Stuffed and roasted Acorn squash

Today was a busy day for us, but we managed to get to the DMV before the line went down the block, most of the housecleaning done, and our shopping at Aldi done for the next couple weeks.  They had beautiful acorn squash, so I just had to buy a couple to stuff and roast!


2 acorn squash-halved and seeds removed-Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Next get the stuffing ready.

In a sauce pot boil water and prepare your quinoa according to the package instructions.  Mine called for 2 cups of boiling water, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes. I cooked it al dente as its going to cook a bit more in the oven.

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small white onion, diced

4 baby portabella mushrooms, diced

1/2 of a green apple, peeled and diced-add LAST, just before removing from the heat

2 links of chicken sausage, cubed

2 pieces of bacon, cubed

While your quinoa is cooking, sauté the above ingredients for 20 minutes. Start first with the bacon and chicken sausage, then add the garlic, onions and mushrooms.  Add the apples just for the last 2-3 minutes.  Season with kosher salt, pepper, sage, and parsley (about 2 teaspoons each of sage and parsley).  Add in the quinoa when cooked and add to the stuffing mixture and remove from the heat.

Remove the roasted squash from the oven, and spoon in your stuffing.  Top with grated parmesan cheese, and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes at 375 or until the squash is slightly tender.


Dinner is served!  Enjoy!!!

Do you like squash? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

I hope you are all having a great weekend!

❤ Michelle

goals, Uncategorized

Weekend wrap up and goals…

With not having much of a break last week, well, no break at all in fact-I realized I’ve been slacking on the blog the last few days. Ack…my bad!

Having had worked New Year’s day, I decided to make the very most of this weekend with my family.  I work next weekend, so we decided to do all the fun family stuffs.  Friday I came home from work to a wonderfully cooked meal of BBQ chicken and veggies by my hubby, as well as to find all of the Christmas decorations had been taken down and put away.  Score.  I was ready to move past the holidays.  Friday night we relaxed and watched the movie, “Big Night” starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub.  It is an older film, from 1996, but the story was based on the relationship of two brothers who had moved to the United States from Italy to open their own restaurant.  At first, you think the movie is going to be about food but in reality it’s about their passion FOR Italian food, and the relationship the two brothers share.  Great flick, and I highly recommend it to any food enthusiast, or movie lover alike.

Rated 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes!
Rated 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes!

Saturday we decided to take the family to see MockingJay part 1 at the theater (GREAT movie), and have dinner at a place we haven’t tried yet that is located in Geneva, IL.  Local readers, I HIGHLY recommend The Patton house, which is on 2nd street in downtown Geneva.  We had bacon wrapped figs to start, and my entrée was a spicy salmon fillet over a sweet potato puree with a maple demi glaze.  To. Die. For.

1-4pattonhouse 1-4pattonhousefig

Today was my day to go shopping at my favorite consignment shop, Clothes Mentor, with the gift cards I received for Christmas.  This store makes me happy.  What can I say…I showed up with a small bag of clothes (they buy back too!) for which I received 15 dollars, as well as had a 5 dollar coupon.  At the end of my spree, I bought a cute purse, Franco Sarto shoes, and several sweaters, shirts, 2 pairs of pants and a sweater dress all for $225.00.  18 items, at an average of $12.50 cents each, and keep in mind these are all high end brand names…Ann Taylor, BCBG max, White house Black market, Nike (yes, I had to get workout clothes too!) and Banana Republic just to name a few…yup…this girl came out HAPPY as a clam.  I used to love fashion, but found that over the last several years I forgot to pamper myself too…so although I can’t afford these clothes brand new, I sure can bargain shop!


I still can’t run as my thumb is still on the mend, but am praying one more week and I’ll be cleared to run.  Starting now, since my marathon training starts in about 6 weeks I will be eating A LOT healthier, and cutting back on my wine intake…scary, I know…but it’s needed.  I am going back to my high protein diet, as it truly made me feel healthier and stronger.  I’ve fallen off the wagon and have been eating far too much rice/rice pasta.  I’ll still have these yummy things once or twice a week…just not daily.  I was however able to cook Sunday supper tonight, which tasted great, but didn’t look very pretty…my meal prep looks much nicer…LOL!

My friend posted this on my time line today…LOL

My friends know my weakness all too well!
My friends know my weakness all too well!
Salad!  yum!
Salad! yum!
Prime Rib with my red pepper and carrot puree!  Plating is sloppy, but hey I only have 9 fingers.  LOL
Prime Rib with my red pepper and carrot puree! Plating is sloppy, but hey I only have 9 fingers. LOL
Meal prep for tomorrow's breakfast and lunch
Meal prep for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch


With no true resolutions this year, I can say I have lofty goals of branching out, somehow…in my career, and in my life.  What that means?  I’m not 100% sure yet…

What are your goals for the year?? Do you make resolutions? Do you shop consignment?

Have a great week, gang!

❤ Michelle



A little lost…

After having spent last weekend with my husband celebrating our ten year anniversary, I found myself quickly slapped in the face with the reality of work, life, etc. I don’t hide the fact that my job is just a job, and not a passion.  I don’t hide things very well.  And it all hit me like a ton of bricks this past week.

I didn’t want to run. Wait…I don’t want to run.  Major issue.  But I have literally NO motivation or desire.  Dropping temps with snow and ice have left my heart…well…cold.  My running shoes have sat dormant minus a couple dreadmill runs that were honestly terrible.

