Welcome back foodments!

Hello there, Fall friends! It has been kinda crazy here at COTR. Lots of new and exciting changes are coming my way (hint: big move, anyone?) For now, my lips are sealed.

we're moving, mah!!

we’re moving, mah!!

In the meantime, here are a few special “foodments” (food moments) from the last two months:

1. Quinoa Rice Bars. Hello, future dinner of mine. These babies are easy to freeze and easy to devour.



Packed with protein and goodies: quinoa, rice, egg, tomato, spinach, swiss cheese, and any other veggies you’d like to add. Don’t forget to salt and pepper these biddies. Add a touch of red pepper flakes. Magical.

photo 1

1a. Quinoa Rice Patties Leftover. Holy heaven in a hand basket. Well, not really, but you catch the drift. I had a ton of leftover rice and quinoa from making delicious #1. So, I used the same ingredients, made small balls, and smushed them into patties while frying beautifully in the saute pan. Seriously. Best brunch idea ever. Healthy. Delicious. Savory. Mouth watering. Recipe to come soon.

#idie #sogood

#idie #sogood

2. Coffee…in a new Keurig. I belong to this cool review site called Influenster. The nice people there sent me a brand new Keurig on the market to test. WOW.



It was great and I’m not just saying that because they sent it to me. The Keurig 2.0 makes single servings, but now comes with a carafe! I wasn’t a huge fan of the plastic carafe that the Keurig 2.0 comes with, but you can buy a stainless steal version separately. The touch screen is an added plus!


3. Almond Chocolate Chip “Crack” Cookies. Okay, so I don’t really know what crack is like, but I’d imagine that it makes you feel like these cookies do. They’re like macaroons…with chocolate chips and a slight hint of salt.

#ahhell #crackcookies

#ahhell #crackcookies

Just out of control goodness. Recipe coming soon!

4. Kombucha in training. I’ve been attempting to make kombucha from scratch over the past two months. I’ve failed…twice! Making SCOBY followed by kombucha is HARD!



hey there scoby - #youlooklikeabooger

hey there scoby – #youlooklikeabooger


photo 5

You have to be really careful not to contaminate the fermentation process. I may not have succeeded, but I’m not giving up. Once I find the easiest and best way to make it, I’ll share amazing kombucha here on COTR.

5. MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED. I couldn’t be prouder of my brother and his lovely new wife. I hope the man I marry someday looks at me the way Justin looked at Kelly.

Justin and Kelly <3

Justin and Kelly <3

A beautiful day for two beautiful people – congrats guys!

6. Paleo-Friendly Buffalo Chicken Chili. I hit the motherload with the one.

#healthy #chili #paleo

#healthy #chili #paleo

I can’t take credit for the beauty of this recipe – that goes to my fellow blogger at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. I removed the corn and green pepper from this recipe and used chickpeas instead of cannelini. Delicious. Add a dollop of plan greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute and/or have it on the side with some chopped celery sticks. I’m not going to lie, this recipe is HOT. If you’re not huge on taking the heat, cut back on the 1/2 cup hot sauce. I liked the heat and when you heat this up as a leftover, it becomes more of a smoky hot than having it fresh off the stove. Stick with the 1/2 cup and be a champ! 🙂

Be on the lookout for more exciting things to come from COTR very soon!

oh hai :)

oh hai 🙂


lessons on long distance

So, yesterday was a tough running day. Being worried about panic attacks on a run is a tough business. If you’ve never experienced a panic attack before, god bless you. You are one lucky peep. To give you a deep dive into my fear, I am terrified that I won’t be able to breathe and there will be no one there to help me. Hence why my miles and miles of running has turned into walk/runs listening to podcasts. So, Brett and I took off on a run and I was really down on myself about having to walk.

Me: “I’m sorry that I stink at this now…”

Brett: “You don’t stink at running. Do you see all of these houses around you? I guarantee that not a single person living on this street has run 2 miles today. WE did. That’s an accomplishment.”

Me: “So says the ultrarunner…”

Brett: “Baby steps. You’ll get back to longer miles. I know you will.”

Sometimes, all you need is a little reminder from someone you love. How lucky am I?


When we got back, I decided to try out a variation on a recipe sent to me by Kath. Though these protein cookies have to remain in the freezer, they make for a great pre or post workout snack.

