Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Soup

Um, so should I address the fact that I haven't posted on this blog in like months, or just ignore that and share this awesome recipe with all of you?? I do have my reasons...maybe I'll get to those on another post. But for now...here is the recipe! My friend Heidi made this for a get-together we were both at recently and everyone there requested the recipe. She shared it with all of us, so I'm sure she won't mind me sharing it with all of you. Imagine my delight when I made it tonight and discovered that it's not only tasty and filling but it's only about 75 calories per cup (give or take--this is not an exact science!!) For someone who tries to stay around 1200 calories a day that is AWESOME!! And it's awesome for the rest of you, too!

So chop up and bake those Jack O Lanterns before they rot and make yourself some...

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 TBSP butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cumin
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 can pumpkin puree--I used about 3 cups fresh pumpkin puree

In a blender puree beans and tomatoes with a bit of the broth in several batches. In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat. (I cut the butter in half and used Pam instead.) Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. Cook 6 minutes until onions are soft. Stir in beans and tomato puree. Add broth and pumpkin. Mix well; simmer for about 30 minutes. Makes about 13 cups of soup--or more depending on how liberal you are with the pumpkin.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Yes, my friends, you can go from this...

to this...


Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The New Me and my new BFF

I know I've mentioned on here that I have been thinking of changing my goals/aspirations a bit since the running thing just wasn't working for me. We've always loved doing family bike rides and my parents are avid cyclists, so I decided to start taking that sport more seriously. I think I have found my niche. I absolutely LOVE it. Ryan and I got new (to us) road bikes and I am in love with my bike!! Lincoln and I still take morning rides together most mornings, but the child seat is on my mountain bike (which I have named "The Blue Beast" because it is SO heavy.) On the evenings and weekends when I get to ride my road bike by myself, I just fly. I LOVE IT!! I come home so happy. I never felt that way about running. I liked the way I felt physically after doing it (minus the massive knee pain) but I never loved it. Not like this. I look forward to my rides. I still have a lot to learn, but I am so excited to have found something I truly love to do! Now Ryan and I are training for a triathlon relay in Sept. where we will be the cyclists on our teams.

In terms of eating, I have still continued to count calories using my website (myfitnesspal.com) and it is such an effective tool for me. I'm down 13 pounds (and that is even with my two week vacation and some bouts of serious stress eating.) I have learned a lot and I'm glad I tried that South Beach Diet because it gave me a lot of tools for how to substitute foods in order to cut calories. Carbs can get dangerous, let me tell you. So I rarely eat pasta now, but I always have a lot of spaghetti squash on hand. Today's lunch was spaghetti squash, turkey meatballs and marinara for a whopping 303 calories. The same lunch using whole wheat spaghetti noodles would have been 500 calories. I also use only low carb tortillas (70 cal.) and those sandwich thins (100 cal.) You just have to find what works for you and go for it! And thank goodness that most restaurants have nutritional info online these days! THAT is eye-opening.

If anyone is still reading this and is a member or joins myfitnesspal.com (it's free) we can become friends on there and encourage each other! Let me know...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Still Alive

We have been out of town for the past two weeks, and then frantically trying to get the kids ready to start school again (yesterday.) But I have still been working out religiously--we did a ton of hiking on vacation and I'm back to strength and cardio (biking and elliptical) since I've been home.

I came home from vacation to find a flourishing garden!!! :) SO HAPPY!! So we have been having fresh lettuce and green onions from our own garden in our salad every night! Hopefully everything else will produce food and not just look cool.

And here is my Fourth of July feast. Kind of lame, I know, but we had driven over nine hours the day before and I had spent the whole day cleaning, doing laundry and trying to get settled in. So a turkey dog on half a sandwich thin it was. (Don't worry, the rest of the family had real buns, and even got grilled corn on the cob!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I've noticed a pattern in my work-out efforts. I am great at getting in my 4 day a week strength training sessions and my Pilates as well. I am great at doing my daily cardio--the elliptical and bike, for instance. Then I will go for a run and feel pumped and excited. I will run a great 4 miles and think I can do anything and be so motivated that I will e-mail my dear running friend, Priscilla to start re-planning our marathon together.

Then the next day I will be unable to walk because my knees hurt so badly. So I will continue on with all my other forms of exercise and hobble up and down the stairs for about a week before the cycle starts all over again. Feel great. Run. Want knee replacements. Hobble. Hobble. Hobble. Feel great. Run. Want knee replacements. Hobble. Hobble. Hobble...

