Saturday, March 23, 2013

Legos, Trains and Trucks

Life changes fast. The day you were born, your daddy and I's life changed so much. So much we didn't even realize. You've gone from eating every few hours to a few times a day. Napping the day away (not as often as we'd thought you would) to only napping once or twice a day (some days, none at all!). You used to just lay there and wiggle your arms, trying to find your face or something to hold on to. Now you walk from room to room throughout the house and are gone in 2 seconds, usually chasing the cat around. Making only a coo or squeak before, to now speaking nearly 10-15 words and even some sign language too. 

How did you get so smart so quick? Keep learning everyday, Jackson. But your daddy and I have one request. Don't grow up.

We love you! 18 months have flown by. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Egg McBacon with Cheese {recipe}

On a cooking roll? Trying to fit in where I can and make ahead to plan and organize. Win for everyone!

Another Pinterest creation and a pretty genius one I might add. I am a big breakfast person so anything dealing with breakfast I will usually jump up and down screaming all over. Another thing I'm pretty excited about is planning ahead. Being a busy full time working mom, and shift working at that, anything to help me plan ahead and make easier and cut down on time, I'll give a solid high-five to.

Original idea via Pinterest 
What did I use?

8 eggs (plus a splash of egg white I wanted to get rid of)
About 1/2 cup total: chopped red bell pepper and chopped zucchini
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1 tablespoon Wheat Germ (I use this everywhere I can!)
8 pieces of bacon
6 English muffins
5 slices of cheese

(clearly I did not measure to make them all the same. Some have cheese, all had bacon and an extra piece for me to munch on while making!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. I mixed the eggs with the veggies, wheat germ and salt and pepper in a bowl. Place bacon on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes in the oven BEFORE the eggs go in. Scoop egg mix into the muffin pan slots. Once the bacon has been in 10 minutes, flip bacon and put muffin pan in the oven for another 10 minutes. By time, the bacon was done and I found the eggs needed another 1-2 minutes.

I toasted the English muffins in the toaster. Placed a slice of cheese then bacon and then the egg. You could easily add some spinach, remove the cheese, etc. I used wax paper to wrap up the sandwiches. 6 total sandwiches between the Hubby and I, should last about 3 days. I plan to make these again and make some more. Storing in the fridge with just 6 should be fine for the next few days. Take out, pop in microwave for 2-3 minutes. Wah-lah! If I can make a big enough batch, I'll store these in the freezer.

Another Pinterest Win!

*Disclaimer: Egg McBacon is a name I just made up about 25 minutes ago. Not taking credentials from any big chain restaurant. And original idea for this recipe was not my own, I just made it and made my own twist on it. Thanks!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Smoothie {Recipe}

Now I'd like a Pina Colada and to place my feet in the sand on a beach.

As requested by popular demand, a post just on fruit smoothies. Let us take a moment and allow the mouth to water. OK, back to reality.

I've always loved making smoothies. And I still haven't perfected it. Let's just say I've had some bad, weird, strange and 'yucky' combinations. I think simple is the way to go. One trick I have learned and I swear by now is: Frozen Yogurt.

This trick allows the chunks of ice to no longer be in your straw for you to suck up into your mouth. No thanks. By using frozen yogurt, this eliminates the need for ice in a smoothie. And, it adds a creaminess and healthy benefit to the smoothie.

Whatever fruit you like, you get to use. I personally like the tart flavor and color blueberries and raspberries give. I've tried pineapple in to, and mango. Those two bring in a sense of tropical. Ah, the beach.......

Anyway, the frozen yogurt trick.

Frozen vanilla yogurt out of the ice cube tray and into the food processor

I have found that filling ice cube trays (silicone is MUCH easier to get out of) with your choice of vanilla yogurt works perfectly as a homemade, inexpensive frozen yogurt. I've done regular and Greek. Next, I'm going to try different flavors other than just vanilla.

Depending how big a smoothie you decide to scarf down want to make, depends on how many 'cubes' of frozen yogurt you want. I've found, about 4-6 cubes for 1 serving works. It also depends on what else you're putting in, fruit and juice wise. 

General Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie:

  1. 4-6 cubes frozen vanilla yogurt *Tip: take out of freezer ~10 min before using so the blender/food processor can 'blend' easier and not struggle
  2. about 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) strawberries
  3. about 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) raspberries
  4. about 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
  5. about 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon wheat germ (added folic acid & health benefits, no taste)
  6. 1/4 - 1/2 cup juice (I've used apple or pineapple)

Can also add in 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped (or frozen) spinach. Very little taste difference and slight green color, added iron benefits.
Can add in ground flax seed (1 tablespoon).

Get creative! This is what I've done and what I've found works. I use a food processor, since my blender is on the downhill side of life not working that great. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Halfway through March already. Spring is nearly here. Of course "spring" in Arizona means 90°F days are coming fast. It was 95 on Thursday.

Halfway through March also means we are halfway done with the #MarchGoal challenge. Did you participate? How is it going for you?

