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

Chicago Trip Highlights & Food

Good evening!

I know it’s a little late, but I don’t want to wait much longer to share some highlights from my trip to Chicago this past weekend. So let’s dive right in!

Day 1:

Mike and I took off from Minneapolis early Friday morning. I was fired up!

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After we landed we spent a good amount of time just wandering around, taking in one of our favorite cities. The rest of the day was filled with delicious food, drinks, and quality time with very good friends!

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Ditka’s Pot Roast Nachos

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Former roommate Gabby

 

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Dance Team Pals

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It was a great first day in the city and probably the most fun day of the entire trip. We got to see so many people and visited several of our favorite restaurants, including a hot dog stand near the DePaul campus at 3:00 in the morning. Yikes!

Day 2

Our second day was a little more low key. Mike went off and did his thing with some friends while my former roommate, Gabby and I hung out.

We started our day off with some good brunch at Yolk, and finished it out with a sushi dinner at Seadog Sushi Bar. Oh yeah, and another late night hot dog.

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Day 3

By our final day in Chicago, Mike and I were pooped. The weather was pretty gloomy which was perfect for a lazy day. I’d say the highlight of the day was our dinner at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Athenian Room. Mike and I have been going to Athenian Room for a few years and always order the same things; kalamata chicken for Mike and a gyro salad for me!

 

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It was the best and only vacation I’ve had in quite some time. I’m so happy I got to see some of my favorite people in the world, and I can’t wait to go back again. Now it’s time to attempt to eat as healthy as possible after a long weekend of greasy food. Totally worth it!

A Sticky Run

Hello!

Even though I work weekends, I love having the mornings free! I’m naturally a morning person and feel much more productive during the first half of the day than I do at night. That means I’m way more motivated to get up and workout before work as opposed to after. This is especially important when you’re training for a race, and have some long, time consuming and exhausting runs scheduled on weekends.

This morning’s run wasn’t too long, but it was definitely exhausting.

My eight mile run was fueled by my typical pre-run snack: PB & banana toast plus a hot mug of coffee.

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I waited just over an hour for everything to digest before setting out on my run.

The temperature in Sioux Falls is great for running right now; upper 60s with a light breeze. However, the humidity is unbearable. It was about 95% humidity this morning and it didn’t taper at all throughout my run. I was sweating buckets by about mile three. I have an extremely low tolerance for any type of heat or humidity, so this did not go over well at all.

I felt drained by mile five and really had to work to keep myself motived and focused on finishing strong. All I could think about was the sweat dripping from my face, and how great it would feel to jump into a freezing cold lake.

Despite the unfortunate conditions, I finished. I wasn’t a great run, but at least I did it.

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As soon as I was done, I walked straight over to the outdoor pool at my apartment complex to wade in the water and cool off. I was greeted by a very sad sight.

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Noooooo!!! Life goes on.

Since I couldn’t immerse myself in cold water, I decided to fix myself a cold post-race snack.

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Smoothie with frozen strawberries, blueberries, banana, spinach, chocolate protein powder and almond milk. It cooled me down almost instantly.

Am I the only one who can’t stand any type of humidity during a run? Or an outdoor workout for that matter? I don’t know how Floridians do it. I can’t imagine running in the extreme humidity and extreme heat. Yuck. I can’t wait for the fall weather that’s just around the corner!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Good morning!

It’s Friday! Which means it’s really my Monday. I’ve had the past two days off and can’t say I’m looking forward to getting back to work today, but hopefully this next week will fly by!

I’m a little bummed right now. I had an 8 mile run planned for this morning but woke up to pouring rain outside. It’s been so gross in Sioux Falls the past couple of days. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise because my legs are still dead tired from a lower body workout the other day, and 8 miles doesn’t sound like too much fun right now. Hopefully I can squeeze it in tomorrow morning instead.

Let’s move along to some Friday Favorites:

1. ‘Share a  Diet Coke with Rachel’ 

Image 3Hey that’s me! I’ve been hoping to find a ‘Rachel’ coke or diet coke since the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign started. My co-worker brought this back to the station the other day to show me and I had to snap a pic! It’s the little things in life, right? I’ve seen some pretty obscure names on coke bottles and cans, but I knew a few ‘Rachels’ had to be out there somewhere! I try to keep my soda intake relatively low, but I do like to enjoy a Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper every now and then.

