Training Log: May 8-14

“Slow and steady.” – My motto for the past week. Here’s my training log for the week of May 8-14. I’m another week closer to my half – 2 weeks + 1 long run left!

Training Log
  • Monday: No run
  • Tuesday: 5K – Matt and I had plans to view an apartment Tuesday evening so we both went out for our runs before getting ready for work that morning. I had 5 planned but WOW – it is really difficult to get out of bed before 5AM!
  • Wednesday: 5 miles
  • Thursday: 5 miles – I actually had a lot of fun on this run. It was my fastest 5 mile in recent history, it was warm, I got sweaty. It felt GOOD. I felt strong. And healthy. YAY FOR CONSISTENCY!
  • Friday: No run
  • Saturday: 11 miles – This was my first long run of the season in warmer temperatures and I definitely felt it.
  • Sunday: 2.5 miles – I was not planning on running today since I was busy with my family for a good portion of the day but Matt convinced me to get some miles in. Truth be told, my legs were pretty sore from the 11 miler I did the day before so I just did something short and sweet.

Total mileage: 26.6 miles (slowly but surely creepin’ up there!)

Nutrition Log:

If you read my post last week, you got a glimpse of what a typical day of eating looks like for me. I woke up this weekend another pound lighter so that makes for 10 off since mid-February. Slow and steady. SLOW AND STEADY, FAM.


Here are some pictures from the last week or so to make up for my lack of words this post. Comin’ up later this week: MEDITERRANEAN BOWLS. Yum.

Earlier this month, we experienced some winter-like temperatures. I had to break out the quarter-zips and tights! But now we’re back to good May weather with a high of 85 today!!

Taken from one of my runs last week – vvvvvvvvvvvvv nice out

Gurnee can be pretty okay sometimes 😉

 

30-Minute Greek Chicken & Veggie Packets

30-Minute Greek Chicken & Veggie Packets

3 posts in a week has got to be a record or something, right? For me, anyway. Today, I’m sharing a really yummy & easy “recipe” (if you can call it that) for 30-Minute Greek Chicken & Veggie Packets.

Psst: I’m sharing a printer friendly version below!

Being the social media fiend that I am (or was… I kinda hate it now), I’ve seen my fair share of grilled or baked food packets. NO MESS! They claim. SO EASY A MONKEY CAN DO IT! Well, some monkeys are smarter than humans so that’s not saying much.


But you guys. Really. This meal is stupid easy. You need some minor knowledge of how to use a knife (or you can buy pre-cut veggies), and really the most strenuous part of this meal is turning on the oven! IT’S THAT SIMPLE. And you need to wrap your food up but it’s much easier than wrapping Christmas gifts. Promise.

This meal is definitely going into my regular rotation. There is next to no clean-up. These packets are easy to transport (for lunch! picnics!). You can even grill these for weekend barbecues. Or weekday BBQ. In which case – GET TO WORK (kidding, I’m so jealous. I so totally love working when it’s nice out! Not). Wow. What a coincidence: MEMORIAL DAY IS COMING. MAKE THIS FOR YOUR FRIENDS! They’ll love you. (Don’t forget a cheesy dip and some fried food too, though)

30-Minute Greek Chicken & Veggie Packets
before

All you need is: aluminum foil, chopped veggies (I used green & red bell pepper, eggplant, and garlic), chicken tenders, some salt & pepper, and your favorite Greek dressing. Don’t have Greek dressing? Use some oil & herbs (dill, oregano, thyme, basil – whatever you have) and shake shake shake.

all wrapped up

Pre-heat your oven to 375F. Take four sheets of aluminum foil and make a boat. In your boat, lay your chicken, veggies, s+p, and marinade. Fold your boat up like you see in the photo above.

favorite greek dressing

Bake your boats for oh… about 15 minutes. Remember, I’m using tenders. If you’re using a thicker piece of chicken (like giant breasts), you’ll want to leave in the oven for about 25 minutes.

after cooking

Remove from the oven. Unfold your boats. Plate and serve with some quinoa, a salad, whatever your heart desires. You got yo’ self a good meal here! And there you have it, folks. 30-Minute Greek Chicken & Veggie Packets.

