” We met at my favorite swanky bar, The Bedford, and drank nice cocktails. It was the perfect low-key way to spend time with some of my closest friends.

The next morning I was so happy to discover we had the perfect warm-but-cool weather for the party. Our only weather related challenge was the wind in the afternoon, which made affixing tablecloths near impossible a challenge.

We purchased serving dishes for the event, which we will use forever-after as well. We decided on white dishes so we can evolve our collection over time. In fact, our bowls seen here are from my Grandpa’s collection and the rectangle dishes are from Crate and Barrel Outlet. Because the lines of all the dishes are clean and simple, we will be able to expand the collection endlessly into the future and still remain coordinated.

You will also notice the white table cloth. Those are actually three large white plastic table cloths purchased with the other party supplies. We used a liberal amount of clear packing tape to ensure that the granite table was covered and would not get blown away. At the end of the night all we needed to do for clean up was remove the tablecloths and throw them away – which definitely beat scrubbing down the giant granite bar by hand. The white covering also created a great backdrop for my color scheme as well. Had we just left the regular dark pink granite as-is, I don’t think the party would have felt as pulled together.

We also picked up a big metal wine bucket at Target earlier in the summer which worked perfectly with our white dishware. Under the table the beers were stashed in a cooler.

As I mentioned before, I also wanted to have a cocktail station. Mr. Lively and I are usually not cocktail people, but I thought it would be nice to serve the one cocktail I adore: the Classic St. Germain. Each of those beakers has marks which indicate how much St. Germain, soda water, and champagne should be added for a perfectly prepared drink.

Our blue napkins and gold(!) plastic silverware, plates, and silo cups were the major pops of color for the table. I ordered them online here. (As you can tell, Mr. Lively let me pick the decor for the event.)

We also lucked out on this caddy for about $7, which happened to be the exact same blue as the napkins, at the Crate and Barrel Outlet. It was a pure fluke.

Because we indulged in amazing cheese while at our cooking class in Paris, we decided to serve fancy French cheese to our party. Mr. Lively splurged on these incredible French cheeses found at Pastoral. Besides the cocktails, they were the biggest hit at the party.

We scored the white marble cheese plate for just $19.95 at Crate and Barrel the day before the party.

On the other side of the table we had an array of cheeses for the mini sliders. My favorite find for the party was the batch of chalkboard stickers  from World Market. They were super easy to label (they come with the chalk in the package), and because they stuck to the table cloth, we didn’t have to worry about them blowing away.

By 4:00 we were all set for guests. Here are the two fantastic people that helped us make the party such a hit, Maggie and Tony.

Our friend Ryan acted as bartender and mixed up the St. Germain cocktails.

Once the grilled veggies for the sliders were ready, Mr. Lively dished them out on disposable serving trays. Again, more easy clean up.

People had a great time mingling and hanging out.

Mr. Lively was Husband of the Year and made sure everyone had as many sliders as they pleased and made sure I didn’t get too stressed.

And he also took the time to hang out with his friends visiting from Kansas City.

I was lucky enough to have friends from my hometown, Rochester, Michigan, travel from all parts of the country. Thank you Maggie (New York), Catherine (Georgia), and Krista (Michigan).

It was a treat to also spend time with my girls from the University of Michigan, too. Marisa, Maggie, and I call ourselves The Tribunal.

A few hours into the party we served our cupcakes. My all time favorite, Magnolia.

By the time we ran out of beer (again), it was time to head over to Matilda’s for a 90′s dance party.

I am so incredibly grateful for such a fun-filled party with those we love. It definitely hit the refined and relaxed intention we were going for. I hope that some of our party decisions might come in handy for others planning big bashes.


chocolate with intention

February 9th, 2012   |   FoodLife

Yep, that’s right. I’ve found a way to make chocolate intentional.

Though I will say right off the bat this is not your chocolate lover’s fantasy… this is more of a health intention turned more enjoyable.

Since I’m not that fond of dairy beyond cheese (I love me some cheese), I realize that my calcium intake is probably not that stellar on a regular basis.

Or at least it wasn’t that regular until my best friend Maggie let me in on a little secret:

There are Target brand chocolate calcium chews that taste almost like tootsie rolls which fulfill your daily dose of calcium and vitamin D in two little rolls of goodness.

Of course there are also brand name chews out there as well, but I’m frugal when it comes to items like this and always go generic when possible.

Here’s what they look like inside.

See? Just a tad bit tougher and less sweet than your average tootsie roll. And at 20 calories a pop, they are a great little treat after dinner or when I feel like eating something small.

Mr. Lively and I ate them plain for quite a while, but over time they started to get a teeny bit dull.

… Until Mr. Lively brought another player to the table.

Yum. Obviously any peanut butter will do, but Natural Jif happens to be for me the perfect mix of childhood Jif with a tad more sophisticated flavor and texture.

If there was such a thing as healthy food porn, this could be it. The peanut butter and calcium chew combo reminds me of Tagalong Girl Scout cookies, a candy bar, or some other delicious food memory that I can’t quite place.

All I know is that I’m much more likely to get my calcium if I’ve got these at home.

Two calcium chews a day keeps the osteoporosis away.

israeli couscous

January 16th, 2012   |   FoodLife

Though I don’t normally post many any recipes on MML, today I thought I’d share one that has been my new go-to meal for dinner and lunches lately. Admittedly this could easily be a tasty side dish, but I often end up re-heating it on it’s own when I need a light dinner after work.

I first tried the dish at Mr. Lively’s aunt’s home over Thanksgiving. I loved the dish so much I was determined to learn how to create it myself. Something that I don’t often do, which says a lot about this amazing couscous.

The ingredients can be seen above. The recipe that I’ve made very closely follows the recipe on the back of the purple Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous box. And for about $1.70 for the box, it can be a pretty cheap dish. But for those who don’t live near a TJ’s, you can also make it using non-TJ Israeli Couscous seen in the blue container on the right.

Here’s what you will need to make it the way that I do,

3 tbs butter

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous

1 pinch cinnamon

1 3/4 cup water or chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

First, chop your shallots.

Take 1 Tbs. of the butter and melt it in a large sauce pan on medium/low heat. Add pine nuts to the melted butter and stir occasionally. Once the nuts are browned, put them aside in a small bowl.

Then in the same pot, add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter to the pan and add the shallots. Let the shallots soften and sweat out for a few minutes.

Measure out 1 to 1.5 cups of dry Israeli couscous.

(Bird measuring cups from Urban Outfitters a few seasons ago.)

Add the dry couscous and cinnamon to the pan with the shallots and let them toast a bit until lightly browned.

Then add 1.75 cups of water or chicken broth to the pot. Bring the heat up so that the water or broth comes to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, reduce head to a simmer and cover with a lid.

When the water is mostly absorbed into the couscous, I add my raisins to get them nice and plump. Then, after the remaining liquid is absorbed by the couscous, I add the pine nuts back to the pot and serve.

I’m sure this would also be great with added herbs (TJ’s recipe calls for parsley) or protein like chicken or tofu. But for me, I like it just as it is.


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