Monday, January 25, 2010


This morning I was reading some comments under a friends Facebook status and I was pleasantly surprised by the conversation because it involved me, and this blog. The basis of the comment was how this friend has lost 30 lbs. and found a lot of inspiration by reading my words about healthy eating, natural foods, etc.. that I was a great role model.

Wow! I had no clue that she even read my blog!

Talk about ME! My heart just wanted to burst reading that. Isn't that what life is about??? Helping others?! Encouraging others!?

I feel honored...really honored.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Queens and a Princess!!

Man I've been a bit busy. All good. But busy nonetheless!!! I haven't even had much time to read anyone else's blog (I'm so sorry...I promise I still love you all and will most definitely get caught up soon, very soon, I hope!)

My Princess training is going well. Yesterday I had a 10k to do. There weren't any road races of that length going on so we just hit our normal trail and ran them ourselves. It's funny how after running 8 miles the Saturday before that yesterday seemed like an EASY day. Boy I've come a long way!!! I love it! We ran it in 61 min. Not bad!!! My knees are doing really well too, so THAT I'm super happy about.

Next week we ramp it up for the final 5 week home stretch. Woo Hoo. I can't believe I'm actually going to run in a 1/2 marathon race! This is something that I've always said I want to do, but never have. So excited.

My eats have been okay. Definitely not stellar. I'm finding myself snacking on things that I haven't put in my mouth for a while. My waist line IS being effected by it so time to hammer back down. Yesterday was a great eating day though. I've just come to realize that I really MUST eat about every 2 hours. If I don't then I'll be weaker in my decision making process when it comes to food choices and quantities. Yesterday I followed the every 2 hr mark and felt GREAT, never starving and much more in control...and sane. :)

I'm also involved in our church's annual ministry, Queen For a Day. Every year about 350 women from our community that are homeless, underprivileged, abused, many single moms without income, etc. come to our facilities to be pampered and treated like a queen. They receive a great meal (several courses), manicures, get to shop in our clothing boutique and pick out several free outfits, accessories, etc.. and basically get loved on all day long...showing Christ's love to their aching wounded hearts. I get the special privilege of being the Team lead for door prizes and gifts!!! Last year I was able to collect over 350 haircuts, 30 free massage certificates, Disney passes, restaurant certificates, makeup bags, Vera Bradley purses and so much more. The women went CRAZY for it all!!! Warmed my heart like no other....

So's gear up time again! The event is February 13th and I've been busy on the horn trying to round up more exciting items to give to these women! If you know of anyone/any business that would be interested in donating to this cause...I would be so grateful for the referral!!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm Alive!

Just wanted you all to know that I AM alive. Just busy with life.

This past Saturday I ran EIGHT miles! 1:24! I can't believe I'm finally up to THAT mileage. It felt great. Although, I don't recommend going roller skating with your family for three hours following a long run.

I pretty much felt like an 80 year old for the rest of the evening. Tired, cranky, bent over in need of a walker.

Sunday my left knee was pretty tender but it's feeling better today.

I called my workout partner tonight to tell her I won't be at the gym in the morning. I'm feeling pretty ragged lately. Burning the candle a bit too much. I think I need to sleep in in the morning before this yucky feeling that is knocking on my door becomes a full blown doozy!

Only 6 weeks till the 1/2 marathon. I can see it in my sights now. I know I can do this. We are gonna have such fun!

Till next time....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy.....

I've had all these things I've wanted to say on a post, ideas running thru my mind, pictures of foods I've eaten taken and downloaded to my computer....but with no time to do any thing further with them.

I've started to even feel a bit responsible that I've started this 12 week challenge and I'm not even around for the cheering and RAH RAH!

I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew here folks. While I want to encourage everyone to continue on with their own personal 12 week challenge, or heck...whatever you want to call it ie. healthy living, etc... I don't think I can be the spokeswoman for the job right now.

