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A Taste of the Whole Foods Thanksgiving Holiday Menu

I admit that I am a newbie to Whole Foods.  For a long time, the nearest store to me was in downtown Baltimore and even though I make frequent trips into the city, it just wasn’t super convenient when there are a plethora of grocery stores in the suburbs where I live.  Whole Food’s reputation of being “America’s healthiest grocery store”, however, was one that I was very familiar with.  I had seen documentaries about Whole Food’s business practices and their philosophy of partnering with local and sustainable suppliers.

Whole Foods makes grocery shopping easy for discerning (sometimes overly crunchy) shoppers like me because they take pride in being thoroughly transparent about the source of everything they sell.  Visit their “About Our Products” page, and you’ll get all the information  you could ever want to know about their suppliers and quality standards.  When you finish reading a story about any of their numerous suppliers, you’ll feel like you know them personally.

Do you want to know about food safety?  Whole Foods knows.

Wondering about their position on GMO’s?  They spell it out for you. 

So when I learned that a new Whole Foods store would be opening a mere five miles from me this past summer, I was pretty excited to check them out.  The new store, located in Columbia, Maryland,  recently held an event for local bloggers to taste their Thanksgiving holiday menu and I was lucky enough to be invited.

( All photos were taken with my phone, so I apologize for quality.  I wasn’t sure of the lighting situation at the event, so I didn’t lug my DSLR along)


About 15-20 local bloggers (and their guests) got to sample Whole Food’s holiday menu offerings while we listened to in-store chef Patrick discuss and answer questions about each dish.  It was pretty impressive to hear about his visit to the local farm to check out the living conditions of the turkey we were enjoying.


The best thing about this holiday menu (besides being delicious!) is the versatility.  Even if you like to cook like I do, you probably don’t want to be spending all of your holiday in the kitchen.  Whole Foods gives you the option of buying your turkey fully cooked or you can cook it yourself, and all of the sides can simply be reheated before you’re ready to serve them.  From appetizer platters to dessert*, Whole Foods has it covered.  If you’re vegetarian, Whole Foods has you covered too.  You can pick and choose what you want (or opt for a full dinner for 4 people), order it all online in the comfort of your pajamas, and pick it up at your convenience (I recommend getting dressed for this part, though).


In case you were wondering (I was)…they will be offering an upcoming Christmas holiday menu for pre-order as well.

*healthy doesn’t mean skipping dessert!  We were served a pumpkin pumpkin pie, which is a pumpkin pie with a layer of pumpkin mousse on top.  It was aaahh-mazing!

Oh yeah, swag happened…presented in this adorable bag (a collaboration between Whole Foods and Etsy)!



Disclaimer:   All opinions expressed here are my own.  With the exception of luscious food, I was not compensated in any way for this post.









Wrap it Up: Weekly Link Love



Tomorrow we are leaving for the Pacific Northwest, so I wanted to share one of my favorite photos from our last trip to the Oregon coast!

Our life without sugar

A tree that produces 40 different types of fruit.  Wow!

I recently left Facebook for a few weeks and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here’s what happens to your Facebook when you die.

Yuck:  15 fast food advertisements vs. what you actually get

I just gave my husband a Fitbit for his birthday and I’ve been curiously listening to his progress and frustration.  That’s why I found this article so amusing.

The nostalgia machine.  I’m hooked!

10 things women like to do alone.  Yep!

Typography is my jam

Finally, your “awwww” moment of the day:  hundreds of strangers showed up for this kid’s free piano concert!

If anyone has any recommendations (natural, city sites, or food) for the Oregon coast/Portland/Seattle/Vancouver areas, I’d love to know them!


Triple Chocolate Banana Bread

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread

I know it sounds cliché, but this summer is passing at ridiculous speed.

I want to have time to blog, but I don’t. In fact, I barely even find the time to cook lately.  I’m blaming the kids (partly because it’s the easy thing to do. Ha!).  Even though they sleep late, giving the illusion that the days are unfolding at a lazy pace, once they are up…BOOM!  Between the endless stream of snacking, dirty dishes, teenage hangs, and driving (oh…and one is practicing for her driving test), the time for planning, blogging, and setting up photo shots is reduced to just about nothing.

Once I spied the four over-ripening bananas in the basket, I had this bread in the back of my brain.  I somehow managed to throw it together on a day when I worked an unscheduled day on the farm (even though I wasn’t feeling all too well), immediately followed by filling an emergency babysitting need for my daughter.

Summer, you are my favorite time of year.  Please slow down so we can cuddle a bit.

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread (adapted from Pastry Affair)


  • 4 large ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sucanat sugar (or packed light brown sugar)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, mash 3 of the bananas until chunky smooth.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl (such as a stand mixer), cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.

Beat in the vanilla extract and mashed bananas until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture while mixing, alternating with the milk, until the flour and milk are completely mixed in.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Slice the remaining banana lengthwise and press into the top of the batter (such as in the photo).

Sprinkle top with cocoa nibs.

Bake in preheated oven 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread Triple Chocolate Banana Bread



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