Robin Recommends, Dec 2

Robin Recommends, Dec 2

Welcome to a new week of Robin Recommends! With Thanksgiving just behind us and the holidays coming up in just a few quick weeks, I’m back to share another roundup of favorite recipes, snacks, local spots, gift ideas, and more. Read on for more of my favorites! Note that most of these items are also shoppable on my Amazon storefront.

1. Vitamix

I LOVE my Vitamix! Yes, it is an investment, but I use it almost daily. It’s great for smoothies, soup recipes, milks, and more. I’ve been making my own milk for coffee lately by combining 1 cup oat milk, 1 date, a drop of vanilla, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can also use the Vitamix to make your own nut milk from scratch. Generally, a ratio of 1 cup of soaked nuts to 4 cups filtered water is a good rule of thumb for homemade milks. You can strain out the nut solids after blending or keep them in if you like, and once strained, re-blend with flavorings of your choice like cacao powder for chocolate milk, vanilla, dates for sweetness, etc. I have the 6300 model and you can generally find pretty good sales throughout the year, especially this time of year!

2. Smashmallow Marshmallows

It’s hot chocolate season, AND we’ve been making more s’mores by the fire in the backyard than EVER! That’s why I wanted to make sure I had the best possible option for this sweet. This brand has better ingredients than most others. Many have added corn syrup and even carrageenan. Corn syrup is a refined sugar containing purely glucose. Carrageenan is known to trigger inflammation, ulcers, and other forms of digestive system damage. It’s also known to be carcinogenic-definitely not something you want in your marshmallows. Smashmallows are still a high sugar treat to be enjoyed in moderation, BUT they are made from natural, non-GMO ingredients.

3. Stylish Spoon Bakery
Stylish Spoon is a gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free bakery, whose owner is now based in Westport! I reached out to Ilana Eck after discovering that my clients have been loving her products for years. My kids and I tried the chocolate and chia oatmeal cups, gingerbread man cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. All were kid- and mom-approved in my house! These products are made with such great ingredients, including organic coconut oil, bananas, cinnamon, wild blueberries, chia seeds, and gluten-free oats. You can order them for delivery and store them in the freezer too. Stock up for this busy holiday season. The kids and I have been enjoying them for snacks and breakfast on the go. Perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time to make their own oatmeal and cookies! They are all #robinbarrieapproved !

4. Cascadian Farm Organic Purely O’s Cereal
I love this cereal as a healthy swap for traditional or alternative Cheerios. They are organic, made with whole grain oats and barley, have 26 grams whole grain per serving, 4 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of added sugar! This is so rare for cereal since most are loaded with added sugar. I highly recommend this one as a great option if your or your family members are cereal lovers. Enjoy it with milk and berries, or add to a yogurt or smoothie bowls for extra crunch!

That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend, and make sure to read last week’s blog, if you missed it!

Robin Recommends, Nov 23

Robin Recommends, Nov 23

Welcome to a new week of Robin Recommends! Thanksgiving week is here, and I’m excited to share with you a seasonal roundup of some of my favorite recipes, snacks, local spots, gift ideas, and more. Read on for more of my favorites! Note that most of these items are also shoppable on my Amazon storefront.

1. Siete Tortilla Wraps

As you may remember from last week, Siete is a family run company that makes chips, queso, tortillas, and more. I shared their Nacho flavor tortilla chips last week, but they have SO much more! They offer a variety of wraps for those who are gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive, including grain-free wraps, almond flour wraps, cassava flour wraps, chickpea flour wraps, and cassava + chia wraps. You can also buy mixed packs! I love the flavor of the almond and chickpea varieties the most. Note that the chickpea variety has 5 grams protein per two tortillas-plant protein!! Their products are made without any additives or preservatives, and they’re so good for burritos or tacos. They make a great healthy swap for traditional (more processed) flour tortillas used for breakfast wraps, all of your taco Tuesday creations, and quesadillas! The wraps are great for Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwiches too!

