Meatless Monday: Gnocchi aioli.

When I’m in the heat of playoffs at work, life can get a bit insane. It’s often during that time, I’m either leaning heavily on the use of the crockpot, or I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive about food prep on Sundays. If I even have Sundays for food prep. Sometimes, when we have a record number of teams getting sent off to playoffs, and continuously advancing, I don’t even get Sundays. Which is what I just recently learned.

So… When that happens, I pull out my go-tos for speedy-fast meals that take less than 25-minutes.

My husband was quite funny the first time I slipped aioli in something I cooked for us. If I remember correctly (I was very pregnant at the time, so my memory is a bit, spotty, to say the least), it was toasted roast beef and cheese sandwiches. Instead of mayo on his, I put a little bit of the peppercorn and chive aioli I had bought earlier that day into it.

Needless to say, I’ve concluded he has absolutely no taste buds. It wasn’t until I asked him if he’d noticed anything different about his sandwich, that he had realized his “mayo” had a bit of zip to it.

For those that have never had aioli, it’s essentially just a fancy mayonnaise. No, I don’t make my own. I’ve got a few recipes that I’d love to try, one from Bon Appetit, that sounds perfect for Spanish food, another from Taste of Home that could be perfect with Italian. The ingredients are pretty basic: usually garlic, always egg; sometimes mustard, always olive and veggie oil. A lot call for lemon juice. And you can add things here and there to tailor it to your desires. The one that I used in today’s Meatless Monday recipe has chives and peppercorn in it. It’s a good anytime aioli.

Without further ado… My Gnocchi Peppercorn & Chive Aioli contribution to MM…

wpid-1447076660203.jpgWhat you’ll need:

  • 1 package of potato gnocchi
  • 2 handfuls of chopped baby spinach
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2tbs of peppercorn and chive aioli

Cook gnocchi according to package instructions. While gnocchi is cooking, in a medium frying pan, add tomatoes, onion and peppers. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add cooked gnocchi, chopped spinach and peppercorn and chive aioli. Mix well. Cook on medium-low for 5-8 minutes. Serve.

*Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over for added yumminess. 

The dog is staying.

An interesting thing happened when I got pregnant.

It wasn’t an avalanche of pregnancy stories from women who had “been there”. It wasn’t the start of the unsolicited advice. Or the judging stares when I wasn’t ballooning up in my weight as people expected.

I was being told to be prepared to give away my dog, Dunkin.

That’s right. Suddenly, I had people all around me telling me that I was going to HAVE to give up my dog the second my child came into the world.

“Even though he’s your baby now,” they would say, referring to my dog, “you’ll have to find him a new home or take him back to the animal shelter.”

Why? Why can’t I have both my dog and my baby? Why did it have to be one or the other? My older sister successfully had both. Two of my closest friends have successfully had a baby and a dog in the house – at the same time. Why couldn’t I do it?

My dog came to me with a sad, and a disappointingly typical story. After he was no longer a puppy, he was tied out with no food or water. Neglected. Forgotten. He chewed through his lead and ran away. Because he was chipped, the shelter was able to locate and contact the owners. Their response “Keep him. We don’t want him.”

My scared but mischievous pup came to me a little over a year old. He was skinny and afraid to trust humans. With a lot of love and work, we have gotten through many, many hurdles and eight years later, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

So why couldn’t I have him and baby?

The only responses I was getting from these people were… “Because you will.” Or simply, “Because”. It wasn’t enough for me.

I have seen many, many times in my adult years, people give away their dogs on yardsale pages, swap groups (swap a dog for a ATV? Sure! Why not?), or bringing them to animal shelters. And I know personally several who have given the dogs to family members or brought their dog to the local animal shelter.

Dogs are family. When you take in a dog, whether you have adopted it or bought it from a breeder, you make the commitment to them to take care of them and love them – forever (their forever). What is it about bringing home a baby that causes the shift?


