Food, Fitness, Family

>> Monday, January 26, 2015


I made this awesome Roasted Cauliflower Gnocchi recipe for dinner last week.

Not so awesome? My photos. So much darkness.

I modified the recipe by using whole wheat flour. Then instead of homemade sauce, I used some store bought. I tossed in a good bunch of baby kale for good measure. We all loved the meal, and I can’t wait to make it again sometime.


I added Barre to my routine last week, and I definitely feel it in a great way. However, I’ve had some trouble balancing it with my running mileage. So, I think after this initial #OMGILOVEBARRE phase, I’d like to do three 30-minute workouts each week with another couple 10-minute ones sprinkled in. I tried a full hour Saturday but just couldn’t make it through after running.

So much core work. Ouch.

Week 1: 20.5 miles

T: 1 hour walk
W: 4 miles + 1 mile walk
R: 5 miles
F: 3.5 miles, 15-minute Body Weight, 2 mile walk
S: 8 miles

Week 2: 14 miles

M: 2 miles + 1 mile walk
T: Barre 30 minute + 10 minute workouts
W: 4 miles, Barre 30 minute + 10 minute workouts
R: 4 miles, Barre 30 minute workout
F: 1 hour walk
S: 4 miles, Barre 45 minute workout

* I had planned to run my long run yesterday, but as I’ll write about in a minute -- sleep was elusive Saturday night. I took a nap instead and decided I’d wait to run around 8 miles today if possible. Let’s do this.


What a weekend. Those of you who have preschoolers know the whole nighttime struggle. The excuses, the stalling, and even the lies. Ada’s become quite creative with her techniques over the last six months or so. So, when she all of a sudden complained that her ear hurt Saturday night, we thought it was a farce. The fit ensued and we tried for over and hour to figure out fact from fiction.

Then I saw her wince.
It was almost imperceptible . . . but then it happened again.

We packed up the car a little before 10 to drive to the ER across town. Checked in with an overly tired kid in pain. That’s the quickest way get the VIP treatment. We tried everything we could to ease Ada’s discomfort, but she was crying and screaming, so they put us in a private waiting area. After several hours we saw the nurse and PA to find out she has an ear infection. Her first. I won’t go into all the gory details of trying to get her to take a huge dose of antibiotics at 1AM on an empty stomach, etc.

Eventually we drove home, got Ada settled, and all went to bed. My internal clock woke me up around 6:30. Yuck. I need to remember this when I pine away for baby #2. I’m just happy this girl is on the mend!

Those of you in the blizzard zone -- stay safe and warm. However, I can’t lie. I’m incredibly jealous! We haven’t had much snow at all up here the last two years, and I’m so ready for a crazy storm.

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3/52: Focus

>> Friday, January 23, 2015

I’ve had a lot of proud mama moments in the last week or so.

The first was during Ada’s 3-year-old physical. For the first time, she went through an entire appointment with her pediatrician without crying + screaming. When she was a baby and young toddler, I always had to bring an iPad, snacks, and other distractions to the ped’s and surgeon’s office because Ada had experienced so many difficult medical procedures, blood, draws, etc., it was a majorly traumatic experience for her to simply hear the word doctor.

This time around, she confidently strutted up to the scale, backed up to the little height chart, and slipped into her gown, all while laughing and smiling. We found out that our prediction was true -- Ada is tall for her age. Over 39 inches and 86th percentile, which puzzles us because we’re both of somewhat average height (I’m around 5’7” and Stephen’s around 6 feet). Anyway, her doctor was marveling at how we could all chat together for the first time in, well, ever. I don’t know if any of you who followed the blog early on remember the big deal when we switched pediatricians after Ada’s first appointment. It was terribly awkward, but ended up being one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

The second proud moment was when I asked one of Ada’s preschool teachers how she is doing in school. I had some hesitation sending her to the 3-year-old program this year since her birthday falls only fourteen days before the school cutoff (December 1st). Ada is the youngest in her class by quite a bit, and I watched her lag behind in a few ways in the early months. Mostly with paying attention and listening to directions. Still, she was eager to go to school and socialize. Some of her classmates have been celebrating their fourth birthdays, so I guess now I see why there was such a difference early on. They’re all a lot older!

So, I asked Ada's teacher about her progress throughout the year, and she went on to tell me how Ada’s focus has improved tremendously. I can see this as well with how she plays at home. Of course she’s all imaginative and active and silly. But there are definite moments now where she will play with such purpose and direction. It’s really interesting to watch her grow and develop in this way. Like we’re seeing the beginnings of the sort of thinker she’ll be. How she’ll learn best and all that good stuff.

Age three has its unique challenges. But I like this stage a lot.

