Grandma’s Beef Stew Recipe

There are 3 things that need to occur before I officially accept that fall is here.

  1.  The temps become cooler
  2. The leaves turn colors
  3. I make Mom’s Beef Stew

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to share with you this recipe.  I grew up with my mom making this, a recipe that was passed down to her from my Grandma.  Let me tell you, this woman made this dish to perfection!  Without a doubt, this recipe is our family favorite.  The best part, it is without a doubt, one of the easiest recipes I have ever made.  It only requires a handful of ingredients, but the mixture and flavor is absolutely amazing.


I would highly recommend making this recipe on a cold chilly Sunday.  Football on the TV while you snuggle on the couch and let this slow cook all day long!  Perfect for a big crowd – full disclosure; this recipe feeds a small army.  So be prepared to invite guests, or have lots of leftovers.  (PS – beef stew leftovers are almost better than the first bowl….so I would plan for that, haha).

**All the ingredients listed below can absolutely be adjusted to taste.  Feel free to play with the ratio of meat, potatoes, and carrots to your liking!



Jamie’s Journey – Top Tips for Half Marathon Training and Race Day

Happy Monday fellow Herons.  Last week I had detailed what the day was like when I ran my first Half Marathon (you can read that post HERE).  Now I want to share with you some tips – and things I would do differently for my next race!

Tip One – Just RUN!  The first tip has everything to do with training.  When I had started training for my first Half Marathon, I got in my own head and would sometimes overthink things.  Trying to decide if I should run intervals, for endurance, etcetera, etcetera.  As my training runs got longer, if I couldn’t fit in the entire run due to time constraints, I wouldn’t go.  Looking back, I wish I just got out more and ran.  Even if it was just for a few miles.  Those miles add up and they really do help.  No matter what style of training run, they all help.  Just RUN!

Tip Two – Invest in your shoes!  I had a pretty decent pair of shoes and they saw me through the race just fine.  But, I certainly do think that even a better fitted shoe would have done me that much better!  Many stores that specialize in running shoes will do a fitting with you and will help you to find the best shoe for you and your feet!

Tip Three – Body glide EVERYWHERE.  No matter your shape or size, chances are some part of your body will be rubbing on another part for all those miles.  Grab a bottle of body glide and put on said body parts.  Trust me – you will thank me on this one.

Tip Four – Bring some gum.  I was passed this tip as we were leaving for the race.  As you run, your mouth may get dry.  The gum will help to counter this.  I had a piece of gum in my purse, so I quickly threw it in my running belt (just in case).  I was really happy I did.

Tip Five – Know when to listen to your body….but also when to listen to your head!  When race day finally arrives, the adrenaline kicks in and when you begin the race you feel as though you can run faster and further.  Although your body may be telling you that you can go, go, go – it is important to remember how much further you have to go.  I saw MANY people burned out by mile 6.  They pushed too hard too quickly.  If the race has a pacing runner that is running for your goal time/pace, that is a great way to stay on track.  If not, keep a watch on hand or use an app that will track your pace.  This will let you know if you are speeding up a little too much from that adrenaline.

Tip Six – Stop listening to your head and listen to your body.  Yes.  I know.  I’m now telling you the exact opposite.  This piece of advice applies more to the second half of the race.  You may be getting tired.  Now is the time to dig deep and push yourself.  If your body feels good – then keep it up!

So there you have it.  Some of the top tips I have to share based on my experience from running my first Half Marathon!  I hope you found this information helpful.  If you have any tips – I would LOVE to hear from you!  Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Be sure to stop by next week as I share with you some VERY exciting news for Jamie’s Journey!!

Until next time – wishing you happy and healthy feet!

Jamie @ Wise Heron

Jamie’s Journey – Race Day

Just a few weeks ago, on October 9th, I had the opportunity to run my very first Half Marathon!  A goal I had set for myself at the beginning of the summer.  For those who have never run a race before or had questions about what it was like – I wanted to take a moment to recap for you my day of the race!

Night before race – Our group of 8 runners and families spent the evening at our rental cabin.  We were enjoying the beautiful fall South Dakota evening sitting around a bonfire settling in for an early night of sleep.  We had a big spaghetti dinner to help fuel our bodies with carbs for the following morning.  Our bags were prepped and clothes set out for the following morning.  Most (if not all) of us turned in by about 8-9pm.

