Autumn River Run + Crock-Pot Pho

Yesterday was one of those ridiculously beautiful autumn days, and I decided to skipped my morning run in favor of an afternoon run by the river near my office.

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As you can see from the photos, it ended up being a fantastic decision. 😀  I love the soft trails with the crunch of the fallen leaves underfoot, the sights, the tranquility, and (near) solitude.  I paid no attention to speed or distance, but rather just ran because it felt good.  It was an awesome way to break up the work day.

<Sigh>

On a completely different subject, we made Vietnamese Pho in our Crock-Pot Sunday, and I am really excited about having the leftovers tonight for Stewsday!  The food I desire most when it’s cold and I am lazy/tired/sick/(or not) is noodles and broth.  Not chicken noodle soup, not vegetable noodle soup–noodles + broth.  I love it.  When Andrew suggested making a large batch of noodles and broth, I simply couldn’t say no.  (Yeah, there’s some chicken and vegetables in there too, and I muscled them down for good measure. ;-))

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The recipe was easy and probably didn’t actually require the Crock-Pot.  We put 2 quarts of chicken broth + a pound(ish) of cooked, shredded chicken in the pot on high.  After a few hours, when we were close to being ready to eat, we added a box of brown rice noodles, bean sprouts, a sliced jalepeno, sliced mushrooms, chopped basil, cilantro, and lime juice.  As soon as the noodles are soft, the pho is ready.  It was, pho real, a delicious batch of soup. 😉

Enjoy the lovely fall weather and all the delicious foods that go with it today!

Do you prefer running on trails or on the road?
Have you ever tried and/or made pho?

The Sandwich-Hater’s Lunch: Black Bean Salad

As you likely know by now, I am a sandwich-hater down to my bones.  I hadn’t posted on the topic or shared a sandwich-less lunch recipe in a while, but my my sister’s excellent guest post last week inspired me.  After a week on vacation eating a lot of heavy foods (hello, bacon every morning), I have been craving fresh, raw, whole foods.  Beans, rather than meat, have sounded like the most delicious foods in the world this week!  I made a big batch of this super easy black bean salad on Sunday night, and I’ve been working my way through it for lunches:

Black Bean Salad
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tomatoes, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 c corn (I used frozen)
Italian dressing to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Done.

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Friends, it’s really delicious.  Also, has anyone had Popcorners (pictured above)?  We buy some whenever we go to our wholesale club, and it’s a miracle if the 18-serving bag lasts a week.  I like to tell myself that Andrew is eating more than his share, but in reality I think I am the culprit.  Last Sunday we took a risk and bought two bags and agreed that no matter when we finished the first, we could not open the second until a week had passed since purchase.  This will prevent us from the entirely possible scenario of eating 36 servings of popcorn chips in one week.  Hah!

Have a great Thursday!

What’s been in your lunch box this week?
Have you tried Popcorners??

Eating Well in the Real World (Guest Post)

Our guest blogger today is my little brother, Ross!  He is a. funnier and b. a better writer than I am, so enjoy 😀

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“Hey there, Catherine’s blog friends!  I’m excited be making my long-overdue debut here on A Two Storey Home.

Now, I may not grow as much produce, eat as many hipster meals, or run as many miles as my big sister, but I think I can still provide you all with some valuable fitness and nutrition insight.  Also, unlike some members of my family, I am not at an all-inclusive Jamaican resort without a computer.  Thus, you are stuck with me.

So, without further adieu, here we go:

Between the ages of 18-22, there are three major transitions that significantly impact a person’s fitness and nutrition habits:

1)     Freshman Year of College – While I think the “Freshman 15” is a fairly overblown phenomenon, there’s no question that the college lifestyle requires a serious adjustment. Gone are the days of strict high school athletic schedules, home-cooked meals, and childhood metabolism.  I didn’t necessarily gain weight freshman year, but I certainly replaced some of my high school muscles with some extra cushion.  All you can eat?  Challenge accepted.

2)     Moving Off-Campus – You don’t hear much about this transition period, but it’s a sneaky-dangerous time in a college student’s life.  Smaller meal plans, more than a 100-foot walk to the gym, and zero supervision.  I remember looking at my weekend’s credit card statement one Monday during my sophomore year: takeout Chinese, McDonald’s, 7-11, and Sonic.  All in one weekend.  Woof.

3)     Entering the Real World – It took nearly 250 words, but I’ve finally reached the transition period I set out to talk about in this post.  Although I’m just 14 months into this whole “adulthood” thing, I’ve found it to be the most successful health and fitness transition yet.  Structured schedules, hand-me-down cookware, and enough money to pay for the occasional fruit or vegetable…what more could a guy want?  I guess a trip to Jamaica would be nice, but who has time for that?

