Increasing your Mileage; NOT your Waistline

Back in 2010 I was a newlywed and looking for something fun to do.  I always wanted to run an endurance race and found the organization Team in Training.  I signed up to do a half marathon and just like that I was hooked.

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Baby Jessica @ the Long Branch Half May 2010, it was hot (like 90F) but great!

Fast forward 7 years & two kids I wanted to find a way to keep coaching and give more back to the community so I turned to TNT yet again, but this time as a coach with 3 more half marathons under my belt!


Since I am a new coach, my county doesn’t have many participants yet.  We had our first training run this past weekend on the trails in the snow and we had such great conversations I was reminded how much I love this organization and how much it gives back.  During our chat, so many running related questions came up I wanted to remember them so I could dedicate some time to answer them properly.  Not just for my team but for everyone!

The first thing we spoke about was how to  maintain a weight loss (or lose weight) when training for an endurance event.

I can’t tell you how many people think that once they start training for a run they will “lose so much weight.”  Here are a few common mistakes people make and end up with a gain at the starting line:

Overestimating the amount of calories burned during a workout and underestimating the calorie count of food

This in turn leads to a lot of “well I just ran 10 miles today, I can finish my kids plates and eat a few brownies too…”  The average mile run burns 100 calories.    When you begin training, and start by running 3-4 miles.  You are burning 300-400 calories.  The other day I looked at the bag of Cheetos I let my daughter have as a treat (no judgement please!  It’s an occasional treat) and I nearly fell over when I saw the bag was a whopping 300 calories and 20 grams of fat.    My go to mid-morning snack is Oatmeal with 1 tbsp almond butter and half a banana.  It has the same calories, more protein, less sodium and keeps me fuller longer!

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Sodium Sugar
Cheetos 310 26 3 21 500 2
Oatmeal, Almond Butter, & banana 308 44 12 10 1 9


Starving Yourself

This is a tricky one.  We need a calorie deficit to lose weight, but we need food to fuel our bodies (and our brains!)  According to Runners World, Kyra Williams, a weight loss coach certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine says this is a faux pas almost all of her female clients are guilty of. If you are working out and burning 2,500 calories a day—but only consuming 1,200—you’ll force your body to store fat,” she says. Not only that, the calorie shortage will slow down your metabolism, making it tougher to build muscle.   Your new weight loss mantra: Don’t be afraid to eat! Fill your plate with plenty of healthy carbohydrates (think fruit, starchy veggies, and whole grains), lean proteins (fish, turkey, chicken, and tofu), healthy fats (avocado, oils, nuts, and seeds), and an unlimited amount of greens and other non-starchy veggies. Bonus: Eating 1,800 to 2,000 calories of these healthy eats will keep you so full and satisfied you’ll be less likely to binge on junky foods, says Williams.

Rewarding with Food

This kind of goes back to point # 1.   I have been trying to tell all my clients (and family members) this for a while.   When you work out every day, or in the case of my toddlers eat all their veggies try a reward that isn’t food!   Reward yourself with some new running gear, or get your nails done.  For my kids I try to reward them with a trip to the movies or a game night.  Make it fun and enjoyable.  For example, if they eat (or at least try) all of their veggies for an entire week then on Sat. we can go to the movies/get a toy/go to the jungle gym etc.



This one hits so close to home.  I never liked (and still don’t) like drinking water.  So many people mistake hunger for thirst.  In my case after a long run I would start eating, then get a headache, and just eat and eat and eat and then pop some Tylenol.   That whole time I felt STARVING I was actually dehydrated!   Once I figured that out, I started trying to drink a ton of water, but I was still getting headaches!   Now, as I said I dislike drinking water, and I found that even water didn’t do the trick for me.  Here comes Coconut water.  My sister in law recommended I drink it.  I sweat A LOT during tough workouts and with sweat you are eliminating all the salts (think sodium and potassium) from your body.  I was not only deprived of water, but I was deprived of electrolytes that kept my cells functioning properly.  Sodium and Potassium are essential to the functioning of our bodies.   Sodium maintains fluid balance in your cells, helps to transmit nerve impulses throughout your body, and helps muscles contract and relax.  Potassium keeps the blood from clotting, maintains the body’s pH balance, carries nutrients to the cells, protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids, maintains healthy blood pressure, promotes heart health and preserves bone health.  WOW!   Athletes should be especially concerned with their potassium intake; potassium plays a role in the storage of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles.  Once I started drinking coconut water I miraculously was not starving and the headaches went away!  It has 4x the potassium of banana, so having a serving of coconut water, with regular water and the adequate recovery snack made all the difference.   I also like the NUUN tablets added to my water.  This leads me to my next point, not recovering properly…

