moving forward, Thankful

Saturday unexpected fun and Thankful #9

We had no plans this weekend which is sometimes fun. I have been battling bronchitis and now allergies for nearly a month and rest was something I welcomed. I woke up this morning with a cold pill hangover but was told my daughter had made plans to go to the mall with her friend. My husband told me they weren’t leaving for an hour so I quickly made some tea, showered and got ready. I wasn’t going to miss out on some fun. We picked up her friend, and headed to the mall. Once the kids went on their way, we grabbed some lunch and did a little shopping. What a fun day! We also had plans for my friend Kandice that I was stationed with back in Texas to come over for dinner, so we stopped by the store on the way home for some last minute dinner items.

Today I am thankful for:

  1. The fact my daughter is finally making friends here. Middle school age is hard.
  2. Last minute date lunches with my hubby. We don’t get much time just for us, so today was nice.
  3. 65% sales at Dillards. I got two super cute Free People dresses for 65% off. Winning.
  4. Dinner with friends. For the first time since we’ve moved here, we had a friend over for dinner. Steaks, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon wrapped  asparagus and my cauliflower mash were a big hit.
  5. Positive outlooks. While this year may have started out rough, I am hopeful for better days.

Do you make time for date time for your significant other? What’s your favorite dish to cook for others? Are you an “on sale” shopper?


Keto adventures, Recipes

Four weeks of Keto-recap!

We’ve been doing the Keto diet for 4 weeks now. While I’ve wanted to cheat with soft pretzels at Disney and chips with my work lunch’s, I’m proud to say I’ve refrained from it all!

I am down 4.5 lbs and my hubby is down 13+ lbs!! I still have five lbs to go and happy with the slow and steady loss.

Our weekend was quiet and today was another glorious day in the sun at our neighborhood pool!

Dinner was baked wings and cauliflower mash.

How was your weekend?



Keto adventures, Recipes

Keto Crispy chicken!

Tonight’s Keto meal was baked crispy chicken coated with egg wash, spicy pork rinds and almond flour. Bake at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve with your favorite Keto friendly veggie. We had a few spears of asparagus with bacon.

Yum! What’s on your plate?? Comment below!!! Cheers!!!


Deployment thoughts, Uncategorized

Going on 6 months…

Well gang, we are just about at the half way point of my husband’s deployment.  Sadly, keeping up with a career, a home, 2 kids, a dog, and everything in between has left little time for blogging.  But, I’m still here!!!  If you’ve been reading here lately, I’ve discussed that I am keeping the faith for a career change in the future and that hasn’t changed.  Nothing has transpired as of yet, but the magnetic pull I feel every single day that there IS something more is so strong I find it’s tangible.

I HAVE started running a little again, just a couple 2 milers last week, but it’s something.  I’ve also started cooking again, which makes my heart just happy.  Moving forward I am going to try a new recipe that will challenge my skills-every week-and I’ll highlight what I made for you as well as critique how the dish turned out. I’m a huge collector of cookbooks and cooking magazines, so it’ll be fun to try out some new recipes!  I figure it’s a good challenge for me, and it will keep me accountable here in blog land.  More to follow on that…

With that, I think I’ll just give you a snap shot of my week in pictures which include my beautiful daughters, (S is starting 5th grade and had band camp last week, and J is going to be a JUNIOR…sigh) some of the dishes I cooked, and a couple of my work outs.


I am linking up with Holly @ and Tricia @ (Will WordPress EVER let us link anymore?) for the weekly wrap.  Please make sure to check them out!  ❤


How was your week?  What is the longest distance you’ve ever been on your own with your kids (if you have them, dogs/cats count too!)?  Have you been cooking anything interesting lately?

Hope you are all doing well!  Cheers!




Tasty Tuesday-Sweet Potatoes 2 ways!

My planned come back to running tonight was postponed due to my left shin and right LEG still being a bit wonky.  I have no races scheduled so figure it’s best to not hurt myself for no reason.  Because we all know how stubborn runners can be when it comes to training, and we often run through the pain.  Totally unnecessary at this point, since the next half marathon I have planned isn’t until late September.

So…I sorta needed today’s run.  NEED you say?  Yeah…after a bit of family drama last night that left my pillow a bit wet when going to bed, I longed for the trails and had hoped to leave my feelings out on my hood trails tonight.  BUT…no such luck. So now what?  I COOK of course!!!  My next favorite thing, and quite possibly even my VERY favorite…shhhhhh don’t tell my running habit I am cheating on ’em.  LOL.