2. Cuisinart Food Processors

I absolutely love the food processors from Cuisinart. If you’re in the market for a new one, I’d recommend either the Elite Die-Cast Mini Prep 4-Cup (currently on sale for $59.95) or the Cuisinart 4-Cup Elemental Food Processor (on sale for $31.96). We use ours almost daily – it’s so handy for pesto, sauces, energy bites, acai bowls, blended soups, quickly chopping veggies, baking, homemade breadcrumbs/flours, homemade baby food, and so much more! A food processor has a wider base than a blender so it’s better if you’re doing a rough chop on vegetables or working with delicate herbs. These also make great, inexpensive gifts for the holidays-think: foodie friends, new Moms, or newbie chefs!

3. My Stuffing Recipe
This stuffing recipe is my go-to for Thanksgiving. It’s been a huge hit the past 3 years that I have hosted a 25-person holiday meal! It’s much more nutrient-dense than store-bought or traditional recipes, and easier than it looks. It combines quinoa with celery, sage, parsley, hazelnuts, pomegranate, butternut squash, and oven-toasted sourdough bread. You get that nutty, rich flavor that stuffing is known for with additional health benefits! This recipe is filled with a diverse array of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients (thanks to the quinoa, pomegranate, fresh herbs, squash, hazelnuts, and celery). Sourdough bread is a bit easier to digest for those who are gluten-sensitive, and is typically made with simple ingredients if you pick it up from a local bakery. Diversity in nutrients is so great for our microbiome and digestion, so the dish will leave you feeling energized and not heavy like traditional stuffing can. The leftovers even make for a great breakfast the next morning. My sister-in-law will vouch for that! If you make it, be sure to tag me on IG @robinbarrie!

4. Olive & June Nail Kits
I ordered one of these at the beginning of the quarantine so I could do my own nails, and it’s been such a lifesaver. They offer completely non-toxic manicure sets and pedicure tools that include everything you need to make your nails look as good as they would after a salon visit. You can pick and choose from long-lasting polishes, glossy top coat, buffer, clippers, serums, polish remover, and Poppy, which is their patented polish bottle handle to make it easier to paint a smooth nail. They’re actually offering 25% off everything right now as well as free shipping on all orders above $20, so if you’re looking for an easy way to do your nails, this is the time to check them out. They make a great gift for the holiday season as well, so definitely put this one on your list for friends and/or family, OR add to your own wishlist!!

That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend, and make sure to read last week’s blog, if you missed it!

Robin Recommends, Nov 16

Robin Recommends, Nov 16

Welcome to a new week of Robin Recommends! While we all gear up for Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general, I’m excited to share with you a new week of recommendations for my favorite snacks, local spots, gift ideas, and more. Read on for more of my favorites! Note that most of these items are also shoppable on my Amazon storefront.

1. Siete Tortilla Chips

Siete is a family run company that makes tortilla chips, queso, tortillas, and more. Their Nacho flavor tortilla chips are one of my and my family’s absolute favorites. They taste like Doritos but are a much healthier option! Their products are all gluten-free and made from simple ingredients They are lower in sodium and use natural ingredients in their spice blends (like serrano and roasted garlic for the nacho flavor). They’re grain-free, paleo, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan! We love the Nacho flavor plain, and often dunk the dipping chips into our favorite salsa or guacamole. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

2. Taja Candles

I was recently gifted a beautiful candle from Taja, a Florida-based company that makes fully customizable hand-poured candles from soy wax, and I was VERY impressed. Soy wax is a cleaner, healthier alternative to paraffin wax, since it is vegan-friendly and biodegradable. It also burns slower and lasts longer than many traditional votives. You can design your own candles on Taja’s site in the color of your choice, with symbols, designs, personalization, and notes to fit your style. When the candle is gone, you can reuse the jar as a small planter or decorative container. These candles are created to burn 20 hours plus in their beautiful glass jars. They make amazing gifts, as I can attest, I love mine!

