Links Loved

Links loved

Here are this week’s links I loved reading. Enjoy.

The Ultimate Runner’s Guide (Infographic)- via Greatist

Sweet Bunny Cake-Blog Tutorial – via My Cake School

A Green Smoothie For Freezer Pop Season – via Real Mom Nutrition

10 Bad Eating Habits Parents Often Teach Their Kids – via Aupair. I’m guilty of doing at least 3 of these things.

Healthy Apple Crisp: Cute & Yummy – via Fooducate Blog

Have a great weekend.

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Goal Progress and Random Things

Happy Friday!

I love the weekends. My weekend begins Thursday night because my husband has off on Fridays. This is a great thing. I love that he is able to help me with the kids on Friday, Saturday and Sundays.

Huge Woodbridge Bottle of Wine

I thought I would share a few fun random things about my kids and me.

1. My kids are afraid of grass. Is this normal? Or is this because I have a desert landscaped yard? I take them to the park a couple times a week to get use to the grass. They are getting better, but my son will not touch the grass. Weird.

2. I love everything about organization and time management, but I am not the most organized and time managed person. This is something I’m continually working on.

3. I love fashion. You probably wouldn’t think that if you saw how I dress. I wear yoga type pants or running shorts and a t-shirt everyday. Even when I leave the house, I don’t wear the types of clothes or accessories I like to read about in fashion magazines and blogs.

4. I love wine. My husband and I found this huge Woodbridge Chardonnay at Costco last week. It took us a couple of days to drink the wine. It was delicious. I placed the Cabernet Sauvignon next to the Woodbridge to show you the difference in size. Huge, huh.


My water habit is going great. It didn’t start out too great, but for the most part I have been able to stick with the 10 cups. I like to chug my water instead of sipping, so chugging 2 cups when I wake up doesn’t work for me. I decided to wait at least an hour after waking up before I have my first 2 cups of water.

My workout habit is to stick to my weekly plan. This is probably going to be the hardest habit for me because my days sometimes get a little crazy. I usually plan 5 workouts a week, but often times only accomplish 4 of them. I thought about changing my weekly workouts to 4 days a week and adding an extra workout for one of the days. Maybe I will try it this week and see how it works out. My action trigger for sticking to my planned workouts is to put on my workout clothes as soon as I get up in the mornings. I’m also going to workout before my kids wake up. I will write my nutrition and workout habit on post it notes and my to do list.

My progress is going well. I lost 1 pound this week. I haven’t mentioned my nutrition plan yet. For the most part, I’m following the 7 tips for balancing your meals I posted a few weeks ago. I did eat some cake scraps from my candy bar cake and I ate half a bag of marshmallows over the past week. I’m addicted to them right now. I don’t touch the mini marshmallows I have to make fondant only the big holiday ones. Next week, I will probably tighten up my diet and eat a more 90/10 balance. I will post more about my diet next week.

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Accomplish any goals this week or month?

How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose or Gain Weight?


Losing and gaining weight depends largely on the amount of calories you consume and/or burn. Without knowing your calorie needs, it is sometimes difficult to meet your weight goal.

The most effective way to measure your energy expenditure is by using an indirect calorimeter, which measures your oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide expiration. However, that is neither practical nor cheap.

The more convenient method to determine your total energy expenditure is to use equations. Your total energy expenditure requires 3 equations: BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), PA (Physical Activity) and DT (Diet-induced Thermogenesis). Diet-induced thermogenesis is the thermic effect of food. Keep in mind, the equations will give you a daily estimated energy expenditure.

How to figure out your basal metabolic rate?

BMR is the minimum energy needed to maintain vital functions such as breathing, nervous system, blood pumping, etc.

The Harris-Benedict equation is most commonly used to measure the BMR. This equation is best used on individuals that are sedentary to moderately active. The following equation has been altered for the use of pounds (W) and inches (H).




