back on that workout grind…or whatever they say

Running shoes

Big deal time: I've been in the gym for 20 minutes 3 times a week for the last two weeks. The last time I took my running shoes out of my car was Memorial Day weekend. They still had dust from Color Me Rad coming off of them!

As I've mentioned before, I find it very difficult to maintain a regular workout schedule in the summer because I'm so against spending time in a gym. I like to get out and run on actual sidewalks. But the heat and humidity and afternoon rain makes it nearly impossible to stick to a regular schedule. I get very anxious when I spend too much time indoors (think reverse seasonal affective disorder), but I just can't get outdoors as much as I need to during the summer. It's a vicious cycle.

Fitness selfie

I finally sucked it up and visited the awesome gym at my complex (one of the things that sold me on moving here) and just started running again. Actually, it was more like a fast walk…but still, I just did it. And I kept doing it.

I doubt this will last into the semester, but I'm trying while I can. Twenty minutes, three times a week. It's completely doable. Next time I'm also adding in some strength training.

PS: I'm running 1.25 miles in under 20 minutes, which is pretty awesome for someone my size. The faster I'm running by late September, the faster I can reach free girl scout cookies.

recipe: how we do chicken burgers

Burger layer 1

Burgers are one of those easy weeknight meals that everyone should have in their basic rotation. As long as I already have the meat defrosted (ok, so some forethought is required) I can have these ready to eat in under 20 minutes. All it takes is mashing up some ground meat with spices and an egg and grilling the patties. 

We do our chicken burgers up "California style" (my name for it) with mashaed avocado and jalapenos. I like light and fresh toppings with a meat like chicken.

Burgers

california-style chicken burgers (yields 5-6 burgers)

for the burgers:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper

for the toppings:

  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into circles
  • dijon mustard
  • harvarti cheese
  • whole wheat hamburger buns
  • greens (spinach, lettuce, whatever floats your boat)

As a note: I grill indoors on a one-heat setting George Foreman grill, so this recipe caters to that. Times and temps may change for your outdoor grill.

Turn your George Foreman to medium-high heat (or if yours is like mine, let it heat up to its one setting). Mix the ground meat, spices, and egg together and form into 3/4-inch thick patties. I work in batches to grill because I can only fit two at a time on mine. Close the Foreman grill lid and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165*F. 

While the burgers are cooking, slice the jalapeno, mash the avocado, and lay out any additional toppings you are using. Assemble burgers. Eat burgers. Go back for seconds (sometimes you just need to).

What is your favorite burger combination? I'm looking to feature more burgers and want to give you the shoutout you deserve for having such a kick-ass burger combination.

recipe: the best salad ever!

This wasn't going to be your regularly scheduled post today, but I made this yesterday for lunch and it was the best salad I've ever had. Seriously.

The best salad everNot the best picture, but I may have inhaled the other portion before I even thought to take a picture and write a post.

I don't know why, but this salad had everything to make it worthy of the name best salad ever. Maybe it was the locally produced honey, maybe it was the smokiness from the sundried tomatoes, maybe it was because I made it at 6:30am and let everything sit together until noon. Who knows? But I do know one thing: make this salad now. Seriously, go…now.

kale/quinoa/chickpea/feta/sundried tomato/pepita salad aka the best salad ever

For the salad:
3-ish cups kale
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup smoked sundried tomatoes (I strongly recommend the smoked variety because of the flavor it adds)
1-2 handfuls of pepitas

For the dressing:
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Destem and chop the kale. Make the dressing and massage into the kale. This will help soften the kale a bit. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and combine. I let this sit for 5-6 hours in the fridge and it was still nice and crunchy. You can eat it immediately, but I felt like the flavors combined more by letting it sit.

**note: I used the seasonal summer honey this local producer and a German sweet and spicy IPA mustard from this local company. Great use of recent weekend market purchases.

recipe: cucumber, mint, & gin cooler

I'm back from my impromptu "I'm done with school and unplugging from life" weekend!

Cucumber mint cooler

Gin is a staple in the house. I love a good gin & tonic in the summer. Now with all of the mint growing in our garden, I wanted to find a way to incorporate it into a cocktail. I added cucumber because why not? Cucumber + mint = winning, every time.

This is the quintessential summer cocktail.

cucumber, mint, & gin cooler

1/2 medium cucumber, sliced
1-2 tbp fresh mint leaves
1 handful ice
1.5 oz gin (I used Beefeater this time, but I can see Hendrick's adding a great flavor)
1 oz Rose's lime juice (make sure it's Rose's…a classic bar staple)

Muddle the cucumber slices and mint leaves together at the bottom of a shaker. Add the ice, gin, and lime juice and shake. Pour into a cup with ice and garnish with a cucumber slice.

Now sit outside and enjoy your summer reading.