Coulee Trail Classic, 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018 was the annual Coulee Trail Classic run in Washburn as part of their Riverboat Days celebrations. This is the town my parents live in so I have an excuse to visit. I ran this event two years ago but I must not have recorded it. I can’t remember my time either.

Regardless, the event is held at 7 pm. It takes off from the local high school track / bus barn area and runs through town both in residential areas but mostly in wooded, overgrown coulees. A volunteer (Gavin) mows the path through the coulees so thanks to him and others for doing this.

The run is a butt-kicking! While the elevation change is probably only a couple hundred feed, the terrain varies from paved road to narrow trail, some sandy areas if I remember correctly, overgrown areas, swampy areas, fallen trees, many branches and woodticks. You end by going up what they call goat hill, run down into town and through another wooded area before you climb up just a bit to the finish line. Oh and it was a hot one. I think about 88 degrees? When you get in those coulees there isn’t a whip of wind and it is muggy and stinky quite often!

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Prior to the start, I had a few hours to relax and visit my parents. I just love their property. It is right on the Missouri River and the views are just gorgeous.

There were 38 people who lined up for the challenge. Included in the group were my running pals Mark & Karen, Dave and their buddy Leon.

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Here is the finish line. You can see it was a gorgeous day outside. My run went better than it did the weekend before at Fort Lincoln but it wasn’t great. I have been pretty worn down with all the running I have been doing. Basically I focused on running the flats, walking up hill and carefully going down hill. There was quite a bit of walking due to steep and overgrown areas. It is just a fun time to be outside and on the trails though. Really, a perfect way to spend an early Friday evening.

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There were a lot of woodticks but I had sprayed up with DEET beforehand as the race coordinators had extra available. I stuck around and made sure to cheer for the last person who came through. Everyone finished so that was awesome. There are no timing chips or mats, they just yell out your time and hand write it down. Of our group – we all placed in our age divisions!! I think Mark took 2nd overall! He is really a great runner. Karen took 2nd in our age group (we are together) and I took a 3rd place ribbon in our age group so QUITE the change from last weekend. Haha. Like I said before, I truly never expect to finish near the top but just want to finish healthy and happy with myself.

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I rewarded myself with a big ass, super cold beer! I love these small events and getting to know people. It’s just a sense of community I have not experienced elsewhere.

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Garmin Stats:
4.31 miles \ 46:52 \ 10:53 minute per mile

A small practice run for the Black Hills 50k coming up this Saturday. To say I am excited, nervous, scared, anxious is completely…accurate. I’ll be sure to recap here sometime in July. Please send me good vibes I survive and finish!!

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Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Informational | Leave a comment

Fort Lincoln 15k, 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018 was National Trails Day (always the first Saturday in June) and Fort Abraham Lincoln, south of Mandan, celebrates by hosting a 5k fun run/walk and a 15k trail run. This is the third straight year my Mom and I participated. She did the 5k and I did the 15k.

As I have talked about on here, I am in the middle of training for a 50k in South Dakota later this month. My “training” called for 20 miles this day. I decided to arrive to the 15k run early and run 6 miles, do the 15k and then finish out my mileage afterwards. The weather had been rainy, very windy and stormy the night before but Fort Lincoln let us know that the heavy rain had missed them.

I did my first large loop at about 7am while registration was opening. I ran the course backwards. The trail was in good condition, a little sticky in some parts but not muddy or slick at all. The day was very overcast, still windy and cool.

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The best part of any run is seeing friends. Here I am at the start with Dana and Theresa. There was a very small turnout this year likely due to the weather. I believe 10 of us started.

We were off at about 8:15 and a few small sprinkles started falling. No big deal. As we climbed up and around, there was a photographer out on the course and they posted the photos on Facebook. The trail is awesome and has great views over the rivers nearby.

 

As we went on, the rain kept falling and coming down more steady. It never poured but it did not relent. The trail was mostly remaining dry in the tree / covered areas. As we got into the more open areas, it was slick. In many areas I choose to run on the grass instead of the trail and my feet quickly became soaked.

