Monday, October 27, 2014

Yummy Mexican 4 Layer Dip

It's the time of year for parties! Halloween, Thanksgiving, work parties, Christmas, New Years, and hopefully some friends birthdays will be thrown in as well!!!

This dip is very easy to make and is always a hit at the party. You can make this healthier buy not using store-bought items and making the ingredients yourself. I am going to put the store-bought ingredients up here and then add alternatives.

Make this for your next party and enjoy!

2 cans vegetarian refried beans
1 package taco seasoning (as spicy as you like it!)
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 16 oz sour cream
1 16 oz salsa of choice
2 cups (or one larger pack) of shredded cheese (pepperjack is extra yummy!)

1-2 bags scoops chips for dipping

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix the refried beans and taco seasoning together and spread in the bottom of an 8 x 8 glass dish.
  3. Mix the cream cheese and the sour cream together and spread over the refried bean mixture.
  4. Spread the salsa over the other 2 layers.
  5. Sprinkle your shredded cheese over the whole dish.
  6. Place in oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm with scoops!
Homemade Refried Beans
1-2 cans of pinto or black beans (drained and rinsed well - or make beans from raw, saving the juice they cook in)
2/3 cup vegetable broth (or juice beans are cooked in)
1/4 onion minced
1/2 jalapeno minced or 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp. olive oil
Add olive oil to pan and heat. Add minced onion and minced jalapeno (or chili powder). Saute until soft, careful not to burn. Add in your beans and bring to a boil and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Mash beans with wooden spoon or potato masher making them as course as you like. As they cool, they will thicken up naturally.

Homemade Salsa
8 Roma tomatoes (adjust quantity if you use a different type)
Cilantro (about 10-15 sprigs)
3 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos
1/2 large onion
1/2 cup olive oil
2 limes (for juice)
sea salt (to taste)
Course chop tomatoes and place in a bowl. Chop up cilantro, garlic, jalapenos, and onion. Add all to bowl. Add in 1/2 cup olive oil and juice from 2 limes. Add salt taste. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use/eat.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Post First Half Marathon & Training Plan Info

Well, it's finally over....I completed my first half marathon this past Saturday, 9/27. In the week leading up to it, I was considering dropping down to the 5k because I didn't feel prepared. I followed the Women's Half training plan but after my husbands race in VA Beach, I didn't train the remainder of September. Just very few days running and no more than 5-6 miles. I doubted my ability to finish the race in the course time and didn't want to disappoint myself or my friends/family. One reason for the lack of training was the fact that I lost my job the day we got back from our VA Beach trip. This was devastating to me! Our company laid off people and I was one selected. I have never NOT had a job since I was 14 years old! So, needless to say, I have been battling a little depression and self doubt since the beginning of September.

Fast forward to 9/26, Friday, at the Expo, I spoke to the representatives and they said I could decide on race day which race I wanted to do. That allowed me to relax a bit....until I figured out I only had 1 mile to decide because the course would split at the one mile marker!

On Saturday morning, I drove to the race with a mindset that I would only do the 5k. I wrestled with myself over what I should do. I felt great that morning, the weather was awesome, what more could I ask for?! With one minute to the start, I turned to my husband and whispered "I'm going to do it!" He said "what?" and the gun went off! I took off! At the one mile mark, I went to the left down the Half Marathon path! I was feeling good and made it to the 3 mile mark in right under 45 minutes. There was so much support and people cheering is on! I felt great until about mile 11. My feet started burning and my hips were hurting, but I dug in and kept going! My husband and daughter helped me through miles 8-11. They broke off and went to the finish line to wait. I took off for the last 2.1 miles! AND I DID IT!!!!! My official time was 3:28:16! I can't believe it! My practice run about 6 weeks early had me at 3:58 for the 13.1, so I am still in shock over my time!

I am officially in the half club now! Can't wait to try another one! For 2015, my goals include losing 30 more pounds, doing more half marathons, and doing a sprint and Olympic triathlon! If all of those goals happen, I am planning a Half Ironman in 2016!!!!

