Thursday, March 31, 2011

Clean Eats

It's been a while since I talked food...I haven't made too many new things. But tonight's dish was fab.

I think I'll call it Italian Scallops.

I warn you. I don't actually measure out anything unless I am baking. So my measurements are always a guesstimate.

What you need:
2 plum tomatoes, diced
6 ounces spinach, chopped
4-5 leaves of fresh oregano
2 gloves minced garlic
1/4 cup shaved parmesan or asiago
10-12 large scallops
olive oil
pasta of choice (I used left over soba noodle and it was YUMMY)

Heat about two full swirls of olive oil on med/high heat
add garlic and oregano
add scallops and brown one side
Flip scallops and add tomatoes and spinach on top
Continue to stir until scallops are almost done. (3-5 minutes)
Add a few sprinkles of cheese and stir until cheese blends
Divide pasta and top pasta with remaining cheese.
Divide scallops and sauce onto pasta to serve.

YUUUUUMMMY. I cannot even believe I ever ate sauce from a jar. GROSS!!!!!

P.S. Trader Joes sells a great fresh parmesan, romano, asiago shaved blend.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why moms get fat....

Because exercise is nearly impossible with small children.

For example,

After work today my husband and I decided to go for a run on the bikepath. It started out great: both kids in the double jogger, the husband pushing as I fell a few steps behind (I am slower than him and need to pace myself).

Then all hell broke loose. Baby girl had the sun in her eyes and started screaming bloody murder and wouldn't stop. My son decided he had to get out and literally threw himself out of the stroller. I ran him over.

This resulted in me yelling at my husband to just go run. I pushed the kids and before I knew it I had baby girl in the ergo front carrier and my son was running in front of the stroller, getting in my way every 3 seconds and stopping to throw rocks in the water every 3 feet.

Needless to say, running didn't happen.

The thing is, it was still sort of okay. In the end we walked about 3 miles, stopped at the beach to throw rocks and look at the waves. The kids got fresh air. My husband got a run in. My son got a ton of exercise.

I have learned that even though it is totally inconvenient, and never goes as planned, it is important to just try. If you don't get out there and lug the kids along then you wont get any exercise at all, and some is better than none.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Let me start this post by saying I AM NOT A ROCKSTAR,

or a soldier, or anything else that symbolizes coolness, bravery, etc.

I am pretty boring and an expert at nothing.

I don't have passion for much in this world, but there are 3 things I could talk any one's ear off about.

1. is the social responsibility I feel the world (and especially parents) have to children of all ages
2. is the benefits of eating healthy, clean food and growing your own food.
3. is the value I place on natural childbirth

So I talk a whole hell of a lot about number two on here. I avoid number one because this is the fight I fight ALL day long at work. And I have YET to talk about number 3 for fear of scaring away my childfree friends and the few men who check my blog.

You have been warned, I am addressing number 3 today. Mostly because just in the past week I had 3 friends message me on facebook about this and I thought I would share my thoughts here.

So here it goes.

Natural childbirth

What is it? This is childbirth with minimal medical intervention and no pain medication, IV drugs, etc.

Again, I am no expert. I only have the experience of 2 drug free births and I do not claim to be a pro.

I always knew I wanted to have a natural birth. I am not really the earthy-crunchy type and most people might not have expected this as something I valued.

I do a lot of reading and research whenever I need to know something. I like to investigate both sides before I make a decision. I read a lot about getting pregnant, being pregnant, etc. My mom had me all-natural (go Mom!), before it was common to do so. So I wanted to know why some woman find it so important. Here is what sold me.

1. When you have an epidural you get a giant needle in your back (which may or may not take on the first try) and worst of all you have to spend the rest of your labor hooked up to a machine and mostly in bed.

2. Sometimes it can cause you to have ineffective pushing.

3. You will have to have a catheter placed afterward to help you pee.

Number 1 is what scared me the most. I hate the thought of anything going near my spine and I hate feeling like I am not in control. I wanted to MOVE while in labor. I wanted to experience it with everything I had.

