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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

Happy Sunday! Just wanted to take a break from my books to fill you in on some of the random things I’ve been up to this weekend. Strange title – yes – but don’t worry, all those things didn’t happen at once!

Let’s start with sharp knives. One of the things my lab professor said in class last week is that a sharp knife makes all the difference in cooking. So. True. I have this beautiful Global chopping knife (much higher quality than my new chef’s knife) that I received as a gift many many years ago, and I let it go unsharpened for far too long, to the point that it’s been pretty useless for awhile now. I finally brought it in to Broadway Panhandler on Friday to be sharpened (it’s recommended that you get your knives sharpened once per year) and prepared a salad with it that evening. It’s amazing how much easier prep is when you are armed with the proper tools! So get your knives sharpened, folks. It only cost $5 for my mid-size knife and was worth every penny.

   

As discussed in my last post on basic cooking methods, I recently learned how to properly sear chicken breasts (among other things) and finally got a chance to test my new skills. I got the oil nice and hot and added some rosemary and garlic cloves to the pan. I seasoned the presentation sides of the breasts (the smooth side, where the skin used to be) with salt and then placed the breasts presentation side down in the pan, since the first side to be seared gets the best golden coloring. I made sure they were not touching, since this interferes with browning. I seasoned the top side and walked away, letting them cook for five minutes or so. As they were finishing up, I basted the top side with the hot infused oil, to start the cooking process before turning them over and letting them sear on the other side. Because I didn’t pound the meat to even out the thickness, I had to turn the breasts on their sides a few times once both sides were seared to make sure the meat cooked evenly. When they seemed done, I inserted my thermometer (first time using it!) in the side to check the internal temperature, which confirmed they were ready. And voila – delicious, moist, seared chicken breasts! Such an improvement on how I used to cook them. I ate one with kale and sweet potato after my 13.5M long run in Central Park – a very nutrient dense and tasty meal!

My run wasn’t quite so successful. It was okay and I enjoyed catching up with my running buddy, but my right hamstring has been bothering me this week (hence the two cancelled runs) and halfway through my long run my LEFT hip started to feel tight too. My left side never gives me trouble! So I’m resting today and seeing a physical therapist on Tuesday morning. I’m sure it’s just a question of not stretching enough, and most likely getting a little carried away with my track workouts. I also am doing a fair amount of brisk walking to and from campus, often with a heavy backpack, and not sleeping enough, so that may explain why my body isn’t too happy with me! Hopefully a week of taking it easy and some targeted stretching and strength training will do the trick. I want to make sure I’m in good shape for the NYC Half!

Moving onto flashbacks – check out this photo that my mom sent me yesterday! That’s me on the right, age 15 (that’s 15 years ago!), after one of my high-school cross-country races in California. So crazy – I don’t think I’ve ever seen this photo before. It’s not a great photo, but I wanted to post it because that was the year I started to run! Apparently my parents have a few more photos from my first year on the cross-country team – can’t wait to see them.

  

Fast forward back to this weekend in NYC – it’s fashion week, as some of you may know. One of my good friends from college is a designer at Tibi, and invited me to her show yesterday. I’ve been dying to see her designs on the stage for years now, and have never been involved in NYC fashion week, so I was really excited. What a different scene than I’m used to – my first thought when I walked into the main entrance was, “Whoa, this definitely is NOT a marathon expo!” It had the crowds and the same kind of buzz in the room, but obviously it was as opposite as you could get! I got slightly dressed up and I *think* I managed to kind of blend in, but I felt a bit out of place. I don’t think I’ve worn anything but running gear, pajamas, jeans and sneakers since school started! I had a great time though – my friend is SO incredibly talented, and it was really fun people watching. I recognized a couple semi-famous people, and had some good laughs from the crazy outfits I saw. Nice to get a glimpse into someone else’s world for a couple of hours! I got to go backstage afterwards too, which was pretty cool.

   

I just want to make one comment about the models, since this is a blog about health, nutrition and fitness. I of course expected them to be extremely thin, but in person they somehow looked even thinner than I had imagined they would be. I know this is the norm and it’s also an ongoing problem/debate in fashion, but it made me sad to see just how malnourished they looked. Whether it was their natural body type (they all looked very young) or they were actually anorexic, or a bit of both, I’m not sure. The clothes certainly were beautiful – but it’s hard for me to see how a young woman who is THAT skinny can be considered attractive. Or let’s put beauty aside – because the real focus is the clothing – I don’t really understand how that body type is a desirable vehicle for the clothing. Does it hang better? I definitely do not claim to know very much about the fashion world – and I’m sure designers carefully select their models for specific reasons – but as an outsider, athlete and nutrition student, those are my two cents…

All I know is that I’d be one sad woman without things like this delicious pizza that I just made!

  

This was perhaps the best pizza I’ve made to date. I used a few different ingredients than last time – in addition to red, yellow and orange bell pepper, shallots, garlic, baby bella mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, I also used zucchini (regular rather than baby), sun blushed tomatoes (my favorite kind from London), and kale. I also tried putting the shredded mozzarella beneath the vegetable toppings (last time I did the reverse) and sprinkled feta on top. I think this definitely worked better. I also cooked all the different vegetable toppings separately before adding to the pizza rather than sautéing them all together, to ensure each was cooked optimally (this was suggested by my cooking textbook). I ate half the pizza, which is probably overkill given I haven’t moved all day, but it was just so delicious. Glad I ran long yesterday! At least it’s whole wheat, the shredded cheese was part-skim and all the toppings were very nutritious.

Time to get back to my books – it never ends!

Today is my last day in London. It took some time to adjust to being back after nearly three months away, but now I feel like I never left.

