31 March 2014

Relieving Pain with Well at Walgreens

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#wellatwalgreens #cbias #shop5
The temperature is warming up and many of us are becoming more active. We're primarily focused on what we want to accomplish, not on injuries and pain. For myself, I often overlook the latter two, forgetting to stock up on supplies for relieving pain until I need them. Thankfully, the Well At Walgreens brand is here to help.

#wellatwalgreens #cbias #shop6
I hopped on over to the River Road Walgreens to pick up supplies for a running-themed wellness kit. These are items I have found myself using most often through my years of running.

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  1. Bandages in various sizes. I use these for any scrapes I get from tripping, or to cover small areas that chafed
  2. Nail polish, for covering black toenails
  3. Reusable ice pack - in the past, I used a bulky ice pack, but I've since seen the value in a gel pack that conforms to the shape of the body surface. What I like about this one is that it can be used hot as well as cold, an comes with a large strap to secure the pack in place.
  4. Antibiotic ointment for those scrapes
  5. Pain reliever - my go-to is a pain reliever with caffeine but that's not always optimal if I'm running later in the day. Find one that best suits your needs and keep in mind the side effects.
  6. Moleskin - this is great to cover up and provide extra padding for blisters. I used to use medicated blister pads, but it wouldn't stay on very well and would always start to fall off before it did its job. Now, I just drain and cover if it needs it.

#wellatwalgreens #cbias #shop3
I organize the items by storing them in a plastic box marked "first aid" that I keep in the closet. This way, I won't have to search for what I need.

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When traveling to races, I often forget to pack these items because I'm an airhead who doesn't make lists. Solution: Buy a small bag and keep it filled with a few of each. When packing, just grab the bag from the closet and toss in suitcase. More efficient, better organized, and less likely to forget things I'll need. I can even toss this in my race bag in case I need something after a local race.

What's in your first aid running kit?

As for the quality of Well at Walgreens products, I've always found them to be as good as name brand counterparts (yes, I've used them before this campaign!). I feel better going out of my way to purchase these products because of the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment. Through December 31, 2014, 1¢ from the purchase of every Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness product (up to $3 million annually), will support bringing preventative wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment®. A long time ago, at my local Walgreens, they had a health day providing cholesterol screening and other such services, which was nice to have access to. Keep that in mind when stocking up on health and wellness supplies!


21 March 2014

Mrs. T's Pierogies Chorizo Nachos

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Mrs. T’s Pierogies. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
Happy Friday! If you're planning a get-together with friends this weekend, I have a great recipe idea for you using Mrs. T's Pierogies. My first post was all about reviewing them for the first time and included a very simple recipe to serve as a side dish. Today's recipe is more of an appetizer, though it can be eaten as an actual meal, too. It's nachos, who wouldn't want to eat nachos as a meal?

#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
Anyway, this is perfect for get-together with friends, like for a potluck-style sporting event (March Madness, anyone?) or movie night. It features potato and cheddar pierogies, Mexican blend cheese and queso fresco, chorizo, and pickled peppers.


1 box Mrs. T's Pierogies Potato and Cheddar
2 chorizo sausage links
1 cup Mexican-blend shredded cheese (absolutely NOT taco-seasoned cheese)
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
pickled pepper slices
2 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
Line a small baking sheet with foil, because who wants to bother with a mess during a gathering with friends? Bake the pierogies according to package directions.

#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
While the pierogies bake, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Remove casings of chorizo and crumble into heated skillet. Cook thoroughly, about 5 minutes. Drain from fat and set aside.

#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
Gather cheeses, cilantro, and green onion. Not pictures, pickled pepper slices.

#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
After the pierogies finish baking, sprinkle with 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Add chorizo, then remaining shredded cheese. Top with queso fresco and green onions. Pop back in the oven for 5-7 minutes, just until cheese is melted and bubbly.

#MrsTsPierogies Chorizo Nachos #MC
Remove from oven and top with pickled pepper and cilantro.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a meal.

The potato and cheddar pierogies worked out great for this recipe. Obviously, these are not chips, so you'll have to use a fork to eat these "nachos". But it tasted great and is an easy recipe to put together. Try it out for your next get-together with friends!

Be sure to check out Mrs. T's Pierogies on Facebook and Twitter.

13 March 2014

Back to Running and Spartan Race Giveaway **Giveaway is closed**

joggin' park
Yet again, all has been quiet on the running front around here. It's taken me a while to get back in the groove. Actually, it's taken me quite a while to build up any motivation to train, or even just run. Finally, three weeks ago, I decided that if it didn't happen then, it would just get easier to slack off (and I felt so judged after those "body at rest tend to stay at rest" commercials). I timed it just right, as I got to run during the recent warm spell. Also, I registered for the Sunburst Half Marathon (previous race reports can be found in the RR tab) and my younger brother will be running the 5k.

