my perfect food prep plan (with Door To Door Organics – Ohio + a GIVEAWAY)

Disclosure: Door to Door Organics – Ohio approached me with an opportunity to share information about their organic products and delivery service. In return, I received an account credit for their home grocery delivery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As someone who spent many years eating any low calorie (read: chemical packed) food available on the market, the older, wiser me started to take a closer look at how I was fueling my body — namely with what ingredients. Just around that time, I was introduced to Door to Door Organics and it’s changed how I select, purchase and consume food.

door to door organics order screen

In case you’re not familiar, Door to Door Organics partners with farmers to bring fresh, organic produce and Good Food groceries right to your doorstep. They believe that food should be good, quality is a must, flexibility is key, that eco-friendliness is something to strive for and in free delivery for their customers.

I started receiving weekly shipments last May and immediately could tell the difference between the regular produce I had been purchasing at the grocery store and their organic offerings. I quickly realized that customizing our order was a breeze (no more mangoes for me, not my cup of tea!) and I could add things like meats, seafood, dairy and other local goods quite easily.

But the fresh veggies and fruit arriving every Wednesday is what I look forward to most as they’ve given me an inspired approach to cooking. I have always adored having my Sunday afternoons to spend in the kitchen trying new recipes and setting us up for success in the week ahead. It’s something I have done for years and just realized there was a term for what I was doing: food prep. (#duh Alicia!)

DTDO cutting board

I noted before the importance of food prep for my weight loss/maintenance success. It makes it incredibly easier to make a better, healthier meal or even snacking decision when there are plenty of organic options around — instead of what seemingly looks like to be “better for you” yet uber processed options. And as I refocus on how I can be the best version I can be physically, time for food prep is becoming an important part of my schedule — thus the importance of Door To Door Organics’ products on my porch and in my fridge.

My tips for a perfect food prep plan include:

  • Survey your surplus. What did you receive in your DTDO box this week? Is there anything left from the previous shipment that needs to be cooked? Can any of those items go together into an interesting recipe? Examples: my zoodles with grape tomatoes and my mini turkey zucchini meatloaves.
  • Herbs and spices are your friends. Salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, sage, rosemary… the list goes on and they are all in my kitchen cabinet. Don’t be afraid to use these — seasoning is a good thing!
  • Garlic and onion are DTDO must haves. One or both of these are always in my weekly box because they are key in adding so much flavor to the cooking process.
  • Make a mass amount of a protein for the week. I love this bulk cooking session to make sure Hans and I have an entree option ready. Baking chicken in the oven is an easy breezy way to make sure you have a healthy option available for lunch salads and sandwiches, plus quick and easy weeknight dinners.
  • Don’t over think it. No one is expecting you to make a 20 course, white tablecloth, fine dining meal during food prep. But with a little bit of effort, pairing fresh ingredients and adding the just right amount of extras, you’ll be surprised just how far that time dedicated to food prep will go.

Before you know it, your stovetop, dinner table and fridge will look like this and this and this:

DTDO food prep collage

Want to get cooking with some free Door to Door Organics goods? Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway as I’m giving away two $50 shop credits to two lucky readers this week on the blog. (You can be a new to the program or an existing customer of Door to Door!) Giveaway is open thru 11:59pm on Monday 2/15 — winners will be announced Tuesday morning. Submit your entries today:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn more about Door to Door Organics – Ohio by visiting their website and following their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Again many thanks to the DTDO team for making this post — and a healthy lifestyle — possible!

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GIVEAWAY: 2016 Great Big Home and Garden Show

Great news for you home decor enthusiasts, gardeners and DIY-ers of Northeast Ohio: the annual Great Big Home and Garden Show will return to the I-X Center next month — February 5-14, 2016. The show features more than 600 exhibits, hundreds of home industry experts, appearances by home and garden celebrities and returning favorites from previous year shows.

2015 Home and Garden Show

Directly from the show organizers, show highlights will include:

  • Wolf Timbers Rustic Manor, a 2,500-square-foot, ranch rustic-style Idea Home, is an open and airy three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom energy efficient home with a layout designed to wow! Built by Blossom Homes and sponsored by Sherwin-WilliamsCleveland Magazine and Ohio Magazine the home features an aging-in-place design that will inspire visitors thinking of building or renovating their homes.
  • The 1,500-square-foot Xtend Technologies Hi-Tech Entertainment Home, built by Pepperwood Homes, is designed with entertaining in mind and will inspire visitors with ideas for their own entertainment spaces. The home features the latest in indoor and outdoor technology from Xtend Technologies. Landscaping surrounding the Hi-Tech Home will also be provided by Morton’s Landscaping.
  • Everyone deserves their own personal getaway space and this year’s She Sheds will have visitors thinking about how to create their own backyard retreat. Whether it’s a nature nest, writer’s retreat or wine tasting room, these She Sheds will spark ideas for creating any type of retreat space with a feminine touch.
  • The popular Garden ShowcaseCelebration!-themed gardens created by some of Northeast Ohio’s top landscapers. From Mardi Gras and Labor Day to welcoming home our military or enjoying a wedding, each garden will leave visitors feeling festive and ready to plan their own backyard party!
  • The combined Main Stage and Loretta Paganini Cooking Stage will be bigger than ever to offer attendees the best of home improvement celebrity appearances with the opportunity to taste and enjoy culinary delights in one convenient location. A state-of-the-art kitchen stage and vignette, will be designed and built by Perrino Builders & Furniture for consumers to tour between stage presentations. Celebrities include mother and daughter duo Karen Rominger and Mina Starsiak, The Beekman Boys, Jason Cameron and Ursula Carmona.
  • Show attendees can relax and enjoy fine dining among the beauty of the Garden Showcase in the Cambria Bistro, a full-service, white tablecloth restaurant.
  • The Petitti Gardening Stage, daily gardening seminars on landscape design, flora and furnishing outdoor rooms will be held by Northeast Ohio landscape experts. The Petitti Floral Mart will also feature numerous outdoor furniture sets and plants to purchase.

Tickets are $12 for ages 13 and older, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 6 if purchased online (a $3 per ticket savings). You can also save an additional $1 per ticket with discount code POISE16. Tickets are now on sale here.

…or you can enter to win 2 general admission tickets, good for any day of the show, this week on the blog via this Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until THIS SATURDAY, January 30 at 11:59PM to enter. A winner will be announced the next morning on the blog’s Facebook page. As this is a local event taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, I highly encourage entries by those that can attend during that span of February.

Check out the show’s social media feeds at FacebookTwitter & Pinterest to get inspired before the February exhibition at the IX Center.

Disclosure: Graphics ℅ the Great Big Home and Garden Show. In exchange for providing this giveaway, I was invited to attend this event with a guest. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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GIVEAWAY: Animal Attractions (to benefit the Cleveland Zoological Society)

Unless you’ve managed to start hibernating in the past few weeks, you know that it’s official: winter is here in Greater Cleveland. Bundled with a full set of gloves, scarf and hat with all outdoor adventures, I’m already longing for warmer temperatures. And as though my friends at the Cleveland Zoological Society knew we all felt this way this time of year, they are gearing up for their first social event of 2016: Animal Attractions.

Group enjoying the event resized

Wait a minute — those folks look familiar 

Animal Attractions — Presented by Fifth Third Bank — celebrates another year of enjoying the tropical temperatures of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Rainforest in one of our fine city’s coldest months. As guest wander around getting to know the animals better, they also delight in sampling some of Cleveland’s most tantalizing dishes while enjoying an open bar and wine tasting.

Animal Attractions food and wine

Restaurants and food vendors offering sample dishes at this year’s event will include:

With plenty of adult beverages, get-close to the animal moments and 3 “adult-only conservation education” presentations, it’s no wonder they are celebrating 12 years of this event in 2016!

Animal Attractions presentations

 Still not sure what to expect? Check out my Know Before You Go post on this event.

Plan to join additional event sponsors Cleveland Magazine, Great Lakes Brewing Company, The Beachhouse Wines and Fireball Whisky (#mykindofsponsors) at this annual Zoo event taking place on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Tickets are $60 Zoo members, $65 non-members. Please note: You must be 21 or older to attend. Purchase tickets at… or enter to win two tickets on the blog:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until THIS SUNDAY, January 24 at 11:59PM to enter. A winner will be announced the next morning on the blog’s Facebook page. As this is a local event taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, I highly encourage entries by those that can attend on Thursday, February 4th.

Keep up with the Zoo Society: follow the hashtag #wildaboutCLE on social media, plus check out their FacebookTwitter & Instagram.

Disclosure: Previous year photos ℅ the Cleveland Zoological Society — taken by fellow CLE event prof Dale McDonald. In exchange for providing this giveaway, I was invited to attend this February 4th event with a guest. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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