Dinner at our house has been pretty chill the past couple of nights. Since there have been at least 10 people eating at any one time (my family is huge!), we’ve just been setting out different meal components, building plates and munching as we please.

When I got home from work, my mom, nana and Kyle had made burgers


BBQ beef

Bbq 2

my favorite black bean burgers for the non meat-eaters

Black bean burgers

and set them out with buns, fruit, potato salad, burger condiments and drinks.

Potato salad

My plate of joy:

Burger and sweet potato

The Pilot and I took my cousins and Oliv swimming at our neighbors house and came back for the grand finale:

Volcano 3


Dessert is serious business.

We started a tradition that when family comes to visit us, the Pilot and I like to make a volcano like the ones they have at Rainforest Cafe. Here’s a lovely image: a mountain of ice cream, topped with brownie, whipped cream, chocolate syrup and/or caramel sauce…

with candles and sparklers.



light the volcano with sparklers or fun candles with every possible light turned offΒ 

Volcano 2

and carry it above your head while everyone chants “Volcano, volcano, volcanoooooooo” and does some sort of tribal dance.

It makes it taste better πŸ˜‰

Volcano 4

Since I knew I’d be working and wouldn’t have time to bake anything cray, I was overjoyed when I saw a pouch (pouch!) of pre-made brownie batter at Trader Joe’s the other day. No joke! You preheat the oven, open the pouch and smush the mixture into your baking dish and bake. Don’t get me wrong, I love making brownies from scratch as much as the next person (which is not a lot haha, but I still do it), but mama likes that box mix. Well brownies in a pouch > box mix.

I topped a container each of strawberry and chocolate coconut milk ice cream with my brownies a la pouch, whipped cream and chocolate syrup, and it was pretty much the dessert dreams are made of.

Now that I officially want brownies for breakfast (volcano is long gone, though), I’m going to make some eggs and head to work πŸ˜‰

Hope you have a very happy Thursday!Β 



TABATA THURSDAY!Β No new video this week (we will have one next week for sure), but here’s your challenge! Pick 1-3 of the previous Tabata Thursday videos (here’s 1, 2 and 3) and do the cardio in blasts throughout the day. Leave a comment here to check in with the details- think of how AMAZING you’ll feel when it’s over. We all have 4 minutes, right?

Today’s workout jam:Β LOOOOVE this song. Perfect for any intense cardio or weightlifting sesh.

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  1. Vidya on July 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

    That volcano looks AMAZING!! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having an awesome time with your family over!!

  2. Liz @ Southern Charm on July 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I love family traditions πŸ™‚

    That volcano looks amazing! Love the sparkler!!!! Perfect touch πŸ˜‰

    And pouch brownies – as a girl who sometimes has to work 10 hour days but loves to bake, yes, please!!!

  3. Sarah on July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I love your family posts, Gina. They always bring such a smile to me! It’s a wonderful thing to have such a big, loving family, and I’m really glad you, the Pilot, and Livi can be so close now πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:09 am

      we’re so lucky. i don’t care where we get stationed next- i just wanted to be able to be near my family for a little while, and we’ve been living it up

  4. Ashley V on July 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Yum! Our grill is broken and it just doesn’t feel like summer! πŸ™‚

  5. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on July 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I have the perfect homemade almond butter that’s just dying to be put on a sweet potato – but I can’t bear to turn on the oven!

    • Darien on July 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      try the microwave? works pretty well! (we have been using our countertop toaster over for things like that. its a champ!)

  6. Kim@hungryhealthygirl on July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Love the volcano idea. My kids would go crazy for that!!

  7. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on July 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Love that music video!

    And that brownie volcano tradition is awesome. What a great family you have!

  8. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on July 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve seen the brownies-in-a-pouch at TJ’s, but wasn’t sure . . . so you thought they tasted just as good as other varieties? I might give it a whirl the next time I need a pre-made dessert.

