Archive | November 2011

Red Sauce

So I’ve decided to start posting some of my recipes. Some of them are new ones that I’ve recently found, and some are old goodies. I’m really into natural healthy foods lately so I’ve been looking for ways to make some of my old recipes healthier. Cooking is therapeutic for me. It allows me to be creative and there is so much to learn. When I’m trying a new recipe, I will follow the measurements to the tee, but once I’ve figured it out, I will tweak it to what I like. Eventually, I won’t use measuring spoons and just wing it. I am a firm believer that every one (men and women) should learn to cook at least one dish – preferably your significant other’s favorite. It’s always nice to know that some one took the time to make something you love. Cooking is fun so don’t be afraid to give it a try :-)

Here is my Red Sauce recipe. I use it for spaghetti, rigatoni, lasagna, and pretty much any red sauce pasta dishes.



Ground Turkey

1 – 2 c. Spinach (frozen or chopped)

1/2 onion – chopped

5 – 8 mushrooms (use as much as you like) – chopped

1 clove of garlic – minced

Italian Seasoning

Sea Salt

Garlic Powder

Red Wine

1 Jar Red Pasta Sauce

Warm Large cooking pan with olive oil. Brown ground turkey and salt and garlic about 1/2 tsp each)

Brown Ground Turkey and add Seasoning

Add Mushrooms and Onions – cook until softened.

Mushrooms and Onions added

Add Spinach- I like to use frozen spinach but fresh spinach works just as well :-)Season some more with Garlic and Italian Seasoning.

Add Spinach

Once spinach is soft, add 1/4 c of Red Cooking Wine, some more garlic and italian seasoning. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 10 -15 min.

Add Red Wine

Mix well and let simmer for about 10-15 min

Add Red pasta sauce. I add water to the jar to make sure I get all the sauce out.

Add Red sauce and water

Add 1/2 c. of Red Cooking Wine.

Add wine, season one last time, and mix well

Cover and simmer.

Season with Garlic and Italian Seasoning one last time. Make sure all ingredients are mixed well then cover and let simmer on low for at least 30 min. Stir occasionally. The longer you let it simmer, the better it tastes :-)

I love to pour it on top of quinoa :-) You can easily make this vegetarian by replacing the meat with your favorite veggies. The more you use the better!

Or mix with your favorite whole wheat pasta.

On top of Quinoa - My Favorite!

Staying Healthy on Vacation

I recently went to Vegas to celebrate my 30th Birthday :-) We were there for 5 full days. This was the first time I’ve been on vacation since starting my healthy lifestyle. And it was definitely different.

I did not tell myself that I wasn’t going to eat certain foods or that I wasn’t going to drink at all. This was Vegas and my birthday celebration after all :-) But I didn’t want to throw away all the hard work I’ve done either. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I did the Slim Down right before my trip. (Click Here for my results).

So… How did I have a Great Time And Stay Healthy? Well…. I did my best to Make Healthy Choices. What does that mean? It means, I made Staying Healthy a Priority. I planned on it.

Pack Healthy:
First, I made sure to pack my tennis shoes. That way I had no excuse to Not at least run. I planned on being active. (Other great things to pack are a jump rope and resistance bands. They don’t take up much room and you can do some great workouts.)

I also packed healthy snacks both in my purse and in my suitcase. This really helped me stay on track with eating 5 meals a day.

Set Alarm and Get Up!
I slept in but set my alarm for 8a. I got up and ran 3 miles every day (for the first 4 days). We were lucky enough to stay with a friend of mine for the first few days (Thanks Missy and Kendall), so I had a buddy to run with. Let me just say, running 3 miles on flat terrain is way easier than running 3 miles up and down steep hills. I didn’t worry about my time or pace, I just did 3 miles.

Don’t Stress!
Since the rest of the day would be spent running around doing activities, I did not stress myself out about getting more workouts in.

