Fitness, Food and Photography

Follow me on my road to fitness… Because it's all about the journey, not the destination.

What I Ate Wednesday: 1/16/13

Happy Wednesday, y’all.

(Of course, by the time I’m actually posting this, it’s already Thursday.  So who am I kidding?  I should just go ahead and say Happy Thursday).

Today’s breakfast is a little unusual (for me).  I normally have a protein shake.  But this morning, we had leftover Crustless Quiche from the previous night’s dinner.  There was one piece left and it was all mine.

Spinach, feta, yellow peppers, and eggs.  No crust.  Sooooooo good.  The entire family devoured it.  I will make it again very soon and when I do, I will post the recipe!
Spinach pie

Topped with a little salsa.


For lunch, I was out with a client at Aubrey’s.

I didn’t want to whip out my camera in the middle of my working lunch, so you’re just going to have to imagine what the Cranberry Chicken Salad would look like.  (It was both beautiful and delicious)!

Here’s the description from the menu:

CRANBERRY CHICKEN Grilled chicken, dried cranberries, candied pecans, feta cheese, Red Delicious apple, fresh greens. 11

With balsamic vinaigrette on the side.  So yummy!!!

Healthy Living Kitchen

When I got back from lunch, the UT Medical Center’s Healthy Living Kitchen was doing a cooking demonstration at work!  They were talking about heart health, cholesterol and sodium.  Then he showed us some pretty mean knife skills.  How to chop a pepper so that you don’t waste any of it (very good to know)!  And then he made this Quinoa.


So we all got to try their Quinoa Stir Fry.  Yummy.  (Though, I personally thought it needed a lot more heat.  Like maybe some sriracha sauce on top!!)


After work, I still had to go to the grocery store.  It wasn’t a dire situation … yet.  But it was close.  I had a hard time packing the 7-year old’s lunch yesterday morning.  We were out of a few essentials, so I had to improvise.  He got a hard-boiled egg in his lunch!  (Which is totally fine with him – he loves them.  It’s just not normally something most people would put in a 2nd grader’s lunchbox).

bird's eye voila

So since I got home from the grocery store around 7pm and still had to figure out dinner, I made it as easy as possible.  I love these little frozen meals by Birds Eye as a base.


Then I add in my own extra veggies and seasoning.  Last night it was extra broccoli and some of the OMG sauce from GGG Foods I was telling you about in my last post.  This gave it a little kick.


And then I added even more kick on my plate by topping it with the Sriracha sauce, of course!  🙂

Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce 28 Oz

I seriously love this stuff.  In fact, I had to buy more at the grocery store tonight because we had just run out.  I’m thinking about just carrying some with me in my purse so I always have it with me.  LOL  I’m kidding.  Sorta.  🙂

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Weekend Recap: Healthy Living Expo

I realize I’m a bit late in posting this, so I apologize for the delay.  I actually started it on Sunday night, but this week has quickly gotten away from me.

My weekend started off with my son getting Star Student at school last week!!!  Yay.  Very proud of my little man.  So I let him pick out a Redbox movie to rent.  He chose ‘Madagascar 3’.

star student

Then I made him some strawberry cake cookies.  (one of his faves).  These are so super easy.  Only 3 ingredients.  1 box strawberry cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil.  Roll into balls and bake for about 9-11 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Done.

strawberry cake cookies

On Saturday morning, we headed downtown to check out the Healthy Living Expo.

healthy living expo

There were so many different vendors and booths, I’m pretty sure we didn’t even make it around to half of them.  One booth we liked was Glen’s Gourmet Goodies.  We taste-tested each one of the sauces.


I had a hard time deciding which flavor I liked best so we ended up buying 3 different kinds.


Hubby climbed up the rock wall.

rock wall

… while the kids watched.  I couldn’t talk my 7-year old into climbing up.


