Circuit Workouts, Cravings, and Cookies

WAHOO it’s Friday!

Christmas is basically tomorrow I can’t even believe it. Thankfully, I finished up most of my shopping last night. The only person left on my list is the boyfriend…ahh! NO idea what to buy this man. No idea how much I should spend either, we haven’t really talked about it. But I need to get him something.

I’m just hoping I don’t end up in one of those desperate situations where you’re walking through Target and the random telescopes start looking like a fabulous gift idea…

I really hope that doesn’t happen.

Anyway, it’s Friday, so I’m gonna do another Elf4Health recap post! It’s a great way to catch up with random aspects of my life.


Saturday – Donate to a Holiday charity in your area.

Got this one done, actually through my office. As part of our holiday party this year, we were asked to donate to the local homeless shelters in Rhode Island. Here’s the box we’ve put together so far.


Not bad for our little office! I’ve also donated to Toys for Tots this year through the 5K I ran a couple weeks ago, and to a fund for homeless children in Boston. I bought them pajamas, socks, gloves, etc.!

Monday – Do a circuit workout.

Checked this bad boy off my list as well! After my final let out at 2pm on Monday, I drove home, had a snack, and then did this circuit workout from PB Fingers.


I just used my two 10-lb hand weights for the plank rows, overhead presses, bicep curls, and shoulder raises. This was a great at-home circuit workout!

Tuesday – Treat yourself to something you’ve been craving.

I finally finished my first semester of grad school on Tuesday, and honestly, the only thing I was craving was a relaxing night at home by my Christmas tree.


The couch was calling to me! I had time to paint my nails…


Watch an excellent movie…


And make a pretty sizable dent in my wrapping!



In terms of food, I was craving pasta. I added some broccoli so I was getting a few vegetables, and it actually turned out pretty festive looking! Green broccoli, red sauce, and parmesan (snow!)


Wednesday – Bake cookies! Try to make healthy swaps.

I definitely wasn’t gonna skip this one! I decided to try a healthy swap I’d been wanting to try for ages now…


Substituting half the butter in a cookie recipe with plain Greek yogurt!


I didn’t make any other substitutions, because when I experiment with baking I don’t want to change too many things at once. So these babies were normal, gluten-filled cookies. I added dark chocolate chips and walnuts and they came out pretty amazing!


I didn’t miss the butter at all :) I think the recipe needs a few tweaks before I’m ready to share, be on the lookout!

Thursday – Make a casserole for dinner tonight.

Ok so, I’m not really a casserole type of girl. Probably because we never had them growing up, so it’s not a typical dinner that I’m used to. But the point of this whole experience is to try new things, right? So I went for it, and made a broccoli quinoa casserole.


Sooo many firsts were happening for me in this dish. First time I’ve cooked and eaten quinoa, first time I’ve made a casserole, first time I’ve made a cheese sauce…it was fun!


I thought it turned out really well. I used this recipe from Annie’s Eats. I used almond milk instead of regular milk because that’s what I had, and dijon mustard instead of dry mustard. Everything else I followed pretty much exactly. I’m kind of psyched to have dinner prepped and ready for the next several nights! Maybe lunch tomorrow too :)

Ok guys, time for me to get going! I’m heading to Matt’s since the world might end tomorrow or whatever haha. I hope it doesn’t! ;)

Have a great weekend everyone! Talk to you all next week!

34 thoughts on “Circuit Workouts, Cravings, and Cookies

  1. pickyrunner

    Oh wow you are doing so well on the Elf4Health challenge! I’ve been pretty bad about it. It’s hard being home and doing it and it’s hard being at school and doing it. I guess that’s the point. I’m going to really try for the next few weeks of it! I hope you find the perfect gift- the ones that come from the heart are the best :)

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I know, it’s definitely not easy to keep up with! I’ll be spending more time at my parents house the next few days, that’ll be the real challenge. I’m hoping to stick with it! And I hope so too, but I’m trying not to put toooo much pressure on myself :-/ we’ll see!

  2. Carrie

    I’m not a big casserole person either (for the same reason actually–my mom never made them), but I can get behind quinoa, broccoli, and cheesey goodness for sure. :) I still need to wrap my Christmas presents, which I plan on doing when I get home. I feel like if I wrapped them here, something would totally happen that would make rewrapping necessary, ha. Good luck finding a gift for Matt!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I may be a new fan of casseroles now, having your entire dinner ready to eat in one dish kept things pretty easy! Leftovers tonight for sure. And last year was the first time I shopped and wrapped all my Christmas gifts at my place, and transported them to my parents for Christmas. There were a few bumps and bruises along the way, but for the most part they were fine! It’s kind of fun to walk in the door on Christmas eve with lots of wrapped presents, I felt like Santa!

