Hello all of you beautiful people! It has been a hot-freakin-minute since I last talked to you all. Like, over 2 weeks (I think? I haven’t gone back to see the date of my last post – lazy). And that’s a long time for somebody who loves to overshare and talk about herself! Truth be told, I’ve been suffering some severe creative block. I don’t consider myself a very creative person at all BUT this blog + cooking = somewhat creative. And I just haven’t had the energy or creative juices flowing to get this show on the road! So, I’m sorry for that my friends. I know you’ve missed me.
Today we’re gonna talk a little bit about the marathon and then a little bit of What’s Next? for me now that the marathon is over. Ready to dive in? Let’s get into my Life Lately.
If you’ve been out of the loop or if you’ve just been a bad friend (you know who you are), I ran the Chicago Marathon on October 8. Well, I didn’t run the whole thing because I didn’t finish. I got injured towards the halfway point and ended up dropping the race around mile 16 L It’s been disappointing, for sure, because I trained for months and for what? It sucks.
HOWEVER – I definitely plan on running the 2018 race… assuming I get in through the lottery! I had so much fun in the week leading up to the race + race day itself (minus the injury) that I realized I need to give it another go. And I am. Hurray! Well, assuming I get in through the lottery. If I don’t… I may give fundraising another go but I will likely just find another big-city marathon to enter. So, that’s on the agenda for the next year.
Hmm, what is next for me? LOTS OF THINGS. Let’s break it up by department, shall we?
And that’s what’s up with my life lately. HOW IS YOUR LIFE? What are you doing? ANYTHING FUN?!
“On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”
“It’s October 3rd.”
Happy Mean Girls day! And Happy October! With the start of a new month, I thought I’d reflect on some of my September favorites. I sometimes hate posts like these because often, at least the ones I read, they’re full of consumer/material goods and I just don’t really spend a lot of money on that sh*t.
I got a head start on fall flavors this year with these delicious Pumpkin Spice Muffins. I also attempted to create an Apple Cider cupcake but those have yet to turn out. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated 😉 Aside from the homemade muffins, I went further into basic-territory when I bought Pumpkin Spice Granola from Trader Joe’s. And you know what? It was everything I imagined and more. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can order it on Amazon! What a win for everyone!
I will 100% admit that I was a lululemon fanatic at one point in my life. Now? I’m mostly over lulu since their prices are stupid and the quality is lacking. But I got a gift card last Christmas and decided to finally use it in September. I was in dire need of some black crops that are suitable for running so I got the Final Lap Crops. And boy, oh boy, am I in love! They’re high rise and the bottoms don’t ride up my calves. They also have a ton of pockets! Which is great because I’ll need them to stuff some marathon snacks into. I have also read that lulu brought back some old favorites like the Astro Pant (now under the Throw Back Pant) and the Cool Racerback tank. Who knows if the quality is as good as the older versions but we can only hope! I may have to make a trip to my local lulu shortly 😉
September has been quite a busy month for me for reasons I don’t entirely understand. Maybe it’s the commute to/from work, working, and then having to run for 1+ hours afterwards. Maybe it’s the fact that the sun sets earlier? For whatever reason, I feel busy. And I feel tired. And the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook dinner so I’ve been relying a lot on 30-minute meals. Like this Korean Beef I shared not too long ago! Matt and I have it once a week for dinner and then again for lunch the next day. We love it. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it tastes oh so good. IN FACT! We’ll probably have it for dinner tonight since we’ve got a busy evening ahead of us (mine has running + catching up on some of my shows ;))
And those are my favorite things from the month of September!
Can we all have a moment of silence for today? It’s Friday. It’s nearly the weekend. The weather is beautiful. Okay. It’s actually really freakin’ hot! But it’s June and here in Chicago, we’re lucky to get above freezing from November-March. I’ll take it. Anyway, today’s a more personal post – I’m sharing some of my favorite things this week with…
Yes, like many of you, I love to grill my food. There are few things better than that charred taste on your chicken or burgers. Sure, baking your chicken or cooking your burgers over the stove-top will do in a pinch but if I can get outside, I’m going to be grilling. Like last week, I made these Grilled Chicken Gyros and they were TO DIE FOR! I’ve also been grilling all sorts of veggies: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, corn, and I WILL be attempting grilled fruit this summer. MARK MY WORDS.