It’s something we as a human race no longer have. I see it in my husband. I see it in my coworkers. I see it in the stores. In check out lines. On the road.

Everyone is in a hurry.

They run through life, letting all of the important things pass them by.

They give up on love quickly and easily, because it has fallen on a brief moment of hardship.

I get it. Sometimes I want what I want, and I want it now. Grow muscles! Dammit, grow!

But, as I have gotten older, my patience has expanded. And guess what? It’s because of my dog.

We had a rough first year. Peeing on all the things. Eating all the things. Give him a half-of-a-half-of-half an inch? He’s gonna make a run for it. The licking the pillows. The walls. The walk-in shower. The chasing the vacuum cleaner like a vicious attack dog. The need to practically lay on my head at night when we slept. He jumped off a deck that was 12-feet off of the ground to chase turkeys one afternoon.

It was trying. Sometimes I felt the thin spots coming in my patience. But we did it. We persevered. Overcame. Even the vet at our check-ups was noticing the shift.

“You’ve done amazing work with him,” the male vet would say.

“What an improvement from those first visits,” the female one said.

When I found out we were going to have a baby, despite everything people said. I made the promise to my dog that we would make it work.

Jealousy issues? We’d figure it out.

If he peed on the baby as he did when new things came into the house (yes, even at almost 9-years he occasionally does this and it’s been the ONE thing I’ve had trouble breaking the habit on)? Then we’d deal with it.

Time was going to be trickier. He wouldn’t have my complete attention anymore, and that was something we were going to have to figure out too.

I was prepared for it all.

We had my older sister, who was caring for him while I was in the hospital, bring one of the baby’s blankets to him to sniff. He snuggled with it all night.

My husband brought the baby’s hat in before I walked in with the baby on the day we came home.

Dunkin sniffed and rubbed up against it.wpid-img_20150930_100539.jpg

I sat on the floor of our living room and let Dunkin smell us over and greet his new bald puppy. With a happily wagging tail, his floppy ears bounced as he licked and said hi to the both of us.

When the baby cried, Dunkin would peek in on him. If I wasn’t near the rocker, he would come to me, looking back towards the baby, concerned.

When I would lay the baby on the floor, Dunkin never strayed far. Keeping a watchful eye on him.

Now that the baby is moving around, Dunkin follows him around. Even if it’s rolling from one side of the living room to the other. Dunkin will follow. In the walker, Dunkin walks alongside it. Laying on the floor watching Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave, Dunkin is there, curled up next to him.

Those yoga challenge photos that you see my Instagram account peppered with? Dunkin is just out of the shot, right there. Never far from me or the baby.

When we go on walks, Dunkin checks the stroller every now and again. Keeping an eye on him. Almost like he’s making sure that he’s still there.

They talk to one another. Dunkin in his dog chatter that everyone knows him for, and the baby on level 10-screech of excitedness.

They’re best friends.

And my heart is full.

We’ll have moments here and there that we’ll have to work on. Dunkin has developed selective hearing, and we have to be a little more adamant with the word “No” with him. And I expect that.

There may be a day where he does decide that the baby’s toys are not off-limits and take one. We’ll handle that when the time comes.


Because that’s what it takes.


Because it’s my duty, as a compassionate human being, to give it to my dog. Just as I will my child as he grows.

I will have to teach my child right from wrong, and my dog is not any different.

With love, time and patience, we will do this.

The Forgetful Momma: No egg, no butter pancakes.

I can’t really call myself a forgetful momma, because, well, I was this way pre-baby.

Grocery lists and I are enemies of the biggest kind. I can remember childhood friends old house phone numbers. I can remember any birthday. Addresses. Names of all of my teachers. My brain retains some of the craziest, pointless “facts”. But when it comes to remembering what I need at the store? Fagheddaboutit.

I make a list, I forget the list on my counter. I put the list in my phone, because we live in the age of technology that lets us do that – and I forget my phone in the car.

I intentionally drive to the store for something like… say… eggs. I leave with everything BUT eggs.

