Archive for the ‘Mexican’ Category

Countdown to Spring Clean!

Lately I haven’t been giving my house the attention it needs. Weekends are filled with working,  planning for Mexico, birthdays, working-out and some relaxing. Cleaning…has been put on the back burner to say the least.

In fact, my house feels like I have done a moderate job of straightening up for the last few months and I’m craving a DEEP CLEAN, however, have not felt motivated enough to start.

Since we’ve established I am a “list person” I scheduled a few organizatoinal projects for every weekend for the next 10 weekends. Leaving my house completely sanitized and freshened up by early April…just in time to enjoy spring (without the cleaning).



Here’s my list:

Weekend of 2/5: Office Closet

Weekend of 2/12: Hallway Closet

Weekend of 2/19: Bedroom Closet/Bathroom Closet

Weekend of 2/26: Downstairs closet

Weekend of 3/5: Kitchen cabinets

Weekend of 3/12: Laundry Room and pantry

Weekend of 3/19: Clean all window sills, fans, base boards, replace vents & light-bulbs. Clean Fridge, microwave and oven

Weekend of 3/26: Replace all sponges, wash all hand towels, napkins, bedding, dust vigorously, wipe down leather couches, repaint trim and walls where needed

Weekend of 4/1: Out of Town-buy new ‘Welcome Mat’

Week of 4/4-4/7: Clean and get things ready for out-of-town guests, clean up front porch and back, replace shower liners. Clean grill, set up new table umbrella and outside lights and lanterns.

Last night for dinner Chris and I decided to make Tacos. These tacos would have been stellar with all the yummy vegetables we cut up and sautéed but I ended up messing up the entire dinner, by mixing the entire Trader Joe’s taco spice packet into the meat. Apparently, you are only supposed to do half, unless you want some really spicy tacos. I couldn’t even get through 2 before my nose was running and my mouth burning! It was a big disappointment because they smelled oh so good… 🙂

I’m proud to say I left off the cheese and sour-cream.

Next time: I’ll only use half a packet.

Lastly, I have to give a big SHOUT-OUT to my older sister and dearest friend, Betsy! It’s her birthday and as much as it kills me when can’t be together for it, I am excited we get to see each other in about 2 short months!!!!

Happy Birthday Lady! XO

Blog Update: It’s practically done! We are just switching out 2 more things and then we’ll be good to go! Expect a Saturday post!!!!!

Hope you all have great weekends! It’s finally Friday, wahooo!



My prediction this week was right! Today has been better than yesterday (knock on wood) and yesterday was tons better than Monday. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that we are inching closer and closer to the weekend :)I am happy to report that I am putting all social obligations aside this weekend and looking forward to some very therapeutic painting. I’m going to be painting our kitchen-so be sure to check out the before and afters on Monday! We are going from yellow and country to brown and sleek with pops of green. I got a little inspiration from these…

Last night’s run was tiring. It was only 4.5 miles but it seemed to wear my body out. It was a feeling that I haven’t experienced with running so far, it almost felt like I was getting sick. My body was just weak and lifeless after the run and it was really hard to push through. To make matters even worse my route was just plain awful! I will never run it again (back to I go!)I can’t complain about the weather though, the seasons have officially clicked. I could smell it in the air as I was running  and I’m wearing my brown boots for the first time today since last winter, and I’m still cold in the office. It’s time to switch from cool smoothies in the morning to warm hot chocolate or tea!

Last night’s dinner was the tortilla soup I had planned for tonight. This is an old-time favorite of Chris’s and he suggested we have it since it’s been so rainy and cold all week. That sounded good to me, so the chicken tenders got bumped. It was as good as I remembered it being. Hot food is so comforting. 🙂


  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken (I baked the chicken and shredded it)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (I don’t like beans so I left them out!)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained


    Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

    Sprinkle cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top-serve with chips.

    since we are already on the topic of food, I’m ridiculously excited that I found some great recipes in this little FREE booklet at the grocery store. That Martha Steward is so clever, I tell ya! Here are just a few of the recipes I found that I am dying to make in the coming weeks…

    • Baked Eggs in Tomatoes
    • Tomato and goat cheese tart
    • Baked Plantain Chips
    • Salmon Skewers with Smashed Potatoes
    • Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
    • Bacon, egg and toast cups (trying these this weekend!)
    • Upside-down Mushroom Tartlets
    • Okra Fritters

    Tonight I am going to feed the hungry at the historic “Wall” in downtown Charlotte. Every Wednesday many of my city’s residents line up to be fed by one organization or another. It is really sad to see how many faces there are out there in my own community that are homeless or don’t have means to get a cooked meal every night of the week. I urge people to try and volunteer in their cities, it is beyond gratifying and as cheesy as it sounds, LOVE really does make the world go-round!

