This is Us!

We are here to bring you our life through food. Especially Italian food. You can learn more about us here.


They Live On!

I woke up with a headache. I slept well, but spent the night dreaming fear dreams...dreams that I was getting sick before a race, dreams that I had too much work and wasn't able to do it, dreams that someone didn't like me anymore.

I hate those. So I lay in bed deciding which side of it to get up on—the side with the cranky dreams that would come with me the rest of the day, or the side without them. Keep in mind because of the tiny-ness of my apartment, I only can get out of the bed on one side.

But you get the metaphor! Or do you? You see around here in Elana-land, it's not all about food and triathlon. Mixing it up keeps things interesting, and it also keeps the gremlins away. 

Sometimes, when I really want to branch out, I have to do something silly. Something so far removed from cooking or racing or even thinking about those things. Once, I went to Duane Reade and bought a pack of plastic dinosaurs.

They were on the clearance rack. Just staring at me. I had gone in for saline solution and instead was eyeing a cylindrical pack of multi-colored, miniature, plastic dinos. They had Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, T-Rex, Brontosaurus, and even some I couldn't name.

I brought them up to the check out counter. What followed was a very LOUD price check on the plastic dinosaurs that alerted the entire store to the fact that a 37 year old woman SANS child was buying them. Hi, everyone, look at me! I'm nutty!

But buy them I did. And I escaped the odd looks of my fellow Duane Reade shoppers, only to enlist more bizarre looks from street passers-by as I strategically placed the figures along Columbus Avenue and commenced taking pictures of them. This delighted me so much that I took more photos, texting them around to my friends and family members.

Here are some of the results:

Steggie by the museumDino parade

Triceratops wants to make a call

Pterodactyls can't read, apparently.

When I took this last one, I actually had people stopping on the street to watch me as I attempted to balance the little guys in the links of this pull-down fence.

The point here is that there wasn't one. I did this just for sh*ts and giggles. I didn't have the intention even to post them on this blog. Just to do it. And sometimes I need to do that kind of thing. It helps me lighten things up a bit. 

But getting back to bed...In addition to the headache, I also woke up hungry (BIG surprise). So I made myself a Fear Dream Banishing/Creative Day Inducing Summer Cantaloupe and Nectarine Smoothie. Here's the recipe:


5 chunks of frozen cantaloupe (this was a fresh cantaloupe that I chopped up and froze, but you can use unfrozen)

half a fresh summer nectarine

1 cup almond milk

1 scoop protein powder

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (my new favorite spice)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp coconut oil (it's good for ya)

NOTE: If you didn't freeze your cantaloupe, add some ice cubes for a frothy, chilly smoothie!


Blend it all together post-haste and drink up! I use a Nutri-Bullet, but you can use a normal blender.

Headache gone.


I Don't Know Where We Are Going, But We Are Going There

The title line of this post was first used during a hair-raising, moutainous French biking experience a few years back. Since then, it's become one of my favorite lines for life. And now, I am going to apply it to this blog.

John and I started this blog as a happy place — a breakfast nook on the internet where we could discuss our passion for Italian food (perhaps redeeming Italian-American fare), run around like maniacs in search of cannoli and pizza, and discuss our father’s fascination with Diet Orange Crush.

But more than that, the blog was about our lives. Food feeds our bodies and also our souls, so we thought of the blog as a reflection of who we are as people, not just what we choose to put in our mouths.

But life changes, and sometimes things get a little out of hand. John's been focusing on his career (and his golf game), and I've been engulfed in mine (and spending about 239071092 weekly hours on my bike). Where is the time for blogging, people?? I just don't know.

John is currently on hiatus from blog posting. But I'm going to be throwing you some bones once in a while. It's going to be different around here, brace yourselves and don those safety goggles I'm always promoting.

Here's a little explanation of where I'm coming from and where I'm going: 

I consider food an art form. Preparation, cooking, presentation… Every ingredient that is used, every fork that accompanies a dish adds to the piece. It’s about the entire effect. And I cook and eat with an eye toward design.

Please click on the photo to see my friend Marite's beautiful pottery (some photos courtesy of yours truly!)

I’ve been a graphic designer for 14 years. Some of that time has been spent as an art director and creative director. I truly love what I do. I’ve always been an artsy kind of gal. I like throwing fonts, colors and textiles together. When I was a young, I would set up my own still life situations: cereal boxes, salt shakers, and wooden spoons, pilfering from my mom’s kitchen. This was perhaps my first foray into combining food and art.

Now I get paid to do this. How cool is that?? It's actually bananas. I've been working on my own for over a year now trying to focus in on where all this is going. I don't have that answer yet. What I DO have, however, is a ready-made spot on the interwebs for all this food and design experimentation (often accompanied by my wack-a-doodle thoughts on same). So, I am going to use this blog as a place to demo my work, and hopefully solicit reader reactions. Because I love reactions! Good ones...

And if John ever feels like pulling his head out of his golf bag and throwing up a post, so be it. In the meantime...let's get on with the show!



Elana (and John...sort of...)


The Cap'n


My Life As a Pie


Staying Vertical — A Tribute to Mitch Leigh

A while back I encountered an older gentleman at my physical therapist's office. We would often chat while waiting for our appointments.

One day he paused mid conversation, looked at me and said, "Sweetheart, if I were 30 years younger, I would show you a good time, but now all I can offer you is conversation." We both laughed.

And so converse we did.

I came to learn his name was Mitch and that he was a composer, though of what kind of music, I didn't know. He learned that I was a triathlete and liked to play with my food.

Finally, he told me about The Man of La Mancha, Yul Brenner and his real estate ventures. I also learned about his children and family.

When asked how he was feeling by anyone in the office, he would look them squarely in the eye and say, "I'm vertical!" That brightened the moods of everyone in the office.

I adopted the phrase and started saying it all the time. To me, it encapsulated the best reality check. Yes, it might be a shitty day. The music may not be flowing, the legs not going anywhere fast, but I was vertical so, you know, world's smallest violin—the rest is just details.

I only saw him on occasion, but he was always positive, thoughtful and interested in chatting. I began hoping I would run into him during my PT sessions and looked forward to his stories.

My physical therapist texted me today to tell me he had passed away. I felt an odd sadness at the news. Odd because I didn't know him that well, but he had touched my life in a comparatively large way with his outlook.

Staying vertical.

And so, I dedicate this recipe collection to Mitch Leigh. It's a collection of past recipes that I think fall in line with his theme...staying vertical, remembering what's important in life and being grateful for all that good stuff.

Rest in peace, Mr. Leigh

Potatoes for Rocky


A Post About Toast

Forbidden Donuts

Kitchen Sink Granola


Apple Pie for John Locke

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