Monthly Archives: September 2011

What I Ate Wednesday!

First of all, congratulations to Clare at Fitting it All In on her 1 year blogging anniversary! She’s having a giveaway, so be sure to check out her blog today (and everyday)!

It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday! This is my second time participating (I forgot last week…) and I think it’s a fun idea! Especially since I don’t usually put everything I eat on the blog!

But first – a recap of my Kappa Delta Alumni Dinner last night! When I first moved to Chicago, I immediately joined the KD Alumni group in the city. My sorority was a huge part of my life in college and I was hoping to meet some great women through the alumni group! We meet up every couple of months (we try for every month…) at different restaurants or events. Last night we had dinner at Market Bar & Restaurant.

I took the bus there straight from school and when I got off to walk to the restaurant, I passed Harpo Studios, where Oprah was filmed! I knew it was in the area but it was such a shock! Haha, I was grinning like a kid at Christmas, I just thought it was so cool to see somewhere that I’ve only seen on TV!

When I arrived at the restaurant, I was very impressed with the look. It was pretty urban, with great wood paneling and concrete and brick. Very cool vibe. I used the bathroom downstairs, and honestly, the whole walk down there was a little bit trippy! I should have taken a picture (didn’t bring my phone with me) but the way the wood paneling was and the x-ray pictures along the wall – I almost got dizzy! And no, I wasn’t drinking. Haha.

A couple of the girls ordered the popcorn shrimp as an appetizer. I was shocked to see it come out with real popcorn! It was a really cute way of serving the dish!

I tasted the popcorn, which was tossed with Parmesan, chives and truffle oil. I’d never had flavored popcorn (other than kettle corn) so it was really interesting to try. They had about a million options on their menu, I had such a hard time deciding! I ended up ordering the Ahi Tuna Salad.

The salad was absolutely delicious, however, it was VERY SMALL! I know it looks big, and along with an appetizer it would have been perfect. But since I had already eaten so little after not feeling well all day, it definitely didn’t fill me up! I was hungry when I got home! The noodles that were mixed in with it were absolutely delicious though – and I loved the seared tuna.

This morning, I did a four mile run. I was up and out the door because I had to be back and ready to go early for breakfast with someone exciting!

I ended up running the 4 miles in 35:45 for an average of a 8:55 min/mile pace. My legs were a little sore and my knees hurt afterwards, so I’m going to be sure to stay away from running for the next two days before my 10K this weekend!

Mileage Breakdown:

Mile 1 – 9:18
Mile 2 – 8:31
Mile 3 – 8:50
Mile 4 – 8:58

After my run, I was off to meet my sorority sister, Katie (great name…), for breakfast! Katie was in the pledge class below me and was my “niece” if you will. Haha. It’s confusing, but she was technically family. She happened to be in the city for 2 days with her mom and sister (she surprised her mom!). It was great to see her, especially since she’s moved to Virginia since I last saw her!

We went to the Goddess and Grocer for breakfast. I had heard a lot about the place and knew I wanted to try it. Since it was right by her hotel, we decided to check it out!

It has a lot of prepared food, some grocery items, and then some sandwiches and breakfast items to order. It reminded me (and Katie) a lot of a place in Charleston called Caviar and Bananas, which I used to practically live in! I decided to get the breakfast burrito and it was pretty good! The eggs were really fluffy and the wrap was delicious. However, it came with black beans but I was a little disappointed that they were just spread out a bit in the eggs. I guess I was expecting a more dense showing of beans, haha. I do wish they’d given me a little more salsa too, it really added some flavor!

It was so great to catch up with Katie, and see a familiar face from college! It reminded me just how much I miss Charleston and all my friends there.

So, now that you’ve seen my breakfast, it’s time for the rest of What I Ate Wednesday! Since I had to pack my whole meal, I can show you everything in the morning!

Peas and Crayons

My snacks for the day (I plan on eating the apple right after my first class (since I have a meeting to run to) and then the cheerios whenever I feel hungry!

