Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve! Kyle and I celebrated our Christmas together on Friday before heading back to the South Bend area for our family get togethers. He really surprised me this year and gave me a running Garmin, Lulu yoga strap (I've been procrastinating getting one for 2 years), Davids Tea infuser with tea, Brooks running ear warmer, and an Anthropolgie gift card. I am one happy runner!

The best gift is coming on Wednesday when we head to Napa for one week!!  My mom and step dad decided they would take us all on a trip for our Christmas gift. I cannot wait! They go there a lot, and I have heard nothing but great things about it. They rented this beautiful house to stay in, so we are all really excited! I plan on taking a lot of pictures for you guys, but will most likely not be blogging until after I get back. Sorry! I promise to come back with some great posts to get you motivated for 2013.

In the mean time, enjoy your time with your family. Also, remember what this holiday is all about, the birth of our Savior. Before I head to the gym, I will leave you with some pictures from the past couple of days. Merry Christmas!
Kyle and my sister helped my adorable nephew cut out cookies with floured noses.
Korbin cutting out cookies.

My pup Ace just hanging by the tree.

Kyle, Abbey, and I had drinks with our favorite Anderson brothers! (our old volleyball coaches)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Drinks

It's starting to get cold in the Windy City. I know I shouldn't complain since we are just now getting our first snow (it usually comes in November), but I am not mentally prepared for cold weather. Oh, well here goes nothing!

Thankfully, I have plenty of Choice Organic Teas to keep me warm. Remember last week when I told you that Choice Organic Teas sent me 96 tea bags?! Yeah, that will last me a while. On Sunday, I decided to transform the black tea into a Pumpkin Chai Latte. It was delicious! You can omit the pumpkin and make it a regular chai tea if you are "pumpkined" out for the year, and  you can also change up the the skim milk with any milk alternative.

Another thing that I've become obsessed with these past couple days is Earth Balance Soy Nog. I am not a huge fan of eggnog, but this one has blown me away. Kyle loves the holiday drink, so I figured this would be a better alternative to the original fat filled version. This one only has 80 calories per serving and 1.5 grams of fat!

I was a little nervous to see if he would like it because he's not a huge soy milk fan, but he loves it! It's also on sale for $2 at Whole Food this week, so looks like we will be taking another trip back. I'm thinking about transforming it into a holiday protein shake. Carrots N Cake recently made one with Fitmixer and the Soy Nog, so maybe that's in the near future?

Have a great fit day, and stay warm!

                                                                 Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte
                                                                               Serves 1

1 C Skim Milk
1/2 T Maple Syrup
2 T Pumpkin Puree
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Cloves
Pinch of Ginger
1 Black Tea Bag


1. Bring the milk, syrup, and spices to a slight simmer in a medium sized pan.
2. Stir occasionally until the milky becomes frothy.
3. Remove from heat and steep the tea bag for 3-4 minutes.
4. Remove the tea bag and serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

May Your Miles Be Merry

There is only one week until Christmas, but the celebrations have already started in our house. We had our 2nd annual friend's Christmas with Amy and Jeff on Sunday and played games, watched football, ate chicken chili, and exchanged gag gifts.  

I forgot to take a picture of everyone's gifts, but I did get a picture of the ornament Amy got me. It says "May all your Miles be Merry." I may keep it out all winter to remind me to get out there and run despite the cold. In all reality it should say: "Kelsey, get your butt outside in the fifteen degree weather and RUN."

I also received cookies and an ornament from Sarah over at the Sarah is a fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador, and we were lucky enough to get paired up for the cookie/ornament exchange. Sarah, your gift is on it's way. Enjoy!

Is anyone still with me on the push up challenge? I can defiantly feel myself getting stronger from doing 50 fifty push ups a day. Here is a new push up variation for you to try. 

1. Start by doing a normal push up. 

2. Once you are done with your first push up, open up into a full side plank. Be sure to really keep your core activated. This will help to keep your hip high and tone your obliques. Hold the side plank for about 3 seconds than go back into your next push up. 
3. Alternate sides for a total of 20 reps. 

Aim for 50 push ups a day! You've got this, we only have 2 more weeks of push ups! Embrace the burn. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Lord Will Provide

I'm sorry that I have been MIA for a few days. In the midst of the tragedy in Connecticut, I kind of found myself at a loss for words and with no motivation to write. Every time I turn on the TV I continue to be shocked with the news and the evil in the world, but I also find myself amazed at the strength of the people involved.
I continue to pray for the families and friends of everyone involved. I pray that God will calm their minds, surround them with His loving embrace, and continue to give them strength during these difficult times. This world has a lot of evil in it, but everyday is also filled with hope and I trust that our Lord will continue to provide and care for us during these difficult moments.

