Homemade Tortilla Soup

The time change and cold weather inspired me to break out the crock pot this week.

In all honesty, the crock pot is one of my favorite kitchen items.  It makes slow cooked meals, with minimal work by me, that taste amazing and make the house smell even better.


This season’s first crock pot dish was nothing other than a soup, thanks to the cruddy weather we’re having here in Denver.  So, if you guys are looking for a flavorful, easy soup…look no further!  I literally spent 5 minutes preparing, 30 seconds in the morning to bring it out of the fridge, add the chicken, and turn it on.  Then when I got home, I had an AMAZING soup ready to go.  Nothin better.

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Homemade Tortilla Soup


  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut in halves
  • 2 cans of black beans undrained (15 oz)
  • 1 can of diced green chilies (4 oz)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
  • 1 cup of pico de gallo
  • 1 large carrot, cut into slices
  • 1/4 large white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fajita seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips


  • Put everything in a crock put, on low for 8 hours (or high for 4-5) and you’re good to go.
  • Before you serve it, remove the chicken breasts and shred them with a fork.
  • Serve over tortilla chips, or if you’re like us, crisp up tortillas and dip them in the soup.
  • (Zach says top with cheese)
  • Enjoy! So simple!

Perfect meal for Zach to come home to after 4 weeks of traveling.  And perfect for me:  makes it SEEM like you did a lot of work, for next to nothing! 🙂


Question of the Night:  Your favorite crock pot meal — I need inspiration!

Healthy Travel Snacks and Tips

If you are an avid reader of Chocolate Medals here, you know that myself AND my husband have been traveling a bit lately…and that isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Here’s our upcoming schedule

  • Mid November (undisclosed location for the time being.  Sorry for the cliff hanger, I’ll definitely chat about it when it gets here 🙂
  • Thanksgiving: North Carolina
  • Christmas: Saint Louis, MO
  • February 1: HONEYMOON – Austria

And that’s only the trips we’re flying to. Now that it’s ski season, Zach and I are CONSTANTLY on the go, and are known to escape for weekends on a minutes notice.  While most of these are driving, the challenges of road trips and short weekends run similar to those of flying.

With all this traveling we HAVE done and WILL be doing, and knowing that many of us will be traveling through the Holiday’s, I figured it was a perfect time to share some of my favorite healthy snacks and tips!

Plane/Road Trip Snacks And Tips

I don’t know about you all, but I an a bored eater.  So when I’m traveling, I need to have access to snacks at all times.   This is good and all, but can be a problem when it’s a good 4 or 5 hours I may be traveling.  So, here are a few things I snack on, and a few things I do to try and do to keep from overdoing it on the snacks.

Favorite Snacks


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My go to snack for traveling is a GOOD trail mix (meaning it’s got a wide variety of sweet and salty) and a good bar of DARK chocolate.  These fulfill my sweet tooth and salty tooth, with a healthy spin.  Because of the high quality of ingredients, I normally don’t NEED to eat much to be satisfied.  The important thing for me:  giving myself WHAT I know will satisfy my body so I don’t overdo it on something else.

And for me, I ALWAYS bring my own snacks — I like to know what I’ll be eating, and I don’t like paying an arm and a leg for a sandwich or snack that I can make MUCH better myself!

To KEEP from Snacking Away You’re Travels. . . (especially on LONG flights or road trips)

When I know I’m going to be traveling through meal times, I make sure to bring something light but substantial with a balance of carbs, protein and fat to keep me from getting hungry and tempted to eat my weight in trail mix.

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Sandwiches are my favorite go-to for this (no matter the time of day).  I try to focus on protein and good quality bread or wrap, and less cheese for these.  I have a quasi sensitive stomach, and don’t want to risk bloating up with TOO much cheese (I said TOO much, not none at all, 🙂







A major key to staying healthy during traveling is staying hydrated.  If you’re good with getting down your H20, then just bring an empty bottle and fill it up when you cross security AND before you get on the plane.

If you’re like me and maybe not so good at it, but know you should, I go for coconut water or sparkling water.  Both are delicious and easy for me to get down!

