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, March 30, 2011

Cooking = Key 4 Me

I am going to keep this post to the basics- song, tip, recipes...and a quick update.

It's been one of those craaaaazaaay weeks. And I am just happy that I am able to get this much out tonight. 

The good news is that I lost another pound this week. Only a pound? Yes! But I am happy about that based on the fact that I had lots of guac, chips, cheese and red wine this weekend. And I lost 3.5 last week, so I figured this would possibly be a lighter weight loss week.  I've lost 10 pounds in 5 weeks so averaging about 2/week. I have 8 more to lose in order to meet my short term goal of losing 18 by the end of April!

PS- I didn't cook as much this week, and I don't think that helped. In the upcoming weeks I am going to try out a bunch of make-ahead freezer recipes and share with you. That way there will always be a healthy, filling dinner at hand.

"Price Tag" Jessie J. I can't get enough of this song after seeing her perform live on SNL - she has an amazing voice!
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: This week's tip is for the ladies. Two words: SWEATY BANDS!!! I first read about these on a running blog. As you can see from my bright red post-run face, I get hot when I run and I sweat. I usually run with a running hat but feel like an idiot doing that on the treadmill when I can't run outside. Not only are the sweaty bands stylish, they are super functional helping keep sweat out of your face. I don't think I will even run without one again - at least not for awhile anyway. I like the thicker band because I am a serious sweater (it's gross I know but I always have been. You can check them out here.... Sweaty Bands.
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin; Bonus Kale Chip recipe.
The other white meat! This recipe is super easy and has lots of flavor thanks to this yummy rub. It is adapted from an original Ellie Krieger recipe. Those who have followed me for awhile know I love her recipes and cook books - she's a nutritionist and all the recipes that I've tried of hers taste great. (I added a link to her cookbooks that I own below, if you are interested).

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In separate bowl mix dry ingredients such as garlic powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme and salt. Stir mixture with a fork until all the ingredients are well combined and they form a seasoning. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand, then rub the pork with the seasoning over both sides of the meat, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat. Add the minced garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. Put tenderloin in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, searing each side using tongs to turn the meat. Transfer meat to a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes. Slice and serve. Serves 4. Note: I just sear in a heavy stainless steel pan and bake right in that so I don't dirty another pan. 
Approximately 220 calories, 10 grams fat, 2 grams carb, 30 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 5pp+

Kale Chips!
I was as skeptical as the next person about kale chips being a super satisfying salty snack... but they are and you can eat a huge bowl without guilt! NOTE: make sure they are super dry after washing before you bake otherwise they won't get crispy enough!
2 cups or bunches of fresh kale leaves
Olive oil non-stick spray
Sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425. Spread out kale leaves in a single layer on baking sheet. Spray leaves lightly with spray. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8 minutes or so. Outer leaves will turn a bit brown and leaves should be slightly crispy.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

James Brown

I feel good. I feel I am mentally back on track, and in control like I was before the holidays. And that's big.

Last week I didn't lose an ounce. I said I was going to work extra hard to make up for it and I did. I lost 3.5 pounds this week. 

Here's what I think were the major contributing factors:
Cooking. I prepared all my own meals except one. I almost always had a big side of veggies (my go to veggie mix was sauteed zucchini, red onion, tomatoes with basil and salt & pepper - mainly just because it's what I had in the fridge!). I either used 1 tsp of olive oil or cooking spray but I also added a splash of chicken broth for extra flavor without the oil (I always seem to have a box in the fridge).
Protein. When I was hungry for the most part I ate protein for meals and snacks. My favorite protein packed items from this week were fat free plain Fage yogurt - I ate about 1/2 a cup on a baked potato for a few meals this week along with a side of veggies. Another was light string cheese wrapped in a piece of turkey and microwaved for 30ish seconds, and roast beef.
Apples. Besides protein my go to snack was an apple that I often had with the protein.
Outdoor Running. Intervals of walking and running OUTSIDE! You burn more calories when you run outside due to the uneven terrain etc. I also love the feeling of being unhinged whereby I am not running at a certain pace the entire time, and I am more apt to dictate my own pace - which actually makes me run faster than running on the treadmill! Today it was nasty, so I had to go back to the dreadmill, but hopefully not for too much longer. 
Small Indulgences. I did go out for a nice dinner for a birthday celebration. I had a salad and a petit filet (with no butter etc), one cocktail, one glass of wine and I even had a delicious cupcake. Other than this I really stayed on track. I think if you let yourself slightly indulge once it really helps staying on track the rest of the week.

