Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I’m 30, that’s not so bad.



Today is my birthday, I’m 30 and that’s not so bad.  29 was great. I accomplished things beyond my wildest dreams. Two 5k’s, lost almost 50lbs, started a blog, worked hard to better my marriage, made some amazing friends and if I accomplish half of that in the next year, 30 will be nothing short of fantastic. Speaking of amazing friends…


Savannah was AMAZING!  I ate poorly, drank a lot, but walked a lot and enjoyed myself. My friends had “tasks” for me to complete on Saturday. I had to do everything from kiss a bald guy on the top of the head to wear a hazmat suit and get people to sign. I had to belt out “Wind Beneath my Wings” and get two guys to slow dance and I had to collect 30 pennies from strangers. I was terrified when they told me that throughout the day I would be given certain tasks, but I completed them all. As I completed them I received charms for a Pandora Charm bracelet they gave me over lunch at Lady & Sons, each charm with a special meaning from each person. This was all a surprise to me, I had no idea what they were planning. There was so much planning and though involved, my heart is full. I have worn my new bracelet every day since. It gives me a feeling of happiness every time I look at it. I feel so grateful to have such amazing women in my life. Here are some pictures…the ones safe for viewing. :)

So, here’s to 30! If it’s half as good as 29 was, bring it on! I’m ready.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sometimes life just gets in the way

Savannah was amazing. I mean, really amazing. Fantastic and beyond my wildest imaginations. I had such a wonderful time and it was so great to see all of my friends.

However, I'm too tired to write about it right now.

As soon as I got home from Savannah on Sunday night, didn't even get a chance to pee, I had to take my husband to the ER for consistent vomiting. My husband has some other health issues and vomiting, although bad for everyone, is especially bad for him. We ended up there until 12:30am (after getting there at 7:15) while he got fluids and IV medications. He's still very sick, but at least it's manageable at home right now.

Then, yesterday, Chaser the wonder schnauzer got an upset tummy...all over my freshly cleaned carpets.

The past two days my allergies (which I seem to have developed this year, never had them before) has left me with eyes that feel glued shut and a super level exhaustion.

I also fell in Savannah, I slipped on some sand/cobblestone combination, tried to grab a metal barrier that was apparently made out of tin foil and rasberried one knee while tweaking the other trying to catch my fall. So, that 7 mile run got a little postponed.

My weekend full of amazingness came to a crashing end back in reality. Sometimes life gets in the way of your best intentions. I am trying to handle it as best I can.

So, between all of the above, I just don't have the energy. I promise I will update soon, a proper one. I'll leave you with one picture...just to let your imaginations run wild...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Girls Weekend!

Today is the day! We are leaving shortly for Girls Weekend in Savannah, GA! I am so excited I can hardly sit still. I know I've been quiet this week, but getting ready to go out of town is always a rush against time between work and home. I apologize for my absence, but I promise you haven't missed much.

My weight as of today: 161.2lbs!

I'll take it, especially this week! This doesn't give me the 50lb weight loss I wanted by this time, but I'm pretty darn close.

I want to go into a little bit of personal background about me. I've never had many girlfriends in my life. I've never had many real friends period. I'm good at being a loner. I actually enjoy it. However in the past year I have really started to come out of my shell more and appreciate the presence of other people in my life. The fact that I have 9 other amazing women in my life that want to go on an out of town trip with me to celebrate my 30th birthday is nothing short of amazing to me. I want to publicly thank them all for this weekend, in advance, they have no idea how special this truly is to me.

I know there will be a million pictures, some I'm sure will be hysterical. There are a ton of super secret plans that they have made and I have no clue what they have schemed up. I do know that my sister asked for very detailed measurements for what I can only assume is some sort of humiliating but hysterical costume.

I am giving myself permission to not track my points, have fun and enjoy my weekend. I am not giving myself permission to make this a total derailment. My whole goal is to find a balance that I am happy with.

Our plans include, lots of bars, lunch at Paula Deen's Lady & Sons restaurant and a haunted pub crawl! I have a 7 mile run scheduled on Sunday and I am going to try to do it before leaving Savannah, but if I don't, that's alright, I know I'll get it in later in the week.

Well, I guess that's it for now. I did get my work out (my sister joined me!) and a green monster in this morning so no matter what happens, I know I'll have started off the weekend the right way for me!

Happy Weekends to you all and I'll talk to you again on Monday! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meatless Monday - Spinach & Pea Manicotti

Last night after work, I was drained. I didn't feel like doing anything. I did manage to do a little stress relief yoga and cook dinner for me and my friend Kelly. I used's Three Cheese Manicotti recipe as a guideline. Below is the recipe how I modified it.

Spinach & Pea Manicotti

8 dried manicotti shells
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup diced onions
1 cup chopped frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
3/4 cup frozen sweet peas (thawed)
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
3/4 cup egg white substitute
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce combined with garlic & onion powder & Italian seasoning to taste.(and 1/4 cup diced tomatoes if you have them available)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook manicotti shells according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, for filling, coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat. Add onions, spinach, peas and garlic to hot skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or just until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese, the egg substitute, and Italian seasoning. Spoon filling into cooked manicotti shells.

