How To Host A Soup Club

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Happy Friday! I am so excited to share all the details about my new Soup Club with you all. I am also guest hosting the Fit and Fashionable link up for Nicole today over on her blog where I am also sharing some of the Soup Club details. So please hop on over and check that out as well-thanks!


Soup club|friends|soup|cooking|make aheadWhy Start a Soup Club?

We are moms = We are busy

We are runners = We are hungry all time

I noticed that my friends and I talk about food a lot. We often talk about what we are making for dinner and the challenges we face to get healthy home cooked meals on the table for our families. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help each other out? We all want to have home cooked meals but some days are just crazy busy. Thus the Soup Club was formed.

Veggie Tortilla Soup

The How To’s

Invite your friends to join your Soup Club

-I recommend no more than 5 people in each group otherwise each member has to cook a very large quantity. We started with 2 groups of 5.

-I found it easiest to use a Facebook messenger group to communicate so that everyone could keep up with the chatter and questions easier. We are still chatting in our group about the soups as the ladies are defrosting and eating them.

-Ask about any food allergies or dietary restrictions.

-We have a Vegetarian group of 5 and a Non-Vegetarian group of 5.

-Each member is responsible for making soup for the 4 other members of their group and packaging it in freezer safe 2 quart containers. These can then be re used the next month. Something like this works great:

-I personally find it easier to use a Crock Pot especially when making a large quantity. The soup just tastes better when it has a chance to slow cook all day. If you don’t have a crock pot you need one asap! (affiliate link)

-Decide on a date and time to meet and exchange your soups. We chose a Sunday afternoon and somehow that turned into a happy hour of sorts. It was so much fun that I forgot to take pictures.

soup club|storage

-Make sure you have room in your fridge or ask everyone to bring along small coolers or bags to store the soup in while you are chatting away.

soup club

-Everyone leaves with 4 other soups to freeze and use throughout the next few weeks. Luckily my boys had no interest in my soup so I was able to enjoy them all myself.

-Ask everyone to include and ingredient list and any re heating instructions. Some garnishes etc are better left on the side. I provided an avocado and some home made chips on the side of my Veggie Tortilla Soup.


-Your friends do not have to be bloggers or even really great cooks to join your Soup Club. Soup is something that most people can make even if they “don’t cook”.

-Our first exchange went so well that we have already planned the next one. We will be doing our exchange once a month.

-As the months get colder, we will include stews and chili etc. The possibilities are endless really so no chance of anyone getting bored.

-We did not have members post their soup choices in advance but that is probably a good idea so that you don’t end up with 5 tomato soups etc.

What do you think about the Soup Club? Would you start one with your friends and family?

Don’t forget to hop on over to Nicole’s blog today too!

Fit n Fashionable Friday

Perfect Your Plank

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plank|exercise|tipsHappy Wednesday Fitnessistas! I’m linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday with a few tips and tricks I’ve learned from my trainer to help me get more from my core exercises. Hope you find them useful as well.

The plank-a common exercise that we all do-right? It’s easy to do or is it? Have you ever stopped to think about your form?

My trainer, Brian, is a stickler for form sometimes making me repeat exercises over and over again until I get it right. He would rather I do one rep correctly than a whole set incorrectly.

The plank is one of those often done exercises that, when done with good form, can yield great benefits. Done incorrectly, the plank loses effectiveness and can even cause injury.

Today I am sharing some of the tips & tricks that we use to “Perfect my Plank”.


-Engaging your triceps, abs & legs before you lift your body keeps the intensity on your core.

-Lift your triceps, abs & legs all at the same time.

-Think of lifting your body into the air instead of pushing it up.

-Keep your weight evenly distributed between arms & legs while drawing abs in.

-Elbows and shoulders should form a 90 degree angle.

-Feet are at a 90 degree angle to your leg.

Mistakes to Avoid|planks|exercise|workout|form

Looking in the mirror while doing a plank can really help check your form. Hope some of my tips and tricks help you to Perfect your Planks.

Are you a stickler for form? Any tips for me?

Linking up for






Ann Marie, Nicole, Angelina Marie, Michelle

Veggie Tortilla Soup & Healthy Tortilla Chips

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Happy October Meatless Monday lovers! To me October is the real start of fall and time to bring out the soups, stews, chilis and yes the pumpkin finally. For the next few months my crock pot will now rest on the counter inside of being stored away. I am so excited to share this Veggie Tortilla Soup & homemade healthy tortilla chips with you all today.

