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Friday, June 14, 2019

Fitness Friday/Sad Day

I've mentioned this before, but our "home gym" is nothing to brag about. It's literally a treadmill, TRX straps, four sets of hand weights, a yoga mat, and a 15 year old TV, living in harmony among cinderblock walls and old paint cans and roofing shingles.

This relic of a Toshiba TV- note the built in VHS AND DVD players- has been a champ for me. I got this bad boy sophomore year of college. It's seen everything from the first season of "24" to "Laguna Beach" (yah I know) to...Jackie Warner!

This is my all-time favorite workout DVD. I know it's pretty old school to do workout DVDs, but I will allllllways do better with someone else telling me what to do, rather than me making up my own seen here...

Too bad the build in DVD player died this week. Whaaaah. Now we are on the hunt for a free, or cheap at least, DVD player that we can externally plug in. First world problems.

Why am I into workout DVDs? Like I mentioned- someone else leading is a major way that I can stay focused. It's time consuming (ok like maybe 2-3 minutes) to write down my own workout. When I do my own thing, I always end up cheating myself out of finishing reps, or not doing enough reps at all. It's also more motivating to watch someone! Having an instructor- whether in real life or on the screen- count you down helps me push myself to finish a certain exercise.

Another big perk of having an instructor is that form tends to stay better. If I am watching someone exercise, I can better check myself- how low am I really going on my push ups? Am I pushing my knee too far forward during lunges? A good instructor will remind you to check your form.

DVDs are fairly cheap. I'm always one to buy used off Amazon. There are tons of options on YouTube as well, and if you have Comcast fancy cable stuff (I can't keep track of what it's called now- I for sure don't pay for that) there are entire channels devoted to workout programs.

Now that I'm not following a half marathon training plan, my goal is to run 3 times a week at least 3 miles each run, and do 1-2 days of strength training. That's when I do the DVD, or for now, my own thing.

So...anyone have a DVD player they don't need? Clearly I don't discriminate against age!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Growing Pains

Holy heat wave! It's been in the upper 80s the past few days, which is a bit unusual for early June. We've been breaking out the sprinkler and kiddie pool daily, along with making some new friends.

Sidenote- the friendship was VERY one sided.

My gardens have been coming up pretty nicely now. I'm always tinkering around with trying new kinds of vegetables. Of course I devote nearly an hour every day to weeding the gardens and the landscaping!

Tiny corn stalks! Or as my 3 year old says, TINY CONE!

Tiny sunflowers! So the neighbor lady behind us is a "collector" and while we save up for a privacy fence, a few rows of sunflowers will hopefully give us some colorful coverage this summer and fall.

Raspberries gone wild! This huge patch started out with a dozen transplants from my friend. It only takes two years for them to triple in amount.

Even the playhouse gets some gardening love.

I am beyond happy that our cherry tree, which we just planted last summer, will have a few hundred cherries already!

I pack as much as gardenly possible in this 10x10 space. I have green pole beans and purple pole beans. I have cut-and-grow mixed green lettuce. I have Italian parsley. I have green basil. Purple basil. Sugar snap peas. Roma tomatoes. Black cherry tomatoes. Yellow tomatoes. Roma tomatoes. Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes.

In the past I've made my own stringers with two wooden stakes and twine. Inevitably the climbing peas end up being too heavy and it sags way down. I invested in this expandable pea trellis from Gardener's Supply Company. Even with a slight accordion fold, it fits the garden perfectly. I also ordered their bean towers, as they advertise you can grow 2,400 beans in the 18 inch footprint. Coming soon: The Everyday Dietitian Eats Nothing But Beans.

I hope that you are able to have some sort of flowers, veggies, or fruits growing. Whether it be in a deck planter or a huge space, it is so fun to see things grow!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Officially summer

Okay so not reeeeally officially summer because that's technicaaaaaally June 21st, but BRING IT ON.

We had a great Memorial weekend. Kicked it off with a schlep to Fleet Farm to get a billion bags of mulch and annuals to plant.

Every year I vow to just get the pre-made planters that are so pretty and chock full of blooms, but then without fail also every year I think Heck no, I'm not spending $30 per planter! I'll do my own! And then I proceed to spend $28  per planter plus hours of manual labor.