For lunch today (and all week) I have the butternut squash fries that I made this weekend, some tofu (that I cheated and bought at the Whole Foods salad bar) and a stir fry of squash and broccoli slaw. It looks gross, but it tasted soooo good! And a peach on the side!

For dinner, I packed a salad with Romaine lettuce, yellow pepper, some leftover wheatberries, 1/2 cup chick peas, and then some olive oil (healthy fat!) and balsamic vinegar for dressing.
Does anyone else belong to any kind of alumni associations or groups like the KD Alumni Association? I love staying involved and hope that in the future I can get involved as an adviser with a local Kappa Delta Chapter!

Just a Little Bit Different

Hello there! How is everyone doing? Honestly, I’m not so good. Every time I’ve eaten something today, I’ve gotten a horrible pain in my stomach and nausea! It’s not pleasant. It started out with my breakfast, which was delicious, but not so much so about 20 minutes later… 
I started out my day with a 2 mile run on the treadmill (pace: 9:00 min/mile) and then a workout with my trainer! When I got back I showered, started laundry, and made a smoothie! In the mix: 1 fresh peach, 1/2 frozen banana, a couple stray frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 cups spinach, 1 tbsp flax, 1 packet of truvia, 1 scoop protein power and 1/4 tsp coconut extract. 
So far I’ve tried eating some ginger Cat Cookies (didn’t work) and some yogurt with blueberries and honey… again, painful. My biggest worry is that I have my KD Alumni dinner tonight! I don’t want to sit there in pain! 
So now that I’ve griped out my stomach issues enough for one day, I actually had some interesting thoughts sparked by my workout this morning with my trainer. We’ve been getting to know each other a bit and she mentioned today that she doesn’t drink much and not really into “going out” anymore. This started a conversation about how we both prefer feeling healthy and not spending all day hungover, over going out and drinking on the weekends. It was so nice to finally talk to someone who had the same perspective that I do! 
This conversation got me thinking on my walk home: that it’s okay to be a little bit different. One thing that I’ve struggled with here in Chicago is making friends, and a big part of that is I don’t like heading out at 10pm and drinking until 3 or 4 am. That seems to be everyone’s plans on the weekend and I found myself passing on invitations more and more frequently as 1L year went on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a serious night out for a special occasion and with the right people, just not all the time. I found that I couldn’t focus on any school work the whole next day after going out – and I basically would feel like crap! (HOW did I do this in college??)

I jokingly refer to myself as a self-proclaimed grandma, early to bed and early to rise. Although I try and make it funny, I often feel bad or guilty that I’m not like everyone else. Mostly that I’m not “embracing my youth.” People have told me to just go “out of my box” and push myself to go out with people even if I don’t want to. I tried doing this for a while, and I just didn’t enjoy it. Then when I stopped going out I felt bad about myself, the whole predicament gave me anxiety: either go out and be unhappy, or stay in doing what I like to do and feel guilty.


Then I found blogs. I started reading about other people who put having a healthy lifestyle and their fitness at the top of their priorities. Other “grandmas” were emerging from the woodwork and I couldn’t believe it! Reading these blogs has made me realize that I’m not a freak – there are plenty of other women my age who are just like me! The problem: I need to find them in MY life and not all across the country!

The biggest thing I’ve taken from this realization is that I just need to be me, and hopefully everything else will fall into place. If I keep doing activities that make me happy, hopefully I’ll meet other people who like doing the same thing and living the same healthy lifestyle. I’ve realized that some things are just more important to me than being like everyone else.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Any ways that you feel “different” from everyone else but are trying to embrace? 

Hunger Games = Addiction

Gooooooood Morning!

Here is my workout schedule for this week:

To start off my day, I headed to the gym for some cardio and a full-body workout. Usually I just do my upper body or lower body on strength training days, but since tomorrow I am working out with my trainer and I know she’ll be getting everything, I didn’t want one area to be particularly sore!

For my workout, I did my usual strength training routine:

10 min cardio
15-20 min strength
10 min cardio
15-20 min strength
10 min cardio
Stretch + Abs

On days when I have less time, I’ll do shorter strength training circuits or cut out some of the last cardio interval, but on days when I have a lot of time I tend to be there forever! I really like strength training and can get a little distracted… Today I ended up spending extra time strength training, so I cut the last cardio to 5 min so I could get out of there on time.

