Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Superbowl Sunday

A quick recap of last night and this morning before I get into my Superbowl Menu.

Last night Aaron and I did the P90X Yoga after putting the boys to bed. An hour and a half later I burned 357 calories.

Aaron isn't a big believer in Yoga and thought that it would just be a stretch, but today his stomach is feeling it. I keep telling him that doing Yoga will help with his golf game and he is finally starting to believe me. Maybe next time he will push himself instead of going thru the motions.

Total calories burned yesterday: 1370 (2 CXWorx classes, P90X Kenpo and P90X yoga).

This morning was a new P90X dvd due to it being a "recovery" week. It was the core dvd and boy did I get a good sweat on. Not hard as in moves, but hard to do the moves properly and hold them. It was about an hour with warm up and cool down and the bonus round. Total calories burned: 368. This afternoon is another round of CXWorx and then Body Flow. I do want to 30 minutes of warm up with running or walking. Not sure which yet.

Now back to the topic of today....

I mentioned it yesterday. How are you going to stay on track with your "diet" this weekend with it being Superbowl. Whether you are going to someones house or having a party at your own house, you have to have a plan.

If you are going to someones house for a party, ask if you can bring a dish to pass. Then you can guarantee one thing that is healthy and then indulge a tad in having tastes of some other dishes. It is easy to make things like guacamole and salsa and they are easy to transport. You can then eat it with home made chips or use it to top on burgers as a cleaner alternative to ketchup and mustard. The key when going to someone else's house is not OVERindulging and then hating yourself and your scale in the morning.

If you are having the party at your house, mix "good for you" things in with the standard Superbowl fare.

We are having my in-laws over this weekend for the game. Here is how my menu looks...

1. Kale Chips- Easy to do and my in-laws tried them last weekend and loved them.
2. Popcorn- popped in a pan with some coconut oil topped with some sea salt
3. Turkey Slider burgers- I will have the normal burger toppings available but I will be topping mine with home made guacamole to keep it "clean"
4. Chicken wings- I will bake them in the oven on my stone to get them crispy then will glaze them with some honey. I will also have bbq sauce available for people but that isn't clean for me.
5. Guacamole- homemade and clean
6. Salsa- again homemade and clean
7. Tortilla chips- I am going to make lime chips using whole wheat pitas, some lime juice and sea salt. Bake them in the oven and yum yum.
8. Veggies- have to have veggies. LOL baby carrots, and celery. Make the dip using some fat free sour cream and some seasonings.
9. Soft pretzels- I have a recipe for clean eating ones. I think I may make them and then use them as the "buns" for the turkey sliders.
10. Beet chips- never had them but curious to make them. Slice them thin, toss with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, rotate your two racks in the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes (approx).
11. Rice Krispie treats- not clean but the kids like them.
12. Chips- I buy the kettle chips. The sea salt and pepper ones. They are pretty "clean" but I don't over indulge in them. That's why I am making the kale chips and the beet chips as alternatives for me.

If you want something badly, you have to make a commitment and see it thru. My commitment is to making myself and my family healthy. This is how I am doing it. A day at a time, a bit at a time. Slowly, my husband is seeing the benefits to the healthy lifestyle. He is the one pointing things out to me about chemicals in food and their affects now. It is amazing how easy it was to get him on the health train. The kids now know that McDonalds Happy Meals are no longer options for them due to all the chemicals. Xavier now asks for Homemade Happy Meals. Tyson Popcorn Chicken, some tater tots and chocolate milk. Not exactly "clean", but a whole lot healthier than McDonalds.

This is no longer about a "diet" but a new "lifestyle".

Tip of the day: An easy acronym of what to eat and not eat

Monday, January 30, 2012

Back in the saddle...

After a long weekend and mild indulgence, I am back on my fitness "wagon".

Today was a double class of CXWorx at the gym as I helped my two friends (and instructors) do their "Final Exam" video for Les Mills. Both Melissa and Tee did great. Calories burned: 578.

Then I came home and while my boys had lunch I did my missed Kenpo from Saturday. Calories burned: 435. I missed it because I was at a mom to mom sale. That evening, my in laws came for a visit and I wasn't able to do it that night due to some over imbibing of wine on my part. Ha.

Sunday morning meant "recovery" for me then a birthday party at the nursing home for my husbands grandfather. I had a small piece of carrot cake. It was delicious.

Dinner Sunday night was with my mother in law and some of her friends at the Olive Garden. For those who don't know, you can ask for a nutritional list of all of their meals to see what is the healthiest option. I went with the Venetian Apricot Chicken. It was excellent and was only 400 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated fat, and 51 grams of protein. I also asked that I could have olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of the house dressing for my salad. It was a healthier option. I did have some breadsticks and dessert. One of their mini mousses. A great way to get a good decadent taste without over indulging and feeling guilty.

Take a good look at the picture above. Look at the internal organs. See how smooshed they are with all the surrounding fat? Look at the knees. See how the bones meet and have no cushion? See how the feet are turned slightly in to accommodate the legs meeting together? That was me. Well the picture isn't OF me, but really this is a very good representation of "me" before I lost weight. I used to hate getting out of breath by doing simple things- well just look at how compressed my lungs were. My knees hurt? Look at all the extra weight they need to support.

Seeing this picture is a great mental reminder that I am NEVER going back there again. I may choose to indulge now and again, but I always get back on the wagon. Everything in moderation.

Which leads me to my next topic for tomorrow...and something for you to think about until then...

This Sunday is the Superbowl. Will you be going someplace to watch it? Will you be having a party at your house? How do you plan on staying on track with your diet? To ensure that you stay on course of your New Years goals.

Tip of the Day:
A reminder is a great thing to place on your fridge of the goal you want to attain. Whether it be a note of pounds you want to lose, or a picture of the body you want to create for yourself, or the body you don't want to be anymore. Find some pictures, keep them with you. Someplace you can pull the picture out of before you eat, or just when you need that extra motivation to get to the gym.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A WOW! Day

Yesterday I had a great work out.

