Category Archives: Healthy Meals

Clean Eating Tomato & White Bean Soup

Tomato White Bean Soup final

You guys, I spent yeeeeears feeling very ambivalent towards soup. If I ordered soup at a restaurant, I never felt like I was actually eating since there is no chewing involved. I would enjoy a small cup of the hot liquid for an appetizer, but the idea of eating a bowl for my main meal seemed very unappealing.

Enter Chicago winter. My fifth to be exact. They are long. They are dark. And they are cold.

To counteract the dreary season, I’ve started experimenting with various soup recipes. From white chicken chili to roasted cauliflower white cheddar bisque, I like to think I’ve expanded my palette in just a few short months. I am officially a soup convert! I’ve also been on a major kick of doubling recipes and freezing most of it in pre-portioned containers. Talk about convenience on a hectic weeknight.

I made this tomato & white bean soup for the first time a few weeks ago.

Tomato and White Bean Soup 2

Tomato white bean soup

I love how the tomato paste and cannellini beans give it such a hearty texture.

Tomato white bean soup pot

I try to eat pretty clean throughout the week and save my indulgences for thai takeout and candy on the weekends, so this soup is perfect for an easy weekday meal.

White Bean tomato soup with bread


Serves 4

*modified from


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

1. Warm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste and beans. Pour in broth, season with salt and pepper, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly (approximately 10 minutes). Working in batches, carefully puree soup in a blender on the “pulse” setting about 5x. It should be thick, but still a bit chunky. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. If soup is too thick, thin with additional broth. Wait for soup to cool if freezing it.

Tomato White Bean Soup final






Filed under Dinner, Healthy Meals, Recipe

Low Key NYE

Happy first day of 2015!

Feels good, doesn’t it? This is the first New Years Day in years that I haven’t woken up with a slight hangover from copious amounts of celebratory drinks. If that’s not a sign of adulthood, I don’t know what is! We played it super low key with an afternoon showing of Mockingjay (so good, but still prefer the first one).


I totally figured the theater would be packed because aren’t NYE movies a thing? It wasn’t at all, and we were able to snag perfect seats and enjoy our popcorn and peanut m&ms.


The last night of 2014 was topped off with a home cooked meal of crockpot chicken & brown rice risotto. We weren’t too hungry when the timer went off, so I just kept the crockpot on low. Apparently, cooking rice for too long turns it into risotto. I mean, who knew?! It was still quite tasty and a great choice for such a cold night.


I think I need a new food pose. Apparently, holding said food item with left hand and snapping photo with right hand is my pattern.

I’m not going to fool you guys and pretend that I stayed up much past midnight. This old lady watched the Times Square ball drop at 11 p.m. (Chicago time) and was asleep before 12:30 a.m. I know what you’re thinking…I just get cooler with age!


2015 started with a big ‘ol bowl of overnight oats. They used to be a regular breakfast staple a few years ago, but I somehow fell off the wagon. Seeing overnight oats on other blogs lately reminded me how much I used to enjoy them. A craving struck this morning and here we are! Note: these did not sit overnight, but only for about an hour. I find the consistency so be about the same.


6 oz. plan greek yogurt + 2/3 cup oats + 1/2 almond milk + 1 packet Truvia + 1 Tbsp chia seeds + honey + 1/2 banana prior to serving

I spent the morning plowing through some blog organization. I often find the blogging world to be a black hole. There is so much I want to learn and I’m interested in all of it. I started at 9 a.m. and barely looked up until 1 p.m. Yikes! Can you spot the fruits of my labor? Check out the “Pin it” button on the righthand side and the sharing options at the bottom of this post.

Have a great day and see you tomorrow for Favorite Finds Friday.



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Filed under Healthy Meals, Holidays

Training Myself to Like Sweet Potatoes

Hey hey. Hoping your Thursday is treating you well.

I have to tell ya, I had class this morning with the same girls from last last night and we were all struggling a bit. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had a bit too much wine at the graduation celebration. Oops!


After I published my earlier post, I blended up another smoothie. I know I’m probably boring you with the cold, creamy goodness each morning, but I just can’t stop! I’ve been known to eat the same thing for weeks at a time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t eat egg muffins everyday for three months this summer.


