(CLOSED) Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to the Farm to Table Tasting Event!

Farm to Table Conference 2015

I gave an ironic teaser yesterday about this giveaway.

Now it’s time to reveal the specifics and let you enter up a storm.

I officially have two (2) tickets to giveaway to one (1) lucky winner and the guest of their choice for the Friday Night Tasting of the Farm to Table Conference. Which also happens to be one of my favorite local food events all year.

Farm to Table vending(Image Source: Farm to Table)

Some general details before getting into the giveaway goodies.

This year’s Farm to Table conference is being held on Friday, March 27th + Saturday, March 28th from 10 AM – 5 PM at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This year’s theme: Cook at Home.

Which, you know, is kind of my thing.

I also happen to be one of the speakers at this year’s conference, with my presentation taking place on Saturday at 1:30pm. I’m talking all about the benefits of menu planning—something I’m super passionate about.

And in case you need another reason to go, the conference (and tasting event) is a fabulous way to rub elbows with local chefs, farmers, food and beverage producers, retailers, CSA organizers, wellness professionals, and dietitians.

FTTTastingCEP(Image: Christina Emilie Photography)

Onto the good stuff… THE GIVEAWAY.

One (1) lucky guy or gal and a guest will have the opportunity to enjoy the Friday Night Food Tasting for free!

You can do any or all of the following to enter. The more you do, the more chances you have to win. Capiche?

  1. Comment on the blog tell me what your favorite meal to make at home is.
  2. Tweet the following (click here to tweet):
    I want to titillate my tastebuds at the @FTT_Pittsburgh Friday Night Tasting » http://bit.ly/1xYfmUB @emilylevenson
  3. Post about it on Facebook, and then link back in the comments.
  4. Instagram it! Make sure to tag me (@emilylevenson) so I see it!
  5. Blog about the event and/or the giveaway, and then link back in the comments.

Giveaway officially ends on March 26th at midnight (ET). Winner announced (and notified) on March 27th.

EDIT: Congrats to Karen D. She is the big winner!!

FTTYoga(Image Source: Farm to Table)

Get your own.

And if you don’t feel like jumping through the aforementioned hoops OR want to get tickets for the entire conference, the food tasting, and the farm fresh breakfast (which I highly encourage you to do all of), you can purchase them here.


It all comes back to the plan…

Irony(Image via)

Want to hear a funny story?

Last week I did two different visibility challenges. One through Amira Alvarez and another that we created through Propelle. They were both great—challenging me to stretch and put myself out there more.

With all that focus on being more visible and putting myself out there, I totally forgot to share about my presentation at the local Farm to Table conference this weekend.


SO. This is me remedying that epic oversight.

I’ll be speaking on Saturday, March 28th at 1:30PM on the topic of menu planning, and how it can help to create a safer, healthier dinner routine.

Which, irony of ironies, is a topic I need to listen to myself.

For the past month we’ve been subsisting on a lot of freezer meals (and not the healthy, well thought out kind either). It’s gotten to the point where The Hubster has asked if there is such a thing as too many (nitrate free) hot dogs.

Based on my father and nephew’s propensity for salami and “tube steaks” and the feedback I’ve gotten from every single mother I’ve polled on the topic, I’m going with … no.

The Babe would also likely say no, as hot dogs (and chicken sausage) are pretty much her favorite food on the planet. So, she’s really not complaining at all. In fact, if she had her druthers, she’d eat them all day everyday.

It just feels like I should be doing so much better in this department.

Because health coach.

And then, serendipitously, I had a glorious three hours to myself (a very rare occurrence) on Saturday afternoon and managed to put a pretty decent menu plan together for us.

Sweet jeebus, has this made all of the difference in the world.

We are eating better. I’m feeling better. And The Babe is eating something besides hot dogs, which makes me feel a hell of a lot less guilty (I know, I know. It was banished.).

Of course, I’m certain that this all came up because I simply needed a reminder as to why menu planning is so helpful, with or without dietary restrictions.

Dammit Universe. Aren’t there better (i.e.—less stressful) ways for me to have figured that out?

The answer to that? A resounding no.

I clearly don’t pay attention until it’s dire most times.

Lesson learned.

PS—Stay tuned for a fun giveaway for tickets to the Friday Night Tasting of the Farm to Table Conference. Details will be posted tomorrow.

Banishing guilt.

"Guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the body." Elder David A Bednar(Image via)

When I thought about my goal for last week of identifying the kind of things that I enjoy or don’t enjoy, I imagined myself putting together a pretty (and organized) little list with one column for “enjoy” and the other column for “don’t enjoy”.


