a balanced plate with room for dessert

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SNAP Challenge 2014: Day 3

Today I’d like to share with you an app that I’m in love with. It’s called Charity Miles. The concept is simple:

You choose a charity.

Charity Miles |

You run.

Charity Miles |

Your miles translate into something for the charity of your choice.

Charity Miles |


If you’re a runner/biker/walker and have a smart phone, download this app now! Ever since I started using Charity Miles, I’ve chosen Feeding America as my charity. I thought I would share the app with you all since it’s Hunger Action Month and all.

Now on to Day 3 of the SNAP Challenge! It was a strange day. I forgot to eat a “real” breakfast. I had a couple bites of cottage cheese at 5:30 before I left for work, but never got my oatmeal. I didn’t realize until after 10. It was so close to lunch that I just ate a snack to tide me over. Here’s what I ended up eating:

Breakfast: bites of cottage cheese
Snack: banana with peanut butter
Lunch: peanut noodles with chicken and veggies
Snack: raisins
Snack: apple, whole wheat bread
Dinner: spinach tofu lasagna rolls
Snack: tortilla chips
To drink: peppermint tea, water with lemon

Here’s what Mike had:
Breakfast: yogurt
Lunch: spinach tofu lasagna rolls
Dinner: spinach tofu lasagna rolls
Snack: peanut butter toast
Snack: tortilla chips
To drink: peppermint tea, water with lemon

So far, the thing I find myself missing the most is carbonated water. I drink so much of the stuff. Mike and I actually bought a SodaStream a few months ago because I was going through a frightening amount of 12 packs. It was seriously one of the best purchases we’ve made recently.




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Minneapolis Marathon 2014 Race Recap & National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! I hope you all celebrate by lacing up your shoes and getting out there for a run – whether it’s for 3 minutes, 3 miles, or 3 hours! I’ll be putting in my first miles after this past Sunday’s race and I can’t wait to get back out there. Sunday’s race – the Minneapolis Marathon. Ah, so much drama.

Long story short – the Minneapolis Marathon got cancelled, but Adam’s Birthday Marathon went on as planned.

The whole story: A group of seven of us traveled to Minneapolis on Saturday for the race. Three runners (Adam, the birthday boy, and I planned on running the full, Ash the half) and four amazing cheerleaders. As soon as we crossed the state line, the rain started. It wasn’t bad and we hoped that the rain that was predicted for race day was just coming in early. The race expo was a bit unorganized and not very helpful at all. I was surprised to find out that they did not have any course maps available at the expo and the gal at the booth told us instead to just look at it online. Sure, that might have worked… had their PDF been readable. You could see the general outline of the course, but the street names were indiscernible. I mean, how the heck is something like this supposed to be useful to people who aren’t familiar with the area?

image from

During the time at the expo, the light rain developed into a down pour and it just got worse from there. (Side note – the views from our 14th floor hotel room were amazing!) The Team Ortho (TO) / Minneapolis Marathon race staff sent out an email late Saturday night reminding us to hydrate (a little late, but thanks) and to keep an eye out on their Facebook page for updates at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM, 5:30 AM, and 6:00 AM.

We dutifully woke up at 4:30 to eat and prep for the 6:30 race start. When we got up, the weather did not look promising – heavy storms with lightning galore. I obsessively started checking the race’s Facebook page for the promised updates that were to be posted at 4:00, 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00. There was no 4:00 or 5:00 update. At 5:26, they finally posted an update saying that the start time had been postponed an hour to 7:30 AM. At 5:29, they posted again saying the next update would be at 7:00 AM. Ok, so no other updates until 7:00 AM. I guess I could deal.

We waited around the hotel until 6:30 before dragging ourselves out into the rain to the race start line. Runners were huddled under any shelter they could find. The rain finally let up a little and the runners made their way up to the start. 7:00 AM came and went with no update from the marathon organizers. No one seemed to have any idea what was going on. 7:15 AM and still no updates. Everyone figured the race would start, as scheduled, at 7:30 AM. Then, 7:30 AM passed and the race didn’t start. People started checking Facebook – no updates on there, either. Race staff was nowhere to be found. 7:40 AM. Nothing. 7:50 AM runners start walking back to their cars and the word spreads that the race has been cancelled. (For what it’s worth, a Facebook update was finally posted at around 8:00 AM). I found Adam and Ash and we decided we were going to run it anyway. We had spent months training and we were already there. I decided to run the half with Ash instead of attempting the full and the birthday boy set off, determined to finish the full.