Last weekend I spent the weekend with my husband, cooking, drinking wine, and enjoying good food.  And I felt the pull…I want to be a Chef.  I love to create food. It’s my one GO TO place no matter the weather, time constraints, or stress.  I love…to cook. I may not be a Chef…but I have that desire.

So here’s a few pics of last week since I’ve been absent.

our first cooking class!
our first cooking class!
bacon wrapped dates
bacon wrapped dates
stuffed pork chops, YUM
stuffed pork chops, YUM
homemade meatballs with spaghetti
homemade meatballs with spaghetti
My happy place
My happy place

So with my November goals falling short, I will push forward with writing, cooking, and working out as often as possible.  Thank you all for your unending support.  May this winter funk end, soon!



Wordless (mostly) weekend wrap-up…

We welcomed Friday with open arms after a very long couple weeks at work, with minimal days off…what did we do to celebrate?  Yard work…yup.  Call me crazy, but it was therapeutic to FINALLY get some work done around the house.

I don't think my family was quite as excited as I was to pull this mountain of weeds...
I don’t think my family was quite as excited as I was to pull this mountain of weeds…

But after 2 hours of work, and shaky arms, we let our hair down and enjoyed a couple of my husband’s famous daiquiris.  DELISH.

Let's just say, this glass of amazing goodness went down a little too smoothly, LOL!
Let’s just say, this glass of amazing goodness went down a little too smoothly, LOL!

Saturday we took the top down on the Jeep and drove around running errands.  We ate a late lunch, so I decided to make a light dinner I like to call “Little bites.”  We had bacon wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese, and shrimp toasts.  To. Die. For.  And so easy.

Holler if you want the recipe!
Holler if you want the recipe!

Saturday evening I got my gear out as I religiously always do before a long run or race, and was in bed by 10:30 (which is GREAT for me).  We had 8 miles on deck for Sunday morning, and I was again pacing the 9:30 half marathoners for our 3rd training run.  Nerves always set in, but I was able to sleep until about 4 a.m. when I woke up in fear I  missed my alarm.  Ack…I still had an hour before I had to get up!  I stayed in bed, trying to rest, and finally rolled out of bed at 5 to get ready…

Obligatory gear post
Obligatory gear post-what’s your favorite fuel?

My hubby and I met up with all my friends, and we smiled, talked, and chatted as we got ready to line up to run.

Photo thanks to my friend, Jitka: here is me, Jitka, and Carolyn!
Photo thanks to my friend, Jitka: here is me, Jitka, and Carolyn!

And we were off…the first couple miles Jitka, Brian, and Debra and I ran quite easily on the trails.  Wow…2 miles done already?  Awesome!  I was holding pace easily, and then the hill of hell at Japanese gardens came…THIS hill nearly killed me in the full marathon last year, but our group barreled up it full force…so much so that I missed the turn, and nearly tacked on a good quarter mile to our route.  Woops…a couple runners got irritated, and I apologized profusely.  This nearly set me off course, but I had Jitka and Brian cheering me on, and I quickly brushed the negativity off my back.  (note-those that know me well know how directionally challenged I am…so leading a group this size can be a bit daunting).  We finished strong, and I had a huge sigh of relief when we were done despite losing part of my group.

8.2 miles done at a 9:27 pace!
8.2 miles done at a 9:27 pace!
Me and my hubby-this was his FARTHEST run to date!  So proud!
Me and my hubby-this was his FARTHEST run to date! So proud!

And then….there was the food…

Give. Me. ALL. the. FOOD.  Yup, he earned this!
Give. Me. ALL. the. FOOD. Yup, he earned this!

And then…we napped.  I am surprised how tired I get after these long runs, seeing that last year my mileage was double.  I AM enjoying being home by 8:30 in the morning after a ‘long’ run, I’ll have to admit.

What is the farthest you’ve ran?  What’s on your race docket this year?

I am sticking to half marathons this year…with my 3rd full scheduled for next summer with my sister.  Training starts in February, so stand by for details!


Keep Movin’, y’all!!

❤ Michelle

food, Uncategorized

Bacon wrapped chicken thighs, served with steamed asparagus

I was admittedly feeling a little low after work today. Not knowing the future can be tough, and although my mantra is to keep movin’ forward, it can be a challenge when you are unsure of how you will provide for your family in a monetary sense.

So what do I do when I’m feeling low besides go for a run? I cook.
There was no running outdoors today with negative wind chills, and the dreadmill, well, just looked dreadful. I did a circuit work out, my AB challenge, and hunkered down in the kitchen.

I seasoned 4 chicken thighs simply with kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper and a dash of garlic powder. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
Cut 4 thin pieces of Pepperjack cheese. I normally avoid dairy, but this is one of the few cheeses I can stand.
Take 4 pieces of nitrate free/low sodium back and separate.
Put one piece of cheese inside each chicken thigh, and wrap tightly, then seal by wrapping tightly with the bacon, securing with toothpicks. Repeat the process, and place in a 9×11 pyrex baking dish. Drizzle lightly with evoo, and back at 375 for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
Steam your asparagus lightly so that it still has a crunch, and season with kosher salt, and pepper. I topped with a little parmesan cheese, to entice my kiddos to eat it, 🙂