Monday, September 29, 2014

Recipe for today: Warm Lentil Salad Sweet Potato & Olives


  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (into approx 1" pieces)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil, divided
  • 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 C Puy OR Green lentils
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 C Water
  • 3 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • Heaping 1/2 C Marinated olives
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped parsley
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Toss the diced sweet potato in 1-1/2 Tbsp oil and a sprinkle of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, Stir, then roast another 10 minutes until golden brown and soft.
  • Meanwhile, sauté the onions in 1/2 Tbsp oil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the lentils, thyme and water. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes (or 15-20 if using green lentils).
  • Drain any remaining water and pour into a large bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, remaining Tbsp oil (+ more if you like), parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Add the roasted sweet potato and toss again gently to combine. Scatter with the olives and serve.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recipe for Today: Quinoa Enchilada Casserole


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can (10-ounce) mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (4.5-ounce) chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced

In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 9x13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin and chili powder; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
Spread quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and cheeses have melted, about 15 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with avocado and tomato, if desired.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Recipe for today: ENERGY BITES! (especially for kids)


  • 1 Cup    Old fashioned oats  
  • 1 Cup    Toasted coconut flakes*  
  • 1/2 Cup  Chocolate chips  
  • 1/2 Cup  Natural Peanut butter*
  • 1/2 Cup  Flaxmeal  
  • 1/3 Cup  Honey  
  • 1 Tsp      Vanilla
In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until well mixed. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough into about 24 one inch balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Servings: 12
Cooking Tips: Raisins, dried cranberry or blueberries, or other dried fruit can be used instead.
*Natural, no sugar added

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More about Me in 2014! ❥

I am the author of a professional book WIN BY LEADING, several children's books Bug’s Adventure Series®, Nate the Dragon®, (there is a play too), and Floyd the Fire Truck Series®.  And have two more books in the works: Candice and Jimmy Find their Rainbow® and My first YA Novel called Firebound Cycle Candice Solar in the Firesong Series!  I am a yogi and runner; I love to challenge myself.  I have run 7 marathons (2 Chicago, 2 Madison, 1 Detroit and 2 Disney), 68 half marathons in 34 states and other organized Ironman sprints.  I am a wife and mom, which is my most important and successful venture in life!

What do you hope to accomplish over the next 10 years? 
  • Run 50 half marathons in 50 states and 100 lifetime half marathons by the time I'm 50.
  • Completed several more books, this time Novels and maybe continue on with the YA as a series, I'd love to write a book about my adventures and ways people can travel at very little cost, produced my TV show and have seen it on a network (either cable or TV) and produced several films, one on THE BIG screen as a MOVIE and another play.
  • Am working as a Strategic Initiatives Executive,
  • Live somewhere WARM for the winter months.
  • Doing the things I always love, travel, yoga, spending time with my family!
  • Exhibited my Art portfolio in a beautiful Art Show attracting many-many people from all over!
Describe yourself in one word.

Do you have a mantra?
I have several.  What you give is the most important thing in life.  Happiness = Smiles + Frowns. Just because you don't have, doesn't mean you can't make it up!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Any regrets?
Understand myself better when I was younger and pursue my fashion designer career.  So, I could be the Creative Chief Officer at Vogue now.

How would you like to be remembered? 
Fun-loving, Compassionate and a Kind Person. 

Any bad habit’s? :S
Bite my fingernails, still. An annoying habit!  :S

What person do you admire most? 
Maria Shriver and Sheryl Sandberg

How do you indulge yourself? 
A nice glass of woodsy pinot noir

Fill in the blank…I wish I could… 
Get my act together.  Sometimes I get way off track and it's hard to get focused.  It's harder as I get older.

What drives you to succeed? 
Spiritual inner strength.  There are times I have to ask myself this question, again and again.  I love to live life to the fullest, so I can look back and share my stories.

If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? 
Self and husband. (and if daughter were home, daughter)

What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far? 
Standing ovation in front of South African Leaders, in Johannesburg.  And, attended the Oscars meeting all sorts of movie stars, who looked at me and asked, "What show are you on?"  That made me blush!