I have truly fallen in love with sweet potatoes so I decided to swing by the store after work and pick up a few for dinner tonight.  Unbeknownst to me, my family had already eaten their dinner by the time I came home, and I quietly passed on the sandwich being handed to me (most know I REALLY try to avoid bread) and started my dinner prep.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Sweet Potato Hash

2 Tbsp of coconut oil

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 small white onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 fried egg (cooked separately)

2 links of spicy chicken sausage, halved, then sliced in to 1/2 moons (or your favorite kind/brand!)

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Seasonings: kosher salt, pepper, oregano, basil, hickory salt, crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Diced green onion for garnish

Heat a non-stick frying pan with the coconut oil to medium high heat.  Add in your potato, onion, garlic, and sauté for 5-7 minutes until slightly tender. Next, add in your chicken sausage and seasonings and sauté for another 10 minutes.  Just before serving add the parmesan cheese.  While the hash is sautéing, fry one egg in a non-stick pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and heated to medium-high heat.  Scoop your hash on to a plate, top with the egg and garnish with green onion.  YUM!  This is enough to serve 2, so I saved the other half for my lunch tomorrow!!!  Winning!

Dinner is served in less than 25 minutes!
Dinner is served in less than 25 minutes!

Sweet Potato ‘Chips’

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Peel, and slice one sweet potato and place in a bowl.  Add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, 1 cup of parmesan cheese, a dash of kosher salt (not too much-the parmesan cheese is already salty!), black pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix well, coating all of the ‘chips.’  Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.  Evenly place the chips on the sheet, being careful to not overlap the chips.  Bake for 20 minutes, and turn the chips over.  Return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.  Garnish with parsley, and serve!

These were a huge hit in my house!
These were a huge hit in my house!

What’s your favorite sweet potato dish?  What do you do when you find yourself a bit blue?

Have a great week, y’all!!

❤ Michelle

marathon training, Sunday Supper

Week 4 of training, complete!

Overall week 4 of training went off without a hitch.  Despite little sleep, I managed to get in my weekday runs, strength training, and even a shake out walk today.  I also finished my week off with a couple hours of yard work, which included glimpses of spring!

Green little sproutlings made me SOOOO excited today!
Green little sproutlings made me SOOOO excited today!

But back it up a little…sorry, I am getting ahead of myself-LOL!  Yesterday was my scheduled long run, and I had 11 miles on deck.  I hadn’t run long outside since November, and my nerves were pretty high.  My friend D offered to meet up with me at 8 a.m. as she was starting at 7 a.m. and I could sleep in a little while she started out since she needed 18 miles.

Despite saying we would both wear our FVM jackets, the rest of the outfit was NOT planned, LOL!!
Despite saying we would both wear our FVM jackets, the rest of the outfit was NOT planned, LOL!!

It worked out PERFECTLY.  The sun was out, the temps were nearly perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better morning.  Despite being much faster than I am, D offered to slow it down so we could just run, chat, and leave it all on the trails for a couple hours.  And that’s exactly what we did…we kept it a 10mm pace, which is my ‘sweet spot’ to run in where I am pushing myself yet can still glide along easily while holding a conversation.


My ITB is starting to feel the miles, so I did have to stop at stretch it out several times.  A quick stretch though, was what seemed to do the trick and I tried to ensure we weren’t stopped for more than a minute each time.  The run was amazing, but I am guessing this is greatly due to the company I was in.  ❤

Since the hubby is working all weekend, I decided to take the girls to see the new Cinderella movie.  I LOVED it. They did, too!  I highly recommend seeing this film.

Always time for silliness!
Always time for silliness!

Today was a busy day of Fox Valley Marathon planning and my fellow Co-Directors of Volunteers and I met up with the Race Directors for a an overview of the new online tools we will be using.  Can’t wait!

I finished the day, as said previously, by working on my yard, raking, walking, pulling up dead stuff and yes…scooping a winter’s worth of dog poo.  Gross is all I can say.

Tonight’s Sunday Supper was Red snapper that I pan fried, served with a broccoli slaw with pancetta along with a cauliflower and leek mash.  Delish indeed!!!

Love our Sunday Suppers!
Love our Sunday Suppers!

I’ve posted how I prepare Cauliflower mash previously here and just added a chopped leek to the mix.  YUM!

