Desk Job Fitness Circuit

There are days where I literally look at my schedule and do not know how I am going to squeeze in some physical activity.

Sound familiar?

Yesterday was one of those days – I planned on running before work while the rest of the family slept, but my toddler woke up super early and that plan was scratched. I had a full day at work and a meeting afterwards that would last almost until bedtime.

Solution: Desk Job Fitness Circuit!

I keep a set of resistance bands in my desk for this purpose. Yesterday, I did this during my lunch break at my desk and ate lunch while working a little later. It may not have been the workout I planned on completing, but it was better than nothing. And I got in my run today instead. ūüôā


How do you stay fit on busy days?

Disclaimer: Please consult with your physician before starting a new physical activity program.


Easy Hasselback Potatoes

Last night I tried hasselback potatoes for the first time.

photoThey were much easier than I thought they would be, especially for the first time I’ve prepared them!

My husband loves baked potatoes (well, all things potato) and I kept seeing this type of preparation pop up on various social media sites. I was nervous putting it on the menu for a Monday night (as opposed to a weekend) but it worked out really well for our schedule.

Easy Hasselback Potatoes (Recipe inspired by Cooking Light’s version)

Serves: 2 with medium potatoes. Note: if using large potatoes, double the toppings, but be aware that it will be 4 servings!

2 medium potatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
Kosher salt, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
2 TBSP reduced-fat shredded cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Slice potatoes horizontally, being careful to not slice all the way through, leaving about 1/8″-1/4″ between slices. (Tip: I placed a large spoon next to the potato, to help me not slice too far).
  4. Using a basting brush, brush olive oil onto each potato – get some between the slices, too!
  5. Top the potato with seasonings. (I tend to use a heavier hand with pepper).
  6. Place potatoes on a baking sheet that has a coating of non-stick spray.
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until potatoes are crisped on the edges but soft on the inside. The larger the potato, the longer it will take to cook.
  8. Add 1 TBSP of reduced-fat cheese to each potato. The cheese should melt without having to put it back into the oven. Feel free to season it with additional pepper! Enjoy!

What I learned: Next time, I will aim to slice closer to together and I also want to try melted butter with the potatoes instead of oil. I also need to be a little more liberal with my seasonings!

Have you made hasselback potatoes before? What did you think?

– Beth

Prepping Meals on the Weekend for Easier Weeknights

We’ve had quite a busy couple of weekends lately (our house is/was on the market-sold this week!) and I ran a few races a couple weeks ago. I’ve also been traveling a bit for work and getting home later than normal 1-2 nights per week. Needless to say, our weeknight meals have been a little haphazard and not necessarily “planned.”

I was so excited this weekend that I would be home without major events, which gave me the opportunity to work on my meal prep and try some new recipes. It was a bit challenging at times with a toddler underfoot, but made it work during nap-time and when my husband was home. A few recipes will be thrown together during the week – the night before we will enjoy, so it doesn’t matter if they get put in the oven at 8 p.m. or later.

Meal prep on the weekend always makes me feel so much better about the week ahead. Relaxed, less stressed – one less thing to focus on each day – and it gives me more time to focus on my family and getting in my workouts!


Here is our plan for the week:
Breakfast: Healthy Breakfast Bars (pictured & modified from Lean Green Bean’s Recipe here) plus hard boiled eggs

Lunch: typically consist of salads or leftovers


  • Sunday – salmon burgers plus the Summer Vegetable Tian (from Budget Bytes) that I pinned ages ago and finally got around to trying. I needed to be a little heavier on the spices, but it tasted pretty good and was fairly quick to throw together. (I forgot to take a picture – it looked very pretty in the pan!)
  • Monday – Slow-Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken (one of my favorites – from Just a Taste)
  • Tuesday – Seafood Enchiladas (will make Monday night, new recipe)
  • Wednesday – Spaghetti Sauce over Whole Grain Bread
  • Thursday – Oven Fajitas (another one from Budget Bytes!)
  • Friday – Leftovers or something quick

Did you do any meal prep this weekend? What are your favorite go-to meals on busy nights?


Back and Ready for Spring!

This has been a rough winter! The weather has been ridiculous¬†and we caught literally every germ that¬†passed¬†through my toddler’s daycare classroom.
I meant to blog more, but other things started taking priority. It’s all about balance, right?

I’m excited that in 4 weeks are¬†my *first* races of the year! I’ve done several virtual races in¬†2014, but nothing can beat the feeling of running¬†with lots of other people. The energy is just hard to beat!

I’ll be running the Illinois Marathon 5K and 10K, which is called the “Mini I-Challenge”. The 5K is Friday night and 10K is Saturday morning. I’m so excited! I’ve done both races before, but never both on the same weekend. Training is going fairly well, and the weather is getting slightly better which helps, too.

The husband and I also took a fun weekend trip to Savannah, GA, recently. Trips used to be something that we enjoyed often together, so it was fun to experience that again! The history, scenery , and food were just fantastic. We also took a walking tour of the city which I would highly recommend to anyone traveling to that area! Little toddler was as happy as can be with family for the weekend – spoiled and treated with lots of new toys and goodies.

I look forward to writing more in the future, sharing recipes, randomness, and overall thoughts about nutrition and health.

Hope it is warming up near you!

– Beth


Bye 2013, Hello New Year!

I can’t even remember anything about New Years Eve, 2012.

Nothing scandalous – I had a new baby and while I’m pretty sure I was awake when the clock struck twelve, it was likely one of many wake-ups that night.