Then after the kids went to bed, we opened up the ol' firepit. And bottle of wine. And popcorn...with chocolate chips.

Saturday was filled with playing vehicles outside and a nature walk.

On Sunday we headed out to the lake for some family time and fishing.

If you don't eat some sort of red white and blue dessert, are you even an American?

Monday was pretty much a washout weather-wise but we still saw friends most of the day. That brings us to...Wednesday night!

So I made a recipe that I am DYING to share because hoooooooly buckets it's GOOD. And EASY. And filled with protein and veggies. Can I get you to commit to making it now? Do it do it do it do it.

Chicken Parm Burgers
-2 lbs ground chicken
-1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
-1 tablespoon dried parsley
-1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
-8 slices mozzarella cheese
-1 cup fresh baby spinach (optional)
-8 whole grain/whole wheat sandwich thins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large griddle to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine chicken and seasonings. Form into 8 patties. Spray griddle with nonstick cooking spray. Cook burgers about 5 minutes, then flip. They should be nice and golden brown on both sides.

Pour 1/4 of the marinara sauce in a large oven proof skillet (or you could also use a 9x13ish baking dish). Arrange the patties, then pour over remaining marinara sauce. Bake for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reads at least 165 degrees. Place a slice of cheese over each marinara-covered patty. Crank oven up to broil. Put the burgers under the broiler and watch closely- the cheese will start melting and bubbling in just a few minutes. Remove from oven.

Serve on a sandwich thin along with some fresh spinach.

Holy wow. Sloppy and juicy and all the flavors of chicken parm, minus the calorie bomb factor of all the breading and gobloads of cheese.

Per burger: 430 calories, 33 grams carbs, 9 grams fiber, 21 grams fat, 34 grams protein

Are these on your not-technically-officially-summer to-make list yet? I sure hope so!

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Never mind that today is 45 degrees, rainy, windy, and all around horrible. It's been a bea-u-tiful week around here.

The half marathon! It went well! I mean, not time-wise, 'cause it was my slowest race ever, buuuut I felt pretty good running and it was an enjoyable time. I do question the actual distance because my GPS reported 13.9 miles...hmm...

He picked me some weed-flowers while I was being a total post-race couch potato.

My parents treated us to Mother's Day Brunch. This was the best photo of us all. I don't care if you're not going to be looking at the camera, but for Pete's sake, stop adjusting yourself down there.

I thrifted a cuuuute Patagonia pullover for $6. And yeah, I need to clean my room.

Drinking the Golden Goose sneaker kool-aid and it's pretty good.

Turns out I DID get some tulips popping up in the front yard! That my boys just *had* to pick to give to me! Ugggggh.

You know how something looks really nice and pleasant in the moment and then you look back in a photo and realize that it looks like we have 27 chairs strewn about our patio?

Nice weather and flowers and summery stuff aside, I made a new recipe this week! Er, kind of! My husband and I love Asian food, but traditional take-out is a total calorie/fat/salt bomb, and we feel sick to our stomachs after we eat it. Enter homemade chicken lo mein. It's easy (of course), veggie-packed (of course), and the whole family ate it up (of course).

I posted the video tutorial on Instagram and Facebook, so check out the how-to in action. Here's the written recipe.

Easy Chicken Lo Mein
1 box lo mein noodles (14 oz) or thin whole wheat spaghetti
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1" thick
4 tablespoons sesame oil (can sub vegetable or olive oil)1 bunch bok choy, most of the leaves discarded and roughly chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
~2 cups frozen or fresh broccoli
2 cups matchstick carrots
(Feel free to add additional veggies!)
2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and let sit in the sink. Replace large pot over hot burner, turn to medium high, and add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and add chicken breasts. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to evenly brown. Remove and place on a cutting board.

Add another tablespoon of sesame oil, put pot back on hot burner, add veggies. Stir occasionally until crisp-tender. While the veggies are cooking, give your chicken a quick dice.

Add noodles and chicken back to the veggie pot. In a pourable measuring cup, whisk together soy sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, brown sugar, ground ginger, and sesame seeds. Pour over noodles/veggie mix. Stir to evenly combine. Serve!

