4th Annual Holiday Open House – Raffle Info

UPDATE 12/7/16 – Raffle to benefit Main Street Ellicott City has been extended to Monday, Dec. 12th, 2016 at 5pm.  Keep reading for all the details…

I’m looking forward to welcoming everyone who will be attending my annual Holiday Open House this Saturday, and sharing some great conversation, delicious snacks and a glass of bubbly.  As I mentioned in the evite, we will be raffling off a variety of prizes and donating all the proceeds to the Main Street Ellicott City Recovery fund. Some of you may have heard they had a grand re-opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Main Street this past Saturday, but there are still several stores and restaurants working hard to reopen, and they still need our help.

Soooo, even if you can’t make it to the Open House, you can still help out by buying a raffle ticket or two.  🙂

First, let me show and tell you about the fabulous prizes you can win….

An Official Maryland Terps jacket (various sizes available) – $75 value


1 Private Pilates lesson – $70 value


3 Pilates Group Mat Classes – $54 value


Sense Beautiful Science Body Care Package – $38 value

Sense Beautiful Science Hair Care Package – $33 value


Usana MySmartStart Nutrition Bars – $34 value


Stella & Dot Gift Certificate – $25 value


Fresh Baked Sourdough Loaf from Homestead Kitchens – $7.00 value


Tickets are $5.00 each or 5 for $20.  To purchase raffle tickets:, click here to go to the Ellicott City Partnership page.

Then click the large “Click Here To Donate Now!” link.

Fill in the amount you’re donating, and make sure it corresponds to the number of tickets you want.  For example:     1 ticket = $5.00,  3 tickets = $15,  5 tickets = $20, 10 tickets = $40, etc.

Important!! After you fill in the rest of your information, at the very bottom in the Comments section type the words The Wellness Scoop.  This last step is the only way the Partnership staff will have to let me know who donated (and thereby purchased raffle tickets).  So if you leave it out, your donation will be greatly appreciated, but you will not be in the drawings for any of the fabulous prizes above.

Lastly, you must complete your donation by no later than 12pm, Friday, Dec. 2nd,  5pm, Monday, Dec. 12th, 2016.  I realize that doesn’t give you much time, so why not click here and make your donation now, while you’re thinking about it!

Of course, if you’re coming to the Open House… and I hope you are…. you will be able to buy all the raffle tickets you’d like that day.

Winners will be drawn during the Open House on Saturday, Dec. 3rd, but you do not need to be present to win.  If you’re from out of town, and your name is drawn for one of the Pilates lessons, we will put your ticket back in the hat, and draw another name.  That way you’ll still be eligible for the other prizes.

Thank you all in advance for your generosity!

RECIPE – Chickpea Vegetable Soup

Although I wouldn’t classify this recipe as one of the simplest ever, it’s easier than it appears at first glance.  AND so worth it, because it’s delicious!  I usually make it on a Sunday afternoon, when I’ve got nothing scheduled and more time in my day.  Enjoy!

Chickpea Vegetable Soup


PREP & COOK TIME:  Approx 2 hours (includes 30 mins of letting soup stand)


5 cups vegetable stock or broth

1 TBS, plus 1 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 cups chopped, green cabbage

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 carrots, diced

2 small red potatoes, peeled & diced (1 cup)

# We usually scrub them well and dice without peeling

1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

16 oz canned crushed tomatoes

1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar

3 TBS chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)


In large saucepan, heat stock over medium heat; do not boil.

Meanwhile, in large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion & garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in celery and cabbage, a little at a time.

Add basil, tarragon, thyme, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.

Add carrots, potatoes and hot stock and bring to a boil.

Stir in chick peas and tomatoes and return to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer 45 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in vinegar.

Let stand, covered 30 minutes before adjusting seasonings.

Re-warm over low heat.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with basil or parsley if using and serve.


Per Serving:  178 cal; 6g Protein; 3g Total Fat (0 Sat. Fat); 22g Carb; 0 Cholesterol; 567mg Sodium

Peggy’s Menu Plan #2

I thought I’d be posting a new menu plan every week for you, and now I realize that may have been just a tad bit ambitious for me.  Even though I do create one each week for my family, converting that piece of paper (yes paper) onto my blog with links and recipes is a whole other story.

