Charlottesville, VA Half Marathon

I am excited to announce that I will be running the Charlottesville half marathon!

This milestone means a great deal because it provides tangibility to my goal. In other words, it just got real! Haha

The marathon takes place on Saturday, April 4th at 7am. For more information and to register for this beautifully scenic race, check out their website.

Have you registered for any races lately? Do tell!


Smoky Shrimp Quesadillas with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Happy New Year!

With the new year, comes new goals. My goal is to run three separate races this year, Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run, a half, and a full marathon. With that said, training is essential and time is limited. The girls have full schedules during the week so that gives me an excuse to not exercise as much as I would like to. No more excuses!

Now that I am training it is also important to maintain a diet that will give me the energy and endurance needed to run long distance. I really wanted Mexican for dinner tonight but didn’t want to spoil my efforts to eat consciously. I decided to make shrimp quesadillas and roasted sweet potato wedges. These quesadillas are great because it’s loaded with yummy veggies and just enough cheese to keep the quesadillas together.

Check in every now and then to see how my training is coming along. If you have running goals this year I will be featuring recipes and tips to keep us focused on our goal! We can do this!

Smoky Shrimp Quesadillas

1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 dash of cayenne pepper
Salt, pepper, olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 handful of cilantro, loosely chopped
1 avocado or guacamole
Mexican blend cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, queso)
Line, cut in 4 wedges


Coat the shrimp with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Grill the shrimp on a grill pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are pink. Remove from the pan and put in a separate bowl. Add two tortillas to the pan and add the shrimp, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado or guacamole and a little cheese. Fold over and heat both sides until hot with grill marks, about 3 minutes on each side. Repeat with two more tortillas. Squeeze with a lime right before eating. Flavor explosion!

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

2 large yams
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Olive oil


Peel and cut each sweet potato in 8 equal wedges. Toss them with the remaining ingredients and roast on 450 for about 20 minutes.



Grandma Cille’s Buttermilk Biscuits

One of the most memorable times I shared with my great-grandma Lucille, was watching her make her famous biscuits. She always kept her biscuit container stocked with the best biscuits ever. She strategically kept the container on top of the ice box so that her grands couldn’t get to it and devour them without approval. Every time I walked by I would think of a way to steal one without getting caught. Then I remembered that I needed to heat the cane syrup that accompanied the biscuits. There was no way that could be done without her knowing.

There are only a couple people in my family who have attempted to recreate her recipe. I’m pretty sure my Aunt Janell, her daughter, is the only person that will come close to making them the exact same way, but I think my version is pretty awesome. These biscuits aren’t your typical pretty, perfectly risen version. She was not concerned with their appearance but rather how you felt when you ate them. The taste ruled!

The recipe is super easy but technique is key. When mixing the shortening in, do it in a freezer and with your hands. My grandma didn’t use a pastry cutter so I don’t use one either. For this reason, I start with a fork and then finish with my hands in the freezer to keep the shortening from getting soft. Yes, I stand in the freezer with the door open. 🙂

Make these babies for your next breakfast with some creamy grits and bacon. If you can find cane syrup, nuke it for 15 seconds and dip the biscuit in the warm syrup. Thank me later!


3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening or 1 stick of butter
1 1/4-1/2 cups of buttermilk
Cast iron skillet


Preheat oven to 425. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl in a freezer and cut in the shortening or butter with a fork. After the shortening is mostly incorporated, finish mixing in the shortening with your hands until all the flour and shortening is mixed together. Take the bowl out of the freezer and mix in the buttermilk. Start with a cup and increase to a cup and a half until you get the dough soft enough and it forms a ball. The consistency should be doughy but not sticky. Put the bowl back in the freezer for about 2-3 minutes. Take the dough out and place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to about an inch thick and use a biscuit cutter or a cup(this is what I use) to cut round biscuits. If you have left over dough repeat the steps to get more biscuits. Only do this once as you don’t want the dough to get warm. Take the cast iron out of the oven and put the biscuits in the skillet. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

I remember being younger and despising the taste of pumpkin pie. I just didn’t understand why anyone would eat a pumpkin pie instead of a sweet potato pie. Maybe it was due to the sweeter flavor of sweet potato? Or lack of a cultured palette? Who knows, but needless to say I fell in love with sweet potato pie at a very young age. We all know I now adore the flavor of pumpkin but a pumpkin pie has nothing on a sweet potato pie.

