Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto

It is October, so naturally my pumpkin obsession has returned! I have already made pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake, pumpkin soup and pumpkin spice latte!

I have been dying to make something savory using pumpkin, and risotto was high on my list. I looked at a few different recipes and this is what I came up with. It was really delicious! And of course I had to serve it in my cute little pumpkin bowls :)

Pumpkin Risotto


1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 c arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version), heated on the stovetop or microwave
1 c canned pumpkin
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fat free half and half
Pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper


Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions, garlic and sage and cook until tender.

Add arborio rice and stir until coated. Season with salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg
Add the hot chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Add more broth only when all of the broth in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. This entire process takes anywhere from 17 to 25 minutes.

After the last ladle of broth, stir in pumpkin, cheese, and half and half.

Serve immediately

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Monday, October 17, 2011

Habitat for humanity 5k

I am over a week late posting this...I am a horrible blogger lately!

Last Sunday, Zach and I ran the habitat for humanity 5k at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater. My PR was at the race two years ago, right before I got pregnant with Finn. I had my hopes up that I could break 30 minutes at this race, considering it is usually nice and cool.

As luck would have it, last Sunday was an 80 degree day and with a 10:00 am start time, I couldn't push my pace enough to pull it off. I finished in 31:07, exactly a minute slower than my PR.

It was a fun race regardless, but I will new redemption soon!
Monday, September 26, 2011

Cajun Crockpot Chicken and Kielbasa

Wow, Running Mama does cook!!! Actually, I have been cooking on a regular basis but I have been too busy to fool around with a lot of new recipes. But fall is here and it's time to bust out the crockpot! So I gave this new one a try and it was a winner!

It could have used a little more kick, but overall it was hearty with full flavors. I loved the shredded chicken mixed with the turkey kielbasa. Definitely going into the rotation!

And I should mention that there is no link to the original recipe because I got it using the app for allrecipes.com on my new iphone. Such a great app! Download it, I promise you'll love it.

Cajun Crockpot Chicken and Kielbasa
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com


6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
6 green onions, chopped
1 6oz can tomato paste
4-5 dashes hot pepper sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 lbs turkey kielbasa, sliced diagonally
Cajun seasoning to taste
salt and pepper


Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom and season with salt, pepper and cajun seasoning. Cover with tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions, tomato paste, kielbasa and hot pepper sauce. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve over brown rice.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spartan Race!

Yesterday, Zach and I participated in the Spartan Race at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort. It was awesome, and definitely one of the most challenging things I've ever done! It was 5 miles of running/hiking UP the mountain with 20 obstacles.

We should have known how tough it would be considering it was being held at on a ski slope!!! The race started with a huge climb, right after scaling a few walls. I was actually surprised at how well I could get over them without any help. After getting all the way up the mountain at the half way point, we were rewarded with the one and only water stop, but only after filling a home depot bucket with rocks and lugging it 100 yards down the mountain and back up!!

After the water stop, we had to make our way down which included sliding down steep muddy hills. Some of the obstacles included pulling a rope with a cinder block down a hill, through water and back up the hill, monkey bars, rope climb, and many more. If you couldn't finish an obstacle, your punishment was 30 burpees.

The best part was the huge slip and slide (also down a big hill) into a retention pond. We were so gross and sweaty that the cold muddy water actually felt amazing! Then we had to trudge through it to the other side.

The race finished up with a mud crawl under barbed wire the length of a football field. That is the one thing I was less then thrilled about. The mud was about a foot deep and it stunk! Not only that but after we got through it, we had to scale a big wall only to find 100 more yards of mud to crawl through!!

To go to the finish line we had to jump over fire, rope climb over another wall and slide down the other side. Then run through a few gladiators and we were finished! The whole thing took about 3 hours, and while moments of it were crazy miserable, it was a blast! We plan on getting a team together for next year!

This race was very intense and perfect for anyone looking for a big challenge. I wouldn't consider it a running race at all, since most of the terrain made running impossible. Since it took the winner about an hour to finish, we were pleased with out performance. It was a fun thing to do together. We have some scrapes, cuts, bruises, and Zach has a sprained ankle from the last obstacle, but we can't wait to do it again.

