Oh My Gourd, I Love Fall Food!

There’s nothing like a good fall recipe to bring me back from the bloggers’ dead. I pinned this bad boy from Paleo Running Momma even before the first leaves of the season had changed; now that I’ve broken out my sweaters and scarves, I figured it was time to give Caramelized Onion Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash the old college try.


Allow me to whet your autumnal appetite with this photo of my precious stuffed acorns in the oven. 


  • 2 small/medium acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds and pulp removed
  • 1 lb sausage (I used Trader Joe’s garlic herb chicken sausage)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • cooking fat (I used olive oil)
  • minced garlic
  • 1 medium/large apple, roughly chopped (I used honeycrisp)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped (I used 1 tsp dry)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped (I used 2/3 tsp dry)
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste


I’m not going to go step-by-step because that’s boring, and you’re probably not reading this for the recipe anyway. But I will say, stuffing the squash — while adorably Instagram-able — is annoying. The hole isn’t deep or wide enough to fit all the goodies inside, so spillage is unavoidable. That said, this is definitely a repeat recipe, but next time I’m just going to make the sausage-apple-onion-spinach mixture and add chopped-up squash. The sweetness of the apples and squash combined with the saltiness of the sausage is scrumptious, and rosemary and thyme are the perfect herbs to round out the flavor profile.


The spillage is real.

Broad City

Now that I’ve gotten a sufficient amount of post-race slumber, I can document my experience in yesterday’s Broad Street Run. For those who are unfamiliar with the annual event, it’s a 10-mile trek down one of Philadelphia’s major thoroughfares and the largest 10-miler in the country with roughly 40,000 participants.

I ran Broad Street two years ago, when I was still living in Maryland. It was my longest run to date on a cold and rainy day, so I was quite content with my official time of 1:32:54, or an average pace of 9:17/mile. But this time around, my goal was to average out to 8:40/mile. That’s not as fast as my half marathon time, but my training during this long, cold winter was pretty non-existent, so I cut myself some slack. However, in what has become true Emily fashion, I crushed my goal! My official time — which varied greatly from my MapMyRun time — was 1:25:16, or 8:31/mile. The course is all flat or downhill, so it’s a great race for setting a PR (personal record). That said, I know several other factors contributed to my speediness.


Let’s start with the weather. At 58 degrees and cloudy, Mother Nature delivered the ideal race forecast. I was nervous I’d be cold in a tank top prior to the race, but I wasn’t.


My strategically-placed fan base also kept me motivated. I had my ever-supportive boyfriend Brian cheering for me a little after the four-mile mark (thanks, babe!), and my parents and sister were allegedly stationed in the median between miles eight and nine. I say “allegedly” because unbeknownst to me the runner tracking app, RaceJoy, lost connection after a few miles, so the fam never saw me and I never saw them. However, knowing they were there definitely gave me a boost near the end.

As always, I’d like to thank the Academy wonderful people of Philadelphia for coming out in full force to support the runners. It’s so encouraging to get a high-five and a “You got this!” from a complete stranger, and I hope to one day return the favor.

Lastly, I want to thank the man on the subway whose silent tolerance to having my body pushed up against his was greatly appreciated. I crammed myself in just enough so that my ponytail wasn’t sliced in half by the doors of the car, and coincidentally my friend Gwenn was right there to witness and capture the awkward hilarity of the situation.

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Second Whole30 Conquered

My second Whole30 is complete! For the past 30 days I’ve been quietly forgoing all grains, dairy, legumes, added sugars/sweeteners and alcohol. So how do I feel? I feel healthy, but I also feel nervous to regain my food freedom.

Contrary to what you might believe, watching what you eat is easy when entire food groups are eliminated. Once my reintroduction period is complete, I’ll have free reign over my diet, which means having to consciously choose whether or not to have whatever sweet treats are brought into the office on any given day. I’ve developed really good eating habits over the past 30 days, like not snacking while watching TV or movies just for the sake of doing so, and I hope they carry over into my “civilian” life.

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When I finished my first Whole30, almost everyone asked whether I’d lost weight, to which I replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” This time around, I am proud to report than I lost four pounds, at least according to the scale at my gym. That said, I’ve also been going to the gym more than I ever have before. I think improvements to my diet and workout routine combined have also contributed to a flatter stomach and an overall toned look. It’s hard to tell under all the layers I’ve been wearing (COME ON, MOTHER NATURE!), but trust me.

I want to end this post with a book recommendation. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a fan of anything written by Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig. Food Freedom Forever is no exception. It’s intended to be used as a post-Whole30 (or other reset) resource, but I think anyone could benefit from it. It’s all about eliminating the negative feelings we associate with food. I’m about three-quarters of the way through and it’s due back at the library tomorrow, so you know what I’ll be doing tonight. Seriously, give it a read. 


Running in the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection)

On Saturday I ran my first half marathon, the Dietz and Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon. Not only was it my first race of that distance, it was also my first run of that distance, and I’m so glad I chose my new home as the setting.