One of the vendors was offering flu shots for only $5.  And since we never got ours this year, I figured it couldn’t hurt. lol

flu shot


state trooper

Then Saturday night, the boys went to see the Monster Truck Jam while Lucy and I had a girls night in!

While they were gone, I cuddled up on the couch with the laptop to watch the first episode of The Bachelor.  I always say I’m never watching that show again, and then somehow it sucks me in.  I know it’s totally fake and most of the drama is staged, but it’s still fun to watch.

And as soon as it was over, I had to check out Reality Steve’s blog to see who wins.  I also do this every time.  I just like to watch knowing who he picks in the end.  Plus, I’m not all that big on surprises.  He’s been right every time I’ve watched.  I don’t know how he knows, but there would have to be a mole on the inside.  I think it’s ridiculous that ABC is suing him.  He’s not preventing people from watching the show.  If anything, he’s creating even more buzz for the show by giving out the spoilers.

Anyways, back to the weekend.

Sunday was a dreary day.  They were predicting the rain to come in early afternoon, where it’s going to stay for the next 3 days.

So I decided that was a perfect opportunity to clean house.  And I’m not just talking about vacuuming.  I mean I CLEANED OUT!  The kind of cleaning where you pull everything out of a drawer/cabinet/closet, go through it and only put back in the stuff you need.

(Usually if I’m on a cleaning rampage, it means there is something else I don’t want to do.)  <—– like homework, lol

Yuk.  Just look at that nasty drawer with the spilled spices.

Yuk. Just look at that nasty drawer with the spilled spices.


That’s just one drawer.  I did a total of 3 drawers in the kitchen, plus the cabinets.  Then I organized all my bathroom drawers.  (I didn’t photograph those – they were pretty nasty).  I didn’t realize how much makeup I had.  I ended up throwing a TON of it out.  And finally my closet.  There are clothes that have been in there since college!  (GASP!  Yes, college.  And I don’t know why I hang on to it other than for sentimental reasons.  It’s not like they fit.  I’m two sizes smaller now than I was in college!)

I love organizing the house.  It’s amazing how much crap we’ve accumulated in 15 years of marriage.  It feels good to purge.

 Question of the Day:  what is something you hang on to for sentimental reasons?  What is it that you don’t want to throw away??


Best Body Bootcamp – Week 1 Recap

Week 1 is done!  I completed the first week of Bootcamp!!  And I have to admit, I’m a little sore.  But it’s a good sore.


Monday – 1/7

Even though Monday was the official first day, it just wasn’t in the cards for me to start today.

Tuesday – 1/8

My Day 1.  I got up really early and did the circuit interval workout in the basement.  I also took my daughter for a walk around the neighborhood as an extra cardio.

Wednesday – 1/9

This was my other “rest day” for the week. After work and and trip to the grocery store, I was pooped.  I didn’t feel like working out today.

Thursday – 1/10

I did the hill interval stroller workout for my cardio today.

Friday – 1/11

I got up early to do the Strength workout, plus I ran 4.2 miles on my lunch hour.  It was threatening rain, but I somehow managed to get it in before the clouds opened up.  I also got really sweaty.  For some reason it didn’t occur to me that even though it’s January and even though it’s about to rain outside, it was still really muggy and also 65 degrees. So yeah, I got back to the office with a red face and my hair all wet behind my neck.  But I didn’t care – the run felt really good.

friday's run

the clouds just before I started the run

Saturday – 1/12

My optional cardio of choice was another hill interval stroller workout.  The temperature was 72 degrees in the middle of January.  It was awesome!!  So I took my daughter for a walk around the neighborhood.  She absolutely loves it!

stroller workout

Sunday – 1/13

The last strength and circuit workout of the week.  Tomorrow will be my rest day.

So I was able to get in 5 days of good workouts, as well as meeting both my personal goals of 1) drinking more than 64 oz of water and taking my vitamins every day but also 2) making sure to do my nightly routine of taking my contacts out, washing off my make-up and wearing my night guard (I grit my teeth at night).