For weeks, I wanted pancakes. I’m a huge fan of brinner, thanks to my mother and the nights of French Toast and Pancakes scattered throughout my childhood years. But alas, no eggs. I’d used the last of them to make us omelettes at some point over the summer, and by my nature, forgot continuously to replace them.

Finally, I scoured the internet for an eggless recipe. Scored several promising looking ones. Oh, but look, no butter either (damned sugar cookies!). Re-searched for eggless and butterless. Found several that sounded pretty gross. Buried deeper than it should be, I found this gem.

These were super easy to make, nice and light too. Perfectly timed because my mother had just given me a fresh jar of her canned applesauce for me to slather all over the top of them. And I sprinkled, sparingly, some of the very little bit that I have of the maple extract in the batter too.

Eggless, Butterless Pancakes (from


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1teaspoon vanilla


  1. Heat a griddle or pan on the stove top. The griddle is ready for pancakes when water dropped on the hot griddle rolls and sizzles.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the milk, water, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Mix well, but don’t over stir; a few lumps are okay.
  5. Drop 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  6. Flip the pancake when bubbles form and begin to pop. Keep the heat medium to medium low; they burn fast.

Your brain on its first stroller run.

At my annual review, my boss informed me that he wanted me to do more writing. I cannot remember the last time I put out a column for our section. I’m just going to go with: that time I kayaked on my front lawn. Sounds good enough.

Formulating thoughts for a column, especially limited to a certain scope of topics, isn’t easy. Then, finding the time to put it together amongst the photos, events, occasional feature stories… It gets slid to the back burner.

We then got talking about running with a stroller and how it’s a whole new world in comparison to a solo run. There are strong numbers in stroller runners here in our area, and we tend to see them frequently at road race events we are at. One father runs with a double stroller, both toddlers tucked in tight. He’s a top-5 finisher. Once he is done with the race, he’ll run back through the course, find his wife, and finish it with her.

He definitely makes it look easy. And here’s how I officially discovered that.

Your brain on your first stroller run:

Oh, it’s such a nice day today! FINALLY! My legs are itchy, let’s get out and get moving!

Do we have everything? Binky, check. Blankets, check. Burp cloth for accidents, check. Housewpid-1440602438743.jpg keys, check. Phone, check. Water, check. Should I just bring the damn diaper bag? What about my debit card in case we have to get something in town? Sigh… 

...and you’re off! (At this point, you’ve set your phone up with a HIIT timer to help you keep a tempo going)

(Two minutes in, your phone gives you the green light to start your jog)

Running, so this is how we do it again. Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped running so soon. I could have run my first trimester, and maybe part of my second. Ugh, what was I thinking?

Well, that was quick. Not so bad. Maybe this won’t be so horrible after all.

Thirty seconds? Damnit. I should stop and recalculate that. Thirty seconds is a million years. My legs can’t do this thirty-seconds-on-90-seconds-off thing. No freaking way. 

(Glance down at phone) TEN SECONDS?! I’VE ONLY BEEN RUNNING FOR TEN SECONDS?! That cannot be right. No it can’t.

Walking, this is nice. We can do walking. 

I’d fail at bootcamp right now. Fail miserably. I can’t even push a ten pound baby in a stroller on a run, how the hell could I carry a rucksack? Pffffttttt… I suck. 

No. I don’t suck. I’m out here doing this. I’m moving. I’m off the couch. We’re getting fresh air. 

Ugh, running again. This sucks. What was I thinking. 

Then, as you’re strolling up the driveway, leaning on top of the stroller, peeking down through the plastic window at your sleeping bundle of joy in his puffy blue snowsuit, tucked in cozy with a blanket that might heat the entire North Pole (it’s winter, snowy and frigid)… You find yourself, as much as the entire experience sucked, patting your back.

Because guess what? You did it.


Changing the view of food. No weight-loss magic here.

