Running Again, Kitchen Demo, & Food From the Week

I don’t know who I am today. I woke this morning really tired but couldn’t get more than three sips of coffee down. I decided to chug water, have a slice of toast, and then headed out for a run. “Run,” you heard that right. It wasn’t like my old runs where they’d last an hour + or match a 9:00 min pace, but it was still a run. After resting my body for a good year, I’ve been feeling very ready to step back into running again. I don’t plan to run any races, but I want to get back to being able to run 3-4 miles comfortably several times a week. I loved this routine before I started training for a half and injured myself. I’ve missed being able to just go out for a run when I was feeling down, or run a trail with a friend on a Saturday morning.
I think the hardest part is starting slow. It’s humbling to be in a position where just one mile is difficult. I have to take it slow and force myself to do it the right way. I’ll be spending the next month running one mile with an additional .1 to each run every other day along with two days of strength training and stretching in between. At the end of this month, I should be at a two-mile distance. I’m not worrying about my pace at all. I also play tennis, so I’ll be getting a lot of my sprint work done during that time. I plan to keep you updated each week with how my running is coming along, and I’ve appreciated all the helpful tips some of you shared with me on Instagram. The best part about this is that I have no expectations, so each improvement is worth being proud over.
After my run, I had a yummy cappucinno and Hemp bar!

Ok moving onto the recap! 💜 
Monday was just a “catch up” day for me, so all I took pictures of was my lunch. This whole week was a cold and rainy one, so spring fever was coming in hard. I’m so excited for warmer temps and permanant sunshine.

For lunch, I had baby kale with cranberry apple quinoa, avocado, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken, and balsamic dressing. I had kiwi and blueberry on the side, and yes, I love the kiwi skin. The skin contains a lot of fiber and vitamin C.
For breakfast on Tuesday, I made the most delicious protein pancakes after my walk.

I mixed one scoop of banana plant-based protein powder, 1/4 cup of Birch Bender paleo pancake mix, 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and a handful of blueberries. Sometimes, Kyle and I make these for dinner with chocolate chips and peanut butter.

I spent the day working hard on my Disney Itinerary and video (which will be live soon!)
For dinner, I had the crispy cauliflower gnocchi and green beans. We caught up on night two of the Bachelor. I have a prediction as to what happens tonight! 
Wednesday was a demo day for the kitchen! I have wanted to get rid of the tile that came with my house for a long time, and after my dad remodeled his kitchen, I knew he’d do an excellent job. He also taught me how to do it just in case my next house needs new tile! I’ve been documenting the steps and will do a big reveal with a few tutorials sometime soon! I am also painting the cabinets, so it’s going to be an entirely new look! 😃 

After working with my dad all day, I was ready to have a big smoothie, take a hot bath, and go to bed! I was exhausted.

My smoothie had 8 cups of baby kale (yes, eight!), unsweetened almond milk, one frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, ice, and vanilla plant-based protein powder. The banana and protein powder takes away the green taste, and it was delicious! 
I have been taking baths before bed almost every night. It’s been relaxing my mind and body and helping me to sleep so well. As soon as I lay in bed after a hot bath, I fall asleep almost instantly and sleep through the night. Here’s a great article that may convince you to start adding bubble baths to your nighttime routine! 
My dad was over early in the morning on Thursday. It was time to add the new drywall and start placing the tiles! 
For lunch, I made my dad and I some delicious salads. They had butter lettuce, baby kale, red onions, tomatoes, dried unsweetened cherries, cucumber, chili almonds, avocado, cranberry apple quinoa, and balsamic vinaigrette.
We called it quits around 3 pm. I sat down with a cappuccino and peanut butter rice cake snack to push me through an afternoon of blogging.

