Tag Archives: walking

Recipe Fails & Wins {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


Before I list what my Food & Fitness plans are for the coming week, it’s important to note that I added a few things to last week’s menu. There were some changes in plans and some particular foodstuffs that needed to be used…

So I totally went rogue.

Some were wins, some were fails and some were just overseasoned.



First, my beloved Crockpot Carnitas turned out too salty. Funny. I didn’t add any salt to that two-ingredient recipe. What was different? We used my cousin’s salsa she jarred for us as a topping. But I tasted the salsa on its own. It was not too salty at all. It would be the perfect addition to any carnitas! Then Rob checked the package of my pork loin. It was loaded with sodium! 370 mg per 130 calorie serving. How can that be? Do they inject saline into it? I even rinsed the loin after I took it out of the pacakge.



Then I made the Chocolate Chili that we love so much. Because the recipe doesn’t really call for any heat, I add cayenne and red chili flakes to taste. And I do taste it before serving. I loved the heat this go round, but Rob said it was was too much.


We counteracted it with a dollop of sour cream.


But next time, I’ll add a little of the heat at a time and have Rob taste it before adding more. I thought we had the same thoughts about heat, but it could have been just that day that we were off?



I was extremely excited to make this Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. And since it was low calorie, I intended to divvy it up into five bowls for the week. A little warm apple-cinnamon oatmeal sounded perfect for those bitterly cold mornings we endured last week! But upon waking on Monday morning, I found out it was blah and virtually flavorless.


The recipe did suggest toppings. And while my plan was to add a tablespoon of slivered almonds to each bowl every morning after reheating it, I ended up adding another teaspoon of brown sugar, too. The maple syrup suggested may have been a nice touch as well.




Speaking of oatmeal, the weekend prior to this pas one, I got excited to use a coconut butter sample I’ve had for a while in this recipe for Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal. Oh, boy is this good! And decadent. It’s a little high in calories {per the Calorie Count Recipe Analysis calculator} when all is said and done. But it’s so worth it. It would even make a great dessert!

Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal {Note to self: broil it for less time or broil it further from the heat source to keep the chocolate chips from burning.}

Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal {Note to self: broil it for less time or broil it further from the heat source to keep the chocolate chips from burning.}



We had a last minute girls get together where I decided to host dinner, so I looked in my pantry and decided to make this Mexican Chicken Stew with my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t have to send them home hungry.

My changes: More chicken, less beans. About 20 oz of chicken and only 2 cans of beans {I don’t know how there’d be any liquid with four cans of beans!} And I decided to do one can of the Great Northern and one can of black beans. I also skipped the jalapenos because not only did I not have them on hand, but I had this can of diced tomatoes:

Red Gold Tomatoes with Chiles

We loved it! For “toppings”, I served diced tomatoes, diced onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and Wholly Guacamole minis so that they could decide what they wanted to add. I loved it with the toppings; but I think in a pinch, you wouldn’t need any at all because this recipe is so flavorful.

Bonus: This makes 8 servings. So, yay for yummy leftovers for me! I also thought that we’d be craving some crusty bread, tortilla chip toppings or some sort of carb to balance this meal out. But it wasn’t necessary at all. Instead, it was so filling and delicious. I may try it with pork sometime for Rob. (Well pork without added sodium, that is.)



For dessert, I made Homemade Raspberry Frozen Yogurt based off of this recipe. I had a gigantic bag of frozen raspberries at in my freezer; so it was the perfect way to use them. Plus I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge needing to be used. Let me tell you guys, this was sooooo incredibly easy. I made it in just minutes in my food processor and it could be served immediately. However, after freezing the leftovers in individual containers, I’d recommend taking the frozen yogurt out about a half hour or so before eating. It’s just way too hard right out of  of the freezer.



Now for this week!





  • Leftovers or Tuna Cucumber Boats + blood orange and/or applesauce + piece of Dove dark Chocolate



  • I have been having back issues pain again. It’s nothing like it was pre-surgery. But I don’t want to get to that point. Nor do I want to have surgery again. So it’s off to see the surgeon on Tuesday for a consult. Please just tell me what to do do to prevent it from getting worse!
  • I’ve been walking (even if slowly) on the treadmill for about 45 minutes about 4 days per week, depending on what my back can handle.

What is one big recipe WIN you’ve had lately?


Back at It {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


Was anyone else all messed up with the the holidays in the middle of week somewhere? I can tell you one thing, I don’t mind working just two days at a time!

It’s that time of year, where the cliché is to get back on track… And since I’m finally no longer on “vacation“, I thought I’d take the opportunity to make some plans for the week.