Weight-124 pounds Height-5’2” 5ft * 12in= 60in + 2in=62in Age 31 years old

BMR: 655.1+539.4+291.4-145.7= 1340 calories

How to figure out your physical activity value?

PA is the calories burned while moving around such as walking, standing, exercise even fidgeting.

Multiply BMR with the appropriate physical activity value below.

Bed/Chair bound 1-1.2
Sedentary work no moving around 1.4-1.5
Sedentary work with moving around 1.6-1.7
Active standing work 1.8-1.9
Strenuous highly active 2-2.4


1340 (BMR) * 1.6 (PA)= 2144 calories

How to figure out your diet-induced thermogenesis?

DT is the calories burned to process consumed food. This includes digestion, absorption, transport, metabolism and storage of consumed food.

The most common value used to calculate the thermic effect of food is 10%. This is the caloric value of a mixed diet eaten within 24 hours.


1340 (BMR) * 0.1 (DT)= 134 calories

Daily energy expenditure (DEE)= BMR + PA + DT

1340 (BMR) + 804 (PA) + 134 (DT)= 2278 calories

How to lose or gain weight?

One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. To lose one pound a week, you need to create a daily calorie deficient of 500 calories or a total of 3500 calories for the week. To lose two pounds, you need to create a calorie deficient of a 1000 calories a day or a total of 7000 calories a week. The 500 and 1000 calories can be a reduction in calories consumed or amount of calories burned through exercise. Keep in mind, you will want to recalculate your calorie needs after losing approximately 10 pounds.


2278 (DEE) – 500 calories= 1778 calories to lose one pound/week

2278 (DEE) – 1000 calories= 1278 calories to lose two pounds/week

To gain weight, you would do the opposite and consume an extra 500 calories/day (one pound a week).


2278 (DEE) + 500 calories= 2778 calories to gain one pound/week




Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. and Groff, J.L. Advanced Nutrition And Human Metabolism. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth. 2005

Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier. 2004.

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Do you count calories to lose or gain weight?

--Every few months, I will calculate my calories consumed for a few days to keep myself on track. This also helps me stay on track with portion control.

How to Make a Candy Bar Cake and The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


Candy Bar Cake

This is a simple and fun cake to make. I got the idea and recipe from the March 2012 issue of the Food Network Magazine.

I did not follow their directions exactly. The directions state to use a frozen 12 oz pound cake. Instead, I made a dense vanilla cake. The cake is not as dense as a pound cake, but more like a wedding cake or a durable cake.


9”x13” homemade vanilla cake

Chocolate buttercream frosting ***the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever made***

  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 stick salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk (probably should have used 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 1 pound box of confectioner’s sugar

Peanut caramel filling

  • ~1 cup roasted peanuts (I used a little more than 3/4 cup. I also did not have salted peanuts. Use salted peanuts if you have it.)
  • I sprinkled a small amount of fine sea salt, since I didn’t have salted nuts. Try the mixture before doing this.
  • 2 cups dulce de leche

Chocolate coating

  • 10 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • I had to use an extra 2.5 oz of semisweet chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp of cold unsalted butter to make the wave on top of the cake. This was because of the size of my cake.


I wrapped the vanilla cake in plastic wrap and foil then placed it in the freezer. I do this to all of my cakes. It makes them moist. I typically freeze the cake overnight, but today I did not have the time. I left the cake in the freezer for about an hour.

I trimmed the sides and leveled the cake. I normally level my cakes when they are frozen. This helps prevent tearing and cuts down on the amount of crumbs.

Vanilla Cake Leveled

I “glued” two ends of the cake with frosting to make it longer. Vanilla Cake

I then spread an inch thick of chocolate buttercream frosting on top of the cake, making the edges slightly higher than the middle. I put the cake in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes. 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting The Best

Chocolate Buttercream Frosted Vanilla Cake

I mixed the peanuts and dulce de leche in a bowl. Use 3/4 cup of peanuts and add more if you want.