As we and a couple hundred (?) other rogue runners went around the barricaded start line, race staff told us that we were running at our own risk. We blew past them. It wasn’t raining. The weather apps showed no storm headed this way. Heat, humidity, and an unfamiliar city were our only challenges. A few miles later, a staff member was on the route, screaming at us to remove our bibs or the police would take action. What the heck? Ash and I dutifully flipped our bibs over and continued on. As we ran, we watched the race staff pull mile markers, cones, and tightly wrap up the water stations in plastic wrap so that runners couldn’t get to it. When we finally reaches the finish line (or what was supposed to be the finish line), we found a volunteer handing out medals.

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 |

mile markers at the Minneapolis Marathon

Wait. I thought the race was cancelled. Why were they handing out medals? I grabbed one, started stretching, and took in my surroundings. I saw many confused, lost race participants. Some were wondering where to pick up their gear check bags. Others were wondering how they were going to get back to the start (since the shuttles had been called off). The TO staff and volunteers had no answers. They busied themselves with packing everything up and seemed to care very little about answering any questions that the race participants had.

Mike, Ash, and I met up with three others in our group to cheer on the birthday boy marathoner. A group of us ended up running the last 3.5 miles with him. When we finally made it to the finish, the lot was deserted – no sign that there was a race planned for that day.

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 (cancelled but we ran anyway) |


I want to make it clear that I 100% understand why the race was called off. The race organizers thought that there was going to be another severe storm with lightning passing through and didn’t want to risk the lives of the runners or volunteers. What I do not understand is why the race cancellation wasn’t announced and why the updates weren’t posted to Facebook as promised. The disorganization and lack of communication of Team Ortho and their Minneapolis Marathon were dismal. Tuesday afternoon, TO and MM slightly redeemed themselves by sending out an apology and discount codes for other races they put on, including the 2015 Minneapolis Marathon. Will I run another one of their races? I’m undecided. The course (or what I think was the course) was absolutely beautiful and I would love to run it again, but this experience as a whole was so disappointing.

Now, I’m off to find another marathon to run this year. In Wisconsin. ❤

Minneapolis Marathon 2014 (aka Adam’s Birthday Marathon)

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DSD Goes to St. Louis!

Mike and I spent a week eating, drinking, and sight-seeing our way through St. Louis. It was my first time in the wonderful city, and Mike hadn’t been for years. I am still glowing from the trip – the weather was wonderful for almost the entire time and the city had so many awesome free activities. As always, though, food was my focus. Here’s a rundown of where and what we ate. As a bonus, you get some lovely iPhone photos as well (sorry, I wasn’t about to schlep my DSLR around with me everywhere!)

Blueberry HillBlueberry Hill St. Louis |

This restaurant seems to be a large tourist trap. And we fell for it. Hard. Sure, the restaurant was filled with memorabilia, but it was our least favorite meal of the week.

What we ordered:

  • Buffalo Fries: “A bit spicy”
  • Reuben: “One of the best in St. Louis. Now larger! Corned beef on grilled marble rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and 1000 Island dressing”
  • Chili Mac: “Hearty portion of macaroni topped with our award-winning spicy chili”

The fries were pretty standard and nothing special. They had a little spice to them, but calling them “a bit spicy” is a stretch. I’m not sure why they claim to have one of the best Reuben’s in St. Louis. The corned beef looked like it was from a package and the sauerkraut was flavorless. I am a little blown away that there are so many reviews that claim the Reuben is the best. The chili mac was the best of the three. The chili was mildly spiced and pretty tasty, but the mac that was served with it was overcooked. At least the beer was good! Rating: C.

Bogart’s Smoke House 

Bogart's St. Louis |

Mike and I spent the morning at the Soulard Farmer’s Market and walked passed Bogarts on the way to our car. We remembered that our AirBnB host had mentioned it as a popular BBQ spot, so we decided to go in and catch an early lunch (brunch?). We had a short wait with about 5 people in front of us; this gave us the opportunity to decide what we wanted to order. The food came out minutes after we sat down and… damn. There’s a reason the line was out the door and around the corner when we left!


