Long Time…

Yeah, it has been!

I’ve got like a million excuses to share with you but the truth is that I have pink eye and haven’t been to work in the past 5 days!  Although pink eye is no joke (and no fun), it forced me to take a mini staycation.  Let me tell you…I woke up Wednesday morning with a swollen eye lid.  I’ll spare you the picture but let’s just say it was Quasimodo like : )  Thankfully, I got into the eye doctor quickly who confirmed my suspicion…pink eye, but he was undecided on viral vs bacterial (due to my recent cold).

‘What do you do?’ the eye doctor asks me after examining my eyes.

‘I’m a pediatric physical therapist’ I respond.

‘That’s a problem’ he says.  You’re telling me!

‘Oh and I teach yoga’ I add.

To which he asks me ‘Don’t you just do it all?’

‘Sometimes I feel like I can’ I say and he laughs!

So pink eye is highly contagious and it is frowned upon to pass along your contagious diseases to kids, so he tells me no work until Monday.  Ugh…he says he’ll write me a note.  Well, at that point, there’s not much you can do.  I get on my phone and begin canceling work, private yoga sessions, workshops, kids yoga classes, and a trip to the burbs to visit my niece.  Which basically gave me a 5 day staycation. 


The good news is that I do own a pair of public-appropriate glasses and pink eye can only spread if I touch people.  So after throwing all our towels, pillow cases, and blankets into a hot washing machine, 24 hours later I headed into the world for a workout. I met my SIL at barre.  Afterwards, we grabbed coffee to enjoy during our pedicures.  Then we shared a huge tub of popcorn at Beauty &  The Beast before making a stop at the brand new and beautiful Whole Foods that just opened this week.


So many (cheese) possibilities…


Since my hubby was working a ton, I even had time to squeeze in a bubble bath!


I mean, if you have to take vacation time, you might as well enjoy it!!!  Friday and Saturday were a mix of catching up on my DVR, working out, March madness, yoga planning and coffee drinking!


So I really have no excuse for not blogging…But here I am now! 

Other Updates…

-I am teaching 1-2 adult yoga classes a week and loving it. I’m not smooth with my wording but am working hard to create fun and unique classes that challenge my students.  Since my family is about 1/2 of the class, afterwards, they typically come over for midweek dinner, drinks, and laughter!

-I am also teaching kids yoga and have a few different age groups including the most adorable group of 2 year olds who every time they say Namaste, my heart smiles!

-Cooper is still Cooper, into everything, waking us up each day begging for breakfast, and napping in my arms. I actually think it is quite possible that he is involved in the pink eye situation as I fell asleep on his belly (even drooling on him) the night before I woke up with a swollen eye.

-I joined a volleyball team and play almost every Thursday night.  I’m also doing a lot of yoga and barre and actually went for an outdoor run last week which was fabulous!

-Last weekend, we went down to the St. Louis area for a visit with friends which was a BLAST!


-The BOY is getting sick…and you all know how men are when they are sick…Just keeping my fingers crossed he doesn’t get pink eye!!

-We are still meal planning!  Check out this week…

Meal Planning 3/16/17

Sunday Funday: Ramen

Monday: Crockpot Green Chicken Curry

Tuesday: Turkey Taco Meatloaf

Wednesday: Mediterranean (most likely delivery)

Thursday: TBD


Long time…what’s new with you???

Cheesy Stuffed Sourdough Loaf

We packed so much into our weekend that it required two blog posts : )  Yesterday I shared Saturday and now it’s on to Sunday Funday!  Yes, I know that today is actually Monday!

Despite a somewhat late Saturday night, I set my alarm to wake up early Sunday morning for 8am yoga.  Two weekends in a row…hooray for me!


It was so cold (30 degrees) when I woke up that boots and pants were required.


And hot tea!  I met my mom at the studio with enough time to chat before class.  We were pleasantly surprised that the sub was one of our favorite instructors who led us through a deep physical and emotional practice.  My legs were sore and tired from Saturdays workout, yet my movement felt effortless.  It was an odd sensation but just reinforced how much I LOVE being on my yoga mat, especially when my mom is next to me.  After yoga, we went to Whole Foods for coffee, more chatting, and to purchase the ingredients for my Sunday Funday recipe.