1/2 frozen banana + frozen cherries & strawberries + 1 C unsweetened almond milk + 1 scoop About Time vanilla protein powder + 5 ice cubes


I finished up quite the smorgasbord of a workout this afternoon. Crunch Gym reached out to me a few weeks ago about giving their Crunch Live program a try. It’s an online platform of all their cult favorite group fitness classes. I’m just now digging into it, and I’ll be sure to post a full review here soon.

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.35.20 PM

I mixed a 15-minute kickboxing/sculpt class plus a 15-minute abs video, followed by a 15-minute yoga segment. It definitely kept me from getting bored.

Lunch today was pretty random, but a great use of leftovers. Enter 1/2 baked sweet potato + crockpot honey sesame chicken.


I’m trying to “train” myself to love sweet potatoes. I moderately like them right now. They’re such a good complex carb and the fiber keeps me full for hours. However, I will always prefer a baked white potato stuffed with sour cream and cheese. 🙂

Today’s eats (drinks?) also included a Starbucks iced coffee with sugar free hazelnut and a touch of cream. I actually don’t frequent the Bucks as much as I used to, but I like to treat myself a few times per week. Side note: if any of you fine people want to get me a Christmas present, I would gladly accept any and all of the holiday-themed Starbucks cups.



I think we’re going to order something for dinner tonight and I have a couple things to cross off the to-do list this evening as well. Is anyone planning to watch Peter Pan live on NBC? I thinking I’ll record it and watch this weekend.

Questions for you:

  • Do you vary your meals or typically eat the same things everyday?
  • Ever “trained” yourself like like a certain food?
  • Did you exercise today? What’d ya do? 
  • What’s your go-to Starbucks drink?



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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy Meals, Lunch, Workout

Brief Day of Eats

I’m currently running around trying to get ready for my university’s graduate cocktail reception. Since the College of Social Work is so small, December grads don’t get a proper graduation ceremony. We are given the option to walk in May’s procession, but I’m hoping that my focus will be on a new j-o-b by then. I’m looking forward to spending time with my school friends in a relaxed cocktail flowing environment. Ya feel me?

I just downed a snack so as not to be famished when I arrive at the reception. Rule #1 of staying healthy at holiday parties!


Homemade trail mix + 1 clementine


Today’s morning meal started with another smoothie. I’ve really been craving those bad boys lately.


1/2 frozen banana + frozen cherries + 1 C unsweetened almond milk + 1 scoop About Time vanilla protein powder + 5 ice cubes


I packed a lunch to take with me while babysitting this afternoon. Another big a** salad was calling my name, though this wasn’t wasn’t quite as large as I’d hoped (I’m running low on tupperware).


Chopped romaine + 1/2 green apple + 1 apple maple chicken sausage + 1 large carrot + swiss cheese + (unpictured) Marzetti light yogurt ranch


Off to try and hot roll my dirty hair and throw some makeup on my flaking face! My cold walk wreaked straight up havoc on my sensitive skin.



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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy Meals, Lunch, Meals on the go

Weekly Wisdom

Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest addition of Weekly Wisdom. You actually won’t find a lot of wisdom over here, but just some arbitrary thoughts that don’t deserve a whole blog post. Feel free to play along in the comments section! But first, let’s cover dinner.


I have loved my crockpot for many years, but fell in love again this fall. When you cook about four nights per week, it really comes in handy when you’re just not feeling the whole saute/roast/simmer thing. I prepped one of our favorites, Honey Sesame Chicken, around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and let it cook for four hours.


I paired it with some sautéed snow peas and broccoli that were dying a slow death in the fridge. This stuff is gooooooood.

dinner close

Plus, it makes a ton of leftovers which is always a win in my book. Now on to the fun part of this post, Weekly Wisdom.

