Guest post by Nicole: The Runner’s Cookbook

Hey Runner’s Kitchen readers!

This is Nicole, and Megan is currently locked in my basement. I’m feeding her Skippy (a.k.a. nonnatural!) peanut butter and white bread while I kidnap her blog.

Of course, I’m only kidding. Megan is traveling across the country and I’m guest writing for her! I run with Megan on the Central Park Track Club (CPTC), but right now I represent the more track-y/Cross Country-y half.

I was inspired today by The Runner’s Cookbook, a compilation of recipes submitted by elite runners. I got this book 2 years ago, all proceeds went to the Ryan Shay and Jenny Craig funds. I’ll put all recipes in the Recipe page!

First, let’s start with last night. I made brownie bites for everyone at the office (I work at a startup called STELLAService and spend half of my time at Dogpatch Labs, an incubator for techy startups consisting of mostly boys who happily eat my baked goods!). Since I don’t own a brownie pan, I made them in mini- and regular-sized muffin pans, making the entire brownie taste like an edge. And of course I replaced the oil with applesauce 🙂

How awesome/peculiar is that mug? Hehe-it has milk inside, I had to try out the brownies before giving them away!

My morning started out with “The Webb,” Alan Webb’s breakfast recipe. It’s simple; two pieces of toast, Trader Joe’s peanut butter, and applesauce! Webb eats his closed, but I like mine open-faced.

The Webb: Wheat toast, peanut butter, and applesauce

“The Webb” in hand, I head off to work. I had seen a tweet about free Van Leeuwen Artisanal ice cream (a promotion by giltgroupenyc) so I headed to Cooper/6th ave and got espresso! It definitely had caffeine in the ice cream so it gave me a much-needed mid-day boost.

Melting, partly consumed espresso ice cream with blue sprinkles

Then I had my standard pre-workout meal of a wheat bagel with peanut butter and a coffee. I LOVE dipping my bagel into my coffee, it’s so yummy! Then my coffee tastes like peanut butter (but has some crumbs in it).

Standard pre-workout meal

On to the hill work out: 2 x 700m, then 4 x 300m at who-knows pace, just fast, with equal distance rest. I’m from Northeast PA near the Pocono Mountains so I’ve grown up around hills and embrace them. I’ve endured a few monstrous hill workouts in my career at Bucknell so when I heard we were doing a hill workout on the bridle in Central Park that wasn’t on the Harlem Hills, I wondered where the heck we could be running. The 700m interval was rolling but mostly uphill, and the 300m interval was all uphill but very manageable. The times: 2:52, 2:46, 56.9, 57.4, 56.5, 56.0. I warmed up and cooled down with my all-star friend Melissa, a 2:10 800m runner!

I went to the Central Park Film Festival afterwards, where I was held over with a free spicy popcorn/doritos mix. Just as I was getting into “Saturday Night Fever,” I couldn’t ignore my stomach anymore and headed to Whole Foods to pick up some pumpkin! But before I could get even halfway through the line I drank the entire chocolate soy milk I was holding (Megan says: I do this all the time. I don’t even notice the weird looks from the cashier anymore, hehe).

How could you resist the panda? Does soy milk come from pandas? Not sure I get the marketing here:) Note my artistic combining of the milk and my roommate’s Penn Relays wheel. I live with some fast guys!

Back at home, I made some “Peanut Butter Pumpkin Soup” submitted by Amby Burfoot. I’m mildly obsessed with pumpkins and I LOVE peanut butter, so mixing the two was glorious! The recipe called for red pepper, which was a brilliant complement to the sweet, nutmeg-y, cinnamon-y soup.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Soup From The Runner’s Cookbook


  • 1 small, organic, free-range, backyard, sustainable, hand-crafted pumpkin (or 1 large can pumpkin)
  • 1/2 jar 100% all-natural peanut butter
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 6 other random herbs/spices

Carefully cut pumpkin and remove soft pumpkin “meat,” causing as little pain as possible to pumpkin. Strain seeds from mash in middle, and roast gently i oven for your daily granola mix. Recycle pumpkin “shell” as Halloween decoration, then candle holder, then (when disgustingly rotten) toss into compost pile.

Microwave pumpkin meat for, oh, about four minutes. If that doesn’t work, try six. (I have only exploded two microwave ovens this way, so it’s a relatively safe experiment.)