Plus, I’ve had time to think about other things I’d like write about here that may be of value to you, and slightly more interesting than a menu plan.

So my new goal is to post a 7 day menu plan every 3 to 4 weeks or so.  They will still be menus from consecutive weeks of dining at my home.  That way you’ll get my notes of how we deal with any bumps & blips in the plan, as you’ll see below, and so you can see that they are in fact my family’s actual plans.  In between those weeks, I’ll be posting other tips and info about healthy eating and lifestyle habits to help feel and look your best.

So here is Menu Plan #2:  (Click here for the first plan I posted back in February.)

As often happens, the latter part of last week’s plan shifted a bit after we ended up going out to dinner on Saturday evening.  AND… I forgot to take the shrimp out of the freezer.  ):

So last Sunday’s dinner plan became this Tuesday’s menu.  Flexibility is key when it comes to menu planning.  No doubt plans will change in your day-to-day busy-ness as well.  This is just one example of how having a plan doesn’t mean you have to stick to it word for word, and can actually give you a jump on next week!

Monday – Roast Chicken, Zucchini & Squash, FRO Brussels Sprouts

Tuesday – Stir Fried Shrimp & Vegetables, Brown Rice

# We often use different vegetables.  This week I’ll be using you red & green bell peppers, carrots & snow peas, since we already had zucchini & squash last night.

Wednesday – Quinoa w/Roasted Jalapenos & Grapes*, Sautéed Swiss Chard

*We love this recipe!

Thursday – Turkey Marinara w/ Spaghetti Squash, Green Beans

#I saute chopped veggies (green pepper, onion, carrots, whatever you like), then add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink; add a jar or 2 (depending on the size of your family) of organic pasta or spaghetti sauce, and heat til warm.  So simple!

Friday –  Rockfish Chimichurri, Roasted Asparagus, Succotash

# This recipe is good with salmon or any flaky white fish

Saturday – Hamburgers, Broccoli, Sweet Potato Fries

# Whole Foods has the best, pre-made, uncooked burgers… usually around $6 to $7 for 4 burgers.  We top with sliced tomato, avocado and Dijon mustard and eat w/ a knife & fork.  It’s so delicious, no one misses the bun!  Also, cook just enough fries for everyone to have a small portion.

Sunday – Chick Pea Vegetable Soup, Salad

# I’ll post the soup recipe separately… It’s another one from a magazine.


RECIPE – Warm Lentils with Zucchini & Herbs

Warm Lentils with Zucchini & Herbs

Servings:  4                         Time: 30 minutes or fewer



  1 cup green or Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
  ¼ cup capers
  2 ½ TBS olive oil
  1 TBS lemon juice
  1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
  ½ Tsp Dijon mustard
  ½ Tsp honey  (I omit & it’s still delicious!)


  2 medium zucchini, diced (2 cups)
  2 Tsp olive oil
  ½ cup loosely packed mint or basil leaves, thinly sliced
  2 Tsp grated lemon zest
  1 cup crumbled soft goat cheese



  1. To make lentils:  Bring 2 ¼ cups water to a boil in medium saucepan.  Stir in lentils, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Drain; stir in capers.
  2. To make Vinaigrette:  Whisk together all ingredients until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. To make Zucchini:  Toss zucchini with oil in bowl, and season with salt, if desired.  Heat large skillet over high heat.  Add zucchini, and cook 1 minute, then stir, and cook 3 to 4 minutes more, or until zucchini develops sear marks.  Transfer zucchini to large bowl; stir in mint or basil and lemon zest.
  4. Serve Lentils topped with Zucchini and 1 TBS Vinaigrette.  Sprinkle with goat cheese.

Nutrition Info (Per serving):

347 cal; 17 g protein; 19 g total fat (6 g sat fat); 32 g carb; 13 mg cholesterol; 371 mg sodium; 9 g fiber; 4 g sugars

Peggy’s Menu Plan #1

As promised, below is my family’s dinner menu plan for the week.

My modifications to linked recipes are noted directly under the link with the pound (#) symbol.

On days where I list two vegetables, I usually use one fresh & one frozen.  So I’ll mark the frozen ones with “FRO”, and all others are fresh.  Unless otherwise noted, we cook most of our veggies, fresh and frozen, in a steamer pot, sprinkled with a little garlic salt and/or our favorite dried herbs.

