learning to eat, cook, and live healthier one day at a time.

New Workout & Classic Breakfast

Helloooo!

I hope your Thursday is going well. Mine is pretty swell so far.

I’ve been battling strange stomach pains lately. It’s happened a few times in the past week just after I eat breakfast. It happened really bad last Wednesday to the point where I really couldn’t do much all day. Well, yesterday it happened again but not quite as bad. I have to assume it’s something I’m eating but my breakfasts haven’t included anything new or abnormal.

Today I was really in the mood for a classic breakfast: eggs, toast, and turkey bacon.

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On the days I’ve gotten sick, I’ve had egg whites topped with cheese, and a piece of peanut butter and banana toast. I’m nervous that it’s my peanut butter that has been making my stomach hurt, since that’s the main thing I omitted today. But peanut butter is supposed to help soothe upset stomachs so I’m all kinds of confused.

I hope these strange unpredictable pains don’t turn up anymore, but enough about my illnesses. I’m feeling fine today and am excited to complete the second day of a workout plan I started yesterday.

I found this plan on bodybuilding.com, which is usually my go-to when I’m looking for workout plan inspiration. I know how to build my own plan, but sometimes it’s more fun to find something new and exciting. I like that it balances weights with cardio pretty well, but I will most likely tweak some things to add some HIIT cardio here and there.

Today is  a legs day which I always dread since I know I won’t be able to walk for the next day or two. Woo!

In other news…Mike and I carved pumpkins this weekend.

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Yes, my pumpkin has the call letters of the TV station I work at. Good thing I like my job, right? Last year I did the NBC peacock which was a little cooler if you ask me.

It’s a little toasty for mid-October in Sioux Falls right now, but I’m still embracing the fall spirit and making one of my favorite Crockpot fall meals this evening: Crockpot Cream Cheese Chili

creamcheese chiliOhhhh yes. Rick and creamy.

Alright, I’m off to the gym!

 

Working Out Through Illness

Gooooood morning!!

I hope everyone is having a good Thursday so far. I can already say mine is MUCH better than my Wednesday was.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling fine. I at the same breakfast I eat probably four or five days of the week: egg whites with spinach , and a side of peanut butter toast with banana. About 30 minutes after finishing breakfast I had a serious pain in my stomach. I initially thought the upset stomach feeling would only last a few minutes, but no go.

I had to keep pushing off going to the gym because I could barely move from my couch. The only times I did move was to be sick in the bathroom. It was that bad. Around noon, I started feeling alright and decided to make a break for the gym. I completed a shoulders/back workout and things were feeling okay during weights. It went south when I hopped on the treadmill. BIG mistake. As soon as I started sweating and bouncing around I felt like I was going to be sick right then and there. I was sick again after lunch and really have no idea what was wrong with me.

My little episode yesterday has me thinking about pushing yourself through a workout when you’re not feeling so hot. Honestly, it might sound crazy that I even went to the gym yesterday, I know. But I’ve realized from past experiences that sometimes a workout can make you feel better. That said, it’s important to take things slow and set some limitations. I should have known better than to try to get on a treadmill when my stomach was in shambles.

Under The Weather Exercises

I think when we’re feeling under the weather, the best thing to do is focus on exercises that don’t require too much movement. That might sound impossible, but it’s not. Think simple weight lifting techniques. Obviously kettle bell swings would not fall into this category, but there are many that do:

  • bicep curls
  • should presses
  • leg presses
  • leg extensions & curls
  • lat pulldowns
  • planks, etc.

And if you really want to get some cardio in, try just hopping on the bike. Any type of sweating was making me feel awful yesterday so cardio was off the table completely. Just be sure to use your judgment and don’t push yourself too hard!

Also, if you’re not feeling so hot it might be a good time to get a good stretching and foam rolling session in.

In other news…

It’s really fall.

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More than a week into October, we’re in the thick of Halloween candy, pumpkin spice, and changing leaves! Mike is coming to Sioux Falls this weekend which means I have a reason to bake for someone! Last night I thought I’d make one of my favorite fall baked goods that’s a little less traditional than your average pumpkin loaf or banana bread.

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Apple Cake! I had never heard of apple cake before I started babysitting for a Jewish family in college. I learned that apple cake is a traditional Jewish holiday dessert, and I can see why. It’s so delicious and just embodies all things fall.

I’ve shared this recipe on the blog before, but I did not have a bundt pan before yesterday. Highlight of my day.

IMG_2451If you’re looking for a festive, comforting treat this season that has nothing to do with pumpkin, I’d give this apple cake a try. It’s very simple and can me made without a bundt pan.

That’s all for now!

 

 

 

 

Healthy Comfort Food

A recent tragedy in my life has me thinking about comfort food.

On Sunday, my family and I had to put Figaro, our 17-year-old kitty down😦. It was absolutely awful, but he was old and had been on a slow decline for a while. The poor guy had about every medical problem possible, so we knew it was time.

Sweet Figaro

Sweet Figaro

That photo was taken of Figgy a couple years ago, when he was still a little plump and had some pep in his step. He had lost more than half his body weight when we took him to the vet last week.