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Here i am just keeping it weird! What a moron. Haha.

Now, going in to ANY race or event I never expect to finish first or even near the top. I absolutely consider myself a mid packer, definitely not fast but usually not the slowest. I always tell my husband I want to finish and not finish last. He tells me, well someone has to finish last. (Foreshadow in full effect.)

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Above with my Black Hills running buddy, Dave. He is awesome.

Soon, I was also soaked. Everything. Even my hat was dripping. BUT, I knew everyone else was putting up with the same conditions. I told myself just don’t quit. The thing about trail running is you are alone a lot. Once bad thoughts start creeping in, it is hard to shut them up. I was becoming defeated and very frustrated by the slipping and sliding I was doing on the trails. It was really tense on my body and I could feel my muscles working in ways they don’t usually.

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This was me leaving the start line and probably the last time I smiled. Haha. Just kidding, but I was a negative Nancy for a while there. With such a small field, it was easy to know my place and I was very certain I was in last place. I actually wanted to cry for a hot minute because I felt defeated.

I gave myself a pep talk right then and there.

  • I’ve never rain in these rainy, muddy, windy conditions.
  • I was coming off of a high mileage week (ran 26.2 the Saturday alone before!)
  • I haven’t ran like this before with so many trails and miles back to back to back
  • I wasn’t doing that bad
  • Walking is OK
  • Everyone is cold and wet
  • Old me would have never ran in these conditions
  • Any run outside is better than using the weather as an excuse to not start
  • Reminded myself at least I’m not on at treadmill / it isn’t winter
  • Hurry up and finish so I can see how my Mom did on her 5k

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Here I am at the finish. The last lone horse out on the trail. There were 7 of us that finished. I was DEAD last (dang it!) but also the 3rd female so there is that? I always try to look on the bright side.

Quickly, I met up with my Mom and the other finishers. My Mom CRUSHED her 5k. She walks and did so well. She is quick! I told my Mom right off I wasn’t going to finish my miles (too wet and no spare shoes) and we went straight over to the showers so I could clean up and warm up. I wish I had taken a photo of my muddy legs after. Even after the shower, I had mud! So it was a fun experience after I reassessed everything at the end. I mean, I felt kind of bad ass running in that weather! 16 miles for the day was good enough that day.

Fort Lincoln seems to have my number. I have not ever ran strong out there. Last year, it was due to a self inflicted way too fun of a night the night before. This year, just tired and weather – not every run is A+ and the best ever. It happens! There is always next year or other events. After looking at my time, I feel it was OK for me considering. I’m always happy to just be out there.

Fort Abraham Lincoln National Trails Day 15k

This is from my Garmin:

1:39:12 | 9.64 miles | 10:17 pace

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Misc | 1 Comment

Chocolate Vinegar Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

(Please excuse the poor photos. This cake was a bake and take and I couldn’t plate it or cut into it to show you but I am telling you that you want this recipe!)

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OK, the name of this cake isn’t the most appealing ever, but trust me when I tell you it is good. This recipe is also the key to weeknight baking. You can put this together in mere minutes, it bakes in under a half hour and while it cools you can whip up the frosting. Boom.

I have seen this cake called Whacky Cake or Depression Cake because it does not use butter, milk or eggs. Another reason you can whip this up so quickly is because you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry.

I grew up eating this cake and just a taste of it brings back so many fond memories. It is great with a chocolate frosting, a dusting of powdered sugar, a cream cheese frosting or plain. BUT, our favorite has to be a peanut butter frosting. Chocolate + peanut butter? Best of both worlds.

You can make this in a traditional 13×9 cake pan or make them thinner in a jelly roll pan similar to a cakey brownie. It is a very forgiving and versatile recipe. The batter will be thin and slightly lumpy but don’t worry. You only need one bowl and I have even seen it mixed and made in the actual cake pan before.

