November 30, 2011

Crock pot Balsamic Chicken

I set a new record today. I was annoyed with work things before 8am. Do I get an award for that? I just hate when people don't get back to you...and when they finally do, they've ruined your whole plan for the month of December. I was all set to enjoy my two weeks off in December and now I feel a little stressed about taking the time off. I've kind of figured out a way to make everything work but still. Very annoyed. It's a good thing I had a delicious dinner last night, and a delicious lunch planned for today, or else I might have really flown off the handle.

Anyway........I’ve found a new favorite recipe! And it’s easy to boot! Probably the main reason it’s my new fave. Also, it is delicious and very versatile!

I found this recipe on the website skinny crock pot. You know I love me some crock-pot cookin’ and this website is perfection. This particular recipe makes 10 servings and I’m already thinking of the many other ways I’ll be able to eat it.


4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (not chopped)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp each of dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
½ tsp thyme
½ c balsamic vinegar
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
ground pepper and salt, to taste


1. Pour the olive oil into the crock-pot, coating the bottom.
2. Add chicken breasts and cover with onion slices and salt and pepper.
3. Add dried herbs and garlic cloves. Pour in the vinegar and diced tomatoes. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Serve with angel hair pasta.

I didn’t have an onion so I made mine without. Mine was delicious but I know the onion really adds some extra flavor so I’m excited to make this again with the sliced onion. I also only used 3 chicken breasts and when I ate this on Monday night, I ate one whole chicken breast. For my other servings, I shredded the chicken, which was super easy because it was so moist from cooking. I'm going to eat the wrap suggested on the original recipe for lunch today and also try it over rice. I’d also like to try it cold over salad since the sauce is pretty much balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Any other ideas on how to eat the rest of this, let me know!

heaven in a bag

At least I have these babies waiting for me when I get home tonight. They are the perfect combo of dark chocolate, peppermint and pretzel. Have I mentioned how much I love dark chocolate and peppermint together? If you haven’t noticed, I’ve declared my love twice in the past two posts. It’s the pumpkin of the holiday season! Blonk!

November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend round-up

Oh man, do I have a blog update for you! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA; my Internet isn’t working at home (still, ugh) so I couldn’t write any updates while on Thanksgiving break. Fear not, though, because I’ll recap it riiight now!

Wednesday night, Tiffany, her two boys and I went to see The Muppets Movie and it was awesome! It was super funny and definitely very nostalgic. I’ve decided my favorite muppet is Fozzie Bear (waka, waka!) It was an early-ish night for me since I had my heart set on winning a pie the next morning!

I started Thanksgiving Day off with the UA Turkey Trot. My goal was to win a pumpkin pie; they have 2,000 pies to give out: 1,000 for the first women finishers and 1,000 for the first men finishers. I ran the 5 mile race in 47 minutes, averaging a 9:28-minute mile, and when I crossed the finish line they shuttled me in to the women’s line to get my red ticket for my pie. Awesome, right? Wrong. They ran out of red tickets 10 people in front of me. I was 10 people from a free pie! I’m not going to lie, some tears came to my eyes because I was so bummed I didn’t reach my goal! It took me about a half hour to get over my disappointment and feel proud of myself for finishing under 50 minutes. By the time I went to Jamie’s for Thanksgiving dinner, I was over my pie failure. The night ended with lots of yummy food and a piece of chocolate chip pecan pie. My mouth is watering remembering it.

At least I got a medal...
Friday was a pretty lazy day. Tiff and I had plans to get pedicures but they were too busy so we ended up getting Jeni’s ice cream instead. Fair trade. I live about 10 steps from Jeni’s but I never go. If you haven’t been to Jeni’s yet for the winter season, she has some pretty amazing holiday flavors. I had a half scoop of my favorite pistachio & honey with a half scoop of the seasonal dark forest. I kind of want to buy a pint of her dark chocolate peppermint ice cream, but that of course means I’ll have to eat a pint of her dark chocolate peppermint ice cream…

Saturday was spent watching Ohio State lose to Michigan for the first time in 7 years. And that’s all I have to say about that.

yeah, we're over it

Sunday was the best day because, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but it was Ella’s 1st birthday! She was sooo cute as usual; she loved all of her new toys and played with each one! I loved watching her figure out how each toy worked and discovering all her new things. I personally kind of overdid it with presents but that’s what aunts are for, right? Heh :) We tried having her eat her cake with her hands but she kept looking up, waiting for someone to feed it to her. She ate one bite with her hand and kept squishing the frosting on her fingers together. She makes me laugh.
Birthday girl with her brother Evan (left) and her cousin Thomas (too cool)
The best decision I ever made was taking yesterday off of work. It was nice sleeping in one last time before getting back to the daily grind and getting errands done instead of over the weekend. To end the long weekend on a yummy note, I made a flippin’ fantastic balsamic chicken recipe in the crockpot that I’ll share tomorrow. I think this post is long enough today J

Happy start-of-holiday season everyone!