Transfer cooked pumpkin to saucepan, turn burner to “simmer,” and add water until you achieve that perfect, gloopy consistency. This can only be determined by bending your ear very close to the saucepan. when it sounds like the early stages of a Mount Vesuvius eruption, all is well.

Add several brimming tablespoons of peanut butter. Then add more. Peanut butter is good for you. “It’ll stick to your ribs,” my grandfather always used to say, and he was a goober farmer in Virginia-no kidding. Continue to simmer your soup.

Stand five feet from stove and toss pepper flakes in general direction of saucepan. You won’t score many “hits,” which is precisely the point, as this is the only way to prevent over-pepperizing your soup. At least it’s the only thing that works for me. On the other hand, you don’t wand to under-pepperize either. Red pepper is full of capsaicin, which cures most human ailments, especially runner’s knee. Rumors of death by red pepper are urban myth, and contain no truth.

Add brown sugar “to taste” (see below). Yes, I know sugar is an instrument of the Devil. It’s also a vigorous athlete’s preferred fuel. Like you, I am puzzled by this paradox. Like you, I wish life was more logical. Fairer would be good, too.

Add additional herbs and spices “to taste.” Most recipe books don’t define this vague term, but I’m a better chef than they are, so I’m going to help you out here. “To taste,” literally translated, means “until it tastes really fine to your sophisticated palate.” Don’t worry about anyone else. You’ll probably have to eat most of the gloop yourself anyway. Other people are such cowards, aren’t they?

NOTES FROM THE CHEF: This is my favorite soup for the cold winter months. It’s especially great for large-group entertainment, when you invite friends over to raucous parties built around major TV presentations such as the Millrose Games, USA Cross Country Championships, Hawaii Ironman reruns or, when desperate, the Super Bowl or Academy Awards. The recipe is also a lot of fun to prepare, due to the combination amusement/fright on your partner’s face when he/she/it realizes you’re not following any directions and basically have no clue what you’re doing.

I later added more milk to the soup since it was a bit strong for me!
Bowl-licking good!
I’m supposed to look sad it’s gone, but I failed on the facial expressions. Instead, I look more like Snooki.

P.S. I’m new to blogging about running/eating, but I have my own blog devoted to the experience of shopping online and some online deals. The closest I’ve blogged about running that might interest you is the Fall Online Shoe Shopping Guide.

Question: Do you have any bizarre food combinations like peanut butter+coffee or peanut butter+applesauce? Do you own The Runner’s Cookbook?

  • Heya! Great guest post – do we have a budding food/running blogger here? 🙂

    I will eat peanut butter with just about anything. That soup sounds amazing.

  • Ahh, more like an aspiring food/running blogger-I just KNOW I wouldn’t keep up with it on top of my STELLAshopper blog! You, Megan, Sarah, and other ladies do a much better job than I anyway!

  • My only concern – with half a jar of peanut butter, this is going to be SUPER high in calories. The total calories for that recipe is about 1500. How many servings does it make?

  • You made me want to go out and buy that cookbook, so well done, Nicole! Hmm, I’m not sure I like any combinations that are too weird, but I’m completely obsessed with mixing PB & Co. peanut butter into Greek yogurt.

    Also, great work with the Snooki pout – now you just need a poof 🙂

  • Laura-I do think Amby Burfoot calls for a lot of peanut butter, and I should’ve noted that I used far less, about a couple of teaspoons-worth, and I could still taste it!

    Kelly-I’m working on the poof! I sported one at 2 of my last 3 hard workouts and have noticed a considerable improvement in performance. Coincidence? I think not! Even though it may be less aerodynamic…

  • Fun! I also enjoy dipping various crumbly things into my coffee and then drinking the coffee-saturated crumbles, pretending that it is not weird at all. Because it’s not. Right? Poof?

  • Sveta

    For some reason i love drinking coffee and eating cheese at the same time. Weird but yum combo!

  • I love PB on toast (one of the best scents ever!) but I’ve never thought of adding applesauce. My husband thinks my BLT’s are weird, I think they’re delicioius – your traditional BLT – bacon, lettuce and tomato – plus peanut butter!! I was so excited when I found out it’s a regular item at Peanut Butter & Co.