We had plans with friends of ours for a Sunday lunch.  Every time we hang out with them we have a BLAST!  I was in charge of an appetizer and wanted to try something new but didn’t have tons of time.  I searched through my Sunday Funday Pinterest Board and after some discussion with the BOY decided on this Cheesy Stuffed Sourdough LoafI changed up the recipe a bit and the BOY suggested adding Gardinara, which was a huge success.


I had the BOY slice the bread while I whipped together the olive oil mixture.  Since we were taking it with us, our plan was to have it all set to go into the oven at our friends house.

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Then we poured the olive oil mix all over the bread.  We stuffed each slit with mozzarella cheese and salami and the BOY stuffed half the bread with his Gardinara.


We packed it up in a Tuperware for easy transport.  When we arrived, we baked up the bread while we poured cocktails and caught up on life.  The bread baked for a little over 20 minutes and looked amazing when we pulled it out of the oven.


We dove right in before even letting it cool.  The warm garlic and olive oil were the perfect compliment to the warm, gooey cheese, and crispy bread.  We all raved about how delicious it was, and the BOY took full responsibility for the Gardinara idea.


We ate almost the entire loaf of sourdough but tried to save room for our filling lunch of ribs and homemade mashed potatoes.  Our friends have two adorable kids who were not napping with all of the excitement of our arrival and food.


We stayed for hours eating, drinking, coloring, and watching football.  Since they weren’t able to make our wedding, there was much to fill them in on and they bought us a gorgeous congratulations cake from the bakery.  When we arrived home at 6pm, I was so stuffed, I couldn’t even think about food, but filled with happiness from the ease of a fun day spent with friends.  They did send us home with leftovers which I knew we’d be enjoying soon!


There was nothing healthy about this bread, but everyone agreed it was a definitely make again!


What is your favorite Sunday Funday appetizer?


Cheesy Stuffed Sourdough Loaf

Adapted from Nancy Creative


  • 1 (1 lb. 8 oz.) round sourdough bread loaf
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 to 1/2 lb. (or about 5 to 8 ounces) thinly sliced salami (or your favorite lunch meat)
  • 10 to 12 ounces sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese, or 5 to 6 ounces of each (about 14  slices total)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup Gardinara, well-drained
  • Optional: 1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced olives or any of the following–chopped marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, sliced mushrooms


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your loaf on the sheet.

Slice your round loaf of bread vertically into 3/4″ to 1″ thick slices–but do not slice all the way through to the bottom! (You should end up with about 10 or 11 “slices,” giving you 9 or 10 “slits” to stuff with cheese and meat).

In medium bowl, combine olive oil, oregano, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and minced garlic, stirring to mix well. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of all the bread “slices” generously with this olive oil mixture.

In assembly-line fashion, make 14 “piles” with each slice of cheese, topped with a thin slice of deli meat.  Bend each cheese slice “pile” as if you were going to fold it in half, and fit down in between your bread slices. Because several of the end slices are narrower, one “pile” is enough to fill them up. The wider middle slices will require two “piles” stuffed in between them.  Pour in Gardinara generously into slits.

Bake your stuffed loaf on the baking sheet at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, and serve while warm! You can just pull the slices apart as you’re eating it, or cut them with a knife.

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wow, I’ve been blogging up a storm recently.  Are you sick of me yet?


We had the most gorgeous 70 degree fall day here!  It felt wonderful to be getting back into my no work Monday routine.  First stop was the gym for a session with my trainer. 


Afterwards, I dropped off a car load of household stuff at GoodWill (from our weekend of cleaning) and then went to the grocery store.  I made a quick stop at home for a shower and to unload my groceries.  Then I was out and about for a few more errands and returns.  I ended up at Whole Foods for tasty salad bar lunch.


When I got home, I opened all the windows to let in the clean, fresh air, threw in some laundry, and dove into this week’s recipes.  We brought a whole bunch of stuff back from Door County including a huge bag of apples.

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For this reason, my interest was peaked when I found a chili recipe that uses apples.  I got all the ingredients at the store and had some fresh cider in the fridge (also from the farm).


This is a stove top recipe and really quite easy.  The flavors are odd but seem to blend together beautifully!


Once my chili was simmering, I was ready to make M&M Cookie Bars.  I was super sad to discover that I did not read the recipe carefully enough to realize that I needed more oats and two different types of oats.  But, I moved on quickly with my softened butter to corn muffins.


Only to discover that I bought too small of a package : (  I was having so much fun in the kitchen, between the sun light, clean cabinets, and new wedding gifts that I still wanted to make something.  So I cut the recipe in half and turned it into a bread.  I left the original recipe for muffins as written below.  Just know that you can half it if you buy the tinny 55 cent Jiffy package on accident.


