Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween + MMM: Spider Finger Lasagna

Okay, so I wouldn't normally call the lasagna I made "Spider Finger Lasagna", but it's Halloween so I had to! So today that is what it will be called, any other day of the year it is Spaghetti Squash Lasagna.

For those of you coming over from Motivate Me Monday, I hope you love this healthy twist on lasagna as much as I do!

MMM Link up #2 Topic:  Share a healthy recipe!

In case you missed my MMM post from last week check it out here.

Spider Finger Lasagna/Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 box lasagna noodles
26+ oz pasta sauce (I used red meat sauce)
12 oz frozen broccoli 
1 c seasonal frozen blend (onions & peppers)
1 1/4 c mozzarella & Asiago cheese w/roasted garlic (Sargento)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds with a spoon.  Place squash halves on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. 

While the squash is baking, take your broccoli and seasonal blend out of the freezer to defrost and cook your lasagna noodles according to the package directions.

When the squash is done, pull it out of the oven, you can let it cool or be very careful using hot pads. Using a fork drag it along the inside of the squash to create squash strings (aka spider fingers lol). This is really easy to do, so don't worry about not being able to do it correctly. Once the inside of the squash is scraped clean turn the oven up to 375 degrees and begin assembling the lasagna. 

Squeeze the liquid out of the broccoli to prevent a watery end product. Begin with a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Then layer with noodles, squash, broccoli, seasonal blend, cheese and sauce. (Note: you can use whatever cheese you'd like, I just liked this kind of cheese because it had so much flavor!)

Cover lasagna with tin foil and bake lasagna for 25-35 minutes at 375 degrees or until everything is warm.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this dish!  And my boyfriend even liked it, and he doesn't like squash or trying new things... his exact words were, "I like it, I don't love it, but I like it".  I know he wasn't just saying it to make me happy because he had 3 servings!

Happy Halloween!

P.S. Don't forget if you don't want to keep all of your Halloween candy, consider giving it to the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program!

What did you dress up as this weekend or what will you be dressing up as tonight?

Are you handing out candy tonight?  Or are you taking kids out?  Or do you just opt out of the holiday all together?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"10 Miles is Nothing"

Apparently this is what I thought last night when I signed up for this race 30 minutes before registration closed.  Last night I made a last second decision to run a 10 mile races this morning... the Carson 5 and 10 in Eau Claire!

The race was put on by the Indianhead Track Club, a group I recently started running with (I think I'm going to officially join the club at the beginning of the new year).  Both the 5K and the 10 mile started at 8:30am this morning, with frigid temps around 36 degrees.

The course was mediocre at best.  In Eau Claire we have some of the most beautiful trails and areas to run in, and the 10 mile course was at out and back...that we did twice!  Granted it is fun to pass other runners and we at least knew how much further we had to run the second time around, a change of scenery would have been nice.  Since the 5K and 10 miler started at the same time and ran the first 2.5 miles together I had a really hard time pacing myself early on.  Despite those two things, I really had a good time! I felt really strong up until the last mile where I really had to focus.  Other little facts...

Bathroom breaks: 0
Water breaks: 2 (they ran out of cups on our last trip...bad news!)
Walk breaks: 1 (very short and up hill)
Pre-race food: Oatmeal with brown sugar
Food during the race: Nothing (this may have to change soon)

When I crossed the finished line my time read somewhere around 1:30:something.  I'm waiting for the official times to be posted to see how I did relative to others in the race and in my age group... stay tuned :)

This is the lovely lady who told me about the race, thanks dear! We went to high school together and are just now, 6 years later, hanging out more since we are both done with college.

P.S. I just bought those pants last night, because I wanted to run in official running pants... I know I'm a nerd!  They were great though and they may make an appearance in my Halloween costume tonight (not to worry they are in the wash right now)!

Race swag... this shirt is pretty much it.  I like the design, it is of Paul Bunyan which was where the race start, at our Paul Bunyan logging museum and I like the material (tech T).  The rest of the swag in the bag wasn't so swaggy. There were a lot of advertisements and some coupons for stores that I never really go to.

Post race we celebrated our great races with some coffee and pancakes!  Celebrating with coffee seems to be a reoccurring theme... see here and here.

