About Me

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I am a former career girl and am now a stay-at-home-mom to 2 amazing little girls. Exercise and "dieting" have never been easy for me. But now more than ever, I am determined to adhere to a more active, healthy lifestyle. I am not dieting - just making smarter, more natural food choices. I want to set a great example for my girls. I starting running last year with the Couch-to-5K running program. I've lost over 35 pounds since last year and I want to lose 60 more. I completed my first race (a 5K) in October and I running a 10K by this summer. My long-term goal is ultimately to run a half-marathon in 2012. I've created this blog to put it all out there and most of all - to keep me honest. I include a tested recipe & inspiring workout song on each post. I am also hoping to inspire and be inspired by you! I would love for you to join me for this journey and become an official follower of this blog!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

See you sometime in 2011!

Per my note on the facebook page - I'm taking a few weeks off the blog. 

However I thought I would do one quick post because if you want to start eating healthier now that the bulk of the holidays are over (like I do), I wanted to share an awesome recipe I made recently. 

I have to get back into eating a lot healthier as at times this holiday season I pretended like calories didn't count, so I could enjoy my holiday favorites - sometimes I did go a bit overboard (like with the sugar cookies I made with my daughter) - see picture (yikes!...seriously I can tell I've gained a few lbs back).

Regarding the recipe posted below - I saw it in a recent Cooking Light and earmarked it to eventually try as I wanted to make myself "step out of the box" since it included parsnips and kale. I am not going to lie, this recipe took a long time / was kind of a pain to cook - but it was worth it. Very flavorful and hearty for a vegetarian dish. It would be a good one to make on a weekend where you would have more time for cooking. Ps - I don't think you could miss adding the wine on this one - it made the flavor!

Enjoy and I'll be back sometime in 2011!

Pasta with Black Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Parsnips

note: this is slightly modified from the original CL version.

6 servings (serving size: 1 2/3 cups)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cups (1/3-inch) diagonally cut parsnip (about 1 pound)
2 1/2 cups sliced onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups trimmed chopped black kale (about 3 bunches) - note: I used regular kale
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta - I used whole wheat
2/3 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add parsnip to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.
2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnips, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Approx 350 Calories, 9g fat per serving

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The same letters that spell "tired" spell "tried".

I do love the holiday season. I think this is mainly because my mom really made it feel so special to me growing up, so I have fantastic memories.... and now I can't wait to do that for my girls. 

But lately it's been tougher. There have been many more activities (daytime & nighttime) going on than I've had in the past, and I also have one more child in the mix. On top of that, I now need to make sure to get in my cardio sessions as well as making sure to have the extra time for healthy whole foods.

I know I can't do it all (even though I really want to). My house still isn't fully decorated. I fell of the wagon a bit food wise this week (this includes pizza, coffee cake, lots of tortilla chips and guac! - it hasn't been pretty!). My husband was about ready to explode if I didn't get the house better organized/de-cluttered. And I am late getting this post out (largely because I've been de-cluttering :).

But I've done some good things too (besides all of the mom stuff of course). I've worked out consistently. My physical therapist allowed me to start running again super gradually - I've gone a few times (alternating running and walking a few minutes at a time for 20 minutes total. My leg is still sore so I can't increase it yet). Because that isn't much of a workout, I still did the stairmaster for 30 minutes to try to keep my endurance up. Also I've made time for myself, not only working out but socially - something I sacrificed in the past.

I do have to say I've been overwhelmingly tired. It truly is really hard to try to fit "everything" in and still have some alone time, but I've made sure for the most part to fit the most important ones in - so there isn't a domino effect. 

I am not taking off more to bite than I can chew - especially after reading a recent NY Times article on the topic. And I am not volunteering for things I know will overwhelm me even more. 

For instance I've really wanted to update the look and feel of this blog. It's one of the big things on my "to-do" list. I want to make the format better so there is a separate tab for recipes, and so it's easier to comment and subscribe etc. This one will have to wait until early in the new year - but I am looking forward to doing it!

