Category Archives: Recipes

Best Appointment Ever

Good afternoon! How was your weekend? Before I get into my weekend, I have some great news to share – the doctor gave me the okay to start a run/walk program!

I am so happy!

I had my post surgery check-up with my hip doctor this morning. Can you believe it’s been 4.5 months since my surgery?!

He said that as long as my quad and hip didn’t bother me too much, I could start a run/walk program in 5 minutes increments.

So the first day, I would run one minute and walk four minutes. I would repeat this a few times as long as I felt good. Then I would not be able to run the next day and the following day, I would run two minutes and walk three minutes for a few intervals. Then I would rest the next day and continue with three minutes of running and two minutes of walking.

I would repeat this until I am up to about 10-15 minutes of straight running! Yay! But if my quad starts to burn like it tends too when I overdo it then I need to scale back. He said the quad pain should go away in the next few months but not overnight.

He also gave me the okay to do some group fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, strength training classes, etc as long as I start slow and avoid any position where I have to turn my body because my hip isn’t quite ready for that yet.

Overall, my said my progress looks great and the range of motion in my hip looks great. I just have to continue doing closed circuit exercises such as squats, lunges, and the leg press to help regain more strength in my leg. He said I should also be fine with doing physical therapy once a week. My next appointment is at the beginning of January to check on my progress.


Let’s back up to this weekend…


On Saturday morning, I was making breakfast before Danny and I went to the gym and I cracked open a double yolk egg!


I was a little more excited than I care to admit about that double yolk because that’s never happened to me and I thought it was so cool. But I also thought it was weird and wouldn’t eat it. I gave it to Danny instead.

After breakfast, we went to the gym. Danny and I did some back exercises including:

  • lat pulldowns
  • seated rows
  • t-bar raises (a new favorite!)
  • straight arm pullovers
  • deadlifts
  • bentover rows

After our workout, we stopped at the Giving Tree and picked out some tags to buy toys for kids for Christmas. We picked three tags for boys and then we’ll go back and deliver our toys to the box.


It’s a great way for the kids to help others who might not have as much as they do. They really look forward to it every year and enjoy picking out a toy for a kid their age.

Saturday evening, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner. Crystal made a delicious chicken tortilla stew for dinner. I made a no-bake chocolate lasagna for dessert.


Jaden helped. He is my little chef, One of his favorite tv shows is Chopped on The Food Network.


The chocolate lasagna was so easy to make and so delicious! I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course!). The bottom layer was a Oreo crust. Danny and Jaden crushed the Oreos and I added some melted butter so they would stay together in the bottom of the pan. The next layer was cream cheese mixed with one cup Cool Whip, sugar, and a little milk. The third layer was chocolate pudding and the top layer was Cool Whip. I topped the whole thing with chocolate chips.



On Saturday, we also stopped at Old Navy because they were having 50% off all outwear until 1 pm. I was looking for a coat for Jacob but all the ones in his size were just too thin. I did find a black vest with a fur hood for myself for 50%.


I used to have a black vest from H&M that I loved and suddenly I can’t find it. I have had it for years and years but now it’s just gone. I was happy to find a new one at Old Navy even though I had to ask an employee to take one off a mannequin because it was the only one in my size.


Saturday evening was the first snow we’ve had that actually stuck and Jaden was so excited to build a snowman on Sunday. A mini snowman.


Sunday, Danny and I went to the gym again and worked on shoulders. We had a good workout and then came home to watch The Bears and The Blackhawks.

And that was my weekend!

  • How was your weekend?
  • Have you gotten snow yet?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Recipes, Running

Kale Chips

I have another kale post for you today!!

My sister-in-law commented on my last post that she loves homemade kale chips so I decided to try my hand at making them.

Kale chips are super easy to make, healthy, and a great alternative to potato chips…although we all need traditional potato chips once in a while.


Kale Chips


  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste


I used the kale that I massaged and had ready in the refrigerator.


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Remove kale leaves from rib and lightly toss with olive oil.
  3. Spread kale in one layer on a baking sheet and add salt to taste. 007
  4. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

That’s it! Easy peasy and super good!

Disclaimer: I received the kale in my Door to Door Organics box which I got with a gift card provided by Door to Door Organics. Use coupon code ChicagoParent14 at checkout for $10 off your first order!



Filed under Recipes

Vega Tropical Strawberry Smoothie

Good afternoon!

