Shed the Layers Challenge – 1 more week to go!

Shedding the layers with LLB (and LLD too!)

I really put myself to the test with the Shed the Layers Challenge.  It started February 14th, I moved March 1st and then proceeded to go on a 5 day vacation!  Sometimes I wonder about myself…can we say spreading oneself very thin??!!  Well, the good news is I have managed to stay consistently active.  People – moving is a WORKOUT, especially with a toddler!  Lets take a look at my goals…and my actual (in green):

  1. Exercise/be active everyday – at least 30 minutes ~ CHECK 1-2-3, definitely achieved
  2. Practice Pilates at least 3 days/week ~ hmmm, not so much.  I have been keeping my powerhouse engaged with all of the heavy lifting of boxes and 22 lb toddler…does this count?
  3. Run 15 miles/week ~ I averaged about 5 miles/week overall.  Not too bad, but not my goal.
  4. Make a new healthy recipe at least once a week ~ this was a success, yay!!  Check out my The bomb blueberry apple buttermilk pancakes & Rockin’ Veggie Lasagna, both were delicious!

I feel good about my actual considering my schedule.  Now that I’m settled into beautiful New York, I will kick it into high gear!

How about the rest of the Shed the Layers gang…how have you been coming along?


Rockin’ Veggie Lasagna

I am patting myself on the back after preparing this super yum vegetable lasagna last night.  I had four generations at the dinner table, including Great Grandma DiGiovanni, and the whole gang gave me two thumbs up…especially LLB!  She scarfed down every last bit…yesssssss, she ate VEGETABLES!!

I pretty much went off the box in terms of preparation, but I changed the meat to my own veggie saute and added a few spices here and there.  Here’s what you need:

  • One of the veggie layers - yum! Almost ready to bake!

    1/2 box of lasagna noodles

  • 1 jar organic four cheese pasta sauce
  • 3 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1 16 oz container of part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 medium thin sliced yellow onion
  • 8-10 thins sliced white mushrooms
  • 3 small thinly sliced zucchini
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  First, prepare the veggie saute.  Heat 3-4 chopped garlic cloves in olive oil.  Once lightly browned, add add all veggies except spinach…that can go in at the last minute.  I added a little Italian seasoning, some fresh lemon juice and a dash of sea salt. Saute veggies until tender, adding the spinach in at the last couple of minutes, then set aside.  Bring 4-6 qts of water to a boil and add your pasta.  Boil for 8-10 minutes.  While the pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine 2 eggs, the ricotta cheese, Romano cheese and mozzarella cheese (leave 1/2 cup -1 cup mozz cheese aside) and mix.  Oil a 9×12 casserole dish and start by spreading a thin layer of sauce on the bottom.  Next, lay down a layer of lasagna noodles.  Then, spread 1/2 the cheese mixture, then 1/2 the veggie mixture, then some more sauce.  Repeat for one more layer and then top it off with the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and boil for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese….finito!!

Rockin Veggie Lasagna ready to eat


Shedding the emotional layers

Here’s one of the best ways to shed some emotional layers…take it to the beach! LongLeanFamily is taking a little head break on the beautiful Delaware and Maryland seashore. Out of season, we and few others have this beautiful place to ourselves! We are getting outside, breathing the salty ocean air, feeling the sunshine on our faces and the crisp wind in our hair, letting go of stress and getting some much needed relaxation. This little trek is less expensive (out of season) and highly therapeutic. A collective Ahhhhhhhh!

I think many would agree that a clear, happy head allows for greater motivation to be healthy and to exercise. So, next on the agenda, an invigorating run on the boardwalk!

The bomb blueberry apple buttermilk pancakes!

Yet another fun family breakfast that is packed full of yummy, healthy deliciousness…LLB approved! I took a lower fat route replacing oil with a little apple sauce and yogurt.

  • 2 cups Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Buttermilk pancake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp organic apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp plain organic yogurt
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen or fresh blueberries

Heat up your griddle or large frying pan, mix up all ingredients – you can increase your water for thinner cakes, oil the surface, and get cooking! I highly recommend topping these puppies with a little pure maple syrup (its recommended in some circles to avoid with children under two yrs of age). Bon appetit!

