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June 2015 Favorites | YouTube Video and Details

Weekly Update, VideoCarlene ThomasComment

Have I ever told you I used to hate the month of June? When you're a kid with a June birthday, you always feel slighted. No one is in school to celebrate with you (or if you are, it's exams). Or if you're an adult (Who let me adult?), June is not quite enough into summer where you can actually relax. It's more like the busy season where everything that you've put off since January lands. So yeah...I used to hate June. 

Until I think this year.

Let June 2015 mark the time that Carlene began to appreciate June. This June I had a great month for business in terms of appreciation. I was in Washingtonian Bride and Groom, I was on CNN for my first ever TV appearance and was named Washingtonian's 'best healthy eating Instagram account' for DC in their 'best of' issue magazine. The weather was beautiful. I took time to actually relax and eat outside. There was lots to love about June, but also some sadness.  Our 16 year old dog (the husband's childhood dog actually) passed away this weekend. He lived a really long time, caused us large amounts of head scratching (Houndini escaped some pretty well enforced gates/latches etc during our time together for an old guy), and always caused people in public to stop us to ask us what the heck kind of dog he was. (Answer, he was a 'whatever': basset hound legs and length, regular golden retriever slash German Shepard body and head). The house feels really quiet and still a little sad... but he didn't really like July or August that much anyway. He always did have impeccable timing. 

Here are my favorites for June. You can watch the video or scroll down to get details on what I mention below!  

June Favorites

  • Nail Polish Clear Coat: Seche Vite:  I am the queen of impatience when it comes to letting my nails dry. Nothing is harder for me than sitting still, doing nothing, waiting. Nine times out of ten, I ruin my nails because I don't wait long enough for them to dry. And then I bought Seche Vite and I was like "YES. Something to encourage my impatience!". This stuff, no joke, dries two layers of polish in about ten seconds. 
  • The PRINT Personality Test: I love personality tests. I love tests that tell me if I was a food I would be pizza or if I was a state I would be Arkansas (totally kidding, no one would be Arkansas). By far, the most useful test I've taken is the PRINT test. While I love the Myers Briggs test, it isn't as useful to me as the PRINT test was. PRINT, by comparison identifies your internal motivations (what you want but also what you want to avoid) and gives you your habits when you are your 'best self' with an accompanying list of you as your 'worst self'. If you want to take the test, book it through my friend and mentor Chere
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: Yeah buddy, wine is on the list this month! In the video I list some of the kinds I have tried and liked before. Even though rose wine is weirdly having a moment as a trendy food, my preference is a NZ SB. Buy this if you are eating outside or having a party.
  • Radio Cherry Bombe Podcast: I'm excited that podcasts are having a moment within pop culture thanks to Serial. If you're looking to fill that void until season 2, and you're reading this blog, I highly recommend tuning into Radio Cherry Bombe. It's all about women in the food world and right now, they're playing the talks from Jubilee, their annual conference.
  • Soundcloud: I like a lot of weird music. I'm not someone who is like "Oh no, I don't like rap." or "I hate classical music". No way. In the video I explain why I have such a broad music palate (although I don't mention the time my Dad took me to Vegas after graduating high school and we went to a Pink Floyd Concert he really wanted to see where everyone was smoking pot). Learn to appreciate all kinds of music by listening to these mashups! 
  • ONA Camera Bags: Listen. If you have a DSLR camera and you don't have a proper camera bag, it's time to bite the bullet and invest. ONA is where it's at. 
  • Siggi's Lingonberry Yogurt: Hi, my name is Carlene and I have an Icelandic yogurt obsession. When Siggis sent me their newest products in June I was addicted to their summer flavor of lingonberry strawberry. If you can find it, you need to buy it.
  • Daredevil on Netflix: We don't have cable in our house. Or basic TV actually. We are viewers of the web. While we don't maintain a year round subscription to Netflix (we don't watch enough to make it worth it), we DO renew it to watch two things: House of Cards (duh), Orange is the New Black...but now...Daredevil. 

What did you love in June?


Simple and Healthy Summer Recipe Watermelon Feta Salad

Healthy HostessCarlene ThomasComment
Simple and Healthy Summer Recipe Watermelon Feta Salad

Some girls are happy to get flowers. I get psyched about a good watermelon. If I have my druthers, preferably a sugar baby, but I'm not trying to be high maintenance here. There is nothing more summery to me than getting a road side stand watermelon, cutting it open and being able to smell it from across the house. Have you ever tried watermelon at a conference hotel breakfast in February? Yeah... 

So while you actually have access to a fantastic watermelon, buy as many as you can and eat them daily. Our favorite side dish du jour right now is this salad: healthy, crisp, summery watermelon, feta and jalapeño in a light dressing. It's sweet, acidic, salty, crisp all in one dish. Which makes it perfect. This is the perfect high volume, low calorie dish for a party. Or for yourself. #RealTalk

It's hydrating, full of fiber..there's cheese. What's not to love?