After my workout, I headed home to shower and eat breakfast! Today I made a simple smoothie with 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 cups spinach, 1 packet Truvia, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and 1 tbsp ground flax.

Today wasn’t too chilly, so a smoothie was just perfect!

Now on to my new addiction: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I tend to have issues when it comes to series or similar books – if I like one, I have to read ALL of them. For example: Harry Potter series, Shopoholic series, all books written by Jodi Picoult, Redwall series, and even some from childhood: Boxcar Children, Babysitters Club… You get the idea. I love stories that never end! I guess I get too “involved.”

Everyone seems to have heard of the Hunger Games at this point. My book club is discussing it in a couple weeks so I decided to finally buy it and dig in. Starting out, I actually had no idea what the book was about – I didn’t even read the back cover! Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised!

I really love that the book is based in a world that is not what we live in – it’s not mythical necessarily but seems to refer more to the future than anything, or at least an alternative to how we live, since it’s clearly supposed to be in America (references to the Rockies, the coal mining area across the country). I don’t want to reveal too much because I really enjoyed getting to read it from a fresh perspective, but the author really made me fall in love with the characters.

Also, I was hooked not just because I was dying to know what happens to everyone, but because the book is written in such an anticipatory manner! The rules of the “game” itself lead you to understand that anything could change at a moment, but the book itself felt that way as well. The author didn’t lay out exactly how the games took place until the characters reached each point in the process and that made it much more interesting. This definitely wasn’t the kind of book where you know how it’s going to end before you even begin.

Ah! I can’t even write this review because I’m so excited about it! It was a great look at the reality of human kind and what a person will do for survival, but also what a person will do for someone else. I highly recommend this book and I’ve already ordered the next two in the series! P.S. It’s going to be a movie!!! Haha, okay, okay, I’m getting carried away. But I love reading books that get me so excited and remind me why I love reading in the first place!

What are your favorite books or book series? Do you think reading is a waste of time in another reality, or a great way to stretch your brain and your view of the world you live in? 

Rainy Run and “Grown Up” Cooking

This morning was my long-run, 6 miles on the schedule again! I checked the weather before I left and it said it wasn’t supposed to rain until 2 or 3pm. Much to my surprise, it was sprinkling at 7:15am! I figured, oh it must be one cloud, I’ll just run and I’m sure it will stop.
It didn’t.
By the end of my 6 miles I was wet and frozen – so I just kept running home! I slowed down to a jog but I didn’t want to walk much because I was cold and wet and just wanted to get home!
The run was actually very interesting though, because I didn’t realize that there was a run happening on my usual path this morning. It was the Newton Ready to Run 20-miler, which is a run used to help marathon trainers get in that long run! I ran against the crowd (it was pretty thinned out) for the first 3.2 miles and then turned around and joined them! The bad part is that I would speed up to pass big pacing groups, so I kinda out did myself at the beginning and my legs were sore and exhausted for the last two. I pushed through though and finished the 6.36 miles in 56:56!
Here’s my mile by mile breakdown (and YES I finally figured out how to do this):
mile 1 – 9:07
mile 2 – 8:46
mile 3 – 8:48
mile 4 – 8:48
mile 5 – 9:05 <– starting to feel it here
mile 6 – 9:03
last 0.36 miles – 9:13
So happy to be done and heading home!

Not so pumped about my frozen hands…

When I got back I stretched, rolled and hit the shower! Then it was smoothie time! I figured I’d want some oatmeal since I was so cold, but I’d warmed up a bit by breakfast time and for some reason I feel like my workout is never complete without a smoothie! Today I made a peach banana smoothie. In the mix: 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 frozen peach (from the farmers market!), 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/4 tsp coconut extract and 1 packet truvia!

Mix-ins included the rest of my Multi-Grain Joe’s O’s, some freeze dried bananas from TJ’s, and another great Trader Joe’s find: a couple Cat Cookies! My best friend is obsessed with these cookies, so when I saw the ginger ones (she prefers chocolate) I had to get some!

