10 tips to Shovel Snow & Save Your Back

Comments 70 Standard

 With lots of the country getting dumped on with snow, I thought it would be apropos to share a “how to” on Snow Shoveling. With a little forethought and a few easy tweaks, you can safely shovel snow and save your back too! Bonus: snow shoveling can be quite the workout offering cardio and strength training. Woohoo!

snow shoveling|tips|back|exercise

This may seem obvious but before heading out to shovel your driveway, consider your own health risks if any (i.e. back, knee or heart problems).

1. Warm it up- Treat snow shoveling as you would any other strenuous exercise and perform a short warm up and stretch before heading out.

2. Dress for the occasion- Wear appropriate shoes with traction, gloves and hat.

snow shoveling|tips|back safety|exercise

3. Plan it- Decide in advance where you will move the snow so that you only have to move it once.

4. Consider using an ergonomic shovel to put less strain on your back.

5. Choose wisely-Shovels with smaller blades obviously hold less snow thus requiring you to lift less weight. One shovel filled with snow can weigh 20 lbs.

snow shoveling|tips|exercise

6. Push it-If you can push the snow rather than lift it, it puts much less strain on your back.

7. Hands on-Place one hand closer to the handle and one hand closer to the blade for the most effective lifting position.

snow shoveling|tips|back

8. Drop it like a squat- Think about bending your knees, and hips while keeping your back straight similar to a squat. Lower and lift with your legs saving your back. Don’t twist your body to throw the snow rather step to the side.

10 snow shoveling|tips|snow shoveling|tips

9. Bottoms up- Keep hydrated and take rest breaks.

10. Stretch- Do a full body stretch afterwards as you would after any strenuous workout.

IMG_4660Wow workout link up

linking up with The Fitfoodie mama & Diatta

Were you hit by the big blizzard? How did your shoveling go? Any tips for me?

Score! Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

Comments 50 Standard

Ah Super Bowl weekend is upon us again! For some reason, watching The Super Bowl seems to conjure up images of over indulging in “Super” unhealthy foods and drinks. When I was challenged by Cava foods to come up with some healthy alternatives, I was ready to get my creative juices flowing. I’ve been eating these products for years and they are some of my favorites.

I was given a package of some of Cava’s most popular dips and challenged to see what I could come up with. I received Harissa, Crazy Feta, Greek Yogurt Hummus, Quinoa Tabouleh, Tzatziki & Serrano Hummus. The Cava Mezze products are available at Whole Foods Markets in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic region. They also have dine in restaurants in the DC area. You can see a full ingredient list here. What I like about them are that they are all vegetarian, no added sugar and very clean ingredients.

Cava Dips, healthy, super bowl snacks, vegetarian, vegan

I created a few recipes for you all using the Cava Products. I thought they came out fabulous and will certainly be making an appearance at my Super Bowl festivities. First up Baked Spanakopita Egg Rolls with Crazy Feta. These were so amazing! If you’ve never had the Crazy Feta it’s a spicy version of feta that’s oh so good on everything from salads to omelets. Seriously, life changing (for cheese) I served them up with  a trio of hummus and Harissa. These came out crispy and light-no frying involved!

Spanokopita, crazy feta, Cava Foods, baked, snacks. healthy

5.0 from 4 reviews
Baked Spanakopita w Crazy Feta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A healthy take on a Greek Classic
Author:
Recipe type: snacks, healthy
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 C raw spinach
  • 3 oz of Cava Crazy Feta
  • 8 Egg Roll wrappers
  • garlic powder, pepper
  • Cava hummus of your choice to dip
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 400
  2. place spinach in food processor and pulse until chopped completely
  3. Add to mixing bowl and stir in Crazy Feta, garlic powder and pepper
  4. Stir to combine
  5. Place a silicone baking mat on top of a large baking tray
  6. Arrange 2 tbl of spinach/feta mix onto the wonton and fold according to diagram on package
  7. Repeat this to create approx 8 wontons
  8. Spray with Olive oil or cooking spray and bake until crispy about 12-15 min
  9. Serve with hummus

baked, spanakopita, snacks, healthy, Cava dips

For more of a main dish, I made these Mushroom Zucchini Quinoa Crazy Feta cakes.
I mixed together the Greek Yogurt Hummus and the Harissa to create a spicy topping for the quinoa.