I’m going to shatter the universe with my opening blog statements today. Hold on to your britches folks, because it’s going to be a big’un.

There is no big secret to weight loss. There is no magic pill, powder, plant, food, or hobgoblin.

The answer is not sitting in some top secret lab, buried in the depths of some rainforest, or carved into the side of some obscure cliff face.

Despite what the marketing gurus promise, throwing out at you their stats from their studies, on their products… It’s just not so.

So why don’t we take a seat for a moment, shed a few tears, and I’ll give some sympathetic back pats and rubs.

Alright, now up we go, and lets get on with it.

If I had a penny for every time I have had someone ask me, or have overheard someone else being asked “What’s your secret?!” I’m quite sure I’d have my Lambo, and my family and I would be sitting with our butts in the sand on our private beach — on our private island.

The biggest thing, that somehow, everyone seems to forget is: genetics.

We can thank all of those in our families before us for the basic, essential build-up of our bodies. I wish I had bigger ta-tas, but hey, guess what? Not happening in my family full of smaller boobied ladies. That was a universal agreement amongst the genetic Gods before I was even born.

But, on the same vein, genetics can be a tricky, tricky thing. Take my sisters and I for example. We’re all created from the same pool. Yet, we’re all different. My older sister and I have blond hair, blue eyes; the younger sister is dark haired with hazel-ish colored eyes. We’re all built differently. I’m the smallest of the three.

So in reality, yes, genetics. Digging deeper, it’s all in how each gene is pulled and stuck together ultimately.

Then we have to add in: mindset.

Some of us will forever struggle with sticking with something. I call it commitment ADD. Others either have to give it their all, or nothing. So many things in our minds that can hitch us up, and lead to failure.

Stop calling them cheat meals. You’re not cheating. Stop using the term “allowance”, because you’re not a 10-year-old unloading the family dishwasher. And for the love of all things puppy, stop calling your food a reward. You’re not a dog.
Meals are meals. End of story. Snacks are snacks. End of that story.

I’m about to explode what’s left of the universe right now, and reveal my “secret”.  Which isn’t really a secret, but hey, a lot of people seem to think it is. The shocking deets on mine: it is how I look at food.

Food is fuel. It keeps my body happy, healthy and GOING. I fear death (don’t we all?), illness (again, don’t we all?), and all of the bad stuff the boogey man brings in the dark.

I don’t track my food. I never restrict myself, because restriction diets are bad news. They encourage disordered eating in more ways than one, and you’re not even realizing what’s going on until you’re deep in the throes of it. The only thing I do keep an eye on is my sodium, but that’s because per doctor’s orders, I’m on a 2500mg-a-day restricted sodium diet – for the rest of my life. And trust me, that’s not fun, at all.

95% of the food that is in my hands, on my fork, on my plate, is healthy. I eat my veggies. I love my fruit. I snack almost never on packaged, processed things. I can’t remember the last time I drank a soda, or a sugary juice. My meat is local, so I know where it’s come from and what they’ve done to Bessie before she came home with me.

Five-percent of the time? Well, you see the blog photo. That Italian chicken sandwich wpid-img_20150803_121819.jpghas been on my mind for two months now. I just haven’t gotten the chance to go grab it and put it in my belly. Last week, it was a root beer float from a local ice cream stand. A few days ago, it was chocolate chip cookies that had somehow escaped us heathens (my parents offspring, our significant others, and our offspring) the previous family dinner just days earlier.

And, because this is how I “practice” daily eating, I enjoy food at its fullest. I’ve also found, that by helping others change-up their view on food (it’s not evil, trust me; food is good for you, so stop treating it like terrorists on your plate!), they take on a much healthier view of it, and find success with eating – and dropping pounds at the same time.

Shocker, I know. You can lose weight AND eat at the same time!

Which brings me to moderation. It’s the mindset we all need to work to get at. It’s not easy. There will be times for some, when it’s really, really damn hard. But you can get there. I’ve seen some of my clients seem like they will never find even the start of that path, that are nailing moderation-365 daily now.

