Black Beans and Cookies and Nutella..Oh My!

It’s time for another homework break!

Basically, I have been doing math all day. And not the fun kind of math where Jen+chocolate=happy. The kind where you have to use multifactor productivity ratios and such. Yucky.

I did get my foodie pen pal stuff in the mail today, but I can’t write about it until the last day of the month.

I spoke with my wedding photographer today. She probably thinks I’m psychotic, but really I was just jacked on coffee.

I made black bean soup!

I used to always get the black bean soup from Panera back home, and I got the sudden craving the other day, so I bought the ingredients while I was out (basically, just the beans) and finally got around to making it this afternoon.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 big cans of black beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 T olive oil

Here’s what you do:

  1. heat the oil in a saucepan. add the onion. after a few minutes (allowing the onion to soften), add the spices. After another minute, add the beans, salsa and water.
  2. bring the stuff to a boil for a few minutes. turn the heat down, cover the pot and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so.
  3. Take half the soup out and place in a blender. Blend. Add it back to the rest of the soup in the pot. Bring it back to a boil, cover and simmer until you’re ready to eat.

And because I have a stupid huge sweet tooth, I made an old favorite- with a little twist. Think chocolate chip cookies meets cake pan meets jar of nutella. YUP.

It’s just your average chocolate chip cookie recipe

  • a bag o’chips
  • 1 cup o’butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • JUST UNDER 2 c flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking soda

  1. Beat the butter. Add the brown sugar until fully incorporated. Then the sugar. Beat in each egg one at a time. Add the vanilla. The soda. Then the flour. Last is the chips.
  2. Grease an 8×8 dish. Coat the bottom of the dish with about 1/2 the cookie dough (do this immediately. AKA: don’t let the full batch of dough sit in the fridge)
  3. After you coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 the dough, stick THAT in the fridge. Leave the other half out. As soon as you put the dish in the fridge, preheat the oven for 375. When it beeps telling you it’s ready, take the dish out of the fridge, smear with nutella (like 3/4 cup). Then cover with the remaining dough.
  4. Baking for 30 minutes (it might be different where you are- I’m at high altitude)

If loving this is wrong, I don’t EVER wanna be right.


I’m gonna go drink a gallon of water and run 5 miles now. Bye bye.

All Systems Go recap

So the second class from the fitness retreat was All Systems Go, again by Mindy Mylrea. As if blasting my butt with her just before this class wasn’t enough- she did it again, this time HARDER.

The whole deal with this class is to incorporate a lower body move with an upper body move, core, and conditioning. But it isn’t meant to do 4 SEPARATE exercises- instead, she builds on one exercise to incorporate all four target zones.

For example: We started with a curtsy lunge using the Gliders. (While holding a body bar. Curtsy lunge with left foot behind right, holding bar in the middle with your left hand)


Then, we would continue with the lunge, while simultaneously engaging in an overhead press with the bar.

Then, we would continue with the lunge,  and complete the press with a twist (for core).

For the conditioning bit, it would be all the above -with a hop- if you are able. In unable, participants can incorporate all the moves as a speedier rate.

(This is just an example of how she used progressions to incorporate all four target zones)

Some of the moves we did were so awesome. Rather than focusing on the number of reps- where class participants can lose correct form as a means of completing reps- Mindy focused on having us either complete quick bursts (since everyone can justify going all out for 10 seconds) or she would have us work in pairs- where we would subconsciously compare/beat our partner with the exercise.

The best exercise we did with partners was with this band:


We would slip our feet between each end and stand in a wide squat-making sure the band is really tight. We would be facing our partner, and when Mindy said ‘jump’ we would try to jump higher and open our legs wider (dirty) than our partner. She would have us do just one, then a set of three, and so forth. Is was more about challenging ourselves and our partners than getting in a certain number of reps.

And these things:


I can’t even begin to describe how these challenge your balance. Try spinning these, rotating your arms in large circles while spinning these, all while in a Brazilian lunge. Youch. Balance? Check.

…and this class was done immediately after lunch. My advice: don’t engage in this type of workout immediately after lunch.


My workout last night starred the infamous TABATA. Here’s how it looked:

(FYI: Tabata’s are 20 seconds of all out work, 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes)

Tabata: Bender ball lunge jumps 4 right, 4 left (Placing the bender ball behind the right knee and raising the heel to keep the ball in place- engaging your hamstring. Swing the right knee back, then drive it forward while simultaneously hopping off the left foot)

Then, I did an upper body series where I completed 3 sets of 12 reps of the following 3 exercises

  • bicep curls
  • overhead press
  • tricep kickbacks

Tabata: Tube Jumps (These were what I explained above. I used the dog as my partner, and I totally jumped higher than her) Keep in mind, these are continuous jumps- always leading with your butt. It’s not jump-squat-pause-jump-squat-pause; it’s jump-squat-jump-squat-jump-squat. You should be dead by the end of this tabata.

Then I did 3 sets of 12 reps (for both right leg and left leg) single leg dead lifts.

Tabata: For this last tabata, I rotated between two moves. For the first, I did 2 sets of left curtsy lunges using the gliders, 2 sets to the right, then 4 sets of planks using ONE glider (get in plank position, place the glider under your left foot, place your right foot over your left, ‘pull’ the glider up to your chest, and push it back out to plank position- switch to other foot halfway through)

To finish, I did 200 crunches.

Anyone have a favorite exercise they like to do with Tabata training?