My Former Whole Foods Food Bar Box


So this is rather interesting and worth discussing. When we arrived in Albany on Saturday (we were up there for a Bar Mitzvah), we went straight to Whole Foods for a quick bite to eat.

The old me loved the Whole Foods food bar. While I really don’t eat at Whole Foods anymore, my usual veggie loving personality gravitated immediately for the roasted vegetables and vegetarian salads.

I loaded the food bar box as I used to, maybe a little less but still on par with my former self.

Whole Foods

My son asked me why I wasn’t really eating. He wondered why I left food behind and didn’t finish it. The truth is, the veggie loaded box did NOTHING for me. NOTHING.

Of course I still like a good salad but loading my food bar box with a variety of roasted vegetables and salads just isn’t my thing right now. I wouldn’t say the food tasted bad, it just wasn’t what I felt like eating. This meal can be best described as my former Whole Foods food bar box. It was weird to have my former favorites in front of me and not really feel like eating it. I used to love a big veggie loaded box from Whole Foods for lunch, but I don’t think that I do anymore.

On the topic of Whole Foods, many years ago (like in 2013) I wrote on the blog about how I took the food bar bowl home with me. The power had gone out at Whole Foods while I was eating a veggie loaded bowl and the Whole Foods people asked everyone to leave. I wasn’t going to leave my food behind so I took the bowl with me.

I still use my Whole Foods bowl at home (see below) and think about that day every single time!

This is a version of my favorite salad right now. I added the Trader Joe’s julienned root vegetables to the mix. Still basic enough though and basic is what I’m all about.


Just to be clear on a topic that doesn’t seem very clear, even to me — It’s not that I don’t eat vegetables or salads, it’s just that a big bowl of roasted vegetables doesn’t hit the spot for me as it once did. It’s not what I want or crave I guess. Or maybe I just lost my taste for the Whole Foods food bar.

A slice of pizza makes me happier than a big bowl of vegetables. I had this slice the other evening from Mario’s. Simple and satisfying. Sometimes with a salad, this time without one.


Of course a full diet of pizza isn’t ideal or healthy but a full diet of any one food or even a full diet of tons of vegetables has it’s negatives too. It’s all about balance and balance is always changing so I’m all about trying to figure out my balance on a daily basis by eating exactly what I am in the mood to eat.

Also, getting back to last week when I mentioned the new Harvest Spaghetti Squash Spirals from Trader Joe’s. I am not so impressed. I heated it up one evening and really didn’t like it. It got very watery. The sauce had a good taste but I wouldn’t buy this again.

trader joes harvest spaghetti squash spirals

Anyone else have an opinion on the Harvest Spaghetti Squash Spirals?

Are there any foods you once loved that no longer interest you?

Meatless Monday – Easiest Shepherd’s Pie Ever


Would you believe that I have ANOTHER recipe for you today? And, get this, it’s not dessert!

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So last week I was over-focusing on the fact that my son really doesn’t eat vegetables.

And while I am aware that most children don’t love their produce, I have decided it is slightly unacceptable that my son doesn’t make more of an effort to let a few vegetables pass through his lips.

He is a really good eater. Always has been. He has a growing boy’s appetite and has never been finicky or picky.

He will try things and get adventurous but the veggies remain our struggle.

Then I remembered Amy’s Organic Shepherd’s Pie.


Loaded with organic vegetables, meat-free and topped with mashed potato, I started stocking my freezer with this Shepherd’s Pie when he was a baby because he loved it.

baby benji

He looks clean here but trust me, we could have won messiest kid in a high chair award if such an award existed.  

Not only was he famous for putting the food in his hair, this kid had a knack for taking pieces of food and shoving them into the little crevices of the Peg Perego Prima Pappa high chair which could rarely be removed.

Lately I have forgotten to keep this Shepherd’s Pie stocked in the freezer. Does that happen to you?

Like, you go through phases of buying the same things over and over and then one day, with no rhyme or reason, you just stopped buying the item and forget all about it.

It’s been a good six months since that Amy’s Shepherd’s Pie has been in my freezer which means it’s been a good six months since my son has eaten his veggie-loaded Shepherd’s Pie.

Having this realization last week when I was short on time and couldn’t get to the store, I realized I could make the vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie myself.

Sort of from scratch but not really AND pull it together super quick!

Enter Amy’s Organic (Light In Sodium) Lentil Vegetable Soup.

Meatless Sheppards Pie

Basically the same thing as her Shepherd’s Pie filling (but not because the soup is lentils and the pie I think is chick peas but go with it).

