Tag Archives: recipes

MN Craft Beer Week {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


Somehow, someway, Minnesota Craft Beer Week takes place just the week before American Craft Beer week.


It may be Cinco de Mayo, but today also kicks off Minnesota Craft Beer Week, aka 10,000 Minutes of MN Craft Beer. We are lucky here in MN to have gained quite a prominent craft beer scene over the last few years. In fact, our state is number two in the nation in terms of growth. I’m quite pleased to be able to try new beers here in Minnesota; but I also can’t quite keep up. 😉

Today, I thought about posting about all of the craft breweries in Minnesota. Then, I realized, that was quite an undertaking. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all of the beers Minnesota has to offer. And defining “craft” beer is a little complex. When I asked my husband what was his favorite, he went into explaining why one brewery I liked was not considered “craft” and why another was. Seriously? Right now, that is arbitrary.

What really matters is if we’re drinking local.

So as not to make this too complicated, I thought that I’d instead share just a few tidbits based on our experiences – thoughts for the visitor or for the locals who may want to narrow down their choices. You can find the entire list of Minnesota breweries here.

Just Traveling through the Twin Cities?

Got a layover at MSP? You can get a taste of our craft brews at the MSP Airport! According to Thrillist, “MSP’s bars and restos showcase over 15 regional and local breweries.”  You’ll find the bulk in Concourse G in Terminal 1 (Lindbergh) as well as a Local Craft Beer Gear shop with apparel and souvenirs of your favorites!


MN Breweries and Tap Rooms We’ve Visited:

  • Townhall Brewery (Minneapolis) – Established in 1997, this newly renovated brewpub is where we used to go before craft beer was cool in the Twin Cities. They brew their own beer, but serve others as well. It’s time for us to check out the renovation!
  • Excelsior Brewing (Excelsior) – Our favorite? The Mr. Jimmy Ruby Brown Ale
  • Lucid Brewing (Minnetonka) – The Lucid Cammo used to be our favorite DIPA (Double IPA), but since that has gone the wayside, we haven’t found much too spectacular.
  • Badger Hill Brewing – (Minnetonka, moving to Shakopee later in 2014) –  We’ve enjoyed their Foundation Stout best, but I’m curious about the new Traitor IPA!
  • Steel Toe Brewing (St. Louis Park) – This is one of Rob’s favorites. Try the Dissent Dark Ale {Trufthfully, it’s closer to a stout, but I believe there are some proprietary naming rights.}
  • Fulton Brewery (Minneapolis) – You can’t go wrong with anything here. The Sweet Child of Vine IPA is a solid choice, but my favorites are the seasonal Libertine and Worthy Adversary. Even Rob can handle a Lonely Blonde once in a while. 😉
  • Dangerous Man (Minneapolis) – You can only get their beer in their taproom! The Chocolate Milk Stout is the most revered; however, the Hazelnut Porter gets my winning vote. And the Triple IPA is DANGEROUS!


MN Brewery Visits on our Wishlist:

  • Surly Brewing (Brooklyn Park) – This is the local brewery that paved the way for all the MN craft brews to follow. We must get ourselves to the Brooklyn Park location before their new destination brewery opens up in Mpls. While I love the Surly Darkness, I don’t know if I have the patience to wait in line for a bomber of it one night a year like the rest of Surly Nation!
  • Hammerheart Brewing (Lino Lakes) – This brewery isn’t even a year old; but the first time I checked out their beer list, it included a bunch of Bourbon barrel beers. I don’t see them listed now, but they still show unique offerings besides your average/run-of-the-mill styles.


In addition to those listed above, here are some of our other local faves:

  • Surly (Brooklyn Park) – Furious IPA – a solid choice, which you’ll find many places on tap in the Twin Cities if you are visiting.
  • Summit (St. Paul) – Rob enjoys the Sága IPA, while I prefer the Oatmeal Stout. The Great Northern Porter is worth a try, too.
  • Lift Bridge (Stillwater) – Hop Dish IPA – I love a good IPA and I adore this name for a Minnesota Brew. {Hot Dish is a delicacy here. 😉 }
  • Flat Earth (St. Paul) – Cygnus X-1 Porter – Not long after they changed their recipe, I fell in love with this one at an Ike Reilly concert at the Turf Club, {You might get a glimpse of Rob and me in the front row in the Hanging Around video around 3:29 here.}
  • Bad Weather (Minnetonka) – Ominous Midwest Warmer – Usually better on tap than in the bottle.
  • Indeed (Minneapolis) – By now, you can tell that I generally drink darker beers and love a unique brew. My absolute fave here is the LSD Honey Ale. For a winter seasonal, it’s Stir Crazy, hands down.

