Category Archives: Exercise

Super Easy Peasy Italian Beef!

Hands down, my favorite kitchen tool in this world is my CrockPot. I love anything that I can plug in, toss my food in and walk away from for hours at a time and then come back to a perfectly cooked and delicious meal. If you don’t have a CrockPot, get one and I guarantee it will become one of your favorite, most-used items in your cooking arsenal.


I suggest that you get one with a timer on it, so that you can set how long you want the cooking time to be, but you don’t have to  blow a huge wad of cash on this item.  We got ours at Target years ago and it works like a dream!  We have the previous version of this CrockPot. Reasonable price and great product. If you’re feeling real saucy, you can get the super fancy Slow Cooker Liners so you don’t even have to clean too much when you’re done. I personally find them to be a bit pricey for what you get, but when we do our annual Super Bowl Party where we have 4 CrockPots with chilis going, we use them, as I already have enough to do on that day.

I’ve had a chuck roast in my freezer for about a month now that I’ve been intending to make Italian Beef with and today was the day. I was off work, and normally would do a nice big meal as I have time to cook, but decided I had other things I wanted to get done instead of doing something slightly more complicated. I pulled that roast out of the freezer yesterday to defrost it and cooked up this delightful Italian Beef. I posted this picture on my Instagram account tonight and got a bunch of likes and requests for the recipe. I swear, you all will laugh at how goddamn easy it is!


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  • 1 Chuck Roast, preferably 2-3lb
  • 1 Packet (or 3T) Italian Seasoning
  • 1 22oz can Miller Lite (or other cheap beer)
  • 1 jar Jardoneira (you can go spicy hot, mild, or medium, whatever your taste preference)

How To:

  1. Turn your CrockPot on low.
  2. Coat the Chuck Roast in the Italian Seasonings, being sure to get both sides.
  3. Put Chuck Roast in CrockPot.
  4. Pour Jardoneria in. [Note: I’m fully intending to learn how to make my own Jardoneira and when that happens, I’ll share the recipe here!]
  5. Pour beer in.
  6. Cover and cook until the meat is breaking apart–usually about 6-8 hours.
  7. Serve over a bread of your choice with cheese of your choice. We used Provolone Cheese. Super Sharp Cheddar is also really awesome.


If you make the Italian Beef right, not only will you scarf it down the first time you eat it, you’ll have plenty left over for leftovers in the following days.  Store it in an airtight tupperware container in the fridge for no more than 7 days. Microwave and eat up!


Please note, I served mine with leftover Hash Brown and Cheesey Breakfast Casserole made by my sister-in-law for Easter…..definitely not Paleo or even super healthy, but as I told a friend, they were so good and it would have been decidedly rude not to take the leftovers. THEY ARE IN MY BELLY NOW! I regret nothing.

In other news, today marks the first day that my bestie Carolyne and I are doing a Couch 2 5K program. We are using the C25K free app from ZenLabs (available to both iPhone and Android). Allegedly, by following the program, within 8 weeks we will be able to run a 5K race without stopping.  I’m intrigued to see how this will go.


I’ve started and stopped such programs before, but would really like to do this. Running has always been a pain in the ass, due to my weight and also having really big breasts. Thanks to a really good sports bra, that is hopefully not going to be an issue. Today’s workout was 30 minutes long, with 5 minutes of warmup walking, and then 20 minutes of intervals (60 seconds running; 90 seconds walking), and another 5 minutes of cool down walking. I gotta admit, those 60 second running intervals seemed like a really long time. The 90 seconds of walking in between? Not long enough! Stomps foot and screams not fair! But we did it. We got it done. We ran in Lincoln Park, near where Carolyne lives, and the scenery definitely made it a bit easier. Next workout is scheduled for Thursday, after what I know is going to be a looooong workday. But the weather is going to be nice and my (less) fat ass will be in the park running! Anyone else ever do a C25K? How did it go for you?


TTFN, fabulous readers!

Today I Conquered ‘The Cake Boys’ and Zumba….Tomorrow, the World!

Many of you will remember that about 2 weeks ago, I wrote about four guys at my office who had banded together to join in some camaraderie over a cake and a gallon of milk during the afternoon workday.  The photo that I posted was pretty clear about just what these guys were doing, but many still asked — why? Why would they do this?

