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

Category Archives: Dinner

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:


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.


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!


Before we get into the debate over which vegetable cooking method is the best/healthiest, I need to announce that I have a new roommate!


Everyone meet Lyra. Lyra is actually not a new pet for me. I got her for my 11th birthday in 2001! She’s obviously lived at my childhood home for the past 12 years, but I decided to take her back to Sioux Falls with me during my last trip home. She’s getting old and is tired of being tortured by the two big dogs that seem to rule that house. My mom says moving into my apartment is like moving into a retirement home for Lyra. She’s a happy girl!

How do you like to cook your vegetables?

I know there’s a lot of debate over the healthiest ways to cook vegetables. I found this article on TIME.com that lists the alleged healthiest methods for cooking veggies. Some of the methods seemed pretty obvious; steaming, boiling, grilling. However, one that caught my eye was microwaving. Isn’t that so weird?

Their point is that the shorter cooking time in a microwave actually preserves some of the nutrients in the vegetables. So bizarre. Not that I’ve never microwaved vegetables, but microwaves don’t necessarily scream healthy to me.

I’m a big fan of roasting my vegetables. I typically tend to stick with roasting or steaming, but if I’ve got the time I almost always go with roasting. There’s just something about getting a little crisp on the veggies that’s so good!

Speaking of roasted vegetables, I had my fair share with my dinner this evening.


Carrots, green beans, corn, and broccoli seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. I roasted these vegetables at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Enjoyed alongside a couple thin, boneless pork chops!


My food was just not photographing well tonight. I blame the steam rising from the vegetables. It might not look pretty, but it was certainly tasty. Pork is up there on my list of favorite meats.

Back to the veggie debate, I remember during a health class I took in college my professor said if you do cook vegetables in something, like butter, oil, or even water, all the nutrients in the vegetable will end up in that liquid. Meaning if you cook broccoli in butter, you need to consume the butter in order to get the nutrients from the broccoli. Sounds a bit strange.

No matter how they’re cooked, I love pretty much all vegetables and will eat them any way, any day.



It’s a beautiful night in Sioux Falls and I have just had a great weekend so far. Mike was here this weekend, which always makes things exciting. We had a full but very fun weekend. Check it out.


Mike got in around 8:30 Friday night and I was ready to get a special dinner going.

My dad is a big hunter and fisher, and last time I was home he stocked up me with tons of wild meat. I’ve been saving the walleye he gave me for a weekend when Mike was here. If you’ve never had walleye, you should. It’s a staple in Minnesota and I’ve grown up eating it fresh my whole life. It’s a pretty mild fish and is good just about any way you cook it, but I prefer mine battered and panfried. Not the healthiest, I know.

I cooked just over a pound of fish Friday night. I washed the filets, dipped them in egg wash, and coated them in Shorelunch breading. I then cooked them in canola oil for about 4 minutes on each side.



Fish fry dinner

Fish fry dinner

Sides included roasted green beans and sweet potatoes. It was a real good Friday fish fry. And I have leftovers still. I know what’s for dinner tonight!

Moving on.

Saturday was super crazy because I worked. Mike always shadows me when I have to work on Saturdays which makes the day go by much faster. As soon as I got off we headed to the Sioux Falls Canaries game to watch some baseball. After the game it was time to head to a bar for a co-worker’s going away celebration. Crazy day.


Like I said before, it is a beautiful night in Sioux Falls and it was also a beautiful day. Mike and I took advantage of the weather by heading out for a 14 mile bike ride shortly after breakfast this morning.

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We stopped after about 7 miles to rest and take in the scenery. The Sioux Falls Greenway is gorgeous. It covers pretty much the entire city, but we stuck to just the southern part of the city today. It follows the Big Sioux River which makes for some excellent wildlife sightings. We saw a deer along the water today! So cool.

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I actually got a great workout from our bike ride. There were a good amount of hills along the part of the trail that we covered, and I was able to get my heart rate up.

Every good workout deserves a good treat, right? Wrong. But hey, every once in a while is okay. Which is why we decided we needed to stop at Sonic during our ride back to my apartment.

Sonic date

Sonic date

I love when fast food places have ‘mini’ or ‘snack size’ ice cream treats. However, Sonic’s mini shakes aren’t that mini. I ordered a strawberry shake and it was more than enough for me. We also split an order of chicken strips. They were decent, but the strawberry shake stole the show.

Strawberry shake

Strawberry shake

Cold and creamy. Perfect on this hot summer day!

The rest of the day was spent lounging by the pool and taking a quick cat nap before Mike had to head back to Minneapolis. Never easy to say goodbye after such a fun weekend, but I know it’s only a matter of time before our next great adventure in Sioux Falls!

Alright, now I’m off to enjoy some walleye leftovers. Woo!


Good evening or good early morning!