Meatless Sheppards Pie

The genius that I am decided to dump the can of soup into a loaf pan, add some spices, a serving of chick peas, a drop of tomato soup and marinara sauce for added flavor and then top it all off with mashed potato.

Meatless Sheppards Pie

You do not have to add the tomato soup by the way if you don’t have any. I had a container of it opened and wanted to make use of it.

As for the mashed potato, since my time was limited, all I did was quickly scrub a regular potato, throw it in the microwave for a few minutes and then mashed it with a fork, a drop of Earth Balance and then crumbled it on top of soup mixture.

I wanted to use a sweet potato but didn’t want to push my luck with him just yet.

Placed in the oven for about half an hour, the potato gets all crispy on top yet remains mushy as it sits on top of the veggie-loaded tasty filling.

Meatless Sheppard's Pie

One pan is enough for two people but if you have a hearty appetite, you could eat the whole thing and not stress it because it’s super healthy and packed with valuable plant-based nutrients.

Is this not perfect for Meatless Monday or what?




Be sure to check out the rest of the Meatless Monday recipes in the link-up hosted by Tina Muir and Confessions of a Mother Runner.


What’s one food you can think of that you suddenly stopped buying without realizing?

When you were a kid, did you eat vegetables? Which ones?

If you have children, are they picky eaters? Is the high chair a disaster for you to clean every day?


WIAW – Rest Day From Running And Vegetables

The rain is currently coming down pretty heavy outside my window. Wet and dreary weather would have worked perfectly for me had I planned on a rest day for today.

Keyword phrase here:  Had I planned.

I can’t plan rest days. I can consider a certain day of the week where I may want a rest day to occur but more often than not, I go by how I feel.

Yesterday needed to be my rest day. I ran a whole bunch last week and even though I wasn’t sore or stiff or anything like that, I knew my muscles needed a break and couldn’t wait for a rainy day.

Had I chosen to run yesterday simply because the weather was more suitable, those miles would have been complete junk on tired, useless legs.

Instead, I feel refreshed and ready to run this morning even if it means running on the treadmill because the rain seems to be too heavy even for a rainy runner like me.

You know you took a rest day when you wake up eager and itching to run on a treadmill.


I do not adjust what I eat to cater to rest days. I still eat an early breakfast and then another two hours later, as if I had run in between.

Sometimes I am not as hungry and sometimes I am just as hungry as if I ran six miles in between meals.

I don’t see the point in skimping on meals just because you didn’t run because if you are hungry, you need to eat, and, your body still needs fuel for recovery and strength for the next run.

Anyway, food lately….. Lots of pots of oatmeal have been cooking on my stove since I have been eating bowls for breakfast…and lunch.


Loaded up with berries…sometimes served warm…sometimes served cold…sometimes mixed with greek yogurt…. and the other day, oatmeal swimming in lots of skim milk because I had a random and crazy strong craving for milk.


Do I even need to tell you there is peanut butter mixed in? I should really count how many times I open up the jars of peanut butter in a day, would be an interesting statistic.

I bought a can of pumpkin the other day because I missed it and also because I wanted to try Arman’s Three-Minute Grain-Free English Muffin.


I really love adding pumpkin to oatmeal but right now it’s all about using the pumpkin to make Arman’s recipe. 

grain free english muffin

I didn’t slice it but next time I will. I think I will be making a lot of these muffins because I love short ingredient lists and easy preparations.

I am going to try making them with chia seeds in place of the egg whites next.

grain free muffin and salad

I realize there is a salad along with the muffin in the above photo but I have laying low on the vegetables for the most part this week.

My stomach needs a rest day from vegetables sometimes just like my legs do from running.

It’s not that I haven’t been eating some vegetables; I still probably consuming more than most of America, I am just being a bit more selective in my choices and keeping the portion sizes to a minimum.

sweet potato dinner

Roasted asparagus (and roasted plum tomatoes above) tend to be easier on the tummy than broccoli so I have been pairing it with lots of sweet potato wedges and my favorite chick pea and avocado mash.

My son isn’t really a vegetable eater at all but he does accept lettuce, especially when I offer it with tacos.


I am the master of throwing together fresh, healthy and homemade tacos in a flash.  Shredded chicken which I cook and shred myself, mashed chick peas (because I had a can open and didn’t want to open the black beans), corn, taco seasoning, tomato paste and a drop of tomato sauce.

I will share a more in-depth recipe for the tacos soon but please take note at how I mash chick peas into his tacos and he is pretty clueless. I need to mash some more things on into the mix like I used to do to get him to eat more vegetables.