Broccoli Slaw 

One bag of pre-chopped broccoli slaw

2 teaspoons of Mayo with olive oil

A splash or two of rice wine vinegar

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of pancetta that has been browned with garlic and chopped mushrooms (drain on a paper towel)

Mix well and let chill for an hour before serving

Red Snapper

Dry your fillets with a paper towel and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Heat a non stick pan with cooking spray and just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to medium/high heat.  Cook skin side down first, add a pat of unsalted butter and flip about 4-5 minutes and brown the other side for just a minute or two until the fish is completely cooked.  Finish with a light sprinkle of kosher salt.

As the weekend draws to a close, I am counting my blessings.  I truly couldn’t and SHOULDN’T ever ask or want for more in my life, than what I have today.

Did you all get your long runs in?  Were you able to get outside this weekend?  What’s your favorite healthy meal?

Have a great week, y’all!


❤ Michelle


Recipes, running, Sunday Supper, Uncategorized

Weekend Wrap up-Marathon training week 2 complete!

First off, I finished my second week of marathon training strong!  My first 20 miler week is complete and I am quite pleased.  A couple of the miles were walked, but the majority were spent running and I even finished my first double digit run of TEN miles on the indoor track in a neighboring suburb on Saturday.  8 laps equaled ONE mile, so yeah…you can imagine how this MIGHT have felt.  But it went surprisingly fast mostly due to my awesome friend Janel providing me with great conversation as well as keeping track of the miles with a clicker.  I set out for 8 miles, but felt so good I did an even 10 miles for the day.  I don’t do a mid week long run, so often times add a mile or two to my weekend long run. All in all-WINNING.  (My only set back for the week was missing my yoga work out, but I made sure to foam roll and stretch today to help with the soreness.  I also took a 25 minute Epsom salt bath tonight to help ease my sore muscles).

Runner love right here!!
Runner love right here!!

I came home to be informed that although my hubby had returned from his 3 weeks of travels just this past Friday, that he would be leaving again on Wednesday and suddenly my runners high was deflated. First I got mad, then I cried, and then I decided to just take a hot shower and try to move forward with my weekend.

As you all know, his travels are a bitter chip that resides more times than not on my shoulder.  I wish I could kick this chip’s butt, but darn it the anger sure seems to win most times as I tackle the single parenting gig.  Keep in mind I have a job too, kids that are in school/have activities to be taken too and a house that needs tending to…after a while, any normal person would break, right?  Please say this is normal…lol

So this morning I awoke after FINALLY sleeping most of the night for almost 9 hours and I felt…better.  It’s Sunday, and with Sundays in our house comes Sunday Supper.  We decided to have a chopped challenge as well, and my 5 ingredients were:

Beef round roast





So here’s what I came up with:


Mussels steamed in white wine, garlic and saffron with red pepper flakes served with a salad over tomatillo dressing.

For the tomatillo dressing, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, husk and rinse your tomatillos and quarter.  Dice 1/4 onion, 2 cloves of garlic and add in the tomatillos.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Roast for about 45 minutes.  Transfer to your food processor or blender, and liquefy the mixture.  Strain for seeds, and set aside.

For the mussels, in a stock pot melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter and extra virgin olive oil, and add in 3 cloves of minced garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of saffron.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes, and add in 3/4 cup of white wine, and a splash of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add in your previously cleaned mussels and cover the pot, shaking every minute or so.  Cook for 4-6 minutes or until the mussels open. Pardon my spelling error…

This was...divine!
This was…divine! .COM

Main course

Beet and chipotle pepper soup serve with braised beef.

First, season your roast with your favorite Mexican spices.  I used cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Sear on all sides, and transfer to a crock pot or dutch oven.  Add 2 cups of beef broth (unsalted), 1 cup of red wine, and a large onion that has been sliced.  Let simmer for 2 hours.

Secondly, for your soup…

In a soup pot that has been preheated to medium high heat with extra virgin olive oil add:

1 onion-diced

3 cloves of garlic-minced

4 large beets, peeled and chopped

1 chipotle pepper with adobo sauce

Sauté for about 5-6 minutes until just tender

Add in 3-4 cups of unsalted beef stock and bring to a boil.  In a separate cup, add a teaspoon of corn starch to cold water.  Mix well, and keep the soup at a boil for a couple of minutes.  Reduce to a simmer for about an hour.

