Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

I Made It! {And I need cooking advice.}


Well, I made it through NaBloPoMo posting everyday for the entire month of November. It was a challenge, but I found that it wasn’t as difficult as I had thought. I have so many ideas popping around in my head and I was able to finally put some down in print.

I finally put up a bunch of Restaurant Impressions {which is my husband’s favorite part of the blog}, some of which we’d experienced quite awhile ago. Other times, I posted these impressions within a few days of dining there. {And I’ve found that is always the best when everything is fresh in my mind and I can still taste the food.}

But now I’m going back to posting about three to five times a week. If you are still following, you may have been getting sick of daily posts anyway, right? 😉

This week…



I have three days available to cook and then we’ll use the leftovers. Here is what I intend to make:

  • Mediterranean Risotto courtesy of my November Foodie Penpal {Thanks, Brandi!} along with flank steak. Anybody got a good recipe to make it flavorful and tender? I’ve never cooked flank steak before because it’s not Rob’s favorite cut. But it was on sale and is grass fed beef! I have about 3/4 pound. I would love it to be well-seasoned and tender. We usually eat filet mignon or sirloin and like medium rare. Suggestions welcome!
  • Pasta with this arrabbiata pesto. I found this jar in the store and bought it on a whim because we love spicy sauces! Any suggestions for a protein with this one? I think some sliced chicken breast would work well. But since Rob is allergic, do you think sliced pork chops will be okay?
  • Something easy with ground beef. What’s your favorite, easy go-to?



Despite my attempts to plan fitness every Monday, it just hasn’t been happening. To get back in the groove, I’m in search of a core strengthening program for those who’ve had back surgery. I’m finding that even “easy” yoga and “basic” pilates are still difficult for me. And I want to have that core strong before I attempt to begin running again.

Until then, I need to do what’s best for the back and keep walking

Please, give me your best tips and recipe suggestions for the above!


Fitness Walking {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


Since this is a short week, it’s not going to be much of a Food & Fitness Plan for me…



There is only one cooking night available this week. I don’t want to go grocery shopping, so I’ll be throwing together some things from the freezer, fridge and pantry. Wish me luck!


It’s not a secret that I’ve been failing here lately. I thought I found my calling when I started running. I thought it was the thing that worked for me. I had races I’d signed up for. I had a schedule, a plan in place. I found such a sense of accomplishment every time I improved. I loved the endorphin rush.

But since my back surgery and slowly got back int the swing of things, I thought I could begin the Couch t0 5k again. But every time I have pain in my back, I don’t want to risk it getting worse. I think the pounding may be doing the harm. I’ve decided once I’ve lost the weight, I can go back and try running again. That’ll be less tough on the back.

For now, I need to get back to walking. Besides, it is the best form of exercise for the back. And for this crazy week, the plan is just to get 10,000 steps in a day.

Fitness Walking

So let’s talk a bit about Fitness Walking. Having been a runner for an entire year, walking just sounds so boring to me now. While I do find a greater sense of accomplishment and release from running, we all know walking is a great form of inexpensive exercise that anyone can do.

The debate on why running can be more beneficial to your health weight loss can be found here… and here.

Yet we all know that walking is an excellent place to start for those who cannot run quite yet. And it can be easier on the body.

I recently picked up a copy of the Weight Watchers Complete Walking Guide from a second hand store. Here are some facts the surprised me or were new to me:

  • In a study from Duke University Medical Center, researchers found that walking 11 miles a week for 6 months prevents people from gaining visceral fat – the fat around your stomach and internal organs that’s linked to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

  • Just like running, regular walking strengthens bones. The faster and longer you walk, the greater the benefit.

  • Studies have shown that you can help preserve your memory, attention and learning ability as you age by walking a minimum of 2 to 3 hours a week at an easy pace, defined as walking a mile in 20 to 30 minutes.”

  • Studies have shown that women who walk more than 10,000 steps per day have less body fat, a lower BMI and a lower waist/hip circumference than those who walked less than 6,000 steps per day.

  • 75% of successful maintainers recorded in the National Weight Loss Registry list walking as their main form of physical activity.

