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

Monthly Archives: January 2013

As my attempt at the PBFingers Crockpot Challenge continues, I have another recipe to share with you! I found the original version of the recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago from Skinnytaste.com. I love pretty much all the recipes I’ve tried from skinny taste, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel the need to tweak this one to make it my own!



Crockpot Italian Sloppy Joes

Makes 5-6 servings


  • 1 1.25 lb package of italian seasoned ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/3 cups petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • provolone cheese for topping
  • spinach for topping


  • Brown ground turkey in a skillet
  • Combine turkey with remaining ingredients in crockpot
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours
  • Top with sliced provolone, spinach, or a whole wheat bun!



I scooped about a cup of the meat mixture onto a bed of fresh spinach, and topped with with a slice of provolone cheese! Delicious! I’m sure the addition of a whole wheat bun would make this even tastier. Unfortunately, I did not have any on hand.

I really want to try some crockpot oatmeal for my next crockpot adventure, but I’ve heard some horror stories from people who have made the attempt. I might have to peruse pinterest for some ideas! Stay tuned!


Happy weekend!

So far, this weekend has been one of the best  in a while. It started out on Thursday night with a DePaul Dance Team dinner/slumber party! One team member usually hosts the team dinners, and we usually do something simple like order pizza. We decided to have a potluck on Thursday, and let me tell you, there was an abundance of food.




Some of the star dishes included: homemade pizza rolls, pizza dip with garlic bread, greek yogurt pasta salad, and all the delicious fresh fruit people brought! My contributions were ham and cheese puff pastry roll-ups which I forgot to snap a picture of, and a white cheddar cranberry dip served with sliced baguettes.



YUM! The feast continued into the morning with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, coffee cake, butter braids, and more fruit.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club…not apologizing for posting this. Hehe!


It was a great night of eating and bonding. However, there was very little nutrition involved. I was feeling beyond horrible after breakfast, as if the night before wasn’t enough. I took a turn for the worst somewhere between the donut holes and butter braids. Not good! My friend Tessa and I decided we needed to do some serious cardio to make up for our indulgences. I proposed a long run, but the fresh snow on the ground kind of killed that idea. Tessa gets Spartan Race’s workout of the day sent to her phone every day. The particular workout from yesterday sounded like a great circuit, so we went for it!

Spartan Circuit Workout:

Perform each exercise 10 times, with no rest between exercises. Rest 2-3 minutes between circuits, repeat 3-5 times.

  • 100 meter sprint
  • push-ups
  • 100 meter sprint
  • jumping lunges
  • 100 meter sprint
  • pull-ups (assisted or non)
  • 100 meter sprint
  • burpees
  • 100 meter sprint
  • bodyweight squats
  • 100 meter sprint
  • 30 crunches

Each circuit took us about 7-9 minutes. We were huffing and puffing by the end and feeling good! The burpees were definitely the toughest part for me, and Tessa said the pull-ups were the most challenging for her. We saved enough energy to round out the workout with 25 minutes on the elliptical.

The workout yesterday made me want to look into more similar circuit workouts. I have been shying away from them recently, but this one really got me engaged. Alright, I’m off to do my scheduled lower body workout for the day! I have a feeling some more intense cardio will be needed as well.


Good morning! Actually, I should say good freezing cold morningWe’ve got a current temperature of 1 whopping degree in Chicago right now. But I can’t really complain since it’s well below zero in my hometown of Minneapolis. ROUGH! With these bitter cold temps, what could be better than a big pot of comforting chicken soup with a kick?

Yesterday I adapted a recipe that I stumbled upon for spicy Crockpot chicken soup from Kristen at swankydietitian.com. I kept the recipe the same for the most part, with some slight alterations.

Spicy Crockpot Chicken Soup



Makes 6 servings

Nutrition facts: 1 serving= 227 cals, 24g carbs, 2g fat, 30g protein (without cheese)



  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lbs)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1, 8 oz can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth, 28 oz total
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tbs chili powder


  • Combine diced onion and bell peppers in Crockpot
  • Top with chicken breasts

IMG_1363 IMG_1365


  • Add Rotel, corn and beans over chicken breasts
  • Top with chicken broth and remaining spices

IMG_1368 IMG_1370


  • Cook on low for 7 hours
  • Remove chicken from Crockpot, shred, and return to soup
  • Serve and top with cheddar cheese





I’m normally not a big soup person, but this was so hearty and chunky I just absolutely loved it! The leftovers will definitely last me the rest of the week, which is always a plus. I did add a little extra chili powder to my bowl, so if you like a little extra kick you may want to add more chili powder to the recipe. You may also try serving this soup with a dollop of plain greek yogurt or light sour cream!

