Blog Fail

Hi Friends 🙂

Yesterday was an incredibly frustrating day. I was hoping to have the new blog up and running, but we are running into too many problems. I am ready to throw my computer out the window! I have wasted my entire weekend and all of my energy on this and felt no closer to my goal. I *now* know what I need to do, it will just take more time than I had anticipated. Yes I was so stubborn that I tried to do most of it on my own — now I have asked for help.

The good news is that I ran 9 miles on Saturday with little knee pain — when I ran I felt fine, but during my cool down the pain was unbelievable. Stretching, ice and my foam roller helped me tons though — and this week is a lower mileage week, so hopefully I’ll be feeling much better soon. If not, I’m making a doctor’s appointment.

During my run I saw this commercial and LOVED IT — check it out:

Tomorrow I’ll have a recap of my February goals and I’ll let you know what I thought of The Hunger Games (yes I read it in two days, it was so good!)

Have a great day!



Tortilla Casserole

Hi Friends 🙂
Just a quick note about the Kombucha: if you are interested in learning more, check out these resources:
Averie’s posts about Kombucha
How to make your own Kombucha Tea
Happy Herbalist
Here is a current photo of my Kombucha a’brewin. I can’t wait!

You can buy Kombucha tea in stores in bottles like this:

But they cost $4-5 per bottle and making it at home is way cheaper.
Friday was a ho-hum kind of day – I spent the day at work and spent the evening at home! For dinner I made a recipe I saw on Healthy Tipping Point:
 Corn Tortilla Casserole <— click for the recipe

I love super easy recipes and I love throwing stuff in a dish and throwing it in the oven for a while. What could be easier? I topped our casserole pieces with some avocado hunks.

Well I’m off to run 9 miles — I’ll take it easy since my knee has been feeling so funny. Later today Jason and I are going to Mall of America. And the new blog/blog name will be up tomorrow – you will still be able to access the blog through the address. I’m excited to have a self-hosted blog!

See you tomorrow!

What are you doing today?

Posted in Dinner. Tags: . 25 Comments »

Smelly Scallops & Scary Scoby

Hi Friends 🙂

First things first – I have gotten a few emails from readers asking about the food I’ve been posting. I do not post all of the food I eat each day. I also do not photograph my plate of food usually – so please do not assume that is all I ate or that I ate “too much”, etc. Sometimes I just show a side dish, a breakfast, a snack, etc. I eat what is right for me – the blog is a place for me to post some meal ideas or recipes that I have tried. Thank you!

Second, the new blog name will be revealed sometime this weekend – I’m pretty excited for things to change around here!

I am DREAMING of Spring and as I flipped through an older Cooking Light magazine, I was drawn to this:

Seared Scallops with Fennel and Grapefruit Salad.

Ok – I didn’t have Fennel but I thought I could make this work. Look at the picture above and now look at mine:

So they are nothing alike except they share grapefruit  🙂  I did sauté up some scallops but to be honest they kind of grossed me out. Jason liked them – the smell was not something I enjoyed.

By the way, what is a scallop? I know it is some kind of sea animal, but I want to hear your descriptions. Does it live in a shell like a clam?


Before dinner, I went to the gym and pounded out 3 miles. I say pounded out because that is how my left knee/IT Band felt. It was pretty bad. I need to start foam-rolling more often because it does help ease that pain. I also need to start icing after each of my runs. I’ve been slacking in those areas – so I’m going to start doing those things and if my knee still feels terrible I’ll make an appointment with my doctor.

It feels like my knee is almost filled with fluid and feels very stiff – during my cool down it hurt just to walk.


I know this post is a random jumble of things – but that is how the day has been!

Let me show you the best part of my Thursday:

Getting a package from Averie which included this beast, a SCOBY:

I’m going to start brewing my own Kombucha! You can read more about it in Averie’s posts – I’ll keep you all updated on its progress. For now, it is fermenting away…

*What are your plans for the weekend?

*Am I the only person on earth who doesn’t know what a scallop is?

*Do you drink Kombucha? What do you think?

“Homemade” Cereal & Another Book Review

Hi Friends!

