Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Healthy Sour Cream Substitute

If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you know that I love making recipes healthy that would otherwise not be “allowed” on ANY diet.  And I do it by just swapping out a few things.   Check out my protein pancakes or all my healthy alternatives for snacks, chili and casseroles.

 Today I was talking to a client who has the hardest time giving up the fatty foods she loves and occasionally gives in to.   Like me, she loves anything with cheese, or bacon and absolutely loves sour cream whether to dip or dollop.  So I started to tell her about my sour cream substitute and she immediately started with how she doesn’t like greek yogurt.  But guess what?!  There’s something even better to use than greek yogurt…… its cottage cheese!!

cottage cheeseIt may not sound very appetizing at first but neither did the greek yogurt idea when I first heard that!   But cottage cheese is LOWER in carbs and HIGHER in protein than greek yogurt!   All you have to do is blend it up with a splash of lemon juice and white vinegar and VOILA!…. a sour cream alternative that is healthy and you can barely notice a difference!

If you don’t like the hint of lemon, try it without it and just use white vinegar.   Nutritionally, this sour cream copycat recipe is considerably healthier than regular sour cream.  The only issue with using cottage cheese is that it is very high in sodium; so I recommend using a low sodium cottage cheese to eliminate that problem. 

Put the cottage cheese, lemon juice or vinegar, in a blender or food processor and blend until it’s smooth like sour cream. Depending on your blending appliance, you may need to stop blending periodically, scrape down the sides, stir, and blend some more until it’s smooth.  An immersion blender works faster and better.   Check Amazon for the Kitchenaid immersion blender.  It’s the best for small quantities like this.

  • 1 cup cottage cheese (whole, low, or no fat; use low-sodium, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar*
*Use white vinegar for a taste that is most similar to sour cream. Use lemon juice if you prefer a faint hint of lemon taste.

Combine ingredients in blender, food processor or with immersion blender. Blend on high until smooth, stopping and scraping down sides as needed.

Serve a dollop on baked potatoes, chili, nachos, enchiladas, or stir into recipes in place of sour cream. Great for sour cream based dips.

Store in refrigerator.   Makes 1 cup.  Recipe may be doubled.


Throw a dollop (or 2) on chili, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, or tacos. Use it in recipes that call for sour cream. It’s an especially good substitute in sour cream based dips.  Tastes like the real thing.

(Guiltlessly) Enjoy! 





September 5, 2013 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, P90X Recipes, Products That Work, The Critic, Things To Do, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shakeology 3 Day Cleanse

Today is day 2 of the 3 day cleanse and I already feel amazing.   Each serving of Shakeology (1 shake) is the equivalent of 3-4 servings of the vegetables we need every day.    During the cleanse you have 3 shakes a day.  Not to mention this cleans out the body of all the toxins we carry with us. 

Some people have lost 5-10 pounds in this 3 day cleanse.  I’ve already lost 4 pounds and I am anxious to weigh in again tomorrow!

I stopped drinking coffee yesterday (the first day) and I still have the nasty caffeine withdrawal headaches but other than that I feel really good.  In the past when I’ve quit caffeine cold turkey it’s been 2 days of headaches so I’m hoping tomorrow it will have finally subsided.  After the cleanse I plan to use it as a recovery drink after Insanity!

If you’re wondering what this entails, here it is:


3 SHAKEOLOGY Shakes a day (blended with water and ice)
2 Cups of Green Tea a Day (Triple Leaf Detox Tea is good choice)
1 piece of fruit a day (Apple, pear, orange, banana, mango, etc)
1 salad for dinner (lettuce, veggies, lean protein)
– 4 oz lean protein in salad (WHITE poultry or fish)
– Only Low Fat Dressings.

NO: Dairy (no almond, soy, or rice milk) or extra sugars. If it’s not on the list, don’t eat it!

Sample Menu (Repeat all three days):

1 cup of green tea

Shakeology – 1 scoop, blended with ice & 8-10 oz of water
Optional: ½ cup of fruit (only for the super conditioned – not the weight challenged)

1 piece of fruit

Shakeology – 1 scoop, blended with ice & 8-10 oz of water

1 cup of green tea

Shakeology – 1 scoop, blended with ice & 8-10 oz of water
(This snack can be before or after dinner)

– Lettuce/veggies
– 4 oz lean protein (WHITE fish or poultry)
– Light Dressing

And listen to what doctors are saying:   What Doctors are Saying

I wish I could somehow share the high I get from being fit.   If you want to know what it feels like to really live then get healthy.  There is no drug on this Earth that compares to it.