3. Boxcar Cantina
Boxcar Cantina in Greenwich, CT has become a favorite spot of ours. This restaurant is super family-friendly, and serves dinner 7 days a week, with the option to dine in at their patio or order takeout or delivery, if you are local to the area. They’re also now open for lunch. The dinner menu includes a mix of delicious fresh appetizers, and entrées including guacamole, salads, tacos, and enchiladas with various healthy proteins like organic chicken, wild-caught shrimp, organic salmon, and more. The kids and I discovered them recently this fall at the Westport Farmers Market. Ever since my son asked to try their tacos for lunch, we have become regular weekly customers! The (big and little) boys enjoy the beef and chicken taco kits. I love the kale salad with grilled chicken. We ALL agree that they have one of the best guacamoles we’ve ever tasted! And I am ecstatic that this means a couple of meals I DON’T have to cook for the week. Their portions are generous, and we love leftovers! You must check them out if you are local!

4. Let’s Be Bessties Pancake + Waffle Mix

Let’s Be Bessties makes high-fiber foods, including crackers and breakfast mixes. Their high fiber organic pancake and waffle mix is, believe it or not, made with just three ingredients (wheat bran, dates, and cinnamon). Each serving of pancakes gives you about 64% of your daily fiber needs, and you just add eggs with a bit of water or milk to whip them up. Since they’re packed with fiber, they’ll keep you full for longer than traditional pancakes, and you can mix in your favorite fruits and toppings to customize them (like berries, honey, chocolate chips, banana, etc.!) My kids and I loved the chocolate chip pancake mix…with a drizzle of maple syrup of course. They’re a great healthy swap that makes pancake mornings much easier. Not to mention, this is a local company. The products are manufactured in Westport, and one of the co-founders, Bess, was born and raised here. We love to support local!

That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend, and make sure to read last week’s blog, if you missed it!

Robin Recommends, Nov 9

Robin Recommends, Nov 9

Welcome to a new week of Robin Recommends! After a busy and eventful Election weekend, I’m here to help you all get back on track with some new recommendations for my favorite snacks, products, and self-care tips. Read on for more of my favorites! Note that most of these items are also shoppable on my Amazon storefront.

1. The Pantry

The Pantry in Fairfield is a small gourmet grrocery store that also sells fresh, prepared foods. They have an incredible deli and salad bar, along with general grocery items, meats, seafood, and more.  They have many #robinbarrieapproved super healthy options like this amazing dip. It contains all natural superfoods, including high-protein soybeans and kale.  The spread is as perfect on bread as it is on veggies. The addition of scallions, garlic, EVOO, tahini, cilantro, poblano pepper, lemon, and parsley make this a quite the taste sensation. There are many more items to taste test here, and I can’t wait to go back-the woman behind me in line was raving about the steamed veggie dumplings she was purchasing.  Make sure to share your Pantry finds with me too!

2. Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain English Muffins

I recommend these muffins to many of my clients and my friends as well! Ezekiel brand (made by Food for Life) has many all natural healthy bread and tortilla products. They are made with sprouted grains, instead of regular breads that are made with mature grains. Why are sprouted grains better? They have more available nutrients, including folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and protein. They also have less starch, so may be easier to digest for those who have trouble eating regular grains.  

I love making a healthier PB&J with Ezekial English muffins by topping them with PB and a homemade 4-ingredient chia jam. They also work for savory breakfasts made into egg sandwiches, or for lunch as avocado toast or even pizza muffins. You can find these at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and ShopRite.  They are usually in the freezer section to preserve the grains without requiring added preservatives.

