Terrific Crock Pot Taco Bake

So I just wanted to share with you guys tonight’s dinner + tomorrows lunch.

I present to you my previous’ boss’ taco bake. This was the go to meal that she would bring to our monthly office potlucks. Of course she would add pasta and loads of cheese, so I had to Paleo-fy this recipe. I used shredded lettuce rather than pasta, put some guacamole and Paleo sour cream and we have a winner!! It turned out delicious, and I have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch and for next Saturday as I had hoped for.

Paleo-fied Taco Bake

Paleo-fied Taco Bake

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey, beef, sausage, or meatless crumbles (I used ground beef)
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Homemade taco seasoning

Directions:

Throw it all into the crockpot and put on high for 4 hours. When it’s ready to serve, put the meat first and then top with lettuce and a dollop of homemade guacamole (2 ripe avocados mashed with a touch of homemade taco seasoning), and a dollop of sour cream. Jose doesn’t like spicy food, but I like mine with a spicy touch (the hotter the better) so I add a few drops of Tabasco and red pepper flakes.

DELICIOUS!

Anyway, that’s that for today. I am going to make myself a hot tea and get ready for bed. Tomorrow is a work day …

Good night everybody!

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Long Time Coming …

So I have been quiet for a while (exactly a week), but truth be told … last week was one of the most stressful weeks at work that I have every had in a very long time. I didn’t quite follow Paleo but because most days I would get home around 9PM (I usually got of at 6PM) and all I wanted was a beer and a tapa (thank god for living in Spain), and then to top it off we go to Holland for two days … Did I also mention that I have to replace the battery in my weight scale?! Ugh … last week was no good. This week will be better. I promise.

I have just finished making up my meal plan, but I haven’t quite decided what the breakfast for the week will be. The meal plan (sans breakfasts) goes as follows:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday: Valentines Day!! We might have plans for dinner with another couple, but if not, this is the plan:

Friday:

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Egg + bacon muffins
  • Lunch: Friday dinner leftovers
  • Dinner: Mexican Chicken Lime Soup (hopefully some Taco Bake will also be leftover from Monday … crossing fingers)

I might go crazy and make some type of Paleo dessert. Who knows … stay tuned!!

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: Egg + bacon muffins
  • Lunch: Saturday dinner leftovers
  • Dinner: Same os last Sunday (tradition maybe?!) Crock Pot Taco Back over Shredded Lettuce with homemade guacamole and Paleo Sour Cream

So that’s that for the week in terms of food.

On the plane to Holland, I finally finished reading Fall of Giants (such a long novel) by Ken Follett. I loved the book, it was just a bit long in places. All the characters were really easy to get to know and get into, but I think I will read another book before I read part two of the trilogy (The Winter of the World).  So that’s why I just started Mision Olvidado by Maria Dueñas. So far I have only read 100 pages and it’s a little slow.

That means 4 down, 16 to go. Go me. According to Goodreads. com, I am 2 books ahead of schedule.

Anyway, thats all for today. I hope to think of something to make for breakfast tomorrow … even though breakfast isn’t really a key meal for me.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

First Week of Paleo

Ok so we are finally doing this. We are finally going Paleo.

I have just layed out the meal plan for this week. It sucks that we are not only starting Paleo, but we are also going to start Zumba-ing (yes I made up a word) those pounds away, the week the I have to go to Holland for work. That’s just how it is. I am not going to wait for another week to start because I have come to the conclusion where something will always come up … that’s just life. So here is the plan for the week:

For breakfast I am making a huge batch of this fruit salad today which will be accompanied by my herbal cinnamon+vanilla tea that I currently have in my desk at work (plus 1 tsp of Stevia to make it sweet). To the fruit salad I will most likely leave out the honeydew melon and add strawberries. Hopefully I will be able to post up a picture as soon as it’s finished.

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Fruit salad
  • Lunch: My co-worker who is fighting breast cancer is coming to see us at work and most likely we will be going out. If we go to the restaurant that I think we are going to I will most likely be getting the tomate+onion+avocado salad (sans the mozzarella cheese) and then I will be getting their house salad (sans croutons and cheese).
  • Dinner: Blackened Chicken with Brocolli with Red Pepper Flakes and Garlic Chips

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Fruit salad
  • Lunch: Last nights dinner
  • Dinner: Stuffed Tomatoes with some type of salad that I throw together using one of these vinaigrettes

Wednesday:

The only meal that I will be eating at home is breakfast since my flight to Amsterdam leaves at 2:30pm. Hopefully I can stick the diet, and no beer will get in the way. 😉

Thursday:

The only meal that I will be eating at home is dinner. Since my flight lands at 8:30pm, and I won’t get home until 9:30pm at the latest, the plan is to have the prepping done on Wednesday morning, so that way the hubster can be done frying the pork chops and doing up some mushrooms while I am on my way home from the airport. Here is the recipe for the pork chops I was thinking of making.