It’s still Friday on the west coast, so we’re going to let my ‘Friday Favorites’ tardiness slide.


First off, I got home from work around 10:00 tonight and was craving pizza and breakfast. I was really struggling to decide which one I wanted most, so I decided to combine them to make a breakfast pizza!

breakfast pizza

breakfast pizza

This little creation hit the spot. I topped a toasted Flatout Flatbread with 3 cooked egg whites, 2 slices turkey bacon, chopped red bell pepper, spinach, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and popped it in the oven for about 6 minutes at 400 degrees. Oh! I also used Sriracha as the ‘sauce’ for the pizza. Good call.

Like I said in my last post, this week has been nuts. Which brings me to my list of Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites 

Five tornadoes touched down in South Dakota on Wednesday night, and one really tore up a small town in the central part of the state. I’ve been covering the damage out there for the past two days. The experience has been absolutely unreal and it’s something I’ll never forget. That brings me to my first ‘favorite’:

1. South Dakota Weather 

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I know this shouldn’t be a ‘favorite’, but let me explain. As a reporter, there’s really nothing like covering natural disasters. This week has been full of floods, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Thankfully, there have been no serious injuries and things are starting to slowly get better throughout the state. Covering all these storms has been exhausting, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything right now.

2. Overnight Oats

overnight oats

overnight oats

Like I said, this week has been crazy. I haven’t been getting much sleep, and getting adequate nutrition has also been a struggle. It’s times like these that overnight oats really come in handy! I’ve been preparing overnight oats the night before I know I have to wake up early for a story. This morning I was up at 4:30 a.m. to head out to cover tornado damage. I knew there was no way I would feel like cooking breakfast that early, so I whipped up a batch of overnight oats last night! This bowl was made with 1 container Dannon Greek Light and Fit blueberry yogurt, 1/3 cup raw oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tbs ground flax, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, plus banana, blueberries, and Kashi cereal for toppings.

3. Boom Chicka Pop Caramel & Cheddar Mix



This popcorn is TOO good. I’ve been getting home reeeeal late these past few days, and have been digging into this bag each night for a little pick me up. This mix is my absolute favorite. I’m a big fan of the sweet and savory combo when it comes to food. The cheddar with the caramel is the perfect pairing if you’re a sweet + salty person. Just be careful once you open a bag of this stuff because it’s tough to stop stuffing your face.

4. True Blood Final Season 


I True Blood still cool? I don’t care either way. I’ve watched this show since season 1, and have been a fan through and through. I can’t believe the final season starts this Sunday! I plan on spending my Saturday night re-watching the previous season to jog my memory. I’m not a big vampire person, but I love the way True Blood fits real world social issues into the show. I’ll be sad to see it go!

That’s all! I need to get some sleep. I’m heading back to tornado town bright and early in the morning!


There are currently tornadoes on the ground here in South Dakota. The weather is absolutely psycho, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Let me just say that I love summer salads.

Summer Salad

Summer Salad

For dinner this evening, I fixed myself a simple summer salad with romaine lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, grilled chicken, chopped pecans, feta cheese and acai raspberry vinaigrette. YUM! I know a lot of people are anti fruit in salads, but I am not one of them. Bring on the berries.

In other news, I met Tom Brokaw last week!

With Tom Brokaw

With Tom Brokaw

This was such a great experience. I had the chance to interview him one-on-one for about 15 minutes. He was a great speaker and truly loves his home state of South Dakota!

Moving on.

This past weekend was nuts. I drove home through pouring rain and tornado warnings on Saturday night. Luckily, Mike was kind enough to take me to Applebee’s for nachos and beer when I arrived in Minneapolis around 10:00. Nachos make everything better.

Sunday morning I was off to one of my favorite places in the world to celebrate Father’s Day.

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Lake Vermilion

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I’ve been going to Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota since I can remember. My dad’s side of my family has had a cabin on the lake since the 1960s. I rarely get up there anymore since I live so far away. Every time I get the chance to go there even just for a day I love it. Too bad the weather was absolute crap this time.

I also got to see this little baby while I was there.



I love my dad’s cat, Marshy. What a beauty. And she likes to sit in the sink?

Anyway, my trip north was short. I was back in Minneapolis Monday morning, and had planned to drive back to Sioux Falls that evening until all hell broke loose. Like I said, the weather here is psycho. A majority of the towns around Sioux Falls are under water thanks to extreme rain, and tornadoes have been sweeping across the area all week.

South Dakota Flooding

South Dakota Flooding

What’s scary is this isn’t even the worst of it. South Dakota and the neighboring states have been getting hit by strong storms since the weekend. The weather is all we have been covering at work, and I am totally enthralled.

One of the downsides of losing myself in my job a little too much is I lose sight of other things that are important to me, like working out! I hate to say that I haven’t hit the gym once since Saturday. I know four days isn’t the end of the world, but I just feel off when I go too long without a workout. I’m really hoping this lack of motivation to get to the gym will end once the weather starts to settle down.