Well it seemed like a unanimous vote to put the Medal Holder at the top of the stairs (I think that is the best place as well so I’m glad we all agree). And because Katie and Christin liked the pictures so much, here are the close-ups of the Hippo and Croc pictures:

Jason bought me the Hippo poster and I found the frame at Target for $4! You can’t beat that. And my older sister Leah gave me that Croc picture – I’ve held onto it for years!

Last night after hitting the gym (I ran 5 miles in a little over 50 minutes) I came home craving something cold and cereal-like. However, I do not keep cereal in my house. I can easily eat way too much cereal, and all of that sugar just gives me a stomach ache. So, I don’t buy it at all. But I did have some cooked brown rice and raw oatmeal, and I thought, “why not?”

Brown Rice Oatmeal Cereal

¼ cup cooked brown rice

¼ cup raw oatmeal

1 TBSP chia seeds

1 TBSP chopped walnuts

½ chopped banana

½ cup almond milk (or more if you prefer)

I heated up the brown rice in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then added the rest of my “cereal” – topped with almond milk it was delicious. The brown rice added a neat texture and a nutty flavor.

After eating dinner (and watching some Shedding for the Wedding – did you watch?) I finished up my THIRD book of the month! Yes I made it my goal to read two books and lo and behold I shattered that goal by reading yet another book this month 🙂

After going to Charlotte’s book signing last week, I knew I wanted to read her book – SOON! So in the past 2 days I have read it all. I love quick reads and Charlotte is hilarious! I enjoyed reading about her (mis)adventures at the gym. She is so honest in the book and I really appreciate it – she lets you know her struggles and how she works to overcome them. Her book documents trying out 12 different exercise programs — she briefly explains the program, how she incorporated it into her workout routine and what sort of results she had.

What I liked best is that Charlotte and her Gym Buddies enjoy working out – and it seemed like even when they were 100% serious about a workout they still had fun. She includes essays at the end of each chapter and her honesty and openness is so refreshing to read.  Check out her blog if you haven’t already 🙂

*Are you a cereal fan? What is your favorite kind?

*Have you tried many different exercise routines? What did you like the best (and are you still currently doing it?)

*NOTE*: Blog changes are finally coming — new name, self-hosted, lots of fun stuff. Everything should be ready this weekend…

Help Me Decorate (AKA where should I hang our race medals?)

Hi Friends 🙂

Happy Humpday!

Over a week ago, Jason brought me these love tulips:

And now they look like this:

They look super fragile, but they are still super strong! (and even in a super tall vase they fall over like that) I changed the water and trimmed the ends this afternoon and not one petal fell off – I hope they hold on tight because they are one of the nice reminders that Spring will be here soon. Here is my reality:

(Yes they have plowed since this picture was taken, but it gets my point across!)

I tried to keep dinner light, fresh and somewhat Spring-y:

A TJ’s chicken burger with grilled pineapple, romaine and avocado.

After dinner and hitting the gym to run 3 miles (I love the short midweek runs in Hal’s plan) – I came home and saw this staring me in the face:

This is a race medal holder that I ordered from Allied Steel (and I first read about these on Healthy Tipping Point) – for part of Jason’s birthday gift. His birthday is in March, so yes I gave him this gift early – because I want to hang it up! Right now it just sits on the kitchen table. Here are a few ideas of where I’d like to possibly hang it.

Option #1 is next to our front door:

I want to hang the medals in a place where people will actually see them! I am proud of them and so is Jason – so why not, right? We can definitely take down the picture to the right of the door and hang it there. But then it will technically hang in the dining room, which I don’t like the thought of.

Option #2 is at the top of the stairs:

We could easily move that painting of the Colisseum (that Jason bought in Italy) to a different room. Then, when people come in, it is one of the first things they see. However, I wonder if walking up/down the stairs or vacuuming the stairs would disturb it/make it scratch the wall/knock it down? although I have never knocked down that picture so I’m not sure why I’m concerned…

Option #3 is in the living room: 

I *love* my crocodile and hippo pictures (no I’m not kidding so don’t make fun, thanks!) – but these could get moved. Here the medals wouldn’t be disturbed – but they wouldn’t be seen much (by guests or by us!)

Any input?

If you see Spring will you please tell her to come to MN?

