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Yesterday, I posted a healthy pizza recipe, but perhaps you’re not a pizza fan, have a gluten allergy/intolerance or want a lower calorie option. So I bring you egg or breakfast “pizza” – essentially like a frittata, with all the delicious possibilities of “toppings,” but without all the carbs.

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I use a silicon round baking dish, spray with non-stick cooking spray or grease with a little olive oil, put whatever veggies/other ingredients I want to use in the dish (pictured above – layer of fresh spinach, chopped mushrooms, shredded tuscan kale, sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, fresh dill), then pour in the eggs (today I used egg whites – it’s okay if the egg mixture is below the level of the veggies, just try to pour the egg evenly over the veggies so that they are coated), sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven (400 degrees F for ~20/25min, like with the pizza the center will take the longest to cook, should be firm but fluffy). Adjust the thickness/quantity of egg depending on if you’re cooking for 1 or 2 people.

Slice it up like a pizza and serve with a side of fruit salad for a nicely balanced breakfast (or lunch or dinner)! Each slice is also great topped with avocado slices and/or wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. Great Sunday morning meal to fuel my mid-day run – thank goodness it’s finally “warmed up” today to slightly above freezing!

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Sadly, the frigid weather continues in NYC, with yet more polar vortex temps and another snow storm today. I’m thankful it’s not as bad as Boston, but still – I’m OVER IT! Especially since all I hear about from my family in California is how unseasonably warm and gorgeous it is right now. I mean come on, people swimming in the Pacific in Santa Cruz in February?!

I entered a 4M NYRR race in Prospect Park this morning but couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed early this morning. It was the first time I’ve not shown up to a race – but to be fair, going all the way to Brooklyn for a 4 miler in this weather just didn’t seem worthwhile. To make up for it, I allowed myself to sleep in (much needed) and then E and went on an enlarged “loop” of Central Park, from Stuy Town to the East 60th street park entrance, around the park (plus an extra reverse Harlem Hill loop), back downtown and ending at TJ’s for our weekly shop. It was COLD – as in my hand warmers and two pairs of gloves felt useless and I thought I was getting frostbite COLD – but fitness wise, I felt strong and it was reassuring to know that I’ve been able to somewhat maintain my endurance since my longer runs this past Fall. My speed is another story…I did my first treadmill run of the year last week with some 1min x 8 intervals at 9mph, and it was surprisingly difficult!

By the time we got home, we were freezing, starving and in need of a filling, hot, delicious meal. We often make eggs post-run, and I had some pizza dough in the fridge, so I decided to do a twist on Florentine pizza (egg, spinach, cheese), which I’ve had in restaurants and LOVE. I make pizza all the time with a wide variety of veggie, meat and/or cheese toppings, but this one was so awesome that I decided to finally do a pizza recipe post! Here are a few other pizza variations I’ve made in the past (chicken sausage/veg/feta, cherry tomato/veg/mozzarella, zucchini/veg/feta).

IMG_5796  Pizza night Fresh out of the oven

This one isn’t so much a recipe as a choose your own adventure type of meal. I always use a rainbow of veggies and some cheese, but the rest varies depending on my mood. The (+) stands for whatever you want to include to make the pizza a bit more exciting (and ideally, to boost the protein content) – for example, chicken sausage, eggs, a different cheese, pesto or tomato sauce as a base, etc. I also like to think of the (+) as standing for extra nutritious – obviously you make this whatever you want it to be, but it has the potential to provide a ton of vitamins, minerals and fiber from all the veggies and whole wheat dough, lean protein and a little fat. I love Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough, as it is fast and easy to use, cheap, nutritious, and freezes nicely, but you can certainly make your own or use another brand.

If you use TJ’s, one ball of dough is enough for 2 thin crust pizzas (1 pizza = 8 slices –> feeds two people), which I recommend if you’re trying to keep the calories under control with all the toppings (and if you’re like me and want to save room for a little wine and dessert). If you’re feeling especially hungry, try pairing with a side salad and make sure you include a protein topping to make it a filling and balanced meal. Here are some before and after shots of today’s pie {cage-free large eggs, goats cheese, zucchini, kale, spinach, light shredded mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, TJ’s quinoa pesto as a base}.

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Ingredients

Whole wheat pizza dough (½ of TJ’s dough ball)
A little flour to work with the dough
Cheese of choice (I like TJ’s shredded fancy light mexican blend, goats cheese, and/or feta)
Sauteed veggies of choice (My favorites: shallots, red onion, spinach, kale, sundried tomato, cherry tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, eggplant)
Olive oil (to cook veggies)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Possible (+)  items: Chicken or regular sausage, eggs, pesto (TJ’s quinoa pesto is amazing as a base), tomato sauce, other meat/soy/other toppings of choice

