Summer Vacation Scenes

Late last week the hubs and I headed east for a little end-of-summer rest and relaxation––my first full week off in over 15 months! We kicked off our week-long vacation celebrating a friend’s very special (40th!) birthday at his family’s charming summer home on Fishers Island.

Yes to ocean-side champagne, freshly shucked oysters, slightly mismatched seersucker suits, stand up paddle, and stunning sunsets with friends.

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Matt Hyotte s 40th Birthday  Fishers Island18

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Matt Hyotte s 40th Birthday  Fishers Island54

After a boozy, fun-filled weekend, I retreated to my parent’s quiet Rhode Island home where I’ve been averaging 1-2 hours on the beach each day and 10+ hours of sleep each night. I may not take vacations all that often but when I do, I take them pretty seriously.

The hubs and I are excited to have few more days here before heading back to San Francisco on Sunday. Once we settle back into our apartment I’m hoping to bust out the grill for a little Labor Day barbecue before we both head back to work on Tuesday!

Did you take a summer vacay this year? What’s on your Labor Day weekend agenda?

8 Delicious End-of-Summer Tomato Recipes

The tomato situation at our neighborhood farmer’s market last weekend was seriously out of control. Tent after tent had bins overflowing with tomatoes––Heirloom, Grape, Early Girls–too many to name. With people literally buying them by the bagful it actually felt more like a tomato festival than a farmer’s market.

I’ll admit, I probably would have been one of those people if the hubs and I weren’t heading out of town on vacay later this week. Tomato explosion avoided.

“Too many tomatoes” is never a bad problem to have though––especially if you’re armed with a handful of delicious recipes. Whether you’ve got 10 pounds of half-wrinkled Early Girls or one too many pints of those cute little Grape guys, here are 8 of summer’s best tomato recipes that’ll help you use up your stash in no time:


Charred Tomato + Fried Eggs on Garlic Toast

This one from Martha Stewart has me drooling. tomatoes are cooked in a healthy fat like olive oil, it increases our absorption of the phytochemical lycopene, which may lower the risk of heart disease.
Get the recipe »


Garlic Roasted Tomato Sauce

One of my all-time favorite recipes, this is the perfect solution if you’ve got several pounds of wrinkled tomatoes on your hands. Roasting both concentrates their flavor and camouflages any puckered skins in the process.
Get the recipe »


Summer Heirloom Herb Frittata

I’ve been holding off on making this frittata until we have friends over for a proper brunch. I fear that if make it for just the hubs and I we’ll devour the entire thing in one sitting. It’ll definitely be on my next boozy brunch menu though!
Get the recipe »


Poached Egg + Crispy Prosciutto Avocado Toast

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Poached Egg + Crispy Prosciutto Avocado Toast4

I’ve always struggled to find the time for both coffee and breakfast in the morning. When I do, one of my go-tos is homemade granola, vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit because, well, it’s quick, convenient, and yummy.

Now, I’m not totally dissing the sweet stuff, but lately I’ve realized this combo actually contains a fair amount of sugar, especially when a vanilla latte is added to the equation.

And let’s be honest, a vanilla latte is very rarely not in the equation these days. It’s probably a good thing that my espresso machine didn’t come with a triple shot option.

To cut back on the amount of sugar and increase the protein I take in every morning, I recently added eggs to my weekday breakfast rotation.

This, my friends, is my newest obsession: the poached egg + crispy prosciutto avocado toast.

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Fancy, right?

Something this beautiful and delicious really shouldn’t be this simple, but it is. Poached eggs are actually quick and easy to cook but pre-crisping several slices of prosciutto ahead of time literally makes this a 7-minute meal, which is kind of perfect if you’ve got somewhere to be in the morning. Working girls, students, moms & dads: I’m talking to you.

Nutrition-wise, this breakfast is well-balanced. It’ll satisfy both your tastebuds and your growling stomach. Eggs provide high-quality protein––actually the highest quality protein found in any food––along with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which play a role in things like weight management, muscle strength, brain function and eye health.

In addition to the protein, avocado offers a dose of healthy fats and the whole grain bread provides a serving of complex carbohydrates, which also happens to be perfect for soaking up that beautiful, runny yolk. The crispy prosciutto gives this healthy breakfast sandwich the perfect amount of crunch and salty goodness that will make you want to add this to your regular breakfast rotation.

Oh and did I mention this breakfast has not one gram of added sugar?

None. Zero. Zilch.

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I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully give up my morning lattes but I’ll admit, I’m totally in favor of cutting back on added sugars at breakfast as long as this is involved before I head off to work.

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This delicious post is part of a series sponsored by The American Egg Board and The Good Egg Project. Bon appetit!

Easy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage + Carrot Slaw

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Easy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw3

Growing up around Boston, I didn’t eat a whole lot of Mexican as a kid. Actually, back then I’m pretty sure all of New England only had one type of taco: Old El Paso. You know, the kind that came in a kit, complete with seasoning, sauce and shells. They weren’t anything fancy but I loved that spicy ground beef spooned into crunchy corn taco shells, topped with crisp iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato, and a sprinkle of good ol’ shredded cheese.

While Old El Paso and my memories of family taco night will always have a special place in my heart, I’ll admit––California’s fish taco culture has completely won me over. They might even be my favorite thing about West Coast cuisine.

So if you’ve never had a fish taco, let’s change that. Like as soon as possible.

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Sure, pulling up to some beaten-up taco shack on the California coast would obviously be the ideal way to do it, but unless you have plans to do drive up and down Route 1 before summer is over, these easy fish tacos are your next best bet.

