Things I like Thursday

Good evening friends! It has been a busy week of work and classes since I last posted, but it has been fun…Well everyday has been fun, but earlier today. Long lines and public transit were not my friends today. I got home three hours later than I thought I would. Oh well, I will not let those things ruin the rest of my day. I made it back home so that’s all that matters! 😛

Anyway, today I thought I’d write about something different from my usual posts. I wanted to started a new post called “Things I like Thursday” in order to share things that I am enjoying each week and to help my readers learn a little bit more about me. In return, I’d love to hear some of the things you guys have been enjoying this week, just comment below. Maybe this will become a new regular post on this blog!

As a disclaimer, the products below were products I reviewed because I wanted to and personally enjoy them- no one has paid me or influenced my reviews!

1. My new running hat.


I have a child sized head and have a hard time finding hats that fit me so imagine my surprise when I finally found one! When I run, I typically just wear sunglasses, but then when I sweat it still gets in my eyes. Not anymore with this new hat, though! Furthermore, now my scalp is protected from the sun. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten scalp sunburn before and it really hurts :(. I really like this hat and I highly recommend this it (Asics Women’s Dawn2Dusk cap in Heather Iron).

2. AM by The Arctic Monkeys.


(image from

I saw the Arctic Monkeys live at Lollapalooza earlier this month and since then I have been listening to them a lot. This week, especially, I have been listening to their newest CD called AM and I really like it! My favorite songs on this CD are Snap Out of It, Arabella, and Knee Socks. I am going to give their older CDs a listen too! Any other Artic Monkeys fans out there?

3. Stonyfield organic Greek vanilla yogurt.


Lately, this yogurt has been my favorite snack/dessert. It has real vanilla speaks in it and tastes kind of like ice cream to me, especially if you pop it in the freezer for a few hours! For an extra delicious dessert I sometimes mix in a few dark chocolate chips and/or homemade granola. I normally consume Oikos plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, but this one tastes even better! Unfortunately, it is a little pricey so this will only be an occasional treat for me. :/

4. Morning runs.


I started classes on Monday and since I work a few nights during the week I have been getting my runs and workouts in during the morning. I have really enjoyed running around 7 am while the sun is still rising. The view of the rising sun over Lake Michigan is incredible. :). It’s too bad I did not take any pictures because the view this morning was especially beautiful. I am very lucky to live near the lake and to be able to run on the Lakeshore path whenever I want. I love the feeling of starting my day with a run so I hope to continue waking up early and running before my classes in the coming weeks! Furthermore, now that my IT band injury is fully healed I look forward to getting back into racing shape and finding a race to train for.

5. Morning Oat Crunch cereal.


Another snack I have been enjoying a lot this week is Morning Oat Crunch cereal. It kind of reminds me of Quaker Oat Squares, but is less sweet and a little crunchier. It is the perfect cereal to grab a handful of when you need a quick snack, but it also tastes wonderful topped with almond milk. I could probably eat an entire box of this in one day, but I don’t let myself. Everything one eats in life should be enjoyed in moderation except vegetables- we could all stand to consume more of those! ;).

6. The monkey mug.


The last thing I have really been enjoying this week is my monkey mug. My boyfriend got it for me for Christmas last year and I cannot help, but smile whenever I drink out of it. I love that its arm is the handle of the mug! I needed an evening pick-me-up so I am currently enjoying a cup of chai tea from the monkey mug as I write this post. 🙂 I think my boyfriend bought it at World Market if anyone is interested in looking for it!

What things have you been enjoying this week and why? Also, have a fantastic evening everyone! 🙂


Tasty Tuesday #5: Pasta Bean Casserole

Good evening friends! Sorry I have been MIA for a while. It’s been a little crazy on my end as I just got a part time job (after a month of searching, yay!). I had orientation for my part time job on Friday and my first day of work was today. I am a cashier at a local grocery store and wow today was crazy! I learned so much in one shift and definitely have room to improve. I hope to do a better job tomorrow, though, and I’m sure the first day is the hardest just like anything in life. Also, my nutrition classes begin next Monday already… Where has summer gone?!