I have decided to join hundreds of other bloggers in a day of silence on my blog. I will be back tomorrow with some great posts to get your week started on the right foot, but for today, I will spend my time with my loved ones and our Lord in prayer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcoming Year 24

Well, yesterday I celebrated my 24th birthday. Bet that makes you feel young mom and dad. I started it out on the right foot with a 7 mile run followed by protein oats and chocolate milk. I honestly wanted the chocolate milk to aid in my recovery, but part of me also wanted  it to keep my inner kid alive.

Mom sent me another Edible Arrangement. I am obsessed with these!
Kyle defiantly spoiled me with: a Kindle, lululemon No Limits tank, Brooks Utopia Thermal Running Jacket, flowers, and tickets to Second City Comedy.  All in all, it was a wonderful birthday! Thanks to everyone who called, texted, tweeted, Facebooked, sent cards, etc. You all made me feel very special! I am so excited to try out my new workout gear, and I already downloaded Drop Dead Healthy onto my Kindle. Needless to say, I am one happy girl.

New running jacket - It's a vino color and so warm for winter running!
Oh, I also forgot to mention that Choice Organic Teas sent me 6 boxes of tea to try the day before my birthday! I now have 96 bags of tea aka I feel like I should open an Argo Tea out of my condo. Maybe I should throw a tea party and let my English side out. My grandma would be so proud! Stay tuned for a review once I get the chance to try them all.

Have a great night everyone, and make sure you get your 50 push ups in! My friend Andy texted me yesterday mentioning how hard the Spider man push ups are, but he loves them too!! Try them out, and remember there is nothing wrong with being strong!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spider Man Push Ups

It's week 2 of "Pushing Through December." Have you guys been staying on top of your push ups? I'll admit,  most days I dread doing them, but that's all part of the challenge. This week, I have a new push-up for you to try. Let's aim for 50 push ups a day this week, and try to mix it up with regular and Spider Man push ups (explained below).

I first saw Spider Man push ups while working out at the Olympic Training Center. The USA Wrestling team would do them every day, and I figured I never had the strength to do them. Well, I proved myself wrong, and actually started to love the push ups because they incorporate your entire core, especially your obliques aka love handles. Be sure to keep your abs sucked in tight to your navel while doing this exercise to resist using your back too much.

1. Start in your standard push up position with your core engaged.

2. While lowering into push up position lift and bend your right knee towards your right elbow. You may not get your leg very far, but any little motion helps. Push up back in to your starting position and repeat this on the left side. Continue to repeat until you've reached a total of 10-14 push ups.

Give these challenging but rewarding push ups a try this week, and aim for the goal number of 50 push ups a day. Don't try to be spider man and get all 50 done in one time. Break it up into segments. This will make you dread them less! Cheers to a new week of fueling strong!

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's the Holiday Season

Happy Friday! I love Fridays, but today is even better since Kyle and I took a vacation day. We don't have anything in particular planned other than a good workout!

Last night we had our company holiday party. We started the party off with a gift exchange and company awards. I got the Jog and Blog award since I am the only person in the office who wakes up at the crack of dawn to run before work. I will proudly be displaying that trophy in my office!

Jamie and I created this masterpiece. That's our SVP and boss.

After the awards and a quick game of Battle of the Sexes we went to The Publican. For those of you who live in Chicago, I highly recommend it! We ate in their private area in the grocery store, but they also have a really neat restaurant. I wish I took pictures of the food we had, but I was too busy eating it. I had the Sea Bass with leeks in a vinaigrette and sage roasted acorn squash. It was amazing, other than the large fish bone that I nearly pierced my tongue with on accident.

This is the grocery section of The Publican.

Well, I am off to do an interval workout. I'm planning on running a 30 minute fartlek with 2 minutes on and 1 minute easy. Then followed by 2 miles at race pace. Here goes nothing!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cha-Cha-Cha Chia!

Over the weekend, I found my newest obsession... chia seed pudding! It has the same texture as tapioca pudding, but it's healthy! It's main ingredient, is chia. Yep, the little seeds that turn into those quirky Chia Pets. Looks like our society is over the terracotta planters and now into the health benefits of the little seeds.

Chia has more omega-3 acids than salmon and one serving satisfies 18% of your daily calcium needs. Easy enough, right? You can mix them into yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, etc. A lot of vegans even add them with water to replace eggs in baking dishes. I've yet to try that, but I may experiment soon.