Peanut Caramel Filling

Once the frosting was firm, I removed the cake from the freezer and spread the peanut mixture in a flat, even layer. I then returned the cake to the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Shortly before removing the cake from the freezer, I microwaved the chocolate and butter in 30 second intervals, stirring until the chocolate was smooth and melted.

I poured the chocolate on the cake and spread it evenly on the top and sides. I used an offset spatula. I put the cake in the freezer for an additional 6-8 minutes until the chocolate cooled some.

I had to make extra chocolate coating to create the wave on top of the cake. I started at the end of the cake, slightly touched the spatula into the chocolate at an angle and gently pulled up. I repeated along the cake while creating a wave effect. I then put the cake into the refrigerator to store. If you are going to serve the cake right away, put it into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm the chocolate.

Candy Bar Cake 2

Overall, I’m happy with how the cake turned out. I would have liked to smoothed out the sides more, but it’s not too bad. Getting the wave right was the most difficult part. 

I saved a tablespoon amount of frosting, chocolate coating and the peanut mixture to taste with some cake I have left over. As soon as I put this sucker in the refrigerator, I ate what I had saved and it was delicious.

If you make this cake, let me know what you think.

Birthday cakeBirthday cakeBirthday cake

Baking and Breakfast


Happy Wednesday!

Anyone baking today? I just put a vanilla cake in the oven and am willing my butter to speed up the warming process. I forgot to take it out of the refrigerator this morning and it needs to be at room temperature before I can make my frosting.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the cake is vanilla and will have a chocolate frosting. Yum. Hopefully it won’t take all day and I will be able to post some pictures later. If everything works out right, it will be a fun decorated cake.

Until then, here is a picture of my breakfast.

Oatmeal with Chia Seeds and Dried CranberriesLooks amazing, doesn’t it? I honestly think it is my awesome photography skills that makes this dish look incredibly appetizing.

Oatmeal with Chia Seeds

Seriously, it looks kind of boring, but it was delicious. It is a bowl of oatmeal with skim milk, chia seeds, cinnamon and dried cranberries.

I love using chia seeds, but they kind of freak me out. They remind me of little bugs. I always wait a few seconds before eating to see if any of them move. They don’t. And they are delicious and healthy.

Ok, I gotta go. My kids are staring me down and my cake is almost done. I’ll post pictures of my cake as soon as I can.

Have a great day.

Birthday cakeBirthday cakeBirthday cake

Anyone baking today?

--I’m making a cake and possibly pizza crust for dinner.

The Importance of Protein in Our Diet

Protein Shake

What are proteins?

Protein is extremely important and needed for your body to be healthy and function properly. Protein is made up of amino acids, which the body must have in order to synthesize various proteins and nitrogen containing molecules that make human life possible.

Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of life. There are 2 categories of amino acids, essential and nonessential.

  • Essential amino acids are amino acids that the body cannot make and we must obtain through diet.
    • Essential- leucine, isoleucine, valance, lysine, tryptophan, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, histidine
  • Nonessential amino acids are amino acids that the body is able to make for itself.
    • Nonessential- alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cystine, glycine, hydroxyproline, glutamic acid, serine
  • There are also conditionally essential amino acids, which are amino acids that are normally nonessential, but under certain physiological conditions they become essential and the body is unable to make them.
    • Conditionally essential Amino Acids- Tyrosine, cysteine, proline, arginine, glutamine

Why do we need protein and how much is needed?

Dietary protein contributes to the body’s supply of amino acids that is needed to produce important molecules in our body such as enzymes, hormones, antibodies, protein transport and to serve as a buffer. Protein is also needed for the body’s growth, muscle building and repair.

It is recommended for adults to consume 0.8 gram protein per kilogram of bodyweight. For example, a 130 pound person (59 kilogram) would need 47 grams protein per day. Keep in mind, this recommendation is the amount of protein needed to prevent deficiencies for generally healthy adults.