If you want to eat it: EAT IT. Really. If you really want it, take a few bites. Ten times out of 10, that’s all your body really wants. Just a couple of quick bites to send those pleasureful pulses through your brain.

If you’re craving it, give it a few days. If a week has passed, and I’m talking a full on seven 24-hour days here, and you still want that milkshake from Burger King? Go get it. Seriously. Stop depriving yourself. It won’t be the end of you or your weight loss journey. You won’t have suddenly fallen off the healthy bandwagon either.

Don’t you dare call it a treat. It’s just a milkshake.

Walk away from the infomercials, pills, tree bark and other stuff companies are pushing as the “cure all”. Change your approach to food. Change your relationship with food.

Your mind, body and heck, even your soul, will thank you for it.

Like a girl.

Each time I think about this campaign, this blog post takes a little bit more shape.

You got us marketing gurus. You tricked us all. Hell, even I used the #likeagirl a few times on my social media posts right after the campaign first geared up in Super Bowl commercials.

Then I really sat down and thought about it. I mean, really looked at the campaign as a whole.

I get what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to give a voice to the female gender. Trying to tell us women that we can do anything that a man can do. I get it.

However, the approach? Skewed. Slightly messed up.

Like a girl.

The campaign asks girls, if doing something like a girl was a bad thing. Which all felt it was, even if they were unsure.

But then, the campaign has photos of girls doing things, with the hashtag #likeagirl.

“Throw #likeagirl.”

“Dance #likeagirl.”

No, no, no, no. Like-a-girl-cover-600x400

Do you see what’s going on here? It’s continuing on with the gender stereotype. The “You throw good, for a girl,” as said by one of my male friends in my teenage years. Or even “You kick like a girl,” said by my well meaning husband when I finally got back onto the football pitch after having our baby.

Except now, it’s putting it onto us women. Virtually, if you really think about it, making us insult ourselves. “I lift, like a girl.”

No. I lift. I run. I’m strong.

My gender, your gender, has absolutely nothing to do with it. NOTHING. Do you hear me ladies?

So please, stop using that hashtag on your fitness posts. You flex. You have muscles. You clear those hurdles on the track course. You do it, because that’s what you do. Not because you’re a girl. You don’t do it like a girl, you do it like a human being.




Break down the barrier. Kick it in the teeth. Grab the bull by the horns.

Banish #likeagirl.

Spark creativity: Why I do other trainers programs.

Six weeks ago, I started Jessie Hilgenberg’s Home Edition workout program. It was interesting to see how many people, stood off to the sidelines of my social-media-led workout life, scratching their heads.

“Aren’t you a personal trainer?” and “Why are you doing someone else’s trainer? Can’t you come up with your own?” Even… “Isn’t that a waste of money?”

Yes, I am a personal trainer. Yes, I can create my own trainer for myself. I have done so, many, many times in my workout life. And there are many, many more self-written ones to follow. Thing is? It gets kind of boring after awhile. I can write myself a hell of a workout, but, it’s not the same as pulling and doing one created by another. Be it a fellow local trainer, or someone like Hilgenberg.

I’ve done probably about a dozen different trainers, from other fit professionals, over the course of the 13, almost 14 years of my weight lifting life. They not only challenge me in a way that I may not have been able to come up with on my own, but they show me a little of the mindset of another trainer. What works. What doesn’t work. Long programming versus short programming. Super versus giant sets. It gives me better, on-hand, personal experience.


Phase two wrapped and in the books.

It helps me do my job better.

To not do it, would to be much like an author who never reads anything but their own work.

It stifles the mind. Staunches that creativity.

There are a lot of times, where I will take that trainer and tweak it a bit here and there even, in the midst of my doing it. For example: Box jumps on leg and back day of the phase two portion of the Home Edition trainer. Did I do them Saturday when I was out there sweating my ass off in hot, humid, sunny weather?