5:00 am – Alarm goes off.  Time to get up!  Our bus leaves in a couple of hours for the starting line.  We all take the time to slowly wake up.  Enjoy a cup of coffee and a light breakfast.  Many of you runners know this coffee is crucial…lets just say, you want to make sure you go to the restroom before you start your long run…(crude, a little…but hey, its the truth!!)

6:15 am – We start rounding up the troops and head to the vehicles.  We have a short ride to our bus that will bring us to The Crazy Horse Monument, where the fun begins!  I start to double and triple check my bag I’m bringing with.  Headphones, phone (for music), belt, goo, gum.  Everything is packed.  I’m ready to go.

7:00 am – The bus leaves right on time.  Off we go.  There is a lot of chatter on the bus, but also a slight sense of nervousness all around.  We all have our goals that we are out to set.  Some it is a certain goal time.  Others (like me) are just preparing to finish.

7:10 am – The bus driver just pointed out on the side of the road where a set of port-a-pottys are along our trail we will soon be hitting.  You can see it from the bus.  Phew – between mile 8-9.  That’s good to know, haha.  Certainly helped to break some of that nervous tension from the air for everyone!

7:35 am – We make it.  We drop our bags that will be picked up at the finish line.  Our crew is circled around stretching and chatting.  That nervousness is still around – but more and more its also becoming excitement.  I keep reminding myself in a few short hours it will be over….so I need to enjoy this moment while I can.  What happens, happens.  All the training leads up to this moment.

7:50 am – Line up begins.  Live music is playing.  The weather is cool – about 40 degrees.  They have signs up for those that want to follow a “pacer”.  I walk myself towards the back end of the crowd.  I figure this way less people will pass me in the beginning.  Looking ahead I see a huge hill.  Looks like are going to start with a doozy….the count down begins…here we go!

8:01 am – We are off.  Takes a minute or two for me to pass the starting point.  My music isn’t playing.  CRAP.  I try another playlist on my music app…it plays.  THANK GOODNESS!  Time to take my first goo.

MILE 1 – A hill.  Oh joy…I start by running up the hill when I remind myself I have a long way to go.  About half way up the HUGE hill, I decide to walk just a little bit.  I remind myself of the saying “this is a marathon, not a sprint”.  (Literally).  At the top of the hill I start to pick up my pace again.

MILE 2 – Typically my least favorite mile.  I try to get my mind in a good place.  Here comes a runner going the opposite direction?!  I think to myself, What in the world?!  Suddenly I realize that mile 3 we go the opposite direction, and pass each other.  Soon HUNDREDS of people to started in front of me are passing me going the other way.  I’m going to be honest with you…that was a mental brain f*#@!!!  I keep my eyes forward and keep pushing on.  Occasionally you hear someone who is running the other direction yell “keep it up” or “You got this” to those in the crowd!  To those people – THANK YOU….because that excitement meant everything at that moment!  Soon enough I reach the turn and I start my way back for Mile 3.  Thank goodness that mile is done and thankfully we don’t have another crossing spot like this again!

Mile 5 – I’m feeling pretty good.  Each few miles I take a peek at my watch.  I’ve been pretty consistent for time each individual mile.  Almost time for a second goo – and a water station)…

Mile 8 – The sun is coming out and it feels good.  There is still a beautiful breeze.  I think about the training runs done in the humidity and in the rain….They make today seem like the easy run!  We haven’t had any other hills.  Thank goodness for that.  I can feel my right foot rubbing slightly against my shoe.  Looks like I need to get a new pair.  But it isn’t painful.  Port-a-potties are coming up.  I didn’t feel much like I needed them – but my mama always taught me as a kid, you either go or get ready to hold it…

Mile 10 – Time for the last goo.  This was my “benchmark mile”.  I knew if I hit mile 10 and I was feeling good that I got this.  Excitement ran through me.  Oddly enough, the insides of my arms were getting a bit of a burn from rubbing on my side.  That hurt more than anything else.  (I’ll take it…)  The last water station was coming up, too.  Those were my favorite…mostly because you had people cheering you on as you would pass.

Mile 12 – I coughed.  Just a little one.  My head got dizzy.  Ohhhhhh crap!  No more coughing for me.  I grabbed a piece of gum and started chewing to help get rid of the dry mouth feeling.  That seemed to help!  My hamstring felt a little shaky.  I’m ALMOST there – about a mile to go.  It was time to dig deep and push.