People would be surprised to learn that… 
I wanted to be a famous Fashion Designer when I first started college.

What is your biggest fault? 
I sometimes overlook the little things and people unfortunately get hurt as a by-product.

What has been your most spectacular failure? 
Work and my Career.

What’s next for you? 
Publishing my upcoming books, producing my kids TV pilot and looking at a BIG screen Movie Storyline.

Ornament Exchange: 12 ornaments for 12 days


What this is about?  This is an Ornament swap starting in December.  Each person “makes or buys” (your choice) 12 of the same ornament.  You send 1 ornament each to 11 other participants and keep 1 ornament for yourself. You receive 11 different ornaments before December 1 and open one a day, starting on December 1.   

What you get?  You receive 12 new beautiful ornaments for the holidays!

There is an ornament swap hostess (me) who makes sure communication is sent out regularly, and send reminders, during the weeks proceeding deadlines.

12 people participate.  (I'll let you know if I have enough people by Sept 1st) 
Participants provide:
  • email mailing address swap hostess (me)
  • make or buy 12 ornaments.
  • Take a picture of the 12 ornaments together and email the picture to swap hostess.
  • sends the ornaments to each 11 participants  addresses.  
The  Ornament is:
  • $10.00 or less 
  • unique
  • handmade or purchased
The  Ornament will be sent by given date (November 25th).

Process Steps… *The 12 Days of Ornament Exchange rules.
  1. You make or buy an ornament design (for 12 people).
  2. You are assigned a number for the ornament swap, your number will be listed by your name and address.
  3. Take a picture of all 12 ornaments together and send (Email) the picture to me, the swap hostess, prior to sending your ornaments. (I'll post the picture on social media the day the ornament is planned to open). 
  4. Individually wrap each ornament and write your name and the number you are assigned on the OUTSIDE of the WRAPPED ORNAMENT.
  5. You send your gift wrapped ornaments include YOUR ASSIGNED number taped on the outside wrapping.
  6. Send the (one each) ornament to the 11 people on the list.  You send out 1 ornament to each of the 12 people on or before the date. (Sending 11 keeping 1 for yourself)
  7. Don't forget to save one ornament for yourself.
  8. By December 1st, everyone should RECEIVE IN THE MAIL/SHIPPED 12 wrapped boxes with numbers attached, 1-12.
  9. Starting DECEMBER 1 - UNWRAPPING 1 ORNAMENT AT A TIME: Starting on the 1st day of December each person will open ONLY 1 Ornament.
    • Example: STARTING on December 1, you will open the ornament with a #1;
      • December 2, you will open #2, and so on...
  10. The swap hostess will send a reminder email to give you a heads up that it’s time to mail wrapped ornaments around Thanksgiving.

*I will blog and take a picture of each ornament on my blog site: 


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crazy Running Gal: Wyoming State #34

Wyoming has lots of wide open terrain with sprits of high altitude hills (which I kept mistakenly saying mountains, because it looked like them to me).  My little car is not use to the altitude, it would slow down each time driving up a long swerving hill.  But, we made it around.

We stayed at a very nice bed & breakfast in the hills called Sawin Logs.  I would strongly suggest staying here if you are chillin' in Wyoming.  I wish we could have stayed there longer.  Next time.

This 3rd, 34th half marathon in my series of 50 states to run, was tough for me.

I came in slow.  I suppose running back-to-back in 2 days, says it all.  And those rubber bands, this time I had to grab 9 of them total.  My garmin wasn't working well and was off, but that's okay this time.

All done for this series.  Now I can rest, then start training again for my next set of states, which will be the Appalachian Series, 4 states in a row.  I can do this!

Thanks for reading my blog, it is a fun adventure to reach my goal of 50 states by the time I'm 50 years old.  (I am secretly adding another goal to attach to this, and that is reaching 100 lifetime half marathons by the time I'm fifty.  I think I can do it, since I'm already at 68).