Are you going to try this? Let me know when you do! Share it on social media & tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

30-Minute Greek Chicken & Veggie Packets

  • Yield: 4 packets
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-lb Chicken Tenders
  • 2 Bell Peppers, sliced
  • 1 Eggplant, sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons Greek Dressing

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F

  2. Tear out 4 pieces of aluminum foil & make a "boat" shape

  3. In the aluminum foil, add your chicken, veggies, garlic, salt & pepper, and dressing

  4. Wrap your foil real nice (not too tight!) & place your packets on a baking sheet - unless grilling in which case, skip the baking sheet

  5. Bake (or grill) for about 15 minutes

  6. Plate & serve!

What I Eat Wednesday

What I Eat Wednesday

Hey gang. Welcome to WHAT I EAT WEDNESDAY. Don’t know what that is?! STAY TUNED.

So, the other day I was watching some YouTube channel and somebody actually made (several) “full day of eating” videos. And most of these videos were all the same. *Insert meal-prep service here* *Insert protein bar there* Did I say there are several of these videos? I meant dozens. DOZENS! How many different variations of those videos can there be before viewers tune out? Apparently… a lot.

Because of this, I was inspired. Inspired by the lack of creativity and variety in these videos. I mean, what’s inspiring about a bunch of people sponsored by meal prep companies eating pre-prepared meals (that they didn’t pay for)? Not a whole lot. I’ve been inspired to create my own little WIEW (What I Eat Wednesday) and share some of the foods I eat throughout the day. Some days are definitely healthier than others but I like to think I have a pretty balanced diet: fruits, veggies, protein sources, carbohydrates, and a mixture of fat sources.

Breakfast:

Breakfast is usually something quick and easy to eat in the car. If I’m not running in the morning, I’m getting as much sleep as possible so breakfast is the last thing on my mind. Well, that’s a lie. I LOVE BREAKFAST. It’s my favorite meal. During the week, however, it’s eaten in the car.

This week, my breakfast has been a cup of coffee + a Quest Bar. I know, I know. A protein bar. But it keeps me from gnawing my arm off until my snack time. Yes, I designate a snack time for myself. I’m 4.

Snacks:

I became a recent fan of nuts (almonds) + cheese + dried cranberries. OH. MY. GOD. What a combo. Thanks Matt (I know you’re reading this). The fats from the almonds + cheese = SATIETY. And the cranberries provide a necessary sweetness.

Lunch:

I tend to keep things stupid easy for lunch: sandwich with some deli meat. a piece of cheese (whatever I have on hand), a lil bit (not a lot baby girl just a lil biiiit) of Miracle Whip (don’t forget the tangy zip), and a handful of spinach. Because you know, you need them greens. Along with my sammy, I throw in some fruit, whatever is cheap at the grocery store, a yogurt cup, and some of those pretzel thins that I LOVE SO MUCH

Pre-Run:

If I’m running after work, I gotta have a snack. And since I’m usually in the car on my way home from work, again, it has to be something easy to handle and eat. So, I try to grab a banana when I’m on my way out of the house in the morning. Do I always remember? Definitely not. If I forget, I’ll save one of my lunch foods for snack-time.

Dinner:

By the time I get home from work and my run, the last thing I want to do is cook. Occasionally, I’ll do a meal-prep batch of some meats and veggies over the weekend to hold me through the week but recently? I’ve been really busy (and subsequently, tired) on weekends so I haven’t been on my A-game. Or even my B-game.

I try to keep things easy for dinner so what I’ve been doing this week is a lot of teriyaki chicken, rice, and steamed veggies. Under 30 minutes. Healthy. Minimal mess. I actually shared this meal the other day – you can view it here!

 

Training Log: May 1-7 + Diet Break + a Quick, Healthy Meal

Training Log: May 1-7 + Diet Break + a Quick, Healthy Meal

Hello & GOOD MORNING. Welcome to the third installment of my North Shore Half-Marathon Training Log – I’ve got about 3 weekends left and then it’s race day! Exciting.

