Build a better sandwich

I love Subway. I love Jimmy John’s. I love both Jason’s and Cinnamon’s Delis. In general, if it serves sandwiches, I love it.

That’s why I love my husband so much… BAM!

Ho ho, I make myself laugh! (And I also make all the sandwiches.)

Homefries

Subway boasts its nutritious and low-calorie sandwiches, but, unfortunately, not all sandwiches are created like Subway sandwiches. Some subs are better for you and other subs are just tasty!

I want both.

Matthew G. Kadey for Runner’s World created six super sandwich recipes for runners on the go to burn fat, lose weight and replace lost nutrients.

I’m in love with the Fig Prosciutto Sandwich. I need to eat that. A lot.

If you want to build a better sandwich, without all the aioli  fuss, use these ingredients:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Full-flavor greens, such as arugula and spinach
  • Fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, avocados and peppers
  • Hummus, avocado spread, vinegar or low-fat dressing

Load on the greens and vegetables, be light with the spreads and choose a deli meat that low in fat and preservatives. Skip the cheese and heavy, loaded-with-calories dressings.

Snack on an apple side or cup of soup. No chips (unless they’re Kale Chips) next to your healthy sandwich!

What is your favorite sandwich? Where do you get your on-the-go subs?

Weekly workouts and trail running

I map out my workouts at the beginning of the week.

Some weeks I follow the schedules, some weeks I fail to follow any schedule. But I do try to get a workout in on every scheduled workout day, even if it’s a crappy lunch workout.

Here is a snippet of my week:

  • Monday – Muscle Pump or strength training
  • Tuesday – Cardio (or Muscle Pump again if I’m lazy)
  • Wednesday – Power Yoga
  • Thursday – ???
  • Friday – Lunch workout
  • Saturday – Power Yoga
  • Sunday – Laundry

Laundry is totally a workout. Lots of bending and lifting. Wet clothes are heavy. Carrying laundry baskets up and down stairs at two houses is tiring.

It’s a workout.

Plus, I usually spend Sundays cleaning everything in my house. Also a workout.

I rarely work out on Fridays. Rarely. After a long week at work, Fridays are for grabbing a drink and dinner with my husband or some friends and relaxing.

Thursdays used to be class nights so I had zero time for a workout before class. I have to find a workout for Thursdays.

Trail running, anyone?

The problem I have with running (and it is my only problem with running) is that I get bored so easily.

Running on sidewalks and streets in my neighborhood is boring. (I have no intention of venturing far from my neighborhood.) Running in the park is dull, and I have to share the space with other runners and people with strollers. No blame, but I do not want to smile at you. Running on the track is super boring. In Shocker Fitness, the track was awesome because I was with a group and was not leading my own workout. Alone? Not so much.

Do not even get me started on running on a treadmill. I love it because it’s air conditioned, but I hate it because it’s boring.

Trail running is not boring.

Trail running puts rocks, logs and trees in a runner’s path. Natural slopes and slow spots also trick up a treadmill runner’s stride (i.e. my stride).

The environment adds to the excitement. Running in pretty neighborhoods and manicured parks does not bring out the animal that trail running does.

I hope these trail running workouts will turn me into an animal and a better runner.

Do you run trails? Where do you enjoy running most?

Shopping in the Plaza, dancing in the District

My friend Katie, also known as “The Future Mrs. Bickford,” is getting married! She invited her graduate school  buddies (including me!) to her bachelorette party in Kansas City.

The Plaza in Kansas City

Isn’t she gorgeous?! And we ate the crap out of that cake…

I drove up to Kansas City from Wichita with two of my best girl friends: Yasho and (another) Katie. We all met at WSU and went through the same graduate program.

GraduatesWe survived together so we celebrate together!

Graduates

Of course, a bachelorette party in Kansas City means a weekend of shopping in the Plaza, overeating at the Cheesecake Factory and dancing in the Power and Light District.

Kansas City Missouri

Shopping in the Plaza

I bought this dress and belt! (And other stuff…)

Betsy Johnson Belt Going Out Of Business

Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City, MO

Delish crab dip

Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City MO

Subtly spicy and perfect Southwest Chipotle Pasta

Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City MO

And a delightful Berry Sangria!

Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City MO

I was too busy dancing to take any pictures in the Power and Light District. Of course… I wouldn’t want to pull out my phone in that crowd! I might lose it!

I might be getting too old for this ;)

Have you been to the plaza? What did you love most?

Moves to increase metabolism

The body burns calories by breaking down cells for energy. Increasing the rate at which the body breaks down cells burns calories faster, which leads to weight loss.

Weight loss is the goal. My goal is five pounds.

Genetics and gender determine metabolic rate. However, we can fight genetics to increase our metabolism and lose fat faster.

What woman doesn’t want to defy her genetics?

…Heidi Klum.

She pretty much hit the jackpot. Congrats, lady. You look fab.

Increasing metabolic rate is easy… ‘er said than done. Har har. You have to eat the right food and workout the right way.

We have talked about food. You know! Green, whole, fresh? Nix anything processed or with added salt and refined sugar.

EAT BREAKFAST. Do it. No arguments. Beginning the day with fuel is the only way to get the engine going.

The engine is you. So eat something.

But how do we workout the right way? Is running and yoga not enough?!

Well, to my dismay, Insanity by Beachbody (my nemesis) had it right: Interval Training.

However, Insanity turned interval training upside down and made my life terrible so I will not be going back to that.

Oh, no. There was crying and shame and unhappiness. It was ugly.

I will, however, use the same bursts of speed and energy at the end of a non-Insanity workout to increase my heart rate to increase my metabolic rate to increase my weight loss!

Whew!

Women’s Health Magazine featured five interval sessions:

I will try the Lateral Speed Steps. I promise to try, but I will fall because I am not coordinated enough to do it.

The Shuttle Space runs excite me! I really enjoy sprinting. Where can I find cones or an available football field?

But I do not enjoy running for long periods of time. Distance running is fine, but I tire quickly and bore easily.

Treadmill + Shae = not friends.

I have zero endurance, too, which doesn’t help.

Interval sprinting is a workout saver. I can even sprint on my back! Ha!

What are your interval workouts?

Fresh or frozen: Fruits and vegetables

I prefer eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strawberries taste better fresh. All berries taste better fresh. Asparagus and green beans cook better fresh.

My everyday fruits -apples and bananas -don’t freeze well.

I might prefer eating fresh, but, sometimes, frozen is better. Peas, corn, chopped broccoli and mixed veggies are so much easier to cook. Frozen berries are also much easier to turn into flavored mustard or barbecue sauces.

So much easier.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are also much cheaper. In a bag, I can get eight ounces of frozen broccoli for $1. I have to pay at least $2 for eight ounces of fresh broccoli… that I’m not so good at cooking.

Both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables have pros and cons, but which are better?

Amy Keyishian for Recipe.com votes buying frozen berries over freezing berries, but the verdict for taste and freshness always goes to fresh from the farm or shelf. I agree. Fresh, fresh, fresh!

Of course, if you grow your own, you might end up with a surplus of fruits and veggies you won’t be able to finish before rotting. (I dream about this dilemma.) What do you do when your garden overproduces?

Freeze, can or store! Freezing fruits and vegetables at home is not an easy adventure, according to Keyishian, but it is not impossible.

First, fruits and vegetables must be prepared. Chopping broccoli and onion, slicing strawberries, peeling potatoes, etc.

Second, most vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts need to be blanched before spending any time in the freezer.

Third, unlike bananas, which come in their own wrapper, most fruits and vegetables will freeze in clumps. You have to lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze flat.

Note: Only freeze a banana if you’re making banana bread or a smoothie. Frozen bananas don’t taste that great thawed.

After the produce is frozen, you can store it in a bag so it takes up less space. When you’re ready to eat, the microwave and a steam bag are your best friend.

Eatingwell.com provides quick guides for freezing and storing 16 fruits and vegetables.

What do you do with your surplus veggies? Farmer’s market or freeze for later?

Meat-free eating

I have carnivorous tendencies.

Fish, I love.

Burgers? zomg. yum.

And duck… Don’t even get me started.

When husband makes steak, I melt with happiness and joy. He makes a really great bleu cheese sauce with cognac and peppercorns.

It. Is. Amazing.

But I want to eat less meat.

Not because I think eating meat is bad, but if I eat less meat, I will certainly eat MORE vegetables and fruits and yogurt. (I don’t need to eat more yogurt. I want to eat more yogurt. Current Favorite: Voskos Greek Yogurt with Wild Blueberries!)

I have also had some really fantastic vegetarian meals.

For example, when I had more than one bad experience with meat-full meals at one of my favorite old restaurants, I switched to the vegetarian menu.

The black bean tacos tasted better than the beef tacos. The sweet potato burger tasted better than the entire menu of patties. The vegetable sides tasted better than the fries and fried foods.

I was in veggie heaven! (And I rarely consider any where with eggplant heaven.)

Several blogs I read focus on vegetarian or vegan menus, even if the bloggers occasionally eat meat. Those bloggers look great and proclaim how great they feel! I want that!

Luckily, I already have most vegetarian staples in my pantry.

