Summer Snackin’…

FYI: The title to this post is supposed to be sung to the following song…

Because it’s summer and lets face it… snacking is the same as loving, healthy or not.

Since school has let out I have relished in my freedom via making all of the home-made concoctions I didn’t have time to make during the school year. But once I actually made some of these things I realized that it didn’t really take any time at all and I hope to continue the trend throughout the school year. Because there is something just so satisfying about making home-made products that are healthier, cleaner and not to mention… cheaper.

(Take that you unseen corporate force… damn the man!)


Take for instance this easy home-made hummus


(My husband is a die-hard Cardinals fan as you can see by the cutting board my sister made him. Therefore, it was only appropriate to serve this hummus with red bell peppers. GO CARDS!)

I had put off making hummus for a long time because I didn’t want to have to buy a ten dollar jar of tahini for something I wasn’t so sure would turn out. Then I stumbled upon a tahini free recipe (link above) and I fell in love. Ingredients include canned chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt.

That’s it. So Good!

I served this when we had an impromptu deck party with some of my fellow teachers and once again when I rode my bike over to my friend’s house for an Outlander watching marathon… (You know, that one time I got called a goddess. No big deal.)


Being the super host that she is my friend KJ was already prepared with snacks, so we had a feast that night. She even made a strawberry lemonade cocktail that went down like kool-aide. (Needless to say, the bike ride home was a bit interesting. But I digress…)


In preparation for our festivities I had also managed to sneak over some of my home-made jalapeno yogurt ranch made from herbs in my garden. (Yay me!)


I wasn’t able to bring much because Brent (the guy who can’t eat anything without a condiment) didn’t want to share. We actually served it with Avocado chicken burgers for dinner one night and it was seriously the yummiest meal. Ever. Brent has taken it a step further and has put it on everything… including eggs.


(Don’t make fun of my scratched up plates.)

Things kind of turned for the worst nutrition wise the next night we went to one of Brent’s beloved baseball games. We managed to mow through nachos, beer, popcorn and even the saltiest pretzel known to man. But I didn’t let myself feel too bad, because well… when in Rome.


I did however feel a little hung over the next morning when I woke at five to meet my friend Andrea for one of our morning walks. I don’t know what made be feel worse… the salt or the beer. (Or maybe even the fact that I had partaken in drinking shenanigans two nights in a row. But who’s counting?)


By the end of the walk I felt so much better, even if I did get rained on and my hands were swollen.

When I got home I tried to sneak in through the back door so that I wouldn’t wake anyone up. On my way in, I passed the strawberry patch and noticed that a lot of my strawberries were already over due for picking, even though Penelope goes through the patch nearly every night.


When all was said and done I had more strawberries than I knew what to do with so I decided to make jam.


I don’t know what possessed me. It’s not like I had ever made jam before. But I had remembered stumbling upon a strawberry jam recipe that included chia seeds during the winter months when strawberries were super expensive to buy. I dug through my Pinterest account, passed all of the pins that I had never put to use, and finally found it…

Strawberry Chia Jam

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It turned out awesome! The smell of the simmering strawberries wafted up to Bridget’s room and woke her up from her slumber. She thought it smelled like cotton candy. Then later Brent came home from his walk with the dog and thought I had been toasting marshmallows over the stove again. (What can I say? It happens…)

Later that day, Brent had plans to watch the Cardinals game again, this time with some of his firefighter buddies, and Bridget had an important rendezvous at the pool. That left Penelope and I alone for lunch. I felt like it was only appropriate that we eat Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches…


… and s’mores


Because now that you mention it, toasted marshmallows do smell pretty tasty.


It’s a work in progress, a little yin for the yang. As long as we keep moving this summer there’s nothing wrong with a little summer snackin’. Amiright?

(Don’t answer that…)

Planning Ahead

It is officially Spring Break!

Yet, there seems to be so much snow outside of our back door that Scout felt compelled to pee on the deck instead of wading through it to get to our yard. He didn’t feel bad about it until he got caught, typical boy.


This is his guilty face.

Needless to say, today was not a good day to go running outside. Which was a shame because Bridget has really gotten into running with me lately. As a reward she gets to buy a new song for her Ipod every time she runs a mile.

