No Equipment Strength + Cardio Circuit Workout

It is always great to be able to sneak away from Minneapolis and go on little weekend getaways. This is especially true when it’s spent up north with lots of family, good food, relaxation, and sunshine, which is precisely how I spent my time this weekend.

The downside (probably the only downside) to weekend travel is figuring out how/where I can squeeze in a workout or two. You know, in between sleeping in, brunch, beers, and relaxing. It truly is a rough life.

But really, it does give me some anxiety.

This weekend I was in northern Minnesota at a family reunion (it was so fun, but more about that later, I’ll discuss the workout first) and fortunately my mind was at ease because I fit in my 10-miler on Thursday morning annndddd because I was scheduled (per my Mother’s reunion agenda) to lead a Saturday morning bootcamp with the family.

I was a bit nervous (so I guess my mind wasn’t totally at ease) that A) people wouldn’t show up for the bootcamp and B) whoever did show up would think it was dumb, too hard, or not challenging enough. I even had a dream Friday night that my sister and cousin were the only ones that came and they ended up quitting mid-way through. Sad.

Luckily, none of that happened. People came! We met out by the lake at 9:00am and had a great workout together outside.

no equipment strength & cardio workout

To sum it up, this workout is composed of four rounds and three sets of each round. 30 seconds of a resistance training exercise is followed by 30 seconds of a cardio/plyo exercise. This workout keeps your heart rate elevated and helps you hit the major muscle groups.

The great thing about this workout is that absolutely no equipment is necessary. We did this out by the lake and the only thing I needed was the stopwatch on my phone to time the 30-second intervals.

Meaning, no more fretting about weekend travel workouts! You can do this workout anytime, anywhere. Do it on your next vacay. Or today at home!

Another great thing about this workout is that anyone can do it! Progress or regress the exercises as needed (feel free to put a question in the comments if you need help with this) for whatever works best for YOU. Push yourself during those 30-second increments and make the work count. You will (as I did and some of my family members too) feel it the next morning.

The workout above is a little bit modified from what I went through on Saturday. We did some more ab work and added on some hills at the end. Yes, hills! We were not messing around. You are welcome to tack on some hill training on the end of this too if the mood strikes you, but the outline above is a great workout as is.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves – you know, after it was all over – which was a huge relief for me.

Dummers can party hard and work hard. Look at this: strong, sweaty, and smiling.

dummer family reunion The rest of the weekend was an absolute blast. I was even able to fit in two 5-mile runs on top of Saturday’s morning bootcamp (bonus!). We went out on the lake, ate too much good food, had a bean bag tournament, golfed, drank beer and margaritas, made s’mores by the campfire, celebrated a 40th birthday, played volleyball, and enjoyed time together as a family. Some of these people I hadn’t seen since our last reunion three years ago!

We are planning to have the next one in two years, potentially in Laramie, WY. But no matter where it is, it will be amazing. I’m already excited.

Here are some fun pictures from the weekend.

dummer family reunion My favorite is the top one of the three brothers. They are three handsome and amazing men, who met beautiful women and raised wonderful families. I love them all so much. The bottom picture is just the Ed (my grandpa’s) branch of the Dummer tree.


These pudding-wiches are a blast from the past, bringing me right back to my days at summer camp.

pudding-wiches I was talking to my mom a month or so ago and we were brainstorming snacks to bring to our family reunion (which starts today!!!). She mentioned pudding-wiches and I thought, “OMG! PUDDING-WICHES!!” I had forgotten all about them.

A few of my childhood summers (maybe 3 or so?) I would spend a week at Camp Croix with my siblings, best friends, and our camp counselor mothers. It was always the highlight of the summer. We would make crafts, play softball, tetherball, and nukem (a version of volleyball where you catch and through the ball), canoe, swim, have campfires, sing songs, go to Bible study, put on plays, make new friends, and all those other fun camp activities. So, so fun.

Oddly enough I ran into one of the girls that I met at summer camp one time during an intern event at General Mills. It had been 10 years since we had seen each other, but I have a creepy knack for remembering people (never forget a face!). Isn’t that a crazy coincidence!?