Not only are they super easy, they’re healthier than the traditional taco shack version since they’re breaded in Panko and pan-fried in just a little bit of oil. The tangy red cabbage + carrot slaw is so delicious I’ve actually eaten it straight out of the bowl on several occasions. As you can see, I don’t even bother with the cilantro-lime crema anymore. A dollop of Greek yogurt, one squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on each does the job just fine.

Two bits of advice though… For perfect, non-clumpy breading, add a little water to the beaten egg before dunking. And, if you are lucky enough to have a gas stove, I highly recommend charring the corn tortillas over the range before serving. It makes such a big difference––just don’t get distracted and walk away from the stove like my husband did…

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I’ve made these babies more than a half-dozen times now (thankfully without burning down our kitchen) and still can’t get enough. I’m actually heading home for a little family vacation later this month and plan to turn my parents into fish taco converts too. Once they bite into these it’ll be hard to go back to Old El Paso.

The San Francisco Marathon: My First 26.2

SF marathon elle curtin penner

It’s not every day you get to check something off your bucket list. Entire years have passed without crossing anything off of mine––but after nearly 120 days of training, 15 long runs totaling 199 miles and dozens upon dozens of carbohydrate-heavy meals later, I can officially say I’ve checked running a full marathon off of my bucket list!

I know this recap is long overdue, so let’s get right to it, shall we?


If you’ve ever known a marathoner, or have run one yourself, you know a marathon rarely happens without at least a little bit of pre-race drama. Well, about 30 minutes after posting my 3-day countdown post last Thursday afternoon, I pulled my right calf on an easy shake-out run.

It happened so fast at first I pretended it didn’t happen at all. With a quarter-mile to go I hobbled home, stretched, foam rolled and tried not to think about it. That actually worked pretty well until I stood up to get out of bed on Friday morning.


I spent the rest of Friday in a silent panic which ended in a mini-meltdown later that night. All I could think was, “After all that training…”

Thankfully, 24 hours of rest, ice, compression and elevation had me feeling a bit better on Saturday. Not perfect by any means but good enough to give it a shot.


Miles 1-4: I’ll be honest––I spent the first mile waiting my calf to give out completely. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and eventually my focus redirected from my right leg to the beautiful views and the excitement around me. By Mile 4 I had settled in to my run. Things were looking up.

Mile 5: No really, things were literally looking up. Mile 5 marked the start of the massive uphill to the Golden Gate Bridge… And unfortunately, my calf made sure I felt every step. Despite the discomfort, I pressed on and remained focused on just making it to the top.  For a few minutes I thought it might be the beginning of the end but, as soon as I made it to the top and the hills leveled out a bit, I suddenly didn’t feel anything anymore. Not a twinge. Nothing.

By some small miracle, my calf never bothered me again for the rest of the race. WOOT!

Miles 6-17: This part of the course brought me across the Golden Gate Bridge (and back), through Park Presidio, the Richmond and then through the winding paths of Golden Gate Park. Holy rolling hills, but much to my surprise, I felt strong! The hubs greeted me in the park at Mile 15 with a big smile and encouraging words. He followed me by bike from that point on, snapping photos and cheering me along every few miles for the rest of the race.

Miles 18-22: Mile 18 is where things started to get tough. I tried to enjoy the long downhill from Golden Gate Park into Haight Ashbury but by that time my quads were shot, the sun was out in full force and I could feel my body temp inching up slowly. The rolling hills continued and the water stations seemed sparse, neither of which helped my dropping energy levels.

So, when things started getting really tough around Mile 21 I did what any girl would do––I texted my girlfriends who were tracking me along the way. Their replies:

OMG. Texting from the marathon. Bad ass! Keep goingggggggggg ––Katie


Just think about how great your bum is going to look after this race thanks to all those hills.    ––Libby


Start deciding what you want for brunch. ––Anne


You’ve made it through the hardest part (the middle miles) too! … Also, keep planning your cartwheel across the finish line. :) Go girl!!!!!!! ––Lauren

And thanks to those girls, I trudged on.

Miles 22-26.2: Man-oh-man. If you look at my splits, it’s obvious this is where things got rough. The sun was taking its toll, not just on me but other runners too. I counted three people down in the span of one mile and, at one point, prayed I wasn’t the next one to crash into the cement.

Mile after mile though, the hubs was there to cheer me on, the inspirational texts kept coming in and before I knew it I was stepping across the finish line!

Total Time: 4:13:23 // Average Pace: 9:39/mile // Elevation Gain: 1,450 feet


For efficiency, I’ll just sum up the 30 seconds of emotions that ensued after crossing the finish line:

Wait, I finished? I finished!!! !!! !!! Um, that was hard. But, holy sh*t! I did it!!! Gah, I forgot to stop my watch. Husband! Nope, you’re definitely not my husband. She better not try to give me a Half Marathon medal. God this thing is heavy. Full Marathon medal, check! Wait, is that…. milk? Nope, it’s water. In a box. WATER!!! Wait so, that’s it? It’s over? Um, I can’t possibly be sad about that. Did someone just say ‘beer’?


So, I spent the rest of Sunday pretty much endorphin-wasted. If you’ve never experienced this level of “runner’s high”––you must because it’s absolutely hysterical. After a long shower and an even longer nap, the boys took Erin and I out for Mex & margs to celebrate.

I’ve been living in high waisted skinny pants since Sunday because, well, they feel amazing. Kind of like a compression sock for my whole lower body. Monday was slow going and going up and down stairs was absolutely dreadful. But after a few days of rest with some light walking mixed in, I’m feeling about 90% recovered at this point. I haven’t felt up to running yet but I’m getting there and am most looking forward to adding strength workouts back into my routine!


How’d it go? Awesome. I loved it. Training was tough, but the race itself was completely amazing. I’m now more in love with running than I ever have been before.

Would I ever do it again? I promised my mom I wouldn’t… but… Well, let’s just leave it at that.

finish line shot