Multitasking Monday

One week into the new year…can you believe it?  Where does the week go?  Seems like just yesterday, I was hosting a fry party and now I’m running around my house making food for the week, searching for my lost marriage licenses, and listening to some new podcasts.  I am multitasking like crazy, trying to make the most of this Monday after a fun and busy weekend!


Saturday morning, the BOY and I were back at the gym after the last two holiday weekends, training together with free weights and dumbbells.  We left with some serious sore arms and made our weekly trip to the Target before running a few other errands.  I refueled with a ginormo latte!


We spent the afternoon cleaning our garage to fit in a car and then napping before getting dressed up for sushi date night.


Sunday morning was another early wake up.  I drove into the city to meet my mom and some friends for a yoga class. 


I forgot my phone so here is a recycled picture from the same studio.  Ironically, it was take exactly 1 year ago and the day looked quite similar : )


After yoga, I met some of my old coworkers for a fun brunch, catching up over coffee and omelets.  Then, I was back home to scoop up the BOY for dinner with his parents.  On the way, we stopped by my parents house quickly to say goodbye to my dad who leaves for Florida today and have a quick pre dinner glass of wine with my mom’s new wine glasses.  When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that I did not get close to what I wanted to get done this weekend…hence the busy day today. 

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!


It was tough for all of us to get up and moving today!  And then it took me extra time to get myself pulled together and out the door.  My first stop was the gym for an intense training session.  My biceps were still sore from Saturday and the resisted burpees were brutal, but it was a GREAT workout.  Afterwards,  I hung around for a yoga class.


I don’t typically double up on workouts, but I have been wanting to take the Monday morning teacher’s class for awhile.  With a busy week ahead, today was the perfect day to get there.  The class was tough, not just because I was tired, but absolutely incredible and inspiring.  I left the yoga studio feeling invigorated for the week ahead and at peace with the week behind.  I ran a few more errands, including the grocery store where I stocked up on fresh produce and meat for this week’s meal plan.


I made lunch and then began the serious multitasking with laundry, meal planning, and initial packing piles.  And continued to look for our marriage licenses which now appear to be totally gone.  Ugh!  In the kitchen, I put tomorrow’s dinner in the crockpot and began pealing carrots.


For lunch this week, I decided to try Candice Kumai’s cleansing soup.  I love starting the year with a warm and hearty clean soup!

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The soup was fairly easy to make until the end.  My food processor isn’t big enough to hold everything, so I did it in batches.  However, they turned out inconsistent, so I ended up taking my immersion blender to the entire bowl in the end.


Which made a HUGE mess, but worked like a charm.


I spent the rest of the afternoon working away on a variety of things including making a batch of Fig and Date Energy Balls and trying on my bathing suits before going back to the kitchen to make dinner.


Since my crockpot was in use, I washed my Dutch Oven for it’s next job.  For the second week in a row, Cooper kept me company while he begged for his dinner.


I accomplished a whole bunch of stuff today, so as always on Monday nights, I happily collapsed onto my couch for a bit of down time before bed.  After packing up tomorrow’s lunch, of course.


Do you multitask?  I do it ALL the time…even right now : )

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies


Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

2  pounds organic carrots (2 bags) scrubbed, peeled, rough chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (*depending on desired consistency)

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste


In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger and sauté for an- other 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the stock and turn the heat up to medium (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion until soft, approximately 20 additional minutes. Remove the bay leaf, discard.

Carefully add the soup to a food processor or blender (an immersion/handheld blender works, as well). Pulse until well combined and a pureed soup forms. Season nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.

*For a thick soup opt for 6 cups of stock; for a thinner soup go for 8 cups.

I Don’t Remember the Last Time I Slept In

The problem with being a go getter is that I’m always going and getting : )  And this was definitely a month year of on the go!


This morning was no exception.  Since the BOY declared last night that his car was stuck in the drive way and that we would both be working from home today, I set my alarm extra early.  Note: I don’t have the type of job where one can ‘work from home’.   I awoke not knowing what to expect and when I peaked out the window, I saw my neighbors car stuck half in the road and the other half in the driveway.  I really wanted to get in a run this morning because A) I have not been doing much running and B) We honeymoon next month.


Sure enough…I got the BOY’s car stuck in the slush when it was WAY darker than the picture above and thankfully our neighbor came by to assist in getting me unstuck.  We then got my car out in 1 1/2 tries and I was free to zoom off to the gym.  I did a 35 minute interval workout on the treadmill followed by abs.


