Everyday Maven’s Paleo Taco Dip

Today was redonkadonk. I spent 5 hours on a teleconference call troubleshooting computer server issues. And that’s all I’m going to say about that, because honestly, it’s 9:34pm and I don’t want to think about it any more tonight.

I was fortunate enough to be able to work out my frustration at the gym tonight. I’m fighting tendinitis in my right foot, so I’m not allowed to do any impact exercises. BOO. I can tell you, though–I.miss.running. I cannot even begin to explain how much I miss it. And on days like today, I REALLY miss it.

To get some cardio in, even though I’m currently not even allowed to use an ArcTrainer, stationary bicycle, or even elliptical, there’s an awesome hand-crank machine. Appears easy, but let me tell you, after 15 minutes you’re feeling the burn. Then my trainer kicked my arse. One full hour of Tabata exercises.

What’s Tabata, you ask?

It’s torture. That’s what it is. It’s torture. 20 seconds of an exercise followed by 10 seconds rest (kinda like HIIT). You do this 8 times. The first, even second and third rounds aren’t too terrible. But by the end, it is sheer willpower that gets you through. My triceps and quads are currently sore. And it’s only been 4 hours since our sesh ended. Yeah…we’ll see if I’m able to move tomorrow….

Anyway, yesterday I wanted to post, but it was so late by the time I had a chance that I didn’t have the energy to physically write.

Yesterday I also used the hand crank machine. For 40 minutes. I have a heart rate monitor to help track my calorie burn when working out…in 45 minutes I burned close to 440 calories and got a max heart rate of 176. Yeah, a little hand crank machine can do that.

#nojoke

#nojoke

So, that means big dinner, right? Definitely big hunger, no doubt. Nom Nom Paleo posted a Facebook post about Everyday Maven’s Paleo Taco Dip earlier in the day and I decided it sounded delicious. So I went to the grocery store, picked up the ingredients and got to cooking.

I don’t have one of those awesome things that you can easily see your layers that looks all fancy, so I improvised and used a glass casserole dish. I learned a couple of things from making this dish:

1). Taco seasoning is super easy to make (EverydayMaven even has a recipe!).

2). Buy enough salsa (or make enough of your own) to spread across your taco meat. If you don’t, it’s perfectly ok to improvise and mix the two ingredients. Not gonna lie, it tastes pretty dang good this way, too.

Salsa and Taco Meat can be Friends!

Salsa and Taco Meat can be Friends!

3). Food Processor = greatest invention ever if you want some of the smoothest, well-blended guacamole you’ve laid eyes on. My avocados were just under perfectly ripe. Mashing with a fork wasn’t going to cut it. I already chopped the onion and cilantro in the processor…why not just add the rest of the ingredients and go? Excellent idea, if you ask me. (insert awesome photo of guacamole–and terribly pun-ny “Guac the Casbah” joke–here when phone finally stops acting silly and syncs to computer).

4). This thing really does taste awesome. It was so worth the hour it took to make it. I added black olives just like the recipe suggested (again, phone won’t allow me to post a proper photo). Plantain Chips definitely add crunch and flavor to it to make it even more awesome.

Meat, Salsa, Guac, and Lettuce

Meat, Salsa, Guac, and Lettuce

5). Quite honestly, I don’t miss the beans. Or the sour cream (or, quite frankly, the calories).

6). It made enough that I was able to share with my roommate…and I now have lunch and dinner for the next 3 days….but I’m actually ok with it because it is so dang tasty.

Enjoy!

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Coconut Ginger Mushroom Chicken

What have I done this President’s Day weekend? A whole lot of nothing. And it’s been glorious.

Well, I shouldn’t say a whole lot of nothing. Friday night (Valentine’s Day…or Single’s Awareness Day, as I celebrated this year–but that’s a topic for some other blog), I went to bed at the late, late hour of 9pm. I NEVER do this! Especially on a Friday night. Perhaps having a big ‘ole glass of wine with dinner–which included a miniature box of chocolates and twizzlers pull-n-peel–might have contributed to that. Yeah, I’ll admit, Friday was a caloric/health bomb. But it got me through the day, and trust me, my stomach hated myself for it yesterday.

Saturday, because I went to bed so unnaturally early, I was up bright and early at 7am. As frustrating as that is, it allowed me to watch the US beat Russia in hockey. That was fun. I don’t know if I’ve ever really watched a hockey game. The OT and shootout were so intense, I found myself yelling at the TV…a LOT.

I spent the rest of the daylight reading paleo cookbooks and about the paleo lifestyle. I’m in the process of reading a book; I’m sure I’ll do a blog post on it when I’m finished.

When evening fell, I almost fell on my keister getting to my car to go to NE DC for The Domestic Man‘s cookbook release party (The Ancestral Table). The launch was great. Of course, I forgot to bring my copy of the cookbook that I had advance-ordered, so I couldn’t get him to sign it. *facepalm* But he had party favors for all, which were handy-dandy measurement conversion magnets. So I got him to autograph that for me. 🙂 The launch was aptly at a restaurant/butcher shop in Union Square–sorry, mom, no jaternice that I saw.

The food served was definitely a treat. I’m looking forward to making a few of his recipes (crab cakes, anyone???). Best part of the night, aside from geeking out meeting an author: making a paleo friend who is getting me hooked into the DC Paleo scene. w00t, w00t!

Today I sang at church with the choir. That was, as always, a tremendous joy. I really feel most alive when I’m singing–and we sang some GREAT music today, too. Then I went off to lunch with my cousin. Applebee’s has the most delicious spinach and shrimp salad! Holy Man, was it good! Almost as good as the conversation. 🙂

Anyway, tonight: I cooked. This recipe comes from PaleOMG (play on words, get it?). I’m not going to print the recipe here because I haven’t asked for permission, but instead I’ll post the link to the recipe on her site here.

To entice you– here’s a pic from tonight. And, I’ll tell you–it was oh, so fantastically delicious.

Coconut Ginger Mushroom Chicken

Test, Test…1,2,3…

Check 1…Check 1, 2…Check 1,2,3….

I’ve attended a few sound checks in my day. Professional Cartographer by day, semi-professional singer by night.

It’s funny, friends…when you think of an opera singer, you probably automatically think of Wagner’s Ring of the Nebulung opera (you know, rather large viking woman). Deborah Voigt was once dropped from an opera in London because of her weight.  Not only does weight play a factor when you have to move around on stage, but off-stage, you have to be able to BREATHE. I cannot imagine that to be easy when you are obese.

On a personal level, I didn’t realize how true that was until June of last year. I’d been on my weight loss journey for about 4 years at that point. I was down 40lbs and holding steady when I decided to do an Advocare 24 Day Challenge (you’ll probably hear me talk about Advocare a lot…it’s honestly changed my life). Day 3, I woke up and realized: I could BREATHE. I mean, truly, truly breathe. And I didn’t realize I couldn’t breathe before. It was almost euphoric, it was so amazing. To feel like you are able to sustain a note for any length of time longer than you’re used to because you now suddenly feel like you can breathe–that’s a big deal. It gives you the confidence to hold the notes and reach for the higher ones (higher notes require more breath…and more breath control, thusly).

I can’t promise it’s Advocare that did it for me. At the same time I started the 24 Day Challenge, I also started eating pretty clean at the same time…almost paleo (now I try to eat Paleo as much as possible because my stomach appreciates it better now. I get stomach aches when I eat poorly…or bread). All that I know, is that I’m 20lbs lighter, in the smallest clothes I’ve worn since 6th grade, and I love that I can breathe.

breathing = awesome.

*drops the mic*