    Some Good, Some Bad and some Dashing

    Some Good:

    My new obsession is with Tofu. I know some of you reading might think it is just plain gross, but don’t knock it till you try it. Plus, it basically absorbs whatever seasoning you add, so you can change the taste with ingredients and or how you cook it. It’s quite the flexible and easy food. Last week I made another Tofu Stir-fried dish and the beauty of this meal is that there wasn’t really a recipe as much as I just threw some goodness into a wok.

    Tofu ala Claire

    I made some couscous separately and then in the wok through in some tofu (diced up) along with some red onion, red bell peppers, 2 Tbsp. of lime juice, salt and pepper and some spinach. Once everything was lightly cooked I added to the couscous and then decided to add some carrots and hummus just because I had a craving. If you are looking to find another recipe for tofu, try this.

    The Bad:

    So I am trying to stay away from as much meat as we normally eat so I’m finding recipes like this cheese enchilada meal. I was stoked to try it because I love me some Mexican but it didn’t turn out quite as good as I had hoped. I do not blame this on the recipe but rather my sometimes-disastrous cooking skills. I followed the recipe exactly and don’t know what was missing…probably the chicken! haha 🙂 What can I say? I grew up on meat.

    Cheese Enchiladas

    recipe from Simply Recipes


    • Grapeseed oil (or another high smoke-point oil such as peanut or canola oil)
    • 12 corn tortillas
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 clove of garlic, minced
    • 1 cup of salsa
    • 3 Tbsp of tomato paste
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
    • Olive oil
    • 1 lb of jack cheese, mild cheddar or longhorn or any mild yellow cheese, grated
    • A handful of cilantro
    • 1 cup of sour cream
    • Half a head of iceberg lettuce


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a large fry pan at high heat add 3 Tbsp of grapeseed oil. Add a tortilla to the pan. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift again, both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath. Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding a little more oil if needed. This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat. You do this process to develop the flavor of the tortillas. As the tortillas brown a little, remove from the pan one by one to rest on a paper towel, which absorbs any excess fat.

    Sauté up the chopped onion and garlic, then turn off the heat. Add 1 cup of salsa. Dissolve 3 Tbsp of tomato paste into 1 cup of water, add to pan. Add 1 cup of crushed fire roasted canned tomatoes. Taste. If the sauce tastes too vinegary, add a teaspoon of sugar.

    Put some olive oil on the bottom of a large casserole pan. Take a tortilla, cover 2/3 of it lightly with the shredded cheese, then roll up the tortilla and place it in the casserole pan. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled. Add sauce to the top of the tortillas in the casserole pan. Make sure all are covered with the sauce. If not, add a little water. Cover the whole thing with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.

    Garnish with cilantro and sour cream. Serve with sliced iceberg lettuce that has been dressed only with vinegar and salt.

    I will point out that the browning of the tortillas was an excellent idea for soaking up some flavor. I will remember this trick for years to come…


    I’m happy to report that I have broken through my running plateau. I am now running a constant (as in no intervals and or walking) a 3 mile run pretty much daily. My ipod has A LOT to do with it. I think my trick is going to be making playlists that last the entirety of my run, and maybe even strategically place inspirational type songs (like Rihanna’s Rude Boy) when I know I will be about to gas out….

    This weekend I will once again run 5 miles and hope that through a cooler September I will finish the month strong with an 8 mile run. That is the goal-stay tuned to see if I make it! 🙂

    “I love Fish Tacos!”

    The title of this post may not be funny to most, but it is to some. There is a running  joke about how much I love this particular food with me and my friends. Last night’s dinner was no exception. It hit the spot and two actually filled me up! I added lime juice to the cabbage for a kick instead of cidear vinegar and anytime I can put avocado on something, I do!  I think for fish tacos, it’s always better if the fish is crispy so next time I think I will add some type of batter. Still good and healthy 🙂

    Fish Tacos


    • 1 lb of very fresh fish fillets – (Good fish for tacos are firm fish like swordfish or shark)
    • Salt and pepper
    • Olive oil
    • 1 doz corn tortillas (3 tortillas per person)
    • Vegetable oil or butter (optional, depending on how you heat your tortillas)
    • Salsa – (I substituted out salsa and used cut-up tomatoes instead)
    • 1 ripe AvocadoCabbage (or iceberg lettuce)
    • Cider vinegar
    • Salt


    Prepare the cabbage and avocado. Thinly slice cabbage. Put in a small serving bowl. Sprinkle with cider vinegar (about a Tbsp) and salt (about a tsp). Mix in the vinegar and salt. Peel avocado and remove seed. Chop and reserve for later.

    Heat the tortillas. One way to easily soften and heat a tortilla to simply heat it in the microwave for 20-25 seconds on high heat, on top of a napkin or paper towel to absorb the moisture that is released.

