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

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween!

It’s funny how a year ago when I was still in college, all I thought about on Halloween was partying. Now, I’m jealous I don’t have my own house where I can hand candy out to trick-or-treaters. Growing up gets stranger every day.

This has been quite the week, even though it’s only have way done for me. On Monday night I whipped up several batches of two different types of cookies: Monster Cookies & Chocolate Reese’s Halloween Cookies!


I adapted the chocolate cookies from a recipe on Love From The Oven, and the monster cookies from Greens & Chocolate. As always, I tweaked both recipes to make them my own.

I added candy corn flavored m&ms to the monster cookies, and used reese’s pieces instead of sixlets in the chocolate cookies.











Nothing better than a night of holiday baking! This was probably the most relaxing part of my week so far.

Yesterday, I traveled to Aberdeen, SD for several stories. It’s about a three hour drive north of Sioux Falls. I never mind long drives, and am very used to the seven hour drive from Chicago to Minneapolis, so three hours is a cake walk. That was not the case yesterday.

About an hour into my drive, the temperature dropped from 40 to 32. I was suddenly surrounded by a thick wall of fog and snow, with icy roads ahead of me.

aberdeenaberdeen2 aberdeen3

What should have been a three hour drive turned into a four hour drive. And what should have been about a nine hour worked day turned into 12 hours.

I wasn’t sure if I should be more excited for Halloween or Christmas up in Aberdeen! Either way, the weather definitely had me in the holiday spirit.

Tomorrow night is Halloween for me. One of my co-workers is hosting a Halloween party. Stay tuned for what I’m hoping will be a killer costume. I’m hoping the next 48 hours fly by. I’m heading home to Minneapolis very late Saturday night!




Aaaah, Sundays in Fall. There’s just something about the cool weather that makes a relaxing Sunday so much more enjoyable.

Plus, Sundays in Fall are the perfect time for a pumpkiny breakfast. My Sunday kicked off on a chilly note. After quickly downing a cup of coffee and rice cake topped with peanut butter, I scooted out the door into the 30 degree weather for a 4 mile run.

2013-10-27 09.25.11

Not too shabby, but I realized my average pace on runs from 3-5 miles has increased dramatically since last year. Last Fall, I was averaging less than 8 minutes per mile on most of my runs. I really want to work on getting back to that pace over the next few months.

After my run it was time to refuel with a proper breakfast: Pumpkin Protein Pancakes




  • 2 egg beaters or egg whites
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 TBS oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • enough water to reach desired “pancake-like” consistency.


  • Whisk all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl
  • Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray, set to medium-high heat
  • Use 1/4 cup scoop to drop batter onto hot skillet
  • Cook 2-3 minutes each side, or until bubbles begin to form
  • Remove and top with anything you’d like!



I topped my cakes with frozen blueberries that were heated in the microwave, PB2, and Walden Farms pancake syrup! I know I’ve posted a similar recipe for pumpkin protein pancakes before. I’m pretty sure it was slightly different from this one.

The more you make protein pancakes, the more you’re able to experiment. It’s gotten to the point where sometimes I don’t even measure out the ingredients since I’m just going for a certain batter texture that I know will work.

Autumn Fest

Shortly after breakfast I headed out for Autumn Fest, an arts & crafts fair that tours the midwest, and is currently in Sioux Falls. This is not your typical arts & crafts fair. I spent nearly 2 hours at the festival and still didn’t make it to all the vendors. I left feeling stuffed from samples, and with some good food finds.

IMG_1756 IMG_1757 IMG_1758 IMG_1761 IMG_1762 IMG_1765


I told the lefse vendor I was shocked to find lefse in South Dakota. That’s when she told me they actually drove down from Minnesota. Figures. Naturally, I had to buy some, though I’m planning on freezing it until Christmas rolls around.

I’m also saving those tempting meats and cheeses for next weekend to share with Mike. There were a couple non-food related items that I picked up, but most of them will be gifts and I don’t want to spoil the surprised. Mike and I have plans for a virtual date tonight. We’re going to attempt to prepare the same meal while Skyping. Things should get interesting!