Yay.  Week 1 done.  Only 7 more to go.  LOL

Kidding.  I am loving it!!!!

And on a similar note, I saw on the Today Show this morning that Jenna Wolfe (who is hands down my favorite Today Show correspondent ever) just got her ACE Fitness Personal Trainer Certification!!  (the same one I am studying for).  Way to go, Jenna!


A Few Friday Faves

I have a few new favorite things to share with you …. and since it’s Friday, it seems as good a time as any.  🙂

1) My new afternoon treat ….  White with Orange Tea.  We’ve got this awesome single-serve coffee/tea maker at work.  In the almost two years we’ve had it, I’ve actually never brewed any tea.  I’m very much a coffee in the morning kind of person.  And usually I don’t drink anything but water in the afternoon.  But lately, tea has been my little afternoon obsession.  And this White with Orange is awesome!!!

bright tea

2) Pumpkin Spice Caramel Ghiradelli chocolate square.  Oh my goodness.  It’s a good thing I have no idea where to buy more.

chocolate heaven

3)  An all blue week!!!  This rarely happens, if ever.  It’s actually only happened one other time this school year.  And I think only once last year.  My son had an all blue week at school.  He even earned the coveted ‘Star Student’ title.  Yay.  So proud.  I don’t know what it was that turned him around, but I am thrilled!!

blue week

4.  Lunch time runs.  My new favorite way to spend my lunch hour.  Today I ran 4.2 miles.  It was a balmy 65 degress here in the middle of January.  Crazy, but awesome.  I got a little sweatier than I had anticipated, but I certainly enjoyed it.

lunchtime runs

5.  My fuzzy zebra house slippers.  There’s not much else that’s better than fuzzy pajamas in the middle of winter.  And now I have fuzzy slippers!!  🙂

fuzzy zebra

That’s it for today.

By the way ….  any WordPress users out there …. can you tell me why my photos are so small???  I want them to post large size.  To fill up the width of the text box.  But they are much smaller than they used to be.  I haven’t changed anything.  The only thing that has changed since my previous posts (where they used to be larger) is this new version of WordPress.  They updated something and now my pictures are smaller.  I’ve posted a question on the forums but they say it’s my fault.  When I upload the pic, it says it 2560 x 1920. I promise you … I haven’t changed any settings.  How do I get them bigger??  (And increasing the size isn’t an option – anything over 100% is all grayed out).  HELP!!!

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Last Things Thursday – 1/10/13

1. Last food you ate:

We had burgers on the grill.  With the warmer temps, I’ve been smelling what my neighbors are grilling and I’ve been super jealous.  I told hubby we needed to grill something.  So he made me hamburgers.  And I made a side of roasted carrots.

2. Last beverage you drank:

Water, and LOTS of it!!  For my Tina Reale Best Body Bootcamp, one of my weekly personal goals is to drink at least 64 oz of water every day.  So I’ve been tracking it just to make sure I get it all in!!

3. Last workout:

It was such a gorgeous day yesterday.  The temp was 65 in the middle of January!!  So I took my daughter for a walk in the neighborhood.  And if you think for a second that was an easy stroll, I’m here to tell you – it was a serious workout.  First of all, my neighborhood is very hilly.  And I’m pushing a 25 pound kid in a stroller.  As I approached the bottom of every hill, I would sprint up it and recover at the top.  I did the sprinting/walking interval for 45 minutes!

4. Last thing you pinned:

A recipe for Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas:

Pinned Image

They look good, don’t they?

5. Last text message you sent:

To my friend Alice to see if they wanted to go see Phineas and Ferb LIVE with us in February.  (It was yesterday’s Groupon deal)

6. Last blog you visited:

Skinny Taste …  I was looking for a recipe.

