Monday, January 31, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Yogurt Give Away

I feel as if in the past two years, people have gone crazy over Greek yogurt. I had never heard about it until I started working out and tracking my nutrition through Team Fitness at Lifetime Fitness, but it sounded intriguing.

The pro's I heard about:
  • High Protein
  • Low Sugar
  • Very Filling
  • It tastes terrible
So, I bought some plain, 0% Greek yogurt, and with no add ins, it didn't taste that great. It was very tart/sour, but thick and smooth, something I love in yogurt, but thought I had had to give up for a non-fatty yogurt. So, I started mixing the greek yogurt with fruit, granola, honey, etc. and it tasted great!

That's where Chobani comes in. Recently I found their Greek yogurt flavors with fruit on the bottom, yum!!

Their multiple fruit flavors are delicious mixed with granola or Kashi, and give me enough protein with the cereal to be a great breakfast. I actually crave eating this yogurt, this is nuts!

Check out the nutrition facts in one carton of their Strawberry Yogurt:
Plus, there are SO many different flavors! (Yes, Chobani sent me these flavors to try, who knew there were so many?!)

The nice folks at Chobani want you to be a Greek Yogurt addict too, so they've donated two sets of six coupons for free cartons of their yogurt to be sent to two different readers.

Here's how you can try to win:
  1. Go to and tell me what flavor you want to try
  2. Tell me how you would eat the yogurt: plain, with cereal, with extra fruit, etc?
  3. "Like" Chobani on Facebook
  4. Be a public follower of this blog
Leave a separate comment for each entry, and then there are FOUR ways you can win.

Here is the fine print: This giveaway is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Sunday, February 6 at 11:00 p.m. Central Time. A random winner will be announced by Tuesday, February 8, 2011 by 11:00 p.m. Central Time and the winner has until Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Central to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Marathon Debate

I've been going back and forth the past couple of weeks about running a second marathon this fall. See, as far off as it seems, entries for the fall ones I am interested in open next week, and they can fill up quick.

I'm torn because, I didn't have a great finishing time for my first marathon, and I want to beat that. Sure, I was suffering from bursitis, my foot started killing me during the race and ended up being a stress reaction, I could have all the excuses in the book, and frankly, I'm still thrilled a finished a marathon when three years ago I could barely run a mile.

However, I'd like to improve that finishing time, and feel that with my experience from training last year, I've learned a thing or two about listening to my body and how to prepare for a race of this magnitude and not end up injured (or at least AS injured).

That said, I also know how my body felt last year while training, and how shredded it was after the race.

I also know what a huge time commitment a marathon is, with planning long runs, and having to get them in, even if I'm out of town for a weekend or something, and the way it affects both Ben and I's social lives, which are very important to us.

Additionally, I worry that if I don't run a marathon again this year, I'll never do it again, because I'll never think I'll be able to again with further commitments and as my body reacts to having children in a few years.

The thing that is really pushing me to run a marathon again, is that feeling of finishing. It was worth every Friday night in bed at 9PM, every muscle ache and every insurance copay at the physical therapist to cross that finish line. I told Ben yesterday, I've never felt both so dead, and alive, in my life as I did while crossing that finish line, it was amazing to feel that I could really do anything if I worked hard enough.

So, here I am, going back and forth. I'm leaning towards doing it, and doing the Twin Cities Marathon, as it's economical, I get to sleep in my own bed the night before, and for some reason doesn't seem like it will be as much pressure (maybe because it's not the first one this time).

I'd love to hear your thoughts and what has made multiple marathons go back for more!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sugar High

I have to admit to you all, that while I was writing about the 60 Salads in 60 Days, I was coming off a day of not so figure friendly concoctions.

I spent much of Sunday afternoon (prior to the AWESOME Green Bay Packers Victory!!) over at Muddy Paws Cheesecake in St. Louis Park baking and cookie decorating with some lovely ladies.

The owner, Tami offered up her kitchen for us to fuss around in, and also offered up cheesecake, how could we pass that up?

I made my huge chocolate chip cookies I told you all about earlier this month.

Why yes, I did pair my Anthropologie Apron with my Ray Nitschke Jersey! I'm Sporty AND Domestic!

I also attempted to frost some Valentine's Day Cookies that looked as if a first grader wrote them out!

The Baking Beauties!
Me, Liz, Tami, Anna
Darci & Kate

So, after all this lovely baking, and sampling, you can see why I wanted to start consuming more vegetables, and so far, I'm two for two on the 60 salads.