3. Spread about 1/3 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange stuffed manicotti shells in individual baking dishes or large baking dish, overlapping shells slightly if necessary. Pour remaining sauce over manicotti.

4. Bake, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes for individual baking dishes or 35 to 40 minutes for large baking dish or until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese & Parmesan Romano. Bake for 5 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

This is a very exhausted me holding up the finished product.

This was a really good dish. I love the flavor of spinach and peas together! It reminded me a lot of Gina's Spinach Lasagna Rolls I made awhile back. I paired it with a spinach salad and it was a very filling meal. Kelly enjoyed it as well...we paired it with a glass bottle of red while we discussed our excitement for Girls Weekend.

This morning I had a pretty good run for a Tuesday! I seem to usually struggle on Tuesdays, but I'm not sure why. Today was good though.

While I was running, I kept thinking "I can't believe how much I love running". I really can't. I'm in shock at how much it's changed my life. I'm not the best runner or the fastest, but I have a passion for it that is almost equal to my love of food. :)

I want to thank you all for your amazing comments on my SELF magazine appearance. If you would have told me 1 year ago that I would be in a magazine that didn't focus on cheeseburgers, chubby chicks or beer I would have laughed you right out of town. I've come a long way baby, and I'm damn proud of it.

I want you all to take a minute and think about something for me. What have you done lately that makes you say "Damn! I'm proud of me!"? Tell me. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

SELF Magazine, what? That's nonsense!

I can finally tell you my super secret news!

On Saturday, I got a phone call from a friend shortly after getting home from work. "YOU'RE FAMOUS" she screamed into the phone. I wouldn't go that far, but it is pretty cool to finally be able to share my super secret news with you.

That's me, down at the very bottom, sharing a magazine page with Jessica Alba in SELF Magazine's April issue! I was asked and the pictures were taken back in November (well, except the running picture which had to be retaken...still not fond of that one) and I didn't want to tell anyone until the magazine was on the shelves. We all know how these things can fall through.

How did it happen? Well about 9 months ago SELF asked a question on Twitter (I don't remember the question or my answer) and I answered. They didn't use my answer for whatever it was but several months later I got an email from one of the editors telling me about their new "My SELFy Day" column. They thought I would be a good fit and they wanted me to submit some tweet-like updates about a day when I did SELFy things, healthy and balanced. I used a day when I was in Greensboro as an example. They liked my submission and therefore made me the first My SELFy Day in print form.

It's really surreal, but I have to say, it's a pretty awesome way to turn 30...which will happen on March 31st. :) Speaking of that, on Friday I leave for Savannah for Girls Weekend and I couldn't be more excited! My meal plan for the week is pretty lame because of it, but here it is:

Meatless Monday - Healthified Three-Chesse Manicotti from
Tuesday - Boca Burger and French Un-Fried Potatoes
Wednesday - Butternut Squash Orzo
Thursday - Tuna Cakes and some vegetable side

Since I'm leaving Friday morning I have no idea what my Friday night will be like!

Oh and just in case you're interested, on Sunday I had a kick ass 6 mile run. Yes "Kick ass" is needed to describe it.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything active? Cook any crazy good healthy recipes?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Not into it.

I have nothing witty to say today. No marvels of wisdom, no recipes to share. I did start my day with a very green Green Monster....

I wanted to report my weight for the week, 162.1 (-2.1lbs). It's going to be beautiful here in Coastal NC on Saturday and I will be stuck in my office. I have a 6 mile run on Sunday and I think it's supposed to rain.

I was supposed to run yesterday, but my knee bothered me.

I woke up this morning with a terrible headache and went back to sleep.

Tonight I am going to try my best to at least do some yoga. My body just doesn't feel quite right. I don't know if it's allergies, stress or some type of bug. Whatever it is, I hope it's gone soon because 1 week from today, I leave for my Girls Weekend trip to Savannah!

Do you ever just feel, not into it? That's me today. I'm not into it.

Hopefully I'll rebound on Monday with some exciting super secret news that I will hopefully be able to share at that point and a meal plan for next week. Thank you guys for sticking with me, even during the boring stuff.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Whys & Wherefores

Yesterday Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit asked us to tell him the Why & Wherefores of our recent weight loss journeys. Some of the questions really made me stop and I wanted to answer them publicly because even though it's been over a year since I made this lifestyle change, I am nowhere near having it dialed in.

Why do you suppose you let your life be less than you imagined it to be?

I wasn't unhappy when I was fat. I was totally ok, most of the time, being the chubby friend. I had been that person for so long and had tried to lose weight so many times before, I never imagined I could be anything else.

Why do you stumble so often despite all your good intentions?

Quite simply, because I'm a klutz.