For dinner, I roasted Brussels sprouts in the oven with sesame oil and then topped them with an agave & soy glaze with red pepper chili flakes. They were perfection. 
We had sauteed bell peppers, onions, and ground chicken on the side. 
I ended the night with a hot bubble bath, tea, and fell asleep at 9:30! 
Friday morning breakfast: honey quinoa cereal, muesli, and blueberries with almond milk. It was another rainy day, and at this point, I just wanted to pack my bags and go somewhere warm again! March seems to be one of the rainiest months in the Carolinas.
For lunch, I had another one of my jumbo salads! This one had avocado, butter lettuce, dried unsweetened cherries, chili almonds, cranberry apple quinoa, sunflower seeds, and almond jalapeno dip. For the dressing, I mixed avocado oil, balsamic, agave, and everything but the bagel seasoning. I had pineapple, kiwi, and blueberries on the side!
An afternoon almond milk mocha! I frothed New Barn barista-style almond milk and mixed it with espresso and one tbsp of Ghirardelli dark hot cocoa mix. This is one of my favorite treats! 
After the gym on Friday night, Kyle and I made a pizza and sat down to watch some movies.
This was my second attempt at the Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza. I did it the right way by prebaking it, but I still am not a fan. I bought their broccoli one, so I’ll let you know how that goes next time! We used the Daiya for our cheese and my favorite sauce. Kyle added dinner leftovers from Thursday night on his side of the pizza. 
Kyle and I headed to the gym on Saturday morning. I had to take a protein pancake with almond butter and my pre-workout with me on the go. I couldn’t get rid of my hiccups all day, and almond butter seems always to help. I’ve been having bad hiccups lately, and they are soooo painful. ANyone else gets hiccup spells that last off and on all day?

When we got back from the gym, I went out on my mile run. It was finally nice outside, and I run much better when I’m not on a treadmill. 
My mom and dad stopped over in the afternoon to work on another row of tiles with us. My mom and I made a trip to Lowe’s so I could get the paint for the cabinets! I can’t wait for it to be done😊
 After doing some Laundry and cleaning up the bathrooms on Sunday morning I made a turkey sandwich with some Plant Snacks (vegan cheddar! MY FAVORITE!!!!) on the side. After lunch, I made some delicious banana bread and can’t wait to post that recipe for you this week! 
The courts had finally dried up a bit, so Kyle and I decided to go out and play tennis for a couple of hours at the park. It felt so good to play again! I’m looking forward to many more tennis nights coming up.
When we got home, we walked the dogs, and then I started on a quick dinner.

I made the most delicious salmon! I mixed gluten-free soy sauce, agave, a splash of sesame oil, and juice from half of the blood orange together. I topped the salmon with black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes, and everything but the bagel seasoning. Next, I poured it over the salmon and baked it for about 15 minutes at 355 degrees. 
I roasted brussels sprouts and acorn squash as a side. 
How amazing does that look? I’m excited to have the leftovers on a salad tonight! 
I don’t know why I don’t make acorn squash more often! It’s so good. And in case you’re wondering, I do it the skin!
We ended the night watching American Idol! 🎶

I hope you all have a fantastic week. xo xo

Questions for you!

  1. Have you ever taken a long hiatus from running?
  2. Favorite snack bars?
  3. What was the highlight of your weekend?


  • fitoru bhb coffee

    I read awesome stuff here and I would say you have done a great job in providing a thorough presentation of of your kitchen demo . More power to you!

    Reply to fitoru bhb coffee
  • Pritha

    don’t paint them! they’re so beautiful! (i’m just jealous) we’re redoing our kitchen too but have to do everything. Just cut a wall to make a breakfast bar and will be ordering new cabinets and countertops soon! cannot wait to see the before and afters for your kitchen!

    Reply to Pritha
  • Haley

    Can’t wait to see your kitchen!

    Reply to Haley
  • Brooklyn

    Mmm now I’m craving Brussels sprouts and acorn squash.
    I haven’t gone for a run in years. I used to run everyday but there are no trails nearby and I hate running in the city with all the traffic lights. I’ve been considering trying to run on the treadmill, so we’ll see. I just always preferred running outside. However I have been on a huge stationary bike kick!

    Reply to Brooklyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Definitely a good combo!!

      I agree with you that running outside is so much better. I wish there were trails where you are 😔

      But the stationary bike is a good route to go too!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mag

    When will you post the banana bread recipe?