November 22, 2011

8-minute mile!

Guess what?! I can officially run an 8-minute mile! Granted, I can only run one and when I did it for the first time yesterday, I got light-headed but I did it again today and felt better, so now I'm officially announcing that I can run an 8-minute mile. Demi has me run at least a mile almost every workout and when she doesn't have me at an incline, I've been running it in about 8:30-8:35. Welp, we (and by we, I mean she) decided to up the ante yesterday and told me to run at a speed of 7.5 on the treadmill, which apparently equals an 8-minute mile. I'm glad I've finally pushed myself, or have been pushed, to run faster. It's so easy to do what you've always done but that won't make you any better. That's why I personally need a trainer beacuse I wouldn't push myself past my comfort zone. I feel so accomplished too! Now, I realize I probably can't keep that pace for longer than a mile, but I'm so glad I'm able to do at least one mile. Baby steps :)

Yesterday, I spent some time looking for a medal display for all of my race medals. Right now, they are lamely hanging on my mirror and I'd like to have them proudly displayed for all the world to see. I first saw one on a blog and I googled to see where I can get one and after much research, the best place is a website called Allied Medal Displays. They have different designs based on the medals you've earned or you can make a custom display. My favorite design is the cityscape; I wish they had one with the City of Columbus skyline since all my races so far have been here but alas, no love for the 'bus.

I kind of like this one for the attitude but I would feel too cheesy actually hanging it in my house. Plus, I could buy new shoes with the money I would spend on it!:


While researching, I came across another runner's blog (from Cincinnati, whatup Ohio!) who made her own display using a curtain rod from Wal-mart. That would work for short-term, if I'm looking to display my medals today, but I'd eventually like to get a legit display. I mean, the medals are pretty much the only reason I keep doing races. Gotta show off my babies!

November 21, 2011

Fun week ahead

Top reasons why this Monday sucks less than other Mondays:

1. 2.5 day work week. Can't beat that with a stick.

2. Wednesday, I am going to see the Muppets movie.

3. Thursday morning, I am running my last race of the year.

4. Thursday afternoon and evening will be spent with people I love.

My sister Kate (far left) will be here in spirit!

5. Friday, I get to sleep in and have plans to get a much needed pedicure. Seriously, I'm kind of embarrassed to show my feet to the pedicure people...

6. Saturday is the Ohio State/Michigan game.


7. Sunday is Ella's first birthday.

birthday girl

8. And last but not least, I'm not working next Monday so I get an extra long long weekend.

Knowing a fun week is coming up makes Mondays less dreadful. Hopefully everyone else has a great, relaxing week planned. Happy Thanksgiving/Michigan week!

November 18, 2011

Totally 90's

I think I was a kid's party planner in my past life because I love themed parties and dressing up silly for no particular reason. The problem is that no one else wants to partake in my awesome party ideas. Lame. I've been wanting to do a 90's party for awhile now and keep thinking of excellent ideas for what to wear. I thought I would share some of my favorite 90's gear...just in case anyone wants to come to my one-person 90's party...

acid wash jeans...and fringe jean jackets

Birkenstock's (with tie-dyed socks)

hair scrunchies

stirrup pants: the original leggings
anything ever worn on Saved By The Bell
Doc Martens

Tommy Hilfiger, overalls, Destiny's Child
......and everything about this guy
What are your favorite style trends from the 90's?

November 16, 2011


Today is a "thinking out loud" type of post. If you're wondering what it's like to be inside my brain, today's your lucky day!
The holidays are coming up quickly. And you know what that means...booze, food, and sweatpants. Well, maybe that's just what it means to me. But I've been preparing myself for the next month and a half because I love the holidays and all they entail. I almost never eat the foods that are around during the holidays so I don't want to tell myself not to eat something. I've been reminding myself to keep my portions in check and also to exercise. I'm feeling good about this holiday season because I finally have my endurance back so I can go on a run and not want to kill myself after 2 miles, like I did last year at this time. I enjoy going out for drinks with friends, or eating mashed potatoes for three days, or drinking peppermint mochas from Starbucks...but I also enjoy running and the great feeling of a tough workout. I just need to remember the latter while I'm doing the former, ya know what I'm sayin?