Training Log:
  • Monday – 4 miles at an easy pace. I decided to run today because I was asked to babysit after work on Wednesday and knew I may not have the chance to run that day (spoiler alert: I was right)
  • Tuesday – 4 mile tempo run
  • Wednesday – No run. I planned on getting up in the morning but I decided that sleep was more important and I’m glad I did… Wednesday was a VERY long day.
  • Thursday – 4 miles at an easy pace
  • Friday – 3.5 unscheduled miles
  • Saturday – No run
  • Sunday – 6 miles even though I had 11 planned L O L. I pushed 11 to next weekend and did my “short” run this weekend so I could catch up on some much-needed sleep

Total mileage: 21.5 miles. I am playing around with my frequency and getting in more weekly miles because I think I’ve decided on a marathon plan. I’m reading Hanson’s Marathon Method and I know that plan has you running 5-6 days a week so that’s what I’m working on right now. Even if I have a lower mileage week, or even just do 3 miles, I’m still running “on tired legs” which is a focus of HMM.

Diet Break:

Before I go on and tell you all about my super fun diet break, I do want to announce that I am down another pound. WOO! Down 8 since ~late February/early March.

Saturday:

So this weekend, Matt & I did some REALLY FUN THINGS:

First, we went and looked at apartments. Which isn’t actually as fun as it seems, especially when you can’t find something that fits all of your wants and your budget. Fingers crossed we find something this week (we’re going to see more on Tuesday evening). We are both SO. TIRED. of looking at apartments. And getting the run around from leasing agents. When I say I want a washer/dryer in-unit,  please don’t send me to view one without that – THANKS.

Anyway, after our unsuccessful morning, we went to Spacca Napoli Pizzeria for… PIZZA. And arancini. The pizza was proscuitto, parmesan, and arugula (my new favorite pizza, I’M SURE OF IT). I highly recommend this place to anyone in the Ravenswood area!

So, the team Matt works on was hosting an event for all of their sales winners and since some of the sales people weren’t able to go, they asked some non-sales employees to take their place. WELL: he, along with a +1 (me, duh), got a one night stay at the Four Seasons Downtown, a $150 room credit, a 3 course + appetizers meal prepared by Fabio Viviani and his team, a $250 gift card to Nordstrom, a Sunday brunch, and Fabio Viviani’s 30-Minute Italian Cookbook (and a bottle of wine!). At the reception dinner, we ate even more proscuitto (#notmad), meatballs, steak, gnocchi, and some delicious desserts. After dinner, we went back to the room and put our room credit to good use: we bought Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And pigged out on room service. Please don’t judge us.

Sunday:

We woke up really  early on Sunday morning so we decided to go for a walk along Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. Around 9, we went to a beautiful brunch – omelets, pastries, breakfast meats, French toast, fruit salad. THE WORKS. So I think it’s suffice to say that we enjoyed our little (okay, major) diet break this weekend.

And now we are both back to some healthy eating. We were both feeling really lazy last night after our runs so instead of really preparing anything for dinner, we whipped up our favorite, no-fuss, minimal effort meal: Teriyaki Chicken with rice & stir-fry veggies. We buy the Tyson brand frozen teriyaki chicken filets from Sam’s Club and all we have to do is heat them up in the microwave or the oven. Then just steam some rice, and throw a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave for 5 minutes. You’ve got dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes AND the meal requires almost no effort from you AND it’s healthy! A little high in sugar (because of the teriyaki) but high in protein, micronutrients, and a good source of carbohydrates.

And that’s all I’ve got for you guys today – tune in next Monday for my fourth North Shore Half Marathon Training Log!

 

Training Log: April 24-30

Welcome back to the second installment of my North Shore Half Marathon Training Log. I told you… I’m GOING TO push these out every Monday since my training schedule typically ends on Saturday BUT there are weekends when I push my long run to Sunday #BUSY.