Life is going GREAT over here. I'm working out every morning, and LOVING it, gearing up for my 1/2 marathon in less than 2 months. I'm still figuring out my eating lifestyle, it seems to change from day to day, even meal to meal :) I'm working off my meal plan I create each week and saving money at the grocery store. We've implemented a monthly budget that we are sticking to and even cut up our only credit card that we paid off each month.

Lots of housecleaning going on, figuratively and physically.

All good stuff.

But what I am noticing, or feeling, is that I'm not wanting to have a required daily post. Or feeling like I need to "come up with something" for the sake of the "challenge", something inspiring.

I'm sorry. I hope I haven't let anyone down. I'm sure you all weren't hanging your hat on the future of this blog, or anything I have to say to dictate your healthy lifestyle! :)

I'm still going to be blogging here as usual, perhaps spread out a bit...because life just gets in the way, or I should say, my family and responsibilities (and joys) here come first!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day One of the Challenge!!!

I'm so excited to have some buds jumping on the bandwagon with me for this 12 week challenge! We're gonna rock it!!!

This morning I awoke before my alarm even buzzed, around 4:32 a.m. I hopped out of bed eager to get to the gym! First though, I went ahead and took my "starting weight"...up 2 lbs. :( Not too terribly bad though, considering.

Met Amy, my faithful workout partner, and we got to work! We aren't supposed to run on Mondays so we do incline work on the treadmill....about KILLS me to NOT run. 40 minutes of 6% incline at 4.0 speed. We then did shoulders and some ab work! If I leave the gym all sweaty and work is complete. It's funny cuz having short hair, and waking up with only enough time to slip on my gym clothes and head out the door, I OFTEN go to the gym with a serious case of bed head. We're talking hair sticking way up in the front, matted down on one side, and burly on the other. Obviously I'm not too vain, nor too worried about it! :) I'm one that sweats on my head, quickly, when I work out. Stick up hair only lasts about 10 minutes into my workout. Then I'm a sweaty mess!

Mission accomplished.

For breakfast I was in the mood for some Apple Cinnamon Oat pancakes...made enough for the hubby and I to share. Yummo!

Mid morning I had a larabar.

For lunch today I made the Meaty Vegan Green Bean Casserole for the boys and I. I had a serving of that, along with a nice salad and my NEW FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING....

Holy Smokes I'm in love! I've always loved French dressings, but since they are ALL so not good for you, I typically have always stayed away from them (except during my "fluffy" times) until now! Wow this dressing is good. I could have easily dumped the entire bottle over my salad, but I resisted to a mere 1 Tbsp. I'm so good! HA

One of my girlfriends texted me while I was stuffing my face with all these really great green foods on my plate and was asking me about her diet. The one thing that was sorely lacking was vegetables!!!

Is this hard for you too? Do you get enough servings of vegetables in your day?

Obviously the best way to eat them is raw. All the nutrients, living enzymes, etc. are in the uncooked variety. The easiest way to eat them raw??? Well, you can do green monster shakes. Or heaping salads with LOTS of various veggies, or you could eat carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc. sliced up with hummus or salsa.

We eat LOTS of salads around here! Growing up, my mom always fixed us a salad with dinner every night. It was our normal. It wasn't until I got into the adult world that I realized that most people have salads on occasion. For us, it's very weird to eat dinner without having a salad with it. Good rule of thumb....if you have a big salad for lunch, then just have a side salad with your dinner. If a large salad is on the menu for dinner....then pair your lunch with a small side salad.

If you're NOT eating enough veggies I highly recommend you put this as one of your goals during this 12 week food and body awareness challenge!!!

Tell me....what's your favorite way to get in all your greens and other veggies???

Sunday, January 10, 2010

12 Week Body & Food Awareness Challenge

Okay folks. I'm here with a challenge for you. To join me on a 12 Week Body & Food Awareness Challenge.

Over the course of the last few weeks I've not been listening to my body's hunger cues and instead eating too large of portions (even if I'm already feeling full), adding in a bit too many carb and fat rich snacks, feeling the pull of emotional eating rearing it's ugly head, etc... All of this is starting to derail the 13 lbs weight loss I've had. While I don't want to fixate on a scale number, I do know "around about" what number the scale should say in order to fit back into my clothes I've been really really wanting to get back into. I have another 10 lbs. I'd like to lose.

