Dinner By Amy

Tonight Ryan and I enjoyed a dinner prepared by our friend Amy.

Amy's Goodies

I entered a contest to select the new slogan for Amy’s products. Though my slogan apparently wasn’t up to snuff, I did get a consolation prize in the form of a coupon booklet.

I have never tried any of Amy’s frozen meals, mainly because I prefer to cook my own food and they’re pretty pricey, but since I had some coupons to use, I picked up a couple Amy’s frozen entrée’s at the grocery store on Monday night.

Since both Ryan and I wanted one of the black bean and vegetable enchiladas, I knew we’d need more than one ‘chilada each for dinner to feel satisfied.

With the enchiladas, we enjoyed a cup of Amy’s black bean vegetable soup and a side of roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower


My Plate

This meal was like a fiesta on a plate!

Dinner is Served

At first bite, I was worried the enchiladas were going to be too spicy. I am such a baby with spicy food!

Peek Inside

Luckily, as I continued eating, the initial spice-shock wore off a bit but unfortunately the enchiladas lacked a bit in the flavor department.

I ate every bite, but wasn’t blown away by this dish in the least. Ryan agreed and was even less of a fan of the enchiladas than I was. Oh well! You can’t win ’em all!  

Fortunately the black bean soup and roasted cauliflower were tasty.

Do you like Amy’s frozen meals or soups? Any favorites?  

Stay tuned for my tips for new runners post in the morning! 🙂


Today’s lunch was a total childhood throwback meal: English muffin pizzas!

The Goods

My pizza crust was a toasted Thomas’ light multigrain English muffin.

I topped the crust with marinara sauce and shredded cheddar cheese and microwaved my mini pizzas for approximately 50 seconds.

Shredded Cheddar

Of course I would have preferred to bake them in the oven to retain some crispiness, but you work with what ya got, don’t you?

Maybe one day break rooms will have a full kitchen with a stove and an oven… 😉

On the side of my pizzas, I enjoyed steamed broccoli sprinkled with a little garlic salt.


English Muffin Pizza


Before lunch, I enjoyed a little dessert (because that’s the best part of the meal anyway).

In honor of Administrative Professional’s Day, our office indulged in cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream cake (Ryan, I know you’re jealous!) and I had a big slice. I remembered to snap a pick about half way through.

Ice Cream Cake

I forgot how tasty ice cream cake is! It totally should have won the cake vs. pie challenge!

Of the following “cakes,” which is your favorite: cookie cake, ice cream cake or plain ol’ cake?

Ice cream cake all the way!!! 😀 (Actually, I’ll take all three, please.)

My Running Story

After receiving a request from a reader, I am in the process of compiling a list of tips for new runners.

I have a bunch of different thoughts to share and clearly you guys do too!  Thanks to everyone for sharing  your running tips after my last post. Stay tuned for the upcoming tips for new runners post! 😀

Before posting my tips, I figured I should give you some insight into my running background (or lack of a running background). 🙂 I am definitely not a runner with a natural ability to kick some serious running booty, but by working at it and going out there and just running, I’ve built up the ability to tackle several miles without difficulty. Trust me when I say that back in 2007, I wasn’t sure if I could run an entire 5k without stopping (or puking!).

So, without further ado, here’s my running story (with a few pictures thrown in so you don’t fall asleep)!

"Run Julie, Run!"

My Running Story

When I graduated from college and entered the real world, I found myself a lot less busy than I was during my four years at UCF.

During my senior year, I took a full load of classes, had a part-time internship, a part-time gig with student government and was actively involved in several clubs. I feel better and tend to thrive when I have a lot on my plate, so when I graduated and only had the commitment of a full-time job, I suddenly felt like I had a lot more free time.

No homework? No meetings? What was I supposed to do?

I felt like I needed a goal. I needed something to work toward.

Smiling After Running a 5k with Sadie

Throughout college, I worked out regularly, but was never a runner. I always admired those who could slip on a pair of sneakers and go out for a run like it was no big deal.

I began looking into running races and on a whim I signed up for a 5k in August 2007 just to see if I could run 3.1 miles non-stop. My goal for my first 5k was to simply run the whole thing.