And if you can’t make it to a taproom {i.e. you are in MN on a Sunday}, many local beers are served on tap wherever you go. But for the best selections, try these places.

Happy Minnesota Craft Beer Week!


Now it’s time for this week’s…planning




  • MondayPork Chops with Butter Sauce and Roasted Vegetables and/or these potatoes because I didn’t actually make this last week.
  • Tuesday – Dinner at my friend Kim’s
  • Wednesday – I found some Portabella & Asiago Smoked Beef Sausages at Aldi. Now the question is if I want to serve them along side the same veg and potatoes as I do on Monday or try this easy Grilled Sausage and Pesto Pasta recipe. Or I could just serve the sausages naked along side this more traditional pesto pasta recipe like I had in Cinque Terre, Italy. Decisions, decisions.
  • Thursday – Cooking for 1: Baked Tilapia with Tomatoes and an easy side. Suggestions?
  • Friday – TBD
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD


  • Quick & Easy Bowls My favorite combo lately is listed below. I assemble three bowls on Sundays for the week. When I get to work, I just pop it in the microwave at work for a minute or two:
  1. Base – handful of spinach or other greens
  2. Grain/Starch – 1/3 cup cooked brown rice
  3. Protein – 1/3 can garbanzo beans, drained
  4. Veggies – 1/3 can diced tomatoes and sauteed onion and zucchini
  5. Fat – These goat cheese medallions I found at Costco!
  6. SauceRoasted Tomato Dressing



This is the last week of the Couch to 5k! I can’t believe I’m running 20+ minutes straight. I’m slow and it’s so much harder than I remember! But, you’ve got to start somewhere…

  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 8, Day 1
  • Tuesday – Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 8, Day 2
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 8, Day 3
  • Saturday – Golf
  • Sunday – Yoga

What is your favorite local beer and brewery where you live?




Plated – Have You Tried it?


Last week, I had the pleasure of trying Plated for half-off.

Plated is a service that delivers all of the necessary fresh, ingredients {except for a basic few that you should already have on hand} to your door along with the recipes. I’ve been watching it for months now, but wanted to make sure there were two meals that I could make for my husband before testing it out. I also got 50% off my first two dishes for two people. You can, too, by clicking here.

First, you pick your delivery date.

For my zip code, the choices are Wednesday and Saturday. You do not have to be home to receive the items. I chose Saturday because I’m more likely to cook Monday, Tuesday than I am on Thursday or Friday! All items are shipped same day or next day air.

Then you pick your Plates.

There are about seven choices each week and you can pick as many as you want {with a minimum of four, which can mean two dishes each for two people or one dish each for four people.} There are Land, Sea & Veggie options every week. Dishes are also marked with the following so that you can pick meals according to your dietary restrictions or preferences:

  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Low Calorie
  • Low Cholesterol
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Spicy

They also indicate what minimal ingredients you’ll need at home for each dish. They are basic pantry ingredients or things they can’t ship like olive oil, salt and pepper or eggs. Each dish is also marked with the difficulty of prepartion as well as how long you should expect to make it. {However, I don’t think it’s ever taken me as long as they estimate. And I’m not exactly a swift chef in the kitchen!}


A la Carte cost is $15 for every two plates. You must order at least two plates of each dish. The minimum order is four plates total. Thus, minimum cost for those four plates is $60. This includes shipping.

Membership cost is $12 for every two plates, with the same minimum requirements per order. Your monthly membership cost is $10. If you plan to use Plated often, you can save some money with the membership option.

To test it out, you can get your first two plates free by clicking on my referral link here. At the time of this writing, this reduces your minimum four-plate order from $60 to $30.

Ingredient Arrival at My Doorstep

The box was bigger than I had anticipated:

photo 2(1)

But everything was packed well and insulated:

photo 4(1)

I took all of the ingredients out to examine them. Included are the recipe cards for each dish and a kool-it pack to keep the ingredients fresh. The ingredients are clearly marked and separated according to dish.