I’m so glad it’s Friday today. It has been a busy week and it’ll be yet another busy weekend!

Up first, the winner of the Reebok Spartan Race giveaway – Seth! I just sent you an email.

I started my morning out by teaching BodyPump. My arms were a little sore from an upper body workout that I did yesterday. It included a lot of push-ups which killed me!

After my workout yesterday, I picked up my packet for the Mother’s Day race on Sunday.

I love the cute reusable bag they give you, and the shirt was really nice this year. The race is being sponsored by Jockey this year, so we got a nice Jockey dri-fit shirt.



Speaking of Mother’s Day, Athletico (where I did physical therapy for months) was super sweet enough to send me a little Mother’s Day gift. They sent me a great CamelBak water bottle and a coupon for a free 60 minute massage!


I loved my physical therapist at Althletico and think they’re a great company. If you’re interested in a massage, you can click here to get a $10 off coupon on your first massage! Athletico also has great information regarding women’s health that you can check out here.

A big thank you to Athletico. :)

Vega Smoothie

Yesterday afternoon, I made a smoothie using the Vega Protein Smoothie packet that I bought at Whole Foods.


The Vega Protein Smoothie mix is plant based, has 15 grams of protein, 90 calories, and two full servings of veggies!

My smoothie was really easy to make. I used:


  • 1 container plain Greek yogurt
  • approx. 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • one packet Vega Protein Smoothie in tropical tango
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 4-5 ice cubes

I blended everything in my Ninja blender and it was delicious!


We have a busy weekend with soccer games, baseball games, a birthday party, a 5k, and Mother’s Day! Have a great weekend!!

  • Have you ever had a massage?
  • Do you have plans for Mother’s Day?





Filed under Fitness, Recipes, Working Out

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs Recipe

Every0ne knows that peanut butter and chocolate is one of the best food combinations ever. Ever. I feel sad for my brother and Jacob who are both allergic to peanut butter. They don’t get to taste the most delicious food in the world. Okay, okay, maybe it’s not the most delicious food, but it’s pretty good :)

Tonight my family is coming over for dinner and to dye Easter eggs so I made peanut butter eggs for dessert.


Reese’s peanut butter eggs are one of my favorite holiday treats, so I decided to try making them myself. At first I tried using a plastic egg to make the egg shape out of the peanut butter but that didn’t work too well, so I just used my hands to shape them. They weren’t perfect egg shapes but they tasted delicious!

Also, these are not healthy by any means. But they are a prefect for a treat. :)

Peanut Butter Eggs


  • 1 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. Crisco or other vegetable shortening


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar. Stir constantly until completely blended. (This step can also be done in the microwave).
  • Remove from heat and let cool. When mixture is cool, slowly stir in confectioner’s sugar in small amounts until completely blended.


      • Refrigerate peanut butter mixture for about 30 minutes so it’s easier to shape into eggs
      • Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Shape peanut butter mixture into egg shapes and place on wax paper cookie sheet.


    • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    • Melt chocolate chips and Crisco together in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second increments until melted. Make sure to stir well every 30 seconds.
    • Using a fork dip each peanut butter egg into chocolate making sure to coat the whole egg. Place eggs back on wax paper
    • Refrigerate 30 minutes so the chocolate can set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.




Filed under Recipes


Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband, Danny! I love you! PicMonkey Collage Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was strawberry peanut butter overnight oats…even though there’s snow on the ground, I still went with a cold breakfast. 011 My oats included:

  • strawberry Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. PB2

I mixed all the ingredients up last night and let it sit in the fridge overnight and then I topped it with blueberries this morning.

Today’s Workout

  • Women on Weights Class – 45 minutes
  • HIIT Stairmaster workout – 20 minutes

20140415_112851 In Women on Weights class today we focused on abs, triceps, and biceps. After the class, I did a 20 minute high intensity interval training workout on the Stairmaster. I haven’t been on the Stairmaster in quite awhile and I was sweaty by the time I was done. I did climb as high as the Eiffel Tower :)

Post workout, I had a CorePower chocolate drink that Danny got me as a morning anniversary present. He knows me too well. 20140415_113416 Lunch

Lunch was delicious today. I made English muffin hummus melts. 005 They are amazing. The spinach, cheese, and hummus is such a great combination.

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you have for breakfast or lunch today?
  • Ever use the Stairmaster?



Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Recipes, Working Out

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes – Fit for Fitness


Happy Friday!

Yesterday’s Workout:

  • 3.5 miles – indoor track
  • stretching

In an attempt to get ready for the upcoming Shamrock Shuffle 8k next week, I planned to run four miles yesterday. That didn’t happen. Instead I ran three miles and walked half a mile.

My whole entire lower right side refused to cooperate. My right side was all like, Yay! Running! We could do this all day! My right side wanted to punch me in the face.

My right glute is still sore from Butts and Guts class, my hip started to ache, and my calves decided to get tight again. At this point, I don’t care if I have to walk the entire 8k. I have no goals or hopes & dreams going into it, except to finish the darn thing.

I made sure to stretch after my run and I foam rolled the heck out of my glute when I got home.



I was recently contacted by Shari’s Berries about creating with a healthy recipe that included chocolate. They’re working on a project during the month of March called Fit for Fitness – basically how you can incorporate foods like chocolate into your diet and still live a healthy lifestyle. And like I always say, I believe in everything in moderation.


Chocolate comes from the cacao plant and actually provides many healthy antioxidants. Dark chocolate usually tends to be the most healthy and the more nonfat cocoa solids a chocolate product contains, the more antioxidants it has.

I didn’t have any dark chocolate on hand, so I incorporated semi-sweet chocolate into my recipe – chocolate chip peanut butter pancakes! I have been loving protein pancakes lately, so I decided to try out a recipe using chocolate chips. To date, it is my favorite pancake recipe I have made!


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes   Serves: 1


  • 1/4 cup oats (I used Quaker Perfect Portions)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. PB2 or peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. chocolate chips.


  1. Add oats and water to a bowl, stir, and microwave approx. one minute.
  2. Beat egg whites into oats, mix in protein powder and peanut butter, lightly stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Cook pancakes on a heated pan or griddle over medium heat approx. 2-3 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve with your favorite toppings or garnish with a few more chocolate chips.

These pancakes were delicious! Nothing beats peanut butter and chocolate!


Today’s Workout

  • Taught BodyPump – 60 minutes

I taught BodyPump this morning and afterwards I had a peanut butter and jelly Quest bar.


More peanut butter!


Lunch this afternoon was chicken fajitas.


I mentioned that I have been trying to add chicken to my diet lately for more protein. I am not a huge fan of chicken and don’t like eating it by itself, but I don’t mind it in other things – like fajitas/tacos.

I cooked the chicken with peppers, red onions, and salt-free fajita seasoning. I ate them on corn tortillas topped with cabbage and mango.


I also discovered a new delicious flavor of Sparkling ice water – cherry limeade.


The bottle doesn’t say new, but I have never seen this flavor before. My favorite is the pineapple coconut but the cherry limeade is a close second!

Have a great weekend!

  • Do you have any plan this weekend?
  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • Favorite way to eat chocolate?



Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Recipes, Running, Working Out

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Happy Friday!!

This morning, I taught BodyPump at the gym and then I worked for awhile.

When I was leaving the gym, I checked my email and saw that I had a new update for my nutrition plan from Sara. One of my new breakfast items is protein pancakes. I decided that I couldn’t wait for breakfast tomorrow to have them so I made them for lunch instead – that was the right choice :)

I stopped at the store and picked up the oatmeal that the recipes calls for:


Blueberry Protein Pancakes   Serves:1


(This is basically the recipe that Sara sent me)


  • 1/4 cup Quaker Oats Perfect Portions oatmeal (I used the maple flavor)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup bluberries
  • cinnamon to taste
  • optional: topping of you choice – syrup, peanut butter, fruit, jam, etc.


  1. Put 1/4 cup oats in bowl. Add water and stir. Cook 55 seconds.
  2. Add protein powder, egg whites, and cinnamon to oats and whisk until combined.
  3. Stir in desired amount of blueberries (I used about 1/4 cup and added the rest to the top of the pancakes after they were done)
  4. Cook pancakes on the stove on a hot pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cook approx. 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. Top with fruit and additional toppings of your choice.


I added 1/2 tablespoon of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Maple to my pancakes.


Total Calories (with agave): 289 calories    Total Protein: 29.5 grams

These pancakes hit the spot and I can’t wait to start eating them for breakfast!