Weigh-In Update- I weighed myself on Monday and I lost the 1.5 lbs I had gained back during my cardio-free forced weeks and also have lost one more for a total of 21 pounds since July. However I think I probably gained 5 pounds back based on what I've eaten above already this week. I am going to have to have a fairly clean rest of the week and am hoping to just maintain for next week!

Please help me out by answering the following question either in the comment below or on the facebook page (see right)....not only so I know people are reading this but because I truly need the help!
How do you avoid going overboard (food wise) during the holidays?

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING (REALLY!) THIS WEEK: "F**K YOU!" Cee Lo Green (explicit version). PLEASE NOTE- This song is not for the faint of heart :). I also (dare I say) love to work out to the Gwyneth Paltrow /clean version of the song called "Forget You" from Glee. 
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Incorporate cinnamon into your diet. Sprinkle on anything from cereal, oatmeal, yogurt (like I did below) coffee etc. The health benefits are huge from this little spice and it's a great anti-inflammitory. 
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Greek Yogurt with Pumpkin & Cinnamon as well Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts

Greek Yogurt with Pumpkin & Cinnamon 
Fage was on sale at my grocery store - therefore I bought alot. I do think it is the best greek yogurt by far even though it's expensive. I was getting sick of my usual combo of the yogurt, berries and a little raw honey so I came up with the below concoction and it was delish!

One small Fage Fat-Free 6 oz yogurt
3-4TBS fresh canned pumpkin (make sure it's just plain pumpkin not filling and the ingredients are only pumpkin!)
1.5 tsp Agave syrup
.5 tsp Cinnamon

Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts

I made this from September's Cooking Light with one slight adaptation. I'm always looking for a new chicken recipe and I will definitely make this again since it was pretty easy.

NOTE: I am so sorry that this is an ugly picture! I usually try to make the food look better but I was so hungry that night that I started eating before I remembered to take the picture :)
4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed chicken breast half)

5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Heat a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing constantly. Place spinach in a colander; press until barely moist. Wipe pan clean.
3. Combine spinach, cheese, nuts, thyme, juice, and garlic. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 3 tablespoons filling into each pocket. Seal with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Add broth, and cover pan. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until done.
APPROXIMATELY...CALORIES 297 ; FAT 11.6g (sat 3.4g,mono 4.4g,poly 2.4g); CHOLESTEROL 111mg; CALCIUM 131mg; CARBOHYDRATE 3.4g; SODIUM 493mg; PROTEIN 43.3g; FIBER 1.2g; IRON 2.7mg 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"Life itself is the proper binge."-Julia Child

I didn't want to miss a post (as I promised that I would post at least weekly), but I am going to keep this one short and sweet.
I plan to truly enjoy this holiday weekend and I hope you do too. Take some time not only to reflect in the positive in your life, appreciating what you are thankful for, but take some time for yourself to relax and recharge.
Progress update: I am planning on weighing myself after Thanksgiving in order help me from  going too overboard. Even though I can tell I've gained even a few more pounds back (I think the past few months of being on-hold exercise wise and not watching what I was eating as closely, have finally caught up with me)... I have now been consistently doing intensive cardio every other day. Also, I went dress shopping last week for the first time in a very long time and I am 2 sizes smaller!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE(S): Basic Cranberry Sauce & Apple Pecan Cornbread Stuffing (my and my brother's all-time favorite!)
I was hoping to post this a few days ago, but this might help the last minute planners (or you can file away for next year!)
*Note - I am also trying a new "healthy" sweet potato casserole recipe this year. If it turns out well and is also well-received I will share it with you!
Basic Cranberry Sauce:
In progress
I am posting this because it is SO easy to make fresh cranberry sauce that there is really no excuse to use canned. Plus it can be made up to a week ahead if stored in an air-tight container!
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 ¼ tsp finely grated orange peel (about 1.5 oranges worth)
½ tsp kosher salt

Bring all ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer sauce to medium bowl. Cool, cover and refrigerate cranberry sauce. This is an easy fool-proof recipe! 
NOTE - I know this has sugar in it. Next year I am going to experiment with versions with less sugar (using agave etc.). I just didn't have time this year. 

