In Due Time {11/24/12 Workout}

My Wedding: ~175 lbs

1 year ago: ~150 lbs

I am generally happy with the shape I’m in. I know I have room for improvement, but I’m happy. And then every once-in-awhile I see a woman in incredible shape at the gym. Every time this happens, it knocks my ego into check and puts a magnifying glass on my flaws. Your arms lack definition. Your thighs are too big. Your abs aren’t lean enough. Yadda yadda yadda. While my first instinct is to vow to never eat again and spend 12 hours a day at the gym, what I really need to remember to do is to take a step back and realize how far I have come in the last 2 years. It took me one year of dieting and cardio to go from 185+ lbs to 150 lbs. Then it took me 1 year of clean-eating and cardio and weight training to go from a very skinny 150 lbs to a more muscly 157 lbs (and losing my way and sneaking back up to 165 pounds along the way). I am not perfect, but I am doing everything that I can do right now to reach my fitness goals.

Now: ~157 lbs

So chick with the awesome body at the gym today — you rock! It has probably taken you years of hard work and dedication to achieve it. For me, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and in due time, my hard work will pay off.

Today’s Workout: Legs, Abs, & Incline Walking

  • 30 minutes incline walking
  • Side-lunge with leg lift (holding 10 lbs) – 3×12
  • Sumo squat with heel raise and jump (holding 10 lbs) – 3×12
  • Stationary lunge with leg lift (holding 10 lbs – 3×12
  • Box jumps – 3×20
  • Leg lift on exercise ball – 3×15
  • Leg curl – 3×12
  • Leg extensions – 3×12
  • Ab disc crunches & oblique crunches – 3×12
  • Reverse crunch on bench – 3×12
  • Leg press with calf press – 3×12
  • Jumping split squat – 3×20
  • Bulgarian split squat – 3×12
  • Single-leg dead-lift – 3×12
  • 30 minutes incline walking

We came home and fueled up with leftover turkey on salad and leftover mashed sweet potatoes. My kind of dinner!



Burn the Bird! & Our Thanksgiving Spread

This morning we hit the YMCA for their “Burn the Bird!” event — a workout frenzy from 8 am -11 am. Truthfully, I slept through my alarm and we didn’t make it there until 9 am. We snagged weight machines as they became available to piece together a chest & back workout. It was crazy busy, but it was awesome to see so many people making a health a priority in their day! When the lone pair of StairMasters became available, we hopped on for 60 minutes at level 10 on the ‘Aerobic’ setting — 281 floors, baby! It was a doozy and a perfect start to our day.

We then spent the following 6 or so hours cooking. It might be a chore to some, but I love being in the kitchen with family (especially family that will do dishes!). One large dinner, 1.25 hours of walking, and a movie later, I am a tired girl!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! When I think of my life these days, all I can think of are things to be thankful for — family, health, a warm home, acceptance into nursing school, time to play. Life is good! I hope the same for you!

Thanksgiving, A Balancing Act

So folks, I didn’t workout today. And I didn’t even go stir crazy. Why? Between a family lunch out to Mongolian BBQ, mani/pedis with my mom, a hair appointment, and Thanksgiving food prep, I just ran out of hours in the day to feel guilty about not working out. While I’m sure a workout would have felt great, I’m not going to stress about it. I’ve eaten very reasonably this whole week, and I’ve got a nice long workout scheduled in the morning. Plus, I workout to live happy; I don’t live to workout.

Life is all about finding balance. Balance between work and play. Right now I’m balancing writing this blog post with watching my pie crusts in the oven.

How are you doing on this Thanksgiving eve? I hope you’re enjoying time with family and nutritious food! I know I am! 🙂

Thanksgiving Menu & 11/20/12 Workout

Today we mixed it up with a 60 minute step aerobics class followed by a 30 minute core class that included mostly sit-ups, push-ups, and power-clean with press. Phew!

I almost think I should get to count my marathon-Thanksgiving-grocery-shopping towards my workout tally… my cart was heavy & overflowing… and it did involve a lot of weaving through obstacles… Just sayin’.

I am very excited to be in charge of our Thanksgiving menu this year! I believe that Thanksgiving food should be enjoyable, but I don’t think it should be a binge-fest. I am planning on keeping it tasty, but also reasonably clean.

On the menu:

What are you most excited to eat on Thanksgiving?

Arm Weights & Tilapia Dinner 11/19/12

Today, I trudged my sore, sickish body through 50 minutes of Zumba and an hour of arm weights. After having a sore throat and acid-reflux for two days, I haven’t been able to eat as much as normal, so my energy is low. I’m sure I’ll make up for it on Thanksgiving, though! This year, I am head Thanksgiving chef at my Dad’s house, so stay tuned for my exciting menu! 🙂

In general, working out isn’t always the easiest choice, but for me, it’s often the best choice. And, even though every workout will not feel stellar, it’s still moving in the right direction. So, if you’re stuck in blah-land like me, I hope to encourage you to get moving; you won’t regret it!