In fact, in wanting to copy the lovely Lime Vinaigrette Dressing Masa uses on their Jicama Mango Salad, I created my own this weekend! I'm not a usual recipe creator, just a follower of others, so here is my rough recipe. This makes about two-three salads worth of dressing depending on how you like it:

Lime Vinaigrette Dressing Ala Alexa

  • The Juice of one Blood Orange
  • The Zest of one Orange (you can use the same orange you juiced)
  • The Juice of two Limes
  • A small squeeze of Honey from the Bear
  • A generous drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Small Dash of Giada's Raspberry Vinaigrette (found at Target)
Mix Together with a whisk and enjoy!

I hope this delicious, sweet dressing helps make your 60 salads in 60 days easier to manage!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sixty Salads in Sixty Days

This weekend, my friend Meghan and I attended a spin class at my gym, that I've always heard was hard to get into, but the instructor was amazing. So, this weekend, we got there 45 minutes early, waited for the doors to open from the last spin class, and ran in to grab our bikes.

Sure enough, the class was great, super motivating teacher, and awesome music that would keep me pumped up during an individual workout, let alone spin class! I burned over 500 calories in that class, and then followed it up with yoga, I can't wait to go back!

At the end of the class, the teacher mentioned a page he created on Facebook for a new challenge starting Monday, January 24: Sixty Salads in Sixty Days.

The concept is at it sounds, eat one salad a day for sixty days. He gave the example of going out to lunch with a friend, and instead of getting a burger and tater tots like he normally would, he ordered a salad, was still full, and felt great about it.

Of course, the Midwestern mayonnaise based "salads" don't count, and you need to get the dressing on the side and all that jazz to keep the salad challenge healthy, but I decided that I'm up for it, and joined the Facebook page to show it. I'll check back with you to let you all know how it goes!

Also, speaking of salads, this past Friday I had a great one that's new at Panera, the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad. I got both the dressings on the side, and glad I did because it has a spicy kick, but man, it was delicious! I highly recommend this next time you're looking for a great meal on the run.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I am all about health, getting healthy, staying healthy, being active. But people, I deny myself nothing when I'm craving it, and this recipe had me hankering for these cookies.

Last week, I made these Big Chocolate Chip Cookies from My Baking Addiction, and let me tell you, it was like heaven in my kitchen, and in my mouth.

They were moist, perfectly chewy, and Alexa sized (ie HUGE). I ate two last night, and half of one this morning, and have now removed them from our house by sending them with my husband to work, there is something called too much of a good thing you know.

But, if you need a treat to bring to a party, or a bake sale, or anything really, these are an A+ winner!

My coworker Jody thought they were bought from a bakery!

And, if you'd like a healthier, main dish recipe, here's one from Giada De Laurentis that's a stand by for me. I usually add extra green beans, use light ricotta, and add zuchini too to up the healthy factor. Mmmmm, now I want to make this!

Yesterday while off work, I also watched Going The Distance that I had picked up from the Red Box. LOVE! It was so funny and cute! I think even Ben would have liked it, but I let him miss out on this chick flick.


Also, we have a winner for the Sahale Snacks give away! The winner is....

Anna From, Girl with a Blog!

Anna, leave me a comment with your e-mail and we'll get it touch, congrats!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

This past weekend I went to Denver to visit my old running pal Katy. I've mentioned her before, she moved there this past August with her husband. She told me I always had an open invitation to visit, so with cheap plane tickets, and since I've never been there before, I was more than ready to head out-- bet she never thought I'd really take her up on the deal!

Saturday morning, we did what we do best, and ran a five mile race in a near by suburb, it was a great gravel trail that felt good on my joints, and it was the perfect temperatures for running, high 30's.

Around Mile Two

Katy had to educate me, that with the elevation and the hot sun, 30's there were different from Minnesota, and she was right. I wore two long sleeve shirts, a capri skort and a headband and it was perfect.

Post Race Glow

Katy and I did SO many fun things in the 48 hours I was in Denver, and I won't bore you with all the details, but by far the best, was going to the original Chipotle near the Denver University campus.

1644 East Evans, Denver, Colorado

We had worked up an appetite after running, so we went there Saturday afternoon, and I immediately started snapping pictures of the little space that started it all. The friendly staff offered to take us on a tour of the restaurant, when they saw how excited I was about being there, and before we knew it, we were climbing down a narrow metal stairway, into the low ceiling basement that started the burrito phenomenon.

The basement office where Chipotle was born

It was great to see the manager who showed us around be so enthusiastic about his employer and what he does, and tell us how well they treat their employees.

The best part of the visit was that people who are obvious Chipotle fanatics like us, then get to sign the wall downstairs where so many other fans, the CEO, and the original employees signed.

Leaving my mark at the first Chipotle

Also, the manager then told us, that because we made that special visit to the Flagship Restaurant, and were versed in the company history, we were now part of an elite Chipotle fan club, and got these shirts that only people who tour the restaurant get to mark our trip.

