The Healthy Living Summit 2013: Full Recap

Happy Tuesday! Guess what I’m doing tonight? Going to a spin class with Dara Torres! Not only is it my first spin class, but I get to meet an Olympian at the same time?! I am super pumped!

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Healthy Living Summit 2013

It’s time for some Healthy Living Summit recapping. I am bound and determined to squeeze this all into one post. Last year I broke it into four posts. It might get lengthy, but I think I can do it. Grab a cup of tea and settle in a comfy chair for this one.

Thursday

I snagged my Caroline from the airport as we both gave each other the girliest greeting ever with lots of shrieking and hugs. Caroline and I met last year at the Summit in Boston. We have kept in touch over the past year and have become the best of friends. I adore her.

caroline melanie

This was her first time in Minnesota so we checked a couple of touristy things off the list: a walk around Lake Calhoun and a trip to the Mall of America. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our comfies and went to bed early to rest up for the festivities that lay ahead.

Friday

Wild Harvest hosted a tour of their test kitchens and labs in Eden Prairie, MN. Wild Harvest was the gold sponsor for the Healthy Living Summit and is an organic food company. They are responsible for the brands Wild Harvest, Essential Everyday, Culinary Corner, among others. You have probably seen these brands in your grocery store.

Being that I am a dietitian, setting foot into their facilities and seeing their test kitchens and labs was a dream to me. Back in college I had a couple of classes that focused on product development including taste testing, sensory labs, and ingredient adjustment. This brought back a lot of memories!

wild harvest

After the tour we headed out to the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis where the Summit was being held. We got all checked in, were greeted by the amazing organizing team, and got situated in our room.

I was SO excited to see Becky and Katie! Caroline, Becky, Katie, and I all roomed together for the weekend. I know you’re thinking that’s crazy: four girls and one bathroom sounds like a nightmare, but it actually worked out just fine! It was never a problem.

We headed to a presentation given by Nancy Clark, RD about proper refueling post-workout. After that we got sweaty with an Insanity workout. I only did it at half speed and I was still dripping sweat by the end of it!

Next on the agenda: dinner at Kindee Thai. There was a group of 12 of us girls who met there and I got to meet so many great ladies and eat tasty chicken and veggie stir fry. Let’s see if I can remember everyone at dinner: Gabe, Jen, Becky, Natalie, Katie, Amanda, Kim, Hannah, Katie T., and Caroline. Did I do it girls? I will feel terrible if I forgot someone!

Kindee thai

After dinner we headed across the street to the Guthrie Theater where our cocktail party was being held. If you’ve ever been there, the event was held on the endless bridge. The views are gorgeous!

We mingled, made new friends, and had some serious fun in the photo booth. In the photos below: Caroline, Jen, Becky, Katie, Hannah, Kim, and Me.

hls cocktail party

The evening flew by and before I knew it I was snuggled into bed. Unfortunately I cannot sleep well for the life of me on the first night in any new place, so I got a total of five hours that night maybe.

Saturday

But that’s okay because there was plenty of healthy food and beverages to keep me perky during the day on Saturday! I even had my first experience with Energy Bits which are made from 100% organically grown spirulina algae, and loaded with 40 nutrients and protein. They are a healthy energy boost and 100% natural whole food which is the only way I would ever take an energy supplement.

hls 13 food

Saturday was spent listening to panels and interacting with new blog friends and the sponsors at the event. My girl Katie was one of the presenters! Go Katie!

conferences

I took away some new tips for the blog and am hoping to make some great changes and enhancements to Beautifully Nutty!

Sponsors: Wild Harvest (gold sponsor), Driscoll’s Berry (my jam), Blue Diamond, Ninja Kitchen, Musselman’s, Refuel Got Chocolate Milk, Sargento, 360 PR, Ortholite,  and CocoVia.

hls sponsors

In the afternoon we had a little down-time, so the girls and I headed out for a walk around the area. Even though I am from Minnesota, I don’t get to the downtown area very often, so the whole weekend was so much fun for me. I was discovering new places to explore in MN!

hls roomies walk

Saturday night we had plans to get all dolled up one more time and go out to dinner. Our plans changed when we got into our hotel room at the end of the day, got into our comfy clothes, and sat down. Not to mention it was also raining outside. A roomie vote concluded that we would not be going out to dinner. Instead, we picked up Chipotle and a bottle of wine and snuggled into our hotel room for the evening. Our honorary roomie Tara, joined us too! We were all giddy that we decided to stay in!