This is not for a certain diet program, or any particular fitness plan...that's all up to YOU and your wants and needs.

What this is, is a 12 week plan to be intentional in your eating, your fitness plan and your goals in general.

When I say intentional in your eating I mean to pay attention to what goes in your mouth, making wise choices, not depriving your body OR putting your body thru unhealthy binges.

Find a fitness plan that works for you. Whether that's training for a marathon, or committing to start for the first time even if it's only 2x per week of walking around the block! Just get moving, make a commitment and just DO IT!

Wanna join me?

All you need to do is take your measurements, take your picture (front and backside) in a bathing suit, and a starting weight from the scale. It's imperative you do the measurements and picture!! There have been many a days where the scale is NOT my friend, yet I pull out the measuring tape and will see inches dropping! Before and after pictures tell the true story...not the scale! But it's nice to have numbers in all those areas! Paints the total picture.

Then, decide from this day forth that you are going to start becoming more aware of what goes into your mouth. Making wise choices that feed and fuel your body. Reward yourself. And if something happens that leaves you disappointed in a choice you've made, don't beat yourself up and start the cycle of self loathing or self sabotage...lace up your boot straps and get back on the right path.

12 weeks puts us at the first of April...just in time for Spring Break and beach (or lake) trips! Why not feel your absolute best....starting right now!

We can have weekly check-ins and inspire one another on the path to total health...body and mind!

Will you join me?

Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts

I'm sure you've heard the news reports around the country that we had SNOW in Florida! Yes, that's right folks, SNOW! Training outside for this marathon is NOT exactly enjoyable for this 7th generation Floridian in these types of conditions. Especially since we got sleet, not snow. At least had we gotten some snow here the boys would have been uber excited!!

I was scheduled to run 7 MILES for my long run on Sunday. Not happening outside. Lucky for me I have a running/workout partner and we decided to take the task inside and run on the hamster wheel. Dreading it at first, the thought of going no where fast, it actually wasn't that bad. We chatted it up the whole time and cheered each other on as each mile passed by. Once we reached one hour though, the treadmill abruptly stopped, causing us both to hold on and scratch our heads until we figured out what was happening. We quickly got the treadmills cranked up again to finish our last mile. :) Yeah us!

It felt soooo good to have accomplished 7 miles. I was really nervous about it. Not cardiovascularly, but physically. My knees really bothered me last week running 6 so I was petrified of what 7 would do. Glad to report that I did great. Alabiet it was on a treadmill so the impact is NOT the same as outdoor running. Next Saturday is 8 miles, with 75 degree temps in the forecast (YIPPEE!!!) I'll definitely get to put my knees to the test then! Oh wish me the best...and say a little prayer for my knees!

Last night I made those brussel sprouts I was talking about earlier in the week. Here's the recipe:

Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup Balsmic vinegar
1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and with an "x" cut on the bottom
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Boil trimmed Brussels sprouts for 6-8 minutes in a pot of water until crisp and tender. Drain water. Cut each sprout in half, length-wise. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium and saute garlic and red onion. Add apple cider, Balsamic vinegar, and Brussels sprouts.

Cook on high heat, reducing Balsamic vinegar/cider mixture. Sprinkle with pepper. Plate once sauce is reduced and Brussels sprouts are tender. Serves six.
My opinion of the dish: They were really good. However, I do believe a bit tart. I'm thinking a sprinkle of a packet of Stevia would have been nice. Or even better some chopped sugar coated pecans would have been incredible on this dish.

I've gotten these two magazines this week and I'm so looking forward to digging in to see what new recipes I can try out!

Question: Are you an outdoor runner or do you prefer the treadmill?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Not such a great day...

As you know, yesterday I had all intentions of doing a 24 hr. juicing detox. It started out well...