Friday:

Saturday:

I might go crazy and make some type of Paleo dessert. Who knows … stay tuned!!

Friday:

  • Brunch: Picnic (recipes to be determined) at El Retiro (it’s one of those that’s included on our Madrid 101 list)
  • Dinner: Leftovers

So that’s that for the week. Now I am going shopping … Will update soon. Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and a great start to the week.

Some Things Just Never Go the Way I Plan Them …

… so I was supposed to start Paleo this week … yeah OK … we will fast forward to next Monday and start from there …

On a positive note, this way I have more time to make a meal plan for next week. Yay me. Warning you guys now, I am going To Holand this week for a work meeting (leaving Wednesday afternoon and coming back Thursday),

Something that is definitely going the way I planned is that I finished reading Sarah Larks book 3 of her trilogy El Grito de la Tierra. Even though they are quite lengthly (love those types of books), I absolutely have adored her books since page 1 of book 1.

This books continues to show how Gwyneira and Helen’s journey to New Zealand (book 1) has affected their future generations (Kura/Elaine (book 2) and Gloria/Lilian (book 3)). It’s beautifully written just like the previous two books and it is extremely easy to follow. At first I was quite confused since it had been a year since I read book 2 of the trilogy, but thankfully this book comes with family tree so I could orient myself. Throughout the 700+some pages I just couldn’t stop reading. I think the worst part of reading so many thick books is that I have to carry them on the metro and sometimes at the end of a long day they get pretty heavy. If this book is ever printed in English (the first one of the trilogy has been already translated into English), I highly recommend that you go ahead and start reading it. Finishing this book means that in one month I have read 3 books out of the 20 I had planned on reading for the entire year. Go me! I am almost finished with number 4, which is one that I have been planning on reading for a long time:

It has taken me one week to read 650 pages of this book. I just can’t put it down. When I do put it down, I feel like all the characters (Maud, Ethel, Billy, Walter, Grigori, Lev, Fitz, etc.) are calling me to pick it right back up. I just love all the historical facts and reading about all the viewpoints (German, Russian, English, American, women, men, children, etc.) come together in one war. It’s amazing how Ken Follett can take us back and time and put is all the characters shoes. I absolutely recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the second one: The Winter of the World. This one is definitely going to be next.

So now that my books reviews are done, tomorrow’s plan is to possibly finish the book (300+some pages to go) and to plan out my meal plan. This also means that I have to go shopping for all the items on this list. Hopefully I can post it up tomorrow morning and link all the recipes to where I have found them.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day (or at least what is left of it).

Back to Basics

So as mentioned yesterday, today is the first day of change. Somehow right after saying this the though of “Yes We Can!” came to mind (thanks Obama), and oh look …  a little image to go along with this feeling:

Yes We Can

I am so ready to get back to the routine and especially down to a weight that is sustainable for me. Looking online for different motivational pep talks,  I came across this weight-loss calendar that I will most likely do tonight and post up on my bare wall in our bedroom. That way I see it every morning when I wake up, and every night when I go to bed.

My Future Workout Calendar

I will also be posting up every Saturday, the meal plan for the next week. Since I spend most of the week looking through a variety of Paleo blogs, Saturdays are usually the days I make up my mind of what we will be eating for the next 7 days, and when I have time to go to the store.

So you might be asking yourself what the hell is this chick talking about when she says she is going to star the Paleolithic diet. Well, here is my take on the Paleo diet. Please note, that all my information comes from reading Dr. Cordain’s The Paleo Diet book and a variety of Paleo blogs that are out there.

Important information to know about going Paleo

According to Dr. Cordain, following the the paleolithic diet, once you get the hang of things, is quite simple. Notice I say, once you get the hang of things. If you are used to eating pasta and rice in all of your meals, it might be super hard for you to just quit cold turkey. I really don´t care if it’s hard … this is something I NEED to do for me and my health.

This being said lets start with the no-nos:

  • Processed foods
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Soy
  • Added sugar
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil

So what is left to eat then?

  • Meat (chicken, beef, etc)
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

What To Eat

These are the things I will be avoiding/eating until I get back to my ideal weight of 68,2 kilos (150 pounds). Once I hit this mark, maybe I will incorporate back in some pasta, rice, and sweets (aka chocolate) to my weekly menus (maybe once or twice a week and only for lunch). Who knows?

Benefits

So you might be asking yourself WHY put myself through all of these changes in diet? Well here is a list of health benefits that are associated with this diet:

  • Weight loss
  • Higher insulin sensitivity
  • Lowered Blood Pressure
  • High cardiovascular health
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cures Acne
  • Increased life span
  • Reduction in infectious diseases

All of this sounds perfect to me. I am so excited and ready to start it’s not even funny.

