Buckwheat & Quinoa Banana Muffins

The first recipe I ever created was for Banana Maple Oat Muffins. They were the start of my marvelous muffin phase, when I was getting excited about baking and blogging, and for months I whipped up a batch on a weekly basis. So it’s a little sad that I can no longer indulge in the gluten free rolled oats that formed their muffin-y hearts. However, as with my oatmeal cakes, I’ve come up with a spin on those muffins that uses quinoa flakes instead of oats and produces just as a delicious a result. These Buckwheat & Quinoa Banana Muffins aren’t just gluten free. They’re totally grain free, dairy free, and perfect to munch on any time of day.

 

 

Grain, gluten and dairy free banana muffins made with quinoa flakes and buckwheat flour, hearty and delicious.

 

 

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National Running Day

This Wednesday, June 3rd, is National Running Day. So I am kicking off this week with a linkup with some other fun runner bloggers to share our running stories through a Q&A! 

1. Why do you run? I run for health and happiness. I started running because I wanted to get back in shape and have a physically active outlet for my energy after my childhood ballet and gymnastics days were over, but fell in love with it because of the way it contributed to my mental well-being and overall outlook on life.

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day? I plan to celebrate by going for a long run in the sun (I hope!) and maybe stopping by some of the New York Road Runners events.

3. How many miles have you run so far this year? Just over 500 as of today! Averaging 100 miles/month, which works out to 20-25/week. March was a little less and May a little more but it all evens out in the end.

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May Weekend Updates

Hope everyone’s weekend was as lovely as mine! I kept it pretty low-key, taking advantage of the gorgeous weather to bask in the sun on a long Saturday run and a few Sunday walks – alone, with friends, and with family and dog in tow. While I did have to study for my one final exam coming up, the little time I spent in front of the computer doing practice questions was punctuated by far lengthier study breaks. Here a few weekend updates, sharing the highlights…

 

Central Park Reservoir

Can’t stop posting photos of the reservoir. Too gorgeous lately!

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New and Improved Renaissance Runner Girl

Happy Saturday, everybody! Hope you’re all getting out there to enjoy the glorious sunshine (well, if you’re in New York too, at least). This is shaping up to be a wonderful weekend. Not only is spring here, it feels like summer – 70 degrees in Central Park and I’m a happy camper!

There’s also some other exciting news, which you may know already if you’re reading this. I’ve officially made the move from WordPress.com to a self-hosted website. I’m ready to tackle the challenge of really making Renaissance Runner Girl my own space where I can share my recipes and running tips and general ramblings on life with all of you.

For new readers, I’d like to take this opportunity to say hello, and share a few of my favorite posts of the past several months for you to enjoy. I hope you’ll return and follow along with me on my new journey!

Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins (with peanut butter here!)

Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins (with peanut butter here!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

 

 

Musings on Meals

Thinking-Out-Loud2

I tend to think of food as fuel, especially now that I’m a runner. Some might call me picky – my mantra tends to be, why eat something if it doesn’t taste good and give you energy? But I like to think of myself as discerning instead. I usually choose whole, fresh food over prepared or packaged goods; after all, there is nothing in the world more delicious than a perfectly ripe wild raspberry or just-picked apple!  I like knowing what I’m putting into my body (to a certain extent – sometimes it’s necessary to just enjoy a delicious meal out and not think about anything but how great it tastes!) That’s why you’ll see a lot of recipes from me in future. I enjoy taking the foods that I love and turning them into a new treat. (I also just discovered Pinterest and now I love photographing my food too. Yes, I’ve become that girl. No apologies.)

Sometimes, though, it seems as if every bite we take is being watched by the world. People feel entitled to comment on what other people are eating without any good reason, to warn them off the new ‘bad food’ (is it going to be carbs or fat today?) or lecture them about a new diet, to tell them to eat ‘this’ and not ‘that’ – it never ends. Part of it comes from body image issues in our culture. ‘Fat talk‘ is ubiquitous, sadly enough, among the general population and even more so in certain subsets. To me, the saddest part is that it runs rampant even among the healthiest people. Our collective body image is so distorted that the fittest are often those who can’t see their own reflections without criticisms swirling in their minds.

