Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet Potato Fries

What goes with turkey burgers hot off the grill? Sweet potato fries and kale chips!  Well, the kale chips didn't make it until the burgers were done, but they did make a tasty appetizer.  We tried something different with our sweet potatoes this time.

Sweet Potato Fries

  • Wash and slice two sweet potatoes into long slices.
  • Spray foil with olive oil cooking spray and place on George Foreman grill.  
  • Place sweet potato slices on grill and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  
  • Cook on grill for 15-20 minutes or until done. 
  • Serve with turkey burgers! 

Can I do more?

Can I do better?  Can I run longer?  Can I add another 2.5 lbs of weight to the bar?

The answer is almost always, YES.  I don't know about you, but I needed a bit of inspiration this rainy Monday morning.  I almost never need any additional motivation to get out of bed and hit the gym at 5:30 am because I know that if I don't I won't have the energy that I need for the rest of the day.   This morning was no different, but once I got to the gym I just wasn't feeling it.  

Maybe it was because it was chest day and I knew I had to lift heavy and try to get 5 sets of 5 at 95 lbs on the bench?  Maybe it was because this was the first morning without John (last Friday was his last day) there to open the gym?  I don't do well with change;)  Or, maybe it was because for the first time ever I forgot my water bottle? Whatever it was, I struggled to get through my first couple of sets.  That is when I told myself just to buck up and get it done.  I knew I could do better and I knew whining about the dwindling time left to workout wouldn't help, so I did some supersets and then jumped on the treadmill for a 2 mile run.  

No, it wasn't the best workout I've had, but at least I was the one making the decision to take control of my bad mood and make the best of it.  Sometimes you just have to dig deep and get it done.  Happy Monday;)  I'm ready for a heavy back day tomorrow with my water bottle!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Planting is complete!

We put our final seeds in the ground this afternoon and checked the growth of those that are sprouting.  In the ground went more spinach, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, watermelons, pumpkins, and red potatoes.  Everything else seems to be coming along nicely!

Rich watering, Hailey supervising, and Roonie sneaking a peak! 

Look at all that green!!

Walnut Banana Protein Bread

I'm patting myself on the back for this one.  This is the first bread recipe that I've made up entirely on my own and it turned out to be delicious!  It's intimidating to throw things together and see what happens, but I lucked out with this one.

Walnut Banana Protein Bread

  • 2 cups of oat flour
  • 2 scoops of Vitol vanilla egg protein
  • 3 ripe mushed up bananas
  • 1/2 c crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 c egg whites
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c xylitol brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix all wet ingredients in separate bowl. 
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  • Spray loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and fill with batter.
  • Place in oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
  • Enjoy!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This one is for the kids

and for anyone who likes quick, easy, cheap meals. Last week was pretty stressful because of Rich's workload and I was downright exhausted.  Instead of going out to Mi Rancho after looking around the kitchen, I decided to throw together some English muffin pizzas for all of us.  We love making our own homemade pizza, but that would have taken way too long for a busy weeknight.

I used whole wheat Kroger brand English muffins which were on sale for $1.  I added a teaspoon of Great Value pizza sauce to each side along with shredded chicken, chopped onions, and low-fat shredded cheese.  After 10 minutes in the toaster oven dinner was ready!

This is a perfect meal for rushed evenings when you would be tempted to pick up fast food or a carry-out pizza.  And, darn is this a cheap one!?  Hailey made her own version today for lunch and loved every bite of it.  If you have picky eaters in the house they can each choose their own toppings, so there is no complaining!

And into the toaster oven for 10 minutes!

English muffin pizza with a side of turnip greens.

Still around

Two things are still around in my running career: the ability to get out there and pound out miles without training and this fricken nagging pain in my foot!

We had fabulous weather for our school's track and field day yesterday!  In fact, it was the best field day that I can remember having.  The kids were well-behaved and most of them participated in multiple events and really enjoyed themselves.  There was just enough sun to offset the cool breeze and keep you switching from a tank to a sweatshirt.  My kind of weather indeed.

Kimberly and I got out there and did 3 miles in 30 minutes before lunch.  It was a nice slow pace for my first outdoor run in 4.5 months.  I'm convinced that getting my heart rate up during heavy lifting sessions is what keeps my cardiovascular endurance up enough to just keep on running without even getting winded.  That is something to celebrate! I know last year at this time I probably couldn't have done three miles that easily even when I had been training for a few months.  My foot didn't really bother me until I was done and then it was just a nagging pain.