My workout:

  • 50 minutes Zumba
  • Shoulder warm-up with light dumbbells (overhead press, front/lateral raise) – 1 x 30
  • Shoulder press – 3×12
  • Front/Lateral raise combo – 3×12
  • Bent-over lateral raise – 3×12
  • Narrow-grip barbell curl – 3×12
  • Tricep pulldown (with straight-across bar) – 3×12
  • Dumbbell bicep curl – 3×12
  • Overhead tricep extension (with rope attachment) – 3×12
  • Core disc crunch – 3×10
  • Core disc oblique crunch – 3×10
  • Reverse crunch on bench – 3×10

After the workout, we fueled up with Tilapia with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. I had to make up a new Tilapia recipe on the fly, because my dad didn’t have all the seasonings that I usually use. I know it turned out great because my super-picky little brother ate TWO fillets! 🙂

Mexi-Baked Tilapia

  • Spray glass or nonstick pan with Pam
  • Place frozen fillets in pan
  • Pour a little lemon juice on each fillet
  • Sprinkle with: sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, taco seasoning, and chili powder
  • Bake at 400 degrees for ~30 minutes


Sinless Reeses Milkshake & 11/15/12 Workout Log

Awhile back I shared my secret recipe for healthy chocolate-banana milkshakes. Well, today it gets better. What could be better than a chocolate-banana milkshake, you wonder? A peanut butter chocolate-banana milkshake… without  all the fat from peanut butter! Enter, PB2. PB2 … Continue reading

Crockpot Chicken – 2 Ways

Before I learned this recipe, the only way I knew how to cook chicken was on the bbq. But when cooking boneless skinless chicken breast this way, it’s bound to end up dry (at least with my current skills!).

Then one day I went to my cousin’s graduation party and my sweet aunt Jolene had made a delicious taco spread. I went through the line, and trying to keep it clean, I chose chicken over beef and topped it with salsa and veggies. I tasted the chicken, and it was flavorful and moist. So much for a low-fat option, this is way too good to be healthy. Wrong! I told my aunt how tasty the chicken was, and she eagerly shared her technique: Crockpot chicken! 

Here’s how ya do it:

  • Procure boneless skinless chicken breast (I love the unfrozen yet individually packaged breasts from Costco because they are convenient and don’t have a ton of salt/preservatives added)
  • Place as many chicken breasts as you like in your Crockpot (I believe mine is ~6 quarts). Try it out the first time to make sure you like it, but this recipe is great for leftovers!
  • Then decide if you want mexican style chicken for tacos or a nice italian flavored chicken to pair with pasta/rice and veggies. I love it both ways, but my favorite is Italian Style.

Mexican Style

6 frozen chicken breast (they are stuck together in pairs)

  • Add enough salsa (any kind you like!) until the bottom 2-3 inches of your chicken breasts are submerged.
  • That’s it!
  • Cook on low for about 6 hours (cooking time is for 6 large FROZEN breasts – or about 3 lbs)
  • OR cook on high for 3-4 hours

Italian Style

It turns out so moist!

  • Choose an italian dressing that you like. I love to use Ken’s Northern Italian with Basil and Romano. Again, pour enough in to cover the bottom 2-3 inches of your chicken breasts. For 6 large frozen breasts, this is about 1/2 a bottle.
  • If you are low on dressing, you can simply substitute some milk
  • Add additional flavorings as you please! I love to then dust my chicken with sea salt, red pepper flakes, Mrs. Dash Original, and garlic powder
  • Cook on low for about 6 hours (cooking time is for 6 large FROZEN breasts – or about 3 lbs)
  • OR cook on high for 3-4 hours

Cooking time may vary depending on your size of Crockpot, whether you use frozen or unfrozen chicken breasts, and the amount of chicken that you use. Feel free to experiment and make it your one! I have made this many different times with slight variation, and I haven’t managed to mess it up yet! Come home a few hours late? No problem! If you cook it on low, your chicken won’t dry out because of all the added liquid.

Give it a try and tell me how it goes for you!

Chocolate Therapy

Gooey fudgey chocolately (healthy) goodness

Today, I got home from school feeling the need to bust out of  my routine. I felt the urge to either go to the mall or eat chocolate. The problem is, I am very serious about keeping on track with both my budget and nutrition.Both a shopping spree and a chocolate ice cream binge would have negative emotional consequences. What to do?