With the right seasonings and texture, I can even get him to eat vegetarian tacos.

I may take some time off from major vegetable consumption but never a hiatus from fruit.

fruit peanut butter snack plate

I love fruit. However, sometimes I think its sole purpose is to keep me from just eating peanut butter and chocolate straight from the jar and bag.

mighty maple dark chocolate

While little compares to chocolate fudge cake, brownies, cookies and sundaes, fruit with peanut butter and chocolate will always hit the sweet spot.

. fruit dessert

I will never grow tired or bored of this combination. Ever.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today!


Do you plan your rest days?

Do you sometimes need a break from vegetables?

Favorite oatmeal mix-in’s lately?

Anyone else still drink dairy milk?

Put Away Your Measuring Cup


I try not to dwell on things but part of me will forever live in fear of hitting publish and losing most of my post again.

I am damaged for blogging life I tell you.

The worst part about technological mishaps is that there is rarely an explanation.

Oh, you lost your post? It happens. Your system shut down without warning? It happens. Your phone deleted its contacts? We don’t know why but it happens.

To make it even worse, technology just stares at you. No response as I slam my coffee mug (not smart by the way), shout obscenities and consider crying.

Anyway, I had a totally different post in mind for today (which included an awesome easy recipe) but something happened that we need to discuss immediately because the words are just boiling up and I need to release them.

Someone I know (who is very much in crazy good shape) posted a picture on facebook of her meal along with a phrase like,

“I sometimes wish this was pizza”.

The picture was of a precisely measured portion of grilled chicken, an exact serving of quinoa and a measured serving of a plain, steamed vegetable.

My immediate reaction was sadness followed closely by rage. My rage wasn’t so much against her, more so against the trend I keep seeing towards dieting, restricting and measuring of food.

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Please put down your measuring cup for a moment and hear me out….

If you truly want a slice of pizza, have a slice of pizza. Incorporating the things you enjoy and crave into your lifestyle will not undo all of your hard work.

It is your overall lifestyle that matters, not one meal or one food craving you allow yourself to eat.

Notice I say lifestyle and not diet. Diet to me is another one of those negative words.

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Diet is often associated with limiting your food choices, restrictive behaviors, giving up the foods you love for measured out plates of bland food that never satisfy the appetite.

It is my opinion that most diet plans are not maintainable long-term and so many of them are not even good for you.

I realize that it may sound easy for me to say all of these things since I do not need to lose weight but I was once a chubby child who liked to eat. I still like to eat. I am a volume eater and want to be full and not feel restricted or  forever limited to small servings of food on my plate.

At some point I realized that my plate can be full and satisfying. I don’t need to feel restricted if I learn the nutrient-rich foods to eat on a regular basis all balanced out with my cravings, activity level and mood. Yes, my mood has a say in what I eat.

I never followed Weight Watchers but there is a reason vegetables (and most fruits) are unlimited and point-less.

Produce is not the detrimental part of your plate keeping your pants from fitting. The extra serving of broccoli is not what is packing on your extra pounds or causing you to remain four sizes bigger than you want to be.


I get wild when I hear of people measuring out vegetables. Unless you are protecting yourself from the stomach pains and bloating associated with too much fiber (I hear that!) or have a medical issue (I don’t want to interfere with that!) put away your measuring cup.

Measuring out your spinach along side a small portion of protein and a barely-there portion of a carbohydrate most likely isn’t satisfying your appetite which leaves you with cravings and eventually an uncontrollable binge, or worse, the tendency to keep reverting back to old habits of repeated unhealthy stops at McDonald’s for the value meal deal plus a side of chicken nuggets and a shake.

The diet plans that tell you how to limit your portion sizes or restrict certain food groups are limiting your caloric intake. And maybe you do need to cut back if you are trying to lose weight but cutting back too much is not healthy either.

When you take in too few calories, you can actually slow your metabolism which makes your body hold on to each morsel of food rather than use it as fuel that becomes burned off through your activities and organ functions (it requires calories to make your liver and kidneys and heart do what they need to do).

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By not eating enough, you can actually gain weight rather than lose.

Not to mention, consuming too few calories only leaves you hungry and moody and mean.

Eating too little, giving up food groups (for caloric reasons) or the foregoing of occasional indulgences that you love and crave send you straight into a restrict and then binge which becomes very hard to cycle break.

You know the whole saying you want what you can’t have? It doesn’t just apply to the guy who won’t text you back.

When you suddenly make certain foods off-limits and combine that with not eating enough to fuel your body, your cravings are going to kick in and your ability to eat a balanced diet goes out the window.