Please join Tina and I by sharing all of the great Meatless Monday recipes today. We can’t wait to see what you all bring too.

Meatless Monday|Linkup| Tina Muir|Confessions of a Mother RunnerWhy am I so excited about this Veggie Tortilla Soup today? This was my debut recipe for my new Soup Club!! I can’t wait to tell you all about the Soup Club and how it works but you will need to come back Friday to hear about it!

veggie tortilla soup|meatless Monday|soup|healthy|vegetarian|easy|fallAnd everyone knows you can’t have a good Veggie Tortilla Soup without homemade Healthy Tortilla Chips right? They are so easy to make that you will never need to buy them again. Add on the avocado, cheese, sour cream & chips and you will not be disappointed. Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free-got you all this time so jump in and enjoy a bowl.

healthy|tortilla chips|homemade|vegetarian|chips|chili sidesThe easiest way to make soups and chilis (in my opinion) is in the crock pot but this will work just as well in a stock pot. Coming home to the yummy smells that fill the house with these flavors and spices is amazing. Bonus it freezes “souper” well :)

Veggie Tortilla Soup & Healthy Tortilla Chips

Veggie Tortilla Soup & Healthy Tortilla Chips


  • 1 red & 1 yellow pepper-cleaned & diced
  • 2 garlic cloves-crushed
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • handful of cilantro-minced
  • 1 large zucchini-diced
  • 4 C Veggie broth-low sodium
  • 1 15 oz can black beans-rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 tsp of chili powder
  • pepper & salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Garnish:
  • avocado, sour cream, lime, tortilla chips, cheese
  • For Tortilla chips:
  • 32 corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • Kosher salt


  1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook at high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
  2. Top with desired garnish and serve.
  3. For tortilla chips:
  4. cut corn tortilla into strips or chip shape
  5. arrange in single layer on baking sheet
  6. Spray generously with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt
  7. bake at 375 for 10-15 min until crispy turning often
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I can’t wait to tell you all about my new Soup Club so don’t forget to come back Friday and check it out here and on Fitful Focus where I will be guest posting for Nicole.

What Fall Foods are you loving right now??

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Ultimate Coffee Date-October & My Grandma’s Coffee Cake

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Happy October! What I like to think of as the calm before the storm that is Thanksgiving and Christmas time and New Year. October is kind of chill isn’t it?! So glad you are joining my lovely co hosts Coco and Lynda and I for our monthly coffee date. I love these posts!

Coffee Date link up|virtual|coffe dateGrab a chair and your favorite mug and let’s chat. I know I just said October was kind of chill but I just realized I have lots to share:

Ragnar|Cape Cod|exchange 6

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that…I am really bummed that I am not running the Ragnar DC race today with my MRTT buddies. We had so much fun the last 2 races. Good news is that I am attending a friend’s wedding this weekend in Annapolis. I have lots of fun fitness activities planned of course. Look forward to sharing them with you next week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that…My daughter is coming home to visit next weekend for fall break! Yay so excited to have the whole weekend with her at home.

Run 10 Feed 10|WH Action hero

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that…I am helping to raise funds & awareness for the Run 10 Feed 10 Fun Run with Women’s Health Magazine in DC next weekend the 10th in Georgetown. It’s an untimed run and your registration provides 10 meals for those in need. Kind of cool! Want to join me? Register here. Use code (WHBROOKS )


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that…I am all about my hair products right now. I got this Kerastase sample from Influenster and love love love! Who knew there was such a thing as pre-shampoo treatment? I’ve been loving it after swim days and my hair is so soft.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that…I made my Grandma’s Old Fashioned Coffee Cake for a family gathering last week. I forgot how great it is and bonus I am sharing the recipe with you today. It has the yummy old fashioned cinnamon sugar on top. You can’t have a proper coffee date without coffee cake right? It’s not as healthy as my usual Meatless Monday posts but it’s all about balance right?! It’s great for those holiday brunches!

Grandma's Coffee Cake|old fashioned|cinnamon

My Grandma’s Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

 My Grandma’s Old Fashioned Coffee Cake


  • 1 stick (4 oz) butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 C sour cream light
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tbl vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Topping:
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix baking soda into container of sour cream
  3. In mixer cream together butter, sugar & eggs
  4. Add sour cream (with baking soda in it), flour, baking powder, & vanilla
  5. Mix until combined-do not over mix
  6. Spray springform pan with cooking spray
  7. Pour batter in
  8. Sprinkle on toppings
  9. Bake 35-40 min until toothpick comes clean
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I’m off to explore Annapolis today! Hope you are having a fabulous day. I’ve been rambling away! Now it’s your turn….

