Monthly Archives: January 2015

Healthy Weeknight Cooking For the Busy Individual

When I started this blog, I had no idea that I would be including so many quick, healthy recipes (some of which are just modifications to some of your favorite not so healthy dishes).  Since I have been home more, I still don’t have much time, but I do have the ability to focus my creative energy on putting together some tasty meals for my family.  This week, in particular, I have taken a few staple ingredients that I found in my cabinets to put together what I would think is some good healthy comfort food.

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Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers


  • 2 pounds of 93% lean ground beef (You could use lean ground turkey or chicken too)
  • 6 green bell peppers
  • 2 packages of mild taco seasoning
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 containers of ready to serve brown rice (to save time on cooking)
  • 2 16 oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 16 oz cans diced tomatos, not drained
  • Mexican cheese to taste

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Since you are using a crockpot, the hardest part about this meal is prepping.  I am not a fan of cooking green bell peppers by steaming, so this works very well for me.  Prep time is less than 15 minutes.

  • Cut out the top section of the green bell peppers. Be very careful!  This includes the stem, seeds and any other pieces that take room away from where you can stuff.
  • Cook the ready serve rice before stuffing.  Since I used ready serve, it took me about a minute in the microwave for each container.
  • In a bowl, mix the beef, onion, taco seasoning, cooked rice, beans and tomatoes.
  • Stuff peppers with mixture above.  Really get as much in as you can here.
  • Line peppers in slow cooker.  I really had to squeeze here.  Six large peppers is ALOT for a crockpot.  If you have any leftover mix, pour it on top.  See the before cooking picture above.
  • Set crockpot to low for 6-8 hours.  Voila.  Top with avocado and/or cheese and enjoy with some tortilla chips.

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Chicken Parmesan the “Light” Way

My husband is from a small town in New York where Italian food is a staple to his diet. Unfortunately, the food at the restaurants there is usually fried or cooked with a serious amount of oil and cheese.  I like to attempt an Italian night at our house once a week without the loaded calories.   A comfort food of choice – Chicken Parmesan (my way).

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  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1/2 bread crumbs – can be plain or Italian
  • 1 16 oz jar of spaghetti sauce (I know I don’t take the time to make my own sauce most nights) – my jar of choice – Rao’s Specialty Food Tomato Basil Sauce
  • 1 box of wheat spaghetti
  • 3 slices of low moisture, low fat mozzarella cheese

I literally put this together in twenty minutes.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • Slice chicken breasts in half.  Dip each piece into the dish of melted butter before dipping in a bowl containing the bread crumbs.  Place on baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Until chicken is almost cooked.
  • Pull chicken out of the oven.  Generously coat with sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Put back in oven for 5 minutes, or unit cooked through.
  • While the chicken is cooking, go ahead and cook your pasta.  As soon as the chicken is done you can top the pasta with the chicken.

photo 4-131This is the kind of stuff even my daughter can’t help but try to get into when I’m in the kitchen.  When she is hungry she starts to hang around the kitchen waiting for me to feed her.  Sound familiar?  I think I do the same thing.  Caught.  Red handed.

Pregnancy Update – Week 31

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a butternut squash. Approximately 3-4 pounds.

Weight Gain – 20 pounds. Still almost a pound a week.

Movement – Lots of it.  Particularly in the middle of the night.

Sleep – With a lot of movement in the middle of the night, I have had more trouble than my last pregnancy sleeping through the night comfortably.  I toss and turn, and toss and turn.

What I miss – Not much.  I have really been trying to take advantage of every little bit of extra time that I can get before baby number two gets here.  That means getting together with any and everyone that I can.