I opted for a 20 minute quick walk on the treadmill on the "Fat Burn" setting instead of a run to give my joints a break. I have been noticing that my hip is popping a little and my joints are a little creaky. Rather than get injured, I decided to take it a little lighter.

Then I went to Body Pump. I love this class because I can go heavy on the weight where I want to, then lighter where I need to. It was a great time with some old school music.

After that was CXWorx and we did 3 new tracks and 3 old ones. Tonight Becca is going to do 4 new ones and 2 old ones. It is a nice change!

In total at the gym I burned 800 calories.

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I was slathering on my St. Ives Collagen Elastin lotion all over my belly and about fainted.

For the FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE I could see my ribs and ribcage. Now I am not saying that I am getting too skinny or too thin (wait til next week when you see my pictures), just that as I moved, I could see the outline and definition.

And my arms are starting to look way excellent and have nice muscles to them. I will definitely post a picture of them soon! My triceps need work, but my biceps are getting killer.

They say it takes 4 weeks for you to notice a change. This is true! It has been almost 4 weeks since I have started to train insane (as I call it) and last night was the first night that I noticed a difference. Now I am starting to get very excited for picture day.

Then to top it all off, this morning when I stepped on the scale, I finally cracked 169. I know that I have been crazy training and a lot of it is turning to muscle. I get that. I always said I could weigh 200 lbs as long as I wore a size 8 or smaller. BUT it is nice to see the scale finally budge down to 168.5. I am happy with that. Between the new diet lifestyle, and the exercising, it is starting to pay off and show.

I couldn't be happier!

This morning I did P90X legs, chest, and abs. One of my favorite routines. I burned 535 calories.

Tonight brings running/walking (not sure which one yet), zumba and CXWorx.

What a great way to start the weekend! This is making me try even harder to get results.

Tip of the day: Has to do with the language used on a label

Fat Free- Less than 0.5 grams per serving
Low Saturated Fat- 1 gram or less per serving
Low Fat-3 grams or less per serving
Reduced Fat- At least 25% less fat than the regular version
Light in Fat- Half the fat than the regular version

Calorie Free- less than 5 calories per serving
Low Calorie- 40 calories or less per serving
Reduced or less calorie- at least 25% fewer calories than the regular version
Light or lite- half the fat OR a third less calories than the regular version

Sodium Free or Salt Free- less than 5 milligrams per serving
Very Low Sodium- 35 milligrams or less per serving
Low Sodium- 140 milligrams or less per serving
Low Sodium Meal- 140 milligrams or less per 3 1/2 ounces
Reduced or Less Sodium- at least 25% less sodium than the regular version
Light in Sodium- Half the sodium than the regular version
Unsalted or No Salt Added- No salt added to the product during processing

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A breakthru?


This morning I (my body) may have had a breakthru.

Yesterday I did P90X arms, shoulders and abs and burned 501 calories.

Then last night, I really wanted to go for a run outdoors. It was chilly and I have yet to run in the "winter". So I suited up in my Nike "stay warm" top (my first time using it), put my iPod on, turned on my cardioTrainer app on my phone, switched my phone to flashlight mode (to be safe), and just ran.

I was able to get just over 3 miles done in just 32 minutes. Not bad for slowing down to run around ice. I also burned 391 calories and was home in time to help my husband put the kids to bed.

So how is this a breakthru? This is a pretty light day in consideration as to what I have been doing.

Well, this morning I woke up SO sore! The good kind of sore where you know you worked out. The kind of sore I HAVEN'T had with ALL the exercising that I have been doing.

I don't know if this means my body is changing, or if I confused it just enough for it to react. I stepped on the scale out of curiosity and I haven't shed another pound. But my arms are starting to look excellent so I know things are turning to muscle. Just the kind of motivation I need to keep going.

So this morning I did my P90X yoga that was scheduled. I pushed it a little further and went down into my runner poses a little lower, my crescent poses a little higher, tried to do the "Crane" pose while keeping one toe down, etc and boy can I feel the difference! I burned 412 calories in the process. Not a whole lot, but again, it is not high impact, high cardio.

Tonight means running, Body Pump and then CXWorx. I am very excited to try out the new release of Body Pump and see what new songs are in store. I need a change in the class. I have been dogging it in there lately because I train arms the day before and legs the day after. I don't want to overwork myself and sustain an injury.

Next week is week #4 of P90X which means it is a recovery week. Instead of weights, it is core work, Kenpo, stretching, yoga and rest. It will be a nice change. It also means that next Sunday I will be taking my 30 day pictures!!! I am excited and nervous at the same time. I don't want to get disappointed if I don't see changes in my body. I know that changes are happening because my core is getting so much stronger, but it is always gratifying to SEE the results.

Either way, I must stick with it. Even P90X creator, Tony, says that most people quit after 30 days because they aren't seeing results. But it is in the second and third month that things start changing and quickly! Why that is, I don't know. Maybe the body goes into shock and resists initially? Then starts adjusting? Something to think about and look into.

Tip of the day is about music for exercising:

For me, running for distance, especially on the treadmill, is all about the music and rocking out as I go. Many times you will see me mouthing the words and bopping back and forth as I run.

It always seems like I run out of new songs to listen to and eventually the old ones just don't get me going anymore, so here are some songs that I run to. Maybe you would like to add them to your playlist.