The real world has been an excellent opportunity to redeem myself for the “Moving Off-Campus” portion of college.  Honestly, they’re somewhat similar stages of life, just with four more years of maturity, and an equal amount of trips to Jamaica.  Rather than playing N-64 and eating fast food, now I go to the gym and make my own meals.  I’m such a young professional it hurts.

What are some of those Ross-made meals, you ask?  Great question. In keeping with the ATSH theme, here’s a quick recipe for some really solid turkey burgers.  My roommate Matt and I have made these a few times (his recipe), and they’re awesome.  It’s the kind of food I’d imagine they would serve at one of those swanky all-inclusive Jamaican resorts.

(I’m leaving out quantities; we just eyeball it, and so should you).  (Editor’s note:  This is obviously a family trait).

Ground Turkey
Diced onion
Diced jalapeño
Diced garlic
Worcestershire Sauce
Salt
Pepper
Steak Sauce
Avocado

-Mix the turkey (super cheap at the Carytown Kroger, and presumably, most places) with the onion, jalapeño, garlic, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.

– Form into patties

– Place patties on grill, on low-heat.

– It’s tough to over-cook turkey, so I’m not exactly sure how much time to cook it for.  Just keep an eye on it and use good judgment.

– Serve on a whole-wheat bun or in a wrap.  Feel free to add additional onions, jalapeños, or even tomatoes.  The avocado and steak sauce are completely optional, but both are really good to spread on the bun or the wrap.

In fairness, things like this are not an everyday occasion.  Generally, my dinners consist of a grilled chicken breast, a bag of vegetables and/or pasta, and some sort of fruit.  My meals are pretty generic, but they’re quick, reasonably healthy, and very cost-effective – all very important qualities for a 23-year-old male who isn’t in Jamaica.

This is getting excessively long, so I’ll actually hold off on the exercise portion of this post.  Thanks so much for letting me intrude on your blog world for a day.  It was nice to get back on the writing train.

Hopefully Catherine will invite me back to discuss the fitness challenges associated with being a 20-something with a full-time desk job.  That is, if she comes back from Jamaica.  Did I mention she was in Jamaica?

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 Ross has been invited back to write part 2, as well as other posts in the future.  If I don’t return from Jamaica, he gains full operational control of A Two Storey Home.

New Favorite Breakfast: Overnight Oats

For years I was a faithful Kashi Go Lean cereal eater.  This week I decided to try something new–something with fewer ingredients and less fiber–for the most important meal of the day, and I am pleased with the switch.

I don’t know who stumbled upon or coined the term “Overnight Oats,” but they must be brilliant.  I love oatmeal, but I never want to take the time to make it in the morning–we don’t have a microwave, and who wants to dirty a pot on a weekday before they’ve had coffee?  Not this girl.  Enter overnight oats.  Put the ingredients in a bowl before you go to bed, and it’s ready when you wake up.

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In my bowl this week:  1/2 c oats (not instant), 1/2 c + splash soy milk, frozen blueberries, sprinkle of cinnamon, pinch of salt.  In the morning I stir in a spoonful of peanut butter.  And, of course, coffee with soy milk to wash it all down.

It’s easy, delicious, and keeps me full for hours!  I think I’m in love.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Post Food Poisoning Meals

It’s been a week of funny dinners around the Storey house.  On Sunday night after a dinner out, Andrew got a bad case of the pukes that lasted through the night.  We decided it was food poisoning based on the timing and the fact that I never caught it.  He was pretty miserable. :-/

On Monday he was still in pretty bad shape–managing to muscle down plain toast, chicken and rice soup, and Gatorade–and on Tuesday he was ready for a real, but bland dinner.  Here’s what I came up with:

Skillet Chicken
Steamed Green Beans
Brown Rice

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We cooked the chicken tenderloins in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The green beans (from the garden) spent some time in the vegetable sauna steamer, and we made the rice in the rice cooker with chicken broth.  Really easy to make and surprisingly good, despite the lack of creativity (a little bit of salt makes a big difference!)  Most importantly, Andrew’s recovering stomach approved. 🙂

Last night, however, we had a dinner issue.  When I went to the grocery store Monday, not knowing what Andrew would feel up to eating, I bought two boxes of Applegate Farms chicken nuggets–one gluten-free for him, one regular (because I am sympathetic;  if he had to eat chicken nuggets, I guess I would too… you know, to support him ;-))  He didn’t want them Monday, but when I came home last night, he was working his way through a plate of nuggets.