This week (and next) are perfect examples of how the holidays are already in full effect. I'm pretty set in my routine during the week. I don't usually go out, mostly because I get up so early, but this week and next are full of activites. Last night I went to a CBJ game. Tonight, I'm going to happy hour with some friends. Tomorrow, I'm going to the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn (!!). Next week is Thanksgiving, I have some time off work, and I'll be eating Tiff's amazing food. And I'm excited for all of these things. As you know by now, I'm a social butterfly. But I also know if I over-indulge in the next two weeks, I will feel horrible about myself and get discouraged come December. When it all starts over again for Christmas. So, even though my mouth is salivating for 3 helpings of mashed potatoes next week, my mind needs to take control and remind myself that I still have goals to accomplish. This is where I have struggled in the past, so I'm kind of both nervous and excited for this holiday challenge to see if I can put in to practice all the healthy tips I've picked up during the year. I think it really helps that I'm doing the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning so I can get some exercise before those mashed taters! Having a fitness goal mixed in with the fun of the holidays really works for me. I'm hoping to find some sort of race or challenge for Christmas so I can justify eating a few more cookies...heh
If anyone has any tips, please send them my way! I'd love to hear how others deal with the holiday madness.

November 15, 2011

Weekend Re-cap

Welp. My internet at my apartment isn’t working for the second time in two weeks. Argh. Two Thursdays ago, I called my internet/cable provider about it and a tech was scheduled to come out Monday but the internet miraculously came back Sunday. This time, it’s been out since last Thursday and I’m kind of waiting it out to call the tech again because I’m hoping it’ll come back. But no luck so far…why am I telling you my life story? To let you know the work that has been put in to this beloved post. I wrote this blog post in a word doc last night and am posting it today from work. (shh, don’t tell.)

This weekend was GREAT! I went out with my peeps Friday and then babysat Ella Saturday. We also celebrated my dad’s 65th birthday Sunday, which included quite a bit of Ella as well. I’ve written about my dad a lot on this blog, so I won’t go in to how much I love him, but he’s pretty much my whole life, and I’m so thankful for him.

Below is the picture I took on Saturday before putting Ella to bed. She was being cuddly which I LOVE since she’s pretty squirmy these days. I said "1, 2, 3, smile!" and she did!! I took about 7 pictures because I looked like hell in a hand basket but every single pic she was smiling. It was awesome. I love that she’s aware that she’s getting her picture taken so she can look extra cute in every one J It probably has something to do with her getting her picture taken about 1,000 times a day because she’s so freaking cute, but hey, I’m not complaining!
In the above picture, it looks like she’s looking at something or someone keeping her attention but I swear it was just us gals. I showed Tiff the picture and Tiffany said sometimes it looks like Ella is looking at something or someone but there’s no one around. I remember I was babysitting her once when she was about 3-4 months and I was rocking her to sleep in her bedroom with the lights out. She kept looking up past my head and smiling, like someone was standing behind me. This sounds silly, and maybe I’ve been watching too much American Horror Story, but sometimes I think she can see spirits and if she does see someone, I feel like it could be my mom. But, again, that may be my recent fascination with shows about ghosts.

Moving right along, yesterday was unseasonably warm for Ohio. 70 degrees and Thanksgiving is next week? What the what?! Usually by this time, it has snowed at least once. Since it’s so warm (and humid, unfortunately), I was craving a smoothie this morning. I haven’t made one in awhile and it was nice to break out the ole’ blender. My morning smoothie included 1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, a handful frozen fruit, a (big) spoonful of peanut butter, half scoop of vanilla protein powder and a tablespoon ground flaxseed. Yummers!

Have a great Tuesday! Or, as I like to call it, Glee and New Girl Day!

November 11, 2011


Before I get in to the meat of this post (pun intended), let me start off your Friday with the cutest toes you've ever seen:

Ella's first pedi
Now that I've made your day (you're welcome), I want to tell you that I've discovered a new product that may or may not have changed my life forever. And it's compliments of Hillshire Farm and their new product Grilled Essentials: pre-cooked, pre-marinated chicken breasts! These are perfect for the lazy (like myself) who don't like to wait 40-60 minutes before eating dinner. Just nuke these babies for a minute and you're all set. I've only tried two flavors so far: Garlic & Herb and Italian Style but I'd like to try Grilled on a salad. I eat one breast with cooked veggies and Uncle Ben's instant brown rice for dinner. Nom!

