Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Weekend Recap + Two New Recipes! November 19, 2012

Happy Holiday week! I hope you had a restful weekend! We had good weekend, but definitely a busy one (not enough rest!).

After coaching the weekend CrossFit class on Saturday (which went great!), we ran a few errands before heading home for Keenan’s nap.

Being silly in the shopping cart at REI!

That night, my husband and I had our date night: dinner at a fairly new restaurant in downtown Sacramento called, Trios and then we saw the show, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” It is a musical about dating, falling in love, marriage and having kids, as well as how men and women interact with each other. It was so funny and so relevant to my husband and me! I highly recommend seeing it!

On Sunday, we ran more errands, such as going to Costco (such a bad idea the weekend before Thanksgiving!) and even visited our local animal shelter. We are thinking of adopting a dog. My husband and I grew-up with dogs and since we got married seven years ago, we have wanted to get one, but never had the space. We still don’t have the most ideal space (our back yard is tiny!), but Keenan loves dogs (especially my parents’ dogs), so we are thinking of taking the plunge and getting one. We are looking for a small/medium size dog that is low-key, cat-friendly, loves to go on walks or jogs, but is okay with a smaller space.  There are a couple of dogs that we are considering, in fact, we will be meeting one tomorrow! So, we’ll see… My husband and I still have a lot to discuss, especially since we love to travel and get away on the weekends. Having a dog will definitely change our lifestyle.

Before I forget, on Friday night, we had our “at home date night,” and made a yummy roasted cauliflower arugula salad that I want to share. We had a great evening (probably one of our best dates!) catching-up and just talking about life and our future. We talked so much, that we only watched one of our shows, “Parenthood,” that had us both in tears! It is getting SO good!

Anyhow, here is the recipe:

Such a satisfying salad and perfect with a glass of red wine!

Roasted Cauliflower Arugula Salad (serves 2):


-1 large head (or 2 small heads) of cauliflower (chopped)

– 1 bag of arugula

– 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon (diced and cooked)

– 4 tbsp roasted pine nuts

– 1/4 cup of Gruyere cheese (shredded + extra for a garnish on top)

– 3 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tbsp champagne vinegar

– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

– 1/2 tsp brown mustard

– 1/2 tsp honey

– pinch of salt and pepper


1. Place chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil on top, as well as a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Combine, so all of the cauliflower is thoroughly coated. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 425 degrees (until golden brown).

2. Add arugula to a large bowl, along with pine nuts, cheese and bacon.

3. Mix the rest of the olive oil, vinegars, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

4. Add cauliflower to salad and pour dressing on top.

5. Toss and divide amongst two plates. Shave a couple of pieces of cheese and place on top of each salad for a garnish. Enjoy!

*Notes: We added some chopped roasted walnuts for extra protein. You can also add some roasted or grilled chicken.

Last night, after Keenan went to bed, I baked an apple for dessert that my husband and I shared. It was my first time baking one and it was delicious! It is such an easy and healthy dessert for a cold fall or winter night! Here is the recipe:

So good, especially with vanilla ice cream!

Baked Apple: (serves 2)


– 1 large apple (any kind is fine)

– 1 tsp brown sugar

– 1/8 cup of cranberries

– 1/8 cup chopped walnuts

– 1/2 tsp butter

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.

2. Wash and core apple (making a deep hole in the center of the apple without cutting it all the way through).

3. Mix sugar, cranberries, walnuts and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

4. Add sugar mixture to the center of the apple. Top with butter and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until apple is soft and butter is browned.

5. Cut apple in half, divide amongst two dishes and top with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Before baking the apple.

Since we had such a busy weekend, Keenan and I had a lazy morning making pumpkin muffins (a new recipe coming soon!), watching “Sesame Street,” playing in his sandbox and cuddling with Slinky. It was the perfect morning!

Don’t you just love the PJ’s with his”Elmo” shoes?!


Well, it is time to get ready for CrossFit. Today’s WOD is a partner one, so it should be fun! On the menu for tonight is one of our favorites: roasted broccoli with cherry tomatoes and a red onion, along with grilled country style boneless pork ribs!

Questions: Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What is your Thanksgiving menu? We are having turkey (of course), pumpkin sage risotto, my mom’s famous broccoli casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, artichoke torta (family tradition!), a green salad and my mom’s homemade beer bread. As Keenan said, “we will be eating a lot of yummy food!”


My First Foodie Pen Pal and Weekend Recap October 1, 2012

I’m excited about today, because it is my first Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!

FPP post Foodie Penpals

A few weeks ago, I received my first Foodie Pen Pal box from Claire, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She sent goodies from her local co-op grocery store, Weaver Street Market. It is located in Carrboro, a small town right in the middle of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. From what Claire mentioned, Weaver Street Market isn’t just a market, it has a wonderful bakery, morning hot breakfast bar and a restaurant. It definitely is a one-stop shop!

On to the goodies that were in my box: “Everything” hamburger buns, YAWP bar, sugar toasted pecans, peach, valencia orange and apricot jam, along with Burt’s Beeswax chapstick and lotion, all local from North Carolina!

My goodies that I received!

“Everything” hamburger buns: These looked SO good, but unfortunately, they didn’t stay fresh and had some mold on them. I wished I could have tried them, because they looked delicious (minus the mold) and had so many wonderful things in the ingredients, i.e. seeds, nuts and different flours!

YAWP Bar: This was good, very crunchy, like granola. I liked that it was all natural and only contained almonds, dates, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon and salt. It was loaded with protein, so it made for a nice pre-workout snack!

Sugar Toasted Pecans: I’m a sucker for any sugar-coated or glazed nuts, so these were AMAZING! My husband and I munched on them while we were cooking dinner for one of our “at home date nights!” I could have eaten the entire bag myself!