When race-day came, I headed to the start line with my own personal running mantra for the day: “Just keep running. Run as slow as you want, but just keep running.” Knowing I could run as slow as I wanted, even if it meant that I was practically walking, made me feel less nervous.

After a 5 Mile Race

I managed to accomplish my goal and ran the entire thing. I even surprised myself by enjoying the experience. I loved the energy of the race and the camaraderie I felt with the other runners who shared a similar interest in fitness.

The 5k was enough to spark my interest in other running races. I searched for races in my area through the following websites:

When I saw that there was a half marathon at the beginning of December in Orlando, I immediately became interested.

Could I do this? Could I really run 13.1 miles?

I knew in my heart I finally found the goal I was looking for. Committing to running a half marathon would require lots of training, patience and time and I set out to find a training plan I thought I could follow.

My Favorite Running Buddy

I found several training plans on Hal Higdon’s website and thought the Half Marathon Novice Training Plan seemed like a perfect fit. Since my goal for the half marathon was to simply run the whole thing and simply cross the finish line, this plan was ideal. It didn’t complicate training with speed drills, hills or anything that overwhelmed me.

I veered from the training plan a bit, but followed it almost exactly when it came to the long runs. The only long run I missed was the 10 mile run the week before the race because I was sick and throwing up on the day I typically did my long run (Sundays).

The longest run I did before the half was a nine-mile run, which made me a little nervous. The actual race distance was 4.1 miles more than that!

Ryan decided to run the half marathon with me on the day of the race! (Must be nice to have that kind of natural ability, huh?)

I can honestly say his support and presence made a huge difference for me. Having a running buddy to tackle 13.1 miles with was motivating and made me feel like I wasn’t in it alone.

I am happy to say we ran the entire half marathon together. When I crossed the finish line I felt proud and powerful, even though my body felt pretty weak!

I will be starting my training for another half marathon (the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon) in June this year. I’m a little nervous because I haven’t run a half marathon, or a race longer than a 10k since 2007! I plan to approach my second round of training as I did my first: Run regularly, but run at an easy pace and enjoy the training process.

I used to think of my lack of natural running ability as a setback, but now I look at it as a gift. Since I know I am not going to bust out a half marathon in 1:30, I don’t feel the pressure to run really fast. I allow myself to enjoy the running experience and run at a pace that is comfortable for me. Though I know many runners thrive on running fast and beating previous times, eliminating the pressure of running for time allows me to enjoy long runs and races.

Are you a runner? Do you want to be a runner? What’s your running story?

I Love Cold Oatmeal

I’ve been on a huge BodyPump kick lately.

In the past I would take the class two times a week and add in a day of my own total-body weights routine for some variety. I haven’t done this in more than a month and today seemed like a good day to spice up my strength training.

How often do you change your workout routine?

Though I looked longingly into the BodyPump classroom this morning, I was committed to doing my own thing and surprising my muscles.

I completed this total-body weights routine with two little cardio bursts woven in:

Total Body Weights + 20 Min. Cardio Workout

Those tricep dips are no joke! My arms were shaking by the end.


I came home to a creamy breakfast bowl that included cold oatmeal, Greek yogurt and thawed frozen strawberries.

Breakfast Bowl

Cold oatmeal may be my new best friend.

I love the stuff! I prepared the oats last night and added a handful of frozen strawberries to the mix to thaw in the fridge overnight. By this morning, I had a cold and berry tasty bowl of oatmeal!

I added a cup of Greek yogurt to the mix this morning, stirred it up and dug in.

Yogurt + Berries + Oats

Thawed Berries

Stirred Up

I like this breakfast bowl a lot better than overnight oats. Cooking the oats ahead of time and allowing them to cool overnight in the refrigerator changes the texture for the better in my opinion.

Tips for New Runners

After receiving a request from a reader, I am in the process of creating a post with tips for new runners.

I am by no means a running expert and definitely do not have a natural running ability, which I think a lot of new runners can relate to. My tips are pretty simplistic, and I’d love to hear your tips as well!

Sooo… What tips do you have for new runners?

As I create this post, I’ll definitely include tips from you amazing runners out there, so please comment with your running advice!