Wednesday, August 29, 2012

mixing up the first week of school!

My man has officially started kindergarten!  He's one, proud school boy and says his favorite class is P.E...that obviously makes me a happy Momma!

I have signed up to get involved with the PTA/Volunteering at his school and I'm now a member of the school carnival Fun Run committee.  I am super excited since I've always wanted to organize/help coordinate an organized running event.  Since my family has participated in many group runs, this one will sure be even more special to us!  They are opening up the run to the public for the first time, so hopefully there's a big turn out!  Also it's a chipped run, so I'll get some experience on the other side of this!  Wish me luck!  Guess our family better sign up for more runs between now and mid-Oct so that we're prepared!!!  Plus, his principal is a big runner, so he'll think it's cool that she's part of the festivities!!!  

With my first week of us figuring out a crazy schedule filled with sports three days a week and various other commitments, I needed a quick grab-n-go snack and this trail mix is a BIG hit for all of us...
walnuts, almonds, cashews, dried cherries, cranberries, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips!  A great mix of sweet and salty to satisfy those cravings, so I suggest making individual portions, separate them into baggies and there's your quick and HEALTHY snack while on the go!

...and I was surprised with this baby the other day,
I have wanted one of these for a LONG time and so far, it's working great for me!  It's this exact bright yellow one, so you can sure see me coming down the street...LOL!  I have run with it three times this week and that's pretty good since I got it three days ago!  woohoo!  This also means my back is feeling back to normal and that makes me a super happy woman!  Now I gotta focus on kicking up my mileage.  With this hot summer, I had slacked on miles and now it's time to build it back up!  I am hoping to register the family for the Sept 23rd Houston Texans fun run, so I'll keep ya posted...I'm ready to race again, I think my hubby and son are too!!!  

Do you have a favorite trail mix recipe?
I'd love for you to share in the comments...

Do you use a Garmin/TomTom when you run?   
so far mine is working great...I'll keep ya posted on how it continues to work for me!

**Don't allow yourself to get off track if you're on the path to losing weight and getting healthy!  This time of year is difficult with school starting, crazy work/family schedules but keep your eye on your goals!  Don't lose sight of them!  Now is a good time to refresh your goals, meet friends that share the same workout goals and exercise together!  Get involved with group aerobics, boot camp, CrossFit, a running club...anything that gets you motivated and going strong!  I can't tell you how happy it makes me that when I'm out for a run, I see SO many others out doing the same thing...strangely enough, it's so encouraging knowing we are not alone!  Someone else is out there putting forth the effort, pushing themselves and making themselves healthier!  Now let's make ourselves healthy TOGETHER!  If you're still unsure of where to begin-  Ask for help.  Look to people who have struggled and been in your shoes...healthy living is a race without a finish line, so that will leave plenty of room for improvement :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

quick foods and RUNNING!

The other evening after football practice I was totally unprepared, kiddos were hungry and I had to throw something together QUICK!  I grabbed leftover chicken from the grill, sliced and put in a skillet with a pkg of frozen mixed veggies, 2 cups brown rice, and strange as it sounds-a little cumin and chili powder
(just to taste, I don't like a lot of these seasonings-they can be too powerful for my taste buds)  Stirred and served on a tortilla for the boys and my husband and I ate it in a bowl!  It was perfect!  Surprisingly, it had a lot of flavor...

Here's another yummy recipe that I threw together that the whole family enjoyed, but sadly I forgot the pictures;
Mix 1 cup Bisquick Heart Health with one can of drained black beans and 1/4 c water, stir and set aside.
Brown 1lb lean ground turkey and after browned, add 1/2 pkg low sodium taco seasoning
Layer meat mixture over bean mixture, and then top with 1/2 c salsa, spread around and top with 2% cheese.  
Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until crust cooks through.  I served this with a huge fruit salad and it was AWESOME!!!

and EXCITING news, 

my proud, goofy picture after my first post-back injury RUN!
Just to be cautious, I start with a mile walking warm up just to loosen my muscles and stretch my back...then I slowly pick up the pace and BAM, I'm running!  
I almost started to cry.  
It had been over 2 weeks of power walking and very little other form of exercise so this was a BIG deal for me!