For a long time, I was one of them, struggling with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder at the same time I was an active teenager. I’m so happy that I’m past that now, but what amazes me is the depth of body commentary that remains. I no longer internalize the comments, but can hear them objectively, and the sheer number I hear every day is astounding. In the halls of a great university, on the streets of Manhattan, even by the shoe display in a running store or at the yoga studio. Self-shame is omnipresent, and not just the kind where people are really fishing for compliments. And something needs to change.

Really? A weight loss issue for what is probably one of the healthiest readership audiences around?

A weight loss issue for one of the healthiest readership audiences around?

I’ve always been a snacker, eating every few hours to keep my energy up, but running turned a lot of my snacks into mini-meals. That means that I have people telling me I snack too much, or that my ‘main meals’ aren’t big enough, or that I eat too many apples, or too much peanut butter, and if only I’d cut out carbs I could last for hours without another meal. It’s exhausting, especially since the only person who knows what works for me is me (and my doctor, but that’s it). Even more disheartening is the constant stream of ‘tips’ for runners in Runner’s World and other publications. Rules of Weight Loss for Runners, diet lists that over-generalize – it’s information overload, and most of it so pseudo-scientific it might end up doing as much harm as good. I’ll give them credit where it’s due. Some advice, like the necessity of refueling, is well worth reading for new runners. On the whole, it’s better than what you get from mainstream magazines with blaring headlines about losing a zillion pounds in two days. But it’s still confusing. Who are we supposed to believe? Whose advice is best? It can make your head spin, and take up time and energy better spent on other things.

 

So in the spirit of listening to your body, and asking what it needs, take some time today to ask yourself what your goals are, what makes you feel good, and whether those things differ from your behavior when you incorporate the ‘advice’ of the world around you. If there’s a big gap, it’s time to make like Taylor Swift and shake off the baddies. A meal is whatever you want it to be. As for me, I’ll be running and studying, having tea with a good friend, and munching on a muffin just because I feel like it.

Greek yogurt with kettle corn and dark chocolate chips - an excellent snack!

Greek yogurt with kettle corn and dark chocolate chips – an excellent snack!

 

 

This is my Thinking Out Loud Thursday. What are your thoughts on all the body-shaming and diet advice in our world? Do you eat ‘normal’ meals or do your own thing? Reply with your answers below, and see more at Running With Spoons!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

WIAW #2

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

 

Welcome to take two of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll definitely be posting these the first Wednesday of every month, but since I’m blogging more and getting into the habit of photographing things (even the ones so delicious I don’t want to wait to taste them) I’ll do an extra round of WIAW every now and then. It’s so much fun to see what everyone else linking up at Peas and Crayons and Clean Eats Fast Feets is enjoying for their eats! This WIAW was prompted by a few things. First, the day documented here is the Tuesday after the NYC Half Marathon (even though it was Sunday, I was still in ‘eat all the food’ mode). Second, it was also the day that one of my very best friends in the world was scheduled to have her first child – and since she and her husband live on another continent, I spent a few hours waiting by Skype for some good news and snacking all the time! And third, it was during my law school spring break week so I had even more extra time to sit around and snack. (Also, this is officially my last spring break ever! Crazy.)

 

Greek yogurt with peanut butter, blueberry jam, a crumbled Peanut Butter Cuppin, and extra peanut butter!

A PB&J Crispy Cup!

Breakfast: I had the luxury of sleeping until 8:30 am (I’m on break, but I’m an early-to-bed and early-to-rise type. Anything past 9am is shocking these days!) I began my day with a mug of decaf Cake Boss Dulce de Leche coffee. Then I had a cherry Dannon Light n’ Fit Greek yogurt, with Barbara’s Brown Rice Crispies, fresh blueberries, and a little peanut butter mixed in. Basically, it was a peanut butter and jelly crispy cup of yogurt. I don’t typically go for the Greek yogurt that has fruit in it, as I prefer to mix in my own fresh fruit, but since I’m in Connecticut at my parents’ house, I get the benefit of a fridge full of Costco finds courtesy of my dad – like 24-packs of Dannon Greek fruit yogurts. I’m not complaining!

