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

Monthly Archives: March 2014

So have I mentioned that South Dakota is windy?


Just some casual 33 mph winds…no big deal.

That’s what I was dealing with this morning during my 5k run. This 5k was part of my half marathon training. Technically, I was supposed to run a real 5k race, but since my training schedule has to work around my strange work schedule, there was no actual 5k race that I could do today or even this weekend.

I decided to just try to run it to the best of my ability, as if it were an actual race.

The first half I actually had a tail wind and was doing a 7 minute mile pace. Once I turned around to come back, it was a different story. Running directly into those winds slowed me down to almost a 9 minute mile.



The stats


It wasn’t a terrible finish time, but I wanted to finish in under 24 minutes. I know I would have if there wasn’t this ridiculous wind. But hey, you never know what it’s going to be like on actual race day.

Although running into the wind is absolutely terrible, I find that if I look down at the ground in front of me instead of straight on it feels a little easier. Not sure if it actually makes a difference, but it feels like it does!

I followed up my run with a quick legs workout that looked like this:

  • Superset Leg Curls & Leg Extensions 3/12
  • Superset Leg Press 3/12 & Calf Raises 3/20
  • Stationary Weighted Lunges 3/12
  • Superset Donkey Kicks & Fire Hydrants 3/12

Followed by a quesedilla lunch and a couple errands!

After running some errands I came home and had a little greek yogurt parfait with two of my favorite fruits.


Yum! The parfait included plain greek yogurt, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, topped with strawberries, blackberries and Kashi cereal.


I put the blackberries on the bottom to try to make it pretty, but they kind of got lost. Whoops.


Mixin’ it up

So it’s starting to thunderstorm in Sioux Falls and apparently there’s a chance for a tornado nearby tonight? I’m thinking of heading down to the hot tub in my apartment building before dinner. Sounds nice and relaxing, right?


First of all, it’s cold Starbuck’s drink weather in Sioux Falls.

Iced green tea

Iced green tea

It’s also sunroof season. For now at least.

Let’s back up. I wasn’t feeling so hot this morning after a fun night out last night. I would have loved to go for a run in the 60 degree weather with no wind, but I knew it wouldn’t end pretty if I did too much moving today.


This morning I wanted one thing and one thing only; oats.


Oats with flax, vanilla protein powder, PB2, banana, craisins, and Kashi cereal.

Then I fell asleep for another two hours…yikes.


After moping around my apartment and drinking about half my body weight in water, I still wasn’t feeling the best. Perhaps a nice cold smoothie would do the trick?



Scoop of chocolate protein powder, 1/2 frozen banana, frozen strawberries, cocoa powder, spinach, 1 TBS peanut butter, greek yogurt, water and ice cubes.

By this point I knew a run wasn’t in the cards today. But I felt like I could muster enough strength to get a little shopping done. I headed to the grocery store to pick up my weekly essentials and some more shopping fuel.



Old standby.

Shopping was a hit. TJ Maxx just got a bunch of new stuff in and Express had 30% off clearance. Today I learned short people like me really can pull off maxi dresses! Now if it would just stay warm enough to wear one.

While browsing the racks, I had a weird craving for a mexican style burger. Weird? I decided that’s what I would be making for dinner, and sweet potato fries sounded like a fitting side. So, I bring you a homemade sweet potato fries recipe!

Sweet Potato Fries:



  • Slice sweet potato into about 1/4 inch strips
  • Spread evenly on baking sheet
  • Drizzle with 1-2 TBS olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne, or any other spices
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping half way through

And that’s it!



Alongside my mexican burger topped with jack cheese, guac, plain greek yogurt, salsa, peppers and onion.


I’m so happy I had this craving. It really hit the spot. Brought me back to my sophomore year of college when I worked at a diner and ate “mexican burgers” at least twice a week.

I’m still feeling pretty sluggish and am bummed I wasn’t able to get a workout in today. Tomorrow I have a timed  5k on the agenda and a lower body workout as well. I’m hoping to get the 5k done in less than 24 minutes, but we shall see!



Running into 35 mph wind is awful.

I wasn’t planning on running today, but it hit 60 degrees in Sioux Falls and the next few days won’t be half as warm. The mid-week warm up prompted me to complete one of my short runs of 3 miles that I had scheduled for tomorrow.

The funny thing about Sioux Falls is whenever it warms up, the wind picks up. The first mile of my run was straight into the wind. I struggled to stay under 9 minute miles since I kept getting forced back.