A lot of people have asked me for my training plan. I used a modified version of the Women's Running Series training plan. I allowed approximately 12 weeks for training. If you look on the blog, the post that says "80 days" has pictures of my actual calendars.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon: Post #10 (57 days!!!)

I cannot believe there are only 57 days until my first half marathon!!!!! So much has happened since I last posted at the 80 days out mark. I decided to get on a formal training plan that started in July. Since I am also training for a Sprint Triathlon early 2015, I sprinkled some swim and biking in the running program. Overall, for July, I stuck with the plan. I had to move a few rest days but ended up training on the designated "rest" days so the mikes wouldn't decrease.

You Did What?
I also completed 13.04 miles on 7/26!!! My lovely husband thought it would be a good idea for me to "see what 13 miles feels like" so we set out early on a Saturday morning with no expectations other than completing the miles. I was able to get done in 3:50 which shocked me! We ran some but mainly walked fast. I did get really sick afterwards but I think it was lack of fluids and salt intake during the run/walk that did it. With Eddie having done this before and being a self-made vegan, he made me a Recovery Smoothie (recipe on blog) which helped tremendously. I feel more confident now knowing I can complete the distance. 

Some other cool things happened this month too:
1- I got my first road bike!!! She is gorgeous! I'm currently learning this new process since I have been riding a mountain bike with commuter tires for so long. 

2-I'm a finalist for Team Chocolate Milk!!! I submitted my application and made it to the next round. If I'm one of the top 8, I'll get sponsorship so I'm super excited!!!! (PS. You can vote at 
3- I completed a total of 104 miles in July!! Up from 66 in June. 

August has started off with a bang! Training will continue. Thanks for all the well-wishes!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Post Run Recovery Smoothie

After my first long run, I started having flu-like symptoms. This smoothie was made for me and within 20 mins I was feeling 100% better!

1 cup blueberries
1 banana
1 stalk celery
1/4 cup beets (raw)
1/2 cup carrots (raw)
2 cups kale (frozen)
2 cups strawberries (frozen)
2 tbsp Rice Protein
1/4 cup peas (frozen)
1/4 oats
1 tbsp peanut butter (we use Whole Foods that we make)
2 tbsp palm sugar
1/2 cup Goji berries
1/2 tsp (splash) vanilla extract 
2 cups water

Put all ingredients into your Vitamix or blender (high powered is better for smoother drink) and mix until smooth. Place in glass and enjoy!

This makes 6 cups. There is 174 calories in 1 cup.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eddie's Energy Balls

These are so easy to make, vegan, and full of energy! We take them on hikes and camping. 

1 cup dry rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins
1/2 cup peanut butter (we use almond butter or 1/4 almond-1/4 PB)
1/2 flax seed
1/3 cup honey (Agave if vegan)
1 tsp vanilla

Optional: 1 tsp chia seeds

Mix all ingredients together and form balls  (golf ball sized or a little smaller). Put in freezer for about 30 min and then store in refrigerator. We put about 4 in a ziplock bag. Each ball is approximately 50 calories. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon: 80 Days!!!

WOW! This has been a roller coaster ride of emotions! I started out wanting to do this half. Then I said I was going to wait until next year. We'll now it's definite....I'm registered for the WRC Nashville Half on Sept 27th! It's officially 80 days from today!!!

So tonight I got serious! I do something everyday with maybe 1 day of rest each week. My passion is swimming. I also bike and have been trying to get better at running because it is definitely my weakness. I looked up a Couch to Half training plan and decided to put it on paper! It is based on 14 weeks so I modified it to fit my timeline and the fact I've already started training. Here is a link to the plan I'm going to use. I'm going to stick with this in hopes of being able to finish this half marathon!

