Grilled Caesar Salad

by Melissa on September 22, 2015

Fall is here.


Half of you probably have your hands in the air saying “Amen”, while the other half are dodging everyone else and their pumpkin spice lattes.

I love Fall, but I also love Spring, and Summer too.  So Fall presents this weird “I love you, but I also know that you bring something gross behind you.”  Yeah, weird relationship. 

No matter what camp you’re in, there’s still a lot of beautiful weather left to enjoy and grilling outdoors doesn’t have to end.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be using our grill all year so long as we can shovel a path to it ;)


This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite restaurant spots in Bethesda, and when I go there I get one thing: their grilled Caesar salad.  It may sound odd to grill lettuce, but romaine stands up perfectly to the high heat.  Try this today as a side dish to your favorite Italian meal or make it an entree with chicken or salmon on top.

Grilled Caesar Salad

  • 3 heads of romaine
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 TBSP parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBSP Caesar dressing
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil to brush romaine

Bring the grill to medium heat.  Brush heads of romaine lightly with oil.  Place head of lettuce onto grill.  Turn 3 times, grilling each side for 3 minutes.

Remove from grill.  Cut romaine from end to end using a large knife.  Place into salad bowl.  Toss with diced hard boiled eggs, parmesan cheese, dressing, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as a side dish or with chicken or salmon on top.


What is your favorite thing to grill?

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Stair Workout

by Melissa on September 9, 2015

So you know I love to run…right? ;)

But when I’m at the gym, the treadmill looks like a torture device.  I’d much rather see scenery passing me by than stare at a TV screen.  So when I’m there, I will either choose the elliptical or stairclimber (not a fan of the elliptical either – try pedaling backward for certain intervals!)


Stair climbing is a great workout modality, especially for runners. 


  • It helps to build the glutes and hamstrings – muscles that can easily be neglected by runners
  • It can have similar benefits to plyometrics without the increased impact
  • Depending on the speed you set the stair climber or run the stairs, you can mimic a speed workout
  • You can increase range of motion (think taking them two at a time)

Interested in incorporating stairs into your training plan now or just looking for a quick yet effective workout to add to your routine?  Head to your local set of stairs – high school bleachers and local parks are a good place to check.  You’ll want to find a series of stairs that takes you at least 15 to 30 seconds to run up.  Below you’ll see that the each stair set is for 1 minute intervals, therefore if your stair set is only long enough to allow you to complete it in 15 seconds, jog or walk down then complete the same stair set 1 or 2 more times to complete the timeframe.

Be sure to cool down for a few minutes by slow jogging or walking, plus plenty of stretching!


What is one of your favorite cardio workouts?  Have you tried any new workouts lately?

**always consult your doctor before starting any new workout routine


End of Summer Harvest Pasta

by Melissa on September 7, 2015

I can’t believe it’s officially the end of the summer!  While I probably enjoy fall and spring like weather a little more, ending the summer always feels like we’re welcoming winter – which I like for about 2.5 days (aka the holidays…).

The good part is that we still have more time for great weather and of course the wonderful end of summer and fall produce!  This is probably the best time of year for home gardens and farmer’s markets.

Even in it’s bounty, there is a point where you look at the tomatoes and zucchini and wonder how you can stomach one more.  Today’s recipe gives you a quick weeknight meal that will fill you up and help you enjoy the summer harvest.


  • 1 lb pasta (recommend whole wheat)
  • 1 large zucchini  – spiralized or cut using a julienne peeler (about 1 cup)
  • 4 slices salami – sliced into small strips (optional)
  • 20 to 30 cherry tomatoes
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TSP garlic powder
  • parmesan cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Toss with 1 TBSP olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  Roast for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.

Cook pasta to directions on box. 

When pasta is almost cooked and tomatoes are finished, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the salami in pan for 3 to 4 minutes until slightly crisp – this just adds a nice saltiness to the pasta.  Add in olive oil, pasta, and seasonings.  Toss in pan.  Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes at the very end.

Serve with a sprinkle of parm!


You can also serve with a large side salad to use up even more veggies!

What is your favorite way to use vegetables from your garden, farmer’s market, or CSA?


Running for What?

by Melissa on September 1, 2015

I ran my first race in the fall of 2008.  I had my number pinned to my back.  Lots of lessons learned, miles run, and over 20 races – it’s late 2015 and I have no race on the horizon.