This is the first time I have really done a race in my home town, so I had some supporters along the course and loved it... thanks guys!

Anyone else run a race this weekend?  
Do you like running in your home town or in other cities better?
Any Halloween costumes out there that are being shown off tonight?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

MMM: My Fitness Story

A couple days ago, the lovely Ashley from Me and My Boys found my blog and asked me if I'd like to be a part of her Motivate Me Monday (MMM) series...and of course I said yes!  I mean anything that has to do with fitness, health and wellness is what my blog and I are all about!  So if you are checking out my blog through this program, welcome to Wealth is Health!!

So what is Motivate Me Monday... every week Ashley or one of her co-partners come up with a topic to write about on your blog.  After I write my post I just link it up on her blog and everyone participating in MMM can read each others post for some extra motivation throughout the week!  So here we go!  This weeks topic is...

How fitness ties into your life. 

I'm not someone who has an exciting weight loss or fitness story, mine is like many others, but regardless it is my story.  

Both of my parents were studs in high school athletics.  Mom played varsity basketball, volleyball and track.  Dad was a stud on the football field and played other sports as well, but football was his thing.  I was fortunate enough to get those genes from them! Growing up they fostered me with the opportunities to play sports in the backyard, on traveling teams, to play in college and even overseas (okay maybe that's where my story differs a little).   

London at night
In high school I played varsity volleyball and basketball all four years.  I played during my high schools peak point and we made many trips to state in both sports.  While in high school I realized I really had a passion for basketball (I loved volleyball too, but there were more opportunities in basketball) and I nourished that passion.  I played traveling basketball and worked my butt off in the gym to get better and better everyday. Eventually that work payed off and I was able to go play college basketball at a D3 school... not only that I started as a freshman and played an important role on the team.  (Please don't think I am full of myself, I usually don't talk like this, but this is my story. My boyfriend didn't even know I was good at basketball until we were dating for like a month since I don't usually toot my own horn- we had a long distance relationship at the time.)   Anyway my experience playing college basketball gave me the opportunity to spend two of my summers (10 days for each trip) playing over seas in London and Australia with some other great college basketball players around the US!  I would never trade anything for my days as an athlete in high school or college, I learned SO much about myself and it molded me into the person I am today.

My boyfriend and I post-game
After I used up all of my college eligibility I needed to find something else to do.  For so long I wanted to run a half marathon, but didn't want to do it by myself.  So last year a girl friend of mine who I met when I went back for my masters asked if I wanted to do one.  Since my first half marathon last May I have been absolutely hooked on running and racing.  My race "resume" is not impressive at all at this point in life, mostly because I don't have the money to get into all the races I want to, but I hope to build that "resume" for many years to come. 

All of my athletic experiences, clearly made me love sports and fitness, so I decided this would be what I would study in college.  I received my bachelors degree in Sport Management in 2009.  After being unsuccessful in finding a job (I know totally not the reason to go back to school, but with our economy it was my best option) for a year I decided to go back to further my education.  I am currently finishing my masters in Human Performance.  Since starting this journey a year and a half ago I have earned my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certificate through the NSCA so I can personal train and work with athletes and other fitness clients.  This just about brings you up to current times in my life.... right now I am an intern at Momentum Sport Fitness, where I will be continuing to work after my internship, and I work part time at the YMCA as well right now.  

As a personal trainer I love finding new ways to challenge myself and my clients.  Working out is a huge part of my life.  My current fitness goals/challenges are:

1. Run a full marathon (spring 2012 or Chicago Marathon in fall 2012)
2. Hold a plank on two stability balls (hands on one, feet on the other) for 1 minutes 
3. Keep a fitness log 

What are your fitness goals/challenges?  What is your fitness story?  I'd love to hear your story in my comments or an email!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

3 Ways To Use Your Pumpkin Guts

Many of you may be carving pumpkins right now in preparation for Halloween next week.

What will you do with all the guts that you scoop out?  Here's what I did...