Since my surgery in March, I became discouraged, lost my Not on a Diet / healthy living mentality and gained back about 20 lbs of the 36 I lost. Ouch. Time to find a new way to adapt without running. Or at least build up my strength again. No more pouting, Carrie.

So here’s this week’s plan. One day at a time…


The last time I checked, today’s high was supposed to be -12 degrees.

That’s right, -12.

And that’s before any windchill factored in…

Sounds like a night for chili!


MondayChocolate Chili
TuesdayCrockpot Carnitas topped with shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions and guacamole
Wednesday – Leftovers
ThursdayChipotle Black Bean Burger with guacamole and tomato
Friday – Poker Night – Happy Hour at Mediterranean Cruise Cafe. I like the Chicken Kabob Munchies. They are all veg and protein and just 5 bucks during Happy Hour.
Saturday – Dinner Out
Sunday – TBD

Lunches – Leftovers from the weekend, leftover chili, leftover carnitas + one piece dark chocolate + one piece fruit

BreakfastsSlow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal


Walking 45 minutes on the treadmill every day except Friday. I have also uncovered my exercises I was given when I was in physical therapy. Back at it!

What are you making this week?


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?


F&F – The Leftovers Edition


This weekend we hosted my last ever Wine Tasting Open House. {Well, there’ll be more on that in the next month.} I can’t even begin to tell you how fun it was to have people over whom I haven’t seen in ever so long! I think I have to make a commitment to see these people at least once each year. {A checklist maybe? Or another type of entertaining event?}

But what we have in the house – that I wasn’t expecting – is a whole lot of leftovers. I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough food! So instead of grocery shopping this week, we are going to have to be creative with the following ingredients:

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced black olives
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  • Mushrooms
  • Cubed Cheese – Tuscano peppercorn, Havarti Dill, Iberico
  • Hummus
  • Garlic & Asiago Sourdough Crostini
  • Cream Puffs
  • Blue Cheese
  • Salami
  • Irish Cheddar
  • Gingersnaps

Other items we need to use up before expiration this week:

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • Greek yogurt
  • almond milk
  • bacon


So, it’s another strange week coming up, but here is what we have planned:


  • Monday – Roasted Pear
  • Tuesday – Ground Beef Stroganoff
  • Wednesday – Surprise! I’m thinking about another pasta dish, but don’t want Rob to know about it! So, I’m not posting it here.
  • Thursday – Fulton Brewery – Yes, we are finally making a Pilgrimage!
  • Friday – Rob’s birthday – We are going to a play and probably grab a quick bite to eat beforehand.
  • Saturday – Rob’s REAL birthday dinner. You’ll have to check back next week to find out what he chose!
  • Sunday – Packers vs. Vikings – Will Rogers be back?


  • Extraordinary Salad with leftover lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, carrots, olives, cheese cubes, bacon {yes! I added bacon!}, salami with a lite Caesar dressing
  • Leftovers from the week


  • Overnight oats
  • PB Toast


  • Last week’s fitness was non-existent and my body is feeling it. To get going again, let’s start simple and say walk at least one mile per day. There’s no excuse for not doing that.

How would you utilize the leftover ingredients above?


Mediterranean Pork Chops {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


I made two blog-post worthy meals out of last week’s

Food & Fitness Linkup!

I’ll be showcasing one today.

Mediterranean Pork ChopsMy plan for Tuesday was to make some sort of pork chops with pesto green beans or zucchini and onions with herbes de Provence.

I decided on the zucchini and onions because I had three zucchini in the fridge that needed to be used and also found some fresh mozzarella which I no longer had tomatoes {gasp!} to make a Caprese salad.

So I improvised.

Yes. Me. Little Miss Follow-the-Recipe played the thing by ear. This always makes me nervous because I’m not sure what I’ll do if Rob doesn’t like what I make. We already go out to eat too much and I fear that if I don’t make something fabulous, he’ll want to eat out more. {I’m trying to push it in the other direction for both our health and pocketbook’s sake!}

In any case, I knew that Melissa d’Arabian’s Sweet Vegetable Saute side is always a hit with Rob, so I wasn’t too worried there. However, the last time I made pork chops with a Tuscan herb rub, I over-seasoned the meat, which made them nearly inedible. We had to scrape off much of the seasoning. It was also an herb rub I hadn’t used before, so I wasn’t very familiar with it.

Tip: When trying out new spices, use a little less than you think. You can always add more later.

This time, I decided to use my absolute favorite herb blend ever – the Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix by Pampered Chef. Unfortunately, this blend has been discontinued. I don’t know what I’ll do when I’m out. It’s what I like to use when I make popcorn my favorite way. If anyone has the exact blend for this seasoning, please send it my way. I’ve tried to look it up online and there are so many different variations or guesses. But I don’t want any other Italian Seasoning mix, I want THAT blend!

