Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Never-fail Scalloped Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter (I can't believe its not butter)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 cups fat-free milk

1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1-3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 5 medium)

1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

In a small nonstick skillet, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until blended.

Place half of the potatoes in a 1-1/2 qt baking dish coated with cooking spray; layer with half of the onion and cheese sauce. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly and potatoes are tender.

makes 6 servings

Nutrition facts:

3/4 cup equals

196 calories

6g fat (4g saturated fat)

18mg cholesterol

530mg sodium

29g carbohydrate

3g fiber

7g protein

Creamed Turkey on Mash Potatoes

This quick and easy meal is a guaranteed family hit. Even the 4 year old asked for seconds. Too good not to share!

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 Tbsps butter

2 Tbsps flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp white pepper

2 cups fat-free milk

2 cups cooked turkey breast

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

2 cups mashed potatoes (with added milk and butter)

In a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter until tender. Sprinkle with the flour, salt and pepper. Stir in the milk until blended.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Add turkey and vegetables; cover and simmer until heated through. Serve over mash potatoes.

Serves 4


1 cup Turkey mixture with 1/2 cup potatoes equals:

358 calories

11 g fat

6g saturated fat

89 mg cholesterol

628 mg sodium

35 g carbohydrates

4 g fiber

29 g protein

Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes with Fruit

Using Buckwheat flour instead of the wheat-based variety to produce light and tender pancakes that the whole family will love and will help them start the day right.

1 cup buckwheat flour
2 Tbsps brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp EACH ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
1 egg
1 cup 1% buttermilk
1 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Whisk the egg, buttermilk and butter; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot nonstick griddle coated with cooking spray. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes; cook until second side is golden brown.

Top with fruit of choice.

YIELD: 4 servings

2 pancakes equals:

195 calories
6g fat
3g saturated fat
63mg cholesterol
667mg sodium
31g carbohydrates
3g fiber
7g protein

Weekday Chicken Potpie

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 1/2 cups fat free milk, divided

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/8 reaspoon pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast

3 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

1 1/2 cups (6oz) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1 tube (11.3 oz) refrigerated dinner rolls

In a large nonstick saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in 3/4 cup milk, broth, sage and pepper. In a small bowl, combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken, broccoli and cheese; heat through.

Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Separated rolls; arrange over chicken mixture. Bake uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and rolls are golden brown.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts:

3/4 cup chicken mixture with 1 roll equals-

326 calories

9g fat

70mg cholesterol

511mg sodium

28g carbohydrate

2g fiber

33g protein

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tips on Motivation and staying active.

I have been asked how I stay motivated and active. So I decided to start a guide on how I have found the best way to always stay motivated and moving!


Although I do enjoy working out, that hasn't always been the case. In fact, I used to dread it. So how did I stay on top of it?

Well one way I did was dress for working out. If I spent the money on the clothes and then wore the, I would be more inclined to work out. Think about this way, if you had your hair done, a killer dress and your heels on, wouldn't you be more likely to go out and show it off?

That is the same principle. I get my mind geared up, that when I have this certain type of clothes I WILL work out.

Once you get in that mind frame, you would be amazed at how quickly the motivation will come and stay.

Another way is I have that Fat picture. You know the one. The one where you can see every roll, every inch of an unhealthy life and the misery on my face. It keeps me in check. I have it memorized, so every time I want to quit, I pull that up and I remember I don't want to be there. This also stops me from putting certain foods in my mouth. Do I need that Ice cream? The donut? That cake and brownie over there? NO, I do not need that! I what I need is this apple, carrots, grapes and bananas.

Staying Active:

I wasn't born in a gym rat. I actually never worked out in a gym till AFTER I lost 75lbs. I honestly did not want to pay for a member ship when I couldn't use it to the fullest. So I started walking.

Every day after work I would go for a 25 minute walk. The more I walked I noticed the quicker I could do it and the farther I could go. Before I knew it I was walking for an hour burning 400 calories. I had my daughter in a stroller and she loved our evening walks. It turned into a daily habit that I was proud of.