Why do you sabotage yourself?

I tend to sabotage myself when I'm in a panic for some reason or overly stressed. I use overindulgence of food and even alcohol sometimes to numb my feelings instead of just embracing them and dealing with them. It's something I'm working on.

Why are you here anyway?

Because blogging keeps me accountable. I don't want to tell the 67 subscribers to my blog that I ate 2 double cheeseburgers on the way home from the grocery store before cooking dinner. I didn't do that recently, that is just an example of my past behavior.

If you’re making it, if you’re succeeding on this weight-loss journey, tell me why this time is different than all the others. Why are you going to make it this time when you’ve fallen short before? Why are you going to keep it off this time when you’ve gained it back before?

I choose to make it different. I choose to do the work, eat the right foods and take care of myself. If I don't choose to make it different, it won't be. That, and I'm actually enjoying myself this time around. I found that I love running, fitness and cooking healthy foods. I made the lifestyle change fit my life instead of revamping my whole life to fit the lifestyle change. I swear that made sense in my head.

Why are you a different person now than you were before?

The past year has changed the way I think about things. It's changed my personality, it's given me the confidence to say "I can accomplish the goals that I set for myself". Confidence is a powerful thing. Something I never had before.

I think it's important to acknowledge the fact that this will never be easy. I will always have to make an effort to be active and not eat too much. I think knowing that, accepting the fact that there is no magic quick fix and accepting the fact that if I stop, the weight will come back helps to me keep me going.

And since I'm answering questions today, here are some I've gotten on Formspring. Remember you can ask me anything!

How long did it take for you to build up your mileage / speed?

I started running in May of 2009, it's March of 2010. I feel like I still have quite a ways to go. I think it's important to stress that I still take short walk breaks as needed for 30 seconds to 1 minute to catch my breath.

how do you warm up before a run?

Good question! Let me preface that I was "taught" to run, this is just my warm up. I usually walk at a brisk pace for about 5 minutes, then stretch, and then I run. I start at a slow pace and then gradually pick up speed as my muscles warm up.

What things make you the happiest?

Running, my dog Chaser, my family and friends and really good food (in no particular order) :)

Ok, that's enough of the inside of my head for one day! Time to go try to get a run in before hitting the town to run errands. Oh joy. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breakfast in Bed & Chicken Yogurtoff

This morning, I'm writing to you from the comfort of my bed. Sounds luxurious, huh? Well, it's not really, my husband fell asleep on the couch again so my 45'ish minutes of waking up before the gym is being done from the bed. This is making it pretty tough not to go back to sleep I have to say, thank goodness for coffee!

Yesterday morning's run wasn't very good. I managed to knock out 3 miles in just over 30 minutes, but I felt as if I was set in concrete. Every step felt like twice the effort. Not sure if it's the time change or recovery from Sunday's 6 miler, but it was a doozie. Tuesday runs always seem to be the toughest for some reason. This morning is weight training again and I have to say, I'm sort of getting used to it and I'm starting to enjoy it. I didn't think that was ever going to happen! I do some jumping jacks between weight machines and that helps me to keep my heart rate up and keep me engaged. I think that is what made the difference for me.

Last night I was totally winging it in the kitchen. I had some ideas, but I didn't know how it was going to come together, but here it is, I give you...

Chicken "Yogurtoff" (like stroganoff, get it? haha it makes me laugh)


1 3/4 cup(s) cooked whole wheat pasta
7 oz uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup(s) onion(s), diced
1/2 cup(s) Stonyfield Farm Oikos Plain
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced


Cook chicken in a medium skillet over med-high heat until almost finished.

Blend together last 4 ingredients with a whisk, add seasoning to taste, I added salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder. Mix.

Pour yogurt sauce over chicken, add a little fat free chicken broth if needed. Let simmer for 5 minutes, add cooked pasta and let simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes.

I decided to omit the mushrooms from the traditional stroganoff just out of personal preference but it would make a great addition. Like most of the food I cook, it's not the prettiest thing to look it, like most comfort food, but it sure does taste good! It makes 2 servings and per WW Online Recipe Builder it's 6 points per serving.

I have an exciting week coming up next week, I have some Super Secret News I can't wait to share with you and my Girls Weekend Trip to Savannah! This is the week my schedule changes so I am off from work tomorrow. I am looking forward to sleeping in a little bit.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! Did you remember to wear green?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meatless Monday – Vegetable Fajitas


Yesterday was one of those days. It seemed like no one had anything positive to say and everyone was full of negativity. By the end of the day, it had completely rubbed off on me. I thought the evening was ruined.

I got home, checked my mail and found a package from Zazzle. A gift from my amazing friend Heather.

Shirt 001 Shirt 002



How funny is that? If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I recently went 2 whole weeks without going to the grocery store. I used pantry items and frozen stuff to make my meals for a week. I told Heather I felt like I was on the TV Show Survivor at times! However, with way less bugs.