No. Instead, I did the rear flyes on their own, and in-between each superset, I ran down to the end of my driveway and back (about 400-feet, give or take a few steps).

Why did I do this? First, I did just have a major surgery not even five months ago (that’s right folks! A cesarean is a major surgery, let’s not forget that part like so many of us all do!). Yes, I may be back to working out. Yes, I may have done pelvic floor rehab. Yes, I may not have gotten diastasis recti. BUT, I know my body. I know what it’s been through, I know what it can handle at this moment in time, right now. I also know, I want to continue to heal properly. I don’t want to be down with injury. So, I knew just flat out, box jumps were a no-go, so in came the substitute.

Sometimes, I don’t have access to certain things. That first phase, I couldn’t get my suspension trainer up yet to do pull-ups. So instead, I swapped it out for an exercise that was going to accomplish the same thing.

Adapt and adjust. The only way you’ll ever find success.

I can accredit the on-the-fly type of thinking to the fact that I have that kind of experience under my belt. I’ve done so many different workouts, between my own and others, that when it comes down to a “Oh crap! This isn’t a good idea!”, I’m not looking around for an alternative. I’ve already got it at the snap of a finger.

I’ve been with clients before, who, the day of their session, tell me about an old injury flaring, or a sudden issue they may be having. If I couldn’t think quickly enough of a safe alternative, then I’d have to scrap the session all together. Do that enough, my client walks.

I’m a believer in it, and I always, strongly encourage all of the trainers I meet to do the same. Who knows what may come of it?

Being with social media.

I’ve always been the nine-to-fiver when it has come to social media. My presence, my voice, would drop off of the face of the earth, so to speak, the moment I walked out of work, and not be seen or heard again, until I walked back in the following day.

It was never purposely planned out that way, it’s just how it has been. When I’m not at work, I’m not typically in front of my computer. My phone gets forgotten here or there throughout the house, and I end up becoming so involved in what it is I’m doing after work, I just never bother grabbing it.

In the summertime, I tend to disappear even more. Shuffling as quickly as possible, while still maintaining my superb self-expectation bar with the work I put out, through my work day so I can skip out onto the water for a paddle. Sneak home for a long run. Hit the beach with a book. The non-technology world always wins when I’m given the option between the two.

Which means: I miss a lot. But guess what? I don’t really care. And that’s not a secret. Friends will ask if I saw this person’s post on Facebook. If I heard about this or that, etc… My best friend, who lives almost two hours away, is more tuned into what is happening up here in our hometown, than I am.

But I don’t care.

I’m just over here, in my little slice of the world, doing my thing. I don’t kid when I say “You do you, I’ll do me.”

When the baby came, I found myself becoming more aware of the time I did spend on social media. It was still pretty sparse at that point. I may have posted a little more in the evenings just before he came, but that was where my work hours had shifted to. Because near that last stretch, the evening and night hours were where I functioned best.

I didn’t really need to make a mental note of when to be on and when to be off, after almost a decade, I was pretty well “trained” from my life in general. However, I was home all day for almost fourteen weeks. I knew it could be easy to slip into the “round the clock” mode. I told myself: When he’s awake, the computer is off, the phone is down. He will have my undivided attention.

And that’s how my maternity leave went. When he napped, I blogged. I hit Instagram. Checked Facebook. Browsed around on Twitter. Pinned, pinned, pinned. Until he woke up. A few times, while he was just chilling on the couch, I caught up on deleting spam mail in my work account. I blogged once.

I still had a full handle on my social media social life.

The shift came when I started work. In my effort to keep my daily hours far less than they were before the baby came, I started unplugging from the world wide web, more and more. When I would come home, I would check everything. For two weeks, I let the connection win.

Then I slammed on the brakes and came to a screeching halt. That wasn’t me. And I had always put forth the effort (unconsciously) to keep my “screen time” to a minimum. Here I was, blowing it all to hell. It wasn’t okay.

