healthy snack: hummus

a healthy, cheap snack i love to pack.  carrots and hummus dip.

i buy both in bulk to save money and to stretch our snacks.  Sonny eats carrots as much as i do and we were running out of the smaller 1lb 1.50 packs way too fast.  this big 3lb. bag is just around 3 dollars and some change at Sams.  the Sabra brand is awesome- creamy and flavorful.  they have a huge variety of hummus flavors too like roasted red pepper and  spinach & artichoke.

why buy this size for 3 bucks, when i can get the big tub for just 5?  head to your nearest warehouse club  and get two.

1 serving (2 tbl spoons) of Sabra hummus:

cals: 80

fat: 7g

carbs: 3g

protein:  2g

don’t you despise reading nutrition labels and seeing a serving size in ounces?  how much is 3 ounces of carrots!? i don’t own a food scale, but after some googling, 3 oz. is about 8-10 baby carrots @ 35 cals per serving.  raw veggies are super low in calories and super good for you- so grab a big handful to dip in your hummus for around 150 calories.

what else can you dip in hummus? after ordering some hummus from Niko Nikos  (they were featured on Triple D!!) for the first time a while back, they introduced me to a variety of veggies.  theirs comes with crispy green bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and warm, fluffy pita bread.  celery and carrots sticks are affordable and easy to pack.



i ate out the ENTIRE weekend.  i rarely do that, but i still made some pretty good choices and didn’t go overboard.  after resting for a while saturday afternoon after the 10k (my little guy wouldn’t let me sleep but we still did  some lounging and took it easy), we headed over to olive garden with my cousin and bro.  Sonny had some work to finish up.  alas, the life of a business man.

OG peach tea!  the frozen peach slices are a nice touch.

countless rounds of their caesar salad.

had to get my chicken and gnocchi fix…can’t get enough of this soup. unlimited refills. only had 2 bowls there, but i ordered another round and took it to go.  this soup actually has the most cals out of them all, and the stats are still reasonable and low @ 250 per bowl.   i googled the copy cat recipe and i def. plan to make this at home!

 i’m SO feeling the mini desserts- fun to eat and look at.  and hello, portion controll!!! a lot of restaurants are doing them these days and i appreciate it as does my waistline.  we got a trio- two chocolate mousse and one lemon.

i really wanted a slice of lemon cream cake!! but this did the trick. 230 cals vs. 610 cals and 35 grams of fat.

limoncello mousse with a vanilla cookie crust.

such a perfect, satisfying size.

started sunday morning off with and early church service as usual.  i had my bowl of oatmeal before we left this time because i had to teach a weights class immediately afterwards.  i always eat a little something before hitting the gym and rarely go on an empty stomach…especially to lift weights.  i just can’t get enough of taking or teaching classes- if your gym offers them, TRY THEM. the class environment provides camaraderie, support, accountability, and hopefully some music you like!  i tend to push myself more when taking a class which makes for a tougher workout.

after class i went to join Sonny in the cafe.  what was he doing? what else?!

he needed a few more minutes to finish, so i grabbed a snack and fed the little one before his hunger attitude kicked in.  yeah i know who he got that from.  there were 3 boiled eggs in there… i emptied out the yolks and added ketchup. it tasted better than it looked.  added a stick of string cheese for a small protein filled snack. i also had a hot tea. they had several natural sweeteners to choose from. that totally motivated me to do a future post on the best sweetener to use..there are just SO many these days.  i went with this one though:

 ok enough of that, on to explore city centre. again.

that lululemon is just too close for comfort.

 did some shopping, walking, and playing before lunch.

so serene.


hey hubs!!!! *waving*

on to lunch- almost did Ruggles Green, but decided on Lubys, SMH.

mmmm…meat.  i normally go with their grilled tilapia, but im trying to break my habit of getting the same thing.