Black Betty- by Ram Jam
Lit Up- Buckcherry
Locomotive Breath- Jethro Tull
Welcome 2 Detroit- Trick Trick and Eminem
Rockstar's Girlfriend- Pistol Day Parade
Tush- ZZ Top
Breathe- Prodigy
Wild, Wild West- the Escape Club
Bad Girlfriend- Theory of a Deadman
In the Big House- Pop Evil
Runnin' down a dream- Tom Petty
Click Click Boom- Saliva
Imma Be- The Black Eyed Peas
Telephone- Lady Gaga
SexyBack- Justin Timberlake
Low- Flo Rida
Stranglehold- Ted Nugent (I love running to this one!)
Sweet Dreams- Eurythmics
Been Caught Stealing- Jane's Addiction
Mas Tequila- Sammy Hagar
Sexy and I know it- LMFAO
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree- KT Tunstall
Freedom 90- George Michael
Closer - Nine Inch Nails
Power- Kanye West (I LOVE this song!)
Here it goes again- Ok Go
Dragula- Rob Zombie
Hot for Teacher- Van Halen
California Love- 2Pac
Scream- Michael Jackson
For Whom the Bell Tolls- Metallica
Higher Ground- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Take it Off- Ke$ha
Everlong- Foo Fighters
Bullet with Butterfly Wings- Smashing Pumpkins
Porn Star Dancing- My Darkest Days
Plowed- Sponge
Born this Way- Lady Gaga
You Rock my World- Michael Jackson
Sabotage- Beastie Boys
The Devil went down to Georgia- The Charlie Daniels Band

I hope some of these help you refresh your playlist as you work out. Feel free to add any songs you love to work out to below under the comments. I am ALWAYS looking for more songs to add!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Super Foods

Today I thought I would focus back on diet and discuss "Super Foods" that everyone should eat not only to help with weight loss, but also for all around good health.

Not only are they good for you, but they taste good too and are readily available.

WebMD has a list of 10 everyday Super Foods that we should incorporate into our diet. One thing their experts point out is that this list of top super foods by no means includes all the nutritious foods that should be part of a healthy diet. Also portion size needs to be considered when eating these foods. For example, nuts are an excellent super food but if you over eat them you will pack on the pounds and that defeats the purpose.

Now onto the list!

1. Low fat or fat free plain yogurt- higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients, including protein and potassium. It can also be enhanced with other good-for-you substances (like fruit). When shopping, look for plain yogurt fortified with Vitamin D.

2. Eggs- make the list because they are nutritious, versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein. "Studies show if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels," says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Enjoy them at any meal or hard-cooked as a portable snack.

3. Nuts- have gotten a bad rap because of their high fat content, but they contain heart-healthy fats, high fiber and antioxidant content and that is why they make the list. The key to enjoying nuts is portion control. All nuts are healthy in small doses and studies show they may lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss.

4. Kiwi's- are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants, says Ward. "One large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C," says Ward. "It is also a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E, which is one of the missing nutrients, and kiwi is one of the only fruits that provides it." The sweet taste and colorful appearance of kiwis makes it easy to slice in half, scoop out with a spoon and enjoy alone, or slice it into desserts, salads, or side dishes. Kiwifruit can also have a mild laxative effect due to their high fiber content.

5. Quinoa- easy to make, high in protein, fiber and a naturally good source of iron. It also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E and selenium to help control your weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

6. Beans- are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. They're also a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium

7. Salmon- a super food because of its omega-3 fatty acid content. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help protect heart health. That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon twice weekly. Salmon is low in calories (200 for 3 ounces) has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat. You can simply grill or bake it, top it with salsas or other low-fat sauces, or serve it on top of salad greens. If you don't like salmon, Lichtenstein recommends eating other kinds of fish, like canned tuna. And what about the mercury content? (Mercury is known to accumulate in fish.) "The benefits of eating salmon or other fatty fish twice weekly far outweigh any risks, but if you are concerned, check with your doctor," says Zied.

8. Broccoli- It's a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fiber to fill you up and help control your weight. "Some people think beta-carotene (vitamin A) is only found in orange and yellow vegetables, but broccoli is an excellent source," says Ward.

9. Sweet Potatoes- are a delicious member of the dark orange vegetable family, which lead the pack in vitamin A content. Substitute a baked sweet potato (also loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium) for a baked white potato. And before you add butter or sugar, taste the sweetness that develops when a sweet potato is cooked -- and think of all the calories you can save over that loaded baked potato. "If we eat more foods like sweet potatoes that are rich sources of potassium, and fewer high-sodium foods, we can blunt the effect of sodium on blood pressure and reduce bone loss," says Zied. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.

10. Berries- loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. Blueberries lead the pack because they are among the best source of antioxidants and are widely available. Cranberries are also widely available fresh, frozen, or dried.

I must note there are MANY other super foods out there, common ones(pomegranate juice, oats, avacado, cacao, apricots, cinnamon) and not so common ones(wheat grass, barley grass, goji berries, noni, royal jelly, noni, ginseng) but I thought I would focus on those easiest to buy and eat every day.

If you are interested in reading about other super foods, check out these links:
I found them to be a good read.

Now to recap my yesterday.
I didn't make to to CX like I originally wanted. By the time I got to the gym it was 5:45 and CX starts at 5:30. So instead I got on the treadmill and started running at 5.5 mph then upped it to 6.1 mph. I was able to get 2.5 miles done in 24 minutes.

Next came Body Flow. It was an excellent class. We did a new routine and it was great for working on new balancing moves. Very ballerina like. I left feeling very refreshed and more like my normal self. I really think I just needed a good run, a good sweat, and a good class to get me out of my funk. I also burned 708 calories in the process.

So my calories burned yesterday was 526 calories for plyometrics, 377 for chest and back, and 708 for running and yoga. Making my grand total burned: 1,611. Not bad!

Tip of the day: I thought this was a great cheat sheet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Off Day

Ugh. Today I just feel blah.

I didn't sleep well last night. My youngest was awake at 1 am with a coughing fit last night- the kind when you inhale wrong or swallow down the wrong tube and you just can't stop coughing.

After that, it all went to heck and I was up and down- awake, asleep, awake, asleep.

Last night I didn't get to do P90X like normal. The boys didn't cooperate with bedtime and by the time we would have been done with the P90X, it would have been 10pm. Way to late! It was the first time I missed P90X and I felt very guilty.

So I made up for it today. I did my P90X Plyometrics this morning. I burned 526 calories from that.

Then I took my boys to their playgroup and when I got home I did the missed P90X routine of chest and shoulders. I burned 377 calories from that. I got most of the way thru the ab routine. The kids are being pistols today and I stopped with about 6 minutes left to deal with them.

Tonight the plan was to go to the gym and run, do CX and then do Body Flow. Aaron has a meeting this afternoon til 4:30 so I am not sure if I will be making it for CX which I am totally bummed about. BUT work comes first.