Here are the pics of my calendar. I also added (blue) in some swimming and biking because I now have a goal of completing a Sprint Triathlon in April of next year (I know...I'm crazy!!!) I will try to post daily on here and start including my nutritional changes. Tonight was my last night for pizza for a while 😳 but I will survive! Especially when I cross that finish line!

Until next time!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Homemade Mixed Berry Jam (by Eddie)

1/2 cup Fresh or Frozen blueberries 
1 cup Fresh or Frozen strawberries
1 tsp palm sugar

Mix in small blender. If using frozen berries, warm in microwave for 30-45 seconds to thaw. If using fresh berries, you can refrigerate to thicken. Spread on your favorite sandwich and enjoy!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon - Post #8

So it's 121 days to my first half marathon! I will say that May has been a busy but productive month - not only with working out - but in life, in general. So for my workouts, I have been trying to do two things:
1 - Be outside as much as possible
2 - Not just run but try new things and cross train my body

Having said that, I have completed 85.2 miles already for May! This week has been hectic so I haven't ran much but I do have a 5K this Saturday to close out my month. This is the most I have ever run in a month! The only thing that's strange with this Nike app is it calculates things differently so it's a little confusing.

So going into April, we will reach the 100 day to half mark. It's exciting! I plan on getting a more formal training plan in place with designated run and rest days. I am also getting into trail running and planning a 10K for August. And of course, I'm still swimming as much as possible.

As always, thank you for being with me on this journey!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Journey to Half Marathon - Post #7

133 days to my first half marathon! Today I ran the Foam Fest 5k in Whites Creek, TN. This is an obstacles course race. I have never done one of those before and I had heard horror stories from last years race, so I was a little nervous when the gun went off this morning!

My day started by waking up at 3:15am to kiss Eddie bye as he left for his half marathon. This is the first time he raced without me. I fell back asleep for a little bit, but we were staying with friends so I had a restless night. I started getting ready around 5:15am. Over the past week in Nashville temperatures have ranged from 40's to 90's. The weather was predicting 44 degrees and rain at our start time. Yay me! Now remember, I did the color run this year in pouring down rain and 37 degrees. Nevertheless, got up and ready! I decided to wear a bathing suit instead of undies and sports bra. My other clothes were spandex wicking type material to try and keep it fast drying and lightweight. I doned my signature headband and off we went! It was overcast and cool when we left. 

Most of the running group did this run. We were signed up for the first wave at 8am. Once we parked, we rode a bus over to the farm which was a cowboy theme park thingy. Stood in line for registration and lined up for the run. Adrenaline was pumping at the start line. My mind was on Eddie and how he was doing, and whether or not I was going to make it through this adventure!

It started with two obstacles right off the bat. Easy ones but enough to get you wet and slightly muddy! Then it was off to do some running in the woods! Weather update: cloudy, cool, no rain yet! I was feeling great today! My legs felt light, my breathing was steady, and I was bouncing down the trails. Before I knew it, I was at a water station and they said, "you're a little over half way done!" What??!!! I got this! I actually think I'm loving trail running!! So we kept going but it was time for some obstacles again! We made it to the river and it was innertube time! Immediately after that was lily pad which was running across mats laid across the river! I wiped out but it was so fun!!! 

After that lovely series of water obstacles, we got to run through a huge ice-cold mud puddle and low crawl through mud. Then we were on a short run to the wall obstacle. Let me remind you all that I'm 5ft tall. With a little help to make sure I didn't slide down the other side and fall, I made it over the wall! Now the next obstacle started out ok. This was the rope climb. I got 3/4 of the way up and started freaking out! All I could think was I was going to have a foot slip off the rope and to my doom!! My friend Reko talked me to the top and over the other side! Then we were off to get cleaned up (yeah right!) and to the death drop slide!! That would round out or Foam Fest 5k. So happy I accomplished this! Would definitely do it again! It worked muscles I'm not used to in my weekly street runs. By the way, no rain!!! And to top off the day, Eddie had a PR at his half of 1:37:36!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon - Post #6

So it's 136 days to my first half marathon! Things have gone ok this week. I started out Sunday with an 8.63 mile walk with my daughter. She is doing her first half in October in Myrtle Beach. We did this walking in 2 hours 34 minutes - a 17'54"/mi pace. I was quite impressed since neither one of us had gone past 6 miles before. What a way to spend Mother's Day! 