Training Log:
  • Monday: No run
  • Tuesday: 4 miles at an easy pace -the work I’ve been putting into this training plan is starting to pay off as 4 miles is actually feeling like a fun distance whereas maybe 3 months ago, I don’t know if I could have completed it without walking or “tying my shoes”
  • Wednesday: I had 4 miles scheduled but I had to run in the morning and snoozed a little too long so I only had time for a 5K. It’s fine though becuase it was one of my fastest 5Ks in recent months (years?) and I’m pretty happy with that!
  • Thursday: Skipped – pushed today’s run to Friday afternoon
  • Friday: 4 miles at an easy pace – I actually got up early Friday morning because Matt got up to run… and I didn’t. Although we did do some yoga once he got back and boy OH BOY, Yoga with Adriene got us feelin’ good
  • Saturday: The plan was 6 miles but with a constant downpour all day… I jumped on the dreadmill and completed 4 miles
  • Sunday: No run

Total mileage: 15.1mi. I knew it would be a lower week since I wasn’t doing a super long run on the weekend but after seeing last weeks mileage, it is slightly disappointing. It’s fine – I’ve got 20+ on the agenda for this upcoming week. MY HALF IS IN 5 WEEKS! WOAH!

Nutrition:

I don’t want to say I fell off the healthy-eating wagon this week because… for the most part, I didn’t. I definitely did not eat as many vegetables as I should have but life happens and sometimes vegetables fall by the wayside, right? Right.


And this weekend was weird with Matt and I viewing apartments, having to stay out of our townhome for showings, and we ate out TWICE this weekend. TWICE! Can you believe that? So, it’s back on the grind this week and shoving as many vegetables into my face as possible.

In all seriousness, I’ve got some seasoned chicken breasts prepared and chopped some veggies so that when I go to make my lunch the night before or morning of, I can just throw it all together in a few minutes. My salad of the week is a Greek chicken salad – although, letsbereal, I could always go for a Greek salad: crisp greens, zesty chicken, oil & herb dressing, and FETA. ALL OF THE FETA. Okay, not all of it because I’m dieting but youknowwhatI’msayin.

That’s all I’ve got for you folks, today! If you haven’t already, check out my latest recipe: Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread – it’s going to be my go-to pre-run snack this week! And tune in next Monday to read next weeks training log!

Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread

Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread


HeLLO and happy (almost) MAY! Wow. We really flew through April, didn’t we? YES. Yes we did. And we are well on our way to the summer months and do you know what that means? ALL OF THE FRESH FRUIT. I’m such a sucker for sweet, juicy fruits that are actually affordable. IN FACT: I bought several packages of strawberries for $0.97. 97 CENTS I TELL YA. So I decided to hit you all with a Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread. Made with Greek yogurt. I love Greek yogurt. You can’t actually taste the yogurt too much – it just adds a rich moisture to the bread that would otherwise be difficult to replicate.

This quick bread is actually a twist on my Greek Yogurt Banana Bread. Some people just don’t like banana bread (I don’t get it either) so this is the perfect bread for all of you haters out there. And lovers. Because you don’t have to be exclusive in your love for bread; I’m not, I love it all.

Let’s get on with it, shall we? Below are pictures + descriptions and even further along is an easy-to-read and print-ready form of the recipe!

Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread

First, pre-heat your oven to 350F. By the time your oven is pre-heated, your dough (batter?!) will be ready for baking. While the oven’s heating, we’ll take a mixing bowl and mix together 1 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (you can use plain, too!), 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 whole eggs, the juice from 1 lemon and some vanilla extract (about 1 tablespoon).

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose (or whole wheat) flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Once both bowls are mixed, work to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, but only until just combined. No over-mixing.

And now we fold in our strawberries and lemon zest. And add the batter to a loaf pan (be sure to spray with non-stick first!!). Bake for approximately 25 minutes, cover the top with aluminum foil, and then continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, until a wooden toothpick (your fork is fine, too) comes out nearly clean.

