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!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I've learned that I need to set goals in this journey in order keep moving forward instead of continuing to take two steps back. One of the reasons I think I enjoy running so much is that it is such a goal oriented sport.

In February I set a goal to lose 18 pounds by the end of April (actually looking back it was 17, but I've been thinking it was 18). I weighed myself this morning, and I've lost a little over 13 pounds in that timeframe. And I am so happy - not disappointed at all. I am moving in the right direction, not starving myself, still splurging once in awhile and I am so much more active. 

I've lost around 30 pounds since I started keeping track last year. BUT I do still have a long way to go in this journey. I will not have the bathing suit body I wanted to have this summer, but I will next summer. 

My next goal is to lose 7 pounds in the month of May. 

RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Set a small goal for the week and follow through on it. I keep saying I am going to work on my arms, but I haven't followed through. My small goal for the week is to start working on arms. I am going to do so my starting this short program I saw in a recent issue of Women's Health
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Granny's Chicken Roll-Up
This is a recipe I made up from trying to recreate one of my favorite sandwiches at a local restaurant. I wanted to lighten it up with keeping the flavor of the original recipe. The combination of granny smith apples and capers seem odd, but it is so good. And the substitution of half of the mayo for 0% greek yogurt, lightens up the recipe without having it lose its creaminess. The original sandwich also has cheese, which in this case... it doesn't need. 
Serves 1
4 oz chilled shredded chicken breast
1/4 diced red onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/2 of a granny smith apple, diced
1 tsp of capers, rinsed
1 tbs light mayonnaise
1 tbs 0% greek yogurt
Salt & pepper to taste
1 low-carb whole wheat tortilla
Directions: combine ingredients, add salt & pepper to taste, throw on a tortilla and wrap up (include some lettuce if you want!). 
Nutrition: 326 calories, 8g fat, 12g fiber, 36g protein, 31g carbs, 8pp+ 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

If You Do What You've Always Done...

I personally am not feeling that inspiring this weekend, so I am going to provide you with some of my favorite quotations that I've read recently. 

Have a wonder Easter to those who celebrate it! See you on the flip side.

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." - Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist Monk/Peace Activist).

"Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us."
Peter De Vries (Writer) 

Eating everything you want is not that much fun. When you live a life with no boundaries, there’s less joy. If you can eat anything you want to, what’s the fun in eating anything you want to? Tom Hanks (Actor)  Random I know, but so true... right?

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." - Anthony Robbins (Motivational Speaker)

I lost another pound this week. It's coming off a little more slowly than I want it to, but I am happy that I still lost something. I've lost a little over 12 pounds since the end of February. I was hoping for 18 by the end of April - but happy that this is truly becoming a lifestyle change for me.

RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Big bagel shop bagels can be a nightmare for someone trying to lose weight - high in calories & carbs, low in protein & fiber, so they're not very filling in the long run. The problem is these bagel shops are such a great place to take kids for a quick lunch. I was pleasantly surprised when I recently went into Einstein Brothers Bagels. They now have "bagel thins". You can get whatever you want on them - I got egg whites, turkey sausage and some veggies - delish (and filling).
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Chicken Tamale Casserole

This is modified from an original Cooking Light Recipe. I jazzed it up with more chiles, green onion garnish and significantly reduced the fat of the original recipe by using 2% cheese. I made it for my husband and in-laws and everyone enjoyed it!

  • Chicken Tamale Casserole
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded LITE Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
  • 2 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce 
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
Directions: Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until wet. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. 

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface all around with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream. And sprinkle with chopped green onions. 

Nutrition per serving: 329 Calories, 8g Fat, 26g Protein, 2g Fiber, 38g Carbs, 8pp+

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Biophilia on the Brain

As defined in this month's Women's Health....

biophilian. The human desire to spend time outdoors among plants and trees. Doing so can reduce stress, lengthen your attention span, and possibly help you live longer. 

I've always been more of an inside person than an outdoorsy type. I really like to do my relaxing inside. I have to say though, since I started running outside last summer, I want to be outside so much more. I had to get over being embarrassed of what I look like running. Now I just care more about making it through each run I set out to do without walking. And so far I always have (except for warm-up and cool-down of course).

I think spending more time outdoors and enjoying nature has been one of running's greatest gifts to me. Now, I can't wait until it's a fairly nice day to enjoy the outdoors in some way - even if it's just in the backyard or on a walk.  Now that I am comfortable running with my jogging stroller, I see many more hours logged outside this spring and summer. I however will NOT be going camping. 

Progress update: I've lost another 1.5 in the past two weeks. This was less than I had hoped. I've started to slow down these past few weeks. In order to meet my aggressive goal of losing 18 total by the end of April I have to lose 6.5 more, which I am not sure is realistic. But I am making some changes this week to hopefully lose bigger numbers on the scale next Wednesday....

My biggest weakness is snacking - specifically 3PM and nighttime snacking. As far as the afternoon snacking goes... I am only going to allow an afternoon snack if it's non-processed. I've been eating too many bars, light chips (like pita and popchips) that I know haven't been helping me. Additionally, I am not going to allow myself to eat anything after dinner.  As far as exercise goes....I've been running every other day, so on off days I have been giving myself a break from cardio. Now I will incorporate non-running cardio into my off days. Hopefully these changes will ramp things up a bit.