The pecans were so good, that they were addicting!

Valencia orange, Apricot and Peach Jam: This was good and a perfect topping for almond flour pancakes! I’m not much of a jam person, but this was really tasty, not overly sweet. Keenan and my husband really enjoyed this and practically put it on everything! 🙂

Burt’s Beeswax: I never knew Burt’s Beeswax was from North Carolina! I have always loved their lip products, so it was nice to have another chapstick. This was the first time that I tried their hand lotion and it was really nice, too! I will definitely be buying their lotion again!

It was a lot of fun receiving my box and trying all of these new things, in addition to sending a box to someone else (you can check out what I sent here!). I can’t wait to do it again this month! If you are interested in joining the Foodie Pen Pal program, find out how to join here.

Since this is already getting to be a long post, I’ll try and keep our weekend recap short.

On Friday night, we we enjoyed our “at home date night,” making pizza with an almond flour flaxseed crust topped with grilled peaches, prosciutto, spinach and goat cheese. The crust was SOOOOO good! It was very flavorful and crispy like a regular pizza crust. It certainly was a pizza that you could eat with your hands (unlike the cauliflower pizza we made a couple of weeks ago). This will definitely be one of our “regulars!” As you can see from the picture below, our pizza looked amazing, but as my husband was taking it out of the oven, the parchment paper split in half (yes, it wasn’t on a pizza stone or cookie sheet) and the pizza went crashing to the floor. My husband didn’t want to take out the whole pizza stone, he thought he could just pull it out from the parchment paper. Next time, we need to get a pizza mat! Anyhow, aside from our pizza looking like slop on a crust (which is why I didn’t take a picture of the finished product), it was wonderfully delicious! I wish I could have shown you what it looked like before we took it out of the oven!

Our beautiful pizza before it went into the oven!

On Saturday, we went to our farmer’s market to stock-up on fresh produce for the week, bought Keenan some red converse that were on sale at Kohl’s and headed to the grocery store to get our groceries for the week. After lunch, my friend and I got pedicures and coffee, which was SO needed! The guys stayed home to clean the oven door from my husbands mishap, while Keenan napped. That night, we went to a gymnastics class sponsored by our gym and had a blast! It was the first time I have done a round-off back handspring since high school! I was SO close to getting my standing back tuck again, but my body was  freezing up. The next time I go, I should be able to get it again. I can’t wait! Oh, for dinner, we grilled some prosciutto wrapped zucchini (the first time we tried it) and they were really good! Since we had so much zucchini, we spiced up the rest with Costco’s all-purpose garlic no-salt seasoning, pepper, a pinch of salt and olive oil and grilled them to use for lunches!


SOOOO good!

Yesterday, we had a lazy morning; I made pumpkin muffins with almond flour and my husband made some scrambled eggs. The muffins were so good, that we all ate two! I am going to double the recipe next time, so I can freeze the rest for quick mornings. In the afternoon, we visited some friends, who live in the bay area, who are expecting their first child later this month. We had nice visit. Keenan was terribly shy at first, then completely warmed-up and was saying “hi” to the baby and asking when it was ready to come out and play…too cute! For dinner, we went to this wonderful Puerto Rican restaurant called, Sol Food, in San Rafael. I had the Pollo al Horno, baked chicken marinated with oregano and garlic served with black beans, rice, salad and fried plantains. It was SO delicious, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Keenan certainly enjoyed it too, because he inhaled his black beans, my chicken and the plantains.

Today, we headed to Keenan’s music class after a quick breakfast. Keenan enjoyed the last of the pumpkin muffins and some strawberries, while I ate my “usual,” Fage Greek yogurt, strawberries, chia seeds, flaxseed and Kashi cereal, along with a latte. For lunch, I enjoyed my chicken that was leftover from last night with some grilled zucchini and a tomato over a bed of spinach drizzled with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar! It was delish! Since I was craving something sweet, I also enjoyed a pluot!

After Keenan’s nap, we are heading to CrossFit and then home for dinner. On the menu is either spicy eggplant with chicken and spinach or grilled chicken and eggplant over a bed of sauteed spinach. We need to use up our spinach and eggplant that I bought last week (both are kind of limp), and I am not quite sure how I want to prepare them. I’ll keep you posted. Also, look for the almond flour flaxseed pizza crust and pumpkin muffin recipes coming tomorrow!

Question: Any suggestions on how to cook my eggplant, spinach and chicken tonight? Since we got home late last night, I haven’t had time to put much thought into our dinner tonight and for some reason, I am just not coming up with good ideas. I want to try something different…


Health Lessons Learned Lately: “We eat our way, the way that works for us” September 14, 2012

Loving his sweet potatoes!

Today, I am linking up with Healthy Living Blogs, as the theme for the month of September is “Health Lessons Learned Lately.”

Fact: With the food we eat serving as fuel for our bodies, it’s important that we properly fuel ourselves for our daily activities. Fact: Everyone is different.

I’ve noticed that some people feel the need to drastically change their diets and dive into a whole new way of eating, when they want to make positive changes in their overall health. Yes, if you’re only eating fried chicken wings and drinking milkshakes during every meal of every day, not too many people will deny that drastic changes in your diet will benefit you mentally and physically. A balanced diet comprised of fresh, whole foods doesn’t seem like it should really be altered, though. Most Americans simply eat too much, so changing how much you eat might make more of a difference than what you eat, if you’re already trying to eat a healthy diet.

Some ways of eating advocate very drastic changes, and others dictate specific food groups to be avoided. It seems that the Paleo way of eating (or diet) is a hot topic these days, or has been for a while, now. In the CrossFit box that I work out in, there are a lot of people eating Paleo. Many people have experienced significant changes, such as losing weight, gaining more lean muscle and improving their performance. But the question that I ask is: Could someone experience the same results by just eating “clean,” i.e. by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole foods (little to no processed food), lean meats, nuts, whole grains, dairy, healthy fats and practicing mindful eating? Though I am not a medical professional or Registered Dietician, my knee-jerk answer is, “Yes!”

By cutting out whole food groups, of course it will be easier for someone to lose weight, but is it necessarily healthy or sustainable for a lifetime? How do you make sure your body is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it needs if you are cutting out food groups? In addition, once your body consumes the foods that it hasn’t had in a long time, what happens? You might find your weight slowly creeping up or your body can no longer handle/digest the food as it did before.

I am a firm believer and advocate of adopting healthy eating habits that will last lifetime. When I was working as a Health Educator in physician’s offices, many patients would ask me to provide them with a list of foods that they could no longer eat and/or a specific meal plan. In addition to it being out of my scope of practice–since I am not a Registered Dietician–I would never provide anyone with a list of what they can’t eat or a set meal plan, because it is not practical in real life. In life, we are faced with eating out, dinner parties, holidays, meetings with catered food, cooking for a family, etc, so how can you eat Paleo or any other diet 100% of the time?

As I have met more and more people following “set diets,” and achieving results, I have learned that I need to do what is best for me, my body and my family. I have achieved my own results with practicing mindful eating and listening to the needs of my body (eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full) and witnessed even greater results in my husband: My husband lost 23 pounds since he started CrossFit in January of this year, while he also ate healthier, practiced mindful eating and cut back on his portions (he used to go for “fourths”… no joke). For myself, I have put on more lean muscle and have more muscle definition, while maintaining my weight pretty consistently over the past two years. We eat “clean” by rarely eating any processed foods, except for Kashi cereal and a few pita or tortilla chips every once in a while (like special occasions when we have company over, or are on vacation). We still indulge in dessert every now and then (usually allowing ourselves one splurge a week) and drink alcohol (wine and beer). It is something that works for us, makes our bodies feel good and–most importantly–we are able to sustain it. When we travel and splurge WAY too much, such as the cupcakes last weekend, we cut back as soon as we get home by eating salads or lean protein, veggies and fruit for the first few days (until our bodies get back on track). It is a give-and-take and I like to say we eat healthy 90% of the time and allow ourselves to eat “not so healthy,” i.e. ice cream, cupcakes, gelato, french fries, milkshakes 10% of the time.

In the end, my most important lesson learned is listening to the needs of my body, not someone else, as they don’t lead my life. I eat to maintain my health, while still fueling my body for intense workouts. If someone is mainly sedentary, their daily nutritional needs are much different than someone who is working out every day–let alone an athlete! Find what works for you and your family. If you can sustain a “set diet,” then more power to you! Maybe your entire family is eating Paleo, so at family functions, you don’t have to worry about what you can and cannot make or eat. For me, it just doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake with almond flour these days (more often than whole wheat flour), because of the nutrition that it packs, or even sweet potatoes. At times, we do eat meals that consist of just lean protein and veggies, but we don’t limit ourselves to only eating a certain way. We eat our way, the way that works for us.

Speaking of eating, here is the recipe for the spaghetti squash tomato bake with added turkey, that I promised:

Spaghetti Squash Tomato Bake with Ground Turkey: (Adapted from Roni at Green Lite Bites)


– 1 medium spaghetti squash (cooked) *I cut mine in half, scoop out the seeds, fill the inside with a 1/2 cup water and put the top half back on and microwave (covered) for 10 minutes.

– 2 large tomatoes sliced

– 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)

– 2 lbs. ground turkey

– 1 onion (diced)

– 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

– 1 clove garlic (minced)

– 2 Tbs olive oil

– Italian seasoning

-garlic (no-salt) seasoning *I use one from Costco

– salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

2. Caramelize onion and garlic in large pan and add turkey. Cook until turkey is browned.

3. Spread about one cup of spaghetti squash in the bottom of the casserole dish (using a fork to scoop out the flesh).

4. Add a layer of turkey on top of the squash (enough to cover it, but not too much, saving enough for a second layer).

5. Add six tomato slices over the turkey. Sprinkle with basil and spices.

6. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the tomato slices.

7. Repeat the layers: squash, turkey, tomato slices, basil, spices and cheese.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (until the cheese is browned and bubbly on top).

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before we cut into it!

*Notes: You might need to add one more layer, if you have a large spaghetti squash, thus increasing the amount of the other ingredients. The turkey makes this casserole pretty thick, which was good! I love the added turkey this time, because it added a ton more flavor and protein, making this a one-pot meal!

Enjoying his pancake with pumpkin butter!

Well, today was “cleaning day” at our household, so after eating breakfast (something different this time…toasted pancakes with a spoonful of Fage 0% Greek yogurt for me and pumpkin butter for Keenan, in addition to slices of strawberries and a banana with a latte!) and prepping tonight’s dinner: turkey meatloaf in a crock pot with roasted sweet potatoes (I set my oven for a delay start) and sauteed kale with a red bell pepper (I washed and chopped everything, so it was ready to cook when we got home from the gym), Keenan and I cleaned house. Today, he wasn’t into helping me as he usually is, but he definitely wanted to vacuum and mop! We finished everything in time for CrossFit!

My breakfast…it is becoming one of my new favorites!

“Helping” me prep dinner!

Well, it’s late and I’m exhausted after a busy day and a hard workout tonight: 5 rounds of 15 hanging power snatches (women weight: 75 lbs), 30 air squats and an alley carry of 35 pounds (weight for the women) with a 30 minute time cap. I tore my hand while doing chest-to-bar pullups on Tuesday, so I had some issues with my grip today, thus slowing me down. I was halfway done on the last alley carry (my 5th round) when the timer hit 30 minutes, ugh! Have a good night!