Best Moments this WeekDid you see the update on my daughter and I’s well visits?  She had a great 15 month appointment, and I had a normal 30 week pregnancy appointment.  Let’s hope that we continue to get good news!

photo 1-195My sister flew into town to celebrate her birthday with my family in Charlotte.  My mom picked up a small cake from Suarez Bakery located at Park Road Shopping Center.  The visit and cake were a treat for my daughter.  She absolutely adores my sister.

photo 2-202With my sister and parents in town, we had someone available to watch my daughter so my husband could jump in my Sunday Flywheel class.  He doesn’t get to ride much.  When he does ride, it likely isn’t with me.  What a great time.  Riders recognized him and really had a great time cracking jokes about the fact that they haven’t seen him in awhile.

photo 3-170I spent a good part of the weekend pulling out bins of my daughter’s first year clothes.  I can’t believe our new baby girl will be here in less than two months.  As I pulled out the newborn and three month clothes to add to her drawers, I couldn’t help but notice how small they are. It is hard to believe that my daughter was ever that size.  It is also hard to believe how many clothes we already have (that are pink nonetheless).

Looking forward to – My next doctor’s appointment.  Next Monday.  Back to my regular doctor.

Cravings – Any and all food, but spicy thai is the theme of the week.  Fresh summer rolls and stir fry! Sunday dinner curbed that craving.  Click here for recipe!

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Symptoms – My belly popped yet again.  It just keeps going out.  My husband seems to think that my belly now is where it was at 40 weeks with my first child.  I can’t help but think that perception is because of the fact that I weigh less than I did at this time with the last one.  My body is skinnier all over, making my belly look bigger.  When I look back at my baby blogs for my first daughter, I had gained 22 pounds by week 31, but I started 5 pounds heavier.  That leaves me 7 pounds heavier at the same point in this pregnancy as my last.  The picture below was taken when I was 31 weeks pregnant with my first.


Workouts – I taught at Flywheel Charlotte ALOT this week.  The trend will continue through the end of the following week, before I start to back off the number of classes that I am teaching.  Fortunately, I am still feeling good.  Thank you ladies of Lululemon Southpark for jumping in my Thursday class!

Monday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD.

Tuesday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte.

Wednesday – At home strength workout.

Thursday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte.

Friday – Day off!

Saturday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte.

Sunday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte.

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Could There Be Such a Thing as Too Many Dates In One Week?

Lunch dates, play dates, dinner dates, workout dates, work dates. The list goes on and on.  We have been busy this week.  I am so busy trying to keep our days busy that I almost feel like I am losing my mind.  Maybe my daughter does too?  I found her walking around in my husband’s Under Armour cold weather hat this week.  Welcome to Dri-Fit 1-194As I mentioned in my past two posts, I have picked up a few classes this week and next at Flywheel Charlotte.  Just subbing, but I always forget how much time it takes to put together those seemingly flawless playlists for several classes in one week.  It truly is choreographed. In the wee hours of the night and morning your instructors are taking serious notes.  Kind of like the ones in the picture below.1970581_10102379823227033_1182878536_nAll of that hard work is worth it when I see the intensity that riders bring to each and every class.  Huge shout out to the group of ladies representing Lululemon Southpark that dropped into my 10:45 AM class on  Thursday.  Hope to see you again soon!

photo 2-201Aside from work/workout dates at Flywheel, I did squeeze in a little workout date at home.  I have to admit that I have had a pretty frustrating week.  I will explain in more detail in the next month.  I have learned through my years in corporate America how to suppress my opinion until I can think of things in a clear frame of mind.  That said, I decided to take out some of my irritation on a quick strength workout at home.

photo 3-8About twenty minutes is all that you need.  Just two pieces of equipment – Gliders and a set of dumbbells (both are very cheap if you decide you want to buy some for your house).  Hint – check out for the 2-199I spent more time than usual warming up.  Probably 4-5 minutes.  I am at the point in my pregnancy that I feel like I need that time to get myself ready for any workout.  Complete the following series of exercises sequentially, starting with 10 reps, followed by 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and finally 1.

