two skinny jenkins

130220 – Guatemala!
130220, 11:10 am
Filed under: FUN | Tags: , ,


Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately… Joe and I are in Guatemala! Though the place we’re staying has a small kitchen (no smaller than MIT!), we’ve been eating out nearly every meal. Last weekend we went on a little excursion to the Caribbean via Rio Dulce – a huge, beautiful river fed by Largo Isabella, the biggest lake i have ever seen. Along the way, in Livingston, I sampled a traditional soup called Tapado. It’s a coconut milk based seafood stew with spices, plantains and whatever seafood the kitchen has on hand. Mine had lots of shrimp, a whole crab and fish (as you can see).  I just love the way his – ahem – the crab’s claw dangles outside the bowl.

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Even though I didn’t bring our nice camera on this trip, I have felt too self-conscious to take any photos while on the street.  From now on I’ll get better about at least documenting our dining experience.   So far here are a few words of advice for anyone planning a trip to Guatemala:

  1. Don’t eat salad out.  If your dish shows up with lettuce on top, just push it to the side.
  2. Get a hotel with a kitchenette so you can eat veggies at home.
  3. Bring bug spray to Playa Blanca (beach flies were a little annoying).

100802 – Blackberry Jam
100802, 4:47 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, DESSERT, FUN | Tags:

Inspired by a recipe from David Lebovitz. He made some lovely Apricot Jam.  I just lessened the sugar and used some wild blackberries that I found while wandering around London.

  • 1 pound (or so) fresh blackberries (found at Regent’s Park along the canal path)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 2 cups (i think – we have no measuring cup in our rental apartment) sugar
  1. Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan and stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Put a small plate in the freezer.
  3. Add the fruit (blackberries) cook, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. As the mixture thickens and reduces, stir frequently to make sure the jam isn’t burning on the bottom.
  4. When the jam looks thick and is looks slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the nudge test: If the jam mounds and wrinkles, it’s done. If not, continue to cook, then re-test the jam until it reaches that consistency.
  5. Once done, ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.

Storage: I find this jam will keep up to one year if refrigerated. If you wish to can it for long-term preservation, you can refer to the USDA Canning Guidelines for techniques.

090925 – Update
090924, 7:59 pm
Filed under: MULTISPORT, Uncategorized

There is good news and bad news.


I am taking a little break from the kitchen as i just nearly broke my ankle in a bike accident.  I was riding my bike home from the grocery store (of all places) and a car door opened right into the side of me.  One of my biggest fears since we have moved to Cambirdge and started biking everywhere was running into a car door.  I have had a few close calls, but this one was perfectly timed so there was no avoiding it.  It was flung open into my body and knocked me into the street.  I was laying on the yellow line.  Thank heavens there was no oncoming traffic.


So now my right ankle is very swollen and has two punctures from my chain ring.  I pray that I will be back to running on it in a week or two… the marathon that I have been training for all summer is in 3.


We won artwork at the MIT student art loan!  We got a print of Yoshitomo Nara’s ‘In the Floating World Gold Fish’ (#37/50) to keep in our apartment for a year.  It retails around $3,880 so hopefully we don’t mess it up!


090902 – Washington Post Published!
090902, 10:16 am
Filed under: BBA Challenge, FUN

The Washington Post published an article today about the BBA Challenge! (link to article)

Unfortunately the link to my blog was not included, but I am still very excited to have my picture in the Post!

090808 – parking fail
090810, 10:02 am
Filed under: FUN

parking fail

i’m considering submitting this one to…  this was our hotel room window.  we quickly became the talk of the hotel after a car smashed into our window at 10:30 p.m.

parking fail _02

090708 – Sandcastle building 101
090708, 9:28 pm
Filed under: FUN

Castle Building

Not to brag, but my dad and i are killer sandcastle makers.  We have been honing our skills for about 5 (?) years now, and each year we seem to attract more and more spectators.

Nearly every person who stops asks us how long we have been working and what our technique is.  We can make a pretty impressive castle in about 2-3 hours, assuming that the pile of sand we made in the beginning of the week is still there.  My dad’s motto on our technique is: ‘pack sand, pack sand, pack sand’.  Once you have a really solid pile of packed sand, you can carve away anything.  Here’s how we make sandcastles step by step:

Tools of the TradeAbove are all our castle making tools.  In the bag, and perhaps most essential, is my dad’s metal spatula used for carving away sand.  I sometimes use the plastic one, but the sharper metal edge makes a much cleaner cut.

Packing sandWe use scrap wood both as scaffolding (to displace our weight and allow us to stand higher up on the sand pile) and for evenly packing down the sand for the base of the castle.   You  can also simply pack the sand with your hands.

Tower construction

Here, my dad adds sand to our mixing bucket then carefully scoops the wet sand into piles to later carve away into a tower.

Castle Carving

Working from the tallest portion out, we continually layer and carve down the wet sand until we are bored or tired.  Lastly, we take down the ‘scaffolding’ and sweep away
a road around the castle base.