However, Leslie and I couldn't let down two 8th grade boys who needed two girls in their 4x200 relay race.  I knew better than to sprint on this jacked up foot and told myself just to keep it slow because the important thing was supporting these boys.  I think I did pretty well...I ran hard, but didn't break into a full out sprint.  The only thing that bothered me was the start, pushing off on my toes.  That split second of pressure caused my foot to hurt all last night.  I just don't get it?  Will I never be able to do burpees, squat jumps, box jumps, sprints, etc. ever again?  I'd actually prefer to do HIIT workouts than long runs, but I just don't see it happening.  We'll see what Dr. W says next Thursday, but from what I'm feeling I don't see how much has changed in 18 weeks.  Sure it doesn't hurt on a daily basis, but the minute I do any moves that require a bend and push off with that foot I'm right back in the same boat.

Countdown is on...

Next Saturday at this time we will be seated in Bridgeforth Stadium for JMU's commencement ceremony!  Rich did an excellent job with his senior project presentation on "The American Ideal" last night!  He is down to two finals next week and then he will officially be finished with his degree.  I could not be more proud of all of his hard work, especially this semester when he was busy working, taking classes and working on his project.  I know it will be a bittersweet moment without Bill there to celebrate with us, but we know he is looking down at Rich grinning from ear to ear saying, "Atta, boy!"


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIAW - hungry girl

It's almost scary to write down everything that I have eaten for What I Ate Wednesday, but here we go...
  • Overnight protein oats (old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, milled flax, vanilla egg protein, almond milk) and a cup of coffee
  • Post-workout shake (egg protein, one tsp creatine, handful of spinach, 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, milled flax, almond milk)
  • 2 lemon protein bars
  • Apple with 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese topped with cinnamon
  • Spinach salad topped with pulled chicken breast, one date, almonds and balsamic vinaigrette. 
  • 2 pieces of monster meatloaf
  • I'm thinking an egg sandwich for dinner with a side of veggies.
So, yeah, I've eaten 6 meals before 4:00 pm.  I guess that is about right considering I got up at 4:00 am.  And, I ran 2 miles and did a heavy leg workout.  Off to track practice now! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby Steps

I don't go back to the doctor until next week, but I always like to test things out before I return so I have something to report.  I wore my Danskos to school twice last week and both times my foot hurt.  I'm good to go with my Saucony's and inserts, but everything else still causes pain.

This morning I thought it would be a good idea to attempt some light running.  It has been torture to wait 18 weeks without a single run (well, other than the one that I got in when we thought the MRI was clear).   I waited until after my chest and ab workout, and until I only had 10 minutes until I needed to leave the gym.  This forced me to keep the run to one mile.  If I had started out at the beginning of my workout I know I would have overdone it.  The good news is that I felt no pain AND I feel like a normal human being again.  It still amazes me how dramatically my mood changes when I can run even if it is just a short distance.  My plan is to run three days a week and keep the mileage very low and fairly slow.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jamie's Monster Meatloaf

And, the final recipe that I adapted from Jamie Eason today is her Monster Meatloaf.  This recipe makes a ton of meatloaf so that it can be used throughout the week.  It has a bit a of different flavor than I'm used to, but change can be good.

Jamie's Monster Meatloaf Recipe 
Nutrition Facts:
Single serving: 83 calories, .7 g fat, 3 g carbs, 15 g protein 

1 12-oz package chopped onions and peppers, thawed (or 1 - 1 1⁄2 cup fresh) **I only used onions
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1⁄2 tsp dried thyme (I omitted this)

1 tsp minced garlic
1⁄4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3⁄4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp tomato paste (no salt added)
3 lbs extra-lean ground turkey (or chicken breast)
1 cup quick cooking oats
4 egg whites
1 cup reduced sugar ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup)

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prep a 9-by-13 Pyrex dish with non-stick spray. In a large sauté pan, cook the onions and peppers with salt, pepper and thyme until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). 
2.  Next, add garlic, soy sauce, chicken broth and tomato paste, mixing until heated through. Set aside to cool.
3.  In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, egg whites, oats and sautéed mixture (cooled). Mix by hand until all incorporated and press flat into the 9-by-13 prepared Pyrex dish.
4.  Spread ketchup in an even layer on top of the prepared turkey and place in the oven to bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Makes 24 servings 

Pumpkin Protein Bars

I actually made this recipe last week, but I haven't had time to update the blog until today.  I didn't capture any pictures of the final products, but my four taste testers at school devoured them and said they were delicious.  Carrie and I actually ate them for our morning snack three days in a row.  I have a feeling we'll be doing the same with the lemon and carrot protein bars this week!