The shirts say, "I made the pilgrimage to Evans" (the street the original Chipotle is on).

The weekend wrapped up with shopping, more great food, and watching a Packer victory on Katy and her husband's amazing TV (seriously, 60 inches, LED--does it get much better?) I had such a great time, and can't wait for Katy and Jon to come back this summer so Katy and I can run together again!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Boyfriend Weight

Did any of you check out the celebrity weight loss special on ABC last week? It was a good report about the pressure to stay thin in America, and especially for celebrities, and the lengths they'll take to get and stay thin, along with the backlash they feel from critics when they gain weight. If you haven't seen this, here it is available via Hulu on Nightline.

I was struck by former Girl Next Door Kendra, and her work to get the weight off after she had her son, and the way some people insulted her as no longer being a sexy because she's a mom.

But, I was most struck by Ali Fedotowsky who I learned was on The Bachelorette (sorry, just not a fan). She moved in with her pick on the show, and fiancee, Roberto Martinez and spoke of how she gained "the boyfriend weight" over those first few months.

Hearing this term, my ears perked up immediately, because I've TOTALLY been there. You don't want to be the stick in the mud who turns down the late night pizza or ice cream requests from your faster metabolizing boyfriend, and you don't want to get out of bed in the morning to go to the gym, when you can sleep in late with the man that you're crazy for!

So, Ali spoke of how late night pizzas, and decreased activity led her to gain weight, and it was a smack in the face when she realized what had happened. Personally, I don't know how Ali could EVER look out of shape, even in the pictures she showed of herself during her unhealthy stage, but she wasn't feeling great, and had to step it up she realized.

Six months into dating Ben, I felt like I was in a similar boat, I had lost weight post college, but as the holidays ended that year, I noticed I was well on my way to putting it back on. That January, I did a three month Team Fitness program at Lifetime Fitness where I tracked my food and activity; I also started running for the first time then. This really got me kick started on healthiness, and has helped fuel this passion since then.

Have you ever felt, "The Boyfriend Weight" when in a new relationship? Or, the new job stress weight, or the moving to a new city weight? What do you do to combat it and keep on track?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sahale Snacks Give Away

As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, easy and healthy snacks are an awesome find. They make staying on track when time is tight a simpiler task, and help you from not adding needless, pesky calories to your diet.

That's why I like Sahale Snacks (I sound like an infomercial...). They're basically nut and fruit blends that jazz up your usual attempts to eat nuts for a filling, high protein snack. I've tried many of their flavors, and never been disappointed. From spicy barbecue type flavors, to sweet and salty ones, I really like the variety.

So, now here's your chance to win some Sahale Snacks to keep you on track with your healthiness! You'll win a full size bag, and a travel size bag, but both are easy to take on the go.

There are three ways you can win, and you need a separate comment for each entry:
  1. Tweet About This Give Away and link your tweet saying, "@AlexaTC is sponsoring a Sahale Snacks Give Away! Check it out if you like to get nutty!"
  2. Check out Sahale Snacks Website and tell which flavor you'd like to try
  3. Publicly Follow This Blog
Here is the fine print: This giveaway is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Monday, January 17, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. A random winner will be announced by Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by 7:00 p.m. Central Time and the winner has until Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Central to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

*Sahale Snacks gave me these samples to try and review, and I'm sharing them with you. These opinions are ALL mine*

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheap and Easy (Recipe) & A Fashion Dilemma

If you're looking for an easy, affordable meal that makes delicious leftovers, boy do I have it for you today (I could write promotions for TV!). I am absolutely in love with Martha Stewart's Tortilla Soup with Black Beans.

I found this recipe a year or so ago, and it's become a favorite in our house. It costs roughly $8-$10 to make a whole pot of it, it takes about $15 minutes to make, and most of that time is just letting the ingredients boil, and it feeds Ben and I two bowls each usually, and still leaves three more bowls to be frozen for quick meals and lunches in the future. Because of the low sodium chicken broth, the soup isn't very salty, and the crushed chips on top add the perfect amount of salt. If you wanted to make it vegetarian, you could use Vegetable Stock, or if you wanted to make it more hardy, I'm sure you could add shredded chicken.

In my fashion obsession news, I've got pieces I'm currently obsessing over from Nordstrom. Here is my thing, I'm always looking for something new, fresh and better fashion wise, and it can be totally great, or it can be totally awful when I'm hankering for things I cannot afford. Take this super cute headband, it's $38, which for a headband, seems ridiculous, but my goodness, is that cute.
Or, this top that would totally flattering on my figure, and would be a great outfit all on it's own with skinny jeans and boots.