Mile 12.5 – I see my friend Liss up ahead.  She already finished and was waiting for me.  She joins me for what is our second and last up hill area.  Compared to the first hill, this should be nothing.  But we are so close to the end….it feels like a mountain.  Liss tells me after this uphill we turn and it’s all downhill to the finish line.  I’m almost there.  She tells me I’m going to run in and there is no walking allowed.

Mile 12.7 – We take the turn and off we go.  I see the finish line up ahead and people lining the streets.  Our group of those who already finished and families are standing on the side with signs cheering on.  My leg is really starting to shake now.  I want to stop.  I want to walk.  But I’ve worked too hard to stop right now.  A man standing in the middle of the road with a bull horn telling me I’m just 100 yards away from the finish line.  That distance never seemed so far!  Liss joins our group on the side as I finish my way to the end!

Mile 13.1 – I DID IT!  The next 2 minutes seem like a blur.  I’m handed my medal and a water.  Someone asks me a question – I think they asked if I want a banana.  I can’t even speak so I shake my head.  I DID IT!

I look at my time and I realize I finished less than about 10 minutes than I had expected!  Tears start to flow.  I walk towards my group as we give hugs and high fives.  There is a chair near us so I take a seat for a moment while I try to just gather my thoughts.  I start to tear up a bit as I think about what a journey this has been.

We still had our 3 runners who completed the full marathon to cheer on.  As I wait, we hoot and holler for the others coming across that finish line and do some stretches.  My body is exhausted.  I take off my shoes and see a big blister on the side of my foot.  I expected it to look worse – so this actually makes me a bit happy!

Once our whole group has finished we make our way back to our bus.  Everyone is moving veeeery slowly.  We decide to go back to our cabin to all get cleaned up a bit and ready for an early group dinner and drink to celebrate.  I can’t begin to explain in words the atmosphere in the crowd!  That feeling of nervousness in the morning is completely replaced with a feeling of accomplishment and excitement…and maybe a little bit of exhaustion…

I DID IT!  And now I was ready for a nap.  🙂

Make sure to check back next week as I talk a little bit more about what lessons I learned from my race and what I would do different for my next one.  I’ll chat about changes I will make to my training as well as for race day!

Until next time – wishing you happy and healthy feet!

Jamie @ Wise Heron




Jamie’s Journey – the person behind the runner.

Who am I?  For months now I have been sharing with you my journey leading up to my very first half marathon.  Along the way I have shared with you some of my favorite songs to listen to while running, changes in diet I have made, frustrations I have experienced mentally and physically while training – but I have shared little with you details about who I am.  The person behind the runner.  So before I share with you about running my first half marathon, I want to take a brief moment to share a little bit more about me – and who I have become along this journey.

I’ll spare you all the little details from my childhood – mostly because I had a pretty ‘typical’ Midwestern upbringing…but also because I don’t think most people clicked on this post to read a huge autobiography, haha!  Instead, I’ll start by sharing with you some of the titles/hats I wear in life.  I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a fur-mom, a co-worker, an employee…and the list goes on.  I’m sure many of you reading this wear many of these same hats, as well (and then some!)  Growing up as the middle child in my family, I many times felt myself being the peace-keeper and the mediator it different situations.  I always got pretty good grades, had a close group of friends, and for the most part made “wise” decisions.  I guess you could say I was not the biggest risk taker.  I’m okay with that.  Rarely did I desire to be in the limelight.  I was (and am) a happy person….but I have to be totally honest and say that at times I felt like I was missing something in life.  I needed a goal – or a challenge.  Something I’m guessing many of us can relate to at some point or another.

In March I started my position here with Wise Heron.  It brought me some of the challenges and excitement I was looking for.  But still….I was behind the scenes (and that made me happy).  I was still in my comfort zone, in my safe little bubble of a world.  Then it happened.  My runner friends started talking about their plans to run the Crazy Horse Half Marathon.  Now, mind you, at this point – I could barely run around the block without getting a bit out of breathe!  Still, something inside of me sparked and I thought to myself…I CAN DO THAT!  In a flash of a moment, my little safe bubble was popped and I signed up for the race!  I had about 4 1/2 months to train…and I was determined to run the half marathon.

The next day at the office I shared with Megan (Founder of Wise Heron) this new goal I had made.  Her excitement for me added to my excitement!  She asked me to share my journey with you!  (eeeek!)  ME?!  Mini panic attack ensued inside me.  I would be going from behind the scene to front and center every Monday in my blog post.  Looking back now, I couldn’t be happier to have shared this with you along the way.  It added to my accountability for my running.  Whether my posts would be read by 1 person (Hi Mom!) or 100 people, I was going to see it through to the end.  To share with others a perspective of running from the eyes of a beginner.