I’m getting paid to be healthy and help others do the same.  You can too and you can save 25% on all things Beachbody has to offer just by becoming a Coach

If you have any questions at all please message me.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Insanity, Nutrition, P90X, P90X Recipes, Shakeology, The Critic, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Variety is the Spice of Life

Spoken so truly by Tony Horton (creator of P90X):  “Variety is the Spice of Life”.   So, to  that note,  it’s time to change things up a bit.   I have already done P90X twice and Insanity once.  Now this is becoming addicting.  It’s amazing watching your body transform and seeing how fast your body adapts to how you treat it.   What you put in is a direct result of what you get out of it.  Treat your body badly and it will treat you badly.  Or, give it what it needs and it will thrive and inspire you to become even better. 

Insanity recommends a diet ratio of 40/40/20 while on the program (40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat).  Even though I know my body always responded well to a diet low in carbs I figured  I would follow this program to the letter because it looked like nothing I’d ever thought possible.  It lives up to its name in every sense of the word.   And I got some awesome results.  However, in my quest to conquer this program a second time I’ve decided to try a 50/30/20 ratio.  I’ve been doing this for a week now and I’m already liking how I feel a lot better.  I admit the workouts are harder without the energy of so many carbs but that’s ok.  So I take more breaks – and I’m ok with that. 

Now that my metabolism is burning through food so fast I have been feeling hungrier.  I ate an egg white omelette this morning (4 eggs, 1 yolk and red and green peppers) and 2 hours later I was hungry like I hadn’t eaten at all!  So I had a protein shake (whey protein).  Another part of the day I get hunger pangs is right when it’s time to go to bed!  For a week it was getting really hard to fall asleep so without realizing it right away I was indulging on cottage cheese and then I would fall right asleep.  So now, instead of the cottage cheese I’ve starting having a casein protein shake before I lay down.  Casein protein prevents your body from breaking down muscle while you sleep (very important).  If you’re hungry between meals the 2 best things to eat are whey protein or vegetables. 

Getting fit means constantly tweaking things.   Whether that’s diet or exercise you have to continually make changes.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Insanity, Nutrition, P90X, Products That Work, The Critic | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating Healthy is Cheaper Than the Alternative

Ever heard someone say that they can’t “afford” to eat healthy.  They’ll say eating healthy  is too expensive.  I hear it all the time and I even used to say it too! 

Yes, typically it is a little more expensive to buy organic foods, grass-fed meats and cheeses and free range eggs, etc.  But if you consider the things you spend money on each and every day such as your morning coffee, an energy drink, your lunch at work (especially if you go through a drive-thru), or even the happy hours that we all know turn into “happy evenings”, than spending $1 more on organic doesn’t seem to be a big problem, now does it?  This is a simple question that can be answered as easily as which of the pictures below seems like a better life for a chicken.


                                                                                                                                                                                  In reality you’re saving your body from chemicals we as humans should not be ingesting, long term effects of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and by preventing type 2 diabetes, not to mention, the chance of getting cancer.  Plus, the poor health of this country will eventually result in high health care costs for everyone. 

I know everyone has heard these tips I’m about to share with you a million times before but they still hold true.  If you don’t want to start exercising yet but want to do something, the tips below will still make you lose weight.  Guaranteed.
1)  Avoid the inner aisles of the grocery store.  It’s all bad!  (think about it:  alcohol, the freezer section, the sauce aisle, etc.)
2)  Stick to buying 1 ingredient items i.e, bananas, apples, fresh chicken and other meats, etc.  Avoid packages of any kind (they have a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce)!
3)  have a cheat meal (not a cheat day) every once in a while.  It keeps your metabolism working hard!
4)  try your hardest to never eat the following:  processed soy, fried food, high fructose corn syrup and sodas

I hope this helps encourage everyone to eat cleaner.  I recently saw a comment by a friend on Facebook that said “Keep your diet CLEAN and your workouts DIRTY”!  I love it. 

Also, in case anyone is wondering, you can’t buy grass-fed meats and cheeses at a commercial grocery store.  I buy mine here:  http://healthygrassfed.2ya.com

March 2, 2010 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Exercise, Nutrition, Organic, P90X, Products That Work, The Critic, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

P90X Changed My Life Forever

Ok I haven’t blogged in a very long time.   My apologies.  Lots of things happened… some good, some bad.   I’ll save that for another time.

