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A Lighter Holiday Dessert - Crimson Cranberry Crisp

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Lighter Holiday Dessert – Crimson Cranberry Crisp

I belong to the Spark Team Culinary Artists.
We have a challenge this month called: An All American Holiday Table. Our challenge was to “lighten up” a favorite holiday recipe. We also were to submit a “fitness minute” idea.

I thought I would share my entry with my Spark Friends too today:

I have decided to submit a light dessert recipe that I will be making during the holidays.

Since I know that I will be preparing and eating more main dish entrées than normal during these days – I have decided a little sweet finish like this would be most appropriate. It will satisfy my desire for something sweet, but won’t require a major portion of my daily calories. In fact it’s 191 calories for a serving and the recipe makes 6 servings.

It is a lighter version of one of my favorite fall desserts – Apple Crisp. This recipe also calls for cranberries, which I think gives in a bit more holiday appeal.

It can be made with fresh, frozen or even dried cranberries. The topping mixture in this recipe uses the traditional rolled oats and brown sugar, but also gives the baker the option of adding chopped nuts – which I would toast to enhance their flavor – and/or coconut. I will be using both the nuts and the coconut in my version.

*Note that the nutrition information I give at the bottom does not include those additions to the main recipe.

What will I be doing to burn off some of these calories? I have decided on spending 20 minutes walking with Leslie Sansone.

I will be using her very old VHS tape: “Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone – The One Mile Walk.”

It’s a time commitment that I can make – 5 minutes to warm up, 20 minutes of walking.

At my current weight I will be burning 118 calories.

Looks like I will need to add a bit more exercise!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Crimson Cranberry Crisp

Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 40 minutes Cool: 20 minutes Oven: 375°F.

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup quick-cooking or regular rolled oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground ginger
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons chopped nuts or coconut (optional)
Fat-free vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt, or fat-free half-and-half (optional)

Step 1: In a small mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Place the apples and cranberries in an ungreased 1-1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle sugar-cinnamon mixture over fruit. Toss gently to coat. Bake, covered, in a 375°F. oven for 25 minutes.

Step 2: For topping, in a small mixing bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg or ginger. With a pastry blender, cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts or coconut, if you like. Sprinkle topping over partially cooked fruit mixture.

Step 3: Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes more or until fruit is tender and topping is golden. Cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream, frozen yogurt, or fat-free half-and-half, if you like.

Makes 6 servings.

NOTE: Can't find any fresh or frozen cranberries? You can substitute 1 cup of dried cranberries.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 191 calories, 6 g total fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 46 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REEDSKI 11/19/2010 8:34PM

    That sounds so good right now! The coconut sounds like an interesting addition. I love coconut so that is an option I'd include!

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ROSEWCI 11/17/2010 9:31PM

    emoticon Sounds yummy! Lovin' a bit of the sweet stuff! You're ALWAYS fixin' up something good in your kitchen! Thanks for the recipe!

emoticon Rose

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    This sounds absolutely incredible! my mouth is watering right now! you MUST be an amazing cook!!!

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I Helped Educate Youngsters on Growing Potatoes Today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Minnesota we have a fairly new program that is trying to get schools to eat healthier. It connects local producers and their food products with schools.

We were contacted several weeks ago by a school district 50 miles away from where we live. They were given a grant to help introduce their students to healthier eating - by promoting locally grown foods.

The only vegetable that we still had enough to offer them was potatoes.
My husband loves to grow potatoes, besides other vegetables. (We have a High Tunnel Greenhouse and are growing many vegetables in it - but potatoes must be grown out in a field.)

We grow the regular white and red potatoes, that I remember growing as a kid with my Irish grandfather. He used to grow over an acre just for our extended family.

Besides the old red and white varieties, we also grow many heirloom potatoes .
Rose colored on the outside with golden insides.
Deep purple skinned potatoes with equally dark purple insides.
Rose colored potatoes with pink interiors. Just to name a few.

Well, the school wanted just white and/or yellow potatoes for a harvest lunch that they will be preparing later in the month.

They asked us also to give a presentation on how to grow potatoes and to talk about them with the children. Since my husband is a Agricultural educator by profession, and he loves talking with children...this turned out to be a wonderful experience. There was a county health educator there also who spoke to the children about the history potatoes...including sweet potatoes and yams as well as the 'regular' potato. She did speak about healthier choices when eating potatoes. We talked about french fries and potato chips and that they are okay to eat ocassionally. She talked about nutrition, which was wonderful information for these children. I was glad to see this!

When we had finished our presentation, we spoke with the head cook. She told us how new this program was for their school. We told her we were so surprised when her county had contacted we live so far from their school.
They had to go 50 miles to find farm produce! And they want to talk to us about next year.
We told them if they let us know in January or February we can grow whatever they would need.
(We are also during this with a food service and catering business at the college where my husband works. They too are trying to get more locally produced foods into the college food program.)

We also found out that this school district had qualified for this new program because they have over 50% of their students that fall under the poverty level.
I was just amazed. I had no idea that we were dealing with poverty issues like this in rural Minnesota.

This makes me think. I'm trying to lose weight because I have had too much access to food and have over eaten. Here are others living so close to me that may not have enough food to eat each day. This makes me reflect. This gives me a different kind of motivation to eat less. Motivation to share what I have with others.