Then I started going to the gym to lift weights, increase cardio and take classes. Now, I have heard many thoughts and fears about the gym, and I just wanted to set the record straight, at least from my point of view.

1. "I have no one to go with". Now I understand wanting to work out with someone. It can make the time go faster and if someone is waiting on you, you are more than likely going to go. But never fully relay on someone else to make you work out. If you get in the habit, what is going to happen if they get sick? Or if they go on vacation? Or anything else? You are more likely to stop going.

2. "I am afraid of others judging me". When I am working out to my max, I do not notice ANYTHING. The world around me blacks out and all I can see is what I am doing. I could have someone next to me shouting my name with no pants on and I can honestly say I wouldn't notice. If I start noticing others and judging them, then I am not working out as hard as I should. I would need to pay attention to what I am doing more than what you are doing.

And you should be proud of yourself for even trying than scared of what others might think.

3. "I don't know what to do". This one I understand fully. But thankfully we have this wonderful thing in our lives called Google and Youtube. I have looked up so many exercies on my journey that it is hard to remember them all. Sometimes I go to the gym with a journal with my findings to try out. Heck, I will take my magazine in that states "Do these for killer abs." and "Want Jessica Alba's arms? Well here is how". Also, a lot of machines have pictures on what to do; gyms offer classes to teach you the right technique; or there is always the option of paying for a personal trainer till you get the hang of it.

I hope these help and remember, you are doing this for YOU and no one else!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

And on the seventh day..

I rested.

Resting or taking a day off is good for the muscles, the body and the mind. You are not only letting you body recover from the abuse you are putting your body through you are keeping your workout from seeming like a chore and gearing up for an intense session!

Taking a day won't add pounds you are trying to lose; it shouldn't deter you from working, in fact it should make you want to do more. Think of it as a "me day" or a "spa day". Do something for yourself or have fun. The last thing you want to do is wear yourself down. Listen to your body and what it needs. Today, if I would have even gone towards the gym my body would have revolted against me!

What do I do on my days off from the daily grind that is working out? I'm glad you asked!

I worked on this wonderful blog, which is always fun.

Did laundry, which is a never ending cycle.

I hung out with a friend.

The little man and myself watched an episode of criminal minds

I made homemade baby food for well, the baby.

I planned my next weeks dinners

Oh and I started putting a list together of recipes to post on here!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

"What is your secret?'

When I started posting my journey on social media sites, I have been asked over and over "What is your secret?"

This question makes me stop and think. I really don't believe I have a special secret that no one knows about. In fact, I believe everyone knows what the secret is, but they don't want to hear it. No, they are hoping there is a special way to juggling mommy hood, working out, eating right and running a house (along with all my added activities and volunteer work).

But sadly, there isn't. At least not one that I am aware of. So back to the question at hand. What is my secret? Well here it is:

1. Prioritize my life. I have to stop and think what is more important. Of course my children come first, but it is more than that. My health is also important and so is my husband. If I don't clean the house but I'm having a fun filled family time, then that is what is important. If I have to stay up late to get a work out in, then that is what is important. I might not have the cleanest house on the block and I may always have baby toys all over the house all the time but that is alright with me. My children are loved, I am in the best shape of my life, and I support my husband in everything he does. Those are my priorities.

2. Support System. I have the most amazing support system. My husband is my biggest cheerleader; my friends keep me going; and my daughter is my biggest fan. With all of those put together I have a strong support system. They know what is important to me and not only allow me to be me, they celebrate it. I have put working out on the top of that list and they know I will move mountains once I put my mind to something. There is no stopping me so might as well support me!

3. Eating Right. This one is a big one. I not only eat right, I make sure my family does as well. If you are busting your rear end at the gym but eating Burger King everyday, you are defeating the purpose. I enjoy cooking, which helps, and I love trying out healthy recipes that taste amazing. I don't do fad diets where you eat very little, oh no. I love food! I make sure my recipes are healthy but have all the flavor. Fad diets are called "Fads" for a reason, because they don't last. However, a healthy lifestyle does last. I am a connoisseur of healthy cook books. In fact, I will do a blog on the cook books I have and what I like and dislike about them.

