Category Archives: Dinner

Five Weeks Post Op

Five Weeks Post Op

It’s been five weeks post op from my ACL reconstruction surgery. If you’re just tuning in and want to catch up just check out my recaps of the past few weeks and start here. It’s been a bit boring up until week 4 but things are starting to look up. I rejoined my gym in the West Loop and now have more motivation to take my PT exercises and workouts to the gym. It’s not just to have a reason to leave the house to take care of my body. I use the stationary bike for my cardio and the free weights, exercise ball, medicine ball and ballet bar for my PT exercises and upper body work. I’m hoping to be able to take a spin class (no clip in shoes) in the next week or so. I am also hoping to be cleared for swimming soon.

Physical Therapy:

  • Hamstring Curls with resistance- 30 reps
  • Calf Raises- 30 reps
  • Balance on foam pad on 1 leg- 3 reps of 30 second holds
  • Balance on foam pad on 1 leg while throwing and catching a ball thrown against a trampoline- 3 directions, both legs, 30 reps. THIS IS SO HARD
  • Walking forwards and backwards- 3 reps along length or room. Backwards w/ resistance
  • Wall Squats w/ exercise ball- 30 reps
  • Single Leg Presses- 5 chords, 30 reps
  • Hamstring Sets on Exercise Ball- single leg, 30 reps
  • Side steps with resistance band- 3 lengths of room, up and back
  • Donkey Kicks w/ resistance band- 30 reps
  • Clams- 30 reps both sides
  • Calf Stretches
  • Hamstring stretches

As you can probably tell, my PT exercises have increased in difficulty. I am definitely not bored any more and I can feel my leg muscles getting a good workout. My knee is slightly sore after PT, so I ice for the next half hour after PT.


  • Get to week 6 and add in the elliptical! YAY cardio
  • Continue going to the gym 4x per week, and exercises at home for other days
  • Get rid of brace for outdoor walks and crowded events. This confidence will take a bit to build. I am still very cautious of everything and everyone.
  • Improve balance. This is an ongoing goal. The foam pad trampoline ball throws is so difficult, and I would like to improve my balance for this exercise.
  • Stay positive. So important for recovery.

Looking back on the past 5 weeks it is crazy how far I have come in a seemingly short amount of time. My surgery seems like ages ago, but I still have so far to go to get back to the level I want to be at and then surpass that level. This recovery has helped improve my patience and my love/appreciation of my body. The amount of atrophy in my right quad alone was terrifying and at first I wasn’t sure how I would ever gain back the muscles I lost. Now my quad is still smaller than the left but it’s growing and continually getting stronger. I have paid special attention to my diet to ensure I am getting enough protein to fuel my growing muscles and to take care of myself through this crazy time.

In 2.5 weeks I going back to the doctor for a check up on my knee. I am very interested to see what he thinks about my progress and how I am doing. Until then, I have week 6 to look forward to. I’ve never been more excited to get on the elliptical than I am now.


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Friday Faves this week is centered around wellness and preparing ourselves for spring! Take a few minutes to enjoy these articles over the weekend. Enjoy!

  1. Gas station + food usually doesn’t equal healthy. Mind + Body Green has your list of healthy gas station options for your next road trip. 
  2. Only have 10 minutes in the morning to work out? You’re in luck. Well and Good has a tough 7 minute workout to fuel your morning. 
  3. If your lungs feel like they could explode while you’re running then take this tip from PopSugar Fitness and learn how to breath correctly during your next run. 
  4. Ever wonder how to actually read and understand nutrition labels? Rodale’s Organic Life has your guide. 
  5. In the spirit of spring, check out PopSugar’s tips to spring clean your health. 

Easy Jambalaya

Easy Jambalaya

Jambalaya is essentially a combination of several delicious foods: shrimp, sausage, veggies and rice. It’s a food equation so simple but perfect that you really cannot go wrong making it. I enjoy making jambalaya as a quick dinner on a cold day. Keep reading for my Easy Jambalaya recipe.