Anyway, over the weekend I made Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding. I was a little questionable at first because the presentation didn't look the most greatest, but trust me, after one bite you will be hooked. It is perfect for a guilt free snack and/or dessert!

[Warning: if you are a texture person and don't like the texture of tapioca, you most likely will not enjoy this pudding.]

How are you guys doing on the Push Through December Challenge? It's day 4 of doing 40 push-ups a day, and I'm loving it! Kyle even decided to join me, so we hold each other accountable. If you haven't started yet, it's not too late! Strive to do 40 push-ups today and every day for the rest of December.You can simply do them between commercials tonight! Get after it!

                                                         Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
                                                                       Serves 1

1/2 C Vanilla Soy Milk
1/4 tsp Vanilla
2 T Chia Seeds
1/2 T Honey
Dash of Cinnamon


1. Combine all of the ingredients in a ball jar or sealed container. Shake well to mix.
2. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Push Through December

The New Year will be here soon, and that means most will start to make their infamous New Years Resolutions. I always hate the New Year time because the gym gets really busy. Don't get me wrong, I love that people are getting back into the routine of working out, but I also really enjoy having the gym to myself at 5AM.

Anyway, why wait until the New Year to take control of your health? Now is a better time than ever to kick it in gear and finish out 2012 on a positive note. In honor of pushing through to the New Year, join me for a push-up challenge! Every week between now and January 1st, I will post different push-up variations for you to explore along with a goal number for each day.

You can do the push-ups all at one time or a couple a hour. It doesn't matter how you get to your number, but what does matter is getting there and making sure you have good form! Trust me, we will all feel the burn and want to quit, but DON'T! Embrace being uncomfortable and remember that you'll be building muscle! More muscle, means more calories burned... which means you'll burn off the holiday food faster!

For this week, we will start with normal push-ups. For those of you who have trouble with doing full push-ups, check out my previous post on perfecting the push-up. It's a hybrid between a full push-up and a "girl" or assisted push-up. The goal is 40 push-ups a day! 

 Let me know how you are doing in the comments below or on Twitter. Be sure to check back next week for a push-up variation and new challenge number.

Cheers to pushing through to the New Year Fueling Strong style!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Running Inspiration

Lately, I've been on a big running kick. Usually, I like to mix up my cardio with cycling too, but these past two weeks all I want to do is run. Even when my body hurts! Do you ever have those days when your body feels tired, but your mind just craves a run? How do you get yourself out there despite feeling pain for the first thirty minutes?

Sure, it's all about a mind set, but I also think many of you can attest to having a running mentor that inspires you to get out there. For me, it's my dear friend Andy. I met Andy 4 or so years ago at Butler. Little did I know, he would soon inspire me to trade in my volleyball spandex for running spandex.

Andy was an honorary bridesmaid in our wedding aka an usher.
Andy is an avid runner and running shoe specialist. This kid watched me run one time, and started picking out shoes for me. For the past 4 or so years I've let him pick my shoes, and I must say he is a genius because my foot problems have disappeared. He now works as a Brooks Guru, and I often brag that I have my own Brooks Guru shoe specialist (every runners dream!)

So jealous that he gets to drive this around.
Speaking of Brooks, on Monday I got a lovely package with the Brooks Pure Cadence. I've been dying to try them out, and once I get them broken in you can expect a full review. For those of you who don't know about Brook's Pure Project line, they are minimalist shoes. Their new versions will be coming out next week, so check them out. Not only are they great running shoes, but the different colors are sure to make you stand out on the trail.

Anyway, Andy is defiantly my running inspiration, and not because he used to run in shorts in the middle of winter. More so because of his knowledge, and ability to help me get out of a running rut. On the days when I don't feel like running, I'll shoot him a text about something running or something shoe related and I instantly feel like running. Don't worry Andy, that's not the only reason why I text you.

Who is your running inspiration? If you don't have one yet, keep searching. You will find that one person that motivates you to hit the trail even when your mind is telling you "heck no!" Cheers to running happy!

Month of Gratitude:
Today I am grateful for all of the lifelong friends I made in college. We all live in different areas, but manage to stay close despite the distance.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Happy Monday! It's back to reality after a nice long weekend. Sorry that this post is delayed, but it's better late than never! I'm happy to report that my first Thanksgiving was a success! We had a group of 9 that joined us in Chicago, and I was finally able to use all of my serving dishes! On the menu:
  • Appetizers:
    • Apple Brie Crostini
    • Stuffed Red Potato Bites (stuffed with light artichoke dip)
    • Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips
  • Dinner
    • Turkey (I ordered it from Honey Baked Ham because I didn't want my oven to be taken up for 8 hours)
    • Cornbread and Turkey Sausage Stuffing
    • Mom's Mashed Potato Casserole
    • Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
    • Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips
    • Field Green Salad with pomegranate seeds and feta
    • Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce
  • Dessert
    • Pumpkin Pie
    • Apple Pie
Dad carved the bird. 
Everything turned out as planned, and I even shocked my guests by showing them that traditional Thanksgiving dishes can be made healthy! After dinner, we went to Second City for a holiday comedy show. For those of you in the area, I highly recommend seeing the Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue. You will literally cry from laughing so much!