I have never made a pumpkin cornbread before, but I loved the idea and the smell.


And again as odd as the combinations sound, both worked together to create a delicious meal…for tomorrow night.  But I had to try it for a pre dinner snack tonight.


The BOY came home to grill, one last time it seems, as the grill ran out of juice.  He was able to make dinner in the oven.  We’re planning to have the chili tomorrow since we both work later and the rest of the week, I planned out on our newish chalkboard.  I’m hoping to have the M&M Cookie Bars made (and shared) sooner rather than later!



Meal Planning 11/02/15

Monday: Steak and Tilapia

Tuesday: Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wednesday: Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

Thursday: BBQ Pork tenderloin and Veggies

Friday: TBD!


What are you cooking this week?

What’s the oddest ingredient you ever added to your chili?



Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili

From Pass the Sushi*

*Recipe is mostly the same…I just rewrote it a bit to make it easier to follow!


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green apples, (1 peeled and diced; 1 sliced) NOTE: I used a red apple
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cider
  • Shredded super sharp white cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or honey corn bread, for serving


Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook until brown,  breaking it into chunks while cooking.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, puree the chipotles and 2 tbs of the adobo sauce.

Once turkey is browned, drain liquid.  Then stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining puree to adjust the heat at the end of cooking.  Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika,  onion, and garlic.

Peel and dice one apple into 1/2″ chunks, add it to the chili. Slice the remaining apple and toss with the lemon juice; Set aside.

Add the cinnamon and bay leaves to the chili, cover and cook, stirring and lowering the heat, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the stock and cider; bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.

Top the chili with the cheese, reserved apple and the toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.


Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

From Together as Family


  • 1 package (15 oz) Cornbread Baking Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup milk, 2% or higher is best (I used coconut almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. (can also use 8×8 pan for cornbread and bake 15-20 minutes)
  2. In a large bowl combine the cornbread baking mix, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisk together.
  3. Add in canned pumpkin, milk, softened butter, and the egg. Whisk together gently just until combined.
  4. Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter and divide evenly into the muffin cups. They will about 2/3-3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes.

Marching On

So hard to come up with a March title I haven’t used in the past.  No guarantee that this is one but I didn’t have the energy to look through the past few years of blogging.  So it’s March…in like a…what? Lion/Lamb?  Tough to tell from the library where I spent most of my weekend.


Saturday started at Starbucks.  It took two tries to find one with a big table that was quiet enough for studying, but once I did, I was set for 3 hours of cramming.  Then I grabbed a sandwich and went home for a quick lunch with the guys.  I brewed up some iced tea and headed off to the library for another few hours of caffeinated information overload.


The BOY and I had a fantastic Saturday night date night with new beers, chicken finger salad, and more binge watching the Blacklist.


I went to bed early so that I would be bright eyed for Sunday morning yoga.  I have not been doing much exercise lately…instead focused on sleep, work, and studying, so this yoga class was a huge highlight of my week!


Even more fun because I was there with my mom. We did a unique flow using all sides of our mat in a mandala. It was challenging, my muscles were sore, but I LOVED it.  Afterwards, my mom and I went to Whole Foods to stock up on goodies for the week ahead (and a few study snacks for the day).


I went back to the library for the majority of Sunday until it closed at 5pm, when I picked up the BOY to meet my parents out for dinner to celebrate my Dad’s birthday (it’s today).


We had a fantastic dinner with lots of laughter!  It was a wonderful way to start the month and celebrate my dad!


Needless to say, February was not the month I thought it would be.  Although I kept my goals in mind, they just weren’t top priority.  Spending time with my family and friends…appreciating the little moments and experiences…that is what I focused on!



Photo on 2-14-15 at 10.06 PM




February Goals

1. Continue to prioritize studying. CHECK!  It’s going pretty well!

2. Drink less soda. DOUBLE CHECK!  I’ve been brewing lots of iced tea.

3. Eat clean.  No Check!  Well…let’s just say I’ve been indulging in a few (but not all) of my cravings.


March Goals

After some thought, I’ve decided to take a break from goals this month. There is a lot going on and so I am going to just focus on getting through it all with a smile on my face : )  I’ll be back with spring goals next month!


Are you setting March Goals?  What’s up this month?