It was truly an educational experience for me today, too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 11/18/2010 4:29PM

    What a wonderful blog Maria. How great that you can share your passion for fresh produce with these kids and have such a positive impact on their lives! I'll bet they loved it and learned so much. (I know I would have.) I appreciate what you say about poverty in MN. It is surprising and hard to believe. It really does give you pause to think.

When we lived in the Caribbean one of the few farmers on our island invited us to come see her field of produce and it was such an excellent experience for us all. Quintessa was enthralled! The woman had not only the traditional produce that you and I think of on her field but a huge mango tree growing right in the middle of it too! (her field was part of a government project to promote farming on the island...the government owned the land and rented it to her at a very low cost so she could work the land.) Farmers are so important and I believe all children should have a lot of exposure to learning about where our food comes from.

It is nice that you don't have to worry about monkeys stealing yours!

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REEDSKI 11/17/2010 7:01AM

    How exciting!
First of all the heirloom potatoes sound neat. Did you take some samples to show the students? I didn't know about heirloom potatoes. My dad just grew red and white potatoes in his garden.

I think that is a great program. I bet you and your husband made quite a team. It's great that local farmers can be such a beneficial resource. I'm glad you were there for that school! It's a win-win situation.

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COOKWITHME65 11/16/2010 11:44AM

    What a great activity you and your husband can do together to help the community and raise the awareness of good nutrition. How exciting to be chosen for next year also. I wonder what they will ask you to plant?
emoticon you guys!

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SNARDEESNIFF 11/16/2010 9:34AM

    Thanks, Maria. This is a wonderful blog. Very thought-provoking and motivating to keep me going on my weight-loss goal!

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MYSTERY4EVER 11/16/2010 8:54AM

    What an interesting blog. I find it so sad that kids have no idea of how to grow things and how things grow and how long it takes.

Part of the problem for children living in poverty is that much of the food they do get is unhealthy - junk food, fried food, high sugar content juices and sodas. The result is that many are obese. We know where that leads.

Even though I don't live in Minnesota, thanks for doing this. The kids need this type of education.

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EMAVERICK 11/15/2010 11:49PM

    That sounds so wonderful! I wish I had more time to garden (and chase the critters out of it).

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ROSEWCI 11/15/2010 7:55PM

    How awesome! What a wonderful opportunity for you & your husband to share your knowledge of growing potatoes! The program at the school sounds fabulous! I think it's vital that children learn about healthy eating while they're young! Early exposure can help "plant the seed" for future interest in proper nutrition!

I'm glad you had fun! I'm certain the children did too!

emoticon Rose

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SYDNEY_DE 11/15/2010 7:42PM

    Thats awesome! I grew up in a farming community in south Georgia, so while I've never worked on a farm (closest I got was petting my uncle's cows) I understand that hard work that goes into farming. I now live in a city where my student simply think that the food at the grocery store just appears there! Recently, I've become increasing dismayed at the food in our cafeteria. French fries, pizza, and hamburgers... We're at about 90% free/reduced lunch so this is one of the only "decent" meals that the kids get and we feed them crap. There has to be a better way, but I can't think of one!

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MRSBENNETT2 11/15/2010 7:29PM

    How cool is this ?!?!? I loved reading your blog. I think it's so important for so many reasons. Kids need to know where their food comes from, firstly. They need to know how to cook it to utilise all the nutritional value. We (in whatever country we live) need to support AND value our food producers. Just for the record, I love potatoes in all shapes and forms. There's only a couple varieties I dont' really care for - here in AU there's a white type called Lady Cristl that just doesn't thrill me. We live on the coast, and directly above us in the highlands is a major potato growing area for all of AU.

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I love Green Beans and Carrots! Did I really just say that?

Friday, November 12, 2010

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I love Green Beans and Carrots! Did I really just say that?

Yes, since joining Spark People I have started to learn to LOVE my veggies!
Especially fresh, thin, long green beans.
Baby carrots steamed with a touch of honey.

While I always made a vegetable each night for my family, I seldom ate it myself. They’d ask if I wanted them to pass the mixed vegetables, and I’d say “maybe in a little bit, I’m eating my meat right now.” And I never did ask to have the vegetable dish passed. I just passed on it. I’d reach for a second or third slice of bread or roll. I very seldom would ‘eat my colors’ as my husband put it. Yes, my child had a healthier relationship with food than her mother did!

So tonight as I am preparing dinner (we call it supper here in the Midwest), I find myself getting EXCITED about the Haricot Vert (“fine French Green Beans") I am making from Trader Joe’s. My menu tonight includes: Grandma’s Meatloaf (an old family recipe that I slimmed down), Parmesan Mashed Potatoes ( a recipe I am trying from this site), Baked Acorn Squash & the Haricot Vert.

I never would have thought that I would enjoy eating vegetables the way I do now. I’m having fun trying new recipes, new herbs and seasonings. I am just amazed at the nice, filling portion size I can eat. One serving of the French Green Beans is ¾ cup for 25 calories. Guess what? I going to eat 2 servings of them tonight!

I love veggies! I DID just say that!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRENK 11/14/2010 4:27PM

    I know what you mean. I only started to enjoy vegetables as an adult - and there are still days when I don't eat as much produce as I should.