Anyway! On to a more positive note.

When dealing with hardships like this, I either have absolutely no appetite, or turn to food to make myself feel better. I guess you could say I’m an emotional eater.

Most people have their favorite comfort foods. Macaroni and cheese and pizza are probably my go-tos. I’d also guess that most people associate comfort foods with not so healthy foods. Well, I made a discovery this week: comfort food can be healthy!

So what’s my healthy comfort food? Greek salad.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

I’ve realized I always turn to a Greek salad when I’m dealing with some type of a crisis. It sounds so random, but it’s true. When my mom had a major terrifying surgery, the only thing I could even think of eating was a big Greek salad topped with gyro meat from  ‘It’s Greek to Me‘ in Minneapolis:

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When Mike’s dog Bella died, we went out to our favorite Greek restaurant ‘Athenian Room’ to celebrate her life.

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I’ve had a hard time thinking about Mr. Fig over the past few days, and have just been craving Greek salads. I’ve made my own version for dinner the past couple of nights.

I’ve been using chopped romaine lettuce, sliced cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, and roasted lemon chicken to make the perfect comforting Greek salad. I even made my own dressing using olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, pepper, garlic and chopped olives.

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So if you’re ever going through a hard time, or just having a rough day and want to turn to pizza and nachos, try to think of a healthier dish that is equally as delicious. Even if it’s a big less convenient, it’ll be worth it. I don’t know about you, but I never feel better after over-indulging in greasy food. A healthy comfort food can make you feel better about the difficult situation, and about yourself!

First Day Of Fall: Pumpkin Muffins

It’s a great day!

Why?

Because Fall is finally here!

Fall is by far my favorite season. The changing leaves, cooler weather, holidays, and pumpkin-flavored treats are just a few of my favorite things that come along with the season.

I had today off, so I decided to celebrate the first full day of Fall by whipping up a festive recipe — Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins.

pumpkin muffins

I’ve made healthyish pumpkin muffins before, but they’ve never turned out quite right. I think I always try to get a little too creative with things like whey protein powder, agave, flax and all those other ingredients that just scream “healthy.” Well, today I kept things simple. And I’m excited to bring a rather tasty recipe for pumpkin muffins to the table.

I followed this recipe loosely that I found while looking for muffin inspiration.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease muffin tin.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine eggs, honey and oil. Mix until well combined.
  • Add flour mixture to wet ingredients slowly. Mix until just combined.
  • Remove bowl from mixer stand, fold in canned pumpkin.
  • Scoop even amounts of batter into prepared muffin tins.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 18-19 minutes.

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These muffins turned out great! They’re super dense and not overly sweet. I’d like to spread some peanut butter over one of them for a snack or dessert. I’d like to try adding some nuts or raisins to the recipe next time.

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Also, if you do not have an electric mixer you can easily mix these muffins by hand.

Get ready for more pumpkin themed recipes to start popping up on the blog. It’s that time of year!

 

 

Friday Favorites

It’s Friiiiiday!!!

And I got to work a very short day today, meaning I actually have a reason to celebrate with the rest of the world, despite having to work through the weekend!

I hope everyone has some fun things ahead of them this weekend. It’s actually supposed to warm up into the 60s in Sioux Falls, and I’m hoping to get outside for a run or a hike.

Let’s jump into some Friday Favorites:

1. Early Fall Walks

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While most people were not thrilled by the 50 degree weather yesterday, I was loving it. I decided to get outside and ended up going for about a 4 mile walk along the bike path near my apartment. Although the leaves are still very green, I could just tell it’s only a matter of weeks before that changes. It felt so nice to be outside in long pants and a sweatshirt. Maybe that sounds crazy to most people. Fall is definitely in the air!

2. Homemade Pumpkin Chai Latte

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I love chai lattes, but rarely order them at coffee shops for some reason. I was in the mood for one yesterday, so I made myself a cup of pumpkin chai tea, and added about 1/2 cup heated skim milk. It was perfect! I’ve done the same thing with green tea before, and it just was not the same. I’d like to try it with other spiced teas and maybe almond milk.

3. Red Grapes

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Why are grapes so addicting? I have been eating so many over the past few days I think I’m going to turn purple. I’ve been really low on snacky-foods this week, so grapes have been my go-to. I’ve been eating them plain, throwing them in cottage cheese, and adding them to salads. Only a couple months before this delicious fruit will be out of season!

4. Fall Fashion

pants

(source)

I’ve been a little obsessed with checking out Fall fashion trends on Pinterest lately. I think I may actually be a little daring this year and try out the whole leather pants trend. A little scary, but can’t hurt to try right? I love the above look but unfortunately, Sioux Falls isn’t really known for its high fashion and great shopping. I may have to look for a pair next time I’m in Minneapolis.

5. ‘Last Known 9/11 Rescue Dog’ Story

bretagne

You may have seen Bretagne the Golden Retriever’s story popping up on social media and the news yesterday. She is the last known living 9/11 search and rescue dog. She is 15, and is still helping those in need. I caught Tom Brokaw’s story on the pup on the Today Show yesterday, and almost started crying it was so sweet. I just had to share it!