Today she went with me to the gym instead. Bridget hasn’t stepped foot into this gym since she was in kindergarten and it was the first time she actually got to use the equipment.


She’s still at that phase where she wants to be like me. Poor girl. She’s gotten into working out and eating healthy lately and she has even started a blog about fashion and preteen girl stuff. We keep the link private because I would hate to have to jack a fool up for messing with my kid. Sorry, I tend to channel Mr. T when I think of cyber creepers. “I pity the fool!”

After our workout we headed over to Whole Foods for a quick lunch.

post workout lunch

Bridget got a beef bison dog with homemade chips, Penelope ate a few samples from the store, and I ate spicy tuna and kale salad.

I tend to workout before lunch and when I get home I’m usually starving so I decided today would be a great day to get a few things prepared in advance for these occasions. I have a few favorite food blogs but the blogs I go to most for healthy recipes are Skinnytaste and Iowa Girl Eats. Every time I think it sucks to eat healthy  I’ll log on and see something delicious that they’ve posted and I’m reminded of how yummy fresh food can be.

When it started to dump snow on Saturday I pulled a bunch of meat out of the freezer so that I would have food on hand in case of a blizzard. I’m not from around these parts and when it snows my inner Texan tends to get carried away.

Guess what…

I survived yet another snow storm and now I have a ton of meat to cook before it all goes bad.

So here’s the plan.

1. Skinny Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting


Bridget was really excited about the idea of piping the potato “frosting” with our cupcake decorator that we bought for birthdays. I will have to pass on the potato part if I were to choose to eat this for dinner because of the Ten Week Challenge but I can indulge in a bit of potatoey goodness post workout.


This recipe sneaks in a little shredded zucchini in it too!

2. Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken


After eating Kelly’s Chicken Cali Stir Fry I’ve been all about the sesame flavors. I even bought some more cauliflower to make more “rice” to serve with this.

3. Kale Fried Rice


I have made this before and it is SO YUMMY! I usually eat it with chicken and it’s great to have sitting in the fridge because it just gets better the longer it sits. I make it with brown Jasmine rice. (Once again this will be a lunch meal for me.)

I’m so glad to be able to have fruit and rice and potatoes again! I only went 5 days without but it was long enough to change my perspective and switch up my mindset when it comes to carbohydrates. I definitely need them but I don’t need them with every meal.

I celebrated my success Friday night by having my wine club… er book club over for a meeting. It was my free day so I partook in the wine drinking. As part of the Ten Week Challenge I’m not supposed to have alcohol or coffee (lattes). I only get one free meal and during that time I have to choose between the two.

I was getting into the habit of drinking one or two sugary coffee drinks a day and then ending my night with some wine. The amount of sugar and empty calories I was consuming wreaked havoc on my weight loss during the month of February.

Even though my back deck is covered in snow and pee, I can feel the warmer weather inching its way closer. I can’t wait for summer to arrive and I am really looking forward to feeling good in my skin when it gets here.

Here’s to hot summer nights, dancing in farmer’s markets and skinny legs!


Week 12 Weigh-in

WARNING: This contains a weigh-in, an awesome recipe and a kick ass workout all squeezed into one post. You may not be able to handle this much awesomeness.

I’ve been gone for two days and it has been driving me nuts because I had so much to share with you! I was supposed to post everything I ate to prove my dedication to this ridiculous no cheese, no fruit, no carbs thing. It about killed me. But I couldn’t because I didn’t have any internet connection.

I got a little too excited about my whole gardening obsession because I cut my cable line while I was digging a trench to insert a border around my garden area. Apparently, I’m really good with a hoe.

My smart phone isn’t all that smart and my laptop is in disrepair after Bridget stepped on it. So, that left me with nothing better to do than take a day off…

Yesterday, Brent took over all parental duties and I got to get a mani/pedi, go for a long run and read fitness magazines at Barnes and Noble… in peace. I opted for green tea instead of a mocha aren’t you proud?

mom's day off

P.S. I want to look like that chick who’s flexing next to my perfectly manicured thumb.