Roasted pumpkin seeds.  Consider this your warning, do not dry pumpkin seeds overnight on paper towel... you will spend A LOT of time trying to scrape the paper toweling off the seeds the next morning.  This is a fact (don't ask how I know).  Next time I will wash my seeds, place them on two paper towels so that the majority of the moisture is sucked up, then move them to a towel overnight to suck up the remaining moisture.  I ended up wasting all the seeds you see on the mess-of-a-paper-towel below because I got sick of trying to save every seed.

How did I season my seeds?  Sea salt + a little stevia.  Bake for about 25 minutes (stirring after 10 minutes) at 325 degrees.  Eat.  Enjoy :)


Smoothies!  The pumpkin that you scrape off the sides of your pumpkin to make the wall a little thinner, thus easier to carve, save that stuff!  Put a handful of it into a blender and blend away (it will turn into a liquid-like substance).  My favorite smoothie combination thus far is blended pumpkin + vanilla yogurt (1/2 c) + blueberries (1/2 c)!  Both the pumpkin and the blueberry flavors stand out so much in the smoothies, it's awesome!  Oh yeah, and healthy!!


Cookies! I borrowed a recipe that I found on Ashley's blog A Happier Healthier Bear, and modified it with ingredients I had on hand and tried to healthify it. (Note: Don't hate on the fact that "healthify" is not in the dictionary.)  Here's my version of the recipe...

Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies (modified)
1/2 c applesauce
1 1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c fresh pumpkin (blended as seen above)
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour 
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
Chocolate chips 
(I used less than a half bag since that's all I had left, wish I had more since I like everything chocolaty)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream applesauce, sugar and eggs together. Mix well. Add vanilla and blended pumpkin.  Stir in dry ingredient to the wet mixture. Add chocolate chips (or nuts, raisins, etc. if you want).  Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet, bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool.  

The cookies are still in the oven as I write this post, so check back here in the comments of this post or check Twitter (@wealths_health) for the results!  

What other ways do you use the guts of a pumpkin?  

PS If you're wondering what we carved in our pumpkins, you'll have to wait until Halloween!  But I'll give you a hint... mine has to do with one of my favorite cities in the US.  Can you guess it?  

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin

Has anyone else every watched Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin? Charlie Brown is a show that was on our TV every holiday as a kid.  My mom loves him, so I think I saw every holiday episode about a thousand times!  She still watches the episodes on her own now that all of us kids are all grown up, that's the child in her. 

Saturday afternoon the boyfriend and I headed out to the apple orchards!  Don't be confused by the pumpkins that follow, it really was an apple orchard haha! We like to head about 15 miles northeast of town and go to those orchards because there are four on one strip of road out there. So instead of going bar hopping this weekend, we went orchard hopping :)

Looking for the perfect pumpkin

Found it!

And he found his!

Proof we were at an apple orchard 

The orchards had lots of goodies, so of course we proceeded to purchase almost all of them...

Our two pumpkins, yet to be carved

Silly Seeds- Watermelon flavored sunflower seeds
(In case you're wondering they are okay, they taste like nerds + nuts)

Apple cider and Merry Berry wine

Caramel apple pie....umm almost gone already!

What did you do this weekend?  What is your favorite fall activity?  Anyone have any good Halloween costume ideas?

Sunday was a day of straight up family and football.

Go Pack Go!


Happy Fall!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Post: Transitioning to Healthy Meals

The other day I was contacted by Sean from the Blog Content Guild, asking if he could do a guest post on my blog, and since Friday's are crazy busy for me it worked out perfectly that he could provide you all with a healthy, interesting post!  So I'm going to turn it over to Sean so he can share some creative tips for making healthy food more interesting as well as giving you some recipe ideas that are a sure way to help you get healthy, without having to give up your inner foodie!