Directions

  1. Let pizza dough sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  3. Chop/sautee your toppings of choice (veggies, sausage, etc) – make sure the veggies aren’t too watery to get a nice, crisp pizza (tip – don’t crowd the sauté pan to prevent from steaming and thus getting soggy)
  4. Flour work surface and hands, then stretch the dough outwards into a small circle, place in greased pizza pan and stretch further to fit the pan (I use a metal pan as pictured above – I haven’t found pizza stones to be any better). If the dough shrinks back slightly keep stretching it until it stays (starting to put the toppings on helps too).
  5. If you’re using pesto or tomato sauce as a base, put that on first. Then put a layer of cheese if using (I sprinkle on a thin layer of shredded cheese). Evenly spread veggie toppings (and meat if using) next. Then finish off with another sprinkle of shredded cheese and/or little pieces of other cheese (e.g. feta, goats cheese, ricotta etc). If you’re using eggs, crack 1-3 eggs on top of the pizza (spaced apart evenly if more than 1).
  6. Place in oven for ~12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pizza to make sure the edges don’t get burned (they should be crispy and nicely browned) and to check the progress of the eggs. In my oven, 15min was perfect for the eggs – whites cooked but yolk still slightly runny. Sometimes the middle cooks more slowly than the edges (perhaps a downside of the pizza pan vs pizza stone)
  7. Take out of the oven, cut into 8 slices, and enjoy!

Yield: 1 pizza, 8 slices

Serving size: 4 slices

Another week, another batch of granola!

It’s insanely cold this week in NYC, so I needed to add a little kick to this week’s recipe. It’s a twist on my ginger coconut granola – this time with slightly larger chunks of chopped uncrystallized ginger, which gives this recipe a more potent ginger flavor. The chunks are quite large and the chopped pieces are very sticky, but I discovered that if you massage them with a little coconut oil, they are easier to separate and intersperse throughout the other ingredients. The oil also allows the ginger to get a little crispy on the outside while remaining chewy on the inside when you bake it (although you will only get this texture once the granola cools).

I also used a wider variety of nuts/seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chopped pecans, sliced almonds) and coconut flakes. I kept the maple syrup, oats, cinnamon, vanilla and salt the same, but barely used any coconut oil this time (just a tiny splash in the maple syrup mixture). I think it’s my favorite version yet…even crunchier, spicier, bolder and more addictive! It’s also a bit closer to the version that I love from Borough Market (Mini Magoo).

Here are the before and after baking shots. You’ll know the granola is ready when the oats are nice and crispy and the coconut flakes are nicely browned (stir frequently to make sure they don’t burn). I made a larger batch today as I’m sending half of it to my sister in California – makes a great homemade “just because I love you” gift! I also included nutrition facts on this recipe (see below).

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Stay warm folks – E and I layered up big time and managed to knock out 14M for our Valentine’s Day long run yesterday, but with today’s sub-zero temps, I think it’s a lazy indoor day for us!

Ginger Coconut Granola (Version 2)

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp coconut oil
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8 cup flax seeds
Generous pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped uncrystallized candied ginger (lightly coat knife blade in oil to help with stickiness)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Combine dry ingredients except for ginger in large bowl (use more or less of the various nuts/seeds as desired)
  3. Whisk together maple syrup, salt, vanilla and coconut oil in small bowl
  4. Pour wet into dry mixture and combine so that it is evenly distributed
  5. Massage chopped ginger pieces (which are likely stuck together) with a tiny bit of coconut oil using your fingers and separate pieces before adding to mixture
  6. Spread mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet (or use foil brushed lightly w/ oil)
  7. Bake for 15 min, stir mixture, then bake for three 10 minute intervals in between stirring until oats are crunchy; if you see the coconut flakes browning but oats are not yet crunchy enough, you may want to stir every 5min to make sure it doesn’t burn
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely
  9. Store in an airtight container

Yield: 6 cups granola

Serving size: 1/4 cup

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Okay, perhaps Granola Sunday isn’t a thing…but I seem to be in some sort of a homemade granola phase! I also am majorly procrastinating writing a paper, and what better way to do that than a nice LONG hot yoga class followed by some baking. Clearly, I’m a very productive procrastinator.

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My ginger coconut granola was so delicious (and sadly now eaten) that I wanted to try a different variation this week. I loved the kick of the ginger, but thought I’d go for something a bit more mellow. I settled on sliced almonds, chopped pecans and dried cranberries, along with vanilla and cinnamon. Like last time, I used maple syrup (only 1/4 cup, since I made a smaller batch), flax seeds, rolled oats and a splash of virgin coconut oil. It turned out great – both crunchy and chewy, lightly sweetened, and delicious with my morning greek yogurt. It’s a great source of fiber, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and calcium (from the almonds). Mixed into my yogurt, it helps to keep me full and sustain my energy levels throughout the morning (which I really need if I am ever going to write this paper…). Enjoy!