 

 

Today I took some fresh bananas and whipped up a new twist on my Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins, using one whole banana and a pouch of Gerber's pureed banana - they turned out so creamy and delicious!

A few little bites of heaven – this morning and this afternoon!

Mid-morning snack: For a few days after running a race, I never want to sit down to a huge meal. But I do want to eat little things constantly. I wasn’t in the mood for regular oatmeal (maybe it’s the vaguely springlike weather) so I decided to whip up a batch of muffins. We had a stash of Gerber’s squeezable banana packs because my mom and I thought they might make good on-the-go running snacks, but I don’t really like the taste. However, I thought they might work in muffins, so I used one whole banana and one pack of pureed banana in a twist on my Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins. They turned out creamy and delicious! I had two right from the pan.

 

 

A simple salad with fresh ingredients

My own twist on a Greek salad – the Frankly Fresh grape leaves are a great GF + vegan find!

Lunch: A bowl of romaine, carrots, and red cabbage, with Annie’s raspberry vinaigrette, feta cheese, a grape leaf, and grilled chicken. Both lunch and dinner today are totally courtesy of Costco ingredients. Some people might disparage big box stores (and they have for decades, considering how Tom Hanks talks about them in You’ve Got Mail) but it’s so much more cost-effective than a regular grocery store, ESPECIALLY for healthy whole foods. When I compare prices on, say, apples or lettuce, to those in a grocery store in NYC rather than in Connecticut, I cry a little inside. For example, a 3-lb (48 oz) bag of this Dole salad blend is $2.99 at Costco, whereas a 12 oz bag is $3.49 at an NYC Food Emporium or D’Agostino. Sigh. Moving on!

 

 

My pre-run snack smiled back at my today!

My snack smiled back at my today!

 

Afternoon snack: A couple more of those marvelous muffins, with fresh blueberries and a cup of decaf coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My own delicious and nutritious "spaghetti and meatballs"

GF “spaghetti and meatballs”

Dinner: For my main course, I had a bowl of gluten-free, high-protein ‘spaghetti and meatballs’ made with this black bean spaghetti we found at Costco. It packs a wallop of protein and complex carbs and tastes great with sauce and cheese – definitely not like typical pasta, so don’t expect that, but if you like black beans, I’d recommend giving it a try! I tossed in some mirepoix (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans) and garlic and mozzarella chicken meatballs, and topped the whole thing with Parmesan cheese. Filling and delicious!

 

 

Sweet and snappy

Sweet and snappy

 

Dessert: I kept it simple with a bowl of Angie’s sweet and salty kettle corn and a Pink Lady apple (you must know I’d squeeze one in somewhere!) A sweet treat to end the day.

 

 

 

 

 

What was your favorite meal today? Are you a snacker or do you stick to three square meals a day?

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Welcome to WIAW!

So now that I’ve been at this blogging thing for a few months, I’ve learned a lot more about the whole universe of writers out there sharing their thoughts and lives. It’s provided me with so much inspiration, and made me feel like part of another community, which is awesome. In the spirit of many of my favorites, I’ve decided to post a ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ on the first Wednesday of every month. This definitely makes me feel like I’m more integrated into the blogging community, but it’s also important to me because while I post many of my recipes here, what I eat on a daily basis obviously includes so much more – and I think it’s totally possible to eat for both health and happiness! Part of my growing love for cooking is experimenting with new foods, and figuring out ways around my allergies when trying different dishes. But there are some standbys I can’t live without (apples, Greek yogurt, eggs, baby carrots) that you’ll probably see in every future WIAW post. So without further ado, this is a little look at how I lived and ate yesterday!

 

Two muffins to start the morning

Two muffins to start the morning

Pre-run breakfast: A good little cautionary tale is how I ran my first half marathon last year without eating beforehand and taking in about 5 sips of water, then basically threw a temper tantrum when my parents and I went to JG Melon for brunch about an hour after finishing and there was a wait to be seated, so was taken to the diner up the street and not only ordered like an impatient kindergartner, but ate a plate of sweet potato fries bigger than my face and was promptly sick. Sad face. I’ve realized that anything more than a 10k for me requires a little fuel in the tank. I hate gels and goo, and I’m allergic to many bars, but I can stomach one of my little muffins, a perfect mix of protein and carbs. This time, it was two Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins.