Makes six heaping servings. Per serving: 440 calories, 74 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat, 17 grams protein. If you're aiming for fewer carbs, you could halve the noodles and increase veggie content by 3 cups worth.

A great healthy meal that's a total dupe for takeout food- perfect for a post-race dinner or any dinner!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Race Day!

In less than 48 hours I will voluntarily be running 13.1 miles all across the suburb of Maple Grove.

All for a stinkin' t shirt.

Ooooh or maybe we'll get socks this year.

I'm looking forward to it...I think...though I could use a change in the forecast (rain!).

I'm no stranger to half marathons and by now I feel like I'm pretty savvy about how to prepare for the big race. I've said before how much I love Hal Higdon's training plans. I've put in the training miles, so now what?

Here are a few tips for race day- some of them just might be lessons I've learned the hard way.

1. NO NEW CLOTHES, UNDERWEAR, SOCKS, OR SHOES. All caps. Yes. Now is not the time to find out that your leggings don't quite stay up, or your shorts still give you thigh chafing, or your undies are in a bunch, or your socks slide down your ankles. Even worse would be to wear a pair of shoes you didn't actually train in, unless you like sprouting bloody blisters. Make sure to stick with items you've done long runs in!

Must. Resist. Urge. To. Wear. New. Asics. 

2. Clip your toenails. Kind of gross to mention? Maybe. But again, you don't want to be on mile 5 and realize that your pinky toenail is painfully digging into its neighbor. Get 'em trimmed up.

3. NO NEW GEAR ON RACE DAY. Think headphones, sunglasses, cell phone cases, water bottles, etc. You should have full confidence that everything works, and is comfortable. When I was training for my first full marathon, I bought a water bottle belt- the kind that holds like four water bottles. I then set out for a 15 mile training run. Never have I ever felt so weighed down! I realized that I'm just not comfortable with a water bottle belt- to each their own!

4. Don't forget sunscreen. Even two hours on a mildly cloudy day can lead to a sunburn.

5. Stick to the fluids that you trained with. What do I mean by this? I can't tell you which race it was, but I stopped at waaaaay too many fluid stations and drank waaaaay too much Gatorade and water. During my training I hadn't had that volume of fluids, so the result was that my stomach felt all nauseous and sloshy. I pretty much spent the last 8 miles running from garbage can to garbage can trying to make myself barf.

Now is a nice time to reinforce that running overall is a good time! Really!

6. Use the porta potty before the race starts. Don't rush yourself. Fun fact: my first marathon was in Detroit. I was so nervous! I hit the porta potty one final time...and the shotgun started and everyone started off and I was still shorts-around-the-ankles in a dark biffy. Eh, it doesn't matter! That's why the race chip was invented. If you miss the start time, don't worry.

7. Pack a few tissues with you if you can. Does anyone else experience running-induced drippy nose? No? The tissues might also come in handy if you accidentally hit a porta potty that's out of TP.

8. Bring sweats and an icy Gatorade for the car ride home. You might be a sweaty mess under your running clothes when you finish, but no matter what temperature it is outside, I always get chilly about 20 minutes after the race. If I remember, I also try to keep a pack of face wipes too- it's pretty gross but a sweaty face collects dirt and dust and to be able to wipe off that layer of grime feels pretty darn good.

9. Remember to have fun? I write a question mark here because when you're at the end, or sometimes midst of a race it can seem silly to be doing what you're doing. Like, why am I running THIS MANY MILES? When I used to jog along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis there was one particular hill that just always felt like my nemesis. I made up a mantra of "I eat hills for breakfast!" because 1. it's ridiculous and makes me smile, and 2. it reminds me of my favorite line from "Happy Gilmore."

 If you're in a tough spot mentally or physically, instead of cursing yourself or boo-hooing yourself, think of a motivational mantra.

10. Enjoy a post race treat! Just not immediately post race. After I finished Grandma's Marathon in Duluth I grabbed some mint chocolate chip ice cream a vendor was handing out. I learned quickly that dairy and sugar and fat immediately after 26.2 is nooooooo good. Go home, take a shower, stretch it out, then enjoy a treat. I have a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie and diet Coke with  my name on it. My husband's set on a Whopper. To each their own!

I hope you've found this list helpful! Now is the time to sign up for and start training for whatever race piques your interest this summer!