Only half of our dinner
All in all, I love hosting! I've already been volunteered to host Thanksgiving every year, but we'll see what next year brings!

In the mean time, here is my recipe for the fruit salsa that I made for an appetizer. You can serve it with cinnamon pita chips, graham crackers, or just eat it by the spoonful! Enjoy!

                                                                      Fruit Salsa


1 Pint of Strawberries
1 Large Honey Crisp Apple
2 Kiwi, Peeled
1 T All Natural Raspberry Preserves


1. Dice the berries, apple, and kiwi
2. Mix together in a medium sized bowl
3. Add 1 T of raspberry preserves and mix well
4. Chill for 20 minutes and serve with cinnamon pita chips or graham crackers

Month of Gratitude:
Today I am grateful for our Chicago "family." We moved to this city with no friends, and happened to stumble across a group of people through rugby, and have not separated yet! They are a crazy bunch, but I wouldn't trade them for anything!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Hangover Cure

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I had an amazing time with some of my family, and happy to say that everyone enjoyed my first Thanksgiving dinner! I'll give a brief recap on it in a later post with the recipes, but first and foremost, does anyone else have a Thanksgiving hangover? I'm not talking about your usual hangover, but instead one induced from eating too much.

Well, I plan on getting rid of it ASAP. A lot of people stay in the holiday mode until the New Year and end up gaining 5 or more pounds and never get rid of the "hangover." That is not in my plans!

I find the best way to get back on track is to start with a healthy breakfast. Give my Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal a try. It's a wonderful mix of peanut butter, whole grains, and protein. You can add several mix-ins to this, but for this one I stuck with flax and raisins, and topped it with a banana and pomegranate seeds.

Give it a try to get rid of the Thanksgiving hangover. Now it's time for me to get a good workout in. Nothing gets ride of the Thanksgiving guilt like a good sweat out. Enjoy, and cheers to a Holiday season of taking control of your health.

                                                         Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal
                                                                         Serves 4


2 1/2 C Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 C Brown Sugar
2 Eggs, Beat
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 C Peanut Butter (Chunky or Smooth)
1/4 C Raisins (Optional)
2 T Flax Seed (Optional)
2 T Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 1/2 C Skim Milk (or milk of choice)
1 tsp Vanilla


1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 Degrees.
2. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Pour into an 8 inch square casserole dish.
4. Bake for 35 minutes. The oatmeal should be golden brown and firm in the middle.
5. Top with fresh fruit, and enjoy!

Month of Gratitude:
Today I am thankful that God gave each of my sisters a different talent. We may be complete opposites at times, but we complement each other well.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweating Pink

Happy Monday! You know what makes this Monday better than all of the other Mondays? It's a 3 day work week, now that is music to my ears! 

I hope you all had a great weekend. This weekend, I upgraded my shoe collection with a pair of neon pink soccer cleats. Let me rewind really fast, I used to play soccer and loved it! Then, I was introduced to volleyball and had to decide between the two since they are in the same season. Obviously, volleyball trumped and took me on an amazing ride. That being said, last year I agreed to join some of our friends in what I thought was going to be a recreational soccer league. Yes, it was rec, but these people took it seriously! I personally just enjoyed running up and down the field. I vowed after last season to never play again, but of course the competitive side of me chose to play again this year. 

Yes, I know the socks make this outfit even better. You should see Kyle's, they are Superman socks and  literally have a cape flying off the back. 
That being said, I decided to stop ruining my running shoes and bought some sweet cleats. On top of that, I'm also getting a little more serious about playing and actually getting better. Dad, I actually headed a ball this weekend just like the old days. I knew that'd make him happy. Anyway, the new pink cleats make me feel like Usain Bolt, so watch out others in the soccer league! 

Anything is better in pink!
Speaking of pink.... I got asked to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador last week!! For those of you wondering what this means, I am now an ambassador for a healthy living community that believes: 

"Kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We've learned that real women sweat and sweat hard! We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We are convinced that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we're no strangers to rolling out of bed and going. We're convinced that we run fast in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break too. We're all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We're all for looking great and feeling even better. We're committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick."