Running and Randomness

It is currently 11:20AM, and I am sitting on the couch sipping a smoothie in my comfy clothes watching the DVR.  Sounds like a lazy morning…right?




Not quite!  Hint: check out the running shoes in the background.




This morning, I was scheduled for my longest pre-race run, a 12 mile run.  I packed my typical essentials and met two friends on my driveway for a sunny morning run around the forest preserve path.  For breakfast, I made a Strawberry Dough Boy Smoothie.  Sadly, I was too lazy to cut strawberries last night, so I only soaked everything for ~15 minutes this morning.  Hence, the runny breakfast smoothie.




We headed out along the path on this sunny, but chilly morning.  It was fun to run with other people and the 11.5 miles went by quickly.  We finished in 1:38 which is a little slower than race pace, but I felt strong enough to get in another 2 miles if I needed wanted to.  A quick shower later, and I was in comfortable Saturday clothes and ready for a snack.




Post run, I refueled with this refreshing green smoothie.  I used coconut water as the base and added in a little Good Belly along with spinach, 1/2 banana, mango and ice.




Not a lot of protein in this recovery beverage, but it is definitely rehydrating and refreshing.


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Luckily, the BOY is going to make us a protein packed lunch on the grill in just a few minutes.  You may have noticed that since Passover, I have been eating more meat.  I am eating chicken, the grass fed organic kind.  With summer and grill season fast approaching, there will definitely be more meat in my diet.  However, I am planning to choose higher quality meats and decrease my frequency of meat consumption.  Which makes the timing of this gift that I got yesterday PERFECT!




Doesn’t this look like fun???  The book is packed with vegetarian and vegan options.  You can bet there will be tons of recipes from this cookbook this spring/summer!!!



I am off to help the BOY prep veggies for our fajitas and then I SHOULD do some serious closet cleaning.  Good bye turtle neck sweaters!  I told you it wasn’t a lazy day!



Are you having an active or a lazy Saturday?

Grocery Store Finds

It is no secret that I absolutely LOVE the grocery store.  Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are two of my favorite places to spend some money!!!  Here are a few of my latest finds…



This cereal is from Whole Foods.  You can use it as a warm cereal, in a smoothie or even as a base for oatmeal cookies.


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La Granja is a Trader Joe’s favorite. 


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I discovered the Zebra bottle last summer, and the tempanillo is smooth and fantastic.  For around $5 each, these red wines taste way above their price!


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Whole Foods Go Raw Cookies…lemon and ginger are my favorite!




Dark chocolate is a must have in this house.  Trader Joe’s has some fantastic vegan options.


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These mushrooms are the best I’ve ever had.  They are great on the grill or in the oven.




This Black Bean Soup from Trader Joe’s is one of the best canned soups out there.


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This Barbara’s cereal (known for their puffins) tastes like the childhood favorite Life.


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I like it mixed with other cereals (ie puffed millet) with fruit and almond milk.




Another Trader Joe’s wine to make the list is this meritage that just arrived in stores this spring.




Which I discovered while I was stocking up on my new summer favorite, TJ’s Blanc de Blanc.  You HAVE to try this refreshing sparkling wine.


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Picky Bars can be ordered online.  I read about them in a magazine which recommended these natural bars for post-exercise recovery.




I am a huge fan of this unsweetened ice tea.  It is perfect for breakfast or a sunny day outside.




This Almond Smooth came highly recommended (I am yet to try it), but I decided to go with the chocolate flavor.  I can’t wait to have my first glass!




I’m sure you have seen this LWYD favorite all over my blog.  I always keep a box in the freezer for when I need a quick and healthy breakfast.  I add in a banana, chia seeds, and almond milk for my typical pre-race meal.




You may have seen these in your grocery store freezer, but they are about $1 cheaper at Trader Joe’s.  They are jam packed with veggies, not fillers.  My favorite way to eat them is broiled or grilled, but the microwave will work too if you are short on time.




Since we’re talking about the freezer, I always keep one of these available for a quick and tasty appetizer.  I promise you will love it and so will your guests!




And what is there to eat with this cheesy dip???  Either of these will do!


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This new find is decadent!  Spread it all over these Soda Bread Scones.


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A flattened banana…random right???  My mom and I picked these up in the check out line.  I haven’t opened it yet. 

Mom…how does it taste?




I eat this 8 veggie salad over greens, with feta, or as a stirfry.  Even the BOY likes it!!!


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And last, but certainly not least, the BOY’s ultimate favorite.  They never last the weekend!