I’m telling myself I am going to workout tomorrow morning, but tornadoes are expected to hit Sioux Falls late, late tonight, and I want to stay up and watch like a 5-year-old.


Happy Monday!

It feels very strange that it’s Monday, because Mike is still here! We actually had a full day together yesterday. That never happens since he normally has to leave on Sunday, and I always have to work on Saturday. We took advantage of the day by going for a beautiful hike at Good Earth State Park.

Good Earth State Park

Good Earth State Park

But before we get to that, let’s talk food.

Mike and I have had some stellar meals this weekend. Friday night’s pizza kicked things off nicely.

pizza pizza

pizza pizza

On Saturday Mike had the great idea to make taco salads using ground turkey, enchilada sauce, black beans, fresh pico de gallo, iceberg lettuce, and cheese.

taco salad

taco salad

Plus a dollop of plain greek yogurt for me! I always use plain non-fat greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I promise it’s just as delicious but much healthier.

Sunday morning we slept in until 9:00! That’s psycho for me! I have a hard time sleeping once I see the sun is up, (we actually fell asleep on the couch at 1:30 a.m. watching Orange Is The New Black. Yikes!) Anyway, I was ready for a special breakfast Sunday morning, so waffles it was!

Sunday waffles

Sunday waffles & turkey beacon

Sadly, I don’t think my little recipe for these is good enough to share just yet. I need to work on the texture still. They got the job done, though!

Shortly after breakfast we headed out for our hike!



Skippin' rocks

Skippin’ rocks (nice socks)

Giant tree

Giant tree


We covered close to 3 miles of trails. Good Earth is a smaller state park, so we actually got to see most of it in under 2 hours. It’s right along the Big Sioux River which was gorgeous! I really do love all the state parks that are within driving distance of Sioux Falls. I never would have expected it when I moved here, since most of the state is flat grassland. If you haven’t checked out state parks in your area, you might be surprised!

We spent the rest of the day walking around downtown, grocery shopping, and watching Orange Is The New Black before it was time for dinner. We both had our hearts set on burgers.

Sunday dinner

Sunday dinner

These burgers were even better than I was expecting. Mike seasoned the meat with worcestershire sauce and cayenne, and let it sit in the refrigerator for over an hour. We topped the burgers with colby-jack cheese, turkey bacon, and sauteed onions. These seriously tasted like restaurant burgers they were so good. I ate way too many vegetables in an attempt to keep myself from eating a second burger.


I’m off today and it’s gross out. Perfect weather for finishing Orange Is The New Black! We only have three episodes left!


I meant to post this last night, but honestly fell asleep in the process. Yikes! Pretend like it’s still Friday night I guess!

Mike is here this weekend! He got in earlier tonight and will be here until Monday. Woo! Unfortunately, the weather is supposed to be pretty crappy and cold the whole weekend. That means no laying by the pool, which is good for Mike since he burns in about 3 seconds.

Moving along to ‘Friday Favorites’:

1. Pizza

Zesty's PIzza

Zesty’s PIzza

This may the the dumbest and greatest item on the list. I’ve been wanting to try Zesty’s Pizza, a new spot that recently opened near my apartment for months. Tonight was the night! As soon as Mike got into town we drove over to Zesty’s and ordered the combination pizza which included sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and black olives.

Mike + ZA

Mike + ZA

Sometimes you just need to eat really cheesy, doughy pizza. That’s exactly what this was, and it hit the spot! I limited myself to two slices to avoid feeling like a blimp the rest of the night. This crust is super thick. I’m normally a thin, crispy crust kinda gal, but the softer crust worked with this cheesy goodness.

2. Orange Is the New Black Season 2


Awwww yeeeeuh. I’ve been awaiting the start of Orange Is the New Black Season 2 ever since I watched season one in about a day. Mike and I blew through the first two episodes while enjoying our pizza. This show is so addicting. It’s intense but humorous at the same time; perfect balance! I have a feeling we’ll get through the whole season by Monday.

3. Storm Season

It’s officially storm season in the Midwest. I experienced my first tornado/hail storm/thunder storm in Sioux Falls yesterday.



Ping-pong ball hail

Ping-pong ball hail

I love severe storms, especially in the summer. What I don’t love is the hail damage these storms leave on my car.

4. Cute Emergency 

Cutie patootie

Cutie patootie

Everyone go follow Cute Emergency on Twitter NOW! Look at this little guy! Cute Emergency posts the best adorable little animal photos all day long. Anytime I’m having a particularly draining day at work, I can look at one of these posts and immediately feel a little better. Seriously, even if you’re not a crazy animal person like me you’ll appreciate this page.

Mike is officially passed out on the floor. Too much pizza for him. I’m off to listen to the police scanner until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore!

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