There you have it! A quick, easy, delicious, and healthy bread for all of your summer picnics or your Mothers Day brunch! Hint. Hint.

Strawberry Lemon Quick Bread

  • Yield: 2 mini loaves, about 12 slices
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (all-purpose, oat, whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Strawberries, sliced in various sizes
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and spray loaf pan(s) or muffin tin with non-stick spray

  2. Mix together wet ingredients: Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, eggs, lemon juice, and white sugar

  3. Mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt

  4. Incorporate dry ingredients with the wet until just barely combined

  5. Fold in sliced strawberries and zest of one lemon

  6. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, until a wooden toothpick (or fork) comes out nearly clean (for every minute after 25 minutes, cover the top of your loaf pan with aluminum foil)

  7. Let cool for a few minutes and DIG IN

Training Log: April 17-23

HEY GANG. Welcome back for another training log update. I’ve decided that I’m going to be pushing these out once a week. WHY? Well… I’m always really interested reading about how others train and I like to keep a log of this information for myself so… why not share it with others? Maybe you can learn from my mistakes (or, even better, I can learn from my mistakes!).

This weeks training has felt a little off; I spent Saturday-Tuesday either traveling to or from Boston to see my sister, her boyfriend Kyle, and to see a few people in the Boston Marathon (Matt’s brother, Kyle’s dad)! It was… SO EXCITING! And #motivating – Like… maybe one day I can BQ? PIPE DREAMS. Let me get through Chicago first, okay? Okay.

So because of my renewed motivation, I’m talking all things train


ing & nutrition today! Don’t worry… I’ll actually have some fun and delicious recipes for you these next few days  so if you couldn’t care less about running or nutrition – STAY TUNED. Your time is coming. I’ve got some delicious and nutritious recipes for Cinco de May comin’ up!

I went running through one of my old neighborhoods & ran past a tree I used to climb… it used to be MUCH BIGGER. Or maybe it’s just because I’m not 8 anymore?

Okay on to the running portion:

Training Log:
  • Monday: No run
  • Tuesday: 5 miles, easy: This run was SO PLEASANT. I had an early flight home from Boston AND took the day off from work so I had the whole day TO MYSELF! I took a nap, did some laundry, binge-watched a good portion of 13 Reasons Why, and took my butt to the forest preserve for some ~nature running. Because it was an “easy” run day, I kept my pace around 11:30
  • Wednesday: 5 miles, tempo: run was… okay. It was okay. I had been cold all day and, even though it was 50 degrees out, I was cold for most of the run. It certainly didn’t help that the wind was blowing in my face for most of it but… IT’S OKAY. Not every run is going to be great. Or even good. Some will be okay and some will be awful. IT’S FINE. It’s part of the process. But as part of the ~tempo run, I took my first mile easy, miles 2-4 a bit faster, and slowed down again for mile 5.
Mid-Week Dance Party

 

  • Thursday: 3 miles, easy: Thursday’s run. OH BOY. I spent a good portion of my day at work like most people do, right? It was such a beautiful day: 60s, sunny, little-to-no wind. PERFECT for an evening run. And then I got off work and BAM temperatures dropped to mid-40s and the wind picked up to 20+MPH. I was planning for 5 miles but with the weather issues + a random stomach thing, I scaled it back to 3 and decided to do another 3 on Friday morning.
  • Friday: No run
  • Saturday: 4 miles, easy: Matt and I spent a good portion of the day looking at apartments so when I did finally get home, I barely got off of the couch for a few hours BUT that meant I was pretty rested for the run. I took it easy because I had a long (my longest this season!) run on Sunday.
  • Sunday: 10 miles, long: My longest run of the year thus far! I got up early this morning and got all of my typical Sunday chores done: grocery store, some light meal prep, and I even went shopping (if you can call it that… neither of us got anything) with my mom. By the time I got home, I had some time to chill so I took full advantage before heading out for a nearly 2 hour run. The run itself actually wasn’t that bad BUT MY BOD IS ACHIN’ TODAY! I finished a whopping 6 minutes earlier than I had estimated so I either need to push myself harder during my week-day runs OR I need to slow down on the long run: I’m thinking both.