mushroom, quinoa, feta, healthy, super bowl, vegetarian

5.0 from 4 reviews
Mushroom Zucchini Quinoa Crazy Feta cakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A healthy, vegetarian, side dish or main dish.
Author:
Recipe type: main or side dish
Cuisine: vegetarian,
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup of red quinoa cooked according to package directions
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 C of whole wheat Panko crumbs (or GF substitution)
  • 6 oz of baby bella mushrooms-diced
  • 1 med zucchini diced
  • 2 oz sun dried tomatoes diced
  • 4 oz Crazy Feta
  • pepper & garlic powder to taste
  • Garnish with hummus and tzatziki
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to package-remove from heat add to mixing bowl
  2. saute mushrooms and zucchini until soft-add to bowl
  3. Add in egg, Panko, tomatoes, pepper and garlic powder & Crazy Feta
  4. Stir to combine
  5. Form into "cakes" using approx 1 C per "cake"
  6. Heat saute pan with Olive Oil
  7. Cook cakes until brown and crunchy
  8. Serve with hummus, tzatziki

If you’ve never had Harissa, you have no idea what you are missing! It’s a spicy blend of tomatoes and red peppers that you can use to kick up any hummus, dip, salad or eat right our of the container.

These dips are all also great right out of the container. Ditch the fried chips and make your own pita chips. It’s so easy:

pita chips|homemade|super bowl|snacks|healthy

5.0 from 4 reviews
Homemade Baked Pita Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Bake your own healthy Pita chips to go with any dip
Author:
Recipe type: snacks
Cuisine: snacks
Ingredients
  • 1 package of whole wheat pita bread
  • Olive Oil spray
  • Kosher salt, garlic powder, paprika & rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut pita into triangle shaped pieces
  3. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet
  4. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and paprika, rosemary
  5. Bake for 10-15 min until browned, flip them over and re spray and season
  6. Continue baking another 10 min until crunchy
  7. Cool and serve

Cava Dips

I took all of the left over dips and Tabouleh and created a healthy layered dip of my own. I could seriously jump right into there! I was provided with an assortment of Cava dips to use for this post however all opinions and recipes are my own.

What are you making for the Super Bowl? Have you ever had Cava dips?

 

“When the stars make you drool just like Pasta e Fagioli”

Comments 61 Standard

Wow January flew by! I’m finishing up my month of soup recipes with my twist on the  hearty, healthy Italian soup classic-Pasta e Fagioli. Tina and I are linking up to bring you the best Meatless Monday recipes out there this week. We hope you will join us with your own recipes and check out all of the great recipes below.

Meatless Monday|vegetarian|link ups|healthy

This hearty, filling soup is sure to please even the meat eaters in your house. I like to use  V-8 juice instead of vegetable broth to give it a little more flavor and up the nutrients a bit more. Vegetable stocks tend to be very high in sodium as well and I find V-8 to be a healthier choice. Bonus it’s “soup”er easy to make.

Pasta E Fagioli|soup|Meatless Monday|Italian|vegetarian|vegan

5.0 from 4 reviews
"When the stars make you drool just like Pasta e Fagioli"
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Meatless Monday, vegetarian, vegan, soup, Pasta E Fagioli
Author:
Recipe type: Soup, Meatless Monday,
Cuisine: Italian, Soup
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 32 oz V-8 juice
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups butternut squash cubed
  • 15 oz can Canneli beans-rinsed
  • 2 Cups carrots diced
  • ½ lb fresh green beans cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 C ditalini pasta-cooked according to package and set aside
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, red pepper, basil & oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook ditalini in small sauce pan and set aside
  2. Using a large stock pot add all ingredients-except ditalini and canneli beans
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at least 1 hour
  4. Add beans and pasta just before serving
  5. Garnish with parm cheese and basil
  6. Serve with a crusty bread

 Makes 6 generous servings. Pair with a crusty bread for a filling lunch or dinner jam packed with vitamins and nutrients. Chefs note: I prefer to store the ditalini separately from the left over soup so that is does not soak up all of the liquid.

