SYTYCD Monday Marathon (and Other Stuff)

I finally had a few hours of down time today, so I spent them cuddled with Cooper catching up on this season of So You Think You Can Dance auditions.  Nothing says summer like my favorite reality show : )  And just in case you wanted to ask…yes, I do think I can dance!  And that Dad Dance Off had me laughing out loud.


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I think Cooper may have missed that one.  He curled right up on my lap and then when I got up to move around the laundry, he stole my spot, where he slept with little kitty dreams and twitchy ears through most of the show.




Meanwhile, tomorrow’s dinner cooked in the crockpot as I delayed getting off the couch to make tonight’s dinner.




Eventually, I hit pause and dragged myself into the kitchen.  Thankfully, I had picked an easy recipe for tonight’s dinner, Greek Flavored Turkey Burgers.




Which were inspired by the pita and roasted red peppers hanging out in my pantry and expanded with some Costco favorites.




The BOY arrived home and packed up his pita quickly running off to eat it, so I didn’t get a good sandwich shot.




I did make it through most of the episodes on my DVR though, so that’s a win! 

So much got packed into June that I almost couldn’t find the post with my 4 small goals written on the bottom of it. 

June Goals

1. Stay healthy and active on vacation

2. Cook with farmer’s market produce

3. Do some ab exercise daily (I’m working on the LC challenge)

4. Keep strength training


But I did.  And I am thrilled to say that I rocked 3 out of 4 of them!  I had active and healthy vacations and came home and dove right back into my daily ab work (which was a little lax on vacation) and strength training.  Missing this month was trips to the farmer’s market, but that’s what July is for right?!  On a totally different note, I finally reached my goal of doing a pull up!!!  And…I’m heading into the second half of this year feeling centered and grounded after a month full of yoga!


July Goals

1. Get stronger & continue with daily ab work

2. Start half marathon training (I’m running a race in September)

3.  Cook farmer’s market meals

4. Do Yoga



Meal Planning 6/30/14

Monday: Greek Flavored Turkey Burgers


Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches


Wednesday: Pork Chops with Veggies


Thursday: Baked Potato Bar with Chicken



Greek Flavored Turkey Burgers

From Cooking Light JANUARY 2005



1 cup chopped red onion

3/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried dill (I ran out so I subbed in mystery Israeli spice)

1 pound ground turkey

Cooking spray

4  hamburger buns or pita

1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and cut into 1-inch strips



Place egg white in a large bowl; lightly beat with a whisk. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (through turkey); stir well to combine. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. *I made smaller patties to fit into our pita pockets.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 6-8 minutes on each side or until done.

Place patties on bottom halves of hamburger buns or into pitas. Divide peppers evenly among burgers; cover with top halves of buns.



Are you setting summer goals?

What are they?

Do you watch SYTYCD?

You HAVE to Make a Decision

After weeks of thinking, pinning, and planning, I seriously waited until the very last minute to decide what cookies I wanted to bake.  I’m not typically an indecisive person, but I think after my second week back at full time work, my brain was a bit fried.  When I finally made a list, it was way too long to be accomplished in one day, but it’s good to dream big…right?  The good news is that I kept it simple.




Saturday morning was a white out!  The perfect kind of day to not change out of your pajamas and begin baking cookies immediately.  However, I didn’t have all of my ingredients.   At first, I considered ditching the cookie baking entirely and squeezing some fresh oranges for mimosas!  Followed by a movie marathon (I’m thinking Love Actually).




But I knew I had a long list of cookies to attack.  A quick peak out the front door revealed that the roads were not yet plowed.  I decided it wasn’t worth it to slip and slide along the roads, so I checked my cookie list to see if there was anything I could make this morning.  Luckily, I keep the basics stocked.  I pulled out butter for later and found a recipe that used melted butter to begin.




I found an easy and healthy one.  This cookie recipe was in my binder and I think it came from a magazine (a google search revealed that it is indeed from Cooking Light).  It’s super simple and includes mostly ingredients from your pantry.  I will share it with you this morning in case you are snowed in and looking to warm up your home with some baking.




Baking was slightly challenging with this adorable face popping up near my bowl, in the sink, and next to the butter.




But these cookies came out perfectly!  And I love that they are shaped differently than your typical round cookies.




Since these cookies were super quick and since I still didn’t have soft butter, I decided I would turn my bananas into banana bread.




By the time my bread was ready, the BOY was awake and the streets better plowed.  I convinced him to help me brush off his car, so that I could venture out into the world.  I needed to go to the grocery store and figured since I was heading out, I might as well throw in a yoga class.