7. Last place you visited:

A friend and I went to lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen yesterday.  It’s a cute little Greek/Mediterranean chain.  It was pretty good.  I got the Chicken Pita with a side of roasted veggies.  It was just okay.  But my friend ordered the Grueben and said it was delicious!  So now I’m going to have to go back.  🙂

8. Last show you watched:

All caught up on American Horror Story now.  Yes, it’s creepy, but the story line is really good.  Though provoking.

9. Last thing you baked:

I guess it was my pizza meatloaf last weekend.  I’ve been meaning to make another one after it disappeared so quickly!!

10. Last photo you Instagrammed:

Of my kids, of course….  🙂

my kids



Mid-week Motivation – 1/9/13

Did anyone else happen to catch this brilliant post by The Lean Green Bean on Monday??  It really spoke to me and where I’m at in my life right now.  She’s absolutely right.  Time is going to pass regardless of what you do.  So many times in my life I’ve looked back and thought “If I’d started X then, I’d be done now.”  And so many times the reason I never got started was because of how long it would take or how hard it would be.  But if it’s important to you, it will be worth it!!

Motivation today

I love this quote.  Sometimes all it takes is baby steps.  A little every day to get where we need to be.  So where do you want to be tomorrow??  Are you doing something today to help get you there?? Pinned Image

Happy Hump Day everyone!!!  Now go out there and do something meaningful.


Question of the Day:  What will you do today that will get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow??

My Answer:  I’m going to go for a long run and I’m going to study tonight!!

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Updates, Thoughts and Budgeting

To continue my last post from yesterday, there were a few more things I wanted to share with you:

First of all, remember that Maintain, Don’t Gain Wellness Challenge we had at work??  Well it’s over now.  I ended up gaining 2 pounds. 😦  But that’s not what I wanted to tell you.

So the participants in Option 1 only had to maintain their weight since November 1st or lose weight, otherwise they owed $25.  There were a total of 20 people participating.  6 of whom gained weight.  That meant the pot was at $150 for the winner.  And at the beginning of the challenge, I simply said anyone who lost or maintained would be entered to win a drawing of the pot.  But after speaking with all the participants, there was a clear winner.  One sweet lady actually lost 10 pounds from November 1st through December 31st.  She said that the challenge was the motivation she needed to step on the scales for the first time in a long time.  Once she did that, she worked very hard for the next 8 weeks.  I was so proud of her.  It’s hard to maintain your weight during the holidays and even harder to lose 10 pounds!!  I felt she deserved to win.  But I had agreed to do a drawing, so a drawing we were doing.  I wrote everyone’s name on a piece of paper and threw them in a bowl.  I had another coworker draw the name.  And I had an audience of at least 3 witnesses.  Guess whose name she drew??  The lady that lost 10 pounds!  Isn’t that awesome?!?  She totally deserved to win!

Okay, fine.  We can discuss my 2 pound weight gain.  Yeah, I’d love to say it was muscle.  It wasn’t.  It was most likely those damn Bourbon Balls I made.  I think I ended up eating the whole tin myself.  In case you are curious, here is the recipe:


Bourbon Balls

1- 1/2 cup finely crushed Nilla wafer crumbs

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup powdered sugar

2 T. unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup bourbon

1- 1/2 T. light corn syrup

Thoroughly combine the first four ingredients.  (I use a food processor to get the cookes and pecans into a fine consistency).  In a separate bowl, blend bourbon and light corn syrup.  Stir this liquid into the dry mixture, and when well blended, cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour or more.  Shape the dough into small 1-inch balls and then roll in a bowl of powdered sugar.  Store the balls in tins with tight-fitting lids.  They keep well refrigerated and can be frozen.  Makes about 2 dozen.


But  I am starting Bootcamp on Monday, January 7th with Tina Reale.  I am so excited!  I can’t wait to get these 2 pounds off, along with about 10 more!!


In other news, I’m so sad that the Elf4Health Challenge is over, which was sponsored by The Lean Green Bean and Nutritionella.  I’ve had so much fun meeting my 3 Elves:  Anna, Claire and Alyssa.  And I’ve really enjoyed all the challenges.  While I didn’t necessarily document all of them, I did participate in about 90% of the daily challenges.


