Hot Mom Holiday Tips: Chicken Soup with Gnocchi

With the impending chilly Thanksgiving weather almost upon us, Hot Mom Dana Vento has the perfect recipe for a toasty appetizer.

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Every great Thanksgiving meal starts with an array of mouth-watering appetizers, and this year is no different. With snowflakes making a surprise appearance on weather forecasts everywhere, we knew we needed to find something hot and yummy to start the feast.

Thankfully, we discovered the perfect soup to warm your bellies in preparation for the tasty turkey.  As a bonus, giving guests something to nibble on will keep them happy and out of your way while you put the finishing touches on the main course. Just make sure to ladle up smaller bowls so your friends and family still have a nice appetite left for the banquet ahead.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow because we will be bringing you our Spa Week Thanksgiving Menu, just in time for Thursday’s celebrations. While you’re in the cooking mood, join us on Pinterest for our Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Contest. It’s just another way you could win a spa day on us!

Chicken Soup with Gnocchi

Recipe by Dana Vento of DanaVento.com / @DanaVento

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Ingredients

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

4 tbsp minced garlic

3 cans chicken stock

1 pint whipping cream

1/3 cup margarine

1 container store-bought potato gnocchi

1 container boneless skinless chicken

1 1/2 cups flour

Preparation

Clean, chop, and place in pot to sweat the veggies – celery, garlic, and carrots, the smaller the better – sweat by adding a small amount of broth and adding lid.

Next, add the chicken. Keep broth minimal and turn chicken as it cooks.

Add water and all the broth that you want.

In a separate pot, cook roux – flour (a few tbsp. at a time while it thickens), whipping cream, and margarine.

Once the soup has cooked (about 1 hour), add the roux and cleaned chicken meat.

Boil gnocchi, rinse, and drain.

Place a ladle full of gnocchi in bowl, and then ladle soup in.

Leah Gay is the Editorial Intern of Spa Week Daily. 

Introducing Spa & Wellness BLACK

Searching for the perfect present this holiday season? Give the gift of wellness with Spa & Wellness BLACK.

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With December right around the corner, you’re bracing yourself for the craze of Christmas shopping to officially commence. In fact, the thought of elbowing your way through the deluge of department store shoppers is enough to make your blood boil. And then there’s the never-ending frustration of trying to find gifts for friends and family members who already have everything they could possibly want or need. So how do you maintain your sanity during the pre-Christmas shopping season? This year, we’ve got a solution.

Let us introduce you to Spa Week’s brand new gift card, Spa & Wellness BLACK. Now, if you’re wondering what’s so special about our black card, we’ll tell you. Spa & Wellness BLACK is the first and only spa gift card that gives you the power of choice. Accepted at over 8,000 spas nationwide, Spa & Wellness BLACK can be customized with any dollar amount between $10 and $500, enabling you to check off everyone on your list. How’s that for hassle-free holiday shopping? Simply click here to put your friends and your family on the path to personal wellness. We promise you, this is the gift that will give you, as well as your loved ones, a little peace of mind.

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

5 Best Holiday Pinterest Boards

Just in time for the holidays, we bring you the best Pinterest boards for recipes, decorating ideas and DIYs.

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The holidays are finally here, and there’s no shortage of recipes, decorating ideas and DIYs to bring in the season with a bang. One of our favorite resources for finding tips, tricks and how-tos is Pinterest, but with an endless array of attractive pins, it’s hard to decide what’s worth trying.

That’s why, in an effort to simplify your holiday planning, we found the best Pinterest boards for holiday inspiration. Whether you’re on the prowl for the perfect dinner recipe or need to know the quickest wrapping techniques, browse through these boards for all your holiday needs.

PS – While you’re perusing Pinterest, check out Spa Week’s Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Contest and enter to win a spa day on us!

1.       Pop Sugar Moms Holiday Inspiration Board
2.       World Market Holiday Inspiration Board
3.       Aby Garvey Holiday Ideas Board
4.       BHG Holiday Decorating Ideas Board
5.       Nest For Less Holidays Board

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily. 

Mani Monday: Splurge vs. Steal Nail Polish Edition

Wondering which nail polish colors are worth the investment? Check out our definitive breakdown of which shades and brands to buy now!

Nail-Polishes

There’s no doubt about it, curating your own collection of nail polish colors can be quite overwhelming. When do you stock up on drugstore brands and when do you invest in designer products? Is that seasonal shade a fad or a future favorite that you’ll regret not buying? These are the questions that cross every nail enthusiast’s mind. So how does one answer these quintessential quandaries? We made the rounds at our local pharmacy and department store to bring you five fabulous shades that should have a place on any medicine cabinet shelf. Check them out.

Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer in Rouge Pop Art

YSL Nail Polish

($27, sephora.com)

When it comes to nail polish colors, there’s nothing more timeless than a true red. Not only is YSL’s Rouge Pop Art the perfect fiery hue, this highly pigmented nail polish also dries quickly and holds its shine for at least four days. At $27 a pop, this designer polish is pricey, but worth every penny.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Blue Me Away

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(2.99, walgreens.com)

Sally Hansen has been in the business a long time, and she sure knows how to hold her own against the big designer names. This bright aqua blue is a shade not found among department store beauty counters. In addition to its unique shade, this Sally Hansen steal gets high marks for durability.

Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in Amazing Grace

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($18, deborahlippmann.com)

Buying white nail polish may seem a bit weird, but we assure youit won’t take long before you become obsessed with this awesome color. This clean, crisp white works wonders with any outfit and is sure to brighten your mood without calling too much attention to your manicure.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Toasted Almond

Covergirl Nail Polish

($5.49, covergirl.com)

The perfect taupe should be a staple of any nail polish collection. Covergirl’s toasted almond edition is an ideal neutral that’s easy on the budget. Combining a base coat, high-gloss color and chip-resistant top coat, this drugstore option is as good as any designer brand gets.

3.1 Phillip Lim for Nars Nail Polish in Dark Room (Limited Edition)

Phillip Lim for Nars

($20, narscosmetics.com)

This moody midnight hue from Phillip Lim’s limited edition Nars collection is hard to pass up. A seductive shade for any season, we’re particular fond of incorporating Dark Room into our winter repertoire. Equipped with a broad brush, this polish is as easy to apply as it is stunning to look at.

Hot Mom Holiday Tips: Spiced Cranberry Pomegranate Margarita

Hot Mom Carol Jones brings us the perfect margarita recipe, just in time for Turkey Day festivities! 

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No Thanksgiving menu is complete without something delicious to wash it all down. When we discovered this colorful cocktail we just had to share it with you. Combining some of our favorite festive features, like cranberries and green sugar-rimmed glasses, this holiday drink is the perfect concoction to put you in the Yuletide spirit. Enjoy responsibly!

Don’t forget to come back soon because each week we will be bringing you our favorite holiday dishes. While you’re in the cooking mood, join us on Pinterest for our Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Contest. It’s just another way you could win a spa day on us!

Spiced Cranberry Pomegranate Margaritas

Recipe from Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants / @AllMommyWants
Ingredients
  • ¼ c Spiced Cranberry Simple Syrup*
  • ¾ c Bare Mixer’s Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmo
  • ¼ c Bare Mixer’s Margarita
  • ¾ c Silver Tequila
  • ½ c Patron Citronage or Grand Marnier
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Sugared Cranberries
  • Green sugar for rimming glasses
*Simple Syrup
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2/3 c agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp whole allspice
  • 2 Tbsp whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • One 2″ fresh nob of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 c fresh cranberries, rinsed

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over low heat until combined. Raise heat and simmer the mixture for about 5-6 minutes or until the cranberries start to split. Once most have split remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for 2 hours for the flavors to infuse. After the two hours strain the mixture into a jar using a mesh strainer, pressing the mixture against the strainer to extract all of the flavor. Keep in a resealable container and chill completely until ready to use.

Margarita Instructions

Dip the rim of the glasses in a shallow bowl of the simple syrup and then immediately into a shallow bowl of green dyed sugar. Let dry completely. Once dry fill the glasses with ice. In a cocktail shaker with ice add 4 Tbsp of the spiced cranberry simple syrup, the tequila, orange liqueur, Bare Mixer’s Pomegranate Cranberry Cosmo and Bare Mixer’s Margarita. Cover and shake well then strain into the 4 glasses. Taste and add more simple syrup if desired. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and sugared cranberry skewers.

Do you have a delicious healthy holiday recipe in your collection? Make sure you send it to leah@spaweekmedia.com and you could be featured on the Spa Week Thanksgiving Menu AND walk away with a $50 Spa and Wellness gift card.

Leah Gay is the Editorial Intern of Spa Week Daily. 

Last Chance: Beauty & The Book Giveaway

Last chance to win a collection of best-selling books AND a $100 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week!

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With winter weather fast approaching, it’s time to get creative when it comes to keeping busy indoors.  As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing more relaxing than cozying up with a great book – unless of course a luxurious spa treatment is involved.

Which is why you definitely don’t want to miss the Beauty & The Book Giveaway from Spa Week and Random House! There’s only a few days left to enter to win a collection of best-selling books and a $100 Spa & Wellness Gift Card. Authors like Nancy Thayer and Anna Quindlen will keep you entertained for hours, and we think a hot stone massage or skin soothing facial is an equally decadent way to escape the bitter season.

For your chance to win Spa Week and Random House’s Beauty  & The Book Giveaway, you can easily enter by clicking here. And while you’re in the holiday spirit, you can preview our holiday-themed book of the month, An Island Christmas, here.

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily. 

