Tips for scheduling and receiving your COVID-19 vaccine

Tips for scheduling and receiving your COVID-19 vaccine

It’s official — I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Instead of trying to scare you with horror stories of side effects — of which you may experience NONE — I am going to give you some tips on scheduling and receiving your COVID-19 vaccine(s). And, bonus: There are links to data throughout. Yay!

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The Sassy Girl’s Guide To Saying “No”

The Sassy Girl’s Guide To Saying “No”

It’s no surprise (at least not to me) that coronavirus cases are on the rise. On Wednesday, multiple sources — such as The Washington Post — reported that the United States topped its previous all-time daily high for new cases.

On top of that, the US is expected to experience a historic Saharan dust plume that could cause additional respiratory health risks and problems.

Some states in the southern and western parts of the US are operating at near-max capacity in their hospitals and ICUs.

Shit is getting real. Again. In fact, shit never got “un-real.” For some reason, several political leaders in this country (we won’t name names) decided that the COVID-19 pandemic was over. I guess the virus didn’t get the message — who knew?!

Look, people. Now is the time to start saying “no.” It’s time to grow a pair (or maybe not because I swear, that “pair” I’m referencing doesn’t signify strengthen if you ask me) and stand your ground. You know the pandemic is real. You know it’s not going anywhere. You want to protect yourself, your grandparents, your parents, your family.

It’s time to say “no,” and I will give you the playbook to do just that. Why am I an authority on this? Well, I’ve been confidently canceling plans for no reason since I was old enough to make my own plans, so listen up.

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Recipe: Healthy(ish) Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Cauliflower

Recipe: Healthy(ish) Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Cauliflower

First, make no mistake that there is real pasta in this recipe. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t go for pasta “substitutions” such as cauliflower. Pasta is pasta. Cauliflower is cauliflower. Let that be known.

With that said, that doesn’t mean that the two can’t. Cauliflower AND pasta? Now that I can get behind! I love the idea so much that this recipe for healthy(ish) baked macaroni and cheese was born.

This recipe is a great way to work veggies into your meals, and it’s just as satisfying as any other recipe for macaroni and cheese, because…well…it IS macaroni and cheese (with cauliflower). This recipe makes enough to fill a typical casserole dish, so you’ll have some leftovers (unless you eat it all in one sitting, which you’ve been warned — it may happen).

Ingredients:

8 oz whole wheat pasta of choice (about half of a box)

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces

3 TBSP butter or spread of choice

1 3/4 cups skim milk

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese

2 TBSP King Arthur all-purpose unbleached flour

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce (this is where the magic happens!)

1 tsp dried basil

1 TBSP garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste — Worcestershire sauce can be salty, so easy on the added-salt.

Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil according to the time on the box. When the pasta has about six minutes left to boil, toss in the cauliflower and stir. Add a dash of salt to the water. After adding the cauliflower, the water should begin to boil again in about 45-60 seconds.

When finished boiling, the cauliflower should be just tender and the pasta should be al dente. Drain. While the pasta and cauliflower chill in the strainer, add the flour and butter to the pot. Cook on low for about 2 minutes or until the flour and butter are well-combined. Slowly add the skim milk, whisking as you pour it in the pot. Add the Worcestershire sauce and turn the heat to med-high. Wisk at this temp for about five minutes. ProTip: Do NOT stop whisking! Milk can burn easily and stick to the pot.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk the mixture until the bubbling and simmering stops. Slowly add the cheddar cheese 1/2 cup at a time, basil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Whisk together. Slowly fold in the pasta and cauliflower mixture. Stir with a spoon (not a whisk) until the pasta and cauliflower are coated evenly.

Grease a casserole dish with cooking spray or butter/spread of choice. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the casserole dish. Spread the shredded mozzarella evenly across the top of the mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy! Tag your photos #cookingwithcourt

The #FridayFive: 5 Facts About Iron Deficiency Anemia

The #FridayFive: 5 Facts About Iron Deficiency Anemia

Each Friday, my plan is to write a post that covers five things about…things. It could be running related, mom related, or completely random – but I’ve been wanting to write these posts for a while. So, TGIF!

Today’s #FridayFive is about how my running journey has ebbed and flowed as someone who suffers from iron-deficiency anemia. Anemia is not uncommon in runners; believe it or not, we are slamming our feet into the ground enough to obstruct red blood cells. Who knew, right?

My battle with anemia began when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2014. I was able to get it under control and stop taking the dreaded ferrous sulfate (hello, wonderful GI issues…). I was not yet a runner at this point.

When I was pregnant with Michael, I was doing on during the pregnancy, but afterwards, I was a zombie. And if I neglect taking ferrous sulfate, I always turn back into a zombie.

So, what’s the deal? Keep reading to learn a little more about iron-deficiency anemia.

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I Pledge Not To Provide “Updates” On Postpartum Weight Loss, and This Photo Explains Why

I Pledge Not To Provide “Updates” On Postpartum Weight Loss, and This Photo Explains Why

So, I’ll come right out and say it: I see a lot of women post “updates” about where they are in their postpartum weight loss journey. I respect these journeys; they are not easy. I realize that posting about it on social media can be therapeutic.

I also realize how detrimental it can be. It can turn into something unhealthy and you may not even realize it. I became obsessed with losing weight after my last pregnancy. I mean obsessed. I tried things that weren’t crazy; things that were crazy – and honestly, it didn’t matter that I hung on to ten extra pounds because I looked fantastic. Funny how you can look back and think, “Wow, I was really hard on myself. That was stupid.”

I always knew that numbers on the scale could be misleading, but the photo below confirms that.

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This is me at about 39 weeks last pregnancy and this pregnancy. I weight the same. I’ve gained 53 lbs just like I didn’t last time despite logging over 300 pregnancy miles this pregnancy as oppose to doing absolutely nothing last pregnancy. This comparison should make you giggle – my face doesn’t even look the same, but the number on the scale sure does.

See, here’s the thing: Scales are fucking dumb. Women are fucking amazing, though.

I updated my followers constantly about my post-pregnancy weight after my daughter was born in 2014. Comparison photos, updates on the numbers, etc. This time, you won’t be seeing these posts.

You won’t be seeing side-by-side photos of me. You won’t know what the number on the scale says. You won’t see me say much about my weight at all, if anything. I’m way more than a number on a scale. I’m a (soon to be) mom of three, a pretty cool and chill wife, a distance runner, a race director, and I can cook a pot of sauce that will knock people off their feet. Tell me again why a number on the scale should define me…?

Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to working hard, getting back into running at my normal pace, and achieving post-pregnancy weight loss. But this will not, absolutely not, be the focus of my life for a year or more again.

I 100% pledge not to post these updates. I want to encourage you to define yourself to the world with something else other than losing weight. The world needs to see you for the awesome person that you are, not that you lost thirty pounds after you had a child. Sorry, but it’s true – you’re way more than a number on the scale or an arbitrary timeline that shows just how quickly you lost baby weight.

It’s important to be healthy for you, your family, and your children. It’s not important to let a number on a scale define what healthy is for you. Remember that. Good health > numbers on a scale society deems as “normal.”

You’re awesome. I’m awesome. That’s enough.