3-in-one Muffin Goodness

Got this recipe in an email this morning (thanks, Runner’s World!) and though it’s helping my withdrawals from that magazine, it’s making my sweet potato and pumpkin cravings so much worse!

I’m definitely making these when I go home for break, and doubtless many times throughout spring semester when I’m living in a real, live house with a real, live kitchen and can throw real, live dinner parties / breakfast parties / breakfast-for-dinner parties with my housemates when we move in! Can’t wait, Cait and Kaitlin!

*This recipe– and the photo– are copied and pasted straight from RW’s website, and I haven’t tried it yet, so I’m not responsible for damages! You can find it here.




Sweet Potato Muffins
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (preferably pastry flour)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pureed or mashed cooked sweet potato
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375° F. Grease 12 muffin cups or add paper liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

In a bowl, whisk butter, oil, sweet potato, egg, and buttermilk. Fold wet mixture into the dry; stir until just combined.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Banana Nut Variation Reduce sugar to 1/2 cup. Replace sweet potato with 1 cup mashed, very ripe banana; add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the batter.

Pumpkin Coconut Variation Replace sweet potato with 1 cup canned pumpkin; add 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut to the batter.

FAT: 9 G


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Wine, Leather, and Andrea Bocelli

I haven’t written a music post in a long time, even though I think of it every time I’m out on a run. Most of the music I would be sharing, if I should ever remember to write the post, would be American (or Canadian), so I wanted to make my priority posting a video of a very talented Italian, Andrea Bocelli.

He’s pretty famous, so a lot of you have probably heard of him, but I hadn’t and hearing him in the car one night this weekend kinda changed my life. His voice is so beautiful. I like this video because a couple is figure-skating to his music and he sings with a young lady who’s also very talented.

So, here’s “Vivo Per Lei,” trans. “I live for her”

Now a few images of my weekend with my mom and dad in Chianti.

And a preview of the best thing I’ve bought in Italy: it’s something leather. The reason I’m keeping you in suspense is not just to be maddening, but because I only have a photo of it under lamplight, and I want one in natural morning light tomorrow. It makes a huge difference, trust me. Can you guess what it is? (Mom, Dad, Katie, and Jeff, no spoilers!)

Venice is off this weekend, but it’s just as well because I have a ton to do regarding midterms and fall break/marathon travel preparations, as well as a haircut and a touch of shopping. As long as I stay away from downtown during the worst tourist hours Saturday and Sunday, it should be a delightfully low-key weekend.

Love to all, thinking of my mama and daddy as they arrive home and head back to work…



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Off My Game



I was out of town in the mountains with my parents this weekend, and I just knew a long run wouldn’t be possible. My philosophy this semester is to keep my priorities straight– they can get all sorts of wacky and off-balance when I return to Davidson, but not now. And family and friends definitely come before running. The only down side to that is that there have been a lot of family and friends around precisely when I’ve needed to do a lot of running.

Long story short, I missed my long run (18 miles) entirely this weekend. (Surprisingly to me, I say “missed” in the sense of skipped, but also in the sense of being sad that I couldn’t do it.)

Also I twisted my ankle on a hole in the sidewalk yesterday (curses, Florence, for not paving) and am definitely taking today off too, to be on the safe side with injury. That will make four days in a row off, and I don’t dare take more than that. Dean Hurley said he would pray with me through the computer, and I’d appreciate all of your prayers as well!

But it’s not the end of the world, I know many runners of my level have run marathons on less training than I’ve done, and that it’s about the journey and the learning. The race itself is like the after-party, as Emily says. What I think I’m going to do is run 10-12 on Wednesday to at least approach the idea of a long run, then my other two regular workouts Thursday and Friday, then leave for Venice Friday-Saturday. When I get home to Florence on Sunday, my only priority during the day is to do my last super-long run, 20 miles, and then happily begin the taper period. I could shorten my taper by a week to do both the 18 and the 20, but I’d rather show up at the race a little undertrained and excited than burned out, you know?

Off to shower and get ready for la scuola. Many things to accomplish today:

-Turn in my Art History midterm paper

-Take quiz in Italian on irregular verbs in the past tense. Hmm.

-Meet Mom and Dad for lunch at the Oil Shoppe and visit Florence’s oldest perfumery and pharmacy together

-Book a hostel for Laura and I in Venice

-Book a flight from Paris –>Madrid –> Granada (this is getting down to the last minute, eep)

Talk to you later!