So really, maybe I am just not cut out to be a runner. I would LOVE to be able to say I have run a marathon. What an incredible accomplishment. I want to put one of those little 26.2 stickers on my car window. But I don't know if it's ever going to happen. :(

I'm now thinking along the lines of a 100 mile bike ride. That's a big accomplishment, too, right? My parents do one every year. I'll have to look into it.

Hard work

Wow, this bike riding stuff really wears us out...

funny how the one that gets the most tired is the one that is just along for the ride!! (Yes, he is sound asleep!!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's here, officially! I think a healthy lifestyle is a million times easier in the summer. At least where I live. When we lived in Arizona, not so much. Now it's time to walk to church

take day-long family hikes

and fun family bike rides in the evenings. No picture of this because I was, um, riding my bike, but we had a blast last night exploring new parts of the neighborhood. The weather was incredible. Plus, summer is the time of unlimited WATERMELON! (It's a very low-cal food--although I don't recommend eating large quantities of it when you are on a long road trip in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. Food for thought.)

The other night I went out to dinner at an Irish Pub. I spent all day carefully counting and saving my calories, as well as studying their menu and planning what I was going to eat. I also did extra time on the elliptical just to be safe. I chose the Steak Irish Boxty--which is a traditional Irish meal. It's like a pancake with Steak and mushrooms on it. It was super yummy!! I was so proud of myself, though, because although I was plenty hungry, I only ate half and took the rest home. I am usually a finisher. I always finish everything on my plate. I counted it as a huge victory that I didn't! That way I saved major calories and still got to taste some authentic Irish food and not feel guilty. Plus, Ryan got a yummy lunch the next day, too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I don't have a ton of time, but I am thrilled to report that since I started starving myself counting calories I have lost 10 pounds!!!!! Woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 day Shred

My kids are wimps! They couldn't even make it through level one using Lincoln Logs as their hand weights. :)
Here I am showing them how it's done...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I finally got in to see the Endocrinologist last Monday. It was a really good experience--I felt like the doctor actually listened to me. She spent a good 40 minutes just talking to me and explaining things. Some interesting things she had to say:
1. There is very little that doctors actually know and understand about weight gain and hormones. There is often no identifiable reason for unexplained weight gain. Yay for me!
2. Just because something worked before (i.e. Body for Life) doesn't mean it will work again. Well that explains the last year of my life.
3. The older we get the harder it is for us to keep the weight off. I guess I knew that--kinda sucks though.
4. Anti-anxiety medications can cause weight gain.
5. While exercise is great, all it really boils down to is calories in/calories out.
6. You can gain weight eating too much broccoli.

She decided to re-test my thyroid, even though the test came back normal in October. She had my charts right there in front of her and nicely pointed out that yes, I have gained 12 pounds since October. That doesn't count the 18 or so pounds I had put on before October. (So, while I appreciate all of the kind comments from those of you who have said I look fine--I have proof from my doctor that I have put on a TON.)

She also decided to test my cortisol levels because she said that was the only other identifiable cause of unexplained weight gain. She made it pretty clear that it was unlikely that either of these hormones were out of whack. She says she often sees patients that have nothing wrong (that they can find) and suggested I start counting calories. I left feeling somewhat bummed that there wasn't going to be any magic pill to cure me, but also encouraged that at least I had a game plan.

I have spent the past week limiting myself to under 1200 calories a day. I found a great website--myfitnesspal.com that helps me track my calories--the food I eat and the calories I burn working out. Yes, I have been at least vaguely hungry most of the time, but I have felt in control and I like working toward a goal. I have a lot to lose. I also met with my regular doctor and got my anti-anxiety meds switched to see if those could be contributing to the problem. (Yes, I am a crazy person. Now you know.)

Well, lo and behold, the endocrinologist called today with my test results. My thyroid is still completely normal, but my cortisol test came back abnormal, so now I have to go back in for more tests.

So--maybe there is something wrong with me. I don't really know what it is or what they can do about it. I will go back in and talk to her more soon. But I have to say I find it a lot less depressing to think that it is not my fault that I have gained all this weight! It's not my fault!!! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardening--keeping our fingers crossed

I am still alive! We just have had a lot of busy evenings, which means my dinners haven't been all that exciting. I will have to post about what we are having tonight, though. It is one of my favorites!!