  • Cats on bags – seriously, why do they do this? Those are two different bags on the same day. I’m convinced if I put a plastic bag in the bathtub, he would find it. Do dogs do this???

baxie bag 2baxie bag 1

  • Icing Smiles – I recently read about this nonprofit organization in my November issue of All You Magazine. They accept “cake requests from parents of children with life-threatening conditions and match them with nearby bakers, professionals and amateurs alike.” Growing up in Louisville, my mom and I used to bake for the local Ronald McDonald House, and I’ve been on the lookout for something similar in Chicago. I’m planning to sign on as an amateur baker (obvi), but I’m hoping they know my cakes usually turn out like this:


  • Leann Rimes’ Christmas album is amazing. Christmas songs + country music? Yes please. People can say what they what about girlfriend’s personal life, but I will always love her voice.
  • Wild comes out on Friday! It’s one of my favorite books and I think Reese is the perfect person to portray Cheryl Strayed. I will have to bribe Bobby with candy because he doesn’t really want to see it 🙂


  • Coyotes in Chicago. This is a real thing. And they’ve learned to look both ways when crossing the streets.
  • I’m considering quitting Class Pass. It was a head-over-heels love affair at first, but I’m just not using it as much as I thought I would, making the cost not worth it. I really LOVE Fly Wheel and Exhale yoga classes, and I hate that I can only attend each three times per month.


Post-Fly Wheel sweat!

  • I’m not the only social worker graduating in two weeks that doesn’t have a job. One of my classmates sent around a survey asking people about their job status. I feel a little better that I don’t have gig lined up since lots of others are in the same jobless boat.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.40.51 AM




Filed under Dinner, Healthy Meals, Weekly Wisdom

Wind at my Face

I’ve got the crockpot cooking,


the laundry going and my suitcase partially unpacked. I guess I’m trying to redeem myself from this morning. Speaking of, let’s pick up right where we left off.


I was hungry again mid-morning and scrambled some egg whites topped with ketchup.

egg whites

Not the most beautiful photo, but it always does the trick.


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do on the workout front today. But the sun was shining, it was a balmy 32 degrees, and I needed some fresh air, so I headed out for a 60-minute power walk.


I listened to the first episode of Serial. As a major fan of murder mysteries, I highly recommend the podcast. It made me want to listen to #2 and walk another hour! But I didn’t because the wind was whipping at my face.


If I didn’t tell you this picture was taken today, you might think it was from the summer. Chicago still has some of the most beautiful views year round.

navy pier

Also to note, the lakeshore path is swarming with people, dogs, bikes and rollerbladers from June through September. Today, I saw about five people. Chicago really is a different city in the summer.



I knew I wanted a big a** salad for lunch, so I chopped romaine + swiss cheese + mixed nuts + 1/2 green apple + 1 large carrot + apple maple chicken sausage + 1/2 salmon filet (leftover from Sunday) + Marzetti yogurt ranch.


I’m am the least picky person when it comes to salad. I literally throw in anything I can find that resembles a potential topping. I might not serve this weirdness to anyone else, but it works for moi 🙂

After plugging through some school work, I enjoyed a snack of sweet ‘n salty popcorn + 2 cuties on the side.

cuties popcorn

We don’t have anything special planned for tonight. I’m headed to a yoga class in the morning, followed by a day of babysitting and a graduation cocktail reception at my school. Really looking forward to it!


Questions for you:

  • Are you a Serial fan?
  • What’s your favorite salad topping?



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Filed under Healthy Meals, Lunch, Workout

Dinner Party for Three

Hey hey! Happy Thanksgiving eve. We’re heading out in a bit, but I wanted to pop in and say hi first. For those of you traveling today (ie. “the busiest travel day of the year”), I’ll be thinking of you and saying a little prayer for swift and safe journeys.


I wanted to sleep in this morning, but knew I would feel better about spending 5+ hours in the car if I shook my legs out a bit. I completed a 25-minute interval workout on the treadmill followed by some stretching. You’ve seen this one before, but I made a few modifications.


While typing up this post, Bobby-the-omelet-master cooked up some eggs for us for road trip fuel.


Onion + turkey sausage + swiss cheese!


Bobby’s sister Jenny and her husband Paul were planning to come for dinner. However, Paul works in the burbs and ended up getting stuck for a while because the trains were running on a delay. City commuting can sometimes be a nightmare! Dinner turned out to just be me, Bobby and Jenny, with leftovers sent home for Paul. 😦


I prepped everything before our guest arrived so that I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen all night.