In any case, for these Mediterranean Pork Chops, you can use any of your favorite Italian Seasoning Blends, Herbes de Provence or fresh herbs of your choice. You are just gong to have to play around to find the right mix for you.

Mediterranean Pork Chops with Sautéed Zucchini and Onions

  • olive oil (I used garlic infused olive oil.)
  • onion
  • zucchini
  • Italian, Tuscan or Herbes de Provence seasoning (to taste)
  • 4 pork chops (approximately 1 lb)
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella (sliced)


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Start chopping and cooking the Sautéed Zucchini and Onions by following this recipe. If you don’t like onions, you can skip or use yellow squash or bell peppers. It doesn’t matter how much you use of each veggie, just season with Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper to taste. The dish can hang out and sauté on low for as long as you making the rest of this dish.
  • I like to pound the pork chops thin if they aren’t already. Then, brush one side of the pork chops with olive oil and rub with Italian seasoning mix to taste. Since my first over-seasoning debacle, I tend to under-season now because I know I can add more later. Don’t forget to add salt if your seasoning mix does not contain any.
  • Lightly spray a pan (I used a grill pan) with cooking spray or olive oil and heat to medium-high.
  • Once hot, put the chops in the pan, seasoned-side down.
  • Brush the remaining side with the olive oil and rub with more Italian seasoning.
  • Sear the chops for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer the chops to a baking sheet or pan.
  • Top with slices of fresh mozzarella.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through and mozzarella has melted.
  • Drizzle with a little good quality extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a little kosher or sea salt to finish.


So what’s up this week?

planningWe have a lot coming up this weekend, so I’m not planning my days out exactly. Instead, I know that we will be eating at home four of the days and will just cook one of the following on any given day.


  • Dinners:
  • Breakfasts – Peanut Butter Toast, Granola with Milk
  • Lunches – Leftovers and Snack Lunches (This week, Poorman’s Caprese, cantaloupe, a piece of dove dark chocolate, Chobani yogurt, and a Tbsp of cashews.)


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I stopped running because my back was starting to hurt again. I switched to walking. Last week, the plan was to increase my walking mileage by 10% of the previous week. So my goal last week was to walk just a total of 8 miles.

But I didn’t do it.

By the end of the week, I realized that I need a better plan. I need some more structure. A goal. Then I remembered that what I wanted to do is finish the LOST Virtual Races. Joe has added four more races to reflect the last Stations of the LOST Dharma Initiative. Originally, I wanted to do the Couch to 5k, get back to running those and then run the last 7k, 8.15k, 9k and 10k stations.

If I can’t run right now, it’s time to get back to fitness walking. So my plan is to finish these stations by walking them, but not at a leisurely pace. I need to push myself!

So on Sunday, I completed the LOST 7k – Staff Station!

LOST Station 7 – Staff 7K


What is your favorite way to eat pork chops?


I Took a Walk…


It was 4pm on Sunday. We just suffered a Packer loss. It was a rough, close game that shouldn’t have been. We just returned from the Buffalo Tap. But it was an absolutely gorgeous day.

So I decided to go for a walk.

I posted last week that I had decided to stop running in hopes that would alleviate some back pain. I was right. However, I knew I had to keep moving somehow, even if it wasn’t at the same same intensity level. My plan was to walk just one mile every day. I figured that it was a start and I know that walking is the best thing I can do for my back.

I had some rough days. I had some days where that one mile was very challenging. I had a day where my legs hurt almost as bad as The Worst Day before my diagnosis and inevitable back surgery. And I most certainly didn’t keep up with walking just one mile every day.

But I did feel better as the week went on. And knowing that one mile per day equated to just seven miles for the entire week, I was determined on Sunday to finish what I had started.

Only, I walked just two miles the entire week.

Only, I can’t remember the time I walked five miles.

Only, my iPhone was dead.

But I went anyway. I stepped out the door with just a written route and water bottle in hand, along with my thoughts. I had no music, no podcosts, no iPhone to keep me company. Earlier, I had serious thoughts of walking on the treadmill and watching a movie to keep my mind occupied over the five miles.

However, there was no way I was giving up the last day of summer in Minnesota with it’s perfect sunshine and 78-degree and breezy weather. I stepped out with no time, no pace in mind. I had no electronic gadgets to gauge me, not even a watch. I was determined to walk for the pure enjoyment of it.

It was heavenly.