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A quick note on the frosting. Again, another forgiving recipe. Short a cup of powdered sugar? You’ll be fine. You only have cream, not milk? Again, fine. A bit short of peanut butter or added an extra scoop? No worries. Make it to your taste.

Chocolate Vinegar Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients Cake

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups warm water

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • ½ cup butter, room temp (1 stick)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (Jif or Skippy or similar)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼-1/2 cup milk

Cake: Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Mix together to a whisk to incorporate. Add vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla and water. Whisk together until incorporated. There might be a few lumps but don’t worry. Batter will be quite thin.

Pour into greased 9×13 cake pan or you could use a jelly roll pan for thinner cake. Bake 9×13 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and center doesn’t jiggle.

Remove from oven and let cool completely while you assemble frosting.

Frosting: Combine butter and peanut butter in a medium bowl and mix on medium speed until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping sides as needed. I use a hand mixer for this but a stand mixer would work also. Add in half the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add in vanilla and half the milk and mix together. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and as much milk as needed. Add more milk for a creamier frosting. Often times it might depend on the temperature and weather on how much milk you might need. I prefer more milk and slightly less powdered sugar.

Frost cake and serve immediately. Leftovers keep well covered on the counter but I like to put them in the fridge. Cake freezes well but really, eat it up while it is fresh!

Optional – top with sprinkles, chocolate chips or cut up peanut butter cups (OMG, winner idea).

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I made this cake for a group of guys that were working cattle. It is easy, crowd pleasing and so delicious. Enjoy!

Posted in Baking, Dessert | 1 Comment

Fargo Half Marathon, 2018

Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12, 2018 I went to Fargo with a group of friends for the Fargo Marathon events. I did the Go Far Challenge of the 5k on Friday and the half marathon on Saturday. What a whirlwind of a trip. I have attended the marathon in the past as a spectator and volunteer when I was living there but this was my first time participating IN the event. My friend proposed the Go Far Challenge and even though I am in the middle of training for a 50k trail run, I said SURE. I mean the running part is OK but time with friends celebrating is always a yes.

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I wasn’t sure how I would run in the middle of 50k training. On one hand, I feel like I am in better shape than last year. On the other hand, many of my runs have been LONG and slow and incorporate hills or trails. Many of my shorter runs were on the treadmill due to the never ending winter weather. I knew Fargo would be flat as a pancake. I also figured it would be a good mental training break and a good indication of my fitness and fueling. I was coming off of a week with my longest run ever and I have been more tired and hungry than ever also. I wanted to probably get in with a pace group and see where I could hold myself.

And as always, any finish is a good finish. I tell my friends that and I need to believe that too. This is for fun! Of course, we all have goals or ideas but in the grand scheme of things no one really cares. No one is going to remember in a few days what your time was, if you totally blew up or whatever. Just try and give it your best on that day. We all know the best runs happen on your own with no one there to witness it anyway, dammit!!

I’ll try to keep my recap brief.

Friday, May 11, 2018

  • Drive to Fargo
  • Eat at Blaze Pizza (highly recommend!)
  • Go to packet pick-up at the SHAC by the Fargodome (large event expo and it was fun to walk through)
  • Seamless, easy packet pickup and saw a few people I knew
  • Stop downtown at my favorite running store and buy some new shoes
  • Check in to our hotel in Moorhead (the Microtel – very clean, welcoming to the runners and easy to access the interstate and bus transport to/from the run on Saturday)
  • Unpack, change clothes, and off to the Fargodome for the 5k
  • Arrive at the dome and seek shelter from the cold and wind
  • Forget that and go out and jam to the live band and just huddle with the other thousands of people
  • 5k starts and basically run the whole thing trying to go around people and have fun
  • My friend was aiming for a goal so we ran with her for most of the time
  • The final corner into the dome and she BOOKED it to the finish line, crushing her goal
  • So happy for everyone finishing
  • Take a few photos
  • Go eat at Dootlittle’s and enjoy an ice cold beer
  • Home to shower, lay out clothes for Saturday and sleep