Oh, don’t forget to leave a comment on yesterday’s post , if you would like to be entered in the Sweaty Bands Giveway! The contest ends at noon PST tomorrow!


Recap of our Weekend Part 2 and Moustache Baked Goods Review September 11, 2012

Today, we are definitely back to the grind. The laundry is finally done, folded and put away. I prepared our dinner this morning (spaghetti squash tomato bake, with ground turkey added for a one-pot meal) while Keenan hauled all of his kitchen things in the trailer behind his trike. I also hosted a play group at our house for my MOMs Club. It was quite a productive morning!

Loading up his trailer!

After the play group, we had lunch. I made Keenan a pork and cheese sandwich (using the left over country style boneless pork ribs from our dinner last night) with carrots and some of my pluot. I made myself a turkey and pork sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard, along with baby carrots and a pluot. I just love pluots, because they are tart and sweet, a nice balance between a plum and an apricot. I’m not much of a fan of fresh apricots (I love them dried!) or plums, but I love the combo in the pluot!

Anyhow, after Keenan gets up from his nap, we are heading to CrossFit (my triceps are still sore from yesterday’s ring dips!) and then home for our easy dinner. Speaking of, look for the recipe of the spaghetti squash tomato bake with my addition of turkey coming tomorrow!

Onto my review of Moustache Baked Goods in Healdsburg, CA and a recap of our weekend Part 2:

Part of the wonderful display at Moustache Baked Goods!

On our way to Gualala last week, Keenan and I randomly stopped into Moustache Baked Goods, as we were waiting for my husband. The moment you walk in the door and see the wonderful display of cupcakes, you know you are in for a VERY special treat! The aroma of coffee and baked goods is heavenly! Since there were so many cupcakes to choose from, we decided on The Milkman (Keenan’s pick): chocolate cake topped with housemade oreo cream frosting, The Butcher: vanilla cake with maple spice frosting and crispy local bacon and The Local: almond cake with honey mousse filling and a blood orange frosting. All three cupcakes were delish! It goes to show that scratch-baking really pays off, because my husband and I aren’t usually fans of cupcakes. Honestly, they were the best cupcakes I have ever eaten in my life. All three cupcakes were super moist, full of flavor, and perfectly balanced (not overly sweet). I have to say the best one was The Butcher (my husband’s favorite); I never thought maple and bacon could taste so good together, especially in a cupcake! My husband is really picky about savory-sweet cupcakes, and he said that their bacon-maple version is the BEST he’s ever tried. Oh, I can’t forget about the coffee that I ordered, the Macchiato; it was nothing like I’ve ever had. It was served in a small cup with a shot of espresso and warmed cream. It was SO rich and creamy, I didn’t need to add any sweetener! I can still taste it in my mouth!

The Butcher cupcakes…SOOOOO good!

Since everything was so delicious at Moustache Baked Goods, we had to stop in again on our way back to Healdsburg, before the wedding. We wanted to try some different cupcakes and I wanted my husband to try their coffee. We ordered The Miller: meyer lemon olive oil cake filled with lemon curd topped with meyer lemon cream frosting, The Outlaw: chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and caramel filled with sea salt and their chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting. Again, everything was amazing. In addition, I ordered a Cappuccino and my husband had the Macchiato. Once again, my cappuccino was so creamy and rich from the espresso and milk that I didn’t need to add any sweetener (my definition of an excellent coffee)! My husband enjoyed his Macchiato so much that he sucked it down in seconds (so much for sipping a nice coffee!). Keenan certainly loved all of the cupcakes, as he practically ate half of each one with his huge bites! Needless to say, Moustache Baked Goods will not disappoint! It is a must-stop if you are ever in Healdsburg, or passing through!! After writing this, my mouth is watering, even though I just ate lunch. I guess we will have to head back to Healdsburg, sooner, rather than later!

Our second set of cupcakes that we snacked on before the wedding!

My beautiful Cappuccino!

On Sunday morning, we joined my uncle and his partner at their church, Community Church of Sebastopol. It was so great to see my uncle and his partner, since we hadn’t seen them in several months. The church service was wonderful: the music was fantastic (my uncle plays the piano and organ) and we enjoyed listening to their great pastor. He had a great sermon, so relevant to our lives. Also, everyone was so friendly and welcoming.

After church, we stayed for the luncheon/carnival and Keenan had a blast playing all of the games. He won quite a few prizes: a a cupcake, a couple of small rubber bouncy balls and three little cars. All in all, we had a wonderful morning and we can’t wait to see my uncle and his partner again, soon!

Question of the day: What special dishes or foods that you ate during a recent outing or meal make your mouth water when you think of them?


Labor Day Weekend Festivities September 3, 2012

I am SO glad today is a holiday because it is nice to be lazy and not have anywhere to go. Some days you just need a “do nothing” day! The three of us are recovering from our busy, but very fun weekend!

About our weekend, here is a little recap:


We had a double date with some friends, starting out with dinner at Kupros Bistro in Sacramento, followed by seeing “Crazy For You” at the Music Circus. Our food was delicious! My husband and I started off with a roasted golden beet salad with goat cheese, which was yummy! For dinner, I ordered the roasted duck with sauteed greens and fingerling potatoes. My husband had a Llama burger (I know, crazy!). Everything we had was very good. It was our third time eating at Kupros and each time, was wonderful. I highly recommend it, if you are in the Sacramento area! Sorry, we were so busy devouring our food that I completely forgot to take pictures.