I enjoyed the scent of fresh air. The kind that you open the windows for, but then snuggle under the covers in the fall. In fact, the scents where my favorite part of the entire walk! Occasionally, I’d get the scent of burgers on the grill, or lighter fluid igniting charcoal, or someone cutting the grass or laying fresh mulch.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. Despite the beautiful weather, not many people were out. I like to count dogs to pass the time while I’m running or walking and during this walk, I only counted seven. Perhaps people were enjoying the last few weekends up at their cabins. Maybe they were napping the afternoon away. I saw and heard no televisions, so I couldn’t imagine that many were inside watching football. The Vikings had already suffered a loss that day as well.

I completed nearly five miles. And when I returned and looked a the clock, I Had been gone for an hour and twenty minutes, about ten minutes longer than my first five-mile race.

Boy does it feel good to walk.


Now it’s time for:


This week was all about the audibles!



Seven miles total (over three days.)

What’s in store this week?



Increase my walking mileage by 10% (round to the nearest half mile.) Therefore, my goal is to walk 8 miles. Sounds simple, but I’ve got to listen to my body. I don’t want to get injured again!

So, in looking at my meals this week….

If you had to choose, would you go to Heidi’s or Louis Ristorante and what would you order?

Which of chili recipes over at My Bizzy Kitchen would you try?

Have a great week!


42k – LOST Finale


I’ve completed the Get LOST in Running Virutal Race Series!

The number 42 is the last in the series of numbers on Hurley’s lottery ticket from the TV series LOST. The numbers reoccur often in the series…

LOST lotto

Thus, it is the last race of the series. Or is it?! Joe, who has been running the Get LOST in Running Virtual Races {as well as sending out some pretty awesome medals after completing each station!} may be extending it. After all, there are ten Dharama Initiative Stations on The Island, not just six. 😉

In any case, here are my results of the first 5 stations I completed in accordance with my Walking Program:

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

With Station 5 and Station 6, I split up the distances across many days to complete them. This “final” segment took me a while to finish. When it came to Station 6: The  Orchid 42k, I originally challenged myself to complete it while on vacation. Unfortunately, I only walked two of the days, completing only 15.3km on vacation.

But I don’t regret it. I stayed active. We rode bikes, paddle-boated, went swimming, walked the dogs… It was a summer family vacation of activity! When I returned home, I reconfigured my plan to complete and finish all 42k by yesterday (Sunday). Why?

Because I’ve been cleared to slowly get back into running again!

Which means, my Couch to 5k program begins today!


Here’s how I completed the LOST Station 6 – Orchid 42k:

Sun 6/30: – 7.65k – 1:13:10

photoThis was my first attempt to do a rigorous walk while on vacation. With the 42k, I was not counting leisurely walks or walking of the dogs. This had to be fitness walking only! While my app indicates that I walked 11.05km, the actual distance around the lake and back is 7.65km, as I mapped out online. That’s the distance I’m going with. NO cheating here!

Mon 7/1: – 7.65k – 1:15:03

photoI took another walk around the lake and back. This time, RunKeeper was a bit more accurate showing I walked 8.28km. I’m still sticking with 7.65km. After that walk, I ceased to do any major walks on vacation. When I returned home, with the weather heating up, I opted to do a run or two on the treadmill.


Mon 7/8: – 1.17k + 6.11k = 7.28k – 1:12:35

These photos may be deceiving. While I was doing my walk, I meant to increase my speed but instead hit STOP at just 1.17 km. However, I started my timer on my iPhone at the very beginning and kept it running through both that walk and what I walked after that (in miles, shown above).


Mon 7/10: – 10k – 1:40:22 10k

I walked a 10k! Hey, if I can walk a 10k, I can surely sign up for and run one down the line, can’t I? I must say that overall, it went really well, I was a little sore, but not as bad as the one time in my life I ran 6 miles. My only problem this time was that I didn’t drink enough water before heading out. And I didn’t bring any with me. Getting really thirsty and dizzy around km 8 is not a good idea! I was nauseous for two hours after the walk.

Sat 7/13 – 5.03k – 50:00

Walk #5 TM
This was my last walk on the treadmill… But I was getting antsy to complete a 5k that day. So I did add a little bit of running in the mix here and there! The distance above is listed in miles.

Sun 7/14: –5k – ?

photo(1)Yesterday, I joined my friend Stacy and our Team Rainbow Bright to do the Color Run! I hadn’t intended on running the thing, but wanted to throw in a little bit of running here and there. Shawna encouraged us to run through the color! I completed my desire this year to do a Color Run. However, this event is not timed and I forgot to time it myself. So will you let me call it 50 minutes since it was a walk interrupted by a little bit of running?

Total Distance: 42.61km

Total Time: Approximately 7:01:10

Orchid Station 42k



Have you done a Color Run?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences to compare with mine!