The BOY was nice enough to pull my bread out of the oven for me and when I returned home after yoga and the store, I sliced it right up.




This peanut butter bread is one of the best I’ve EVER had!  The flavor is incredible with crunchy ends, and the inside moist and delicious!

Even though I’m not officially snowed it, I’m planning on pretending like it and baking up a storm today!

And in case you’re planning on doing the same, here are two awesome recipes to start with.  Decisions…Decisions…



How do you like to spend a Snowy Saturday?



Granola Cookie Wedges

From Cooking Light April 2013



1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 large egg white

2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray



Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until well combined. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour, oats, nuts, and chocolate chips to sugar mixture; stir until just combined.

Scrape the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate coated with cooking spray, and spread to edges using a spatula. Bake at 350° for 13 minutes or until set. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into 8 wedges.



Peanut Butter and Banana

Whole Wheat Quick Bread

From Cookin’ Canuck



4 medium ripe bananas, well mashed

1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter

3 tbsp canola oil

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (packed) brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 tbsp ground flax seed (flax meal)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, with a hand mixer), combine the mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, peanut butter and canola oil. Mix on medium speed until combined.

Add the granulated and brown sugars, and mix again until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Beat until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 1 hour. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve.


Note: I was going through the motions adding in my ingredients and was about to stir in my flour mixture when I realized I used the white flour that was out and not whole wheat flour.  Oops!

Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf with a Side of Running

After a week of talking about it, it was finally time to make Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf for dinner tonight.  It’s a good thing that the turkey was still fresh and ready to go!  Coming back from Wisconsin Sunday night and leaving again Friday, the BOY and I made a quick and easy meal plan this week. 


Monday: Out for Dinner

Tuesday: Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf (recipe below)

Wednesday: Pork Chops on the Grill

Thursday: Leftovers or Carry In


Also planned for this week, a lot of running!  I started Monday with an easy 4 miler.  One of tips that I picked up from Hal’s book is that not every run needs to be at race pace and that many elite and professional marathoners will do training runs much slower (like 12 minute miles) than they are capable.  This information has allowed me to relax a bit about my pace on early week day runs and focus on achieving 9 minute miles on the runs labeled ‘race pace’.  The book also talks about early training weeks stating that even if you can run these short distances fast, that is not the purpose of the runs in your training plan.  Slower runs are necessary to prevent injury.  In all of my years as a runner, I have never read a running book (other than Eat and Run by Scott Jurek earlier in the year), so I am finding it extremely interesting.




This morning I hit the 1 mile mark right at 9 minutes and consciously decided to slow myself down a bit.  Shortly after, I got lost in my thought and let my body pick the pace.  I didn’t run with a fuel belt today so no food or water.  I stated to feel a little sluggish and when I looked at my watch, I saw it was 43 minutes, my usual refuel time.  I rediscovered my stride and finished my 7 mile run at 65:09.  A great morning run!  I  know that these 50 degree temps are helping make these morning runs much more fun.  It reminds me of my favorite season fall and of course junior high and high school cross country season.


When I got home, I had an almond butter and banana as my post race snack and then got to work on making dinner.  My plan was to pull everything together so that the BOY could just pop the meatloaf into the oven.


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We still don’t have onion so I made a few adjustments to the original recipe from Cooking Light, including adding some of my mystery red spice from Israel.




When I walked in the door after work, dinner had just 4 minutes before it was ready to be pulled out of the oven.  The BOY and I are getting the hang of this tag team dinner thing!  And Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf was worth the week wait!




Confession: I had just enough time to make the meatloaf, shower, and eat some eggs before it was time to leave for work, I didn’t stretch this morning.  Man, my legs are feeling it!  I have another 7 miler on Thursday and a long run Friday morning.



Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted Slightly From Cooking Light December 2005



Meat loaf:

1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onion (I still don’t have onion in the house so I left this out)

1/4 cup regular oats

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon unnamed red seasoning from Israel

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg whites

1.25 pounds ground turkey

Cooking spray



1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1/2 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce



    Preheat oven to 350°.

    To prepare meat loaf, remove 1 chipotle chile and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Chop chile. Combine chile, adobo sauce, onion, and next ingredients (through ground turkey breast) in a large bowl, stirring to combine. Place turkey mixture in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes.

    To prepare topping, combine 1/4 cup tomato sauce, ketchup, and hot sauce in a small bowl; brush mixture evenly over meat loaf. Cover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 160°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

    Dinner Tonight-Chicken Marsala

    Meal Planning, Schmeal Planning!