Our before picture

View of the finish line

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Veggie Burgers

I have been thinking for awhile that I would like to make a homemade veggie burger, but really haven't had the time to go searching for a good recipe. I was thrilled to come across this one on my friend Lauren's blog, they looked so good! We really enjoyed these burgers, they were perfect! I served them on sandwich thins from Trader Joes with a little "Seriously Sharp" cheddar cheese. Lauren put hers in the panini press to melt the cheese and it looked too good no to do the same. Yum!

I had the night off from teaching, making it the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe, but these would be great for our typical hectic weeknights since they can be made ahead of time. I love having a new quick dinner to add into my rotation! As it is, I have 4 extra burgers in the freezer!

Summer Cookout Veggie Burgers
Adapted slightly from
Leslie Sarna by way of Lauren's Kitchen

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup rolled oats (non-instant Oatmeal)
3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 tsp. (or more) chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
about 3 tbsp. chopped chives
1 egg
olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced*
1/2 onion, finely diced
4 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
6 sun dried tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large zucchini, grated
1 large handful of baby spinach

In a medium frying pan, heat some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers and a pinch of Salt. Grate in the zucchini. Let cook 2 minutes on a lower heat. Add mushrooms, spinach and sun dried tomatoes; let cook another couple minutes. Let cool when cooked. While the veggies are cooling, in a large bowl combine the Beans, Oats, Bread Crumbs and all the spices and chives. Toss a little and add the egg. Using your hands to mix the mixture until it's slightly sticky and about 3/4 of the beans are smashed. Add in the veggies. Continue to work with your hands.

If the mix feels a little dry, add water by the teaspoon until right. If it's too wet, add bread crumbs : )

Form 8 burger patties. Refrigerate for about an hour. (you can also place these pouches in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of weeks) To cook, unwrap the burgers from the plastic and cook in a heated skillet with cooking spray or olive oil in the bottom. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side

PS these should always be cooked on a skillet or frying pan. Unfortunately, they can fall apart if cooked on the bbq.

*I used my food processor to chop all the veggies really small. Cut down on chopping time :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad

This has been my go-to lunch lately and I've been meaning to blog about it for a few weeks! Simple and good, I make a big batch and then eat it all week. Its good hot as a side dish for dinner as well.

Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad


2 cups quinoa
1 large summer squash
1 large zucchini
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Rinse quinoa and prepare according to directions. Cool. In the meantime, dice the squash and zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on 450 for 15 minutes. Cool. Toss together quinoa, veggies, fresh mozz and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Born to Tri Sprint Triathlon

Running Mama swims and bikes too!! This morning I competed in the Born to Tri sprint distance triathlon in Asbury Park, NJ. What an awesome experience! I am so glad that I decided to go out of my comfort zone for this race because I had a great time. It was challenging (the swim!) but I finished and I finished strong.

We left the house at 4am this morning to head down the shore for the race. I picked up my packet and headed to the transition area to set up my gear. The logistics of a triathlon was just one aspect that I was anxious about, since I have never seen how it is done.

Getting ready!

My biggest area of concern was, of course, the ocean swim. It was a 1/3 of a mile swim with an "in ocean" start, meaning we had to tread water for about 5 minutes before the gun went off. I did a lot of training in the pool for the swim, but open water is such a different ball game. Fortunately I attended a swim clinic a month ago in the ocean so I would know what to expect. That clinic was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I panicked at one point and needed help back to shore!

I gave myself a million pep talks leading up to today on not panicking in the water. My strategy was to slow down my stroke and take it nice and easy. I kept repeating to myself "slow is smooth, smooth is fast," which kept me focused. It seemed like it took forever to get to the first buey, but after that I got into a good rhythm. Before I knew it I was going around the last buey and heading towards the shore. I was so relieved when my feet finally hit the sand!

Getting into the ocean for the swim start

Waiting for the gun


Running towards the transition area!

