Mushroom, Spinach, Zucchini, and White Bean Stew


This past weekend, the weather was crisp and cool and I had an itch to make some fall comfort foods. I love to cook fresh meals in the summer, but it’s nice to throw together something filling and hot as well—something that you can feel warming your insides.

First, I baked a few loaves of Pumpkin Banana Avocado Bread to celebrate National Pumpkin Day on Monday. It was a hit at work – I’d highly recommend making this if you’re looking for a recipe sans butter and low in sugar.

Pumpkin Banana Avocado Bread

Then, I had an idea to make a veggie stew of some sorts. I had some fresh mushrooms, zucchini, and spinach, and I knew I wanted to include white beans, so it kinda came together from there. And Jeff devoured it so that’s always a good sign. :)

Mushroom, Spinach, Zucchini, and White Beat Stew

Mushroom, Spinach, Zucchini and White Bean Stew
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups spinach (can swap kale if you prefer)
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups veggie broth
1/2 cup orzo pasta, pre-cooked according to box
1 can of white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Pinch of Sugar in the Raw
Garlic powder, salt & pepper, paprika to taste

Add olive oil and minced garlic to a large pot and turn on medium high. Add in mushrooms and zucchini and saute until soft. Add white beans, spinach, and veggie broth and cook until spinach is wilted. Add the pre-cooked orzo and 1/4 cup of Parmesan to the stew and stir. Season with salt & pepper and paprika to taste. Set to cook on low. In a small saute pan, add a little olive oil, sliced red onions, and a few pinches of Sugar in the Raw (you can also carmelize without the sugar, but I like the bit of sweetness). Cook until carmelized, about 5 minutes. Bowl the stew and top with carmelized red onions and sprinkles of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! :)



Marathon Monday: 5 weeks until the TCS NYC Marathon

image2Happy almost fall! I’m currently training for the TCS NYC Marathon and wanted to start logging my workouts to hold me accountable these last 5 weeks. 5 weeks away!! It’s both exciting and scary.

Here’s how I started my training: Lisa and I signed up for the Hal Higdon app for an 18-week marathon program, but I didn’t like how you had to log your miles int he app or else it didn’t count. I like to take Mile High Run Club and do track workouts so this didn’t seem feasible. Plus, I couldn’t see a full calendar plan – you could only look day-by-day. So, I bought the $49 New York Road Runners 12-week Virtual Marathon Trainer, and I really like the workouts and interface. They collected all of my health info and past race experience, what my ideal goal is and came up with a plan.

Here were the workouts from last week:

Monday: Brick CrossFit (I’ve become such a stronger runner after incorporating strength.)
Tuesday: 5-miler at 8:53 pace (I went out in a long sleeve and capri’s and it was WAY too soon for it. I was super hot!).

Wednesday: 6-miler at Mile High Run Club
Thursday: 4-miler sprint work at Brick Endurance
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 15-miler at 8:30 pace (I felt really great during this run. It was a gorgeous day with a lot of things going on to entertain me. My feet did hurt near the end, but I ordered a new pair of shoes so I’m excited! It also got really hot out.)


Sunday: Rest day

Total miles: 30 miles

This has pretty much been my schedule for the past 7 weeks, varying with mileage, pace, and with traveling/company in town. It’s really hard to run the long runs when you are out-of-town or have company in town who want to brunch. Cause I can’t pass up eggs Benedict and pancakes. ;) Hence why I need to get a little motivation and hold myself accountable.

This week, I have Ragnar Relay Adirondacks and I’m really excited! My sister-in-law and friend, Heather, are flying in from Arizona to run, and our team theme is Minions On The Run, because the Minions are super cool. :) Get ready for some yellow-centric pics!

As for upcoming races, I had the Brooklyn Half Marathon scheduled for October 10, but have a wedding in Vegas that day now so I’m searching for a NYC race to do the following week (Oct. 17/18). Any suggestions? I also signed up for my first Tough Mudder on Nov. 7! SO nervous.

Is anyone training for a fall run? :)


Five Foodie Favorites

I’ve had avocado toast before, but it never really affected me the way it has recently.

image {Avocado and poached egg toast}

I’m like, obsessed. {I had it three times the other day.}

It’s so simple to make, too, and there are so many varieties. I like to toast rye bread {well done}, spread half of an avocado over it, sprinkle red pepper flakes, and add two poached eggs. Then I top it with crushed peppercorns and Tabasco. I feel like I’m fine dining for some reason.