Sunday

I slept WAY better the second night and was ready for the HLS13 5K bright and early Sunday morning. It was a walk or run depending on however you wanted to tackle it. Our group decided to walk it. We made our way over to the sculpture garden where we got real corny posing in front of the big cherry on a spoon.

hls roomies by the cherry

The air was crisp and we decided a Caribou Coffee stop was necessary for the way back. Once we got back to the hotel, we joined everybody in the main conference room for a farewell breakfast. Heather and Julie, the main organizers of the event, thanked us all for coming and then revealed to us the location of HLS for next year: Madison, WI! Just a 3.5 hour car ride from me!

I have to give a HUGE shout out to the whole HLS planning team. You ladies rock my socks. You are so organized and thoughtful, and made the summit so memorable once again! THANK YOU!

Here was the swag damage…

hls 13 swag

 

Whoa baby that’s a lotta swag! So many companies donated amazing swag. We even got a Kona Kase and a Nature Box! So many goodies!

And the fun continues. The lovely ladies from Driscoll’s had heaping amounts of leftover berries, and since I drove to the conference and didn’t have to worry about flying berries home, they sent me home with mounds of berries.

driscolls berries

 

Berry heaven. I froze the berries and will be using them for the next 5 years few months in smoothies, sorbets, and who knows, I might even make some homemade jam? You’d like that Tara, right?! Although I didn’t win any of the giveaway prizes over the weekend, I feel like I won with these berries!

And now for the cheesiness. I also feel like I won because I had the most incredible weekend with my girls. I love spending time with these women—they are all truly amazing. I got to meet so many wonderful ladies who all have a story to tell, and who are all beautiful and unique in their own special way. It’s incredible being at a function like this where everyone has a common interest and passion. You never run out of things to talk about! Thank you HLS for another great year! Until next time. xoxo.

One last note: the Hilton Minneapolis was the perfect place to stay for the summit. Our room was plenty big for four of us girls plus all of our clothes and swag. They were extremely accommodating and I would recommend this hotel to others visiting the area.

Photo Leftovers

The 2013 Healthy Living Summit is just one day away. Wanna know more about HLS? You can read up on my recaps from last year in Boston.

Destination Boston HLS12
Shake Out the Nerves HLS Day 1
Cheers to New Friends HLS Day 2
Decisions, Decisions HLS Day 3

I am so excited to be reunited with my girls and to meet so many new blends!

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So you’ve seen it before from me, and yet again I have some super delicious food photos and some other random other photos that are piling up and needing to be shared with you all.

It’s an easy one for all of us with virtually no thinking involved—leftover day. Sit back and enjoy.

Strawberry Chicken Poppyseed Salad from Panera. I finally got it even though summer is coming to an end. I was actually nervous when I went there because I was afraid I had missed my opportunity. I LOVE this salad.

panera salad

Dinner made my mamacita: tilapia, roasted veggies, and smoky quinoa. Means always taste better when someone else makes them for you.

tilapia and vegetables

Some new pb spread called Tru-Nut that was sent to me to try on gluten-free brown rice toast.  I’m still deciding how I feel about it.

gluten free toast with tru-nut butter

A delightfully veggie-packed salad: mixed greens, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, turkey, cheese, sunflower seeds, and honey mustard.

salad

My favorite salmon with almond, capers, and sesame oil with grilled veggies.

salmon with veggies

A care package from Wild Harvest—thank you and see you guys soon!

wild harvest package

My new friends I met in New York on the cover of the Variety section this week!

mn girls bethenny in newspaper

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And Moose.

moose

Happy Thursday!

Do you have any leftover goodies hanging out on your phones or camera?!

What are your thoughts on leftover food? Yay or nay?