Once I was on dry land, I felt great! Transition 1 went smoothly. I was told that packing my stuff in a bucket to use as a seat would be helpful, and it really was! I was happy to be able to sit and put my socks and shoes on. Then I hopped on my bike and started on the 12 mile bike route. It was a double loop and I felt good the whole time. I even passed a few bikers :)

Biking strong

Getting ready for the run at transition 2

After hopping off my bike and replacing my helmet with my hat, I started off on the run. This was the portion of the race that I was most comfortable with, but the beginning was challenging. My legs were definitely wobbly and my calves were cramping up a bit. I decided to slow down my pace to almost a shuffle, so that I didn't have to start walking but I wasn't pushing myself too hard. Slowly but surely my pace picked up and I felt good.

The run was beautiful. It started off through a few nice neighborhoods and finished on the boardwalk. We even ran through the old casino building and convention hall before heading back down the boards to the finish.

Heading to the finish!

I did it!!

Overall I was thrilled with the race, I do not think it could have gone any better for my first one. My final time was 1:40:15. Here are all my times:

Swim - 15:19

Bike - 46:48

Run- 34:24

This will not be my last triathlon. I am looking forward to improving my skills and getting back out there again soon! I will definitely do this race again next year, it was really fun, very "Jersey" which I love, and extremely well organized.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Apricot and Date Nut Squares

These yummy squares are so easy to make, and super nutritious. They are the perfect pre or post workout snack. They are inspired by Larabars, which are my new favorite bars. They are really delicious, and only have 2-4 ingredients depending on the flavor. They fit in very nicely with my quest to eat much cleaner.

I have discovered that making my own version works out just as nicely. I like being able to experiment with different flavors and they are super fresh. This is one version, but I have also made them with dried cherries and cocoa almonds.

Hope you try this out and enjoy them as much as we do!

Apricot Date Nut Squares


1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup walnuts
10 dried apricots
1 tbs chia seeds


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until they come together to form a large ball. Place ball on Saran wrap and press into a large square. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. After an hour or so, cut into squares or bars.

And on a different note, Happy first birthday to my sweet, funny, adorable little momma's boy Finn!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Firecracker 4 miler

Happy 4th of July!!!

We started our celebration today at the Firecracker 4 miler in Cranford, NJ. Since this was my first 4 mile race it was an automatic PR, a definite plus! And to top it off I was able to run with Kathy. We are such a perfect running match, so I was really looking forward to this one! Zach and Finn also raced :)

It was a great race, despite the hot and humid weather. It was a big crowd and the course was really nice, going in and out and Nomahegan park. I did a lot of my marathon training at this park, and it holds a special place in my heart.

Kathy and I ran very steady pace and finished in 42:49. I was aiming for under 43 minutes, so I was very pleased.


Mile 1 - 10:24
Mile 2 - 10:21
Mile 3 - 11:00
Mile 4 - 10:35

With my macho man

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

YMCA Mini Triathlon

Lately I have been doing a lot of cross training along with running and have discovered that I really enjoy spinning and lap swimming. Believe it or not I am actually finding that since I started running less and cross training more, that my running is improving a lot!

Naturally, this has made me interested in triathlons. First step - Hillsborough YMCA's mini triathlon last Friday. It was an all indoor event that has given me the opportunity to see how I could perform in all 3 events back to back. Granted indoor swimming, running and biking is a different ball game than outdoors, but it was a great preview. I have since signed up for the Born to Tri Sprint Distance triathlon on August 6th. I am excited and nervous (especially for the open water swim!!)

The mini tri was the perfect training opportunity and a TON of fun! I finished in the middle of the pack, and I am pleased with that. I was particularly happy about how strong I felt during the run. I started off on the conservative side since I didn't know how I would feel but ended up running the last mile at a 9 min pace, SUPER speedy for me!

1/4 mile swim - 10:23
10 mile bike - 17:18
3 mile run - 30:38

Total time: 58:18

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pan Classic 10k Race Report

Yesterday morning I ran the Pan Classic 10k in Madison, NJ. It was a brutally hot morning and the start time was 11:00. Needless to say this race was not pretty, not at all. Actually, I think it was probably the worse race I have ever run. That being said, I am trying to focus on the fact that I finished and not that I added 5 minutes onto my last 10k time.