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Cranberry Nut Crunch Granola

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
1/8 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven 325 degrees
2. Whisk together maple syrup, salt, vanilla and coconut oil in small bowl
3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl
4. Pour wet into dry mixture and mix together so that it is evenly distributed
5. Spread mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet (or use foil brushed lightly w/ oil)
6. Bake for 15 min, stir mixture, then bake for 2-3 10 minute intervals in between stirring until oats are crunchy (total cook time of ~45 minutes)
7. Remove from oven and let cool completely
8. Store in an airtight container

While I lived in London several years ago, I used to go to Borough market at least once or twice a week, as it was just a short walk from my flat off of Bermondsey street. I had my favorite vendors of course, but what I enjoyed most was wandering all around while sipping my Monmouth coffee and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the market, ideally before the hordes of tourists arrived and often after a long run along the Thames. It’s is one of the things about London that I miss the most, aside from all my favorite running routes along the river and in the parks. I like the Union Square Greenmarket, but it lacks the character, history and culinary diversity found in Borough Market.

It was a huge treat to find myself back in Borough market after a three year hiatus during my recent trip to Europe over the holidays. After a few days in Amsterdam and before heading to Paris, E and I spent a lovely, nostalgic week in London wandering everywhere and visiting all our old (mostly food-related) haunts. Whoever says London doesn’t have good food clearly doesn’t know where to go! Just a few of my favorites – pretty much any vendor in Borough Market, St. John’s Bread and Wine (best bread EVER + extremely English fare, Spitalfields), La Boca Dilupo (awesome Italian, Picadilly), The Garrison (cozy gastro pub on Bermondsey St, London Bridge), The Providores (great, casual tapas on ground floor, Marylebone High St), Metro Pizza (meter long insanely delicious pizza, Notting Hill and Battersea)…and SO many more.

Pizza shark, Metro Pizza (London) St John's Bread & Wine The Garrison

Borough market was beautifully renovated since I last visited. It felt great to be back, despite the pouring rain, especially because we were STARVING! We were staying in a hotel down the street (part of the nostalgia tour required staying in our old ‘hood, obviously) and had just finished a 90-minute hot yoga class at our old yoga studio near London Bridge.

Borough Market reunion Heavenly chorizo sandwich papardelle with tomatoes and mushrooms 

First stop was caffeine – my Monmouth cappuccino was delicious and as always, worth the long wait in line (rain never deters Monmouth coffee drinkers). Directly across from Monmouth is Brindisa, where we devoured a double chorizo sandwich with roasted red pepper and rocket (E was upset that I made us share one…but hey, we had a lot more food ahead of us). My favorite pasta vendor, La Tua Pasta, moved to a permanent covered location near the ostrich/rare meat vendor, around the corner from Brindisa. I used to buy their chestnut pappardelle every week to cook with roasted tomatoes, shitake mushrooms and white truffle oil (great pre-long run dinner), but since we didn’t have a kitchen, we got their cooked pumpkin tortelloni to eat there (delicious). We visited the Comte cheese stand (my favorite cheese of all time) and bought a big chunk to eat later on. The Tomato Stall was still there – their oak roasted tomatoes are like crack, SO good in pastas or paired with cheese. We got the garlic version to have with our cheese. Dessert was a Portuguese egg custard tart. I think we must have dropped 50 quid in less than 20 minutes (not to mention the calories ingested). It certainly is a pricey/dangerous market!

The Tomato Stall, Borough Market Portuguese egg custard tarts granola

One of our splurges was a massive bag of ginger granola by Mini Magoo. They have tons of different flavors and products (mostly low sugar/oil); this one is nice as its lightly sweetened, nice and crunchy with various seeds, tiny specs of ginger, whole almonds and dried coconut flakes. I love it in greek yogurt or with almond milk.

We somehow managed to resist opening the bag for the rest of our trip and brought it home to enjoy. Sadly, we just finished it and I wanted to see if I could create my own variation based on their ingredient list. I used maple syrup instead of agave, left out the whole almonds and coconut flakes, added a touch of coconut oil, added cinnamon and vanilla, and crystallized ginger chopped into the smallest pieces I could manage (I would love to know how they get their ginger pieces so tiny and crunchy, as mine were chewy and bigger).

Ginger coconut granola crunch crunch crunch close up

It tastes different but turned out great – crunchy, slightly sweetened, and full of whole grains, fiber, and healthy fats. It’s also gluten free and vegan (in case you care). I love it by itself, mixed with yogurt and fruit (+ almond butter, as I add that to everything), or simply with milk. The nice part about this recipe is that it’s extremely easy to make and can be adjusted to what you like – substitute different nuts/seeds, use different spices, substitute ginger for dried cranberries etc. I’m sure it would also work without the oil or with different sweeteners.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, we helped offset our two and a half weeks of complete gluttony with an average of 5-10 miles per day of walking to see the city sights plus 3-4 beautiful (COLD) runs around Amsterdam/London/Paris per week…THAT is how we do Europe! (I know – I’m a dietitian – but hey, we need vacations and love to enjoy our food too!)

