Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tabata Workout 3


I mentioned yesterday about my Tabata workout that was a little rough. It may have been party because the workout itself was pretty difficult so doing it on such little sleep just wasn’t a good idea. Tabata workouts are no joke and your body really has to be ready for it. I am planning on doing it again in a couple of days to really kick my butt.

With workouts, like many things in life, you get out what you put in. I feel that tabata workouts are particularly this way. You really need to go full out for those 20 seconds on. Keep tight form, sprint as hard as you can, do as many reps as you can, etc. You really have to push yourself 100% during those 20 seconds to get the effects and results.

I would say yesterday I was only able to give about 75% of my normal exertion and I still woke up sore today. Love me some tabata!

This was the first time I did an exercise using cardio equipment and I really liked it. It worked really well to just hop on and off the treadmill. I was able to jump right into my faster pace. However I would be interested to see how doing the sprints outside would be. There is definitely something to be said for the explosive beginning to sprints. When I played my first kickball game a couple of months ago I was shocked at how sore I was. I underestimated that explosive power soreness. I have a tournament this weekend I can’t wait for!

And is it just me or does anyone else LOVE being sore? Or am I just some sort of weirdo? I absolutely love it, seriously. Some people run to get that runners high (and I do that as well) but being sore gets me an even bigger high. I get sore every single time I do a tabata workout which may be why I am so in love with them lately. And because I get cardio and strength in under 3o minutes. win. win.

If you can get a full cardio and strength workout in under 30 minutes, there really is no excuse not to do it! Do it while you watch a tv show at night and it will fly by.


Loaded Baked Potato Vegetable Soup


I am incapable of wasting food. Part of it is me being frugal and hating to waste money. I also just really like leftovers. All the flavors meld together. When I was in the hospital my mom was here for a week and a half. She is not a leftovers person. So when she left, I had lots of leftovers in my fridge. Works for me. I had chicken parmesan, roasted green beans, pot pie, pizza, and mashed potatoes. I usually eat leftovers in their original state. Meaning I don’t usually turn leftovers into different meals. That’s one of the beauties about leftovers, they are already made. No more cooking or dishes to do. However I think the only leftover I really don’t like is mashed potatoes. They seem to get really dry after the day they are made. I had a bunch in my fridge so I figured I’d use them as a base for a potato soup. I winged it in the kitchen, also using up random vegetables I had bought before going into the hospital that needed to be used. It turned out great! Like really great!


Loaded Baked Potato Vegetable Soup

serves 2-3

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup diced potatoes, skins left on

2 cups chopped kale

4 oz mushrooms, chopped

2/3 cup leftover mashed potatoes (or cauliflower puree)

4-8 pieces of bacon

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 small onion chopped or 1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese + 2 TB for garnish

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

Boil chopped potatoes until fork tender. Drain liquid and put potatoes back in pot. Add broth, kale, mushrooms, mashed potatoes, bacon (reserve a TB or two for garnish), garlic, and onion powder. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add cheese and stir. Split soup between two bowls and garnish each with 1 TB cheese, a little bacon, and some greek yogurt.


Yum, this was seriously delicious. For once, I actually wish I had more leftover mashed potatoes. If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, just make some real quick. Boil potatoes and roughly mash them with 1 TB of butter and a little milk then continue on with the recipe. This recipe is pretty lenient so if you have 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes, go with it and throw it all in. If you only have 1/2 cup, again, go with it, it will be fine. I almost added 1/2 cup frozen corn but I really needed to use up my kale and mushrooms. So use whatever veggies you have on hand.


The reason I said 4-8 pieces of bacon is because when I use bacon in a recipe, I cut off all the fat before I cook it. So to get the same volume and flavor of bacon I used 8 pieces. Check out that big pile of fat. I know a lot of it cooks away but a lot doesn’t and I am not a fan of eating that much animal fat. But if you choose to cook the bacon in its entirety you will only need 4 pieces. That will provide plenty of volume and flavor.


This is going to be my new go to meal to use up Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Whenever I heat up Thanksgiving or Christmas leftovers, I give all the potatoes to Dave. I’m not so sure he really likes them leftover either but I don’t think he ever notices I don’t put any on my plate. Just one advantage of being the cook!

And Alyssa insisted I added this picture. She jumps into every picture I take and then asks to see it.