4. Feeling the Burn. This is my final "secret", though I do not think it is so much a secret. I put the hours into working out and "Feeling the burn". I run 5 days a week, anywhere from 2-5 miles each time. I also do circuit training, strength training, yoga and Pilates. When I go to the gym, I'm there for an average of 2 hours. Every workout is a chance to give it my all and let the sweat tell my story. I do not see the point in doing a half assed work out. Even if you can't do that much, still give it everything you have. Now, did I start doing this? HECK NO! I could barely walk 25 minutes without getting winded. But you know what. I didn't give up. That is the biggest secret of all. Never give up!

So, now you know my own personal secret to where I am today. Now, what are you going to do with that knowledge?

Picture taken today (24 Jan 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Run Forrest, Run

I remember my mother taking me to the theaters to watch to Forrest Gump as a child. Everyone remembers the iconic child Jenny in a thick southern accent yelling "RUN FORREST, RUN" and magically his legs where fixed, and he could run everywhere. I remember thinking "why would ANYONE want to run?"

I would rather ride a bike or walk somewhere than run anywhere. It wasn't that I was anti active, it was just I didn't like running.

Well DIDN'T till a few months ago when I set a personal goal for myself.

Yep, I want to run a marathon. Obviously you cannot run 26 miles starting out, it is a process you have to work up to; which means, commitment. I've never had a fear of commitment, so I hit this challenge head on.

The only problem was, I didn't like running. Or so I thought.

After the first few weeks, averaging about .75 miles without stopping and swearing I was never going to do it, I got INTO it!

I was out on Saturday afternoons running around our neighborhood, averaging 4 miles without stopping thinking "I can go further". With no one pushing me, and without that nagging "I hate running" going on in my head.

So I took it indoors (Because winter in England can get COOOLD and windy), though I do get bored running in a 2x4 box of doom; I could still average out 3+ miles.

So now we can yell "RUN AMY, RUN". And I will just keep on going because I can! The first step into this goal is:

Half Marathon
Full Marathon

I will keep this updated as I get further into my goal.

Are you into the Green Monster Movement?

There are always tons of new fads or "movements" going on. With a simple "I lost 20lbs using this product it is so easy" and people will give it a try. I know first hand how that little promise of losing weight, better skin, stronger nails can draw a person in.

So I'm a little hesitant to try these things. What with :

South Beach

"The South Beach Diet is authored by the cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston. This diet promises a weight loss of 13 pounds in just 2 weeks.


"Dr. Robert Atkins created the well-known Atkins Diet, a low-carbohydrate diet, blaming on refined carbohydrates for the rise in metabolic disorders."

Cabbage Soup Diet

"Also known as the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the "Sacred Heart Hospital Diet", the Cabbage Soup Diet is based on a fat-burning soup that contains negligible calories."

Baby Food Diet

"Created by celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, The Baby Food Diet is the latest weight loss fad promising to curb cravings, allow eating on the run, and lose weight quickly. "

Hollywood Diet

"The Hollywood Diet or Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle Diet created by Sunset Health Products promises you to lose weight naturally, while you cleanse, detoxify and rejuvenate your body."

You can see why a person would be a little hesitant. I like food that doesn't come in baby jars and I like carbs. As a runner, I need those carbohydrates.

However, I do like spinach and fruit. Since I already use protein shakes when I'm not getting enough protein in my diet, I thought "why not". I have friends posting all over Facebook about their Green Monster Smoothies.

If you haven't heard of it you can read more about it Here

So I went to the store, got myself frozen peaches, frozen mango, unsweetened almond milk (vanilla) and spinach. Then gave it a try.

And I was HOOKED.

Every morning I make my smoothie. I never make it the same way twice but it doesn't matter because it always taste great. I know exactly what is going into my body (unlike those other smoothies you can buy at the store that are 500+ calories), I can change it up if I want to (add flax seed, different fruits, use kale instead of spinach, and so much more) and it only takes a few minutes every morning.