So that’s that for today. Hope you found it informational today. I will start with the food posts tomorrow (including today’s lunch and the menu for the rest of the week).

Stay tuned … and have a wonderful day!

Lazy Sunday

Warning: If you have seen my 2013 goals tab and some of my other posts, you know I like breaking down my life in Good, Bad, Ugly, etc. sections. That’s just how I roll. So I plan on doing the same for this post just because it’s one of those days. After the week I have had, I can honestly say that I am glad it’s almost over and a new one begins tomorrow. Well technically if I were living back in the States the week woudl be over since weeks end on Saturday, but here in Spain we are just cool like that and the week ends on Sunday.

The Good

I can pretty much say that I am 100% sure that today was the best day of the whole week. We went up to the mountains and played in the snow with our oldest  nephews (aged 4, 3, and 2). I usually hate the snow because it comes with cold weather (I think I am allergic to the cold) and I was kind of skeptical about going, but in the end … I am so happy that I went. I rode a sled for the first time and I make a banging snowball. See my happy (devious) face and snowball making skills below:

558309_4938427774004_1007311443_n

Hopefully when my sister-in-law gets home tonight I can post more pictures of us and the kids and the snowman we built. All in all, we had a blast. =)

The Ugly

This all being said, I weighed myself today. Ughh … it hurts to even talk about it. Definitely changing my life after tonight (we are going to a German restaurant to watch the Atletico de Madrid game). As I was saying, I weighed myself today: 87 kilograms (aka 191 pounds). WHAT THE HELL? Where did this weight come from. DAMN!!

What The Future Brings

This fatness has to go … like IMMEDIATELY. I need to lose at least 20 kilos (45 pounds). This is going to be a challenge, but I know I can do this. Therefore, I have decided to take charge of my life. Putting crap into my mouth will happen NO MORE … This just can’t go on like it is. So starting tomorrow (as mentioned above) I am putting myself through a life changing phase. I have decided to take 2 drastic measures (not reallydrastic … the word just makes it just sounds more dramatic):

1) Zumba

Zumba+how+we+feel+how+we+look

Yep. This is going to be me starting tomorrow afternoon. Should be interesting.

2) Going Paleo

So after looking through different blogs and different websites (and also reading Dr.Cordain’s book) I have decided to change my eating ways. I am going Paleo. No more grains,  legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils for me. Leaving that for someone else.

Tomorrow will be the first time in 2 years that I take my lunch to work. I went to the store today and bough my lunch box and spent the whole weekend cooking. Well, actually to tell you the truth, the crockpot spent all of yesterday on Low and today I finished of the meat by making cauliflower. I will post pictures of my food, and the recipe that I used tomorrow, as well as a brief description of what the Paleo diet actually is.

However, before I leave, I would like to leave you with this: This new change of ways is not just for right now, it’s for life. =)

Thirsty Thursday

So this week has been the week from hell.

Monday: The day started off with me being confined to my bed because of my hip problem, which the doctor said would go away in 48 hours with the treatment he gave me.

Tuesday: No hip problems but there was a riot in the metro and I got home 2 hours late (at 8:30pm). Next up: dinner and then bed. I hate days like that. No time for anything.

Wednesday: My phone decided to stop working/charging during the night. So the following happened:

  • My alarm didn´t go off — I should definitely think about buying a non-phone alarm, just in case
  • I got work an hour and 15 minutes late — Which my boss said was OK since I was a first time offender
  • Jose took my phone to the store (thank god for warranties) — They confirmed that it wasn´t the battery, but they would replace my phone in 20 days (20 days?!?!). I seriously don´t know what I am going to do without my phone (yes I have an addiction, I am a self proclaimed nomophobe)
  • The gave me THIS as a replacement — I had to re-learn how to use it. Who has these phones nowadays? My grandpa even has a touch screen phone.

Thursday: Thank god I told Jose to call me at 7AM this morning because my alarm wouldn´t have gone off today either. The oldie phone’s hour was set in military time, so it would have gone off at 7pm this afternoon, rather than 7am this morning. So far the day is going alright. My boss is in Portugal, and Jose gets off at 3pm. He has promised me that we would go out for Thirsty Thursday.

The way the week is going, I am scared to see what the remainder of the day brings and what tomorrow has in store for me. Thankfully this weekend I get to wake up next to Jose since he doesn´t have to work. We might even try to cross out some of the points in our Madrid 101 list … We will see.

That´s all for today. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.