‘what can i get for you? ‘ *blank stare*

i ended up with a green salad, grilled basil chicken breast, cabbage, yams, and only the best mac n cheese ever.  they were a little skimpy with my mac n cheese portion size this time! hmph. but it’s all good…they definitely did me a favor.

good-bye february, helloooooooo march.  new month, new race! the Bayou City Classic 10K is in 12 days.  SIGN UP AND COME RUN!!!! (and then eat cause HEB sponsors this race too, hahaha)


rodeo run – the10k experience

bib is ON- it’s time.

it was 80 deg wed. and thurs, then we wake up friday to the low 60’s outta nowhere.  this morning was even colder, naturally! about 53 deg or so.  it really was perfect running weather so i’ll stop complaining.

that should be you!!!  it was a great turn out again this year. over 15,000 participants helped raise 400k+ for Texas high school students via the Rodeo.

 wrappin that thang up!! hubby got a shot of me juuuust before i crossed under the finish line.  the crowds and all the cheering and yelling never fails to help me blast through that final mile.  (spot me yet??)

gun time –  57:50, chip time – 55:07!!!!  i really just wanted to finish under an hour, though.

@ the post-race party. yet another reason i love HEB- they sponsor most of the races i participate in lol and ALWAYS have the best post-race snacks.  they were giving out fudge ice cream bars but the line was RIDICULOUS:(  i was too hungry to wait.

‘hey look, a bull.’ the line to take a pic with this guy was about as ridiculous as the ice cream line.  after making our rounds at the different vendor booths and running into countless friends  (it was seriously a mini reunion at one point) we headed to brunch.

not even gonna attempt to blame this on trying to keep the tradition going- truth is i am such a creature of habit!!! i could think of no other place for breakfast than LePeep..i just couldn’t. and YES, i got the same thing i ordered last time *eye roll*

hot chocolate

egg white scramble with smoked turkey and veggies.  i believe this is called ‘the health nut’ on the menu.  i subbed out the fresh fruit for potatoes cause i had a banana at the post race party. and i love potatoes.  drowned in ketchup.

one wheat pancake.

sonny’s plate. his stack of pancakes aren’t pictured but are hiding to the right.

 CONGRATS to all my friends who ran 5 and 10k’s for the very first time today!! way to set your goal and ACHIEVE IT!!!! EXTREMELY PROUD of yall for taking that giant step and simply signing up.  this is only the beginning;)   

 i’m subbing a weights class at the gym for another instructor tomorrow morning so my muscles really need to recuperate for the rest of the day. headed home for an evening of napping and lounging.  have a fantastic saturday!


before i go to bed

clearly i have a 10k to run in 11 hours!!! i met up with a friend of mine at Cafe Adobe for an early dinner after work tonight.  mexican food is one of my weaknesses, but i did a pretty darn good job of keeping my cool. i don’t want no tummy trouble (nor do the runners behind me) tomorrow.   the chip basket did NOT phase me tonight like it usually does! i’m so proud.  didn’t eat any.  not a one.  normally i’d order a quesadilla or something cheesy, but i kept it light and went with a cup of tortilla soup and a dinner salad.

pretty good.  nice sized chicken chunks, fresh avocado, tomato, and tortilla strips made the soup hearty and filling. the salad was fresh and crisp.  i also had some tangy avocado ranch dressing on the side.   my friend’s plate looked and smelled scrumptious.

it was sizzling beef something..i can’t remember. looks like fajitas with peppers and onions and a side of cilantro rice. the portion sizes were just right and  that creamy green stuff was delicious! tasted like avocado mousse.

 i’m up reading my newest mag and snacking on sweet & salty check mix….

i’m gonna pick out a celebratory dessert to make for after tomorrow’s run, ha.  ipod is charging and i’m hitting the sack, NOW. g’nite!



q: i am going to give breastfeeding my best shot- what pump do you use or suggest as i will be going back to work soon?

a: i can only vouch for the one i own and i LOVE it- it’s Medela brand, of course!  i’m  super satisfied with my purchase, and that lifetime warranty helps me sleep better at night.