Ginger coconut granola

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil (In its liquid form)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup flax seeds
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Directions

1. Preheat oven 325
2. Whisk together maple syrup, salt and coconut oil in small bowl
3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl
4. Pour wet into dry mixture and mix together so that it is evenly distributed
5. Spread mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet (or use foil brushed lightly w/ oil)
6. Bake for 15 min, stir mixture, then bake for 2-3 10 minute intervals in between stirring until oats are crunchy (mine took a total cook time of ~45 minutes)
7. Remove from oven and let cool completely
8. Store in an airtight container

(Click here for printer friendly recipe)

To finish things off, a few more photos of our adventures in Europe!

Steaming hot pretzel in an Amsterdam night market  Pigeon graffiti, Amsterdam (?!)

Amsterdam  Beautiful Tower Bridge in all its glory Run!! East London  Chelsea Potter pub (where I met E)

Banana nutella crepe, Ile St Louis  The Mont Blanc at Angelina's in Paris

Le Penseur Playing with statues in Paris

Giant Lindor truffle Local memorial in residential Paris

I passed my RD exam on September 8th and graduated from my Dietetic Internship the following week, which makes this post extremely overdue. I thought perhaps it was a little to late to write about it, but so much of this blog has been building up to me becoming an RD, and I finally have a little downtime today as I relax before the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow. As usual, things have been very busy since I last posted in August, mostly relating to my new full-time job as a clinical dietitian at Montefiore medical center as well as fall semester classes (I will finally be done with my Master’s in May). After such an intense year in the internship and then cramming for the RD exam, I admit my motivation to study is on the lower side, but thankfully, getting straight A’s is no longer top priority now that I have my credentials.

Taking the RD exam was a terrifying experience; I was literally shaking the entire time. I hadn’t taken a standardized test since high school (that was a LONG time ago) and had never taken an adaptive computerized test, so I was pretty freaked out. I knew I couldn’t have studied any harder (I crammed extremely hard for two weeks, with a few weeks of on/off studying before that) and I also knew going into it that a lot of people felt like they were doing horribly and ended up passing without a problem. So I tried to stay calm, as much as that was possible. My mantra was something along the lines of “all I have to do is pass,” but believe me, I did not feel like I was passing! The questions seemed very different from all my test prep materials (Inman, MedPreps, RD in a flash) and I only knew the answer right off the bat for a handful of questions. For the rest, I was guessing between two (or more) answers, in many cases because the wording was so confusing. However, I will note to anyone reading this who is preparing to take the exam that many of my friends did not think it was as tricky as I did. More importantly, despite the emotional roller coaster, I still ended up passing with flying colors!

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Getting my score report was the best feeling ever – what a high. I also haven’t felt that relieved in a VERY long time. Finishing the internship in early August was great, but I knew I wouldn’t really feel like it was over until I earned my credentials. We are able to call ourselves Registered Dietitians (RD), or the recently added Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). I am choosing RDN, although in the hospital, RD is more familiar and thus used more often.

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It worked out that my exam was scheduled right when my family had planned to visit, which made the post exam celebrations even more wonderful. I met them uptown at Alice’s tea cup and enjoyed a lovely high tea lunch, followed by a stroll around Central Park and an awesome dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Mermaid Inn East Village, before having to run off to class (unfortunately it was my first class of the semester that day too).

I hadn’t yet started my new job yet the week of the exam (just medical clearance appointments and training sessions), so it was nice to have some time off to spend with my Mom, before the craziness started up again. The weather was gorgeous for most of the week and although it wasn’t the same as having actual time off for a real vacation, we had fun wandering around and eating our way through NYC. One of the things my mom and I did was make ice cream in my new ice cream maker. We used the NY Times Master ice cream recipe – we figured we would start nice and simple with vanilla. IT WAS AMAZING and although slightly time consuming (you have to make the base and then chill it before putting it in the machine), it was SO worth it. I put the ice cream in individual containers, some with almond butter in the middle, to help with portion control, because otherwise we would have eaten the entire batch in one sitting! I haven’t had time to make ice cream again but am definitely going to after the marathon – perhaps will try pumpkin to make it a bit more seasonal!

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Speaking of pumpkin, I made a great batch of pumpkin banana pecan whole wheat muffins a couple weeks ago. They made wonderful pre/post running snacks, perfect as E and I completed our last long training runs for the MCM. I loosely based the recipe on Kathy’s cinnamon pumpkin muffin recipe from Happy Healthy Life, using whole wheat pastry flour, a real egg and skim milk (so mine was not vegan), ripe mashed banana instead of applesauce, some pumpkin pie spice as well as cinnamon, pecans, a small handful of rolled oats and no frosting. I’m looking forward to baking more pumpkin goodies once I’m back in NYC!

Now that you’ve read about E’s recent racing triumphs (which continue to blow me away – a half marathon PR two weeks after his first 50k?!), I suppose it’s time I share what I’ve been up to since Boston. I too ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend. No PR for me – that wasn’t the goal – but I had an amazing time, which certainly was part of the goal! It was a great experience pacing E two years ago, but I really enjoyed running for myself this year.