If we take into consideration the reasons why protein is important such as enzymes, hormones, immunity, protein synthesis (the making of new proteins), weight management, satiety, muscle growth and repair, it is obvious we need more protein than what is needed to prevent deficiencies. Active healthy adults may require consuming approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For those who want to gain strength and build muscle, consider taking in 1.25-1.50 gram per pound of bodyweight.

Eating more protein may improve your metabolism and lead to better weight management. The amount of energy, up to 30%, it takes for your body to digest, absorb, transport and store protein is a lot higher than it is in carbohydrates and fat. High protein foods are slow to digest and empty the stomach, which results in feeling full longer. This means there is a more steady effect on blood sugar compared to the sharp rise that results in eating simple carbohydrates. When your blood sugar rises then falls sharply, as in eating simple carbohydrates, it sends out signals that you are hungry. The more satiety you feel after a meal, the better you will be at managing your weight.

Protein quality

Complete proteins are proteins that contain all essential amino acids in the amounts needed by humans. These include all animal products, excluding gelatin, and soy protein. Quinoa is also a complete protein.

Incomplete proteins have too little of one or more essential amino acids. These are plant foods such as legumes, vegetables, cereals and grain products.

Incomplete Protein Combinations to Provide all Essential Amino Acids

For vegans, this information is important to ensure all essential amino acids are consumed daily. By eating a variety of legumes, vegetables and grain products, vegans should have no problem consuming all essential amino acids.

Protein Sources and Serving Sizes


Serving Size


Hamburger, extra lean CP

3 oz

22 g

Chicken, roasted CP

3 oz

27 g

Salmon, wild CP

3 oz

17 g

Tuna, water packed CP

3 oz

20 g

Sirloin steak, lean CP

3 oz

25 g

Cottage cheese CP

1 c

28 g

Skim milk CP

1 c

8 g

Yogurt CP

8 oz

8 g

Cheddar cheese CP

1 oz

7 g

Soy milk CP

1 c

8 g

Tofu CP

1/2 c

7 g

Mixed nuts IC

1 oz

5 g

Peanut butter, crunchy IC

1 Tbsp

8 g

Lentils, cooked IC

1/2 c

17 g

Kidney beans, cooked IC

1/2 c

8 g

Couscous, cooked IC

1 c

6 g

Spaghetti, whole wheat IC

1 c

7 g

Egg CP

1 large

6 g

Whole-wheat bread IC

2 slices

4 g

Quinoa, cooked CP

1 c

8 g

Rice, cooked IC

1 c

4 g

Kale, cooked IC

1 c

2 g

CP= complete protein, IC= incomplete protein, c=cup, g=gram, oz=ounce Tbsp=tablespoon

*Numbers rounded to nearest whole number. Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

Take home message:

  • Consume a complete lean protein with every meal.
  • Protein burns more calories to process and store than carbohydrates and fat, which can lead to a higher metabolic rate.
  • Protein causes a steady rise in blood sugar resulting in satiety and a delay in hunger. This can also result in weight loss. 
  • Complete proteins are animal products, excluding gelatin, soy and quinoa.
  • Combine incomplete proteins to make a complete protein, such as peanut butter and whole grain bread.


Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. and Groff, J.L. Advanced Nutrition And Human Metabolism. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth. 2005

Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier. 2004.

Balachandran, A.T. (Oct. 24, 2008). How Much Protein Do You Need for Muscle Growth? Retrieved from

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Retrieved from

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Workout of the Week

Workout of the Week Strip

Monday Home Workout: Chest & Quick Burn C Workout
Tuesday Burpee Challenge & Speed Work on the Treadmill
Wednesday The Weekend Timesaver Workout
Thursday Off
Friday Easy Run
Saturday Long Run
Sunday Off

Last week, I completed 87 burpees in 10 minutes. Yay. I’m getting close to my burpee goal of 100 burpees in 10 minutes. I have a strategy that seems to be working. I do 10 burpees then take a ~5 second break, do 10 more and take a ~5 second break… I do this until the timer goes off.

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Do you have your workouts planned for the week?

Do you have similar strategies that help you get through tough workouts?

---I use similar strategies during my long runs.

Quick Burn C Workout

Quick Burn C

Complete as many reps as fast as you can while maintaining proper form. Set your interval timer for 2, 4, 6 or 8 minutes. Remember, there isn’t any rest during the quick burn workouts.

I did this workout in 6 minutes after the chest workout. I hope you enjoy.

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Home Workout: Chest

Happy Monday!

Today’s workout focuses on chest and cardio.

Home Workout Chest

Complete the 2 rounds as fast as you can while maintaining proper form. Don’t forget to use a stopwatch and record your time in your workout notebook.

I completed this workout in 14 minutes and 40 seconds. I followed this workout with a 6 minute quick burn.

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What workout did you do today?

Bad Runs

I had so much hope and excitement for my run today. My kids were napping and my husband made it home in time for me to go on a run. Yay!

My Garmin was ready and I tried turning on my mp3 player. It was dead. This should have been the red flag warning me I’m about to have an awful run. No big deal, right. I never run without music, but I once read it could be a good thing. Get me in touch with my breathing and whatever. I put the mp3 player on a shelf and accidently knocked over a family photo, breaking the frame. Ugh. Red flag number 2.

Of course, not a big deal. I would clean it up after my awesome run. First half mile was a little tough, but I figured it was due to not having any music. Wind picked up, but it would get better once I changed directions. Are you starting to notice a pattern? I’m seriously trying to tell myself this run will get better. Guess what? It doesn’t.

I started my run a little faster than normal. You would think I would know better considering I’ve been running for over half my life. Half way through my run, I had to stop. I stopped twice. Once to blow my nose, something I would normally do before a run. And the second to catch my breath because I had a side stitch. Seriously, can this run get worse. Oh, it does. A guy passes me as I’m hunched over gasping. Awesome.

I start running again, almost catching up with this random stranger before he makes a turn. The opposite direction I’m going. Dang. I really wanted to pass him. You know, to show him I’m awesome and I’m having an awesome run.

Finally, I start getting into this crappy run when it hits me I’m hot. I’m not used to running in the heat, yet. It has just started to get warm where I live. I also wore new running capris. I only ever wear running skirts. Ugh. What was I thinking?

Eventually, I made it home. Even though, my run absolutely sucked. I’m glad I went because a sucky run is better than not running.

Now that I have ended my rambling, how do you get over a bad run? Do you dwell on it or just get over it?

I think I’m over it. If the bad run was caused by pain of some sort then I probably would overanalyze the situation.

My next run will be awesome.

Here are the results of my awful run.


This is a 10:27 min/mile. My normal easy slow run is a 9:30 min/mile.

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Any bad runs lately?

Links Loved

Links loved

My kids are finally starting to feel better. The pediatrician prescribed antibiotics for my son. He didn’t foresee my son getting better right away and thought the medicine would work. The twins are still snotty, but definitely in a better mood.

Anyone see the Hunger Games? My husband is watching the movie right now. I’m so excited and cannot wait to go. Unfortunately, we don’t have a babysitter so we have to take turns. I’m planning to go tomorrow morning, if I can wait that long.

Here are a few links I loved reading this past week. I hope you enjoy.

Sunny Side Up, is an article about why eggs are healthy.

16 ways to get motivated when you’re feeling blah.

How to end picky eating with your children.

In case you need a bit of humor, check out Costco Virgins by The Mama Bird Diaries. She always cracks me up.

Good article on the afterburn effect.

This Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting looks amazing and has been added to my to-bake list. Yum!!!

Have a great weekend!

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