I had all but given up on my garden. It has snowed multiple times since I put my cold weather veggies out. I'm not sure how they are going to do...although I think they are hanging in there. But just the other day I noticed that my potatoes have actually sprouted!!! I am so excited!!

I "preheated" the areas I am going to put my tomatoes in. You just cover the ground with black plastic for a few weeks before putting your seedlings in. Apparently tomatoes like it hot. I had been planning to put them in last Saturday, but I decided to hold off. I'm glad I did--it has been pretty cold on and off here. We will see--maybe this Saturday will be the big day.

Soccer is over for the season, so maybe my posts will pick up. Or maybe not. The kids get out of school next week and then I am hosting two full weeks of day camp at my house and then we are off on a 2 1/2 week vacation. Yay for summer!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sam, I am

This week's meals will all focus around green (and pink and blue and purple and orange) eggs and ham...

Because, really, what else am I supposed to do with three dozen hard-boiled eggs and about 5 lbs. of leftover Easter ham?! (Maybe next year we should have someone come over and join us for Easter dinner!)

Last night we had egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat toast with shredded ham. Tonight we had whole wheat calzones with ham and cheddar and light ranch to dip them in.
What other brilliant ideas have I come up with? Crock pot ham, egg and cheese melts...Breakfast burritos...ham and swiss paninis...some sort of ham and stuffing casserole concoction...we shall see. And really, who is up for Easter dinner with us next year??

Thursday, April 21, 2011

my cute, brainwashed child

This morning Lincoln (3) was "helping" me pack for a trip I am taking tomorrow. I was putting snacks into my bag and he grabbed a granola bar, studied it and said, in his adorable little three-year-old language, "You can't take this, Mommy. It has high fwuctose cone soo-up." (Do you need a translation?) SO CUTE!!

By the way--he was wrong, it doesn't have any HFCS. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Aid for Japan

Yesterday marked the beginning of our week of eating food we already had to help out Japan. We went shopping together on Saturday morning to get the supplies to send overseas. I was disappointed at how NOT far our money went. But we still tried and hopefully the kids got something out of it.
(Is something wrong with my camera? Do these look blurry to you?)

So last night we just ate leftovers and tonight we had stir fry. The brown rice, ground turkey, soy sauce and green onions we already had, so all I had to spend money on was the Napa cabbage.

This morning Lincoln and I took our first bike ride of the season. It was beautiful!! The trees are all in bloom and the scent was heavenly. We did get chased by a dog, but that just made us go faster. Hopefully we can get back into the swing of two or more rides a week now that the weather is getting nicer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A challenge!!

Or just something to think about.

As a family we were brainstorming ways we could do something to help the people suffering in Japan. The kids' school is collecting supplies that the U.S. Navy is then going to deliver directly to those in need. So we decided to get creative with our food next week. We have been looking through our pantry, food room and freezers for food we already have. Our plan is to eat from our storage and use all the money we are able to save out of the food budget to hopefully make a somewhat substantial donation. (Well, substantial is a relative term, but every little bit helps!)

So I thought I would turn it over to you as well. A challenge to my readers if you will. How many of you are willing to try to eat what you already have and sacrifice a little to help someone in need? It doesn't even have to be the people in Japan. Why don't we all do some good and see what comes of it!!

I'll let you know how it goes--I will do my minimalist grocery shopping on Friday, then we are taking a family trip to Wal-mart on Saturday morning to shop for supplies. Another way to be healthy is to serve others. I swear I heard that on a Kaiser commercial the other day. ;)


Last night I modified a version of a recipe I've never tried before and it was a HIT. Everyone LOVED it--and it made a lot. So here is my version of Chili-ghetti (Adapted from a recipe from the cookbook Favorites, which is also one of my favorite cookbooks.)

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (32 oz.) can chili (I used Hormel 98% fat free turkey chili)
1 cup veggie puree (optional)
1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
2 cups grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Brown meat and onion; drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, chili and puree. Simmer 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti; drain and set aside. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in grated cheddar until melted. Fold in sour cream. Mix with cooked spaghetti. Spoon into a 9x13 inch dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rainbow Caterpillar Pancakes

I posted a picture of these on Facebook and got multiple requests for the recipe, so here it is. I used Swedish Pancake batter because it is a bit thinner and easier to "form" into the caterpillars. The pumpkin puree is optional or you could use another veggie puree. You also don't have to use any whole wheat flour--that is just important to me (for those of you new to the blog that don't already know that.)