Medela Pump in Style - Backpack Model

 i was using an older Meleda model pump (family hand-me-down) that broke on me after about 4 months or so, bummer.  i hadn’t done any research on pumps and i needed one ASAP, so i went and got a rental from Walgreens for 60 bucks in the meantime.  i took a month and scaled through online product reviews  and got some advice from my mommy friends.  my top priorities were dual pump, durable, fast, and light.  after lugging that giant rental pump around, i soooo appreciate the discreet size and style of the model i chose.  consider your own situation and preferences before buying:

  how often will you need to pump?

are you a stay-at-home mom, or working mom? full or part-time?

price range?





  i planned to b-feed for over a year, i’m half in the office and half out, and my little guy will have plenty of siblings;)  this was the one.

the motor/suction thing is in the bottom compartment. just connect the tubes to the bottles, plug it up (if you don’t have batteries of course) and pump.

in the top compartment, there’s room for the pumping bottles as well as a little cooler (ice pack included) to store the milk until you get it to the freezer or fridge. convenient. yes.  there is a tote bag style available too, but i chose the backpack cause it keeps my arms free.

so, what can this puppy do?  well, anything over 15oz (in an 8 hr period) is a great day in the dairy dept. for me.

i pump 2-3 times (11am, 2pm, 5pm) throughout my work day. that dual pump gets me in and out after about 10 minutes each time. amazing.


pack it up

after a big grocery shopping trip, the fun really begins.  i pack lunch for Sonny and i at least 4 times a week.  to maintain a healthy diet overall, preparing your own meals will always be the way to go.  it’s cheaper, you eat cleaner, and it’s superior for weight loss and maintenance vs. eating out.  you are in complete control. i prepare the lunches the night before so we can grab them and go in the mornings.

chex mix, banana, black beans & cheese, carrots & hummus, blackberries, grilled chicken salad

get your lunches together right after dinner if there is any left.  excuse our messy fridge:)

strawberries & blueberries, babybel cheese, fat-free plain yogurt, tuna salad, green salad

it’s still there, i know.

i shoot for a satisfying 400-600 calories for lunch.  too little calories and i’m searching for more food within the hour.  too many calories and i’m napping at my desk afterwards.  an ideal, balanced lunch should provide a mixture of vitamins, minerals, fat, carbs, and lean protein.

i normally stick to 1 serving of each:

  • 1 lean protein
  • 1 healthy fat
  • 1 low starch veggie
  • 1 starch (can be another veggie or a whole grain bread product)
  • 1-2 snacks (one mid-morning and one post lunch)
  • something sweet and small…yep, everyday.

 gotta have snacks. always. my favs:

mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios), fresh fruit, veggies w/ hummus dip, plain greek yogurt (0%, 2%), cottage cheese, babybel cheese wedges, wheat thins, special K crackers, fiber one bars, fresh popcorn, turkey jerky. need more? check her out- ideas GALORE.

what i packed for Sonny today:

  • lean protein – baked tilapia
  • veggies/low starches – kidney beans & corn/cilantro/tomato salad
  • starch – yellow rice (could really do without)
  • snacks- 1 tangelo & 1 banana
  • pre-workout snack – handful of almonds
  • dessert – 3 oreos (hey, he works hard)

 sometimes i run outta food and have even gone to take a peek inside that horrible, horrible thing- the vending machine.  and if you’re hungry enough and off your game, you might let something like this entice you:

 i did a double take that day!  what tha? don’t do it.

as of late though, the vending machine has been getting a gradual makeover-  i walked past the one in my building just last week and was THRILLED to see these:

pistachios!! great choice.  right in btw the candy bars, haha. i’ve also seen fiber one bars too, nice.  choose wisely and read the label- you know the drill.  sometimes it’s all you have to work with though- understandable.  running outta food is one thing, but skipping lunch is unacceptable.  your blood sugar level plummets and you become irritable and sluggish.  ALWAYS make time for lunch!!


6 days to go

6 days to go until my 10k and how about i didn’t run AT ALL last week.  i am the worst when it comes to training for my races, goodness.  it rained all day friday and saturday, but sunday we woke up to the exact opposite.  i got suited up and did my 7 miles- so glad that’s over with.

i need to invest in one of those arm band thingies for my ipod.  i always feel like it’s going to drop but it hasn’t yet.  i got my hair permed thursday, so after two days off lol, it’s time to sweat.  i did the best i could and wrapped it before my run. i sweat in my head and there is really nothing i can do about that:(

leaving my head uncovered and pinning my hair down so my head can breathe has been working for me so far.

i wear the headband to help my headphones/ear plugs (whatever they are called ) stay put.  when i get sweaty, they tend to pop out and mess up my run flow.