*I typically double the amount of protein powder in all of Jamie's recipes, so in this case I used 4 scoops instead of two.  I also used 1 cup spelt flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour because I did not have any oat flour.  I kept the oat flour in the recipe below because I prefer it.

The only picture I have, courtesy of Hailey who stole my camera.  I found about 30 pictures from the day when I was downloading pictures this weekend! 

Me in my Sunday best, dirty and gross from gardening, working out and cooking all day! Thanks Hay Hay!

Pumpkin Protein Bars (adapted from Jamie Eason)


  • ½ C xylitol brown sugar 
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 - 15 oz. can of raw pumpkin
  • 2 C oat flour 
  • 4 scoops vanilla egg protein
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ C chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 9 X 13 Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine first 11 ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add the final 3 ingredients (4, if adding walnuts), and mix until incorporated. Spread batter into the Pyrex dish and bake for 30 min.
  5. Makes 24 squares.

Clean Chicken Quesadillas

Instead of running out the door to Mi Rancho for my Mexican cravings, we decided to make some clean chicken quesadillas.  They were fantastic and very filling!  There is so much you can do with shredded chicken, so I've started cooking my chicken in the crockpot for an entire week.  We use it on sandwiches, healthy pizza, salads, etc.  Cooking a massive quantity that is plain makes it easy to use in just about anything. In fact, while I was baking lemon and carrot cake protein bars this afternoon, I already had the crockpot full of chicken breasts cooking for the week.

Clean Chicken Quesadillas

  • Pulled chicken
  • Multi-grain tortillas
  • Sauteed onions and spinach
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Low-fat shredded cheese
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Chopped tomatoes

  • Heat up George Foreman grill.
  • Sautee onions and spinach in a little olive oil while cooking in the quinoa either on stove top or in rice cooker.  
  • Fill half of the multi-grain tortilla with chicken, quinoa, onions, spinach, black beans, tomatoes and cheese. 
  • Fold in half and place on George Foreman grill for about 5 minutes or until nice and hot.  
  • Top with a little Greek yogurt and enjoy!

Carrot Cake Protein Bars

Another adapted Jamie Eason recipe for this week's meals:

Carrot Cake Protein Bars

Carrot Cake and Lemon Protein Bars

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 4 scoops vanilla egg protein powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 3/4 cup Stevia
  • 7 oz baby food carrots
  • 1/2 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, egg protein, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Mix egg whites, Stevia, baby food carrots and water (optional) in a bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Spray glass pyrex dish with non-stick baking spray.
  6. Pour ingredients into dish.
  7. Bake 20-30 minutes.
  8. Makes 16 squares, 2 squares per serving.

Lemon Protein Bars

Made These today!  YUM!!!  Thanks, Jamie Eason!  These may be my future bday cake:) 

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 4 scoops vanilla egg protein
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 qt mix Crystal Light 
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup Stevia
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix oat flour, vanilla egg protein, salt, baking soda and crystal light, in large bowl.
  3. Mix egg whites, Stevia, applesauce and water in a bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Spray 8x8 glass pyrex dish with non-stick baking spray.
  6. Pour ingredients into dish.
  7. Bake 30 minutes.
  8. Makes 16 squares, 2 squares per serving.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our garden is growing!

After three weeks, we have some explosive growth in the garden!  The bush beans have grown the most, but we also have a few red strawberries and the spinach, corn, carrots, and cilantro are all sprouting.   The whole family is involved in checking on and watering it each day.  Oh, the pride that you get from watching something you planted sprout from the ground!  Special thanks goes out to Jennie for supplying us with cute signs and birdhouses for our garden:)


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Holy obliques

After telling Rich that my waist has been growing, I reluctantly decided to do measurements with Jennie today.  And, I was has grown a full 2 inches!  Holy cow.  And, no I'm not pregnant.  I think the culprit is the weighed side bends that I have been doing over the last few weeks.  My obliques are out of control.  I'm done with using any weights for ab work.  I had no idea that you could develop muscle that quickly and put on that much size.  From what I've read it seems like genetics play a huge role in how you develop these muscles, but weights do not help.