Total Miles: 27
Nutrition:

Oh… nutrition. How I love you so. And hate you at the same time. I love to study nutrition, read up on the science behind everything: nutrient timing, the importance of carb-loading, how to properly diet so that you don’t starve yourself, etc. For those of you who are out of the loop… I got my BS in Dietetics and went on to sit for the RD exam. So… I know what I’m doing (or should be doing).

But… am I perfect? No. Obviously not. Nobody is. So one thing I’m really working on right now is getting my nutrition back in order: eating lots of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and minimally processed stuff. It’s getting easier – only because as I’m losing the weight, running gets easier (and my fav. designer jeans fit better), so it makes making healthy food choices an easy choice to make.

Okay well that’s all I’ve got for you on this lovely Monday afternoon. THIS WEEK: guacamole, burrito-stuffed peppers, and MORE!

Thoughts Per Mile & Fresh Cookies

Thoughts Per Mile & Fresh Cookies

HEY everyone! Today we’re baking cookies! Well, not today. Because it’s 10PM here. I have a job. And other stuff to do. Get off my back.

First:

Thank you to everyone who read my post from yesterday. Really, truly, THANK YOU! I’ve gotten a few messages from readers thanking me for being so open and honest and I REALLY appreciate that. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Second:

I’m sharing a cookie recipe below. Cookies that MATT AND I BAKED. And they are delicious, let me tell YOU! I’m not much of a baker; I like to do easy banana breads and basic chocolate chip cookies but otherwise, gimme a box of brownie batter. Clearly, I’m no Martha when it comes to baked goods. But Matt. Wow. He is so patient in the kitchen. Messy, but patient.  And he loves to experiment, whereas I’m like “no, no, no, it has to be THIS WAY.” It has definitely been fun to see him play around and perfect these Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip & Pretzel cookies. We’ve baked together in the past but this was the first (THE FIRST!!) time we did so without a fight. PROGRESS.

Third:

I ran 8 miles yesterday. I drove over to Independence Grove so I could do a little running there and a little running on the Des Plaines River Trail without fearing for my life. I’m psycho, I know. Here are my thoughts for every dang mile:

  • Mile 1: Perfect weather. The sun is hiding behind some clouds and wow, this is going to be a great run!
  • Mile 2: Ooh this is pretty.Trees at Independence Grove
  • Mile 3: Hello, sun. Nice of you to join me. Boy, am I glad I put sunscreen on!
  • Mile 4: Okay… well… I guess I’m halfway done.
  • Mile 5: OH MY GOD WHY IS THE WIND SO STRONG
  • Mile 6: Oh god, the wind was really slowing me down + I had severe cotton mouth so I HAD to find a water fountain (spoiler: I did)
  • Mile 7: Am I done yet?
  • Mile 8: MADE IT. I can now go home and do nothing for the rest of the day – if I want.

8 shweaty and shlow miles but they were done and it’s only gonna get easier, right? FINGERS CROSSED. Can we move on to the cookies now? I think we should.

Cookie Time:

 

Matt and I combined our love for salty and sweet in an easy-to-eat and super delicious cookie form. These cookies are perfectly chewy and not too thick so be careful or you’ll be 4 cookies deep! Tray of Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookies

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookies

  • Yield: 3 dozen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar (dark or light), lightly packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2-3 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pretzels
  • 16-20 Soft Caramel Candies, chopped in half
  • 36+ Pretzel Twists
  • Extra heaping of Sea Salt, to top cookies after baking

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat

  2. In a stand mixer: combine butter, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extra in a bowl

  3. In a mixing bowl: combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt

  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients until incorporated well

  5. Stir in the chocolate chips & pretzels

  6. Form a ball of dough and insert a piece of caramel candy into the middle. Place dough ball onto baking sheet

  7. Bake cookies for approximately 3-4 minutes and remove from oven, place pretzel twist on top, and continue baking for another 4-5 minutes

  8. Sprinkle cookies with a generous (or not!) helping of sea salt

Let’s Talk About: Weight

Let’s Talk About: Weight

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…

The Beginning:

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.

