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

Tag Archives: South Dakota

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.

Dinner

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

BOOM CHICKA POP!

BOOM CHICKA POP!

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 

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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!

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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.

 


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!

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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

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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!


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!

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Skippin' rocks

Skippin’ rocks (nice socks)

Giant tree

Giant tree

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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.

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

 


Happy Memorial Day!

Having Monday as my typical day off is always nice when if falls on a holiday. Some of my coworkers and I had plans to get together by the pool at my apartment building and maybe grill some hotdogs today, but rain is ruining those plans.

Despite the gloomy weather, I accomplished my final long run of my half marathon training this morning!

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AHHHH!! It was a rough one. But I did it.

I was just not feeling like a run this morning. I was doing alright for the first 5 miles or so, but cramped up really bad after eating a couple PowerBar Energy Blasts around mile 7 and the run just went downhill from there.

I had the energy blasts during my 11 mile run last week and felt like they really helped. Not sure what happened this time. It was also warmer than I like in the mid 70s, and I felt dehydrated towards the end. Ugh.

Even so, at this crappy pace I would still finish the half marathon in just under two hours, which is my goal.

I wanted to collapse on the floor when I got home, but decided to stretch and take and ice bath before diving into a yogurt bowl I prepared before the run.

yogurt bowl

yogurt bowl

Yes, I really needed that Oreo on top. I used plain nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, about 2 TBS oats, chopped strawberries, blackberries, and the Oreo. Solid post-run meal. Oh, and I chugged about 3 glasses of water.

Backing up.

I want to share a protein pancake recipe that I made for breakfast yesterday. I make protein pancakes so often I really don’t even pay attention to what I’m doing anymore and just kind of throw stuff together. However, this batch had a texture that was so close to real pancakes that I just have to share it.

Oatmeal & Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes

oatmeal protein pancakes

protein pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 1/2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • berries, PB, syrup for topping

Directions:

  • combine all ingredients (expect toppings) into blender
  • blend until well combined, should reach batter-like consistency
  • heat medium skillet to medium-high heat, spray with nonstick cooking spray
  • scoop about half of batter into skillet, cook 2 minutes each side.
  • repeat with other half of batter
  • top with anything you’d like!
close up cakes

close up cakes

Sometimes it’s just all about getting that perfect texture, and these cakes have it. I topped mine with strawberries, banana, and some PB2.

You can easily switch things up in this recipe. Regular milk in place of almond milk, or whole eggs instead of egg whites. Part of the fun I think is experimenting and making a recipe your own.

Anyway, I have some extreme meal prep on the agenda for today until the weather clears up! Okay, not really extreme meal prep. It’s probably pretty wimpy compared to a lot of people. But, fruit salad is on the menu for the week again which is very exciting.

 


So have I mentioned that South Dakota is windy?

wind

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.

 

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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.

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

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

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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 Sunday!

Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. Not only is it my Saturday, but it seems to be the laziest day of the week. Perfect for lounging and doing things slowly.

Last night some of my coworkers and I got together for a girls Christmas cookie night. Normally whenever I host a cookie party, I’m the one who ends up doing most of the work. That was not the case last night! Everyone came through and we ended up with several varieties of delicious Christmas cookies.

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The menu consisted of classic cutout sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, corn flake wreaths, and peppermint candy canes & wreaths! I must say the cornflake wreaths were probably my favorite of the night. I’ve never made them myself, but I just love the crunchiness of them. Apart from baking, the night consisted of pizza, wine, and good conversation while watching the snow fall outside. Perfect winter night!

I had planned to wake up early to go snow shoeing this morning, but the combination of too much wine and sugar last night resulted in a later rising time than anticipated.

I got my snow shoes for Christmas last year but never had the opportunity to use then in Chicago. Since we’ve had about 8-10 inches of snow in Sioux Falls over the past week, I decided to give them a whirl this morning.

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There’s a trail in Sioux Falls that goes around the whole city. I live very close to it, and decided to follow a little closer to the creek where the snow was deeper. It was such a nice escape. There was nobody out this morning, and the falling snow made it even more picturesque.

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There were so many tiny animal tracks along the creek that I wanted to follow. Although the temperature was in the single digits and well below zero with the wind chill, I didn’t mind. Opportunities like this make living in the freezing midwest worth it. I’m officially a fan of snow shoeing!



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