My feet are killing me right now. In fact, my entire body is rebelling; my shoulders ache, my calves are tight, my hamstrings are twitching… but it’s a good pain. For most of my 36 years I hated all forms of exercise. I was told I just needed to find that one form of exercise I loved. I always resented people who said that to me and it left me feeling very defensive. Maybe I just hated all exercise and what was so wrong about that? And then…
Two years ago I discovered barre, which has since become a huge fitness trend. I liked it because it didn’t make me feel uncoordinated like Zumba. It felt manageable like yoga but challenging to the point where I was actually able to start seeing changes in my body. I’ve fallen off the barre wagon a few times over the past couple years but have always managed to climb back on. Right now I go 2-3 times per week.
I recently decided that I needed more cardio and stamina building and decided to try some of the local cycling studios near me. What a revelation. It kicks my ass every time I go but it’s something I can handle. Instructors push me harder than I will ever push myself on a bike at home or at a gym (PS – I hate the gym). The lights in the studio are dimmed so that no one can see me if I need to slow down. The music is energizing. I’ve been at it for over a month now and while my body is still working through some pain after each class, I feel my stamina improving and I’m seeing some major results. It feels good.
I promise not to become one of those people who swears that there is something for everyone. But I’m glad to know there was something for me after all. It just took a few decades to find it.
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup (1⅞ ounces) all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup well-stirred tahini
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch brownie pan with parchment paper, allowing two sides to hang over the edges. Grease the pan with butter or baking spray.
- In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat the bittersweet chocolate and butter together, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and salt. Sift in the flour and stir until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool to room temperature.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides. Add the tahini and mix on medium speed, scraping down the sides several times, until evenly combined with the butter.
- Add the sugar and salt and turn the mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients have incorporated. Scrape down the sides and turn the speed up to medium high, allowing the frosting to mix for another minute until light and smooth.
- Use the excess parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan and place them on a cutting board. Use a spatula to evenly frost the brownies. Cut into 16 squares and serve.