This is only a fraction of our favorites, but should be a good start.  If you are looking for more inspiration, pick up one of these books that I randomly found at Barnes & Noble today.




Happy shopping!!!

What is your favorite shopping find?

Has anyone tried the Trader Joe’s cookbooks?

Power Yoga and Whole Foods

I have been wanting to try out a Core Power Yoga class for many many months, but because most of the studios are located in the city, I haven’t gotten around to it. I have heard fabulous things about their classes and was interested in trying out Hot Yoga at another studio.  A friend of mine and I had plans for a running date this morning, but when the snow started to fall last night, we changed our minds, printed out FREE yoga coupons, and decided to try the 9:30AM Power Fusion class in Bucktown.




I started my day with the MOST AMAZING BREAKFAST before grabbing a travel mug of hot tea and hitting the road.  On Saturday mornings, it takes me no time at all to get into the city, which I love.  I had to take this picture of the Shamrock Shake poster to show the BOY!


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We made our way over to the studio, which was gorgeous.  The staff was friendly and welcoming.  I had no idea what to expect from a Hot Power Fusion class as I have only done Hot Yoga at one studio.  The instructor encouraged us to set an intention early on, which is something I do at each yoga class.  She reminded us that our intention is important to bring our focus back to our practice when our minds begin to wonder (which mine often does).  With spring around the corner, I dedicated my practice at this new studio to new adventures and opportunities.  The class was challenging and rewarding, similar to my weekly class, but also a little bit different.


What was Different?

More natural light in the room

It might have been hotter, I definitely sweat more

Less time on core exercises (could be good or bad…haha!)

There were mirrors

The instructor prompted us to use an open mouth exhale to get rid of heat


What was the Same?

It was a quiet room

We did a combination of asanas, core work, and deep stretching at the end

The tempo and energy of the class

I felt amazing when I walked out the door!!!


It was a fantastic class led by an experienced instructor, and I truly enjoyed the Core Power Yoga atmosphere.  I am sad that I won’t be able to make it to any other CPY classes during my free week.  Although I am so happy with my local studio, it was fun to try something new.  After yoga, I was drenched with sweat and thrilled that I had remembered a change of clothes.  My friend and I had been talking about green smoothies, so we headed over to Peeled for a Rappers Delight (so yummy!).  I need to figure out to make this green smoothie at home!




We walked across the street to the biggest and coolest Whole Foods I have ever been to.  This is the same area that I explored on the  CHEW tour in the fall.  I haven’t been back to this WF since September and it still amazed me just as much today.  This store has a full bar, a huge array of seafood, beautiful produce, a significant wine and beer selection, a BBQ station, 4 different salad bars, and a sushi chef along with its already extensive selection of cheese, bread, and desserts and knowledgeable employees.






I could have spent the entire day here sampling food and taking pictures!  I was psyched to finally find the Kabocha squash that I have seen in many of The Kind Life recipes.


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They also had one of my all time favorite Whole Foods premade salads, the vegan curry chicken salad, which I discovered years before I ever thought about giving up meat or dairy.




With vegetarian chicken, scallions, and raisins, this salad is absolutely amazing!  My local WF store doesn’t carry it, so I bought a whole container to bring home with me.




It is tasty as a cold salad, but I like it even better warmed up.  I paired it with a huge green salad and a side of WF veggies for a fantastic lunch, which was fun and healthy after my exciting morning in the city!


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Tonight, the BOY and I are heading out to try a NEW local Mexican place, which is always a good way to spend Saturday night.



What new adventures are you looking forward to?

What is your favorite Whole Foods treat?

Are you Ready for Some Football???

And if not…

Are you at least ready for some football food???

For some, the superbowl is all about the football.  Like my dad who will be watching every play as he cheers on his Giant’s against the Pat’s this afternoon.



For others, today is all about watching the commercials waiting for the next hilarious concept in advertising that will be discussed for weeks to come.

I’m sure there are a few others who are interested in seeing Madonna perform today.  Although if I don’t hear anything old school (ie Material Girls), I will be sorely disappointed.

Yet for everyone, the Superbowl involves FOOD!


We are hosting a small group today, just the BOY’s sister and her boyfriend, so it is a super simple menu.  Focused around my Sunday favorite…chili!