however it does a number on my edges. sigh…i’ll find a solution to this someday.  what do you do with you hair when you exercise? advice please!

anyway here are some trainings:

5K – quick

5K – long term

10K – quick

10K – long term

you get a free jar of HEB’s holy pasole when you buy the tortilla soup.  so i had two jars waiting to be used.  we have company coming over a little later so i made another one of their featured recipes:

i did healthify this up as best i could- i used 93/7% lean ground turkey, only 1 package of corn bread, and 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese.

there was plenty of corn bread to cover the top btw…didn’t miss it.  ok i did miss it.  man i love cornbread.

done after 20-25 min.

aaaaaaaaand we’re off to another 1st birthday party- they’ll be plenty of those coming up this year including our little guy’s big day!!


le’s lean turkey spaghetti meat sauce

friday is HERE.  we have a super busy weekend and i’m ready to dive right on in.  sooooo glad it’s a long holiday weekend at that.  here’s the turkey spaghetti recipe, finally.  nutritional stats included; pow.

le’s lean turkey spaghetti meat sauce

the stuff:

  • 1 lb 97% or 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 med shallot (or garlic if you prefer)
  • 2 med tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini OR fresh/ 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 cup mushrooms (white or portobello)
  • couple sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • couple sprigs of fresh parsley
  • couple fresh basil leaves
  • 1 can all natural tomato sauce of your choice
  • 2-3 tbsp Liquid Aminos
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Garlic & Herb no salt seasoning

*you can switch out the vegetables for your fav kinds just as long as you add them!  fresh is always best. they make the sauce more filling so you’re not just eating tons of meat (and/or pasta) in addition to providing their own special nutrients (various amounts of vitamins A,B,D, E, etc.)

do this:

in a med-high heated pot, throw in the chopped onions and shallots and let them simmer a moment, about 2 min. go ahead and throw in the meat so they can cook together.

completely cooked after about 10-15 min or so.  i still drained off the liquid, but it wasn’t that much of course since i used 99% lean meat.

while the meat and onions cooked, i chopped up all the veggies and fresh herbs, then added the aminos and seasonings.

  i didn’t even want to stir this- it was so pretty. (i only used half the red pepper cause it was pretty big.)

eventually, i combined everything.

  i do have a recipe for my own sauce, but i use the canned stuff too.  this giant can is less than a dollar and taste just as good if not better than the fancy jarred varieties. *all natural sauce is preferred though and can be found at any health food store. one down side to the canned and jarred stuff is the sodium content. and the low sodium sauces have ZERO flavor.  this is where the liquid aminos come in handy.

i always forget to start boiling my water from the beginning! i made pasta for Sonny i let my sauce simmer on low for about 10 min while i waited…and waited.

 a watched pot never boils, indeed.

pasta down first, then meat sauce. i have never liked them combined together initially!  let me mix them myself on my own plate.  any kind of cheese is cool (almond cheese, parmesan, shredded cheddar, etc.).  i cut up 1 babybel cheese wheel and sprinkled it on top.  oh and fresh basil as garnish.

this (and all other gumbo/ragu type dishes) tastes even better the next day and the day after that.  after five or so though, smell it first.

Nutritional stats for the entire pot of meat sauce:

cals : 615

fat : 2g

carbs : 52g

protein : 30g

fiber : 15g

sodium : 450mg

i estimate the whole pot to be around 7-8 cups.  so, 1 serving (1 cup) of sauce is approximately:

cals : 90

fat : 0.2g

carbs : 7g

protein: 4g

fiber: 2 g

sodium : 64mg

remember, the nutritional stats vary according to what you put in there.  if you’d like to keep your meal stats nice and low, stick with spaghetti squash for ‘pasta’.  however, the meat sauce is so low cal, whole wheat pasta is still a great option.

enjoy your long holiday weekend- make some spaghetti while you’re at it!



q: are you pregnant? why are you still taking prenatal pills?

a: nope, it’s cause i’m breastfeeding.  even if i wasn’t, i’d still be taking them though.  prenatal vitamins are more so for the mom to ensure she is getting enough nutrients while breastfeeding.  baby will get the proper amount via the breast milk, although some will pass through via breastfeeding anyhow.  win-win for both parties. 1 year was my minimum goal, and i’m almost 9 months in.

per my OB, ‘postpartum health is extremely important- you’ve got a baby to take care of’.  good nutrition can make the difference in the quality of your breast milk and how quickly your body recovers after child birth.  to ensure that mom and baby continue to receive the necessary vitamins and minerals for ultimate health, keep poppin those prenatals.