Its All Over Now


My gosh where do I begin? When I left off last time we were just discharged from the hospital and were home just waiting for Cassidy to hopefully get better. We woke up the next morning and Cassidy was now throwing up as well and still had her 105 fever. I texted her pediatrician and he said to come back in right away, he was going to refer me to the childrens hospital right then. We were forced to take an ambulance ride, I could not drive Cassidy myself. It was a 2 hour drive and they would not let me in the back with her. I had to sit up front with the driver. Pure torture! At this point Cassidy had an IV in and was receiving fluids (even though she wasn’t dehydrated at all, they were just doing anything they could think of). This picture is one of my worst nightmares. Not really even sure why I took it. They had told me I had to back up and couldn’t touch her anymore and I guess I was standing there helpless. She was strapped to the gurney in the baby harness. They told me she slept the majority of the ride and kept calling up front to update me.


When we got to the hospital, they drew countless vials of blood. It was scary since she is so tiny and they take so much blood. They also did another urinalysis. Everything came back perfect besides her white blood cell count which just indicated she had some sort of infection but no specific information. We went to sleep that night and they gave her Tylenol and Motrin since her fever was so high. Well apparently her body can’t handle both at the same time because her fever dropped fast and way too low. Her temperature was then 94. They had to put her in an incubator to warm her up. Well actually we were both put in the incubator. It was a warmer they placed over my bed. I refused to let my sick baby lay in a crib by herself so they took it out of the room and got us a bed to share. I had to sign a waiver in case she fell out, which wasn’t going to happen because its not like I actually slept. I laid there, held her, kissed her, watched her vitals, and felt her breathing on me.


They warmed her back to 98.6 and then what happened next? yep, it kept climbing right back up to 105. That next day, she got a CT scan done to check for a brain abscess. Clear, thank God. Then she had to get a spinal tap…horrible! They had to put her under and made me leave the room. When I came back she was still asleep but I got to hold her as she woke up. After the lumbar puncture I noticed she had a fever but not a 105. I had gotten really good about touching her forehead and predicting her fever. Like too good. I guessed within 0.2 degrees each time. It was about 103 and they were going to give her Motrin. I told them I wanted to hold off because I felt she was getting better and we would never know if she was on Motrin if her fever was lower because of medicine or because she felt better. She slept for 5 hours after the spinal tap and woke up groggy but with a 101 fever. I was hopeful. The next morning…no fever at all! Lys came to visit her and it made Cassidy so happy! I also refused to let them put her in a hospital gown. I was holding it together relatively well but if I saw my baby in a tiny gown I would have lost it completely.


They made us stay for 24 hours fever free for monitoring then we were discharged late Saturday night.

So what was wrong with Cassidy? Not a clue. We saw 5 different ER doctors, 4 pediatricians, 8 pediatric specialists, and 5 Infectious Disease doctors. No one knew. Their best guess was just the nastiest virus they had ever seen since every test they ran came back normal. They did give her IV antibiotics every night we were there so maybe that helped if it was bacterial. Who knows. I don’t care as long as my baby is better. We have a follow up with her pediatrician tomorrow then one with the Infectious Disease doctors Thursday. This was my happy girl tonight at dinner, eating her peas. Would never know how rough the last 12 days were for her!


And how had healthy living, working out, cooking, etc fit into my last 2 weeks. Well it hasn’t…at all. I have been purely in survival mode. I have not worked out once and I couldn’t care less. One night in the hospital Cassidy fell asleep on me during the time they had dinner at the hospital so I sat there and held her and ate what the nurses could bring me from the family snack room. I had poptarts and saltenes dipped in peanut butter along with granola bars, peanut butter crackers,  graham crackers, a 1/2 lb bag of pretzels, and 2 things of ice cream. I was going for anything with calories at this point so I made sure my milk supply didn’t diminish. After that I requested hospital food delivered to my room. Since I wasn’t the patient I didn’t get fed but they signed me up as a breastfeeding mom. I requested 2 trays per meal because lets be honest, I eat more than the average person. I got green beans one night actually but how does one mess up canned green beans? They were gross but I still ate it all. I had lost a couple of pounds so I needed to make sure I was eating enough to make enough milk for Cassidy. Her appetite was actually higher while she was sick because she had pharyngitis (swollen red throat) so she didn’t want solid foods at all but the warm breastmilk must have soothed her throat.