You get down on yourself for being unable to adhere to your plan and begin to think something is wrong with you when in fact, it isn’t you at all, it is the diet plan, the food restrictions and those darn measuring cups.

I have said this before and will say it again because I think about it every day –

I would rather be a few pounds more (not that I know what I weigh) than live a life restricting my appetite, giving up a good dessert or avoiding a glass of wine when out for dinner all just to wear a smaller size or see crazy muscle definition in my abs or my arms or even my legs.

I don’t believe Jewish thighs are allowed to have definition anyway. It might be against our religion or just not kosher or something.

If I want to be really honest here, I actually love the way I look.

I had a baby and watched my body revert back to a small size with a stomach that may not be rock solid but certainly does not look like a baby was once inside.

But, even if I had baby signs on my abs, so what? I am a proud mother. I am going to be 36 soon and can wear jean shorts just fine. I know, I need to get mom shorts, I am working on finding what mom shorts are.

Am I perfect? Perfection is not possible… but happiness is.

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Speaking of happiness, today is Friday which means it is the weekend which means I will use the Cold Stone Creamery Gift Card I received for Mother’s Day.

cold stone creamery gift card

Have a great weekend!


Talk to me about your thoughts on measuring all of your food all of the time.

Which fad diet have you tried? Which have worked?

What routine of eating/exercise works for you the best?

And, who is running a race this weekend?!




NNM And Little Changes Lead To Big Results


Pandora was really kind to me yesterday morning.

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I don’t know how Tiffany landed on a Pitbull station but I will certainly take it. Maybe Debbie Gibson will be next?

30 minutes on the elliptical plus a few minutes dilly dallying with weights for the biceps and I was done. Short workouts like this often leave me feeling fresh and ready for more but that’s just fine and how I like it. Not every day can be a long, strenuous run or challenging workout routine.


I completely neglected to wish you all a very Happy National Nutrition Month. I was all preoccupied with March 1st and Peanut Butter Lover’s Day that NNM slipped my mind.

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This year’s NNM theme is “Enjoy The Taste Of Eating Right”.

As the Nutrition Committee Representative for my son’s elementary school, I was responsible for putting together a month’s worth of healthy eating and exercise tips to be read during their daily morning announcements as well as designing a bulletin board loaded with tips, facts and pretty nutrition pictures.

I have a question for you though…

Am I overthinking this a bit or is the phrase, “Enjoy The Taste Of Eating Right” bothering you too?

Not really the whole phrase, more the use of the word, “Right”.

I hate using words like right and wrong, good and bad, when it comes to nutrition and how we eat on a daily basis.

Not only is it a poor way to speak about our choices, labeling foods in such a manner makes it seem as though there are things that are completely off-limits which is only a recipe for disaster.

Once something is considered forbidden, we create an endless cycle of craving, indulging and then feeling bad about ourselves as if we did something terrible.

And, who or what determines what is “right”? What I eat might be “right” for me but not “right” for you. Right?

Maybe I am reading more into this than I should. Perhaps this campaign is targeted towards the majority of our society who don’t know from their 5-A-Day because they don’t even get their 5-A-Year.

I just believe that everything should be “right” in moderation rather than going with the thought that loving chocolate cake is completely wrong and only eating a plate that meets pyramid standards is completely “right”.

Fad diets have created an environment in which we are lead to believe that weight loss and the perfect body can happen overnight if we just give up the “wrong” stuff and only eat the “right” stuff.

Wrong. Nothing magical or life-changing can happen overnight.

Recently I completed my Professional Certificate in Nutrition And Sports Performance. One of the first topics covered in detail was this very topic along with the idea that the little changes, the baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle are what we need in order to reach those big, life-long lasting results.


Last year I talked about the concept of “Start, Stop, Keep” which involves making small changes to our lifestyle each week that will lead us to the big results.

What is so great about this concept is that you are in complete control. No one is throwing a specific and rigid plan at you to follow. I hate following someone else’s plan.

Each week, you pick one thing you want to START doing, one thing you wish you to STOP doing and one thing you can praise yourself for ALREADY doing towards a healthier lifestyle.

start stop keep

We can all make minor changes and adjustments each week, evaluate our progress and continue to build on our own success.

This week, I will do the following:

Start: Drinking more water. Water has always been my beverage of choice. Lately however, coffee has overtaken my mornings and chewing gum later in the day has prevented me from guzzling as many bottles as I normally do.

Extreme thirst has been setting in following my runs; more water is a must right now.