Avocado Pasta + Book Review

Hi Friends!
The snow is ridiculous:


Thankfully it was Presidents’ Day, so traffic was light, but the roads were a mess. I thought for sure my car would get stuck somewhere, but I made it to work and back home without any major problems (I saw plenty of other people stuck/getting pulled out by tow trucks/etc). What a day!
Jason was smart and worked from home, I wish I could have done that as well. He was kind enough to start dinner for the both of us:

We made Angela’s Creamy Avocado Pasta. Click here for the recipe. We didn’t use basil and we used brown rice pasta – and I also think I added way too much lemon juice. (see below) 

I so wanted to love this dish, but it was too lemony for my tastes — I think I added too much! I squeezed every lost drop of juice from 1/2 lemon. Next time I will not use as much — and maybe next time I will add the basil — maybe that takes away from the super lemony taste? Either way it was super easy to throw together and I will attempt it again — I need to just follow the recipe more closely!
So yesterday I updated you on my February Goals and now I can check something else off my list:
4. Read 2 books 

I finished In Defense of Food last night – It took me only a few days to get through. It was so interesting and I will definitely pick up more of Michael Pollen’s books.
I’m not going to give a full “book report” on this book because honestly, if you haven’t read it, go get a copy and read it. I got my copy from the library (free!). It is only 200 pages or so and it is a quick read. I’ll just highlight a few points that I enjoyed reading about:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. <— could he have stated this any more straight forward?  🙂
Pollen discusses how we have shifted towards a focus on “Nutritionism” which is looking at the nutrients IN whole foods and putting those nutrients in processed foods. For example, instead of eating an orange for vitamin C, why not have a bowl of cereal that has vitamin C already added? Pollen explains that taking the vitamins that are in whole foods does not mean that the new “food” (in my example, cereal) is as beneficial as eating an orange. Pollen explains that foods are more than the “sum of their nutrients”. Perhaps it isn’t the fact that vitamin C is so good for you, it is how it is combined with other nutrients in plant foods.
He describes studies in which groups return to their ancestors’ way of life – hunting and gathering and not eating refined carbohydrates, frankenfoods, etc – and how they lowered their cholesterol, blood pressure, risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.
Although I have read lots of information on why processed foods are not good for your body, this book definitely opened my eyes to truly seeing HOW processed foods are making our nation fatter and sicker.  I like that Pollen gives you “rules” at the end – shop the outer aisles of the supermarket, look for foods that don’t have nutritional information (most likely a real food!), shop at Farmer’s Markets, choose foods only your Great-Grandmother would recognize, don’t buy anything with more than 5 ingredients listed, grow a garden if possible, cook your own food, etc.
I by no means eat perfectly, I do eat some processed foods and this is something I want to focus on cutting out. I have thought in the past that I could make most foods from scratch if I didn’t have to work – if I had more time Jason and I could eat much healthier – but I need to stop using that as an excuse. There are plenty of people out there who have less time than I do and are able to eat better (healthier) than I do. However, I do not want to ever come off as a holier-than-thou type. This is something I want to focus on — but I urge everyone to pick up this book and read it — and then decide for yourself if you need to make changes in the types of foods you choose.
*Have you read In Defense of Food? What did you think?
*Who does all of the meal planning/preparing in your house?

Easy Peanut Sauce Stir-Fry

Hi Friends 🙂

Ah, the start of a new workweek – did you have a nice weekend? I did – I got in a glorious 8 mile run on Saturday and on Sunday I did some cross-training at home because a little of this happened:

MORE SNOW.  Just when I thought MN might be done with snow, we get dumped on again. Last week I was running outside! I guess I’m doomed to the treadmill for another week or so.

I worked out with Jackie first:

The workout is 30 minutes long and really intense. I had to stop and take a break for a few minutes because it was too much! She uses lots of compound moves (lunges with bicep curls, squats with overhead presses, that sort of thing) – it “looks” easy but it is tough. I like Jackie because she uses basic moves – nothing too complicated or “dance-like” so I’m able to follow along easily.

After I was done with Jackie, I turned to Chalene:

I did the 40 minute stretch and holy cow did my body need it! My hamstrings were so tight and now they feel much more relaxed. I need to take the time to stretch more often.

