Phenomenal Pumpkin Chili

Let’s clear the air, friends. I don’t like to eat veggies. I could blame it on my mom, who managed a fast food restaurant my whole life, but in my heart I know it’s my own dang fault.

All that being said- last night I ate my veggies. They were in the form of chili, but normally I pick around the pieces I don’t want and leave the sad remnants of what could’ve been a nutritious meal in the bowl to feed to the disposal.

Not last night. I ate ALL of it. Twice.

So here you go, the best chili I have ever had (and like any good recipe, it was passed down from a friend who got it from another person who got it from someone else and so on….)

Seriously, so easy. Make it. Eat it. Love it.

Pumpkin Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb hot Italian sausage (I used a sweet Italian sausage)
1 29 oz canned pumpkin
1 14 oz canned tomatoes with green chiles, drained
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper (I doubled the green and skipped the yellow. Yellow is expensive.)
1 medium onion (I used a white one)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
salt/pepper to taste
Step 1: Saute garlic, peppers and onion in olive oil in large pot.
Ooo pretty colors!

Ooo pretty colors!


Step 2: Add both meats and cook until they brown. Add the salt and pepper to make it yummy.

Ooo meat!

Oooh, meat!


Step 3: Add remaining ingredients, stir to incorporate, and simmer for 30 minutes.




So there you have it my friends. The day Robin ate her vegetables, brought to you by her friends from Nerd Fitness.


Losing 100+ Pounds and Finding Myself

In 2008 (when I was 26 years old) I got the worst call of my life. My dad, who I loved more than anyone, had a stroke at work and had been taken to the ER. I flew home as fast as I could, but I never saw him awake again. A week later he passed away.

That day I thought my life fell apart. But, I was kidding myself- my life had started to fall apart way before that. When I got home from Chicago I was in a daze. About 3 weeks later, I started “living” again- going through the motions. You see, my dad was overweight, diabetic, and had really high blood pressure. As they were trying to stabilize him, it became apparent that he hadn’t been taking the meds he was prescribed, like he was supposed to. All of this culminated in an aneurysm in his brain that the neurosurgeon couldn’t correct.  Over the next year, I began to evaluate my own life. My dad was a week in to 51 years old when he passed- way too young. He and I had a lot in common from our love of the outdoors to our love of food. Also, over the next year, my marriage fell apart. I was a mess.

At the end of 2009 I made a clear, conscious decision (a stake in the ground sort of moment) to stop “going through the motions” and OWN my life and my choices. January 2010 I was 267 pounds, an emotional time bomb, and just plain miserable. Nothing I was doing gave me joy anymore. And that wasn’t going to work for me.

I spent the next two and a half years watching what I put in my mouth, and moving my body more. Diet-wise, I watched calories, tracking everything, and then eventually switched to a mostly Paleo lifestyle in the spring of 2012. I don’t do it perfectly, but right now I am in the middle of a Whole30 (from, trying to figure my body out. I’m not going for a quick fix- I’ve been at this for a long time and plan to be healthy for the rest of my life.  Exercise wise, I started with walking. I could hardly walk a block before getting winded and the little voice inside my head would tell me “you can’t do this; you may as well go home now.” Somehow, I learned to silence that voice. I started running with my friend La Nae, first with Couch to 5k, then with Lifetime’s Run Club and their trainer David Clark’s organization . I have since run a ton of 5 and 10k’s as well as 2 half marathons.

In the process of finding a better (best) version of me I stumbled upon . This changed my life. I had all the individual components, but I couldn’t seem to juggle them all at once. Reading the articles and talking with others who have had success helped propel me into a position to really level up my life. I learned to do some strength training in conjunction with my cardio. I learned a lot about food and have made an informed decision to cut certain foods out of my life. I have made amazing friends, like Amanda(Wicked Pixie) who all support me and encourage me to keep going. The challenges help me take my long term goals and make them bite size and baby-stepped. I have learned to put into action all the small pieces of my life simultaneously. THAT’s where life change happens.

I have now been at this for two and a half years. I have lost 102 pounds (and am still losing) and in the process I have found a reason to keep going- I’m worth it. I’m worth the hard work, the sweat, the pain, and the tough choices. All of it. I am stronger, smarter, and more joyful. I haven’t arrived- I still have a lot of really hard work to do. The difference is that now I know I can.

Before and Now (ironically wearing the number 102 and the day I lost 102 pounds!)