Tuesday, November 30, 2010

something free at the airport

When we flew home from Montana, I discovered something that made my flying experience much more comfortable, and better yet, it was free!  What was this magical little something?  It was free hot water!

Before we left JJ's parent's house, I grabbed a Passion Tazo Tea packet.  This is a delicious tea that is also served at Starbuck's.  I popped it in my purse and when I was at the airport remembered that I had it.  I then went to the Starbuck's counter, asked for my free hot water, and saved myself a couple bucks on a hot drink. :)  What a treat.

Cheers to something free! :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

day three of thanksgiving vacation

On Friday, the "kids" of the Peterson family did some Black Friday shopping.  Target had some amazing deals and we all stocked up on some Christmas presents and a treat or two for ourselves. :)

Brooke, Pam and I also enjoyed a trip to TJ Maxx. 
We all were pleasantly surprised by the early arrival of JJ's cousin Eric from Florida and went to Old Chicago for dinner after a long day of running around.
When we got home, Pam plugged in her Christmas lights for the first time this holiday season.  :)  They looked great!
It was an awesome ending to a great Thanksgiving vacation. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

day two of thanksgiving vacation

Happy Thanksgiving!  What a gorgeous sunny day it was here in Montana.  The skies were blue, the sun was shining and it hit double digits temperature wise. 

This morning, I helped JJ's mom mix up some dough to make homemade rolls.  Pam found the recipe from an old church cookbook.  Those are usually the best.  Good old fashioned meals that come with essential ingredients and real butter. :)

After preparing some Thanksgiving treats, I went for a cold  yet wonderful run.  10 miles! :)  This is the last weekend of training before the half marathon I'm doing.  It started out as a bitter cold run with loads of sunshine.  But after I got into a groove, it was amazing.  Being in this winter wonderland makes me miss the northern winters!  (At least for awhile...:)

Sorry to say I didn't capture many photos today...I was too busy living in the moment. :) 

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

day one of thanksgiving vacation

Today was a good day.  We enjoyed time with family, ran some Thanksgiving errands, and had a delicious salmon salad dinner.  I've never bought salmon before, but seeing how easy it is to bake in the oven, I'm going to start. :)  Below you can see our salad, salmon and delicious dinner rolls.

We also enjoyed a colorful fruit salad.  JJ cut up the kiwi.  Awesome.

Earlier today, JJ's Mom and I picked up the turkey at the Meat Palace.  What do they sell?? :)  Meat of course.  What a neat Mom and Pop shop with friendly service and friendly customers.  As you can tell from the picture...it is cold.  It was -4 degrees Fahrenheit this morning and by the end of the day....a whopping 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  Don't be jealous you Floridians. :)
I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  Don't forget to tune in to the Macy's Thanksgiving parade tomorrow! :)

Thanksgiving blessings to you all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

flying north for Thanksgiving

JJ and I are headed north for Thanksgiving.  We're excited to celebrate with JJ's family, see the snow, cut a Christmas tree down, play with our nephew, Sullie, eat some really good food, exercise to compensate for the food, and count our many blessings. :)

We're packing warm clothes and carrying on all our luggage.  This can seem like a daunting task when you need sweaters, scarves, boots, running shoes, lounge clothes, dressy clothes...ahh!  However, I've found that when you roll everything up, pick things that you can mix and match and re-wear your jeans...you're set. :)  Here's a link to a blog I stumbled upon on how this blogger packs.  :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt1fdbXD4xo&feature=player_embedded#!

We leave tonight around dinner time, so we're bringing along our own so we don't have to pay for overpriced airport food.  What will we be having?  Sandwiches, Sun Chips and fruit snacks for dessert. :)  Delicious.

More to come from Big Sky Country. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

peanut butter granola bars

Lately, JJ has been asking if we could get new breakfast foods in the house because a lot of what we have is dairy.  Good for me...bad for JJ.  Within the last couple years, we've realized he is lactose-intolerant (a.k.a. dairy makes him sick.)

So, today when I was watching Giada at Home on the Food Network, she showed her viewers how to make super easy Peanut Butter Granola Bars.  I ran to the store and whipped them up in less than 30 minutes.