My leg workout:

  • Leg extensions with light weight (30lbs) 2x30
  • Wide stance barbell squat 2x15 @just the bar, 2 x failure @bar plus 40)
  • Leg press (shoulder width) 4x8 (90 lbs)
  • Walking lunges with dumbbells 3x20 (15 lb dumbbells)
  • Dumbbell step ups 3x10 (15 lb dumbbells)
  • Plie dumbbell squats 3x15 (one 20 lb dumbbell)
  • Standing calf raises without weight (not supposed to do these so I only lift my legs slightly)
  • Leg extensions 3x10 (80 lbs)
  • Straight legged deadlifts 3x15 (65 lbs)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I ran out of time at the gym this morning and only got in 10 of the 30 minutes of cardio that I was supposed to do.  That is what happens when you have to leave the house at 7:15 to tutor in the mornings.  Arg.  I'm just glad that I actually want to do cardio and run out of time, it's not that I want to skip out of it all together.  I did get in a back workout courtesy of Jamie Eason.


  • Wide grip overhead pull-ups (supposed to do 3 sets of 10, but I didn't want to use a band for assistance)  I did 7, 6, 5, 4.  
  • Superset -1)Bent over barbell rows 3x8 with olympic bar  -2)Seated cable rows 3x8 @ 70lbs
  • Wide grip lat pull 3x10 @ 70lbs
  • One arm dumbbell row 3x8 (30, 35, 35)
  • Hammer strength lat pulldown 3x10 @ 40lbs
  • Back extensions 3x8 with 25 lb plate
What I ate:
  • Protein oatmeal
  • Protein shake with berries
  • 1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese with cinnamon, one harvest pancake, one poached egg
  • one turkey muffin, 1/2 sweet potato, salad with walnuts, cranberries and balsamic
  • rice cake with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • dinner??
  • chocolate bunny head??

Monday, April 9, 2012

Switching it up

After checking out Jamie Eason's Live Fit routine on, I decided to try starting with Stage 2 of her program.  I am not following it exactly, but using it as a guide to switch some of my normal routines up.  I'm still trying to lift relatively heavy, but allowing myself to do a few extra reps at lower weight. 

  • Wide grip bench press 5x7 @ 85 lbs
  • Push ups 3x10 (killer after doing the bench)
  • Cable cross-overs 3x10 @ 40 lbs
  • Incline bench 3x10 with 20-25lb dumbbells
  • Superset of the following: toe touches 3x20 and crunches 3x20
  • Leg raises on parallel bar 3x12
  • Cable crunches 3x15 @70 lbs
The chest workout wasn't too far off of what I normally do, but the ab workout was definitely too easy for me.  I'll have to pick it up later in the week. I followed these exercises up with 30 minutes of medium intensity on the Arc Trainer. 

What I ate:
  • protein oatmeal 
  • protein shake with berries
  • 5 oz can of albacore tuna and 1/2 chobani yogurt cup
  • 2 turkey muffins, salad with walnuts and cranberries and balsamic, 1/2 sweet potato with cinnamon
  • remainder of salad, remainder of 1/2 cup yogurt
  • burrito fajitas chicken from Mi Rancho (chicken, peppers, onions)
  • the head off of my peanut butter easter bunny;)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Guiltless Harvest Protein Pancakes

We decided to whip up some gluten-free yumminess for Easter morning.  After a little debate, we decided on the following recipe that we put together by going through the pantry!