I don't know. I'm just feeling not really down, but off. Not as energetic for whatever reason. It probably has to do with "that time of the month" Ha. Anyways I am trying to push thru it. As a reminder from yesterdays post, I am determined. I need to stay positive, patient and persistent.

I had my green smoothie today with kiwi, frozen mango, banana and spinach. Good but the kiwi's aren't super ripe yet so it wasn't as sweet of a smoothie as I am used to.

Lunch today is kale chips, 2 hard boiled eggs and a whole wheat english muffin with natural peanut butter. Yummy!

I'm looking forward to hitting the gym tonight. I think if I can get some good music going and a good run on the treadmill, it will help snap me out of my little funk.

Tip of the day: Because I had one in my smoothie, I thought I would share the health benefits of kiwi's- from http://www.kiwiberry.com/nutrition.htm

"KiwiBerries" are a nutritional powerhouse. They are the most nutrient dense of all the major fruits, and are an extremely healthy food source
. Containing almost 20 vital nutrients, KiwiBerries are considered a super fruit! They're not just delicious...they're good for you.

Antioxidants: Are the body's first defense force in fighting disease and they counteract damage to the body by free radicals.

Vitamin C - five times the Vitamin C of an orange

- Nature's immune- boosting defense against colds and flu

- Cleanses the body of impurities, and helps combat the effects of stress and aging

- Helps repair the body and enhance cell growth

Vitamin E - twice that of an avocado with only 60% of the calories

- A good source - extremely hard to find in low-fat food sources

- Helps lower high cholesterol and reduces narrowing of the arteries

Vitamin A - Essential in vision, normal bone, tooth development, reproduction, and the

health of skin

Vitamin B6 - equals the amount of a serving of spinach

- Shortage in the American diet - especially in women using oral contraceptives, those who are pregnant or breast feeding as well as some children and older adults.

- A serving of kiwi has some 4% of USRDA of B6 making it one of the few foods rich in this vitamin

- Important to the immune system to fight disease

- Helps maintain a normal blood sugar level

Vitamin B2 - the same amount as found in 100% fortified breakfast cereal

- Helps maintain a healthy nervous system and red blood cells

Folate (Folic Acid) - For Women

- a B vitamin that protects against birth defects, cancer, and heart disease

- Crucial for women and their babies before and during pregnancy

- Makes healthy replacement blood and skin cells


- KiwiBerries contain carotenoids: carotenes (primarily beta carotene), luteins and xanthophylls. Diets high in foods containing carotenoids have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Flavonoids (Higher levels due to KiwiBerries edible skin)

- Another group of phytochemicals, the phenolic compounds, are found primarily in the skin of KiwiBerries. These compounds, such as flavonoids, have received much attention because of their antioxidant, antiallergenic, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties

Fiber (both soluble and insoluble)

- Soluble fiber protects against heart disease and diabetes

- Insoluble fiber reduces the risk of some cancers, constipation, and diverticulitis

- A good source of dietary fiber, with 4 grams a serving, 16% of the USRDA

- Helps remove potentially harmful substances from the body

Cholesterol and Fat

-Contains no cholesterol and virtually no fat only about 1 gram per serving from the tiny black seeds.

- Helps fight heart disease and high cholesterol

- Great for those on weight-loss programs


Potassium - Higher per ounce than bananas

- A single serving outranks bananas as the top low-sodium, high-potassium fruit

- Critical to maintaining the body's fluid and electrolyte balance

- Assists in the reduction of hypertension and high blood pressure


- Important for bone formation, heart rhythm regulation, muscle relaxation, and nerve function

- Activates enzymes that metabolize food components to form protein and release energy


- An essential to the enzymes involved in our use of protein and food energy, and also in the marketing of body chemicals needed to protect both our respiratory and digestive tracts.

Copper - For Kids

- Vital for infant growth, bone strength, brain development, and building immunity

- A mineral involved in making red blood cells and needed for normal bone formation.


- Essential for normal growth and maintenance of bones and teeth

- Kiwi Berries are a source of calcium without the additional fat of dairy products


- Needed for oxygen-based metabolism

- Small amounts can be meaningful for those with problems of iron-deficiency anemia


- A component of DNA and RNA and an essential element for all living cells


- An essential trace element

- May help prevent cancer by acting as an antioxidant or by enhancing immune activity


- A key factor both in regulating the heartbeat and the body's use of carbohydrates, like sugars and starches, which are our bodies main source of energy

Zinc - For Men

- Important for young boys and men - an ingredient needed to make the hormone testosterone

- Necessary for healthy hair, nails, eyes, and skin


- Kiwi is low in sodium and contains no cholesterol and virtually no fat only about 1 gram per serving from the tiny black seeds.

- Sodium has been identified as having a dietary effect on blood pressure. Fortunately, there is so little sodium in kiwifruit that it can be labeled as zero.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Today I was asked to write about what motivates me. I touched on "what inspires you" a while ago, but one blog that I read regularly: Runs for Cookies, hit the nail on the head.

It isn't really motivation, but determination that will help you be successful with weight loss.

You may be motivated to lose weight to fit into a dress that you have seen, but then you may see a plate of cookies, and your stomach speaks over your brain. You give into the cookies and forget about the dress.

Determination is when you say no to the cookies because you really, really want that dress and will do anything to get it!

So what do you do when you wake up in the morning or don't feel like exercising? Go do it anyways. You need to be determined to reach your goal. Usually the first 5 minutes of a workout is the hardest. After that, its cake. At least that is how it is with me and the treadmill. At first I am a little achy, a little stiff, then I get into my music and just go.

Now you can use motivation as you go along to get you to your goal. I mentioned previously about setting small goals with a prize at the end to help serve as motivation. For example: If you are trying to lose weight, set goals every 10-15 lbs lost. Once you lose 10 lbs treat yourself to something like a manicure or pedicure...NOT FOOD! Ha.

Soon, your body will start changing and you will start feeling better and your determination will bet stronger and treats won't be necessary so often.

Once I made my decision to lose weight, I was determined to to lose the weight. I may have a relapse and not eat well one day or a weekend, I may have gained a couple pounds back, but I just corrected myself and kept going. I was losing the weight for me...not for anyone else.