What do I need?
*1 stick of melted butter  (unsalted)
*1 egg white (use a whisk to break it up)
*1/3 C brown sugar
*1/2 C peanut butter
*1/4 C honey
*2 C oats

(You can modify the amounts and kind of the bottom two ingredients...you could use almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds--anything that you'd like for your granola)
*1/3 C mini chocolate chips
*1/3 C Craisins

--While your butter is melting, stir together your egg white, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey and oats.  Add your melted butter to the mix and stir.  Finally, add your chocolate chips, raisins and/or nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and let it rest for one hour. 

I put my granola in muffin tins with cooking spray and parchment paper to make it easy to get the granola out after it's baked.  However, you could use a loaf pan or baking sheet depending on the thickness of what you'd like your granola to be.

All finished!  I'm looking forward to this breakfast tomorrow morning! :)

southwestern chicken and white bean soup

This is one of my favorite recipes from my Cooking Light cookbook and is so quick and easy that it's great for a weeknight meal. When I made it last night, we had a side salad with lots of delicious veggies:  squash, tomato, onion, and peppers.  We also had some of the Alexia brand garlic bread.  We were plump full and totally satisfied. 

Here's what you need for the soup:
*2 C shredded cooked chicken breast
*1 T 40% less-sodium taco seasoning
Cooking Spray
*2 (14 oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
*1 (16 oz) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
*1/2 C green salsa
Sour cream (optional)--I love the Daisy brand!
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Here's what you do:
Lightly coat a pan with cooking spray and add your chicken and taco seasoning.  Toss well to coat.  When the chicken is done, add your chicken broth and scrape the pan to loosen browned bits.

Drain and rinse your beans and mash them until only a few whole beans remain.  Add your beans and salsa into a pot and when the chicken/chicken broth is done, add that to your beans and salsa.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thick.  Then, add your goodies:  sour cream and cilantro.

Happy cooking! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

pre-thanksgiving dinner!

Last night, a bunch of us girls got together for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. It was so good!  Everyone is a chef at heart.  :)  We were all super stuffed by the end and had plenty of leftovers to go around.

One of the exciting, new Thanksgiving treats we tasted was Kyla's Pumpkin Crisp.  Mmmm....here's the receipe.

1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
1.5 C sugar
3 eggs
4 t. pumpkin spice
**Mix all these ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 pan.  Then drizzle the following ingredients on top.**
1 box of yellow cake mix (use less if you'd like)
1 C butter (melt and drizzle over the cake mix...again use less if you'd like)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes! 

For someone who doesn't even like pumpkin things very much, this was amazing!  It didn't even taste much like pumpkin!  Thanks, Kyla for sharing such a yummy treat!

This was the perfect way to kick off the holiday's.  What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

celebrating sam!

Meet Samantha. I like to call her Sam.  She is hilarious, spunky and such a good friend of mine.  Both JJ and I miss and love her very much. :)  I met Sam my freshman year of college in a speech class.  I thought she was a cool girl.  She did a speech on some band--I can't remember which...and had a brand new baby sister.  The next year, my friend Kristy and I needed a room-mate and Sam was randomly placed in our room.  What a God-send. :)  We all hit it off right from the start and continued to room together throughout our college experience. 

Sam has taught me many things.  She introduced me to a delicious treat, Pickle Dip:  Pickles and cream cheese--what else could a person want?!  She never uses a coffee sleeve--it's bad for the environment, doesn't buy plastic water bottles--it's not helpful for the environment, uses her own shopping bags--good for the environment, and loves Jesus--the best thing for everyone.  :)

Sam also loves to go for walks.  We have walked many miles together laughing, analyzing and enjoying one another's company.  However, recently, Sam has starting running!  I think she's hooked. :)  Are you, Sam??  She will hopefully be my guest blogger soon to tell you her running story!

All in all, I miss you much, Sam!  I hope you're having a wonderful snowy day in MN!

Here's to you!  Let's celebrate our friendship!!  :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

our weekend of fun!

Wow...wow...wow...we just had the most fabulous weekend with JJ's Mom, Pam!  Thank you so much for coming to visit us! :)

Friday night, we picked her up and went to dinner at 310 Lakeside.  http://www.310parksouth.net/  Pam and I shared a delicious burger and a couple different salads, and JJ had a yummy sandwich.  We scored on this meal!