For a less blurry version, click the word “course” below

The course was fantastic. The hills were few and far between, and we got to see so many of the city’s unique neighborhoods. People lined the streets with signs and noisemakers to cheer on the runners, and it truly invigorated both my soul and my body. Some fans would even read my name on my bib and shout, “Go, Emily!” My favorite fans by far though were my dad and sister, who were waiting about half a mile from the finish line. Seeing them gave me just the adrenaline boost I needed to make that last stretch my fastest. The Gatorade jelly at mile 11 probably helped, too.


As for my time, I had set a goal of finishing within two hours, which is just over nine minutes per mile. During my training though, I realized this was a modest goal. My average speed, even for 8, 9, 10-mile runs was trending higher and higher, and it seemed the colder it was, the faster I ran. So crushing my initial goal on race day was exciting, but not unexpected. My official finish time was 1:52:50, or 8:36 per mile. At most points during the race, I felt like I was flying. Between the competition and the cheering fans, I was motivated to push my body harder than ever before. My mantra was if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you, which I read on a middle-aged female runner’s t-shirt a month or so ago. I have been changed (for good. . . Wicked, anybody?) and now I’m on a quest to find my next challenge!


My friend Maddie and me with the so-called Revolutionary Runner after the race

Mi Cocina Latina

Last night’s culinary creation combined one new recipe with two old ones I picked up while on the Whole30 for a tasty dinner with Latin flair.18516215_10159045122845221_1841648487_n

These chimichurri chicken drumsticks are, according to Greatist, one of Whole30 Co-founder Melissa Hartwig’s 11 favorite recipes. When I cook chicken it’s usually breasts, but these drumsticks, after marinating in chimichurri and spending the last few minutes in the oven under the broiler, simply can’t be beat. I use the chimichurri recipe from the Whole30 book, then cook the drumsticks at 375 degrees for about 55 minutes. Sounds scrumptious, right? But wait… there’s more! I use the Whole30 ranch for dipping! Melissa (Hartwig, keep up!) drizzles it over her chicken, but I found that unless I dunk my ‘sticks, the dressing slides right off. These are full of flavor, but I recommend saving some chimichurri and recoating the chicken if you plan to heat up leftovers; after a day in the fridge, the sauce kind of soaked in.
The new recipe I incorporated was plantain chips. I found this particular recipe on Pinterest. I tried two different seasoning combinations for comparison: salt and pepper and sweet and spicy. The recipe says to bake your thinly-sliced plantains at 400 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes, flipping them after eight. Since the chicken was in the oven, I used the toaster oven for these, and they took a little less time and a little more monitoring. After about 14 minutes, I had tasty chips as addictive as any you’d find in the store.
One plantain made about a serving and a half. Only problem is they did not store well. I kept them in a Tupperware container overnight and when I went to serve them tonight with my leftover chicken, they were no longer crisp or flavorful. I plan on making them again, but I’ll have to be hungry enough to eat a whole plaintain’s worth at once.
Overall, this was a meal I will make again. Even if Mom asks where the green vegetable was.

Animal Crackers

I did something today I don’t think I’ve done since before my Whole30. I snacked between breakfast and lunch. The worst part about it is I bought something from the vending machine at work with very little, if any, nutritional value. Animal crackers.pic

I figured they would do less harm than a bag of greasy chips or empty carb pretzels. I haven’t restocked my desk drawer with healthy snacks yet, and I got hungry a good two hours before I planned on taking my lunch break. I’ll chalk it up to an earlier than usual breakfast and one that contained less protein than it should have. I had sweet potato toast topped with a single egg, strawberries and almond butter. I should’ve added the salami like I’d originally intended. I have to remember that my Whole30 breakfasts always kept me full until lunch, whereas what I ate before the Whole30 usually did not, most likely because of minimal protein.


Whole30 Day 30

Well folks, I think it’s quite ironic that on my last day of the Whole30 I felt bloated for most of the day and had a myriad of zits on my face, but así es la vida, as my high school Spanish teacher used to say. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. After all, neither of those symptoms is something I’ve struggled with before or during the Whole30.

But enough “oh woe is me;” I did it! I went 30 days without consuming any grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol or added sugar! I didn’t doubt that I could do it, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless. I really didn’t even miss the things I couldn’t have too much, which is good considering I still have a 10-day reintroduction period ahead of me.

As has been a recurring theme with my recent posts, I don’t feel all that different than I did before I started the Whole30. I’ll spend tomorrow taking inventory of any non-scale victories and weigh myself to see if there’s been a change there. But if you remember, what I was most hoping to take away from this is something I can’t test until I regain my food freedom. Once my reintroduction is complete and I can eat whatever my heart and tummy desire, I’m immensely curious to see which foods I gravitate toward.

More than anything else, this experience has taught me how to know the difference between hunger and cravings. If I feel like eating something but the thought of having, say, chicken and vegetables doesn’t sound satisfying, it’s probably a craving and will pass. If I determine I’m truly hungry I should opt for a mini meal that contains at least two of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs).

Thanks to the Whole30, I’ve gained a new, healthier relationship with what I put in my body, and I hope it lasts well beyond the 30 days it took to acquire.