It was totally worth the extra work (see sweaty tomato faced smile above for proof!).  With just a few days left in 2015, there will definitely be time dedicated to wrapping up the year, but for now, let’s focus on the month behind and the month ahead…


December Goals

Keep running (and sign up for a spring race)- I didn’t run as much as I wanted this month due to a sinus infection and colder, darker weather.  I did have a beautiful Christmas morning run though.  I am all signed up for a 10k in April and a possible half marathon in early May.

Stay healthy– Major Fail!  I came home from Thanksgiving with a cough and spent about 2 weeks with a sinus infection. Boo!

Get bikini ready…honeymoon here we come!- Strength and yoga have been on pointe, but my nutrition was on more of a holiday schedule.

Slow down, stay grounded, and appreciate the last month of 2015- Ahh! Although work was crazy busy, I can say that I made sure to have me time and family time…and Ahhh time!


January Goals – Honeymoon Here We Come…

Exercise Often

Keep my Eating On Pointe

Get Organized (for our trip and 2016)

Create and Appreciate Expected and Unexpected Adventures


How are you wrapping up the year?

Fall Into Winter

Yea…it happened!  The storm that everyone was talking about has arrived and I have only one word to describe our street…



WHITE!  When I woke up this morning both of our cars were covered.  Surprisingly, the BOY didn’t give me too much hassle to wake up early for our training sessions.  Dare, I say, he actually likes working out ; )


He cleaned off the car, while I warmed up inside…


Our workouts were tough, but good (I hate jumping lunges more than anything else…well, except maybe burpees) and the snow continued to fall while we worked up a sweat.


Our big plan was to go straight to the Target to pick up necessities for the day.  As is our snow day tradition, ingredients for chili, snacks, and wine found their way into our cart along with a few other household things.  After Target, we swung by the dry cleaner and then Starbucks for a post workout ‘recovery’ latte.


We were happy to get back inside and warm up.  Our original plan for the day was to get a bunch done and go out for dinner.  Since I wasn’t working this morning, I took advantage of some down time and a few old bananas.


I turned them into the amazing Flour’s Famous Banana Bread (using the recipe from Averie’s blog) while watching college football.


Cooper has anyone ever told you how helpful you are in the kitchen?


No I didn’t think so!

Our fail for the day was that we only planned for one meal, chili, and because of timing it needed to be dinner. We thought about ordering our favorite delivery food, Thai, but the BOY  has been eager to try the new Mexican restaurant that opened up near our house.  A plan soon developed as we decided it would be quicker to walk the .4 miles there than clean off one of our cars (for the second time). 


We bundled up and braved the first big snow storm of the season.


Then, came home and devoured or lunch before taking an afternoon nap.


I woke up first and decided I wanted to bake again.  What can I say, the snow has me in a nesting mode!  The BOY said that after last week, he wasn’t in the mood for cookies but that if I made oatmeal cookies, he might have a few.


Rough life…right?  I found a fun pumpkin oatmeal recipe and instead of chocolate chips, subbed in white chocolate and cranberries.


In an attempt to make them look blog worthy, I even added a few extra chips on the top.


The addition of pumpkin to the oatmeal cookies makes them a little cake like and totally delicious!  I think if I make them again, I would add a little more spice. I can see where if you were doing chocolate chips, you wouldn’t want too much nutmeg, but with the white chocolate, I think more spice would work well.


Around 3:30pm, the snow seemed to be stopping, leaving us immersed in a winter wonderland…just in time for tonight’s big freeze!  If I’m reading the preliminary reports correctly, it looks like we got at least 10 inches of snow in the last 18 hours.  WOW!


When the BOY (and Cooper) woke up, we regrouped in the family room for more Big Ten College Football.


Meanwhile, I did a million loads of laundry (including rugs and blankets), treated the BOY’s back pain, and managed to feel really relaxed and pulled together at the same time.


I was telling the BOY that I love our newish snow day tradition of staying in and laying low.  We always have a lot of fun together, and I’m looking forward to staying in tonight with wine and games…and probably some more football!

Enjoy your Saturday Snow Day!