 It's 11-11-11 so hopefully good luck is in store! I still make a wish every time I look at the clock and it reads 11:11. I even have my alarm set today for 11:11am on 11-11-11...yeah, I'm a nerd :)

November 9, 2011

Glutes on Fire

My, oh my, did I do work on my gluteus maximus last night/this morning. Since I want to get a free pumpkin pie at the Turkey Trot, I've been working on interval training on the treadmill. Yesterday I decided to try a workout I saw on Peanut Butter Fingers and, I'm not kidding, I started feeling the soreness creep in 3 hours after I completed it. After the workout, I ran an additional 10 minutes to make it an even 40-minute workout which was probably unneccessary in hindsight. Why was it unnecessary? Because I forgot that this morning was leg day at That Gym. Whomp, whomp. I walked in this morning and told Demi my rear was sore and she said, "well....I have quite the workout for you today" and we worked primarily on that area. It wasn't that bad and it actually helped stretch me out a little bit but I'm still walking pretty silly.

Butt-busting 30-Minute Treadmill Workout

Min      Speed        Incline
5             6.5                1
1             3.5                5
1             6.5                5
1             3.5                6
1             6.5                6
1             3.5                7
1             6.3                7
1             3.5                8
1             5.9                8
1             3.5                9
1             5.7                9
  1             3.0                10
  1             5.5                10
  1             3.0                11
  1             5.3                11
  1             3.0                12
  1             5.1                12
  1             3.0                13
  1             4.9                13
  1             3.0                14
  1             4.7                14
  1             3.0                15
  1             4.5                15
 3               3                  7

I miiight have overdone it. I've never regretted a workout and I'm glad I did the treadmill workout because I wanted to challenge myself, which it defintely did, but I probably should have thought more about the timing of all of this. I already planned out that I wouldn't be doing any more treadmill workouts this week so at least I ended on tough one.

November 8, 2011

Lights Out

So, I have a confession to make that is a little bit embarrassing. As you all know, the time "fell back" on Saturday night so what used to be 6pm is now 5pm, which means it's lighter in the mornings and darker in the evenings. My confession is that I kind of like that it's darker earlier. Hear me out:

During the week, I am usually in bed around 7:30-8pm to watch my shows so I can go to sleep by 9-9:30pm. I have always been an "early to bed, early to rise" person. But when it's still light out at 8pm, I feel weird laying in bed trying to stay awake for my shows. Now, when I'm actually doing things at that time, I would prefer it to be light out. And, it does suck to leave work in the dark (which isn't an issue with my current hours but will be come January.) But, for the majority of the week, I feel like less of a loser when I'm in bed and not shielding my eyes from the sun.

I also really like bonfires and whatnot, and it's easier to have a bonfire and enjoy it for a longer period of time when you can start the bonfire at 6pm instead of 7pm. What's an extra hour, you say? It's one more hour of s'more-making, which is reason enough for me.

When it's darker earlier, that means it's lighter earlier. And with my current schedule, I'm up at 5:30am, work out from 6-7am, and am at work by 7:30am. It's nice to wear sunglasses at 7:30am instead of going to work in the pitch black.

There are also many reasons why the time change sucks (colder weather, harder to run outdoors, harder to do anything outdoors, etc.) but for me, I kind of don't mind the darker evenings 3-4 days a week :)

November 7, 2011

The Mediterranean Diet

It's been said for years that people who live in the Mediterranean region live longer and have less obesity related illnesses. This is mostly because of the foods they are accustomed to eating (duh.) Since it's easier to get fresh food, a lot of their diet consists of fish, vegetables, and olive oil. I've never been out of the country (USA USA USA) but I'd love to travel just to experience other countries' food and culture. I've heard from multiple world travelers that going out to dinner in other countries takes 4-5 hours; it's 45-60 minutes before you even get your food, and then you're expected to sit around with your chums for hours after you eat. Most other countries believe that meals should be savored and enjoyed, unlike America where there is a fast food restaurant (or three) at every major intersection. Don't get me wrong, I love french fries as much as the next guy, but I'm trying to work on taking the time to prepare healthy meals and also taking the time to enjoy them. I'll be keeping the following list, The Mediterranean Dietary Pattern, in mind as I continue to expand on my mad cooking skillz (yes, with a z.)