Anyway, today I wanted to share with all of you a recipe that my boyfriend’s mom sent us. She found it in a vegetarian cookbook, but I am not sure what it is called. We made several changes to the original. If any of you want to know where the original recipe came from I can ask her, just comment below that you want the original. This recipe is delicious, healthy, not too spicy (can be adjusted though), quick, and filling. My boyfriend basically cooked the entire batch tonight as I was resting after my first work shift. I really have a keeper- he’s sweet, eats vegetarian food with me, and can cook! 😛 I’m a lucky girl. 🙂


Pasta bean casserole

yield: 4-5 generous servings


2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1/2 bag frozen sweet peppers OR 1/2-1 whole chopped sweet or green pepper

1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained)

1 14 oz can tomato sauce

1.5-2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 box of your favorite pasta (we typically use bowtie or wagon wheel)

1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1. In a medium or large saucepan heat the 2 tablespoons oil on medium high. Add the peppers and cook until they are tender (about 3 minutes).

2. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic powder, and red pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture often.


4. In another smaller saucepan cook the pasta according to the directions on the box or package.


5. Once the pasta is cooked stir it into the tomato mixture.

6. Add the kidney beans to the tomato-pasta mixture and cook until the beans are thoroughly heated. Serve the casserole!


What is your favorite vegetarian Mexican style food? I’m looking for more vegetarian Mexican style recipes to try so please share ideas with me here if you have any. Have a great night everyone! 🙂

Tasty Tuesday #4: easy, peasy black bean salsa

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted a black bean recipe! Since black beans are one of my favorite foods and what inspired the name of this blog, I figured it was time for another black bean recipe. This black bean salsa is super easy to make, relatively healthy, and only takes about 5 minutes from start to finish. It would probably taste even better if you made your own salsa from scratch, but then it would take a little longer to make. This recipe is courtesy of my boyfriend and his sister. It will definitely be a part of our snack rotation here from now on. It tastes wonderful with tortilla or pita chips. 🙂


easy, peasy black bean salsa


1 can of organic black beans

2/3 cup of salsa (we used On The Border Medium Salsa)


1. Drain and rinse a can of black beans.

2. Put the uncooked and rinsed black beans and 2/3 cup of salsa in a food processor.


3.  Puree the black beans and salsa until relatively smooth.


3. Store the salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

While this salsa is delicious, I’d still have to say homemade black bean burgers are my favorite way to eat black beans. I posted a recipe for black bean burgers previously if any of you are curious . I’m thinking of making black bean brownies in the near future and featuring them on this blog, but we will see! I am always searching for new recipes using black beans so stay tuned. 😛 Have a great night everyone!

Have any of you ever had black bean salsa before? Also, do any of you have any recipes for homemade salsa you’d be willing to share with me? If so comment here or email me at

Motivational Monday #4: Don’t let the weather stop you

Good morning friends! I hope all of you had wonderful weekends. I had a great one, but it went by way too fast. :/ I went home Friday morning to visit my family and my boyfriend’s family (we are from the same home town) and then I had a family reunion on Saturday in Wisconsin. It was a busy weekend full of boating, time outside, bonfires, bags, and eating (of course)!

Unfortunately between Friday and Sunday, I only ran yesterday when I got back to Chicago. I am upset with my laziness now that my IT band is healed. I The weather was not even rainy like it is today so I had no excuses (although weather is a poor excuse). I had busy days with my family and my boyfriend’s family, but I could have woken up early to run! I thought for today’s running motivation I thought I’d pick a quote to remind us that the weather is never too snowy/rainy/windy/bad enough to skip a run (plus there’s always the treadmill :P).


I hope all of you have excellent runs or workouts today and do not let the weather stop you. It could always be much worse than rain. MUCH. WORSE. It could be the polar vortex with a balmy high of –15 degrees. Remember that when you think of skipping today’s work out.

I am still  trying to take it slow so I don’t reinjure my IT band, but two days in a row off of running (unless I am cross training) are no longer part of my plan. I’m aiming to get back to running 5-6 days per week and cross training on the 7th day or taking a rest day when needed. Today calls for a 4 mile easy run this evening. I am running in the evening to give myself 24 hours between consecutive runs. I do not worry about run timing except after a recent injury. I am hoping to get up to 5 miles or so without IT band pain by the end of this week.

Well, it’s time for me to grocery shop and then go to a coffee shop before my run tonight.  My boyfriend is going to read for his summer class and I am going to read for fun since I’m finally done with my summer class! 😛

What kind of run or workout do you have planned today?