Brent and I had a talk after my tri-monthly meltdown and decided that I need to have a day off once a month. (I think he may have been afraid of a Bobbitt incident happening if I didn’t get some space.) I never take time for myself so having a designated time makes sure that I have some me time scheduled in. This is a must have for mommies and sometimes we forget that… and by “we” I mean “me”.

Even though I couldn’t post what I ate during the last two days of the strictest portion of the challenge I still took pictures for proof. So here is a hodge podge of what I ate during that time…

IMG_1224 IMG_1345 IMG_1363 IMG_1366 IMG_1368 IMG_1369

I also basically snacked on carrots and hummus, nuts, ham and pickles. I’m so glad this portion of the challenge is over!

I need some strawberries in my belly now!

However, there is one recipe that I would chow down on challenge or not. It’s one of Kellfire’s recipes and it is called…

Chicken Cali-Rice Stir Fry 


1 med head white cauliflower

1/2 lean ground chicken breast

1 TB toasted sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4)

1 TB fresh ginger, grated

3 green onions, sliced (added an extra two as a topping)

1 cup broccoli slaw

2 TB low sodium soy sauce (I’m pretty sure I used more of this too)

Crushed red pepper flakes *optional

(I sprinkled some sesame seeds to make it look pretty)


  1. Prepare cauliflower according to instructions below.
  2. In a medium skillet, brown the ground chicken over medium heat until no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet, drain and set aside.
  3. Heat sesame oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and green onions; stir fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli slaw; stir fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add cauliflower rice and soy sauce; stir fry for 2 more minutes.
  6. Return the cooked ground chicken to the skillet with the rice and vegetable mixture and season with red pepper flakes, to taste.
  7. Stir until ingredients are well combined and heated through, about 2 minutes.
  8. Divide into 2 portions and serve.

Cauliflower Rice Instructions:

  • Cut stem off cauliflower and discard
  • Pulse cauliflower heads in a food processor until the size of rice
  • Microwave for 4-5 minutes on high. **Do not add water

Doesn’t it look yummy?!

 chicken cali stir fry

I LOVE this meal!

So not only does my husband take over kiddo duties but he’s also my personal trainer… could I have chosen any wiser! He’s a stud, I actually have a really big crush on him today… this doesn’t occur everyday. If you’ve ever been married you know what I’m talking about 😉

Right! The workout.

It was all over the place. He was just pulling tricks out of know where so we’ll call it…

The Wacky WOD

Part 1

3 rounds

10 goblet squats and planks until failure


Goblet squats are done holding a kettle bell.


Ah yeah! There’s that squatting picture I love so much… you’re welcome.

Part 2

5 rounds

10 ab rollers and 20 lunges


Amanda is better at the ab roller than I am.


Heyyy, check out my lulu’s! They’re magical. Do you see how my legs are skinny but nothing else is? It’s the pants, I’m telling you.

Part 3

3 rounds

15 banded kettle bell swings


This one was tough! You have no choice but to go fast and there is no controlling belly fat when you go that fast.

Part 4

5 rounds per person

20 seconds of banded prowler pushes

There is a band wrapped around your waist and you push a weighted prowler as far out as you can to your partner. You’re partner then pushes it back to you as fast as they can. You go back and forth until the 20 seconds is up then you switch until you’ve completed it 5 times.


Do you see Amanda ricocheting backward? After a while the bands pinched so we wore weight belts and attached the bands to our waists that way.

Part 5

 5 minutes of squatting down with a medicine ball then hurling it forward to your partner and leaping forward.



Part 6

10 minutes of taking turns rolling backward onto your back with the medicine ball then hurling your body forward to throw the ball across the gym. Then you  have to get up as fast as possible and sprint after the ball beating it to the end of the gym.



The pictures are fuzzy because we are so fast…. actually Brent messed up the setting of the computer but it’s okay because it made us look so fast.

The end.

Whoa… don’t you want to know how my weigh-in went? I told you this blog had too much awesomeness for you to handle.