Happy Friday!

PS: For those of you who are interested, those little wooden guys Ada is playing with are called Bill Dings. They’re pretty cool, and Stephen’s parents bought them as a birthday gift because he used to play with them when he was a kid!

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What Healthy Eating Looks Like

>> Thursday, January 22, 2015

Meal planning and prepping is always the key to my healthy eating. If I don’t shop with purpose, I eat tons of junk. If I don’t chop and cook ahead of time, I grab whatever bread and cheese is closest to my proximity. With the whole attempt at taking better care of myself, I’ve been starting with food, as I (we all) often do. Because even if I exercise like a pro, I’ll feel like crud if my diet is lacking.

I’m trying to remind myself that this is what healthy eating + living looks like. This is the kind of food diary that results in higher energy, a clearer mind, and -- ultimately -- a more stable mood. If I can just keep the momentum going, I think I’ll bust out of some unhealthy habits that were a symptoms of my overall level of stress right now.


When I get tired of my usual bowl of morning oatmeal, I start my days with hardboiled eggs and cinnamon raisin Ezekiel Bread.

Over the holidays, I’d toss in a few leftover cookies in before breakfast for good measure. No wonder my weight was climbing so rapidly. The reason I hard boil eggs versus cooking them on demand is simple: They become mindless protein bombs that I desperately need at the start of the day. I have been eating relatively light because when Ada goes to preschool, I’ve been trying to get my run in versus waiting until the evenings.

(When I find tons of excuses to skip workouts.)

Yesterday I ran 4 miles in 8 degree temps. Today I ran 4 in 28 degrees. Same time of day. Totally different feeling. I’d be lying if I told you I am in love with winter running. It’s wearing on me this year. But the 28 feels quite balmy by now, which will come in handy since the forecast doesn’t look much warmer coming up. That’s so sad to type out. C’mon, spring!


Mid-morning (post-run), I’ve been making green smoothies.

Adding a green smoothie back into my morning has energized me. Not only do I benefit from the added fruits and (more important) veggies, Ada -- too -- loves sipping on them. She’s terrified of the blender, so I try making the smoothie when she’s at preschool. Now when she gets home, she’s basically begging for them.

Blend together (2-3 servings):
  • 1 cup frozen mixed tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, strawberry, etc.)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2-3 handfuls baby kale and other greens
  • Water until you reach your desired texture


Lunch has been a mix of slow cooker soups or hummus wraps with loads of veggies.

I made a nice soup this week with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, wheat berries, chickpeas, and green peppers in a vegetable broth with garam masala to season. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just used my 10 Tips for Slow Cooker Success, and it turned out great using the foods I had leftover from last week’s grocery haul.


Mid-afternoon I’m usually hungry again. But I find when I eat small meals throughout the day, my energy is more stable. I know there is evidence for/against this approach to eating. Right now, I’m finding I eat less junk and feel more energetic when I just eat small meals throughout my waking hours.

I’ve also been adding in a short to medium length barre workout when Stephen gets home from work, so I need fuel to get through that, too.

  • I eat peanut butter with fruit or celery.
  • Maybe an energy chunk or two (recipe for those next week).
  • Or veggies and hummus and a few cubes of cheese.
  • Maybe some Morning Glory Muffins


Dinner has always been my healthiest meal. That’s probably because I always try to cook something for the entire family that is more than just assembling a plate (like I do with Ada’s lunches and breakfasts most days).

Here are a few of the recipes we’ve been enjoying lately.


Being no stranger to many amazingly delicious, full-on desserts, I’m trying my best to stick with healthy recipes for “sweets” during the week. Hence the Black Bean Avocado Brownies.

Yes, they’re an adjustment. No, they’re not even close to the ones I can buy at the bakery up the road. But actually taste pretty good and have some nutritional value versus the alternative. Then I’ve decided I’ll enjoy my favorite doughnuts or cakes or cookies on the weekend. (Related: Someone on GOMI said I wouldn’t have such a sweet tooth if I just allowed myself to eat “normal” desserts -- and I laughed so hard I almost fell on the floor. If only you knew what kinds of sweets I eat on the regular!) 

Anyway, I used to bake up treats almost every day, I’ve put a short ban on baking in my house. I even ran out of granulated sugar, but decided not to restock it until I get my cravings under control. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies from last week? They were absolutely delicious. But it’s dangerous to have 12 of them calling my name. And now I need to stop thinking about that very last half a bag of confectioners sugar in my pantry.

This is all a start. Not the full solution. 

But any move in the right direction (pulling myself out of my funk, feeding my body better nutrients, taking care of myself) helps lift my spirits and improve my overall wellbeing. So, it’s certainly worth the time and effort.

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