Juiced some carrots for my first "meal"

And kept the carrot pulp. I really want to figure out what
to do with this stuff. I don't have a dehydrator to make crackers
but figured I could still cook them in the real oven
to make something out of them...
Then, being that it is FRIGID (for this Floridian) outside with
the highs being in the low 50s here and freezing every night.
I had a nice hot cup of green tea about an hour later.
By mid morning I was starving so I made a green monster smoothie.
Spinach, apple/oatmeal protein powder, almond milk
and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Mmmm....good!
By lunchtime though I would have given my first born child up for a real meal. I'm sure this is mostly psychological since I've gone plenty a day before without having time to eat enough due to various busy reasons, but for whatever reason on this particular day I wanted FOOD!

I made my boys Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for lunch with pita chips and hummus and that did it...I wolfed down 1 1/2 sandwiches myself plus enough pita chips and hummus to keep that company in business for years! It was shameful. :('s over with. I've learned my lesson. I simply need food. For now. Perhaps when I don't feel like hibernating with these temps we aren't used to, and I'm not running the heck out of my body in the mornings at the gym I will be more prepared for an ocassional juice fast. Yesterday was not one of them!

I did manage to make an incredible dinner, so my family thought! :) Chicken Tortilla Soup!

It's funny...I posted that I was making this on Facebook and I got a couple of responses like "Hey...I thought you were a vegetarian!!" I guess I should expect that type of reaction, I DO eat mainly vegetarian, although the response got me thinking. I guess I really don't want to be labeled anything. I've made a really good effort in the last three months to NOT get in the hang up of "dieting" or being on a certain diet. I've been eating what my body craves, listening to hunger cues, not denying myself what I want. While I DO eat a mainly vegan diet on any given day, I don't want to say I'm a vegan. If I'm at someone's house that is serving Spaghetti that has meat in it, I'm going to eat it. If I get a hankering for some stew that has chicken in it...I want to eat it.

I've spent too many years in a state of deprivation, not allowed to eat this or eat that based on that particular diet I was following. It's oppressive.

Do I feel my best when I'm eating a high plant based diet. ABSOLUTELY. But that doesn't mean that I want to forever give up other food options. This may disappoint some out there, especially those that are vegan for ethical purposes. But this is me. My choices.

One thing that I have definitely changed, no going back, is my purchase of ONLY organic meats and poultry. Since those ARE much more expensive we don't eat those that often anyways.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to continue to learn, refine and define my eating lifestyle and all of this is apart of my process...fine tuning! :) Even the occasional mishaps...

I know many of you requested the soup recipe so here it goes. So super easy and delish. BOTH my boys wolfed this down! (This recipe could be easily modified to make it vegan)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 lbs. chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 can chicken broth
2 cans Rotel
1 16oz. can of salsa (depending on how spicy you want it mild or medium)
1 cup of water
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 T chili powder

Mix everything up in a crockpot and cook on whichever setting you need it to be on (high for 2 hr. low for 4+ hours). Top with crushed tortillas and serve along side some warm cornbread!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I think I'm going to spend the day juicing and eating smoothies. If I can make it.

I'm an eater. I love food. Really love food. But I think every once in a while it's good for your system if you give it a rest and allow it to spend energy JUST on elimination instead of digestion.

Plus, I ate a TON of food yesterday that was NOT healthy, for whatever reason I'm not sure, and I think I'd like to take the day and hopefully flush that sugar monster out of my system. A bunch of green juices usually does that trick!

I'll report back on how it goes....

Monday, January 4, 2010


I am well on my way to implimenting my New Years resolutions. If you want to see them again HERE they are.

While we were away my husband and I got together our annual monthly budget for 2010. We've actually never really stuck to a real budget before. Luckily, we are both pretty good with our money, and he earns a decent living (some years better than others) but both felt that with a budget in place we'd have a better idea where monies get spent and where we could save.

On the airplane ride back home I worked on our meal plan for the week (working to get it up to a month at a glance) and the master Grocery List that I'll store on the computer, print off each week and just have to highlight the ingredients that I actually need to pick up for that week. As I was compiling this list I was making a mental sweep of the grocery store aisles as I go down them and writing anything and everything I typically buy from time to time. I ended up with a three columned Word document with all the foods we would generally buy in any given month. I printed it off today and it made my grocery experience VERY easy.