In other news, hubby and I decided to go on a No-Spend January.  We’ve spent SOOO much money lately – on Christmas presents, on classes for him, certifications for him, classes for me, certifications for me, etc.  So this month we decided we would not buy anything unless it was a necessity (groceries, usual bills, mortgage).  The only loophole is if you are using a gift card, you may purchase a non-essential item.  (Good thing I got an Academy gift card for Christmas)!!  But it also means I’m going to miss out on the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual sale this year.  😦  Unfortunately I can’t make a good argument that lingerie is a necessity.  Anyone want to give me a gift certificate to VS???  lol   But this has made for some good arguments debates over what is considered a “necessity”:

Wine?  Is that a necessity?  It’s definitely up for discussion.

Fancy coffee??  What if I have a really good coupon??

Lunch out.  I mean, I do have to eat, right??

Date night?

Yep, already looking forward to February.  And those winter clearance sales!!  😉

Question of the Day:  Do you have a monthly budget?  Do you stick to it??


Weekend Recap: Painting and Brick Moving

After Thanksgiving with my family, we headed to North Carolina for a working weekend with hubby’s family.  His sister and brother-in-law just bought their first house.  You may remember them from this post.  They are both potters and own a studio in downtown Bakersville.

So we offered to help them move.  I was so busy all weekend that I hardly took any pictures at all.  That is so unlike me.  But really, we were busy!

They’ve owned the house for a month now and have been working hard on pulling up the carpet, painting the walls and getting it ready to move in.  The kitchen was the last room that needed color.  Greg and I were happy to oblige.

While Greg finished the painting, I helped move bricks.  Yes, bricks.  One day, these bricks will be part of a kiln on their new property.  But first, we had to move them from the old house to the new house.  These bricks weigh 8 pounds each!!

What you see in this picture is only a fraction of the number of bricks.  There must be at least 6 or 8 pallets worth in total.  It’s hard to know for sure how many bricks there are.

5 bricks = 40 pounds.   I wish I had counted the number of bricks I moved.

One trailer full.  We made at least 5 trips.

Here they are stacked up at the new house.  And that’s not even all of them.  That was a workout for sure!!

The kids chilled on the couch watching Monsters, Inc. while we worked.  Rough life.

By the time we got back to Knoxville, I was completely worn out.

But I am very excited to participate in the Elf4Health challenge sponsored by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean and Elle at Nutritionella.  Challenge starts on Monday, the 26th.  You can read the rules HERE.  My first elf buddy is Anna at History Running Girl.

The first challenge is Meatless Monday.  Here is my Hard-boiled egg on whole wheat wrap with spinach.  YUM!!

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What I Ate … on Thanksgiving

After running an 8k on Thursday morning, I thought I would starve to death before we made it to Chattanooga for lunch.  We were supposed to be there at noon, but I didn’t get home from the race til 10am and I still had to shower and get the kids ready.  Then it’s a 90-minute drive.  So needless to say we were running late.

So they started without us.  (That’s my family for ya)  🙂

By the time I got to photograph the food, it wasn’t pretty any more.

They had already demolished one pan of squash casserole before I ever got there.

I made the pumpkin pie (because what is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?!?)  It hardly got touched.  That’s fine – more for me later!  🙂

And my mom requested I make Snickerdoodle cookies.  If you’ve ever made Snickerdoodles, you understand how time consuming they can be.  Rolling all the dough into little balls and then dunking them in cinnamon and sugar before baking.  Bars are sooooooo much easier.  And considering the fact that I wasn’t feeling well anyways, I opted for the easier recipe.

I found this recipe for Snickerdoodle bars.  Not healthy in the least.  I considered making my zucchini brownies, but since Mom requested Snickerdoodles, I decided to grant her wish.