Later on in the day, I decided to go ahead and make something I’ve been wanting to try and that will be part of my lunches this week: Butternut Squash Fries! I got the recipe from Chelsey on Clean Eating Chelsey. A ton of her recipes look great and I’ve been dying to try them out!

First I had to peel the outside of the squash – I thought it looked so pretty with the green lines!

Then I sliced it in half (again – so pretty!) and then into fourths. I scooped out the insides and then cut them up into “fry” sized pieces. This was much more difficult than I anticipated – my arm was working hard to chop through the squash!
I put them in a baggie with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Then I tossed around the bag to let it all mix together…
CHAOS ENSUED. My bag broke open (okay, I was getting a little crazy) so I had to clean that up. But it was all good. I let it marinade for 20 minutes, and then cooked them on a piece of tin foil on my “grill”, which is a mini grill that you plug in. They turned out delicious! Can’t wait to eat them this week!
I also tried a little something new for dinner! I made a salmon quesidilla and some stir-fried veggies! I had some leftover salmon from my lunch last week so I thought I’d throw it into a quesidilla! I used some chopped onions and cheese that I had left as well and put them on the new Ezekial tortillas I decided to try from Whole Foods. I microwaved this for 2 min.
As a side, I was going to just steam my chopped onion, squash and broccoli slaw, but I decided that I would get a little more “grown up” and cook them on the stove top! I added some garlic powder, salt, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and tossed them in a pan. The dinner was really good! I scarfed it right down!
Have you tried out any new recipes recently? Or started to try and cook more “grown up” for those of you fellow recent college grads? Haha or older…

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

Today was definitely a little mix of saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall! There were warm delicious oats for the fall, and there was a great game of Cubs baseball to send-off the summer! 
This morning I woke up and headed straight to the farmers market. I ended up getting a TON of apples, some bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and plenty of peaches!
When I got home, I decided to make some peach oatmeal:
1 peach (cubed)
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp crumbled walnuts
cinnamon to taste
To make my oats, I started with just the oats, milk and water on the stove top. I added in half the cubed peaches and tried to squish them up a bit. Then I added the cinnamon and vanilla to the oats. While they were cooking, I whisked around the peaches so they broke down and mixed in with the oats. 
Once enough liquid had evaporated, I poured the oats into a bowl and added the walnuts and the second half of the peach to the top! Mixing in the peach definitely added a great texture and taste to the oats! Perfect for a chilly fall morning. 
After my delicious breakfast, I got a little schoolwork done and then headed out to meet my brother and sister-in-law to head up to Wrigleyville for the Cubs game! 
We went to a bar that was supposed to be called Harry Caray’s, however, it had apparently been purchased and was re-named Club 162. Either way, it was right next to Wrigley Field and was a bar so it worked for us! Harry Caray was a famous sports broadcaster that covered several teams during his career, but his last two were the White Sox and then the Cubs. He was well known for singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch. Thus, we had wanted to go to the Harry Caray bar, since it was a landmark… haha or not. Although there is still another Harry Caray bar further downtown. 

After the bar, we headed over to the field to watch the game! It was a lot colder out than I expected and almost the whole stadium, including us, was in the shade. I’m sure during the summer that’s a blessing, but today it made the game freezing!

We had a great view though, thanks Harrison for the tickets! I ended up getting a Vienna hot dog, which is apparently famous here in Chicago. I’m not much into eating hot dogs since I know what’s in them… but since it was a Chicago classic I had to have one – and it was great! I was also sure to get it “Chicago Style” with mustard, relish and onions. NO ketchup!

The Cubs ended up beating the Houston Astros, so it was a good game to watch! Although I must say, some members of the crowd near us had a few too many beers and were a bit more entertaining than the game to watch. 
My first Cubs game was the perfect way to send off the summer! Although, my brother argued that September is still a summer month to him, but I feel like with school starting, cool temperatures, and all the great fall produce that it’s already fall. 
When do you think Fall starts? Do you stick with the calendar, or go with the weather and the overall feeling of the season?