I will be the first to admit that I’ll order a glass of wine on a flight if we’re going somewhere for fun or celebration periodically.  It’s fun and it’s a good way for me to get into the vacation mindset.  With that said, having alcohol makes it THAT MUCH MORE important that you are hydrating properly otherwise…as it dehydrates you in an already very dry environment. 


I always try and dress comfortable and warm for flights.  By nature I am cold, so a scarf, whether it’s Summer or Winter, is a given.



I normally like to take a large one, that can double as a blanket when I undoubtedly get cold.

Lululemon is pretty much my go-to for traveling.  They have a compression element to them, they’re nice looking, and super comfortable.



But arguably my most important piece of clothing for traveling are my compression socks (or calf sleeves in the Summer).



I almost always run when I’m on vacation, so I’m going to need my compression socks anyway.  Why not wear them on the plane or car and help alleviate the swelling that happens from traveling.

And if you’re traveling for a race, I CANNOT STRESS THIS ONE ENOUGH!  I might even add wearing your running shoes to the air port as well…I know as a runner we’re taught not to wear our running shoes for anything OTHER than running…but you’re not going to forget them if you’re wearing them, that’s for sure!

Distractions and Entertainment

Whether I’m flying for an hour or for 10, I always bring MORE than enough reading material to keep my mind occupied.  Both to distract me from the time and boredom, and to distract me from snacking!


(there’s my scarf, sparkling water, and book for my trip to St Louis for the race.  You better believe I was wearing my compression socks as well!)

Another tip for those traveling for a race, bring inspirational reading.  I bought a Runner’s magazine a few days before the flight, and I had a Self Magazine that I held onto for traveling so that when the pre-race nerves started coming up, I could pump myself up with some good quick reading.




And most importantly, try and enjoy your travels.  However you can.

Zach and I have traveled together so much by this point, that we have it down to a science…and that really helps as far as planning and NOT forgetting things, getting there on time, etc.  We’re good travel buddies, and have learned how much more fun traveling really is when we have each other 🙂 We don’t talk very much on the planes, but it’s still nice to have someone there to chat with when you want to, or to fall asleep on 🙂 And to grab a beer or glass of wine with when your flight gets delayed ;)…

Question of the Afternoon:  Where’s your next trip planned?

Can’t say. . . but will soon 😉

I’ve Lost It, Oh There It Is

Good Morning everyone, and hope everyone has had a good start to their Tuesday!

I got ready quicker than anticipated this morning and was planning on doing my post from home, but unfortunately couldn’t find my camera cord.  I looked for it for about 10 minutes (wasting the extra time I had, obviously) before I gave up and finished getting ready.

THEN I decided I had a few more places to look (under our HUGE couch, dump my purse, etc), still no luck.

I finally gave in and did my Piper’s 30 day Thigh Challenge

Then on my way to work, I found my camera cord in the car cup holder.  How in God’s name it got there, I have no idea…but it is like it was just placed there.

Anywho…that’s my odd story for the morning :).

Work Out of the Day: 3.5 mile speed work

The work out looked like this:

  • 10 minutes easy effort (6.1-6.3)
  • 5 rounds of 2 minutes @ 7.5-7.7, 1 minute @ 6.0
  • 2 rounds of 2 minutes 6.2, 1 minute 8
  • Until I finished at 31:03 for 3.5 miles

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That’s right guys, a treadmill shot!  Haven’t had one of those in awhile 😉

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Or a greaseball post run shot. . . unfortunately there were a few people in my gym and I totally felt like a creeper taking a selfie, so I took it upstairs to out bathroom. Hence the spectacular lighting.

And of course, as mentioned, I followed it up with the 30 day thigh challenge.  Today included:

  • 15 lateral lunges with weights
  • 30 scissors
  • 12 fire hydrants
  • 12 pile squat pules

My legs are sore at even the THOUGHT of a squat today. . . so this was tough, but thankfully quick.

Pile On The Miles:


After this morning’s run I’m officially at 21.5 miles the month of November, so 78.5 miles to go!

And now, I just have to get through the work day and ZACH COMES HOME TONIGHT! YAY!

Question of the day:  Have you ever lost something then have it mysteriously turn up?


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