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Not Recovering Properly

When you don’t replace what you sweat out, you will feel hungry for hours afterwards. To avoid this, make sure to drink as soon as your run is over and more throughout the day as well as eat a well-balanced recovery meal or snack.  For optimal recovery, eat 15 to 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes after a workout. The protein will help stop muscle breakdown and begin to repair them.  Add some carbohydrates—about 2 to 4 times as much carb as protein—to this small meal or snack in order to restock your glycogen stores and prime your muscles for performance.

This is a good start for post-workout meals.   I have been reading the cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow by elite runner Shalane Flanagan and her college bud Elyse Kopecky and I LOVE the descriptions on all the foods, like antioxidant, recovery food, etc.    I’ll see if I can pull any good recipes from there too.

What are some of your favorite recovery foods?

Any fun races you are training for?

Do you have any sports drinks you can’t live without?

If you want to learn more about Team in Training, please send me a message and I can connect you with your local chapter.

Run as if someone's life depends on it.  Team in Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.:


What does “healthy” mean?

On October 8, 2016 I crossed the finish line of the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, then stopped running.  I did not run again until almost one month later.   I took that time as an opportunity to slow down and reflect.  I thought about the past six months of training, about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months.   I also took a step back and thought about my overall health.


 For almost a year I was a bit obsessed with fitness and looking back now, it was probably an unhealthy obsession.  This time to reflect has made me dig deep and think about what health means to me.   One thing I learned about myself is I can accomplish amazing things if I set my mind to it, so that was pretty cool.  But what I am figuring out is how to weigh the risk and reward.  

I was so fixated on body image as a measure of my health.  I would constantly look at my abs and think they weren’t good enough.  I rarely had dessert and almost never drank alcohol, even at BBQs and parties.  I had to exercise every day, and if I didn’t I was very cranky and sometimes mean.   I think something that opened my eyes was I kept trying to buy smaller and smaller clothes.  At one point I bought a pair of LUCKY jeans which were two sizes smaller than my average size.   I got them over my thighs (which is usually my largest area) and bought them immediately, feeling so proud of my accomplishment of fitting into this pair of pants.   Then, the first time I wore them I was so uncomfortable!  The band was cutting into my hips!  It suddenly dawned on me, no matter how hard I exercise, and deprive myself, these pants, or any size smaller for that matter, will never fit.  These are bones,  They are not going to shrink!  I am 5’9’’ tall and have had two children.  This is my physiology.    So, why am I killing myself?  My family does not care if I am a size 8 or a size 12.  They love me no matter what.  My kids won’t remember if I have tight abs, but they will remember if I am cranky around them.  My friend’s won’t care how I look in a bathing suit, but they will care if I keep saying no to desserts they lovingly bake in their kitchen for my enjoyment.  My pants will never love me, but my family does and I need to love myself.  


Now, this is not to say that I still don’t LOVE fitness, and setting goals, and challenging my limits!  I will continue to do so, but maybe I will be a little kinder to myself, indulge a little, and live a lot more.    Keep my honest guys 🙂 

Got Apples? Ideas for your Post-apple picking adventures.

This blog post is courtesy of my cousin Ned.  Every year we go apple picking and he recommended I do a blog post on what to do with all those apples!    If you are in the NJ area, I recommend Melick’s Farm, which has a few locations in central NJ.

We always have such a wonderful time.  The kids look forward to it every year.  In addition to apples, we got some honey sticks, fresh pressed apple cider right from the mill, we got some hard cider for the adults and I got some amazing pickled beets that I have been enjoying on my salads!

The first thing I made with the apples was Applesauce Nut Bread from Skinny Taste which required I make the homemade crockpot applesauce first!

What I love about this applesauce recipe is that it is SO easy!  Peel and cut apples, add in lemon and a cinnamon stick, stir a few times and wallah!  Applesauce.


I didn’t even need to use a blender.  I just mixed with a spoon and it fell apart.


I gave a jar to my neighbor and her two year old loved it!  She even mixed it in her yogurt one day!

Once the applesauce was complete, I moved onto the bread.  For this loaf I skipped the walnuts because my kids don’t like nutty breads… those crazy kids.