This has been a wonderful year, challenging at times, brilliant and so happy at others. Overall, pretty incredible.

Tonight, I’m drinking some red wine and watching some rented movies. It’s a far cry from the NYE of my past but I don’t mind.

I have a few goals for 2014, aside from the 14 in 2014 challenge that I blogged about previously.

1. Learn how to sew. Once upon a time I knew how to do this, like back in Jr High Home Ec. Call it the Pin.terest effect, but I’d like to try my hand at this again. I’d like to focus on gifts and re-purposing items. I’m looking for inspiration if you have any suggestions…

2. Learn how to use eye makeup brushes. Yes, in the 30-plus years I’ve been on this earth, I’ve never learned. I think the skin around my eyes could use less of a beating from the typical applicators. (I realize how superficial and silly this goal may sound to some, but I’m excited to try!)

3. Wall-sit for 5 minutes. A few weeks ago I held a wall-sit for 2 and a half minutes….I’d like to double that over the course of a year.

4. Shop more at the local farmer’s market in the summer. I get in the habit of shopping at specific stores; instead, I want to start supporting my local farmers more this year.

5. Organize my digital pictures. The number of pictures that I have stored on my phone and computer is ridiculous. I need to wade through them and organize them in a way that allows me to enjoy them for years to come!

~ Beth

A Week in Meals 12/30-1/5

I am a little late on posting this – a winter cold has been circulating through our house one person after another, and it has left little free time for things like blogging. However, even though they were not typed earlier, the meals are planned and we have been enjoying them so far!



I made up a batch of these Veggie Quiche Cups today from the So, How’s it Taste? with a few modifications. I used egg whites instead of regular egg substitute and shallots instead of onions. Both subs were a case of what was already in the cabinet/fridge. They look delicious and I’m excited to try them out tomorrow morning. I’ll add fruit on the side for a more balanced meal.



I really wanted to try some new, different recipes this week – maybe it’s the time of year with all of the resolutions in the air! I tend to add side items such as Greek yogurt or string cheese, fruit or veggies so I get enough to keep me going until dinner.

First up, Greek Style Farro Salad from The Lemon Bowl. I had this today and all I can say is delicious! I loved the combo of flavors. I did not have to add any salt or pepper as it was so flavorful by itself. I will have it again for several other lunches until I run out, along with some sort of protein.

Next, I plan to prep Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad from skinnytaste.¬†Shrimp, avocados, and red onion…what’s not to love?



This week, some old stand-bys for our family and a new soup recipe on Tuesday. I love soup year-round, but especially when it’s cold outside!

Monday:  Turkey chili that was in the freezer from a meal prepped about a month ago. Love leftovers for busy nights!

Tuesday: Chicken, Kale and Quinoa Soup from Cooking Light

Wednesday: Salmon Burgers, sauteed veggies, and baked sweet potato….and maybe a glass of champagne! (Happy New Year!)

Thursday: Lasagna Roll-ups (see last week’s post…due to the illnesses, I never got a chance to make these yet!) and spinach salad

Friday: Leftover soup from Tuesday

Saturday: Baked chicken seasoned with minced garlic and black pepper, baked Acorn squash

Sunday: Leftover lasagna roll-ups and a side of whatever veggies are left in the fridge from the week


Hope everyone out there is having a great week and staying healthy. Happy New Year!


Elf for Health 2013 Recap


First off – this challenge was AMAZING. Seriously, make sure to sign-up for it next year. (side note: please hold it again next year!!) I was sad to see the challenge end.

I had two amazing elves during the four weeks – one who ended up living very close to where I grew up, and another that lived in a different country. We kept in touch through frequent e-mails and gave each other tips. I learned a lot from both of my elves and they inspired me to try new workouts, recipes, etc. I hope to keep encouraging each other into the new year.

The Facebook group was also a highlight for me, as there were many elves who would post tips, successes, personal struggles, you name it! The group was a fantastic mix of people from all over the country (world?) and was very supportive and uplifting.¬† I’m so glad that Lindsay @ Lean Green Bean and Elle @ Nutritionella made this challenge possible, during a tough time of year for many to keep health in mind.

We had a different challenge every day for four weeks – my favorites are listed below.

ImageUnsubscribe: The purpose was to help clean up your email inbox from all of those unread, unnecessary messages. I had done this about a year ago, but was surprised to see how many I had somehow signed up for between now and then! Now my inbox is much lighter and I’m only receiving emails I actually want to read.

100 Burpees: I’ve never been a fan of the burpee; in fact, when I’ve taken classes before and they have been a part of the circuit, I’ve been known to groan. Because of this dislike, it had been awhile since I had done any – like over a year! I enlisted my husband for this challenge and we traded off doing 25 at a time (our living room is not big enough for 2!) and we got them done quickly. I think I will start including them more into my workout routine.

Operation BeautfiulOperation Beautiful: This was probably my favorite challenge. I put up post-its in several bathrooms near where I work with encouraging statements about beauty. It felt wonderful to spread a little love to others and I hope that the words helped someone out or made someone smile. On a side note, I was excited to still see one of the notes up 3 weeks later!

CircuitCircuit Workout: I love circuits, so this one was right up my alley. Many elves created their own and posted them on the Facebook page. I saved many of those for future use!

I truly enjoyed the experience and it helped me stay focused and ready to take on 2014. If anyone struggles during the holidays with health and fitness (or just enjoys these types of challenges, like me!), I would definitely recommend Elf 4 Health in the future!

~ Beth

(Note: Elf4Health Graphics from Lean Green Bean).