Happy Friday!

Even though Friday is technically my Thursday since I work Saturdays, I still feel like Friday signals the homestretch to my week.  This morning began with a 30 minute cardio workout that consisted of some HIIT and steady state cardio.

  • minutes 1-10: run at 7.8 mph for 2 min, walk at 3.5 for 1 min
  • minutes 10-20: run at 8.5 for 1 min, walk at 3.5 for 1 min
  • minutes 20-30: elliptical at level 5 resistance

Short and sweet!

Then it was onto breakfast — Pumpkin French Toast




  • 2 slices sara lee 45 calorie wheat bread
  • 2 servings liquid egg whites or egg beaters
  • 1/3 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 2-3 TBS canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • fruit or syrup for topping


  • whisk egg whites, protein, pumpkin, and spice in a bowl
  • spray a large skillet with cooking spray
  • dip bread into egg mixture, coating both sides well
  • cook each side over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes
  • top with anything you want!



I topped my french toast with sliced bananas, frozen blueberries that I heated, Walden Farms pancake syrup, and PB2. Hit the spot!

I had the opportunity to visit the Autumn Festival Arts & Crafts Fair for one of my assignments today. This was not your typical crafts fair, let me tell you. It took up the entire ballroom space at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, and featured more than 350 vendors from around the country.

After briefly interviewing the event coordinator, I told her I would love to come back on Sunday during my day off to actually explore the fair. She was kind enough to give me two VIP passes for the weekend!

2013-10-25 12.44.15

I have a feeling I’m going to score some early Christmas presents this weekend.

After working through the rest of the day, I made my way home for a dinner I had been dreaming about all day: Flatout Pizza



For those of you who are not familiar with Flatouts, they are one of the most versatile foods I know of. I use them as tortillas, wraps, tortilla chips, and obviously pizza crusts. By simply heating them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes, you can get them to a nice thin crust pizza texture.

Tonight, I topped mine with a ricotta-tomato sauce base, fresh spinach, turkey sausage, and fat free mozzarella.



Flatouts. Check ’em out!

Beetlejuice is on ABC Family, so I know what I’m doing with my night!




Good evening!

Sunday was SUCH a blast. Mike and I began the day at a local Sioux Falls diner that I’ve been wanting to try for brunch before heading off to Newton Hills State Park. The park is located about 40 minutes south of Sioux Falls in the middle cornfields. Pretty much like everything else in South Dakota! That’s why I was so surprised to find more than 6 miles of trails through hilly forests.


Upon arriving, I got my Garmin ready to go and then we were off on our adventure!


Can you spot the horse hiding in the trees?

Can you spot the horse hiding in the trees?





We covered just over 3 miles in about an hour. Some of the terrain was pretty steep, which provided a great incline workout. I still can’t get over the fact that this gem is hidden in a sea of cornfields. It definitely got me excited to explore more nearby hiking trails and state parks around Sioux Falls!

After our hike, it was onto the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped from a comfortable 55 to an icy cold 40 in a matter of about 30 minutes. By the time we got to the pumpkin patch, we couldn’t stand to be outside for more than about 10 minutes, and rushed through the pumpkin picking process.



The pumpkin patch was pretty picked over, but we found some good ones. Mine is the big one, and Mike’s is the sickly looking green guy. On the way home, we stopped by HyVee to pick up a take and bake pizza. We ended up landing on an original crust supreme pizza that left us feeling over-stuffed.

Look at all that doughy goodness!

Look at all that doughy goodness!

We made the decision to stick with thin crust next time. So…much…dough. We rounded out the night with some football watching and pumpkin carving. Definitely a winning combination.


Mine is the creative NBC peacock (I work for an NBC affiliate). Mike’s green pumpkin actually turned out pretty darn good. Before Mike headed back to Minnesota on Monday, we made time to visit the Sioux Falls mall (quite the hot spot) and hit up HyVee for my weekly groceries.

Selfie attempt #1 of about 20.

Selfie attempt #1 of about 20

I checked out some running shoes while at the mall. I have been in the market for new running shoes for about a year now, but just can’t seem to seal the deal on a new pair. I found a pair of Asics Nimbus 15s that were super comfy.

