Last Saturday, after 12+ hours of driving and shopping at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, my Mom and I made our way to our hotel room where we promptly took a nose dive onto our respective beds, and flipped on the TV to zone out and relax for a bit.

After bypassing the weather channel (snow, and more snow,) Food Network (Cupcake Wars, ’nuff said) and some basketball games (bor-ing!) we landed on HBO.

Score – free movies!

Double score – a Zac Efron movie!

I’m pretty sure he’s like, 12, and it’s probably highly inappropriate for a women of my age to say this, but droooool. LOVE me some Zac Efron!

The love stopped flowing about two minutes later. The movie was Charlie St. Cloud and it was terrible. Just all kinds of awful. Zac, aka “Charlie” plays a kid who lost his little brother in a tragic accident, but is able to see him everyday at sunset as long as he keeps showing up to this random meadow where they play catch.

Enter the love interest who starts distracting Charlie from his deceased little bro, which causes him to stop playing everyday. Little brother gives him one last chance to show up before he peaces out to Heaven, but Charlie chooses to save said love interest, who is dying in a cave (?), over going to meet him.

See, told you. Bad. But still…that face! That hair! Those eyes!

Ahem! Anyways!

The movie took place in a quaint, woodsy, coastal town that was probably supposed to be off the coast of Maine or something, but the scenery actually reminded me a lot of the lakeside northern Minnesota towns that Ben and I drove through this past summer. Add in all the state-themed stores we’d passed by at the MOA earlier that day, packed with tons of their famous wild rice, and I got a hankerin’.

A hankerin’ for a Minnesota specialty – Chicken & Wild Rice Soup!


What? Bad fantamas (fantasy dramas) don’t make you want a big warm bowl of the good stuff? ;)


While I didn’t have a chance to pick up any authentic, Minnesota wild rice at the mall, my Chicken & Wild Rice Soup still turned out pretty – nay, really – spectacular. :)


Creamy, chewy, hearty and perfect for the dreadfully cold spell central Iowa’s been under this week.


The recipe is also on the lighter side, as it comes from one of your favorite bloggers and mine, Skinnytaste. Traditional Wild Rice soup is made with gobs of butter and half & half, but Gina significantly lightened things up without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.


Not only is the soup waistline friendly, but it’s also a cinch to make. I whipped it last night as Ben and I were watching cough Teen Mom 2 cough (don’t tell him I told you) and only had to hop up a couple times to give the soup a stir. I started by sauteing onions in a wee pat of butter.


After the onions were soft, I sprinkled flour on top and cooked it for about a minute. Just long enough to give the “flour” taste a chance to cook out.


Next I added in chopped celery, carrots and garlic, and swirled it all together with chicken stock. (My homemade chicken stock!)


After the veggies simmered for 20 minutes, I added in long grain white rice and this:


A box of Long Grain & Wild Rice mix! Totally love the shortcut here, and seasoning packet that comes with. So easy.


After another 25 minute simmer sesh, I added in cooked & shredded chicken, a couple Tablespoons of fat free sour cream, and called it a day night.


Tonight all I had to do was reheat, and eat!


Warm, satisfying, and easy enough to make any day of the week.

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Plus you know leftovers of this soup only get better and better!


I followed Gina’s recipe, with the following modifications:

  1. Used 8oz sliced button mushrooms instead of shitakes
  2. Stirred in 3 cups cooked & shredded chicken at the end, instead of cooking chicken thighs in with the soup

20 Day Holiday Workout Challenge

We’re 2 1/2 weeks in, people! How’s it going?

With the crazy week I’m currently experiencing, working out after a long day has just about been the last thing I’ve wanted to do. But, a challenge is a challenge, and seriously – Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees taste so much better knowing I’ve been working so hard!

Plus, not having to wash my face before bed has been seriously epic.

Tonight I needed a break from the gym though, so I came home and went through Level 2 of Jillian Michaels’ Shred DVD. Gahhh, no matter how many times I do that DVD, it never gets any easier!

Still – done, and done! :)

Month of Holiday Giveaways

WOW, you guys! After a record number of entries in the Keurig Platinum Brewer giveaway, the winner is…

Lindsey D.: I’ll take my coffee with a bit of Hazelnut or Peppermint Mocha creamer on the bottom with some fresh, hot coffee on top! :)

Congrats Lindsey! Email your full name, address & ph# to by December 9th, and we’ll get that shipped out to ya’!

For everyone else, there’s still time to get free shipping & 15% off your order at Just use code AM0015-3592 at check out by 12/15. K-Cups make great stocking stuffers! ;)

Have a great night everyone!


Have you ever won anything exciting?