The Brooklyn Half has really changed since 2012. The expo two years ago wasn’t memorable at all, while this year’s expo – or shall I say pre-party, as NYRR aptly called it – certainly was unique! It was a trek getting there, but with beautiful views it felt like an “urban hike” and was worth the effort. Definitely the hippest expo I’ve ever been to, with local food trucks/stands, a bar, DJ/live music, graffiti artists customizing racing shirts (also sporting a cooler design this year), a barber shop (?), coffee bar (with excellent baristas and coffee, of course), and prominently displayed Brooklyn Half hashtags (obviously), all overlooking Manhattan. A great celebration of Brooklyn before taking to the streets!

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The race is a LOT bigger now than it was in 2012, with over 25,000 finishers compared to around 14,000. And I thought it was crowded back then! The course essentially is a Brooklyn version of the NYC Half, with 7M of rolling hills in Prospect park followed by a flat and fast stretch on Ocean Ave towards the beach (sure beats finishing in downtown Manhattan). It was VERY crowded in the park, and I found it frustrating at times to navigate around everyone particularly at water stations (next time I’ll carry my own small bottle so I can save time), but once we left the park the roads opened up and it was easier to get into a groove. The boardwalk finish was beautiful but I echo E – not fun to sprint on. I was gunning it towards the finish once I saw the 400m sign but then hit a wall of runners on the tiny ramp onto the last stretch, and it was tough to regain my speed on the sandy, slippery surface of the boardwalk. I guess that’s the price to pay for the scenery!

I had a fantastic race, which was a pleasant surprise. I’ve been recovering fairly well post-Boston but lately my legs have felt unusually fatigued. I spend a lot of time on my feet each day and things have continued to be so busy on the school & internship front that I haven’t been able to prioritze my training nor my recovery/sleep for that matter (working on that). I’m in the middle of my 3-week Staff Relief rotation, which is the culmination of my clinical rotations that started in late January. I essentially cover for other RDs and thus am treated more like an entry level dietitian than a dietetic intern, which means that my preceptors push me to see an increasing number of patients in the same amount of time over the course of three weeks. The goal is to reach 10 – I am currently at 7 up from 4 – which may not sound like a lot but believe me, 7 feels hard right now. This push along with less hand holding is exactly what I need and I welcome the challenge, but it has been mentally and physically taxing. I’ve been getting home from the hospital feeling utterly exhausted, body aching. Going for an evening run at that point is the last thing I want to (or have time to) do, but I’ve managed to get out there and squeeze in some miles a few times a week, which usually makes me feel better (emotionally, at least).

I felt pretty miserable when I woke up at 3:45am to make and eat breakfast on race morning, but that changed to excitement once we got to the start. I was aiming to enjoy the race and get a good workout in; if I felt up for it, I planned to run around marathon effort in the park and then gradually speed up towards the finish. Turned out I felt quite strong! I still refrained from going full-out, sticking with a cautious just below marathon pace effort in the park, but when I still felt good at mile 7, I started to pick up the pace and was able to stay around my usual half marathon range. Only in the last mile did my hamstrings start to ache slightly, but otherwise I was extremely comfortable. The weather was awesome which helped – warm but not too hot (there was shade on a large part of the course too) with a lovely but not overpowering breeze. Made the insanely early morning start worthwhile, as the temps began to rise shortly after our finish!

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I ended up finishing in 1:42:03 (Garmin details here), which funny enough is only less than a minute slower than my NYC Half time with far less effort exerted and certainly less prep work done. The atmosphere at Coney Island was amazing. I found E shortly after I finished – since he finished only FOUR MINUTES after me (he’s catching up!!!!!) – and we headed to the post-race party at the stadium for a nap in the sunshine on our space blankets. It was glorious (SO much better than the way too crowded boardwalk two years ago) – with live music, food, great people watching, perfect blue skies…too early for beer but I had a nice buzz going from my runner’s high. Wasn’t too early for ice-cream though, which we got on the way to the subway!

We just barely squeezed ourself onto the Q train back to Manhattan. I felt bad for the non-runners on that train, pressed up against all of us who had just raced. The mixture of smells was extremely unpleasant and I was contributing to it, so I can only imagine how they felt! The fatigue began to set in by the end of that hour-long standing journey. A nice hot shower and crashing on the couch when we got home felt like heaven!

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I managed to make these quinoa pecan muffins (via NY Times recipes for health, pictured on the left) in the afternoon, which I hadn’t made for years. Super tasty, not too sweet and very wholesome! They make a great pre/post run snack, packed with protein, whole grains and healthy fats. We put a touch of jam or honey on ours to make it a bit sweeter, but on its own it would go great with a savory meal. I had some leftover quinoa and quinoa flour so I tried out another version today – this time adding ripe mashed banana, substituting almond milk for skim milk (which I add 1 tsp lemon juice to make “buttermilk”), and coconut oil for canola oil. Definitely preferred version number 2 (pictured on the right) – extremely moist and a touch sweeter from the banana! I ran out of pecans otherwise would have added them. The black specks btw are from the tricolor quinoa I used (ran out of normal). These freeze very well so I popped a bunch into the freezer for quick snacks in the coming weeks!