Just not too crazy about these wild colors.

Just not too crazy about these wild colors.

At HyVee I spotted some interesting looking cake mixes.




Aren’t these the coolest?! Although blueberry flavored cake doesn’t really appeal to me on many levels, I would get a kick out of whipping up a blue cake. The zebra one kind of just looks like marble if you ask me. Still, pretty neat!

Mike left later that afternoon, which is always tough, but we’ll actually see each other in less than two weeks when I head to Minneapolis. This weekend was definitely better than I could have hoped for.



After getting done with work around 6:30 on Friday, I rushed home to prepare for Mike’s arrival! Naturally, I’d had the dinner menu planned for several days already. Mike got in around 9:00, and we kicked off the night with pumpkin cheesecake dip, a recipe I’ve wanted to try ever since I read about it on pbfingers.


This dip is so delicious and simple. It’s just 5 ingredients! Canned pumpkin, low fat or fat free cream cheese, honey or any other sweetener, pumpkin pie spice, and crushed candied pecans. YUM! We used braided honey wheat pretzels and ginger cookies for dipping.

Then it was onto the main course, which was another pbfingers recipe I’ve been wanting to try for some time. Meatball Casserole.


I altered the original recipe  just a hair by adding some fresh spinach to the cheese mixture, and by using low fat ricotta instead of goat cheese. It was absolutely delicious and could even be made without the baguette for a lower carb option.


I kept dessert simple with some mint chocolate chip ice cream, or peppermint bon bon as Mike and I call it.

Mike also surprised me with a couple goodies he picked up in Chicago last weekend!



A Dunkin’ Donuts Mug along with their Pumpkin flavored coffee.

2013-10-20 08.04.54


Sadly, there are no Dunkin’ Donuts anywhere remotely close to Sioux Falls, and I find myself missing their coffee and sweet treats almost every day. Starbucks just doesn’t cut it sometimes!

I was on call Friday night, which means I am up listening to the police scanner until the wee hours of the night, so Mike and I just stayed in. Yesterday was such a blast I want to devote a whole post to recap the day. But first, I’m off for an evening run before dinner!



There have been some notable changes in my life since my blogging ambitions were put on hold back in February. I’ll start at the beginning.

I completed my first half marathon in 2 hours and 1 minute.

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 6.58.43 PM

I graduated from college.


Congrats, grad.

I moved from Chicago back to Minneapolis, and lived in my childhood home for two months while searching for a job. IMAG0607

Sayin “so long” to my roommate of the past 4 years!

Sweet home Minneapolis.

After two months of scouting the midwest for my first job as a reporter, I landed in Sioux Falls, SD.


New stomping grounds.


Yup, that’s me!

The past 6 months have been interesting to say the least. Between living in a new state, starting a new job, and saying goodbye to a lot of loved ones, it has been a learning experience.

Now that all that’s cleared up, let’s get to more important things. The things I originally had in mind when I started this blog. Food and fitness! I realized that with the holiday season coming up fast, I’m going to be (and already have been) doing a lot of baking and holiday cooking. I love being able to share those experiences, which is what inspired me to get back to blogging.

Since moving to Sioux Falls, I have had much more free time than I did in college. Balancing school, work, internships, and dance team didn’t exactly leave a whole lot of room for hobbies. However, now that I have two full days of the week all to myself, I will definitely have more time to post delicious recipes and helpful workouts. Here’s a little preview of what I’ve been up to already since moving to Sioux Falls:

halloween baking

Ooooh yeah, my coworkers like baking. This was the end product of a Friday night spent with two of my new coworkers. Needless to say I’m fitting in just fine. There’s definitely going to be much more yummy baking and cooking this week. Want to know why? Mike is coming to visit!


Mike also moved back to Minnesota after graduation. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls, so we’ve been trying to see each other every other weekend. So far it’s working out nicely. We have big plans this weekend that include enjoying some fall treats, trying new recipes, and exploring nearby hiking trails.  Can’t wait to share!

%d bloggers like this: