Cooking for Teen Athletes

I shop for food like other women shop for shoes.  It is my passion and the highlight of my day.  I have always been like this.  Even when I was in high school and my mom would send me to the grocery store.  I love food.  And I especially love going to Whole Foods.  I love everything about this place.  It is  my very favorite store in the world and on this occasion I was talking with the sales person that stands in the area where they sell all of the supplements.  I love that there is always someone there to help you with whatever problem you might have.  I was looking for a protein drink for my younger daughter who is mostly a vegetarian.  I was worried about her because she had been doing double soccer work outs.  I always think she looks really thin, but in reality she is a perfect weight for her height and is amazingly strong.  I am her mother and if I want to worry I can.

The sales person said, “It’s different cooking for athletes isn’t it?”  She had noticed that I was also buying a ton of veggies, chicken and yogurt. And yes it is different, but still I think every child should eat really healthy food, but families with athletic kids have the challenge of not always being able to sit down to a normal meal due to varied  practice times.  One child has practice from 5-7 and the other from 7-9.   I also have this sense, as a mother, that kids who practice at a high level for two hours should have a really good meal before and after.

For a while I made a lot of hot sandwiches (think chicken, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce),  which the girls loved until they didn’t anymore, and then I switched to cold wraps (chicken caesar was popular for a long time).  Before that I frequently made soup and the White Bean soup in my cookbook (Real Food for Real People – Amazon) was a giant hit.  In the summer I make salads and stash them in the fridge and then broil some fish when I get a chance or I make a few pounds of chicken and serve it with salad or with this delicious sauce that is packed with fresh herbs.  It is great on anything (chicken, fish, steak or brown rice).


Chicken with Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce (click for recipe).

As the girls get more and more competitive athletically I have to work harder to make sure they are getting the proper fuel to help them do their best.  Last summer I asked my younger daughter what she wanted for lunch and she surprisingly said, “I want whatever will make me run faster.”

Nike Cup

Siena Soccer

I love soups for athletes, but they can be tricky.  Kids are not always excited for a bowl of soup.  But some soups are more popular with kids than others and this one is always a winner.  I make it all the time.  The ginger in the soup is a natural anti-inflamitory, so it is good for kids that have injuries or knee problems like my daughter.  This is an update on my classic Italian White Bean soup, but any soup with beans will provide long lasting lean protein for your child.   These soups also freeze amazingly well.  I store them in small containers, so I can defrost a single portion for them to (sadly) take in the car.


Vegi, Ginger and Sausage Soup (click here for recipe)

I have been experimenting with juicing and it’s an easy way to load the kids (and myself) up with the nutrients found in leafy greens.  Especially, the very iron dense, but kid dreaded, spinach and kale.  The girls really like the sweeter green juices, so I add pear and tangerine.  Apples and carrots are good, but the pear and tangerine are especially delicious.


By the way, I ended up not buying her a powdered protein drink and went back to food as the proper fuel for a growing athlete.   It takes planning to keep our kids healthy and well fed, but it is so worth it.

Truckee Truckee Truckee

Marty’s Egg Sandwich

Marty’s Diner, Truckee, California

On a recent visit to Truckee, California located in the Tahoe basin we decided to take the teens to breakfast.  We had hit all of the obvious places many times since buying our cabin in 2007.  Truckee has more restaurants per capita featured on the Food Network than any other city in the world.  Many of them serving breakfast.  On this occasion we decided to try something new.  A quick query on the Internet brought up Marty’s.  I called to make sure they were still serving Eggs Benedict for my niece Sophie and we packed up the kids and headed over to Marty’s around noon.

This is Marty!
This is Marty!

Marty’s is located on the main street in Truckee near the train station.   We waited a few minutes and were seated in a cozy booth.  Everything on the menu looked scrumptious as did all of the food on the oversized plates being served to nearby diners.  I have a condition in restaurants called Food Envy.  No matter what I order I want the food of the person next to me or across from me or even at the next table.  I suffer from Food Ordering Remorse as well, so being that lunch and breakfast were both being served, I naturally could not decide even between breakfast and lunch.  The waitress inflicted more confusion and ordering chaos by telling me that the burgers and the Eggs Benedict were both over the top amazing.  Luckily, my lovely daughter offered to share the burger and the Eggs Benedict with me.  This is the reason some of us have children.

Marty’s Burger
Eggs Benedict

These photos DO NOT do the food justice.  The burger was perfectly done and tasted of every grass fed excellent organic ingredient available today.  The eggs were perfect.  The crusty delicious hash brown and the delicate lettuce which tasted like it was just plucked out of the garden were an exquisite addition to this time honored dish.  The waitress even suggested I sop up some of the lush and lemony hollandaise sauce with the leaves.  Who knew this would be so good?

Our lovely wait staff were attentive and willing to supply lots of extra plates and listen patiently to the special instructions pertaining to what the teens would allow to touch what on the plate and so on.


Sophie being like the rest of our family decided against the Eggs Benedict we came for, and ordered this amazing Hoagie sandwich and was thrilled with her choice.


Even though I was completely stuffed I couldn’t resist a few bites of the house made potato salad that came with our burger (my teen would not allow it or the avocado to be on the plate with the burger), so they put it in this cute little crock.

Potato Salad

Truckee is one of those resort towns where the food is unbelievably good because the locals support only the best during the off season.  There are so many wonderful things to do in Tahoe, but a trip to Marty’s should be close to the top of the list.

10115 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 550-8208

If you go, please message me or comment to let me know your thoughts.

Summer Entertaining – Oyster Cup & Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

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On a recent week-end we enjoyed the Argentinian cooking of the catering crew on the polo fields of the 2014 Oyster Cup benefiting the Emergency Fund for Breast Cancer.  The Cerro Pampa Polo Club has such a  beautiful setting and a very family friendly environment.    One of so many things to love about this event apart from the food is that after the polo matches everyone dances together.  Adults, kids of all ages, and a handful of dogs.  It is always so much fun for me, but I was pleasantly surprised this year to find that my teenagers still enjoyed going.  The afternoon also proved that you don’t need a kitchen to feed a large group of people.  Raw oysters, grilled meat and some chimichurri is all you need.

Argentina is known for high quality meats and they did not disappoint serving grilled steak and Chimichurri sauce with lots of crunchy bread and side salads to the hungry spectators and players on the polo field.   This dinner complimented the oyster bar that was open during the polo match.  Both the dinner and oysters were delicious.  No recipe required for raw oysters of course, but this is the recipe from the master’s at Food Network for Steak Gaucho-Style with Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce.  I make my own Chimichurri, but use whatever herbs I have on hand and love it with lots and lots of fresh basil from my garden and like it served over anything (see it over grilled chicken above).  Traditional chimichurri is comprised mostly of parsley, but like many things in life, chimichurri requires that you experiment a little to suit your own tastes.

Sydney’s Chimichurri Sauce


1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup lightly flat leaf parsley

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium size shallot minced

1/4 teaspoon chille pepper flakes

1 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 of a lime (use other half for garnish)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Wash and remove stems from herbs.  Then using a Bullet or food processor blend all ingredients until still a little bit chunky.  Serve immediately.  Store remaining sauce in an airtight container,  but note that this sauce will not last more than a few days and is best as soon as it is made.



Cerro Pampa Polo Club, located in Petaluma, California, is a full-sized, fully-boarded Bermuda Grass Polo Field with and exercise track and on-site boarding. Cerro Pampa, made famous by the Oyster Cup Tournament enjoys a younger polo crowd with a laid back atmosphere. It’s a fun place to learn and play polo and is the San Francisco bay area’s only polo club.