The Plates

Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Broccolini & Smashed Potatoes
560 calories (30 – 40 min)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time or know me at all, you know that I detest broccoli. Just the smell of it cooking makes me gag. But I chose this dish because it was pork, which Rob can have, and because he likes broccoli and I never make it for him. Also, I adore potatoes. But Rob only likes them in chip or fry form. In my mind, this was a compromise.

The first thing I really loved about Plated is that all of the ingredients are pre-measured, so you only receive what you need for the dish. I often buy pork tenderloins that make several servings. Rob doesn’t really care for leftovers. So either some gets wasted or I end up eating dried up pork for lunch three days in a row.

The marinade for the pork was recommended for 10 minutes to 2 hours. When I got home from work, I put the marinade ingredients {fresh ingredients – not a mix!} in a bag and added the pork. I put on my workout clothes and hopped on the treadmill to complete my session of the Couch to 5k. After a little stretching and a shower, my marinated pork was ready!

The marinade made the pork look really dark, almost like beef!

photo 3(4)

I was thinking broccolini was just little broccoli or something. But it is actually a hybrid of Chinese kale and broccoli.

photo 2(4)

According to my Plated recipe card, “Its long slender stalks and small florets cook quickly, and have a delicious sweet flavor.”  The broccolini did cook quickly. All I had to do is toss it with a bit of olive oil, garlic (provided) and salt and pepper and toss it in a 425-degree oven for ten minutes. But as for the flavor, I’d be the judge of that.

photo 4(4)


As for the smashed potatoes, I used garlic-infused olive oil to give them a bit more flavor. Rob ate some of them, but not all. That was success enough for me. {And there were a lot of potatoes.} We both raved over the broccolini. Okay, so it’s not broccoli, but it’s a start! If I can find it in the supermarket, I’ll be making it again soon.

What I also loved, were the directions for this meal. With all of the components, the timing of getting everything done to bring the dish together at the same time was spot on!

photo 5(4)

I’d make this dish again in a heartbeat. And now I know not only the recipe, but how easy it is to throw together and that we both love it. Rob couldn’t stop raving about how tender and perfectly seasoned the pork was and we both were blown away by the simple broccolini.


Beef Bibimbap
730 calories (40-50 min)

I didn’t really know much about this dish except for the fact that it was beef and that the ingredients were all those that Rob could have.

According to my Plated recipe card, “Bibimbap, or ‘mixed rice’ in Korean, is a traditional dish usually meant to incorporate leftovers. Rice is served in a hot pot to create a crust, and topped with individually prepared meats and/or vegetables.”

For that reason, there were a lot of little bits of different ingredients for this dish!

photo 1(5)


My final dishes didn’t look nearly as good as the the photo on the recipe card:

photo 2(2)

But it tasted superb. Another dish I’d make again! I did learn quite a few things before, during and after making this dish.

  • It didn’t take quite as long to make as I had anticipated, so it was done before Rob got home.
  • The cremini mushrooms were absolutely sensational. Rob isn’t a fan of spinach, but he ate them with the mushrooms!
  • I never knew Rob was allergic to cucumbers. I thought he just didn’t like them. They jumped out of his bowl and into mine.
  • I only gave Rob a few sprouts because I thought he didn’t care for those either, but apparently he loves them!
  • Rob doesn’t like a runny egg as much as I do.
  • The steak ended up a bit more rare than I like. It was chewy, too. I put mine back in the pan after I cut it up and seared each of the sides a little bit. I was trying to trust the sear on each side for two minutes and rest for five technique. I’d need to cook a little longer next time.
  • I totally forgot the sriracha! That would make this dish even better next time.

The only bad part about this dish is that…

I totally charred my favorite pan!

My mother-in-law gave me us a set of cookware some time ago and this non-stick skillet is the one I use the most. I love it because I can put it in the oven, too, like when I make my San Marzano Pasta.

I know this happened while searing the steak. The recipe did not have me adding any oil to the pan when sauteing the mushrooms with the spinach, nor when using the pan afterward to sear the steak. I found that a little strange, but trusted the process. Besides, the steak marinade had oil in it, too.

I’ve tried everything to save my pan. Soaking it, baking soda, etc… Do you have any suggestions? It may be time for a new stainless steel baby or a cast iron skillet. Any recommendations on brands and where to buy? Still, if I can save my fave, I will!

