Peach Perfection Green Smoothie

Perfection Peach SmoothieHere’s another of my favorite ways to start the day. The flavor of fresh ripe peaches tastes like… summer! It may just be my new favorite green smoothie. And I love starting the day off with a healthy serving of greens. I can almost feel this smoothie cleansing and energizing my body as I drink it.

Perfection Peach SmoothiePeach Perfection Green Smoothie Recipe

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 ripe peach, sliced
  • 2 small frozen bananas
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Place spinach, orange juice and water in a blender and blend well until there are no spinach chunks. Add peach, bananas and ice and blend well until all fruit and ice chunks are broken up. Makes 4 small servings or two large ones.

Perfection Peach Smoothie

Even my kids love it. It’s another great way to introduce healthy foods to them at an early age. Experts say that one of the ways children form their eating habits is by mimicking what their parents eat. If your children see you enjoying one of these healthy green smoothies each morning, they will want one too.


Vegetable Burrito Bowl with Spicy Guacamole

AvocadoI love avocado! I slice and dice it and put it on or in virtually anything I can dream up. It’s on my eggs for breakfast, in my sandwich or on a salad for lunch or on top of rice and beans for dinner. Not all on the same day though.

Of course, one of the most popular ways to use avocado is to make guacamole. Last night I decided to whip some up to go along with the Burrito Bar I made for dinner. Here’s my recipe.


  • photo 3-112 very ripe avocados (some brown is ok)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped tomato
  • 1 splash of Chipotle Tabasco
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Dice avocado and place in a bowl. (See below for how I cut an avocado). Pour lime juice over top and mash together using a fork. Add onion, jalapeño, tomato, Tabasco and salt and stir well. Devour with chips, veggies or on top of anything and everything.


You may know by now that I’ve gone back to my vegetarian ways. In a separate post I’ll explain more about why I made the switch and how I ensure I eat properly to fuel my marathon training runs and races. On a busy evening full of kids activities, Burrito Bar has become one of my favorite standby meals. I put out brown rice, black beans, corn, sautéed peppers and onions, diced tomatoes, a little shredded cheese and guacamole along with some grilled chicken for those in my house who do eat meat.

My husband likes to wrap it all up in a whole wheat tortilla, while the kids and I typically dump everything into a bowl and enjoy it with a spoon. Next time I’m going to try wrapping it up in lettuce. Here’s how my burrito bowl typically looks. Sometimes I add other vegetables too.


Now let’s back up a bit. After having been married to a fourth generation produce salesman for 11 years, I’ve learned how to select the perfect avocado. When you’re walking through the grocery store, select an avocado that is still firm and gives just the tiniest bit when you squeeze it. If it feels squishy, it is already too ripe and will be brown and mushy inside. The skin should still look shiny and not brittle. If you want to get avocados to use a couple of days from now, pick the harder ones and leave them out on the counter. To help them ripen up faster, you can also place them in a brown paper lunch sack and close it up. This one is perfectly ripe.


Overripe AvocadoThis one got a little over-ripe. These are the avocados I use to make guacamole because any brown areas mix in and disappear. They are easier to mush and are perhaps a little more flavorful for guacamole too.

To dice an avocado I place it on a cutting board with the smaller end up. I cut in vertically and slice up to the pit. I cut all the way around back up to the top and then twist to separate the avocado into two. Remove the pit by sticking your knife into it firmly and carefully pull it out. Holding one side of the avocado in the palm of your hand make a few vertical slices and a few horizontal slices. Then use your knife to go around the circumference of the avocado and underneath. You can then empty the squares into a bowl. Do the same with the other side.


I’m sure you’ve heard about all the health benefits avocados offer. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Avocados are nutrient dense and include 20 different vitamins and minerals.
  • Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving:
    • Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
    • Folate: 20% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
    • Potassium: 14% of the RDA. (more than a banana)
    • Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.

    This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats.

  • They are loaded with heart-healthy fats, most of which are oleic acid which is linked to reduced inflammation and have been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
  • Avocados are loaded with fiber which aid in digestion and help keep you full longer.
  • Eating avocados can lower cholesterol

Ok, enough talk. Time to dig in! Enjoy.

In My Garden

I love strolling through my garden this time of year to explore and discover new growth unfurling it’s beauty for the world to see. “Good morning!”, they seem to say. “Look at me!” Now if only I could find a way to allow them all to bloom at the same time and to stay colorful all summer long! Here’s a peak out our window at some of the lovely blossoms and creatures we’ve been enjoying in our yard this season.

