Monday, August 31, 2015

Humboldt Park 5k Race Recap

Sharing a race recap of the first Humboldt Park 5k race in Chicago, including a breakfast visit to The Boathouse Cafe in Humboldt Park.

At this time last year, I was training for the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k race. In the past, I have made an effort to finish one long race every year, including the Soldier Field 10 Mile three times and the Chicago Half Marathon twice. I enjoy longer runs, but I also believe in the importance of listening to your body. Over the past few months I have been craving shorter runs instead of a longer race. I plan to include a few 10k races this fall, but I'm going to skip finishing a longer run this year. On that note, I'm sharing a photo recap of a brand new race in Chicago - the Humboldt Park 5k hosted by RAM Racing.

This 5k race was held this past Saturday morning in Humboldt Park, located on the west side of the city in a neighborhood of the same name. Humboldt Park is over 200 acres in size which is huge for Chicago! The race itself looped around Humboldt Park and didn't include any street running, which I loved. The rainy weather kept a few people away from the start line, and K and I ended up waiting in the car until just a few minutes before the run. Thankfully the stormy weather lifted during the race and our only obstacle was dodging a puddle or two.

I don't know if if was the cool weather or the rain letting up, but I ended up running my fastest 5k with a PR on Saturday! I'm not a sprinter, so I'm thrilled with any pace that averages under a 10:00/mile. K finished about 20 seconds ahead of me.

Humboldt Park 5k Race Results
Time - 28:50
Pace - 9:18/mile
Place - 208th out of 495 runners

We finished the morning meeting friends for brunch at The Boat House Cafe, located in the park. The Boat House Cafe opened in July inside a Chicago Park District building, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. {More info from Eater} I had an omelette and the best cup of coffee from the local Metropolis Coffee Company.

It may have rained again during breakfast...

Thankfully we were seated on the covered portion of the outdoor patio. I loved this cafe and race! I'll definitely be back for round two next summer.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Taco Zoodle Bowls

This week has been super chilly in Chicago {for August}. Mornings have struggled to reach 60 degrees, and the cool breeze feels much more like October than late summer. I heard we have warmer temps on the way this weekend, and the highs will be back to 90 by early next week. With summer heat and only a few days of August remaining, it's a great time to share a recent favorite in our house - Taco Zoodle Bowls.

This post contains affiliate links.

I'm still spiralizing every zucchini I can get my hands on. This taco-flavored bowl is at the top of my list for an easy summer dinner. Just like my Caprese Chicken Zoodle Bowls, I used the Paderno spiralizer. I love this kitchen device!

I picked up Taco Seasoning last weekend to use in this recipe, from Savory Spice Shop in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. Their seasoning is perfect for these taco bowls, including chilies, tomato powder, garlic, paprika, Mexican oregano, allspice, and more. You can also make your own - Annie's Eats has a delicious recipe for Homemade Taco Seasoning.

I left the cheese out of this recipe so it follows the paleo diet - but I'm sure the bowls would be just as delicious with a sprinkle of cheddar or swirl of queso {ahhh cheese, I miss you}! Add this to your recipe list ASAP for a healthy summer dinner.

Have a great weekend!

Taco Zoodle Bowls
Yields: 4 servings

1 pound lean ground turkey {93/7% lean}
3 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 avocado
4 medium zucchini
1 cup cherry tomatoes {sliced}
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
4+ Tablespoons cilantro {chopped}
Salt & pepper {to taste}
4+ Tablespoons salsa {I like Frontera Foods Mild Roasted}

How to~
*Saute ground turkey on medium-high heat for 14-16 minutes, until well done. While the turkey is cooking, add the taco seasoning and stir to combine.
*Spiralize four zucchini.
*Saute each spiralized zucchini separately on medium heat, with 1/2 Tablespoon avocado oil for each zucchini and salt/pepper to taste. Stir occasionally while cooking, for 4-5 minutes per zucchini.
*Slice tomatoes and avocado.
*Top zoodles with cooked turkey. tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and salsa.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Active Chicago Workouts

One of my favorite things about living in a big city like Chicago is the endless opportunity for activities, both as organized events and things you come up with on your own. I finished five workouts last week, four of which involved events in the city. It's a great time to get in as many outdoor activities as possible before daylight gets even shorter. Today I'm sharing my recent list of Active Chicago Workouts.