Despite that, I’d definitely make this dish again. Next time, maybe with ground beef.


Final Thoughts

We absolutely loved our experience with Plated! The cost may seem a little high. $60 for two-night’s meals for two people did to us. I could certainly get many more groceries for $60.

But consider the experience…

  • Trying Something New – I would have never made these two dishes otherwise.
  • Improving Cooking Skills – I now know that we like these dishes and I have the confidence to make them again!
  • Quality – Everything you receive is fresh. You receive ingredients like protein, vegetables, rice, soy sauce, mustard, etc. You don’t receive seasoning packets or mixes. This is not Hamburger Helper!
  • Taste – Take it from a girl who wants you to Season It Already!, the dishes we had were flavorful and better than what we expected.
  • Portion Size – They are generous. Although I think the calorie counts are a little high (600-900 per serving), you aren’t going to go hungry. You won’t get as much as ridiculously-portioned American chain restaurants serve, but you aren’t going to get a Lean Cuisine-sized meal either. It’s somewhere in between. No one will walk away feeling hungry. I thought that each meal could have probably served about three instead of two.
  • Healthy – These ingredients are fresh and for the most part, non-processed. If you are following a program where you want to eat clean or real foods, this will suit you. Weight Watchers Simply Filling followers rejoice! If you are concerned about calorie intake, you can choose a “low-calorie” dish or split the dishes into three instead of two portions.
  • No Waste – Everything is sent to you pre-measured. Normally, if you find a recipe that includes an ingredient that you don’t normally use, you will either 1) skip the recipe, 2) pay for an entire container that you’ll only use a portion of once and waste the rest, or 3) buy a perishable item that you only use a portion of and have to figure out how to use the rest before it spoils.
  • Service – Groceries are delivered to you and you do no meal planning for the meals you order. You don’t even have to think until you read the directions to cook!

We definitely are going to use Plated again. Not every week, but when we are needing a little inspiration or the dishes look incredible. I seriously think I could eat one of every dish from the April 12th delivery!

Want to try it now?

At the time of this writing, Plated just appeared on Shark Tank and are offering a four-plates-for-free for the first 500 people who sign up. If you choose to go that route, you will pay $20 shipping and you will be signed up for the Membership for $10/month.

Your other option as a new customer is to get two plates for free (minimum four plates, shipping included) by clicking here. This is my referral link and good anytime!

*I received half-off of Plated through another customer’s referral program. Plated did not provide me with any product nor compensate me in any way to write this review. All opinions are my own.


Now it’s time for…





  • MondayLazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole (with pork)
  • Tuesday – Blue Cheese & Bacon Mac & Cheese – I saw this and pictured my husband swooning! I hope it turns out. It’s a bit high-cal (but also high protein), so I’ll be serving myself a smaller portion, probably over spinach and topped with tomatoes!
  • Wednesday Zoodles with Meat Sauce. Or noodles. Depends if I can pick up some good zukes.
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – Poker Night
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD


  • Leftovers
  • Quick & Easy Bowls I didn’t actually make these last week because I was out of tomatoes – GASP! I did make one salad though with garbanzo beans and Caesar Dressing and it was to die for! Now that everything is right with the world and tomatoes are in the house, that Roasted Tomato Dressing will get made!
    1. Base – handful of spinach or other greens
    2. Grain/Starch – I was going to add 1/3 cup of pasta, but I’m thinking if I do a cold salad, I’m going to just double the protein
    3. Protein – 1/2 can garbanzo beans, drained
    4. Veggies – 1/3 can Italian diced tomatoes, drained and 1/3 onion sauteed with 1 zucchini
    5. FatFeta – using a light cheese because my sauce is made with lots of olive oil!
    6. SauceRoasted Tomato Dressing
  • Snacks – fruit, string cheese or nuts and dark chocolate



  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 4, Day 1
  • Tuesday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 4, Day 2
  • Thursday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 4, Day 3
  • Sunday – REST

Have you tried Plated yet? If so, what did you think?

Any suggestions to clean a charred non-stick skillet?


Running Again!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you see my {Shamrock} Saturday post revealing his breeds from the DNA kit we used? If not, check it out. He’s a-dog-able.