Cream Cheese Corn Dip



Roasted Red Pepper Hummus





Three Bean and Beef Chili

From The Food Network




See Recipe Below





Beer and Cheese Bread

From The Food Network





Magic Cookie Bars

(and PB chocolate bars made by a close friend.  The recipe is a secret, so I can’t share it…because I don’t even know it!)



White Chocolate Puppy Chow



If you are hosting a larger group, here are a few other amazing football worthy recipes:

Spinach Dip

NaCHO Cheese Dip


Black Bean Chili Dip

Cheesy, Oozy, Guacamole Bean Dip

Beer Cheese Dip



With some additional appetizers from our guests, we had a fabulous selection of food to munch on while we watched the game, chatted about life, sipped on beers, and cheered on the Giants!



We did leave some room for chili at halftime, but by the end of the game, we were full!  Everyone (except me who stuck with veggie chili) agreed that the beef chili was good, but would be better without the carrots.  The veggie chili is based on a Whole Foods recipe.  It is super simple and tastes delicious.  I got up early this morning to chop vegetables and get everything into the crockpot before heading off to yoga with my mom.



Add in the broth and give your colorful veggies a stir.



Leave yourself enough time for all of the flavors to blend!  And so that your hands are free to make the other delicious Sunday Funday foods that are featured above.



Enjoy this fresh and hearty chili topped with avocado and your other favorite toppings.

Ps This chili freezes well!




Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

Adapted from Health Starts Here Vegetarian Chili (recipe found in the WF store)


1 cup onion, diced

2-3 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 8 ounce package of mushrooms, diced

1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

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

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

1 15 ounce can dark kidney beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained

1 package frozen corn, steamed (or 1 15 ounce can fresh corn, no salt added), rinsed and drained

3 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp cumin

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (I can only find low sodium in the Kitchen Basics brand-look for it at Target)

Optional: add green chilies, adobo sauce, Tabasco sauce, or red pepper flakes for added heat


-Combine all ingredients except broth in a slow cooker, sprayed with cooking spray.

-Add broth and stir until well combined.

-Cook on low heat (if time permits) until chili is fragrant and veggies are soft and tender.

-Serve with avocado and other fabulous chili toppings

-Freezes well!

CHEW Chicago

I had the unique opportunity yesterday to take a walking wellness tour through Lincoln Park (the north side of the city).  If someone told you that you would get to visit some of your favorite places while enjoying a farmer’s market, shopping, sampling, and learning about health and wellness in your city, wouldn’t you do it?  Exactly!  They had me at frozen yogurt and Lululemon.  One of the Ya Ya’s discovered this tour run by CHEW (Complete Healthy Education & Wellness, Inc.) that is available on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at the Green Market in Chicago.  The 6 of us ladies have had the date on the calendar for months.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I was excited to spend a beautiful day downtown with the girls.




My mom and I drove down into the city.  After a quick stop at Starbucks, we met up with the ladies and Jessica, our tour guide, at the Green Market.  They were easy to spot with their bright orange goodie bags.




There were six of us Ya Ya’s and 7 others in our group.  Jessica is a health coach with a focus on holistic nutrition.  She has been doing these tours for 3 years.  The tour lasts 3-4 hours, and we walked almost 3.5 miles.  Unfortunately, the yoga instructor had to cancel last minute, so we did not get to do yoga in park.  Although it would have been fun, we were so busy, we hardly missed it.



Jessica introduced us to Tiny Greens Organic Farm.  They grow and sell baby micro-greens that are nutrient powerhouses.  Micro-greens boast 50-200 times more nutrition than their seeds or mature plants.  We were able to sample some of plants that are harvested before they are fully grown.  I was surprised how flavorful they were and bought an ounce of the snow peas to take home.





They also make their own wheat grass and non-GMO tofu.




We had a little time to explore the market.  The produce looked so fresh and amazing.  I  recognized a booth whose whole wheat flour came in my CSA a few weeks ago.  After sampling a delicious tomato and wheatberry salad, my mom and I bought some of their wheatberries to share.





We met back up at the start of the market and headed out for a 1 mile ‘brisk’ walk to our next stop, Starfruit.  Starfruit is local to Chicago.  It’s a frozen yogurt place who uses the probiotic rich Lifeway Keifer to make it’s frozen treats.  We got to sample a few different flavors and their chocolate cheese spread (it tastes much better than it sounds).