PB Raisin and Quinoa Protein Cookies (Makes 24)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I used Wild Friends Cinnamon Raisin PB – SO good)

New addiction

New addiction

Thank you Wild Friends for letting me know how I can store this butter :)

Thank you Wild Friends for letting me know how I can store this butter 🙂

2 Tbs applesauce

1/4 cup agave

1 Tbs pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup almond flour

1/2 cup soaked quinoa (Note: you can use 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa if you prefer. Uncooked, soaked quinoa gives the cookie a little crunch)

1 Tbs chia seeds

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and fold until combined thoroughly.


Line two baking sheets with wax paper. Scoop spoon sized servings onto the sheet until you’ve used all the batter.


Don’t be alarmed that the batter is a little more gooey than you thought- the cookies take on a fudge consistency once they’ve frozen. Put in freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from baking dish and store in an airtight container in the freezer. Make sure to line the container and separate the cookies by layer. Simply use the wax paper from the baking sheets – double use success! 🙂

Pre-gym cookie :)

Pre-gym cookie 🙂


Smoked mozzarella and city bustle

Work, work, work. New Yorkers don’t lie when they say life is chaotic here in the city. Sadly, moving into Manhattan, dancing and balancing work life have left me with zero motivation to prepare food.

It doesn’t help that I live in the middle of restaurant/foodie paradise. Cheap Chinatown sesame balls, we tell you!

get in my belly

get in my belly

…the views

from DUMBO

from DUMBO

and the unconventional beauty of graffiti in a few words…



Amidst all this chaos, I’ve been spending far too many dollars on foods that I could make in my own kitchen. So, how do you make it easy to cook in a town filled with sights, sounds and endless distractions? Simple. Fewer ingredients. Fewer steps. Big taste.

I made this quinoa dish in 10 minutes. Basil. Sautéed tomatoes. Smoked mozzarella…uhhhh CHEESE heaven. What’s not to love?

Smoked Quinoa Bowl with Sautéed Tomatoes and Basil (Serves 2)

1 cup quinoa

1 1/3 cup water

1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 large handfuls of basil, chopped (or more if you love it like I do)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, chopped

Smoked mozzarella (I’m not going to add an amount here. No judgment when it comes to cheese)

2 Tbs EVOO

Sea salt and pepper

Bring the quinoa to a boil in a small pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic, stirring for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to color the onions. Add the sautéed mixture to the cooked quinoa along with the basil and mozzarella. Add a dollop of EVOO, salt, and pepper – stir and enjoy!




holy taste buds #nomnom

Late night eats

One of my good friends, Jeannie, sent me a message the other day.

“I work out post-work and usually don’t get home until around 9ish. Sometimes I don’t have the simplest energy to cook dinner, sometimes even eat, but I know I should…any suggestions?”

As I told Jeannie, we give props to anyone that pushes themselves to go straight to the gym after a longer day at work. As a morning gal, I have difficulty motivating myself in the evening, so I commend anyone that does! Gold star, Jeannie 🙂

Some of us aren't as motivated.

Some of us aren’t as motivated.

We have nights like this all the time. For all you late night gym heroes, I have a couple ideas, but the biggest one is…Quinoa. Quinoa is packed and proteins and super simple to make ahead of time. I will make a batch on Sunday and save it for my later nights when I know that cooking…is not in the cards. I keep it light and easy.

Make a few cups of quinoa ahead of time. Remember: 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cups water. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Chop up any veggies ahead of time (or defrost them!) from what you have in your kitchen.


Combine 1 cup quinoa with some veggies. Add 1 Tbs of EVOO, salt and pepper. If you have fresh basil, it gives the dish some nice flavor. If not, feel free to add your favorite spice  to add a little something extra.


and it’s pretty to look at

If you’re in a “cereal” mood, quinoa also works well as breakfast for dinner.

If quinoa isn’t your thing, another easy dinner is a smoothie. Check out some of our smoothie recipes. If you always have frozen fruit on hand, dinner will be ready in 3 minutes or less 🙂

Don’t be discouraged by the late night aversion to lifting a finger in the kitchen. Just be prepared…to be lazy and dinner will be waiting!

C’mon Fall, I’m waiting

I hate this time of year. I want the chill in the air. I want to wear boots and scarves. I want pumpkins and squash. This 90-degree weather thing is killing my mojo.


Fred dislikes it, too

On top of it being an “I’m sweating and I’m barely moving” kind of day yesterday, I fell on my face. Yup. Flat. on. my. face. I’m not exactly the most graceful person offstage. The worst part? I didn’t trip over anything. I tripped on myself. Good job, Dana.