The journey began.  I will be completely honest again…the excitement wore off quickly and I was left many times over the months of training with an oh $#!% feeling (pardon my language..)!!  BUT, race fees were paid, the lodging for my stay in South Dakota was booked…and I made a commitment.  So each training day, I would drag my butt down to my running shoes, throw them on, grab my headphones, and hit the pavement.

It didn’t happen over night, but looking back – I grew so much.  I was forced out of that little comfort zone I created for so long.  I pushed myself physically more than I have since 6th grade gym class.  I became more confident in myself.  All those hours of running, I had a chance to reflect on the type of person I wanted to be (both as a runner and as a person in general).

Over the course of this journey, I had people reach out to me and send messages cheering me on.  Sharing with me their own goals.  It gave me so much joy to create connections with people I hardly knew before!  All of a sudden, I realized what a huge and amazing community runners are.


When I started this whole thing, I thought I was going to share with you my journey over a couple months time training for this one run.  Little did I know…this decision…this race…was setting me up to start the next big journey of my life!  (and I couldn’t be happier!)

In the coming weeks I’m excited to share with you more about the race.  What I did to prepare in the days leading up to the race.  How did I cope during my run.  The after-race aches and pains.  Things I learned and what will I do different for my next Half Marathon.  And of course to share where and when the next race will be for this girl!

I hope you continue to follow along with me on this journey!  If you have an upcoming race or event, I hope you share it with me in the comments below!  If you have recently reached a goal, crossed a finish line, or just did something that made you feel like a rock star – I hope you share that in the comments with me, too!

Until next time…wishing you happy and healthy feet!

Jamie @ Wise Heron

Good Luck, Runners!

Welcome to October, some excellent running awaits you!  First and foremost, I want to wish JAMIE, my partner in crime, the BEST OF LUCK for an excellent race this weekend.  If you’ve been following her blog, Jamie’s Journey, you know she has been putting in the time, the miles, and the anxiety that comes with training for her FIRST EVER HALF MARATHON!  I couldn’t be more proud of her and excited for her to share the comradery with her friends and the community of runners, experience the challenge and perseverance that gets you to the end, and to soak in all that race day has to offer.  This is a BIG accomplishment and I hope the strength of pursuing this goal, training for it mentally and physically, and tackling race day itself this weekend bring her years of pride for her new strength and achievement!

I’d also like to send some BIG LUCK and strength to all those running our local Twin Cities Marathon this weekend. It is called “the Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America” for a reason! The marathon and 10-mile course are spectacular. We wish all the runners a great event!

There are a ton of great races across the country this month including some extra fun Halloween runs.  We hope you get in on the fun and folly before the days get any shorter and our thoughts turn to turkey.

Good luck everyone – you have made us proud already!

With Love,
Megan @ Wise Heron

Happy Fall Equinox!

Among my other quirks, I love the equinox. While technically the start of Fall (ahhhh, so much to LOVE!), the equinoxes represent a time of balance with precisely equal amounts of light and dark in the day and across the hemispheres.  Each spring and fall, I like to use these days to take stock of where I have balance (and more importantly, ahem, imbalance) in my life – physically, emotionally, within relationships, in how I’m allocating my time/energy, and in just the way I feel. I hope you can take a minute too to take a little inventory, do a quick gut check, and celebrate whatever balance looks like for you. Clearly, I can celebrate most anything.

I also wanted to congratulate a few of our tribe who spent last weekend out running their first half marathon, their first 10 mile, competing in a hard core mountain bike race, and otherwise being awesome (some guest posts to come!).You all truly inspire me. On Saturday, I too ran the Stillwater Log Run 10 mile. I told you all I was going to buckle down and train for a PR (personal record). The goal was to be under 94 minutes and my secret goal was to be under 90 minutes. Well, I trained…I worked hard…I prepared mentally and with pre-race pizza..and on race day, I pushed myself to dig in and try harder than I’ve raced before.  It worked.  A lot. I ran faster consecutive miles than I’ve ever run and finished in 84.5 minutes. I tell you this not to get too run-pace-technical or focus too much on time results BUT to share what I learned this weekend. We are stronger than we think.  And, that matters on so many levels.

I know many of you have your sights on fall goals and events. Keep at it, keep pushing yourself to get stronger, feel stronger, be stronger. We’re with you every step of the way…

With Love,
Megan @ Wise Heron

Happy September!