The older I get, the more I realize how I missed out by turning up my nose at my parents' home grown veggies as a kid. Now, I live too far away to enjoy them, except during brief summer vacations. I'm sure your garden has made a big difference for you, too!

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THINRONNA 11/13/2010 5:37PM

    Nice blog! I love veggies too but isn't it amazing that we used to ignore them! I would eat some but was like you much preferred bread or meat. I love that you have such a positive outlook on it and since you are such a wonderful cook is isn't hard for you to make tasty veggies!

I get a little discouraged here because there isn't too much variety in the supermarket and organic produce is very sad looking and sparse. But I keep trying and at least when all the tomatoes are the same exact size you can track it easily!

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COOKWITHME65 11/13/2010 11:49AM

    I have always loved vegetables. My childhood fav is mashed potatoes with gravy but that's not very healthy. I now love kale, brussel sprouts, squash, grilled eggplant, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash and of course brocolli. I saw those green beans at trader joes and I'm heading back there today. I will grab a bag and try to remember to get a can of their pumpkin puree. Yum
Hope your having a great weekend!

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DARBOYMOM 11/13/2010 7:13AM

    Vegetables Rock!!!!! Glad you figured that out!!!
emoticon emoticon

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NPDSLEUTH 11/12/2010 8:28PM

    That is FANTASTIC! I know what you mean, by the way! Since starting SP, I've learned to love salad (plain, no dressing or just vinegar), artichokes, broccoli and plenty of fruits. I love hearing what everyone here likes -- I need to broaden my repertoire! Love the ideas!

Congratulations again!


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BIGMAMAT 11/12/2010 8:14PM

    I wish I lived closer and you would have to put up with me for dinner! Yummmm.
I know what you mean about liking veggies.! I have fallen in love with hummus. I love my killer salads. My DH,daughter and I eat shrimp or chicken salad at least twice a week. yum.
Carrots and sweet potato's rock too! And my new found love for Butternut squash. Yum

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REEDSKI 11/12/2010 6:52PM

    The vegetable I've learned to like is the sweet potato. I used to hate sweet potatoes casserole. The one with butter and marshmallows on top. A staple at our family Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. It grossed me out.

When I started SP I would read how good sweet potatoes are for us. "Not with all of that butter and those marshmallows," I thought. I first tried them as homemade sweet potato fries. Mmmmm. Good! Recently I've been roasting them. Oh, my gosh! I love them! But not in a casserole. I don't know why. You'd think I'd love the ones with butter and marshmallow!

I will eat any vegetable except one. Even peas. Some people don't like peas probably because they only have had them out of can. To have them right off the vine...oh, there is nothing better. My father and grandmother always had big gardens for us to gather vegetables from. Grandma had fruit trees as well and dad inherited raspberry bushes. We were so lucky!!!!
We had fruit bearing mulberry trees at grandma's and all throughout our "rural/lakeside" neighborhood. We'd put a blanket under the branches, shake, and mulberries rained down!

But I digress.
What is that vegetable that I can not eat?

Green beans. I get sick just from the smell. I should've listened to my body when it made me feel sick when I was around green beans. Dad made me eat them once before I got my strawberries. I threw up. As a young adult I tried them in green bean casserole. The other ingredients must've masked the smell. It was good but I threw up. I helped my sister-in-law snap them once. I was embarressed to tell her about my "problem" with green beans. My stomach was unsettled the whole time I snapped them. I finally had to walk away from the table. Green beans and I do not mix.

I heard you can be allergic to some vegetables and I think I have an allergy to green beans. My body rejects them. Just typing the word makes me feel ill.

Your supper (my sister calls it that, too.) sounds delicious except for the Haricort Vert. Oh, good, Haricort Vert doesn't make me feel nauseaus. Green bean. Oh, now I feel sick again!

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ROSEWCI 11/12/2010 6:34PM

    emoticon for LOVIN' veggies!!! I'm a BIG fan too! Isn't it amazing the amount of food you get to eat when you incorporate veggies! You're supper sounds yummy Maria! Nice comfort food for this time of year!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon Rose

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SHELLEY147 11/12/2010 6:13PM

    emoticon I am learning to love veggies too! Isn't it great that your tastes are changing to love healthy foods! :) I'm so happy for you!!! You're doing great my sparkfriend!! ~hugs~

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Thank You Spark Friends for Answering my 10 Healthy Questions!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thank you, Spark Friends for taking the time to read my blog and answer the 10 healthy questions I asked.

It sure has been both educational and enjoyable to read all of your answers.

I can tell you that my Spark Friends are healthy eaters!

They gave lots of ideas for healthy breakfasts and lunches.

Also many of their Dinner favorites had my mouth watering!

My Spark Friends are very active people. Everyone is doing something physical almost everyday! Wonderful tip for all of us...move, get active, do something you enjoy & keep moving, daily!

We all need to take a bit more time for's not's actually helpful in the long run. I know it's hard to do, but you are so worth the effort here!

We all need to re-charge each day. There are some fun and interesting ideas listed here too!

Everyone had a helpful tip to share with new members...if you have some time, please come back and read what others had to say.

I learned alot just by reading their responses and know you will too!