I have great news. My broken toe is pretty much healed! I walked on the treadmill this weekend a bit and decided I’m going to give the Couch to 5k another go. I’ll start slowly. I’m not going to worry about speed at all… I’ll go slow if I have to and back off if I have toe or back trouble. But I’m just going to do it!

I ran my first 5k about two years ago. Then last year, while recovering from back surgery, I participated in the same 5k. Only, I had to walk it. It was then that I decided that I’m going to be a part of the Challenge Obesity 5k every year as a re-commitment to health each spring.

The great news is…

The Challenge Obesity 5k normally takes place in April. However, it’s been scheduled about a month later this year – on May 17th. This gives me just enough time to complete the Couch to 5k program. And if for some reason I need to slow down and scale back… Well, then I can always walk it!

I want to incorporate some yoga to continue to build my core and some strength training, too. And I’m looking for recommendations. I did find this 5k training program, which includes links to stretches and yoga workouts, those of which I’m going to try to add to the Couch to 5k program. What do you think?

Do you have specific yoga moves you’d suggest? Also, does anyone have an easy, beginner strength training program that you’d recommend? How ’bout links to your favorite stretches or yoga poses post-workout?

Now it’s time for…




  • MondayOne Pot Ravioli Lasagna from Tiffany at Cute Dogs and Hugs. She had me at San Marzanos. This makes eight servings, so we’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunches and such this week!
  • Tuesday English Muffin Pizzas <– We finally had these this weekend! The recipe makes eight English muffin halves. I made the sauce for all eight, but only put four in the oven. We’ll have the other four (two halves for each of us) this week. They are so good!
  • WednesdayGarlic & Herb Pork Chops with Parmesan Asparagus
  • Thursday – Dinner at a friend’s place.
  • Friday – We are going to see the Sing-Off Live. I’m proposing dinner out beforehand at the Loon Cafe. I haven’t been there in years and even then it was only for drinks. They’ve won awards for Best Burger and Best Chili. We’ll be the judge of that. 😉
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – It’s my turn to choose for our girls’ dinner night out. Only… I chose breakfast at Victor’s 1959 Cafe. I’ve been there for dinner with my mom, but the breakfast menu looks even better! Can’t wait for more Cuban coffee! Oh wait. That’s breakfast. Dinner with Rob TBD.




  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Day 1
  • Tuesday – Cross train/Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Day 2
  • Thursday – Cross train/Yoga
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Day 3
  • Sunday – REST

This week, I’m looking for some of your strength training and yoga links for runners!

Please share!


And the 2014 Olympics come to an end…


I just love the Olympics! I didn’t watch as much this year as I normally do. But I get excited every time it comes around. I’m sad that it has come to an end.

And please know that those twin toilet bathrooms that many found in Sochi can be found here in the states, too! Here’s a throwback photo from our visit to Michigan last summer:


O’Sullivan’s Pub – Gladwin, Michigan

In other news, yesterday was my two-year blogaversary. I don’t know what I really want to say about that. Time flies? 😉

Now it’s time for the usual…




Just an fyi – last week’s Zoodles with Meat Sauce were a hit! <<– Highly recommended. I followed this recipe, but used a julienne peeler like Jen did here. I made a meat sauce instead of meatballs.


  • Leftovers
  • I’m still loving these Quick & Easy Bowls! Last week’s bowls were heated. This week’s lunches will be leftovers of the Taco Salads I’m making for dinner. The layers will include:
    1. Base: romaine
    2. Grain/Starch: 1/2 cup rice {I might forego the rice this week if I don’t have time to make it and double the protein!}
    3. Protein: 1/2 cup beef & black bean mixture from above {I might put this in a separate bowl to re-heat and top on the salad at work before eating.}
    4. Veg: onion and grape tomatoes or drained canned tomatoes
    5. Fat: shredded cheese or Wholly Guacamole
    6. Sauce: Salsa-Ranch Dressing that Biz always recommends!
  • I have blackberries, bananas as well as nuts as snacks. And of course, my daily dose of dark chocolate.


  • I have a couple of options available and will make them depending on what I am in the mood/have time for each day:
    • Breakfast Quesadillas – I made a couple of these last week inspired by the Breakfast Quesadilla we had at Ike’s before our flight to St. Augustine. In my at-home version, I used:
      • Flour tortilla
      • Scrambled egg with diced onion
      • chopped tomato or salsa
      • Shredded cheddar
      • So easy and delicious! {I guess I’ve been in a Mexican/Tex-Mex mood lately!}
    • PB Toast
    • Granola with milk


  • Post-back surgery PT exercises until I get strong enough to move into more yoga.
  • Recumbent bike
  • I should be good to get back on the treadmill next week!