I think what is helping me the most is that I am not looking for instant results and I have come to terms with the fact that this is going to take time.  When you realize that, it just doesn't seem as daunting as it really is.

For anyone counting... this means I have 8.5 more to lose by the end of April to reach my short term goal of losing 18 by the end of April! I am well on my way :)! 

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G song - actually the whole CD is great - you should check it out!
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Tea, tea and more tea. Not only are some teas great for you - green and white teas. They also can be a very satisfying end of meal drink! That's one of the things that really helped me this week. Sometimes when I would finish a meal I knew that I should be satisfied but I still felt like I wanted something else. I would cap off the meal with a glass of tea or two and it really helped me feel more satisfied. I specifically am really enjoying flavored white teas these days! My favorite is Imperial White Peach....... so fulfilling.
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Country-Style Beef & Green Pepper Soup (modified from a Clean Eating recipe). This recipe is delicious and super healthy! The balsamic is a must!
Country-Style Beef & Green Pepper Soup
It tastes so much better than it looks, promise :)!
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 12 oz extra lean ground beef, I used ground sirloin
- 2 medium green peppers
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 lb of fresh tomatoes chopped
- 6 oz fresh green beans, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
- 2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
- 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (this makes it!)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1. Heat 1 tsp oil in large pot or dutch oven on medium-high - tilting to coat. Add beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat and then place beef on paper towels to remove excess grease. 2. Heat 1 tsp oil in pot on med high. Add bell peppers and onion and cook for 6 mins or until edges begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Add beef back to pot along with tomatoes, beans, corn, cabbage. broth and oregano. Bring mixture to a boil over same heat, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 mins or until beans are tender-crisp. 3. Remove pot from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. including remaining oil. and let stand for 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld.
Nutrition info for a 1.5 cup serving: 182 calories, 5.5 grams of total fat, 1 being sat., 17g carbs, 3.5 grams fiber, protein 16 grams, 4pp+!
*Hopefully there aren't too many typos - i am pooped and don't feel like proofreading tonight!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Ok to Take Care of Yourself

I read a great article in SELF magazine last month. It's about a woman who gained some weight for various reasons and felt too fat and embarrassed to return to the gym. I myself have felt "too fat for the gym" for many different reasons. I have also felt a little too guilty at times to take care of myself (like this woman has). This article is a great read for those who have struggled in this capacity.

It's gotten a little warmer here, so I've been able to run outside a few times, which has felt great. I even busted out what I now like to think as my signature - the running skirt. I still had to wear pants underneath but the fresh air and scenery are so much better than the dreadmill! :)

At my own weekly weigh-in I was disappointed to find that I didn't lose an ounce this week! I weigh myself on wii fit and it weighs to the decimal point. I repeated the weigh-in twice, and both times I was exactly the same as last week. This week I am really going to ramp it up! I think I ate out too much last week, which as we all know is a nightmare for those losing weight - even when you order healthy, it's just not the same as preparing food yourself. This week I am only going out to eat once. I am also going to focus on drinking more water, which I haven't been doing. Except big numbers for next week's update. :) I still want to lose 12 by the end of April.