Thanks again everyone for taking the to respond. This was fun!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 11/11/2010 6:33AM

    Thanks for posting it, Maria! I just went back to read everyone's responses! Very informative! It's always nice to see what other's are doing, food-wise! I learned some things too!

emoticon! It was fun!!!

emoticon Rose

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Spark Friends…Please Share your Answers with Me!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Spark Friends…Please Share your Answers with Me!

I thought this might be a fun and interesting way to share positive, helpful information with each other.

I would like you to please answer any or all of the following questions. Then my Spark Friends that read this blog can read your replies and learn from you & about you, too!

I’ll post my answers below, too!

1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?
2. What’s a typical lunch for you?
3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?
5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?
6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often?
8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?

Here are my answers:

1. I usually have Multi-grain Cheerios, a cup of low fat or skim milk, and a cup of 100% orange juice. I know, I should be eating some additional protein at this meal, too.

2. I usually have 2 types of low fat cheese: string cheese and a disc of baby bell cheese, whole grain crackers, crisp bread or bread, 1 cup of V-8, some fruit either at lunch or later for a snack, Greek yogurt (I’ve been eating Dannon’s Greek Yogurt with honey, lately.)

3. I don’t eat snacks each day – but if I do I choose string cheese – if I haven’t had it at lunch or nuts. I sometimes have a Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich at 8:00 p.m. – It’s planned. I sometimes have fruit…I’ve been on a dried fruit kick lately if I choose fruit.

4. If I snack it’s at 3:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m.

5. I like grilled seafood or beef or pork with grilled or roasted vegetables.

6. I enjoy walking outdoors in good weather. I’ve been doing Leslie Sansone’s 3 Fast Miles or her 2 Fast Miles and a 1 Mile Walk Off the Pounds old tape. I really need to start a Strength Training program…a goal for the winter now!

7. No, I don’t strength train, but do use weights with one of my Leslie Sansone tapes.

8. I do take time for myself. I Spark, I pray, I take a hot bath, I walk.

9. I re-charge by doing those items listed under # 8.

10. Most helpful tip? I would encourage a new Spark Person to join a team that interests them and they will meet people and form relationships where they will always have encouragement and an ear to listen to them. That making Spark Friends is way more rewarding than I ever thought it would be!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today and thanks too if you are able to answer any or all of these questions.

I’d love to learn more about you, too!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 11/13/2010 5:31PM

    I know I am way late on this but I wanted to answer earlier this week and just got swamped so here I am!
1. 3/4 cup Muesli and skim milk every a piece of fruit (usually a banana)
2. Lunch is a tough one for me. If I am at home it is usually a meat and cheese sandwich with vegetables. At work I have a hard time with lunch but I have been trying to eat fish with rice and veggies or a sandwich.
3. I like to eat peanut butter on wheat bread for a snack, fruit or mackerel from a tin on a wasa cracker with cheese.
4. I snack once in the afternoon and I snack at night...night time is actually when I have trouble with occasionally snacking too much!
5. I cook a lot of one pot meals and stews...quick and easy.
6. I love to run but currently I am walking for exercise.
7. I haven't been doing any lately but when I do it is floor exercises every other day.
8. I try too but it is hard. My schedule goes like this: get up with the kids and feed them get them ready for leaving, then walk the kids to barnehage, go to work, go back and get the kids, feed them...night time kid routine and then I have about an hour or so before I want to go to bed (Patrick works nights) I have some but feel like I could use more!
9. A hike in the woods always recharges my batteries.
10. I would say, use the nutrition is amazing what you learn about portion sizes and calories as well as try to fit in some kind of exercise. It really make a difference!

I enjoyed reading every ones answers! Thank you for posting this Maria!

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BIGMAMAT 11/9/2010 10:22PM

    What’s a typical breakfast for you?
oatmeal with raisins walnuts and dates, plus .5 cup of berries
2. What’s a typical lunch for you?
If I am working, I take a turkey sandwich, 35cal bread , light mayo , ff cheese. youplait yogurt, apple or banana
3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
hummus and reduced fat wheat thins. I love a light mocha from starbucks for a treat. a tall is less than 200 calories.
4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?
I am not much of a big meal eater. I am more a grazer. I like to eat every 3 hours. (ps. since I have lost 47 pounds, I guess its working)
5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?
I make a killer shrimp/chicken salad with a few fries and cheese and avacado! yum
6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
I love zumba. Recently I have been doing the elliptical machine but mostly the stationary bike. Mix it up!!
7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often? I am not crazy about strength training but I do zumba toning weekly and I have started using my husbands bowflex 2 times a week.
8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
Hahaha. You are funny. (actually my exercise time is my time.
9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’ (God time, usually in the car.
10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person Get connected with others! Support is everything. (Thank you Beautiful! emoticon) xoxoxo Tricia

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REEDSKI 11/9/2010 6:43PM

    1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?

2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites and hot sauce
May add cantaloupe or honeydew
1/2 sandwich round with almond butter (no salt)
1/2 c. fat free cottage cheese
cantaloupe or honey dew melon

2. What’s a typical lunch for you?

A big salad I make at home.
Baby Spring Mix with Spinach leaves
cucumber, tomato, bell pepper (any color)
plus other veggies I may have on hand like radishes, mushrooms, etc.
chicken or an almond butter or peanut butter sandwich on whole grain, whole wheat, or sprouted bread. Sometimes with strawberry or raspberry jam but this week I'm using All Fruit Spread
An apple cut into chunks.