Pumpkin Oat White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Slightly Adapted from Cooking Classy



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips + more for the top of the cookies
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy (occasionally stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process). Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chips and cranberries (if you want some chips to show through, set some aside to press into tops before baking). Let batter rest 10 minutes (this just gives the oats some time to absorb the liquids so batter isn’t so sticky and cookies don’t spread so much).
  3. Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time (I used a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, which I recommend using for evenly shaped cookies and fill it heaping), and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Five for Friday XIX {Why Winter Needs to be Over Edition}

1. My poor hands…




They have aged at least 15 years this winter.  They are dry, wrinkled, and covered in bandaids from all of the cracks and cuts.  And my face….ugghh! As soon as I have my tax return, I will be scheduling a facial!



2. Speaking of Aging…

My poor car!  Yesterday the back door froze shut and I couldn’t open it, but then I couldn’t close it.  I got myself up super early and out the door on a cold, dark morning for a strength class at the new gym and almost couldn’t get there.  It’s sad to admit but I also lost my Chevy decal off the front of my car this winter.  It’s pathetic!



3.Grill Season

The BOY is a master griller (if I do say so myself) and I am ready for some tasty grilled meats and veggies.  Not only does this mean that he shares/takes over dinner, but we always leftovers.  My crockpot is ready for a well deserved vacation.




Plus, the grill brings everyone in the neighborhood outside.  We live in a townhouse and I haven’t seen my neighbors since October.



4. Running, Biking, and Races (Oh My!)

Of course we can’t forget about tennis.  I guess any outdoor workout will do. I am craving some sunshine and vitamin D!  And I really miss my bike!  And I really, really need a race to train for.





5. Longer Days!

See #4 for explanation on sunshine and vitamin D.  Really, I am just sick of waking up to dark skies and driving home after sunset.  I love long days with early morning outdoor workouts and evening’s spent outback at the grill.  Think of how lovely my (bandaid free) hands will look holding a fresh, cold beer : )



Why are you ready for winter to be over?

Speed and Snow

Do you like to add speed and hill work to your training?

Me?  Not so much!


But there’s nothing like running around an indoor track to motivate me to do speed work.  Because let’s be honest, there’s only so many trips around a 1/12 mile loop a person can make before going crazy!




Yesterday morning, I decided to beat the storm to the park district track.  I’ve been alternating 35-40 minute speed workouts (depending on how many times I snooze) with varying intervals to avoid boredom.  Yesterday, I took a tip from the treadmill queen herself and used my music to fuel my intervals.  My legs were sore from CrossFit as I kicked into a fast pace to the beat of the music.




Compared to my usual intervals, these were shorter but more frequent.  I wasn’t even thinking about time as I watched the snow piling up on the cars in the parking lot and I rocked out to some oldy but goodie music.  Confession, I haven’t updated my ipod in like three years.  I am adding that to my to do list!




After my workout, I drove back home to get ready for work.  My cheeks were bright pink and my body so hot that I totally fogged up my windows.  Since everyone seemed to have a snow day, the roads were empty allowing me an easy commute to work.  My work day was cut short due to the snow, and I certainly didn’t complain when I arrived at my parents’ house before 5pm.  They were wonderful hosts as always!  My Dad made stirfry for dinner and my mom poured the wine.  Even more exciting, we booked our tickets to Florida for the end of April.




I must say that the box jumps combined with the speed work have left my legs burning with every squat and step today, but I am not complaining…I love the burn!  I am hoping that adding intervals this winter will help me reach my goals to PR a half marathon, beat my 2011 Shamrock Shuffle time (that’s next month), and squeeze into those skinny jeans!


My favorite Speed Workouts

*I typically run but have also used the stationary bike or done walk/run intervals


90 second/90 second run/sprint intervals

60 second sprint/2 minute recovery intervals

Ladder training 15-15/30-30/45-45,etc. and then work your way back done

Music Intervals at a fast pace, then sprinting for short durations during the chorus


Looking to do more speed work, Caitlin just posted 3 Workout Ideas for a Speedy 5k.

This was my first addition towards the Ironman March challenge.  Since there was no way I would be counting laps, I am guessing my distance to be around 4.5 miles based time.


Ironman March Goal

Swim 2.4 miles

Bike 112 miles

Run 26.2 miles


I seem to be a little bit more on track for a half Ironman this march, but we’ll see what these next few weeks bring!



What is your favorite speed workout?

Hooray for Winter Running!