    Reply to Mag
  • Brittany

    Love that you are getting back into running! I am slowly working my way back to running. I used to run quite a bit but stopped and now get frustrated with how out of shape I feel when I run. So it has been a process of me reminding myself to take it easy and that slow is ok! Also, can’t wait to see how the kitchen turns out! So exciting 🙂

    Reply to Brittany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’m loving it so far! I’m only on run #5 though lol

      I totally feel you on getting discouraged when you “feel out of shape” especially when running used to be so easy. I think following the plan I’m doing is helping. Even though I feel like I could run more, I’m forcing myself to only stick to the plan and take it day by day!

      I’m so excited for the kitchen’s progress!! hopefully having it competely done in a few weeks!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ava

    The kitchen looks great!

    Reply to Ava
  • Kailyn

    Hey! I saw pictures of your kitchen remodel and saw you used an oscillating multi-tool. I’m looking to do a similar renovation to my kitchen. Can you explain how you and your dad used that to help with the reno? Looks great!!

    Reply to Kailyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kailyn!

      That tool was used to cut out the drywall behind the tile. We had to replace the drywall for the backsplash.

      I’ll do a whole post on it soon!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Michelle

    I love your recaps! They always inspire me to be happier and eat healthier.

    Reply to Michelle
  • Jessie

    I have been rooting for you to run again!

    Reply to Jessie
  • Madison

    Oooh the salmon looks so good. Got me wanting to make it for dinner!

    I don’t run much anymore either. I love it but it was really hard on my body. Now I only run when I want to. I run for peace of mind and happiness and not to exercise. I don’t time myself.

    My favorite snack bars are definitely GoMacro bars. I loooooove them.

    Reply to Madison
  • Shantel Henke Jones

    Love your posts! I would like to see how you paint your cabinets I am excited to do that to mine in the near future.

    Reply to Shantel Henke Jones
  • Jenna

    I have never been a runner, so I’m on a lifetime hiatus. But I would eventually like to start running, but I need to lose some weight first.

    Favorite snack bars, either Quest Protein bars or ONE Protein bars. Both delicious.

    The highlight of my weekend, was going to Trader Joes for the first time with my mom. We LOVED it. Drove an hour to get there, they were sold out of cauliflower gnocchi and then had lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen before heading home.

    Reply to Jenna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Walking is a great way to get ready for running. ♥️

      Oh noooo!!!! They were sold out when I went last weekend too. I was kind of happy about it because it forced me to eat something different for once lol There’s a Zoe’s by our Trader Joe’s too! The best! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    What running shoes are you wearing?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Tayna

    I’ve been making your protein bites as bars lately!

    Reply to Tayna
  • julie

    just started running again too after focusing on strength training last year. i usually only do a mile though because i don’t want to lose the muscle i’ve worked so hard to build

    i love larabars but since i’ve been following a keto diet lately i’m looking forward to trying out the coconut dang bars!

    highlight was finishing the hardest puzzle ever that my boyfriend made me for valentine’s day lol

    Reply to julie
  • Lauren

    Up until about 2.5 years ago I couldn’t even run a mile! But then a friend pushed me into it and I am running my second half marathon on Saturday! I love running, but I’m ready to be done with the super long distances for training on the weekend! I love 3-6 mile runs!
    I’m not much of snack bar person but I have been making these “cookies” as little snacks to get me between meals or an after dinner treat!
    The highlight of my weekend was seeing my grandma, she is 102 and isn’t doing well health wise but is still very “with it” and it was nice to talk to her about her childhood, meeting my grandpa, and her life on a farm. Send any prayers and thoughts her way <3 Love reading your blog during my prep period while teaching! Thank you for an escape from middle school madness 🙂

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Lauren!

      That is an amazing story and great inspiration. Congrats on your success with running! 💜 The 3-6 mile runs were my favorite and I can’t wait to get back to that for fun!

      I love Britany’s blog! I’ve seen her post about those cookies and I’m going to have to try them out! They look so good!

      I think it’s incredible your grandma is 102! I’ll keep her sweet soul in my prayers and I pray for good health!

