Healthy Choices at the Olive Garden

Recently my family was invited by the Olive Garden to come out and sample some of their new menu items.  Due to time constraints, my husband's job, etc., we were unable to attend the official "launch party" but the Olive Garden was kind enough to send me a gift card so that my family could come and dine at our leisure.

Today happened to be the perfect day!! After spending most of my morning doing yard work, I was starving by the time I was finished, and the Olive Garden sounded like the perfect choice!!

Our family is currently 2 weeks in to being gluten free, and sugar free, and I knew, oh I knew, that the Olive Garden was going to be full of temptations. James and I discussed with the children that there would be gluten free options available, but it was up to them to order what they wanted. We did decide when we went on this new dietary change that we would allow one cheat meal per week, so if the kids wanted today to be that meal, then we were fine with that choice. They read the menu and pointed this out to me, so I knew that they were fully aware of their options.

Our party of 5 was crammed into a 4 top table with an extra chair at the end. With James being 6'4, he sat at the end, and he was quite uncomfortable. I was as well since he took up so much room with his legs, and his knees were splayed and kept hitting mine. The larger 6 top tables, I was told, were reserved for parties of 6 or more. So we were stuck at this little table. Oh well, we made it work. Somehow.

Anyway....the food.

After looking over the menu, the girls decided on a gluten free pasta. Haley had Alfredo sauce, Ella had tomato sauce. The side choices were all healthy, and both girls chose grapes. Ronin decided on a whole wheat pasta with red sauce, and grapes. All 3 chose water to drink.

I hemmed and hawed over the menu, torn between two items. The Chicken Abruzzi or the Garlic Rosemary Chicken.  Finally I decided on the Chicken Abruzzi. James ordered the Chicken Marsalla.

We all enjoyed the wonderful Olive Garden salad (no croutons) and James and the kids ate bread sticks. I did not. This is a HUGE deal for me. They smelled SO GOOD, but honestly, I've been feeling so good not eating simple carbs, that I felt that it wasn't worth it for me to indulge on bread sticks. This was the #TampaTrio's first visit to the Olive Garden and they LOVED the bread sticks. Maybe too much. Tongue Out

Our food arrived, and it smelled and looked so good!!

My Chicken Abruzzi looked so good. With tender, grilled chicken breast in a savory broth simmered with cannellini beans, fresh kale and garden vegetables, I couldn't wait to dig in!

James' chicken marsala, while not as healthy as mine, also looked and smelled amazing!

While he said it was tasty, he thought the chicken was a bit tough. He wondered that perhaps they had cooked it while it was still partially frozen.

And lets not forget about the kids!

YUM!! They gobbled down every morsel!

Overall, I emerged as the winner of the healthiest meal. Cool But really, all of us did pretty well.

Do you enjoy the Olive Garden? What do you usually order??

Weekly Workouts and other musings July 20-26 #MomsWhoSwing

This week I saw HUGE gains in my overall strength. While I'm still quite injured on my left knee and right heel, my body is really starting to change. I'm noticing a lot of definition in my shoulders and pecs as well as my thighs and quads.

This week also saw us celebrating my son's 8th birthday. How is he 8 already? I have no idea where the time has gone.

Here's how my week went.

Sunday-Rest Day. Well, as much rest as one can have when hosting a birthday party for a pair of Irish Twins. We celebrated Ella's 9th birthday and Ronin's 8th birthday, with about 2 dozen of their friends. We had a water slide from GulfSide Slides (mention you know me for a 10% discount.) We were able to keep this slide for OVER 24 hours. The #TampaTrio had a blast!!

Steps: 19,176

Monday-KB Challenge Day 14. 

I swung at home because we were waiting for the slide dude to come and pick up his stuff. Afterwards the kids and I drove down to St. Pete to be fitted for our new Yuba Bike. At first we thought we would go with the Boda Boda, but after discussing with the shop what we'd be doing, the size of my kids, etc., we decided that the Mundo would actually be a better fit. I'll be able to hold at least 2 kids, groceries, library books, and more. It's our plan to ride our bikes to school next year, and I want to make sure I can assist the kids by holding their backpacks, and perhaps we'll alternate days on who gets to ride with mama.

While we were in St. Pete we decided to visit a local park and have a picnic.

It was a really nice day, though I was sad that I didn't get to come home with my bike.

Steps: 12,868

Calories: 365

Tuesday-KB Day 15. I made it to the gym and did my swinging there.

My son's first grade teacher just joined CrossFit En Fuego, so I spent some time during my last round chatting with her. It was nice to have a quick catch-up.

Later that afternoon the kids and I went to the pool. It was a nice day.

Steps: 12,333

Calories: 330

Wednesday-KB Challenge Day 16.

This was a great day. Not only did I swing, but my son learned how to swing a kettlebell, too. He was a natural. I think all the time he's spent watching me really paid off!!

He told me he felt very strong, and loved working out just like his mama!

My last set of swings I used a 45# bell! Bam!! 100 swings at 45 pounds!! I felt strong! See, I told you I was making progress!!