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So Much to Talk About

Gosh. I’m going to be a very good blogger for the next few weeks because there isn’t that long until the marathon and I haven’t checked in with you guys lately! Where to begin…

I ran 20(ish) miles on Monday. I happen to know it was a little under because I checked my route against google maps, but I’m counting it, because the run was extremely strong and I could have kept going.

I had the best recovery meal imaginable after class on Tuesday, which was: a grilled cheese sandwich from The Oil Shoppe (semisoft pecorino, sauteed mushrooms, and truffle oil, + 2 fried eggs and pesto on whole wheat bread) and a smoothie from Lovelife juice store, containing dates, mangoes, almond milk, and yogurt. They called the combination: The Marathon. I had no choice but to get it, especially considering my day had no calorie limit. :) I’ve missed my almond milk. I’ve stopped reading a lot of my favorite fitness blogs because of foods I absolutely can’t bear to look at without being able to obtain, actually. I would do anything for a soy or almond milk latte from Whole Paycheck and a bowl of pumpkin oatmeal with raisins and walnuts right now.

About fitness bloggers… I’ve noticed that they occupy a very specific demographic. College-educated, white, mostly women in their late twenties or early thirties, married or in committed relationships, with dogs, often went through some sort of weight loss / healthification process during or after college, most vegetarian or quasitarian, obsessed with pumpkin, and now, many are about to have babies. This is not fair– I can relate to the love of exercise, quasitarian-ness, and pumpkin addiction in the fall, but the rest of it is just not where I am in life right now. Where the heck is my generation? Besides, of course, the Healthy Hipster, who is fabulous. (And her tagline is genius: “too much Pabst makes you feel like crapst.”

Anyway. Other thoughts. Why has Lululemon not yet colonized Western Europe? This seems like an obvious one, folks.

My host father is singing in the living room right now, and the cat Marcello is sitting high up on a bookshelf and looking very cute. Just another day in the Bulli household. And yes, thank you news channel, in case anyone thought Italy was no longer in a crisis, you’ve set us straight– Italy is still very much in a crisis.

I found peanut butter in Florence!! Not just any old peanut butter, but organic peanut butter, and organic chestnut honey to put on crackers as much-needed fuel before my runs. Happy kid right here.

I’ve got a lot to do over the next few weeks, both in preparation for the marathon and in general. I’m spending this weekend with my parents, heading to the Biennial Contemporary Art Festival in Venice the next (!), then midterms, then fall break which I’m very excited about, then the race is the weekend after that! Can you believe it? I’m a little stunned myself. Two more long runs (18 and 20), then 3ish weeks to taper. I’ve read a lot of things that recommend getting new shoes and breaking them in during your taper, and I’m thinking that would be a good idea. I bought my shoes at the beginning of this summer, and they look like they’ve not only pounded out 500 miles, but also spent a week at the bottom of a lake and been dragged behind a train to dry off. You get the idea.

This post is very rambly, but I wanted to check in. Florence is still beautiful, especially in the evening. I ran a 7-mile hill workout today and took a Lit exam, which went pretty well, I think. I’m always nervous about the first test with a new professor. I came up with a brilliant topic for my Lit paper and my Art History paper is looking to be not too shabby, either. Tomorrow my goal is to write even a few lines of poetry. Perhaps even tonight, though I’d have to stay up until 2 to hit my productive zone again… not happening.

How’s the past week or so been for you? Any revelations, epiphanies, or discoveries? Any particularly notable Scrabble words you got to play? One of my favorites ever was “glial” as in glial cells, yes I’m a big dork, and Joe was impressed, but still managed to beat me that game. I could go for a good Scrabble showdown right now. Or Bananagrams.





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  • I ran 18 miles in Florence. If I can do 18, that means I can do 20, which is happening most likely on Monday.
  • Corinne came into town! I showed her all around Florence, and most importantly we got to spend quality time together, even if just for one day.
  • I found the address of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning’s apartment in Florence. I see an excursion in the near future.
  • I’m on the search for gourmet hot chocolate. Hemingway bar seems promising, as does Blu Bar back up in Fiesole.
  • I bought another notebook. I’m using it as an incentive to fill up the current one! I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I want to.
  • I’m always hungry at the wrong time of day in Italy… around 3 or 4pm, too late for lunch, but way to early to start thinking about dinner.
  • I walk past the Duomo without looking up, but the view from Piazzale Michelangelo (above) never fails to take my breath away.
  • Went to the Accademia yesterday morning and saw the real David! But my art history class didn’t look closely at the other sculptures or other exhibits, so I’m planning a visit back really soon.
  • My mom and dad get in this afternoon!
  • Just when I think the honeymoon is over, Florence reminds me how in love with it I am. A downpour during my run, followed by bright sunshine over the whole city and the wind blowing the first fall leaves around my feet was Florence’s gift to me today.

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The sun shines every day in Florence. It floods the piazzas and famous facades with light, and illuminates different angles of the narrow streets as it travels across the sky.

In this room, high up on the second story of Orsanmichele, the whole space is flooded with light: luminoso, as they say in Italian. There are 360-degree views through giant windows on all four sides of the space of some of the most beautiful buildings in Florence (the Duomo and campanile, Santa Croce’s facade, Palazzo Vecchio, and San Lorenzo’s dome to name a few). The ceiling boards are exposed, and they form a crisscrossing pattern in rich dark brown, a lovely contrast to the white walls and reddish tile floor.

If this space were to come on the market for real estate and I were to come into a huge fortune simultaneously, I would take it, turn it into an apartment, park my Vespa outside, and live there happily ever after.

What I do miss in Florence, though: nature and the stars. Here’s a lovely article, “In Defence of Darkness,” that’s more about being in support of moonlight. Which I most definitely am.

Where would you live, if you could pick anywhere in the world? Do you have a type of residence in mind? A houseboat? A tent? A cabin? A penthouse?



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So I subscribe to the Runner’s World Magazine “quote of the day” email, and a few really good ones have been adding up. And by “a few”, I mean a lot, so I’ll put my favorites near the top and you can scroll through them as it pleases you.

And, as soon as I run my 18 miles this Sunday, I’ll be 2/3 of the way there! Can you believe it? Only four more reallyreallyreally long distances before I get to taper. (My weekends go: 18, 20, 18, 20, 13, 10, Marathon!!!) Think I can do it? I’m pretty sure I can. Alright. Quotation time.

My favorite:

“If I didn’t run, my writing would be very different from what it is. To be a fiction writer, the most important qualities are imaginative ability, intelligence, and focus. To keep these going at a high level, you can’t neglect your physical strength. Otherwise, you can’t accomplish anything very intricate or demanding.” -Haruki Murakami, (postmodern) novelist and translator

My second favorite:

“I run mostly to see things, to explore places I don’t know. And the places I do know, like around here, then I get a sense of the weather, the shifting light, the seasonal changes; it can be pleasurable even when you hurl yourself into the teeth of nature.” -Edward Koren, artist / New Yorker cartoonist

Some more:

“There are no real risks with running, so I can go as fast as I want and as far as I want. I like the freedom of just going. I don’t have to wait for somebody to show up; instead, it’s ‘I’m outta here.'” -Ed Viesturs, mountaineer

“Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running.” -Kara Goucher

“My shoes are the one thing I know I’ll take on the road besides my guitar. I’ve run in the Alps on tour with Joan Baez, along the canals in Cambridge, England, and put lots of miles behind me all over the States.” -Josh Ritter, musician

“I definitely want to show how beautiful the marathon can be. I am the opponent of all those who find the marathon bad: the psychologists, the physiologists, the doubters. I make the marathon beautiful for myself and for others. That’s why I’m here.” -Uta Pippig, the first woman to win the Boston Marathon three consecutive times

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.” -Tim Noakes, author of Love of Running

“Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary line and adding to one’s liberty.” -Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss philosopher, poet, and critic

“Keeping my eye on today is about all I’m capable of. And today, I think I’ll go for a run.” -John Bingham, contributer, Runner’s World

“We all know that if you run, you are pretty much choosing a life of success because of it.” -Deena Kastor

“Those long runs cleanse my system, physically and mentally.” -Joan Benoit Samuelson

“There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from knowing you’re in good physical condition. I wake up alert and singing in the morning, ready to go.” -Stan Gerstein, runner

And I’ll end with this one:

“Whatever you may be missing right now – a person, a place, a feeling, maybe you are injured and missing running – whatever it is, have peace and take heart – remember that any goodbye makes room for a hello.” -Kristin Armstrong, author and runner

Off to do some morning yoga, drink a huge bottle of water (RIP Nalgene somewhere in Cinque Terre) and then it’s my day to be a tourist in Florence.



P.S. RW has excellent web content as well as being my favorite magazine out there. So if you’re ever looking for running tips, inspiration, training plans, or just anecdotes, check it out.


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