5K FINISH

25:42 | 8:17 per mile

May 18, 2018 | Fargo, ND

 

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

  • Up at 5 am
  • Dress and get ready
  • Eat in the lobby, have a coffee
  • Drive over to get the shuttle bus to the dome
  • Wait in line for the bathroom hoping the coffee does its trick (spoiler: nope)
  • Check my friends 10k bag
  • Go to the field, check my half marathon bag
  • Attempt to get in line with a pace group
  • Realize there is NO WAY in hell I am getting up that close to the start with so many people
  • Accept that and try to do my best on pacing myself
  • Takes about 2 minutes to cross the start
  • Weather is cool and windy so pretty great for running
  • The first mile plus is spent being frustrated and going around people
  • Finally around mile 4 I feel myself getting in a groove and running “normally”
  • Around mile 6 I meet up with a coworker and his red headed friend – they are running a pace I think I can so I run a few miles with them
  • I feel good so go ahead of them
  • I keep looking for my sister-in-law and niece who I think will be out on the course
  • We eventually turn to go north (straight into the wind of about 20mph) and hit some winds. The buildings really do a great job of blocking most of it and I only have to hold onto my hat a few times
  • Saw quite a few bands
  • Lots of people cheering on the sides
  • Feeling a bit down as I don’t see my family
  • Make the turn to go up Broadway and I think I might see someone from my gym by the Fargo Theater sign
  • Don’t see her
  • BUT, I hear “Sarah” being called and spot my family!! I’m so happy and turn back to give them high fives
  • Then I almost trip – so smooth
  • Right about this time I feel like the coffee is probably kicking in (about mile 9)
  • Say a little prayer to just wait for that process until mile 13.2
  • See a porta potty but feel like I can still wait
  • Quickly realize this won’t wait
  • Have to take a few walking breaks so I don’t shit myself
  • See another porta about a quarter mile up ahead and don’t let my eyes leave (like it is going to go somewhere?)
  • Dart into that porta to go as fast as possible
  • Come back out and see my red headed friend up in the distance
  • I sprint trying to catch her and realize I have time to make up the lost ground; pace myself
  • Catch up to her and try to keep up that pace to the finish
  • Feeling a little tired but I know the end is near
  • I feel happy we did the 5k because I know the exact route to the finish
  • Run in and spot my friends cheering me at the finish
  • Cross, get my medal, my Go Far Challenge magnet/bottle opener and some chocolate milk
  • Catch up with the gals to see how they did and take a few photos
  • Ride the bus back to Moorhead
  • Shower and then eat the cookie dough they had at the finish (!)
  • Go get beer and celebrate all night

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My outfit: Buffwear headwear, Walmart tank top, Old Navy capris, Hoka shoes, arms sleeves from Stride Box

Takeaway

  • In regards to the bathroom situation, shit happens. I did what I normally do and things just didn’t move along as expected. I wasn’t sick or ill. I honestly thought by mile 7 or 8 if it didn’t happen, it wasn’t going to. Guess I was wrong. While I am minorly ticked at that annoyance I am seriously happy that at least I had a porta potty to use and it was very clean
  • My pace was good for me for my current situation/training block
  • Mile 1 (getting around people) and the porta potty stop mile were my slowest miles
  • It was really cool to see so many people out cheering on the runners and was a welcome distraction
  • I tried to high five every little kid and especially every little girl I saw on the side cheering
  • Great experience
  • I’m not sure about all the people though. I’m used to much smaller events and a 3-2-1 go start
  • BUT, it was still rad because of the company I was with
  • Everyone I met was awesome – including my real life friends and many IG friends I met for the first time
  • We had a blast all weekend
  • I’d definitely do it all over again

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HALF MARATHON FINISH

1:48:52 | 8:19 per mile

May 19, 2018 | Fargo, ND

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Informational, Misc | 2 Comments

Lazy gal meal prep

Typically I have been posting on this website every Wednesday. Sometimes I am really good about making new recipes or having ideas on something I want to post and sometimes I am just not creative or motivated to come up a new idea. And sometimes I am just too busy. With summer quickly approaching, (thank you for nicer, warm weather finally) I have gladly been spending more time out and about and less time in my kitchen.