Now, it hurts. There is no doubt about it. However, the pain sucks, but it is managable.

When I was in labor I did all of the following to get through contactions:

Bounced on the birthing ball, danced with my husband, had the nurse/ husband/ my mom push as hard on my back as physically possible to put counter-pressure on the pain, do squats and lunges (it sounds crazy, but it helped get the dialation going and the best of all....I got in a nice warm tub and had the nurse/ my husband/ my mom pour water over my tummy as I contracted.

All of this worked. I didn't scream and yell. I didn't freak out. I didn't beg for drugs.

I just kept moving.

For my first,  I did this for about 10 hours. I know that sounds like forever, and I was in labor for longer..but I am talking about active labor. But seriously it didn't feel that long. Because I could keep moving it actually went by fast for me. Now I think it felt MUCH longer for my mom and husband (poor things were pushing and rocking with me all night long).

For my second it was about 5 hours.

When I think back on my labor, tears of joy come to my eyes. It was amazing. I had great nurses, a supportive husband and I was present (both physically and mentally) through all of it. I can remember every moment, every push.

I am also convinced that the reason I had to push no more than 4 times with both babies is because of all the moving I did. Some woman have to push for HOURS. Now I am sure that going natural does not guarantee less pushing...but I know it helped me. I could actually feel the baby moving lower and lower and I refused to stop moving until I absolutely had to.

By the time I got into that bed those babies were already there. One push and you could see hair (YIKES..sorry male readers).

I have a good friend who had an epidural with her first and went all natural with her second. She said that it was so much easier and better the second time. Her recovery was better. She wasn't as swollen (another side-effect of drugs) and she could pee on her own 10 minutes after delivery.

Okay, I am starting to sound like a preacher.....

I did take some steps to be sure I was supported in my decision. I created the famous "birth plan" but all mine said was:

1. I do not want to be offered drugs unless medically necessary (i.e. the baby or myself is in danger).
2. If I complain of pain or that I cannot do it, please offer me another alternative (tub, ball, etc.) to help me get through.
3. I want to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery.

Honestly I didn't really need the plan. I could still speak and express my wished at the hospital. However, I delivered at a very small hospital with a fabulous staff of nurses. I would have dreaded being at a huge hospital (in fact, I wouldn't have done it).

One thing I learned was that the nurses favored the patients who went natural. I think because it is so rare, they enjoy that part of the job. In fact I often had 2-3 nurses helping me because I think they wanted to be sure I could do it. They helped me so much. I am not sure that if I was at a large hospital that I would have had a nurse who got on her hands in kness and poured water on me in the tub for over an hour.

All in all I actually value my decision to have my babies as I did more than almost any other decision I have made in my life. I was truely so proud of myself for doing something so many woman think they can't do.

Don't get me wrong. I completely understand why some woman just don't want to deal with the pain. But PLEASE, do your research. Drugs may stop pain temporarily, but there are also negatives. Just know the up and down side to every option.

I could get into why I think breastfeeding is so important, but I think I have been high on my soap box long enough for one night. Good luck momma's-to-be. It truely is the best moment in life, no matter how you decided to do it. Don't be scared. Your body knows what to do and woman are the strongest gender for a reason.

Man, now I want another baby! Someone remind me that  neither of my kids sleep through the night.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am failing at this lately. I have been exhausted, busy as hell, and all those things that make up a perfect excuse not to exercise.

Honestly, here are my 2 biggest reasons for being lazy lately:

1. I have dropped the baby weight and don't have the fact that my clothes don't fit to motivate me. Now I am maintaining my weigh on healthy eating alone.

2. I am taking this online graduate class and it is taking over my life. ( I have one final project to worry about)

I am really hoping to get back into running when the weather turns. I have a strong desire to be a runner, even though I kind of hate it. I think it is mostly that it would be nice to have some time to myself, outside in the fresh air. The last time I ran (2 weeks ago) I made it about 1.5 miles. It is sad that I was sore the next day.