Do you prefer the winter or summer Olympics?

What your favorite thing to make when you are in a mood for Mexican or Tex-Mex?


Cottage Cheese – Countless Ways


Growing up, I was always a savory cottage cheese girl. Add a little salt and pepper and I was good to go. I don’t think it was until high school or college that I discovered that people added fruit to their cottage cheese! I’ve tried it and it’s not really my thing; even though it isn’t too much different than fruit with yogurt… or fruit preserves atop a log of cream cheese or chèvre.

Lately, I’ve been eating a lot more cottage cheese.

I’ve found that it really satisfies me. Sometimes I’ll just add a little salt and pepper. Other times, I’ll sprinkle some Herbes de Provence or other savory seasoning on top. Or I’ll just to top it with some chopped scallions.

And still, other times, I just add some to my leftovers!

Cottage Cheese

Here, I stirred some leftover chicken into some leftover sauteed mushrooms and onions. I topped it with some diced tomatoes, but still felt something was missing. A little cottage cheese was the perfect touch to change the flavor and texture!

And by now, you know how much I love making a good Poorman’s Caprese in the summer when tomatoes are in season.

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Well, I’ve created a new-to-me version of the Poorman’s Caprese!

It came about because my cousin gave me a big jar of her homemade salsa. And once I opened it, I didn’t want it to go to waste. Then, I dumped some into my cottage cheese and a new and delicious creation was born.

Salsa Caprese!

Salsa Caprese!

It doesn’t look all that pretty when you mix it all together; but it is oh-so-good!

Cottage Cheese Salsa Caprese

One other way that I’ve liked to eat cottage cheese is rather strange…

And I didn’t think it was the healthiest either. I’d take about a half-cup of cottage cheese and top it with a few almonds, then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheddar cheese. Weird, right?

But then I read this suggested snack on Livestrong for a Cinnamon Almond Spread that consisted of cottage cheese, chopped almonds and cinnamon. I didn’t feel so strange anymore! And their Mini-Mexican Pizzas are very similar to my Salsa Caprese.

In fact, I’ve been seeing a lot of snack-like recipes with cottage cheese as an ingredient lately. What an easy, versatile protein! Oh no. I just did a search for cottage cheese recipes on Pinterest. I could be there all day… 😉

How do you like your cottage cheese?

Any crazy combinations out there?


LOST 8.15K {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


One of my favorite college professors once told our class that you can never do something again. You can do something similar; but you can never do it again. I believe, at the time, he was speaking of travel. But it can apply to pretty much any experience in life.

When Rob told me that he wanted to walk around the St. Anthony Main area of NE Minneapolis again, I was looking for it to it. Our walks exploring the city are my favorite dates with my husband. And since Joe created four more stations to the Get LOST in Running Virtual Race Series, my plan was to do the Looking Glass Station 8.15k.

But first, let’s see how I did with last week’s Food & Fitness Planning:


Last Week’s Food:

  • Dinners
    • Monday – Spicy Thai Basil Beef
      • I used Coconut Aminos in place of the fish sauce and onions in place of the bell peppers. It could have used a bit more spice. That’s a note to self for next time.
      • It was good, but not overly-the-top awesome. Maybe if I would have SEASONED IT ALREADY! 😉
      • Then I read Kat’s tip to always double the sauce, when she made a different Thai Beef with Basil Recipe. I may have to take that advice.
    • Tuesday – Pork Chops this way – most likely with green beans on the side.
      • We skipped this and ate leftover still hanging out from last week instead.
    •  Wednesday – Meatballs with Tomato Sauce –  Just like we made in class the week before! A Keeper!
    • Thursday – TBDTurkey and Black Bean Cabbage Bowl with Avocado Salsa <-–An awesome, must-try! 
      • I made it when I had the girls over for dinner.
      • I’m going to make a Rob-friendly version this week!
    • Friday – Dinner night out with the girls – Restaurant Impression coming this week!
    • Saturday – Leftovers for Lunch, out for dinner – LOST 8.15k (see below!)
    • Sunday – Leftovers
  • Breakfasts
    • Egg Rolls – <– You must make these!
      • They aren’t what you think. It’s an egg rolled up in a tortilla.
      • I used some leftover enchilada sauce instead of the sriracha.
      • These are perfect when you have leftover tortillas to use up!
    • Magic Smoothies
    • PB on toast
  • Lunches
    • Leftovers + 1 piece Dove Dark Chocolate + applesauce or Chobani yogurt

It was certainly a most successful cooking week!