Start by sauteing most of your veggies: onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and jalapeno in EVOO. Add some spices: paprika, salt, pepper, oregano. Add your chopped sausage, garlic and tomato. Saute some more. Meanwhile cook your brown rice. I use the 5 minute brown rice to expedite this process. Set Aside. Cook your shrimp and old bay with the rest of your veggies and sausage. Add Chicken stock. Reduce by half. Add brown rice. Simmer for 5 minutes. Enjoy.

This recipe is a 2 pot concoction and will add some heat and spice to your dinner. The brown rice is a healthier choice over the usual white rice. I recommend using chicken sausage but that’s just my personal preference. You can also modify the spice by omitting the jalapenos.

Easy Jambalaya

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1/2 Onion- Chopped
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper- Chopped
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper- Chopped
  • 1/2 Jalapeno- Chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
  • 2 Sausages- Chopped- Smoked Sausage works well
  • 2 Tomatoes- Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic- Minced
  • 1 Pound Shrimp- Deveined and peeled
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice


  1. Saute the following veggies on medium: onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and jalapeno in EVOO.
  2. Add spices: paprika, salt, pepper, oregano. Mix with veggies.
  3. Add chopped sausage, garlic and tomato. Stir to combine.
  4. Cook your shrimp and old bay with the rest of your veggies and sausage.
  5. Add Chicken stock,and Worcestershire sauce and reduce by half.
  6. Add brown rice. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool off for 5-10 minutes.
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However you cater this recipe to your liking it will remain a delicious and easy jambalaya recipe. Enjoy!

Skillet Cinnamon Apples

Skillet Cinnamon Apples


One of my favorite foods to enjoy throughout the year is a nice crisp apple. I love apples. They could be one of my favorite fruits and possibly foods. They are refreshing, filling and energizing. After spending a fall afternoon at an apple orchard and coming home with an overwhelming amount of apples from our trip, I decided to try out a new apple recipe. Skillet Cinnamon Apples.


This side dish can also pass for a dessert. It’s delicious. I actually ate it as a snack and then made another batch for a side dish for dinner. It takes me back to road trips with my parents up to Wisconsin and stopping for lunch at Cracker Barrel. I would always order baked apples as my side dish because.. yum.

How Do I Make it?

Start by peeling your apples and coring them.Slice the apples. I like the apples to be slightly thinner than a usual apple slice, but that’s just my personal preference. Cook the apples by sauteing butter in a medium sized pan, add the apples, sprinkle a little sea salt and cinnamon. Saute and let the apples cook down. Add a little more butter for taste if you’d like. Allow apples to cool slightly.

Top with vanilla ice cream to serve as a slightly healthier dessert or enjoy as a snack. This is a very simple side dish, snack or dessert that everyone will enjoy.

Skillet Cinnamon Apples


  • 3 Apples- Peeled and cored
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 C Brown Sugar


  1. Slice the apples into wedge slices
  2. Saute butter in a medium sized pan, add the apples,
  3. Add salt, cinnamon and brown sugar
  4. Saute and let the apples cook down.
  5. Add a little more butter for taste.
  6. Allow apples to cool slightly.
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Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls

Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls


October and November are the pumpkin crazed months. In keeping with tradition I wanted to pick up some canned pumpkin from the grocery store and create a few fun recipes to share. This recipe was inspired from an article I read recently about protein balls. These protein balls are small and provide a burst of protein for refueling your body after a workout or a nutritious snack. In keeping with the season I figured why not make them pumpkin spice.


I know you might be thinking… why another pumpkin spice treat? Haven’t we already gone a bit too PS crazy? I totally agree. Unlike most PS options these protein balls are jam packed with nutritional value from the chia seeds, rolled oats, actual pumpkin and protein powder. These are a treat but also serve value for your diet. They also are filling. Which always helps when eating… anything.


How do I make these?

Start by mixing your dry ingredients together in a bowl and then adding the wet ingredients (except the almond milk) to the bowl.