Healthy Oils: Canola for baking and extra-virgin olive oil for cooking (and salad and bread and hummus).

Nuts and Seeds: I know peanuts are not nuts. As soon as we are through our jar of peanut butter, I want to switch to sunflower butter. However, husband and I eat a bunch of nuts and seeds. (Organic cereal = SO MANY SEEDS.)

Eggs and Dairy: Husband and I eat eggs and love them equally. I am lactose intolerant and tend to avoid dairy (except fat free Greek yogurt), but Husband drinks full fat, full flavor chocolate milk after his jiu-jitsu workouts for recovery. It doesn’t do him a bit of harm ;)

Legumes: I can still eat peanuts! (Just want to avoid the butter.) Beans are probably my favorite legume. Black beans, pinto beans, dark red kidney beans… mix with corn and tomatoes with a little lime and cilantro, and you’ve just made my favorite summer snack!

Whole Grains: Except for whole grain bread and cereal as well as oats, my pantry is filled with regular noodles and regular rice. I need to work on that…

Fruits and Vegetables: Of course! I eat a banana almost every morning and an apple almost every day. I usually put vegetables in dinner or make a veggie with dinner as a side. (I have the best day, though, if I get my mid-morning apple snack.)

Those staples provide the nutrients needed when eating a meat-free diet, such as calcium, iron and iodine.

I have a ton of vegetarian recipes to try, but I’m pretty sure Moo Shu Vegetables is on the top of the list. I love the chicken version ;)

I’m not actually sure if an eggplant is a vegetable. I’ve heard it be called a berry and a type of squash. The CDC called it a vegetable. Who knows?!

Sharing my food with you

It has been forever since I have shared a food failure or culinary success on my blog!

Here are some of the relatively eatable recipes I’ve made lately:

Bean salad recipe

 My favorite summer time snack! Beans, corn, scallions and tomato salsa with tortilla chips.

Add Romaine, croutons and hot peppers.

bean salad with croutons

Yummy salad!

baked chicken tenders with cornmeal

Baked Chicken Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce and Sautéed Greens – I baked the chicken, and sautéed the greens in fish sauce. Delightful!

blackberry sauce recipe

That sauce was so awesome…

Drunk Chicken Recipe

Drunk Chicken Recipe

Husband did some cooking, too! The chicken is one of his delicious creations. Cayenne pepper, hoisin sauce and a slew of stuff he doesn’t remember.

He’s creative sometimes.

I got creative, too!

homemade frosting

Suzy Q cake

I made a Suzy-Q cake! (Well, I made the frosting. Cake mix confession.)

Husband preferred an ice cream dessert treat…

guiness float recipe

That’s not a root beer float.

That’s a beer float.

A Guinness float to be exact.

 Pretty tasty, even for a girl who likes Belgium whits.

Pad Thai recipe

Last week I made Chicken Pad Thai! Too many noodles, and I added extra bean sprouts, Romaine lettuce and carrot sticks.

topped with chopped peanuts

Very tasty!

School steals your soul and the ability to remember to take pictures. Just recipes below!

Chicken Pad Thai

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces  rice noodles (Vietnamese bahn pho or Thai sen-mee)
  • 1/4 cup  salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon  grated lime peel
  • 3 tablespoons  fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons  packed brown sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon  Asian chile sauce with garlic
  • 3 tablespoons  cooking oil
  • 1 pound  boneless, skinless chicken breast or turkey, cut into bite-sized strips
  • 1 tablespoon  finely chopped garlic
  • 1   egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup  fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup  sliced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons  snipped fresh cilantro

Directions
Place noodles in a large bowl. Add enough hot tap water to cover; let stand for 10 to 15 minutes or until pliable but not soft. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, for peanut topping, combine peanuts and lime peel; set aside.

In a small bowl combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chile sauce; stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook and stir for 6 minutes until chicken is tender and no pink remains. Transfer to a bowl.

Add egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Turn egg with spatula and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more, just until set. Remove and chop egg; set aside.

In same skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat for 30 seconds. Add drained noodles and sprouts; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken; cook 1 to 2 minutes more until heated through. Divide noodle mixture among four plates. Sprinkle each serving with egg and peanut topping. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Smoked Sausage and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 6  cups water
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 pound fully cooked smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 2 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage or packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)
  • 1/4  cup tomato paste or catsup
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar

Directions
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or large pot cook the onion and garlic in margarine or butter until tender but not brown. Add the water, potatoes, sausage, beans, and bouillon granules. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the cabbage or coleslaw mix, tomato paste or catsup, and vinegar. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.