Count Blessings Not Calories! & an Origami Owl Giveaway!

Hi all! So, I did it! I ran 10 miles today in preparation for my half marathon training!! Feels so good to be able to say that! As I ran today though thoughts were racing through my mind!!

First, too many folks are under the impression that they need to count or stay under a certain # of calories….I say count your blessings, not your calories! The body needs different foods at different times and it needs nutrient dense calories not just “calories”. I do not count calories. I eat and I move my body and I repeat that all week long, week after week. It would not serve me to just count to a number and stay under that. My body (and yours) is much more complicated than that!

You have to match your nutrition with your goals! Therefore, a number of x amount of calories is not going to give you the body you want everyday. Some days you are more hungry than others and your body needs you to respond to that. Some days you run 10 miles and some days you don’t…get it? Days are different and needs are different! Timing of those nutrients are different!

You cannot eat cookies and donuts and get the same results as you would eating the same amount of calories as you would eating rice, chicken, avocado and salsa. It doesn’t work that way. You can not tell your body to burn off the donut but keep the chicken you ate. There are consequences for everything that goes into your body even if you go run miles after eating/drinking it. It all plays a role in your body composition so chose your calories wisely. Treat yourself. Eat when you are hungry. Be aware of what you are eating. Eat balanced whole meals and snacks. Move your body in a way that makes you happy.  That is how you get what you want. Most importantly? Smile, live, be awake and just be a mover and a shaker full of energy…your body will respond in amazing ways!!

Ok, next the GIVEAWAY!! I am a “designer” for Origami Owl jewelry and I really love their products!! Particularly, the Tagged collection: Here is the link:

Today during my run I found myself saying to myself, “I am”……I am fearless. I am strong. I am blessed. I am enough. I am awesome. I am smart. I am powerful. I am nice. I am proud. I am fit. I am great. I am helpful. I am healthy. I am disciplined. and so on…this went on for a while as I was on the treadmill for almost 2 hours!!

The Tagged collection is so inspiring and with combos like, “I am Enough”, “I am Beautiful”, “Be Fearless” and “Find joy in the journey”….how can you not wear them walking around happy, secure and proud??

origami owl giveaway april 2014

Rules for Giveaway:

1.Like my Facebook page (link is on the side bar on the blog) click on it!

2.Share my page on your page

3.Like the Post and comment which tagged combo you want and what it means to you.

4.Make sure you do this by Saturday, April 5th

***A winner will be picked on Sunday, April 6th

They will receive a chain and the two tags they commented they wanted

The full link to my Tagged collection on the Origami Owl site is here: (you can also order from that site anytime and it will be delivered right to your house!)

Browse the Tagged collection and (follow the rules above) comment on the FB post with the link to the Blog post “Count Blessings not Calories! & an Origami Owl Giveaway!”

And remember…..

count blessings not calories




Meal Prep-chicken 4 ways-8 mini meals for the week

meal prepping completeMeal prep!! Essential for success! I used what I had on hand and made sure to keep it quick and simple (5 or less ingredients).

The prep took just under and hour! Well worth the time because now I am ready for the week or at least the first few days!

I took 1 package of chicken breast that was 1.3 lbs and slow cooked it  for 6 hours on low with:

water to cover chicken

lemon wedges (2 whole lemons quartered) and celery (about 3 stalks)

bay leaves (2)

dash salt, pepper, garlic and coriander

**After 6 hours on low turn off and let everything cool for an hour

** Take chicken out and start shredding it with 2 forks-should fall apart pretty easy

Meal 1: Chicken salad with Greek yogurt

1 cup shredded chicken mixed with:

2 tsp feta cheese

2 tsp chopped red onion

2 tsp chopped kalamata olives

2 heaping tbsp. plain 0% Greek yogurt

Mix well and divide in half into 2 containers

Top with chopped tomatoes

Pictured below:

meal preppin chick salad






Meal 2: Spinach salad with chicken and strawberries

Fill up 2 small containers with fresh spinach leaves

Add 1/2 c shredded chicken to each one

Add silvered or crushed almonds to each-about 2 tsp

Add feta or shredded mozzarella to each-about 2 tsp

Add chopped fresh strawberries to each-about 1/4 c to each

Make your own balsamic dressing in separate container: 2 parts water, 2 parts oil,1 part balsamic vinegar