I made a spinach salad with feta + red onion + pumpkin seeds + green apple + celery + craisins + Marzetti balsamic vinaigrette. ‘Twas delish!


me with salad2

Our main course was a spinach chicken pasta bake, a variation on this recipe. 


(Bobby wasn’t feeling so hot, so he refused to be in my picture). Hi Jenny!


Jenny brought us the cutest desserts – chocolate “pilgrim hats” and a caramel and apples “turkey!”<– which she called a Pinterest fail. I say it’s a win!

pilgrim hats

turkey apples

Off we go to St. Louis!



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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Healthy Meals, Workout

Rendezvous with Jillian Michaels

I woke up a bit later than usual today since I was up until the wee hours pinning holiday decor ideas. Seriously, what was life like before Pinterest? I remember it being sad and lonely…

Over coffee, I literally watched from my window while the freezing rain turned to snow in about five minutes!


It was pretty remarkable actually, but I’m glad I didn’t have to venture out to experience it.


With my coffee, I enjoyed a sweet and savory egg sandwich. It’s a regular around here and I completely forgot to snap a photo. You’ve seen it before though (like yesterday), so picture an ezekiel english muffin + egg white + swiss cheese + sugar free strawberry jelly. I worked through the morning and cranked out the final edits of my 15-page research paper. One down, four to go! :/

Hunger struck again around 1 p.m. I’ve been craving egg salad lately, so I made sure to purchase some hardboiled eggs at the grocery yesterday (I hate peeling hard boils, so I usually splurge for the bag of pre-peeled eggs).

lunch close up

I used four chopped whites + two chopped whole eggs + light mayo + nonfat plain greek yogurt + oregano + S&P over romaine and carrots. I didn’t measure anything, just made it to my liking.


Paired with some green grapes. How are grapes sooo good right now?! Bobby and will be lucky if these last until Wednesday.

About an hour after lunch, I dusted off my old Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD and committed to completing level two.


It’s been a long time since I’ve done this workout, like maybe two or three years!? But, I didn’t want to brave the *wintery mix* to walk to a group fitness class and I just didn’t feel motivated to hit our building’s gym. Back in the day, I used to stick to level one only because I was lazy wasn’t as fit as I am nowadays. However, level two was still pretty challenging and I found myself modifying a few of the circuits. I’m interested to see what level three is like.

If you’re wondering, this is what a “home gym” looks like in a tiny highrise apartment.

home gym

Super zen, eh? Gotta do the best you can with what you got! After Jillian kicked my bootay, I finished up with a ten-minute yoga for flexibility video from YouTube.

Does this happen to anyone else when they workout at home? After laying there for five minutes, he tried to attack my wrists while in downward dog.

mat baxie

I’m currently typing up this blog post while snacking on a tasty honeycrisp apple and some peanut butter. When Bobby gets home, I’m planning on making a super easy spaghetti squash with tomato sauce followed by a night on the couch and some more school work.



Today marks day seven of my no sugar + sweat everyday challenge! I’ll post a recap of my experience tomorrow. Have a fabulous evening!




Filed under Healthy Meals, Lunch, Workout

Celebrating Your Pet’s Birthday

I’m currently on the tail end of the longest day I’ve had in a while. Three classes + a two hour GRADUATION meeting <– where they tell me everything I must do in the next two weeks in order to bust out of here on time. Woot!

I told Bobby in advance last night that I would not be cooking when I arrived home, and would instead like takeout sushi waiting for me.

What princess wants, princess gets.

Not really. I’m sure we’ll order something or possibly head out to a neighborhood joint.


I packed up my lunch this morning to include a turkey sammy. FYI, I really wanted to take a huge bite while taking this pic!


We’ve got a toasted ezekiel english muffin + light mayo + mustard + reduced fat swiss cheese + deli turkey. I also packed a green apple and peanut butter to enjoy as the sweet part of my lunch. Before heading out the door, I heated up two everyday egg white muffins and grabbed a banana to consume on the run.

apples pb

Per my Thursday ritual, I snagged a blonde roast + 1 pump sugar free cinnamon dulce from Starbucks (added my own almond milk and stevia) with some homemade trail mix on the side. My first obligatory red cup of the season!

coffee and nuts

just nuts

One of my classmates brought cookies to share with the class. How dare he, right?! I think I was still full from lunch because they actually weren’t as tempting as I thought they’d be.


