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

Category Archives: Life

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!


Guess what! I had a normal person weekend this week! Yup, just plain old saturday and sunday.

I asked for this weekend off months ago so I could visit one of my favorite places in the world: Lake Vermilion!

Lake Vermilion

Lake Vermilion

On Friday night I headed to Minneapolis before Mike and I took off up north Saturday morning. We were only up there for about 36 hours, so it was a pretty jam-packed trip. Here are a just a few highlights in chronological order:

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New favorite road trip snack.

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Boat rides!

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Man is water skiing a good workout. My back and forearms are so sore today in a good way. I wish I could do that more often!

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And Mike tried water skiing for the first time! Woohoo!

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Visiting Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet on our way back. Just good old fashioned food.

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Gordy’s has been a northern Minnesota staple since the 1960s. I think one of the most interesting things about the restaurant is it’s only open during the summer months. That probably explains why it’s always so packed in there!

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As a kid I always ordered a cheeseburger and fries at Gordy’s. I decided it’s time to branch out so I went with a spicy chicken burger instead. Not bad! You can tell it’s not just a typical frozen chicken patty. Mike went with the roast beef sandwich and a vanilla shake. We decided to split the ‘small’ fry that wasn’t so small after all.

What a weekend! I woke up at 4:00 this morning to drive back to Sioux Falls and make it to work on time. As you can imagine I’m exhausted, but the trip was definitely worth it.

Oh, and remember how Mike and I were supposed to be ‘good’ for the next three weeks before Chicago? Well, that got thrown out the window at Gordy’s. We’re bad influences on each other!


Greetings!

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.

Friday:

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.

Walleye

Walleye

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.

Sunday:

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!

 


Yo!

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.

Marshy

Marshy

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.

 


Good Evening!

Big news: Mike and I finished Orange Is The New Black yesterday.

I loved the finale, but I don’t think Mike was quite as impressed. Overall, awesome season.

Moving right along. Does anyone else have serious problems not falling victim to workplace treats and eats? I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this earlier. I really struggle when it comes to saying “no” to sweets and pretty much any kind of food at work. Honestly, I’d say about 50 percent of the time I actually feel pressured to partake in the eating by my co-workers. They mean well.

I typically pack all my meals for work. That normally includes two snacks and lunch. Sometimes I’ll pack dinner if I know it’s going to be a long day.

Lunch, Dinner & Snack

Lunch, Dinner & Snack

I work in news and am constantly running around half the state for stories. Most of the time I pack things that I can eat on the go without too much hassle. That said, when I am in the office it’s really difficult to avoid all the cookies, donuts and candy that seem to constantly be floating around.

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Also working in news, I usually have a photographer on the road with me. I am one of probably two people at my work who packs food ahead of time. Any time I’m out on a story, whoever I’m with will want to stop and eat lunch, and normally offer to pay when I try to decline by telling them I have my lunch. About half the time I succumb to the pressure. Today was one of those days. 

What really bothers me is that a lot of times my lunch will go bad before I can get home for dinner. Anytime I pack a sandwich, like today, it will get soggy and disgusting in no time. It doesn’t make it any easier that I have such a problem wasting food.

However, the more serious problem is picking on sweets when I’m actually in the office. I must admit, I contribute to the constant flow of cookies, but I seem to be able to control myself around my own baking. Is there really a way to avoid picking up one too many sugar cookies?

Today, I picked up one of the huge nut bars my co-worker brought in. I ate half of it and it was delicious. But about half way through, I really stopped to think ‘do I really need this whole thing?’. I didn’t. So, I threw the rest away. As much as I hate wasting food, I was proud of myself for just stopping and thinking for a second. Maybe that’s all it takes to control your cravings in the office. Just stop and think before mindlessly grabbing the glazed cake donut or chocolate chip cookie. You might be the odd one out at the office, but at least you’ll feel great about yourself.


I am beyond exhausted.

The past four days have been absolutely draining. Partly for good reasons, and partly for not so good reasons. Let’s start with the good, shall we?

I went home to Minneapolis late Saturday night after work. I ended up staying up very late with friends due to the time change. Like 3:00 a.m. late. The next day was jam-packed with seeing family and spending time with Mike. Our night concluded with a nice dinner of steak fajita bowls that hit the spot.

Cookin'

Cookin’

Sizzlin'

Sizzlin’

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ready for eatin’

We didn’t follow much of a recipe for these. Just followed our cooking instincts. They were delish! Perfect fuel for my first half marathon training run the following morning!

Running in Minneapolis is usually such a treat, but the heatwave (40 degree warm up) that hit this past weekend caused puddles galore along all the trails, sidewalks, and even streets.

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I spent the entire run dodging puddles, but by the end my socks and shoes were drenched.

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I managed to finish my 3 mile run in about 27 minutes. Pretty decent time for dealing with the surprise obstacle course.

Now for the not so good. I am exhausted because I returned to Sioux Falls around 9:00 last night, and learned I had to be up to drive to Pierre, SD by 5:15 in the morning for work. I showered quick, ate a crappy dinner and hit the hay around 11:00. I haven’t felt fully awake all day. I had plans to squeeze a workout in once I got home from work, but my body is telling me to just be a bump on a log tonight, and I’m listening to it!

 

 


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.

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I graduated from college.

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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!
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Sweet home Minneapolis.

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

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New stomping grounds.

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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!

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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!



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