Evening Primrose



Geranium Rozanne

Stepping Stones

















Wonder Out My Window

As a stay home mother of three, sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective. I wouldn’t change what “I do” for anything and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be home to raise my children. But on occasion, I feel a little like I’m just here to man the snack bar and pick up the endless trail of toys. It’s easy to feel small and insignificant, unappreciated and lacking purpose. I’m always dreaming up new ideas and numerous goals sit just waiting for me to accomplish them. I am ready to take the world by storm, but I can’t seem to manage my own household. When I’m feeling a little lost and unimportant, sometimes all the help I need is right outside my window.

Things become a little clearer when I really stop and take notice of what’s going on around me now and then. Like the busy robin flying in and out of the same bush in my garden gathering sticks and grass and mud to create this perfectly round masterpiece where she would nurture her babies in the weeks to come. In early May, she laid her beautiful blue eggs there. When I peaked in just a few days later, there was the tiniest bundle of life, so small it seemed impossible that someday it would actually spread its wings and fly. It couldn’t even lift up its tiny head. Soon after there were two of them.

Just one short week later I peaked in to find the birds cuddled there together, sound asleep. They had grown so much in such a short period of time. All the while, the mother and father robins had been “manning the snack bar”, hunting for worms and bugs, and tending to their fragile baby birds.

The next time I checked on them, the birds had already left the nest. Soon, I noticed the two young robins following their mother around our yard, the little ones covered in spots just like a fawn. They still are there today, nearly two months later. Momma Robin fetches them worms, the birds flapping their wings wildly like a child waving her arms shouting, “It’s my turn next!” The proud mother hops around the yard teaching them to find food and how to be, well, a robin. And once she completes her job this season, she will go on to lay more eggs and repeat the same tasks.



As I watch them, I think, “God put that robin here on this planet almost solely to make baby birds.” I think about how, presently, this bird’s singular goal each day is to nurture her young. Before they were born, she spent her entire day for days building the proper nest. And then when they hatched, her day was spent foraging for food and delivering it to them to keep them alive. Today, as they follow her around the yard, her sole purpose is to help them learn to take care of themselves and to teach them to fly.

As I ponder this idea, I am overwhelmed. Because I realize that mother bird and I are not so different. I see that her young will soon fly away to fend for themselves, but now, in this moment, her purpose each day is her babies. So on those days when I feel small and insignificant, lacking purpose, frustrated because I didn’t move closer to meeting my next big goal or when I didn’t find a solution to all the world’s problems about which I am so passionate, I will think about that bird. When I feel like just the short order cook, the launderer, or the maid, I will remember my real purpose in this season of my life. Suddenly the fact that I fed and nurtured my babies and I feathered their nests and taught them to fly doesn’t feel insignificant at all. It feels like the reason I was put on this planet. It is my purpose. A pretty damn important one. So I’d better do it the best I can before they fly away.

My “Busy Mom on the Run” Marathon Training Plan

Bixby BridgeEarlier this week I was given the ok to run again after the x-rays from my ankle injury looked clear! Hallelujah! The very same day I got an email from the Chicago Marathon stating that there were just 18 weeks until race day! Coincidence? I think not! While I feel like I just finished running my first two marathons in Big Sur and Cleveland this past spring, it looks like it’s time to lace up my sneakers and get ready to take on The Windy City! October 11th sounds really far away. I still have an entire summer to survive (ahem) enjoy with my kids home from school. But I know that, just like every other one before, this season will race by and suddenly I’ll be heading to Chi-town to run my third marathon down some of the streets I called home for a few fabulous years after college. Guess I’d better get to work!

315088_197903707_XLargeSpeaking of summer, I’ve been feeling a little anxious about how I’m actually going to fit in training for this race with all three of my kids home from school. All. Day. Every. Day. It’s hard enough to find a few minutes to sneak away to go to the bathroom by myself for Pete’s sake. How will I ever find time to train for my next marathon in between the snack requests, the tattle-tales, trips to and from swim practice, golf lessons and tutoring? That’s not to mention my role as Summer Activities Director and the constant dishes and endless laundry left behind by a potty-training toddler. By the way, whomever called it summer “break” was evidently NOT a mom. Nope! Not a “break” for mommas.