I LOVE these Clif Bloks – Energy Chews. They’re basically just fruit snacks… for athletes! Okay, really, they’re just gummies but they are S-O-O-O-O GOOD. Some flavors have caffeine and they contain a good amount of sodium. Which is, you know, peRFECT for long-distance runs since you must maintain your electrolyte balancus,e to keep movin (and prevent headaches, vomiting, fatigue). It doesn’t hurt that these are juicier than Welch’s fruit snacks 😉
Yeah, yeah, Fitbit has been around for quite some time now. BUT do you know how amazing their customer service is?! My Fitbit Alta band broke recently and all I had to do was web chat with one of their service reps & they sent me a new one – no charge! And what’s even better: I didn’t buy it from Fitbit, I’m pretty sure I got it from Dick’s or Sports Authority (RIP). I was without my dear friend for only 4 days but I felt so naked without it! RE
So, the past 2 weeks or so have been unbelievably HOT in Northern Illinois. Like, +85F during the day with a real feel of over 90F! AND WHAT’S MORE: I heard the pool stayed open late TWICE this week because of the temperature + crowd at the time. CRAZY, RIGHT?! Well, the middle of this week brought some sweet release in the form of a terrifying thunderstorm. Around 2PM on Wednesday, the sun disappeared and the sky got REALLY dark and it stormed on and off for several hours. WELL the storm brought a nice break from the sweltering temps… until Thursday afternoon and we were back at +90F! Hurray!
Podcasts are like… my new favorite thing. So, I know that everybody and their mother has been listening to podcasts for a few years now. I am not one of those people. Matt, along with probably a bunch of other people, listens to podcasts when he runs. I have ALWAYS needed to listen to music during a workout but lately… music just isn’t cutting it for me. I find myself flipping through the playlist. I’ve heard podcasts are also great for car-rides. Again, I like music! But times they are a-changin’ because I’ve been listening to podcasts ALL WEEK! I actually got into podcasts after listening to Watch What Crappens! It’s a play on Andy Cohen’s Bravo Show “Watch What Happens” and it’s as amazing as it sounds. I find myself literally laughing out loud at my desk (sorry, boss). So, yeah. podcasts are definitely top of my Friday Favorites this week!
And that’s it for today’s post!! I do have a few questions for you!
What are your favorite things this week?!
Do you have any favorite podcasts?!
What are your plans for this weekend?
Hi everyone! Welcome back. If you’ve already tried the egg-white muffins from my previous post, let me know how you like them! If you haven’t, click here to view the post. And now, the previous weeks training log &the long weekend!
I’m officially in my last week of training for my Half on Sunday so this week will be easy, breezy! And next week officially starts my first week of Marathon Training. EEK! I’m gonna be switching things up for Marathon Training (ie: updating more regularly, in real-time) so stay tuned for that! And below I’ve got last weeks log:
Total mileage: 16.5mi
It was my first Memorial Day Weekend in 11 years that I didn’t have to work AT ALL. Can I tell you how nice that is?! It is SO NICE. Zero stress. No phone calls from pool managers wondering where something is. Not worrying about random things coming out of water slides. No understaffed shifts. It was GREAT.
After my run on Saturday, I went to my parents to wash and clean-out my car. I realized after I felt a literal burning on my back that I hadn’t put sunscreen on AT ALL that day. Which, to me, is crazy, because sunscreen has been my BFF since I completed my round on Accutane. So I spent my weekend as a lobstah.
I spent most of Sunday at my parents with my grandparents and 4 of my sisters for Caitlin’s birthday. We got Portillos, had ice cream cake, went for a boat-ride… some fun #MemorialDay thingz. That evening, Matt and I watched The Leftovers – gotta say, I’m not happy that this is the final season! If you aren’t already watching this show, START. Now. Right now.