3. Eaton Hemp
Eaton Hemp creates organic, transparent, farmer-owned hemp products grown in the US. These include my favorite superfood hemp seeds and hemp hearts. I love the hemp seeds because they contain 8 grams of complete protein and 10 grams of fiber, along with over 1000mg omega-3s in each individual serving size package. (Note that hemp hearts are just the inside of the seed-they have all the protein and omegas, but very little of the fiber. they work great in smoothies and shakes, as they have less of the grit/crunch.) They’re so easy to grab and go for a crunchy snack. You can also add the seeds to oatmeal, toasts, salads, grain bowls, and more! They’re a powerful ingredient that also tastes amazing. Each of the flavors can enhance a different dish: the flavors include Maple Cinnamon, Ancho Chili BBQ, and Himalayan Pink Salt.

4. Skinceuticals Serum 20
I love this stuff, and have been using it for years! It’s topical Vitamin C for the skin, and an investment for sure – but a couple of drops go a long way, so it will last you a long time. It absorbs right into the skin, so it’s invisible under makeup. It’s recommended by many dermatologists and aestheticians for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and neutralizing free radical damage, so it will leave your skin glowy, bright, and rejuvenated. It combines ferulic acid with vitamin C for antioxidants, which are so great for the skin. Blue Mercury often does a sale during holiday time (coming up SO soon!) so I stock up then. There is one in downtown Westport, so you can support local, OR shop online if there is not a location near you.

That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend, and make sure to read last week’s blog, if you missed it!

Robin Recommends, Nov 2

Robin Recommends, Nov 2

Welcome to the Election Week edition of Robin Recommends! With Halloween behind us, Election Day tomorrow, and Thanksgiving (YES, I know!) on the horizon, I am here to help. A simple act of self-care, a different flavor or recipe, a new restaurant and kitchen tool can all make this busy time more fun and enjoyable. Read on for more! Note that most of these items are also shoppable on my Amazon storefront!

1. Thrive Mascara
This mascara will change your life! Thrive Causemetics is a luxury makeup brand with accessible prices, and it’s also a brand that gives back, which I love. It was founded by a makeup artist who wanted to help women everywhere thrive, and the company creates vegan, 100% cruelty-free formulas using ingredients that are free of parabens and sulfates, made at their lab in Los Angeles, CA. This mascara goes on smooth, and doesn’t clump, and makes for the longest, thickest lashes ever. It’s truly the best! Plus, it comes off super easy with my favorite face wash, listed in the post I did a few weeks back HERE.

2. EBTB seasoning
Think of this as your “do anything” seasoning! It’s so multipurpose, and it gives you that delicious onion-poppyseed-garlic bagel vibe on any food it touches. While I love the Trader Joe’s version, you can also find similar alternatives on Amazon. It’s salty, savory, and delicious on eggs, toast, roasted veggies, chicken, tofu, hummus or anything you can imagine! I love topping plain Siggi’s yogurt with EBTB, pine nuts, and olive oil as a delicious dip for chips or sliced raw vegetables.

3. Organic Krush
I was so excited to visit the new Organic Krush on Post Rd (by Trader Joe’s, next to Soul Cycle) in Westport, CT this Saturday. It was their Friends & Family event, and now they officially opened for business! It’s a great option for dine-in, curbside pickup, and delivery of fresh, organic meals. Some of the menu highlights include cauliflower pizza, sweet potato tacos, cauliflower rice, DIY oatmeal (and oatmeal pancakes!), egg wraps, veggie frittatas, the SALAD BAR (much needed here!), and many more items. They serve amazing smoothies and juices too, as well as breakfast all day. I loved my vegetable frittata and matcha latte. I highly recommend this spot if you’re in the area or have an Organic Krush near you (as they have several locations in the NY and VA area). I can’t wait to go back and try more things with the kids, and I’m looking forward to recommending my favorite items to all as soon as I try them!