It’s Peanut Butter Giveaway Time! {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

Hi friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was very low-key and pretty darn fabulous. I have an amazing giveaway to announce, but I would still like to catch you up from the weekend so…..

The last time I left you was Friday morning, so I’ll take off from there.

Friday

I had a few appointments, one being a hair appointment. It was time to brighten up the golden locks. The last time I had my hair highlighted was in February, and it was starting to look dull, so I figured it was about time. It’s amazing what a simple change to your hair can do for your spirit. 🙂

Before and after:

Melanie hair

melanie hair

                                                                          You know what else helps lift my spirits? A box of pita chips from Wild Harvest delivered right to my door. They have recently come out with natural pita chips and sent me a few samples to try! They sent sea salt, parmesan garlic, and cinnamon sugar flavors. The sea salt ones were opened this weekend and I am VERY happy with them. They have a slight buttery taste to them and just the perfect amount of saltiness. I’m excited to try the other flavors.

Wild Harvest Pita Chips

I only had a few minutes for lunch but managed to whip up a tasty plate of shredded chicken with avocado, feta cheese, and pepper.

chicken avocado feta cheese

Dinner was protein-packed and simple: a Morningstar Garden Veggie patty with a runny egg on top.
morningstar with an egg

After dinner, Dana and I hopped into our warm car and made our way around town looking at Christmas lights. It’s a tradition we started last year which includes a trip to Dairy Queen and gawking at lights like little kids. I LOVE IT!

Christmas lights

Saturday

It was raining and 35° on Saturday morning, so our plans to run outside were deviated. We headed to the gym and ran out 5.5 miles on the treadmill. It was miserable to be perfectly honest. The boredom factor was at an all-time high, BUT we made it through.

My pre-run breakfast of banana with Parkers Farm peanut butter, cinnamon and honey…

parkers farm pb and banana

The afternoon was spent deep cleaning our house. Dusting, mopping, windexing, shining up the stainless steel appliances, catching up with the laundry, washing the drapes….I mean deep clean. Such a gratifying way to spend a rainy Saturday!

What adds to the gratification? Knowing that a pot roast would be ready in the crock pot at dinner time after a day full of crazy cleaning.

pot roast

The pot roast came out a little tougher than usual and I’m blaming that on the fact that I tossed it into the crock pot completely frozen, but it was still good! I used this roast recipe from the last time I made it, except minus the beef broth (because we didn’t have any) and I substituted with water instead.

Later in the evening I dominated a game of Skip Bo while Moose snuggled by my side. Kidding, he literally sat by me for 5 minutes before moving elsewhere, but I still thought it was sweet.

moose/skipbo

Sunday

The usual Sunday morning ritual of reading the paper, cutting coupons, and going grocery shopping, then home around noon for a sweet lunch…

Mixed greens, strawberries, avocado, black beans, mandarin oranges, and poppy seed dressing.
sweet salad

I made my way downstairs to the treadmill for a 40 minute walk, managed to wrap some presents, and clean the kitchen, but besides that, it was a pretty quiet and very relaxing day. I really needed a weekend like this. I am well-rested and have a very clean house. I hope you had a great weekend too!

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Now onto the realllllyyy good stuff…

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

Parkers Farm, a Minnesota-based company, makes the most phenomenal peanut butter, one that you see throughout many of my posts (including this one actually). They also make other products like salsa and cheese spreads. Because I am such a huge peanut butter lover, I am stoked about this giveaway.

They are offering a case, which is 12 jars (16 ounces each) of their peanut butter to ONE lucky reader. The winner can choose between 1 of 3 varieties: creamy, crunchy, or honey creamy!

The peanut butter is perishable so this giveaway is only open to continental U.S. residents only (sorry to all of my other readers!) and no P.O. Box addresses please. The PB can be frozen for up to a year so no need to worry about not being able to use it all right away although in my house it wouldn’t be an issue. 🙂

To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite way to eat peanut butter. Earn an extra entry by tweeting or posting on facebook “I just entered to win @ParkersFarmInc peanut butter from @NuttyMelanie http://wp.me/p2J5VV-1lF.” Just be sure to leave a second comment on this post with your tweet or facebook post. I will randomly pick a winner on Thursday. Good luck!