Here are a few other eats I’ve had lately:

image_1 {Huevos Rancheros with black beans, fresh veggies, salsa, and two eggs—I seem to put eggs on everything.}

image_3 {Veggie Ramen Burger from a vendor at Berg’n}

image_2 {Soft boiled eggs that Jeff made. It was my first time having them! On a separate note, we LOVE toast with cream cheese. Weird?}

photo {Breakfast pizza with veggies, cheese, eggs, and local pizza dough.}

I heart eggs!

Have a great weekend.


Ragnar Relay Del Sol Recap 2015

For the fourth year in a row, I participated in Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona, going from Wickenburg to Mesa. It’s held in my home state so it only makes sense that I would travel west for the race – I get to run AND see family and friends!

Stacey, Justin, Omar, Nicole, and I began the day loading the van and getting coffee, and then we headed to pick up Marette. We decorated the van with our team name: “Crazy Cervezas,” and our slogan: “Stay thirsty my friends.” Since we were going with a beer theme, we had shirts made with the Dos XX symbol intertwined with the Ragnar symbol {see below}.


imageEvery year, Ragnar Del Sol is near or on my birthday, making it the perfect way to celebrate. This year, my sister-in-law Nicole surprised me with cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy Gourmet Bake Shop and a necklace and button to wear! The Thin Mint and Nutella cupcakes were my favorite.
image-1We arrived at Exchange 6 about 45 minutes before our runner came in so we had ample time to check-in, listen to the safety briefing, take tons of pictures, and meet up with our Van 1.

We knew it was going to be a hot day so we all started by chugging water! Soon, our runner came in and Omar was off to start the 7th leg of the relay. Unfortunately, legs 7-12 had no van support whatsoever so we couldn’t stop to give water—we just honked as we drove by. The day started to get even more hot as Marette {runner 8} took off. Again, we drove by, but offered our support in honks and cheers.

At that point, I was trying to get pumped up for my 13.5-miler, and I was feeling pretty confident. I chugged water, ate some GU chews, and went pee a few times {Funny story: one woman dropped her iPhone into the port-a-potty hole…but reached in and grabbed it out!! Everyone around was dying laughing, and maybe slightly disturbed!}. We messed around with Omar’s GoPro as we waited. Marette brought one too, which made for some really fun pictures and videos throughout the entire relay—I really need to invest in one.
We heard the volunteer call Team 313 and I got prepped and ready to go with some music. Jeff got me some Beats by Dre Powerbeats {wireless bluetooth earphones} in pink! for Christmas, which work so well! I would highly recommend them. I always used to whip the headphones out of my ears with my arms while running so these are really convenient. The only problem is that you definitely have to have service for the bluetooth to work properly. My songs broke up the first 3 miles, which was really stressful, but then it was smooth sailing after that.

I also ran a quick first few miles—my first mile being under 7 minutes. I definitely jumped the gun. But, the rest of my miles were about 8-9 minute miles. It was a really grueling, hard, hot, hilly run. We had four water stops, which isn’t a lot when it’s 85-degrees outside, but I was thankful I brought along my Nathan belt and water bottle, which I refilled at each station. I did get a really bad chaffing burn from the belt though since I just ran in a sports bra, so there was a lot of skin-to-belt contact. I almost ditched it all at one point, but water was more important than a little chaff, right?

The route was pretty, but also boring. I “killed” 10 people but then there was no one else to look forward to passing. There also weren’t very many vans going by that were cheering, which was so unusual. But, I pepped up when I finally got out of the desert and saw a neighborhood and gas station—signs that my end was near.

This leg is the longest Ragnar leg for any of the relay races, and since I traveled here for Ragnar, I’m really pumped I was able to do this leg, no matter how hard it was. Plus, I got a fancy shcmancy medal for it! #doublemedals

I passed off to Stacey {leg 10} and we continued on through the Arizona desert and through runners 11 and 12 to finish near Sun City somewhere. We were all pretty tired, hot, and hungry at that point and made the decision to grab some Barro’s Pizza, somewhere we’ve stopped at in past runs. This time though, I was not. feeling. it. I felt terrific right after my run, and then it just hit me. I kept puking {sorry, TMI} and had a terrible stomach ache. I think I was just super dehydrated, but I know I’ve never felt that bad for that long. I must have kept throwing up for about 6 hours and got maaaybe 45 minutes of fitful sleep. And I definitely wasn’t hungry. I went to a medical tent and they gave me some electrolyte mix to put in my water, which helped a little.

But, that’s the thing about Ragnar, you have to suck it up because you have another run coming up. And that’s just what I did. Luckily, the night runs are cool and crisp so I felt refreshed after I was done. I still felt a little sick, but I was beginning to feel a little normal {aka hungry}.