Today, I was still starving. My mom had left a potpie in the refrigerator for me. I made this dent all by myself…


Yes, that was a 9 by 13 pan of chicken pot pie and yes, I ate over half of it. Along with an entire bag of chex mix (like the big bag), 2 cookies, and the rest of the ice cream with crushed pretzels.


For me, eating unhealthy does not mean gaining weight. If anything I somehow lost weight. The combination of the stress, increased breastfeeding, and lack of food for a couple days did it I guess. But in the last day or two I have been able to gain it back (which is part of the reason for the 1000 calorie bag of chex mix as a snack).

Tomorrow I hope my life goes back to normal. I want more than 1 hour of sleep at a time. However Cassidy is now used to eating all throughout the night and being woken up for tests, blood draws, etc. I expect lots of wake ups which is far from her normal 12 hours straight she used to sleep. Lets hope she goes back to normal quickly. I hope to be back to working out this week, today may be straight sleep catch up though. If I don’t take care of myself I can’t take care of my babies.

So given these last 2 weeks, I sit here and think, man this has sucked, I am really unlucky lately! But then I think again, I am really lucky! The end result is that she is better and completely healthy! So we had a rough time but its all ok now and I am beyond grateful. It was scary there for a little while. And is still a little scary since we don’t know what was wrong so if it for some reason came back, we still don’t know. But lets just assume that won’t happen!

Whew, sorry for the wordy post…back to workouts, recipes, and food the rest of the week! I can’t wait to eat a huge salad as part of my lunch and do a sweaty Tabata workout!

Oh and want to hear the most unreal thing someone said to me during this whole ordeal? I was in the ER, my baby had just gotten an IV stuck in her arm (which took about 10 sticks and 3 people because apprently she is a “hard stick”), shes miserable and crying. We had to step to the side to allow a man having a heart attack be wheeled through. Another man steps out from behind the curtain I am standing next to and says “Um, can your baby stop crying? my wife has a migraine”. That man is lucky he didnt get a black eye. I may have used a few choice words though. As if I wanted my baby to cry. I then heard his wife complaining this was not how she wanted to spend her day off. I would have killed to have a migraine for 1 day instead of watching my baby go through hell for 12 days! I actually ended up whipping out my boobs standing up in the middle of the er to feed and finally soothe her.

And one of my favorite quotes this weekend (aside from “Cassidy can go home from the hospital now”) was from Alyssa. She walked up to me with a matching game and said “Hey Mom, wanna be beat by a 3 and a half year old?”. Just as sassy as can be. And you know what, she did beat me. Legit, I did not let her win.

Hope your weekend was less eventful than mine!

Cassidy Update and a Cannoli Recipe


Any guesses where I slept last night? Worst place ever…the hospital. After Cassidys high dose antibiotic injections, she should have gotten better fast. She didn’t. She still had a fever of 105. Back to the er we went. They gave her motrin and a tylenol suppository. We sat in the ER for hours, she had blood drawn again and went through 2 IVS because they kept falling out. At 230 am, after being there for 8 hours, they were going to discharge us because they still didnt know what was wrong and said they couldnt do anything there I couldnt do at home, which was monitor her temperature and give motrin. They called specialists at a children’s hospital for consults and no one knows. They said its a “head scratcher”. Just what I wanted to hear. They all assume its just an incredibly nasty intense virus. Although its more intense than one they’ve seen before, they ruled out mostly everything else. Well they took vitals on her one more time before discharging me from the er and saw that her temperature was now 95. So now it was too low. We used warming blankets on her and it only raised to 96. We got admitted because they were afraid she could not regulate her own temp. They poked and proded her and woke her every 1-2 hours all night and day long. Terrible! I slept for 1 hour but I don’t care, its all about Cassidy right now. I had to calm her back down and nurse her to sleep every time they woke her. She would scream otherwise and I just wanted to make her feel better. I may have started a bad habit but oh well.

So where are we now? Well we were sent home this evening still without answers. The doctors assume its a horrible virus. We go back in 1 1/2 days for more blood work, xrays, and urinealysis.  Hopefully not a spinal tap. If things aren’t better by then we will be referred to a specialist at a children’s hospital. I am now exhausted, sitting catching up with my DVR, eating chocolate, blogging to relax, and then hitting the hay early…prayers please if you are offering any up!