I stepped on the scale this morning and it read 202.4

This is great because I have never gone below 203 since having Penelope. Plus, I pigged out over the weekend so I managed to reach this milestone in just four days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the progress I’ve made so far. I feel like I have wasted a lot of time. Any progress is good progress but I’m turning this transformation into a slow painful process. I haven’t really made much progress since Valentine’s Day (today excluded).

I’ve come to realize that any goal worth having is worth sacrificing for. It’s not easy and I get really pissed off about it sometimes. But it’s all worth it when I see what happens when I persist and push myself.

Day 2 of the 10 Week Challenge

Uncle Ben and Aunt Stacie left today…. boo. BUT they also took our snacks with them… YAY!

For a last hurrah I took them to Toast for breakfast. They were planning on leaving while Bridget was in school so we woke up early and went before we had to drop her off.

I ordered a veggie omelet and green tea. I made sure there was no cheese involved. The waiter assured me that it didn’t come with cheese anyway. Needless to say, I would have never ordered it unless I was doing this challenge. However, I was pleasantly surprised… it was delicious!


Everyone else ate my potatoes and Penelope snacked on the toast and a few of the veggies I picked out of the omelet. I did accidentally eat a pinch of the toast   out of habit. You have no idea just how much you eat when you feed a baby. One for you… one for me… one for you… two for me…

We ate at about 7:30 and I was satisfied until noon. I normally get all jittery and need to snack somewhere in between.

Once Ben and Stacie left I put Penelope down for a nap and ate my lunch outside. It was my dinner from last night that I couldn’t eat because I felt weird. I have no idea what my problem was because it was super good today.


I love butternut squash and onions roasted in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You know it’s good when people walk into your house with a pizza in hand and stop in their tracks to tell you that your alternative dinner smells yummy. I ate it with left over grilled chicken and baby greens tossed with a little more balsamic vinegar. I never just put vinegar on my salads but I liked it a lot so this may be a new trend for me.

Penelope got hungry for dinner around 4:30 so I snacked on carrots and hummus again but got bored pretty quickly. So I switched to ham slices and pickles halfway through the snacking session. Then I got the brilliant idea of wrapping a slice of ham around a mini pickle and dipping it into the hummus… it’s my new favorite snack. I didn’t take a picture of it because I was feeding Penelope at the same time and she has a tendency to try to jump out of her high chair if I turn around for more than 3.2 seconds. Plus, we were in a hurry to get Bridget to swim team practice.

I still had grilled chicken left over that I could have eaten for dinner but to be honest I was getting pretty tired of chicken. I had no idea what to eat for dinner but threw an artichoke in the steamer because I love artichokes and thought it would be good to snack all while I watched a little TV tonight. (I never ate it. I was too full from dinner.)


While that cooked I scoured through the fridge to see what else I could whip up. That’s when I saw the cherry tomatoes shoved in the corner threatening to go bad on me.

Then I created my own recipe… I never do that!

Sauteed Tomato Basil Shrimp

Warning: The skin on some of the tomatoes got a little tough.

Additional Warning: It may be wise to never eat anything that I made up on my own.

You’ve been warned.

I sautéed 2 cloves of garlic in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat until fragrant. Then I added the tomatoes (sliced in half) and sautéed them with the garlic until they just started to get a little wrinkly.


Once the juices of the tomatoes started to release I threw in a pound of shrimp and cooked it until the shrimp was no longer opaque and started to curl in. It was the quickest meal ever.

I threw it on top of more baby greens with balsamic vinegar. (I told you this was my new thing.)


Oh and I can’t forget the fresh basil! My little basil plant has finally recuperated from being mauled for the roasted tomato soup and basil fontina chicken grilled cheese sandwiches I made about a month ago. I plucked the crap out of her… I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it.

So, I know what you’re thinking… Nina! Tomatoes are actually a fruit. (I know that’s not what you’re thinking but just play along.) I know they are fruit, but they don’t count as far as this challenge is concerned. Why? Because I made up the challenge and I can do what I want!

No, that’s not true…

I based this decision on the meal plan Kelly made for me not too long ago. She let me have tomatoes so I feel confident that it is okay. She also told me it was okay to eat meatloaf at night even though it usually contains some breadcrumbs. She said the amount of breadcrumbs dispersed throughout the meatloaf would not amount to much in one serving.