Stop: Chewing gum. A piece or two of sugarless gum is just fine but for me, once piece leads to two, and then three, and then four and then the pack. Too much gum is not good for my stomach and affects my ability to drink water.

Keep: Fruits And Vegetables. I think we can all agree that I am doing well in the produce department.

In fact, I keep the local produce market in business just as well as I keep Red Mango and Cold Stone Creamery thriving on Long Island.

Everything in moderation, right? Right!


What can you Start, Stop and Keep this week?

Am I overthinking the word “Right”?

Tiffany or Debbie Gibson? Such a tough call! I may have to go with Debbie since she grew up in my town and I loved her song, Only In My Dreams…







What My Friend Ate Wednesday


Today’s What I Ate Wednesday post should really be called “What My Friend Ate Wednesday” instead.


One of my best friends (and loyal blog reader) decided last week that she wanted to “clean” up her diet. As she said to me, “It’s not that I eat fried, fast foods or even feel the need to lose weight – I just want to start watching my intake of processed ingredients and learn a bit more of how to eat healthy and prepare new-to-me meals without monitoring points from Weight Watchers every time I think my pants start to feel different.”

I don’t talk diets or points too much here because I don’t like to preach at anyone, especially my friends (which all of you are!). But, when asked directly, I will offer my advice.

She requested a shopping list based upon what I knew she would like:

  • Fruits and Vegetables – both fresh and frozen – carrots too even though she tells me they are higher in points
  • Whole Foods Bulk Bins: oats and quinoa
  • Whole Foods 365 brand condiments of choice
  • Ezekiel Bread
  • Brown rice
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  • Chick peas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans
  • Organic or at least the hormone free lean meat and poultry
  • Meatless products for the freezer including veggie burgers, meatless meatballs, chicken-type tenders etc.
  • Organic and/or hormone free Greek yogurt, eggs, liquid egg whites, cheese
  • Frozen greek yogurt – Stonyfield

I had no intention for this to become a post but she was so excited after her trips to Publix and Whole Foods that suddenly the pictures of her meals starting hitting my iPhone.



Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats cooked with mashed banana and fresh blueberries (I believe in water with perhaps some skim milk).

My thoughts: Delicious but missing the peanut butter. She has nut allergies which I can’t hold against her.

Next time I would like to see her cook some egg whites into the oats for added protein and the fullness factor.


Since she works full-time in a school, she gave some thought to her meals on Sunday and prepared her lunches for a few days.


Brown rice mixed with a variety of vegetables, meatless meatballs and a mix of tomato paste/tomato sauce.

Since the Trader Joe’s has yet to open in her area (expected to open in May!), I directed her to Whole Foods (and Publix) to locate the 365 brand or Gardein for basically the exact same frozen products.


Like the chickenless tenders for example? I am telling you, these are the exact same item.

While she isn’t looking to become a vegetarian, she did ask for options that didn’t involve chicken as her protein source. Besides beans, dairy products and working with tofu, I told her to get a few of the frozen meatless products to start with. My goal is to get her to make her own meatless meatballs like I started doing and freeze a batch so that she has them readily available.


Throughout the day she told me she had a greek yogurt for snack along with cut cantaloupe, a banana and an apple. She said she kept snacking to ensure she wouldn’t arrive home ravenous. Smart girl, I know – that’s why we are friends.

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She wasn’t starving but has fallen in love with the Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread so she made grilled cheese (Horizon Organic she tells me) with a side of mixed vegetables and sliced banana while she prepared it. I think she has a thing for bananas.

Would I be full from this? Not a chance but everyone is different.


She took my advice and bought the Stonyfield Organic Greek Frozen Yogurt.


Worth every penny I tell you, especially if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you to buy their frozen greek yogurt.

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I must interrupt this post to inform you all that I just got the call that school is closed yet again due to the weather.

I. Just. Can’t.


Please tell me someone else wants to hide in a closet from all of these snow days?

What are you having for breakfast today?

Tell me three items currently in your freezer? Sweet potato tots, frozen vegetables and raw cookie dough just waiting to be baked at some point.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the What I Ate Wednesday fun!







Another Snow Day and a Cold Stone Sundae


While everyone else is recapping the Super Bowl, I much prefer to recap the best thing I ate over the weekend.


If this Cold Stone Sundae complete with a cherry on top doesn’t mirror your vision of happiness then we probably can’t be friends.

Not only was the chocolate dipped waffle bowl super big and super delicious, it looked oh so pretty as well.

You know what else is pretty? These macaroon dish towels.