While I was going through my pictures I came across this gem.  My daughter grabbed my phone and snapped a picture.  Full disclosure, this is what I looked like on a Sunday morning, day after a half marathon and week long business trip on a different coast.  Not pretty.


This recipe calls for 1 chopped apple.  Next time I will make one with nuts.


It is absolutely, hands down, delicious!  Thank you Skinny Taste for your amazing recipes!  I gave half this loaf to my other neighbor because her kids loved it!   I will be making both the apple sauce and bread again to give more to my lucky neighbors.  To make both, you need a total of 9 apples.

Here are some other ideas and favorite recipes to try!

If you need even more ideas, the food network came out with an amazing article “50 things to make with apples.”



Beer Lime Cauliflower Tacos With Cilantro Coleslaw- Another winner from Thug Kitchen

You may be thinking… hmm I don’t know about this… Seriously, give these things a try because  ::Oh…my… goodness::  these were amazing!  This is coming from a steak loving non-vegan.  There was so much flavor in this dish, and not a meat in sight.  I highly HIGHLY recommend if you are in the mood for a delicious taco night with friends and family and they are open to living a little healthier.

As you all know, I am trying to make 1-2 recipes a night instead of relying on a quick meat and potato dish.  Life gets so boring when you eat the same thing over and over again.  I do have to follow a recipe though, so I have been browsing through cookbooks.  I find one or two I want to try, get all the ingredients in advance and when I have a night that isn’t taken up by taking my kids going to girl scouts or soccer or gymnastics, I try to cook!  Shocking, I know.   This week was another winner from Thug Kitchen.  I am seriously never disappointed when making a recipe from this book.

I put some time saving tips in pink.  Although I basically followed the recipe to a T, there are some things I would do differently next time.

Roasted Beer-and-Lime Cauliflower Tacos  With Cilantro Coleslaw


For the slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage (about 1/2 pound)
1 small carrot 
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

For the tacos:
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound) – 
3/4 cup beer
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
1 to 2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
Salsa, for serving


Normally, for me- these are WAY too many ingredients


To make the slaw: Cut the cabbage into the thinnest strips you can, and make sure those pieces are no longer than 2 inches. This is a great time to get good with your knife if you are looking for a silver f*cking lining in all that chopping. Chop the carrot into thin matchsticks of the same length. Got that sh*t down now, right? In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, vinegar, oil, and salt. Add the dressing right before you are going to eat and toss that sh*t well. Fold in the cilantro just before serving.


To make the tacos: Crank your oven to 400°F. Grab a rimmed baking sheet. Chop the cauliflower into small florets no bigger than a quarter. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the beer, broth, lime juice, tamari, hot sauce, and garlic. Add the cauliflower, and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain.

Toss the spices, salt, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and onion, and stir till those f*ckers are coated. Dump it on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until browned, stirring halfway, about 20 minutes.

To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave for a hot minute, and then pile them high with the cauliflower filling, slices of avocado, some of the slaw, and plenty of salsa.


This blew my mind, I would not think that an all veggie taco (I made a wrap/burrito) could taste this good. (But it did)

TIPS=  When I make this again, I will skip all the chopping because seriously, who has time for that?  I cheated in this recipe and used already pre-minced garlic and store bought fire roasted salsa.  Next time I would absolutely get the bag of cauliflower florets and the bag of already cut cabbage and carrots.

This took me about an hour and 20 minutes because of all the damn chopping.  I think that making this again with everything pre-cut would take approximately 30 minutes, all you would have to do is mix the spices and beer with the cauliflower & roast it, and mix the rice vinegar, lime, oil and  salt with the cabbage.  The only chopping would be half an onion.  I think I can handle that.  So much faster!

Here would be my time saving swaps:

For the slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage (about 1/2 pound) (bag of shredded cabbage and carrots)
1 small carrot (nix this if you get the slaw bag)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (get pre-chopped @ the store or skip it, I didn’t have any!)

For the tacos:
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound) – (pre-chopped bag of florets)
3/4 cup beer
1/4 cup vegetable broth (I just used 1 cup of beer and skipped the broth)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
1 to 2 garlic cloves, sliced (time saver- pre-minced in a jar)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt(you COULD skip the spices and add a bad of Taco seasoning, but it would add a bit more sugar/preservatives to your recipe)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
Salsa, for serving (store bought)



Run Fast, Eat Slow plus a bug in my eye!