So another great Brooklyn half in the books – and the verdict is, it’s even better than it was in 2012.  I highly recommend this race and look forward to running it again next year!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Sunday and growing up, that meant one thing in my house: a big stack of my Dad’s amazing pancakes! I usually make my healthier wholegrain Triple B pancakes, but today I decided to experiment with my new (well, inherited) waffle maker.

I’ve never made waffles before. I wanted a runner-friendly recipe given I have the NYC Half Marathon next weekend – something with whole grains, healthy fats and some protein – that would make a crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside waffle. The results were SO incredible I confess I may be a waffle girl now! Also, the recipe is super easy – a big plus in my book given how much work I have to do today.

Here’s a photo of what I came up with post-syrup pre-loading them up with fresh berries and a dollop of almond butter:

Whole wheat waffles

This was a really nice way to celebrate my return to running after taking a nasty spill on the subway stairs almost two weeks ago. Being the klutz that I am, I managed to fall right on my knee in the exact same spot I fell on last September when I fell off my bike. Pure talent! This was off course two days after I had finished my second 20 miler after a really strong long run sequence over the previous 3 weeks (20M – 18M – 20M) so it was a real bummer. Thankfully I didn’t break anything and only had to take a little over a week off. I ran 14M with some marathon pace miles at the end yesterday without any pain, which was awesome especially in the beautiful weather. I’ve definitely lost some fitness (and wasn’t exactly running as fast as usual before that) so I’m not expecting to break any records next weekend, but I am excited to race! I can’t believe it’s been 8 months since my last race and a full year since my last half marathon. But I digress from my waffles…

View/print my whole wheat banana ricotta waffle recipe or see below for details.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Whole Wheat Banana Ricotta Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 ¾ cups nonfat or low fat milk (or almond milk, soy milk etc)

  • ¼ cup oil (I used olive oil since that was all I had around – tasted fine – canola oil is a good choice)

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ½ cups 100% whole-wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ripe, mashed banana

  • ~ ¾ cup ricotta, can do a little more or a little less (I love Calabro brand nonfat ricotta, which my local Whole Foods carries – very fluffy – do not recommend TJ’s nonfat version, their part-skim may taste better).

  • Maple syrup (I prefer to warm mine up before serving)

  • Toppings of choice: fresh fruit (berries, sliced banana, etc), nut butter, chopped walnuts or pecans (you can also put these into the batter), jam, etc

Directions

  • Preheat your waffle iron (mine makes 2 waffle squares, as pictured above).

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, mashed banana, milk, vanilla, ricotta, oil, honey, cinnamon, and baking soda until well combined.

  • Add in flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together until the large lumps disappear.

  • When the waffle iron is hot, spray or brush with cooking oil and then ladle some batter onto the center of the iron (don’t fill completely as it will then overflow). Follow instructions of your waffle iron – mine took about 3-4 minutes to cook. They should be golden brown and crispy to the touch.

  • Eat as you go as we do or keep the waffles warm until you finish cooking all of them. Serve with pure maple syrup and other toppings of your choice.

Yield:

With my waffle iron, this recipe made about 6.5 servings (1 serving = 2 waffle squares pictured above), which should feed about 3-4 people depending on how hungry you all are (E and I could easily eat all of these ourselves, although we managed to save 4 squares for tomorrow). I have also cut this recipe in half, which makes a good amount for 2 ppl (about 4 squares per person). Keep leftovers in the fridge (each square fits nicely in the toaster) or freeze for another Sunday when you’re feeling extra lazy!

Nutrition info per serving (2 squares):

Without  toppings and using olive oil, nonfat milk, nonfat ricotta, and 1 medium banana, 1 serving is about 245 kcal, 10.5g fat (mostly unsaturated), 30g carbohydrate, 9.7g protein and 3.2g fiber.

I ran my second Mini 10k (and first race since Boston) this past Saturday. Just as last year’s race served as a diagnostic as I prepared to begin Chicago training, this year’s mini was meant to reveal where I stand with this distance as I get ready to run in the NYC Triathlon relay next month. My “Dietitian Diva” team members are counting on me to help get us to the podium!

Last year, my fairly untrained but all-out racing effort resulted in a 45:58, so my original hope was at the very least to beat this time, with a real goal of crushing my very old PR of 45:04. My hamstring, however, had other plans for me, having flared up a bit after Boston. I’ve since been able to run casually without pain, but speed work still aggravates it so I opted not to race the mini. It’s unfortunate because the weather was great (coolest mini in history apparently) and with three strong recent races under my belt, I have no doubt I could have PR’d. Another time I suppose! Instead, I ran within what I’m calling my “hamstring comfort zone,” taking it fairly easy the first 2 miles and very very gradually speeding up as much as my hamstring would allow. I probably got up to 85% racing effort by the last mile – so it was more of a tough workout than a race I suppose. The good news is that I still managed to run 46:47 (7:32 average pace), less than a minute slower than my full-on racing effort last year, so that’s a good sign that although slightly injured at the moment, I’ve become much stronger in the last year. It also means that worst case, I know I can run a sub-47 without a problem next month; not ideal, but not the end of the world either.