Fleet Feet Sports Historic Run - "Old Ravenswood"

Fleet Feet Sports is a running/fitness store that hosts several historic runs throughout the year from their Chicago area stores. Runs in the Historic Run Series are free events that allow you to learn a bit more about the selected neighborhood and workout with other local runners. Two weekends ago, K and I participated in the "Old Ravenswood" running event from Fleet Feet's Lincoln Square location. The boundaries of the neighborhood Ravenswood are from Montrose Ave. north to Foster Ave., and from Clark St. west to the Chicago River {source}. A historian ran with the group {4 miles} and we stopped over a dozen times to learn various facts about the neighborhood. We stopped outside of famous residences and historic buildings, and learned that there are over 2,000 miles of alleys in the city of Chicago. No wonder we have so many rats ;)

Run to Andersonville Farmers Market

Last Wednesday after work, K and I did a quick run to check out the Andersonville Farmers Market. It was a cool, breezy evening with no humidity - perfect for running. I posted about a trip to this market last year, with a recipe for Summer Zucchini Salad. This market takes place on Berwyn St. between Clark St. and Ashland Ave., every Wednesday evening in the summer through mid-October. During last week's visit, we ran 3 miles {with a few sprints for good measure} and picked up tomatoes and zucchini for a zoodle dinner I'll be sharing later this week.

Sweatworking at The Bar Method

Sweatworking is a monthly fitness "networking" event hosted by a Sweat Life. Jeana Anderson is the founder of a Sweat Life, which now has eight contributing writers. I met Jeana a few years ago while taking her Bridal Sculpt workout classes, owned by Shannon Gail Weddings & Events. Jeana is the sweetest and it's amazing to see the success of a Sweat Life! I attended a one hour barre class at The Bar Method in their Loop location for last week's Sweatworking event. Sweatworking is reasonably priced for a Chicago workout class {around $16}. After the class, attendees went home with a goodie bag filled with products from a few different sponsors. We all received a one-week pass to The Bar Method. I plan on continuing the burn soon with another barre class - it's such a great workout. My arms and legs were sore in new places for days.

Visit for more fitness and lifestyle motivation. If you're local and want to check out Sweatworking, the September event will be held at Brooklyn Boulders on the 22nd. Buy your ticket here.

Biking to Green City Market

Our last workout event last week was a long bike ride with a stop at Green City Market. It's one of my favorite farmers markets in the city - their Lincoln Park location is the best for a busy Saturday morning. Even though I love this market, last Saturday was my first summer visit this year. K and I have been stopping by local markets most weekends instead {down the street or a few short miles away}. Last weekend we decided to make a longer bike trip out of our visit, and ended up riding Divvy bikes for a total of 10 miles. Sweet corn, blueberry + peach smoothies, and the best heirloom tomatoes came home with us for an evening barbecue.

This week's workouts have been less exciting {runs around the neighborhood} but I plan to repeat another active event week soon.

Does your city hold fitness events?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chocolate Orange Zucchini Muffins

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Chicago Jogger! 

Add these paleo, gluten free Chocolate Orange Zucchini Muffins to your breakfast menu for a sweet, healthy treat.

I took the day off yesterday for a "staycation" to work on a few house items that have been on my to-do list for months. At the top of my list is painting the trim in our enclosed front porch. It's currently a vibrant orange-gold color, which is not my style. We have been updating the porch for the past year, and painting the trim is one of the last details. I can't wait to share the finished product!

