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!

Friday, December 2, 2011


I recently read the following motivational saying...

Losing weight is hard...
Maintaing weight is hard...
Staying fat is hard...

It's SO true. Yes losing weight is hard but think how hard your life is staying overweight. For me because I am still young and otherwise healthy (low blood pressure, good cholesterol etc.) it's not as big of a health issue (yet) so it's hardest for me mentally vs. physically. 

I beat myself up over it: feel badly when I look in the mirror, see a bad angle picture, or can't fit into something I want to wear (like most high boots). So it is hard to stay fat. Now I am choosing the losing weight hard. I am determined to have super significant weight loss numbers by April. 

Weekly weigh-in update: As I stated a few weeks ago... to be more accountable to myself and you - I am going to report my weight loss or gain every week. This week I was up 2 lbs. after losing 5 whole pounds the week prior!!! I knew I was going to be up - I hosted Thanksgiving, enjoyed it to the fullest and unfortunately had and enjoyed all the leftovers over the next few days. Unlike in the past when I would have beat myself up over it - this time I am ok with it as I thought: "Did you enjoy yourself on Thanksgiving?" (Yes.). "Think of what it would have been like if you wouldn't have lost 5 the week prior! It would have been an overall gain but it's not." So I am doing great this week and keep pushing myself. I hope to have a good loss to report to you next week! Have a great week/weekend everyone!

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK:  "Paradise" Coldplay - Listen to the lyrics when you run. It's about a dreamer which I find motivating. Plus - they are my favorite band :).
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Make vegetable soup like I made below and eat a cup (literally) of vegetable soup before your lunch or dinner. I know this is an old trick but I think it will help during the holidays.
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Easy Super Healthy Vegetable Soup - super healthy for snacking to help us during the calorie filled holidays and maybe ward off some colds with the nutrient packed veggies!

NOTE: You can use whatever vegetables you want/have in the fridge but I think the musts are leeks and cabbage.
Easy Super Healthy Vegetable Soup
3 leeks (white at light green parts only), cleaned well and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cups of cabbage, chopped (I buy this pre-chopped)
1 cup kale, de-ribbed & chopped
3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
5 cloves garlic
1.5 tsp of dried thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
.5 tsp red pepper flakes (skip if you don't like heat)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
fresh herbs (optional - I used parsley)

Put all the vegetables, chicken stock and thyme in a pot (reserving the garlic). Cover & bring to a low boil and simmer for 5 minutes, add the garlic and simmer for another 5 minutes or so (it depends how you like your vegetables - I like mine to still be crunchy). Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, pepper flakes, lemon juice and herbs. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recent Running Epiphany

Sorry in advance as this post is kind of a long read. I haven't posted in awhile and want to get my internal struggle these past few weeks out there. But if you get bored...make sure to still scroll down so you don't miss out on this week's recipe - it is definitely worth making and is going to go into regular rotation in our house.
If you are stubborn with a type A personality, it is difficult to pull back once you start something that you are truly committed to. I was pushing, pushing and pushing these past few weeks to double my running milage in order to do a Thanksgiving 10K. 

I committed to do it and didn't want to let myself, my family or any of the followers of this blog down. I was increasing my mileage too quickly (not listening to the 10% rule). I was running 5 miles every other day.  I was pushing myself to try to run faster, even though I knew that most runs are supposed to be slower than race pace. I was doing this as I didn't want to have a terrible time for the race. Even though my time for my first 5K was pretty good for a first timer carrying around extra lbs. :)

I was not listening to my body; I was struggling and for the first time since I started running I didn't like it - which was a huge red flag to me. I wanted it to be over as soon as it started. Then on Wednesday morning's run at about 2.5 miles in I had an epiphany - which went something like this in my head ... 

"I hate this; I want to stop. I miss the runner's high I used to get. My shin splint is coming back from increasing my mileage too quickly. But I have to get at least 5 miles in X time if I am going to be able to do the race well. How am I going to do this race? I know I am going to push myself too hard in the beginning. Oh God, what if I don't finish. My shin is really hurting. Wait why do I have to do a 10K in 2 weeks? There's nothing shameful about the previous 3-4 mile runs that I was previously clocking in every other day. I am going to cut back to that not force myself on this timeline as I don't want to end up eventually not wanting to run at all or out with shin splints again. 

After I came to that decision, the last mile of Wednesday's run something like this (which are like my usual thoughts)...