On to another recipe I have been meaning to post…Cannoli!

Cannoli filling custard

15 oz light ricotta cheese

6 Tbs powdered sugar or 3 Tbs honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbs mini chocolate chips

Take your ricotta and wrap it in several paper towels to drain the excess liquid. Let sit in the refriderator for about 20 minutes. If towels become fully saturated, throw them away and wrap the cheese back up in dry paper towels to drain more liquid.


Mix ricotta, sugar/honey, and vanilla. Puree in small food processor. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.



My Sick Baby Girl


I mentioned yesterday that poor baby Cassidy is sick. Well she is even sicker. We have been to the doctor twice and the ER twice since Thursday. And we have another follow up tomorrow morning as well. She has been running a high fever for a week now. She has terrible congestion, puking, diarrhea, pink eye, and a sore throat (according to what the doctor saw). Its been around 105.3 F for the past 2 days. Tonight we had to get her blood drawn which was miserable. Absolutely miserable. They stuck her about 15 times and 4 different people tried but no one could get one of her tiny veins. She was screaming just looking up at me as I hold her down so confused. I felt horrible and I just kept telling her how sorry i was. But I knew at this point, something was wrong with her and we had to figure it out. They finally found a lady who got it on the first try. I wanted to kiss her. They also catherized her to get urine. And she got a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. So they poked and proded the sweetest baby on earth for 3 hours tonight. We left this evening with the information that her white blood cell count is very high which could mean any sort of bacterial infection or a virus. They gave her a high dose injection of antibiotics into her leg since we didn’t have time for the oral ones. We go back in the morning for her to get another injection. They are going to continue monitoring her blood cultures(growing it on a petri dish) and if things look bad overnight we will get called and we will have to bring in her for a spinal tap. They almost did one on her before we left but decided to wait.

So yeah, that was my day. For those moms out there you can imagine how miserable my day was. Theres nothing worse than watching your baby hurt. Cassidy feels horrible. She couldnt even be touched without crying she was so achy. My mom went through 2 shirts and I went through 2 pairs of jeans from being puked on.

And to add to issues, Alyssa started complaining her ear hurt. Yep, ear infection and double pink eye for her. Now I am just hoping I am not next for all these issues.

In the morning we are going back to the doctors to continue trying to figure out what is wrong with Cassidy. More tests and poking I’m sure. I have not put my baby down in almost a week. She has just wanted to be snuggled and breastfed non stop. I am happy to make her feel better any way I can. Last night I was up between 3 and 6 just nursing her, being a human pacifier pretty much. It may be creating bad habits, especially for a baby who is usually such a scheduled nurser and great sleeper. But I don’t care. If I can comfort my sick baby, I will.

My hope is this high dose injection of antibiotics will kick in and she’ll be all better very soon. Hopefully I’ll be back to working out, cooking, blogging, and sleeping before long. I have done none of these things in the last week.

Off to try and get some sleep before setting my alarm to wake up every couple hours to take her temperature and give her medication.

Praying for my sweet baby girl that she gets better very soon!


Meatballs from Santa


Funny story… When I was 2 1/2, I asked Santa for “meatballs and a babydoll” for Christmas. Santa delivered with my favorite meatballs from a local Italian deli. When “Santa” went into the deli on Christmas Eve and explained his (her) need for the meatballs they thought it was so cute they gave them to us for free. I may be one of the only kids who have gotten meatballs in their stocking. I literally grew up on these meatballs. We ate at the deli often and always had a huge bag in our freezer for at home meals as well. Im not so sure how healthy they were, and I’m not so sure I want to know. Denial is a good place to be sometimes!

Well in order to get my red meat in this week, I made nothing other than italian meatballs. I try to eat red meat once a week for iron while breastfeeding. I try hard to get lots in from vegetarian sources as well but that’s not enough to help my lower than desired iron levels. I often make these with ground chicken or turkey as well.

Italian Meatballs:     makes 20 meatballs

1 pound ground beef (or chicken or turkey)

2 eggs

1/4 cup bread crumbs (I use Ezekiel sprouted bread)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 tsp of pre-minced garlic)

1/2 tsp oregano

olive oil cooking spray

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. I only made a half batch when I took these pictures so I just mixed everything in the baggie my meat was in.