Today I feel great! Although I am concerned with how neurotic I am getting about what I’m putting in my mouth. I am determined to successfully complete this challenge! If it makes me weird that that’s just the price I’ll have to pay.

I will say that I do look forward to Friday when I can stop taking pictures of everything I’m eating, it’s pretty tedious. I am also super excited to see what happens on the scale.

Two days down three more to go… and then nine more weeks of the challenge. Whoa! Let’s just take that one day at a time.

Hey Look At My Butt!

I seriously just spent ten minutes trying to take a picture of my own butt.

It didn’t really work.  My dog was just watching me like, “Yeah, I do that sometimes too. But you’ll never catch it, I speak from experience.”

I couldn’t help it. I was wearing my new Lululemon pants and I have fallen in love with the way they make my butt look. In the words of my sister-in-law Carrie, “Aren’t they just glory on your bum?”

Yes Carrie, they are.

I don’t know if it’s the pants or the workouts that my husband has been putting me through but seriously ya’ll, my butt looks good!

You can tell a lot about a man by the kind of workouts he creates for women. I have come to the conclusion that my husband is a butt guy. Every time I step foot into the gym he feels compelled to set my buns on fire.

Yesterday was no different. Here is the workout he put me and my friend Tara through.

We’ll call it…

“These Buns Are On FIRRRRE!”

(Little known fact, my husband has a huge crush on Alicia Keys.)


Spiderman lunges and Toy soldiers


3 x 10 weighted bridges

hip thrust

Do you see my Lululemon sign winking at you?


We loaded up the prowler until it was so heavy that we couldn’t run with it while pushing. He had us push it across the gym and then do overhead kettlebell lunges back. Then switch and rest while the other person does it. We did this five times, I think. It kicked my butt so I don’t remember.

prowler pushes

This may not sound like much but your heart wants to explode as soon as you stop pushing the prowler. It’s so weird.

kettlebell lunges

The lunges killed me! We used 16 kg kettlebells and it really worked our core. Which, according to the muffin top I’m sporting here, seems to be something I struggle with.

I feel like I’m back on track, the Veggie Challenge has turned out to be a great idea!

Veggie Challenge Day 2



I made a veggie scramble with these lovely veggies. I only saute veggies on high because I like them to caramelize like this…


I add the spinach last because I just want it to wilt a little. Then I push all of the veggies aside and cooked up some turkey sausage then the eggs. It was topped off with a little Siracha or “Rooster Sauce”.


Brent puts “Rooster Sauce” on everything, so much so that when Bridget was in first grade she felt compelled to throw the bottle away because she felt like her daddy had a “problem”.



Brent and I just tossed some of the cooked left over shredded chicken in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and made salads with yogurt ranch and cheese. I usually love this but for some reason I thought the chicken tasted gross. I still ate it though because I was starving after that workout.



Brent made home-made baked chicken tenders using boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. I thought it sounded gross but it was SO yummy. It tasted more like fried chicken because of the dark meat. We served it up with oranges and broccoli madness. Broccoli madness is just something that I make and I’m not sure I’ll be successful in sharing my recipe but I’ll try.

Broccoli Madness

1 head of broccoli chopped into florets

2 tbls chopped red onion

2-3 tbls dried cranberries

2- tbls chopped or slivered nuts (salted is best)


(This is the part that gets tricky you’ll have to play with it to your taste)

1 tbls of lite mayo

2-3 tbls red wine vinegar

1-2 tbls sugar or agave nectar

In a small bowl mix together mayo, red wine vinegar and sugar. Keep adding vinegar until the mixture is pinkish in color and cancels out most of the mayo taste. Mix in the sugar until you’ve found a tasty balance between sour and sweet. (I really suck at this.) Lightly pour the dressing over the broccoli then add the other toppings and mix.

This is the only way we eat broccoli at our house. We tend to get heavy-handed on the cranberries but it just makes it yummier. If you are too scared to try my version because I’m horrible at writing recipes you can refer to this recipe. It has more yummy stuff in it like bacon and cheese but is definitely not diet friendly. Good luck!