Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Healthy Living Tuesday September 25, 2012

It was nice to get up early again this morning and have a little bit of quiet time checking emails before Keenan woke-up. I’m really liking this, but we’ll see how long it lasts!

Before I forget, since it is the last Tuesday of the month, I am linking up with Healthy Living Blogs today for Healthy Living Tuesdays with my article that I posted a couple of weeks ago: Health Lessons Learned Lately: “We eat our way, the way that works for us.” If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to do so!

Keenan woke up a little after 7:00 a.m. this morning and was in a silly mood! He asked me to get in his crib with him and go “sleepy sleep!” We also read a couple of stories. My husband climbed into his crib a couple of weeks ago, after he woke up from his nap, and Keenan loved it! Since then, he loves having us climb in with him and pretend to sleep or just read stories; it is too cute! Next time, I will have to take a picture!

After we both got out of the crib and I changed Keenan, we headed down stairs to have a quick breakfast of our “usual,” Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries, chia seeds, flaxseed and Kashi cereal. I don’t know why, but I have craved yogurt the past few days! But, I have something different in mind for tomorrow’s breakfast, so I think we will change it up a bit!

After breakfast, I took my latte to go and we headed to our local firehouse for a tour, an outing that was planned through my MOMs Club. I told Keenan about this yesterday and he was SUPER excited, especially since he is all about being our little “Firefigther” these days! During breakfast, I asked him if he remembered where we were going today and he quickly replied in a loud voice, “The Firehouse!” He was SO excited that he ate his breakfast in record speed and was ready to get dressed and head out the door (with his fire hat and boots on!) quicker than I’ve ever seen him!

My little Firefighter!


As soon as we got to the firehouse, he was excited, but apprehensive. At first, he didn’t want to walk, he wanted me to carry him and he wasn’t sure of getting into the fire trucks. I’m not sure why he acted that way, especially since he loves everything that has to do with Firefighters! Since there were a lot of kids there, I think he might have felt a little overwhelmed. As soon as he climbed into the Fire Truck with his friend, he was all smiles! He listened intently to what the Fire Captain said and took everything in. But, as soon as the Fire Captain slid down the fire pole, Keenan started crying. I’m not sure what made him scared! After that, he didn’t want to take a picture with the Fire Captain, he only wanted to give him a high five (with me carrying him). All, in all, it was a great experience (I even learned something!) and Keenan definitely enjoyed himself, because on the way home and during lunch, he only wanted to talk about the firehouse!

For lunch, I made Keenan his favorite: peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich with some applesauce and a glass of milk. He devoured everything in minutes; he was hungry! I made myself a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and some yogurt jalapeno dip from Costco (they finally have it again!). In addition, I had some baby snap peas, carrots and a small peach. It was very satisfying!

Once Keenan wakes up from his nap, we are heading to CrossFit (they moved into their new space today, so it will be great to have more room!). Yesterday, we had a challenging, but good WOD. I surprised myself on how well I did! The WOD consisted of: run 400 m, 21 chest-to-bar pullups (I was finally able to string 5 in a row!), 15 thrusters, run 400 m, 15 chest-to-bar pullups, 12 thrusters, run 400 m, 9 chest-to-bar pullups and 9 thrusters. The prescribed weight for women was 65 lbs and the time cap was 16 minutes. I completed it as prescribed in 14 minutes and 8 seconds! I was so thrilled! It was probably one of my best WODs! So, we’ll see how today goes!

After CrossFit, we are heading home for dinner of leftover cheesy pasta bake with a salad. After Keenan goes to bed, my husband and I have a date on the couch to catch-up on a few of our favorite TV shows!  As promised, the recipe for my cheesy pasta bake is below. I think this was the best batch that I have made because it was so gooey and flavorful (even my husband agreed!). Keenan even loved it because he ate all of his portion in minutes! Sorry, we were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of it, after it came out of the oven!

This is the cheesy pasta bake (prior to being baked) that I made for a mom in my MOMs Club who recently had a baby.

Cheesy Pasta Bake (serves 6):


– 1 box of whole wheat or brown rice rotini or elbow noodles

– 6 Italian pre-cooked sausages (diced)

– 5 roma tomatoes (diced)

– 3 cups spinach

– 2 cups mozzarella cheese

– 1/2 cup feta cheese

– 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

– 4 Tbsp garlic no-salt seasoning from Costco

– 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

– 1 tsp pepper

– pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X13 glass dish with olive oil or cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta according to package, making sure to add a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Once cooked, drain and place into a large bowl.

3. Add all ingredients, except for bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, to the pasta and mix well.

4. Place pasta mixture into prepared dish.

5. Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of the pasta mixture.

6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until brown on top and bubbly.

Notes: If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use two small cans of diced tomatoes. You can also use different seasonings, especially if you don’t have Costco’s garlic no-salt seasoning. If you want to store this meal for later, you can prepare it as directed above, cover it with plastic wrap, then foil and freeze until ready to bake. When you are ready to bake it, take the plastic wrap off, but leave it covered with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, uncovering it the last 15 minutes so it can brown.