The race itself was pretty disorganized and I knew when we were waiting for the start that it wasn't going to be a good one. The late start time and hot temps are not a good combination for me. Plus, between my teaching schedule and the kids I have not had many opportunities to run outside in the heat.

I made a crucial mistake in the beginning and went out way too fast. I felt pretty good at first and ran a 10 minute mile. At the end of mile 1 there was a killer hill. I powered up it. I probably would have been better off taking it easy because I hit the wall soon after that. There was barely any shade and it was at least 85 at this point. At a mile and a half, the runners doing the 5k turned off, and many of the 10k runners decided to turn off as well. I let my ego get in the way and kept going on the 10k route.

At this point I knew there would be walking involved so I started running 4 minutes, walking 1 minute, so on and so forth. That lasted for about a mile until I was walking longer than 1 minute at a time. For the last 2 miles I was just surviving since every time I ran I felt like I was going to throw it. It was frustrating since my legs wanted to go but my stomach wasn't cooperating.

I finished around 1:16. I was disappointed because I thought I might have a shot at a PR since I have been running pretty fast (for me) lately. I am trying to focus on the fact that I didn't give up and finished the race, and not let this experience shake my confidence.

Trudging towards the finish

Finally there!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lentils Curry

If you told me a year ago I would be making curry, I would have probably laughed at you. But here I am, loving this dish! Really flavorful and super healthy, this is a great meal. Plus you can use any veggies you have in the fridge. I blogged about this when I made it with chicken a few months ago. It was good with chicken but I actually like it even better with lentils. The possibilities and combinations are endless!

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine does! Even the baby loved it, although my picky big girl would not give it a chance.

Lentils Curry


1/3 cup dried lentils
3 carrots chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped

1/2 large zucchini, cut into half moons
1/2 large summer squash, cut into half moons
3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion small dice
1 large sweet potato med dice
vegetable oil
1 small can diced tomatoes
2 cups veg/ck broth
garahm masala
grated ginger
(or a premixed curry powder & masala powder)


Any of the ingredients and portions can be changed to whatever you want

heat oil
add onion and sweat it before adding garlic, ginger and dry spices to taste
cook til very fragrant (about 30-60 sec)
add tomatoes cook for 60 sec
add broth
add lentils, veggies and potatoes
bring to a boil then simmer and cover til cooked through about 45 mins

serve with rice, quinoa, cous cous, pita bread, etc

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Veggie Turkey Burgers

It's a miracle, a cooking related post!! I actually have been making variations of these burgers for awhile, but finally got around to blogging about them. Tonight I really love how they came out, so moist and flavorful, plus full of veggies.

These are a staple for us for a few reasons. They are tasty, healthy and convenient. I usually make them in the afternoon and cook two burgers for Cecily and Finn around 5pm. Then when I get home from my classes at night, I pop the rest in for Zach and me. Works out great for nights that I teach so I only have to prepare one meal even though the kids eat first.

Veggie Turkey Burgers
A Running Mama Cooks Original


1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 med carrots, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 large zucchini, grated
1/2 large summer squash, grated
1/4 cup grated Italian blend cheese
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients and form into 6 burgers. Place burgers on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with cheese and serve on whole wheat english muffins.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sugar Free Challenge - Complete!

Wow, I did even better than I thought I would!! Total weight loss = 4.5 lbs!

But more importantly I feel like it has put me on the right track. I have explored healthy food options that I probably would not have thought about before and feel like I can continue to eat this way for the most part. I feel better and more energetic.

It was a nice change from counting weight watchers points for weight loss. Don't get me wrong, I think weight watchers is awesome (and I lost 25 lbs on it between January and April!) but the more I do it, the more I find ways to "cheat" it by eating low point junk. This cleanse has opened my eyes to how much sugar I was consuming and has allowed me to feel satisfied by fruit and nuts instead of M&Ms and twizzlers.

I will admit that I wasn't perfect...I did start drinking coconut water which has sugar and a little bit of lite raspberry and walnut salad dressing too. But overall, I kept my sugar intake super low and my artificial sweeteners intake to zero.