Having that back injury really put things into perspective.  For one thing, I am not sure how people go without exercising daily.  I mean, I know life gets hectic and sometimes we just don't know where to begin, but seriously...being unable to push myself during workouts was REALLY hard on me.  I had never had that happen.  It was awful and I know it could have been WAY worse.  As I had said before, I had sprained my ankle, broke my foot but would push through and still be able to get a GOOD workout...not with that back injury.  It had me MESSED UP.  It did keep my eating in check since I knew I wasn't burning the calories I was used to.  I LOVE RUNNING!  I'm not sure what I changed in my life going from an inactive, overweight girl that hated to sweat and exercise but it's guaranteed I AM NOT THAT GIRL ANYMORE!!!  AND NEVER WILL BE!!!

Hey, my name is Marissa and I'm back to RUNNING!!!!!!!!!  wooooohooooo!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

food for thought

Is it our job?

Going back to school often means a fresh start!  Learning new things, meeting new teachers, friends and much more!  Is it the job of the parents or the schools to teach about nutrition and health?  Some schools have lost their P.E and health programs across the country and to me, that's awful.  If we are so lucky to have schools that value the importance of healthy living, then is it okay for the parents to fall short and not model healthy behaviors at home?  

In my opinion it's about 90% the responsibility of us, the parents.  We are the ones they look up to and they learn from us long before they go to school.  We set the example of right and wrong...right?  If our children learn about healthy eating and exercise at school, but they come home to junk food and sitting in front of the TV or electronics, what are we saying as their parents?  
*You may agree or disagree but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue...

And on a lighter note here are some mouth-watering, healthy recipes to share from HellaWella, 

Chicken Rub/Glaze

  • 4 split chicken breasts (on the ribs, fat removed)
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • A splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • Cracked pepper and salt, to taste

1. Combine honey, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Stir until well-blended. Set aside half of mixture for later.
2. Drizzle olive oil over rinsed and pat-dried chicken breasts. Rub cracked pepper, salt, garlic powder and thyme over the chicken. Brush on a coating of the glaze mixture. Place chicken on grill, close lid and let it cook for about 35 minutes. Brush on more glaze after 35 minutes.
3. Chicken is ready when the its internal temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. (Use a meat thermometer!)
4. Before serving, use a clean brush to glaze the chicken one last time.

Lemon Grilled Shrimp 

  • 24 large shrimp (for less work, get deveined frozen shrimp)
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons of dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of black pepper

Makes 8 servings.
1. Peel shrimp, leaving on tails, and devein. Put in plastic bag and set in bowl. Stir remaining ingredients. Pour over shrimp and close bag tightly. Squeeze gently to coat shrimp. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Remove shrimp, reserving marinade. Cook shrimp on greased grill over medium-hot coals or at medium heat until opaque, brushing over with marinade for 2 minutes on each side until pink and firm to touch.

Watermelon Feta Salad

  • 6 cups of watermelon
  • ½ cup of finely chopped fresh mint
  • 5 ounces to 6 ounces of feta cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh lime juice

Serves 6.
1. Chop watermelon into cubes, approximately 1-in. squares.
2. Place in a large mixing bowl and squeeze in the juice from half of a lime. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.
3. Rinse mint sprigs, remove the leaves from the stem and finely chop the leaves.
4. Toss the mint, lime juice and pepper with the watermelon.
5. Transfer from the mixing bowl to a serving platter where the watermelon can spread out a little.
6. Crumble feta over the melon evenly and serve.

Looks like some great recipes for Labor Day weekend!  It would be a great way to take some of the fat and calories out of a great backyard BBQ!  Just a thought!  
Hope your eating habits are on target and you're looking forward to a great school year, if you've got little ones in school!  I know with my oldest starting kindergarten this year (yes, I'm pretty emotional about it!), I'm taking the time to focus on time management; making meals ahead of time, washing laundry more efficiently and making sure I take some ME time...sometimes I know I just need it to stay sane!  I plan on getting some great workouts in too now that my back seems to be feeling MUCH better!  whew!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

some PINspiration, for back to school...