"This is a good song. I really like it. I feel good. Ok so what am I going to get done today? I have to call X, buy new school shoes. That's a nice breeze. Look at those leaves. The colors are amazing....:" And when I was done with my run I knew I had made the right decision.

So important to keep in perspective
I want to be clear that this doesn't mean I am giving up. I am still running every other day and am going to slowly increase my mileage, listening to my body and not worrying about time. When I am confident I will be so ready to rock an early spring 10K's a$$. As I do think that goals are still very important to keep on track.

I consider myself a runner. I am in this for the long haul. I don't want to burn out. I want to enjoy my runs, my alone time, my exercise and getting 3-4 miles in every other day is good for me know and nothing to be shameful about. 

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK:  "Good Feeling" Flo Rida - this is really a good one to run to!
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Don't have one this week. Just trying to get this post out since I've been neglecting this blog and people have been wanting the recipe!
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Baked & Crispy
 Chicken Parmesan. This recipe is slightly modified from the original version found in The Best Light Recipe from Cook's Illustrated. (which is one of my fav. cookbooks!). NOTE - This is really good and was a HUGE crowd pleaser with not only my kids but my husband and myself as well. My friend told me to try it since she knew I had this cookbook. She said her kids call it "pizza chicken" :). 
Browning the Panko breadcrumbs

Baked & Crispy Chicken Parmesan
Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
Olive oil cooking spray
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets*
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. 
(NOTE: You can get the extra LF shredded mozzarella at Trader Joe's that I think works well here and would reduce the fat and calories below.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
*I've found the best way to create even cutlets is to place your hand flat firmly on the top of the chicken breast and cut horizontally - using a VERY sharp knife.
The breading process...
1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Note: The oven rack should be in the middle. Heat a skillet to medium and combine the bread crumbs and oil in skillet toasting over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and let cool. Then stir in parmesan.
2. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top (if you don't have a rack that goes with the baking sheet a cookie cooling rack could work), and spray the rack with olive oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.
4. Spray the tops of the chicken with olive oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and is at least 165 degrees, about 15 minutes.
Finished product...
5. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve (optional). 
Nutrition Per Serving:
Cal 310; Fat 8 g; Carb 20 g; Protein 38 g; Fiber 1 g, pp+ 8

Monday, October 17, 2011

I did it, I did it, I did it...hooray

For you parents out there with young kids... I couldn't get the Dora song "I did it, I did it, I did it, ...hooray" out of my head as I started writing this post. 

I finally did something that has been over a year in the making: ran my first race! It was a 5K. I picked one that had special significance to me as not only was it on my college alma mater's grounds (finishing on the football field's 50 yard line), but I was also able to benefit an old friend's charity that honors her sister. 

Looking back it was a little crazy as there were over 15,000 participants. Not probably the best race to get your feet wet with, but I did it! I finished without walking. I finished within the race time I wanted to, and the best part is I finally accomplished a goal that I had had for so long

Now I can't wait to continue to build my running muscles and endurance to complete a 10K in about 5 weeks! Very exciting to me! I am proving to myself how doable this is. I am proving to myself how strong I really am (even if I still am slow). 

I am trying to take one race at a time but I really do think that a half marathon is within my sights for next year!!! wow.

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK:  "Church" T-Pain featuring Teddy Verseti. If this song won't help you pick up the pace during a workout, nothing will! :)
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Sometimes carbs are seriously craved, I know. But even carbs that are better for you like whole wheat pasta, brown rice, millet etc. still have the same calories as their white counterparts. Make a good thing go further by mixing veggies in using a 50/50 ratio. You will still get the carb feeling but less will go further.
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! Yet another recipe inspired by Gina and her amazing blog Skinnytaste. I just doctored the original version up by adding flavors to the ricotta and changing some of the quantities a bit. 

2 cups marinara sauce (you can use fresh or jarred)
3 cups cooked roasted spaghetti squash 
(I like to roast it whole - I find it easier than trying to cut it pre-cooked - see directions here)
1.5 cups part skim ricotta
3 tbs parmesan cheese
7 oz low-fat shredded mozzarella (I find the reduced fat at Trader Joe's)      
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs fresh thyme 
1/2 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper


I like to roast the spaghetti squash whole as I find it easier than trying to cut it pre-cooked - see directions here.
Preheat oven to 375°.