Before I started painting, I tested a new recipe for breakfast by making these Chocolate Orange Zucchini Muffins. A few weeks ago I posted No Bake Chocolate Orange Cookies, and this recipe uses the same delicious flavor combination - orange extract and Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder. I can't get enough of chocolate + orange!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been following the paleo diet this month for a variety of reasons. One thing that's keeping me going is baking with coconut flour, which is paleo. My muffin recipe is adapted from Paleo Grubs' Amazing Paleo Banana Nut Muffins. This is a perfect base recipe to try a variety of flavor combinations!

These muffins are dense, chocolate-y, and contain healthy fat from coconut oil. This recipe doesn't include refined sugar, as the muffins are sweetened with just a bit of honey.

Chocolate Orange Zucchini Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins

2 ripe bananas {mashed}
2 eggs
1 small zucchini {shredded}
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons orange extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt  

How to~
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix bananas, eggs, coconut oil, and honey. Add shredded zucchini.
*Add coconut flour, cocoa powder, orange extract, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined.
*Bake for ~22 minutes.
*Keep refrigerated or frozen. These muffins will stay fresh for one week, chilled.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Total time: 32 minutes


Friday, August 14, 2015

Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats

This healthy, no carb recipe for Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

Happy Friday! This week has flown by. K and I spent last weekend and the early part of this week in Iowa visiting family. He traveled to a few meetings for work, and I hung out on the farm with my parents. It was a lovely, low key week and I can't wait to extend that feeling through the weekend. While in Iowa, I visited one of my favorite spice stores in Des Moines - Allspice Culinarium. We always pick up a spice and a flavored vinegar or two while shopping, and this trip was no different. The inspiration for this recipe comes from Allspice's Mild Curry Powder.

I am experimenting with the paleo diet right now. While a few components to this chicken salad are not on the paleo list {mayo and yogurt}, I decided to make an exception since I only used a small amount of each. These curry chicken boats were perfect for a light lunch on the farm, served on large romaine lettuce leaves.

Why did it take me so long to make lunch using a bunch of romaine lettuce? Romaine leaves are sturdy and don't fall apart in the middle of your meal {I'm a messy eater, so this is key}. I can't wait to try this again.

Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats
Yields: 8 lettuce boats {serves 4}

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon avocado oil 
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1/2 onion {minced}
1 carrot {shredded}
3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
8 romaine lettuce leaves
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup walnuts {chopped}
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to~ 
*Chop chicken into 1/2 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
*Heat 1 Tablespoon avocado oil in a saute pan. Add minced onions and cook for ~3 minutes. Saute chicken for 8-12 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon curry powder while cooking.
*While the chicken is cooking, peel and shred one carrot.
*Let the chicken cool for ~5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, golden raisins, walnuts, shredded carrot, 1 teaspoon curry powder, and salt/pepper to taste. Add chicken and mix well.
*Serve in romaine lettuce leaves. This lunch is delicious served either warm or cold.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

15 Snack Recipes for Chia Seeds

How do you snack? The first recipe roundup I posted on this blog was 10 Recipes for Chia Seeds. I thought it was time for an updated roundup, so I asked my fellow FitFluential bloggers to share their favorite {healthier} recipes using chia seeds. Almost every recipe I received was snack-based! Chia seeds have fantastic health benefits and are easy to incorporate into a nutritious snack.

Check out these great fitness and healthy lifestyle blogs by clicking on the chia snack recipe links below, and the direct link to each site.


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Friday, August 7, 2015

Happy Blog Birthday #2 + Why I Run

Happy Friday! Today is the second anniversary of Chicago Jogger. It's hard to believe only two years have gone by - it feels like I've always been writing this blog. I started this small corner of the web to share running and healthy cooking experiences, and for motivation. I can't wait to see what's to come in year three.

Here are a few of my favorite posts from each month of year 2:



Today seems like the perfect time to share a bit more of my running history.