Pretend and Play offers a really neat way to help our children LEARN how to create a healthy meal using play food!  What a brilliant way to teach our children the importance of a healthy, balanced meal!  Maybe it's the health teacher in me, but REALLY COOL!!!!

A great guide to help as a checklist when packing your kiddos lunches, from RageAgainstTheMinivan 

And from one of my favorite blogs, 100 days of real food...a guide to great lunches using NO PROCESSED FOODS!  this is one I'd love to mimic, but it's a challenge!  This post should help!

Workouts and back pain: Although my back pain is still pretty intense, it's MUCH better than last week.  There's still no hope for running as of now, but power walking has been helping and it's actually a better workout than I had imagined.  Hopefully once school starts next week, I'll be able to increase the intensity as my body allows!
We were able to take the boys to a Houston Texans pre-season game, thanks to my Aunt (they are season ticket holders) and offered the tickets up to us when they didn't go!  The boys LOVED it and said they wanna go back every day!  Precious!  

*Not sure why my hand is on top of my little ones head, probably so he wouldn't run away!  LOL!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Push yourself but what about them?

If you love to workout and it makes you feel incredible, you know that pushing yourself is part of it!  It's the point where it starts to feel GOOD...sounds strange but so true!  

For those of us looking for a healthier lifestyle, you know that it takes dedication and drive!  You must go beyond where you've gone in the past!  Once you truly PUSH YOURSELF, amazing things will happen to your mind and body!  

 what about pushing our children

My oldest son LOVES sports.  He runs 1K races, plays baseball and is now trying flag football.    He picks up things very quickly and has great hand-eye coordination.  I am a former P.E teacher so I tend to expose him to all things sports/fitness because I want him to understand each one, that way he's able to choose the active things that he likes.  

HERE'S MY STRUGGLE;  growing up as a heavy, inactive child...I want the opposite for my children.  My husband agrees because he too, struggled with weight in his youth but was also an incredible baseball player.  The good news, our boys love the outdoors, they love being active and have watched their Daddy and I workout hard and they wanna be involved, we do NOT push that on them, we simply expose them to our lifestyle in hopes of them wanting that too.         

Ok, finally getting to the point-our son shows tons of motivation with sports AT HOME but take him onto the field and it's a different story.  He almost shuts down.  He's a shy kid, doesn't like attention but once he's comfortable...WATCH OUT!  He's hilarious, high-energy and will show you the side he likes to keep to himself around new people!  We aren't sure if he lacks confidence out there, so he simply doesn't TRY until he totally, 100% understands?  Being unsure is the hard part.  

So last week at practice, I was EXTREMELY frustrated with him, lost my cool and I'm embarrassed that I allowed myself to behave that way. Yea it was bad.  I know I am his mother, so of course I'm going to think that but honestly, I taught sports...he's got talent.  He played t-ball for 2 years, little league this past season and is JUST NOW coming out of his shell and going to the batting cages hitting 44mi/hr pitches...pretty good for a 5-year old right??  But it's like he won't put forth the effort that he gives at home in our had me so worked up.  

So my question to all of the parents out there, Do you push your child when you know they aren't giving 100% or do you LET GO of that control and let them enjoy being young and figure it out for themselves?  I am torn between the two, but am leaning toward allowing him (he is ONLY 5yrs old) to figure things out at his own pace and completely back off...