Instead of buying the set of macaroon mugs I have been talking about, I chose the dish towels to hang on the oven door and brighten up the kitchen. I am waiting for the creases in the towels to un-crease – I can’t stand the sight of it if you want to know the truth.

Clearly I was in sweet-treat mode over the weekend:

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Imagine my disappoint when this donut iPhone case didn’t fit my phone.

Phone cases are now like jeans in my mind –  always make sure to try them on in the store before you buy them. Just because they claim to be your size, doesn’t mean they will fit.

Anyway, I popped into Trader Joe’s on Saturday because I always need something.


My “something” is usually in the form of produce with a few extras sprinkled in.

  • Apples – heaven forbid my supply ever falls below five on any given day
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kale – on a kale chip kick these days
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots – always the organic unpeeled – taste the best
  • Frozen brussels sprouts
  • Frozen asparagus
  • Frozen mixed peppers
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Skim Milk
  • Low-Sodium diced tomatoes
  • That frozen spinach pasta thing for my son

I am going to try to keep up with the snap shots of my grocery store trips since so many of you have requested and inquired about what I pick up each week. Sharing our food shopping tips, tricks and purchases helps all of us to expand our own grocery horizon and develop new recipes and ideas in order to avoid meal burn-out.

Special note: I always have frozen vegetables in the freezer. I do love roasting up fresh veggies but frozen work for me just as well and are quick to prepare in a moment’s notice. If you fear buying fresh vegetables due to the inability to eat them faster than they spoil (which is never an issue for me by the way), stock up on the frozen.

So surprise surprise – it is snowing today. I am trying not to care that the district-wide email alert just hit my donut-less iPhone to tell me school is closed.


I am not going to care. I was able to run outdoors all weekend and I will continue to ride that endorphin high.

I didn’t plan on running 7 miles yesterday considering I did over 13 miles on Saturday, but it was so beautiful outside.

It felt so invigorating to breathe in the fresh air and be able to run without looking at the display of the treadmill. I honestly could have kept going but thought better of it –   overdoing it would have jeopardized this week’s workouts so I kept the pace easy and followed the 10 % rule.

The 10% rule in this case means you end your workout knowing you still had 10% more to give.

Back to the treadmill it is this morning. Bleh, Happy Monday….


What does your phone case look like?

Best thing you ate Super Bowl Sunday? I didn’t get a picture of it but I had a fabulous brownie Sundae last night!

Veggies- Fresh or Frozen or both?




Whole Foods Haul, Oatmeal Tips And Sesame Street


I have been wanting to tell you something since I had lunch at Whole Foods on Saturday.

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Worth every penny by the way. Don’t ask me what was in the box – I get all scoop-happy when I see my favorite roasted anything and just pile it all on into the brown box.

OK so back to what I wanted to tell you. More like admit to.

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When I stopped to get the utensils and napkins at Whole Foods in order to eat my Food Bar fun, I saw the packets of ketchup and mustard and couldn’t resist a handful. To take home.

I have reached “old” status haven’t I. This is what old people do.

But come on, how do you not take some packets home with you when they are of the “Simply Heinz” kind? It would be against healthy living blogger code to resist a natural and healthy freebie.

Now that it’s off my chest, let’s discuss my Whole Foods haul.

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I really don’t buy groceries at Whole Foods on a regular basis. For the most part, as we all know, they are a bit pricey.

But, you can achieve a decent deal on a few items if you look hard enough and/or seek out their 365 brand.

From the Whole Foods 365:

  • Organic Tomato Pastesame price as Trader Joe’s
  • Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce – have never tried it but it was super cheap.
  • Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Baked Potato Chips – Sour Cream and Onion to please the little boy
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Skin Cleanser – 365 Skincare is terrific

I was super lucky to get the Bell and Evan’s Chicken Nuggets on sale. I have been buying them FOR YEARS. All natural, antibiotic free and the best tasting chicken nugget out there – more chicken than breading with awesome flavor and texture.

Not that I eat I them anymore or anything but when I used to eat chicken, you can bet I would make enough for me when I made them for my son.

As you can also see, I restocked my steel-cut oat supply from the bulk-ins. You can’t beat the bulk-bin prices.

I received a few emails last week actually asking me several questions regarding oatmeal, including what the differences between steel-cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats are so I put together some information for you:


I go through phases with which oats I prefer but if I had to pick – Steel-Cut all the way. I love the chewy, dense texture and how well they hold up in the refrigerator – they reheat days later as if you just made a fresh pot.

I always cook 3-4 servings at a time so that I have a few bowls on hand for the week.

Quick tip: The more servings you make, the more oatmeal you end up with per serving.