Traveled 2,500 miles only $200 for gas this trip (Love it when gas prices go down).  Woot!

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crazy Running Gal: South Dakota State #33

Woke up this morning to beautiful weather to run in the center of the Nation.  Did a little research and the center is a compilation of logistics, like splitting the country in quarters and counting the size to make it logically fall in the center of the nation.  If it were mathematically calculated, the center falls somewhere in Kansas.  But, it's cool to think I ran my 33rd half marathon in the center of the nation.

The route was great, less loops, only 6 this time.  Getting use to the rubber bands.

I did it!  On to the next state.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Crazy Running Gal: Montana State #32

One thing is for sure, when I travel, I learn to appreciate what I have, down to my simple taste in coffee.  I arrived at Triangle Park, early for the run.  The moon and stars still out.

We talk about the surprise that we see. What we expected to see in Montana and what we see so far, is actually very different.  We expected a very large park on more than 100 acres surrounded by mountains.  Instead, the park is small on the side of a lake.  A park we almost drive right by, thinking it was a trailer park.  The coffee, well, I must say tasted old and watered down.  What can I say, "I'm spoiled."

It's a cooler morning, they say it was expected to be in the mid 80's, I'm wearing a stocking cap and gloves for the start.  I'm ready to run.  The route is around the lake several times.

The run itself was nice.  The sky was lit up with yellows, reds and oranges from the sun popping up.  It was early, I'll give you that; but, I'm use to waking up with the crickets in the morning, then hearing the birds wake up, and see the changes in the sky.

As far as my run, chip time was lost, so was my garmin, it stopped at mile 6, so I had to guess.  It was a 8 loop run along the lake.  It was nice and I have to admit, not too bad.  I liked counting laps rather than worry about which mile I was on.  I finished top 4 in the half marathon group.

I'm proud to have completed #32 in 32 states.  This makes it my 66th lifetime half marathon. Woot!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Crazy Running Gal: Roadtrip out west

It's Official!  I am heading out west to run my remaining half marathons in for starters, 3 states.  I need 20 more half marathons to run in different states before I'm 50. 

I plan to blog short journals with my adventures.

Watch my posts.... and stay tuned!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Daily Post: We must switch...

If we are meant to continue living on this particular planet, we must switch—very rapidly, now—to a way of thinking and living that has never before existed.

~Martha Beck

Monday, September 1, 2014

Recipe for Today: Zucchini Oven Chips

  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese $
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)
  • Cooking spray $
  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

Recipe for Today: Baked Zucchini Sticks

Servings: 3 • Size: 1 zucchini (sauce extra)  Old Points: 1.5 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 121.9 • Fat: 2.4 • Carbs: 21.0 g • Fiber: 6.0 • Protein: 6.7 g

  • 3 medium zucchini sliced into 3" x 1/2" sticks
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/3 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • fresh pepper

In a small bowl, beat egg whites and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag,place breadcrumbs, garlic powder and cheese and shake well. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer and spray more cooking spray on top. Bake at 425° for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.Serve with 1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping.

Quick Marinara Sauce
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 1/2 cup • Old Points: 1 pt • Points+: 1 pt
Calories: 51.5 • Fat: 0.8 • Carbs: 9.0 g • Fiber: 1.1 • Protein: 0.1 g   
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I like Tuttorosso)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425°.

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 20 minutes.

Recipe for Today: Cream of Zucchini Soup

Servings: 4 • Size: 1 1/2 cups • Old Points: 1 • Weight Watchers Points+: 1 pt Calories: 60 • Fat: 1 g • Protein: 3.5 g • Carb: 10 g • Fiber: 3 g • Sugar: 4 g Sodium: 579 mg (without salt) • Cholesterol: 3 mg


  • 1/2 small onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 medium zucchini, skin on cut in large chunks
  • 32 oz reduced sodium Swanson chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese if desired for topping (optional)

Combine chicken broth, onion, garlic and zucchini in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender, add the sour cream and purée again until smooth.

Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Serve hot.