Instead of a recipe, I thought I’d share a few tips on what I do for meal prepping or to get things a bit prepared so I am NOT in the kitchen so much.

I eat an almost embarrassingly large amount of food. Right now, I blame it on training for the 50k in June. I am pretty active for 2 hours a day most days but sit throughout the day at work. At home I try to keep active and only watch the news and Wheel of Fortune on TV. I found cutting out TV to be a great tool to increase my NEAT and just not have an excuse to lounge. When I do lounge I instead try to read either a book or news on my phone and of course, scroll social media. I also spend time prepping food instead of lounging. I am not kidding when I say I eat more than my husband. I don’t know what will happen after training for this run is over!!

WHY:

  • Ease of grab and go
  • Healthy options at your fingertips
  • Less excuses for grabbing less nutritional foods
  • Cook according to the season (right now that means a lot of grilling and FRESH veggies or fruit)
  • Work once, eat several times – one bigger chunk of time pays dividends for several days
  • Work smarter, not harder

BREAKFAST:

  • Make a big batch of muffins or healthy banana bread
  • Mix up my yogurts (I like to mix my yogurt with powdered peanut butter and sometimes with a bit of protein powder) and I mix them in individual plastic wear all measured and ready to grab because I am always dilly dallying up until the last minute
  • Boil and peel hard eggs, I usually do about 15 at a time
  • Assemble egg sandwiches (sliced hard eggs make a great sandwich and are so easy)
  • Portion and bag fruits/veggies for smoothies and keep in the freezer to blend up quickly

salad

LUNCH:

  • Bulk cook some easy carbs – I prefer beans or sweet potatoes – both can be made in the Instant Pot
  • Bulk cook a variety of veggies – grill asparagus, green beans, Brussels, etc. or steam broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • CLEAN and CHOP produce – the easier it is to grab and use, the better
  • Sandwiches or wraps are easy to transport and can be made 2-3 days in advance without getting soggy, especially if you toast the bread first
  • Portion out any sides like cottage cheese or snacks you have in the afternoon to ensure portion control

SUPPER:

  • Grill – no one wants to cook inside on these warm days. Take out a bunch of meat, I mean 3-4 pounds and grill it. Be sure to season to your preference and once it is cooked and cooled, cut it for use that week and freeze the rest to use in the future. If you are already grilling meat, you might as well double up. This works especially well for chicken and turkey. I don’t care for steak or pork leftover as much
  • You can grill pretty much any veggie and even fruit if you like
  • If you do need to bake (like banana bread) just bake in the morning before it gets too warm
  • Salad kits are our friend. These are so easy to use and bulk up to your preference. We have been loving these, especially since romaine lettuce is a bit scary with the e. coli breakout. See photo above for an example – the kit comes with toppings and dressing. If you don’t like the topping, leave it. If you don’t like the dressing leave it. Some dressings make great marinades for meats. Or I like to bulk them up with meat I have already grilled. These packages say they serve 3-3.5 but we typically get two large salads out of them for a hearty meal
  • Flatbread pizza. Use a tortilla or thin dough and throw it on the grill with sauce, cooked meat and veggies and you have a meal in minutes
  • Ground beef – grilled burgers or taco are always a hit. Remember if you make a pound of taco meat, you might as well make two and freeze part of it for late

I hope those few tips help you out. Not every meal needs to be gourmet and goodness knows we have to soak up the outdoors and warm weather while we can. Enjoy!