What we ordered:

  • Burnt Ends Sandwich with Pit Baked Beans and BBQ Pork Skins
  • Beef Brisket Sandwich with Deviled Egg Potato Salad and Fire & Ice Pickles

This meal was phenomenal. The burnt ends and brisket were both wonderful and really well cooked. We tried all four of the sauces they had on the table:

  • Sweet Maegan Ann: “Sweet and Smokey KC Style”
  • VooDoo Sauce: “On a heat scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 8!”
  • Pineapple Express: “Made with pineapple juice, so a sweet start and a tangy finish”
  • Mad Maddie’s Vinegar: “North Carolina style vinegar sauce”

VooDoo was our fave. I would rate it maybe a 3 or 4 on the heat scale, but it was definitely tasty. The Sweet Maegan Ann and Pineapple Express were overly sweet for me, and Mad Maddie’s Vinegar was just not my style. I love vinegar, but not on my BBQ! I loved the beans and the potato salad sides. I gave Mike the evil eye whenever he took a bite because I wanted it all to myself (I need to learn to share). They also passed out some chicken wings while we were eating and that was pretty darn tasty as well. I don’t think they have wings on the menu, but they should be!  As a bonus, they also had an allergen menu posted on the wall. Rating: A.

Square One Brewery & Distillery

Square One Brewery & Distillery St. Louis |

We did our fair share of brewery and winery tours during our time in STL, but we decided to dine at Square One because its menu looked pretty darn good.

What we ordered:

  • Rain Crow Farm Stout-Braised Pot Roast: “Local grass-fed beef, slow-roasted beef in a rich stout demi-glace,  served with garlic mashed potatoes  & fresh vegetables”
  • Sunday Fried Chicken Platter Special: this delicious chicken came with vegetables, mac & cheese, and a biscuit
  • Chocolate Stout Brownie with Caramel Sauce and Ice Cream
  • Whiskey flight & a cocktail

Mike’s fried chicken was the better of the two entrees. The fried chicken was perfectly crispy and succulent. I’m not a huge fan of fried chicken, but I definitely took a few bites of Mike’s dinner! My pot roast was hearty, but what I really wanted was a huge bowl of their mac & cheese with a piece of fried chicken. If you ever have a chance to eat at Square One on a Sunday, get there early and order the fried chicken! The dessert was phenomenal. I cried sweet tears of joy as I took my first bite of dairy-loaded dessert since November. Pure bliss. The whiskeys were good according to Mike, but he only had one favorite. My cocktail was decent, but nothing special. Rating: A-.

Bailey’s Range

Bailey's Range St. Louis | doughseedough.netI was immediately drawn to the huge table in the middle of this restaurant. It was packed when we went on Monday night. We got a table on the second level and were able to watch the cooks do their thing in the kitchen down below. This burger-centric restaurant was pretty cool. I wish I had gotten a little more adventurous and gotten a burger with cheese because their menu is fantastic. I was reeling a bit from my last cheesy meals, though, so I thought I would dial it back.


What we ordered:

  • Basic Burger: beef patty, catsup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles
  • American Burger: “beef patty, fried mac’n’cheese patty, bacon, house sauce, sriracha mayo”
  • Fries with horsey mayo and sriracha catsup

loved their homemade ketchup. Mike’s American Burger was perfect: cooked to order and topped with a mess of mac & cheese. Even my Basic Burger was good – it was cooked well and the beer bun and homemade ketchup made it not-so-boring. That said, I still regret not getting a more interesting burger. The dipping sauces totally outshone the fries, though. Step up your fry game, Bailey’s Range. Rating: B.

Fountain on Locust Fountain on Locust St. Louis |

The restaurant claims to be the most photographed restaurant in St. Louis, so I had to check it out. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good the food and drinks were.