Going forward I plan on adding agave syrup back into my diet because I love it in oatmeal and tea, and might indulge a bit on dessert on Sundays (If you know my Italian family, you know its really really hard to resist!) but I am leaving refined sugar and processed food behind. As I continue to explore clean eating, I hope to have some good new recipes to share!
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sugar Cleanse Day 4

Day 4 of the sugar cleanse and still going strong!! The 2nd day was the hardest, but I feel like I am in a good groove now. The most difficult part has been finding quick and easy things on the go that are okay. And I am shocked at how many things have sugar in them!! I have been snacking on cheese, almonds and plain greek yogurt, plus strawberries and raspberries. I caved today and had a coconut water. That counts as natural sugar right? Whole grain toast and almond butter has been a go-to lunch as well as turkey and cheese roll ups.

Dinner has been tricky but I've had shredded chicken from the crockpot with roasted veggies mixed in as well as a chicken and veg stir fry. I think we are going to grill tonight. Hopefully I will have more food related posts for you soon, I am really slacking in the kitchen lately!

I was happy that I was able to stick to the cleanse yesterday during a beach day, but it was hard to resist gelato!! This weekend will be tough, but I will keep reminding myself that it is only 10 days. I usually feel like treating yourself here and there is the best way to stick with good eating in the long run and will continue to subscribe to that philosophy! Thankfully I have yoga teacher training all weekend so it will be much easier to be good.

And here are some beach pics!

Cecily and Livy posing for the camera
My beach babies Me and my guy :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

10 Day Sugar Free Challenge

10 months post pardom and I have made it to my level one weight loss goal. Great, right? Definitely! But now that summer is here I am ready for level two and I only have 8 lbs to go. I hit a plateau about a month ago and have been stuck at the same weight, despite working out 6-7 days per week.

I am pretty sure I know what the culprit is - SUGAR. I have always had a huge sweet tooth and have not been very good lately at resisting certain things. Like sugary quick chek ice coffee. And nutella. And chocolate twizzlers (they are low fat, how bad could it be to eat the whole package in two days?). The list goes on and on. I have the constant urge to indulge on sweets and I would love to kick that.

I have decided to participate in a 10 day sugar free challenge from Run to the Finish in an attempt to reset my cravings. I don't plan on giving up the sweet stuff for good, but would love to not feel powerless over it. And if I happen to lose the last 8 lbs, bonus!

A Spoonful of Sugar Free is a great resource to check out if you are considering going down this road as well. She has some great recipes, tips and snack ideas. I have decided to keep fruit in my diet but have eliminated sugar substitutes and all refined sugar. Grocery shopping today was interesting, but I was able to stock up on some good food that will hopefully keep me satisfied. I'll be posting about the challenge over the next 10 days, so stay tuned for my progress!
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hillsborough Hop 5k Race Report

This morning I ran the Hillsborough Hop 5k which is held at the Hillsborough YMCA. I was really excited for this race because I am both a member and employee of the Y. It was great being able to run with my fellow instructors, trainers and the members that I know and love. Such an awesome and inspiring group!!!

The weather this morning was perfect, a little chilly and overcast, just how I like it. I was feeling good and felt I had a good chance at running a pretty "fast" race. My last couple of training runs were very quick for me, so I felt confident. I tried to keep in mind that it is never a good idea to go out too fast and hoped I could pace myself well.

My pace was very consistent the whole way, but I knew towards the end that sub 30 wasn't in the cards for today. That being said, I was sure I would have a "post Finn PR" so I ran comfortably hard and finished strong. I crossed the finish line at 31:05. I shaved 2 minutes off my last 5k time (not counting the last race where the course was short) and 7 minutes off my first "post Finn" 5k. Not bad!!!

I feel like sub 30 is definitely do-able for me this summer and I will continue to work hard to get there. I am finding that running less and cross training more is helping me improve my pace quicker than running alone, so I will continue to spin and swim for cardio in addition to my runs. I am sure tons of hot yoga and boot camp isn't hurting either!