After being cooped up in the house all day long I decided to make a more “special” dinner for Jason and me – I wanted to make a Pad Thai/Peanut Sauce Stir-Fry and it turned out really good!

Easy Peanut Sauce Stir-Fry

¼ pound pasta (make whatever you would make for 2-3 people – could be more or less)

1-2 tsp oil or non-stick spray

1 clove garlic, chopped finely (more if you prefer!)

1 chicken breast, cubed

2 cups or so of chopped veggies (I cheated, see below)

Peanut sauce (see below for recipe)

Prepare pasta as according to instructions. Meanwhile, heat skillet and add chicken and garlic. Stir until chicken is almost fully cooked through (about 5 minutes or so). Add veggies and stir for 3-4 minutes (you want the veggies warm but still firm). Add peanut sauce to veggie/chicken mixture and stir until well combined. Once peanut sauce/veggies/chicken are all warm, stir in cooked pasta. Serve immediately.

(You could also serve the peanut sauce/veggies/chicken over brown rice instead of pasta, and you could easily omit the chicken as well)

Easy Peanut Sauce

(I loosely followed this recipe)

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

 1 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

A splash of lemon juice

3 TBSP water – added 1 TBSP at a time

Mix peanut butter, soy sauce and lemon juice together. Stir in 1 TBSP of water at a time until fully combined. You could add 1 additional TBSP water to thin the sauce out even more. (I threw everything in my Magic Bullet and stopped to add more water)

Instead of chopping veggies, I cheated and used a few handfuls from this Stir-Fry mix from Trader Joes:

Jason and I agreed that this was a good dish and one that we will make again! It was very peanut-y which we thought was a good thing!

*How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

*What do you like to do when you’re cooped up in the house all day?


February Goals Update

Hi Friends 🙂

How is your weekend so far?

Yesterday I ran a glorious 8 miles! (on the treadmill!) It took me about 1.5 hours – I walked every couple of miles or so. My new shoes are fabulous – my feet had plenty of room to move in them, but they gave me support and felt great! To be honest, the last few times I’ve ran I’ve had bloody feet afterward – my toes were pinched in my old shoes  😦  Not any more!

I also tried out the orange sport beans and boy do they taste good! No stomach issues either, which was great. I had an America’s Next Top Model marathon to keep my company at the gym, so I was good to go!

I thought I’d give a little update on my February Goals:

1. Train for Grandma’s Marathon – I have followed my plan and I’m motivated to keep on going!

2. Read 2 books. I am finished with Love & Respect and I will have no problem finishing In Defense of Food before the end of the month. I’m loving it so far!

3. Try 2 new recipes per week. YES I have actually done this:

Week 1 (Feb 1-5):

                Microwave Banana Cakes

      Spinach Pancakes

                Orange-Cilantro Black Bean Salad

Week 2 (Feb 6-12):

                Salmon Patties

      Quinoa Burgers

Week 3 (Feb 13-19):

                Vegan Alfredo

                Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

                Egg Souffle (see below!)

4. Stay on budget – YES! Even with an impromptu visit to Trader Joe’s, we are on track for the month. What helped me was making lists before going to the store, planning meals, and using up ingredients I already have!

5.Blog more consistently – YES! I have blogged every day since my Feb Goal post on Feb 2nd (except I skipped Feb 3 to get on a more regular posting schedule…)

I definitely consider this month a success so far – I need to keep up on a few things, but other than that I’m feeling good!

Here is the Egg Souffle I made on Friday:

I followed Beth’s recipe…except I couldn’t find my electric beaters, so I used a whisk. I don’t think that whipped up my egg whites good enough. But it still tasted fantastic!

Click here for Beth’s recipe. The only change I made was using Garlic/Herb goat cheese instead of plain, and I didn’t add any dill to the eggs. Jason and I loved the texture of the eggs and I will definitely make this again (once I get new beaters!)

Today’s plans include some stretching/foam rolling, laundry (!!!), blog updates (blogroll, recipes, etc), relaxing, reading and resting. It should be a good day!

*Plans for the day?

*Do you make goals? (weekly/monthly/yearly) How are you doing?