Lately I combine servings of both steel-cut and old-fashioned oats together for a mix of textures.

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Yesterday morning’s pot.

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Yesterday’s bowl.

If you spot orange peeking out of the bowl, it isn’t sweet potato this time. Fooled you. It is actually diced cantaloupe.

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It isn’t exactly melon season right now but the little boy and I were in Trader Joe’s the other day and he requested melon.

Cantaloupe plus a Galia melon which is a cross between a honey-dew and cantaloupe.

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I love that my child requested a melon, let alone a funky named melon. He may not eat his vegetables too often but the fact that he asks and likes fruit says something.


Did you hear about the new Dr. Ruster muppet coming to Sesame Street?

The new muppet and episodes are part of Sesame Street’s “healthy” makeover looking to expand our children’s’ horizons when it comes to a healthy, balanced diet. They are focusing on more fruits and vegetables versus Cookie Monster’s cookies.

I read this article the other day which discusses the new Sesame Street project although really, I remember watching several healthy food segments and videos (do they still sell “videos”?) when my son was a baby.

Ernie, Bert, Prairie Dawn and the gang would sing “b-r-o-c-c-o-l-i broccoli broccoli” so often that I would have it trapped in my head for days.

I guess that’s the point, right? Not only for our kids to sing about broccoli but inevitably for us adults as well.

While it’s great to make our kids aware of fruits and vegetables and the importance of a balanced diet, the message really needs to reach us parents since we are the purchasers and the people in charge of bringing the foods into the house.

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Like life-size avocados. Every child should be exposed to such produce on their kitchen counters. Can you believe the size of this thing?

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I wonder if this Dr. Ruster muppet would approve of my most favorite snack. Is there anything more balanced than an apple slice covered with Mighty Maple peanut butter and a sprinkle of chocolate chips?

I think not.

Anyway, good morning to Monday and the start of Super Bowl hoopla around the country, especially here in New York.


The media is all wrapped up in the Polar Vortex forecast for Sunday when really, they can just ask me my opinion -if I am running inside on a treadmill, it is too cold for football – regardless of precipitation.


Quick – Steel-Cut or Old-Fashioned oats?

Ever try a Galia melon?

Which fruits are currently in your kitchen?

Favorite Whole Foods products?


What I Ate Wednesday – Blinded By Oatmeal Love


It’s been a while since my last What I Ate Wednesday post, hasn’t it?


I am popping in quick this morning because I have to be out the door super super early for a family event in Manhattan.

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Remember last week when my cousin had a baby? Today is the bris.

For my local readers, I picked up the gift at Spoiled Rotten – LOVE this store and I do believe you can order online!

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you today about what I ate on Monday because I made a really bad decision blinded by love.

I shall explain:



More often than not these days, I am back on the two-ingredient pancake topped with peanut butter and cranberry apple butter.

I usually make a second pancake after my workout or at least have some form of a snack with protein.

I was in a hurry to get out the door and get into the city early on Monday so right before I left the house, I think I grabbed a few apples slices and some peanut butter.


Here’s where the problem occurred.


My meeting took place at Sarabeth’s.

If you aren’t familiar with the restaurant, you may be familiar with Sarabeth jellies and preserves available around the world.


I have this little issue – if oatmeal is listed on the menu, I can’t resist it. So many lovely things were available to be eaten but my heart goes out to the warm bowl of oats.


Love is blind. It really is. This beautiful bowl of oats was A BIG MISTAKE.

Plain oats, as delicious as they are, even topped off with fresh fruit, aren’t going to do a thing for anyone’s appetite. At least not mine.

Oatmeal served without yogurt or peanut butter OR SOME FORM OF PROTEIN is a recipe for crazy hunger just waiting to happen.

Who was I fooling ordering an extra bowl of berries on the side? What I needed was a bowl of protein in order to not only be satisfied, but remain conscious during a meeting.

Telling you ravenous to the point of nausea about an hour later is an understatement.


The fact that I was nibbling on a Quest bar while still in a lunch meeting is just not OK.

The truth is, I know better. I know a meal needs protein. Especially at lunch when I am in a meeting and need brain fuel as well as energy to get me home for dinner.

And most importantly, as I sit here and think about that lunch, I needed protein to simply be full and not distracted by a growling stomach and the overall feeling of needing to eat before I hurt someone.

I am pretty confident I will never order “wrong” again. I have learned my lesson.

I also learned to not get all excited about the waiter offering to keep refilling my cup of coffee before driving home from the city. Not only are we lucky I made it home without wetting my pants, we are lucky my friend gave me watermelon when I dropped her off because I was completely dehydrated from the caffeine overload.