90 mins in the saddle

my hat goes off to MS150 (150 mile bike ride from houston to austin, tx) participants and pretty much cyclist EVERYWHERE as i barely got through the 1.5 hr. spinning class i took this afternoon.  and don’t even let me get started on that bike seat, my goodness.  once you get past that (it really shouldn’t bother you anymore after the first few times) the positives totally outweigh the negatives and the benefits of cycling are pretty awesome.  i don’t own a performance bike yet, but i do a cycle class (also referred to as spin) 3 or 4 times a month to shock my body, change up my workout, and to keep from plateauing.  also, it’s:

i don’t know any unicyclers, but i love how this chart shows various body weights and different types of cycling. the more detail, the better.

Activity (1 hour)
130 lb
155 lb
180 lb
205 lb
Cycling, mountain bike, bmx
Cycling, <10 mph, leisure bicycling
Cycling, >20 mph, racing
Cycling, 10-11.9 mph, light
Cycling, 12-13.9 mph, moderate
Cycling, 14-15.9 mph, vigorous
Cycling, 16-19 mph, very fast, racing
Stationary cycling, very light
Stationary cycling, light
Stationary cycling, moderate
Stationary cycling, vigorous
Stationary cycling, very vigorous

looking to slim down overall?  mix up your workouts and try spinning as your cardio component sometimes.  don’t worry, you don’t have to go buy those special cycling shoes if you don’t want to.

 most gyms have the bikes with the dual pedal, so you can’t use that excuse.  just go try the class!

i went grocery shopping with my mom and aunt yesterday (hey, it’s what we do) so i have a fridge full of goodies.  this morning before church i had a small bowl of yogurt with some blackberries, almonds, pumpkin flax granola from WF, and my prenatal vitamin.  didn’t need any honey as the granola was sweet enough.

but back to our grocery shopping trip yesterday-  HEB had this awesome soup we sampled and i snagged the recipe card for it:

it was so, so good. creamy, cheesy, all that.  after actually reading the recipe card tho, i see why. velveeta cheese and 1 WHOLE pint of heavy cream!!! i love you regardless, but really HEB?   since they didn’t supply the nutritional stats, i did them myself.

8oz of velveeta – 672 cals

1 jar of tortilla soup – 280 cals

1 can black beans – 300 cals

1 pint heavy cream – 1642 <—-WOW

i haven’t even added the darn chicken yet and we are already at 2894 calories.  i knew i could do better, so you know i did. i used just two chicken breasts instead of an entire bag of fajita chicken thighs (284 cals vs. 720).  i threw them in the crock pot and sprinkled them with just a little of my ranch dressing mix.  they were cooking while i was suffering in that cycle class.  after about 4 hours or so on high they were good to go as white meat normally cooks faster than dark.

 i took them out and let them cool before shredding. please know you can also pop them in a 350 deg. oven for about 45 mins or even grill them until they are cooked through evenly if you are short on time.

there’s the jar of soup (280 cals), the sodium-less black beans (about 300 cals), and the half and half (71 cals for 1/2 cup).

pay no attention to that expiration date- i tasted it first L O L. i discarded all the leftover liquid from the chicken breasts, but i didn’t wipe the crock pot clean. no need, as those flavor bits help to enhance the soup. i added all the ingredients back in, including the 5 laughing cow cheese wedges (175 cals total) i forgot to include in the pic.  then, i dumped in green onion and fresh cilantro.

i let it cook on high for just 1 hour so the wedges could melt- turned out as creamy and as fabulous as HEB’s version, and i saved us over 600 calories a bowl. 903 vs. 277 to be exact.

topped it with some tortilla strips and pow.  (you get a free bag of strips when you buy the jarred soup.)

this will be our lunch for tomorrow- if we don’t finish it all tonight!