Question: What health lessons have you learned lately?


Cauliflower Rice and a typical Wednesday August 22, 2012

As promised, here is the recipe for the Cauliflower Rice that I made for dinner last night. It was good, though a little on the mushy side, since I accidentally pulsed the cauliflower a too long in the food processor. Also, I don’t know what it is, but during and after eating Cauliflower Rice, my husband and I always feel really warm and start to sweat. I don’t add any hot chili peppers or many spices, so I’m not sure what causes it…weird! If you make this recipe, let me know if you experience the same thing! Since I add meat to this dish, it is a perfect one-pot meal!

The line-up that went into the Cauliflower Rice.

Cauliflower Rice (Mediterranean Style): (serves 4)

– 2 heads cauliflower

– 1 red onion (diced)

– 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)

– 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (chopped)

– 1/2 cup kalamata olives (sliced in half)

– 4 Italian sausages (diced) or 12 oz. of chicken (chopped)

– 2 cloves of garlic (minced)

– 1/4 cup feta cheese

-2 Tbsp olive oil

– 1 tsp Italian seasoning

– pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)


1. Wash and chop cauliflower. Place in a large microwaveable dish and microwave on high for 7-10 minutes (until steamed).

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic. Next, add chicken or sausages and cook until browned (a few minutes).

3. Add onion and cook until softened.

4. Once cauliflower is steamed, place into a food processor and pulse, until it is the consistency of rice (you may need to do this in two batches). *Make sure not to “over pulse” it, or the cauliflower will become mushy when cooked.

5. Add cauliflower, sun dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. Cook until cauliflower becomes browned.

6. Divide rice amongst four plates and sprinkle feta cheese on top. Enjoy!

Cooking it all together.

The finished product!

On to today: Happy Hump Day! This week seems to be flying by, which is leaving me with not enough time to get everything done for Keenan’s birthday party on Saturday, EEK! I still haven’t decided on what kind of cake I’m making. Since Keenan’s party is all about his “favorites,” I thought I would make a peanut butter chocolate pie or cake, but now, I’m not sure. He loves ice cream so much (especially ice cream cones), so now, I am thinking about doing a peanut butter ice cream cake. I’ve been looking at different recipes, but I haven’t found anything that I really like. Also, I need to make something that I can frost with whipped cream or cream cheese, since I’m decorating the top of the cake/pie as Elmo’s face (using red and orange m&ms). I’m getting a little stressed since I only have a couple of days (my husband thinks I’m crazy, since it’s only Keenan’s 2nd birthday, but I just want things to be nice and delicious, too!). If you have any suggestions and/or recipe ideas, please let me know!

This morning, Keenan woke-up at 8:00 a.m., whoohoo!! It was SO nice to sleep-in, but we had swim class, so we had a very rushed breakfast (and no coffee for me!) to get out the door on time. Keenan was all about being a “Firefighter” this morning, so it was like pulling teeth to get him dressed and ready to go. But, we made it (though, we were a little late, as usual).

Our little Firefighter!

After class, we ran some errands at Target and Michaels for Keenan’s birthday, which took FOREVER! Why is it that when you are in a hurry, the sales associates move SO slowly when you are just trying to check-out and go? It was like everyone who worked at Target and Michaels today was in slow motion!

Anyhow, once we got back to the home front, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich on a sandwich thin with a piece of torta and some nectarine. He was so hungry that he inhaled everything in less than 10 minutes! I think swimming took it out of him! After he finished, I gave him a little piece of my mom’s banana bars that she gave us on Monday. These bars are like heaven…moist, dense and delicious (with a cream cheese frosting)! For my lunch, I had my “typical,”  a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard on a sandwich thin with baby carrots and a nectarine. After re-evaluating my eating habits last week (after we got back from Alaska), I’m trying to pay extra attention to my portions and protein amounts, since I put on a few pounds. I’m hoping these few pounds will come off sooner, rather than later!

After lunch (and after I put Keenan down for his nap), I made myself an iced coffee, since I didn’t have a chance to make my latte this morning. It was SOOOO needed! Well, we are off to CrossFit this afternoon. Yesterday’s WOD was short, sweet and brutal: 100 double unders (which I’m still trying to master after several months of doing CF), 50 air squats and then max ring pushups in 6 minutes. I’m curious about today, since it is “gymnastics day,” my favorite!

For dinner, we are having country style (boneless) pork ribs (most likely grilled) and grilled eggplant with a balsamic vinaigrette. Have a great rest of your day!


Happy Birthday, Keenan! August 21, 2012

Our little birthday boy this morning enjoying his new table and backpack from Grandma and Grandpa!