Mix up as thoroughly as possible and then start adding in small splashes (1/2-1 TBS ) at a time of almond milk. Roll into small balls using your hands or a cookie baller. Place onto a baking pan and freeze. Once these are frozen just take the protein balls out of the freezer and place into a container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls


  • 1.5 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 TBS Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 TBS Honey


  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Add the wet ingredients (except the almond milk) to the bowl.
  3. Mix up as thoroughly as possible
  4. Add in small splashes (1/2-1 TBS ) at a time of almond milk until dough like consistency
  5. Roll into small balls using your hands or a cookie baller.
  6. Place onto a baking pan and freeze.
  7. Once these are frozen just take the protein balls out of the freezer and place into a container in the refrigerator.
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Friday Faves

Friday Faves

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Happy November. It’s officially the month of football, turkey and friendsgivings. To open this month’s Friday Faves I wanted to bring you Thanksgiving-centric articles to being mentally preparing for the massive amount of food, family and football to come.

  1. If you’ve ever had a burning question about cooking your turkey for thanksgiving or friendsgiving then this year you’re in luck. Butterball has a 24/7 text line to answer your questions about cooking your turkey. Read more about it at Mashable.
  2. For days where you only want one cookie maybe so you don’t overindulge or maybe because you just need something sweet, Greatist has the recipe for treating yourself to just one.
  3. Staying stress free during the holidays seems impossible… but it doesn’t have to be. The Everygirl has a 30 day challenge to stay stress free during the holidays. You can follow this to the tee or you can pick and choose means to stay low stress during what should be the most wonderful time of the year.
  4. Looking for new recipes to bring to Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving this year? Greatist has 29 unconventional but amazing sides for you to try.

Yoga Teacher Training Week #2

Yoga Teacher Training Week #2

Tonight marks the final night for week #2 of Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).

Side bar: if you want to start from the beginning check out YTT Week #1 here.

It has started to hit me that I am really doing this. I am fully immersed into the world of learning to become a yoga instructor. This realization has been an amazing awakening that I am on my journey. Week #2 has been jam packed with cueing and postures. Our class has learned how to cue every posture in the Core Power set sequence C1 class from the beginning through the 3/4 mark of class. The specific words, layout and methodology has amazed me and has inspired me to practice on my own as well.


After spending 3 hours Monday and Tuesday evenings learning about the cues and properly taking your students through the sequences and from pose to pose I have been left with the thoughts and words running through my mind. I dremt both nights about the cues and how to improve. While this left me with a not so great sleep, it also made me realize that I am learning. Back in my college days I would dream about math or word problems from my classes after spending hours studying. I had to learn to shut my brain off after long nights at the library. YTT is a similar occurrence to the cramming of my college days but in a yoga studio with a water bottle rather than at the library with a red bull.

Yoga Teacher training manual

One quote has resonated with me through this week and I would love to share it with you all. This quote has motivated me to keep going and believe that this journey is worth the hours at the studio, and less than sleep filled nights. I am slowly finding more balance, bravery through expressing my inner voice, strength in my practice and knowledge of yoga through YTT. This quote is from the author AA Milne whom wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories. ” there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”


photo from quotesgram.


Friday Faves

Friday Faves

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It’s Friday (yay!) and I’ve got a great list of links for you to read this weekend. The week’s Friday Faves is going to be short, sweet and straight to the point.  I think it will be obvious that I’ve had yoga on my mind due to starting Yoga Teacher Training this week, but I wanted to compile Fall-ish recipes and yoga-centric articles for you to read and try out over the weekend. Enjoy your weekend!