I’ve been keeping warm eating soups all month. What foods are you craving this winter?

My February Focus is chilis, stews and hearty meals made healthier-join us!

How to Organize Your Workout Clothes

Comments 82 Standard

Closet Organization|workout clothes|running

The first step is realizing you have  problem. As you all know, there are so many positives to living a healthy active life but with that comes a few challenges as well. If you are anything like me, you have amassed a ridiculous amount of clothes a nice wardrobe to go along with your active lifestyle. The challenge becomes how to hide it all from your husband how to store it all. I consider myself a pretty organized person, but things were getting out of control in my closet and armoire. I discovered some easy ways to get it all under control.

About a year ago, I took over this old armoire to store my hoodies and jackets. After a while, it just became a huge heap and I found myself wearing the same ones over and over again. Sound familiar?

closet organization|workout clothes|running gear

I picked up a few of these stackable crates from the Container Store and miracles happened! I now have 4 distinct storage areas:

-Vests

-Water resistant wear

-Light jackets

-Winter jackets

How to organize your workout clothes|closet organization|workout

I can now easily see what jacket and vests I have available and no longer have to dig through a heap of clothes everyday.

I put narrower, smaller containers on side to hold gloves, headbands, and race belts.

IMG_4662

My closet had become even more of a disaster with running shirts, tanks, skirts, shorts and capris. When I became an Ambassador for Skirt Sports a few months ago, things really got out of control. I couldn’t find anything in there.

 

Organize your workout clothes|closet organization|workout clothes

First, I went through my drawers and got rid of stuff. Here are my rules for that:

-If I haven’t worn it in a year, it’s gone.

-If it doesn’t fit me now, it’s gone.

-If it is a race shirt I know I won’t wear, it’s gone.

I realized I could fit so much more in my drawers if I rolled up the clothes. I found these plastic “Mens shoe boxes” were the perfect size to fit into my drawers. They come in all sizes and shapes to fit inside the drawers.

Closet organization|workout clothes

I then divided my shirts into categories:

-short sleeve

-tanks

-long sleeve

-race shirts

Rolled each set up and placed it into it’s own box

Organize your workout clothes|closet organizationOrganize your workout clothes

Moving on, I did the same for my bottoms.

-capri

-leggings

-running skirts

How to organize workout clothesHow to organize workout clothes

Having them in easy to see boxes, I can easily move them around as the seasons change. I am embarrassed to say that I found clothes with tags still on them that I had totally forgotten I bought. You can easily find plastic container similar to these at Container Store, Target or Walmart. You may even have some lying around your house as well.

I am so happy that I took the time to organize all of my workout clothes in a way that I can actually see them and appreciate them. Just in time too because the new spring line of Skirt Sports is coming out next month and now I have lots of room for them! :) Next up: tackling the shoes.

Linking up with a couple of friends Jill and Nicole so please check out their posts today too.

FitnessFridayRev3IMG_4659

What’s your closet look like? How do you organize all of your gear?