4 eggs
4 egg whites
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
2 TBSP vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
food coloring

Mix eggs, milk, salt, vanilla and pumpkin puree with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and flour. Mix well. Divide batter into multiple bowls and add food coloring to make as many colors as you want. Carefully pour batter onto electric skillet making the pancakes touch. Flip very carefully when bubbles form.

Monday, April 11, 2011


We had a waffle party Friday night. I have the best. waffle. recipe. ever. Just sayin'. It might not be the most healthy recipe on the planet, but it is still so good. The secret is the yeast....

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter (that's the not so healthy part--I should try to use a puree instead.)
1/4 cup honey
2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
3 eggs
1 TBSP yeast
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat the milk, water, butter and honey to 120 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, eggs, yeast, salt and warm milk mixture. Mix at low speed to moisten, then at medium-high for 1 minute. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Prepare in a waffle iron. We typically serve them with applesauce and cinnamon sugar--you don't want to cover up the yummy yeasty, whole wheat goodness. But, since this was a party, we went all out with Reddi-whip and fresh strawberries!

Big Brother is coming to a cafeteria near you...

I found this on Facebook and I am shocked. If I was in that school district, I would throw the biggest fit--right before I pulled my kids out of school and moved somewhere NORMAL. I cannot believe this!!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good foods

I've decided to get away from blogging about what I eat and how I work out every day (because really, HOW BORING) and focus more on what healthy things I make for the family and our family activities that lend themselves to a healthy lifestyle for all.

So this morning I made pancakes for the kids. After one bite, Isaac asked, "What did you do to these?!" Yes, they were that good. So here is my secret...I used the Bisquick Healthy Heart Mix and just mixed up the recipe on the box. But then I added pumpkin puree and used Vanilla almond milk for half of the milk and added 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder. They tasted like white cake! Seriously. Yum.
Tonight's dinner was spaghetti pie, which I have already posted a recipe for, but I have improved it a bit, so I wanted to post this new one (complete with a picture this time.) This is a HUGE hit at our house.
New and Improved Spaghetti Pie

1 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles
2 cage free eggs
1 24 oz. fat free cottage cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan/Romano blend
2 cups marinara
1/2 cup veggie puree
3/4 cup shredded mozarella
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the dish. In a large bowl, beat eggs, then add cottage cheese, Parmesan and veggie puree. Mix until blended.
3. Add spaghetti to cottage cheese mixture and stir until well coated. Transfer spaghetti mixture to prepared pie plate; top with marinara sauce. Sprinkle with mozarella, extra Parmesan and the other half of the bread crumbs.
4. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

p.s. For those of you who don't know me, I should say that I don't keep my spending habits a secret from my husband! My "p.s." from yesterday was just a joke to see if he actually reads my blog...which he does! This morning he asked me what kind of swimsuit I bought. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More gardening

I literally dream about my garden at night...I am obsessed.

I started my potato cages on Friday, and planted the seed potatoes today. We are still trying to get the drip system all hooked up, but then we had a random snow storm on Sunday. Today it is gorgeous, though!

You make 3 ft. diameter chicken wire cages. Obviously I can't measure. One is 3 ft. the other is 1 ft. Oh well.

Fill them with good dirt and line with leaves or hay so the dirt doesn't all fall out.

Cut up your seed potatoes and let them sit out for a few days.

Plant them in the cages. Water. When they start to grow, cover them with more dirt. Keep filling it up with dirt throughout the season. Fingers crossed, at the end of the summer we will open the cages and be able to "watch the potatoes come tumbling out."

Today Lincoln and I also direct seeded our cold weather veggies--carrots and winter squash and started building fences to keep Kirby out of the garden.

And check out our cold weather seedlings!! The peas are huge. And our warm weathers have started sprouting, so things are moving along!! I am going to start hardening off the cold weather seedlings tomorrow to get them ready to plant around April 16th.

p.s. Don't tell Ryan... I broke down and bought myself a new swimsuit today. I am ready for summer!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend food

I don't seem to consistently blog over the weekends. C'est la vie. It's probably because A) I am usually super busy and B) I am not as good at making smart eating choices as I should be. Oh well.

Here is some of the stuff I have been eating over the past few days...
My fabulous French Toast. Who would think that just two little slices of bread would keep me sooooo full for so long?! When I eat this, I'm not hungry again until 1 or 2 in the afternoon!!

