Exercise is a really important part of my life. Clearly, when you spend most days baking and eating decadent desserts, it’s a necessity to work off those calories. Exercise also makes me feel good. It reduces my anxiety, helps me deal with stress, and often brings clarity on problems I’m dealing with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had writers’ block or couldn’t figure out what went wrong with a recipe until mid-run when the solution hits me.
But since I exercise a lot, it can get a little monotonous. I typically run and play Wii Active Life Outdoor Challenge (it’s a serious workout!), and I’ve been using the elliptical I bought a few months ago. However, I’ve been wanting to try something totally different. So I ordered a couple Jillian Michaels workout DVDs. I just finished 30 day Shred.
Working out about an hour and a half five days a week, all intense cardio, I figured I’d easily be able to do these workouts. WRONG! It turns out I lacked some serious strength. I couldn’t even do a push-up! I looked forward to the DVD everyday, moving through the progressively harder workouts, each with all different moves. It was exciting and interesting, keeping me totally engrossed. It did take me a day each week to catch onto the moves and not fall all over the room, but maybe I’m just not as coordinated as I thought either.
Plus, it’s an awesome workout. It seriously kicked my butt each day, my muscles twitching and sore – just how they should be after a workout. There were some moves I didn’t love, like lots of modified lunges, which can be hard on your knees and mine are already a little sensitive from running. Most moves I loved, though. From high knees to skaters to lots of crazy hard plank variations, I kept wanting to do the moves even after the video finished. And it worked. I feel stronger and more toned. I can even do a few push-ups now. I’m taking a break from the DVD for a little while and doing my other workouts, but I will definitely be doing it again.
After all this exercise, I need some recovery food. How about No Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars? Okay, so they’re not the healthiest, but they are full of protein packed peanut butter. These are the simplest, yummiest treat and so perfect to make in this hot summer weather when you don’t even want to think about turning on the oven. The recipe only has four ingredients, it’s addictively good, gluten free, and it will have you grabbing bites until it’s gone. Oh, and about ten seconds in the microwave makes it messy, but ooey, gooey, and even tastier!
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 10.5 ounce bag mini marshmallows
In a large microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, and chips. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Stir the melted mixture until it is well combined. Add the marshmallows and stir until they are fully coated. Some may melt a little – that is okay.
Pour in the mixture into an 8 or 9 inch square pan or even a pie pan (that’s what I used) and smooth into an even layer. Though they will be messy, I loved them warm. To cut into uniform bars, allow to cool to room temperature. May be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Bars may be microwaved for 10 seconds to make them gooey!
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is