I am so excited to be an ambassador for them and to continue to help others live a healthy lifestyle! Have a great week everyone and remember to stay committed to your fitness through the holiday season! 
Month of Gratitude:

I am grateful that I have grandparents who enjoy living a healthy lifestyle in their late 70's and that they have taught me that living a healthy lifestyle isn't just about eating healthy and being active. It's also about having time alone with God everyday. 

I love how they will kayak for 3+ hours at a time like it's their job! It's not every day you have your grandpa begging you to go out with him to kayak in 6 foot waves for fun! God has surely blessed me, and I love learning from them as much as they love learning from me. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Health Freak Christmas Guide 2

In my last post, I started my Health Freak Christmas Guide. It's a little cheat sheet for all of you who have fitness guru's to shop for. I've added a few more items for you to check out. Enjoy!

Health Freak Christmas Guide Volume 2

6. Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS Monitor
I've always admired Garmin's watches, but haven't gotten the nerve to spend $250+ on one yet. Yet is the key word there. I'm sure I will get one in the next year, if not this Christmas, because it will take my running to the next level. Personally, I know I'll get ultra competitive with the watch and try to up my pace more than I can with my normal sports watch. There are so many options, so before purchasing one, I suggest checking out DC Rainmaker. He does a full analysis of each watch from the packaging down to the little hidden features.

7. Therawheel
My friend's brother invented this gem. "Therawheel is the ONLY therapy product that rolls, glides, and compresses ANY soft tissue in ANY direction." Imagine a foam roller, but 100 times better. Their website is great because it offers videos and tips on how to use the Therawheel to aid in recovery and pain relief. This product is a  must for your nagging pains and soreness after workouts!

8. Running Medal Display
For those of you who have a lot of medals, this is a great way to display them! You can hang it in your office, home gym, or heck be proud and hang it in the living room! Where ever you decide to put it, you can be sure that it will serve as a constant motivation to get back out there and keep racing!

9.Marathon Jewelry 
You can't wear your medal around your neck everyday, but you can boast this beautiful piece of jewelry. I plan on buying this just to keep me motivated for my first marathon. Have pride in your successes!

10. Cyclists Ornament
Don't forget about the cyclists and triathletes out there. This pewter ornament would be great to top a gift with or for a stocking. The best part is, at $11.50 it won't break the bank!

I hope you all enjoy these gift ideas. Let me know what is on your list in the comments below! I'm always looking for things to add to my wish list!


Month of Gratitude:
This morning while eating breakfast I realized how grateful I am that I have choices in regards to what I eat. I can eat oatmeal, eggs, etc...many people are given one choice, eat what's in front of them or starve to death. Thank you Lord for providing for me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Health Freak Christmas Guide

I'm not one to start my Christmas shopping early because I have a really hard time holding on to the gifts before Christmas. Just ask my mom, I'm pretty sure every year she gets her gifts a week early just because I cannot contain my excitement. I almost did the same thing with my 2 year old nephew this weekend. I took him to the Disney store and had to really hold myself back from buying him every little thing he asked for. Luckily I showed a little self control.

He tried to fit every stuffed animal in his arms. 
With Christmas right around the corner I'm sure some of you are wondering what you should get that friend of yours that is a health freak, gym rat, and yoga pants collector (hmm...that sounds like me). Well, you could walk around your local running store or Sports Authority all day trying to find the perfect gift, or you could just make life simple and pick from my list below.

I have a couple of the items below, but there also a lot of the items that I want to buy (hint: Kyle).Please note that I not paid by any of these brands to promote their items. This wish list was generated by me as a girl who loves workout products!

A Fitness Guru's Wish List
1. Athleta Odyssey Chatarunga Yoga Knickers
Kyle bought me these a couple months ago, and I am obsessed! I wear them for yoga, pilates, running, cleaning, grocery shopping, and pretty much every other activity that permits yoga pants. They are true to size, and relatively affordable for yoga pants. I own them in charcoal but I'm always open to other colors! A girl can never have too many pairs of yoga pants!

2. Women's Nightlife Essential Run Jacket II
For those of you who live in the Midwest, I'm sure you find yourself running in more darkness than day light. That is why this jacket is a perfect holiday purchase! If you buy the yellow one, you are bound to stick out in any crowd while running, so it's perfect for running safety! I personally, want the pink one, but that's just because it matches my running shoes! I have not tried this jacket yet, but from the reviews it seems to be breathable and "doesn't stick to sweaty arms." That's a big seller for me because I have one jacket that I love to wear running, but post runs I have to peel that sucker off.