By the time I got home to make dinner, all I wanted was a giant bowl of roasted vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts and tons of butternut squash) along side a large omelette made with peppers and onions… topped off with lots of avocado.

I do want to mention though those meatless meatballs I said I was going to attempt to make a few weeks ago using the kidney beans.

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I made them earlier this week and totally love them – just need to figure out the exact recipe in order to share it with you.




Peanut butter cup apples are still winning as my nightly dessert of choice. They don’t photograph that well but really, consider yourself lucky that I even manage to take a picture without eating them first.


If you haven’t made these apples yet, you need to. You really really need to.

Warm and gooey, coated with peanut butter and chocolate? Yeah, you really need to.



Do you feel sick when you get too hungry?

Do you get ravenous if you don’t eat “right” – as in not enough protein to satisfy?

What emergency snack is in your bag right now?




Chocolate Cake On The Mind But Let’s Talk About Dinner


You are in luck this morning; I have to get the little boy up and out early for a routine doctor’s appointment therefore I do not have a lot of time to rehash my love for the chocolate fudge cookie dough layer cake or discuss with you how I am still thinking about it, talking about it and conjuring up variations for when I bake it next.


Allow me just one more picture so we can look at the fudginess. Why doesn’t spellcheck know what fudginess is? How sad is that?

Really, all of this cake discussion is completely unfair to the meal which preceded dessert on Friday- I really can cook something besides cakes and cookies you know.

The little boy and I toyed with various dinner recipes and ideas until it occurred to me that all of that added thought and work just wasn’t necessary.

I think stressing recipes and feeling the need to get creative is what scares people away from cooking altogether.

To keep life simple we went with some staples and through in a touch of variety that I knew my dad would love. IMG_1501


  • Skirt Steak with sautéed onions
  • Roasted vegetables – rainbow carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and sweet potatoes
  • Loaded Potato “Chunks”
  • Meatless Meatloaf Bites

Skirt steak is always a crowd pleaser. That is unless you have a room full of vegetarians.

All you have to do is marinate the meat in your favorite marinade (I use Trader Joe’s Carolina BBQ sauce), throw it on a grill pan and it cooks quickly with little effort on your part. I also add a ton of chopped onion to the pan to cook in with the steak.

Since I don’t eat steak, it gave me an excuse to make another batch of the cute little meatless meatloaf bites.


I have made a few different variations since posting the original recipe. I will share the new recipes in the next week or so.


If you come to my house for a meal, you are guaranteed to consume a week’s worth of your vegetable requirement.


I roasted up the rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts- no crazy and detailed recipe involved.

Simply slice up your veggies, spread on lighted greased cookie sheet, drizzle either olive oil, coconut oil, or, like I do, spray with coconut oil cooking spray and then shake on some seasonings.

Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for a good hour (less is OK and more can be fine too – just watch them as all ovens are different).


The little boy wanted to contribute his own addition to the dinner table as well.


He wanted to make potato skins. He didn’t want to follow a recipe or listen to me (surprise, surprise) so his “skins” were more like loaded potato “chunks”.

Loaded Potato Chunks:

  • Slice up a potato into chunks or wedges.
  • Roast in a 450 degree oven until potato chunks are soft and tops are starting to brown and crisp.
  • Top with shredded cheese and bacon (we used crumbled turkey bacon).
  • Broil until cheese is bubbly.


Truth is, appearance doesn’t always matter – his recipe came out terrific and he did it basically all by himself.

Speaking of appearance not mattering, my attempt at Averie’s recipe for Macaroni And Cheese Baked Cheese Balls didn’t quite work the way I envisioned.


Doesn’t look quite like balls, does it? I followed the recipe but my mac and cheese did not stick together as planned.


You know how day-old mac and cheese clumps together? That’s the key to making this recipe work but mine was still “fresh” 24 hours after being stored in the refrigerator.

While it lacked in the appearance department, the taste was spot-on therefore I do advise that you attempt this recipe – just make sure you have sticky mac and cheese to work with.

I have to say – as 2013 comes to a close, I am feeling all cooked out. I love to cook and bake, don’t get me wrong, but I just decided I fulfilled my cooking quota for the year and need a break for the next few days.

What I don’t need a break from is running though. I am going to go try to squeeze in a short run somewhere between everything we have going on today.

I swear by my 30 minutes a day.

Have a great Monday!



What was the last thing you cooked or baked?

Ever try making mac and cheese balls?

Last recipe that didn’t come out looking right but tasted good?

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