This time, once I made my decision to try and lose my stomach and tone my body, I upped all my exercise to get the best results possible in my 6 month time frame. It IS a little harder for me this time. I am no longer dropping sizes like I did when I lost weight. I also am not losing weight but staying steady and constant. That's fine with me. I am staying determined with this goal because I am seeing little changes- not when I look in the mirror, but when I do a crunch, I can get up higher. Or how I can now do a full side plank and hold it. Before I was never able to side plank with both legs out.

I also am motivated because I want to see the results when I take a 30 day picture after week 4 of P90X. Right now I don't see changes because I look in the mirror everyday. I am my own worst critic.

I am determined to shrink my stomach. Whatever means necessary.

I am also staying motivated because I have set a small personal goal. If I complete the P90X program then I will reward myself with 12 personal training sessions.

I am also motivated to get to the gym because I love the people there...instructors, employees and fellow gym peeps. We are truly a family and it makes exercising A LOT of fun. If you can't afford, or don't want, a gym membership, I suggest getting a work out buddy. Someone you can either workout with or be accountable to.

Another thing that motivates me...and it is silly, but hey, whatever works!...is my heart rate monitor. I love working out to see how many calories I burn. You would be surprised how hard you push yourself when you can glance down and SEE the hard work of calories burned on your watch. The key is not to go home and consume all the calories you just burned. Ha.

I also get motivated by watching "the Biggest Loser", Mtv's "I Used to be Fat", and also surfing thru Pinterest to see other peoples weight loss success stories, and motivational sayings (like the one I posted above).

I read blogs about people who are trying to lose weight and I want to be a support to them. That keeps me motivated and determined to stay on the right track.

And to quote a fellow blogger who inspires me and keeps me motivated:

"I guess the whole point of this post is that if there is something you want, don't wait for motivation to push you through (because it won't)--find the determination inside of you and DO IT! No excuses ;)" by SlimKatie at Runs for Cookies

And one of my favorite determination quotes:

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." Michael Jordon

Tip of the day:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Skin, Skin, Skin

I keep talking about it...

The thing that drives me CRAZY about my body...

So in being honest and putting it ALL out there with this blog, I am going to put "Before" pictures of my stomach on here. I don't know why I didn't think of doing this back on Dec. 27th to get the best "before" but better late than never.

I took the pictures this morning and will post them below.

I have mentioned ways to tighten the belly area- Eating Clean, RPM classes, ab exercises, etc and those are all well and good. They strengthen the muscles, but what about the SKIN????

So I went back to the web to do some research and I found some tips to help tighten skin. These tips would work for women that just had a baby too.

The website I am referencing from is: AllWomenstalk but most of the sites I found say the same thing.

12 ways to tighten skin after weight loss (they actually have 15 way listed):

1. Dont lose weight too quickly- *well for me this is too little to late sort of thing. I am past this point.

2. Use moisturizer Each day- Moisturizer will add up to 70% of moisture to your skin. It helps to maintain the elasticity as your body is shrinking. Cover your body HEAVILY in moisturizer each night before bed.

3. Moisturize your body before bed each night- when you put the moisturizer on at night, you may want to wear long sleeves and pants to keep it from coming off on your sheets. Doing this will also help hold in the moisture as you sleep at night.

4. Use a loofah and body scrub that really works- it says to use this twice a day. I think that is excessive. Once a day is good. I would just do it when you shower.

5. Scrub your skin at least 3x a week- when you scrub away that surface, you will help the skin underneath to regenerate quicker. I think this differs from #4 because she means to actually SCRUB where as #4 is basically a way to clean yourself daily.

6. Drink A LOT of water- this helps keep moisture in the skin and flush the toxins out. It also will give your skin a healthy feel and look.

7. Lift weights- self explanatory

8. Exercise as much as possible- You would think this goes with number seven, but when we talk about exercise, we are talking about sit ups, push-ups, running and anything else you can think of. When you are exercising, you will be building those muscles up. This will plump up your skin from the inside and give it that tighter appearance. When you exercise, you will be making sure you will not gain all the weight back that you just tried so hard to lose.

9. Massage your skin- massaging the skin will help build elasticity back up. You can use mustard oil to get the best results. Mustard oil will also help you have healthy glowing skin.

10. Do stomach crunches- duh!

11. Take up Yoga- they didn't really have a why here...but yoga is awesome.

12. Apply Preparation H- Many individuals who are looking to tone up their skin actually apply preparation-H to their skin as it will help to tighten it up. It contains lanolin in it, which will penetrate the skin.

13. Tighten your stomach muscles throughout the day- ok.

14. Start using collagen cream- Apply it 3x a day. Give it enough time to soak into your skin. I have St. Ives lotion that is collagen elastin enhanced. I had it in my bathroom cabinet so I started using it again because what the heck- I already had it!

15. Dont eat sweets or products that have Fructose syrup in them- they dont give a reason here, but this tip goes with my whole Eating Clean diet.

Ok... here it goes....

My current stomach pictures:

I have a lot of stretch marks from pregnancy AND being overweight so I have no idea how realistic it is to get a flat stomach without surgery.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moms Day Out

Most moms when they have a "day off" go shopping or go out to eat with some girlfriends or go to the movies.

What did I do? Went to the gym. And it turned out to be WAY more extreme than what I originally thought.

Powerhouse Gym in Ypsilanti had their kick off for all the new Les Mills routines. Les Mills switches it all up every three months in order to have body confusion and plus to prevent boredom (I think).

Originally I signed up for CXWorx, Body Flow then RPM was added when I was on the overflow list and they opened another class. I ended up also taking Zumba. It was only a 45 minute class instead of a full hour and because the Zumba tracks were even new, the calorie burn wasn't quite as high trying to learn the new steps- but more about that below.

When I got to the gym though, I didnt realize that I would be doing Zumba and thought that I would have an hour to collect myself, and eat and drink. So, I started off with my normal warm up on the treadmill. I began my speed at 4.8 mph, then increased it to 5.5, then to 6. I ran 32 minutes and at the end, dropped my speed back to 5 mph. I got in 2.8 miles.