In a small bowl mix the ricotta, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes and pepper. In a 8x8 pan ladle 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay out the cooked spaghetti squash in an even layer.  Top with the ricotta. Sprinkle half of the parmesan cheese and 2/3 of the mozzarella. Add the remaining sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges begin to bubble. If you want to uncover then and cook 5 minutes more, it will have more of a browned top (I just like mine cooked covered). Note: After you cut the first piece there might be some water from the cooked squash - I just spooned it out :).

Nutrition: 326 calories, 13g fat, 27g carb, 3g fiber, 20g protein, 8 pp+

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Easy Does It!

For those that have been following this blog for a long time know that I've struggled with running injuries (namely shin splints) off and on. Unfortunately these shin splints have hampered the timing of  my overall distance progression since I started running in the summer of 2010.

There are 2 major tips that have helped me get over them.  SO - move over because here I come! 

1. Run slow. As a major Type A personality - I was previously always running way too fast. Now I know that my too fast was slower than most runners' slow, but I also realize if they strapped on 20 pound weights to each of their 4 limbs they would be slower too. This article from Runner's World greatly helped me - it is worth the read for any runner. 
2. Slight change in form - a fellow runner told me that her knee injuries were greatly improved when her doctor or PT told her to make sure to run with her whole foot and keep her shoulders behind her hips. 

My first race in Sunday. Can't wait to report back next week!!!

RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Set a public fitness goal by signing up for an event. Knowing that I had the 5K this weekend has really kept my running on track, even on days it was nearly impossible for me to get a run in. If you don't run, there are so many run or walk 5Ks out there. You could walk the 5K and just start walking a little bit every day and increase your distance over time leading up to the event. :).
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies (with a few choc. chips!). These are so good. They could almost been seen as a breakfast cookie (esp. if you decided to skip the chocolate). My 18 month old loves these (as do I) and I feel they are a healthy cookie :). 

Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies (with a few choc. chips!)
Makes - 24 cookies
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs real butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar (I used dark brown)
1 large egg
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Quaker Oats Quick Oats
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (quality is key here - I used Ghirardelli, the dark cacao ones)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed with a mixer (either stand up or hand).  

Add the mashed banana, egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture and the oats by hand until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges. KEY NOTE: It's important to NOT overcook or they will loose their chewy texture and not be nearly as good!

Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Nutrition per cookie: 110 calories, 4g fat, 17g carb, 1g fiber, 1g protein, 3pp+ - and they are so worth it!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again...

As I am writing this post I can't get that Johnny Cash song out of my head. 

Just returned from a crazy couples weekend in New Orleans that had been 11 years in the making. It was full of friends, fun, food, and frenzy (which is an understatement to say the least). None of us got much sleep and our bodies showed us that we weren't in our 20s anymore.  

I got back on Sunday and finally ran again for the first time this morning. I felt very sluggish and didn't want to run, but I forced myself out there with the single jogger and ran about 3 miles. I am 100% back in the saddle again. Running, drinking water, green tea and now eating very wholesome (even though I would love a beignet and a hurricane!). 

I've really been wanting to do yoga for cross training, but have been putting it off. That stops now. Tomorrow no matter what it takes I am getting a yoga video in! 

What are you doing to shake things up in your routine? Leave feedback at the bottom of this page or on the facebook page :)

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: "On My Way" Rusted Root. This song reminds me of high school and was a REFRESHING change from today's pop music that makes up 90% of my playlist :).
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: According to a new study - exercising outdoors is more mentally enjoyable vs. the treadmill and often leads to a steadier pace. So ditch the treadmill when possible and head outdoors - or take a jump rope in your backyard and alternate jumping rope and doing jumping jacks! :). Before it gets too cold and/or icy!
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Creamy Spinach, Tomato & Gorgonzola Penne. You don't want to miss this one. I am not sure if I was super hungry when I ate it, but when I did - I thought it was restaurant quality. 

Creamy Spinach, Tomato and Gorgonzola Penne

  • Serves 4
  • Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne (I like without the ridges for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbs of flour
  • 6 tbs Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cup fresh spinach

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes, salt, crushed red pepper, and minced garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk and wisk in flour, then add Gorgonzola cheese; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in spinach and pasta; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing occasionally. Add some freshly ground pepper.

Nutrition: 307 Calories, 7g Fat, 4g Fiber, 49g Carbs, 13g Protein, 8pp+
NOTE: you could make this more nutritionally sound if you switch to whole wheat pasta. But sometimes it is nice to have the regular and this recipe tasted great as is. 
WARNING: It will be hard to eat just one portion of this!