Chili, Caffeine, Clif Shots

Ithaca Chili Cook-off is today! That means busy at CTB, and taking pictures of the event for Agava. I’m debating doing a bit of biking before I go out there. Sometimes the spinning makes my legs feel good, but I also know I will be on my feet most of the day.

I had two confidence boosting runs this week, which I’ve been waiting for. My hamstring is behaving as long as I take short strides.

I’m sold on the salted watermelon Clif Shots. They are delicious and I can put down a bunch of them. I’m also sold on scones. I’ve been eating one as an afternoon snack for the past week and they make me smile.

I started drinking caffeinated coffee in the mornings. I’ve been off caffeine since JFK in November. However, I want to use caffeine in my races for a boost, so my coach thinks I should introduce some of it back in before race day. Still on decaf for everything else.

My sister did her first 10 mile run of her marathon (!!!) training plan this morning and she didn’t walk at all! I’m so proud of her. I can’t wait to do this race together. If I didn’t mention it, we’re going to Texas in May to run the Silo District Marathon. Run-cation is the plan, road-tripping and stopping along the way is also scheduled.

I’ve been reading Liza Howard’s blog, and I love the format. It’s quick, funny and something that makes me smile. I think if I want to blog more often, the way she does it is sustainable for me. I’ll even include my running time like she does.

If anyone doesn’t know who Liza is, you should. Powerhouse running coach, mom and amazing athlete.

Breakfast today: oatmeal with maple syrup, bananas and peanut butter

Running: 118:28 minutes

Ellie Eats Ithaca #2

Gorgers Taco Shack

I’d heard that if I go to Gorgers, I have to get the Blueberry BBQ sauce. On anything. Why go against solid BBQ sauce advice? I was the only person in the shop, as it had dumped a bunch of snow on us that morning. The guys working were very friendly and my burrito was made quickly. I have to rave about the wrapping of the burrito. It was perfect. Seriously perfect burrito roll. I am a stickler for that, because a successful burrito keeps its ingredients inside. The burrito was also covered in tin foil, another necessity, so you can unwrap as you go.

The burrito itself was very good. Nice flavor, equal ingredient distribution. I’d have like a bit more sauce on the side to dip. Not inside, because then you risk a wet burrito. I got the blueberry BBQ vegetarian burrito with rice and beans and no sour cream. It also had lettuce, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese. Everything worked together well. I left full.

Nikki Green

I’ve been here three times since it opened less than a month ago. I really like it, it just has foods I feel good eating and are also delicious. Nikki Green is the second vegan restaurant in Ithaca. While Ten Forward is more comfort vegan food, Nikki Green is a bit more healthy, but just as delicious. The first time I went I got the Tangi bowl, rice topped with tofu, broccoli, ginger, green peas, sesame seeds and a turmeric dressing. I got a small size, and it was actually enough! I was so surprised, but they did it correctly. The only off putting thing was the big hunks of ginger. I ate one and immediately regretted it. But since they were on there, I just didn’t eat them. They didn’t add to the dish, so many it was a garnish?

The second time I went I got the Nuttin’ But Nuts bowl. It is a peanut butter and banana creamy base topped with cashew cream, macadamia nuts and cacao nibs. I was in heaven, that’s all I can say. Just read the ingredients and you know this was my jam. Everything was perfect. The base was thick, the toppings were perfect. I could eat this everyday.

The third time I went I got the chocoholic bowl. A chocolate and banana base topped with chocolate sauce, cacao nibs and granola. Another great choice. It just tasted so good! I have a hard time not going more, but I’ve got all of Ithaca to eat so…

Sammy’s Pizzaria

Sammy’s was what you expect a pizza place to be or, what you hope it will be. A few customers, great pizza, and a nice staff. I got the white garlic pizza topped with ricotta and mozzarella and tons of garlic. It wasn’t too salty or greasy. The pizza is just the way I like it, thin and foldable and huge slices. The bottom was crispy and not burned and it came out wonderfully melted. I also got another free slice for reviewing them on yelp, so I cannot hate on that!

Ithaca Coffee Company

I must confess all I got here was a scone and I had to take it to go so I didn’t truly immerse myself in the environment. The scone was good. It was cinnamon chip, and had some crunch on the outside. I cannot rave about it because I’ve had better scones in Ithaca. The shop was really cute and I will go back for lunch someday, but I wasn’t blown away this time. The guy also said their most popular scone, the chocolate raspberry, was sold out. Next time!