“Those are the gluten-free nuggets, right?”

(A slight look of panic on his face) “There were two kinds?”

“Yes, I bought one GF and one regular so that you could have the whole GF box to yourself…”

“I didn’t check!  You said you bought GF chicken nuggets so I just grabbed a box out of the freezer!”

We went to the freezer to check, and, sure enough, he had broken into the NON gluten-free box.  He said he’d eaten four before I walked in, which may seem like a lot, but considering he had eight additional nuggets on his plate, I’m glad I walked in when I did.  I was nervous all night about what effect the gluten might have on him, but it seems that it was a small enough amount to not upset his stomach beyond the “off” feeling he already had.  (If he’d eaten all 12 nuggets though… seriously, who eats 12 chicken nuggets?)  Crisis averted, lessons learned.  Andrew continues to be on the mend!

If you have a food intolerance, have you ever accidentally eaten something you weren’t supposed to?  What happened?

When was the last time you had the upchucks?  What foods can you tolerate/do you recommend during the recovery?

 

Ultimate Frisbee + My New Favorite Squash Recipe

I am sore this morning!  Last night we played Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and we played hard.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, dinner.

We enjoyed leftovers from an awesome dinner Monday night: chicken sausages with a potato, squash, and goat cheese gratin.  I used this recipe for the gratin (minus the milk and Parmesan cheese; Andrew can handle goat cheese.)

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Oh, it was delicious.  Squash by itself?  Not my favorite.  Squash with my beloved potatoes?  Oh, yes.  This recipe is a winner, for sure.

After eating, we made our way to the University of Richmond to meet the Ultimate Frisbee gang.  We went a little bit early so Andrew and a few others could play Spikeball first.  I embraced the opportunity to go for a walk through the beautiful campus.

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Ready. To. Play. 😉

Last week we had 8 people for Frisbee;  this week we had twenty.  Rather than play a crowded 10-on-10 game, we made four teams and had a mini tournament on two adjacent fields.  We each played one game (first team to score 11,) then the winners played, and the losers played.   By the end, we’d all spend about 90 minutes running pretty hard.  The teams were beautifully even in terms of abilities, so although we won our games (:-D), both were very close, and there was no time to rest.

After driving home and hobbling from the car to the house, I made my favorite workout recovery meal–a smoothie.  This cup contained frozen berries, banana, mixed greens, peanut butter, and soy milk.  While this sounds rather strange and is not my typical smoothie combination–I usually use spinach, but we have mixed greens on hand right now, and I usually forego the peanut butter, but I wanted some extra protein–it actually tasted great!  And no, I could not taste the greens. 🙂

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I love smoothies as workout recovery fuel because they contain carbohydrates, protein, and lots of vitamins, depending on what fruit you include.  Unfortunately, none of that is preventing my legs and glutes from being incredibly sore this morning. 😀

What do you eat/drink after a hard workout?
Do you ever play Ultimate Frisbee?

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

I love potatoes in most any form.  When I send Andrew a text mid-afternoon that says, “Thoughts on dinner?”  and he replies, “Whatever is fine,” there is a very strong chance he’ll be eating potatoes that night.  Yesterday, to jazz up our go-to oven roasted potatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil, I created what turned out to be a really delicious seasoning mix.  If you are a fellow lover of potatoes, give this a try:

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

-5-6 small red potatoes
-1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/4 tsp pepper

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1. Preheat oven to 350.  Begin boiling a large pot of water.  2. Slice potatoes into small chunks.  3. Boil potatoes for 5 minutes, drain, then transfer to a bowl.  4. While potatoes are boiling, combine all the spices and mix well.  5. Add olive oil and spice mixture to the potatoes, and stir, making sure all the potatoes are coated.  6.  Spread potatoes on an aluminum foil-lined baking pan, and place in oven for about 30 minutes, flipping potatoes with a spatula halfway through.

DSCN8551Oh man, they were good!  Boiling them first ensures that they are soft, and putting them in the oven makes the exterior crispy.  I could eat these every day!  They did have a little kick, so if you don’t like spicy food, make sure to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper (or eliminate it completely.)

In addition to the potatoes we had steamed broccoli and baked chicken breasts, marinated in raspberry-walnut vinaigrette (which explains the pinkish color. :))  With all the goods coming out of the garden, we have been eating a lot of salad;  last night I needed something that wasn’t raw, and the steamed broccoli hit the spot.

Enjoy!