We got through our night runs pretty quickly and then went straight to our next big exchange in hopes of a little sleep, a good washing {with baby wipes}, and pancakes. In years past, our team always gets to this exchange too late when they’re all sold out of pancakes!

So, we rolled in, parked, and pretty much all passed out for about an hour or two.
I woke up to the smell of pancakes from the front of the van—Omar and Justin made a trip for some. I promptly got up and ordered four plate-size pancakes {hey, I didn’t eat the entire night!}, but could only eat about two of them. They. were. devine. though. Then we had some dance parties and waited for Van 1 to come in.

We met up with our super-duper volunteer, Heather at this big exchange too, which was nice!
Everything was smooth sailing from there! We were able to provide van support for all these legs, which was really nice because, again, it was really hot out. My last leg was really short, and slightly downhill, so I was able to run it pretty fast. I ended with a total of: 20.9 miles.

I just love this last part of the relay. There’s so much energy (because we know we’re almost done) and excitement going on, and we start getting into civilization and there are some really pretty legs along the Scottsdale Green Belt.

We celebrated at the end with our entire team, wearing our awesome team shirts, sombreros, fiesta tattoos, medals, and some cerveza! I even ordered us these poncho beer koozies!
We were all pretty sleep-deprived, hungry, and cranky at the end {myself included}, but it was still a Ragnar Del Sol for the books. I think since next year will be my 5th year in a row doing Ragnar Del Sol, I want to make an Ultra team to add a little change and challenge. Does anyone want to volunteer to drive? :)

{I know I never finished my Adirondacks recap, but I’ll post Part 2 soon – plus, registration for this September is open!}


TCS New York City Marathon 2015

Well, this happened yesterday. I’m officially signed up for the TCS New York City Marathon this November! {Eeeek!}

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.00.32 AM

It’s really hard to get drawn for the big races in New York City. I was sad in December when I wasn’t drawn for the March NYC Half Marathon {an amazing course that I PR’ed in last year}, but I was excited to enter into the TCS New York City Marathon lottery, and have been patiently waiting for drawing day.

Yesterday, I woke up and took turns refreshing my email, New York Road Runner account, and bank account. One of them was bound to give me answers. I squealed and legit almost peed myself when I saw the New York City Marathon in the list of My Upcoming Races. I didn’t even care about the price—I had tingles all over.

It’s funny to think back before I ran a marathon and to remember how I said I would never run one.{ “People who run marathons are crazy folk.”} Then, I ran my first marathon in Nashville and it was one of my worst running experiences, ever! If I hadn’t already signed up for another marathon before the race, I’m sure that would have been my last. BUT, who can resist a little Disney magic? I did my second marathon at Disney World  in January {which I can’t wait to share}, and it was probably the best running experience, ever! Complete 360.

I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I still put my name into the New York City Marathon lottery –  I had just heard from so many different people how incredible and inspirational this race is. I knew it would be one that I could run by myself, because I really wouldn’t be by myself. There is never a moment where spectators aren’t cheering you on along the sidelines.

I went to see the elite runners and cheer last year and it was so energetic and exhilarating. Extremely windy and cold, but, amazing. I’m going to send all of my positive thoughts and energy for good weather this year. I can’t wait to start training and to work towards a sub 4-hour marathon.

My friend Lisa didn’t get in {super sad face}, but is 99% on board with running the Philadelphia Marathon, which is a few weeks after. So, I think I’ll have a training buddy—which I desperately need. I might also look into getting a personal coach to make a training plan for me, or look into some group runs. I want to add more speed work and timed mile repeats into my training regimen. I’m eager to get started already!

Did anyone else get in? Let’s train!


30 before I’m 30 bucket list

Happy March. After a few months of ridiculously cold weather, March brings a promise of melting snow and spring. Don’t mind me as I dream of days underneath these palm trees.

But, it’s time for a wake-up call from said dream. AND a wake-up call for this little blog here. As I have done often, I took a few months off to focus on where my passions lie and take time to actually do them.

Now, I’m itching to get back to writing and sharing. Get excciiiited. While I have a ton to share, I’ll leave you with a little bucket list I put together for this year. I turned 29 {Yoinks!} about a week ago and am just coming to the realization that this is going to be my last year in my 20s. I got a little sad about it, so I wanted to boost my mood and come up with some adventures, goals, and challenges to partake in this year.

“30 before I’m 30” bucket list:

– Enroll in a writing program to finally start my novel writing.