Anyways, the cafeteria would serve these pudding-wiches as dessert or a snack. Then after getting home from camp my mom would whip up a batch or two to keep in the freezer. We would always crave them and then think of fun summer camp memories as we ate them. Plus, pudding-wiches are a super simple and delicious snack to keep on hand and eat when the mood strikes.

pudding-wiches After my mom had mentioned them I decided that I needed to make them immediately. So I did.

Pudding-wiches are essentially graham cracker sandwiches with a filling of chocolate mousse (chocolate pudding + Cool Whip).

Get out your crackers.

pudding-wiches Get our your mousse.

pudding-wiches Dollop on the mousse. Top the sandwiches.

pudding-wiches Freeze for a bit and then wrap in plastic wrap.

pudding-wiches Store in your freezer and eat as your heart desires.

pudding-wiches So that’s it. Nothing fancy or complicated. Just simply delicious.

I have the day off of work and am heading up north in a few hours to celebrate another Dummer Family Reunion. It will be my grandpa, his two brothers, and all the families that stem underneath them. We have the reunions about every three years in various states (Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado) across the country. It is always a great time and this year will be no exception. I love that our family takes the time and money to get together every couple of years to celebrate and actually enjoy our time together.

I don’t remember if my mom actually decided to make pudding-wiches for the reunion or not, but she did text me that she made 3 batches of s’more cookies, 2 batches of salted caramel oatmeal cookies, and a big pan of bars. Plus there will be my Great Grandma Lilian’s German potato salad, burgers, brats, beans, and so many other delicious things. It will be a delicious weekend. Good thing I’m scheduled to lead morning boot camp.


Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
Graham cracker sandwiches filled with chocolate mousse. A great summer time snack!
  • 24 graham crackers
  • 8 oz container Cool Whip
  • 3.9 oz box chocolate instant pudding mix
  1. Make the pudding according to package directions. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding. Place in the freezer for 15-60 minutes to firm up (optional).
  3. Split graham crackers in half. Dollop a large spoonful on half of the crackers. Top with the other half of the graham cracker to create a sandwich. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Wrap individual pudding wiches in plastic wrap and keep in freezer until ready to eat.
I made my sandwich is batches, making about 8 at a time. This way I could freeze a small amount before making more and stacking them in the freezer.

It’s funny how food can give you such nostalgic feelings. Every time I eat one of these my mind shoots straight back to those summer camp days. It was like the prime of my awkward stage. I’m so glad I (for the most part) am past that. Because, yikes. Those pictures are a bit painful to look back on.



Thursday Things

thursday things picnic Two of my friends and I have themed monthly dinners. The themes have ranged from Indian to Pizza to Thai to Crockpot to Seafood. This month’s theme was “Picnic”. We enjoyed salads, sandwiches, and wine on a beautiful Sunday evening in Gold Medal Park then stopped by Izzy’s for dessert. So good. This place is dangerously close to where I live.

I hope you go on a picnic soon. I’m meeting different friends for a picnic next week and am already brainstorming on what I should make. Decisions, decisions, so exciting to think about…

Anywho, here are some things I found on the internets this week and other various thoughts.

  • One day I will have fancy dinner parties and I will need to revert back to this article. Until then I just need to remember that a simple party menu is best, because I sometimes go overboard and stress myself out.
  • Green tea ice cubes! Such a genius idea. As soon as I track down my ice-cube tray (probably buried in my freezer) I am making these and adding them to my morning smoothies.
  • I must be really lucky this summer or something, because on Monday I found out that I won Fork Knife Swoon’s Nespresso giveaway. I AM SO EXCITED! Who wants to come over to drink some espresso? And then go to the gas station to buy some lotto tickets?
  • Yes, yes, yes to all of these things! Let’s all be active and healthy, mmk?
  • It’s Restaurant Week in Minneapolis! I love using it as a good reason to check out a new restaurant (or two) in town. I went to Brasserie Zentral on Monday night. It was delicious! If you live in the area and haven’t gone somewhere yet, you still have tonight and tomorrow! Go make reservations now.

Have a good one. xo

Fartlek Training Run

I have another fun running workout for you: Fartlek training!