3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
My usual suspects are:
I usually save my lunch apple for the drive home.
I keep whole natural almonds (no salt) at home and work.
I love popcorn. I use an air popper now!
fruit smoothies (now with spinach, too)

4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?
Usually afternoon. My apple as I'm driving home. Sometimes I'll make a fruit smoothie in the evening. I used to eat ice cream but don't anymore so smoothies do the trick.
For a chocolate fix I eat 1/3 to 1 oz. dark chocolate but not every day. (a Dr. Oz recommendation)

5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?

Chicken breasts are my go-to meal with steamed or roasted veggies
eggplant parmesan from a SparkRecipe (it's a light recipe. Love it.)
Chicken Risotto

6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
I'm a walker!

7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often?
I do a little weight lifting with the SparkPeople Coach Nicole videos and I use the stretchy band thing with Leslie Sansone. I try to skip a day between strength training but I do cardio everyday. Today, Nov. 9th is my 89th day of an exercise streak.)

8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
I do. Mainly when I come to Spark People it is my time to take care of myself.

9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
I need time by myself. I pray and meditate. I read...any genre. Walking actually helps me recharge. Going to a movie with my friends Michelle and Brenda. (sometimes our families join us.)

10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?
Don't be overwhelmed by the site when you first come on. There is a lot to this site and you aren't going to figure it out in one sitting. After you set up your own SparkPage I recommend going to Sparkpoints and start earning points. It helps you learn about all of the things here. I am still learning new things and I've been here a year and a half. I couldn't believe how nice everyone is supportive...I wasn't used to it at first.

I like Winfield28s idea about joining teams. That's a great one I didn't think of!

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    1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?
waffles with peanut butter or mutli grain cheerios.

2. What’s a typical lunch for you?
usually a fruit or veggie, with soup/tuna wrap or leftovers!

3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
granola bars or fresh fruit.

4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?
one in the morning, one in the afternoon!

5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?
chicken with rice and a veggie!

6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
I am a walker, but hard to do in MN! Love kickboxing alot!

7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often?
I am not very good with it yet. I have resistance bands and do some moves with those!

8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
Sometimes, I love to read, so I spend some time each day getting it in.

9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
A yummy snack, and a good nap!

10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?
Take one day at a time. Don't think into months or how many pounds you have to lose, just think of that day and that's it.

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SGRAY478 11/8/2010 1:44PM

    1. I unfortunately love my sleep so many times dont eat breakfast (yes, I know, most important meal of the day, etc.) I am trying to be better about this and have started to eat a cliff bar with my coffee as I run out the door.

2. I usually do a turkey sandwhich on whole wheat. I am a student and tend to bring lunch to campus. I try to pair it with V8 fusion juice and some sort of fruit. I also am big on lean pockets because they are so fast.

3. I am big on snacking on fuit and string cheese. I also will have salsa on a piece of toast.

4. I am mostly a evening snacker.

5. I am loving the birdseye normandy bled veggies currently and am eating them with every (and I do mean every!) dinner. I am not big on cooking sadly so I really like to eat a lean cuisine most of the time.

6. Kickboxing! I absolutely love it. Actually, fitness classes in general are really my thing. I love having a really motivational person lead me through my routine. I also like the stationary bike. I also LOVE tennis

7. I dont really. In my one kickboxing class we also do sculpting with some light weights but that is about it. I would really like to start though!

8. I try to. I try to spend at least 5 minutes every day just loving on my cat (since he feels neglected all the time). I also have small moments to myself a lot.

9. I usually have a veg day where I do pretty much nothing besides watching the hallmark channel :)

10. My advice would be make sure you are tracking everything. That tool helped me the most. And also participate challenges and teams. These are great tools. But dont let the fact that you can get swallowed up by large groups or friends with too many friends discourage you. When I first started I was discouraged when a friend didn't seem to know what I am up to or didn't comment on my blog etc. Make some good close friends. Support is everything!

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ERINBEAR1876 11/8/2010 12:23PM

    1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?

I have a banana before I head to the gym at 5:30, then I have a protein smoothie afterwards.

2. What’s a typical lunch for you?

I do hit up fast, easy lunches....with soup, or a healthier grilled cheese sandwich, or a turkey sandwich, cheese.

3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?

I am a fruit NUT! I love munching on grapes, melon, berries...unfortunately they are going out of season so will have to think of other things! Oh, Apples right now are a favorite.

4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?

I do snack at about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at my desk.

5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?

I love Smart Pasta with marinara sauce as a quick and easy dinner. Otherwise, I love to have chicken thawed out in the fridge to have with veggies.

6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?

Oh, where to start!? I love to walk, run, spin, go on the elliptical, Zumba, circuit training, tennis, etc. etc.

7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often?

I do, 3-4 days a week. I use free weights and also do push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, and other core exercises.

8. Do you take time for yourself each day?

Yes, if only for half an hour...usually to read!

9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’

By sleeping at least 8 hours a night.

10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?