My “real” departure was in late August, when I quit my job and flew back to California to meet my newborn niece, run the Portland marathon, qualify as a running coach and apply to MS/DPD programs in Clinical Nutrition. I expected to feel overwhelmed with emotion as my plane took off for San Francisco to begin this new chapter of my life. However, with my November London visit already planned, I felt like I was embarking on an extended trip home rather than permanently moving countries.

Now it’s time for my final preparations and goodbyes. I have changed my pounds to dollars, closed various accounts, prepared all my things to be shipped (okay, still working on that…) and have no clue when I’ll next be in London. Probably won’t be for quite awhile, although you never know!

I’m incredibly grateful to have had these two weeks, as well as some time away from London before returning to wrap things up. It has made this transition so much smoother. Aside from dealing with all the boring and annoying aspects of moving, which are far easier to do in person, I caught up with friends, wandered all over town, ate many of my favorite foods and ran along all my usual routes. It’s given me some closure as well as time to reflect on the four years I spent living here.

My long run on Saturday certainly presented itself as a great opportunity for reflection…

I had grand plans for my last long run of this mini training cycle. I had hoped to go to Hampstead Heath or elsewhere further afield in the early morning to run on some hilly terrain and avoid the crowds. However, E and I planned a last-minute weekend getaway and thus running along the river to Battersea Park and back was the fastest way to fit in 14 miles before we needed to catch our train.

It was a crisp, sunny day. I donned my new Nike running top once again, this time carrying two gels and my iPod (I usually don’t listen to music but needed some extra inspiration). I also decided to try out my new ING NYC marathon arm sleeves. I already had a pair in black (I wore them for the 2010 race) so when I saw that they carried them in orange this year, I snatched them up. Purple and orange are my colors, after all! Plus, there’s something about wearing arm sleeves that gets me extra psyched to run.

It’s business time!

After my run, E and I hopped on a train to Southampton and headed to Hotel Terravina, a lovely 11-room B&B right on the edge of the New Forest (not too far from where I raced last July). They happened to have a cancellation that morning, which was great news for us as we were struggling to find somewhere to stay before E called them.

We arrived to find this little dog on the bed, with a collar that said “Too tired to get up.” Yeah, that pretty much summed things up!!

We relaxed inside for a bit, but it was such a beautiful day out that we decided to go for a sunset stroll…at 3:30pm. Ah, winter in the UK. Gotta love it.

The hotel offered wellies for guests to wear – my size just happened to come in colorful stripes.

We walked along this trail for about an hour – it was very quiet and peaceful, exactly what we needed. This was also our running route the next day. We only ran four miles, but it was far enough to explore other nice parts of the forest. We even saw some wild horses, although thankfully this time they didn’t try to run us down!

After our walk, we had a wonderful three-course meal, which I particularly appreciated after my active day. One of the owners of the hotel is a French man who won Best Sommelier in the World in 2010 among other titles, so as you can imagine, the food and wine were very good. Here I am enjoying a glass of red…

The rest of the weekend was very relaxing – we were a bit sad to have to return to the craziness of London and face all the things we both had to do before leaving for Boston!

This pizza dinner, however, made our Monday blues disappear very quickly. I couldn’t leave London without going back to Pizza Metro in Clapham. The pizza is not only amazing, made with delicious, fresh ingredients, but it also comes by the meter! I’ve never gone with more than one other person and have always wanted to order one of the gigantic four-person pizzas, so I recruited some friends and this was the result:

Pure. Heaven. There wasn’t a crumb left on the tray. It certainly was an appropriate way to kick off Thanksgiving week!

So that brings me back to today. I’ve been procrastinating all morning and it’s time to get my things done. Finish packing my boxes. Pack my suitcases. Do laundry. Itemize everything. Go for a run. Return emails. Say more goodbyes…

It’s a bit sad, and I will miss living here as well as the frequent travel opportunities, but I am eager to move on. I’ve been such a nomad during my twenties and particularly throughout these recent transitional months that I actually feel ready to stay in one place for awhile, wherever my new home will be.

I’m also very excited to spend Thanksgiving in the US for the first time since 2007. I am celebrating it with E’s family in New Hampshire, which is why my next destination is Boston before I head back home to California next week.

Farewell London! Hello America…

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

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Grateful for quality time this week with my little pumpkin! 🎃😍 Happy Monday from California! I haven’t posted any running pics for a long time as I’ve been dealing with a hip injury for the last few months (and zero running for the last 5 weeks). 😓 I haven’t run a race, even a short one, in over a year - so different than how I imagined my postpartum running life to be. It makes me sad that I can’t run especially while in Santa Cruz, but I’m trying to stay active in different ways, be diligent about my PT, and remain positive even though the road to recovery feels endless at times. Yesterday, E and I went on a beautiful beach walk in the morning and then I did a hike with a friend and our babes in the afternoon, where I normally run in Nisene. I miss running but hopefully will get back to it soon, stronger than before! Baking “for the baby” tonight (so I say as I gobble up these delicious treats). Made mini pumpkin muffins (and a few mama sized ones), recipe adapted from @babyfoode. So easy to make - I added full fat Greek yogurt and almond butter to include some healthy fats. I think Arielle will love these - if for some crazy reason she doesn’t, more for me!! 😂 Nice work on tonight’s dinner, @trailz.io!! So good I’m going back for seconds. Veg bake with layers of eggplant, red onions, tomatoes, zucchini, ricotta, breadcrumbs, & spices with arugula on top. 👌🏻 Surprise package in the mail today! Thx @rxbar - stoked to try out the new gingerbread flavor. Speaking of, how on earth is it already the holiday season?!?! #rxbar Love @siggisdairy triple cream yogurts - perfect to satisfy a craving for something sweet and indulgent while providing 9g protein, relatively few calories (170), and calcium. The chocolate flavor was so delicious! #dailysiggis

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