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!

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!!!