After I got my shirt my mood lifted, I cranked up some Bob Marley and started making the most incredible vegetable fajitas and spanish rice!

Vegetable Fajitas 003

Not the best picture, but trust me it tastes amazing!

POINTS® Value:    5
Servings:  2


4 item(s) Mission White corn tortillas, warmed   

1 cup(s) onion(s), finely sliced   

1 item(s) bell pepper(s), Red - cut into strips

1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into small wedges

1 cup fresh spinach

1 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced   

1 Tbsp vegetable oil   

1/4 cup(s) salsa    Vegetable Fajitas 001

2 tsp McCormick Ground cumin  

  1. Coat skillet with oil and heat on med-high. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Stir to coat and cover for 5 minutes.
  2. Add squash, spinach, salsa, cumin (salt and pepper to taste), stir and then cover for another 5 minutes.
  3. Serve on tortillas.

So amazingly delicious! Adding the squash only during the last 5 minutes helps the squash keep a hearty meat like consistency. I know yellow squash isn’t in season yet, but it looked so good at the store, I couldn’t help myself! It’s one of my favorite vegetables! Make this dish, you won’t be disappointed!

The spanish rice was super easy too! 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup diced tomatoes, dash of cumin, dash of red pepper flakes, cook rice like normal, add 1/4 cup of frozen corn during the last 15 minutes. All done!

When I was done eating, the sun was still up! That is going to take some getting used to!

In other news, this getting up at 5am is working great. It’s 5:47am right now! It’s easier for me to get out of bed by telling myself “You don’t have to hit the ground running, just get up, relax and have some coffee.”

That being said, it’s time to get ready to run!

How do you deal with negative people? Do you ignore them or give them attitude? I tend to always reply back with attitude (shocking, I know!) and it kills my good mood.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And we're back!

Monday arrived as quickly as usual and here we are again. I hope you all had fantastic weekends. Mine was very laid back, but very great. Saturday we took our niece to the movies to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. While waiting, we had some fun with our 3D glasses.

And before you even ask, yes I ate popcorn with butter and yes I shared a regular Coke with the husband. I enjoyed it, I planned appropriately points wise and I moved along. It's all about balance, remember?

After the movie we went grocery shopping and I loaded up on fresh produce! That whole, 2 weeks without a trip to the grocery store left me craving fresh fruit and veggies with a vengeance. I have eaten 3 monster size salads since Saturday night and I have one packed for lunch! When I post my meal plan in a few minutes, you'll see the veggie craving there as well.

On Sunday I had a 6 mile run scheduled. It was really windy here, so I chose to do the run on the treadmill. The dehumidifier in my amenity center is broken (there is an indoor pool in there) and it was like running in a sauna, but I opened the windows and had a nice breeze flowing through. It turned out to be a pretty good run!

So much to say today!! Can ya'll still hang with me for a bit?

I would like to send out a HUGE congratulations to Nicole over at ...Let Them Eat Lettuce... today for competing in her first 5k on Sunday! And she did it on near her birthday! So congratulations and Happy early Birthday!!

Meal Plan for the week!

Meatless Monday - Roasted Vegetable Fajitas with Mexican rice
Tuesday - Chicken Stroganoff type dish using greek yogurt that I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to make yet.
Wednesday - Black Bean Cakes with Avocado Butter
Thursday - Grilled Vegetable Pita Pizzas
Friday - Crunchy Talapia Filet with a salad

See, I told you you would see a lot of veggies. That's 3 meatless meals!

Wow, if you managed to stay with me through all of this, I am IMPRESSED!

Tell me there anything you'd like to see more of here on Unlikely Success Story? I know I write this mostly for me, but I would like to keep you somewhat interested.

What can I do to keep you reading?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Island Yum-Yums

Two posts, in 1 day, I know!

I wanted to make something semi-low calorie for my co-workers today, so I whipped this up last night. They were gone in less than 1 hour. So I figured I would share the sweetness!

Island Yum-Yums

Combine above ingredients. (1 box angel food cake mix, 20oz. crushed pineapple and 1 cup shredded coconut) Place mixture in 48 mini-muffin tins or 24 regular muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. 1 point for a mini muffin or 2 points for a regular muffin. YUM and simple. Would be perfect with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry.

Happy Weekend! :)

Major Tom to Ground Control

5'ish something o'clock wake up, Day 2: 5:40am.

I've been awake approximately 15 minutes. Today is not as smooth as yesterday. It's not bad. I just feel a little spacey. I didn't go to bed early enough last night, I may have hit snooze 3 times this morning. I'm going to try and stick with it though, on my work out days at least. I get to have coffee twice this way.

Weigh-in, 164.2, +2.3

It's bad news this week kids. I kind of saw it coming. First there was the food and booze festival that visiting my family always turns into and this week I couldn't get control of the snack monster. He sat on my shoulder almost every night this week "You know you want pudding, a graham crackers, and chocolate oh and don't forget some granola and yogurt!"