Despite the frustration of not being able to let loose, I had such a great time at the mini. It felt good to get back out there after Boston and experience some positive race energy. What I love most about this mini is the history behind it – for over 40 years, this race has been celebrating women’s running! You can’t help but feel like you’re part of something when you run it. Also, unlike many other women’s races, the mini draws an awesome elite field as well as many other talented, competitive runners, while welcoming new runners and runners of all levels. Lastly, it’s one of the only larger races that places me right at the front! It’s quite inspiring being able to run right behind the elites (well, at least for a few seconds before they take off).

I started up front with my running buddy like last year, although this time she was able to keep me within sight for the entire race which helped her crush her PR, so that made me  happy! She finished right behind me so we were able to grab our medals, flowers etc together. I have to commend NYRR – perhaps not checking a bag helped (hence the lack of race photos), but it was such an easy race from an organizational point of view. Everything ran smoothly throughout the morning and it was never too crowded anywhere.

          Mini 10k   Run happy!

The highlight for me – like last year – was getting my medal signed, although this year it was much cooler. No lines, no official signing tables, just Desi Davila hanging out by the finish area after running her first race since pulling out of the Olympics last year. She ran well so she seemed to be in good spirits. My friend and I were about to wander away from the finish area to grab coffee when we saw her chatting with someone. I found a pen and we were able to go right up to her and get her autograph. We also got to chat for awhile – it was so chilled out and I was really excited to share with her that since I saw her at the mini last year, I had qualified for Boston and ran Boston. I told her I hoped to run again next year but unfortunately for us “real people” (which made her laugh) who just barely qualify, it will be tough so we’ll see. She’s awesome – and so so tiny! Every time I see her it amazes me.

So next up in racing is the NYC Triathlon relay on July 14th, and then I have ZERO races in the calendar, which is very strange for me. I didn’t get into the NYC marathon lottery, which I decided was a sign that I should take a real break from racing this fall. I am excited to coach Gilda’s again this year, so I will still be running, but I think my body could use a break from structured training, particularly if I am able to get into Boston and will be training hard next year.

In other news, I am very relieved to have completed my Spring semester at NYU – only one more class to go this summer and I will finally be done with my DPD’s! I also recently attended my ten year college reunion…pretty crazy that it’s been so long. It was fun to show Yale to E and see many old friends.

Otherwise, things have been insanely busy with all the last minute wedding planning, given how much I neglected to do during the semester, but everything is finally coming together. Last dress fitting this week (praying I can somehow stay the same size for two weeks, since my dress is very fitted), and a handful of things left to do but most of the big stuff is done. Only 19 days left to go!! Wow. E and I are beyond excited. I have no doubt it will be an incredible day! We fly to California next week…

And I will leave you with a delicious summer snack that I’ve stolen from some NYU friends. I have banana with peanut or almond butter all the time, but never in this actual form. It’s amazing. Simply slice a banana and freeze on a flat surface, then make little sandwiches with your nut butter of choice. SOOO GOOD. Enjoy!

Frozen banana & peanut butter sandwiches

It never ceases to amaze me how much better a great run can make me feel. I’m still only running three times a week, but man did I make those three runs count.

Monday was my usual 5-6M at an easy pace, this time including 1M at E’s tempo to make sure I could “feel” the right pace. I nailed it. I love my Monday morning runs – they always clear my head and help me focus. There’s way too much stuff buzzing around in there!

Wednesday’s tempo session of 6M, including 5 at E’s goal half marathon pace, was exactly what I needed to blow off some steam after a stressful start to the week. I hopped on the treadmill, turned up the music and banged it out. It felt good. Well, I still felt a few slight hamstring pangs every mile or so, which worries me given I haven’t done any speed work for two months aside from these slower-than-usual tempo runs (if I were training for my own race, I’d be running 7:30, not 8:20 min/mile), but so it goes. Five miles is the most I’ve done at E’s pace so I’m just trusting that I can carry on like that for another 8.1 next Saturday…

This morning’s 8.25M run at 8:36 average pace was relaxed and glorious. Slightly hot, yes, but my poor sun-deprived body from too many hours in the library really needed it. I felt pretty miserable when I got up this morning (too little sleep, too much stress) so I wasn’t sure how it would go, but everything clicked right into place as soon as I started my watch. Running really does make everything better! Now if only it would also make my last two finals go away…

I have Nutrition & Health on Monday afternoon, and Physiology (the one I REALLY need to study for this weekend) early Tuesday morning. Not thrilled that the final is at 8am, but I guess it will be nice to get it over with and have the whole day ahead of me to catch up on things like laundry (which I haven’t done in ages), cleaning etc.