Bruised knee and scraped palms aside, I needed to blow off some steam. Even a short run would do. So that’s what I did: leashed up an overly excited Fred and went for a run. It’s amazing how much clarity can come from fresh air and the sound of your feet hitting the ground. Forty-five minutes later, I had an epiphany. Just because it wasn’t fall outside, didn’t mean we couldn’t have fall in our kitchen 🙂

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash (Serves 4)

 2 halved and seeded acorn squash

1 diced large onion

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

1/3 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup spinach (or kale)

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

10-12 halved cherry tomatoes

sea salt and pepper

EVOO (or butter if you prefer) to brush on the squash, 1 Tbs for cooking

A handful of chopped raw almonds

Heat over to 400. Brush each squash half with oil (or butter) to coat then add sea salt and pepper. Place the squash flesh side down in a baking dish and roast for 30 minutes or until tender.


Heat 1 Tbs EVOO in a saute pan on medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring for 6 minutes or so, until translucent.


Add the garlic, jalapeño and herbs, stirring for another minute. The spinach (kale), beans and tomatoes go in next. Sauté until the greens wilt down, a few minutes.


Remove the squash from the oven.


holy goodness

Fill each acorn squash half with the spinach (kale) mixture. Put squash back into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and serve


hello, Fall. Nice to see you 🙂


This, I swear

Last week was a bit of a rough patch. I hate to say it, but a few nights last week weren’t spent cooking healthy dinners, but ordering take out or eating what we had available without the effort of cooking. I was feeling kinda down by the weekend especially since I was responsible for cooking a few dinners where Brett had to work later shifts (sorry, babe).

Today, I decided to make a new pact with myself. After going for a short, pain free run (YES!) and working through knee strengthening exercises, I had a healthy Spinach and Cucumber Smoothie. Afterwards, I stopped at the bookstore on my way to Whole Foods. I purchased two books I’ve been dying to read and an academic calendar.


Well, of course, it had to be cute

Every day I promise to write down what I eat (good or bad) to be accountable for my actions. This may sound excessive to you, but you’d be surprised what the power of seeing what you eat down on paper can do.

At Whole Foods, my tummy was a rumbling so I tried this raw, vegan bar – Thunderbird energetica. It was delicious and not delicious in a “this tastes like a candy bar way.” You can tell that it’s natural and uses the ingredients that it says it does. It’s packed with quinoa protein and even their wrappers are compostable. I’m impressed, Thunderbird – vegan and environmentally-friendly!


Thunderbird energetica – cool cats

Since I was a delinquent with cooking dinner this week, I used some of the ingredients from those meals to put together a healthy and easy-to-make lunch.


…Fred was too busy to help

Quinoa with Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil

1 cup quinoa

1 package baby bella or white mushrooms, wiped gently with a wet paper towel to remove dirt, sliced into bite size pieces

10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 or 2 cloves garlic (your preference), minced

6-8 leaves basil, rolled and chopped


Prepare all the ingredients before you start!

1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth

2 Tbs EVOO

sea salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa in 1/2 cups water (or veggie broth). Bring to a boil, turn to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Set aside.

Heat a nonstick pan on medium high heat. Add 2 Tbs EVOO and cook mushrooms, until smaller in size, brown and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and garlic.


Add oil if necessary. Sauté for a few minutes until the tomatoes are cooked. Add the basil and stir for a minute.


hmmm I could just eat this

Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper.

Serve 1 cup quinoa and top with a helping of veggies. I put the rest in a container for hungry Brett to eat after work or as a late night snack 🙂


Lunch is served!

When should you eat?

This morning marked my return to running. I didn’t go for very long, but I ran without knee problems. My discussion with Brett afterwards confirmed that running needs to be a part of my life. So, we talked. Well, to be more accurate I was talking at him while on a runner’s high:

Brett: “Thank GOD you ran today.”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Brett: “You have been one CRANKY biddy.”

Me: *ignores statement* *resumes talking*

There is something to be said about the rush that comes from post-run endorphins. If you’re new to running, I would highly recommend waking up a little early on a weekday to go for a run. I guarantee you’ll feel more productive during your work day.

During my miles, I was thinking about my meal plan for the day. One of my co-workers asked me yesterday: “I wish someone would just tell me what and when to eat, ya know? When should I eat?”