To begin I must admit that we still have NO food in our house.  Not one trip to the grocery store this week!  I was lucky that we had a chili Valentine’s Day party at work with leftovers on Friday for lunch.  So before I even had water boiling for tea this morning, I was making a grocery list.  I have been itching to get outdoors and run all week.  Mostly because the weather has been a little warmer than usual, and I have seen the sun shining from inside my office.  So despite the 20 degree announcement on my cell phone this morning, I layered up for an outdoor run.




Trail shoes and all!




The sun was shining this morning, but failed to show up when I exited the front door.  I ran the long way through the neighborhood towards the forest preserve path.  It was definitely colder than I would have liked but tolerable.




The path was quiet and peaceful!  I ran a little under 5 miles at a slow and steady pace with a few walking breaks over the icy concrete.




I had to laugh that the only time I almost fell was when I slipped while walking, not running.  The benefit of all of my layers is that I had room to stash my phone to snap a few pictures.  Between the cold and my bulky shoes, I felt much slower than my recent speed intervals around the track, but I was happy for the longer run.




Recently, my runs have been much shorter (30-35 minutes) due to some changes in my work schedule.  I was feeling much better about this after reading an article in Women’s Running Magazine last night about speed training.  New research is supporting that shorter runs can burn calories and improve your fitness just as well as longer runs when you increase your intensity.  One of the treadmill workouts, which surprised me, suggested sprinting for 8 seconds, followed by a 12 second recovery.  That is one that I have never heard of, but looking forward to trying.




I have been doing most of my winter running along the track alternating between 90/90 second intervals, 60/120 second intervals, and tempo runs in preparation for a few middle distance runs I am signed up for this spring.  I am hoping to add in a spring half marathon, which will hopefully motivate me out of the house again for longer, cold weekend runs.  Post run, I have been refueling with multiple variations of the Green Smoothie.




After this morning’s run, I drove out to Whole Foods to meet my Mom for lunch.  We both LOVE collecting our favorites from the hot bar and salad bar and sharing them tapas style with a big bottle of water.  She had to spend the rest of her Saturday working, so I got to wander the aisles of Whole Foods tasting samples and scooping up groceries.  Then moved on to Costco to do the same thing.




I walked in the door with my arms full.  The BOY was involved with the Indiana v Perdue game…no surprise there.  After unloading my groceries, I baked up an amazing smelling cornbread for a get together with friends tomorrow.  I typically make more of a sweet cornbread, so this easy recipe from Paula Deen was a nice change of pace.




I caught the second half of the basketball game while sipping some warm tea that we picked up in Sarasota.  I now have the perfect amount of time for a quick afternoon nap before the BOY and I head out for dinner tonight.


What kind of winter running have you been doing?

What is your favorite interval training workout?

Travel Plans (I hope!)

So…we are going to Florida!




Hooray! Finger’s crossed this snow storm subsides and our plane is able to take off tomorrow! 

So that we can leave this behind…




Oh and this too!  Picture below is from tonight’s big storm.




Somehow this trip just snuck up on me, and I haven’t even dug out my warm weather gear yet.  The BOY and I are spending the weekend in Sarasota to celebrate the wedding of a long time friend of mine.



This is us on the first day of kindergarten


This week has been a busy one rescheduling patients and getting ready for the trip.  Obviously, meal planning has been non-existent, and I have been relying on some of my quick and easy favorites for dinner.  ie Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers, turkey sausage, frozen veggies, and baked sweet potato.  I whipped up a batch of Taco Soup for lunch and a batch of homemade energy balls to snack on throughout the week.  I even have a few leftover for the plane.




I found this homemade LaraBar recipe on Snack Therapy, and it was right up my alley.




Dates + Peanuts = Healthy and Delicious Snack Balls




The first step is to chop up your dates until a large ball is formed.  Then add in the peanuts and process until smooth.  This might take a minute or two, so be patient.




Then push the dough into bars or roll it into balls.




These balls make the perfect afternoon pick me up.




Their sweet and salty combo will satisfy any craving!




Speaking of amazing and satisfying….I just received a huge box of KIND bars!




A HUGE Thank You to Averie for this generous giveaway!  I have always wanted to try the KIND granola and even the BOY said he would eat these healthy bars.  KIND bars are one of my favorites!




They came at the perfect time for me to take on our trip, and I stocked a few away in my carryon!