Here were the stats:


Not awful, but not good.

After stretching in front of the TV for a while it was dinner time. Woo! I’ve been dreaming about my dinner all day. I decided to try to recreate my salad from Mason’s that I had on Sunday.


Mine definitely didn’t turn out as pretty, but it was almost equally delicious.

Beet & Feta Salad with Chicken

I used mixed greens, sliced beets, grilled chicken breast, toasted walnuts, strawberries instead of craisins, and feta cheese instead of goat cheese.



Topped off with Kraft lite balsamic vinaigrette. Totally forgot about the red onions which I’m a little bummed about. Oh well! It’s sitting nicely in my belly right now. I’m off to make a duplicate salad for my lunch tomorrow!

Good Morning!

It’s the first day of my work week and I’m felling good despite being pretty drained after my drive back from Minneapolis last night.

Here’s the weekend recap.


I arrived in Minneapolis around 10:30 Saturday night and picked up my friend Carly before heading over to Mike’s sister’s apartment. After changing and hanging out for about an hour we headed over to a nearby bar. It was a pretty relaxed night that ended in a Domino’s pizza that I unfortunately do not have a picture of. But I promise it was amazing.


Sundays are always crazy busy when I’m home. Mike and I had tickets to the Timberwolves game and had plans to grab lunch at Mason’s Restaurant before the game.


The best thing about Mason’s is every beverage comes in a mason jar. I know mason jars are a little overdone these days, but I still love them.

After starting out with some bloody mary’s, I ordered a giant salad with arugula, goat cheese, beets, chicken, toasted nuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette.




That thing was massive. Then it was off to the game! They lost, but we still had a blast.


I was pretty bummed because if they win and get over 100 points, everyone gets free frozen yogurt. No frozen yogurt for us.

The rest of the day was spent visiting Mike’s family then dinner at my family’s house. My mom made some awesome baked rigatoni that I forgot to snap a picture of. whoops!


Sunday was spent lounging and having lunch with my mom. Oh, and a terrible run. It was snowing yesterday in Minneapolis. The 6 mile run I had planned sounded pretty unappealing once I looked outside, so I decided to give it a go on the treadmill. Big mistake. There are no words for how much I truly dislike running more than 3 miles on a treadmill. I have zero motivation and feel 10x worse than I would outside. I finished the run in just under 54 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.

Next time, I won’t be such a little baby and will brave the elements!


It’s the weekend!

But I still have one work day to go…nice.

At around 6:00 tonight my weekend will officially begin and I’ll be setting out on the four hour drive to Minneapolis. Mike and I are going to the Timberwolves game this weekend. Wahoo!

Let me talk about yesterday. I’ve been really good about getting my workouts in before work lately, but yesterday it just didn’t happen. I had planned to go for a morning run followed by a legs workout. When my alarm went off at 6:30 and I saw that it was pitch black and 20 degrees outside, I decided to snooze.

My run yesterday was supposed to be an easy 3 miles. It would have been my fifth run of the week. Five runs is starting to seem a little excessive for me. I’ve noticed since I started my half marathon training I’ve been giving up a lot of my time in the gym lifting weights in order to fit my runs in. I’ve decided that I’m going to break the rules and cut my training down to 4 runs per week when I’m just not feeling that extra run.

I woke up an hour after I had originally planned and made myself a breakfast that I haven’t had in several weeks. Oatmeal!


Topped with sliced banana, almond milk, blueberries and very runny PB2.


All mixed up! I was on a real oatmeal kick for months. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to start mixing in some variety with breakfast. The re-introduction of oatmeal into my morning routine was a great idea for a chilly “spring” day.

The decision to sleep in and skip my run was also a good idea. I arrived home from work around 7:00 and headed down to the gym shortly after. I was still feeling a little unmotivated, but really wanted to get an effective lower body workout in.

I came up with what I’m calling the lazy legs workout, since laziness just seemed to be in the air for me yesterday.

lazy legs

Flew by in about 30 minutes, which felt like forever due to the awful atmosphere in the gym. There are some people in my apartment building that just have the worst gym etiquette. About 10 of those people were in there at the same time as me and it was extremely distracting.

BUT I was happy I accomplished what I set out to do. The rest of the night was spent being on call, which means I stay up until 2:00 a.m. listening to the police scanner. TV life is glamorous. Since I stayed up so late, my tummy started grumbling around 1:00 a.m., and although I try to shy away from bed time snacks, I figured this was another time it was okay to break the rules. Plus, my body was clearly trying to tell me something

I fixed myself a little napkin of Kashi Golean Crunch cereal and half of a homemade protein ball.


