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Advent Giving Month Ideas: Week One

Ideas for Giving Back This Holiday Season | This Miss Cooks

Photo by Kristina Litvjak on Unsplash

Whew! It has been a whirlwind of a December, my friends. I’m sure you’re just as busy this holiday season with juggling friends, family and work as I’ve been. I’m simultaneously amazing that it’s only been a week and shocked that Christmas is so close!

If you didn’t see my post last week, I’m doing my Second Annual Advent Giving Month. Hitting my goal of donating to a charity or volunteering once a day can be challenging but it’s also been incredibly rewarding. I’m reminded of the fact that even when life is hectic, we can still find time for the things that are important to us.

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Advent Giving Month

December Advent Giving Month | This Miss Cooks

What is an Advent Giving Month?

I’ll be honest with you, I debated what the title of this should be for far longer than is reasonable. Advent Calendar Giving Month. December Advent Giving. Giving Back Advent Calendar. In the end though, I stuck with the name I came up with randomly two years ago when Christmas had ended and I gave Mr Never Cooks his 25th Advent Calendar gift.

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5 Healthy Instant Pot Party Recipes

5 Healthy Instant Pot Party Recipes | This Miss Cooks

One of my very favorite Cyber Monday purchases from about 2 years back is definitely the Instant Pot. In fact, I think it’s the only bigger item I’ve ever gotten on this most hallowed of shopping-on-your-lunch-break days. I know, shocking that I splurge a little on food-related things! I have yet to regret getting one, even if it’s a bit of a pain to find a spot to store it in my tiny apartment.

Since this handy little gadget has kept going on sale every year around this time, I figured I’d share my favorite time and energy saving Instant Pot recipes. In the spirit of the season — and not becoming a total hermit — I’ve also been trying to plan a few dinner parties with friends.

Without further ado, here are my favorite Instant Pot party recipes that are perfect for feeding a (picky) crowd!

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5 Healthy Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

5 Healthy Holiday Traditions to Start This Year | This Miss Cooks

If your family growing up was anything like mine, the idea of doing something healthy or active in the time between Halloween and Valentine’s Day was a big no-no. Swiss Colony boxes showed up regularly with those processed cheese-like foods that lived in the fridge nearly year-round. Even though we lived in Arizona, I’m pretty sure my Mom thought I would get frostbite if I ventured outside. The closest I got to physical activity was volunteering through the National Honors Society to help man the water stations at a 5k for asthma or heart disease. That last one I still highly recommend, but I’ve since learned that if I want to avoid the Fall/Winter 20 (pounds) I need to figure out how to start some new healthy holiday traditions.

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8 Best Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes

8 Best Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes | This Miss Cooks

Okay, so I may have somewhat impulsively planned an impromptu Friendsgiving dinner for Saturday. As in a full Thanksgiving spread 2 days from this moment. I was a glass of wine into my weekly dinner party and thinking about just how much I love stuffing (hint: it’s a lot). Before I knew it, I was telling a roomful of my dearest friends to be there or be square, turkey and all. The thing is, many of my guests are vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free. So, a vegan Friendsgiving it will (partially) be!

So of course I woke up this morning and furiously combed the internet and my own recipe stash for the tastiest vegan Thanksgiving side dishes. On the bright side, this does mean that I’ll be getting a significantly smaller bird. On the other hand, I’m going to need to get extra creative with juggling oven and stove space.

And of course Mr Never Cooks asks SPECIFICALLY for ‘meaty stuffing’ so I know there will be some dishes I’ll need to duplicate. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?!

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Weekly Menu Planner & Grocery List Printable

Menu planning. Precision grocery shopping. Meal prep Sunday. Those are some of my favorite weekend rituals that carry me through a healthy (and sane) week. At this point,I’ve gotten it all down to a science at this point so that I don’t waste time, energy or money. Now, I searched around for a while for a menu planner that fit my needs. In the end, though, it was easier to make my own so I could put in all the little odds and ends that I find useful.

I was walking through Costco today and a woman stopped to tell me how organized I looked with my list, so I knew I just had to share it with you! What makes this one so useful compared to other versions?

Weekly Menu Planner & Grocery List Printable | This Miss Cooks Continue reading

Feeling Fine Friday: 5 Best Podcasts for Running

I’ve seen tons of lists on how to improve your running that mention removing your earbuds and actually taking in the sounds around you. Perhaps if I were a better person I could manage, but in all honesty if I’m not listening to the Norwegian operatic metal songs of my youth then I’m almost certainly playing a podcast while running.

I was a little late on getting on this train, but since I discovered them a couple of years ago I’ve been hooked. Not all shows are great for exercise entertainment (I’m looking at you, morning news) so I figured I’d introduce you to the ones that keep my attention the best when I’m logging miles.

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Mexican Chopped Salad with Avocado, Black Beans and Quinoa

Mexican Chopped Salad with Avocado, Black Beans and Quinoa | This Miss Cooks

Am I the only one eternally struggling to find man approved vegetable based dinners? Now that I’ve got my own healthy eating habits on lock, I’ve set my sights on Mr Never Cooks’s diet. Granted, I haven’t been a total slouch and feeding him pizza while I eat my kale salads, but most days he ends up picking around something green in our dinners.

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Top 5 Halloween Workouts

Top 5 Halloween Workouts | This Miss Cooks

Photo by Sašo Tušar on Unsplash

It’s the moooost wonderful tiiiime of the yeeeee–oh, wrong holiday. Halloween is one of my favorite times of year though. The weather is still pretty nice and tasty Fall foods are aplenty. It’s also the beginning of the non-stop food-based festivities that don’t really stop until Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, I put together a list of fun Halloween themed workouts to keep you active while enjoying the reason for the season (candy, duh). So pop in a scary movie to get your blood pumping or jam out to Monster Mash on repeat. These spooky workouts are perfect for getting your decidedly not-scary tush moving. 😉 Continue reading

5 Ways To Stay Healthy During Fall Events

5 Ways To Stay Healthy During Fall Events | This Miss Cooks

It’s Fall, y’all! If you’re anything like me, that means it’s time for pumpkin patch visits, getting lost in corn mazes, and baking up a storm in your kitchen.  For those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle though, it can be difficult to keep a balanced diet. And with holiday season right around the corner it’s easy to fall off the good intentions bandwagon. Continue reading

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