    So things didn’t go exactly according to plan this week.  I ended up sleeping at my P’s on Wednesday night, so Chicken Marsala got moved to Tuesday.  What’s crazy about this is that I work late on Tuesdays, so I needed a meal that could come together quickly.  Luckily, this recipe fit the bill!




    I had a little help from the BOY prepping the chicken.




    Then threw everything together, while I changed into my PJ’s and unpacked my stuff from work.  Yes, I come home from work and immediately put on my PJ’s.  Is this normal?  Don’t answer that!




    A weeknight recipe doesn’t get any simpler than this!




    Funny story…the first time, I made this recipe, I didn’t know what marsala wine was.  Well, I guess I still don’t know!  But last time, I used a white wine (and the recipe was still great), but this time at least I figured out that meant a red.  Ha ha!




    Good news!  The leftovers were perfect for lunch this week too!


    It was a beautiful morning this morning.  Much more suited for running than working.  So sad! I have taken the week off from exercise to unwind, de-stress and not mess up all the good work done to my ITband during my massage.  But I am hoping to wake up tomorrow morning and get in an easy run before heading off to class.  Which means that I am going to keep this post as quick as this recipe.  Hooray Weekend!  Oh wait, I’m spending Saturday and Sunday in class. 



    Chicken Marsala

    From Cooking Light



    4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 cup pre-sliced mushrooms

    1/2 cup Marsala wine (I just used a red)

    1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley



    Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour.

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms, wine, broth, and juice to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat well. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with parsley.



    What is your go-to weeknight dinner?

    11 Hours

    I am sick!




    Not the ‘I’m so sick that I can’t get out of bed’ sick, but the, ‘I have the worst sore throat, raspy voice, and more mucus than can be humanly possible’ type of sick.  Yuck!  Go figure…I spend 2 weeks on the go working like a crazy person and this is my first quiet day off and I wake up and I am sick.  The worst part…I am supposed to run 11 miles today in prep for my Thanksgiving half marathon.  Instead, I slept for a full 11 hours!  As I’ve mentioned before, this is the consequence of working with kids.  After 6 years in pediatrics, I have built up an immune system, but after an exhausting few weeks, fatigue and stress usually take its toll.


    When I woke up this morning, I was in pretty bad shape (even after 11 hours of sleep).  Not totally surprising as I started getting a sore throat and cough on Thursday night.  I knew a run was not in the cards, which makes me sooo sad since it is a sunny 50 degree day.  Perfect for a long run!  The BOY suggested breakfast, and I was in for pumpkin pancakes.  I started with some tea and the BOY ordered pumpkin hot chocolate.




    I know that yesterday was National Pumpkin Day, but we are a bit late in our celebrations.  I brought along October’s Cooking Light where I found this good looking chili recipe.  My thought was to pick up the ingredients on our way home.




    For breakfast, I ordered an omelet with figs, apples,and turkey sausage.  It also came with goat cheese, but I got that on the side, and a side of pancakes (not surprisingly, the BOY and I both chose pumpkin).




    The pumpkin pancakes, topped with bananas and pecans were incredible!  It was hard not to inhale them in a minute. 




    But, I am working on slowing down while eating, so I took my time to enjoy every bite!  And then had leftovers to take home with me.




    After lunch, we made a quick stop at the farmer’s market.  This is the last weekend that it is open until spring, which is a bummer!  Does your farmer’s market stay open year round?  If so, I am jealous!





    Then it was on to Mariano’s for a few more chili ingredients.




    When we got home, it was partner chili cooking in the kitchen.  The BOY got to work on some chopping and I browned the meat.


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    Instead of following the preparation described in the recipe, we decided use our trusty crockpot, which always produces amazing chili!


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    For now, I have settled with getting some fresh air by opening the back door.  Perhaps, I will be able to get out for a walk later if my head stops spinning (not sure if this is the cold or the medicine), but for now, my medicine has kicked in and I think I am in need of a nap, perhaps another round with my netti-pot, and some serious hydration.





    Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili

    From Cooking Light October 2012

    Makes 6 1-cup servings



    1 cup prechopped onion

    1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

    8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage

    1 tablespoon chili powder

    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

    2 poblano chiles, seeded and finely chopped

    1 bay leaf

    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided

    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

    1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

    1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

    Sliced radishes (optional)



    1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove casings from sausage; add sausage to pan. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, poblanos, and bay leaf; cook 4 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble sausage.

    2. Add 1 cup stock, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine flour and the remaining 2 tablespoons stock in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry. Add slurry to chili, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and black pepper. Discard bay leaf. Serve with sour cream and sliced radishes, if desired.


    In the mood for chili on this crisp, fall weekend, here are some other great chili recipes!