Well, as Brett and I always like to say, you should eat foods that make you feel good about your body and energize you. As for when? In order to keep your metabolism stimulated throughout the day, you should be eating every 2 to 3 hours. If I eat breakfast at 7:30am, I usually set my phone alarm for 10:30/11am to have a small meal like an apple with 1 Tbs cashew butter. For lunch around 1pm, I do the same thing. Sometimes work can be overwhelming, so my phone reminds me. You can also go by how your body feels. If it’s been longer than 3 hours, I usually start feeling like I have less energy. Aim to eat 5-6 meals a day – I have two smaller meals (mid-morning, late afternoon) and B, L and D. At first it may feel as though you’re eating a LOT, but once your body adjusts, you’ll begin to feel added energy throughout the day.

Since Friday night would just be Fred and me, I decided to make one of my new favorite meals, courtesy of our new subscription (thanks, Mrs. D!) to Vegetarian Times.

 Red Quinoa Bowl with Avocado, Sweet Potato and Chimichurri (Serves 4)

2 large sweet potatoes, skin-on, finely diced (1 ½–2 lb.)

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 small avocados, peeled and sliced


¼ cup olive oil

3 cups loosely packed Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped

3 Tbs lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced 

½ tsp sweet paprika

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat your oven to 425. Toss the sweet potatoes with oil on a large baking sheet, and spread in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper and roast 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Be sure to stir/flip them half way through otherwise they will not be crisp!


I made larger chunks by accident, whoops! Still delicious though

Remember for quinoa – 1 cup quinoa : 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. I sometimes add a bit of lemon juice/veggie stock to the water for added flavor. Red quinoa (along with black and white quinoa) is a protein superhero! In Brett’s Alton Brown voice:

“Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids. You need a healthy supply of amino acids in your diet in order to repair your muscles.”

In Dana language, quinoa is a GREAT post workout meal 🙂

For the chimichurri: Mix together oil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Brett and I  just finely chop the parsley and mince the garlic, but if you prefer everything to be blended, simply use a food processor.


…our way is better :p

Divide the sweet potatoes and quinoa among two bowls (for dinner if eating for two) and put the other servings in tupperware containers for lunch the following day. Top with 3 Tbs chimichurri and a few slices avocado.


and a little wine won’t hurt

long days and spicy nights

We’ve all had them. The days where you leave work utterly exhausted and all you want to do is curl up on the couch in sweatpants. Of course, my conscience usually gets to me. I pack my gym bag and bring it with me and in the morning this strikes me as a good idea. On my way home, the bag stares at me. Tonight, my conscience won out and I went to the gym for the “I’m just going to be here for 20 minutes so I can say I went” workout. Don’t judge.

Of course, like most people, there isn’t a whole lot of time left in the evening if you plan an after work gym trip. Evil Dana was contemplating those sweatpants and some bad TV. Unfortunately, I could hear Brett’s voice in my head: “Baby, you should really cook a healthy meal for yourself since I won’t be home.” Ugh.

Well, if I’m going to cook, I need to start with the essentials.



We adapted this recipe from an older issue of Clean Eating and made it to our liking. It’s easy to cook and absolutely hits the spot regardless of the season.

Spicy Red Quinoa Jambalaya (Serves 4)

1 cup red quinoa

3 bell peppers (red, orange and yellow)

10 – 15 halved cherry tomatoes


ahm numnumnum

1 cup low sodium veggie broth (for meat lovers, you can use chicken)

1 Tbs red pepper flakes (or heavier if you’re a hot tamale)

Sea salt and pepper

1 Tbs high heat cooking oil (grapeseed, safflower, coconut)

1lb shrimp (optional)

Bring 1 cup quinoa to a boil in 1 1/2 cups water. I usually add a squeeze of lemon juice to my quinoa to give it a little something extra. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat, adding the oil when hot to coat the pan. Add the bell peppers and tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes.


Add the broth and pepper flakes and let the mixture come to a boil. Then, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and layer the shrimp along the top. Cover again and cook for another 5 minutes until the shrimp are a healthy pink. Season with a little salt and pepper


Serve 3/4 cup quinoa with 1 cup of veggie mixture (or a little extra, heh).


Cheers to almost Friday!

coming back with a vengeance

Let me ask you a question.

If you found out today that you would be dealing with arthritis in your back for the rest of your life, what would you do?

Maybe go home and have some comfort food…watch tv…call your family and share the news?

What if, instead of schlepping on the couch, you said: “I will not let this define me” and pushed yourself to do something great?