Eating Out…. It’s just one of those things that happens. Our meals tended to be later than usual and there were a couple nights where dinner was at 8p. This is where will power plays a big role. Every night, But One, I kept myself to two drinks. For my body size, this was perfect. For meals, I did my best to eat lean meats and veggies -especially if it was late at night. At the same time, I did not stop myself from having a bite or two of something tasty like the veggie fried rice from Tao.

My one downfall was that I did not stay hydrated :-( I fell back into my bad habit of forgetting to hydrate before leaving because I was so preoccupied with preparing for my trip. And when we got to Vegas, I just continued to forget. But I will definitely make sure not to do that again :-)

All in all, I think I did pretty well. Yes, I could have done better with some things but I know that before finding Tone It Up and changing my lifestyle, I would have done A LOT worse. The last time I was in Vegas I didn’t even think about being healthy at all. I drank myself drunk every night, ate maybe 2 meals a day, and would have laughed in your face if you suggested I go run.

When I look back at myself 3 years ago, I’ve come a long way – especially with how I view health and fitness. It is such a Big part of my life. My friend’s daughter asked me about eating fast food, soda, and candy. I told her I don’t eat or drink that stuff. She told me I was weird. Lol. I have no problem with that. I know that it probably seems weird or strange to some people that I’ve given up fast food, soda, and most sweets. Before it would have bothered me, but now it doesn’t. Peer pressure on vacation can be tough to deal with too. I just ask myself “how will I feel about this tomorrow?” If I am going to so disappointed than I won’t have it. You  have to be selfish with your health. I have gotten better at ignoring what others say and don’t care what they might think. I can be Healthy and have a Great Time!

2011 Thanksgiving 5K

Like so many of my fellow TIU team members, I did a 5K race on Thanksgiving. Ben and I both did the Run to Feed the Hungry Race in Sacramento, our home town :-) It was for a good cause and a great way to stay on track with our fitness goals.

It was a little hectic training for the race. Balancing training and preparing for the holiday was a bit tough. Gio’s schedule changed to half days the whole week before Thanksgiving. This meant that I had a 5 minute window between picking his brother up and picking him up from school. And that I had Both boys at home. Ben and I had to trade off doing our runs and workouts. Despite the craziness, we both managed to get our training in. And I was able to cook for pretty much an entire day for the holiday.

I was kind of dreading this race. I kept hoping that the forecast for rain would change, but it didn’t. This is a big race for Sacramento. There was 27,000 people doing the race. My goal was to beat my last time of 25:30 and I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to because of all the people. My First 5k was small in comparison (only about 1000 participants).

We were up at 6a. Ben’s dad decided that he would bring the boys and cheer us on. Of course, the one time they decide to sleep in is the one day they can’t. Lol. They were not happy to get up with us. But the idea of playing in the rain cheered them up. There is just something about the rain and puddles that kids love :-) We were worried about parking so we headed out early. We got there about an hour before the race started.

Sleepy Seppe ready to go.

It was crazy! There were so many people! I’ve never seen that many people in one place. We parked about a couple blocks away from the finish line. We had to walk around to find out where to pick up our bibs and shirts. And it rained the whole time. I was freezing cold and wet before the race even started. I was suppose to meet up with my friends and brother but there was just so many people there that we couldn’t really find anyone. We headed towards the finish line to find a spot out of the rain that the boys and Ben’s dad could wait at. Java City was open and we were one of the first people there so we grabbed a table and waited for the race to start.

Enjoying Hot coco and a cinnamon bun

Ready for the race!

I had a Luna bar and Zico for breakfast and was glad that the coffee shop had clean bathrooms to use :-) I really didn’t want to use the porter potties by the start line :-/ I was getting a little anxious. It was a big race and it was raining. I was really worried about slipping and falling. I was worried about not reaching my goal. I’m not a super serious race person but I trained hard and I really wanted all my hard work to pay off. There were two types of bibs handed out – one for those that were being timed and one for those not being timed. I had to pay extra to be timed.