Right now, I am obsessed with P90X and I have to share it with everyone!  No, I didn’t just start the program.  I didn’t want to go crazy talking about it until I finished the 90 days.  I started it in October, you know, after a night that I crashed on the couch and woke up to Comedy Central’s infomercial hour.   I saw this crazy, funny (not to mention very easy on the eyes) guy trying to sell me on becoming lean and tone within 90 days!  I saw the workouts and remember thinking (albeit at 4am) “I could do that!”


30 days later I gave up my low carb diet that my readers know I religiously swore by.  90 days later I lost 5 pounds, 2 dress sizes and 5% body fat!  Guess what:  I was able to do it!  And even now I’m still doing it.  I’m about to start Round 2 week 5 next week and every day I look forward to it.  Never before in my life have I actually looked forward to my workout. 

Now I talk about it all the time and tell all my friends they should really consider giving it a try!  For those of you who have seen this and are on the fence about whether to order this, consider this:  dig down deep and do something awesome for yourself.  In every video there are modified moves and/or 3 or 4 different versions of the same exercise.  It is an incredibly rewarding experience to push your body to it’s limits and succeed at it.  You walk away wanting more and more. 

For all of you who are already P90x’ers, here’s a laugh for you:

Top 10 Ways You Know You’re Obsessed With P90X
1.   on Thursday your child asks you what day it is and you say “Yoga”
2.   you go to a Mexican restaurant and order a “chaturanga”
3.   you say “BRING IT”  in any motivational setting you find yourself in
4.   you tell yourself to “get sexy with it” when trying to wiggle into the frog
5.   When you put on your resume that you have a degree in “PLYOMETRICS”
6.   after 30 minutes or more of sexual activity you have a recovery drink
7.   before starting anything, you have to do at least 5 min of   static/ ballistic stretching
8.   when Tony says “Superman” your 2 year old replies with … “banana”
9.   you REALLY expect (and anticipate) Tony Horton to come to your house if you do 26 side tri-rises or MORE!
10.   you tell your dog to “Namaste”

P.S.  Here’s me in crane pose.  Couldn’t do this at all in October!

Facebook me here!  I love hearing from fellow P90x’ers!

February 20, 2010 Posted by | About Me, Diet and Exercise, Exercise, Nutrition, P90X, Products That Work, The Critic, Things To Do, Women's Health | , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Aloha! Take Advantage of the Recession Deals

I haven’t written in a while but now we’re finally back from Hawaii and I’m not sad at all!  We were there for 6 days with all 3 kids and Frank and I were both happy to come home.  It was fun taking the whole family but also completely exhausting!  Now if we were there just the two of us I’m sure it would’ve been a different story having to leave.


Waimea FallsPolynesian Cultural Center





We stayed in Waikiki and this was our first trip to Hawaii for all of us.  It was absolutely beautiful and we did a lot in 6 days. 

We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Sunset (ResortQuest) only because it was the best deal for a one bedroom suite.  We wanted to stay at the Hilton Village because that’s where everyone told us to go but their price for a 1 bedroom suite per night was the grand total we spent at the Aston (which needless to say is why I booked it!).  But then when we got to the hotel we very quickly realized why the price was so appealing.  The place was in desperate need of remodeling.  Thankfully, we were only there to sleep so it served it’s purpose.   However, we will never stay there again.

The next day we had to make our way over to Hilton Village to board the Atlantis submarine and Frank said “Oooh I wish we would’ve stayed here” until, of course, I reminded him of the money we were saving by not staying there.   🙂

The first day we were there we went to the beach which was 4 blocks from our hotel and then we went back to the room and us girls got all dolled up for the luau. 

Moana Surfrider

We all got ready early so I suggested we walk down to the Moana Surfrider hotel to get “The Best Mai Tai In Town” per The Today Show.  It was very strong and not very sweet.  But Frank was very happy with it.


Then we missed our bus to the Paradise Cove Luau in Ko’olina so we had to drive ourselves.  But that worked out and we didn’t end up missing much:  just the pig roasting which I’m glad the girls didn’t see anyways otherwise they’d probably want to be vegetarians by now!

