Blended Berry Muffins

What’s your favorite part of a blueberry muffin? Is it the sweet muffin top, the cake-y interior, the burst of flavor surrounding each of the juicy berries? What if I told you that this was a recipe for muffins where every single bite had that berry-licious flavor? Oh, and that these blended berry muffins are actually BLUE?

 

 

Gluten free blended blueberry muffins, soft, sweet, and BLUE to beat!

 

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WIAW #24: Baby Shower Eats and Treats

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’m sharing my eats from Saturday, when I fueled up with a post-run brunch at home before heading out to spend the rest of the day at my best friend’s baby shower! The baby shower eats and treats were wonderful, and I was so grateful to the grandma-to-be for really making it special. First off, though, brunch after a 6-mile run.

 

pumpkin goat cheese salad

 

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Happy Fourth of July + GF Golden Corn Muffins for a BBQ

Happy Fourth of July Friday to one and all! The Fourth may be tomorrow, but pretty much everyone has the day off today I think, so it’s time to celebrate America, land of the free, home of the brave, and occasional provider of three-day weekends. I’ll even be going easy on the bar studying – this is one of my favorite holidays, after all.

 

Fourth of July

 

 

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Running Snack Recipe Roundup

Happy Friday, everyone! I got it in my head to do a Five Things Friday this week with a roundup of five of my favorite recipes for pre-run snacks, in honor of National Running Day. They’re all on my Recipes page, but it’s fun to collect them all in a neat little array and share why I enjoy particular ones before different runs. Especially since the importance of running fuel is something I did not fully appreciate until the past year – when I ran my first half marathon, I did so with just a few sips of water along the way and no fuel at all for about 12 hours before the race start (after an early dinner the prior evening, around 6pm, the next food I got was my post-race apple at 10:30 and I had a temper tantrum for more food by noon when it took awhile to be seated at post-race brunch!) Now, I typically don’t fuel much for weekday morning runs that I start really early (6:30am or earlier) but if I’m not getting out the door until after 7, I at least grab a little muffin or a handful of cereal for a shorter run. And for longer runs, any of these treats is the perfect fuel to stave off hunger and keep me going!

 

1. Anything PB&J: I find that a little peanut butter and jelly is the perfect mix of fuel to get me ready to run in the morning. For a typical 5-6 miler at an easy pace, just a rice cake or two smeared with some of the good stuff does the trick. For a longer jaunt, a PB&J Oatmeal Cake is the perfect fuel.

 

PB&J Oatmeal Cake

 

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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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Four Month Blog-iversary and an Apples n’ Peanut Butter Muffin Recipe

I can’t believe it, but today is my four-month blog anniversary! The past few months have been a whirlwind with family and friends, running and recipes, and of course law school and everything leading up to graduation. But I’ve really been loving every moment I’ve spent on the blog. I had forgotten how much I missed writing for fun, about whatever is on my mind, since I started law school. After all, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for it! But I’m so happy I made the time, because writing, and reading other blogs, and beginning to feel like a part of something in the healthy living community, have all been fantastic little pieces of the journey so far. That said, on to today’s post – a new muffin recipe combining two of my favorite things.

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

I’m constantly experimenting with new flavor combinations for my muffins because I whip up a batch weekly for breakfast, brunch, an on-the-go snack or a running pick-me-up. Honestly, they’re practically a food group for me (just look at what I eat on a typical day!) These little dollops of deliciousness are what would happen if my Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins and Peanut Butter Cuppins had a muffin baby. Apples + Peanut Butter = Yum. Every time. Plus, I had an excuse to try out my new silicone muffin pan – I usually stick to a regular stainless steel pan, but lately mine has been getting tough to clean and the muffins have been sticking even when the pan is greased well, so I decided to give this cute red one a try. It’s a little trickier to remove from the oven without bending, but I’m happy to announce it was a successful test run! If you slide a knife carefully around the edges of each muffin before removing, they’re easy to pop right out of the pan.

 

Muffins in their new baking home

Muffins in their new baking home

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt)

2 Tbsp milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

2 large eggs

2 tbsp peanut butter, melted (My favorite Peanut Butter & Co)

2 tbsp powdered peanut butter (I used PB2 Original)

1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped (I like using Braeburn apples to bake, they’re the perfect twist of sweet and snappy)

1/3 cup applesauce

1 Tbsp butter (you can sub extra applesauce if you prefer)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray (to grease the pan)

 

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Sunday Run n’ Brunch Fun

At the start

At the start

 

This morning I woke up to blessedly sunny skies and an absence of snowflakes. Dare I say that spring is finally here? Well, I don’t personally want to jinx it, but my Sunday began with an aptly titled Spring Meltdown 10k in Central Park. In the two weeks since the NYC Half Marathon, I’ve been taking it easy, with just a few 4-5 mile runs each week at a slow pace, because I aggravated some dormant knee and hip injuries during that race. This morning wasn’t much different, as I ran purely to get back in the swing of things (and metaphorically run in the spring). While the air was brisk, running in the sun was a treat.