Yes, I said it: Fartlek. Did the 3rd grader in you just giggle? Mine did. I mean, how can you not?!

Ok. I am terrible. Moving on…

So, Fartlek: what the heck is it?

It’s a Swedish term meaning “Speed Play”. It is very similar to interval and tempo training, but is unstructured. The key is to play with different speeds throughout your run. The random sprints and middle distance running keeps your body guessing and works both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Instead of set intervals (example: 1-minute at “5K pace” + 1-minute recovery) the speeds and distances vary (example: “run hard to that tree” + “walk to the next sign”).

Sounds kind of fun, right? It is.

Fartlek training was developed by Gösta Holmér, the Swedish cross-country coach, in the late 1930s. The Swedes were continually dominated by the Finns through the 1920s and didn’t have fancy training equipment or facilities at the time. With Holmér’s new Fartlek method the Swedish runners could do their training basically anywhere, like through some intense Swedish trails, while working to increase their speed and build their stamina.

Fartlek training really paid off for Gunder Hägg, a Swedish runner, who set 10 world records in 3 months in 1942 and broke 5 more world records after that. #success

So let’s be like Gunder and Gösta and Fartlek! fartlek training run

You can also do this workout on your own and/or inside. I do strongly recommend doing it in a group and running outside, because it will be more fun. Group running builds camaraderie. Plus, you’ll then have other people to compete with a little bit, motivating and pushing you more than you maybe would have if you were by yourself. Most of my fellow running friends are faster than me, which forces me to become a better, faster runner – I still have a lot of opportunity to improve, so I better keep on keepin’ on.

All in all, Fartlek training is a great way to add in some spontaneous speed work during a normal run, building speed and endurance. Lace up your running shoes, grab a friend, and go Fartlek it up!

Chocolate Orange Pistachio Cookies

I just cut up an entire watermelon. It was a large watermelon, so now I have a giant bowl of watermelon pieces in my fridge. I get really happy every time I think about it in there. So exciting.

chocolate orange pistachio cookies I have really been trying to buy fruits and vegetables that are outside of my normal repertoire, like watermelon and pineapple and beets. Not that I don’t like those things, I love them. They are just a little more high maintenance than my typical apples, blueberries, and cucumbers. You know, you have to cut them up and then there is juice everywhere and you have to clean it all up. BUT the delicious payoff is totally worth all that work.

Go buy a watermelon if you haven’t this year yet. Knock on them and pick out the more hollow sounding ones. These are the best ones, just FYI.

chocolate orange pistachio cookies Anyways, I’m not here to talk about watermelon. I was just excited about it. I’m here to talk about these chocolate orange pistachio cookies.

chocolate orange pistachio cookies That was a quick transition between too semi-unrelated things, but hey, it’s Saturday. Just go with it.

These are basic chocolate drop cookies with chocolate chips, orange zest, and pistachios added in the mix.

IMG_2565 This cookie dough is then rolled in more sugar, orange zest, and chopped up pistachios before being baked to perfection. So you know, all good things.

chocolate orange pistachio cookies I will warn you: the dough can get pretty sticky and messy. I recommend keeping it in the fridge, then grab out small portions at a time to roll into dough balls. This will somewhat help save you from having a huge mess. It will still be messy, just not as messy as it could have been.

Again, the delicious payoff is totally worth the work.

chocolate orange pistachio cookies

Chocolate Orange Pistachio Cookies
Chocolate cookies with an added bonus of pistachios and orange zest.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla, and the remaining tablespoon of orange zest, beat well.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips and roughly chopped pistachios.
  7. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  9. When chilled, roll the dough into balls (about a heaping teaspoon). Then press the balls into the sugar/zest/pistachio mixture. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet with a few inches in between.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
The dough can get pretty sticky and messy when rolling into balls. I recommend keeping the dough in the refrigerator and pulling it out and rolling it one-third at a time.

The recipe was slightly adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

The thing about pistachios: you can’t eat just one. The same goes for these cookies.

chocolate orange pistachio cookies
Ok. Now I’m going to go shopping. I hope you have a great Saturday and eat lots of watermelon and cookies (after you exercise)!