Perfect little amount!

Now, I’m off to work for a couple stories that I’m actually excited about. You never know what kind of news you’ll get on a Saturday.

I’ve got a case of the Mondays. But in my case, I’m sad that my weekend is coming to an end. So in reality, you could say I have a case of the Sundays.

This weekend was a blast. Mike was in town and we went out for a co-worker’s birthday Saturday night. Sunday was spent lounging and running errands before he had to head out. Now it’s back to the work thing!

Today was a great day. It was a great day because I had a great run and felt like I could have done it all over again as soon as it was over.


Today was my first “long” run of half marathon training. I feel kind of silly calling this a long run, since it’s still pretty close to my short runs of 3 miles. It was just over 40 degrees when I set out around 11:00 this morning, which I call perfect running weather. I took things slow and tried to hang just under 9 minute miles the whole time. I never felt exhausted or like I was running out of steam. I honestly felt like I could have tacked on 2 or 3 extra miles easily. This is the exact pace I want to be able to keep during my half marathon, so I’m feeling hopeful!

For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like I just barely scraped by after a run. I loved the optimistic, confident feeling I had at the end of today’s run, and really hope I can carry that into my long runs for the rest of my training.

The rest of the day included:

  1. hair appointment
  2. grocery shopping
  3. picking up new headphones that don’t sound like static in my ears

When I returned home I was ready for a little relaxation. Since it’s spring break season, I decided to get a little tropical in Sioux Falls. I put on my swimsuit and headed down to the hot tub in the pool area of my apartment complex. I was beyond happy to see there was nobody else in there.


Exotic Sioux Falls

I brought down some iced pomegranate green tea and the April issue of Women’s Health to enjoy during my “me time.”


And of course a pen and paper to jot down any notes throughout my reading!

Once I started sweating profusely, I knew it was time to head back up. I was planning on baking something for another co-workers’ birthday after dinner, but I jumped the gun and hopped to it still in my swimsuit!

She requested O Henry Bars, which I had never heard of but recognized them after Pinteresting them.


Look familiar? Here’s the recipe I followed:

O Henry Bars


  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 4 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter


  • Combine melted butter with brown sugar and vanilla.
  • Mix into oats, add corn syrup. Stir until everything is nice and sticky.
  • Press mixture into 9×13 baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes, let cool completely.
  • Once cooled, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave and spread over the top.
  • Refrigerate until chocolate sets.

As you can probably see, mine are not completely set yet, but they look delicious!


My co-worker told me her mom used to make these all the time. I hope mine pass the test!

I don’t normally have time to blog in the morning, but I’m a lucky girl today and don’t have to head into work until noon! Great start to Friday.

I took my time waking up this morning with a 3 mile run on the agenda for my half marathon training. Since I had the extra time, I decided to properly fuel my body with a little snack before hitting the trail.


Rice cake topped with PB2 and craisins. Accompanied by a cup of hazelnut coffee.



Normally I don’t eat anything before my morning workouts, because time is so limited and I need at least 45 minutes to digest anything before exercising or I’ll cramp up instantly. I don’t like feeling like I’m depriving myself in the morning, especially before a run. The second my stomach starts grumbling in the middle of a workout I just lose all motivation and energy, and start wanting to eat my hand. I was very excited about getting to put something in my stomach before my run this morning.

It’s amazing how much more I enjoy running outside than on the treadmill. It was still a chilly 35 degrees when I left my apartment, but the run seemed to fly by.



I’ve managed to take about 20 seconds off my average 3 mile run pace over the past week. Hopefully that trend continues because I’ve really become a slow poke.

I followed up the run with a good long stretching session and a strawberry banana spinach protein smoothie.



I figured I’d get a little festive with St. Patrick’s day weekend on the horizon. I threw the following into the blender for this concoction:

  • 1 frozen banana, peeled
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 5.3 oz container Dannon Greek Light n’ Fit strawberry yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • handful of ice cubes



Can’t go wrong with a post-run smoothie! Too bad now I’m freezing which means it’s time for another hot cup of coffee before I have to get ready for work! I’m super excited for this weekend. Mike is heading here tonight, and tomorrow is my co-worker’s birthday celebration. We have plans to go to a hibachi grill, something I haven’t done since high school. I’m ready to feast!


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