Press Bay Cafe

I had never been over to Press Bay Alley outside of once when the Star Truck was there. Press Bay Cafe is a hipster coffee shop. It has a small menu, and does one thing well. I got the vanilla maca latte, in decaf. It was actually very good! For great coffee drinks (not just drip) I would recommend it. Would I go there everyday? No, because I really only like drip coffee, but I wanted to try it. Great vibe, quiet, just not my style.

Almost done with my third post! I’m making my way through Ithaca and it’s delicious 🙂

Ellie Eats Ithaca #1

My 2018 goal is to try all the different Ithaca restaurants. I’m talking restaurants unique to Ithaca, not the random Taco Bell on the corner. This might sound like an easy goal, however let me tell you my history with money.

Quite simply, I’m a saver and highly frugal. I don’t like to spend money on things like eating out when I can make food or get food from work very cheaply. It is a big mental block in my mind to pay for something that has no value after one use. We can deep dive into that later if anyone cares, but long story short, since the beginning of the year, I’ve decided to treat myself to lunches out on my days off. I have a bit more expendable income now, so I figure it’s a good expense.

And you know what? I really like taking myself out to eat!

I do reviews on Yelp, but figured I could post a photo and a little bit about what I’ve been eating here in 2018.

Agava Restaurant

Disclaimer: I work as the social media manager for Agava.

I took my coach here for brunch a few weeks ago and had a pleasant experience. I know everyone and so they were very charming. I got the huevos rancheros and he got the veggie burger and fries. Mine was delicious, his was underwhelming in appearance, but he said it was good.

Kilpatrick’s Publick House

I went here with two coworkers on Saturday afternoon. I was really excited because this is the only place in town serving the Beyond Meat Impossible Burger! I am not a big burger fan, but I was curious to try it. I was impressed. The burger was juicy and flavorful. I got it on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and gouda cheese. My one coworker got the fish and chips and the other got shrimp scampi. We were all satisfied.

Ten Forward Cafe

Ten Forward is my favorite Ithaca cafe simply because I love the women who own it and it’s the first all-vegan place in our city. They have great scones, milkshakes and desserts. I went here for lunch alone on a negative degree temperature day. The special was sausage biscuits and gravy…which absolutely hit the spot! It was comforting, warm and very filling. The biscuits were most and tasty and the sausage gravy could probably food a meat eater.

Pita On The Street

I took my lunch from here to go as it is really “on-the-street” and not much seating. I was also doing some work for Agava, so I wanted a bit more space. I got the hummus pita with all the toppings. I really wanted the roasted eggplant pita, but they hadn’t got their eggplant delivery yet, so they couldn’t make the dip. No big, the pita bread itself was excellent. I enjoyed everything except I wish the hummus had a bit more flavor. The tzatziki sauce made it.

Cafe DeWitt

I was beyond impressed with the Eggs Florentine I got from this place and with their service. It was another sub-zero day with tons of snow. I had wanted to try this place for a long time, and I figured it wouldn’t be busy. I was correct and was seated immediately. The specials all sounded good, but I the hollandaise sauce on the Florentine spoke to me. No regrets everything was perfect. The eggs were poached exactly correct (I think this is my favorite way to eat eggs now). The hollandaise sauce is something I want to carry in my bottle at my next race. The spinach and focaccia bread were both fresh and delicious. I will be back soon!

Stay tuned for the next 5 restaurants!

How I Cook and Eat In The Iron Lady

I used to love cooking and baking. I still do enjoy those things, but as my living situations change, I realize that I can go for long periods of time not doing it and be ok. It will be there when I want to do it, and I enjoy it when it happens.

Eating in my van has been a bit different, but largely not a huge struggle. I eat the same things, I just have a smaller space to prepare them.

I am using an electric hot plate and electric kettle to cook the majority of things that need to be hot. I steam my veggies (I love broccoli and snap peas and was not about to give that up!) while I go to my work and make dinner.

Let me explain my work situation and how I have taken advantage of that to eat relatively easy in my van.

Anyone who has worked in food knows there is simply a lot of waste. That’s the nature of building a business where your product goes bad after a few days. At the end of the night, we throw away any food that is past the sell-by date. In the past I have usually taken bread (which gets tossed everyday) or food both because it’s delicious and because it would get tossed anyway. Now, I just do it every night. I make a sandwich or take an entree, heat it up there and bring it back to my van to eat with my veggies. I usually set my veggies to cook on my hot plate, then go get dinner from work and then when I get back to the van the veggies are still steaming.