If we were having coffee, what would you tell me??

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Oatmeal 101-Recipe Round Up

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I’ve always wanted to like oatmeal but I never really knew how to make it and well honestly, I’ve never really liked it. I know it’s great for lowering cholesterol and fueling those long runs and workouts. So what’s a girl to do??

Oatmeal| roundup|beginner|recipes|vegetarian|breakfastWell…Luckily I have a network of fabulous blogger friends who offered up a couple of their more basic recipes for me to test out. Let’s see what they came up with!


Nicole @ Fitful Focus (and today’s host) sent over this simple recipe with added peanut butter and jelly. Anything with pnb wins in my book! I am giving this one a try.  Pb & J Oatmeal

PB&J|fitful focus|oatmeal

Janet @ The Taste Space has a seasonal Whipped Banana Oatmeal with cranberry that looks easy enough and super tasty.

Oatmeal|cranberry|breakfast|via Taste Space

So “Doc in training” Farrah aka FairyBurger offers up an interesting addition of silky tofu to up the protein in her 5 ingredient protein Oatmeal bowl.

5 ingredient protein oatmeal via Fairy Burger


Suzy @ suzlyfe adds a little egg white into her Cherry Apple Pie Protein Oats to bump up the protein.

cherry apple pie oats via Suzlyfe

AnnMarie @ TheFitFoodieMama always knocks out of the park with her recipes and this Blueberry Oatmeal breakfast bake made in ramekin does not disappoint.

Blueberry oatmeal bake via fitfoodiemama

Jill @ JillConyers offers up her “overnight oats” with an  Easy Afternoon Strawberry Oats

Easy afternoon strawberry oats via Jill ConyersMorgan @ WildlyFit has a really creative combo of zucchini, peanut butter & chocolate. Sounds interesting! Chocolate Zucchini Oatmeal

Choc zucchini oatmeal via WildlyFit

Sam @ Pancake Warriors has you covered if you are looking for some almonds & coconut. Check out her Almond joy overnight oats

Almond joy overnght oats via pancake warriors

My friend, Kelli @ Destination Cortina eats her oatmeal at her desk each day or on the go. She suggests using plain unsweetened instant oatmeal & dressing it up with cinnamon, dried blueberries, bananas, pnb & almonds. Healthy options for the on the go! Thanks Kelli!

Hmm all these yummy recipes have me thinking it’s time to re try oatmeal again. Seems like a perfect fall breakfast to power me through my morning workout. Thanks to all of my friends for offering me such tasty looking options to test out over the next few weeks.

What looks good to you? Oatmeal lover?

I am linking up with Nicole for Fit n Fashionable Friday today. Program note: next week I will be hosting Fit n Fashionable Friday for Nicole. Woo hoo so excited! Hope to see you all there.

Fit n Fashionable Friday






Passionate About Heart & Sole

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“Passionate”-Intense or strong feelings towards something or someone

Wednesday Word link up

Today’s Wednesday Word topic couldn’t have come at a better time! Yesterday I began coaching the fall season for Heart & Sole. ( The new middle school program for Girls on the Run) This will be my third year coaching for GOTR and my first season with this curriculum.

Heart & sole|logo| girls on the run

You all already know that I have a passion for running and living a healthy lifestyle. I also have an intense passion for mentoring the pre-teen girls enrolled in Girls on The Run. I love the name of the new program! I love what it represents (spirit, heart, brain, social & body) and the passion & excitement that comes along with something new.

heart & sole|fall|gotr|running|coaching

The start of the season brings so many exciting possibilities:

-Will the shy girl in the corner blossom into more secure young lady?

-Will the girl who “doesn’t really like running” find something about it to motivate her?

-Will the girl who “wants to become a better runner” and beat last year’s 5k time achieve her personal goal?

-Will the self conscious girl grow to feel more comfortable in her own body and realize her strengths?

-Will the girl who is here “just because her friends are doing it” find she benefited in so many other ways?

-Will I, as a their coach, be able to motivate them to encourage and support their team mates?

As we all know, being a pre teen girl is not easy these days and if I can help provide some skills that they can use to navigate their way a little easier, then I will have done my job. I hope my passion will help them realize and encourage some of theirs.