Last Week’s Fitness:

  • Monday – Walk/Run on Treadmill – 26 minutes
  • Tuesday – Walk/Run on Treadmill – 35 minutes
  • Wednesday – Walk/Run on Treadmill – 45 minutes
  • Thursday – Elliptical in am or REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Walk – LOST 8.15k walk
  • Sunday – PilatesRaked the yard – 1.5 hours 
  • 30-day Arm ChallengeOkay, I keep forgetting about this. I need to post it somewhere where I don’t forget after I’m done doing cardio. I’ve only done 3 days so far. I want to start over so I can do these always according to the plan.


After we had so much fun getting LOST in NE Minneapolis earlier this summer, Rob wanted to go again. It wasn’t the same, but it was absolutely wonderful to be walking around in the cool, fresh, fall air! We finished the LOST Looking Glass Station 8.15k, but without a care for time. As I brought running back into my fitness routine, my back started to hurt again. I decided to back off. I’ll be sticking to walking for a while.

103Instead, we took the opportunity to stop and smell the roses enjoy the views and take photos. It was a brisk, but gorgeous day. I was in an incredibly good mood! I skipped ahead, climbed up on benches and tree stumps and took photos of the beautiful fall colors.

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We crossed the Stone Arch Bridge and happened upon the Mill City Farmers Market just as they were closing up.

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We walked St. Anthony Main and then followed the lower trail just like we did the last time, climbing, hiking and avoiding obstacles. However, unlike last time, Rob didn’t find any Liberty Nickles…

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We really do enjoy living so close to Minneapolis… and feeling like you can still enjoy nature on such an Urban Walk.

077But there was something strange I found as we rounded a block to make our way to the Bulldog NE for lunch:

101Would you discard your broken heels in the middle of the sidewalk?

The Bulldog NE was packed for the U of Minnesota Gopher football game, but we managed to find a seat at the bar. We split a lunch of some sliders and truffle tots. And I tried a new-to-me beer – a DOUBLE Black Ale, made by a local brewing company, Indeed. We just had to look it up online at Beer Advocate to learn more about it!

It was another great walking date day with my husband. It was truly a similar event to last time, but it definitely wasn’t the same. But I still loved every moment of it.

Now for this week…


  • Dinners
    • Monday – Mexican Cabbage BowlIt’s what I made last week for the girls, just with beef to make it Rob-friendly. I’ll skip the avocado salsa, too.
    • Tuesday – Pork Chops this way – with either green beans or this Cabbage with Braised Onions dish on the side
    •  Wednesday –  Cinnamon Beef Stew from Well Fed
    • Thursday – Leftovers
    • Friday – Poker Night
    • Saturday – Leftovers for lunch, dinner out
    • Sunday – Leftovers for lunch, dinner out
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches
    • Leftovers or soup + 1 piece Dove Dark Chocolate + applesauce or Chobani yogurt


  • Monday – Walk on Treadmill 
  • Tuesday – Walk on Treadmill 
  • Wednesday – Walk on Treadmill
  • Thursday – Walk on Treadmill
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Go for another Walk? (Weather permitting.)
  • Sunday – Walk on Treadmill
  • 30-day Arm Challenge – I really want to do this. I just keep forgetting. I need to put the schedule by the treadmill instead of on my bedroom mirror.

I never thought going on a walk with my husband would be my favorite sort of date, but I’m so glad that this year, I discovered that it is.

What is your idea of an ideal date?


Crunchy Onions & Raw Tomatoes {Food & Fitness Link-up}


This past week was a real wake-up call for me.