I rented the new Thor movie for Danny and the kids to watch tonight. I’m not really into Thor, so I’ll probably be on my phone or reading when they’re watching :)

Tomorrow, we have a nutrition fair at the gym where I’ll be working for awhile and then I’m going to try and make it out to Whole Foods.

Have a great weekend!

  • Do you have any plans this weekend?
  • What’s the last movie you watched?


Filed under Lunch, Recipes, Working Out

Healthy Swaps: Hawaiian BBQ Pizza

Good morning!

Growing up, I was a vegetarian on and off. I have never really been a big meat eater and still haven’t eaten a hamburger to this day. Meat just isn’t something that I really enjoy. After reading the book, Skinny Bitch, quite a few years ago, I became a vegetarian again. A while after that I added fish to my diet, simply because I needed more options to eat.

I am a pretty picker eater and I noticed that since I don’t eat meat, I tend to turn to carbs a lot. Lately, I have been making more of an effort to eat better to lose a few pounds that I have recently gained. I will eat chicken once in a great while to have a lean protein source over a carb. I still don’t eat chicken by itself because I can’t stand the texture, but occasionally I will have a little chicken in a recipe like the BBQ pizza that I’m about to share.

I still will always prefer vegetarian options and fish to chicken, but it’s a nice change and a great lean protein source. All that being said, let’s get into the healthy recipe swap :)

Hawaiian BBQ Pizza

Most people enjoy pizza. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it can actually be healthy if made the right way. I only recently discovered BBQ pizza and I love it. And it’s something that can be made easily and healthily at home.

The popular pizza restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, has a Hawaiian BBQ pizza on their menu. These pizza are sized for one person to eat, and the BBQ pizza has 1,110 calories. Even if you only ate half, that’s 555 calories.

I made a pizza at home that still tastes great but has a lot less calories. My version only has approximately 326 calories.



  • FlatOut Italian herb flatbread
  • 3 tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • 1 oz. red onion
  • 1.5 oz. fresh pineapple
  • .25 cup green onion
  • 1.5 oz. grilled chicken strips (I used Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh grilled strips – pre cooked and grilled)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

You can add more of less of these ingredients to your liking, but my calorie count is based on those amount. I only used a small amount of chicken but a lot of onions because I love onions.

I cooked the flatbread directly on the oven rack for about 3-4 minutes until it gets crispy. Then I added 3 tbsp. of Two Fat Guys BBQ sauce.


This sauce has no high fructose corn syrup, it’s gluten-free, and only 60 calories for 3 tablespoons. It’s more expensive that the regular BBQ sauces, but it’s worth it.

After that, I just added all my ingredients onto the pizza – chicken, red onions, green onions, pineapple, and cheese. I baked the pizza at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.


So delicious!!


CPK Hawaiian BBQ Pizza                   My Hawaiian BBQ Pizza

  • 1,110 calories                                     326 calories
  • 28 grams fat                                      7 grams fat
  • 15 grams saturated fat                    4 grams saturated fat
  • 2,890 mg sodium                            673 grams sodium
  • 161 grams carbs                               43 grams carbs

Yesterday’s Workout

  • 1 mile treadmill
  • Boot Camp – 60 minutes

I was up nice and early yesterday and got to the gym about 6:45 am. I ran/walked one mile on the treadmill before heading to the boot camp class. I ran on the Woodway treadmill which is especially made for people with joint issues.

I am trying out the new Reebok ZQuick shoes (more on that later) and so far, they are awesome!


I haven’t been to boot camp in forever and it was a great workout.

Yesterday night, my mom watched the kids while Danny and I went out for an early Valentine’s Day dinner.


Jaden’s birthday party is next weekend so it was just easier for us to go out this weekend. We went to Cooper’s Hawk and it was amazing. Danny had steak and I had the crab cakes.


This was only my second time having crab cakes ever and they were good. We finished the night with a Reese’s chocolate chip cookie with ice cream. Back to healthy eating today!

Danny and I are heading to the gym to take Body Pump – have a great day!!

***Come back tomorrow for a great giveaway!!***

  • What’s your favorite pizza?




Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Running, Working Out

Physical Therapist Appointment

Good afternoon!

Let’s start with last night’s dinner. I made the herbed salmon recipe from the Tone It Up website.


I have made salmon a bunch of different ways, but this salmon is my favorite. It’s so delicious and flavorful. The ingredients are pretty simple: salmon, parsley, dill, green onion, olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine.