So I changed it. I changed it even more than what it was before. I’ve started calling it “Being with social media, but not on it”. I’ll look at my different social media accounts here and there throughout my work day, but I’m not scroll, scroll, scrolling to my last login point anymore. I might hit two or three hours back. Ten minutes. Maybe three times a day during the work day. Ten minutes in the evening after baby goes down for his early evening nap.

It’s been fantastic. I have gotten my balance back. Not just with time, but with life. I’ve gotten back to balancing work and my social life (you know, the REAL kind of social, where you go and meet, in-person, with friends?) alongside my fit life and family life with my husband and the baby. I’m getting better at self-care, which is the biggest kicker to this.

I’m back to pulling up my chair outside and reading. I’ve rediscovered my passion for cooking, coming up with a few new recipes over the two weeks so far the being with social media has been in place.

We are still doing yoga, still working on those poses for challenges. Some are getting videoed, yes. But fewer and fewer are, and less are getting posted for challenges. It’s summer. Here it is fleeting and treasured. My baby is growing, and I don’t want to be that parent I was starting to become the first two weeks of returning to work. I want to be that parent I have been the most recent two weeks. Present. 100%.

It took me those full two weeks to get this blog post typed up. Doing it here and there during naps, between book pages, around workouts and yoga. My levelness has returned. I’m back to “missing” things that have happened on Facebook, groups, or wherever. And it’s okay. Because that’s just not who I am.

Bikini Rebellion.

I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say about the first day of Neghar Fonooni’s Bikini Rebellion challenge in a post on Instagram (where the photo referenced can be found). So it’s become a blog post.

I have never posted my bare stomach to the world before. It’s not because I was self-conscious of it. It’s just that it never happened (and I’ll admit, it felt weird). This is what pregnancy has done to my body. To the left, the day after I found out I was pregnant. Taken first thing in the morning. I was roughly 15-16% BF at that point. I never really weigh myself, so I couldn’t be accurate with my stats at that point. I just know that I’ve never focused on my stomach. If it was flat, it was flat. Most times, it had that “athletic figure” small bulge. Which was fine. This is also the same day I told my husband to remember what I looked like in a 2-piece, because after the baby, it’d probably never happen again. I didn’t know how I’d handle stretch marks. I have them from growth spurts on the insides of my thighs and the sides of my butt, but how would I be about them on my stomach.

I’d never put my thought into my body, until I became pregnant. I’d throw on a swimsuit without a second thought and go out and mow my lawn, do my gardening, wash my car. Never caring what people said or thought. After I found out I was pregnant, I realized I was throwing on a tank top over my swimsuit, and just dealing with sweating to death as I mowed or gardened. I’d sit out to read in my suit, just around the corner so traffic couldn’t see. Partly because I wanted to keep my pregnancy secret until we hit the end of the first trimester. And partly because, I just wanted to hide.

The only place I grew was my stomach. And to the point of extreme discomfort. I didn’t think my stomach could stretch anymore.

The photo on the right, is just me a few days ago. I judge my body based on how my clothes fit, and after I’d gotten dressed that morning, the pants I’d bought just a few weeks before were super baggy. I stripped down and put my “slacker” clothes back on. At this point, I’d worn my suit a few times. Just sitting outside and reading. Around the corner. Away from traffic on my busy road.

That little bit of belly that is still hugging me feels weird. For the most part, the fact that this belly was home to my little baby, seems foreign to me. I look down at my body, and the only marks that I bear is the one from my cesarean and my fading linea nigra. I’m free of varicose veins that some have during and after. Those two little marks that I had thought were stretch marks have disappeared. I do not bear the stereotypical “mom bod”. I’m just a body.