Transitioning to Healthy Meals

Eating healthy can seem like a drag. There’s so much delicious food in the world, so why should
you limit yourself to just the healthy stuff? After all, you only live once. There are plenty of
ways to justify not eating healthy meals. At some point in your life, though, you’ll probably have
to slow down a little bit when it comes to junk food. As we age, our metabolisms often slow
down, and so do our energy levels. Eating healthy foods can help you stay trim, healthy, happy,
and energetic. Lucky for you, not all healthy foods taste like cardboard. Some of them actually
taste quite good, especially if they’re prepared the right way. All you need to do to start eating
healthy is get in the right mindset and commit yourself to the task. Here are some things you
can try out as you commence your healthy eating project:

Shop and Save

Start making more trips to the supermarket and cook your meals at your house. This will help
you save money because everyone knows eating out all the time can be seriously expensive.
Get ready for your trip to the store by making a shopping list. Add healthy food products to
your list, like fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and whatever else you like that’s healthy. If you stick
to buying the food products you’ve listed, you’ll only come home with stuff that’s good for you.
If you aren’t used to cooking for yourself, be patient and give yourself some time. There’s going
to be a learning curve, but just think about all the difficult things you’ve learned to do in your
life. Cooking is definitely something you can master. If you have trouble thinking of meal ideas
on your own, ask your friends what they like to cook or look up some recipes. For instance,
Rachael Ray’s book of recipes, 30 Minute Meals, is a great place to start, especially if you’re
pressed for time most days.

Make Nutritious Substitutions

You can play around with healthy substitutions for less than healthy ingredients. Try using some
applesauce rather than eggs when you make baked goods to reduce the cholesterol content
of your favorite sweet treats. Instead of butter, try a little coconut oil when you’re making
your meals. Coconut oil is super good for you and gives your body the kind of fat it needs. Mix
some fruit you like with plain yogurt in the morning for a quick, healthy breakfast. When you’re
craving your favorite afternoon snack, which just happens to be potato chips, consider making
some kale chips. They only take a few minutes to make in the oven and are incredibly good for
you. These are just a few of the nutritious substitutions you could try out. Feel free to do some
exploring on your own. The possibilities are endless!

So, get the right foods at the store, check out some easy recipes, and learn to cook your
favorite meals using healthier food products. Don’t forget to treat yourself every once in a
while for doing such a good job of eating healthy. You can buy yourself a new shirt or go to a
movie or do just about anything you want to reward yourself. You’ll be able to afford it with all
the money you’ve saved eating in!

Thanks Sean for sharing these creative ideas with us!  If you have any questions for Sean about his post feel free to shoot me an email and I will be sure he gets it!  Hope you all have a fantastic Friday!

Anyone have any fun fall plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Candy Buy Back

Yesterday I hung out with my sister and I asked when she was going to take the kids out to go trick-or-treating for Halloween.  She said she wasn't sure what she wanted to do because she didn't really want the kids to have all that candy, if you're a mom I'm sure you could agree kid don't need a pillow case full of candy, so me being the great auntie that I am scrambled for a solution. I mean I would hate to miss seeing my two little angels dressed up!

So here is my solution for her... Halloween Candy Buy Back! The Halloween Candy Buy Back program is part of Operation Gratitude. The jist of the program is that dentists around the country register to the program and take part in collecting and shipping candy to soldiers overseas!  I wasn't sure if she would be able to do it, but I did a search and sure enough we have a dentist in town that is in the program!  If you want more details on the program check out their website.

Thirty One
Remember when I went to my sister's Thirty One party?  Well I just got my purchase, so I wanted to show you what it is!

This may look like just another wallet, but this bad boy is helping solve my purse clutter problem. In this dang age every place has a credit card, punch card, or a reward card, and of course I'm a sucker for all of them!  I have so many cards/punch cards that not only is my wallet busting at the seems, but I also have an additional card holder!  Oh and don't forget about my check book adding to the clutter!

With my new wallet everything fits in one!  This wallet is made of some sort of cloth-ish material (yeah, I know I'm good, don't ever ask me to make your clothing), so it is expandable and can fit more stuff in it!  My check book even fits inside, but I'm not sure if I'll carry it in there just because I don't use it very much and I think it'll just be in the way when I open my wallet.

I was not paid or given any incentives for either of these products/organizations.  I chose to share about these products because I like them, the opinions are my own. 

Have you ever donated your Halloween candy to some cause?

What is your favorite accessory?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blasty Blast of a Weekend

I don't know if anyone out there is a Dane Cook fan, but if you are, you may recognize the "Blasty Blast" that made its was into my post title :)

On to the recap of my weekend...