My creepy attempt at a photo


Baxter was being extra naughty cute before bed last night. We started talking about how when he was little and before I moved in with Bobby, he rarely slept next to me. However, in the past six months, he’s started snoozing legitimately against my face every single night. I told Bobby that maybe it’s because he’s getting older and more needy?! Baxter turns four this January!


Baxter’s third birthday

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

  • Me: What are we going to do for his birthday this year?
  • Bobby: It doesn’t matter, you’ll be gone. (I’m headed to Florida with my mama in January)
  • Me: I will be?!
  • Bobby: You’re such a bad mom!
  • Me: (nervously pulling up my itinerary on my phone) Found it! I’m leaving the day after his birthday.

Thank goodness. 🙂

We also talked about inviting all the other cats in the building to visit Baxter on his birthday. We pictured them coming out of the elevator and prancing down to our end of the hallway. Yes, we are joking…and yes, we are very strange!

Questions for you:

  • Do you celebrate your pets’ birthdays?
  • Do you pack your lunch to take to work/school?
  • What do you pack?


PS. I brought the Walgreens gloves with me today to give to the homeless man. I didn’t spot him on the corner, but I like to think that he found his way into a shelter and is warm and fed. Don’t worry, I’ll keep looking for him!



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Filed under Healthy Meals, Lunch, Meals on the go, Pets

Wednesday Wisdom

Ok, this post isn’t going to have a ton of wisdom, per say, just some random musings that have been running through my head. Along with Favorite Finds Fridays and Sunday Snaps, I’m going to keep this as a regular mid-week thang – one post where I can be slightly neurotic in my thoughts and you can’t judge me.

But first, let’s cover the day.


I was really looking forward to my morning yoga class at Exhale Spa, as part of my Class Pass membership. Exhale is more of a spa than a gym, so the whole place has a very tranquil feel. Ohhhmmm. I loved this particular teacher – she took everything slow, which is perfect for a somewhat newbie like me. Something very exciting(!) happened during class, but I will cover that more in a bit.

After yoga, I put together a very colorful lunch.


I took a can of tuna + light mayo + plain greek yogurt + red pepper + carrot + salt/pepp, with a pear on the side. I didn’t measure anything out, just made it to suite my taste buds.

close up

After lunch, I spent the rest of my afternoon cranking through a massive research paper that’s due next week. I forced myself to work from our “home office” instead of sitting on the couch to type.


We just finished up dinner and are currently plopped on the couch catching up on Shark Tank reruns. We’re kind of obsessed.


Now, onto Wednesday Wisdom – a place where I share some things that are semi-interesting, but don’t necessarily constitute an entire blog post.

  • This whole Today Show shake up really has my panties in a wad. Apparently Natalie Morales and Willie Geist were fired?! It feels similarly to when Harrison was killed off Scandal! I’ve been a Today Show devotee for years, but this might make me turn to GMA. The horror!



  • I achieved my first arm balance in yoga! It might have been a sad version of crow pose and lasted for 3 seconds, but it still counts!  For someone who has been practicing regularly for less than two months, I feel very accomplished. Maybe I looked a little like this?



  • On the yoga note, I was chuckling to myself in class today about all the things that were going through my head. I really try to relax and breatheeeee, but sometimes this happens: Is that someone else’s hair on my mat? I really need a pedicure. How can she do that? How can HE do that? Do I have a yoga body yet? What should I write my blog post about?


  • If you haven’t seen The Crash Reel, the documentary about olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce, you are surely missing out. One of my teachers showed it in class this week and I didn’t want it to end! Kevin suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) a few months before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the movie chronicles his career and recovery. I’ve never had a hint of interest in extreme snowboarding, but this is such. a. good. movie. I know it’s available via HBO Go, iTunes and on Netflix DVD.

kevin pearce


That’s all I got! See you in the morning for my no sugar challenge update.




Filed under Healthy Meals, Lunch, Wednesday Wisdom, Workout, Yoga