They had separate starting places for timed and non-timed racers. I headed up to the front and put myself at the 8min/mile pace marker. It was obvious that people didn’t care about the pace markers because you could tell that there were people who were not being timed in the timed areas. I separated from Ben but he could have easily joined me. I think a lot of people were up front just to be on camera since the local tv station was there broadcasting the race.

Making our way to the start line – View from where Ben started.

Up by the 8min/mile pace marker

Getting a little closer to the start line.

cold and wet :-(

5K Walkers/Joggers heading down J Street

I always get a rush when the count down starts. I told myself that I just had to do my best and see what happened. It wasn’t raining as hard but still raining when the race started. I was able to start off at a jogging pace and got around a large part of the pack. I was hoping to catch up to my brother (who is a very good runner) but it felt like there was never an end to group of people in front of me. The route was really nice and simple. No hills. People were lined up along the streets and cheered the runners on. I really liked that there were mile markers posted. At 2 miles I sped up a bit. As soon as I could see the balloons for the finish line, I sped up some more. There was a teenager running next to me at the end and I made it a point to beat her. lol. I did see my brother at the end of the race. He finished about 5 minutes ahead of me. One day I’ll catch up :-) Ben finished about 5 minutes after me. He wasn’t timed but he did go faster this time around.

Finding Ben at the finish line.

My Results:

Chip Time: 23:40

Chip Pace: 7:38

Gun Time: 24:03

Gun Pace: 7:45

256th Overall (of 2,247 – number of those timed in the 5K)

48th Female (of 1,124)

6th (of 132) in my Age Group

So not too bad for my second race :-) I beat my last time and set a new personal best. I am very happy. I’m thinking of finding a 10K to train for in the next couple months. I’ve really come to enjoy races.

Fruit at the “Post Race Party” – pears, apples, bananas, oranges

They also had bagels, granola bars, and peanut butter cookies.

Line of people waiting to get their goodies.

Bag we used to carry the food and water.

My shirt and bib

Ben’s shirt and bib – he got the only shirt that was different from Everyone else’s :-)

Good Bye 20’s!

Yep! I turned the Big 3-0! It still seems unreal to me though. lol. I remember when I was a teenager I thought 30 was old and it seemed so far away. When I got into my 20’s, I swore that I would never admit I was 30 to anyone and be forever 29. Silly huh? But that’s changed. I am very proud to be 30 years young(as my mother would say).

I realized I wasn’t as young as I use to be a while ago. Guess kids will do that to you? Hahaha. But I really don’t feel that different. I guess getting healthy and in shape has a lot to do with it. I am probably in better shape now than I’ve ever been. Yes, including high school. I weighed less back then, but trust me, I was far from healthy. I was young and I could put my body through a lot (all nighters, junk food, tons of candy, injuries from sports and other activities, and lots of alcohol) and bounce right back…. so not the case now. And I’m ok with that. Now I’m taking good care of my body.

So what can I say about my 30 years of Life? Well, it has definitely been a journey. I’ve made mistakes. Some big, some small. I’ve learned from most of them. Looking back at it all, it’s been a good 30 years despite the hard times. What’s stand out for me is Not any big acomplishment or trip. It’s the people :-) I am lucky to have had so many great and wonderful people in my life.

My dad who took care of the 5 of us on his own – when he didn’t have to. I don’t agree with everything he did, but I am grateful for all that he’s done for me and my brothers. My Grandpa who I admire and look up to. He’s taught me so much about life.
My friend, Chris Quenga who took me under her wing and treated me like her daughter. She helped me so much in high school. My teachers. Yes, teachers. I had some really great ones who taught me more than just a subject in school. My love for learning is because of them.
My friends. I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends. I still care about all the friends I had in high school and still close to a lot of them :-) I can never forget my friends in Florida who were the best part of my 3 years there.
Ben. How many can say that they got the man of their dreams (since I was 13)? Me!!! I have spent over half my life in love with him and I am so happy to be spending the rest of my life with him.
Last but definitely not least – my sons. They have truly given my life meaning and purpose. I may not be super successful by some standards, but I am pretty damn proud to be a stay at home mom to Gio and Seppe. They are my world. They may have not been planned but I am a true believer that Everything Happens for a Reason. To me, all that I’ve gone through was to prepare me for where I am now.

