Blog Life

Why I’m a dietitian who’s handing out (real) candy for Halloween

Handing out Candy for Halloween

Can you believe this weekend is already Halloween?! What happened to October? I feel like Philip and I have been so busy, both during the week and the weekend, that somehow the fall is slipping past us. While part of me is eager to start thinking about Christmas (I know, I know, I’m jumping past a few holidays) and to decorate for the season (we missed last year since we were moving into our house right before Christmas), the other part of me is wanting this great in-between time to stick around just a tiny bit longer.


Case in point: This past weekend Philip and I were able to squeeze in a run on a trail that is right outside our door and it. was. beautiful. I’m so glad we could get out on the trail and enjoy the remaining fall colors before it gets completely covered with snow.


We also celebrated another couple’s marriage this weekend – the last of the season. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I just love weddings! Such a fun time we had!


While I may already be thinking ahead about how I’m going to decorate our mantle for Christmas, don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to our first Halloween in a house where trick-or-treaters will be knocking at our door. Growing up in the country where the closest neighbor was a mile away, the thought of having little witches, super heroes, or princesses come to our door was unheard of. And every year since, I’ve been in an apartment where I didn’t have to worry about what to have as a treat for the little trick-or-treaters.

But this year. This year is different. I scoured the grocery store for my favorite candy and chocolate, bought them without a flinch (okay, maybe just a little one), and am ready to hand out candy this year.

Yes, I’m a dietitian who is handing out candy.

I can see both sides of whether or not we should pass out candy to children, and I fully respect whatever individual choice you have made, but here are my reasons for why I chose to pass out candy this year:

(continue reading…)

Rosemary & Sage Roasted Vegetables with Apple Chicken Sausage

Rosemary & Sage Roasted Vegetables with Apple Chicken Sausage

Fall is in the air, folks! This past weekend Philip and I made a long over-due road trip to Iowa — my home state and where I still call “home” out of habit — and there was a crisp, briskness in the air. It was actually the perfect weather for tailgating and football.

Iowa State collage

Being that my entire family are Iowa State graduates and that my parents are die-hard fans, it was almost a sin that Philip has been in our family for two years and didn’t have any Iowa State apparel yet. This weekend, Philip got a full dose of Iowa State starting with getting mandatory new Iowa State gear, tailgating with the “regulars,” and witnessing his first Iowa State football game. While the game didn’t end quite how we would have preferred (re: we lost), it was a great time being back and showing Philip around my alma mater. So many memories from the six years I was there!


The weather was great during the day, but boy, did it get cold once the sun went down. Breaking out the winter coat, hat, and gloves just seemed a little too premature and almost saddening.


You know what isn’t saddening, wrong, or premature, though? This Rosemary & Sage Roasted Vegetables with Apple Chicken Sausage is comforting, perfectly right, and is just in time for this fall weather. While it may be a mouthful to say, it is so easy to whip together on any weeknight. I don’t even know if I should really call it a recipe.

(continue reading…)

Things I’ve Learned in 2 Years of Marriage


Two years to the day I was walking down the aisle, meeting my husband at the alter, cutting our cake hand in hand, and dancing our first dance. In other words, two years ago today I was a bride marrying my groom, the man of my dreams, and embarking on a whole new, unknown journey.

I can’t believe two years have already gone by. It feels like just yesterday we were that young, newly married couple (in my eyes, we still are, sort of). This journey called marriage still seems very much unknown even after two years (I think I’ll be saying that 10 years from now, too), but we’ve covered a lot of ground in our couple short years of marriage, discovered and learned new things about each other along the way, and are excited to see what journey awaits us in our upcoming years ahead.


Last year I wrote about our story on how we met (I just reread it and it made me smile all over again to relive the exciting memories that you have when you first meet your future spouse. Definitely a high in my life!) and the things I’ve learned during our first year of marriage (also just reread that post and, yep, everything still applies today :)).

Things that I’ve learned from Year 1 and Year 2 tend to start to blur together…I mean, did I learn about Philip’s love for country music in our first year or second? But there are some things I know we’ve gotten better with in our second year of marriage. While I’m certainly no expert or feel like I’ve learned it all within 2 short years (does that ever really happen?), I thought I’d add a little bit more to my lessons learned from Year 1.