4. KitchenAid Immersion Blender
I love my KitchenAid Immersion Blender and think it’s a great tool for every cook, whether you are a novice or expert in the kitchen! This tool is great for getting that perfect consistency in soups, stews, and sauces. I recommend it for moms who want to blend in extra veggies or meat into sauces or soups for their picky kids. This tool prevented my son from picking the spinach out of his Bolognese sauce! Try my recipe HERE. You can use when making taco meat as well to get in some extra vegetables. It’s just a great all-around multi-purpose kitchen tool!


That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend, and make sure to read last week’s blog, if you missed it!

Robin Recommends, Oct 26

Robin Recommends, Oct 26

Welcome to the second edition of Robin Recommends! The weather is getting colder and it’s really starting to look like full blown fall here on the East coast.  As we may be spending a little less time outdoors, I want to continue offering inspiration for self-care products, snacks, and nutritious food swaps for you and the whole family.  Read on and ENJOY!

Note that most of these items are also shoppable on my Amazon storefront!

I love these sprouted brown rice crisps as a nutritious swap for the classic cereal.  They’re made with organic sprouted whole grain brown rice, as opposed to white rice in other brands.  Sprouted grains (that are caught right at the beginning of the germination process) are higher in nutrients, including folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and protein.  They also have less starch and may be easier to digest.  They are sweetened with coconut sugar, which is a bit lower-glycemic than traditional sugar and less processed than regular cane sugar.  One Degree’s crisps are also lower in sodium and total added sugar than other brands.  You can enjoy them on their own as cereal, or as a way to add texture to homemade granola bars, rice crispy treats, homemade muesli, or even as a fun yogurt topping.

2. BEAR Real Fruit YoYo’s

These fruit yoyo’s are similar in texture to a classic fruit roll-up snack, but they are a much healthier option.  The only ingredients are fruits and vegetables.  They have zero added sugar (including zero concentrated fruit juices), no corn syrup, no added processed oils, chemicals, or artificial colors that are found in other common fruit snacks. They even come with collectible information cards, so they’re great for kids to learn while they snack!

3. Manna Toast

Manna Toast in downtown Westport, CT is a great cafe for simple healthy meals.  Right now they are extremely covid-safe:  It is pure joy to dine outdoors at their well-spaced tables, chairs, and picnic tables lined up right on Main Street.  They source ingredients locally and offer mostly plant-based meals, including all different types of milk for coffee. You can even swap out toast for a gluten-free option of sweet potato toast. There are both sweet and savory options on their menu, which is rounded out with soups, salads, sides, kid-friendly options and treats.  You can dine there or order online for takeout or delivery.  They even have a loyalty program with rewards.  I can’t wait to go back for this apple french toast and oat milk latte!

4. Trader Joe’s Olive Oil Popcorn

This is one of my favorite snacks to recommend to clients. It’s filling, high fiber, and made with olive oil.  Olive oil is a healthy, minimally-processed unsaturated fat that is a great alternative to traditional vegetable oils (canola, peanut, sunflower, safflower, etc), which you’ll often see in the ingredient labels of packaged pre-popped popcorn.  Vegetables oils are highly processed and contain more saturated fats.  I love that this one comes in a huge bag from Trader Joe’s – it’s perfect for a family movie night!  Add some Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast (see last week’s Robin Recommends) as a vegan cheesy topping, and enjoy!

5. Fresh Sugar Lip Balm in Caramel

This is a great natural lip balm, and it makes lips super smooth – plus, the caramel scent is divine.  Fresh offers all clean beauty products that are high-efficacy and filled with hydrating, nourishing ingredients to lock in moisture through the cold, dry months of winter that are right around the corner. The ingredients of this one include sugar, a natural humectant that helps prevent moisture loss, apricot kernel, black currant seed, grapeseed oil, and vitamin E, which all help to repair, soften, moisturize, and protect your lips.  I love that Fresh makes products without parabens, formaldehyde, BHA, and silicones and other unsafe chemicals.

That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend, or check out last week’s if you missed it!