I’m off to kick today’s lower body workout’s butt! This week is the start of my heavier weight phase in my current workout plan with no more than 3 sets of 6-8 reps per exercise. Look out legs, it’s going to get tough!


Last night brought me back to high school. It’s homecoming week at DePaul, since our homecoming revolves around basketball instead of football. Last night my friends and I took a trip down memory lane and attended the DePaul homecoming dance. In my four years of college I have never attended the dance until now. I have to say, I had a good time!





The night started out at my friend Tessa’s apartment. Since I have not attended a homecoming-type dance since high school, this was the first time I could actually, legally enjoy a few drinks beforehand! While there were no awkward date photos, limo rides, or family style dinners before the dance, it really did feel like high school once we got there. Around 10:00 we were bussed to Soldier Field, where the event was being held. The experience was complete with a dance circle, wild dancing, and girls finding the perfect place to hide their heels and purses. We were only at the dance for an hour, but it was more than enough for this girl. I just can’t do it like high school anymore!

I was brave enough to make an appearance in the dance circle. Unfortunately, my friend Kelly caught the whole thing on camera. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wore shorts under that dress! Alright, onto more important things like food. I am planning on participating in the Peanut Butter Fingers Crockpot Challenge. The rules of the challenge are pretty simple: Try 10 new Crockpot recipes by the end of February! I can’t promise I’ll make it to 10, but I’ll sure try! I’m definitely open to any suggestions.

Meal number one is already planned for this week. Some type of a spicy chicken stew will be in the works shortly, so stay tuned!


Good morning! I have a lot running through my mind that I want to fit in this post, so here it goes! Last night Mike and I had moose burgers for dinner. That’s right, moose burgers. How does one come by ground moose you ask? Well, you actually can’t buy it anywhere. Turns out it’s illegal to sell, and the only way to get your hands on this extra lean meat is to catch one yourself. Lucky for my, my dad is a pretty big hunter and actually went moose hunting this past fall. While I was home over Christmas he gave me about a pound and a half of ground moose, and 4 moose steaks to try out.

Moose meat is naturally extremely lean at only 1% fat, and the meat is slightly darker than ground beef.



Moose Burgers:


  • About 3/4 pound ground moose
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp dried savory
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese (optional)


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl
  • Form patties using about 2/3 cup of meat per patty (makes about 3 patties)
  • Grill on a heated skillet for about 4 minutes per side, flipping once
  • Top with cheddar cheese and any other toppings you see fit!



Wrapping burgers in lettuce can be a challenge. We were lucky enough to have nice, big lettuce leaves that worked perfectly. We also enjoyed some baked rutabaga on the side. My favorite!



That’s another recipe I have to share on here. As for the moose burgers, they were very tasty. Most people expect moose to taste gamey, similar to venison. It really tastes just like extra lean ground beef or bison. If you’ve had a bison burger before, it’s much like that. I definitely recommend it if you ever get the chance!

Power Sculpt Fitness

Last night before the moose adventure, I tried out a new fitness class. As a member of the DePaul Spirit Squad, I am required to take one 1-hour class per week at a fitness studio called Power Sculpt Fitness in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Power Sculpt combines many aspects of fitness such as cardio intervals, weight training, flexibility, and core. While I am more of a traditional heavy weight lifting, treadmill running kind of girl, it’s nice to try something different every once in a while.

I chose to attend two 30 minute classes last night: PSF Express & Barre Express. One of my fellow dance teamers actually teaches these two classes, so that was a plus! I’d have to say my favorite of the two was the Barre Express. I love barre workouts in general. After completing an extreme leg workout two days ago, my legs were killing in the barre class last night. I was feelin’ the burn! To add a little extra cardio, I chose to run to and from the studio, which is a little under two miles each way. I thought this was a great idea, until I realized that it’s January in Chicago and that equals extremely cold wind slapping against my face the whole way. OUCH!