Well, when I am faced with a challenge, I find a way to conquer it. My parents always tell me they thought I’d grow up to be a lawyer because of my relentless persistence. No time to train for a marathon? Says who? Not anymore. I’m proud to announce that I have worked together with well-known running coach, long time Runner’s World Magazine contributor, best-selling author, Olympic Trial Runner and World Masters Champion Hal Higdon to develop a marathon training plan to fit into my time-crunched life. Introducing my…


Getting CloserI know there are lots of other busy mommies and daddies (and just busy people) out there who love to run. Some of you have run marathons before and you know that it is indeed a big commitment. Others would like to run their first marathon but just can’t see how they could possibly find enough time to fit in all the appropriate training considering it is difficult many days to find time to even get a shower. That’s exactly how I felt last fall when I first began thinking that my next running goal SHOULD be a marathon, but that there was no way I COULD find the time with three young children at home. Now I can’t tell you what’s right for you, but today I will share my plan for training for the Chicago Marathon over this crazy busy summer.

Surprisingly, training to run 26.2 miles with three small children at home IS feasible. Yes, it takes time and dedication. It means setting aside some of my other responsibilities in order to meet my goal. Training for a marathon requires sacrifices from everyone in the family. (Lots of dishes were left in the sink, laundry baskets were overflowing and toys were left scattered everywhere during the months I was training for Big Sur.) It means spending part of my weekends running instead of playing with the kids (of course I’m always catering to their needs the rest of the day). Sometimes it means running through rain or snow, frigid temperatures or scorching heat. Other times it means logging double digit runs on the “dreadmill” early in the morning or late at night. There is often guilt, but the confidence I gain from meeting such a huge goal that I thought was never possible has transcended every part of my life. Running makes me a better person and a better parent. I can say from experience now that training for a marathon with three kids at home is definitely within reach. Here’s my approach.


Who has six, five or even four days a week to get out to run like many marathon training plans suggest? Not me. Not unless I wanted to run 10 or 20 miles pushing a jogging stroller. But I haven’t seen one made to fit three kids yet. This winter between the illness and the snow days and the bitter cold, I was lucky if I got to run even twice a week some weeks. Yet I still got in enough training to finish Big Sur, one of the toughest courses out there, and then I ran the Cleveland Marathon just three weeks later, finishing in 4:06, beating my previous time by 40 minutes.

By modifying and combining some of Hal Higdon’s plans, I’ve created this schedule that allows for running on just three days of the week while not losing out on any of the miles. Mr. Higdon has reviewed, approved and encouraged me to share my plan with you “for the benefit of all”. It includes one “long run” day (which I plan to do on Saturdays) and two shorter runs (which I plan to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays). Both increase in mileage as the weeks go by except for a few “stepback” weeks to allow you to gather strength for the next push upward.

1 CROSS 4 m run CROSS 5 m run REST 6 m run CROSS
2 CROSS 4 m run CROSS 5 m run REST 7 m run CROSS
3 CROSS 5 m run CROSS 5 m run REST 5 m run CROSS
4 CROSS 5 m run CROSS 5 m run REST 9 m run CROSS
5 CROSS 5.5 m run CROSS 5.5 m run REST 10 m run CROSS
6 CROSS 5.5 m run CROSS 5.5 m run REST 7 m run CROSS
7 CROSS 6 m run CROSS 6 m run REST 12 m run CROSS
8 CROSS 6 m run CROSS 6 m run REST REST Half Marathon
9 CROSS 7 m run CROSS 7 m run REST 10 m run CROSS
10 CROSS 7 m run CROSS 7 m run REST 15 m run CROSS
11 CROSS 8 m run CROSS 8 m run REST 16 m run CROSS
12 CROSS 8.5 m run CROSS 8.5 m run REST 12 m run CROSS
13 CROSS 9 m run CROSS 9 m run REST 18 m run CROSS
14 CROSS 9.5 m run CROSS 9.5 m run REST 14 m run CROSS
15 CROSS 10 m run CROSS 10 m run REST 20 m run CROSS
16 CROSS 8.5 m run CROSS 8.5 m run REST 12 m run CROSS
17 CROSS 6.5 m run CROSS 6.5 m run REST 8 m run CROSS
18 CROSS 4 m run CROSS 2 m run REST REST Marathon


My EllipticalI’ve allowed for three “cross” days because those are a little more flexible and can potentially be done at home before the kids wake up or during their nap (If you are lucky enough to have a kid that still naps, I’m jealous.) For me, cross training includes either a 30 to 40 minute elliptical workout, a spin or circuit/”boot-camp” class, strength training or a workout video. I like to mix things up and keep things fresh. My fear is that if I run too much I will get bored or burned out. I enjoy too many other activities to only run and I feel strongly that cross-training helps me run faster. As the miles build and my runs get longer I will begin to stick to “safe” cross training activities that will not leave me feeling sore and unable to properly accomplish my runs.