3. Road ID
Another runner safety product. I bought one of these after hearing that my heart was enlarged and because you can never be too cautious as a runner. I have the Wrist ID Elite, and I love it. It fits similar to a watch, and you size it yourself.

4. Lululemon No Limits Tank
Now, this is one of the top things on my wish list. I love Lululemon's workout tops and I've seen a lot of women at the gym with this one. A lot of workout tops claim to have built in bras, but they don't offer a lot of support. This one appears to offer the same support as an actual sports bra, and I must admit it looks super cute! There's nothing better than looking good at the gym because it really boosts your confidence and improves your workout.

5. Yoga Towel
Somehow I have managed to do yoga for the past 5 years without one of these amazing towels. I always say that I need to pick one up, but somehow I manage to never do it. These towels are great for enhancing your yoga practice and ensuring you don't slip when doing arm balances and headstands. Check it out, and while you're buying it send one my way too!

I will share 5 more ideas with you in another post this week. Stay tuned!


Month of Gratitude:
Today I am thankful to live in such a beautiful place. I am daily amazed at how much God has blessed me by letting me in live in the city of Chicago. I am so thankful that He has allowed me wake up every morning and look out my window at the lake and city. God is so good to me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Apple and Pear Brie Crostini

I received the best package ever last week! Chobani surprised me with my own custom case of my favorite Greek yogurt: Lemon, Pomegranate, and Plain! Yum!!! I was seriously like a kid on Christmas opening up the box!

It's true, I am a "Chobaniac"
Chobani, I must tell you, you made me one happy blogger! I was tempted to skip dinner and just eat yogurt, but I decided I'd end dinner with a Chobani dessert instead! Best part of my day! What's your favorite Chobani flavor?

Chobani Time!
With Thanksgiving only a week and a half away, I have another healthy recipe for your holiday dinner...Apple and Pear Brie Crostini. I originally got this idea from the Craving Chronicles, and I knew right away that I had to make it for my Thanksgiving party. Craving Chronicles made it with apples, but I also tried it with pears and it was equally delicious. I may even try it with fig preserves next.

This recipe is so easy that I even hesitate to call it a recipe. Basically, you just throw a handful of ingredients together and it's done! Give this a try for Thanksgiving or even for a Sunday snack. Enjoy!

                                                               Apple and Pear Brie Crostini
                                                     Recipe Inspired from Craving Chronicles


1 Whole Wheat Baguette, Cut into thin slices
8 oz Brie Cheese, cut into small pieces that will fit on the crostini
1 Honey Crisp Apple, Slice thin
1 Pear, Slice thin
1/4 C Chopped Toasted Pecans


1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Brush both sides of each bread slice with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 2. Toast the bread for 5 minutes. Half way through the time, flip each slice to get each side extra toasty.
3. Once the bread is toasted, top each slice with a piece of brie. Return the pan to the oven and bake for a 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Make sure you keep an eye on it because you do not want the crostini or cheese to burn.
4. Top each crostini with either a pear or apple, or get crazy and top it with both! Drizzle with honey and a few pecans.
5. Eat immediately, and enjoy:)


Month of Gratitude:
Today I am thankful for my adorable nephew. He keeps our family young, and is a gift from God. I may live 2 hours from him, but I am thankful that Facetime lets us bridge the distance. I love you Korbin!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking

Thanksgiving is two weeks away from tomorrow! Hope that doesn't freak anyone out too much! As stated in my earlier post, I will be hosting for a small group this year. I am very excited to host, but mostly excited to finally use all of the serving dishes that I got from my wedding!

I love Thanksgiving, but I'm always cautious to not eat too much because many traditional dishes are loaded with calories and fat. According to ACE Fitness, the average Thanksgiving meal has around 3,000 calories! Ah, just writing that number makes me feel like I just gained weight. Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to not eat on Thanksgiving. That would just be cruel. Instead, over the next two weeks, I will provide you with some healthier Thanksgiving options that you can serve.

Last night, I tried out my first homemade stuffing. After doing a lot of research, I found a recipe for Cornbread and Turkey Sausage Stuffing. It was delicious! A lot of stuffing recipes are loaded with butter and pork sausage, but this one has no butter and uses Italian turkey sausage. Therefore, the fat content is drastically lower!

I also love this stuffing because it is filled with flavor, low in sodium, and extremely moist. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it's really easy to make? Give this recipe a try for your Thanksgiving dinner or for dinner tonight. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and remember that you can avoid Holiday weight gain with Fueling Strong!

Also, today I am so honored to have my blog featured on Fit Blogger. For those of you who have not checked it out yet, click here to see the feature. Fit Blogger is an awesome community of health and wellness bloggers, who share my similar passion of helping others achieve their fitness goals.