    Another way is to heat a well seasoned (black) large cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan or spread a half a teaspoon of butter on one side of one tortilla. Place tortilla in the pan (butter side down if you are using butter). As the tortilla sizzles, flip the tortilla with a spatula so that the other side gets some of the oil or butter from the pan. Continue to flip every 10-30 seconds until the tortillas begins to develop air pockets, about a minute. If the pan begins to smoke, lower the temperature. You can skip the butter or oil if you wish and just heat the tortillas up on the skillet without them. We have found that the flavor of packaged tortillas benefits from heating them with a bit of oil.

    Remove the tortilla from the pan and place it folded on a plate. If the pan is large enough you can prepare two or more tortillas at once. Continue until all the tortillas (estimate 3 per person) are cooked. Set aside.

    Cook the fish. Soak the fish fillets in cold water for at least one minute. Pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a large stick-free skillet to medium high heat. Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to the skillet. Place fish on skillet. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets. A thin fillet may take only one minute on each side to cook. A thicker fillet may take a couple of minutes. Fish should be still barely translucent when cooked. Break off a piece and test if you are not sure. Do not overcook the fish. Remove from pan when done to a separate plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Assembly. Tacos are best when you assemble them yourself. Place the plate of tortillas, the plate of fish, the salsa, the cabbage, and the avocados on the table and let everyone assemble their own.

    Recipe courtesy of SimplyRecipes.

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    Last night Linds and I went and ran the 3-mile bike path. I did my intervals (run 6 minutes, walk 1) and lasted till about the third interval. I could not for the life of me knock out four. I had anticipated the 3-miles taking us 28 minutes and I was so disappointed with my time. We finished in 32: 52 which in a runner’s world is WAY off goal. The humidity in the air was disgusting and I can not wait until September and October, where I’m hoping that my speed and endurance will pick up! I feel the weather is hindering me from pushing through, that and mentally I need to get tougher. Chris brought up a good point that he almost thinks the air at night is thicker and he may be right. I may try and do some morning work-outs till the weather gets better. I’m going to test this theory out by running with Linds at Latta on Saturday morning. Also a wise runner told me yesterday that a little coffee about an hour before a run doesn’t hurt! (Thanks Carissa!) I didn’t get to try it yesterday but I will sometime this week.

    In other news, I am going to be an aunt today (hopefully!) Stay tuned for some undoubtedly cute baby pictures…I’m excited!!!

    The Hills Ended :(

    So I’m such a TV slore if you haven’t figured it out by now. It’s actually one of my vices but I feel like as much as I do, a little TV at the end of the day is just my way of relaxing. As most of you might now, The Hills ended tonight and I thought they ended it in an innovative way. I didn’t cry or anything but I can remember watching episodes of the Hills in our old apartment years ago and it will stink to have to find new fashionista inspirations 🙂 Goodbye Kristin, Lo, Lauren, Stefanie and Audrina! XO

    This post is going to be short and sweet. I got sucked in to the MTV finale obviously but also because I’ve been busy working on a “mock” website for an airbrushing business I’m trying to start with my sister on the side. I could use some extra cash and our family salon is closing 😦 With that comes new opportunities so we are taking our airbrushing skills mobile!

    Find out more by checking out our temporary NEW blog:

    On to Tuesday night dinner! I made some yummy quesadillas and they hit the spot! I ended up using a recipe off but didn’t add the mango salsa…

    Chicken Quesadillas


    • 2 chicken breast halves, fat trimmed
    • cumin
    • oregano
    • garlic powder
    • salt and fresh pepper
    • cooking spray
    • 1/2 small onion, cut into strips
    • 1 bell pepper (red or green) cut into strips
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1 1/3 cup reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
    • 1 cup avocado-mango salsa *I didn’t use
    • 8 (6″) low carb whole wheat flour tortillas*


    Slice chicken breast in half so you have 4 cutlets. Season chicken generously with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and garlic powder.

    Lightly spray a skillet on medium heat with oil or if using a grill, grill chicken until cooked on both sides. Remove from heat and cut chicken into strips, set aside. To the skillet, add 1 tbsp oil and cook onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, add garlic and continue cooking until vegetables are soft being careful not to burn the garlic. When cooked, set aside.
    Heat skillet on medium heat and lightly spray with oil. Add tortilla, top with cheese, chicken, onions, peppers, and pico de gallo or avocado-mango salsa. Top with the other tortilla. Cheese should be melted and the bottom of the tortilla should be golden brown. Put a plate on top of the quesadilla to flip it over onto the plate. Then slide the other side onto the skillet. Cook another minute and remove with a spatula. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream if you wish.

    It’s after 12 so I’ve got to get to sleep, my eyes are drooping 😉