So often I'll write down some arbitrary list, only to stock pile other items as I see them without any type of plan in place. A big waste of money, AND REFRIGERATOR SPACE! Having my meal menu for the week really helped target in on what exactly I should be buying, especially since I'm really wanting to stick with a monthly grocery budget without going over!!!

Another one of my resolutions was to try one new recipe each week. As I was flipping thru some magazine I purchased at the airport I came across a really yummy looking recipe called, Carmelized Balsamic Brussel Sprouts. This is my new recipe for this week. I believe that is for Saturday night. I'll definitely share the recipe and it's result with you!!

My Vitamix resolution (to save enough money for) is well underway too! I posted on Craigslist some old child video gaming products that my kids have outgrown. I've got a bite and have someone coming over later this evening to check them out. That'll net me about $125 towards my new stuff! Woot!!!

We are back....BRRRR!

Well, we safely made it back from Tennessee! The boys so wanted to see snow this trip. When we landed in Asheville, NC there was old snow piled on the sides of the streets and parking lot. The boys were very excited!

They HAD to touch it and make a snowball....
Even without gloves on!
We spent most of the time INSIDE the cabin. Us Floridians are not quite used to temperatures in the single digits!!! When we first arrived though the forecast said only 30% chance of snow. Disappointed the boys went to bed. Only to wake up to see freshly fallen snow on the ground.

It sure is beautiful.

We had to make use of the 1/4 inch of snow on the ground (LOL) and make snow angels.

Even if most of it consisted of dirt!!
We traveled over to Gatlinburg for the day and walked around the shops. Stopped in at this yummy Coffee and Donut shop....yummo! But didn't stay too terribly long b/c the ice was forming on the roads and didn't want to be traveling in the dark with such conditions.
The boys had an absolute blast playing with their cousins...
As far as my eating and exercise routine...well...let's just say it was almost non-existent. I did enjoy some Steel cut oats each morning for breakfast that I hadn't really tried before. These are my new favorite! I cut up 1/2 banana, some cinnamon, stevia packet, and raisins....delish!

I did manage to get out and take a brisk walk up and down the roads (hello shin splits!) for about 2 miles, but between the freezing weather and the thoughts of some backwoods serial killer waiting to ambush me in the woods which highly freaked me out, I decided to turn around and call it a day. While many parts of the area we were in is absolutely beautiful, the one thing that I noticed quite a bit is that house, cars, barns, etc... once they are no longer useful they are just left there to rot and decay along the roadside. Barns looking like they are about to tip over with the slightest nudge of a windstorm stay there for eternity. They'll just build a new barn close by and leave the old one where it stands. What about a bulldozer?? Anyone use one up there?

Or you'll see these REALLY small cracker jack houses that look like they've been hear since the beginning of time. They look like something really bad and scary could happen inside their walls. It was these type of homes that had me pretty creeped out as I walked by, thinking someone was definitely waiting inside one just for me!

Since I've got the Disney 1/2 Princess Marathon speeding towards me (I think we've got like 8 weeks left??) I knew I needed to run last night after our plane landed.

First of's COLD! I mean, come on....I was NOT looking forward to more cold, after having lived in it for 4 days. I live in Florida...what's up with this weather we are having????

The temp on my dashboard said 44 degrees outside. I know, some of you that live up north are thinking that's WARM. Well....for this Florida it ain't!

BUT...I strapped on my running shoes, grabbed my Garmin and hit the road. 6 miles. The hardest, longest 6 miles of my life. It was by far the most pitiful run I have ever done. I ran the first 5 and the very last mile I had to walk/run. My knee was killing me. Like really really bad killing me. Of course as soon as I would walk it would feel fine. BUT it's got me very concerned about increasing my mileage past 6 miles. I've got to double that number, plus one, to carry me across that finish line. I'm hoping it had to do with the fact that I hadn't done anything in 4 days, it was cold, I had been traveling and my eating wasn't what it typically is. I hope.

Anyways. It's so good to be home. There really is no place like home.