Shape into balls. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook meatballs, turning frequently until all sides are browned. Turn to low and cook for another 10 minutes or until center is no longer pink.


Don’t overcook. We don’t want a dry meatball. That’s one reason I like meatballs with red meat because they can be a little less cooked and its not dangerous like uncooked poultry.


Serve them up with your favorite pasta dish.

My dinner was elbow macaroni and steamed Kale mixed with a garlic yogurt sauce, topped with 5 Italian meatballs. You could also make the meatballs ahead and freeze them to use for quick weeknight meals.


Now that I think about it, I should have asked the Easter Bunny to make me these meatballs and leave them in my Easter basket. It worked for me once!

New Obsession: Tabata Workouts


During high school I played Fall and Spring sports. Between seasons I ran occasionally to stay in shape. When I got to college and didn’t have organized team sports anymore, I took up running as my main form of exercise. I would do the same exact thing every time I worked out. Run 3 miles on the treadmill then lift weights, mostly arms, and do abs. I did pretty much the same weight exercises and ab exercises every time too. I did this roughly 3 times a week. I continued to have this exact workout schedule all throughout college and after. I got right back into this routine after having Alyssa. It wasn’t until after I had Cassidy 7 months ago that I started switching up my workouts. After almost 10 years of doing the same workout, I got bored, go figure! Running with a good lift afterwards still is probably my favorite workout but I have started trying different things as well. Who knows, maybe I’ll find something I love even more. Circuit workouts are a close second. Last week I tried a Tabata workout for the first time. And Today, I did one again. And I have to say, I really liked it. Like maybe as much as my running and lifting routine?! It doesn’t get anymore time efficient than these workouts and thats right up my alley as a busy mom!

A Tabata work out is 20 seconds full on, 10 seconds rest repeated for a total of 8 times, which totals 4 minutes. During that 20 seconds you go full out as hard as you can exert yourself then have a short recovery and repeat. You do the same exercise during each 20 second interval. Then you rest for a minute and start again with a different exercise. Most of the ones I found on the internet were more cardio based, using a rowing machine or treadmill. However I don’t belong to a gym and sprinting intervals on my treadmill would have woken Cassidy up from her nap (which would mean no workout for me). So I made up a Tabata workout that used a variety of strength and cardio exercises that I could complete in my garage.

tabata 1

Since Tabata workouts are very intense make sure you do some sort of warm up beforehand. I did 1 minute jumping jacks, 2 minute stretch, 1 minute high knees, 2 more minutes of stretching as my warm up. I used 10 lb dumbbells for the bent over rows, a 10 lb dumbbell for the squats, and this random tape line in my garage for the side to side jumps. I didn’t even have to put that tape down…not a clue why it was already there.


I also downloaded this awesome app for free! I just searched “Tabata Timer”. It beeps to begin then beeps after the 20 seconds is up, then counts down with 3 beeps when the 10 seconds is over and the next 20 begins. When the 4 minutes is up it beeps quickly a couple of times. I made that sound way more confusing than it is. It is really simple and helpful! Its nice not to have to watch a clock and instead just listen for the beep. If even shows you what number repeat you are on by filling in a little numbered bubble. Just try it out, trust me.


And please ignore my nasty iphone. I have an otterbox (which I highly recommend if you have kids, drop your phone daily, or let if fall off your jogging stroller then proceed to kick it across the road like I did yesterday) and I need to disassemble it and clean it.

My tabata workout today was just as great as the first! This morning I dropped Alyssa off a drop in preschool for 2 hours. By the time I ran some errands and got back home I needed to be back out the door in 45 minutes. That left 30 minutes for a workout so I could save the last 15 minutes for a shower and getting some snacks together for the kids while they sat at the dentist with me, fun fun. A tabata workout was the only thing that made sense. It looked like this.

I have a feeling I will be doing many more of these Tabata workouts, they were fun, quick, and exhausting!

And as always, only work out to your personal fitness level. If you have never done a circuit style, HIIT, or tabata workout then start out smaller. Maybe pick 2-4 of the exercises and give them a try. Don’t worry about how short your workout may seem, its intense so the duration does not need to be nearly as long. I have been this sore from a workout in a long time and it feels great! Yes, I love being sore. Its a reminder of the awesome workout I completed and I know it did its job!

Have you ever done a Tabata workout? Give it a try and let me know what you think!