You know what though? I made a lot of positive changes this week, so I don't mind, I'm just going to focus on those.

1. I ran over 8 miles while visiting my family, I didn't quit my exercise just because I was on a mini-break.
2. I cooked some amazing food this week.
3. I found that waking up earlier means a better run!

So, I refuse to look at this as a bad week, even with the gain.

I have another recipe to share with you guys! Last night I made a Turkey Sausage & Lentil Pasta Stoup. It's stick to your ribs hearty and yummy! It's not very pretty to look at (I think that was this week's theme!) but it's comfort food to the MAX!

Turkey Sausage & Lentil Pasta Stoup

POINTS® Value: 8
Servings: 2


4 oz Louis Rich Smoked Turkey Sausage, chopped
1/8 cup(s) onion(s), diced
1/8 cup(s) carrot(s), chopped
1/3 cup(s) canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp garlic clove(s), minced
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp table salt
3 oz Barilla Whole Grain Rotini
1/2 cup(s) dry lentils, rinsed and drained
2 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth, save 1/2 cup for later!


Brown sausage in a sauce pan, add onion and cook until translucent. Add carrot and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken broth, rinsed lentils, diced tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, allow to cook for 40-45 minutes or until lentils are fork tender.

Add pasta, remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes until pasta is tender.

I served with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. So tasty!

It's my last official weekend off and I think the husby and I are going to be lazy. We may go see Alice in Wonderland in 3D and I know some rented movies are on the plan. I will also FINALLY go to the grocery store! I miss fresh fruit and produce! However, as of tomorrow I will have made it 2 weeks without a single trip to the grocery store. I feel like I need a tee shirt. :)

I guess that's all she wrote! I have a date with some weights.

What are you big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hi 5:15am. Nice to meet you.

Those who know me well know I love sleep. I love sleep so much I could marry it. I love to flip my pillow to the cool side, sigh contentedly as I drift back to sleep after the alarm goes off and I've hit snooze for the 3rd time.

However, when it comes to my morning runs this often leads to me being pressed for time, rushing out the door and not properly warming up or stretching. On Sundays I wake up at least 1 hour before I want to begin my run. I eat some toast and jam, drink a cup of coffee and really wake up before I head out for my run. I decided to apply this to a week day run, that meant waking up at...


Wow. The only time I get up before 6am is if travel is involved. This morning I only hit snooze once at 5am and then got out of bed at 5:15. My coffee was brewing, I made some toast and I sat down and watched the news. I caught up on some blog reading, played around on facebook. Then, after I finished my toast, I cleaned up the house a little, I was full of energy and it was 6:15, time to run. It was raining, so I headed to the gym and...

pounded out an AWESOME run! I felt better, ran harder, had enough time to warm was as good as my Sunday runs. I can't wait to see what happens to me this afternoon and this evening...will I crash? I guess I'll have to wait and see, but if it means running well and feeling good, I think 5:15am and I might just become friends.

I don't know if you noticed a new edition to the side of my blog right over there --> but I've jumped on the FormSpring wagon. Feel free to ask me anything either by using the box provided or clicking here. I'm not at all interesting've been warned. :)

Last night's dinner of crockpot BBQ chicken was tasty, but not really worth the calories, so I'm not sharing it. I'm looking forward to modifying tonight's dinner. It's a recipe I found for Lentil & Sausage Soup. I tend to like my lentil soup more stew like than soup like but I love the idea of putting pasta in it. I'm also going to use Smoked Turkey Sausage as well. Yummy! We'll see what it becomes. I still haven't had to break down and go to the grocery store. I haven't been in almost 2 weeks! Yay for pantry items! I really miss fresh fruit and produce though, I'm officially (aside from some carrots) out.

Ok, I need a new run mix so I want to know...What is your "Get Pumped" song?

Right now, what's been working for me is Korn - Freak on a Leash

Everyone has one...a song that comes on and you can't help but feel amped up and ready to go. No matter how silly...I want to know! Please share! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I tried to stay away!

I didn't want to write today. I didn't have much to say. But then I thought about it and I wanted to write. It helps keep my head in the game. So here I am!

Last night I went for a run directly after work.

BAD RUN. I couldn't find my stride, I recently started running with a fanny pack type thing for phone and ID (I had been running without both...oops) and it wasn't staying put like it's supposed to so I was fighting with that, I didn't wear any compression clothing so my clothes felt soaked, my breathing was spotty and my knees hurt. I was a hot mess. I am just glad I made it through. I think I will stick to my morning runs going forward.

When I got home I turned up John Mayer's Battles Studies album and let the music wash over me. That's my favorite way to cook. I may or may not turn spatulas into microphones.

Last night's dinner turned out to be a great quick & easy meal! I marinated some lean beef, 1 yellow bell pepper and 1/2 of a small onion with 2 Tbsp of Lawry's Ginger Sesame marinade while some brown rice cooked. Then I cooked the beef, peppers and onions in my wok, added a little Sriracha for good measure (I LIKE IT HOT!) and served with rice and broccoli.