I also had green beans on the side made with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. And fruit – I had a container of pineapple, blueberries, and grapes. I love fruit.


My physical therapy appointment got switched from Friday to yesterday, so I went after the gym. Basically, I need to see the sports doctor to get a new prescription for physical therapy.

My hip, quad, and glute really started hurting again two weeks ago after I started running more. The physical therapist thinks that maybe the running is what aggrevated my right side again. He said that it was okay to keep working out but to avoid running since that’s what always seems to cause the problem until after I’ve seen the sports doctor.

He always said that my hips are slightly uneven and my right leg is slightly longer than the other leg, which can cause the problems that I’m having especially when I’m running. I don’t know if my leg bone is actually physically longer or if my body is just overcompensating on one side because of my injury. I won’t really know more info until I see the sports doctor.

The physical therapist also told me about a technique that he uses called trigger point therapy. It can be done with medication or “dry” without medication. Trigger point therapy is when a needle gets inserted into the muscle to help loosen the muscle and relieve the pain.

A needle. They want to stick a needle in the middle of my butt. No.

But honestly, the glute pain is so intense at times that I’m willing to try anything to get relief.

Today’s Workout

  • Stretching – 10 minutes
  • Trifecta Class – 60 minutes

This morning at the gym, I made sure to stretch my hip, glute, and quad before I took the Trifecta class. I am also really careful with my squats and lunges.


Lunch this afternoon was English muffin hummus melts.


I haven’t had these in forever and they were so good. I also had two random pickles slices on the side because I love pickles and some blueberries.

I also just tried out this Aquafina flavored water.


I am a big regular water drinker but it’s nice sometimes to add in something with a little flavor but not a lot of calories.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Have you had a exercise related injury lately?
  • Ever heard of trigger point therapy?
  • What did you have for lunch?


Filed under Dinner, Fitness, Lunch, Recipes, Working Out

Healthy Swaps: Spinach Salad

Typically when you think of salads, you think they’re healthy. Maybe you go out to a restaurant and you’re trying to eat healthy so you order a salad. However sometimes those salads come with tons of dressing, cheeses, croutons or tortillas strips, and nuts. Those calories and fat can really add up fast.

Take the Maggiano’s entrée sized spinach salad, for example. Their spinach salad includes: spinach tossed with diced red peppers, roasted red onions, Gorgonzola cheese, bacon, pine nuts, and apple cider vinaigrette.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Guess how many calories that salad has? Go ahead, guess.

1,060 calories.

1,060 calories for a spinach salad. And 76 grams of fat. So much for eating healthy.

Of course, there are ways that you can cut the calories on salads when you’re eating out – ask for the dressing on the side and just dip your fork, ask for no cheese (or less cheese), skip the croutons, etc.

I decided to make my own spinach salad at home and followed the recipe for the Pecan and Pear Spinach Salad from the Tone it Up website.


This salad includes:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 10 pecans
  • 10 grapes
  • 1 sliced pear
  • lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

You can also add some chicken for protein.

Maggiano’s Spinach Salad                              Tone It Up Spinach Salad

  • 1060 calories                                                   387 calories
  • 76 grams fat                                                    13 grams fat
  • 1670 mg sodium                                            2 grams sodium

(a little more sodium if you add salt to your quinoa)

This salad was delicious and very filling. Quinoa isn’t a grain like most people think. It’s actually a seed and a complete protein source.


I’ve only made quinoa at home a handful of times, but I need to start making it more because this quinoa was delicious. It was light, fluffy, and has a slightly  nutty taste.

Today’s Workout

  • Butts and Guts – 60 minutes

Today’s Butts and Guts class was great and I burned a little over 500 calories.


My hip and glute still bother me and randomly this afternoon the physical therapist that I used to see called me to see how I was doing. I told him that just lately, my hip and glute really started hurting again. So, long story short, I’m going in for a free 30 minute evaluation on Friday. He said that it probably isn’t normal for it to still hurt and I told him that I exercise a lot. We’ll see how it goes :)

Post workout, I had a sticky bun Larabar. I believe this is a new flavor and it was awesome.


Winner of the Van’s Giveaway:

  • Allison Barra Nicholson – I sent you an email!

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you try to order healthy at restaurants?
  • Favorite salad topping?



Filed under Lunch, Recipes, Working Out