So, yes, look at my first world problems, I want a shirt that hides my bad parts and a sparkly overpriced headband, but know I shouldn't spend the money. Poor me, cry, cry cry.

My point IS, I found this little ditty recently through #stylechat on Twitter, Fabuliss. Basically the owner, Sasha, will come to your home, help you find outfits, styles and fashion within your own closet, she helps you utilize and organize what you have. Sasha gives style tips, outfit ideas, based on what you have within your closet, to get that idea out of your head that gets a person spending in the first place, "I have nothing to wear."

Of course, no business is for free though, and a two hour closet consultation is $200... yikes. But, if it helps me spend less, than isn't this a good thing?! This is the rationale I'm going to have to discuss with my husband. And frankly, even if I was a single girl, I'd be mulling this over, so this isn't a "my husband controls my money" issue, no, no, no.

What do you think?

Is a closet consultation worth $200 if it helps you utilize clothes, shoes & accessories you already have? Do you think it will really stop a person from spending as much on new clothes? Ultimately, will you get a return on your $200 investment?

Leave your comments below, I'd LOVE to hear them!

Right about now, I wish I wore a uniform to work, then I wouldn't have to deal with this! :p

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mozza Mia and New Give Away Winner

This past weekend, I went on a lovely "date" with my pal Lindsay, you may remember me mentioning her a few weeks back, as she helped do my hair and makeup for Ben's work Holiday party. I LOVE getting together with her. We started our night going to a new restaurant in Edina, Mozza Mia; the restaurant's specialty is their house made mozzarella. Of course, I forgot to take many pictures, but we had a a couple of drinks, and started with the Mozzarella Caprese.

The mozzarella was good, but nothing to write home about. I'm not a huge tomato fan, so I just had the mozz, with bread and basil.

Also, everyone who worked there, tried saying the words with the actual correct Italian dialects, like "Mozz-ooo-relllla," and it just sounded weird and overdone, like they were trying to seem like a bigger deal.

For our entree, we had the Fresca pizza, which is described as: Fresh mozzarella, arugula, pear tomato, cremoso cheese, balsamic. Since I don't like arugula, we asked for the pizza without it, and the waitress was in a tither. She didn't know "how they could make it without it," so then we said, OK, just half with arugula. Roughly 60 minutes later (no lie, one hour) our pizza arrived, after the waitress informed us after 40 minutes of waiting that they had messed up our order in the kitchen. After seeing the pizza (man, I wish I would have taken a picture!) neither Lindsay nor I were sure how they couldn't comprehend making it without arugula, it was just placed on top.

All in all, it was good food and drink, nothing that was amazing, and I wouldn't pay the $10 for that tiny Bellini again, but if someone said, "hey, let's go there," I would go, but I won't go back on my own accord.

After dinner, we went to the local cheap seats theater to see "Morning Glory," having worked in the television news business, I found it really funny! I think others would like it as well, you just may not get the little inside things that get mentioned.

Also, the winner for the Lemon Pepper Panko Bread Crumbs never contacted me on time, so the new winner is Leashieloo! Be sure to leave a comment with your e-mail and we'll get in touch!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New, Deliciously Healthy Food Finds

Happy 2011!! I hope the New Year is starting off great for all of you. I had a blast New Year's Eve enjoying cocktails, pizza, champagne and of course great friends!

I woke up New Year's Day with a dry mouth and a little fuzzy minded, but got the year started off right, buy going to spin class with Jen later that afternoon.

Recently, I've found some great, new (to me at least) convenient healthy food options, I had to share with you all. One is Annie Chuns soups. I saw them advertised through Hungry Girl, and knew I had seen them at Super Target before, so I thought, "meh, why not?" It was a great choice! Recently I had their Hot and Sour Soup for dinner when I didn't feel like making a big meal, delicious and easy!

Annie Chuns Hot and Sour Soup

The whole bowl had 280 Calories, 2 grams of fat, and 56 grams of carbs.

I also recently had the new flavor of Luna Bars, the Chocolate Dipped Coconut, I spotted this today at Whole Foods, and quickly scooped it up! I'm a huge coconut fan, and had had my eye out for this new flavor since I heard it was coming out a few months ago.


Of course, it's not like eating an Almond Joy or anything, but it still tastes great! One bar has 190 Calories, 7 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.

Are any of you new years resolution makers? Do you have any resolutions your making? Mine are usual goals I already have, that I'm trying to make better on, eating at home more, mixing more fruits and vegetables into my diet, and reducing spending on frivolous things.

By the way, I did pretty well on my pledge to not by coffee in December, I only bought it twice, which is progress compared to buying it three or four days a week! I plan to keep going on reducing my spend on things like coffee, going out to lunch, snack foods, etc.