9/11 Rescue Dog Story

That’s all for my Friday Favorites. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

 

 

Fall Decor & Grocery Troubles

Good morning!

I hope wherever you’re starting your day is a bit warmer than South Dakota right now. We’re barely going to make it into the 50s today. Yikes! One good thing about the cool weather? It’s put me in ultra Fall-mode.

Last night I decided to bring out some of the Fall decor. I feel a little silly going all out right now, so I’ll probably wait until the beginning of October or so to bring out the pumpkins and Halloween candy dishes. Baby steps.

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And of course, the arrival of Fall means the arrival of everything pumpkin spice flavored!

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I do like pumpkin spice, but I feel like it has gotten a little overboard in the past few years. I stick to coffee creamer, tea, and canned pumpkin to get my pumpkin fix. I must admit I have been intrigued by the pumpkin spice pudding I’ve seen in the grocery store. Thoughts?

Speaking of the grocery store, I’m having some grocery dilemmas in my life right now.

I’ve really been trying to stick to spending no more than $50 on food and groceries each week. Judging by the way my refrigerator looks, things aren’t going well.

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It looks pretty bare, but my goal is to make it through the next few days with the food I have on hand. I’ve surpassed my $50 limit for the week thanks to eating out a few times last weekend. I just have to make it through to Monday! Here’s what I’m working with:

Breakfast:

  • Egg whites
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Banana

Lunch:

  • Sliced turkey
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Spinach
  • Tuna
  • Grapes

Dinner:

  • Ground turkey
  • Chicken breast (less than 1/2 pound)
  • Peppers
  • Frozen veggies (very few)
  • Beans
  • Quinoa

Snacks:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Grapes

I know the food I have will last through Monday without a problem, but I don’t just want to eat; I want to eat healthy. And that’s where the problem lies when you’re living on a pretty tight budget.

When I throw cost out the window, here’s what my typical grocery hauls look like:

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If only I could afford that all the time. But, this will be good for me. And hopefully I’ll learn how to save a little better and buy only what I really need.

Also, I cut all my hair off yesterday!

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Crazy, right?

 

Friday Favorites Returns

I’m back!

It’s been about three weeks since the last time I blogged. I’ve been working a lot of very strange shifts and schedules at work lately which has thrown me for a loop, but now I’m back on track!

I have some good Friday Favorites today, but first, there’s something I want to share.

A few months ago I wrote about how I will be running in the Sioux Falls Half Marathon. Well, about a week ago I made the decision to sit this one out. Honestly, throughout my entire training I was pretty unenthused about the race. It never really felt right, but I wanted to push myself through training and run a strong race.

A few weeks ago, about a month out from the race, I started dreading my runs. I was so unmotivated during long runs and it definitely showed in my times. I knew I didn’t want to go into a race feeling unmotivated and unprepared, so I made the decision to just not participate in the race.

I never actually paid for the race, since the price stays the same until the day before, unlike most races where the price goes up like crazy as the date gets closer.

I am a little disappointed in myself. I really wanted to beat my PR and run a sub-2:00 half marathon. However, I just knew something was off, and I know there will be plenty of other races in the near future. I don’t like the idea of quitting, but I think when it comes to fitness, you have to be motivated and you have to be excited about your goal. I was certainly not excited about this race.

Well, glad that’s out of the way! In other news, Mike is coming this weekend! Woohooo!!!

Friday Favorites

1. Wild Game Meats

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The photo above is the moose & rice casserole I made the other night. Yes, moose. My dad is a big hunter and it seems every time I visit him lately he insists on giving me pounds of wild game meat. Currently I’m stocked up on ground moose, moose steaks, elk steaks, and venison sausage. I know moose might not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world, but it’s actually quite good. It’s also one of the leanest meats out there. I found a website that lists some of the leanest wild game meats, and Elk and Venison are also on the list.

2. Finnish Coffee

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One of my best friends recently took a trip to Scandinavia and was kind enough to bring me back a few souvenirs! I am actually 50% Finnish which is why she brought something from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. This coffee is amazing. Not too bold, nice medium blend. Just the way I like it! Those Fins must know how to brew a good cup of coffee.

3. Weekend Breakfasts on Weekdays

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One nice thing about having Wednesday and Thursday off each week is I have time to make traditional ‘weekend’ breakfasts midweek! This week, I whipped up some protein pancakes one day and protein french toast another day. I think the added chill in the air as fall gets closer adds something special to a nice pancake breakfast.

4. Miss Poppy

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I took this photo while lounging with the pups, Alfie and Poppy, at my parents house in Minneapolis last week. This is sweet Ms. Poppy. She’s the smallest full grown black lab I’ve ever seen and is just a big ball of affection. I could hang out on the couch with her all day, but she’s quite an athlete so I doubt she’d be able to sit still for that long.

That’s a wrap! Hope everyone has some exciting weekend plans!

 


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