To get my mind off of chocolate and shopping, I began browsing Pinterest for some to-go recipes to take on a hike tomorrow. I stumbled across this. A healthy chocolate brownie recipe to occupy my time, satisfy my sweet tooth, and give me something to blog about (which can be thrilling in itself). I am calling the whole experience Chocolate Therapy.

Chocolate therapy is a combination of the act of crafting a healthy treat and the taste of high-quality dark chocolate.  It simply does the soul good.

Here’s my prescription for chocolate therapy: Healthy fudge brownies.


  • 1/4 cup (extra dark) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips


  • Combine all ingredients with a hand mixer
  • Spray 5×7 glass pan with cooking spray
  • Bake at 325 for ~19 minutes
  • Enjoy your healthy, fudgey, gooey treat at about 100 calories each (makes 8 servings)

Fluffy 100% Whole Wheat Bread

I bought a like-new breadmaker for $10 at a yardsale last weekend, and I love it! If you’re interested this is the model I got. So far, I’ve made two loaves; the first loaf turned out good and the second loaf turned out great.

My ultimate bread-making goal is to recreate Dave’s Killer Bread (with all of its seedy glory) at home. My first obstacle was: how to make 100% whole wheat bread rise enough when I can’t find 100% whole wheat flour? The answer, I learned by experimenting between the first and second loaf, was more vital wheat gluten. It seemed counter-intuitive to me at first that adding more gluten to make the dough stiffer would actually help it rise more, but it’s true! The stiffness helps it maintain its “risen” form (well now it sounds like I’m talking about Jesus, not bread).

I added several types of nuts/seeds, and they were good, but I’m not quite up to Dave’s caliber of seed combination just yet, but I’m going to keep trying!

Okay, okay, without much more ado, here’s my recipe (inspired by a recipe on Pinterest, of course!):

My beautiful cousin, Ali, modeling the fluffy human-head-sized loaf of bread! 🙂


  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil or cooking oil
  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 8 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup seasame seed
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast


  • Add all ingredients to bread maker
  • I set it on “Whole Wheat” cycle and “medium” crust color
  • Let your bread maker do the work! 🙂

I estimate this recipe costs me about $1 per loaf, which is a huge savings compared to a loaf of Dave’s at about $4. So now that I’ve made two loaves, the $10 breadmaker has already paid for itself! The hubby even prefers fresh homemade bread over cereal in the mornings, so I might have some money-saving potential there too, without any sacrifice in flavor or health!

I had some extended family last night (first time I had accommodated 7 people in my little apartment!), and I had a fresh loaf ready when they got their (I LOVE the delay-time feature on the bread machine). Everyone seemed to enjoy the bread. I also served baked cheesy quinoa, roasted veggies, chicken, and chocolate chip pumpkin bars for dessert. I had good intentions of taking pictures of the quinoa to share, but I forgot as soon as more important things like eating crossed my mind. Next time!

A Pinteresting Challenge

I have developed the habit of browsing Pinterest each morning in the bath. I’m going to consider this a healthy habit (as opposed to a time-wasting habit) because it I’m guaranteed to start the day with laughter and smiles. Cuddling babies and/or kittens (or both!). Inspiring quotes. Funny pictures. And recipes. Oh the recipes!

Pinterest followers: I’m sorry for the 15 pumpkin recipes that I pinned today. Okay, no, I’m not sorry. Because I made one of the recipes tonight and it was delicious! Which brings me to my Pinteresting challenge: my goal is to make (and post!) at least one new recipe from Pinterest per week. I’d say I’m off to a pretty good start considering I made Quinoa Mac and Cheese yesterday (recipe to come) and Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars today.

Want to check out what I’m pinning? Follow me!

Back to the pumpkin bars… I found the recipe here. But because I hardly ever follow a recipe without substitutions, I will share my version below. The only added sugar it has is from the brown sugar Splenda blend and the dark chocolate chips, because added sugar is basically against my religion (ha!). And oh yeah, I tripled the original recipe because it only called for 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree and even the smallest can has 1.5 cups. You could always make a smaller batch and store the rest of the pumpkin puree, but I thought I’d just use it up and share the bars while tailgating for Cougar Football! You’re welcome Dad, Uncle Jim, Uncle Pat, Uncle Dick, Uncle Bill, Auntie Jolene, Auntie Jenni, Cousin Lauren, Cousin Ali, and Cousin Luke, and any other Erickson tailgaters because these babies turned out good! 🙂


  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree (one 16 oz can)
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tbs canola oil
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 bag Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips


  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer.
  • Grease large baking pan, and add ~1/3 batter across bottom of pan (should be a thin layer)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min, until a fork comes out clean