I’ve got to say, I’ve been having SO much fun connecting with many of you as you get back to exercise, sign up for your first run/walk event, push forward on more intense goals, or commit to just being more aware of moving your body regularly. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to listen, offer any advice on things I learned the hard way, and to in turn be inspired by you. It truly gets me out the door to “join you” as you work hard.

SO, let me be brief  (wait, wha?!) and give you the straight up most important 3 tips I have for anyone who is ramping up their workouts, starting to run, or starting a new fitness goal:

1) SHOES.  Working out need not be expensive. To walk or run, shoes are the only real equipment you need – but you NEED the right shoes. If you are walking/running, you need different support than if you are doing CrossFit or playing a sport. No steep investment required but it is necessary to avoid hurting your knees, back, etc.  Unless, you’re going to yoga it up – then adios shoes!

2) ADDING MILEAGE/INTENSITY.  I want you to push yourself and work hard but smart so we can avoid injury.  The rule of thumb with running/walking, is that you can safely ramp up mileage about 10-20% each week or add 1 mile onto one of your week’s runs (i.e. – going from 2 miles to 3 miles OR 5 miles to 6 miles). Let’s not go endorphin crazy and go from 3 miles to 6 miles in a day…take your time so you can adapt. I would apply a similar effort-based 10-20% rule to lifting weights or other workouts

3) CHANGE THINGS UP.  Doing different types of workouts, mixing in a yoga or strength class, varying your running/walking pace, distance, terrain will keep your body working hard and stop you from hitting that dreaded plateau.

Of course, there are lots of other tips and tricks to learn – mentally and physically – as you ramp up or make your wellness a priority. We continue our commitment to being a resource and support in any way we can to wrestle wellness into your lifestyle. Truth be told, we need our health to keep us doing the things we want to do in life – especially when we want to LIVE BIG.

Keep us posted on your current goals, progress, and fall races. We love to connect over your questions, stories, and pictures and are proud to sweat with all of you!

With Love,
Megan @ Wise Heron

Being Better Than You Were Yesterday


Summer is rallying…it’s holding Fall off a bit longer. Get out and soak it up!

I can tell you that there are a gazillion personal reasons that people run or push themselves to get their sweat on. As evidenced by our (re)Writeable shirts (holla!), you run for clarity, you sweat for weight loss, you walk for wine (holla back!), you hike for balance, etc. You know it’s good for your body…and hopefully you know it’s good for your mind. My recent return to (actual) training and conversations with many of you have reminded me how good sweating is for the soul. (I acknowledge this is a stretch for those who would rather sell their soul…)

The fact is, starting any exercise commitment is daunting. Setting a goal is unnerving. Having a shitty run is demoralizing. And, sometimes a workout leaves you exhausted. But the value is in the process – the start, the training, the commitment, pushing yourself through bad workouts, riding the high of the awesome workouts, and being better than you were yesterday. While crossing the finish line is technically the goal in a race, the gift lies in the hard core strength developed in your body, mind, and soul – yours to keep and flex indefinitely beyond the finish line. Swoosh.

Whew, that got deep (God, I hope she doesn’t do this all the time!) so….
Get out there. Push yourself.
You can do it – you will do it.
You need it. And, you’re worth it.

With Love,
Megan @ Wise Heron

PS – In case you need it…

running playlist

Savor the Summer!

Happy August,

I hope you are enjoying the final weeks of summer….and braving the swelter to get your sweat on while the sun is shining bright on you!

Remember when I told you I’d crack the whip again come August? It’s time. I’ve got my sights on a 10-mile race in September and a HALF Marathon in October. Time to bring a little structure to my weekly workouts and savor the last weeks of salty summer sweatfest. My personal plan is to run four days a week and try to work in a yoga class as possible. One thing I love about the end of summer….is the promise of fall.

There are a TON of great fall walks and races – for charities, for apples, for beer…..and even for apple beer (how do you like them apples?!). Grab a friend and get one on the calendar….getting out in the mix will be the perfect adios to summer and bienvenido to fall. If we can help you find an event or gear up for one, please email us or join our Closed FB Group. It truly helps keep us accountable, exchange hoorahs, and have a place to ask question about any nagging or awkward training problem. As runners, we do awkward well.

Keep up the good work, my friends! We get our sweat on not only to feel good today but to live the life we want to live later. Double Boom.

Now, get out there!

With Love,
Megan @ Wise Heron