Needless to say, you won’t be hearing from me for a few days.  Unless of course our flight gets canceled in which case my next post won’t be so friendly.  The good news is…I will have plenty to eat : )


More of my favorite homemade bars and bites…

PB&J Bars

German Chocolate Fudge Bites

Fig and Date Energy Bites

Almond Butter Cacao Balls

Afternoon Energy Bars



Peanut Butter Date Bars

From Snack Therapy



1 cup pitted dates, grossly chopped

1 cup peanuts



Place dates in food processor and process until combined.  Scrape sides and add in peanuts.  Process 2-3 minutes until mixed completely, scraping the sides as needed.

Press into the bottom of a pan or roll into balls.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Optional: stir in extra peanuts or roll in raw coconut



What do you snack on when you travel?

9 Degrees

I woke up this morning, saw 9 degrees on my phone, and knew an outdoor run just wasn’t gonna happen.  Since I don’t currently have a gym and have not figured out the best solution for this dilemma, it means I have to get creative with my workouts.


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So I heated up oatmeal for breakfast and sipped on some hot water with lemon (I recently read that this is a good thing to drink in the morning and find that I like it) before making a switcheroo.  Winter wear out…indoor gear in.




I drove the 30 miles to work…kind of.  About a mile from work there is a fitness center with a FREE indoor track.  I tend to forget about this option before and after work and really should use it more often.  By the time I got to the fitness center (traffic was BAD), the sun was shining making the weather seem much warmer than it was.




So I made the quick decision to stay bundled up and run along the nature path instead of going indoors.




This trail is really beautiful and has the perfect training hill!


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I made my way to the hill slowly as I began to thaw out.  Then ran up/down 5 times to boost my heart rate and add some interval training.  19 minutes into my run, I could finally feel my fingers.  And the fresh air was a huge morning mood booster!  Although it was definitely COLD!




The view from the top is a nice reward after each push up the hill.  I had to pause and take a quick picture timeout!








I finished my 38 minute run with a 2 minute plank before showering, making a Starbucks run, and  then heading into the office for a long day of work.  I must admit that I had big plans to post a delicious chicken stirfry recipe tonight.  I also had plans to make it home before 8:30 pm, but that didn’t happen. So the BOY kindly made me plain chicken breasts in the oven which although they were tasty, are definitely not blog worthy. I’d much rather leave you with images from my morning run!

Turkey Meatball and Barley Soup


Winter, I know that you are on your way, but I must admit I’m not ready for you!




I felt you during this morning’s 6 mile run when my typically fluid stride was slowed by the wind and brisk temperatures.  And the fact that the only things keeping me company during my run were the sun and 2 baby deer. 




Let’s not forget the frost that I had to clear off of my car before heading into work.  Since your arrival is inevitable, I am making the best of it by making soup.  A tasty new one at that!




This recipe comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook, so you can guarantee that it is chock full of veggies.




I was actually checking out another recipe in the comfort food cookbook when I stumbled upon this soup.  The actual recipe called for meatballs, so I subbed in turkey meat for the red meat, which was a quick and easy fix.




There’s nothing better than a healthy and hearty homemade lunch.




Wouldn’t you agree???




I was thrilled to dig into a big bowl for lunch.




And the leftovers will make a filling weekday lunch.  According to the cookbook, this recipe freezes well too!




I am feeling warmer already!  Which is nice after a slow-ish morning run.




Are you admiring the bright orange side I had with my lunch?




It’s my first batch of homemade butternut squash fries and they are T-A-S-T-Y!


Winter, no rush in reaching Chicago this December but when you get here, I will be ready…with soup in the freezer and more recipes to try.



Turkey Meatball and Barley Soup

From the Weight Watchers Pure Comfort Cookbook

Serving size: 1 1/2 cup soup and 4 meatballs



1/2 pound lean ground turkey

1 tsp ground basil

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp table salt

2 large leeks cleaned and chopped (white and light green parts only)

2 carrots, chopped

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp ground thyme

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

29 oz low sodium chicken or veggie broth (I used a 32 ounce container)

1/4 cup canned tomato paste

1/3 cup uncooked barley*



To make the meatballs, combine the turkey, basil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Form into 16 balls. Heat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Reheat the skillet and spray with cooking spray set over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, carrots, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their liquid and the vegetables soften, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomato paste, and the remaining salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the mushrooms are tender, about ten minutes.

Stir in the barley and cook, covered, until almost tender, about ten minutes (see note below). Add the meatballs and cook, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes.


*The recipe calls for quick cooking barley.  I had the regular kind at home, so I let me soup simmer for 40 minutes instead of 10 minutes.  Then stirred in my meatballs and let them warm for about 10 minutes.