      Have a great week! XO

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    I’m currently on a 2 year hiatus from running. I just hate it. So many other activities I enjoy.. so I stopped punishing myself with it.

    I’m not a big snack bar person. I’d rather have a handful of almonds and walnuts with chocolate chips.

    Highlight of my weekend was definitely perusing Ikea.

    Are you painting your cabinets or getting new cabinetry?
    Does Kyle live at your house full time? Or does he have to live elsewhere during the week for work?

    Reply to Anonymous
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I totally get that. 100! I feel that way about HIIT workouts lol I don’t enjoy it AT ALL!

      That sounds like a good treat to me 😃

      We’re going to paint them. My dad did my mom’s and they look so amazing!

      Kyle has lived here full time since August.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Shelby Hall

    My whole life has been a long hiatus from running haha! I just have never really been a great long distance runner.
    I recently tried the health warrior- pumpkin seed with dark chocolate bars. They are delicious, and fulfill the sweet tooth I get in the middle of the day.
    The highlight of my weekend was margarita/ burrito night with a friend.

    Also, wondering if you plan on doing a fitness challenge soon?

    Reply to Shelby Hall
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I don’t think I was made for running or am very good at it, but I enjoy the casual side of it. I get that it’s a love/hate with people.

      I love the Health Warrior bars! I think it’s the honey/almond or something like that, that I love the most!

      I don’t think I’ll be doing a fitness challenge for a while, but I’m mainly focussing on my fitness on a more personal level if that makes sense. I’m trying to get back into a better routine after the winter and doing it all at my own pace.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Allie

    Hi Taralynn, you should check out the book 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald. In it he basically says that 80% of our runs should be slow, and 20% pushing ourselves. And by slow, he means slower than you think is slow. Before I read his book I was running 4ish miles at a 9:40 pace and I would be dead the rest of the day, and it was also really hard to run that distance because my body was struggling. I started running at a 10:10 pace and felt a lot better, and then started a 10:20 pace and it’s amazing. I might be running slower, but I can run longer without needing to stop, and I’m not wrecked the rest of the day. Matt says that the slower we run, the MORE we can actually run in the long term. So I’d say keep up with the slow running!!

    Reply to Allie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much, Allie! I’ll check that out for sure. That seems like something that would really help me. I feel like running slower is much better on the body and can help build that endurance back up. I’ll look into it! thank you!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Emily

        I second the above comment. I used to never let myself run slower than 8 min pace….which is crazy. Now i’m running 9:30s and LOVING IT. Plus, they say it actually makes you faster cause you give your body more time to recover from harder workouts!

        Reply to Emily
  • Hannah R

    Okay. I LOVE squash of almost every kind, but I have never even *thought* about eating acorn squash skin. Is it super tough?? I’d also be super afraid I couldn’t possibly get it clean enough to want to eat lol. Same reason I don’t eat kiwi skin, even though it’s such a nutrient booster, I wish I could find some organic ones!!

    I seriously cannot WAIT to see your kitchen remodel… I’m living vicariously through you in your fun project right now. I’m a little over 15 weeks pregnant right now, and we have been talking about redoing our kitchen for quite a while, but we’re going to save up for it for a while first! I have such high hopes for it when it does come around though, and beautiful subway tiles like you’re installing are a dream!! Huge fan of your kitchen already, and you haven’t even painted yet!

    We visited family this weekend, and my 1 1/2 year old niece was SO stinkin’ cute all weekend. She’s learned how to say a lot of people’s names, and loves to say “hi!” in the sweetest little voice ever. I can’t get enough of her! ♥♥

    I enjoy most flavors of RX bars if I’m needing protein, Larabars if I just need a tasty snack (hellooo PB and Choco chip!), and if I’ve gone for a long run or some other kind of a tougher workout, I love Clif bars! (Clif kids is even better in my opinion, because I don’t think I usually need the whole bar to replenish my energy and a whole bar can be almost over doing it.)

    I also can’t WAIT for spring to get here for real. We went for a walk tonight (Rufus the Chihuahua was thrilled!) for the first time in SO long, because it’s been so cold and snowy almost since just after Christmas, and it was finally like 43 degrees out today! Haha funny that 43 degrees is warm enough to have everyone and their dogs (literally) out of the house for the first time in months!