I have noticed my skin is clear, which is amazing considering I run 5+ times a week and sweat is not always good for the skin. Usually I have horrible break outs in the T zone.

It fills me up and gets me going. If I had a hardcore work out I will put my Vanilla Whey into it to repair my muscles and give me a boost.

Savannah calls them "Shrek Smoothies" because of the bright green color, and she loves them as well. Obviously I don't put whey into hers!

I fully support this movement. I'm smack in the middle of the Green Monster Movement, are you?

If not, give it a try!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Table for Four

After the craziness of Brett's arrival, we were finally a family of Four. Having one baby is a huge change, but having two, is a whole different thing.

Right off the bat, Savannah was in awe of her baby brother. Which made this transition so much easier. She was thrilled to have approval over his name. After finally telling her that her brother's name is NOT going to be Bon Jovi, she was happy with Brett.

We came across the name Brett when I was looking up baby name meanings.

Brett means: Originally from Britannia. Seeing he was born in Britain, we found it fitting. Isaac is a family name.

All Savannah wanted to do was look at her baby brother and help feed him or hold him. Meanwhile, I was trying to adjust giving my attention to two children. Sometimes I would feel guilty about spending more time with one than the other. It is a fine balance.

Thankfully, my mother in law and her mom came out to help us. They kept Savannah busy, helped me around the house while I was healing, and would take turns with him at night.

Since he was early, he was already a week old before they came out. He lost 13% of his birth weight and was down right tiny at that point.

(That is a premie outfit)

I can say now he not only finally started gaining weight but at three months, has doubled his birth weight (yes, my little guy is now 13lbs!!).

But I wouldn't change a thing. I love watching them interact with each other. Now that Brett is three months old, he can laugh and smile when his sister sings or plays with him. It's a whole different world, but it is a happy (and sometimes sleepless) one. We are starting to get the hang of this.

And he arrives

Woah, It has been awhile!

I guess I should catch up on what has been going on.

Well since my last post (August 2011) a lot has happened. I started having labor contractions at 32 weeks and was put on pelvic rest. They slowly started to increase that by the time I was 34 weeks I was in L&D every other day (it seemed) to be monitored. He really wanted out.

It got to the point that they did my group B test juuuust incase my water broke going to another hospital (Our hospital does not have a NICU, so you have to go to Cambridge, a good 30 minute drive). But luckily, I didn't progress (dilate) and I got the pleasure of dealing with the contractions that would last over a minute and I would have them every 3 to 4 minutes. Yea, not fun.

One night we thought "This is it!" I could barely walk or stand up the contractions where so strong. I was in horrible pain and I could do was cry. So they had me come in, we dropped Savannah off and started talking about names (at this point Kyle was out) because we were pretty sure we were going to be bringing home a baby. I was 36 weeks by this point.

Well after being monitered for 6 hours I was sent home for an hour to come back in. After showering and going back in I was sent home because "there is nothing we can at this point until your water breaks or you dilate further". Ok. So home we go. We go on with the day. As we get ready for bed I felt I couldn't take much more. My poor husband could just hold my hand and tell it will be alright.

At 4am, I woke up out of a sound sleep. I felt a "pop" and jumped out of bed. The minute I landed on the floor I felt something going down my leg. I look down and I realized my water just broke!

I ran the bathroom to get off the carpet, because at that point in time that was what was on my mind. Jeremy calls L&D while I yell "It just doesn't stop! Its not stopping!!! THIS IS NOTHING LIKE THE MOVIES!"

We arrive at the hospital at 0430 and they start preping me for surgery. At our hospital, they do NOT do VBACs. So if you have had a c-section before that is what you are getting again. Fun, huh?!

As I continue to say this isn't like the movies and I can't believe the amount of fluids is inside one person, I was wheeled off to the OR. At 0618 I heard his first cry. My sweet baby boy was born, 3 weeks early. He was perfect.

Brett Isaac Grenfell
22 Sept 11
6lbs 11oz
18 ins long