  9. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    What a feast! And, omg I want a volcano!!!!! I’m not above making brownies from a box… they always taste delicious, don’t fix what ain’t broken πŸ˜‰

  10. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Volcano-style brownies are so good! Perfect for summertime get-togethers!

  11. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Wow, what a feast!! I’m definitely planning to fire up the BBQ this weekend and make some burgers. The volcano looks like quite the creation!

  12. Beks on July 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Your family sounds like tons of fun. πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:07 am

      you know my big fat greek wedding? we’re my big fat mexican wedding. πŸ™‚

      • Brittany on July 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

        We are my big fat Albanian wedding!!!!!!!!!

  13. Amy on July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I have to be honest, I’ve tried that Trader Joe’s brownie pouch thing and I was not impressed. I love the box mixes where you add eggs and oil (brownies from scratch? what?), but the pouch ones tasted off. Maybe I’m a brownie snob! πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:06 am

      my pieces were totally saturated in ice cream and whipped cream.. tasted pretty good to me πŸ™‚

  14. Michaela on July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    you know, I have been reading your blog for a long time now, but I honestly feel that you have never been happier in your life πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:06 am

      thank you, friend.. and that is the truth <3

      • Michaela on July 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

        glad to hear that πŸ™‚
        I can definitely tell from your posts. You are soo present and just lovely!

  15. Ali @ Peaches and Football on July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Ha, ha, ha – I love crazy/awesome family traditions like that.

    We have this tape of performers singing “Happy Birthday” – it’s very over the top and drawn out – that we bring out for every. single. birthday. party and we all sing obnoxiously along with the tape. The rule is you have to be as loud and obnoxious as possible – because it makes it taste better. It’s serious biznazz and most guests think we are crazy.

  16. Melissa (Better Fit) on July 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Wow that volcano dessert sounds pretty amazing! You must have been great fun with your family visiting!

  17. Lena @Fit on the Rocks on July 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Wow! Brownies in a pouch? That’s awesome for people like me who do not like to bake.

  18. Eva @ Committed2Nutrition on July 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I love your family posts! volcano looks amazeballs, too. I like the brownie pouch idea, too… I work too many hours to try and make home-made..sigh. one day though…

  19. Jules on July 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I love to bake, especially from scratch but I just cannot make a fudgy, chewy brownie like the ones from a box. Box mix wins for brownies every time.

  20. Danica @ It's Progression on July 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    that’s the craziest dessert I’ve ever seen, how fun!!

  21. Lisa on July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    That does look pretty darn serious. Sounds like quite a feast! And your family sounds like so much fun! I love it.

  22. Jodie on July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Those volcano brownies look fun! We’re going to visit family this weekend and I think our little niece and nephew would love this so I’ll to try it!

  23. Jenn (eating bender) on July 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Your family knows how to do dessert. That is all. πŸ™‚

    Oh – and I LOVE that song. They performed it on SYTYCD last night. It was amazing.

  24. Abby on July 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    That looks wonderful! Glad you’re enjoying your family!

  25. Kristen on July 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Forget waiting for a get-together. I want that dessert all for MEEEE!!! Sparklers and all

  26. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on July 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Oh yes anything with a chocolate mound of whipped cream, brownies and ice cream is heaven in my book. Also thanks for the workout song recommendation! I need some new workout music πŸ™‚

  27. Kailey on July 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    LOVE that volcano!
    I was also looking forward to Tabata Thursday all day-it was one of the longest days I’ve had in awhile but couldn’t wait to do a Tabata sesh at the end of it all. I owe you for the inspiration!

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:00 am

      YAY!! i’m so glad πŸ™‚

  28. Bek @ Crave on July 20, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I would like me some volcano! Haha, I love the tradition πŸ™‚ Haha, you don’t love making brownies from scratch? What about all that incidental brownie batter you end up eating haha- defs makes it worth it.

  29. Jess on July 20, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I have never heard of a volcano! But I definitely think that I will be making one in the near future!

  30. Christina@thebeautifulbalance on July 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Your family sounds like mine, amazing and close. Most of my family is in the Midwest, so getting everyone together is a major event.

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