*Are there any recipes you made this week that I should try this week? Feel free to leave a link!


Posted in Dinner, Marathon. Tags: , . 15 Comments »

The Holly Llama Gets New Shoes

Happy Saturday 🙂

Did you see the beautiful Full Moon last night? Jason and I were on our way to Running Room when we saw it. I didn’t bother taking out my camera – I just decided to look at it instead of scrambling to get my camera. I hope you saw it!

I have bought shoes at Running Room before and now that almost an entire year has gone by, I decided to get a new pair. Plus my knee has been hurting when I run, so I figured I’d try new shoes to see if that helps.

I was amazed when I opened the door – Bill – one of my parents’ neighbors (and the father of my childhood friend) was working there! I had to tell him who I was, but he immediately remembered me! We had a nice time reminiscing – I don’t think I’ve actually seen him/talked to him in well over 10 years. But he still looks the same! He laughed so hard when I reminded him that he used to call me The Holly Llama (Dalai Lama…)

He fitted me for new shoes – meaning he had me lunge, squat and walk across the room. He determined (as have every other running store employee)  that I am an over pronator (click to learn about the different types) and recommended a few different shoes. I decided to get the Asics GT-2160 – they felt great on my feet!

I also picked up a few other things: sport beans, Clif shotblocks, and a Hammer gel. I have used sport beans before, but they upset my stomach sometimes, so I wanted to try a few different products to see what works well for my body.

After leaving Running Room (which I recently learned that Cathy works for them too!), we headed to Trader Joe’s. I only get to TJ’s about once per month at the most – the closest location is only 15-20 minutes away, but it still feels so far away! We picked up the “essentials”:

Three Buck Chuck, Bean/ Barley soup, stir-fry mix, almond butter, low sugar jelly, trail mix, brown rice pasta, chicken sausages, goat cheese, dates, larabars, sushi

And by “essentials” I mean anything that looked good at the time!

Well I’m off for an 8 mile run! See you tomorrow!

*Anything fun going on today?

*Do you stay loyal to a certain brand when buying running/exercise shoes or workout clothes? Why or why not?

Eggs + Tomatoes

Hi Friends  🙂
Going back to my movie review yesterday, I did want to make one “warning” – the beginning of the movie shows a 12 year old girl who wants to get (and ends up getting) liposuction. Those scenes were hard to watch (ok I didn’t watch, I covered my eyes until  Jason told me I could look) – I could never work in health care, I cannot watch any type of surgery (real or fake!). 
It was a beautiful day in MN today! But the forecast shows that it will be cold again this weekend – boooo!!!!! I never made it to Running Room to get refitted for shoes, but I’ll go Friday night. Friday is a rest day for me so I’ll have plenty of time after work. 
Thursday night I did get out and run 3 miles – it felt great! I went to the gym and it wasn’t super crowded. The only problem is that my left knee really started to hurt about  a mile into my run — I’m hoping new shoes will help. It almost feels like my knee is full of fluid? I stretched and foam rolled after my run, but it still feels kind of strange. I will definitely need to monitor that!

For dinner, I knew I wanted eggs  🙂  When do I not want eggs? So I went to my fellow egg-lover friend Matt’s blog and used his recipe for Eggs Baked in a Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Click here for the recipe. I followed the recipe, although I didn’t blend the sauce, I left it chunky! – and I reserved a bunch of the sauce in the fridge and only made 2 servings with the eggs (I only had 2 ramekins and now it is ready for breakfast in the morning!)

I never was a big fan of tomatoes or salsa with eggs, but I am starting to love it more and more. Matt this tasted fantastic! Jason loved it too and it was a very satisfying meal. And seriously, any meal with a runny egg is a good one!

I hope you have a Happy Friday! I’ll leave you with a picture of my sister Myra’s new dog:

His name is Peter Sam and is named after a train from these stories.

 Myra, her husband Tyler and Peter Sam live in Texas so I will not get to meet Peter Sam for a few more months  😦
*What are your plans for the weekend?
*Do you have any pets? What are their names?

Enjoy your weekend! ~ Holly

Posted in Dinner, Marathon. Tags: . 25 Comments »