                                               Cornbread and Turkey Sausage Stuffing
                                                           Recipe from Eating Well
                                                          Serves 12 (1 C Servings)


1 Pound Sweet Italian Turkey Sausages (about 4 links), casings removed
1 Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
4 Celery Stalks, Finely Chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 tsp salt
Ground Pepper, to taste
12 Cups Prepared Cornbread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 C Parsley, Chopped
1 T Fresh Sage, Chopped
1.5 - 2 C Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth

Start Cookin'

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet, brown the turkey sausage. Once the  meat is browned, drain the fat in a colander and rinse the meat to get rid of any extra grease.
3. Place the meat back in the saute pan and add the onion and celery. Cook this for about 10 minutes until the veggies are tender.
4. Transfer the meat mixture into a large bowl and add season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the cornbread, sage, and parsley and mix gently. Be careful not to break up the corn bread too much.
6. In a small pan, bring the broth to a simmer. Ladle 1 C of broth over the bread mixture and gently stir. Continue to add broth by 1/2 C increments until the bread is moist but not wet.
7. Transfer the stuffing into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.


Month of Gratitude:
I am grateful to have parents who have never held me back from achieving my dreams. They constantly told me to chase my dreams no matter how far from home my endeavors took me. I am grateful that to this day they still support my decisions, and encourage me to fly. Love you mom and dad!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Traveling to a Food Desert

Well, that weekend flew by! Kyle and I woke up at 5AM on Saturday to drive to Waverly, Iowa for his rugby playoffs. For those of you who have not been to Waverly, well... you're not missing too much. It's a very small town with one or two hotels, no Starbucks, but lots of Midwest charm.

The only hotel in town resembled an old nursing home..gag
Unfortunately, the boys didn't win, but it was a fun weekend. One of my first concerns was how I was going to get a quality workout in? Thankfully, I was able to find a decent hilly area, so I took some time to indulge in that. While running I also stumbled across a high school track, so I did a track workout too. I haven't done a legit track workout since college because it's hard to find an outdoor track in the city that isn't locked to keep gangs out.

Thankfully, in this small town they keep theirs open! For those of you looking for a good speed workout, try my track workout:

 - 1 Mile Warm Up
 - 2.5 Mile Race Pace
 - 10 - 100 M sprints with 15 seconds in between each sprint 
 - 400 M Recovery Lap
 - 4 - 200 M sprints with 30 second rests between each spring
 - 1 Mile cool down jog

I've grown to love this place.

Thanks Waverly-Shell Rock High School for letting me use your track, and for bringing back some great volleyball track workout memories!

Whenever I go to a small town, I always find it hard to find healthy food. It's almost like a lot of small towns are food deserts. By this I mean, they have limited access to healthy food. Prime example, while at breakfast on Sunday, the waitress brought me some strawberries for my oatmeal. Well, I assumed they would be fresh strawberries. Bad assumption. She brought me this gooey mess.

Unfortunately, receiving these led me on one of my nutrition rants to Kyle. I'll save you the pain of hearing every little word of my rant, but in a nut shell... It saddens me that people think products like this strawberry syrup are healthy because it has fruit in it. It does have fruit, but it also has a lot of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other scary ingredients.

Needless to say, those strawberries stayed in that bowl where they belonged. Anyone else experience a lack of healthy food choices in really small towns?

Well, good news is that I am back in Chicago and ready for another productive week of work, eating healthy, and working out. Have a great week everyone!


Month of Gratitude:
Today I am thankful for all of the healthy restaurants in Chicago. I love knowing that I can walk down the street and get an organic meal, and not have to worry about what the cook tried to sneak into my dish.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Aunty Brag Book

I think I am still in denial that it is already November! That means it's time to start planning my Thanksgiving menu (partially done), decide what to buy Kyle, and start the rest of my Christmas shopping. O boy! Before I get too involved in the upcoming holidays, I want to take a second to turn my blog into an Aunty Brag Book.

Yep, that little cutie went as the world's cutest lion cub for Halloween! We Facetimed for a little bit, and let me tell you his little roar was the cutest thing ever! While I'm on the topic of Halloween, Kyle went as a basketball player with too short of shorts and I went as Jay Cutler with his new baby and baby carrier. Now that I think about it, Kyle kind of resembles a gymnast with his outfit as well.
Being Jay Cutler required lots of pouty faces. 
Were you guys able to say NO to the Halloween candy? My mom helped me defeat my candy cravings with an Edible Arrangement! When I saw it at the front desk, I contemplated not telling Kyle because I love fruit that much, but I was nice.