“Crazy For You” was excellent! I knew some of the songs, but I wasn’t familiar with the story. Basically, the story is about a young man from New York who likes to dance and wants to perform, but his mom and fiance do not approve. When he is given an order from his mom (who owns a bank in New York) to handle some business in an old western town in Nevada (take over the ownership of a run down theater), he falls in love with a girl, who’s dad owns the theater. He helps the girl put on a show at the theater, by pretending to be a famous name in show business, to help raise funds and save it from the the bank. The music was good and it had all four of us laughing out loud!  My husband and I are still talking about some of the lines!

Waiting for our cheese plate and wine!


We participated in a wine and cheese pairing/tasting that my in-laws purchased at an event a while ago,  at Todd Taylor Wines in Clarksburg. There were fourteen of us (my in-laws, my husband’s cousins and family friends). We sampled several yummy cheeses paired with a few of their wines and received a tour of the winery. Their wines were really good (I especially loved the Primitivo!). Todd Taylor, who lead the tasting and tour, was very informative and easygoing, accommodating our large party. I would definitely go back and purchase more of his wines!

The cheese plate!

The group!

The wine and cheese line-up.

I had to snap a picture of this because Keenan insisted on having his cars next to my plate!

After our wine and cheese pairing/tasting, we tasted some other wines at Rendez-vous Winery, which is located in the same building as Todd Taylor Wines (Old Sugar Mill). I am not a huge white wine fan, especially Chardonnay, but all I can say is, “Wow!” Their Chardonnay is phenomenal, so smooth, rich and buttery! Also, their Chenin Blanc was amazing! It was crisp and refreshing for sipping on a hot day! I highly recommend their wines! The best part is, all of their wines are less than $25!

Keenan found his spot (under the counter) when we were tasting the wine at Rendez-vous Winery!

After wine tasting, we went to Vanilla Bean Bistro for dinner. As always, everything we had was delicious! We started off with their zekiye, a Turkish Calzone made with fingerling potatoes and mascarpone cheese and a mixed salad. For dinner, I had the Turlu, which is like a stew made with chicken, meat balls, seasonal vegetables, oven dried tomatoes, red curry, truffle oil, saffron, coconut milk and herbs. My husband had the dumplings made with chicken and beef. We were both VERY satisfied! I highly recommend Vanilla Bean Bistro, if you live in the Sacramento area. Again, I forgot to snap a picture of our food, sorry!

Our “Little Sous Chef,” helping us prep the food before the party!


We had friends over, celebrating our good friend’s birthday. We did a “make your own” grilled pizza party with different beers for everyone to try. My husband made the dough and everyone brought their own toppings. In addition, he made his infamous jalapeno poppers for an appetizer (surprisingly, they were not that hot this time!). We also had a variety of sausages and mustard, along with a fruit salad that a couple of our friends brought. I made a basil avocado adamame dip that I served with pita chips (recipe to come soon!). It was okay, not as flavorful as I would have liked. If I make it again, I’ll add more spices to it. For dessert, we had a Red Velvet Nothing Bundt Cake! The cake was perfectly moist and SO delicious! Needless to say, we were all overly stuffed from all of the food and beer we consumed. It was a good, good night! 🙂

Basil avocado edamame dip.

Kneading the pizza dough!

The guys making our pizzas!

Friends (minus my husband, who got cut-off in the picture!).

How did you spend your weekend?

Today, in addition to recovering, we are going on a bike ride once Keenan wakes up from his nap. I think we might even ride to get an ice cream cone! Before then, I think I might take a nap. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!


Happy Friday! August 31, 2012

Happy Friday and Labor Day Weekend! What are your plans for the weekend? Our weekend is jam-packed, to the say least! My husband and I have a double-date with some friends tonight. We are going to dinner and then seeing “Crazy For You,” at Sacramento’s Music Circus. I haven’t seen a musical in a while, so I’m pretty excited! I absolutely LOVE musicals, especially since I used to be in them when I was in high school and college. Tomorrow, we are doing some wine tasting with my in-laws and family friends in Clarksburg and then going to dinner. On Sunday, we are heading to a Labor Day BBQ in the afternoon and then we are celebrating our good friend’s birthday at our house that night. It should be fun!

Today, my mom came up to visit and play with Keenan, while I went to CrossFit. Since I had to get out the door fairly quickly this morning to make the 9:00 a.m. class, Keenan and I ate a quick breakfast of toasted pancakes with peanut butter and honey on top (I also topped mine with half of a banana) and a side of strawberries. It was just what I needed before my workout!

Keenan enjoying his breakfast this morning!

My breakfast this morning.

Today’s WOD was with a partner and it consisted of:

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 60 deadlifts (women weight: 145 lb)

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 60 hang cleans (women weight: 95 lb)

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 60 push presses (women weight: 65 lb)

– 200 meter farmer carry

– 10 rope climbs

It was a good workout for the end of the week. My partner was awesome! He carried me for every farmer carry, but we split up the lifts equally and at the end, I did 7 of the 10 rope climbs, since he was so tired from carrying me! We finished in 26 minutes and 2 seconds, under the 30 minute time cap doing the prescribed weights.

Since I am not able to go to the gym on Monday, due to the holiday and only one class time, I’m planning to go again tomorrow. In fact, we are going to bring my mother-in-law, since she is staying with us to babysit Keenan tonight. I’m curious to see how she likes it!

After I worked out this morning, I headed to Ross to search (once again) for a cup for Keenan and a basket. I absolutely LOVE it when I find bargains! I found a cup for less than $3.00 (though it’s a little bigger than I wanted), a basket for $2.00 (which is slightly too big, so I have to return it) and a cute Puma jogging/sweatsuit for Keenan for $14.00! That is what I call a good shopping trip (though, I still need to find a basket)! Where do you like to shop? Are you a bargain hunter?

Look who has his own water cup!

When I got home, Keenan was so thrilled to have his own water cup that he kept asking, “Mommy, water in it!” I quickly washed it so he could start using it. He tried the jogging/sweatsuit on and he looked so cute! It fit him perfectly with a little room to grow. Since he doesn’t have many fall/winter things that fit, I thought the little sporty jogging/sweatsuit was a good start!