This is a journey, not a diet. A marathon, not a sprint. It is a lifestyle change. Change one thing at a time. It all adds up!!!

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VIXEN2188 11/8/2010 12:08PM

    I’ll post my answers below, too!

1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?
I usually have Organic Wallaby Yogurt with some other type of protein like eggs or almond butter on bread. I sometimes will eat oatmeal or a really healthy cereal with coconut milk.

2. What’s a typical lunch for you?
I usually try to have some kind of soup and a protein. Usually chicken or turkey burgers.

3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
I love baby cucumbers, veggies, fruit strips, almond butter, nuts, clif protein bars.

4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?
It depends. I usually never snack in the morning. I will most likely snack sometime between lunch and dinner.

5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?
I love to eat buffalo and buckwheat. Yum!

6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
I am a runner and I love strength training, HIIT exercises, and of course running.

7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often?
I am working on my core right now but I also work on my legs, butt and arms.

8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
HAHA I wish I had the time!

9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
Sleep, water, good food and the sauna or meditation.

10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?
Don't give up and get yourself out there. Add more friends to your page so you have more people who will support you! You are not alone and people do care even if you don't even know them!

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BIGMELITTLEME 11/8/2010 10:55AM

    1. A Bagel with an egg and a piece of cheese (grain, diary, protein) with orange juice.
2. Salad (many different kinds several that do NOT include lettuce)
3. An apple and a granola bar (the crunchy ones only)
4. In the evening about 9PM
5. Baked Talapia in Lemon juice with Asperagus.
6. I like machine assisted exercise (Elipticals, stationary bikes, treadmills, rowers, etc.) I love to walk but not alone.
7. I went to curves on a 2 week free trial and loved it. I do not work with weights simply because I don't own any and can't afford to go to a gym that has them.
8. If you count sparkpeople and Nanowrimo I would have to answer yes but not until every thing else for everyone else is done so sometime no.
9. I go to bed exhausted and wake up tired and go go go then on Sunday I go to church and in the afternoon I just chill with my husband unless the kids/grandkids drop in or I go somewhere with them. I read at night before I go to bed.
10. Stay on Sparkpeople. Don't just sign up and check it out then leave for months at a time. BE Consistant with whatever you find on Sparkpeople that interests you or helps you.

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LUV2HENNA 11/8/2010 1:50AM

    Good poll!!!
1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?
hard boiled egg, low fat yogurt w/granola
2. What’s a typical lunch for you?
Salad w/grilled chicken and red wine vingarette dressing
3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
fruit, rice cakes, yogurt
4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?
I have a late morning, afternoon and sometimes eveing
5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?
pasta with vegetables and a piece of baked flounder
6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
I am "walkg2run!"
7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often?
I do not do strength training at this time, but my beginners yoga class starts the 14th!
8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
A brisk walk
10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?
The Nutrition Tracker is very helpful and I was surprised how accountable I was when I began using it! emoticon

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ONEGREATCAT 11/7/2010 10:41PM

    Wow, this will be long, but fun:

1. I mix up my breakfasts; however, oatmeal (with water & 1 tsp. of peanut butter mixed in is predominant).

2. Lunch is usually a salad of some type. I really mix that up as many ways it can be varied!

3. Healthy snacks are mixed nuts (dry roasted, UNsalted); apples; bananas; 100-calorie tapioca; string cheese, etc.

4. I usually have a small snack around 10:00-10:30; then around 3:00-3:30 and finally about 1 hour before bed.

5. Favorite food: Actually salads of any kind; chicken dishes.

6. I love, love, love yoga. I love to walk and hope to be able to run in the future. I walked my first 5k not too long ago. I've ordered a treadmill. I have all of the smaller exercise equipment.

7. My strength training is my weakest. I sporadically attend a gym and I have small weights. This will be another "ONE STEP" for me in the future.

8. Yes, I allow some time for myself each day, as well as time for my devotionals and Bible (another "Spark" for me).

9. To re-charge? Hmmm...that's a good one! I'm not really sure I know the answer to that. I guess getting on SparkPeople does more for me than anything; or reading a good health or fitness magazine.

10. Best advice: Get on SparkPeople often! Do as much as possible on has so much information and tons of support from SparkFriends. And my mantra: One Step. Learn or do one new thing. Keep at that until you're comfortable and proceed to the next step; etc., until you've built a foundation. Upon that foundation you can reach for the STARS!


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MOODY9 11/7/2010 10:07PM

    This is great! Here are my answers:

1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?
Protein shake. I'm not a morning person and always in a hurry. I buy them from my doctor. They make 10 ounces each and have 110 calories and 15 grams of Protein. Perfect way to start of the morning in a hurry.

2. What’s a typical lunch for you? I've been on an eggbeaters kick. Sometimes I put fresh spinach in the microwave for 20 seconds then add in an individual container of eggbeaters and microwave until cooked. Then pull it out and throw in a wedge of laughing cow cheese and stir until melted. Fun version of eggs florentine. Tonight I cooked some ground beef and poured in the egg beaters.

