Monthly Archives:

April 2015


Reuben Baked Potatoes

It felt so good to start my day with stretching – it kind of eased my way into the day.  It’s been in the low 30s in the morning still around here, so it was nice to be comfy in my pjs doing stretches.

I had a low carb breakfast yesterday.  Not that I am doing a low carb diet at all, but I think it helps to mix things up a bit.  I pan fried up a 4 ounce pork chop and made an egg white spinach Cabot cheese scramble on the side.   And a touch of hot sauce.

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Later in the morning I got this email!

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Eek!  Get ready for Race Day!  My last race I did was in September of 2012


I’ve been watching Spartan videos on youtube, and it’s been inspiring to say the least.  I’ve said it before, but my only goal is to finish it – nothing more or nothing less.

I got my walking shoes on at lunch – it was 60 degrees and perfect walking weather.

PicMonkey Collage - walk

I was more than ready to fix my lunch.  When I was thumbing through my Cabot Creamery cookbook, I stopped in my tracks as I saw they had a recipe for a Reuben twice baked potato.  What??!!  I love, love, love Reuben sandwiches and like most people who love them, critique pretty much every one I eat.  I was lucky that my friend Alison gave me a jar of homemade sauerkraut that one of her husbands friends made – so good!  I am writing this recipe for 2 servings, and I adjusted the recipe a bit to bump up the protein:

  • 8 ounce baked potato, sliced in half and most of potatoes taken out of the shell
  • 4 ounces chopped deli corned beef
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (mine was 2%)
  • 1/3 cup sauerkraut
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 2 ounces shredded 50% reduced fat Cabot cheese

In a bowl combine all the ingredients except for the Cabot cheese and mix well.  Put that filling back into the two potato halves – really stuff it in there!   Top each with 1 ounce of the shredded cheese and put it in the toaster oven until the cheese is nice and toasted and melty.

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Yep, this one is a keeper!  I had some veggies and fruit on the side, but the potato was the star of the show. 

I had back on tap for strength yesterday:

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That set above, plus abs on the ball took me about 35 minutes.  New PR for me yesterday – I am now up to 40 pounds on my Lat Pull-down!

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Then I finished with a 2 mile walk

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When I walked into the gym it was near 65 degrees – a little over an hour later and it had dropped down to 50 and was on and off raining the whole drive home.  But I got to see a rainbow!  For the record, I pulled over to take this picture, I wasn’t driving. Open-mouthed smile

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Since it was nearly 7 by the time I got home and I was hangry, I decided to make a quick one pot pasta dish.  Well, two pots – Hannah had the boiling water started for me for the pasta.  I started cooking the one pound of pasta while I got everything together in the second skillet.  I sliced up two Italian sausages (I used Johnsonville) and started cooking them in a pan.  As those started to cook, I chopped up two zucchini in slices, then cut them in half and added them to the skillet.  Since there was a bit of fat in the sausage, I didn’t add any extra oil, but at this point, I added 1/4 cup of beef broth to help the zucchini cook faster.  Then I chopped up two cups of baby spinach.  Once the pasta was finished cooking, I drained it, added that to the pot, then added 1 cup of tomato puree, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, pinch of crushed red pepper and reduced the heat to medium low and mixed it all together and cooked another few minutes.  At the very end I tossed in the baby spinach, cooked for another minute, then added 1/3 cup 2% milk and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and cooked for another minute.   This was literally ready in about 20 minutes.

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It ended up being a really clear night – the moon was so bright!

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And I got in a good amount of steps!

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Is anyone watching American Idol?  I am hoping that either Clark or Jax wins, we’ll just have to see.  I don’t even know what the ratings are on that show this season – Tony used to tell me all the time how low they were in years past and wondered why I watched it – I just love music!

Alright, off to do my stretches in my p.j.s – I still have 45 minutes before I have to leave the house – plenty of time. 

Here is my Throw Back Thursday for you – this was probably taken in 2005 when we were driving to Florida for Spring Break.  Joe spent half the spring break with his Mom and we got him the second half.  We stopped at a wine tasting and didn’t realize until about half way through the tour that ALL the wine was moscato – super sweet and gross, but I love this pic of us.  And yes, I will have those calf muscles back again!


Make it a great day – and give your spouse or significant other an extra hug today.  Open-mouthed smile


Strong Not Skinny

I know I am only on Day 3 of this intuitive eating thing, but I can’t tell you how free I feel not having to type everything I put in my mouth into a program to see how many calories, how many carbs, how much protein.  I’ve been doing this a long time (shit, since I started this blog in 2008!) and I don’t know if it’s because I have more time now to just concentrate on me now that Tony isn’t with me anymore, or what, but I no longer have a “magic” number that I want to scale to be.  I want to be strong, not skinny, and I think that’s helping me make better choices because I have to simply have to ask myself if that action will get me stronger – like not waking up in the morning to go walking, or eating the cookies by the coffee machine – and the answer is usually no and I can just continue on this path I am on. 