What’s inside my Popsugar Must Have Target Fitness Box

Comments 88 Standard

I was really excited to get my hands on one the PopSugar Must Have Target limited Edition Fitness box. A small number of these were made available and I jumped on it as soon as I saw it. I am so glad that I did! They sold out in minutes. This box was bonanza of fitness gear to help spur on all of that January motivation. This special edition box was co-sponsored by Target and all items are available at their stores.  I paid $69 for this box and all opinions and info are my own. I am just excited to share it with you. Let’s take a look at what’s inside…

 

PopSugar Must Have Box|review|Fitness Edition|Target

The Fit Bit Flex- I could be the last person on the planet who doesn’t use a fitness tracker. I never really felt like I “needed” one but now that I’ve been using it for a few days, it’s kind of fun to track my movements. And it’s pink-bonus! I still have a ton to figure out but I like trying to make sure I get all of my steps in everyday. This retails for around $99.

Fit Bit|PopSugar Must Have box|review

Gaiam Icy Marrakesh Yoga Mat- Who doesn’t need a spare yoga mat? One for home, one for the gym bag. This is a great brand and it usually sells for $21.99

Gaiam|yoga|mat

 

Brita Blue Sport Water Bottle-This water bottle has a built in filter. My kids love these for school and camp. This bottle sells for $9

Brita Sport bottle|Popsugar must have box|review

Burt’s Bees White Tea facial wipes-Always handy to have around to wipe the sweat off of your face. Nice and gentle and great smelling. $3 for a pack of 10

Burt's Bees|facial cleansing wipes|PopSugar must have box|review

Simply Balanced Organic Dark Chocolate Trail mix-I never would have bought this myself but it does make a yummy snack. $7 at Target

simply balanced snack mix|Pop sugar must have box

C9 non-slip headband- Probably the only item I don’t see myself really using. I am not really a headband person. $7 at Target

C-9 Headband|Popsugar must have box|review

Laneige Hydration Trial kit- I had never heard of this brand before and I am always excited to test out new facial products. $10 at Target

Laneige|facial cleanser|Popsugar must have box

$20 Champion Gift card for use at Target

C-9 gift card|Popsugar must have|review

Approximately $178 worth of products for $69! Win! As I mentioned, I have not been compensated in any way for this review. I love the concept of Pop Sugar for a number of reasons. I’ve had other subscription boxes that provide samples of products while Pop Sugar provides full size items. The boxes often introduce me to new trends in fitness, fashion and food. I’ve never not liked something that has come in a box.

How does it work?

Popsugar Must Have boxes are available monthly and in addition they have special seasonal boxes like the one I reviewed. The boxes are $39 month for over $100 in products. Currently there is a discount code you can use for $10 off: MUSTHAVE10. If you are interested in checking it out click here

Linking up with a The Fit Foodie Mama and #WowLinkup

Wow workout link upIMG_4660

Do you subscribe to PopSugar Must Have or any other subscription boxes? Which are your favorites?

“Creamy” Chick Pea & Tomato Soup

Comments 68 Standard

Happy Meatless Monday! In keeping with my soup theme all month, I  am bringing you another great Winter soup to keep you warm and satisfied. Please join Tina Muir and I as we link up all the best Meatless Monday recipes around.

Meatless Monday|vegetarian|link ups|healthy

This “Creamy” soup is actually dairy free & Gluten free. The creamy texture comes from the pureed chick peas. They also bump up the protein and vitamins. So grab a bowl and dig in! It’s a great way to hide the Chick Peas from those picky eaters too.

Creamy chick pea & tomato soup|vegan|vegetarian|Gluten free

5.0 from 4 reviews
"Creamy" Chick Pea & Tomato Soup
 
A "Creamy" Chick Pea and Tomato soup. Dairy free, vegetarian, vegan & GF. High protein
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Ingredients
  • 4 C Vegetable broth
  • 2 Cans of 14 oz Chick peas (rinsed)
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tbl garlic paste or 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1½ tbl lemon juice
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (adjust to taste)
  • fresh basil & parsley to garnish
  • salt, pepper & garlic to taste
  • optional sprinkle of parm cheese to serve
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a stock pot
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 30 min
  3. Use an immersion blender or traditional blender to puree soup until smooth
  4. Garnish with basil & parsley
  5. Optional sprinkle of Parm cheese

This soup can also be frozen into individual serving sizes and pulled out on one of those chilly soup kind of days. I’ve been craving lots of soups this month.