There is a new gym opening right down the street from us. It is exactly 1.5 miles away. It opens on April 1 and my husband agreed that we can work it so I can go 3 mornings a week. I am thinking I will run there and back.

I am hoping this works out, I don't want to get sucked back in to my hole of excuses.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Planning

Do you do it?

This is so important for me for 2 reasons:
1. I am not as tempted to stray from healthy eating
2. I save money and am prepared.

I try to plan our menu on Sunday. The last 2 weeks were pretty crazy. I had a late class on a few nights and then we went away, so menu planning was sporatic.

Now I am back on a regular schedule and am glad to have my menu planned through Saturday.

Here is this week's clean eats:

Soba noodles with:
garlic, mushrooms, red peppers, feta cheese and green onions

Spinach and pepper Fritatas with sweet potatoe hash browns

brown rice topped with  ground turkey, tomatoes and spinach

Asian rice bowl with spicy chili chicken, cucumbers, carrots, avacado, ginger and toasted sesame seeds

wheat wrap flank steak burritos with black beans, veggies and cheese

Turkey and veggie lasagna with brown rice noodles (best recipe ever) Find it here

No cheating this week. I got this!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The skinny jeans are back

I really wanted to post a picture, but I just couldn't figure out the timer on my camera.

But my size 6, haven't fit in them since before I got pregnant, can't wear them when I even gain a pound skinny jeans are on today. I confess, they are cutting into my flesh just a tiny bit when I sit down. But when I stand up they are looking good.

My mom is down and has taken my son out for the this skinny jean thing is making me want to shop. I think the little lady and I need to at least get one new outfit a piece in celebration of mom's skinny jean accomplishment.

The scale is holding steady at 139. This isn't so bad considering the cake I ate for my husbands birthday and the fact that I have not worked out in some time.

Did I mention I am getting a gym membership on April 1 and starting to go 3 mornings a week (wohooo)? More on that to come. I am off to enjoy this warm day in my slightly too tight skinny jeans.

Monday, March 14, 2011



When I started my clean eating journey I decided that for me eating can be an experience. I love experiencing food.

I figured that although I want to try and eat  clean as much as possible, that I would not pass up a real foodie experience, even if it wasn't clean.

With that said..I had some seriously fabulous food experiences for my birthday weekend.

I would like to share some of my favorite weekend cheats here:

1. Lots of Cheddar cheese fresh off the line when we toured the Cabbot Cheese factory

2. One strawberry cheese cake ice cream cone on a chocolate covered sugar cone from THE Ben and Jerry's factory. FABULOUS!

3. Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at the inn

Some fabulous breakfast faves from the inn were:
strawberry cream cheese stuffed french toast
homemade wheat bread
cream cheese and chive scrambled eggs
homemade cranberry and white chocolate scones

And my worst cheat of all (and the tastiest thing ever):
A sandwich called "Main Street"
A white bulky roll with grilled turkey and melted Swiss cheese, homemade coleslaw and thousand island dressing. YUMMMMMMMM

Sometimes it is so good to be bad.

The dirty thirty

Well, I am back, older, wiser perhaps?
Who knows?...but either way I am 30.

I have to say, it feels a little strange. I remember that when I was in college, 30 sounded old. But I don't really feel old.

I am pretty excited about starting a new year of life. I am currently in a self-reflective mood and am hoping to better myself in many ways.

This started on my trip to Vermont. I had a great time and as always my husband and I laughed, sighed, yelled at  and smiled about the insanity that is traveling with two small children. But aside from the difficulties that are posed when taking a 5 hour car trip with a tantruming 2 year old and a baby who doesn't care for facing the back of the car with no stimulation for hours at a time, I was able to have a few moments of clarity and I even reached some level of inner peace.

Here's how:

One thing I am hoping to do differently in the thirties is to stop letting my fears get in the way. I have always been afraid to fail, and because of this I do a lot of sitting out.