 

 

 

After the finish

After the finish

My moderate workouts also meant that I missed November Project Wednesdays for a few weeks, so I had a blast this morning knowing that my friend Kaitlin was also running. Even though we just met last month, one of the awesome things about NP is how fast you get to know people (I think it has something to do with the hugs). After the race, we had plans to head out for brunch. I think I speak for both of us when I say that running and refueling with delicious eats is pretty much the epitome of a perfect Sunday morning!

 

 

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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.

Pumpkin Puffins

Pumpkin may be an autumn flavor to some, but I enjoy pumpkin treats all year round! The traditional autumn blend of pumpkin, maple, and cinnamon can warm you up throughout a chilly winter. These are similar to my other gluten-free muffin recipes in their use of rolled oats as a base, but incorporating pure pumpkin gives them a slightly creamier texture and puffier tops. They’re also dairy-free and  vegetarian (and can be adapted to be egg-free and vegan), great to bring to school or work to share without any worries – everyone can partake! Or whip up a batch over the weekend and have them for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. Pumpkin Puffins are a great way to start off your day on a warm and cheerful note.

 

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum flour

1 cup pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s or Farmer’s Market Organics, but if you’re up to the task of roasting your own, I’m sure that would be fantastic!)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup vanilla coconut milk

2 large eggs (you can also substitute additional 1/4 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp flaxseed)

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar (this works best with the pumpkin, but feel free to substitute stevia or other sweetener)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cooking spray or additional olive oil

 

 

Puffin batter

Puffin batter

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12-muffin tin with cooking spray or lightly brush each muffin cup with olive oil.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, eggs, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well (roughly 8-10 good stirs) but be careful not to over-stir, or the batter will become too thin.

5. Pour batter evenly into muffin cups.

6. Optional: sprinkle a pinch of extra brown sugar on each muffin top.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Bumble Bees + Maple Trees = Peanut Butter Cups

Yesterday, I was snowbound in my apartment post-run since my school cancelled classes after 3pm and through today (in other news, even though it wasn’t really a Snowpocalypse, SNOW DAY!!) Of course, rather than use the time to get ahead on reading for school, I decided to organize the kitchen cupboards and test out some recipes. I was rooting around and found an unopened jar of powdered peanut butter that I bought on a whim. I’ve found it tough to bake with regular peanut butter because it sticks in globs rather than spreading evenly throughout batter, so figured I might try the powdered version. Turns out, it works wonderfully well as the key ingredient for these darling and delicious Peanut Butter Cups!

I tried out a peanut butter, honey, and maple combination first – ingredients from bumblebees and oak trees. Each bite conjures up memories of eating peanut butter sandwiches as a kid, then going out into a fresh snowfall with maple syrup to pour onto the snow to make maple candy. Now one Peanut Butter Cup gives you the trifecta of flavors that’s perfect for a snow day (it isn’t complete without the honey because even the the most devoted snow-lovers begin to dream of the summer sun when the world is completely white for awhile!)

Cooling off in view of the flurries

Cooling off in view of the flurries

 

 

Star ingredients

Star ingredients

Prepped and ready to bake

Prepped and ready to bake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/2 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

4 tbsp powdered peanut butter

1 tbsp pure maple syrup (NOT “breakfast syrup” or “butter syrup” – the real thing is the only way!)

1 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp applesauce or olive oil (I usually use applesauce rather than oil in recipes because I like thicker muffins and cupcakes and the naturally sweet taste, but in this case, I think the oil works better with the combination of ingredients. It is totally up to you, though – applesauce still does the trick!)

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray

Note: you can definitely vary the recipe, adding in some fresh blueberries (for PB&J Cups), tossing in some chocolate chips (for Reese’s-style), and apple and banana slices (since of course, you can eat peanut butter with these anytime for a wholesome snack). All work well, but you may find that you begin to lose the original combination of flavors if you toss in too many extras.

 

Base instruction: when the weather outside is frightful, make these!

Base instruction: when the weather outside is frightful, make these!

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg, yogurt, applesauce or oil, and vanilla extract and mix well, ensuring a uniform color and consistency.

3. Add honey and maple syrup and mix until they are spread throughout the batter (but you can still see the thick swirls).

4. Grease a 12-muffin tin with oil or butter. Pour in batter.

5. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.

6. Let cool. If you like, top with peanut butter (Peanut Butter & Co. and Justin’s have awesome honey and/or maple PB) as icing, and a few berries or chips for sprinkles. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Perfect for a pre-snow-day-adventure breakfast (half the dozen will probably be gone by day's end!)

Perfect for a pre-snow-day-adventure breakfast (half the dozen will probably be gone by day’s end!)

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.