Two years ago, today, our lives changed forever. My husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world. I can’t believe it has already been two years! It seems like yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital; our little peanut of 6 lbs and 1 oz. Where did the time go? The past two years have been awesome, to say the least! We have thoroughly enjoyed our new roles as parents, even during the sleepless nights when he was first born or the occasional tantrums, now. The silliness, full-belly laughs, smiles, hugs, cuddles, holding his little hands in ours, tickles, conversations, play time, story time and most importantly, watching Keenan grow and develop have been the rewards of being parents. We love each and every moment that we spend with him, and we look forward to many more to come! Happy Birthday to my Sweet Pea, Keenan!

For his birthday festivities, we started the day off with one of Keenan’s favorite breakfasts of waffles spread with peanut butter and honey (except it was with the blueberry honey Grandma gave him for his birthday), along with fresh blueberries and strawberries. After breakfast, we met my parents at Sacramento’s Railroad Museum to show Keenan real “Choo Choo Trains” for the first time, followed by a picnic lunch. Keenan was fascinated by the trains! He kept asking to see more by saying, “More Choo Choo Trains!” He was so mesmerized by all of the trains, that he didn’t want to leave when it was time for lunch!

Sitting in the Conductor’s seat!

For lunch, my mom made her famous fried chicken (a family tradition anytime we have a picnic) and beer bread and I made my Grandma Rose’s Artichoke Torta and fruit salad (made with Keenan’s favorite fruits: blueberries, strawberries, banana and peaches). For dessert, we enjoyed Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies! I put two candles on Keenan’s piece and we sang “Happy Birthday” to him. It was funny, he seemed a little apprehensive about blowing out the candles, but after we helped him blow them out, he devoured his brownie! After dessert, Keenan opened his gifts, which included a Firefighter hat from my parents (and he immediately wanted to wear it).

Enjoying his “birthday picnic” with Nonna and Avo!

Once we were all done and got to our car, Keenan fell asleep before we were even out of the parking lot, with his Firefighter hat still on! To make it more comfortable for him, I reached back to take off his hat, which scared him, so he abruptly woke-up and screamed, “Ahh!” We laughed SO hard!! Fortunately, he dropped right back asleep. But, as soon as we got home, as I was transferring him to his crib, he woke-up and didn’t want to go back to sleep. So, it was play time, pretending to be a Firefighter, wearing his new Firefighter hat, along with his boots and jacket (that Nonna bought him a few weeks ago) with his new backpack (that Grandma and Grandpa gave him for his birthday). We read the Firefighter story with all his gear on and he didn’t want the story to end. He wanted to keep reading and reading it!

Our little Firefighter!

Keenan was so set on being a “Firefighter” this afternoon that he didn’t want to take his gear off and get dressed to head to the gym. It was like pulling teeth to get him to take everything off. Finally, with a promise that he could wear all of his “Firefigther gear” tomorrow, he agreed to get dressed, so we could go to CrossFit. Today’s workout wasn’t too bad, but still challenging. We did 5 sets of 2 reps of power complexes (power clean, hanging squat clean followed by a squat clean) for the skill. For the WOD, it was 5 rounds of 5 deadlifts (185 lbs for women and 275 lbs for men) and 10 burpees for time. I finished in 4 minutes and 25 seconds, doing the RX women weight! Whohoo!

For dinner tonight, we are having swiss chard, sauteed with a red bell pepper, onion, sun dried tomatoes and Italian sausages, sprinkled with feta cheese. It should be good! Night, night!

If you are interested in the recipes for Artichoke Torta and Peanut-butter Swirl Brownies, here you go:

Artichoke Torta, YUMMY!

Grandma Rose’s Artichoke Torta (a very special food in my family that my Grandma would only make for special occasions, i.e. birthdays or holidays):


3 packages frozen artichoke hearts

1 onion

1 cup olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup dried parsley

3 cloves garlic (minced)

6 eggs

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 9X13″ glass dish by greasing with olive oil.

2. Boil artichoke hearts, drain and cool.

3. Beat eggs in large mixer. Meanwhile, place onion in food processor and pulse, until finely chopped.

4. Add onion to eggs, along with the rest of the ingredients (except for the artichoke hearts).

5. Place artichoke hearts in food processor and pulse, until roughly chopped.

6. Add artichoke hearts to the rest of the ingredients and mix in mixer on medium speed for a few minutes (until well blended/mixed).

7. Pour mixture into prepared 9X13″ glass dish. Place dabs of butter into each corner and one in the middle.

8. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool, cut into squares and enjoy for an appetizer or side dish cold or warm!


Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies by Martha Stewart (makes 9 large squares): *I followed the recipe exactly. It was probably one of the first times, in a long time, that I didn’t substitute any of the ingredients to make the recipe healthier. Since the brownies were for Keenan’s birthday, I thought I would make the “real deal” (which my husband was excited about!).


For the Batter:

– 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan

– 2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely choppe

– 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

– 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 3 large eggs

– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

– 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

– 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not overhang).

2. Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.

4. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

5. Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.

6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.


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