  • One Leg Forward Squat w/Bicep Curl – start with Gliding Disc under your right heel while holding your dumbbells in each hand.  As you slide the disc forward, heel planted into the disc, lower into a squat with your left leg and raise both arms up for a bicep curl.  Return to start.  That is 1.  Do 10 each side to start.
  • Standing Tricep Extension (using both weights)
  • Russian Twists.  1 rep is touching each side.  I dropped my feet to the ground to stabilize myself.
  • Sliding Lunge w/Shoulder Press – start with Gliding Disc under your right foot while holding dumbbells at shoulder height.  As you slide the disc back into a lunge, raise both dumbbells above your head.  Return to start.  That is 1.  Do 10 each side to start.
  • Pushups.
  • Mountain Climbers.  1 rep is raising leg once to each side.

photo 4-130I was able to get that workout in as my daughter took a short nap.  I have said this before, and I will say it again.  I like to spend the time that she is awake with her.  That means that I am still working out in the morning or when she is napping.  Since I got the workout out of the way and she had her nap, we were able to take a break and head uptown to meet dad for a lunch date.  Jersey Mike’s is as fancy as it gets for us right now, but she eagerly looked out the restaurant window waiting for her dad to appear.

photo 3-169Dad isn’t the only man in her life.  She has wooed a few little boys from her daycare over to our house.  The bottom of our steps has become the hangout for her.  She thinks she is Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City – sitting on the stoop of her indoor brownstone.  Having friends over and grandparents in town has eased her clinginess to mom and dad enough so that we can continue to go on the last type of date – a dinner date.

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I mentioned that we had taken advantage of restaurant week last Friday, but I haven’t mentioned that we went out again as part of the feast week this week.  This time we decided to go to Cajun Queen.  I hadn’t ever been there, but my husband had.  In looking at the limited menu, we already knew what we were going to get (and it was exactly the same for both us).  There is a reason we got married.  Two peas in a pod.

  • Starter – Shrimp Gumbo (see above)
  • Meal – Crawfish, shrimp, chicken etouffee (see below)
  • Dessert – Bourbon bread pudding – I ate this too fast to take a picture.

photo 2-200We will be back.  Probably for take out, but we will be back.  All of these dates keep me on my toes, but are necessary.  I know that my time is running out before baby number two gets here.  At that point my priorities will be shifted again.  Until then send me a message and get me on your calendar!

Baby + Mama Doctor Update

Week 30 has come and gone.  I am now starting week 32 of my second pregnancy.  It just so happens that my 30 week check up was the same day as my daughter’s fifteen month well visit.  For those of you that have been following our progress, I thought that I would share with you how our appointments went.

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First things first – my daughter.  See her stats below:

  • Weight/Percentile – 20 lbs 4.5 oz (36%)
  • Length/Percentile – 30 inches (30%)
  • Head/Percentile – 44.9 cm (29%)

At 15 months, she is doing the following:

  • Walking, well now running.
  • Saying several words – “Mama”, “Dad”, “Ball”, “Bye”, “Hi”, “Bot” (drink/bottle)
  • Pointing at things when we ask her where they are (ex:  Where is the tree?)
  • Climbing up stairs and ladders at the playground.  Going down the slides by herself.

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  • Getting off the couch/bed by herself by rolling over onto her stomach.
  • Grabbing books for us to read to her.
  • Trying new foods.  Favorites – hot dogs, pizza, cheese, yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, pasta and several pouch varieties.

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  • Dancing.

Some of the things that she is doing are not all that great – throwing everything (food, temper tantrums, toys), waking up/talking in the middle of the night and just plain not listening.  We will start setting boundaries soon.  In the mean time, we will count our blessings that the good outweighs the bad and any not so great things are an indication that she is developing as she should.

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That leaves me with my mommy update.  At my 30 week appointment, the baby’s heart rate was 140 exactly.  My blood pressure was 110/60.  I am rotating doctors at this point.  Not really for any reason other than it fits my schedule better.  I have pretty much seen every doctor in the practice in the past two years between my first and now second pregnancy.  It’s funny because every time that I go in there, the doctor and I somehow end up talking about fitness.  The same happened at this visit.

First born

My first daughter after delivery.


The doctor was completely fine with me continuing to teach at this point.  In fact, he mentioned that I should consider teaching at a gym that he works out at.  How’s that for thinking that you need to take it down a notch during pregnancy?  My belly measured a week ahead this week.  This is no indication that the baby will be coming early, but just that things are going fine.  People always seem shocked when I tell them that my first child was 7 lbs 11 oz at birth.  The doctor’s seem to think the second might be around the same size.  Regardless of the size, all we can hope for are more healthy well visits.