Initial Weight Loss:

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.

A Much-Needed Gain:

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.

Gaining The Rest…:

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!

And Now:

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!

Spring into Summer Salad Series: Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese

Spring into Summer Salad Series: Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese

HEY GANG – Today we’re talkin’ SALAD. It’s been a minute since I last posted and for that, I’m sorry! I could lie and say I’ve been busy but the reality is, is I was sick for a good portion of last week and lacked the motivation to do anything but get to work and get some running in (when I was feeling better). So because of my time-off from the blog, I’ve had the time to brainstorm a few fun things and the first being: a SPRING INTO SUMMER SALAD SERIES! That’s right. And we’re kickin’ off the series with a Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Salad! I L-O-V-E this salad SO MUCH. I could eat it nearly every day.

I got inspiration for this salad from a few different places:
  • The first place is Chrissy Teigan’s (old?!?!) website So Delushios – I’d link it but I’m pretty sure she took it down since she’s got the cookbook thang going on now. Now I’m like “well that’s really disappointing” because I think her version of this salad is amazing. When I first made it, I ate it for an entire week. And then I made it again. And again. With some different variations but always containing the two most important components: butternut squash and freakin’ goat cheese
  • My second source of ~inspo comes from a restaurant in Washington DC. This salad. LORD. THIS SALAD. It had CORN-FREAKIN-BREAD CROUTONS! AND GOAT CHEESE! I had this salad in early 2016 on mine and Matt’s first trip to DC and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until I was SEARCHING for “the restaurant back home” for cornbread croutons that I realized how good it was. I could not, for the life of me, remember where I ate this amazing salad until we returned to the same restaurant in late-2016 AND I TREATED MYSELF. And I had to recreate the cornbread and goat cheese combo back home.
And now?

And now here we are, March 2017 – FINALLY DOIN’ IT! I put both of my ~inspo salads together to create one, crave-worthy salad. It is packed to the brim with vitamins and minerals from all of the fixins’ and greens – but the creaminess of the goat cheese combined with the comfort from the cornbread croutons makes for one hearty, but healthy, salad.

Should we get to the recipe now? I think we should. Please. Please excuse my photography. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: IT’S A WORK IN PROGRESS. And I took these photos with my phone camera since my camera SD card is MISSING IN ACTION and I’ve been too lazy to actually look and/or buy a new one. Sue me. (Don’t).


My recipe calls for a giant salad so you can enjoy leftovers or share with a group but feel free to scale it down for single-servings.

[pb=recipe]

Welcome one, welcome all to my little corner of the internet (cheesy, I know). Here you’ll find all sorts of food, fitness, and the fun things I’m up to! I include recipes for everything I make, I’ll recap my weekly workouts, and I share things that make me laugh so hard I cry. I’ve been told I’ve got a sarcastic sense of humor so, sorry ’bout it. Wanna learn s’more about me? Go ahead – check out my about me page!

 

  • Happy Friday!
  • Life Lately update on the blog now - check it out! The link is in my bio 😄
  • Sugar and (🎃) spice and everything nice. #HappyFall
  • Hey! Did you know that I'm running the #ChicagoMarathon in 6 days? Did you also know I'm raising $1,000 towards lower income schools so their students can have access to healthy meals & gym equipment? 
Do you have $2 to spare?! If everyone who likes this page could donate $2 & 5 minutes of their time, I'd be at a whopping $837! 
Ready to donate? You can follow the link in my bio. A big THANK YOU to my friends & family whom have already donated. Your dollars are going a LONG way.
  • I'm on cup ✌🏼of the day! Happy #nationalcoffeeday ☕️
  • If you thought you weren't basic enough, check out this pumpkin spice granola from @traderjoes!
.
.
.
#kilroyskitchen #pumpkinspice #traderjoes #granola #fallfavorites #chicago #chicagogrammers #foodblogger #foodblog #snacktime