Guiltless Harvest Protein Pancakes

  • 1 box of Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix by Maple Groves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 scoops Vitol egg protein
  • 2- 3 cups almond milk (enough so the pancakes can spread out to 4 inches when poured with 1/3 cup measuring cup)
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (could sub with unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/2 raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or craisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry topping:
  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp stevia
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • Pre-heat griddle to 375 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients for pancakes together. 
  • Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to pour batter onto griddle.  They should spread out to 4-5 inches when poured.  If they are too thick, just add more almond milk. 
  • Flip when they start to bubble and turn golden brown. 
  • At the same time, prepare strawberry topping by washing and cutting strawberries.  Place them in a saucepan with stevia, vanilla, and agave.  Cook on low heat for 20 minutes.  
  • When everything is done, top your pancakes with strawberry topping and enjoy!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thunder thighs

I used to absolutely hate working legs because they have typically been the hardest part of my body to train, not to mention the fact that I've had 26 weeks off from doing leg workouts and running in the last year and a half.  Now that I have been back at it for a couple of weeks I have been amazed at my improvement.  I still can't do heavy weight bearing lifts, but I'm doing lots of extensions and hamstring curls.  I'm doing light squats and lunges to be sure I keep all my weight on my heels and not on the injured part of my foot.

Today I was able to do 3 sets of 8 with 100 lbs on the quad extension machine (after doing 5 sets with 80 lbs).  I can remember this time last year when 40 lbs burned my quads.  I'm still not sure how I've made such a rapid improvement, but I'll take it!  Maybe I will have some thunder thighs one day;)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Double Time

I could easily start complaining about all the stuff that I didn't accomplish on my Spring Break To-Do List, but something that was not even on the list made my week a little better.  I was able to get in two workouts every day this week.  I got my weight lifting on in the morning and then returned fresh for cardio after drinking my protein shake and watching a little of the Today Show.  Three of those days I got in one hour of cardio between the bike, arc trainer, and incline walking.  It is oh so easy for me to stay on equipment with something interesting to watching like morning television.  If I were a stay-at-home mom I'd be at the gym everyday from 8:00-10:00 am, just to watch the Today Show.  

As far as the to-do list goes here is what I've accomplished:
  • got an invisible fence installed (more on that later)
  • cleaned the garage
  • constructed and planted the square foot garden
  • cleaned the inside of my car
  • paid bills
  • bought some new workout gear
  • created Rich's graduation party invitation
  • worked endless hours with the dogs trying to train them with the new fence....not fun. 
Things that haven't been done yet:
  • clean basement
  • clean blinds and windows
  • put screens on windows
  • order a new bathing suit
  • scan and fax several documents
Not so sure those things will get done, but we'll see....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Eggs

Lord knows, I love me some eggs....scrambled, fried, omelets, poached, and hardboiled!  Hailey and I did some Easter Egg dying over the weekend.  Loving eggs must run in the family because this little girl ate three eggs and had to be cut off before she devoured the whole carton.

"H" for Hailey

Making some for everyone!

Spring Break, not.

and, that is a good thing!  Yes, it is Spring Break for me, but that doesn't mean that I am taking a break from the gym.  In fact I was able to get in two workouts (weights and then cardio) yesterday and today!  My alarm clock is still going off at 4:30 am and I'm still hitting the gym at 5:30.  However, after dropping Rich off at home around 7:00ish, I've been heading back to do some cardio.  I got in 55 minutes on the Arc Trainer this morning...that is a LONG time compared to what I've done over the last several months.  Amazingly, I was not bored.  The Today Show was on as well as the U.S. Women's Soccer Team!  I was in heaven.

I'm slowly checking off my list of things to do over the break.  I'll admit that this is much harder to do once I get home from the gym.  I am super productive during the early morning, but once it hits 10:00 am I get hungry and lazy.  Maybe I need to start drinking coffee at this time?!

One item from the list...DONE. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Square Foot Garden

After talking about creating a square foot garden for the last three years, we finally decided to complete the process this year.  We spent several hours planning, shopping and preparing for the project on Saturday and then got down to business today.  This resulted in six or so hours outside preparing the land, building the frame, and then planting.  We were only able to plant some of the veggies today because we aren't quite out of the frost time frame yet.  The spinach, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, corn (might be a bit early), and bush beans are in the ground.  We'll add in the cilantro, peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, potatoes, pumpkins, etc. in a few weeks. 

All in all, it was a very cool project.  Hailey loved working in the garden and planting some of her own flowers and E was big help with the excavation process.  There is nothing like a much needed shower after working outside in the dirt all day long!

Our gorgeous red bud trees

Hay Hay's new gloves

Doing her own gardening

Zinnias and marigolds for her...

Two seeds at a time...

We'll see what we have in a few weeks...