PicMonkey Collage - river

And there in lies the question.  What path am I on?  I’ve felt kind of lost these last several months (can you believe in a few days Tony will be gone six months already?!) and I was a caretaker for so long and I happily took on that role, but now that I don’t have that anymore, I feel a bit. . .  lost.  I am still taking my life a day at a time, and I know at some point the answer will hit me on what to do with my life.  Until I figure it out, I’ll just continue to ramble – ha!

Breakfast was delicious – scrambled ham, egg whites and spinach on high fiber English muffins with Cabot cheese and fruit on the side. 

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While it was only 36 degrees when I took my morning walk, but was 55 degrees by lunch time.  I just grabbed my phone and left the building and did a quick 45 minute walk.  The sun felt glorious on my face!  Momma, I did trim my bangs a bit!

PicMonkey Collage - lunch

I had leftover copycat Portillo salad for lunch, except without the steak, and I have to tell you, it was a lot better with the steak!   Still good though – but you know how I feel about my beef!

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There were tons of teenage boys at the gym last night – so I had to kind of make up my own strength program based on what was available.  One thing I did that was hard as shit were squats against the wall with a balance ball – holy balls my legs were shaking!  I did five sets of one minute, and I literally thought my legs were going to fall off after that last minute.  Then finished up with 2.5 miles on the treadmill before I could feel my blood sugar starting to drop – it was 79 when I left the gym.

PicMonkey Collage - gym

My step-son Joe and I have been talking because he’s doing a Spartan race in a week and a half, although his is EIGHT MILES LONG!  Mine is only 3 miles but we were talking that there are a couple things that no amount of training can prepare us for – such as the rope climb and the spear throw.

spear throw

I am up to 50 pounds on my bench presses, so I think I will be able to do it, but I texted him the other day and said “do you think there will be knots on the rope?”  He replied “no, I don’t think so.”  Damn.  But guess what?  I saw this picture on Instagram and I think maybe the women’s races have knots on the rope – I can totally do that!!  That’s pretty much what I will look like on my race day – ha!  I have no goal but to finish.

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I ended up making burgers for dinner with sweet potato and Idaho potatoes on the side.  I ditched my bun and put my burger on a bed of baby spinach, and topped it with American cheese, hot giardiniera, dill pickles and a tiny bit of mustard!

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So I basically kicked ass on my steps!  A part of me was going to walk around my yard to get to 20k, but I said fuck it – close enough!

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I am opting to do Classical Stretch today instead of walking outside – the PT said that my hamstring, calf and thigh muscles are still really tight, and need to stretch out more during the week.  Make it a great day!


Cabot Cheese Creamery Cookbook and Cheese Giveaway!

My alarm went off yesterday morning and I was so nice and cozy.  I was under not only my sheets and comforter, but also our down comforter because I slept with the window open – perfect sleeping conditions!  Until I lifted off the covers and damn, it was cold!  I turned off the alarm and checked my weather app – no wonder – it was 36 degrees out!  But it was sunny, so instead of climbing back into bed, even before I went to the bathroom I put my shoes on.  Yes, I walk in whatever I wear to bed.  No judging Open-mouthed smile

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Ally, this was the same river your hotel was on – see how much calmer it is 30 miles north?!   I took this picture on my last road home, and wouldn’t you know, the green orb was with me!  I’ve talked about how lately this spot has been in some of my pics – it’s never happened before in any of the other pictures I’ve taken in the same neighborhood in the same conditions over the last 14 years – I like to think it’s Tony taking a walk with me.

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Over the weekend I had some bananas the really really needed to be used up or tossed out.  I stumbled upon Minimalist Baker’s Banana Bread Granola.  Huh.   I did have to adapt it a bit with what I had on hand, and I baked it twice because after the first baking it was still kind of chewy in the middle and I only like crunchy granola.  My changes are in red.

  • 3 cups rolled oats (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans  one cup mixed canned nuts
  • 3 Tbsp raw sugar   3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp flax seed  (didn’t have any)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp maple syrup, agave or honey if not vegan  1/3 cup of sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed (~1/2 cup) mine were really ripe, so I used two bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix the oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, flaxseed and nuts together in a large bowl (see photo).
  3. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, warm the coconut oil, maple syrup (or agave or honey) and vanilla extract. Once liquidy, remove from heat and whisk in banana puree until well combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly onto one or two baking sheets (making sure it doesn’t get crowded) and bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown. The coconut oil will help it crisp up well, but be sure to watch it carefully as it can brown quickly.   At this point I broke up the granola into clumps, reduced the oven to 250 and baked for another 20 minutes.  It will all be crunchy once it’s completely cooled.
  5. NOTE: If you don’t toss the granola while baking, it will make get clumpy, which I personally love. But if you want a more crumbly granola, toss/stir a bit at the halfway point to break up the clumps.
  6. Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and toss just a bit to let the heat escape. Cool completely on the baking sheet or in a heat-safe bowl. Store in a container or jar with an air-tight seal – it should keep for a couple weeks.