Simple and Healthy Summer Recipe Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon Jalapeño Feta Salad

/// Ingredients ///

  • feta cheese, crumbled to taste over the top (for 2 people I did maybe 1/4 cup)
  • watermelon (sugar baby variety is best- no seeds!) , 1-1/4 inch thick cut from the middle of the watermelon (we cut into squares then sliced them into 4 shingles each)
  • red onion (1 very small or 1/4 reg)
  • basil 3 leaves torn or cut
  • jalapeno 1/4 - 1/2 thinly sliced

/// dressing ///

  • Worcestershire sauce,  2 tsp
  • cider vinegar 1 T
  • vegetable/canola oil 1 T
  • garlic clove  1 small, minced
  • honey/brown sugar  2 tsp
  • lime juice 1 T


  • /// Directions /// To make the dressing, add dressing ingredients to a cup/bowl and whisk vigorously or use an immersion blender. Add a layer of dressing to the plate and add cubed watermelon, onion, feta, basil and jalapeño.  
Simple and Healthy Summer Recipe Watermelon Feta Salad

Women in Food: 10 Questions with the General Manager of a 4 Star Restaurant!

Women in Food InterviewsCarlene ThomasComment

I'm really enjoying this series of women in food interviews, and I hope you are too! So far we've talked with women who started food businesses that sell product to consumers but today we're talking with the general manager of a four start restaurant in NYC who also runs a catering business. Oh, and she's 25. She's a bad ass. 

Danielle Marullo was actually recommended to me as the next women and food interview subject by someone on Instagram. Which is just another example of why social media is so cool. On that note, if you can only read one answer in this interview, make it question seven about the 'hashtag' advice. Brilliant. 


1. Tell us about yourself and your business.

My name is Danielle Marullo and I am a prime example of the saying “age is just a number.”  At the age of 25 I am the General Manager of a fine dining restaurant in a 5 star hotel In New York City, a food blogger, the owner of a catering business and finally an aspiring cooking television host. My website as well as my Instagram @gotroomformore is my way of sharing my passion for food as well as my original recipes and instructional cooking videos with viewers all over the world.

2. If you could define your food philosophy in one sentence it would be….

Food is what brings communities together, whether it be people from different ethnicities, religions or backgrounds, it is the one commonality that every culture shares, and I think that is such a beautiful thing. 

3. What are your 3 must have foods in your kitchen?

My 3 must have foods in my kitchen are 0% fat plain Fage Greek Yogurt, Honey and lemons.  Greek yogurt is a low calorie, fat free substitute for ingredients like mayo, sour cream, heavy cream, creme fraische and more!  Honey is a delicious and natural  way to add a little sweetness to both savory and sweet dishes. I love to add it to things like guacamole to balance out the spiciness and to add an unexpected pop of floral/sweet flavor. Just a tiny drop of lemon in almost any dish amplifies the flavor and seasoning.  Almost every recipe needs the right amount of acid to really brighten it up and balance the flavors.   

4. It’s your birthday. What are you eating?

I am eating a very large cheese plate full of all kinds of cheese, from goat to La Tur, Cheddar to Smoked Gouda accompanied by nuts, dried fruits, honey comb and fresh toasted baguette. On my birthday (or any day for that matter) I will always finish my meal with an extremely rich chocolate dessert.

5. Signature cocktail?

I love any cocktail with ginger in it!  I love me a Moscow Mule!

6.Food you can’t like no matter how hard you try?

Most types of Curry.  Unless it is a small amount of yellow curry in a Thai style dish or something involving coconut milk..I usually pass up on it.  I have an aversion to the smell, but I am working on it. I am determined to like it! I did that with raw oysters and now I LOVE them. 

7. What are your go-to resources for all things food (websites/magazines/groceries etc)?

When I am creating new recipes for my website, I like to go to local markets like Eataly and even Whole Foods and roam through aisles, the produce section and the butcher/seafood section.  The produce section alone always inspires me because it changes with the seasons, so new things are always popping up.  When something is in season like Black Mission Figs for example, I will put them in the front of my shopping cart and then stroll up and down the isles looking for inspiration until I come up with a new and innovative way to utilize them in a dish.  Another way I like to get inspiration is by going to the search bar on Instagram and typing in one ingredient  under “Hashtag.”  I did it the other day with Squash Blossoms and 8,000 photos came up showing amazing and inspired dishes from all over the world that utilize Squash Blossoms.  It is a great way to discover new food bloggers as well as to find new combinations of ingredients and flavors that you wouldn’t normally think of yourself.  

8. Food fad you wish would die a horrible death? Cupcakes!

I make a mean cupcake and I can’t say I don’t enjoy one once in a while but common, it is so overdone! I am bored!

9. Must have kitchen tool:

A Wooden Spoon. Growing up in an Italian American household, I was always in the kitchen with my mother and grandmothers, especially on Sundays.  I have so many fond memories of them hovering over a huge pot of sauce or homemade soup with an old, worn out, partially burnt, wooden spoon in hand.  I just always felt like the wooden spoon made everything taste better.  Everything always seemed more rustic, more authentic and more from the heart. So here i am, now a professional chef and restaurant manager, and next to my beautiful new tools in my knife bag is my grandma’s old wooden spoon.  Funny story- I once used my spoon in culinary school and my Chef instructor told me to put it away, as it was a ridiculous and small tool to be using in a professional kitchen, but there was no way I was putting that thing down. If it was my grandma in the kitchen, she may have slapped the chef in the tush with the spoon..they are great for that too. 

10. What’s the one thing you learned this year that changed the way you think about food?

Waste should be minimal in the kitchen.  I had the opportunity to breakdown a whole pig this year and utilized every single piece of it, head, trotters and all!  Whether it be animals or fruits and vegetables, you can get more for your money if you just get a little creative and open your mind to new flavors and textures.  You may be pleasantly surprised, I know I was!

© Healthfully Ever After & Carlene Thomas 2011-2014