Link Love Weekend Sendoff, November 21st

Happy Friday! Check out all the health, wellness and beauty happenings from around the web this week:

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How To Get Runway Brows via TheBeautyDepartment.com

A Pair of Tights That Will Never Run via Refinery29.com

Tips for Restoring Dry, Damaged Hair via BuzzFeed.com

Transform Your Skin with Sheet Masks via LuckyMag.com

Reverse Signs of Aging with These Ingredients via TruthInAging.com

How to Run Your First 5K via Shape.com

Friday Favorites: A Sparkly Nail Polish & More

A glitter-filled nail polish and a delightful perfume are a few of our Friday Favorites this week! See what else we’re loving, below:collage

Clockwise From Left: Melon Daiquiri Shampoo, Bubble Bath, and Body Wash available at Philosophy.com, Capelli of New York Metallic Cheetah Print Infinity Scarf available at Nordstrom.com, Nail Polish – Superstar available at DeborahLippmann.com, Mini iPad Folio Hardcase Glitter Bug – Rose Gold available at KateSpade.com, Bobbi Brown ‘Warm Glow’ Eye Palette available at LordandTaylor.com, Jimmy Choo ‘Stars’ Eau De Parfum available at Ulta.com

Leah Gay is the Editorial Intern of Spa Week Daily. 

Five Ways to Stay Happy This Winter

Don’t let the winter blues bring you down! Here are five easy ways to stay happy during the holiday season.

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It may be hard to imagine, but December isn’t always “the most wonderful time of the year.” For some of us, darker days, hectic travels and family feuds can make the holiday season sufficiently stressful. And then there are those who find themselves forced to spend the holidays alone—turning a family-oriented occasion into a season of sadness.

So how do we keep our spirits up when the winter blues threaten to bring us down? Here are five easy ways to boost your happiness barometer during the depths of winter.

Take a Morning Walk

Besides being a great way to get exercise, going for a morning walk is a wonderful way to raise your spirits and take full advantage of the season’s shorter days. We guarantee that soaking up the soft winter light will get your day off to a good start.

Ditch The Holiday Crowds

There’s nothing more detrimental to your mood than dealing with the mobs at your local department store. If possible, avoid doing your holiday shopping on the weekends prior to Christmas. Shopping online is an easy way to escape the holiday crowds and score some serious bargains while you’re at it!

Give Back

With the commercialization of Christmas, it can be easy to forget that the holidays aren’t about getting gifts—they’re really about giving back. Helping others who are less fortunate will not only make you feel better than any gift you might receive, but it will also give you a more positive perspective on your own situation.

Drink Less

Packed with holiday parties, the month of December can often become a blur of booze and its unpleasant after effects. Practice moderation when enjoying the pre-Christmas festivities. Match your alcohol intake with the equivalent amount of water to prevent that hangover haze.

Enjoy The Indoors

When winter does her worst, enjoy the indoor comforts of the pre-Christmas season.  A warm fireplace, delicious baked goods and an evening of board games with friends will fill your heart with happy holiday cheer.

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily. 

Hot Mom Holiday Tips: Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce

Hot Mom Daisy Bryce brings us a recipe for the perfect turkey alternative, just in time for Thanksgiving!

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If you have a non-turkey eater in your house, preparing the perfect Thanksgiving feast can feel like a chore rather than a delight. And the last thing you need is more holiday stress! That’s why we were so excited when Hot Mom, Daisy Bryce, sent us the perfect chicken recipe that’s kid and diet friendly. Simply add your favorite side dishes and desserts, and we bet you won’t even miss the turkey tradition.

Don’t forget to come back soon because each week we will be bringing you our favorite holiday dishes. While you’re in the spirit of the season, join us on Pinterest for our Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Contest. It’s just another way you could win a spa day on us!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with  Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce

By: Daisy Bryce of Trendy Mom Reviews / @TrendyMomReview
Ingredients:
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  • 1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Pretzel Thins (increase if needed)
Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce
  • 1.5 cups of sour cream
  • 2.5 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 Tablespoon of honey

Three-Step-CoatingDirections:

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

2. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

3. Crush the pretzel thins in a food processor on a low setting.

4. Slice chicken breasts lengthwise so that they are thin for baking.

5. Dip each chicken breast slice in egg, flour, and then the crushed pretzel thins.

6. Place each chicken breast in the baking dish and cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

7. Create the Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce by combining the sour cream, mustard, and honey.  Stir until thorough mixed.

8. Serve the Pretzel Crusted Chicken with the Cream Honey Mustard Sauce and your choice of vegetables.

Photos by Daisy Bryce

Do you have a delicious healthy holiday recipe in your collection? Make sure you send it to leah@spaweekmedia.com and you could be featured on the Spa Week Thanksgiving Menu AND walk away with a $50 Spa and Wellness gift card.

Leah Gay is the Editorial Intern of Spa Week Daily.