What are you craving these days??

 

A Peek In My Gym Bag

Comments 65 Standard

Gym Bag essentials|FridayFive|Gym|exercise

What a fun theme for this week’s Friday Five link up with Cynthia, Mar & Courtney! This one forced me to dump out my bag and clean it out. I am now packed and ready for this morning’s workouts.

So what’s in my Gym Bag??

-First I’m headed to spin class with my shoes and heart rate monitor. I don’t typically run with a HR monitor but I love to use it in spin and seeing the number on the bike helps me to “kick it into high gear”.

-I always have some MRTT business cards on me and I’ve been known to recruit people on the bike next to me. The half zip goes on after class as well.

-Afterwards, I am jumping into the pool to do some tri training. Yup I’ve signed up to do the Reston Sprint at the end of May so that forces me to do some great cross training. I always put conditioner into my hair before putting on the swim cap. Supposedly, this saves your hair from the chlorine.

-I always have some snacks in my bag (almonds and Cliff bars today). I am always starving after swimming. Well actually, I am always starving.

-Lip gloss in a few different colors is always in my bag. Bobbi Brown and Mac are my favorites. I like to be prepared for any gym selfies :)

-I love this gym combination lock. Instead of having to remember another number, you can set your own word as a code. Plus it’s pink-win win. They come in a few colors if you want to check it out. (affiliate link)

Oops! That may have been the Friday 6 this week!

What’s in your gym bag? Do you put conditioner in your hair before swimming?

DC_linkup

 

#No Excuses Mad Lib Fun with Sweat Pink

Comments 40 Standard

I am participating in the Sweat Pink #NoExcuses challenge this month as a way of staying on track with my fitness and healthy eating. The fun & fit folks at Fit Approach have come up with a mad lib of sorts and I thought it would be fun to participate. When was the last time I did a Mad Lib? I love a good challenge especially one with prizes. So here it goes:

Sweat Pink|challenge|No Excuses|blog challenge

 

  • Hey 2015, it’s me  Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

  • This year I would like to Avoid more running injuries, tone my arms a little more & crush that sprint triathlon I’ve signed up for.

  • It would also be super duper awesome if I Cut myself a little more slack this year. It’s not a resolution, though, just a reminder to myself to try and have the best year yet because I deserve it of course!

  • The things I am looking forward to most this year are Getting my RRCA Certification in April & Ragnar Cape Cod.

  • I’ll use the one thing that truly gets me out of bed in the morning which is coffee , my kids I mean my exuberance to start the day (LOL) to help me get up, get Moving and get after my #NoExcuses 2015.

  • I vow to move my body and be more healthy this year even if it means I have to Get up earlier on the weekend.

  • Even if my alarm clock gets eaten by the dog in the middle of the night, I’ll still will be at those group runs and early spin classes.

  • I will stop blaming the kids for eating the rest of the M and M’s when everyone knows it was really me. (Me and the kids).

  • I will reward myself by signing up for more races and buying more workout clothes of course!

  • No Excuses 2015 has just begun and already I am imagining myself a winner. I can’t wait to rock a Hoodie from Augusta Active. I can’t wait till my sweaty friends are jealous of how fresh, clean and put together I am between workouts with help from ShowerPill body wipes. I can see myself rocking a Warrior pose in new  “Rock the course” Capris (see pic below bc I love these already) from Actio926 and looking fit and fly while doing it. And of course, I’ll be taking my workouts to the next level and improving my balance & core with my new ActivMotion Bar to help me train for my next  Half marathon race with Sasquatch Racing.

  • Oh, and let’s not forget how amazing my favorite sports bra will smell while running and spinning after washing with some WIN Detergent. And lastly, I’ll keep rocking my 2015 with clean eats and nutrition from Beaming with Health!

    • Capri-me 3/4 Legging (Parade)
    • When was the last time you did a Mad Lib?
    • Looking forward to a year of #NoExcuses?