Monday

The Bad

I ended up not going to work today. I have been having a burning sensation in both my hips for the past two weeks and, since when I woke up today I could hardly get out of bed, I decided to go get it checked out (FINALLY). The doctor said that it was most likely due to inflammation of the bursa (aka Trochanteric Bursitis) and that I needed to take it easy for a week or so, and stock up on pain relievers. So here starts the week of being a couch potato. I will most likely catch up on some reading.

The Good

So my parents are the best!!!!!

Mom && Dad

That’s them. Aren’t they the cutest?

Anyway, where I was going with this?! Oh yeah … . For Christmas (yes, yes I know Christmas was like a month ago, but mom just bought it and sent it to me) mom & dad  bought me a crock pot. =) We have named it Crocky.

Crocky

There you go, that’s the new addition to our family. Now I don’t have to worry about the kitchen not being done and I can start the Paleo diet. Mom said that she was going to also send a recipe book, but she ended up sending me a list of online sites. Hopefully tomorrow I can put them all up on a blog to share with all of you. I will make sure I differentiate betwen Paleo and non-Paleo crock pot recipe sites.

I will be using Crocky this weekend and most likely will start by doing one of Holly Woodcock’s crock recipes. Go ahead and check them out.

That’s it for today.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

R.I.P. César

So today is just one of those days where I wish I would have stayed in bed and not had to come to work.

Last night at around 11pm, we found out that an old friend of mine suffered a stroke and passed away a couple hours later.

A little over a year ago, he was diagnosed with a serious illness which led to invasive brain surgery. He was able to overcome the disease and returned to normal activity, including playing soccer as part of the starting line up for the town team. Of course, this took some time and it came with very difficult rehabilation (speech, movement, etc.) sessions. However, roughly a month ago, the symptoms of the disease returned and in the late hours of January 15th, he suffered a stroke that would put an end to his short lived life. César was only 24 years old.

Throughout the whole thing, he had maintained a positive outlook, and just last week talked about the future and what it had in store for him. Now, he is gone.

I hadn´t talked to this friend in over a year (shortly after his operation), but the memories I have of that last summer we did share together still linger in the back of my mind. I only wished the best for him.

Now that he has left this world, I want to thank him for the memories (they are only happy ones) and extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends, and everyone that he touched while he was here with us. I hope that wherever it is he may be, that he looks down on those that loved him, and watches over us.

R.I.P César. You will be greatly missed!

1 Down, 19 To Go

So I am on my way to completely my reading goal for 2013. I just finished one of the 20 books. GO! ME!

Like I said on Friday evening, I was going to sit on the couch and just veg out for the weekend. One of the many things I was going, and wanted, to do was to finish up “Heartbreak Cafe” by Penelope J. Stokes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the author seems to be a fine writer (I would have to read another to actually tell you exactaly). The book gives you moments of deep thought and it touches you in places you never thought a book would. The characters are so developed that they actually feel human enough and they make you wish you could sit down with them over a cup of coffee at the cafe. The book allows you to laugh with, cry with, and share the characters real-life struggles. You just can’t help but like them.

The only problem with getting so involved in these characters lives, is the fact that I wanted to get to know them a little bit more. Thankfully, while looking through Amazon for the picture of the cover for this post, I came across the sequel to this book: “The Book of Peach“. I’m thinking I might just have to go out and buy download it on my Kindle. This will have to wait since last night I went ahead and started reading the third part of Sarah Lark’s trilogy: “El Grito de la Tierra“:

I have been reading these in Spanish since the only book from the trilogy that is in the English language is “In the Land of the Long White Cloud“. I do highly recommend all three books (at least the first two + what I have read of the third so far). I just love how Sarah Lark has brought up the characters in their own different ways, and how through the years (and books) you see how the family that you grew to love in the first book has evolved through the three books.

I am thinking about starting Paleo next week (Monday, 21) and not waiting until February like I had originally planned. The main reason is that I have yet to see progress in the kitchen and I am really doubtful that it will be up and running by February (ugh!). I am also fed up with eating out, which is because we have NO kitchen. Thankfully my sister in law lives on the first floor (we live on the third) and I have had to bargain with her: we buy the groceries and make the food, and we get to use her kitchen (stove, oven, plates, cups, etc.). Even thought I don´t really feel comfortable in her kitchen because it´s so small, it’s a working kitchen, so hey … a girl can´t complain, plus the hubby and her (not to mention em) could use a healthy diet.

Like I was saying, I am going to be researching on websites and finishing Dr.Cordain’s book/website (thank god for my boss being on vacation this week) and hopefully this weekend I can put my findings into one blog and start fresh next week. This will also give me time to get the living room spacious enough to work out in and to do the following with the current pots and flower beds that are just chililng in our balconies:

Fresh herbs

Can’t wait to star this new life journey.

That is all for the day. I hope everything has a wonderful beginning of the week.