Today's Workout & my back injury:  5 mile walk in the neighborhood.  I still cannot run/jog, not even for a few steps.  I do need to see a doctor but I keep putting it off in fear of bad news...that's awful, I know.  My back hurts constantly and the pain shoots down my thighs and legs continuously.  It's miserable.  I have never been injured to the point where I cannot do any form of exercise other than walking.  EVER.  When I broke my foot in college, I taught kickboxing with a boot/cast on....yea, seriously!  So this is hard for me to deal with but I'll manage and hopefully get myself to a doctor sooner rather than later  :-(
Good news is that my eating is going very well right now so once I get up to running again, I should be on a roll...remember, it's all about BALANCE for each and every one of us!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grahamfuls; and an update on my injury

I'm a huge fan of made-from-scratch snacks for your kiddos but let's face gets busy and quick treats are always great for on the go!  My boys were the taste-testers for this review and they were sure happy to help me out :-)

When it comes to graham crackers, I have always made two snacks with HoneyMaid graham crackers, one is filling the squares with peanut butter but I also use sf/ff whipped cream, freeze and enjoy instead of an ice cream sandwich...tastes the same, but MUCH better alternative for my family!  

These Grahamfuls give you the best of both worlds!  An easy go-to snack for families on the go and great taste too!  The boys didn't really like the Banana Vanilla Creme, but they aren't sweet eaters!  They liked the PB&Chocolate too, but I must say the Peanut Butter was their favorite by far!!!  They are crunchy, filling and taste delicious too!  My three-year old kept saying, "Mmm, these are good", with every bite if that tells you anything!  Ha!  I bring these with us to football practice for the kids and it makes a great snack instead of turning to chips or other junk food!  I've seen them in our local grocery store, so hopefully they are available near you!!

The New Honey Maid Grahamfuls are 

  • made from 100% whole grain and are made with real honey.  
  • Contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors
  • Come in 3 varieties: Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter & Chocolate, and Banana Vanilla Creme
For more info, visit

Kraft Foods sent me these 3 varieties and backpack in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100% mine and no other compensation was received.  

Today's Workout:  A nice walk with my running buddy!  Call me crazy but with my back injury(which is actually doing much better) we've been walking the neighborhood and it's a nice change.  We walk at a really good pace, so we are still working hard and increasing our heart rate!  I tried to speed it up to a light jog this morning but that was a bad idea, I could feel a lot of pressure in my back...yikes!  If the pain worsens or continues, I will see a doctor so thank you for all of your support and sweet comments!  

Today's Eats:  
My protein shake for breakfast...YUM! 
Lunch-grilled chicken and steamed edamame.  
Dinner will most likely be something light because we are at my son's football practice until 8pm!  I don't particularly like eating late, but with practice beginning at 6 and not getting home until after 8, it's hard to balance our meals for dinner!  We've only been at it two weeks, so hopefully I'll get the hang of it and make it work for our family SOON!!!  Fingers crossed!

What are your tools for successful, healthy eating while on the go?  

And what are your keys to a GREAT, yet less intense workout when you're battling an injury?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


So, naturally my husband and I had really kicked up the workouts, the clean eating and then BAM! I did something awful to my back.  It could have been some intense, interval workouts I had been doing, or something as simple as laying out by the pool-since I was in a lounge float throwing the football with my son and husband for hours the other day ??
Two days ago, I started feeling pain in my leg and tightness in my back...
and now I'm practically crawling everywhere I go :-(
I've tried to pin-point exactly where I went wrong, but not sure I even know.  I took the dog for a short walk this morning and could barely make it back to the house.  I've been alternating ice and heat(was suggested to me) and it seems to offer very temporary relief, but for the most part...I'm struggling.  

We have three days of football practice this week and while I'm so excited to watch this boy play, 
I'm worried that sitting outside on the lawn might not be the best thing for me right now...

I am attempting to walk with my friend tomorrow morning, so we'll see if that helps or makes it worse!  I can't stand not being able to exercise...SO I'll do the best I can and if things don't get better soon, I guess I'll be seeing my doctor!  I have to attempt a great walk in the morning, if not I feel helpless not being able to run, spin or do a great cross training workout...argh!!!!