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: "Dog Days Are Over", Florence + The Machine
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: I hate wasting produce. Often my intentions with purchasing produce are better than what we can actually use in a week. And then before the week is up, I end up having to toss some - which I hate! I feel so guilty wasting. Well since I found green bags, I am wasting no more! I am currently OBSESSED with them. I think I first heard about them through Jillian Michaels. They make your produce last so much longer and are worth ever penny. They are even reusable. 
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Crazy Good Chicken Enchiladas. My husband has been nice about my leaner recipes for the most part, but as soon as he took a bite of these on Monday night he said, "Wow, that's a keeper! Honestly these are so good." So take it from him and try them :). 
Crazy Good Chicken Enchiladas
-4 medium whole wheat tortillas
-3/4 cup of 2% extra sharp shredded cheese
(note: in the picture below i was a little more heavy handed, it was one of those days :)
For sauce:
-15 oz tomato sauce
-5 gloves of garlic minced
-2 tsp chile powder
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
For chicken mixture:
-1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded*
-8 oz of canned crushed tomatillos (you can sub. green chiles)
-1 tsp hot sauce (I use Sriracha and a bit more since I like spice)
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp chile powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp ground pepper
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350. Combine all chicken mixture ingredients in large non-stick pan over medium heat and cook a few minutes until heated through mixing well. Remove mixture from pan and place in bowl. Combine all sauce ingredients in same non-stick pan and cook about 10 minutes stirring well. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 8x11 or so dish. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake on center oven rack for 20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes. I love cilantro so I also sprinkled with cilantro, spring onions would be good too!
*Tip: This could be a labor intensive recipe if you try to cook everything at once. I poached and shredded double the amount of chicken during the day. Then I froze half the chicken (it defrosts quickly when it is shredded) - for future enchiladas or chicken salad. And I refrigerated the amount for this recipe until it was closer to dinner time so I had it on hand. 
Nutrition**: 360 calories, 9g of fat, of that 3 are sat. fat, 34 carb., 6g fiber, 38g protein. 9pp+
**note: you could reduce the calorie content by using small 5" whole wheat tortillas and making smaller portions. I would have, but the store I went to didn't have them. Or you could eat a half of one and have a size of veggies or salad. These are SO good don't pass them up!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I wasn't sure what I was going to write this post about today. Then I had lunch today and had an epiphany of sorts.....

I've always been one of those girls to finish my plate - even when I am full. If it tastes good, I'll eat it until it's gone. I guess I just really love food, especially good food. Since I've started out on this journey - I've changed that thinking at restaurants (for the most part), since most portions are so huge, I usually do the common trick of get half boxed at the beginning.

At home I've really been watching my portions, even of healthy foods. Today I made myself a nice healthy lunch and was very hungry. I ate half my sandwich and felt satisfied. Not full, but my hunger was put at bay...so I bagged up the other half. I never would have done this before.The sandwich was low calorie and was well within my plan for the day. I ate the other half while my kids were having an early dinner before I went to workout. Perfect!
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ext.

I am becoming more aware of what my body needs... and it is a great feeling.

I am excited to report that I lost 2 pounds this week. I need to lose 12 more to reach my short term goal of losing 18 by the end of April.

I am especially proud of this loss, because I went out and had a nice dinner where I couldn't pass up the bread basket or the cocktails. And the following day I had a high calorie sandwich with french fries! So I worked extra hard on the other days to make up for it.

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: Hey, Soul Sister- Train (slower than my usual song but put a jump in my step)
Before baking
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Certain high quality products really make the difference when it comes to taste. For instance - there is only one vanilla extract I will use now (see pic). Great vanilla flavor! Also people think that you have to buy expensive EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). The truth of the matter is that when you heat it- really doesn't make a big difference. When quality is important, is when it's not heated. So I use the "cheap" EVOO for recipes where it's heated, and use higher-end when it's not (salad dressings etc.). My favorite higher-end brand is Lucini - it won the taste test at America's Test Kitchen.
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Basic Banana Oatmeal Squares. I haven't done a breakfast recipe in awhile, and I've been sick of the same old breakfasts myself. I like these because you can make them in advance, portion them out and then reheat in the toaster oven or micro, so you can have a quick healthy breakfast in the morning. I even just froze some squares individually.  I also like them because they still have a softer, comforting oatmeal texture.

Banana Oatmeal Squares
Hot out of the oven!
- 2-3 bananas (1-2 mashed, 1 sliced)
- 2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (I use Almond Breeze)
- 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Note -  Although super yummy...this wasn't very sweet. If you like your oatmeal sweeter, you will want to add a little splenda or agave and mix it in the batter or even a little brown sugar on top at the end of baking. Next time I might add a little sweetener,  I just wanted to make a good basic recipe to branch out from. Feel free to add your own flavors (cinnamon would be good too!).
Delish, huge, filling portion :)
- Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Line a 8" square pan with parchment paper (that way it doesn't stick and you don't have to clean it!). It would also work in a pie pan. Layer some banana slices on the bottom. Pour batter into pan. Top with remaining banana slices. Bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes. 

- Ok, here is the nutrition info - keep in mind that there are only 4 servings in this recipe so each serving is HUGE and super satisfying/filling!!! :)

Calories: 230, Fat 5 grams (only 1g is saturated), 41g carb, 6g fiber, 7 grams of protein. 6pp+