Saturday morning, Pam and I ran around our neighborhood and then she jumped on JJ's bike while I completed a long run for my half-marathon training.  What a beautiful day!

Saturday afternoon, we "fell into the Gap" and bought a Christmas present each and some cute tops for the Phil Vassar Concert!  Then, we picked JJ up and headed to the concert.  Please note that this was at 3:30 p.m.

We made it to our free concert around 5 p.m. (an hour before the doors were supposed to open)  However, we were the only ones there!  We even saw Phil rehearsing with his band!  After gathering more information, we found out that doors weren't going to open until 8 p.m. and the concert wasn't going to start until 10 or 10:30 p.m.!  What?!  Obviously we had some time to kill, so we took some pictures, went to Target and had some dinner. :)

After our dinner at Panera Bread, we went to the site of the concert and finally got in.  To our surprise, we also received BACKSTAGE MEET AND GREET PASSES!  We were going to meet Phil Vassar in person!

That we did!  We said hi, got our picture and went to brag to JJ. :)

The concert started and it was so much fun!  We met some real characters and enjoyed the musical talents of this country singer.

The two things that were missing....Brooke and Kaylie!!! Next time! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

a quick and easy dinner!

Tonight JJ and I had a chicken and green bean pasta with a delicious vinaigrette.  The receipe came from my Cooking Light cookbook, but I made a few changes.

Here's what I did.  I cooked 1.5 cups of pasta (penne, bowties, whatever!) while I cooked 2 chicken breasts.  When the pasta is about 5 minutes from being done, add 1.5 cups of cut green beans.  While you're doing this, mix up an easy vinaigrette.  Combine 2 T. balsamic vinegar, 1 T. olive oil and 1 T. of water.  Then, add 1 T. of fresh basil and 1 T. of chopped red onion.  Then, mix this all together! :)

The original receipe calls for 1/4 C. blue cheese and 2 T. of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil)--this is a part of the vinaigrette.  However, it was great without those things, too!

do you know phil vassar??

I do!  Phil Vassar is one of my favorite country performers.  He plays the piano, he sings, he's great.  And what's also great is that the Peterson girls love Phil, too! :) 

This weekend is a big weekend for the JJ Peterson.  JJ is attending his first country concert...unless he decides otherwise. :) 

JJ's Mom is even flying down for the concert! Yay!  We are so excited to have her visit.  We always have the best time.  I'm really thankful for such a super mother-in-law. :)  and father-in-law. :)  (we'll actually be seeing JJ's Dad on Monday!)

Now that Pam and I are both certified trainers, we'll be training one another. :)  No, really, we plan on enjoying the outdoors with a great run in this excellent weather we're having!  70's and sunny. 

JJ will have some non-stop energy coming his way with both of us in the house! :) Can't wait!

Phil, here we come!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

track shack shoes

I am so excited to share with you my new shoes I bought yesterday at the Track Shack!  When we moved down to Florida, we stumbled upon this running store called the Track Shack.  The employees are super kind, obvious athletes, and very knowledgeable about which shoe is best for you.  They watch you walk, ask questions and fit you with a shoe that feels like running bliss.

Here's what I ended up with....
You can see my old shoe on the left, the orange New Balance...and my new shoe on the right, the blue Brooks.  Brooks is known for making excellent walking and running shoes.

When I brought in my old shoes to show them what I've been using, he definitely said it was time for new kicks.  My shoe was balding on the front part, which shoes obvious wear and that much use has been invested.  Because of this, he knows that the cushion and support of the shoe is breaking down, therefore causing my joints to ache.

I'm very excited to try these out tonight!  It's super light and feels like I'm walking on air.  :)  Hopefully I'll be that happy when I'm running!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

what a great evening to run!

Last evening, JJ accompanied me on his long board while I did a short run.  It was so beautiful.  From the pictures it looks as though it's 10 p.m., but it really was 6:15 p.m.  Then, we went home and I made a tortellini/veggie soup!  Mmmm....I'll post the recipe later!  What a great evening!  Thanks, JJ! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


This weekend was absolutely beautiful here in the sunshine state.  I went to meet a friend for lunch on Friday and wore my boots, a turtleneck and scarf.  It felt like an actual fall day in Minnesota.  It was crisp but warm all at the same time.  On my way to meet my friend for lunch, I saw someone running on the brick streets with her headphones in and I wanted to yell, "Lose the headphones, sister!"  It was way too gorgeous out to blast your ears with music when you could listen to the birds singing and as one of my sweatshirts says, be "One with the World." :)  (That's for you, Sam!) 