And then later that afternoon I was so bored, and the kids didn't want to play any games, or go to the pool, or do anything fun, so I swung again!! I was trying to find my "sweet spot" of a 50:50 work to rest ratio. I didn't find it that night, but it gave me a big push for the next workout!

Steps: 13,538

Calories: 915

Thursday-REST DAY. Well, as much as one can rest when taking 3 kids to Busch Gardens! Tongue Out My rest days really aren't full of much rest, are they??

But what's most exciting is that for the FIRST time, all 3 of my kids were tall enough for every single "big kid" roller coaster!! And boy oh boy did they ever do them all!

They rode Kumba, Montu, Cheetah Hunt, and Sherika MULTIPLE TIMES!! I joined them a few times, but riding over and over and over really isn't my thing anymore. It was when I was their age, but not at nearly 43.

It really was a great day, despite having all the rides close on us multiple times because of rain (thunder, lightning) and we left at just the perfect time to make it home for the husband to be able to take the truck for his bike ride. See, he rides a recumbent bike, so he needs the bed of our truck to transport his bike to the trailhead. If I'm not home, I mess up his exercise, and he doesn't mess up mine, so why would I want to mess up his. So the kids and I do everything in our power to make sure that we're home in time for him to get his sweat on.

Steps: 19,545

Friday-KB Challenge Day 17. This was a big day for me!! I went in planning a EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout. I wanted to find that perfect 50:50 ratio, and from playing around earlier in the week, I was confident I could find it with a 45# kettlebell. I also wanted to try something a little different so instead of breaking the sets up like I had been 10/1, 15/2, 25/3, and 50, I decided to do 35 minutes EMOM with 15 swings in 30ish seconds.

And guess what?

Though I messed up on the timing, so apparently 36 minutes actually means 37 minutes of work, so instead of 500 swings, I did 555 swings.

Such a perfect mix of strength and cardio! BAM!!

And then later that birthday present arrived!!

I ended up ordering the bells from Amazon because I could get more bang for my buck, and since I don't have a job, it makes sense to be frugal where I can.

I still plan to go to CrossFit En Fuego for the majority of my workouts, but for those days when I can't, it's nice to know that I have NO EXCUSES!!!

Steps: 14,283

Calories: 492

Saturday-REST DAY. Or as much as one can rest when taking the Tampa Trio to Rainbow Springs State Park.

We went up with Ronin's CubScout pack, and several families weren't able to get in because the park filled to capacity very quickly, so that was a big bummer.  But we tubed, we swam, and then we decided to head over to the Rainbow River trailhead. Again, it was filled to capacity, and they were turning away the cars in front of us, including 2 members of our CubScout pack that we were following!! As we pulled up, I rolled down my window to ask for directions to US19 because I was going to take the kids to Crystal River to go to the park that we went to on Father's Day. As I spoke, she said to me, "no reason to go there, we have spaces here" and she let us in! SAY WHAT?? I'll have a full review of the park later, but it was nice. There were some issues, so I want to make sure I let you all know about them so you won't have the same experience that we did!!

Steps: 13,101

Total Weekly Steps: 105,473

How was your week? Do your "rest days" end up not being restful??

Got Zoodles? Veggetti Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel.

For a while now I have been coveting a vegetable spiralizer but never felt like spending more than $20 for one since some of the ones I have seen really didn’t look like they were worth more than that. It looked like a great way to add in extra vegetables to our diet, plus now that our entire family is eating fewer grains, I really wanted a way to give the #TampaTrio their favorite food (noodles) while incorporating a more healthy alternative.

I received the Veggetti a few weeks ago, but we went on vacation, so it wasn't until this week when I picked up my produce co-op from Carlita's Bowl Fruit & Vegetable Co-Op and it was loaded with zucchini that I knew it was the perfect time to make zoodles!!

I read the directions, and quickly made zoodles with one zucchini. Haley wanted in on the action, too.

She loves to cook with me, and this was a great way for her to learn how to make healthy alternatives to pasta!! In total we used 6 medium sized zucchini to feed our family of 5.

I just sauteed it in a dab of olive oil for about 6 minutes, added a sprinkle of parm cheese, and PRESTO. Dinner.

I highly recommend that you follow their advice of cutting the zoodles in half before cooking.

My daughter is 55 inches tall, and this zoodle is taller than her! Surprised

We loved the Veggetti and I can easily see us incorporating it into our weekly meal plans!

Additional Info:

•    The Veggetti® turns vegetables into delicious, healthy spaghetti, instantly
•    By using zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumbers and potatoes, the Veggetti® creates thick or thin pasta with significantly less calories and carbs than traditional noodles.
•    Ordinary pasta has 800 calories and 160 grams of carbs compared to 60 calories and 8 grams of carbs using Veggetti®!
•    Great for those who are trying to make healthier food choices, diabetics, or on gluten-free diets
•    The Veggetti® is quick & easy to use, has stainless steel blades, and is dishwasher safe
•    Veggetti® is available at Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS and other fine retailers nationwide.


You can find out more on their website here:


Would you like to win your own Veggetti? You can!! Simply leave me a comment telling me which vegetable/fruit you'd most want to try with your new Veggetti!!