     

    This was such a fun “Exercise”. Thanks Sweat Pink & Fit Approach. Looking forward to a year of #NoExcuses. Want to join the fun? Copy and paste the Mad Lib and see what your #NoExcuses are.

    Wow workout link up

Exciting Race Plans for 2015

Comments 56 Standard

I always get excited in January thinking about all the races I could run in the coming year. I wish I could Run All The Races but I so have to resist the urge to sign up for too many. I am a little nervous about signing up for too much because I missed a bunch of races last spring due to injury. And wouldn’t you know it, I started out 2015 with a bad case of Plantar Fasciitus which landed me in a boot for a few weeks. I am happy to say that I am out of the boot and plan to start running again today. Fingers crossed! I’m linking up with Erika and April this week for

Tuesdays on The Run link up|Running|exercise

I am trying to sign up for races that are new to me. Here’s what’s on my Race Schedule so far:

1. Rock n Roll half Marathon DC-March 14th-

medals-announced-2

Rock n Roll races are so much fun to do. They have the best medals ever! I am especially excited for this race because I missed it last year after I worked for RnR as the Race Ambassador. I’m really hoping this most recent injury won’t prevent me from running it.

 

2. George Washington Parkway Classic-April 26th

I’ve never done this race and I hear it is supposed to be great and not too hilly.
Ragnar Cape Cod
I am so excited for this one! Our team from the DC Ragnar (Moms Do It All Night Long) is back together to run our 2nd Ragnar. This is my goal race this year and I hope to be as healthy as possible and maybe take on some longer legs.
I haven’t done a Tri race in a few years and thought this was a great time to jump back in. I love a challenge and this goal will force me to stay on my bike and in the pool and not just run. I’ve roped 2 of my girlfriends into it as well. I am sure you will see lots more on this as our training progresses.
Reston Sprint Tri|May 31 2015
I’ve never done this race either but I hear it’s a great one. With a start in Georgetown should be a fabulous race for summer.
I’m not exactly sure what’s on tap for fall this year but if you have any suggestions let me know! I will be away a lot in June and August and wasn’t sure what I could fit in. I may squeeze in another tri or a Century Bike ride in late summer.
Anyone ever do any of the Baltimore Running Festival runs?

What race are you most excited about this year??

Kicked Up Corn Chowder~Meatless Monday

Comments 71 Standard

If it’s been as cold where you live as it is here, you will love this hearty, healthy Corn Chowder. I’ve been focusing on soups this month and this one is one of my family’s favorites. It’s super easy to make and is sure to be a hit with your family too. I’ve kicked it up a bit with some jalapeno peppers but if you don’t like spicy, just omit them.

Please join Tina Muir and I for this week’s Meatless Monday Link up and check out all of the great recipes below.

Meatless Monday|vegetarian|link ups|healthy

Corn Chowder|Meatless Monday|soup|healthy|vegetarian

5.0 from 3 reviews
Kicked Up Corn Chowder~Meatless Monday
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Hearty, healthy kicked up version of corn chowder
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 Large ripe tomatoes-halved
  • 2 Bell or red peppers-halved
  • 3 Cups Frozen corn
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves-chopped
  • 3 Cups of Vegetable stock
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers-seeded and chopped (depending on your spice preference)
  • ½ C of light cream
  • Chili powder, salt & pepper to taste
  • Avocado & sunflower seeds for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and roast tomatoes and Bell/Red Peppers until softened approx 10 M
  2. In a stock pot combine:
  3. Roasted Veggies, corn, onions, garlic, Veg stock, jalapenos and spices
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour
  5. Use an immersion blender or transfer to blender to puree all ingredients
  6. Add more Chili pepper if needed
  7. Right before serving mix in light cream to combine
  8. Serve with avocado and sunflower seed garnish

I’m loving the comfort of a big bowl of soup right now. What’s on your menu this week?