  • It’s normal to feel some aches and pains particularly in your calves, shins and hips. The pain will ease as your muscles and joints adjust to being challenged in new ways.  Learn the difference between aches and soreness and true pain where you are pushing too hard and should back off!

  • Blister Deterrent: Use water or rubbing alcohol on your feet before walking. Dry feet completely before putting on socks.

  • City Walking – A study from the University of Pittsburgh showed that walking at a leisurely pace still gets results. You shouldn’t even try to speed-walk down city streets dotted with delivery men, commuters and people pushing strollers. Researchers at the Uuniversity of Colorado at Boulder found that obese individuals burned more calories and reduced the impact on their joints when they walked at a leisurely place over a longer period of time (about 2 miles per hour) than when they walked in faster, shorter spurts.

     I need to remember these things when I start t think of walking as boring, especially on a treadmill in the winter. 😉

How do you make exercise more fun?


An Apology: It’s Pumking not PumpKing


I feel like an idiot.

I thought Rob told me that I was spelling Pumking wrong. I thought he told me that I was leaving out the second “p” in the word in my recent posts and that I needed to add it. When I posted on Tuesday, I made sure to add that “p” so as not to disrespect one of my favorite fall/seasonal beers!

But I was wrong. He was telling me the opposite.

How could I be wrong? After all, I did spell it correctly here and here. Right?

But then I spelled it incorrectly here, here and then not only in the post, but also in the title: here.

Talk about inconsistent.

Southern Tier Pumking Ale

Southern Tier Pumking Ale

This beautiful, delectable fall beer is called Pumking, NOT Pumpking and I need to show it some respect. How dare I spell it incorrectly and then insist that you try to find this beer only to be lost… Or maybe you even found a knockoff that doesn’t even begin to showcase what this beer is all about! YIKES!

You know what’s funny?

It’s about this time of year that I start getting annoyed with all the pumpkin-flavored this and pumpkin-flavored that ads and blog posts. Enough pumpkin already!

But really, I don’t mind pumpkin. In fact, I actually really do like it. I don’t even know why I get annoyed by all the pumpkin-ing this time of year. Maybe I’m just bombarded by it. It’s overkill. Despite this, I have a Pinterest board of recipes labeled “Stupid Pumpkin Bandwagon.” Talk about contradictory.

So the fact that I keep jamming this beer down your throat is a bit hilarious, really.

I have not gone back to fix those mistakes in previous posts because I’m woman enough to own up to them. And I need to give Southern Tier’s Pumking another day in the limelight for my mistake…

It’s excellent in the bottle, but even better on tap.  And it’s probably on my list of Top 10 beers of all time. If Pumking’s on tap, I’m never gonna turn it down. So if you haven’t tried it yet, well, you better – before it’s gone. The season is almost over. GO SEEK IT OUT NOW!

Have you enjoyed a Southern Tier Pumking before?

If not, what’s holding you back!?

What’s your favorite pumpkin-flavored dish/meal/snack/goodie/beverage?


The Hidden Falls We Never Found {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


This weekend, I crossed another LOST Virtual Running Series Station off the list!

Rob and I went on another one of my favorite dates – a long walk. Only this time, it was more like a hike!

A friend recommended that we check out Hidden Falls Park along the Mississippi River, on the St. Paul side.

I actually forgot about wanting to complete the LOST Tempest Station 9k. I ended up starting my MapMyRun app after we turned around so that I’d know how much I’d have to add on when we reached our starting point before heading in the other direction. That means…





LOST Tempest Station 9k


We walked some of it along the river, where there was a level beach with some sand…

005I ran a portion of the paved trails…

016And on our way back, we hiked our way along the rocky shore, scaling anything that came in our path.

040Sometimes, we’d walk through the woods to get off the beaten path…

I loved the gnarly roots of some of the trees…

007It was such a beautiful fall day along the river.

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But we encountered a few things had me thinking that if we were LOST characters, they might make us curious:

Only we weren’t in the jungle.

We never did find the falls. But that’s okay. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the walk and the extra effort we put in to hike and explore. Our reward?

046We happened on this place and soon found out that it was a University of Michigan bar! And the football game was about to begin. Have I mentioned that that is Rob’s Alma Mater?! He was in heaven.

