When I’m not making complicated curries or painstakingly trying to complete the latest Daring Kitchen challenge, you can usually find me preparing slightly humbler fare, such as Strawberry Peanut Butter Snackies. Ever since seeing the idea in a snippet side bar in Real Simple magazine, this little treat has been my go-to munchie when I need a substantial snack or, more than once, a quick lunch. Comprised of strawberries, peanut butter, cream cheese, and honey, this sandwich is perhaps not the most healthy thing I could be eating. However, I must argue that there is protein in the peanut butter, honey cuts out any refined sugars, and strawberries are very good for you. When that argument begins to sound a little flimsy, I just remind myself that I’ve been getting back into running lately, so I must be extra hungry from all those calories I’m burning.
Did I mention that I’m running now? It’s not like I ever particularly stopped—I’ve been running at various intensities for years—but I had been slacking off a bit. Hopping on the treadmill is just so unappealing when the much easier, much nicer Wii Fit is calling my name (you can actually get a good workout with EA Active). The point is, I’d been slacking. And slacking, combined with writing a food blog—which requires cooking a lot of really yummy food—really isn’t a good combination. So, to balance out the extra cooking that’s been going on, I’ve gotten back into running—real running.
At this point, I’m going to pepper my saga of exercise and all its wonders with images of this snackie sandwich. It may cause things to get a bit confusing, what with talking about exercise yet drooling over photos of cream cheese and peanut butter, but I feel that that’s an accurate depiction of what goes through my mind on a daily basis. Seriously, I watch Food Network while I’m on the treadmill.
In the past—namely during the P.E. class that I took last spring—running and I were not good friends. I’d try to get a good time on our 1.5 mile run for the final, and he’d give me a sudden stitch in my side. I’d get in a great workout, and he’d cause my pale, Irish cheeks to turn a decidedly un-flattering shade of red. You might say that running and I were frenemies.
After sufficiently recovering from that lovely experience, I retreated to the welcoming arms of my Wii and EA Active, which provided me with a pretty good workout and a much-needed balm for my wounded psyche. Unfortunately, you just can’t get the same intense workout on a video game that you can with running. So, I slowly began
implementing medieval torture running again.
For any of you readers who run or are starting to run, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that the beginning is the worst part. At the end of that P.E. class—and for many years before that—I could run about a mile before I started feeling a little bit miserable and wanting to slow down. For a while, that’s what I’d do, warm up for 0.5 miles, run 1 mile, walk 0.25 miles, run 0.5 miles, and then cool down for 0.5 miles, bringing the total mileage up to 2.25.
The odd thing was, even though I’d been sticking to this running pattern for a few weeks, I still found that lengthy mile pretty rough. I hadn’t gotten my second wind—that moment when you’ve pushed past the tough beginning of the run and get into a groove. Thankfully, it wasn’t long after that that my second wind found me.
While surfing around the blogosphere, I happened upon a truly fabulous blog, The Runner’s Kitchen, where I found a lot of great advice and tidbits about running. Inadvertently, reading about someone who runs 60 miles a week and trains for marathons really inspired me to bump up my mileage. That day, I got on the treadmill, warmed up, and pushed past that 1-mile mark and ran non-stop for 1.75 miles. I had found my second wind. It was amazing how running just a little bit past that initial mile made me feel so much better. After a quarter-mile walk, I ran another 0.75 miles and then cooled down, bringing my total mileage to 3.75. Since that day, I’ve made it up to 4 miles for my run, with hopefully more to come.
My goals are simple. I’d like to keep my workout to about an hour in length, while bringing up my mileage as much as possible. Right now, I haven’t placed much focus on speed, which is something I want to work on once my body gets more comfortable with all this extra running, which I must confess, I’m beginning to enjoy.
Now that I’ve obviously teetered over into utter madness, go get yourself one of these sandwiches. You deserve it!
Strawberry Peanut Butter Snackie
Recipe inspired by Real Simple magazine, created by Koci
If you actually want a printable recipe for this, here it is.
1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 strawberries, sliced
1 teaspoon honey
Spread cream cheese, then peanut butter over the toasted bread. Arrange sliced strawberries on half of the bread, drizzling with honey. Cut the bread in half, topping the strawberry side with the non-strawberry side.
Thoughtfully munch away, wondering why you’re so bad at writing recipe methods.