So here goes for this week…

Monday – Baked Chicken w/Spinach & Pears, Asparagus – roasted w/ garlic & olive oil (or steamed)
#Omit bleu cheese or substitute goat cheese (It’s delicious without any cheese.)
Tuesday – Sweet Potatoes w/ Collards & Adzuki beans, FRO California-blend veggies
# I originally doubled the recipe because it said it serves 2 and we are 3.  But it made way too much.  I now sometimes double the beans (for more protein) & collards only.
Weds – Baked salmon, Stir-fried Bok Choy, FRO Haricots Verts (green beans)
Just brush fish with lemon juice and/or olive oil & sprinkle with your favorite seasonings or herbs.  We discovered McCormick’s Mediterranean Sea Salt is fabulous for fish (& more).
Thursday – Lentils with Zucchini & Herbs, FRO Brussels Sprouts
# I’ll post this recipe separately, because it’s from a magazine.
Friday – Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Broccoli, FRO Succotash*
#We always omit the peanuts, because there’s already plenty of protein.
Saturday – Tuscan Kale & White Bean Soup & Salad
# We always use 3 or 4 (not 2) large, FRESH carrots, and 2 cans of beans for added protein.  If it’s too thick, just add water or more broth.
Sunday – Stir Fried Shrimp & Vegetables, Brown Rice
#You can substitute pretty much any veggies you like with this recipe, which I recommend for this week if you are going to do the Lentils w/ Zucchini.  For example, we’ve made this with bell peppers, snow peas & carrots.

* What I call “succotash” is some combination of peas, carrots & corn, sometimes green beans. That is just what my Mom always called it, but they’re usually called Mixed Vegetables on the package.  I like these with vegetarian meals especially because you get a little more protein from the peas.

Happy Eating!

What’s for Dinner?

Well I wrote my 1st blog, got it posted and then BAM!  Three months flew by!  Between the holidays and preparing for my new weight loss classes, Peggy’s Scoop got lost in the shuffle.

But I’m back with a new theme that I hope you’ll like and take advantage of.  I’ve decided that one way to keep me honest, and posting more regularly is to share something that I’m already doing, and would also be of benefit to you.  And one thing I do every Sunday (sometimes Monday), is to create a dinner menu plan for my family for the upcoming week.  It’s taken me several years, but I have finally amassed a fairly large repertoire of recipes that fit my three most important criteria.  They are:

1) Healthy – according to the low glycemic & balanced menu planning I teach in my Healthy Living & 10 Day Jump Start programs.

2) Simple – I really hate to cook, so the less time prepping, cooking & cleaning up the better.

3) Delicious – I’ve convinced my husband and daughter, and now I like to show you that healthy eating can not only be delicious, but is usually more satisfying than anything else.

So starting this weekend, I’ll be posting my personal menu plan, with recipes, for you to use as is or tweak according to your personal tastes and schedules.

But first, let me give you some insight into how I try to structure these plans, mostly so that it’s easier for me to come up with something that’s balanced and has variety each week.  When I first started doing this over six years ago, I struggled for many months until I finally hit on the idea of a menu plan “template” so-to-speak.  It goes like this…

Day 1 – Fish/ seafood

Day 2 -Vegetarian / vegan
Day 3 – Poultry
Day 4 – Vegetarian / vegan
Day 5 – Fish/seafood
Day 6 – Beef or lamb
Day 7 – Soup & salad

Obviously, these can be moved around as needed to fit the current week’s schedule, tastes, items in the pantry, etc.  But the idea is 2 nights of seafood, 2 nights vegetarian, 2 nights poultry, 1 night beef or lamb.  It’s turned out to be a great starting point for me, because now I don’t feel like I have to pull things out of the air quite so much.

So keep your eye out in the next few days for my next post, with 7 days of great eating!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you handle meal planning at your home.  Does the question “What’s for dinner?” make you cringe (like it used to for me)?

Tribute to Romana

Welcome to my blog!

For my 1st ever blog, I thought it would be very fitting for me to pay tribute to my Pilates mentor and teacher, Romana Kryzanowska, who passed away this past August 30th at the age of 90.  After all, The Wellness Scoop started as strictly a Pilates studio, and Romana is one of the people most instrumental in launching my Pilates career.

