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The Dairy State

blog milkI have lived in the Dairy State before.  3 years in Janesville, Wisconsin.  The land where grocery stores had long, magical aisles of every kind of frozen treat one could imagine.  There was no doubt I was in the Dairy State.

Well, now I am in a different kind of dairy state-a dairy state of mind.  After a particularly low point Saturday night (you know, ladies, the kind where you sulk in your bed and ask your husband how you got so fat and he sits there not knowing what to say except that he loves you the way you are),  I am taking my husband’s advice, and I am going dairy-free for the week.  I will leave the scientific, Ph.D. explanation up to him, but after his explanation, I think it will be good for me.  I’ll still be exercising as well, of course.

I think I can do it.  I’m a first-born, type-A, rule kind of girl.  I can do anything for a week.  Well, maybe not anything, but if skipping some Colby jack cheese whipped cream cheese, pizza, ice cream, Cheez-its, yogurt, milk in my tea, feta on my tomato will help detox my body, I can do it for a week.  And maybe more.  Who knows, maybe I’m gonna feel fantastic after this 7 days. 

Ok, let’s not get too carried away.  I’m 1 1/2 days in and taking one day at a time!

So Sunday morning if I don’t have my face buried in a bowl of Triple Brownie ice cream (which I would never do anyway, right?),  I will give you an update.

Now back to those magical Wisconsin dairy aisles . . .

I am always looking for good recipes.  It’s hard to please 7 people!  I have found a few great recipes on Pinterest that were family hits, and this is one of them.

A kind Miracles member brought in some green beans a couple weeks ago (thank you!), and then I found this recipe.  Perfect timing!  Everyone liked it (or at least found a component of it that they liked-ugh).

We started with the beautiful green beans.



Then we quartered the red potatoes.



Next everything was tossed in the yummy lemon-garlic mixture and layered.



I didn’t take pictures of the chicken because quite honestly it didn’t look that beautiful.  I just had boneless skinless tenderloins, which looked kind of pitiful next to the pan-seared beauties in the picture.  Next time, I will make sure to change that.

Here’s a scoop shot:



You can see the bottom of the pan.  That’s a good sign.  Everyone was eating and even liking it!  Next time I might go lighter on the lemon, especially the initial layer on the bottom, but overall, this recipe is a keeper.  If you want to see the full instructions, just click here:  Real Simple recipe.

Anyone else have some garden fresh recipes to share?  I would love to hear about them!


IMG_0090Fall has definitely been in the air this week with the cool weather, school supply shopping, and school e-mails.  I love having my kids home with me, but honestly I’m looking forward to routine again.  My workouts and my eating habits have not benefited from having all these crazy-snacking kiddos around (of course, blame it on the kids and not my self-control)!  I am reminding myself to be thankful for what I can do right and be patient with myself when I step off the path.  I wouldn’t beat others up over it so why should I do it to myself?  It’s important to look at the big picture.

I know this week at Miracles Fitness many of you will be taking a first step or maybe a re-step back into fitness with Biggest Loser.  In our 6 years I have seen so many of you working hard and even smiling when your work-outs are done!  I wanted to wish everyone good luck and best wishes.  Don’t give up!  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  6 weeks can really make a difference and get you started in the right direction.  I think it’s important to also say that sometimes self-care has to be selfish.  Give yourself those 30-60 minutes and don’t feel guilty about it.  Your health benefits you and those around you.  You are worth it!

I heard the song Overcomer by Mandisa the other day and thought of all of you.  It may be coming from a different perspective than yours, but its overall message is amazing.  If you have a chance, click on it and listen.  I hope it builds you up and pumps you up for the next 6 weeks!!  Blessings!

p.s.  I was asked the other day at Miracles for a Ralph Lauren pants update.  Well, the good news is they fit.  Not sure if I met my goals because I haven’t been weighing this summer, but they did fit (not sure if they would fit now, but hey, they fit once!).   Thanks, Debby, for the reminder! : )