This included chocolate covered pineapple... delicious! 
In addition to devouring this masterpiece, I also made Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew. It was so good I forgot to photograph it for all of you, but just go to the link and try the recipe out! I forgot to add the coconut milk at the end, but without it was still delicious and a satisfying protein filled meatless meal!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I am off to Iowa tomorrow morning for Kyle's rugby play offs. Here's to hoping there are some decent places to run. Keep fueling strong this weekend!

Month of Gratitude:
Many people write on Facebook about what they are thankful for throughout the month of November. I thought I'd do the same with my blog. Every post I will post something different throughout the month.

Today I am thankful for my husband and his positive outlook on life. He helps me see the best in every situation, and has helped me to worry less about the uncontrollables in life. He may not realize it, but he inspires me every day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Windy City Running + Breakfast On The Go

You would think after living in Chicago for a year and half that I would get used to the wind, but nope. We are expecting 50 MPH winds today and 25 foot waves in Lake Michigan. I actually contemplated going for a run, but...

     1. The Lake Front Trail is closed because it's a bit dangerous to run with 25 foot waves crashing over the wall.
     2. I can barley fight the wind walking to work, so running may prove to be difficult.

I guess that means I'll stick to the treadmill and cross training until these winds subside. Speaking of winds, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you on the east coast!

I know most of you who are runners were thinking this upon hearing about the storm.
I cannot believe it's almost November! That means the Holiday's are right around the corner. If this stresses you, sorry that I reminded you. I'm actually pretty excited about Thanksgiving this year because I will be hosting for a small group. Over the next month, I will be testing out some healthy Thanksgiving recipes, and sharing them with you. Who said Thanksgiving had to be dominated by unhealthy food?

In the mean time, I made some delicious Cinnamon Vanilla Overnight Oats for breakfast this morning. I love to make overnight oats because in the morning I can just grab them on the go. That's right, you can skip the McDonald's drive-thru because these oats are even more convenient and 100% healthy.

I'm sure throughout the life of this blog, I will share several overnight oat recipes with you because they are so versatile. This is a very basic recipe, but feel free to spice it up with mix ins like berries, nut butters, etc. You really can't go wrong.

                                                 Cinnamon Vanilla Overnight Oats
                                                                      Serves 1

1/2 C Old-Fashioned Oats
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 T Flax Seed
1 tsp Honey
1 T Vanilla Protein Powder
1 C Vanilla Soy Milk (or milk of choice - if you use regular milk add 1/2 tsp of vanilla) [If you want your oats more thick, reduce the amount of milk]


1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a Tupperware container or jar.
2. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
3. In the morning you can add other toppings like: berries, banana, nut butters, etc.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Always Happy Hour At Work

It's National Pumpkin Day!! I know, the whole month of October has looked like National Pumpkin Day on my blog because every recipe includes it, but that's just because I love the ingredient. I think I'll celebrate the day with pumpkin lentil soup. Don't worry, I'll report back with a recipe this weekend! In the mean time, celebrate this day with some of my other pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin Banana Muffins
Pumpkin Quesadillas
Pumpkin Oats 
Pumpkin Butter

Yesterday at work we had our monthly cocktail competition. Every month 5 people concoct the best cocktails, and we have a happy hour. This month I decided to participate with Apple Pie Punch. A couple years ago, the Coleman family knocked me off my feet (literally) with this drink at a tailgate, and since then I've been obsessed.

I'll admit, I don't drink a lot since it throws me off of my training and because I'm a health freak, but I do enjoy a fine glass of red wine at least once a week and a good tequilla on the rocks. (Thanks for making me a wine snob mom!) Anyway, this drink is one exception I make during the fall because it tastes like straight apple cider, and it's perfect for tailgates!

I won this nutcracker trophy. I fits in well on my bookshelf with my Butler stuff. 
Well, I knew they would be a crowd-pleaser for the competition, and I was right. I won!! I know many of you have tailgates and Halloween parties coming up, so I figured I'd share the recipe with you as well. Let me warn you now, be careful drinking these!! You cannot taste the alcohol, so they will creep up on you quickly. A little goes a long way.

                                                                  Apple Pie Punch
                                                        Inspired by the Coleman Family

1 Gallon Apple Juice
1/2 Gallon Apple Cider
4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Liter Everclear


1. Combine the apple juice and cider in a large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks and cook on a medium setting for 2 hours. Make sure not to boil the mixture, just let it simmer. Stir occasionally (every 30 minutes or so).
2. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Add 1 Liter of Everclear and cheers!