Apple Pecan Cornbread Stuffing:

When I first made this recipe a few years ago, I converted my brother who formally didn't like stuffing (think the sticky sausage kind) to a stuffing lover! I also took it to my "cooking club's" thanksgiving themed party last year and received a lot of compliments on it - a few people have even made it their thanksgiving stuffing now. Make it - you won't be disappointed! I don't have a picture (but can upload one tomorrow after I make it :).

            1 (9x9 inch) pan cornbread, cooled and crumbled
            1 (8 ounce) package herb-seasoned dry bread stuffing
            2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
            1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            3/4 cup butter
            1 cup chopped celery
            1 cup chopped onion
            2 cups chopped apples (Honeycrisp work best as they stay a little crunchy!)
            1/2 cup chopped pecans
            2 cups apple juice (try to find a "natural" no added sugar version if possible)
            3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 3 quart casserole dish. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, and saute the celery and onion for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
In a large bowl, combine the cornbread, stuffing mix, parsley, ginger, and salt. Mix in the celery and onion mixture, chopped apple, chopped pecans, apple juice, and beaten eggs. Spoon dressing into prepared casserole dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated through, and lightly browned on top.

Monday, November 15, 2010

As Janet Says... "Control"

"The only thing you can control is your own effort.” ― T. van den Beld

I am going to whine for a minute but stay with me through this post (sorry in advance - it's been a rough few weeks). 

I can't control that I injured my leg a few weeks out from my first race. I can't control that I've been on-hold from doing cardio since late September (just when I was gaining momentum on my weight loss and overall well-being). I can't control the constant unresolved stressors or the ones that often seem to be come out of nowhere.

I can control how I've been holding back so much...even though I don't want to. 
- All I want to do is run, but I'm not so my leg will heal correctly so I can run for longer injury-free.

I can control that per the doctor's orders I have been squeezing in my physical therapy sessions consistently.
- I have done this on my only free-time from my toddler (during her pre-school time). Believe me - I love her SO much, but this is a sacrifice in itself. A special shot out to both my mom and dad who have helped me be able to do this by watching the baby during these sessions.

I can control that I've stepped out of my comfort zone to try to get fit and try to maintain the endurance I gained since starting running in July.
- My physical therapist allowed me to start the stair master and/or elliptical last week. I joined a gym and have been doing both at least every other day. Yesterday I was on one of two stair masters in the place and in walks a former model who gets on the stair master next to me - no joke. I felt like a big, sweaty, red-faced idiot. She had hot pink lipstick on and didn't break a sweat.

I can control the meals that I've been eating. 
- I'm not going to lie - this has been a tough one for me. I haven't been following all of the guidelines I set out on the blog in late July/early August that helped me lose the 20 pounds... However it's been easier since I started cardio again. It's a lot easier to want to eat healthy when you are getting a good workout. 

I can control the effort I put forth in this blog and its "open-book" policy.
- I started this blog to keep me honest on my quest to get healthy - put it all out there - the victories and the failures. As stated in my last post, I've been super scared of the scale and haven't weighed myself in awhile because I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I actually even held off posting on the blog last week because I didn't want to do it. I did this morning and it wasn't as bad as I thought. I gained 1.5 pounds - I am still down 18.5 since July overall. Now that cardio is a consistent part of my life again, I know that the 1.5 are going to come off fast and the pounds are going to continue to melt away (and hopefully those endorphins will kick in again and my mood will improve too!). 
- I can control that I won't miss a post again.

I am still inspired. Inspired more than ever to run.  

My goal is still to lose a little over 60 more pounds and run races. Starting with a 5K, then a 10K and then a half marathon by next September :).