For example, at the inn we were staying at there was a GIANT sledding hill. Deep down I really wanted to sled, but I was pretty sure it would be a huge pain in the butt, i.e. getting all bundled up, climbing a very difficult hill in 3 feet of snow, breaking my leg on the way down, finding a time where my daughter wasn't using me as a human feeding machine. So instead of saying what I wanted to say, which was "I really want to sled, let's make it happen." I let the husband take our toddler while I stayed inside with the baby. I took the easy, fearless way out.

That night, after the baby was sleeping, I sat there reflecting on what I wanted in my next 30 years. I realized that the sledding example was part of what I needed to change. I am sick of sitting out just because it is easier that way. So, I decided it needed to change right then and there.

I told my husband I was going out for a walk. I went outside. I found a plastic sled. I hiked my fat butt up that giant hill. I almost died. I felt my lunges burning. I pulled myself through the snow. I set up my sled. AND I flew down that damn hill laughing at myself all the way down.

It was so much fun that I did it again. This time I totally white washed myself half way down. I spent 3 minutes laughing at myself and then I continued down the rest of the way.

It was dark. I was alone. It was cold. I was a little bit scared, but flying down that hill was freeing.

So that was my kick off to my 30's. I will not sit out of life. If I want something, I will not let fear of failure or humiliation hold me back

Thursday, March 10, 2011

30! (or just about)

Well the weekend has arrived. I will be thirty years old on Saturday. I will be away. My husband is taking me to a family farm/ bed and breakfast for the weekend, here. So I am finishing up my work week and then away we go.

In my 20's I would have wanted to celebrate another year older with some drinks, at a bar, acting crazy with my friends. I would love to spend some time with friends, but the rest of that type of celebration doesn't appeal to me. Most people would probably consider a kid friendly B&B unappealing, but it is right up my alley. I am away from my kids all week, and I could not bare to go anywhere without them. I get joy from their joy, and this inn has some really fun stuff for them to do.

I am feeling good about 30. I feel like I have started to make some changes that I am proud of. I am still eating about 90 percent clean and I feel like I am dedicated to keeping myself healthy and happy.

I weighed myself this morning and I was at 140. So I may very well be in the 130's my Saturday (especially after snow shoeing and pulling the kids in a sled all weekend at the Inn). if I am not, I still feel pretty good about my weightloss and will enjoy a few good meals this weekend.

So here I go...into another great 10 years.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spicy Sesame Shrimp Bowl

Okay, YUM!

I love sushi rolls, like LOVE this was perfect for me. I really wanted to use raw tuna, instead of the shrimp...but the seafood market was closed.

This was still really good and if you like spicy sushi, TRY IT.

What you need:
Sushi rice
1 lb medium or large raw shrimp
a few drops of sesame oil
Pickled ginger (they sell serving size cups of this in my grocery stores prepared sushi section)
red chile paste (you can find this in the Asian section of the grocery store)
Sriracha (also found in the Asian section, its hot Chile sauce)
1/4 of mayonnaise (I like the new low-fat kind with olive oil)
Sesame seeds
1 carrot, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1 avacado, sliced thin

-Cook 1 cup of sushi rice according to package and set aside
-Put a few drops of sesame oil in pan and heat on med-high. Add shrimp and cook until just pink and remove from heat
-In small bowl add 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 drops of sesame oil, 1-2 tablespoons of chile paste, and add drops of Sriracha to taste. It gets spicy fast, so be careful. Mix together.
-Heat a clean pan (not greased) on medium and add about 3-4 tablespoons  of sesame seeds to toast. Toss them lightly a few times. They toast in about a minute.
-Add half he seeds to the mayonnaise mixture and stir.
-Coat shrimp with the mayo mixture.
-Add rice to the bottom of 2 bowls. Lay the veggies on top of the rice. Divide the shrimp and put into each bowl.
-Use ginger to remaining sesame seeds to garnish.

I also added a little light soy sauce.