The Big U clearly had other plans for me. And it came in the form of a 7-Day Visibility Challenge through Propelle. Yesterday was Day 3 and all about sharing what you are currently struggling with.

My biggest struggle as of late: GUILT.

I feel guilty about everything. Guilty for not spending all of my time with The Babe. Guilty for not spending more time on my business, blog, or work with Propelle. Guilty for wanting a break. Guilty for taking time for myself. Guilty for not eating better. Guilty for getting angry because I’m exhausted. Guilty for “wasting” a nap and not being productive. Guilty for wanting time away from The Babe when I worked so goddamn hard to bring her into this world. Guilty for being her most favorite person on the planet.

I feel guilty for saying no.

I feel guilty for saying yes.

I feel guilty for changing my mind.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

And that’s when it hit me.

All of this guilt is robbing me of joy in my life.

When I wrote about my struggle on a post in our Rock It! community, I finally saw it.

And then I got angry and annoyed with myself for the very words that I was writing. If a client had said those things to me, I would have lovingly (and firmly) told her to snap out of it.

So now I’m telling myself those exact words.

Eff the guilt. It’s poisonous and self-defeating. It makes you think it’s guiding you in the right direction and then BAM. It robs you of all the fun in life.

It’s a horrible way to live.

And it’s a horrible example to teach my gorgeous, smart, and observant daughter.

I am making a commitment to myself to banish the guilt.

It is no longer welcome in my life or in my home. It’s time to let go of that shit and start taking back the joy. It’s blocking me from really taking my life and work to the next level. It’s tainting every single one of my relationships. And it’s just plain gotten old.

I’m ready.

Are you?


Recipe: Giada’s Orzo Salad

Giada's Orzo Salad

I’m a huge fan of Giada De Laurentiis.

I’m also a huge fan of her recipes. Her chicken cacciatore recipe is seriously one of the best. (Sorry Mama. I love yours too.) And I seriously ADORE her white bean dip.

And now? I have a new favorite to add to the list: her Orzo Salad.


My Mama made this for dinner the other night. She paired it with an herbed salmon from Ina Garten (I had a terriyaki chicken kabob) and fresh steamed haricot vert (the thin french green beans).

Everyone went back for seconds, and a few went back for thirds.

One common denominator? Everyone ravvvvvved about this orzo salad.

Orzo Salad from Giada De Laurentiis

This will definitely be going on the menu plan now that the weather is heating up and the herbs and vegetables are coming into their peak.

For those avoiding the nightshades, you could substitute the tomatoes with cucumbers, dried cherries, or steamed and marinated green beans.

My Mama also seems to think olives (minus the pimento) would be fab too. I, on the other hand, do not. Because they are olives and I can’t stand them.


Giada's Orzo Salad
Serves: 6-8
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
For the orzo salad:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cups orzo
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups red and yellow grape or multi-color heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ¾ cup of the vinaigrette
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and mix.
  2. With the machine running, gradually blend in olive oil.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Heat water in a large sauce pan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in the orzo.
  6. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.
  7. Drain the orzo through a strainer and transfer to a large wide bowl.
  8. Once orzo has cooled completely, add in chickpeas, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and red wine vinaigrette.
  9. Toss until everything is evenly coated.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy More


I am having a really hard time believing that it’s officially March. It feels like February just flew by. I know it’s the shortest month of the year. But damn…

I’m happy to report that last week’s effort of sending out snail mail was a big win. I had a lot of fun writing to family, friends, and strangers alike. And am going to try and keep that a fairly regular part of my week, even if I only manage to do it once or twice a week.

This month, I am working towards enjoying things more.

I have tendency to rush through my day, going from task to task, without taking a moment to step back and simply enjoy what I’m doing. It’s like I have to eek the most productivity I can out of every moment of my day.

That way of operating has been a.) exhausting, b.) making me constantly feel distracted and scattered, and c.) like I’m not doing anything well.

I think I have literally multitasked myself into misery.

With all of that in mind, I am focusing on enjoying myself more this month. I want to be fully presented and engaged with I spend my time doing; from being a mama to a gorgeous, smart, and playful little girl, to the food testing I do through Wellspring Whole Health, and the work I do supporting women entrepreneurs through Propelle.

My task for this week: keep track of the things that I enjoy, as well as tracking the things that I don’t enjoy.

It is possible to focus my time and attention in one direction instead of thirty.

It is possible to say no to the things that make me unhappy or that I don’t enjoy.

It is possible to surround myself with the people, places, and work that lights me up.

And it is possible to do all of that right now.

Will you join me? 

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