(continue reading…)

Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta + Colorado Adventures Recap

Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta

Welcome to another work week, friends! Whew, what a fun weekend I had, though! Have you ever looked forward to and waited seemingly forever for an event to arrive and then before you know it, it’s over and you wish you could go back and experience it all over again?


That was my weekend and I’m slightly disappointed that all the anticipation and excitement of the weekend is over. Thankfully, Philip and I have a few more exciting and fun trips planned for the summer and fall…don’t you just love it when one adventure ends, you automatically have another one to look forward to?


So what was I so excited for this weekend? One of my closest friends from college got married this weekend in Colorado (the one I had a bachelorette party for a few weekends ago)! For one, it was a nice mini-vacation from work, but mostly, it was just a joy to be able to celebrate such a special and fun day with her.


The wedding was absolutely beautiful, the bride was radiant, and the location couldn’t have been better. I mean, Colorado…in the mountains. Yes, please.


While Thursday and Friday were busy days preparing for the wedding and dancing the night away, the fun just kept going into Saturday (see why I was so excited for this trip?!). Some of Philip’s family lives in Denver, so we spent the day hiking and enjoying the beauty that Colorado has to offer, with the great company — as well as the help and expertise — of Philip’s brother and his soon-to-be-wife. :)


If a sign of a fun, jam-packed weekend is complete exhaustion, then this trip was definitely a good one. Despite all the fun, it was nice to finally make it home yesterday (although, with the instant realization that humidity is in full force right now in Madison, I miss Colorado’s no humidity weather).

While the trip was a great one, my body was in dire need of returning to some sort of normalcy in the area of food (and sleep, but mostly food). A perfect “recovery-from-vacation” meal in the summer is this Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta with grilled chicken. This meal is fresh, light, full of whole grains, and is something that will get you me right on track again after having one too many Scotcheroos this weekend.


(continue reading…)

In My Home… + Weekend Getaway Recap


No matter how unready you are for the week, Mondays come around with unforgiving regularity, don’t they? Usually I’m rushing to finish up odds and ends on Sunday in order to catch even just a little bit of R & R on Sunday evening before the start of the week. But not this weekend. Nope, Philip and I had a weekend full of relaxation.

With all the moving, house projects, and general craziness going on, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. We put aside our “home to-do list” and headed North for a weekend getaway at my aunt and uncle’s lake house. They graciously let us stay there for the whole weekend and take advantage of all of their “winter toys”.

(continue reading…)

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of the Year + Year Recap

Most Viewed Posts in 2014

Wow, is it really the last week of 2014?! Where has the year gone?

I suppose I should back up first and ask how everybody’s Christmas was. I hope you had a very blessed and merry Christmas full of warmth, cheer…and delicious food! Philip and I continued our (1 year) tradition by going to a Christmas Eve service on Wednesday followed by going out for sushi and sipping on hot chocolate at home. Since we didn’t decorate for Christmas this year and our thoughts have mainly been focused on our new house, it finally felt like Christmas for us.


Ever since we moved into our new home last Saturday, we have been in mild disarray for the past week; so it was especially nice to get away for a few days and head to Iowa to spend Christmas with my parents. It still felt great to come back home, though. And now begins a few days of painting! I’ll fill you in on that next week.


Now back to the new realization I had that 2014 is almost over. I feel like the last week of any year is a good time to reflect on everything that happened during the past year and to anticipate what’s to come in the coming year. 2014 has been an exciting year and seemed to be a year of “firsts” for me. I started a new job in January, launched this blog (!!), successfully completed my first triathlon and marathon, celebrated Philip and mine’s one year wedding anniversary, and we bought our first home! I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.

Whatever the year may bring, I know I’ll be bringing you more tasty and healthy recipes for you to try in the coming year (is that a sigh of relief I hear? ;)). In keeping with this year-end reflection time, here are your top 10 favorite posts from 2014.

(continue reading…)

We’re First Time Homeowners! + Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings

Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings

How was everybody’s weekend? Nothing too special here except, ohh you know…

We bought a house!!

I know. I’ve been impatiently waiting to share this exciting news with you once we finally closed on the house and we had the keys in our hands to make it official. Well, it finally happened this past Friday after putting an offer in back in October. Whew, it’s quite the process!