– Get a 1:30 half-marathon time

– Zipline over tropical trees in Costa Rica

– Rent a beach house in Montauk this summer

– Break a 4-hour marathon time

– Study Italian

– Learn to play Chess

– Work on catching up with friends and get better at replying to texts/emails

– Do 100 double-unders in a row (without whipping myself)

– Find the best Eggs Benedict in NYC

– Volunteer. Volunteer. Volunteer. (Races, food kitchen/pantries, animal shelters)

– Pierce my nose again

– Get another tattoo

– Go sailing

– Travel somewhere all by myself

– Start taking CrossFit classes

– Get back into photography (my camera is way too dusty on my shelf)

– Learn to bake using actual measurements versus just throwing in ingredients that “look” measured, like I normally do

– Visit more of New England

– Take 20 minutes each week to meditate

– Master my yoga headstand

– Learn to play tennis

– Buy fresh flowers once a week

– Go to a hockey game

– Learn how to french braid

– Take speech classes (I stutututtter ;))

– Always make sure I have fresh nail polish on

– Eat pizza once a week

– Go parasailing

– Learn to let go (of emotions, people, possessions) when necessary

I will no doubt add or delete things from this list, but having these things to look forward to makes me more excited for the year.

Bring it on 29!


Ragnar Relay Adirondacks Recap #1

IMG_1248Running on the east coast in the fall is incredible. It actually feels like fall: crisp, cold, colorful. Ragnar Relay Adirondacks was an amazing experience and I had a blast working as an ambassador for Ragnar the months prior to the race. I’m so grateful to my contacts with Ragnar, Leslie and Amy (whom I got to meet!).
IMG_1196We had some bumps in the road with people dropping out, but luckily found replacements. We still only had 11 runners, but most of us were eager to pick up legs, so it worked out.

We had a team dinner the Monday prior to Ragnar where we had a run, ate pizza, finalized details, and I gave them some goodies, like Ragnar bandanas, colorful sweatbands I ordered, Mr. Kate watercolor tattoos (really cute, and they stayed on for over 2 weeks!), and more. I would definitely recommend getting together right before the race so everyone is on the same page. We had weekly runs, but not everyone can make those, so having a mandatory meeting is crucial.

Van 1 went up Thursday and stayed in a hotel near Saratoga Springs to be rested for the start. Van 2, an amazing, strong group of women—Lisa, Erika, Natalie, Alyss, and Sarah. We met at my apartment early Friday morning so we could pack the SUV I rented. It was super spacious, even for 6 girls and all their crap (which is a LOT of crap!). By the end though, everything was thrown everywhere and we must have lost our phones each about 20 times! It was actually hilarious.

So we headed out (I was so proud to actually drive though the city for the first time. Was scary, but I did it!) and raced to check-in because our runner was coming in. We were in the middle of the safety meeting when she came in, but only had to wait about 5 minutes for us (woops!). To be fair though, they came in a little earlier, which is fab! Van 1 had amazing costumes on too! Our theme was to pick a color and pattern, so there was red sequins, and pink zebra and orange cow patterns. :) They did a great job, especially for running in the heat…which it WAS so hot!
Sarah started off Van 2 with a 9.4-mile leg! It was her first Ragnar so I’m sure she was nervous but she literally rocked it! We stopped a few times to give her water, because again, it was SO hot and her leg was so long.
We also had time to decorate the van, which was fun. Our mascot was: Man, Bear, Pig.
IMG_1195She then passed off to Lisa for a 6.1-mile leg. I had never seen this before, but for Lisa and Erika’s exchange, your team actually picked where to hand off. So we had to track what mileage Lisa was doing and pick a point. Luckily, there was a huge group of vans parked around where the exchange should have been so it worked out.
IMG_1190Erika started running her 4.8-mile leg and Natalie started prepping for hers. It was so much fun stopping around other vans and seeing them cheer people on. We saw a ton of Ultra teams (which I still would love to do one year).

Natalie started on her 4.7-mile leg and passed off to her sister Alyss, who went running along in her adorable tutu for her 6.3-mile leg. We tried cheering for her but she was too fast and already went past the spot we were at (plus we were occupied taking pictures with our Ragnar and water color tattoos!) so we booked it to our last exchange, my 5.4-mile leg.
It was so amazing guys! I felt so fantastic and strong! About 2 miles in, I came upon a guy who was running at a good pace (just under 8 min miles) so I asked if I could run with him, and we ended up just chatting the rest of the way to the end. He was from Philly and it was his first Ragnar, but he’s done plenty of swim races and triathlons! So nice to meet people like that.
IMG_1203My sweet van after our first legs were done. I mean, look at that view of Lake George!
IMG_1208Then, it was time for us to get some grub and rest and for Van 1 to take off into the night.

More recaps coming shortly… :)

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