Tortellini Minestrone Soup

September 23rd marked the first day of fall. Although the weather hasn’t quite caught up to the calendar yet here in the Midwest, the mornings are definitely chillier and the leaves show notes of turning. Instead of posting yet another pumpkin recipe (don’t worry, I will eventually!), I thought I would be a good time to share a comforting soup with you.

This is extremely easy, delicious and chock full of vegetables. It’s also easily customizable to your particular tastes. Feel free to make it a “kitchen sink” soup or sorts and throw in whatever vegetables or protein you have on hand. Whatever you decide, put a pot on and enjoy bundled up in your favorite sweatshirt because it’s officially fall!

Tortellini Minestrone Soup

Serves 6-8


2 small zucchinis (or 1 large), diced

¾ C carrots, chopped

1-14.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1-14.5 oz. can tomato sauce*

1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes*

2-14.5 oz. cans reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth**

½ lb. ground beef or turkey

6-9 oz. package cheese tortellini

½ Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

Pepper to taste


In a large soup pot, add olive oil and brown ground beef or turkey on medium heat. Add garlic, zucchini and carrots and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, broth, seasonings, and tortellini. Reduce heat and simmer until tortellini expands and is cooked through. Pour into bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

*choose reduced/lower sodium options when available

**I prefer a thicker soup, if you want it to be thinner add another can of broth.



Pet Peeves of a Group Fitness Instructor

I’ve been instructing group fitness classes for over three years now. Although I mainly teach spinning classes, I have also lead yoga classes and ab circuit trainings as well. I can say from experience that teaching group fitness is a lot different than taking it. Throughout the years, I have developed some “pet peeves” shall we say, that I see over and over again from participants that really bother me as an instructor. So whether you’re a newbie or regular class taker, take note and avoid these no-no’s.

1.) Coming to class late when your new

The first time taking a new-to-you class, arrive AT LEAST 10 minutes early. Especially if your new to the format or equipment being used. Especially in my spin classes, I’ve had participants show up right when class starts so I have no time to show them how to properly set up their bike. This is crucial, because it avoids setting you up for injuries. I either have to start class late (which isn’t fair for the other participants) or let them go when they have no idea what they are doing. Either way, it’s stressful on instructor. Plus, arriving early helps you feel more at ease and comfortable before everything gets going!

2.) Coming to class late AT ALL

Self-explanatory. It disrupts class, so don’t do it.

3.) Trying to match my intensity level exactly

Don’t automatically try to match the instructor’s level of intensity. I’ve seen way to many people go too hard, get frustrated and never come back. Remember, we’ve been doing this for a while and have a lot more practice than you. In addition to telling participants my individual resistance and RPM (speed), I also give reference ranges so individuals can tailor the workout to their fitness level. Just because your not matching the instructor, does NOT mean you aren’t getting a good workout or that you’re weak. It’s better to maintain good form and work your way up.

4.) Keeping resistance too high or too low despite my cueing

This one pertains specifically to spin. Resistance means how hard it is to push down the pedals. A higher resistance is used during hills and a lower one is used when we do sprints. Again, I give reference ranges and additional cueing throughout the song so participants can have an idea of where they should be. Despite this, I continually see some people either going to high or too low on their resistance. Pay attention to the instructor and when he/she is giving cues briefly look up. Oftentimes, if I’m trying to get someone’s attention to correct their form, I look at them when I cue so they make the connection that I’m talking to them.

5.) Not asking for help or questions

Asking for help or voicing questions or concerns is appreciated by instructors! Whether it’s a question about the equipment, a certain move or a modification, we like it when you talk to us and show interest in making the most out of your workout. P.s. I can tell if you need help but don’t want to ask for it, and I will approach you. Avoid the awkwardness and just ask!