How do YOU deal with injuries?  
Do you push through them or give your body rest when rest is needed?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

on a roll with recipes

Chicken, Black Bean & Lime Burritos

 You'll Need:
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c corn-I used frozen
1 tsp taco seasoning for flavor
1/4 c chopped green pepper

Saute cooked chicken breasts(I made baked chicken the night before and used leftover chicken for this dish-made it easy!) with green pepper, corn, black beans taco seasoning, cover and stir occasionally.  Slice one lime into wedges for serving.  
*Serving Suggestions:  I made the boys burritos and added a little 2% cheese to their taco, rolled it up and served with yogurt and peaches!  As for my husband and I, I used 2 ramekin dishes, placed oven at 400 degrees and placed the tortilla over the dish, in a bowl-like position...baked at 400 for about 12 minutes until crispy and the tortilla held the bowl shape.  
** Lemon and Lime juice add flavor without added fat, sodium and calories so use your lime wedge and squeeze onto portions, as desired!

Zucchini and Turkey Spaghetti

You'll Need:
1 lb ground turkey, cooked
2-3 medium zucchinis, chopped
3/4 jar No Salt Added Tomato Sauce
S&P to taste
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Cook ground turkey in skillet until cooked through, set aside.  Saute zucchini, garlic, onion, s&p until onions become transparent.  Add sauce and allow to heat through, and lastly add the ground turkey and simmer for about 10 min to add flavor.  

*Serving Suggestion:  This makes a large portion so the first night, I boiled whole wheat pasta or you could use Spaghetti Squash(healthiest version) and serve with this DELICIOUS sauce, it's full of flavor, protein and veggies so the whole family will love it!
Meal #2:  The next night, I baked pre-made whole wheat pizza crusts in the oven, layer with the Zucchini and Turkey Sauce, top with 2% mozzarella cheese and bake for about 10 min. just to melt the cheese.  

When trying to follow a healthy eating plan, you must stay prepared and have some ingredients on hand, that make quick and easy meals so simple to create!  
It will keep you on the right track when it comes to healthy eating and knowing you'll be having these easy go-to meals, you'll leave more room for exercise as a family!!

I know a lot of people in our lives right now, both family and friends that are struggling with weight.  Trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and they aren't sure where to begin...
It's a problem so many of us face.  Trying to find the BALANCE.  
What's the magic answer...I'm not sure.  As I've tried to help people, I still can't seem to figure it out.  
Here's the best I can explain it, 

1.  Exercise and Healthy Eating are a lifetime work in our home we are always finding ways to make adjustments in our eating habits-if we go out to dinner as a family and splurge a little, we kick it back into gear the next day and really push ourselves in that next workout.  
2.  If you have a really intense, hardcore workout you'll find out that you don't wanna over indulge because you worked SO hard at the gym, outdoors, wherever!  
3.  You must know that feeling of success will take time.  You didn't put the weight on quickly, so unfortunately it won't come off quickly.  You get what you put into it.  
4.  FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!  We don't all love running, or Zumba, or elliptical equipment at the gym...we MUST find what works for us, individually.  
5.  Find friends that enjoy the same workouts as you and form that support system.  Ask your family to get involved!  It's hard to be successful when it comes to weight loss if it's not a team effort.  One is eating healthy while others are stuffing their face with fried and large calorie meals...just not right!  
6.  Help your loved ones find success, eating healthy should be something the entire family wants and should do.  Go for a family walk/run.  Go to the park as a family and be active together, it will help make positive memories that will last a lifetime, especially to our children.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

now we're "shakin' and scrambling"

Hey there, what's SHAKIN'?

I have never been a big fan of meal replacement smoothies...until now!  
I know that the added protein is great but I guess I felt most of the smoothie recipes weren't very filling and satisfying when it came to replacing breakfast or lunch...
Then Pinterest came into my life!  The protein-packed smoothie recipes are ENDLESS!! 

 Some of my favorites,

Fruit and Vanilla Smoothie: 
1 c almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder-I use Advocare
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 c frozen mixed fruit-I use blueberries, strawberries and blackberries
-extra ice if you prefer but it tends to not need much!