On Monday night I did 2 miles with my other daughter at a slower walking pace. It was awesome to see her finally get moving. I secretly think she enjoyed it! 

On Tuesday night we had our group run and I got another 5 miles under my belt. By Wednesday I was exhausted and still having some right foot pain/swelling. Since we had stormy weather all day, I decided to spend Wed night doing some circuit weight training in my garage. Haven't done that in a while and it felt great!

So all-in-all, things are progressing nicely. I am doing a fun run Saturday with the running group, the Foam Run. This is a wet, messy obstacle course. We'll see how that turns out!!!

Goodnight for now, and thanks for taking this journey with me!

Running Show Review: Sketchers GoRUN 3 Women's Running Shoe

I have never done a review of running shoes before (never thought I would be a "runner"!)

 Eddie, my lovely husband, bought me the Sketchers GoRun 3 running shoe for Mother's Day. I was super excited! Not only did they look good, they are in the series designed my Meb - you know, the runner who won the Boston marathon!!! Here is the info from the website:

Women's Skechers GOrun 3 Running Shoes

Skechers GOrun 3 is the next generation of transitional running shoes. Designed for speed with innovative performance technologies to promote a midfoot strike, it fosters a barefoot running experience while offering cushioning and impact protection.


  • Improved breathability and flexibility
  • Roomy forefoot. 3 layer Power-prene mesh on front panel allows for support while offering ample room for toe splay
  • GOimpulse sensors offer flexibility and feedback for a responsive running experience
  • M-Strike Technology™ promotes a midfoot strike
  • Custom Fit insole is removable for an even more minimal feel
  • 4mm Heel Drop to bring you closer to a natural barefoot experience
  • Resalyte™ Midsole - Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
  • Nearly seamless flexible mesh upper with lace up front


  • Flatlock stitching detail for seamless feel and lighter weight
  • Soft smooth fabric shoe lining for easy barefoot wear
  • Weight: Radically lightweight 5.2 oz per shoe based on a women's size 7

So last night was my first night wearing them. Let me back up a little and give you a few days history on my running/feet. So on Sunday (2 days before trying them) I did a fast walk on 8.63 miles - the furthest I have run/walked! I wore my K Swiss running shoes on Sunday and the only issues I had was swelling of feet and hands, and soreness of feet. No other problems. (Eddie blames my diet for swelling. I'm open to input. I'm still researching!) We went later in the day on Sunday to a local outlet mall and probably walked another 2 miles - very causal. On Monday evening, I went for a slow walk with the entire family. This was 2 miles at around an 18m/m pace. Again, wore my K Swiss.

So last night, Tuesday, was my team run. We typically do a 6 mile loop. I wore my Sketchers! So excited! My feet were a little swollen still, particularly my right foot since I injured it two Sundays ago when I wrecked my bike, but I had been walking/running fine, so I didn't think much of it. I laced up my new shoes and took off with the crew! About .50 mile into it, I started getting sore, mainly in my calves and shins. I kept going thinking it would work itself out. By mile 1.5, I was walking and considering turning around and going back to the car! I decided to keep going, but just walk. Around mile 3, both of my feet were burning and the outside joint near my pinkey toe, on both sides, was on fire! Also, on my right foot, mid arch, I was having pain. My shins were also killing me, along with my right calf and butt muscle. I decided to take out the insoles that come with the shoes. I thought maybe they were causing my feet to push too far forward. That seemed to help and I was good for another mile. Around mile 5, I couldn't take it anymore! I ended up taking off the right shoe and walking with one shoe on and my sock! I was in tears! Eddie wanted me to stop and he was going to come get me. I said "NO! I'm finishing this!"