I ended up making a strawberry banana bread granola parfait with plain Chobani – so good!   I have to say, it was weird to be putting bananas in granola!

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I had physical therapy again yesterday.  It’s at a weird time, 1:30 in the afternoon and I can never decide whether to eat before or after I come back.  I decided I was still full from the parfait so I ate afterwards.  I went to grab my gym bag to change into sweats before going across the street, only to find out that I packed a pair of really tight shorts that I normally just wear around the house, and a size Medium pair of sweats I just bought because they were only $1.00 at Goodwill and I was planning to save them until they actually fit.  They were super tight and I felt like a sausage in them, but I got through all my stretches.  I got the rolling pin on my quad again and it felt really good!

By now, I am assuming that most regular readers know that I puffy heart Cabot cheese.  Like a lot.  I may even have a separate compartment in my fridge for my Cabot cheese.

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About a month ago they sent me their new Cookbook – The Cabot Creamery cookbook.  When I was meal planning I decided to incorporate some of their recipes into my weekly menu.  When I cleaned out the fridge and saw that I had a whole head of broccoli that needed to be used up, a quick look on Page 84 and there was their recipe for broccoli cheddar soup!

Cabot Cheese Creamery Broccoli Potato Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (um, you know that wasn’t in my soup!)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2 cups unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 14 oz. can of chicken broth
  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups extra sharp Cabot cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Now their recipe calls for melting the butter adding potatoes and onion, cooking occasionally for five minutes, then adding the flour and cooling for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Gradually stir in the milk and broth, bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are nearly tender, about 5 minutes.  Add broccoli and cook until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes longer.  Remove from eat, stir in Cheddar cheese.  Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  2. The only problem with their recipe above, is that there was no way that my veggies were cooked through in that 15 minutes.  I cooked it over medium low heat after adding the milk and broth for about 30 minutes, so probably closer to 40 minutes from beginning to end.  I pureed mine too, but you could leave it chunky if you want – it’s must my personal preference.

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I garnished my soup with some chopped radish and a bit more cheddar cheese.  On the side I had some extra grilled chicken that I cooked the night before last and had open face chicken and spinach sandwiches with more Cabot cheese.  Duh.  I used to think their extra sharp was my favorite, but this is the first time I’ve had the 12 month aged cheese and it’s remarkable.  If I could I’d just have a block of that cheese on my desk and just slice it off bit by bit until it was all gone.

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So after work I wasn’t going to the gym because I didn’t really have anything to wear that I’d be comfy in, so I decided to come home.  I thought Jacob was going to be working, but Hannah had his keys in her purse at work and when he called to tell them he’d be late for work, he got called off because it wasn’t busy.  I had pinned this recipe for Portillos Chopped Salad, because I know it’s one of her favorites.  I was going to put tiny chopped chicken in her salad, but once I knew Jacob was going to be home, I decided he and I would have some steak on ours.

I really didn’t follow the recipe that closely – Hannah just kept chopping stuff up – romaine, butter lettuce, carrots, cucumber.  She had cooked up ditalini pasta and had that cooling in the pasta drainer.  She added the cooked pasta to the veggies, and then everyone kind of plated their own with additional fixins:  mine had blueberries, craisins, a few pecans, red cabbage, goat cheese, Cabot cheese, and steak – I used Paul Newman’s light balsamic – just over a tablespoons because the salad was so flavorful on it’s own, you didn’t need to bury it in salad dressing.

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Holy balls this was delicious – the tartness of the craisins and goat cheese paired well with the beef and blueberries.  I literally licked my plate clean.

Since I still had to get my steps in, and it was only 6:50 by the time we finished dinner, I set off on my walk.  Loving that it is light until nearly 7:55!  And guess who joined me for my walk?  Tony!  The biggest orb I’ve seen to date!  Now I know there is an explanation on how these are appearing on my camera, just odd that they are showing up now.

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It was a cool 50 degrees and perfect walking weather.  I ended up walking about 45 minutes.  I took this picture with my panoramic on my iPhone – the left was the road ahead of me and the right was the road behind me.

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And I found a heart on my walk – love.

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I managed to do pretty well considering I was basically only doing stretching at lunch at PT.  As long as it’s nice out in the morning I plan on getting my day off on the right foot.   I also just realized I never changed my weight on my fit bit app!

And it was nice not to enter all my food on today.  I have to say that after participating in the protein challenge I have a pretty good idea on how much 30 grams of protein looks like, and I think I did pretty good because I had no desire to eat in between meals today, so I was probably pretty close.

My good friends at Cabot are thanking me for my continued support of their products by having them them offer up a Cabot Creamery Cookbook and $25 Cabot Gift Box to give away to my blog readers.  Just simply answer one question:  what’s your favorite way to eat cheese?  I’ll pick a winner on Friday’s post.  See why I puffy heart Cabot?!

Alright, here is day two of intuitively eating.  And I’ve packed the right clothes in my gym bag, so I’ve got that going for me!  Make it a great day!