I am also starting to get the itch to try a triathlon. Anyone want to buy me (or lend me) a bike? :)


Mile 1 - 9:47
Mile 2 - 9:57
Mile 3 - 10:01
.1 - 8:47

Boot campers!

Waiting for the start
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thai Pineapple Rice

I told you I would be posting about this rice soon!!! OMG, So good!!! If you like pineapple, make this now!

I adapted it slightly (realized at the last minute that I didn't have any onions!!) and served it with grilled chicken marinated in soy sauce, white wine, olive oil, garlic powder and parsley. My Aunt makes it that way and its so yummy.

Thai Pineapple Rice
Adapted from Taste of Home Cooking

1 cup basmati rice, uncooked

1 tbs olive oil
1 large shallot, minced

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
20 oz can crushed pineapple
Soy sauce and cilantro to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and the jalapeno or red pepper flakes and cook until softened. Add the uncooked rice and coat with oil and shallots. Add broth and pineapple. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Allow to simmer for approx 20 minutes until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Add a few splashes of soy sauce and a handful of chopped cilantro, stir and then taste. Add more soy or cilantro until it tastes good to you. The rice can be served hot, but it's also great at room temperature.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chorizo Spaghetti

I love chorizo and when I saw it at Wegman's this weekend when picking up a few odds and ends, I had to grab it. I haven't done my big shopping for the week and didn't have a lot of food on hand, but I threw this together this morning and hoped for the best. The sauce was a bit thinner than I would have liked (didn't have tomato paste) but the flavor was awesome!

I made this in the morning and put it in the crockpot so that all I had to do was make the pasta when I got home, but it could just as easily simmer on the stovetop.

Chorizo Spaghetti


4 Chorizo sausage links, sliced
olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine
Dried basil
Italian blend cheese


Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add in the garlic and chorizo, cook until chorizo crisps up a bit. Place in the crockpot. Add in all the other ingredients, except the cheese. Cook on low for approx 6 hours.

Serve over pasta with a bit of Italian blend cheese.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quest for the Cure 5k Race Report

This morning, Zach and I ran the Quest for the Cure 5k at Echo Lake Park in Cranford. It was perfect weather for a race, a little overcast and not too warm, just like I like it. Cecily was seeing a play with my in laws, so we only had the Finny boy in tow. Zach took one for the team and ran with the stroller so I could see if I could beat my time from the 5k I ran 2 weeks ago.

I was feeling over confident and took off a bit too fast, especially since there were a few decent hills right off the bat. After about a half mile I started feeling a little crappy so I decided to back off a bit and just get throught it. I wasn't expecting a good time at all and stopped paying close attention to my garmin.

When I got to the 3 mile marker, I was surprised that my garmin didn't match up. I didn't push too hard at the end because I thought I had much further to go, but the finish was right ahead! My garmin read 2.88 and my time was 30:38. Not really sure what went wrong, but I can only assume that the course was short. So I am not going to claim that as an official time!

But regardless of the outcome, I am happy that I am still getting closer to breaking 30 minutes. I had a really nice morning racing and helping raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I ran the New Jersey Marathon 2 years ago with Team in Training, and this charity has a special place in my heart.


Mile 1 - 10:49
Mile 2 -10:27
.88 - 10:55

Ready to race

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Warm weather = perfect timing for a grilling recipe swap!! I was psyched to get this recipe for a delicious chicken marinade from Sarah and loved that it was skewers. Zach and I love preparing chicken this way on the grill and I haven't done it in a long time.

It was a really good, healthy meal. Keep an eye out for Sarah's thai rice recipe in a week or two because I am dying to try it. I opted not to make it at the last minute this week because we were eating pretty late because of my classes and I didn't want to overload on yummy carbs at that time. But we are HUGE pineapple fans so I will be trying it soon!

Like Sarah, I marinated the chicken in pineapple juice, soy sauce, oil and pepper for about 2 hours and then placed them on the skewers. I also skewered some zucchini, onions (we LOVE grilled onions) and summer squash. They were seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil.

I am looking forward to having this meal become a summer staple!
Sunday, May 1, 2011

Run for Rotary 5k Race Report

This morning I ran the Run for Rotary 5k in Montgomery, NJ. What a beautiful day for a race!! This is the first 5k I ran 3 years ago when I started this journey and it felt awesome to be back.