For breakfast, I make oatmeal with my electric kettle and put peanut butter and banana on it. I also get coffee from work.

Lunches are either eaten at work or I take myself out for lunch. I quite enjoy this actually. I plan to try all the Ithaca restaurants in 2018, and I’m 4 down already!

The biggest pain has been spilling stuff or dropping things. It’s a small space, and I am a big person, so I forget my appendages hit things often times. I spilled ketchup on the floor the other day, and thankfully I think I got most of it out of the rug. I need to be more careful about that.

Another bonus I got this week was CHIPS! My brother’s wide Cassidy is best friends with the co-owner of Off The Cob Corn Chips, an Ithaca based company that was on Shark Tank. At their wedding, I met Molly, the co-owner, and she comes into CTB everyday for lunch. She hooked me up with a box of bags of their famous chips.

Let me tell you, I couldn’t be more grateful. I love these chips. The corn is grown locally at Early Bird Farm, the chips have a sweeter taste and are perfect for snacking and dipping. I have been eating a lot of these in the van, they are perfect!

So that’s it, how I eat. Any questions?

Products I’m Enjoying: November 2017

The frozen hands and rainy days aside, I quite enjoy this time of year. It’s not perfect outside, so running takes a bit more effort. Layering is starting to happen and I just love a big comfy sweater and a book. It is my time to begin to slow down and just be.

In addition to those reasons, I have had the chance to being back or try some items that have been on the back burner for a few months. I’ve provided links where appropriate so if you’re interested, try them out!

Coconut Butter

Swanson Vitamins recently reached out and sent me some goodies to try. One of these things was this delicious coconut butter. I have loved coconut butter in the past, but often forget about it as I am an self-proclaimed peanut butter addict. This week for breakfast I have been enjoying coconut butter, peanut butter and maple syrup sandwiches and OH MY STARS that’s GOOD! I don’t know why I never got on the peanut butter and butter train, but now I’m not getting off. Head to their website to see all the other great stuff they have!


A couple weekends ago my sister was selling her beautiful wood panels and other home goods at The Pumpkin Stand in Lodi, NY. While there I bought some of their delicious delicata, spaghetti, butternut and acorn squash. Conveniently on the way home, I stopped at my parent’s house and my mom had made her famous tomato sauce, which I stole and have been eating this week. I’m not crazy for pumpkin, but I do enjoy these winter squash, especially since I can make them in the microwave!

Chocolate Honey

The Philosophie is a brand I’ve supported and represented before because I love the message. They believe your health deserves the best, and it really does right? I’ve been swirling this superfood cacao honey into my smoothies or on top of the mounds of toasts I’ve been consuming recently and it adds a touch of sweetness that is just right. Also, peanut butter topped with this stuff is beyond fantastic!

Wheat Germ

Since getting my results from Inside Tracker, I noticed that wheat germ was a recommended food to raise both my vitamin D and Iron levels. Although I don’t normally use this, I figured it would be an easy add to my oatmeal (my oatmeal is getting complicated now with more than just oats, PB and banana…what the health?!) It does add a depth that I quite enjoy. It gives the oats a bread texture and I can actually spread the peanut butter on top. Not ideal for mixing things in after, so I’d advise mixing in whatever before cooking. I’m also going to experiment adding it to yogurt, but I haven’t done that yet.

Current Shoe Rotation

On Cloud Cruiser

I like using these for the gym. They have extra toe room for the elliptical and a solid platform when I do my easy 20 minute gym routine. They are not fancy, but they get the job done. I’ve tried to run in them and use them for short runs of less than 5 miles, after that I like shoes to be a bit more specific to my foot.

Hoke Speed Instinct

I bought these last week and have run in them twice, 16 miles and 12 miles. I love them and think I will use them for my next race. They have enough cushion without being bulky, the appropriate lugs for both trail and road, and conform to my foot well. I have run in the Hoka Clifton before and enjoyed them, so I’m glad I found another Hoka shoe I like.

On Cloud Flyer

Oh these shoes! Each time I’ve run in them the past week I’ve gotten poured on…and they are fantastic! They drain surprisingly well, I have no blisters and they are not wearing down. They are the most cushioned of the On line, and these days that’s what my feet need. A bit more durable upper and the classic cloud pattern on the bottom, I recommend them for middle distance runs (6-11 miles).

Other shoes I’m wearing a bit: On Cloud, Altra Impulse