Not one.

Typically, I am one that needs the carrot, and sometimes, the stick, to get me up and out the door.  Usually I have half marathon or 10K in my future and my runs are a means to completing a certain distance or hitting a goal time.  Now my runs are a means to….what exactly?

Let’s start first with why I don’t have a race on the calendar.  It’s not that I wouldn’t love to train for another half right now, it’s that I’m learning what I can fit on my plate and what may need to take a back seat.  Currently I have a full workload, side business, and I’m planning a wedding.  I have more travel on my schedule in the next 6 months than I have had in the last two years.  While I am thankful for all of these things, they do limit my ability to add in a solid training plan.  In essence, I’m learning to say “no”. 


If you’re anything like me, you also like the idea of being super woman/man.  Doing it all and kicking butt while doing so!  Well, turns out, I’m human – and I’ll take a wild stab at it that you are too.  I’m learning to be ok with that. 

So, if there’s not a race on the calendar, what am I running for?  There’s only one thing on that list and it’s “me”.  Selfish huh? ;)

As you’ve probably read over the years on this blog, running is my safe haven.  Whether I’m clocking faster times or taking walk breaks, the steps help me decompress, let off some steam, re-evaluate, and reboot.

So what have I learned about motivation since deciding not to have pick a race anytime soon?


1. I need a plan!  Sorry, but it’s true.  There have been weeks where I have no idea what my ultimate goal is and guess what?  The runs don’t happen.  You can still set goals without a race.  Do you want to focus on distance?  I’ve read that running 8 to 10 miles every other week will allow you to keep a solid base of distance while not training for a race.  Do you want to focus on speed?  Write out a few interval workouts and place them on the calendar.

2. Workout buddies rock.  I still love working out with Devin in the morning, and I miss my running buddy Colleen, but I’m on the hunt for a group that will at least guarantee some weekly mileage.  It’s hard to go ghost on multiple people than it is with yourself. 

3.  Shake it up.  New clothes, new shoes, a new running route, or a completely new set of scenery.  Recently, Devin and I went to Chicago.  The Lakefront path was enough to get me out the door for a quick trot with the rest of the city.  We loved it. 


4.  Remind yourself of the long term goal.  Even with a race, the long term goal wasn’t the finish line.  It was health.  Huffing and puffing for a few minutes each day gives us a good foundation for the energy needed to live a full and vibrant life. 

How do you feel about not running a race in the near future?  Has there ever been a time you’ve taken a break from the race scene?



July 21, 2015

Just as much as the next person, I love instagram.  There’s something kind of soothing about scrolling through pretty pictures at the end of your day.  But there’s also something sad when the next thing you know, it’s 9pm and you’ve barely said anything to your significant other.  Tech can be addicting.  Computers, smartphones, tablets, […]

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Weekend Wrap Up + Around the Web

July 20, 2015

Whoa weekend.  Have you ever had a weekend that you’re not quite sure what happened to it, let alone what you really did?  I had one of those.  Let’s just say smoke detectors and late nights on a ladder do not make the ideal weekend. But, I try to be the eternal optimist and see […]

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Summer Things

July 1, 2015

Where did June go? Seriously… We’ve been so busy around here enjoying our summer, traveling, and wedding planning. Early in May, we had our engagement photos taken by the lovely Kelci of Kelci Alane Photography.  It was such a special experience and if you’re not sure if you want engagement photos, I highly recommend them!  […]

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Twenty Seven

May 15, 2015

  Sunrise miles with my guy. Love & flowers from coworkers and my love.   Eats specially made for a perfect day to grill. Alfresco dining. Memories of many the miles from mama.  One birthday filled with so much love.  “Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, […]

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The Weekend Wrap Up – May 11

May 11, 2015

What an absolutely beautiful spring weekend.  The weather was perfect each day and we were lucky enough to have time to get out and enjoy it.  The past few months have been so busy for us that even our weekends were a rat race.  Luckily, things are calming down a little and allowing us to […]

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Keys to a Successful Morning Workout Routine

May 8, 2015

Who doesn’t wish they could be one of those people logging the miles and sweating it out before most of the world even realizes it’s morning? I would definitely classify myself as a morning person.  My best work is usually done before lunch.  However, morning workouts are usually tough for me.  I like to think […]

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