Saturday, August 31, 2013

Picadillo Tacos

Picadillo is a Cuban dish similar to a hash. The ingredients are pretty basic including ground beef, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and green olives. Here in Texas, we will often times see it in some of the Mexican restaurants as a taco filling, but their recipe will just have the ground beef and potato. There are many versions of this recipe and today I am going to share mine.

*Note: This recipe will serve 2 -3 people.

You will need:
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup onion chopped finely
- 1/4 bell pepper (any color) chopped finely
- 3 cloves of garlic (more if you looooove garlic, of course)
- 1 small potato peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes w/ juice
- 1/2 cup beef broth ( I used chicken since I had it on hand)
- handful of green olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste

Begin by sauteing and breaking up the ground beef. Once it starts to omit some of its natural grease, toss in the peppers, onion, garlic and diced potatoes. Season this with a little pinch of salt. Once the meat is browned and the onion translucent, toss in the tomatoes, broth, olives, oregano and cumin. You can add a pinch of salt and pepper here too. Cover the pan and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and soft. You may need to add a little more broth if the liquid evaporates too quickly. Then take off the lid and let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. What you are left with is a delicious picadillo meat that is traditionally served over rice, but we used ours as a taco filling. It was nice to have something different from the regular seasoned ground beef. This has tons of flavor and everyone ate as much as they possibly could. The best part is there were hardly any leftovers!!

Hope you guys enjoy your long weekend! I have some great things planned like a new ice cream and I'm going to attempt to make Challah bread with this recipe.  Can't wait!!


Sunday, August 25, 2013


Today is my Birthday so it seems fitting to do a little self-reflection of what is going on in my life right now. 

  • Celebrating...  1 Month + 2 weeks done on my Insanity workouts! Hooray!!! Lost an estimated 9-10 lbs. Hopefully I can keep this up for Month 2. I am also celebrating my Birthday (as mentioned above) and all I want is to enjoy an ice cold beer (Shiner is my preference).
  • Reading...   a lot of blogs. No books at the moment, but I need to catch up on my Chuck Palahniuk collection (last one was Tell All back in 2010) and once Dexter is over I will start reading the series as well. It was too difficult for me to get into the books while the show was on TV. They we're too different from one another and I didn't want to confuse myself. 
  • Listening... to Happy Body Slow Brain's Dreams of Water. It is an amazing album and the vinyl package is the most interesting packaging I have EVER seen! Also went to see O'Brother in Austin on Sunday 8/18/13 and Stolas/Strawberry Girls/Native in San Antonio on Friday 8/16/13.
  • Watching...  Breaking Bad. It is the final 8 episodes of the series and I have loved every minute of it from the very beginning. I would have to say it is the most clever, well thought out television show in the history of television shows. Well done Vince Gilligan.
  • Making...  Ice Cream and Popsicles galore!! My favorite this summer was a Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. Delicious!!! I have been shopping a lot at the Farmer's Market and hope to continue that tradition for as long as it is around.
  • Loving...  Spending time at home and hanging out at the pool with family. I have only been in the pool twice this summer, and loved every minute of it! I am a total home body and would rather stay in and watch movies than go out to a bar or an event. I love a good movie and tend to be lazy.
  • Wanting... the Summer to be over already! I am a fall/winter kinda of gal and this Texas heat is brutal. I am sooo ready for fall. I want to wear boots, and jackets, and scarves, and layers...oh my! I also can't wait to start experimenting with fall flavors like pumpkin, apples and spices. I am excited to see what kind of seasonal veggies my local market has to offer. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Last week (Week 5) of Insanity was a "recovery week" so I don't have much to update on it. It was basically the same workout everyday of the week. I did take Saturday off as I really felt my body needed an actual recovery day.

The recovery workouts are more focused on technique rather than cardio. Slow and steady wins the race. The workouts were still exhausting and my muscles continued to be challenged each and every day, but it was nice to have a slower paced workout.

This week (Monday 8/19/13) I have officially started my second Month of Insanity!!! These are definitely more intense than the first Months workouts. The workouts are 20 minutes longer and Shaun T has increased the amount of cardio and the difficulty of the moves.

I remember my first week of Insantiy. I wanted to cry and yell at the TV. I thought I couldn't keep up with the cardio and the exercises, but eventually I got the hang of it. It is the same thing with the Month 2 workouts. Incredibly tough, and as I watch Shaun T show us the moves before hand I can't help but think to myself, "WTF?!?!", but I push through it and do what I can.

So far so good. I remember at the start of Month 1 I could barely do standard pushups, but now I am doing side pushups and switch kicks while in the crab walk position. Some of this stuff is so crazy!!!

As I was looking up some good post workout foods, I came across quite a few articles that stated low fat chocolate milk was a great post workout protein shake substitute. So yesterday when I was at the grocery store I picked up a container of Ovaltine. It has no artificial ingredients and more vitamins and minerals that the leading organic chocolate milk. Plus, I already buy organic milk so this will help save on cost too.

Yesterday after my first day of Month 2, I had a small glass (8oz) of milk and mixed in some of the Ovaltine. I was completely exhausted after my workout, and the chocolate milk did help pick me back up.