    Running is my motivation to live a healthy life, and has meant many things to me over the years. I grew up on a farm in a small town in northern Iowa. My lack of coordination prompted me to join the track team in middle school, and add cross-country in high school. I wasn’t winning any races {or let's be honest, even running on varsity}, but the experience created a positive lifestyle and lasting childhood friendships.

    I ran a few local races for fun in college. After I moved to Illinois to attend law school, running was an outlet for stress relief and a break from reading case law. When I moved to Chicago after graduation in 2008, I started running on leafy neighborhood streets and fell in love with the city for good. Soon this turned into meeting new friends for running dates on the lakefront trail on warm evenings after work, and training for longer races. I completed my first half marathon in 2010.

    Two summers ago before our wedding, my now husband Kurt and I met with our officiant to prepare for the ceremony. She planned an interview to get to know our relationship. One of the first questions was whether we had individual hobbies separate from each other. Kurt instantly thought of baseball - cheering for the White Sox and competing on fantasy baseball teams with friends. The reverend turned to me, expecting a quick answer. My mind was blank and my heart started to race. I remember thinking I had to come up with something to show I had a personality! Kurt noticed my discomfort, and suggested my favorite hobby might be running races with friends. I had never thought of this as a hobby before, but it was the perfect answer.

    My next goal is to run a destination half marathon, even if it's just across the border in another state. Someday I would love to run a long race through wine country in California or along the beach in Hawaii. I'm planning to keep this hobby with me for a lifetime.

    {A similar version to this post was originally published on the NBC Chicago Stride blog in June 2014.}  

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    No Bake Chocolate Orange Cookies

    No Bake Chocolate Orange Cookies are perfect for a healthy dessert. These cookies contain just 5 ingredients and no added sugar, as they are naturally sweetened with dates.

    This post contains affiliate links. 

    The first Sunday in August was spent almost entirely outdoors. I used my shiny new Divvy membership to bike to Lakeview for an almond milk latte at Heritage General Store. K and I ended up walking for several hours afterwards, knocking out a few fun errands on the way. We went out for lunch and a matinee {Trainwreck - I loved it} and made it home just in time for dinner.

    All of those miles spent biking + walking left me craving something sweet last night. Enter No Bake Chocolate Orange Cookies - raw, vegan cookies with no added sugar and plenty of healthy fats from raw cashews and almonds. Add these to your dessert list ASAP!

    These chocolate-y orange cookies are super easy to make, requiring only a food processor and a few minutes of your time. I used two new-to-me ingredients - orange extract and Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder. I am officially in love with this combination for a sweet, healthy dessert - you can't go wrong combining chocolate and orange.

    I measured the cookies using a medium cookie scoop. Fill the scoop {pack it in} and create a ball for each cookie with your hands. Let the cookie balls chill in the refrigerator for ~15 minutes. Take them out and form a "criss-cross" pattern with a fork before adding the covered pan back to the refrigerator for safe keeping.

    No Bake Chocolate Orange Cookies
    Yields: 16 cookies

    1/2 cup almonds
    1/2 cup cashews
    30* dates {pitted}
    2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons orange extract

    How to~
    *Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process the mixture a few times. Stop the processor and use a spatula to re-combine the mix if needed.
    *Keep processing until the ingredients are evenly combined, using the "pulse" function.
    *Remove from the food processor and use a medium cookie scoop and your hands to form the mix into balls. Let the cookie balls chill in the refrigerator for ~15 minutes.
    *Take the cookies balls out and form a "criss cross" pattern with a fork before adding the covered pan back to the refrigerator to chill.
    *Cookies will last chilled for one week, and a few months contained in the freezer.

    *I used California dates, which are quite a bit smaller than Medjool dates.

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: This is a no bake recipe, but add 10 minutes to form the cookies and 15 minute to chill
    Total time: 35 minutes