I attempted my first sweet potato pie during my senior year of college. I called my Aunt Gina who at that time sold her sweet potato pies. Oh yeah. They were that good! I called and asked her how to make it but she couldn’t tell me exact amounts. She told me to just add it until you like the flavor. Let’s just say that pie was not that great. Haha!

After years of tweaking the recipe, I finally have a solid sweet potato pie. In this recipe I added a pecan pie topping. I couldn’t decide which type of pie I wanted so I combined them. This pie is right on time for the holiday.


1 deep dish prepared pie crust
2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of salt

Pecan topping:
3 eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped pecans


1. Roast the sweet potatoes , whole with the skin on in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Once the potatoes are removed, change the oven temperature to 350. Once the potatoes are cool, remove the skin and beat the potatoes until smooth. IMPORTANT NOTE: the potato threads are the absolute worst in a pie. You will need to remove the threads as you beat the potatoes. Using a hand mixer, beat the potatoes for thirty seconds at a time and remove the threads after each round. Repeat this three times.

2. Add the rest of the pie ingredients and beat for another two minutes or so until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

3. Pour the sweet potato mixture in the pie pan until it’s about two-thirds full.

4. Mix the pecan topping ingredients together until well blended.

5. Pour the pecan topping on the sweet potato pie just until it reaches the top, making sure not to overfill.

6. Bake the pie at 350 for 50 minutes, until set. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Whole Wheat French Toast

Here is another simple fall recipe. This is a breakfast recipe that can be whipped up in ten minutes, depending on the amount of people who are eating. I only prepared this french toast for myself but you can easily double this recipe for two. This french toast is made using whole wheat bread so no need to feel guilt when eating this. Enjoy!


1 egg
1/8 cup puréed pumpkin(canned or fresh)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice(if you can’t find this, use cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 slices of whole wheat bread
Butter and/or maple syrup, for serving


Mix all the ingredients. You may need to more milk if it’s too thick. Add a slice one by one to the egg mixture. Allow each slice to soak up a good amount of egg mixture. Cook each slice in a nonstick pan on medium high heat until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Top with butter and maple syrup and devour.


Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”

As promised, here is a simple recipe with spaghetti squash. I made this for the girls’ lunch but had them taste test to make sure they like it. They loved it! The great thing about this recipe is that it is tasty both hot and cold which makes it a perfect school or work lunch idea. Enjoy!


3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 handful of baby spinach
1/2 roasted spaghetti squash threads removed
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese


Sautéed the garlic in the butter and olive oil until it’s fragrant. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and oregano until the tomatoes blister, about 5 minutes. Add the spaghetti squash and cook until warmed through. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with the cheese.

To roast the squash, simply split it in half coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast on 400 for an hour.


Fall is Here: Butternut Squash and Sausage Stew




I had every intention to post three wonderful squash recipes that the world would be inspired to make. After posting a picture of my what I thought would turn out being chili on social media, I received requests for the recipe. So here is my one squash recipe for now. Look for more soon because I have to get rid of the acorn and spaghetti squash I have sitting in my kitchen.

This “stew” is so flavorful and filling. I made it in the crockpot so it cooked while I went on with my life. You can put the crockpot on while you sleep or while you are at work. Putting it on while I am at work makes me nervous as I am away for a good ten to eleven hours and fear that I am going to burn my apartment building down. Cooking while sleeping works out better for me. It’s your choice.

I also made cornbread with this meal and am giving my super simple recipe for that too. You will never need to make cornbread from a box ever again. It takes the same amount of time so make one from scratch. Really. For everyone who is already making their own, you will notice I don’t use butter in the batter. Try to breath. I add only two tablespoons of butter on top once it comes out of the oven versus the usual four tablespoons in the batter. It makes me feel better. Do what you will. Anything tastes better than than the boxed version.


1 medium onion, chopped

10 baby carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cups apple, peeled, cored and diced

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped

5 Italian sausage links, casings removed, cooked

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

10 ounces chicken broth

1/2 can light coconut milk

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Fresh sage leaves


Make sure your sausage is fully cooked. Add all the ingredients in the crockpot, stir, and let it simmer on low for 4-6 hours. Add fresh sage and enjoy!



Cast Iron Cornbread

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset


1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons of butter, set aside until the cornbread is done


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, and egg. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir the batter together until completely combined. Don’t over stir.

3. Grease a small cast iron skillet, pour the batter in the skillet, and bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and slather the butter on top while it’s hot. Serve warm. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

I hope you try this meal. If you do, let me know how you like it and how you made it your own.