The following day we headed up to the North Shore and I told everyone we’d just take a drive and see the sights so the baby could take a nap.  No one knew I secretly packed our swimsuits and towels!  Not sure how they all missed the big bulky beach bag but it was a great surprise!  This is also where I got my crazy sunburn (hence the reason there’s no picture here).  I thought my oversized sunglasses covered more of my forehead so I ended up getting burned and looking really strange.  I also thought the one finger spread of sunscreen across my forehead would keep me covered so that’s why the name ‘stripes’ was so fitting for Frank to call me the next couple of days.  

waimea falls.jpgThen we went to Waimea Falls Park and it was breathtaking especially because I didn’t know Oahu had any waterfalls so not expecting to see any and then seeing this was awesome.

They told us they do a lot of weddings there and after the 25 minute walk through the park we know why.


The next day we did a dinner cruise and the kids really loved the entertainment on board.  There were hula dancers, a Hawaiian singer and a little magic show.  We also did the Polynesian Cultural Center but we weren’t very impressed with it.   That could also be due to how hot and humid it was though. 

IMG_7752The real highlight of the trip for Frank and I was the snorkelling at Hanauma Bay.  What a beautiful place to snorkel.  As you all know we had planned to do our first dive on this trip after getting PADI certified but we had a problem bringing the baby on the boat so we didn’t do it.   This was still a great experience though and no regrets about not scuba diving.

We were able to take all the kids on this trip to Hawaii because of all the spectacular deals there are online.  The islands are really hurting right now because of the recession so if you can afford to take advantage of the deals US Airways is offering I suggest you do it while there’s still time.  Also, check out www.sidestep.com.  They have some great deals and are generally about 15% lower than priceline and all the others.  For those of you who made a face when I said US Airways, yes I know, we feel the same way about them.  But are you more loyal to an airline or your own wallet? 

All and all it was a great trip and we’re glad we shared it with the kids.  Next time we’ll do Maui or Kauai and we’ll just hang out on a resort and never leave.

Mahalo and Aloha!

July 31, 2009 Posted by | Children, Family Friendly Hotels, Family Friendly Restaurants, Family Night, The Critic, Things To Do, Traveling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Date Night In San Francisco

If you have read anything about myself or my family you already know that we are big believers of “date night”.   For us, it is one of the many secrets that keep our bond strong.  For a few hours we get to laugh, have good conversation and have some alone time with no kids around. 

Two Friday nights ago Frank and I had a wonderful date night.  It was probably one of the best ones in a long time.  The date nights that we don’t plan usually end up being the better ones.  We had a wonderful dinner at a greek restaurant and then we went and saw the movie, The Hangover.

But this last Friday night was spent in San Francisco.  I had no idea we were going anywhere so this was a big surprise.  Frank told me last Monday that I needed to start packing for 3 days away.  I was so excited.  I’m a big fan of being surprised.

This is the second trip to San Francisco since we’ve been together.   For our date night we went to Fisherman’s Wharf and ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Aliotos.  I know it’s a tourist trap there which is exactly how we first found the place.  They treat you like family when you’re there and the clam chowder is delicious!  Then we walked around Pier 39.  I also had the lobster risotto which was amazing (I just passed the mushrooms over to Frank).

While we were there we also went to Monterey and Carmel.  Something we didn’t get a chance to do the last time.  We also visited his cousin and her family that live 40 minutes north of the city and we fell in love with the cute little town.  In fact, we were trying to think of a way we could move there.

We stayed at Parc 55 which is right in the garment district (Union Square).  It was hard to find at first only because of all the one way streets and also because the GPS on our phones wasn’t working well because of all the tall buildings!  But that was actually pretty funny!  We were on the 25th floor with an amazing bay view.  (see below)

Bay View from Parc 55


Next time we come hopefully it will be to take the California real estate test and we can start marketing in the northern California area.

June 29, 2009 Posted by | The Critic, Things To Do | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Carb Shrimp Fettuccine

I am still amazed that my low carb tuna noodle casserole  recipe is one of my top 5 most visited posts.  So for that reason, I am compelled to share more low carb recipes.

Last week we took the kids to Brio Italian grill.   We all love the food there.  They even give the kids dough balls to play with while you wait for your food.  It is possible to go there and not eat the carb loaded food but Frank and I know how good their dishes are so even our best intentions go out the window as soon as we walk in! 

We both ended up ordering the shrimp and lobster fettuccine.  We had never ordered it before and it was delicious.  But I couldn’t help but realize the same dish could be made without all the carbs!   So here’s my low carb version and, might I add, just as delicious.