For me, my initial goal was to run/log 30 miles for the month. I got off to a good start with a half marathon on March 2. Bringing my total up to just over 15 miles. I'd say I have some work to do! Another goal I have, but never really "technically" declared it a goal, was to eat healthy every single day. So far, I've done great. Aside from 3 days when we had company, I even did well on those days. I have been doing a combo of push ups, crunches, lunges or squats each day and as always a plank everyday. 
Checking out some 'goodies' at the finish line of the Phoenix Marathon

A good handful of people have joined this challenge. Some through twitter, some through facebook and some just have mentioned it to me. 

There are no hard rules to this challenge. Pretty cool, huh? So why not join in. There is still half a month to go. Plenty of time to start making a difference NOW.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Not Lasagna Stuffed Shells {Recipe}

I made a last minute roster change-up and didn't make lasagna last night. Instead, stuffed shells. I don't think anyone was disappointed. I know I certainly wasn't!

So how did I make this?

What ya need:

1lb ground meat (I used hot italian sausage, highly recommend!)
1/2 - full jar of marinara sauce of choice
Garlic salt to taste
Italian seasonings to taste
About 20 large shells, cooked.
8-10 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup frozen spinach (or fresh)

I cooked the meat the night before, thinking I was going to make lasagna. Last minute change of plans! You can add more spaghetti sauce if you like, and change the amount of spinach depending on how much you like or don't like spinach. I used close to 1/2 cup I'd guess and it wasn't a huge "spinach" flavor, but I like spinach.

Cook shells and rinse in cold water. Spray large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Mix ricotta and spinach in a bowl. Mix meat and spaghetti sauce in another bowl. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of ricotta-spinach mix and then about 1 tablespoon of meat-sauce mix. You can overfill or under fill, however you want your shells! I used too much ricotta mix so a few shells only had meat-sauce. Still just as yummy. I layered some marinara in the bottom of the casserole dish and set all the filled shells in the dish, then layered some more sauce on top. Just to keep things..saucy! Put dish in oven for about 25-30 minutes. I don't like my stuffed shells 'crispy' so I lean towards the shorter bake time. This was a pretty easy dish and took maybe 15 min prep time, not counting cooking the noodles/shells. Most of this can be done ahead of time.

Give it a try! Essentially the same ingredients in lasagna, minus the cheese. Cheese could easily be added to this, that is more cheese aside from the ricotta. I used the garlic salt and italian seasonings for the meat.

Garlic bread goes with everything. Just so ya know...

If you  make this, let me know how it turns out! What did you do differently?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

13.1 Miles farther in life

After running my first ever half marathon in January, I must have been sick in the head to run another less than 6 weeks later. Ok, maybe not sick in the head, but addicted right?

Refueling post race with Nuun. Is this a post race face or what?!

While trying to sign up for the race and finding out it was already capped, a friend offered her bib to me as she had last minute plans change. Sweet! Now, I really had to get my butt in gear and get ready for this race. I think I had it in my head that I was already in "half marathon shape" from the previous one and didn't do much training this time. Oops! I did some, but not as much as I should have. 

The Phoenix Marathon series is pretty new and young, and it was a smaller race. Smaller than the PF Chang's Rock 'n Roll Marathon that travels all over the place.  A more local race and smaller capacity, this one was fun. Starting super early at 6:30am meant a 3:30am wake up. The beautiful thing about running in late February/early March in Phoenix: the weather is approaching the upper 70s and morning low temperatures are in the upper 40s/low 50s. Could this not be more perfect?! No snow on the ground here. Sorry Colorado people. 

Check out those temps this morning. 50s and 60s for race time.

I started off running with a friend from college. We both had about the same time goal in mind, and we actually finished very close to those goals!

The atmosphere for this race was great. Everyone was friendly, so many volunteers and people cheering and bonus, the lines to the port-a-potties were fairly short!

According to my GPS runner app, I finished at 2:35 which would put me the same time as my PF Chang's half. Not too shabby as I was expecting somewhere around 2:45 for my poor training. Hold the watch! Just checked the official results page (yep, I refreshed and waited) and I finished at 2:32! Holy smokes! PR for me while not training very well ?! Alright, I'll take it. However, my knees are sore now, but I do actually feel good.

I wore my green sparkle Bic Bands headband. Super awesome headband! It does not move at all.
From a training run, not the race.

My pink Pro Compression Socks, which helped my legs feel great. Still feeling great after the run.
Again, from a training run, not the race. 

My Brooks running shoes, GTS 12's. Haven't let me down so far.

Fueled up with Nuun before and after. Fav flavors including but not limited to: Tri-Berry, Grapefruit Orange, Blueberry Pomegranate, Citrus, Lemon Lime, Grape. I'm limiting myself to how many I drink today, don't worry :)

So, what's next? Not sure. No more half's on the schedule as of now. Looking for a few 5k fun runs up ahead with a pretty snazzy lady. And I'll keep working out, running and eating better.

Anyone see my #MarchGoal post? What is your goal? How will you get there?