This was so good. A great alternative to Chinese food. Which is a food I CANNOT allow in my house because I am out of control with it.

I will try it again with raw tuna next time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What I learned from my mama.................

As I sat in a meeting at work today discussing a child who was not getting the help they needed due to a variety of environmental factors, I found myself reflecting on the lessons I carry with me in life. My mother is responsible for 50 percent of who I am (genetically speaking) but I wonder how much of who I am as a person has come from how I was raised, and by who I was raised. I could think of a million lessons that I carry with me that came from my mother, but I find this one to be the most valuable..................

When someone you love is living their life in a way that you don't agree with , all you can do is love them anyway and be there for them. Judging will only push them away from you.

I could go on for days about the many ways my mother demonstrated this to me, but I will stick to just a few. At one point in my life I was in  bad relationship. The short version is that the guy totally sucked and I shouldn't have been with him. My mother never once said anything bad about him and never told me that I shouldn't be with him. She knew that if she did, it might hurt me or even worse push me away from her. In my own time I realized my mistake and since my mother had never judged me, I was able to go to her for help getting out of the relationship. She was there to listen and never judged.

She does this in a lot of small ways too. Like when I talk to her about how many children I want to have, or how I discipline my kids, etc. She always listens and if she says anything at all it is usually that she points out the positive side to either scenario. She might tell me all the good reasons there might be to have just two kids (which we have now) but she will also mention the reasons three might be nice as well. This makes me feel like I can share my thoughts with her. She isn't going to ask, "Can you afford 3 kids?" or "Don't think anyone will babysit for you if you keep having babies." She listens, she talks to me, and if she is making any judgments at the moment, she keeps them to herself.

Why is this lesson so valuable to me?

Well, it's because in my heart of hearts I think everyone should show this level of love and respect for the people they love.

For example, I frequent a lot of health/ fitness message boards. People often post questions like, "my father is so unhealthy and very over weight, I am afraid for his life. How do I encourage him to get healthy?"

My answer to this question is that you cannot ask someone to change. If you tell your father that they are over weight and need to go on a diet/ exercise, not only will they not change, but they will resent you for judging them. The only way someone will change is if THEY want to. You cannot make anyone else change PERIOD.

The way you help is by being a good role model. Eat healthy and exercise and perhaps some day you will be an inspiration to you father (or whoever). And don't judge. Love them when they are at their best, and worst.

When I was in a bad relationship my mother talked about my step father and why he is a good man (indirectly of course). The fact that she was married to a good man, and in a solid relationship was inspirational to me and though I didn't know it at the time, that is part of how I knew what I didn't want in my own life.

If you truly love someone you should not remind them of their faults. I cannot tell you how many times I hear people in my professional and private life say things like "and I told my son, if he doesn't break up with his trashy girlfriend, his life is going down the drain." Or, "I told my sister if she didn't start exercising she was going to turn into a tub of lard."
I'd like to know how many times comments like that have encouraged someone to change their lives. I would expect not very many. I'd imagine the people on the receiving end of such comments harbor a great deal of resentment.

So thank you Mom, for this important life lesson. I live and breath this in all I do. It makes me a better teacher, mother, and family member. I am so glad that you have always loved me for who I am, and not for who you want me to be. LESSON LEARNED.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your mama?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eating Good is Paying Off

I am desperate to try some new clean eating recipes. I am bored with eating this week. During the week I tend to throw things together. For example, tonight was: cilantro and garlic mixed with quinoa topped with ground turkey, tomatoes and olives. It was good, but not great.

My clean eaters, what are you eating?

The good news about my clean eating quest is that my current weight is 140.5 lbs. If you have followed me from the start of this blog then you know this means I have lost about 14 lbs. The day after I started blogging I was 154, you can read it HERE. This was the day after Christmas.

I am feeling pretty good about this. I really wanted to be in the 130's by my birthday, March 12th. I think it just might happen!

It feels good to be closer to my goal and to feel good about what I put in my mouth.