2. Cereal at night

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I’ve been really into having a small bowl of cereal as a late night snack lately. I’m normally not a huge cereal person, which I’m sure will shock everyone, but lately I just can’t stop craving it. My go-to cereal lately has been HyVee brand Oats & More with honey.

IMG_2362I always have cereal on hand to throw in my yogurt or mix into a smoothie for a bit of crunch, but rarely just eat it the old fashioned way with a spoon and some milk! Some of my other favorite cereals lately have been Kashi Golean Crunch and Fiberone 80 Chocolate.

3. Fall Ideas

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Fall is creepin’ up! Halloween decorations are starting to make their way into stores, and I’ve seen a lot of fall-pinteresting going on lately. The above photo caught my eye while I was browsing Pinterest this week. It’s originally from Fox Hollow Cottage. Fall is my favorite time of year without question. I can’t wait for cooler weather, changing leaves, and of course, everything pumpkin spice flavored!

4. ‘Chicago Food Authority’ Instagram

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When I lived in Chicago, I knew the food was good. Now that I can’t have it, I find myself constantly dreaming of it. the Chicago Food Authority Instragram page is a compilation of various food photos taken around the city. Anyone can submit their photos which is great. I just discovered the instagram account this week and have been drooling over it ever since. Oh what I would give to have any type of cuisine just steps out my front door. Not knocking Sioux Falls, but after living in Chicago for four years I am definitely spoiled when it comes to food options.

5. Chicago Countdown!

I won’t have to wait much longer to get my hands on some of that delicious Chicago food!

In exactly one week, Mike and I will be taking off for Chicago for a long weekend! I am beyond excited. I haven’t seen my Chicago friends since December and can’t wait to be reunited!

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wild college life

wild college life

We already have quite the to-do list, or should I say ‘to-eat’ list while we’re in Chicago. Mike and I are going to stop by some of our favorite places like Ditka’s, Athenian Room, and Homeslice. My former roommate Gabby and I are also planning on going out for sushi, and I’m sure I’ll fit a Chicago hot dog in there somewhere! Most of all, I’m just looking forward to seeing some of my best friends.

I’m heading out of Sioux Falls a day before we leave for Chicago so I’ll have some time to spend with family and friends in Minneapolis. Seriously, this next week can’t go by quick enough. I haven’t been this excited since like…Christmas. That’s saying a lot.

Have a great Friday!

 

 

Peachy Dessert

Good morning! It’s been pretty gloomy in Sioux Falls these past few days which has got me feeling reeeally lazy. My top accomplishments yesterday were making it to the gym and renewing my apartment lease.

Over a week ago I checked out the Sioux Falls Peach Fest and picked up a couple pounds of fresh Georgia peaches that were brought in on trucks. I was set on using the peaches to experiment with different recipes, but I must admit most of them were consumed just by themselves.

I did make a peach & blueberry protein oatmeal, and am now here to share a delicious peach dessert I whipped up!

Simple Peach Crisp:

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

I had never made peach crisp before a week ago. I’ve made apple crisp and similar blueberry crisp bars, so I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. After browsing through various recipes on Pinterest and a couple cookbooks, I finally found one that looked perfect from gonnawantseconds.com.

The original recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and calls for raspberries as well.

Here’s the recipe I followed:

Peach Mixture Ingredients:

  • 8 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • zest from a large orange
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 TBS all purpose flour

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 sticks unsalted cold butter, cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, combine peach mixture ingredients. Gently fold mixture until well combined, spread into baking dish evenly.
  3. Add all topping ingredients into the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until butter is the size of peas. The mixture should be crumbly.
  4. Spread crumble topping over peach mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until top is crispy and the juices are bubbling. I needed to add about 7 extra minutes to my baking time.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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I tried a small portion of my peach crisp before dividing the rest into multiple containers for sharing and refrigerating it. Vanilla ice cream would be great with the peach crisp, but sadly I didn’t have any. Here’s a little tip: frozen light whipped topping works as an alternative to vanilla ice cream.