PB and Banana Smoothie:
1 c almond milk
1 scoop protein powder-chocolate or vanilla, your choice!
1/2 frozen banana
2 tbs PB 

Now let's SCRAMBLE,

Grab a ready to bake pizza crust, I used the individual whole wheat versions
Scramble two eggs, one egg white with a splash of low fat milk (it'll make 'em fluffy!)
Bake pizza crust for 8-10 minutes, top with scrambled eggs and some low fat cheese
The boys LOVE these and 
*to make mine a little less carb-heavy, I use half of a whole wheat english muffin and stack the same!  Super tasty and delicious!  I also added cooked spinach to my eggs(not pictured) to add some extra protein!  

I feel like my son's football schedule has really put our healthy eating back in check!  
Am I the only one that feels summer is sort of where we get out of the routine of things?  
We sure did.  
Now that we have practice every evening, I am preparing dinner at 2pm, so that it's ready for us when we get home later that evening!  This way my boys don't head for the pantry and fridge ready to snack while dinner's's already made, so we heat and serve!!!  Works well for us!  
If I were working full time outside of the home, I'd probably have to turn to the crock pot so if that's YOU then check out some of the Paleo crock pot recipes I've pinned here.  

And I'll leave ya with a few tunes I downloaded for my running playlist:

Let's Go - Calvin Harris Feat. Ne-Yo
One More Night - Maroon 5

Friday, August 3, 2012

that was rough.

I had the tummy bug :-(


My son had it about a week ago, and being the paranoid, germ-freak that I am...I sprayed our house down with commercial grade Lysol.  Washed everything in hot water, scrubbed with bleach and thought we were all clear after 72 hours.  


I started feeling horrible before my son's football practice on Tuesday, decided to lay down for a bit and BAM, it hit me.  

The point of my story?
I wanna know WHY when I eat 85% super healthy, exercise daily and eat a fair amount of fruits and veggies, I seem to get the tummy bug all too often.  It's probably been over a year since it hit me BUT still...I was a P.E teacher which meant being around TONS of germs, daily.  Lots of filthy equipment too.  I am paranoid when it comes to public playgrounds, especially indoors-Not gonna lie, they freak me out!  I stay away from Chuck E Cheese and places like that.  Hate birthday parties that take place at indoor jump houses...gross.  Just gross.  See, I'm overly paranoid BUT still manage to get the sickies!  


I know I have a degree in Health and should know how and what to do to prevent the flu virus but I can't seem to get it right.  We wash hands like crazy around here, it's a LAW in our home!  Lol!  I obsessively clean our home, so it's not like we live in filth.  I probably clean with bleach, every other day!  Especially the restrooms and kitchen!  

You all probably think I'm nuts...

I probably should have taken more precautions while taking care of my oldest that came down with it last week.  I was cleaning up after him, helping him to the restroom and keeping the cold rag on his head and rubbing his back (he's my boy and hate when he's sick!), so there was my first mistake.  But we're Mom's, we're suppose to take care of our kids when they're sick!  

*I've heard from friends and read online that drinking a glass of 100% grape or cranberry juice a day, will keep the tummy bug away?  Do you believe it?  I don't drink juice.  Usually stick to water and every now and then a glass of soy milk or almond milk.  I'm not a soda drinker and rarely even drink tea, but I do like my two cups of coffee!  
*The stomach virus is still contagious weeks after the symptoms are gone, so that makes it pretty tough to prevent spreading right?

I don't know, but with my oldest starting kindergarten (aka "real school") in less than a month, I'm feeling like my germ-phobia is going to get worse...wayyy worse.  
So, I'd love to ask those of you that have children, how do YOU prevent the tummy bug from entering your home?

As for workouts, I am doing great...running strong and getting in some great cross training, yet still trying to find the best at-home workout series for my husband and I.  
Suggestions are welcome with this too?

That pumpkin, black bean burrito recipe was DELICIOUS, the whole family enjoyed it and we'll be making it one of our new family favorites.  Now that we're all well, I'll be trying a new recipe tonight which 
I will share these recipes in a later post, since I don't think it's appropriate to talk about the tummy bug and delicious foods and healthy recipes in the same post... LOL!!!!

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