After the cake boys received such an honorable mention in my blog, I was inundated with emails at work about the reason why they snack like children at a birthday party in the middle of the afternoon while at their grown-up jobs…and, by inundated, I mean Graham emailed me on behalf of “The Bro Bro Brotherhood of the Traveling Cake.” Graham was quick to advise that these poor gents were now all on their own in this world, motherless, if you will (his word, not mine) and simply sought to recreate the secure and happy feelings of childhood by purchasing a cake and downing it with milk.  Simply put, the cake took them back to a happier time when they knew mom was just in another room, contentedly folding their laundry and preparing delicious meals of their favorite comfort foods for them.  Now, each of thee poor young men lives far away from their beloved mothers, and miss out on warmth of kith and kin (as Clark W. Griswold would say), folded laundry, home cooked lasagna, and homemade birthday cakes, among other things.  These young men have banded together to form “The Bro Bro Brotherhood of the Traveling Cake.” (Honestly, I think they decided to give themselves a formal name after they were mentioned here.) (Note: I am not a trained professional therapist, but I do know emotional eating when I see it — yoo hoo, guys, over here — take it from me, this is emotional eating and you won’t feel better in the morning!) Continue reading Today I Conquered ‘The Cake Boys’ and Zumba….Tomorrow, the World!

Success, You Elusive Little Bastard, You’re Mine!

Well, readers, this past week has been quite an adventurous one for me. I’ve tried new exercise (Zumba), hiked a couple of miles at the Chicago Botanical Garden, (if you’re on FB and we’re friends, check out my pics) resisted the urge to bitch-slap the menfolk at my office who insist on eating cake every day, and stayed on track with my Points (even with wine and eating out). And man, oh man, did it all pay off. I went to my Weight Watchers weigh-in this morning and was down 1.6 pounds from last week.  FUCK AND YES!

While I am super excited about my weight loss this week, the sad thing that I was thinking about on my way to work after weigh-in was that it probably took half an hour of eating to put those 1.6 pounds ON my ass, yet it took NON-STOP discipline to get it off.  (Please Note: I do believe it is a sign of spiritual and personal growth that I am not lamenting how unfair it is that so much work was required to get those few pounds off that got here so quickly and easily. It is what it is.)  It really just goes to show what a process this all is, and how looking at this from a day-to-day and week-to-week perspective, rather than the “big goal” is allowing me to get through this. 1.6 pounds is a drop in the bucket of where I would like to go on WW, but it’s a pretty big drop.

I also set goals last week, for what I wanted to accomplish during the past seven days. How did I come in with those? Well, let’s just say, “check and check and check.”  I wanted to try at least one new, vegetarian recipe for dinner – I made a lovely Pasta Farfalle with Creamy Mushroom Sauce.  I wanted to attend 2 yoga classes, which I did! (More importantly, I would have gone to more than 2 yoga classes if the studio hadn’t been closed for their summer vacation after Monday.) And, I wanted to walk 8 miles, cumulatively during the week, which thanks to my trust little pedometer, I did as well. I also broke out of the mold of what I previously had been doing for exercise and did Zumba (a goal from a few weeks ago was to try a new exercise class) and I liked it (and hurt/almost died) but am going to go back.

So, it is time for a new set of goals for the week to get me through (can you tell I like check-lists?):

  1. We’re going to continue with trying new recipes this week – at least 1 new vegetarian recipe, and 1 new recipe (that may have meat).
  2. Attend at least 3 exercise classes this week.
  3. Make yoga part of my daily routine, even if just at home and doing a few poses to stretch in the morning or relax at night.
  4. Track my cravings for foods — part of this for me is that I need to learn what my weaknesses are, my triggers and how to avoid them. I think that the best way for me to do this is to track when I start to crave certain things, what was going on and how I get past each individual trigger.
  5. Limit my diet coke intake to 2 per day. I kicked the regular soda habit many years ago, but I still drink diet coke daily.  Multiple times daily. Sometimes, I will not even realize that I have sucked down 6 diet cokes by lunchtime when I’m at work. And even though diet coke is 0 points, it does have aspartame in it, which I should work on avoiding. I figure if I cut back to a reasonable amount, I may even be able to kick the habit altogether. But I don’t want to get crazy all at once…baby steps, people, baby steps.

I’ve also been advised that the menfolk are planning some type of “cake extravaganza” for Tuesday, which if it is pulled off, will quickly become the subject of yet another blog post. In the meantime, I’ve got to keep on keeping on.

I Lost My Leg Muscles, and My Dignity, at Zumba…

OH.  MY.  GAWD.  I went to my first ever Zumba class tonight at Hip Circle Studio in Evanston.  Carolyne went with me, and we met up with our friend Abby, who has been doing Zumba at the dance studio for a while now.  I honestly did not know what to expect, but I can certainly tell you, I did not expect to lose feeling in my legs so quickly.

For those not in-the-know, Zumba is the Latin dance workout that is sweeping health clubs across America….essentially, it’s a high-intensity workout set to Latin dance music that uses the essentials of Latin dance to get your workout in….some cha cha, salsa, meringue etc. The beats are great, and what with my recent forays into yoga, where I’ve been building muscle and tone, I thought I’d be fine at it.  Lord was I wrong….. Continue reading I Lost My Leg Muscles, and My Dignity, at Zumba…