The first week was rough, as you could imagine. My pace was just under eleven minute miles, but my goal was to run at least four times a week however slowly I needed to go to complete four miles. This "plan" has worked well for me in the past (when I've slacked off and needed to quickly get back to it) and hopefully will continue to do so. After the first couple runs, though, my body started adjusting, even remembering what my old slow pace was. I'm not quite back to my usual nine minute mile slow pace, but after another two weeks I think I'll be alright. If all goes well, I'll get a 20-mile week after Sunday's run, which will be most encouraging.

My goal for this half marathon is to train to complete. It would be ridiculous to make this a goal race. I'll likely legitimately train for a half marathon in the fall and use that as a goal race, with maybe a 10k or two thrown in between.

So be on the lookout for biweekly running updates. I'll include a weekly training update on Mondays, aka rest days, and a mid-week running thoughts post on Wednesday or Thursday.

#SpartanUp in 2014
About that giveaway. Although I've never participated in a Spartan Race myself, I figured some of you guys have and would appreciate an entry giveaway. I was informed about the upcoming Spartan Races in Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, North Carolina, and was asked to share that information with you. If you're in any of cities and are interested in registering, click the link to receive 15% off.

To enter the giveaway, comment below and tell me about your running or workout plans - are you training for a race? Going on a big hike? Whatever you're doing, I want to hear about it. I will pick the winner on Friday and email you the code for one free entry to any Spartan Race.

**Winner has been chosen!**

Congrats to Ben Keil!

10 March 2014

Recipe: Potato Leek Soup with Chorizo

potato leek soup with chorizo7
This potato soup is a "recipe" I've made a few times during the colder months. By recipe, I mean that I added ingredients until it looked right and had the consistency I was after. Eventually, I wrote an actual recipe out so that I could post it here. Potato soup is my favorite cold weather soup of all time. It's starchy, thick, and comforting. My mom used to make a baked potato cheeseburger soup that I was my first potato soup love.

For this soup, I was inspired by a potato soup from Once Upon A Tart I tried a long, long time ago. Their soup featured Yukon gold potatoes pureed with roasted garlic, and even though it was 80° the day I tried it, it was so memorable. You can add roasted garlic to this soup, which I did once, but I didn't include that step so as to make it easier.

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What I love about this recipe is how easy and quick it is to make. Unlike many traditional potato soups, this one doesn't contain much milk. You could probably leave it out, if you really wanted to, though it adds a creaminess that chicken broth alone doesn't provide. The ingredient list is simple - Yukon gold potatoes (my favorite kind of potato), leeks, garlic, carrots, and chorizo.

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First, the chorizo is chopped and sauteed in a dutch oven. Cooking the chorizo first gives the soup more flavor, since it's not cooked with the soup. If I'm not using chorizo, I add bacon grease. Or not, if you're vegetarianizing the recipe.

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Next, the leeks, carrot, and garlic are sauteed for a couple of minutes.

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The potatoes are chopped into a large dice so that it cooks quickly and is easier to puree. Add the potatoes to the leeks and saute a few more minutes.

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Chicken broth is poured on top, brought to a boil, and reduced to a simmer. It takes about 25-30 minutes for the potatoes to cook. To puree the soup, the easiest way is to use an immersion blender; if you don't have one, a food processor or blender will work. If you want to leave it a little chunky, remove a cup or two of the potatoes before blending.

Pro tip: You probably shouldn't use an immersion blender in a ceramic-enameled dutch oven.

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After pureeing the soup, warm milk is stirred. Besides the creamy consistency, it also smooths out the flavors.

Pro tip: I've seen soup recipes that add the milk before pureeing. DO NOT DO THIS, or you'll end up with a soup latte - soup topped with milk foam.

Top each bowl with some chorizo and paprika and you've got dinner! I love this soup so much, I think I'm going to make it tonight, maybe with some cheese. Alongside Irish soda bread. It's such a great basic recipe you can easily modify by using different ingredients. Leftovers (if there are any) might need to be thinned with additional liquid, since it thickens considerably when refrigerated.

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it and if you have any comments about the recipe. Post any modifications you make, too!

Print this recipe

Potato Leek Soup with Chorizo
Recipe by Christina Provo

Serves 4

Ingredients -

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package chorizo, about 11 ounces, chopped
1 cup chopped leeks, rinsed thoroughly
1/3 cup peeled and chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed (you can use any percentage of milk as long as it's not skim, but the consistency will probably be thinner)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions -
  1. Heat a tablespoon oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook for 5-7 minutes until browned. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. If necessary, add up to a tablespoon of the remaining oil. Saute leeks, carrots, and garlic until leek begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and continue sauteing for an additional 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper
  2. Pour chicken broth over top and add bay leaf to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer. Cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with fork.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Remove up to two cups of potatoes if you want a chunkier soup. Puree potato mixture with an immersion blender until completely pureed. Pour in warmed milk, stirring to combine. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Divide soup between bowls. Top with chorizo and a sprinkle of paprika.
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