Monday was a pretty good day: Matt and I went to breakfast and drove up to Woodman’s for some cheap cheap CHEAP groceries! We both got pretty much the exact same breakfast: a veggie skillet (hash browns, lotsa veggies, some bacon, 2 eggs), with 2 blueberry pancakes. OMG delicious. All blueberry everything. When we got home, we both took a nap, and then my mom stopped by the house on her way home from a friends lake house. Dinner was AMAZING and will definitely be shared later this week: Mango Habanero Chicken! YUM!
Be sure to tune in next Monday for this weeks training log & the road to Chicago!
What did you do this weekend?
It’s officially summer… any fun plans?!
I’m getting a little personal on the blog today so if that’s not your thing you can check out any of my other posts & check back throughout the week for some new, easy recipes. Today I’m gonna talk about my own personal journey through weight loss, gain, and maintenance. Cool? Cool. It’s not something I typically talk about as it’s kind of awkward and almost embarrassing for me but here we go…
Throughout high school, I was always relatively active: I was a soccer player all of my life so that took up 3 seasons of the year and I played volleyball for a little while, as well. I was never really out of shape but I was never in great shape (except that one summer I went to volleyball conditioning 3x a week, thanks Coach Fillipo). I was always bigger than most of my teammates but I had more muscle than most of them so it was like, whatever.
Then in the summer leading up to my senior year, I started going out a lot. And with going out comes late nights, picking up McDonald’s or Taco Bell, not sleeping well, and just generally not taking care of myself. From that summer until I came home for Winter Break my freshman year of college (so about a year and a half), I gained a lot of weight. I’m not exactly sure how much because I never weighed myself but… it was bad. I got my wake-up call in the form of my dad just flat out telling me, “Erin, you’ve gotta take better care of yourself.” So I did.
Throughout the spring semester of freshman year (2010), I managed to lose 20 pounds through a combination of exercising more and eating better. Since I was a freshman, I still lived in the dorm but I think I was lucky in that my cafeteria had a salad bar with chicken and vinaigrette dressings to choose from so that made up the bulk of my diet. I still ate Pokey Sticks after a night out (they were HEAVEN!), and mac & cheese on Friday’s, but lunch was almost always a salad and dinner was typically chicken, vegetables + a piece of bread, rice, or pasta.
So not only was I eating much better, I was also running and being more active in general. I slowly but surely worked my way from hardly-faster-than-walking mile runs on the treadmill to regular 5Ks on campus. In the following summer, I maintained for the most part – I still remained active but I didn’t pay as much attention to my nutrition as I did while in school.
After that summer, I went back to school and I lost another 20 pounds. So my weight loss was a total of 40 pounds. I spent probably 90 minutes most days in the gym or running around campus. And I wasn’t fueling my body properly: I ‘tracked’ my calories and restricted myself to 1200 calories. I ran 2 half-marathons in 2011 and then, as I was training for the 2012 Chicago Marathon, I injured myself. My injury came about thanks in part to overuse and in part under-eating. I spent most of Summer 2012 and the following fall and winter educating myself on proper nutrition and fueling myself for intense running.
Upon educating myself on proper nutrition, and while I was still out of running, I spent a lot of time in the gym doing a powerlifting style of training. I was eating more and doing less cardio so, obviously, I gained some weight. I truly believe that I needed to gain that weight back in order to eat like a normal human being and not maintain weight on 1200 calories.
That year, I gained around 10 pounds, transferred schools, moved home (I commuted to school now!), and began working on my degree in Nutrition. I maintained what was now a 30 pound weight loss for another two years or so and completed my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in May 2015. So like… I know how to eat right and I know the science behind it. But changing behaviors is a lot more difficult.
It’s hard to point out when I started gaining more weight and I don’t have a reason why that happened. I got busy, stressed out, focused on other things. Who knows? I slacked off. I’m human. We all are. It happens. But I gained quite a bit of weight back. It wasn’t until earlier this year (2017) when I saw a photo of myself and was like: GIRL. GET IT TOGETHER. So I did. I am. IT’S HARD!