When I got to the car, both shoes came off! I could visibly see red areas on both feet where they were rubbing wrong. I was so sore that I could hardly walk in my flip flops! Still sore today when I woke up. I really feel like the midfoot strike could be my issue, along with the insoles. I was very disappointed because I was prepared for these to be "my running shoes"! Needless to say, they have gone back to the store. I will be purchasing and trying another type of shoe soon.

Currently I have a pair of Nike's that are very basic, not really running shoes, a pair of New Balance running shoes (not sure of #), and my K Swiss running shoes (who knew they made running shoes?!). I probably use my K Swiss the most. I use the Nike's for fun runs like the Color Run and upcoming Foam Run. I'm iffy on the New Balance. They do fine but I haven't tried them on anything over 3 miles yet. I just wanted to give an honest review of these shoes in case any other female runners have considered them. I do know some of my male running friends have their version and love them, but they are just not for me.

Thank you for your time! Always keep moving!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Journey to Half Marathon- Post #5

Its 141 days to my first half! Sorry I have been "gone" for a while. It's been busy between work, family, running group,etc. After my 5k on Sunday morning with the running group, this happened last Sunday evening:

I had a little accident and wrecked my commuter bike! Messed up my foot and left wrist along with other scrapes and bruises.  That's hasn't stopped me! On Monday, I took it easy. No workouts = a "rest" day. On Tuesday night I was scheduled for a 6 mike run. I didn't think it would turn out well so I rode my bike with the team and ended up doing 6.23 miles. Felt good! On Wednesday I hit the gym. Did 3.11 miles in 38 mins on the crossramp (kind of like an elliptical but no arms). After that, I swam for 30 minutes. I found out that swimming hurt my wrist. Yay me! I've been sore all week but we were scheduled for another 6 miles last night (Thursday). Guess what??!! I completed it! My time was 1:38.  It was with a lot of pain and ice packs afterwards but I shaved a little over 5 mins off my first time doing that course...broken toes and all!!!

I also weighed myself last Sunday morning and (drum roll.....) 

I haven't been under 200lbs since 1996!!! So excited! So my journey continues! A special thanks to all the encouragement and love I'm being shown as I try to get ready for this first half. I now know I'VE GOT THIS!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon-Post #3

WOW! 151 days to my first half marathon! Today started off extremely positive. Woke up at 4:30am, got my swimsuit on and headed to the Rec center for a swim. Swimming is my passion, my therapy, and what keeps me grounded! I did 20 laps freestyle and backstroke in 25 minutes.

Then it was home to be a mom - pack lunches, walk the dog, and get everyone off to work and school. Took the stairs as usual at work. I had planned on going running 3-6 miles around my work area this afternoon, but life had other plans. My daughter called and had to take my dog to the emergency vet. SCREECH!!!! That put the breaks on my run tonight 😢  After we got the puppy situated, I had dinner and decided to take a walk before it started raining (again...ugghhhh!!!) I did get in 1.31 miles walking with Eddie. So onward to food for the day!

I did extremely better on my food choices today! Although I slipped a little at dinner. Before heading to the Rec I had a handful (literally) of trail mix. I took my water with me because swimming is still a workout. STAY HYDRATED! After swimming Eddie made us a new energy smoothie to try. Check out the Blueberry Energy post for recipe. Score one for me - I was able to skip my morning coffee this morning! 😊 I did get hungry around 8:30am so I had my oatmeal. I wasn't able to get out for lunch today (or even up from my desk), so around 10:45am I had a small Gala apple and 4 slices of oven roasted turkey breast. Around 2:30pm I had about a cup of trail mix (I could live off that stuff!). Now my plan was to have my small banana around 4pm and go run. That didn't happen. Instead I had some cheese pizza with my daughter. I know!! This is a crime! 🍕 Pizza is my weakness! 

So that was my day 152! Stick around for more of my adventures to my first half marathon!!! 