I’ve always had a little bit of a tummy, but until now, it’s never caused me a sense of discomfort. When I run, it runs too now. When I do jump squats, it does jump squats along with me. It’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable. But yesterday I did something different. Something I only did once last year while pregnant (the photo on IG standing by my car with my kayak paddle in hand). I put on my suit, parked my car on the lawn, and washed it. No tank top and shorts on over it. No occasionally having to squirt myself with the hose because I was hot and sweating (I love summer, but I do get REALLY hot when I’m outside doing things, hence why I wear my suit for EVERYTHING). Traffic went by, and I never hid.

I dug deep to push aside whatever demon had put me around the corner. Put me in that tank top. I found myself again. Little baby pooch and all.

Whatever it is that had me running for the corner, I need to stop. I had a baby. I’m only 16-weeks postpartum (I’ll be four months on the 14th of this month). I’m not a supermodel. Or a fitness model, who, just two weeks postpartum was posting video of walking lunges, training for a 50-miler at just four weeks postpartum. I’m not that actress that graced the cover of Women’s Health just six weeks after giving birth, having admittedly nearly killed myself to get that “bikini bod”.

I’m a real life person who just had a baby. A real life person that is taking her time, letting my body heal.

I’ve never compared myself to them before, so it’s foolish of me to do so now. Even if it is subconsciously.

Cooking Workout #1: Chicken & Shoulders.

Let’s start a new trend here. This is for all of my busy mommas out there who want to get in shape, but just don’t have the time. The mommas who work all day, tend to the household duties, and the kids. The stay at home mommas who don’t have a spare minute between keeping those busy babies and kids entertained and the household duties.

Guess what? You can take a moment for yourself, while not losing your mind about those duties piling up as you do so.

How? The first time I dragged the grill outside this season, I did something new to pass the time. I sometimes can be an impatient cook (especially when I’m hungry), and to make sure the food gets enough time to cook, I often start doing things that need to be done around the house. Well, that can come back to bite me in the ass in the form of OVERcooked food.

I made probably the juciest, yummiest burgers ever that night. By killing time lifting weights. I did a light round of back and chest with my suspension trainer in-between burger flips. And by some miracle, it worked.

So last night when I was cooking for not just my husband, but my mother in-law as well (which meant the food had to be spot on), I hit a shoulder work-out that in the end, resulted in not only the start of getting my sculpted shoulders back, but some pretty wpid-img_20150528_212600.jpgexcellent grilled chicken.

The recipe:

You Put Vanilla in What? Chicken

  • 2lbs boneless chicken boobies
  • 4 limes
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2c balsamic vinegar dressing
  • 1tbs vanilla
  • 2tbs fire-roasted tomato flakes
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper

Slice three of your limes into 1/4-inch slices. Use the ends of each for juice. The fourth lime is just for the juice. Cut your lemons half, then quarter them. Use the ends of those with your lime juice. Add the balsamic vinegar, vanilla, salt and pepper. Stir well.

Quarter your chicken. Sprinkle the tomato flakes on both sides. With tinfoil either line a metal grilling veggie dish, or make your own by rolling up the sides high enough to keep the juices in. Place the chicken in first, followed by the cut and sliced limes and lemons. As you put the limes and lemons in, squeeze a little juice out of them and over the chicken. Then using a basting brush, make sure your balsamic mix coats the chicken. Dump the excess around the edges.

Cook on medium heat for a total of 30-minutes. (Or you can cook on the stove in a large skillet on high heat for the same amount of time). Use grill tongs to turn over chicken pieces and re-blend after 15-minutes.

wpid-wp-1432926054218.jpgThe workout:

(8 reps of each)

Front dumbbell raise
Dumbbell Side raises
Bent over reverse dumbbell flyes

10 reps of hanging power cleans (with either a barbell or two dumbbells)

Do two sets all the way through, then turn over the chicken pieces and remix in the limes and lemons. Then do another two sets all the way through. If you want to, after you turn your grill off, to let everything simmer together just a little longer, do one more set all the way through.

Boom. Muscles and a yummy dinner.

*Make the side of your choice. This dish goes excellent with wild and brown rice tossed with halved grape tomatoes and cooked loose corn.