Mid-week Motivation: Taco Pizzas and Lunchtime Treadmill

Unfortunately, I have to give a lot of credit to an ex-boyfriend for my love of cooking. (This was the only thing we ever did together that I didn’t end up hating). Ex-boyfriend was very…frugal. While 20-something me wanted my afternoons free for working out, shopping and watching Bones, he wanted to save money and make homemade pizzas, French casseroles and even his own beer, from scratch. I saw nothing wrong with Trader Joes ready-made meals.

I knew nothing about cooking in my 20’s, but over those couple years picked up skills like chopping and dicing, learned about spices, kitchen tools and cultivated a taste for different vegetables and cheeses that has greatly influenced how we cook today. And I like to think all those torturous nights eventually led to an epic first meal that I made my future husband. (He’s from the country, so naturally I made meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and green beans. He still thinks that was super ridiculous).

Luckily, my husband, although he is the master of points and deals, likes a healthy mix of cooking at home and indulging me when I need to get Thai food. He even likes it when I experiment with different fads: vegan, paleo, meal boxes.

Despite a true love for cooking, now that we’re busy, working parents, I’m always looking for simple and fast recipes so dinner can be eaten before 8pm. These Mexican Pizzas from Food Babe’s website were a huge hit last night, they’re crisp, flavorful, spicy and, most importantly, filling. And they take only a few minutes to make. (Of course we altered a few things).


Mexican Pizzas

  • 4 spelt tortillas (or whole wheat, or you can make your own. I used to be that ambitious).
  • 1 16 oz can black beans or about two cups cooked black beans
  • 1 chopped bell pepper (red, green or yellow)
  • 1 chopped medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 sliced jalapeño
  • 2 cups salsa (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 finely chopped cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • 1 cup grated cheese (jack, cheddar, or a tasty combination)

Toast the tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes at 375. While they’re cooking, chop the veggies. Spread a layer of salsa on the warm tortillas, followed by beans, onions, peppers and jalapeños. Sprinkle chili powder over the veggies. Top with cheese. Bake for about 10 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Top with cilantro or anything you would normally crave in a taco (I did avocado and Tobasco, John did Sriracha and sour cream).

Is it still considered cooking when a recipe is this easy?

Actually, I’d worked up a big appetite for dinner last night and had no motivation to cook so it was a perfect combination. During our lunch hour, I did a speed workout on the treadmill. I hate confining my workouts to an hour, when that hour also includes driving to the gym, walking to the treadmill, working out, walking to the showers, showering (sometimes) and driving back to work. But there are a lot of weeknights when I don’t have time to exercise, so, in the heat of Charleston summer when it’s impossible to run outside at 12pm, that’s what I get.

Originally inspired by my Fun Run Box, I’ve altered this workout to be a little more specific and to fit exactly into my timeline. I find it easiest to run on the treadmill if you’re varying the speeds and intensities–they get so monotonous–or watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and listening to Serial. Balance, right?

Lunchtime Treadmill Speed Workout (35 min)

  • 10 min warm up
  • 2 min at 5k race pace plus 60 seconds
  • 2 min easy pace
  • 2 min at 5k race pace plus 45 seconds
  • 2 min easy pace
  • 2 min at 5k race pace plus 30 seconds
  • 2 min easy pace
  • 2 min at 5k race pace plus 15 seconds
  • 2 min easy pace
  • 2 min at 5k race pace
  • 2 min easy pace
  • 5 min cool down


I love this quick workout because you get to feel a little speed, work up a sweat and log a few miles, but it’s not overly intense and doesn’t leave you too exhausted to go back to work. (Although I’m usually too exhausted to work anyway).

What’s your mid-week motivation this week? Do you workout at lunch?


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