Hangin’ in NYC: Part 2

I’m still in withdrawal after leaving NYC.  Yes, it was a lot of walking.  Yes, it was a lot of people.  And yes, my shoes did occasionally stick to the subway floor, but something about it makes it hard to leave.  I can put up with a little stickiness in exchange for choice, creativity, individualism, and anonymity (oh, and some of the best tacos I have ever eaten thanks to Korean Seoul in Brooklyn!).  Big thanks to my brother, the most important part of the trip,  for giving up his apartment and giving us a real taste of a city life.  We had a blast . . . but maybe a little too much pizza.  Here’s a last glimpse of some of my favorite spots:

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Our Trip to NYC: Part 1


Well, we spent the end of May hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and then on the 13th we headed out for a quick adventure to New York City.  My brother lives in Brooklyn, and we hadn’t been able to visit him in five years so it was time.  I had a list of places, parks, shops, and markets that I wanted to see.  And of course, our mouths were watering for the food we wanted to try or revisit.  We had an itinerary prepared, and we were excited.  Alicia Keys and Jay Z in my head;  3 1/2 full days in the big city without kids, woohoo!!  Here we come!

Our lists were prepared but my legs and feet were not.  I thought that since I work out faithfully I would handle it just fine.  But the days of so much walking and waiting really took a toll on me.  I realized after the first night that it was going to be even more walking than Colorado.  We were urban hiking!

So on the 2nd day I threw out all attempts at fashion (whatever that means) and my flimsy shoes and donned the Nikes.   Then I was able to enjoy everything a little more.

Here are some of my favorite moments.  First, Central Park.  We picked up burgers at a secretive spot, The Burger Joint, tucked into a hallway at the Parker Meridian Hotel (who knew there would be people lined up,  packed wall-to-wall in a tiny space, burgers dished out,  in a fancy schmancy hotel?-My brother!).   Then we headed to the park to enjoy our burgers (remember we’re walking a lot and burning calories!).













Then we visited our favorite bakery, Levain’s.  It’s a tiny, unassuming place off Central Park and the cookies are, as my Dad says, to die for.  They are so rich; I ate half and saved the rest for later.



Another one of my favorite spots was the High Line.  It’s a park built on a historic freight line on the West side.  Walking in the beautiful gardens through (and under) hotels, apartments, and office buildings was cool, and the views were interesting by day and stunning by night.  We even got a glimpse of Lady Liberty overlooking the Hudson.   It was a great place to stop, rest, and people watch!  More to come soon. . .



Ok, I am branching out a little bit.  Indulge me for a minute!!  This post is not about fitness, food, or health.  But a stool changed to an ottoman.  Oui! Oui!

I shopped our church garage sale last week and found this “beauty.”

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Then with less than $9, I changed it to this.  So much better!

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Now to find a spot for this girl!


One of my favorite things on the planet to do is hike Rocky Mountain National Park (obviously!).  We recently spent 5 days there, and honestly, it was a much needed break from the everyday and from a gym.  Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to have a great place to workout, but I needed a change of pace and a chance to get renewed.  The rocky mountains are one of those places for me.  Here are a few photos from the Cub Lake trail where my Dad, Dan, and I literally hiked in rain, sleet, hail, and sun.  At one point my Dad and I ducked under a huge boulder to keep our heads dry and an elk walked right around the trail next to us (she’s in the bottom picture).  It was a beautiful spot, but the weather a little daunting!

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We tried this recipe the other night and it was so good that  I wanted to share it with you.  Yum!  It’s good, but it’s also easy and healthy.  You just put the chicken in the slow cooker with salsa and shred it later.    I originally used regular mild salsa, which was good, but then I used the Archer Farms salsa verde from Target, and it was even better.

I made serving easy with a tostada bar for the kids, so as you can see we added some different choices (picked up some queso fresco at Aldi-so good).  The slaw was super easy to make, and I’ve used it with different recipes since (think fish tacos or bbq pulled chicken sandwiches).   I have already cooked the chicken again and used it for a taco night.

Hope you get to try it; it’s a keeper.  Click here for the recipe.

On the Road Again


Great trip; can’t wait to share more!



Ah, it’s good to be in the mountains!  My heart is full, and I’m ready to find some moose!

We started with hikes to the Alluvial Fan area, Lily Lake, and Copeland Falls.  We were greeted by 7 Bighorn Sheep on the way into Estes Park, and then once we were in the park we saw 7 more on the hilltop near the Alluvial Fan.  We had never seen them this close up at Rocky Mountain before!  Can’t wait to see what the rest of our time brings!


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