After a vacay of indulging in food, wine, beer and more food/wine/beer, it was time to reset things and start practicing good habits again. {Rob’s mom asked him if ALL we did was eat and drink on that trip and I thought, “Yeah, pretty much!}

I know Biz, is going to scrunch up her nose at this one, but one of the things I learned this week is how much I love diced, crunchy, raw onions on top of things! Seriously. I got the idea when I followed suit in the picture of this Chocolate Chili recipe. I learned in our cooking class last week that soaking and rinsing your onions can take out the bite of that strong onion flavor that can stick with you all day, too.

I also had so many tomatoes leftover from the Farmers Market that I’ve just been chopping them up and putting them on top of anything!

So let’s see how I did following the plan this week:


Last Week’s Food:

  • Dinners
    • Monday – Cheesy Beefy Skillet Melt
    • Tuesday – Lazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole (with pork) <<–You must make this! It would be even easier if you have leftover sauteed or shredded pork or chicken. It makes great leftovers, too!
    •  Wednesday –  Spicy Thai Basil Beef Instead, I chose to make this Chocolate Chili I mentioned above. It’s a keeper, especially for Rob, who’s allergic to beans! We like spicy, so the only change I made was to add some extra cayenne and hot chili flakes.
    • Thursday – Cooking Class! We made beef carpaccio, ricotta and sweet potato stuffed ravioli, meatballs and tomato sauce and cannoli. It was the perfect amount that I didn’t feel stuffed.
    • Friday – Poker Night – We had Happy Hour at the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe. I had the half-priced Chicken Kabob Munchies, a Surly Furious IPA and some Turkish Coffee!
    • Saturday – Engagement Party
    • Sunday – A cup of Chicken Wild Rice Soup and a Strawberry Balsamic Steak Salad at McHugh’s.
  • Breakfasts
    • Peanut Butter Toast
    • Protein Granola with Milk
  • Lunches
    • Buffalo Chicken Salad with crackers + pear or applesauce + Laughing Cow-stuffed mini peppers + Chobani yogurt – Next time I’m going to stuff the mini peppers WITH the Buffalo Chicken Salad!
    • Caprese Salad + pear or applesauce + Laughing Cow-stuffed mini peppers + Chobani yogurt
    • Leftovers

Last Week’s Fitness:

  • Monday – Walk on Treadmill – 30 minutes!
  • Tuesday – Pilates – Walk/Run on Treadmill – Tried the Jillian EASY level program. I couldn’t complete it at her inclines and speeds. But I did 30 min, nonetheless. Something to strive toward!
  • Wednesday – Walk/Run on TreadmillEasy Pilates – Yeah, not so much. It’s amazing how much I can’t do still, with my back. I think I’m going to go back to doing my PT exercises.
  • Thursday – Elliptical in am – 20 minutes!
  • Friday – Elliptical in am REST
  • Saturday – Walk REST
  • Sunday – Pilates Walk/Run on Treadmill – 26 minutes
  • 30-day Arm ChallengeDidn’t start until Wed and only did two days. It’s easy and quick, so there is no excuse not to do this.

Now for this week…


  • Dinners
    • Monday – Spicy Thai Basil BeefRob’s been begging me to make this, although I’m not sure why. He doesn’t care for bell peppers. {I’m going to substitute onions.} He’s allergic to fish, so I”ll need to substitute *something* for the fish sauce. {Although I’m quite certain all of the Thai take-out he’s had is probably made with fish sauce and he is still alive.} And he just told me last week that he’d prefer I’d made green beans on the side rather than in a dish. WHAT?! I’m going to half the recipe, just in case it isn’t a keeper.
    • Tuesday – Pork Chops this way – most likely with green beans on the side.
    •  Wednesday –  Meatballs with Tomato Sauce –  just like we made in class last week!
    • Thursday – TBD – I’m having the girls over for dinner. It will be some sort of chicken or fish! Got any favorite recipes? I don’t get to cook those two proteins very often!
    • Friday – Dinner night out with the girls
    • Saturday – Leftovers for lunch, dinner out
    • Sunday – Leftovers
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches
    • Leftovers + 1 piece Dove Dark Chocolate + applesauce or Chobani yogurt


  • Monday – Walk on Treadmill 
  • Tuesday – Walk/Run on Treadmill 
  • Wednesday – Walk/Run on Treadmill
  • Thursday – Elliptical in am or REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Walk
  • Sunday – Pilates
  • 30-day Arm ChallengeLet’s give it a real go this week

What is your favorite quick and easy chicken recipe when you have company?