More importantly, it will give me time to prepare for E’s visit! I haven’t seen him in two months and I can’t wait – he lands Tuesday evening, and even though I won’t get to see him that much between his work schedule and my trip to California, it’s better than nothing. I really hope we get good weather for the Brooklyn Half Marathon next weekend and that I am able to pace him to his goal. A part of me wonders if I’ve lost so much fitness since the NYC Half that I won’t be able to maintain 8:20 for 13.1M, but then I think back to what my usual pace is and I think I should be fine…it will just be slightly more challenging than usual. I’m extremely excited to run our first race together – even if we don’t succeed in reaching his goal, it will be a great experience.

 

My weekly post obviously wouldn’t be complete without a photo of what I’ve eaten lately, so here’s my current breakfast obsession – eggs in toast (or egg in a hole, egg in a basket, toad in a hole or whatever you want to call it). A friend gave me this idea when she posted this recipe, and reminded me that I hadn’t eaten this in years, and had never actually made it before. Easiest thing in the world. I didn’t follow the recipe – I simply cut out holes in my bread (and ate them, obviously), cracked the eggs into the holes, flipped them over and voila – awesome breakfast. So much more fun than putting a fried egg on top of the toast and it sliding around everywhere (although I do like piling on smoked salmon, avocado etc with a fried or poached egg on top). I used cooking spray rather than butter – I’m sure butter would’ve tasted great and I have tons left over from all my cooking exam practice, but after eating an entire pint of ice cream last night (the perils of final exams…) I figured I should show some restraint!

Time to get back to studying – I’ve done very well on my other three finals so I’m hoping I can maintain this momentum for the next three days. It really does feel like the end of a race though – it’s all about mental endurance. I feel burnt out from an intensive semester, but I haven’t worked this hard to slack off now. Three more days – and then a well-deserved break!

Enjoy the sunshine and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

Welcome to FFR

Hi, I'm Claire! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (MS, RD, CDN) and a Road Runners Club of America certified coach. This is where I share my latest adventures in running, racing, food & travel! If you'd like to work with me, please visit my professional website, Eat for Endurance.

My PRs

Marathon (Chicago): 3:33:18
Boston Marathon: 3:36:14
Half-Marathon: 1:37:21
10M: 1:14:52
10k: 44:52

My latest photos

Beautiful wedding celebrating my cousin! Perfect weather, yummy food, and quality time with my family. Great way to wrap up my week in California!
#Tbt to the last time I ran, at nearly #23weekspregnant carrying Arielle across the #mini10k finish line earlier this month! During my 1st pregnancy, I was able to keep running until 34/35 weeks and ran over 1,000 miles...this pregnancy, I have kept fairly low mileage and started to feel uncomfortable at around 21/22 weeks, so at the recommendation of my awesome prenantal PT @finishlinept, I have stopped running (for now at least - if things improve I may be able to run/walk later on). I’m much bigger this time (already nearly at my full-term weight with Arielle) and my pelvic floor muscles are very weak, leading to discomfort and leaking (sorry, TMI!). An old hip injury was also starting to flare up. It’s a big bummer to potentially be taking 6 months off running but committed to keeping myself injury free before and after birth. Planning to maintain fitness through strength training, a variety of Peloton classes, and other low impact exercises. Just goes to show that every pregnancy is so different and you have to listen to your body rather than compare yourself to others - or even to your own body at a different point in time! 🤰🏻
Today’s lunch on the deck just as the sun finally came out! Chickpeas over greens and various veggies with candied walnuts, avo and balsamic dressing + ginger kombucha.
Nothing says home like a super burrito in the sunshine from my fav taqueria! Got this for lunch on my way back from the airport yesterday. Gigantic and I finished every bite. So good!
Wow - traveling without a kid when you’re not used to it is very strange and strangely easy! Gonna miss my baby so much but gotta say - seeing everyone else’s screaming children and thinking “not my problem” is pretty amazing! 🤣 Grabbed a whole milk latte and deciding which of my various snacks to eat first - think I’ll go with a spinach oat muffin and my 1/2 PB&J bagel. These were all super easy to grab/prepare (well minus the muffins) - I never leave the house without snacks, especially for a flight! Have a great week everyone!
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there, and especially to @trailrunr_! We are enjoying a chilled out weekend after a week of work travel for him and before I take off for a trip home to California early tomorrow to visit family. First time being away from Arielle for an entire week...def lots of mixed feelings about that one! We had a great bagel brunch this morning with eggs and for lunch, cooked up this delicious avo bacon toast on WW with roasted broccoli and 🌈 carrots (not ready yet when I took the pic). Made the bacon in the oven at 425F (same temp as veg) after trimming away some of the fat - still really tasty and crispy, but slightly leaner. 🥓 Yum! Have a wonderful Sunday! #happyfathersday #brunch #eatforendurance

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