Pictured below:

meal preppin spin salad






Meal 3: Chicken noodle and mushroom soup

Cook 1 cup dry noodles according to pkg. and drain, place noodles back in pot

Strain the broth from the crock pot into the noodle pot-leaving behind the celery, bay leaves and lemons

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of the shredded chicken breast to the pot

Chop about 1/2 cup mushrooms and add to pot on med heat for about 10 to 12 min then cool and store or eat!

Pictured below:

meal preppin chick mush soup











Meal 4: Chicken, cheese and raw veggies

Take remaining chicken, split in half and add to 2 small containers

Chop peppers (any and all colors) and add to container

Add about 1/4 c chopped mozzarella cheese to each container

Add celery and or carrots (broccoli and or cauliflower would be good too!) to each container

Humus would be a great addition to this one but I didn’t have any!

Pictured below:

meal ppeppin chick raw veggies







There you have it! You are well on your way to eating right, getting doses of protein in throughout the day and not having to stop for fast food or binge when you get home because you didn’t have food with you throughout the day!

I usually eat 4 to 5 small meals per day with fruit, nuts and sometimes a smoothie for breakfast. I also have a protein shake with just water immediately after my workout.

**A typical day might be:

Smoothie or eggs and avocado/toast 7:30 am

Chicken salad with Greek yogurt 10:30 am

Workout/shake 12:45-maybe a small apple or half sweet potato too

Spinach salad with strawberries and chicken around 2:30/3

Dinner-something healthy that I make that night like fish/rice and asparagus around 6

Nuts and fruit as dessert around 9:30

Planning feels good and being prepared and ready feels good! Your body wants and needs food often! Don’t neglect it!!

It should be a top priority!!



Half Marathon Training/Runnning Info

i love to run sort of

I wanted to share with you all how my half marathon training is going. I started running/training again 2/10/14 and I am training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on 5/4/14. I have just over 30 miles in at this point and I am at a point where my short runs are 2 to 3 miles and my long run coming up this weekend is going to be 7 miles.

Here is the breakdown comparing this year to last year (my 1st half)… it is still HARD! I still struggle sometimes but I am getting better and learning to love it more and more!

Since running the last one in May of 2013 I have greatly improved in these areas:

More strength training-2 to 3 times a week-true muscle-building strength training and a huge focus on my core and legs!

I eat more food/calories in general-you must eat to keep up with what you are putting out or trying to achieve!

I eat more real food-I don’t eat bars and non-food “food”-no quick on the go bars or easy fast packaged foods

I stretch more-several times a week if not daily

I foam roll more-after every run and once a week after “leg” day for sure

I joined a group through Facebook called I Run for Michael  and got matched with a 20 year sweet girl named Hope from NY who cannot walk or talk but is the happiest girl in the world according to her mom! I dedicate all of my workouts and miles to her!! She is a huge inspiration!!

warm day for Hope month 1 for Hope

who do you run for

These are difference makers! I am proof from this year to last.

I have no knee pain after running because my core, hamstrings, glutes and quads are all equally strong and supportive!

I have more energy and can do attitude because I am actually strong and fueled to go run! I used to dread it because I didn’t realize it then,  but I was weak!!

I recover much more quickly-I remember last year crying and not being able to walk up steps after running-boo!


A good plan? What has worked for me?

Strength train 2 to 3 times a week

Run 2 to 3  times per week-One short, one hill or speed run and one long run

Yoga or stretch 2 times per week

Now, every week doesn’t go 100% according to plan but it goes something like this and is working out well! I am able to balance life, running, working, being a mom, girlfriend and a totally awesome and happy/healthy version of myself!