1 box Dreamfields fettuccine
extra virgin olive oil                                      
2 TBL butter
2 cloves garlic, or minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry wine
pinch of sea salt
pinch of dry parsley
1 large bag of frozen shrimp (buy organic if you can)
artichoke hearts (if desired)
1 small on the vine tomato (diced)
Pecorino Romano cheese (as much as desired)

Thaw shrimp as directed on bag.  Cut tails off shrimp and set aside.  Prepare pasta as indicated on box but add 1 TBL butter and a splash of EVOO for taste.  In a skillet on med high, coat with EVOO,  butter, lemon juice, sherry, salt, parsley and artichoke hearts.  Saute for about 4-5 minutes until shrimp is golden brown.  Serve your pasta, pour shrimp on top and sprinkle with tomatoes and cheese.

I promise you will love it!   Each serving yields about 10-15 carbs depending on how ‘big’ your serving spoon is.

The pasta is controlled carb pasta so while it is significantly lower in carbs than traditional pasta you should only eat 1-2 servings because too much will actually convert to sugar in your body thus, being totally counter-productive to a low carb diet.  But, if you don’t eat much that means leftovers! 

So enjoy it for dinner tonight and again for tomorrow’s lunch.  And sorry I didn’t include a picture.  I will take a picture the next time I make it and post it.

Happy Low Carbing Everyone…

For some more recipes visit  https://amothersmemoir.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/another-delicious-low-carb-recipe/.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Low Carb, Family Friendly Restaurants, Nutrition, Organic, The Critic | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Cares About Carrie Prejean

What’s the deal with Carrie Prejean … and why do we care?

I don’t follow the pageants at all, not locally, nationally or  internationally.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.

But this woman has made headlines almost every week since the Miss USA pageant.  I don’t get it.  First, it was her answer to Perez Hilton about gay marriage which was silly to talk about in the first place.  She has a right to believe what she wants.  I personally don’t care who gets married.  If you’re in love and you want to make it “real” – whatever, I get it.  She probably should’ve kept her own beliefs to herself and said something like “The state shouldn’t come between 2 people and their lifestyle.”  And then she could’ve gone about her merry way.

Then the following day it was the “racy” pictures that weren’t really racy at all.  They showed her bare back.  So what?

The following week it was that she was dating ‘Mr. Pothead’, Michael Phelps.  Who cares?  Which to that, I must say I don’t really care who smokes what as long as it doesn’t interfere with my (or my kids) life.  The whole thing about Phelps and the pot though … ugh – it’s not like he was taking a ‘performance enhancing drug’!  It actually affected my life when and only when our own media outlets put it on the news!  That isn’t NEWS!  It’s at that point when our kids start to associate Michael Phelps and drugs. 

Anyways, I really think this whole thing is purposely put on by Donald Trump to raise publicity for himself and his dumb reality shows.  Ok, I don’t really think that but it seems like all these pageant winners that he ‘backs’ all have a bunch of skeletons in their closets. 

What I’d like to ask Donald Trump is why he ever pulled out of Phoenix?   He was trying to get the permit to build a high rise in a part of Phoenix where they’re really not welcome (by the neighbors).  But my question, is why didn’t he go to Tempe, downtown Scottsdale or even downtown Phoenix?

Let’s get our heads out of the pageant world, Trump, and stick to real estate!  It seems that’s where your skill-set is less questionable!

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Phoenix AZ, The Critic, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Isolated Incident that is … Dane Cook

It’s been almost 2 weeks and I never mentioned the date night we had.  We went to see our favorite comedian… Dane Cook.  If you’ve read my article The Power of a Shared Laugh you’ll know that comedy is at the top of our list for things to do.

I can’t believe I haven’t written about it yet.  Too much drama going on here on the homefront I guess.        

Frank and I love going to the Tempe Improv.  But Dane Cook can sell out an entire sports arena!   I’ve read some other blogs about Dane Cook and surprisingly they’re not very favorable to him.  That is shocking to me because he has a clever way of taking the day-to-day mundane stuff and turns it into laugh-out-loud entertainment.  These bloggers should take note that he is selling out these stadiums and recognize that rather than critique his leading man roles in feature films.   But then again, I am the opposite sex and find him very easy on the eyes! 

I’m sure he doesn’t lay in bed at night kicking himself for not winning an Oscar last February.  In fact, knowing what most fans know about him, he probably pats himself on the back for sharing the screen with Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson.  I know that’s how I’d feel if I were him!  😉


Keep up the good work Dane!  We loved every minute of your show.  We weren’t all that excited about driving to Glendale to see him at jobing.com arena but all in all it was worth the trip!

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Phoenix AZ, The Critic, Things To Do | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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