We are just a handful of days from what will be the most emotionally charged Boston Marathon event in history. I am thrilled and honored to feature my friend, fellow foodie and promoter of health, Chrissy Horan, as today’s guest blogger.

Used with permission

Photo used with permission

She’ll share thoughts on her picky eater beginnings, on feeding a hungry marathoner (herself), and one of her fave recipes. Sweet Potato Burritos!

Sweet Potato Burritos -- Juggling With Julia

Chrissy is a seasoned marathoner, and after 18 weeks of intense training in what has to have been the longest winter ever, she is finally tapering her workouts for next week’s race. This will be her 8th Boston Marathon.

Last year, she had just finished the race and was receiving her medal when the bombs went off.

Will it feel different this year? I would think so. And yet she presses on with the same determination I have always admired. She redefines the phrase ‘road warrior’ in so many ways. No amount of face-freezing temps, slippery roads, demanding training schedules, or aches and pains can keep her from what she loves or from what she is committed to accomplishing. In addition to logging hundreds of training miles, she has raised  a buttload of money on behalf of Run to End Alzheimer’s, a program she has been supporting for several years.

In 8 days she will again embark on this historic 26.2 mile run. You can follow her progress on Marathon Monday by tracking her bib # 25520 via the Boston Athletic Association. She also writes about her experiences in the Boston running community, so check her out at her Boston.com running blog.

I’ll be cheering from my comfy leather couch with the cat on my lap and her Sweet Potato Burrito in my hand :) Please join me in wishing Chrissy the best of luck running the 118th Boston Marathon

Run, Chrissy, run! May you be fierce, fabulous, and fleet of foot :)
What to eat? It’s one of my favorite questions, though not always an easy one to answer.

As a runner, I enjoy having a big appetite that allows me to occasionally indulge in my favorite foods, while maintaining an overall healthy diet. Despite only eating carrots and iceberg lettuce until I was 18, I happen to really like vegetables. I also really happen to like chocolate. And cookies.

Too much of any of these are not great for running. I find myself constantly balancing foods that are good for me, that taste good and that won’t fight with my stomach half way through a 7 (or 17) mile run. And specifically when training for a marathon, I’m also balancing how long it takes to prepare, because those extra miles take extra time each week. 

My go-to dinners are usually simple; one or two pot/pan meals for limited ingredients and minimal clean up. A large sauté pan can be my best friend. Most meals consist of some combination of veggies (often frozen) plus protein like tofu or shrimp, or a handful or cashews or peanuts for even quicker prep. My Italian heritage requires I eat a lot of pasta, though rice sees its fair share of plate time too.  The difference betweens most of these meals is often the sauce that ties the ingredients together.

I try to make a big meal on Sundays, because the only “cooking” I have time for during the week is really just a lot of reheating (and a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). Last weekend I made one if my favorites, sweet potato burritos. The ingredients and prep are simple, but the meal is tasty. Even my carnivore boyfriend likes it (and took leftovers for lunch the next day!). For lunch time leftovers, I usually skip the tortilla and just throw the ingredients over rice. I often eat at my desk, and my cubicle is not the ideal burrito station.

I also usually make a “green” veggie as a side with the burritos, for balance and color. Or occasionally I will use the same ingredients to make a quesadilla and just throw the veggies inside. Spinach, broccoli or asparagus work well.  

This recipe is energy packed but not for the carb-averse. You can certainly modify it however so it does not include both rice and tortillas. And you might want to wait to eat the beans until after that run :)

Sweet Potato Burritos
Makes 4 burritos

Prep time:  15 minutes        Cook time: 35-45 minutes

Whole wheat tortillas
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of salsa
½ avocado, sliced
2 cups of cooked rice (*try frozen brown rice, like Trader Joe’s, takes just 3 minutes in microwave)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

Toss onion and sweet potatoes with olive oil in a large bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, flipping 1-2 times. 

Create an assembly line with the tortillas, potato/onion mixture, beans, cheese, salsa, avocado, and rice. Layer each of the ingredients in an open tortilla. Eat as is, or roll them up, place in a baking pan, and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until  the tortillas are lightly crisp.

Sweet Potato Burritos -- Juggling With Julia




I’m no techie. I use technology, but I don’t get technology.
Even blogging technology.

Especially blogging technology.

I do get baking.

Pear Walnut Bread -- Juggling With Julia

Behold Exhibit A. Pear Walnut Bread. Chomp.

But the rest? I don’t know a host from a permalink, and don’t ask me about SEO or plugins.
I could not easily explain these to anybody.

Still, I continue on, blogging blindly, hoping for the best.

What can I say, except that I am an optimist.
And also, nobody can be good at everything.

I’ll stick to being good at math, and telling stories, and sharing recipes that I think you all will like. And eating and tasting and leveraging bacon when necessary to get buy-in from my family.

I will stop worrying so much about why, in the past week, I’ve lost my “subscribe to JWJ by email” button and my ability to view any blog statistics. I’ll figure it out eventually, or get help.

While I’m working on all that, I’ve got a job for you.

Pear Walnut Bread -- Juggling With Julia

Make this amazing pear walnut bread. It’s moist and full of cinnamon and clove and sweet pears, and is sneakily good for you with whole wheat flour, applesauce in place of some of the oil, and wholesome goodness from nuts and fruit.

It’s inspired by my Uncle Rich’s apple bread, which he gifts us every year at Christmas. The kids got a hankering for it, so I called him up, got the recipe, then applied my usual twists.

I’m no techie, but I do alright in the kitchen :)

Pear Walnut Bread -- Juggling With Julia

Pear Walnut Bread
Adapted from Uncle Rich’s apple bread recipe
Makes 1 loaf

Prep time: 20 minutes      Bake time: 55-65 minutes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ripe pears, peeled and sliced (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
cinnamon/sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a loaf pan with spray oil.

In a small bowl, add the flours, salt, cinnamon, clove, and baking soda. Whisk together until well combined, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add the oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla, and stir until well combined. Add the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Fold in the pears and walnuts. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Place in the oven on a rack positioned in the center.

Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If desired, sprinkle top with cinnamon/sugar about half-way through cooking time. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before inverting the pan and removing the bread to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Pear Walnut Bread -- Juggling With Julia IMG_4384






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