I have to say that I toughed it out and actually enjoyed my run AND the PSF classes. I plan on attending the same two next week since they are, unfortunately, the only ones I can fit into my class schedule. If you live in the Chicago area, I highly recommend checking out Power Sculpt Fitness!

Good evening! I have a very good feeling that 2013 will bring much more free time for me. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t swamped with homework and other to-dos on a Monday night. Of course the one night when I actually have time to spend on cooking dinner I already plan on having leftovers.

Don’t get me wrong, these leftovers hit the spot. Behold, Cheesy Chicken & Veggie Casserole. I make variations of this dish pretty frequently. The secret ingredient? Fat free cream cheese. Love that stuff! For this particular rendition, I combined the following ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup fat free cream cheese
  • 3 cups frozen california blend vegetables, thawed
  • 3/4 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbs shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Toss all ingredients, except parmesan cheese in a large casserole dish until well combined. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. I topped tonight’s dish off with some marinara sauce and extra parmesan cheese. Yummy time!


I’ve been doing my best lately to not spend too much money on things I don’t need. This means no leisure shopping, no extravagant dining out, etc. Unfortunately, most of my money has been going towards necessities lately, so I haven’t even had the money to consider spending on unnecessary items. I have decided that my first unnecessary purchase of 2013 (since Sunday brunch with my dance team friends is completely necessary) is going to be some type of reward for myself.

To me, setting fitness goals is the key to staying motivated. The goal that I’m currently working on is starting my day off with my workout, instead of leaving it until 6:00 PM when I’m exhausted and the gym turns into bro city. I’m so envious of people who make early morning workouts part of their routine. It’s not that I don’t like getting up early. It’s just that I like waking up early, watching the news, eating breakfast and then starting my day. My official goal is to complete my current 10-week fitness plan under this new workout time. Of course, when a goal is met there must be a reward. I plan on rewarding myself with new, good quality workout clothes.

Now, when I say good quality I don’t mean 150 dollar yoga pants. Not saying I have anything against Lululemon Lovers, I’m just cheap. I have my eye on some Nike products:

Lovin this basic tank top. I also have a weird obsession with New Balance products.

I’m in the market for some new running shoes. Those are definitely a necessity, though. Alright, I’m off to read like a good college kid!

Over the past few weeks I have been sidetracked by a number of things; the holidays, starting school after a 6 week break, and now…the flu. I have fallen victim to the infamous influenza virus that is currently plaguing the nation, despite my attempts to live a healthier than normal life.

I have always been a target for popular illnesses. When Pertussis AKA Whooping Cough made a comeback five years ago, I was one of the lucky ones it struck. Honestly, who gets whooping cough? My roommates often poke fun at me due to the fact that I’m so prone to getting sick. While it seems funny to some, it can be frustrating. I do my best to take care of myself by eating healthy, exercising daily, and getting a good night’s sleep. It’s confusing when I see other college students around me sleeping for 3 hours a night, eating one meal a day, and never exercising yet remaining perfectly “healthy.” I realized the only thing I don’t do is stop and relax. This seems to be the key. Never underestimate the power of relaxation. 

I learned that I had the flu on Wednesday. Since then, I have done NOTHING but lay in bed watching mindless TV and browsing Pinterest. It’s amazing how much faster you can recover from an illness when you allow your body to rest. I haven’t had a fever in over 24 hours and have a feeling I’ll be back to 100% in no time.

The best part about being stuck in bed for days is the building excitement to get back to the gym. I have a whole new workout plan that I was supposed to get going this week that will just have to wait. I used The Ultimate Female Training Guide as a template for my new workout plan.

Weeks 1-3: All exercises completed 3x, 8-12 reps

Weeks 4-8: All exercises completed 3x, 6-8 reps

Weeks 9-12: All exercises completed 3x, 4-6 reps

I also like that the exercises are spilt up by upper and lower body A & B. I plan on adding a few of my own exercises as well. As soon as this program is over I’m planning on starting my very first half marathon training plan! I’m a half marathon novice, so bring on the suggestions.

I’m off to attempt to finish some homework and hopefully take a nap. Happy Saturday!

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