I am 1.5 weeks post the Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon, back at running and training for the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon and feeling good.  I owe you guys a race recap!  So psyched because I got a PR!  Special thanks to my best running friend Lauren.

I’m trying to tackle harder runs and incorporate more hills, which is pretty easy to do where I live.  Sunday I ran a pretty fast 8 miler with miles 2-3 being an uphill climb.  It felt amazing and it was definitely a runners high kind of day.

Today felt like this though…

Today I went out to tackle 6 hilly miles with a loooong and steep downhill at miles 4-5 and a bug flew in my eye at mile 1!  Ugh!  That bothered me for some time. I feel proud, I only had to walk for less than 1 minute.  

I also am beyond psyched because this gem of a cookbook was delivered today!  I heard about it on both the runners world podcast and the run like a mother podcast.  I can’t wait to try out some of these recipes.   I am going to try another recipe from Thug Kitchen tonight, a Beer Lime Cauliflower taco.  I’ll blog about that later.

Can’t wait to dive into this and share some family favorites.

Run Happy y’all!

Totally Beetastic!

Just recently I fell in love with beets.  Some people must look at them and be like, ugh, ew.  But they are delicious.

In keeping up with my effort to try and actually cook something twice a week that isn’t 1-2 ingredients.  This Friday I made the Thug Kitchen Roasted Beet and Quinoa Salad.  It is to be served as a side, but I may put it on top of my salads for lunch this week.  I had it as a side to chicken with dinner.  Jimmy even tried it.  He didn’t love it, but he tried it.  Good job kid.

The recipe called for Kale or Spinach, but I had bought 3 beets and there were so many leaves that I used the beet leaves instead of buying another lettuce.  It still tasted great!

img_1510Here we go, I got 3 beets and my recipe book handy.  I love this quote from the book.  “ROASTED BEET AND QUINOA SALAD When beets are bad, they are really fucking gross. But roasted, these mother fuckers get sweet and delicious. Trust.”






img_1511Crank your oven to 400°.  3 medium beets, peeled and chopped into small chunks (about 1½ cups) 1 teaspoon of whatever vinegar you used for the dressing 2 teaspoons olive oil Salt and ground pepper

In a medium bowl, toss the beets together with the vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Your hands might get kinda red and bloody looking from the beets. Don’t worry about that shit; it will wash off, so quit complaining. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring the beets halfway through.


DRimg_1514ESSING:  1 shallot or small onion, diced (about 2 tablespoons) 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons white wine, balsamic, or champagne vinegar ¼ cup olive oil

Make the dressing: Pour all the ingredients together in a jar and shake that shit up.






img_1513 For the salad: While the beets roast up, bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa. Once that shit starts boiling again, cover, and adjust the heat to low. Cook the quinoa at a slow simmer until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Just taste it and you’ll figure that shit out. Drain any extra water that remains in the pot and scoop the quinoa into a medium bowl.





Fold the kale (I used the Beet stems) into the hot quinoa and then add the dressing. Add the fresh herb of your choice and mix well.


When the beets are done, fold those ruby red bitches right in to the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve this salad at room temperature or refrigerate until cold. * Dill, basil, and parsley all work well here. Use whichever of those you’ve got hanging out in the fridge”








Verdict: Delicious!  I loved it.  I also love cooking with this cookbook because it is so fun to read and it takes my cooking out of my comfort zone.  I also like my kids seeing me eat different foods, even if they aren’t eating them themselves (yet.)

Give it a try.

Back to the Kitchen

I am not a naturally talented cook, and time is not on my side.

Kindergarten just started for my oldest.  I can’t believe I am actually a mom of a child in the public school system!  With that came a new routine for the family.  Two stops before home to pick up the kids after work, a night of gymnastics, homework, and an additional lunchbox to pack.

Also with the kids back at school and summer officially “over” it seems like my regular job has also kicked into high gear, so naturally the first thing to go was cooking new meals.  I fell back to relying on the quick and easy recipes.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with quick, easy, and reliable meals.. it just gets boring!

Last year when I was obsessed with 21 day fix, it forced me to try new recipes and I loved it.  I had to plan out my meals, buy food, and try to cook something new, different, and nutritious.  Now, I know realistically I can’t do that every night, but I want to try and make a few new recipes a week to keep it fun.