The new CX and Body Flow are great. I love the music and the moves for both. Just when you think you know the old stuff, it gets switched up and I like that!

My total calories burned for my warm up, CX and Flow was 1201 calories. I wanted to keep the calories separate for RPM so I could see approximately what my burn would be if I just took that class.

Once I left Flow all nice and relaxed, I went in and used the restroom, toweled the sweat off me and came back out. Sharon (one of the instructors) was outside the classroom and said that they needed more Zumba people. I think many of the people that were in the class were newer to Zumba and they wanted some experienced people in there to learn the moves.

So in I went. And during that 45 minutes, I burned 444 calories and did a lot of fun, silly dancing. It amazes me on how Beto (Zumba's creator) comes up with these routines. They go high cardio, then back down only to climb again. It is a great way to lose weight.

Afterwards it was RPM. Thank goodness that Melissa (one of the instructors) brought Powerade Zero in for everyone to drink. I think I would have passed out without it. Eric (instructor and my personal trainer) was also concerned because I hadn't had much to eat since about noon and I had done so much exercise already. I had been eating my Emeralds Cocoa Almonds and drinking a ton of water. I also grabbed a free protein bar which really isn't clean eating, but I wanted something in the tummy. And as soon as I got the Powerade, I started sipping that in order to get my electrolytes back up.

RPM was excellent. It is an hour long cycling class where you increase your speed and resistance and intensity as well as stand and sit on the bike. You sweat like crazy! Again- thank goodness I had the Powerade!! My calories burned for the hour was 630. Not too shabby for my first time out and also having done 3 classes prior.

And finally my legs are sore! We will see how I feel tomorrow.

My total calories burned at the gym today was an astonishing 2,275!

Eric told me to go home- and make sure I eat.

So I finished my 5 wings I had left from Buffalo Wild Wings, had an avocado, a hard boiled egg, and a little bit of my left over brown rice and veggies from the other night.

Now I am waiting for some kale chips to get done and having a glass of red wine. Not eating too badly considering I could probably have whatever the heck I wanted to eat.

Oh and for those of you following this blog, don't forget that I worked out to P90X Kenpo this morning and shoveled. That calorie burn was 968 calories meaning my total calories EXERCISED off today was 3,244!!!

Very extreme and nothing that I would suggest for the faint of heart and nothing that I will be doing regularly!

Tip of the Day- comes from Sharon (instructor). She gave them to us during Body Flow.

1. Take your weight and divide it in half. That is how many ounces of water you should be drinking a day to flush your body out.

2. Work red bell peppers into your diet. One red pepper has more vitamin C in it than a whole orange!

Xtreme Day

Today is going to be an Extreme day for me with a capital X! I will be pushing myself further than I have done before.

Already today I have burned 968 calories- no kidding! And this is just the beginning.

We got about 3" of snow last night so I had to go out and shovel this morning. I figured I would wear my heart monitor for kicks to see how many calories I burned. It took be about an hour and I burned over 350 calories!

Today is Kenpo from P90X. After shoveling, I didn't really feel like doing Kenpo, but I pushed myself because it is my favorite "routine". I did it. I got it done and I rocked it.

In total, between shoveling and Kenpo, I burned 968 calories and am now enjoying a green smoothie. Yummy!

This afternoon, my gym (Powerhouse in Ypsilanti) is rolling out all the new fitness class routines by Les Mills and I am signed up for CXWorx, and Body Flow. There was a two class max. Originally I wanted to do RPM, but the class was full, so I put my name on the overflow list. That afternoon, the gym called saying they were opening another RPM class that afternoon and did I still want to do it? Of course! And I didn't have to drop one of my other classes either. SO today I have three more classes.

Yesterday night, I did another warm up run from 4.8-5.5 mph for 30 minutes. I also did Zumba and CXWorx. Between those things, I burned an astonishing 1467 calories!

I have to admit, I treated myself last night and got some Buffalo Wild Wings. Hey I'm not perfect. I have cravings too! And there was a fundraiser going on so at least my cravings helped out a school earn money to go to Paris. HA! And it was at least protein instead of a ton of carbs (think pizza). AND I resisted getting jalepeno poppers or spinach artichoke dip. I held my ground.

So today I will need to make sure I stay hydrated and keep snacking to make sure I have the energy. I will be bringing almonds with me to keep the protein level up. I will be eating an early lunch packed with protein and some carbs to make sure they are well digested before the start of my 2pm class.

Wish me luck and stay tuned to see if I make it thru!

Tip of the day:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting Anxious

Ok so I am going to be honest here and admit that I am getting a little anxious.

I think yesterdays reminder about the surgery that "would have been" has something to do with it.

I look at myself in the mirror everyday and I am not seeing changes even though I am kicking butt both inside and outside of the gym- both in working out and in the food that I am eating.

I think because of this, I am really wanting to take a picture and compare it to my picture that I took on Dec 27th to see if there are ANY changes at all. However, I really don't want to get disappointed if there isn't and that is what is stopping me. I mean, it hasn't even been 30 days yet and I am only on week 2 of P90X.

I found the above saying and thought it was pretty relevant to how I am feeling today. It would have been SO much easier just to have had the surgery. Yes I would have been in pain and had some financing cost but it would have been done. I SO badly want a flat stomach. I want to be able to tuck in shirts and buy any type of clothes that I want.

The thing that scares me most, is what if my stomach doesn't shrink? Most of what is there is loose skin. I know there is fat behind it and that is partly what is making it hang, but that is how I feel and my biggest worry. A flat stomach to me- symbolizes the end of the "transformation" process even though it isn't the end of the new lifestyle.

Ugh. I will not quit. I will not take the easy road. I have now had my pity party and will pick myself back up, dust myself off, and get my butt back to the gym.

Speaking of the gym, let me recap:
Last night I didn't do a hardcore warm up run. My legs were too sore and my knee was a little achy. Because I have major exercise coming up Saturday, I settled with a 4.5-5.0 mph run. I got in 35 minutes with both running and cool down and ran a total 2.66 miles. Not horrible.