Turkey wraps made with fat free turkey, tomatoes, spinach cucumbers, hummus and these--
Low carb tortillas! They have only 5 grams of carbs! A slice of bread has 20 grams, so this is a good way to get a low carb lunch.

Sunday night's dinner was fabulous:
Oven poached salmon with cucumber sauce, carrots and brown rice. (I'll have to post the recipe for this one!)

And then tonight's dinner was egg enchiladas--I only ate one. I had an altercation with some Sun Chips today and the Sun Chips won. :( I don't think I ever want to see another Sun Chip as long as I live.
Today's workout was great--I did upper body strength and then ran a mile on the treadmill this morning. Then I also did some speed intervals on the treadmill tonight and I'm planning to do elliptical right now as well. Obviously I'm still feeling sick/fat from my Sun Chip issue this afternoon.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grilled Polenta

It's been a while since I made this and I thought for sure I had posted the recipe on here, but I went to search for it today and I couldn't find it. It's really yummy!!! I top it with sauteed veggies and marinara. I discovered it during my vegetarian phase--you could certainly add some grilled chicken or Italian sausage or even ground turkey into the mix for a delicious meal!

3 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. rosemary
1 cup cornmeal
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP olive oil

Set aside a shallow baking dish. Bring the vegetable stock, salt and rosemary to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then gradually sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking constantly. Cook the polenta, whisking all the while, until it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 7 minutes. Whisk in butter, Parmesan and mozzarella.

Scrape the polenta into the reserved baking dish and smooth over the top. Let cool for 10 minutes, then cover and chill at least one hour. (I just stick it in the freezer to speed up this process.) When you are ready to begin cooking, cut the polenta into 12 squares. Lightly brush each side with the olive oil and place the squares on a baking sheet. Grill the polenta on hot grill until golden brown on each side, about 10 minutes total. (You can also broil it in the oven if you want.) Serve with sauce.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The never-ending search for balance

I was thinking tonight as I made dinner for the rest of the family--I'm done. I gave South Beach a fair shot and saw no results. I have always been a very healthy eater and I don't want to feel guilty about eating a slice of whole wheat bread. Body for Life has worked for me in the past and it is all about the balance of healthy carbs and lean proteins. So now that I have tried giving up dairy, sugar, meat, carbs...what is left? Food in general? :)

Back to Body for Life I go. For me it's all about balance. At least until someone who knows something tells me differently.

The kids had "Peach Cobbler" for breakfast--canned peaches in juice mixed with granola, cornmeal and quinoa. Topped with vanilla yogurt.
I had eggs and veggies. It is a very filling breakfast.
My morning snack was celery and hummus.
And then for lunch all I wanted was a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. I decided to listen to my body and go for it. Whole wheat bread, all-natural pb and sugar free jelly, of course. I also had a few almonds on the side.
I had another South Beach bar for my snack. The rest of the family had roast beef sandwiches on whole wheat buns for dinner. I was left in a quandary--we were eating on the way to soccer practice, what veggies could I legitimately eat while driving? I had already consumed my carbs for lunch. I should have planned better, but my life is busy and hectic and it doesn't always work out the way I want it to. So I had a few slices of roast beef wrapped in a piece of cheese. And that is when I decided that I'm done.

So, this morning I got up and did Pilates. I got home from freezing to death at soccer practice and went down to walk on the treadmill at a steep incline to warm up. Now off to the elliptical.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Summer is coming!!

I keep getting summer catalogs in the mail. I am so excited for the summer! It's kind of ironic though, as much as I hate what I look like--I keep wanting to buy all these swimsuits. I don't even swim that often.

I got up first thing this morning and did my lower body workout and ran/walked at an incline for 10 whole minutes beyond that before Lincoln woke up and found me.

Today for breakfast I made the kids bread pudding with added pumpkin puree and then I ended up just joining them for breakfast. So that was my carbs!! At least I make it healthy.
Lunch was more leftover pork tenderloin salad and then I tried a South Beach bar as my afternoon snack. It was good, but only 12 grams of protein.
(Except this picture from the internet says it has only 6 grams. Huh.)

For dinner I made the family Chicken Enchilada Casserole (I'll post the recipe.)

There were too many tortillas in it for me, so I just sauteed beef, pork and spaghetti squash, zucchini, summer squash, and green beans in the dressing from the pork salad.
Tasty! Then tonight it has been 20 more minutes on the elliptical.

Now I'll go look at more catalogs and wish I was rich. And tiny. :) Maybe I'll look at the catalogs while I do more elliptical...