  3. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    You’re doing so awesome on the challenge! I honestly probably would have skipped the casserole one :lol: I never had them growing up either, and I haven’t exactly been the most adventurous with my eats lately, so yeah… that one definitely would have been a challenge. And your night at home relaxing by the tree and watching Elf sounds perfect. Love your nail color too :)

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I’m not too adventurous with my eats usually either, but once in awhile when I have an excuse or get inspired, I try to mix things up. This one proved to be worth it, it was kinda nice to have an entire balanced meal in one dish, chicken, veggies, grains, delicious! And it was seriously a perfect night…I might be planning to repeat it tonight. Raging Friday night? Nah, I’d rather wrap presents and watch Christmas movies :)

  4. Cookie Dough Katzen

    Ah I totally know what you mean about trying to shop for the boyfriend! Mine doesn’t like stuff in general but he always needs clothes. I think a nice shirt is always good! I’m getting him a zip up pull over since he doesn’t like sweaters but needs something warm! Good luck with the shopping! And hey, a telescope would be an awesome gift ;)

    1. aftertheivyleague

      Hahaha, seriously have you seen the telescopes in Target? So random! That sounds like a great gift idea, plus you can make sure you buy something you know he’ll look good in ;) I’m still torn..I know he likes sports and movies..I’m sure I can think of something!

  5. runningonjava

    Oh circuits, I really need to start doing them. That one seems pretty good. I need ones with minimal equipment needed – and that looks perfect! Enjoy shopping for the boyfriend! I would suggest something, but I’m not the best gifter to boys :)

    1. aftertheivyleague

      It was a great circuit, minimal equipment for sure. Those are the only kinds I generally like to do, since I don’t own that much of my own stuff and I get weirdly self-conscious in the weight areas of gyms. And boys are so hard to shop for! Blah haha

  6. Life's a Bowl

    You have been ROCKING the challenges girl, woo hoo to you! I loved this week’s challenges actually, would love to repeat them weekly- indulge, relax, bake, cook, workout, repeat! I’ve heard about subbing Greek yogurt in cake recipes but never cookies, that sounds awesome! I’d love the recipe [even if it's not ready- email por favor?] I’m hoping to bake next week over break… And your casserole looks divine- love quinoa!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      Thanks! I know, I loved this week’s challenges too! Workout, then treat yourself, then bake (which is also a treat if you ask me!) then cook, then give back. Great way to live life! I’ll send you an email of my trail recipe and what I think may have been missing.

    1. aftertheivyleague

      OMG I know! I feel like my arms are definitely my weak point in strength training. The shoulder raises were killing me! I had to split the 15 reps into 7 then 8 on the last circuit. It definitely made them super soft and chewy, really good. I like my cookies to have a tiny bit of crunch though, then hit you with the chewiness. Still working on this one :)

  7. Chelsie S

    We donated to the food bank and toy mountain at work this year. It made me feel awesome. :)
    We ONLY had casseroles when we were younger (hello, instant leftovers! My parents were smart people), so I’m almost TOO familiar with them, but haven’t indulged in any kind for FOREVER now that I’m just cooking for one. Hm. Do you think this one would be alright done up as a single dish if I fractioned the recipe? It looks amazing and simple to boot!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I think you could definitely scale this recipe down! I actually only made a half recipe to begin with, and if you cut that in half again, it’d probably work great. Then you could have dinner and maybe freeze leftovers for a later time. It’s pretty simple, but I have to confess, uses a good amount of dishes! Thankfully I’m a weirdo and don’t mind doing lots of dishes haha

  8. practicinggrace

    I just ate dinner and now I’m craving that pasta. Good dinner move. My family is not big into casseroles either, but I think it’s a nice, convenient dish and yours looked yummo. Glad youre home for the holidays!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I’m not sure if I’m completely converted into a casserole believer, but the one dish dinner definitely appealed to me. This one was definitely my most successful so far! And thanks, me too, the holidays are great! :)

  9. Pingback: I Got Spoiled | After the Ivy League

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