Yum. I like food. I have the leftovers for lunch today.

It's humpday. My last official one until, well, I'm not sure. My schedule changes to Thursdays and Sundays off for the summer because my work is largely seasonal. This coming weekend is my last one off. Of course, I'm taking 2 more off that I know of, one for Girls Weekend (in 16 days!) and one for my 10k, so I guess it's more of a "see ya later" to weekends. Ok, that was confusing to everyone but me. :)

I am going to need lots of ideas for quick and easy meals in the Spring and Summer.

What's your favorite quick, easy and healthy meal?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meatless Monday - Meat & Potato-less Shepherd's Pie

Last night's dinner was AMAZING. I knew I wanted to make a shepherd's pie using Soy Crumbles, but I wasn't sure what I had in my pantry to pull it all together. What turned out was a Meat and Potato-less Meal that tasted so amazing I couldn't wait to share it with you. It may not be the prettiest meal, but it's one of my new favorites.

I know what you're thinking..."there is no way that can taste good". But you're wrong. Soooo wrong.

Meat & Potato-less Shepherd's Pie

POINTS® Value: 4
Servings: 3


2 cup(s) steamed and mashed* butternut squash,
1 can cream of broccoli soup
2 cup(s) frozen mixed vegetables (I used a green bean, corn, pea and carrot mix)
1 cup(s) meatless soy crumbles
1 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced
1/4 cup(s) cooked onions
1/4 cup(s) shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
Salt, Pepper, Onion & Garlic Powder to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onions and garlic in non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray until soft. Add frozen vegetables and Soy Crumbles cook until just done. Add spices to taste.

Add cream of broccoli soup and 1/4 can of water, bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat and then place vegetable mixture in a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top with mashed butternut squash and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbly, place under broiler for approximately 5 minutes until cheese is lightly browned.

*I placed 1/2 of a butternut squash cut into cubes in a glass bowl with about 1/4 cup of water and microwaved for approximately 8 minutes and then mashed with a fork.

Here are a few of my meal ideas for the rest of the week:

Tuesday - Beef, Broccoli and Pepper Stir Fry
Wednesday - Crock-pot BBQ Shredded Chicken
Thursday - Lentil & Turkey Sausage Soup with Pasta
Friday - Leftovers

I'm trying to make it through this week without a trip to the grocery store, so I based my meals on pantry items or things I had available. I may or my not conduct my own iron chef battles alone in my kitchen.

I was supposed to run this morning but when I woke up the temperature was 40 degrees. I knew that this afternoon would be 65'ish degrees so I packed up my running gear and brought it to work. My plan is to go right out the door of my office and take off after work. If yesterday's stress level is any indication of today's, I will NEED to run.

How do you deal with work stress?

I know most of us have it. I used to eat and drink it away. Now I tend to do some sort of physical activity to release the tension.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Manic Monday!

I'm pretty sure that whenever you take a vacation day from work, those who are left in the office find extra work for you to do upon your return to punish you. At least that's what it feels like this morning. My office is a zoo. So, this will be quick.

My trip to Greensboro was wonderful, as always! I packed healthy road trip snacks. Thank you guys so much for the advice! You had some great ideas!

100 Calorie popcorn, Diet Snapple Peach Tea, a plum and 2 mini Cadbury Eggs. It was perfect! I ate everything but the plum during the drive.

Friday morning I woke up wanting to run. Since I skipped my Thursday run, I figured why not! So I put on my shoes and started out with no real plan. I had a great run and stopped at one of my favorite spots.

Friday night we went out and had a GREAT time. I ate too much and drank too much but if walking from bar to bar and dancing my butt off burns calories, I probably did pretty well. Here's a group shot!

Saturday was my rest day and I rested. I got my hair cut, spend some time with my family. We cooked dinner at home and watched DVDs.

Sunday was my 5 mile training run. I didn't want to get out the door, but I'm really glad I did. The weather (for both of my runs actually) was BEAUTIFUL. Here are the stats:

Like my other long runs, the 2nd time doing the distance is a little easier than the first. Greensboro has a lot of hills and I'm used to running at the beach with no hills. So that presented a nice challenge, although I was cursing the hills most of the time. After my run I hung out with my family for awhile before beginning my drive back. My snacks included a 100 Calorie Oatmeal Pie and a Diet Pepsi.

Now I'm back at work and it's crazy. I haven't even begun to think of a meal plan for the week, I'll probably work on that tonight. Tonight is Meatless Monday dinner and I'm torn as to what to make. I know it will involve some or a combination of the following:

Butternut Squash
Soy Crumbles
Frozen Mixed Vegetables

That's what I got in the fridge...who has some ideas?

Do you find it hard to remain true to your healthy lifestyle when around your family?

It's so hard for me. I am really proud of myself for running, usually I just go completely off the wagon.