Of all the flavors we tried, I liked the original the best and then the pomegranate.  Delish!  The next stop was Lululemon.  Did you know that Lululemon actively supports the community with free yoga in the park and that the employees are encouraged to set personal and health goals that are posted throughout the store?  Neither did I!  This store was the first in Illinois and it is also the biggest.  I was thankful to have some Bday gift certificates and I bought myself a pair of running shorts and a headband.


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Lulu is in a temporary space as they remodel their original store.  I always think of them as a yoga store, but they really support running as well.  The girl paying next to me was also training for the Chicago marathon.  A little more walking and we found ourselves at LUSH.  A funny story about LUSH is that I discovered the store in Australia a few years back.  I came home excited about this new store but so sad that it was ‘foreign’ when my best friend pointed out that we had one right here in Chicago.  I was slightly embarrassed and we like to laugh about it now.  We got a hand treatment at LUSH using their exfoliating scrub and Dream Cream.  Let me tell you, my skin felt so soft and amazing when we left.





At this point a few people seemed to disappear as we strolled around the corner to FIT Lincoln Park for a 20 minute boot camp.  FIT is a boutique gym with a fabulous outdoor area and a focus on small classes and personal training.  It makes me so sad that I don’t live in the city because I would love a gym like this!  Like Lululemon, they also have classes in the park.



One of FIT’s owners took us through ~20 minutes of push ups, planks, sit ups, and a few other total body toners.  We were constantly moving with very little rest and used only our body weight for resistance. I was surprised how quickly I worked up a sweat (and I definitely felt my abs this morning).



After our mini workout, everyone seemed to reappear at our next stop Karyn’s Raw.  Karyn Calabrese is well known as a leader in holistic health in Chicago.  I won’t go into too much detail about here, but it is totally worth it to check out her websites.  She has three restaurants in Chicago.  I have been to Karyn’s Cooked a few times…it is fabulous, and I’ve always wanted to check out Karyn’s Raw.  She has a café and a restaurant and everything on the menu is RAW.  Although I don’t see a raw diet in my immediate future, I have been curious about this movement.



Jessica talked to us about superfoods.  Some, like chia seeds, I was familiar with and others, like camu camu, I had never heard off.  We also got a sample of Karyn’s green smoothie made with her green meal.  This is a smoothie that Karyn drinks every day.  Some people thought it was too sweet (there was apple juice and banana), but I thought it was delicious!

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Our second to last stop was Peeled.  This juice and smoothie bar creates everything in house (even their coconut water).  We were able to sample their Watermelon juice and Strawberry Letter smoothie.

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We also sampled the Ginger Shot…I think my mom missed the explanation about the cayenne ingredient…

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Our last stop was just across the street at the third largest Whole Foods in the world!  We talked about the healthy food index and Jessica again stressed the importance of getting greens in your diet.  WF is one of my favorite places and this huge store carried some fun things that my local store did not, like the grind-your-own cashew butter.  My mom and I shopped around a bit enjoying the unique food options and of course the samples.



Look at this beautiful view from the back porch of the store.



After a long day of walking, shopping, and sampling, my mom and I strolled back to the car with a bag full of goodies.  The CHEW tour was super fun and informative and I always have a fabulous time with the Ya Ya’s!  We walked past Peeled again, so my mom and I stopped to use our CHEW coupon to enjoy their Rapper’s Delight Smoothie.  It was refreshing and flavorful and perfect to sip on as we headed back to the burbs.  If you live near Chicago, I highly recommend the CHEW wellness tour!  If you’re not in Chicago, seek out a similar tour or just get together with friends and create your own!


What I Did Today

What I should have been doing today…

Stuffing myself into a wet suit and practicing my open water swimming before tomorrow’s triathlon!


Bigfoot Triathlon 2010


What I actually did today…



Renewed my passport with a much better picture than the last one. 

(Check it out…hair still straight from yesterday)


Bumped in to my mom in the parking lot of the Whole Foods during the

‘Back to School’ event (small world!).

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Had some samples in the parking lot, then enjoyed an impromptu lunch and shopping with my mom at the WF!




Stopped by my favorite Store for a new heat safe pitcher for my iced tea



Battled another HUGE rain storm



Baked a fantastic loaf of bread in my breadmaker





Made a healthy and tasty pre-race dinner of carbohydrates and protein from my new Tosca Reno cookbook…the Leftover Pasta Pizza Pie (with added mushrooms)



And then sat lazily on my coach to blog about my day while catching

up on The Closer.




And now I am off to get ready for tomorrow’s race and head to bed early.

See you bright and early!