Now? I’m training for a half in June, Chicago Marathon in October, and eatin’ good. I’ve lost 7 pounds of the 25-30 I’d like to lose. I don’t track my macros religiously but I will make sure that I’m eating enough food to support my goals. Most days, I eat around 2000 calories; some days it’s more and others it’s less. I eat to fuel my body and my runs, while keeping weight loss goals in mind. (Side note: it is SO EASY to gain weight while training for distance runs.)
So with all of that said — I plan on sharing more of the weight-related struggles I experience along with the healthy recipes I’ve already started sharing.
PHEW – talk about a vulnerable post!
See you guys next time with a DELICIOUS corned beef breakfast hash!
Woah. Two posts, one week? SO LUCKY! Today I’m gonna tell you all about my latest obsessions AND share my Caprese Chicken recipe! Are you ready? Let’s go!!
Alright, enough about me and on to the food. I uh, I really outdid myself this time. And I wish I made enough for leftovers but it’s a good thing I didn’t since I actually ran out(!!) of a key ingredient. So anyway – CAPRESE CHICKEN, Y’ALL. Everybody loves caprese salad, right?! I mean… FRESH MOZZARELLA AND TOMATOES AND BASIL. But this time: with CHICKEN AND ROASTED TOMATOES. SAY IT WITH ME: CAPRESE CHICKEN.
I gotta be honest with you all right now: I don’t like raw tomatoes. NOPE, NEVER HAVE. My grandpa even has a garden and has been growing tomatoes for as long as I can remember but I will not eat them (he gives me lettuce & potatoes though so we good). But these tomatoes are ROASTED and I LOVE them. They’re a perfect complement to the tart balsamic glaze in this dish.
AND THE CHEESE – SO OOEY GOOEY OH MY GOD. You can put as much or as little cheese as you want but if you’re asking me: THE MORE CHEESE, THE BETTER.
I decided to serve my caprese chicken atop a bed of greens, topped with extra balsamic glaze +serve with a slice of roasted garlic bread (say WHAT). Yeah.
When you’re admiring my photos below, bear in mind that I’m still working on my food photography and THESE PHOTOS DO NOT DO THE DISH JUSTICE.
Pre-heat oven to 400F, warm an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat on stove & season raw chicken breasts with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil
Once pan is warmed, sear chicken breast on both sides for approximately 3 minutes each. Chicken will not be cooked through but should have a nice, brown color. After searing, remove chicken from pan and set aside
Using your chicken-pan, mix together balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a bubble. Add chicken back to the pan along with tomatoes and coat with the balsamic-brown sugar mixture
Cook in the oven for approximately 20 minutes (more or less depending on thickness of chicken breast)
Once chicken is nearly done, remove from oven and coat breasts with mozzarella slices, return to oven until cheese is melty (about 5 minutes)
Remove from oven and top breasts with fresh basil while you complete preparing any side dishes (bread with oil, salad)
For extra balsamic glaze, follow the same instructions as above: 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar + 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
Welcome back for another installment of my weekly meal prep. I didn’t post last week (obviously) because I was lazy and didn’t end up preparing a lot of food. Okay. I actually prepared no food. I mostly stayed on track but ran out of chicken for my salads at the end of the week. BOO
I gotta say… having food ready is really so helpful. Even if it takes some extra time to actually complete the meal prep, it pays off during the week when I am too tired or lazy to prepare a meal. Also? I have saved so much money ALREADY. Shocking, right? I looked around this week and saw that many of my coworkers got a $4+ coffee from the office Starbucks or a $10+ meal from the cafeteria and that money adds up SO FAST. Aside from just not spending the money, planning and doing a “meal prep” saves on food waste and thus saves a few extra dolla dolla bills, y’all.