Question: Have any of you tried any of the recipes I've posted? Good ? Bad ? Indifferent ? ....


THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash with Tomato-Caper Meat Sauce (so easy, so healthy and good).

1 large spaghetti squash
1 lb of ground beef or sirloin (preferably grass-fed)
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
5 tbs. capers
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbs. chopped fresh basil
a little fresh shaved parmesan
fresh ground pepper to taste.

Spaghetti Squash:
Pierce the squash several times (all over) with a sharp knife. Place in baking dish. Bake at 375 for 1 hour or so (until squash is very tender when pierced with fork). It is going to be super hot so use an oven mitt to hold in place  when you cut in half length wise. Let cool for a few minutes. Then take a spoon and scoop out seeds and toss. Then use a fork to scrape out the "spaghetti">

Tomato-Caper Meat Sauce:
Brown and drain the meat. Then I also place on folded paper towel on a plate, top with paper towel and blot soak up remaining fat. I prefer for many reasons to eat grass fed beef which isn't quite as lean as Laura's Lean etc. so it takes a little extra effort to make leaner :).

Mince garlic and onions. I use my cuisinart mini-prep since I like a fine chop here but you could use a knife.
Put olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and capers and cook for 3 minutes - stirring as not to burn. Add tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer if you want less liquid).  

Top squash spaghetti with sauce, a little fresh basil and parmesan. I for one loved it :).

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Slippery Scale

Ahhhhh.... the scale.

Isn't it funny that sometimes you can be almost obsessive about the scale - weighing yourself multiple times a day, and other times you can avoid it for a month. 

I weigh myself once a day (sometimes more) when I am eating healthy, working out consistently and I really look forward to it. 

Now that the consistent workouts have subsided until my calf muscle is healed (a few more weeks of physical therapy and I will be back up and running!)..... I avoid the scale like the plague.  I haven't weighed myself in around 2 weeks. I am terrified to!

Logic says when you can't workout consistently and want to lose (or even don't want to gain) weight you should eat a very healthy calorie restricted diet. Logic however doesn't hold true for me. Physically I crave higher calorie foods when I am not exercising consistently. I haven't been terrible, but I haven't been great. 

Here's what I am doing this point forward...I am going to weigh myself weekly. No matter if I am working out like a maniac or still on the bench. Every week at the end of each post, I will show my positive or negative results (no matter what... yikes!). 

Next post will be plus or minus my last weight which was -20 from my starting weight in July. Have a great Halloween weekend everyone!

SONG THAT KEPT ME (THINKING ABOUT) RUNNING THIS WEEK: "Raise Your Glass" Pink - can't wait to run to this in a few weeks!
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are having trouble avoiding some of the Halloween candy here's a tip. If you want a piece allow yourself one (a mini one) but make yourself do 10 push-ups after that piece and whenever you have a piece. It might make you think twice about the amount you eat!
THIS WEEK'S RECIPES: Bonus! You get 2 recipes this week since some followers requested a roasted cauliflower recipe :)

1. Bulgar Salad with White Beans & Artichokes
This salad is so delicious. This combined with last week's recipe makes me think that maybe I could be a vegetarian.... that's how good it is! Never a vegan though, as I like cheese and greek yogurt too much. And who I am kidding, I do love a good burger... but this is super delicious nevertheless!

5 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

  • 1 1/4 cups bulgar, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3  cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3  cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4  cup minced red onion
  • 3  tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (15-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped


Combine bulgar and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender and liquid is absorbed.
Combine cooked bulgar, mint, and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Approximately 200 calories and 6.5 grams of fat per serving.
2. Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika
I've made roasted cauliflower 3 times over the past few weeks and this was my favorite of the recipes and it's SUPER simple.

1 head of cauliflower, cored and broken into small pieces
1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
1.5 teaspoons of paprika
Course salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread cauliflower on foil. Sprink with oil and paprika; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. NOTE: Toss once.