Welcome back to Monday!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Checking in from Greensboro

Just a quick check in from my blackberry!

I went for a run this morning and stopped at one of my favorite spots. If you look either way off this pedestrian bridge all you see is train tracks. I've always loved this spot and wanted to share it with you.

I ran 3.05 miles in 30 minutes and at weigh-in, I'm down to 161.9. Not much of a loss, but a little and I'll take it!

If I don't check in later, have a great weekend! Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hit the Road Jack...

"You work impossibly fast. And your power over me is strong. You make my eyes close, against my will. And sometimes you take me away to a different time. you never eat or drink any thing. you don’t go into the sunlight. I know what you are."

"Say it. Out loud."

"Sleep Monster"

"Are you afraid?"


This morning, I totally gave into the power of the sleep monster. The bad part? I got up out of bed, brushed my teeth, got into my running clothes, had 1 shoe on and then took the shoe off and went back to bed in my running clothes. While sitting in the chair putting my shoes on I was hit with a wave of exhaustion, not just regular sleepiness, but absolute exhaustion. I don't have much exercise guilt about it because I have a 3 hour drive tonight after work and I would rather skip my run than fall asleep during the drive. Sometimes your body just lets you know when you need an extra hour of sleep.

I'm driving to Greensboro tonight to spend the weekend with these characters...

Please pardon my "wine lips" in the above pictures.

My Family! My sister (by choice, not by blood) Jen, my brother Ritch and my Mom, Mom. :) I always have so much fun when I go to visit! I miss them all terribly. It's only a 3.5 hour drive but due to my work schedule I don't get to visit as often as I'd like, which is probably a good thing because my healthy eating habits tend to go by the way side when you put me in their house which is always filled with goodies.

Last night's dinner was yummy!! It's a weight watcher's recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash Orzo. I made 1/2 of the recipe and I made note of my changes in bold.

Creamy Butternut Squash Orzo

1 spray(s) cooking spray
2 cup(s) butternut squash, cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used Brumel and Brown yogurt butter)
1 cup(s) uncooked orzo
1 1/2 cup(s) water
1 cup(s) canned chicken broth
1 tsp thyme, fresh, or 8 whole sprigs (sprigs preferred) (I used dry)
2 Tbsp fat-free half-and-half (I used 1 Tbsp Fat Free Ricotta Cheese)
1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh spinach chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, toss squash with oil and salt; spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, leaving space between squash cubes. Roast, stirring halfway through, until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add orzo. Stir constantly until orzo begins to smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Add water, broth and thyme sprigs and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add chopped spinach for the last 5 minutes.

Remove thyme sprigs; stir in half-and-half (or ricotta cheese), cheese and roasted squash. Season well with salt and pepper; serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

This was amazing decadent, simple and delicious. I will definitely be making it again. This is a great dish for entertaining because it's impressive. Not very pretty to look at, but amazing to taste!

I also made some roasted brussels sprouts (yes it is brussels sprouts not brussel sprout, although both are totally acceptable I think) which I tossed in 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, couple dashes of worcestershire, salt and pepper. I just threw them in the oven along side the squash, in a separate pan of course.

This would make a great Meatless Monday meal too, of course you could have it any day of the week!

How do you guys prepare for road trips? Do you bring a snack or grab something at the store? I try and bring a piece of fruit and a drink (either Diet Snapple or Water) from home. I find it helps, but sometimes the lure of the fast food temptress is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This Smoothie is The Bomb!

Good Wednesday morning to ya!

In case I haven't told you guys lately, thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments so much! I feel like this blog and YOU are such a huge part of the reason that I'm doing so well on my journey.

This morning was a Cross-Training day on my 10k training schedule. I really need to start building some muscle. I'm pretty sure this is the next step in my journey. Cardio is only going to take me so far. I've done 30 Day Shred a bit, dabbled here and there in different things, I do yoga. However, I've avoided weight training. I hate weight training. I know that my muscles feel worked and tired (this is a feeling I have learned to appreciate as a good thing) afterward and I like that feeling, but it doesn't give me the endorphin rush that I think I am addicted to. I found a 20 minute total body workout sheet on Weight Watchers online, I printed it out this morning and took it to the gym with me. It went fairly well, on the overhead press I could only lift the bar with no weight. :/ It took me all around the gym working everything from Abs to Legs. Maybe, with any luck, I'll grow a fondness for weight training.

Onto the Star of the Show!

Caitlin over at started talking about Chocolate Cherry Bomb smoothies. Of course, I decided to try my hand at making one. Here is my variation, I swear it tastes like you're drinking a chocolate covered cherry, no joke!

Chocolate Cherry Spinach Bomb

1/2 of a banana, frozen
1/2 cup of frozen Dole Dark Sweet Cherries
1 cup of fresh spinach
1 cup of Light Vanilla Soy Milk
1 scoop Chocolate Deluxe Biggest Loser Whey Protein Powder
2 ice cubes

Put first 4 ingredients in blender carafe the night before you want to enjoy your smoothie and place in fridge.