Anyway, on to the upcoming week:
There’s a small locally-owned restaurant near me that makes AMAZING food and I especially love their Greek chicken salads. Well, after ordering them so often, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own Greek salad at home. Because Greek salads are so difficult to make, right? WRONG. They’re fairly intuitive and anybody with eyes should know how to make one – what you see is what you get. So for the last, oh I don’t know, a year or so(?), I’ve been making them myself and save my restaurant trips. Why am I telling you this?! I’m making Greek chicken salads for lunch this week and thought I’d share how I prepare them! I’ll also be showing how I prepare my dinners for this week as the week goes on.
My ~method to the madness~ this week was very low-key. All I did prior to the start of the week was make sure I had every ingredient necessary for Monday-Wednesday dinners and things to add to my lunch. So because I was only missing a few things, I headed to the grocery store for the following: Greek yogurt (we go through this so fast!), fruit, Skinny pop, mozzarella, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, basil, shrimp, a loaf of bread, and sweet potato fries. As I’ve said in the past, I really like to have 1/2 PB&J or maybe a small muffin before a workout. I made these muffins late last week and will make them again sometime this week for a quick grab-n-go pre-workout snack.
Because the meals this week are super simple, I was able to put most of my groceries away and get to work on the Greek salads.
And that’s all of I’ve got for this weeks meal prep! I’ve got a few ideas brewing in my brain for this week so be sure to stop by later!
ckWELCOME. Today I’ll be recapping my very first venture into Meal Prep! I’ve decided to try prepping and planning most of my meals in advance because I value my sleep in the mornings, working out & catching up on my shows in the evening, and I just really suck at making nutritious choices when I’m hungry (holla if I’m not alone here). Luckily for me, my new workplace has a cafeteria with healthier options but $$$. So here we are.
My plan is for the work-week ONLY as Matt and I usually figure out weekend meals together; sometimes we’ll make something elaborate and other times we’ll order takeout. I’m not including breakfasts here because that’s an easy one for me: oatmeal, protein shake (with milk!), some kind of fruit.
So the very first thing Matt and I did yesterday morning was head to the grocery store and pick-up some necessities: vegetables, fruits, yogurt, bread, etc. Basically, everything we’d need (that we don’t already have) for a successful week. Since we did a big Sam’s Club trip recently and I did a grocery trip on Thursday, we didn’t need much.
Once we got home, Matt was off to study for an exam this week and I washed, chopped, and baked our vegetables. While the vegetables were baking, I washed and cut a few cartons of strawberries to make for an easy grab-and-go snack or lunch item during the week. This was also the time I put together the bulk of my salads for Monday-Wednesday (greens, shredded carrots, sliced red onion, walnuts).
Once the vegetables were done, I got started on the next phase of the meal prep: hard-boiled eggs! While those were going, I completed some new-hire paperwork (borRRRring but necessary). So now that the fruits, vegetables, my salads, and eggs were done for the week, all I had left were the meats! Including the trip to the grocery store, the bulk of this weeks prep took less than 3 hours.
After a break and a bike ride, we eventually got back to it and cooked up some chicken for the week – mostly as a salad topper but it would also be good with just the roasted vegetables if need be! What I really like to do is slice the chicken while it’s still warm (but not hot!) because it’s easier to work with. Even better: use a pizza cutter!
Sunday’s meal prep took a lot longer than I expected but I think the more I do it, the more efficient I’ll be at it! I also think that I’ll break up grocery shopping and actually preparing everything into two separate days. Side note: does anybody else struggle to spell “separate” ?! I DO. EVERY TIME. Okay. Anyway. I am SO GLAD I don’t have to worry about “what’s for dinner” this week or buying lunch in the cafeteria. All I’ll have to do when I get home in the evenings is do some assembly work + heating but dinner should be under 30 minutes! And… while I LOOoOoVE cooking… I get so dang tired at the end of the day so ya know… the less I have to do, THE BETTA. And there we have: MEAL PREP. (how many times can I say meal prep?! MEAL PREP MEAL PREP MEAL PREP)
HEY, fancy seeing you here. Thanks for checking out my February Update.