What are you passionate about these days?



Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Boats

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Happy Meatless Monday! Now that it is officially fall, I am excited to start sharing some of my favorite autumnal recipes with you all. Just a side note, I have a philosophical boycott of all things pumpkin until October 1st. Things are a little pumpkin crazy of late! Anyway, today I am sharing one of my favorites with you, Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Boats. So please jump in and join Tina and I for Meatless Monday.

Meatless Monday|Linkup| Tina Muir|Confessions of a Mother RunnerI love love Spaghetti Squash! It’s really so easy to make and very versatile. Removing it from the shell and mixing in lots of veggie goodness before stuffing it back in is my favorite way to enjoy it.

Southwestern, spaghetti squash, Meatless Monday, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, healthy, easy, low carb

A couple of cook’s notes:

-I find it easiest to cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave. I cut them in half, scrape out the seeds and place them face down in a casserole dish. Add about 2 inches of water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until soft and squash can be removed with a fork approx. 10-14 min.

-When removing the squash, take care not to scrape down too far as it will cause the “boats” to be unstable and break.

-The cheese can easily be left off of top for a vegan alternative. These are a great balance of protein and carbs.

spaghetti squash, vegetarian, vegan, healthy, Meatless Monday, easy, low carb, plant based protein

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Boats

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Boats


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 c spinach
  • 1/2 c corn
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c salsa
  • 1 c black beans
  • 1/2 c cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Wash, cut and clean out seeds from squash
  2. Place face down in casserole dish w 2 in of water & cover w plastic wrap
  3. Microwave approx 10-15 min until squash is soft & can be scraped out
  4. Meanwhile, saute spinach until soft
  5. Add in corn, tomatoes, beans, salsa
  6. salt, pepper, garlic & red pepper to taste
  7. Remove " spaghetti" from shell taking care to leave the "boat" intact'
  8. Mix squash with veggie mixture
  9. Stuff back into squash boats
  10. Top with cheese and bake at 350 for 20m
  11. Serve
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What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash? Pumpkin before Oct 1? Yay or Nay?

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Ab Dolley Review & Demo- Fit n Fashionable Friday

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I don’t know about you but I tend to get a little too comfortable in some of my exercise routines. I find this especially happens with core & ab exercises. I feel like I stop getting any benefit from them after a while. I am always looking to mix up my workout. A few weeks ago when I went to Orange Theory Fitness, I used a, new to me, toy the “Ab Dolley“. I do like my toys so in true impulsive fashion, I immediately ordered one.

Ab Dolley|review|demo|core workout

ab dolly|Orange Theory|review

Ab Dolley at Orange Theory

The Ab Dolley is basically a round platform with 4 wheels that allows you to work your core at varying angles while requiring you to recruit those muscles to stabilize yourself. Because of the simple design, you can essentially perform an endless amount of exercises moving the platform at different angles and speeds. You can vary the exercises further by either placing your hands/forearms on the platform or switch it up and place your feet on the platform.

Because the wheels spin in all directions, you really have to recruit your core muscles to stabilize it and keep it from spinning away from you. The Ab Dolley site is definitely very “infomercialish” ( I made up that word) but does have some great demos on it.

I wanted to show you some of the new moves I’ve been doing with the Ab Dolley and thought the best way to do that was to create a very short video of a couple of my favorite moves. This is my first attempt at videos and I was a little nervous! So bear with me please.

In this first video demo I am starting with the basic move:

We did this next pike move in the Orange Theory class and I loved it! It’s a lot harder than it looks.

I’ve done some similar moves the my stability ball but it’s a little more challenging with the Ab Dolley and always fun to play with new toys. I’ve also used the Ab Dolley to do some hamstring work. I think you could really use it work lots of different muscles and completely mix up your routine.

I purchased the Ab Dolley myself and all opinions are as always my own. You can find out more on Amazon. This post contains affiliate links.

Have you ever bought anything that has an infomercial? New favorite workout toy?

Linking up with Nicole today!

