Sunday, January 15, 2012


While I was visiting New York my aunt Ginny (who lived in NYC for a bit) gave me some recommendations on some awesome bakeries and desert stations to hit up. My bestie JKB and I visited Momofuku which was amah-zing and we purchased a plethora of goodies that provided multiple sugar highs. One place we did not make it to was Babycakes, a bakery opened in NYC before the gluten free hype really began. The bakery features all vegan, mostly gluten free and mostly sugar free baked goods.

Since I didn't make it to the bakery myself my aunt and uncle were thoughtful enough to get me the cookbook for one of my Christmas presents (along with a Beibs notepad :) )! I was so excited to get this baking book because all of the recipes have healthy ingredients, low glycemic indexes and would be easily digestible. All of these qualities lead to foods perfect for pre-workout fuel!

The first recipe was so good I am putting it up here. I made some zucchini muffins and they have been perfect to eat before workouts; especially as something to look forward to at 5am when rolling out of bed for swim practice.


2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 cup flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup rice milk
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini

A few things about some of these ingredients:
  • Spelt flour: make sure to get the whole spelt flour because the germ and bran have not been removed, so the muffins will be a bit heartier and more healthful 
  • Flax Meal: this will boost the fiber in the muffins and add good omega 3s
  • Agave: this is a wonderful alternative to sugar because it has a lower glycemic index (provides more sustainable energy instead of a white sugar energy spike) and it is sweeter so you can use less than you would with white sugar, resulting in fewer calories
  • Coconut oil: this comes in a jar and will be rock solid so you will need to melt it in the microwave to measure it and use it. The lady at Whole Foods told me that she uses it to remove her eye make up....I haven't tried this yet...
The instructions are simple from here. Preheat the oven to 325 and line 12 muffin cups. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Next stir the coconut oil, agave, rice milk and vanilla into the dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Using a plastic spatula, fold the zucchini into the mixture till evenly distributed. Fill each cup with 1/3 of mix and bake for 22 min, turning the tins 180 degrees 15 minutes through the baking.

I think I added a bit too much zucchini because I ended up with 14 muffins and they sort of overflowed the cups but they are wonderful and keep for awhile in an air tight container.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Call Me Mix Master

My sister is a FOODIE QUEEN. She knows how to use things like rosemary, prosciutto, cooking twine, make her own fancy pasta, season things properly and pair the correct wine with it. When I was visiting her a few weekends ago she was putting together some tuna salad sandwiches for us. She put some tuna aside for me so I could put mine into large pieces of living lettuce instead of bread (seen below). I took my first bite and it was exceptionally good.

I was like sister, what did you do to this canned TUNA?

Ummmm I added salt and pepper!

Just tuna, salt, pepper and avocado in some lettuce. So good, so good.
My mind exploded. Like I don't add anything like that to any of the food I ever make. A few days ago a coworker asked me what I was going to make for dinner that night. My response was I have no clue, it depends what is in my fridge.

I have decided I am not a cook, but an ASSEMBLER. If I am making a meal for myself my thought process is so simple. I open the fridge and pick a main protein, like tuna, tofu, beans, shrimp or fish. Then I simply pick out all some of the veggies, pick a sauce and done! Dinner. By sauce I usually mean a Marsala, stir fry or tomato sauce. On week nights I am usually just getting done with a work out and am very hungry or I am in a huge rush to just eat and get into bed. Regardless, I leave the fancy cooking to my sister :)

Asparagus, tofu, and yellow peppers sauteed in a mango curry sauce over a mashed sweet potato
My new breakfast staple: oatmeal with chia seeds and wheat germ, blueberries, strawberries and walnuts

Spinach, chickpeas, avocado, Gorgonzola, blueberries, walnuts and hemp. I love making my salads in a Tupperware container so I can add my dressing then shake the heck out of it to mesh all the flavas. 
Tofu, zucchini and squash simmered in Marsala sauce over a sweet potato with cashews on top

Perfect Day

I love the holidays BUT I must admit I am glad that they are over. I do much better when I can get my sleep, have fewer obligations, and there is not candy and chocolate around every corner. I am also excited for the new year because my training has picked up a bit and I am feeling much more like I am devoting my "training time" not only to swimming, biking and running but also to recovering, eating and sleeping.

This past week I had a few glorious days where I fit all my work outs in complete with naps and even a massage. Here are some recaps of what I have discovered make a perfect day:

Day 1:
Wake up 5 am for swim practice
Swim 4200m (these practices are usually pretty challenging)
Eat: 3 egg whites and 1 egg scrambled with cheddar cheese, oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, walnuts and chia seeds
Go back to bed!!!!
Wake up ~2 hours later
Bike at 10:15 for 2 hours (a power work out on the CompuTrainer)
Refuel with some food
Ice Bath

Relax the rest of the day!

Day 2:
Wake up ~7 am
Run 5.5 miles at the YMCA on the indoor track
Snack on the way to the CompuTrainer
Bike 2 hours with power efforts
Massage at Noon!!
Watch TV and relax

It is just so wonderful to get my training out of the way in the morning and really let my body recover from my work outs. I am not minding this schedule at all!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pre/During Work Out Snacks

If I do not eat something within 30 minutes of waking up I get a nasty stomach ache and cranky. To avoid this at all costs, when I am going to sleep at night I am already looking forward to what I will have for breakfast. When I wake up at 5 for an early work out like swim practice I need to pick a food that will satisfy my stomach without weighing me down for practice. In an attempt to stay away from the more processed foods I have tried bananas, Larabars, peanut butter and a variety of different bars. None of these options were sitting that light in my stomach at 5 am so I kept on experimenting.

I did come across the Clif Kids bars and they actually work really well. They are 110 calories which is just the right amount of fuel for the morning.
They are also pretty organic (like 70% or something, whatever that means) and don't have an insane number of ingredients or any ingredients that my grandmother wouldn't know. They are pretty inexpensive and can be found at Kroger.

I was still longing for something a little more pure but just as convenient and thanks to a recommendation from my mother when I was sick during college I started buying baby food again. This sounds weird but it really is so good and I have started to us it during some of my work outs over the past few years. I only buy the fruit flavors and thanks to my choices and coupon targeting I now get coupons for diapers and formula. So now I find it necessary to hint to the check out person that I don't have a baby, and that the food is just for me, so then I just sound like an idiot but I can't help myself. There are no added ingredients since they are for babies so it really is just pureed fruit in a very convenient to go container. Basically exotic apple sauce.
Peaches is one of my favorites. I also love the apricot and mixed fruit but DO NOT buy strawberry banana; it is nar-nar. The best part is that they usually run about $1.00 for 2 and contain 50-60 calories apiece which is great towards the end of a bike ride when all of a sudden I am starving. An even more convenient take on the baby food is Buddy Fruit!

These can also be found at most groceries and they contain only pureed fruit. The packaging is so convenient. It is just like a gel! They of course do not have any electrolytes or any of the fancy ingredients I might want when racing but they are perfect for training over the winter. I have liked all of the flavors so far. These run about $1.00 apiece but I think it is worth it for the packaging. That's not very environmentally conscious of me but until I start making my own gels this is what I got to work with.

So now on the way to practice or before a work out if I need a snack I have one of these guys and some dark chocolate and I am ready to go.