Sporting his new jogging/sweatsuit!

For lunch, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of avocado and peaches. I made my mom and I turkey sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and avocado spread with mustard on sandwich thins, along with baby carrots and peaches from my parent’s orchard. In addition to my sandwich, I had an iced coffee (much needed after a hard workout), since I didn’t have time to make my usual latte this morning.

Well, it is time to do some things around the house before getting ready for tonight. Have a great weekend!


Silliness and the Love of “Baba!”

Showing his love for his “Baba!”

Today was once again all about being silly and goofy at our house. Keenan literally wrestled his “Baba” on the couch for 10 minutes straight this morning! He kept saying, “Ummm, I love you Baba” as he hugged and laid on him. Keenan loves “Baba” so much that he practically goes everywhere with us, not to mention “Lambie” (or his new additions: Elmo and Polar Bear). But, “Baba” and “Lambie” still reign at the top, amongst all of Keenan’s critters! Poor “Baba,” he has travelled to two countries and back, not to mention Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii while still staying intact. Every time he goes through the wash, I swear he comes out looking a little less stuffed! 🙂

Wrestling with “Baba” round one!

More wrestling and showing his love for “Baba!”

Anyhow, more about today: As soon as Keenan got out of his crib, he demanded to have peanut butter for breakfast. So, I made him a frozen whole grain waffle with peanut butter and blueberry honey with a side of strawberries. I ate a waffle topped with a scoop of Fage 0% Greek yogurt, honey, strawberries and banana. It was the first time I had yogurt on a waffle and it was delicious! I will definitely do it again!

My lovely breakfast…a good change from my usual!

After breakfast, we headed outside to feed Slinky. Since we were outside, I decided to do a bit of pruning/dead-heading flowers, while Keenan played in his sandbox. After being outside for awhile, we headed to a play date (rather, a book club meeting) for my MOMs Club. On our way home, we stopped by Marshalls and picked up Keenan’s sunglasses! They called me last night telling me that they had found them. Keenan and I were both happy to have his sunglasses back! I still feel bad about the whole thing.

Busy playing while I pruned!

For lunch, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of carrots, nectarine and a glass of milk. I made myself an egg white sandwich (microwaving a 1/2 cup of egg whites with a little Parmesan cheese and spices mixed in a small bowl for 1 minute and 30 seconds) with lettuce, tomato and mustard. I used to be on an egg white kick, but for some reason, I just forgot about it, until I saw the container in our fridge today. The sandwich was exactly what I was craving!

Keenan’s lunch.

My lunch.

Speaking of lunch, I just read an interesting article on BabyCenter about popular characters helping kids eat healthy foods. The article talked about how popular kid’s characters are used frequently to sell junk food, but recent research has shown that the same characters can be used to promote eating healthy foods. As soon as I read this, I thought, well…duh! After seeing Keenan be so infatuated with Elmo and wanting to do what he does, of course kids would be influenced to eat healthier food, if their favorite characters were eating it! The article goes on to say that the method can be used in schools to help promote healthier eating. In one study, researchers had children pick between cookies and apples. A group of kids were offered plain (non-branded) apples and cookies, while another group was offered plain cookies or Elmo apples that had stickers of some of the Sesame Street characters. The Elmo apples were chosen more frequently than the cookies. Although, this seems to be a no-brainer for me, I think this is very powerful. Hopefully schools, government organizations and even some parents will use this effective strategy. How do you feel about using popular kid’s characters to influence children to eat healthier foods?

After Keenan’s nap, we went to CrossFit and did a good, but not so gruelling workout. It was a nice change, compared to the past few days! Today’s skill included hanging snatches and the WOD was 3 rounds for time of 10 snatches (women weight: 95 lb) and 15 facing the bar-facing burpees. Since I can’t seem to snatch anything above 85 lbs (another weakness I have to work on!), I stuck with 75 lbs for the workout. I finished my 3 rounds in 9 minutes and 21 seconds, not too bad.

For dinner, we had roasted brussel sprouts with a simple pasta sauté of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, cherry tomatoes, onions, fresh basil from our garden and feta cheese. It was very satisfying! This was Keenan’s first time eating brussel sprouts and he did pretty well.  At first he didn’t want to eat them, but after I sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar on top, he liked them!

Dinner tonight!

Keenan’s plate!

Well, it’s time for bed, since I’m heading to CrossFit in the morning, instead of in the afternoon. My husband and I have a double date with some friends tomorrow night. We are going to dinner at Kupros Bistro and seeing “Crazy For You” at Sacramento’s Music Circus, while my in-law’s babysit! Night, night!


All packed and ready to go! July 30, 2012

Playing in the wading pool at Land Park today.

Well, we are all packed and ready to go! We leave bright and early tomorrow morning. I hope Keenan will sleep on the plane, so my husband and I can get some rest, but I think that is wishful thinking! We loaded my nook with several “Shaun the sheep” and “Elmo’s World” episodes, along with a few of his favorite toys, stickers, coloring book and crayons to keep him busy. What kinds of things do you bring to keep your child entertained on a long plane ride?

Today was a busy, but fun day! We made banana nut oatmeal pancakes for breakfast (along with lattes, of course!) and soon after, we started packing. Since we were meeting my parents at Land Park (and then to dinner at Tower Cafe afterward) after Keenan’s nap, I wanted to get everything packed before we left. Needless to say, we had every intention, but it didn’t happen! So, at 11:00 p.m. tonight, we finally finished! Everything is ready to go, except for our toiletries. I am exhausted, but I hope I can sleep tonight. It seems that every time we leave for a trip, I have a hard time falling asleep because I’m excited and/or anxious. Do any of you have a hard time going to sleep the night before leaving for a trip?