Puree the soup, and just before serving add a couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt. Mix well, and serve!  Don’t forget to check for seasoning!  I sliced the beef thinly, and served with the soup!

Gosh, isn't it pretty? <3
Gosh, isn’t it pretty? ❤


First off.  I don’t bake.  I hate to measure, and baking makes my crazy. But I decided to use the mangos in a desert type style, trying to keep with my Mexican type theme of cooking.
I peeled and chopped the mangos, and added them to my food processor.  I added in brown sugar, cinnamon, and a splash of water and mixed well.  Set aside.

Take 2 sheets of puff pastry dough and roll out.  Cut 8 circles out, spoon in the mixture, and pinch the edges tight.  Crimp each tart with a fork, brush each tart with a fork and sprinkle some more brown sugar over the top.  Back at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

In my defense I only half of one, and skipped the vanilla ice cream but YUM!
In my defense I only half of one, and skipped the vanilla ice cream but YUM!

So at the end of the day, I’ve trained, I’ve cooked, and I’ve shed a few tears.  But I’ve kept moving forward.

How was your weekend?  Did you cook?  Are you training for any races?  How do YOU deal with stress?

Thanks, y’all!

❤ Michelle



A whole lot of recipes with a dash of running

I only ran once last week, and despite my scale being angry at me for the lack of exercise, I won’t complain.  The two nights during the week I can normally squeeze a work out in are Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday I got a couple miles in, but Thursday was my daughter’s school production and that trumps running any day of the week.  I did make sure to meet my goal of cooking at least 3 of the 5 days during the week though, leaving the other two days (Mon/Fri) for left overs/sammiches.

I woke up this morning after a good long week of a headache to not much relief so decided to push my run off one more day.  I’ll tready it tomorrow while Chiberia is in full affect. Yeah, I am wimpy like that.  I may even get bold and do yoga too!

Upon realization that we will be missing the Super bowl tomorrow due to lack of cable/streaming capabilities I wiped away my “poor me” attitude quickly and sat down to make my shopping list.  We would still eat great food and enjoy each other’s company this weekend.  Well, minus my eldest mover…she is off with friends because isn’t that what teenagers do?

Our list was filled with tons of produce and the ingredients to make some yummy detox soup I found over at Be Fit With Tracy.  Click HERE for the recipe.  I will be making this tomorrow, and can’t wait to give it a try!  We also had the ingredients for Beef Bourguignon because well, that’s what the hubby requested for dinner.  I borrowed the recipe from my favorite cooking store, Sur La Table and modified it slightly using finely diced carrots, baby shallots, pancetta and gluten free flour vs. the called for ingredients.  You can find the recipe HERE.

My youngest mover and I hit the road running and battled the crowds with smiles on our faces.  You’d think the world was ending without a single empty shopping cart in sight, and hundreds of people squeezing through the isles.  But we survived, LOL!

me and my mini mover
me and my mini mover

After unloading all of our groceries, I started the cooking process as this is no “quick” dish.  It takes about 2 1/2 hours to be exact!  Here is my prep in pics!

Everything is ready, and the lid is about to go on!  T-2 hours!
Everything is ready, and the lid is about to go on! T-2 hours!
Be patient, let the butter and the heat do the work...after about 15 minutes you'll have perfection!
Be patient, let the butter and the heat do the work…after about 15 minutes you’ll have perfection!
Use the same pan you cooked your onions in, just add a bit more butter!

Can I get a drum roll please?  Here is the final product after 2 hours of simmering.  Did I mention how GOOD my house smells?


My husband tasted, and literally picked me up and started swinging me around the kitchen.  I’d say that’s a win.  ❤

Final dish, served with red wine, Pinot Noir goes well with this dish!
Final dish, served with red wine, Pinot Noir goes well with this dish!

I can honestly say this is one of the best dishes I have made to date.  I am proud that I tackled a dish that Julia Child herself is known for, and even more proud that it tasted so good!  I was also reminded that I just can’t give up on my dreams.  It may not be happening for me now, but I will keep movin’ towards those goals!

How do you stick with your dreams and goals despite road blocks?  Have you ever tackled a recipe you didn’t think you could prepare?

❤ Michelle


Carrot soup with a little kick!

My co-workers and I love, LOVE, love to talk about food.  Today was no different, so when one of my coworkers started talking soup-my ears perked up quick! I LOVE soup in a probably not so healthy way, especially in the winter time.  She mentioned making a carrot soup with curry….”HMMMM,” I thought…that sounds AMAZING.