 

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Main Dish | Leave a comment

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

We have a potluck every once in awhile at work. Some people bring their tried and true dishes every time. I generally try to mix it up just because I like trying new recipes. For this potluck, I was really pressed for time. I do generally (not always) try to bring something a bit more nutritious because potlucks can be HUGE calorie bombs. I decided on buffalo deviled eggs because 1) almost everyone likes deviled eggs – they are continuously the first item to go at potlucks; 2) quick and easy to make with ingredients on hand – especially easy to peel with the Instant Pot; 3) buffalo anything is my love language.

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What we have here is a dozen eggs – the yolks are mixed with a bit of mayo and buffalo sauce. They are topped with sliced green onions, feta cheese and a small squirt of Sriracha. These are easily customizable – switch out the onion for celery or carrot, use your favorite hot sauce and top with any cheese from blue cheese or even cheddar cheese.

One more thing. I love eggs. A lot. I eat about a dozen a week. Therefore, I buy a lot. I don’t have a hookup to a chicken farmer (rancher?) at this point in time. Anyway, egg prices really vary quite widely and quickly. I buy the 18 packs and sometimes they are like a bit over $1 and the next week they are almost $4!?! Regardless, I think they are still a great value and a very healthy and easy food. Just curious how week to week the price swings so much. Like is that mama chicken just performing highly a week out of the month? I’m no chicken expert, that is for sure. I just love their eggs.

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Anyway, onto the recipe and away from my curious questions.

Buffalo Deviled Eggs – serves 24 (one half each)

  • 12 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced in half with yolks removed
  • 1/4 cup (scant) Mayo
  • 1/4 cup (heaping) buffalo sauce
  • black pepper
  • Sliced green onion
  • Feta cheese
  • Sriracha sauce

Take your yolks and set aside in a bowl. Mash them with a fork until finely crumbled. Add in mayo (or Miracle Whip – no judgement), buffalo sauce and a healthy sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper. Mix together and spoon evenly into each egg half yolk cavity. Top with sliced green onion, cheese and a small squirt of hot sauce. Refrigerate until serving.

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This was a fun twist on deviled eggs. Enjoy!

Posted in Appetizer, Entertainment, Healthy Living, Sides, Veggie | Leave a comment

Chicken Sausage, Brussels Sprout and Spiralized Sweet Potato Skillet

This is an easy, one-skillet dish that comes together in about 20 minutes. Super simple and nutritious to boot. All you need is some sausage, brussel sprouts, sweet potato and seasonings. Add a bit of cheese for some extra flavor.

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I don’t recall ever eating Brussels sprouts as a kid growing up. These little green cabbage like veggies are good to me. My husband isn’t a huge fan. But that just leaves more for me. I like to roast or grill them for best flavor. Also, I did Google how to spell them and it is a Brussels sprout or Brussels sprouts named after Brussels, Belgium. I have been buying a 2 lb. bag from Sam’s Club and eating the whole thing myself. I simply chop the ends off and quarter or halve them depending on their size. Throw away any dirty or super loose leaves.

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Chicken Sausage, Sprout and Spiralized Sweet Potato Skillet, serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large sweet potato (or 2 medium), spiralized with trimmed noodles (or diced small if you don’t spiralize)
  • 2 cups sliced Brussels sprouts
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken sausage links, sliced into 1/2″ coins
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add the sweet potato and season with garlic salt and pepper. Toss and cook for 7 minutes or until cooked al dente. Use the lid to speed up cooking. Set aside on a plate and then add in the remaining olive oil to the skillet. Add Brussels sprouts, garlic salt and pepper and cook through, about 5 minutes. Set aside with the potato noodles. Lastly, add in the sausage coins and cook until a bit browned and warmed through. Turn heat down and add veggies back with the meat. Toss and heat through. Top with cheese and let it melt. Serve.

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I used apple chicken sausage this time but I think I’ll try it with venison sausage next. This is also great for meal prepping as it reheats well and you can even freeze it for future meals. Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Healthy Living, Main Dish | 2 Comments