Mr. Higdon is always a big proponent of rest days.

“Scientists will tell you that it is during the rest period (the 24 to 72 hours between hard bouts of exercise) that the muscles actually regenerate and get stronger. Coaches also will tell you that you can’t run hard unless you are well rested. And it is hard running (such as the long runs) that allows you to improve. If you’re constantly fatigued, you will fail to reach your potential.” – Hal Higdon

You’ll notice I have only included one day of rest here in my “Busy Mom On the Run” Marathon Training Plan. Here’s why. With kids at home, I know that when I get the chance to run or get any workout in, I’d better take it. Because there is no doubt that some unforeseen event will arise on a day when I have a workout planned and that will become an unscheduled rest day. Like I always say, “Seize the Day” or really it’s more like “Seize the Hour” when you’re a running mommy. However, if I have cross training scheduled on a particular day and haven’t had a rest day yet that week and/or can tell my body really needs it, I sometimes use a ‘CROSS’ day for rest instead. One or two rest days a week are very important for me.


As moms we are used to being flexible. We have to be. As a busy mom marathoner, I need a flexible training plan too. That’s why another feature of my Busy Mom’s Marathon Training Plan is that I have not labeled the days of the week. For me Day 1 is Monday. Many people do their long runs on the weekend. That’s what I plan to do this summer. During this past year I actually did nearly all of my long runs on Wednesdays during the three hour window of time where all three of my children happened to be at school. If you decide you want to use my schedule, modify it to work best in your own crazy calendar of kids activities. I don’t feel bad when I have to swap days around a bit. Runs will be missed because of other priorities. Don’t fret. Sometimes I use a “cross training” or rest day to fit it in (just not too close to the long run). I focus on getting in the long runs and the other two runs fall into place somehow during the week.


Mission AccomplishedSo I realize that even finding three days a week to get out and run for an hour or more is not easy. Many runners I know get up really freaking early and run before work or before the kids start asking for stuff. With my husband’s unusual work hours I don’t have this luxury. I do have him home in the late afternoon though, so often we take turns running and babysitting (he is a marathon runner too). During the school year I used every bit of the three hours that John was at preschool to get in my runs. My plan for the summer is to run in the late afternoons when my husband is home or I am considering running during the hour that my girls are at swim team practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays while having a friend’s daughter play with John for a bit. Multi-tasking! My husband and I will take turns doing long runs on Saturday or Sundays.

It is not easy. If it were, everyone would do it. Just like the roads you will run, training for and running a marathon will have its peaks and valleys. For me, the sense of accomplishment, confidence, self-love, pride, happiness and feeling of physical and mental toughness that results is worth all the time and effort required.

Cleveland Marathon Finish

PLEASE NOTE: I am not an expert. Just an average mommy and an average runner. This is simply my personal blog where I’ve captured my own training plans for myself. Please consult your doctor before training for a marathon or beginning any new exercise routine.

My Busy Mom on the Run Training Program is based on programs by Hal Higdon, specifically his Marathon 3 program. All of his programs are available for free on his website. Hal also posts tips and answers questions on Facebook at Hal Higdon’s Marathon.

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich

Roasted Vegetable SandwichHere’s another quick and delicious meat-free meal idea for you that’s perfect for summer time or any time, really! It’s so simple I’m not even sure I can call it a recipe. It’s versatile too. Prefer to grill the vegetables? That works. Rather have a salad? Just place the vegetables on top of a bed of mixed greens. Or chop up the vegetables and put them over whole wheat pasta or brown rice. But I have to tell you, tonight I made these as sandwiches for Meatless Monday and they were so delicious. …And you thought it was hard to come up with a meat-free dinner. I’ve got you covered.

Sliced VegetablesRoasted Vegetable Sandwich

  • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise in half inch pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced in quarters
  • 2 portabello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in half inch pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 4 sprouted wheat hamburger buns
  • 4 slices havarti cheese
  • 1 cup mixed greens

Garlic Mayonnaise Spread

  • 1/2 cup all natural mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. chopped parsley

Roasted VegetablesPreheat oven to 450 degrees. Place all the sliced vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat evenly. Place in oven for about 20 minutes until tops begin to turn lightly brown and the water from the vegetables has cooked off. Flip vegetables over and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes.

Toast buns. Combine ingredients for mayonnaise spread and stir well. Spread mayo on bun and stack vegetables topping with cheese and a bit of mixed greens.

Serve with roasted potatoes or mixed greens salad. Enjoy!