The next morning, add protein powder and ice cubes and blend until...well, blended. This smoothie is 3 Weight Watcher points.

That's it! For those of you who are scared to try the Green Monster movement this would be a fantastic one to try. You don't taste the spinach at all! It really tastes like you're having a Chocolate Covered Cherry Milkshake for breakfast. And cherries are a Superfood! Good for your joints and packed full of antioxidants!

No one paid me to say that. I just REALLY love this smoothie! :)

Last night for dinner I made chicken that I lightly breaded with panko breadcrumbs and baked. I also made Hungry-Girl's Cheesy Butternut Squash Bake. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures for you guys. See, I took a bite of the butternut squash after I blended it but before I baked it and I honestly thought I was going to hate it. So I didn't even bother...after it baked, I ate it too fast to be bothered with a camera.

But it's good and you should try it!

Ok, that's enough of my all over the place chaos for today. I hope you guys held on tight and didn't get whiplash!

How do you feel about weight training? Do you do it? Do you have a trainer or use printed work outs? I'm really interested, please tell me! :)

I swear I'm not as desperate as I sound...ok, maybe I am a little. Weights are scary!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Meatless Monday, I think I love you...

"I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of, I'm afraid that I'm not sure of, a love there is no cure for..."

Did anyone else watch the Today show this morning? I'm pretty sure that song is going to end up on a running mix soon. I can't stop singing it. I could sing this song to last night's dinner, that's for sure! It was YUMMY. Yes, capitalization is required on that one!

I made Gina's Spinach Lasagna Rolls. If you haven't checked out her website yet, you really should. She has amazing recipes!

I followed her recipe closely, except I used whole wheat lasagna noodles, fat free mozzarella, and I added some dehydrated minced onion, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper to the ricotta cheese mixture. I also used a Parmesan/Reggiano blend grated cheese. I also used some canned tomato sauce that I jazzed up with red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder. I probably only used 1/4 of the sauce the recipe calls for. I'm not huge into sauce and neither is Kelly (who joined me for dinner). We both thought this recipe was fantastic! I served it with a small Cesar salad on the side, light dressing of course.

You'll see this one again, you'll definitely be seeing variations of it again too! I love the rolls, it's simple and makes such a beautiful presentation. Ok, I'm stopping now. :) Thanks Gina for a great recipe!

This morning I had a run scheduled for 30-45 minutes. I ran for 40 slow minutes. I'm not feeling 100%, but I am proud that I did it. The Sleep Monster almost won.

I knew I needed to get up and run though, and I need to get a lot of exercise and healthy eating in this month because on the 27th, I have reservations to eat with 9 of my girlfriends at The Lady & Sons in Savannah! And later that day, a Haunted Pub Crawl! You can bet your heavily buttered buns I'm going off-plan that day! Will I feel bad? Not one bit. It's all about balance. There will be much walking involved too...from one bar, to the next. :) Half kidding...

So many of you are excited and amped up for March! Reading your comments yesterday gave me motivation! I can't wait to see where this month takes us! :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday with a Bullet

I wish the weeks were only 2 days long and the weekends were 5 days long. I personally think I would be more productive in the 2 days than I am in 5. I'm just saying. :)

Weekend catch-ups!

My "Holy Crap" Saturday continued when the husband agreed to go bowling with me on Saturday night. My husband is a REALLY good bowler and has bowled most of his life. He "retired" last year and is taking the year off from bowling. When we first started dating we bowled together all the time. I've never been good. He usually spends most of our games bowling with his left hand (he's right handed) or throwing trick shots. We truly just play for fun. Well, he gave me a few pointers Saturday night...I ended up breaking 100 for the first time ever! I also beat Jeff...of course, he wasn't really bowling very seriously.

He may kill me for posting that, but oh well. :)

We met some friends out for drinks after bowling. I was very proud of myself. I kept in mind the fact that I had a 5 mile run on Sunday morning and only had a couple beers. I woke up Sunday morning feeling great, but a little tired. I had a bagel thin with some sugar free strawberry preserves, had some coffee and about an hour and a half later headed out the door for my run.

That is the longest I've ever ran outside. I ran around my neighborhood and had to run a 2nd loop. I hate repeating runs, they are so boring. Half of this run was done "against the wind" and every time I say that (or type it) I start singing that damn song. It was a tough run, with some wind gusts up to 15mph, but I'm glad I did it. I'm just praying for no real winds on the day of my 10k.

It's the first day of the March and I have so much going on this month.

March 5-7th - A trip to Greensboro to see the Family
March 13-14 - My last official weekend off for the season, my days off will switch back to Sundays and Thursdays - Boo.
March 26th-28th - My Girls Weekend trip to Savannah to celebrate...
March 31st - My 30th Birthday

There is something else special that is going to happen in March, but I can't tell you what it is right now. You're just going to have to wait and see.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends!

What are you looking forward to this month?

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