Last year I bought myself the cookbook Thug Kitchen and made a few recipes from the book.   This weekend I pulled it out again, peruse through it and picked out 2 recipes to try for the week.  The first is a chickpea and broccoli burrito, the second is a beet and quinoa salad.  Plus this book is funny as F*, and no I am not a vegan.

Tonight I made the chickpea and broccoli burrito.  By the time I got home it was 6:15pm, I had dinner at 7:30.  The kids had chicken nuggets.   Time was needed to chop an onion, pepper, and broccoli crown.  I used canned chickpeas.  The rest was adding spices and roasting in the oven for 35 minutes.    I put it on one of the Tumaro’s whole wheat wraps and added some spinach.  I was planning on adding avocado but it wasn’t ripe enough.  wah wah.   Verdict:  DELICIOUS!  Totally loved it, and after putting the recipe into the myfitness pal recipe creator the entire meal was only 300 calories and a perfect blend of protein, carbs, and fat.  I have enough left for 2 lunches this week too, because let’s face it I am the only one in this house who will eat it (I cut this recipe in half).  Maybe my son will try it, he’s my adventurous eater.   You can find the whole recipe here and transcribed below.  Next time I’ll add more lime… who doesn’t love lime?  Happy eating!


3 cups of cooked chickpeas (2-15 ounce cans, drained)
1 large yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 large crown of broccoli
4 cloves of garlic (I used goya minced garlic)
1 lime (I used lime juice)
Spice Blend:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (You can usually find this old school hippie shit near the vinegars or soy sauces in the healthy eating section of most big grocery stores and on the internet)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander or more cumin if you don’t want to go to the storeblack pepper or cayenne pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Chop up the onion, bell pepper, and broccoli so that all the pieces about the size of a chickpea. Chop up the garlic real small but save that shit until later. Place all the chopped up veggies in a large bowl with the cooked chickpeas. Pour in the oil and soy sauce, stir, and then throw all the spices in there. Mix until all the vegetables and shit are covered.

Put all of that on a large rimmed baking sheet (like what you would put cookies on but with an edge) and bake for 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven, don’t fucking burn yourself, add the garlic, and bake for another 15 minutes. The broccoli will look a little burnt at this point but that is the plan so chill the fuck out and take it out of the oven. Squeeze the juice of half of the lime over the pan and stir the roasted chickpeas and veggies all around. Taste some and see if it needs more spices or anything. Now make a fucking burrito. I like mine with spinach, avocado, cilantro, and some fire roasted salsa but you do your thing

makes 6-8 burritos

Rainbow Quinoa

Rainbow Quinoa
-1 cup of cooked quinoa
-1/2 red pepper, diced
-1/2 orange pepper, diced
-1/2 yellow pepper, diced
-1 cup of diced carrots
-1 cup of purple cabbage chopped
-3 tbsp of fresh lime juice
-1 tbsp of maple syrup
-1/2 tsp of cumin
-pinch of cayenne
-sea salt to taste

Mix cooled cooked quinoa, bell peppers, carrots and red cabbage in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk lime juice, maple syrup, cumin, cayenne and salt. Pour dressing over salad and mix together! Enjoy cool!


❤ Annaleigh

Banana “Nice Cream”

Banana “Nice Cream”

I can eat this anytime of day! Guilt free! It is my favorite “dessert for breakfast”
2 to 4 (to 6 if you wanna get crazy 😜) ripe frozen sliced bananas
That’s it!! Blend in a high speed blender and enjoy this guilt free dessert anytime of day meal!

But here’s some fun things to jazz it up!

  • Add 1/2 cup of any frozen or fresh fruit! Blackberries or Dragonfruit are my favorite to add. Not even for the taste just the beautiful. Silly I know.
  • Add a spoonful of nut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract or maple syrup to change the flavor!
  • Top with homemade oil free granola, steel cut oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, vegan dark chocolate, seeds, nuts! Whatever you want!


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Oil Free Roasted Fries

1-2 Gold Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes (or one of each!)
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of curry
1/2 tsp of smoked patina
Sea salt to taste
*Optional – cayenne pepper


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes while the oven is preheating. Place hand cut potato wedges on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 30 min flipping half way through. Enjoy alone or with Curry Ketchup!

Curry Ketchup
-1/2 cup of organic ketchup ( I buy Trader Joes!)
-1 tbsp of curry powder

Mix the two ingredients together and dip those fries! (Store left over dip in a tupperware and throw in the fridge.



Happy eating!