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Wednesday
Nov162011

Brittany's Ironman Granola

My friend Brittany has been training for the Arizona Ironman which is this Sunday, November 20th in Tempe. An Ironman is the ultimate distance in triathlon: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run.

I met Brittany when we both signed up for Full Throttle Endurance back in late January.

Britt has worked hard over the past nine months. How hard? Here's an example of a typical training week for her:

Monday: Swim 65 min with Full Throttle, pm bike 90 min with double loops of the Harlem hills
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: Long run, 120 min, easy first hour, then bringing it down, finish hard
Thursday: Bike 90 min with Full Throttle, plus 20 min easy brick run
Friday: Swim 65 min with Full Throttle, pm 3 laps of the bridle path, hard. 5 min full recovery between laps.
Saturday: Century ride with Hugh
Sunday: Bike 120 min, skipping the hills, & brick run easy 20 min, all easy recovery effort

For those of you not in the know, a "century ride" means 100 miles. Ouch.

Like turtles with those backpacks...

Through nine months of this, Brittany has somehow managed all of the above and been champion friend. When you see someone every day at 5:30 am for two hours a day, you get to know them quickly. And well. Consider the following:

She is one of the few people that is allowed to call or text me before 5 o'clock in the morning (all others should wait for an emergency).

She travelled all the way from the Upper West Side to Hoboken just to help me pack up my apartment. I enticed her with wine and pizza, but still – that is a haul, people!

Britt and I at the pong table at Iaciofano HQ, Beach HavenI have subjected her to weekends in LBI with Marmo and Box in which she endured endless games of beer pong, being escorted around the island on the handlebars of bikes (not our usual method of bike riding), and my dad's constant insistence that the bay was infested with gar fish (still unproven).

Right before the Montauk race (like an ad for XTerra!)

We roomed together for the Montauk Triathlon in June and sat up late at night (after the race) eating peanut buttered bagels and gossiping like school girls.

This training is not only physically challenging, but it's also a mental drain. It's a lot. You feel burnt out. Not to mention hungry. ALL THE TIME.

What do you eat when you're a hungry Ironwoman?

Britt's food specialty is granola. She makes a huge batch and delivers it in a giant Ziploc bag. Granola accoutrements vary, but have included: peanut M&M's banana chips, cashews, almonds, craisins, raisins, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips.... you get the idea.

The giant bag of granola is difficult to walk by without scooping out a handful. Or three. So while it is MEANT as a breakfast food, it is hardly ever eaten that way. It's more of a drive-by-snack-when-you-want-food.

We once spent a summer LBI afternoon watching the sea level of the granola bag dip from high to low tide as various members of my family grazed on it throughout the day (no one actually admitted to doing so, however).

Here is Brittany's Granola recipe. Britt, I wish you the best of luck on Sunday. You've worked hard and you're ready. You are going to be great.

What You Need:
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cashews
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 banana chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt

What You Do:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Oil a 4-sided sheet pan or line with parchment paper.

Stir together oats, nuts, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Pour oil and honey over the oat mixture and stir to mix well.

Spread evenly on sheet pan and bake, stirring once, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool granola completely in pan (it will crisp as it cools), then stir in fruit, banana chips and chocolate chips.

Store in a giant Ziploc bag like Brittany does!