We ordered the Smoked Pulled Pork Nachos with double meat to split. They were in no way gourmet, but pretty good! Everything else that came out of the kitchen looked like your basic bar food without much character. The 40 beers on tap were varied; but there weren’t many that wooed us.

We couldn’t stay for the entire game, but it was a nice ending to a great walk. The fact that there are Michigan alumni watching games there may be the reason that we go back to the Rail Station Bar & Grille!

Click to find out how I completed the other LOST Stations!

Station 1 – the Arrow 4k and Station 2 – the Hydra 8k

Station 3 – the Swan 15k

Station 4 – the Flame 16k

Station 5 – the Pearl 23k

Station 6 – the Orchid 42k

Additional Stations:

Station 7 – the Staff 7k

Station 8 – the Looking Glass 8.15k

Click here to participate yourself!

Now it’s time for the Food & Fitness Plan for the week:


Last week included a few #kitchenfails and more eating out that I’d like to admit. However, the workouts were pretty good!

Now this week is going to be a little strange…


  • Dinners
    • Monday – Monday Night Football! I have a sort of green-and-gold dish that should suit the evening: Crockpot Carnitas = pork loin in a crock pot with salsa verde. I found it here and just happened to have the ingredients on hand! Where’s the gold, you ask? Well, we’ll be topping it with cheddar cheese, of course! Go, Pack, Go!
    • Tuesday – I’m getting my hair done, so I’ll probably just make a couple of these Egg Rolls when I get home. Oooo… Or maybe a black bean burger! It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those. I love this brand/flavor that I get at Costco. Sometimes I put it on an Everything Bagel Thin with a slice of tomato and dollop of guac.
    •  Wednesday – Leftovers
    • Thursday – Sunday – Rob’s parents are in town from Michigan! We’ll be dining out, but I’ve also got the ingredients for this chili and these meatballs on hand.
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches
    • I made some Green Curry Chicken on Sunday for myself for the week! Add that to my snacks of a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate, some almonds and either an applesauce or Chobani and we’re good!


  • Monday – Walk on Treadmill 
  • Tuesday – REST
  • Wednesday – Walk on Treadmill
  • Thursday – Elliptical in AM
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Go for a walk?
  • Sunday – Walk on Treadmill
  • 30-day Arm Challenge

Football fans, what is your favorite dish to bring to a football party?

Or, if you tailgate, what’s your favorite tailgating food/dish?





On November 1st, after my first post of the month was already written, I decided to participate in NoBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). This is a challenge to submit a post every day all month long. So that is why you see here my very first Sunday post! Normally, I post about three to six times per week, depending on what’s going on in my life and when I feel like writing.

I decided to accept this challenge in hopes that I can truly make an attempt to write shorter posts. I can write with less of a plan in mind and more about what’s on my mind, perhaps.

So here goes.

Last week, I filled up my first journal ever. You see, I used to start. Stop. Start a new one. Start. Stop. Start a new one… I’ve always tried to use journaling as a way to work out my feelings. But I found that it usually made me feel worse. I never felt better getting all of those negative thoughts out on paper. It just made me think about them more.

This year, I started another journal… and filled it. And that journal was one completely filled with gratitude. I’ve since bought a new journal to continue this practice. I encourage you to do the same. It’s life-changing. It helps me to focus on the positive.

I’ve recently seen on Facebook a challenge to post something you are thankful for every day for the month of November. I love reading everyone’s posts! It fills my heart with joy. In addition, Running with Racheal hosts a Thankful Thursday. I love all of this gratitude in the air!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could continue this gratitude all year long?!

You can. Just keep a journal. Write ten things you are grateful for every day and WHY. Do it every day, when you wake up each morning. Or as early in the day as possible. It will change your day… and then, your life.

Today, I am grateful for my nephew.

It’s his sixth birthday today! Although I only see him about four times a year, I adore that boy’s smile and laugh. I believe that the photos below were taken over Easter in 2012 when we were playing around with my iPhone camera. If that is our most recent photo, it reminds me that I need to remember to take more pictures with him! He’s growing so fast!

Happy Birthday, Ryker!

So, tell me. What are you grateful for today?