Mostly trying to focus on eating healthy and not giving up on the workouts. Yes I am sore each and every day, but that means it's working!!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fresh Fruit Popsicles

This past weekend I pulled out my POPS!: Icy Treats for Everyone recipe book and made some fresh fruit Popsicles. These popsicles are serious deliciousness.

I had some kiwis, strawberries and a peach on hand so I used all three.

The ingredients are simple, which for me is the most important thing.

You will need:
- 3 cups of sliced fruit ( I had 3 different fruits so I used 1 cup of each)
- 3/4 cup fresh lime, lemon or a mix of both juices (whatever you have on hand)
- 1 cup water & 1 cup sugar to make simple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups water

*makes six 8 oz pops or eight 6oz pops

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Heat & stir until all sugar is dissolved into the water. Once dissolved, take pan off heat and place in refrigerator.

Slice each fruit and put them in separate containers, then add 1/4 cup of lemon-lime juice and use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to puree the fruit.

Divide the simple syrup and water equally between each cup of fruit and process again.

Pour each of your fruit mixtures into the popsicle molds, add the stick and freeze for at least 6 hours. Viola!

You can layer the flavors by pouring in half of the juice, freezing for about 45 minutes and then carefully adding a second flavor to fill the mold. I also added in fresh fruit pieces for texture and aesthetics.

I have been rewarding myself after the Insanity workouts with these yummy popsicles.

Still I was very pleased with how these turned out. We even used some of the leftover fruit purees to put in our cocktails one night. So good!!

While searching for some more healthy and protein packed popsicles for post workout snacks, I came across this these interesting recipes. Definitely going to have to try some greek yogurt and chocolate peanut butter pops very soon!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Not much to update except I'm still doing Insanity!!!

The motivation is starting to dissipate, but I am trying to find ways to keep going.

This weekend I made some fresh fruit popsicles for post workout snacks. It's important to keep your body fueled and I heard that the best thing after workouts is fresh fruit. The sugar helps your muscles and body recuperate. It also helps with motivation because who doesn't want a delicious icy treat when its pushing 102 + degrees outside?!? Gotta love Texas.

I've also been trying to cut back on beer and alcohol during the week. No more beer belly!!!

Got some more goodies at the farmer's market this weekend. And I was really excited to see pears!! I  decided that I don't like spaghetti squash, but I love butternut squash!!

I finally gave in to buying a scale so I can track my weight. I weigh quite a bit more than I was hoping, but at least now I can see how much weight I am losing. Since I just weighed myself this week, I'll keep you posted on the results.

Until then I will keep my chin up and keep doing Insanity until my two months is up.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer Vinyl Releases and Album Obsession

Back in April I posted about Record Store Day. And since then, I have realized that I need to do more  posts about music. I am a music fanatic and can't go through a whole day without listening to it. I love going to shows, buying vinyl and listening to great music in general.

So today I am going to share some of my favorite recently acquired albums. Most of these were released this summer on vinyl. To me, vinyl just sounds so much better. Especially when it is played through the speakers on the ceiling of my living room! ;) I am very lucky to have found a house that came with this, and even luckier to have an amazing boyfriend who is technology savy and enjoys it even more than I do.


The number 1 album I am obsessed with is From Indian Lakes Able Bodies. This album is incredible!! It has been out since November 2012, but it was just released on vinyl this summer. The vinyl sold out quickly as everyone who listens to this band was patiently waiting for months for it to be released. You can check out their website here and have a listen to some of their stuff on their Band Camp page.


Number 2 is a new band that David discovered. They are Have Mercy and their album The Earth Pushed Back was released on May 21, 2013. You can check out their Facebook Page and listen to them there as well. We got to see them perform live in San Antonio in June and loved it so much that we drove up to Austin to see them perform again. They were on tour with Koji, which brings me to my next favorite album release this year.


Number 3 is Koji Crooked In My Mind which was released in May this year. This was Koji's first full length album. You can stream the full album here and if you like it, you can download it for just $5! We did the pre-order when it first became available so we got goodies along with the record. Koji is one of the best singer/songwriters of our generation. We have been Koji fans for awhile and love how down to earth and honest he is. Just a great guy in general and you get that first hand when you see him perform live or meet him in person. He has got some amazing stories to tell so don't be afraid to say hi, if you ever meet him in person. Cool dude!


Number 4 is Everley's debut EP Behaviorism which was released on vinyl July 16th. It is a 10" black vinyl limited to 300 hand numbered copies, and we were lucky enough to snag one. One of my most prized vinyl for sure!! You can check out their Facebook page and listen to some of their tunes. Their album is also available on iTunes for $5. Absolutely phenomenal album, even though it's just an EP. Can't wait for a full length! Our friends from the band Artifex Pereo, who put on a show at our house this summer, got to perform with them too which is pretty cool.

There have been other releases this summer, but for right now these are the 4 that I just can't stop listening to. I come home after a long day at work and these records make me feel that everything is going to be alright. Some of them even inspire some dancing around the house, but mostly they are just feel good albums that I thoroughly enjoy.

Any good records that you were excited to get this summer?!?