What I already want to change FOR NEXT YEAR-last year I stopped running after the marathon was over…big mistake! I will keep running after this one is over for sure year round making things that much easier for 2015.

***3 tips while running to help get you through (I have used them and they work!) —>given to me from a running friend:

1. Focus on the tips of your elbows-as those are the only parts on your body that literally cannot hurt

2. When you run focus on getting your heels up instead of how far forward your stride is

3. Count to 50 every time your right foot hits the ground and then switch to count to 50 every time your left foot hits. The right side of your brain is the side that says “yay! you can do it, this is awesome” and your left side, well it is saying, “why are we running?, stopppppp runnnnninnnnggg, this sucks sooo bad!”  so by focusing on the counting you don’t give your left side a chance to infiltrate and sabotage!!

May 4th-here I come!!!

I hope this info helped you and inspired you to know that you can run too!





Black Bean & Quinoa Cakes

blk bean quinoa cakes


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten (can substitute 2 of the eggs for 2 teaspoons of ground flaxseed meal -if so beat 2 eggs and add 2 tsp of flaxseed meal to that mixture and let sit for 1 min)
  • 1 15 oz  canned black beans, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup 2 %  or non fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons millet flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • dash of ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 avocado, chopped to serve with on the side


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the grains are tender and reveal their spiraled germ, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Add eggs, beans, cottage cheese, scallions, flour, baking powder, spices, broccoli and salt to the quinoa and stir until well combined. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups (about 1/4 cup each).
  • Bake the cakes until puffed and a little brown on top, about 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently loosen and remove with a paring knife.

Makes 15 cakes

Serving size is 2! Yay!

These are packed full of nutrition!!!




Coconut Kale Chips


coconut kale chipsWell, these are fantastic! You cannot eat just one and that is totally ok and encouraged!!

What you will need:

about 1.5 cups kale leaves broken apart like in the picture

about 1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tbsp. safflower, coconut or olive oil

pinch of kosher salt

To do:

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

Place kale on baking sheet

drizzle oil on top all over then toss around with hands to coat the kale

sprinkle coconut and salt on kale and bake for 7 to 8 min


They are delicious!!!


Superfoods Rockstars Challenge

Hello friends!! Ok, I have a great challenge for you this month and on-going! Can you be a Superfoods Rockstar??

All you have to do….eat Superfoods!

superfoods rockstar challenge

I have listed below 15 Superfoods-there are many more but this is a good and not so scary place to start!










Bell peppers






Your mission is to EAT them often, everyday…several times per day at each meal and snack!

Below is a recipe for Sausage & Peppers with Kale:

Please note: it is delicious and packed full of nutrition!!!

kale and peppers

kale peppers and sausage pasta

kale and pasta plate

What you will need:

Brown rice and Quinoa pasta-2 cups cooked (or some other healthy pasta-not white)

2 hot or sweet sausage links or chicken or no meat if you prefer (about 6 total oz)

Green, yellow, orange or red bell peppers-pick at least 3 colors and you will need 1/4 of each pepper cut into thin strips

1/4 small onion or 1/4 c chopped

Aprox. 1 large handful of kale leaves or more if you want

1 tbsp. pesto

dash of hot pepper flakes and ground pepper

sprinkling of parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. olive, safflower, canola, coconut oil-pick one

How to prepare:

In one larger skillet start your pan with the oil on med heat-add onions and peppers

Start to boil your water for pasta in another pot-add pasta when the water is ready

Start to cook your sausage or chicken in 3rd smaller skillet-cook thoroughly

While the meat and pasta cooks your veggies will be ready

Add 2 spoonfuls of the pasta water to the veggie pan and 1 tbsp. of the pesto

Add the kale (tear the leaves into smaller pcs)

Let sit and stir for 3 min.

Drain the cooked pasta and meat

Add the pasta and meat to the veggie skillet

Top with grated parmesan cheese, dash of pepper and red pepper flakes if you wish.

Mix gently and with love

Serves 3