  1. Why Savasana is the hardest part of class. 
  2. Standing Yoga poses to increase lower body flexibility.
  3. Homemade taco seasoning recipe. 
  4. Five tips for a better pot of lentils.
  5. 3 Healthy Chili Recipes from Yoga Journal.
  6. Guide for Fall Yoga




Healthier Cornbread

Healthier Cornbread


My husband and I invested in a smoker earlier this summer and since we’ve brought home the smoker it has been used almost every weekend. My husband, Chris, is the smoker chef and I am usually tasked with preparing sides for the smoked entrees. Recently we smoked St. Louis style ribs (which were insanely delicious), so I decided to make corn bread for the side dish. My only issue was after beginning the meal I realized that I didn’t have any eggs. My solution was a healthier cornbread. No eggs, soy milk and less sugar. That means I could have more than one piece…right?


How do you make it?

This recipe is so easy and cuts out half of the guilt. I had no idea you could use ground flax seed + water as your egg substitute. I have used applesauce or avocado in lieu of eggs but this was a whole new experience for me. To sub for eggs just grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder until you have 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seeds and add 3 Tablespoons of water. Mix until completely combined. You officially have a substitute for 1 egg. Flax seed has so many health benefits too, so you can enjoy your healthier cornbread even more.


Healtheir Cornbread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Serves: 1 Dozen
  • 1 Cup Corn Meal
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon Honey
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ Cup Butter (Melted)
  • 1 Cup Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 TBS Ground Flax Seed
  • 3 TBS Water
  1. Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees
  2. Spray baking dish with cooking oil
  3. Whisk flaxseed and water together in small bowl until completely combined. Set aside.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients (except flaxseed) and whisk to combine
  5. Combine wet ingredients in small bowl with flaxseed + water combination. Whisk
  6. Using a rubber spatula, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  7. Pour into Baking dish.
  8. Bake 23-25 Minutes, until golden brown. To test if done, poke with toothpick and if no corn bread sticks to toothpick you're good to go!
  9. Enjoy!


Kale and Parmesan Farro

Kale and Parmesan Farro

Farro is a grain that you may not be the most familiar with. I know I wasn’t until last winter when I randomly decided to buy a bag from Trader Joe’s. Back story to farro is that it’s an ancient grain that is similar to bulgar and does contain gluten (sorry GF readers). It is often found in Mediterranean dishes and is very adaptive to flavors it is paired with. farro is also extremely heart healthy and is a great source of fiber, protein and iron.


Convinced yet to go out and buy a bag of farro? Well if you’re not fully convinced yet, just read further and you’ll have a delicious recipe to try. For our meal I paired farro with sauteed kale, garlic and Parmesan. Super simple. This side dish paired very well with salmon and left us feeling full and satisfied. The Parmesan really helps to bring out the flavors of the farro and kale. I spritzed a little lemon juice over the dish to bring out even more flavor without added calories.


How Do you Cook Farro?

For two people I recommend cooking 3/4 cups of farro in 2 cups of salted water. The Trader Joe’s farro I purchased was a quick cooking bag, so it cooked in boiling water in about 5 minutes. Regular farro should take about 25-30 minutes to cook. You’ll know it’s cooked when the farro is tender.


How Do I make this recipe?

Cook your farro as directed (quick cooking or regular). Drain the farro.

Satute the kale in EVOO and salt with minced garlic until kale is wilted. This should take about 5 minutes or less. Shred some fresh parm (or bagged. Whatever you have in your refrigerator works) and add drained farro. Mix to combine ingredients. Spritz lemon over everything. Enjoy.

This side dish is a healthy and simple recipe to accompany any meat or main course. You can double the recipe to make large salads for your family and make this dish the main star of your dinner show.


Kale and Parmesan Farro
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ¾ Cup Farro
  • 2 Cups Water + 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Kale (de-ribbed and chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic- Minced
  • ⅛ Cup Parmesan
  • ¼ Fresh Lemon
  1. Cook your farro as directed (quick cooking or regular). Drain the farro.
  2. Satute the kale in EVOO and salt with minced garlic until kale is wilted.
  3. Shred some fresh parm (or bagged. Whatever you have in your refrigerator works) and add drained farro.
  4. Mix to combine ingredients.
  5. Spritz lemon over everything.
  6. Enjoy.