Blueberry Energy Smoothie

I had this after my swim this morning and it was delicious! It's vegan too!


1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen spinach (plain, no seasoning)
1/2 cup frozen pineapple (that's all I had today, could use fresh)
Small apple and 1/3 cup organic applesauce (or a large apple)
Medium banana
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp rice protein (this is all I had, prefer pea protein)
1 1/2 cups coconut water

Added everything to my Vitamix and blended until smooth. Pour and enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon- Post #2

152 days until my first half marathon! Mixed feelings today. It has been 4 days since I worked out at all. Now that doesn't mean I have been sitting around! As usual, every day is full and busy but I need the normal workouts to stay on track. I can already tell the eating habits will be the hardest to change. I can fight through the workouts and training. I ask myself why I'm being so candid about this journey with complete strangers? The reason is simple- it holds me accountable for everything I'm doing. So here is a breakdown of the training today and food log.

Training Completed
2 miles of running/walking on treadmill at the Rec (rain and storms are not helping me 😁)
          *Tried not to watch the timer
          *Paced myself by starting to walk until 0.15 at speed of 3.2
          *Started running at 0.15 until 0.30 at speed of 4.8
          *Started walking to 0.31 to 0.40 at speed of 3.2
          *Started running again at 0.41 until 0.60
          *Continued this pattern until I ran/walked total of 2 full miles
          *Finished in 30:12 (very disappointed in that time!)

Did a "push" day on weight machines. This means you are only using machines where you push the weight with whatever part of the body you are working. An example is the leg press machine. Did two sets of 12 reps per machine on 6 different machines working both my arms and legs. 

Pic is of my first weeks workout plan. 

Food Log
Started my day stuck in traffic and munching on whole grain Cheese Its. Sucks being bored! 
When I got to work, I made my cup of regular coffee with sugar and creamer. Also made my pack of Maple & Brown sugar oatmeal. 
For lunch I had two shredded chicken soft tacos and an order of nachos with a bottle water. 
For snack in the afternoon I had trail mix. My hardest time is around 3pm everyday. I need to find something I can munch on that is low cal. I'm going to do celery and PB tomorrow.  
After workout tonight, I had one beef taco and about two tablespoons of both rice and beans. What can I say, I love my Mexican food!
I have had a total of about 100 oz of water today. No sodas (haven't had those in years)!

So don't be too hard on my food log! I have a new smoothie I'm trying tomorrow after my swim. I'm also taking snacks and lunch tomorrow. See you tomorrow for an update!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Journey to a Half Marathon- Post #1

So my running team, Rump Runners of TN, has decided to sign me up for my first half marathon on September 27th. What am I thinking! The furthest distance running to date, at one time, has been a little over 6 miles. At least half of that was walking. So I have 153 days or 22 weeks to get ready! 

I started planning today by researching training plans. Most of them are based around 12-16 weeks. They all mainly start based on an assumption that you can run 3 miles without stopping already. Since I'm still in the run/walk phase, I'm going to use a plan but modify it a little so I can catch up to running consistent 3 miles. 

I have changed my nutrition intake but I still have my "problem" areas. In these next 22 weeks, I also plan to change a lot more. My first sacrifice? No more sweets unless it's my vegan cookies or vegan frosty. Recipes for those are found on my blog. 

I have planned the next 4 weeks out so let's get this journey started!!! See you next post with an update. 

(Current weight: 210)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Vegan/Raw Chocolate Shake

*recipe from vegan

This shake tastes exactly like a Wendy's frosty. You have to try this! It requires a strong blender such as a Vitamix. Don't get freaked out by the ingredients! This looks and tastes just like a frosty!

1 cup cashews
3 cups ice
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 dates (pits removed)
3/4 cup coconut water (or plain water)
1/4 cup agave necrtar (or pure maple syrup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp sea salt

Add all ingredients to strong blender, in order listed. Process until smooth. You will need to push all ingredients to bottom of blender to fully process. Serves 2.