 

 

Rudi's GF spinach wrap with white Cheddar, turkey, and scrambled eggs

Rudi’s GF spinach wrap with white Cheddar, turkey, and scrambled eggs

Post-run brunch: My schedule is a little strange because I’m a law student – I have class in odd blocks of time and fit running, reading, working at my internship, blogging, and other daily activities around those hours. So on Tuesdays, for example, I end up eating lots of little meals and snacks. I had a wrap with turkey, eggs, and Cheddar cheese with some cucumber slices, with a chaser of cottage cheese with some blueberries, for a post-run refuel before I headed to school. Oh, and about two bottles of water and a cup of coffee to rehydrate. (I hydrate more than pretty much anyone else I know, but hey, whatever works!) 

 

School and internship snacks: I had class from 11am-3pm, so I had a yogurt with GF apple cinnamon cereal, a Braeburn apple, and another muffin. Then, I was at my internship from 3:30-6pm, and I had a bag of baby carrots and one of those little to-go packs of hummus, along with a second yogurt. Honestly, my snacks are pretty repetitive – they have to be small and sturdy enough to throw in my backpack, and it’s hard to bring more than one thing that needs an ice pack. I’ve started freezing yogurts and using those as the ice for other foods if I want to bring a real lunch, but then I have to wait for them to thaw to eat them, which is sort of unpredictable! I also drank about four bottles of water and a bottle of Propel.

2% Greek yogurt with apple cinnamon O's

2% Greek yogurt with apple cinnamon O’s

I poked that little hole in the top of the muffin to pack in some peanut butter before wrapping it up to take along!

I poked that little hole in the top of the muffin to pack in some peanut butter before wrapping it up to take along!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bowl of Veggie Quinoa 'Pagodas' with chicken, cheese and more veggies

A bowl of Veggie Quinoa ‘Pagodas’ with chicken, cheese and more veggies

Dinner: I was home early enough to whip up a home-cooked meal, so I went for one of my big bowls. I just bought a box of Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta on sale and tried it for the first time as a base – it was pretty good. I never really ate a lot of pasta as a kid, except for mac and cheese, because I didn’t like tomatoes or tomato sauce (luckily I’ve reformed!) and I’m allergic to pesto. But I’m starting to try it more often. I topped it with chopped grilled chicken breast, the 365 brand of mirepoix (basically peas, carrots, corn, and green beans) and a bunch of Parmesan cheese. With another bottle or two of water, of course.

 

 

My peanut butter cup sundae with sprinkles

My peanut butter cup sundae with sprinkles

 

Dessert: I love ice cream, even in winter, so as my own way of telling the snow it was time to go away, I made myself a little sundae – peanut butter cup ice cream with a little extra peanut butter and some chocolate chips, plus my favorite allergy-free rainbow sprinkles tossed in for good measure. I also had another apple, Pink Lady this time. And a cup of apple cinnamon spice decaf tea.

 

 

 

 

I really like salted rice cakes as a delivery vehicle for PB + J - something about that sweet n' salty combo!

I really like salted rice cakes as a delivery vehicle for PB + J – something about that sweet n’ salty combo!

Evening snack: some rice cakes with peanut butter and raspberry jam. Nothing fancy! And, admittedly, yet another apple. Empire, if you’re wondering. I’ll be perfectly honest, I eat far more apples than the one a day your doctor recommends – easily two or three a day in fall and winter. It’s a little less in the warmer months, when peaches and berries are in season and added to the mix, but even then, apples are just so easy to grab and go, or to slice up and enjoy with a little peanut butter. They go well with both sweet and savory foods, and to be totally honest, I don’t feel like I’m done with meals without finishing off an apple at the end sometimes.

 

 

 

So there you have it! 6 ‘eating times’ in a day, with food in a variety of shapes and sizes. I pretty much eat within the 8am-to-8pm range, so it’s every couple of hours. And I enjoy every bite!

 

So I refill that water bottle about 10x a day...and altogether this gets me through 24 hours!

So I refill that water bottle about 10x a day…and altogether this gets me through 24 hours!

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.