3. What healthy snacks to you like eat? Fresh veggies with hummus or light laughing cow cheese, A Western bagel with hummus or cream cheese, Fage 0% greek yogurt with dry oats and PB2 (AWESOME stuff from

4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening? All of my meals feel like a snack. I really don't eat any huge meals unless I go out to lunch. I just have a certain order that I eat the small snack size meals in (shake, shake, veggies, eggs, yogurt)

5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner? Te Quiero Tequila Shrimp from one of the latest Hungry Girl books. I omit the shrimp and add in laughing cow cheese to make it really cheesy. The way I cut the onions makes them seem like pasta. SOOOOO delicious!

6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.? I run almost every night (training for my half marathon), take an adult tap class once a week, Crossfit, walking my dog.

7. Do you do strength training? If so, what do you like to do and how often? Crossfit! It such an amazing experience if you have never been. They modify it for all ages and levels. I've seen 12 years old and 70 year olds in the same class. Since starting the half marathon training I haven't been, but my Crossfit family will be there when I'm ready to go back.

8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
Typically no, but since I started running I've considered that time for myself. I know it is not a good thing, but I have a hard time just not doing anything. There are always things to be done. emoticon

9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
Another thing I'm bad at. The weekends are my recharge time. I get to spend my days doing whatever I choose to do. Can't beat that!

10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?
Probably two things:
1. Get involved by earning SparkPoints. Try and earn as many as you can each day. This will get you to start reading articles, join groups, track food, exercise, read blogs and post blogs. I find the more involved I am the more I stay on track.
2. Know your numbers! Track your food and exercise. Know your BMR so that you can have a full understanding of where you stand at the end of every day. There is a chapter in The Spark that goes through BMR, how many calories equal 1# (3500) and how to best lose weight with the numbers. Don't overwhelm yourself with it, but have a general understanding.

Thanks so much for this post. I can't wait to read what every says!!

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MRSBENNETT2 11/7/2010 8:02PM

    Hi Maria: Here's my answers.

1.) Breakfast is usually a cup of Multigrain Cheerios, half a cup of milk, too much caffiene, and maybe some fruit.

2.)Lunch is leftovers, or today I was starving and had ham, cheese, veggies and bread/butter pickles on a huge roll with a 1/4 cup of potato salad.

3.) I do a running graze in the morning and then generally have one snack around 1:30pm. Peanut butter on rice cakes, celery with cheese or peanut butter, or fruit.

4.) All morning
emoticon, then once in the afternoon. I'm blessed not to have the nighttime eating bug.

5.) For dinner I like broiled meat, veggies, and salad.

6.) My main cardio right now is walking, and I try to do it every day.

7.) I try to do strength training five days a week.

8.) I'm very lucky to have a lot of time for myself. I'm spoiled.

9.) I shut the door to our bedroom and read a good book.

10.) Don't try to do too much all at once. Don't get hung up on the numbers!

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APIRLRAIN888 11/7/2010 7:55PM

    1. What’s a typical breakfast for you? sandwich (bread/bagel, ham, mayo, salad)
2. What’s a typical lunch for you? fried rice (rice, meat, veg, egg)
3. What healthy snacks to you like eat? cracker, cheerio (what ever I pack my toddler)
4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening? afternoon when in car waiting for daughter's activity with toddler
5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner? salmon teriyaki and broccoli (so easy)
6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.? RUN c25k daily, but this wk is last wk of program. looking at options
7. Do you do strength training? Is so, what do you like to do and how often? arms (weight), abs (pilate, crunches), squats
8. Do you take time for yourself each day? no, sparktime is me time, and when I am running.
9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’if and when I sleep
10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person? scale is not your friend, tape measure and camera!! look at nonscale victories!

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SYDNEY_DE 11/7/2010 7:19PM

    this is a great idea! I might repost on my blog!

1. What’s a typical breakfast for you?
I eat the same breakfast everyday: Fiber One (no milk), vanilla no-fat yogurt, and an apple.

2. What’s a typical lunch for you?
I always have a 2.5 cups of romaine lettuce and a cup of broccoli. I have either a turkey burger (half a bun) or some sort of chicken and a carb (mashed potatos, mac'n'cheese, etc)

3. What healthy snacks to you like eat?
Low-fat waffles and nutella!

4. If you snack, when do you snack? Morning, Afternoon, Evening?

5. What’s your favorite dish to have or prepare for Dinner?
My favorite food to cook is Parmesan Chicken. Super easy and super yummy.

6. What types of exercise do you enjoy doing? Are you a walker, a runner, etc.?
I run- the distance depends on how much free time I have. It's never lower than 3 miles.

7. Do you do strength training? Is so, what do you like to do and how often?
I do it everyday and I just do what SparkPeople tells me to!

8. Do you take time for yourself each day?
I have to other wise I wouldn't be fit for company!

9. How do you re-charge your ‘batteries?’
I read and listen to music.

10. What is the most helpful tip you could offer a new Spark Person?
Start small and build up. Also, you should get involved with the spark teams and develop spark friends. It makes the journey to good health much less frustrating!