Shed the layers – week 1

Post workout glow!

One week has passed since the start of the Shed the Layers challenge. How is it going??

I am doing pretty good considering how full my plate has been.  We are in the final week before our move back the New York…I’m working, packing, chasing down our wild little toddler and trying to find the energy to stick to my Shed the Layer goals.

Week 1 update:


  1. Exercise/be active everyday – at least 30 minutes
  2. Practice Pilates at least 3 days/week
  3. Run 15 miles/week
  4. Make a new healthy recipe at least once a week


  1. I stayed active at least 30 minutes everyday – pretty much a given with a toddler!
  2. I practiced Pilates 3x – my goal!
  3. I ran 9 miles – 6 short of my 15 mile goal
  4. I prepared a new recipe – Long Lean Grilled Chicken Salad Rockin Mama – a new staple!

Not too shabby!  I know I didn’t do exactly what I set out to do, but I was close and I tried…that’s what matters most.  The greatest outcome so far is how I feel.  I have TONS of energy; energy that can get me through the daunting tasks that are in front of me!  I am happy that, despite my crazy schedule, I am taking some time for ME and working on my health and fitness.

How are the rest of my fellow Shed the Layers crew doing?

LongLean…city or country…Mama?

A view from our roof deck - Boston

You may or may not know this, but about 5 months ago LongLeanFamily moved to Boston.  My husband and I met here in 2006 and loved it but due to job issues we moved to a cute “country” town in the Hudson Valley of NY, my husband’s stomping grounds.  For the next few years, all we could talk about was how awesome Boston is – a small manageable city with countless fabulous restaurants, easy to navigate on foot, tons of great shops right outside our door, a great place to get outside for a run.  The list went on and on.  I am originally from Chicago and have always considered myself a city gal.  I love the energy, convenience, and the culture of city living.  So, after a few years living in the country feeling isolated and confined to a car schlepping everywhere, we decided to stop talking about it and make the move back to Boston…it was time to trade in the isolation for action, excitement and culture!  Well, it wasn’t long before we realized that city living is WAY different as a family.

  1. We miss our family more than ever.  Having a support system when you have children is HUGE.
  2. Still isolated and still schlepping.  With our parking spot 10 minutes away from our apartment, it’s not easy to get out, especially in the winter.  When we do get out, it is a complete fiasco.  We live on the top floor in a 4 floor walk up.  Getting the stroller in and out of the building is next to impossible with baby in tow.  So, we often find ourselves staying in the apartment more often than we’d like, ordering groceries online and having produce delivered.   We actually got out more in the country.
  3. Not really living the city life. We are working a lot so we can afford to have our beloved city life, but are working opposite hours so we never see one another.  What’s the point of living here and working so hard when we aren’t able to get out to enjoy it as a couple or a family?
  4. No Laundry. This is the kicker!  Holy moly…not fun when you have SO much more laundry with a child.  Another schlepping nightmare.

Out for a hike in the Catskills

I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I miss the country.  I miss the beautiful landscape.  I miss the peace and quiet.  I miss the access to all sorts of awesome local farms.  I miss the charm filled towns.  I miss the hiking.  Most importantly, I miss family and friends.

Our city life could be more manageable and enjoyable with a significantly larger apartment, a parking spot on-site, in-unit laundry, and street access to “stroll” in and out; but that is not even an option in our income bracket and our family is still hours away.  So, we are packing it in and heading back to the country at the end of the month.

Boston, we will miss you but we promise to visit.  The Public Gardens and The Esplanade are still high on my list of favs; and Boston is and will always be where the spark of LongLeanFamily began:-)

Farewell Beantown…Green Acres here we come!

Shed the layers is contagious!

LLD – LongLeanDaddy – sent me a text today while I was meeting with a Pilates client:  He wrote, “Shedding the layers at home too” with a picture of this lovely and very healthy breakfast.  Somebody has been reading my blog AND feeling inspired!  See, leading by example does work!  Now, let’s see if I can get LLB to eat veggies for dinner tonight!

LLD is inspired to Shed the Layers too!

What is this lovely creation?  Egg whites, fresh strawberries, and grape tomatoes with feta & balsamic:)  Nice work!

Read about the Shed the Layers Challenge and JOIN US!!!