A great start to the day, banana oatmeal pancakes with peach slices on the side!

Once we got home from dinner (I highly recommend the Tower Cafe if you live in Sacramento. It is causal, but has a very eclectic (but delicious) menu, including wonderful desserts!), we put Keenan to bed and finished packing. It’s funny how much little room my husband and I have in our suitcases, since Keenan’s stuff overtakes everything (diapers, wipes, pac n’ play, ergo carrier, etc). After several “rearranges,” we finally made it work with only 2 bags (finally deciding to check-in the pac ‘n play) and 1 carry-on, without either bag being over the weight limit.

Swinging with Nonna and Avo at Land Park.

Back to dinner: my husband and I shared/split our meals. I got the “African Veggie Burger,” a patty made with peas, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, sesame and sunflower seeds, topped with a peanut sauce, lettuce, onion and pickles on a whole wheat bun (sorry, I completely forgot to take a picture of it, yet, again!). It was sure yummy! I also had a small side salad, instead of fries. My husband ordered the regular burger, so we cut our burgers in half and shared them (we each got to enjoy half of the other person’s burger). Since my husband got fries with his burger, I had to steal a few! They are so good! Every once an while, I get a craving for thick steak fries!

Since we are heading to a very remote place in Alaska (Lake Clark, where my in-laws have a lodge) for the next two weeks, I won’t be able to do much posting (if at all), since there is no cell phone reception or internet. I will be sure to take lots of pictures and post a full recap once we get back. Have a good week! Night!


Home Sweet Home July 23, 2012

Such a tired boy!

We got home late Saturday night, around 10:30 p.m. Keenan was SO tired. He fell asleep on the way home, around 9:00 p.m. and then woke-up after an hour, crying and saying, “Keenan all done!” Poor little guy, he just wanted to get out of the car and be in his crib. The drive back was the LONGEST drive we have ever taken! There was so much traffic on the road, it was ridiculous, thus making the drive even longer. Needless to say, we were all glad to be home (though, not for long, since we leave for Alaska next Monday).

Yesterday, we spent the day unpacking, cleaning out the car, doing laundry, getting groceries, working on Keenan’s birthday invites (which I’ll post about later this week) and catching up on sleep, since we were all so tired. Keenan slept till 9:00 a.m. yesterday morning and still took a 3 hour nap!

Keenan is still catching up on his sleep because he slept till 9:15 a.m. today, sleeping for over 13 hours! So far, he has been napping for over 2 hours! We are putting him to bed on time tonight and hopefully, he will be back to his normal “schedule,” tomorrow (but, it sure is nice that he is sleeping in so late!).

As promised, here is a recap of our trip:

Beach: Our house was 7 blocks from the beach, so we tried to go to the beach as much as possible, which ended up being every other day. Our beach days were our “relaxation days,” after a busy day of site-seeing the day before. Our house was on a hill, so the walk to and from the beach was a great workout, especially pushing Keenan in his stroller with all of our beach gear (thank goodness for our BOB!). Keenan and his cousin loved playing in the sand and building sand castles. Keenan loved getting more water in his bucket with my dad and “jumping the waves!”

Having fun “jumping the waves” with Nonna and Avo!

Keenan and his cousin after a morning of playing on the beach…they were tired!

Sea World: The day after we arrived, we headed to Sea World. It changed SO much since I was there 15 years ago! The park now has roller coasters and water rides (my dad, brother, husband and me managed to squeeze in a ride on the Manta, which was fun!). We saw all of the shows and I think I enjoyed watching Keenan’s reaction to seeing dolphins, whales and sea lions for the first time, more than the actual shows! He was mesmerized! We also watched a Sesame Street show and Keenan and his cousin got to meet Elmo, Abby and Cookie Monster. I wasn’t sure how Keenan was going to react, but all he wanted to do was “hug Elmo!” I had to hold onto him during the entire show because he kept wanting to climb-up on stage to see Elmo. After the show, we stood in line and Keenan and his cousin got to take pictures with all of the characters. When it was our turn, Keenan ran to Elmo and gave him a big hug; it was adorable! Since he was so enamored with Elmo, we had to get him a little Elmo doll and Elmo sandals, which he loved (he sleeps with Elmo every night and hasn’t wanted to wear any other shoes, but his Elmo ones!).

The Shamu show!

Keenan was SO happy that he got to meet Elmo!

USS Midway: After a “relaxation day” at the beach, we headed to the USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier that has been turned into an aviation museum. It was incredible! We learned so much. It was especially interesting, since my dad was a Naval Officer and lived on a similar ship (though a lot smaller) many years ago.  The Midway provided me a glimpse of what life was like for my dad (something he hasn’t talked much about). In addition, Keenan enjoyed seeing and sitting in all of the airplanes and helicopters!

Standing in front of the “Top Gun” plane.

Zoo: On our last day in San Diego, we went to the Zoo. It has also changed so much from when I was there 15 years ago; there are so many more animals to see! Like Sea World, I couldn’t wait to see Keenan’s reaction to all of the animals, since this was his first time going to a Zoo. He was mesmerized by the Elephants, Kangaroos, Giraffes and especially the Polar Bears (we saw one sitting-up and eating a carrot!). But, the highlight of the day was the petting zoo, where Keenan and his cousin were able to pet sheep and goats. Keenan was in awe; he loved petting the goats and giving them hugs. I think we stayed there for at least 30 minutes, because Keenan and his cousin did not want to leave!

Petting the goats at the Zoo.

“Hugging” the goats!