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SHELLEY147 11/7/2010 6:43PM

    1. I don't really have a typical breakfast, I alternate between carbs and day it's oats or cream or wheat, another it's scrambled eggs/turkey bacon...and I always have skim milk (sometimes as a smoothie)

2. lunch is usually leftovers from dinner the day before, or a big salad, if it's a sandwich I use Arnold Sandwich Thins or Brownberry 10 grain bread

3. snacks are: string cheese, low-fat wheat thins, frozen grapes, apple w/ peanut butter, pickles, caramel rice cakes

4. I snack at 11, 3 and 7...that's 2 hours between each meal and snack so I keep my metabolism and sugar levels even :)

5. Favorite dinner is anything chicken! I really like simple grilled chicken on a sandwich thin with lettuce, low-fat mayo, tomato and mustard

6. I am currently doing 'chair exercises' until the doctor will release me to start walking. I love walking!

7. I haven't started strength training yet...but hope to by the first of next year!

8. oh, yeah...after everyone is in bed, I'm usually still up and catch up with friends via e-mail, read the newest James Patterson book or take a hot bubble bath! :)

9. to recharge I come to Sparkpeople!

10. most helpful advice? I'd have to say PARTICIPATE as much as you can. Blog, track your food/exercise, join teams and make lots of new matter what you go through, someone has been in those shoes and can offer advice or a hug!

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PETUNIAPIG 11/7/2010 6:42PM

    Hi Marie - how fun! I was actually thinking of doing this same sort of thing on our Foodies team! You beat me to it! emoticon

1. Breakfast: Spiced Steel-cut oats+greek yogurt+mango
2. Lunch: Sandwich or soup...something easy
3. Snacks: Apples, string cheese, nuts
4. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks
5. many... something warm and comforting
6. Love outdoor activities that don't feel like exercise
7. Yes, but not regularly (unfortunately)
8. When I can... always something to do and I can't sit still
9. Good movie or book, swing in my hammock, listen to music
10. Don't give up! Join teams, make friends and find out what works for you

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ROSEWCI 11/7/2010 6:22PM

    Oh Maria! How fun! I'd LOVE to share! Okay, here goes...

1. Typical brkfast: 6 oz Dannon's fat free vanilla yogurt w/1 tbsp grd flaxseed, handful broken up walnut halves, 0.5 cup blueberries & 0.25 cup go lean crunch.

2. Lunch: Depends if I'm working but typically it's a cup of soup (campbells select harvests are good) & 1/2 sandwich consisting of 1 slice of multigrain bread, 1 of ultra thin sliced turkey or lean ham, 1/2 slice swiss cheese w/leaf of roman lettuce, & a piece of fruit, like grapes.

3. Healthy snacks are: babybel cheese, fruit, slice of colby-jack cheese, baby carrots, cucumber slices, veggie soup, edy's fruit bars, almond butter on saltine, Oikos yogurt w/honey, greek yogurt (I've tried them all), prunes, cup of sugar free applesauce, popcorn, V8 juice, almonds, dark chocolate, baked apples w/br sugar & cinnamon.

4. Honestly, I eat ALL day! I'm a I typically eat at least once every 2 hours MOST days. Not always tho...depends on what I'm eating for dinner. If I have a big dinner planned...I ease up on the snacking all day. My MOST favorite time to snack is evenings though...& it's the most DANGEROUS time for me as well.

5. I have so many favorites, depending on the season! This time of the year it's turkey potpie, chili, soups, roasts, pastas, & all kinds of fish (tilapia, salmon-pan seared, cod, orange roughy). All w/plenty of veggies &/or yams, br rice, butternut squash.

6. I'm a walker! Love it outdoors but I also do Leslie's 3 mile DVD. My neighbor has an elliptical that I've used on occasion. I'm doing a 28 day bootcamp challenge to get toned & stretched!

7. Just started the challenge for strength building. I tried didn't go so well. (sighing...)

8. Yes, I take time for myself. I indulge in a little tv & I read. I took quilting lessons & I've begun to quilt. I find it very relaxing!

9. I love being w/people. I'm a people person! And I love Sparking! It helps me stay centered!

10. Most helpful hint? Don't try to do it all at once! Just track your food as best you can & don't worry about doing it right. Drink your water, & begin moving your body. Baby will all fall into place. One day at a time!

emoticon Rose

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EDWINA172 11/7/2010 5:48PM

    Good blog!

1. typical breakfast is a protein shake with EAS Whey protein powder, cottage cheese, Splenda, frozen strawberries, flax seed and ice.
2. lunch is usually turkey sandwich on Joseph's Oat flax pita with baby carrots
3. healthy snacks are string cheese, apples, pita w/peanut butter, Greek yogurt (plain fat free)add Splenda and flax seed, hard boiled egg, instand oatmeal with protein powder, Jello sugar free pudding or jello
4. If I snack...I eat every 3 hours. Small frequent meals and snacks. Keeps the metabolism burning hot.
5. favorite meals-Pizza made on pita bread or shredded chicken breast with steamed veggies and stir fry sauce
6. Exercise I enjoy is weight lifting, running and exercise DVDs.
7. I strength train Monday/Wednesday/Friday. My favorite body part to train is triceps. Cardio Tuesday/Thursday and one weekend day.
8. I don't take time for myself each day. That is something I need to work on. My husband and I own our own business and that pretty much takes up our time.
9. To recharge my batteries-I read for pleasure, not work. I run for pleasure, not a goal. I nap! I love naps!
10. The best advice I could give someone is to keep a food journal. My husband and I have kept one for almost 3 years. You keep a register for your checking account, right? Isn't your health worth more than money?

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