Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Big Chill 5k

So my first [practice] 5k was the Big Chill 5k which was hosted through the Rutgers Recreation Dpt. in New Brunswick.  My best friend and I decided to run this 5k together.  Now, she was a cross country runner in HS so I knew she could kick my butt when it came to running.

At this point, I hadn't even completed my Couch 2 5k training yet. I was about a week away from completing it, but I didn't have the confidence yet, as I hadn't even run a practice 5k yet.  To say I was nervous would be a huge understatement.

We arrived to the run and I took notice of all the "professional" runners.  At this point not one positive thought was running through my mind.  Okay, I did have one positive thought - it's a walker friendly race so I definitely won't be the last person because I certainly didn't think I would be walking the whole 5k.

On your mark! Get set! GO! And thousands of people were off, running through the streets of NB.  My best friend and I were running on the sidewalk and then on the street and back onto the sidewalk as to not run anyone over.  My thoughts during this time include "what the heck did I get myself into & why?"  I was clearly not in a great state of mind when I signed up and agreed to this.

Oh, wait, here's the first mile marker already.  14 min.  Certainly better than I thought.  Then the 2nd mile marker, 28 min.  Wow.  I CAN do this.  The biggest rush of adrenalin came as we turned the last corner and the finish line was in sight.  So I finished in 45 minutes and ran about 95% of the 5k.

A wonderful sense of accomplishment.  I think I smiled the rest of the weekend.  I was just so proud of myself and still am.

Meatloaf & Baked Seasoned Fries

©Self Magazine

1/2 cup white wine
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1 lb ground turkey
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
2 large egg whites
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Pour wine in medium skillet and cook onion, pepper, & carrot over low to medium heat for 15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients & mix thoroughly, using hands.  Spoon in veggies & liquid from skillet.  Coat a loaf pan with spray and fill with mixture.  Bake 1 hour; let stand for five minutes before slicing.  Enjoy with baked or mashed sweet potatoes and a glass of wine!

I have been using this recipe for 4 years and both Dave and I still love it as much as the first day we tried it.  For the oatmeal, I usually use whatever packet we have in the house since it's about a 1/2 cup.  We've used maple brown sugar which gives it just a teensy hint of sweetness.  Especially in the fall and winter, this recipe gets cooked quite a bit.

We usually couple meatloaf with mashed potatoes - two perfect winter night comfort foods.  However I found this recipe for Baked Seasoned Fries.  Honestly, I wasn't holding out hope for these because we've made homemade fries before and have always been disappointed.  BUT these were absolutely perfect!  Crispy and tasty.. these were delicious.

Baked Seasoned Fries from Skinnytaste
  • 2 medium potatoes, russet or yukon gold, washed and dried
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp herbs de provence (or use a combo of dried rosemary, thyme, marjoram)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • fresh lime zest 

Cheesy Chicken Shells

Who says you can't have stuffed shells and still lose weight?  This recipe has been in our repertoire for almost six years as I received this recipe from a Weight Watchers at Work mtg back in 2006.  And we've been enjoying this since...

We have been using large shells instead of manicotti shells, as I made that mistake and didn't catch it until a few years later when I finally noticed that it called for manicotti shells. We tried them recently in manicotti shells and I wasn't a huge fan even though it was the same exact ingredients just changed the type of pasta.

Cheesy Chicken Shells
©Weight Watchers

12 jumbo uncooked manicotti shells
1 1/2 c. favorite tomato sauce
2 medium egg whites
4 oz. chicken breast, cooked & diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 3/4 c. ricotta (recipe calls for fat free, but I used part skim)
1 tbsp. oregano
3/4 c. shredded mozzerella (again, it calls for fat free, but I used part skim)

Preheat oven to 350°

Cook manicotti shells in boiling water according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Set aside.  Coat a 9x13 pan with spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of sauce evenly over the bottom.

For filling:
In a large bowl, stir together egg whites, ricotta, chicken, garlic powder & seasoning.  Stir in 1/4 cup each of mozzerella & parmesan cheeses.

Spoon mixture into shells.  Place in dish.  Spread remaining sauce on top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.  Bake 30 minutes.

3 shells per serving.  9 pts per serving (old WW).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Couch to 5k

I started the Couch to 5k running program back in September.  I was really skeptical that it wouldn't work. However, I got through weeks 1, 2 & 3 with much success and then the weekend of Halloween, I was stricken with my very first running injury. After one of my week 4 runs, I either misstepped or strained something in my knee and had to hobble my way home not even 5 minutes into my walk.  My husband knew something was wrong when I couldn't even look at him because of the disappointment I had in myself.

Upset and worried about not being able to finish my training, I decided I couldn't let this stop me from achieving a goal.  I bought a knee brace which I wore religiously and within a week and a half, my knee felt completely better.  Still wearing the brace, I got right back into my training and was feeling stronger than ever.

I completed my training the middle of December.  What an absolutely awesome feeling it was.  I didn't think I could do it.  And if I can do it, anyone really can.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shepherd's Pie, the Weight Watchers Way

I came across this recipe on a message board that I frequent and being my husband is a huge fan of Shepherd's Pie I figured we would give this a try.  I, myself, have never had Shepherd's Pie so I didn't have anything to compare this to.  This was absolutely delicious and definitely going into our recipe box.

I will update with a picture the next time we make it.  I forgot to take a picture!

2 large uncooked potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 c. fat free sour cream
1tbsp reduced calorie margarine
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 lb. uncooked ground turkey breast
3tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. rosemary (fresh) or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 c. chicken or beef broth

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour in enough water to cover potatoes. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes, transfer to a large bowl and add sour cream and margarine; mash until smooth, season to taste with salt and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add flour, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a simmer; simmer until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer turkey mixture to a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Spread mashed potatoes over top and using the back of a spoon, make decorative swirls over the top. Bake until potatoes are golden, about 30 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Set your goals high...

… and don’t stop until you get there. ~Bo Jackson

Through exercise & eating well, I am determined to get into shape by my 30th birthday. A bucket list of sorts, this blog will document my journey of setting and achieving goals and kicking the crap out of any obstacle that dares to get in my way.
After having my second child, I started taking Zumba & spinning classes and have fallen completely in love with both forms of exercise.  Just this past weekend, I began the Couch to 5k which is a 9 wk program designed for couch potatoes.  After reading many reviews of the program and how well it works, I decided I can and want to do it.  The other half of being healthy is food and do I love food! I admire the cooking blogs that a few of my friends have online so I figured this was a great way to encompass it all.  

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream~C.S. Lewis
  • To run a 5k by the beginning of 2011.
  • To complete my first triatholon (sprint distance) by Summer 2011.
  • To become a spin instructor.
  • Lose at least 40lbs by May 31 (my 30th birthday).
A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~Larry Elder

I am a stay at home mother of two beautiful girls.  Our oldest is 2 1/2 and our second daughter is 5 months old.  Watching the two of them grow has been the most wonderful experience ever.