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!

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 :).