The Mediterranean Dietary Pattern (source)
  • An abundance of food from plant sources, including fruits, vegetables, potatoes, breads and grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Emphasis on variety of minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and locally grown foods.  Olive oil as the principal fat, replacing other fats and oils.
  • Total fat ranging from less than 25% to no more than 35% of calories, with saturated fat comprising no more than 7% to 8% of calories.
  • Daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt.
  • Twice-weekly consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry.
  • Zero to four eggs per week.
  • Fresh fruit as the typical dessert; sweets with a significant amount of sugar (often as honey) and saturated fat consumed no more than a few times per week.
  • Red meat consumed a few times per month.
  • Low to moderate consumption of wine, normally with meals, about one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women.


November 4, 2011


I went to Old Navy today because I had a 30% off coupon. I tried on a few sweaters from the women's department and they were all so boxy and short! They weren't flattering at all. I was looking for longer sweaters to wear with my skinny jeans or leggings and these sweaters barely covered my stomach. Tiff said she sometimes buys men's sweaters to wear with leggings so I took a lap around the men's section and I honestly thought the men's sweaters were way cuter than the women's. I ended up getting two men's sweaters which I didn't try on until I got home and I LOVE them! They probably aren't long enough to wear with leggings but they are super flattering with my skinny jeans. They are long enough to cover my hips but still give me a waist.

It made me feel weird shopping on the men's side but after no one said, "no girls allowed!" I kind of forgot I wasn't on the "correct" side. I also wondered why they didn't have sweaters for women like they did for men. The men's are softer and come in more colors. I got a purple and a bright red, but they had multiple shades of red, green, grey...and argyle! I may go back and get some argyle to release my inner prep! Lesson learned today: men's sweaters (at ON) are better than women's.

I am going to wear the scarlet one to OU tomorrow with gray jeans...get it? Scarlet and gray? OSU? And yes, I already have my outfit planned for tomorrow. That's half the fun of buying new clothes, after all. Now, off to hang with baby Ella while her parentals go to Bob Seger with my dad! Happy Friday!

November 3, 2011

Treadmill workout


The worst thing that could possibly happen on a treadmill happened to me last night. No, I did not fly off the back of the machine. My iPod died 20 minutes into my workout. NOOOOOOO is what my brain screamed. I can handle an outside run sans iPod (I ran all three of my half marathons without any music) but I didn't think I could ever run on a treadmill without music. I cannot think of anything more boring. I was doing a sprint workout and the music helps me keep my pace. Without it, I thought I was done for. Luckily though, it wasn’t bad! My sprint workout actually kept me focused on something other than the miles I had ran or the amount of time I’d been running, so it actually wasn't as horrible as I was anticipating. However, I will make sure from now on my iPod is charged before heading to the gym because I have some pretty sweet tunes.
I kind of created this sprint workout while training for my first half marathon last winter. My runs during the week would only be 4-5 miles and to keep it interesting, I developed a four mile-ish sprint workout so I wouldn't get so bored running 4 miles twice a week for 5 months. It looks like this:
  • mile one: 10 minute pace (6.0)
  • mile two: 8:30 minute pace (7.0)
  • set incline to 2 and jog at 5.0 pace for three minutes, sprint at 8.0 for one minute, jog for three at 5.0, sprint for one at 8.0, etc until you reach 4 miles.
I like to end on a sprint so mine end up being around 4.25 miles. However, it's really up to your personal preference on speed, incline, miles, etc. It's a great way to get your heart rate going and challenge yourself. The first time I did it, I totally forgot I had the incline on, so I was super proud of myself for doing it with that incline the whole time (once I realized my happy accident.) Since I'm in better shape now, I want to try new sprint/interval workouts that are fun and a little more of a challenge so I'll post them once I try them.
I go to That Gym for personal training but since it's not an open gym, I also belong to Premier at Sawmill. I've been going to Premier since the beginning of time. Seriously. My dad taught me how to swim in its pools (back in the day, it was called Sawmill Athletic Club.) I left last night noticing a LOT of hot guys. Now, I know every gym has some eye candy but it was like everywhere I turned, a hot guy caught my eye. Not to mention, all the women at Premier are hot too! It's a pretty intimidating gym, and it reminded me why I was so embarrassed to work out there before: I felt really self-conscious. I know no one even notices who I am and what I'm doing, but it really made working out depressing. Now that I have some confidence back, I’m glad to be back at Premier sprinting and soaking up all the hotness J

November 1, 2011


I know these "postcards" are sooo 2008 but I still think they're funny and I wanted to share some of my favorites, all of which may or may not be things I actually say/do/think:

P.S-If you haven't tried Pinterest yet, do it. It's AMAZING and a great way to procrastinate!