I haven't raced a 5k since Thanksgiving and even though I know I have been getting faster, I wasn't sure what to expect. My first goal was to beat my Turkey Trot time, second goal was to beat 35 minutes and third goal was to beat 32:58, the time that I ran this race in 3 years ago. 2 out of 3 ain't bad, right? I finished in 33:05, just shy of goal number 3. But I couldn't be happier that I was able to shave 5 minutes off my time!!!

Here are my splits:

Mile 1 - 10:25
Mile 2 - 10:32
Mile 3 - 10:40
.1 - 9:09 pace

Looks like a sub 30 5k might be in the cards for me this summer!!
Friday, April 29, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Wow, life has been busy!! Which means dinner usually isn't too exciting around here. I did make this new recipe on Monday night and they were very good. I saw it on Lauren's blog, it is originally a Rachael Ray recipe.

Next time I will take Lauren's idea of adding some green pepper for color and flavor, and probably use provelone cheese instead for the sauce.

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray


1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1/4 cup steak sauce
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and ground black pepper
4 dinner rolls (or 8 finger rolls), toasted if desired
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 cup desired cheese, shredded


In large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, brown the ground turkey, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the onions start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir the cheese in a figure-eight motion until it is all incorporated.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Graceland" Eggplant Panini

I was thrilled to find out that this week's theme for the recipe swap was sandwiches. Quick weeknight meals is what I am in need of the most since I am now teaching every evening during the week except for Tuesdays. Healthy sammies and wraps are the perfect fit for our family right now.

I was assigned Elisha's "Graceland" Eggplant Panini and it was great! I lightened it up by baking the eggplant instead of frying and also skipping the oil on the sandwich itself. I actually cooked the eggplant in the afternoon and all I had to do was assemble and cook the panini after putting the kiddos to bed.

Here is Lishie's original Recipe. I shared our go-to recipe for French Dip Sandwiches, one of our family favs.

Eggplant Panini
Recipe adapted from DeLish

1 Eggplant
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup Bread crumbs
Italian Sub Rolls or full Italian Bread, sliced into sandwich sizes
1 Jar of Roasted, Sweet Red Peppers or 1 Fresh Red Pepper, Roasted
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Fresh Basil
Approximately 2-3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar


Clean, peel, & slice the eggplant length-wise. Set up a mis en place: Whisked egg in one shallow bowl, Bread Crumbs in another. Heat oven to 400. Dip the eggplant slice first in the egg then coat the slices with bread crumbs & place on a baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

After the eggplant is breaded & cooked, assemble the sandwiches... Bread, eggplant, peppers, mozzarella slices, basil leaves (I leave them whole) & finally the splash of balsamic vinegar.

Close the assembled sandwich & cook it either on a panini maker OR on a grill pan with a weight on the sandwich (another pan or heavy plate) until the mozzarella is melted.

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crockpot Smashed Potato Soup

I follow my cousin Katy's awesome blog, Tangerine Hearts, and came across this recipe the other day. She blogs about Fashion, recipes, and life in general. My favorite posts are her "What the Fug" segmants that highlight interesting (hideous and ugly) new trends in fashion. Definitely check her out!

This crockpot soup caught my eye because it looked so easy and yummy, plus it was easy to make this typically heavy soup on the lighter side. We really enjoyed it!

Smashed Potato Soup
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Slow Cooker Family Dinners cookbook by way of Tangerine Hearts


3 1/2 pounds potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 chopped yellow pepper
1/2 chopped red pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used fat free half and half)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 strips low sodium bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon)
additional sliced green onion

In crockpot, combine potatoes, peppers, garlic and black pepper. Pour chicken broth all over.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours. Meanwhile cook chopped bacon until crispy, set aside.

After 8 to 10 hours mash potatoes slightly with a potato masher. Stir in cream, cheddar cheese and the 1/2 cup green onions.

Top individual servings with additional sliced green onion, bacon and cheddar cheese.

This recipe makes 8 servings; 243 calories per serving (without toppings).
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