I went lighter on the weights during Body Pump. After yoga that morning, my legs were killing me and after raising my weight during P90X arms and shoulders the night before, I didn't push it and over do it. I don't want to overtrain and injure myself.

I didn't think I would make it thru CX, but it is such a good core workout, I gutted it out.

In total, calories burned at the gym last night was 1200.

This morning I completed P90X legs, back and abs. Yummy burning in the legs! Calories burned: 544. Not a bad way to start the day!

Tonight means zumba and CX again. I will probably do the light warm up run. It is a great way to get the sweat going down the body and it makes me feel like I am accomplishing something when I sweat thru my sweatshirt. Gross but true!

Tip of the Day: From Clean Eating Magazine is about a food label

Whats the difference between a serving and a portion??

"A serving is a quantity of food suitable for one person. A portion, on the other hand, is the amount of food you choose to eat, whether it is a slice of cake or the whole thing. You're better to stick to servings if you don't want to overdo the calories. The serving size is always printed on the nutrition label. Did you know the recommended serving size of oatmeal is only half a cup? Many of us make the mistake of pouring out an amount of food using only our eyeballs or our stomach to gauge what is enough. In most cases, it's way too much. Stick to servings, not guesstimated portions."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Today would have been the day

I usually don't post twice in one day BUT...

I'm sitting here relaxing while the kids are sleeping...

Suddenly my phone chimes and it isn't my normal ringtones...

I look over and see that it is my calendar and that today was the day that I had my tummy tuck scheduled for.

Knowing that I am not going to wake up tomorrow with a flat stomach makes me sad.

Knowing that I am not going to have a monthly payment for surgery makes me happy.

Knowing that I am not going to have to endure the pain that people go thru to have one makes me happy.

Knowing that I am not going to have any complications makes me happy.

Knowing that I am working my butt of and I am EARNING this body, makes me VERY happy.

Now I can only hope that all of my hard work pays off and that my crazy work out schedule helps to tighten this stomach. I can see that the Happy far outweighs the Sad so for now I keep on trucking.

If I need to have surgery because my tummy just wont go away, it wont be from not trying. AND my stomach will be far tighter and stronger under all this skin and will most certainly aide in recovery.

So Cheers to what would have been today-
And Cheers to what will be tomorrow!

Sore today but it feels SO good!

Yesterday was my "easy" day of working out. I completed P90X Arms, shoulders and abs last night. In total, I burned 525 calories. Nice.

I also ate clean all day yesterday.

Breakfast was my green smoothie.
Snacks were almonds and walnuts.

Lunch was an english muffin with natural peanut butter, two hard boiled eggs, two stalks of celery and a half can of tuna.

For dinner I made the chicken bites from the recipe I posted a couple days ago. The kids loved them and ate almost all of them. I also sauteed some onion, mushrooms, garlic and fresh spinach with some coconut oil and then added brown rice and an egg. Kind of like fried rice. It was excellent and I have enough for left overs today!

I finally am sore after completing P90X yoga this morning and the arms last night. It is such a good ache and I really missed not having it before. I must be getting much stronger because it is taking A LOT to get me this sore anymore.

This morning in P90X yoga, I burned 409 calories in 90 minutes. That doesn't seem like a lot, but yoga isn't a high cardio exercise so I didn't expect much.

Tonight is a much different story. I plan on going to the gym and running on the treadmill before body pump and CX. That is the plan. Right now the mind is strong but my sore legs are saying I am crazy. I felt so great after my last run that I am dying to get back on the treadmill and run again but I dont want to hurt myself or do to much before the big Party on Saturday. I have three work out classes that day that I am signed up for- but more on that later!

I have to say that I feel great with eating clean. Aaron even commented that he is "regular" again. HA HA. I may invest in getting the Clean Eating magazine so I can get lots of new recipes to try.

Pinterest has also been a great spot to get recipes and ideas. I had no idea how many different blogs there were out there about Clean Eating. It seems like many people are fed up with all the additives in food and are going back to the "home made" approach.

I know many people work out there and lots of times the last thing you want to do when you get home is cook, but you can take a couple hours out of your weekend (or days off) and prep food to make your weeknight cooking faster. You would really be surprised after just a couple days how good you feel and how much more energy you have.

Tip of the day: From Clean Eating Magazine

"One hour before exercising, go for an easily digestible snack such as an apple or banana for energy and fullness. Bananas give you an extra, powerful boost of potassium and help relieve cramping for those who tend to have leg or food cramps on occasion while exercising. Energy bars can be filling too, as are nuts such as almonds, so enjoy those types of snacks after your exercise session. Of those, I recommend clean eating energy bars that have nuts and dried fruit in them, which I find easier to digest than oat-based bars. For a good post exercise meal, keep carbohydrates to a minimum and include lots of lean protein and vegetables"- Diane Morgan

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Feeling great!

I woke up today feeling the best that I have in a LONG time. And that is even with limited sleep because my 2.5 year old insisted on getting up all night to party by himself. He is a very LOUD talker.

I don't know to contribute the feeling good with the exercise, the clean eating, or a combination of both!

Either way, I am hooked on the eating clean. I got on the scale today (I know I shouldn't weigh myself everyday, but I do), and I lost another 2 lbs! That makes 4 lbs in two days and I did nothing more but incorporate clean eating.

Last night at the gym, I decided to run instead of doing my 30 min circuit. I will be working my arms and shoulders and abs tonight, and it had been a while since I had a good run so I am delaying it. So I got a good 3.1 miles in prior to going into CXWorx. I was sweating so bad, the knees of my pants were wet and my sweatshirt was drenched. It was great!

CX was good. Every time I take that class I see improvement with my core. This time for side planks I was able to raise one leg on one of my sides. My other side is obviously my weak side, but I am working on making it stronger.

Flow is always a good class. I get a great stretch from it. However, I am really beginning to dread hearing Adeles "Rolling in the Deep". We do that song in both CX and Flow and it always means ab work!

Between running, CX and Flow, I burned 1201 calories. So my total burn for the day from working out was 1801 (600 calories was from from Plyometrics).