And with that, all my peaches are gone! This recipe was great, but a little sweet for me. I think next time I’ll reduce the amount of sugar used in the peach mixture and maybe add some raspberries to cut the sweetness of the peaches. The topping was by far my favorite part of the dish. I would not make a single change there!

 

 

 

Minnesota Weekend Highlights

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!

Peach & Blueberry Protein Oats

I have a peachy recipe to share this morning! Literally.

peach and blueberry

Mike and I visited the first South Dakota Peach Festival this weekend. Apparently these festivals are pretty popular everywhere outside the midwest, but this was our first experience at the event. They featured the world’s largest peach cobbler, and of course lots of peaches! All the peaches are brought in on trucks from Georgia, and are supposed to be some of the best around.

Georgia peaches

Georgia peaches

I ended up buying a bag for $8 that gives you the option of fitting as many peaches in it as possible. Now I have about 20 peaches that need to be eaten one way or another. Mike had a great idea last night – he told me to create different healthy recipes that feature these sweet fruits and share them! So I bring you the first installment of this peach saga, however long it may last.

I have been craving Quaker Peaches & Cream instant oatmeal for weeks. I loved the instant oatmeal packets growing up, and this was always my favorite flavor.

Peaches & Cream

Peaches & Cream

Since I’ve matured slightly since the age of ten, I decided to make a ‘grown-up’ version of my favorite oat flavor.

Peach & Blueberry Protein Oats:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry oats
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 ripe peach, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbs chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Cook the oats according to directions. I typically just eye-ball how much water I’m adding to them.
  • Once they’re cooked, stir in egg white, protein powder and cinnamon. Heat for 30 more seconds.
  • Add peaches, blueberries and almond milk. Stir until nice and creamy.
  • Top with chopped pecans or any other nuts!

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This breakfast hit the spot. I’d like to try an overnight oats version as well. I feel like some greek yogurt would really add some good creaminess.

 

 

 

 

Late Weekend Eats

We may be entering the middle of the week, but I’m still dwelling on last weekend! Particularly the food.

Mike was visiting this past weekend. That always means we pack in lots of delicious food, especially treats! Before Mike even arrived in Sioux Falls Friday night we already had our dinner planned.

Friday dinner:

PIZZA!

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Not just any pizza; Jack’s frozen pizza. We’re big fans of Jack’s supreme. It’s one of the cheapest frozen pizzas, but one of the best tasting in my opinion. I’m a big fan of super thin crispy crust, and Jack’s has got it!

Saturday lunch:

We enjoyed some yummy turkey wraps with a side of baked ruffles for lunch.

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Flatout wraps rule.

Saturday snack:

Oh yeah, and we got these Oreos later.

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I’ve been eyeing the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Oreos since they first started popping up in grocery stores. I asked Mike to go get a treat at Target while I was at work, and this is what he came back with. Good call. Here’s the verdict: I thought they were great but Mike seemed underwhelmed. I promise if you like peanut butter and chocolate, you’ll like these Oreos.

Even though Mike said he wasn’t into the Reese’s Oreos, he did take them home with him on Sunday. I have a feeling they were polished off pretty quick.

Sunday brunch:

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On Sunday we went out to brunch. Mike is not as big of a fan of brunch as I am, but I managed to talk him into it this weekend. I’ve been to the Granite City brunch buffet once before and remembered it being fairly inexpensive. Well, I was bummed when we got our check and realized the the price was $3.00 more per person than I was expecting! Not sure if they bumped it up, or if my memory is fading.

The funniest part of brunch was the fact that we were the only people sitting out on the patio. It was in the upper 60s, which I guess is chilly for a July morning, but this is South Dakota. Come on people.

I did my best to stick with fruit, eggs, meat and veggies. As you can see a waffle somehow made it onto my plate as well.

It was a wonderful weekend full of great food. But, now it’s time to crack down. Mike and I are heading to Chicago in three weeks and I know we’ll be eating all kinds of unhealthy things once we get in vacation mode. From now until we touch down in Chicago we are being ‘good’. For me, that means no cookies, cakes, candy, pastries etc. So far, so good! Even though it’s been a total of two days.


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