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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, 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. :)


  1. When you update your blog will you also put a tab for all your songs?

  2. @Debbie - yes I will and also I plan to include a link to them in itunes so you can hear them in each post :). thanks!

  3. I have a bad case of biophilia as well. And the best part is, I think it's contagious!