Fit n Fashionable Friday

The Husband Project-Month 2 Update

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Husband Project|month 2|update|coaching|running|5k

In case you missed my post last month, I have my first client! Yup it’s my hubby! My husband, in a moment of weakness, agreed to train for a 5k on December 6th with me as his coach. So here we are at month 2 already and it’s time for an update on how he is doing.

husband|project|month 2|update|5k|running

We’ve been using a couch to 5k plan with run/walk intervals. He pretty much stayed on schedule the first few weeks and the plan started off pretty slow and easy. He began running 2 min/walking 2 min. Those intervals slowly increased throughout the month.

husband|project|shoe analysis|Road runner sports|5k

The hubs decided he needed new shoes as he was having some shin soreness. I love shopping for new shoes, even if they are not for me. On the way to the store, he informed me that he really “doesn’t like running” yet. What? Aren’t you feeling that surge of adrenaline and sense of accomplishment after your runs?, I asked him. Apparently, “no” not so much. Well maybe some new shoes will help!


We headed to Runner Runner Sports and did the full analysis on the treadmill to see which shoes they recommended for him. Funny story: While he was being analyzed and fitted, he overheard a conversation I was having with the manager about shoes and new styles etc.

Hubs: “Do you realize you just wasted 20 min talking about running & shoes?”

Me: “I know! Fun- got some good info!”

The look on his face was priceless. He has zero patience for this type of “nonsense”. Yup we are on 2 totally different levels here. I still have hope though you never know!

The new shoes apparently did the trick! While away last weekend, he hopped on one of those treadmills that allows you to virtually run in tourist spots around the world. He was scheduled to run 7 min walk 3 x 3. He came back in to report that he ran 22 min straight! He didn’t stop for the walk intervals.

Hubs: “I just got in the zone and really enjoyed the scenery and the time just flew by! Has that ever happened to you?”

Me: ” Ah yes!! (insert sarcasm) I believe it has!” (Finally!)

Although the hubs would never admit that he likes running, I think that he is starting to. He is realizing that he can run farther than he thought. I also think he is enjoying the rewards he is getting from me (wink wink). I do like a man who sweats!

We are now 10 weeks out from the 5k so lots of time to get to 30-35 min of running comfortably. Goal for month 3: run outside at least once to see how it feels. All of his runs have been on the treadmill. Training is going really well. Stay tuned for updates next month.

Tell me…Can you get your significant other to run with you?

Linking up with AnnMarie, Nicole, Angelina Marie, MichelleIMG_4660


Freekeh Black Bean Burgers-Meatless Monday

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I have to admit, I had never even heard of Freekeh before I reviewed it earlier in the summer. I originally prepared a roasted eggplant & tomato pasta salad and it was a huge hit. However, since then I’ve become kind of obsessed with Freekeh and it’s now my go to grain of late. I love the hearty texture and the nutritional punch it brings. More on that here. I easily find it in my regular grocery store but it is also available though amazon.

Freekeh|black bean|burgers|meatless Monday|vegetarian

This week I am sharing one of my new favorite ways to use Freekeh-in a black bean veggie burger. It’s so easy to make your own veggie burgers thus leaving out all those preservatives you don’t need and adding lots of flavor on your own. Since I am the only one in my house that eats them, I make them and freeze them in individual portions.

Meatless Monday|Linkup| Tina Muir|Confessions of a Mother Runner

Please join Tina and I to check out all the great Meatless recipes out there this week. We’d love it if you checked out a few as well.

Freekeh Black Bean Burgers-Meatless Monday

Freekeh Black Bean Burgers-Meatless Monday


  • 2 C of cooked Freekeh (prepared according to package)
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans rinsed
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 jalapeno pepper-minced
  • 2 tbl garlic minced
  • handful of fresh cilantro-minced
  • splash of siracha
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Prepare Freekeh according to package
  2. Transfer to large mixing bowl
  3. Mash black beans with a fork so that there are large pieces-add to bowl
  4. add in Panko, eggs, jalapeno, siracha, & spices
  5. Mix to combine
  6. Use burger mold to create 4-6 patties
  7. Heat skillet with olive oil
  8. pan fry each burger for about 4-6 on each side until it becomes crispy
  9. Remove from heat and add to salads & burger buns
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These are quick & easy to make on a weeknight. A couple tricks I use to make the perfect Freekeh black bean burger:

-Panko bread crumbs (either reg or GF) hold the burger together really well and give it a nice crunchy texture when pan frying.

-I stole borrowed my hubs burger molds and they were a perfect way to make the burgers uniform in size and look pretty. Great investment as you can use them for all sorts of recipes. The smallest size makes great sliders.

-The leftovers also make great add in to a salad the next day or a great breakfast with an egg.

Freekeh|black bean|burger|salad|vegetarian|Meatless Monday

(This post contains affiliate links)

Make you own Veggie Burgers? Love Freekeh?

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