Yeah, it’s been a while (over a month)!! I have a lot going on and at the same time… nothing going on. I promise, pinky swear, I’m going to get better at this. I have some fun thangs turning in my head right now. I moved web hosts and am still working on getting this site finalized and the way I want it so please bear with me and if there are any issues – LET ME KNOW! I’m still learning. Hm… I accepted a job offer as for a corporate wellness position(!) and I am so excited to start that in a few weeks now. More on that once I actually start the job 😉
My Macbook and I have parted ways after 8 years together. Ol’ Faithful died: hard-drive crashed, internal screen stopped responding, and a few other things. Apple said they could fix it but 1) I’d have to buy the parts elsewhere as Apple no longer sells them for my ~vintage~ laptop and 2) it would’ve been a band-aid fix and I would’ve needed a new laptop ASAP anyway. So… luckily, there was a spare, unused, practically new laptop sitting at my parents. It is now MINE! YEAH. I’m very happy about that because I would’ve ended up buying another Mac & spending $1,000+ and why do that when I can get on FO’ FREE?!
In other news: I’ve signed up for a spring half and the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle to get my butt in gear for marathon training. Sooo along with that, it’s high time I get my diet back in check. That means more fruits and vegetables and less… crap. Earlier this week, I prepped a tray of roasted veggies: onion, carrots, purple sweet potatoes (you read that right, purple!), broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Between Matt and I, we had enough veggies for 3 dinners (each!) + 2 lunches for Matt. And I gotta tell ya… those veggies were GOOD. In order to keep them healthy, I just chopped and tossed them in a bowl with 2T olive oil and salt+pepper and baked them in a 350F oven for 30-40 minutes. EASY PEASY.
OOH. Speaking of running: I’m trying to book my flights to/from Boston for Marathon weekend but HOLY COW WHY ARE THEY ALL SO EXPENSIVE? Ugh. Well, I don’t have a recipe for y’all today (unless you count my basicAF vegetable prep) but I do have some pictures to share:
Also… Kyle is me at a party #noshame in my housewives game:
And that’s all I’ve got for this February Update! Let’s hope I don’t have to do one of these again.
Hey everyone! Happy day 4 of the New Year! Today I’m bringing you a personal rant, some of my resolutions for this year, and a quick & easy semi-homemade recipe that you can prepare in bulk quantities.
If you see someone running on a busy road, or on the shoulder of that busy road, because there is no sidewalk available: do not honk at them. It’s SCARY. It’s rude. It catches the runner off guard and freaks them out.
Really, you shouldn’t be honking or yelling at anyone, sidewalk or not (were you raised by animals or??). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve flicked the yeller or honker off because of how disrespectful that is. And do you know how many people, mostly women, swear off running outside FOR THIS REASON? Yeah, so stop that. Thanks.
I’ve got quite a few resolutions this year and some are going to remain private but I’ll share the big ones with you now.
So yesterday while at work, I got a mad craving for tacos. MAD. I was planning on making fajitas last night anyway so… (is there really a difference? If there is, lmk). SO ANYWAY – I send a text to Matt informing him of my taco-decision and he said “we need good salsa, like a mango salsa.” UM, YES PLEASE! I got off work, went for a run (see: rant above!), and then made my way to Jewel to pick up the necessary ingredients.
I’d already had everything needed in my fridge and pantry except the mango so imagine my sadness when I discovered that Jewel didn’t have any fresh mangoes! But I mean, duh, it’s January. Mangoes aren’t really a thing right now, right? Right. So what’s a girl to do? Luckily, Jewel has amazing pre-made salsas (including a mango salsa!) so I scooped one up and went on my merry way. I LOVE JEWEL! They should start paying me for how often I discuss my love of that store. Okay, okay, now time for the actual recipe. Like I said, it’s semi-homemade and perfect if you don’t know how to navigate your way through the kitchen (I initially typed ‘chicken’ which… okay).
Forgive me for the terrible photo quality – the lighting in my house really sucks sometimes!