What we ordered:

  • Pesto Chicken: “Grilled chicken smothered in melted mozzarella cheese with our house-made pesto sauce on a light and delicious deep focaccia crust, with side of St. Louis City Salad”
  • Blackhawk: “Sliced Certified Angus Beef, roasted red pepper and a delicious goat cheese, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil spread, w/ lettuce and tomato on Vienna rolls w/ side”
  • Signature Polish Dill Pickle Soup: “From a secret family recipe, an elegant potato based soup with crushed dill pickles”
  • Sprocket: “Start your engine with Fireball Whiskey, Ginger Ale and Hard Apple Cider”
  • Buck Wilde: “Whiskey lovers, tehre’s a celebrity in the house! Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth, Chartreuse, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dash of Bitters – just like Buck himself”

The dill pickle soup was one of my favorite dishes of this entire trip. I’ve never had anything quite like it before and I had to stop myself from licking the bowl clean. I’m hoping to recreate this at home sometime soon, because I need a steady supply of this soup in my life. It reminded me of dill pickle potato chips but in soup form and 1000x tastier. Both entrees were above average and the portions were big. We were both insanely happy with our cocktails as well. I wish we had saved room for one of their adult milkshakes 🙂 We almost went back for another meal, but ultimately decided that we shouldn’t repeat restaurants during our trip. For the quality of the food and the price, you really can’t be beat! Rating: A.

Broadway Oyster Bar 

Broadway Oyster Bar St. Louis |

This restaurant was packed on Thursday night. We managed to snag a table in the front room with a great view of the live music. Neither of us were really hungry because we had gotten beer and apps at the hotel a few hours prior. I’m kicking myself for wasting stomach space on that because the food here was way tastier than the hotel stuff. I wish we had been able to stay longer for the band that started at 8:30, but a tornado siren and some pretty intense thunderstorms drove us back into our hotel room. Sad face.


What we ordered:

  • Mussels: “Steamed in a tomato garlic white wine broth”
  • Sampler Platter: “For the undecided, includes Gumbo Ya Ya, Jambalaya, Red Beans & Rice & Crawfish Étouffée”
    • Gumbo Ya Ya: “Our version of this classic Cajun soup. The best in town!”
    • Jambalaya: “A traditional Creole rice dish containing shrimp, chicken, andouille & ham”
    • Red Beans & Rice: “A rich bean stew containing our special recipe andouille sausage & house smoked tasso”
    • Crawfish Étouffée: “A classic Cajun dish featuring lots of sautéed crawfish tail meat

The mussels were great and we couldn’t get enough of the broth that it came in. We were sopping it up with our bread, and when we ran out of bread, we started slurping it with a spoon. Classy. I thought that the crawfish étouffée was the best dish in the sampler platter, followed by the jambalaya and red beans & rice. The gumbo wasn’t my favorite; it had a strange coffee-like taste to me. I didn’t find any of the food to be spicy enough, but they had a nice assortment of hot sauce at the table that I could use to my heart’s content. Rating: B+.

The Aftermath: I’m compensating for my last week of overindulgence with salads for (almost) every meal. (And yes, I did tried toasted ravioli. It didn’t impress me all that much 😉 )

City Museum St. Louis |

Eatin’ burgers at City Museum!



Hot Italian Sausage & Pepper Hash

It finally feels like summer to me. I’m taking a week off work  to explore some great things out west with my family. Mike, my dad, step-mom, brother and I are trekking out there to do some serious exploring.

trip out west

We’re doing a little bit of everything, from Vegas to Grand Canyon North & South Rim, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon with a bunch of stuff in between. I’m super excited since it’s going to be my first time ’round those parts 🙂

Downside(s)? The heat. I melt in the Wisconsin summer. I will surely die in the heat of Vegas (100°F? Why does this temperature even exist?) and surrounding areas. I’m also a little worried about my workouts. I’m bringing my running gear and I bought a travel yoga mat to help me stay on track. My plan is to run 3 times and do yoga 3 times while we’re out there. My regular routine, essentially. Hopefully I can stick to it!

We’re leaving for the airport in a few short hours and I still have a huge list of things to finish up (like the apple crisp in the oven). I’m running off to do some last minute packing now, but I’ll leave you with a super simple and super delicious recipe – enjoy!

Hot Italian Sausage & Pepper Hash |

Hot Italian Sausage and Pepper Hash 

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-19 ounce package hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
3 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 mini bell peppers or 3 large bell peppers, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
6 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook onions, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place sausage in a medium pan over medium-high heat and brown, chopping up links into crumbles with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Cook until browned and drain off excess fat.
  4. Stir sausage into onions and add in potatoes. Season with salt and pepper  to taste. Cook for 10 minutes. Pour potatoes and sausage mixture into a large baking sheet and sprinkle sliced peppers on top. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
  5. In the last few minutes of baking, heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook eggs until desired doneness is reached. Scoop hash into bowls and top with an egg. Serve immediately.