No, but honestly, I understand why people listen to music while they exercise...it pumps them up, gives them a beat to run to, energizes them and keeps them going.  I've used my I-Pod many times before...it's fun!  But I will have to say, when I can feel totally unplugged and just enjoy the actual run, it's the best!

Have you unplugged lately?

Friday, November 5, 2010

the holiday's are on their way, not the extra pounds!

I love this time of year.  The air is crisp, (and in fact it actually is in Florida today...high is only in the 60's!), turkeys will be bought, families will come together to celebrate and count their blessings, and some of the most delicious food of the year will be ate. 

Did you know that the average American gains about 7-12 pounds during the holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas).  Then, the new year rolls around and it seems to be a popular resolution to lose those extra five nagging pounds...the unfortunate five that were gained during the holiday celebrations.

So, here's an idea...let's not even gain the extra five, and have our New Year's Resolution be to just maintain. :)

Here are five helpful holiday weight gain tips...
1. Practice portion control.
2. Take a walk...(this is a definite family tradition for my family...even my Grandpa joins us!)
3. Plan smarter meals.
4. Cope with cravings.
5. Don't give up!
(check out the website of where I got these fun little tips...)

Here's to the pre-holiday excitement, and planning!

upper park art

This is something you'll want to join! :)


Thursday, November 4, 2010

we're real adults.

This week JJ and I bought our first coffee maker.  Both of us have never needed a morning cup of coffee to get us going, and rarely drink even a cup a day.  But as we strolled through the Target aisles and saw that the coffee machines were on sale, we thought, "Why not?!"  So, we got a $20 coffee maker, an organic half & half and some cinnamon vanilla nut coffee.  We were so excited to wake up in the morning to share a cup of coffee and watch the Today Show.  When I told my co-worker at work about our purchase she said, "You're real adults now!"  :)  Yes, I guess that's true. 

Even though we have this adult convenience, we don't plan on using it everyday.  We just don't need the extra caffeine.  But for those of you who would like your morning coffee fix, you may want to know how much you really should be drinking.  As I was looking on a Mayo Clinic article, they said that 2-4 cups of brewed coffee are not harmful.  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/NU00600  Another site said a safe amount is 3 cups a day.  http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/caffeine.htm  That's a latte of coffee!!  :)

In my opinion, if you're drinking that much coffee, you must be getting your recommended daily dose of water, which is 10 (8 oz) glasses a day.  80 oz/day.  One helpful way of doing this is to buy a Nalgene bottle.  This way you can see exactly how many ounces you are drinking and the bottle is "indestructable."  :)  Buy one today!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

when should i get new running shoes?

Do I get new running shoes when my feet start to hurt?  Do I get new running shoes for every race I train for?  Do I get two pairs of running shoes--one for training--one for races?  Do I have to wait a year until I get new ones?  Do I calculate how many miles I've gone then get some? 

These are some of the questions I have as I contemplate whether or not I invest in a new pair of shoes.  After checking out the Runner's World website, I found some helpful advice.  http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-490--12954-0,00.html

Many things attribute to when you should purchase a new shoe:  the type of runner you are, the type of shoe you buy and the type of surface all matters. 

If you are a runner or want to be a runner, your shoes matter.  These little laced beauties are your mode of transportation and need to fit you right so that you can mentally and physically enjoy your run.  I continualy feel blessed that God has given me the ability to enjoy this sport and use the legs He gave me. :)  Thank you, God!  

Happy running!

Monday, November 1, 2010

hello, my name is soo. i am a certified personal trainer.

 I checked the mail and got this little baby in a big envelope.  The letter said, "Congratulations on passing NETA's Personal Trainer Certification exam!"  So, that's that.  I'm now certified.  JJ was so proud...that made me proud. :)
So, what will I be doing now?  To be honest, I will be signing up for more classes to expand my knowledge of health and fitness and how we can apply these things to our life to create a youthful and energized life.  I don't plan on working at a gym or anything, but if you ever need some helpful advice, I'm your girl!