Her response?  They were too sweet.  Too sweet??  Well, duh.  Did you see how much sugar was in them??  What did you think cookies were made of???  I didn’t hear anyone else complaining … those things disappeared!!

I filled my plate with turkey, squash casserole, dressing, corn, carrots, green beans and a deviled egg.  I didn’t get any mashed potatoes or rolls.  This the first year in history I didn’t touch those melt-in-your-mouth Sister Schubert yeast rolls.  Funny thing is I didn’t really want one.  And I didn’t have dessert either.  Can you believe it?!?!

My daughter, on the other hand, ONLY ate mashed potatoes and rolls.


My cousin used to breed Great Danes.  So he brought his 6-year old Great Dane, Bosco, over for a visit.  Look how HUGE that dog is!  The kids had fun playing with him in the backyard.


What’s my favorite part of getting together??  The family photos, of course.

And we try to remember to do an annual group shot.  This year’s:

Here’s last year’s:

It’s amazing to see how much the kids have grown in one year.

In 2010, we had to skip Thanksgiving festivities because of germs.  (Plus she was still on the heart monitor and using a feeding tube).  We had just brought Lucy home after 4-1/2 months in the NICU.  (She was born at 24 weeks, 1-lb,9-oz).  It was entering RSV season and we didn’t want to risk catching anything.  So 2010 was the year we missed Thanksgiving and Christmas.




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Autumnfest 8k – New PR

So I signed up for this 8k over a month ago.  I’ve been looking forward to it and preparing for it for weeks now.  And then wham! I get hit with some sort of cold/sinus infection this week.  I can’t breathe through my nose, my sinus cavities hurt, and overall I just don’t feel good.  But was I going to let that stop me from running in this race?  Heck no!!  I just took some Sudafed and put my running face on.

The kids had a “Little Gobbler” run before the 8k.  It was only about 100 yards, but I signed Luke up for 2 reasons.  1- He got a t-shirt, and 2- I wanted to get him excited about running.  This would be his first race and since it was a short one, I knew he could do it.  He usually complains about his legs hurting when we walk more than a mile in our neighborhood, so I need to toughen him up.

I love that a Director of the KTC dressed up like a turkey!!  That’s awesome.

So, they changed the course this year and I didn’t have a chance to even look at it before we started the race.  I had no idea what to expect, other than I knew we were running through the streets of downtown Knoxville.  So I really shouldn’t have been surprised by how hilly the course was.

OH MY GOSH.  It’s Knoxville, people.  I guess if I want flat, I should move to Florida.

The start/ finish line was at World’s Fair Park.

endomondo app

I started off FAST.  The crowd, the excitement, it always helps me run a little faster than normal.  My first mile clocked in a 8:37.  But then there was a hill.  There were lots of hills.  I hate hills.

This was one of the last hills around mile 4.  It was also the worst hill.  Felt like it went on forever. There is a hill in the Knoxville Marathon around mile 7 at Noelton Drive.  If you know what I’m talking about, well, this was WORSE than Noelton.

Anyway, I got behind the turkey at the end and just had to snap a pic while we were running.  This was the home stretch.

Official chip time:  47:30

I placed 496th (of 929 runners).  I don’t believe they give awards that far back.  🙂

I was 33rd of 64 in my age group.

As a runner, I’m not competing with anyone but myself.  And I am very proud to say this was a PR for me!!  Despite the cold weather and despite the fact that I felt like crap, doped up on Sudafed, I still managed to push myself through the hilly course.  The distance isn’t a common one – 8k.  The last time I ran this race was in 2003.  My time was 54:52.  (I also seem to recall I had some IT band issues then too).

Regardless, it was a PR!!

I am very thankful that the whole family came with me for support.  The kids got to dance in the lawn and enjoy the post-race snacks.

That’s the post race tent.  And the building you see in the background (with the eyes), that’s the Knoxville Museum of Art.

We had a great time.  And I’m pretty sure I earned that pumpkin pie!!  🙂 🙂 🙂


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