I’m proud to say that the person I plan on spending the rest of my life with did just that. This morning, Brett signed up for the StoneMill 50 Miler and I couldn’t be more inspired by his determination. There is nothing more motivating that seeing someone you love keep their head up and move forward in the face of one of life’s hurdles. As Brett and I like to say, this year’s motto is “coming back with a vengeance.” Well, babe, you’re sprinting forward with a vengeance!

In honor of his big commitment, we started off the day with a healthy breakfast to fuel our day.

Quinoa Cereal with Fresh Fruit (Serves 1)

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 Tbs sunflower seeds

1/2 cup fresh fruit (think sliced banana or strawberries)

Between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk depending on your cereal preference (Try Silk’s unsweetened vanilla – delicious!)



Lunch was even more exciting given that we are both still salivating over last night’s new recipe from Herbivoracious. We tweaked this recipe to our liking and we were very pleased with the results. Don’t be surprised when you see it on next week’s meal plan!

Green Lentils and Mushroom Stew (Serves 4)

1 small white onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 Tbs EVOO

2 cups green lentils

4 cups water

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbs plus 2 tsp sherry vinegar

1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

12 big leaves of basil, chiffonade (chiffonade means to pile the leaves on top of one another, roll them up and chop up – this will make long, thin ribbons)

black pepper

2 Tbs fresh thyme

In a large saucepan, saute the onions and garlic on medium high heat with 1 Tbs olive oil, until softened. Add the lentils and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, until the water is mostly all absorbed.

While the lentils are coming alive, prep the sherry vinegar (two small bowls – 1 for the Tbs and the other for the 2tsp), the paprika and the salt. Part of this should be added to the lentils (paprika, 1 Tbs vinegar, salt) once the water is absorbed.

In a saute pan, fry the mushrooms with the other Tbs of oil, flipping and stirring occasionally until browned on all sides. Remove from heat and season with the fresh thyme.


Note: Do not add salt while cooking. This will draw out the mushroom moisture in the pan. If you do salt, do so sparingly, but we recommend waiting until after.

Toss the halved cherry tomatoes with 2 tsp vinegar, basil and a little EVOO.


I could eat just this…

Start an assembly line to prep your serving dish. Plate 3/4 cup lentils, a portion of mushrooms and tomatoes to top. Keep in mind that you will need two serving of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.


Congrats, Brett – I’m so proud of you!

Fred runs, Fred sleeps, I cook

As I’m lacing up my shoes in prep for some running, this big guy is blocking my path.


Take me with you!

It seems that Fred Astaire was demanding that I take him with me and he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. The problem with Fredrunning is that we have to stop every minute or so for Fred to sniff, pee, that “other thing” that requires bags, pant or raise his ears. After about a mile, he’s right in stride with me. After two, he’s done.



Since I missed our outdoor interval training this week with The Running Store, I decided to head for the dreadmill to work on my speed. Once I save up to buy my Garmin 610  with heart rate monitor and GPS (sigh), you will never see me near a dreadmill again. I’m serious. I’ve noticed that ever since I picked up long distance races, my speed has declined. Interval training not only helps your body handle longer and more intense workouts, but you burn more calories too! As Brett and I head into our official marathon training in September (yikes!), we will incorporate 1 day a week to an interval workout.

Following my indoor torture, I had to be really creative in the kitchen. Food is sparse before grocery shopping day. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for this masterpiece.

Balsamic Rosemary Marinated Tofu with Red Peppers and Quinoa

1 package extra firm tofu, cubed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup cooked quinoa (for 1 serving)

1 Tbs high heat oil (we use Grapeseed or Safflower)

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional for some kick)


4 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs EVOO

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

fresh rosemary, to taste (or 1 tsp dried)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the glaze ingredients into a bowl and whisk. Mix together with tofu and set aside for at least 30 minutes.


In the meantime, I tackled the dishes from last night and this morning. When Brett is in a rush (he usually is), he leaves a trail behind him. His mom and I call him the “tornado” because he blows through and you’re left with the kitchen aftermath. Joy.

Since my stomach was screaming at me for food, I took a break to have one of Brett’s sweet potato cacao nib bars post workout.


Don’t worry, he’ll post the recipe soon 🙂

Once the tofu has marinated for at least 30 minutes, heat a sauté pan on high and add the oil to coat the pan. Stir fry the tofu and red pepper until the liquid is absorbed and remove from heat. Serve with 1/2 cup quinoa. I added a little extra balsamic to the top – no one was looking 🙂


Saturday success