Taco Soup

I am so happy the weather is finally starting to warm up (although today hasn’t been such a good example)!!  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks ago it was cold, rainy, and SNOWING!  I was off Tuesday (2 weeks ago) and I knew that I would want something warm and hearty for dinner to go with the cold, damp day.  Thankfully one of my technicians, Ashley, had just given me a recipe for taco soup and I knew it would be perfect!


Taco Soup
1 can corn (don’t drain)
1 can kidney beans (don’t drain)
1 can rotel (I used the hot variety)
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced onion

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I simmered mine on the stove stop for a little over an hour and it was delicious!  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips to complete the meal!

I plugged all the ingredients into MyFitnessPal (see a tutorial on how to do this here) and while I think I under estimated the servings at 6 it still came out to be a good calorie bargin at 249 calories/serving.

Working it out

So this past month has been a whirlwind of work, bad weather, and lots of errands and  to-do list activities.  After an incredibly fun weekend celebrating St Patrick’s Day I decided it was time to get back on track.

I went by WalMart yesterday and got the ingredients to make some super simple chicken in the crockpot to take to work this week.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

  • 1 package boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can lower sodium black beans

Place all ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (or if you wait until the last minute like me cook on high for 4 hours).

I plan on taking a serving to work tonight for dinner and also as one of my meals tomorrow.  It is so good by itself, with brown rice, with tortilla chips, or I have even used it as a filling for enchiladas!  I also love this simple recipe because it freezes well.

I have kind of fallen off the wagon with my FitBit Flex, so I am currently charging it so I can wear it to work this week.  I definitely like seeing how much I am walking and also find that it is a great motivator to get those extra steps in.  I did just hit up the gym in my apartment for a short workout and I know that is something that I definitely need to make time for.  I feel so much better when I am working out and eating better.

I feel the need to get back on my goals and have been thinking about how I will incorporate them this week as I face one of my long weeks at work.

Daily Goals–Starting March 17, 2014:

  • Get in at least 10,000 steps daily using my FitBit Flex (the hardest day for me will be Wednesday because I am off work, so I will definitely focus on this)
  • Track my meals using MyFitnessPal every day
  • Do some meal planning/prep Wednesday to help me stay on track as I work through the weekend
  • Look at my Pinterest and pick some new recipes to try out
  • Think of ways to mix up my snacks/meals so I won’t get burnt out of the same ‘ol same ‘ol :)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green!

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

I have an extremely busy week coming up at work and I knew that I needed to take some time yesterday to write out my meal plan and also decide when and what I would need from the grocery store.


One thing I decided to make this week to take to work was baked pumping chocolate chip oatmeal that I originally found a couple of years ago from Slender Kitchen.  The recipe is for a single serving so I went ahead and tripled the recipe so I would have 3 servings for work.

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal (From Slender Kitchen)

  • 1&1/2 c old fashioned oatmeal
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c pure pumpkin (like Libby’s)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and add the ingredients
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool

**store leftovers in the fridge

Using  MyFitnessPal I calculated each serving to have 240 calories

Shepard’s Pie

I originally got the idea for this dinner from the Skinnytaste Website (Sheperd’s Pie, Lightened Up) and I adapted it based on what I had on hand and my preferences.  Chase and I went to a great Irish Pub, MacDuffs, in Lake Tahoe while we were on vacation.  Chase got the Shepard’s Pie and raved about how good it was!  I decided I would make some when we got home and see if I could live up to his expectations.  I used ground beef instead of ground lamb, which is what is typically used in the traditional Irish dish.

Shepard’s Pie (adapted from SkinnyTaste)

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large package of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c fat free beef broth
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1-2 packages instant mashed potatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Brown ground beef, drain, and remove from pan
  3. Using the same pan, sauté garlic until browned
  4. Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and whisk in the flour
  5. Bring to a simmer then add the vegetables and ground beef
  6. Stir well and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened
  7. While the sauce is thickening, I made the mashed potatoes in the microwave
  8. Pour the veggie and beef mixture into a baking dish and top with the prepared mashed potatoes
  9. Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes until the potatoes have browned
  10. Let sit for about 10 minutes before service

This made enough for a large baking dish and the leftovers were wonderful!  This isn’t exactly the healthiest or cleanest meal I could have made, but it was so good.  Next time I make this I plan to experiment to make it a little healthier without losing the delicious flavor.  Perhaps a sweet potato topping?!?

Black Bean and Rice Bowl

I am a huge fan of Moe’s and I love their burrito bowls!  When I was thinking about what I could take to work for lunch or dinner I wanted to do a play on the burrito bowl.  It turned out great and is good right out of the fridge, which makes it even more work friendly.

Black Bean and Rice Bowl:

Nutritional Information: 1 bowl (entire recipe) 243 calories

Quick, easy, & make ahead….what could be better to grab and go for work?

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

While I had a great time on vacation I definitely overindulged a bit on the food and drinks!  I was psyched to hit the grocery store today to get some “real” food and get myself back on track.  I wasn’t super hungry so I decided to get some things to whip up a smoothie.  Luckily, I just happened to look at the protein powder container where I saw a wonderful idea for an orange creamsicle smoothie.

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie:

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth then enjoy!

Nutritional Information: 1 smoothie (entire recipe) 248 calories, 23g protein

This is so creamy and delicious…reminds me of an orange pushpop


Daily Gratitude

I have been on vacation since last Wednesday so I have been slacking a little on my posting, but I did want to follow-up on one of my life changes goal of finding something from each day I am grateful for and appreciated:

Wednesday January 15, 2014: My mom came by work and surprised me! I was very thankful for her visit :)

Thursday January 16, 2014: I had a really productive visit with my boss

Friday January 17, 2014: Chase and I had a lunch date at Chick-Fil-A and also went snowboarding at Appalachian Ski Mountain

Saturday January 18, 2014: Chase and I got to spend the day with his family celebrating his brother Chad’s birthday!

Sunday January 19, 2014: I found an awesome snowboard set up at the Ski and Tennis Station in Winston.  I can’t wait to go snowboarding more!

Monday January 20, 2014: Today was an awesome Monday at work, which hasn’t been happening recently.

Tuesday January 21, 2014: Today was my last day of work before VACATION!!

Wednesday January 22, 2014: Chase and I flew to San Francisco today and had an uneventful flight + tried In-N-Out for the first time!


Thursday January 23, 2014: California is wonderful and today we went to Lake Tahoe.  It is gorgeous!

Friday January 24, 2014: Chase, his friend Chris, and I spent the day snowboarding at Heavenly in Lake Tahoe.  It was amazing!


Saturday January 25, 2014: Sightseeing around Lake Tahoe was great!  It is one of the prettiest places I’ve seen.


Sunday January 26, 2014: Chase’s friends live in Livermore, CA which is right in the middle of a ton of vineyards!  Wine tasting today was a lot of fun!