I will admit the underlying effort to lose the belly fat that this winter has given me as a not so sweet gift fueled my motivation to head to the grocery store after a very busy day at work. I picked up a bag of “horse carrots” as my youngest calls them, shallots, and some fresh herbs so I could make my OH so yummy soup for dinner.

This was such a hit, and you can omit the crème fraiche if you desire!
This was such a hit, and you can omit the crème fraiche if you desire!

Here’s the recipe and what you will need:

6-8 large “horse” carrots, pealed and chopped

2 shallots, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

6 cups of organic vegetable stock-low sodium if possible

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 pats of unsalted butter

1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning: Tumeric, Curry, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish-Crème Fraiche and chives

Get a large sauce pot and heat to medium high heat.  Add in your butter and olive oil.  Add all the veggies, and sauté until soft.  Add your seasonings, but just a pinch at a time to ensure your get the right flavor.  Next, add your stock, and bring to a boil.  Reduce down to a simmer and let cook for about 25 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat, and puree with a blender or immersion blender until smooth.  Return the soup to the heat, and let simmer for a few additional minutes while you ensure the seasoning is just right.  Garnish with crème fraiche and chives, and serve!  I accompanied the soup with a yummy shrimp salad (dressing free-just marinated the shrimp in lime juice, salt, pepper, and evoo!) that was the perfect pairing for this spicy soup!

Can I get a YUM!?
Can I get a YUM!?

Question-are you a soup eater?  What is your favorite kind?  Do you enjoy making your own soups?

Thanks all, I hope you have a wonderful week!

❤ Michelle


Chef on the mend

Tonight is an exciting night for me…
Why, you ask?
First, I came home from work to find my house without heat, so what did I do?  I fired up the stove of course, and prepared a hearty seafood chowder!  This recipe isn’t exact, but here’s what you’ll need to make this amazing chowder in less than 45 minutes:
Seafood Chowder:
1 large pasta/stew pot
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 potato, diced
1 cup of frozen corn, or fresh if it’s in season (add this the last 10 minutes if frozen to avoid overcooking)
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans (may omit)
2 green onions sliced at an angle for garnish
2-3 cups of stock-low sodium!
Seasoning: Cajun spice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and kosher salt and pepper-to taste.
1 back 0f 20 count large shrimp, remove the tail, cut in 3 pieces and place in a separate bowel.  Add the juice of half of a lemon,  Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper and let marinate.  (You will add the shrimp the final 10 minutes as they are precooked).
Drizzle your pot with EVOO and add all the veggies (minus the corn) and sauté for about 7 minutes until just slightly tender.  Add your tomatoes, stock, and beans and season to taste.  Let simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
Let it simmer, at least 30 minutes and don't forget to taste before serving!
Let it simmer, at least 30 minutes and don’t forget to taste before serving!
In the last 10 minutes add your corn and shrimp to heat through entirely.
Garnish was sliced green onions, and serve!
I can't tell you how good it feels to be cooking again.  I've mastered cooking with a bandaged thumb!
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be cooking again. I’ve mastered cooking with a bandaged thumb!
Second, tonight marks the 3rd season of MasterChef junior season premier of course!  (MasterChef/MasterChef junior being literally the ONLY shows I have watched on television in the past year or so).
Wait…before you get all judgy with “reality TV is all scripted,” and stuff…Wait. 
Still waiting?  Thanks…this truly is important to me!!!
I agree, these shows do have the hint of irritating hidden advertisement and drama nestled inside each episode.  I won’t even try to say it’s truly “real” in regards to actual reality.  I mean, really…how many people would have access to a pantry like THAT to choose ingredients from?!?  I’d be in heaven…lol
photo from
photo from
BUT…having been on the other side of the show nearly, well not really nearly, I see this particular series in a different light. 😉
For behind even the most dramatic Chef down to the sweetest home junior cook. both share one common theme that is near and dear to me and that, is a PASSION FOR FOOD.  Good food, creative food…homecooked food with a touch of flare and big pinch of passion.
Although I won’t be America’s next MasterChef, I know how it feels to want something THAT bad.  To have dreams THAT big, achievable or not..
And THAT…is reality.
Oh, and the hubby saved the day by fixing the heat and I finished day 6 of my AB challenge!  SCORE!
Keep Movin’ Forward, y’all!  And don’t forget to smile!
❤ Michelle