So what did I eat yesterday??

Breakfast was my green smoothie- 1 banana, frozen mango, frozen peaches, and a BIG handful of spinach and water. Blend it all up and add a big spoonful of flaxseed oil. LOVE them!

Lunch- whole wheat english muffin toasted with all natural peanut butter, two hard boiled eggs, 2 stalks of celery, and a half a can of tuna. I used the celery as a spoon for the tuna. Very yummy!

Dinner- half a chicken sausage left over from the night before, my left over pasta from the night before, string cheese and the other half a can of tuna. Very filling!

I did munch on almonds as a snack throughout the day. If I start to get hungry, I find they are a good filler.

Also yesterday I opened up a container of almond milk (unsweetened) and had a few glasses of that from lunch on.

So thats it! The theme of the day is Eat Clean and Exercise Dirty!!

Now as a side note- my sister has figured out her wedding date of July 28th this year. We ruled out a couple of dresses for me that we already have. I really want to go to a bridal store and try on some bridesmaid dresses even though we will probably buy one from JC Pennys or another Department store.

Why? You may ask?

I have NEVER been able to try on a regular dress in a bridal shop without having to buy a size 40 or shop from the plus sizes..(bridal sizes suck quite frankly!) I think trying on dresses this time will be lots of fun and I wont be restricted by the size of my clothes.

Tip of the Day- from Weight Watchers Magazine:
Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and celery have fiber and almost no calories. But lets face it: They're nutrient weaklings. As an alternative, select darker, more deeply hued items like spinach, peppers or scallions, which are richer in nutrients like Vitamin C.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Better!

Yesterday I went to the gym and ran a mile for warm up and then did CX. I burned 580 calories.

Then last night I did the P90X Shoulders, Back and Abs workout and burned another 361 calories. Not bad!

Yesterday I also implemented my "Clean Eating diet" and had my green smoothie for breakfast, almonds and roasted chickpeas for a snack, hard boiled egg, english muffin with natural peanut butter and some more chickpeas for lunch, and then for dinner, I made chicken sausage with red peppers (they were brat size), and brown rice spaghetti with spinach and tomatoes. Later as another snack, I finished off the chickpeas and had some more almonds. I ate way more than I normally do- I was still hungry after my first helping of pasta and sausage so I had more!

I was shocked when I got on the scale and I lost 2 lbs. I guess there is something to this "diet". I had been stuck around 174 lbs for a while and not that I really care about my weight, but it was nice to see the scale move. I dont really put a lot of stock into the number on the scale right now because my goal is to gain muscle mass. I always said that I don't care if I weigh 200 lbs if I fit into a size 8! And for those who think that "oh it is because she worked out so much", it isn't. I weighed 174 last week and did the same amount of exercise.

This morning I completed the P90X Plyometrics. Ugh I hate that workout but I love it too! I get such a good sweat on! And this time I was able to get a calorie count because I have my monitor now. In the hour, I burned an even 600 calories. Not shabby!

So I feel very good right now. I lost 2 lbs, got a good sweat this morning, and for whatever reason, I felt much calmer and relaxed this morning. Not really sure why but I will take it and hope it continues!

Tonight I head to the gym. I am going to try to go and do my 30 minute circuit that Eric and I did on Friday if I get to the gym with enough time. Then I head into CX again followed by Body Flow. Gonna be a great night.

For those of you wondering how Aaron is doing with P90X- Last week he did Monday with me, Tuesday Plyometrics on his own, Wed arms and abs with me, Thurs yoga he SKIPPED, Friday he did legs and abs on his own, and Saturday Kenpo he skipped. He did go back yesterday and did the Kenpo that he missed but then he didn't do the shoulders and back. I called him when it was time for abs, and he came down and did them part way thru. Ha. Tonight he promises to do Plyometrics. We will see...I'm not going to be the Nazi trainer for him. He needs to decide to do it on his own.

I will share the recipes for the chickpeas and the pasta below. They were so good, I have to pass them on!

Recipes of the day:

Sweet and salty roasted chickpeas: from http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/07/sweet-and-salty-roasted-chickpeas-cheap.html
  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or your spice(s) of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. (You didn't miss anything here. You don't oil or season them until after they are done. In fact, for an extra healthy treat, try them when they get out of the oven before even adding the oil. They are enjoyable all on their own.)
  3. Transfer chickpeas to a bowl and mix thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Enjoy hot, or bring to room temperature and store in an air-tight container. Like popped corn, the chickpeas are never as good the next day. However, they are still quite enjoyable 3-4 days after making them.

*Personal note- My chickpeas did not stay crispy crunchy for too long. Not sure why. Next time I will leave them in the oven a little longer to see if that helps.

Quinoa Pasta with spinach and tomatoes: from http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2011/01/quinoa_pasta_with_spinach_and_tomatoes

2 main course servings


  • 1 8-ounce package gluten-free quinoa spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 10- to 12-ounce containers grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 5- to 6-ounce packages baby spinach
  • 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Additional finely grated Parmesan cheese


  • Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return cooked pasta to same pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until beginning to soften and brown in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds.
  • Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to skillet and stir, scraping up browned bits. Add tomato mixture with juices, spinach, 4 tablespoons cheese, 2 teaspoons marjoram, and crushed red pepper to pasta in pot; toss over low heat just until spinach begins to wilt, adding more pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese and remaining 1 teaspoon marjoram. Serve, passing additional cheese.
*Personal notes- I couldnt find quinoa spaghetti so I substituted with brown rice spaghetti like I said above and used only about 4-6oz of pasta. Also, I used one package of frozen spinach and one package of cherry tomatoes. Because I only had one pack of tomatoes, next time I will definitely cut back on the oil. 2T was WAY too much and the tomatoes didnt brown like they were talking about in the directions. Also, I didnt use fresh marjoram. I used dry. And it was fine. I also didnt use as much Parmesan cheese as they said. I didnt think it was necessary. And the red pepper flakes added a nice punch to the pasta.

All in all, both recipes were great and I plan on doing them again. And I have pasta left over for dinner tonight!!