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

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Good morning!

I hope wherever you’re starting your day is a bit warmer than South Dakota right now. We’re barely going to make it into the 50s today. Yikes! One good thing about the cool weather? It’s put me in ultra Fall-mode.

Last night I decided to bring out some of the Fall decor. I feel a little silly going all out right now, so I’ll probably wait until the beginning of October or so to bring out the pumpkins and Halloween candy dishes. Baby steps.

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And of course, the arrival of Fall means the arrival of everything pumpkin spice flavored!


I do like pumpkin spice, but I feel like it has gotten a little overboard in the past few years. I stick to coffee creamer, tea, and canned pumpkin to get my pumpkin fix. I must admit I have been intrigued by the pumpkin spice pudding I’ve seen in the grocery store. Thoughts?

Speaking of the grocery store, I’m having some grocery dilemmas in my life right now.

I’ve really been trying to stick to spending no more than $50 on food and groceries each week. Judging by the way my refrigerator looks, things aren’t going well.


It looks pretty bare, but my goal is to make it through the next few days with the food I have on hand. I’ve surpassed my $50 limit for the week thanks to eating out a few times last weekend. I just have to make it through to Monday! Here’s what I’m working with:


  • Egg whites
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Banana


  • Sliced turkey
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Spinach
  • Tuna
  • Grapes


  • Ground turkey
  • Chicken breast (less than 1/2 pound)
  • Peppers
  • Frozen veggies (very few)
  • Beans
  • Quinoa


  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Grapes

I know the food I have will last through Monday without a problem, but I don’t just want to eat; I want to eat healthy. And that’s where the problem lies when you’re living on a pretty tight budget.

When I throw cost out the window, here’s what my typical grocery hauls look like:


If only I could afford that all the time. But, this will be good for me. And hopefully I’ll learn how to save a little better and buy only what I really need.

Also, I cut all my hair off yesterday!


Crazy, right?



I make protein pancakes a lot. Sometimes they’re delicious, and sometimes they’re kind of a fail. It can be tough to get the perfect texture, especially when you’re using protein powder. They can dry out easily and even get a little crispy. Not good.

This morning’s blueberry protein pancakes were a success! And like all my protein pancakes, they’re super easy to make.

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Blueberry Protein Pancakes


  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbs ground flax
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or any other kind of milk)


  • Combine all ingredients in a blender until batter is smooth.
  • Cook half the batter in a heated skillet, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, repeat with other half of batter.
  • Top with more fresh berries, nuts, but butter or syrup.


I almost always top my pancakes with PB2 when I have it on hand. I like to add a little extra water to give it more of a peanut butter sauce consistency. I also added fresh blueberries that I heated in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

The texture of these pancakes was about an 8 on a scale of 1-10. To me, that’s a success. They would be perfect with maybe a little cottage cheese added to the batter to moisten them a bit. Next time!

The rest of my day has included catching up on some news events, hitting the gym, and grocery shopping for the week. Mangoes were on sale today and I felt compelled to buy a couple. I don’t remember the last time I bought a mango.

Mango lunch

Mango lunch

I’d almost forgotten how amazing mangoes are. For lunch, I cut one up and added it to some plain greek yogurt with chopped pecans, protein powder and lots of cinnamon. So good! I’m feeling tropical now. Which is perfect, since I’m about to go lay out in the sun for the rest of the day!

This week has been so cool.

I’ve covered some seriously awesome stories, and today the fun continues. I will be interviewing legendary journalist Tom Brokaw!


Tom Brokaw is actually from South Dakota, and is speaking at an event in a tiny little town this afternoon. It’s going to be about a 2 hour drive but totally worth it!

Let’s move on to some Friday Favorites. Like I said, this week has been a great one at work. That brings me to my first ‘favorite’ of the day:

1. Buffalo 

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Bison or buffalo? Whatever you want to call them, these animals are amazing. I got to spend some quality time with these guys for a story this week on a buffalo ranch. Did you know the males can weigh around 2,600 pounds? That’s insane! I know this has nothing to do with food or fitness, but I was seriously wowed by my buffalo encounter.

2. Buffalo Jerky Sticks

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So did I mention buffalo meat is also amazing? Bison burgers have become increasingly popular in restaurants, and even in grocery stores. The meat is actually leaner than lean ground beef! It’s a little pricy, but worth spending the money every once in a while I’d say. After my day on the buffalo ranch, the owner was kind enough to let me sample some buffalo jerky sticks. These things rule. I’m a huge jerky fan, and buffalo jerky did not let me down.