090531 – Outdoor Picnic
090531, 9:15 pm
Filed under: FUN

picnic in the park

i have to specify that this was an outdoor picnic – we lazy Jenkins are known to picnic indoors…

it was the PERFECT evening for a picnic.  we rode our bikes down to Oranoco Park by water in Old Town.  I don’t have any new recipes to share in this post, but want to encourage everyone to get outside for dinner.  Food tastes better in fresh air.  We ate the same things as we did for our indoor picnic, but it was all much more enjoyable.  Pretty soon i hope to post a camping trip – complete with recipes!

090524 – Marathon Training for real
090524, 6:28 pm
Filed under: MULTISPORT

It is time to get serious about marathon training.  We are moving to Boston in August, and soon thereafter running the Bay State Marathon on October 18th in hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Here is a MAP of the Bay State race.  I am DETERMINED to qualify for the Boston marathon at the Bay State Marathon…  I ran my last marathon in 3:50 and it was pretty painful for the last 4 miles (i think about average pain, but painful nonetheless).  I need a 3:40 or under time to qualify, so I have quite a bit of time to shave off.  This means longer runs, faster runs, and probably loosing a few pounds.

I have gained about 5-8 lbs since college and am determined to loose 5.  Since it seems like we are always training for something (the triathlon this whole winter, and the Marine Corps Marathon before that) i have had the mentality that i can eat whatever i want, when i want it.  I do not have much self control when it comes to food, and have never really been on a diet.

I signed up for the Richmond Marathon last fall when we both expected to be attending UVA for graduate school.  Chances are, I will not have the money to fly down to Richmond from Boston for the race.  If i do get a buddy pass, there is also a good change that the flight will fill up.  In the event that i can get to Richmond on the 14th of November, I think i will try to run both marathons.

Hopefully all of our triathlon cross training has set me up well.  I definitely feel stronger than ever.  The traithlon training was a much bigger time commitment than i have ever made before, so maybe the marathon training will feel like a break!

Okay, here’s my training program (just distances):

And here are my speeds (given a 6:13 mile run):

My new training program (as of 090630) from the Boston Athletic Association:


090517 – black bean brownies
090517, 3:55 pm
Filed under: DESSERT, MULTISPORT | Tags: , ,

black bean browniesthese were a wonderful post race treat!  the food at the Columbia Triathlon was not good.  When i finished, all they had left was pasta salad, dried-out bagels, and puny bananas.  APPARENTLY there were cookies and cliff bars earlier on, but the racers families ate them up DURING THE RACE!  this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  I had not seen such moochers until i came to DC and ran the Army 10-miler.  my jaw dropped when i saw overweight race bystanders loading boxes with the racers food.

For brownies, these were pretty healthy.  They have a ‘B’ grade on

  • 1 box of brownie mix
  • 1 can black beans
  1. Preheat oven per box directions.
  2. rinse + drain the black beans, then return to their can and fill w/ enough water to cover. (about 1/2″ below the can rim)
  3. use an immersion blender to mix up the beans and water thoroughly.  I blended them for about 3 solid minutes.
  4. stir bean mixture into brownie mix.  spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray, pour in batter and bake per box directions.

090517, 10:06 am
Filed under: MULTISPORT


PHOTOS LINK – for a limited time…

I was SOOO nervous for this race.  Some apprehension can be a healthy thing before a race… gets the blood pumping.  I was definitely beyond that healthy range of nervousness.  Starting Friday afternoon i was silently contemplating not doing the race.  I know this is ridiculous.

The day stated at 4:45 AM when we got up and packed our car to go.  The course is about an hour from our home and we were supposed to arrive no later than 6:30.  The race began at 6:45 for the Pro’s. The water was a balmy 70F so the professionals weren’t allowed to wear wet-suits.  It was cloudy and stormy.  The air was only 60 degrees so when it started to rain i was shivering.  Partly from the cold and partly nerves.  I wasn’t scheduled to go until 8:10 – the eleventh wave.  The anticipation was killing me.

As soon as i got in the water, i stated to feel better.  compared to the chilly rain, the lake felt like bath-water.  I have trained so hard for this, i have got to at least TRY (TRI).  The swim felt GREAT.  I stayed WAY outside the pack, so i only got kicked 3-4 times SEE  VIDEO.  I naturally curve to the right and had to check my location every 30 strokes.  I probably added an extra 100 M to the swim – but it was worth it.

Coming out of the water i realized my watch had stopped.  The lady next to me reassured me that it was a sub 30 min swim – that’s good.  I had taken it VERY easy and was not worn out at all.  I didn’t use any body-glide, but my wet-suit came off alright.

The bike is a similar tune… I took it pretty easy.  After all the rain, the roads were wet and dotted with puddles.  I had never ridden in wet conditions before and was worried that my skinny road bike tire would slip out from under me in an instant.  It is SUCH a hilly, curvy course, i found myself braking or at least not peddling down each slope.

Then finally the run came.  It was such a relief.  In the end I was so amazed at how easy the race felt.  Despite the hilly bike and run, i finished in exactly twice my time at the Rumpas Sprint we had done a month earlier.


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