Robin Recommends, Oct 19

Robin Recommends, Oct 19

Welcome to the first edition of Robin Recommends! With fall here and winter swiftly approaching, I thought all of us could use a little inspiration when it comes to self-care, snacks, and more. So, every week, I’ll be compiling a list of some of the things I recommend in my daily life, for my clients, and for you – from local finds to self-care hacks, wellness products, snack brands, and much more!

PS: All of these items are now shoppable on my Amazon storefront!

I love nutritional yeast – not just for its flavor but because it’s a high source of B vitamins, making it great for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone else who may need a boost (ideal for hair, nail, and skin health with all of those B vitamins). Some of my favorite applications are on popcorn, on a salad, or on top of soup or chili! What is nutritional yeast? It’s a strain of inactive dry yeast (funghi) used in baking, brewing, and winemaking! It is typically sold in a dry, flaky format, and has a nutty, cheesy, umani flavor that makes it ideal for use on just about any savory dish you can think up (my favorites are popcorn, soups and turkey chili)! Nutritional yeast (or “nooch”) has been shown to help lower cholesterol and protect the body from free radicals. It is high in vitamin B2, B6, B12, and B1, with 2 TB containing about 30 kcal, 4 grams of protein, and 1.5 grams of fiber. Add it to popcorn with a little melted coconut oil for a cheesy-tasting dairy-free snack!

Check out these two articles (here and here) to learn more.

2. One Love Organics Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

This is the magic face wash I LOVE, which I got at Nefaire, a local spa in Westport, CT on Post Road. It melts off all my waterproof mascara and makeup and doesn’t dry out my skin. You can even leave it on for a bit as a little treatment! Healthy skin does indeed come from within: Eating the right foods will improve skin texture and tone (Some clients come to me JUST to clear up skin, but what you put ON your face is important too). I still laugh a little to myself when I am admired for my complexion: I had breakouts as a kid and full blown Accutane-needed acne in my 20’s. Since then I’ve worked very hard with dermatologists and on my own to find all the right products that work for me.

3. Supernola

I LOVE that Supernola is a nutrient-dense recipe with all-natural ingredients sweetened only with pure honey and natural coconut sugar. I love it on top of yogurt, or with milk! This is NOT simply granola but rather SUPER clusters made of superfoods, such as nuts, fruit, chia seeds, and goji berries. There is no refined sugar, additives, fillers or bad oils. These snacks are organic, vegan, and gluten free. Most important: they taste great and are super satisfying for adults AND kids. My kids love them! They are individually packed so great on the go and work well in recipes too! Chocolate is MY favorite flavor! YUM. So good for those sweet cravings too! I know you will enjoy these. Don’t forget to use my code ROBINBARRIE for a 20% discount if you shop directly from their site!

4. Battery-Powered Milk Frother

I think everyone should own one of these – it makes it so easy to whip up an at home latte, or make recipes like turmeric lattes, matcha, and more. One of my favorites is to add a tablespoon of cacao powder and a teaspoon of maple syrup to a cup of your favorite milk. Heat over the stove or in the microwave until just warmed through, and then use the milk frother to make it into a steamy, frothy, better-for-you hot chocolate!

5. Lotus Foods Ramen from Amazon

These are a super healthy version of packaged ramen noodles. They are so quick and easy to make because they only require a few minutes of boiling! My kids love them and even think it’s super fun to try all the different colors and #eattherainbow , which means more variety and increased nutrient intake too. The products are gluten-free, organic, and vegan. I serve with Rao’s or Otamot sauce and pamesan or tossed with Soy Vey sauce, broccoli, and shrimp for a more Asian-style dish. You can try yours with bok choi and an egg for a balanced meal OR make your own creation. Make sure to share and tag me on Instagram! This brand also makes rice crackers, pad thai noodles (which we often buy as well), and soup cups that make for more quick, easy meals and snacks. Check them out!

That’s all for this edition! Check back next week for more of what I recommend.