Our Eats: Since we stayed in a house, we cooked every night, to make things easier and to save money. It’s hard (and expensive) for a family of 8 to eat out every night. For all of our family vacations, my mom usually takes the lead to cook most nights. But, we made sure to give her a break and cooked every night during this trip. During the day on our “relaxation days” we made sandwiches for lunch and when we were out and about, we dined out. My husband and I went to Costco and Trader Joe’s to stock-up on groceries, once we arrived in San Diego. We planned most of the week’s menus, except for a couple of nights that my brother and sister-in-law cooked. We made roast chicken with roasted broccoli mixed with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, pork loin with roasted cauliflower, fish tacos, burgers with oven-baked zucchini fries and an antipasti picnic night. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the food we made!

Keenan enjoying an ice cream cone after visiting the USS Midway, thanks to Nonna and Avo!

Beer: My husband’s favorite brewery is Stone Brewing Co. (which is located near San Diego), so we had to visit. We tasted almost all of their beers and my favorites were the Smoked Porter, Levitation Ale and Ruination IPA! The brewery is huge. It’s out in the middle of of an industrial park, but their restaurant and outside patio (where we sat) was quite nice and relaxing. I highly recommend visiting their brewery if you are ever in the area, or at least trying some of their beers (you can find them at BevMo or some grocery stores).

The lineup that we tasted at Stone Brewing Co.

Coffee: We brought our french press, grinder and some coffee beans, so we were able to make fresh coffee everyday. But, since we were in Southern California, my husband and I made sure to stop at as many Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf  shops as possible. They only have one shop in Northern California, in San Francisco, so anytime we are down south, we take advantage of them! Our favorite drink is their Carmel Blended! It is probably the best frozen coffee drink I have ever had! They make it with the toddy and add their non-fat vanilla powder, caramel and ice. It is creamy and not overly sweet. Again, I didn’t manage to take a picture of any of the ones we had, sorry!

It is time to get back to reality and head to CrossFit this afternoon (my goal is to workout 6 days this week, to maximize my time before we leave for Alaska next week) and start getting ready for our next trip. I have lots of errands to run this week, as well as things to do, such as cleaning the house (I’m not looking forward to it, but it needs it!).

What are your plans for the week? What kinds of things do you do to get ready for a trip?


Making the time to work out July 6, 2012

Keenan enjoying a leftover rib from our 4th of July feast!

Happy Friday! Was it me, or did this week feel a little weird, since the holiday was in the middle? It felt like a mini-weekend in the middle of the week!

Today is all about catching-up from the holiday, doing odds and ends and squeezing in a workout, before heading to my parents’ house for the weekend. Since we are leaving for vacation with my family in a week, I want to squeeze in as many workouts as I can (since I’m not sure how many opportunities I will have to work out, while we are on vacation). There is a CrossFit (CF) box (CF lingo for “gym”) a couple of blocks away from where we are staying, so my husband and I are planning to catch a few workouts there. It will be fun to see another box, too! Speaking of working out, I’ve received some questions in regards to how I find the time to exercise and prepare healthy meals, so I thought I would address them here.

How do you find the time to work out? 

Working out has always been a priority in my life. It is as much a part of me as brushing my teeth or taking a shower. If I don’t exercise, I don’t feel like myself or feel at my best. Instead of finding the time, I make the time in my schedule to work out. At the beginning of the week (Sunday night), I look at the calendar to see what we have planned and then I schedule my workouts accordingly. Since I do CF, there are only certain class times, so I have to plan my schedule around the CF schedule. Before scheduling anything, such as play dates or Keenan’s music and swim classes, I plan when I will work out first and secondly, plan our days’/weeks’ events. By putting exercise at the top of my list, I know I won’t miss a workout, since it is penciled-in on my calendar!

Even when I worked (before and after I had Keenan), I always scheduled my workouts for the week (either first thing in the morning, before work, or on my way home), making it a priority. If I worked out in the morning, before work, I made sure to go to bed early the night before. It was all about planning ahead, which I still have to do now (even more than before!).

How many days do you work out in a week?

I work out five days a week, Monday through Friday, giving myself the weekend to rest and recover. If I can’t make it to our box one day during the week, I plan to go to the Saturday morning class, to make-up for the workout I missed during the week. Or, if I cannot make it to our box a couple of days during the week (on the rare occasion), I will take Keenan on a 3-5 mile jog (he loves to ride in our BOB Revolution Stroller!) and once we are done jogging, I will do air squats, push-ups and sit-ups.

Do you cook every night?

Yes, my husband and I cook pretty much every night (at least 6 days out of the week). Since he works all day, I cook Monday-Friday and he likes to take over on the weekends. Since we are living off of one income (since I stay-at-home with Keenan), we limit the amount of times we eat out to 1-2 times (max) per month. We have a monthly grocery/food budget, so all of our food (including meals out) comes out of it.

How do you plan for and prepare healthy meals for you and your family?

At the beginning of the week (Sunday), I plan out all of our meals for the week, using new recipes that I find, or having some of our “usuals,” such as grilled chicken with whole wheat pasta (using my pasta sauce) and a veggie, one-pot meals (with protein, whole grains and veggies) turkey meatloaf, or chicken burgers with oven-baked sweet potato fries. We always include lean protein, a whole grain and lots of veggies in each of our meals. After I have a game plan for all of our meals for the week, I make a grocery list and head to the store to purchase everything we need. Since we have a monthly food/grocery budget, I only buy items (including fresh produce) that are on sale, but now that Summer is here, we try to go to our local Farmer’s Market every Saturday for all of our fruits and veggies (Keenan loves to pick out produce at the Farmer’s Market!). Since I limit our purchasing to sale items, I sometimes have to modify our weekly menu, substituting certain ingredients. In the end, it all works out and we are still able to eat healthfully and inexpensively.

How to you plan/prepare your family’s meals? Do your kids eat the same meal as you and your spouse? How do you find the time to exercise?


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