3. Empty Gym

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I love having the gym to myself. One of the perks of early morning workouts at my gym is there is rarely anyone there. Occasionally there will be maybe one or two people, but most mornings it’s just me! Yesterday was one of those mornings and it was great. Sometimes I like being in a packed gym atmosphere because it helps me get pumped up, but typically I like having the place to myself. No feeling self-conscious or worrying about waiting in line for a machine. I wish this happened more often.

4. Long Weekends With Mike


The past two weekends have been particularly enjoyable. Two weeks ago I had a nice 3-day weekend in Minneapolis, and this past weekend Mike had an extra day to spend in Sioux Falls. When you’re in a long distance relationship, an extra day really does make a difference. I rarely have the opportunity to take a day off of work, so I really hold onto the time that I do get.

Hope everyone is ready for the weekend!


I’m just getting in from a nice and easy 3 mile morning run that was supposed to be at half marathon pace.



Got a little ahead of myself on the whole half marathon pace, but oh well.


I’m hopping on the Friday blogging bandwagon and would like to share some of my recent ‘favorites’ and things that I’ve been diggin’ lately. Let’s see where this goes.

Fruit Salad

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I have been eating a sickening amount of fruit salad this week. I made this huge bowl on Monday and have been adding it to greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and of course enjoying it by itself. Summer fruits are so delicious I just can’t get enough of them. I think I’ll add some blueberries to my next batch!

Simple Charm Necklaces


Not sure why it looks like my chest is having an allergic reaction in that photo. Whoops! It seems like on TV, you either need to wear a big staple piece necklace or something very subtle. I’ve found myself really gravitating towards simple charm necklaces like these lately. I love the one pictured above that I got from a cute store called ‘Zing’ in Sioux Falls last weekend. My mom also got me a similar one with a circle charm as an Easter gift.

Cerise Limon La Croix Sparkling Water


I’m a big fan of sparkling water. I spotted this new flashy La Croix flavor in Target the other day, and when I saw a case was on sale for $2.99 I had to go for it. Plus, I love all things cherry lime (especially Sonic’s cherry limeade). If you’re a sparkling water drinker, I recommend giving this new La Croix a try.

Spring Weather

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I never want Summer. I’m sure that sounds nuts, but I’ve never been a fan of hot weather. On the other hand, I’m loving Spring. It’s been absolutely perfect in Sioux Falls this past week; highs in the mid 70s and very little wind. I’m dreading the 90 degree weather and humidity that’s just around the corner. I’m going to enjoy this ideal weather while it lasts!

Hope everyone is looking forward to their Memorial Day weekend! I’ll be working through Saturday but am hoping to get outside to enjoy the holiday weekend Sunday and Monday. Plus, the outdoor pool at my apartment complex is opening this weekend. Woo!

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?

Happy Friday!

Did you guys know today is National Cereal Day? I was debating whether to have cereal or toast for breakfast this morning, but when I heard about the special day, the decision was clear.


Multigrain Cheerios and strawberries with a side of egg whites smothered in Sriracha.


The weekend is officially here (unless you have my work schedule) which means time for a break from the gym. This was my last week working out before I start my half marathon training on Monday, and I really wanted to finish it on a high note.

Here’s what the week looked like:

Sunday: Back, Abs, 2 miles HIIT on treadmill

Monday: Legs, 20 minutes elliptical

Tuesday: Shoulders, Abs, 15 minutes HIIT treadmill

Wednesday: Combination of cardio and lots of foam rolling

Here’s what my cardio looked like:


Plus a warm up of 10 minutes of the elliptical. I followed up the workout with some serious muscle massaging.


After Monday’s leg workout, my hamstrings were a mess. Even Icy hot just wasn’t doing the trick. I decided to take things easy with my cardio on Wednesday, and spent about 20 minutes with my Tiger Tail trying to work out the kinks in my hamstrings.


That little guy helped me out big time. Unfortunately, the small gym at my apartment complex doesn’t have a real foam roller, but the Tiger Tail works well enough for me!

Back to the workouts:

Thursday: Biceps, Triceps, Chest, 20 minutes elliptical

Friday: Legs, 20 minutes elliptical

Even though the tight hamstring situation threw me for a loop midweek, I feel really good looking back on my workouts from this week. Definitely put me in the right mindset for jumping into half marathon training. I’m actually excited for my first run on Monday. Here we go!

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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