    What is your favorite food to eat when you are sick?

    Mine is my Dad’s homemade chicken soup. I usually have some stashed in the freezer, but sadly I am out.  I’m not sure how that even happened…Hint, Hint, Dad!

    When Life Throws You Bananas…

    Make Banana Bread!




    I have a few favorite banana bread recipes to choose from, and this is my go to for the basic, classic bread.  There are only a few ingredients and I usually have them on hand.




    Combine the dry ingredients first.  I have made this with white flour or a mixture of wheat and white flour.


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    Then mix the butter and sugar until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Then add in the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla.  I use my hand blender to mash up my banana and it works out well.  I used Greek yogurt because that is what I had in the house.  I have also used regular yogurt and sour cream, all of which work well.




    Add in the dry ingredients.  Using the mixer can be tough with breads. I recommend stopping just before everything is mixed and finish the mixing by hand.




    Pour the batter into a greased bread pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Get ready for a great smelling house.








    This is a beautiful bread, and it tastes amazing!








    A classic banana bread…the best thing to happen to rotten bananas!!!


    Classic Banana Bread

    From Cooking Light Magazine, SEPTEMBER 2003

    Yield: 1 loaf, 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)



    2  cups  all-purpose flour

    3/4  teaspoon  baking soda

    1/2  teaspoon  salt

    1  cup  sugar

    1/4  cup  butter, softened

    2  large eggs

    1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

    1/3  cup  plain low-fat yogurt

    1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

    Cooking spray



    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

    Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

    Nutritional Information
    187 (21% from fat)
    4.3g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.3g)

    A Chilly Run Followed By A Warm Soup

    So I finally got myself back outside for a run this morning.  It helped that the gym was doing an AM run club so I was motivated to get up early,  layer on the clothes, and be at the gym by 8:00AM.  I must say it was so nice to run with people as opposed to on my own. I also met some runners doing the marathon, who I am hoping to recruit to log those long miles with me.  In the end, the sun was shining and I finished my almost 5 miles with too many layers of clothes and a smile on my face.  Looking forward to some (relatively) warmer days and some more outdoor workouts.

    Coming back indoors, I was ready for a warm meal.  My blogger buddy had made a two bean soup (as seen HERE) based on a CL recipe that you can find HERE.  I have been looking for new soup recipes and this one peaked my interest.  It was different and quick…plus, it had Kale the superfood, which I have been wanting to try.  I used ideas from both soups to make my own fabulous (and healthy) bean and kale soup.  It is definitely a keeper!

    Grabbing carrots, parsnips, celery, and onion, I got to work.  The parsnip was Meredith’s idea and a great addition.  I used 4 carrots, 2 parsnips, 4 stalks of celery and 1 onion and combined them all with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in my dutch oven (recently found during a kitchen cabinet clean).

    When I added my 3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth, it was obvious that I was going to need more liquid AND a bigger pot.  Luckily, a close family friend bought me a HUGE soup bought during a soup lesson in Memphis, so I was good to go.  I ended up adding 2 cups of water to the broth to make enough room after adding the Kale.  In the end, this didn’t lessen the flavor at all.

    Just a FYI, I found the kale at Whole Foods. It was the same price as the Jewel (local grocery) but looked greener and much fresher.

    With the added liquid

    An interesting piece of this soup recipe calls for blending 1 can of cannelini beans with the remaining 1 cups of broth.  It made this horrible looking liquid (that probably shouldn’t be posted on blogs), but I am guessing it was meant to thicken the soup.

    I added the cannelini bean mixture, 1 can of light red kidney beans and another can of cannelini beans.  The CL recipe recommends low sodium beans.  Other than black beans, I find it hard to find low sodium options, but I have heard that rinsing and draining the beans drastically cuts the amount of sodium.

    After simmering for about 5 minutes, I added the last little bit of Kosher salt, pepper, and since I didn’t have red wine vinegar, I added balsamic vinegar.  I was shocked at how flavorful the soup turned out considering its easy preparation.  I was also amazed at how soft the veggies were after such a short cook time.  The parsnips bring an additional flavor to the soup and the texture of the kale fits nicely with the beans (which I wouldn’t normally eat alone).  I ended up with 10 1-cup servings of the soup.  Typically, I would freeze half, but I have a feeling it won’t last long and I have family and friends to share it with during these cold days.

    One thing that I learned after making this soup is that I am apt to follow a recipe line by line, especially the first time around.  I should be less afraid to change recipes to fit my tastes and to explore new foods, such as kale and parsnips.

    NEXT UP…to follow this incredibly healthy food…some not-so-healthy Valentine’s Day goodies!