We couldn’t be any happier with our very first home as homeowners (well, besides the fact that our hands are raw with all the cleaning we’re doing). Why do we love it? Well, for one, the kitchen is pretty great (that was high on the “must have” list in our house search). It’s close (as in I can see it from our driveway close) to the running trail I run on almost everyday during the summer. It’s in a great neighborhood (which has awesome Christmas lights, by the way! I was so impressed. I didn’t think people decorated like this anymore. Turns out my drive home from work is not where all the great lights are). And most of all, we love this house because it’s ours. Nuff said.

Friday night we celebrated our new ownership by relaxing in front of the fire, eating pizza, and making a list of short-term and long-term projects and purchases. It’s always fun to dream.


But Saturday is when the real fun started… We’re knee deep in boxes, cleaning has ensued in full force, and a trip to Menards with a long list in hand has already happened.

Since we’re still in between apartment and house for the week, I quick made Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings on Saturday before we packed up everything in the kitchen that evening. It’ll last us for most of the week and that means no need for the kitchen amongst all of the craziness! Great planning, huh? :)


(continue reading…)

How to Make Meal Planning Work for You + A Fun Way to Show off your Weekly Menu

How to Make Meal Planning Work for You

Welcome to another week, friends! How was everybody’s Thanksgiving? Filled with family, food, and friends, I hope. Like I mentioned last week, I had an extended visit at the in-laws and, boy, did we pack a lot in! All four siblings were home, so we made it into a Thanksmas holiday.

We had your typical (yet delicious) Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and followed it with the traditional Hoerr family Christmas on Friday, which always includes a candlelit fondue dinner and the opening of presents (the kiddos barely made it through the day with their eager anticipation). To cap off the night, in keeping with the fondue theme, there’s always chocolate fondue for dessert and we all sat around the fire, sharing highlights from the current year and how we can be praying for each other in the upcoming year.


Aaannnd (as if that weren’t enough celebrations for one weekend), to top it all off, we had an early celebration for yours truly’s birthday with pizza and cupcakes on Saturday — nice and simple after a couple days of extravagant eating.

I don’t know about you, but after the holidays where food is everywhere — as much as I love the food — it feels so nice to get back to a normal week of eating and routine. My body definitely appreciates it.

One way that helps me stay on track and continuously form a routine with meals is forming a meal plan every week. Seriously, guys. This works. Meal planning/not having time to make meals/not knowing what to make at night/resorting to fast food is one of the biggest concerns I get from clients. Sound familiar? Believe me, you’re not alone. And if you’re already doing some form of meal planning, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re one step ahead of most people!

(continue reading…)

26.2 Miles Worth of Thoughts


What a weekend! As I write this, my legs are elevated with ice packs on them and I’m probably about to go get a snack soon (for about the tenth time today)…does it sound like I just ran a marathon?

Why, yes, you are correct. I completed my first marathon at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon yesterday and what a rush it was! Never have I run a race where there were spectators cheering along the entire course and where runners were surrounding me from start to finish. I guess it’s to be expected when there are 1.7 million spectators (I know!!) and 45 thousand runners. Start out big, I guess. It was also the last race of the season that I was training for — and I’m already thinking about what to do next.


While I recover and relax (wine in hand), I thought I’d share with you some thoughts of mine…thoughts that I had while running. I don’t listen to music while I run, let alone during a race, so it gives me plenty of time to think. Several people have asked what I think about while I run, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my running mind — and, trust me, this is just a small portion of everything going through my head.

continue reading…

What I’ve Learned in a Year + Anniversary Week Celebration


Wow, thanks for all the well wishes and congratulations last weekend for our one year wedding anniversary! It was a wonderful day and I was so excited to be able to share our special story with you guys! The response was beyond what I was expecting. I have to admit, I’ve been rereading the story I posted last week a couple several times this past week just because I love reliving the moments. It makes me smile every time!

How did we celebrate you ask? Like they say, “go big or go home,” right?! We made it into a whole anniversary week! We both had vacation time, so we chose to spend it just enjoying each other’s company and celebrating the year we’ve had together with a stay-cation (for the most part). It was perfect. Just imagine it as having a lazy Saturday at home for seven. days. straight. Glorious, I tell ya! We were productive, yet still had time to relax and go do fun “outings.” Here’s a recap of our anniversary (week):

(continue reading…)