    Reply to Hannah R
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Hannah!

      When you’re baking the skin at such high temps, most of whatever is left on the outside is cooked off. The skin isn’t chewy or sharp or anything. It’s soft and I weirdly love the texture lol

      Thanks so so so so much!! I’ve been wanting to do something about the dark kitchen for a long time!! It’s going to brighten up the entire place.

      Sounds like a fun weekend!!! I bet you’re so excited for your little one!!! Crazy how fast life goes lol

      Those are all amazing bars!!

      Hope you get some warm weather soon! xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Madison

    I’m so excited to see your kitchen makeover! I’ve actually never been a runner, like at all. But I love love to go on walks! It’s hard in the winter in Wyoming but now that it’s starting to warm up my baby and I go on long walks every chance we get! And I looooooove Perfect bars! The chocolate peanut butter one is to die for. If they weren’t so pricey I would eat them everyday! Have a great week! Also what balsamic dressing do you use?

    Reply to Madison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I love walking just as much!! ♥️ I’ve never had the Perfect Bars but I hear they are great!

      I make my own, but if you don’t want to do that, the one at Whole Foods is so good!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Madison

        What recipe do you use? Unfortunately I had to give up Whole Foods when we moved to Wyoming!😭 But it’s pushed me into making more of my own things!

        Reply to Madison
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    You’ve got me salivating, Taralynn! I always feel so hungry looking at your blog posts! 😀 I always seem to take long breaks from running – I have a love-hate relationship with it!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Amber

    Due to a knee injury and then re-injury, I’ve been on a running hiatus, but with the weather being so nice lately, I’m really wanting to try it – with some reservation, which I’m sure you understand. That salmon recipe looks delicious! I’m going to try it!

    Reply to Amber
  • Amber O.

    This past weekend is one of my last ones off before the crazy season at work so I was SO lazy. I didn’t drive anywhere and I didn’t clean, it was much needed.

    I love the CauliPower crust from Sprouts. (Walmart started selling them too except it’s an entire pizza not just the crust!)

    Good luck with running again! Looking forward to hearing how you progress 🙂

    Reply to Amber O.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Sounds like a really good weekend to be honest! We need those sometimes.

      I loved the cauliflower crust pizza I bought at a local grocery store here, but forgot the name of it! I’m sure it’s somewhere on the blog. The trader joes one is just weird because it doesn’t crisp up! It tastes a little soggy.

      ❤️ thank you!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lisa

    Tara, what brand of plant based vanilla protein do you buy?

    Reply to Lisa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I change it up sometimes. Right now, I’m currently using Garden of Life more often. I also love Orgain because it’s cheaper and tastes amazing.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kristina Pix

    Ohhh girl can’t wait to see the kitchen reveal! Either buying new cabinet or repainting my cabinets is on my to-do list. I have over 40 cabinets in my kitchen which is crazy bc I have a townhouse too, but the kitchen is really big (too big for a townhouse probably). Buying 40+ cabinets is expensive so I will probably paint them – looking forward to hearing how the process goes for you!

    Reply to Kristina Pix
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Kristina!

      That is a TON of cabinets lol

      I only have one drawer painted as of right now and I’m already over it lol I’ll keep you posted!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Stephanie Small

    Hi! All of your food looks so good and easy to throw together! Do you make the apple cranberry quinoa that you put in your salads? It looks tasty and would liven up my salads.
    PS my favorite snack bars are the Coconut Chocolate Luna Bars…but I’m always on the lookout for new bars with a low sugar content.

    Reply to Stephanie Small
  • Kristen

    Your salmon always looks delicious!

    My fav snack bars are probably nature valley peanut & dark chocolate, great for a chocolate fix!!

    The highlight of my weekend was when one of best friends asked me to be her bridesmaids 💜

    Reply to Kristen
  • Robbi

    Being able to run one mile after a year hiatus is impressive to me! Keep up the inspiration, Taralynn.

    Reply to Robbi

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