Unofficial Half Marathon (aka Mac's Attack Half?)
Okay so maybe I had a little bit too much time on my hands during my two hours of running.  Coming up with a  name for my unofficial half marathon was my way of making my run feel more like a real race, however, I really struggled to come up with anything all that exciting, so Mac's Attack Half Marathon it is.

Pre-run fuel

All my gear (yes I carried my water)
 I had some issues with my Garmin, my Nike Plus and matching up on the distance, so I ran the distance from mapquest and then used Nike Plus to determine the actual time that I stopped at (since it was closest to what mapquest told me was 13.1 miles), and then I used my Garmin to determine my water breaks (since I could see the distance the whole time, where my Nike Plus was on my arm and I couldn't see it).  Over all here's where things played out...


Based on the Garmin mileage here's a snap shot of what happened on my run...

Mile 1- 2 big hills
Mile 2- 1 big hill
Mile 3- Water break
Mile 5- Water break
Mile 7- Water break + my legs, abs and back start fatiguing
Mile 8- Walked a little
Mile 9- Water
Mile 10- Walked some
Mile 11- Slowing down
Mile 12- 2 big hills
Mile 13.1- Wahoo!  Finished... first time by myself!

I really struggled pacing myself, as you can see from my splits being all over the 9/10 minute mile range.  I also continued to learn just how important your core is in running.   By mile 11 I seriously felt like I had gotten sucker punched in the stomach, that's how sore my abs were!  I guess my heavy breathing for two hours really took a toll on my stomach muscles.

Nike Plus

This is what I used for my "official" unofficial race time.  If you notice I actually went 13.3 miles according to my Nike Plus.  Why would I run an extra .2 miles when I was exhausted you ask?  My iPod told me when I had 100 meters to go, but it failed to mention when I actually completed the 13.1 miles.  At some point during my last "100 meters" I was like "Really?! Are you kidding me?  This is WAY more than 100 meters!", so I looked down at my iPod and sure enough it was .2 miles past my goal!  I have no idea what happened, this ever happened to me before, but I wasn't incredibly pleased.  Oh well, not the end of the world.

# of water breaks: 4
# of hills: 4
# of food breaks: 0 (I haven't used food in either half marathon I've run, it seems to work for me)
# of bathroom breaks: 0 (some how I have managed to dodge this one in both my half marathons)

If you remember from my first half, I PR'd with this "race"!  I wish it would have been official, but I'm still pretty proud of beating my previous half marathon time!

Starbucks to celebrate a job well done :)
Green Bay
When we got into Green Bay we stopped by Jed's uncle's house to pick up our tickets and go out for dinner.  It was here where I fell in love with pugs (Tina would be so proud!)!  His aunt and uncle own a pug and it was just the most precious thing I've ever seen!  They have now made it to my list of dogs I want (pug and/or vizsla).  I didn't take a picture of Bella, the precious pug, because I didn't want to seem like a total obsessive weirdo, but I am now regretting that decision.

Later Saturday night my girl friend from college and her fiance decided to show us around for  a little night on the town. Random fact, we stood in the same order last time we took a picture together in GB, funny huh!  We never fail to have a great time with these two!

My sweetheart!

It's my purse I got for my birthday!

Handsome young man

I like to move it, move it

After a fun night out, we woke up the next morning bright and early for the noon Packer game.  Luckily my girl friend lives pretty close to Lambeau Field so we didn't have too far to go.  We tailgated for a little while, then headed in for the game!

During the National Anthem, there was a fly by (I don't remember exactly what jets they were, but they were specific ones).  I cannot get over how loud the jets are!  They did a fly by last time I was at a Packer game and both times they were so loud they made my eyes tear up!

Let the game begin!  The Packers were sporting the old ACME Packer uniforms, which are blue and yellow.  It was really neat to see them play in those uniforms, but it took me a while to really feel like I was watching the Packers and to keep the teams straight, it was a Packers vs. Rams game so the colors were similar.

Words cannot describe how much I love this guy!

It was another win for the Pack this weekend!  It has really been a great year to be a Wisconsinite, it doesn't always happen like this with the Badgers, Brewers, and Packers having a great year, so I'm eating it up :)

What did you all do this weekend?  Did I miss anything being out of town?