Every time I hit the trail I look forward to seeing a few familiar faces that help distract and get me through a tough (torturous, even? In this heat anyway!) run.

First up is the older couple I can usually expect about 3/4 miles in. Always walking one ahead of the other, the woman will give me a grin while her mate waves from behind in one slow arc from his elbow, like a rainbow signaling relief. Nearly 1 mile done!


I can always count on the older gentleman riding his bike at breakneck speeds 1/4 mile later wearing, wait for it, a wrestling singlet with, cough, nothing underneath, for a chuckle to distract me from the sweat that’s generally pouring down my chin at that point.


Jazzy power walker lady in her cute visor and walkman gives me an encouraging, I know you’re dying, sweetie, but just keep going! smile near the end of my journey, while the runner’s wave I exchange with a guy I’ve seen lose 100+ pounds over the past couple of years totally inspires me to push through the last 1/4 mile, which is uphill in both directions. With 15 feet of snow on the ground even in the summertime…

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Similarly, there’s nothing that helps get me through a long day quite like knowing dinner isn’t going to be complicated or take a long time to prepare, and that it will be utterly delicious and satisfying to boot.


I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad which literally takes, like, two minutes to put together once you cook a chicken breast to perch on top.

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Chicken Cashew Salad is my favorite salad from Culver’s, a Midwestern fast-food chain, which I get anytime I’m on the road. Or craving cheese. They have the best cheese.


I make it home a lot for lunch, and it couldn’t be easier to toss together. Just saute or grill a chicken breast then place it on a bed of lettuce studded with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cashew halves, and freshly grated cheddar cheese in any amount you like. No measurements needed in this non-recipe, recipe!


The absolute best part is the freshly grated cheddar cheese that gets sprinkled on top. Freshly grated cheddah is silky, creamy, and smooth, and pairs beautifully with the salty cashews, and sweet cherry tomatoes. Definitely skip the pre-shredded stuff!


Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad


Copycat Culver's Chicken Cashew Salad is a quick and filling salad recipe. Simple and delicious.


serves 1 or more

  • Chicken breasts (plan on 1 per person)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped (plan for 4 cups per person)
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cashew halves
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette, or your dressing of choice


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, or a grill to high. Brush chicken breasts on both sides with extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
  2. In the meantime, divide lettuce between plates. Top with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, cashew halves, cheddar cheese, and the cooked chicken.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


I like to dress this salad with a hit of fruity Raspberry Vinaigrette for a nice flavor contrast. A little seems to go a long way.


Bonus points go to this salad for being nearly no-heat required. Still avoiding the oven like the plague over here!


Do you name fellow exercisers on the trail or at the gym?