But where to start?

Romana was a remarkable woman, and there have been so many wonderful tributes written and fascinating stories shared about her already, that it’s difficult to say anything that hasn’t already been said about her.  At her memorial service on Sept 13 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, we heard three beautiful eulogies.  And at the celebration of her life that followed at True Pilates (formerly Drago’s), Romana’s granddaughter Daria, provided us with a slide show of sorts, while she took us through an unscripted narration of her grandmother’s extraordinary life.  I learned several interesting things about Romana that day that I hadn’t known before.  (Like the fact the she married her husband Pablo almost 70 years earlier at St. Patrick’s!  And that it was only 2 months after they had met!)

Then I remembered that Romana always encouraged us to never stop learning.  She often told us that she learns something new almost every day and with almost every client.  Wow…. The Grand Dame herself, the master of Pilates, still had things to learn!  That was incredibly re-assuring to me as an apprentice and new teacher, back in the day when I often thought, “Will I ever get there?  Will I ever stop questioning myself and my abilities as an instructor?”  The good news is that the answer is “no”.  If I ever feel like I’ve somehow “arrived” and know everything there is to know about Pilates… or about anything for that matter… I hope someone, maybe a loyal client, will smack me, metaphorically of course, and tell me to snap out of it.  Because that will be the day that I am no longer effective as an instructor.  If Romana learned something new every day, than so can I. And I certainly learned a lot from her, about Pilates, about teaching and giving back, and about living life to its fullest. So that is how I’d liked to honor her here, by sharing with you, in no special order….

What I learned from Romana:

  • Move with elegance and grace.  She always did and often demonstrated to us just how to do that… with your head held high, neck long, shoulders relaxed, arms swinging loosely by your sides, taking long graceful strides.  n.b.  A strong core from Pilates helps with all of the above!
  • Pause for 3 seconds after each rep of Short Spine Massage, to re-focus and to mentally and physically prepare for the next rep.
  • You can practice and teach any other form of exercise or movement.  Just don’t call it Pilates.  That made sense to me.  Romana was dedicated 100% to teaching Joe’s work exactly the way Joe created it.  She taught us that Pilates is complete just the way it is.  I feel blessed and privileged to have spent so many hours under her tutelage…. a direct link to Mr. Pilates himself.  And now I feel a real responsibility to carry on her vision to bring pure, original Pilates to as many people as possible.
  • Do the Stomach Massage series every day.  (Or at least every time you do a reformer work-out.)
  • What is the Hundred good for, in two words?  Heart & lungs.
  •  What is Pilates, in three words?  (She was big on brevity.) Strength + stretch + control. “And the most important of these is control!”
  • And speaking of brevity – Use as few words, and as little touch, as possible when teaching.  She urged us to find just the right cues for each client, that are short, clear, to the point and produce the desire result.
  • She often quoted Joe, mimicking his German accent, with, “Yuu haf to in zie air before yuu can out zie air!”  Translation, you must inhale before you can exhale.  Sounds like a big “Duh!” but you’d be surprised how many people do more exhaling than inhaling… including at one point, yours truly.
  • Single Leg Circles – When you swing your leg around and cross back over the body, don’t just bring the leg up…. Engage your powerhouse and LIFT it up with some “oomph”!
  • “You’ve got to squeeze the juice out if it!”  This was Romana’s way of pushing us to put everything we’ve got into every exercise.  And a fitting analogy for the way she lived her life!
  • Love life and live it to its fullest.  This wasn’t necessarily something she said, but something she embodied.

And of course…

  • Never stop learning.  She would often ask me and my fellow apprentices, after a long day of observation, working out, student teaching and assisting, “What did you learn today?”  The 1st few times she asked me, it caught me off guard.  I usually fumbled for an answer, wanting so much to give her some incredible pearl of wisdom that I had picked up that day and would carry with me forever.  But what I eventually learned just from her asking that question so often, was to pay more attention to what I was learning, so that I could internalize it, realize that I had in fact learned something, and be better able to pass it along others.

In some sub-conscious way, it was her example as the “expert” who always had room to learn more, to grow more, that infused my consciousness with what would eventually become my vision for The Wellness Scoop as a place for self-growth of mind, body and spirit through learning & self-discovery.

So… what did you learn today?

“Love all around”,