For those who are new to the blog... first of all welcome! And please know that I am starting work on an updated blog that will be more user friendly and have a recipe tab so recipes are easy to find as well as hopefully print :)!

I recently updated my playlist and decided to add some older upbeat J. Lo songs to the mix. I've seen bits and pieces of American Idol this season and she looks amazing - better than ever I think - so she is some extra inspiration to push through a run. Plus, this song is so so upbeat, it is sure to put an extra kick in your step. 
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Start spending more time outside and maybe you can catch biophilia too :).
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: Baked Spinach & Cheese Macaroni & Bonus "Brownie" recipe. 

Baked Spinach & Cheese Macaroni
This recipe is a combination of a few recipes that I combined & changed up a bit. My biggest inspiration was from Gina's Skinnytaste so I have to give a shout out to her! The onion makes this dish. If you aren't a big onion person I don't think that this dish would be the best choice for you - it really helps make the dish seem richer than it is. My husband loved this and ate close to 3 servings :). I think it is rather kid friendly too. I just have a really picky toddler.

Picture taken pre "breadcrumbs" :)
  • 12 oz high fiber elbows (I used Barilla protein plus)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 8 oz lite (2%) Mexican 3-cheese blend
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 8-10 oz baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup ground fiber one (for the breadcrumbs)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
Cook pasta according to package directions. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion for a few minutes until softened. Add flour and cook over low heat stirring with a whisk. 

Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick. Add freshly ground nutmeg. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Once it becomes thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. 

Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and baby spinach. Pour into baking dish. Top with grated cheese and "breadcrumbs". Bake for 20 minutes (and if you want you can broil at the end to further brown the breadcrumbs...).

Nutrition: 318 calories, 9 grams fat, 40 grams carbs, 21 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 8pp+
Makes 8 large servings (picture just shows 4 servings! ;) ENJOY!
Note - I split into two pans and froze one. If you were making in one pan use a 9x13 pan.

Rocco's Fudge Brownies.... 

These brownies were brought to my attention through active.com. When I read the article, I was curious... black beans! really!?! I searched around online and saw many mixed reviews of these, but I had almost all the ingredients on hand so I thought hey... what the heck!?
I made them tonight and they were pretty good.

Now if you are expecting a delicious cakey brownie - look elsewhere. But these were pretty good for what they are (bean brownies!)- a combination of fudge, pudding a kind-of brownie. I cut them into 16 pieces which lowers the calorie count a little. Also when you read the recipe - I didn't have quite enough agave on hand so I added 3 tablespoons of raw honey to make up the difference. Next time I make these I will also include a teaspoon of cinnamon in the mix. Now, I know that I am trying to cut out alot of processed foods from my diet, but sometimes a little fat free coolwhip makes everything better and it worked in this case :).Here is the article and corresponding recipe. 
Make sure to read specific baking notes at the end and enjoy. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stronger than Yesterday... (yes)

I wanted to write this post before I weighed myself this week. I jumped off the wagon a bit this weekend food wise, but I am not going to let a number get me down.

Monday morning I woke up early, 5AM early, to some rustling on the baby monitor. The rustling stopped, but I couldn't fall asleep. So I did what any other neurotic person would do - check my email on my phone. I got an email showing a new blog post from one of my favorite blogs. I read the post and the guilt I was feeling from not being perfect over the weekend went away, and I wanted to run. It was a rare warm morning but it was pouring - so after tossing and turning a little...I went. It felt great and according to the Nike+ iphone app and Lance Armstrong's voice, I recorded my fastest personal best mile during my 2.5 mile run. 

Here is the post that motivated me and a link to my favorite running blog.  It is nice to have someone remind you that you are not always in control. Thank you Dimity for this post and also to SBS for providing such great candid profiles and such a great forum. Your book "Run Like a Mother" and your blog have helped me more than you could even know!

PS- If you want to check out the book, here is the link - it's rated 5 stars on amazon.com for a reason!!! :) Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving--and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity

SONG THAT KEPT ME RUNNING THIS WEEK: I'll be honest - I kept fast forwarding through my playlist on my last run - so annoying! I need new songs. I have to update my playlist asap... But the one that I landed on and stayed on was Britney Spears "Stronger" - no joke. I always imagine the lyrics of the chorus are saying "Stronger than yesterday, now it's nothing but a mile away"! but the lyrics really are "now it's nothing but my way". I am a dork... I know.
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: If you are a cheese lover like me... something I've found that makes it easier to not go overboard with the amount are pre-measured portions. That way if you are measuring it yourself, you don't heap tablespoons etc. For example - I've found individually wrapped one-ounce goat cheese medallions at Trader Joe's. 
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE: My Easy Chicken Soup 
I am sharing this recipe, because although it is officially spring - it seems like there are people everywhere with colds still. This is great to whip up and freeze half so if a cold enters your house you have the soup ready for when you or your family needs it!!!!


  • 3/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs (you can throw the whole sprigs in the leaves will fall off when cooking and then you can pick the stems out :)
  • bay leaf
  • 3 quarts chicken stock 
  • 4 ounces dried egg noodles*
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (for a quick sub sometimes I use the breast meat of a rotisserie chicken.)
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock (for a shortcut I use purchased stock - I prefer kirkland organic chicken stock).
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place a large pot over medium heat and add the oil turning the pot to coat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf - sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper.
*Note - you can also sub brown rice for the noodles just cooked in the broth (with lid on pot) until the rice is done. I often do this!