On my birthday (the 28th) I asked myself if I was Happy with where I am now and who I am? The answer…. Yes! Life might not be glamorous and a little tough, but I Love My Life.
I am looking forward to my 30’s. I plan on doing a lot with my life and I know that I’m Not too old to follow my dreams. I’m living a healthier lifestyle and loving it. I’m training for races that I never even considered when I was younger. I’m excited to watch my sons grow up – even though I am also a little sad about it. I know there is still so much to learn and do. And I plan on learning and doing as much as I can :-)

I didn’t do anything special on my birthday but Ben and the boys made me cards and got me my favorite, Roses :-) But that doesnt mean I’m Not doing something…I will be celebrated in Vegas the week after with Ben and my friends :-) I am definitely Not too old to party!

So Good Bye to my 20’s and Hello to my 30’s and the rest of my Life :-)

Cards and Roses from Ben, Gio and Seppe

From My Ninja (well Samurai Power Ranger)

Gio told Ben what to type :-)

My Cool Looking Seppe

From My Seppe Rooo

My Favorite - Roses :-)

SlimDown Round 2 Results!!

Yay!! I finished the Slim Down :-) And this time I didn’t cheat once.  I was kinda nervous stepping on the scale this morning. I was shocked with the results: 105.4 lbs! My goal weight! Ok, technically I’m .4 lbs away, but hey close enough, right? lol.

Here’s my After measurements – it was another pleasant surprise for me :-)

Weight: 105.4 lbs.

Waist: 25 in.

Hips: 33.5 in.

Chest: 31.5 in.

Thighs: 19 in.

Total Weight Lost – 6 lbs.

Total Inches Lost – 3 inches

Yes! I am very excited and motivated.  I was not expecting to be at my goal weight until the end of the year. Now I can move on to my next goal of putting on muscle :-)

I have come a long way since I started to follow Tone It Up.  I found them May of 2011, joined the team at the end of July and started with the Nutrition Plan in August. All together I have lost a total of 12 lbs since August.  15 lbs since May :-)  There are really no words to explain how happy I am right now.  I feel so confident, strong, and toned.  My journey with Tone It Up has proven to me that I Can Do Anything I put my mind to. I Can set Goals And Reach Them :-) It’s great to believe in myself.

Here’s my Before and After Pics from Both Slim Down journeys:

Before and After

So what now? New Goals!! I have a 5K that I will be running on Thanksgiving for Feed the Hungry in Sacramento.  A 10K hopefully in January and I just signed up for the 9 mile course in the Big Sur International Marathon :-) My Big goal: Run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon next October.  The Big Sur and Nike Women’s race are still a little intimidating to me right now but I know that if I keep working hard and train, I’ll be able to do it :-)

I am off to Vegas for a week tomorrow night to celebrate my 30th Birthday :-) But I will be working out and eating healthy.  I may be on vacation but there is No way in hell I’m throwing away all this hard work.  Just looking at the pictures has really reminded me of how far I’ve come and I don’t ever want to go back.  I want to keep moving forward and continue living a healthy lifestyle.

I forgot to mention it in my twitvid today, but Thank You! Thank You ! Thank You to Karena, Katrina, and my whole Tone It Up family. I honestly would not have been able to get here without all your support, advice, inspiration, and motivation. Sometimes I feel alone because I don’t have anyone near me who is on a similar journey.  I am so grateful to all my Tone It Up sisters on twitter who keep me going every day :-) It’s so nice to know that I am not Alone. Love You All <3